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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The Must-Hear DVD Commentary List - Joss Whedon In Buffy Season 2

Friday 11 June 2004, by Webmaster

The movie: Buffy Season Two - "Innocence" episode

The participant(s): Joss Whedon

Why it rocks: Joss is always a great speaker, but this is one of the first commentaries he ever did, and despite being obviously tired, he drops a lot of information, including bits on the budgetary problems the show encountered (they had just one corridor in the first season to represent all of Sunnydale High), alternate ideas dropped in developing the episode (David Greenwalt suggested Buffy use a tank to take out the Judge), specific influences on specific shots (Joss’ attempt to "be Sam Peckinpaw" in the showdown with the rocket launcher), how he dealt with plot holes ("vengeance is a living thing") and scenes that gave the actors difficulty. All in all, a great commentary that perfectly balances technical details with the development of the story and info on the filming of the show.

The movie: American Beauty

The participant(s): Director Sam Mendes and screenwriter Alan Ball

Why it rocks: These two know a lot about filmmaking and point out many subtleties about the acting and the lighting that you may have missed. Very informative if you’re a student of film.

The movie: Brazil

The participant(s): Terry Gilliam

Why it rocks: All of Terry Gilliam’s commentaries are fantastic, and this one is especially so because of all of the things that went on around the movie.

The movie: Citizen Kane

The participant(s): Roger Ebert

Why it rocks: Roger Ebert does really great commentaries. I’m not always in agreement with his movie reviews, but he does know his film, and his vast knowledge is readily apparent on this track.

The movie: Casablanca

The participant(s): Roger Ebert

Why it rocks: Ebert does it again on the commentary for Casablanca. Once again he puts together a really informative track. The only problem is he seems to feel the need to point out the fairly obvious problems with the story.

The movie: Equilibrium

The participant(s): Kurt Wimmer

Why it rocks: Wimmer goes into great detail about how he and his production designer were able to create lush, rich sets out of virtually nothing using various techniques and tricks of the trade; Kurt provides detailed examples such as how they dressed the inside of empty warehouses with little more than fabric, how they "painted" sets with light and built sets inside a parking garage to give the film production value (transforming the highly textured and detailed bottom of the upper deck into the ersatz "ceiling" of their set). Even more amazing is the fact that Wimmer almost never duplicates anything he says in the second commentary with producer Lucas Foster in his first commentary.

The movie: Narc

The participant(s): Writer/director Joe Carnahan and editor John Gilroy

Why it rocks: This is a very good commentary track. It gives you a lot of good information about the movie, how it was made, and just things that make you appreciate the movie. It is also very funny. the director and editor make fun of the movie and just make jokes and tell funny stories.

The Movie: Used Cars

The participant(s): Kurt Russell, Robert Zemeckis.

Why it rocks: This commentary is hilarious. Zemeckis actually says while watching one stunt that his testicles are shriveling up seeing how dangerous it is and that he would never do that today.

The movie: Escape from New York

The participant(s): Kurt Russell and John Carpenter

Why it rocks: Yes another Kurt Russell commentary. Listening to these two guys reminiscing about the shoot and tell funny stories about everything under the sun makes you sad when the movie is over.

The movie: The Evil Dead Trilogy

The participant(s): Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi and others

Why it rocks: Any commentary you can get with Bruce Campbell is worth having at any price. Bruce and Sam playfully rib each other in all 3 of the movies.

The movie: Re-Animator

The participant(s): Pretty much the entire cast.

Why it rocks: This commentary is also hilarious as the cast 10 years after the movie was made finally go back and watch it again. This commentary is like a party going on and you happened to sneak in the back door while someone passed out doing a keg stand.

The movie: Apollo 13

The participant(s): Jim and Marilyn Lovell

Why it rocks: It’s a very rare and interesting idea - a commentary from the actual historical figures portrayed! It’s great to listen to their memories of the actual event and how the movie portrayed it. It’s very educational.

The movie: What Women Want

The participant(s): Director Nancy Meyers & Production Designer Jon Hutman

Why it rocks: Neither one of them are silent throughout the entire movie and clearly enjoyed making the film. Meyers shares dozens of fun little stories about Gibson during production. Two particularly funny facts were Gibson doing a hilarious Sean Connery impression that Meyers HAD to add into the movie. Or during a scene where Mel’s character had to catch a cork in mid-air, he actually had it in his hand the whole time. I can’t do either stories justice.

The Movie:Killer Klowns From Outer Space

The participant(s): The Chiodo Brothers

Why it rocks: It’s just hilarious to hear these guys diss their own movie. At no point do they actually deny that the movie is no good. They realize it’s a really bad b-movie and just make no qualms about it.