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About HoldenMartinson

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  1. HoldenMartinson

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

    I love Shaun of the Dead, but I'd put Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World way ahead of it. I love Zodiac, and is probably my actual favorite of this trio--among my thirty or so favorite films of all time. But if I'm picking what I want to represent the all-time greatest that film has to offer, I'm gonna go with my least favorite. I'm gonna go with the brash, bold, overstuffed, positively ridiculous force of nature that is Magnolia. This is a film that shouldn't work. It's overly sentimental, it's too long, and often makes very little sense. But I apply the same argument to Magnolia that I do for something like The Room. It is, if nothing else, wholly itself. It's an honest vision that might not be as disciplined as Fincher, or as snappy as Wright, but this is what I want from a film. I want something that has a clear point of view. I want something that is as courageous and brash as this. I want something so weird and dynamic to exist in the world. In the end, Magnolia works. What Anderson has to say about parents and children, about denial, about loneliness, about selfishness, and about forgiveness is big and gaudy, and I love it. It's the textbook definition of an imperfect masterpiece. Would cut about 30 or 40 minutes, though. Probably the Julianne Moore stuff, to be honest.
  2. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 162 - Scream (w/ Benjamin Lee)

    Echoing Cabin in the Woods sentiments, even though I don't really love that particular film. Scream is neat for a lot of reasons. I mean, who better to comment on the state of horror over the last few decades than one of its architects? Certainly, there's an argument for a few different Wes Craven films--particularly Last House on the Left and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Here, though, Craven is firing on all cylinders, bringing all of his tricks and economy in storytelling to one of the great scripts of the 90s--'96 alone boasts Fargo, Trainspotting, Secrets & Lies, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire, and a slew of other terrifically written films. Scream manages to feel tense, funny, and fresh, over two decades later. As an aside--one of my earlier movie-going memories is my mom taking me to a drive-in double of feature of the '98 Godzilla and Scream 2. And maybe it wasn't The Hills Have Eyes, but I didn't grow up to be a serial killer. I mean, who knows, though.
  3. HoldenMartinson

    Submit your pick for The Canon's Ultimate Listener's Choice!

    All of these. Especially Boyhood and A Brighter Summer Day. I'd also go with Stray Dog, Rear Window, Three Colors: Red, Only Yesterday, and Police Story.
  4. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 159 - Caddyshack (w/ Alex Schmidt)

    There's a common discussion in film--though, not necessarily exclusive to it--on how well comedy ages. As a younger millennial, there are plenty of older comedies that I adore, but I cannot, for the life of me, understand the appeal of Caddyshack. Without being hyperbolic, I've spent years revisiting Caddyshack over and over. I've lost count of how many times I've tried to watch and force myself to enjoy this film, and it's painfully unfunny. For me, only a handful of comedic beats hold up at all. Maybe if the film around the comedy worked, that could salvage it, but the film is a mess. Structurally, Caddyshack feels so scattershot and uneven that there's barely any coherence or thrust. Someone like Danny is ostensibly the lead, but the film has no sense of him as a character, not to mention that Michael O'Keefe is a veritable mannequin for his entire time on screen. And though I don't necessarily disagree with the discussion on privilege or class dynamics, none of it matters if the movie around it doesn't work. So, this is a hard no.
  5. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 157 - Grease vs. Hairspray (w/ Adam Egypt Mortimer)

    Grease is The Help of musicals. Also, The Lego Batman Movie is marvelous. Hairspray for the win.
  6. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 154 - Infernal Affairs vs. The Departed (w/ Andrew Ti)

    What is so striking about The Departed is how addictive it is. This is something that almost all of Scorsese's crime films have in common. Like Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wall Street on either side of The Departed, these movies are insanely sleek and watchable. I love how tense this film is, I love characters like Mark Wahlberg, and I love the sense of place we get with Boston that we don't really get with Infernal Affairs. So, I'm a little torn, because I do prefer the moral ambiguity and soulfulness of Infernal Affairs, which is a little jagged, but taut and thrilling, even if the hands at work aren't as graceful as Scorsese's. I come back to an idea posed in the episode for the first two The Decline of Western Civilization films: Better films versus better stories. Does one prefer a stronger demonstration of the medium's technical powers, or what works really well within that medium? I suppose I prefer The Departed as a movie, but not much as a work of storytelling. What is this film even about? Crime catches up with a person? Rats are everywhere, including nice apartments? Is Leonardo a Christ figure? The film's a neat trick--a great one, even--but not particularly insightful. For as gripping and realized as The Departed is as an effortless exercise in craft, Infernal Affairs is much clearer and more accomplished in their goals, because what good is a well-made movie like The Departed if it never arrives anywhere? Though The Departed has been a favorite for years--and will remain so, despite its shortcomings--I have to give this to Internal Affairs.
  7. HoldenMartinson

    Homework - The Breakfast Club (1985)

    As far as The Breakfast Club goes, I'm gonna be a bit Bartleby here, because I'd prefer not to...
  8. HoldenMartinson

    Homework - The Avengers (2012)

    Yeah... No, thank you.
  9. HoldenMartinson

    Homework - The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

    Probably. Apparently, this is Damien Chazelle's favorite film.
  10. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 146 - Punch-Drunk Love (w/ Emily Yoshida)

    100% yes. This is a film whose loveliness and whimsy totally work on me, probably because these pieces are interwoven with a ton of adoration and messy emotional honesty. That Paul Thomas Anderson can do this and then follow it up with something as severe and mannered as There Will Be Blood demonstrates a lot of what I love about this film, and what I love about PTA. The element that speaks most to me, however, is the one that Amy jives with the least: Barry as a character. I mean, maybe it's just really personal, but I definitely recognize much of myself in Barry. Like Barry, I don't always know how to express myself very well. I've definitely had moments like that great, great oner of him on the phone with Georgia, where he can't even feel comfortable pretending he's literally anyone else. There's this sense of smallness to Barry--even though he's played by Adam Sandler, who is tall and broad--that feels achingly honest. Certainly, I understand, and maybe even agree with the preference of Ben Stiller's conventional asshole in sheep's clothing over the misunderstood teddy bear of Adam Sandler, but as far as Punch-Drunk Love is concerned, Sandler works. Because it's a film about wanting to be loved, and knowing you have something to offer that no one else sees, until you find someone that finally just gets you. Barry is essentially good, and even enough for Lena, even if he's not perfect or all that well-adjusted.
  11. HoldenMartinson

    Episode 136 - The Best of 2017

  12. HoldenMartinson

    Homework - Best of 2017

    Yeah. I'm voting for The Florida Project as well. I'm so in love with it, and nothing even comes close.
  13. HoldenMartinson

    Best of 2017

    You know, I like The Big Sick, but yeah. And I should be in the bag for this, too. I love literally everyone involved with this project. But maybe it was the three or four consecutive montages set to somber music, or the few jagged stabs at endings, or the fact that this movie feels the need to hit me over the head with its sense of urgency over and over, rather than trusting the audience to understand the weight of those more serious moments, but golly, I could not love The Big Sick, as much as I tried. I watched it over and over, but I'm split on it.
  14. HoldenMartinson

    Best of 2017

    Fourth. It's up their with Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. It's an all-timer.
  15. HoldenMartinson

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

    No on Love Actually, but yes on Dalton's Into the Wild chic.