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Posts posted by CarlosFerreira

  1. What to say? I am not sure it's a complete film as such, just a set of sketches. But it's got Aretha, it's got Ray, and then it's got John Lee-Hooker.



    It's also one of the most quotable films of all time.

    'We got both kinds. We got country *and* western.'

    'We're putting the band back together!'

    'I hate Illinois Nazis.'


    And who could forget, 'It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.'

  2. Amélie is a funny one. I found it really nice on first viewing, but more than a little irritating the second time around. Nothing specific, it was just the WHIMSICAL!!! nature of it that grated on me. I still found the bit with the garden gnomes great, though.


    As for Proyas... what to say? Maybe he had one good film in him.

  3. Lots of people getting their criticism in early...


    I guess I am much more positive about Labyrinth than most people here. I haven't seen the film in the last couple of years, but my overriding memory is one of weirdness and that kind of darkness that permeates the best childrens' stories. My only reference point to compare this is Spirited Away - and I think I liked that significantly less. I'd probably need to watch them back-to-back.


    I'm curious to see which way this is going to go.

    • Like 1

  4. Setting aside the message(s) of the film, how said messages were delivered drove. me. nuts.


    Yes, the horrible acting is a huge part of this. But they can't be blamed for a script that contains lines of direct exposition like (paraphrasing):


    "He's laying there with his arms spread out. You know... like Jesus."


    Ugh. I need to watch that film again.


    I think Unforgiven would be a clear slam dunk for the show. Since it hasn't come up yet: What do you think of Million Dollar Baby? For what it's worth, it's my mom's favorite film, apart from Hot Fuzz (I know.... a strange pairing. But oh well, moms be moms), I enjoyed it quite a lot, and Roger Ebert called it a masterpiece. I know, it's become a bit fashionable to dislike Million Dollar Baby, and I am not sure if it's worthy of inclusion to the Canon, but I think exactly these points could lead to a more interesting discussion.


    I have never seen Million Dollar Baby - my mom (accidentally) spoiled it for me a couple of weeks after it came out, because she thought I had already seen it. I need to catch up with that.


    Speaking of moms, I remember watching The Bridges of Madison County with her ages ago. I remember liking it, and thinking it was a very affecting film - a bit like Changeling, actually. Who'd have thought that the guy from the Western Spaghettis would end up directing films like those?

  5. Interesting that all three of those picks are from the 90s and afterwards. While I agree with Unforgiven,and would suggest Mystic River also, I think that his earlier Westerns are often ignored and Pale Rider, High Plains Drifter, and The Outlaw Josey Wales are deserving of consideration.


    I think I might have seen seen Mystic River but can't really remember it. As to the Westerns, guilty as charged! It's a genre I am learning to love as we speak.


    I read this opening post thinking: "please no Gran Torino". But, alas.


    I feel like I'm alone in thinking that was a truly terrible movie.


    There were many things wrong with Gran Torino; the general standard of acting for a start. BUT... as a genre piece it works really well. I might be a little uncomfortable with some of the messages in the film, but it certainly worked for me.

  6. This week I watched Changeling for the first time. It's a great film, which reminded me that Clint Eastwood is a master film-maker. Changeling is arguably not his best work, but to sustain that level of drama for two hours plus straight with such a harrowing story is a great feat.


    This got me thinking about which of Eastwood's films could qualify for the Canon. I suggest three which could be chosen from: Unforgiven, Letters from Iwo Jima (perhaps alongside Flags of Our Fathers, even though Letters is widely accepted as the best of the two), or Gran Torino.


    Any thoughts on this?

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  7. Repo Man totally belongs in the Canon!


    I agree - but whether or not it will ever gather the widespread recognition that would allow it to be considered canon-worthy is debatable. The film is so tongue-in-cheek, I am not sure a majority of people take kindly to it.

  8. I think I'm fine with a Matrix stand-alone episode. Although Dark City is in my books superior, it has never ever had the same cultural impact. Maybe it deserves a single episode as well, somewhere down the line?


    I agree. Although it's a superior film, Dark City probably does not fit in the Canon, at least until a wider audience (maybe?) finds it. It's a similar case to Repo Man - not for the Canon, but a shoe-in to a vault of eclectics.

  9. I am entirely up for this. Let's Mann-up.


    To make thing even more special, I would go for a Heat vs Thief vs Collateral. Heat will walk it, but I want to hear if Amy agrees with me that Collateral is the type of role Tom Cruise should be doing.


    The Canon episode or the movie itself?


    Both actually - I am saving the episodes of the films I haven't seen for when I do. I like the 'spoilers ahoy' approach to discussing movies in the podcast, but enjoy it more if I have seen the film.

  11. I almost want to pull a Devin and use the old "well, you see, it's based on early 20th century pulp fiction material where exoticism was just one of the tools of the trade," (see: arguments laid down in Gunga Din and Temple of Doom) but that line of reasoning is sort of a magnet for trouble.


    Yeah, that's the point. That said, this felt a lot less problematic than Temple of Doom (I haven't seen Gunga Din)


    I don't think it's that bad. At least, not on a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" level. James Earl Jones is not necessarily codified as "evil" for his skin colour. In fact, I'd be willing to argue the writing behind his character is rather race-blind, any (incredibly imposing and intimidating) man could have pulled it off. Besides, I think you can tell he's really enjoying the opportunity to ham it up on camera, and Vader doesn't count: that's just a voice acting role. Here's Jones in the flesh showing off his onscreen village chops. I dig it.


    As for the Asian characters, in all fairness, without Conan the Barbarian we wouldn't have had Mako playing Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender.


    I broadly agree with what you're saying - I would not endorse the film if I thought the race issue was foregrounded. And it was great fun watching James Earl Jones ruling over the two blonde ubermensch henchmen who looked like they belonged in a hair-rock band. It was more the fact that the only black person on screen is the one who transmutates into a snake. With so many characters and extras, couldn't there have been a few more black faces on screen? It didn't feel like you typical racist writing, lore like lazy casting around the edges.


    The Asian characters, on the other hand, have that whiff of exoticism which Asian characters tend to suffer from in these films. Especially the witch Conan finds in the yurt at the beginning.


    Like I said, it did not ruin the film for me, but it was noticeable. The Asian characters, in particular, made me roll my eyes - and that broke the suspension of disbelief a couple of times.

  13. It's an interesting topic. Some time ago I hosted a debate on whether or not women were misrepresented or under-represented in popular culture. Crucially, because this was a group of high school students, we divided the group in half and pre-assigned them a position to defend. What I remember most vividly was that the young women group assigned the 'women are not misrepresented or under-represented in popular culture' position found it relatively easy to come up with episodic arguments ('look at Black Widow! She kicks bottom with the best of them!'), but could not identify with the 'strong women'. They didn't find the Michelle Rodriguez-type characters appealing, and they preferred Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation than in the Marvel movies.


    So there is clearly an issue with identification. This brings me to one of my favourite films of late: the female officer played by Emily Blunt in Sicario. I entirely identified with her in the film, with her sense of confusion and disorientation throughout, with her desire to do the right thing, but also to find some escape for the tension... and when the scene of violence in the context of sex happened, it really hit me. Hard. So I think it is perfectly possible to identify with a character of the opposite gender; but at the same time it is obvious we need better written characters, constructed as well-rounded individuals.

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  14. Basil Poledouris' score is surely one of the most influential ever, and is still reused today in movies, games, and trailers. Incredibly evocative, stirring music.


    Yes, yes, yes! Poledouris remains one of the most interesting and relevant composers of all time. Considering that Conan the Barbarian was inspired by opera, Poledouris' score was simply perfect.


    I watched this film for the first time last night, and I really think it deserves being considered for the Canon. The set designs and photography alone should qualify it: it has that look of old-school epic, smacking of classic Hollywood. Reminded me a bit of the first Superman, with its comparatively slow pace BUT spectacle-filled action set-pieces.


    However... I do have a couple of problems with the film. In particular, it seems to have a cavalier approach to race relations (I am almost sure that James Earl Snake is the only black person on screen throughout the entire movie, and the few Asian characters which appear are... challenging).


    But even with that huge caveat, it's a film that probably deserves consideration. Arnie's performance is actually more nuanced than people give him credit for, the script does a bleak and ubermench-driven plot in a way which is entertaining and avoids the murkiness that Zack Snyder keeps pumping out, and it is always - always - a visual spectacle. I would definitely consider this for an episode.

  15. A soft yes.

    "Soft" because, honestly, my exposure to silent films, especially the comedic ones (I've seen and love "Noferatu" and "Caligari"), is very limited. Devin alluded that this may not be the best Keaton film, nor movie of this kind, for the Canon but still voted for it; and I'm a "big Canon" person, so I'm fine with it being in there. And I did enjoy how impressed I was by how they pulled off the stunts, especially back in the day.


    I am absolutely on this camp. I suspect I am not qualified to pass judgement, having only see a few Chaplins in the past. That said, I was taken aback by the sheer spectacle of the train sequences, including THAT bridge scene. It felt like expansive film-making, attempting to show on-screen things that people had never seen in reality. For that reason alone, it feels Canon-worthy.


    Complaining about the train stuff in this movie is a little like complaining that there's too much spaceship stuff in 2001 A Space Odyssey. Keaton's achievement, his tour the force, is precisely how well he sustains the relentless and comprehensive train action.


    I agree with this as well. To be perfectly honest, I never got on board with the plot whenever they were not on the train. But the sheer physicality and spectacle of the railway scenes had me gripped all along.


    Incidentally, because the train set-pieces were such triumphs, I never felt that the Union/Confederacy problem became a thing. For a non-American audience (i.e., me) it just felt like two opposing cardboard cut-out armies. I am not trying to be disrespectful in anyway here; it's just that neither of the sides was characterised in enough detail for me to identify either way.


    So, in short, a soft yes. Mind not blown, but a sense that this film deserves the plaudits and to be remembered as a precursor to the great action-comedy blockbusters of the last 30 years.

  16. Top Gun was marketed and received as a serious action movie in its time. I think that disqualifies it as "campy". The kind of over the top goofiness in the scenes you describe was par for the course around that time, especially in action movies:



    Cue Team America: World Police.



    I absolutely take (and made) the point that it was not camp when it was released. I just couldn't help smirking all the way last time I watched the film.


    Could be we just have different ideas of what makes something camp. To me, Top Gun is too slick and, in the end, pretty conventional. So while it has some indulgent moments - "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", and, of course, the volleyball match - it doesn't really stand out as especially campy for the time (compare the volleyball match to the training montage in Rocky III, for instance). The mid 80s were the heyday of the mandatory musical montage, and so many scenes in Top Gun work like early, professionally-stylized music videos, another sign of the times. It often flirts with going over-the-top, but it keeps grounding itself back in the plot before it goes too far. It's structured very effectively to thrill the audience, then pull at the heartstrings, then thrill them again, and I don't think it misses a beat anywhere, and I don't think it's really that much sillier than anything we've gotten since. The movie is 80s as all hell, but I don't think that alone makes something camp.


    - You've Lost That Loving Feeling

    - Volleyball

    - Maverick and Goose's bromance

    - Maverick and Iceman's budding bromance

    - Kenny Loggins...


    ...I agree that Top Gun was probably not camp when it came out - it was not camp in its own terms - but the way the culture and aesthetics of films has moved, it's only a Billy Idol hairdo away from being the full Liberace.

  18. What a difficult choice. Both are impressive pieces about important and culturally relevant 20th century industries, both are engrossing and easy to lose yourself in... I was thinking I'd like to watch them both back-to-back with Glengarry Glen Ross and The Social Network for a perfect piece of Americana.


    That said, for me it's There Will Be Blood. The photography alone would be enough to tip it for me, but I also like the complete overwrought last scene, the dialogue-free first 10 or so minutes, and everything else in between. The way the film comments on capitalism, the relationship between the economy and the environment, the motivations for charity... it's a masterpiece. I like Boogie Nights, but TWBB gets my vote.

  19. ...without remotely descending into camp.


    What? Top Gun is a camp classic!


    Honestly, I agree with you on everything else, but to say Top Gun does not descend into camp is like saying the original Star Wars is notorious for its great acting.

  20. Ugh. I wouldn't deny Top Gun has enough cultural clout to warrant a podcast, but I recently watched it again and I have to confess I struggled not to give up halfway through.


    When Tony Scott was good we got solid popcorn thrillers like Crimson Tide; but all too often his films were a glimpse of what Michael Bay would eventually do to the Summer blockbuster.