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 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

But Goldsmith doesn't/didn't care what you think, nor does he have to, nor is their a written rule that says commentaries should be language-friendly for all.

I never said there should be a “written rule”. I’m simply talking about a simple recognition of the need to show some dignity in public, which again seems to be a concept that some people are in total fear of, because they think that to be dignified would somehow cramp their style as it were. If that’s their attitude, they get neither my respect, and certainly not my time or my money. If Goldsmith "doesn't care what I think" for something like that, then in that case, I don't care about what he has to say.

You cannot expect your values on this subject to apply to everyone, nor should they. And most people listening to a Hollow Man commentary are not likely to be uncomfortable around profanity. Too often I think people want everything shaped to their own needs and values when that's not really practical or right for the world at large.

And I don’t think you can expect everyone to accept a relativistic argument like that so easily. Maybe in the future when I’m teaching a class, I should allow the students to indulge in that language in my presence for the simple reason that “my values should not apply to them”? Or maybe I should indulge in that language when delivering a lecture if I felt it somehow suited the occasion?

I’ll admit I’m saying that as someone who thinks it would be nice if the films would show some restraint for a change on language because it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of bona fide classics made are not going to be films that have an abundance of profanity. Unfortunately, showing some restraint when it comes to that and every other sundry little gratuitous thing on-screen is a concept increasingly beyond the comprehension of too many filmmakers. Have there been some rare exceptions I've indulged in? Yes, "Taking Of Pelham One Two Three" for instance, but in that case I can live with it because of the tone of the story. I certainly don't want to listen to a hypothetical commentary track and hear the same level of language I just heard in the movie, because this time I'm not hearing character in a story, I'm hearing a real person trying to converse in a different setting with *me* the listener to what he has to say. If he's not going to respect the audience out there, he gets no time from me and that's a standard I'm quite comfortable sticking by.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   Marlene   (Member)

I never said there should be a “written rule”. I’m simply talking about a simple recognition of the need to show some dignity in public, which again seems to be a concept that some people are in total fear of, because they think that to be dignified would somehow cramp their style as it were. If that’s their attitude, they get neither my respect, and certainly not my time or my money. If Goldsmith "doesn't care what I think" for something like that, then in that case, I don't care about what he has to say.

(...)

I’ll admit I’m saying that as someone who thinks it would be nice if the films would show some restraint for a change on language because it is a fact that the overwhelming majority of bona fide classics made are not going to be films that have an abundance of profanity. Unfortunately, showing some restraint when it comes to that and every other sundry little gratuitous thing on-screen is a concept increasingly beyond the comprehension of too many filmmakers. Have there been some rare exceptions I've indulged in? Yes, "Taking Of Pelham One Two Three" for instance, but in that case I can live with it because of the tone of the story. I certainly don't want to listen to a hypothetical commentary track and hear the same level of language I just heard in the movie, because this time I'm not hearing character in a story, I'm hearing a real person trying to converse in a different setting with *me* the listener to what he has to say. If he's not going to respect the audience out there, he gets no time from me and that's a standard I'm quite comfortable sticking by.


I´m sorry, but this view is simply too black and white for me. You´re telling that you really are a guy who ignores someone who isn´t to your liking? If so, I find that a highly dangerous thinking. From my experience even people I don´t like sometimes say something that I find important, maybe even amusing. In any case, it gives me the ability to look beyond.

You gave an example of bona fide classics. What would you say about "Frankly, my dear, I don´t give a damn" (you knew that that would be coming)? Would you have reacted the same way as all the censors back in '39 and cut it? Only to find by consulting with Selznick a stupid reason to include it nonetheless? I find it highly unlikely that you don´t watch an American classic like "Who´s afraid of Virginia Woolf" because of all the swearing.

You also talk about some rare instance when you indulged in swearing movies... I cannot help it but one word constantly blinks inside my mind: bigotry or double-standard. A movie like "Taking of Pelham 123" is supposed to portray real characters (and I´ve seen it, it really wanted to) but you don´t like it when real people (which you were supposed to see in "Taking of...") talk like... well, according to their "real" character?

Forgive me Eric... I probably shouldn´t write this... but out of my arrogance I´m feeling sorry for you. I´m getting really frightened when I imagine you to teach some students.

Listen, I don´t want to insult you, I really don´t. I´d only like to understand you - and so far I seem to have failed miserably.

I think my point is that you can be dignified and use swearing at the same time. But then... for me, dignity has nothing to do with swearing. It´s more how people react to other people, if they are socially capable or not, if they are capable to respect and accept others. For me, that´s dignified behaviour. Swearing then is just something that people do or don´t do, it´s completely unimportant to the former purpose.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 9:38 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

The issue is one of simple dignity and manners.

I can name a number of situations where dignity and manners ask for cursing.

Charles Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, JD Salinger... these are people who've written modern classic literature and its swamped in curse words. Particularly Bukowski, who throws around the word "whore", "shit" and "fuck" more than a pigskin in the entire history of American Football. And yet he's repeatedly acknowledged as one of the most important west coast poets of the 20th century. And his work is all the more affecting because of his cursing.

Dignity and manners are best reserved for the people who earn them. Much like the truth, its something too precious to give to every fool who asks for it and something given freely has no value.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

The matter of whether Thompson and Salinger wrote legitimite classics is something open to debate. As for Bukowski, I don't know him and after reading this write-up have no desire to ever read him.

I can comment on the fact that I think stand-up comedians who go for that lowest common denominator re: language are also ones who don't get a second of my time, and the notion that they are "comic geniuses" is also something I'd beg to differ with.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 11:08 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

The matter of whether Thompson and Salinger wrote legitimite classics is something open to debate.

One man standing against recorded history because of his own set of principles? Perhaps you should reconsider your username to be Ozymandias.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 11:56 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

In the interest of preventing this thread from being closed, could we transfer the gradually-heating up, off-topic discussion(s) to another thread....?

...And return to the subject by someone telling me which film it was where the idiot "historians" started off their commentary by telling us that the music playing behind the main titles (Alfred Newman's "Street Scene") was written by Alex North?

It was a black-and-white film noir, and that's as much as I remember at the moment.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 12:48 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

Another commentary that occured to me - the very, very strange Twilight Zone commentary by Leonard Nimoy. Instead of it being the full episode, they cut it up into a 10 minute thing with him talking over scenes. I'm not sure if its because he didn't talk the rest of the episode or what but it was very off-putting (and especially strange considering these are the sets they lovingly put in the Rod Serling college Q&A sessions as commentary tracks).

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 12:59 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Another commentary that occured to me - the very, very strange Twilight Zone commentary by Leonard Nimoy. Instead of it being the full episode, they cut it up into a 10 minute thing with him talking over scenes. I'm not sure if its because he didn't talk the rest of the episode or what but it was very off-putting (and especially strange considering these are the sets they lovingly put in the Rod Serling college Q&A sessions as commentary tracks).

Those Serling college sessions are simply awesome. One of the best DVD special features ever released. I worship that man's brain.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 5:01 PM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

precious little DVD commentary relates to what I'm really interested about... how the movie was made, where the ideas came from, what the primary challenges were, etc

On one commentary, someone's cell phone rings and they leave the room to answer it. I did not pay extra for that! smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 5:11 PM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

Those Serling college sessions are simply awesome. One of the best DVD special features ever released. I worship that man's brain.

I just wish you could hear the audience! No fault of theirs but the sound quality ain't great.

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 5:17 PM   
 By:   David Sones (Allardyce)   (Member)

Those Serling college sessions are simply awesome. One of the best DVD special features ever released. I worship that man's brain.

I just wish you could hear the audience! No fault of theirs but the sound quality ain't great.


Maybe you remember this. I'm too lazy to put in the DVD and I don't remember which session it was from, but in one of them Serling was talking about his screenplay for Assault on a Queen and how it had the worst line he'd ever written in his life. It was hilariously bad but I can't remember it. Some kind of metaphor along the lines of "she got so under my skin that I..."

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 5:31 PM   
 By:   Sarge   (Member)

precious little DVD commentary relates to what I'm really interested about... how the movie was made, where the ideas came from, what the primary challenges were, etc

If you want a truly exhaustive audio commentary, listen to just about anything by Kenneth Johnson - V, ALIEN NATION, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, etc.

Unlike most people, he prepares for his audio commentaries - he digs out his old production files. He talks about the script, actors, locations, the lenses, the problems on the day, the visual effects... you name it. He barely pauses to take a breath!

We met years ago through a mutual friend, and I've taken his classes at UCLA. He is quite possibly the most energetic, enthusiastic man I've ever met.




 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 5:55 PM   
 By:   GreatGonzo   (Member)

Am I the only person who doesn't enjoy this aspect of dvds?
Trying to watch a movie and listening to audio commentaries
in unison reminds me of a friend I have that used to babble on
and on (and even made wisecracks AT the characters in whatever
movie we were watching) during every movie we'd see together.



The trick is to first watch the movie and then, a day or so later, listen to the commentary separately while the movie is still fresh in your mind. With the TV off while doing something else or you just rip it to an mp3 and listen it in the car or kitchen. That way, you still know what the commentators are talking about without having their talk irretrievably linked to the movie image...

 
 Posted:   Jul 27, 2011 - 9:15 PM   
 By:   Essankay   (Member)

Since no one has mentioned him, for me the nadir is Dr. Drew Casper, the most annoying, pompous "academic" twit ever. I actually had to stop listening to commentaries, because I don't want to know all that stuff, frankly.


I agree, Dr. Drew Casper is one of the worst. His breathless, fan-club manner turns me off big time. I enjoy a good academic commentary, though. An insightful and well-delivered one can enrich the whole experience, I've found.

My other least-favorite commentator is the obnoxious, self-enchanted James Ellroy. His shock-value schtick gets old real fast, and although he obviously thinks he's hi-larious, I've never cracked a smile at any of his inane gabbling. I've also never heard him say one interesting thing about any movie he's done a commentary for. It's all about him.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2011 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

I don't listen to commentaries all that often, but the Simpsons commentaries have been disappointing. Many times it features the commentators laughing at their own jokes. Now granted, the jokes they laugh at are very funny, and they should be proud of what they created, it isn't especially interesting to me.

I do enjoy Ridley Scott's commentaries. I appreciate that he provides commentary for deleted scenes. I remember for both Gladiator (the original release) and Hannibal, he discussed each scene, and explained why the scene was cut.

 
 Posted:   Jul 28, 2011 - 8:33 AM   
 By:   LeHah   (Member)

Maybe you remember this. I'm too lazy to put in the DVD and I don't remember which session it was from, but in one of them Serling was talking about his screenplay for Assault on a Queen and how it had the worst line he'd ever written in his life.

I don't remember what session / episode this ancedote was from... but I'll spend this weekend listening to them all to tell you what it was!

 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2011 - 6:24 AM   
 By:   GreatGonzo   (Member)

I don't listen to commentaries all that often, but the Simpsons commentaries have been disappointing. Many times it features the commentators laughing at their own jokes.

Then again, it's the Simpsons pilot (or first episode?) where one of the creators walks out of the commentary because he can't stand looking at the sub-par animation anymore. A DVD commentary first, if I remember correctly...

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2011 - 10:36 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

Since no one has mentioned him, for me the nadir is Dr. Drew Casper, the most annoying, pompous "academic" twit ever. I actually had to stop listening to commentaries, because I don't want to know all that stuff, frankly.


I agree, Dr. Drew Casper is one of the worst. His breathless, fan-club manner turns me off big time. I enjoy a good academic commentary, though. An insightful and well-delivered one can enrich the whole experience I've found.

My other least-favorite commentator is the obnoxious, self-enchanted James Ellroy. His shock-value schtick gets old real fast, and although he obviously thinks he's hi-larious, I've never cracked a smile at any of his inane gabbling. I've also never heard him say one interesting thing about any movie he's done a commentary for. It's all about him.


Ellroy has always been about Ellroy and it gets really old. He should not be doing commentaries on any film, let alone one that wasn't adapted from his work. I remember when he did an article for GQ some years ago. He'd found an unsolved murder of a sixteen-year-old girl in LA and that was the subject of the article. The same murder plays a very important part in my third novel, Kritzer Time. But here's the difference - his article, in the end and as always, is about him, not the girl. I knew the girl and while I fictionalized certain aspects of our friendship, that part of the book is a love-letter to her. I almost sent the book to him with a note saying "If you want to read about this girl read this - it's about HER." But he wouldn't have read it because, well, it wasn't about him.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2011 - 10:37 AM   
 By:   haineshisway   (Member)

In the interest of preventing this thread from being closed, could we transfer the gradually-heating up, off-topic discussion(s) to another thread....?

...And return to the subject by someone telling me which film it was where the idiot "historians" started off their commentary by telling us that the music playing behind the main titles (Alfred Newman's "Street Scene") was written by Alex North?

It was a black-and-white film noir, and that's as much as I remember at the moment.


Was it Silver and Ursini? They've made several howlers.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 29, 2011 - 11:33 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

A favorite madcap comedy of mine is Start The Revolution Without Me (1970). The DVD has a commentary by the director Bud Yorkin & the two stars, Gene Wilder & Donald Sutherland. You'd think it would be a riot, but it's as dry as dust & quite boring. For me it only comes alive when Donald Sutherland talks, & he makes a point of naming & praising actors in small rolls which the other two don't bother to do.

 
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