Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Completely Off Topic – 5/7/2013

The show goes off the rails in the first moment, completely skipping the planned topic in favor of a conversation about Adam, Norm, and Will’s favorite director’s commentaries, bonus features, and other DVD and Blu-ray extras. Post your favorite commentaries in the comments!

Comments (56)

56 thoughts on “Completely Off Topic – 5/7/2013

  1. I love to listen to the Pixar commentaries, especially any with Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, or Bob Peterson in them. They’re fun and have really interesting facts in them, not just for people into CG movies.

    I also like Bob Gale’s commentaries on the Back to the Future trilogy. An amazing amount of facts and behind the scenes morsels there.

  2. The commentary for Resident Evil was pretty good. It was mostly just them goofing off, and just a bit about the movie.

  3. Steven Railsback was the co-star of the Stunt Man, not Jan Michael Vincent (and speaking of DVD extras, the special edition has THE strangest mini-doc made by the director Richard Rush, an man who obviously got into his research too much when directing the 60’s drugsploitation flick Psych-Out).

  4. Kingdom of heaven Directors Cut made an average movie a near masterpiece in my opinion!

    Check out the extra “Bleak House” from Criterions release of Cronos by Del Toro for a great tour of one of his houses!

  5. Will’s Man of Steel trailer comments are gold!

    Love your work guys, this podcast/video is just a joy to watch every week.

  6. On the fun end of DVD commentaries, the Donnie Darko (original cut) one with the WHOLE cast except Gyllenthal is fun for their enthusiasm and camaraderie. It’s obvious how much they all loved working on the film and believed in it.

    The Conan commentary with Arnold and John Milius is astounding for its misogyny! “She vas hot, John!” and so forth! It’s almost as if they thought no one would ever hear their comments!

    Michael Mann and James Caan on the Thief commentary share great tales of the reformed master thieves who advised the film, as well as being quite critical of Robert Prosky and Tangerine Dream.

    And on the truly strange end of things, director W.D. Richter and real-life Hong Kong Cavalier Reno Nevada on the commentary for Buckaroo Banzai.

  7. Not a movie, but the Futurama DVD commentaries are just as funny (if not funnier) than the regular episodes. They rotate in different cast and crew and they all have a great rapport, especially the voice actors.

    Turns out the writers are huge nerds and like to toss in jokes about mathematical concepts into the background.

  8. The Simpsons is one of the few TV shows I love enough to watch the commentary of. Hearing the producers, animators and writers just talk about how an episode comes together is really fascinating.

    EDIT: And just as I post this they started talking about the Simpsons.

  9. Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite commentaries. Also, it might be a bit of a cop out, but the caption commentary on the BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy miniseries is one of my favorites. I love watching it, hearing the jokes, AND getting the commentary all at once.

  10. Favorite DVD commentaries/bonus content:

    Roger Ebert’s commentary track for “Citizen Kane.” Here is a movie well-suited for detailed analysis, and here’s the best guy in the world for analyzing a movie and explaining things.

    The series commentaries for “Mr. Show.” It’s a roomful of comedy writers talking about comedy. I had even more respect for the makers of this show after listening. Every move was carefully thought out and every choice had some sort of theory behind it. And they’re equally keen to point out crappy wigs and props that keep recurring during show after show.

    Reno 911: Miami – Triple high score. One track featurs Tom Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney pitching in a great production commentary; another track is Lennon and RBG commenting in character; and there’s lots of clips of unedits improv runs. Patton Oswalt does an incredible argument with Mindy Sperling that goes on forever (and is never less than funny) as the deputies look on, feeling awkward.

    Brother Bear. This one is for SCTV fans. In the movie, Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis portray two moose buddies, and they essentially perform as Bob and Dog McKenzie. Their commentary track is in character…and it’s EXACTLY like a MST3K episode starring Bob & Doug.

  11. For a slightly off-beat recommendation for movie commentaries…

    Run Lola Run. With director Tom Tykwer and star Franke Potente, who, at the time of the commentary, were husband and wife. Obviously, they get along well, and it was clear that they prepared lots of notes in advance. There were no awkward pauses, and lots of insight into the creative process and anecdotes about the production, presented in an easygoing manner.

    This was one of the earliest DVD commentaries I heard, and it remains one of my favourite. I think I’ve listened to it about three times. It rather spoiled me, and hearing some horrible commentaries later on (including the Matrix one Adam mentions) convinced me that there is actually an art to a good commentary.

  12. the commentary for Cannibal: The Musical is hands down my favorite commentary ever. A bunch of people getting drunker and drunker talking shit about various people in the movie.

  13. I very rarely listen to commentaries but the one Kurt Russell and John Carpenter did for The Thing is great. It’s my favorite movie of all time and hearing them just basically have a conversation about it is incredibly entertaining.

  14. Man, you guys should have named the podcast “Off the Rails with Adam Savage”. It’s perfect!

    I’ve mentioned my favorite commentaries here before, so instead I will mention a commentary to stay away from: surprisingly, the commentary for The Exorcist was terrible. William Friedkin obviously did not understand the concept very well and spent most of the run time just describing the plot. No stories. No insight into the production process. It was very disappointing.

  15. I agree 1000% percent. Ditto for Escape from NY and Big Trouble in Little China – so basically, anytime Carpenter and Russell are in the same room together.

  16. I remember liking the audio commentary for Home Movies I also really liked the commentary for Seven Samurai and also the Romero Dawn of the Dead commentary was pretty good I think it’s him his wife and Tom Savini.

  17. michael bay’s commentaries are always tremendously insightful and very entertaining, particularly everything before transformers. the bad boys stuff is great, the rock’s is awesome, but the armageddon criterion DVD commentaries are the best. the second track features the DP and a couple of guys from NASA and is just fantastic.

  18. My favorite commentaries: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog & The Specials

    Worst commentaries for me: Conan the Barbarian & Spaceballs

    Worst director’s cut for me: The Butterfly Effect

  19. I’ll second The Duellists commentary – great anecdotes about a randy horse and how they got the final shot of the film. Ridley Scott always does a fantastic job with his commentaries.

  20. Apollo 11 for the commentary but the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven was _vastly_ superior to the cinema version. The whole sub-plot with the leper son, Saladin’s re-entry into Jerusalem and the fight at the end between Balian and Guy took the movie from a six to a solid eight and a half.

  21. Depending on who you get, Stargate commentaries can be a fucking gold mine of hilarity. The ones with Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones are by and far the best though. I’m pretty sure Gary randomly jumped in with Peter on a Sanctuary commentary too (probably “Nubbins” from S1).

  22. Ronald D. Moore’s podcasts/commentaries on Battlestar Galactica. For many of them, particularly in the 3rd and 4th season, it’s clear that he’s recording them at 2 or 3am, he’s all alone, and he’s drinking whiskey and smoking. The show’s already dark, and he goes to some dark places.

    Anything by Joss Whedon. Particularly his commentary on the Firefly episode Objects in Space. He’s such a witty and interesting guy that I love listening to him.

    The Usual Suspects commentary is also great, with Bryan Singer and Christopher McQuarrie. It goes to a weird place at the end, where they sort of explain what actually happen in the movie, but in such a mystifying way that I’m not sure I can explain it.

  23. You discussed The Lord of the Rings extras without talking about the Easter eggs? Have you not seen them? They are fantastic! You should do a whole show on DVD Easter eggs I bet. Love the podcast and mythbusters.

  24. While I never watched them myself (yet), I’ve heard nothing but good things about the John Carpenter/Kurt Russel commentaries from Escape From New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China.

    I can also attest to certain Adult Swim cartoon commentaries. The first is the one for the Venture Bros., which aside from being my favorite cartoon show of all time, has great commentary by the show’s two creators. In a weirder case, I actually find that I can’t watch Robot Chicken unless I watch with the commentaries. I found the cut away to explanations and funny stories during the making process way more entertaining than the show itself.

    Honestly though, I’ve never really gone back to commentaries much and I’m really excited to get into it this summer.

  25. Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection) commentary by Japanese film expert Michael Jeck is great, and showed me so much more of what was going on in the movie. It sounds like he carefully planned what to say and topics to hit, which makes it quite the contrast to many commentaries.

  26. The cast commentary for the entire Extended Edition Lord of the Rings collection is excellent. Fellowship is probably the best for cast commentary, but it’s all fantastic. You really get a true sense of how incredibly close the actors got in the process of filming the trilogy I know a lot of actors always say politely “Oh it was so great working with so and so” but there’s none of that, the stories and their interactions all speak for themselves. It’s clear that they all got very close to one another, and had a real camaraderie together.

    Learning more about the techniques they used to shoot various scenes, especially with the issue of size differences and the like is pretty cool as well.

    Also, there are some really hilarious stories, especially from the Hobbits.

    Hell, I’ve consumed all of the extra features for those movies so many times, it’s all so goddamn good and there is so effing much of it.

  27. Love that Mr. Savage is a fan of Spartan — three quotes I always use at my friends, “You need to set your motherfvcker to receive”, “I always knew you Marines were a weepy buncha motherfvckers”, and “Honey, you got all the slack in the world until I leave this room. Then I’m gonna zero you out.”

    so great!

  28. This just reminded me again how much I’d love to see a post of the crew’s favourite movies available on Netflix and/or Hulu Plus.

  29. I really enjoyed listening to the commentary for Fight Club – part a combo of the director (whose name escapes me), Brad Pitt and Edward Norton joking and pointing out the Tyler Durden easter eggs, and part Helena Bonham-Carter solo, doing the serious stuff. It’s probably the only commentary that I’ve ever listened to all the way through.

    And thanks, Will, for getting the Airwolf theme tune stuck in my head for hours after listening to this podcast. Though that might be more my fault than yours, thinking about it…

  30. The Clerks first cut commentary is pretty entertaining. It’s Smith, producer Scott Moser, and actors Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran, and Jeff Anderson watching the film a decade after it was made. There’s a great run about Moser admitting to having seen Smith’s mom naked. Mewes barely remembers the film at all since he was drunk during most of it.

    Blair Witch Project has an interesting commentary by the directors and producer about how the film was made. Some cool insight in it. They also explain what was in the bloody bundle of twigs.

    South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut has a great commentary on blu-ray. Normally Matt and Trey do short commentaries on the show because they run out of stuff to talk about. Same thing happens with the movie and they start grabbing random people from the hall outside the recording booth that didn’t even work on the film.

    I haven’t seen it but I’ve heard the Showgirls commentary is pretty entertaining with the director talking about how he made one of the worst films of all time.

    I like the David Fincher commentaries too, not because they’re fun but because they’re really informative.

  31. favorite commentaries for me would be the lord of the rings trillogy behind the scenes and commentary + hobbit behind the scenes videos on youtube by percy jackson. Also the pirates of the carribean behind the scenes are excelent. some DVDs actually have like an interactive history of pirates thing on them.

  32. The movie “Go.” Loved the way the director talked about the cheap way they did some of the effects – a garden hose for rain, etc.

  33. The commentary by Francis Coppola on the Godfather DVDs is like going to film school- it’s both personal and informative for anyone who loves cinema.
    I also enjoy the Roger Ebert commentaries on the Citizen Kane and Dark City DVDs.
    But my favorite, by far, is the commentary track on This Is Spinal Tap. The commentary is in character and it’s like having a second film just as funny as the film itself.

  34. I didn’t see it mentioned yet, but look for the commentary to The Venture Brothers. The creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick do almost every episode.

    They’re not particularly insightful, but these guys should have a podcast. Or just someone go in that room and leave the mic on.

    If you’ve seen an episode of the show, they talk the way they write.

    EDIT: I mean I didn’t see it mentioned yet. Have all four seasons of Venture Bros and heard all the commentaries.

  35. Any discussion of great commentary tracks must include Paul Thomas Anderson’s solo commentary track to Boogie Nights. He starts out by stating how much he learned from laser disc commentaries, and proceeds to give a master class in filmmaking. He’s never done another commentary since.

  36. On a side note, why don’t you three pick one movie and record your own commentary, RiffTrax style, and provide the MP3 for download? It could be funny, insightful, whatever. Tell me this wouldn’t be popular.

  37. This was a great one this week…I am still a new listener, and enjoying this a lot. I would HIGHLY recommend, if you haven’t done so already, that you listen to the commentary for all 3 seasons of Arrested Development. It is so much better than watching the actual show, which is hilarious and brilliant. Now that they are coming out with New episodes, I hope they continue the commentary.

  38. All the Lord of the Rings commentaries are great, but the gold goes to the Merry and Pippin (Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd) track. Super fun and entertaining, plus you get a lot more lighthearted stories from behind the scenes.

    The animators’ commentary on The Incredibles is also a favorite. The one bummer with that disc is that on the previous couple of Pixar DVDs there was a “Musical Score Only” track. The Incredibles was the perfect film to showcase this, but they didn’t do it.

  39. I know I’m late to the party but the best commentary tracks I have listened to are:

    Evil Dead with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell

    Escape from New York with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell

    The Thing again with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell

    in all of these you can feel that the commentators are very good friends and that they are really enjoying themselves. They have nice and funny banter but also add a lot of behind the scenes info. Really fun and interesting to watch.

  40. The Sum of All Fears has one of my favorite commentaries with Tom Clancy and the director Phil Robinson. It is amazing, especially if you like a little tension between commentators like Adam mentioned. The first words out of Tom Clancy’s mouth are “Hi, I’m Tom Clancy, I wrote the book they ignored.” You can tell he was not super impressed with the movie.

  41. Someone mentioned Kurt Russel and John Carpenter’s “The Thing” commentary. The BEST commentary from the pair is the one they did for “Escape from New York”. You can hear them opening beers while talking and getting pretty ripped by the end. But the comments are both insightful and hilarious. As an example, in the diner scene just after Snake arrives in the prison, he’s there a woman and they’re talking. Then they are attacked and she dies. Russell bursts out laughing and say “John, I just realized. We got to kill off both our ex-wives!” Russel was married to the actress Season Hubley who was the woman in the diner and Carpenter was married to Adrienne Barbeau, both who die in the movie.

    The other one is to listen to Paul Verhoeven’s commentary on “Starship Troopers” cause it’s like he’s talking about a totally different movie.

  42. No, no it wasn’t. It was awful. The director would start explaining something about a shot that would start sounding interesting, then Mila and Michelle would interrupt with stupid, vapid unrelated comments. They would do this every single damn time. They did a fine job of painting themselves as childish ‘valley girls’.

    That’s the reason Resident Evil is on just about every “Worst Commentaries of All Time” lists.

  43. How can I put this without sounding like a dick…I don’t really enjoy Michael Bay as a director, but you’re right – he does some good commentary. Mainly because he’s not afraid to tell good stories, and mention names – so you get some juicy insider info on some of his films. One that comes to mind is the Bad Boys one, where he describes Joe Pantoliano’s prima donna moment.

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