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What Are Some of the Best Commentary Tracks?


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#1 of 28 Cinescott

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Posted July 18 2011 - 10:28 AM

These could be ported from DVD or new to Blu-ray. Personally, I have loved this feature ever since the dawn of Laserdisc and it's one of the reasons that streaming scares me. I'd hate to lose value-added features such as this for convenience.

I've listened to many, but a few that stay in my memory as particularly good are:


Paul Thomas Anderson on Boogie Nights

Francis Ford Coppola on The Godfather Trilogy
Richard Donner on Superman: The Movie


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#2 of 28 KMR

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Posted July 18 2011 - 12:06 PM

Of course this might also depend on your taste in movies, directors, etc., but among the commentaries I most enjoyed are: Anthony Minghella on The Talented Mr. Ripley (this commentary deals a lot with the process of translating material from one medium to another) Garry Marshall on Pretty Woman and The Runaway Bride (I always enjoy listening to Marshall; he gives great insight into the creative process, techniques, how to encourage/allow the best performances from actors, etc.)

#3 of 28 SD_Brian

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Posted July 18 2011 - 01:34 PM

The David Schmader commentary on Showgirls, "The Greatest Movie Ever Made," is an absolute riot. It's the only commentary I've listened to multiple times and have played for friends. Probably not the best commentary if you're looking for information about the making of the movie, but it does greatly enhance the entertainment value.

#4 of 28 Scott Calvert

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Posted July 18 2011 - 01:37 PM

Kenneth Loring of Forever Young Films on Blood Simple. Quite enlightening.

#5 of 28 montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 18 2011 - 02:44 PM

Any time you get John Carpenter and Kurt Russell together for a commentary is sure to be fun.Carpenter with the making of the film and Russell rolling on the floor from seeing the films he's been in and not having seen them for a while. In The thing,you can hear the drinks and the glasses clinging.These guys sure sound like they're having a ball. Same with Big trouble in little china in which Russell plays the klutziest hero ever.So lots of opportunities for laughs. And of course the legendary Sam Raimi /Bruce Campbell team for The evil dead trilogy.Again a riot. I remember one of the first laserdiscs ever to come out with a multitude of extras was Rambling Rose with Laura Dern and reading how the director Martha Coolidge went on to speak of every little detail of lighting,performance,sets,costumes etc..It seemed quite fascinating since it wasn't common like today. Roger Ebert on Kane and Casablanca are a must. I've also listened to quite a few so lemme get back to you on that... Anyone here ever listened to fan commentaries ? http://www.mmmcommentaries.com/

#6 of 28 Brisby

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Posted July 18 2011 - 03:36 PM

The first commentary I ever listened to (which would be a great topic for a tread of its own) was on the laserdisc of The Usual Suspects in the spring of 1996. Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie are both fucking hilarious on that track. One of my faves.

#7 of 28 nealg

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Posted July 18 2011 - 03:55 PM

Some good ones mentioned here. I'll second the nominations for Superman and The Usual Suspects, and I'll add a few off the top of my head: Tootsie: Sydney Pollack, Criterion Laserdisc. At the time I listened to it, it was one of the best, if not the best I'd ever heard. I'll have to revisit it to see if it still holds up. Pollack was very good on the technical aspects, too. When will we see this on blu, BTW? Maybe Criterion will allow Sony to use the track. Clerks: Again, laserdisc. Don't know if the track is also on the dvd. Didn't care for the movie too much, but after watching with the commentary I became a fan. A must-listen. Heard a few good ones from Terry Gilliam. Fisher King, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys. He's great because he doesn't try to hide his disdain for the Hollywood system. Bram Stoker's Dracula: Coppola on the Criterion Laserdisc. Have not listened to the dvd/blu. How about a vote for worst: Barry Levinson on Rain Man (LD). He spends most of the time watching the film and barely says anything. I'll comb through my collection to jog my memory.

#8 of 28 Kevin EK

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Posted July 18 2011 - 08:22 PM

The "Kenneth Loring" commentary is a sly piece of work by the Coen brothers.  If anything, it's one of the greatest send-ups of commentaries ever done.


As for best ones out there:

-I tend to go with Ridley Scott's discussions - particularly for Alien and Blade Runner, but also the comments he makes on the original ending of Thelma and Louise.

-I agree about the Coppola commentaries on the Godfather films, particularly Godfather III where things get very personal, and where he discusses what could have been Godfather IV


I would add:


-Both Coppola and Walter Murch's commentaries for The Conversation

-Nicholas Meyer's commentary on the longer cut of Star Trek II

-Taylor Hackford's commentary on the laserdisc of The Idolmaker (which is also the only widescreen home video copy that exists of that movie)

-Any of Kenneth Johnson's commentaries for the original V miniseries or for his directorial episodes of The Bionic Woman and The Incredible Hulk

-The Criterion commentaries on Halloween, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, not to mention The Magnificent Ambersons and Silence of the Lambs

-Michael Mann's commentaries on Heat and Manhunter

-Richard Donner's commentary for The Omen

-John Milius' commentary for Big Wednesday, particularly one bit where he mentions that during the scene onscreen, the cameras broke ("and when that happens, the director goes surfing...")

-and I must confess really enjoying Paul M. Sammon's commentary on the workprint of Blade Runner



#9 of 28 Cinescott

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Posted July 18 2011 - 11:08 PM



Originally Posted by montrealfilmguy 

Anyone here ever listened to fan commentaries ?
 


I've seen some of these sites on the web, but have yet to listen to any of the tracks. I like the idea; it lets people be really creative and have fun for very little cost.


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#10 of 28 montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 19 2011 - 01:46 AM

I have downloaded one for ST wrath of Khan and i listened to a few minutes and it did not feel that well made.It was more of a puff puff pass thing. I think if you're gonna do this,you need a one page treatment with notes and things to point out that may have not been pointed out in the ones with actual production people.

#11 of 28 Kevin EK

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Posted July 19 2011 - 04:59 AM

I'm not sure which commentary for Star Trek II you heard.  I found the solo one by Meyer to be very interesting.  The one he did with Manny Coto for the blu-ray was okay, but a lot fluffier and mostly going over the same ground.


The group commentary for the Robert Wise cut of Star Trek TMP was also fairly good - in that people were pretty honest about what had been going on during the production.  Stephen Collins' comments were especially good - particularly his description of filming the wormhole sequence as the worst root canal you can imagine.


When Kenny Johnson did his commentaries, he would always have his script, schedule and callsheets with him, and he would look over people's histories and subsequent careers to boot.



#12 of 28 Jeff Robertson

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Posted July 19 2011 - 07:10 AM

Kurt Russel and the two Bobs -- Used Cars





#13 of 28 joshEH

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Posted July 19 2011 - 08:39 AM

Boogie Nights (all of them): PTA's solo track is a great semi-educational course in filmmaking, and his track(s) with the cast are absolutely fucking hilarious. I love his recurring questioning of everyone as to whether or not Guzman was stoned. Conan The Barbarian (The Former Governor of California vs. John Milius): This is quite possibly my favorite commentary track ever, and also one that probably gets glossed over a lot. My descriptive words could never convey the sense of wonder that will consume you as you listen to Arnold and Milius reminisce about this film. If you've never listened to it, do it. Now. This Is Spinal Tap: It's so damn good, it almost feels like a sequel. Also, no votes for the great Uwe?

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#14 of 28 Walter Kittel

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Posted July 19 2011 - 08:48 AM

I enjoyed the commentary track with Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs on The Limey. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#15 of 28 EdReedFan20

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Posted July 19 2011 - 09:41 AM

 For me, I really liked the commentaries from the extended editions of The Lord of the Rings. You get so many different insightful perspectives. Where as you typically only get directors and/or actors in a typical release, with The Lord of the Rings you get Directors, Actors, Visual Effects, and more with each having its own commentary. I don't know of any other movie/movies that do this.



#16 of 28 TheLongshot

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Posted July 19 2011 - 09:43 AM



Originally Posted by nealg 
Clerks: Again, laserdisc. Don't know if the track is also on the dvd. Didn't care for the movie too much, but after watching with the commentary I became a fan. A must-listen.
 



It is on the DVD.  Personally, I find all Kevin Smith commentary tracks entertaining because he doesn't really take himself too seriously.


I haven't seen too many commentary tracks recently, but I thought Edgar Wright's track for Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was pretty entertaining.




#17 of 28 montrealfilmguy

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Posted July 19 2011 - 10:42 AM

KevinEK ? I was referring to fan commentaries and not production made.See post # 5 The Star trek 2 Meyer is one of the best i've heard and i've mentioned somewhere else how near the end he fought tooth and nail to keep Spock dead,so much that the shot of the coffin was shot by someone else. Haven't read his book yet.

#18 of 28 Kevin EK

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Posted July 19 2011 - 12:49 PM

Oops.  Didn't read post 5.  Sorry about that.


I honestly haven't listened to any fan commentaries - I wind up spending a lot of time listening to the ones for review as it is...


By the way, I should add a couple:


-John Cleese's commentaries for the special edition DVD of Fawlty Towers.

-Several of the commentaries for episodes of The Sopranos, particularly those by David Chase, and particularly the one he did for the Season 6.1 finale.

-Garrett Brown's commentary for The Shining



#19 of 28 Cinescott

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Posted July 19 2011 - 12:52 PM

^John Cleese is great to listen to on commentaries. I've heard the Fawlty Towers tracks, as well as his commentary on A Fish Called Wanda.


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#20 of 28 mattCR

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Posted July 19 2011 - 12:55 PM

Some of the ones I'd list are here.. Clerks, Star Trek 2.. but I should also add the commentary track for Buffy The Vampire Slayer (some episodes) as both informative and at times damn funny.. and in fact, that brings me to what I think is one of the most fun commentary tracks ever, and that is the commentary track of "Dr. Horrible's Sing a Long Blog".   The commentaries provides give you a ton of insight, are damn funny, and include some great moments on their own.






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