November 25, 2011

"No matter what I do... the kissing, the hugging... I'm more interested in what's going on on Mars...

Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to think the point of a DVD commentary track is to tell us what we can already obviously see happening in the movie... as displayed — hilariously — in this collection of clips from "Total Recall":



Is he an idiot? Does he think we're idiots? Or is this Arnold's amazingly sly way of saying commentary tracks are worthless?

(Via Metafilter.)

Where am I? What am I doing here?

60 comments:

Andy R. said...

Kottke thought that maybe Arnold was contractually obligated to do this as part of an agreement but didn't want to and this was his way of protesting.

Eric said...

Arnold is far from an idiot. He has loads of charm when he wants to be charming, and has a pretty good sense of humor.

I think either he's trying to be annoying here or he's going for (and failing) some kind of meta-joke.

Jose_K said...

He is an idiot. Steroid and a Kennedy fried his brain

Synova said...

LOL...

That is painful, isn't it?

I've only watched a couple of commentary tracks and they weren't done by the actors.

Off hand I think I've only watched the track to Shanghai Noon and Serenity. In both cases the commentary was by the directors, I believe, and was stuff like "We honestly didn't realize that Jackie Chan is brilliant." or "We used a lens that shortened the focal field in this shot..." or "we increased the lighting here, as we went until the film is almost over saturated..."

I don't know why I don't watch more of them.

Unless it's because I suspect to find stuff like the Total Recall commentary tracks. Eeek!

LarsPorsena said...

The 'kissing, the hugging'! He's got Sharon Stone wrapped around him. I'd babble like an idiot too.

Greg said...

Yeah -- the track are worthless.

But as a guy married to one of Sharon Stone's high school classmates, I can tell you I've heard enough dirt about her that I'd be more interested in Mars than making out with her.

Ann Althouse said...

"The 'kissing, the hugging'! He's got Sharon Stone wrapped around him. I'd babble like an idiot too."

But he's more interested in what's going on on Mars.

LarsPorsena said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The 'kissing, the hugging'! He's got Sharon Stone wrapped around him. I'd babble like an idiot too."

But he's more interested in what's going on on Mars.
______________________________

He's more interested in Venus.

Irene said...

"Ow. That hurt."

rcocean said...

Arnold's a smart guy - he was Gov of California. So now he's supposed to give great insights into his acting on a silly movie like "Total recall"

"Ah yes, in this scene I punch the villain in the balls. It took me days the find the proper motivation, its only after I called Marlon Brando and Pacino and discussed it that I could do it properly."

Here's another point, it was made in 1990, maybe Arnold just doesn't remember much of the movie. Or maybe he was too busy grabbing some Actresses breasts.

rcocean said...

I've usually found the actors commentary lame on most DVD. Usually the producers and directors give the best commentary.

Eric said...

"Ow. That hurt."

I distinctly heard "ow. Dat hurt."

rcocean said...

Some DVD's have commentary tracks by critics like Roger Ebert, I've liked those the best.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Usually the producers and directors give the best commentary.

Which makes sense, doesn't it? How much are you going to get from someone who complied when the director said "walk to this spot and say this".

I think the idea of having the actor commentary is to get little anecdotes like "In this scene I accidentally punched the other guy instead of just grazing him" or "I was supposed to run down this corridor, but I'd never run in high heels before" or "Every day before shooting Carl Weathers and I at 27 raw eggs".

I suppose there are some movies where nothing like that happened, or it was too embarrassing to put on the commentary.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irene said...

At least it's not the *other* Total Recall.

Psychedelic George said...

I love these passages from Michael Lewis's piece on the implosion of California's economy and how Ahnuld tried to do something about it...

"His view of his seven years trying to run the state of California can be summarized as follows. He came to power accidentally, but not without ideas about what he wanted to do. At his core he thought government had become more problem than solution: an institution run less for the benefit of the people than for the benefit of politicians and other public employees. He behaved pretty much as Americans seem to imagine the ideal politician should behave: he made bold decisions without looking at polls; he didn’t sell favors; he treated his opponents fairly; he was quick to acknowledge his mistakes and to learn from them; and so on. He was the rare elected official who believed, with some reason, that he had nothing to lose, and behaved accordingly. When presented with the chance to pursue an agenda that violated his own narrow political self-interest for the sake of the public interest, he tended to leap at it. “There were a lot of times when we said, ‘You just can’t do that,’ ” says his former chief of staff, Susan Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, whose hiring was one of those things a Republican governor was not supposed to do. “He was always like, ‘I don’t care.’ Ninety percent of the time it was a good thing.”....

He came into office with boundless faith in the American people—after all, they had elected him—and figured he could always appeal directly to them. That was his trump card, and he played it. In November 2005 he called a special election that sought votes on four reforms: limiting state spending, putting an end to the gerrymandering of legislative districts, limiting public-employee-union spending on elections, and lengthening the time it took for public-school teachers to get tenure. All four propositions addressed, directly or indirectly, the state’s large and growing financial mess. All four were defeated; the votes weren’t even close. From then until the end of his time in office he was effectively gelded: the legislators now knew that the people who had elected them to behave exactly the way they were already behaving were not going to undermine them when appealed to directly. The people of California might be irresponsible, but at least they were consistent."

Going to Hell in a bucket, but at least we're enjoying the ride...

The Crack Emcee said...

Is he an idiot? Does he think we're idiots?

Yes, and yes - and I've known both since I first saw "Pumping Iron" as a teen. Flash forward to him producing a child with the maid while a married Governor of California and the picture is complete - but not only of him, but of us:

As a people and culture that will allow even the dimmest bulbs to hold us in contempt and take advantage.

Oh look - "An East Boston man with,...a lifetime license suspension is behind bars after being charged for an eight time with driving drunk."

That means he was let off SEVEN TIMES.

Oh look - Whoopi Goldberg on Michele Bachmann: 'She's Not Presidential Material'...

This is the same Whoopi Goldberg who isn't sure if man landed on the moon.

For the record, I don't think Whoopi Goldberg's talk show material, but that's our society, folks. We worship and elevate idiots, who treat us as idiots in return.

And why shouldn't they? What are you going to do about it? I read that judge who whipped his daughter for disobeying was suspended recently. Why should anyone follow the rules, such as they are, when everyone sides with the rule-breakers and the judges are penalized for enforcing the law?

Yes, Arnie thinks you're idiots - and you are.

Why you'd expect him to treat you otherwise, under the circumstances, is the mystery,...

J said...

The troll--Byro, the gay theatre mormon from Sac with dozens of names--loves Schwarzi. Indeed helped him out with Recall.

Schwarzi doesn't act--he can barely speak English. He preens, like he did when he was a body builder on 'roids. The only movies he's good in are when he's ..a robot..Terminator 1.

And he helped destroy the CA economy.

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Arnold's problem as a governor was after the voters shot down his initiatives, which challenged the public sector union/state bar/insurance lobby power structure, he decided the voters weren't interested in any real reform and gave up.

I would have resigned at that point, but for whatever reason he decided to stay.

rcocean said...

Arnold's other problem was a Democrat Legislature.

Craig said...

Air on Mars is a big deal. It's why we're sending a billion dollar SUV there this weekend. It runs on plutonium.

edutcher said...

Five'll get you ten, he had his own basic instinct about Miss Stone.

He rarely seems to have missed an opportunity.

Roy Lofquist said...

How many of you idiots have been as successful as Arnold the idiot? Just asking.

evl29 said...

He's not an idiot,he's just not good at commentary. He doesn't seem to have the story teller mentality.
Check out his commentary track on "Conan the Barbarian" with John Milius. Milius has lots of anecdotes about filming(locations and hassles and such) and the other actors but Ahnuld just says thing like "here we are running..." and "I'm fighting the snake..." while you're watching him do these things. It's absolutely hilarious because he totally unaware he's doing it.

An actor who's pretty good at commentary is Kurt Russell. Watch The Thing,Big Trouble In Little China or Used Cars. He's awesome.

Eric said...

How many of you idiots have been as successful as Arnold the idiot? Just asking.

How difficult is it to not be successful?

J said...

Schwarzi's a hero to like jocks and 'rasslers on 'roids , and other macho men.
Reasonable people realize he's a buffoon, not to say a liar and abuser of women--the real Schwarzi story being much worse than him just f-ing the maids.

Tera Online Gold said...

Its so nice to see this good information in your post, I was looking the same which you post on blog, thanks now I have the thing which I was looking for regards.


WOW Gold
RS Gold

rcommal said...

Hangin' with origin. Origin did snark before snark was snark, much less considered original (that said, ironically, it WAS mostly original then; now it's ... common, though less original, much less unusual). There's not a thing that can't be dissected, analyzed, judged, including in a shallow sense and twisted maliciously. Mock rules; snark is its handmaiden. Nothing's immune, no one's immune--and if you realize that, then while you're at it, be prepared if, having been raised with it and exposed to it long enough, you develop a resistance to a tremendous amount of that shit.

Screw knee-jerk snark and gleeful mock, as a mindless thing and a now too-easy performance thing-y. Especially screw those who think those things are new or, God forbid, edgy.

--

All that said, hope your Thanksgiving was grand and wish for you the joy in the impending holiday season in the exact measure, part and style you'd wish for yourself.

reformed trucker said...

He married a Kennedy. Need I say more?

The Stupidator.

Should have stuck to pumping iron...

Rhino.

edwardroyce said...

Personally I wish they'd include the joke commentary track where the actual working crew, the regular stiffs paid by the hour, would put in their commentary.

Now -that- would be interesting.

David said...

The man is from Mars.
He's still got his penis.
He won't go to bars,
But he likes his house cleaners.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Blood Simple" has the best DVD commentary of any DVD commentary I have ever seen or read about.

I consider it transformational in that the Coen's combined idiotic criticism, performed in an outlandishly absurd commentary ("the mechanical fly we see here--professionals in Hollywood could never allow a random, organic ["live" or "real"] fly to disrupt a scene which in part is to be filmed for posterity of course and not only our greedy, impulsively animalistic generations' need for quicker-than-instant satisfaction--operated by a mauve remote control in this scene malfunctioned quite a bit during the filming which delayed the project like Spielberg's Jaws' shark" or some such nonsense is typical of the commentary), with their own work, their own "baby" in the sense it was their first produced picture, changes the meaning of their original work, by a manner of thought the Coen's evoke derived from Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.

"Riedenschneider: They got this guy, in Germany. Fritz Something-or-other. Or is it? Maybe it's Werner. Anyway, he's got this theory, you wanna test something, you know, scientifically - how the planets go round the sun, what sunspots are made of, why the water comes out of the tap - well, you gotta look at it. But sometimes you look at it, your looking changes it. Ya can't know the reality of what happened, or what would've happened if you hadn't-a stuck in your own goddamn schnozz. So there is no "what happened"? Not in any sense that we can grasp, with our puny minds. Because our minds... our minds get in the way. Looking at something changes it. They call it the "Uncertainty Principle". Sure, it sounds screwy, but even Einstein says the guy's on to something."

The great Wisconsin native Tony Shalhoub, playing one of the great lawyers celluloid has contained, talks about this in The Man Who Wasn't There as quoted above.

Shanna said...

He's not an idiot,he's just not good at commentary.

Clearly! Heh. I've listened to a number of commentaries on various shows and movies, and some of them are amazing and some terrible.

It's a completely different type of skill than acting, so it makes sense that some people aren't going to be great at it. (and let's face it, Arnold isn't one of these cerebral type actors, either. He's more in the hulk smash variety. It's also been a long, long time since he made this movie)

Deirdre Mundy said...

The cast commentary on Babylon 5 was hilarious-- apparently most of the actors had never watched the show all the way through until they got back together to do group commentary, and so there are all these moments of sudden realization, especially wrt the CGI effects. "Oh! So that's why I was supposed to be backed up to the wall with my tongue hanging out!"

2yellowdogs said...

Yeah, I'll go with doors one and two, Monty. He's an idiot and is pretty sure we are, too.

Hard to imagine a worse job of governance in the big Cali. Maria, the 'roids. It all works on the brain. An MRI would probably make a Mad Cow patient feel fortunate.

The Crack Emcee said...

How many of you idiots have been as successful as Arnold the idiot? Just asking.

I have been successful and now I am not, and I'll say, if you judge a person's intelligence by how much money they have, you are not only missing the point of life but giving many waaay more credit than they deserve. There are those who won life's lottery, inheriting wealth or coming along in a time when bullshit excuses (like feminism or race hustling) could be used to advantage. There are the underhanded and venal - do you generally admire them? Those who step on or over others on principal? Today's world permits all manner of liars and cheats to get ahead. I, for one, will offer none of them applause.

Arnold has been a self-obsessed user of others from the first day I ever encountered him. Except for his body-building achievements, he's never done a thing I've found admirable because they've never gone beyond what was possible for a self-obsessed user of others - especially when those others, and the society they inhabited, didn't possess the moral fiber to stop such a person. (How many tried to stop Hitler, compared to how many who were more than happy to support his murderous megalomania? You'd be applauding him, as well, as "successful"...)

No, like so many others, Arnold is a fool with a finally honed ability to compartmentalize so he doesn't have to think too deeply about what a truly despicable human being he is. And, like so many others, he's done this, partially, because he's lived in a time when the Boomer idea of ethics being subverted could flourish. I ask you:

Like the Baby Boomer Era itself, what has Arnold truly accomplished?

Except for in body building - where no one can deny his place or the advances his contribution have made - what that's come afterward has he achieved worth noting, from Hollywood to politics, except for he and he alone?

Absolutely nothing.

He's as empty as the entire era's assertions there was more to life than having substance.

Time - history - will tell the tale,...

Freeman Hunt said...

Yes! His commentary tracks are hilarious for this reason. You get the sense that he's never listened to a commentary track before.

Dave F said...

Here I am taking a tracking device out of my nose.
Ew, that's nasty. Mars boy don't care. Mars boy don't give a shit.

EDH said...

Where am I? What am I doing here?

"Who am I? Why am I here?"

- Admiral James Stockdale

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I think 535 JohnnyCabs would be preferable to the current vintage of lawmakers.

At least, we'd get some straight answers for a change. And, they could actually provide a service.

I'm with Crack in terms of his riff on elevating complete idiots to saintly status.

I used to think that the American people deserved better than what we have witnessed in our representative government. We don't. The same idiots keep getting sent back. These rubes take that as 'carte blanche', and they have no problem exercising and imposing their worldviews on everyone else. Rather than providing a sense of stewardship.

Of course, stewardship is 'beneath' most self-anointed social genius types. That would require a bit of humility.

But, humility is not en vogue, no, it is seen as weakness.

I will maintain until my last days that humility is the true measure, with real value, because humility implies selflessness.

The 'he who dies with the most toys wins' meme, for example. This is hubris without perspective.

He who dies with the most toys, dies.

Ralph L said...

Hard to imagine a worse job of governance in the big Cali
Do you think Moonbeam can pull off a "Nixon goes to China?" He was the one who allowed the state employees to unionize, the source of much of the mess.

michaele said...

EDH, glad I read the comments because I initially thought of the Stockdale quote and was bummed that was not a link to it. Now you've saved me the trouble of hunting it down for myself. I made a reference to it to someone the other day and they didn't get it so I've been wanting to find it on youtube. Thanks.

ElPresidenteCastro said...

He comments over a two hour movie and he sounds like an idiot for 4 minutes? That is about 3% of the time. Everyone I know sounds like an idiot far more than 3% of the time.

madAsHell said...

Really?

All this vitriol for someone promoting a 20 year old science fiction movie?

I'm pretty sure that he's getting paid for the comments...and he probably knocked a piece off Sharon Stone.

Talk about having your cake, and eating it too!!

The Crack Emcee said...

madAsHell,

I'm pretty sure that he's getting paid for the comments...and he probably knocked a piece off Sharon Stone.

What I read:

An over-sized idiot probably had (or of course was able to have) sex with a woman so dumb and reckless she lost her kid and pissed off almost the entire country of China merely with her "beliefs".

Clearly a coupling for the ages,...if these two had a kid - instead of The Verminator and his maid - I'm almost positive it would've been a special needs Elephant Man,....

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc Holliday's Bastard said...

I can't tell if he's going ultra-meta on us, is an idiot, doesn't care at all but came in and did commentary for a check, or is still stuck in the mindset of an 18 year old boy (which a lifetime in Hollywood could definitely generate). However, it is hugely amusing, as is his Conan commentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSqnFxVaIx4

J said...

Schwarzenegger?

See like ...Diomedes (near his CO Ulysses) in Dante's Inferno for hints on the fate of the mega-mercenary.

Then, to an atheist--what's wrong with Empire? The alpha-wolf with the highest kill count wins (and gets the beta-bitch).

Freeman Hunt said...

This video is representative of the entire commentary track. You don't have to pick and choose to get these gems.

Arnold doesn't sound like an idiot, he just sounds like someone who isn't interested in telling you any more than you can get from the movie. It's funny. It's like you're watching the movie with him, rather than listening to him expound on it.

If you want great commentary tracks, you need to listen to Stephen Prince, who is great when he's not incapable of analyzing what is happening on screen due to his biases, or Kevin Smith, whose commentary tracks are sometimes better than his movies.

Freeman Hunt said...

Commentary tracks with actors are generally boring. Not because actors are stupid. Successful actors are rarely stupid. They're usually smart, often ignorant due to environment but smart. The best are extremely smart. Their commentary tracks are boring because you are seeing their work. There it is. What is there to add? Very little. Maybe some funny anecdotes about being on set. Some will share helpful information about how they prepared for their roles, but that doesn't take much time.

Directors have an enormous amount to talk about, because the movies are their stories. They are the gods of the movies, they are the ones making all the choices, and they often have more to talk about than they can share in the allotted time.

Same with film scholars. They don't make movies but they love them enough to have made the study of them their lives' work, and they know all about them. They never run out of things to talk about during commentary tracks.

Dante said...

This is a film based on a Philip K. Dick book, isn't it? Dick's books are always full of world laid upon world.

For instance, can you really tell in the end if the guy is dreaming the stuff or not? I say "Not."

And then there is the crazy idea "You are what you do," from Kuato. That's a pretty crazy thought.

Freeman Hunt said...

Actor commentaries can be very interesting if they had to do a lot of physical work in the movie. Maybe explaining how a shot was done that looks simple, but was actually very complicated for the actor or explaining how a stunt was performed and how the actor practiced for it. That can be interesting. A lot of times the director has less to say about those types of things because the logistics of them are delegated to others.

Freeman Hunt said...

Information about stunts, special effects, and the like is generally better done as extra feature rather a commentary track though. Then there can be footage that exposes the trick, or the special apparatus, or the training, or whatever is at issue.

Ann Althouse said...

My favorite commentary track is on "Spinal Tap," because the actors stay in character.

Joe said...

Most commentary tracks are boring. A few exceptions are Bowden's and Nolan's commentary of Black Hawk Down, and Cleese's commentary of Fawlty Towers. What made both great were the genuine insights given.

Joe said...

More than once I've listened to commentary by a director and/or producer and realized they had no idea what they were doing. It's very strange and reinforces how much movie making is a group effort.

rcommal said...

If what you want is commentary, look for it from people invested in what's being commented upon. At least, this is the takeaway from reading the comment thread attached to this post.