Skip

Arnold commenting on Total Recall
November 25, 2011 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Here's me Arnold Schwarzenegger riding towards the screen... You asked, and now you've got it: dvd commentary on Total Recall - Arnold giving you his insight into everything that you can see happening on the screen in front of you. ("Ow. That hurt.")
posted by HopStopDon'tShop (67 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Insightful stuff. Had it not been explained by someone so close to the production, I would have absolutely no idea what the fuck was going on.
posted by a non e mouse at 5:26 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think "insight" might be a bit strong here. So far he's pretty much just reciting what he is seeing.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was ol Arnie trolling everyone though. He's not a dumb guy and has been around long enough to know the distinction between offering commentary and dictation for the blind. He loves pranks and hates silly crap.

I call shenanigans.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 5:28 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


This has been making the rounds recently but I still haven't heard from anyone who actually owns the DVD: Is it legit? Or is it just a really good Arnie impersonator? Who will step up and admit they own the Total Recall DVD?
posted by sveskemus at 5:31 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it was very nice of him to do this for the blind.
posted by Capt. Renault at 5:38 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember this. This is the bit where I made a comment on metafilter.
posted by seanyboy at 5:41 AM on November 25, 2011 [31 favorites]


Fantastic. I thought it was fake until I heard Verhoeven.
posted by Harry at 5:43 AM on November 25, 2011


Arnold can remember it for you Retail.
posted by hal9k at 5:46 AM on November 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


Does he truly have the intellect to be the governor (make that past tense at this point). Are politics so shallow that this guy was really a competent leader?

Also: HILARIOUS!
posted by Napierzaza at 6:04 AM on November 25, 2011


If I recall correctly, the Terminator 3 commentary had some great Arnold moments. Near the beginning, he says he needed to work out for the film because he knew "critics would literally take a shot of my ass from 1984 and a shot of my ass from now and put it side by side to compare." I don't remember much else about the commentary after that.
posted by snapped at 6:05 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


My ass looks pretty much the same as it did in 1984.
But then I was born in 1914.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:10 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Damn the person who invented fake stupidity to confound us. Because sometimes I really need to know.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:14 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that was Socrates, who said he knew nothing. Manuel borrowed that.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:18 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a far cry from the commentary on the DVD for Starship Troopers, mostly supplied by Paul Verhoeven himself. Starship Troopers haters: listen to this commentary and rethink your hating ways. (Hint: The movie isn't fascistic. It's a leftist/liberal spoof of fascism).

Brain dead and decomposing as it is, Arnold's commentary is superior to that of 90% of DVD commentary tracks, mostly adulatory drones about "my wonderful $COSTAR, who delivered a magnificent performance."

Pissed off even more by the Total Recall Blu-ray, a crappy transfer of the DVD print. Worst Blu-ray ever.
posted by Gordion Knott at 6:21 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Total Recall (1990) — Set in the year 2084, a man goes to Mars via a memory implant and discovers the truth about himself as an unexpected and harrowing series of events unfold.

Total Recall 2 (2003) — Set in the year 2011, a woman leaves Sacramento and discoveres the truth about a harrowing series of events. "Happy birthday to Arnold Schwarzenegger. He celebrated quietly with half his money." – David Letterman
posted by netbros at 6:32 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hint: The movie isn't fascistic. It's a leftist/liberal spoof of fascism

I keep hearing that there are CERTAIN PEOPLE out there who don't think that Starship Troopers is satire. Outside of boys in the eighth grade raised on equal amounts of Playstation games and sugar, is there anyone that doesn't actually see that? Is there someone that really watches Neil Patrick Harris walk out in combination Nazi-and-BDSM regalia to announce "IT'S AFRAID" and think how genuinely insulting to my liberal sensibilities! rather than oh my god they dressed Doogie Howser up like a bondage Nazi I cannot stop laughing!
posted by griphus at 6:36 AM on November 25, 2011 [24 favorites]


One of my favourite commentaries is the one on Soderbergh's The Limey, which doesn't begin with the usual 'Hello my name is Steven Soderbergh' 'And I'm Lem Dobbs' but with outtakes from the commentary sessions and other isolated moments of speech mixed with the sound of technical difficulties (with some luscious profanity). It's quite a shock but at the same time it makes an utter change that the film makers care as much about the presentation of their ideas on the dvd as the film itself.

Its as much about itself as the film its essaying. Example: Fifteen minutes in and we approach the introduction of Peter Fonda's character and as the explanation for approach begins, the sound cuts out then returns, it jumps and echos, speeds up and slows down the sounds and words overlapping and complementing one another the director and writers opinions running up against each other. Certainly makes a change from hearing Rob Reiner get caught up in watching his own film (see When Harry Met Sally).

The other clear distinction is the need to communicate about the making of the film. One of the real issues which continues with commentaries is the seeming need of those involved to say how good everyone was to the point that every scene has a background of someone saying -- I love what he did, she did, they did without actually mentioning why they did it. Here all of that is a given. Except that there also seems to be a certain animosity between Soderbergh and Dobbs -- at times its amazingly confrontational. Time and again the same discussion/argument develops and generally follows the same pattern:

Dobbs: I did this in the script. But you didn't like it and took it out.
Soderbergh: I didn't like it. I'm the director.
Dobbs: Screenwriters never get their own way
Soderbergh: Well direct your own film

But its the perfect way to understand the differences between a film and a screenplay and the process which the text goes through. There is a moment in the film where The Limey explores the house of his nemesis and at the top of some stairs he finds a photo of his daughter. It sits in isolation. The writer said that he'd envisaged a wall full of pictures with this one in the middle, but because he didn't write that and set people follow scripts literally instead we have the picture -- he's really not happy because it gives the picture more prominence than he thinks is logical. Dobbs also points out all the scenes that Soderbergh wrote that he doesn't like ('I could certainly do without that scene which I didn't write did I?' he says at one point), and its a measure of both men that they can continue to stray friends and colleagues and not like each others stuff. There is bags full of ego involved, but also an understand that they can have their own opinions, not agree, but still produce art.
posted by feelinglistless at 6:38 AM on November 25, 2011 [12 favorites]


I cannot tell if this is a fake or not, but it does seem very similar to the way he provides commentary for the Conan films. It sort of goes like this:

Footage of Arnold doing crazy shit with a sword.
Arnold: "Argghhhh..HAHAHA. That was fun!"
Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

He does have a sense of humour with the way he provides the commentary. Like you're just sitting back and having a few beers with him. Just enjoy it for what it is. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 6:41 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though I love DVD bonus features, I seldom listen to the commentary tracks. I did enjoy the one for Heartbreakers. Sigourney Weaver likened the Gene Hackman character to Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Jennifer Love Hewitt rued how large her butt looked in a pair of white pants.
posted by Trurl at 6:51 AM on November 25, 2011


now I'll have to pull out my total recall tin and see .. Unless it's only on some fancy re-issued DVD ...
posted by k5.user at 6:55 AM on November 25, 2011


He's not a dumb guy...[citation needed]

Being a governor, even in California, is not proof.
posted by DU at 7:07 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Snapped: If I recall correctly, the Terminator 3 commentary had some great Arnold moments.

It was hilarious:

"I started working out two hours a day... then two and a half hours a day... then three hours a day... then three and a half hours a day... then four hours a day... then four and a half hours a day... then five hours a day... then five and a half hours a day..."

Aside: The DVD for the first Hellboy movie had two commentary tracks -- one by Del Toro and Mignola and one by the lead actors. I listened to the Del Toro/Mignola one first then went back and listened to the cast. I'll tell you what, the IQ drop was bloody palpable.
posted by Trochanter at 7:07 AM on November 25, 2011


Has anyone ever seen the commentary track for R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet? It's a video of R. Kelly watching it on a TV with the camera angled so that you can sort of see R. Kelly and sort of see the screen. The entire time he smokes a cigar so periodically the screen is obscured by cigar smoke. The commentary consists mostly of R describing the actions that are happening on the screen with an occasional reference to a "cliffhanger" that makes you question whether or not he knows what a cliffhanger even is; typically, it takes the form "see, here something happened that was unexpected...that's the cliffhanger." He also laughs at his own jokes like an evil genius in a James Bond movie.

Oh, and the whole thing is called "Kells' Commentary."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:10 AM on November 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


"this guy was really a competent leader?"

Yeah, about that "competent" part...
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:17 AM on November 25, 2011


They ought to make former governors do commentary to go with reviews of their governorship. Because Arnold's would be great:

This is me in 1993, dominating total recall of the previous governor. Now in this scene I'm totally wiping out the car tax. Here the mob is rejecting most of the measures I placed on the ballot... you can see my tears. In this scene I come back to win and again become governor of Cali-forn-ee-a. The crowd is with me, and I am victorious! The rest of the movie is not so good. This is a scene where I fight the unions; they win, but I also win. This last scene is the love scene. My wife doesn't like it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:20 AM on November 25, 2011 [28 favorites]


Well, in the first place, the part where he says "This is me on the screen here riding towards the camera" is actually the first thing he says, when the Tristar pegasus is running toward the camera... which is pretty funny, if you ask me. Then he starts talking about how he negotiated for the script and the financial dealings involving Carolco. So far he comes off pretty well.

In the part where he's talking about wanting to see the news despite the hugging and kissing, if you keep watching, they're both talking about how he's fascinated with mars even though he shouldn't be...

The part where he says "This is my job..." leads to a discussion about how in the original screenplay he was an accountant and was supposed to be played by Jeff Bridges.

So it's cherry-picked clips using his non-conventional way of speaking to make him look like an idiot. It's actually a pretty good commentary.

Right now he's talking about the daring architecture in Mexico City and how well it worked for the movie... so, yeah. I think I'll keep watching.
posted by Huck500 at 7:20 AM on November 25, 2011 [26 favorites]


I'm kind of obsessed with DVD commentary, finding one amazing or batshit one makes up for the hours of " he was great" or endless technical details. Arnold's are always really fun, if only for the breezy delivery. Still, the best DVD commentary ever was the Hollywood Royalty edition of Mommie Dearest, with John Waters literally watching the movie for the first time with you. The whole time he's going " I don't think this is campy or over the top, this is a very strong performance" until she cuts down the tree. Waters takes a breath, takes a sip and says " okay, that was over the top."
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 AM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jason Kottke has a good theory about this commentary track: Arnold was contractually obligated to do the DVD commentary but when it came to it, he didn't really want to. So he torpedoed the whole thing and had some fun in the meantime.

This is just a theory, but it sounds more plausible to me than the "fake Arnold made this for the lulz" theory.
posted by asnider at 7:43 AM on November 25, 2011


Dan O'Bannon does a director's commentary for Return of the Living dead that I though was really interesting. It's a re-issue DVD, so the commentary is done long after the fact. This was O'bannon's only real shot at directing, and there's an undercurrent of ruefulness verging on bitterness at the way his career had gone. It's kind of poignant, in a "There are a million stories in Hollywood" way.
posted by Trochanter at 7:48 AM on November 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Kenneth Loring's insights into Blood Simple remain at the top of my list.

Aficionados of bad commentary should keep The AV Club's Commentary Tracks of the Damned on their list of bookmarks. Want to know what Troy Duffy has to say about the contribution of Julie Benz's ass to the mise en scene of Boondock Saints II? Want to hear the writer, director, and second-and-third billed stars of Blade:Trinity gingerly avoid criticizing Wesley Snipes? CTOTD realizes how busy you are, and so will give you an executive summary.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:49 AM on November 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Does he truly have the intellect to be the governor (make that past tense at this point). Are politics so shallow that this guy was really a competent leader?

If you read the profile that Michael Lewis did of Arnold in Boomerang, he's not stupid. In any event, I don't see his successor, Jerry Brown, supposedly the "adult in the room" and the sharpest mind and the grise eminence of California politics, doing any better handling California's slow descent into hell. I don't agree with Lewis's depiction of Schwarzenegger as a naive idealist who got ground down by the gears of the system -- the story's probably a lot more complicated -- but the essential description of the stalemate of California politics is accurate. There's not anyone who could "govern" California because California is set up to be ungovernable. As Lewis puts it, "California state government was designed mainly to maximize the likelihood that voters will continue to despise the people they elect."
posted by blucevalo at 8:12 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Strangest metacommentary ever? Instead of commenting on the theatrical edit of The Rules of Attraction, Roger Avary got Carrot Top to do a commentary track. And then tried to thematically justify it in interviews.

Avary and the male lead did commentary on the unrated cut disc. And then the film and its stars faded into a deserved semi-obscurity.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:29 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


To get the opposite effect of this, Bey Logan's commentaries on the Tartan Asia DVDs are excellent. It's like being shot at with a fact machine gun; the high speed at which he reels off career highlights and birthdates of whoever appears on screen is weirdly hilarious.
posted by liquidindian at 8:33 AM on November 25, 2011


There are two myths about Arnold. That he's really dumb, and that he's not really dumb. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

"... it feels fantastic. It's as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym; I'm getting the feeling of cumming at home; I'm getting the feeling of cumming backstage; when I pump up, when I pose out in front of 5000 people I get the same feeling, so I am cumming day and night. It's terrific, right? So you know, I am in heaven."
- [Governor] Arnold Schwarzenegger

Surely, somewhat dumb.
posted by Trochanter at 8:40 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get elected to the California governorship and I ... jizz in my pants.
posted by griphus at 8:43 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Among my favourite commentary tracks:

Big Trouble in Little China, especially about halfway through where Carpenter and Russell totally forget that there's a movie playing and start just shooting the shit, talking about what their kids are up to (a hockey tournament in Quebec City!). Eventually, one of them remembers oh, hey, the movie! and then they talk about a dragging effect for about two seconds before getting back to just enjoying a conversation.

As mentioned above, Blood Simple, in which legendary underground director Kenneth Loring provides an amazing amount of insight into the craft of filmmaking and directing.

Buckaroo Banzai, in which one of the actors playing Hong Kong Cavaliers (Rico?) does an entire commentary in character, with the conceit that the movie was in fact a documentary about the real Buckaroo Banzai, constantly complaining about stuff the movie gets wrong. Kind of fails in execution, but brilliant in concept.
posted by Shepherd at 8:47 AM on November 25, 2011


I get elected to the California governorship and I ... jizz in my pants.

It's from Pumping Iron.
posted by dhartung at 9:14 AM on November 25, 2011


Buckaroo Banzai, in which one of the actors playing Hong Kong Cavaliers (Rico?) does an entire commentary in character, with the conceit that the movie was in fact a documentary about the real Buckaroo Banzai, constantly complaining about stuff the movie gets wrong. Kind of fails in execution, but brilliant in concept.

The commentary on This is Spinal Tap is by David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, exposing the hatchet job that Marty DiBergi did on them:

ST. HUBBINS: "Oh my god, this is awful."

TUFNEL: "Again... all the times that we found the stage with no problem... 99% of the time"

ST. HUBBINS: "96, anyway."

SMALLS: "94, but..."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:27 AM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


The DVD for the first Hellboy movie had two commentary tracks -- one by Del Toro and Mignola and one by the lead actors. I listened to the Del Toro/Mignola one first then went back and listened to the cast. I'll tell you what, the IQ drop was bloody palpable.

While I don't wish to impugn the intelligence of the Hellboy cast, who are really wonderful, there are moments in the commentary track where they have to explain the film to each other.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:49 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


There needs to be a McBain parody of this. "Und here vee see me try to protect my eyes vit deez goggles, und as vee see dey do nuthink."

I don't think that Schwarzenegger is a genius or anything but this doesn't seem like particularly good proof of stupidity. I find it pretty hard to speak extemporaneously for fifteen or twenty minutes even on a topic I know a great deal about, so I would expect that anyone forced to go on and on for a couple of hours about a movie they were in two decades ago and are possibly watching for the second or third time ever is quite possibly going to sound rambling and not-especially-insightful.
posted by XMLicious at 9:52 AM on November 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Mr. Show DVDs have great commentaries, with the whole cast present. In several cases, they ad-lib new lines over sketches and these are often funnier than the original ones.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:06 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think he's trolling.
posted by tcv at 10:15 AM on November 25, 2011


The Mr. Show DVDs have great commentaries, with the whole cast present. In several cases, they ad-lib new lines over sketches and these are often funnier than the original ones.

I've watched and rewatched the "Crazy Devil Kiddie Massage Cream" bit with the commentary on over and over again just to hear the entire cast in hysterics. One of my favorite moments from those commentaries. So so funny
posted by tittergrrl at 10:29 AM on November 25, 2011


Does he truly have the intellect to be the governor (make that past tense at this point). Are politics so shallow that this guy was really a competent leader?

Apart from the point made by apparently the only person to watch the full commentary (this is out-of-context pull quotes designed to make the guy look stupid), anyone who's pent much time reading accounts of his life would find it a bit hard to sustain the idea he's an idiot: he came to a country with a minimal command of the language, with a plan he'd tell to people of becoming a top bodybuilder, parlaying that into a film career, and getting rich. He learned a second language, managed to keep his money from his sports career (which places him ahead of a pretty large number of jocks, to start with), built a real estate empire, and grabbed a university degree on the side, and a lot of that was *before* he got started in Hollywood.

On the other hand, he's not a particularly nice person. One of his traits recounted by a biographer was that if people approached him looking for advice in the gym in the 70s, he'd size them up. If they seemed like they'd never amount to anything, he'd give them good advice. If he thought they had the basic physique that there was a chance they could one day compete, he'd give them deliberately bad advice.
posted by rodgerd at 10:31 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can never believe the sheer laziness of actors who agree to do a commentary track and don't sit down to watch the movie through before doing the track. Most actor commentaries seem to amount to "oh yeah, this is the bit where I discover that my uncle didn't die of a heart attack, but was poisoned by the evil count...or, wait, maybe it was the countess"--dude, we know the plot of the damned film: if we're watching the commentary track we've already watched the film. Comment on the damn thing--don't give a play-by-play--especially not a shaky "what's happening here?" one. (This, by the way, is not a comment on Arnie who seems to be the victim of a deliberate misrepresentation in the OP clips).

The best commentary tracks I've ever heard are Joss Whedon's. He comes in with the whole thing worked out in advance, draws out the larger thematic points he was trying to get across, delves into interesting technical challenges, keeps "only funny if you were there" anecdotes about set hijinks to the barest possible minimum. Every commentary seems like a master class in both film-making and film criticism.
posted by yoink at 10:47 AM on November 25, 2011


Speaking of Whedon, I have to throw in Commentary the Musical found on the Dr. Horrible DVD. It gives us such gems as Nobody's Asian In The Movies.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 10:58 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The commentary for Baby Mama is especially good. It's just Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hanging out with each other, and the jokes drop so fast. No time to laugh or react, they're onto the next one.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:03 AM on November 25, 2011


I can never believe the sheer laziness of actors who agree to do a commentary track and don't sit down to watch the movie through before doing the track. Most actor commentaries seem to amount to "oh yeah, this is the bit where I discover that my uncle didn't die of a heart attack, but was poisoned by the evil count...or, wait, maybe it was the countess"--dude, we know the plot of the damned film: if we're watching the commentary track we've already watched the film. Comment on the damn thing--don't give a play-by-play--especially not a shaky "what's happening here?" one.

If you're going for a commentary by one of the actors, what are you expecting? It's always seemed a bit weird to me that actors are so freqently the ones doing these commentaries. They get made basically because the actor is a celebrity associated with the film, not because they're a film critic or a good speaker or even have an especially comprehensive insight into the making of the film.

They got paid to do the commentary because of the name recognition and the only unique thing they might contribute is some tidbits about the experience of acting while on-set before any of the editing happened, so major parts of the story might have even been different or undetermined at the point when they were involved in the project.
posted by XMLicious at 11:05 AM on November 25, 2011


The best commentary track I ever heard was on Weird Al Yankovic's UHF - not only is it impeccably researched and crafted together really well, it has his contacting other cast members for skits, and ever gets up in the middle of the screen a few times to get popcorn.
posted by jscott at 11:05 AM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about the man, but when his (fake?) voice inhabited one of the Terran units in Starcraft 2, neither my wife nor my kids could get enough of it. Shame that unit sucks against a zerg rush.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2011


They got paid to do the commentary because of the name recognition and the only unique thing they might contribute is some tidbits about the experience of acting while on-set before any of the editing happened, so major parts of the story might have even been different or undetermined at the point when they were involved in the project.

Indeed: which is why they should watch the damn thing right through before sitting down with a microphone to talk about it. That way they can make some notes about when there are scenes about which they can say something interesting (what is acting against a green screen like, what was it like to act with this particular actor, was there a disagreement between the director and the actor about the best way to approach this scene) and scenes about which they have nothing particularly useful to say where they can take the time to talk more generally (what made them agree to take this role, how did they study for the part, does the film match what they saw in their minds when they first read the script etc. etc. etc.).

Yes of course they're being asked because they're celebrities. Unless they're complete twats, though, they recognize that that doesn't excuse gross unprofessionalism. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.)
posted by yoink at 11:14 AM on November 25, 2011


I have to throw in Commentary the Musical found on the Dr. Horrible DVD

God yes. Just as a piece of logistics that commentary track is astonishing. The songs are just as good as those in the original piece, too.

Ooh, I just had a thought. Now I'm anticipating Whedon's commentary track to his Much Ado About Nothing almost as much as the film itself.
posted by yoink at 11:16 AM on November 25, 2011


Actors are rarely a good choice for commentary tracks. Many don't learn any more of the script than their specific sides, and, with many films, there is no point memorizing those until the day of the shoot, because scripts change so much. They don't get the story in perspective, because they see only a fraction of it being made, and they see that fraction repeated on a loop for two or three days, as they say the same line of dialogue a half-dozen times, and then go to their trailer, and then get called out a few hours later to say the lines again, but this time with all the lights and cameras moved. Then they go home and don't hear anything about the film for the year between wrap and actual release, except, perhaps, to come in and redub a few lines of dialogue, or, if they are the main character, to do a few photo shoots. They may see the film before it's premiere, they may see it at the premiere, and by then they are on to a project or two down their career path, and it all sort of gets jumbled up. And they don't get paid much to do commentary tracks -- I think some actors get paid nothing additional at all, because it's part of their contract. So they treat it like they feel they are getting paid to treat it, as an added value to a DVD package, and as an opportunity for them to get together with old cast members, watch the film again, and chat about it.

Unless the actor is actually a fan of their own movie, and watches it quite often, they probably don't remember it very well, and what do they have to say about the shoot? I said the same line of dialogue 35 times in front of a green screen?

No. You want good commentary, get the editor, who has as much to do with what the final film looked like as anybody, and probably lived with the thing eight hours a day for six months. But nobody ever wants to hear what the editor has to say.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:29 AM on November 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


People in the mood for truly bizarre/hilarious commentary tracks should give the one Uwe Boll did Alone In The Dark a shot. It starts out with him saying AITD is better than The Matrix because it's "more realistic" and gets funnier and more deranged from there.
posted by sparkletone at 1:06 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another good one is the commentary for The Room, where Wiseau and the cast all did ad-lib overdubs of silly nonsense over the film's original spoken dialogue, and then somehow the original audio got lost and so they had to release that as the film's actual dialogue track.
posted by cortex at 1:36 PM on November 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


This has been making the rounds recently but I still haven't heard from anyone who actually owns the DVD: Is it legit? Or is it just a really good Arnie impersonator? Who will step up and admit they own the Total Recall DVD?

It's real, and I own it (weird that people are talking about it now - my DVD is at least 10 years old, although I'm not sure where it is to check).

I remember thinking when I listened to it years ago what an idiot he sounded like. The whole thing is him saying stuff like, "Oh, this is where I say something really funny ha ha ha!"
posted by coolguymichael at 1:55 PM on November 25, 2011


Actors are rarely a good choice for commentary tracks. Many don't learn any more of the script than their specific sides, and, with many films, there is no point memorizing those until the day of the shoot, because scripts change so much. They don't get the story in perspective, because they see only a fraction of it being made, and they see that fraction repeated on a loop for two or three days, as they say the same line of dialogue a half-dozen times, and then go to their trailer, and then get called out a few hours later to say the lines again, but this time with all the lights and cameras moved. Then they go home and don't hear anything about the film for the year between wrap and actual release, except, perhaps, to come in and redub a few lines of dialogue, or, if they are the main character, to do a few photo shoots. They may see the film before it's premiere, they may see it at the premiere, and by then they are on to a project or two down their career path, and it all sort of gets jumbled up. And they don't get paid much to do commentary tracks -- I think some actors get paid nothing additional at all, because it's part of their contract. So they treat it like they feel they are getting paid to treat it, as an added value to a DVD package, and as an opportunity for them to get together with old cast members, watch the film again, and chat about it.

This. Think how entertaining you could be if asked to talk for two hours about a specific eight weeks of your job fifteen years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:16 PM on November 25, 2011


And they don't get paid much to do commentary tracks -- I think some actors get paid nothing additional at all, because it's part of their contract. So they treat it like they feel they are getting paid to treat it, as an added value to a DVD package, and as an opportunity for them to get together with old cast members, watch the film again, and chat about it.

I don't disagree with how incentivized they are in practice. It can be long after they have finished, though not necessarily, and they might have little directly compelling them to do a good job.

However, just because they are paid nothing additional, because it's part of their contract, doesn't given them a right to mail it in. Lots of services are bundled. All of my job is bundled. And I can't get out of filing a report just because there's no separate reward associated with it.

So, not to disagree with how good actors are in practice (which was your point), I wouldn't go so further to say that excuses them when they do a poor job.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 3:13 PM on November 25, 2011


No. You want good commentary, get the editor, who has as much to do with what the final film looked like as anybody, and probably lived with the thing eight hours a day for six months. But nobody ever wants to hear what the editor has to say.

Well said. Spoken like an editor. Only thing I'd say differently -- more like 12 hours a day for 6 months.
posted by gonna get a dog at 4:09 PM on November 25, 2011


Keira Knightley on the first Pirates Of The Caribbean commentary is pretty amusing, if only cause she's constantly sharing embarrassing stories and audibly cringing at her hair and makeup.
posted by The Whelk at 4:26 PM on November 25, 2011


This. Think how entertaining you could be if asked to talk for two hours about a specific eight weeks of your job fifteen years ago.

Right. So my response to such a request would not be "oh well, I guess I'll just sit down and wing it." I'd try to do some preparation--like watching the frikkin movie; looking over any diary I might have kept during the shoot; thinking up and shaping a few anecdotes; preparing some general comments about my approach to a role etc. etc. etc.

The fact that something is hard to do is not a really great excuse for doing it in the most half-assed way possible.
posted by yoink at 5:17 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best commentary track (although Dr. Horrible is pretty good): Apollo 13 Anniversary Edition

There's a track by Jim M'fing Lovell and his wife Marylin, talking about the technical accuracy, the clothes of the era, their emotions during the events, what Ron Howard did with the movie, etc. It's full of fascinating tidbits about the actual events and the science behind it, as well as interesting anecdotes. Like if you stay very still in zero gravity, warmth collects around you right up until someone comes in and moves you air and disperses your warm. I cry every time I watch that movie, but I cried FOUR TIMES AS HARD when I watched it with the commentary and as they're waiting to find out of the astronauts have made it through the atmosphere safely, Marylin Lovell says something like, "I've never prayed so hard as I prayed at that moment," with so much emotion it's almost bleeding out the screen.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:48 PM on November 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing that I learned from the Total Recall commentary was that before Arnold, Richard Dreyfus was attached to the project in the lead role.

Richard. Dreyfus.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:51 PM on November 25, 2011


You have to keep in mind that Total Recall was a Philip Dick story originally. His characters were basically always average schlubs, more likely a lower-management nebbish or a wrench jockey than any kind of superman or ultrachin hero type. Harrison Ford in Blade Runner came a whole lot closer to the source material than Arnie or even Tom Cruise in Minority Report, and even at that he was still a bit on the cool and slick side at times.

Dreyfus would have been perfect for Total Recall if it had been a straight up take on ...Wholesale. Arnold Schwarzenegger fantasizing about being a superhero adventuring through Mars doesn't have the same middle-class escapism feel as Dreyfus fantasizing about the same thing. It'd be like Mario Andretti winning free driving lessons: whoopdeedoo.
posted by cortex at 7:02 PM on November 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Surely, somewhat dumb.

Sure, and that's one of the weakest scenes of a young 26 yr old workout fanatic, talking about working out, that the film has to offer. There's also a scene of him toking off a suspicious looking "cigarette" at the end, but that doesn't make me think he's a craving druggie.
Have you seen the rest of the film? The scenes where he is overtly manipulating Columbo and Ferrigno are brilliant.

Surely, interpreting someone's smarts goes a little deeper than off-the-cuff goofy comments.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:15 AM on November 26, 2011


Dobbs: I did this in the script. But you didn't like it and took it out.
Soderbergh: I didn't like it. I'm the director.
Dobbs: Screenwriters never get their own way
Soderbergh: Well direct your own film


My favorite is when Soderbergh comments that he cut something out as it didn't work and Dobbs says it works on the page and that the problem was in the directing and Soderbergh responds, "No. I directed the hell outta that scene."

Avary and the male lead did commentary on the unrated cut disc. And then the film and its stars faded into a deserved semi-obscurity.

Well there was that whole problem with manslaughter.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:01 AM on November 26, 2011


cortex: Oh, I get that Dreyfus would have been good in a more straightforward version of the Dick source material, but whenever I think of Richard Dreyfus in sci-fi, I think of this.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:42 AM on November 26, 2011


But nobody ever wants to hear what the editor has to say.

Walter Murch has a commentary on the DVD of The Conversation and aside from his just generally being the greatest person of all time, the commentary is ridiculously fantastic.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:33 PM on November 26, 2011


« Older The Worst War Movies Ever   |   "I don't like the sound of all... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post