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Quasar Sniffer

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Quasar Sniffer last won the day on February 15

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  1. Quasar Sniffer

    Musical Mondays Week 96 Fiddler on the Roof

    I have not seen the play, but yeah, even considering how much of a fan I am of this film, the "dream" doesn't work. Too long and unfunny.... and it's filmed like a dream when it's just totally made up... which makes it seem like the movie thinks it's funny?
  2. Quasar Sniffer

    Musical Mondays Week 96 Fiddler on the Roof

    JAMES BOND CONNECTIONS! The most prominent is Topol (oh Topol, what a lovable charmer), who plays Milos Columbo in For Your Eyes Only Vernon Dobtcheff, who plays the black-suited Russian official who appears menacingly right before the wedding, played Max Kalba in The Spy Who Loved Me. Cinematography by Oswald Morris who photographed The Man With the Golden Gun. Set decoration by Peter Lamont who did set decoration, art direction, and production design for 18 James Bond films
  3. Quasar Sniffer

    Musical Mondays Week 96 Fiddler on the Roof

    You better fucking believe I love me some laser wolves!
  4. Quasar Sniffer

    Musical Mondays Week 96 Fiddler on the Roof

    Ok, deep breath... So this movie has fascinated me for a long time. It definitely pairs with the other movie adaptation of a spiritually focused musical directed by Norman Jewison in the early 1970s, Jesus Christ Superstar. The latter is definitely a much lower budget endeavor which puzzles me considering such a monster hit Fiddler on the Roof Was. I think in college I was looking up what were the most successful movies in big, important years in cinema and I was shocked to see what a phenomenon Fiddler was. A year before The Godfather, two years after Easy Rider supposedly made old Hollywood ideas (like epic musicals) extinct, was this, to me, an anomaly of a film. I know the Broadway musical was a smash, but a three-hour musical about pogroms, poverty, and the conflict between tradition and modernity in late Tsarist Russia seemed so unlikely to me. Plus, one of the most challenging and rewarding classes I took in college, around the time I discovered this movie, was a History of Russia class, much of which focused on this exact time period. Structurally, I think this musical is interesting from the get-go because it kind of has an "I want" song in "Tradition," but what Tevye wants is for things to stay the same as they always have been, just if he could maybe have a little more money and have to work a little less hard. Especially considering how much his family and his entire life are upended by the end of the film, our protagonist is actively opposing progress throughout the movie (though he's more open to change than a lot of his fellow villagers). Tevye is our window into this world, but what fascinated me about him is that he's just a bit beyond an Everyman character: he's a little smarter, a little wiser, a little funnier, has a little more perspective, works a little harder, has a little more of an active relationship with God, and is willing to bend the rules a little more than his fellow villagers. Not a lot, but a little. And all of those little bits make him, to me, a hero. So by the end, even when it takes his entire family yelling at him for him to acknowledge his daughter again, even if only for a moment, we see him carting all his belongings through the mud with a rope over his shoulder, he is a hero. Sure, we'd like him to be heroic enough to accept his daughter with open arms at that moment, but in this moment in history, in this movie, that is just a bridge too far. Tevye's life has been entirely upended by these gentile Russians; his daughter's wedding was ruined, his family is displaced, and his ancestral home destroyed. And now his own child is married to one? FUCK. I think that's a wonderful illustration of the theme of Tradition introduced in the opening song. It's tradition that this town, this community, this religion, has survived for millenia, living through pogroms and crusades and genocide. Their entire existence lives on the precipice of destruction (like that Fiddler), so of course this community depends on tradition to keep it together and alive. It is to Tevye's credit that he is able to recognize the damaging, or at least not useful, elements of that tradition and let it go, so his daughters can find happiness. Sure he grumbles about God and his fate, but he comes around eventually. Musically, the film stands out as it embodies that tradition with its orchestration and instrumentation. It combines 20th century modes of storytelling (the Broadway/big film musical) with sounds and rhythms of traditional Jewish music and culture. We are listening to the give and take of progress vs. tradition that is going on in Tevye's own mind. I know a lot of people are bothered by the tonal shift after the intermission, but I actually find it thematically appropriate. I think it is indicative of the life of Jews in Eastern Europe for much of the last, well, millennia. That is, existing on the edge between livable misery and intolerable trauma, going from where one is able to joke about one's living conditions in order to suffer through it, to tragedy so severe it constitutes a landmark break from everything one knows and cherishes. They lived that edge-of-the rooftop existence every day for generations. I have MANY more thoughts on this film, but I will end this rant by saying that this movie connects to me even on a spiritual level. The tableau at the end of the film, with the villagers, now refugees, staring starkly and longingly into both the camera and their grim future, breaks my heart. These images echo every Jewish refugee in history, from ancient Babylon to the Holocaust, and the Boomer generation that made up much of the audience for this film, whose own familes barely escaped or were victims of that genocide, it must has been harrowing. Me being Catholic, it affects me in a different way; in that I am reminded of all the refugee crises America has ignored since then, from Syria to those at our own border. It's reprehensible and tragic on a global scale and, personally, it's against everything I believe in to ignore people in such poverty and pain. The Bible is full of Jewish refugees that it frames as heroes, not just the many mentioned in Fiddler on the Roof, but also that one Jesus guy. So any Christian who would ignore these people, or participate in their destruction, makes me just so fucking angry. There's a panoply of movies about global crises of the present or the past, but maybe it's the smallness of the scale of this film combined with the scale of the music that makes it connect with me so deeply.
  5. Yeah, we've really been diving into some epic-length musicals lately. You are all too kind for indulging me in this one. Thank you.
  6. Quasar Sniffer

    Star Wars Podcast

    Definitely endorse this podcast. The Jaws and Star Wars series were outstanding. Haven't checked out Binge Mode thought.
  7. Oh shit, I could have sworn I checked, but I guess I missed it! Thank you!
  8. Oh! And if the group would just want to discuss Hamilton this week, I can defer and do my pick next time.
  9. Ok, this has been a movie I've wanted to cover in this group since it's inception, both because it's great (one of my aboltute favorite musicals) and we've covered so much of the Norman Jewison oeuvre already, the completist in me wants to watch it. I've waited for it to be free on streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime and it just hasn't happened. So... I'm just gonna pick it now. If the group would rather I pick something else (this being a pandemic and all), I would gladly change my pick (I do have an alternate that I would like to revisit anyway). Please let me know. After all, if I were a rich man, I would be buying way more movies.
  10. Quasar Sniffer

    Episode 242 - The Boyfriend School

    This struck me as especially strange, since I've actually had jellyfish salad and it's very inoffensive tasting, mostly it's a delivery device for sauce or dressing. It'd be like vomiting over eating iceberg lettuce. And @Cameron H., I thought the EXACT same thing about Shakespearean comedies. I thought it was interesting since, reading Shakespeare and romance novels are such aesthetically different experiences, but this movie sort of merged the two. I'm not saying it was successful, but it was a neat idea. I know there is a LOT of the movie before Mr. Gute shows up as Lobo, but I think his sister's motivations would be better explained if we got more backstory on what his character was before his illness. Maybe even, for example, Shelly Long tries to hang a picture of her brother atop his Harley in the Andes mountains to remind him that, five years ago, he traveled from Alaska to South America on an epic multi-continent motorcycle/mountain-climbing trip just before he got sick. But now, he's in recovery and he shows no signs of that fearlessness and daring coming back. In fact, he's sinking deeper into depression than he ever was while sick, so Long is just desperate to make her brother well again and she sees this opportunity to contrive a romance as a way to force her brother into mental and physical health, even if they both have to "fake it until they make it," which does occur by the end anyway.
  11. Quasar Sniffer

    Episode 241.5 — Prequel to Episode 242

    Not a summer movie, but I thought appropriate...
  12. I had to give up on Unspooled early on. I know it's good to take a second look at sacred cows, but Scorsese one of my favorite filmmakers and it felt like Amy Nicholson just relished in taking a dump on him at every opportunity because he was over-represented on the AFI list. I didn't even get the sense that she liked movies, just that she liked having opinions about them. There were three or four episodes in a row where she accused male characters of being incels just because they weren't getting laid on screen and at that point, I was out. It felt like the attacks she was making were very personal, on the people who liked those movies, so it was very unpleasant to listen to. ANYWAY, I think the strongest sequence in Beats, Rhymes, and Life was when Q-Tip and Phife were recounting the same events that led to A Tribe Called Quest's breakup, but from their own perspective. When Q-Tip said in an interview "I don't have beef with Phife, Phife has beef with me," he felt all he was saying was that he had no beef with Phife. Phife, on the other hand, thought Q-Tip was saying, "it's that CRAZY Phife who's wrecking the group, not me!" I think they were both coloring events to make their own side look better and both being a bit unreasonable.... but both also kind of right. It was a great illustration of how two old friends who had made great art together could let their egos get in the way of forgiving each other over minor (or even imagined) slights. I just wish the documentary had more of that insight. Seeing how the band reformed to make another album and Phife's tragic death, I would love to see a film documenting their reformation and their reaction to Phife dying. There's got to be a great story there. Did it take the shadow of a best friend's impending demise allow the group to bury the hatchet, or was it something simpler? Did they just... start talking again one day? If not, who put them in touch again?
  13. All the promotion, episode title, etc. should be "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," but in the actual episode they make ZERO mention of the film, and the movie they will actually be discussing is 'Queen of the Damned.'
  14. Quasar Sniffer

    Episode 240: Megaforce LIVE from Montreal!

    When we're talking flimsy, impractical vehicles ridden by handsome blonde heroes into a sci-fi battle, I will always go FLASH (aaahhhh-aahhhh)