Commentary Tracks -- who listens?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Nick Pudar, Apr 27, 2002.

  1. Nick Pudar

    Nick Pudar Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 1999
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Even though I am deeply disappointed when a DVD does not contain a commentary track, I am sorry to admit that of the approximately 200 movies that I own that have commentary tracks, I have only listened to two of them. I barely have time to WATCH the movies I own let alone listen to the extras. Now with all the great season sets that are coming out, I fear that I will forever be behind on the original content.
    How many of your movies that have commentary tracks have you listened to? Do you do it in a disciplined way, or just when it occurs to you. For me, given the choice of listening to some commnentary track of a movie I have already seen or watching one I haven't yet seen, I'll always pick the latter. How do you do it?
    Nick
    EDIT:
    Oops... I just now noticed the other thread about the extras. Sorry for the duplication. However, I still am interested in how other people approach listening to commentary tracks.
    Nick
     
  2. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2001
    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just listened to the Gladiator commentary track last night, with Ridley Scott, the directory of photography, and one other guy (can't quite remember their names). It was quite interesting.

    Some of them are well done. But not all of course. For example, I listened to the commentary on my CC Rushmore DVD, and I didn't find it all that interesting, just a lot of babbling.
     
  3. Bill J

    Bill J Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2001
    Messages:
    3,970
    Likes Received:
    0
    It depends on the film and who recorded the commentary track.
     
  4. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 1999
    Messages:
    2,601
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it's cool when an upcoming DVD I want has a commentary track, but in reality out of the 150 DVDs I own (77 which have a commentary track) - I've only listened to Boogie Nights.
     
  5. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    1,628
    Likes Received:
    0
    Of the 100+ DVD's I own, I have listened to 2 commentary tracks. The Arnold/Paul Verhoeven on Total Recall and the Star Wars Episode I with George Lucas and friends. I just wish I had time to listen to more.
     
  6. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,063
    Likes Received:
    1
    Depends on the film. Out off the 150 or so that I have, I've probably listened to 20 or so. The Kevin Smith ones are obviously good...as are the Boogie Nights ones. Off the top of my head I've listened to those + all the Fight Club ones, American Beauty, and all 7 commentaries on the Twin Peaks Season 1 set. I'm sure I've listened to more, just can't think of them right now.
     
  7. andrew markworthy

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 1999
    Messages:
    4,762
    Likes Received:
    12
    I always listen to the commentaries by film historians (e.g. on the Criterion Bergmans), because they genuinely inform. I'll start to listen to other commentaries, but they go off the moment there is any comment like 'X was absolutely wonderful to work with and look how well they do the next scene'.
     
  8. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2001
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have listened to almost every commentary on every DVD I own - click the 'My Novelty Coasters' link in my sig. It's the vast majority of my 80 titles that have at least one commentary. Some have two or more and I've listened to the other tracks on most too.

    I tend to stick them on while I do other stuff around my room like cleaning or restringing my guitar or something. For me they're like a version of Radio 4 with the odd necessity to watch the action.
     
  9. Jon_W

    Jon_W Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2000
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    0
    I listen to all commentaries, beside the film itself they are the best part of a DVD.
     
  10. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2001
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    I listen to the commentaries on all of my DVDs. In most cases, I'll watch the movie and then immediately watch it again with the commentary. In the case of Fight Club, I watched it six times over a weekend -- once for the movie, then once for each of the four commentaries, and then once again to pick up anything I missed. [​IMG]
     
  11. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 1999
    Messages:
    6,499
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm a big commentary guy as well. I have a 500 disc collection- I'd guess the majority have commentaries and I've probably doing better than 65%. Over the summer (when I have a smaller course load at school)- I plan to catch up and do the rest.
    One interesting note, I have a friend who started turning on commentaries and doing a workout. He'd start with stretching and whatnot, but actually would do a full workout during the film (situps, crunches, pushups, aerobic stuff, the works). He found this to be an excellent use of time- and usually would do 1/2 a film a day- and he lost 40 pounds! Learned more about cinema, and lost weight- he said the workout seemed to fly by when he was disctracted listening to a commentary. Perfect!
    Just food for thought!
    Also, I'm considering putting up a commentary review site in the future- doing reviews specifically of the commentary tracks. Maybe I can find some saff reviewers in this thread [​IMG]
    -Vince
     
  12. Chas_Michael

    Chas_Michael Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2000
    Messages:
    441
    Likes Received:
    0
    They are a great addition...especially on a favorite movie!
     
  13. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    Messages:
    1,578
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have about 60 DVD's but I just found out about 2-3 months ago what a "commentary track" was!LOL. After watching Fight Club I decided to check it out and I thought it was only going to be like 15-20 minutes but I was HOOKED. I also liked the commentary for The Usual Suspects and that was not only good but it was quite funny at times especially when they were pointing out flaws in the film. Used Cars has a very funny commentary also and I think these were the only 3 I have seen so far.

    IMO commentary tracks are very good entertainment and will show you some solid insite to a movie and now I look to see if a movie has it just in case I want to see it.
     
  14. Stewart Storrar

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 1999
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I currently have 199 titles with at least one commentary (out of 423 titles)
    and have listened to every single one. To my mind there's no such thing
    as a "bad" commentary. It is by far my favourite extra as I always learn
    at least something from listening to them, although of course some are better than
    others. What I love is the varied types of people who feature on them, director's,
    actors, writers, producers, cinematograpers, special effects people, visual effects
    people, stunt co-ordinators, film historians, historians, the real people potrayed
    in the film, etc, etc...To a certain extent I love the "film school in a box"
    aspect, especially when the sum of these commentaries is considered as a whole.
    Quite often I will watch the commentary almost straight after the film, if not,
    usually on the same day or the same weekend. This can be quite a time commitment
    if the film is long, but I wouldn't have it any other way [​IMG] In fact, just
    yesterday I finished listening to the Coppola commentaries on the Godfather
    Boxset and they were excellent...
     
  15. Jon D

    Jon D Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2000
    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    0
    Vince, you should market that workout plan[​IMG] .
     
  16. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Messages:
    2,442
    Likes Received:
    28
    Vince, good idea about the commentary site. I found a commentary on one release to be as good, or better, than the film [​IMG]
    Gord
     
  17. Jeremy-P

    Jeremy-P Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2000
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    It can be hit and miss, depending on who contributes, but I try to watch all the commentaries on my DVDs. If there's more than one on a DVD i'll pick whichever seems more interesting and hope I get to the next one in the future. If the commentary features someone incredibly boring like tim burton, I'll just avoid it altogether.
     
  18. Jason Hughes

    Jason Hughes Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 1998
    Messages:
    881
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Jason Hughes
    My approach to watching a commentary is track is a follows. Since I don't have the time to watch all of them, I will narrow the field by reading a review of the DVD first.

    My opinions may greatly differ from any DVD review on the internet on the merit of the track, but if I read a review that says there were HUGE gaps of silence or it was nothing but "Ben Affleck was so great to work with, blah blah blah...." I know to avoid them.

    Again, my mileage often varies from the reviews take, but not usually when they describe what I mentioned above.

    I won't do the above if I have a positive previous experience with a particular director or actor (in other words I pretty much assume any Kevin Smith, Ridley Scott, etc is great and they usually are). Same goes for a negative experience (see above post about Tim Burton).

    With so many tracks out there, you have to do something narrow the field!
     
  19. DanR

    DanR Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 1998
    Messages:
    676
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is so funny about your friend Vince. I do the same thing when I work out, and I thought I was a weirdo. I also listen to commentaries when making dinner (I set up my laptop on the kitchen counter). When I was getting my MBA, I'd always have a commentary going in the background when studying.

    There's very few films where I can sit down and just listen to the commentary. But they are great to have going when your attention is partially on something else, and you can still hear the whole thing in the background and get everything out of it.

    -Dan
     
  20. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,658
    Likes Received:
    360
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Commentaries are the best extras on dvds in my opinion, its just like having the director or stars watching the film with you in your room, and many times you get fascinating bits of info that you wouldn't get in any documentary, there are also funny entertaining commentaries like Bruce Campbell's Evil Dead anecdotes, or Arnie laughing at scenes from Conan the Barbarian, Ben Affleck poking fun at Bruce Willis, Billy Bob and Armageddon, etc.

    Some commentaries are subtitled so you can listen to the original soundtrack and read the commentaries, Contact and Hannibal have subtitled commentaries, there are more.
     

Share This Page