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devincf

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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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.

Yeah, those Pink Panther movies really don't matter at all... Or Victor Victoria... Or Peter Gunn...

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Yeah, those Pink Panther movies really don't matter at all... Or Victor Victoria... Or Peter Gunn...

I mean, until I started talking to film fans nonstop, only Mancini's Panther theme remotely impacted my life. My Fair Lady is a pretty strong adaptation, so I'd grant that one.

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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.)

 

I love Scott Pilgrim so much, and yet I keep going back and forth on that ending.

Is it Scott and Ramona realising the flaws in their expectations, themselves and each other and just dealing with it?

Or is it a Hollywood ending (that fully works btw)

I'll save it for the Scott Pilgrim episode (PLEASE!)

 

And in reference to BoT, there's no other way that film was ending- considering 60's Hollywood- but I do like that the complexity of Holly creates at least the possibility that it may not happen.

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i rented this movie and didn't get a chance to watch before it was due back :-( i'll re-check it later...did they announce what movie will be on next week's episode? there isn't a homework thread as of yet

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i rented this movie and didn't get a chance to watch before it was due back :-( i'll re-check it later...did they announce what movie will be on next week's episode? there isn't a homework thread as of yet

They're taking a week off due to both of them travelling and haven't decided what the next one will be yet. It'll probably be posted here at some point before the episode is released.

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I mean, until I started talking to film fans nonstop, only Mancini's Panther theme remotely impacted my life. My Fair Lady is a pretty strong adaptation, so I'd grant that one.

 

OK, so it didn't impact your life. But did you not feel that Sellers was sublime from beginning to end (in the first Pink Panther), and the climactic party and car chase one of the biggest and best running joke scenes of the era? I sure did. I love the hell out of The Pink Panther. It's possibly the coolest comedy ever made.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's isn't Audrey Hepburn's best movie. It's not Blake Edwards' best movie. It's not even Mickey Rooney's best movie. It's iconic, sure. I'll even accept that it's good (because America is a democracy....also, it's not a bad movie). But I just don't think Iconicness is reason enough to put a decent film in The Canon. There's good, there's great, and there's plenty of room between them.

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OK, so it didn't impact your life. But did you not feel that Sellers was sublime from beginning to end (in the first Pink Panther), and the climactic party and car chase one of the biggest and best running joke scenes of the era? I sure did. I love the hell out of The Pink Panther. It's possibly the coolest comedy ever made.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany's isn't Audrey Hepburn's best movie. It's not Blake Edwards' best movie. It's not even Mickey Rooney's best movie. It's iconic, sure. I'll even accept that it's good (because America is a democracy....also, it's not a bad movie). But I just don't think Iconicness is reason enough to put a decent film in The Canon. There's good, there's great, and there's plenty of room between them.

Oh, I voted no, for reasons I posted a couple pages ago. I actually haven't seen the Pink Panther movies. My favorite Edwards is probably still 10, and I'm not saying other Edwards films couldn't be nominated for reasons of quality. But, for example, one of my top fifty movies ever is Inherent Vice, and that movie is sitting near the bottom of most charts of PTA movies, and is generally ignored in considerations of the decade's best. That one honestly might never matter the way I think it deserves to matter, totally regardless of my sense of the film's quality. And that's PTA we're talking about!

 

I'm just saying that the argument for why we need to acknowledge historical racism, especially in major creative authors, becomes less meaningful when the creative author's only major, canon-level societal impact contribution is a work that suffers from that same racism. We don't gain anything from knowing Blake Edwards could make something racist if we don't know who that is and the only reason most anyone would know the name is because he made Tiffany's. But, again, there's an argument that Tiffany's has had enough cultural impact that it's irreversible anyway, but then why is this a poll?

 

Tiffany's is a good movie, in my opinion, despite a weak supporting cast, racism souring the tempo of the first half hour, and an ending weaker than what came before. It survives due to strong camera work, a great lead performance and character, and some great dialogue. But I think most people watching the movie will be put off entirely by the racism or a little disappointed it's not something more, with regard to the storyline or supporting cast.

 

It may be a total Eyes Wide Shut situation where a fantastic movie is getting overlooked for the catchy one-sentence pitch that makes you want something different, but I just wanted something, anything to catch my imagination in Tiffany's other than Holly.

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I'm just saying that the argument for why we need to acknowledge historical racism, especially in major creative authors, becomes less meaningful when the creative author's only major, canon-level societal impact contribution is a work that suffers from that same racism. We don't gain anything from knowing Blake Edwards could make something racist if we don't know who that is and the only reason most anyone would know the name is because he made Tiffany's. But, again, there's an argument that Tiffany's has had enough cultural impact that it's irreversible anyway, but then why is this a poll?

 

But Breakfast at Tiffany's isn't Blake Edwards' only "major, canon-level societal impact contribution" by a long shot. I'd argue that The Pink Panther and the Peter Gunn TV series have had more impact on film than Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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But Breakfast at Tiffany's isn't Blake Edwards' only "major, canon-level societal impact contribution" by a long shot. I'd argue that The Pink Panther and the Peter Gunn TV series have had more impact on film than Breakfast at Tiffany's.

How so? I've never heard an argument for these things as remotely impactful. In my experience, both are only impactful in that they have lasting theme music by Mancini and Panther spawned a cartoon that went on to have more lasting cultural relevance. People think the Pink Panther is a fine, fun movie, but I've never heard them argued for as historically important.

 

That's not to say they aren't! But I've just never encountered argument in their favor as historically relevant, so I'm gonna need to get a justification of some kind as to why or how they're so impactful.

 

Meanwhile, Tiffany's didn't just impact film, it impacted culture and created an honest to god icon for women that still is a de facto poster sold on campuses worldwide today and still serves as a "bellweather" for men like Devin and some of our commenters. It's culturally relevant, I just don't think the movie itself is necessarily good enough to be canon.

 

(Broader note, I don't think a canon-worthy character inside a non-canon story is usually enough for a canon-worthy movie, and I experienced something similar voting no against Re-Animator and Herbert West.)

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Haven't listened to the episode yet or read the comments, so hopefully this isn't too repetitive - but watching this just now for the first time I was surprised how much I liked it. Maybe even loved it (still mulling things over).

 

I also recently watched Roman Holiday for the first time and wasn't impressed (though it's possible I'm just not the target audience for that one) so expectations were low, and this one started off none too promising (UGH is Holly Golightly a proto-Manic Pixie Dream Girl??!), ... but I was so glad to be wrong.

 

Sure it's not perfect - that need to spell everything out; feeling just a bit too long; the urge to gauge my eyes out during every Mickey Rooney scene. I kinda wish it had the guts to carry the ending the direction it seemed to be going, but hey it's Hollywood. Also wasn't sold Holly loved Paul the same way he did her.

 

But Breakfast at Tiffany's works in every way Roman Holiday for me didn't - the story, the dialogue, the humor (Mickey Rooney notwithstanding), the direction. And I finally see what the Audrey Hepburn hub-bub is all about. She's amazing here. And this boasts side characters more interesting than anyone in RH - hello Patricia Neal! Plus escorts, strip clubs, a laissez faire attitude towards crime, and Freudian goings-on bubbling under the surface? Quelle surprise. (I'm guessing it's only a hint of Capote's original, though, which I haven't read)

 

Anyways, enough of the stream of conscious - this is a big "yes" for me.

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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.

YES, glad someone pointed this out. Holly Golightly: Manic Pixie - definitely, but "Dream Girl"? The MPDG concept, at least as defined by its originator, Nathan Rabin, is a criticism of a very specific archetype - the savior, as you mentioned, and who also generally has no interior life of her own. In this case, the glove doesn't fit.

 

EDIT: Also, agreed with Head Spin on the "historicity" sentiments - I generally find it (along with "iconic-ness") a boring angle to take for inclusion in The Canon (even though it's totally valid; this is just me and my hang ups); if a movie can't stand up on its own as a great film, I don't vote it in. Even so, Breakfast at Tiffany's just clicked for me; the positives far outweigh the negatives.

 

Regarding Micky Rooney - my mother is Asian and speaking as someone who identifies strongly with both of my parents' cultures, this is a truly painful performance to watch. That being said, it's a document of its time and superfluous to the film, so didn't really factor in for me as far as Canonicity.

 

And finally, and most importantly - what's with all this anti-Peppard talk?! His performance was fine.

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Weighing in late here, but this really was a great episode. Touched on a lot of the same thoughts I had about this movie during the exact same period of time (nineties). I had determined, then, that I would never revisit this movie but my mind is completely changed.

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I voted yes, because Tiffany's is such an important movie. it deconstructed MPDG decades before those were even a stock character. Sure, Holly is glamorous and fashionable and charming, but the movie also shows her inner life and insecurities (a luxury not afforded to most MPDGs).

 

This is just THE ROLE for Hepburn. It goes beyond iconic It's just legendary. I knew who Hepburn was even before I knew who se was. And the performance surpasses even the iconic image. Hepburn was a true treasure for cinema, and this performance has to be in the canon--even if the movie itself has some issues (like the straight-washing and the racism, both of which are unfortunate but were side effects of straight white privilege and lack of social awareness in Hollywood).

 

I was thinking a lot of about whether I should vote yes for Tiffany's despite the Yunioshi character. I've ben critical of Devin in the past because of his affection for Gunga Din and Temple of Doom, both of which I voted against because of the racism towards Indians. I asked myself whether I was being a hypocrite because this time it's not my culture. And Devin's has a good point in that voting no because of racism is anti-art. But there are two differences between Tiffany's and Temple of Doom/Gunga Din. I genuinely like Tiffany's more, and it's a film I'd revisit more often than than the other two. More importantly, the racism in Tiffany's is hilariously unnecessary and random. It's just out of place for such a sensitive, charming movie. I felt that Gunga Din and Temple of Doom needed that sense of imperialism and white supremacy to work on a narrative level, and that "boys adventure" thing just rubbed me the wrong way. I have a feeling that Mickey Rooney didn't factor into the popularity of this movie.

 

So in other words, I'm voting yes. And I think George Peppard is fine, and his blandness is key. He's exactly the kind of Ken doll that some bored middle aged woman would keep as a plaything.

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I also forgot to praise Blake Edwards. This movie has a number of strong directorial choices. My favorite is the long sequence where Holly and Paul do things that they've never done before. Especially where the steal the masks. This movie can be really goofy and infectious to balance the more dramatic elements quite well.

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I find this movie a chore to get through. While Hepburn does what she's supposed to do, I simply don't enjoy the proto-MPDG character. As others have pointed out, that label doesn't exactly fit, but the base elements are there.

 

Peppard is boring as all get-out. Rooney is painful and unnecessary.

 

I voted no. I understand peoples' affections for this film, but the negatives outweigh the positives in my book.

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I'm a soft No on Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've never been a huge fan, and after listening to the episode, I gave it a watch for the first time in at least a decade and did like it more than I ever had before. I saw a bit more of what Amy and Devin were saying, and I considered the film in a new light. I've been trying to imagine Marilyn Monroe in the role all week, and while I'm not sure that would have been considerably more successful, but the notion is intriguing. To me I've always found Breakfast at Tiffany's to be more a film of tone and fashion iconography than a compelling and emotional story. I've come around a bit, but not enough. I am however all in favor of making the film's poster part of The Canon.

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I just want to say to Amy that I really do try to adjust for my own perspective when I watch movies like this. I know not every movie is made for 34 year old white guys and they shouldn't be punished just because they don't speak to people like me specifically. It actually was a big consideration when I decided on "soft no". Even still I'm perfectly fine with this making it into the canon (much more so than Re-Animator, if that helps.)

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I voted yes to have Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the Canon but was unable to post due to travel.

 

While listening to Amy & Devin’s discussion I was surprised I had also had a similar experience seeing this movie at different times in my life and having different reactions. I grew up in a family that considered it a charming classic. My older sister had the poster on her wall in college. When I watched it a couple years out from college I realized I found the characters to be incredibly obnoxious. I think my reaction is primarily fueled by the characters being such accurate depictions of charismatic-hot-messes of people and I'm kind of in awe of that. They're certainly amalgamations of real people I have known. I agree with the points in the podcast that Audrey brings a wholesome elegance to the role which adds fantastic depth to the character. Her performance really clinches it for me.

 

So I gave a strong Yes in support of Breakfast at Tiffany’s making it into the Canon based on the depth of messy humanity in the movie. It's a movie that I greatly enjoy hearing the range of reasons for why people appreciate/dislike this movie. I think eliciting those responses speaks to how true to life the characters were handled.

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The yellowface is just fine. It's acting. It's comedy. It's funny. People need to stop being wimps.

 

This is such a classic movie that a no vote is just dumb. Nothing about this movie doesn't belong in the canon of great films.

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The yellowface is just fine. It's acting. It's comedy. It's funny. People need to stop being wimps.

Somewhere there's an argument to be made for Rooney's depiction, but "suck it up, nerds" ain't it.

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