I'm well aware that it's a thoroughly nerdly hobby, but I'm a sucker for a good commentary track. Not those dry and painful ones or the self-adoring love-fests in which everyone was "awesome" and "like, so talented." Nope, I dig the laid-back tracks from the directors who are cool enough to relax, but informed and passionate enough to share some illuminating insights -- but mainly I just like the fun ones. As you scan through my admittedly fluffy list, it's important to remember that, while I do listen to a lot of "grown-up" commentaries, I generally tend to remember the more "entertaining" ones. (Then again, a good film noir with a historian talk-track ... fun stuff! And I'm not kidding!) But since most of my DVD collection consists of action, comedy, sci-fi and (lots of) horror, my selections will run towards that direction. My apologies to the Criterion junkies, but you already know those commentaries are high-end stuff.


1. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell on Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China -- Yakking away like the two old pals they obviously are, Carpenter and Russell chit-chat non-stop through all three of the geek-beloved genre collaborations. Whether they're chuckling about embarrassing moments, enjoying the old movie memories or asking one another about their kids, this pair makes for an exceedingly entertaining audio experience. And yes, they pay attention to the movies, too. (Also recommended: Russell, Bob Gale and Robert Zemckis on Used Cars or Carpenter on Halloween and The Fog.)


2. Terry Gilliam on Brazil -- One of the best audio commentaries I've ever heard. Brutally honest and endlessly fascinating, Mr. Gilliam goes on about the troubled production, the screenplay, the studio interference, the critical reaction, the uproar, and on and on. The fact that Gilliam's a naturally fantastic storyteller certainly doesn't hurt. And get this: The audio commentary isn't even the best supplement included in this stellar three-disc set. (OK, so I had to get one Criterion disc in here. Also recommended: Gilliam and Terry Jones on Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Gilliam on 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.)

categories Features, Cinematical