If you’re going to see The Nines this long weekend, you’ll be in a movie theater. You’ll have the benefit of a giant screen, good sound, and fellow patrons with which to partake (and debate) the film. There’s nothing like watching a movie with a crowd: it’s participatory and immediate.

One of my favorite moments of the Sundance premiere was listening as progressive waves of audience members realized that a story Hope Davis begins telling in Part One is, in fact, not a story at all. Hearing the little gasps, those who hadn’t yet caught on became more vigilant, wondering what they were missing.

It was a reminder that we make movies for an audience, not merely a consumer.

Yet there are some things a movie theater can’t provide, aspects which only work on DVD. The pause button, for example. Subtitles. Audio commentary.

podcast coverBut in the age of iPods, there’s really no reason why audio commentary has to be relegated to DVD. That’s why Ryan Reynolds and I recorded one last week for The Nines which is now yours to download. (47MB, right-click to save to disk)

This isn’t an original idea, by the way. Kevin Smith recorded an in-theater commentary for Clerks II, though I can’t find confirmation he released it into the wild. (Someone in the comments section will know.)

If you’re considering downloading it, here are some guidelines, ground rules and helpful hints:

  1. Trust me: don’t try to listen to it without the movie. It’s not that it’s full of spoilers; it simply won’t make sense.
  2. Don’t try to listen to it on your first viewing.1 The movie is confusing enough. Hearing me blather on about some esoteric detail will increase the bewilderment, not lessen it.
  3. There are two versions: an m4a and an mp3. (Right-click to save to disk.) If you’re on an iPod or iPhone, you want the m4a. It’s half the size and sounds great. The mp3 should work in your Zune.
  4. The commentary track is set up as a podcast, with four chapters. “Intro” plays before the opening titles start rolling, so you may want to listen to this and hit pause. “Music Begins” plays right as the Newmarket and Destination logos appear. We mention the Destination logo, so you’ll know if you’re in the ballpark.2
  5. If you’re using iTunes, you should be able to simply drag the file into your library and sync. Otherwise, do whatever four-step process it takes to load it.
  6. Be respectful: If you’re listening to the commentary, sit away from other people, so they’re not hearing it. Yes, that’s just common sense and common courtesy, but I thought I’d point it out.
  7. I speak quickly, and mumble occasionally. That’s me. It’s also Ryan in Part Two, for an extra meta-level.

I’d like to underline points 2 and 6. Please don’t ruin the movie for yourself or others.

Because you’ll ask, this commentary will likely also be on the DVD, along with other special stuff.

The files are relatively small, so the server should be able to handle the load. But if anyone feels inclined to set up a mirror, or seed a torrent, go for it. Leave a link in the comments. And let me know if you end up using it.

  1. Yes, I’m basically saying, “See the movie twice!” But if you’re listening to an audio commentary track, you presumably find the movie interesting enough (or befuddling enough) that you want to see it a second time or third time.
  2. If you’re off a few seconds, it doesn’t matter much. This ain’t Dark Side of Oz.