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Everything posted by DannytheWall

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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?)
  10. DannytheWall

    Double Indemnity

    Don't worry, Amy. I got that bad review you've been unable to see. Though I guess I'm crying into the wind on this one. Part of it might be that I also saw this movie when I was younger (but not as young as Ed Brubaker!) At that age, the movie was just boring and summed up as "Hey, I wanna do a murder, too! Okay, so we do it. Oh, oops. We got caught." And for all the high marks the movie gets on the Noir checklist, for me it was never *reeeeeally* Noir, because that needed a private eye, caught up in a criminal underworld could be just outside our mundane one. I devoured detective fiction, especially Chandler's, at the time and couldn't wrap my head around something that didn't follow these tropes. Unspooled gave me a chance for a rewatch. Didn't like it then, and didn't like it now. Maybe I'm holding on to my young views, but I was still bored. I didn't feel any tension, never felt any motivation from the characters, and thought Neff was a creep from the get-go. So here's another downvote for the constant "baby." Felt like McMurray was trying at bad improv. For all the talk of character, dialogue, plot, tone, etc. was there any talk about the cinematography? editing? other uniquely cinematic aspects? On that checklist, there's not much of note here. Many other noirs could supplant this film in this respect. Tried to see if The Third Man was on the AFI list. And it isn't?! I will say that I enjoyed listening to the episode. I appreciate Paul and Amy's insights and I did learn more about the movie which gave me stuff to consider. Keep up the great work! Edited to add: I always recommend this podcast series to my high school Film students, but the "challenge" for the next episode made me roll my eyes a bit. Guess I'll have to mention an advisory warning when recommending this/next episode. Especially since Singin' in the Rain is part of my syllabus!
  11. DannytheWall

    Listener Rankings

    I made a Letterboxd list as well after doing so on paper. I made the list after listening three episodes in. Then I've added each new film right before listening to the new episode. Right now it goes: Citizen Kane All About Eve Wizard of Oz King Kong Titanic Platoon Bonnie and Clyde The French Connection The General Ben Hur The Shawshank Redemption Swing Time https://boxd.it/1XIKK Much of my personal ranking is weighted on how "cinematic" it is. Which is why Titanic and Platoon might place so high (at least, so far) and it's a testament to how much I liked All About Eve that it gets the second place so far.
  12. DannytheWall

    All About Eve

    Been meaning to join in conversations but the timing is usually off, and I come to any given episode later than most. All About Eve has been a movie on my catch-up list, and it was great to have this excuse to raise its priority. And I'm so glad I did! What a fantastic example of writing and acting. The insights from the podcast were wonderful as well. The first line of dialogue with George Sanders had me sitting up at attention, but mostly because I immediately heard Sher Khan, and I could not shake that impression throughout the movie. I have entire scenes of Disney movies burned into my memories. Including the delivery of "What a pity" which I'm sure my parents grew tired of quite quickly as I repeated it as a childhood catchphrase for far too long.