Friday, October 19, 2012

This Open Letter to DVD Commentaries

Dear DVD Commentaries,

Look, I know I bought the deluxe edition DVD because you were on it. In fact, I made sure to get the edition with two different tracks, one with the cast and the other with the writers and producers. I was so excited to have you in my media library because I knew it would just expand my movie enjoyment to have you with me.

And yet, here we are, over a year or more later and I still haven't listened to you. Oh, I've watched the movie half-a-dozen times or more, and the next time I keep telling myself I'll actually get to you. I don't even read the trivia section on the IMDB page because I don't want to spoil anything. It's going to be great, I tell myself, when I can finally learn all the secrets of the film, the stuff I never noticed. It's going to make watching the movie a completely different experience.

But who has the time? I apparently don't. I look at the extensive commentary tracks and I tell myself that as soon as I get a few spare hours, I'll listen to you. This is after the few spare hours I have to find to watch the movie in the first place. Those are easy to find, because it's relaxing to put in a movie I've already seen and watch again and again. Sometimes I'll fall asleep while watching.

But listening to you all is work. It's like taking a class on the film, meaning I have to pay attention or I'll miss something. And like class, I'll find myself dozing off only to wake up and realize I missed something important. Then I have to figure out where I nodded off and go back to listen again. I feel like I should be taking notes.

Granted, some of you commentaries are better than others. Some of you are so much fun, like the commentary for the musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog. That commentary is itself a musical, so in essence I'm getting two musicals for the price of one. (Which is nothing, since I borrowed it, but that's not really important right now.) Sometimes you get a commentary like the one in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy which has little to do with the movie, it's just a lot of hilarious nonsense, and they even talk to people who weren't in the movie. I'm also a fan of the Ghostbusters commentary with the silhouettes of the commentators on the bottom of my screen MST3K style.

But the vast majority of you commentaries are just people talking, and while they have interesting things to say, it's hard to find time when I'm alert and awake enough to actually listen. Often when I have a spare moment, it's because I'm tired and need to relax. When my brain is actually lucid enough to handle intellectual stimulation, I prefer to use my overflowing brainpower for more productive projects, like reading, writing, or playing video games. You know, the big three intellectual pursuits.

But soon, I promise I'll find that time to get to you. I know you're piling up, and I can't seem to stop getting more and more of you, but it will happen. Now if you'll excuse me, there's a new special edition DVD that I have to order with 10 hours of bonus features and two commentary tracks.

More Open Letters


  1. I have always been, at least, a behind the scenes junkie. I also enjoy the commentary stuff, but like you, don't get to it that often. Whenever I do actually watch one, my wife usually runs for the hills (can't blame her, though).

    I do remember one commentary which included Tommy Lee Jones (can't remember which movie it was for sure), and he was "loopey" as all get up. I am guessing that he may have been on cold medication or something, because he was all over the place with what he was saying. I just found it humorous for all the wrong reasons.

    Thanks for another nice article. Best of luck on all of your writing endeavors. Speaking of that, how is it coming on the second novel?


    1. I've finished up the second draft and it's coming along. Thanks for asking.