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

59 Comments

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  1. Oh, thank you incredibly for putting the Tropic Thunder DVD commentary in the Number 1 spot. I have the Director's Cut DVD, and the commentary is even more hilarious than the actual film (RDJ just steals the whole thing; when Ben Stiller asks him about his role in Sherlock Holmes, RDJ's answer is hysterically funny… and completely unprintable.).

    Best advice … DO NOT drink anything while you're listening to it. You'll have quite a few spit-soda moments. :D

  2. What about Dude, Where's My Car?
    The commentary on that was priceless.
    Oh, and Brother Bear. Trust me on this one. If you miss Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis as the Mckenzie Brothers (If you don't know who the heck I'm talking about, go Google it) then put in this commentary.

  3. good list but comon…you seriously missed dodgeball? ^^

  4. I would put in the Writers' commentary from “Fight Club” just to hear Chuck Palahnuik constantly concede the film's superiority to the book. Also the Brad Pitt/david fincher commentary on “Seven.” But the best ever is the “Drunken” commentary on the little seen “Cannibal! The Musical.” Check it out after watching the movie at least once without commentary. Freaking hilarious!

  5. I wish I could say I've heard every commentary ever. But this is where you guys come through and tell me what I'm missing out on.

    I listen to them as much as possible, and have heard a heck of a lot. I own Dodgeball and Dude, Where's My Car, but never even thought about the commentaries. Just thinking about it sounds funny. Good call

  6. I've never even thought to turn on the DVD commentary. I'll probably be doing that with my favorite films now. Thanks for the idea! Man, I bet listening to Tarantino do commentary would be great!

  7. Some of my favourites up there. Shame you missed the Fight Club Commentary with Brad Pitt, Ed Norton and David Fincher (and Helena Bonham Carter, although she's recorded separately and spliced in).

    And I guess you're just doing movies here, but the any of the Firefly commentaries are worth a look.

  8. I've got two honorable mentions:

    1) Star Trek: Generations with Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga – it's a great look inside the writing process, including how the studio basically handed them a list of things that HAD to be in the movie and wouldn't let them deviate from that when better ideas made one or two of those items impossible. Moore and Braga are brutally blunt when it comes to dissecting their own work and detailing why they don't think it's as good as it should have been.

    2) T2 commentary with James Cameron and a host of other contributors – A really great in-depth oral history of the making of T2. Cameron's other commentary with writer Bill Wisher is quite good as well.

  9. I thought real hard about putting Fight Club in there. The pacing kept it just out of my list.

  10. Mallrats! Where's commentary from Scorsese?!

  11. Although it may not count in this field, how about Dr. Horrible's Commentary Commentary? FUNNY FUNNY SONGS.

  12. Mike,

    great article.

    do you know when Arnie did that commentary? how long after the film was made? he sounds like a nut lol.

  13. Haha, I don't. But Arnold's got a distinct sound then and now. He sounds much younger, so I'm guessing not long after the DVD came out, if not before.

  14. Thank you for this list, I will definitely check some of these out.

  15. The LOTR cast commentary is far better than Peter jackson's one, it is easily the best commentary I have ever heard, every principle actor throughout the trilogy contributes.

    And I have never understood the obsession with Tropic Thunder, it just isnt funny.

  16. The commentary on American Beauty is quite good. The director talks about using DVD commentaries to learn film craft.

    +1 on the T2 and Fight Club commentaries.
    T2 is basically a film school on DVD.

  17. I also love the LOTR cast commentary. I have listened to it probably 3 times. Haven't heard a more entertaining commentary yet.

  18. LOL at Conan. I honestly think the reason he was like that was because he doesn't really remember much about the actual production, and he feels obligated to keep talking, so he just keeps mumbling what's going on in the movie while he's watching it, lol.

    And I really have to watch Tropic Thunder's commentary, never get around to it, but everyone who has seen it tells me it's hilarious…

    And I also second the person mentioning Terminator 2's commentary. I liked the one on the Extreme Edition DVD where it's James Cameron and William Wisher, the co-writer. It's good because there's a lot of insight into the making of the film, but also because about 3/4 the way through James Cameron makes a wise-crack about Terminator 3, lol.

  19. Thx for the information

  20. Bruce Campbell, in character as Elvis Presley on the Bubba Ho-tep commentary track, is the champion.

  21. I too really enjoy the “Fight Club” commentary. I love how Brad Pitt just wants to joke around with David Fincher and Edward Norton keeps trying to get his philosophical point across. I don't enjoy hearing Helena Bonham Carter spliced in. It just doesn't work for me.

  22. I don't generally enjoy any commentaries where it's just one person talking alone (although some people are good at it, Joss Whedon usually has something interesting to say), though I did like when she told us about the alternate line to “I haven't been %^&$*& like that since grade school” which was apparently “I want to have your abortion”.

    Now that's class.

  23. As I was pleased that you named Tropic Thunder the best and I agree it is great, you failed to list my personal favorite. Amy Heckerling and Cameron Crowe discussing Fast Times At Ridgemont High is without question one of the top 5 commentaries ever. They add more behind the scenes insight to one of the classic cult films of the 80's.

  24. I've never seen any of these commentaries! Shocking! I will definitely be checking them out. But some of my favorites you didn't list.

    “Fight Club” with Edward Norton, David Fincher, and Edward Norton. I don't care for Helena Bonham Carter's comments because you can tell she's not in the room with the others.

    I love the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg commentary on “Hot Fuzz.” It is simply hilarious! They talk about comparisons to “Shaun of the Dead” and since they co-wrote, directed, and starred in both they have the detail on the whole process of the film. It is one of the funniest commentaries I've ever heard.

    Along that same vein, if you ever get the chance to watch their TV series “Spaced,” they have a commentary on every episode with Wright, Pegg, Jessica Hynes, and occasionally Nick Frost, Julia Deaken, Mark Topp, and Katy Carmichael. It gets even better on the Special Edition because they invite their favorite directors/actors to come and talk about an episode or two with them. So you have brand new commentary with Wright, Pegg, and Hynes with Kevin Smith, Quinten Tarantino, Diablo Cody, Matt Stone, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt. It is just hysterical.

    Also Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale do a good commentary on the “Back to the Futures.” They are not shy about the short falls in “Part II” and are very forthcoming with their ideas and strategies in writing.

  25. Viva La Bam Season 1

  26. oversight noted. haven't heard that one. on my list of one's to hear this week now. thank you.

  27. I think there's a serious oversight here. Ever listen to Roger Ebert's commentary for DARK CITY? In my book, the absolute best audio commentary ever recorded for a movie… and he had nothing to do with the film.

  28. The fact that “Cannibal! The Musical” is not listed on here is a travesty. It's Trey Parker, Matt Stone and their buddies watching their own student film (after they achieved South Park fame and success) getting drunk and dissing their own movie. It's priceless.

  29. Heh, this both makes me feel bad I don't own a Blu-Ray, and gives me further reason to get Tropic Thunder.

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