Commentary on DVD commentaries

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bob Engleman, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. Bob Engleman

    Bob Engleman Stunt Coordinator

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    My small collection consists of 288 movies, with 71 on tape. Of the remaining 217 titles, only 46 include commentaries; this being due to the age of the movie, and/or of the DVD itself. Unfortunately, I've only found 13 that were enjoyable, mostly due to poor speaking skills, and/or a restating of what's on the screen. Those I found quite informative were delivered by Francis Coppola (Godfather Trilogy), Rudy Behlmer (The Adventures of Robin Hood and Frankenstein), Richard Fleischer & Stewart Galbraith (Tora! Tora! Tora!) and the texts of Michael & Denise Okuda Star Trek's 1-7). Please share your experiences.

    Bob Engleman
     
  2. Allan^L

    Allan^L Stunt Coordinator

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    Most of the commentaries I've listened to have been pretty good. Anthony Minghella's one for The Talented Mr. Ripley was great and the various LOTR ones are really good too. The only really bad one that I can think of is Stuart Baird's for Star Trek: Nemesis. That was just a waste of space.
     
  3. AnthonyC

    AnthonyC Cinematographer

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    I don't always have the attention span to watch commentary on movies (TV shows are a different story). But the two that I've listened too (Pee-wee's Big Adventure and UHF) were both excellent.

    I need to start watching with commentary more often. [​IMG]
     
  4. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    The other day I was watching Unfaithful with Diane Lane discussing her more intimate scenes. Never before had I been so fascinated by a commentary.
     
  5. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    My list for best ans worst tracks:

    Best-

    P.T. Anderson (solo) for Boogie Nights

    The cast commentary for Fight Club

    Danny De Vito for The War Of The Roses

    The director and writers track for the Lord
    Of The Rings EE's

    The cast track for the Lord Of The Rings EE's

    The group track for The Silence Of The Lambs
    Criterion edition

    Garry Marshall for Pretty Woman

    Worst-

    Mel Gibson for Braveheart (he sounded disinterested)

    Melanie Griffith for Crazy In Alabama (waste of time)

    William Friedkin for The Exorcist: The Version You've
    Never Seen (he repeats what you are watching)

    The group track for The Goonies (everybody tries to
    talk over each other so all you hear is noise)

    The cast track for S.W.A.T. (nobody has anything
    interesting to say)

    The group track for Jerry Maguire (a chuckle fest)

    Any Rob Reiner track (lots of dead space)
     
  6. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    What in God's name was the point of Mel Brooks recording another commentary for the anniversary DVD of "Blazing Saddles" when he just leaves 20 minutes before the end of the movie?! Will he pull this with any future releases of "Young Frankenstein" or "Spaceballs" too? What a waste of an audio track--just keep the old commentary from the LDs instead of making talent comment on movies twice, please.

    Graham Baker's commentary track for Omen III, "The Final Conflict," is even worse. The man hardly says a word the whole damn movie. I got more insight into the film from the liner notes to Jerry Goldsmith's score.

    The Richard Donner/Tom Mankiewicz commentary on "Superman" was highly entertaining, if uneven. Praise must also go out to the George Lucas and Peter Jackson commentary tracks on the Star Wars and LOTR films, as there is an amazing lack of overlap between documentary and commentary information imparted--plus, the participants are almost always interesting and sound interested.

    The best commentaries for the movies I've heard, though, have been the John Lasseter tracks for the Toy Story films and "A Bug's Life." Fun yet thoroughly professional and explanatory at the same time. Must-listens.[​IMG]
     
  7. Ian_H

    Ian_H Supporting Actor

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    I rarely listen to commentary trakcks for the majority of films. The only commentary tracks I have ever listened to more than once have been the track for Evil Dead 2 and the drunken commentary on Cannibal the Musical.


    --Ian
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    John Carpenter does great dvd commentaries, especially if the commentary is done with Kurt Russell.





    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Jamie Cole

    Jamie Cole Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, Carpenter is excellent. In spare moments I'm working through his track with Keith Gordon on the new Christine disc. They seem to be having a great time.

    The new Ed Wood group commentary is also excellent.
     
  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Oh, I disagree - this is one of the funniest commentaries I've ever heard, although not intentionally humorous. Griffith comes across as the dimmest of all possible bulbs in this track. I almost kept the DVD (didn't like the movie) just because of the commentary!
     
  11. David_Rivshin

    David_Rivshin Second Unit

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    While (or perhaps because) I don't have a collection as large as many of you (around 70 titles so far), I do tend to listen to commentaries more often then not. Of those disks which had them I've probably listened to the commentaries on about 75%; usually within a few days of first viewing. It's almost an excuse to watch it again [​IMG]

    Oh, and a good commentary I recently listened to was on the Das Boot DC. It's chock full of information, and no real dead space. I got the feeling that they had enough left to say to constistute a second full commentary.
    I also enjoyed most of the commentaries on the Futurama DVD's. They're not so much informative (well, that too) as just plain entertaining. Those guys definately seem to enjoy each other's company.

    (drops $0.02 into the jar)
    -- Dave
     
  12. Jim Dalton

    Jim Dalton Stunt Coordinator

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    I enjoyed the commentary for:
    This Is Spinal Tap
    The Star Wars films
    Batman: TAS
    Das Boot
    Apollo 13

    To name a few.
     
  13. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

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    I find that the majority of commentary tracks have at least two interesting bits of information contained within them. I am a big opponent of dead space and mumbling, but thankfully I don't hear this too often.

    One of my benchmark commentary tracks is the Beauty and the Beast commentary by Wise, Trousdale, and Hahn. These three have a great time chatting about the movie, crack jokes, and impart lots of information that just would not work in the context of a documentary.

    Other great benchmarks are the LOTR commentaries, Star Trek Special Edition commentaries (less Robert Wise), and Pixar commentaries.
     
  14. Ushabye

    Ushabye Projectionist
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    Robert Rodriguez, John Carpenter, Steven Sodergergh and Werner Herzog, in my collection, are the top four directors when it comes to commentaries. Carpenters & Kurt Russel's are almost legendary! Soderberghs & Ted Griffin's on OCEANS 11 is facinating. Griffin followed Soderbergh around during the shooting to learn how to direct - to which a further dimension has been added to recently with Griffin's firing from his directorial debut by Soderbergh! Robert Rodrieguez is a one man walking film school. Every aspiring film maker should listen to every one of his discs! (Where's that promised SPY KIDS special edition, dude?) Werner Herzog's commentaries are probably my all time favourite. On top of his distincive accent he is very articulate, is filled with riveting anecdotes and details that reveal a whole invisible underside to each of his pictures.
     
  15. TheBat

    TheBat Producer

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    I have listend to some great commentaries and not so great. I however was able to get Sanctuary region 2 to do a commentary track with Ms. Sarah Douglas from Superman 2 to do one for conan the destroyer. She talks about conan and also her career including superman. It was a very entertaining commentary.

    JACOB
     
  16. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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  17. Herschel

    Herschel Stunt Coordinator

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    *cough* RateThatCommentary.com *cough* [​IMG] No, seriously, you should probably check out the highest and lowest ranking ones on there if you want some recommendations on which tracks are good and which are not bringing the goodness so much...

    The last one I watched that I really liked a lot was Shattered Glass (my review of that commentary track).

    I'm about 30 minutes into the THX-1138 commentary, and so far it's really good stuff. I'll recommend it, assuming it doesn't somehow go downhill for the last hour...
     
  18. john mcfadden

    john mcfadden Stunt Coordinator

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    I just wish there was a site where you could download the commentary tracks , and burn to a disc .... oops that would be illegal , sorry..... nevermind..... The Carpenter/Russel commentaries are awesome My favorite is Big Trouble In Little China , But Russel and Joe dante on Used cars is even better !
     
  19. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Wouldn't that be Robert Zemeckis, Kurt Russell and Bob Gale on the Used Cars track?

    I also am a fan of almost all of Carpenter's commentaries, I very much like his solo track on Assault on Precinct 13 which some have found boring....now In The Mouth Of Madness...well...he had a rough time keeping Gary Kibbe involved in the discussion.
     
  20. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    In the Mouth of Madness was a really boring commentary. Every other Carpenter track I've listened to has been great (I've listened to all of them except Escape from New York).

    Some good commentary people are Wes Craven, Kevin Smith, Bruce Campbell, Peter Jackson, David Fincher...etc. There are plenty more that I'm forgetting. The last good commentary I listened to was on the Hellraiser deluxe LD set. Clive Barker was very interesting.

    Here's another thread on the topic:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...ght=commentary
     

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