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General discussion about what's out for the couch.
274

Best commentary
Topic by: dh22
Posted: March 30, 2004 - 9:09 AM PST
Last Reply: October 10, 2004 - 5:59 PM PDT

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author topic: Best commentary
dh22
post #1  on March 30, 2004 - 9:09 AM PST  
Sinister did a thread of best extra featuers, but I'm looking specifically for commentary - director commentary, or the like. I've seen very few discs that included decent commentary. Most of the time they are uninformative, or just boring. Half the time they end up taking about useless crap that has nothing to do with the film. I think Roger Ebert's commentary on Citizen Kane is excellent, but I don't know of any other noteworthy ones. Any suggestions?
kamapuaa
post #2  on March 31, 2004 - 12:02 AM PST  
> Sinister did a thread of best extra featuers, but I'm looking specifically for commentary - director commentary,

I agree the majority are totally inane, but there's also a lot of exceptions, and even some of the ones I can't make it through are interesting or amusing at places. Some of my favorites are:

Nosferatu - just amazing, I liked this movie beforehand, and didn't realize I was missing 90% of it. Although there's the college-English-class suspicion that he's grossly over-interpreting or imagining a few points.

Kal Ho Naa Ho - nothing amazing, but the best Bollywood commentary, and I've long wondered how they arrange some of that craziness.

Wild Things - just a little above average overall, but it's funny to hear Denise Richards fulfill the stereotype of the dumb Hollywood starlet. I felt sorry for her by the end, the rest of the commentators ignored what she said without missing a beat.

Resident Evil - it's interesting & often amusing to hear the actors and directors joke around about their experiences making a stupid (if enjoyable) zombie movie based off a video game. Yeah it can get totally inane at times.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet's commentaries - always interesting, he shows how much goes into each scene (answer: a lot).

Roger Ebert commentaries - he's done a few, although the only other ones I can think of now are "Dark City" & "Citizen Kane." Can't wait for "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" to come out on DVD.

I'm sure there's others I can't think of right now.
DLeonard
post #3  on March 31, 2004 - 12:21 PM PST  
One of the best commentaries I have listened to yet was for The French Connection. The two stars, Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, give insight and anectdotes here and there.

And then the ever-nutty Billy Friedkin does his commentary on a separate track. I still can't get over the particulars involved with filmming the infamous car chase scene. Suffice to say, accidents you see happening in the movie were real unplanned accidents.

By the end though, you really come to admire these people for their determination to create the movie "their way".
Brockton
post #4  on March 31, 2004 - 2:48 PM PST  
I've said this in another discussion, but being from the department of redundancy department, it won't bother me to say it again.

I love the commentary on Best in Show. Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy talk about how you successfully film a movie that's almost entirely improvised. The commentary is nearly as funny as the movie.

I know one of the most disappointing commentaries I ever listened to (although I must confess I didn't suffer through the entire thing) was John Carpenter's Vampires. Carpenter comes off sounding like a drunk midwestern redneck, and cannot seem to articulate anything about movie-making.
dh22
post #5  on March 31, 2004 - 8:12 PM PST  
I would say the same about David Lynch. His commentary on Eraserhead just went on and on and on and on about absolutely nothing.
IWhitney
post #6  on March 31, 2004 - 8:23 PM PST  
-- The Fincher/Uhls commentary on the 2-disc set of Fight Club. It might also be on the one-disc set. Dunno.

-- The Soderbergh/Anyone commentary on any of his movies, although Out Of Sight and The Limey are particularly good. (yes, the Limey commentary is supposed to sound like that)

-- The Ebert commentary on Citizen Kane pointed out techniques I'd never seen in all the times I'd watched the movie

-- The Lee & co. commentary on The Devil Rides Out was very funny, if only because Christopher Lee knows far too much about the occult

-- The commentary on Muppets From Space, if only because they do it on-screen, MST-style.

-- I have not heard, but have high-expectations for the commentaries Joe Bob Briggs has done of late. I've heard good things about the I Spit On Your Grave release.
bkirby99
post #7  on March 31, 2004 - 10:45 PM PST  
> On March 31, 2004 - 2:48 PM PST Brockton wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I love the commentary on Best in Show. Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy talk about how you successfully film a movie that's almost entirely improvised. The commentary is nearly as funny as the movie.
> ---------------------------------

i agree, that commentary is very enjoyable (if i remember correctly, Guffman and Wind both have pretty entertaining commentary tracks, too).

i enjoyed the commentary on "Cannibal! The Musical" as well.
underdog
post #8  on April 1, 2004 - 12:42 PM PST  
> On March 31, 2004 - 10:45 PM PST bkirby99 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On March 31, 2004 - 2:48 PM PST Brockton wrote:
> > ---------------------------------
> > I love the commentary on Best in Show. Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy talk about how you successfully film a movie that's almost entirely improvised. The commentary is nearly as funny as the movie.
> > ---------------------------------
>
> i agree, that commentary is very enjoyable (if i remember correctly, Guffman and Wind both have pretty entertaining commentary tracks, too).
>

And along those lines, and even better IMHO is the commentary on THIS IS SPINAL TAP, done by the Spinal Tap guys in character. Truly hilarious.

RHorsman
post #9  on April 2, 2004 - 7:59 AM PST  
Herzog's commentary on Aguirre, the Wrath of God is quite good. Paints a great picture of how difficult the movie was to make: no money, stolen equipment, terrible conditions, crazy lead actor...
sinisterguffaw
post #10  on April 2, 2004 - 1:15 PM PST  
Teenage Catgirls in Heat has the best commentary for the worst film! Very MST-esque! If memory serves (and this could be complete BS) the guy who voiced Tom Servo is actually one of the guys doing the commentary! Again, that could be a big fat lie. I really don't remember. But it's still a funny commentary.

msilenus
post #11  on April 3, 2004 - 9:47 AM PST  
I would say the best Ive listened to would be these:

Steal This Movie- with Vincent D'Onofrio and Janeane Garafaolo. Just the two of them joking around for the whole movie. Very funny and enjoyable.

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas-The Hunter Thompson commentary is just as crazy as his books. Punctuated by his shrieks, drunken recollections and bashing of everyone who worked on the movie he certainly lives up to his reputation.

Excalibur- John Boorman's ability for remembering alot of small details considering how long ago he made this film is pretty impressive and interesting.

Flapjack
post #12  on April 4, 2004 - 2:38 PM PDT  
> On March 31, 2004 - 2:48 PM PST Brockton wrote:
>
> I know one of the most disappointing commentaries I ever listened to (although I must confess I didn't suffer through the entire thing) was John Carpenter's Vampires. Carpenter comes off sounding like a drunk midwestern redneck, and cannot seem to articulate anything about movie-making.
>

Carpenter's commentary, along with Kurt Russell, for Big Trouble in Little China is pretty good for most of the movie. He talks quite a bit about the sets and the filming while Russell just laughs. his. ass. off throughout the entire commentary. However, toward the end they basically forget all about the movie and start talking to each other about their kids. Very odd.

Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert do a decent job on Evil Dead. They talk a lot about low-budget filmmaking which is really interesting, but there is too much dead time with no one saying anything. Bruce Campbell is hysterical on the alternate commentary, though.

Speaking of low-budget filmmaking, Robert Rodriguez does an awesome job on El Mariachi. He explains how he did virtually every shot in the film and how he cut every corner he could find and pinched every penny till it screamed. At the end of that commentary you're ready to grab a camera and start filming your own movie!

The commentary for Black Sunday is really good too. Don't remember who did it though. Some English film historian I think...

loucyphre
post #13  on April 10, 2004 - 4:01 PM PDT  
> On April 4, 2004 - 2:38 PM PDT Flapjack wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> The commentary for Black Sunday is really good too. Don't remember who did it though. Some English film historian I think...
>
>
> ---------------------------------

That would be Tim Lucas of Video Watchdog fame. He did commentaries and/or liner notes for a lot of the Mario Bava films. Agreed, it's a great commentary. Not surprisingly, the first things I rented from Green Cine were some of the Mario Bava films I had missed before like LISA & THE DEVIL and 5 DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON.

While we're on the subject of horror commentaries, just about anything John Carpenter lends his voice to winds up being good. I would recommend some of the commentaries on the homegrown, shot on video low budgeters out there - it gives an interesting insight into the filmmaking process. None of that Hollwyood "we spent all day lighting this shot" and "it cost $2 million to get the rain machine to work just right."

Also of note is the commentary between Catriona MacCall and David Warbeck on THE BEYOND (Anchor Bay version, not the American-ized SEVEN DOORS OF DEATH). This one is even more startling since Warbeck passed away just a few weeks after recording the track.

If you're just in the mood for just a playful, funny commentary, you can't beat C.H.U.D. - Daniel Stern, John Heard, plus director Douglas Cheek and disgruntled writer Shepard Abbot. Stern makes up for all his bad movies with that commentary.
nunquam
post #14  on June 14, 2004 - 1:14 PM PDT  
I liked "The Limey" commentary, with Steven Soderbergh and writer Lem Dobbs. Soderbergh provides quite a bit of how-we-did-this-shot explanations that are very informative. We also get an insight about directors' choices as he and Lem Dobbs discuss deviations from the script (Dobbs complains bitterly about Soderbergh dropping page-long character soliloquies).

I John Sayles' commentaries. His seem directed toward film students, sprinkled with moments of his dry wit and funny anecdotes.
mjeanes
post #15  on July 15, 2004 - 7:18 AM PDT  
Director and technical commentaries are usually dominated by hyperbolic praise of the cast and crew that just gets on my tits. The best commentaries for my money are easy:

This Is Spinal Tap: I had to stop the movie after being less than one minute into it because I had honestly run out of breath from laughing. That's in the FIRST MINUTE! Granted, the whole thing doesn't keep up that level of hilarity, but there are some real gems as the band comment on the documentary.

Kevin Smith Films: Kevin Smith has a different approach to commentaries than most. He rounds up friends, cast, and crew from the movies and just sits in a room with a mic or two and everyone tosses out jabs and jokes and stories about the production. Mallrats is an absolutely essential DVD rental for the commentary. It's refreshing to hear the director talk about what an ass someone was or how lame the studio was over a certain scene, and Smith is always self-effacing with lots of groans and snide remarks about his own work. The commentaries for his movies are generally more fun to watch than the films, at least for me.
Eoliano
post #16  on July 15, 2004 - 8:11 PM PDT  
Kevin Smith gets on my ninnies!
sinisterguffaw
post #17  on July 16, 2004 - 10:21 AM PDT  
sounds like a tabloid headline!
Eoliano
post #18  on July 16, 2004 - 10:31 AM PDT  
> sounds like a tabloid headline!

Kevin Smith Has Ninny Surgery
dh22
post #19  on July 16, 2004 - 10:38 AM PDT  
Shouldn't it be "Eoliano has ninny surgery to remove a Kevin Smith"?
Eoliano
post #20  on July 16, 2004 - 10:57 AM PDT  
> Shouldn't it be "Eoliano has ninny surgery to remove a Kevin Smith"?

Trust me, the surgery was performed quite a while ago and was absolutely painless.

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