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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have probably listened to under 10. I enjoyed a few, and some have put me to sleep even though I loved the movie.


I was watching The Life Aquatic again and decided to listen to the commentary. On 3 different attempts I promptly fell asleep. Anderson and his co-writer had no interesting behind the scenes knowledge to share. Not a single good "Hey Look At This" moment.


Did anyone enjoy any of Andersons commentaries? This is the only one I listened to.


Eddie
 

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My problem has never been boredom, just a matter of time. I like the idea of commentaries, I just rarely have the time to actually sit through them. I have dvd's in my collection that I've never even watched the movie, let alone the features. I have a lot of dvds that I always say that I would like to listen to the commentaries, but I just haven't yet. In fact, the only movies I can remember listening to the whole commentary are Men In Black I and II and X-Men 1.5.
 

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i think its awesome to hear their perspective-- i mean it was mostly through their eyes that the film is done-- it often answers questions for me. But, there isnt always time after watching a movie to sit back down for another 2 hrs and watch it all over again...
 

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I almost never listen to commentaries or watch bonus features unless I am reviewing the disc. For personal watching, I just don't care enough anymore.


The only exceptions to this rule are commentaries by Terry Gilliam or Robert Rodriguez, which are always guaranteed to be entertaining.
 

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I've heard it said that with all these director's commentaries on DVD's these days, plus all the other features, that there's no need for attendance at a film school anymore. That said, I never watch 'em but, oddly enough, always intend to.
 

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I never have the time to watch the special features, but recently in a doctors office they played Collateral with the directors comments, and it was really interesting. The director got into all kinds of things that he was thinking during various scenes that i would have never thought of. I liked it, but still havent watched any at home.
 

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Whether or not I listen to the commentary depends on who the director is.

Some directors really prepare for the commentary session, some just get in

there and wing it. Some have a lot to say, some just babble. I can usually tell

in the first ten minutes of listening if it's going to interesting or not. Not all

commentaries are created equal, that's for sure
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by archiguy
I've heard it said that with all these director's commentaries on DVD's these days, plus all the other features, that there's no need for attendance at a film school anymore.
People who say that are exaggerating for effect. The majority of directors' commentaries are:


"That's my cousin Bob in the background. And there's his wife Judy coming up behind. I put some of my buddies from high school in this scene too."


Or


"This is where you beat up the bad guys, Arnold."

"Exactly."

"And this is where you shoot some other bad guys."

"Exactly."

"And now the bad guys have taken your gun, so you have to beat them up again."

"Exactly."


I've yet to encounter any DVD supplement that sufficiently covers the physical workings of 35mm film in any significant detail, or how to light a scene, or compose a shot, or record and mix the audio. And it's damn few DVDs that have even offered a token reference to the actual storytelling aspect of good screenwriting.


Most supplements are EPK fluff pieces in which the stars tell us, "The director of this movie is so brilliant. It's just been so magical working on this movie. This is the most important role of my entire life. Working on 'Baby Geniuses 3' has really been a life-changing experience and I'll never forget all the wonderful friends I made."


The people who think they've learned everything they need to know about filmmaking from watching DVDs are the ones who go out and make crappy movies with titles like "Inbred ******* Alien Abduction" or "Catwoman".
 

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Just to second Josh's point - if you every have a disc with a Terry Gilliam commentary, find the time to listen. It'll be worth it.
 

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The best director commentary I've listened to that I can think of off the top of my head is for The Princess Bride. Rob told some funny stories and made me like watching the movie not only straight through, but now with his commentary.


Oh yea, I thought I'd love the Braveheart commentary by Mel Gibson, snooooooze fest. At least he enjoyed watching his movie as much as me :D
 

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It's true nothing on a DVD will replace a film school education if you want to

make films. To take it further, if you really want to make films, skip the DVD extras

so you have more hours in the day to watch more films. Just like reading is a

major part of a writer's life, so should watching films be a major part of a filmmaker's

life.

Having said that, I think the best commentaries are when it's the director alone. Even one

other person in the room tends to devolve into a BS session where they're chatting with

each other. When the director is alone (and has his/her $hit together) the result can be

extremely enlightening and entertaining as well.
 

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The commentary on Elizabeth is both interesting and very educational about film making and story telling within the genre. It is one of the very few that I could actually listen to all the way through. I might actually listen to it again.


The commentary on the special edition of Spaceballs was a bit lame, except for Mel Brooks laughing at all of his own jokes.


I think that DeNiro is probably the most boring person to listen to in a commentary.
 

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You take your chances with commentaries. But there are some good ones.
 

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I listen to all of them on discs that I own. I often listen to those on rentals if I can get it in before it has to go back. Some aren't so good and some are excellent, because some people who make movies aren't good at expounding upon them under pressure, while some people really are very good at it.


Cast commentaries are usually not nearly as good but they can be good in some cases. I find that they work better if they are recorded separately and and editor picks up the best one for any given point in the movie.


I often find that the best ones often are those by a first time director, or for a movie that is the first big one for a director. They are usually very passionate about it and often get more into the technical details of making it.


I think that the biggest problem with commentaries is that they have to be linear. The person has to keep up with what's going on and so they either have to keep everything short and focused and can't get too deep, or they get deep on one thing and it goes over a bunch of other scenes you'd like to have heard something about.


I'm sure that you couldn't just become a director based on commentaries, though Paul Thomas Anderson said (on the Boogie Nights commentary I think) that he learned a lot of his craft by listening religiously to LD commentaries. I bet though that someone these days who wants to be a director can get a lot more information before actually getting onto a set than they could in the past.


And I'm not sure that you necessarily have to understand the technical details of 35mm film to be a director. I'm sure that there are very technical directors. But I'd also imagine that there are those who leave more of the technical details to the DP and AD and whatnot and who are more concerned with the 'vision thing', and the story line and how the story will be told, right?
 

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I enjoy some commentaries. One thing that frustrates me about some of them, and this is especially evident on older films recently released on DVD, is that there seems to often be no preparation. Some even say that they haven't seen the film in 25 years, and they seem surprised by some of the scenes. I think that they would be much more valuable if they would take some time and prepare beforehand, and have put some thought into what they are saying.
 

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I've never really listened to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll have to listen to the 12 monkeys track based on the recommendations.


I'll save you the time on Life Aquatic and tell you the 2 interesting things I heard. First was that one of the helicopters (the junky one Zissou had on his ship) crashed during filming. They were do-it-yourself helicopters and had plaques stating something to the effect that they were not certified or guaranteed for flight!


The only other interesting thing was done to the track until after it was completed. Everytime they mentioned Jaques Costeau, his name was bleeped out! I don't know why but whatever the anal reason, it made me laugh every time.


Eddie
 

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I will listen to the commentaries on films I really enjoyed, or less often, on films I didn't "get" and want to understand somewhat better.


I listened to one Paul Anderson commentary and swore I never would listen to him again. I ALWAYS listen to Kevin Smith commentary tracks, because he includes most if not all of the cast and they crack me up. I enjoyed the Peter Jackson commentaries on the EE LOTR films a lot too.
 
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