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Episode 101 - Shakespeare in Love (w/ David Ehrlich)

Shakespeare in Love: Joseph Fienne-lly in The Canon?  

82 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Shakespeare in Love be invited into The Canon?



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We could vote on all the Hamlets!

The Lion King FTW

 

(I know, I know, it's not a direct adaptation, whatever)

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I'm going to vote a tepid YES for Shakespeare in Love to be let into The Canon. I am not someone who believes that it inappropriately robbed Saving Private Ryan of the Best Picture oscar. Frankly, SPR justly won Spielberg a directing oscar for the stunning D-Day sequence, but I've always found the rest of the film to be rather clunky and bland. We may think of a film like Shakespeare in Love as typical oscar bait now, but at the time it was a genuine shock to see it win simply because it was a comedy. A comedy hadn't won the top honor since Annie Hall in 1977, and one hasn't won since (unless you find yourself busting your gut over The Artist). I don't think comedies get enough love and attention and I think Shakespeare in Love is a very enjoyable one. Credit that to the screenplay by Mark Norman and the masterful Tom Stoppard, who deftly makes this script feather-light for audiences looking for a fluffy love story, while layering it with obscure facts about Shakespeare, his contemporaries, and the history of theater. And that's the other reason I'm allowing this into The Canon, because it's one of the better films I've seen that is about theater that actually feels like its participants know what they're lovingly lampooning and celebrating. This is a great film about theater. It also has a tremendous cast. I wouldn't have given Gwyneth an oscar over Blanchett for Elizabeth that year, but I do find her to be perfectly nice in the role. Geoffrey Rush is also very funny in the film, and bit roles from Tom Wilkinson, Simon Callow, and Imelda Staunton are most welcomed. I like Amy's point that this celebrating a film like this takes nothing away from its supposed rivals, like Saving Private Ryan. There are better comedies than Shakespeare in Love that should be in The Canon, but I've always had a lot of affection for it and think there's room for it.

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I'm leaning yes. I want to vote yes in part because there's continuing backlash of one kind or another and I want to counteract that, but I should not vote yes based on that alone. I think it's a solid film and think that Fiennes is the only weak spot.

 

I know that SPR is beside the point. But Band of Brothers was much better, which diminished SPR. Only the opening sequence of SPR is super strong, and it's so strong that it's worth seeing the movie for that alone. But that's beside the point.

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I'm leaning this way too, but might give the movie another watch this week to see how it plays (it's on Netflix!).

 

The movie doesn't deserve the slagging it gets, but I'm not sure it's great or important enough to be Canon.

 

Watched it last night . . . still in this line.

 

Good movie, not Canon.

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A comedy hadn't won the top honor since Annie Hall in 1977, and one hasn't won since (unless you find yourself busting your gut over The Artist).

 

I would argue that Chicago is a comedy.

 

But of course it is a very different tone from the frothier Shakespeare in Love.

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I watched the movie for the first time, having always heard about how inferior it is compared to SPR from other people, and I really enjoyed the film. Is it amazing? No, but it's certainly worth watching. So I was going into the episode prepared to vote No. But I think I was swayed, like Amy. My biggest argument against the film was the lack of a cultural impact, but I think it's a movie that absolutely should have an impact, and hopefully will one day if it can get inclusion in the Canon. Like they said in the episode, it's an absolute artifact of pre-9/11 films, which altogether seem to be movies without a lasting impact. One day we will move on from this terrible time we're in, and these lighthearted middle brow movies will be back in vogue. It's okay to include movies like that in the Canon. Not everything has to be game changing art, I'd go out of my mind if that were the case.

 

Devin would absolutely be a hard No on this, correct?

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Juno vs Whiplash; Or, Amy's weekly opportunity to bash La La Land

 

Really though, she seems to have a serious beef with Damien Chazelle. She makes a side-dig at him of supposedly being a jazz drummer, she says all he can do is jazz movies (for worse he wrote the story for The Last Exorcism Part II, but for better he did re-writes for and was supposed to direct 10 Cloverfield Lane before Whiplash got the greenlight). It's getting to the level of how much Devin hated things with seemingly petty reasons. I can't wait for how she ties the Chazelle/La La Land hate into Shakespeare in Love.

 

And it should be said that I'm an Amy fan and was almost always on her side during the Amy/Devin era (especially when he would take pot shots at her), so the concern/criticism comes from the heart.

 

I mused on how La La Land would be tied into this episode jokingly thinking it would be impossible, but somehow someway Amy managed to bring it up and have it be an even more dominate part of the discussion than last week when we had Chazelle film up for discussion. Were all these episodes recorded back-to-back? Is there a big bank of episodes waiting to be released? Or does Amy (who again, I'm a fan of) just have that much of an unbridled, inexplicable hatred towards this film that she can't not bring it up every episode?

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I mused on how La La Land would be tied into this episode jokingly thinking it would be impossible, but somehow someway Amy managed to bring it up and have it be an even more dominate part of the discussion than last week when we had Chazelle film up for discussion. Were all these episodes recorded back-to-back? Is there a big bank of episodes waiting to be released? Or does Amy (who again, I'm a fan of) just have that much of an unbridled, inexplicable hatred towards this film that she can't not bring it up every episode?

 

I say stick with it now. It'll be the "Oh my God, they killed Kenny" running joke of this podcast.

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As a side note I kind of subscribe to the theory that The Thin Red Line (which probably never would have won) drew votes away from Saving Private Ryan, which is the only reason Shakespeare In Love won.

 

Also I find Saving Private Ryan pretty breathtaking regardless of any flaws it may have. The D-day sequence is one of the most beautifully brutal things ever put on film. It should be required viewing for anyone attempting to beat the war drum. Plus it drives home the paper thin mortality that generation had to deal with, and sets such an amazing tone for the rest of the film. Saving Private Ryan is a film that moves me. Shakespeare In Love tests my patience.

 

Ultimately SPR is irrelevant in this canon discussion, but to me there's no question which movie should have won best picture and which one will live on as a footnote in late twentieth century Oscars history.

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There are only two Hamlets that matter, Branaugh's and Oliver's

 

The Soviet adaptation by Grigori Kozinsev is better cinema than either of those, and there's also Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well.

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Although Amy and David's discussion did convince me that Shakespeare in Love probably doesn't get the recognition of deserves, I don't think being underrated alone warrants acceptance into the canon.

 

Upon rewatching it I realized that i had forgotten that the dialogue is sharp and Paltrow is great, but the movie's reliance on easy Shakespeare references are exactly why this shouldn't be included. I think that the genre they named "middlebrow" prevents audiences from challenging themselves, so such movie should have no place in the canon.

 

 

 

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I'll +1 any thought about this being light and forgettable- but it's also broad as hell, it's almost genetically manufactured to be as pleasant and unprovocative as it is.

 

It's fine, nowhere near Canon material.

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Comedy is such a specific thing that it's pretty easy to imagine a lack of critical consensus behind any particular one in a given year. Even a movie that seems tailor-made for Oscar appreciation, like The Player, is going to piss off as many voters as it entertains.

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Comedy is such a specific thing that it's pretty easy to imagine a lack of critical consensus behind any particular one in a given year. Even a movie that seems tailor-made for Oscar appreciation, like The Player, is going to piss off as many voters as it entertains.

The Player is great, though. it's smart, funny, and WELL-PACED. Also, I like that the references and cameos play in a way that lets you know just how empty and dumb this entire world is, and I love how far the film goes with that idea.

 

 

100% down for an episode for The Player.

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I had never seen this before, and was quite floored by it. I voted YES. What an excellent screenplay. What a stellar ensemble cast. It looks like it won't make it in, sadly. This isn't as unfortunate a loss as The Hurt Locker (which suffered a downright disgusting exclusion from the canon) but I do really think it deserved to get in. Hopefully it'll get a second chance if Amy still wants to do those episodes where previously losing films go against each other, but then again, it'd be up against behemoths like Boogie Nights and The Hurt Locker.

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Adding my amen to the NOs. The main thing that's stayed with me from this movie is the grating look-how-cute-we-are quotes from the plays liberally strewn in the dialogue. Shakespeare in Love has its charms, but is a little too slight to be canonical.

 

It is possible, however, that it's one of the best of the writer biopic genre. It's hard to think of any that are much good. For example, I just saw the critically praised but mediocre and stilted Dickinson pic, a Quiet Passion, and I'd take SIL over that any day.

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