I’ve been a little inspired by this blog here today during my read through of the usual suspects. My first thought on reading this was – do people still buy cd’s? Over the past couple of years I have bought two, to be precise. Metallica’s The Black Album and Guy Sebastian’s A Beautiful Life and that’s only because I am a huge fan of his. But don’t shoot me, we’re all entitled to like stuff whether it’s good or shyte. ;)
I’m not into reading CD liners but I am really into listening to DVD commentary tracks. Over the past 24 hours I have listened to two – Top Gun (Tony Scott, Jerry Bruckheimer and writer Jack Epps, along with technical advisors Captain Mike Galpin, Pete Pettigrew and Vice Admiral Mike McCabe) and Pretty Woman (Director Garry Marshall).
The question you’re probably asking is, why do I love commentary tracks? If you have never sat down and listened to one yourself you might wonder what the heck I am on about. Take a movie that you really enjoy or love, and then get a whole new dimension added to it by people who were involved in the making of it or even acted in it perhaps. I’ve listened to probably more than 50 of them over the last couple of years, I don’t like to buy a DVD unless it contains a commentary and I have noticed now that sometimes they are adding commentaries to movies which means I have to buy another copy! This happened with both Romeo + Juliet and Top Gun – I now have early copies without any extra features which I may as well use as coasters because I value the new copies a lot more.
So the ones I listened to yesterday were just completely fascinating. Top Gun is a movie which I do love – mainly for the opening sequence more than anything. I’ve been demonstrating that to customers for about 14 years – I used to have it on laserdisc and I used to demonstrate it on a $10,000 THX system we had in a sound lounge in the very first store I worked in. The sound on that movie is incredible, there’s no doubt about it.
Seriously, if you have a decent surround sound system, go play just the opening sequence at a fairly high volume and you’ll see why I used to sell so many of those THX systems and surround sound systems in general. There’s something so indescribable in that opening sequence. 9 times out of ten it actually makes my eyes water and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. So it was hilarious to hear Tony Scott say that he was fired 3 times from Top Gun and one of the times was for that opening sequence footage.
The Pretty Woman commentary track was just lovely. Garry Marshall was the director of a lot of stuff I really loved when growing up, including Happy Days. You’d think one guy would have trouble carrying a track all on his own but he talked for most of the way through the movie about all kinds of stuff, and he was funny and friendly and so interesting. I didn’t realise until he mentioned it that he also directed The Princess Diaries which I also loved, one of the major reasons being Hector Elizondo who plays a similar type of character to his Pretty Woman role.
I’ll sit down and put together a list of some of my all time favourite commentary tracks over the next week or so, just in case anyone is interested. In the meantime, you might want to check out ratethatcommentary and see if your favourite movie has a track and then go find a copy of it to watch.
There’s also Wikipedia with info on alternate commentary tracks, which is something I may have to look into, sounds interesting! ;) and a really interesting quote from Jack Nicholson..