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Cameron H.

Best Of 2018: Blockbusters

2018  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Was 2018 a good year for movies?

    • Yes
      4
    • No
      3
    • Comme Ci, Comme Ça
      3


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If anything, Amy needs to be dragged for naming Rian Johnson as one of the most talented directors at taking a stagnant property in a radical new direction. Not because I disagree with her—Brick is one of my all-time favorite movies and I've been a huge fan of Rian's work ever since—but because Amy is a close friend of both Rian and his wife (and past guest) Karina Longworth. This is a horrible conflict of interest and is totally unacceptable in the high-stakes, contractually-binding world of movie podcasts!

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14 hours ago, grudlian. said:

I agree with both you and Amy.

I think Amy takes it too far that she wishes the genre was dead or that all the heroes died. But I agree that the fight scenes are really kind of weak in a lot of these movies. And that bothers me because every one of the movies is always leading to a huge fight and usually not that exciting to me (with some exceptions like the one angle fight in Civil War for example). You can't drop the ball on the climax of the movie. Hearing Ryan Coogler talk about the depth of the details in Black Panther is great. And I feel all those details. I fucking loved all the human elements of Black Panther and openly wept in the theater about how Killmonger and Tchalla really just want the same thing but they have different ways of how they best think to achieve it. Then it's just a really mediocre fight.

To me, that's a problem. It's not a beef against superheroes. I'd sooner put Into The Spider-verse into the film canon than any MCU movie because it has no real flaws. But every single one of them has something that keeps me from thinking it's great instead of good. The biggest hurdle, for me, is that they all feel remarkably similar (except for Thor Ragnarok which is definitely doing it's own thing) despite occasionally touching on different genres. Winter Soldier wants to be a 70s political thriller but I don't feel the claustrophobic paranoia of 3 Days Of The Condor; it just feels like Captain America to me. Ant Man wants to be a heist movie but it's not nearly as fun or thrilling as Ocean's 11. It doesn't mean the MCU sucks and fuck superheroes. It just means they don't reach the heights they aiming for with me. That's fine and I'm not judging anyone for loving them. I simply like them.

You're definitely right that people aren't going to see movies about actual issues. We have to sort of trick them into seeing Wonder Woman or Black Panther because they aren't going to see Support The Girls or Blindspotting. I don't know if Marvel necessarily said "We're going to make Black Panther to force white people into a theatre to see their first movie with a majority not-white cast" but that's definitely a byproduct of them making Black Panther. If that's what it takes, then I guess that's what we have to do.

I mean we've had this conversation before and I still just don't agree with a lot of what you've pointed out. Winter Soldier doesn't have to be 3 Days Of The Condor because it's not trying to be that movie, but trying to say that makes it not air on the side of a 70s political thriller is ridiculous, because it absolutely does. None of these movies are ever going to be exactly like whatever genre their mimicking because that's the whole point - they are taking elements from a 70s political thriller, or a New Zealand comedy, or a family friendly film (that's what Ant-Man really is, not a heist film), and they make a superhero movie around that which automatically makes it different from anything else we've seen. Since this is now the second time I've seen you bring up things like "It's still just Captain America to me," I can't comprehend why that matters other than it just doesn't excite you like it does other people, and to that point - Why do your feelings get to override anyone else's about what should be put on the AFI list?

Also if you think Marvel didn't consciously try and capitalize on being the first superhero movie with black leads since they were beat by DC at the female lead game then you trippin yo.

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13 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

I agree the underground train scene was weird looking and a strange choice, but I still found the message behind that sunset cliff scene to be poignant, i.e., choosing to die a free man instead of in chains.  That's a strong message that goes back in black history, like slaves committing suicide on the slavery ships for example.  Perhaps that scene could have been developed better or given more space after the big fights, but I think there's a lot in Killmonger and his death which makes Black Panther stand out as a film.

Yeah I was a little like, "Yikes..." when they said that because that moment holds a lot of weight for black Americans specifically. Killmonger paints that imagery of the slaves jumping off the ship because dying at sea would be better than living in slavery and hearing two white people talk about the lack of emotional weight in that moment did not come off great for me.

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I agree with a lot of what's already been said. I've really warmed to super hero and MCU movies over the last couple of years. To me, Spider-verse was maybe one of the best movies I've seen in years. It was so creative and imaginative. I'm not steeped in all the earlier movies, and found it stood on its own really well, as did Black Panther

Now, let me just say some things about Paul's opinion on Christian Bale's performance in Vice. A) that movie was laughably terrible. (though Amy Adams and Steve Carrell are amazing in it). B) I'll give that Christian Bale looked the part, but the performance was so one-note. Always in that gravelly, sort of talking out of the side of his mouth, and never emotionally reaching for anything. It was stale. I kept getting distracted by the mix of makeup and CGI. C) The movie itself really felt like a highlights reel of Cheney's career, without ever really examining him as a person or giving him an arc aside from 9/11 PTSD. C) I won't call Bohemian Rhapsody a stellar work of art, but I took it as playing with camp, and not taking itself too seriously. Rami Malek in the second half of that movie does wonders, even if the script is cheesy. And at least that movie was fun. Vice, not so much. 

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I have to also add that I'm not someone that can claim they grew up with this universe. When I was growing up it was all Batman and that was it. I remember getting my mom to buy me one Spider-Man comic when I was a kid because it was at the grocery store and the cover had Peter and Black Cat kissing and that was exciting to me at like 9 or 10 years old lol, but I never asked for anything else ever related to any Marvel character ever. Even when the MCU started I saw Ed Norton's Hulk movie and thought it was okay (Didn't even go to the theater to see it - my friends and I wanted to see The Happening and there was no midnight showing so we went to Hulk instead. I believe we made the right choice.) and didn't even like Iron Man at all, which I have definitely found an appreciation for now but it's still lower on my list than others.

It really wasn't until Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011 that I was like oh these are good! It made me go back and watch everything that had come out since Iron Man and I was fuckin' in on this universe. Then when Avengers came out a year later I went to my local comic shop and bought every Hawkeye that was currently out by Matt Fraction and the most recent run of Black Widow and my whole world changed. I could suddenly see the draw of Marvel and I was like damn I have been missing out on everything that isn't Batman lol.

So when I talk about these films, I talk about them as someone that did not grow up with these characters. I have zero nostalgia and zero tie to them other than the fact that these movies were good enough to suck me in and make me want these characters all the time.

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47 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

I mean we've had this conversation before and I still just don't agree with a lot of what you've pointed out. Winter Soldier doesn't have to be 3 Days Of The Condor because it's not trying to be that movie, but trying to say that makes it not air on the side of a 70s political thriller is ridiculous, because it absolutely does. None of these movies are ever going to be exactly like whatever genre their mimicking because that's the whole point - they are taking elements from a 70s political thriller, or a New Zealand comedy, or a family friendly film (that's what Ant-Man really is, not a heist film), and they make a superhero movie around that which automatically makes it different from anything else we've seen. Since this is now the second time I've seen you bring up things like "It's still just Captain America to me," I can't comprehend why that matters other than it just doesn't excite you like it does other people, and to that point - Why do your feelings get to override anyone else's about what should be put on the AFI list?

Also if you think Marvel didn't consciously try and capitalize on being the first superhero movie with black leads since they were beat by DC at the female lead game then you trippin yo.

First of all, sorry. I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings on what should be on the AFI. If that's how I'm making it sound, that's not my intention. I'm simply giving my reason why I wouldn't put them on the list.

I'd personally put Into The Spider-Verse or Superman The Movie in over any MCU. If someone disagrees and gives me their reasons why they don't belong, that's fine so long as they're cool about it (and, again, if I'm not being cool about it, I'm sorry).

I agree that Marvel made Black Panther to capitalize on the under served black audiences. I don't think their intentions were to get white people into the theaters. Their intention was to get black people in theaters and congratulate themselves.

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37 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

I agree with a lot of what's already been said. I've really warmed to super hero and MCU movies over the last couple of years. To me, Spider-verse was maybe one of the best movies I've seen in years. It was so creative and imaginative. I'm not steeped in all the earlier movies, and found it stood on its own really well, as did Black Panther

Now, let me just say some things about Paul's opinion on Christian Bale's performance in Vice. A) that movie was laughably terrible. (though Amy Adams and Steve Carrell are amazing in it). B) I'll give that Christian Bale looked the part, but the performance was so one-note. Always in that gravelly, sort of talking out of the side of his mouth, and never emotionally reaching for anything. It was stale. I kept getting distracted by the mix of makeup and CGI. C) The movie itself really felt like a highlights reel of Cheney's career, without ever really examining him as a person or giving him an arc aside from 9/11 PTSD. C) I won't call Bohemian Rhapsody a stellar work of art, but I took it as playing with camp, and not taking itself too seriously. Rami Malek in the second half of that movie does wonders, even if the script is cheesy. And at least that movie was fun. Vice, not so much. 

Your thoughts on Vice are the same as mine. Bale's performance is 90% makeup and costume. I'd give the movie a nomination for that but nothing else (maybe Adams for supporting actress). 

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1 minute ago, grudlian. said:

First of all, sorry. I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings on what should be on the AFI. If that's how I'm making it sound, that's not my intention. I'm simply giving my reason why I wouldn't put them on the list.

I'd personally put Into The Spider-Verse or Superman The Movie in over any MCU. If someone disagrees and gives me their reasons why they don't belong, that's fine so long as they're cool about it (and, again, if I'm not being cool about it, I'm sorry).

I agree that Marvel made Black Panther to capitalize on the under served black audiences. I don't think their intentions were to get white people into the theaters. Their intention was to get black people in theaters and congratulate themselves.

I haven't seen Spider-Verse yet but I've been hearing so many amazing things that I would totally support that decision, and honestly I've never seen any of the original Superman movies either. But to me if we're going to represent the modern age in comic movie trends then Superman from the 70s doesn't really feel like it fits to me. I would totally do Dark Knight though because I think that Nolan trilogy sparked more than Iron Man ever did.

Also you're so right that they didn't make that movie to get white people to see it. In fact I've seen some shitty racists be like, "I liked Marvel before it got all political," to which a black guy responded, "Black people leading a movie is political?"

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7 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Your thoughts on Vice are the same as mine. Bale's performance is 90% makeup and costume. I'd give the movie a nomination for that but nothing else (maybe Adams for supporting actress). 

Amy Adams was probably the only reason I derived any non-ironic joy out of watching. 

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Side note: After watching Spider-verse a second time last night, I think animation is severely underrepresented on the AFI.

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2 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Amy Adams was probably the only reason I derived any non-ironic joy out of watching. 

Amy Adams is the reason why a lot of movies are better than they actually are. Her and Jennifer Lawrence are truly the only good parts of American Hustle to me and I loved them so much in that movie it jumped it up into the top 10 of that year for me lol.

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19 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Your thoughts on Vice are the same as mine. Bale's performance is 90% makeup and costume. I'd give the movie a nomination for that but nothing else (maybe Adams for supporting actress). 

And I agree with Paul. I think Bale's performance is pretty great, but in a mediocre movie. I was most impressed when he was playing the younger Cheney (not in much makeup) and I could still see the same character.

Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody seems more like pantomime to me (entertaining pantomime, but pantomime).

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1 hour ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Now, let me just say some things about Paul's opinion on Christian Bale's performance in Vice. A) that movie was laughably terrible. (though Amy Adams and Steve Carrell are amazing in it). B) I'll give that Christian Bale looked the part, but the performance was so one-note. Always in that gravelly, sort of talking out of the side of his mouth, and never emotionally reaching for anything.

IMO, he's like that because that's what Dick Cheney is like.

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11 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

I haven't seen Spider-Verse yet but I've been hearing so many amazing things that I would totally support that decision, and honestly I've never seen any of the original Superman movies either. But to me if we're going to represent the modern age in comic movie trends then Superman from the 70s doesn't really feel like it fits to me. I would totally do Dark Knight though because I think that Nolan trilogy sparked more than Iron Man ever did.

Also you're so right that they didn't make that movie to get white people to see it. In fact I've seen some shitty racists be like, "I liked Marvel before it got all political," to which a black guy responded, "Black people leading a movie is political?"

"I'm fine with Falcon or Black Panther being in the Avengers. They just can't have their own movies. On an unrelated note, I have similar thoughts on Wonder Woman. In this essay, I shall..."

3 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

Amy Adams is the reason why a lot of movies are better than they actually are. Her and Jennifer Lawrence are truly the only good parts of American Hustle to me and I loved them so much in that movie it jumped it up into the top 10 of that year for me lol.

I really appreciate Bradley Cooper rubbing his dick on Louis CK's head in that one scene now.

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23 hours ago, grudlian. said:

Winter Soldier wants to be a 70s political thriller but I don't feel the claustrophobic paranoia of 3 Days Of The Condor; it just feels like Captain America to me. Ant Man wants to be a heist movie but it's not nearly as fun or thrilling as Ocean's 11.

 

10 hours ago, taylorannephoto said:

Winter Soldier doesn't have to be 3 Days Of The Condor because it's not trying to be that movie, but trying to say that makes it not air on the side of a 70s political thriller is ridiculous, because it absolutely does. None of these movies are ever going to be exactly like whatever genre their mimicking because that's the whole point - they are taking elements from a 70s political thriller, or a New Zealand comedy, or a family friendly film (that's what Ant-Man really is, not a heist film), and they make a superhero movie around that which automatically makes it different from anything else we've seen.

I can't claim to know for sure why Amy and other critics are dismissive of superhero films, but I think this difference of opinions gets at the heart of it: expectations.

Personally, I'm unabashedly a fan of the genre, having enjoyed Nolan's Batman films, having enjoyed the first X-Men trilogy, and having seen all the MCU films in theaters except Incredible Hulk and Thor 2.  (I even made it through 4 and a half seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)  But admittedly, the broad strokes of the early MCU films are extremely similar, particularly in the origin stories which all seemed to follow the basic outline of somewhat normal man becomes endowed with seemingly unique powers, only to find that an evil person managed to develop the exact same powers but more evil, which leads to leads to a big, destructive, climactic punchfest.  Just the trope of fighting an evil version of someone with the same powers happened in Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, which is four of the first five films.  You could argue that Thor and/or The Avengers qualify as well, since Loki is the "main" villain in both, even though he's rarely the one who comes to blows with the hero(es).  So while I saw these movies and loved how different Tony Stark is from any other superhero previously seen on film, and loved subsequently how Thor, Steve Rogers, and Ruffalo's Bruce Banner are all distinct and mostly well-realized characters (it took Thor a big longer than the others, but oh well), I can still imagine how someone else would see these films and dwell on how all of them have essentially the same plot.

Then they started to change up the script a bit in Phase Two.  (While Taylor and others will point to Winter Soldier as being the breakthrough film, I still ride hard for the previous year's Iron Man 3.)  The films became much more varying in tone and (in my opinion) more interesting from a story point of view.  The result was that, for good or bad, these films got assigned these different subgenres, sometimes from critics and sometimes from directors or producers naming their influences.  So Winter Soldier became the "70s political thriller," Guardians became the "Flash Gordon-esque space opera," and Ant-Man became the "heist movie."  I think this set levels of expectation that were not reachable for some people.  While someone like me or Taylor could see Winter Soldier and relish the political thriller spin placed upon this already established character, I could see how someone like grudlian or maybe Amy could go into Winter Soldier hoping to see the 70's political thriller that people had lauded and instead feel tricked when the hero again fights someone who somehow has the exact same powers as him and the climax comes down to a lot of punching and kicking and a building getting destroyed.  If you go into Ant-Man and think you're going to get Ocean's 11, then I assume you exit the theater happy because Ant-Man is way more fun than Ocean's 11 (sorry, had to editorialize a little).

So taking Phase One and Phase Two together, I can understand how someone could feel fatigued by the plot-sameness of the first bunch of movies, and then double-down on feeling angry when seemingly everyone else sees something new and different in the second bunch of movies but all they can see is the sameness in action from that first bunch.  As I wrote on the Canon board for The Avengers, I love the MCU films because of the character development and interactions, and I kind of don't care about the action (which is why I sort of low-key hated Infinity War because they tried to stuff in so much action).  I know it's always going to end with fists and feet and stuff, and while I can look past that amount of sameness, I get the point of view of those who don't.

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2 hours ago, bleary said:

 

I can't claim to know for sure why Amy and other critics are dismissive of superhero films, but I think this difference of opinions gets at the heart of it: expectations.

Personally, I'm unabashedly a fan of the genre, having enjoyed Nolan's Batman films, having enjoyed the first X-Men trilogy, and having seen all the MCU films in theaters except Incredible Hulk and Thor 2.  (I even made it through 4 and a half seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)  But admittedly, the broad strokes of the early MCU films are extremely similar, particularly in the origin stories which all seemed to follow the basic outline of somewhat normal man becomes endowed with seemingly unique powers, only to find that an evil person managed to develop the exact same powers but more evil, which leads to leads to a big, destructive, climactic punchfest.  Just the trope of fighting an evil version of someone with the same powers happened in Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, which is four of the first five films.  You could argue that Thor and/or The Avengers qualify as well, since Loki is the "main" villain in both, even though he's rarely the one who comes to blows with the hero(es).  So while I saw these movies and loved how different Tony Stark is from any other superhero previously seen on film, and loved subsequently how Thor, Steve Rogers, and Ruffalo's Bruce Banner are all distinct and mostly well-realized characters (it took Thor a big longer than the others, but oh well), I can still imagine how someone else would see these films and dwell on how all of them have essentially the same plot.

Then they started to change up the script a bit in Phase Two.  (While Taylor and others will point to Winter Soldier as being the breakthrough film, I still ride hard for the previous year's Iron Man 3.)  The films became much more varying in tone and (in my opinion) more interesting from a story point of view.  The result was that, for good or bad, these films got assigned these different subgenres, sometimes from critics and sometimes from directors or producers naming their influences.  So Winter Soldier became the "70s political thriller," Guardians became the "Flash Gordon-esque space opera," and Ant-Man became the "heist movie."  I think this set levels of expectation that were not reachable for some people.  While someone like me or Taylor could see Winter Soldier and relish the political thriller spin placed upon this already established character, I could see how someone like grudlian or maybe Amy could go into Winter Soldier hoping to see the 70's political thriller that people had lauded and instead feel tricked when the hero again fights someone who somehow has the exact same powers as him and the climax comes down to a lot of punching and kicking and a building getting destroyed.  If you go into Ant-Man and think you're going to get Ocean's 11, then I assume you exit the theater happy because Ant-Man is way more fun than Ocean's 11 (sorry, had to editorialize a little).

So taking Phase One and Phase Two together, I can understand how someone could feel fatigued by the plot-sameness of the first bunch of movies, and then double-down on feeling angry when seemingly everyone else sees something new and different in the second bunch of movies but all they can see is the sameness in action from that first bunch.  As I wrote on the Canon board for The Avengers, I love the MCU films because of the character development and interactions, and I kind of don't care about the action (which is why I sort of low-key hated Infinity War because they tried to stuff in so much action).  I know it's always going to end with fists and feet and stuff, and while I can look past that amount of sameness, I get the point of view of those who don't.

I think expectations is probably part of it. Generally, I avoid trailers, reviews, spoilers, etc. So, I don't go into them hyped or with conscious expectations. I know I come across as hating the MCU or superhero movies which isn't the case (except Thor 2 is loathesome trash). I generally like them. I just don't love them.

Part of that is I do think a lot of them, as you said, feel very similar. Even as they try to branch out to different genres in phase 2, they still feel extremely similar to me. In a vacuum, that probably doesn't hurt them individually. If I hadn't seen every MCU movie, I could jump into almost anyone and go, "Yeah, that was pretty fun." But seeing all of them makes it a bit tiring for me and it makes them feel weightless. I've rewatched a handful of the MCU movies and they never hold up to a second viewing for me (although I have not watched Black Panther a second time and I think that will probably hold up better than most). And I think truly great movies need to do that.

My real, biggest issue I think is that the MCU tries to be everything for everybody. They want to be fun, and funny, and have character moments and be serious and have action. By trying to do everything and cramming too much story and too many characters into one movie, it feels a bit like a wash. It's eating your cake and having it too. They butt jokes right up against emotional character beats that I feel undercuts it. Give me an opportunity to breathe in some of these moments more. When I get those opportunities to sit in a moment and relish what it's doing, I FUCKING LOVE IT (for example, that long shot on Cap's face at Peggy Carter's funeral where you know he's made up his mind is probably my favorite scene in the entire MCU). But outside of a very self serving post that's just a list of "here's some scenes I don't like and why I don't like them", that's basically it I guess:  either focus on doing fewer things or make every movie 3+ hours to fully tell all the stories you're trying to tell.

I get why people like superhero movies. I'm not trying to stop people from liking them (and again, I generally do). I don't think people like them because duh...things 'splode and go boom, bread and circuses for the sheeple. There is a lot to like in them. They are just 80%-90% there and that missing 10-20% just kills it for me.

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I feel like the conversation has gone in the direction of whether or not superhero movies are good, but from what I gathered from Taylor’s initial response that’s not really the issue she had. I think everyone can agree that some superhero movies are better than others. I feel like the issue isn’t so much an argument against their quality and more against their popularity.

For me, people reacting against superhero movies for being popular is a lot like people turning their noses up against pop musicians in favor of some secret, brooding indie artist that they personally enjoy. No, a lot of pop musicians aren’t exactly pushing the envelope artistically - at least, not outside of their particular niche - but neither are they necessarily aspiring to. Furthermore, I find the people who like to turn their noses up at popular culture in favor of their esoteric favorites, are usually the first to turn their backs on their favorite artists the moment they achieve a modicum of commercial success. It’s all very high school. It’s claiming all the popular jocks are a bunch of morons, but because you harbor an affinity for early 19th Century Romantic Poetry it makes you “deep” (i.e. better/smarter.) It’s outsider chic; a means to justify misanthropy. “I’m not a nerd. I’m cool because I’m into this thing and you’re dumb because you’re not. And, no, I won’t even attempt to learn anything more about you that might shatter my narrow, two-dimensional perception of you.”

Ultimately, who cares if something is popular? No one’s forcing anyone to enjoy something they don’t like. And certainly, no one should be getting distressed over people liking a specific type of movie. That’s silly. Enjoy or ignore them as you see fit. But don’t dismiss something that people like just because it doesn’t work for you personally. Nobody likes pretension.

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

For me, people reacting against superhero movies for being popular is a lot like people turning their noses up against pop musicians in favor of some secret, brooding indie artist that they personally enjoy. No, a lot of pop musicians aren’t exactly pushing the envelope artistically - at least, not outside of their particular niche - but neither are they necessarily aspiring to. Furthermore, I find the people who like to turn their noses up at popular culture in favor of their esoteric favorites, are usually the first to turn their backs on their favorite artists the moment they achieve a modicum of commercial success. It’s all very high school. It’s claiming all the popular jocks are a bunch of morons, but because you harbor an affinity for early 19th Century Romantic Poetry it makes you “deep” (i.e. better/smarter.) It’s outsider chic; a means to justify misanthropy. “I’m not a nerd. I’m cool because I’m into this thing and you’re dumb because you’re not. And, no, I want even attempt to learn anything more about you that might shatter my narrow, two-dimensional perception of you.”

It also seems just so 1990s to me. Now, back in those days I think there was a fair argument that if you wanted to find that esoteric stuff, it was actually hard: you'd be scouring through the back shelves of used book stores or record stores or video stores or whatever, or tracking down bootleg copies of stuff. It took some work. Given that, you could also argue that if people JUST SAW this other thing, they'd be converted away from the mainstream crap (though let's be honest, deep down you knew that probably wasn't true).

Now that everyone has the whole Internet at their fingertips, it's relatively easy to find whatever oddball, esoteric thing you'd like to see.  It's not hard to find something that plays to your particular tastes. So what's the point of carping against the popular stuff?

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48 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I feel like the conversation has gone in the direction of whether or not superhero movies are good, but from what I gathered from Taylor’s initial response that’s not really the issue she had. I think everyone can agree that some superhero movies are better than others. I feel like the issue isn’t so much an argument against their quality and more against their popularity.

For me, people reacting against superhero movies for being popular is a lot like people turning their noses up against pop musicians in favor of some secret, brooding indie artist that they personally enjoy. No, a lot of pop musicians aren’t exactly pushing the envelope artistically - at least, not outside of their particular niche - but neither are they necessarily aspiring to. Furthermore, I find the people who like to turn their noses up at popular culture in favor of their esoteric favorites, are usually the first to turn their backs on their favorite artists the moment they achieve a modicum of commercial success. It’s all very high school. It’s claiming all the popular jocks are a bunch of morons, but because you harbor an affinity for early 19th Century Romantic Poetry it makes you “deep” (i.e. better/smarter.) It’s outsider chic; a means to justify misanthropy. “I’m not a nerd. I’m cool because I’m into this thing and you’re dumb because you’re not. And, no, I want even attempt to learn anything more about you that might shatter my narrow, two-dimensional perception of you.”

Ultimately, who cares if something is popular? No one’s forcing anyone to enjoy something they don’t like. And certainly, no one should be getting distressed over people liking a specific type of movie. That’s silly. Enjoy or ignore them as you see fit. But don’t dismiss something that people like just because it doesn’t work for you personally. Nobody likes pretension.

For sure this. If Taylor Anne's argument is that people shouldn't exclude movies based on popularity, then I've definitely been presenting a different argument. That's my bad. I've been arguing about my personal belief on the merit of the movies. As a annoying teenager, I might have done so, but 2019 grudlian would never say a movie doesn't deserve a place because it was popular. Amy and Paul even bring this up in the episode. The majority of this list is made up of big, hit movies. It's not a compilation of obscure critical darlings the public missed. But, idk, maybe it's because we're in the thick of the superhero genre and I'm being a pretentious ass snob who'll reassess everything in 20 years to find I was wrong. Because I honestly don't think in a fictional universe where the AFI made a list in 1978, they'd include Star Wars on the list let alone at #13.

I do want to address your last point about dismissing people's opinions. I've definitely had it happen elsewhere and in real life. People will completely dismiss and invalidate my opinion because I don't like something. I've had people accuse me of elitism for disliking Jurassic World 2 and the defense boils down to "you're too cool for dinosaurs fighting?????? just turn off your brain!!!!!!" There are moments I've deserved being put in my place as a snob. Then something like that happens and I think it's not always fair that having an unpopular opinion immediately puts you in that camp.

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1 hour ago, grudlian. said:


I do want to address your last point about dismissing people's opinions. I've definitely had it happen elsewhere and in real life. People will completely dismiss and invalidate my opinion because I don't like something. I've had people accuse me of elitism for disliking Jurassic World 2 and the defense boils down to "you're too cool for dinosaurs fighting?????? just turn off your brain!!!!!!" There are moments I've deserved being put in my place as a snob. Then something like that happens and I think it's not always fair that having an unpopular opinion immediately puts you in that camp.

Oh, it absolutely goes both ways. I feel the same way about The Last Jedi. It really didn’t work for me as a film. So it was really obnoxious being on Twitter or wherever and seeing a bunch of people whose opinions you generally respect saying things like, “The only people who don’t like The Last Jedi are a bunch of basement dwelling, misogynistic, racist, incels.” Neither I, nor my wife, liked the movie, and we are none of those things. We just thought it was kind of boring. However, I know a lot of people here loved it. I don’t think they’re stupid for that. I don’t need our opinions to be 100% in alignment all the time. It doesn’t hurt anyone if someone  likes it and I don’t. As long as we can be civil and not being dismissive, we’re cool. We can have a real dialogue about it’s merits or faults. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of assumptions and name calling.

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1 hour ago, Cameron H. said:

Oh, it absolutely goes both ways. I feel the same way about The Last Jedi. It really didn’t work for me as a film. So it was really obnoxious being on Twitter or wherever and seeing a bunch of people whose opinions you generally respect saying things like, “The only people who don’t like The Last Jedi are a bunch of basement dwelling, misogynistic, racist, incels.” Neither I, nor my wife, liked the movie, and we are none of those things. We just thought it was kind of boring. However, I know a lot of people here loved it. I don’t think they’re stupid for that. I don’t need our opinions to be 100% in alignment all the time. It doesn’t hurt anyone if someone  likes it and I don’t. As long as we can be civil and not being dismissive, we’re cool. We can have a real dialogue about it’s merits or faults. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of assumptions and name calling.

Yeah, I always hate when a movie I dislike kind of aligns with a cultural thing I support. It was really rough having problems with Wonder Woman because I'd get some judgmental side eye like I'm an MRA red pill jerk. So, if someone asked if I saw it, I'd start with five minutes of genuine, enthusiastic fawning before demurely saying "maybe the third act is kind of weak..."

EDIT:  And I'm sure it was especially hard with Last Jedi because many of the people who dislike it are very toxic and I wouldn't want to be lumped in with them. Like making that one actress quit acting, rating it hundreds of times on Rotten Tomatoes just to lower its score, starting petitions for the "real" version to get released. Ok, please get a life. 

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5 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Yeah, I always hate when a movie I dislike kind of aligns with a cultural thing I support. It was really rough having problems with Wonder Woman because it became I'd get some judgmental side eye like I'm an MRA red pill jerk. So, if someone asked if I saw it, I'd start with five minutes of genuine, enthusiastic fawning before demurely saying "maybe the third act is kind of weak..."

If it makes you feel better, I had major issues with the third act, too. And, I agree, at the time, I just kind of kept my head low. I understood why it was important, I appreciated its impact, and there were a lot good things about it. But for me, the movie never really lives up to the promise of its incredible first act. 

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On 2/7/2019 at 7:39 PM, AlmostAGhost said:

I found this episode pretty interesting.  I agree with Taylor fully about superhero movies... but then the end result of the episode, even with Amy being anti-superhero, was that Black Panther and Spider-verse were the two best things and I agree with that.  I do think of them as their own genre, and those two are definitely among my faves of the genre.

She didn't really say there were the two best things though.  It was more, what would most likely go on the AFI list from the top 20 grossing films - a quality that she even mentioned early in the podcast, started to really go down the tubes since about 1999.  And most of the other films were disqualified because they were part of a franchise whose earlier, more notable entries (e.g. Halloween and Jurassic Park) aren't on the list, so obviously these wouldn't.  Some were dismissed because she felt they were garbage.  The other remaining two were in genres, that like the franchise possibilities, have other examples that deserve to be on the list more.

So once you factor in all of those qualifiers, it's almost like she basically said, the top 20 grossing films, a category that has gone downhill in the last 20 years and has been over-represented by a genre that historically has not had very good entries, after dominating popular culture for the past 20 years is still in the phase of improving.  Which, if you break it down that way, I guess makes sense (it's better than what happened with the horror franchises of the 80s, where they went the sequel route, devolved into self-parody, and by the 90s, and well, I'll just say, the 90s is not remembered as a golden age of horror).

I do wonder if they should have completely restricted themselves to 2018.  Maybe they should have used 2018 first, but then used it to talk about other blockbusters of the past 20 years (or 30 years).  e.g. Okay, Fallen World won't go on the list because JP isn't on the list - but should JP go on the list?  CRA and ASiB won't go on the list because there are other, better entries in the romantic-comedy and romantic-drama entries.  Were there any top 20 films of the past 20 years in either of those genres that they felt should go on the list? Or maybe, "be considered for the list" might be a better starting question. Well, too late now!

How did Amy find the box office stats for the entire AFI list?  When I was trying to find them the list comparison posts, past a certain boxofficemojo didn't seem reliable or didn't even have the years (more the latter), so finding this stuff was a pain and gave inconsistent data.

I also wonder if the top 20 box office stat is going to hold with movies after the year 2000, though I'm more curious about the top 5 instead of the top 20, which could be a data point acting as confirmation of her assessment that the box office rankings went downhill around that time - though well, only as strong of a data point as one puts stock in the AFI list.

 

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4 hours ago, grudlian. said:

But, idk, maybe it's because we're in the thick of the superhero genre and I'm being a pretentious ass snob who'll reassess everything in 20 years to find I was wrong. Because I honestly don't think in a fictional universe where the AFI made a list in 1978, they'd include Star Wars on the list let alone at #13.

Star Wars was nominated for Best Picture, so you never know.  Unlike the large quantity of superhero movies that have already been made though, it was, what, the second or third modern major blockbuster?

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20 hours ago, bleary said:

Then they started to change up the script a bit in Phase Two.  (While Taylor and others will point to Winter Soldier as being the breakthrough film, I still ride hard for the previous year's Iron Man 3.)  The films became much more varying in tone and (in my opinion) more interesting from a story point of view.  The result was that, for good or bad, these films got assigned these different subgenres, sometimes from critics and sometimes from directors or producers naming their influences.  So Winter Soldier became the "70s political thriller," Guardians became the "Flash Gordon-esque space opera," and Ant-Man became the "heist movie."  I think this set levels of expectation that were not reachable for some people.  While someone like me or Taylor could see Winter Soldier and relish the political thriller spin placed upon this already established character, I could see how someone like grudlian or maybe Amy could go into Winter Soldier hoping to see the 70's political thriller that people had lauded and instead feel tricked when the hero again fights someone who somehow has the exact same powers as him and the climax comes down to a lot of punching and kicking and a building getting destroyed.  If you go into Ant-Man and think you're going to get Ocean's 11, then I assume you exit the theater happy because Ant-Man is way more fun than Ocean's 11 (sorry, had to editorialize a little).

That sounds like a summary of the Ethan Hawke interview, though when talking about it later, he clarified he still enjoys superhero movies, he just doesn't think they're particularly great.

I do wonder if part of the reason why critics hate the over-abundance of superhero movies so much is, well, if they don't love them, given their success, they still have to watch them and talk about them for their job.  Realistically, I don't know if a mainstream critic can really avoid them all if they wanted to.

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