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Episode 106 - Fatal Attraction (w/ Heather Matarazzo)


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Poll: Should "Fatal Attraction" enter The Canon? (51 member(s) have cast votes)

Should "Fatal Attraction" enter The Canon?

  1. Yes (19 votes [37.25%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 37.25%

  2. No (32 votes [62.75%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 62.75%

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#21 MODOKbaby

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:13 PM

I do indeed enjoy the apparent complexity of the first two thirds, wherein Michael Douglas can be reasonably read as the villain, but the third act squashes that reading to an unforgivable degree. And I agree that if we're gonna put an erotic thriller in the Canon, even one starring Michael Douglas, it's gotta be Verhoeven! Finally, if Broadcast News isn't Canon-worthy then nothing from 1987 is. May as well strike the whole decade. (Kidding, sort of.)

#22 Johnny Pomatto

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:56 PM

I hadn't seen this film since I was a teenager and didn't have particularly good memories of it. Watching it again and seeing it more of a depiction of the status and place of women in the particular time of the late 1980's, I found a lot more in there that I could enjoy and respect... at least for the first hour or so. Remembering mostly where the film was heading, I found Glenn Close's early "pre-affair" scenes to oddly seductive and bewitching. The moment when she kisses Douglas to get him to stay and then reveals to have slit her wrists, I found genuinely terrifying. While undeniably unhinged, it's hard to not see Alex as a victim of mental abuse and someone who needs help, which she sadly can't ever receive when she's perceived as a psychopath by everyone else in the film, and ultimately by the film itself. Later in the film, it becomes very difficult to not sympathize with Douglas, because the skew of the film presents very little alternatives. As a straight male, I suppose I've always identified with his character more and felt sympathy for him, even when being fairly put off by his behavior and not finding him at all appealing. I don't know if this is a particularly great film, but it's undeniably one of cultural importance. I decided though that I wouldn't make my Canon decision until I heard Amy and Heather (who was outstanding on this episode and I really hope she returns soon), make their cases. They both brought up such interesting things I had never considered. I too had always imagined that there was no actual baby. That a doctor or someone posing as one lied to Douglas, with Alex merely using the possibility of a child to keep him in her life. Watching the film now, I'm convinced more than ever that the baby exists, making the ending all the more horrifying. I remembered seeing the original ending and preferring it, though couldn't remember the details of what it was. Watching it again I'm now angrier than ever that it wasn't included. It doesn't fix everything, but having Alex kill herself adds a certain resignation and knowledge that she knows all of her extreme efforts can't ever be successful in bringing him back to her, but only makes her madness even more one of unfair frustration. I had quite forgotten that De Palma was ever going to direct this and that the finale included Close in a kabuki mask with a blade. Kinda makes me want to watch De Palma's PASSION again, which seems to have recycled some of those elements. So how will I vote? I think that this film sparks too much discussion and debate to not be let into The Canon, so I'm going to vote YES, even though I think it's an example of a Canon-worthy film that isn't necessarily good, but an important time capsule to be preserved simply for the what it does NOT show and what the film's compromises and treatment of its female characters says about the era in which it was made. I still don't love this movie. Much of it I don't even like. But I would absolutely encourage anyone who has never seen it to form their own opinion before just dismissing it as the "boiling rabbit movie," which I am guilty of considering it of being for many years now.

#23 killertapir

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 05:23 AM

Ultimately The Canon is about which films deserve to be considered the all time greats.

Is Fatal Attraction of the greatest films ever made? No. Therefore it shouldn't go into the canon.

It may create discussion. It may be controversial. It may have had an impact on culture through the 'bunny boiler' term. But none of those help the film become canon worthy.

#24 Dale Cooper Black

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 11:16 AM

View Postkillertapir, on 14 June 2017 - 05:23 AM, said:

Ultimately The Canon is about which films deserve to be considered the all time greats.


Is it? And "considered" by whom? And what criteria need to be met for a film to "deserve" such an honor?

View Postkillertapir, on 14 June 2017 - 05:23 AM, said:


Is Fatal Attraction of the greatest films ever made? No. Therefore it shouldn't go into the canon.


There are two problems with this. First, there are already several "all-time great" lists, and they are all pretty goddamned predictable. If you're looking for a pedestrian list of the all-time greatest films, just google "AFI top 100" and voila, problem solved. Enjoy your Yankee Doodle Dandy movie nite. (Fatal Attraction didn't make the cut, but it was one of the 400 finalists, and it was one of their 100 "Most Thrilling" films, for whatever that's worth.)

Second, what makes a film "great?" I ask this not to start a conversation, because it's a conversation that goes nowhere. Even films that are undeniably "great" (e.g. Citizen Kane) have their detrators. And some films (e.g. Fatal Attraction), for whatever reason, strike such a major chord with people that they become an indelible part of the zeitgeist in spite of their abundant flaws.

The Canon isn't a scholarly list of The All-Time Greats, it's about movies that are special. Really goddamn special. Some of these movies need to be protected and fought for like baby birds (e.g. Freaks), and some of them are strong enough to stand on their own (e.g. Goodfellas), but they are all special. Fatal Attraction is like that annoying kid in school who destroyed everyone else in the debate championships. Maybe you hated her, but you couldn't deny that she was special.
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#25 Dale Cooper Black

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 11:31 AM

View PostMODOKbaby, on 13 June 2017 - 08:13 PM, said:

Finally, if Broadcast News isn't Canon-worthy then nothing from 1987 is.


This is the most convincing argument that I've seen yet.
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#26 coldums

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 03:18 AM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 13 June 2017 - 09:42 AM, said:



If you thought feminism wouldn't be a large part of the discussion of this movie, given who hosts the podcast, I don't know what to tell you.

Art is not so easily divorced from politics. If you find that alienating, maybe examine your own.

I think you misunderstand, talk about the politics of the film all you want, keep personal politics to a minimum. It's a very basic principle of critique.

As I said, it would be fine to have a small section but if the podcast is dominated by personal politics there's a problem.

#27 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 01:14 PM

View Postcoldums, on 15 June 2017 - 03:18 AM, said:

I think you misunderstand, talk about the politics of the film all you want, keep personal politics to a minimum. It's a very basic principle of critique.


I'll be honest: this sounds pretty much impossible and mostly a bit of tortured reasoning in favor of your desire for the damn feminists to shut the hell up already.

#28 coldums

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:24 PM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 15 June 2017 - 01:14 PM, said:



I'll be honest: this sounds pretty much impossible and mostly a bit of tortured reasoning in favor of your desire for the damn feminists to shut the hell up already.


If you're unable to keep personal politics out of something, I'm concerned for your self control. I can very easily keep my personal politics out of discussions about movies with heavily political aspects.

#29 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:50 PM

View Postcoldums, on 15 June 2017 - 07:24 PM, said:

If you're unable to keep personal politics out of something, I'm concerned for your self control. I can very easily keep my personal politics out of discussions about movies with heavily political aspects.


I don't see how you talk about the politics of a film without your "personal" politics being part of that discussion. Even if you aren't trying, it's going to be obvious.

#30 iamymai

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 06:59 AM

View Postcoldums, on 15 June 2017 - 07:24 PM, said:

If you're unable to keep personal politics out of something, I'm concerned for your self control. I can very easily keep my personal politics out of discussions about movies with heavily political aspects.



If anything you've proved your assertion wrong multiple times because all you've done so far is demonstrate your personal politics.

There is no such thing as an objective review, and I think it's fair to say that part of the appeal of of reading / listening to professional film critics is to get their personal spin on a movie. It's fun to look up old Roger Ebert reviews because he's Roger Ebert. His worldview is as much a part of it as his knowledge. You're welcome to disagree with Amy and Heather on identity politics, but to ask for them to remove or limit discussion of how their feminism informs their opinions and analysis is a losing proposition.

#31 Lawbster31

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 07:29 AM

Like other people have been saying, this episode was kind of hard to get through. The amount of times that Amy and Heather utterly misread the situation in the film is staggering. The show really needs Devin back, because his insight would have been yugely beneficial in an episode like this.

As for the film itself, it's a tough one for me. The movie is good not great but it seems destined to inspire discussion, and the fact that it is still controversial really says something. As for myself, I can say this movie absolutely taps into very real fears of mine, which are centered around these kinds of invasions into my private home life, whether by strangers or by people I know. So it definitely had me jumping and very much on edge. For that kind of reaction and my excitement to discuss it with people, I'll vote Yes. Though it's a soft Yes.

#32 Itsmedrooms

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 01:45 AM

I loved this podcast back when this show had an antagonist, although I did find Devin a little too bombastic. I just find it too painful now because I disagree with Amy one hundred percent of the time and she only invites guests who agree with her, especially on this episode which was just one long and continuous feminist diatribe. It didn't serve the actual movie discussion well because it was framed in a constraining and narrow filter that informed the whole mode of discourse.

#33 Threshold

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 09:26 PM

View Postcoldums, on 15 June 2017 - 07:24 PM, said:

If you're unable to keep personal politics out of something, I'm concerned for your self control. I can very easily keep my personal politics out of discussions about movies with heavily political aspects.

I think that's an interesting angle to take. Can you truly be unbiased with films with heavily political aspects?
I think that's near impossible personally. We as the audience have opinions, and we project onto the film.

I really like Devin's phrase (which I will paraphrase) in an earlier episode (can't remember which one)
Films either support the current cultural status-quo or it criticises it.

This film creates a dichotomy between the two sexual female characters. With an anti-hero as our POV, it creates an interesting view of women which is pretty hard to ignore.



In a more knowledgable modern time we know that Glenn Close's character is suffering from Borderline Personailty Disorder, and that makes the first half of the film a bit more empathetic on both characters. But yeah- then it devolves into a stalker thriller. It'd be very interesting to see it from the POV of her character.

It's an interesting film- especially for the effect it had on the Single White Female films (genre?) but yeah, it's just standard.
Easy, if interesting, 'No' vote.