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bleary last won the day on October 28 2018

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  1. bleary

    West Side Story

    I don't understand where this dichotomy came from. By my count, this is at least the fourth musical they've covered so far, including Wizard of Oz and Swing Time. Why is Singin' In the Rain getting singled out? To me, West Side Story is a different beast than those, because it was based on a pre-existing stage show rather than being written directly for the screen. The reason I've seen most of these film adaptations of stage musicals is because my younger sister went through a phase where it was all she would watch. 25 years later, she has an MFA and works at a theatre company, and I asked her to poll her workplace to see what they thought were the best film adaptations of stage musicals. West Side Story was one of their top choices, as well as Chicago and maybe Carousel. That's the debate I think we should (and will) have when we get to Sound of Music. I think there's plenty of room on this list to include Singin' in the Rain AND Wizard of Oz AND West Side Story. But I think the debate between Sound of Music and West Side Story will be much more contentious.
  2. bleary

    A Night At The Opera

    I'm another vote for Duck Soup over A Night at the Opera, though I understand people who prefer the clearer story of the latter. It strikes me that there's a bit of a parallel to the Canon debate for Monty Python and the Holy Grail vs Life of Brian. Life of Brian certainly has a more coherent plot, but Holy Grail is so loaded with jokes that I can't help but be more drawn to Holy Grail. For the Marx brothers debate, I wonder if Horse Feathers would have been a nice compromise between Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera. I find it much funnier than Opera, but it has more of a clear story than Soup, as well as some standard Marxian things that Soup lacks like a Chico piano scene and a Harpo harp scene. Also, Horse Feathers has its own version of the state room scene, and "Everyone Says I Love You" is way catchier than "Alone".
  3. bleary

    Saving Private Ryan

    Cameron mentioned it, but it's worth underlining: Old Man Ryan didn't just drag his family to Arlington Cemetary (a relatively normal spot for tourists visiting DC), but to the American Cemetary in Normandy. So the whole family flew to Paris, took a 2+ hour train to Bayeux, and then took a 30-minute cab ride to the cemetary, and no one in his family pressed him on why or who in particular he was interested in finding.
  4. bleary

    Saving Private Ryan

    Agreed on all counts. I was pretty hard on Platoon, but I think Platoon mostly holds together better than this. (Although I might change my mind again when I rewatch Platoon and hear Charlie Sheen's stupid voiceover work again.) There's a couple things in the screenplay that I think are really bad. First, I think it's such a weird move that one theme of the movie is the characters talking about how stupid the plot of the movie is. You've convinced me, characters of the film: the idea that General George Marshall would alter his war strategy to appease a mother in Iowa IS a pretty dumb premise. Secondly, relatedly, after they go through the dog tags, and they're talking about how hard it might be to find Ryan, Miller is basically like, "Maybe if I just call his name, we'll find him, wouldn't that be stupid? LOL." And then Miller calls his name and immediately gets the information needed to find him. And it is stupid. Also, you get the sense that the writer learned the phrase FUBAR while writing this and was just fucking tickled by it. Then the Spielberg schmaltz doesn't help either. John Williams' score comes off as more manipulative than moving, and Old Man Ryan's breakdown has echoes of the worst scene in Schindler's List, when Schindler inexplicably breaks down about not having saved more people. The comic relief bits didn't really work for me on this rewatch either. For example, though the Nathan Fillion fake-Ryan scene is funny, it's 100% meaningless to the film and is only in there so that the film could be 10 minutes longer and a small amount funnier. At any rate, I agree with what seems to be the prevailing opinion so far, that this film shouldn't be on the list. Is there anyone out there who wants to argue that this is one of their top 5 favorite Spielberg films? I'm pretty sure it's not even in my top 10. No disrespect to Spielberg, who I believe has made more masterpieces than anyone on the list other maybe Kubrick, and has a deeper bench of near-masterpiece films than anyone on the list other than maybe Wilder and Hitchcock. But this film is not one of them.
  5. bleary

    The Graduate

    I think we've essentially reached an impasse on this point, but I will say that the fact that he debates whether or not it's "right" doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it's consensual. It seems that we are disagreeing on the amount of agency that Benjamin has when he decides to follow through, but the issues of his agency and his internal debate about the morality of it are very separate issues. If someone has misgivings about committing a crime and they still do it, their misgivings don't grant them pardon. (False equivalence? Maybe, but hopefully you see my point.) You're absolutely right about this, because as I said before, I hadn't considered just how vile the first scene at her house is until you pointed it out. I really honed in on Benjamin's creepy pursuit of Elaine on this rewatch while completely ignoring the parallel with Mrs. Robinson's pursuit of Benjamin. So again, while I'll agree to disagree on Ben's level of agency in the consummation part of the relationship, I'm still happy that you and Cameron and Taylor brought it up, because it's a great point that deserved to have been discussed on the podcast.
  6. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    While you can use justwatch.com to find almost all possible streaming places, it's worth mentioning that Treasure of the Sierra Madre can be streamed for free from TCM on Demand from now until March 3rd, and TCM doesn't show up on justwatch.com. Understandable if you'd just prefer to pay the $2 or $3 to rent it closer to the episode date though.
  7. bleary

    The Graduate

    Haha, I also don't have much sympathy for people who fall for conmen! Again, I'm not denying that she can be seen as manipulative, I said so in my first post. Now, does he believe it to be fundamentally wrong? I really don't think so, I think this is a case where he's parroting what he believes society would prescribe him to say. At any rate, how fundamental a belief can it be if he allows himself to be goaded into it by a small challenge of his sexual prowess? The fact that he says "no" repeatedly, this is something that seems worse without the context. I completely agree that on its face, construed as "refusing to take 'no' for an answer", this seems gross. However, the way the first hotel room scene plays out, Mrs. Robinson isn't really refusing to take "no" for an answer. For one thing, he goes up alone and closes all the blinds, which shows that he intends to sleep with her. When she arrives, he initiates the kiss and participates in undressing her before changing his mind when he thinks about his parents. She asks why he's afraid of what they would think, and then asks if he's afraid of her. After seeing his responses, she asks if it's his first time, and reaches to start putting her clothes back on and leave, and then he stops her from dressing. I don't understand how she is predatory at all in this scene. She is willing to take his "no" for an answer, though she wants to know why. Then in the process of discussing why, he voluntarily changes his "no" to a "yes". I understand that if her brazen misconduct in the earlier scene in Elaine's bedroom colors your feelings about her behavior about all the rest of their interactions, but that's not at all how I feel about it. He called her because he did want her. He waited at the hotel for her because he wanted her. When she gets there, she asks if he's gotten a room. When he says no, she asks, "Do you want to?" (Perhaps that's a bit leading, but not exactly coercive.) He seems unsure and suggests just talking first, and she asks, "Do you want me to get it?" (This could be seen as manipulatively poking at his patriarchal sense of duty, but it can also be read as her offering because she thinks he's worried about dealing with the clerk.) When he says that he'll get it, she asks if he wants to get it now. He stammers for a second, and she suggests, "Why don't you get it now?" So sure, she prods him to action, but he doesn't say that he doesn't want to do any of it. I just don't see how she's villainous in any way here unless you're already painting her as a villain from the earlier scene.
  8. bleary

    The Graduate

    This is a slight misrepresentation of my remarks, since I made it clear that the scene where she exposes herself is sexual assault. Now if you swap the genders, I feel the same way. If, in this swapped case, after the man sexually harassed the 20-year-old woman in this way, she then calls the man inviting him to meet with her at a hotel, I would say that yes, she is making the decision to do that.
  9. bleary

    The Graduate

    Honestly, I didn't even consider this as a potential problem until I read your comment, which absolutely is a gender double-standard because I'd certainly feel the same way as you if the genders were swapped. However, I don't entire agree about the extent of Mrs. Robinson's misconduct. Certainly, when she corners Ben in Elaine's room and exposes herself to him, this is clearly sexual assault. But I do feel that in everything that happens after Benjamin leaves the house that night, he has complete agency. Sure, she is psychologically manipulative, but he's not a child. He's 20/21 years old, of sound mind. She isn't threatening him, there's no power imbalance. He is capable of making the decision he does, and I think to put it all on Mrs. Robinson as a predator is to bend-over-backwards to forgive Benjamin's share of the blame (if there even is any blame to give). That said, I agree with everyone here that it's clear Mrs. Robinson is interested in Ben because she thinks she can get what she wants with him (which I was almost literally screaming at the podcast when Amy wondered what she saw in him). She's not going after those other seemingly fun guys because she already knows how Benjamin will act, having known him for many years. And it's not only that she knows what to say to persuade him, but that she knows that he's more likely to appreciate her both as a virgin/pseudo-virgin and as someone who might have gawked at her pubescently for the better part of a decade. So I don't think their relationship is at all gross, although it was preceded by a gross act (the flashing scene) and followed by a gross act (the rape accusation). But that's my opinion as someone who mostly agreed with Amy in this episode and who largely agreed with Roger Ebert's re-review, so I might be a Mrs. Robinson apologist. (Part of it may be my annoyance that 34-36 year old Anne Bancroft doesn't get enough credit for plausibly playing 10-15 years above her own age better than Dustin Hoffman could play 6-8 years below his own age. Bancroft's performance truly blew me away on this rewatch.)
  10. bleary

    BONUS: 2019 Oscars

    The "my father really was a dumb stereotype" defense. In all seriousness though, that performance doesn't work at all for me. And sure, maybe it's the character's fault more than the actor, but I'm not about to laud Viggo for it. I feel like unfortunately, the academy does reward these situations, where some aspect of the filmmaking takes a film from complete shitshow to merely mediocre (cf. Bohemian Rhapsody's film editing, Christopher Plummer's nomination for All the Money in the World, etc.). Viggo was not able to make me relate to, or even care about this character in the slightest. Perhaps due to the writing, it was near impossible for any actor to do so, but that doesn't make for something impressive in my opinion. (However, I don't hold this failure against Viggo. I still would have taken his performance in Captain Fantastic two years ago over Casey Affleck, and I thought he was great in Eastern Promises too, as well as the LOTR series of course.)
  11. bleary

    BONUS: 2019 Oscars

    That raises the general question: why can't billion-dollar companies vet people's social media better? They probably could have paid an intern $100 to go through his entire Twitter feed and flag anything unsavory.
  12. bleary

    BONUS: 2019 Oscars

    I'm somewhere in between you and Taylor on this one, but I will say that I believe even just one instance of being objectively super fucking racist should ensure that nothing you have to say about race relations gets taken seriously. Not to be overly cliché, but no one but him truly knows what's in his heart, and if he's sincere about his apology, then good for him. But bad on everyone who funded this movie, campaigned for this movie, and voted for this movie, because I don't believe he's earned a platform to talk about racism. It's hard enough today to see any white people make clunky films about race (again, talking about the egregious win by Skin in live-action short) that if in addition, the filmmaker is in any way racist, let's just not have that film financed, okay?
  13. bleary

    Best of 2018: Listener’s Picks

  14. bleary

    Best of 2018: Listener’s Picks

    Did they not take your call? I'm also not sure if listeners of this podcast would give an accurate reflection of "real" people anyway. (As a point of reference, the 4 American-made 2018 films on the IMDb top 250 are Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Avengers: Infinity War, Green Book, and Bohemian Rhapsody. Personally, I feel like hearing someone give a 5-star review of Bohemian Rhapsody would have felt a bit too much like a certain HDTGM segment.) I thought it was a nice episode, and I'm glad they touched on things like Searching and Shoplifters and even A Simple Favor which was certainly enjoyable if not cinematically important. I would have liked a Hearts Beat Loud shoutout or maybe some talk about Minding the Gap, but I suppose I should have called in then!
  15. bleary

    Best of 2018: Critics' Picks

    I honestly could have listened to another twenty. I love hearing them talk about what they liked and didn't like about these movies, even when I don't agree with them. To that end, what are some great 2018 films that haven't been discussed on either list so far? They're not great, but I expect they'll touch on Green Book and Vice anyway. I hope they talk a bit about what works and doesn't work in First Man, which I mostly enjoyed. So what else? Death of Stalin? Isle of Dogs? Wildlife? Maybe Hearts Beat Loud? I don't think any of these films belong on the AFI list, but I'd still like to hear Paul and Amy talk about them.