Jump to content
🔒 The Earwolf Forums are closed Read more... ×


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by hahmstrung

  1. hahmstrung

    Forums shutting down

    Thanks for maintaining the forums all this time. It's a shame to see them go but it's understandable. It was fun chatting here!
  2. hahmstrung

    Jurassic Park

    Also, this is one of the earliest memes I can remember...back before jokes on the internet were called memes. I still quote/sing this with my friends.
  3. hahmstrung

    Jurassic Park

    Yet again, hating that the conversation has to revolve around comparing the week's film with another in the series/from the same director; I feel like it only encourages negativity instead of celebrating what the film does so well. Both Jaws and Jurassic Park deserve recognition for different, but mostly equal, things, IMO. It doesn't have to be one or the other. Jurassic Park was and still is a technical marvel. Except for a few CG shots (which I think mostly hold up completely) everything is done with incredible animatronics that still look lifelike. It's amazing! Even if the plot was terrible this film deserves recognition for this achievement. Of course, the plot and story are about as solid as one could ask from a huge blockbuster. Spielberg really cares about crafting good characters and having a tight story; I can't knock a film for doing something so well and I actually think there is a bunch to ponder beneath the surface that the podcast didn't even touch upon (that the Park is really an analog for zoos and how incredibly awful they are, for example). And there's still the incredible camera work, the timeless score, the brilliant casting and acting all around...This is the ultimate blockbuster film. Regarding Hammond, completely disagree with the notion that Spielberg thinks what he's doing is awesome. Sure, Richard Attenborough has a jolly smile and sing-songy delivery, but he is absolutely portrayed as a selfish, impatient, short-sighted prick. Before he's even in the film all we hear about him is that he refuses to meet with his lawyer to discuss the death of one of his workers and that he hates dealing with legal matters as it slows everything down. After landing his helicopter right by Grant and Sattler's raptor dig site, ruining their work, the first thing we actually see him do is barge into their fridge and open an expensive bottle of champagne they'd been saving. Hammond insists on the railed-Jeep tour, which his grandchildren are on, continue even though many of the systems are bugging out and a terrible storm is incoming. He has only two engineers (one of whom seems to not know how to do anything) in charge of the entire zoo's system, underpays them and treats them like garbage. Likely, his pressuring the scientists to hurry along with the cloning tech caused them to make the pretty egregious mistake of using DNA from frogs that are known to spontaneously change sex, negating their "brilliant" females-only solution. They're breeding and raising some of the most dangerous animals to have ever existed and they don't even have a dependable security system to contain them (not only faulty electrics but they know that the raptors are testing for weak spots). He dismisses Muldoon for being an alarmist after he says all the raptors should be destroyed. Countless people are killed due to his impatience and he still thinks he can do it perfect the next time before Sattler sets him straight over melting ice cream (this scene lays out the entire message of the movie). I could go on but virtually everything that went wrong with the park was 100% on Hammond and Spielberg makes that very obvious. The thesis of the film is that man shouldn't try to be God, Hammond being the personification: the Dr. Frankenstein. So yeah, big vote yes for me. This is one of the most important American films that everyone who even cares the slightest bit about the craft should see, and that includes aliens from space.
  4. hahmstrung

    Apollo 13

    I found the film to be quite boring this time around (hadn't seen it since it was in theaters and I was 10). It's an impressive recreation of a real-life event and the zero-G stuff still looks impressive, but the film just never grabbed me. I think I kind of hate how NASA scientists are always portrayed in this, IDK, robotic way. Maybe that's 100% accurate and I applaud these men and women who handle situations like this with barely an emotion escaping their faces, but I find it utterly boring to just watch these people solve problems very competently.
  5. hahmstrung


    I suppose I can't be too upset that Aliens got voted off the spaceship since Alien was booted along with it. I'm not sure I can get behind a list of the best films of all time (or is it a list of films that best represents humanity?) that doesn't include two of the most influential and entertaining American horror films, but at least it's consistent.
  6. hahmstrung


    Well, I'm really glad I decided to watch Aliens right after Alien for the previous pod! Can't wait to listen to the episode. And yeah, this gets shot to space, no question. Both films are masterpieces of cinema in their own right.
  7. hahmstrung


    I rewatched both Alien and Aliens for the upteenth time last week (I'm going through the rest of the Alien, Predator and AvP films to complete this monsterverse) and I'm still firmly in the Aliens side of the debate. Both are masterpieces and perhaps comparing them constantly does a disservice to both films, but I do feel like Aliens gets a bad rap as a shlocky action film. If Alien benefits from the character development, world building and emotion of the later films, then Aliens is hindered by the countless Gears of War-style space marine bug-hunting games and films that took the wrong message from the film. In Aliens, the marines are super cocky until they get their asses handed to them in the very first encounter where most of the unit is wiped out. Any catchphrase-spouting and "hurrah"-ing is done in parody. There's not even that much action in the film until the final 20 minutes. Anyway, this isn't supposed to be about Aliens. There's not much to say about Alien as I don't think anyone frequenting these forums would disagree that this film should be preserved. I agree with pretty much all of the criticisms brought up on the pod, but, much like Chungking Express, sometimes things like conventional character development isn't always necessary to tell a compelling story. We know who these people are (truckers) and all that matters is they act believably, something Prometheus got so wrong.
  8. hahmstrung


    I'm pretty surprised by the positive reactions to this film on the podcast. It's by no means a bad film: I thought it was totally fine, but felt it had nothing interesting to say and the Zemeckis saccharin really holds this film back from being great. You can tell that this is adapted from a dense book as there are so many ideas here but none of them are explored in a meaningful way, just rushed through. The faith-in-science vs. faith-in-religion conversations never go anywhere, and boy are there are lot of these surface-level debates. Maybe these conversations would land better if the film was about Ellie coming to grips with what she believes after her space journey, but what we get are a bunch of characters who don't struggle with their beliefs at all. They are firm in their positions but can't make a compelling argument for why. I actually think the bureaucracy angle actively makes this film worse. It's totally believable, but again, the film never does anything with it. Ellie gets screwed over by a bunch of men who outrank her and......she acts completely professionally about it and goes about doing her job. A totally respectable and realistic reaction, but not compelling in the slightest. Her story would end there if not for a few deus ex machina-men, one who conveniently kills the man who screwed her over, and another who has a vasts wealth of money and an infatuation with Ellie that is never explained. I think it would've been interesting to explore how she has almost no agency and that a bunch of men dictate her fate directly and indirectly, but I'm not sure the film even realizes that's going on. There's plenty more to nitpick but, I swear, I did actually think this movie was entertaining. I guess I was just expecting it to be a lot more profound considering the prestige it has. I would say the more recent Annihilation is a much better example of this genre of "realistic" sci-fi mixed with a gut-punch of an emotional story. So does Contact get a spot on the spaceship with infinite storage? Sure, why not. EDIT: Just wanted to add a couple of positives: The opening scene in space pulling further and further out was awe-inspiring and eerie, and I also loved the shot with young Ellie chasing the camera through the house and up the stairs as it eventually pulls out of a bathroom mirror. I had to watch that latter shot a couple of times to wrap my head around it.
  9. hahmstrung

    Galaxy Quest

    I remember liking this when it came out but was surprised at how well it held up. It's a pretty solid parody of not only Star Trek but serial TV in general. Yeah, the terminology and setting are all specifically Star Trek, but, just as one example, the idea of a "red shirt" is pretty universal to fiction and it's even explained in the film. I also though the film was an interesting reminder of what a fandom used to look like compared to what we think of die hard fans now. I had totally forgotten that Sam Rockwell was in this and he was probably the highlight of every scene he was in. I knew he had comedy chops from seeing him in some Stella sketches, but he's really funny here. Really, all the actors give great performances, in particular Enrico Colantoni and the rest of the aliens with their interpretations of human actions. So, do I think this is one of the best 100 films ever made? No. One of the best 100 comedies? Probably not. But I do think it's pretty solid, and for a comedy that's already pretty impressive. That's good enough for me to shoot it into space.
  10. hahmstrung

    Cool Runnings

    After listening to the podcast I'll admit that I didn't realize just how embellished the story is compared to the real life events. I think there's an interesting conversation to be had on just how much liberty a movie can take before it stops really being a representation of the true events. Could be an interesting series to compare movies that have different interpretations of real life events. In Cool Running's case, I definitely agree with Amy and Paul that some of the changes are questionable at best and many completely change the characters' motivations. Not all the changes are so egregious but I would be curious to see what a modern take on the story would look like.
  11. hahmstrung

    Cool Runnings

    I hadn't seen this film since it was in theaters back in '93 but I always held a fond memory of it, so I was very glad to find that the film holds up so well. Yeah, it's pretty formulaic but every actor is so genuine about their roles I just couldn't help but have a good time; it's just such a feel-good film. John Candy is especially good considering the bland script he has to work with. I was also pleased to see Oz alum Leon Robinson in the lead role. Shoot it to space!
  12. hahmstrung

    Brian's Song

    Yikes, that was a boring, but mercifully short film. Well, it was still better than the worst of the AFI list so until a more worthy Bernie Casey film comes up this can have a place on the space ship.
  13. hahmstrung

    Upcoming Episodes

    Eh, IDK, Chungking Express is entirely about relationship problems whereas Princess Bride features a relationship but I wouldn't say the film is about that.
  14. hahmstrung

    Upcoming Episodes

    The Princess Bride is a great film but it's not really about a relationship.
  15. hahmstrung

    Groundhog Day

    Apparently in the commentary Harold Ramis said that it's roughly 10 years, but I still like to imagine that it could've been centuries. He's memorized seemingly everyone's histories, learned numerous skills at a more than competent level, etc., and that's not considering how much time may have been spent wallowing in depression. I wonder how many days did Phil not even get out of bed. I disagree with Amy and Paul's complaint about the music. I get what they're saying about it being lame, but I think some of that is part of the point. I immediately think of the corny polka music that opens the film, mirroring the polka music that plays during the Groundhog Ceremony; and the party jazz at the dance is what you'd hear at a event in this kind of quaint town. I think the music is appropriate and somewhat iconic (maybe just to me). Regarding the cinematography, I never thought about it before but after listening to the podcast I watched the film keeping it in mind, and I have to say, I think it deserves more credit than they are giving. This film is very dependent on each day's scenes being shot in a consistent way so that each difference is that much more instantly recognizable. Obviously they filmed each iteration of a day at the same time (I would assume for the most part) so continuity is somewhat easier than if they were filmed days or weeks apart, but they still had to be well thought out and organized. I also think the movements and framing of the camera are more than competently done. Sure, there wasn't anything that "blew my mind" like when The Dark Knight suddenly shifted into IMAX aspect ratio, but I think there's something to be said about the "invisible" nature to some of these things. Sometimes it takes an extremely deft touch to not stand out, whether it's the camera or the score. I think this film is doing a lot of subtle things that all build up subconsciously, allowing the active part of your mind to focus on the subtleties of the acting, writing, etc..
  16. hahmstrung

    Groundhog Day

    I'm going to hold off on a rewatch until February 2nd because I'm corny like that so I'll have some more thoughts then, but I did go ahead and vote Yes. One of my favorite films of all time, I find myself constantly referencing it to this day. I don't seem to be alone since it is the cultural touchstone we all refer to when we talk about any film using a time loop of this nature (it basically created this "genre"). That staying power is enough for me to consider it one of the all-time greats.
  17. hahmstrung

    Chungking Express

    Heh, I'm looking at the copy I "acquired" years ago and it's 130 minutes, so I guess it's the Chinese version. Now I'm curious to see how they cut it for America. So annoying that they would do that. Looks like there's a UK cut, too, that's about 8 minutes shorter than the Chinese cut. I wonder what prompted the edit there.
  18. hahmstrung

    Chungking Express

    My point was that we don't label a man as "manic" for displaying some eccentricities like we tend to do with women. We'll just have to disagree on that one. I think they're both quite wonderfully written and they don't need the typical plot crutches to make them interesting.
  19. hahmstrung

    Chungking Express

    Fair enough, that's the one film I've yet to see as it doesn't seem to be easily available the US. I didn't realize there were multiple cuts of The Grandmaster but I suppose that's not surprising considering WKW apparently continues to fine tune his films after release, like with the upcoming collection from Criterion. Too bad neither Blueberry nor Grandmaster are included.
  20. hahmstrung

    Chungking Express

    This is probably the easiest Yes vote for me yet: Chungking Express most definitely deserves a spot in the preservation space ship. Even Wong Kar Wai's "worst" films easily outshine their respective peers and I'd be more than happy if his entire work was included. I loved the pulpy style of having a shorter tale play before the "main dish"; what a coincidence that this film came out the same year as Pulp Fiction. If they had decided to include the 3rd story (which became Fallen Angels) the similarities would be even more striking. But yeah, I loved how this film is really more Romance-noir than romcom, The use of inner monologuing, the score, atmosphere, frame composition, editing, etc., all combined with the rockstar production attitude all worked so well together to create a truly unique romance-adjacent genre. That's not to say it doesn't have any comedy because this film is hilarious at times: 663 musing that his mysteriously rejuvenated dish towel is "still a very emotional towel" as it drips "tears" is so very good as is the notion that his girlfriend left him to sample other types of men after her eyes were opened from sampling new foods; something 663 did to himself. So perfect. The script is deceptively simple that way: it's clean and precise but chock full of so much charm and clever writing without drawing attention to how clever it is. It's even more impressive that the second story was written the day before and during shooting. That punk-rock filmmaking shines through in every aspect, right down to Brigitte Lin's ridiculous costume (I say that with love): inspired improvisations. I have to say, I've always felt the term "manic pixie dream girl" to be quite dismissive and, frankly, misogynistic as the implications are that the character only exists to service a brooding man into bettering themselves, which is not true of this film at all. Yes, Faye is clearly eccentric but she also has her own life and motivations and, though this may sound like a knock (it's not), the character of 663 doesn't really go through any development. He doesn't have any lessons to learn or shortcomings to deal with. Just like all the other characters in both stories, their arcs are that they exist in this world and we just happen to see their brief interactions. It just feels like if a woman displays some eccentricities she's "manic" but if a man does the same (like by, oh I don't know, talking to inanimate objects, buying dozens of cans of expired peaches, running until you sweat so much that you can't cry, etc.) they're just funny, broken-hearted or brooding. I don't want to go too long, but I obviously have to mention the masterful camerawork. A couple of moments that really stood out: the way the camera swings back and forth trying to keep up with Faye's mopping was just sublime to me for some reason, and the shot of 663 slowly drinking his coffee after Faye tells him about the letter left for him by the flight attendant. The stuttery slow motion effect coupled with the framing of the shot perfectly expressed every thought that 663 may have been having (and used to similar effect through the film). WKW is a master of expressing complex characters and emotions using little to no dialogue. it's quite impressive. I feel kind of bad for not really getting into the first story much, but I don't want to ramble on and I think we all recognize that the second story is the real meat of the film. I don't mean to say that the first story is unnecessary, quite the opposite. The first story sets the tone and atmosphere in addition to being a very fun watch. I feel like I'm still selling it short because there is a lot to dive into but I'll leave it to Paul and Amy there.
  21. hahmstrung

    Dazed and Confused

    I'm a few months late but I finally got around to this (and finishing the Back to School series). I absolutely loved it! This is what I wanted American Graffiti and Cooley High to be. Everything about this movie is so pitch-perfect, from the meek freshmen to the weed culture: this is probably the most accurate film about teenagers I can think of. Aside from the paddling, constant sexual harassment and drunk driving, this was my life, only in 2006 instead of 1976. I "knew" all these people. Everybody is so perfectly cast and does their respective parts so well, and most of the characters are allowed to have some depth, too. Whether it's the freshman who refuses to do the air raid at the party or the bullies who end up befriending and mentoring Mitch, most, at the least, have a mini-arc and shows multiple sides to their personalities. Quite impressive for the size of the cast. I could go on and on but I'll just briefly say that I thought Linklater's directing was technically impressive but not showy nor did any camera movement distract me from what was happening in the movie. Like a perfect score, you don't even notice it. Speaking of music, the soundtrack was killer and, I sound like a broken record, just perfect. Most likely, you are already intimately familiar with each of these songs but their placement in the film doesn't feel trite or corny, to me, anyway. Forget the spaceship: this film should replace American Graffiti on the AFI Top 100 list!
  22. hahmstrung

    When Harry Met Sally

    In my opinion, this film's blandness has nothing to do with it being more positive or life-affirming when compared to a Woody Allen film; some of my favorite films fall into the nice-core subgenre. I'll be more clear and say I'm specifically comparing this to Annie Hall (it's my biggest and certainly most recent Woody Allen touchstone since I watched it for the podcast), which this film and so many romcoms since are clearly aping, and I'll also say that I didn't find that film to be particularly negative, about romance, at least. If my memory serves me correct, Allen's character accepts that the relationship with Keaton wasn't meant to be and moves on (to make a play about his experiences, but still moves on). I think that's pretty positive. I didn't find this film to be particularly life-affirming, either. It's just kinda nothing, that's why I found it to be bland. It's another romcom where a beautiful woman falls in love with a huge asshole with a stupid philosophy for no discernible reason other than he's there and is handsome / funny. 99% of romcoms use this really tired formula and I guess I just didn't find the writing or humor to be anywhere close to Annie Hall or other romcoms that I actually do like (I'm really not much of an Annie Hall fan, either, but there's a big difference in quality here, IMO). As much as I love Chungking Express, now that I've seen WHMS I feel like In the Mood for Love would've been the better film to follow up with. Not especially funny but ItMfL is a very unique take on the romance genre and one of my favorite films, so maybe I'm a bit biased there .
  23. hahmstrung

    Upcoming Episodes

    I kind of think Fight Club would be a perfect choice for Couple Goals.
  24. hahmstrung

    When Harry Met Sally

    I wasn't really feeling this one. As far as romcoms go this one didn't feel especially unique or interesting. As was mentioned above, it's like a watered down Woody Allen film; it actually reminded me of Seinfeld but without the Larry David wit. Harry and his buddy had a Jerry and George thing going on and Sally is basically Elaine..is Seinfeld a parody of When Harry Met Sally? The many similarities are striking!
  25. hahmstrung

    Ganja & Hess

    I really loved this movie! I actually really enjoyed the opening scenes with Meda and was instantly grabbed by the editing and sound design. I kind of love that feeling of having no idea what is going on and left to my own devices to figure it out or interpret; it's the main reason I go into films as blind as possible, so maybe I'm just used to it. I was getting vibes from so many different styles: the overlapping dialogue reminded me of Altman, dream-like sequences were very Lynchian and the acting felt like a Cassavetes film with the long takes and unfiltered improvising. Right up my alley when done well, though all these things are very hit-or-miss, so I get it if someone doesn't like it. I don't know if I'd recommend this to anyone who hasn't already expressed an interest in something adjacent. I'm listening to the podcast now so my reactions are all over the place. There's so much to break down and so far Paul and Amy are doing a great job. I had no idea that Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus was a remake of anything so I am now so excited to see this one. I had only heard the negative buzz around it so I wasn't particularly looking forward to it until now. As far as the spaceship goes, Ganja & Hess was far more interesting and entertaining than the vast majority of films covered by the podcast so far, so it's a no brainer for me to send it up.