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Everything posted by DavidAustin

  1. DavidAustin

    Submit your pick for The Canon's Ultimate Listener's Choice!

    This list needs some kung fu, and not just Crouching Tiger. Either some King Hu - Dragon Gate Inn, A Touch of Zen or Come Drink With Me, all stone cold classic masterpieces. Or something less arty but equally influential, Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury aka Chinese Connection or Chang Cheh's Five Deadly Venoms or One-Armed Swordsman, Jackie Chan's Police Story. Or hell, let's get some Heroic Bloodshed in there - how about John Woo's The Killer vs Hard Boiled? Every movie above is worthy of the Canon.
  2. DavidAustin

    Episode 160 - Tommy (w/ David Fear)

    I think Tommy is a bit of mess, though it has some great moments, so a very soft no. But if you put up Ken Russell's The Devils, which captures all of his insane, vulgar energy in a more focused package, I'm a definite yes.
  3. DavidAustin

    Episode 158 - The Talented Mr. Ripley (w/ Tom Bissell)

    Very soft no. Great film, great performances, just not quite canon-level to me.
  4. DavidAustin

    Episode 157 - Grease vs. Hairspray (w/ Adam Egypt Mortimer)

    Slight edge to Hairspray, despite (not because of) Amy's nonsensical argument that Hairspray is not camp. Don't know where that argument came from, but this was definitely an amusing throwback to the wacky Amy/Devin arguments where one of them (usually Devin, to be fair) would take some bonkers position to bolster their pick.
  5. DavidAustin

    Episode 154 - Infernal Affairs vs. The Departed (w/ Andrew Ti)

    I'd certainly go with the original here (which was a blockbuster, maybe not in America, but a massive success at home), instead of the well-made but mostly derivative remake. Though if it were just up to me, I'd probably go with Infernal Affairs II, which I prefer to both. It has a more emotional heart, whereas Infernal Affairs is a very cold movie.
  6. DavidAustin

    Episode 153 - Cry Uncle! (w/ Lloyd Kaufman)

    A no, but I'm glad to have this bizarro little film, which I had never heard of before. I'd be an easy yes on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Faster Pussycast, though, and I've give serious consideration to Vixen and Supervixens.
  7. DavidAustin

    Episode 150 - The Avengers (w/ Jenelle Riley)

    Easy no for me. It's an entertaining enough movie, and decently rewatchable, but not even close to Canon-worthy. It's far from the best MCU film - hell, I'd say Ragnarok, Black Panther, Spider-Man and Winter Soldier are all substantially better, and maybe Dr. Strange and GOTG 1 also. It's not even of historical importance, because it's not the movie that kicked off the MCU - Iron Man is. I doubt it would even make my list of top 10 superhero films, let alone the Canon. I'm not sure the MCU has produced a Canon-worthy film yet (though I'd at least entertain Ragnarok for really capturing the comic book feel), but they are certainly getting better and better on the whole.
  8. DavidAustin

    Episode 146 - Punch-Drunk Love (w/ Emily Yoshida)

    Soft no. Very good movie, but not an all-time great for me. Honestly, as good as PTA's stuff generally is, if I were putting together my desert island box of 50-100 movies I'm stuck with forever, the only PTA film that makes my list is Boogie Nights.
  9. I rather like the de-emphasis of the romance. She's not dissatisfied and trying to break free because she's in love a desert bandit, it's much more internal. I think even without Lo, she'd end up in roughly the same place.
  10. Interesting point. I think Scott deserves to be called a major director on the basis of Alien, Blade Runner and The Duellists, but my instinct was to say that everything from Gladiator on was crap (Hannibal, Kingdom of Heaven, Prometheus, Alien: Covenant), But looking back, he has made some solid, good films since Gladiator - Blackhawk Down and The Martian in particular.
  11. Yeah, tons of good stuff coming out of Asia that year. I forgot about Yi Yi. You should check out The Foul King if you've never seen it, not Best Picture quality but damn good fun. And on the accent point, like Italian movies, HK movies are so often dubbed or ADR'd that I tend not to worry too much about the vocal quality, though I'm not sure if that's as common in mainland films.
  12. The Ice Storm too. Love that this is looking like a rout - will Gladiator get completely shut out?
  13. Forget Gladiator, the real competition for Best Picture that year should have been between Crouching Tiger and Battle Royale. Gladiator was a mediocre, trite, modern peplum with utterly garbled fight scenes that had me leaving the theater feeling like the entire affair was a total waste of time (a few good performances aside). Crouching Tiger, on the other hand, may not be the best wu xia swordplay film, but it is a great one, and one I revisit pretty regularly. The cinematography is stunning, the story and characters are engaging, and everyone involved is at the top of their game. Plus it introduced an entire generation to the joys of Chinese swordplay films and revitalized the genre at home and abroad. It was a gateway for so many to the works of King Hu, Tsui Hark, Chu Yuan and Chang Cheh. Hell, even putting aside Crouching Tiger and Battle Royale, I’d have been happier seeing the Oscar go to The Foul King, Memento, American Psycho or In the Mood for Love, among others, rather than Gladiator.
  14. DavidAustin

    Episode 137 - The Hustler (w/ David Scarpa)

    More than just that, he was in full lecture mode the whole time. This was the most uncomfortable episode since Armond White was on. A rare instance where I couldn't get through the whole episode, because it was just offputting. And I quite like The Hustler.
  15. DavidAustin

    Episode 139 - The NeverEnding Story (w/ Dave Nadelberg)

    I enjoyed this as a kid, but even then thought the narrative was a bit of a mess, and that the message didn't really work. I think Neverending Story still has some amazing emotional and visual moments (the knight going through the sphinxes, the horse in the swamp, the "strong hands" monologue, the incredibly creepy confrontation with the wolf), but, like Dark Crystal (another visual treat I love), doesn't hang together that well as a story. So call this a soft no with all due affection. I do remember reading the book after watching the movie, and being very surprised at how different it was.
  16. DavidAustin

    Episode 138 - Harold and Maude vs. Being There

    Ashby has never done much for me. Maybe it's coming to him too late in life, or too far past the era of creation, but I generally find his films interesting but deeply, deeply flawed. I've only seen The Landlord, Harold and Maude and The Last Detail, but I felt the same way about all of them - interesting time capsules but nothing I'd want to revisit. I'll have to abstain from the vote, though, because I still haven't seen Being There (that and Shampoo are on my list, but I haven't been in any great hurry to get to them).
  17. I like these about equally but I think His Girl Friday crackles a bit more.
  18. DavidAustin

    Episode 128 - Starship Troopers (w/ Jordan Hoffman)

    What might have been a soft yes is a soft no because Robocop is a hard yes (nice putting your thumb on the scale, Amy). But Starship Troopers is pretty great. I remember seeing this during college in the theater with friends when it came out, expecting nothing more than a splattery sci-fi action flick. I remember picking up on the underlying fascist and militaristic themes, and being uncertain as to whether they were being mocked or embraced (not knowing anything at the time about Verhoeven personally), and my resulting growing discomfort. And I remember getting to the end, when Doogie Howser walks out to the cowering brain bug dressed like a Gestapo officer only to declare triumphantly that “It’s afraid!” and relaxing, because it was clear that Verhoeven knew exactly what he was doing. And postscript, I remember that cheap second run theater in the 50s and miss it too.
  19. DavidAustin

    Episode 126 - The Brood (w/ Kier-La Janisse)

    Yes, please, let's get The Devils in there. Need some Ken Russell. Very soft no on The Brood. Good movie, just not a masterpiece. The context Amy and Kier-la provided definitely made it much more interesting, though. Put up Videodrome, though, and I'm a definite yes.
  20. DavidAustin

    Episode 125 - The Host (w/ Owen Shiflett)

    Very soft no. I quite like The Host, though I think it's by no means Bong's best film. I think the initial attack is really well done, and does a fantastic job of upending the tropes of typical monster attack films. And I think the following bit with the family competing to show grief and making absolute fools of themselves is great as well, really undercutting the normally somber tone of such a scene. The problem is that after those two outstanding set pieces, the film really loses steam, and fails to establish the brother and sister as characters in their own right.
  21. DavidAustin

    Episode 122 - The Tingler (w/ Witney Seibold)

    A soft no. An amusing film, clever concept and gimmick, but it's just not terribly good. I appreciate that it was even up for discussion, though.
  22. DavidAustin

    Episode 120 - Last Tango in Paris (w/ Alison Willmore)

    Exactly. Beautifully-shot film, interesting performance by Brando, but in the service of telling the uninteresting story of two execrable ciphers.
  23. DavidAustin

    Episode 119 - Friday (w/ Ben Westhoff)

    I agree with Amy on Chris Tucker’s character being more annoying than funny. Tucker has some funny moments, but I find his whole motormouth schtick exhausting. And I think the drive-by, the gun, and the serious fight at the end give the movie severe tonal whiplash and really don’t work in the context of the low-key story the rest of the film is telling. I actually expected the film to reveal that the drive-by was just a stoned dream for a few minutes, and was surprised and disappointed when it didn’t. That said, it’s still a really fun and funny hangout comedy with some great performances. Soft yes. And I definitely prefer House Party. Fond memories of that one, though it's probably been 25 years since I saw it as a kid.
  24. I don't particularly want either in the Canon, but I'll give a soft yes to Top Gun. Hard no to Minority Report, which is a decent but no more than that sci-fi actioner. Leaving me with Top Gun, which I don't particularly love or even like but probably deserves to get in the basis of its zeitgeist-defining qualities. If I had to have a Tom Cruise film in the Canon, I'd probably go with Risky Business.
  25. DavidAustin

    Episode 116 - Seconds (w/ Matt Zoller Seitz)

    Soft no. I love the first half, especially the wild camerawork, but it really bogs down in the second half.