Awesome Things Buried In DVD Commentaries

Buy almost any DVD or Blu-Ray, and you don't just get the movie. You get tons of extras, including perhaps the oddest way of padding a film ever: the commentary. Actors and directors go on and on, talking over the actual film, telling stories that range from the mundane to the awkward to the bizarre. Most of these commentaries are boring, but some are even better than the movies themselves ...

The ASPCA protects the maggot from the Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont admits the ASPCA does a lot of good work, and has made a world of difference in how animals are treated on the set of movies big and small. That said, in the DVD commentary for his adaptation of Stephen King's prison epic, he starts telling what he first describes as an "odd anecdote."

For the scene where Tim Robbins picks a maggot out of his oatmeal and another inmate feeds it to the baby crow he keeps inside his jacket, apparently a representative from the ASPCA had to be on set, and she wound up being pretty maniacal about the rights of both crow and maggot. She insisted that they could only feed the maggot to the crow if it (the maggot, not the crow) died of natural causes. This despite how they bought the maggot in a bait shop, so getting eaten was basically its MO anyway.

Tim Robbins said in another interview that the whole thing got even more ridiculous when they needed to do a reshoot for the scene. That day, the sarcastic geniuses behind the film made sure the maggot had his own little director's chair made of matchsticks, with "Maggot" carefully written on the back. We can't help but wonder two things: did the ASPCA lady appreciate the gesture or did she pick up on the sarcasm ... and did they make sure the second maggot looked like the first? Continuity, people!

Hobbits pass the time with the worst party games ever

No matter how exciting a movie is, behind-the-scenes can get really, really boring. In the DVD commentary for Lord of the Rings, the hobbits — Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin and Dominic Monaghan — discussed some of the insane ways they kept from going completely mad. One way was with "fun" new Hobbit games, like "Cup," where you keep a paper cup in the air by passing it back and forth. Don't judge, they were desperate.

They go on to describe another game called "Tig." Completely appropriate to their on-screen characters, the Tig episode had Merry and Pippin creating a game and explaining a set of completely made-up rules to Frodo. For weeks, the hobbits played Tig and, for some reason, poor Frodo never seemed able to catch on to the "rules".

If you tried this with your friends, you'd probably tell the mark the truth by the end of the night. Someone would slip up, start laughing, and admit it was all a joke. That's not how hobbits roll, though, and this gag went on for an entire year before they finally let Elijah in on it. That's dedication.

Noel Gallagher hates on his own videos

Oasis is one of those groups that people feel one of two ways about: they hate them, or they publically hate them while loving them behind closed doors. If you think that Noel Gallagher falls into the "exceptions" category and likes what he does, watch the commentary on Oasis: Time Flies 1994-2009. Clearly, he hates everything about every video they've ever done, and he's not afraid to say just how he feels.

Talking about one instance where his director wanted them to bury a drum set, Gallagher says that he suggested they bury the drummer instead, and the director loved it. If he wasn't soured on the whole process before, that definitely did it. "It seems like this guy was just making it up as he was f***ing going along," he says at one point. "I was like, 'Wow, is that how easy this is? You just f***ing randomly suggest nonsense and people just go and film it?'"

Those shots that Gallagher isn't in? It's likely he didn't even bother to show up that day, because he hated making those videos that much. That's not exactly a glowing review of how invested in your own work you really are, is it?

Arnold explains Conan the Barbarian

If you haven't seen Conan the Barbarian in a long time, rest assured that it absolutely doesn't stand the test of time. While it looks like it might be a low-budget LARPing production, it's worth the rewatch ... as long as you turn on the commentary from Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Milius.

Arnold doesn't so much commentate on the movie as he does narrate, and it makes for some hilarious watching. From Conan's "listening to the women problems" to some of their comments on orgies and Arnold's "getting laid a lot in this movie," it occasionally feels like they sometimes forget they're being recorded. It's seriously impossible to watch this one without feeling like you're sitting on the couch sharing some popcorn with Arnold, as he tells you what's going on in the movie like a five-year-old explaining the plot of Frozen, even though you've both seen it a million times.

Our favorite lines include things like, "Then I break his arm, just pounding him in the head and breaking his head," and "Oh, this is where the orgy, remember she was like ... totally sweating and ... oiled up..."

No way could you resist reading that in his voice. Oy'l dahp!

Ben Affleck points out everything wrong with Armageddon

Armageddon is one of those movies best enjoyed by not thinking about it too much. Turn on the ol' noodle, and you'll realize that the whole premise is a bit silly. Ben Affleck made this mistake and, in the film's DVD commentary, points out that he had gone to director Michael Bay with what he considered a fatal flaw in film logic. "I asked Michael why was it easier to train oil drillers to become astronauts than it was to train astronauts to become oil drillers, and he told me to shut ... shut ... shut the f*** up, so that was the end of that talk." Angry, naughty words — a great way to admit you're wrong without admitting you're wrong.

That wasn't the only issue Affleck had with the movie. While we can appreciate his honesty, we also have to wonder if he had read the script before he signed on, because there's so, so much that makes him so, so angry about it. And honestly, watching it with his commentary on makes the movie so much better.

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist has a ton of alternate audio

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is pretty bizarre already. The Steve Oedekerk parody of all things martially artistic goes off the rails pretty quick, and there's all sorts of good stuff buried in the extra features. Our favorite isn't so much a commentary as it is the entire film set to audio book, narrated by the stuffiest British voice imaginable. We like to think whoever was reading for it was wearing a velvet smoking jacket and sipping a glass of brandy as he was making his recording.

There're a couple of other tracks, too, including one where everyone's speaking jibberish to poke more fun at the typical look of every other dubbed martial arts film out there. There's no wrong way to watch this one.

Cary Elwes does a bizarre Marlon Brando

Saw might be the last place you'd expect to find hilarious commentary, but Cary Elwes does a spot-on version of Marlon Brando that's so good, and so weird, you'll have to re-listen to make sure you really heard what you thought you heard. You did. There's nothing quite like hearing "Marlon Brando" giving his critique of a film that he says "[...] is better than watching saliva dribble from your mouth for two hours."

It's even more bizarre from there, and it's made even weirder by being played against what's supposed to be an extremely moving part of the film. (It's always when the wallet comes out with the family photos, isn't it?) To be fair, the entire thing is moving in one way or another, in the loosest definition of the word ... and Elwes and his Brando impression just brings a whole new level of weird.

Literally everything about the Evil Dead II commentary

Evil Dead and its follow-up films are up there with the best horror movies on the planet. That's only part of what makes the commentary so awesome, though, as it's literally an hour-and-a-half of Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, and Greg Nicotero (of The Walking Dead fame) sitting around having fun talking about the movie.

The entire thing feels more like a group of friends sitting at a bar talking about that horror flick they made for their college filmmaking class, rather than an actual DVD commentary on a movie that really, actually was made by a group at least pretending to be professionals. (We only say pretending, because they're having way too much fun and enjoying what they're doing way too much to be actual, fully-fledged professionals.)

There's something epic about the idea that they did this all on a shoestring budget, especially compared to the multi-million-dollar blockbusters that make it to the big screens today. About half an hour in, they talk about how one of the most epic scenes came about as a joke, and if you ask us, that's the best kind of atmosphere to work in.

Michael Bay's hatred for lame spacesuits

We mentioned earlier that Ben Affleck had issues with pretty much everything about Armageddon, and it turns out that Michael Bay had his issues, too. It wasn't with plot holes so big that you could fly a spaceship through them, though, or details that just really didn't make any sense. No way, Bay loves those things! It was actually the original design of the spacesuits that had Bay ready to jump off a building.

During the commentary, he's nothing short of disgusted that he signed off on samples and drawings and ideas — when he went to see the final product a few weeks before shooting, "[...] that's where I almost killed myself," he says. Because, as everyone knows, "[...] if you don't have cool spacesuits, your entire movie is screwed, bottom line." He said that.

He goes on ... and on ... and on, ranting about just how outrageous the original design was, and how much chaos the production was thrown into because of the redesign. If only he'd spent that much time ironing out Ben Affleck's plot holes.

Arnold likes wheelies best

We know — we're going to talk about Arnold again. There's a good reason for that, though — listening to Schwarzenegger talk about his own movies is an endless bastion of hilarious fun.

No one really liked Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but the way he tells the story is so much better. The crane "going berserk" was one of his favorite parts (although, to be fair, every part is his favorite part), and he says it was the wheelies that he liked the best. He talks about his sunglasses, about explosives and narrowly avoided accidents, about punching through marble, and about how excited he was to see a sexy girl get naked as a time-traveling Terminator.

Seriously, he narrates this whole thing with the same excitement you'd get from a little kid seeing it for the first time, and it makes this terrible Terminator movie totally watchable, for once.

Mickey Rooney hates everything

The real star of this one isn't Mickey Rooney at all. Nope — it's the unfortunate interviewer who drew the short straw, assigned to interview this crotchety old man who clearly hates everything. In fact, was Mickey Rooney ever not a crotchety old man? Even when he was young, he was crotchety and old. In fact, we're pretty sure he was approximately 87 years old when he was born.

Mickey Rooney's one-man show of a Twilight Zone episode, The Last Night of a Jockey, aired in 1963. Decades later, when Rooney sat down with our poor interviewer to do DVD commentary on that episode, he made it obvious that he would rather be doing anything else. After all, he's simply wasting his time filming an interview for kids who aren't going to be watching it anyway. Those kids? They're going to be watching "sexy things" instead.

You think we jest. Nope, he thinks kids just watch "sexy things." Go on, watch it. Then go find the entire thing and, at the end, raise a glass to that poor interviewer.

Arnold narrates Total Recall

Yep, Arnold again. He is the DVD commentary gift that keeps on giving.

It doesn't matter how old you were when you first saw Total Recall — that scene with the eyeballs is infinitely disturbing. Fortunately, Arnold Schwarzenegger was kind enough to do the commentary for this one, too, so you can sit down and have him explain the entire film to you.

He's clearly amazed that some of the things they thought were futuristic at the time they were filming — like giant televisions mounted on the wall — are very, very real in the future we're living in right now. Who knew Total Recall ended up being such an accurate look into the future? And the mutants? He loves the mutants, too.

He starts so, so many scenes by saying just what a wonderful scene it was, and then goes on to not so much provide commentary, but a complete recap as to what's going on. He's even thoughtful enough to let everyone know when he's acting, but it's his constant enthusiasm that makes this — and his other commentaries, frankly — worth way more than the price of admission.