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Everything posted by FictionIsntReal

  1. FictionIsntReal

    Forums shutting down

    Damn it.
  2. FictionIsntReal

    Jurassic Park

    Jaws should have JP's spot out in space. Ian Malcolm is Crichton's mouthpiece, whereas Spielberg identifies too much with Hammond to make him a villain. The whole premise of the film still depends on Malcolm being proven right about the unanticipated consequences of what Hammond has done, but Spielberg thinks doing it would nevertheless be awesome. I don't think it was Mackie's character in The Banker who had those accusations, but instead his son. Movies in the 70s really were better. Spielberg's Jaws helped kick off the transition to broader blockbuster movies, which for the most part aren't as good.
  3. FictionIsntReal

    Jurassic Park

    I haven't listened to this episode yet, but since there wasn't a forum post for the previous one setting up the summer blockbuster series, I will comment here: The idea that Jurassic Park was more important than Jaws seems completely wrong. Summer blockbusters were already an existing tradition by the 90s. Amy is right that the first Mission: Impossible, with De Palma, is the best. It was a De Palma movie rather than a James Bond knockoff in which a supervillain is trying to blow up the world. In the most recent M:I... there was a supervillain trying to blow up the world. The obvious reason that Die Hard came out in the summer rather than Christmas is because it's a summer action movie, not a Christmas movie. Same goes for other films written by Shane Black and with Christmas inserted in irrelevantly like Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang & the Nice Guys (none of which were released around Christmas).
  4. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    Next week is Jurassic Park.
  5. FictionIsntReal

    Apollo 13

    Like I said, I would have voted for The Right Stuff instead if the poll had taken place on this forum.
  6. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    Apollo 13 was chosen over the Right Stuff. I would have voted the other way, if voting was on this forum rather than some social media platform.
  7. FictionIsntReal


    I already explained why I rank Alien about Aliens in the previous thread, so I won't repeat myself. Cameron wanted to adapt Jurassic Park, and his version would have been an R-rated horror movie. After Spielberg got the rights and did his version, Cameron ultimately concluded his original conception wasn't as good. Crichton was essentially re-using his Westworld idea (which in turn was a sort of proto-Terminator) when he wrote Jurassic Park. As you note, a movie actually inspired by Aliens is Verhoeven's Starship Troopers, which began as a script titled "Bug Hunt on Planet 9" (taking the phrase "bug hunt" from this movie) and was only tied to the Heinlein novel later (which Verhoeven didn't read because he disliked the early chapters). Ridley Scott may be a colder filmmaker than Cameron (hence his recurring interest in androids), but he's also more varied. Cameron spent years exploring the ocean while Scott kept up a pace of a movie nearly every year... and the only sequels he's made are Prometheus & Alien: Covenant. Scott can afford to make some very different films which can be quite hit or miss because he's not constantly trying to double the budget of his last film and invent a new filmmaking technology.
  8. FictionIsntReal


    The first Tarkovsky movies I saw were Stalker, and later this. Neither really worked for me (nor did The Mirror). His period pieces like Andrei Rublev & Ivan's Childhood were much better. After hearing that the earlier TV movie adaptation was more faithful to the book, I watched that but it just removed the material on Earth. Later I read the book and can't quite understand Stanislaw Lem's distaste for the movie. Basically everything there is in the book, alongside unfilmable chapters of "solaristics". Paul seems intent on proving me wrong, since Lem's whole point was about the possibility of communicating with something as alien as Solaris, and Paul clearly got the opposite message from the film. I thought it was clear enough that the entity herself came to the realization that she was a mere construct rather than a real person and thus chose to permanently eradicate herself, so there's no aspirational message about how to treat such constructs. Solaris doesn't care about her (or "its") inner experience, and just kept creating constructs because that's what it does. A better example of a pretentious arthouse director who derides film is Peter Greenaway, who says painting is a much older form and directors should look toward that rather than imitating other movies. I don't think Cameron is like Tarkovsky OR Kubrick. The original Terminator is still a great film (which is arguably more indebted to Carpenter & Crichton), so I respect Tarkovsky's verdict on it.
  9. FictionIsntReal


    Amy's previous movie podcast, The Canon, already did Alien vs Aliens. The former (rightly) won. James Cameron's sequel to Alien was akin to the sequel script he wrote for First Blood: dumber & action-ized. The characters in Alien resemble real people just doing their job, they don't spout catch-phrases. I will acknowledge it's not an especially fun/enjoyable movie. It's a horror movie with an unstoppable rape-metaphor at the center of it, and committing to that means it's bleak. Carpenter's version of The Thing was able to borrow from this film, but it's still its own thing which has spawned all manner of offshoots & imitators. And that much of that is due to the set design isn't a mark against the film, because it's not as if that doesn't count. To me one of the great things about the original is that it's NOT obvious that Ripley is going to be the one to survive to the end. They're all potential victims, with none appearing to have any "plot armor". MAD Magazine makes fun of every big movie. The James Bond series has gone on for much longer than Alien. Marvel could as well, but with multiple films per year that would be more demanding. The pace might slow down over time.
  10. FictionIsntReal


    This movie was pretty good, but not nearly good enough to go to space. Not only is it not as good as 2001 (or Zemeckis' best movies), I might even put Interstellar above it. It is a somewhat atypical and arguably more realistic space movie because it actually does involve a government bureaucracy screwing over the protagonist, but that's not enough to make it a good movie. I think Amy is right that the walk-back at the end doesn't make sense given her experience, and I think it can only be understood as Sagan speaking instead of her.
  11. FictionIsntReal

    A Trip to the Moon

    My understanding was that there was a consensus around Alice Guy-Blache's "The Cabbage Fairy" being the first fictional film. That was still minimal, with a length like that of Lumiere shorts and with no intertitles. I don't buy the film as a critique of imperialism. I think it's just fun, like his other films. From what I've read, his political cartoons were caricatures of Boulanger, and Melies himself summed up Boulanger as a man who wanted to replace the republic with a dictatorship (I've seen a number of his caricatures in a paper by Matthew Solomon and none of them were about colonialism). Boulanger was not a "hard right-wing" guy, but instead someone who got a lot of support from both left* & right. His foreign policy was focused on revanchism against Germany for the Franco-Prussian war rather than colonialism (which continued under both left & right wing French governments). His political career actually began with the support of Georges Clemenceau, who was opposed to colonization (Clemenceau's split with him and the divisions within the Radicals were not over colonialism). Clemenceau actually regarded colonization as a distraction from revenge against Germany, which was Boulanger's main priority. It was also not the case that French colonies would have had slaves in 1902, as slavery was abolished in the colonies in 1848. *Particularly, former Communards. "Aliens" is the crowd-pleasing movie where humans get to kill the aliens while delivering one-liners. "Alien" is the real deal: an unstoppable rape metaphor kills basically everyone, leaving only one survivor (who is not singled out for "final girl" status at the beginning) barely surviving. This is much like how James Cameron dumbed down First Blood when writing Rambo as a sequel. Normally I like to watch a number of your scheduled movies in advance. Since you are not doing that now (even though you're no longer rolling a 100 sided die), I will not have watched Galaxy Quest by next week. I figure since I never watched Star Trek regularly it would mostly be lost on me anyway.
  12. FictionIsntReal

    Hoop Dreams

    I don't think there's anything "micro" about the aggression of a highly paid basketball coach.
  13. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    Next week is Georges Méliès' "A Trip to the Moon", followed by a series of other space movies.
  14. FictionIsntReal

    2021 Oscar Special

    Mank seems the most Oscar-baity of the Best Picture nominees. It's not a BAD movie, but it's not great either. Fincher's film does try to make Mank more sympathetic to the left/Sinclair than we have any evidence of him being, BUT he also mocks his brother Joe (who actually worked on the anti-Sinclair campaign!) for his unionization efforts. I second the recommendation of Sound of Metal as not just a bummer. I also wasn't that into Meek's Cutoff, but I really like River of Grass and Wendy & Lucy. First Cow isn't as good as those two, but I liked it more than Meek's Cutoff or Old Joy. It's depressing to think of Aaron Sorkin as "our Shakespeare", but fortunately the thought can't be taken seriously. The Coen brothers are better writers with more range. The "doing it in front of real people" bit is why that Jackass Bad Grandpa movie really deserved the Oscar for best makeup/hairstyling. I know Paul said this after I wrote this note down, but it bears repeating anyway. However, as far as I'm aware Maria Bakalova didn't have to look like an old grandma.
  15. FictionIsntReal

    A League of Their Own

    I found it odd the hosts described this as a "reversal" of their normal pattern, since Amy is a professional film critic and seems to watch movies more than Paul. In fact, when Unspooled began I remember them discussing how he hadn't seen many of the films on the AFI list. It's been many years since I saw this, but from what I do recall it's not quite space capsule worthy. For a recent movie about female friendship which pointedly avoids making anything melodramatic I can point to Dan Sallitt's "Fourteen".
  16. FictionIsntReal

    Chariots of Fire

    I preferred this to the earlier sports movies. But merely being better than them, or even better than Amy & Paul claim it to be, isn't enough to go in the space capsule, or the AFI list.
  17. FictionIsntReal

    Brian's Song

    I think the era of the TV movie is just before my time. I don't think this belongs anywhere near the canon, or the AFI list. Language that violates the norms of the outward-facing world is basically universal in working-class jobs. It binds the group together. Relatedly, benign norm violation is the bedrock of humor. Laughter among animals is a signal that they are still in play-mode, even if play-fighting.
  18. FictionIsntReal

    The Princess Bride

    I think this is the best film of this miniseries, and I was surprised to find myself voting yes. It really is a clever screenplay about stories from Goldman, and everything is executed right. I'd even rank this above his other screenplays for movies regarded as classics. Spinal Tap is sufficiently different that I don't feel like this needs to compete with that. This can take the place of any fantasy/swashbuckling movie.
  19. FictionIsntReal

    Upcoming Episodes

    3/4 is The Princess Bride.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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).
  25. 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.