Best Fan DVD Commentary Tracks

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  1. Sorry, this list is no longer updated as of 10/28/05


  2. Great:


  3. Mulholland Drive (2001) by Sean Weitner and Andy Ross
  4. Flak Magazine critics Sean Weitner and Andy Ross provide this sharp play-by-play analysis of Lynch's cryptic masterpiece as a companion to their simple written explanation of the film. Sean & Andy are right on the money with this one - not to be missed!
  5. Suspiria (1977)
  6. Incredible analysis of the ambiguous masterpiece Suspiria, coupled with trivia and supporting data.
  7. Flash Gordon (1980) by Renegade Commentaries
  8. The prolific folks at Renegade Commentaries mock Flash Gordon, which is like shooting rotten apples in a barrel, but at least that way you're sure to hit the apples every time, and they do. Very funny!

  9. Good:


  10. L.A. Confidential (1997) by Andrew Fisher
  11. Andrew Fisher (Hurricane Andy) intelligently dissects the successes and failures of L.A. Confidential. Stuffed with useful and interesting analysis.
  12. WarGames (1983) by The Spoilers
  13. The Spoilers provide some great MST3K, how-to, technical analysis, and more.
  14. Minority Report (2002) by Andrew Fisher
  15. Yet another intelligent, play-by-play analysis of Minority Report.
  16. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) by George Davis
  17. Conspicuously chopped up and filled with many brief chunks of dead air, George Davis' commentary is nevertheless intelligent & fascinating.
  18. Head (1968) by Derek Miner
  19. Derek Miner offers some possible explanations for the demented Monkees movie Head, along with production notes and other details. Well done!
  20. Top Gun (1986) by Andrew Fisher
  21. Andrew Fisher says as much about the film and how it was made as the creators themselves can. That's what film knowledge and paying close attention will do for you.
  22. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) by Forrest Gabitsch
  23. The recording quality is bad, but the content is great. TCM superfan Forrest Gabitsch shares his thoughts (some from his own term paper on the film) and makes a compelling and knowledgeable argument for TCM as a work of art and not just a 'damn good time'. Good humor, too, and references to everything from Suspiria to John Ford to The Cramps.
  24. Hackers (1995) by Renegade Commentaries
  25. Thank goodness, 'The Q' and Chris from Renegade Commentaries actually know a something about hackers and computers. The result is a fascinating investigation of how the film relates to the reality of hacking and computer use.
  26. Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro (1979) by Chris Meadows
  27. Packed with geeky fanboy data sure to please hardcore fans of whatever the hell Lupin is.
  28. Signs (2002) by Andrew Fisher
  29. Andrew shares his play-by-play of thoughts on Shyamalan's films. Better than half the 'official' DVD commentaries I've heard from people who obviously aren't interested in recording a commentary.
  30. First Strike (1996) by Andrew Fisher
  31. Hurricane Andy knows more about Jackie Chan than [insert witty comparison here]. Yet another great track from him.
  32. X-Men (2000) by Renegade Commentaries
  33. 'The Q' from Renegade Commentaries gives a solo commentary that interestingly compares the X-Men comics to the resulting film, among other things.
  34. X2: X-Men United (2003) by Renegade Commentaries
  35. More interesting comics-to-movie comparisons and other analysis from The Q.
  36. Doctor Who: "The Caves of Androzani" by mmm commentaries
  37. Quite an interesting and in-depth analysis by one of the better Doctor Who episodes, The Caves of Androzani.
  38. Armageddon (1998) by Renegade Commentaries
  39. Hilarious, especially after the first 15 minutes or so.
  40. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) by Renegade Commentaries
  41. Very funny. 'Nuff said.
  42. Violent Cop (1989) by Serdar Yegulalp
  43. Serdar 'The Gline' Yegulalp knows his shit and loves his shit, and he'll let you know it and love it, too.
  44. Fellowship of the Ring (2001) [extended edition] by John Callender
  45. Stuffed with fanboy analysis and dry enthusiasm. A very good listen.
  46. Spider-Man (2000) by Renegade Commentaries
  47. Another solo commentary from 'The Q' of Renegade Commentaries that is often interesting. The Q acknowledges that he knows less about the Spider-Man comics than the X-Men comics, so he spends less time comparing the comics to the movie on this one, but it's still fairly interesting.
  48. Battlefield Earth (2000) by Renegade Commentaries
  49. Quite funny trashing.
  50. The Passion of the Christ (2004) by Film Pigs
  51. Obnoxious, sloppy pigs can be funny. They're having such a good time it's hard not to have a good time yourself.



  • Author Comments: 

    A Fan DVD Commentary is recorded by individual(s) for simultaneous play with a DVD. Just like normal DVD commentaries, these audio tracks feature a speaker or speakers analyzing, discussing, or joking about a particular film. Unlike normal commentaries, they are not included on DVDs themselves. They are distributed online as compressed audio files (usually, mp3s). Others can download the files and play them in sync with the corresponding DVD as 'additional' DVD commentaries.

    They are similar to Roger Ebert's 'guest commentaries' on Dark City and Citizen Kane, but they are distributed online instead of with the DVD. Roger Ebert popularized the idea, saying he'd love to hear a "a 'Wayne's World'-style track from dudes down in the basement who think 'The Mummy Returns' is way cool," among other ideas.

    For more information, read this excellent Salon article.

    Many fan-created DVD commentary tracks aren't worth it. But many are decent, and some are great! Fan commentary archive DVDTracks.com is down, but the ever-useful Internet Archive saves the day: you can navigate the whole site as it was on January 25th here!

    Heard any fan DVD commentaries on or off this list? What did you think?

    Cloned From: 

    what is this "fan commentary"??

    I should probably explain in the author comments, eh? A 'Fan DVD Commentary' is a brand-new commentary track recorded by someone as an mp3 (or other compressed audio) that can be played simultaneously with a DVD. Roger Ebert popularized this idea. For example, MST3K wannabees could mock Catwoman or Cat in the Hat on their own commentary track that others would download and listen to when you watch the movie. Or, a film critic could record a commentary that dissects one of their favorite films (as Ebert has done for Dark City and Citizen Kane - but those were on the DVDs, not distributed online as mp3s).

    I think it's a fantastic idea that hasn't gotten enough attention yet. But it will.

    ha! that sounds like a laugh. i would do one on all of Wes Anderson's films, then i'd bet that i would not have one bad thing to say about them..i'd be a millionaire!

    I know you're joking, but how would you be a millionaire?

    lol.. i don't know... :-) it was one of jokes that don't mean anything (alot like the lyrics to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'..nobody knows what it means) i supose i could say that i would make a bet with a friend that i couldn't say one bad thing and then if i don't , i win! but hey, it wasn't meant to mena much. just friendly chit chat

    Interesting... I should engage in friendly chit chat too! I'd be a millionaire!

    Your enthusiasm may be useful, but I was unconvinced by Rushmore's arguments. I'll hedge my bets with Jack "Chicken Soup" Canfield or Robert "No Money Down" Allen instead.

    Perhaps Wes Anderson would put him on the payroll.

    ok what i said made no sense!! :) i get it ;)

    I'm currently reading How to Read a Film, in which the author predicts the future of film is for it to become more interactive, but he can't imagine how. This is how.

    Oh, I'm not so sure. The only difference between these and ordinary commentary tracks are that these are downloadable online. I hope the way films become more interactive is that, in a few hundred years, they will be a series of virtual reality scenes where each viewer is 'in' the scene but cannot interact with it, so they can look at the scene from any angle and any position, and any MOVING position and angle as a sort of ghost.

    He's talking about interacting with the film by participating in the process of creating the film experience. I see virtual reality the way you describe as passive, unless the viewer has control over the film's path. Viewer commentary requires interacting with film. If viewers can distribute their commentary to other viewers in real time, that is real interaction, being able to partake of the creative process. The film goes to the viewer, the viewer responds with commentary, which goes to another viewer, and so on.

    I see what you are saying now. I didn't think of your point as being 'interactive' because it does not affect the film at all. The film always remains exactly the same. But the audience experience, the community experience, can change with fan commentaries. But, this change is little more than what Listology enables by building a community of people who comment on the media they consume.

    My virtual reality dream does change the film because an integral piece of a film is how the images are framed and shot. If the user controls the shots, that most definitely changes and personalizes the film while retaining the script, sets, and performances.

    I suppose it would be fully interactive, if the communication between viewer and film could go both ways.

    Confusion: Which "it" are you referring to?
    Curiosity: And how might that work, do you think?

    "It" works for both virtual reality and film.

    The future of media is that every consumer will also be a producer. Years from now, all filmmaking technology will be integrated, including acting, and the audience will become the director, just as easily as you write your blog now.

    Scary. I suck at directing. I hope that doesn't happen in my lifetime, and it probably won't.

    The overall quality of media might go up as more people are empowered to participate in the creative process.

    Am I a terrible cynic if I expect that the opposite would happen?

    Which doesn't mean I am against the idea...

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

    Talentless as I am, I suspect I may be able to out-direct Uwe Boll.

    What effect do you think the Web has had on the quality of information, journalism, media, that's available at your command?

    I fear the Internet has lowered the overall quality of media, although I do think it has made a few excellent sources available that otherwise would not have been. The average plummets, while a few more shining specimens break through.

    I think that hold true for factual media, and I fear it holds even more true for the arts. I can look at the box office results every weekend and guess what kinds of films would result from greater democracy in the production of movies. Of course, in the deluge of mediocrity, a few terrific works may result that never would have been made before.

    That's why I support democracy in the media, even if I have no belief that it will raise the overall quality of that media in the long run. If it creates a few more sources I cherish, what do I care about the overall average?

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

    PS - I think this makes me an elitist at heart and a supporter of democracy in practice.

    Perhaps.

    If you look only at weekend winners, you're right. However, I'm looking at the big picture. There's the dramatic growth in documentaries and independents that has resulted from democratization. Specialization, the creation of niche markets, is dramatically increasing the quality of the media I consume.

    And in that phrase, "I consume," lies my meaning. If, as I, the crank, tend to believe, 98% of everything is junk, then with more choices available, more great stuff will be available. The overall quality, however, stays at 2% of stuff worth checking out.

    In other words, I could be wrong, but I am not so sure we disagree all that much.

    Let me know if I'm not catching your drift.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

    We're not disagreeing. We're expressing diverse opinions :).

    Works for me!

    The truth may be that I am just too darned grumpy (and picky).

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

    Have you actually listened to all of these? or are you going by recommendations?

    Good question. Most of these I did not get a copy of the movie to watch with the commentary, but I was able to evaluate the audio tracks anyway. I've listened to all of them, though not completely. Generally, I listen to a few minutes at a time from different pieces of the audio track. This is especially easy with the Renegade Commentaries because they break up their tracks into 4MB chunks, so I just download, say, the first, 3rd, and 8th pieces and listen to most of that. However, the quality of a commentary is surprisingly predictable working only with the first 4 minutes of it, I've found. But it's also possible that, by chance, I happen to hear the worst parts of a commentary and miss the best parts, so if someone listens to the whole thing and disagrees with my assessment, I hope they will let me know. This has already happened with The Matrix commentary (from Renegade Commentaries). I first listened to the first 50 minutes or so and didn't care for it. The folks at the Renegade Commentaries thought it was one of their best, so I gave the second half a shot and like it much better and moved it up the list on category. There are many for which I listen to the whole thing, though (mostly, the ones at the very top of the list).

    Has anybody else here ever listened to a fan commentary track?

    If nobody has, that wouldn't invalidate this list; I'm just askin'.

    I've never listened but I've been intrigued by the concept ever since I read about it a few years back. I'm interested in knowing how you, lukeprog, personally sync up the audio with the visuals.

    The rule of thumb is to hit play on the audio track at the same time you hit play on the DVD. If the commentary track is broken into multiple pieces, queue them up in a playlist. I just play the audio track off my PC because my TV and PC are both in my bedroom. But you can also put it on a digital music player or burn it to a CD.

    If a track isn't correctly synced by pressing play on the audio track and the DVD at the same time, then instructions on proper syncing are usually provided at the very front of the commentary track. As for volume, I just turn the volume of the TV to low and turn subtitles on while I listen to the audio commentary track at normal volume. The experience won't be hindered, usually, by being a second or two out of sync.

    Is that what you wanted to know?

    Thanks, lukeprog. That's exactly what I was looking for. I have a PS2 and TV and Computer in one room and I thought it'd be pretty easy to take a listen-see but I didn't want to jump through too many sync hoops.

    Yup, my new audio commentary track for Persona is ready for download. It's the first I've recorded. Be sure to read the important note on downloading near the top of the page.

    Yay, my Persona commentary track is now hosted as a single MP3 file on OurMedia. What an awesome site that is.

    Yay, my new American Beauty commentary track is up. Yay, my brother joins me for half of this one. Yay, I like saying 'yay'.

    That is to bad about The Exorcist! Maybe I should do one! It would talk about the cool guys winning (the demons!) rotflmao!

    wait, i'm not really "with it" tech-wise. would it be possible to download it as a file, then just listen to it from my pc and not bother with the dvd?

    Of course. Just realize that if the commentator makes specific reference to the shot that would be onscreen if you were watching the DVD, you'll probably have no idea which shot he's talking about. That's actually how I evaluate most of these tracks because I can't be bothered to hunt down the DVD for each of them.

    cool. well i have "the Simpsons: Season 1" and i dvd player right next to my pc, so i'll be ok with the "moaning lisa" commentary, i'll start with that one. thx

    just listened to it with the episode. thought it was good, very good. it did seem quite a personal commentary track, are all of his like that? i'm thinking of recording a few using my mp3. maybe i could get a site to host it

    Some are more personal than others. Also, many are mostly humorous while others are more analytical. Hosting is no problem if you record your own - you can just upload it to OurMedia like me, once you sign up for a free account.

    Hi! I'm the fellow who recorded the Cagliostro audio commentary mentioned in the "Quite Good" section of the list above. Since the DVDTracks site went defunct, and archive.org's link to the mp3 doesn't seem to know where its brain is, you can find the mp3 of the commentary track itself either here or here.

    Hope you enjoy it.

    Thanks!

    If you want to get the movie it matches up to, you may find it cheaply right here. You select Japanese audio, subtitles, then click the play button, and start the mp3 playing as the annoying blue metal crunchy thing crunches. I highly recommend it, with and without commentary.

    Phew. Seemed like fan commentary tracks nearly died, but they may make a comback via The Spoilers.

    Fan commentary tracks die? If anything, they were ahead of their time and the format is just now coming into its own. This is the era of the "podcast" after all; now it's easier than ever to do a fan commentary track and find an audience for it. Heck, when you've got the makers of current TV shows recording their own podcast commentaries, you have to step back and say, "Wow...people really are starting to get it."

    This is a brilliant list - lots of really cool stuff here.

    By the way, those who are interested might like to check out the commentary I recorded for SUSPIRIA. It's the first time I've done anything like this but I'm reasonably happy with the end result. I have separate versions timed for PAL and NTSC copies of the film, at http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/writings/commentaries.html.

    Great, thanks for the link! I'll very shortly have to give up tracking alternate commentaries, but not before one last, massive update that will now include your commentary.

    Wow. Your commentary is incredible. Please do more!

    Thanks. All being well I will be doing another commentary soon - probably Opera - but it depends on how much free time I have. I also write reviews for DVDTimes.co.uk and have quite a full schedule at the moment, as well as doing a post-graduate course in Film Studies, so I'm not sure I'd be able to devote any time to doing a full commentary until around Christmas time.

    I've just got to mention that there is now a commentary track for the 100th episode of Scrubs, by writers Neil Goldman & Garrett Donovan. Download here. (page)