Thursday, January 24, 2013

She's saying like she's afraid and all that

Conan the Barbarian - DVD Commentary
Okay, it's not an Arnold movie per se, but it is an entertaining full feature-length performance by him and is just so Ahnold. Arnold's mostly literal commentaries have become a bit of an internet meme of late and are incredibly funny, intentionally or otherwise. What makes this particular one so fun is director John Milius sitting in with Arnold and it's immediately apparent that they've sat down to watch Conan together before. It's as if they're hanging out in the room with you, watching, chatting, and laughing along. Compared to the standard rehearsed or information-crammed commentaries out there, this one really hits the sweet spot with some great additional detail but regular remarks of "Oh, I love this part" or "Here it comes" followed by silence as they listen to a particularly great line along with you and then laugh and chat about it afterward. Even if they had tried to plan it like this, there's no way they could have made this any more entertaining than they did.

First off, Arnold is obviously drunk, stoned, or otherwise hopped up on goofballs. That's perfectly fine and perhaps it's because he's so uninhibited that makes this such a classic bit of Ahnold. He's remembering things about the movie as he's watching it and frequently remembering incorrectly and being corrected by Milius. It's all done in such a completely endearing, honest, good-natured manner. Whether you enjoy hearing Arnold be Arnold, like getting some pretty fun tidbits on the movie, or like my wife, find it almost completely unbearable... it's still a compelling experience and even she couldn't stop listening no matter how painful it was to her to hear Arnold sounding so out of it.

I avoid putting quotes from the things I've watched since that's been done to death, but when I rewatched the commentary, I wound up jotting down 2 pages of notes to myself. Yes, try and wrap your head around how pathetic that is, but since I went to the bother, here are some of my favorites saved for posterity:

Arnold: "I cannot believe I got credit over James Earl Jones"
Neither can I, but glad it amuses Arnold

Arnold: "Look, look! I'm bleeding real blood"
Milius: "Leave it, it looks great!"
Arnold: "I got my first stitches before it was noon"
As Milius says, pain is temporary, the film is forever.

Milius: "He sees the dogs, and in the next scene he's wearing them"
Describing the escape from the Atlantean cave.. Arnold proceeds to completely crack up

Arnold: "Now we are running"
Foreshadowing Arnold's excellent literal commentary to come with Total Recall

Arnold: "I was getting laid alot in this movie"
No explanation necessary

Also very fun how much praise they have of Arnold's co-stars. Arnold was completely blown away by watching Max von Sydow act and it's awesome to hear him talk about how he didn't know you could push that far as an actor. Sandahl gets the most chat time, I think Milius was really taken with her. They mention how well she moves at least a half-dozen times, talk about how beautiful she is, how much she looks the part of a viking, and how well she did in her big scenes. It's particularly great since in nearly every one of those scenes, that's exactly what I'm thinking as well.

Ahnold Quotient - 10
This is as much Ahnold as you could possibly imagine without actually seeing him. It's just crammed with cracking up, his wonderfully thick accent emphasizing how slurred his speech is, trying to be funny and missing the mark, and all around doing what makes Arnold Arnold. The quotes I mentioned really don't do this justice, it has to be experienced.

Rewatchability - Sure
I don't really have the sort of friends who like to hang out and run through movie commentaries, and I don't think my wife will enter the room again while this is playing, but I can totally see myself coming back to this. This was only the second time I've listened to it, and while I'm not going to do so every time I watch the movie, it certainly would be nice to do every few years. If you are even a slight fan of Arnold or the movie and have never listened to the commentary, it's a must to add this to your bucket list.

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