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bleary

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About bleary

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  1. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Completely agree. Somehow, I think Catch Me If You Can is just about as good as a movie can be without it being at all essential. I love catching bits of it on cable over and over, and yet I never feel the urge to tell someone that they must see it, and I feel like if I never saw it again, I wouldn't throw a fit. It's an interesting point about the daddy issues in Catch Me If You Can, because it seems like that was portrayed mostly true to life. From Wikipedia: So story-wise, Spielberg was tied by the truth. I do think he portrays the father-son relationship in a more positive light than he did in Close Encounters and E.T. Moving forward in his career to War of the Worlds, the dad there is an outright hero. Then I think Bridge of Spies shows what he would have wanted his relationship with his father to be if they'd never gotten divorced, as the father there is a workaholic as Spielberg's father was, but he understands the importance of family and is someone that his kids can look up to and be proud of.
  2. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Hot take: Hook is Spielberg's Goonies. I loved that movie as a kid, but I think it's pretty objectively bad. Hook also continued Spielberg's "daddy issues" theme, though it might be the nadir of those films. Speaking of Spielberg's "daddy issues", I do wonder though if Spielberg's reconciliation with his father in the mid-90s had an effect on the quality of his films. I'm of the mind that Jurassic Park and Schindler's List were his last true masterpieces, though I anticipate that will be debated on the Saving Private Ryan episode when they get to it.
  3. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Well, looks like I'm in the minority here. I get the appeal of this film as a kids movie. I watched the VHS of E.T. a bunch when I was a kid, but I can't say it was one of my most rewatched movies back then. This was the first time I'd watched it in probably 25 years, and I had very little emotional reaction this time. Furthermore, I would say the emotions I did have were almost completely due to the score, which is definitely one of Williams's top 5 scores in his career. Maybe when I have kids, I'll watch it again and love it. Maybe I won't find Elliott as shrill, the green screen effects as dated, and the whole second act so largely silly. But for now, I have it slotted it at #15 out of 18 on my list. Blame my cold, dead heart I guess.
  4. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    Sure, and I apologize if I came off as flippant about that, or if it seemed like I was mischaracterizing your position. You're right that there is a possibility that Iris is taken from one bad situation to another. I had trouble this morning properly arguing why my view on the ending still aligns with that possibility, and I think the reason I had trouble is that I ultimately just don't believe it's the case. So while admitting that there is a possibility that Iris's home life is a terrible situation, here are the reasons I don't think it is. 1. Iris ends up back with her parents in the first place. If Iris actually has something legitimately terrible to fear from returning to her parents, I don't think that would have happened. First, she could have fled from the scene and gone somewhere else. Presumably, she instead waited for the police, either on purpose or because she was too scared/traumatized to move. If she did not want to be returned to her parents, that would trigger some red flags. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was signed in 1974, so it would have been brand new at that time, and I have to believe that if she had objections to returning to her parents, Child Protective Services would take those objections quite seriously. And under that view, the line "But we have taken steps to see she has never cause to run away again" reads to me like formerly neglectful parents who have been allowed by CPS to keep their child provided that they meet certain conditions. 2. As pointed out, much of the movie is from Travis's point of view, and he's unreliable. However, the scenes with Betsy and Tom inside the campaign office are not from Travis's point of view, and they exist to show the disconnect between Travis's point of view and reality. Given that the film already established its willingness to break away from Travis's point of view, and given that the letter is read in the father's voice and not in Travis's voice, I see the letter as being read in the manner it was written rather than specifically the manner in which Travis interpreted it. And as CameronH said, in the tone that it's read, it sounds innocent. This could be an eye of the beholder thing, but I found nothing troublesome in the father's reciting of the letter. 3. No real evidence whatsoever for this point, but I feel like her not wanting to go home when Travis tries to help her initially could easily be more out of fear from Sport catching her escaping than out of fear of her parents. It could also easily be because Sport has manipulated her into thinking that her parents would kill her if they found out what she had become (which is not an uncommon tactic for child traffickers). Moreover, unless I missed a line somewhere, we never find out just how long ago it was that she left, so as impressionable and manipulatable her 12-year-old mind is, it would have been even worse at a younger age. Of course, as pointed out, she had to run away for a reason. So there had to be something serious enough to force her to leave and still not serious enough to prevent authorities from returning her to her home. The seemingly paradoxical nature of this is why the "dead at the end" theory is so much better, since Iris having a happy reunion with her parents seems more likely to be Travis's fantasy than the truth!
  5. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I wouldn't go so far as to say Iris will live happily ever after, given what she's witnessed and gone through. But again, I don't understand how anyone could say that her being back in school is a worse situation for a 12-year-girl than being a drug-abusing prostitute in New York. If her parents were monsters in some way, there would have been a clue of that dropped by Iris in one of her conversations with Travis. And even if her parents were abusive in any way, they are now more high-profile because of this story, so I have more trust in Child Protective Services to have their eye on this family housing a psychologically damaged former runaway than I would have had trust in any authorities to look out for a child sex-worker. So you can infuse darkness if you'd like by reading something sinister into her home situation, but even so, my point stands unless you're going to tell me that forced sex work was a better life.
  6. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I should add, I do really like Taxi Driver as a whole. I hate the ending, but it doesn't ruin the whole film for me. If I had to kick out a Scorsese, it's definitely Goodfellas.
  7. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I had never thought of the possibility that Travis is dead at the end until Paul mentioned it, at which point I realized, "Holy shit, that would actually make the ending good." WatchOutForSnakes spells out all the evidence for the theory well, and sycasey 2.0 points out rightly that it was 100% not the filmmakers' intention. Thus, I'll focus on the ending they intended, where Travis lives. So people critical of the ending seem to be pointing out that it appears to vindicate Travis, and the supporters of the ending feel that it is criticizing the audience/media/world at large for easy hero worship. (For the record, that easy hero worship is not even farfetched in today's world, though the speed of social media would likely quickly reveal Bickle as a milkshake duck.) But I think that's mostly irrelevant, because Travis's actions in the climax all had positive outcomes. (Unless you're of the mind that murder is always wrong regardless of the circumstances, in which case I applaud you for feeling that way while still very mildly disagreeing.) The people Travis killed were hurting and exploiting people, and as a result of their deaths, it would seem that fewer people in the world will be hurt and exploited for a time. Iris made it back to her parents and went back to school, which I would say is definitively a better situation for a 12-year-old that to be a prostitute in New York. (As far as the line "But we have taken steps to see she has never cause to run away again" goes, I think the word choice of "has cause to" diminishes the likelihood that this is supposed to be read or heard as menacing.) So with this ending, what's bad about Travis? He thought about killing someone reasonably innocent, but he didn't, and killed guilty people instead. It's not that people are wrong to view him as a hero that is the problem with the ending, it's that they're absolutely right to view him as a hero. And if that's what the filmmakers intended, then it's boring to me. The chasm between moralities from different points of view is what made so much of the film interesting, and I find it hard not to read the ending as "But then everyone's moralities aligned in the end, and the good guys won and the bad guys lost. The End." I also have a lot to say about Scorsese and Fincher and Verhoeven and Harry Potter with regards to whether a writer/director bears any responsibility when people take the diametrically opposed message from the intended message in a piece of work, but I'll save that for another post.
  8. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I think she's been positive on more films than she's been negative on. She's been pro on Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, 2001, Bonnie and Clyde, King Kong, Titanic, All About Eve, Singin' In The Rain, and Double Indemnity, and she was more positive than Paul on The General. A relatively common criticism of her views has been that occasionally she will let a reasonably small detail completely sour her opinion of a film, but I haven't found any of that in Unspooled. One thing I love about the podcast is that both Paul and Amy are eager to point out both the good and the bad in a movie, regardless of their ultimate feelings about it. Of course, I could be biased, since I agree with Amy about 90% of the time.
  9. bleary

    The Sixth Sense

    I'm another person who is extremely stingy with perfect ratings. Namely, of the over 500 films I've rated on IMDb, I've only give 6 films a perfect 10 out of 10. (Then about 50 films got a 9 out of 10.)
  10. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    I'm surprised to see almost 30 films from the 2000s on the ballot, given only one ended up making the list. In light of that, it certainly seems like Sixth Sense and Lord of the Rings did not get on the list through recency bias.
  11. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Sadly, Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now are not currently streaming for free on any major US subscription streaming service that I can find. Gotta get out the credit card, or check your local library. E.T. is still on HBOGo and HBONow. High Noon is still on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
  12. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Just to follow up on this, Double Indemnity can now be streamed for free (with valid cable subscription) over at TCM on demand until September 8th: http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/titles/73500
  13. bleary

    The Sixth Sense

    I really disagree with this. As Amy and Paul pointed out, the film is about communication: between Malcolm and his wife, between Cole and the ghosts, and most markedly in my opinion, between Cole and his mother. Their relationship throughout most of the film is cute, but it's built on lies. (Case in point: one of their happiest exchanges in the movie is when they're making up stories about what happened to them that day.) To me, the climax of the film is the scene in the car, where Cole finally has the courage to share the truth with his mother, and his mother, while skeptical, finds the compassion to accept his truth. Upon this week's rewatch, I found myself thinking that if the movie had ended at that scene, it still would have been great. As much as I think that the twist is one of the all-time great twists, it almost ends up doing a disservice to the rest of the film because it's the main thing people remember and the main thing people think about when watching. But I absolutely think there's a great film surrounding that. Whether it's a top 100 film... that's tougher to say. I think there are probably better films that could have taken its place on this list, but I'd call it a shoo-in for top 200. This is a great take. As much as I like the film, its narrative weakness is 100% the "resolution" between Cole and the ghosts. Like, that ghost in the attic that beat the shit out of him for no reason is going to talk out his problems with this kid?
  14. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Currently, E.T. can be streamed from HBOGo/HBONow, or through Amazon if you have an HBO subscription there. High Noon can currently be streamed on Amazon Prime and on Hulu.
  15. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    FYI: Singin' In The Rain is currently available to stream on FilmStruck, The Sixth Sense can be streamed in the US on Netflix, and Taxi Driver can be streamed on Hulu. And if you're waiting on the Double Indemnity episode for lack of availability of the film, it's scheduled to play on TCM on September 1st, and I'm hoping TCM will add it to their online on-demand movies in the next couple weeks but that's obviously not a sure thing.
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