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bleary

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Everything posted by bleary

  1. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Yeah, just went up on Prime last week apparently. It's nice when the streaming services accommodate Unspooled's schedule like this, unlike Unforgiven which was on Netflix until very recently. For now, I can't find either The Searchers or Unforgiven on any major subscription streaming service.
  2. bleary

    Schindler's List

    That answers one question I had.
  3. bleary

    Schindler's List

    Yeah, this is interesting to me as well, both from an education point of view and from a more pop culture and filmmaking point of view. I was shocked when they told the story on the podcast of a U.S. History class that didn't cover the Holocaust because the teacher determined it wasn't relevant enough to the U.S. But, having also been too young to see it in theaters, all of my education about the Holocaust came in a post-Schindler's List world, so I have a lot of questions about how people were taught in the 70s and 80s. Though I can't exactly recall all the details, my feeling is that I learned the broad strokes of the story of the Holocaust at the same time as I first learned about Hitler, because the idea of wanting to kill people for being different is the kind of simplistic villainy that any child can understand as being wrong. But in addition to exposure through early middle school history lessons, we also read the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank in 8th grade English and we read Elie Wiesel's Night in 10th grade. Those texts were available in the 70s and 80s, so were they taught? And if not, why not? From a film history point of view, it's probably been more heavily studied. That is, despite the fact that nearly every single major Hollywood film studio in the 1900s and 1910s was founded by Jewish immigrants or first-generation American offspring of Jewish immigrants, there were and have been relatively few popular films that were about being Jewish, and I imagine that there are articles I could read that would explain why. (Sure, comedians like Mel Brooks or Woody Allen used their Jewish heritage as punchlines at times, and Bible-era stories just as Ben-Hur or The Ten Commandments focused heavily on the Judaism of that time. Later, Fiddler on the Roof and Yentl were fairly popular films about the early 1900s in Russia and Poland respectively.) But without reading those articles, I would think there's probably some systemic reason why this didn't happen, and why prominent Jewish directors such as Billy Wilder, William Wyler, Miloš Forman, or George Cukor never made any films about the Holocaust. Of the films with big name directors about the Holocaust that were made before Schindler's List, the only one completely about life in concentration camps that I can see is Geroge Stevens' version of The Diary of Anne Frank, which seems to have been mostly a box-office flop. Then, like Sophie's Choice, there are films mostly about the aftermath of the Holocaust that only include camps in flashbacks or memories, such as Fred Zinnemann's The Search (1948), Otto Preminger's Exodus (1960), and Sidney Lumet's The Pawnbroker (1964). So it really was a big deal that a director like Spielberg, who had four previous films nominated for Oscars and who had released the highest grossing film of all-time just months prior, made this film that was entirely about the Holocaust.
  4. bleary

    Schindler's List

    I'm interested in whether the lack of discussion on this movie is due to people choosing not to/not getting a chance to watch/rewatch it, or due to a general lack of differing opinion or lack of desire to engage in the usual banter over such a serious movie. (Or maybe everyone is out shopping or otherwise enjoying the holidays, or just taking care of end of year business. I put it on while I was grading finals, so I might have missed a chyron or two.)
  5. bleary

    Schindler's List

    It's like the aphorism (usually credited to Stalin, but it precedes him) that "One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." Humans experience empathy in a lot of different ways, and for many people the sight of bodies in mass graves is an abstract horror; something that is recognizably despicable yet somehow distant. Those people may understand the event more intimately if they are shown the personalities/souls/living essences that were extinguished. This is why the Diary of Anne Frank is still so moving for so many people, and why even slightly factually incorrect depictions can contextualize the horrors for people in a different way. As sycasey said, it's not more or less valuable, but it's different.
  6. bleary

    Schindler's List

    Some airlines are better than others with this though. Over the summer I watched Jules and Jim for the first time on an Air France flight, and I didn't get the sense that there was any editing for content. On domestic flights, I stick to PG-rated material (but I found Paddington 2 great on an American Airlines flight).
  7. bleary

    Schindler's List

    What's wrong with watching stuff on a plane? I watched Buster Scruggs on my phone on a plane last month and I still incredibly enjoyed the movie. As far as Schindler's List goes, I have to echo many of the things brought up in the episode. Like Paul, I was really dreading this one due to its content and runtime. But like Amy and Paul said, it's a much more enjoyable movie than I remembered it being, and it feels like far less than 195 minutes. (I might be in the minority here, but I think the only time the film really slows down too much for my taste is the middle 45 minutes or so when they're spending time developing the relationships between Goeth and Schindler and between Goeth and Hirsch. That might have worked well for some people, but it seems to be at a different pace than the rest of the movie.) I can see why critics might argue that the enjoyability of the film is in some way disrespectful to the actual horrific real-life circumstances. However, I think it serves to expose a wider audience to the story, and I wouldn't really say that the film sugarcoats things. It's an incredibly brutal film, and I think it's a credit to Spielberg that audience members were able to absorb this brutality and be affected by it without it causing them to shut down and stop watching. I contrast it with something like Come and See which is a fantastic film about the brutality of WWII, but it is so dire that it's a really hard film to get through. So how do you portray something miserable and brutal without it feeling like exploitation or misery porn or something? It's a tough line to walk, but I think this film manages to do it correctly.
  8. bleary

    Rocky

    I think we'll have to agree to disagree. For one thing, what battle? Maybe I'm remembering the film incorrectly, but it seemed like as soon as he decided to fight the cancer, he won. (Was he already in remission by the time the fight happened?) I can see this argument against killing him off, but that's not the biggest crux of my problem with the subplot. So I think my main problem with it is to make the problem cancer comes off as lazy storytelling to me. If there has to some problem Rocky faces that parallels what Creed is facing, then either it's a problem that can be fixed by a pep talk from Adonis, or it can't. And if it can't, then to not show the battle, but only say that it's been resolved, it cheapens the magnitude of the problem. As I recall, the only ill effects Rocky suffered from his cancer was that he was a little slower climbing the Philly Art Museum steps at the end? The tidiness of the resolution is not commensurate with the size of the problem in my opinion, and that's what feels lazy. So Amy seemed to argue for a less tidy resolution, such as Rocky dying, and I can see that as being interesting. I can also see Quasar Sniffer's argument against it. But if the resolution must be as tidy as it is, the problem should be small enough that it can be fixed by a pep talk from Adonis.
  9. bleary

    Rocky

    Sometimes people fight and still die. When Adrian died of cancer, do you think she gave up? I don't think that Amy is saying that Rocky should have given up, but that it comes off as lazy storytelling to have this life-threatening disease enter the story simply to symbolize Rocky's decision about how he feels about his own life. As Amy said, that part of the plot is not played for how it affects Adonis, but only about Rocky grappling with his feelings, so, as she said, it feels like Stallone realized the movie was too much about Adonis and wrote himself his own little storyline. I like Creed a lot, but I think Amy is dead-on with her criticism of this particular subplot.
  10. bleary

    Rocky

    Considering his punches killed Apollo! If I recall correctly, there was some scene in Rocky V (which is the film in the series I've watched the least) where Rocky is diagnosed with some kind of brain damage, but it was before they knew about CTE. At any rate, the fact that he knew he had brain damage made me angrier at the premise of Rocky Balboa.
  11. bleary

    Rocky

    I'm surprised by all the glowing reviews of Rocky Balboa. It's the only one in the series I haven't seen (except Creed II so far). I skipped it because the concept of a boxer in his fifties competing with the heavyweight champion seems so moronic to me. The idea of how Rocky is used in Creed appealed to me more because it seems so much more realistic. Although if we're being frank, someone who took as many heavy blows to the head as Rocky did would likely have severe CTE.
  12. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    If you don't catch Schindler's List in theaters, you can stream it from Netflix (in the US). If you don't catch It's A Wonderful Life on TV, you can stream it from Amazon Prime. If you can't get In The Heat Of The Night at your local library, it's on some subscription streaming service called IndieFlix.
  13. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    And I think Se7en is much more disturbing the way it is than if we'd have been shown some Greg Nicotero effect inside the box.
  14. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    But the people who try to cure him are definitively judged to be wrong (by both the novel and the film) in the way they are portrayed. And Kubrick's decision to have Alex singing and dancing while he rapes the writer's wife gives that scene a charming and whimsical tone. I understand that it's meant to contrast with the horror of the act, but it's presented in such a way that I can absolutely see how some people would see Alex as heroic. Hell, the reason it got "banned" in the UK was because of all the copycat crimes. I'm inclined to say no. Every artist's intention is to make a great film, and we obviously don't see all films as great. So if the artist's intention is to make an anti-violence statement through satirization, and it doesn't come off that way in the film, why shouldn't we criticize the film for achieving the opposite of its intention?
  15. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    This is the crux of every film about bad behavior: is the film endorsing, glorifying, or excusing the behavior, or is it firmly denouncing or condemning the behavior? And it's 100% an "eye of the beholder" question. In this case, I mostly lean towards Cameron H.'s side (as well as Amy's side and that of many others here) that the film teeters too closely to glorifying or excusing Alex's violence, particularly the violence towards women.
  16. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    I feel like this is a situation where it feels like we're arguing but we're actually in complete agreement.
  17. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    Most definitely. Unfortunately, there's literally no way to get data on this that doesn't involve a degree of self-selection. (Is there a way to get data on anything that doesn't involve self-selection? Even the US presidential elections only depend on the 60% of eligible voters who decide to actually vote.) So as a math person, I've learned to take ANY statistics with a grain of salt, even when proper scientific method as been followed, which is obviously not the case here. Very possible, but I wouldn't think that argument would apply to the 18-29 and 30-44 age ranges, since this film literally came out before any of them were born. But this also brings up the point that I don't know how they handle the age demographics. I rated Clockwork a 7 out of 10 on IMDb when I was in the 18-29 age range. Now that I'm in the 30-44 age range, does my rating of 7 move to that demographic? I would hope not, since that number represented only how I felt about the film at that time. I would hope that if I changed the ranking now, that 7 would disappear from the 18-29 range and my new ranking (probably a 6) would appear in the 30-44 range. sycasey is right, in that I wasn't focused on the numbers, but rather the differences between them. And I didn't post the numbers to confirm any bias I had, but rather because there was a question, and this gives a (partial, imperfect) answer to that question. And if anything, I see these numbers mostly backing up Cameron H.'s assertion. I'm not a statistician, but I see that .2 difference between male and female voters as statistically significant, particularly given the amount of self-selection that's been mentioned. (That's roughly the same as the difference between female and male voters 18-44 voting on 50 First Dates, and I would say the percentage of impassioned defenses of 50 First Dates coming from females is roughly the same as the percentage of impassioned defenses of A Clockwork Orange coming from males.) But if you want to see impassioned defenses from females, there are plenty of them in the 5 star reviews on Letterboxd (or we could take a page from Paul's book and look at the 5 star reviews on Amazon ). There aren't nearly as many impassioned defenses from females as there are from males, but I don't know if anyone thought there would be. Probably true for most movies, but there are a few with pretty even ratios and even a few with more female votes than male votes. (Steel Magnolias for one!)
  18. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    Agreed. But I do like that it shows how both genders think less highly of the movie as they age.
  19. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    To that end, from IMDb (so take it with a grain of salt):
  20. bleary

    Sophie’s Choice

    Let's say top-billed or second-billed. That would exclude Amy Adams in The Master. Michelle Williams is a good pick, but as you allude to, I don't anticipate any of her films ending up on AFI ballots. (Except for Brokeback, which she's not top- or second-billed in.)
  21. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    Anyway, I'm with Paul and AlmostAGhost on how this film hasn't aged well as I've grown up. I posited in my Letterboxd review that A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick's version of a 60s/70s exploitation B movie, what with all the unnecessary sex (superfluous to the necessary amount of sex to tell the story) and the super weird over-the-top performances. Maybe exploitation films are what Kubrick thought of when he read the story, since it's about glorification of sex and violence. At any rate, I don't see the greatness in this. I was sort of thinking that there would be at least a couple people in this forum arguing vehemently for it, but so far it doesn't seem to be so. And also, I was taken aback when both Paul and Amy said they'd take A Clockwork Orange over Taxi Driver. I'm surely not the biggest defender of Taxi Driver, but it will certainly end up higher on my list than Clockwork.
  22. bleary

    A Clockwork Orange

    The Fight Club of the 70s. *ducks for cover*
  23. bleary

    Sophie’s Choice

    Are there examples of the opposite? Can you name an actress in the last 30 years (good or bad) who is the lead actress in multiple great films? Part of me wonders if films where a female is top billed are just less likely to be considered great. And for better or worse, Streep seems to choose great roles over working with so-called prestige directors (possible exceptions being Sydney Pollock for Out Of Africa and Robert Altman for Prairie Home Companion).
  24. bleary

    Sophie’s Choice

    I was tempted to suggest that we needed a complete list of directed graphs on three vertices with no isolated vertices, before deciding that was too mathy. But TV Tropes provides the list for us! https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TriangRelations They suggest that Sophie's Choice is a #6 on that list, because Stingo does seem to genuinely want to be friends with Nathan.
  25. bleary

    Sophie’s Choice

    I agree. As much as I complain about his character, his use as a plot device makes the storytelling more interesting. This was a major trend in Oscar bait films from the 80s, to tell their story across a wider time period instead of staying tethered to more or less a moment in time. (I'm looking at you, Gandhi, Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, Out of Africa, The Color Purple, The Last Emperor, and Driving Miss Daisy, all Best Picture winners except Purple.) I think the difference in storytelling method is why I like Sophie's Choice and Amadeus better than the rest of these. I realize that you're not suggesting that the whole story be told linearly like the bulk of these films were, but I rather like that the entirety of Sophie's relationship with Nathan up to that point is summed up relatively briefly, and I think there are diminishing returns in going back earlier to see it. Exactly, and this is one of the tropes I was trying to describe: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator
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