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About FictionIsntReal

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  1. 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".
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. FictionIsntReal

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

    I'm with Amy in preferring this to The Graduate. The latter is a lot of flashy direction in service of a much less interesting film. Virginia Woolf is hardly an easy watch or something I'm eager to re-watch, but the difficulty works for it. At the same time, it wasn't quite enough to make me want to vote for it. I haven't seen the stage version, but I imagine the most distinctive aspects of it are all in there. And a filmed version of a stage play can be good, but I don't think that's enough to deserve its place on the AFI 100. At the same time, I'm not going to vote against it, because I don't want to contribute to it having more downvotes than The Graduate.
  10. FictionIsntReal

    Gone with the Wind

    You must not have seen Birth of a Nation. That actually does make black people into its villains while the Klan are the heroes. I do think Paul & Amy misrepresent Birth vs GWTW's takes on the Civil War though. Birth presents itself as pro-Lincoln (perhaps because Lincoln had been practically universally recognized as a great martyred President), and his death is depicted as the cause of trouble between north & south. At the end of the film northern & southern whites are supposed to have a happy re-union as Lincoln supposedly wished. It's not the dream of an independent south rising against/apart from the north. It's called "Birth of a Nation" because it regards national unity as having been forged through the experience depicted. For it's part, Gone With the Wind isn't as concerned with race, but it does romanticize the Old South plantations. It's primarily taking the POV of someone who benefitted from that system, emphasizing how nice it was for that class and how much worse it was for them afterward. It criticizes the southern fireeaters who kicked off a war they were overconfident in winning, but they're being blamed for losing a way of life the movie holds in high regard. Contrary to Amy's assumptions, the wealth of the industrialized north was NOT dependent on slavery. The idea has been promoted by some historians recently, but economic historians find it doesn't hold up. https://pseudoerasmus.com/2014/11/10/slavery_and_industrialism/
  11. FictionIsntReal

    Deer Hunter

    You should, it really lives up to the hype. Unlike The Deer Hunter. I agree with others that it's a really overrated movie, with Michael a practically flawless protagonist. Part of my negative attitude could be the result of watching Cimino's first three movies all in a row and getting increasingly annoyed at his bloat*, but I really do think that Platoon & Apocalypse Now are both better in their different ways. The Deer Hunter just arrived earlier. *I know it's not being covered here, but Heaven's Gate really is a bad movie serving as a monument to Cimino's wasteful ego.
  12. FictionIsntReal

    Toy Story

    I was a Warner Bros partisan as a kid, who disliked Disney cartoons for being dull & much less funny. Toy Story seemed like just another Disney movie, just with computer animation, so I avoided subsequent Pixar films (although my family brought me along to see Up years later). I had thought that separated me from the rest of my generation, who seem to have such attachment to many Pixar films (at least with Harry Potter I read up through Goblet of Fire, even if I also only saw the first movie). I see that others are dissenting here, so I suppose I'm not alone (with Amy) in not being that impressed by the original Toy Story. Also, toys are indeed inanimate objects. It's fine to mutilate them, put them back together, blow them up, etc. Spike Jonze had the best take on Pixar-esque objects (such as their iconic lamp) in this commercial:
  13. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    Don't know what the next regular episode will be.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    To Kill A Mockingbird

    You talk about George R. R. Martin leaving the writing of the tv show Game of Thrones to others, but he wrote an episode for each of the first four seasons.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    The Silence of the Lambs

    I think Silence of the Lambs is a higher quality film on the whole, because Manhunter is flawed (the song at the very end is awful), but Manhunter is my personal preference. I'll get into some of that below. I think they're both excellent performances with different purposes. Brian Cox's version is supposed to have an impact, but then he goes away and is only of minor importance in the film. This makes sense, as he's a supporting character. In SIlence of the Lambs, he's still a supporting character and doesn't have that much more screentime, but he's the most memorable part of the film for most people. He just blows the viewer away, and Hopkins tremendous performance is a big part of that. He got hammier in Hannibal & Bret Ratner's Red Dragon, but we shouldn't let that tar his (bigger than Cox, but not bad) performance in Silence. It was category fraud that he won Best Actor rather than Best Supporting Actor, because within the story he's clearly a supporting character, with Clarice as the lead and Buffalo Bill as her antagonist. I prefer Manhunter for giving us Francis Dolarhyde as a person and not just the Red Dragon persona, whereas Jaime Gumb is a rather thin presence leaving with just his grotesque kidnapper persona. Him being a relatively thin antagonist is part of why people remember Lecter more. And if we were watching the story of Lecter vs Chilton that might be fair, but that's not this film. Incidentally, Chilton doesn't leave anything in Lecter's cell in the book. Lecter just obtains it himself somehow and smuggles it to his new prison via his mouth (which nobody is willing to check). Siskel greatly preferred Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer to Silence of the Lambs. It aims much more for gritty realism and is much less audience pleasing than Silence, which is part of why it was never as successful. If you have the stomach for movies like Silence of the Lambs & Seven, I recommend checking that out and comparing it to other movie serial killers. You definitely won't think of Henry as an awesome character who should hook up with the female lead (which is unfortunately the route Thomas Harris himself took with his next book). As long as we're discussing Thomas Harris, his first novel, Black Sunday, is atypical in that there's no Hannibal Lecter or serial killers. Lander the deranged Vietnam P.O.W did remind me a bit of Dolarhyde though and his memories of growing up in the south seemed personal to Harris. Tom Clancy basically stole the premise of Palestinian terrorists attacking the Super Bowl, although my understanding is the film adaptation of that changed things.