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Everything posted by sycasey

  1. sycasey

    Homework: The King of Comedy (1982)

    Nice choice! This is a Scorsese film that is often forgotten (because he's made plenty of other much more famous works), but for my money it's right up there with the likes of Taxi Driver and Goodfellas on his resume . . . or at least pretty damn close. Outstanding social satire with great performances from De Niro and Jerry Lewis (yes, really).
  2. sycasey


    I posted general thoughts about this film in the homework thread (link), and nothing said in the podcast changed my mind. Mostly the hosts confirmed my original impression of it. Yes for the Canon, definitely. It was very effective at scaring me (one of the few horror films that has managed to do so on a deeper level than "Boo!" jump scares), and its cultural and artistic influence is obvious.
  3. sycasey

    Homework: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    This response: also very representative.
  4. sycasey

    Homework: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    The two comments above are fairly representative of the anti-Blair Witch backlash I remember at the time.
  5. sycasey

    Similar film podcasts?

    One I've listened to for a long time is Movie Geeks United. Fun banter between three film geeks who seem to have seen EVERYTHING, and they also get a lot of interviews with some of the non-obvious artists you might like to hear from (indie film directors, composers, cinematographers, etc.). They also occasionally do an in-depth episode about a particular film or Hollywood story (though some of this may sadly be moving behind a paywall). Otherwise the other big movie podcast I like is How Did This Get Made?, but as that's another Earwolf production you've probably heard of it.
  6. sycasey

    Homework: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

    I'm not sure if I would want to rewatch this film. So much of its impact came from the uncertainty surrounding it at the time -- whether or not it was real (I mean, I knew it wasn't real, but when it was new the realness felt much more plausible) and what was going to happen to the characters. The fog of "not knowing" was a bit part of its effectiveness; in fact, you could say that's exactly what the film is about, never really knowing what happened and how terrifying that is. Seeing it again would probably diminish those factors, but is that a good argument against the film itself? Not sure. The Blair Witch Project was certainly made under the assumption that people would be at least a little bit fooled by it on some level. I know that at the time, its reputation seemed to take more of a hit as the fact that it was "fake" became more common knowledge. I'm probably voting yes, because out of all the horror movies I've seen this is one of the few that got in under my skin. I legitimately had trouble sleeping that night. Couldn't get that final image out of my mind, didn't want to go into the basement, etc. And of course, being an obvious influence on a lot of films that came in its wake is also a strong argument for Canon status. I don't care that most of those movies are bad -- that's true of any hugely influential film.
  7. sycasey

    Episode #92: STAND BY ME

    I voted a soft no. Somehow I had avoided ever seeing this movie until it came up for the Canon, so maybe that's why -- not having come across it as a younger person means it wasn't going to connect in the same way it did for Devin. I think it's a well-made movie, but it didn't have that extra-special "something" to push it over the top. I agree with those who say there are at least three other Reiner movies from the same decade that would be more deserving. The young actors are cast well and the film can be given some credit for "launching" their careers, but none are exactly household names today. It's a very good coming-of-age boyhood movie, but this is well-trod territory in film history and I don't see that Stand By Me clearly rises above that pack. That said, I'm not upset if it gets voted in.
  8. sycasey

    Episode #92: STAND BY ME

    This was a detail I liked -- given that this was at a time before there were any Major League teams on the west coast, it makes perfect sense that a kid living there would just pick up fandom of the most successful and/or most publicized team. The Yankees certainly qualify.
  9. sycasey

    Episode #91: LABYRINTH

    I just want to note here, with all due respect, that you are kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth on this one. You say that this isn't just about people not voting in your personal favorites, and that you are just interested in seeing representation in the Canon for films that are about women or that are nostalgia objects for women. Yet at the same time you mentioned the inclusion of Breakfast At Tiffany's and Working Girl, two films for which the strongest argument is ABSOLUTELY their importance to young women, and you dismiss these choices because you are not personally a fan of those films. So are we sure it's not just about seeing your favorites inducted? Maybe Labyrinth isn't drawing as much support not because of any bias against women's movies, but because people just don't like it as much. They might like it more than The Goonies (based on the comments it does seem like this is the case), but not quite enough for Canon status.
  10. sycasey

    Episode #91: LABYRINTH

    I enjoy a lot of things about this film, but without the childhood-nostalgia factor I'm not seeing how it's anywhere near the Canon. Just because it had a great impact on a lot of children isn't enough, same as for Goonies (though this is a better movie than Goonies). I'd much more readily vote for The Neverending Story over this. Neverending Story actually builds to an interesting thematic point in its final scenes, in that it becomes about the importance of storytelling and the audience keeping the storybook world alive by believing in it. It's trying to be ABOUT childhood imagination rather than just trafficking in it. Labyrinth has some terrific visuals, great puppetry, an iconic Bowie role, and some fun/funny scenes, but as a story it doesn't add up to much. I like the idea of a coming-of-age fantasy for a young girl, but (1) Devin lays out why this one doesn't have a strong arc for the lead character, and (2) we already have one of those in the Canon (Pan's Labyrinth).
  11. sycasey

    Episode #90: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

    First time posting on the Earwolf forums, though I've been a long-time follower of the podcast from Devin's site, Birth Movies Death. As cross-posted over there: This is the first time I've watched a movie I've never seen before prior to listening to a Canon podcast, which was a fun experience! I'm torn on the film itself. I'm glad I saw it, I liked that it took a big swing and tried something very difficult, and I liked that it dealt with challenging themes. On the other hand, I agree with Devin's take that the lead character is presented in almost totally irredeemable fashion -- I certainly never felt bad for him. It seems like the only argument in the character's favor is that he has artistic ambitions . . . but even there, the movie never demonstrates that he's actually good at his art. Beyond that, he's an asshole who lies to both his wife and his mistress and yet feels entitled to sex from both of them (at all times), and who also consistently feels sorry for himself while a literal homeless man is sitting across the table from him. He's surrounded by people worse off than him and still only thinks about his own unfulfilled dreams. So for me Amy's argument in the film's favor isn't actually taking the right tack. I don't identify with or care about Steve Martin's character at all. To me the better argument is that this is a film built to show why the "good old days" weren't so good. Women have no options other than to stay with husbands who emotionally abuse them, become prostitutes, or get raped and murdered. Even the man who is in relative privilege feels like he has no real options, fails at everything he tries, and eventually is hanged for a crime he didn't commit (even the universe conspires against him). Meanwhile, the cheery songs of the era are re-purposed as ironic counterpoint to this dark world. I think the film is inconsistent about its conceit (for the reasons Devin lays out), but looking at Pennies From Heaven this way is how I get the most out of it. I'm thinking it could have worked better with a director who was better at applying visual cues to help nail down the themes; Herbert Ross is decent and competent, but doesn't quite display the bravura that was needed. I like the film, but a soft no -- it falls just short of Canon status.