Worthwhile Commentary Tracks

So I've got this new routine when I purchase a blu-ray where I watch the film, watch the features, and then watch the film with the commentary track if there is one. I figure I should get the most bang for my buck if I'm going to purchase physical media.

Anyway, I just wanted to see if anyone has some recommendations for really good commentary tracks or even tracks to avoid. I'm working my way through a re-watch of The Wire on Blu-ray right now and I'm finding some of the commentaries really interesting and worthwhile, but others to be a total waste of time and that's kind of where the thought of starting this thread came from.

A couple of good ones that leap to mind are Robert Rodriguez on El Mariachi and Joss Whedon on some Firefly episodes.

I've heard there are some great ones on Fincher's films, though I must admit I'm not the biggest Fincher fan, so I haven't heard any of them. I've also heard Jodie Foster's on Contact is excellent.

Lastly, probably the most bizarre one that I've ever heard was the one for Blood Simple. Coen Brothers' films almost never have any sort of commentary, so I was thrilled to find one on Blood Simple, only to discover it's basically a 90-minute troll in which a fake academic parodies the worst tendencies in commentary tracks. Kind of funny at first, but it was really disappointing to not get any more incite into the film itself.


  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited November 2015
    Goodfellas has one of the greatest of all time. It's the actual Henry Hill along with the actual FBI agent that handled his turning into an informant.

    Comedies tend to be solid since they usually end up being funny for one reason or another. Talledega Nights sticks out the most in that regard.

    Love this thread by the way. Commentary tracks are underrated/underlistened, and are really the only reason I still buy dvds.
  • Yeah, any Joss Whedon commentary is great, whether it be Buffy, Angel, or Firefly. Any GoT commentaries David and Dan do are great. Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, and Emilia Clarke are usually very funny. Bryan Cogman is usually very insightful on his GoT commentaries as well.
  • HeffHeff Connecticut
    The cast commentary for the three Lord Of The Rings extended editions are awesome. A mix of humor and interesting filming tidbits.

    I haven't heard any of the Hobbit ones yet.
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited November 2015
    @Freddy Thanks for the Goodfellas one, I've been on the fence about picking it up for years as I like it, but don't love it, but that commentary sounds awesome. I will definitely have to pick it up now. 

    I also agree that commentaries are under-appreciated. I've gotten so many interesting insights over the last few years. Even some of the drier, more boring ones sometimes have some good stuff spread throughout. 

    @Shum I've head a few of the GoT ones and you're right about those usually being pretty good. The only one I was really disappointed in were some of the ones with the child actors. They just didn't really have much to add. Maybe now that they are a little older, they'd be more interesting. GoT sets also have the fantastic interactive episode guides that are even more insightful in some ways than the commentaries.

    @Heff I haven't heard those, but I'd definitely be interested in the technical details of the filming and stuff. Those are impressively made films.
  • listening to Bryan Fuller talk Hannibal is something great
  • I really liked the commentaries for Battlestar Galactica, which were released as podcasts while the show was airing. Most of them are Ronald D. Moore by himself, occasionally with another writer. Sometimes commentaries for TV shows can be real circlejerks because nobody wants to offend anybody who worked on it, but I just like hearing a showrunner be very honest and candid about the show, even when there's a bad episode. 
  • Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams managed a fairly entertaining one in season 4, but all the others are basically an hour of them repeating "Oh, he/she is so nice!"

    I would also be remiss if I didn't add Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog to my Whedon list, since it includes all the actors doing a musical commentary, singing about everything from dead air to ninja ropes.
  • I hear ya @edatlin on tv show commentaries and circle jerks. I gave up on the BrBa ones as there were too many people in the room and everyone talking about how everyone's the best. The work much better when it's just the show runner, writer, or producer. And that's not always a guarantee. I suppose it's understandable though, especially for ongoing shows.

    Thanks for the Battlestar recommendation though. That sounds pretty good.
  • @Shum Yeah Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams' season one commentary was exactly what you just said. "He's amazing" or "She was so nice", etc.
  • All of Edgar Wright's commentaries are worth listening to, but the one that really stands out is the Hot Fuzz track with him and Quentin Tarantino. Basically it's 2 hours of those guys talking about action movies.

    Guillermo Del Toro's are good because the guy is so likable and enthusiastic that I often end up appreciating his movies more after listening to him.

    Also Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, James Gunn, Judd Apatow... I'll listen to any commentary they do whether I like the movie or not.

    (PS I am sorry that my list is all dudes)
  • Fincher's commentary tracks are fantastic. The one he did for Fight Club is particularly insightful.
    [Deleted User]DaveyMac
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited November 2015
    Thanks @edatlin for the Hot Fuzz recommendation. That sounds awesome actually. I knew that Edgar Wright and Tarantino were friends, but I had no idea they did a commentary together. I just got the Cornetto Trilogy on blu-ray recently, so I'll definitely have to check that one one. I also have Pan's Labyrinth as well, though I haven't gotten around to it yet. Great movie and I'm really looking forward to that commentary track.
  • I second a vote for any of the Kevin Smith commentary tracks (Chasing Amy has a PIP with the full cast around a table providing commentary)

    I also like David Finchers'. He does one for Se7en with Brad Pitt that's very insightful.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    I always enjoyed the Stark's children's commentary.  For the musical accompaniment of nothing else.  :D
  • David Chase has done some very good commentary for The Sopranos DVDs.

  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    Fincher and Brad Pitt have excellent chemistry. I also agree David Chase has done some good stuff. Though in the later seasons he was clearly bitter about some of the criticism that was being thrown his way. He also can be a bit dry. But he is obviously a very intelligent guy, so he always has great insight into things.
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