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jjulius

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About jjulius

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  1. jjulius

    Some Like It Hot

    Worldwide, Marilyn Monroe is definitely more iconic than James Dean. The only other American who is as iconic might be Charlie Chaplin. And with both of them, I'd say it's about the performance. When people hear Charlie Chaplin, they picture the Little Tramp; when people hear Marilyn Monroe, they picture her 'dumb blonde' character. With Monroe, the identification goes so far that many people think she actually was that person. Now that's great acting. I honestly think she's one of the most underrated comedians ever. As for her needing her lines to be written on notes all over the set: so did Marlon Brando. I like this anecdote from James Bacon about Monroe in Fritz Lang's Clash by Night in 1952, before she was a star: "I watched Marilyn spoil 27 takes of a scene one day. She had only one line, but before she could deliver it about 20 other actors had to go through a whole series of intricate movements on a boat. Everybody was letter perfect in every take, but Marilyn could not remember that one line... Finally she got it right and Fritz yelled: ‘Thank God. Print it.’ Later, in her dressing room, Marilyn confessed that she had muffed the line on purpose for all those takes: ‘I just didn’t like the way the scene was going. When I liked it, I said the line perfectly.'" Also, Some Like It Hot is way more of a jazz movie than La La Land, if only because it has more than a minute of jazz music in it.
  2. Correction: Pandora's Jar was, indeed, a jar. 'Box' is a 16th century mistranslation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora%27s_box#Etymology_of_the_%22box%22
  3. jjulius

    Episode 163 - Zodiac vs. Shaun of the Dead vs. Magnolia

    I'm going for Shaun of the Dead. All three of these movies are excellent, and Shaun isn't necessarily better than the other two -- it's pretty much impossible to compare. But, out of these three, Shaun is the one that's both the director's best and the subgenre's best. Magnolia is not Paul Thomas Anderson's best movie (I think that's Boogie Nights), and besides, PTA is already represented. Zodiac is probably David Fincher's best movie, but it's not the best serial killer movie or the best detective movie. Shaun, however, is both Edgar Wright's best movie and the best zombie movie ever made. I mean, sure, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead are more culturally relevant, but I've always felt George A. Romero is stylistically a pretty pedestrian filmmaker, and his characters are only interesting as metaphors, not as people. Wright tells a story about people you can get invested in, as well as using the zombie genre for an original metaphor, precursing the wave of movies about directionless twentysomethings. It's also funny, suspenseful and full of kickass zombie violence. It's also on the extremely short list of great horror comedies. It would probably be the best one ever if it weren't for Bride of Frankenstein; the only other three that come close are The Old Dark House, Evil Dead 2 and An American Werewolf in London.
  4. jjulius

    Episode 162 - Scream (w/ Benjamin Lee)

    Yes! I was twelve when I first saw Scream, which is probably the best age for it, because you're still looking forward to the life that the main characters are living. Horror is often more effective when it's about your future. I think that's one of the reasons Scream became a huge deal for my generation. As did, in my group of friends at least, its many imitators; to me, Urban Legend was just as good. Of course, I now see that Urban Legend is nonsense, but I am grateful to Scream for starting the wave of teen movies that played such a big role in coloring my pre-teen life. As a Dutch person, I look at American movies from somewhat of an outsider's perspective, but they're so influential on the Dutch pop cultural experience that they feel very familiar as well. Weird things about American culture -- pancakes for breakfast! asking a date to the high school prom! baseball! -- don't stop being fascinating, but they also feel trusted. There are movies that make this exoctic culture feel close and palpable, like a good Western really makes the old West feel lived in. To me, Scream is one of those movies, filled with little details that give its world a sense of reality, making it really matter when people get killed. By the way: it's funny that Amy mentions Slumber Party Massacre as an example of a trashy 80s slasher movie, because it was written by feminist activist Rita Mae Brown as a parody of slasher movies, and directed as a straight horror film by Amy Holden Jones. It's more a Cabin in the Woods than a Scream, though.
  5. jjulius

    Episode 162 - Scream (w/ Benjamin Lee)

    Just because the movie acknowledges that the characters are dumb, and that's the point, doesn't make it less annoying if you don't like dumb characters, I suppose. I don't care much for Cabin in the Woods, partially because it's much too pleased with itself. It's clever, but not as clever as it thinks it is, and not all that funny or scary. Plus, a huge part of it is the idea that the stock characters of horror are the virgin, the whore, the athlete, the scholar and the fool, which is dumb because no, they're not. I can't think of a single slasher or spam-in-a-cabin film that has those exact five characters.
  6. jjulius

    Episode 162 - Scream (w/ Benjamin Lee)

    Scream never says you have to be a virgin to survive, just that you need to stay away from sex during the movie, which works for Halloween and Friday the 13th. We don't know if the final girls in those films are virgins, but they certainly don't have sex during the plot, as many other characters do.
  7. jjulius

    Episode 191.5 - Minisode 191.5

    This was the most unpleasant, off-putting movie I have watched for this show. I've seen plenty that are more poorly made, but none that were so day-ruining. Can't wait to hear June make it worth it.
  8. Infernal Affairs. It's never a good sign when a remake adds fifty minutes. You already have a perfectly good story, beginning, middle and end, and then you're adding more to it? That's like the opposite of how a writing process should work! It's reverse editing. It's stretching out a tight jumper. The Departed is fine, but a bit of a waste of time.
  9. jjulius

    Episode 152 - The Breakfast Club (w/ Christy Lemire)

    Yes. I don't love The Breakfast Club (for many of the reasons Amy mentions), but I think it's too iconic and too unique not to go in. It's so associated with typical 80s pop culture that we tend to forget just how unique it is. What else is like The Breakfast Club? John Hughes' other teen movies are comedies. The Breakfast Club has funny moments, but I wouldn't call it a comedy. It's a character driven drama about people getting to know each other that's set mostly in one location; it's the closest thing we have to a teenage version of My Dinner with Andre. (It would make for a good double bill: start with Breakfast, finish with Dinner. You'll know all about reaction shots by the end.) The fact that its politics are so dated is part of what makes it worth preserving. Nowadays, it's hard to imagine someone making a movie about five very different kids who learn that they're not so different after all, and make them all white kids, most of whom enter a heterosexual relationship. And then there's all the uncomfortable ideas about gender. But it's good to remember just how different the world was back then, and look at (and celebrate) the changes we've made; a classic piece of pop culture is often a great history lesson.
  10. jjulius

    Episode 150 - The Avengers (w/ Jenelle Riley)

    Voting no. One thing that barely came up in the conversation was the matter of action scenes. I don't think The Avengers has a single good action scene -- the one memorable shot is the long take of The Avengers assembled, which has no reason to be a long take other than showing off, and it's not even that impressive as it's mostly computer generated (and obviously a fake long take that's really full of cuts). And, okay, Hulk smashing Loki. There's nothing in the entire current Marvel universe that can match the train scene from Spider-Man 2. Now that's a 21st century superhero movie that I'd vote yes on. Raimi's first two Spider-Man films were the blueprint for most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe we're living in now, and their combination of action, adventure, comedy and soapy drama still works better than pretty much all of the MCU's output. (Same goes for The Incredibles, which might be the best superhero movie ever made.) If there's ever going to be a Raimi Spider-Man episode, it's probably less likely to go in if The Avengers is already in there. Which I guess is a bad reason to vote no, but it's a secondary reason; I would have voted no anyways.
  11. jjulius

    Episode 130 - The Room (w/ Paul Scheer)

    Yes from me. Tommy Wiseau may have invented the 21st century shared cinematic universe. When the Flash appeared in Batman v Superman, it reminded me of Lisa's mother's part in The Room. She talks about her personal problems, then goes away; into her own story, that we don't get to see. (Perhaps Tommy wanted to make a spin-off in which her story is explored. Probably not.) Lisa's mother, the drug dealer, the couple who come in to have sex; all of them have their own story in the Roomiverse. A story that's not necessarily relevant to the main plot, but it's still going on. Just like in real life. Not everyone you meet is relevant for you; most people are side characters who just walk in and out of your life story. You sometimes wonder how they ended up, but you usually don't care enough to find out. Still: they all have their own story. Where most movies try to remove everything that's not clearly relevant, The Room keeps all those things in, suggesting a world far bigger than The Room.
  12. jjulius

    Episode 164.5 - Minisode 164.5

    I don't know what y'all are talking about with this movie being boring. I'm an hour in and have only heard quotable lines. My favorites so far are the 'drunken crab' bit and the long, long exchange following Jaguar's request for a cigarette.
  13. Correction: all that stuff about Dhampirs and Strigoi is from Eastern European folklore. Rather than invent a new mythology, Vampire Academy decided to go back to the source of vampire stories.
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