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Friday, December 27, 2013

DVD Movie Commentary Tracks

El Mariachi (1992) is a noted Mexplotiation film
El Mariachi (1992) is a noted Mexplotiation film (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
       
        We will undoubtedly see the demise of DVD's and BlueRays sometime in the future.  All in the name of technology they say, but the underlying extra profit from the buying public replacing film libraries certainly is a motivating factor for entertainment companies to encourage new technology.  Like VHS tapes, the disc technology is becoming outmoded.

          Now streaming video and media available in cloud services is making ownership of movies obsolete.  It's sad in a way.  I enjoy perusing through someones movies, music, and book collections.  A person's collection can reveal much about them and open up conversation.  Homes devoid of libraries seem colder and less personal to me.

          One of the sad losses if the mediums like DVD became extinct would be those cool extra features one often finds on a disc.  Sometimes the features can be as least as interesting and sometimes more so than the movie itself.  If I liked a film I will almost always watch the accompanying extra features.

           Rarely though do I watch the movie with a commentary running.  You might not even realize that many films on disc offer an option to watch the film with a commentary by the director, the actors, or others. While watching the film you can also listen to the commentary describing points about what you are seeing or how things were done.  It can often be very interesting, though it is distracting so that you wouldn't want to listen to the commentary if you are watching a film for the first time.

          There have been a few films where I have watched a second time with the commentary running.  Dark City and El Mariachi come to mind.   They were both short films that I found entertaining so rewatching with the commentary was no great chore.  And it was interesting to get more insight about the film.

         I'd like to watch more films with commentaries running, but it takes time.  Time is always in short supply it seems.

         Do you ever listen to the commentaries by the directors or others associated or interested in a film?  Are there any film with good commentaries that you might recommend?    What have been some of your favorite special features or "Making of" shorts that you've seen?


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16 comments:

  1. The commentary for Monty Python and the Holy Grail is funny.
    We still buy DVDs and will for a long time. We have a 3D television, and you can't get 3D movies through NetFlix. We try to get the DVDs with all of the versions, but I've noticed many don't come with a digital version (that you can place on your computer or iPad) anymore - you have to access the cloud.

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  2. I never watch the commentaries but I will always watch the behind the scenes type features. Although I have to say it kind of ruined 'The Shining' for me when I watched the 'making of'. I love that movie and it makes you feel like a fly on the wall, watching Jack lose his mind and terrorize his family. But seeing all the cameramen and crew spoiled that. For example the scene where JAck's in the freezer and is telling Wendy to check out the radio and snowcat...it's shut looking up at Jack from the floor. In the making of feature, you hear the director say 'Cut!' and then Jack extends his hand downward to help the cameraman get back to his feet. Hardly the actions of a madman you know?

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  3. If I really like the movie, maybe; otherwise I find TMI (too much information) ruins the movie experience. It may give a behind the scenes peek, but the magic slips away in the harsh reality of producing a movie.

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  4. I agree about the great Extra Stuff you get on movies. The same goes for TV on DVD. If you REALLY like a TV show it is worth buying it on DVD so that you can see the Extras.

    As for Commentary... I usually just don't have the time to watch it with the commentary. I have done it a time or two, but I am not sure I made it all the way through. Just not my cup of tea, really. It reminds me of that annoying person who wants to talk all the way through the movie. Hahahaha.

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  5. Lee-

    What I find amusing is that many people I know who own a CD will buy the digital version from iTunes.

    Why? Even at a bargain price, why waste the money?

    I wonder if people do the same with movies, even though there are lots of software options to create a digital copy of your DVD.

    Re: commentaries. I like the idea, but have trouble focusing on the track.

    I think I would like the commentary more if it were in the form of a subtitle-like that cable channel (AMC? A&E?) that does the movie notes.

    You're right though-I think these features will soon go the way of the video rental store.

    What are people putting on these walls where the shelves used to be?

    And what the heck is going to happen to Ikea now that nobody needs shelves since everything is digital?

    Pretty soon, even the knick-knacks will be digital....which will make dusting a lot easier.

    Maybe the dust will be digital.

    LC

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  6. I think we've watched the commentary before but it was by accident. :) I have so many children's VHS movies that we can't watch anymore - I had thought they'd be useful for whenever we get grandchildren - ha ha, but sheesh, the player will be totally exctinct by then. :)

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  7. I used to listen to them all on every disk I could get my hands on. I don't do it as often anymore because I just don't have the time - but I love them.

    One of my favorites was when Arnold was doing the commentary for Conan and was getting increasingly inebriated throughout. Mostly it was him saying he didn't remember much about the movie, but eventually he just started shouting and talking about how hot the women were. So surreal.

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  8. I agree with this post, though I think there will always be some form of physical ownership of one form or another. Then again, we're very selective about buying DVDs. One a year, if we're lucky. The rest we'd like to see but not own unless it blows us away and we get in trouble with Netflix for streaming it too much. :)

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  9. Used to buy movie dvds but prefer music ones.

    Yvonne.

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  10. I like the idea of commentaries, but I usually can't sit through them. I want to, but it has the same kind of effect on me as trying to listen to audio books.

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  11. Oh dear another change I'll be dragged to kicking and screaming all the way. I hate technology! LOL

    We do enjoy the blooper reels but not the commentary so much - depends on the movie!

    Wishing you a lovely New Year!

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  12. DARK CITY is one of my favorite films. (Gotta love sci-fi noir.) I don't recall it being short, though.

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  13. I guess I am beginning to drop behind on such things. I still have a VHS player and occasionally play movies on it. I certainly buy DVDs too, not Blue Ray either. If I only had movies on PC, Matt would never be able to watch them as he is totally out of it when it comes to computers. As for the cloud, no idea what it is although I keep hearing about it. Didn't even know about the commentaries, but I don't think I would ever listen to them, don't want to spoil the movie.

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  14. I don't buy DVD's but do borrow them from the public library.

    Having said that, I don't really watch a movie with director's commentary running in the background. I find it detracts from the enjoyment of the movie, or worse, when I did it while watching the movie "Murderball" (good movie by the way), my attention started to wander.

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  15. Great point about people's movie collections. Same can be said about books. Technology as pros and cons. My friends love DVD extra and I am only recently getting into it. Watching the movie once with the commentary would take away from the experience. But if the movie was really well done, I can see the enjoyment of going back a second time and learning all the behind the scene nuances. Happy New Year!

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  16. ah, the art of DVD commentary. I've done it a few times myself. The first time I did it was with "Purple Rain." I was so fascinated by it and Prince in general that I couldn't resist finding out more from the director, a producer and director of photography. I watched "Tropic Thunder" with the commentary because I heard Robert Downey Jr. did it in character. Him, Jack Black and Ben Stiller, it is a RIOT to listen to.

    Then I did it with a couple other movies and regretted it because they were talking over the dialogue. So I wouldn't do it unless you know the movie backwards and forwards and don't care if you miss some of it.

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