10 DVD/Blu-ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 15th, 2013 at 11:53 pm,

Audio Commentary Header 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

While most people buy a DVD or Blu-ray and first watch the movie, some go straight for the commentaries. This may sound strange to you, but once you start listening to the directors, actors, and producers speak about their film, you get a chance to not only learn about the filmmaking process, but have a few laughs as well.

Considering many of you may be in the dark about this wonderful gem hidden in the depths (just change the audio track) of your DVD or Blu-ray, I’m here to enlighten you as you continue on your path of movie-watching greatness. So, let’s take a look at my ten favorite commentary tracks that I think you have to hear.

Brad Pitt Matt Damon Andy Garcia Oceans 11 Commentary 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

10) Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt – Ocean’s 11

What makes this commentary special is Brad Pitt’s undying desire to embarrass George Clooney. But there’s a good chunk of inside info the guys share in conversation like cut dialogue, homages to other films, and co-stars’ on-set personalities. What’s nice is they talk a good bit, but not so much you never hear anything from the actual movie itself. You feel like you are actually just watching the movie with some cool actors, instead of being told what you should know. Check out some snippets of Pitt’s Clooney-bashing, starting with the very first lines of the entire commentary track:

“I’d just like to say this is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, even with Clooney.”

“The whole opening shot stays on our hero, Clooney. If you can call Clooney a hero.”

“George is a natural leader. Works so well here. Charismatic with the speeches. I’d buy his religion.”

Matt Damon provides most of the information worth sharing about the film and has a great eye for content and creativity. It’s clear he started as a film lover and not just an actor. Damon’s critique of the performances and what director Steven Soderbergh aimed to accomplish is the most respectable aspect of the commentary.

Watchmen In Movie Experience.jpg 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

9) Zack Snyder – Watchmen

The reason this is “all the way down” at #9 is because it is only available on Blu-ray and I have been informed by top secret sources that not everybody has a Blu-ray player (it’s worth it). Having said that, Zack Snyder’s “In-Movie Experience” commentary is one of the most unique and in-depth looks at a movie ever made. I’ll let the director speak for it by quoting his introduction over the film’s opening credits just moments after walking into frame.

“Hi, I’m Zach Snyder, director of Watchmen, and I wanted to welcome you to this ultimate movie experience on Blu-ray. Some of the things you’re going to see are director walk-ons like this, picture-in-picture video with perspective on the film from cast and crew, as well as comic comparisons where we compare frames from the graphic novel to frames from the movie. There’s also a timeline that shows the difference between our world and the Watchmen world. Oh yeah, there’s focus point video, which is super cool and stills galleries with behind the scenes images and artwork, plus you can also see my storyboards. So all that’s left for you to do now is sit back and enjoy it.”

Will do, Zack. Thanks. Just after he finishes, the minimized box with the actual movie enlarges to full screen. From time to time, Snyder returns with more information, but a majority of the features embed themselves in the film. Snyder is ridiculously informative and opens up the entire production to the fans, creating yet another way to experience Watchmen. We warned you of this awesomeness just over a year ago, so don’t act so surprised.

spinal tap 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

8 ) Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean – This Is Spinal Tap

On the DVD, viewers are granted the second best in-character commentary ever made. Only this time, everybody is in-character. On one hand, that is fantastic and endlessly hilarious. I actually think it’s better than the movie itself most of the time. But it also provides absolutely no information of the filmmaking process or anything close to it. It is quite simply the characters in the mockumentary watching the mockumentary.

You essentially get a sequel starring Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls, portrayed by the actual men listed up top. Instead of talking movies, the rockers constantly argue and discuss moments shown in the film. But the best parts are when they accuse director Marti DiBergi (Rob Reiner) of making them look bad because he couldn’t be one of them. IMDb even quoted part of it:

Derek Smalls: He doesn’t look Italian, does he?

Nigel Tufnel: I think his real last name is DiBergarmo.

David St. Hubbins: No!

Derek Smalls: No, his real last name is DiBergowitz

Nigel Tufnel: Yeah! DiBergowitz

David St. Hubbins: No! He’s like one of those…

Derek Smalls: Yeah, he is one of those. Check it out: DiBergowitz!

Francis Ford Coppola Apocalypse Now 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

7) Francis Ford Coppola – Apocalypse Now

Much of what you may know about Apocalypse Now has either come from the Hearts of Darkness documentary on the film’s process or this commentary. Right off the bat, Coppola gets into describing the creation of his Vietnam epic. He goes on to describe how the opening sequence was an accident and consisted of unused footage.

This is basically the same as the amazing Hearts of Darkness, but over the film itself. If you haven’t seen the documentary, it’s worth a look, and some redundant info shouldn’t go without mentioning. For instance, Francis Ford Coppola talks about how he let Martin Sheen continue during the hotel room scene even though the actor seriously cut his hand. If there is one fault, it is the inability for the eccentric director to stop talking and enjoy at least one full moment in the film.

The Matrix Commentary 10 DVD/Blu ray Audio Commentaries You Have To Hear

6) Philosophers, Critics – The Matrix Trilogy

The Ultimate Matrix Collection is the most comprehensive assembly of information and footage of any home video release. Amongst all the awesome features are two commentary tracks on each of the films of the trilogy. One is from a pair of philosophers (Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilber) and the other from three critics (Todd McCarthy, John Powers, David Thompson).

What’s nice is the difference between both commentary tracks. While the philosophers gush over every aspect of the trilogy, even when you know they should back off, the critics have a much more visceral eye for content. I’m not amongst those who think Reloaded and Revolutions are wasted films. In fact, I like them, just not as much as the first, which is tough to beat.

The philosophers give an unprecedented discussion on the meaning of every moment in the films and while sometimes it can get wordy, they are easy to follow. The critics do what critics do; they talk. There is a heck of a lot of criticism, but it all sounds justified and they know how to defend a point. It’s worth a listen, especially after the philosophers.

Continue to part 2 for the Top 5 Audio Commentaries you have to hear!

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TAGS: lord of the rings, the matrix, tropic thunder, watchmen

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  1. OMG the Arnie commentary is AWESOME!

    “This is where the ORGY takes plaaaace….she's in ecstasssyyyy”….

    Hilarious!

  2. “She's gonna die now….

    Classic!

  3. 'Used Cars' with commentary by Kurt Russell and Robert Zemeckis is the single funniest commentary I have ever heard. It's usually on lists like these.

  4. I completely agree, the Dr Horrible Sing along commentary was fan freaking tastic!

  5. Hey, I read somewhere that the Blu Ray version of Tropic Thunder actually doesn't have as much special features as the Director's Cut DVD, is this true?? I want to buy it and want the Blu Ray but don't want to miss out on the extra features…

  6. If you can go Blu-ray, you really should. The cinematography is beautiful and the special features it is are the ones that count. You won't be disappointed.

  7. the commentary for clerks II was also hysterical.

  8. Definitely with you on the Wright/Pegg front! They always give you your money's worth with DVD extras. I particularly like the idea of separate commentary tracks for the “senior cast members”, and even one on Hot Fuzz for the two police officers who acted as technical advisers. The guest commentaries on the Special Edition of Spaced sound good – I've just got the standard job. That Kevin Smith gets everywhere: he showed up on the Director's Cut of Donnie Darko as well, dropping f-bombs alongside Richard Kelly for no apparent reason…

    The first Hellboy movie's cast commentary is a lot of fun; Jeffrey Tambor and Ron Perlman are in especially fine form.

  9. Thanks for those, Mike – the Arnie clip's a classic. Tropic Thunder's going to have to be my next purchase, I think!

    A personal favourite is the commentary Steven Soderbergh and James Cameron did for the former's Solaris remake. Not the 90 minutes of techspeak I'd expected at all, but a real exploration of the movie's themes and a lot of insight into both directors' very different approaches to moviemaking. Cameron's much-publicised outbreaks of werewolfism notwithstanding, here he's very generous towards Soderbergh and the actors.

  10. I haven't seen “Dark City”, but Ebert has a very good and insightful commentary on “Citizen Kane”.

  11. Mike – check it out for sure, you'll love it.

    Kevin – you are correct, that's another good one. DARK CITY was one that really took me by surprise. I remember thinking (when I first bought the DVD) “Why is Roger Ebert doing a commentary for this?” I expected it to be awkward and ill-fitting. It turned out to be one I listen to repeatedly. Amazing in every way. You won't look at the film the same way again.

  12. The Mel Gibson commentary on Braveheart is the greatest commentary I've ever heard. But I've never listened to the Tropic Thunder commentary, I'm gonna get that tomorrow.

  13. So, when you say the features it has are the ones that count, that means the DVD version does have more special features? What are missing? Is the commentary in question still included in the blu-ray version?

  14. The commentary is on the Blu-ray. I can't remember what is different, but it is minimal. I really just think you should go blu-ray whenever you can.

  15. Any of the John Waters commentaries are worth a listen. (his movies or the one he did for Mommie Dearest) I also enjoyed Paul Reubens and Tim Burton on PeeWee's Big Adventure.

  16. Oh ok, thanks, and you're talking about the regular theatrical version Blu Ray and not the Director's Cut right? I read in the reviews many people who thought the Director's Cut wasn't as funny as the regular version, and I'm not sure if that one will have the commentary or not…

  17. Okay…this list is great, but there are three movies that definitely should've made this list. First is THE EVIL DEAD. Bruce Campbell's commentary is hilarious as well as informative. Second, BUBBA HO-TEP. While Bruce Campbell and Don Coscarelli's commentary is good, it's Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley's commentary that rocks it! Finally, UHF. “Weird Al” Yankovic's only movie has a hilarious and highly informative commenary with Al and director Jay Levy. Al does most of the talking and it's amazing to realize that Al remembers the exact addresses of where they filmed each scene at! All three of those were great and deserve a spot on this Top 10 list.

  18. As an absolute film nut, reading these comments and the article, I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've never watched a film with the commentary on.
    I get so caught up watching a movie that I've always just thought it'd be a distraction. There's over a thousand films upstairs (including nine of the films mentioned in the article, will have to buy Tropic Thunder) that I'm gonna have to watch over. Hey, that's why I bought 'em!
    That's why this website is so good. The article, the comments from obvious fellow film lovers, it just broadens your knowledge.
    Thanks guys (and gals).

    • In reply to Brownrhino-

      I am commenting on a comment made by a commentor commenting on some comments made by a movie-commentary website doing a list about DVD Commentaries because I AM SO HORRIBLY BORED and am waiting for some email replies.

      The commentary is never a distraction because you only ever end up clicking “commentary on” after you have already viewed the blu-ray (10) or so times and the special features at least (5) times.

      The purpose of watching it is that you ARE EXTREMELY BORED and it has to be better than f’n Law & Order reruns on TNT, TBS, and USA or EXTENSE infomercials on all of the Viacom stations.

      It’s not like you can follow along with the movie and commentary at the same time if you haven’t already seen the actual movie at least five times and already know the next scene coming and/or can repeat the lines.

      Watching the commentary is like watching a completely different movie altogether.

      I completely agree with the TROPIC THUNDER at #1 selection… it is why I am even at this site in the first place.

      I just watched it again for the 3rd time and thought to myself… “This has to be one of the best DVD Commentaries I have ever heard, I wonder if anyone else feels the same?”.

      The FLOW of the INSIGHT it is what makes it great. FLOW is what the OCEANS 11 commentary is missing; because Brad seems to not want to be there with the other two and seems to be pissed that he is stuck there doing it with those guys instead of Clooney who was SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. Andy and Matt seem to be intimidated by Brad and don’t really enjoy doing it unless Brad is clearly out of the studio on break smoking a cigarette or something and it is just the two of them.

  19. The Commentaries of Watchmen are really bad!

  20. Another DVD commentary that should not be missed in my opinion is the Apollo 13 commentary by Jim Lovell and his wife Marilyn. Obviously, Jim was there in real life and gives a lot of insight to the mission, and his wife, while not saying too much, offers a really nice touch of what it was like for her personally on the ground, and she gets very emotional several times during the commentary.

    10/10 in my books.

  21. awesome, Matt….I'm getting the blu-ray Apollo 13 release on April 13, so that will be the first thing i do is listen to that. I have it on DVD, but can't wait for blu-ray

  22. dog soldiers audio is utterly hilarious – director+actors version, not producers audio – tho comparing the two gives interesting insight to the obvious disagreements during production.

  23. I saw the directors commentary of the Watchmen with snyder and I couldnt finish it… it would have made the movie I think 5 hours long.. I was watching the movie for seemingly two hours and I still wasnt past the funeral scene.. DAMN! lol

  24. like you, im here for the same reason & like you, i couldnt agree more with TT being #1. gonna def check out movies like conan, braveheart, pee wees big adventure, apollo 13, dark city & uhf. id like to add “lord of war” to the list for those of you who like informative & interesting comms (nope, not done by cage).

  25. You should also check out the Blood Simple In character critic commentary. It is one of the funniest and most bizarre DVD commentaries I’ve ever heard. While it starts of dry and dull as a stock standard film historian commentary it gets very strange when he begins to make stuff up such as the Coen Brothers wanting to get the angles right in the rain so they filmed the opening sequence upside down and backwards. It’s very funny.

  26. The Evil Dead II commentary is pretty rad, as is the Anchorman one. I often listen to it on rainy days. Glad to see the Spinal Tap and Tropic Thunder tracks in this list. There’s something to be said for a performance like that.

  27. My favourite is the Evil Dead 2 commentary on my DVD boxset. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell basically spend the entire movie making fun of it. It’s really funny!

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  29. Can’t believe Dog Soldiers didn’t make this list, the cast and crew commentary on that is hilarious, mostly because of the actors taking the piss out of each other constantly.

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