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40 Things We Learned from Jon Favreau’s ‘Elf’ Commentary

Who knows Santa? I mean personally? I bet you don’t. I don’t either, but we’re talking about you right now. Buddy the Elf knows Santa.
By  · Published on December 23rd, 2011

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Neil Miller celebrates Christmas with a new holiday favorite by listening to Jon Favreau’s commentary on Elf.

Who knows Santa? I mean personally? I bet you don’t. I don’t either, but we’re talking about you right now. Buddy the Elf knows Santa. He makes sure to tell everyone he sees when he ventures to New York City to meet his real father. Another question. Who doesn’t like Elf? You can walk away now if you said, “I don’t”, because this Commentary Commentary is not for you.

The Christmas season is upon us, and we felt it was time to hear what director Jon Favreau had to say about this ginormous Christmas gem. There are two commentary tracks on Elf – thanks, Infinifilm – but we’re rolling the dice on Favreau over the film’s star. As a wise man once said to me over Twitter, “Glean his insights so we don’t have to listen; let us hear the entertaining actor ourselves. So sit back with your eggnog or your mini candy cane or your Christmas fudge – I’m rocking all three as I write this, the first indication I should get myself to a dentist pronto – and delve into all the glorious bits of information we gathered while listening to the Elf commentary track. Oh, eggnog. No one understands me like you.

Elf (2003)

Commentators: Jon Favreau (director), lots of talk about Middle Earth

Best in Commentary

“It’s sort of romantic, but it’s sort of weird, too.” – Favreau on the shower/duet scene between Deschanel and Farrell.

“Christmas movies are about spirit winning out over cynicism.”

“Burps are funny.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Final Thoughts

Much of Jon Favreau’s Elf commentary falls into the “See that? I’m going to describe what’s going on” attitude so many commentators take. That’s not always a bad thing, especially when it plays over a film as entertaining as watchable as Elf is. Favreau still finds time in there to bring up stories from the set, techniques used in the effects-heavy film, and the approach actors like Farrell and Deschanel took to bring their characters to life. It’s still an entertaining and insightful commentary, probably not quite as entertaining as what Farrell delivers in his but definitely more focused. Farrell probably wouldn’t have mentioned Freddy Vs. Jason, but that’s just conjecture on my part.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)