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Everything posted by mrm1138

  1. mrm1138

    Episode 162 - Scream (w/ Benjamin Lee)

    I know this is off-topic, but I can't help but feel Amy and Ben both have a fundamental misunderstanding of Cabin in the Woods. Ben seems to have stopped listening to what Whedon was saying after "loving hate letter" and didn't bother trying to parse out what that actually meant. Whedon even explained it in the very next few sentences: Amy saying that she only remembers characters being "dumber than dumb" is kind of odd because the movie itself directly comments on this. The characters had been selected in advance by the unnamed organization and were prepped to play their roles by unwittingly using mind-altering substances, Marty (Fran Kranz) being the only one unaffected because he was smoking a different supply of pot than the one the organization had tainted and given to him. There's even a scene where Curt (Chris Hemsworth) says that they need to stick together until gas is pumped into the cabin that makes him change his mind and tell everyone to split up. It's basically a different way of making the same point Sidney makes in Scream about "Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door." The difference is that Cabin in the Woods is more directly implicating the makers of horror films for these clichés; they're literally making the characters dumber so that they'll be killed. It's one thing if you just don't like the movie or if you don't like the way Whedon and Goddard went about making their criticisms, but please don't misrepresent it to do so. I highly recommend checking out the Faculty of Horror Podcast episode about the movie. For anyone unfamiliar with the podcast, it's hosted by two Canadian women who describe themselves as "horror journalists and occasional academics," and they take a very scholarly approach to the way they examine horror movies (often through a lens of gender studies). http://www.facultyof...the-woods-2012/
  2. mrm1138

    Episode 159 - Caddyshack (w/ Alex Schmidt)

    Perhaps it's a generational thing, but I'm also one of those folks who doesn't really find Caddyshack all that funny. (The only things I remember out and out laughing at were Bill Murray's antics and the bit where Chevy Chase tosses the tequila shot over his shoulder and snorts the salt.) That said, I also remember Caddyshack being an influential comedy, so I'm voting yes on those grounds. (I am altogether aware that my perception of the movie could be entirely swayed by my age.)
  3. mrm1138

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

    I'm a big fan of this. When discussing the fact that this movie came out in a time when open displays of homosexuality hadn't completely cracked the mainstream, I flashed back to a time in college (when the movie came out) when another person on my dorm floor was warning everyone about the "gay overtones," as if that should be a strong deterrent from seeing it. Of course, considering that we were in a small rural town in Ohio, it probably was quite the deterrent for many. Also, the slow splitting open of Jude Law's face after being hit with the oar remains one of the best special makeup effects I've ever seen.
  4. mrm1138

    Episode 152 - The Breakfast Club (w/ Christy Lemire)

    I must somewhat ashamedly admit that I have never seen The Breakfast Club, so I shall abstain from voting. What I will say, though, is that, watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off as an adult, I realized just what a goddamned sociopath the title character is.
  5. I love the fact that Exorcist III has been given a new life of sorts by people going back to it in recent years. I saw it on home video a few years after its release, and I really enjoyed it. It's so disappointing to think that the experience of making it caused Blatty to swear off film directing because he's astonishingly good at it. Even The Ninth Configuration, made ten years earlier, was surprisingly assured. One of my favorite elements of Blatty's filmmaking is actually in the way his films are cut together. (The Ninth Configuration and Exorcist III had different editors, so this leads me to believe it was Blatty's intent.) He is very deliberate about the shots he chooses to create a particular mood. Also, he'll occasionally start a scene not by giving you a wide establishing shot but by introducing the location in pieces. Unfortunately, I can't find the scene I was thinking of on YouTube, but the opening clip of this video is a good example. https://youtu.be/5YhCEu5jhNQ While there is an establishing shot of the exterior of the location, the introduction of Father Morning's room starts with close-ups: the bird in the shoebox, the painting, the bed and the nightstand, the sink, family photos, rosary, angel statue. Finally, it cuts to a wider shot that includes Father Morning. All of those close-up shots have told you pretty much everything you need to know about that character before you even see him. (The last shot of the angel statue is especially important; the angel—I'm assuming someone better versed in Christian theology than myself can name which archangel he's supposed to be—is wielding a sword, indicating that this character is a man who does spiritual battle.) Aside from that, this style of setup is more engaging that what we normally see. We as the audience are subconsciously forced to assemble these bits in our heads. The rest of the video is also worth watching in its breakdown of several other sequences. (The infamous hallway scene is only briefly mentioned, choosing instead to focus on less famous but no less brilliantly directed sequences.) I find it ironic that a man who started out as a comedy writer would turn out to be so good at constructing such great horror. (He does get to flex those comedy chops occasionally, though. Just listen to Kinderman's story about "the carp.") I feel confident in saying that, had he continued, William Peter Blatty could have been one of the finest directors of all time. It's a shame there are only two films to his name. The only caveat I'll give is that I actually find the theatrical cut of Exorcist III to be better than Legion. Some of the narrative choices are a bit baffling, especially the ending, which is incredibly anticlimactic. HOWEVER, the original film is far and away the most Canon-worthy of the two. It's pretty much indisputably a classic film. In my youth, it was a sleepover dare to watch it, and no movie has made me lose sleep more than this. I've read/heard atheists say that they find The Exorcist more funny than scary, and I have to wonder how many of them are just putting up a brave front because they don't want to admit that they've entertained notions of the existence of the devil, demons, hell, etc. Admittedly, I didn't become an atheist until the last few years (after finally reading the entirety of the book of Genesis), but The Exorcist has lost none of its power. Ray Bradbury referred to it as "a superior piece of work... a [non-romantic] love story." That's one of the best interpretations I've heard. Friedkin brought his verité style to a horror film, and it's all the more effective because of it. It was constructed in a way that I've only really seen other filmmakers try—to varying degrees of success but never equal to or better than. It's a shame he felt compelled to create "The Version You've Never Seen" (now known as the "Extended Director's Cut"). In adding additional material, it makes some of the previously frightening scenes a bit silly. (I'll never forget my friend saying at one point during the film, "Oh, God, no! The stove is possessed!") Thankfully, it didn't replace the original like the Star Wars special editions. To be fair, Kinderman didn't witness any of the supernatural events related to Regan's possession firsthand, and neither did his friend Father Dyer, for that matter. When you think about it, there were only a handful of living witnesses, and aside from Chris MacNeil, none of them really got to see the most overtly supernatural occurrences.
  6. mrm1138

    Episode 150 - The Avengers (w/ Jenelle Riley)

    A million times yes to this! The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most ambitious projects in film history. While it's not the first time a studio has combined characters from separate franchises into one film—Universal was doing it as far back as 1943 with Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and I have no idea if it happened before that—this is the first occasion I'm aware of where it was intended from the beginning and was successful in making it happen. Apart from that, it's a great piece of entertainment that I still revisit from time to time. I was a little surprised by Jenelle Riley's suggestion that an Iron Man vs. Thor episode would be a painful decision for the listeners, since I'd always been under the impression that Iron Man was considered far and away the better film of the two. Perhaps that's just me projecting my own bias because, while I enjoyed Thor, it has never been one of my favorite entries in the MCU. The main characters are good—save perhaps Jane, since she's really bland—and I love the film's depiction of Asgard. Unfortunately, those elements weren't enough to overcome what I thought was a fairly slight plot. I suppose the same criticism could be leveled at Iron Man, but it does have the distinction of kicking off the MCU. That in itself would make it Canon-worthy, but it's also a joy to watch. One final thought; I think Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. Vulture) deserves to be mentioned alongside the best MCU villains. He's a sympathetic villain (like Killmonger), and Keaton definitely brings his charisma to role. From the opening scene of Spider-Man Homecoming, you understand completely why he and his crew turned to crime, and the fact that he's stealing from both the government and a wealthy industrialist allows you to be on their side. Unfortunately, he's selling weapons that will be used to hurt and kill a lot of people, so you still need Spider-Man to bring him to justice.
  7. I rather like both of these movies, but Crouching Tiger is far and away the winner for me. My only problem with the movie is the fact that the subplot with Lo feels like a bit of s narrative dead end. Jen's initial meeting with him doesn't really alter her life all that much; she already longs to be free from her stifling noble life and has been training with Jade Fox. When he comes to "rescue" her from her marriage, he doesn't change the situation, nor does her decision to run away later seem at all motivated by his showing up. And at the very end, he doesn't even factor in to her choice of whether or not to leap from the mountain. When I mentioned this in a newsgroup conversation back when it was initially released, and someone compared it to the Rick/Ilsa story from Casablanca. I don't think that comparison carries much weight, though, since the entire plot of Casablanca hinges on their history and how it affects both of them. I dunno, what does everyone else think?
  8. mrm1138

    Episode 133 - American Psycho (w/ April Wolfe)

    I'm a fairly firm no on this because I think the third act really undermines what the rest of the movie had achieved up to that point. Having not read the book, I have no idea if this is just what Turner and Harron had to work with, but the fact of the matter is that I have long hated endings wherein it is revealed that everything we were shown was just within the protagonist's imagination. Because of the scenes in which we are shown events that are clearly delusions (e.g., the ATM demanding Bateman feed it a cat or Bateman’s gunshots causing a police car to explode)—as well as Paul’s death being pretty definitively contradicted in conversation—I could only read this as all of the murders being nothing more than Bateman’s violent fantasies. Perhaps I’m being too literal minded, but I’m of the belief that, if a filmmaker wants to have elements of ambiguity to a film, she/he should layer those in throughout the narrative—much like, say, the aforementioned Fight Club does—rather than jarringly throw them into the final third.
  9. mrm1138

    Episode 128 - Starship Troopers (w/ Jordan Hoffman)

    It's unfortunate that this has arbitrarily been turned into a pseudo versus episode. I would have voted yes on Starship Troopers, but I think Robocop is the better and more culturally important of the two films.
  10. mrm1138

    Episode 126 - The Brood (w/ Kier-La Janisse)

    I don't see Cannibal Holocaust as being nearly as influential as a lot of its supporters want to believe it is. Had that been the case, I'm sure we would have seen a much larger spate of found footage films throughout the 1980s (or more cannibal films than just the Italian exploitation movies). The boom in found footage didn't happen until after The Blair Witch Project, and neither Edouardo Sanchez nor Daniel Myrick saw Cannibal Holocaust until after TBWP had been released.
  11. mrm1138

    Episode 126 - The Brood (w/ Kier-La Janisse)

    At the risk of beating a dead horse (and eating its flesh), if Cannibal Holocaust can be in The Canon, this most definitely can be, as well. With repeat viewings, I find that The Brood has become quite possibly my favorite David Cronenberg film. (Honestly, it's between The Brood and Videodrome. The latter is probably more Canon-worthy, to be honest.) While I normally side with the folks who want to see some sort of demonstration that it has had a wider cultural impact than just being a good (or great) movie. Unfortunately, I can't quite make that argument here, but I love it so much that I feel that I must vote yes.
  12. mrm1138

    Episode 123 - Martyrs (w/ Adam Egypt Mortimer)

    The discussion of this movie was just dripping with pretension, but I guess it only makes sense considering that the movie itself is, as well. I can see a case for including it in the Canon, since it became a very popular and polarizing film upon its release, but I personally don't find it worthy. (I'd sooner have it included than the aforementioned Cannibal Holocaust, though.)
  13. mrm1138

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    The Matrix still remains one of my all-time favorite moviegoing experiences. I was nineteen and in college when it came out, and that's pretty much the perfect age and time of life during which to see it. Admittedly, I found myself a bit irritated by a lot of the amateur philosophers in my dorm who went on and on about how deep it was, but at the same time, I really appreciated the fact that the movie was ABOUT something more than just shootouts, kung fu fights, and explosions, as wonderfully as they were realized. More than anything, that first viewing did something few movies have managed to do; it surprised me. I wish I could articulate just how much it caught me off guard. Upon seeing the original teasers, I thought, "What is this, Johnny Mnemonic 2?" The full trailer showed me some things that made it look much more interesting than that, however, so I was definitely willing to check it out. Despite that, I was still unprepared for what I ended up seeing. I think much of the country was, as well, and that's why it became such a phenomenon and, in my opinion, secured its place in The Canon.
  14. I really don't like Top Gun. Like, at all. I think Minority Report is a far superior film by a director who understands the medium of cinema in a way few people do. But I can't deny Top Gun's place in pop culture history. It has (and will continue to have) an impact upon culture in general in a way that Minority Report never will. So as much as it pains me to do so, I vote Top Gun.
  15. I'm going to have to go with Blue Velvet. It's still my favorite David Lynch film. I really don't understand why some people pronounce Kyle MacLachlan's name "mik-LAW-flin."
  16. Despite the fact that I voted for Fellowship, The clip you included is one that always stands out for me and makes me feel that the series stands with some of the great cinematic epics like Lawrence of Arabia, The Ten Commandments, or Gone with the Wind. The lighting of the beacons is one of my favorite sequences in any film I've ever seen.
  17. Even the Bakshi version doesn't adapt all three books. It pretty much ends where the Two Towers movie does (i.e., after the battle of Helm's Deep and before Frodo, Sam, and Gollum get to Shelob's lair). It's also pretty terrible.
  18. Huh. Looks like the Lord of the Rings movies have entered the phase in their life cycle where it's hip to dis them.
  19. The story about Ian McKellen breaking down crying on a green screen set is absolutely true, and it was documented in the special features on the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Because Jackson was shooting in 3-D, the couldn't use the same forced perspective camera tricks because they relied upon being seen in 2-D. The solution was to shoot the larger characters separately from the smaller characters and composite them together in post. Since, the main cast was almost entirely dwarves (and a hobbit), that meant McKellen spent long portions of shooting completely by himself. Also, since most of the actors would be on the set scaled for the smaller characters, they all received the real things with which to interact, whereas McKellen was entirely on a green screen pretending to interact with the set, props, and other actors. It got to be too isolating for him, and it made him very depressed. The documentary on the above-mentioned Blu-Ray shows the moment where he was at his lowest point. Anyway, if I must vote for only one film, I think I'll go with Fellowship. Despite the fact that it lacks Gollum almost completely, it does set the tone for whole series, and it made a mark on the landscape of film that is pretty undeniable. I wish I could articulate my feelings better, but unfortunately I can't. For the most part, I prefer the extended editions of all three films, but Return of the King's has possibly one of the most egregious bits of invention by Jackson, Walsh, and Boyens. Toward the end of the Battle of Pelennor Fields, we see a crippled Eowyn being menaced by a slightly less crippled Gothmog, the orc commander. Rather than mustering the strength to save herself, she is rescued by Aragorn who, in an even more insulting turn of events, casually kills Gothmog practically without noticing while riding into the main part of the battle. It's like Jackson and co. decided to toss out all of the character building they'd done with Eowyn up to that point. It would have been marginally more forgivable if it was something from Tolkien, but it wasn't. I hate it so much.
  20. mrm1138

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

    I find Shakespeare in Love to be far too slight to merit inclusion in The Canon. I'm not saying that pure entertainment can't be included, but I don't particularly think that this is good enough as a romantic comedy or historical drama to be much more than the sum of its parts. I'm also not too big on movies in which the entertainment industry pats itself on the back. On a semi-related note, has anyone ever pitched Anne Hathway on starring as Anne Hathaway in a similar historical romantic dramedy that tells the story of how she and Shakespeare got together?
  21. mrm1138

    Episode 98 - Ghostbusters

    The inclusion of Ghostbusters into The Canon should be a no-brainer. And this is coming from a person who, after the controversy over the 2016 version, found himself thinking, "Y'know, I think I might be burnt out on Ghostbusters. I kind of don't want to hear about it ever again in any form, including the original." At the end of the day, though, its status as a classic can't be denied. (For the record, I liked but didn't love the reboot. It's definitely better than Ghostbusters 2.)
  22. mrm1138


    I'll go ahead and disclose a pro-Trek bias at the head of this comment. That said, I've always maintained that Wrath of Khan isn't just a great Star Trek movie, it's a great movie, period. I personally feel that it has more than enough cultural significance to justify its place in The Canon. (Then again, I'm also one of those insane people who think both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back deserve to be in, rather than just one of them, so I suppose you can take my opinion with a grain of salt.) Star Trek may be better on television, where it can explore actual issues worthy of speculative fiction instead of just being a series of futuristic action tales, but at the end of the day, its popularity as a franchise also extends to film. In fact, I don't think The Next Generation or any of the series that came after would have existed without the feature films keeping the franchise alive and bringing new fans into the fold.
  23. mrm1138


    Absolute yes for me! I can remember seeing this at an arthouse theater in Royal Oak, Michigan, my friends and I having made the trek from Bowling Green, Ohio, where we were going to college at the time. (I was still living there during the summer, and the movie hadn't received its wide release just yet.) I'd been following the early hype on Ain't It Cool News, so I knew going into it that it was fictional, but that didn't make it any less effective. I was glad to hear the unexpected shout-out to Alien Raiders. It's a movie I've told people about several times, but it unfortunately remains unseen for the most part. After I tell them what a nifty little genre piece it is, they ask if it's streaming on Netflix, and when I say that it's unfortunately not available for streaming, I can tell that they're not going to make any effort to seek it out. And since both Cannibal Holocaust and Don't Breathe were mentioned in this episode, I figured I'd mention that I find it odd that Devin thinks the former is a great movie worthy of inclusion in The Canon but made the rapey elements of the latter film a focus of his review. It's not like the rape in Cannibal Holocaust has any greater significance seeing as how the only reason the movie has the contrived, heavy-handed message forced into it is just a poor attempt to disguise the fact that it's exploitation garbage. (I sincerely hope episode 100 sees it ejected.)
  24. mrm1138

    Episode #89: BLAZING SADDLES

    I think Rose Byrne may be the closest we currently have to a Madeline Kahn these days. She's beautiful, multitalented, and she's definitely not afraid to be goofy. On the subject of the theme song, I remember hearing a story Mel Brooks told in an interview that he wanted Frankie Laine to sing it so as to give it the authenticity of the Western. However, in order to make sure it sounded genuine, he didn't inform Laine that the film was a comedy. Upon finishing the recording of the song, Laine came out of the recording booth with tears in his eyes, and he said he felt it may have been the greatest song he'd ever recorded. Brooks said that he couldn't bear to tell him it was a comedy after that. (He didn't go on to mention if he ever heard what happened when Laine found out.) I couldn't find a source for the story, though, so my memory may be faulty.
  25. mrm1138

    Episode #88: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

    I was glad Amy mentioned Richard Lester having been influenced by the French New Wave. While I'm sure I could have done a minimal amount of research to confirm this was the case, it hadn't really popped into my head until I started listening to this episode and rethinking about the movie, which I haven't seen since discovering the French New Wave in film school. It's also crazy to think about Lester as an actual filmmaker rather than the guy the Salkinds hired to ruin the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Of course, that's more a clear mismatch of director and material than a reflection of Lester's true ability (or lack thereof).