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DannytheWall

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Everything posted by DannytheWall

  1. DannytheWall

    Psycho

    I don't see a general apathy towards Psycho compared to The Sixth Sense. That implies that everyone might prefer the latter film or be somehow dismissive of the former. Instead, I think there was much more contention about The Sixth Sense whereas most people generally agree about the place and praise for Psycho. Also, it's a much more thoroughly examined film, with countless opinions already given and gone over countless times. Heck, Psycho's has had literal do-overs of the entire film, where The Sixth Sense is reduced to a catchphrase. On my personal Letterboxd ranking, I went ahead and put Psycho above Citizen Kane. I wondered if a film would ever do that, and the way I'm making the Letterboxd list is one that relies on gut feeling right after I watched the film but before I listen to the podcast. Does it belong in the top half? Yep. In the top fourth? Yep. Above All About Eve? I guess so. And Citizen Kane? Wow. Actually, yeah. Who knew? But then Raiders came along and I have to put it on the top. I'm sure I'll have much to say about that one when the time comes. Edited to add: https://letterboxd.com/dannythewall/list/unspooled-afis-100/in case you'd like to look at my fevered mind
  2. DannytheWall

    Push (2009)

    Just finished watching this one and must resurrect this post to ABSOLUTLELY second this. Also, DO NOT watch this one right after The Darkest Minds.
  3. DannytheWall

    Episode 199 - A Night In Heaven: LIVE!

    A psychologist would have a field day with this movie. So many storytelling decisions point to some pretty deep subconscious fears, all 80s-flavoured. Fears of downsizing/job mobility in an 80s recession? Check. Fears of rampant militarization? Fears of redefining marriage and of non-traditional sexual awakenings? Check, check, check. All we needed was some anti-drug messages and some good old-fashioned gay panic and we'd have "80s Existential Fear Bingo!"
  4. DannytheWall

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    Listening to Brett Ineson the cgi specialist was a real treat. He shows how intensive the process can be and how truly groundbreaking some of this stuff was. I was a bit disappointed tho that not more was made of the actual *animation* of the character. Brett's credits include the motion edit department, which puts the capture to the model before animating, texturing, effects, etc. (as he explains in the podcast), so I realize my criticism has nothing to do with anything he says. I don't work in the field these days, but I'm hyper-sensitive to the issue, and I would love to advocate and raise awareness of the job of the animator. Too many people still think that motion capture is some kind of fancy effects makeup, but it's not simply a kind of drag and drop feature. The actor is the clearly the foundation for the performance, but it's more symbiotic than most people think (and that includes the actors who perform it!) I remember it being more of a brouhaha a few years ago: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/motion-capture/lord-of-the-rings-animation-supervisor-randall-william-cook-speaks-out-on-andy-serkis-99439.html
  5. DannytheWall

    Episode 198 - Look Who’s Talking Too: LIVE!

    Although I said that Roseanne wasn't an accomplished voice-over artist, this film wouldn't be Roseanne's only voice acting work. About the same time she must have been working on Look Who's Talking Too, Roseanne helped produce an animated children's cartoon called "Little Rosey." The main character was based on a semi-autobiographical version of her 8 year-old self, but it only lasted one season, before Roseanne could voice a character. A year later, a prime time special version of the cartoon *did* feature Roseanne's voice. The storyline of that, called The Rosey and Buddy Show, featured the main characters battling some meddling cartoon studio executives (in the form of weasels) that want to stop them from doing their tv show. Hmm. Years later, of course, it's 2004 with Walt Disney Animation's Home on the Range, where Roseanne voiced the lead role of a cow with plenty of opportunity for frequent udder jokes. It basically coincided with the shut down of the 2D animation unit at Disney for pretty much forever (with the attempts at only a couple of exceptions.) Ok, so maybe "accomplished" voice-over artist isn't the right term. PS-- Home on the Range should probably be on the recommendation list if it isn't already
  6. DannytheWall

    Cool World (1992)

    I was thinking about all kinds of animated features for HDTGM, but this live action/animation mix would top the entire list. Legitimately a train wreck that is equal parts fascinating and repellant. Good fodder for Jason's humor, but I doubt June would be on board. I can understand if we all must want to just forget this movie ever happened and maybe it will cease to exist accordingly.
  7. DannytheWall

    Episode 198 - Look Who’s Talking Too: LIVE!

    LOL you beat me to the footnote about the animated cartoon. (Although technically the Cab Calloway stuff is very much rotoscoped, which makes it look so different to the bouncey animation of the other characters.) The reason we all got so many VHS compilations of toons like these is due to some copyright issues that let a lot of these things slip into public domain or otherwise be adapted freely into the new medium of home video. Like the hosts said, the media budget got blown on all the big-name songs, so they had to throw in a free public domain Betty Boop for some reason.
  8. DannytheWall

    Episode 198 - Look Who’s Talking Too: LIVE!

    Does anyone know the approach the director/actors used to make this movie? Surely there can't be a shooting script with Bruce and Roseanne's lines typed out for them to read? I mean, I can only guess based on the looks of things, but it seems like they just shot a bunch of footage all at once, then edited it in some vague sense of through-line, and finally had the actors improv during a dubbing session. And they just went with the first take of the reading. Clearly, Look What's Talking Too is what happens when you get actors by name and not by reputation of improv comedy or voice-over. It also follows a general trend at the time if I remember right. A lot of comedies in the late 80s/early 90s found a successful formula relying on actors just free-forming it while cameras rolled, especially with actors like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey. Sketch comedy seemed to be a trend with a new generation of SNL, In Living Color, etc. I wonder if the rise of video and digital contributed, since you didn't have to restrain your actors because of pesky things like expensive film stock more and more. Then again, maybe my timeline is off, since it would take another 10 years or so for our technology to produce Baby Geniuses.
  9. DannytheWall

    Apocalypse Now

    I'm so glad someone mentioned this. It was my first experience with anything AN, and it was just too obtuse for me to make any sense out of. It spurred me on to look up the movie, actually. Along with other references the show made, specifically Jerry Lewis/The Day The Clown Cried, etc.
  10. DannytheWall

    Apocalypse Now

    I wrote "there sure seems to be a whole lot of sound and fury that ultimately signifies nothing..." which basically echoes Paul's observation in the podcast about it seeming more like one of a film student's first films. Then I remembered I thought about that for Sixth Sense, but for some reason I rate the latter higher. And then I read Origami's post above, too. My attempt at quippy phrase was not the best one to follow that. Thanks, Origami, for your personal reflection (and your service!) and that contributes way more than mine. I don't think we'll see eye to eye on this film, but it's certainly not a 'crime' to respond to film in such a personal and heartfelt way.
  11. DannytheWall

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    ET hits more nostalgia buttons beyond just seeing the movie as a kid. The house's location was filmed very near my childhood home. Whenever we passed it or referred to the area it was as "Eliot's house." (Just watched High Noon which used Iverson Ranch which was also near my home. I can always recognize it immediately.) I was a Ride Operator for Universal Studios Hollywood during my college years. While my primary job was on the BTTF ride (and later, Jurassic Park) we had to be trained and we had to cover shifts for ET The Adventure as well. (Feel free to ask me anything!) I remember the ride was "unofficially" a sequel, of sorts, where you had to "help" ET get back to his home, the Green Planet, because "only his healing touch" could save it. So many questions and implications about the movie. LOL. The ride vehicles were these collections of bicycles on an overhead track so you could fly over the city and through hyperspace and stuff. There was another alien named, Botanicus, who was ET's mentor/teacher or something?, and he welcomed you to the Green Planet, with baby ETs and living plants that would dance and sing because their planet was saved. At the end, ET would greet you personally because you gave your name to a ride operator before the loading platform. And yes, bored or disillusioned employees might program "different" names to make ET say some "different" things. I'll always remember the specially-designed pine scent that was piped into the forest scene, making the whole ride smell pungent. It was either pleasant or nauseous depending on how long your shift and mandatory overtime was.
  12. DannytheWall

    High Noon

    Maybe there's more alternative endings: 1. The sitcom ending. Will Kane finishes off the final bad guy, the makes a quip with a pun on the word "high" or "noon," and the surrounding townspeople all have a hearty laugh. Credits. 2. The Twilight Zone ending. In the next town, where Kane and his wife are scheduled to arrive at noon, one of his enemies is raising a posse to wait his arrival. Dun dun dun! 3. It was all, say it with me, a Jacob's Ladder scenario.
  13. DannytheWall

    High Noon

    I laughed when I heard Paul's first reaction. It was literally the exact thing I said after the movie ended. "Well, that was... fine." So I guess that means my immediate response was that it was a bit better than "OK" but not high enough for "great." It almost felt like a TV movie or episode. But maybe that says more about how "cinematic" television has grown over the past 60-some years This was the first movie on the Unspooled list that I had never watched previously. I was excited to be able to experience fresh. Didn't know any of the context or backstory. I'm not a young viewer, but maybe my sensibilities are, as I grew a bit restless. Still, the pacing of the movie is notable as it fits the conceit-- this film is one long study in suspense. Very Chekhov/Hitchcockian in some senses. This really does set it apart, and might be why people call it a "Western for non-Western fans." If all things were equal and it didn't have this element, I feel the film wouldn't deserve such distinction. Edited to add-- I could really take or leave Will Kane. I don't know if it's because of Cooper or because of how familiar (cliche?) the archetype might be. But whenever the Helen Ramirez character appeared, I brightened up considerably. I found her fascinating. I wanted to know all about her, and would have enjoyed a movie about her story way more than Kane's, I think.
  14. DannytheWall

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    LOL for the record I'm not advocating for another 15 minute sequence that begins with a tile "One Month Later" or whatever. Although it sounds like a note that might have existed from some junior executive at some point.
  15. DannytheWall

    Episode 197 - Beastly: LIVE!

    Well, Zouk was really working blue this episode. (or I mean brown?) Tee hee
  16. DannytheWall

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Henry Thomas also starred in my absolute-favorite-as-a-kid film, Cloak and Dagger. Which, talk about daddy issues... I don't disagree that there's a motif of "daddy issues" in Speilberg films, but I think there's still a lot of nuance to the approach. It's more like a hero's journey-kind of thing, where mentors either arrive, must pass on, or both, in order for the hero to pass through/overcome/etc. In ET's case, it's a coming-of-age drama that has trappings of sci fi and kid flicks.
  17. DannytheWall

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    I remember seeing ET as a kid and being quite affected by his lifeless body in the storm drain. I also remember not "getting" it, like there was a lot going on that other people seemed to understand, but I was left just getting it on an emotional level. Maybe I was too young to see it? But that does elevate it beyond "just" a kids movie. There's a lot of stuff that doesn't get answered, or gets answered very late. For example, the audience can make inferences about Eliot/ET's empathy bond but it doesn't explicitly get stated by a character into well into the act three. It feels like something that would have been forced by executive notes if it were a simple kids' movie. Then again, some things I can't really answer, like ... why does this family own so many stuffed animals? do biology classes really cut out STILL BEATING HEARTS like the teacher says? why did the mom leave Gertie alone in the house to go pick up Eliot when he got in trouble? how did the mom and Dr Keys arrive at the farewell scene? why together? and with the dog? It might have been nice to have a few minutes of denouement. ET gets on the ship, and.... movie's over! Some sense of how Eliot is changed or the family is somehow better because of their shared experience would be appreciated.
  18. DannytheWall

    The Sixth Sense

    A couple other notes I took while re-watching: -- I still can't get over the bad exposition of the first scene. Please hold this up as a what-not-to-do for budding screenwriters. Ditto some other times at the school, when the boyfriend was moving furniture... hm. Actually a lot. -- One of the first "ghost" scenes was in the kitchen, a oner that followed the mom from one room to the next, switching from a steadicam to shakicam. Not an unsubtle trick but it still felt unsettling. The Blair Witch Project was also 1999 so maybe there was something in the air about supernatural = shakey cam -- Why didn't the mom never notice the ghosts in the photos in the hall before this? -- If the wife ever went to the basement, would she have seen dictionaries opening themselves and pens moving to write in notebooks? For a ghost that can't manipulate anything, there's a lot of object work. -- The subtitle for this movie was going to be "Bruce Willis sits down a lot." -- When are we going to get a Sixth Sense and Ghost teamup? Where HJO and Whoopi Goldberg have to team up with a little help from Patrick Swayze and Bruce Willis. -- Queer Theory time! Cole is an outsider who sees the world differently, is bullied and marginalized for not fitting in, and is redeemed by coming to terms with himself and coming out to his mother, after which the world is restored.
  19. DannytheWall

    The Sixth Sense

    I agree a lot with your take, and specifically this. It's because overall that opening scene is so forced and clunky. It's clear that the "real" movie the director/writer was interested in was the middle part and its famous twist, and anything to get there more quickly can be hamfisted in. I saw the movie several times in my early days, and as a budding young film aficionado, those "obvious" cinema techniques that Paul claimed were a bit hackneyed seemed so revelatory to me at the time. Like being in on the twist ending, I felt I was "in" on seeing the film-as-art at a more sophisticated level. Now, after seeing the film again for after like 20 years or so, these things seem so first-time-film-student. In particular, the opening dialogue and exposition was just so, uh, lifeless, and inorganic. That being said, I was still completely absorbed by the story and HJO's acting was sweet and sincere. That scene when he shares about the grandmother with his mom was still pretty emotional for me. The film isn't about the horror tropes or the twist ending, it's about connections and "communication" as the podcast talked about. Since I add the films to my Letterbox list one at a time right before I listen to the podcast, this one gets added about in the middle so far. As more films are discussed, I imagine it will filter down a bit, but as hackneyed as a lot of it is, it's still worth being on the 100 list. (An updated 2018/2020 list? Maybe not.)
  20. DannytheWall

    Double Indemnity

    Always good to cite sources Although I’d debate the historical record of “Gradesaver” in that what they call out as innovation isn't really defining what I was looking for. I guess that’s just me. Don't worry; since my definition seems personal in pretty much all respects, it probably doesn't really add to anything to continue to parse it more and more finely. That being said, I'll concede D.I. was innovative in that, as a 1944 picture, many "noir-ish elements" are used, seemingly effortless and seamlessly, for the first time. I tried a little bit of my own research. I only had time for a quick search or two and found that D.I. does indeed predate a lot of this particular use of shadow (using the blinds.) So, OK, granted. Still, there are some use of blinds for shadows in Maltese Falcon (1941) but it’s not to the same intention/effect as D.I. for sure, and of course dramatic lights and shadows have been used throughout cinema. (I’ll note Shadow of a Doubt was 1943 and shows a dramatic use of shadows through a banister for quite similar effect as D.I. Another film not on the AFI list, incidentally.) That’s enough for others to keep DI at #29 or to even rank it above, and it's not for me to stand in anyone’s way.
  21. DannytheWall

    Double Indemnity

    I just wanted to say in general that in my first post I was trying to explain how I thought of D.I. the first time, which had to have been in early high school or something, when I was really into period crime fiction. I'll be the first to condemn my early high school self for many things, so perhaps this is just others joining in. Those youngsters and their strict criteria for "labels." My god, right? Also just to add, I was offering The Third Man as a point of comparison strictly for the more formalistic way (using the film philosophy-nerd meaning) that lighting and shadows are used. D.I. doesn't take a more overt way of using those elements, which is perhaps giving it the edge to the minds of others.
  22. DannytheWall

    Double Indemnity

    Oh, I absolutely love Billy Wilder, for the record. I didn't mean to imply that there *wasn't* anything going on in those departments at all. There definitely was intention and artistic purpose, etc. I just feel it wasn't as groundbreaking, experimental, or as worthy of prominence as in some other examples of this genre. Objectively, I don't mind D.I.'s inclusion to a top 100 list, but for my personal list, it certainly wouldn't be in the top 50. (I don't think being listed as #100 would even mean it would be a "bad" film, just not as good as 100 other Top movies.)
  23. The rapid-repeats in the editing of the love scene reminded me so much of the feature of Hong Kong cinema, where someone gets punched and the impact is emphasized by quickly repeating it three or four times. Not sure why that's supposed to be more sexy, but it certainly makes it feel more violent. And also points to Stargrove Jr being pretty inexperienced, likely a virgin. That would be in line with how much of a "kid" he is in the beginning, and how it's emphasized that "now he is a man" at the finale. The love scene is one more rite of passage into manhood, one that the character tries to deny with his sparkling water and apples and close-ups on his reluctant and confused expressions. One more thing about the editing-- IMDB credits two people for this film. One, Paul Seydor, has this film as his very first "Editing by" credit. The other, Ned Humphreys, was coming into this film hot off of a 1984 screwball sex comedy "Joy of Sex." That could either justify or excuse the love scene, your call.
  24. I was hoping someone would ask about the sheer number of motorcycles in this film. But with only 3M to make this picture, they must have needed to double-down (or triple, or quintuple or whatever) on their vehicle stunt coordinator! Why was the club so crazy-full of random motorcyles driving IN AND OUT of the club?! Plus, there must have been at least three different motorcycles Stamos had to use over the course of the film. The second of which was after the fiery explosion of Random Drunk Guy taking a cycle-bomb meant for Stamos, which then forced a completely unnecessary scene so Stargrove returning to the dorm room and borrowing Cliff's, telling him straight out that he probably shouldn't expect it back. A shout out to the car stunts in the next scene, though. Equal parts crazy and fun, with Vanity scooting under the semi that was driving quite steady for a driver WHO WAS DRINKING?! Can't explain the very cardboard-looking medieval weapons on the thugs chasing them down, however. BTW great episode. One of my favorite HDTGMs!
  25. DannytheWall

    Double Indemnity

    I think details like the handkerchief might be more like a visual trope than something literal. Unfolding a handkerchief to display a gun gives you just that much more suspense as something is revealed, rather than the surprise of suddenly holding a gun. It might be something more cultural, too, maybe 'cause that's the way guns are kept (question mark?) or maybe hiding something traditionally "masculine" under something "feminine" (again question mark?)
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