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Episode 77: SEVEN

  

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  1. 1. What's in the box?

    • SEVEN is in the box, and the box is in the Canon.
      138
    • The severed head of this movie, which is not Canon.
      41


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Is that something you can elaborate on? I really dislike this specific critique of films, and unless you yourself are philosophically literate I don't see how this even makes sense, There's a naive nihilistic worldview that can be very sophomoric, but that doesn't make the position of nihilism sophomoric as such. What about it's world view did you find sophomoric?

 

I was using the word literally, in that Fincher's movies play out like countless conversations I and my equally insufferable schoolmates had as sophomores. (Looking back at my original post, I can't come up for a single good reason why I didn't just say "sophomore" instead of "second-semester freshman." ). It was a critique of the expression, rather than the content its self. (I'm a very stupid man who only recognized the irony of this after the fact.) I know this reads like a brush-off of your question, but it's embarassingly the truth.

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I think it's unfair to criticize Fincher for pandering to pseudo-intellectuals while completely ignoring the fact that a majority of his movies are adaptations of trashy airport novels. It's bringing the high form to low art that, in my opinion, makes him one of the more interesting directors working today.

 

And good lord he's not "name checking" the Marquis de Sade and Dante. He's establishing the juxtaposition between a cop who thinks and a cop who acts.

 

Normally I really like Amy's dissent because she comes at movies with an interesting point of view and brings up ideas that would've never occurred to me otherwise. I even agreed with her on some points here. But this episode was excruciating.

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Re-watched last night and agree this movie belongs in The Canon. One thing that struck me that I hadn't noticed before (I was 15) is that John Doe created this fake image of himself to be immortalized. The murders, the room, everything was constructed by him. He didn't even set out envying Brad Pitt. His plan would have been used on any detective that would have come along investigating the case. Don't have a pregnant wife? Have a son? A daughter? A parent? A friend? It could have been anybody's head in that box. Wrath was going to happen in response to his faux-envy.

 

Coincidentally I happened to be watching The Simpsons and they parodied that cop's last day on the job thing back in 1991. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOk4hQXbGDs

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I tend to agree more with Amy, but she's just wrong here, and didn't have any compelling arguments to back her up. SE7EN belongs in the Canon. It was infuriating to listen to an argument where one side was on the defensive the whole time. I am fine with the more argumentative episodes, but those are only interesting when it's a fight; not a pummeling. Hopefully Amy will come back strong next episode with some of her trademark facts to back up her points. Also, it was hilarious hear Amy say "I don't like empty style. I like style with a purpose" when she started the episode off by singing the praises of MTV, which is famous for being just empty style.

 

One thing I will give Amy credit for is she's gotten a lot better with the zingers back to Devin. When the show first started he would stump her a lot with his jabs. She's gotten pretty good giving them as good as he gave them this episode. Also, that Fox News Kennedy bit from Devin was pretty good.

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I've loved this movie for a long time and went into this episode thinking it was a solid yes. While I still think it's great, I found Amy's critiques really interesting and valid. I wish Devin would have at least tried to engage with them instead of repeatedly calling her an idiot like always. That he managed to say, "you're deflecting honest discussion with a personal thing," without an ounce of irony is the most remarkable thing I've ever heard.

 

Re: that last sentence-perfect, I agree so hard, he does that all the time. His constant brush off of people who don't like that he consistently speaks highly of Woody Allen is pretty much that in a nutshell.

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Wow, I really felt for Devin. To my ears, Amy had decided to not like this movie because it was 90's style without substance, and she dug her heels in to the point that she was disingenuous about her understanding of the movie (or maybe simply did not understand it). It felt like she was trolling Devin for a reaction.

 

Case in point, her (deliberate?) misunderstanding of John Doe's apartment. I was amazed that Devin didn't bang his head in the wall and run screaming at that point. That apartment was designed to BE meaningless, to be a conundrum for people to figure out. And Amy was complaining that it made no sense!

 

Argh.

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Firstly, please give me the contact details of Earwolf's lawyers, as I may need to sue for involuntary head injuries caused during the argument about the fucking aspirin bottles.

This! I was literally stomping my feet!

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Huge fucking yes and a cop dying with a few days left before retirement is a thing, they even do it in Last Action Hero.

It was ridiculous that Amy protested this. Felt like trolling.

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Re: that last sentence-perfect, I agree so hard, he does that all the time. His constant brush off of people who don't like that he consistently speaks highly of Woody Allen is pretty much that in a nutshell.

Well, yeah. Woody Allen has made a bunch of great films. And while Allen is a very problematic subject, where do you draw the line? Because, depending on your standards, none of us should like most of modern music, because so much of that is owed to Phil Spector, who was famously abusive in the studio, and actually killed someone. Same with Errol Flynn. Are you going to say The Adventures of Robin Hood isn't canon-worthy because he was probably a rapist? This is not to justify anyone's behavior. By no means do I mean to do that. What I'm saying is that I think Devin is coming from the standpoint that Allen's work is great, even if he, as a person, is kind of a scumbag. Sometimes the stuff we like and want comes from bothersome places. If you're going on the principle that you can't support the product because of the producer, you're not gonna get very far.

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Interested to see how gleeful Devin is when he mentions this forum discussion next week.

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What I'm saying is that I think Devin is coming from the standpoint that Allen's work is great, even if he, as a person, is kind of a scumbag. Sometimes the stuff we like and want comes from bothersome places. If you're going on the principle that you can't support the product because of the producer, you're not gonna get very far.

 

And that's understandable on some level-you can't change the past. We can't change that many people saw Woody Allen films before they knew what he did, and that they're a big influence. That doesn't mean you have to continually support his work, prioritizing a man's artistic output over the life of a woman he's destroyed. You don't have to write think-pieces about how you don't know who to believe and treat an accusation of abuse differently than if it didn't involve your favorite celebrity or brush off people who are uncomfortable discussing his works (who are often victims themselves as well). I'm definitely not saying Devin's a bad person for this (at all-we're all guilty of it at some point, that's how strong a force rape culture is in our every day lives) I'm saying he's definitely guilty of "deflecting honest discussion with a personal thing" and recognizing that would allow for more richer arguments and thoughtful discussions all around.

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About the aspirin bottle fiasco: I am on Devin's side on this argument, and his point about how it is foolish to go look outside the film for explanations is correct - the bottles are in the film without explanation and you should infer meaning only from the context that the film provides. But I was listening to past episodes and on the "Blade Runner" episode, Devin does just what he derides here. He complains that the title of the film is meaningless because he read an interview with Ridley Scott in which he said that the title came from another novel, and he used it because he thought it was cool. Devin then proceeds to use the exact same reasoning Amy uses regarding the aspirin bottles. It seems a bit hypocritical, or, at best, inconsistent.

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I'm saying he's definitely guilty of "deflecting honest discussion with a personal thing" and recognizing that would allow for more richer arguments and thoughtful discussions all around.

 

I don't think you're wrong that Devin does this in other cases, but in this Woody example, it seems that he's advocating at all times for not allowing real-life events to affect his view of an artist's work, which is consistent with his criticism of Amy here. He's in fact more like the opposite: so beholden to the art that it affects's his view of real-life events, which is arguably/probably more problematic for everyone EXCEPT a professional critic.

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But I was listening to past episodes and on the "Blade Runner" episode, Devin does just what he derides here. He complains that the title of the film is meaningless because he read an interview with Ridley Scott in which he said that the title came from another novel, and he used it because he thought it was cool. Devin then proceeds to use the exact same reasoning Amy uses regarding the aspiring bottles. It seems a bit hypocritical, or, at best, inconsistent.

 

I like that you did this and wish people would do it more often, but I feel like if there was a concerted effort to cross-reference everything every major critic writes or says, we could break the whole thing. On some level critics and readers/listeners alike are constantly having to willfully assess each work/review in a vacuum (but only sometimes, like when it serves us or when we feel like it, or something). I don't know how I feel about it other than thinking it's a weird phenomenon.

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I watched Seven for the second time last night, specifically to be prepared for this week's episode of the Canon. I also watched Seven specifically because the first time I saw this movie, I absolutely hated it. I came out of that first viewing full of feelings of disgust and boredom, railing against the pretension of David Fincher, reasons very similar to Amy's complaints about empty stylistic flourishes and the grossness of the film. As such, almost all of her arguments made perfect sense to me.

 

However, upon my second viewing last night, my tune has changed. I came away from this second screening with views much more in alignment with Devin's. This time around, I really picked up on the film's thematic consistency and overall point of view, and I realized that my initial reaction to the film was not really a reaction to the film's underlying problems, but to the problems the film presents on its surface: the problem of evil and the fundamental nature of humanity. Noticing these elements this time around got me to a point where I found myself applauding the cohesiveness and the artistry of the film at the end rather than flipping it the finch, as I did the first time around.

 

That being said, my gut-level reaction to this film is still negative. While I can now appreciate the film for its craft and Fincher for his genius, I still cannot bring myself to appreciate the experience as a whole. The misanthropic, nihilistic messages of the film just don't sit with me and will always turn me away. And while I am tempted to say that this is my problem and mine alone, I also found that my reaction was problematic on a cinematic level. Because the film does such a good job of turning me into a little nihilist, by the climax of the film, I no longer care what Mills does. Whether he kills John Doe or not doesn't affect me in the slightest. I'm actually actively rooting for Mills to do it and kill himself to boot. So while the ending lands as a good climax to the story Fincher is telling and a good end to the characters' arcs, the film's unrelenting darkness leaves me so apathetic that any emotion I'm supposed to react with has already been bled out of me.

 

In a way, the movie is too good.

 

But that's not enough to keep it out of the list of important films that people ought to see. The combination of film's cultural significance of this film, its nigh-impeccable craft, and its overall artistry get an apathetic Yes out of me.

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it was great getting to re-watch this fantastic thriller. Also interesting, as I was born in 1993, that Devin and Amy dissect how this influenced all the cop procedurals that flood the networks today. I grew up watching so much CSI with my parents and having Amy and Devin help me look through that lens with this movie's aesthetic was very interesting.

 

Beautifully disgusting movie. Those Sloth and Lust murder scenes are still shiver-worthy.

 

As I am about to re-watch THE WITCH, my mind started to draw comparisons between the two. A small-town, blonde, "pure" protagonist being dragged through the coals of hell, kicking and screaming into their new dark existence that they can never escape. John Doe and The Witches drawing Mills and Thomasin respectively are extremely similar. Evil, rarely seen presences both representing hell and meant to deconstruct their targets.

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I'm in complete agreement with Amy on this one. Fincher's work is shallow and overrated, and while I can appreciate his stylistic approach it doesn't make up for that fact. I always feel forced into his icky worldview that is as deep as a 12-year old's fascination with bugs.

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I feel like if there was a concerted effort to cross-reference everything every major critic writes or says, we could break the whole thing.

 

I agree, and I didn't set out to cross-reference, I was just listening to older episodes because I'm a pretty new listener. This jumped out at me because Devin was so adamant in stating his philosophy of criticism when he said that the death of the artist is the only way you can approach criticism (a statement I agree with) that you kind of expect him to really mean it. If not, it's just unfair to Amy.

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literally screamed into a pillow at one point. Not because I agreed or disagreed with anything anyone said, but because Amy clearly wasn't hearing what Devin was saying at all. It just all seemed to fly right over her head.

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literally screamed into a pillow at one point. Not because I agreed or disagreed with anything anyone said, but because Amy clearly wasn't hearing what Devin was saying at all. It just all seemed to fly right over her head.

And vice-versa.

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gonna vote this weekend after rewatching. But damn guys what an annoying episode. Almost as bad as Grapesgate in Pan's Labyrinth or that weird Sound of Music episode. And is it cool to hate Fincher???

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And that's understandable on some level-you can't change the past. We can't change that many people saw Woody Allen films before they knew what he did...

 

Is accused of having done.

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The Canon podcast is so funny to me. Both the hosts are about as different from me as two people could possibly get. I'm always like "man I wouldn't ever want to have a conversation with these two or hang out in any way." But Iove listening the podcast (even if I can't find half the movies). It's a weird thing.

 

Oh yeah, so Seven, obviously Canon. It's absolutely zero of the bad things Amy said about it.

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