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Episode 86: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S

  

120 members have voted

  1. 1. Is BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S canon?

    • Yes!
      71
    • Do not Golightly into the canon
      49


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Ticking the Canon boxes for influential and culturally relevant for all time (even if it's mostly for Hepburn), but I can't get excited honestly.

I think the material is hindered by the censors, and the film wasn't skilled enough to handle connotations decently enough.

+ I think George Pepperd is either a bad actor, or simply can't elevate the kinda shitty material.

 

Hepburn almost gets this across the line for me, her character and her performance is career-defining, but not enough honestly, I'm not sure I'm chill with a Canon that is this forgiving.

 

But at the same time, I won't make a fuss if it's in; it is totally understandable.

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I think this a bellwether movie for me? I've had that moment where I am getting to know a woman my age, maybe a coworker, and I'm wondering whether I like her and whether we might become actual friends. And then the topic of this movie comes up. If she dislikes this movie, we are probably going to have a lot of other stuff in common. And we will have that moment of "I'm glad you saw through that shit too." It's a movie that guys seem to think women like but I probably have no female friends who like it.

 

This is the classic Audrey look. I like the era and time capsule quality of some of it. But it's not a good movie. For me it's an easy no. Not just because I don't care for it. (For what it's worth, I don't "like" Triumph of the Will but it's Canon-worthy.)

 

Wait Until Dark is probably the only Audrey Hepburn movie I really like. You would think I'd like Charade because it ticks all my boxes, but I never have liked it.

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I think George Pepperd is either a bad actor, or simply can't elevate the kinda shitty material.

I used to really like him when I was little. He was in some things I remember vividly and remember loving. But when I re-watched them as an adult they were not good. You can still catch a Banacek rerun on odd cable channels. That show did not age well.

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I think this movie is fine, but I genuinely feel like it doesn't quite work. The male lead is a bore, and I found Hepburn to be somewhat unremarkable in this role. I see her as more of a style icon. There are some cute scenes here and there, but the movie failed to make the overall story interesting to me.

 

On the other hand I really do understand why Holly Golightly is sort of a folk hero to young girls. She's the glamorous female artful dodger of the twentieth century. She may cause some chaos here and there, but she's a survivor and she manages to enjoy herself at the same time. It almost makes me want to vote for this movie, but sadly I just don't like it enough to say it's a "must see" canon pick. Soft no. And as others have said Mickey Rooney didn't have much to do with this decision.

 

Oh BTW I loved Amy and Devin singing the Breakfast at Tiffany's song. As a nineties teen that chorus is burned into my brain.

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I voted "no" because this is my ex-girlfriend's favorite movie. She deserves to have her taste reflected in The Canon, but not today.

 

Also, I do really admire this movie. I don't love it per se, or return to it very often, but I do enjoy it. Although, if I'm being honest, I'd much rather live and love in Billy Wilder's Irma la Douce than Breakfast at Tiffany's, and I know I'm probably in the minority in that opinion, but that is how I feel about it.

 

*PS I don't *really* love Audrey Hepburn, I mean... I do, like everyone else, respect her and her place in history, but I personally don't find her attractive in the slightest. And if I'm going to watch a romantic movie of any kind, I kindof have to feel attracted to one or any of the romantic partners we spend time with. I do however really go for Elizabeth Taylor or Shirely MacLaine, I guess I just vibe with danger and eroticism and more fiery passion on screen and off.

 

 

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I cannot get over Mickey Rooney's part in this film. But, if everyone else can - I won't bitch about it.

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My mind hasn't changed since the homework thread. I think Breakfast is a good movie with a great Audrey Hepburn whom you can't take your eyes off. And that's it. The front half of the podcast was Amy and Devin fawning over Hepburn, and then acknowledging that there's a bunch of other stuff that doesn't work in it. It's not just Mr. Yunioshi, it's George Peppard, it's the lack of chemistry, it's the sexuality changes from the novel, it's basically most everything except for Audrey in her little black dress. I vote no, even though I played Moon River on accordion for a friend's wedding.

 

I'm glad Amy brought up Hepburn's relationship with eating -- people idolize her beauty, but she struggled with her body all throughout her youth, through very trying circumstances. The result wasn't just that she couldn't gain weight, she also had difficulty with pregnancy, suffering half a dozen miscarriages. I think it's worth remembering that she wasn't just this skinny little manic pixie. (She later would use her fame to help alleviate the poverty of others through her humanitarian work with UNICEF.)

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Well this is a first. I'm voting Yes despite the fact that I personaly can't stand this film.

 

It's massivly important for all the reasosn that Devin and Amy explained in the podcast, and I can't in good conscience vote no on it. But man. This movie doesn't work for me at all. And honestly, having heard the podcast, I wonder if it's because I saw it too late. I've seen it twice now, once a couple years ago and this weekend, but I never saw it in highschool or college. And that may be why I kind of find the movie insufferable. It actually reminds me a lot of the Noah Baumbach movies that I also don't dig, where I just find everyone kind of annoying. They're just complaining about how life sucks in your twenties and you don't want to make decisions and grow up. And I don't really like that. I've only seen this movie when I've been either married or engaged, and living in a house. I had made my decisions and moved on from this stage of my life, so it's never really rubbed me the right way. Plus there's the fact, like Amy mentioned, that his is a massivly important film for young women, which isn't an experience I'm familiar with, so that never really dawned on me. My wife and all of my female friends don't like this movie, so I never really had experience with women that were enamoured with this movie, so I hadn't thought of it in that way.But that said, the movie deserves to be in the Canon for historical reasons, and my own personal thougths don't outweigh it's importance.

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And honestly, having heard the podcast, I wonder if it's because I saw it too late. I've seen it twice now, once a couple years ago and this weekend, but I never saw it in highschool or college. And that may be why I kind of find the movie insufferable. It actually reminds me a lot of the Noah Baumbach movies that I also don't dig, where I just find everyone kind of annoying. They're just complaining about how life sucks in your twenties and you don't want to make decisions and grow up. And I don't really like that. I've only seen this movie when I've been either married or engaged, and living in a house. I had made my decisions and moved on from this stage of my life, so it's never really rubbed me the right way.

 

This kinda reflects the experience I had with CLERKS.

 

TEEN ME: "this is so spot on"

LATE 20s ME: "Oh my God Randall and Dante are the worst human beings and also this movie is gross"

 

Always kind of wanted to see BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S with a crowd just for seeing the reaction to Mickey Rooney scenes. Stunningly cringeworthy shit in an otherwise OK movie. Soft no, for many of the other reasons mentioned here.

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I was completely transported by this film, and I didn't expect to be. Hepburn just drags you in. And the sex stuff is so open and progressive- given the time I was really shocked by that, haha. Hard yes.

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Perhaps I saw this movie just a few years too late or maybe I'll feel differently in ten years, but I don't see the depth Amy or Devin talked about. In terms of fashion and the actual filmmaking going on here, I agree, it's a really beautiful film to watch. However, the characters felt really slight, perhaps except for Patricia Neal's character, but that's thanks to her performance more than the writing. I was pretty disgusted by the Mickey Rooney character and perhaps that feeling tainted the rest of the movie, but what Amy and Devin said about him being a completely unnecessary waste of time is equal justification for why 1. the character shouldn't be in the movie and 2. the movie shouldn't be in The Canon. The ending felt rather abrupt and unearned though Hepburn does act the hell out of it. The historical impact argument is very strong and I think "Moon River" is probably my favorite entry in the American songbook, but I have to vote no on this one.

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It actually reminds me a lot of the Noah Baumbach movies that I also don't dig, where I just find everyone kind of annoying.

 

And I almost cited Frances Ha as seeming to be influenced by Breakfast. I loved Frances Ha.

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Not voting this week because I've never been able to make it through Breakfast at Tiffany's. I read and loved the Capote novella several years ago, then went to watch the film adaptation. The movie opens with Hepburn eating a croissant while looking into Tiffany's display cases...what the fuck? The character in the novel never literally eats breakfast at Tiffany's...Golightly uses that phrase as a metaphor for a feeling she is searching for. My gut is that the film rides into the canon on Hepburn's iconicity alone, but I shall reserve judgment.

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I don't think comparisons to the source material should have much bearing on movie analysis. Metaphor is different for a movie in that they are showing, not just telling. I mean, sure Stephen King's The Shining is most likely closer to the source material but that doesn't take away from Kubrick's version.

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I watched this movie for the first time and definitely liked it. But I think the final film is a bit too uneven to make my canon list. I had very little interest in any cast member other than Holly, and the actual structure of the film was not one that I thought made especially good use of her. You could make a great movie starring Holly Golightly, I just don't think it's this one. I do really like a lot of the production design and camerawork, so this is a soft no.

 

One strong question I have, though; during the party scene, when the friend is introducing Jose and Rusty, there's this amazing 180 degree tracking shot that I would've sworn wasn't going to show up used this way for another ten or twenty years. It feels honestly like it's right out of Boogie Nights, and it's so stimulating in this movie! Is there an earlier use of that camera movement in a party scene? I know Kurosawa used this camera movement, but never to create this sense of a jumpin' shindig.

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Is the movie uneven? Sure. Could it be better? Absolutely. Does it teach some questionable lessons? Possibly. But this is an easy yes for me because Audrey Hepburn isn't just giving a great performance, she is giving an iconic performance that truly gets better with each viewing. If you replaced her with anyone else this movie would have been forgotten, but it is her, and so this movie 100% deserves a spot in the Canon

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Again, I can't vote because I haven't seen this movie. I never wanted to see it, even the slightest bit. But now after hearing this episode, I really want to see it. So thanks.

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Maybe i'm a horrible person, but Mickey Rooney is one of the reasons I voted yes. Don't get me wrong, his character is cringe-inducing and i condemn it, but if the canon is going to be representative of film history, it's going to have to be a really racist canon. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a very popular, hugely influential film with an incredibly racist (and incredibly superfluous) asian caricature. This was considered acceptable comic relief and to exclude that from the canon is like pretending it never was, which i can't do.

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Maybe i'm a horrible person, but Mickey Rooney is one of the reasons I voted yes. Don't get me wrong, his character is cringe-inducing and i condemn it, but if the canon is going to be representative of film history, it's going to have to be a really racist canon. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a very popular, hugely influential film with an incredibly racist (and incredibly superfluous) asian caricature. This was considered acceptable comic relief and to exclude that from the canon is like pretending it never was, which i can't do.

I understand what you're getting at here but it's not like racist depictions in cinema ever really went away, we have plenty of contemporary examples. Anyways, I voted no for several reasons, the shitty racism being just one. I think it's an overreaction to say "this is very important for its racism" -- you can acknowledge it without deeming it necessary for the canon, similar to how I'd feel about Birth of a Nation.

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Mmm, torn this week. On the one hand, it's a film that's super important for a lot of women (I'm not one of them but I know many who love it) and Hepburn's performance is iconic. There are a sizable amount of people out there who only know her for this role.

 

On the other hand there are things that bother me about it-the racism, the forced straightness, and Peppard's mediocre performance are all really big detractors.

 

Sidenote: if a dude ever told me "You belong to me" I'd move to a different state.

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This was my first time watching the movie and it was very different from what I expected - and that's a major reason why I'm leaning towards voting NO. I agree with how Devin and Amy ruefully put it: it suffers from Fight Club Syndrome badly. From my tangental brushes with the film via its adoration, I was expecting a film about a plucky charming socialite or royalty wearing her hair in a chignon with the long cigarette holder who, well, has breakfast at Tiffany's. Glamourous is the word that best describes my expectation. I awaited a scene of her eating cereal and grapefruit at the store. This waxform is exactly my expectation. When I listened to the podcast episode and heard she was (to use Capote's own description of her) an "American geisha," it totally was counter to everything that I thought I had known about the film from these tangental interactions.

 

This is all not to say I didn't enjoy the film. I really did - well, around the first half of it. I enjoyed the hilarious party scene - obvious shades of Pink Panther here. The out-on-the-town sequence was adorable and can easily be seen as highly influential on future romantic comedy films. I loved that Holly's choice for a place to get a "welp what else can we do but drink" drink after sending Doc away is a strip club. And honestly, the subplot of Yunioshi does have a redeeming quality in how he ramps up his threats - from threatening to call the police, to actually calling the police to bust a party, to finally being there when Holly is arrested. Then there's also the amazing score by Mancini and some witty dialogue from George Axelrod (I loved Hepburn's drunk scene lines).

 

It's great to be delightfully surprised by a film that you come in with a misconception about - but now I feel like I understand where the misconceptions come from. That first half of the film is great fun and is a fun fantasy to have. Young free-spirited girls, go to New York City and live the social dream life of fancy clothes, jewels, and fun parties in your apartment that features a bathtub couch and a cat! That's the iconic imagery - that and the last scene of her kissing Paul in the rain with the cat between them. You know what I noticed in the podcast episode? There was a lot of discussion of these scenes and not a whole lot about the mid-section of the film, that area when I started to get bored with the movie. The Doc storyline. Paul's relationship. The back-and-forth. José. The arrest. All that stuff when Holly's tackled with the reality of life that she can't just la-da-di la-da-da through it all.

 

So the first half and the iconography? Sure, canonical. The film as a whole? I'm still on the no side of things. I'll hang around to see if I might get swayed the other way.

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I watched the film for the first time in years last night and am quite shocked that I am voting "yes". I think something they touched upon in the podcast was how this was a mature movie. I know that 20 or 30 year old me would probably have voted "no" on this, but the part of me that can view this film with age and experience is giving it a resounding "yes".

 

Devin described Holly as the proto-MPDG. I almost consider her the anti-MPDG. One of the hallmarks of the MPDG is that she "saves" the brooding and miserable artist. Something I love about Holly is she really doesn't give a damn about saving or influencing the wet blanket (aside from buying him the type ribbon). She isn't quirky, she's a mess and somewhat of a conscious mess. I think one of the only two things that I find disappointing about the film is the "Hollywood ending". Honestly, and this isn't out of meanness but more because of experience I've had with people like Holly, I wish there had been a bit more of a, not tragic, but realistic ending. As Devin said, two weeks after the film ends she's probably already moved on from Paul. He wants to save her, he needs to save her, and the realistic story is that she doesn't want to be saved by him. He loves her and she literally thinks of him as her brother. In modern times he'd pretty much be a #NiceGuy™. (and, as I type this, this film is making me think of why I love the ending of the sorely underappreciated "Scott Pilgrim" so much.)

 

The other disappointing thing: Of course the Micky Rooney bits are utterly cringe-worthy. I commented earlier in this thread before I re-watched the film on how that may keep me from voting for this; but after watching it, his scenes are really more of an unfortunate distraction than anything. I think of people who want to re-write Shakespeare or (in the ultimate show of misunderstanding the point) Mark Twain with the sexist and racist language removed. To remove it and to (literally) white-wash and pretend history didn't happen is a principal way to stall progress and move beyond the unfortunate past. Ignoring the past is too easy, and addressing racism shouldn't be easy.

 

As I write this I'm listening to "Comedy Film Nerds" and they're talking about how every film fanatic should watch "Birth of a Nation". Again, I cringed at the thought of this earlier in this thread. After reading the comments and the current discussion I'm not thinking, "O.k., Canon..bring it on".

 

Anyway, solid "YES" for me.

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[and for all the people who voted against Re-Animator because "we have that slot filled":

It looks like BaT is going to get into the Canon, so now we have the "New York romantic comedy about a quirky woman and brooding/uptight man" slot filled by this film and "Annie Hall". So I expect you won't be voting for "Pillow Talk" or "Barefoot in the Park" or anything else of that ilk. I mean, if having too many films of a certain kind are so damned important to you.]

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I think of people who want to re-write Shakespeare or (in the ultimate show of misunderstanding the point) Mark Twain with the sexist and racist language removed. To remove it and to (literally) white-wash and pretend history didn't happen is a principal way to stall progress and move beyond the unfortunate past. Ignoring the past is too easy, and addressing racism shouldn't be easy.

This is a point that I find worthy of more exploration and discussion, partly because I agree with elements of this. Specifically, it seems vital to me to include The Merchant of Venice and The Taming of the Shrew in Shakespeare's canon so that it's understood that he was still human and not immune to the whims of his time, as one might think only reading As You Like It and Othello. The Canon has to acknowledge the frailty of artists; at least, artists that match their times or hold legacies. The problem is that Blake Edwards doesn't matter apart from Tiffany's; the response is that Tiffany's and its success have legacy enough.

 

I think one of the demonstrable differences between The Canon and certain voting ideologies is that this is a canon, not a pantheon. Though the tagline introducing the show focuses on the idea that these are unilaterally "the best movies of all time," the arguments often center on the traditional definition of "canon" as "requires knowledge for cultural literacy." Tiffany's and its racism meet many requirements of "canon"; that racism is genuinely justified as a reason for keeping movies from "the pantheon." Tiffany's is not godliness, nor is it next to it like some amazing movies inducted into the canon like Pather Panchali. I struggle to understand what I learned watching Tiffany's, even with the pod, so I voted no. But I'm comfortable with "yes" as well, and I think this merits a yuge discussion here in the forums.

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