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bleary

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Everything posted by bleary

  1. bleary

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I'm a total Denethor, always making people sing for me while I disgustingly eat a shitload of meat. But no seriously, Gimli has always struck me as having the right amounts of bravado and insecurity.
  2. bleary

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I really want to hear more about why you prefer the first over the later installments, since I can't understand this. I should start by saying that I do love the trilogy as a whole, but I think the first film is by far the least interesting (I know, three straight episodes in which I've disagreed with Amy, and I suspect Psycho will make it four in a row). When Ludofl3x says that the entire crew is together for the bulk of the story, I assume you mean the fellowship. But I really feel like the first film is a little worse because the entire cast of characters is NOT there. I love Theoden, Eowyn, Eomer, Treebeard, Denethor, and I even have occasional fondness for Faramir. While these are some of the most interesting characters in the story, what's even more egregious is that Fellowship features maybe five seconds of the single most interesting, iconic character and iconic achievement of the series: Gollum. (Well, maybe Tom Bombadil is more interesting. That dude is a fucking legend.) I give Fellowship credit for showing how viable the series could be, and I could list dozens of things in it that I love, but I find Return of the King to have a more satisfying story, the completion of character arcs, better CGI, and better action sequences.
  3. bleary

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I agree that 5 is the worst, in the sense that it has the largest gap between quality of the book and quality of the movie. I find 1 tough to watch because all of the kids are still pretty terrible at acting, and I'm not a fan of 2 because I think it's the worst of the books.
  4. bleary

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    Except for the flying dementors. But regardless, Prisoner of Azkaban is the film that showed what the franchise could be, after the two largely insipid Chris Columbus installments. I might prefer 7.1 and 7.2 as films, but 3 is the one that would most belong on the list.
  5. bleary

    The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

    I just came to count the Tom Bombadil references. Disappointed there are none so far.
  6. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Guess I have to start checking Shudder now
  7. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    Also, the voiceover in Apocalypse Now is SOOO much better than the voiceover in Platoon.
  8. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    Bingo. Comparing Apocalypse Now to Platoon because they are both set in Vietnam at roughly the same time is like comparing Citizen Kane to All the President's Men because both are about newspapers. It's technically true, but it's missing a lot of what makes each special. As I said in my big earlier post, I don't much care for the traditional beats of war movies, which Platoon doesn't stray too far from. Platoon is going to end up pretty low on my list (probably bottom 25), while Apocalypse Now is going to end up quite high on my list (I currently have it only behind 2001 and Citizen Kane).
  9. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    I'm in the middle of rewatching Fellowship of the Ring for next week. Fitting that I stumbled upon this line of discussion exactly when the troll showed up.
  10. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    And speaking of that "Community" parody of Hearts of Darkness/Apocalypse Now:
  11. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    This is a really interesting comparison. In my case, I love Dali, and I love Apocalypse Now. In last week's episode, guest Henry Parke called High Noon a western for people who aren't really into westerns. Similarly, Apocalypse Now is a war movie for people who aren't really into war movies. I am one of those people who does not particularly enjoy war movies, so when I first watched Apocalypse Now a decade or so ago, I expected to hate it. Instead of getting some pro-war gung-ho bullshit, or some anti-war cloying morality tale, we just get insanity. In the psyche of the main characters, in the events, in the design, it's all carefully crafted insanity, and even the craft went insane at times too. As sycasey points out, the film and the book are about a descent into madness, and I agree with him that very few films pull it off as well as Apocalypse Now. As I wrote in my Letterboxd review, it's only tangentially a Vietnam War movie. It's mostly a psychological thriller with spots of 1960s European surrealism, and a dark comedy that is often a horror film. My favorite sequence is the one where a cow is being airlifted by helicopter over a Catholic mass whose participants are unflinchingly immune to the bombs exploding directly behind them. It feels like something out of 8 1/2 inserted into this film which is ostensibly about the Vietnam War. As pointed out in the podcast, Robert Duvall's Kilgore feels like he was ripped out of Catch-22, and I see that as a feature, not a bug. From the drug-laced soundtrack to the near catatonic states that Lieutenant Colby and Lance end up in, the film seems to run the gamut on depictions of insanity. The Winnie the Pooh clip I posted was made as a joke (30 years ago, too!), but there's an interesting parallel I believe. I'm a fan of the theory that the characters in the Winnie the Pooh stories all represent a different flavor of mental illness or psychological disorder. I feel like Apocalypse Now works in a similar way, inundating the viewer in insanity from all angles, until you realize that the most insane character of all is Willard for being completely immune to all of it. A word about Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness": Far be it from me to whitesplain colonialism to the brilliant Chinua Achebe, but I've always seen "Heart of Darkness" as more of a critique of colonialism than a glorification of it, and it always seemed like a companion to Achebe's work, including "Things Fall Apart." Though I agree that there will always be issues with groups in power getting to tell the stories of others who should be telling their own stories, I still would characterize "Hearts of Darkness" as firmly anti-imperialist. Similarly, I think those same critiques of colonialism are present in Apocalypse Now, such as when Kilgore calls the Vietnamese woman a savage after he has obliterated a peaceful village without remorse, or when Clean shoots up a boat of innocent people because a woman didn't want to lose her puppy. (Aside: I didn't understand the issue that Paul and Amy had with the puppy. Maybe it's a little on the nose in symbolizing the innocence of that boatful of people, but it works perfectly well to me and I can't think of something that would have worked better.) Now, these scenes don't push that message as much as, say, the scenes of atrocities committed on the Vietnamese people in Platoon, but I think that's because Platoon is about that particular war, those particular soldiers, and those particular atrocities. Apocalypse Now is only commenting on imperialism as a whole, because that's what the story is about, and the setting is just the setting. It seemed like Amy really dislikes the film predominantly because she dislikes the monumental assholishness of the main figures behind the film, particularly Coppola. I can't disagree with that assessment of Coppola, but at the same time, regardless of all the shit going on behind the scenes, the end result is masterful. I do echo Amy and Paul's recommendation to check out the documentary Hearts of Darkness. However, I disagree with Amy (and Abed and Luis Guzman from "Community") that the documentary surpasses Apocalypse Now, but I feel rather that it's an excellent companion.
  12. bleary

    Apocalypse Now

    I probably saw this before I actually saw Apocalypse Now.
  13. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Apocalypse Now is still unavailable on subscription streaming services, readily available for rental The Lord Of The Rings- The Fellowship Of the Ring can currently be streamed from Netflix (at least in the US). Psycho can currently be streamed from Starz for those with Starz subscriptions, and can also be streamed from Amazon with the Starz package. Raiders of the Lost Ark can currently be streamed from Amazon Prime.
  14. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    Just to piggyback on the last post, if you find yourself in the situation that I did, in that the Redux version was free at my local library while the Original version was not, you can note the changes in this quite precise and meticulous list: https://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=769 Having seen both versions, I enjoy both, but the original is certainly tighter (which is saying something for a 147 minute movie). If you've never seen either version before, I would definitely recommend shelling out the few bucks to see the original version.
  15. bleary

    High Noon

    I'm shocked that Paul and Amy don't think High Noon belongs on the list. It's probably my favorite Western on the list (looking forward to an Unforgiven rewatch though), and perhaps my second-favorite Western of all time behind The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I really think Gary Cooper's understated, world-weary performance is great and fully award-worthy. The film builds tension better than any movie I can think of besides maybe The Wages of Fear, and without the use of nitroglycerine at that. Its historical significance is beyond question, but that's because of its timelessness and universality. I mean, it says something about this film that both presidents and psychopaths can identify so strongly with the main character (or maybe it says something about our presidents, but I digress). It's a simple film that is executed masterfully across the board. Just to add to Cam Bert's response, I think the fact that he was able to dispatch Miller and his gang with only his wife's help really emphasizes how shitty the rest of the town was being. As Cam Bert said, Kane didn't really want to kill Miller. If, say, 20 people in the town had stood their ground with Kane, Miller might have seen that the odds were against him and left town without any shootout. If only one or two able gunmen had helped Kane, in hindsight it seems like some minor planning would probably have been enough to take care of the gang without any of the volunteers getting hurt. As it was, Kane took a bullet on behalf of the town, purely because they were too uncooperative to help him not have to take a bullet. As AlmostAGhost says, that look of disgust is great, and I also read it a bit as a grimace of pain, since the dude just got shot. Would it have been a stronger ending if Kane had been more heavily wounded or killed? Again, I think Cam Bert's point about the hypocrisy of the town coming out to celebrate is spot-on. Those idiots don't even realize how they look, cheering for a man after fitting him for a coffin, and I think this is made stronger by how little help was actually needed.
  16. bleary

    Upcoming Episodes

    If you're waiting on Taxi Driver, it's on WatchTCM online until September 25 http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/titles/16448 High Noon is still on Amazon Prime and Hulu. I'm still not able to find Apocalypse Now on any subscription streaming services. When Fellowship of the Ring comes around, it's currently streaming on Netflix.
  17. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Completely agree. Somehow, I think Catch Me If You Can is just about as good as a movie can be without it being at all essential. I love catching bits of it on cable over and over, and yet I never feel the urge to tell someone that they must see it, and I feel like if I never saw it again, I wouldn't throw a fit. It's an interesting point about the daddy issues in Catch Me If You Can, because it seems like that was portrayed mostly true to life. From Wikipedia: So story-wise, Spielberg was tied by the truth. I do think he portrays the father-son relationship in a more positive light than he did in Close Encounters and E.T. Moving forward in his career to War of the Worlds, the dad there is an outright hero. Then I think Bridge of Spies shows what he would have wanted his relationship with his father to be if they'd never gotten divorced, as the father there is a workaholic as Spielberg's father was, but he understands the importance of family and is someone that his kids can look up to and be proud of.
  18. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Hot take: Hook is Spielberg's Goonies. I loved that movie as a kid, but I think it's pretty objectively bad. Hook also continued Spielberg's "daddy issues" theme, though it might be the nadir of those films. Speaking of Spielberg's "daddy issues", I do wonder though if Spielberg's reconciliation with his father in the mid-90s had an effect on the quality of his films. I'm of the mind that Jurassic Park and Schindler's List were his last true masterpieces, though I anticipate that will be debated on the Saving Private Ryan episode when they get to it.
  19. bleary

    E.T. The Extra Terrestrial

    Well, looks like I'm in the minority here. I get the appeal of this film as a kids movie. I watched the VHS of E.T. a bunch when I was a kid, but I can't say it was one of my most rewatched movies back then. This was the first time I'd watched it in probably 25 years, and I had very little emotional reaction this time. Furthermore, I would say the emotions I did have were almost completely due to the score, which is definitely one of Williams's top 5 scores in his career. Maybe when I have kids, I'll watch it again and love it. Maybe I won't find Elliott as shrill, the green screen effects as dated, and the whole second act so largely silly. But for now, I have it slotted it at #15 out of 18 on my list. Blame my cold, dead heart I guess.
  20. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    Sure, and I apologize if I came off as flippant about that, or if it seemed like I was mischaracterizing your position. You're right that there is a possibility that Iris is taken from one bad situation to another. I had trouble this morning properly arguing why my view on the ending still aligns with that possibility, and I think the reason I had trouble is that I ultimately just don't believe it's the case. So while admitting that there is a possibility that Iris's home life is a terrible situation, here are the reasons I don't think it is. 1. Iris ends up back with her parents in the first place. If Iris actually has something legitimately terrible to fear from returning to her parents, I don't think that would have happened. First, she could have fled from the scene and gone somewhere else. Presumably, she instead waited for the police, either on purpose or because she was too scared/traumatized to move. If she did not want to be returned to her parents, that would trigger some red flags. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was signed in 1974, so it would have been brand new at that time, and I have to believe that if she had objections to returning to her parents, Child Protective Services would take those objections quite seriously. And under that view, the line "But we have taken steps to see she has never cause to run away again" reads to me like formerly neglectful parents who have been allowed by CPS to keep their child provided that they meet certain conditions. 2. As pointed out, much of the movie is from Travis's point of view, and he's unreliable. However, the scenes with Betsy and Tom inside the campaign office are not from Travis's point of view, and they exist to show the disconnect between Travis's point of view and reality. Given that the film already established its willingness to break away from Travis's point of view, and given that the letter is read in the father's voice and not in Travis's voice, I see the letter as being read in the manner it was written rather than specifically the manner in which Travis interpreted it. And as CameronH said, in the tone that it's read, it sounds innocent. This could be an eye of the beholder thing, but I found nothing troublesome in the father's reciting of the letter. 3. No real evidence whatsoever for this point, but I feel like her not wanting to go home when Travis tries to help her initially could easily be more out of fear from Sport catching her escaping than out of fear of her parents. It could also easily be because Sport has manipulated her into thinking that her parents would kill her if they found out what she had become (which is not an uncommon tactic for child traffickers). Moreover, unless I missed a line somewhere, we never find out just how long ago it was that she left, so as impressionable and manipulatable her 12-year-old mind is, it would have been even worse at a younger age. Of course, as pointed out, she had to run away for a reason. So there had to be something serious enough to force her to leave and still not serious enough to prevent authorities from returning her to her home. The seemingly paradoxical nature of this is why the "dead at the end" theory is so much better, since Iris having a happy reunion with her parents seems more likely to be Travis's fantasy than the truth!
  21. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I wouldn't go so far as to say Iris will live happily ever after, given what she's witnessed and gone through. But again, I don't understand how anyone could say that her being back in school is a worse situation for a 12-year-girl than being a drug-abusing prostitute in New York. If her parents were monsters in some way, there would have been a clue of that dropped by Iris in one of her conversations with Travis. And even if her parents were abusive in any way, they are now more high-profile because of this story, so I have more trust in Child Protective Services to have their eye on this family housing a psychologically damaged former runaway than I would have had trust in any authorities to look out for a child sex-worker. So you can infuse darkness if you'd like by reading something sinister into her home situation, but even so, my point stands unless you're going to tell me that forced sex work was a better life.
  22. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I should add, I do really like Taxi Driver as a whole. I hate the ending, but it doesn't ruin the whole film for me. If I had to kick out a Scorsese, it's definitely Goodfellas.
  23. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I had never thought of the possibility that Travis is dead at the end until Paul mentioned it, at which point I realized, "Holy shit, that would actually make the ending good." WatchOutForSnakes spells out all the evidence for the theory well, and sycasey 2.0 points out rightly that it was 100% not the filmmakers' intention. Thus, I'll focus on the ending they intended, where Travis lives. So people critical of the ending seem to be pointing out that it appears to vindicate Travis, and the supporters of the ending feel that it is criticizing the audience/media/world at large for easy hero worship. (For the record, that easy hero worship is not even farfetched in today's world, though the speed of social media would likely quickly reveal Bickle as a milkshake duck.) But I think that's mostly irrelevant, because Travis's actions in the climax all had positive outcomes. (Unless you're of the mind that murder is always wrong regardless of the circumstances, in which case I applaud you for feeling that way while still very mildly disagreeing.) The people Travis killed were hurting and exploiting people, and as a result of their deaths, it would seem that fewer people in the world will be hurt and exploited for a time. Iris made it back to her parents and went back to school, which I would say is definitively a better situation for a 12-year-old that to be a prostitute in New York. (As far as the line "But we have taken steps to see she has never cause to run away again" goes, I think the word choice of "has cause to" diminishes the likelihood that this is supposed to be read or heard as menacing.) So with this ending, what's bad about Travis? He thought about killing someone reasonably innocent, but he didn't, and killed guilty people instead. It's not that people are wrong to view him as a hero that is the problem with the ending, it's that they're absolutely right to view him as a hero. And if that's what the filmmakers intended, then it's boring to me. The chasm between moralities from different points of view is what made so much of the film interesting, and I find it hard not to read the ending as "But then everyone's moralities aligned in the end, and the good guys won and the bad guys lost. The End." I also have a lot to say about Scorsese and Fincher and Verhoeven and Harry Potter with regards to whether a writer/director bears any responsibility when people take the diametrically opposed message from the intended message in a piece of work, but I'll save that for another post.
  24. bleary

    Taxi Driver

    I think she's been positive on more films than she's been negative on. She's been pro on Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, 2001, Bonnie and Clyde, King Kong, Titanic, All About Eve, Singin' In The Rain, and Double Indemnity, and she was more positive than Paul on The General. A relatively common criticism of her views has been that occasionally she will let a reasonably small detail completely sour her opinion of a film, but I haven't found any of that in Unspooled. One thing I love about the podcast is that both Paul and Amy are eager to point out both the good and the bad in a movie, regardless of their ultimate feelings about it. Of course, I could be biased, since I agree with Amy about 90% of the time.
  25. bleary

    The Sixth Sense

    I'm another person who is extremely stingy with perfect ratings. Namely, of the over 500 films I've rated on IMDb, I've only give 6 films a perfect 10 out of 10. (Then about 50 films got a 9 out of 10.)
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