I made a 2019 thread too

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #100

Postby Derived Absurdity » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:50 pm

The Favourite is definitely the most mainstream-ish of his movies I've seen because it's not as surreal or dark, but they're all basically similar - bleak, mean, meaningless, provocative/edgy. There's not really much more to them. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a modern retelling of a Greek play, The Lobster is attempting to comment on society's treatment of romance/love with little success IMO, and Dogtooth... well I don't know, it's been several years since I've seen it, but it's not different. I haven't seen Alps but it's probably the exact same.

User avatar
Eva Yojimbo
Ultra Poster
Posts: 771
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:34 pm
Location: The Land of Cows and Twisters

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #101

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:49 pm

Derived Absurdity wrote:Inherent Vice - full confession: I only watched this for the sex scene. It was good. The sex scene was good. I guess the rest was good, I don't know, I was on my phone the whole time.
[none]

I actually rather liked that one. There are a lot of films about stoners that always feel too sober to me (stylistically), but that movie just feels like it exists in a cloud of pot smoke. I remember little about the characters or plot, but that feeling of drifting through the events in a weird haze has stuck with me.

Derived Absurdity wrote:Before Sunset - I liked this one a lot more.
Interesting thoughts. For whatever reason, I don't remember this one as well as Sunrise. Perhaps because I saw Sunset long after Sunrise and the latter had already left a big impression on me so I already knew what (basically) to expect. I don't disagree about the characters being "smarter" and "more mature" but I'm not sure that's an innate positive. It reminds me of a lot of musical artists that "mature" and become boring compared to their earlier stuff that was much more exciting and innovative even if it was rough around the edges. Now, I don't think Sunset was boring/dull by any means, and I definitely appreciate how it's going for an entirely different tone/feel because of how the characters have changed, but I also felt like it was missing that "spark" that I saw in the first film. I still thought it was superb though, and I agree with most of the good stuff you said about it... I guess I just feel like I've seen more films like it--meaning films about adults working out the problems of adult life--than films like Sunrise that are so freewheeling, naive, jubilant, and just bursting with energy and idealism about life and love; probably because most filmmakers are too old themselves to connect to that feeling of youth. Maybe I just saw it at the right time.

FWIW, I've always very much felt that way about how socially structured age is. Maybe it's because my life took such a weird, independent turn itself in my early 20s but I've never felt much pressure to conform with the idea that I should be doing this or that by any given age. Even though I'm now in my mid-30s I don't feel like anything is really off-limits to me, it's just always a question of whether or not I want to invest the time to pursue it. There was even a story recently about a 90-something-year-old who was going to college, which goes to show how BS the whole concept of there being limits to what you can do at any given age is.
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #102

Postby Derived Absurdity » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:03 pm

Oh yeah I kind of hate life and think optimism and idealism are stupid so movies that are bursting with energy and idealism and naivety and whatever kind of don't do much for me. You need some degree of cynicism and pessimism to connect with me 'cuz those are required in any honest reflection or appraisal of life, because it sucks. Before Sunset sort of had that, sort of, so it was better.

User avatar
Eva Yojimbo
Ultra Poster
Posts: 771
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:34 pm
Location: The Land of Cows and Twisters

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #103

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:21 pm

Derived Absurdity wrote:Oh yeah I kind of hate life and think optimism and idealism are stupid so movies that are bursting with energy and idealism and naivety and whatever kind of don't do much for me. You need some degree of cynicism and pessimism to connect with me 'cuz those are required in any honest reflection or appraisal of life, because it sucks. Before Sunset sort of had that, sort of, so it was better.
LOL, well, that explains a lot. I mean, I'm closer to the cynical/pessimistic type myself, but when it comes to films (or any dramatic art-form) I don't generally judge them for expressing different perspectives as long as I think they're doing it well. IOW, I don't think art should generally be an "I agree with the POV so it's good/I disagree with the POV so it's bad" kind of thing, especially because the best dramatic art tends to depict rather than judge (meaning: "this is who the characters are/what they think" rather than "this is what the author thinks"). That's why Shakespeare has survived as long as he has, because he was capable of non-judgmentally depicting such an incredible breadth and diversity of humanity while never (or rarely and, if so, obscurely) injecting his perspective.
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #104

Postby Raxivace » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:36 am

Jimbo do you think there's more of a demand from audiences that art "judges" its characters these days?

This might be skewed from me spend too much time online but sometimes it seems like people want moralistic fables more than anything. It kind of reminds me of those that demand "likeable" main characters above all else.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

User avatar
Eva Yojimbo
Ultra Poster
Posts: 771
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:34 pm
Location: The Land of Cows and Twisters

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #105

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:46 am

Raxivace wrote:Jimbo do you think there's more of a demand from audiences that art "judges" its characters these days?

This might be skewed from me spend too much time online but sometimes it seems like people want moralistic fables more than anything. It kind of reminds me of those that demand "likeable" main characters above all else.
Honestly I'm not sure, since saying would require having a good historical understandings of what audiences expected and how they reacted to the judgement/depiction dichotomy in art. What I would say is that there was a fundamental change in popular aesthetic philosophy that started in Romanticism where art became primarily seen as the personal expression of artists rather than attempts at depicting people/reality as it was. MH Abrams called this difference "the mirror and the lamp" in his book on the subject; basically the idea is that a mirror reflects what is, while a lamp only illuminates what an individual points it at. If art becomes personal expression then it makes logical sense that part of that expression includes judgment. That also makes art easier to critique because judgment (especially of the philosophical and moral variety) comes naturally to people, much more so than more abstract aesthetic theories about intent, technique/style, narrative, tone, perspective, and whatnot.

I'm sure being online exaggerates this since it gives everybody a forum to offer their opinions and criticism. Most of what we have of the past generations is what critics and scholars have written about art, which also probably skews what the general perception was at the time (it's not as if critics/scholars and average people are frequently in agreement).
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #106

Postby Derived Absurdity » Sun Sep 08, 2019 10:57 pm

The Handmaid's Tale (season 2) - this season was the definition of "less than the sum of its parts". It was also a good example of how poor writing can fuck up an entire show/movie, even if everything else is stellar. The performances are fantastic. I'm not one to notice or care about cinematography very much, but even I appreciated how achingly beautiful practically every shot was, especially in the Waterford's house. But the writing was complete ass. There was never any stakes, no action ever had realistic consequences, there was no sense of progression or momentum, the world still makes no sense, none of the situations make any sense, and every moment that reaches for emotion is self-defeating because they're always entirely divorced from the rest of the show. June is essentially a sex slave, for example, and yet she runs away (while pregnant!), slaps her Commander, steals her baby from them, and so on, yet suffers absolutely no lasting consequences. A handmaid sets off a bomb that kills several high-ranking men, which leads nowhere. June escapes for several episodes and is brought back, with no short- or long-term repercussions and not even an investigation or nothing. It's unrealistic, to say the least, and saps away tension. There were a multitude of storylines and plot threads that just fizzled out randomly, so many that I lost track. This season didn't add anything of value at all. Most of the characters are still thin and vague, none of them went through anything approaching an arc except maybe Serena Joy if I'm generous. The scant info added about the world and how it came about just made it seem more implausible. It's devolved into repetitive torture porn.

When I said that this show was probably going to turn into some YA novel, I thought it would do that during this season, but it didn't. It's still going to, but since this one was slow slow and repetitive and pointless it's going to wait for the next season instead. Or the one after that. But it's clearly going to. A calling card of YA is that the protagonist always has to be "special" in some way, and Offred is being built up as being "special" as well, more resilient, stronger, the natural hero of the resistance, which goes against the historical spirit of dystopian fiction that the protagonist is just anybody. I would rather watch that than the torture porn I've been watching, but I would like even more for it to back to just being good.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #107

Postby Derived Absurdity » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:47 am

Getting a bit bored of doing this.

Jane the Virgin (season 5... or 6, or whatever it was): Kind of bad in comparison to the previous seasons, all of which were flying on all cylinders all the time. Many stale, manufactured conflicts that just served to pad. An exceptionally lame and bad twist that served, also, to pad, but was primarily fan service, and which killed the emotional pathos of the last season. There were some nice moments, and the finale wrapped up most everything in a neat little bow, but it was still mostly bad. The show is still largely excellent despite this.

Better Call Saul (season 4): Ditto. What a noticeable drop. Lots and lots and lots of wheel-spinning. Seems like that was the great bulk of the season. The ending was fine, not great. More importantly the psychological throughline of the whole show is starting to reveal itself as being simplistic, which is unfortunate, as that's what the show is resting on. It seems that Jimmy's lack of reaction to Chuck's death last season is supposed to be evidence of him going down a dark path, and that we're supposed to be bothered by it, which, if so, would be complete and utter bullshit, but I think that's the road the show is going down.

The Good Place (season 3): I love this show. It's one of the best shows out there right now, and I say that confidently despite only seeing less than 1% of them. It's endlessly inventive and entertaining and creative and unpredictable and sometimes almost thought-provoking. It also manages to be genuinely funny occasionally. That said I am not confident in the philosophical conclusions it allegedly made this season, and I think the only way it can keep up its level of quality is if it does a bait-and-switch next season like it did the first one. I would expand on this, but I don't feel like it.

Suspiria - That was certainly a lot. It was much longer and drearier than the original but it held my attention much better. I'm not going to forget it soon.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #108

Postby Derived Absurdity » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:25 pm

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - it sucks how this series has turned out. If it kept up the quality of the first movie it would have been fantastic, easily the best animated film trilogy that I know of. Instead it just kind of sputtered to an anemic end, and I don't know why. This last one has nothing interesting; it continues the second one's lack of having any soul or heart, and attempts to cover that up by drowning the audience in beautifully atmospheric visuals at every moment and attempting to end on a tearjerker, both of which still somehow seem emotionally empty. Maybe that's because the writing is so thin. The villain barely even registers, Hiccup's character development is basically being recycled, the humor is juvenile and shitty (the first one had much better and it came out nine years ago), and, worst of all, Astrid has devolved into Stock Female Character/Love Interest. It feels like the animators were the only ones who gave a shit about this movie. It's too bad, but I was expecting it. It would have been nice if this trilogy had stayed good, though.

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #109

Postby Raxivace » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:01 pm

Kill all the dragons IMO.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #110

Postby Derived Absurdity » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:28 am

Uh, rude.

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #111

Postby Raxivace » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:27 am

Honestly I’m just sick of these damn dragons taking our gold and hoarding them in weird lairs in the mountains.

Like come on guys. Stop it.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #112

Postby Derived Absurdity » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:56 pm

Well maybe we should stop letting our gold be so easy to take. It's our fault, really.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #113

Postby Derived Absurdity » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:51 pm

Marianne - a scary show on Netflix. It's okay. The first three episodes are pretty good and are actual horror, but then it turned into a trope-y YA dark fantasy show. It can't really be compared to Haunting of Hill House; it's very different, and its highs are much higher and its lows are much lower. Watch in French.

Unbelievable - a Netflix show based on a true story about a young girl who was charged by the local police department with false accusations of rape, and two detectives who found out the truth. There's not really much to say about it except it's very, very good. It made me very angry.

Taxi Driver - spurred by current events, I watched this movie, my first "classic" Scorsese. I thought it was pretty good. That's my professional opinion. It's hard to believe this was a mainstream movie in the 70s; it's much more subtle and ambiguous than mainstream movies today. It has a lot to say about loneliness and alienation and toxic masculinity. The last few moments swerve very hard into This Says A Lot About Society mode.

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #114

Postby Raxivace » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:08 am

Yeah 70's Hollywood was a majorly different place than modern Hollywood. Even with my own misgivings about that particular era, at least there were major films intended for adults that people actually watched in theaters.

Meanwhile in 2019, Scorsese couldn't even get funding from the studios for his next film, despite being a famous Oscar winning director, and had to go to Netflix to get it produced.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #115

Postby Derived Absurdity » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:58 am

It's amazing how so many people actually had a problem with Scorsese's comments on Marvel. Like they couldn't imagine how an extremely creative, thoughtful, and well-respected director would take some issue with film turning into bland factory-made assembly line-manufactured paste based on comics and children's toys. Like he wouldn't dare to have something mildly critical to say about the embodiment and symbolization of America's cultural decay.

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #116

Postby Raxivace » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:33 pm

It's weird too because like, Scorsese's actual comment wasn't even all that critical. Hell I'm not sure there's even much difference between calling the movies "theme park rides" and how some people defend the Marvel movies as just entertainment.

I'm not surprised that the more hardcore fanboys are fanboying in the ways that fanboys typically do (Seriously guys, the movies have made more money than God. I think you'll live if not everyone likes them), but what I find most disappointing is how personally that James Gunn took Scorsese's comment just because it tangentially referred to Guardians of the Galaxy 1 + 2. He actually compared Scorsese criticizing Guardians "without even seeing it" to how religious conservatives picketed The Last Temptation of Christ in the 80's without watching that and that comparison just seemed ignorant to me. A guy sharing a negative opinion is not even close to that organized campaign that religious conservatives tried to pull.

For fuck's sake, militant Christians in France tried to fucking burn a movie theater down for screening Last Temptation, a comment comparing a movie to theme parks is not even in the same damn universe.

It's one thing for doofus idiot kids on Twitter who think posting the "Old man yells at clouds" Simpsons gif for the 200000000000th time is the height of insightful comedy, but man I'd expect more from someone like Gunn that probably should know better.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #117

Postby Derived Absurdity » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:01 pm

Yeah, because Martin Scorsese really needs to actually physically see Guardians of the Galaxy to know a movie about a talking raccoon set in space is not going to be high art.

The self-importance of some people. Like, does James Gunn actually genuinely think Martin Scorsese needs to show some respect for his cartoon action figure movies. I would think he would be the first to agree that they're just meaningless nonsense. Like they're somehow on the same level as westerns and gangster movies just because some people didn't like those, either. The difference is that many westerns and gangster movie are cinematic masterpieces, and superhero movies never will be. Ever. The concept of superheroes is fundamentally, inherently stupid and childish. That is the reason they first appeared in comic books eighty years ago, meant for children. Which is fine, as long as you just acknowledge it. I don't care if you enjoy art meant for kids. But to get pissy when someone points out the obvious, that these are stupid nonsense movies meant for kids and can never be anything else, shows some deep insecurity.

Faustus5
Super Poster
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:08 pm

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #118

Postby Faustus5 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:34 pm

Derived Absurdity wrote:It's amazing how so many people actually had a problem with Scorsese's comments on Marvel. Like they couldn't imagine how an extremely creative, thoughtful, and well-respected director would take some issue with film turning into bland factory-made assembly line-manufactured paste based on comics and children's toys. Like he wouldn't dare to have something mildly critical to say about the embodiment and symbolization of America's cultural decay.


He went too far into grumpy old man shaking his crazy fist at the sky territory, is why. It's one thing to make the criticisms you make, which have been made by many folks in the past without controversy, and another to go into stupid mode and say that they "aren't cinema" or are "despicable". By the way, as someone who adores the genre, I think you are mostly wrong about comic book films, but while your opinions are reasonable, his veer off into self-discrediting silliness. He really kind of deserves the flack.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #119

Postby Derived Absurdity » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:39 pm

Lol well clearly I'm biased. I'm just really sick of superheroes at this point completely dominating our movie culture for twelve years straight. This is like the first time any high-profile voice has ever voiced any mild criticism of it.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #120

Postby Derived Absurdity » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:13 pm

Booksmart - It was fun. The comparisons to Superbad are warranted, as it parallels it in its plot structure and emotional journey, but it's a bit more empathic. The story beats were pretty standard and in the last act felt forced. I like how the overachiever Tracy Flick-type main character, who had to work for things her whole life, had her mind blown early on when she realized that all the slackers and meatheads in her school were going to fancy prestigious colleges despite always goofing off, and I kept waiting for her to realize, or the movie to point out, the extremely obvious pattern between them. That they all got into Harvard and Stanford because their parents are incredibly rich, Tracey. Duh. All of you are incredibly rich. You literally point out that Gigi is the richest girl in the school and you're all shocked that she got accepted into Harvard? It would have been nice for this extremely obvious and blatant class angle to factor in to the movie, somehow, or the idealistic and hard-working and always-plays-by-the-rules main character's progression, in some fashion, but nope, it never did. I mean, it was right there. Realizing that the world is fundamentally unfair and tilted radically toward the upper crust would be a pretty good and authentic coming-of-age story, at least IMO, but we're not going to get that in a movie written and financed by that upper crust, are we, no matter how heartfelt and witty and empathic it might be.

Faustus5
Super Poster
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:08 pm

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #121

Postby Faustus5 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:34 pm

Derived Absurdity wrote: I mean, it was right there. Realizing that the world is fundamentally unfair and tilted radically toward the upper crust would be a pretty good and authentic coming-of-age story, at least IMO, but we're not going to get that in a movie written and financed by that upper crust, are we, no matter how heartfelt and witty and empathic it might be.


Godamn, you always see through the class bullshit and I just mindlessly have a good time.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #122

Postby Derived Absurdity » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:14 am

Lol, thanks.

I had a good time, too, it was a good movie, but when I think about it more, I think this angle does a lot of damage to it. Spoilers ahead, but the main character's coming-of-age is premised on her getting over her superiority complex towards her classmates. That's she's not that much better or different than them. Which is itself based on the realization that they got into nice colleges, too. But they didn't get into good colleges because they were smart or hard-working, they got into them because of their wealth and connections. She didn't actually misjudge them much originally at all. That one girl in the bathroom said she got into Yale due to getting a 15-something on her SATs, which is nice, but it takes a lot more to get into Yale than high SAT scores. The main character seemed to be upper-middle class; not exactly struggling to survive, but still needing to work hard and have discipline to get as high in society as she wanted. She was right all along. She was surrounded by trust fund babies destined to fail their way upwards, meanwhile she was working her ass off; her superiority complex was entirely warranted.

But the movie's apparent obliviousness to class didn't let her see that, so she learned a lesson at the end she didn't need. She actually learned the wrong lesson, it seems to me. That's what intense class privilege does to you, you can make a movie as well-intentioned and good-hearted as this one and your class blindness can still undercut the entire theme.

BruceSmith78
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1270
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:20 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #123

Postby BruceSmith78 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:24 am

My wife and I tried watching Booksmart and it was one of those movies that seems to be trying really hard to be cool and funny and failing to do either one at every turn, and we turned it off after like 15 minutes. We never even came close to laughing or cracking a smile.

We wasted $5.99 renting it on PPV, too.

Faustus5
Super Poster
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:08 pm

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #124

Postby Faustus5 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:23 am

BruceSmith78 wrote:My wife and I tried watching Booksmart and it was one of those movies that seems to be trying really hard to be cool and funny and failing to do either one at every turn, and we turned it off after like 15 minutes. We never even came close to laughing or cracking a smile.

We wasted $5.99 renting it on PPV, too.


I actually came very close to turning it off at the same time for exactly the same reasons, but the "trying too hard" stuff mellowed after a while and I was rewarded by giving it a chance. I think if you two had stuck with it, the themes that redeemed the hyper opening would have revealed themselves and you might have really liked it.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #125

Postby Derived Absurdity » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:02 pm

The first fifteen minutes were by far the worst part. It gets gradually better.

Most of these raunchy teen movies seem to be trying too hard, so I just went in with my expectations set.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #126

Postby Derived Absurdity » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:33 pm

The Fly (1986) - wow, that was gross. The ending was goddamn brutal. That's how horror movies should end. All the important shit is over, your emotions are at their highest, suddenly it's over. This is a movie that wastes no time. I liked it, it was more emotional than I was expecting. It's interesting that Jeff Goldblum's facial expressions and eyes worked so well if they were just a cocoon the whole time.

But yeah I don't know what he was waiting for, I would have shot myself the very nanosecond I found out I was slowly mutating into a half-fly. Not shooting myself would never even enter my consciousness. Also, he could have taken, like, a piece of skin from several different people and simply morphed them into him if his whole "lower the percentage of the fly genes" idea had merit, but maybe the fact that he didn't consider that idea until he was at his fly-est and most desperate is a sign that it didn't.

But yeah those last five minutes or so were intense and were a perfect way to end. It was one emotional shock after another, all executed with no dialogue. It was pretty good.

User avatar
Raxivace
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #127

Postby Raxivace » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:47 am

I saw The Fly for the first time a few years ago and also quite liked it.

It's interesting as a remake too because its a pretty different story from the original 50's movie, with really only sharing the basic premise of "Guy turns into weird fly monster". I wish more remakes would only take the basic premise from the source material like that and try to find a unique spin on them.
"[Cinema] is a labyrinth with a treacherous resemblance to reality." - Andrew Sarris

User avatar
Eva Yojimbo
Ultra Poster
Posts: 771
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:34 pm
Location: The Land of Cows and Twisters

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #128

Postby Eva Yojimbo » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:43 am

Derived Absurdity wrote:Taxi Driver - spurred by current events, I watched this movie, my first "classic" Scorsese. I thought it was pretty good. That's my professional opinion. It's hard to believe this was a mainstream movie in the 70s; it's much more subtle and ambiguous than mainstream movies today. It has a lot to say about loneliness and alienation and toxic masculinity. The last few moments swerve very hard into This Says A Lot About Society mode.
This is one of those films where I get why it's considered great, I get why people love it, I get why it was such an important film... but it's just never done anything for me personally. Unlike Raging Bull it just never really pulled me into the character or the world he inhabits. I don't know if I could put my finger on why that is, but I think there's something about the nihilism of Travis Bickle that's never really explained and always keeps me at a distance from it, so even though I can sympathize to an extent I never really empathize with him. OTOH, with Jake Lamotta it's pretty immediately understandable why a guy that's made his whole life around being able to beat people up has no concept of how to deal with people outside the ring, and how destructive that inner violence can be. Obviously that's not MY life, but I get on an intuitive/emotional level how someone can end up like that if that's all they've known. So I end up having much less empathy/sympathy for Travis than I do with Jake.

Derived Absurdity wrote:The Fly (1986)
Great film. You should check out more from Cronenberg. Even though The Fly might be his most overtly horrific, he has a lot of really weird, out-there stuff in many of his earlier films especially. Videodrome is probably my favorite from him, but something really out-there try Naked Lunch.

Derived Absurdity wrote:Yeah, because Martin Scorsese really needs to actually physically see Guardians of the Galaxy to know a movie about a talking raccoon set in space is not going to be high art.

The self-importance of some people. Like, does James Gunn actually genuinely think Martin Scorsese needs to show some respect for his cartoon action figure movies. I would think he would be the first to agree that they're just meaningless nonsense. Like they're somehow on the same level as westerns and gangster movies just because some people didn't like those, either. The difference is that many westerns and gangster movie are cinematic masterpieces, and superhero movies never will be. Ever. The concept of superheroes is fundamentally, inherently stupid and childish. That is the reason they first appeared in comic books eighty years ago, meant for children. Which is fine, as long as you just acknowledge it. I don't care if you enjoy art meant for kids. But to get pissy when someone points out the obvious, that these are stupid nonsense movies meant for kids and can never be anything else, shows some deep insecurity.
To me, the only real problem with what Scorsese said is that he's essentially making a subjective assessment via what is an objective, semantic classification. "Cinema" shouldn't be synonymous with "art-cinema," "cinema" should just be synonymous with theaters where films are shown. If it's shown in a theater, it's cinema. If it's shot on film, it's film. If it's a moving picture, it's a movie, etc. I don't see the point in saying something's "not cinema" when what you really mean is "I don't like these kinds of movies." It's the same way when people try to say rap or metal or [insert controversial music genre here] "isn't music" when what they really mean is "it's not the kind of music I like." There's no way to define cinema in a way that Marvel movies aren't cinema, and there's no way to define music in such a way to exclude rap and metal. That everyone has their tastes and dislikes is fine, but it's not hard to express them in a way that isn't trying to dictate what the medium is, or what people should/shouldn't like, and THAT'S what rubs people wrong about what Scorsese said.

As for your criticisms of superhero films, I think it's mostly wrong. To start with, one of the great things about film from the earliest days is that it took what was classically "low art" genres and made masterpieces out of them. Hitchcock said he specifically chose Psycho because the source material was so bad, and he wanted to show that it was the director who could make art out of anything and that the material was, essentially, irrelevant. A film like The Third Man also toys with this notion of "high art" excluding stuff like westerns or, indeed, like the kind of film The Third Man is (hard-boiled, detective, noir, etc.). So I'd say right off the bat that there's nothing about superhero films that excludes them from being "high art" to start with and, indeed, given that we're living a post-Alan Moore world, who showed that superheros can make for artistic literature, there's doubly no reason that couldn't be the case for film.

The reason most superhero films aren't very artistic has far more to do with producers and writers and focus groups having far more control over the final product than visionary directors. The problem with "artists" is that they innately tend to appeal strongly to some but turn off just as many, and you can't afford to be divisive when you're working with the budget of most superhero movies. So I can't even BLAME producers or writers for "playing it safe" when that much money is involved. Yeah, there are rare exceptions where great artists were also great entertainers, but outside Hitchcock and Kubrick, how many can we really name in film? And even they weren't working with the kinds of budgets that modern superhero films are. So the problem really has nothing to do with the superhero genre, and everything to do with the money involved and who controls them.

Even with all that said, I would also suggest tempering the notion that there's no art to be found in these films. For one thing, superhero films (and comics, for that matter) tend to work by taking certain universal archetypes and themes and turning them into characters and conflicts. So all the thematic material is usually already there in the material to begin with, and the only thing stopping writers/directors from exploring it is the fact that they tend to focus more on action and external conflict rather than the more abstract stuff underneath it all. Though I still think that even without the exploration all that archetypal stuff is there and that people just don't talk about it much; but that's the reason why someone like Jordan Peterson won't dismiss superhero films/comics when people make comparisons with, eg, The Bible, because he doesn't see much difference in that they're all just ways that humans express certain recurring themes, archetypes, symbols, etc.

Finally, I also wouldn't recommend dismissing them because of the target audience. There's plenty of books/films made for kids that are far better, more artistic, and more meaningful than the vast majority of stuff made for adults. I'm also always reminded of what CS Lewis had to say on this subject: “Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung

User avatar
Cassius Clay
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2363
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:03 pm

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #129

Postby Cassius Clay » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:22 pm

Superhero movies are specifically "childish" in the sense their stories are absurd, simplistic power fantasies...appealing primarily to children because children are powerless and lack a sophisticated understanding of the world. That doesn't mean a dismissive attitude towards them is warranted tho(the appeal to children isn't were it ends). You could say stories in general are childish because they're all make-believe nonsense...but that would be silly.
Image

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #130

Postby Derived Absurdity » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:56 pm

Yeah, I didn't really connect with Taxi Driver or Travis Bickle much either. I thought the movie was good, but it didn't do anything for me emotionally. Travis Bickle has a few specific superficial similarities to me, which I thought would make it easier for me to connect with him, but it didn't. The movie put him too much at a distance. His psychology seemed analyzed at a distance, from someone who could only glimpse parts of it, and then tried to piece it together with inadequate background knowledge. (Like, it seems to me he showed signs of mild autism, social aversion disorder, depression, PTSD... I don't know, it was a lot. It felt like someone studying someone they couldn't quite figure out or categorize and just kind of threw a bunch of stuff at him.) I'm not sure the movie really knew who he was. Maybe the characterization was too subtle for me.

To me "high art" is something that deals with deep themes in an emotionally and intellectually mature way. That's my pithy definition of it. So it's not that superhero films don't or can't have thematic substance, it's just that I think they can't be emotionally or intellectually mature about it. They can also be well-made, of course, with good scripts and editing and whatnot, but that's not the point. Films can be technically well-made but still feel thematically empty and/or childish. (And many films can be amateurishly made on a technical level but still feel thematically rich/mature.) I just think the whole concept of superheroes is stupid. They're inherently absurd simplistic power fantasies, at the core. You can't build an emotionally or intellectually mature piece of art around them. People have tried, but the inherent stupidity of the core concept always weakens the attempt. It's not a coincidence that the one piece of superhero media that managed to be close to "high art", Watchmen, deconstructed the whole idea.

Like, people say The Dark Knight is an example of a superhero film being "high art", but I don't think it is. It has some interesting ideas (nihilism, anarchy/chaos, and so on), but isn't very mature or deep in exploring them. Partly because it has to work around the inherently stupid idea of a billionaire dressing up as a bat in his spare time and beating up a homeless man dressed as a clown. And if you try to make superhero movies "realistic", as it did, sort of, you automatically get some incredibly reactionary and quasi-fascist elements, which it has, because superheroes, if they were transplanted to the real world with real people, would be reactionary and fascistic. Fascism, as well as being evil, is fundamentally childish and immature. That's why superheroes can never be melded organically with real-world mature themes, unless you're outright deconstructing them.

Derived Absurdity
Ultimate Poster
Posts: 2566
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:07 am

Re: I made a 2019 thread too   Reply #131

Postby Derived Absurdity » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:06 am

Bad Match - a random Netflix original movie. It was actually sort of good. MAJOR SPOILERS!!!! I was going to say that I choose to interpret it as a deconstruction of the "crazy scorned woman/ex-girlfriend" trope, but after thinking about it there was really no room for ambiguity; that's obviously how it was intended to be read. The reason the protagonist guy got a bad end was because of his misogynistic assumptions; he pattern-matched the behavior of the woman he was seeing and his pre-baked attitude made it easier for him to believe that she was responsible for everything that was happening to him, when if you step back, you could see that there was actually no good evidence that she could be capable of what he thought she was doing. The movie carefully framed her behavior perpetually right on the edge - she was clearly annoying and stupid, but could easily be read as authentically crazy or showing signs of future crazy if you were predisposed to think that way. And by setting her up as the villain for so long, the movie did set us up to think that way for a while before subverting us. The more I think about it the more I like it. The message was clear but I didn't even manage to catch it until after it was done (partly because I wasn't really expecting one).


Return to “Movies & Television”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests