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brianoblivion

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About brianoblivion

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  1. brianoblivion

    Episode 86: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S

    Not voting this week because I've never been able to make it through Breakfast at Tiffany's. I read and loved the Capote novella several years ago, then went to watch the film adaptation. The movie opens with Hepburn eating a croissant while looking into Tiffany's display cases...what the fuck? The character in the novel never literally eats breakfast at Tiffany's...Golightly uses that phrase as a metaphor for a feeling she is searching for. My gut is that the film rides into the canon on Hepburn's iconicity alone, but I shall reserve judgment.
  2. brianoblivion

    Episode 85: BOOGIE NIGHTS vs TWBB

    This was my gut reaction to this versus pairing. Boogie Nights is very referential and invites (sometimes demands) comparisons to other films and filmmakers, whereas TWBB seems utterly singular. I think Amy misses the mark when she criticizes TWBB for not being an all inclusive statement on American westward expansion, as I have never considered that the film was even trying to go for this. I agree with Devin here that the film is instead about contemporary politics. Seeing the movie on release in 2007, I interpreted it as a statement on the George W. Bush presidency and the invasion of Iraq. Plainview is an oilman who follows a sheep trail from the church to the Sunday family to sway them toward his venture; this is a parable of how many on the left viewed the "war for oil" in Iraq. Plainview's promises of infrastructure (schools, roads, etc.) to appease the native population echoed similar promises made in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The entire drama of the uneasy symbiotic relationship between Industry and Religion was evocative of what was on many of our minds in the last year of the Bush administration. Even naming the boy H.W. seemed like a nod to Bush senior. I clearly recall seeing TWBB for the first time, how electrifying it was, and a large part of that experience was the resonance with 2007 America. Beyond the socio-historical context, it is an exquisitely crafted and exceptionally affecting film.
  3. brianoblivion

    Episode 84: RE-ANIMATOR

    This is what I was trying to say in my earlier post, though I fear this point got muddled in my ramblings about the merits of the canon. If it seemed like I was just opposed to canonizing Re-Animator because it's a genre favorite, that was not my point, though I don't think it's canon-worthy and there has been a lot of similar material in recent episodes. This could've been a great episode except the level of discussion was low and hindered by bad "debating" on Devin's part. It doesn't represent why I started listening to this podcast in the first place. Indulgence picks should be limited, because too many of them will skew the nature of the podcast from the original idea of the canon. Next week's versus episode is a brutal lineup, and I just hope the level of discussion on that show will be worthy of the caliber of films being considered.
  4. brianoblivion

    Episode 84: RE-ANIMATOR

    I love Re-Animator. I voted NO for its canonization. For me it comes down to one of Amy's main arguments, and a question that used to be posed in earlier episodes of this podcast: What is the canon? What makes a film canon-worthy? Is it the personal importance the film holds for the viewer? Cultural significance? The apparent craftsmanship or technique on display? These and other issues, such as the merits of a film's political ideology or the influence of a particular filmmaker, have all been argued in relation to films nominated for the canon. The canon is, of course, bullshit; it's a conceit, a premise that exists so people can talk about movies on a podcast. That being said, this podcast is at its best when the canon is treated seriously, and the standards for canonization are high. That doesn't mean that the question of canonization should predominate in each episode; frankly I thought this episode was a little derailed because of that, and other episodes suffered from being bogged down by Devin or Amy's major hangup about a particular movie instead of actually discussing or analyzing the film. So for the canon to have stakes, films that you love may end up being excluded, which is why I have voted against the canonization of Re-Animator. Aside from the central conceit of the canon, this podcast's greatest strength is that it is hosted by two film critics who are knowledgable and passionate about cinema. This is the main reason I listen to the podcast each week. As far as nominating genre favorite films like Re-Animator or Evil Dead, I understand Devin's intent to select films that will generate popular interest and boost listenership (I recall the cautionary and almost apologetic announcement of the 400 Blows episode, which is unfortunate but understandable). I feel that there is such a glut of genre content online (not just online anymore, as geek culture has become mainstream pop culture), so I'm personally not interested in hearing people "geek out" over films like Re-Animator or They Live. Those are two of my favorite movies, but I've been talking about them with friends and reading other people's takes for years. I'm not suggesting that the Canon should only tackle classics of world cinema (even though I really enjoy those conversations), but I do think the premise of "the greatest movies to live on forever" should be preserved to meaningfully distinguish The Canon from the multitude of interchangeable "here's a movie I like" content that proliferates online. Also, I always assumed that West had killed Dan's cat.
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