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About themichaelwells

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  • Birthday 02/21/1979

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    Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  1. themichaelwells

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

    Magnolia for me. I re-watched Shaun of the Dead recently and it didn't hold up well at all for me. I'm fine with Zodiac, but Magnolia is a film that I get excited to watch every 3 or 4 years, where I doubt I'll ever watch the other two again.
  2. themichaelwells


    Platoon is a film that I've seen in chunks on cable when I was a kid, but had never committed to watching in its entirety. Full disclosure: not a big Oliver Stone fan. After finally watching it, my assessment is that it's a pretty okay war film, but I honestly don't understand why it's so highly regarded. I was intrigued by Amy's comments about Born on the Fourth of July being a superior film, but largely being ignored because it came out in the wake of Platoon's many accolades, and I'm now looking forward to viewing yet another Stone film I've ignored over the years. In my opinion, this one's a good candidate for removal from the list if the AFI ever gets around to doing so.
  3. themichaelwells

    Bonnie And Clyde

    I keep thinking about the portion of the Benton interview where he speaks about the importance of visiting Texas to ensure they got the people and setting right on film. It just seems like this kind of care isn't exercised enough these days. As a Missourian, one recent example that's still stuck in my craw is Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Watching this I never got the sense that the filmmaker once set foot inside Missouri, or even an rural American town for that matter. My wife tells me the Missouri part is incidental and not worth getting hung up on, but I believe filmmakers should do their homework if they want to get that specific with their settings. That being said, I doubt I would have enjoyed the film if it was titled simply Three Billboards, or Three Billboards outside Ebbing as the characters and dialogue were equally ridiculous. Apologies - I've gone on a bit about an unrelated movie. Just wanted to let all of you Texans know I share your frustration. And in case I haven't been clear - I hate that movie with gusto.
  4. themichaelwells

    Bonnie And Clyde

    All valid points. I'm more of a reader of fantasy fiction than sci-fi, but one thing that struck me during my recent viewing of 2001 is how it's probably the most accurate representation of how weird and thought provoking reading hard sci-fi really is. Of course, 2001 (wisely) doesn't provide the same internal dialogue that's possible on the written page, but Kubrick is a director that can get all of that stuff across to his viewers on the screen, often in utter silence. I think this is the primary reason I'm still in love with 2001 even though it lacks the traditional fun movie stuff that sent Bonnie and Clyde into my #2 spot. I could easily see making a change at some point - especially if that elusive 70mm print ever makes it to Kansas City.
  5. themichaelwells

    Bonnie And Clyde

    Loved this movie the first time I saw it maybe ten years ago, and love it still after this viewing. I really enjoyed Amy's interview with Robert Benton and found his assessment of the Blanche character very interesting. I'm fine with Estelle Parsons and was fine with her character as introduced. Having an audience surrogate along for the ride to express the fear, shock, and horror that anyone in their right mind would naturally experience on a multi-state crime spree was a wise decision. However, I think she should have gone through more of a criminal transformation by the end of the film. They try to accomplish this in a few bits of dialogue and her attire as the film proceeds, but it seems to me that they couldn't resist the comedic appeal of her hysterical screaming, which to me is a little tonally weird by the latter part of the film. That's a minor gripe though. This one's now my #2. https://letterboxd.com/mveew/list/unspooled-afi-100-ranked/
  6. themichaelwells


    Thanks for this definition. My wife and I have discussed the Goonies Conundrum on several occasions without referring to it as such. Our first encounter was when I learned she had never seen the original Star Wars movies and was shocked that she wasn't completely swept away by them. The same thing happened to me when we later watched Hocus Pocus. It happened again when viewing Titanic, wherein she freely admitted she was unwilling/unable to develop new, objective thoughts about the movie. So far as Titanic is concerned, her initial thoughts and feelings reign, just as my own do for The Empire Strikes Back. I don't think the Goonies Conundrum is necessarily a problem. It's actually rather freeing when viewing nostalgic or sentimental movies with the uninitiated.
  7. themichaelwells

    Listener Rankings

    Just started a Letterboxed list here.
  8. themichaelwells


    I enjoyed this episode despite finding Amy and Paul's glowing words about this movie incredibly frustrating. Look, it's fine if people like this movie - I don't happen to agree with them, but even its supporters have own up to its flaws to sound credible, which neither host does here. I also take issue with being labeled as an internet hater for not enjoying Titanic. There are many and varied perfectly valid film making reasons to dislike this film that have nothing to do with whether or not Jack can fit on a plank. For the sake of keeping this post short, I won't go into them here, but know that they're easily Googleable and that I agree with ALL of them. There are things to enjoy about this film - the chemistry between its young stars, the sets and costumes, the scale of the production, Billy Zane - all of these things come to mind, but for me they are not enough to keep Titanic afloat, and it is this humble viewer's opinion that it, along with any of Cameron's films, do not belong on the AFI list.
  9. themichaelwells

    The French Connection

    I was really disappointed that Paul rolled over so easily on the French Connection. I recall Amy making strong cases for Ben Hur and Swing Time not belonging on the AFI list in those episodes. Her argument that Swing Time is in fact the wrong Rodgers-Astaire movie to honor was particularly convincing. In my mind, even if you don’t love, or even really like the French Connection, there’s no denying it’s entertaining, and I think, a more effective snapshot of its time and place, i.e. gritty 1970s New York, than the others are at capturing Bible times and the golden age of blackface.
  10. themichaelwells

    Episode 138 - Harold and Maude vs. Being There

    Abstaining this week in lieu of a Neither option. Both were movies I watched to check off my cultural literacy list and found to be very unremarkable.
  11. themichaelwells

    Episode 137 - The Hustler (w/ David Scarpa)

    I’ve always loved The Hustler, but I hadn’t thought about why nearly as much as Amy and David have prior to listening to this week’s episode. However, thanks to their insights and careful observations, I’m sure to seem really friggin smart when my wife and I watch it later this week. My vote is yes.
  12. themichaelwells

    Episode 136 - The Best of 2017

    I've unfortunately yet to see The Florida Project and will be unable to do so before next week, so I am casting my vote for Lady Bird with that reservation. When I've just seen a film and I'm trying to decide how I feel about it, I always ask myself, did anything seem out of sync with the rest of the movie and did it seem unnecessarily long? Lady Bird, to me, was perfect in every way. Nothing seemed out of place, I wasn't checking my watch near the end, and Greta Gerwig's examination of a mother-daughter relationship in early 2000s California somehow struck a deep emotional chord in me despite having come of age a decade before the title character and growing up a husky midwestern boy. I expect Lady Bird to stick with me for a long while.
  13. themichaelwells

    Episode 134 - Love Actually (w/ Michael H. Weber)

    The guest, who supposedly is there to support Love Actually, really sells it as an bad movie throughout this episode. The supporting points he makes for its inclusion in the Canon actually reinforce what I’ve always thought about this movie, which is that it’s a turd of a film.
  14. themichaelwells

    Episode 109 - Raising Arizona (w/ Ira Madison III)

    I hadn't seen Raising Arizona nor thought about it much for a long time before listening to this show and there are certainly other Coen brothers films I would think to add to the Canon ahead of it, but I was sold as soon as Amy mentioned that it's just one of those movies that was on HBO a lot at a certain point. This was how I first encountered the film as an unsupervised preteen with premium cable at my disposal and I now think that watching it introduced me to the idea that movies could be more than mindless entertainment. If that doesn't make it Canon-worthy, I don't know what will.
  15. I don't honestly think either (or any) of these films hold up very well fifteen years later. My wife and I re-watched them over this past holiday season and found them good for a laugh, but not much else. That being said, Fellowship of the Ring, in my opinion, is the most watchable of the three. I find Return of the King's glut of special effects nonsense a non-stop insult to the art of movie-making. I absolutely cannot stand the pressure filmmakers seem to feel to continuously outdo themselves. A good example of this within this trilogy is Legolas doing battle at the end of Fellowship, which is still really entertaining, but becomes a little silly in the Two Towers, and is so ridiculously overblown by the Return of the King that the scenes have nothing with which viewers can connect to. This pattern repeats itself over and over again throughout the trilogy, so that is why in the absence of a None of the Above option, I will go with the Fellowship of the Ring.