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Everything posted by ijustliketowatch

  1. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 136 - The Best of 2017

    Really love this whole crop of films. Florida Project is a devastating look at poverty that serves as an indictment of Republican politics. Get Out perfectly encapsulates America's views of race, specifically blackness, in this post-2016 GE world. Lady Bird is a look at a relationship and time period that is so specific, but somehow manages to feel universal. I'll get to Last Jedi later. However, my vote is and always has been mother! So surprised and glad to hear so many of the callers felt the same way. When I would recommend the film to people earlier in the year, I always said the best way to watch it was to not read any of the interpretations about it beforehand--particularly Aronofsky's. For me, the film felt like an exciting if anxiety-inducing expression of the pressures of womanhood (the way Lawrence's character constantly subordinates her own desires in order to seem accommodating, her husband's constant dismissal of the things that matter to her so he can following his every whim, the world-weary rage and bitterness of Pfeiffer's character) that doubled as an indictment of human selfishness. I've always liked Lawrence, but it's a helluva feat to embody a nameless, metaphorical conduit to all that chaos and still feel largely sympathetic. It was incredible to see a studio picture--especially after MeToo--essentially release a big budget star vehicle about the toxicity of male genius. I have to commend Aronofsky for essentially making a movie that's a thinly-veiled metaphor for his marriage to Weisz in which he basically admits he's insufferable. I still think he'd be nightmare to be around, but I appreciate the self-awareness. Perhaps if the MeToo hadn't happened, I'd feel more inclined to think of Get Out or Florida Project as the most representative film of this particular moment in history, but it is downright energizing to see a film so unflinchingly critical of patriarchy from an industry that has been driven by it for so long. Moreover, mother! is without a doubt one of the most technically impressive films I've ever seen. There's much to say about the long takes and the brilliant camera movement (it's insane Libatique isn't really in the Oscar conversation), but what stood out to me on first viewing was the sound work. Rather than a traditional score, Johannsson creates a strange, elemental soundscape made of bumps and groans and all manner of human wailing that's just as responsible for the rising anxiety on the screen as all the chaos. It was like nothing I'd ever heard and helped make the movie unlike anything I've ever seen. (Yes, I'm including Repulsion, which works with many of the same themes, but which I've never found quite as compelling or coherent as this.) That was honestly what made the backlash the film got so strange to me. It feels like people are constantly complaining about how Hollywood doesn't make original films anymore and yet when we were confronted with something that actually tried to do something different, people hated it. I think history's going to remember this film well, but I think people now are too focused on their kneejerk negative reaction to being challenged by a medium that so rarely bothers to break from formula. I think the same applies to Last Jedi. It is baffling to me that anyone can look at a film that breathes new life into a stodgy mega-budget franchise and go, "meh." That film sets fire to everything that defined Star Wars--particularly its condescending, male-dominated fandom--and says, "No, the future is about women and people of color coming together to insist on their own importance in writing history. Everyone gets a seat at the table, not just the hardcore devotees. And also fuck Space Nazis." It is an indictment of patriarchy and toxic masculinity nestled in Hollywood's biggest franchise and it's bonkers that anyone is dismissing it just because the pacing is uneven or the CGI is bad in the Leia force scene or because turning Luke into a disillusioned old man makes people challenge their ideas of heroism. If the vote weren't going to be so close, I'd honestly be voting for that instead. One last thing even though this post is already really long, it was very nice to hear Devin again. His combativeness and condescension toward Amy was, frankly, the reason I quit the show for a time, but he seems to have grown quite a bit in his forced exile. He sounds happier and regardless of his past mistakes, it was nice to hear that he's done a lot of self-reflection and his insights into the films seemed more profound than ever.
  2. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 128 - Starship Troopers (w/ Jordan Hoffman)

    Hearty yes even with the Robocop addendum. At this point, both films have a pretty high cultural relevance that perhaps fluctuates depending on when you were born. Starship Troopers is, ultimately, the smarter film for me and more tightly-plotted and nuanced in its satire. Also, for my money, it has a much better understanding of its female characters and doesn't commit the sin of wasting Nancy Allen, which is unforgivable. But I don't want to make this comment all about Robocop. I saw Starship Troopers as a kid and took it totally seriously and have only realized recently that's its not meant to be taken that way. The fact that it succeeds on both levels really speaks to why it deserves to be in The Canon. Dizzy's death is still one of the most upsetting deaths I've ever seen in a movie and it speaks to how effectively Verhoeven uses gratuitous violence to emphasize his anti-fascist point. Also, the character work is strong all around. The point made in the podcast about how shocking it is when most of the company dies cannot be overstated. This film is brutal in its depiction of war and the way it fundamentally changes the characters without bashing us over the head with that meaning. Really hopes this makes it in.
  3. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 124 - Suspiria (w/ Roxanne Benjamin)

    Oh, this is tough. Came to the forum to see what other people were saying and of course nobody else has commented yet. (Of course, now that I've said that, someone will undoubtedly post while I type this.) Anyway, in terms of influence on other filmmakers, I can totally accept the argument for including this in The Canon. However, purely on a personal enjoyment level, I'm not entirely sold. I found some of this really effective. For instance, the barbed wire room was a shocking and gruesome surprise. Definitely one of the best things I've ever seen in a horror movie. Otherwise, though, there are a lot of things I can't quite forgive. The pacing doesn't build tension for me in the way it does for Roxanne. It mostly just makes the film feel really uneven and only emphasizes the very loose narrative structure. There's merit to the argument that horror actually benefits from non-traditional narrative, but here it makes the film feel a little episodic and possibly undercuts the sense that there's some sinister coven at work at the school. Like, we gather that from all the insane stuff that happens, but I wonder if it wouldn't feel more of a threat to Suzy if it felt like there were this unstoppable, unknown plot to kill her. Still, I can't deny that some of the performances are really effective and the visual style is absolutely incredible so I might wait to see what everyone else is saying before voting. Leaning towards yes because of influence and because is one of my all-time favorites.
  4. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I have to cast my vote for Top Gun. Minority Report is–by far–the superior film, but I was convinced by the discussion. Not the rather petty arguments Amy and that one dude aimed at it, but the point made at the very beginning of the episode about cultural relevance. Top Gun is a touchstone in a way Minority Report is not. I think there's an argument for the way the film's production design and visual style influenced action films after, but Top Gun epitomizes a time. Its sense of ra-ra America masculinity reads pretty toxic now, but it's impossible to deny that those sensibilities were the dominant American outlook basically until after 9/11. Still argue that Minority Report has more coherent plotting and character work as well as a grander sense of purpose, but I can't deny that Top Gun is the more relevant film just because I hate the way you can identify which act you're in by which song is playing on repeat. The best I can hope for is that watching it would drive someone to watch Scott's other, better films.
  5. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 116 - Seconds (w/ Matt Zoller Seitz)

    Soft yes. The first time I saw this, I thought it was kind of minor, but I've thought about it a lot since then. The themes and ideas it plays with are challenging and discomfiting and (at the expense of possibly falling into the trap Matt and Amy reference near the end) I think that's what makes it worth seeing. Hudson is very good playing against type, but all of the performances work well. Visually, it's always interesting. I'm not sure it fits under the header of movies people need to see, but I'm in favor of a big Canon and I like that this film sparks discussion.
  6. One of the few times I might actually support a neither vote. Neither film has aged particularly well and while both have some really fun performances, I'm not sure I'd want to inflict either of them on another person. Since we have to choose, though, I say 9 to 5 all the way. I fully agree with every criticism Alan and Amy fire at it, but their praise of Whorehouse is a little generous. That film is soul-crushingly boring when people aren't singing and dancing and while 9 to 5's plotting is scattered and its pacing is terrible, it has more high points. Tomlin, Fonda and Parton have great chemistry and they are clearly having so much fun. Reynolds feels embarrassingly miscast in Whorehouse and Parton basically has to push that jalopy of a film up over the hill by herself. 9 to 5 also has the edge in terms of historical significance even if "I Will Always Love You" is one of the greatest contributions to culture of all time. I mean, "9 to 5" is no slouch musically either, but the film itself had more of an influence and more deliberately deals with big issues in way Whorehouse seems to do by accident.
  7. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 106 - Fatal Attraction (w/ Heather Matarazzo)

    Outside of being well-directed and very well-acted, Fatal Attraction is perhaps not the most remarkable film ever made, but in terms of cultural relevance and sparking conversation about gender in film, I think it's an obvious yes for The Canon. It's problems are exactly what make it interesting.
  8. ijustliketowatch


    I see a lot of what Amy's saying (except Spock knowing he's going to die as he's running downstairs), but I was completely taken with this movie. I loved it despite the imperfections and how the intelligence and emotion is derivative of other things, but fully agree on its cultural impact alone qualifying it for the canon. I loved Montalban's performance, it's part of what makes it fun. Thought the emotional beats were really effective. Definite yes. Also, on a non-movie note, liked having Dave around to temper Devin's condescension, but goodness the episode was a bit too long. Starts to get repetitive at the end and the tone shifts from friendly to frustrated.
  9. ijustliketowatch

    Episode #91: LABYRINTH

    Wow, this one is much more contentious than I'd expected. I didn't watch this movie until a few months ago (at age 27), so I didn't have the same connection to it that some of the other women I know do. However, I still liked it quite a bit. I see everything Devin and Amy are saying about the pace being slow and the tone being a little all over the place, but I think they're both underestimating how influential this movie is. Nick makes a nice point above about Del Toro's style and I can't even count the number of times I've seen a comic book creator lovingly refer to this movie. That's part of why I finally decided to watch this, because I suspected I was missing something in the art I was consuming. I'd venture to guess that its influence is based more on artists' (of all types) general approach to fantasy/fiction or even production design/costuming and perhaps more difficult to point out, but maybe I'm just covering because I can't think of a specific example. I also think it's difficult to ignore how important this film is to so many women, so, I'm voting yes. Regardless of the cultural value, though, I also think there's a lot to like in the film. I'll add my voice to those praising the effects and the overall look. It's incredibly imaginative. I hate the big orange puppet dance sequence and think it's the film's biggest waste of time, but I find just about everything else to be totally worth watching. That said, I appreciate the way the film swings wildly from dark to light from one moment to the next because it adds to the film's overall point: that becoming an adult is often scary, exciting and confusing in equal measure. That's particularly true of the sexuality Bowie represents. Speaking of, I think what's under the tights is 100% real.
  10. ijustliketowatch


    Perhaps I saw this movie just a few years too late or maybe I'll feel differently in ten years, but I don't see the depth Amy or Devin talked about. In terms of fashion and the actual filmmaking going on here, I agree, it's a really beautiful film to watch. However, the characters felt really slight, perhaps except for Patricia Neal's character, but that's thanks to her performance more than the writing. I was pretty disgusted by the Mickey Rooney character and perhaps that feeling tainted the rest of the movie, but what Amy and Devin said about him being a completely unnecessary waste of time is equal justification for why 1. the character shouldn't be in the movie and 2. the movie shouldn't be in The Canon. The ending felt rather abrupt and unearned though Hepburn does act the hell out of it. The historical impact argument is very strong and I think "Moon River" is probably my favorite entry in the American songbook, but I have to vote no on this one.
  11. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 84: RE-ANIMATOR

    Hard no for me. First watched this about a year ago shortly after reading the story (I feel like I've been reading my copy of the full Lovecraft works longer than Cthulhu has existed). While I was surprised by how well it adapted the source material, it's still not a great movie. There's some fun stuff in it. The blood and gore being much of it and I sort of love how draggy this Herbert West is, but I mostly found this really boring. I appreciate that some find it really fun, but there are just so many more movies that a person could spend their time watching.
  12. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 79: THE USUAL SUSPECTS

    I'd usually vote yes for this just for the historical importance, but I was so bored and unimpressed by this film when I first saw it that I can't possibly do so. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I hadn't known the twist was coming the whole time. Who knows? I also don't think the filmmaking helped, which I'm somewhat baffled to hear praised so much when I found it sloppy, uninventive and incredibly dated. That last point isn't necessary the film's fault, but it seems like a poor excuse for style compared to half a dozen other '90s filmmakers.
  13. ijustliketowatch

    Episode 77: SEVEN

    I've loved this movie for a long time and went into this episode thinking it was a solid yes. While I still think it's great, I found Amy's critiques really interesting and valid. I wish Devin would have at least tried to engage with them instead of repeatedly calling her an idiot like always. That he managed to say, "you're deflecting honest discussion with a personal thing," without an ounce of irony is the most remarkable thing I've ever heard. Back to the point, though, Fincher does have a problem with human emotion. That's not as obvious here as in say, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it's still something that rings true about this movie. The mood is so convincing and the plot so extreme that it's easy to miss. Fully agree that MIlls doesn't really seem to learn anything. I think Devin's reading too much into the text by saying that his being from a small town makes him hopeful. Tracy is hopeful. Mills is an arrogant hot head and remains so the whole time. That's the point. He's such to slave to his wrath and pride that he can't understand that killing Doe only gives into what the killer wants. He ruins himself because he can't stop himself, which has always been his problem. The only reason we believe Mills might be the good guy in this is because he's played by Brad Pitt, who's a heartthrob and mostly played good guys before and even after this.