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About FictionIsntReal

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  1. FictionIsntReal

    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

    It seems really implausible that Butch Cassidy was the first western to "humanize" its characters or to have a buddy dynamic. I don't think Paul has any kind of enyclopedic knowledge of the genre.
  2. FictionIsntReal


    Jurassic Park is plainly Michael Crichton revisiting his Westworld premise to greater success. The simplicity of Jaws elevates it above Jurassic Park in my book, though JP is a fine movie.
  3. FictionIsntReal

    It Happened One Night

    Constance Bennet wasn't as "ahead of her time" as Paul thinks. United Artists was founded by (among others) the actress-producer Mary Pickford. Frank Capra tried to imitate UA with his own independent studio, Liberty Films, but neither of their two films in the 40s (the first of which was It's a Wonderful Life) were commercially successful. Comedies do tend to get less respect than dramas. But remember: Green Book also won Best Picture!
  4. FictionIsntReal

    Modern Times

    This is easily my favorite Chaplin feature. City Lights leaned too much on his mawkish sentimentality, but the manic depiction of industrialism really worked for me here. Your point about today's "welfare moms" vs the depiction of the poor here is astute. The analytic Marxist philosopher G. A. Cohen wrote about how differently we thought of inequality and deprivation then vs now: During the New Deal male breadwinners were prioritized, with single mothers only getting benefits if they were widows. This changed during the Great Society of the 1960s, and the Moynihan report (produced under LBJ) noted that marriage was falling apart in inner cities as a result (Steve Waldman attributes this to a trilemma in which America has picked liberalism and inequality at the cost of pathology). During the New Deal era they would have distinguished between the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor, with non-widow single mothers in the latter category.
  5. FictionIsntReal


    Taxi Driver is much more of a riff on The Searchers than Shane. The Searchers paired the hateful racist Ethan (who claims he will kill Debbie when he finds her) with the more sympathetic good guy Martin. Star Wars lightens it by making Han Solo/Ethan merely a smuggler with mercenary motivations (though he still has a change of heart at the end) and putting more emphasis on Luke/Martin (who turns out to be kin to the girl they're rescuing in a later movie). Both Shane and The Searchers end with the man of violence leaving because he doesn't belong in the more peaceful world the homesteaders are building. The difference is that Shane actually did try to live a peaceful life for a while, whereas that was never really in the cards for Ethan (who went from fighting for the Confederacy to the similarly failed Emperor Maximilian). Travis Bickle isn't thrust into violence by an attack from bad men, instead he thrusts himself into it due to dissatisfaction with his own life. At the end he isn't haunted by the "brand" of what he's done (he's on good terms with his mistakenly heroic reputation, if modest about it). His lingering problem is the flaw in his character which means he could still explode at any time.
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Blade Runner

    I'd say this film is more influential than good. It looks create and is effective at creating a world, but it's not as effective at telling a story. I'd say I was getting off-topic, but since the podcast actually touched on these things: Trayvon Martin wasn't killed by a cop, but a civilian member of a neighborhood watch group (which reforms to police would be unlikely to affect). And "human capital" is a standard term in economics, which AOC herself used prior to objecting to others using it. Another economic finding is that our desire for uniqueness/variety as consumers is a big cause of rising "monopoly" profits. And the reason advertisers spend money on brands is the justified expectation that we will buy them is because others see what products we purchase and having seen the same ads can tell the kind of signal we are trying to send about ourselves. Deckard isn't really set up to be a replicant by the film. Ridley Scott seems to have come up with that after the fact, adding in unicorn footage from his next movie. As noted, it makes no sense to send an inferior model of replicant to "retire" tougher models. Rachel Rosen in the book is an attempt to disprove the validity of the test, under the claim that being raised on a space station resulted in a "false positive", though Deckard figures out that's B.S. In the film she's an unusual model in that it takes so many questions for the test to detect her. That seems distinct from the other models, although we don't have a name for that more psychologically human model. The character in the book is a bit more complex and perhaps has shades of being a "femme fatale" (although her only victim is an animal), but wasn't entirely coherent. I don't think this one qualifies as a "femme fatale" at all, since you can't really combine that with innocence. My understanding is that the scene between her and Deckard came off looking like a rape because the actors weren't getting along and so Ridley decided to lean into that if he couldn't make the scene as originally conceived convincing. I'm one of the few people who've read Alan E. Nourse's "The Bladerunner", and Billy Gimp is not a thief. He's a gopher for a doctor who provides black market medical care (medicine has been nationalized, and the above-ground variety comes with eugenic requirements for sterilization). Coincidentally, both scifi novels involve people getting around a city via flying cars. I haven't been able to find a copy of William S. Burroughs "Blade Runner (a movie)", which was never actually made into a movie but is how this film got its title. Ridley Scott owns the rights to it, but maybe someone could ask him for permission to adapt that story and then use a different title. For those curious how the film compares to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", they were compared by What's the Difference here and Lost in Adaptation here.
  7. FictionIsntReal

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    I wouldn't consider this to be "southern Gothic". A gothic story should take place in an old house with a lot of history which will come up in the story. But here the old family property has already been lost, and Blanche is moving in to her sister's apartment in New Orleans. One could tell a gothic story in New Orleans, but this one isn't about a past that took place there. A 17 year old is a year away from being a legal adult (and at the age of consent in many jurisdictions). Rather than a "child" molester, let's say she's an ephebophile who abused her position as a teacher. I know that Kubrick's Lolita was considered to be a failure as a result of the Code, but I don't think any remake of that has been better received. Contrariwise, William Wyler directed "These Three" under the Code, not even being allowed to use the name of the play "The Children's Hour" until decades later. Wyler actually preferred his original version to the post-censorship remake, and from what I've seen of both I agree with him.
  8. FictionIsntReal

    Bridge On The River Kwai

    I know Lawrence is considered the more important film, but I'll take Bridge On the River Kwai over it any day. All those "epic" shots of vast landscapes of sand just bored me in Lawrence. It's a movie about just surprising the enemy by being willing to walk a long distance. There's hardly even a battle once they arrive. Kwai has a clash of personalities with different beliefs in the unusual circumstances of a Japanese POW camp in southeast asia. Lawrence just has Lawrence, who's supposed to be something of an enigma (and I never found all that interesting). But if I could remove it in exchange for kicking off M*A*S*H, I'd be tempted due to how thoroughly I dislike that. Have you seen the video of David O. Russell throwing a tantrum at Lily Tomlin on I Heart Huckabees? George Clooney punched him on Three Kings, and Christian Bale had to get in his face to stop him being awful to Amy Adams on American Hustle.
  9. FictionIsntReal


    I already expressed my disagreement with Amy on this film back in the Canon days, but I'd like to agree with those people who don't think it's "out of nowhere" or requires explanation for Henry to care about his brother or want to make the sauce right. Those are normal things which don't require exposition to establish. Henry's criminal activities are unusual, and that's what the film mostly focused on, only showing this other side of him when that intersected with his criminal life collapsing. I also don't really think of On the Waterfront as being a comparable "mob movie", since the main characters aren't really mobsters.
  10. FictionIsntReal

    Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout The Ages

    I had the same thoughts as Amy on how while Birth of a Nation may have done many things earlier, Intolerance did them on a higher level. I was surprised nobody compared the multiple timelines to a Christopher Nolan movie. Intolerance is typically thought of as Griffith's reply to critics of Birth of a Nation, so it's worth noting other films spawned in response, which given the times also commented on the first World War. "The Birth of a Race" (produced by an aide to Booker T. Washington) was intended as a response to Nation, showing a more noble side to the history of African people, to which is oddly appended a modern story about two German-American brothers fighting on opposite sides of the war in Europe. Thomas Dixon Jr, author of the novels which had been adapted into Birth of a Nation, wrote another novel, "The Fall of a Nation", whose adaptation he personally directed as arguably the first feature film sequel. The film is now lost, but it depicts a future in which Germans trick the U.S into disarming, resulting in a German invasion which is eventually defeated by a militarist southern Congressman and the sufragette who had earlier opposed said militarist. I suppose that's a more common portrayal of a modern female performer than is found in "Intolerance". Major industrialists still come in for critique, as Henry Ford (along with Williams Jenning Bryan) appears in parody form to be mocked for his pacifism. The book it's based on is even more forgotten, but is available on Gutenberg. As for how sincere Griffith was, Walter Huston interviewed him here for the 1930 re-release of Birth of a Nation, and Griffith notes that he was raised in the south as the son of a Confederate officer, and the film was "true" as he understood it.
  11. FictionIsntReal


    I just didn't see the appeal of this. I've been considering watching some of Fosse's other films before "Fosse/Verdon", and I hope they're better. Mr. "I Am a Camera" just isn't an interesting character, and Sally Bowles isn't enough to elevate it. Why watch a movie about people who mostly weren't paying attention to the rise of the Nazis when you could instead watch something more focused on such events? Easy Rider at least was a seminal film in the development of the industry and the broader culture. This is just another adaptation of a musical that I'm sure was "hip" for its time, just as West Side Story was before it.
  12. FictionIsntReal

    12 Angry Men

    That sounds somewhat like the movie "Identity", which Adaptation parodied with Donald Kaufman's "The Three".
  13. FictionIsntReal

    12 Angry Men

    Even though he's the hero, I don't see Fonda as "reason", he's instead acting like a defense lawyer and re-litigating the case. I don't think his "doubt" is "reasonable", he's instead just always reaching for an excuse for everything. I don't think there was any convincing him. So he thus represents George Bernard Shaw's victorious unreasonable man. I'd be interested in seeing that Japanese version, since a lone holdout could just as easily be someone insisting on guilt. Stereotypes are often accurate: women really are more law-abiding. Per William Stuntz' The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, women regularly got off for killing their husbands back in the gilded era, as the system was very pro-defendant and juries accepted many defenses aimed at their common-sense morality rather than the letter of the law. The notion of an independent-thinking jury member bucking convention reminds me of your canon episode for The Fountainhead, in which I thought Ayn Rand cowardly recoiled from her anti-majoritarian instincts. Looking back on it, I see that I made the same point citing Stuntz there as well. I assume Fritz Lang's "Fury" is where the David Milch written Hill Street Blues episode "Trial by Fury" got its title. I have to say, I didn't care for Lumet's "The Verdict". It seemed like a very cliche underdog courtroom movie, without even the distinctiveness you might come from a Mamet screenplay credit. When Todd Phillips said "Joker" was partly inspired by the work of Lumet, I have to assume he's referring to his 70s stuff like Dog Day Afternoon and Network rather than that. I tried looking up Lumet's wikipedia bio for more on him being mistakenly named during the McCarthy era, but didn't find anything. That's how it is in the Anglo-American adversarial system of justice, but in other countries judges are supposed to act as fact-finders pursuing an investigation rather than having opposing lawyers present different versions to them. I remember watching "In the Fade" and finding a German criminal trial odd for that reason. Which actually would fit the worldview of the bigoted juror.
  14. FictionIsntReal


    MASH is not Altman's first film. He'd actually been directing for more than a decade. I'm not an Altman fan, the only one of his films that I've liked is McCabe & Mrs. Miller. But this is the one I disliked the most. I was aware of the show but like you guys never watched much of it. This just seems like the most dated countercultural kind of movie where the heroes just seem like jerks, and not in a fun way like the Marx brothers. I see the value in early SNL, National Lampoon and even what I've seen of Taxi, and they're all goofier because there's less of an emphasis on the characters being cool. Even Easy Rider is more self-aware and innovative. I'm also ticked that this was a big success while Mike Nichols' Catch-22 is considered a failure, even though that's far funnier and actually my favorite Nichols film. Regarding the lack of good roles for women in that year, one of Kellerman's rival nominees for Best Supporting Actress that year was Karen Black for Five Easy Pieces, a much better version of a woman mistreated by a man. I don't think of the protagonists as people who are sacrificing anything for a cause. They're just serving their time, avoiding authority and hoping to get out as soon as they can. I don't know if I'd want Ghostbusters on this list, but I definitely would prefer it to MASH.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    I had heard Dr. Strangelove was inspired by the theorist of nuclear strategy Albert Wohlstetter. Per his wikipedia page, other inspirations were Herman Kahn, John von Neumann, Edward Teller and of course Wernher von Braun. I watched this after the AFI first put it on their list. My dad had talked up how funny it was, but I didn't get many laughs out of it. Maybe I was too young to fully enjoy it.