Tuesday, January 16, 2007

i wanna be friends with spike

okay, so between bouts of productivity, i'm holding tightly to the bad habits i formed while having no life (read: working in the dungeon). one of the best bad habits i procured was the need to exhaust every single bonus feature on a dvd before i can return it to Netflix. if i enjoy the film enough, i can watch it upwards of three times to hear all the commentary.

film commentary is an art few people get right. some talk too much about production. i'm not an aspiring filmmaker, i don't give a crap about dollies and technical terms for shots and i already know there's a lot of tedious stuff they have to do. i understand that making a feature-length film is like being trapped in a cocoon for months and months and these people live and breathe it for years, even, but dude, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE ENTERTAINING ME.

also, i like when they comment on what's actually going on onscreen, not rehashing inside jokes that the audience doesn't care about. which is why, though multiple people doing the commentary is a nice idea, i usually hate it. there's too much stifled laughter and talking over each other and veering offtopic. one person only, please.

i want to see the deeper layers to the film, whether it be further explaining something or why they chose to shoot it a certain way, etc. don't forget to give us that. the best is when people say stuff like "we were going to make them get together at the end, but then we thought that wouldn't be believeable and that the audience would hate it." especially when i agree with the decision. it makes me feel smart.

i also am a stickler for people giving credit where credit is due and pointing out the subtle things about a film that contribute to its greatness. usually that ends up being the score and the cinematography, etc. and then when you're seeing it again as they speak, you can appreciate how that hidden person's hard work really enhanced the end product. you start to notice other stuff in daily life and it makes you a better observer.

anecdotes. hands down the best part; but only if they're told concisely with the right timing.

i bring all this up because last night i watched "Inside Man," a heist movie starring Denzel Washington, Jodi Foster, Clive Owen and Christopher Plummer. Directed by Spike Lee. i really enjoyed the movie. but even more, the commentary was by far the best i have EVER heard.

Spike was commenting by himself on his 49th birthday, the day before the film opened. i'm sure this is easier for him b/c he's a) used to talking to the masses, b) been in the biz for a long time c) a very intelligent man d) loves what he does and is good at it e) sat down to comment when it was fresh, but he had an ease of talking that made me feel like he was sitting next to me on the couch, pointing stuff out. he didn't feel the need to talk nonstop and he was sure to mention all the best things his colleagues contributed that i might have missed. also, he talked about several things i had noticed while watching the movie the first time, like highlights on racial profiling and violent video games and he wasn't afraid of saying his opinion on the why and how. and he'd just bust out laughing at times. i loved that.

well done, mr. lee. you make me want to be your pal.


Eve said...

I NEVER watch the commentaried version of movies - maybe because the dvds I watch are pirated? Um, no they aren't just kidding.

Jon said...

I highly recommend the commentary on Ocean's 11 with Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Brad Pitt. They give the good stuff too, it's not a bunch of crap about the filters they used to create a certain type of lighting... although they do mention it when they like the way a shot came together mechanically... anyway... just go watch it and tell me what you think.

ML said...

I like to watch the commentary on movies, but like you said, it has to be good. None of that dumb stuff.

I liked how you wrote this post. It was very detailed on what you're looking for.

cc said...

If you are interested in exploring more of Spike Lee's fims on race, watch the joint "Do the Right Thing." It focuses on racism in all its forms.

The Stormin Mormon said...

Inside Man was great...

I kept wondering for a very long time how the antagonist (I feel bad calling him a "bad guy" when he did the right thing in a bad way) ever figured out that the real bad guy was who he was (don't want to spill the beans), but the film itself was badass.

highcontrast said...

i think my life deserves a bonus reel. cadiz, you could be the commentator and "point out all the subtle things I do to contribute to the greatness" of my life.

Glo said...

I loved this movie - I'll have request it again just to hear the commentary - thanks for the tip!

Radioactive Jam said...

Wonder if we could add commentary to blog posts... oh. Right.

ale said...

yeah i love listening to comentaries - i like when they show everyone having coffee early in the morning discussing stuff..

just makes it so real...like so HUMAN you know...

ok that was meant to sound like a commentary person, but i think it just sounded blonde

cadiz12 said...

sometimes the commentaries feel like a waste of time. i'll have to check out the ocean's 11 one, especially because when i went to see it in the theater, i fell asleep, so i really don't know anything about the movie to begin with. i'm interested in seeing more spike lee movies; i wonder why i hadn't seen many before. inside man was really well done.

highcon, i think for the commentary on your life story we'll have to wait until technology allows us to pause the scene (kind of like they did in "Election" with reese witherspoon) so i can tell the audience some really good stuff. anytime you want me to do so, just say the word, i'm ready with PLENTY of fodder.

i'm sure you could improvise commentary, jam, with rollover tags or something? just a thought.

i like the realness of them, too. but only if they're done well.