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Posts posted by DannytheWall

  1. 7 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

    Technically they sent the brother to "talk some sense into him." i.e. the carrot of a cushy job. I think the gun meant more to make sure Terry didn't get away and could kept hostage until wherever that address they were going to - presumably there would be people there who would have done the literal knocking off.

     And the reason (given in the movie) would be, Friendly wasn't accused of murdering the brother beforehand.

    Being accused of murder is more serious than corruption. Your accuser getting hit by a car is going to look a lot more suspicious.

    But that means people with the gun were waiting to knock off Terry and he just got out of the car earlier, then just catch up with him later 'round the corner or something. They were already going to kill him, and now they just have to figure out a different location. Instead they kill Charlie and just yell out Terry's name. I know in my head the reasons the movie gives, but it always seemed a weak point of the plot to me. Like, OF COURSE killing Charlie would be the turning point and cause Terry to finally step up. Like when the Emperor just *had* to say that last line to Luke Skywalker about Luke's anger, making Luke finally stop being angry. It always seems more narratively *convenient* than logical to me.   

    I just now realized the whole reluctant-to-actually-do-anything-hero trope parallel to Hamlet. Not sure if this makes the film better or Kazan even more pretentious. 

    6 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

    Well, I wasn't familiar with the backstory, so I might have this wrong, but didn't Any say Kazan was a member of the American communist party?

    Yes, Kazan and many of his college friends and members of the Group Theatre were members of the Communist Party in the 20s/30s,(?) but it was a far cry from the Stalinst and Mao Tse Dongist kind of Communism that arose after WWII. Most Americans who grew out of the Depression saw the abstract ideals of Marxism as very appealing, after all, and HUAC was not about to make that distinction when there was better policitcal opportunity.

    Kazan likely rationalized that they already had his name, and they already had the names of the people he gave them. But the real fallout  wasn't in the names themselves, it was the legitamacy it gave to McCarthyism and HUAC in general. They got any numbers of feathers in their cap by making Hollywood capitulate. 

    I tried to think of an equivalency in our own times, and it might be around gun control. Perhaps in the way someone in their youth would have been a card-carrying member of the NRA, but in recent years deciding to give up their membership, after marrying, having a family and career, etc. Now add to that a hypothetical world where you'd have to testify and risk losing your livelihood because of that card you held in your college days. It's easy in hindsight or hypotheticals to condemn Kazan, and I appreciate the enormity of the decision, but I am like others here, disappointed in him.   



  2. 15 hours ago, FictionIsntReal said:

    confused why Friendly's goons didn't just kill Terry at the end,

    But before that point they certainly could. I mean, they *tried* but they sent the brother to do it. And speaking of that, I'm not sure why it would be necessary to kill Charlie outright, and not, you know, just "lean on 'im" a little instead. But hey, I guess that's why I'm not a 50s gangster. 

  3. 16 hours ago, bleary said:

    if he had refused to testify to HUAC, it is unlikely that his taking a stand would have galvanized people to end HUAC.  Most likely, if he had refused to testify, he'd have been blacklisted too and wouldn't have gotten to make things

    No one can be sure, but it's likely that Kazan could have continued working, albeit in the theatre as there was no blacklist. He was an award winning theatrical director who "just" entered Hollywood six or seven years prior to HUAC, after all. And that's the route taken by many of his friends in the Group Theatre who faced similar moral dilemmas, notably Arthur Miller.  It's difficult for me to parse this film from the context of its authors (the screenwriter Shulburg also named names in front of HUAC) I came to know and watch this film when learning (and later teaching, and later acting in, and directing) The Crucible, in which John Proctor makes a very different decision than Terry Malloy. 

    Also, yeah... I really don't like the Edie character.   

    Hmm. Mental note: Idea for a short scene 2-woman play, featuring Edie and Elizabeth Proctor meeting for the first time for some reason. 

  4. I remember seeing this film the first time as a young person precisely because it was so influential on things like Raiders of the Lost Ark. (The character as well as the film itself-- in I think it was the first episode of Young Indiana Jones in which Li'l Indy meets TE Lawerence.) However, I must admit that I didn't appreciate it much more than, as Paul called it, "homework." I do appreciate the film better after various attempts to re-watch, but on this latest attempt for this podcast, I realize I am in a much different place as I just could not get around seeing so much of the white savior stuff in it.  

    Paul & Amy make mention of this criticism, but don't really focus on it too much. "Can't be a white savior movie if it's a true story?" I understand the sentiment, but I disagree. Isn't it a white savior movie not because it's making one side, the "other," as bad vs. good-- it's that the growth of the main character is paramount and even superceded over the plight of the "native." 

    19 hours ago, bleary said:

    And the film does try to offer a counterbalance in Sherif Ali, whose arc goes in the other direction, as he begins shooting a dude dead over water and ends by protesting against Lawrence's bloodlust.  But I think Ali is exceptional, and most of the Arab soldiers are portrayed as savage and/or greedy. 

    Not so much of a counterbalance. Isn't he just the "noble savage", demarked as separated thanks to his exposure to the Western world previously?

    [about Amy seeing subversion of the trope by seeing people treat Lawrence like a god] She sees it as implying that the "British are [will be?] just as bad [i.e. barbaric?]." This is a bit of a modern reading, I think. First, I because I don't think it's discordant in the first place. But also because the intent seems to be to say "look at how bad it is if the white man accepts this," precisely BECAUSE the Arab peoples are willing to give the power that can be destructive as such. It's incredibly patronizing, dismissive, and entirely from the Western point of view.  If Lawrence is uncomfortable seeing himself as a savior, it's due to it being a white man's "hero's journey" into "wilderness" as well as to set up the hubris that will cause his fall (being "tainted" by this other world.)  

    That being said, the film isn't trying for much socio-political commentary, so I don't think these tropes are necessarily damning to the film. It's a pseudo-historical biography and it's TE Lawrence's personal internal story, but isn't it a kind of priveledge to be able to have this point of view? If we have to grapple with The Searchers, Gone with the Wind, Swing Time, and more, we have to grapple with this one, too. 


    • Like 1

  5. I did think it was interesting that this film was made in 1962 after TE Lawerence's death in 1935-- people watching it in 1963  certainly would have TE Lawrence in their cultural memory quite strongly. It would be as if someone in 2019 produced a big budget movie about a figure who died in 1991-- say, like, Freddie Mercury? Or Theodore Geisel/Dr. Seuss. Other notable passings in 1991 were John Steinbeck, Frank Capra, and Miles Davis. Also Shamu the Whale but that doesn't seem quite the same. 
    Incidentally, David Lean, the director himself. passed in 1991.   

    The events of World War I was about 50 years from the time of the film (1962), meaning the equivalent of 2019 would be films about Vietnam, actually. Strange how that doesn't feel like an equivalency. We seem to be over that in some ways, at least in terms of epic filmmaking. The Gulf War would have been around that 1991 date, though.   

  6. One more memory about Network.

    A few years back, I was a teacher-coach for the high school Speech team. I was coaching a student in his Dramatic Monologue, and after pointing him to several sources, he selected Howard Beale from Network. He did a pretty good job of it, too, if I can humbly say, and on the day of the Speech contest, he delivered a rousing speech on the theatre stage. Perhaps he channeled a little bit too much from Beale's frustrated rage, as in a pique of unrehearsed passion, he flung the stool he had used across the stage. Luckily, it wasn't into the audience at all, but unluckily, it chipped the wall of the host school's newly refurbished theater. He got a silver award for the speech and a request for a public apology to the host school's Drama class. He accepted both, but we will always wonder if it was supposed to be a gold.   

    • Like 1

  7. Paul & Amy-- "This film really is about how the old must make way for the new." 

    Also Paul & Amy-- "Film these days! Not like how they used to be in the good ol' days. Makes me want to cry. We're just dead."


    (I kid! I love!)

  8. 16 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

    (i.e I don’t know who “C. K. Dexter Haven” is, but I do know Cary Grant.)

     😲 even after he yelled CK Dexter HAYYYYY-Ven all the time? LOL 
    I guess that's just it. I would be convinced that the story didn't get told right/the movie "didn't do its job" right if we couldn't remember something as simple as characters' names. Or perhaps that actors are distracting from characters somehow. But, again, just a peeve, not a hill and nothing I should die upon. 

    7 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

    in this episode in particular, they maybe swung too much in interpreting the film as if it was about Katherine Hepburn or the actors' lives, and not about the characters.

    See? Maybe that was it. It's perfectly valid to critique the movie through that context, but if that's all we really have to critique it and/or it distracts from other critique, then ... ? 

    On the other hand, the extreme in the opposite direction is when a character becomes so name-able that it takes over the actor's name. Cue Norman Bates/Anthony Perkins. Or Skywalker/Hamil. 

    13 hours ago, bleary said:

    (Example: "I'm looking forward to seeing Captain America in Knives Out.")

    Hey! At least they're using the proper superhero name! Another pet peeve? How we're all so first-name basis with our heroes. I prefer talking about Iron Man and not Tony Stark. But now I'm spreading my death upon too many tiny hills. 

  9. Sometimes it bothers me that Paul and Amy constantly refer to the actors' names, and not the characters', when talking about the characters' actions and attitudes. I know, it's not just a Paul and Amy thing. It's natural for everyone to do it, and I tend to do it as well. But I always am a bit self conscious when I notice it in myself and try to avoid it. (As a film teacher, I caution my students against it and try to make sure they distinguish when they are referring to the actor and to the character.) It's more egregious when they switch to character names for those who are minor and/or are portrayed by "unknowns," often in the same sentence. I prefer to think of the film as something independent, and it helps to consider the characters paramount, and the actors as separate. 

    I have enough personal quirks/peeves, so I don't mind owning one more, but I just wondered. Am I alone here? 

  10. marriage, babeee!

    This movie brought up again the tropes about marriage/remarriage, and Amy has mentioned several times over the course of a few episodes how funnily marriage is treated by being such as casual thing-- both the falling in and out of marriage. 

    And it *IS* pretty funny, but I think we come at that conclusion too easily because of our modern sensibilities. Whether it's because of the Hayes Code or because of proper societial mores or because of religious sensiblities or other things or all of those things, "marriage" is really just a stand-in for sex.  Since you can't ever have sex outside of marriage, then obviously you just talk about people getting married, and it's like talking about the same thing. And yes you can ALSO have the "oh I forgot my watch upstairs" stand-in for sex, but that's just another KIND of sex, and the less scandalous kind, despite how quickly it can happen, is quote-en quote marriage kind. 

    we all know that it's not ACTUALLY marriage we're talking about. I mean, yes, it IS an actual ceremony for them and they say I do and everything, but it's not meant to be taken for "realism" in the same way the movie-world is supposed to be real overall. We demand so much realism in movies that I think we mistake some things that are more deeply symbolic. In a related example, if you stop and think about it, no "real life" people would ever speak in witty quips and rapid delivery. Or wait to give important expository information until everyone's in the car. (Insert any number of related film tropes here.) Stop worrying about verisimilitude and realize how dirty of a movie it really is because they're constantly talking about how they are going to bone. LOL And that's probably why rom coms DON'T talk about marriage all the time these days. Because now we actually get to see the sex scenes. 

    Lastly, I'd also like to think that all of it all is a holdover from ancient theatrical traditions. It always comes down to the two sides of the dramatic masks-- tragedy vs comedy. In the former, we need a fall to restore order to the chaos of the dramatic action; in the latter, we need marriage. In one, the sacrifice of life, its ending. The other, the promise of life, its continuation.  Or, you know. Sex scenes. 

    Thank you for reading what turned into an essay. For the record, as a happily unmarried person, my credentials may not be as valid as others. :)

  11. SLowly catching up on the list. Tryting to watch/rewatch and listen in order of the podcast. 

    My fifth time (at least) to watch this film, although it's been a long stretch since the last time. Things felt a bit more cheesy and melodramatic this time, perhaps due to its familiarity. Also, I think I noticed for the first time some of the more hiccupp-y technical glitches, like a few continuity errors or editing jumps. I guess know that I'm older I recognize the wrinkles in others' faces more. Disappointing but strangely conforting. These older movies are so sacred; they're just "normal people" like you and me. And it doesn't slip too far down the line. It still makes my top 15, so far. 

    As a superhero junkie (sorry, Amy, it's true and you are objectively wrong LOL) I was excited, as in this viewing, it was so clear to me that Spade is essentially a super hero. It makes sense, as the pulpy noir world that he comes from likewise spawned the masked mystery man tropes that became detectives like Batman and the Spirit. Sam Spade (note the alliterative name) has superhuman senses to sniff out lies, as it were, and powers that let him deceive others and slip out of any situation. He even has a sidekick with his secretary. And yet he is quintesentially good, forgoing his own happiness or reward for objective justice. 

  12. Ah, I enjoyed the episode-- such passion on both sides of the aisle, LOL. Despite it being all over the place

    I think it was Paul who pointed out that this was essentially a modern day horror movie. YES yes YES. That was the vibe I got several times throughout the movie, in particular at the end of the movie with the creepiest girl ever. Get Jordan Peele on this remake! 

    Like Us's dopplegangers, Fred is both autonomous and bound to his creator. It's a kind of monstrous take on a Tulpa. (Standard disclaimer-- i say "monster" for entertainment purposes of this post, as it springboards from actual Tibetan Buddhist religious practice.)  A Tulpa is created from the thought-forms of an individual, but becomes its own being. If you want to get really mystical, modern-day occult stuff might label Fred as an Egregore, a kind of Tulpa born from a collective group consciousness, which maybe explains why Fred is born from Elizabeth but can interact with all kids' imaginary friends and can then "leap" to another girl. 

    Freddy Krueger for kids, indeed! 

    Forget Tom Cruise's Mummy! The Universal Dark Universe should have been launched with Drop Dead Fred! 


    • Like 1

  13. On 6/8/2019 at 2:15 AM, JaguarScribbles said:



    Although the only other non-Country Bear we see was working the car wash waving down customers after drying their car. So, hmmm. 

    By the way, the Disney wiki lists the Country Bear Hall in Pendleton, Tennessee. Since Ted the Bear is crashing at Elton John's place, it could be any of his two homes that are in the US-- Atlanta or Los Angeles. The four-day time frame makes the LA home difficult to believe (in a movie of talking bears) so I'll assume it's Atlanta. Still weird that Beary can RUN HOME but take a bus to and from the Country Bear Hall.  


    My observation was about the all-signing diner, which obviously is just too trippy to put into words. But really, why did Beary freak out when the police arrived there? He didn't have any reason to think they were looking for him. I'm thinking there must have been some REALLY dark scenes in the director's cut that we're missing. 

    The real movie I want to see was the animated version that features the Bears versus aliens bent on dominating the world through mind control. That sounds like a WAY better movie. 

    And for how old are the Bears, there's not that many clues from their time as a band. They presumably formed before 1972 (the date of the Disneyland attraction), had Rolling Stone interviews in 1983 and broke up in 1991 according to the movie. The 1972 date makes sense if the movie takes place in 2002, but Christopher Walken says they ruined him 30 years ago, which would be earlier than '72, wouldn't it? In any event, according to bearlife.org, a bear's life span is about 20-30 years, so proportionately, these Country Bears are pushing 80 in human years. So just picture Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney instead of anthropormophic bears. Likewise, even tho Beary is in fourth grade, in bear-years, that's like 20 or something.

    Was the whole "protecting the grass" thing a Willie Nelson reference? 

    If anyone like tabletop roleplaying games, check out Honey Heist, a one-page storytelling game. https://www.docdroid.net/KJzmn5k/honey-heist-by-grant-howitt.pdfwhich clearly points out that there should have been MORE hats on bears. 

    • Like 3

  14. Making my way slowly through the backlog. 

    For some reason I always mix up the plotlines of Chinatown and On the Waterfront. Probably because I binged so much classic film when I was younger. Rewatching again this time and I was "oh, yeah!" several times. Which is weird because they are so different.

    As a person with an animated heart, I was hoping there would be a token mention of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, not only for the similar plot structure and its pseudo-real-world connections, but because the trolley company that is featured in Roger Rabbit is called "Cloverfield," an Easter Egg for the proposed title of the mythical third film of the Gittes trilogy after The Two Jakes. If Chinatown gets taken off the AFT list (unlikely!) maybe we can replace it with Roger Rabbit :)

  15. Paul mentioned something about how this film might work on the stage, and I totally had multiple thoughts along those lines when re-watching the film this time. As a drama teacher and amateur player, I've been more conscious of this lately. I can see so many ways to emphasize the themes, tension, etc by staging it. That being said, one of the reasons I place this movie so high on my personal AFI ranking is that the setting plays such a crucial role. It could have been pushed more, cinematically, perhaps, but there is a lot of specific attention given to personifying the mountain while also placing the camera in medium and close shots to lend intimacy to the characters. Ultimately, it would lose a lot if transferring to the stage, whereas some other films, like say Sophie's Choice, wouldn't have such a problem.   

  16. On 4/18/2019 at 11:47 PM, bleary said:

    I might not chime in too much on this film since I'm probably going to be more down on it than everyone else, but I'm halfway through the podcast and Amy and Paul's interpretation of parts of it baffles me.

    For one thing, they're talking about how the movie is about greed, and about how Dobbs not taking all of McCormick's money doesn't seem to make sense.  Well, the answer is that the film isn't really about greed. 


    Making my way through the movies/podcasts after a long break. (Not by choice, just Life. I don't know how all y'all have time to watch so many movies. It's impressive and I'm jealous :)

    The above comment is SO right, and I have to feel disappointed in the hosts as well. This film has long been one of my favorites, probably because when I was young I thought I stumbled onto some mysterious subtext like I was prophet with sudden epiphany, ready to grab others by the collar and shout with wild eyes "don't you get it?! It's NOT about the treasure at all!"   

    It's about selfishness, not greed. About individualism versus community. Dobbs is so consumed by being an individual, and proudly so, that he can't even look others in the eye when asking for help. He slowly builds a community but is consumed and ultimately destroyed by protecting his Self. The key turning point is when Dobbs demands that the gold be split three ways. There is no turning back from that point, which creates the atmosphere of ever-growing existential dread.

    And it's community that "saves" our other heroes in the end. As problematic as it might be in our 2019 perspective, essentially the others give up on the gold and choose instead to find fulfillment in others. Hobson returns to a community of locals, and Bob "returns" to a farm and family.   

    I guess what's doubly disappointing is that the theme of the dangers of individualism is very resonant for our political times these days. It's important not to miss such stuff in our art.  


  17. 14 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

    As far as agency, I think Snow shows plenty. But she’s also a little girl whose primary attribute is kindness. 

    I'm listening to the podcast tomorrow. Did they also bring up the fact that Snow is canonically 14-years old as well? If not, sorry for the mic drop! It's past midnight in my part of the world and I'm going to bed 😛 

    • Like 1

  18. 23 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

    And I've heard from new parents who sit their kids in front of things like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and they get legitimately bored. So the animation style is no longer something that is considered a marvel enough to makeup for the lack of a good well-rounded movie.

    Y'all I'm realizing I may not like Snow White at all lololol.

    Yup. That's why I said this movie is a hard sell for 2019 audiences. And it's not just for plot and character problems. Those things are just part of the aesthetic of the times, the same kind of aesthetic of color, light, editing, etc. So no fault for disliking it at all. I'm certainly arguing more because there are bits that I do like, and generally how much I like the medium itself. No fault to what started the conversation; I generally don't like discussions that JUST center on "should it List?" and would prefer to see it as an opportunity to talk about the films in general as they come up. 

    29 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

    but I remember my feelings about it so well. I truly thought Snow White had no agency or characterization or even wants besides just wanting to marry the Prince she just met. I'm not trying to talk solely just about female representation here, but purely just the representation of the main character of this story. The Queen ends up being a far more interesting character, as do the dwarfs, and Snow White is a passive character that does NOTHING for herself and it's so boring to watch her. So I just completely disagree and I have major doubt that this is Snow's story.

    Well, to be fair the dwarfs don't really have any agency, either. They come home from work and all this stuff's already done for them. They do a song, I guess? Then they come to Snow White's rescue (too late), and to fight the Queen, but nope, it's bad weather and gravity that does her in. They put Snow on a bier, I guess? The only one actually doing any agency things here is the Queen.

    Maybe she just needs a Maleficient-style makeover. After all, we don't actually see a body. :) Snow White 2: The Re-Appling 

  19. 8 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

    In terms of Disney, though, Snow White's story concludes at the end of this film and there's really nothing drawing you to then go further into the Disney catalog based on this alone. I find having a place holder movie to represent better movies made by the same company simply because it was the first of its kind to rather defeat the purpose of this list entirely.

    My reading of A. A. Ghost's post what less that it was meant to draw you into to watch more of the catalogue of movies, but it was representational of what the catalogue could offer. 

    That being said, there's enough going on with Snow White in terms of technical achievements, story structure or tropes, and craft-like stuff like that which could certainly draw people into watching more of the same catalogue. Animation as a medium itself benefits from its legacy, and any number of animated films that still have an "ending" can draw people in to watch other films in the oeuvre.  That's certainly happened to me as a little kid.  

    • Like 1

  20. 7 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

    The other idea I think Snow White does encompass (and maybe perfectly?) for the AFI list is that it represents "all Disney." I personally think that a few other early ones are better too, and even closer to "great", but Snow White may be the best representation of Disney as a genre. It's a stand-in for all the great Disney movies at once. And I think to some extent that's what puts this on the list.

    That's a very interesting idea! I'd love to dig into that "what's a stand-in" a bit more. Snow White might indeed be a contender. I do wonder how much, however, it presumes that it must have a princess in order to be something quintessential. Because if that's so, and I get to consider all of Disney's animated films to date, I might say that Beauty and the Beast would take that title. 

    What's more interesting is to consider if we really need a princess to be a stand-in. After all, Disney's last animated film was Jungle Book in the late 60s, meaning there was only three Disney princess at all in that 30 year period -- Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. The "mythos" of capital-D Disney was really part of the re-invention of the company in the late 80s with Michael Eisner and the so-called Disney Renaissance that banked heavily on what would be corporate synergy and branding and any number of other corporate buzzwords. 

    Walt Disney himself would likely consider films like Fantastia, Dumbo, and Bambi as much more worthy of what should be contenders (in that he's often gone on record as these are his favorite films) for representational "stand ins," and I'll probably stick with those myself. 

    • Like 1