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About FictionIsntReal

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  1. FictionIsntReal

    12 Angry Men

    That sounds somewhat like the movie "Identity", which Adaptation parodied with Donald Kaufman's "The Three".
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    They just announced the next three: 1/9 - Dr. Strangelove 1/16 - The Gold Rush 1/23 - The Wild Bunch
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Best of the Decade Part 3 (2016-2019)

    I'm closer to Amy's opinion on Get Out than Paul's, but I have to note that it's MUCH better made than Stepford Wives. That had looked like a made-for-tv movie. Horror is perhaps my favorite genre, and I tend to like horror-comedies less than others because the comedy is so often at the expense of the horror ("You're Next" is my favorite of the sub-genre because the horror isn't diminished). So Get Out really can't compete with the scariest horror movies, but the comedy bits with Lil' Rel Howery were great and there was some really impressive scenes like "the sunken place". Some have said that's cribbed from Under the Skin, but one might as well steal from the best. I know that Americans tend to lump all Mexicans together (although the U.S government actually considers "hispanic" an ethnicity rather than race, so it doesn't exclude being white), but in this somewhat autobiographical film the director himself is supposed to be one of the kids in the upper-class white family, and clearly racially distinct from their servant.
  7. FictionIsntReal

    Star Wars

    John Simon's first piece for New York may have been a defense of booing, but he didn't always review things negatively. For example, his review of Cats was completely positive. And when he disagreed with Siskel and Ebert about Star Wars, he recommended that kids watch "Tender Mercies" instead.
  8. FictionIsntReal

    The Best Years Of Our Lives

    I watched this a few years ago because I realized I hadn't seen any William Wyler movies, even though he'd won three Best Pictures and Best Directors, along with one Director nomination before that. After watching all of them, I concluded that the Academy had really overrated his early work but that Best Years of Our Lives absolutely lived up to the hype. I agree it's much better than The Deer Hunter, but I'd already criticized that earlier. Homer is the most memorable and doesn't suffer at all for not being a professional actor, but I liked that we had the other two to illustrate other aspects of the post-war experience. Ayn Rand didn't hate movies, in fact she worked in Hollywood and married an actor, but she did castigate artistic "realism", instead advocating for Victor Hugo-esque "romanticism".
  9. FictionIsntReal

    Forrest Gump

    I've never seen John Candy do a "threatening" role. John Goodman has done that for the Coen brothers though. I saw this as a kid and didn't care for it, although it is more of a real movie than the pure Boomer nostalgia of American Graffiti. Just not necessarily a very good movie. I voted against this movie's inclusion, but I disagree that it presents an idealized vision of America in which everything is good. It's full of ugly parts of American history, even if Forrest himself is too dumb to understand them. I'm also less bothered by Jenny getting AIDS as a result of "participating in the culture" since that included using heroin. Perhaps Lieutenant Dan could have gotten it instead. Even today, opioid deaths seem to be particularly high for that generation. I suppose "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" will have to be our closest substitute for Gilliam's take on Boomer history. Is the minty flavor in the chocolate candy that Paul is gesturing toward toothpaste? And yes, I stole this joke from Jim Gaffigan.
  10. FictionIsntReal

    American Graffiti

    As far as I was able to tell, boomer nostalgia was the entirety of the appeal of this movie. But then, I didn't care for Last Picture Show either. THX-1138 is much better than both.
  11. FictionIsntReal


    I had only listened to the earlier parts of the podcast when I commented earlier, so this is a continuation. "Have you no decency" was completely separate from HUAC. That was the Army's counsel in the senate hearing vs Joe McCarthy. McCarthy was never in the House, where HUAC of course was formed years before he joined Congress. McCarthy's censure did not end the blacklist, because it was a completely separate thing. McCarthy was reacting to cases like the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss to claim that the federal government was infested with Soviet agents, secretly being fed info from Venona that J. Edgar Hoover didn't even tell the President about. HUAC was an amorphous thing going after whatever they people in charge of it decided to dub "Un-American", which permitted it to last a long time and go after different people. For example, Dalton Trumbo started informing the Feds of people who sent him fan mail for his anti-war novel "Johnny Got His Gun" once the CPUSA flip-flopped to support American entry in the war, while Trotskyists and Bundists who continued to oppose that got targeted by HUAC. After the war when Uncle Joe was no longer considered our friend, HUAC changed course, otherwise you probably would have never heard of it. Barry Marshall won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for demonstrating, on himself no less, that ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori, not stress. Marshall has even said that no medical condition is caused by stress and there are more potential Nobels out there for anyone else who wants to debunk such popular but baseless claims.
  12. FictionIsntReal


    I reviewed this film last week, and I'll try not to repeat too much of what I said there. Ben Hur came out the year before. I prefer it because at least it had spectacle, whereas this film did little for me and didn't seem to bear the mark of Kubrick at all. Paul is confused why anyone would consider this film Marxist propaganda, but Tom Breihan isn't. After finishing his "History of Violence" series he began going over the top film at the box office of every year, starting with this one. I'll quote him on its politics: [...] I find John Wayne's hatred of High Noon far more inexplicable, because most of the things he criticizes about it also occur in Rio Bravo, the movie he made specifically intended as a critique of High Noon. Those interested can read "The Tin Star", the story the film is credited as being an adaptation of, starting here and continuing from the seventh page starting here. The film is much more cynical, especially in its rather opposite ending, but I find it an interesting comparison.
  13. FictionIsntReal

    On The Waterfront

    Paul is confused why Friendly's goons didn't just kill Terry at the end, but this is explicitly addressed by Friendly himself when a goon suggests it: Terry just testified against him and Friendly is now facing serious charges, including a murder that Terry accused him of being behind. Killing Terry at that point would practically be an admission of guilt along with another murder charge, making it a certainty that Friendly would be executed. Friendly is probably somewhat overly-optimistic about his ability to beat the charges and make a comeback, as his boss is leaving him out to dry and his lawyer was Terry's brother Charlie, whom he just had killed for trying to protect Terry. The time to kill Terry was earlier in the alley outside his building, but Terry got away and now it's too late.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    The Philadelphia Story

    I already said why I didn't care that much for Philadelphia Story when Amy matched it against His Girl Friday at The Canon. The "meta" aspect of the character vs actress did nothing for me. It was just a lot of people insisting she needed to be brought down a peg.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    Bringing Up Baby

    I watched this recently enough that what I wrote is still accessible under Disqus' now shortened history, so I'll quote from my verdict there: "When I said that Me and My Gal fell short of a certain standard of comedy, that standard is set by Bringing Up Baby". It was one of the funniest films I've ever seen, and since Hawks' later "His Girl Friday" helped set my standard (which the Philadelphia Story did not meet when they matched up for the Canon), I probably should have seen it even before this podcast prodded me to do so. Many old-timey comedies aren't actually that funny now (like the two I've slighted above), but this & Duck Soup really do seem to deserve their place of cinematic immortality in a way that most Harold Lloyd also doesn't (Lloyd was arguably more of a populist who prioritized quantity with a relatable lead like any interchangeable comedy today over perfectionism in reaching the greatest heights of comedy). Maybe I haven't seen enough Judd Apatow, but I highly doubt his stuff can compare to that zaniness. Groundhog's Day is a good movie, but unlike some commenters above, I primarily judge a comedy on just being funny. More laughs means a better movie, which is why the Paramount Marx brothers movies are better than the MGM ones. Worrying about Grant's character as a poor victim of this insane stalker is the wrong way to watch the film: all his suffering is for your amusement, like Margaret Dumont or any cartoon victim of Bugs Bunny. Divorce really was much less common back in that era. The difficulty of obtaining a divorce prior to no-fault laws was part of the plot of "Sullivan's Travels", which you've covered before. I don't know if the film can be given credit for inventing the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope though, I've heard others say that My Man Godrey did it a couple years earlier.