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About Susan*

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  1. Susan*

    In The Heat Of The Night

    My mom grew up in Illinois and Indiana, and lived in the South as a young adult. She loved this movie (and Sidney Poitier) with a fiery passion. She raised me in Minneapolis, which has and had its own challenges with different sorts of discrimination, but she frequently schooled me on social issues using her past experiences as examples and using movies including this one. So this movie holds a special place for me. And I love the performances. I'm glad Amy interviewed national treasure Lee Grant. I'd heard about the HUAC stuff from her before in more detail but this was a nice side feature to this podcast.
  2. Susan*

    In The Heat Of The Night

    I listened to this episode today in part because I just finished that book. I'll try just about any movie written about making movies and I've been going through a bunch of recommended ones I can find at the library. I'll admit to skipping the parts about The Graduate because I'm just so tired of hearing about that movie. I remember as a kid how big a disappointment Dr. Doolittle was, though I remember nothing about the movie. I just remember it being on TV and me being excited because Talking Animals! and wow was it dreadful. Like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. No one should make a movie for kids that's so long. But interesting to hear that it premiered at an old Minneapolis theater where I still attend concerts (I didn't know if had been a movie theater decades ago).
  3. Susan*


    Next week will be interesting for me. I'm going to try and re-watch Tootsie. I used to love that movie--in part because my parents loved it. I always brushed aside the bullshit in the press when Hoffman sort of embraced feminism when promoting the movie, and I always had problems with Jessica Lange's character but the good parts really appealed to me for years. And I repeat, my parents loved that movie. They would quote lines from the movie. My parents are dead and watching movies together could be a pretty big deal so I get emotional about some film memories. Also from the time I was young, some of the early Hoffman films appealed to me even though he sometimes drove me crazy with the overacting. I loved Kramer vs. Kramer so it was tough to read a couple of years ago that he was so awful to Streep. And now I'm not sure I can enjoy anything about Tootsie given its lip service to female power (sort of in an 80s way) in light of the sum total of stories about Hoffman. Also Tootsie might have the worst soundtrack of all time. So soft 80s, so horrible.
  4. Susan*


    That seems appropriate to me, and I like the way you put it. When something has been celebrated as long as Chinatown and Polanski, I wonder if it's just a human temptation to try and say something fresh/interesting even if it's wrong? Seems like you really have to try hard to argue that Chinatown was great without celebrating Polanski. Regarding the character of the director, I don't even understand my own feelings on this stuff. I don't know why I can still watch some classic movies with underlying issues re cast/crew but not others. Chinatown isn't a movie I'd want to see again anyhow. I am such a huge fan of 70s movies and film noir and Dunaway, and I know in my head that Chinatown is an incredibly well-crafted movie, but there's always been something about Chinatown that stopped me from enjoying it. If L.A. Confidential was on cable now, it's 50/50 I'd watch it again, but not Chinatown. It feels wrong saying it, but it's how I feel. One of the million reasons why I couldn't be a film critic.
  5. Susan*

    All the President’s Men

    Regarding Watergate vs. the present: The Final Days has been a scary read for me. All the detail in that book about Nixon not listening to his lawyers, and Republicans supporting him for a very long time even after he was clearly obstructing justice -- well it doesn't support the discussions I see on cable news today about how Watergate was different because republicans challenged their president in the 1970s. Almost every republican supported Nixon until he turned over the tapes.
  6. Susan*

    All the President’s Men

    I had mostly quit listening to the podcast because of past frustration with Paul--you obviously need to love his personality to be a regular listener. I should have remembered that the worst time to listen to any podcast is when it's talking about a favorite movie! I kept wanting to hit my head against my car window. I think the movie is perfect in accomplishing what it's trying to do. It might not be everyone's taste but I love the whole thing. So many classic/talented actors. Jane Alexander is a particular favorite. Movies about investigative reporters are in my wheelhouse in general. And classic 70s movies tend to be my taste. I love that they don't spoon feed the viewer. I love the grinding pace, it fits what they're trying to show. And the reporters have different personalities but they are both so ambitious and they figure out how to work together. My mom was obsessed with Watergate, she watched it on TV all day long, read every book, and my parents argued about some of the key players for years over the dinner table. Over the years, I've read many of the participants' books. As well as other Watergate books, including a bio of the Jack Warden character. But I'd never read a Woodward and Bernstein one until recently. I don't like what Woodward turned into, which started right after the Watergate success. Then because it's come up often in discussing Trump, I've been reading The Final Days, and I had recently read about a third of All the President's Men. I've seen the movie many times and I recognized that most scenes in the beginning the movie track surprisingly closely to the book. From the first appearance in court, and the other character' discussion of the background given to the two authors, and Woodward's phone call with Dahlberg -- dialogue is the same. The book also contains a footnote about the kidnapping Dahlberg mentions in the call (which is a famous one in MN). During the podcast, they said the director's name over and over and they pronounced it in a way I'd never heard before, then the guest came in and said it the usual way. That sort of thing wouldn't usually bother me but it probably hurt me more because they didn't properly appreciate the movie. I liked the guest. I feel a little bad that I didn't love The Post. It was hard to get around Tom Hanks, and I'll never be sure whether it is because I'm tired of Tom Hanks in general, because the real Ben Bradlee is so well known, or whether it's the Jason Robards Ben Bradlee I like even better than the real one. There was no way Tom Hanks was going to be able to please me.
  7. Susan*


    I understand why Psycho was genius at the time, but it left me cold. As everyone has said (including in the podcast), you can't see it fresh so it's tough to guess exactly how big a deal it would have been to see it in theaters during its initial release. Among other things, I saw the shower scene in Mel Brooks' High Anxiety before I saw Psycho. I was thinking that there might be ten Hitchcock films I personally prefer, though I can't really advocate that they be on someone else's all-time-most-important film list. I've been a huge Hitchcock fan since I was a child -- my mom was a huge fan. I've never liked Vertigo as much as critics either (though I like it much more than Psycho). With Vertigo I think the problem is that it was one of the last well-known Hitchcock movies I saw and by the time I saw it I'd heard that it was a masterpiece and maybe nothing could have lived up to the hype. It's been a bit of a slog for me in the last few weeks so I'm glad that it's Raiders next week. That's a perfect film.
  8. Susan*

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    I thought Missing and Tootsie were also better than Gandhi (as well as Das Boot and other movies not nominated for best picture), but I understand that movies like Gandhi are made to collect awards. I put off seeing E.T. because I figured it was an overrated kids movie. I think I remember that it was hard to see after its original run -- it wasn't on cable or VHS for a long time? I finally saw it on a theatrical re-release and thought it was genius. Even so, I like Jaws, Close Encounters, and Raiders a whole lot more -- as a matter of personal taste/preference.
  9. Susan*

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I wouldn't put it in a top list, but it's the best Potter movie. Gary Oldman, David Thewlis and Timothy Spall were perfectly cast. If I run across that movie on cable, I'll usually wind up watching half of it. I liked the fifth book the best but I've never wanted to see that movie a second time.
  10. Susan*

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I recently watched the three movies (normal cut) and I feel like talking, so scroll ahead if you want! I have major respect though it's not my thing. I have a friend who died and she absolutely loved the books and movies and everything related to them. Owned every conceivable tie in product. Named pets after characters, etc. I strongly associate everything LOTR with her so I watched the movies as sort of a tribute to her as I'm hitting the anniversary of her death. I had seen the first two movies in the theater with her and never saw the third one till last night on cable. I also read the first two books more than 20 years ago and never got around to reading the third. I actually like the second movie the best. I gather I'm pretty much alone on that. For one thing, the walking/talking trees are the best part of the whole series. I think Aragon should have ended up with the gutsy blond woman instead of Steven Tyler's daughter. The elven woman is just blank. But most importantly, and again, it's probably my particular problem, or maybe the movies just can't be watched on TV, but the makeup in the third movie completely ruined it for me. Every time there was a close up of someone's face I was distracted that their skin looked fake. Weird colors and texture. And the intense eyes on everyone was creepy. I guess it's supposed to add to the fantasy feeling but it's very off-putting. My fourth grade teacher read The Hobbit to us in pieces over the course of a long time during the school year and I thought it was the best thing ever. I think I was always upset that the other books were darker than that. I wonder if I had a little grunge against the LOTR books because of that. Also I thought Heavenly Creatures was brilliant when I saw it in the theater. I have love for Peter Jackson for several reasons even though this particular series isn't my taste. And I adore New Zealand.
  11. Susan*

    Apocalypse Now

    I take your comment as though I stumbled into the wrong thing by accident, but I don't think that's true. I'm no kind of critic or fine arts major or snob. Though you need some basic film fan-ship to have a silly fake debate about whether a film should be No. 15 or No. 85 or off the list altogether. So far, for the episodes I've listened to, there were quite a few movies Paul had seen before, and more than once before. He seems pretty tuned in to American pop culture. If someone really likes movies, it would be surprising if they hadn't seen a whole bunch of the movies before. We recently covered ET. And it's nice to balance that sort of movie with the ones that you're less likely to casually come across. The whole conceit of the podcast is incredibly silly and I think that's enjoyable. And back to AN, I think it made sense for it to have a big reputation but there's less and less of a reason to recommend it each year. Maybe that's proven by the fact that it's more interesting to talk about how the film was made and how it was received than to talk about the film itself?
  12. Susan*

    Apocalypse Now

    As for this movie: I made an effort to see it on a screen when I was in college and was very disappointed. I tried again later on but I just don't see how it's a classic. I think I kept trying because I love the independence and orneriness of Coppola, and Godfather is one of my all-time favorites. The first time I saw that movie, I thought "how can a movie be this perfect?" There are many terrific scenes and solid actors/performances in AN. I think the issue with me is that it's such a mess. There are people who can love a big beautiful mess, but I can't think of a time when I enjoyed a big messy movie. I'm going to reflect on that because surely there must be some example. I love some deeply flawed movies, but I don't know that I've loved a really messy one. I do recommend the documentary though.
  13. Susan*

    Apocalypse Now

    I'm not quite with you yet, but I was listening to the AN podcast this morning and had similar thoughts. I keep wondering if it's me, because I love movies and podcasts and it's been tough for me to stick with a podcast about movies. I really enjoyed the brief tenure of the Village Voice podcast, and I came to really like Amy because of that. This combo of hosts hasn't worked for me lately, but I'm hoping it will get better with future movies. The last thing I wanted this morning was a bunch of quotes from John Milius, but at least Paul seemed skeptical after quoting his nonsense about Vietnam being a CA war. I think Milius is one of the most overrated players of the 70s (though if he had any role in the Jaws speech then bless him). It's probably difficult to figure out who the audience is for the podcast -- and I understand wanting to cover some background/context -- but something about the little factoids lately has been getting under my skin.
  14. Susan*

    The Sixth Sense

    I'd take this movie off the list. There are just way too many better American movies. BTW, I saw the movie on opening weekend with friends. I didn't know there was a twist, I just happened to assume Willis's character was dead early on because of how other people ignored him in the movie. But my friends were shocked. I really liked Willis since Moonlighting and I was always hoping he would have a varied career so I was pleased that he was in the Sixth Sense and that it was a solid movie and different from other parts he played.
  15. Susan*

    Singin’ In The Rain

    I've seen this movie many times but I usually skip over parts of it. It's not a perfect movie. I re-watched front to back for this podcast. I was glad they called out Jean Hagen at the top of the podcast -- she steals the movie. I like Debbie Reynolds in other things, but for me she sticks out as mis-cast. I usually skip over all of her scenes except for Good Morning and the very end of the movie. I always thought that the ballet dancer was a no-name ballet dancer -- she doesn't look like Cyd C to me. Then again, I usually skip ahead after Cyd dances in the green dress. I hate Moses Supposes, but a good friend of mine loved it and she died a couple of years ago so now I guess it's destined to be a fond annoyance. I think this is one of the best musicals of all time, but I think it's uneven and flawed and that's okay. There's still more good stuff than in most musicals. I love the whole long intro to pieces. I know that Gene Kelly is the better dancer and he did far more in his lifetime to support dance and dancers, but on a snowy night around the holidays I'd rather watch Astaire and Rogers. For one thing, Astaire had Rogers. And Swing Time is not one of their best movies--we covered that before!