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Head Spin

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  1. Head Spin

    Episode #88: A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

    Too intense of an August for a lengthy response, and the thread has pretty much covered it. The episode, too, was one of the more packed-with-fun-analysis installments in a long while. I enjoy the Beatles, but have never been into their early stuff. Maybe that's why I'd never seen this movie before. But man, this movie defied my expectations a hundred times over. I expected some time-capsuley, light, fun fare and found a great deal more. It's a spell as much as a movie, and it transports you into a contradiction of sweaty realism and absurd fantasy. I absolutely felt early on as some "no" voters did; It can be hard to get over the dad jokes and now-extinct comedic tone. But about halfway through the film clicked in a huge way, so much so that I immeditaely started the film over and watched it through from the beginning. I can't describe its magic better then Devin and Amy, but the moment when the magic struck me was an unforgettable movie moment. Easy, easy yes. You know, Blazing Saddles is next, and I must say I'm loving the run of slam-dunk episodes more then I thought I would. It's fun to just gush about obviously great movies, especially after some of the more angsty votes and versus episodes.
  2. Head Spin

    Episode #87: THE GENERAL

    Oh, my mistake. Yeah, I guess they share his reluctance to watch silent films at home.
  3. Head Spin

    Episode #87: THE GENERAL

    Oof, I'd love to write about this movie, but it's been a rough week and everyone has put it all much better then I could. I'm ultimately between Devin and Amy on this one. I like it more then Devin, but it also fell a little flatter to me then I expected. Honestly, I still get self-conscious when I feel any kind of flat on a lauded classic. Who am I to say The General was "fine?" But thankfully I did get enough voltage out of it to give it a soft yes on top of the obvious credit it deserves that didn't do much for me chemically. So I needn't worry too much, but I don't quite see the "massively underrated cinematic epic" angle. Re: Cronopio - You didn't lose all the Re-Animator touters, bay-bay! Although it seems like a bad pairing to defend a hard yes for Re-Animator after a soft yes for The General. Hey, maybe I don't have taste.
  4. Head Spin

    Before Sunrise vs. Before Sunset (vs. Before Midnight?)

    Agreed. I love each of them, and it's hard to pick from among them. I hate when people arbitrarily slot the first in a series as the best just because it's "the one that started it all." But that argument might sway me in this case. Or you can say it's the second for being the one to successfully morph it into a segmented tale. Idk, that's tough. But it doesn't feel all that meaningful to pit them against each other so...I think I'm not into this idea despite loving the trilogy.
  5. Head Spin

    Blood Simple vs No Country for Old Men

    Ooh, are we doing Coen rankings? First off, I have to say that I've never really understood the high praise of Blood Simple. I like it a lot, but it's always felt to me like, (as many directorial debuts), the prototype version of the Coens that they'd top almost every time subsequent. I love Walsh and McDormand in it, and there's some really cool nighttime scenery, but it also has that "Creative Writing 101" feel of spending a lot of time watching brooding characters smoke. It's good, no doubt, but I just feel like they outperformed it over and over again with their later work. My top five: 1) Inside Llewyn Davis 2) Fargo 3) No Country for Old Men 4) Barton Fink 5) Burn After Reading That's painful. You have to leave a lot of great movies on the table for that. I know people don't think super highly of Burn After Reading, but there is something perfect and quintessentially Coen about that film. Seems almost wrong to put it over Lebowski, A Serious Man, Rasing Arizona, Miller's Crossing... but I do love it that much. EDIT: Hey, twinsies on Burn After Reading, Robert.
  6. Holy fucking shit I love both of these movies. I always worry that Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is too on-the-nose for a lot of people, but it works for me, deeply, every time. It's a lot of dramatic movie speeches, but they're several of my favorite movie speeches of all time (I think I love Poitier setting his dad straight even more then Spencer Tracey's final speech) This is a 10/10 Sophie's Choice for me. Both are so, so good. Fantastic pairing Robert, but please don't make me choose.
  7. Head Spin

    The Harry Potter Films, or at least Prisoner of Azkaban

    Others disagree about that quality. That's why they voted those in. And my argument is that the "value" is minor; the real value is in the rest of the media franchise. Are you making that argument? Because "capturing the totality of a time and place" is a stretch, and I don't think it can be made. Just because it was based on something that was massively popular and meant a lot to people doesn't mean that it all carries over arbitrarily to its films. Sorry to go all "line-by-line." That always comes off as aggressive, and I mean it all with respect. But I disagree, and I stand by everything in my longer post that went unchallenged.
  8. Head Spin

    Homework: The General (1926)

    You're a peach, Nick.
  9. Head Spin

    Top Gun

    Tough to judge cultural touchstones. They fade. Then what? Do we try to estimate what they were and judge on that? Did they really inspire some kind of attitude or something significant in people, or was it just a popular reference? I don't feel qualified to make a case either way. I like that movie and it was a big deal, but I can't say where that leaves it in history.
  10. Head Spin

    The Harry Potter Films, or at least Prisoner of Azkaban

    See, I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan but my experience jibes with what Joseph Daley said: The Harry Potters fans I know range from "really like" to "dislike" on the films, but the bottom line is that the movies aren't a major enough part of the media franchise to get this huge historical importance cachet that I"m hearing on this thread. They were very popular and successful, but that's because Harry Potter is easily Canon-worthy in the category of "media franchises" and "YA book series;" I wouldn't credit any film in the series much less the series as a whole for being such a big deal that it gets significant credit for its impact on the culture. "Popularity/Success," "Quality," and "Historical Importance" are three separate axes. It's the book series that earns the the latter two, not the films. The films are fine, and Azkaban is very good and easily the only candidate for the Canon among them all. So my argument is twofold: Like I said in the Breakfast At Tiffany's thread, I think historical impact should always be secondary to quality. If a movie cant stand on its own, then I don't really care how important it was; this isn't a film history podcast. I've always taken it as one where people vote on their judgments of the art, and take the history in context afterwards. And I don't think any of them are great or exceptional to a Canon level, with the possible outside exception of Azkaban, which might be arguable - however, this thread has mainly been about the importance of the whole series. Secondly, I don't think that the Potter films deserve any historical importance rub. They're one successful branch of the Harry Potter tree, but not particularly influential or even all that major, I think, within the Harry Potter fandom, much less the public at large (and I think you'd need to have the scope set at "public-at-large" to make the importance argument here). They're fine. Enjoy them, love them, but they aren't Canon-worthy. They were a pleasant afternoon to thousands of people, but not all-time-greats.
  11. Head Spin

    Episode #87: THE GENERAL (1926)

    Silent movies are a gap for me. I've never seen this one but always meant to. It's an exciting choice, and nice to see a pick from the movie suggestions.
  12. Head Spin

    Your Indulgence Picks

    I'm glad you feel that way! That theme is really GOAT-level. Canon-worthy might be a stretch, but that's one where if there was an episode on it I would write about it for hours in its defense. I'd die on that hill, and maybe even in that film's horrible quicksand river. If anyone enjoys a fantastic, stylish spaghetti western, make sure you see Django.
  13. Head Spin

    Vietnam Movie Showdown

    To tip my hand, I've never really understood the appeal of FMJ past the basic training. The Vietnam stuff has some beautiful shots, and Adam Baldwin's fun, but it feels muddled once they get to the war. Deer Hunter I feel similarly; all the stuff in Pennsylvania I like, but most of the stuff that happens in Vietnam feels kind of over-the-top silly, especially when DeNiro goes back for Walken. Tough to take seriously despite some solid dramtic stuff. I love Platoon, though. I wonder if it's Canon-worthy, but there's a simplicity to the characters and their relationships that make the story much more powerful to me.
  14. Head Spin

    Vietnam Movie Showdown

    This one's too crazy to do, but I'll post it anyways. In a vacuum I would have loved to see Apocalpyse Now, The Deer Hunter, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket compete for the best Vietnam War film. That sounds super impossible, or at least reliant on some kind of two-part bracketed system. But Apocalpyse Now already made it into the Canon. It probably would have won anyways among the four, and three movies is a slightly more manageable number. So in my wildest dreams, and it'd take a plus-sized episode, I'd love to see The Deer Hunter vs. Platoon vs. Full Metal Jacket in a War Is Hell Three-Way Intractable Jungle Conflict Match. At the least I'm curious which of the three or four people think is the best in the comments.
  15. Head Spin


    I see what you mean, but I think it's about defining "great" in terms of effect or magnitude. If a great movie had a profound effect on people it could easily be Canon-worthy, even if it was a racist screed. Look, I"m not the "cultural relativist" type. I don't believe that you can't or shouldn't take a film's racist or prejudiced elements into account. In fact, the text and subtext of art should be examined and interrogated. FIlms have an effect on culture, and their content ought to be vetted and judged. But there's a middle ground between respecting and acknowledging the power of art, and harshly judging its content separately, even within the same discussion. It'd be wrong to not condemn Birth of a Nation's message, but fair to deem it Canon-worthy on its merits if they pass muster. Art's relevancy isn't based on its morality. They interact, but one doesn't invalidate the other.