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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Pain. Death. Apocalypse. None of it fun."
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August 31 2006

Serenity Commentary at No. 1. Joss Whedon's commentary on Serenity is currently no.1 at the Top 100 list of the best commentaries ever.

Once more with feeling is currently at number 66 as well.
Cool! Waiting in the Wings is also on there.
Joss is on the list 3 times (1st, 66th & 88th)! Joss should start giving lessons on how to do a proper DVD commentary, and his first student can be Rob Thomas. :)
Whedon's commentary for "Innocence" is my favorite out of all that I've heard (I haven't heard many Angel commentaries yet).
I've always thought that Joss' commentary for Objects in Space was one of the best that I'd heard. Maybe because only part of it was actually about the episode.
Yes, the commentary for OiS is terrific. And maybe because it was the first of Joss's commentaries I listened to, I still find his commentary to The Body to be a good one. But I can see why the three that are on the list are there.
I didn't see 'Gosford Park' on the list and I think it is one of the best, particularly the writer's commentary. But I do agree that Joss really understands commentary; his for 'Serenity', 'Objects in Space', The Body, and Restless, are my all time favorites.
I'm tempted to get any of Terry Gilliam's movies just to hear why he is all over that list. He must be Gooood.
Great to see the Joss recognition though. I always get so much more out of an ep he would comment on.
/agree re: 'The Body' and 'Objects in Space'.
Did anyone notice the site's search box in the sidebar? Directly below it reads: "(e.g., Lord of the Rings, or Joss Whedon, or director of photography)"

Not bad company, that.
Hmmm, I didn't know Joss was director of photography for LOTR. Is there nothing that man can't do? ;-)

I really would add the Objects in Space commentary to this list. That and Serenity are like being in a college course on filmmaking, with a lecture on existentialism thrown in for free. And Joss's and Tim's commentary on The Train Job is like a college lecture on the challenges of making a television series, including how to make (or remake) a pilot. :-)
Not surprised to see Joss at the top as all his commentaries are wonderful.

As for '12 times listed' Terry Gilliam I can recommend most of his films there, though I haven't seen Brothers Grimm.
So mine meager attempt was that bad huh? Nary a mention. I am shocked. I gotta go lie down.
I personally think Joss and Alexis' commentary on "Spin the Bottle" was Oscar-worthy. I can't remember another time when I laughed so hard with no one else in the room.

In all seriousness, I think "The Body" was his finest. I wish I could add "Objects in Space" to the list, but after watching/listening to it over three times, I still don't understand a bulk of it. I try, but it really just goes "woooossshhh!" over my head.
I also highly recommend the Terry Gilliam films listed. They're about as surreal as "Restless" and as dark as anything in the Buffyverse. They are also generally hilarious; Gilliam was a member of Monty Python (and did the artwork for the original TV series). Gilliam's work is always visually stunning.

12 Monkeys (which Gilliam directed but did not write) and Brazil would be great places to start.
I just love all of Joss' commentaries. I find that with other people, you tend to get the kind of stuff that matches their job description, which in itself is no bad thing- writers usually discuss writing the episode, actors talk about their performances and directors on directing it. And of course there are often great anecdotes and stories and advice in there too.

But Joss is terrific because he covers so much in his commentaries. You can tell that he is a fiercely intelligent man who completely understands his work. He is able to discuss it thematically, in terms of writing it or shooting it, conceiving it in the first place, post-production, commenting on the performances or score... everything. As well as this you also have lots of great stories and interesting ideas. And it isn't presented in textbook style, instead it's very accessible and natural, and Joss can be very funny whilst always remaining modest.

I think all round they just make for great entertainment and fantastic companions to the works themselves.
The Joss-commentary for Buffy eps "The Body" & "OMWF" are currently my favourites, but it constantly shifts. I recently enjoyed the Joss/Tim commentary on the Train Job. (I'm especially fond of the part where Tim thinks they should write a Firefly ep over the weekend, but discards it -- and then is affronted by the studio's own suggestion that they do so. The nerve! It's such a funny part of human nature to react like that -- but I've certainly done it, myself.

ETA: Duh, the Serenity commentary -- I'm holding off listening to it so that I still have more FF/S material to look forward to -- just like I've left two Dickens novels & some essays unread. I may die unexpectedly and miss seeing/reading them, but I won't run out of beloved material.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-08-31 22:57 ]
Imagine the ratings if there had been an all-cast-commentary for Serenity ...
Actually, his OiS commentary is my favorite, with Serenity in second place. His commentaries are so great he's ruined me on others. Seriously. I'm currently hooked on BSG and Ronald Moore actually turned me off at first -- 'til I reminded myself I simply wasn't listening to Joss.
Love the Serenity commentary, and I'm one of the fortunate few who saw a preview and had Joss and Summer answering questions after. An interactive commentary! You can ask questions!

A couple of days ago I watched Dodgeball again ( Yay for Steve The Pirate! ) and the commentary on that was great. Absolutly nothing to do with the film but Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and director Rawson Marshall Thurber descending into (hopefully) spoof bitterness and arguement. Though if anyone does check it out turn it off as soon as they start playing the Something About Mary commentary.

Edited because Vince Vaughn is not Owen Wilson. D'oh!

[ edited by zz9 on 2006-09-01 11:21 ]
I am surprised. I loved his commentary for Objects in Space, but the Serenity commentary was a real snoozer. I was hoping that if they rerelease this DVD, they'll do a new commentary, maybe with the whole cast. The currently commentary seemed to just be too much about him thanking his cinematographer, as if he was afraid that he'd seem egocentric if he spoke about himself. I'll give it a second listen though...
I only gave the list a quick glance, but it seemed like Whedon shows were the vast majority of the TV listed. Almost all the rest were movies. That seems like a compliment right there.

I liked Joss's commentary on Welcome to the Hellmouth...and all the rest too, now that I think about it. ;-)
Those wishing to add Objects in space to the list... it's number 97. I too had a very hard time understanding the commentary. I walked away with greater respect for Joss' intelligence, how much thought he put into the episode, and a very wrinkled brow.
For those that may have missed it when it was originally posted, here's a link to a very old (2001) Zap2It story about Joss doing commentary. It's got some good stuff in it about his various levels of comfort with the process.

(Re: Buffy DVDs) "I do, however, hope that, in the future, maybe after the running of the show, the entire series will be released on DVD. Then I can do a biting, witty and possibly drunken commentary over the whole thing."

(That's the one I want to hear.)

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2006-09-02 10:44 ]
The commentary with Joss and Nathan on the pilot episode of Firefly is also quite brilliant. Ditto most of the others already mentioned. The only disappointing Joss commentary I have heard (and I've listened to them all... religiously) is the "Hole In The World" but that probably due to the fact that they admit straight up that they were hung over from the night before.

Terry Gilliam's commentary for "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" is brilliant, better than the movie in fact.

Most commentaries are truly awful. We should be thankful for people like Joss, Gilliam, Robert Rodriguez, David Cronenberg etc. etc. for the humour and panache with which they talk about their projects.
Joss makes another best of list. I enjoy all of his Commentaries.
And now Serenity dropped down to number 66. Personally I thought the commentary of Serenity to be one of Joss' less briliant commentaries. In general I think his commentaries are the best I've heard (though I must admit never hearing any commentary from any of the other people mentioned as giving good commentaries) but I liked the commentaries of for example OiS (though very unconventional), OWMF, WttH/tH, and Serenity the episode all better.
I guess I've liked most of the Jossverse commentaries (Joss' especially). I think the only misfire, for me, was the god-awful "Hell's Bells" commentary. Slightly OT, I guess. I just felt like sharing...
Just checked again, Serenity dropped to #8!
Sorry!! I take full responsibility for Whedon's numbers dropping. =( I put up a MetaFilter.com link regarding the ratethatcommentary site? And some haters over there are apparently purposefully zeroing the Serenity commentary. Just to be mean.

We need to get all Whedonesquers to keep Serenity in the top ten. How do we like get an all hands on deck kinda thing and ask all Whedon fans to go over there and push up his numbers? Or is that unscrupulous or something?
How do we like get an all hands on deck kinda thing and ask all Whedon fans to go over there and push up his numbers?


Post about it over at fireflyfans.net.
serenity's up to number four now. Just saying....

All this discussion makes me want to take out the Serenity DVD again and listen to the commentary. Sadly, i lent it out, and unlike the Firefly DVDs I don't have a second copy just to lend out.

Oh, how I suffer for the cause.....
Alas, the pitfalls of the true zealotry in the name of art. (Just wanted to use some big words. Does this sentence even make sense?)
This is making me wanna listen to Joss' commentary again too, when I get home. And I still have my copy. =)
...and Joss is back to number one status!
Pulling into #100, the Whedon-tary for "Restless"
Hey, what about Joss, Marti and Seth in WILD AT HEART?
My personal fav has to be Once More With Feeling. Joss is so insightful and being a fan himself, he knows what we want to hear.

Zachsmind, good to hear from you!

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