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MegadethOfSuperman

Variety vs Redundancy [VOTERS PLEASE READ AND COMMENT]

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Hey everybody,

Over these past 128 episodes there has never been a definitive take on how to vote for a film that could be argued as having something similar in the canon. This is not about the merits of much debated films within the canon like Working Girl or Cannibal Holocaust, but rather about new entires and their potential place in the canon alongside a similar film.

 

This is to say, should The Blair Witch Project be voted in despite Cannibal Holocaust already being in the canon? They're both found footage horror, but one is from the extremist Italian movement of the 70s and the other is a great low budget picture that's release and online discussion was something novel and important. Or something like Re-Animator existing alongside Evil Dead II. They're both horror comedies from the mid/late eighties that lean heavily on the gore. However, one is a rehash/sequel that shows what adding budget to a previous film and the progress of a director can do, while the other is a great example of cashing in on the name Lovecraft, B-pictures stealing the score from a more iconic film, and cutting a film down to a lean 90 minutes can make it highly effective. The Driver vs Le Samourai? Arguments can be made both ways.

 

So here's the question: What if Return of the Living Dead was nominated? It is nearly identical in tone and approach to movies like Evil Dead II and Re-Animator. Is the canon a place for small distinctions to be made to justify a variety of films within a genre, or is one example enough? As it pertains to this most recent episode - is They Live the only sci-fi satire of fascism/totalitarianism we should put in the canon, or should Starship Troopers and Robocop be things we judge for entry as well? What do we do if we agree Robocop is better than Starship Troopers AND They Live? Should something be switched out or is this the bed we've made?

 

I'm genuinely curious what folks think on the subject. Is the canon and endless list of films or is there a certain number to make a cut off? Should we allow any movie the majority of voters deem great? Should there only be one example for a message/genre/type of movie? Should we stop nominating movies that resemble ones we already have in the canon? I love a good versus episode, but what happens when an individual candidate is put up against what has already been canonized? Will I ever find true love? WHO KNOWS! But I'd love to get a discussion going.

 

Thanks for reading and hopefully for chiming in,

MegadethOfSuperman

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I find the idea of one film's contingency of canonocity on another film to be really overrated.

 

I think of the Z episode, where Amy said that, should Z be entered into the canon, Three Days of the Condor couldn't. I really don't like that. If the canon is mean to represent all the films a person should see in their lifetime, maybe Z could say certain things, but Three Days of the Condor has value beyond another, similar film. I don't think redundancy and variety are necessarily mutually exclusive. You can have multiple films about the same thing, but that color the spectrum of that subject matter. If anything, I think it's important to have a few different kinds of one film to see what different artists do with identical material. Exploring the breadth of cinema is as important as understanding the texts that shape it.

 

So, I don't know. Those are my two cents.

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I don't think one film being entered in to the canon can eliminate another in any situation. A film should stand on it's own merits, even if it has a lot in common with another film, down to it's themes, genre, writer, and director (looking at you Robocop and Starship Troopers). The Canon is vast and there is room for subtle distinction as long as a case can be made for it.

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Yeah, the way I think about this is that being the BEST of a particular category (best by X filmmaker or actor, best of a genre, best of a year, etc.) is a point in a film's favor, but not being at the top of that category doesn't disqualify a film either. There are a lot of different ways a film could be Canon worthy.

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Cool discussion. I try to take each film on its own merits, within a certain context. For me, it can be hard to even compare two films from the same film maker, as is pointed out above. I perused the Canon list of episodes on Wikipedia and there seems to be a heavier emphasis on more recent films (maybe late 70s/early 80s and after?). Covering English speaking North American films made in the past 30 years or so is what makes the Canon feel a little redundant and without variety.

 

But time, much like in the music industry, has weeded out almost all but the best. I have always hoped that the podcast would focus on the things that are not necessarily "slam dunks." Even the most recent episode, Starship Troopers (vs. Robocop; boo) is a solid genre work that is worth discussion but I wonder if there are better choices in late 90s science fiction to discuss. What would a discussion of Dark City look like? Or City of Lost Children? Or in a versus episode of late 90s sci-fi works?

 

I don't know. I personally want more early films. We are almost 130 episodes in and we still have not discussed Hitchcock, who is controversial no doubt, but deserves an audience. Can we view his movies positively knowing that Tippi Hendren has accused Hitchcock of sexual assault? Does the artist deserve separation from his art? There are plenty of other directors/writers/actors-actresses that deserve discussion. Maybe it is time to look to more early films.

 

I do not know. Thanks for the topic discussion.

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Previous films have no bearing on my votes, I vote Yes on movies I believe deserve to be Canonized and No on ones I don't. If I think 500 horror films are worthy then I'll vote for them. I think it's ridiculous how much Amy complains about this considering 100% of the movies we vote for are decided on by her in some form. I wouldn't have to vote for Alien and Aliens and Blade Runner and The Thing and The Fly and They Live and Evil Dead II and Reanimator and The Matrix and Starship Troopers etc etc etc if those movies weren't the Canon films of the week. If they want more genre variety, then that is up to them. I'll vote happily for whatever they put in front of me but I don't have any say in what those movies are. Besides, in a Canon of 20 films, having five 80s sci fi movies would be strange. But in a Canon of 200,000 films, having only five 80s sci fi movies would be even more strange. So I never vote based on the previously accepted movies because in the long run it's completely irrelevant.

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I hope if this doesn't come across in any way as rude to Amy or the folks behind the scenes. After having read the great replies here, I've decided to vote on the movie without any regard for other entries or potential entries. Long live the canon!

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