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Cameron H.

American Graffiti

American Graffiti   

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  1. 1. Should American Graffiti be on the AFI list?

    • I just love it when it peels out!
      5
    • It’s uglier than I am!
      4

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  • Poll closed on 10/18/19 at 07:00 AM

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2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

Same. I watched AG because it was relatively short, but The Godfathers are a bit long. Maybe I’ll rewatch them next month.

That's mostly my plan as well.  I remember really liking The Godfather movies (all 2 of them - the exact number that exist and no more), but it's been forever since I've seen them, so part of the podcast has been having myself reserve time to revisit movies that I feel have gone unwatched for too long.

And for me, three of the four weekends in October involve at least some type of fest or thon of horror movies, and the fourth weekend is mostly preparing my place to host one for friends the following weekend.  So I'm either watching Unspooled movies on a weeknight or they're waiting until November.  So November.

1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

As someone who is binging the entire Halloween franchise currently (planning on skipping the Rob Zombie ones though), Godfather might feel an awful lot shorter.

"Halloween 4 is in my opinion, is the best of the Halloween sequels... that came after Halloween 3." - introduction given at a retrospective screening that I attended a few years ago.

I binged the ANoES movies last month (up through part 6) and Phantasm last year.  The decline in the franchises get really tedious when watched back to back (though I think ANoES handled it relatively better up through part 5).

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One thing I noted/remembered:

Paul didn't like the ending epilogue for The French Connection either, and said it felt weird, like it they felt like they were out of a comedy.  I remember on that episode thinking, "American Graffiti also has those ending epilogues and they're not comical."  I suspect Animal House was just a very formative movie for Paul.  I wonder if it's to the point where it's mentally too jarring for him to see it as a way for the movie to undercut and remind the viewer what they're seeing is all it's cracked up to be (either in its transience or hollow victory).

 

Another thing I thought of:

One example of a "Strangle the Cat" type of ending being parodied was in Robert Altman's The Player.  The "Because in real life.  People, DIE! *sobs*"-bit. i.e. The idea that the difference between an action movie where the heroine is saved at the end one where the hero is a moment too late isn't "realism," - plus a couple other things being mocked in those scenes.

 

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5 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea sure, but their discussion made me take it as almost pure biography more than story. I don't know if that's true. Maybe it doesn't matter.

Writing what you know always pulls some part from your life.  If we considered that auto-bio-graphical (Amy wants those hyphens after "bio"!), a lot of weird movies would be considered autobiographical.

I know the podcast seems (at least to me) to like to talk a lot about the story behind the making of the movie, but for evaluating the movies, I tend to focus more on the movies themselves. (Admittedly, with certain movies, it's doesn't entirely make sense to discount things such as authorial intent, what other movies were doing at the time, or cultural events the movie might be responding to - since all of those things seem to matter when watching a movie and you can't watch something in a complete vacuum.  So take my statement with some grain of salt).

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18 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

Writing what you know always pulls some part from your life.  If we considered that auto-bio-graphical (Amy wants those hyphens after "bio"!), a lot of weird movies would be considered autobiographical.

I know the podcast seems (at least to me) to like to talk a lot about the story behind the making of the movie, but for evaluating the movies, I tend to focus more on the movies themselves. (Admittedly, with certain movies, it's doesn't entirely make sense to discount things such as authorial intent, what other movies were doing at the time, or cultural events the movie might be responding to - since all of those things seem to matter when watching a movie and you can't watch something in a complete vacuum.  So take my statement with some grain of salt).

Yea I'm not really explaining what I mean. Let me think about it some more. I'm not anti biography, that wasn't my intent, but yea, for some reason for this movie, it bugged me to learn all this. I guess just sort of went from 'let me explore the '50s' to 'here's my life' and the latter comes off as arrogant to me. I dunno.

This is the first time I've come from the pod being like 'I think I like this less than I thought I did' though, so I'm a little baffled right now haha.

But I also mostly agree, I don't love using the creator's personal life as a basis of criticism either. I try to stick to what's on the screen/script. But sometimes it is maybe unavoidable.

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More than anything, watching this reinforced my belief that all of George Lucas's great successes were thanks to someone preventing him from shooting himself in the foot. Left to his own devices, he makes dumb decisions like tacking on the tone-deaf epilogue. Coppola script-doctored American Graffiti, Marcia Lucas's steady hand rescued A New Hope from incomprehensible gibberish, and Irvin Kershner prevented the Star Wars franchise from CFIT. Ditto Spielberg and Indiana Jones.

As far as coming-of-age tales go, American Graffiti feels like the promise that the future once held in my youth, whereas The Last Picture Show feels like the grim reality I should have expected. I rated both of them 4/5 stars on Letterboxd. Breaking Away isn't on the AFI list yet it sits at the exact midpoint between them.

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I was glad to hear that my view of this film seems to mostly align with Paul and Amy (and Pauline Kael for that matter).  I'm a firm no, and this one is currently in my bottom 5 of movies covered on the podcast.  And for the record, this is the 2nd or 3rd time I've seen American Graffiti, and I am not appreciating it any more upon rewatches, unfortunately.  Great music though!

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