So once again we have survived.

The Adventures of Tintin

tn_tintinWord of warning: THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is really only about 1 (one) specific adventure that this guy Tintin has, it’s not about all of his adventures. I don’t know if that was a typo or a mistranslation or what but it’s fucking bullshit.

Tintin (Jamie Bell from UNDERTOW) is a boy reporter from Belgium. I think. But I don’t remember them specifying where it was or having Belgian accents, and I didn’t notice any cameos by famous Belgians like Jean-Claude Van Damme and other famous Belgians. But I’ve read it’s based on a Belgian comic strip.
You know, I should say “boyish reporter,” because it’s not clear how old he is either, and he sort of lives the lifestyle of an adult. He seems to live by himself and be able to travel the world without a parent’s permission. And is a dog owner.

I guess I don’t have much concrete information for you about who this Tintin is, but I can definitely tell you that he is a reporter. We know this not because we’ve ever seen him write a damn word in his life but because there are a bunch of framed newspaper articles on his wall. No, they’re not by him, but they’re about him and the headlines refer to him as a “reporter.” So it’s been verified.

mp_tintinThe one adventure of Tintin begins one day when Tintin is just unwinding the way he probly always does on his day off: having his caricature drawn and then randomly deciding to buy a model boat from a dude on the street. Luckily for journalism and adventure it just so happens that the boat has a clue to a hidden treasure hidden inside it and that a couple other people are hot on its trail and get there right after Tintin does and also he stubbornly refuses to take a whole bunch of money for the boat even though a minute ago he only wanted it on a passing whim.

Before long, bad guys are coming after him and he’s tracing the origins of the boat, trying to find out what’s going on and then chasing the treasure that turns out to be what’s going on. He befriends an alcoholic captain guy (Andy Serkis in a rare human role) whose past turns out to be intertwined with the bad guy’s due to reincarnation and curses and that sort of bullshit. There are boats, planes, camels, clues, etc.

I was excited for this one ’cause it’s directed by Steven Spielberg, who in my opinion is almost like the Steven Spielberg of Hollywood. He’s to movies what Steven Spielberg is to movies. This is the first time so far that ol’ Spielberg’s said “fuck all this bullshit with using cameras” and made a sort of animated style movie using the motion capture style of computer acti-mation like Robert Zemeckis used for his Christmas or Vikings trilogy. When I first heard about this I thought it was weird they didn’t just do it in live action, and I read that they did tests and decided that Tintin’s dog Snowy had to be animated and therefore they couldn’t do it in live action. I wondered if Spielberg knew that some of the dinosaurs in his JURASSIC PARK movies were animated but Jeff Goldblum was still able to stand next to them in live action. Seems like you could do that with a dog, but maybe the technology isn’t there yet.

Anyway now that I’ve seen it I get why this was a good choice, this way he was able to do it so it looks live-actiony but with lots of slapstick craziness that would’ve seemed corny and Leslie-Nielsenish with real people doing it. Also it has a very painterly look to all the colors and lighting and everything that makes it look all pretty, and you gotta do that shit pixel by pixel.

I know some people still got a problem with these unnatural human-cartoon hybrid people, like I did when I saw FINAL FANTASY, but I guess I’ve adjusted to them. It’s just like how if you haven’t been exposed to alot of people from other cultures you might be intimidated by them but after you start getting out of the house more it’s nothing. Ever since A CHRISTMAS CAROL and AVATAR I think they’ve improved the eyes enough that the animation isn’t creepy to me. I didn’t have a problem with these particular abominations against God. In fact it’s impressive how well they captured the round, naive-looking face of that simple drawing. And now they can make them forever without having to worry about covering up Jamie Bell’s wrinkles as he gets old.

Like in A CHRISTMAS CAROL they made the characters have a certain amount of “realism” to their textures and everything but also have exaggerated cartoon features like bulbous noses and round bodies. They don’t follow the “make it look like the voice actor” rule that I requested after FINAL FANTASY and received with POLAR EXPRESS, but it works. Forget wrinkles, they can also keep making them if Jamie Bell goes to jail or quits acting to become a monk. Anyway I couldn’t recognize the voices, so it didn’t distract me. For example I wouldn’t have known the bad guy  was Daniel Craig (MUNICH) if I didn’t see his name on the credits. It seemed to me like his character was designed as a combination of Spielberg and Peter Jackson (who produced the movie and is supposed to direct the sequel if they make one. I think it will – it probly did well overseas, although it’s been crushed by ALVIN IN THE CHIPMUNKS IN: CHIPWRECKED in the United States. Great, American parents. You embarrassed us in front of the world.)

It’s funny – I’ve seen quotes where Zemeckis talks about making those movies just because somebody had to break the ground on those tools and figure out how to use them. In this interview with Harry he said “I really want to make sure that we get this out there so that younger filmmakers have these absolutely breathtaking tools that they can use.”

I like that he did that, but I don’t think I ever really believed it would be influential. Now here’s no less than Steven Spielberg following in his footsteps, and not just in technology but I think in style. The undisputable highlight of TINTIN is an elaborate chase sequence that’s rendered as a single shot. It uses Spielberg’s unbeatable knack for action, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t at least partly inspired by the show-offy tracking shots Zemeckis always puts in his mot-capt films, like the one in POLAR EXPRESS where the non-existent camera follows a train ticket that falls out a window, rides a gust of wind, is carried by birds and wolves and different things and falls down the mountain before landing back in the train.

I wouldn’t say the 3D is as good as in the Zemeckis movies, but it’s used well. It adds a kind of diorama quality to it, makes it more submersive, like you’re riding through the story in a little boat or buggy. It does have a couple of parts with things reaching out of the screen too. I appreciate that. I don’t think this 3D will convert people like HUGO did, but if you enjoyed its use in that you’ll probly like it here too. It’s not like the Pixars or HAPPY FEET TWO where it looked kinda cool at the beginning and then after a while I forgot and when I remembered I couldn’t really tell if it was 3D or not. No, this is the preferred way to see the movie. But it’ll hold up on blu-ray too I’m sure.

As a non-professional I’m allowed to admit that I feel like I gotta see this one again, ’cause after looking forward to it for months I went to see it exhausted from work and was having trouble staying awake. So I might not be trustworthy when I say that the story isn’t as involving as I expected. By all accounts it’s a frenzied, non-stop movie… except mine, ’cause to me it seemed kinda slow and uneventful at times.

It’s possible I was put off by the minimalism of the character. I didn’t completely understand why this dude cared so much about following all these clues, he didn’t seem to really have a stake in it. I think it’s just one of those things you gotta go with, though. And I like that, it makes the movie different, but I don’t know, maybe it kept me from fully investing in what happened? It’s hard to say. I was asleep.

Anyway it doesn’t matter. He likes going on adventures, it’s his thing, that’s all. He’s compelled to do it, there doesn’t gotta be a fuckin mission statement about it. It’s just like Indiana Jones likes going after treasure. He’s not in it for the money. He gets off on it. Dr. Jones wants the glory of discovery and Tintin wants the framed article on his wall. The one he couldn’t write himself ’cause it would be a conflict of interest.

Everybody’s been comparing this to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. It’s a nice thought, but I think a little superficial. Yeah, it’s some time in the past and involves international travel (including in deserts) to find treasure. And in a couple parts the John Williams music sounds Indiana Jonesy. But I mean, the tone is so different. Indiana Jones is a tough-talking, cynical, asshole type of guy. Tintin is the opposite of all of that. Indiana Jones has a new girl in almost every movie, he has a girl in his class writing “I love you” on her eyelids for him, while Tintin lives in a world where there barely are any females. This is the rare movie where the hero doesn’t fall in love or already have a girlfriend. I liked that.

Also the stakes are lower. Indiana Jones was fighting against Nazis who were trying to use the power of God in their quest for world domination. Tintin is just trying to get some coins and rubies and shit before an asshole guy gets them. The raiders have their faces literally melted off because they try to see something God doesn’t want them to. This guy gets thrown off a boat because he tried to smoosh them with construction equipment.

You guys are in luck though. Spielberg actually did make a movie just a couple summers ago that had alot in common with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, it was called KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Look that one up, guys, I think you’ll all dig it alot.

What I like though is the unfashionable simplicity of it all. I like that they don’t pander to me by explaining who this Tintin guy is. He’s a likable cypher. You’d think they’d feel the need to shoehorn in some backstory about where he came from and his parents died in a journalism accident and the Daniel Craig guy was secretly responsible and that’s why this is so very very important to Tintin’s sweet little heart. Thank you Spielberg for knowing that it’s allowed for one out of every 250 movies to not have that stuff.

Spielberg recently said that he now sees it was a mistake to take the guns out of E.T. and all that. That’s why he could make this movie. Tintin has a gun, he gets into gun fights. It’s supposed to be funny and charming that the captain can’t stop drinking, and there’s a surprising number of liquor bottles broken over people’s heads, which has more weight in this than in a more stylized cartoon. I’m not saying any of this is “edgy,” it’s just kinda refreshing to see it done un-self-consciously like in the old days. (Glad they didn’t throw in any retro racial stereotypes though. That would be less refreshing.)

That’s the other thing, Tintin is defiantly square. In situations where you or I would say “Holy shit!” or “Motherfucker!” Tintin would say “Great snakes!” And he’d make it work. He doesn’t have to have some kind of “edge” or anything modern about him. I mean, as a point of comparison, look at these smug fuckin CGI characters:

smarmycgi

I mean, there is obviously something to be said for a young man or animal having self confidence and all that but jesus, these fuckos look a little too proud of themselves, don’t they? Especially considering their cinematic output. If anything they oughta all look apologetic on their movie posters.

Now look at Tintin:

still_tintin

still_tintin2
still_tintin3
See? He’s a nice young man. I can’t even picture him standing arrogantly with his arms crossed, smirking like one of those fuckin jerks. He doesn’t have to be some sunglasses-wearing little shitstain or a modern cynical wiseass or somebody who you can picture ever even talking to any of those fuckin guys. He’s famous without having a drop of rock star in him. He’s kind of a dork and it’s not to be funny or ironic. He’s 100% sincere. It’s just what he is. I like that.

I like these characters, and this world. I’ll have to take another look at the actual adventure.

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 Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 4:13 am and is filed under Action, Cartoons and Shit, Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. 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.

183 Responses to “The Adventures of Tintin”

  1. it’s fate that I should be the first to comment on this review

  2. great review Vern, well worth the slight wait

    is it that the third Alvin grossed more than this here in the states? that sucks

  3. I love Tintin and I’m very happy with what Spielberg and Jackson did here. These characters are VERY tricky to pull off in 3D (and likely impossible in live-action), but the movie pretty much nails every one of them. I thought it was so charming when Herge was drawing Tintin’s portrait at the start of the movie, and when Tintin looked at it, he simultaneously revealed his face to the audience for the first time and asked Snowy/us if we thought it was an accurate likeness. And it is. Right from the start, this felt like the real Tintin. They really captured the spirit of the character, which is this weird combination of earnest innocence and action badass. However, like Vern, I was a bit disappointed in the storytelling. Some people have suggested it’s too long, but really I feel like the movie is all a bit rushed. This isn’t just a problem with Tintin, but a lot of big-budget Hollywood extravaganzas. This tiresome formula of exposition/set-piece/exposition/set-piece. Look at something like Temple of Doom; when Indy and pals first arrive at the temple (of doom), there are those two long sequences (the dinner scene and the seduction scene) which probably constitute 20 minutes of screen-time. But the scenes are allowed to breathe and evolve naturally, setting up plot and characters in an organic, dramatized way. Where are these sorts of scenes in movies nowadays? They’re not action set-pieces, but they’re not boring either. Somehow it’s been decided that any dialogue-driven scene is inherently boring and must be reduced in screen-time until it’s as brief as possible – which is a self-fulfilling prophecy, ultimately, because once you remove everything from a scene that makes it entertaining (humor, pacing, color, details), all you’re left with is the exposition, and exposition IS boring. Tintin isn’t the worst example of this by any means, but there were a few places in the movie – stranded in the boat, then the desert, and later waking up in the village – where I would have really liked the movie to slow down and take its time. I mean I honestly just wanted to hang out with Tintin and Haddock and savor the moment. Maybe go shopping in the bazaar, that sort of thing. Sometimes I wonder if these long-time filmmakers remember why we all watch movies in the first place, which a lot of the time is just to chill with some people we like in an environment/situation we otherwise wouldn’t get to be in together. 

    Good movie though thanks vern thanks peter thanks steve.

  4. great review

    I caught this a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it a lot. My favorite bit of the movie was Captain Hadoch. It´s nice that Captain Sparrow made alcoholic characters seem funny again, I guess.

    – Jared

    You hit the nail on the head. The horrible exposition/action structure that a lot of movies uses this day, is what made me dislike Indiana Jones and the Chrystal Skull with a vengeance. Compared to the elder Indiana Jones, it totally forgot that finding information or solving mysteries actually can be exciting and told in ways that doesn`t include characters standing around yapping. Nowadays, it makes a mediocre movie like X-men First Class seem better than it is, basically because they have good scenes about characters and their relationships WITH exposition, instead of scenes with characters giving exposition in order to make the audience follow the plot.
    In conclusion.. erh.. something about the death of classic screenwriting and how the older days were a lot better… I guess what hollywood need is actual writers, not just screenwriters.

  5. Griff’s gonna yell at me again, but I can barely bring myself to look at the stills of these soulless monsters, let alone watch a whole movie about them. I guess I’m just racist against abominations against God.

    I’m blaming it on my upbringing. The only people I was ever exposed to had skin.

  6. I didn’t like this movie very much. It almost put me to sleep, too. But I love your comparison with “The Smurfs” et al, at the end. “Tintin” isn’t great, but it’s 10,000 times better than those shitstains.

  7. Okay, I did love a few things about “Tintin”:

    (1) That Spielberg had the guts to let the protagonist of his PG-rated children’s movie use a gun and have gunfights. One guy’s even killed by machine gun fire.
    (2) The seven-minute chase scene in [generic Middle Eastern coastal village] is beautifully executed and is a good reminder of how action should be filmed.
    (3) Snowy’s a really good, charming character, especially in that scene where he escapes from Tintin’s locked apartment and chases his kidnappers to the docks.
    (4) That Haddock is a whisky-drunk. The part where Haddock steals the bottle of whisky Tintin’s about to use on a henchman’s head is hilarious. I loved, too, the terror on Haddock’s face as he climbed to the front of the plane.

  8. Very much liked the movie Tintin. It doesn’t duplicate the look or the feel of the books but there’s enough carry-over that it’s its own successful animal. One’s a panther, one’s a cheetah, probably big differences to experts but either will do in a pinch.

    To the community: Does Tintin count as a badass? Con: He’s a cheerful do-gooder. Pro: He’s only 14 or whatever.

  9. Vern – to be fair, the difference between Zemeckis’ Mo-Cap and TINTIN is this: I sincerely enjoyed TINTIN on its own terms (which came off as more a glorified Pixar production quite frankly than Mo-Cap) while I just didn’t care much for Zemeckis’ pictures. I didn’t care for them because of the mo-cap animation, I just didn’t care them because they’re meh movies. (Or put it another way, Pixar didn’t build up that proud brand-name from just the CGI.)

    “Spielberg actually did make a movie just a couple summers ago that had alot in common with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, it was called KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Look that one up, guys, I think you’ll all dig it alot.”

    I wonder: If KINGDOM had been made as this sort of cartoon, instead of a cartoony live-action picture, would people bitch as much about the nuking fridge or the Tarzan scene?

    As for the “storytelling,” I wonder…if we’re perhaps confusing that term too much with “plotting,” two completely different things all together, and one can argue very successfully that a good many blockbuster from the last decade lagged for having too much plot. (PIRATES OF THE GODDAMN CARIBBEAN, anybody?) Tintin in itself isn’t particularly deep or pathotic, or give anything on the hero except the world’s worst cowlick. Why does he search for treasure? Well why not? It’s Treasure. I know the Geek Chic demand sophistication and intelligence (when its not insulting their own) from their entertainment, but sometimes I fear they are oblivious to the obvious. (Which to clarify, I’m not talking about you Vern. I was just making a broad criticism about the Internet again.)

    I wouldn’t say TINTIN was the comics, as much (as Ebert argued) the impression/mood made from them, and I think I agree with that interpretation. Also the “more an UNCHARTED movie than a Tintin movie” quip made in another thread, really makes good sense quite frankly.

  10. Li – Well he gets a “badass” vote in my book for wearing those stupid damn baggy pants in public without one ounce of intentional hipster irony.

  11. If they had done their TINTIN movie around 15 years earlier and live action, I would have voted for Neil Patrick Harris in the starring role, btw.

  12. CJ – would I be out of line if I suggest Harris is fully capable of being a very good action hero? (Before people doubt it, I’ll sanction the Bruce Willis precedence in Mr. Doogie Howser’s case.)

  13. I think he’s got what it takes. He knows that you should always aim for the nerve stem and put it down for good.

  14. No, I think he would be cool to. He is charismatic and can dance, which means he won’t look all stiff and awkward during fight scenes. I wouldn’t cast him in a COMMANDO remake, but in something MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-ish. Although to be honest, I would love to see him as creepy villain.

  15. Great review Vern, agree with pretty much all you say. Fucking American Parents…
    “Glad they didn’t throw in any retro racial stereotypes though.”
    Well apart from the alcoholic Haddock being scottish, when he’s no that nationality in the comics.

  16. I liked THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. It looks nice, all of the setpieces in the second half are very creative, the dog is great, Thompson&Thompson and Haddock are funny most of the time, and Tintin… was a nice young man. Who packs heat!

    This movie is more THE ADVENTURES OF HADDOCK than THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. Tintin is just there to keep Haddock upright and moving.

  17. As a longtime fan of the Tintin books, I was happy that this movie captured the sense of “on to the next adventure!” that I got from the books. I liked that a whole bunch of stuff happens. That was one of the main reasons I kept reading as a kid. Also I thought the movie version of Thompson & Thompson was funnier than the books, hearing their voices made a difference for me. And Jamie Bell’s Tintin was great for me in that he communicated Tintin’s resilience and determination, which to me is the significance of his character being a “boy reporter”. It did remind me of Indiana Jones, but not so much the story stuff as just the way some of the shots were framed, like bad guys grimacing and good guys straining to reach for things. I hope they make a bunch more. And that the next one makes more money than ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS MEET JUSTIN BEIBER or whatever.

  18. I went into this fresh with no pre-conceived notions of the character or knowing what to expect and yeah, I really like it to.

    Some things I enjoyed your review didn’t mention

    1.The Thompsons- Great Three Stooges-esque comedy going on with these two and voiced amazingly by Pegg and Frost. The Wallet Thief’s apartment bit was especially funny.

    2.The two pirate ships battling it out was better than any pirate-related action in any of the Pirates of the Carribean movies easy. The way they became entangled and then having the wave elevate one above the other causing pirates to literally be raining down on the others’ deck was shot perfectly.

    3.The Jaws reference when Tintin was swimming up to the downed plane in the middle of the ocean and his little hair spike was peaking outta the water.

    Between this and Hugo it’s been the strongest month for really good 3D ever. It makes me want to see what other capable directors can and will do in the future. On that note The Hobbit footage I saw before this started looked incredible in 3D.

    I did feel like it ended a little early though. It ended and I just looked over at my wife like,”wheres the end of the movie?” I guess they just were setting up a sequel,which is kinda lame cause I feel like they left it in a spot where it could have had this plot wrapped up in another 15-20 minutes and they could have had a more interesting antagonist in the next film. I mean Craig did a good job and all but his character felt under-written and when he first came into the movie I was thinking he was the henchman for the bigger baddie.

  19. Vern, thank you for pointing out how poorly Tintin’s character is established. Pictures of articles ABOUT him but no example of him doing journalism. Since you liked the movie, I guess you weren’t being ironic but it’s still a valid point.

    “The Steven Spielberg of movies.” I don’t know, I’m not sure he’s reached that level yet.

    The Christmas or Vikings trilogy! Awesome.

  20. I guess something that bothers me about mocap is the purpose. I get how it’s an exciting tool for actors and filmmakers. Tom Hanks can play a little boy, wow, he’d love that. But what’s in it for the audience? We get to see talent playing with their toys, but you know, if I need to see a little boy in a movie, I’m sorry Tom, but I’ll just cast a real little boy.

    Avatar had an angle. It actually is special to morph actors into an alien race that wouldn’t quite look the same with blue paint (or would it? Still ave THIS AIN’T AVATAR XXX in my queue.)

    Even the apes in RISE OF don’t look like real apes like they’re supposed to. It’s just actors getting to play apes without doing makeup.

    I hate to be cynical, but I think the real reason Spielberg did this mocap was that it would only take a few days to shoot and then he could go make real movies while the animation was being finished.

  21. And that, folks, seems like the meanest most cynical thing I’ve ever posted here. I guess I should give full disclosure that motion capture murdered my brother and I had to train really hard to fight it for revenge.

  22. “You guys are in luck though. Spielberg actually did make a movie just a couple summers ago that had alot in common with RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, it was called KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. Look that one up, guys, I think you’ll all dig it alot.”

    I see what you did there.

  23. And all the talk about NPH as an action hero makes me think of his fight scene in Undercover Brother, which is a good thing. Also, didn’t he use some weapons in Starship Troopers, even though he was “just” a scientist?

  24. Fred Topel – Its true that Spielberg shot that movie in less than a month, might be his shortest movie shoot since DUEL.

  25. Sorry to nerd up this comments section about a comic book movie, but I think NPH would suit certain types of superhero roles. He’s did voicework for a few and I think one his personality suited pretty well was when he played The Flash:
    http://youtu.be/sPvkpflsqkw
    If they ever do a live action version, I wouldn’t mind him getting the role.

  26. So revisiting Spielberg I watched HOOK which I never understood why it was so hated, including by Spielberg himself. And I still liked it to this day. I love the sets, the imagination and the messy, goopy, immature action. The lost boys were even irresistably adorable, although Rufio looks a lot younger than I remembered (he was older than me the first time I saw it.)

    I looked up some 1991 reviews and the consistent complaints were it was formula retelling of Peter Pan, no new reinvention. Well, yeah, it did go through all the Peter Pan parts, but that didn’t strike me as lacking something else. The HOOK of the movie was let’s see Robin Williams play Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman play Captain Hook, and they’re grown-ups now. I liked how they showed his transition back to childhood and how important his children still were (very Spielberg.)

    So yeah, I’m sure someone could come up with a great postmodern Peter Pan revision but that wasn’t HOOK. I liked HOOK. I unfortunately didn’t like the faithful 2003 PETER PAN.

    I guess I like all of Spielberg’s unpopular movies the best. Except RAIDERS, that did pretty well with other people too and that’s his best. And not 1941, that still sucks.

  27. Fred, I’m a lesser-Spielberg lover, too. (I would include Empire of the Sun in that list.) I think the problem with Hook was the hype leading up to its release along with the hate-on people seem to have for Robin Williams, who I admit can make an extremely shitty film that much shittier (see: Father’s Day, and note the same for Billy Crystal). But I think the reverse can happen as well, that Williams can add something to a movie with the right script and right direction. I guess most people just don’t agree that Hook falls into the latter category.

    And Julia Roberts was horribly miscast as Tink. I had no problem with a talking Tinkerbell, just not one with a Mastercuts chop job that resembled a bad chest hair toupe.

  28. My problem with HOOK, at least when I saw it, was that the movie had a great idea, “high concept” as the Suits love to say. I just honestly don’t think it did anything interesting with it. Or maybe they tried, but the casting of the leads was just so incredibly off.

    Though to be fair, I don’t blame Williams because apparently he came in on short notice after Kevin Kline had to quit. (Now Kline casting, that makes perfect sense if you think about it.)

    But really, Dustin Hoffman and his British accent was just….I can’t say bad, just weird. Not remarkably good weird, just weird. Julia did suck, that I agree with.

    Now just imagine if Spielberg’s original idea had happened, and his Peter Pan movie was a Michael Jackson musical.

  29. Peter Pan Michael Jackson movie? Holy shit, is all I can say. The possibilities, as they say…

    I did not know Kline was set to star. Now I gotta go to Wikipedia. I think Kline might have made a better Hook, though. Sexier, too.

  30. Well, sure, a Michael Jackson musical would be way better than HOOK but that doesn’t exist. Doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the HOOK we got. And yes, Kevin Kline would have killed, but these things happen (also read that Dougray Scott was supposed to be Wolverine but MI:2 ran over. That must hurt a lot more than an established star missing out on one movie.)

    Also definitely no Julia Roberts fan but she did Tinkerbell okay. I’d love to hear the real BTS stories from the height of her difficult days (“Tinkerhell” is the only info that seems to have leaked.) But as stunt casting I definitely like it.

    I guess I see a fantasy movie made the way I like it, on real sets, and frankly the visual effects work was quite good. The Tinkerbell scenes all look real blending perspective and compositing, though some of the Pan flying doesn’t.

    Maybe it is that Williams has made SUCH shit (LICENSE TO WED, RV, DEATH TO SMOOCHY, MAN OF THE YEAR) that HOOK seems like a highlight. Ironic that he’s best in dramas: GOOD WILL HUNTING, AWAKENINGS, ONE HOUR PHOTO, INSOMNIA, DEAD POETS, GOOD MORNING VIETNAM, I’d even call MRS. DOUBTFIRE a divorce drama with some funny cross dressing vignettes.

    EMPIRE OF THE SUN is on my cable’s VOD so that’s a contender in this rotation. I didn’t like that but of course I was way young. Probably has something to it but I also thought that was critically acclaimed. I remember disliking AMISTAD too and I was old enough to see a grown up historical drama by then. I need to find a good letterboxed CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. The AMAZON VOD one is a full frame pan and scan! How does that still exist? So I’ll order the blu ray which means wait for mail, vacation may be over by then. If only there were a store that sold disc versions of movies that I could walk into and pick out the product I wanted immediately…

    I just went off topic like four times in one post.

  31. Fred – I won’t begrudge you for liking HOOK. Hell I liked another Spielberg “bomb” that’s not championed so much in SUGARLAND EXPRESS. Part 70s car chase movie, part ACE IN THE HOLE rip-off, part BONNIE & CLYDE, William Atherton in an awesome non-asshole part.

    I’ll give HOOK this: I loved that stupid obvious joke at the pirates baseball game where that one guy gets shot for trying to steal 2nd base. It’s so dumb, but hey I laughed. Report what happened. (Come to think of it, why wasn’t Bob Hoskins Captain Hook himself? Jesus I saw THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. I know he could’ve pulled* it off.)

    EMPIRE OF THE SUN is a fucking winner in my book. I thought AMISTAD was actually pretty good too. (Though the very Texan Matthew McConaughey’s Yankee accent was a joke). You know how musicians have “deep cuts”? Both qualify was such for the Beard.

    And yes, blu-ray widescreen for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS? Absolutely.

    *=I remember that rumor that Nolan did his damn best allegedly to recruit him for Penguin in TDK, before he said no (and PS Hoffman passed too) and Nolan dumped Penguin all together. Allegedly of course.

  32. But SUGARLAND is regarded well as a first theatrical feature.

    Anyway, tonight’s viewing is to finally watch SUPER FLY before it expires from Netflix!

  33. I’m actually right now going through and watching all of the Spielberg movies I haven’t seen before (you’ll be surprised how many I hadn’t seen) so expect reviews of pretty much everything you guys have mentioned here. Also I will be disagreeing with some of what has already been said. I’m with Fred on The Lost World, at least.

  34. I can’t wait, and it makes me inordinately happy that Vern said that. That and Nicolas Cage endorsing my Cameron Poe Halloween costume are highlights.

    Wonder how THE COLOR PURPLE stacks up.

  35. Fred – you watched the Hook blu ray didn’t ya? I got that for Christmas, but I haven’t watched it yet

    I think I’ve only seen parts of it and very long ago, here’s hoping I like it, I’m sure they’ll be plenty of eye candy at least

    I probably will like it, I like kids movies from that general era (well, most of them anyway)

    I’m very interested to read Vern’s thoughts on The Color Purple as well, that was a Spielberg movie that I saw for the first time on blu ray, I loved it, it’s a beautiful looking movie (God, 80’s cinematography, why are you so much more beautiful than modern cinematography?) and very touching and much to my surprise, I actually really liked Oprah in it

  36. Actually I watche HOOK on Netflix instant and it was a great widescreen HD version, only pixelated during peak bandwidth times.

    Ooh, now the thought of Vern reviewing 1941 makes me happier than anything!

  37. About a year ago I ripped on a Hook in front of a few friends of mine. They looked at me like I had just torn off the head of a small bunny. I think a lot of people who saw Hook in the theater are still really attached to that film, for whatever reason. I’m not a huge fan, but there are some nice moments in Hook, even if it is kind of hokey. When Robin Williams says, “Thank you for belieeeeeeving!” at the end, then the movie completely loses me.

  38. Am I a bad person, because 1941 is my favourite Spielberg movie? I know, he made better movies, but this is the one that I enjoy the most. (It’s kinda like with the ALIEN series. The first two are undeniable the better movies and I really love them, but my favourite is still RESURRECTION.)

  39. GrimGrinningChris

    December 30th, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Fred Topel
    Kevin Kline as Peter Pan in Hook? Mike Medavoy’s book (which covers a lot of the movie’s development) doesn’t mention that at all… and in fact states that Williams casting was the only reason Hoffman came on board (at the time he was still pissed at Spielberg for dropping off of Rainman at the last minute). Where’d you read that?

    And you DIDN’T like the 2003 Peter Pan? Man, that disappoints me. So much that this is my first post on Vern’s site in (probably) months.

  40. Chris – the story I always heard was Kline was set, but then some other movie he was working on went overschedule and he had to pull out. (IMDB has that factoid up, which doesn’t mean anything really.) But I’ll take Medavoy’s account over what I “heard” since he actually did some reporting on that broad topic.

    CJ – You’re going to hell for your Thought Crime. (What exactly is German Hell? Forced to live on a Mormon lifestyle diet?)

    Nah kidding. Funny I remember watching that DVD extra on 1941 where Bob Gale claimed the movie is popular in Europe, and I rolled my eyes. OK Bob, if it makes you feel any better…

    But then sometime later I trashed 1941 to the very Portugese AsimovLives, and he ripped me a new one. He defended it as a good comedy that he and his friends apparently laughed their asses off too. I’m sure if JJ Abrams makes a comedy, he won’t enjoy it though.

    (Though to be fair, he did make a decent valid point that 1941 was I guess sorta relevant after 9/11 when you had the temporary over-patriotic seal that Spielberg was mocking in 1941 right after Pearl Harbor.)

    Personally, I still think 1941 as one of those comedies where a million jokes are fired and only a dozen land. Oh god it tries, but fails. That said, there was ONE AWESOME THING about 1941, and that was the Robert Stack character.

    Hilarious when he’s immensely enjoying himself to DUMBO, nodding along to the songs and crying. That was good. My God, if only the rest of the movie was even just half that funny, then 1941 wouldn’t be Spielberg’s great turkey. Or Spielberg wanting to remake ANIMAL HOUSE but with a greater budget and diminished returns.

    (John Williams did produce a very good soundtrack for it, howerver.)

    I believe 1941 suffers what people would now call the “COWBOYS & ALIENS “Problem.”

  41. Fred Topel – Is it? I remember the story being it bombed, critics weren’t exactly embracing, but to be fair it didn’t keep the Beard from landing the JAWS gig.

    Still a pretty solid movie.

    Vern – I wanted to make a joke about you watching ALWAYS, but I can’t. I’m not that witty.

  42. I liked HOOK when I saw it 20 years ago, but I don’t know what I’d think of it now. In that era it was rare to see big special effects movies that weren’t just explosions and vehicle crashes, so the pirate stuff was a nice novelty. Besides, I’ve always been a sucker for “big build” movies, where they make a whole town or a working schooner or whatever. Sometimes that leads to me confusing the making of the movie with the movie itself, so my perception of the end result is skewed by my respect for what went into getting there. I’m sure HOOK is second-class as a whole but there was enough cool shit in there that I liked it.

    I love 1941, though. I think it’s got some of the best model work ever done. The movie is way too much of a good thing, becoming wearying eventually, but every scene has something amazing in it, not least of which is Nancy Allen being all slutty, which we all know was one of the greatest things the late seventies had to offer.

  43. I remember enjoying Hook a lot in my younger days, but when I watched it in my early teens, some of the sheen had been knocked off that film. I still liked some of the pirate stuff, and, if I remember correctly, Williams’s score was pretty great. But there are also some awfully saccharine moments (even for Spielberg), and several of the lost boys bugged the hell out of me. Also, the scene where the overweight lost boy curls up into a ball and knocks over several pirates struck me as awful even when I first saw the movie as a kid. I mean, that was only one or two steps away from the monkeys in Crystal Skull.

  44. RBatty024- I know exactly what you mean, but it’s not a phenomenon unique to HOOK is it? There are a ton of average or even slightly below average movies from, hmm, I’d say 1985 to 1994 or so that seem to a lot of us like bland studio-fodder that had a touch of imagination, but are sacrosanct to great swathes of people who saw them within a couple of years of their release. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to mention some of the movies I think fit into this category…

    (Mentions THE GOONIES under his breath and runs away)

  45. Pacman – You can’t really escape nostalgia, and I’m as guilty as anyone. I still love Goonies, but I can’t tell whether it’s my fond memories of the film when I was a kid, or if it is a legitimately good movie. The flaws in Hook seem to outweigh any sort of nostalgia I have for that movie (and, again, I really liked it when I was a little pipsqueak). I sometimes find myself saying things like, the stuff I watched when I was a kid is so much better than what kids have these days. But then I stop and think, is this really true? Sure, I don’t get the appeal of Spongebob Squarepants, but maybe I would have enjoyed it when I was seven or eight. At the same time, were GI Joe and Transformers all that great? (The answer is no).

  46. RRA: I don’t know exactly HOW popular 1941 is in Europe, but it really seem to have a lot of fans over here. And even the critics seemed to be much kinder to it. (Probably because we don’t have that patriotic baggage, that might make us feel uncomfortable when we watch it.) I do agree that there is lots of stuff that doesn’t work in that movie, but I for myself just enjoy it for the sheer insanity of it. Every time you think that the movie can’t get any more absurd, they somehow top the last setpiece. I just always bothers me to see Christopher Lee appear again in the very last shot, without getting an explanation why.

    Also German hell is listening to this all day:
    http://youtu.be/6pQ5Xqv6bQk

  47. Grim Grinning Chris

    December 30th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    RRA,
    I think you’re confusing Mike Medavoy and Mike Medved. Medved may have done some writing or reporting on HOOK, but Medavoy was actually the chairman of TriStar at the time HOOK was being developed and produced.
    So yeah, I will definitely take his word over IMDB’s (or Medved’s for that matter, heh)… Though there is, of course, the possibility that he just failed to mention Kline ever being in the running for the lead in his book. But if it is true that Hoffman only came on board AFTER Williams signed on (which does seem likely) then it would make Kline being a frontrunner close to production-time pretty suspect (though I can certainly see him in the role and being talked about early on). Even with Speilberg’s involvement, without the star power of Williams and Hoffman, I don’t think they would have had a movie to make- not a family movie with a budget that huge, at least. They needed the “legitamacy” of Hoffman and Williams to sell it to adults.
    If I remember right, Medavoy actually only got Speilberg to direct by presenting it to him as a package with Williams and Hoffman attached (and got both of THEM on board by claiming that the other two were already on board- he was pretty open about the subterfuge he used in terms of who he approached when and who he CLAIMED was attached at the time he apporoached them). I need to read that book again. Though I am sure it is full of bullshit, he really is very candid… to the point of calling the book “You’re Only As Good As Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films and 100 For Which I Should Be Shot”… it really is a fascinating read, regardless. (It also paints a far different picture of the Guber/Peters takeover of Sony than “Hit And Run”. )

    Regardless, HOOK is still a mess. A mess with some fantastic qualities. And a lesser Speilberg effort, for sure IMO.
    Peter Pan 2003 is superior in every single way- even the production design, which was one of Hook’s biggest strengths.

  48. Vern – As a teaser for your LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK review (fuck you Mr. Doyle!), what you thought of that infamous gymnastics triumphing over evolution? I’m insatiably curious.

    Mr. Majestyk – You’re right about the model work, and Spielberg directed 2nd unit too.

    RBatty024 – Nostalgia is fine, but the excuse alone for liking something is silly. I’m reminded of people who prefer Tim Burtons’ BATMAN over THE DARK KNIGHT because they mindlessly loved it as kids and hate that their love has been demoted in pop/nerd culture (See: Nostalgia Critic.)

    I liked GOONIES as a kid for at face value, the same basic reason why I still like it as an adult. That being, flaws and squeaky wheels included, a sincerely successful Hardy Boys/Tintin/Little Rascals/Tarzan inspired adventure. Also I liked that the kids cursed. Not because they had potty mouths, but because kids I can to a degree relate to that detail than I can British school kids in something like fucking HARRY POTTER and those class issues that country never got over.

    That said, I prefer MONSTER SQUAD. “I’m in the goddamn club, aren’t I?”

    CJ Holden – Understandable. I believe the runaway ferris wheel was tits. But that video you linked? JESUS CHRIST! That was so bad, I’m sorry but you all sorta deserved Merkel just for that audio war crime.

    Grim Grinning Chris – Thanks for the clarification. I easily get names confused. You know what other pre-production Spielberg background I would love to be explored/debunked/confirmed? CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Was Spielberg really forced to direct it after the project nearly collapsed when Leo was delayed on another picture, Verbinski quit? It would ironic if that was correct, since CATCH is arguably his best movie of the decade. (Immensely rewatchable, and Spielberg gets to finally play in his 60s sandbox.)

    I believe in retrospect one thing about HOOK that didn’t work was the whole protagonist-has-amnesia problem. I get why it was used, but….was it necessary? Imagine if Peter Pan really did conciously decide to grow up, move away and all that shit and stuck at his shitty white collar/office job, daydreaming waxly in nostalgia about his youth when he was the local badass and could fly and eternal youth, all that. Instead of worrying about his mortgage or the kids breaking your damn windows again.

    Then when he does have to go back to Neverland, he’s forced to accept that yeah good times long ago, but he was also lonely (living with other kids for eternity can get old quickly) and life there was tramautic with the battles for life and death. And that growing up has its own perks that childhood can’t replicate. You know, the usual midlife crisis resolution shit.

  49. If you would like to know what the original Tintin (by Hergé) is about check http://www.titntin.com and choose preferably the french version. If you don’t read french than choose the English version and explore the site in all aspects but for the new movie (just because it’s Spielberg’s Tintin and not Hergé’s) and the store. If you have an inquisitive mind and like historical search you’ll be thrilled as you will see the whole XXth Century through Tintin albums. There is more to Tintin that meets the eye.

  50. Grim Grinning Chris

    December 30th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    RRA,
    Yeah, I would love to know what the real story behind Catch Me If You Can was… and although I love a lot of Speilberg’s oughties movies, it surely is in the running for his best, if not the clear winner.
    I think Verbinski could have done fine work with that script and cast too though. I think Verbinski has shown, if nothing else, a remarkable range in the kind of material he can successfully pull off.

    I think you may have something with your feelings on Hook too- that would have been FAR more interesting than what we got.

  51. Fred:

    Don’t you dare speak ill of Death to Smoochy! That movie was brilliantly deranged. One of DeVito’s best, in my opinion. And I love me some DeVito directing gigs.

  52. Chris – Wait scratch my pick, I forgot the beard made A.I. in the previous decade. That’s clearly the superior movie of the decade of his. THE TERMINAL? Not so much.

    Tawdry – yeah I liked SMOOCHY too. “It’s….It’s a ROCKET SHIP!!!”

  53. CJ, you are not a bad person at all. You are a fucking hero who appreciates the maligned underdogs. I really wanted to have that experience with 1941. Imagine discovering a brand new ’70s Spielberg movie that’s actually totally awesome? But alas, I actually did find it repulsive. Happy to watch again after Vern’s review though. BTW where were you when I was defending ALIEN RESURRECTION?

    Chris, yes, it was a sad day when I first posted my reaction to 2003 PETER PAN. It was buried in a thread about something else. Spielberg directing RAIN MAN? Fuck, there’s a whole alternate universe of awesome Spielberg movies that could’ve happened.

    RRA, yes indeed that would have been a better character motivation. Not the movie we got, but could’ve been. I still like THE GOONIES legitimately. Good points you made.

    Majestyk, I trust you’re a fan of the CARRIE shower scene? I’m only bummed we never got to see Edie McClure’s tits in that movie.

    I read the Medavoy book too, though remember nothing about the HOOK stories. Oh well.

    Ton of movies I’d like the real story on. The 1998 THE AVENGERS, John Woo’s MI:2, the original cut of JONAH HEX. Somehow those tales don’t get told as well as the pre-90s debacles.

  54. “Fuck, there’s a whole alternate universe of awesome Spielberg movies that could’ve happened.”

    Fred Topel – Ah yes from Spielberg’s SUPERMAN (I could totally see that movie) to his 007 movie (FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, I believe) to the MJ Peter Pan musical to that JAWS prequel (on the USS Indianapolis) or his RETURN OF THE JEDI* to INTERSTELLAR (which I hope the dude makes eventually) and so forth.

    I think we did dodge a bullet though when he could’ve made the first HARRY POTTER movie. Why? Because if the story is to be believed, his demands included Haley Joel Osment for Mr. Potter. Not a strong fan of that franchise broadly as a whole, but I can’t picture anyone besides Mr. Radcliffe for that gig.

    *=I personally never bought that as a serious concept. Sure maybe George would’ve wanted him, but would Steven? With zero evidence, I always thought he used that whole DGA issue as a polite diplomatic exit from doing that movie. Besides even if Steven had wanted to make ROTJ and DGA tried to union dick him…this was Steven Spielberg. Nobody in that town, especially in early 80s, would have the guts to try to fuck him that directly.

  55. I’m hoping to see this and War Horse as a double feature soon. Thanks for the review, Vern!

    I’m 28 and I fucking love Hook. I have met a ton of people my age that also love that movie. I don’t know, I’ve not seen it in years but I have a lot of fond memories. Just saying “Ru-fi-O!” brings a smile to my face and I’m not alone.

    I don’t know if I’ve only met weird people in my life but so many people my age love Hook and Sandlot as though they are two of the very best movies ever made.

    I don’t get the anxiety over Spielberg. He gave us AI, Minority Report (it’s pretty good!), Catch Me If You Can, War of the Worlds, and Munich this decade.

    I think AI, Catch Me If You Can, War of the Worlds, and Munich are good enough to make up for The Terminal and Indy IV: Decent With Low Expectations.

    War of the Worlds, especially, seems unreasonably hated. There’s a ton of really traumatic scenes in that film. Tom Cruise runs through NYC as people are vaporized and he is covered in their ash! A train screams by on fire full of people! The scene where people are carjacking one another over the van is terrifying! There are just too many scenes that have stuck with me in that film that I have to defend it.

    I think Munich has the trappings of a “great” or “important” movie and that would usually annoy me but it works really well as an action and suspense movie that I can forgive it.

    I don’t reflexively love Spielberg but he’s made far more good films than bad films and he’s made enough great films that I’m at least somewhat interested in anything he wants to direct.

  56. What would it be like if we lived in a world where Brad Bird remade “The Incredibles,” but instead of using Pixar computers he used real people like, I dunno, Tom Cruise or someone like that?

    And what would it be like if we lived in a world where Stephen Spielberg remade “Indian Jones,” but used Pixar type computers and computery actors like, I dunno, Andy Serkis, instead of real people?

    And what if by random chance both movies came out at the same time, so you could compare honestly… who would make the better movie?

    These are the sort of hypothetical impossible scenarios that will never happen in real life that true movie lovers like to think about.

    (Brad Bird wins hands down.)

  57. Talking about “alternative reality movies” and Star Wars (since RRA mentioned it). I remember that back in the late 90’s, before THE PHANTOM MENACE came out and Lucas decided to direct all three prequels, that Spike Jonze (back then just that brillant music video guy, who was working on this strange sounding John Malkovich movie) was in talks to direct one. It’s a shame, I think he would have been great for ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

  58. man, I wish I lived in an alternate dimension where the Star Wars prequels weren’t shitty

  59. You know, the actual pronunciation of Tintin is Tantan. I heard someone say it that way and he sounded really pretentious.

    I even think THE TERMINAL is quite good. It actually makes an airport an interesting place.

    Hanks has had a far worse decade than Spielberg. Doing those shitty Dan Brown movies to cling to popularity, and his serious movies have been Oscar bait like EXTREMELY IMPORTANT AND INCREDIBLY PRETENTIOUS or forgotten like CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR. I actually didn’t mind LARRY CROWNE but POLAR EXPRESS, LADYKILLERS (a Coen Bros misstep too)… He’s supposed to be one of our great actors but I think PERDITION and CATCH ME were his last gems. And he produced some good war stuff for HBO.

  60. Casey – I honestly need to see MINORITY REPORT again to be perfectly fair.

    I may have problems with WAR OF THE WORLDS, but it’s undeniably got some great moments. Whether the 9/11-influenced scenes with the “missing peoples” boards or the dust that used to be people, or even that whole collapsed ferry sequence. (chilling moment: the protagonist from a distance watching the invaders exterminate in mass.)

    Griff – to be fair, I did admire the prequels for Lucas’ overarching plotting of how the Emperor takes power and pulls a Caesar/Hitler on the Space Republic. I may still criticize those movies for having (surprisingly) lackluster acting considering those damn good casts and really not caring about what happened* and whatever, but that one element absolutely brilliantly worked.

    BR Baraka – I wonder if now Brad Bird can get the muscle to get that dream movie he wanted to make at Pixar, a live-action retelling of the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco.

    CJ Holden – I do remember this big book on Spielberg’s filmography I skimemd through, I believe the late 90s (I wish I had bought it) and it claimed that apparently before JAWS, Spielberg was offered the Douglas McArthur biopic (which later of course became the Gregory Peck boring dud MCARTHUR) which he allegedly turned down because he didn’t want “to shoot on three different continents over a year.”

    Interestingly, another story I seem to remember: after he made JAWS but before it came out was when he allegedly tried to get the SUPERMAN gig. He wanted to make it, but the Salkinds wanted to wait until after JAWS came out. But of course when it did and became the biggest grosser ever, he went off on his own thing and SUPERMAN was off the table.

    (Of course that 1st act of SUPERMAN, Donner practically almost makes the SUPERMAN movie that I suspect Spielberg would’ve produced. Am I the only one who suspects that?)

    *=Come to think of it, notice how nobody brings up that Lucas has his hero MURDER A WHOLE TRIBE OF PEOPLE INDISCRIMINATELY, and then demand us to still back him as a “hero.”

  61. Fred Topel – I can’t wait for the inevitable porn parody: TitTit.

    I might give TERMINAL another chance someday. I do remember digging that 007-worthy bigass detailed airport set.

    You’re right about Hanks. Now he’s in the league of the well-liked “treasure” if you will, but his box-office clout from back in the 90s is long gone. I doubt he could draw even flies on his name alone. (I did remember liking his pet project he made about 60s pop music.)

    That said, as stupid and boring as DA VINCI CODE was…I’ll be honest, I actually enjoyed ANGELS & DEMONS. I’ll defend that.

  62. I just thought it was so sad that a sure fire hit like DA VINCI went with a major star when they could have cast someone interesting and still had the guaranteed blockbuster. And also sad that Hanks would do it when he’s supposed to be part of the 1% who can write his own ticket. I mean, using clout to play James Bond or something, sure, but just to do the latest NY Times best seller?

    So that, and then the movie turned out to be a staged reading of the book with that ridiculous hair. Now Nicolas Cage could have pulled off Robert Langdon.

    A&D was a tad better because it had 3 action sequences. I love my dad’s reaction tho when a tv ad quoted a review “better than THE DA VINCI CODE.” my dad said, “but THE DA VINCI CODE sucked.”

  63. The Davinci Code was only popular because it was about the stupid (and much older than the book) conspiracy theory that Jesus had kids with Mary (well whoop de do) and of course every Christian in the nation had to lose their shit over it thus guaranteeing it’s success (American Christians are not the smartest people….)

    it’s a classic case of controversy creating success, I actually theorize that Harry Potter probably wouldn’t have been quite as successful in the US if it weren’t for the controversy, thus ensuring that every kid would want to read it

    fuck Dan brown

    anyway I liked The Terminal for the most part, though I have not seen it since 2004, but it certainly felt very “small scale” for Spielberg if you know what I mean

    there was the problem of Catherine Zeta-Jones character, didn’t she knowingly try to sleep with married men? sorry, but I can’t like a woman that does that, that made me hate her character

  64. and yeah Tom Hanks has had it rough the last several years, it’s a pity because I really do like him, but fuck that Larry Crowne looked awful

    anyway I would say the best Spielberg movies of the 00’s were AI, Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can

    I have not seen Munich yet however

  65. which I really regret not seeing Munich when it was in theaters, it’s the only Spielberg movie from the last ten years I have not seen

    but it came out in very late 2005 or early 2006 didn’t it? that was kind of a busy time for me

  66. I really wish Hanks would return to those broad and silly comedies that he did pre-PHILADELPHIA. He’s da bomb in THE ‘BURBS!

  67. Fred – I thought A&D worked as a solid mystery/thriller, asides from those setpieces you mentioned, because it played on backstage Vatican politics. I find that shit endlessly fascinating. Even if to be honest, Foywonder back in the day made the good criticism that Tom Hanks’ character was so ultimately irrelevant, that climax with Ewan McGregor would’ve happened anyway if Hanks was never there.

    I’ll give Brown and CODE credit for making mainstream the idea that Jesus got laid. Remember that very concept got death threats for Scorsese?

    Griff – I’ll give Spielberg credit even more in retrospect that in our times with the increasingly insane, driven Republican Party where any domestic criticism of Israel* is treated as no better than a genocidal racist Nazi, that Spielberg stuck his neck out to make his criticisms of that foreign government at that epoch, heavy handed and arguably simplistic as they may. Quite frankly, he might’ve been the only filmmaker of his stature and background that could’ve gotten away from that “controversy” scot-free.

    Did anyone catch that short-lived blogosphere controversy where the current right-wing Israeli government ran TV commercials telling their citizens not to marry American Jews because they’ll lose their “Jewishness”? That’s fucked up. Worse when I actually watched two of them at Youtube.

    Holden – or BACHELOR PARTY, a typical 80s sex comedy but Hanks was great in it, one of those clear examples of a lead propelling a vehicle to be much much better than it had any right to be. (though the hot dog gag was great.)

    *=Just read this one bizarre article yesterday where a Neocon argued that Margaret Thatcher was an Anti-Semite. Why? Because she backed the land-for-peace concept back in the 80s. So that makes every American President from Carter to Obama a Nazi too because they backed that directive, right? Thatcher was a cunt of the highest degree, but this is just stupid. But stupid is hip apparently.

  68. RRA – see I have not seen Munich, so I’ve only heard that it criticizes Israel

    I find that very ironic, because Schindler’s List is a favorite movie by internet Neo Nazis to bash (because it’s about the Holocaust obviously)

  69. Yeah I also miss the Tom Hanks that had no problems making movies like BACHELOR PARTY and TURNER & HOOCH.

  70. Griff – The eternal irony of Neo Nazis denying the Holocaust ever happened, yet they embrace it too.

    Fucked up if you think about it, but for whatever reason I’m almost reminded of Santa Claus.

  71. I read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol a few weeks ago, and felt like burning the book afterwards. I can’t for the life of me understand how they can make a movie out of it without it being the biggest turkey in history of movie making. Whether or not Jesus (if you’re naive enough to believe that he’s a historic figure) liked women (there’s really more evidence that he was gay) or that the Vatican’s no Sunday school (you don’t say?) are theories that works very well in a PR campaign. But when Brown comes out next year saying that the Freemasons of the world are super intelligent Yodas that will save us all in the end because of their christian belief and secret knowledge, he and the movie will be laughed off the stage. Hanks would be smart to shy away from this one.

  72. If Spielberg really meant to criticize Israel with Munich, he should have use the failed assassination on Lillyhammer her in Norway in 1973 in the movie. Mossad’s agents shot and killed the wrong man, an innocent waiter called Ahmed Bouchikhi, instead of Ali Hassan Salameh the leader of Black September. Four of the suspected 15 agents who worked on the case were arrested and convicted to laughably short sentences (like now Israel was a “holy cow” in many countries foreign policy back then) and by 1975 they were all back in Israel, except for Sylvia Raphael who married her Norwegian defence lawyer and moved to South Africa with him. There were rumours that the Norwegian intelligence were in on the plan, but they were never proven.

  73. “What would it be like if we lived in a world where Brad Bird remade “The Incredibles,” but instead of using Pixar computers he used real people like, I dunno, Tom Cruise or someone like that?”
    I think I saw Bird say in something for the original promotion of the movie that he actually wrote the script with the intention for it to be a live action production.

  74. If you like heaping helpings of fuzzy ethics and truckloads of moral equivocation in a service of describing a real world problem that you already know well, and for which the filmmakers have no suggested solution, you are going to *love* Munich.

    Honestly, one of the worst times I have ever had in a movie theater.

  75. Munich isn’t a movie criticizing Israel or supporting Israel. I think Spielberg *wanted* to make a movie about questioning Israel’s motives and actions, but he pussied out. Instead, he juxtaposes real acts of real terrorism and real murders of real people with a fictional retaliation by fictional characters who are met with fictional moral dilemmas that they sometimes fail to overcome.

    Then, in the end, we’re asked to see how both sides are *exactly the same*…except, not once does Spielberg ever engage any of Israel’s (many) wrongdoings. Instead, we get The Hulk and James Bond sweating over fake murders.

    I used to think this movie was ostensibly Anti-Semitic in how it tries to say that real murders versus fake murders means we’re all the same. But I don’t think that anymore. Now I see that Spielberg was just too much of a pussy to go all the way with the movie he set out to make.

    It’s not that Spielberg invents an assassination squad out of thin air to lower the Israelis to a simplified, melodramatic simulacra that can be more easily equivocated to the Palestinian terrorists and murderers. No, it’s that he’s not man enough to look in the mirror as a Jew and a vocal supporter of Israel and actually make a movie about the *real* evil that the Israeli government has perpetrated.

    So, we end up with a schema wherein Spielberg is a-okay with exploiting the real-life murders that set off the film’s plot but then moves into a fictional space where Spielberg can make his point metaphorically without ever having to go into specifics. We get to know all about how the Muslims are evil, but only get a wink and a shadow for how the Jews are evil.

  76. LARRY CROWNE actually is more like one of Hanks’ old comedies. I actually didn’t mind it, though I recognize it’s a mess. Kind of likeable enough to be charming though, which is saying a lot for a Julia Roberts movie. THAT THING YOU DO was also more of a straightforward comedy. But I think clinging to Oscary movies or mainstream franchises hasn’t served him well. And I ended up liking THE TERMINAL when I saw it long after it had bombed. That was kind of more of a straightforward comedy, albeit heartwarming and mildly political.

    Watched EMPIRE OF THE SUN last night. Good movie. I didn’t like it when I was younger because it was serious and young Bale annoyed me, but now I appreciate the arc of a privileged kid going through some real life hell. Plus I’m MUCH more interested in the Japanese occupation of China now. So quality filmmaking, particularly some shots of rioting that were all real crowds, pre-CGI. Almost like practice for SCHINDLER’S LIST because it’s mostly in a prison camp.

  77. I miss old school Tom Hanks. The Burbs, Big, Dragnet, The Money Pit, etc. People born after 1990 probably don’t realize that Tom Hanks was mainly a comedic actor back in the day. Bosom Buddies was my dad’s favorite tv show then. Good memories of that show.

  78. Speaking of underrated Hanks and Spielberg movies, going back up to HOOK a while back, one of my favorite Robin Williams movies is TOYS. TOYS got the shit kicked out of it critically and publicly. People just fucking hated it.

    I saw it and thought this is wonderful. What a beautiful, creative film. I mean, it doesn’t have to be for everyone, but the anger towards it I never got. Kind of akin to an early Tim Burton film, abstract and obscure.

    Maybe I should save this for the eventual HOOK thread.

  79. I was born in 1988, but I fondly remember The ‘Burbs (didn’t get it, but I liked that it was creepy) and Big from my childhood.

    In fact, come to think of it, I still think of Hanks as a generally comedic actor.

  80. Toys is excellent too. Very weird. Very original. My memory of the film might be a bit off, however, because I recall it being kinda like a feature length version of the Toy Maker sequence in The Holy Mountain and there’s no way that’s accurate. That would be too awesome.

  81. If a movie is heavy-handed about its message then people hate it, but if it’s willing to be a little ambiguous and let you think about it it gets torn a new asshole like Tawdry just did here. Why is it Spielberg and this movie’s job to tell the entire history of bad things the Israeli government has done, or to spell out an easily defined literal message including solutions (to unsolvable problems!)? I feel like asking him to make a kickass movie with some substance and thoughtfulness under the surface is already alot to ask, since hardly anybody does it anymore. He made an extremely badass and entertaining action drama thriller that speaks exactly to the moral dilemmas of its time without force feeding us a bunch of vitamins. That’s pretty much my favorite type of movie in the world, but you call him a “pussy” for it.

  82. I hate important movies, so I always appreciate when films can turn them into something more than just issues and awards. Spielberg does it, Benigni did it in LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (I mean, wow!), and I’d throw in HOTEL RWANDA, MONSTER’S BALL, SEVEN POUNDS, PRECIOUS * BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE oh and my favorite of this ilk, THE MESSENGER. And these are just recent.

    I actually think Clint relies too much on blatantly important issues. I’m sorry, not the way I wanted to close out 2011 :(

  83. Vern – I’m endlessly intrigued by Spielberg’s LINCOLN next year. DDL certainly looks is a fucking homerun. I’m sure he’s already readying up his 3rd Oscar speech. At least thats the expectation.

    A rare opportunity where the replacement actor is much superior than the one they replaced (Liam Neeson)

  84. Vern, I don’t know how old you are, but if you think back at the situation in South Africa in the 80’s you’ll remember that a lot of people in Hollywood helped bringing awareness to the cause, and in the end being a little part of the movement who brought down Apartheid. A director like Richard Donner certainly didn’t pussy out when he made Lethal Weapon 2, to name one of the most known anti Apartheid movies. The situation in Israel’s even worse, so why aren’t people on board now? The situation’s far from unsolvable, but if people like Spielberg keep on telling us that the “bad guys” have a point too, it will take a longer time to solve it. All thrillers have a political message, and Munich’s is bullshit. Sorry to be so heavy handed so early into the new year, but I think we have to do something before Israel kills off the entire population in Gaza.

  85. The thing that intrigued me most about Tintin was the idea of seeing what Spielberg’s visual sensibility looks like when untethered from the limits of physical reality. The result was pretty impressive I guess from an aesthetic perspective (the single-shot chase was great, though some people entered the theater during that scene and started milling about, which distracted the fuck out of me), but in storytelling terms it failed to move me. I thought the characters were kinda stale and at every turn it was just impossible for me to get wrapped up in the specifics of their adventure. I can kinda see the charm of this universe and the characters, but I was really squirming in my seat by the end of the movie.

    Spielberg’s an action director I hold in really high esteem because he loves to show things happening within the shot. That’s my favorite way of seeing action, as opposed to conveying it with a lot of cuts. That sense of cinematic movement he has, the way he constantly surprises you with the… I dunno, purity of his visual storytelling, it’s incredibly exciting when he’s using it to entertain you. I think I like it more in live action though. While I didn’t really have an aesthetic issue with the mocap in this movie, I did find myself wondering if it was creating a distancing effect that led to me not caring about anything that happened in the movie. In an Indy movie, you see Harrison Ford sweating and busting his ass and smiling impishly, and that makes a difference when it comes to identifying with the guy. There was nothing in Tintin that made me go ‘oh, that looks awful’ but I was never convinced of anyone’s humanity either.

  86. Regarding Munich, I think it’s great. Tawdry’s criticism doesn’t work for me, because the fictional murders carried out by fictional Israelis are imbued with remarkable moral weight. It works really well within the movie, which shows how degrading to the soul it is to commit an act of murder for the cause of vengeance. Every murder in the film is nauseating, which is incredible to me considering how inured I am to movie violence.

    The apartheid stuff in Lethal Weapon 2 seems really ham-handed today, and I have a tough time accepting the movie as a valid part of the movement that ended apartheid.

  87. Sure, most of the anti Apartheid stuff from the 80’s seem a bit simple and almost naive today. But Donner got a lot of cred for bringing politics into his movies back then. And I was wondering why it’s supposedly harder today to deal with a situation that’s basically the same. I get what Spielberg’s saying about tough but nescessary decisions and all that, but after 60 years I hoped we had gotten a bit further than that. Never mind, I’m going to watch To Catch a Thief now. Nothing like a bit of Cary Grant in his swimming trunks after a week of eating and drinking way too much. If he could look that good in his fifties, maybe there’s hope for me yet.

  88. Because of when it was made I just have a hard time seeing MUNICH as being specifically limited to being about Israel. That was Spielberg’s 9-11 movie. It was about feeling justified in a violent response to terrorism and then realizing that there are costs to that kind of retaliation.

    I agree that it was cool to have an apartheid theme in Lethal Weapon 2, but I don’t see where the “pussying out” is in Munich.

  89. Speaking of the title ADVENTURES OF TINTIN, another title that bothers me is NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. It takes place over three nights, so it should be NIGHTS AT THE MUSEUM. or if it’s about the general state of when things come to life in the museum, it should be NIGHTTIME AT THE MUSEUM.

    The full title of this movie was actually going to be THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN:THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN. that would have indicated a franchise right off. Probably wise they avoided the confusion of a lack of unicorns in the movie but now it leaves you hanging for plural adventures.

  90. Fred – remember REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS..?

    Yeah that adventure ended before it began.

  91. oh my God Fred and Tawdry, I LOVE Toys!

    I’ve actually been reluctant to bring it up in any of Potpourris because I figured it wasn’t a movie anyone here would want to talk about, but I see I was wrong

    it was one of my favorite movies as a kid and I’m sure contributed to my love of the surreal, I loved how “grown up” it felt for a supposedly kid friendly movie, I mean how many’s kids movies do you know have of-screen sex scenes, complete with Robin Williams’ orgasmic moaning? (“Robin Williams’ orgasmic moaning” is a phrase you don’t hear often)

  92. Toys was one of those movies that played ad nauseum on HBO when I was growing up. I’ve probably seen it no less than a dozen times. To this day I can’t see food touching other food on a plate without thinking,”I’m a military man. I want a military meal.”

  93. I’m with Vern and others on Munich. I think it works as a great suspense / action film that also has some thought behind it.

    As a secular-Jew Zionist I am very much in support of a Palestinian state. The way I see it is that the Israelis have almost all of the power in that tragic situation and use that power to overreach and continue the cycle of violence.

    Even still, I don’t think there’s a simple or even plausible answer that will humanely solve these issues. I think that’s part of what Spielberg was talking about, though: that there are no answers and that by embracing violence out of tragedy that it will only destroy yourself and make things worse.

    I didn’t see Munich as particularly supportive or against Israel. It just seemed to reflect the sad reality of the world we live in.

    Plus, it works as a movie.

    I’ve been rethinking the Terminal and it might be an OK movie if Catherine Zeta Jones wasn’t in it. I mostly remember liking it pretty okay but thinking her character was such an awful bitch that it ruined a lot of the movie.

    Griff, I loved Toys as a kid. It’s colorful and has a message and is cute. I think it works better than the majority of Tim Burton’s movies, too.

  94. I’ve completely forgotten that Catherine Zeta Jones is in THE TERMINAL. I literally have no memory of a scene featuring her, though I remember the hell out od Stanley Tucci.

  95. Assfeast420, I appreciate both your name and your sensibilities.

    RRA, any other examples of aborted franchises that promised many more in their very title?

  96. Casey – what makes that geo-political situation even worse (I know, hard to fathom) is the Ultra-Orthodox have too much control of that government. Consider this report from the other day:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2011/12/28/8-year-old-israeli-harassed-walking-to-school.html

    Really, are they really trying to out-crazy the Republicans or something?

    (My favorite was those government-ads telling citizens not to marry American Jews or they’ll lose their “ethnic identity.” WHAT?)

  97. Totally, RRA. The Ultra Orthodox and the Shas are very much trying to legislate Jewish identity and law in Israel. It’s pretty scary. I remember hearing about violence occurring when movie theatres were able to show movies on Friday nights.

    The Ultra Orthodox are in a peculiar position: their birth rate is ridiculous but they contribute next to nothing in regards to the military (they are not required to serve in the IDF) and they are heavily subsidized economically as they contribute nothing to the economy. There will be a big push back against them by the more secular productive elements of society.

    Even worse is that there are strong secular parties, such as Yisrael Beiteinu, that are extremely hard line on foreign relations.

    It’s a pretty screwed up situation. Otherwise intelligent and sane Israelis have a reasonable fear of what can happen and this causes a lot of heavy handed and horrible atrocities against a captive Palestinian population. The Palestinians don’t have any friends and have been used as a weapon against Israel so they have no real leadership or money going towards creating a society for them.

    It’s just a depressing situation that will likely never fix itself.

    Man, now I’m sad :(

  98. I’m a big fan of the TINTIN series and I really enjoyed this movie. I think that Spielberg came about as close as possible to capturing the feel and style of the books as anyone probably could.

    About the story: the title THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN is not technically bullshit because the movie is based on parts of three separate books – THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN (most of the treasure hunt stuff, the pickpocket subplot), THE CRAB WITH THE GOLDEN CLAWS (the introduction of Captain Haddock), and RED RACKHAM’S TREASURE (the last 5-10 minutes of the movie). So rest assured, we weren’t exactly ripped off in that respect. And if the movie seems to rely on setpieces as opposed to complex intrigue, well, the books kinda did that too. THE CRAB WITH THE GOLDEN CLAWS is actually a fairly simple story about some not very interesting opium smugglers, but it’s the interplay between Tintin and Haddock and the capers they get into that makes it great. Same thing with Thomson and Thompson, who never seem to actually accomplish anything in the books, but they’re hilarious (and the Pegg/Frost combo was an EXCELLENT casting choice, BTW).

    I really appreciated that Spielberg didn’t feel compelled to modernize or give Tintin an “edgy” side or throw in pop culture references or any of that shit. There was also a whole lot of material that was made up for the movie, but it worked – I was surprised that they managed to work Castafiore (the terrible opera singer) into the movie, but it made sense because she had this habit of randomly showing up in the books anyway, so might as well be at the Sheik’s palace. And this might be the only context where you could have a character’s (Haddock’s) alcoholism be like a sixth sense and get away with it.

    Anyway, to sum up: a jolly good time, well done, Loch Lomond whisky all around, etc. And in the Film Adaptations of Belgian Comics Stakes, it’s clearly TINTIN 1, GODDAMN SMURFS 0.

  99. pegsman

    With all due respect, (and I think respect is worth something ’round these parts), statements like yours are part of the problem. You know for a fact that Israel has no public agenda of genocide (and though you dance around that word, you are certainly implying it) and no logical political motivation to commit such an act. You’re hyperbolizing. You’ve displayed yourself to be far too intelligent to believe something as grotesquely black and white as, “Sorry to be so heavy handed so early into the new year, but I think we have to do something before Israel kills off the entire population in Gaza.”

    Israel, has no policy of Genocide. There is no way you could look at the situation with a critical eye and come to that conclusion. Unless you don’t know what the word genocide means. It’s not the same thing as mass murder.

    But just to play devil’s advocate, have you read the Palestinian Charter? Wanna take a gander at how many of the articles in the charter expressly call for the death of all Jews in the world? I’ll give you a clue; it’s over 90%. You wanna wave the flag of genocide, well…only one side has an open policy supporting it. And they ain’t spinning Dreidels.

    I don’t actually even like Israel. I’m not attached to any of the holy sites in the area. I’m not politically affiliated with it. I just find that the vast majority of popular arguments against Israel are Antisemitic in nature.

    Specifically, Jews-as-Nazis metaphors or insinuations are little more than an intellectualized form of Holocaust denial. And the idea that Israel should, “Give back” land it won in a defensive war? No other nation would ever be asked to do that, much less shamed and boycotted for not agreeing to such an arrangement.

    That said, Israel will need to change its boarders to accommodate a Palestinian state. But they shouldn’t be the only ones who make a change. I think that there should be a Palestinian state made up of some of Israel’s current land which should be matched by land gifts from the surrounding Arab nations to make up a livable space.

    You would begin with a land parcel from one of the surrounding Arab states that would be matched 6 months later by a similarly sized parcel of land from Israel. During this time, Israel would stop development of any contested lands so long as the Palestinian leadership stopped rockets from being fired at civilian targets. It would be a gradual process, during which sides would continually cede land, probably for about 10 years in total.

    In exchange for the land for the Palestinian state, the surrounding nations would be given concessions in sanctions, additional foreign aid or some type of political capital or incentive. I don’t know enough about all of the nations that could potentially be involved to make an intelligent analysis of the specific incentives, but I’m sure people smarter than myself could find them.

  100. Tawdry, believe me when I say that the word genocide didn’t even enter my mind when I wrote about the situation in Gaza. When it comes to politics and history I’m a strong believer in hard, cold facts. And the facts are that Israel defies International Law in conducting an illegal occupation of foreign land, and on a semi regular basis are bombing the poorest population in the world. And that’s in addition to fencing them in and denying them supplies. You say it’s a defensive war and that the Palestinian Charter calls for the death of all jews. Yes, that is how the Israeli government and the American president sees it. The rest of the world sees something quite different.

  101. I’m sorry, Vern, I guess it’s my fault that we’re so far off topic now that we have look at the name of the thread to remember what movie we’re discussing (sic!).

  102. Different situations, but regarding Israel that whole damn Palestinian problem reminds me way too much of America and slavery: that cancer that was there since “birth,” which adds zero net gains (certainly retarding culture, liberties, economy, etc.) and adds more troubles than its worth, yet which up to a certain date and point, was considered part of the national identity and mythology.

  103. Back to Spielberg, I just don’t understand his problem with doing audio commentaries.

    He’s a good talker, when he’s pushed to actually open up (better yet, when he’s defending himself)…he’s great. He’s a natural born commentary guy, and yet he’ll never do them. And his argument against them (“distracts the movie”) is rather benign.

  104. But there’s a SPIELBERG ON SPIELERG doc from TCM where he says everything there is to say about all his movies. That’s where I think they show his childhood movies and they’re amazing professional quality films.

  105. GrimGrinningChris

    January 3rd, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Has anyone seen the new Plinkett review of Crystal Skull? Some nitpicky nonsense, but also some strong insightful criticism. And I really enjoy Crystal Skull too.

  106. I like the Plinkett reviews quite a lot and think Half In The Bag has something funny and insightful (insightful to this simpleton, at least) to say. The Crystal Skull review is probably the weakest of his reviews, though. I get the impression that he likes Raiders a lot (we all do) and he didn’t want to go after how most of Crystal Skull’s problems are problems with the series and character as a whole.

  107. The slavery comparison would be apt if:

    A: America were surrounded by nations on all sides who specifically kept the slaves in America and profited from it.
    B: The slaves had organized leadership that chose to decline a separate state (with more valuable, oil-rich land) in favor of killing every American.
    C: The slaves had an open policy of genocide against America.
    D: America was established because for the last 1500 years the whole of world culture had been largely predicated upon killing all Americans.
    E: For the whole of American history the slaves had been launching tens of thousands of missiles at civilian Americans specifically to kill civilians because of their race/ethnicity.
    F: American were an ethnic/racial group.
    G: America had been established specifically because the rest of the world had spent the last 1500 years proving not just in theory, but in practice that Americans would be tortured, murdered and shoved in ovens because they were Americans.
    H: The slaves had willingly sold their land to the Americans at prices well above market value.
    I: The justification on both the American side and the slave side was predicated upon silly folklore.
    J: Most of America’s land was made up of regions won in wars started by the slaves with the express intent of murdering every American in region and then the world.
    K: The slaves gave themselves a name based on a Native American tribe with which they were totally unrelated.
    L: The slaves were actually whipping themselves and then taking photographs of it to sway the emotions of those who were not paying close attention, all at a profit for the surrounding countries outlined in part A. (And to be fair, the US military-industrial complex makes lots of money from Israel too).

    The apartheid state metaphor is apt. Israel does horrendous things. Dropping white phosphorous gas on Palestinian territories was nothing short of a crime against humanity. It is absurd that not one Israeli official has been put on trial or even lost his/her job over this. I sincerely believe that someone in the Israeli military/government should be facing the death penalty for this. Bulldozing homes of suicide bombers is a foolish, hubris-filled tactic that is as grotesque as it is wrongheaded. Flying jet fighters low to the ground and breaking the sound barrier in order to shatter glass in Palestinian homes is tantamount to terrorism. Allowing the Orthodox sectors of society to have increasing control over the whole of Israel could end up in a situation not entirely separate from Sharia Law. Furthermore, it has pushed Israel so far to the right that actual laws about actual everyday situations are now proudly based on folklore from thousands of years ago. Some, if not most of the developments along the West Bank are pigheaded moves that amount to little more than a, “Fuck you” to Palestinians. And while the blockade wall may be logical to a certain extent, it is a stomach-churning visual that not only damages Israel’s world standing, but kills children all without doing anything to save Israeli lives.

    Personally, I think that Israel maybe shoulda taken that land in Ethiopia that they were offered. Or the land in Japan. Or even the land in Alaska. I have no allegiance to the holy sites and think that a single human life is worth far more than all the folklore symbols from 1000s of years ago combined…so maybe I’m not the best person to look for a solution here.

  108. Tawdry – Like I said, different situations.

    Fred – But did he talk about those INDY sequels? or LOST WORLD? I can’t remember exactly since I also saw that program too years ago. I believe HOOK and ALWAYS both skipped too. (shrugs)

  109. I recall it going through the early 00s at least, maybe not up to MUNICH. I don’t recall it skipping any but it’s been a while. Way better than the Spielberg/John Williams special they just aired.

  110. However I should add not nearly as good as the eventual Vern reviews of Spielberg’s oeuvre which we all cannot wait to read. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS? SUGARLAND EXPRESS? 1941?

  111. “Tawdry, believe me when I say that the word genocide didn’t even enter my mind when I wrote about the situation in Gaza.”

    Okay. I believe you. But your statement meant genocide. If you believe that A: The Palestinians represent an ethnic/racial group and B: Israel is making an concerted and organized effort to wipe this ethnic group from the face of the earth, then we are discussing an issue of genocide.

    “When it comes to politics and history I’m a strong believer in hard, cold facts. And the facts are that Israel defies International Law in conducting an illegal occupation of foreign land, and on a semi regular basis are bombing the poorest population in the world.”

    You believe in cold hard facts, and using loaded terms.

    Your argument here is predicated upon the idea that International Law is somehow just, beyond reproach, and fair. But the UN has a long and storied history of questionable rulings regarding Israel. The UN quite clearly holds Israel to an entirely different standard than it does any other nation on the face of the earth. If you have an abusive stepfather, you’re not really remiss for ignoring his rules and advice. Remember, Israel exists, at least in part, because the world looked at the Holocaust and shrugged. Israel is now being judged by a panel of nations which have pretty much *all* spent a good deal of time trying to kill Jews. It’s like having a jury of Klansmen ruling on OJ Simpson.

    And as for it being an “illegal occupation” of a “foreign land,” well, I donno how familiar you are with… every land war in the history of the world, but, generally, (meaning, in all cases where the victor is not a Jew), if your nation is attacked by a foreign body and you beat them back and then win strategic defensive posts, you get to keep those lands. That’s how land wars work. Israel did not start any of the wars in which it has won land. Not a one. This gets back to my point about questioning the validity of International Law. I donno where you live, but I’m betting that you’re probably sitting pretty in an illegal occupation of someone else’s land too.

    The poverty of the Palestinian territories is immaterial to this argument. That’s a tangential topic and an emotional appeal at best. The pertinent information here would be that Israel regularly launches attacks in response to the over 100,000 missiles and rockets that have bombarded it with the intent of murdering civilians.

    Israel launches missiles at military targets. Palestinian leadership attacks exclusively civilian targets. Also, Palestinian leadership specifically places mosques, schools and locations with maximum numbers of children on top of their weapons depots, military centers, ect. So that if and when Israel defends itself, it results in maximum causalities that look pretty for the cameras. If you throw a child in front of a bus, the bus driver is not a murderer — you are.

    Furthermore, Israel’s reaction is not disproportionate. If anything, Israel is the ridiculously contained in its’ response. For most of the last 10 years, Israel has been hit with more missiles and rockets than London during WWII, every year. England responded with Dresden. Where was the moral outcry there? The US responded with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Where’s your moral outrage for that?

    Your arguments cherry pick Israel’s wrongdoing without putting them in any type of historical context. Any other nation in the history of the world that has been attacked that consistently and that violently for even 1/10th as long as Israel and has the ability to fight back with total war has done so.

    No other nation in the world has *ever* been under attack this long without resorting to total war and a scorched earth policy. In the context of history, Israel is actually pussyfooting around. (Not that they should be employing total war. It’s just that every other nation ever faced with this type of situation – including members of the UN – has).

    “And that’s in addition to fencing them in and denying them supplies.”

    Yes…but there are fences on both sides. Why aren’t we discussing how the nations surrounding Palestine are using Palestine as a fighting force while holding them hostage rather than spewing vitriol at the nation who is, in no uncertain terms, fending off total annihilation at every moment?

    And somehow the Palestinian leadership seems to have no trouble getting thousands of rockets to launch at Israeli civilians…

    Oh. And if it’s a foreign nation, why is Israel supposed to be giving it supplies again? Sounds like you’re making two different arguments here, both of which carry a foundation that Israel is fundamentally illegitimate. When it supports your argument Israel is a separate nation, when it supports your argument Israel and Palestine are one nation.

    “You say it’s a defensive war and that the Palestinian Charter calls for the death of all jews.”

    I refer to your initial statement of preference for cold hard facts. Israel is indeed fighting a defensive war. Also, my thoughts on the Palestinian Charter are irrelevant because I was quoting from the Oslo Accords where the Palestinian Leadership said that 36 of the 38 articles of the Palestinian Charter called for the death of all Jews in the world. Israel gifted land to the Palestinians in exchange for removing the parts of the Charter that called for the death of all Jews. The Palestinian Authority took the land and then never bothered to so much as make the ornamental change of amending the Charter. That to me sounds like a referendum on the open policy of genocide. And a reaffirmation thereof.

    “Yes, that is how the Israeli government and the American president sees it. The rest of the world sees something quite different.”

    Taking your logic to its’ conclusion, McDonalds is the best resturant in the world, Avatar is the best movie, Wal-Mart is the best business model, Islam is the best religion and homosexuality is a horrible sin which should be punished vigorously. In fact, by your reasoning interracial marriage is an abomination, women shouldn’t be allowed to work, child slavery is acceptable, child prostitution is acceptable…and killing every Jew in the world is probably the correct course of action.

    A lot of people saying yes to something does not mean that it is correct. If everyone in the world except for you believed that the sun revolved around the earth, you would still be correct and everyone else would still be wrong.

    You’re giving special privilege to those who agree with your point and ignoring any and all underlying elements that could lead to such a conclusion. Pretty much all of Europe and the Middle-East has a rich history of vocal and violent Antisemitism. To pretend that these groups are a fair judge and Jury for nation that was born specifically because said groups couldn’t stop killing Jews strikes me as a questionable premise to say the least.

    The last Pogrom was in 1957. We are not removed from the vicious Antisemitism of the 20th century (and the 19th, and the 18th, and the 17th…)

  112. I hereby promise that if/when Vern starts his Spielberg-a-thon I will refrain from discussing Munich/Israel.

  113. Fred – Actually MUNICH was brought up. His last movie at the time, if I remember right.

    Tawdry – Nah just bash Iran instead. I mean if Obama loses, Romney has promised us Baghdad 2.0 on that country. Get in the patriotic flag waving-as-others-die-for-you spirit ahead of the curve!

  114. I’m actually a stone cold Liberal in most categories. However, I am 100% voting against Obama in 2012. Depending on the GoP candidate, I might even vote *shudders* Republican. NDAA was the breaking point.

    I just try and remain consistent to principal. Our government is screwy because we are based on demographic and regional appeals and not principaled party platforms. Logically, big military should be something liberals support and conservatives abhor. A party positing a, “Culture of life” should be against abortion, for socialized health care, more spending on schools, strong regulation regarding guns, against the death penalty and for a smaller military while also standing strongly against crimes against humanity. In fact, I think a culture of life would all but necessitate Socialism, wouldn’t it? These issues are all related, these issues all follow one another. You could never elect a candidate who was consistent on all of these issues.

    Logically, a conservative who wants small government should be pro-first amendment, pro-second amendment, for a strong separation of Church and State, against increased military spending, against corporate subsidizes, against corporate lobbyists, against government intervention in personal matters (such as gay marriage, gays in the military, abortion rights, access to birth control, regulation of alcohol and some drugs) and so on.

    Logically, a liberal who agrees with Hobbes’ assessment that man is a horrible beast made better by society should be for a mixing of church and state, constriction of certain speech, pro laws regarding morality and personal matters up to and including abortion rights, marriage rights, military service limitations and implementation of the death penalty. He/She would be for gun regulation, for socialized health care, for an interventionist military, for corporate subsidies and indifferent to lobbyists.

    In my estimation, both of these candidates would be logically sound and have a consistent platform. However, neither of these candidates would ever get on the ballot.

  115. Tawdry, I can’t tell if you’re deliberately trying to confuse us with all this information or if you actually believe what you’re writing. In any case, by taking the UN out of the equation and meating everything with accusations of antisemitism you’re making it impossible to debate you. And that’s the whole point isn’t it? Let us know if you’re willing to have a serious discussion anytime soon.

  116. “Or the land in Japan.”

    what? what’s the story behind this?

  117. The Japanese offered defacto asylum to many Jews during WWII, in spite of being part of the Axis. However, I was confused in my timeline. While there was a plan to try and import Jews in order to help out the Japanese economy (for reasons that may or may not have been related to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) this was not an actual offer of land in the region post-WWII. I got it all mixed up for a minute because Japan did, in fact, publicly support the creation of a Jewish state as early as 1918 and repeatedly refused to execute the Jewish population within its’ boarders during the war.

  118. wow, you learn something new everyday

  119. “Tawdry, I can’t tell if you’re deliberately trying to confuse us with all this information or if you actually believe what you’re writing.”

    To paraphrase the great philosopher Homer* “Facts can be used to prove anything!” You said you were a fan of, “Hard, cold facts.” So I responded to your argument in what I feel was a reasoned and detailed fashion, citing specific examples for each of my points and providing the most basic of meta-analysis of your data. You can’t ask for detail and then complain about detail.

    You used very, very broad language that I found to be not just inaccurate, but actually offensive. You opined for facts, then talked with all the bluster and gusto of Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. In short, you’re being a hypocrite. Agree with me or disagree with me on my politics, but it is wholly unreasonable to consider really *any* of your comments on this topic to be centrist, unbias, or predicated upon “Hard, cold facts.” Be partisan. That’s totally cool. I’m openly partisan on this. Just don’t lie to my (digital) face and insult my intelligence.

    Side-note: Your statement is, ‘Begging the question” which is a logical fallacy. I don’t believe that you sincerely think I’m trying to bamboozle you. I understand trying to be wary of Poe’s Law, but in spite of little bits of snark in the last third, nothing in my original post or my responses reads as sarcasm or irony.

    “In any case, by taking the UN out of the equation and meating everything with accusations of antisemitism you’re making it impossible to debate you.”

    I’m hardly the first person to comment on the UN’s history of questionable rulings regarding Israel. It’s a legitimate topic. You know, like having a jury selection process here in the US. I’m not saying that Israel should get OJ’s all-Black jury – and I chose that metaphor so as to be unflattering to both parties, for the record – just that before we take the UN’s opinion as gospel we consider the larger context.

    In my reading of history, the UN has been unfair toward Israel on a great many occasions. And when you consider the virulent history of Antisemitism that cuts to the core of many/most/all European and Middle Eastern cultures (the, “Us” of Christianity was defined by the, “Them” of Judaism just like the, “Whiteness” of Europeans was codified by the “Orientalness” of Asian cultures. Also, Matthew 27:25.) you are forced to wonder about possible motivations.

    Note too that I did not say the UN was an Antisemitic organization, nor that it should be ignored or ground up (I hope “meating” was not a typo, because that is a wonderfully expressive use of language right there). I called some of their opinions in regards to Israel questionable.

    “And that’s the whole point isn’t it? Let us know if you’re willing to have a serious discussion anytime soon.”

    Because, “I’m taking my ball and going home” is the epoch of maturity? I responded to each and every point or your argument. You didn’t respond to any of mine. Instead, you purposefully misquoted me, paraphrased me inaccurately and disregarded all of my arguments without so much as a single counterpoint.

    I am having a grown up discussion. I would love it if you joined in.

    *Simpson

  120. Three quick notes before bed:

    1: Re-read my post to double-check. I didn’t call *anyone* an Anti-Semite or accuse *anyone* of Antisemitism. I used the word exactly twice. Once in regard to the Pogroms, which are unarguably an act of Antisemitism, and once in regard to European culture’s history of Antisemitism, which no one in the world debates as factual. Not only do my arguments not rely wholly on Antisemitism as Pegsman claims, *none* of my arguments are based upon such accusations.

    2: The last Pogrom appears to have been in 1954, not 1957 as I stated previously.

    3: I was also wrong on the Palestinian Charter’s articles. There are actually only 33 Articles in the Charter. After the Oslo Peace Accords, Yassar Arafat sent a letter to Bill Clinton which outlined the portions of the Charter that needed to be altered —

    “The Palestine National Council’s resolution, in accordance with Article 33 of the Covenant, is a comprehensive amendment of the Covenant. All of the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the P.L.O. commitment to recognize and live in peace side by side with Israel are no longer in effect. As a result, Articles 6-10, 15, 19-23, and 30 have been nullified, and the parts in Articles 1-5, 11-14, 16-18, 25-27 and 29 that are inconsistent with the above mentioned commitments have also been nullified.”

    Articles 24, 28, and 31-33 were the only two that didn’t call for the destruction of Israel. That said, it was unfair of me to characterize the Charter as a call for the death of all Jews in the world. That was a step too far. Several of the articles imply as much, in my opinion. But I shouldn’t have stated it unequivocally.

    As of today, The Palestinian Charter has not be revised to exorcise the approximately 85% that Palestinian Leadership openly admits are a call for the destruction of Israel.

  121. Tawdry, I’m very old and kind of wise, and I know from experience that this won’t lead anywhere. You’re not listening to me and I’m not listening to you because we both have our own very strong opinions about this.

    But since you ask nicely I can at least tell you how the 190 nations in the UN (except for Israel and USA, that is) sees this; UN Security Council resolution 242 of November 22, 1967 says; “the fulfillment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles: 1. Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; 2. Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

    This is the basis for all negotiations between the two parties. No matter what any of us has to say about the matter.

  122. Vern – this is probably my new favorite review of yours; I was cracking up the entire way through, and you hit the nail on the head about the ridiculousness of the whole situation in Tintin. Just how old was he supposed to be? Because when a 14 year old looking kid who lives in his own apartment whips out a gun in the first few minutes, I couldn’t help but laugh. And I agree – for such an “exciting” bombastic spectacle, the exposition scenes are really snore and fidget-inducing. I saw multiple people in the theatre growing more and more restless when big shit wasn’t happening. And even when it was happening, I think alot of people didn’t care. By the time the construction crane battle happened I had basically stopped caring but was still amused by the 1941-ness of it.

    Like Jared said, the art of delivering non-boring exposition seems to have been lost, but especially by Spielberg; that whole cave/decomposing mummy scene in KOTCS was probably the worst 10 minutes he’s ever done. I actually LOVE the exposition parts of Jurassic Park – the Mr. DNA stuff (which I know some people find boring) might be my favorite part. But everything since then has been shaky at best. War of the Worlds was on the other day and I got excited to rewatch the slice of life/family dynamic stuff before the invasion goes down, but even Spielberg didn’t seem to care and very little of it worked for me. I’m worried Spielberg might have turned into a director who’s just worried about delivering setpieces and big moments without delivering a good, cohesive whole. And I know we usually don’t hold those Transformers movies against him, but as a producer with his name attched in giant letters, he certainly didn’t seem to be concerned with fixing any of the problems from Part 1 in Parts 2 or 3. (In fact they got infinitely worse)

  123. Oh and Tawdry/Pegsman – I’m actually fascinated by the dialogue going on here. Like most people I’m completely oblivious to the situation, and I’m definitely learning new stuff here.

  124. “And I know we usually don’t hold those Transformers movies against him, but as a producer with his name attched in giant letters, he certainly didn’t seem to be concerned with fixing any of the problems from Part 1 in Parts 2 or 3. (In fact they got infinitely worse)”
    I at least hold him responsible for the excessive focus on the humans, and especially the Witwickys, since I believe it was him who decided this sci fi action movie about an ancient civil war amongst a technological advanced race that’s been resumed on the planet earth…should really be all about “a boy and his car”.

  125. I don’t really blame him for the Transformers because he’s just letting Michael Bay do what he wants

    and for better or worse producers should allow the directors to do what they want

  126. “and for better or worse producers should allow the directors to do what they want”
    What is this, THE FOUNTAINHEAD?

  127. Spielberg’s role in the TRANSFORMERS movie is simply reaching his hand out and collecting the money made. Its why he lured Baynito Michaelini away from Bruckheimer and Disney.

    And really I don’t blame him. As a producer, he knows a cash cow when he sees one. Why else would Christopher Nolan “hire” Zack Snyder?* for Superman?

    If those movies suck, blame Bay and his people. Do we blame Spielberg for COWBOYS & ALIENS? Come on.

    *=I almost accidentally wrote Zack Ryder instead. Are You Serious Bro?

  128. “And really I don’t blame him. As a producer, he knows a cash cow when he sees one. Why else would Christopher Nolan “hire” Zack Snyder?* for Superman?”
    Aren’t you the guy who likes to point out when Snyder’s films aren’t massive hits? How do you figure him as a cash cow? And while I may have concerns over Snyder’s ability to do the “heart” right in a Superman movie, I am actually really excited about what he can bring to making Superman actually EXCITING for once, since we’re dealing with a nigh invincible man who can juggle trains and move at superspeed, which his ramping would be pretty well suited for in my opinion.

  129. “Aren’t you the guy who likes to point out when Snyder’s films aren’t massive hits?”

    Stu – Even a moron can read the spreadsheets which showed that 300 made a shitload of money. His DAWN OF THE DEAD remake was a hit as well. Or that his Owl cartoon did well overseas, or that apparently likewise WATCHMEN much better on that front than I remembered. SUCKER PUNCH though fucking tanked, but we all know that.

    I may not like the guy, but to deny reality is foolish.

    (Or put it another way, you think WB has any qualms with Snyder for MAN OF STEEL? Come on.)

  130. What I don’t get are the quotation marks around “hire.” How was Snyder figuratively and not literally hired? Has Nolan trapped Snyder into indentured servitude? Is he blackmailing him into directing the new Superman movie? Is this all an elaborate con in which Nolan enters Snyder’s subconscious and tricks him into thinking that he has spent the better part of two years rebooting a once-popular film franchise with his signature brand of hyperstylized action? Or perhaps RRA just has such a rabid hate-on for Snyder (perhaps because Snyder once had RRA committed to a sexy insane asylum, where he had to dance sexily so that his sexy fellow inmates could make their sexy escape) that the very idea of Snyder being given legal tender in exchange for services rendered so disgusts him that for the sake of his own sanity he must render this concept abstract and intangible?

  131. “(Or put it another way, you think WB has any qualms with Snyder for MAN OF STEEL? Come on.)”
    Well you seemed to think so:
    “~All SUCKER PUNCH’s failure in the states does is weaken Zach Snyder’s power on SUPERMAN. So you fans guess what? Nolan has more pull with the WB heads than Snyder does now. WHEEEEEE!”
    http://outlawvern.com/2011/03/26/sucker-punch/#comment-493828

    Majestyk- RRA has a problem with short term memory, and has tricked himself into thinking Snyder murdered his wife and he should get revenge on him. Unfortunately he doesn’t realise that Zack Snyder is actually a pair of identical twin brothers sharing a life for some reason.

  132. A Zack Ryder directed Superman would be awesome. Hell, Zack Ryder should be Superman.

  133. I can’t remember if I told you all that my first ever blu-ray purchase (got blu ray player & FIST OF LEGEND blu ray for Magic Baby Day!) will be SUCKER PUNCH. I’m immune to nerd rage or whatever it is that makes people hate this guy’s work, and I’m unbearably intrigued by the extended cut possibilities. Also, I’m proud to be only about a year behind Vern in ascertaining cutting edge 2010 home entertainment technology.

    I think Zack Snyder should get serious with Scarlett Johansson and let his mysterious bearded confidant hook up with Rebecca Hall.

  134. First he has to deal with Robin Williams blackmailing him about how he accidentally killed a second unit director, but I’m sure he’ll know what to do when Michael Caine gives him a speech about Ellen Page helping to do a magic trick where you have to make a ruby the size of a tangerine disappear.

  135. This conversation has become all kinds of hilarious. And yes, I’ve learned that Spielberg’s name as producer meant jackshit starting around the 90s, but I think anyone who would let the Transformers movies get made has serious quality control issues. And I agree w/ Stu that he may not have been as hands-off as we would believe. Didn’t he, y’know, FIRE the leading lady and all?

  136. Mr. Majestyk – Better question, “who” hired him? Is it the guy who raised the briefcase? Bombed Mr. McMahon’s limo? the Raw anonymous GM? Why am I bringing up unsolved (stupid) wrestling angles?

    You got me. You figured out my secret motives. I’ll never forgive Snyder for throwing me into that insane asylum of sexy nurses. Why? Because what use am I to lesbians? Oh Snyder, you cruel clever bastard.

    In all lack of seriousness, what exactly is the behind-the-scenes production deal on MAN OF STEEL? Can’t wait for that book. One thing is certain. If MAN OF STEEL fails, who’ll get blamed? How much blame will Nolan get delegated by the Internet? Even if the movie succeeds, will portions of the Internet still claim Nolan is the reason why it worked and not the director who was involved in the filmatic choices such as casting and production design/cinematography/editing/etc.?

    Or more likely, will Snyder get the deserving credit?

    I say the latter. I’m an optimistic that MAN OF STEEL works because fuck, I want a good Superman movie again. I hope for the best. Hell notice how even when I do bitch about Abrams, I’ll admit I did like SUPER 8. I did like STAR TREK. I did like M:I 3, if not as much and simply as merely watchable. I even liked CLOVERFIELD, which he produced. Didn’t care for the ALIAS or LOST episodes I saw that made him an Internet God, but eh who cares?

    Shit, Snyder really did break me after all.

    Stu – Ah the troll worm. You see, their young enter through the ears and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex. This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion. Such as wasting one’s time to backlog search and search through a websight’s comments, if one doesn’t already bookmark worhtless nerd rambling bullshit topical only at that time (specifically if highlighted incriminating evidence was intentional troll bait in the first place, like someone bringing up racist cyborgs in the past to challenge opinions held by a certain poster, until the former realized how childish that was) to use as blackmail for later use to prove that people’s opinions change over time. (Sometimes from realizing they were wrong, but usually from fucking getting over it.)

    Later, as they grow, follows madness and death. Otherwise known as
    winning Internet arguments. (I’ll save you the trouble buddy, you can the movie quote I hijacked at IMDB so you can do your own too with me. Don’t quote the same movie I just did, ok? let’s be pseudo-original.) See you at the sexy insane asylum!

    In short: What are we arguing about that caused something to crawl up your ass and make me Mitt Romney? Are we disputing the notion that I put forward that asides from that one financial blemish, Snyder makes money? That even if I don’t like his movies, I still admit that he’s successful and WB and Nolan (whoever) were logical to sign him?

    Or worse that maybe, just maybe maybe maybe, I’m subconciously admitting I might be wrong?

    I’ll argue this though. We were denied a Michael Bay SUPERMAN movie. Just imagine how the Internet would’ve reacted.

    Casey – Fighting for truth, justice, and the Browski Way.

    Stu – Don’t forget Robin’s other deadly threat: smothering by chest hair. Imagine if Chewbacca hugged you to death.

    neal2zod – Ha, that’s good. Touche. You’re right.

    Logic dictates that Spielberg likes money, and as good capitalist and human, you know what he would like even more? Make even more money. In that regard, even if they’re cinematic failures, those damn movies were planned as toy ads, ATMs really…and they have succeeded even more than they hoped for, what the last one grossed a billion bucks?

    Those movies sucked, but as investments they’re an undisputed success.

  137. I often remember comments & comment threads, even months later. Semi-photographic memory is my gift & my curse.

    Also, KhAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAn!

    Am I doing this right?

  138. Spielberg had such a palpable presence in the ’80s productions. BACK TO THE FUTURE, GOONIES, GREMLINS. Wonder when he slacked off.

  139. Mouth – We need a movie where a major plot point is resolved because the hero detective/agent remembers some random bullshit posted months/years ago at a movie websight.

    Oh wait, Mouth buddy…you’re going to kill me, aren’t you? Under orders of Snyder? Well that’s not so bad, at least you won’t botch it, and you’ll do it quietly and quickly. You’re a professional. I respect efficiency.

  140. BTW folks, how involved you all think Spielberg was on SMASH?

  141. Fred Topel – he certainly had a presence on those movies, but he still let the actual directors do their thing (Joe Dante’s dark sense of humor on Gremlins for example)

    see BTTF, The Goonies and Gremlins were directed by directors who aren’t talent-less jackasses, the Transformers flicks were, that’s the difference

    and besides, he sure had a presence in Super 8

  142. Gentlemen, I will now put on my high hat, an upside down cross and swear in the internet church; Superman is the most boring super hero ever and there will never be a really exciting movie about him (changing his suit and making him meaner, like I suspect Znyder will, doesn’t count!). Sure, I liked Donner’s version and Lester’s first movie even more when I was a kid, but as a comparison Superman’s Mork and Batman’s The Predator. Discuss!

  143. I don’t find Superman boring. I find the fact that he is nearly infinitely powerful to be fascinating. Because doesn’t infinite power corrupt? If so, then how is Superman so good? He could rule us all as a god, and yet he doesn’t. Why? His strength is an accident of biology; it’s his restraint is what makes him a hero.

  144. Sure, he’s got infinite power. But he chooses to do NOTHING of importance. He saves cats from trees and some old hag called Lois Lane from dying, but that’s more or less it (I hope you all know that I’m being obnoxious on purpose here?).

  145. As for Speilberg’s presence, how many out there believes that Poltergeist was directed solely by Tobe Hooper?

  146. Superman’s “restraint” is what makes him a big pussy.

  147. Mouth, look at it this way. You are trained in the deadly arts. You can maim a man with your thumb. Suppose some drunk douchebag hassled you in a bar. You know seven ways to crush his larynx. But you don’t. Because what would it prove? You’d be in the wrong. Does that make you a pussy? Or does it make your character just as strong as your muscles?

    That’s Superman. The entire world is a drunk douchebag whose larynx he, through strength of character alone, chooses not to crush. I admire that.

  148. “Mouth, look at it this way. You are trained in the deadly arts. You can maim a man with your thumb. Suppose some drunk douchebag hassled you in a bar. You know seven ways to crush his larynx. But you don’t. Because what would it prove? You’d be in the wrong. Does that make you a pussy? Or does it make your character just as strong as your muscles?”
    Also if he did that, he’d be Nicolas Cage’s character from CON AIR.

  149. Alright, alright, I guess I can reluctantly agree with you and admit that maybe Superman is kind of a hero.

  150. And the nerdening of America takes another victim.

  151. “You are trained in the deadly arts. You can maim a man with your thumb. Suppose some drunk douchebag hassled you in a bar. ”

    That reminds me of this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jnJJgDPn3s

  152. Yeah I love that Superman is like Bruce Lee and shit. Specifically that scene where he leaves that guy stranded on the small boat in ENTER THE DRAGON. In the sense that deep down inside he knows he could destroy you but he just respects your right to live so much he wouldn’t even dare try.

    He sees nothing in showing off and misusing any of his gifts; believes in winning without confrontation as much as possible. It’s admirable cause it’s so damn easy to give into “yea I’m totally gonna own these people and then spit in their face afterwards cause I can” like people like myself would end up doing.

  153. No, no, no – you’re looking at this the wrong way. Superman can kick everyones ass, that’s true. But he doesn’t give a shit (he takes time to beat up the truck driver in Alaska, but couldn’t care less about nuclear weapons). He’s kind of retarded (sorry for that un-pc remark), maybe because of the same reason that his hair doesn’t grow (our yellow sun, as always), and because of his job as an journalist that’s just inexcusable (is that how you write it in English?)!

  154. PRESIDIO? Damn! Before I clicked the link;”Maybe it´s ROADHOUSE..” But I don´t remember any playing with thumbs from that.

  155. Also, thanks for that LW clip, Shoot. I’d never seen it before and it is really great. How awesome would it be to hang out in that bar? Every night some crazy drunk cop comes in and beats the shit out of every asshole in his way. It’d be better than karaoke.

    Man, between that, the schoolyard shooting scene, and the part where Riggs picks up a hooker so they can watch some Three Stooges together, LW has some of the best deleted scenes out there. You could practically make a whole other movie out of the crazy shit Riggs does before Murtaugh tames him.

  156. OK you guys are talking about movie Superman. I was thinking about comic book Superman who I’ve spent most of my life reading about. The movie dude? well I barely know that guy. I haven’t seen SUPERMAN THE MOVIE in a few years now but I do remember his dickish ways in the sequels especially the last one by Bryan Singer.

  157. “the part where Riggs picks up a hooker so they can watch some Three Stooges together, LW has some of the best deleted scenes out there.”

    Definitely one of the most inspired things I’ve ever seen. It was right then and there that I knew that Shane Black was a definite certified genius. Thank god those LW director’s cut videos back in the days/

  158. That scene’s sooo good. I can’t understand why it was cut from the theatrical release. It not only give us an insight into Rigg’s psyche, it’s a scene so touching I (if I weren’t so damaged psychologically) wan’t to cry every time I see it.

  159. Shoot, are you talking about Sean Connery in Rising Sun?

  160. I actually don’t like the school shooting scene in the Lethal Weapon director’s cut. I like that the first half of the movie is (sorta) realistic, like a French Connection-esque procedural, and eventually grows organically into a more typical Hollywood shoot-em-up after we’ve gotten to care for the characters. The school shooting scene is a good idea but feels too over-the-top to happen so early in the movie. Plus it spells out the “he’s suicidal and fearless so he has an advantage in gunfights” motif too broadly.

  161. “he takes time to beat up the truck driver in Alaska, but couldn’t care less about nuclear weapons”
    unless you count The Quest For Peace. Although that movie is best forgotten.
    “maybe because of the same reason that his hair doesn’t grow”
    He had a mullet in the 90s.
    Also not to get into too much nerd detail here, another reason he won’t interfere more directly in a planet’s development or in a political matter is because as soon as he does, he’d turn the rest of the world against him. There was a story recently about him joining a peacefull anti-government demonstration in Iran, and while he did nothing but just stand there, it caused a big international incident and had the US powers that be worried he’d gone rogue, resulting in him being so sick of being considered a tool of western imperialism he publically renounced his status as a US citizen in the hopes he’d be considered what he always intended to be, a non-partisan friend of the entire planet. If he ever crossed the line into trying to rule the planet or whatnot, even for benevolent reasons, he’d basically have to fight the rest of humanity including all the other superheroes, which has had its fair share of stories exploring it, either canon or “imaginary”, one of the better versions of the latter being “Red Son” which is about what it would be like if he’d been raised in the USSR during the cold war instead of Kansas. While largely very recognisable as the usual Superman, he ends up taking control of the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death and works to bring the rest of the world under the warsaw pact. He does this largely through peacefull means, and doesn’t want to conquer anyone. But he does actually lobotomise those who attack him and ultimately loses patience with the US(which is the last holdout that he expected would join him eventually due to the gradual collapse of capitalism as socialism spread, but Lex Luthor keeps the country going largely as part of his rivalry with Superman) and mounts a full-scale invasion in the climax. There’s also countless “Superman is mind controlled by villains” or “Superman is set up by a shady government agency who don’t trust him and want to strike first” stories dealing with Superman fighting the authorities or his friends who’ve had contingency plans for dealing with him going rogue. I expect there’s going to be elements of the latter in THE MAN OF STEEL, with a modern world thinking Superman’s too good to be true and him having to put up with the military attacking him until he proves he’s legit by defeating Zod.

  162. The so called “Director´s cut” doesn´t need two scenes that establishes that Riggs are emotional unstable. You´ve got “Christmas Tree Cocaine deal” AND “Mr Sniper”. That´s why I seriously doubt it´s Richard Donner´s cut. He should know better.

    Pegsman- no I don´t mean RISING SUN. Are there thumbaction in that one too?

  163. Stu, what can I say, but “that’s the spirit!” But he’s still boring

  164. Shoot, don’t you remember when Sean’s kicking that guys ass just with his thumb?

  165. But Majestyk´s clip was from PRESIDIO. Now you are having me confused.

  166. Now I’m confused. What did Connery beat up that guy in Rising Sun with? His toe? His tooth? His penis? I hate that movie, but I’m sure there’s a scene where he gets to show off his alleged martial skills?

  167. I´m, not gonna bother searchng YouTube for a clip from that movie, but was´n Connery´s character supposed to be an expert on all things japanese, so there probably is a scene in which Connery is “flipping guys into orbit”. I don´t know why Connery would bother learning martial arts after getting his wrist snapped by Seagal,however.I don´t think he was interested in aikido or anything japanese after that…

  168. I don’t think any of the stuff that was cut out of the theatrical version of LW should actually be put back in. I just like these scenes as entities unto themselves, like unseen adventures that happen between the panels of a comic book. I like the idea that Riggs is constantly getting into shit and there’s only room to fit so much of it into a two-hour movie.

  169. Being a James Bond fan I know a lot about how diffïcult Connery can be, and I guess that Seagal breaking his wrist before Never Say Never Again’s just one of the few things he’s been pissed about since the early 80’s. And who cares what lousy movie he beat up some guy in with his penis?!

  170. I´m looking forward watching the theatrical cuts of LW´s. ordered the Blu-ray collection. Hopefully there are even more amzing things on the discs,outside,barroombrawls,Mr Sniper´s and Three Stooges-hookers.

  171. Watching them AGAIN, I meant of course…..

  172. Majestyk, who wouldn’t hire a hooker to watch lame comedy with you on Christmas Eve? And then fuck her brains out? That scene was cut out too, for some reason?!

  173. “Majestyk, who wouldn’t hire a hooker to watch lame comedy with you on Christmas Eve? And then fuck her brains out? That scene was cut out too, for some reason?!”

    Wait a minute! I don´t remember him fuckin´her brains out! That´s called reading between lines!

  174. I didn’t really like the implementation of deleted shit either in those cuts. Particularly with LW2 where you could totally understand why the deleted portions were omitted. However even if they were redundant in LW like Majestyk I just appreciate them for even existing onto themselves. I’m grateful for the director’s cut cause it gave us a platform to see them back when those things were not very common since DVD was still in it’s infancy back then.

  175. “Wait a minute! I don´t remember him fuckin´her brains out! That´s called reading between lines!”

    It is and I’m grateful they kept it vague. I like thinking that after the marathon of the Stooges wrapped up Riggs is all “peace out; your work here is done” to the hooker instead of trying to wiggle some nookie out of the situation.

  176. ^ It’s just “so Riggs” that way and further cements his batshit craziness.

  177. I don´t buy it, that Riggs whose suicidal because of his dead wife, would cruise the city picking up a random prostitute and then fuck her! The guy is lonely,yeah, I think that´s what it´s about. i refuse to believe he fucked that hooker.

  178. I thought Riggs hired that hooker to go watch Three Stooges on TV with him?

    Or is “Three Stooges” code word for a 3-way with his dog?

  179. Looking back at some of the things Mr Hyde writes in my name during the weekend, makes me believe that the potions I drink doesn’t work at all.

  180. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5vbFwqGu9aI

    Pretty good mash-up of the Tintin trailer synched with footage from the old HBO show. Worth a watch for fans of either.

  181. “I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.”

    SOLD!

    Wait, what are you selling?

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