I don't listen to the audio commentaries on DVDs all the time, but once in a while I do and often they are quite good. I came across this article which counts down someone's favorite audio commentaries. I truly think it's possible that and maybe even started to happen that there will be some film-makers that learned everything they know about film-making directly from the Scorsese's of the world that record their own audio commentaries and discuss their techniques to influence new artists.
In case you don't feel like clicking he says these are his favorites with my comments on them:
10) Ocean's 11 - I have actually listened to this and it is quite good. Just fun actors talking about a fun movie they made. If you like the actors in the movie it is worth listening to for added enjoyment.
9) Watchmen- I have the super-awesome BluRay where this is featured but at a runtime over 3.5 hours, it is tough to watch. I hope to check it out soon (fun fact: I am currently watching Watchmen on HBO, but that's besides the point)
8) This is Spinal Tap - A commentary done in character by the 3 main band members. One of the funniest things I've ever heard. It's almost like getting a sequel to Spinal Tap
7) Apocalypse Now - I enjoy the movie and am sure this is a great commentary, but have never listened to it.
6) The Matrix - Again, I never heard it, but believe it could be decent - at least for the first movie
5) Gladiator - Anyone that knows me knows I think this movie is a big steaming pile of awfulness. I'll just let this one go.
4) Conan The Barbarian - I truly think Arnold got to where he is as an actor and governor because he is one of the most fun people to be around. This commentary apparently cements that.
3) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - I've only listened to some of it, but what I've heard is quite good. We were talking about listening to the commentaries next year during our annual New Years Day day of going there and back again. I think this list guaranteed this happening.
2) True Romance - I really did enjoy this commentary, but it kind of made me like the movie a little bit less. Tarantino does a great job of talking about a script that he wrote but wasn't able to get made. It's worth a listen, but when he pointed out how the movie is a young man's adolescent fairy tale, I realized he was right, and it made me look at a movie I loved in a new light. Still worth a listen, but it did have an effect on me seeing the movie the same way ever again.
1) Tropic Thunder - I saw the movie, but have not heard the commentary.
some other notable commentaries I have listened to:
- Dark City- The commentary was done by Roger Ebert around the same time it came out. The amount of detail that he noticed and was able to expand upon made me love this movie even more than I originally did. He points out all the old-school film references the movie has to classic noir films as well as crazy film techniques that I would never know about.
- The Goonies - They were able to get the entire cast of the film together for a viewing around 2001 or so. All of the Goonies show up and talk about making the classic 80s kids movie. They even show it in split-screen so you can see the cast as adults. Sean Astin did have to leave in the middle because he had to do something Lord of the Rings related. Anyone that is of my generation will love this.
- Fight Club - It has some bad parts: Most notable is that it is obvious not everyone was in the same room when it was recorded so prominent people are given a section to speak while others are absent.
I implore both of my readers to give this virtually lost part of the DVD a try for your favorite movies, I think you will be entertained.