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Summer Camp

After five years of DVD watching, I’m inclined to think that commentaries are at their most interesting when the commentator has nothing to do with the film he’s commenting on. Directors and/or actors handing out heaps of self-congratulatory B.S. to even the worst of films are the usual commentary fare (a trend that the A.V. Club’s Commentary Tracks of the Damned gets lots of mileage from), but I prefer the more spontaneous kind of track that comes from a knowledgeable fan’s perspective. Even better are the rare instances where fans offer insights on really, really bad films. DVD companies are just starting to realize the potential of this — witness the special editions of Mommie Dearest, Valley of the Dolls and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls coming out this June.

The Mommie Dearest SE will have a commentary from John Waters. That could be a hoot and a half. You can bet that Mr. Waters will not be spending a lot of time observing Frank Perry’s subtle and artful direction of the rosebush scene. Valley of the Dolls will have a track from Advocate arts and entertainment editor Alonso Duralde, which will likely address that camp classic’s eternal appeal for gay men. Beyond the Valley will sport a commentary from none other than Roger Ebert. Unlike the other two, Mr. Ebert actually did have something to do with BtVotD (he wrote the screenplay). Personally, I will be looking forward to hearing how he came up with chestnuts like “This is my happening and it freaks me out!”

4 Thoughts on “Summer Camp

  1. My favorite DVD commentaries are the John Carpenter / Kurt Russell commentaries for The Thing and Big Trouble In Little China. You can hear the beer cans being opened up and about midway through the movie the two of them start talking about their kids and how they’re doing – completely forgetting about the movie.

  2. Very excited to hear about the John Waters commentary. I don’t know Alonso Duralde from Adam, but I’m hoping his commentary is good.

    Doesn’t Joe-Bob Briggs have a series of DVDs with his commentary? Those would be must-rents, I’d think.

  3. half the time i can’t be bothered to sit through commentaries. an exception is with the john waters commentaries because they are usually hillarious. plus john waters usually has something interesting to say.

  4. I kind of wish that there would be TWO commentary tracks on the “Mommie Dearest” DVD; John Waters on one and then Faye Dunaway on the other. I’d really like to hear her reactions to the movie in real/reel time and also maybe give insight to edits and/or how she made her choices in the role. Faye is SO actressy that I think she would have a lot of interesting things to share. The ultimate for me would be to have all the cut scenes included on the DVD. You just KNOW there’s plenty filmed that was cut out.

    And HURRAY that “VOTD” is FINALLY coming out on DVD!

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