Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

Opinion: The Best and Worst DVD Commentary You've Listened To?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
195 replies to this topic

#1 of 196 OFFLINE   Rick Rob

Rick Rob

    Auditioning



  • 9 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 23 2002

Posted April 02 2004 - 03:22 AM

On the day Hellboy comes out, I can't help but recall listening to the commentary by Guillermo Del Toro on the Blade II DVD and laughing my head off (the Michael Bolton comments) as well as learning a thing or two about film making.

I then recall trying to listen to the commentary on the Resident Evil DVD and giving up after ten minutes. It was the most annoying thing to listen to. Michel Rodriguez kept yelling "okay this is when I shoot my gun...". Thanks.

So, I'm asking everyone what they thought was the best DVD commentary they've listened to and also the worst.

My picks:

Best - Blade 2, LOTR Series (Extended)
Worst - Resident Evil, The Matrix

#2 of 196 OFFLINE   NicolasC

NicolasC

    Auditioning



  • 12 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 16 2003

Posted April 02 2004 - 03:36 AM

The absolute worse I've ever heard is the one for "The Exorcist: The version You've Never Seen". Director William Friedkin just tells us what is happening on screen while we're watching. It could almost pass as an audio commentary for the blind! Practically no information on filming, no information on why scenes were cut from the theatrical release, on the special effects. A complete bore. I've never been able to sit through it. Posted Image

Nicolas

#3 of 196 OFFLINE   NateX

NateX

    Auditioning



  • 2 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 14 2003

Posted April 02 2004 - 05:33 AM

I'm not a big fan of the commentary found on most DVDs, but I actually enjoyed the commentary of Dawn of the Dead.

#4 of 196 OFFLINE   Ben_@

Ben_@

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 217 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 31 2004

Posted April 02 2004 - 05:46 AM

top five commentaries (in my collection):
Evil Dead II (Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi= great fun and insight into this low budget classic)
Spinal Tap (most original use of commentary I've ever heard)
Fight Club (Helena Bonham Carter's added in commentary kind of kills the energy of Pitt, Norton and Fincher on the track)
Finding Nemo (one of my favorite that does not include cast members [nevermind that the director voiced Crush])
Mallrats (also very good, especially since they can all laugh at what a commercial flop the film was)

Bottom five:
Mystery Men (Kinka Usher comes off as really dry and unoriginal, even though he directed this rather original and funny movie)
Gladiator (a little too much of Ridley Scott narrating what happens on screen)
American Beauty (the voices are just too soothing despite the in depth subject matter, i end up almost falling asleep)
Heavy Metal (they basically put a book-on-tape as the commentary track, rarely follows onscreen action)
Wag the Dog, The Crow (tied, just too boring)

I guess what makes a good commentary, to me, is having insight with a lot of energy behind it. Obviously the best way to get some enthusiasm out of the participants is to get them to record a commentary track as a group. It also seems that the best commentaries only come out years after the release of the film, when everyone has had a chance to distance themselves from the material. I also think that injecting some humor (or lots of humor in Spinal Tap's case) really helps.

#5 of 196 OFFLINE   Brian Thibodeau

Brian Thibodeau

    Supporting Actor



  • 992 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 10 2003

Posted April 02 2004 - 06:10 AM

Go to this thread over in software for some choice comments about bad DVD commentaries. Some good stuff in there, except when it devolves into the usual point-counterpoint nitpicking:

http://www.hometheat....hreadid=180948

If you search futher back in that forum, you find another thread someone started on Great Audio Commentaries or some such, but it didn't get nearly as much mileage as this one did, and soon became just another series of lists.

#6 of 196 OFFLINE   Scott Bender

Scott Bender

    Auditioning



  • 11 posts
  • Join Date: May 04 1999

Posted April 02 2004 - 06:45 AM

My favorite is definitely Mallrats. It was one of my first 20 dvd's or so but even now, years latter its my favorite. I swear its as funny as the movie itself.

I'm trying to remember which of the several boring commentaries qualifies as worst, but I seem to have managed to erase them from my brain. Hopefully Kirsten Dunst was dancing in undies over me while it was being erased...

Scott

#7 of 196 OFFLINE   James T

James T

    Screenwriter



  • 1,643 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 08 1999

Posted April 02 2004 - 03:47 PM

I loved Conan the Barbarian. Arnold was such an idiot. I think he introducted himself as Richard Simmons and he didn't even remember the movie at all, which made it more amusing. Millus, on the other hand, actually remembered everything and went into detail on how certain shots were made and what gave them problems.

I also really liked Ghostbusters. It was the first commentary I listened to, but it was good. I also liked how you got to see the shadows of the people talking.

The worst I listened to was The Matrix. Carrie-Ann Moss was annoying. When the roof sequence, Moss was the main person talking and kept mentioning that her scene was coming up, the famous "Dodge this". At least they had a special featuretee that went into detail about bullettime.

#8 of 196 OFFLINE   Mike Williams

Mike Williams

    Screenwriter



  • 1,020 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 03 2003

Posted April 02 2004 - 04:04 PM

I think the best commentary I've listened to is Francis Ford Coppola with "The Godfather." He really indepth, describing the troubles he had with the studio and all kinds of stuff. These are what commentaries are supposed to be. Also, his commentary for "The Godfather, part 3" really helped me to appreciate that movie more on its own merits.

My worst commentary has to be a tie. First, "Star Trek: Nemesis." The director spends most of his time -- on the rare occassions that he does speak -- simply describing what we're already seeing, to the point that when the Enterprise goes to warp, his commentary is: "The infamous warp speed." Really insightful stuff. And to top it off, he whispers the entire commentary as though he doesn't want to distract from the movie itself, as though we're sitting next to him in a crowded theater and he's whispering so he doesn't disturb the other moviegoers. Bloody dreadful stuff.

Second, William Shatner and his daughter with "Star Trek V." Thank God his daughter was at least there, since the director himself doesn't seem to really remember shooting this movie at all. He doesn't remember people, names, events or too much of anything else. And through about the entire second half of the movie, Shatner just pretty much seems bored with the whole thing. Not good, not good.

#9 of 196 OFFLINE   Jason_Els

Jason_Els

    Screenwriter



  • 1,096 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 22 2001

Posted April 02 2004 - 05:36 PM

I usually don't listen to commentaries unless I have a particular love for the technique of a film. Of the ones I have listened to, I particularly enjoyed Roger Ebert's discussion of Citizen Kane. It's really illuminating on the shots, editing, acting, and the historical importance of the film. I also like both of the Lord of the Rings commentaries with Jackson. I haven't listened to the cast commentaries at all but I want to listen to Shore's too as I love the score.

Part of the problem with these is that not all directors are articulate or even interesting talkers. Think of all the teachers you've had in school. All might be experts in a particular area but some were fantastic at conveying the information with enthusiasm and others just sucked. A great director does not a great teacher make. I've heard many directors state they want their work to stand on its own so I imagine that at least some of them are coerced into doing commentaries. It doesn't surprise me that so many of them would rather not spend the time babbling.
For beauty is only a step removed from a burning terror we barely sustain, and we worship it for the graceful sublimity with which it disdains to consume us. - Rainer Maria Rilke

My DVD Collection

#10 of 196 OFFLINE   Brian W.

Brian W.

    Screenwriter



  • 1,958 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 29 1999
  • Real Name:Brian
  • LocationLos Angeles

Posted April 02 2004 - 06:05 PM

Quote:
The absolute worse I've ever heard is the one for "The Exorcist: The version You've Never Seen".


I agree. I think he wanted to do something different to the commentary he did on the 25th Anniversary disc, but he ended up saying nothing at all... it's awful. Jodie Foster's commentary for "Contact" is a close second.

#11 of 196 OFFLINE   Jon B NY

Jon B NY

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 180 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 21 2004

Posted April 02 2004 - 06:44 PM

Best:
Cannibal! the Musical.
Dawn of the Dead.
Fight Club actors and director track (by the way, Ben, the track sounds as if Carter was recorded seperately and then recorded in maybe when there was dead air between the three guys. If you notice she always kills what was being spoken of by saying something different, and she never interupts any of them throughout the track).
Some of the Family Guy and Futurama episodes are GREAT as long as there are no dead air.

Worst:
Fawlty Towers. The director is very old sounding and barely speaks AT ALL. Most of the time you can hear him breathing into his mic. ughhhh.
Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill. Who wants to hear him TALK about his act instead of just listening to his act? Pretty lameo. A documentary would have been a better special feature.

#12 of 196 OFFLINE   Lou Sytsma

Lou Sytsma

    Producer



  • 5,350 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 01 1998

Posted April 02 2004 - 11:30 PM

I really enjoyed the John Carpenter/Kurt Russell commentary on The Thing. Informative and entertaining.
Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

#13 of 196 OFFLINE   Blu

Blu

    Screenwriter



  • 1,360 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 06 2001

Posted April 03 2004 - 12:56 AM

I don't listen to a lot of commentaries but any Roger Ebert commentary is very very good and just barely below him is any Robert Rodriguez commentary!!!!!

#14 of 196 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

andrew markworthy

    Producer



  • 4,766 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 30 1999

Posted April 03 2004 - 04:37 AM

Best: Most commentaries by film historians and critics on classic movies are good, for two reasons. First, these guys make a living from their words, so they are likely to be good. Second, they typically present a level-headed account because they have no vested interest in the movie. In this category, anything by Roger Ebert or Peter Cowie (the latter mostly on Criterion, particularly the classic Bergman titles) is usually good. Honourable mention - Frankenheimer on Ronin.

Worst: practically any commentary by a collection of members of cast and crew. No matter how well they may start, before long the 'you wonderful in this scene' sycophancy will start. On top of that the effects guy working towards his PhD in stating the obvious will tell you 'this was a difficult special effect to put together' (gee, until you said that, I honestly thought I was looking at a real dinosaur).

#15 of 196 OFFLINE   Drew Mertz

Drew Mertz

    Stunt Coordinator



  • 177 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 1999

Posted April 03 2004 - 04:53 AM

my pick for the worst in Tom Clancy on the Sum of All Fears. It made a bad movie worse!

#16 of 196 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

Patrick McCart

    Lead Actor



  • 7,477 posts
  • Join Date: May 16 2001
  • Real Name:Patrick McCart
  • LocationAlpharetta, GA, USA

Posted April 03 2004 - 05:10 AM

My favorite commentary is the Scott MacQueen track on the Milestone Video version of "Phantom of the Opera." Lots of information and great delivery.

Ernest Lehman's commentary for North By Northwest is probably my least favorite... I really wish they also had Rudy Behlmer on the track.

#17 of 196 OFFLINE   Tim_Stack

Tim_Stack

    Second Unit



  • 292 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 22 2003

Posted April 03 2004 - 06:03 AM

Best: This is Spinal Tap (MGM), The Last Temptation of Christ, The Silence of the Lambs (Criterion), Do the Right Thing (Criterion), Mr. Show, Throne of Blood & The Seven Samurai

Worst: The Manchurian Candidate, A Few Good Men (I hate the long pauses between comments and the increase in soundrack volume during those pauses)

#18 of 196 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

Casey Trowbridg

    Lead Actor



  • 9,209 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 22 2003

Posted April 03 2004 - 06:29 AM

Quote:
I also really liked Ghostbusters. It was the first commentary I listened to, but it was good. I also liked how you got to see the shadows of the people
talking.

Put me down for this as well on the best list, I've given it multiple listens. I also like Ebert's commentary on Citizen Kane.

The worst, is the cast commentary on American Pie 2. Mena Suvari screaming the word "Manties" for 20 minutes nonconsecutively is just terrible. Ok it wasn't really 20 minutes but she screamed it 1 more time than she should've which happened when she first screamed it. The rest of the track is no picnic either.

#19 of 196 OFFLINE   Geoff_D

Geoff_D

    Supporting Actor



  • 895 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 18 2002

Posted April 03 2004 - 06:47 AM

My worst ones are The Matrix (I second the Carrie-Anne Moss comments above) and Bad Boys. Usually Michael Bay is so excitable on his commentary tracks, as his ones for The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor are very entertaining, but his BB one is incredibly boring.

For favourites, I'd go for Ridley Scott's original chat on Alien and any of Bey Logan's commentaries for the UK's Hong Kong Legends DVDs. Any track that features John Carpenter and Kurt Russell is also a great listen. Even though they often end up just chatting away about a friend they've seen recently, they're still hugely entertaining together.

For pure information though, you can't go wrong with a David Fincher effort. His commentaries are never less than honest and informative, and (more so than others) he reveals details about himself and what makes him tick. He seems to lack any pretentious thoughts about his acclaimed works, giving as honest an insight into his film-making processes as you can get in two hours of commentary. I love his reasoning on his solo Fight Club commentary that he'd be more comfortable shooting porn than a love scene for a movie; he also explains on his Panic Room track why he'd remember a movie like The Road Warrior more easily than Ghandi! His commentaries (and the DVDs of his movies in general) are almost mini psychological studies of the man that also provide a great amount of insight into his work, and come highly recommended.

#20 of 196 OFFLINE   Bill J

Bill J

    Producer



  • 3,970 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 27 2001

Posted April 03 2004 - 06:49 AM

Best: Black Hawk Down - Task Force Veterans
Worst: Bowling for Columbine





Forum Nav Content I Follow