So once again we have survived.

The Crazies (2010)

tn_crazies2010Every nerd and his uncle has two or more ideas for a zombie movie these days. And even the uncle got kind of sick of hearing about zombies two or three years ago. But as far as George A. Romero creations go, aren’t crazies more relevant than zombies anyway? Coming back from the dead is kind of a quaint 1960s problem in my opinion. Today we worry about ordinary people, people in our neighborhoods and families, suddenly turning nuts on us. We look at them and we can tell something is wrong, something is different, and we don’t really know why but it might be caused by some military fuckup. And there is no reasoning with these crazies. They are not our friends and loved ones anymore. That’s why a crazy is better than a zombie.

mp_crazies2010No, you’re right, a crazy is the exact same metaphor as a zombie. It just doesn’t eat intestines. The advantage though is that Romero’s original THE CRAZIES is not a masterpiece like his first three DEAD movies. It’s a great idea, some good parts but for me it doesn’t come together for some reason. I think I’ve tried watching it three times, thinking this time I’m gonna appreciate it more, I just know it. But after I watch it I never remember much about it at all. I think it had something to do with crazies? So for me there’s no problem with this remake having to live up to the original.

The movie takes place in a small town called Ogden Marsh, Iowa, and the crazy shit first goes down at a high school baseball game. The sheriff, played by Timothy Olyphant, happens to be at the game and sees one of the locals, a dude named Rory, walk out onto the field with a rifle. Rory’s a recovering alcoholic and he’s acting strange. The sheriff tries to talk him down but ends up having to shoot him. Just like on his show ‘Justified’ Olyphant starts this one with everyone questioning his self defense justification for shooting a guy.

Of course we know enough about the movie (for example the title) to know that guy’s no drunk, that guy’s a crazy. Other people around town start doing odd things too, like repeating the same sentences over and over, staring right through you, turning on farming equipment for no reason in the middle of the night, burning their families alive, etc. Whatever’s happening here, it’s obviously no good, and the sheriff’s gotta figure out what exactly is happening and why what’s happening is happening. Oh shit, it’s the happening! Stay away from trees!

Nah, he traces it pretty quick to a military jet that crashed while carrying a biological weapon and contaminated the water. Which I’m against. But in this story the military not only causes the threat, it also becomes its own separate threat when they show up to clean up their mess. After lots of tense chases and showdowns with crazies in a mostly empty town the movie abruptly shifts gears. All the sudden the quiet town becomes noisy and crowded with troopers in biohazard suits rounding up the citizens and quarantining them, separating anyone with a fever and strapping them to gurneys. This is a bad combination – not only does the sheriff get separated from his wife, but she guts stuck strapped down when a crazy stars coming through the room stabbing everybody with his pitchfork. Fuckin crazies. They need discipline, in my opinion. Stop being so lenient. Or at least take away their pitchforks. I’m sorry but they got it coming.

Unlike Romero’s, and like all remakes of Romero movies, I don’t think this is meant to be very political. But there’s enough going on I’m sure you could read something into it. It’s a solid thriller though with a good lead (when did Olyphant turn so cool?), nice atmospheric photography, mostly tasteful stylistic touches (I could do without the computery blips when it switches to satellite POV) and lots of different types of tension and danger (though I wish a few less sticky situations were solved just by somebody else showing up with a gun). I think one secret to the movie’s success is that it uses an extensive menu of paranoia types:

1. of people you know snapping, becoming unrecognizable. They look like your loved ones but they aren’t

2. authority figures metaphorically trampling all over civil rights, as well as literally trampling over things because they wear big boots

3. disease: you don’t want you or your wife to get it

4. being misunderstood or blamed for something that wasn’t your fault

5. having to call your friend out for going too far. The sheriff and his deputy have a good bond throughout the movie but it’s strained as one of them seems to be losing it. The old “is he turning, or just being an asshole?” dilemma.

One remake advantage for crazies is you don’t have to worry about the slow zombie/fast zombie controversy. Crazies aren’t made of rotting flesh, so it would make sense for them to run fast. Interestingly though these filmatists mostly use them slow anyway, because they know that can be more dramatic.

As long as we’re on the topic I want to point out the hypocrisy of some of the people who get worked up about fast zombies. I mean, you know my preference. I prefer the Romero shamblers, and it frustrates me when people think faster has to be scarier because it’s more of a physical threat. That’s missing the point: zombies in the original DAWN OF THE DEAD are not scary because they can get you, they’re scary because you can never get them. You kill a hundred of them a day it makes no difference, they’ll keep coming, and eventually overwhelm you.

I have noticed there are many horror fans who agree with me on that, and even pretend to be offended by the idea of fast moving zombies such as in Zack Snyder’s DAWN remake. Yet many of these same people make cute little quips and novelty t-shirts and shit that involve zombies saying “braaaaiiiinnns.” But Romero’s zombies don’t say “braaaaiiiins,” they don’t say anything. And they prefer intestines. They’ll eat what they can get, I’m sure they’d enjoy brains, but they’ve never shown a preference for them. The zombies that specifically eat brains and who say “braaaaiiiinnns” are from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD… and they are fast zombies!

BOO YAH. So if you ever catch some whiner complaining about fast zombies but also referring to zombies eating brains, sic ’em for me.

But that’s zombies, forget about zombies, this is crazies we’re dealing with here. I think this was originally gonna be directed by Brad Anderson of THE MACHINIST, so his writer Scott Kosar still gets a credit on the screenplay. Kosar also wrote the terrible remake of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. I guess it shows that in addition to a decent script you also need a director who can direct actors so you like the characters and put together tense sequences, get some thrills and/or chills or whatever. THE CRAZIES, believe it or not, was directed by Brock Lesnar. I don’t know how he’s had time to learn about photography and editing, let alone shoot the movie in between being three-time WWE champion, his wrestling in Japan, his attempt to play NFL football with the Minnesota Vikings and his subsequent career in the UFC, where he captured the heavyweight championship from Randy Couture in 2008. You’d think he’d have to be training for upcoming fights and everything.

Wait, hold the phone, it turns out I heard that wrong. THE CRAZIES was actually directed by Breck Eisner (SAHARA). I don’t know how he’s had time to learn about photography and editing, let alone shoot the movie in between being the son of former Disney bossman Michael Eisner. But I guess I can see how his filmatistic roots run deep. According to the Wikipedia websight “Disney CEO Michael Eisner was struck with inspiration for the [hit 1980s cartoon show ‘Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears’] when his son requested the candies one day.” It doesn’t specify which one of Eisner’s sons wanted the candy but I’m gonna sitck with my hunch that it was Breck, so I consider him to be the uncredited co-creator of Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears, and therefore a successful filmmaker since 1985. His dad also supposedly came up with this one called ‘Wuzzles’ which is “animal creatures composed of half of one animal and half of another,” for example rabbit + hippopotamus = hoppopotamus. I don’t know, I suppose an adult really could’ve come up with gold like that, but to me it sounds more like the work of a gummi bear eater. At any rate, I’m sure being around all that boundless creativity had to’ve rubbed off on him. I mean, he grew up in a Wuzzles family, for Christ’s sake. Of course he’s gonna be a director.

But seriously, he seems pretty good and I would like to take this opportunity to announce Breck Eisner as the latest recipient of Vern’s I Guess If Some Asshole Has to Remake Escape From New York It’s Fine That It’s This Guy Because Maybe He Won’t Fuck It Up Too Bad seal of approval. I think we need more directors with true vision, but these days it’s refreshing just to see one with solid skills, so we’ll have to keep watching this Eisner and hopefully he’ll amount to something. If not he probly has a life time supply of gummi candy he could live off of.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 at 1:06 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

114 Responses to “The Crazies (2010)”

  1. Wanted to say something about The Gummi Bears, but then I realized that 99% of my posts here from the lst week or so were related to cartoons and then I decided to shut the fuck up.

  2. I’m gonna say Olyphant became cool with Go, believe it or not.

  3. Vernie,

    Have you seen THE SIGNAL? I think its probably the best movie to use the whole “people randomly turning into violent lunatics” premise. It’s low budget, so instead of the usual apocalyptic stuff you get into zombie movies, it tries to confine things to enclosed locations with only hints on what’s going on outside, and plays up the situation’s paranoia. Not only paranoia that your friends and family might go crazy, but that you yourself have gone nuts and don’t even realize it. Or that in your desperate attempts to stay alive, you may appear wacko to others when in fact you’re still sane, just driven to extremes. And so forth.

    I thought it was both genuinely suspenseful and really, hilariously funny… one of my favorite horror/comedies of the last decade. So check it out if you haven’t.

    As for this CRAZIES remake, I recall enjoying it at the time, but it hasn’t really stuck with me. Seems like it was a mix of good scenes (female lead strapped to a gurney while a crazy goes around impaling everyone, Olyphant killing that one crazy with the knife stuck through his hand) and isolated but effective images (that ominous thrasher getting turned on at that one farm), with an overstuffed narrative and a visual style sometimes too grimy, shaky and dimly lit to understand (I had trouble following a few of the major setpieces, like the fight in the garage at the end, or the part where that guy burns down his house with his family inside). It was worth a watch, but mostly felt like a missed opportunity for something better. After the similarly middling SAHARA, I don’t think Eisner is a filmmaker worth keeping tabs on.

  4. Ah fair enough, yeh sold me.

  5. I don’t mind fast or slow zombies. What I want though, just once, is a zombie movie where you only turn into a zombie IF. YOU. DIE. No infection by being bitten or scratched. That’s lazy. I want people being injured and gradually worn down by zombies. I think that would be a good way to show how the creeping inevitability of zombies. Plus a guy who gets their hand bitten off by a zombie could replace it with a Mr. Han style claw as a weapon or a gun hand.
    Anyway, it’s a shame the trailer for this movie gives away what happens to the town in the end.

  6. This film, like The Last House on the Left remake, was a nice surprise.

    Agreed Dan, The Signal was excellent.

  7. I watched this last night and enjoyed it. Olyphant is great and the direction and editing are smooth and polished. No hyper-editing here. Good stuff.

  8. I agree with Dan about The Signal. For my dollar it has the best use of actual comedy in a straight up horror film since American Werewolf.

    As for the this one, if the entire movie was as tense as the sequence in the car wash then it would be a classic for the ages. Maybe these guys have that in them for the next one.

  9. The Signal is amazing, best indie horror thing I’ve seen in a very long time. That middle “funny” section is the most stomach-churning horrific part of the film.

  10. I haven’t seen this, but I’ve always liked the original. I think it does a better job than most movies of showing people just acting fucking WEIRD. Lots of babbling and twitching and shit. And christ, that guy who tries to fuck his daughter? Ugh. That movie is definitely not very polished, but that roughness just makes it creepier for me. I like it a little more every time I see it.

    But mostly I like it because with the exception of the obviously insane people (the daughterfucker, etc.) there’s really no way to tell who’s got the crazy and who’s just kind of stressed out because their lives are in constant danger. I mean, isn’t going a little crazy a normal reaction in a situation like this? You’d probably be more worried about the guy who’s acting all calm while all this daughterfucking is going in than the guy who’s understandably freaking out. I think that’s the genius of this movie’s Romeroan allegory: The military simply doesn’t get that their very presence makes every problem worse. It’s your basic “Let’s save these people by shooting them a bunch of time” scenario, done better than any other movie.

  11. I remember getting really excited for this movie after AICN gave it a ton of glowing reviews, only to have my newly raised expectations sort of ruin the experience for me. This is one of those movies that benefits from flying under the radar. I know some teenager somewhere is going to catch this on cable one day and be blown away, showing it to all his friends, etc… and I feel like I missed out on that experience. However, I agree with Dan that The Signal did the “everyone goes crazy for some reason and it’s sort of like zombies”-type monster a lot better than this one.

    The Crazies does have three things going for it, though:

    1. Tim Olyphant is awesome in it. This movie is probably what originally inspired me to watch Justified, a decision which has reaped huge dividends.
    2. Radha Mitchell is smoking hot and doesn’t get enough credit for consistently supporting better-than-average medium budgeted sci-fi/horror movies (This, Silent Hill, Pitch Black, Rogue… and ones I’ve only heard are decent like Surrogates, Phone Booth, and Man on Fire)
    3. Holy fuck the ending of this movie was bleak. That’s gotta be one of the more depressing endings a studio film has had in recent years. You gotta respect that.

  12. I for one did not particularly care for The Signal. I thought the first segment was great, but then the second one, while entertaining in its own right, effectively killed the tension and ruined the pacing of the movie. By the time the third segment kicked in, I couldn’t get back onboard and take the movie seriously anymore, which is really a drag because the end of the movie is so melodramatic. They should have ditched the gimmick and just let the first guy direct the whole movie. He knew what the fuck he was doing.

    I would, however, watch a horror-comedy directed by the second guy.

    The third director, though, that is exactly the kind of guy who gets hired to do second-tier remakes: flashy but empty, straining for drama, no real command of tone, etc.

  13. I sixth Dan’s suggestion to watch THE SIGNAL. I liked it quite a bit, better than this CRAZIES remake. Also there is a great horror movie beard in it but I don’t want to spoil the beardy goodness in it any more than I already have. But I did like this CRAZIES remake, it’s about on par with the original for me. An Olyphant is certainly a cool dude.

    Also Vern I hate to be that guy but “but she guts stuck strapped down when a crazy stars coming through the room stabbing everybody with his pitchfork.” is a Harry Knowles sentence!

  14. Haha, an = and. I suppose I deserve that typo for pointing out yours. I’m going to go to my shame corner.

  15. I like the original a lot, even if it`s one of Romeros lesser films.

    I couldn`t care less if zombies run or walk. I don`t even think that the zombies are supposed to be scary in Romeros movies. What`s scary is the characters reaction to them. It`s the humans that are the real threat in Romeros movies, not the zombies. That`s what the new wave of zombiemovies don`t understand. (Except for 28 weeks later)

    I think the same principle applies to The Crazies. I haven`t seen it for at least a decade, but I remember the scene with Lynn Lowry crossing a fields towards a group of soldiers as unbearable tense.

    I`m looking forward to this one, though.

  16. Gonna check this out just on the back of Olyphant being in it. Justified has been about the best thing I have seen on TV in years. Thanks to this site for putting me onto it.

  17. I was gonna mention that there’s a Johnny Cash song at the beginning of this, and although it completely works on its own you can’t help thinking “what, you gotta have a Johnny Cash song at the beginning of every Romero remake?”

  18. Especially when there’s a certain Willie Nelson song that you’d think would fit perfectly.

  19. Johnny Utah – damn, I thought I was the only one who’d seen / enjoyed “Go”. Tim Olyphant’s role in it is one of my favorite minor character / scary badass turns. He needs a better agent though. “Die Hard 4” (the absolute worst kind of role for Olyphant), “Hitman”, “Scream 2” (massively underrated movie, but it still gave him very little to do), etc… Don’t know what the heck is going on with him recently.

    Although I did like “Deadwood” and “Perfect Vacation”. So what the hell, Tim, just keep doin’ what you’re doin’.

    I haven’t seen the original “Crazies” so I won’t see this one. Incidentally I made the mistake of watching the crap American remake of “Kairo” without realising at first that it WAS a crap American remake of “Kairo”, right before I watched “Kairo”. (Which is awesome by the way.) Not a mistake that I want to repeat.

  20. I was dissapointed with this one. I thought they set up the whole “we can’t shoot him, it’s ol Herb from down the road” bit really well. But then 15 minutes into the film they do the whole ARMY LOCKS EVERYTHING THE FUCK DOWN bit. They spend the rest of the movie running from faceless soldiers, which I’ve seen a million times. What I haven’t seen a million times is the whole socially awkward “yeah I lost my viginity to you back in high school but now I have to cut your head off with a machete before you shoot your baby” thing. Would have preferred the movie to be mostly about that.

    That said, I liked the bit with the carwash.

  21. I enjoyed this movie, but I’ll probably never watch it again, just because the film will always be tarnished that when I went to see it with my buddy, I got a phone call telling me my Nana had just died. Kind of ruined things. Solid flick though, killer ending.

    All this talk of movies about people randomly snapping and going on killing sprees puts me in mind of CELL that Stephen King book from a couple years back. Really solid horror story until you get to the home stretch and things get loopys and goofy and deus-ex-machina-y. Eh, what else can you expect from King at this point?

  22. You know I’m gonna get tackled for this, but…

    I liked SAHARA. I mean nothing special per say, but I thought Brent Eisner made a pleasant big budget summer adventure, more relaxed and less rushed than alot of its bretherin. Steve Zahn and that guy from DAZED & CONFUSED had good chemistry.

    Its just his project was so fucked in every possible way that the production history is actually more entertaining than the movie.

    Like that tidbit that Penelope Cruz, a good Oscar-winning actress mind you, only got casted because the production would have gotten European tax credits for hiring a EU acting union member or whatever. Only reason she got that part instead of Salma Hayek.

  23. Cell was fucking god-awful. Probably the worst thing King has ever written. I actually stopped reading his stuff for two years after I was finished just because it was so unexcusably terrible. He won me back with Under the Dome though.

  24. I also liked DOME, but just like CELL and most of everything that King’s written over 300 pages, the ending is just a huge let down and easily the weakest part of the reading experience. Every fucking time.

  25. RRA,

    I won’t heckle you. It was kinda dumb, and I don’t remember much of it at all, but it was passable enough entertainment. A good drive-in type of movie, which is where I saw it. Affably disposable.

    Penelope Cruz has to be one of the top five most beautiful women in Hollywood, and it’s surprising she’s not in more movies.

  26. Casey – For some reason, Cruz in SAHARA looked like a ferret. A cute ferret, but a ferret none the less.

    Breck, are you gay?

  27. “What I want though, just once, is a zombie movie where you only turn into a zombie IF. YOU. DIE.”

    On a related note, I wanna see zombie movie in which ninety percent of the zombies are OLD PEOPLE. Eight percent should be gang members, leaving 2 percent for random accidents. How many people in their twenties-fifties die on any given day, even in a large city?

  28. This is assuming we’re going the “freshly dead” route, of course. If we aren’t, they should all be dressed in formal wear, with Ronnie Reagan rouged cheeks — and pounding on the lids of the coffins they can’t escape from.

    Shit, for all we know, the dead ARE re-animated– and stuck under six feet of earth.

  29. Stu, are you saying that even Romero’s Dawn of the Dead is a lazy movie? I mean, if you get bitten by a zombie, you turn into a zombie. That’s just the bottom line to it all.

    Also, I call bullshit on how fast zombies aren’t scary. Dude, if a zombie is sprinting at me faster than I can run, I’m definitely fucked. At least with slow moving zombies there is a chance I can run into a new society like in Land of the Dead.

    Seriously, I know things sucked for the poor in Land of the Dead but isn’t it better to be the poor and not getting into the high rise then being fucking killed by zombies?

    Additionally, I hate Romero’s The Crazies. You call it rough around the edges, I call it bullshit.

  30. Another thing, how is there still power in zombie movies or any post apocalyptic movie? Are there people there to run the power plants?

  31. I think this remake needs more spice, but it´s better than the original.

  32. – vern

    Have you seen Season of the Witch (or Jack`s Wife)? Since you think that Knightriders are the best fucking movie ever, you should give it a shot. And I would love to read your review of Martin too.

    I think the original Crazies have all the ingredients for a great movie, except the budget. Romero is one of my all time favorite directors, but people tend to ignore his non-zombie movies. In a better world, he would be known as the director of the classics Night of the Living Dead, Martin, Dawn of The Dead and Knightriders. Season of the Witch and Day of the Dead would be almost classics and The Crazies would be his 1941.

  33. I like MARTIN and THE CRAZIES, hell I even like THE DARK HALF, but I`m gonna have to disagree with dna and declare SEASON OF THE WITCH and what was that other one, THERE`S ALWAYS VANILLA fucking atrociously awful films. Seems like we have a lot of disagreement going on with regards to the Romero canon though so to each his own.

  34. Allowing for the fact that I haven’t seen, and indeed do not ever plan to see, this remake (and probably will see but haven’t yet seen the original), I think that the Army coming in is probably the worst thing that can happen for zombie movies. I hated the end of 28 Days Later (but loved the rest of it). I’ve been putting off seeing “Day of the Dead” because I foresee much of the same. I thought 28 Weeks Later was a bad film with incomprehensible action scenes, but the fact that the leads spent more time avoiding the military than the infected didn’t exactly fill me with glee either.

  35. This was a good, smart, well acted, well crafted movie. It’s not great, or original, but it doesn’t need to be. It is what it is, and it does a really good job of delivering exactly what it promises. Olyphant’s badass character and performance do elevate the movie, but I also applaud the director for delivering some very well executed suspense and action sequences.

    There are some problems. Like the fact that there are two suspense scenes that climax with an off-screen arriving to rescue by shooting a crazie at a critical moment. Which is always kind lame. Also the film is too hyperactive with loud, “scary” sound effects. And I felt that the cynical final seconds felt forced and kinda negated much of the film, and were just too typical from many other horror movies.

    But none of those flaws were a major issue for me. I really enjoyed this.

    Also I have to agree with Majestyk, I had a similar problem with Signal. Very strong first act, but after that the film just unravels and there is no kind of emotional connection to anything that happens on the screen. It just doesn’t work very well for me to suddenly jump to a completely different genre with a completely different style, and then try to become a serious horror movie again.

    As far as crazy-people-as-zombies genre goes, I still think 28 Days Later is the best one. It was a visionary, unique, disturbing, scary movie when it came out. It still holds up great.

  36. Olyphant was good in High Life. I liked that movie, it was fun.

  37. Frank – Dr Who did ‘zombie old people’ this season. Very creepy

    as someone who is close to too many mentally ill people I’m both vaguely offended and intrigues by The Craziea

  38. – Gwai Lo

    Season of the witch is so low-budget that it hurts the eyes, but I love the script and I think it contains some of Romeros best scenes (especially the beginning and the end). I even like the ugly, boring actress the cast as the ugly boring main-character. Brave casting. And Romeros wife wrote the script, which is kind of funny, for reasons I can`t explain without spoiling the movie. It would be perfect for a remake.

    I haven`t seen Theres always vanilla, though. Heard it`s horrible.

    28 weeks later had excellent actionscenes except for the shaky-cam crap as the virus spreads. The massacre as people flee the snipers, the escape from the gas, the helicopter scene etc made my day. And I think military is frigging scary, which is probably why 28 weeks later is great horror in my book.

    70`s horror was scary because of the context. It was mostly a reaction to it`s time. Very few modern horror-movies have any subtext at all. It doesn`t have to have a context to be exciting, but it`s nice to see horror who actually reflects and comments on our times, instead of reflecting and commenting on the great horror-classics of the seventies. 28 weeks later made me think of Iraq (minus the zombies). I protested against the invasion of Iraq for years, but ended up blocking it out of my conscious mind. It just seemed pointless to protest against something you can`t change. I actually became sort of immune to all the horrible shit that goes on in Iraq, reading about it almost every day in the paper. 28 weeks later reminded me that the horror of the invasion is very real and still takes place. I like exploding heads as much as everybody else, but I love when it also makes me reflect on the world I live in. It shouldn`t all be fastfood for the brain.

  39. Jareth Cutestory

    July 1st, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Majestyk: Are you thinking they should have played the song “Crazy” at the start of THE CRAZIES? Wouldn’t that have been a little too perfect, like playing Prince’s “Sister” at the climax of OLDBOY?

    Paul: I’ll second Steffanecci: Olyphant was good in a little Canadian film called HIGH LIFE. Similar to Affleck’s character in EXTRACT, but way better.

    Lawrence: I think the distinction between fast and slow zombies is that fast zombies can be scary (28 DAYS LATER) but cannot invoke dread the way slow zombies can. Sort of like the difference between a tornado and an ominous storm on the horizon.

    Also, the end-of-the-world movie LAST NIGHT answers your question about power generation. I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say that the answer involves David Cronenberg.

    dna: A lot of the genre-related film criticism that I read doesn’t ignore Romero’s non-zombie stuff so much as describe it as symptomatic of his later decline. Maybe if he puts together something like A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE he’ll change that particular narrative that has followed him around for decades.

    Also, I think horror films in the 1980s and afterwards sometimes hint at the kind of subtext that you ascribe to 1970s horror, particularly pertaining to the family; it’s just not usually done as well. NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, for example, has been described as investigation of audience expectations and “”the boundaries between the imaginary and real.” And there’s all those essays about vampires and AIDS. Xenophobia comes up a lot in more recent horror films too.

    Further reading:

    Williams, Tony. Hearths of Darkness: The Family in the American Horror Film
    Schneider, Steven Jay, ed. Horror Film and Psychoanalysis: Freud’s Worst Nightmare
    Badley, Linda. Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic

  40. Jareth: I was not necessarily advocating that, but that was the joke I was making, yes. But it turns out they did use some Willie in the movie, as well. Both the Cash and Nelson songs are covers of old standards. They were apparently going for some kind of motif. Good for them.

  41. RRA – i liked SAHARA, too, and i thought breck showed a lot of promise with it. it was fun, funny, and the action was exciting and well-shot. it was also an almost perfect use of mcconnaughey, something which surprisingly most movies seem unable to do (in my opinion, only REIGN OF FIRE and DAZED AND CONFUSED used him better, oh and maybe LONESTAR). and as i believe has been posited many times on these boards, any zahn is good zahn.

    haven’t seen THE CRAZIES yet as it hasn’t come out yet where i live, but most of the reviews have me intrigued (in a good way). haven’t seen the original. the first time i was aware of olyphant was in GO, and i thought he was great in it, one of my favorite parts of the movie (william fitchener being another one). i really like that movie, too, have seen it a number of times. dunno why john august hasn’t written anything that clever again (though i unabashedly love the first C’s As picture – that’s CHARLIE’S ANGELS). then everything i saw olyphant in afterwards i thought he was really bland in – until “deadwood,” in which he was fantastic. but i wondered if maybe it was just the writing on that show. i mean, the cast was uniformly excellent, but i wondered if maybe anyone seems like a great actor with such great dialogue to work with (like most of the quentin tarantino pictures). then i saw DIE HARD 4, and hopes of olyphant’s talent were dashed. but as someone pinted out above, it was just a bad use of olyphant (a misdemeanor in some counties). he fully redeemed himself with A PERFECT GETAWAY, which maybe ties with GO as my fave performance of his. and reviews of THE CRAZIES whether negative or positive almost all mention him as one of the strong points. also, all you guys talking about “justified” have made me really wanna see that, too, but again it’s not playing over here. will have to wait for dvd.

  42. – jareth

    You`re right. I was trying to make a point about some 70`s horror having a sociological or political context like Romeros zombie-movies, elaborating that most of the 70`s horror revival of the last decade misses the sociological/political context that made those movies classics, thus concluding that 28 Weeks Later is awesome and one of my favorite horrors of the last decade.

    I never meant what I wrote about horrormovies not having any subtext after the seventies. That`s complete nonsense and makes me sound like a stupid person.

    (please notice I didn`t write “crazy person”, because that would have been a truly lame attempt at humour)

  43. Jareth Cutestory

    July 1st, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    dna: Thanks for clarifying that. I misunderstood your earlier post.

    I think that every film will betray the context in which it was made, it’s just that so much of what we see these days isn’t made with the kind of skill that can formalize this process. I’m not talking about stuff like costumes and styles of cars, but about the actual mentality or subject positions of the people responsible for the films. If we wanted to examine the sociological context of, say, a Michael Bay film, based on what we can see of the attitudes and values of Bay himself, there’d be all sorts of fun we could have: commodity fetishism, war porn, the abandonment of classic action tropes in favor of gran mal disorientation. But the profound difference between Romero and Bay would be that Romero knew perfectly well the larger context in which he worked, whereas Bay just swims with the tide of the times like a carp. Romero saw his immediate context and worked a suitable paranoia into his films that reflected those times. Bay is a product of his context and unthinkingly reproduces the ugliness of his place of privilege, offering us jive talking robots and frat boy pee jokes.

    An example more favorable to the current era, though, might be someone like Greengrass, who actually tries to invest his shakycam with something resembling a coherent statement about our current age of surveillance. I’m not convinced that he has a grasp on tone or atmosphere, but he seems to be one of the numerous young directors who is kicking a bit against the confines of the heavily commercialized film production system.

    But I think you are really onto something: the context that you describe for 1970s films really retreated inward in the 1980s. Rather than look at the wider world, 1980s horror really seemed fixated on the Reagan era rhetoric of the family. Even Cronenberg’s body horror seems a bit solipsistic, which I don’t think is a bad thing. It’s certainly an interesting area to explore, but it’s a more narrow, less tangible field of inquiry than what came before.

    The exception, of course, is Chucky, which we all know is a devastating Marxist critique of mass production, consumption and commodification run rampant.

  44. – jareth

    I agree and it`s a shame that so few directors in genre-cinema has the guts to tell stories which reflects our times. And that`s not even correct either. I think the difference between Bay and Greengrass is that Greengrass dares to tell stories that reflects our times in a truthfull manner. Watching a movie and realizing that the director actually stands by his belief, or tries to present his personal perception of the world, is a rare thing. Most genre-cinema is designed for offending as few people as possible, by lying or telling a truth that`s accepted by the masses. And telling a truth that everybody agrees with, is pointless and boring. And I think that`s what pisses me of the most; presenting a subjective or provocative truth is a great tool when you tell stories. The Hurt Locker comes to mind. It`s a brilliant actionmovie because of it`s suspense and mise-en-scene, but it`s a great story because it dares to suggest that some soldiers become adrenaline-junkies and never will able to adjust to normal society again (or something-something…)

    Another good example might be The Dark Knight, which dares to suggest that the patriot act, torture, and breaking human rights, might be a nessercary evil when fighting terrorism. I don`t agree with Bush and Batman, but I still thought about it for days, discussed it with friends and even went back to see it several times in the cinema, because Nolan dared to present his reflection of our times in a truthfull manner. And that made it a great story (for me, anyway…)

    A bad example might be the remake of Let the right one in. (SPOILER) I just read that they changed the vampires “protector” from being a pedophile and turned Eli into a girl. Guess the story of a sexually abused (castrated) boy who finally finds love in an asexuel friendship with a bullied child was to frigging dark for a horrormovie. But “it`s a true story”, as the author writes in the novel. And that`s what people recognized when they made it a bestseller in Sweden. But it`s a provocative subject matter, so the american director didn`t dare to keep the elements that made the story “truthful” and great.

    Rant over.

  45. Thanks for the review Vern!

  46. This movie was olyphantastic.

  47. Jareth Cutestory

    July 1st, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    dna: I was pretty much sure that there was no way an American LET THE RIGHT ONE IN would work, and the points you made aren’t encouraging me to think otherwise.

    In addition to your points, I’d like to also say: New Mexico? You’re setting your remake of a movie shot almost entirely in the snow in New Mexico? Are you putting me on?

  48. dna – I might slightly disagree with your TDK interpretation.

    I mean Batman tried to torture Joker, i.e. beating the fuck out of him, but it didn’t exactly work. Joker played him like a record. Or paraphrasing, “You expected to win with your fists?” Donnie Darko’s sister was dead as fried chicken regardless of interrogation tactics.

    And that whole shit with the surveillance, sure Batman “cheated” (we all play hookey) but even he knew it was inherently bad so he had it destroyed.

    So what I’m trying to say is I guess, if NeoCons saw it as a Jack Bauer-type dramatic argument for torture and Patriot Act…I saw KNIGHT as the opposite? Remember kids, Batman despite all the bad shit Joker does or could do, he doesn’t break his One Rule. Or standing by principle over convenience. Then again that ending I suppose makes Batman more effective in his interrogations now. :)

    But yeah I like your points about politics in genre films. I’ll add another guy (yet another 70s dude) who dabbled here and there: John Carpenter. THEY LIVE might be his most explicit, but those ESCAPE movies certainly are him flirting about a police state America where in comparison a selfish violent asshole like Snake Plissken comes off as the better guy.

    Though EFLA outright eeriely foreshadowed Dubya (if a cartoonish exaggeration) in a way, didn’t it? Fundamentalist President who believes his decisions are “told” to him by God, rants on about how freedoms in America yet stamps several of them out (Patriot Act, taking away gay civil rights), his way or the highway in regards to the rest of the world, which in EFLA apparently were at war with America. And he probably won re-election in spite of that New Dark Ages.

    And PRINCE OF DARKNESS, what director now would cook up a movie where God/Satan all is due to interdimensional quantum physical slime or whatever? Not an American I can tell ya that. And to think, Carpenter is a right-winger. That’s the most awesome bit.

    Michael Bay is an asshole, but that’s not the worst bit. No even worst than him being an incompetent dick who regularly blows budgets more than suitable for a tiny nation’s GDP. He is absolutely condescendingly pandering in waving the flag and expousing middle America value nonsense jammed into his narratives, because that California fratboy sure knows us rednecks.

    Fuck you Mike. Just as bad as CJ Holden’s countryman Roland Emmerich, who badly wants to be a honorary American or something. You know I was a dick at him, but Uwe Boll God bless him, at least he’s honest about such pandering if and when he partakes in them.

    I mean whether one agrees with particular politics of Clint Eastwood or John Milius or whatever, those guys are sincere. I was gonna add Robert Zemeckis, but then I realized I haven’t gave a shit about him in ages.

    If Bay is trying to buddy you up this side of a local hack politician to get your buck, John Milius makes RED DAWN. For good or ill.

    Though honestly….I liked RED DAWN? For a jingoistic ridiculous 80s actioneer that takes itself seriously, it’s got more intelligence (and 50s war/Fuller movie cliches) put behind it than many folks give it credit for.

  49. Jareth Cutestory

    July 1st, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    RRA: I like to contrast SILENCE OF THE LAMBS with ARMAGEDDON. Both films feature the prominent use of American iconography (flags, songs), but one film thoughtfully employs the iconography in a subtle, troubling way, while one of them is as hamfisted and predictable as a recruitment commercial. One is quietly subversive; one is laughably status quo.

  50. Jareth, here is an interview excerpt from Matt Reeves discussing New Mexico in the film Let Me In
    —-
    Capone: Is snow be a part of your version? I can’t imagine this story without it. Snow is a character.

    MR: The snow is a character, and it’s so funny, because when somebody first suggested to me that I look in New Mexico, I had actually set it in Colorado, and somebody said “If you are setting it in Colorado, you might consider shooting in New Mexico” and I was like “New Mexico? Isn’t that like desert? I’m confused.” They are at a very high elevation and obviously they are connected to the Colorado, they are very… They have really snowy areas, and actually Los Alamos in particular… It’s very funny, because Drew Goddard, who wrote CLOVERFIELD, he and I were talking about it, and he was very excited and the idea of me doing this film, because he just knows me and knows the kind of things I’m interested in and he was like “No, I’m telling you this is very exciting.” And of course, I was terrified at various points, because again, like I said, this was way before the film came out. Once the film came out, then a whole new life started coming, and by that point I was so committed to what we were doing and I still really believe in it, but there’s this part of me going “Look what’s happening. Oh my God, people are going to come and murder us.”

  51. Jareth Cutestory

    July 1st, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Lawrence: Not the most eloquent speaker, is he. But the information I was able to get allays my concern a little. Still, at the first indication that there will be a sombrero in the film, I’m gonna lose it.

  52. Leroy Sans Skillet

    July 2nd, 2010 at 1:31 am

    @RRA Great discussion all but it is my understanding that John Carpenter is more of a left winger.

  53. RRA –

    That`s was exactly the point I was trying to make, about being sincere. I don`t agree with the politics of Rambo 4, but Stallone seems sincere and I respect him and the movie for that.

    I`m gonna Carpenter give another go. I hold a grudge against him for many years because of Halloween. Kind of silly actually, but I felt that Halloween ruined everything that was great about `70 horror. After reading Verns review of They Live and your points, I realize I might have been terrible wrong. And I even loved The Thing, Escape from New York, Big Trouble in little china etc when I was a kid.

    The Dark Knight doesn`t present any clearcut answers on it`s subject matter (how we respond to terrorism) and that`s what makes it so fucking great. I`m no Nolan-fanboy, but The Dark Knight is everything I wish for in genre-cinema. But it still troubles me. How about the scene where Alfred talks about burning down the entire forest in order to get the bad guy? I`m glad that Alfred is not president of the united stated, `cause he might.. oh.. wait.. No, that was a bad example.

  54. “John Carpenter is a right-winger” ?!? What? Carpenter is right up there with Warren Beatty and Tim Robbins as one of Hollywood’s most left-wing uber-liberals…

  55. Majestyk, right as usual. The first act of THE SIGNAL was excellent. I was scared shitless. The second might have been something, but killed it; so the third was anti-climactic. In general, you make good points — your “viewers who are strangers to themselves” analysis from some threads back continues to inform. You win my “I lurk without commenting much” prize. Collect at the door.

    And yes, King can’t end a story, including CELL (that’s one reason, among many, Kubrick’s SHINING is better than the book). May I add that PULSE could have been a decent movie in this vein, but was very boring teen shlock.

  56. CC – Its my understanding that Carp is a libertarian right-winger like his buddy Kurt Russell.

    Of course with Carp’s total contempt of authority, I could be wrong?

  57. Doc, I’d love to take credit for that “viewers who are strangers to themselves” thing, but I’m pretty sure that was my doppelganger, Mr. Subtlety. It’s okay, though. We get that a lot, both of us being disgustingly intelligent misters and all.

  58. I was told by no less then George Romero-a very left-wing dude himself-that Carpenter was a liberal. Are you maybe confusing Carp with someone else?

    And RRA: CARRIE, THE DEAD ZONE, CUJO, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION–yeah, terrible endings, right? Personally, I fail to see how Kubrick’s ending–ripped off from Mark Snow’s short film WAVELENGTH and no less then two episodes of the Twilight Zone–beats King’s Lord Of The Rings-inspired apocalyptic destruction.

  59. CC, in RRA’s defense, all those examples you stated are decades old. I’ve read nearly everything King has ever written, but even I admit that hasn’t known how to end a story in 20 years or more. He used to work with sturdy, simple plots, but ever since he started writing all this mystical stuff he hasn’t really been able to tie it all together in a satisfying way. He’s better at coming up with weird, inexplicable scenarios than he is at explaining them.

  60. CC – Then I guess Romero is correct.

    And for the record, I absolutely had nothing to do with this fucking Stephen King debate. Why my balls getting dragged into that fire?

    But since you did, here is a truth about King.

    He may have written good books, good stories. But what is his appeal is his IDEAS, his IMAGINATION, his play around a particular gimmick.

    Thats what echoes through over the decades, not particularly his writing or characterization or plotting because lets admit it, he has a bad tendency of jobbing by resting on stereotypes or convenient nonsensical bullshit or the story only going forward because people suddenly and irrationally turn stupid.

    Take DEAD ZONE. Thats a good premise, and for the most part King did well with how such a psychic would live or try (and fail) to mingle with the world as one. More a curse and less an awesome superpower.

    But the rest of that shit, like did we really need to know Stillson’s background or that early prologue? I mean WHO CARES? Hell Cronenberg was right to end the movie as he did, not the graveyard, which really was just a tad too much if you ask me.

    Also, the King fans here will roast my nuts, but I prefer SHINING the movie over the book. Kubrick was certainly more enthralled with ideas and concepts than he was with the book itself. Can’t blame him.

  61. I would love to hear dna explain how Halloween ruined 70s horror.

  62. yeah, pretty sure carpenter and russell are BFFs DESPITE their political differences.

  63. Jones – Maybe dna is refering to all the HALLOWEEN rip-offs we got in that aftermath.

    Now we got some that were geniunely good, like FRIDAY THE 13TH

    But 99% of them were unimaginative insults to entertainment. I mean its not HALLOWEEN’s fault, but lets admit it, that condom was broken.

  64. Don’t want to interrupt the various interesting topics, but I want to go back to dna’s point about movies reflecting their times. I’m sure you’ve noticed that’s something that’s interesting to me too. As much as I like The Crazies and Dawn of the Dead remakes as solid horror/thriller/action filmatism I do think they’re a little superficial in the way they take what were originally politically charged stories and make them just into safe entertainment.

    But I also want to point out that what a movie says about its times doesn’t have to be intentional. Even Romero always says that the social commentary people found in Night of the Living Dead was not really intentional. But it’s still relevant. Therefore, I’m afraid I have to argue that Bad Boys 2, as despicable as it is, to me is a more accurate reflection of its times than the Bourne movies, which tried explicitly to put a little politics into their action movie framework. Bad Boys has these giggling shitbag heroes who literally drive hummers over hovels. They kill, destroy, trash, gay bash and (in the case of Martin Lawrence’s daughter’s date) even threaten to rape anybody who gets in the way of their justice. I don’t think Bay knew it was a movie about the Bush years, but it was, and I truly believe it will be studied in that light years from now.

    Nothing against Greengrass, who seems like a smart guy (except in the area of tripod usage) but as much as I hate Bay I think I gotta give him the win in this match up.

    (still haven’t felt the desire to see United 93, though. So I might be out of my league in this argument.)

  65. I wonder if in 20 years from now people look back at Hostel and call it a social commentary on Guantanmo and Abu Ghraib.

  66. For years I’ve been saying that Bad Boys II was an accidental metaphor (Bay doesn’t know what a metaphor is, nor does he care. He wishes you’d stop talking faggy, though) for American foreign policy. I mean, they drive a humongous Hummer through a shantytown with only a half-heard line saying that “This is where they cook their drugs” to justify all the poverty-stricken people they just displaced and/or killed. They might as well have said “I think I see a WMD in there!”

  67. Jareth Cutestory

    July 2nd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Vern: I’d argue that Bay isn’t a reflection of his time so much as he is a symptom of it. Will future generations understand our era better by studying BAD BOYS? Probably, but only in the same way that we can learn about the last century by studying a Tijuana Bible. But they won’t learn about the strategies film-makers used to engage in meaningful polemic, or how they negotiated the delicate balance between expression and commerce. For that, they’d need Greengrass or THE DARK KNIGHT.

  68. You all know that I’m not a DARK KNIGHT fan, but believe me when I say I’m not attacking anyone by asking the following question: What exactly are these revolutionary themes that are being addressed in the movie? All I really got is the old chestnut of “Sometimes a good man has to go too far to stop a bad man.” This is boilerplate action movie stuff, not particularly topical or transcendent at all. It’s the exact same theme that has become so commonplace as to be seen on network TV every week for eight years in the form of 24. I’m not saying TDK handles this theme badly or that it should be criticized for addressing it. This is, after all, the proper theme for the subject matter (i.e., a vigilante who takes the law into his own hands). But I don’t think it has anything particularly interesting or insightful to say about what is essentially the same “The ends justify the means” credo that has been fueling two dozen screenplays a year since DIRTY HARRY. What am I missing?

  69. Jareth Cutestory

    July 2nd, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Majstyk: I’m not a DARK KNIGHT fan either, but if I had to defend it, I guess I’d say that the crucial difference between DARK KNIGHT and DIRTY HARRY is a question of tone. I think the people who compare DARK KNIGHT to HEAT are fairly accurate, at least as far as tone goes.

    I agree with you that, on paper, DARK KNIGHT doesn’t have much to say that we haven’t seen before. But then neither does SEVEN. It is in the realm of tone, which I believe is capable of a kind of profundity unique to visual media, where the difference lies.

    Having said that, I think that any success DARK KNIGHT may have had in this regard is completely undermined by how silly I find Batman himself. I’ve said before that I think Adam West is the best incarnation of Batman, a character I find inherently goofy. But I’m glad for anyone who likes him. Honest.

  70. That must be what I’m missing. I hate the visual style of TDK (I think trying to be “realistic” is just about the most ridiculous thing you can do when your hero is a grown man with bat ears) so I guess the philosophizing on display was never going to affect me the way it did other people. I’m not saying it’s done badly, but I don’t think it’s special in any way. Perhaps it’s just being rewarded for being a summer blockbuster with any kind of theme at all.

    I love Batman, and I do take him seriously, but if you leave no room for humor in your take on him, you’re just begging me to laugh at him at inappropriate times. Adam West was going too far, but I think Michael Keaton got it pretty right.

  71. Jareth Cutestory

    July 2nd, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Majestyk: BAM! ZLOTT! KAPOW!

    (Yes, ZLOTT. I googled it.)

  72. Now, I get BAM and KAPOW, but what the hell is a ZLOTT? What could you possibly do to someone that would create that specific sound effect? The best I can come up with is that it’s what happens when you hit someone wearing nylon with a wet eel.

  73. Jareth Cutestory

    July 2nd, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The first thing I thought of when I saw ZLOTT was that scary Monty Python sketch, something to the effect of: Sounds You Don’t Want To Hear Behind You While Standing At A Urinal [sound of zipper slowly coming undone, followed by sound of heavy flesh-like object hitting the ground].

  74. Mr. Majestyk – I have never heard anyone call the themes in TDK “revolutionary.” Did anyone say GODFATHER was revolutionary was in its themes? No. STAR WARS? No.

    I know you didn’t care for it as much as almost everyone else, but accidentally don’t step in a hole in the ground while running to fuck it up.

    Vern – How come you never bothered reviewing Greengrass? You never in the mood to deal with fanboys who might not be the most happy that you don’t have as big of a hardon for him as many action fans seem to? Hell I figured GREEN ZONE you would have tackled because of the subject material.

    His non-action stuff like BLOODY SUNDAY and UNITED 93 are fucking terrific, worth watching.

  75. RRA, my whole point was that I hear a lot of talk about how TDK had a lot to say about our times, but I don’t hear it saying anything much at all, and what it does have to say is pretty muddled, in my opinion. You could maybe try telling me what I’m missing, but I guess it’s easier to just make some kind of analogy about holes to put me in my place.

  76. Mr. M – I got a hole in my pocket!

    Seriously though, I can’t help you if you can’t tell me what exactly was muddled?

  77. I think the main problem with the movie is that what it’s showing me and what it’s telling me are two completely different things. It tells me that Harvey Dent was considered duplicitous by his colleagues in the police department, yet in action he seems sincere and well-intentioned. It tells me that Batman is a meaningful symbol of justice to the people of Gotham City, yet fails to the effect that his work has had on their lives, besides blowing up their cars and trashing their streets. It tells me that Dent has some kind of obsession with the capriciousness of fate, yet he seems to have a Type-A take-charge personality that leaves little to chance. It tells me that the Joker is a seat-of-his-pants engine of chaos rather than a planner, yet he concocts absurdly intricate schemes incorporating intimate knowledge of hospital evacuation procedures, the Gotham City municipal school bus schedule, and the response times of various law enforcement divisions. It tells me that Maggie Gylenhaal is beautiful, yet Wally Pfister’s harsh lighting leaves her looking like Pumpkinhead in a dress. (Sorry, low blow. I think she’s cute most of the time but not in this movie.)

    The point is, there always seems to be a disconnect between what I’m seeing and what I’m hearing. The screenplay is always trying to make points that it fails to illustrate, never more glaringly than Gary Oldman’s soulful but uncharacteristically poetic monologue that ends the movie. The whole movie shows Batman to be borderline useless, an arrogant amateur who ruins everything he touches, but then at the end he rides off like a conquering hero and we’re supposed to but it. I think the whole movie is scattershot like that, which I wouldn’t mind in the slightest if it wasn’t shooting for such profundity.

    But honestly, recast Batman, light him with some style, and give me some decent action scenes and none of this would have mattered to me in the slightest.

  78. ChopperSullivan

    July 2nd, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I thought Harvey was called Two Face because most of Gotham’s police force were corrupt and he was one of the few that were holding them accountable. And he says himself that he doesn’t leave things to fate, until his girlfriend is blown up and he’s horribly burned, which sort of changes his perspective on things.

    “It tells me that Batman is a meaningful symbol of justice to the people of Gotham City, yet fails to the effect that his work has had on their lives, besides blowing up their cars and trashing their streets.”

    Isn’t this part of the point of the movie? Batman trying to figure out what his role really is and how he can combat crime without making things worse?

    As for Joker, he may seek to create chaos, but that doesn’t mean his actions are random. And isn’t it entirely possible that Joker is fully of shit? He is an evil crazy guy after all.

    Your last paragraph seems to be the real point. I remember Jim Emerson on Ebert’s site doing all of these nitpicky posts about why he didn’t like the movie, but ultimately it was that he thought is was humorless and not a lot of fun. I guess I can get that, but I thought The Dark Knight was a blast, that the serious tone raised the stakes, and that it had some interesting takes on the characters. Nothing revolutionary, just a fun action/thriller that’s not completely stupid.

  79. Brief response regarding King in general and The Dead Zone in particular:

    The Dead Zone is about America post-Watergate. King seemingly sensed the conservative resurgence imminent with the rise of Ronald Reagen and the new neocon – Christian right wing, and felt that it spelled doom for America. Stillson is probably meant to represent Reagan, but it’s more like King (and to some degree Cronenberg) uncannily predicted Bush, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. (Ironic for a novel dealing with psychic visions of the future.) Without Stillson’s backstory we wouldn’t understand how someone like him–a delusional sociopath, basically-could slip through the cracks and rise to power thanks to the turbulent history of America in the 20th century.

    And the film originally HAD the prolouge at Johnny’s childhood hockey game AND the epilogue with Sara. Dino De Laurentis cut them to make it shorter.

  80. Mr. Majestyk – See, I’m addressing your whole name. This is serious shit, and no holes will be brought into the discussion.

    “It tells me that Harvey Dent was considered duplicitous ”

    Umm, he’s a politician? What politician hasn’t been chided publicly or privately as a two-faced lying sack of shit mother fucker? In a corrupt-by-nature town like Gotham, hearing a guy promise change as the white knight….that would come off as bullshit to some.

    Also cops generally hate it when their kind (even the bad corrupt ones) get investigated and prosecuted by IA or DA. How many white cops in America backed those guys who beat up Rodney King just because they were blue?

    “Batman is a meaningful symbol of justice”

    To be fair, I doubt he causes as much mayhem and public property destruction as much as you think he does. When cops pursue all the way in those highway chases or kick down doors at homes or shot the dog for defending its house or waste good money and manpower to defeat pot-smoking grannies with cataracts….the public generally supports such actions. Or ignores them, implicit support regardless.

    “Dent has some kind of obsession with the capriciousness ”

    I thought it was obvious that he did, but that whole two-headed coin showed that cavalier as he is, that he thinks he’s luck insured?

    “Joker is a seat-of-his-pants engine of chaos rather”

    With that logic, all the “Anarchists” in the world don’t plan or organize anything in their lives or clean their rooms before guests arrive.

    “Maggie Gylenhaal is beautiful, yet Wally Pfister’s harsh lighting leaves her looking like Pumpkinhead in a dress. ”

    To be fair, what woman in a Nolan movie has looked good? hell I wouldn’t bet against Nolan somehow making Ellen Page and Marion Whatshername look rubbish in INCEPTION.

  81. CC – Two points:

    (1) yeah yeah I guess, but those scenes of the “real” Martin Sheen revealed, made the point effectively enough that this fucker wasn’t just ruthless and played hardball like the Kennedys. Or Nixon as you like. He also was a crazy legit bastard who yeah indeed reminds a contemporary viewer of a Palin or Dubya.

    In other words, I thought the movie script as seen in the final product did a good job of condescing the good shit from the book, and left out the fat.

    (2) I thought Cronenber himself decided to axe that epilogue, and the rest Dino? Either way, I think Dino might have been right. The guy is a hack producer, but he’s made some good decisions here and there. Giving Wachowskis money for BOUND, setting up his own distribution company for BLUE VELVET, hiring John Milius for CONAN, etc.

    Everything else, he deserves the shit. Just sometimes I think he was right. Like 1 out of a 100.

  82. Mr. Majestyk – In case you haven’t read it, here’s an interesting post from David Bordwell where (amongst a lot of other topics) he talks bout the “strategic ambiguity” of films like THE DARK KNIGHT. I think he makes a good point about filmmakers often being deliberately vague with regards to any intended message.

    http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/?p=2713

  83. “I hold a grudge against him for many years because of Halloween.”

    I can think of many reasons to hold a grudge against Carpenter, but HALLOWEEN isn’t one of them. It’s like saying “Welles was okay, but I’ll never forgive him for that fucking CITIZEN KANE.”

    And Cronenberg has a tendency to cut epilogues, which is why his movies usually end perfectly. He kicks us in the balls, then leaves the room.

  84. Oh, and CC– a zoom into a photo of the ocean is the same as the reveal that Jack was part of the hotel all along? Did Snow invent the zoom lens?

  85. You’re absolutely right, Chopper. I would have forgiven all this shit if it had entertained me on a thriller level, but the weak action and unappealing hero made that impossible. I normally don’t nitpick like this, but the movie wants so badly to be taken seriously that I’m not inclined to cut it any slack.

  86. Jareth Cutestory

    July 3rd, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Majestyk: Aside from the possible confusion of motivation/tactics that you mentioned earlier, what did you think of Ledger’s Joker as an antagonist on a more visceral level, as a physical presence in the film that you reacted to as a viewer? Did the performance/character deserve a better film around him, or do you think he was part of the problem?

  87. I absolutely loved Ledger as the Joker. I think he got the character absolutely right, and so did the filmmakers. The Joker isn’t so much a criminal as he is an existential terrorist. I only brought up that one line because it was another example of where the words I’m hearing don’t seem to sync up with the sights I’m seeing.

    I appreciate all of the feedback on my points, and it brings up an interesting concept. It shows how when you like a movie as a whole, you work overtime to find reasons while all the parts fit. But when you don’t like a movie as a whole, you work overtime to find out which parts were broken. In the end, I think it comes down to your emotional response: Is this movie enjoyable or not? You can nitpick and analyze all you want after the fact, but that’s not as important as that intangible quality that makes a movie click with you.

  88. – Vern

    I totally agree with Bad Boys II being a better reflection of its times than The Bourne Identity, but that doesn`t make it a better movie (in my opinion.)

    Oh… I see. Okay, I think I get your point.

    I guess that reflecting or commenting its time isn`t what makes a movie great, then. Maybe it`s not even what made those `70-horror classics great. I`m pretty sure that neither Wes Craven or Tobe Hooper planned to make social comments.

    I guess what makes the difference, are the creators ability to stand by his beliefs, his perception of life and reality, and tell a story that feels “true” to him. Even if he doesn`t realize that he`s making a clever comment on society. I actually think of Romero as a guy who “tells it like it is”. Or what he think “it” is. Whatever “it” is. Okay, maybe “it” is just what he feels is right (stupid hangover). If somebody had offered him Bad Boys II, he would have refused to make it, cause he doesn`t bullshit his audience and he doesn`t compromise his integrity.

    I hope you get my point, though. I haven`t seen Fire Down Below, but from reading your book, I understand that you enjoy it because of it`s “honesty”. It might be a stupid kind of honesty, I dunno cause I haven`t seen it, but appearently Seagal stood by his beliefs and expressed them.
    If Seagal is Ed Harris in Knightriders, then Bay is Tom Savini, selling bullshit to his audience.(if Savini was an devil-worshipping coke-snorting soul-less whore etc etc, which he wasn`t.)

    So my point is (I think), that a great storyteller has the urge, skills and balls to express what he truly believes in. When I think of all my favourite movies (ET, Starwars, Blue Velvet, Apocalypse Now), I can`t help but get the feeling that the directors wanted to tell a story that felt true to them. And by telling a “truthful” story, they connected with the audience. And a truthful story is (imo) always a reflection on society, humanity, family, politics etc (stories giving reality meaning and what else that greek guy said). That might have been what I meant with “movies reflecting society”. Who knows.

    I think that my problem with blockbusters today is that they don`t try to tell a “truthful” story or “express a storytellers reality”. They try to tell a story that makes as much money as possible, inspired by the succes of great stories like ET, Starwars etc. And they always never succeed, because most studios idea of a great story is making it as accessible as possible. And by pandering to the audience, they can`t express a creators “truthful” story, which means they don`t reflect on anything. The Dark Knight did (imo), which is why I think a lot of people loved it. And Speedracer, which also made the point I`m trying to make, which is why a lot of people.. ..Oh, nevermind. Skip that.

    And exactly why do I think it`s worth discussing? Well, we, the audience, are the ones who make all this happen, by “supporting” the big un-personal bad stories and refusing to discuss what makes a movie great. (I am, of course, refering to almost everybody else than your excellent sight and it`s readers. But I actually saw Transformers 2 in the cinema, so I acknowledge that I`m a part of the problem. Sorry everybody. You know how alcohol makes people rant on and on and then they start confessing personal shameful secrets that nobody wants to hear. I hate when that happens. I also watched it on dvd. Twice)

    If I was Tyler Durden, I would create Film Club, and the first assignment would be sending every member of Film Club out to websites to pick a fight (or better yet, a discussion) with film-lovers who refuses to acknowledge that their ignorence of what makes movies great, are destroying the possibilites of more great movies being made. (If I was Tyler Durden, I might also realize that I am completely insane and shoot myself in the head, so forget I wrote that).

    I know I`m preaching to the choir, but I wrote a lot of nonsense in this threat while trying to figure all this stuff about “stories reflecting society” out, so I thougth I ought to explain myself. I`m not sure I`m making any sense, though. But I do feel that we are on the same page.

  89. Jareth Cutestory

    July 3rd, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    dna: I’d argue that the distinction between BAD BOYS 2 and FIGHT CLUB (for example) is a distinction between an artifact of its time and the art of its time. BAD BOYS value to future generations will be to diagnose the illnesses of our age. It is inert, like evidence at the scene of a crime. In addition ato all of the sociological stuff that can be gleaned from any film, FIGHT CLUB engages future viewers in a discussion of the motives and problem solving techniques employed by film-makers of the era. Bay belongs to the discourse of production; FIGHT CLUB belongs to a far richer discourse of art.

    No matter how deliberate the intentions of Hooper, Craven or Romero, the “truth” you describe often manifests itself in the film-makers style. As I’m sure you know, Lynch speaks often about letting the style of his films express aspects of his art that he isn’t able to articulate through plot and dialogue. He knows when it is wrong or right on an intuitive level. I believe that it is the care that certain film-makers take with what Majestyk called the “intangible” aspect of a film that a corporate monkey like Bay will never grasp.

  90. – Jareth Cutestory

    Good point. When I talk about movies as stories, I think that the style, photography, acting, editing, set design, props, etc are as much part of the story as the script. A good story is only good if it`s told well.

    “As I’m sure you know, Lynch speaks often about letting the style of his films express aspects of his art that he isn’t able to articulate through plot and dialogue. He knows when it is wrong or right on an intuitive level.”

    I think most directors knows when they are wrong or right on an intuitive level, but a lot of directors doesn`t have the balls, skills or urge to follow their instincts. Or the ability, as in having the power on the set to follow their intuition and make the right decisions. Romero, Craven and Hooper had the skills, but maybe more important than that, the freedom to express themselves, without some studio looking over their shoulder.

  91. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Jeunet often says that he can’t understand how so many American film-makers are able to work without having final cut on their films. He said the lack of freedom would kill him, creatively speaking.

  92. Personally I fail to see why a movie should be a reflection of its times, or how being that reflection would make it in any way a better movie.

    The thing is, movies just aren’t a very good format for that. If as an audience member you want to explore sociopolitical themes, you are much better off by reading a few books on the subject, by following quality newspapers and magazines regularly, and by discussing different topics with intelligent and well-informed people. Movies have certain heavy limitations to them when it comes to sociopolitical exploration. Like running time. There is only so much you can do in two hours, if you also want to tell a dramatic story with interesting characters, and hopefully add a few action scenes as well.

    By their nature sociopolitical commentaries in movies are very superficial and insubstantial by their nature. Movies are good for only making very broad and simple statements, regardless of whether the statement is vague or definitive. There is no time for real depth and complexity of argument.

    For this reason movies are great for expressing what I would call “universal truths” that state something general about humans and the world around us. They are not very good at all for reflecting our times with accurate complexity. Real world is extremely complex. Movies stories, on the other hand, are not. They can’t be, due to the limitations of the art form. Movies are always biased towards simplicity and economy of theme and story.

    Also I think that there is nothing artistically demanding about adding a sociopolitical message to a movie. It’s easy. Any novice film student knows how to do it. In fact there are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of students films and “video art” out there that do contain a lot of sociopolitical messages, and a lot of symbolism, and a lot of visible and hidden themes. All the things that some people think make movies better. And yet almost all of those students films and video art pieces are crap. Because sociopolitical messages, or symbolism, or whatever, doesn’t make a movie better. Good story and good characters with good overall execution make it better.

    It’s very hard to tell a good, emotionally engaging story. It’s very hard to create good, emotionally engaging characters. It’s very hard to execute a good action scene. And so on. And therefore I value those things 10 times more than any kind of reflecting of times.

    It’s also worth noting that some filmmakers have made it a point to NOT reflect the times in their movies, because they want to create universal, timeless art. They want their movie to be just as relevant 50 years from now, as it is now. Does this attitude of theirs diminish them as artists? I don’t think so.

    Personally I enjoy following the sociopolitical topics in the world around me. And I think that movies are generally a rather useless way to follow those topics. Books, newspapers, magazines and discussions with well-informed people are much, much better ways.

    So I fail to see why reflective sociopolitical messages play any part at all in the quality of a movie. Cinema simply isn’t very good platform for those, despite being a great platform for simple, universal “truths” that tug the emotions of the audience.

    All this doesn’t mean that films shouldn’t have sociopolitical messages. For example I love Fight Club, which of course is heavy on those. But Fight Club is for me primarily a great movie because it just has great writing, directing, acting. cinematography ,etc. It’s an exciting, funny, emotionally involving movie. The way it reflects the times is just an added bonus, and not decisive for the overall quality of the movie. And for me the most important message of the movie is the universal, final “truth” of the story, which states that an individual has to find his own way, instead of always following others. That theme will still be relevant 50 years from now.

    People can think enjoy sociopolitical themes in movies as much as they want to, I don’t care about that. If those themes make you like and appreciate a movie more, that’s fine by me. But I think it’s a false and flawed premise to say that a movie is artistically better if it has sociopolitical messages, or that an artist has more integrity if he puts sociopolitical messages into his movies. Neither of those statements feels logical or well-argued.

  93. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Tuukka: I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not a movie SHOULD be a reflection of the times in which it was produced; it really has no choice in the matter. Even if a film strives for timelessness or an apolitical stance in its plot, themes and subject matter, it will still betray the date-specific subject position of the minds of the people who made the film.

    There’s nothing more deliberately escapist than old Disney, but the politics of the day are always going to reveal themselves eventually, like when contemporary audiences watch SONG OF THE SOUTH. Likewise, Pixar’s GARBAGE ROBOT and COOKING RAT will one day show a future generation what a bunch of sentimental optimists the makers were.

    All films, all books, all music is in some way, shape or form defined by the politics of the era in which in was made, in varying degrees of explicitness. Something like LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, which takes great pains to detach itself from a recognizable world, is still easily located in the formal preoccupations of the nouvelle vague and the nouvelle roman, all of which are the product of the small-p politics of the 1950s/60s French avant garde. And like all politics, they don’t exist in a vacuum; they are reactions to the world around them, couched in the immediate available vocabulary of the day, both written and visual. In MARIENBAD, for example, we can see that Robbe-Grillet held some rather chauvinistic views of women, despite his cutting-edge literary credentials and disdain for conventional narrative.

    Now, if you’re saying that you don’t think movies should be didactic or pedagogical, like NETWORK, which comes right out and tells you what’s wrong with the world, then it’s hard to disagree with you. God knows there’s not much in life worse than a heavy-handed sermon in the form of a movie. But, like you said, there are degrees of nuance to the practice.

  94. Um… but NETWORK is a fantastic movie. Unless that’s changed and someone didn’t let me know.

  95. The Stone Killer

    July 4th, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    IMPULSE from 1984 is another people in a small town go crazy movie and a pretty damn good one too. It’s worth checking out. Reminiscent of the original Crazies story wise but with a slick 80’s look (it was directed by a commercials guy who also did Alien Nation).

    The trailer phased me as a kid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaIWtTj6c_M

  96. Jareth Cutestory

    July 4th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Gwai Lo: Maybe I’m being a bit hard on NETWORK. I find it tough to get through that movie. It’s got to be Lumet’s least nimble movie, and Chayefsky was never known for his subtlety. Maybe if I forgot THE CONVERSATION was ever made I’d like it more and use AN AMERICAN CAROL as my example of didactic film-making.

  97. Saw the movie tonight and all I’d like to say is, remember the good old days that when the credits rolled you felt like you saw an entire movie, instead of half of one? I’m referring to how NO HORROR MOVIE HAS AN ENDING ANYMORE. There’s always that last zinger to let you know that maybe there will be a sequel! I hate this trend so much I can’t stand it. It’s so cheap and stupid and brainless. Whenever I see a horror movie in theaters, when that ending hits, you hear everyone groan…why do they keep doing it? It would be like if the ending Marked for Death would be when Screwface reappears, cut to credits! How satisfying. I doubt Breck Eisner is reading this but dude, step up your shit, thank you.

  98. Higharolla Kockamamie

    July 5th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Interviewer guy: The idea of a sequel to the Crazies has been tossed around quite a bit, but you’ve never said that its something you’d truly enjoy doing. And you have quite a bit on your plate. Do you think that if a sequel does happen, it will be made by someone else? And do you have a seed of an idea about what the story will be, and who you would like to see do it?

    Breck Eisner: I would love to pass this off to someone else. To see their interpretation of the movie. The way George A. Romero did with me, I would love to hand it off to the next guy. And see what he or she does. That would be kind of exciting. There have been no internal discussions about franchising this movie. The design of the film? The open ending of it has nothing to do with setting up a franchise. It’s what felt right to me in ending this particular movie. I didn’t want to tie it up in a big bow, I didn’t want everyone to be okay. This movie is a cautionary tale. The ending is ambiguous. That is on purpose. The fact that I love 70s horror had a lot to do with it. 70s horror hardly ever ended happy. Those films ended kind of bleak. I couldn’t help but be influenced by that.

    From an interview where Mr. Eisner spends most of his time shamelessly heaping praise on Timothy Olyphant, which is as it should be, and how he’d like him for Snake in Escape From New York, but then the interviewer suggests he watch Southland Tales, which sort of frames the whole interview as bizarre and worrisome, to me.

  99. The thing is, not tying everything together in a big bow is what every single horror movie does right now. I was shocked when I saw 28 Days Later and at the end I was like “Huh? It had closure? No last zombie jumping out?”

    And then came the sequel which of course just did the same movie again but with less characterization and the usual shitty horror ending.

    If Eisner wanted to end bleak, he could have ended with the characters dead in the explosion.

  100. I know what you mean, Higharolla. I felt that way about THE COLLECTOR which had an ending that made it really clear that they were trying to set up an ongoing series like SAW. And for decades horror movies have done half-assed versions of the CARRIE ending, and it never works.

    But this one I saw more in the tradition of Romero. Romero believes in horror movies that do not restore the status quo. There is no zombie cure. That’s part of why DAWN OF THE DEAD is so great – it begins and ends in a world gone mad. The only thing that matters is the characters, because nobody’s gonna save the world. I thought it worked in THE CRAZIES.

  101. Yeah, I didn’t think THE CRAZIES ending was open-ended so much as it was a worst case scenario type of deal. SPOILERS obviously: I don’t think it implied “stay tuned for more wacky Olyphant adventures in the next county!”, I think it implied “guess what. The hero escaped with his life. And now a whole new county is fucked. Are you happy, audience, you assholes?”

  102. Micheal Snow didn’t invent the zoom lens, but Kubrick didn’t come up with a great ending either. He was such a reflexive, knee-jerk cynic that he couldn’t have King’s ending with the hotel being destroyed. Kubrick, who cheerfully ended two of his stories (STRANGELOVE and A.I.) with the extinction of the human race and ended a third with the main character evolving to a higher state of being (2001), had a truly low opinion of humanity. They were the howling killer apes of 2001, and SPARTACUS, PATHS OF GLORY, THE KILLING, STRANGELOVE, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, FULL METAL JACKET, and the NAPOLEON script are illustrations of this opinion. For Stanley, the whole paradigm of human civilization (indeed, maybe even the basic psychology of humans) was so fundamentally, hopelessly fucked that only some enormous world-altering change, such as intervention by god-like, extradimensional aliens, or thermonuclear war–could be seen as an upbeat, desirable ending. Everything else was just reinforcing the status qou.

    Furthermore, Kubrick saw people as much worse then the evil spirits of the Overlook. He also couldn’t buy King’s vision of Jack Torrance as a flawed but good man: Jack had to be a crazy psycho right from the beginning. So the ending is supposed to reinforce all those ideas but again, it’s just not that shocking or scary. It’s WAVELENGTH, which Kubrick, with his love of tracking and zoom shots, must have seen and admired; crossed with two episodes of the TWILIGHT ZONE. (And if Kubrick was a fanatic fan of THE SIMPSONS years later, I can summise he may have watched television before that.) I’m not saying it’s a BAD ending, I just don’t think it’s the BEST ending; it even feels kind’ve like a repeat of 2001, to be honest. (Man finds a kind of transcendence in an erie, ornately decorated dwelling.)

    Look, THE SHINING is a great movie, I love it. I even enjoy the ending–it’s certainly well-done. But when the creepiest thing about it is an old recording of “Moonlight, The Stars And You”, I just get the feeling Kubrick kind’ve dropped the ball (which rolled down the hallway and stopped by Danny).

  103. I meant the creepiest thing about the ending of THE SHINING being the old song–not the film overall. Overall, it’s scary as hell.

  104. CC – That bullshit book was written by King about himself: You know, alcoholic daddy who must resolve his issues to save himself and his family. Like King getting out that past problem off his chest. Fine ok whatever.

    No Kubrick was right that Nicholson’s character is worse than those silly ghosts. What can a ghost do aside from scaring you and maybe fucking with you?

    Lets put it this way: In the book, its the ghost’s fault. In the movie, its Nicholson. Sure the ghosts egged him on and (maybe) helped him, but that’s not the same. Consider that he didn’t seem all that shocked or moved or anything when he chats/drinks with Lloyd the bartender.

    Of course I’m prejudist perhaps because my father was an alcoholic, and really the prick acted really much like Jack did in that movie: “Hey I didn’t mean to slap that kid. I only drink once in a while, can’t I do that?” self-righteous, blame everybody else bullshit. And he never triumphed or got better or any of that whatever that King was able and willing to do.

    Also the book ended with a fucking exploision. Why in the fuck does a ghost story need to end with a fucking explosion? You King fans, you always despise it when anyone dare change one mere word of Pope King’s writings. Well explain that nonsense to me. Was it like an allegory of the fall of the patriarch?

    Finally, which movie adaptation of SHINING do people remember? With all the references going on even into 2010, people remember the Kubrick movie. Good adaptation or not debate aside, its a fucking great movie. Ending wipes its ass with the book ending. Sorry but its true.

    Does anyone even remember that “faithful” TV mini-series, much less give a shit about it?

  105. I agree that you can’t argue against Kubrick. I saw the miniseries and it was garbage…of course it didn’t help that Hacky Mcgee Mick Garris directed it, never meeting a scene he couldn’t make flat and uninvolving…but I think the central change of Kubrick’s Shining is what makes it work. Like RRA says, it’s not the ghost’s fault…well it sort of is, but Nicholson goes right along with it. And he took out the goofy walking shrubs, which is just usual King goofiness that when translated to film, looks silly.

    While I agree with you guys about The Crazies ending…that’s it’s not NECESSARILY a sequel set up and more of a downer “hey, the heroes just got fucked!” jolt…that still doesn’t change my opinion since still, all horror movies end this way. Hills Have Eyes remake…uh oh, they’re still being watched! Dawn of the Dead remake? Well, we can’t just have them boat away sort of like in the original (albiet in a helicopter), now we need to explicity show them arrive on an island and get chases by zombies run away and they’re fucked. 28 Weeks Later, The Grudge, Resident Evil, FInal Destination, Wrong Turn, Saw movies, House of Wax, My Bloody Valentine, Friday the 13th, on and on and on. These are just off the top of my head and I stuck with American major releases.

  106. Okay, now hold on. They changed the ending of CUJO and it worked great. Also, SILVER BULLET was a big improvement on CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF (possibly because SILVER BULLET didn’t begin as a calender). I cannot defend SLEEPWALKERS, however, and continue to be amazed that nobody, especially in the wake of LORD OF THE RINGS, has ever tried to make EYES OF THE DRAGON.

    Anyway, YOU’RE WRONG. In the book it’s utterly Jack Torrance’s fault. He makes a conscious desicion to start drinking again. He could’ve just packed up and left with his family, but the Overlook (warning: Metaphor for American Century approaching) offers him a place at the great glittering endless party, and like Gatsby and Henry Hill, he willingly sells his soul.

    Kubrick tried to do the hedge animals but ultimately gave up because he didn’t like some stop-motion animation tests. Thought it looked fake.

    The explosion of the hotel has symbolic and metaphoric purpose in the book, but ultimately, I think more then anything it’s King’s homage, conciously or not, to Tolkien’s Return of The King. As the Overlook burns, the characters see a huge black shadow emerge from the hotel’s window and loom over them before being ripped to shreds by the winter wind. In Return Of The King, as Mt Doom erupts and Morder is destroyed, Eowyn and Boromir see a dark cloud appear in the sky, seem to reach out for them, and then break up and disappear as the light of a new morning shines through.

  107. Yes — this Crazies remake was good. Never saw the original; I’m simply not interested in watching anything on 1970’s-quality film stock, unless it’s A Clockwork Orange or Apocalypse Now.

    The Signal, however, was amazing.

  108. “I’m simply not interested in watching anything on 1970’s-quality film stock”

    Wow. Just… wow.

  109. You can only hope that that comment comes from someone who is still quite young, who will look back on it someday and kick himself for being so short-sighted.

    Like a kid in the early 90s who thought any music worth listening to couldn’t possibly be on that old disgusting vinyl crap.

    We all learn a lot with the passage of time.

  110. I think many people these days are more concerned with how things look rather than the actual content. HD and all that. 70s’ film still had good color. It was the 80s’ when Kodak changed their film stock, that movies started to look rather bad.

  111. Statements “I’m simply not interested in watching anything on 1970’s-quality film stock” are on par with:

    1. “Subtitles? Ew.”
    2. “Black and white movies are for grandpas.”
    3. “Movies starring women are not economically viable and thus not good.”
    4. “Pre-CGI effects ruin a movie for me. You can totally tell they’re fake.”
    5. “I only watch movies starring people in my demographic.”
    6. “DIE HARD is way too slow. They needed to cut faster.”
    7. “The DAWN OF THE DEAD remake was way better. Slow zombies? Yeah right.”

    Congratulations, Clint. You are exactly the moviegoer the studios want you to be: unadventurous, overly concerned with technical flash, actively dismissive of the medium’s history, and alarmingly proud of your own pig-headedness. You’re probably not a stupid person, but you are willfully ignorant, which is even worse. If you were stupid you’d at least have an excuse for missing out on some of the best movies ever made over something as inconsequential as a little grain.

  112. I loves me some grain

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