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sycasey 2.0

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Everything posted by sycasey 2.0

  1. sycasey 2.0

    Blade Runner

    Yeah, I guess I'd put it this way: to me the question is important, but answering it really isn't. Much better to leave it as a question.
  2. sycasey 2.0

    Blade Runner

    There are . . . a lot of movies that cast cops as the heroes who do things like this. It's a widespread mass-media thing. That said, at least Blade Runner suggests that his cause might have been wrong. On this movie: I voted for it to stay, but when people make negative criticisms of the characters and/or narrative lacking depth I don't necessarily have a counter for it. That's partially because I once felt that way about the film too, the first time I saw it (and no, it wasn't the theatrical cut with the narration, it was the Director's Cut). At some point I saw it again on a projected screen and it clicked for me, but not specifically as a story, rather as a brilliant semi-abstract audio-visual experience. That's not something I can defend logically, just by saying that no other movie really FEELS like Blade Runner feels, with the kind of atmosphere (created by the music and visuals) that washes over you and makes you want to linger within the world it creates. That's why the original voice-over narration failed so badly, and also why I'm not really interested in answering the question of whether or not Deckard is a replicant: the greatness of the movie is in not knowing exactly what it means, rather it's in the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world and puzzle over the themes (how human are the replicants? Just as human? More human?). If someone tells you what to think then the fun and mystery are lost. Also, given the dearth of sci-fi/genre fare on the list I don't think I'd want to lose it. You can see why the visual approach of this film was so influential.
  3. sycasey 2.0

    Blade Runner

  4. sycasey 2.0

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    Paul & Amy roll into 1951’s Southern Gothic Tennessee Williams drama A Streetcar Named Desire! They compare the opposite physicality of Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, analyze the buildup to Brando’s famous scream, and listen to a montage of musical Streetcar references. Plus: Brian Lohmann from the Impro Theater discusses improvising in the style of Tennessee Williams. For Blade Runner week, give us your rendition of the “tears in rain” speech! Call it in to the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Also check out our live Spool Party episodes on youtube.com/earwolf! Photo credit: Kim Troxall You can watch the Tennessee Williams UnScripted show we talk about in our interview with Brian here: https://vimeo.com/291407149/46ddada77a
  5. sycasey 2.0

    A Streetcar Named Desire

    For a dramatic play adapted from the stage (meaning musicals are excluded), this is probably my favorite example. The performances translate brilliantly to the screen, and unlike many theater directors, Kazan seemed to have a strong understanding right from the start about how camera angles and movement can inform the drama. To me it feels "cinematic" despite the stagebound origins. Given that it also serves as a kind of milestone, contrasting the "New Hollywood" acting style of Brando with the older style of Leigh (and both of them being excellent in the movie, and the contrast of styles serving the themes of the piece to boot), I think it's certainly worthy of a spot in the Top 100.
  6. sycasey 2.0

    A Streetcar Named Desire

  7. sycasey 2.0

    Rear Window

    Paul & Amy peer into 1957’s voyeuristic Hitchcock thriller Rear Window! They learn how the magnificent set was constructed, marvel at Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of a man on the moral edge, and discuss why Grace Kelly is not a “Lisa.” Plus: Lane Moore, author of How To Be Alone, talks about how she deals with loneliness and isolation. Next week we are (actually) talking about 12 Angry Men – help defend a criminal character you think deserved a fairer trial! Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts.
  8. sycasey 2.0

    Bridge On The River Kwai

    Haha, same.
  9. sycasey 2.0

    What's your rankings in this "home stretch?"

    That's about right. I should also say that the only movies on my "Bottom 10" that I have actual NEGATIVE ratings on are the bottom two, and even those are barely negative (2.5 out of 5). This is an entirely relative judgment. It should be expected that a list like the AFI 100 has a large preponderance of movies that don't suck.
  10. sycasey 2.0

    Spool Party: House Party

    Amy & Paul raise the roof for 1990’s Kid N’ Play comedy smash House Party! They, listen to the film’s all-timer rap battle, look at how the Simpsons was influenced by hip-hop culture, and talk to the film’s writer and director Reginald Hudlin, and star Christopher “Kid” Reid. (This episode originally aired live on YouTube as part of Unspooled’s “Spool Party” series.) Next week get ready for the 1957 war epic “The Bridge On The River Kwai”! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Check out the rest of our Spool Parties live on youtube.com/earwolf. Photo credit: Kim Troxall
  11. sycasey 2.0

    What's your rankings in this "home stretch?"

    My full list here: https://letterboxd.com/sycasey/list/unspooled-afi-100-personal-rankings/ Top Ten: 1. 2001: A Space Odyssey 2. Citizen Kane 3. Taxi Driver 4. The Godfather 5. It's a Wonderful Life 6. Star Wars 7. Pulp Fiction 8. Rear Window 9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 10. Dr. Strangelove Bottom Ten: 83. The Sound of Music 84. Sophie's Choice 85. In the Heat of the Night 86. Forrest Gump 87. Ben-Hur 88. Tootsie 89. Swing Time 90. Yankee Doodle Dandy 91. MASH 92. Easy Rider
  12. sycasey 2.0

    Bridge On The River Kwai

    Russell definitely fits. I've heard that Alexander Payne is no peach either. And I think James Cameron fits within Spielberg's generation.
  13. sycasey 2.0

    Bridge On The River Kwai

    I voted a soft no. For me, the segments with Alec Guinness are really brilliant and the segments with William Holden are . . . fine, but mostly I'm just waiting for the movie to get back to the prison camp. The list also seems pretty replete with WW2-related movies and also already has the best Lean/Guinness collaboration in Lawrence of Arabia, so I'm not sure we really NEED to keep this one, even though it is very good. I think Spielberg would qualify as an "epic war movie" filmmaker who isn't a difficult tyrant on set.
  14. sycasey 2.0

    Bridge On The River Kwai

  15. sycasey 2.0

    Spool Party: House Party

    Not sure what to say about this one. I remembered seeing this as a kid, and watching it again this week found it pretty enjoyable still. Certainly not something I'd consider for an all-time list like the AFI (though I know, that's not the point of this episode).
  16. sycasey 2.0

    Goodfellas

    Amy & Paul jump into 1990’s kinetic Scorcese mob epic Goodfellas! They learn some of the wild details about Henry Hill that didn’t make it into the film, discover the origins of the Morrie’s Wigs commercial, and ask if there are too many gangster films on the AFI list. Plus: Chef Evan Funke (The Shape Of Pasta) shares a tomato sauce recipe you can make even in quarantine. Next week tune in for our Spool Party episode about Kid N Play’s House Party! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. And check out our Spool Parties live on youtube.com/earwolf– this Monday we’re talking about Clue!
  17. sycasey 2.0

    Goodfellas

    I think maybe if they seem younger and more fresh-faced you're more likely to sympathize with them when they fall. Most of Scorsese's choices are working against that.
  18. sycasey 2.0

    Goodfellas

    I remember Amy going on about the pasta sauce in The Canon episode about this movie too and found it an equally exasperating point. On Pesci: for me having an older actor in this part kind of subconsciously suggests to the audience that, yeah, this guy is too old to be acting this way and it's definitely not sustainable for him. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but I think this gives the character a greater undercurrent of menace from the beginning.
  19. sycasey 2.0

    Goodfellas

    And the other characters in the movie literally tell this to him. Both Paulie and Jimmy tell him he needs to lay off the drugs because they're turning his "mind into mush." This whole sequence demonstrates that. Within this sequence we also have a direct refutation of the idea that Henry's narration only repeats to us what's on the screen: the guns he brings to Jimmy are clearly crap, as we can see from the visuals. Jimmy is right to reject them. Yet Henry's narration acts like Jimmy was crazy to turn them down. He's not reliable, and the movie wants you to know that. The narration puts you at a distance on purpose.
  20. sycasey 2.0

    Goodfellas

    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/goodfellas-actor-files-250-million-lawsuit-over-simpsons-mafia-character-204312/
  21. sycasey 2.0

    Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout The Ages

    It's a close call for me, though I will say that if you're streaming the film online, DO NOT watch the version that comes free with Amazon Prime. You'll notice that the listing claims that their version is 3 hrs, 17 mins, but if you actually watch the film you'll find it's more like 2 hrs. I don't think any scenes or plot were left out, so that means the footage is running VERY fast. I first watched this movie there and found it very hard to follow. Then someone on the Facebook group pointed out that the version up on Kanopy is much better, so I rewatched the film there and indeed it is a big improvement. It actually runs the proper length, which gives the scenes room to breathe, and the picture quality and musical score are better too. So based on the Kanopy version, I found Intolerance very entertaining. Some of the reactionary politics* are still bothersome, but when the film is presented well you can see how strong Griffith's filmmaking technique is. That said, does it belong on the list? I think you can make an argument that if you're talking about cultural and technical influence it's really Birth of a Nation that belongs, even despite the horrible racist messaging. If you're just going off artistic quality, Intolerance is (IMO) a strong candidate but not clearly necessary. I ultimately voted yes but it's a borderline call. *I think the way Griffith frames the motives of the women reformers in the modern section is almost laughably misogynistic, but historical context is helpful here: this was a time when progressive religious women's groups like this were pushing for prohibition of alcohol, resulting in the passage of the 18th Amendment at the end of the decade. Given the disastrous results of Prohibition you could say Griffith does have a point here in criticizing these groups, and it is useful to warn hat socially progressive movements can go too far. That said, the idea that all of it was based on women getting old and bored because they were no longer attractive to men is, uh, pretty wrong-headed. And then of course the movie also contains a great character like the Mountain Girl! People are complicated.
  22. sycasey 2.0

    Yankee Doodle Dandy

    Pretty easy no vote for me. Yes, Cagney's performance is engaging, and yes the songs are memorable. But this movie carries a lot of the same narrative problems I have with Bohemian Rhapsody and other bio-pics of its type. It doesn't really bother to tell a story, just "plays the hits." There is no narrative momentum; the whole thing just trips along from event to event, like "This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened." None of the dramatic moments have any real consequence that carries through from one scene to the next. The clip where Cohan writes a letter apologizing for his bad play is a prime example of this: that's a potentially interesting angle on the story (a guy who knew his limitations and gained strength from recognizing them), but before he can even submit the letter we get another "and then" with the start of the war and the failure of his dramatic play is promptly forgotten. I don't think a charming lead performance and catchy songs are enough to make it one of the Top 100 of all time. I'm not necessarily bothered that the film is overly cheery or celebrates lowbrow populist art over all else . . . but Sullivan's Travels does the same thing and also has an actual propulsive story that moves and drives the lead character to that realization, rather than just having characters speak the themes out loud while treating the whole thing as a foregone conclusion like Yankee Doodle Dandy does.
  23. sycasey 2.0

    Yankee Doodle Dandy

  24. sycasey 2.0

    Cabaret

    It's a soft no for me. Intellectually I understand why it's a thematically and aesthetically interesting piece, but when I watch the film I just don't get into it. Or rather, I'm into the musical numbers at the cabaret, but most of the stuff with Michael York that is done in more naturalistic style I find just . . . fine. Not bad, but fine. A lot of movies deal with this subject matter, and in these scenes the subject matter seems to be doing a lot of the emotional work. It's also interesting to hear that Bob Fosse wanted to focus more on this stuff and get away from his creative history in musicals, because even given that the musical stuff in Cabaret is more engaging IMO. I think All That Jazz was ultimately the more artistically successful cinematic vision from Fosse, integrating the real-world and musical-fantasy elements more congruently (as opposed to the the kind of bifurcated fashion in which Cabaret presents them). But on the other hand, I can see the argument that Cabaret is the more influential work and has more meaning to people who grew up queer.
  25. sycasey 2.0

    Cabaret

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