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Everything posted by bmichael

  1. bmichael

    Episode 85: BOOGIE NIGHTS vs TWBB

    I almost stopped listening to this episode after the first ten or twenty minutes. It's immediately clear that Devin cannot argue in good faith about things that he loves. I generally find people talking about things they love (rather than things they hate, for example) to be the most revealing and interesting. In Devin's case, it's revealing but not interesting. The first part on Boogie Nights re-animated the Re-Animator discussion, with Devin pointlessly taking the total opposite point of view from every opinion Amy expressed. Their discussion about what the beginning of the movie means is a perfect example: Devin and Amy were saying essentially the same thing or something very close, yet Devin says that he thinks the exact opposite of what Amy just says. Come on. Ok, after the Boogie Nights warmup period, things got much better. This ended up being a great ep! In marked contrast, There Will Be Blood elicits admiration more than love from Devin, and he talked about it with extreme clarity and insight. Unlike most episodes, I found Amy's opinions to be a little driftwood-y, but it was pretty clear she disliked TWBB and Devin and the listener (me) both really like that movie. I would say I actually love TWBB and only sort of respect BN, now. It was not a formative experience for me as it was for Devin. I think it's a fine movie, a little uneven. And I agree with Amy in that it is a didactic and loses the thread toward the end. But it ends on a high note, which is really its intrinsic genius. Devin's weird social arguments for BN (porn is more mainstream -- ok? is that a good thing? seems totally irrelevant to the matter at hand, either way) is lame. His main argument is that it was a formative viewing experience in his life -- and that's fine! I watched TWBB several times in theaters the year it came out, which was around the run-up to the first Obama election. It just gave to my life an atmosphere of largeness, and underscored the stakes of that election (and I guess all forthcoming elections). I totally agree with Devin that TWBB is about the poles of the modern world, and saying it's a western is entirely reductive. So yeah, I usually disagree with Devin 100% (well, 66%) and I ultimately have to disagree with him here. However, his arguments for TWBB were much better (to me) than his arguments for BN. One is a Great Movie and the other is a Loved Movie. Which brings us back to the criteria of the canon: things you love or things that are great? Re-Animator should not have gotten in last week and Boogie Nights should not this week. Next week, there will be There Will Be Blood in the Canon. I hope!