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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/13/19 in all areas

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    Hello! this is my submission for the new closing up the bag theme, "Close your Eyes and Open up the Bag" hope you like it! https://soundcloud.com/kniues/open-up-the-bag-remix
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    Apologies for just quoting someone else instead of typing up my own thoughts, but it's late and I can't say it better than this. Here's the abstract from that essay I mentioned and it gives at least a cursory answer to your question: "We explore Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven as a reading of the Iliad. Significant parallels link the two works in terms of genre, plot structure, and ideology, especially the ideology of manhood. The Western is, in fact, the modern American epic, and as such performs an equivalent cultural role to that of the Iliad in Classical Greece: It defines the qualities necessary for those heroes who will build civilization out of wilderness. In both works, the protagonists-Achilles and William Munny-are self-questioning warriors who temporarily reject the culture of violence only to return to it after the death of their closest male friend, in which they are implicated. Yet the film departs markedly from the Greek epic in its self-consciousness, not only about the nature of heroism but also about the nature and function of epic itself. Despite the film's metafictional interventions, however, Unforgiven ultimately reinscribes rather than repudiates Munny/Eastwood's heroic mythopoeisis. Eastwood, as well as Munny, is thus able to posit himself as an Achillean hero and thereby justifies his role in the myth of a civilizing Western violence."
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    Well, by modern, if we mean, "in the US, starting in the late 60s, and and 70s," from when this script was written. Then, maybe. But then again, it's not like the protagonist of Double Indemnity was the good guy either (or John Wayne in The Searchers). I'm sure Shakespeare had a few plays where the protagonist. e.g. There was an adaptation of Richard III in 1955. But I asked the question because I took the movie trying (and trying very hard) to do subversion through mimicry. Basically, play out like a genre entry that you're familiar with, but drop in details (large ones in this case), that make you reinterpret how you perceive the white hat, to realize they're actually the black hat, which then acts as historical revisionism to remind you a lot of the heroes in the movies you love, in reality, were probably black hats. Some of those details, Little Bill literally calling them "the villains", calling them "assassins" (not inaccurate), and making the point, very, very hard, for whatever guilt the holder had in being complicit (though seems to be brush over, being actively complicit) in a horrible crime, he felt really, really sorry. I'm being a bit facetious there, since the film tried to drive in the point so hard of what a nice guy he was when he was bringing in the horses*. While I felt that scene was a bit much, it was to drive home the point that while he deserved more punishment than what he received, he didn't deserve to be killed, let alone through means outside of the law. *: Whether the subsequent flinging of horse dung was the movie repudiating that self-nice guy mentality or if it was playing around with the idea that offenses and their justice or lack-there-of sometimes are taken out of the hands of the victims, without authorial clarification (of which there are two, both the screen writer and the director), might be up more to interpretation. Just to clarify, there is a shot of Delilah in that horse scene, being touched by the gift of horses, and it was stated earlier she didn't mind anymore for more justice. The whole act of wanting justice was Alice's. Whether the exaggeration of the wounds inflicted on Delilah started with Alice or grew along the way is unclear. Though it also plays into another thing the movie is playing around with, which is the mythologizing of normal-ish events into larger than life stories; making the bad guys worse and more sadistic than they actually were. However, if the exaggeration started with Alice, then that would be yet another shade of grey being aspersed onto one of the main components and characters in the conflict for justice. Back to the topic of subversion through mimicry, and some things I started to allude to in The Searchers thread. I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending. At least in the execution. I know it's supposed to want you to question the violence you've enjoyed in past spaghetti westerns, but somehow it plays like it's reveling in it in a way that still glorifies it. Which leaves me wondering if it's a shortcoming of "the movie thinks it in its head, but doesn't feel it in its heart," type of issue, or if it's a, "We really want to make the audience feel uncomfortable, and we're going to play it like the older movies play it, so the audience is rooting for the protagonist to win. But he's the villain. So we're being really subversive by making the audience root for the guy we've explicitly set up as the villain in the movie." The latter just isn't working for me here. That type of subversion has worked for me in other movies (e.g. Let the Right One In, Straw Dogs), which has lead me to wonder, if the viewer not really big on the genre before seeing that type of subversion, if it just falls flat for the viewer. Also, I think I just don't like Clint Eastwood as an actor. I've only seen this, and then went back and saw the four classic Sergio Leone westerns Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (listed in the order I watched them). And I'm not saying the reason why I liked the one without Clint Eastwood the most wasn't because he wasn't in there, but not having him in there didn't hurt. But yeah, my take away the first time watching this movie about 5 years ago was, "hmmm... I see how people like this movie, because there is a great movie somewhere in there, but to me, became only a good movie somewhere in the execution." This time around, I decided to pay attention to see how much of the problem might be in the script vs acting/directing. And my main take away is, I don't know. Some of the lines feel too on the nose, but some of the lines that seemed like real clunkers, I couldn't help but wonder if a better actors could have sold them. e.g. the line Eastwood gives about not wanting to engage in prostitution... oh boy. That was a clunker. But maybe if someone who wasn't so wooden could have made the line sound right. Like, it's not like anything Morgan Freeman said sounded weird or trying too hard. Gene Hackman, for the most part yes as well, but there were a few lines where I was going, "hmmm..." I don't know. I could see myself rewatching this movie again because someone else wants to see it, or maybe it pops up for discussion for something like this podcast, but it's not one I'd be actively seeking out to rewatch on my own. Though I'm not that big on the stereotypical western genre, though there have been entries in the past couple of decades that have appealed to me (The Proposition, Django Unchained, and Bone Tomahawk). Though I still prefer the non-stereotypical westerns, such as the western dramas, e.g. McCabe & Mrs. Miller or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward, Robert Ford, to the weird and comical indies, e.g. Dead Man, El Topo, to all the different things that Buster Scruggs was. ETA: One point of comparison in terms of subversion of a genre with a genre entry (related to the topic of subversion though mimicry). I have not seen Black Panther, but a lot of people talked about how amazing and subversive it was to bring in the topics of race into a large blockbuster, super-hero movie. I have not seen it, but if you drop that part of, "into a large blockbuster, super-hero movie," how subversive was it? I mean, compared to say, Fruitvale Station, Sorry to Bother You, or BlacKKKlansman. (Like I said, I haven't seen Black Panther, and of the three listed, I've only seen Sorry to Bother You, but I'm going to guess Black Panther isn't substantially more engaged on the topic of race than those, and there's good chance that it's less) We could be getting a whole, subversive heightened-response because of the genre (and by genre, I mean stars of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood) of The Searchers and Unforgiven. Which gets back to the similar point of, I wonder how much one cares if they aren't that big on the genre versus someone who is a really big fan of the genre.
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    How prescient this movie apparently was: I'm just now listening to this episode, but at 14 minutes, they think it's absurd that in the year 2017, people would know about Batman and Sonny and Cher...but even more far-seeing - that in 2017-18, Nazism would be making a comeback, and hipsters would be obsessed with dressing like the 1940s!!!
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