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bleary

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Everything posted by bleary

  1. bleary

    Episode 95: STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN

    Wow, way more comments than I expected, so I don't know if I'm treading on well-worn territory here. Anyway, I fully agree with Amy's point that we don't have to put a Star Trek movie into the Canon. It is more famous and popular as a TV series than as a movie series. However, I disagree with most of her other points this week. I believe she raised the question of whether people who are not fans of the TV series would be into this movie. I certainly fall into that category. Aside from catching a few seconds of TNG while flipping channels and wondering why the dude from Reading Rainbow was wearing a visor over his eyes, I had seen no Star Trek until the Abrams reboot came out. (My college roommate was astonished that I had never even heard the original series theme song before.) I knew from a general knowledge of pop culture that Shatner had played Kirk, Nimoy had played Spock, there was a Scottish guy, and Patrick Stewart was in the newer series. There were lines and phrases I was familiar with: "Live long and prosper," "Beam me up, Scotty," "I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!", "I'm a doctor, not a ____," and of course, "Khaaaaaaaaaan!" But I had no context for any of it until I saw the 2009 reboot, and I greatly enjoyed that film. It motivated me to find out whether these characters were as or more interesting when played by their original cast, and I had seen enough Robot Chicken/Family Guy style spoofs of Kirk shouting "Khaaaaaaaaan!" that I figured I'd start with that. I was blown away by it in many ways, not the least of which being how well it informed the reboot. (For example, I liked the idea of the Kobayashi Maru in the reboot, but found it much more satisfying as introduced in Wrath of Khan and actually used as a major theme of the film.) Due to the limitations of special effects, the emotional arcs of the characters were the crutches to lean on instead of action scenes, and despite Shatner and Montalban putting on an overacting clinic, the emotional core was extremely solid. Suffice it to say, I was impressed by the film. Interestingly enough, seeing Wrath of Khan made me want to see Space Seed and other TOS episodes, and... I didn't like them. Space Seed is not great except for Montalban's enjoyable performance, and I completely reject the idea that you have to have seen Space Seed to understand or appreciate Wrath of Khan. And the other dozen or so episodes I saw ranged from fine to boring. (Sorry, hardcore Trekkies. Off the top of my head, the episodes I saw included The Naked Time, The Enemy Within, The Menagerie, Balance of Terror, Arena, The City on the Edge of Forever, Amok Time, Mirror Mirror, and The Trouble With Tribbles. It just didn't do it for me.) Never even tried any of the other series after that, since the only thing I really did like from the original series were the characters. The points are: - I'm not a Star Trek fan, but I really liked Wrath of Khan. - I saw Wrath of Khan without having seen Space Seed and I still enjoyed it. - The fact that the Star Trek franchise is popular is not reason in and of itself to include a Star Trek movie in the Canon, but this particular film works on its own and, I believe, is Canon-worthy on its own. If there were no Star Trek TV series, no books, and no other movies than Wrath of Khan, then Wrath of Khan would still be a good movie. The fact that these characters exist in other media and are well-known in popular culture only serves to make the ending that much more emotional, but I don't think that should be held against the film. So yeah, I voted yes.
  2. bleary

    Knock-Out Suggestions

    I sort of feel that the best of the year picks should be off limits. If it was too soon to put them in, it's too soon to kick them out I also think the indulgence picks should be off limits, both because they occurred so recently and because they were so personal. I'm for letting those wins stand fair and square (for another 100 episodes at least). That said, I think it would be good to have a film of which Amy was a stronger advocate against a film of which Devin was a stronger advocate. The ones that make the most sense to me would be Working Girl vs. Cannibal Holocaust, but there are certainly other films that could be looked at.
  3. bleary

    Episode #91: LABYRINTH

    I'm a very soft yes. But more importantly, how did the podcast and 70 posts in this thread all neglect to address the lyric: "Slap that baby, make him free"?
  4. bleary

    Episode #90: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

    I'm sad Amy probably won't read the comments this week, so she won't know that she absolutely sold me on this. I'm a yes after hearing her points. First, I was on the fence about the lip-synching just after watching. It seemed to teeter between over-sincerity and kitsch. The idea that the characters having these fantasies are only able to express their feelings through these songs resolves that in my eyes. The concept that a song can articulate something better than you could is as meaningful today as it was in the '30s or the mix-tape '80s or the mix-CD '90s (what do people make now, mix-Spotify-playlists?). This interpretation of the musical numbers really changed the characterization for me and made them feel all the more relatable. Speaking of which, time for a negative note: Arthur's "mistakes" were not at all relatable to me. In the best-case reading, he's an incredibly selfish guy, and in the worst-case reading, as Devin said, he's a sociopath and a little monstrous. I have to say that I was leaning towards Devin's view while I was watching this, to the point where when he meets the blind girl, I seriously thought that he was going to try to rape-seduce her like he did with Eileen. As it turned out, he never truly crossed THAT irredeemable line, but the way the movie was progressing at that point, that seemed like a possible next step for his character. But I disagree with both Devin and Amy, in that I think the movie knows he's a little monstrous and does NOT want you to view his ending as injustice, but as a sort of karma for his other crimes. I don't think the movie thinks that he deserves a happy ending, but only that HE thinks he deserves a happy ending, which is consistent with his selfishness throughout the film. I'm also not sold on Devin's argument that Steve Martin was wrong for the role, nor do I feel as Amy does that he's perfect for the role. I see Devin's point that Martin seems more sarcastic than he means to, particularly at this point in his career (although I am vehemently against this as an argument against him in Bowfinger, where he had the perfect mix of sarcasm and sincerity for that role. I could talk a lot about how much I like Bowfinger for what it is). But intentional or not, I think that little note of irony helps make Arthur look like more of a bad guy, which I still believe is the way the movie wanted him to be viewed. If he was 100% sincere, his later faults would be even more jarring. I also disagree with Devin's argument that he's too handsome for the role, and I don't get why a less handsome person would be better for the role. He has a beautiful wife and gains a beautiful mistress, so the character can't be too bad-looking. I think Martin was absolutely fine in the role. In all, it has some spectacular musical numbers (and a couple that drag) and a generally frustrating story (with a few excellent character moments). I had trouble reconciling the two as one coherent film until I listened to the podcast. Now, I'm onboard with it. It's a truly unique movie, and if it did actually kill the movie musical as was suggested in the podcast, that's enough to make it Canon-worthy right there! I can understand why some people would dislike it, but I'm a little dumbfounded at how angry some people seem to be about it. I wouldn't pay money to watch it again probably, but if I ever stumble across it on TV, I'll probably tune in.
  5. bleary

    Episode 86: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S

    I had a very similar experience to Devin on this one: I had seen the movie years ago, thought it was okay, but important enough to make the Canon. On rewatch, I just straight up enjoy this movie. And the important aspects of it remain. One of the all-time great original scores. The inadvertent advent of the "manic pixie dream girl" trope (which I've said for years and I'm glad Devin talked about it). One of the most instantly recognizable movie posters. And a career-defining performance by, in my opinion, one of the top five actresses in movie history. I was a soft yes before my rewatch, and I'm a hard yes now.
  6. bleary

    Episode 85: BOOGIE NIGHTS vs TWBB

    Great episode. I'm going for Boogie Nights. It might be Canon just for the cast alone, which is one of the best casts in movie history: seven actors in the cast were nominated for Oscars, with a total of 14 nominations between them - and that doesn't even count the phenomenal contributions of Thomas Jane, Alfred Molina, Heather Graham, and Luis Guzman. Add to that some of the best shots I've seen, including the breathtaking opening tracking shot and the pool scene. But the thing that really sets this apart from TWBB is the way it treats its characters like humans, whereas TWBB treats its characters as gods. I agree largely with Amy's view of TWBB, in that beyond the incredible acting performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano, it's a rather narrow film. (I understand that saying to look beyond one of the greatest pairs of performances in any film in history is a rather narrow argument, but the film has always has left me unsatisfied.) But overall, I can't argue with either choice, and this was a thoroughly enjoyable episode to listen to.
  7. bleary

    Episode 83: KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE

    To me, this is only a tough vote because of how unlikely it is that Devin would allow another episode on a Miyazaki film. There is no doubt that Miyazaki has a place in the Canon. But to me, this particular film is far less influential than his other work. I disagree with the notion that this is the "most Miyazaki" of his films. My favorite aspects of his films are the stunning artwork and the fantastical world-building. And to me, there's no doubt that Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are the two films that most epitomize those aspects. I'm less enthusiastic about Totoro than many people, but I'm a big fan of Nausicaa and would have rather had that discussed if we wanted something less than a slam dunk like Spirited Away would be. But Kiki's has less stunning visuals and, to me, less interesting world-building. I don't think there's anything Canon that it's bringing to the table that isn't done better in one of his other films. So I have to vote no.
  8. bleary

    Homework: Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

    For anyone within 3 1/2 hours of Los Angeles, it's playing at the Nuart Theatre in West LA tonight at midnight.
  9. bleary

    Episode 82: THEY LIVE

    I vote no. I was excited to see this, because I had listened to the "I Was There Too" episode with Peter Jason in which he talked, among other things, about some of the great lines in the movie. Seeing the lines in context and seeing how ridiculously poorly they were delivered was disappointing. I expected the movie to be funnier, and some of the lines would be much funnier if they were delivered by someone other than Roddy Piper. I think it's a solid tongue-in-cheek screenplay, but Piper's performance to me is not one of an "everyman" in this situation, but rather one of an "everyman" reading a screenplay for the first time. (Maybe the next LACMA table-read can be They Live with the role of Nada played by some 35 year old pulled off a Wilshire construction site. The performance could only be better.) The fight scene really bored me, and was nonsensical in the context of the plot. And just because something boring and nonsensical symbolizes something else doesn't make it less boring or more crucial to the plot. I had no problem with the cheap look of it, and I did actually like the look of the aliens. (And I'm 100% with Amy in that I was also completely unaware of the alien faces being redone in pop culture. When I saw the faces in this movie, it was, to the best of my knowledge, the first time I'd ever seen them.) To me, the only design piece of the movie that has remained are the OBEY signs, due in large part to the work of Shepard Fairey, as Devin pointed out. A versus episode of this against Snowpiercer would be interesting, because both are incredibly cheesy movies with the same theme, but I find the latter more watchable. However, I'd probably say that neither really belongs in the Canon anyway, so perhaps it's better that it wasn't a versus episode.
  10. bleary

    Your Indulgence Picks

    Bergman's Persona. No Bergman has been discussed for the Canon yet, and although I think he has better films, I'll always enjoy watching Persona.
  11. bleary

    Episode 77: SEVEN

    I finally signed up for an account on this forum just to say how enthusiastically I agree with Amy on this. I think David Fincher is tremendously overrated, and that Seven is, at best, the 4th best of his 10 films (and probably 5 or 6 that I'd rather watch than this). This is a solid no for me.
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