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About JackLechner

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  1. JackLechner

    Episode 158 - The Talented Mr. Ripley (w/ Tom Bissell)

    I'm voting yes, for completely personal reasons. I got to read the script before the movie was made, and as a huge fan of the book I was excited to do so. But I was taken aback at first by the major changes Minghella made to the story, some of which Tom Bissell mentioned (inventing the characters of Meredith and Peter, making Tom less of an experienced grifter). "You can't DO that!" I thought. But then, when I saw the movie, I realized that Minghella's changes worked spectacularly well, and gave the film a tragic emotional payoff that the book doesn't have. Ever since then, the boldness of Minghella's choices has informed the way I view film adaptations. The question shouldn't be "Is it faithful?" The question to ask is, "Does it work?" (Another example: Adapting Michael Ondaatje's novel "The English Patient," Minghella removed Willem Dafoe's character from the heroine's backstory and reassigned him to the hero's backstory -- a change that even Ondaatje ended up admiring.) And note that Minghella's changes make the story much more overt in considering Tom as (at least) bisexual, at a time when that wasn't anything we would expect in a major film with movie stars. I would be happy to see "The Talented Mr. Ripley" in The Canon.
  2. JackLechner

    Episode 188 - Body Rock: LIVE!

    I don't know what "Body Rock" is supposed to look like, but I suspect the YouTube upload isn't doing it any favors. When the guy in the audience said the DP's name was "Robert Muller," I did a mental double take, and looked up the movie on IMDb. Actually, the DP is Robby Müller -- one of the great cinematographers of all time. He shot "Body Rock" the same year he shot two stone classics, "Paris, Texas" and "Repo Man." His other credits include "Breaking the Waves," "To Live and Die in L.A.," and a lot of movies for Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch. So if "Body Rock" doesn't look good on YouTube, it's probably not Müller's fault!
  3. JackLechner

    Episode 148 - Point Break (w/ Andrew Barker)

    I was working at Columbia Pictures when we bought the original screenplay for what was then called "Johnny Utah." As Andrew recounts, Ridley Scott was going to direct it, with Charlie Sheen (!) as Johnny, Dennis Quaid as Bodhi, and James Garner as Pappas. Nevertheless, I'm with Amy -- and with sycasey 2.0 -- on this one. Despite Andrew's impassioned case for "Point Break," it's just a fun, dumb popcorn movie with a way-above-average director. This isn't Bigelow's masterpiece; so far, the film closest to deserving that status is "The Hurt Locker," which really should have made the Canon. And as for Keanu Reeves action movies, "Speed" -- which has all the wit and smarts this film only wishes it had -- is your Canon-worthy entry, not "Point Break."
  4. JackLechner

    Episode 147 - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (w/ Jen Yamato)

    I'm not going to go on at length, because Jen Yamato said just about everything I wanted to say about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and beautifully. What's funny is that the French movie musical I love with a fierce passion is actually Demy's next film, The Young Girls of Rochefort -- but I would never nominate that film for the Canon, whereas Umbrellas is a no-brainer for the Canon. The Young Girls of Rochefort is a messy, flawed, sprawling movie with ambitions that often exceed its grasp, and I love it for that. However, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is pretty perfect for what it is and what it wants to be. There's no other movie musical like it, except for movie musicals that are directly inspired by it (like La La Land, and -- yes, Amy -- Pennies From Heaven). And the ending destroys me, just as it does for Jen.
  5. JackLechner

    Episode 145 - The Lost Boys (w/ Dallas Sonnier)

    When I was 10, my favorite movie was "Camelot." Later, in my teens, I found myself a complete outlier because I loved Sylvester Stallone's directorial debut, "Paradise Alley." What we like when we're young is powerful for us, because of how impressionable we were, and what it meant to us at the time. But that doesn't mean it's actually good, or that it belongs in the Canon. I completely understand Dallas' love for "The Lost Boys" ... and there are certainly worse movies he could have imprinted on. Like "Camelot" or "Paradise Alley." But I'm with Amy on this one. It's a fun trashy movie, but not remotely a movie for the Canon.
  6. I love both movies, but I think Amy and Russ called this one exactly right. Midnight Cowboy is intensely moving in its portrayal of two damaged men at the fringes of society who come to love each other. I like Butch and Sundance, and I'm sad at their death; but I'm not devastated the way I am when Ratso dies.
  7. JackLechner

    Episode 140 - My Fair Lady vs. Mary Poppins (w/ Russ Fischer)

    It's not even a question for me. Unlike Amy and Russ, I love the score for "My Fair Lady" -- but the movie is ponderous. "Mary Poppins," on the other hand, is truly magical, not just in its subject matter but in its cinematic wizardry and quirky spirit. I don't mind the vignettes, because they all add up to a satisfying and surprisingly moving whole, reflected in the performance of David Tomlinson as he rediscovers joy and love. I don't even mind Dick Van Dyke's ridiculous accent, because it's one-of-a-kind, like Peter Sellers' ridiculous accent in the "Pink Panther" movies. Honestly, my only real problem with "Mary Poppins" is the sash/kite-tail moment, which is indefensible. But this movie clearly belongs in the Canon, despite that one lapse.
  8. JackLechner

    Leonard Part 6

    I worked at Columbia Pictures in 1987, and had to watch the dailies. If all you've seen is the finished movie, your suffering is not remotely comparable to mine.
  9. JackLechner

    The Big Wedding

    2013's "The Big Wedding" is MADE for "How Did This Get Made?" Imagine four Oscar-winning actors -- Robert DeNiro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Robin Williams -- trapped in an ensemble comedy so lazy and contrived, so obviously dispiriting for the cast, that the film's best performance is given by KATHERINE HEIGL. Check this out with all deliberate speed -- but don't say I didn't warn you!