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sycasey 2.0

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Everything posted by sycasey 2.0

  1. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 172 - The Last Dragon: LIVE!

    This is true, though at least Miyagi showed up for his student's big fights. Leroy's master is off to Miami when shit goes down.
  2. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 122 - The Tingler (w/ Witney Seibold)

    I'm a mild no vote on this. I enjoyed watching the movie, but absent the live theatrical experience I don't think this film on its own qualifies as essential viewing.
  3. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 172 - The Last Dragon: LIVE!

    There's been a lot of commentary on how Leroy seems socially or emotionally stunted in this movie, as though he just stepped out of some remote monastery in another country. This seems odd, given that we are shown at the end of the first scene that Leroy has just been training in a houseboat docked in New York City. So what's going on here? Brainwashing. We need to take a close look at this guy who calls himself "The Master:" I realize that everything coming out of his mouth sounds warm and fatherly, but let's look at the facts here. Leroy immediately grovels at the Master's feet after thinking that he's displeased him in some way, even after Leroy just caught an arrow in mid-flight (which should please any teacher). There's a series of "patches" that Leroy had to "earn" in order to complete his training and apparently attain some kind of mystical "glow," all laid out on a chart that seems important at the time but later has nothing to do with anything. Then he sends Leroy out after "Sum Dum Goy," which turns out to just be some fortune cookie machine and not any kind of martial arts master. Faced with these facts, he hands Leroy an empty fortune cookie and reveals that his treasured medallion was also fake, before announcing that he's hopping on a plane to Miami. What does this all tell you? He's making this shit up. This "Master" guy is just a huckster. His training is some weird mix of Chinese and Japanese cultural touchstones with no internal consistency. Now, obviously the Glow turned out to be real, and Leroy certainly did have talent, but is there any evidence that this so-called "training" had anything to do with him attaining this final level? None that I can see. I'm not sure how much Leroy paid for these years of training, but hopefully he can get his money back before this guy spends it all in Miami Beach. He's sure not coming back to New York.
  4. sycasey 2.0

    Musical Mondays Week 21 Guys and Dolls

    Just want to say that I think you've nailed it here, why the 1992 Guys and Dolls works so well but the more modern production with Lauren Graham/Tituss Burgess doesn't. It's in the staging: one is static and the other constantly moves. Check out the 1992 version of "A Bushel and a Peck," featuring Faith Prince (the star of this week's HDTGM entry The Last Dragon), who won a Tony for this role: Look at how this is staged, how the stage picture always changes by moving the actors around and making use of the feathers and costumes. You feel like you're never looking at the same thing twice; it's electric. Same thing with their version of "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat." It drives me nuts when I see stage shows where the directors just seem to think they can place the actors in front of the set and as long as the performances are good, their job is done. The stage movement also tells the story!
  5. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 172 - The Last Dragon: LIVE!

    Julius Carry (Sho'Nuff) is sadly departed now, but I will always remember him as Bruce Campbell's buddy/sidekick from The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oI-nfeDtWc (If you recognize that music, yes, it was later reused by NBC for their Olympics coverage.)
  6. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 172 - The Last Dragon: LIVE!

    As requested on the podcast, let's catch up with some of the cast members of The Last Dragon! Faith Prince (Angela, a.k.a. Not Cyndi Lauper) clearly had some musical talent, as she wound up winning the Tony Award for Guys and Dolls in 1992. (Also a nice link to our current Musical Mondays selection.)
  7. sycasey 2.0

    Musical Mondays Week 21 Guys and Dolls

    It really doesn't make sense. I might have thought it was because some of the sexual double-entendre was too much for 50s movie audiences, but then they replaced it with a cat number called "Pet Me Poppa," so that doesn't wash either.
  8. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    DARKNESS. NO PARENTS.
  9. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    I have to say . . . I don't think there is anything wrong with a movie like this having a teenage/juvenile sensibility. It seems like a lot of the annoyance towards The Matrix is in response to people who claim the movie is "deep" or "meaningful" when it really isn't. To me that depends on what level of depth you are expecting. It's not a philosophical treatise. It's not a rigorous intellectual exercise, like you might find from Kubrick or Bergman or Tarkovsky. It's an action movie. It's an action movie with some interesting ideas, but fundamentally it's more concerned with delivering a fun ride than with inspiring deep thought, and any additional depth is a bonus. I think that's fine; we need escapist action as much as any other kind of movie, so long as it's done well. Star Wars sits on my DVD shelf alongside 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both are worthy of a spot in the Canon. Some more thoughts on Neo/Keanu: It's interesting to me that people are automatically coding him as the "white male" hero, when one of the things I liked about him (as a half-Asian kid myself) is that he was clearly part Asian. He has a Chinese/Hawaiian grandparent and has stated that he grew up around a lot of Chinese culture. He has a Hawaiian name, straight black hair and brown almond-shaped eyes, so there's no mistaking it from his looks. Yet clearly he's been widely accepted as a kind of generic white leading man in a lot of roles. It's interesting how actors and other celebrities of mixed Asian heritage often have the Asian part just kind of "forgotten" as the general public codes their identity by their other racial heritage (see: everyone knows Tiger Woods is a black guy, but rarely is his Asian side mentioned). Anyway, this isn't me accusing anyone of racism or anything like that. Just some more thoughts on how Keanu Reeves fits into the diversity of the film's cast.
  10. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    I think the way this is filmed shows clear intent. They are trying to make hay out of Keanu's wooden delivery. If they didn't like what Weaving was doing, they wouldn't have had it in there. I'd say there is also some middle ground between "funny" and "deep," or perhaps that something can be both at the same time. The Oracle scene definitely seems to qualify.
  11. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    I would argue that the movie is enjoyable BECAUSE it is goofy. Or at least it is self-aware about its own goofiness. There are too many gags and visual jokes in here for me to believe it isn't. Just consider: 1. Keanu's little pause before saying: "I know Kung Fu." 2. The way everyone hops up from the dinner table upon hearing "Morpheus is fighting Neo!" 3. Not just the "ding" of the elevator after the lobby scene, but holding the shot long enough for a panel to crash and fall from one of the columns in the room. 4. The newspapers blowing past as Neo and Agent Smith face off (like there are tumbleweeds here). 5. The little moment where Neo misses his punch at Agent Smith, and then extends his fingers to hit him in the throat. 6. Really everything Hugo Weaving does. Man, I love a hammy Hugo Weaving performance. I think the sequels get a bit too full of themselves, but this first movie wants you to be in on the fun, always.
  12. sycasey 2.0

    Musical Mondays Week 21 Guys and Dolls

    Yeah, I think the movie kind of misses on the tone you get in a (successful) stage production. It's supposed to be funny. The most successful revival of this show on Broadway starred Nathan Lane. That's the best tone: big, brassy, and silly. I'm not sure this movie completely gets that last part.
  13. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 121 - The Matrix (w/ Cameron Esposito)

    I also remember being wowed by this upon first watch, back in 1999. Really enjoyed it as a college student. It's been many years since I'd actually sat down to watch this movie, and I wasn't sure if it would hold up. It's one of those movies that immediately became ubiquitous, but that also means that it's been nitpicked to death over the years, to the point where sometimes that's all you hear when someone talks about The Matrix. Its reputation was hurt by the subpar sequels. The MRA "red pill" thing makes you wonder if you should even associate yourself with this movie at all. The Wachowskis have continued being interesting, but nothing they've done since has lived up to this standard. All of that is preface to the fact that when I watched this again yesterday, I was amazed to discover that I loved the movie more than ever. It's kind of a miracle, a pastiche of genre tropes (literally all the genres: sci-fi, martial arts, film noir, westerns, etc.) and philosophical/religious musing that still works brilliantly as a fist-pumping, pulse-pounding action adventure. I distinctly remember looking at the clock around the time Joey Pants was betraying everyone and seeing that I'd been watching the movie for an hour and a half. Really? That plot twist comes THAT FAR into this movie? It doesn't feel like it; the whole thing flies by. Add in the obvious and immediate impact this had on every action and sci-fi movie in its wake and the way its language has permeated the culture, and this is an easy yes.
  14. sycasey 2.0

    Musical Mondays Week 21 Guys and Dolls

    I don't mind that the main characters are kind of loutish assholes, because ultimately this is supposed to be a cheeky comedy musical. They don't have to be virtuous for me to enjoy it. That said, I think this movie takes a kind of strange approach to the material. It feels a little too serious and uptight, not fast and fun like the musical calls for. Brando is miscast -- he's a mediocre (at best) singer and his naturalistic style clashes with the broadness of the material. Sinatra also feels a little too subdued, maybe trying (and failing) to calibrate to match Brando's performance. They have zero chemistry together. The show wants you to be "in" on the joke that these gangsters are not actually worthy of pity, but the movie itself doesn't always seem in on that joke. Anyway, the music is still great, and these 50s movie musicals always had a certain technical proficiency that renders them watchable on some level. It's not a terrible movie, just uneven.
  15. sycasey 2.0

    Which Movies Does HDTGM Absolutely Need To Review?

    This one jumps out at me, seems absolutely perfect for this podcast. -Weird and inexplicable comic-book origin story. -Horrendously bad CGI, even for the time period. -Well-known actor chewing scenery like crazy (John Leguizamo). Love it!
  16. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    "Top That" is great, but the other excellent Teen Witch jams should be here:
  17. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    From Airborne:
  18. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    And I feel like Chelsea Kane should be represented, having given the best overall performance in Bratz:
  19. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    From Miami Connection, featuring Bobo Pat Benatar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WZ6Vl5uBGw
  20. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    From Miami Connection, featuring Just Oates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO9BFGHTrC8
  21. sycasey 2.0

    HDTGM Jams Mega Mix

    Now that this thread is revived, I see we've missed a few gems from recent episodes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLj9_M5Rmn8
  22. This thread has me shocked at how many people don't know anything about Guys and Dolls! I thought this was one of those musicals that everyone had to either see or do in high school. This is my bubble as a former theater geek. Anyway, the music will be pretty much unassailable. It's basically a Greatest Hits soundtrack, for classic Broadway showtunes. This movie adaptation might bring some more mixed reactions, we'll see.
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