Jump to content
Cameron H.

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now  

16 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Should Apocalypse Now be on the Afi 100 list?

    • I love the smell of inclusion in the morning.
      14
    • The horror. The horror...
      2

  • Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
  • Poll closed on 10/04/18 at 03:59 AM

Recommended Posts

23 hours ago, claudewc said:

Hi, Eddy.

I don't think you understand what web fora are for and why people do legitimate criticism (i.e., as opposed to film chat), even though you are past your callow mid-twenties. Some of us take this art-nonsense seriously because of the egregiously ugly state of reality. 

As you are well aware, you are (tactically) dismissive. But that is not really the right word. "Concern-trolly combative," maybe?  

The podcast had promise, but it got lazy and has established a framework that will lead inevitably to preferring The Sandlot over The Philadelphia Story. That's too bad. 

 

I'm sorry it came across that way.  I was trying to give earnest advice.  Granted, if I misread your tone, then apologies, (but it still reads like you were mad).

It was partially motivated by the unstated detail that while I don't post on the FB group, I do sometimes look over it, and it might just be selection bias of posts I've seen, but it feels like a fair number of people get a little too inflamed or passionate from my perspective, and your post seemed similar to that.  And the phenomenon isn't limited to online discussions.  And not just about this podcast.  And the tone often hinders the discussion rather than advance it.

But, I did originally want to include the phrase, "the solution might simply be, if you're looking for a certain type of film discussion and you're not finding it in the podcast, and the discussion in the podcast is different enough that it's making you angry, then maybe the best solution is to find another podcast that does fulfill that enjoyment of film discussion." I didn't because I'm new here and I'm not sure how cool earwolf would be with me effectively showing up on their forums and going, "yeah, the podcast they made isn't for you.  You should stop listening to it," right out of the gate.

 

Share this post


Link to post

If we could only put one Vietnam war movie on the list (I believe we also have Deer Hunter coming up later) which would you choose, Apocalypse Now or Platoon

I'm conflicted on this. I would much rather watch Platoon and I think because we do get more of a clearer character arc it is more relatable. It is also much more straight forward which I think makes it a bit more approachable for most people. On the other hands Apocalypse Now is an incredibly made film. Just what all they accomplish visually and the effort that went into making it shows on screen. All that said I personally ranked Platoon a bit higher. I already know war is hell and Vietnam in particular was a mess so I'll take the character piece of Platoon.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting. The story in Platoon is a lot easier to digest. I did yell a warning at the screen, in both Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, there are things you don't touch and grab, and it happens in both movies, and each time I saw someone grab objects, I yelled, "no." So I was immersed in those movies.

I think I lean on Apocalypse Now, simply because it came around, for me, at a younger age.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Yea when I was adding to my ongoing list, I thought a lot about Platoon.  I ended up leaning slightly to Platoon, I prefer its tale and sort of more existential questions, but the vividness of Apocalypse Now was very close to making up for that.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I pick Apocalypse Now, and it's not hard. Platoon is a really good story; Apocalypse Now is an experience.

That's purely about the filmmaking, not how well it depicts the reality of Vietnam.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Apocalypse Now. I think Platoon is a great film, but if I'm judging on pure film making it's AN hands down. To me Platoon does a better job of giving a grunt's eye view of the war, which makes sense given Stone's background. I think AN  is more about the hubris that got us into Vietnam and the lies and unreality that kept us there for so long.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
13 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

If we could only put one Vietnam war movie on the list (I believe we also have Deer Hunter coming up later) which would you choose, Apocalypse Now or Platoon

Here's where I think Paul and Amy really missed the boat on their analysis of this film. I do not see AN as a "Vietnam movie." The original idea of the movie was to translate "Heart of Darkness" into film. To me, the Vietnam war was a framing device, a setting in which to reinterpret Conrad's themes. Paul and Amy never really discussed whether they think the movie, in that sense, was a success. I think it was. 

Long post ahead:

My takeaway from reading Heart of Darkness was fairly layered and complex. On one hand it was a critique of British colonialism. Given when it was written, it was quite racist, but I think, for its time, it was supposed to be kind of woke in Marlow's ability to see native Africans as humans at a time when many saw them as "savages." Because Marlow is able to see humanity in all people, the book is also about what makes humans "good" or "evil" based on how they treat each other. Are people who treat Africans as sub-human (the people Marlow is working for) more or less evil than Kurtz? What is it that makes Kurtz evil? When Marlow comes across him, he's a sick and dying man. Is he treated like a god because of his savageness and murderous rampages, or is he seen as a god despite that? And who are Marlow's employers to judge?

In AN, you see Sheen's character who blindly followed orders starting to question them at the end. The Vietnam war is used as the modern reinterpretation of American colonialism, and how American's saw Vietnamese as "savages." The Americans just come in bombing the shit out of everything and slaughtering Vietnamese people they see as below them and evil without awareness of their own evilness and savagery. That's where I see the dark humor coming in and the acid-trip feeling of it all. As the film progresses, and as they get deeper up the river, they see the increasing chaos and insanity of the American attempt at conquering. You've got the Robert Duval napalm and surfing scene to set it up, and the bridge scene as the final gateway to madness. No one is in charge, the whole scene looks like a circus and you've got the weird music and sound effects. Crossing that bridge, the boat and crew cross the point of no return. 

Then we have Kurtz and his camp (which, as a side note, reminded me of Bush's hopes of American troops being treated like heroes when invading Iraq). Kurtz seems to have totally given up on the idea of the army and war. His line about dropping bombs but not being able to write "fuck" on your plane is about obscenity. Kurtz sees the irony in bombing the shit out of people and being okay with that, but not being okay with the word "fuck" on a military plane. I see Kurtz as having gone mad from the horror of war, and that he has surrounded himself with horror because it is something he can control. He has "made friends" with horror, so to speak, so that it can no longer torment him. He keeps Sheen's character around because he wants to be killed. Instead of dying as a sick, weak old man, he wants to die in the horror in which he lives, and to just not be judged. To that end, Sheen must delve into his own horror and kills one of his own as a sort of sick favor to Kurtz, but by doing so crosses his own point of no return and succumbs to his own madness. 

Amy and Paul kept talking about how they thought AN was a Vietnam war movie for people who didn't like war movies, and by people who felt guilty for not having been in Vietnam. But I think they're missing the point. I don't think AN was in any way intended to be any kind of realistic take on what the war was like. It was using the war as an example of the horrors of wars in general, and Vietnam in particular, and the way Americans will attempt to annihilate nations of "others" who they see as sub-human or savage. I don't think AN deals so much with the humanity of the Vietnamese the way that Conrad did, but it did get to the question of who are those to judge the evil of a man like Kurtz when they're capable of genocide, themselves. 

In sum, I don't see AN as a Vietnam war movie. It's an existential movie set in Vietnam as an example of the evils and horrors of war. 

*Oh, and on the puppy scene - my takeaway from that is how the crew was able to kill all the people in the boat, but needed to save the puppy. The way that puppy is wrestled away, though, was really upsetting because that wasn't a special effect, that was wrestling a puppy away by the scruff. I did not like it. 

*Oh, and can we talk about the fact that Sofia Coppola was around all of this?! 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
42 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

I do not see AN as a "Vietnam movie."

Bingo.  Comparing Apocalypse Now to Platoon because they are both set in Vietnam at roughly the same time is like comparing Citizen Kane to All the President's Men because both are about newspapers.  It's technically true, but it's missing a lot of what makes each special.

As I said in my big earlier post, I don't much care for the traditional beats of war movies, which Platoon doesn't stray too far from.  Platoon is going to end up pretty low on my list (probably bottom 25), while Apocalypse Now is going to end up quite high on my list (I currently have it only behind 2001 and Citizen Kane).

Share this post


Link to post

Also, the voiceover in Apocalypse Now is SOOO much better than the voiceover in Platoon.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

So, in my big rambling initial post I did make the point of feeling the best movie comparison so far to Apocalypse Now, thematically, still feels like Aguirre, so I strongly agree with Snakes' post (actually addressing the topic a lot better than I feel like I could at this point; partially because it's been too long since I've read Heart of Darkness).  I will point out, my one vague recollection of HoD not yet discussed was, the conflict was an inner conflict and the point being such conflicts can be just as dramatic as external conflict.  As such, the story is supposed to be fairly absent of physical action (but it has been so long ago, I really can't remember most if it, so I don't know if what I'm recalling is entirely true*).  So, when people talk about Platoon showing what it was like to be "deep in the shit", I can't help but think, that kind of distracts from the original theme.  Though, it's not like AN didn't have a battle scenes and external conflict, so that's something didn't necessarily kept; though the focus of the theme was still there.

Granted, I wasn't here for the Platoon discussion, and while I didn't watch it for this podcast, I did see it for the first time in the past year or so, and while there were things I appreciated about it**, I felt the moral conflict at the center of it felt very ham-fisted to me.  Maybe it suffered compared to every other Vietnam movie I've seen in that I saw everything else when I was much younger.  But I also suspect it's a style issue and Stone's clearly stated moral dichotomy usually just doesn't work for me.

*: It sounds like there are people here who have read it much more recently than me, so correct me here if I'm wrong.  Like, this is an old enough memory, it could be totally wrong.

**: Interesting how it's AN being compared to Platoon, since Full Metal Jacket failed at the box office and it's believed it's primarily due to Platoon coming out the previous year and people didn't like how FMJ was shot on a back lot as opposed to in the jungle like Platoon.  

ETA: To explicitly answer the original question if I could only keep one... Well, unless there's some gem on this list that I haven't seen that blows me away (actually, it's been forever since I've seen The Godfather movies or Raging Bull, so they have a chance to raise from where they are in my memory), AN would end up 3rd on my list behind 2001 and Kane as well, and the other I described as feeling ham-fisted in its moral dilemma, soooo, I guess it's obvious I'd keep AN.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

*Oh, and on the puppy scene - my takeaway from that is how the crew was able to kill all the people in the boat, but needed to save the puppy. The way that puppy is wrestled away, though, was really upsetting because that wasn't a special effect, that was wrestling a puppy away by the scruff. I did not like it. 

 

As an aside, how do you feel about them killing the water bison at the end?

I mean, they didn't kill it for the film, so it's not like it's the turtle scene from Cannibal Holocaust.

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

As an aside, how do you feel about them killing the water bison at the end?

I mean, they didn't kill it for the film, so it's not like it's the turtle scene from Cannibal Holocaust.

I found myself looking away from the bison killing, but it didn't tug at me as much as the puppy. 

Share this post


Link to post
On 10/2/2018 at 9:29 AM, WatchOutForSnakes said:

I found myself looking away from the bison killing, but it didn't tug at me as much as the puppy. 

I suspect this won't ever happen, but if you don't know already, if anyone ever asks you if you want to watch Cannibal Holocaust.  Say, "no."

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

In response to Amy talking about Apocalypse Now responses in the LOTR episode... (not sure if this should go here or in the LOTR thread).

Now, I'm biased because I really like Apocalypse Now and I know it's not based on the backstory of how it was made that influences my opinion of the movie*, but I don't have the inside baseball knowledge of, does it seem members of the AFI would vote for it because they're people who know people who worked on the movie.  And that argument might not be incongruent with it showing up on the BFI director's poll.  But it doesn't really explain why it shows up so high on the BFI critic's poll (which I'll point out includes international critics) - where I'd point out, actually places it higher than the AFI list.

*: If anything, the notion of exploiting the local population for making a movie about the horrors white people inflict upon others, would probably diminish it.

A thought did cross my mind on her disliking the war genre and thinking it's overly popular because it's the one genre that men can express emotions in: I'm the same age as Amy and I think we're one of the first generations in a long time that didn't have people in our circle go off and die in a war (much was written about the 2nd Iraq war how one effect of eliminating the draft was a disproportionate amount of the military services are made up from low income communities).  I suspect war movies are important because each generation has  wars themselves were really important to the generations that lived through them.  And the perception of the wars in movies often tracked with how the generation perceived the war (usually the one that had ended somewhat before the movies started to be made) - at least that's my impression.  I just remember the idea that war movies tend to be patriotic in depictions up through WW2 (note how we still highly regard media that subverts that, e.g. novels: Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse V (yes I know there are movie adaptations of them).  Movie-wise, All Quiet on the Western Front and Path of Glory; the latter being banned in France for the longest time) and that dramatically changes with Vietnam, at least in the 70s.

I do wonder if the men showing emotions in movies claim is also suspect.  You have relationship emoting, e.g. Wong Kar Wai (Chungking Express), Cameron Crow (Say Anything), which I think did okay with men.  And dramas were big box office draws during the 80s/late 70s (again, I think).  e.g. as posted above Kramer vs Kramer was the highest box office gross that year.  I believe I've heard Rain Man was the highest box office gross that year.  Did they achieve that without men going to them?  I'm not asking that rhetorically, I really don't know if those box office standings can happen with men not liking them.  Then throw in movies like Shawshank and Cool Hand Luke as well.  That said, thinking of her formative years, she was weened in the 80s and the 90s.  And there were a lot of manly, macho 80s action films (Arnie's heyday), that could definitely feed into that thesis (I can't remember the vibe of the 90s, I think it was people trying to imitate Tarantino) - and Amy's a really big fan of Tom Cruise, so I can't help but wonder if Top Gun also influences her perception on the matter.  Which, again, I actually don't know if I agree or disagree with.  My gut just thinks it might be suspect, granted, that's in reference to thinking of a male audience, and that's not necessarily monolithic.  It might be that military movies are the only action movies where men can show emotions.  Making it more complicated, times have changed, and memory is unreliable on these things.  I was pretty young in the 80s.

One thing I did want to put out there though, and I think this is an adjacent take on her argument.  I'd put AN in a similar vein as Taxi Driver, which is the story of the dark side of man; or the internal emotional journey of fucked up people doing fucked up things, or the gritty side of life.  But my take is, if you think important movies should reflect the human condition, that is a many-faceted thing. And that should include the dark emotional journeys/conflicts men can go through/experience.  However, I would interpret her complaint (maybe not formulated as she intended, but reinterpreted through my prism) that the dark, manly emotional journeys are over-represented on the list compared to other types of emotionally-representative movies, and the ones underrepreseted are ones that aren't traditionally associated with masculinity.  That gives me pause on pushing back, because I am someone who I think still enjoys the dark, gritty movies (not as indiscriminately as I used to). So I'm and fine and enjoy the movies on there, but I haven't looked at the list as a whole (and am unfamiliar with a decent number of the films), so I can't assess that position for my take of it's accuracy, but it is something to chew on - ie the higher regard for emotional expressions/emotional conflict that men traditionally cared more about.

 

Share this post


Link to post

I think there may be a degree or two of extra consideration given for personal relations with the creator(s) of a movie, I don't think it does much beyond that. Ultimately, I think any viewer thinks, "did this movie get traction with me?" "Was I immersed?" "Did this movie change my perspective or thoughts on a topic?"

If any one of us had the say of what should or should not be in the top 100, we would be self critical of ourselves. Asking ourselves, whether it was a personal feeling for the creator or is the movie actually important.

And I am interested in the Psycho episode. Amy has already made it known that she likes Hitchcock. If yelling obscenities at a woman in AN is a terrible thing, where will she be with the slaughter of a woman in Psycho?

That's a harsh statement on my part, I'm open to the blowback. How do you reconcile the one, and then be critical of the other?

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×