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sycasey 2.0

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Everything posted by sycasey 2.0

  1. sycasey 2.0

    The Godfather Pt. II

    Kind of true, but the idea of even making more MCU movies was entirely dependent on Iron Man being a hit. At the time, Iron Man was not household name even among comics fans, and Robert Downey Jr.'s career was . . . fine, but not really superstar-level.
  2. sycasey 2.0

    The Godfather Pt. II

    Mmmmm . . . organized crime.
  3. sycasey 2.0

    The Godfather

    No topic yet, so thought I'd start one! Amy & Paul pay tribute to 1972’s mobster epic The Godfather! They praise the film’s incredible rich cinematography, wonder if Michael makes his character turn too quickly, and debate whether this is truly the second greatest American film ever. Plus: Gianni Russo, who plays Carlo Rizzi in the film, shares stories from the set. Next week is Godfather Pt. II – tell us one of your deepest secrets! Don’t worry, you can use a fake voice, just call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824.
  4. sycasey 2.0

    The Godfather

    Even if you personally can't stand mob movies, there really isn't an argument for keeping The Godfather off any list of the greatest American films. It's clearly one of the most successful, most critically lauded, most influential movies ever. I wouldn't say this about too many movies, but this is one of those where if it's not on the list then the list loses credibility. Anyway, as to the complaint about Michael's arc not quite tracking . . . I'm not sure this is actually a problem. Part of what I love about The Godfather is how much it plays like a Shakespearean tragedy. In those plays, there's always a lot of ambiguity as to what really drove the main character to his fall. For example, did Macbeth become a bad guy because of the witches' prophecy raising his jealousy and ambition, or was it because he was always violent by nature and was going to do it anyway? The answer isn't in the play, it's the thing you puzzle over. I think there's something similar with Michael Corleone: did he transform into a cold mob boss because of circumstance (his father being hurt and no one else being good enough to take charge, finding potential happiness in Sicily but having it ripped away, etc.), or because that coldness was always in him? The movie purposely leaves this open to interpretation.
  5. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus Reel: Joker & Taxi Driver

    Lots of spoilers in it.
  6. sycasey 2.0

    The Godfather

    (Technically that last one there is from Godfather Part II, but otherwise they are all from the first movie.) (A familiar tune at 0:56.)
  7. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus Reel: Joker & Taxi Driver

    Right, but that's just it, Letterman would actually bring them on the show and do planned bits with them, or he'd go out into the street and film his own stuff. And in the 80s Letterman wasn't the prestigious host everyone wanted to be on with, he was the weirdo whose show started after midnight. Even he wouldn't be showing random camcorder footage from a comedy club, I think.
  8. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus Reel: Joker & Taxi Driver

    I listen to Marc Maron's podcast, and on it he made some non-specific references to having filmed two larger scenes, but one of them got cut out, and when the director told him why it was because they wanted to keep everything focused on the main character. (I guess the other scene was him and De Niro alone.) The problem is that without that there isn't much context to what Arthur is doing, who he really is, etc. That's why the scenes with Albert Brooks and Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver are important, they give you a sense of what "normal" people think about Travis. I guess presenting the whole thing from Arthur's demented perspective means there is a strong emotional impact to many of the scenes, but thematically and intellectually it's left wanting. The individual scenes don't cohere into a solid narrative.
  9. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus Reel: Joker & Taxi Driver

    (Some SPOILERS in here if you haven't seen Joker.) Also, what kind of network talk show in the 1980s would want to show low-quality footage of some unknown amateur comedian? Would they really consider that worthy of an on-air bit? Not to mention that such talk shows aren't generally broadcast live, so Arthur's on-set stunt probably wouldn't have actually made it to air. My other big question is about the backstory with his mom. The asylum has all kinds of records about his mother's mental issues, making stuff up, abusing him, etc. Why does this all seem like news to him? He doesn't remember any of it? Seems like if she was allowed to keep custody of Arthur there would have been a parade of social workers coming to their apartment.
  10. sycasey 2.0

    Bonus Reel: Joker & Taxi Driver

    I posted some comments over in the HDTGM thread, so you can read those there. I basically agree with Paul and Amy's comments here that though Joker is aesthetically interesting and Joaquin is good, it is basically aping the surface of classic Scorsese without the underlying depth of thought that goes into the scenarios in those movies. Amy mentioned that those other movies have more than just bad things happening to their characters (Travis fucks up his date with Cybill Shepherd, but he does get the date in the first place). I think a lot of this comes from those other movies also fleshing out the supporting characters, so you have more of an outside perspective on who the protagonist is. Making everything take place inside Joker's head is kind of a less interesting approach here, if you're trying to go the Taxi Driver/King of Comedy route. If you want it to be all in one man's head, then I think the filmmaking needs to be more precise to help you differentiate between what is real and what is not, and to clue you in to the fact that it's a subjective take on the story (like Fincher with Fight Club).
  11. sycasey 2.0

    American Graffiti

    On the other hand, plenty of writers try to tell their own personal stories and the result is completely terrible. It still requires a storytelling shape and a reason for being.
  12. sycasey 2.0

    American Graffiti

    I mean, it's pretty common that actors don't know what's going to happen in the final cut of a movie. They only film their own scenes and aren't privy to everything else. I guess I have a different idea of what the tone of this movie is. To me it always felt more elegiac than purely celebratory, as the scene with Wolfman suggests. It's not as obvious about it as the black & white frame in Last Picture Show, but to me the undercurrent is always there.
  13. sycasey 2.0

    American Graffiti

    I found Paul and Amy's reading really ungenerous this time. On the one hand, they say it's just a superficial nostalgia trip, but on the other hand they complain about the downer ending. But the downer ending is exactly why it's not just a nostalgia trip! The movie is about the nature of nostalgia and the fact that such things are always fleeting. The Wolfman Jack scene and Ron Howard/Cindy Williams scenes (among others) definitely speak to this idea. Lucas added those title cards because he wanted to remind people of that. It's also really beautifully made on a technical level: the way it looks, how it's cut together (George Lucas' wife Marcia having a hand in this again), the way music is overlaid. Lucas really was a talented filmmaker at one time. It's just that his later work showed that he didn't really understand what made his movies work.
  14. sycasey 2.0

    American Graffiti

  15. sycasey 2.0

    Episode 223.5 - Minisode 223.5

    Yup, one of mine also got read word-for-word by a caller. I wasn't sure if it was a real caller or if the staff just had someone pose as a caller to give them more material for the "call-in" section.
  16. sycasey 2.0

    Joker (2019)

    I had no real expectations, given that from the first trailer this looked like such an odd thing, so I can't really say I was "disappointed." But it does feel like it only gets halfway there to being a great movie. Aesthetically it's great, really sets a nice atmosphere and looks good, nothing like what you'd expect from the guy who made The Hangover and Old School. Phoenix gives a great performance, no doubt. But I'm not sure Todd Phillips has anything to say about society or humanity other than "some people are really fucked up, man." Superficially it's similar to classic Scorsese like Taxi Driver or The King of Comedy, but it misses the details and subtleties that make those movies great. Biggest example is that there are basically no other characters besides Arthur. There are other PEOPLE in the movie, but none of them feel like fully fleshed characters. Scorsese uses those other characters as counterpoint, to demonstrate how depraved the protagonist really is. This movie is just in Arthur's head all the time, which is tiresome after a while. Those other movies also have a gradual build, taking their time to get to the point of no return for their characters. It's less than an hour in and Arthur has already gone off the deep end in this one. There's not much more to get out of him as a character after that, and the development of his character seems to be the whole focus here, to the exclusion of all else. And yeah, the origin story stuff seems half-baked.
  17. sycasey 2.0

    Ad Astra

    Yeah, amen on the voiceover. All it does is tell you things that are already obvious from watching what happens on screen. It really bugged me after a while. Otherwise I liked the movie.
  18. sycasey 2.0

    Some Like It Hot

    She has done some stuff kind of like that. Check out her Ringer podcast series (one on Halloween and another on Quentin Tarantino), or her sporadic short-form podcast, ZOOM.
  19. sycasey 2.0

    Some Like It Hot

    Yeah, there's a general humanism to it that keeps any of the comedy from getting icky where it often can in a movie like this. Like, when the guys are dressed as women they are taken seriously as women and that's it. Marilyn's character isn't treated as dumb because she doesn't realize they are men, it's just that she's focused on her own concerns. There's no flipping out or "gay panic" when any male characters learn of the cross-dressing, they just roll with it. I guess you can argue the comedy works because it's doing the opposite of what you expect and you expect some of that gross stuff to happen, but I'll take it.
  20. sycasey 2.0

    Some Like It Hot

    Like Amy, upon this rewatch I was struck by just how well-directed this movie is. Wilder goes above and beyond with his framing, camera movement, transitions between scenes, etc. It really is a great piece of filmmaking in addition to being a funny movie. Is it an especially deep movie? No, not really. But I also was left feeling like it was pretty much perfect as a piece of entertainment, just beautifully made on on all levels. Even the musical numbers (which hurt, for example, the comic pacing of Marx Brothers movies) are terrific and serve the story. I'm not even thrown off by the gangster stuff, seems to me that's all necessary and well-integrated with the larger plot. So yes, keep it on the list and keep it high.
  21. sycasey 2.0

    Some Like It Hot

    Not directly for this movie, but since this is the Marilyn Monroe episode:
  22. sycasey 2.0

    EPISODE #223 - Disclosure (1994)

    Another thing I found odd is that Meredith called Tom's wife to tell her the next morning's meeting is at 8:30, but then we learn the meeting is actually at 7:30 and Tom got screwed. But realistically, what kind of attendance do you expect for a 7:30 AM meeting that you changed fairly late the night before (seems like it's around 9 or 10 PM when she calls)? And it's not just executives (who might all be in on the plan), it's a meeting where the technical guys have to be set up and ready to demonstrate a product! This seems like a bad move that is more likely to result in Meredith's meeting only having half the normal attendance at best, not just Tom being late.
  23. sycasey 2.0

    EPISODE #223 - Disclosure (1994)

    Hah, that definitely occurred to me too. So his "happy ending" is that he gets to keep working at this company that has been trying to undermine him and screw him behind his back. Congratulations? I guess you could argue they'll leave him alone now since he's shown that he can play the game just as well.
  24. sycasey 2.0

    EPISODE #223 - Disclosure (1994)

    Yeah, my thoughts on this is that a lot of really fucked-up sexual shit went on in the past that people didn't consider a big deal back then but probably did warp a lot of people sexually, in ways they didn't realize. It's why I try not to be too judgy about old stories like this -- they didn't have the same perspective we do now. If the intent in raising the story is to help teach other people what not to do now, then yes absolutely. If it's to say that Kirk Douglas or whoever was a bad person and don't watch his movies anymore, then no thanks.
  25. sycasey 2.0

    EPISODE #223 - Disclosure (1994)

    I think she does say this while Michael Douglas is showing everyone the news footage, but it's only one line uttered in quick objection to what he's doing, rather than something that's been detailed and laid out like in the book.
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