In a welcome gift to cinema geeks who miss the DVD-era expectations of filmmaker/actor commentaries included with physical media, Hulu has unveiled a first-of-its-kind for the streaming era: Full cast commentary for its hit time-looping comedy Palm Springs. The just-unveiled “commentary cut” includes face-to-face interaction (via Zoom, naturally) between stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, director Max Barbakow and screenwriter Andy Siara.
“As far as I know we’re the first,” Samberg said to Variety, referring to the commentary cut format. “We realized that Palm Springs will always be on Hulu, which is great, but there are elements of the DVD experience that just don’t exist anymore. They were very amenable in talking about ways to get some fun stuff in there.”
There has certainly been more of a push in recent years to replicate the concept of “extras” that were inherent to DVD and Blu-ray packaging of physical media, but full-on commentary tracks have been slow in arriving. Netflix, for instance, has produced podcast companions for certain films such as Nahnatchka Khan’s Always Be My Maybe, and they also produced a behind-the-scenes documentary on Martin Scorsese’s epic The Irishman. But they’ve yet to get someone like Scorsese to give a full director’s commentary track for one of those films, making this one instance where Hulu is leading by example.
Palm Springs did very well for Hulu when it arrived in the middle of the pandemic this summer, scoring strong reviews from outlets like Paste en route to becoming the service’s most-watched original feature film ever. That title has since been surpassed by Hulu’s Run starring Sarah Paulson, but Palm Springs has remained especially relevant for how it managed to capture the ennui of 2020 despite being filmed prior to the pandemic. It ultimately landed just outside our top 10 of the best movies of 2020.
You can watch the new commentary cut of Palm Springs on Hulu now, and check out the trailer below for a little taste.