Extra, extra

Commentary is de rigueur for any respectable “special edition” of a DVD. Based on a sample size of “the quite a few that I’ve watched/listened”, I’d like to posit the following varieties of DVD commentaries:

  • the “everyone was so awesome and beautiful and wonderful and funny” soft sell that I suppose make up, say, 70 per cent of all the commentaries
  • the more intimate and honest, but somewhat rambling, spiel by serious and/or more self-involved makers of movies — these make up possibly 15 per cent of the thing of which I write — like those on the gorgeous DVDs of Wes Anderson
  • the weird crazy, like Jason Segal purposely turning up drunk for a commentary date with Chris Harris for “How I Met Your Mother” and proceeding to turn Harris nuts — let’s say this sort makes up 10 per cent of things
  • the good crazy, like “Commentary: The Musical” on the “Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog” DVD (Ninja Ropes …), which should make up 4 per cent of the whole, give or take other crazies catching on quick
  • and then there’s the remaining 1 per cent which inspire silly late-night posts — I’m sure it’s that low cos I’ve just come across an example after veritable eons in DVD Land — and which are astoundingly erudite, tastefully paced and carefully weighed; just hearken to these lines (and there are more good ‘uns on the DVD) by David Simon, creator of “The Wire”:

    What we were really looking at is major themes in modern American life … it’s my belief that the crime story in American fiction, in American literature even, has become an essential genre ever since [Dashiell] Hammett and [Raymond] Chandler, and it is as elemental to our understanding of ourselves at this as the western was in an earlier point in the twentieth century. So we’re using these stories of an American city to explore not just the war on drugs or how a wiretap case works, but what it means to live in an American city and to be beholden, as we all are in some way, to the institutions that form a city. That was the major theme of the first season. …

    “A fourteen-year-old drug dealer is still fourteen years old.” We’ve raised a draconian standard of prohibition up to a point where what began as a war against illicit drugs and narcotics and the damage they do has now become a war on the underclass in American cities. That’s another theme that we really explore this season. …


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