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The Top 5 DVD Commentary Tracks: Big Trouble in Little China, Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, More

May 13, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Big Trouble in Little China

The Top 5 Best DVD Commentary Tracks

Okay, so, obviously, this is not the latest 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week, since the focus of this particular piece is positive, and Dumpster Fire of the Week is something that tends to dwell on the negative/negativity in general. And since I did the Top 5 Worst DVD Commentary tracks last week, it made sense to do the Top 5 Best DVD Commentary Tracks this week.

And so, without any further what have you, here are my Top 5 Best DVD Commentary Tracks.

Honorable Mentions:

UHF: UHF is one of the first DVDs I purchased (it was this and Jason X) and it was mostly because I love the movie (I actually saw it on its opening weekend back in 1989) and wanted to hear the Yankovic and Jay Levey commentary track. It’s chock full of great information about the production of the movie and features “visits” by Michael Richards and Victoria Jackson.

Red Scorpion DVD/Blu-ray combo pack from Synapse Films: Features director Joseph Zito and moderator Nathaniel Thompson. You learn quite a bit about the movie’s troubled production history and how Dolph Lundgren was in his first starring role. My God, someone needs to write a book about this movie.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: I actually first heard this one year when Comedy Central did a big hooha Monty Python marathon (I think it was around New Year’s) and aired Holy Grail with the commentary track at midnight. I fell asleep after about half-an-hour but I did manage to listen to the track again when it was on the Special Edition DVD. It’s just a joy to listen to Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam talk about the making of the movie.


5- Family Guy Season 1: When this DVD set came out I was ecstatic because I was a mega fan of the show since day one and, with commentary tracks, I wanted to hear what show creator Seth MacFarlane and everyone else that was set to appear on the track thought of the show, how Fox handled the show, etc. I believe MacFarlane and company recorded tracks for every episode but, for whatever reason, Fox decided to only use a few of those tracks for select episodes. All of the tracks were fascinating because you learned a little bit about how a show like Family Guy was put together, the creative process, and it was cool to hear how much the creative team liked one another. My favorite part, though? When MacFarlane started swearing in Peter Griffin’s voice. For whatever reason, at that time, that was one of the funniest things I ever heard. It still kind of is. I’m shocked that Fox didn’t have tracks featuring the voice actors as their characters. That would have been awesome.


4- Adam Marcus (director) and Dean Lorey (screenwriter)- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: I believe this commentary track was first available on the DVD that featured both the unrated cut of Jason Goes to Hell and the R rated cut. You get a sense right from the start that both Marcus and Lorey are fans of Jason and the Friday the 13th movie series and are friends and enjoy spending time with one another, and that, with tandem commentary tracks, is half the battle. You learn so much about how Marcus got the directing job in the first place (he had a working relationship with producer Sean Cunningham) and what Lorey had in mind with his original “Jason in Los Angeles fighting street gangs” idea. And the way Marcus goes into detail of how the Creighton Duke torturing Steven in jail was filmed and how they had to add parts to the scene months later. And, man, did Marcus and Lorey have a crush on Erin Gray. I just love listening to this track.


3- Adam Green and Joe Lynch- Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter Deluxe Edition: I know I said last week that I didn’t particularly care for “fan” commentary tracks, but I make an exception for the Green and Lynch Final Chapter commentary track because they’re both well-known horror movie directors and they’ve both made slasher movies (Green is responsible for the Hatchet franchise and Lynch directed Wrong Turn 2: Dead End), so it’s cool to hear what they think about a Jason movie, especially one of their favorites. You learn about when they first saw the movie, what it’s meant to their careers, how many times they’ve seen the movie and what scares them the most about it (the bit where Jason kills Rob in the basement is a scene that disturbs both of them). There’s also a cool story during the track about meeting the movie’s director Joseph Zito (they talked to him about Red Scorpion). You should also listen to the Zito commentary track on this DVD, too.


2- John Carpenter and Kurt Russell- Big Trouble in Little China : I love all three of the Carpenter/Russell commentary tracks, but I like the Big Trouble in Little China track the most because it’s the most informal of the three. You get the sense that, just in case you didn’t already know it, that Carpenter and Russell are really good friends and enjoy spending time together. As I said earlier, that’s half the battle with tandem commentary tracks. The first half of the track is chock full of interesting production information (you know, sort of the usual DVD commentary stuff) and then, right in the middle of the track Carpenter and Russell stop talking about the movie and just start shooting the shit. And that is just as fascinating as the other parts of the track. I am so disappointed that we’re not getting another Carpenter/Russell commentary track on the upcoming Escape from L.A. Blu-ray.


1- Joe Bob Briggs- Samurai Cop: This track was first available on the release by Media Blasters via its Guilty Pleasures line (I believe it’s still available on one of the newer Blu-ray editions, too). Joe Bob admits multiple times during the commentary track that he couldn’t find any real information on the movie’s production. The director Amir Shervan had basically disappeared and Matt Hannon/Mathew Karedas was nowhere to be found, and since this track was recorded in like 2003/2004ish the whole Samurai Cop “thing” wasn’t a thing. There was just so little info out there. So Joe Bob gave us his learned opinion on what was happening on screen, and it’s constantly hilarious. Joe Bob does talk about the careers of Robert Z’Dar, Melissa Moore, Cameron (his dissertation on her adult film career is great), and Gerald Okamura, but it’s mostly just Joe Bob riffing on what’s happening on screen (and speaking of Gerald Okamura, Joe Bob freaking out during Okamura’s almost sex scene is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard). It’s hard to watch the movie without the commentary track once you’ve heard the track. I have to listen to this track every couple of months just to stay sane.


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