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About FictionIsntReal

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  1. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    3/4 is The Princess Bride.
  2. FictionIsntReal

    Love & Basketball

    I was surprised how much better this movie was than I expected, and how mature it was for a directorial debut. But I voted against When Harry Met Sally for not being able to outdo its inspiration in Annie Hall and the same logic applies to this vs WHMS. My understanding (via Blank Check's podcast on this) is that Tyra Banks herself insisted on a different sounding name.
  3. FictionIsntReal

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    I'm just not on Gondry's wavelength. I say the spot for high-concept movie goes to Groundhog Day. I would also take Synechdoce or either of Kaufman's films with Jonze over this if we wanted one of his screenplays to go to space. I think the film would have been better with the deleted scene. It tells us more about Joel's nature before Clementine, indicating how much of their relationship dynamic was specific to her vs a recurring trait of his. It also makes clear that Clementine started out as "the other woman" he was hiding from his then-girlfriend (and lying about). I can't agree with the optimistic take on the ending that their relationship merely "may not" work out. We know it won't, because we already saw that they're dysfunctional. And since they both erased their memories, they can't learn from their mistakes! Joel can't be the least interesting person, because I'm the least interesting person. I lead a genuinely pain-free life.
  4. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    I would be willing to vote for The Lobster to be the 3/4 fan choice. I just recently watched L'Avventura, and wouldn't ask anyone else to do so.
  5. FictionIsntReal

    A Place in the Sun

    I watched this a few weeks ago for this specific series, and it did not work for me, so I would vote to keep both this and "Rebel Without a Cause" off the list. A big part of it was Montgomery Clift's performance. I thought he had the worst poker-face in the world and didn't know if it was because he was a terrible actor or if that was just the broader style of the time (I didn't know he was considered part of the newer style of acting). Then, the next week, I saw him in Red River and thought (as John Ford supposedly did on seeing the film, although about John Wayne) "Huh, he actually can act". You wouldn't expect more subtlety from a John Wayne western, but Wayne himself gets to play the morally shady Captain Ahab type while Clift's character keeps his internally conflicted feelings about that character under the vest until the time comes to make a decision. Maybe in a film where his action is less morally laudable he's not supposed to be able to conceal his intentions that well, but I still never sympathized or "rooted" for him in this. He just seemed like a scummy cad screwing over and plotting to murder a less privileged woman who trusted him in order to improve his own situation. Maybe being aware of the real murder case inspiration made me start out thinking of him that way. The discussion of midcentury norms for women and that Oliver Reed clip made me think of this.
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Groundhog Day

    M*A*S*H is much worse to me than Animal House. The former is convinced that its renegade doctor protagonists are just the coolest, and everyone else is a square who deserves to get dunked on by them. The latter is aware that its fraternity brothers are idiots. As far as I'm aware, the first use of the idea of someone improving as they re-iterate the same day over and over until succeeding is "The Defence of Duffer's Drift", intended to educate British officers during the Boer War. Despite liking When Herry Met Sally, I voted against it after agreeing with the negative review that it was a sort of watered down Woody Allen. Comparing Groundhog Day to It's a Wonderful Life, the differences are obvious enough (I didn't even think to compare them before) as to distinguish them. So many other films have tried to recapture the magic of Groundhog Day that I think it deserves a spot (moreso than Ghostbusters).
  7. FictionIsntReal

    Chungking Express

    I'll agree on him. I think they're both badly written characters. I think it was intended to be funny, although it wasn't actually funny.
  8. FictionIsntReal

    Chungking Express

    Cinephiles may be really into this movie, but I am not. Neither story is substantial enough to carry a film, and stringing them together just makes it longer. I can definitely believe that the director wrote each bit the night or morning before he shot it: it's underwritten. And it's considered a knock to compare movies to MTV because that arose for music videos, which were essentially advertisements for another product (albums). Fincher is a big name director now, but his movies aren't just glorified ads. I don't think of the pairs as being "couples" in the usual sense. If Facebook had existed, none of them would have the status of being in a relationship. And Brigitte Lin's character doesn't seem especially lonely. She's just too exhausted to argue that much when some guy sits down and insists on talking at her. I don't relate to supposedly universal experiences, but When Harry Met Sally worked for me in a way this does not. Maybe because it's funnier. I thought the hair Faye found was clearly supposed to belong to the long-haired woman (waitress?) meeting with 663 later, and whom Faye holds up the hair to compare against. Rather than being different from Hollywood depictions, Faye is very much a Manic Pixie Dream Girl: someone who only exists on film rather than in real life. I'm with the NYT in rolling my eyes at a character (repeatedly!) talking to a dishtowel. That's basically his only distinguishing characteristic, and it hardly seems enough to merit Faye's obsession with him. I think the best use of the Cranberries' "Dreams" in a movie might be in "Sound of My Voice" where Brit Marling's character is asked what songs they have in the future, starts singing that, and then says they attribute the song to some other person when someone insists it's not from the future at all.
  9. FictionIsntReal

    When Harry Met Sally

    Your note about the Grant/Hepburn era vs this reminded me of Spotted Toad's thread on the midcentury "cult of love" in pop culture, which seems corny compared to jazz era or the counterculture & afterward Since I dislike twitter and that threads are broken up into tweets, I'll copy the rest below for those who want to click the spoiler text*. This film is considered a classic today. Having only positive memories of it, I was expecting to dub this the best of miniseries, but that negative review actually got me reconsidering. It is arguably a less specific, blander version of some Woody movies which are more deserving of a spot in space. Then again, despite Amy's claim, I don't relate to any romcoms. Of course, I've never had my DNA tested to see if I'm a human rather than a lizard-person. *
  10. FictionIsntReal


    I saw this after watching Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster. I don't think I would have wanted to see more from Lanthimis if I'd started with this. One of the issues is that there's no apparent reason for any of the things the parents are doing to their children, so we really don't grasp their motivation. The various lies don't seem to be directed toward any goal, but instead simply because it's weird onscreen. My thinking on parenting is influenced by Trivers' theory of genetic conflict. He noted that children share only half their genes with their parents, so this means their interests aren't identical. Often this manifests as the child wanting more resources at the expense of their parents' other children. But we should keep in mind the half-full side of the glass: parents actually do share a genetic interest in their child thriving. People unrelated to the child have no particular shared interest, so in general my default assumption is that parents should make decisions for their children rather than unrelated people (such as the government) until said children are capable of acting independently.
  11. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    Next week is "When Harry Met Sally", and the miniseries of podcasts will be themed around couples.
  12. FictionIsntReal

    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

    Robin Hanson writes a lot about the distinction between what we say about a situation generally and what we do when it directly impacts us. He refers to it as "near" vs "far", although the general term other academics have for the phenomena is "construal level theory". I don't think Mrs. Robinson is less interesting than Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate. If anything, HE'S the drip and I can't understand what she sees in him. I'm also glad to hear Paul take a dig at that film (which is not normally my response to his takes on movies). There's some flashy directing in it, but the uninteresting lead character really drags it down. My own take on this film is that it's fine, but comes across as really dated now. That's a hazard of making a film tailored to big issues of the present day, because the present soon becomes the past. I really don't see the comparison to a murder mystery. I also don't see it as "punching up" because it's not really "punching" at all.
  13. FictionIsntReal

    Tokyo Story

    I binged the so-called Noriko trilogy a couple years ago in order of release, as my first exposure to Ozu. Like most Americans, I prefer Kurosawa and would rather one of his films were in the capsule. Your note about assuming directors must be very liberal reminds me of this recent fact-check on "Mank", which assumes he was a supporter of Upton Sinclair despite all evidence to the contrary. Like most people, I haven't actually seen that, but I did find the distortion of history to make the protagonist a standin for modern attitudes in "Lost City of Z" to be particularly annoying. AEI is the American Enterprise Institute, a think-tank known more for things like advocating the invasion of Iraq. Not that I would dismiss out-of-hand people writing on more domestic matters. At any rate the quoted bit didn't actually indicate that Hughes had ever seen Tokyo Story or acknowledged Ozu as an influence.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    The Thing

    I'm not convinced this movie is more deserving than Alien, even though it is quite good. And Ripley isn't the only woman onboard the Nostromo: Veronica Cartwright played Lambert. I don't believe this movie is about A.I.D.S. I usually hear that line about Cronenberg's remake of The Fly, even though he stated explicitly that his film was inspired by seeing his parents age. Carpenter's film is a quite faithful adaptation of the source material from 1938 (prior to the Cold War, and thus less likely to be an allegory for communism). Even 1982 strikes me as a bit early for that much awareness of AIDS.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    Ganja & Hess

    This is very much a niche curiosity. Perhaps interesting as a palate cleanser, but not one of 100 films to put on a spaceship. I'm also less certain that Jonathan Glazer saw it prior to making "Under the Skin". That struck me as more indebted to Kubrick.