Good omens for Badass Cinema?


Okay, I know Golden Globe nominations aren’t something to take too seriously, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the greatest talents of action and badass cinema are getting some attention this year. I mean look at the nominees for best director:
Kathryn Bigelow
James Cameron
Clint Eastwood
Quentin Tarantino.

And, yeah, Jason Reitman’s on there, but ignore that. The names you see above have got to be the biggest collection of Man’s Man directors nominated for this award in a long time. And yes, Kathryn Bigelow is a woman, but she’s a Man’s Man’s Woman. (And I kind of hope she wins.)

As a bonus, Martin Scorsese gets a special award, and Thomas Jane of STANDER, Chiwetel Ejiofor of REDBELT, Alec Baldwin of MIAMI BLUES and Sigourney Weaver and Bill Paxton of ALIENS all got nominations for their TV work. I’d like to see Dolph on there somehow, but this is a good start. I think the signs are pointing in our direction, fellas. Maybe an Emmy nomination for LAWMAN next, and then ten straight years of asskicking movies.

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93 Responses to “Good omens for Badass Cinema?”

  1. Does Scorsese count as a badass filmmaker? The only real ‘badass’ movie he ever made for my money was The Departed, all his others are more somber meditations on the nature of violence and the men who wield it. Not the same thing as Redbelt or Aliens.

  2. Martin Scorcese cast Harvey Keitel as Judas. Total badass.

  3. Brendan – What, GOODFELLAS isn’t badass enough for you?

    You think I’m funny?

  4. Vern – And really, Eastwood fits the badass juxtaposition here since his movie being honored is one about RUGBY. I mean, Americans don’t know or give a shit about rugby. Even if Jason Bourne is playing it.

    That said, the Globes haven’t been the Oscar forecast like they once were for many many many years. But with the several film critics groups’ awards so far, Kathryn Bigelow is still the front-runner to become the first woman to win Best Director.

    The director of POINT BREAK!

  5. Have to say, Vern, I saw “Redbelt” and couldn’t get through it. I thought the direction and acting was generally good, but the story and script were pretty bad and the characters totally unsympathetic and / or unmemorable. To the point that if you asked me what character a particular actor played, I couldn’t tell you. There are other unpopular films that I’ve seen on your recommendation that I enjoyed, but I just couldn’t get into this one, sorry. And this is from somebody who’s loved much of what he’s written (“Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Wag the Dog” stand out here) but not so much of what he’s directed.

    Brendan – I wouldn’t even say “The Departed” was a badass film. With the exception of Mark Wahlberg, who in it is badass? (The great thing about “Infernal Affairs”, the film it’s based on, is that just about every character in it is.) “Goodfellas”, “Casino”, “Taxi Driver” and the “Cape Fear” remake possibly. But then I didn’t enjoy “The Departed”. I really really really liked “Infernal Affairs” and wasn’t in the mood for another inferior American remake of a foreign film I liked, which this was; even if it was about a hundred times better than most of the dross that you get when Hollywood decides to try “re-imagining” foreign films.

    But regarding your point – I wouldn’t call “Taxi Driver” a somber meditation on the nature of violence. It’s a character study of a violent man, but there’s nothing somber or meditative about it. Travis Bickle, as portrayed by De Niro, is an inch away from snapping throughout the film, so it’s somehow both predictable and shocking when he finally does.

  6. Paul- First of all, full disclosure I prefer the Departed to Infernal. This could be attributed to both the fact that I saw the Depatred first and because I’m from Massachusetts so those slurred R’s hit a special place in my bena caked heart.

    But yeah, I think it is pretty badass. The movie is chock-full of machismo, not the Top Gun style where guys pose around with their shirts off, but the real kind where a bunch of hardasses go toe to toe trying to out-tough one anlother. Everybody in that movie spits out their dialogue and is constantly trying to outman everyone else. I don’t know, DiCaprio hammering in Damon’s face after Damon tries to buy him out is a pretty fucking amazing scene.

    I also got Redbelt on Vern’s recommendation and I loved it. If I could be so bold: Watch it again. I sort of liked it the first time, but it was the second time that sealed the deal. When you’re not all hung up on the plot and trying to figure out who’s double-crossing who and how it all fits together, you can just focus on the characters and the performances, whcih is where Redbelt really excels. The whole movie is essentially the entire world trying to screw over Mike Terry, and the hope is tht he somehow manages to come out of this shitstorm on top and with his code of honor intact.

  7. THE DEPARTED is a tough one for me. One the one hand, I think it’s a vast improvement over GANGS OF NEW YORK and THE AVIATOR, but I’m not particularly impressed with the thematic and plot elements that Scorsese brought to his remake. He’s really working with a heavy hand lately. And by “lately” I mean: everything after AFTER HOURS.

    To my mind, INFERNAL AFFAIRS is a much more efficient machine; its script is tighter, its action more visceral, and its visuals more memorable. I think it’s a superior action film. And while I doubt Scorsese was striving for just an action film, I’m not sure his adjustments did more good than harm.

    But I’ll give THE DEPARTED its characters. With the exception of Nicholson, I think that the actors did a great job.

    I’m not sure I’m qualified to make a “badass” judgement call. But if I was, Martin “teddy bear” Sheen in a windbreaker would have to be a variable.

  8. Not a big fan of The Departed (or Scorsese in general, After Hours excepted) but Wahlberg in the booties was quite badass.

  9. I have to admit to kind of finding the booties to be accidentally funny. I don’t get why they would focus on such a goofy detail right at the finale of the film. Same thing with the rat on the ledge.

    It’s nice to see some other people who agree that THE DEPARTED was overrated. I like it, but in a “that was fun but nothing special sort of way,” not the “this is an all-time classic crime movie” way that a lot of people seem to feel.

    Also I second AFTER HOURS as being awesome.

  10. Mr. Majestyk: AFTER HOURS is so great. I must have sat through a dozen crappy Griffin Dunne movies hoping to find a vehicle for his talents as good as that one.

    Everyone in that movie gives a memorable performance, even Cheech & Chong.

    The film’s writer, Joseph Minion, also wrote Oscar winner and poor crazy bastard Cage’s VAMPIRE’S KISS.

  11. The thing I like about the booties is that they make it clear in a blackly comic way that Damon is just so utterly fucked. Wahlberg has thought this through thoroughly, and not only is Damon catching a bullet, the dude who killed him is going to walk away scot-free on rubber soles that leave absolutely no evidence.

  12. Majestyk,

    You’re totally right, that’s what they were going for. And I guess I can see why that would work for you. But for me, I’m too distracted by the comic nature of the visuals for the ending to have any impact. It jumped out at me each time I saw the movie as a weird, accidentally funny distraction. It only could have been worse if Damon had accidentally let a fart slip out in fear before he got shot.

  13. Dan Prestwich: I don’t want to come across like a jerk or anything, but I actually think GOODFELLAS is over-rated too. I don’t think it’s awful, but I have a lot of problems with that film.

    But like someone said upthread, it’s better than most of what comes out in any given year.

  14. I don’t know, I think it’s supposed to be funny. Like, Damon manages to weasel through all this shit and he gets killed in his own apartment by some dude with dishwashing gloves on his feet. I mean, the movie kind of was an odd mix of serious crime thriller and screwball farce. It worked for me. Best thing about the movie, in fact.

  15. Oh come on, Scorcese is more badass than Tarantino will ever be!

  16. Jareth,

    I’m pretty sure not thinking GOODFELLAS is the greatest movie ever is legal grounds for declaring you a jerk. Jerk.

    In all seriousness, there’s nothing wrong with being less enthusiastic about established classics, and I kind of hate the people who feel otherwise. I love GOODFELLAS (and CASINO) a lot, but more for stylistic/formal reasons than the content, and I certainly can see that there are many things about those movies that a reasonable person could dislike. You know what movies I like a lot but don’t love and don’t consider all-time greats like everyone else? GODFATHER 1 & 2. I’m not just being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, those movies never meant as much to me as they seem to for everyone else.


    You make a keen observation when you say the movie is a mix of serious and screwball. But if I had to make a glib observation, my guess would be that a lot of the screwball elements are unintentional (the absurd climax where everyone turns out to be a double agent and everyone gets abruptly shot in the head). And even if the humor of that final scene is intended, for me it deflates any potential impact the final scene might have had.

  17. Here’s my deal with Scorsese: There’s nothing wrong with him. All of his movies are good. He is an excellent filmmaker. I have nothing bad to say about him. So why don’t I ever want to see his movies a second time (After Hours and Taxi Driver excepted)? I don’t know. I can’t explain it. But I guess that means that just because something is objectively good doesn’t mean I have to subjectively love it.

  18. I dunno i find myself watching Gangs of New York at least once a year. The Butcher is in my top 10 villains of all time. The way he takes out the new sheriff makes me cringe every time I think about it. He’s just such a mean motherfucker up until he dies, there are no redeeming qualities about him.

    Scorsese is a genius as far as I’m concerned.
    Please some dis-credit me and point out another director who can claim such masterpieces as
    Raging Bull
    Taxi Driver
    After Hours
    Gangs of New York
    The Departed

    None of those movies are bad. He puts his heart into every project he tackles and ,for me, it shows.

  19. I think even the people who love Scorsese would agree his movies are hard to go back to. Raging Bull and King of Comedy are absolutely grueling to sit through and that goes for several of his other ones. And then some of them are really really long and so it’s a huge effort to actually sit down and watch them again.

  20. I would actually love to rewatch the Butcher scenes from Gangs of New York but the movie as a whole was kind of a slog for me. What an amazing, interesting world he created, and what a lame story he chose to tell in it.

    That one’s the anomaly, though. Most of the time, I like the movies he makes but when they’re over, I’m done with them. I don’t think about them and I have no desire to revisit them. Rewatchability is a key component to my favorite films, which is why I’ve never really been into Scorsese, despite his obvious strengths as an artist.

  21. Mr. Majestyk: I’ll actually go one step further than your insightful remarks on GANGS OF NEW YORK and say that I think Daniel Day Lewis’ performance was a bit too one-note for me. In fact, I put off watching THERE WILL BE BLOOD for months for fear that he’d adopt the same strategy in that movie.

    In my defence, it’s probably safe to say that Ian McShane’s performance in DEADWOOD set the standard for that kind of character in a historical drama. Anything seen afterward is going to suffer.

    Dan Prestwich: Even a grump like me will admit that the stylistic/formal coked-out sequence in GOODFELLAS was masterful.

    dieselboy: I don’t entirely agree with your list, but I’d be curious to know why you’d include THE AVIATOR and not KING OF COMEDY.

  22. I think the booties are more badass than funny, but that moment is the punchline of the whole movie, with a great buildup full of funny moments. I mean, he’s at the guy’s funeral and figures out the guy stole his girl. Then he comes home and gets dissed by his neighbor’s dog. And the look on his face standing there holding his groceries, and he knows he’s fucked. I love that ending, that whole sequence is perfect. I’m mixed on the rat, though.

    I don’t know, I’m not as obsessive as most people about Scorsese, and I actually didn’t get that into RAGING BULL. But KING OF COMEDY and GOODFELLAS I can watch over and over again.

  23. I don’t really have any trouble rewatching Scorsese movies, in fact one of the joys of his work is how entertaining and exuberant his best films remain, even after you’ve seen them a few times. But I’m sympathetic to the lack of personal connection some people have to his work. Despite the fact that the man has made I’d say 7 or 8 very good-to-excellent films, and every film I’ve seen by him has been worth watching, I don’t consider him to be a favorite of mine. I don’t “feel” his work as deeply as I do my favorite filmmakers.

    Since we sort of brushed by the topic earlier, I’m kinda curious to hear from others: what beloved, established classic films do you flat-out dislike or even hate? I know everyone has a few of them. One for me is THE GRADUATE, which I find unfunny and obnoxiously self-conscious/show-offy. Speaking as someone who was and is a socially awkward young man, I do not find the protagonist to be interesting or sympathetic in any manner, and I don’t find the film to have any insight into him or his situation.

    There is no denying that this movie is a universally embraced classic, and I can’t stand. What movies make you guys feel the same way?

  24. can’t stand it, I meant.

  25. Count me as another vote in favor of the booties. Its both a funny image and a great visual way to convey exactly whats about to happen without having to be explicit about it. It’s the final punchline for Damon, who almost plays it as a relief. He knows he’s the bad guy here, and seems almost confused about why he’s still alive. He doesn’t even get all that mad about the various indignations he’s been suffering, because he knows he deserves it and just seems to be kind of waiting for justice to catch up with him. Finally, he seems like he’s accepted that apparently he’s not going to get punished and seems to decide he’s going to have to figure outwhat he’s going to do with his life (he’s buying groceries at the end, a symbol that he’s investing in the future again) and then he opens the door and all he has to do is look at Wahlberg’s shoes to know that he’s gonna die and no one’s ever going to be punished or even care. And he just kind of gives a little chuckle of relief, “thank god I’m not going to have to try to build a new life” and down he goes. Meanwhile, Wahlberg isn’t the least bit interested in looking cool or making speeches. They both know what’s going on here, so he gets it done and walks out, cool and professional.

    So, yeah. I love THE DEPARTED (never saw INFERAL AFFAIRS, though, so maybe that’s why) and I think the booties perfectly capture its delicate mix of dry gallows humor and grim violence. The rats at the end might be a little overkill, but oh well.

    On the other hand, I think CASINO is ten times better than GOODFELLAS (which is stll fairly good). So what do I know?

  26. Well since you asked the most disappointed I’d been with a highly recommended classic was Blade Runner. That movie was just bleh for me. The entire thing moves along at a snails pace building up to nothing really. I dunno it just seems like they build up this entire futuristic dystopian world and then tell a story about some boring ass old man who hates his job, and he’s not even very good at it or badass. It just seemed pointless, I thought something bigger was going to happen.

    Harrison Fords tired ass narration over the thing doesn’t help either.
    If it had been maybe 50% more escaped android Rutger Hauers terrorizing future New Yorkers maybe I could have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately it put me to sleep and required two attempts to finish.

  27. Dan Prestwich: I don’t know if it’s a sacred classic, but I dislike NETWORK. I think it’s heavy-handed, didactic and cinematically inert.

    I’m not a fan of SCHINDLER’S LIST either. And I think EYES WIDE SHUT only works as a comedy.

    Mr. Subtlety: One of my problems with GOODFELLAS was that I don’t think Ray Liotta gave particularly compelling performance. So CASINO definitely rectified any casting concerns. And I like the note of melancholy that runs through CASINO.

  28. OK, this post is full of SPOILERS so if you don’t like SPOILERS about “Infernal Affairs”, “Chinatown”, “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers”, “Suspicion” or “The Departed”, please do not read.

    I’m serious. Don’t read it. I’m discussing the endings of all of these films here.




    The one part of “The Departed” that I actively disliked was the very end bit. To me it came off like the end of the 1950s version of “The Bodysnatchers” when Kevin McCarthy suddenly stumbles into a building and learns that everything’s going to be alright, “Suspicion” when it’s revealed that Cary Grant actually isn’t playing a psychopathic killer after all, and everything’s ok; or “Dawn of the Dead” when you have that stupid tacked-on bit with the helicopter at the very end.

    This is what I mean about watching a truly great foreign film followed by the American remake. If I hadn’t seen the original beforehand the bit in “The Departed” may not have made such a strong impression on me, although I’d still have thought it was a little out of place. But here’s how “Infernal Affairs” ends: the cop (the Matt Damon character from “The Departed”, can’t remember who plays him in the original) is at the funeral of the undercover guy (Leo DiCaprio in the remake). His girlfriend has pretty much abandoned him. He’s at an obvious crossroads. The camera plays on his face – which way will he go? Will he redeem himself for what he’s done before, or will he become worse than his old boss was? You simply don’t know. There’s a bit of narration and then the film ends, right there, on that note. The end. It’s beautifully subtle, it’s ambiguous, it’s bleak but at the same time there’s a chance that this guy will be redeemed. That’s an ending.

    So then Scorcese adds on a tacked-on bit at the end where the same cop is shot to death in his own apartment by a scenery-chewing Mark Wahlberg. A bit that looks like an interfering producer saw the film, thought to himself “Wait, this means the bad guy gets away with it! We can’t have that!” and decided to add on this little bit of idiocy. And yes, it really is as bad as “Bodysnatchers”. There’s no reason for it to be there except for moral closure and to tidy things up. Well sorry, boys, but that doesn’t do it for me.

    I mean, if Polanski’s “Chinatown” had ended with the police suddenly pulling up and arresting the guy for fucking his daughter and keeping their offspring in his attic, does anybody think it would have made it a better film? Yes, it would’ve been more accessible, but that misses the point. I hate bleakness for bleakness’ sake, but the same can be said about convenient “happy” endings – not that “The Departed” really has that, but you guys know what I mean. And I especially hate producer interference that spoils a movie, and this reeks of it.




    END OF SPOILERS. You can safely carry on your lives now, thank you very much.

  29. Dan – I find BARRY LYNDON agonizingly boring, despite one excellent sword fight. I also can’t stand 5TH ELEMENT, I find it wretched and unwatchable (didn’t see it when I was a youngster, like everyone else did, so maybe that’s it). Let’s see, what else. Oh, here’ a good one. I think 8 1/2 is trite, boring, and self-serving. I think GONE WITH THE WIND is a shallow, bloated antique. And, probably most controversially here, I love Hitchcock but find NORTH BY NORTHWEST to be dull, meandering, and uninvolving (though it has a few showpiece scenes which work on their own). How’s that for controvery?

  30. Paul: I don’t think it was a producer that insisted on the ending to THE DEPARTED, but rather was the result of Scorsese grafting a religious theme onto the original film’s framework. It wasn’t a tacked-on ending; earlier
    elements of the film build up to it.

    INTERNAL AFFAIRS isn’t as ambitious, and, frankly, I think it benefits from a more narrow focus, especially when it could be argued that Scorsese really didn’t resolve his religious material in THE DEPARTED in a particularly interesting way.

  31. Mr. Subtlety: After that opening scene in 8 1/2 I had such high hopes for the film, hopes that went unfulfilled. But man, that opening scene is so cool.

    I don’t much care for APOCALYSPE NOW either.

  32. Paul — I don’t see the booties ending as a tacked-on “Happy” ending. True, it negelects the ambiguity you mention from the original, but I think it serves the film’s character quite well, and better, maybe than an open-ended ending might. I think Damon’s character in the film is kind of a cipher, we never really know why he’s doing what he’s doing or what he’s really thinking. Ending it ambiguously wouldn’t really have as much impact because we don’t understand him well enough to make a guess, and don’t like him enough to hope he learns a lesson. Instead, Scocese makes it APPEAR its going to end without closure, and then surprises us with kind of a darkly funny denouement, which I think nicely closes the thing (see my above post “in defense of the booties for why I think the scene works).

  33. Well, actually too many to mention Dan.
    For example I don’t like Robert Downey in iron Man, where everybody says he’s genius. Even if it has comedy elements I don’t buy it that a socialite playboy character is an engineering genius at the same time. Real technical, geeky people spend their waking hours thinking about their beloved hardware. Robert Downey’s character in the movie seems too busy enjoying himself. More like a rockstar then someone who can sit down and invent the ultimate fight machine.
    Another one is Gran Torino. I love Eastwood as much as anyone else. I think Bird is directorial genius. But Gran Torino fills its time with the lead character preaching his own way of life. The politics gets in the way. This is regardless whether I agree or disagree with the politics. It seems the whole plot is set up to show just how valid his way of life is (work ethics, family values; not the casual racism). His transformation at the end is just a minor tweak in his world outlook. I would have loved the movie better if he were against problems that would challenge him much more. I mean, the asian bad guys rape their own niece to revenge one of them beaten up by an old white man. Come on! What kind of asian gangster would do that. Wouldn’t it have made more reasonable if they had killed his dog, smashed his windows, covered his lawn with pig poo?
    But this is just how I feel. I understand that other people have other standards with which to measure the pleasure.

    As far as Scorcese goes; Other then GANGS and AVIATOR (Scorsese working with a heavy hand, like Jareth said in the comments above) I like all of ’em.

    I didn’t find the Wahlberg’s booties comic at all. They were functional. The real bad ass knows it’s not the leather jacket that maketh the bad ass. Wahlberg’s facial expression when pulling the trigger is for me the high point. It expresses regret for having not done this earlier: the realisation that this action will not turn events around, at the same time bad ass professionalism that it needs to be done, and a lot more that would take pages to explain.

    I haven’t rewatched the Departed; My memory has selected the booties scene as the stand out scene.

  34. I love the ending of the Departed but fuck the rat and fuck that state house view. No where in Boston will you find that view. Great movie besides that. The booties make that movie.

  35. A classic I hate is Harold & Maude. Every single thing about it is just so forced. There’s nothing worse than a movie that tries to cram whimsy down your throat. I just didn’t buy a single second of that movie. I not only hated it, it made me like the work of Wes Anderson less because it was so obviously an inspiration.

  36. Most “classic” films I like. “The Third Man”, “Twelve Angry Men”, “Citizen Kane”, etc.

    The one I can’t get my head around is “Vertigo”. I could write a lot on that film, but suffice to say I think it’s Hitchcock’s least interesting failure, and I really don’t understand why it’s had the critical appreciation that it’s had. (That’s coming from somebody who counts “The Birds” as one of his favorite films ever, and “North by Northwest” as a sentimental favorite.)

    Zeez – everyone has their own subjective opinions of films. And hey, if you’ve enjoyed a bad one, well that’s peachy by me. That said, there ARE basic standards of storytelling, character-building, dialogue, soundtrack and plausibility, and while one of my personal favorite films is “Hackers” for purely sentimental reasons, I’m not blind to its many faults.

  37. And it took me three tries to like Blade Runner, and in between the second and third I had to read the book and watch the 17 hours of special features on the DVD. Then it was pretty good. Still kind of boring, but if you just kind of stare at the pretty pictures like a lava lamp and perk up during the Rutger Hauer scenes, I can see why people like it so much.

  38. I can dig complaints about 8 1/2 being naval-gazing, but I’ve never understood when people called it boring. It’s so exuberant and funny and filled with spectacle… but then, I am a big fan of the film.

    Going back to DEPARTED but not to the whole booties thing (I’m crying uncle, clearly I’m in the minority on that issue), I think my biggest overall complaint with the film is the pacing. I think I recall reading an interview with Socrsese where he said his favorite thing about the movie is the way it’s constantly building, but to me that’s the worst part. The movie never seems to stop for a breather or let you ponder anything or get your bearings, it’s constantly move move move. It’s not as manic as the coke-out part of GOODFELLAS, but it’s similarly breathless, and each time I’ve watched DEPARTED I feel like I never get a chance to get immersed in it.

    It’s all fast cuts and zooms and the camera is constantly moving. Many scenes feel abrupt or underdeveloped to me, there is a lot of information put forth and numerous characters introduced that seem important but ultimately go nowhere or get sidelined. I could be wrong, but I feel like there may have been a lot of material edited out of the film. At times it’s pace is so brisk that DEPARTED feels to me like a 2 1/2 hour trailer for a 6 hour movie.

    Then again, you could argue that other movies I have high regard for, say DARK KNIGHT or Scorsese’s own CASINO, have the same abbreviated, kinetic stride. For some reason those films work for me as great popular entertainment, but DEPARTED is only a mild pleasure.

  39. Mr. Majestyk: I like BLADE RUNNER a lot (I also like PARIS, TEXAS, so count me among the lava lamp watchers). But one thing I don’t get is how fans of BLADE RUNNER talk about how deep the movie is. I’m really not convinced that it’s a particularly profound movie.

    And I agree with you on HAROLD & MAUDE (not to be confused with t.v.’s MAUDE starring Bea Arthur, which rules). And I dislike EASY RIDER for similar reasons.

  40. See, Easy Rider is druggy as opposed to whimsical. Whimsy is supposed to unfetter my spirit from the constraints of adult society or some shit, while drugginess is just supposed to make my brain feel funny. I don’t mind druggy movies, especially when I’m on drugs. Which is the only way Easy Rider should be watched, in my opinion. It’s how it was made and so we should all respect the artists’ intent.

  41. Oh, there are differences between EASY RIDER and HAROLD & MAUDE, for sure. I guess they just both seem full of posturing to me, full of artiface. Both seem unnatural to me.

  42. Paul: WTF no spoiler warning for DAWN OF THE DEAD??? ;)

    I looked through IMDB’s top 250 movies and picked out the following movies that I think are way overrated:

    DONNIE DARKO – yeah yeah time travel weird stuff wormholes barf
    REQUIEM FOR A DREAM – yeah yeah druggies are messed up. Not even Jennifer Connelly (CAREER OPPORTUNITIES) could save it for me
    LORD OF THE RINGS PART 2 and 3 – take every overly dramatic artifice that annoyed you just a little bit about LOTR part 1 and multiply it by 2, and then by 3. Hey, why didn’t they just get the eagles to drop the ring into the volcano?
    TRAINSPOTTING – wow druggies do some messed up stuff don’t they? sigh.
    V FOR VENDETTA – soooo heavy handed, you wanna puke
    CRASH – soooo heavy handed, I did puke.
    THE AFRICAN QUEEN – this is what they called “acting” back in the day, apparently. I just can’t watch some of these old movies, it looks like they filmed amateur hour at the old folk’s home.
    MYSTIC RIVER – like the Harry Potter movies, this has what I call a “Three’s Company” plot. If any character actually spoke up and said something the big misunderstanding / plot device would be resolved and the movie could end.
    JACOB’S LADDER – Oh god it’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, just 2 hours long.
    BRAZIL – I try to like it. I really do. More owl creek bridge BS, too. I think I’ll try to start a new acronym – AOAOCB. This plot device might have been new 100+ years ago but people still get their minds BLOWN AWAY by it on a regular basis. One step up from IWAAD (it was all a dream)

    This is not including movies from the last 10 years that are voted way up on the list just because they are new, like STAR TREK the movie (not STAR TREK: THE MOVIE). And why the hell has SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION been #1 since IMDB existed? I mean, it’s a fun movie but jeez it’s not like it is high art.

  43. Yeah, I don’t get the Shawshenk thing either. It’s a good movie, sure. But to me it’s really no big deal at all. Did every single person who voted for it on IMDB see it for the first time at their ninth birthday party when everybody in the whole class came and had a great time and talked about it for months afterward, even the girl they had a crush on who gave them their first kiss during Spin the Bottle?

  44. Dan — I agree that 81/2 is crammed with stuff, but I find it boring becuase i don’t care about any of it. It’s just tiring and uninvolving to me. It is gorgeously shot, though, and Jareth is right, the opening is pretty fantastic. Ulimately, I don’t share most of Fellini’s fetishes or obsessions, so having them cranked to 11 is just a higher volume of stuff I don’t find particularly moving.

    On the other hand, HAROLD AND MAUDE is a fucking masterpiece in my opinion. I don’t find the whimsy forced at all, in fact the film is quite dark in some ways. Definitely way more than Wes Anderson’s films, each of which seems more tiresome and cloyingly precious than the last. But you might have to like and accept the music of Cat Stevens to enjoy it. The soundtrack is a major player in the film and if Cat seems like a 70s soft-rock cheeseball to you then its just not going to work. I think Cort and Gordon are both great and Hal Ashby knows how to put an edge on things so they don’t ever get too cutesy (especially since it ends the way it does).

  45. Agree with mr subtlety on the Harold and Maude thing. The sick jokes of Harold are the kind they don’t put in feel good movies anymore.
    Harold and Maude is the only hour and a half where in I am able to enjoy Cat Stevens. So the music does something right. Though some might say it’s evidence of the wrongness.

    But yes, as with so many movies you have to like the atmosphere.

  46. I hesitated to post this earlier for fear of everyones scorn but if anyone can tell me what is so amazing about Midnight Cowboy I’d be appreciative.

  47. I mean other than the good acting. Is it supposed to appeal to the person in all of us that yearns to go to New York and whore ourselves out for 20 dollars?

  48. I’ll admit that maybe I wasn’t in the mood to watch Harold & Maude. I knew it was a hole in my movie-watching curriculum, but I’d planned on filling it myself someday when I was in the mood for that kind of thing. Instead, I let it slip to some indie rock friends that I’d never seen it and they simply wouldn’t let it rest until I’d agreed to sit down and watch the entire thing right then and there. Maybe it’s because I was more interested in hanging out with my friends than getting an advanced lesson in Proto-Quirk 101, but the entire movie just seemed phony to me. I got no beef with Cat Stevens, but the music was trying to fill me with emotions that the movie just didn’t make me feel, and all of Maude’s aphorisms sounded like they should have come from a poster of a cat hanging from a tree limb. I’m glad you guys like it, but yeah, to say it didn’t work on me is an understatement. Maybe it’s the kind of thing you have to experience before you’re 25.

  49. I saw INFERNAL AFFAIRS long before THE DEPARTED and I loved it. Hong Kong has been doing these kinds of cat-and-mouse gangster thrillers for a long time and this one takes that accumulated experience polishes it to a mirror finish. The two sequels are pretty good as well. Still, I think I like THE DEPARTED even better. It’s bigger and more ambitious, and it expands on some of the minor subplots in a very satisfying way. INFERNAL AFFAIRS has a tighter script and a smaller focus, THE DEPARTED is more sweeping and epic. I think both work really well.

    I don’t really get the SHAWSHANK love either. Well, actually I guess I do get it – it’s one of those polished, Oscar-ready, middlebrow films that’s tailor made for mainstream acceptance – but I don’t know why this one in particular has been singled out or why it’s always hovering at the top of the imdb ratings. Not that anyone should give a shit about the imdb ratings; I believe TRANSFORMERS 2 was in the top ten for a while.

    I like HAROLD & MAUDE and I saw it after I turned 25, but then I like Wes Anderson too so my quirk threshold is pretty high. It went to some pretty dark places too, something that’s missing from a lot of modern indie quirk-fests.

    One popular film that I wasn’t that keen on was SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Yeah, that opening ten minutes is great, but after that it’s a very generic war movie that seems pretty satisfied with itself for a film that really doesn’t say anything new or interesting. I can’t write it off completely because the action scenes are great and I’m a sucker for a good action scene. Actually I saw it at a double feature with THE THIN RED LINE, which I thought was far better. My opinion was in the minority at the time but I find a lot more people who agree with me these days.

  50. Mr. Subtlety: You’ve made thoughtful points in the past that have forced me to re-evaluate my earlier impressions, so I’ll trust your good sense and echo Mr. Majestyk’s comment that maybe I didn’t give HAROLD & MAUDE a fair shot. No doubt the film deserves another chance. Having said that, though, I doubt it will integrate its music as well as MCCABE & MRS MILLER did. Man I enjoyed that film.

    CrustaceanHate: I agree with you on SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The Chicago Reader put it like this:

    “Steven Spielberg’s 1998 exercise in Oscar-mongering is a compilation of effects and impressions from all the war movies he’s ever seen, decked out with precise instructions about what to think in Robert Rodat’s script and how to feel in John Williams’s hokey music. There’s something here for everybody—war is hell (Sam Fuller), war is father figures (Oliver Stone), war is absurd (David Lean, Stanley Kubrick), war is necessary (John Ford), war is surreal (Francis Coppola), war is exciting (Robert Aldrich), war is upsetting (all of the preceding and Lewis Milestone), war is uplifting (ditto)—and nothing that suggests an independent vision, unless you count seeing more limbs blown off than usual (the visceral opening sequence, showing Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944) or someone getting graphically shot underwater.”

  51. TITANIC and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION both felt as if a close friend hit me in the face with a roadkilled possum then tried to convince me it was an awesome experience. As fairy tales, as syrupy cartoons, I still don’t get it. All you hombres blasting against ANTICHRIST back there, bristling all up at the Von Trier ouevre? Nothing on the befuddled anger I felt when I attempted to watch these films–both of which I thought would be good, if treacly, fun. The characters seem to have been written by a precocious, cloying preadolescent sociopath, attempting not to ape human behavior, but to instead make a serious-minded attempt at modernizing the behaviors and attitudes present in an early silent film, ie: all bad guys leer, all good guys have big moist eyes and gentle smiles, no gray areas whatsoever (they did it, folks! they made a movie about a bunch of imprisoned murderers with no moral fuzzy spots! there’s only bad murderers like the naughty, naughty rapist guy and good murderers like the sad old guy and the penguin march man!).


    Speaking of silent films, any you folks ever sit through GREED? Now that’s a hell of a thing to do. Sure to warm any fuzzys left chilly by the previous two films…

  52. dieselboy–

    It’s the performances. And the whole thematic death-of-innocence-reborn-with-experience thing. His dream is shallow and turns corrupt, but his ultimate love for Ratso is neither corrupt nor shallow.

    There’s context, too. The fifties were at last dead, America’s brief flirtation with love, peace and hair grease had begun to turn sour, and Midnight Cowboy was the cinematic flipside to the Manhattan that only a few years before always seemed to look like Rock Hudson’s and Doris Day’s personal pastel playground (I fucking love PILLOW TALK. Jesus.).

  53. I like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN as an exciting and well made film experience, but it is kind of full of shit. Spielberg said that he was trying to make a war movie that took all of the glory and sentimentality out of war, and for ten minutes, he succeeded. I don’t think anyone will argue that the opening of the film makes warfare look like the epitome of hell on earth, a sensory and emotional overload both from external stimuli and inner panic. Then the story takes over and it just becomes a thrilling war story with some real good full-body explosions. Very enjoyable on those terms, but Spielberg just couldn’t escape his essential Spielberginess to make the movie he set out to make.

    Still a better movie than Shakespeare In Love, though.

  54. I don’t get all the Shawshank hate. I must just be waxing nostalgic. As far as Steven King books turned sappy movie go I’d say The Green Mile was way cornier.

  55. It’s not like I’m hating. It’s a good movie. But to consistently be in the top two on IMDB for the past decade or more? That’s what I don’t get. That means people just keep voting for that motherfucker over every single other movie in existence. It just seems arbitrary to me. Why this movie?

  56. Anyone seen the Russian film by Elem Klimov called “Come and See” (Russian title: Idi i Smotri)? It is, in my mind, the only film that “makes warfare look like the epitome of hell on earth, a sensory and emotional overload both from external stimuli and inner panic.”

  57. That is, the only film that pulls it off for the entire run-time.

  58. Jareth — thanks for the vote of confidence, mate. I think unfortunately HAROLD AND MAUDE has become a victim of late ’00 cynical hipness. Nowadays, it seems like everyone is trying to sell something cute and quirky, and it gets more tiresome as it seems more and more like a disigenuous, calculated act. I think Ashby and writer Colin Higgins are the real deal, though — genuine weirdos honestly interested in odd people.

    I respect that they don’t really pull their punches about Harold’s obession with death– the “suicide” scenes are partly slapstick, but I love how realistic they look (it’s almost surreal, and certainly a little distrubing). They also are willing to directly address death after spending a whole movie making light of it – at the end, its a pretty bleak picture. I find it unique, thoughtful, and heartfelt, but, like with most films that wear their heart of their sleeves, if you don’t buy into its its gonna feel particularly grating. And as Mr. M points out, if you’re not in the mood to buy its message of joie du vie its pretty easy to dismiss it as just a bunch of hippie-dippie aphorisms, but I guess that’s probably true with any film which is so earnest. Anyway, its not for all tastes but I will staunchly defend it as a unique and well-made film which also sports an interesting perspective on its time.

    As for PRIVATE RYAN, I also don’t get the fawning over that one either. Its a very competently made men-on-a-mission adventure, but that’s about it. I mean, maybe that’s enough, I don’t know. As that article you cite points out, its almost a summation of war films up to that point – which I guess you could argue is either a good or bad thing, but ultimately I just enjoyed watching it and didn’t think much about it after that.

  59. Mr. M- I wasn’t coming at you directly by any means as I too don’t understand why Shawshank is no. 1 on IMDB. Frankly it shouldn’t even be in the top 25.Maybe somewhere in the 25-50 zone but even then thats debatable.

    However I do find it to be a very well made film and very in keeping with the spirit of the book. Im almost sure its identical in every way down to the majority of the dialogue but it’s been some years since I’ve read it.

  60. It’s cool, dieselboy, I knew you weren’t coming after me. I was just clarifying my point. I haven’t read the story or seen the movie in years and years, but the only major difference between them I can recall is the title.

    And Gwai Lo, I queued up that Russian war movie on your say-so. Looks pretty awesome.

  61. COME AND SEE is great. Horrific, beautiful and great. And he never made a film after that.

  62. COME AND SEE is the only Klimov film that I was able to find relatively easily, I’ve been meaning to see AGONY (RASPUTIN) for a long time.

  63. OK, here we go:

    “Shawshank” – never saw it. Always meant to, never got around to it. Same with “The Green Mile”. “Stand by Me” is one of my favorite movies ever though.
    “Fargo” – I’ve never quite “got” it. It’s like “Redbelt”, it looks like a good movie, feels like a good movie, but it can’t hold my interest.
    “Donnie Darko” – I really really really want to love it. So many things about it are great, but there’s one thing that kills me every time and that’s the dialogue between Jena Malone and Jake Gyllenhaal. No teenager has ever or will ever speak like that.
    “Requiem for a Dream” – Never seen it or heard of it. What am I missing?
    “LOTR” – I believe I’ve given my opinion on these movies.
    “Trainspotting” – absolute classic, Ewan MacGregor’s never been this good. Sorry, but I gotta disagree with you on this one. I’ve seen it at least eight times and never stopped loving it.
    “V for Vendetta” – would’ve been better if they’d got someone who could have done an English accent to play the part of Evie. (E.V. Get it?) Also the action scene with the two loutish policemen at the beginning is silly and overdone. Other than that, there’s not a thing about it that I don’t like. Yeah, it’s heavy-handed, but it’s a melodrama, and a fantastic one.
    “Crash” – Again, I’ve never seen it, largely because of word of mouth and Vern’s review here. (I take it you mean the Paul Haggis one not that David Cronenberg one?)
    “The African Queen” – HERESY! Katherine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, a boat and some nazis! What’s not to love?
    “Mystic River” – Never got around to seeing it.
    “Jacob’s Ladder” – Never seen it or heard of it. Again, what am I missing?
    “Brazil” – I find it heavy going but incredibly rewarding. I love the ironic final twist at the end, too. But Michael Palin shouldn’t be wearing a mask…

    Don’t understand the “Owl Creek” references. Another film that I’ve not seen or heard of?

    “Saving Private Ryan” – I usually save the nationalistic stuff for my good friend who refuses to even watch “U-571”, “The Patriot”, “Pearl Harbor” or this one on principle. But I’ll make an exception here. Look, America played a tiny, tiny part in the European campaigns during World War 2. I don’t want to make light of the achievements of the American soldiers who fought and sometimes died on European soil, I’m not a complete asshole. But films like this – in which the two minutes or so in which British troops actually featured portrayed them as craven cowards who needed the heroic Americans to come in and save them all – are generally not well-regarded over here.

    Besides, it practically invented shakycam, a device that has never once been used for good in any film ever made ever. There’s a reason to condemn this movie to the fires of hell. I’m not kidding. (Did anybody else find “The Bourne Supremacy” impossible to follow on account of not being able to tell what the heck was going on?)

    Finally, “Shakespeare in Love” – well I thought it was good. Not great, not close to great, but very enjoyable. The most overhyped thing in it was Judi Dench’s five-minute portrayal of the Queen that earnt her an Oscar for her troubles. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good performance for what it was, but Oscar-worthy?

  64. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM is a horribly depressing movie about 4 or 5 druggies who (guess what?) ruin their lives with drugs. I have been around real people who ruin their lives with hard drugs and the movie doesn’t glamorize it, which is a good thing, but there doesn’t seem to be much to the movie except for showing horrible crap that happens when you do drugs. Kind of like CRASH – racism is bad, mmkay? I just don’t see how these are deep and powerful messages even if the movies are constructed better than an after school special. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM = LESS THAN ZERO for the 2000s, just made by the guy who did PI so it’s full of avid farts.

    “An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge” is a famous short story from the late 1800s that, well, SPOILER WARNING for both JACOB’S LADDER and BRAZIL…. It’s about a guy who gets hanged during the Civil War I think, and the rope breaks and he runs for it, gets away briefly, is chased by a posse, etc, and the story gets more dreamlike and makes less and less sense as it progresses and then whoah he’s hanging on the end of the rope and everything that happened in the majority of the story was just what went through the guy’s mind as he was dying. So it had an Edgar Allan Poe type twist ending that was probably pretty radical at the time, and yet people still incorporate this kind of twist into movies and expect us to be surprised, when in reality it just pisses us off because it’s an old idea cribbed from dozens of other sources. Much like “it was all a dream” (BOXING HELENA), “hooker with a heart of gold” (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S), “multiple personality disorder” (THE 3), “omigod he/she is a robot!!” (ALIEN), “historical-era setting is actually just an isolated community in the modern-day world” (THE VILLAGE), etc. etc. etc.

  65. Mr. Subtlety – I’m familiar with the cynics that you refer to. A couple of them give me no end of grief for liking AMELIE and DELICATESSEN. And I actually like much of the Wes Anderson stuff that seems to get on their nerves so badly. It will be interesting to watch HAROLD & MAUDE again in light of Anderson’s stuff.

    Paul – I think Kubrick did handheld long before Spielberg, and in a war movie too: FULL METAL JACKET. Obviously Kubrick did it much better. But I agree with you on TRAINSPOTTING. Really enjoy that film, and it should be instructive to anyone trying to adapt a novel.

    JACOB’S LADDER is a late 1980s pseudo-spiritual suspense film by Adiran (FLASHDANCE) Lyne. Personally, I think it is trite and predictable. It pretty much steals its visual style outright from sources as diverse as Joel-Peter Witkin and Quiet Riot rock videos. But it’s not awful, TIm Robbins is good in it, and George Costanza is almost as good at playing a lawyer as Buster Bluth was earlier this year.

  66. Jareth — Yeah, it seems like there’s a certain contingent that refused to accept anything which is optimistic and earnest, no matter how well its made. I think they believe anything that feels too “nice” is pandering — and of course, a lot of it is, but there’s plenty of great stuff you miss out on if you can’t enjoy something just because it’s cheery. And that’s a damn shame.

    I think JACOB’S LADDER has a great feverish nightmare atmosphere it it, but it is pretty predictable, hard to argue with that one. For a slightly better final act, watch the last two deleted scenes where they would logically occur. DELETED SPOILERS ***There’s a great bit where he’s lying in bed and this horrible beak/tentacle/eyeball comes out of the ceiling. Its a great sequence that adds some bite to the third act which otherwise kind of slumps to a conclusion. Yes, its basically a longer version of Bierece’s “Occurance at Owl Creek…” with some David Lynch mixed in but if you don’t focus on the ending and just enjoy the ride, I think it’s pretty cool, actually. I also love me some Pruitt Talyor Vince, so there’s that.

    On the other hand, I have to agree DONNIE DARKO is clumsy and pointless. The theatrical version was at least sporadically interesting, but the director’s cut is a tangled mess of confusion which doesn’t add up to much of interest, IMHO. And MYSTIC RIVER is also pretty weak, can’t deny it.

    OK, while we’re saying things which draw us ever nearer to coming to each others houses and hacking each other apart with machetes, how about the John Ford/John Wayne westerns? With the exception of the obvious masterpiece SEARCHERS, I find them to be mostly underwhelming (haven’t seen them all, though, so maybe I just got a few duds).

  67. To be honest, I never saw the big deal about John Wayne. Yeah he’s a pretty good actor, but in every single film he plays the same character… John Wayne. His performance as John Wayne as Genghis Khan in THE CONQUEROR is a laugh riot.

  68. I simply don’t like John Wayne. There, I said it. He’s supposed to be the epitome of common decency and All-American manliness but to me he just seems like an asshole gym teacher who’d call anybody who doesn’t like football a faggot. Sometimes that quality is recognized and used to the movie’s advantage, like The Searchers, but most of the time I’m supposed to think that this pig-headed bully is just so fuckin’ cool.

  69. Mr. Subtlety: In my memory, JACOB’S LADDER was much like you described it. A recent viewing, however, really brought the flaws to the fore for me. It’s possible that MILLENNIUM handled much of this kind of allegorical stuff so well that the more modest accomplishments of Lyne’s film are dwarved in comparison. Or maybe it is one of those one-viewing-only kind of movies.

    And it’s amazing how many cool places Pruitt Taylor Vince pops up in. Apparently he filmed scenes for Jarmusch’s DOWN BY LAW that were cut from the finished film. He was also in WILD AT HEART, THE END OF VIOLENCE andDEADWOOD, which excuses him for being in SIMONE and DR DOOLITTLE.

    As for DONNIE DARKO: did you see that recent music video by Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beck called “Heaven Can Wait”? In less than three minutes that video amuses and confuses me more than anything DONNIE DARKO had to offer. I like that video more than most feature films I sat through this year.

  70. J.C.-you know cynics who disparage DELICATESSAN as lighthearted fluff? I mean, it’s cute and all, but it’s still got a cleaver to the head.

    Those sound like some rowdy cynics. We should all get together, guzzle some HaterAde, and call SALO a pussyfooted feelgood chick flick.

  71. I know you guys aren’t coming after me specifically, but since I started this whole HAROLD & MAUDE discussion I just wanted to make clear that just because I don’t like that movie doesn’t make me a cynic. I enjoy sweetness in movies, perhaps because the pure, sincere vintage is so hard to find. I like AMELIE and the other works of Juenet, do enjoy Wes Anderson’s movies even though I’ve learned to spot his bag of tricks more, and do not resent JUNO despite its horrifically overwritten opening. Hell, I’m even a fan of Kimya Dawson’s music and don’t think Bill Murray’s speech at the end of SCROOGED is too over the top. I’m really a romantic underneath this thin candy shell of cynicism. I just don’t like HAROLD & MAUDE.

    Defensiveness over. Please resume your regularly scheduled hater-hating.

    Also, APOCALYPSE NOW is a gay romp.

  72. Alfonse G. – It’s a sad state of affairs, my friend, when a comedic cleaver to the head just doesn’t captivate today’s jaded youth. These guys are even unmoved by the suicidal goldfish in AMELIE, a sequence that almost always chokes me up.

    I blame Kubrick, or rather Kubrick scholarship. My cynic friends are so busy reading Frederick Jameson that they can’t be bothered with the simple pleasures of MACHINE GIRL or Guy Maddin’s SISSY BOY SLAP PARTY.

    In fairness, DELICATESSEN has always sat a bit strangely alongside other films. It’s interesting how it is both similar to and different from much of what was popular when it was released in 1991: it’s a bleak and cold like TERMINATOR 2, but also sweet and funny. It’s decidedly deadpan but not in the same way as THE ADDAMS FAMILY. It’s goofy, but in an entirely different way than NAKED GUN 2 1/2.

  73. Mr. Majestyk: I’d never lump you in with the cynics. The “Steven Seagal IS…Out Of Kibble” comment that you wrote in the Seagal thread pretty much gives you a lifetime pass in my book.

    And your APOCALYPSE NOW comment reminds me of something someone told me once: DONNIE BRASCO is gay porn without the sex. Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

  74. Yes! A lifetime pass! I’m bulletproof, bitches!

  75. Here’s a link to the Gainsbourg/Beck video mentioned earlier:

    Pancake head astronaut!

  76. Kubrick scholars.


    I once saw a dude in film school go berserk on another, namby-pambier kid because yelled-at kid didn’t appropriately adore some bit of Kubrickium. Berserk kid kept shrieking, “He was a genius! He was a genius!” at a volume and tenor that was completely hysterical in every sense of the word.

    Yeah. A genius. Modern testing methods imply that I’m a genius. I run a goddamn pizza place. Worship me. I’m also a much nicer person than anyone in this tale, various scholars included, I’m guessing, except for the yelled-at kid, who was the nicest little fuck you ever met.

    In retrospect, I should’ve punched the shrieking Kubrickian accolyte and taken the yelled-at kid out for ice cream.

    And I’ve yet to witness a Cassavettes fan in the midst of a slavering display of fanboy petulance.

    They’re usually too drunk and lasciviously distracted.

  77. There’s something about the Kubrick crowd. They remind me of all the Hunter and Bukowski fiends I met in college, all of them seeming so afraid to make spectacular, horny, entheogen-fueled asses of themselves.

    How the fuck did they think you get like that in the first place? You like Kubrick so damn much, go be an obsessive narcissistic fussbudget autodidact, for christ’s sake.

    Take that, all you half-remembered numbnuts of film school who aren’t reading this and never will! Hah!

    (Though I think there is something valid in the study of particular sorts of fandom. Strikes me folks who like LOTS of disparate art mediums for LOTS of different reasons tend to be quite well-balanced and defy stereotype, and those who fixate… well, you can spot them easily at a distance. Just a quick generalization…)

  78. Off topic, but did anyone here see Avatar?

    Considering how wild critics are for it, yet it might not even hit 100 million this weekend…which isn’t exactly a good start if you ask me in our current Hollywood calculation of opening-weekend-is-everything-mother-fucker.

    Also, some Jew named Spielberg called it “The most evocative and amazing science-fiction movie since ‘Star Wars.’” Does his opinion count?

  79. Seeing Avatar tomorrow matinee. Imax 3D baby. RRA – maybe it will have legs like Titanic?

  80. Gwai – Maybe, but is that possible today? I mean I wonder.

    VERN, when you review that?

  81. Seeing Avatar tomorrow. Regular Sony 4k 3D – I had to choose between Alamo drafthouse (beer) and IMAX 3D (no beer). Beer won.

  82. Just saw it. Me and the missus loved it. I can agree with a lot of the criticisms I’ve read, but those (for me at least) were swept aside by the sheer beauty, excitement and balls of the thing. Hope you dig it guys.

  83. I fucking loathe Cameron.

    I ain’t know the dude personal. It’s just his art.

    It ain’t, is all.

    I think he runs a hi-tech check on every line of dialogue he writes. If said line has not appeared prominently in seven other well-known films, strike that non-formulaic bitch from the record.

    Mean to say, his dialogue and characterizations I find repugnant and embarrassing. As a human being I am embarrassed his characters assume to humanity.

    In contrast:

    I will fucking see anything in IMAX 3D.

    I will watch your mom do my mom do Seymour Cassel while Ira Glass narrates if it is in goddamn IMAX 3D.

    I can’t wait to see this shit. I will not even know what happens. I shall not recall what is said. I won’t even grok a plot has been broached.

    This flick shall rock. Oh sure, IMAX hit me with SPIDERMAN TRES, and I wilted like a lily at a virgin’s funeral.

    But 3D… ?

    I’m such a whore for that extra faux dimension.

  84. Rainman–

    3D at the Alamo…

    Texas was worth it just for that joint, and I never got close to 3D.

    Have a blessed viewing, sir.

  85. I wonder if Vern will even bother with the 3-D?

  86. Vern strives for excellence. And I doubt he watched and reviewed all the Cameron films again (even PIRHANA 2) just to put in a half-assed effort for AVATAR. Vern does everything full-assed.

  87. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Vern’s AVATAR review took a tangent into one of the over-arching issues that occupy his thoughts, much in the way that the “torture porn” debate came up in his HOSTEL reviews and how shitty action film-making came up in his TRANSFORMERS review. This whole “game changing” and “future of cinema” stuff that is talked about with AVATAR probably needs a seriously complicated tangent to be discussed properly.

    Or maybe Vern’s out sweeping a chimney.

  88. I saw AVATAR today. It was decent. I give it 3 out of 4 stars. I guess I will let it sink in for a while and let Vern put a review up before I say anything else. Well, I will say one thing – I am kind of glad it was PG-13 (contains smoking) because it’s not really a “grown-up” movie in my opinion, it’s aimed a little lower which is probably a good thing. ALIENS this is not.

  89. Vern, when are you going to review Ninja? This has been a pretty good year for DTV movies with The Tournament, Blood and Bone, and Ninja. 2010 is also going to start off good with Give Em’ Hell Malone coming out on the 8th of January. Seems like all the good badass action movies are actually being released straight to video.

  90. Vern – on the Scorcese front, what do you think about Bringing Out The Dead? Not a great movie by any means but an interesting, well-intentioned and frustrating mess. Sort of a weird companion piece to Summer of Sam in my mind. Also, what do you think of Firefox?

  91. I haven’t seen BRINGING OUT THE DEAD but I think I will have to now that I am catching up on the works of Nicolas Cage. I don’t remember FIREFOX but I have a list in my wallet of all the Clint movies I haven’t reviewed (it’s a long fucking list).

    Good to see you here Scotty

  92. “(Though I think there is something valid in the study of particular sorts of fandom. Strikes me folks who like LOTS of disparate art mediums for LOTS of different reasons tend to be quite well-balanced and defy stereotype, and those who fixate… well, you can spot them easily at a distance. Just a quick generalization…)”

    My girlfriend and I were discussing this recently, we’re both fond of anime/manga series and watch/read them, yet like the majority of people have interests in other mediums film/literature etc etc

    Trying to find someone else that’s into anime/manga and ‘normal’ isn’t easy though, because often the people that are into it, are REALLY into it. And that’s all they’re into. If they’re into music, it’s Japanese pop music from anime series, if they’re into film it’s only anime films or live action adaptations of them. And they’re always weird as hell people with poor social skills, obsessive personalities and just plain odd.

    It’s a chicken/egg situation, I don’t know if people into anime/manga are just weirder than others, or if people who are weird are more likely to become obsessed with just one (sometimes odd) art form.

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