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bleary last won the day on October 28 2018

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  1. bleary

    12 Angry Men

    I really enjoyed this episode, and I especially loved the conversation with Marissa Beyers. The only time I was on a jury, I certainly had this film in the back of my mind, because after watching four days of testimony without being able to discuss the case with anyone else, I had no idea what the rest of the jury felt. I thought maybe I'd have to Henry Fonda everyone over to my way of thinking. (As it turned out, everyone basically agreed without requiring any persuasion, and it was a civil case anyway so we didn't need to be fully unanimous, although I recall that we ended up being so regardless.) At any rate, my only major misgiving about the film on this watch was that the racism of the racist characters felt a little too blatant, whereas I think it would have been more effective if they were called out for showing their bias in subtler ways. But then they played that racist dude's speech in the 1997 version, and I realized how toned down the original one is by comparison. But besides that, I'm all for putting this one on the list.
  2. bleary

    Rear Window

    1. Rear Window 2. Vertigo 3. North by Northwest 4. Psycho
  3. bleary


    My primary theory would be that they were there for comedic effect. But if there is something deeper with the dress strap guy, I think it's somewhat notable that this was occurring during the peasant dance, as it served to give a bit of juxtaposition between country folks and city folks. While the couple from the country is having carefree fun dancing, this city dude is completely concerned with appearance, what should be worn, and how. Like the Man and the Wife, the pig is also out of its natural habitat in the city. As a farmer, it makes sense that the Man would be able to catch the pig when no one else can. So again, I think both these things are used to show that they are outsiders in the city, so although they can have some fun in the city, they belong on the farm together.
  4. bleary

    Parasite (special episode)

    Still in the middle of the episode, but I will say that the only times when subtitles have hindered my enjoyment of a film is when there's a lot of dialogue AND interesting visuals, and it's tough to see both. A prime example that comes to mind to me is something like 8 1/2, which has such rapid-fire dialogue that I felt like I spent the whole movie reading the first time I saw it, and had no time to appreciate the rest of the screen. When I watched it again relatively soon after, I realized how much on the screen I had missed the first time.
  5. bleary

    The Sound of Music

    I thought the podcast discussion was great for this one, as they really hit the nail on the head on how this is so lovable despite also being so insipid and nonsensical at times. I'm abstaining from voting, because my head knows this isn't a good movie, but my heart wants to watch it again and then go sing "Edelweiss" at karaoke. But I agree with Paul and Amy that Mary Poppins would absolutely be a better film to put on the list, if it counts as being American enough for the AFI. I think it would have been cool to do this back to back with Cabaret, which is another musical set against the backdrop of the rise of Nazi Germany, but with objectively more interesting characters. I liked that Paul and Amy talked a bit about the absurdity of the geography concerning the ending, because Salzburg is VERY far from Switzerland, but as pointed out, it's only about an hour train-ride from Munich, which is where the Nazi party began and grew in the 20s. And I'm super glad they mentioned the weirdness of the "tea with jam and bread" remix, though I'd have also loved a conversation about the weirdness of the awkward soprano dubbings of the word "Goodbye" during each version of "So Long, Farewell".
  6. bleary

    2020 Oscars Preview

    Yeah, I'm really glad I was wrong on those top two! I only got like 2/3 of them right, but I'm thrilled about most of the ones I got wrong!
  7. bleary

    2020 Oscars Preview

    Just for fun, I thought I'd post my predictions for tonight's winners. Best Picture: 1917 Best Directing: Sam Mendes Best Lead Actress: Renee Zellweger Best Lead Actor: Joaquin Phoenix Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern Best Original Screenplay: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Best Adapted Screenplay: Jojo Rabbit Best Cinematography: 1917 Best Film Editing: Parasite Best Sound Mixing: 1917 Best Sound Editing: 1917 Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Best Visual Effects: The Lion King Best Makeup/Hairstyling: Bombshell Best Costume Design: Little Women Best Original Score: Joker Best Original Song: "I'm Gonna Love Me Again" from Rocketman Best International Feature: Parasite Best Animated Feature: Klaus Best Documentary Feature: American Factory Best Documentary Short: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl) Best Animated Short: Hair Love Best Live Action Short: A Sister
  8. bleary

    The Apartment

    1. Sunset Boulevard 2. Some Like It Hot 3. The Apartment 4. Double Indemnity I'm okay with keeping all four.
  9. I don't recall this "one film per director" line of thinking being bandied around as heavily during any of the Spielberg episodes. And in my mind, asking which belongs between Jaws, Schindler's List, and E.T. is just as silly as considering only one Kubrick film. For my money, I'd also put The Shining on the list. I'm in agreement with Amy that I could leave off Clockwork Orange and Spartacus (particularly since I had Clockwork ranked much lower on my list than Amy did on her's), but Dr. Strangelove, 2001, and The Shining are all vastly different types of films, and all are among the best examples of their respective genres, so I'd go with those three Kubricks on the list.
  10. bleary

    Best of the Decade Part 3 (2016-2019)

    Vacation has put me behind on my podcasts, but I finished this one today. What Paul and Amy seem to grapple with in this episode is what I grapple with for the entire decade more or less, in that I have a lot of trouble properly contextualizing the impact of these films without the benefit of more hindsight. And maybe that's why this decade seems to me to lack more pantheon films than the previous one. For the set of years focused on in this episode, I much prefer 2016 and 2017 over 2018 and 2019, but like Amy, there are few that I truly adore. My favorite films of 2016 were Moonlight, Paterson, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I think Wilderpeople gets ruled out as not an American production (though who knows how the rules actually work), and while Paterson might be my top pick of the year, I'm not sure it's the Jarmusch film that others would vote to put on this list. So I'm going with Moonlight. Honorable mentions go to 20th Century Women and Arrival. As discussed on the podcast, 2017 has a glut of very good films, such as Call Me By Your Name, Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, Get Out, and even Three Billboards, though I find each of McDonagh's films have been worse than the previous one (which reminds me that I should have talked more about Seven Psychopaths in the 2012 thread). My favorite of those was Lady Bird, but my favorite film of the year was Columbus, which just spoke to me for some reason. I love the performances of Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho in it, and Kogonada's camerawork in it is brilliant. So if it were up to me, I'd nominate Columbus because I love it, and Get Out because it did feel like the film that most represented 2017 as a point in history. I'll punt on 2018 and 2019 like Paul and Amy did.
  11. bleary

    Star Wars

    I'm a bit surprised that Empire was so quickly pushed aside on the podcast and hasn't been discussed here. Particularly since the argument seemed much more based on influence and impact than quality, I think it's important to point out that The Empire Strikes Back contains perhaps as many things that live on in public consciousness as Star Wars does. (When people think of iconic Star Wars moments or information, my guess is what they think of is 40% from Episode IV, 40% from Episode V, 10% from Episode VI, and 10% from all other movies together.) Paul mentioned that Star Wars information is so ubiquitous that most people know that Darth Vader is Luke's father without seeing any of the movies. But again, that information isn't presented in Star Wars, but rather it's given in The Empire Strikes Back. And while Star Wars had John Williams give us the main title theme, the force theme, and Leia's theme, it wasn't until Empire that we got the Imperial Death March, which may actually be more well-known than the others. Episode IV lacks Yoda and Lando, and the only lightsaber battle in Episode IV kind of blows compared to what the series would later give us. And to be honest, the principle of this original vs sequel argument isn't one I've been very consistent on, as I lobbied hard for Toy Story despite accepting that Toy Story 3 is a better film and I decry The Godfather Part II for retreading over much of the same territory as The Godfather, yet I also voted against The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring because I think it's the weakest of the three films. So if this were asking whether I'd pick Episode IV or Episode V for inclusion (as Amy once did on an early episode of The Canon), I'd be more torn. But if we're using Star Wars as a stand-in for the whole series, then clearly it belongs on the list. However, I'm just judging it on its merits as a film, so though it still makes my list, it won't be as high as The Empire Strikes Back would be. (I'll probably have Star Wars in the 50-60 range when it's all said and done.)
  12. bleary

    Best Of The Decade Pt. 1

    Sure, I definitely do, but not particularly from 2010-2012. We'll talk about Ryan Coogler and Steve McQueen in 2013, Ava DuVernay and Damien Chazelle in 2014, Sean Baker and Marielle Heller in 2015, Barry Jenkins in 2016, Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele and Chloe Zhao in 2017, etc. And I'll definitely be throwing support behind some of those films in later episodes. But at the same time, in the context of 2000s vs 2010s, there are some people on this list that I love, but from whom I still think their best work is yet to come. For example, I think Ava DuVernay is an incredible director, but I don't think she's made her masterpiece yet. Ditto for Ryan Coogler and, to a lesser extent, Sean Baker (I don't think we'll be disappointed in the long run if we find out that Tangerine and The Florida Project were his masterpieces, but I'm still hoping for more on the horizon).
  13. bleary

    Best Of The Decade Pt. 1

    This was my thought process, and you even nailed a few of the movies I was thinking about. Mulholland Dr is my favorite film of the 21st century so far, so I very heavily feel the lack of David Lynch films in this decade. Similarly but from the writing side, Charlie Kaufman wrote Adaptation., Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York in the 2000s, possibly all of which would land in my top 25 films of the century. Now, when 2015 comes up for discussion, I'm going to ride hard for Anomalisa, but it's still tremendously disappointing that only one of his scripts got made in the 2010s. So there's this category of filmmakers whose output just got completely shut off in the 2010s. Next, there are filmmakers whose work just seemed to get precipitously worse from 2000s to 2010s. I'm thinking of Cameron Crowe here, who started the century with Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky and has devolved into We Bought A Zoo and Aloha. I'm thinking of Ang Lee, who went from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain to Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Gemini Man. I'm thinking of Christopher Nolan, who made Memento and The Prestige in the 2000s, which I find leaps and bounds better than Inception and Interstellar (Dunkirk was solid, but I'm not sure I'd take it over either of his better two Batman movies, which were 2000s). Then there are a lot of filmmakers who produced solid work in both decades, but for whatever reason, I'm just more drawn to the 2000s work. For the Coens, I loved Inside Llewyn Davis, but the run they went on in the late 2000s with No Country For Old Men followed by Burn After Reading followed by A Serious Man is just insane. For Fincher, I take Zodiac over The Social Network. So that's where I'm at. (The notables that I didn't mention like PTA or Wes Anderson were left out because I think their outputs across the two decades are roughly the same in quality.) I won't wade into the 2005 vs 2011 debate except to say that I do slightly prefer 2005.
  14. bleary

    Best Of The Decade Pt. 1

    Does anyone else think the films in this decade are far inferior to the films of the previous decade? I remember in June 2017 when Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott of the New York Times published their list of the top 25 films of the 21st century so far, they had a pretty even split between years, but my personal top 25 had 21 films from 2000-2009 and only 4 films from 2010-2017. Maybe it's a lack of mid-budget original films getting made, as many filmmakers would claim. Maybe it's not an issue of quality and it's more an issue of how being a decade older has changed the way I perceive and interact with culture. And to that end, although I enjoyed this episode of the podcast, I'm of the mind that 2011 and 2012 were terrible years for movies, and that 2010 looks overrated now with the benefit of hindsight. The 2011 Oscar Best Picture nominees are so bad, they almost made people second guess expanding the number of nominees. Of those, I enjoyed Hugo and Midnight in Paris, but I'd hardly go out on a limb to stump for either. Yeah, I know some people love The Tree of Life (beautifully shot, but left me empty and bored), or Moneyball (meh, Billy Beane never made a World Series; come at me), or War Horse (it's weird how much some people love horses). And while I don't hate The Artist, I have to imagine it was left off the AFI list because it doesn't qualify as an American film (not that I'd vote for it on the list anyway). And of the non-Oscar-lauded films, I see the love for Drive, but I found it all style and far too little substance. I still haven't seen Bernie and Young Adult, but the support for those makes me want to check them out. If I'm being honest, I'm not inclined to float anything from 2011 for inclusion on the AFI list, but if I must, it sort of has to be Bridesmaids, for all the reasons mentioned here and on the podcast. 2012 is better, but Argo winning Best Picture still leaves it with a bad taste in my mouth. Of the 10 films picked by the AFI in 2012, I think Moonrise Kingdom is great, but not the Wes Anderson I'd most support for inclusion. I enjoyed Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Beasts of the Southern Wild, but not passionately enough to push for them. I did, however, really love what Kathryn Bigelow did with Zero Dark Thirty, controversies and all. Besides the AFI top 10 and Best Picture nominees, I loved The Master (which should have been both on the AFI top 10 and a Best Picture nominee), but it wouldn't be my top PTA pick, even of this decade. Similarly, Skyfall was great, but I'm not sure Bond movies qualify for the list, and it'd be hard to pick this one as the representative even if they did. I don't think they mentioned The Avengers on this episode, and while the quality of that film has been wildly debated, it's undeniable that its success has changed the entire film industry. So my nominees, if I had to pick any, would be Zero Dark Thirty for its quality and The Avengers for its impact, though I also like AlmostAGhost's endorsement of Frances Ha as being a mumblecore rep. And then let me circle back to 2010, a traditionally celebrated year in cinema. The AFI top 10 are exactly the 10 Best Picture nominees, except with The Town replacing The King's Speech which apparently was judged to not be an American film. The lineup looked great at the time, with Fincher, Aronofsky, Russell, Nolan, and the Coens all putting up serious films. But in retrospect, the films by Russell, Nolan, and the Coens were nowhere near their best. Now, Black Swan is actually my favorite Aronofsky film, so I was happy to hear Paul speak in favor of it. But The Social Network is hard for me to get behind, for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is just my absolute fatigue with Aaron Sorkin. The overwhelming sameness of the dialogue in his scripts is tiresome to me, as is his tendency to insert himself into all his recent screenplays. Mark Zuckerberg doesn't speak in The Social Network with Mark Zuckerberg's voice, but with Aaron Sorkin's. So I might not love this film even if it were a story about a fictional stand-in for Zuckerberg. But then in addition, it bugs me that this has become scripture in a lot of people's eyes on who Zuckerberg is. The reality is that Sorkin's version of Zuckerberg is nothing like the real Zuckerberg, on both sides of the spectrum. It goes too hard on him by portraying him as a love-sick loser when in reality he was in a committed relationship (albeit with some STEM-dude weirdness, which, speaking as a STEM dude, is not atypical). But more than that, it goes way too easy on him in a few ways. It portrays him as a Randian genius who deserves all the money he made, and it decries those who seek to get their hands on what is rightfully his, as well as the system that allows it. It portrays him as someone whose motivations were sympathetic, as his company sought to connect people, as he personally had troubling connecting with people. It portrays him as someone not fueled by greed, but someone manipulated into it by Sean Parker, to whom he wanted to seem cool. I mean, it's such a sympathetic view of Zuckerberg that he screened it for Facebook employees when it came out. So despite it being an extremely well-made film, I reject the notion that it's important or timely or representative of the decade. At any rate, my 2010 nominee would be Scott Pilgrim vs. the World because it's super fucking rad. Also, Easy A still holds up really well. I'm looking forward to hearing the episodes to come though, because I think 2013-2016 are all considerably better years.
  15. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Hmm, interesting that they're doing Star Wars before the 75 film check-in. I wonder if they're just going to skip it this quarter.