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Filmspotting Message Boards => Filmspotter Pantheon => Brackets => Topic started by: skjerva on October 07, 2007, 01:17:05 AM

Title: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts
Post by: skjerva on October 07, 2007, 01:17:05 AM
I reckon our feedback should be in the spoiler thread...

Clerks. (Kevin Smith, 1994, 92 min)
vs.
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994, 154 min)


It is hard to believe both Pulp Fiction and Clerks. were released in 1994.  I remember the excitement of being in the theatre during the opening credits of Pulp Fiction that carried for the film’s duration; I also remember the screening of Clerks. in a University Film Society, a near-full house of excitement, though I don’t remember feeling it.  In the past 10+ years, I’ve seen Pulp Fiction a handful of times and it never gets old, I’m not sure I’ve watched Clerks more than once in the interim. 

At a fairly tight 154 minutes, Pulp grooves with solid acting, snappy dialogue, a great soundtrack, very nice production values, and a fun elliptical construction.  Clerks. wallows in its poor acting, frequently obnoxious script, and sometimes poor construction.  That said, Tarantino’s stories are hip while being seemingly devoid of substance, filled with characters tossing slurs, typically reveling in drugs and violence.  Not that there is anything with the drugs and violence, I just can’t figure out what is going on with it.

Clerks. is filled with Smith’s typical sex and relationship banter, and loaded with various homosocial relationships.  Smith explores friendships and community, nicely positing the Quick Stop as a public square where social and political issues are debated between employees, friends and customers.  Of equal interest is that Dante and Randal have appropriated their places of work for their own purposes.  They make their own hours, share the inventory with others while developing the previously mentioned publics.  The film posits clerking as a life choice of social value against being trapped in the typical routines of “achievement” and social mobility.  All of that along with credit for the DIY aesthetic

I’m totally surprised to be sending Clerks. onto the next round over Pulp Fiction.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on October 07, 2007, 08:16:25 AM

I’m totally surprised to be sending Clerks. onto the next round over Pulp Fiction.


I think this little competition just lost all credibility. Wow. I hate Clerks.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on October 07, 2007, 10:39:29 AM
Yeah, I totally surprised myself as well, I thought it was a foregone conclusion.  I started with Clerks. and a few minutes in I'm thinking "well, that was easy", a bit later I was for some reason giving it a chance and beginning to appreciate it.  I thought about what was going on with Clerks. like I never had before, probably because I previously easily dismissed it.  Flipside, when forced to think about Pulp Fiction, I didn't come away with much more than a well crafted vehicle for racial slurs and lots of violence.  After I wrote my response I also thought about all the vapid Tarantino emulators we have been forced to suffer through, I don't know of anyone that has followed in Smith's path (aside from maybe the Mumblecore folks  ;)  Anyway, these are also supposed to spur discussion, so spit out some thoughts on why I am wrong.

That said, sdedalus has been enlisted as a safety valve to protect us against ourselves.  When fools like me make the wrong choice, Sean has the power to rule back in a few films that have been kicked out by no-knothing movie-watchers. 

The specifics have not been settled on, but here is the current idea.  The thought is after the first round, with the 32 losers, Sean will rule 4 back in.  They will head-to-head until one remains, that one film will then go against a random winner of the first round for its slot, then that winner onto the next round.  The second round, with 16 losers will play out the same way.  The third round with 8 losers will get only two ruled back in; the fourth round only one.  The quarter finals on we will all participate on the remaining films and settle those winners by vote.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on October 07, 2007, 11:25:35 AM
At a fairly tight 154 minutes, Pulp grooves with solid acting, snappy dialogue, a great soundtrack, very nice production values, and a fun elliptical construction.  Clerks. wallows in its poor acting, frequently obnoxious script, and sometimes poor construction. 

You pretty much said it all right there. Now I've only seen Clerks once, at home, but for good reason. I never get sick of Pulp Fiction.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on October 07, 2007, 10:52:41 PM
At a fairly tight 154 minutes, Pulp grooves with solid acting, snappy dialogue, a great soundtrack, very nice production values, and a fun elliptical construction.  Clerks. wallows in its poor acting, frequently obnoxious script, and sometimes poor construction.

You pretty much said it all right there. Now I've only seen Clerks once, at home, but for good reason. I never get sick of Pulp Fiction.

But what do you think about the rest of what I wrote?  That bit was basically stating the very obvious, the rest that I wrote is still pretty obvious, I just thought more meaningful.  Pulp Fiction could be about selling a Big Kahuna burger as far as I'm concerned, there is just nothing going on with it. 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on October 08, 2007, 01:22:04 PM
Honestly, I can't say that the rest of what you said is wrong. I know I haven't had that experience with Pulp Fiction; the sentence I quoted is exactly how I feel about both films. I don't think Tarantino will claim to making a really important film with Pulp Fiction. I think he's all about the adrenaline rush, and at that he succeeds.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on October 08, 2007, 02:57:36 PM
I don't think Tarantino will claim to making a really important film with Pulp Fiction. I think he's all about the adrenaline rush, and at that it succeds.

That's all of QT's films.  That's what makes them great.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JoshuaOst on October 08, 2007, 07:35:46 PM
I like Clerks and Pulp Fiction but I have to say that Pulp Fiction is a much more solid film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on October 15, 2007, 09:33:03 PM
Ok, I caught part of Dazed on tv the other night, and it confirmed what I was already convinced of.  My battle, hands down, goes to Dazed & Confused.

Quiz Show had great style, it flowed like cold Dr. Pepper rushing out of the fountain, but ultimately had very little to say that was either relevant or interesting or new.  Instead, it was an interesting examination of the mood of America in the 1950s with one-note characters and a simply annoying ending.  Redford should have known that anyone could have deduced what he ultimately had to say just by reading the back cover.

Dazed & Confused, I expect, will outlast quite a few films in the bracket. It is one of the ultimate ensemble movies, high school movies, and movies that take place over one day and night.  Every character is completely defined and true-to-life; I doubt there is a film high schoolers can enjoy more over and over again.  If I had the time, I would definitely watch it through one more time this week, and probably every week, for that matter. And though it, too, doesn't say much that is particularly unconventional, Linklater acknowledges that and doesn't try to tell us something incredibly profound about the human condition.

In the end, mine was a simple battle of style vs. substance.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on October 17, 2007, 04:08:12 PM
Last of the Mohicans vs. Silence of the Lambs

Some history: I have watched Silence of the Lambs at least 3 times in the past 7 years or so, but I have only watched Last of the Mohicans once and I was very young.

Last of the Mohicans wins it for me. It was very close until the last 15 minutes of LotM, which is one of the most thrilling and emotionally charged scenes I have seen in a very long time. The final speech in LotM made me cry, especially "Once, we were here." While Silence of the Lambs is a very scary movie, it did not have the power that Last of the Mohicans had. Also, Daniel Day Lewis is one of the best actors ever. Look at the difference between his character in LotM and Gangs of New York. They are completely different but exceptionally acted.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on October 24, 2007, 03:16:43 PM
Trust vs. But I'm a Cheerleader
I was really interested to see how I'd respond to this one. As far as I know, the only person on these boards that loves But I'm a Cheerleader more than me is skjerva. It turned out to be a surprisingly close bout.

(As both films are usually called comedies, and I think both are funny, I'm ignoring humor in my discussion)

Trust
Major Flaws: There is often a lack of motivation in the plot that can leave the emotional responses feeling somewhat flat. I was also unhappy with the palate and lighting, as a number of the basic visual aspects seemed a bit lacking in general. Regardless of whether they had to be, the performances were not always as convincing as I'd have liked.

Major Attributes: Overall, what blows me away about this is the structure of the characters in their universe. While I criticized the performances, ultimately they were as strong as was necessary for the situation. The general flat delivery comes across as reactionary in a world that was wonderfully borderline. While I was constantly aware of the absurdity of everything, it differed from the surreality of Lynch. While Lynch spends his time convincing you of surreality, Hartley knows he doesn't need to as he has maintained a world that is within the real of plausibility. To be so engulfed by the surreal and unable to convince yourself of the impossibility of the situation is not only fun, it drives all the action and emotion of the film. It's a wonderfully crafted universe. Also, the shot composition in relation to the characters is noteworthy. The way in which the character takes up space in the frame firmly reinforces the sense of reality. For instance, while speaking to each other about trust, admiration, and respect, the camera maintains the characters from a solid medium-long shot in which we see their full statures, but no others. While we know that any longer of a shot would include other people and society as a whole, this shot maintains a certain personal space or sphere of reality in which they are operating. Consequently, after the grenade detonates, Maria and Matthew engulf the frame space (the famous shot used for the posters and covers) with only their shoulders and up. Not only are they again representing the distance from the world, they are shutting all else out allowing them to steal a moment in an otherwise untenably chaotic situation. What comes through in this film is Hartley's understanding of the way characters relate to their universe.

But I'm a Cheerleader
Major Flaws: It traffics in stereotypes that it plays against in many ways, but plays for laughs just as often, leaving a bit of an ideological smudge. The acting is sometimes a bit over the top, amazingly. Some of the direction and especially the visual inserts are too heavy-handed. Really, most of the devices in the film are obvious and that can wear on you.

Major Attributes: Despite common criticism to the contrary, the use of color is wonderful. While the basic choices are obvious, there is a good degree of subtlety. Obviously the baby blue and bright pink that are used to represent proper heterosexual life are used to exemplify the complete ridiculousness of the rehabilitation center. It is the scenes outside of this environ that are most interesting. While there is a more traditionally suburban scheme in her pre-center home life, it has a similarly high contrast, bright coloring that alludes to the problems with popular Christian views on sexuality. Where it is best used is the scenes that take place at night or outside of the center when Megan leaves. In these scenes, darkness is used to mute the colors that have been so harsh and noticeable throughout the film. Along with the melding of the suburban with the bright that takes place at Larry and Lloyd's house, the way the bright hues are muted gives the viewer the sense of relief that the ex-ex-gays get to feel when they leave the camp. I like some of the performances as well, if not all. I also think that special care that went into the prop, set and costume designs is worth noting.

Verdict: They're both funny and really worth checking out. I'm even inclined to change my decision in hopes that both films will get through upon review at the end of the first round. However, despite my love for it (please check it out even if Alex doesn't like it) I cannot in good conscience push But I'm a Cheerleader past Trust.

Trust goes on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on October 24, 2007, 07:22:50 PM
Nice review, I think I'll ape your structure on my next review.

I haven't seen Trust in a few years and Cheerleader in a couple, I'm curious how they'd play out for me now, I reckon Cheerleader would go on, but I have very fond memories of old Hartley.

Ready for next?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on October 24, 2007, 07:46:36 PM
Sure, just put it in the other thread.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on October 27, 2007, 11:52:34 PM
Point Break vs. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas

Flaws:
I'm a big fan of musicals, but these songs didn't really grab me. The only song I really embraced was "This is Halloween", but the rest of the songs probably won't stick with me.

Attributes:
It's hard to imagine all of the effort that went into making this movie. I love to see people throwing themselves into a project and the result is fantastic. I love the absurdity of the characters and the "Grinch That Stole Christmas" vibe.

Point Break

Flaws:
A few too many heart felt speeches and there is absolutely no subtext in this movie, not one emotion or plot point goes unverbalized. 

Attributes:
This may not seem relevant, but the golden, tanned, sculpted bodies and faces really stood out to me after watching Nightmare Before Christmas. The aesthetic of the two films are so wildly different. Nightmare Before Christmas is so dark and the characters so unnatural, while Point Break embraces nature and the human body.

Winner:

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on October 28, 2007, 12:27:30 AM
Good choice. One of my favorites.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on October 28, 2007, 10:17:25 AM

Winner:

The Nightmare Before Christmas


That was my guess.  You want next?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on October 28, 2007, 11:22:10 AM
I'm ready, post in other thread.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on October 28, 2007, 12:13:47 PM
Sorry for the delay..
Lost Highway vs The Grifters

Lost Highway
Flaws:
It's Lynch.  You know going in that it'll be confusing and needless to say, this is difficult to keep hold on what's happening to whom.  I'm not a Bill Pullman fan at all, so I was getting kinda restless in scenes which focus solely on him.  Hated the soundtrack for the most part but it had 1 or 2 good moments.

Attributes:
It's Lynch.  There's something wonderful about a Lynch film and the feeling you get afterwards when you're trying to work out what the hell just happened.  I loved the whole videotape plotline, especially given I'd just seen Caché a few months ago at most.  I liked the parallel relationships with Patricia Arquette (not to mention the crazy 1st sex scene).  And that doesn't even begin to talk about the cinematography, editing and other techinical stuff which were all great.

It's madness, but I loved it.

The Grifters
Flaws:
The characters were a little dull, and certainly brought nothing new to the genre from my view. Sure the story's entertaining on the face of thing but the ending just annoyed me, seemed implausible and silly, and really brought me out of it.  I also though Cusack was poor, and I usually love him.  Could've done with seeing more cons being pulled, Cusack in particular seemed a bit of a 1 trick pony.  And I was hoping they'd go further when Cusack thought Bening was conning him and have a bit more interesting double cross from there, but alas wasn't to be.

Attributes:
Anjelica Houston and Annette Bening are both FANTASTIC, Bening in particular and she sure looked great doing it.  Some of the dialogue is cool, and it looks nice in places but it just didn't do it for me at all, which I was quite disappointed with as I know a few filmspotters rate this highly.

Winner: The Lost Highway
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on October 29, 2007, 03:06:46 AM
Summarizing the results so far:

IN                                                            OUT

clerks                                                     pulp fiction
dazed & confused                                   quiz show
last of the mohicans                               silence of the lambs
trust                                                      but I'm a cheerleader
nightmare before christmas                    point break
lost highway                                          the grifters
virgin suicides                                         slacker
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on October 29, 2007, 10:11:34 AM
OK, so I'm finally ready to make a ruling on my first pair:

Slacker (1991)
vs.
The Virgin Suicides (1999)

Slacker
    I'd never seen this movie before, so I was really curious as to how it was going to match up with Virgin Suicides.  Overall, I liked the movie and was really impressed with it, considering it was made for something like $23,000.   My main problem with the movie was that, because there wasn't really a "story" and was instead just a collection of moments with random people, the level of interest I had in the movie fluctuated depending on how interesting the character on screen was.  I guess inconsistent is the word I would use to describe the movie, but I don't mean that to be harsh, because I really did find a lot to love in the film, it's just that the flaws were obvious and some of the acting was hideous. 



The Virgin Suicides

    I've seen this move probably 4 or 5 times since it came out, but not recently.  Even so, I decided not to rewatch it because I wanted to go with what my lasting impressions of the movie have been and also because I knew that if I re-watched it, my experiences with Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette would wind up coloring my view of Virgin Suicides.  All of that just means, please bear in mind that this is from memory.  A little background... When I saw this movie I was 18 and a freshman in college living in L.A.   At the time, I thought this was the most profound movie I had ever seen.  For me and my friends, the movie was representative of our own angst (Yes, I was young and very dramatic).  In retrospect, I think we were stupid :) and I know that we didn't really understand as much as we thought we did.  Having seen the movie again since then, I came to realize that I didn't really love it as much as I thought I did.  The movie is beautiful, in fact much of what I remember about the first time I saw it was the beauty of the actual images on the screen, the colors, the styling, the way it looked like a Sunday afternoon to me.  Once I moved past the imagery, however, I ran into some problems.  I realize now that I never liked the Lisbon sisters, the parents weren't as horrible as Coppola wanted me to believe they were, and the whole movie just strikes me as overly dramatic.  I know that a lot of people will say that's the point, heck, even my 18 year old self thought that was the point, but I grew up, and this movie, for me, represents an attitude and perspective that I had to shed along the way to do so. 

Ruling:

Well, I know that I basically said I hated Virgin Suicides, but it still wins.  Slacker was great fun, but even though I don't love Virgin Suicides, it's a movie I've thought about a lot in the years since I've seen it.  I can't say that I'll think much about Slacker 7 years from now.  So the nod goes to the movie that I'll never be able to get out of my head... Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on October 29, 2007, 11:16:21 AM
I like that you worked on this film as a memory, especially since that is what the film is doing.  (And though I think she is an interesting film-maker, this is the only film of hers I actually like.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on October 29, 2007, 11:18:01 AM
I like that you worked on this film as a memory, especially since that is what the film is doing.  (And though I think she is an interesting film-maker, this is the only film of hers I actually like.)

It seemed only fair given that my opinion on Sofia has changed so much since seeing Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette and I didn't want that stuff creeping into my comments.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 04, 2007, 01:03:03 AM
Unforgiven
vs.
Schindler's List

Unforgiven

Flaws:

I didn't really like the young guy. Not the character, but the acting. He didn't hold up to Eastwood and Freeman in their shared scenes.

Attributes:

Pretty much everything else. I loved how this movie is essentially the end of the western. The old guys can't really do it like they used to (unless they need to bring justice), and the new guys are too weak to continue the tradition. It's also an interesting take on the myths that most westerns create - beginning and ending with text like a book, the kid making his own name, Little Bill telling the writer how things really went down - when you match those things up with Munny, who was once as low as you can get as a human, not being able to get on a horse it says something about myths and reality.

And of course, Eastwood, Freeman, Hackman, and Harris were amazingly fantastic. Big props to Eastwood's directing. It looked amazing and was perfectly paced. 

Schindler's List

Flaws:

I don't think the last part of the movie worked for me. I get that it was touching and the survivors were honoring him, but it didn't have to be in the movie. I would have been fine with it ending as they walk out on the field in black and white.

Attributes:

Again, pretty much everything else. This movie was a little more straightforward, but the technical aspects were very strong. It looked great and Neeson, Fiennes, and Kingsley were amazing. I did cry during Schindler's last speech, I don't know how you couldn't. One of the most amazing things about this movie is how long it felt, or didn't feel. At three and a half hours long you would have thought it would drag even a little. I don't think it did, until the end at least.

Winner:

This is a tough one. I'm gonna give it to Unforgiven. I'm ready for the claims of "cinemoron". That's what the wildcard or whatever-wanna-call-it is for.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 04, 2007, 02:19:45 AM
I'm ready for the claims of "cinemoron". That's what the wildcard or whatever-wanna-call-it is for.

Nope.  I'd make the same decision you did.

I've already got three I'd save before Schindler's List.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 04, 2007, 02:40:26 PM
I'd have to agree with you Junior, I would choose Unforgiven over Schindler's List too.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JoshuaOst on November 04, 2007, 08:42:45 PM
12 Monkeys vs. The Sixth Sense

12 Monkeys

Being a huge Terry Gilliam fan I must say that I am quite biased.  This movie constantly keeps you guessing and never gives you a moments rest.  I never really knew if James Cole was insane or actually from the future until the very end.  That being said, Bruce Willis really gives a great performance in this movie.  Although this movie has plenty of action in it, Willis doesn't play the heroic cop as in Die Hard.  He does seem invincible but his character is flawed and Willis plays him beautifully.  The ending is finishes the movie perfectly.  It leaves you with questions but doesn't leave you dissatisfied.  The direction is beautiful with each frame filled with enormous detail.  This is of course to be expected from Terry Gilliam.  My only complaint is Brad Pitt's performance is extremely exaggerated but it didn't take away from the film tremendously.

The Sixth Sense

I guess I was expecting more from The Sixth Sense because I have never seen it before and the enormous amount of praise it has been given.  Really, there is nothing special about this film.  It has it's moments but it wasn't anything more than ordinary.  Some of the dialogue comes off as unrealistic and overly dramatic and I feel it could've been handled better.  I also felt the big twist at the end was tacked on and the movie really didn't need it.  On some good notes, Haley Joel Osment's performance is great and he really handled the role well.  The film has some really nice photography and fits the mood of the piece with great effect.  Shyamalan's does a great job with a lot of the direction and overall it was a good movie.  Just not great.

Verdict:

12 Monkeys by a landslide.  The Sixth Sense is good but 12 Monkeys is great.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 04, 2007, 08:46:27 PM
I also felt the big twist at the end was tacked on and the movie really didn't need it. 

What? The movie is good no matter what, but the twist makes it great. Plus it's inevitable. The movie would make less sense if the twist wasn't revealed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 04, 2007, 08:48:35 PM
I would say that Brad Pitt in Twelve Monkeys is one of the best parts. Of course he is exaggerated, he is a mental patient.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 04, 2007, 10:06:27 PM
Verdict:

12 Monkeys by a landslide.  The Sixth Sense is good but 12 Monkeys is great.

You made the right choice in the battle for Philadelphia.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on November 05, 2007, 10:20:08 AM
I also felt the big twist at the end was tacked on and the movie really didn't need it. 

What? The movie is good no matter what, but the twist makes it great. Plus it's inevitable. The movie would make less sense if the twist wasn't revealed.

I've said this numerous times, that I went in knowing what the ending would be and still thought it was great.  People give M. Night a bad rap because of his twist endings but this film was great.  It wasn't a gimmick in his first film.

Being a huge Terry Gilliam fan I must say that I am quite biased. 

Clearly because you've picked the inferior film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 05, 2007, 01:04:11 PM
I also felt the big twist at the end was tacked on and the movie really didn't need it. 

What? The movie is good no matter what, but the twist makes it great. Plus it's inevitable. The movie would make less sense if the twist wasn't revealed.

I've said this numerous times, that I went in knowing what the ending would be and still thought it was great.  People give M. Night a bad rap because of his twist endings but this film was great.  It wasn't a gimmick in his first film.

I agree. The only bad film he has made is Lady in the Water.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on November 05, 2007, 01:16:57 PM
Updated list, now with formatting!

IN                                   OUT
Clerks                               Pulp Fiction
Dazed & Confused                     Quiz Show
Last of the Mohicans                 Silence of the Lambs
Trust                                But I'm a Cheerleader
The Nightmare Before Christmas       Point Break
Lost Highway                         The Grifters
Virgin Suicides                      Slacker
Unforgiven                           Schindler's List
12 Monkeys                           The Sixth Sense

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Aaron on November 05, 2007, 02:14:14 PM
Clerks is Neil Simon with swearing.  Horrible acting, but Smith did get better
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 05, 2007, 02:25:38 PM
I'm assuming Pulp Fiction will be resurrected...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 05, 2007, 03:06:46 PM
you know what they say happens when you assume...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on November 05, 2007, 04:54:15 PM
How many are possibly being resurrected?  My vote would also go to Pulp Fiction it has to be said.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on November 05, 2007, 06:11:02 PM
If we can just convince another twenty people to participate, we can make it a double-elimination tournament!  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 06, 2007, 05:39:09 PM
How many are possibly being resurrected?  My vote would also go to Pulp Fiction it has to be said.

I get to save 4.  There are 3 I'd want to save so far, but only 2 decisions I disagree with.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 06, 2007, 05:45:22 PM
How many are possibly being resurrected?  My vote would also go to Pulp Fiction it has to be said.

I get to save 4.  There are 3 I'd want to save so far, but only 2 decisions I disagree with.

You're killin' me Smalls. Can't you just tell us?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on November 06, 2007, 05:47:01 PM
You're killin' me Smalls. Can't you just tell us?

It's a ploy to drive up blog readership (http://theendofcinema.blogspot.com/2005/09/movies-of-year-big-list-2-1976-20.html).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 06, 2007, 06:16:06 PM
Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show and Slacker I'd like to save.

Pulp Fiction and Slacker I would have gone the other way.


Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on November 12, 2007, 12:02:19 AM
(http://i42.tinypic.com/iv8nls.png)

Second-half perfection sends 'Dreams' to second round

HONG KONG (AP) -- Hoop Dreams has escaped the upset bug.

After watching Pulp Fiction and Quiz Show lose their first round matchups, many fans of the 1994 Conference were wondering if any of their top-seeded teams would make it to the weekend.

Hoop Dreams calmly put those fears to rest tonight, racking up a season-high 105 points and keeping Gummo's arty and aggressive play-calling in check for most of the contest.

Although the Chicago documentarians never trailed, they exhibited some big game jitters in the first half, letting Harmony Korine's upstart Gummo squad stay closer than expected.

"We didn't play with confidence right out the gate," Hoop Dreams director Steve James said afterwards. "It took us some time to figure out what our subject really even was. And how to film it."

Cinematographer Peter Gilbert also chalked up the slow start to inexperience. "We were learning as we went," he said. "And we had a helluva lot to learn."

The Gummo players did their best to capitalize. While Hoop Dreams was methodically piecing together its ambitious gameplan, Korine's band of misfits countered with an arresting meld of fictional and non-fictional aesthetics. Alternating from an intimate style to one altogether distancing, the tone poem to exurbia staggered its opponent at times. But it was unable to deliver an early knockout blow.

The deciding factor in the first half seemed to be Hoop Dreams's ability to limit Korine's greatest strength: his recruiting. The Gummo team is able to intimidate most opponents with its lineup of rough-hewn outcasts, drawn from areas of rural poverty that coaches and scouts from the major conferences have historically overlooked.

But fourth-seeded Hoop Dreams, a fellow mid-major, matches Gummo strength for strength. Few if any other teams in the tournament can boast of more fortuitous casting. And the depth of the bench is similarly unparalleled.

Asked about the difficulties presented by this pairing, Korine replied, "I could answer that, but that's just boring to me. I'd rather just jump out a window, just shoot myself."

The intricacies of the matchup proved irrelevant once the second half began, when Hoop Dreams just couldn't seem to miss. The filmmakers transformed their gameplan from a small story of two kids playing basketball to the epic unfolding of ordinary lives, encompassing race, poverty, family, friendship, youth, capitalism, and even — it's not overstating things — the American dream.

At that point, the Gummo players stood little chance. As if facing Arthur Agee's infectious smile and Willam Gates' irrepressible kindheartedness weren't enough of a challenge, they now had to account for Arthur's mom graduating from nursing school; Arthur's dad getting high, separating from the family, getting arrested, finding God, returning to the family, and still draining threes over his grown son with confidence ("You want to see it rain? ... Let it rain."); William serving as his brother's one link to the glory of his youth; and on and on.

When the Arthur Agee's Marshall team triumphed in exhilarating and unlikely fashion over national powerhouse King High School, some observers wondered whether Hoop Dream was running up the score on Gummo — perhaps still sore over a perceived Oscar snub twelve years ago.

"We can't concern ourselves with all that stuff," said Gates. "We leave that to you guys in the press. Write what you want."

Gummo fans, while pessimistic about the team's chance to enter the second chance bracket, remain hopeful that Bunny Boy will be named to the All-Tournament Team. Many analysts cite his inspired, impressionistic play as the team's strongest asset throughout the game. Some go further and accuse Korine of underutilizing him.
 
"Meh," said Korine.
 
He refused further comment.

(Reporting by pixote.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 12:03:49 AM
I like you so much right now.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 12:48:40 AM
I think you win the bracket.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 12, 2007, 01:35:28 AM
Well done, sir.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 12, 2007, 09:01:56 AM
Again, pixote, brilliant.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 08:46:38 PM
I can't be any better than that, so I'll just do what I did last time.
Orlando
VS
Dead Man

Orlando.

Flaws: Billy Zane. He didn't add anything to this at all. His acting was not up to par. I also didn't really like the last shot. It looked too fake and didn't fit with the rest of the movie.

Attributes: Tilda Swinton. She is truly captivating as a man and a woman. I liked the asides to the camera. It was jarring the first time but I loved it. The things they were saying about gender and sex were very interesting and handled well. The Billy Zane character did bring up the idea that maybe he was originally a girl, but that was the only good part of that section. I really liked the visual style of this movie, too. It looked great.

Dead Man.

Flaws: It was a little slow. I'm usually down with slow movies but this one dragged on just a little too much. I also have a really strong dislike for Alfred Molina, so I didn't really like him (but I did like it when he died  ;D)

Attributes: Johnny Depp is the man. I liked his character and they way he played it. This proves that he is a great actor. Other great performances: Gary Farmer, Michael Wincott, Iggy Pop (this part was weird, but I loved it), Lance Henriksen. That scene with the stomping of the head was so unexpected. I yelled out, which was weird for my roommate who wasn't watching it. Then there is the music. I can see how this could be a divisive issue, but I loved it. It was so cool. This movie left me bewildered, but in a good way.

The decision.

I think Tilda Swinton's performance and the style/direction gives the edge slightly to Orlando.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 08:51:46 PM
You made the wrong choice. Save Dead Man sdedalus.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JoshuaOst on November 12, 2007, 08:56:32 PM
I agree.  Dead Man is a great film that is highly underrated.  Another performance I would mention from that movie is John Hurt.  He only plays a small part at the beginning of the movie but it's a great scene and sets the rest of the movie in motion.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 08:58:35 PM
And Orlando is overrated.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 09:00:34 PM
Looks like somebody (or somebodies) are angry with me. Sucks to be you guys. Thats my decision.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 12, 2007, 10:57:27 PM
Junior, I'm sorry, but I actually have to agree with face here... you made the wrong decision.  :(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 12, 2007, 11:00:07 PM
Yay, Junior!  (I need to get off my duff to send you next.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 12, 2007, 11:01:00 PM
Yay, Junior!  (I need to get off my duff to send you next.)

are you serious? ???
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:04:05 PM
Yay, Junior!  (I need to get off my duff to send you next.)

What's it gonna be?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:09:02 PM
Also, I have changed my little title ting to reflect how much you all hate me now.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 12, 2007, 11:13:52 PM
Also, I have changed my little title ting to reflect how much you all hate me now.

Who says anyone "hates" you?  Talk about melodramatic...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 12, 2007, 11:15:06 PM
Yay, Junior!  (I need to get off my duff to send you next.)

are you serious? ???

Dead Man is one of my faves, but Orlando is so different and

special.  Junior did the right thing, again:)

Yay, Junior!  (I need to get off my duff to send you next.)

What's it gonna be?

Fargo
vs.
Boogie Nights

It seems like Homer isn't working, I'll check again later.  Otherwise I'll just send 'em both.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:17:42 PM
I can get both of those on my own. Thanks, though. They are popular enough. I have seen both, but just for entertainment's sake.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 11:22:32 PM

Dead Man is one of my faves, but Orlando is so different and

special.  Junior did the right thing, again:)


This is lunacy. Orlando is just a look. There's no depth to the story whatsoever. Orlando changes from a man to a woman and the film uses that plot point to say...nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is ridiculous. I know I think less of Orlando than a lot of people, but it does not measure up to Dead Man.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:24:08 PM
FACE ANGRY! FACE SMASH!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 11:26:08 PM
Damn right. Get out of my way. FACE SMASH ORLANDO!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:30:27 PM
So this is how I'm gonna defend my choice. When I watched Orlando I was pleasantly surprised and captivated by Tilda Swinton. When I watched Dead Man I was surprised and captivated by the whole thing. But it wasn't pleasant. It was certainly a good movie, but I enjoyed watching Orlando more. I'm not saying that happy films are always better than "angry" films, but it certainly colored my responses to this pairing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 11:31:13 PM
sdedalus better get home from work soon. I need to know if he'll side with me or not. My sanity depends on it. I'm still unstable. And I don't plan to get better until all my applications go out.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 11:31:52 PM
So this is how I'm gonna defend my choice. When I watched Orlando I was pleasantly surprised and captivated by Tilda Swinton. When I watched Dead Man I was surprised and captivated by the whole thing. But it wasn't pleasant. It was certainly a good movie, but I enjoyed watching Orlando more. I'm not saying that happy films are always better than "angry" films, but it certainly colored my responses to this pairing.
I'll color your response...with blood! Your blood!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 12, 2007, 11:34:22 PM
Oh noes! I bleed easily.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 12, 2007, 11:35:41 PM
Good, good.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 13, 2007, 03:15:14 AM
I really like Orlando, but Dead Man may very well be my pick as the best film of the 90s.

Some of these Round One matchups are just brutal.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on November 13, 2007, 04:23:47 AM
Nice job, Junior.  I haven't even seen Orlando, but on principle it's nice to see a second film by a female director advance to round two.  Also, I'm not that big a fan of Dead Man — especially not compared with Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai.  (That's part of this bracket, right?)


Updated Results:
IN                                   OUT
Clerks                               Pulp Fiction
Dazed & Confused                     Quiz Show
Last of the Mohicans                 Silence of the Lambs
Trust                                But I'm a Cheerleader
The Nightmare Before Christmas       Point Break
Lost Highway                         The Grifters
Virgin Suicides                      Slacker
Unforgiven                           Schindler's List
12 Monkeys                           The Sixth Sense
Hoop Dreams                          Gummo
Orlando                              Dead Man

Upcoming matchups
wilson1290:      Menace II Society vs. Julien Donkey-Boy
ElectricOtter:   Being John Malkovich vs. JFK
skjerva:         The Book of Life vs. Miller’s Crossing
ses593:          Se7en vs. Before Sunrise
Basil:           Fight Club vs. Crumb
Emiliana:        L.A. Story vs. Mighty Aphrodite
thefaceboy:      Serial Mom vs. Metropolitian
Winrit:          Beauty and the Beast vs. Bad Lieutenant
Wilson:          The Matrix vs. Buffalo ‘66
VMSoze:          Magnolia vs. Glengary Glenn Ross
pixote:          Toy Story vs. The Big Lebowski
Junior:          Fargo vs. Boogie Nights

I think I got those right...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 13, 2007, 08:45:33 AM
So this is how I'm gonna defend my choice. When I watched Orlando I was pleasantly surprised and captivated by Tilda Swinton. When I watched Dead Man I was surprised and captivated by the whole thing. But it wasn't pleasant. It was certainly a good movie, but I enjoyed watching Orlando more. I'm not saying that happy films are always better than "angry" films, but it certainly colored my responses to this pairing.

I can't disagree that Tilda Swinton is amazing, but I just cannot condone your choice... but thanks for taking the heat off of me for the whole Slacker debacle (I could tell there was some disagreement).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 13, 2007, 08:47:59 AM
Nice overview pixote, I'll add the upcoming match-ups soon, but I was doig a quick check-up on the boards before I hit the books.  Ghost Dog is coming up.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 13, 2007, 08:49:42 AM
I really like Orlando, but Dead Man may very well be my pick as the best film of the 90s.

Some of these Round One matchups are just brutal.
Oh, good, we agree.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on November 13, 2007, 08:50:35 AM
Damn, I really wanted to see a fight...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 13, 2007, 08:51:59 AM
Well, is Coppola's Dracula in the bracket. Cause then you will see a fight.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 13, 2007, 08:54:21 AM
Well, is Coppola's Dracula in the bracket. Cause then you will see a fight.

Pretty sure it's not.  Okay, I really have to go and read now
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 24, 2007, 11:22:27 PM
The Book of Life (1998) over Miller's Crossing (1990), not even close.

I didn't remember either film very well and went in hoping that the Coens would redeem themselves with this early classic - perhaps something less surface - and that Hartley's offering might suffer from the stiltedness that made his early work so great.

Instead, MC was is the same pap (yes, I'll say it again) they flop out every two years (or less - spare us!) with distinct characters passing cleverly through a world of sometimes clever settings with tediously clever dialogue.  Seriously, what is up with the saccharine reprise that plays throughout the film?  Are the hard-boiled characters so cool that the audience needs to be nudged into noticing when something emotional is happening or are they trying to make some commentary on genre?  Either way, it doesn't work.  Byrne's lead is unconvincingly flat; Turturro's Bernie Bernbaum is exactly the type of over-the-top crap to be expected with a Coens-Turturro pairing;  Harden's whatever is huh; Finney's O'Bannon is, again, exactly what you'd expect in the role of an Irish crime boss.  Lots of pointless violence that is supposed to look neat.  Oh yeah, what's the point?  Doesn't matter - it's a cool Coen Brothers film!

I was a bit worried at the start of TBoL, it started slow, and at 63min., that didn't give it a lot of time to redeem itself.  The Hartley regular Martin Donovan to pull of Jesus Christ had me worried as did the silent presence of PJ Harvery as Magdalena and effects from digital filming, but by 15min in it had hit its stride and the spirit started moving through me.  Martin as Jesus and Thomas Jay Ryan as Satan nicely work their characters to complicate the otherwise easy concepts of good and evil.  While the theme played on the surface, it was executed smartly and repeatedly evoked the beauty necessary to sell the film beyond trite.  Interesting visual and sound effects ended up working in favor of the omniscience embodied by Jesus and Satan while they battle with the will they each retain.  A rare film that evokes the beauty of life.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 25, 2007, 01:49:35 AM
Well, I'll have to see The Book of Life, cause otherwise I'll have to hunt you down.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 04:46:39 AM
Skjerva, skjerva, skjerva.  College is rotting your brain.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 25, 2007, 10:29:51 AM
sdedalus, please allow me in to the decision making process when you save the films. This is killing me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 12:00:00 PM
Have either of you watched Miller's Crossing lately?  I went in with a very open mind (I actually was thinking/hoping I'd like it) and even watched it with someone who likes Coen Bros. films, she even thought it was not good.  Like I said, the way The Book of Life started out, it occurred to me that I would have to choose between one of the two not-great films - fortunately, as you know, I was saved :)  Any idea who tossed The Book of Life into the hopper?  Whoever, thanks!

And sd, for what it's worth, my brain has probably rotted out long ago :)  The next pairing up for me, is Safe vs. Goodfellas - is there a way I could disappoint you here?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 25, 2007, 12:01:35 PM
I saw Miller's Crossing for the first time a few months ago, and it completely turned me around on the Coen Brothers. I loved it and it made me revisit their other films, which I now adore.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 25, 2007, 12:06:07 PM
I watched Miller's Crossing two weeks ago. It is fantastic. No more making fun of me and my Dead Man choice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 12:10:35 PM
Okay all you haters, er lovers, what is it that you actually like about Miller's Crossing?  I just really don't get it.  How about responding to my listed complaints?:

The cheesy music/reprise throughout the film.

Byrne as the lead character.

Turturro's character.

Harden's character.

The violence, to what end.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 25, 2007, 12:16:48 PM
Cheesy music: Didn't pay attention to that.

Byrne: It worked for me. He knew what he was doing and how to do it. Or did he? It works either way.

Tuturro: maybe he was a foil for Byrne?

Harden: she didn't do it for me, but it wasn't enough to make me hate the movie.

The violence: cuz sometimes we need to see some people get shot up and banged in the face.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 25, 2007, 12:19:47 PM
The music is the best part. If you didn't get chills during the Danny Boy sequence, then you hate all cinema, and it hates you back.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on November 25, 2007, 12:20:28 PM
The music is the best part. If you didn't get chills during the Danny Boy sequence, then you hate all cinema, and it hates you back.

Oh yeah. I forgot about that part. It was sweet.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 12:23:55 PM
I get Byrne's character being solemn/cool, but he got something very wrong about it.  I chalk it up to him being a bad actor.

On another note, I was curious to see what I might have missed and watched some of the bad extra interviews.  The/an interview ass-clown Barry Sonnenfeld made me realize how clueless this group of people was starting out, not that this is last-word on their film-making, but I think it speaks to something (not so good.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 12:25:08 PM
The music is the best part. If you didn't get chills during the Danny Boy sequence, then you hate all cinema, and it hates you back.

Yeah, I didn't like it.  Romanticizing the bad-assness of this dude.  Again, stylized violence to no end.  Yeah, go Coens :P
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on November 25, 2007, 12:26:42 PM
Stylized violence to the end of entertainment.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 25, 2007, 01:20:29 PM
Have either of you watched Miller's Crossing lately?  I went in with a very open mind (I actually was thinking/hoping I'd like it) and even watched it with someone who likes Coen Bros. films, she even thought it was not good.  Like I said, the way The Book of Life started out, it occurred to me that I would have to choose between one of the two not-great films - fortunately, as you know, I was saved :)  Any idea who tossed The Book of Life into the hopper?  Whoever, thanks!

And sd, for what it's worth, my brain has probably rotted out long ago :)  The next pairing up for me, is Safe vs. Goodfellas - is there a way I could disappoint you here?
I have recently, and it was fantastic. I haven't seen Safe, so you won't disappoint me much either way. I've never been big on Goodfellas.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 01:46:03 PM
Have either of you watched Miller's Crossing lately?  I went in with a very open mind (I actually was thinking/hoping I'd like it) and even watched it with someone who likes Coen Bros. films, she even thought it was not good.  Like I said, the way The Book of Life started out, it occurred to me that I would have to choose between one of the two not-great films - fortunately, as you know, I was saved :)  Any idea who tossed The Book of Life into the hopper?  Whoever, thanks!

And sd, for what it's worth, my brain has probably rotted out long ago :)  The next pairing up for me, is Safe vs. Goodfellas - is there a way I could disappoint you here?
I have recently, and it was fantastic. I haven't seen Safe, so you won't disappoint me much either way. I've never been big on Goodfellas.

You should check out Safe and The Book of Life (I would have thought you'd seen all of Hartley's stuff).  I haven't seen Goodfellas in ages, so am looking forward to revisiting it.  Good to know I won't be disappointing you this time.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 25, 2007, 02:05:42 PM
Yeah, I've been behind on Hartley because I've been wanting to see Trust and it caused me to avoid lots of chances to see other stuff.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 02:10:28 PM
Have either of you watched Miller's Crossing lately?  I went in with a very open mind (I actually was thinking/hoping I'd like it) and even watched it with someone who likes Coen Bros. films, she even thought it was not good.

I ran it in August as part of my film series.  I've watched it a couple times a year every year since 1995 (when I first saw it).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 02:13:32 PM
Okay all you haters, er lovers, what is it that you actually like about Miller's Crossing?  I just really don't get it.  How about responding to my listed complaints?:

The cheesy music/reprise throughout the film.

Byrne as the lead character.

Turturro's character.

Harden's character.

The violence, to what end.

1. I like the music and don't think it's cheesy.

2. Byrne's terrific as one of the great noir characters of all-time

3. Turturro's a perfect weasel.

4. Harden's ideal as a femme fatale.

5. The film is about violence in the noir genre.  Like Unforgiven with the Western.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 02:16:44 PM
And sd, for what it's worth, my brain has probably rotted out long ago :)  The next pairing up for me, is Safe vs. Goodfellas - is there a way I could disappoint you here?

Well, Goodfellas is pretty good, and I hated Safe when I watched it, but that was over 10 years ago, and I imagine my response would change if I saw it now.

Can't say I have any doubt which you're going to pick, though.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 02:18:25 PM
sdedalus, please allow me in to the decision making process when you save the films. This is killing me.

Well, my top 2 picks as best (American) film of the 90s are now in the reject pile (Dead Man and Miller's Crossing).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on November 25, 2007, 02:20:24 PM

Updated Results:
IN                                   OUT
Clerks                               Pulp Fiction
Dazed & Confused                     Quiz Show
Last of the Mohicans                 Silence of the Lambs
Trust                                But I'm a Cheerleader
The Nightmare Before Christmas       Point Break
Lost Highway                         The Grifters
Virgin Suicides                      Slacker
Unforgiven                           Schindler's List
12 Monkeys                           The Sixth Sense
Hoop Dreams                          Gummo
Orlando                              Dead Man
The Book of Life                     Miller’s Crossing




Upcoming matchups
wilson1290:      Menace II Society vs. Julien Donkey-Boy
ElectricOtter:   Being John Malkovich vs. JFK 
ses593:          Se7en vs. Before Sunrise
Basil:           Fight Club vs. Crumb
Emiliana:        L.A. Story vs. Mighty Aphrodite
thefaceboy:      Serial Mom vs. Metropolitian
Winrit:          Beauty and the Beast vs. Bad Lieutenant
Wilson:          The Matrix vs. Buffalo ‘66
VMSoze:          Magnolia vs. Glengary Glenn Ross
pixote:          Toy Story vs. The Big Lebowski
Junior:          Fargo vs. Boogie Nights
skjerva            Safe vs. Goodfellas

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on November 25, 2007, 02:22:40 PM
sdedalus, please allow me in to the decision making process when you save the films. This is killing me.

Well, my top 2 picks as best (American) film of the 90s are now in the reject pile (Dead Man and Miller's Crossing).
Well, good, i concur with you on their resurrection.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on November 25, 2007, 02:40:51 PM
And sd, for what it's worth, my brain has probably rotted out long ago :)  The next pairing up for me, is Safe vs. Goodfellas - is there a way I could disappoint you here?

Well, Goodfellas is pretty good, and I hated Safe when I watched it, but that was over 10 years ago, and I imagine my response would change if I saw it now.

Can't say I have any doubt which you're going to pick, though.

I don't feel like I have much more that a leaning at this point, but part of this process that I have enjoyed is going in hoping to surprise myself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on December 08, 2007, 04:03:44 PM
Fargo
Vs.
Boogie Nights

Fargo.

Minuses.

Not many. Not any, really.

Pluses.

Everything. The performances were wonderful. The story was great. The style was fantastic. Special shoutouts to Frances McDormand and William H. Macy. The ending scene was perfect, too.

Boogie Nights.

Minuses.

Not many here either. It was a little long, but it worked. I don't really like Molina in anything so I won't hold it against this movie.

Pluses.

Everything. All of the actors were great and the story, while a little cliche, worked excellently. The direction and look and feel was spot on.

Winner: I wish it could be a tie, but my choice is Boogie Nights.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on December 08, 2007, 04:41:23 PM
Winner: I wish it could be a tie, but my choice is Boogie Nights.

Just curious:  What put Boogie Nights over the top?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on December 08, 2007, 04:44:48 PM
I don't really know. The overall feel, I guess. Mark Whalberg was really good as was John C. Reilly.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 08, 2007, 05:28:14 PM
I'm fine with your choice cause I don't know what I would've done. My commentary will be up tonight.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on December 09, 2007, 01:23:29 AM
Winner: I wish it could be a tie, but my choice is Boogie Nights.

Yay!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 11, 2007, 08:10:23 PM
I'm fine with your choice cause I don't know what I would've done. My commentary will be up tonight.

Which tonight?

Do you and junior need new pairings?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 11, 2007, 08:43:04 PM
Yeah, i do. And i fell asleep on that tonight. So maybe tonight will be the real tonight.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 11, 2007, 09:04:29 PM
Yeah, i do.

Ghost Dog
vs.
Boys Don’t Cry

Game?

So maybe tonight will be the real tonight.

Looking forward to it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 11, 2007, 09:32:54 PM
Yeah, unless I end up needing to do Beauty and the Beast.

Should be fun. I've never actually seen Boys Don't Cry.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 11, 2007, 09:40:41 PM

Should be fun. I've never actually seen Boys Don't Cry.

I've not seen it, either.  Since I am planning to knock my current pair out tonight (or tomorrow), it was looking like I might catch that one (which I have been kinda dreading) - looks like I'm safe for just a bit longer.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 12, 2007, 12:17:22 AM
Let's see if I remember how this is done.

Metropolitan vs. Serial Mom

Metropolitan
Major Flaws
I found a lot of the acting to be unconvincing. I'm not saying it's unrefined or even necessarily poor, but unconvincing. Really this is the main flaw in the film seen though many lenses: it's often unconvincing. I don't know that I every felt the "truth" for the characters in the plot. The pacing, while appropriate, fails to really execute. For a film like this, that has obvious dramatic aspirations of some kind, it relied entirely too heavily on wit in dialogue to survive.

Major Attributes
It is actually pretty funny. Not really funny, but pretty funny. Also, I have a soft spot for Chris Eigeman. There's something to be said, as well, for this film's place in the popular consciousness. It's part of the new style of the comedy of manners. It also exerts a lot of influence on filmmakers that look satirically at the rich. Besides all that, this is basically the template for any recent comedy scene based on high intellectual conversations that become the butt of the joke. I also was very intrigued by the staging and composition in the after-party scenes. The characters are often captured as a whole, roomful of people even when only one person is talking and not everyone is focused on them. It helped to reinforce the idea of the focus of a party, the relative isolation possible despite the cramped accommodations of these such parties and the general strange, uncomfortable artificiality of the whole superficial, banal endeavor. The only problem with all this is that they did not take this effort near far enough for me. While sometimes collapsing in on a segment of the party that is focused on a particular topic/speaker, they often revert to close-ups and shot/reverse in a fairly conventional manner that fails to reinforce the possible goals of the cinematography.

Serial Mom
Major Flaws
Maybe its aspirations? This is a film very much in the Waters style, at a time where he was in the continuous process of reigning in the shock and only using it where it really makes sense. It doesn't really explore itself aesthetically and falls almost entirely into either film conventions or Waters conventions.

Major Attributes
Weren't those half-assed flaws? This film falls right into Waters' thesis of the satire of the grotesque. It's a film right in his wheelhouse and he kills it (in the best possible way). It was really funny all the way through. The satire hit you over the head when he overtly wanted it to and it was more subtle when it was designed to be. It was dead on in either style. The camp was hitting all the right notes as well. The entire cast was great, especially Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterson. It was effortless and wonderful. He didn't need any flourishes, fancy editing, or evocative lighting because he did everything he wanted to by making a film the way he always has. Did I mention how funny I found it?

So, I found this tough because the styles were really different and the intentions were more so. However, when you weigh the success that the filmmakers had in hitting their goals, it's no contest. Metropolitan is too timid and it fails repeatedly at what it tries to do, while Serial Mom never does.

Serial Mom's reign of terror continues as it brutally murders Whit Stillman's film with a pot roast!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on December 12, 2007, 12:20:20 AM
sigh.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 12, 2007, 12:21:06 AM
Trust me, it didn't hold up the way you thought it might.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on December 12, 2007, 12:24:05 AM
Trust me, it didn't hold up the way you thought it might.

I own it, say it last maybe a year or two ago. . . whenever the Criterion came out.

I'm not gonna say you're wrong, because I haven't seen Serial Mom and am not really a Waters fan.

But still: sigh.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 12, 2007, 12:24:31 AM
sigh.

really?

I guess that without thinking too hard about either film I would have gone with Whit, but reading face's account I know I would have thought pretty much the same thing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 12, 2007, 12:27:57 AM
I myself don't get why people don't find Serial Mom funny. Unless you hate camp, then it makes sense.

Otherwise I'm not a real big fan of Waters, but the flaws and minor failures of Metropolitan really added up and just knocked the film down for me.

If I had to put numbers on it, Metropolitan would be roughly a 7.5 and Serial Mom an 8.5. I fully expect Serial Mom to lose next round and in most matchups, I would probably support the decision.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on December 12, 2007, 09:19:17 AM
I have to say that I haven't seen Metropolitan, but I love Serial Mom!  sorry, sean. :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on December 12, 2007, 12:37:14 PM
I really love this process. I like reading everyone thoughts/comparisons.  :) I even like the suspense of finding out who the winner is.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on December 19, 2007, 02:40:24 AM
Bad Lieutenant vs. Beauty and the Beast

What an odd pairing...

Bad Lieutenant

Major Flaws
I personally found the cries of anguish and despair (outside of the scene in the church) sort of distracting. Yes, I know that's not really a huge thing but it bothered me. There really isn't one big flaw or anything particularly wrong with the movie. In fact, I think they pretty much have made the best movie they could from this particular character.

Major Attributes
Outside of a couple of missteps, Harvey Keitel gives a total powerhouse of a performance. He goes places most actors wouldn't dare. He gives his entire being to the performance. It's as if he is exorcising his demons on screen. It's a truly great performance.

Beauty and the Beast

Major Flaws
Mostly every Disney film has some sort of objectionable material. In this one, it's probably the relationship between Belle and the Beast. Essentially, the Beast is completely abusive and the audience is supposed to cheer whenever he starts caring for Belle. I remember watching some documentary about how Belle was basically a battered housewife that kept telling herself that she'll brave it out in the hope he'll one day change. These are things you don't notice when you're a little kid but they become obvious with age. Also Gaston starts out as a complete prick but mostly harmless but by the end he's turned into some raving maniac who only wants to destroy the beast.

Major Attributes
I haven't seen a 2D animated disney movie in quite a while now. It was jarring going from the new Pixar films back to this. But that quickly left my head when they story got underway. Disney may not be much for subtlety but they make up for this in their sheer narrative prowess. The film never drags. The songs are great. The supporting characters had me cracking up. The requisite happy ending had me cheering. What I'm saying here is that the good vastly outweighs the bad.

My pick has to go to Beauty and the Beast. Just make sure you talk to your kids about the iffy parts.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on December 19, 2007, 10:04:59 AM
That makes me happy! I think The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a non-happy ending, but that's all I can think of.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 19, 2007, 10:12:21 AM
Cool.  Now I know how people feel when I pick the wrong film;)  roujin, (A) any memory of what that documentary was and (B) do you want the next pairing (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2511.msg69882#msg69882)?  --see link for EDIT--
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 19, 2007, 11:15:22 AM
I was kind of surprised by your choice because of the way you wrote your comparison. I've never seen Bad Lieutenant and generally am harder on Disney than most, so I won't presume anything.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on December 19, 2007, 11:26:53 AM
Yeah, I wrote it like that on purpose. I wanted the pick to be a little bit of a surprise. Basically, it comes down to this. I would rather watch Beauty and the Beast again than Bad Lieutenant.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 19, 2007, 01:06:22 PM
I was kind of surprised by your choice because of the way you wrote your comparison. I've never seen Bad Lieutenant and generally am harder on Disney than most, so I won't presume anything.

Yeah, I was surprised too, especially with the abuse critique of B&B paired with noting the increasing "prickness" of Gaston.  Your reasoning basically states that you like B&B because you were entertained into repressing all the negatives with an upbeat tempo, nice songs, and a happy ending.

I get your follow-up that you would be more likely to watch B&B again rather than BL, but ouch!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 19, 2007, 01:08:22 PM
skjerva, you know that you and I are more likely than some to be a bit reactionary with our viewing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 20, 2007, 01:18:20 AM
skjerva, you know that you and I are more likely than some to be a bit reactionary with our viewing.

 :) [warm fuzzy]
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on December 20, 2007, 09:19:42 AM
Awwwwww.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 24, 2007, 11:39:02 AM
Kids vs. Rushmore

Jason Schwartzman, as Max Fischer, will never have a better performance.  Murphy, as Herman Blume, is good, of course, he fits this all-too-common exaggeratedly understated comedic character perfectly.  Rushmore is fun, don't get me wrong, but what is going on with the film?  Max and Herman fight over a woman, Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), "She is my Rushmore".  If all the world is a stage, as the film seems to imply, then the world's women are props.  Margaret Yang (Sara Tanaka) is in a similar pickle-as-a-prop.  The leaning on the soundtrack doesn't really work for the film, though it seems to want it to; I typically don't fall for this style of film-making.  Herman's speech in the chapel is a strange anomaly in the film as far as I can tell, the bit about putting the "rich boys in the crosshairs and taking them down" - no idea.

I'm not sure why Larry Clark's Kids isn't talked about more often, maybe it is just too raw.  The film follows a bunch of scantily clad kids having sex, drinking, using drugs, talking crassly - doing whatever it is that proper folks would imagine improper kids doing.  There are plenty of interesting, and fairly obvious, questions the films raises, what interests me most is the metaphor of these kids as the US.  Added bonus: Chloë Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, and Leo Fitzpatrick (Marcus, from Storytelling) (among others) all got their starts in this film. 

Sorry for the brevity.  I still have the Goodfellas vs. Safe commentary hanging over my head, I just wanted to spit this one out.

Clearly Kids kicks Rushmore's proverbial ass.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on December 24, 2007, 01:23:05 PM
I don't think you should be allowed to review Wes Anderson films.  Especially when matched up in exploitive kiddie porn in lefty art clothing.   ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 24, 2007, 05:37:30 PM
I don't think you should be allowed to review Wes Anderson films.  Especially when matched up in exploitive kiddie porn in lefty art clothing.   ;)

That might be true:)

Overall, I do like Rushmore more than not, and I did finally make it to Darjeeling a few days ago and it was better than I expected (and I think I would even say good).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: VmSoze on December 26, 2007, 07:12:46 AM
I don't think you should be allowed to review Wes Anderson films.  Especially when matched up in exploitive kiddie porn in lefty art clothing.   ;)

That might be true:)

Overall, I do like Rushmore more than not, and I did finally make it to Darjeeling a few days ago and it was better than I expected (and I think I would even say good).

you've cut me deep, skjerva!  Rushmore is really one of my favorite movies and Kids just makes me feel gross.  How could you side against my dear Jason Schwartzman?  Shocking I tell you, just shocking!  :o
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on December 26, 2007, 11:18:15 AM
Oops :)

I'm starting to play with the idea that I watch comedies in a very different way because of the way they transmit their ideologies, thus why I tend to be more critical with them.  I'm not really sure.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 12:26:40 AM
     I started watching GoodFellas (maybe [noembed]the opening scene (http://youtube.com/watch?v=2JUwHlC_nDw)[/noembed] is not fresh with you) but the three guys – Jimmy (DeNiro), Henry (Liotta), and Tommy (Pesci) - are in the car wondering what the noise is is just pathetic.  They know there is a guy in the trunk, sure he is supposed to be dead, but they start hypothesizing “the timing belt”, “a flat” – ‘I guess we better pull over and see’ says Tommy.  If you hear a noise in the car, are you not going to be able to tell it is in the trunk – especially when you know there is a guy there?  I wouldn’t expect such a poor treatment from a high school video-maker, but Scorsese?  In one of his more highly revered films?  Come on!  That completely wrong set-up along with a very staged-feeling interior of the car started to worry me for how bad I was apparently going to think the film was, flying in the face of most every Scorsese-worshipping Filmspotter.  Fortunately, with the quick turn to Henry’s statement “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” and the scenes of his childhood, Scorsese solidly takes control of the story.  (And before I stray too far, what is up with those “car-like” opening credits?  Very unimpressive.)

   Present-day Henry provides voice-over for scenes from his childhood.  We are told that he enjoyed the power and “respect” from being associated with the mob and that the mob was really looking out for their own when the police and other institutions would not.  So I am getting swept up with young Henry, the idea of parallel institutions, community, chosen family, all that good stuff – thematically it seems the film is hitting its stride and meshing with ideas I tend to value.  Then, it begins, the excessive violence and clever bits start creeping in and taking over.  The film feels as if it is trying to stay true to the story it is based upon, thus the matter-of-fact killings are not held up for judgment, instead included just as ornamental plot points.  The killings are not portrayed as ethically problematic, instead it is the deviations from expected behavior, seen most clearly with Tommy, that are ethically troublesome in this world.  Not to harp on the issue, but the film, while technically well crafted, just doesn’t do it for me in the story or meanings departments.

   Safe, while also technically well crafted (and without some of the transparent set pieces that GoodFellas suffers), raises interesting issues – mainly (mental) health and environment(al illness) with strong suggestions that Carol’s condition is aggravated by gender relations– while maintaining compelling plot trajectory and character development.  In fact, the sound design of Safe, consisting primarily of white noise, perfectly suits both the psychological state of the protagonist Carol White (in Julianne Moore’s best performance) as well as the social status of the environment as “background noise” and the booming industry of Syndromes.  Further, place is rarely such a consistently compelling aspect of a film, here Haynes has imbued White’s home and car, highways, hospitals, parking garages, as well as the retreat center as characters and characteristic of Carol’s illness.  The haunting finish is one of the finest in film.

I can't believe I haven't alienated everyone with my choices thus far, but if I had anyone left on my side, I reckon this has put an end to that.  Going in, I actually suspected I would go with GoodFellas - what can I say, I much prefer Safe  :) 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on January 21, 2008, 12:33:28 AM
I have a feeling that sdedalus will step in for this one. Isn't that how it works?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 12:49:54 AM
I have a feeling that sdedalus will step in for this one. Isn't that how it works?

Yeah, four for this round and I have a feeling that I will have more than a fair share of my losers ruled back in.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on January 21, 2008, 12:56:19 AM
Yeah, I did get the sense that your picks weren't all that well-liked. I do see where you're coming from so I guess you did your job.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 21, 2008, 02:26:37 AM
Not having seen Safe, I am not against Goodfellas as I believe it to be far more flawed than is ever talked about. I may not have the same problems with it that you do, but it is by no means perfect or, in this case, unbeatable. I liken it to a sibling in a freakishly successful family. So much greatness among them, with some having less potential for greatness than others. But then there's this one child, with loads of potential that just seems to get a bit more credit for his potential and family name than anyone is willing to acknowledge.

Huh. It's been awhile since I defended you.

I'll post mine soon. I have my decision, I just need to figure out exactly how I'll articulate it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 02:28:07 AM
It has been a while, thanks :)  Looking forward to yours.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on January 21, 2008, 02:32:40 AM
I haven't seen Safe in a decade or so, but I really hated it then.

It's going to be a real struggle to only get to save four.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on January 21, 2008, 02:45:49 AM
I haven't seen Safe in a decade or so, but I really hated it then.

What he said.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 02:48:04 AM
I haven't seen Safe in a decade or so, but I really hated it then.

It's going to be a real struggle to only get to save four.

I don't feel sooo bad knowing that junior has also voted out some controversial ones - you will have your work cut out for you :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 21, 2008, 03:16:19 AM
Boys Don't Cry vs. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Boys Don't Cry
Major Flaws: It didn't need to be a film. It could have just as easily been a play, a novel, a tv movie, a frontline report, anything that conveyed the story. The little visual flourishes that Pierce put in were unimpressive and didn't add to my emotional, thematic or atmospheric understanding of the film and I otherwise fail to see their point. Most of the framing was boring and lacked ingenuity while there were noteworthy inserts that inspired cringing, if not (academic) anger. At no point in the film did I feel than any of the anxiety, fear, or pain that were so important to the story was communicated by the film to the audience in any cinematic way. Also, this one is no one's fault, but I couldn't help but think of Candace as "Becky".

Major Attributes: Very fine acting. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendon Sexton are known for these kinds of sleazy roles. Swank was totally convincing and Sevigny was passable to good depending on the scene. I'm not even going to deal with "Becky", I just can't. The pacing was spot on and kept a clean beat throughout. The narrative was expressed with admirable skill and success.

Ghost Dog
Major Flaws: Some of the acting was stiff. I could've done without the VOs on the book excerpts. A number of times it was too clever for its own good and a few times it was too philosophical for its own good.

Major Attributes: I understand a lot of the complaints about Whitaker here, but he totally worked for me. The perspective driven camera work was some of the best, most effortless, I've seen in film of this period. The comedy was very much of Jarmusch's later period and was really on target here. The melange of genres and the spoofing within them was really well done and should be considered before watching Kill Bill if you are a fan of the latter film. The set design, relationships and spatial framing really evoked the tenor of the scene and kept the audience in step with the narrative. Again, surprisingly funny.

The main difference here for me is the use of the medium. While I feel that Pierce's film does nothing with cinema itself and simply uses it to communicate the story, Jarmusch is constantly aware of his artifice and uses it often. Even some of the problems I had with it (the VO on the text) had a purpose that revealed itself and maintained the importance of the device. There was nothing in Pierce's film that I considered indispensable (maybe the shots from the film that she was forced to cut to drop the rating would've changed my perspective on this). While this is nowhere near Jarmusch's best film of the decade (Dead Man being unfairly dispatched earlier), it is more than strong enough to let Boys Don't Cry go.

Ghost Dog over Boys Don't Cry.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 03:21:13 AM
Nice write-up.  Do you have your next?  If not, do you want another? (I think only 4 are left for the round.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 21, 2008, 03:24:33 AM
Nice write-up.  Do you have your next?  If not, do you want another? (I think only 4 are left for the round.)
Thank you. No I don't. Of course I do.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on January 21, 2008, 06:29:48 PM
It's so strange to talk academically about Boys Don't Cry. The movie ripped me apart. It is probably that, for me, the act of rape is the most painful event I could witness on film, nothing disturbs me more, so that may have to do with my intense reaction.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 21, 2008, 07:44:38 PM
It's so strange to talk academically about Boys Don't Cry. The movie ripped me apart. It is probably that, for me, the act of rape is the most painful event I could witness on film, nothing disturbs me more, so that may have to do with my intense reaction.
See, conversely, the problem with the film working for me is that I've seen so many instances of rape on film that I've become desensitized to a certain extent. Not to mention that I knew Brandon Teena's story going in.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 21, 2008, 08:02:01 PM
Nice write-up.  Do you have your next?  If not, do you want another? (I think only 4 are left for the round.)
Thank you. No I don't. Of course I do.

It looks like the next up is

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

will that work?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on January 21, 2008, 08:02:17 PM
Not to mention that I knew Brandon Teena's story going in.

Was this your first viewing of both films?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on January 21, 2008, 10:07:53 PM
Nice write-up.  Do you have your next?  If not, do you want another? (I think only 4 are left for the round.)
Thank you. No I don't. Of course I do.

It looks like the next up is

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

will that work?

Woah. That one is mine, I think.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JoshuaOst on January 21, 2008, 10:12:59 PM
If you guys want me to review anything, I've got most of this week to watch films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 21, 2008, 10:47:05 PM
Nice write-up.  Do you have your next?  If not, do you want another? (I think only 4 are left for the round.)
Thank you. No I don't. Of course I do.

It looks like the next up is

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

will that work?

Woah. That one is mine, I think.
If it's yours, give me the next one skjerva. If Junior doesn't have it, I'm fine with it.

Not to mention that I knew Brandon Teena's story going in.

Was this your first viewing of both films?

pixote
No, only Boys Don't Cry. I actually expected to be surprisingly overwhelmed by BDC and underwhelmed by GD, but it went the other way.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on January 21, 2008, 10:57:32 PM
What's the next one?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

want it?

See?!?!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on January 21, 2008, 11:01:39 PM
L.A. Confidential vs. Jerry Maguire

Show me the money?

Jerry Maguire

Major Flaws: Well, sometimes it's just too cute. Yes, that little kid is precious but it sometimes feels like it all belongs in a hallmark card somewhere. The film also drags in a couple of places but it wasn't that big of a problem.

Major Attributes: There was a lot to like actually. Most surprisingly, Cuba Gooding Jr.'s performance. I would never say that he deserved to win his Oscar (it should've been William H. Macy or Edward Norton) but I can see why he did. It's a feel-good performance and he brings a burst of life into the movie. When he shows up the film is  merely Tom Cruise being a self-absorbed jackass (a role he would reprise later on in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky.) The romantic stuff was nice and all and Renee Zellweger was pretty cute back then. I can't really dislike this movie. It's entertaining enough that it manages to convince me that it's problems aren't that big or important. Or perhaps I'm just giving Cameron Crowe the benefit of the doubt. He did make my favorite film of all time, after all.

L.A. Confidential

Major Flaws: Kim Basinger? Well, she isn't really bad but she's about the biggest weak link I can find in this film and I never really minded her... or how about Danny DeVito? Well, he's alright.

Major Attributes: I've seen this movie about five or six times now. That should tell you how highly I think of it. I don't know. Everything about it clicks for me. All the characters ring true and the story is exciting even though I already knew how it would turn out. Everybody is firing on all cylinders.

It's just an incredibly well-made film. Everything about it is top-notch.

It really isn't close. Curtis Hanson's film is an undeniable achievement in just about every field. Jerry Maguire, on the other hand, is just OK. It has nice enough performances and it's funny/romantic enough for you to like it but that's it.

L.A. Confidential over Jerry Maguire.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 22, 2008, 09:39:07 AM
I do indeed need a new pair skjerva.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 22, 2008, 03:15:34 PM
What's the next one?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

want it?

See?!?!

damn, sorry.  i was going off a file on the computer i usually don't use and hadn't updated - i had a bad feeling that had been assigned.

face, how's about:

Grosse Pointe Blank
vs
The Straight Story
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on January 22, 2008, 03:36:09 PM
What's the next one?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

want it?

See?!?!

damn, sorry.  i was going off a file on the computer i usually don't use and hadn't updated - i had a bad feeling that had been assigned.

face, how's about:

Grosse Pointe Blank
vs
The Straight Story
I can do that. I have GPB and just have to go get The Straight Story.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on January 24, 2008, 11:37:29 AM
What's the next one?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vs. The Thin Red Line

want it?

See?!?!

damn, sorry.  i was going off a file on the computer i usually don't use and hadn't updated - i had a bad feeling that had been assigned.

face, how's about:

Grosse Pointe Blank
vs
The Straight Story
I can do that. I have GPB and just have to go get The Straight Story.

cool :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Emiliana on February 15, 2008, 01:52:53 PM
Mighty Aphrodite
vs.
LA Story

Mighty Aphrodite:

Major Flaws: It is Woody Allen doing what Woody Allen has always been doing, so there is little that's new or particularly charming there when you have seen a couple if his films. I don't see why the Greek choir has to be there (ok, it comments on the action just as an ancient choir would have done, but what particular purpose did it serve in this particular film? I wasn't able to see why this story merited having that theatrical device thrust upon it). On a related note: so the ending made use of another device from classical theatre (deus ex machina), but that doesn't mean that I had to like it, and I didn't. Deus ex machina endings just are unsatisfying to me. And lastly, Mira Sorvino has the most grating voice I can possibly imagine.

Major attributes: It is Woody Allen doing what Woody Allen has always been doing. He is painting the portraits of a couple of characters whose personalities are so clearly drawn and who come immediately to life as soon as they are on the screen. Many scenes and lines of dialogue were truly funny ("Screen Extras Guild"), and I laughed out loud a couple of times when the choir spoke about Lenny's mundane story in the heightened, stylised language of ancient drama. I also truly enjoyed seeing Helena Bonham Carter in her quite straight-forward, understated role.

Final judgement on Mighty Aphrodite: A generally charming film with a nice story, some good laughs, but lacking in a certain something that makes it truly great.


LA Story

Major Flaws: Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker was supposed to be a bubbly, young presence, a breath of fresh air, but to me she was just annoying. The plot seemed rather insubstantial to me.

Major Attributes: I laughed A LOT. From the first moments (i.e. the opening montage), I was truly enjoying the film. As a Shakespeare fanatic, I enjoyed the references (which were few enough not to stick out uncomfortably). My first thoughts while seeing the film was: This is Woody-Allen-esque in the best possible way - ever so slightly pathetic protagonist runs around a city he loves and gets tangled up in dinner parties, marriages and love affairs, all while being very entertaining and funny. I felt that the film was successful as both a satire of and an hommage to Los Angeles. But my favourite character of the film would have to be the signpost.

Final judgement on LA Story: A fluffy comedy that was enjoyable from start to finish, but nothing that really gave you that certain "wow"-feeling.

Conclusions: I saw LA Story first, and it did all the things I usually love about Woody Allen's films: it kept me entertained, it made me laugh, it made me care for the characters, it left me with a truly satisfied feeling. After that, the real Woody Allen film did also deliver on most of these points, with the one exception that I just didn't enjoy spending time with those characters as much as I had enjoyed the whole experience of LA Story. Thus, my vote has to go to LA Story.

 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on February 15, 2008, 01:54:55 PM
Very nice write-up, Emiliana!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on February 15, 2008, 05:00:52 PM
Update: I watched Tommy Boy. I suppose I should send Away From Her back (because it appears I will never watch it) and get Bottle Rocket, so we can move on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on February 15, 2008, 05:10:15 PM
Gah! Good thing this thread came up or I would've forgotten.

*gets reservoir dogs and my own private idaho*
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on February 15, 2008, 07:52:58 PM
for the last month i've been meaning to PM the stragglers AND i think there is one unassigned pair left...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on February 15, 2008, 11:45:02 PM
for the last month i've been meaning to PM the stragglers AND i think there is one unassigned pair left...
The Straight Story will be among the pair of my first non '07 films to watch after my ballot is official (along with The Entertainer). I should be able to do Grosse Point Blank off the top of my head (though I'll rewatch it anyway).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 16, 2008, 03:34:59 PM
Toy Story
vs.
The Big Lebowski

When skjerva, with his gag-reflex for all things Disney and his zealotry-of-the-converted campaign to knock the Coen Brothers off their critical perch, first assigned me this pair, he called it "one of the least interesting match-ups."  But I was actually excited to compare these two movies.  I figured the similarities of the styles — the cleverness in storytelling, the attention to detail through shot-by-shot storyboarding — would make the contrast between an animated film and a live-action film all the more intriguing...

(http://i32.tinypic.com/20qezy8.jpg)

Thirteen years removed from the release of Toy Story and the debut of a feature-length, computer-animated film, I remain more impressed with the cleverness of its script than the technological breakthrough of the production.  The story concept is beautiful (the secret world of a child's toys unsettled by the introduction of a new toy who doesn't know he's a toy), and the filmmakers are excellent at rooting every story element directly in that concept.  A lot of the joy of the film is watching the toys using the tools at their disposal (Etch-a-Sketch, Walkie Talkies, remote controlled car) to overcome the obstacles they encounter.  These moves are always surprising but also (in retrospect) inevitable — a tribute to the strong coherence of the storytelling.

One thing I really love about Toy Story is that much of its audience will identify more strongly with the antagonist than with the protagonists.  That's pretty cool, especially in a kids' movie.  Appropriately, it's in Sid's bedroom that the movie is at its best, with the collection of misfit toys representing the peak of the film's creativity.  These scenes also contain my favorite thematic moment (the misfit toys confounding Woody and Buzz's preconceptions of them) and the line that, to my surprise, made me laugh the loudest ("I don't believe that man's ever been to medical school!" perfectly read by Tim Allen).

My problem with Toy Story, however, is that much of the cleverness affects me more on an intellectual level than an emotional level.  The critical cliché (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=3264.0) that applies here is, "I admired it without really loving it."  But to reinvent that cliché in the language of the chat room: too much 'heh' and not enough 'HA!'.  And, actually, I think the computer animation is largely to blame for that.  The visuals are sometimes too pristine for their own good, and the resulting plasticity makes for a colder, more distancing look than with hand-drawn animation, where the cel-to-cel imperfections lend the images a naturalness that tends to be more engaging, at least for me.

There are a few other problems (Woody's whining gets a bit much, for example), but overall Toy Story remains a good but not great film — one that probably doesn't belong among the top thirty-two American films of the nineties.

(http://i30.tinypic.com/ixrptu.jpg)

It's tough to know what to say about The Big Lebowski at this point.  There's already a thread here entitled Can anyone deny the supreme greatness of The Big Lewboski? (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=205.0) [sic], and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  At least two active posters (El_Duderino (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?action=profile;u=3846) and The Jesus (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?action=profile;u=4302)) owe their handles and avatars to the film.  It made three people's lists in the Top 20 Films (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=3192.0) thread, and about ten lists in the Top 5 Most Re-watchable (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=1096.0).  When Junior recently watched it for the first time and graded it a mere B- (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=1028.msg88908#msg88908), he was nearly exiled from the forums.

The film's greatest strength is easily the characterization of The Dude, as written by the brothers Coen and played quite excellently by Jeff Bridges.  Most if not all of my favorite moments involve The Dude just reacting to other characters in his uniquely engaging way.  Everyone has their favorite lines, but I'm particularly partial to his repetition of Bush's quote, "This aggression cannot stand."  Beautiful.  (I'm trying to remember a non-Lebowski line that I'd rank near the top of my list, and for some reason I keep coming back to the younger cop's saying, "Well. I guess we can close the books on that one."  The smile on his face is priceless.

The knock on The Big Lebowski, even among its most fervent admirers, seems to be that, well, it sucks the first time you watch it.  That's a weird thing to hear about such a celebrated film, but there it is.  In the dust-up with that traitorous bastard Junior, three people said the same thing.  Aaron: "I hated it the first time I saw it but now I can quote it like it's Bladerunner."  smirnoff: "I didn't much like it the first time either. Definitely grows on you with every viewing though, until it's one of your favs."  sdedalus: "It's really not until the 6th or 7th time that you begin to truly understand."  That kind of reaction is usually a red flag for me; it's the same sort of thing people say about films like Napoleon Dynamite, Billy Madison, or even The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Weirdly, though, The Big Lebowski never came up in the Top 5 Movies You Fell In/Out of Love With (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2712.0) thread.

I don't really share that take on the film, but I do have a few other problems with it.  For one thing — and this is pretty minor — I don't think it's a very good movie.  There, my secret is out.  Hopefully, I've buried it deep enough in this post so that nobody will notice it.  I mean, nobody reads posts that are over three lines long, right?  But, seriously, I don't get where the primary Filmspotting demographic is coming from with this movie.  Whenever The Dude isn't at the center of things, the film is exasperating.  I get annoyed right from the overly precious start, with the tumbleweed rolling along beneath some pretty underwhelming narration by Coen Brothers standards.  Maybe the greatest flaw is the way most of the other characterizations in the film detract from the greatness of The Dude as they try to compete with him in terms of originality.  Walter, for instance, is such an annoying, one-note punchline of a character.  That might be great from a quotability perspective — knowing what he's going to say because it's always one of the same three damn things — but it's really pretty tiresome.  And way too much of the humor is of the fat-man-in-a-tutu variety.  I don't have a lot of use for that.  The visuals are generally good, of course.  And I admire any modern film that surprises me with a musical number.

No contest.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on March 16, 2008, 04:01:29 PM
I just hope you know that this aggression... probably won't stand.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on March 16, 2008, 04:17:28 PM
I'm (in)famous!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 16, 2008, 04:36:27 PM
I just want to make it clear that I loved Lebowski immediately.  But it doesn't begin to unlock and explain the mysteries of the universe until the 6th or 7th viewing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 16, 2008, 07:45:08 PM
I just want to make it clear that I loved Lebowski immediately.  But it doesn't begin to unlock and explain the mysteries of the universe until the 6th or 7th viewing.

I almost added a qualifier to that effect, but the post seemed long enough.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on March 16, 2008, 08:33:25 PM
Bottle Rocket vs. Tommy Boy

Bottle Rocket

This is a director I love, but this was among the last films in his filmography that I saw.  I see here the beginnings of the director he has become. The soundtrack is there, but doesn't come on as strong as his later works. It's quirky without being too quirky and that is probably why so many people prefer this movie to some of his later works. I personally prefer the later works because they are the full force Anderson. The movie has nice visual style, with the scenes at the hotel standing out.

I couldn't get past the outside world poking its head into my perspective on both movies. With Owen Wilson's recent problems, it was a little unsettling when I remembered that the premise of this movie the was a release from a mental hospital following a breakdown. I had similar issues with Tommy Boy.

Tommy Boy


I enjoyed this movie more when I was younger than I did with this viewing. It's silly and the score strangles you with swelling music, but at its heart it is sweet and has some truly funny moments. The funniest moment being when Chris Farley and David Spade have a sing-a-long to a Carpenter's song at full voice.

Again, Farley's later death from a drug overdose, taints comedic feelings. I saw a young and funny man and I was sad for what became of him. It doesn't exactly put you in the ha-ha mood.

Winner
Ultimately I went with Bottle Rocket because I feel it is more ambitious and ultimately more fulfilling.


Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on March 17, 2008, 12:28:28 AM
Reservoir Dogs vs. My Own Private Idaho

Two classics of American independent film battle it out!

Reservoir Dogs

Major Flaws: Tarantino has never been that original. His whole schtick is taking what he likes from the past, combining it with something else and putting a pretty cool song on top of it. The guy isn't a revolutionary and neither is Reservoir Dogs a particularly innovative film. Another thing that bothered me when I revisited the film is how "cool" (whatever that means) it tried to be. Everything that is done in the film is done to enhance the "cool" effect. From the music choices to the pop culture gabfest of the opening scene. Not really a flaw but it bothered me. If anything, this film is a trial run for bigger and better things.

Major Attributes: So yeah, it's not very original but it's redeemed by the fact that it's so freaking cool (so I dislike and like it for the same reason?) Quentin Tarantino came charging out of the gate with a style all his own (mishmash of styles not his own?) that has intoxicated cinephiles ever since. It's hard to not have a goofy grin when the guys start walking in slo-mo and "Little Green Bag" starts playing. Tarantino may be a douche but he's certainly talented. His films are pure cinema. No more, no less.

My Own Private Idaho

Major Flaws: It's not really a flaw but all the Shakespeare stuff was completely lost on me. I am a philistine. Please have mercy on me! I didn't really know what to think of it although I did make the connection that Bob was supposed to Falstaff and all that junk after some reading of the Wiki articles. Hmmm, Reeves? He's painfully bad during the beginning but his charm (?) somehow makes that tolerable and then I go and find out that he's actually not that bad.

Major Attributes: While Tarantino's film is meant to enthrall, this one is meant to linger. This mostly impressionistic tale is aided by the sure direction of Gus Van Sant and the terrific performance of River Phoenix. This isn't really an outstanding achievement or anything, it's a small film about two characters. What makes the film noteworthy is how well it gets to know both of thesm. That's what makes it great.

These are two such different films that it's kind of hard to pick one over the another. Reservoir Dogs is more fun. My Own Private Idaho is a film driven by an incredibly personal vision. After talking to faceboy, who articulated what I thought about both films much better than I could, I wasn't sure about my choice anymore. So there I was, ready to pick RD and now I'm listening to Elliott Smith and I'm feeling the opposite. I may regret this later but:

My Own Private Idaho over Reservoir Dogs.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 12:34:28 AM
After talking to faceboy, who articulated what I thought about both films much better than I could, I wasn't sure about my choice anymore.

Dammit, I knew I should have been in chat tonight!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on March 17, 2008, 12:35:24 AM
He's a really bad influence :(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 17, 2008, 12:37:19 AM
After talking to faceboy, who articulated what I thought about both films much better than I could, I wasn't sure about my choice anymore.

Dammit, I knew I should have been in chat tonight!

pixote
If only my computer hadn't crashed. God only knows what I might've done.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 12:40:16 AM
Winner
Ultimately I went with Bottle Rocket because I feel it is more ambitious and ultimately more fulfilling.

Although I enjoyed both these films, when I think of them, I tend to focus on how they end.  Tommy Boy is one of my go-to examples of modern comedies that forget to be funny at the end while they wrap up the dumb plot that nobody cares much about.  Bottle Rocket, on the other hand, has that great scene between the two guys in the driveway, with Dignan in that yellow jumpsuit.  I love that scene, and thus I totally support your decision.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 01:10:58 AM
Tarantino has never been that original. His whole schtick is taking what he likes from the past, combining it with something else and putting a pretty cool song on top of it. The guy isn't a revolutionary and neither is Reservoir Dogs a particularly innovative film.

I feel like Tarantino gets a bad rap for this kind of thing, maybe only because he's more open about his influences than some, but I don't find his various borrowings any more problematic than I do those of Woody Allen, Akira Kurosawa, Howard Hawks, etc.

Another thing that bothered me when I revisited the film is how "cool" (whatever that means) it tried to be. Everything that is done in the film is done to enhance the "cool" effect. From the music choices to the pop culture gabfest of the opening scene. Not really a flaw but it bothered me.

I think this read is a bit skewed by being sixteen years removed from the appearance of Resevoir Dogs.  Because, back then, there wasn't a built-in audience for the film, and no guarantee that Tarantino was going to become 'Tarantino'.  I think it's much more likely that Tarantino was just filling his first film with things he loved, things he himself passionately found cool, without all that much regard for how they'd be perceived by an (imagined) audience.  That's overstating it a bit, but you get the idea.

While Tarantino's film is meant to enthrall, this one is meant to linger.

I can't really praise or condemn your verdict without revisiting Resevoir Dogs — I think I've only seen the whole thing once, and that was a long time ago.  Still, it stuck with my pretty well, with a lot of its moments proving indelible (and not just the ones embraced by pop culture at large).  On the other hand, it's only been two years since I revisited My Own Private Idaho, and while I liked it, it hasn't lingered in memory at all ... except for that one damn song which I can't find anywhere ("Getting Into the Outside").

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on March 17, 2008, 08:29:24 AM
I feel like Tarantino gets a bad rap for this kind of thing, maybe only because he's more open about his influences than some, but I don't find his various borrowings any more problematic than I do those of Woody Allen, Akira Kurosawa, Howard Hawks, etc.

I suppose that came off more negative than it meant to. It's not really a flaw or anything but as I watch more and more films, Tarantino is just one of those directors that comes off as just not being very interesting.

Quote from: pixote
I think this read is a bit skewed by being sixteen years removed from the appearance of Resevoir Dogs.  Because, back then, there wasn't a built-in audience for the film, and no guarantee that Tarantino was going to become 'Tarantino'.  I think it's much more likely that Tarantino was just filling his first film with things he loved, things he himself passionately found cool, without all that much regard for how they'd be perceived by an (imagined) audience.  That's overstating it a bit, but you get the idea.

You're probably right on this regard. But does that mean that with his later films, he was trying to be  cool?

I don't know. This is probably the only time when all the trademark "Tarantino" crap is sorta annoying.


Quote from: pixote
I can't really praise or condemn your verdict without revisiting Resevoir Dogs — I think I've only seen the whole thing once, and that was a long time ago.  Still, it stuck with my pretty well, with a lot of its moments proving indelible (and not just the ones embraced by pop culture at large).  On the other hand, it's only been two years since I revisited My Own Private Idaho, and while I liked it, it hasn't lingered in memory at all ... except for that one damn song which I can't find anywhere ("Getting Into the Outside").

Honestly, the only reason why I chose MOPI was because Elliott Smith was playing in the background and it felt right. So don't blame faceboy, blame Elliott Smith!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on March 17, 2008, 09:42:48 AM
Winner
Ultimately I went with Bottle Rocket because I feel it is more ambitious and ultimately more fulfilling.

Although I enjoyed both these films, when I think of them, I tend to focus on how they end.  Tommy Boy is one of my go-to examples of modern comedies that forget to be funny at the end while they wrap up the dumb plot that nobody cares much about.  Bottle Rocket, on the other hand, has that great scene between the two guys in the driveway, with Dignan in that yellow jumpsuit.  I love that scene, and thus I totally support your decision.

pixote

I was thinking about the end too when I made my decision. The end is completely true to the movie and just makes you love the movie more:

"Anthony and Bob visit Dignan in prison. They catch up and tell him how Mr. Henry robbed Bob's house. Dignan begins rattling off an escape plan and instructs his friends to get into position for a get-away. After a tense moment, the two realize that Dignan is joking. Before leaving, Dignan says to Anthony, "Isn't it funny that you used to be in the nuthouse and now I'm in jail?" as he walks back into the prison. As in all Wes Anderson movies the ending is in slow motion."
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on March 17, 2008, 12:26:41 PM
Winner
Ultimately I went with Bottle Rocket because I feel it is more ambitious and ultimately more fulfilling.

Although I enjoyed both these films, when I think of them, I tend to focus on how they end.  Tommy Boy is one of my go-to examples of modern comedies that forget to be funny at the end while they wrap up the dumb plot that nobody cares much about.  Bottle Rocket, on the other hand, has that great scene between the two guys in the driveway, with Dignan in that yellow jumpsuit.  I love that scene, and thus I totally support your decision.

pixote

I was thinking about the end too when I made my decision. The end is completely true to the movie and just makes you love the movie more:

"Anthony and Bob visit Dignan in prison. They catch up and tell him how Mr. Henry robbed Bob's house. Dignan begins rattling off an escape plan and instructs his friends to get into position for a get-away. After a tense moment, the two realize that Dignan is joking. Before leaving, Dignan says to Anthony, "Isn't it funny that you used to be in the nuthouse and now I'm in jail?" as he walks back into the prison. As in all Wes Anderson movies the ending is in slow motion."

plus the funniest heist scene in the history of cinema.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 12:28:07 PM
plus the funniest heist scene in the history of cinema.

I dunno, I remember Topkapi's being pretty funny...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 17, 2008, 02:57:40 PM
Tarantino has never been that original. His whole schtick is taking what he likes from the past, combining it with something else and putting a pretty cool song on top of it. The guy isn't a revolutionary and neither is Reservoir Dogs a particularly innovative film.

I feel like Tarantino gets a bad rap for this kind of thing, maybe only because he's more open about his influences than some, but I don't find his various borrowings any more problematic than I do those of Woody Allen, Akira Kurosawa, Howard Hawks, etc.

The difference for me is that his references are used to accommodate his desire to rework and winkingly skewer whatever genre he's working in. In this way, he's similar to Allen, except that I find Allen to have a slightly more experimental bent in his own filmmaking, even if most of it is a reference to Bergman/Dreyer. Kurosawa, Hawks and the like worked in genres and with influences but not in the same meta-fictional way. It's not to say it makes his films bad, however, it leaves his films, particularly RD, with moments that fall a bit flat as they over-reference to the degree that they become generic.

While Tarantino's film is meant to enthrall, this one is meant to linger.

I can't really praise or condemn your verdict without revisiting Resevoir Dogs — I think I've only seen the whole thing once, and that was a long time ago.  Still, it stuck with my pretty well, with a lot of its moments proving indelible (and not just the ones embraced by pop culture at large).  On the other hand, it's only been two years since I revisited My Own Private Idaho, and while I liked it, it hasn't lingered in memory at all ... except for that one damn song which I can't find anywhere ("Getting Into the Outside").

pixote
Besides the Shakespearian elements that I think help MOPI's case but that roujin respectfully didn't comment on, I just think MOPI deserves distinction on a structural basis. The film doesn't tell it's story as much as it slowly divulges it to you, while using the setting and fictional society around  it (along with the Shakespearian inserts) to give the audience context and meaning so that by the end you've been shown not only what the story is but also what it means to the people involved. Also, it made decent use of Keanu, which deserves recognition.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 03:03:11 PM
It's not to say it makes his films bad, however, it leaves his films, particularly RD, with moments that fall a bit flat as they over-reference to the degree that they become generic.

I see that more with Kill Bill than with Resevoir Dogs.  Can you provide an example from the latter?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 17, 2008, 03:10:58 PM
It's not to say it makes his films bad, however, it leaves his films, particularly RD, with moments that fall a bit flat as they over-reference to the degree that they become generic.

I see that more with Kill Bill than with Resevoir Dogs.  Can you provide an example from the latter?

pixote
Hmm. I want to say the stand-off between Keitel and Buscemi, but I can't remember exactly what I was thinking of and can only come up with Le samourai. I mean, the whole film reminds me of The Killing, at least to a point. There's a lot of Rififi there as well, but I would have to sit down with it to do any better at this moment.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 17, 2008, 03:11:56 PM
Well, let's hope it gets resurrected and assigned to you in the next round!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 17, 2008, 11:50:02 PM
If it doesn't, I'll maybe try to deal with it myself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 18, 2008, 03:34:56 AM
It's not to say it makes his films bad, however, it leaves his films, particularly RD, with moments that fall a bit flat as they over-reference to the degree that they become generic.

I see that more with Kill Bill than with Resevoir Dogs.  Can you provide an example from the latter?

pixote

The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 18, 2008, 03:39:26 AM
It's not to say it makes his films bad, however, it leaves his films, particularly RD, with moments that fall a bit flat as they over-reference to the degree that they become generic.

I see that more with Kill Bill than with Resevoir Dogs.  Can you provide an example from the latter?

pixote

The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Ah, thank you. It was killing me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 18, 2008, 03:43:51 AM
No problem.

Reservoir Dogs is much, much better than Lam's film, by the way.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 18, 2008, 04:27:25 AM
No problem.

Reservoir Dogs is much, much better than Lam's film, by the way.
That may be, but it's not better than van Sant's film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 18, 2008, 10:18:53 AM
The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Ah, thank you. It was killing me.

Is that an example of over-reference that makes the moment generic?  Or just an example of a Hawksian homage/borrowing/theft that works?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on March 18, 2008, 11:27:45 AM
No problem.

Reservoir Dogs is much, much better than Lam's film, by the way.
That may be, but it's not better than van Sant's film.

I might agree with that.  But Pulp Fiction is definitely better than Clerks.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on March 18, 2008, 01:09:12 PM
i don't think so :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 18, 2008, 03:26:01 PM
Is that an example of over-reference that makes the moment generic?  Or just an example of a Hawksian homage/borrowing/theft that works?

I don't know.  I never thought of Hawks as a "borrower", so I don't really know what you're talking about.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on March 18, 2008, 03:55:39 PM
i don't think so :)

clearly.  but we don't pay you to think.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on March 18, 2008, 05:53:56 PM
i don't think so :)

clearly.  but we don't pay you to think.

that doesn't matter, i'm planning on putting ads on the bottom of each of my posts, i'm currently in negotiations!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 18, 2008, 11:40:46 PM
I never thought of Hawks as a "borrower", so I don't really know what you're talking about.

I tend to see Hawks' whole career that way — a director who is constantly borrowing and reinventing (that's key) elements from past films, whether by other directors (Maltese Falcon to The Big Sleep and Casablanca to To Have and Have Not are the obvious examples) or by himself (Rio Bravo to El Dorado to Rio Lobo).

He's very open about this kind of "stealing" in interviews (that's his word for it), prone to say things like:

Quote from: Howard Hawks
And if a director has a story that he likes and he tells it, very often he looks at the picture and says, "I could do that better if I did it again," so I'd do it again.  I'll keep on doing them, in a different way.  I'm not a damn bit interested in whether somebody thinks [El Dorado] is a copy of [Rio Bravo], because the copy made more money than the original, and I was very pleased with it.

He's the best.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 18, 2008, 11:56:14 PM
More examples of Hawksian borrowing:

Ooh, another filmje I need to see.

pixote
face

Flight of the Conchords

Or, wait, maybe those were Tarantinoesque.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 18, 2008, 11:57:19 PM
More examples of Hawksian borrowing:

Ooh, another filmje I need to see.

pixote
face

Flight of the Conchords

Or, wait, maybe those were Tarantinoesque.

pixote
the first one was Hawksian, the second one Tarantino (vintage Reservoir Dogs).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 19, 2008, 01:16:12 AM
I never thought of Hawks as a "borrower", so I don't really know what you're talking about.

I tend to see Hawks' whole career that way — a director who is constantly borrowing and reinventing (that's key) elements from past films, whether by other directors (Maltese Falcon to The Big Sleep and Casablanca to To Have and Have Not are the obvious examples) or by himself (Rio Bravo to El Dorado to Rio Lobo).

He's very open about this kind of "stealing" in interviews (that's his word for it), prone to say things like:

Quote from: Howard Hawks
And if a director has a story that he likes and he tells it, very often he looks at the picture and says, "I could do that better if I did it again," so I'd do it again.  I'll keep on doing them, in a different way.  I'm not a damn bit interested in whether somebody thinks [El Dorado] is a copy of [Rio Bravo], because the copy made more money than the original, and I was very pleased with it.

He's the best.

pixote

I'm with you on the second type of borrowing, for sure, it's one of the strongest arguments for him as an auteur.  But his working within (and reworking) genres is hardly the kind of thing Tarantino is accused of.  Sure, Casablanca and To Have have the same general premise (Bogart persuaded to join WW2) but that's about it.  If anything, the Hawks film is a response to the previous work (as is the case with Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep and High Noon and Rio Bravo).  Tarantino's not being charged with responding to previous works, but lifting parts of them wholesale into his own films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 19, 2008, 01:17:53 AM
I never thought of Hawks as a "borrower", so I don't really know what you're talking about.

I tend to see Hawks' whole career that way — a director who is constantly borrowing and reinventing (that's key) elements from past films, whether by other directors (Maltese Falcon to The Big Sleep and Casablanca to To Have and Have Not are the obvious examples) or by himself (Rio Bravo to El Dorado to Rio Lobo).

He's very open about this kind of "stealing" in interviews (that's his word for it), prone to say things like:

Quote from: Howard Hawks
And if a director has a story that he likes and he tells it, very often he looks at the picture and says, "I could do that better if I did it again," so I'd do it again.  I'll keep on doing them, in a different way.  I'm not a damn bit interested in whether somebody thinks [El Dorado] is a copy of [Rio Bravo], because the copy made more money than the original, and I was very pleased with it.

He's the best.

pixote

I'm with you on the second type of borrowing, for sure, it's one of the strongest arguments for him as an auteur.  But his working within (and reworking) genres is hardly the kind of thing Tarantino is accused of.  Sure, Casablanca and To Have have the same general premise (Bogart persuaded to join WW2) but that's about it.  If anything, the Hawks film is a response to the previous work (as is the case with Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep and High Noon and Rio Bravo).  Tarantino's not being charged with responding to previous works, but lifting parts of them wholesale into his own films.
That's exactly my argument. However, I'd say that since Reservoir Dogs he seems to have made progress towards responding.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 19, 2008, 01:21:22 AM
The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Ah, thank you. It was killing me.

Is that an example of over-reference that makes the moment generic?  Or just an example of a Hawksian homage/borrowing/theft that works?

Bumped.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 19, 2008, 01:22:16 AM
It seems to me Tarantino's content to play within genre, not to play with it.  Thus the films where he mashes genres together are the most interesting to me (Kill Bill and From Dusk Til Dawn, and to a lesser extent, Pulp Fiction).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 19, 2008, 01:23:07 AM
The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Ah, thank you. It was killing me.

Is that an example of over-reference that makes the moment generic?  Or just an example of a Hawksian homage/borrowing/theft that works?

Bumped.

pixote

I don't follow.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 19, 2008, 01:35:09 AM
Well, the question is mainly for faceboy, who made the argument about Tarantino's over-referencing to the point of becoming generic, but asked another way:  Does the City on Fire reference diminish the end of Reservoir Dogs?  This is, is it a good example of what faceboy was talking about?

Hawks' stealing (from others and from his own earlier films) goes beyond genres, by the way.  I'll dig up some examples if I have time.  For now, here's a not fully relevant passage from another interview:

Quote from: Howard Hawks
You've said you didn't think there were any good directors making Westerns at the time you made "Red River" in the mid-40's. What about John Ford?

Oh, yes, Ford and I were very good friends; he's the only man I think was any good. That was a long time ago, but he and I were the best at it. As a matter of fact, Ford came down to the desert to die. I used to play golf and go over and see him and have a drink with him. I went in one day and he started laughing and I said, What are you laughing about?" He said, "I just remembered all the things I stole from you." And I said, "Well, I stole a lot more from you than you did from me." We would sit around and tell each other what we'd stolen from each other, and each of us was pleased that the other would steal from him, because we didn't think that the other fellows knew how to make westerns.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 19, 2008, 01:44:44 AM
Yeah, I don't think they were talking about the same kind of stealing.  I think they're more talking about something like Tarantino giving Uma Thurman Anna Karina's haircut in Pulp Fiction, rather than Tarantino grafting the ending of another film onto his own.

But I'd rather have that than, say, Brian DePalma perverting Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence with The Untouchables.  Too make this even more convoluted.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 19, 2008, 02:01:56 AM
Well, the question is mainly for faceboy, who made the argument about Tarantino's over-referencing to the point of becoming generic, but asked another way:  Does the City on Fire reference diminish the end of Resevoir Dogs?  This is, is it a good example of what faceboy was talking about?

Hawks' stealing (from others and from his own earlier films) goes beyond genres, by the way.  I'll dig up some examples if I have time.  For now, here's a not fully relevant passage from another interview:

Quote from: Howard Hawks
You've said you didn't think there were any good directors making Westerns at the time you made "Red River" in the mid-40's. What about John Ford?

Oh, yes, Ford and I were very good friends; he's the only man I think was any good. That was a long time ago, but he and I were the best at it. As a matter of fact, Ford came down to the desert to die. I used to play golf and go over and see him and have a drink with him. I went in one day and he started laughing and I said, What are you laughing about?" He said, "I just remembered all the things I stole from you." And I said, "Well, I stole a lot more from you than you did from me." We would sit around and tell each other what we'd stolen from each other, and each of us was pleased that the other would steal from him, because we didn't think that the other fellows knew how to make westerns.

pixote
Remind me with a targeted bump tomorrow. It's far to late right now for me to think coherently.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 19, 2008, 02:07:58 AM
Yay, the internet offered up a minor example:

Quote from: TCM (http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article.jsp?cid=89379&mainArticleId=89480)
Director Howard Hawks borrowed a visual gag from The Lady Eve later that year for his comedy Ball of Fire (1941). He featured a scene between stripper Barbara Stanwyck and college professor Gary Cooper where the latter takes hold of her bare foot, just as Henry Fonda had done with Stanwyck in the earlier film.

Not that it matters much, since most of our disagreement on Hawks seems to be semantic (and largely tangential to the discussion of Reservoir Dogs).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 19, 2008, 02:26:28 AM
...adding, I generally have no problem with direct borrowing from one film to another, so long as it works.  Reference for reference sake does very little for me, but if, say, Goodfellas gives you the perfect template for your film, and you make it work, more power to you.  Same with bands that imitate Bends-era Radiohead.  The more songs that achieve that sound, the better (especially since Radiohead themselves have long since moved on).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on March 19, 2008, 03:29:51 AM
It doesn't really bother me either, depending on the way it's used and for what purpose.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on March 19, 2008, 09:08:52 AM
cute, you two are swapping

  Too make this even more convoluted.

Remind me with a targeted bump tomorrow. It's far to late right now for me to think coherently.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 19, 2008, 10:53:45 AM
cute, you two are swapping

  Too make this even more convoluted.

Remind me with a targeted bump tomorrow. It's far to late right now for me to think coherently.
Grammar was never my strong suit.

The end of RD is ripped pretty much straight from Ringo Lam's City On Fire, for one.
Ah, thank you. It was killing me.

Is that an example of over-reference that makes the moment generic?  Or just an example of a Hawksian homage/borrowing/theft that works?

Bumped.

pixote
To explain myself more clearly, I am basically contending the situation in much the same way as you referenced my posts. Hawksian seems to me to be the reuse of something in an attempt to repurpose the use whereas I feel that Tarantino is more likely to simply reuse because it works well in his film in the exact same context. I'm not saying that such direct reuse is bad (I've made it clear that I like Reservoir Dogs, right?), so much as I find it to be less interesting and ultimately less fulfilling for the spectator than such repurposing. In reference to My Own Private Idaho, I was simply pointing out the deficiency in RD's reuse as a way of exemplifying one of the qualities in Tarantino's film that keep it from achieving the cinematic level of van Sant's film. If you're going to borrow from another filmmaker, I want to see something interesting and different expressed. If you simply want to say the same thing the original scene said, I'd prefer it if you could develop a scene entirely your own and organic to your film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on March 19, 2008, 10:38:21 PM
The Thin Red Line
vs.
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

The Thin Red Line

Flaws: There wasn't enough time spent with most, if not all, the characters. Only one scene with dialog for John C. Reilly and George Clooney? That's just not right. I did also feel that it was a tad slower paced than what I could handle. Those criticisms seem to contradict each other, and the certainly do, but I can't reconcile them.

Attributes: This movie is beautiful. You could take any shot and frame it in your living room. The performances are also top notch, with special nods to Jim Caviezel, Elias Koteas, and Nick Nolte. There were also a few touching moments.

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

Flaws: There isn't much happening here story-wise.

Attributes: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, and Terry Gilliam are on top form here. I enjoy each separately and together they are wonderful! There are a bunch of little things that add up to a lot: going from a line said aloud to a voice over and vice versa, the visual gags (bats in glasses, monsters in the bar, floral pattern growing up the wall and people's legs.) and the dialog is hilarious. I also hear from very reliable sources that it is the closest book-to-movie adaptation ever made in the history of always. For whatever that's worth.

Winner: Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 19, 2008, 10:40:15 PM
You sir, have made another controversial choice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 19, 2008, 10:50:23 PM
You sir, have made another controversial choice.

Hey, weren't you due to make a choice of your own the other night?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 20, 2008, 01:26:18 AM
You sir, have made another controversial choice.

Hey, weren't you due to make a choice of your own the other night?

pixote
I've made the choice, I just haven't gotten around to the writeup.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on March 22, 2008, 12:08:19 PM
The much delayed verdict on Crumb v. Fight Club:

Crumb

It took me a very long time to finally sit down and watch this, largely because the subject matter is so uncomfortable. I don't particularly enjoy films about depressed, disturbed people. Crumb is an undoubtedly talented cartoonist, but the film is quite clearly more concerned with his personal struggles, beginning with those of his childhood.

While the influence of his sexual fantasies on his works is initially fascinating, at certain points I had to question exactly why I needed to know some of the information presented to me. For example, the revelation that Crumb has an extremely large penis of course reveals that the depictions of himself in his cartoons are accurate, but what exactly am I supposed to get out of this whole journey? In a way, Crumb answers that himself when discussing Goodfellas, saying that "not everything is for everybody"; he expands on this by saying that the dark underside of culture and society is not meant to be seen by everyone. Well said, sir. His cartoons probably are not my cup of tea, and while I found many aspects of his life quite interesting, the film was not a complete success in its attempts to tell me something new about art, culture, etc.


Fight Club

I am a huge fan of David Fincher, as you all know from my relentless campaigning for Zodiac during Filmspots season. He always brings something new to the table visually, if not necessarily thematically.

Fight Club is no exception, and I think Fincher does the absolute best he can with the source material. The merits of the film are fairly obvious, particularly the handling of the anti-corporate, anti-conformist attitude that the fighters develop and the interactions between Norton's character and Durden. That said, some of those themes are pretty tired, and during neither of the two times I have viewed the film was I able to completely buy the twist. I'm not saying it doesn't enhance the complexity of the film, but it's been used so often that it didn't feel completely true to the nature of the story.

I don't think I articulated that very well, but, nonetheless, I give the edge to Fight Club for its visual merits and ambition.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 23, 2008, 12:02:04 AM
I'm not sure I agree here, but I certainly don't disagree enough to fight for Crumb.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 24, 2008, 12:31:25 PM
The best part about Crumb, from what I remember, was going from thinking Crumb was pretty nuts to thinking that, compared to the rest of his family, he was an absolute rock.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on March 26, 2008, 09:01:45 PM
Before Sunrise vs. Se7en

This was a hard one for me.  I own each of these movies, so obviously I like both of them.  They are also wildly different, which makes it more difficult to choose a winner, in my opinion.  It had been a while (at least 8 years) since I had watched either of these movies so I was glad to revisit them. 

I remember the first time that I saw Before Sunrise.  I absolutely loved it.  I was a lot younger and, as cheesy as it may be, more idealistic about love I think.  I thought the story was simple and sweet, and I found myself wishing I could be on a train in Europe, so I could meet someone and connect with them the way that Jesse and Celine did.  I found the dialogue to be real and conversational, not stilted like so many other movies.  This movie stayed with me long after I watched it.  After watching this movie again, many years later, I did not have the same reaction.  I felt myself relating to the Jesse and Celine of Before Sunset more. I still loved it, but not as much as I remembered.

Se7en is as far away from Before Sunrise as you could get.  The mood that David Fincher sets is very effective.  It never stops raining, it is gloomy, and ominous, and he had his detectives doing work in the dark long before CSI.  I think the dynamic works between Pitt and Freeman, and the movie has some truly scary (Sloth) and suspenseful moments.  I also think that Kevin Spacey was effective as John Doe although, it takes you out of the movie a bit now that he is so well known.  I think Fincher keeps getting better (Zodiac), and I look forward to each film he puts out.  Although, nothing is like the first viewing with these kind of films, it still holds up.

This was a tough decision for me, and I know that I am going to get some backlash for either decision, but I have to go with Se7en by a nose (sorry skjerva).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on March 26, 2008, 09:05:30 PM
Good choice!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 26, 2008, 09:05:39 PM
I don't know what I would have picked without watching them both again ... which sounds like a worthwhile thing for me to do.

So your choice boiled down to your getting older, less idealistic, and more sinful?  ;)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on March 26, 2008, 09:09:29 PM
I don't know what I would have picked without watching them both again ... which sounds like a worthwhile thing for me to do.

So your choice boiled down to your getting older, less idealistic, and more sinful?  ;)

pixote

All of the above.   :P
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 27, 2008, 02:52:43 AM
I know that I am going to get some backlash for either decision...

Maybe not.  I thought you Big Lebowski fans would start burning Woody dolls in effigy, but that didn't happen either.  At least not that I heard about.  Though maybe Lebowski's near-certain resurrection made my verdict instantly irrelevant.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on March 27, 2008, 11:09:51 AM

This was a tough decision for me, and I know that I am going to get some backlash for either decision, but I have to go with Se7en by a nose (sorry skjerva).


Since I haven't watched Se7en since around when it came out, I can't get too bent, but my hunch is you might have made the wrong call here ;)   I am a bit blah toward Fincher's Zodiac and Se7en, not sure what that is about.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on March 27, 2008, 11:24:41 AM

This was a tough decision for me, and I know that I am going to get some backlash for either decision, but I have to go with Se7en by a nose (sorry skjerva).


Since I haven't watched Se7en since around when it came out, I can't get too bent, but my hunch is you might have made the wrong call here ;)   I am a bit blah toward Fincher's Zodiac and Se7en, not sure what that is about.

I just know your love of Before Sunrise, so I put in a preemptive apology.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on March 27, 2008, 01:12:47 PM
Buffalo '66 vs The Matrix

Prior to this matchup, I'd never seen Buffalo 66 and hadn't watched The Matrix since before the 2nd one came out so it was pretty fresh overall.

Buffalo 66

Wow, talk about neurotic and unlikeable characters eh?  Can't see how anybody could want to spend anymore time with Billy Brown (Gallo)than this movie provides.  He comes across as an immature ass who won't accept any responsibility, and for this off-beat flick to work, I feel like the viewer has to understand some of Layla's (Ricci) decisions to hang around this guy and not take any of the multiple chances to escape that she's given.  I kept waiting for something to be revealed as to why she didn't just take off when they pulled over and Brown went for a piss, but alas nothing revealed.  Instead we get 100m of tales of the unlikeable.  Ricci sadly has nothing to do in this movie but act like pretty scenery, there's nothing for her to grab onto and make interesting.  Not a movie that I intend to "span time" with.

On the plus side, it's got a great gritty look and feel to it, the score is pretty good and Anjelica Houston, Mickey Rourke and Ben Gazzara give good but ultimately misused performances.  The tap dance scene to King Crimson is also quite awesome, and up there with some of my favourite scenes of the 90s.  And, rather strangely, the use of bullet time here was better than The Matrix's use of it despite The Matrix's larger publicity.

The Matrix

First off let's pretend that 2 and 3 never existed.  Good.

Right, lets get the obvious stuff out of the way first.  We all know the acting is pretty much poor throughout the movie as most of the crew on the ship are pretty much awful with the exception of Fishburne and Pantoliano.  Keanu is ok, he's saved by the (I assume) deliberate choice to not have his character say anything deep or meaningful, instead just seem a little lost at this new world he's been awoken into.  Obviously Hugo Weaving gets a lot of plaudits for this performance as Agent Smith, and it's somewhat deserved even if it's quite a 1-note character.

The score is meh at best, lots of synthetic noises which can be offputting but thankfully isn't too obtrusive other than on one or two occasions.  The cinematography is great though, the movie really is quite stunning and has some really memorable scenes; the lobby shootout being the most obvious one but the rescue of Morpheus was much cooler in my eyes, although both were great.  It was really refreshing to see a sci-fi movie that at least had some thought behind it rather than the typical 'lets kill aliens/save earth' which had took over at the time.  The ending does leave a little to be desired but it did leave it open pretty well for a sequel, just a pity that the sequels were awful.  But we won't hold that against the original.

Winner: The Matrix
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 27, 2008, 01:23:20 PM
Am I the only one that feels like Wilson had much better things to say about Buffalo 66 than he did about The Matrix?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on March 27, 2008, 01:26:15 PM
I dunno. If I look at it as if I had never heard of either film, and I attempt to reach a verdict based solely on Wilson's write-up, I would probably select The Matrix.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on March 27, 2008, 01:26:32 PM
I tried to be level in my criticisims and not come out and sound like I loved one and hated the other.  The truth is, I would never watch Buffalo 66 again whereas I really liked The Matrix and have it in my top 15ish of the 90s.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on March 27, 2008, 02:26:12 PM
I haven't seen Buffalo '66 (the prospect of a King Crimson dance scene definitely has me intrigued), but I'm happy to see The Matrix advance to the next round.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on March 27, 2008, 02:35:22 PM
Oh, I wasn't trying to make a judgment, by the way. I also haven't seen Buffalo '66 and enjoy The Matrix.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on March 27, 2008, 05:51:00 PM
boo
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 03, 2008, 12:13:09 PM
Grosse Pointe Blank vs. The Straight Story

Grosse Pointe Blank
Major Flaws: Well, Jeremy Piven and both John and Joan Cusack all tap into stock characters that are part of what made them successful. Not that I disliked their performances for it, but when looking at it critically it becomes a cross between disappointing and boring. At times it was a bit over-edited, making scenes seem rushed, uneven and pointless in some aspects. When I say pointless I'm referring to cuts to different situations outside the main thrust of the scene just to remind the audience of what else is happening. The film doesn't entirely trust the audience.

Major Attributes: All those stock characters were a hell of a lot of fun, which was no real surprise. I also think it's interesting how the film explores the idea of "moral flexibility" by defining it using Martin and then having its audience experience a sense of moral flexibility by falling for a hitman who exhibits no remorse for the killings but only for how he hurt his lost love. The way the reunion was used, both thematically and visually to comment on the plot and character development was really skillful. Also, the shootout sequence at the end of the film was really masterfully shot and edited. On top of everything, it was still pretty funny.

The Straight Story
Major Flaws: Nothing really stands out as a flaw other than that it exercises fairly pedestrian storytelling. I don’t think there’s really that one or two things that really make this film standout other than the fact that it is uncharacteristic in the oeuvre of its director. In a way that’s bad, but only really for a competition like this. I will say there are brief moments every once in awhile where Alvin is traveling that drag just a bit, but only a little.

Major Attributes: I can’t object to any of the performances. They all felt completely believable. Lynch makes great use of space for the purposes of isolation and connection. The positioning of the actors always reflects their relative relationships to one another. The sense of color felt entirely indigenous to the setting and the film was beautifully shot as a whole. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people call this film experimental (other than because Lynch said something to that effect). The film was simple and complete. As far as I can see, it did everything it needed to and told the story totally successfully.

Verdict: While I really think these are both really good films and that they aren't really far apart, I think my evaluation makes this answer obvious. Just comparing the Flaws gives me my verdict, The Straight Story moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 03, 2008, 03:13:38 PM
Normally I would write something here, but I haven't seen either of those films... so I'll just blindly say, Good choice!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 04, 2008, 08:47:59 AM
I haven't seen either of those films...

:o

They're both pretty great.

I'll have mine up later today, or maybe during the weekend.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 06, 2008, 07:40:15 AM
Paris is Burning vs. Clueless

I started things off with Paris is Burning, a documentary on the underground "Drag Ball" scene in late 1980's New York, which I had not seen before. It works essentially as a snapshot of that specific time and place, introducing us to this universe through the people who are part of it, focusing on how each of their lives has brought them to the Ball circuit and what it is about it that's so appealing to them. Also their dreams, fears and experiences, good and bad, and really, every little detail specific to this community. Livingston apparently shot footage for two years and it shows; the huge amount of trust between her and her interviewees is implicit in what they're willing to share in front of a camera, and I'm sure an outsider would never have been able to get those fantastic images from the Balls. There is a surprisingly strong human element in that the interviews are mostly focused on four or five people and they all get almost conventional narrative arcs. It's not entirely non-judgemental, I don't think, but it's still quite moving. Later on, there seems to be an attempt on her part to widen the canvas by placing this community in contrast with the Outside World, even drawing some parallels, but I'm not sure she's quite as successful there, or even what it is she's trying to say exactly. It needs a second viewing, I think. Either way, it was pretty good. And Herzog got a Special Thanks credit at the end, so... uhm, yeah.

I'd never seen Clueless before, either, even though everyone kept telling me how good it was — the NY Times even named it one of the 1,000 Greatest Movies Ever Made. Liars, I say. Broad satire, caricatures instead of characters, inane plot; it's pure fluff, and not all that enjoyable. Plus, it's so deeply rooted in the 90s that watching it for the first time eight years into the next decade (and thirteen years after the movie was released (!)) makes for a pretty bizarre experience — Noxzema commercials, Luke Perry, "famous singers of the past who now do infomercials"... I could go on. In that sense I guess you could look at it as one of those time-capsule movies, but like I said, it seems content to be cartoonish, so I'm not giving it credit for that. Now, I don't want to make it sound like I hated the thing, because I didn't. I laughed at a few lines here and there (dare I say it was sporadically funny? — ...sorry) and the whole cast certainly makes the most of it. Oh, and the freeway scene, in which these otherwise self-assured young girls accidentally sidestep into what it feels like a world beyond their comprehension and completely freak out is a great, great moment. Everything else though, meh. There are better 90s high school movies.

So yeah, I'm sending Paris is Burning to the next round. It wasn't even a contest.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 06, 2008, 11:24:17 AM
Very nice write-up.  My one attempt to watch Clueless ended, by choice, about 10 minutes in.  I'll give it another chance some day, but, even without that, I'm happy to see Livingston's documentary move on into round two.

Great, now I'm going to have "Vogue" stuck in my head the rest of the day.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 06, 2008, 02:38:32 PM
Plus, it's so deeply rooted in the 90s that watching it for the first time eight years into the next decade (and thirteen years after the movie was released (!)) makes for a pretty bizarre experience — Noxzema commercials, Luke Perry, "famous singers of the past who now do infomercials"... I could go on. In that sense I guess you could look at it as one of those time-capsule movies, but like I said, it seems content to be cartoonish, so I'm not giving it credit for that.

You know it's an adaptation of Emma, right?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 06, 2008, 02:51:50 PM
Plus, it's so deeply rooted in the 90s that watching it for the first time eight years into the next decade (and thirteen years after the movie was released (!)) makes for a pretty bizarre experience — Noxzema commercials, Luke Perry, "famous singers of the past who now do infomercials"... I could go on. In that sense I guess you could look at it as one of those time-capsule movies, but like I said, it seems content to be cartoonish, so I'm not giving it credit for that.

You know it's an adaptation of Emma, right?

I haven't read the novel but I saw mentioned somewhere that it's loosely based on Emma, yes. What are you saying though, that it has a certain timeless quality? And would you say it's a good adaptation of Emma?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 06, 2008, 02:54:51 PM
Cait tells me it's very good. Or as very good as it can be as it is transplanted into 90s culture.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 06, 2008, 02:58:15 PM
I think it's a great adaptation of Emma, but I don't know about it's timelessness, or how appropriate that is as a criticism.  I think the film wants to take a classic, 200 year old story and translate it into a modern (90s) environment.  To then criticize that film for being too specific to the 90s strikes me as missing the point.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 06, 2008, 07:01:34 PM
I think the film wants to take a classic, 200 year old story and translate it into a modern (90s) environment.  To then criticize that film for being too specific to the 90s strikes me as missing the point.

I don't disagree with what you're saying, but don't you think that these incessant references date the movie somewhat? And can't you see how someone watching it for the first time in 2008 would find it bizarre? I know it's partially my problem, since, say, Pauly Shore and Mel Gibson's Hamlet mean very little to me and I don't even know what a Noxzema commercial is, but I still think a movie can be evocative of a particular time without relying on such specificities (Singles comes to mind, I'm sure there are better examples).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 07, 2008, 01:19:21 AM
Sure, I hear what you're saying, and I don't think you're necessarily wrong.  I guess I just don't see a film being specific to the time it was made as being a negative.  I don't think His Girl Friday suffers from it's 30s specificity, for example.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 07, 2008, 01:26:33 AM
I think, for me, the distinction is whether or not the film hinges on those time-specific references, or if understanding those references is more of a bonus.  Dante's Inferno has an annoying number of footnotes explaining all the allusions to long-dead political figures and whatnot, but the poem's still pretty good even for a reader unaware of those secondary meanings.  But if Clueless (which I haven't seen) is so reliant on nineties pop cultural references that it detracts from the Emma story, I can see that being a problem.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 07, 2008, 08:00:14 AM
I think, for me, the distinction is whether or not the film hinges on those time-specific references, or if understanding those references is more of a bonus.  Dante's Inferno has an annoying number of footnotes explaining all the allusions to long-dead political figures and whatnot, but the poem's still pretty good even for a reader unaware of those secondary meanings.  But if Clueless (which I haven't seen) is so reliant on nineties pop cultural references that it detracts from the Emma story, I can see that being a problem.

I wouldn't say it's a huge part of the movie, no. It mostly relies on them for comedic purposes (i.e. "Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie", "Dionne and I (Cher) were both named after famous singers of the past who now do infomercials").
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 09, 2008, 11:36:34 PM
Glengarry Glen Ross vs. Magnolia

Glengarry Glen Ross
Major Attributes: This is an actor's movie. As such, every single performance here is gold. Jack Lemmon, in particular, is fantastic as a man who is gasping at straws. Pacino also shines. However, it's hard to live up to the pure awesomeness of Alec Baldwin at the very beginning of the film. He completely dominates everything around him and delivers some of the best lines in the film. Oh and there are some great, great lines. This is actually the best part about the film, its dialogue. It is both profane and beautiful and the way that the actors speak it makes you feel like there's no other way that these guys can talk. There is no other way to deal with that kind of life. Plus it's just fun to watch guys swear at each other for an entire movie.

Major Flaws: This is an actor's movie. I can only get so much out of it. It isn't really a flaw per se but my mileage with these kind of movies tends to be low so even though I enjoy them I probably wouldn't want to watch them too much. I'm this way with some actor movies and I'm not with other ones. I can't really explain it.

Magnolia
Major Attributes: Hmmm, everything? After watching this for the 3rd time, I became more aware of its flaws but as I look at the work as a whole, I ask myself "so what?" This is an unashamedly ambitious film and we don't get to see many of those often. This is a director shooting for the moon and I love it. All the performances are great, the directing is fantastic and there are so many memorable moments that will go down in film history. So, yeah, pretty good movie.

Major Flaws: I am in love with this film's flaws. However, that rapping kid isn't any less painful today than it was since the last time I saw it.

There isn't any contest here. Magnolia is one of the best film of the 90s and certainly one of my own favorites.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 10, 2008, 07:42:33 AM
Alec Baldwin is my least favorite part in Glengarry, but I've become used to people disagreeing with me there.

I really like both of these, can't say which way I would've gone myself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 13, 2008, 01:06:52 AM
Natural Born Killers
VS
Eyes Wide Shut

Natural Born Killers

Major Flaws:
Was I supposed to like any of these guys? I felt no sympathy for Micky or Malory, and I only mildly disliked Wayne Gale and the warden (TLJ). I could deal with the crazy style if there was any characters I cared for in the movie. I can't stand Juliette Lewis. Somebody should tell her to act interested in what is going on.

Major Attributes:

If I didn't like the characters, I at least liked the portrayal of some of them. Downy Jr. was great and Harrelson was good enough. The zaniness kept my interest where the story didn't. When it kicked into gear in the prison it was exciting, though. And the "message" was loud and clear, almost too loud. I get it, we are obsessed with murderers. Thanks for telling me a bajillion times. But this is supposed to be the place for good things, and I'm out of them for this one.

Eyes Wide Shut

Major Flaws:

It felt a little uneven in terms of pacing, but not so much as to be distracting.

Major Attributes:
Technically speaking, this movie is a masterpiece. Kubrick is a genius behind the camera and makes everything beautiful to watch and tells such an amazing story. Kidman is great and Cruise is good enough for me to believe him. The whole segment from the nightclub to the morning after was perfectly executed and I was engrossed for the entirety of the film. Kubrick's last film is one to be proud of.

The winner, which should be obvious if you read anything I wrote above this sentence, is Eyes Wide Shut.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 13, 2008, 01:12:01 AM
Also, the score for Eyes Wide Shut is amazingly awesome and fantastic.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 13, 2008, 01:17:16 AM
Yay, our first verdict for the new batch of films.  This was the only scheduled matchup between two films getting at-large bids (that is, films saved on the final ballot).  NBK was the first choice of two different voters.  EWS was also two people's first choice, as well as two other voters' second choice.

On the initial ballot, the 18 votes for NBK came in as follows:

     Passionate to keep out:   5 votes
     Leaning to keep out:      0 votes
     Leaning to keep in:       5 votes
     Passionate to keep in:    6 votes
     Film to Fight For:        2 votes


Those 0 votes in the second category really support the idea that this is a love-it-or-hate-it film.

As for EWS, the 16 votes came in as follows:

     Passionate to keep out:   3 votes
     Leaning to keep out:      2 votes
     Leaning to keep in:       6 votes
     Passionate to keep in:    2 votes
     Film to Fight For:        3 votes


These films were close enough in the voting that the seeding is pretty irrelevant, but technically speaking this was an upset:  NBK was the 62nd seed, EWS the 77th seed.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 13, 2008, 01:36:29 AM
Yay!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on April 13, 2008, 12:18:18 PM
EWS is my favorite Kubrick. I agree Junior about Kidman and Cruise as well. If you notice Cruise isn't the only character ona journey in this film...although we don't see a lot of it. Kidman's character definitely changes by the end of the film and thus both people have grown (for the better I think) - it's one of Kubrick's more hopeful endings.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 15, 2008, 10:33:29 AM
                                                                                      Pump Up The Volume
                                                                                                                      VS.   
                                                                                                    Six Degrees of Separation


Pump Up The Volume

i never understood why these kids found anything remotely deep in this guys ramblings. Christian Slater is terrible as always, and the writing was just down right bad. it's just so unrealistic to think he would be broadcasting from his home and never be caught by anyone. I also hated how he would wear his glasses whenever he wasn't broadcasting like he was some kind of clark kent. no one can see you on the radio dude.

Six Degrees of Separation

although i don't always like his movies,i have always enjoyed will smith. it was cool seeing him playing a character like this, and at the age he was, but there was something about his performance that bugged me. maybe it was the character he was playing in the film. maybe i'm being to picky here, but i don't think all these affluent people would be letting someone in their home whit such ease so it was never completely believable. i also didn't buy the connection between smith and channing. this movie was good, but there was nothing in it that really impressed me.

Six Degrees of Separation is clearly the winner, but i was underwhelmed by both films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 15, 2008, 10:38:31 AM
Nice job chester. How very bell hooks of you.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 15, 2008, 10:38:53 AM
Talk hard!!!

 :'(

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 15, 2008, 10:41:33 AM
Nice job chester. How very bell hooks of you.

are you calling me a feminist?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 15, 2008, 10:43:07 AM
Nice job chester. How very bell hooks of you.

are you calling me a feminist?
i'm calling you a capitalization anarchist.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 15, 2008, 10:43:40 AM
oh cool. thanks.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 15, 2008, 07:06:48 PM
now i gotta find a copy of Hands on a Hard Body   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 15, 2008, 07:09:25 PM
now i gotta find a copy of Hands on a Hard Body   

Netflix doesn't have it?  Weird.  Almost every Blockbuster store seems to.

Also, in case people were wondering, Six Degrees and Pump up the Volume were very even in the balloting.  chester chose the 67th seed over the 72nd seed.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on April 15, 2008, 08:06:59 PM
Being John Malkovich vs JFK

Being John Malkovich
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00376.png)
I'd seen this film before. But it had been years. Probably like, 5 of them. I liked it then, very much, but this was a pretty fresh experience for me. And man, what an experience it is. I don't even know where to start.

This film is everything I could ask for in a movie. Floor 7 1/2. I would not hesitate to (hypothetically) shoot an entire film using nothing but 6 foot ceilings. That's about as awesome as it gets. And I'm a big fan of puppets in films (This (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00088.png) is easily one of my favorite scenes of the 1990s), so that is also awesome. But seeing John Malkovich take a portal into his own head? That's where it's really at.  It keeps getting more complex and fascinating. It starts out as a quirky comedy and by the end its some sorta a crazy quirky sci-fi satire dramedy. It's incredibly intricate. Nothing is left to chance and instead will eventually come back to play a role. It contains one of the most interesting sex scenes I've ever seen (and probably the single best "lesbian" sex scene in history). Each character It's really funny too. Just about every line Dr. Lester utters had me at least chuckling.

I think the best part is probably John Malkovich. His character is put in one of the most unique situations I can imagine. Once he finds out what is going on he really gets a chance to shine. It's especially exciting to watch him fighting with himself. He's practically consumed in a character literally consumed by another, and it's perfect. The rest of the acting is similarly awesome, but no one really comes close to some of those later scenes Malkovich has. It's heartbreaking to see him finally think he's "back", only to be taken over again by like ten more people. "We're John Malkovich." hahaha.

I didn't understand most of Maxine's motivations throughout, but by then end, it seems like she didn't really understand either. Until that final meeting with Lotte. So that's cool. I'm not sure what Craig does to deserve such a (relatively) sucky fate, but that didn't really bother me either.

But really, when it comes down to it, the real reason this film is so wonderful is that not only does a monkey have a flashback, but it's a point of view flashback:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00380.png)
That's just about the greatest thing ever.

JFK
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00143.png)
First of all, I had not seen this movie before. Clips, sure. 20 minutes of a TV cut once. Its one of those films that I always wanted to see but just never made time for. So with that out of the way.

I gotta say I loved it. One of the first things I thought when I grabbed the dvd and looked it over was "Wow...206 minutes? I knew it was long, but that's really long. How can they fill three hours twenty minutes on this?"  Less than half way into the movie I realize that doubt was completely unfounded. The first 100 minutes felt like half that. The narrative moves really quickly and there is no shortage of fascinating details to keep me intrigued. I've watched documentaries on the whole JFK mystery (History channel type stuff), so I knew some of the theories surrounding the whole thing. But if even half of the information is based on facts, I might as well have went in never having heard of Kennedy. Every other minute it seems like some new character had some new connection or some new witness revealed some new piece of information. I was completely hooked.

The cast is among the greatest ensembles I've personally seen. Just about every actor gives a career high performance (or close to it). Costner is great, but it wasn't until the last courtroom scene that I realized how good he really is in this film. I also loved all of the characters who would be described as 'a character'. Tommy Lee Jones as Clay, Kevin Bacon as Willie, John Candy as that lawyer guy, and so forth. Maybe its just because they're so different from how I generally think of them. I dunno.

I liked the stylized stuff most. The introductory history lesson was great. It takes like 8 minutes to set everything up and it's beautiful and informative too. It felt like it belonged more in Sans Soleil than a historical drama and I loved when it came back throughout the film. All those high contrast black an whites and washed out 60s colors. The little flashes that mean nothing when you see them but later come back to play a big part, and the ones that 'explain' the stuff no one could really know. The photographs and the archival footage that show what people describe. I kinda wish it was interspersed a little more frequently. The two biggest reveal scenes (with X, pictured above and that final hearing) are just about perfect.

Finally, can someone tell me where to get this jacket?
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00146-1.png)
Thanks.

As for the winner?

Do I really have to decide?

When I signed up for this and took this match, I figured it would be a pretty easy choice (for Being John Malkovich). But then I watched JFK and I was sure there was no way it would lose. As I was watching Malkovich again, I thought I'd pick it. Even now I feel like whichever I pick, the Bracket loses.

I guess I do have to pick one though.

I think if I watched Being John Malkovich one more time before posting this, it would win...but I'm gonna have to go with JFK. It's just too epic and awesome to be left behind.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 15, 2008, 08:11:12 PM
The monkey is sad. He understands though.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 15, 2008, 08:13:50 PM
Nice reviews. I haven't seen either since the theater, so I couldn't give an opinion. Seems like it is going to get harder and harder to make choices.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 15, 2008, 08:13:53 PM
I love JFK
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on April 15, 2008, 11:18:34 PM
Love BJM, but i'm ok with this one... JFK is the only Costner film I can stand and given that another Stone flick just got knocked off its nice to see it stay.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 16, 2008, 12:20:44 AM
Those two fims are not alike at all. How would go about comparing them? JFK is superb at showing us the mood of the times, in addition to the fact the case itself is of course fascinating.
BJB is just a darn cool movie. Great idea, great execution. 'nough said.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 16, 2008, 12:21:47 AM
Oops. I meant to write BJM. Sorry guys.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 16, 2008, 12:22:30 AM
Those two fims are not alike at all. How would go about comparing them?

That's half the fun!

(There are still plenty of first round matchups, if you'd like to try your hand at one...  :))

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on April 16, 2008, 01:24:31 AM
                                                                                           Dogma
                                                                                               Vs.
                                                                                     Boyz N The Hood

Dogma

                                                                             (http://i28.tinypic.com/dceelj.jpg)

Pros:
For a movie that takes organized religion head-on and makes one examine the difference between religiosity and faith/belief, I found Dogma to be frequently hilarious and entertaining. The writing is sharp and funny and the movie has a lot of heart. Ben Affleck and Matt damon play well off each other and share great chemistry. I loved the scenes with Jay & Silent Bob.
Cons:
New characters are constantly introduced in the movie and there is an attempt at explaining their complex origins and backstories. All of this gets confusing and tedious after a while and I didn't quite get the motivations of certain characters (Jason Lee's character is a notable example).
Salma hayek seemed horribly miscast as the Muse. Overall, the movie generally lost me towards the end as the plot got too convoluted for my liking.

Boyz N The Hood
                                                                       (http://i29.tinypic.com/65v491.jpg)
Pros:
With a subject no less heavy than the other movie in this pairing, John Singleton's grim approach stands in stark contrast to Kevin Smith's. Right off the bat, the movie puts us in the middle of crime-ridden South Central LA. While the first half is reminiscent of several other coming-of-age stories, the director really seems to know the time and place his characters are situated in and that makes this part of the movie very convincing. I enjoyed the performances by Laurence Fishburne and Ice Cube. Ice Cube manages to make Doughboy's character sympathetic even though Doughboy has little to do in the movie other than sit around in the porch with his buddies. Overall, I found the movie very affecting and powerful.
Cons:
While the movie worked for me, I must admit that the movie really lacks subtlety. The director's agenda is conveyed to the audience pretty directly especially in the lectures delivered by Laurence Fishburne's character from time to time. I found these long stretches of dialog distracting and they disrupted the pace of the movie for me.

Verdict
While I wasn't really excited about watching either of the movies in my pairing, I found them both enjoyable and well worth my time. Both directors seem to be tackling subjects close to their hearts and have good intentions as well as talent. However, I was a lot more involved in the story of Tre and his friends and didn't much care for Dogma apart from the laughs it provided. So Boyz N The Hood  moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 16, 2008, 01:38:54 AM
all right, I'll play along. I have to go with Boyz N the Hood. I like my films that deal with mature subject matter to have some grit. Not that Kevin Smith's outing doesn't satisfy, on the contrary. But like worm@work said, Boyz is just so convincing. It's a great honest look into a dark world.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 16, 2008, 01:46:09 AM
worm and edgar — check your private messages if you're interested if a new/first assignment.

Great job, worm!  I'm glad you enjoyed some films you might not have got around to seeing otherwise!  That's the best part of this bracket, I think.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 16, 2008, 02:05:27 AM
worm and edgar — check your private messages if you're interested if a new/first assignment.

Great job, worm!  I'm glad you enjoyed some films you might not have got around to seeing otherwise!  That's the best part of this bracket, I think.

pixote

I haven't truly loved any of the movies I have watched so far. Who knows... maybe South Park will rock my world.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 16, 2008, 02:11:57 AM
I haven't truly loved any of the movies I have watched so far. Who knows... maybe South Park will rock my world.

Wow, you drew some interesting films.  Point Break AND Tommy Boy?!  And now South Park?  That's pretty crazy.  Yeah, I'll see if we can't move you out of the 16-year-old-boy demographic next time around.  ;)

edit: No offense at all meant to those films, two of which I love as guilty pleasures and one which I love with zero such caveats.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on April 16, 2008, 09:12:23 AM
I love JFK

  So do I - it's one of the 3 films that I like Costner in - the other 2 being Bull Durham and Tin Cup.

  JFK is such a great film and kypade is so right about how fast the film seems to move.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 16, 2008, 09:14:56 AM
I haven't truly loved any of the movies I have watched so far. Who knows... maybe South Park will rock my world.
I loved Trust, Serial Mom, and The Straight Story so far, so hopefully we can get you something more hopeful next time, but many many people love South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and Devil in a Blue Dress got a lot of support from a lot of people and it has a capable director. Good luck!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on April 18, 2008, 11:13:40 PM
                                                                             Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills
                                                                                                                     vs.
                                                                                                          The Fisher King

Paradise Lost

Unlike the previous pairing I drew, this time around, I was really excited about watching both these films. The Thin Blue Line is one of my favorite documentaries and having watched Berlinger & Sinofsky's earlier film, My Brother's Keeper, I was pretty pumped at the prospect of watching this one (Disclaimer: I haven't gotten around to watching Part 2 of this documentary which came out much later.. I wanted to evaluate this part on its own merits). The West memphis 3 murder trial was back in the news towards the later half of 2007 and I was somewhat familiar with the subject matter as a result. However, that didn't at all take away from my enjoyment of the film. The 150-odd minutes really went by very quickly and I could have easily watched the two parts back to back. The filmmakers seem to have had amazing access to all the key players involved in the case from both sides. From strategy meetings  to conversations between family members, I really felt like an invisible observer of the proceedings who could be at several places at once. My only gripe with the film , if at all, is the fact that i felt like the residents of this west memphis town were painted in really broad strokes and were being viewed with some condescension by the filmmakers. For instance, every resident in this town seems to have bad teeth and believe that wearing black and listening to rock music is equivalent to worshipping Satan. While I understand the blood thirst the residents must have felt at the time, I wondered why we didn't get to see anyone who questioned the lack of DNA evidence against the accused or the evidence against the stepfather. However, these are really things that occurred to me *after* watching the film .

The Fisher King

I absolutely loved this film when i watched it years ago and I wondered if it would stand up to the test time. In a way, I was hesitant to rewatch it afraid that the magic wouldn't work this time around and that i would lose the love I hold for this movie. Wrong. What can I say about a movie thats tragic, comic, whimsical, funny and strange - all at the same time. It's not a perfect film and I'm sure one can pick holes in it if one wants to (Robin Williams is too hairy for one thing :p). However, its such a fun cinematic experience that I tend to overlook all its flaws. Everybody seems perfectly cast and the movie still looks amazing.. manhattan even looks dark and medieval whenever Parry is going through one of his visions.
Verdict:

Just for the demonic fire-breathing red knight and especially for the scene where the subway station transforms into a ballroom and then switches right back to being a busy subway station, I have to move The Fisher King forward.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 18, 2008, 11:17:00 PM
You made the wrong choice. I don't think you understand how hairy Robin Williams really is.  ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on April 18, 2008, 11:45:35 PM
Just for the demonic fire-breathing red knight and especially for the scene where the subway station transforms into a ballroom and then switches right back to being a busy subway station, I have to move The Fisher King forward.


good call.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on April 18, 2008, 11:53:39 PM
Yeah, the minor flaws I overlooked :).
Edit: Didn't realize I had already mentioned my one problem with the film!

You made the wrong choice. I don't think you understand how hairy Robin Williams really is.  ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 19, 2008, 07:03:32 AM
I loved Trust, Serial Mom, and The Straight Story so far...

You love Grosse Point Blank and you know it. Hey Jenny Slater.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 19, 2008, 11:08:09 AM
I loved Trust, Serial Mom, and The Straight Story so far...

You love Grosse Point Blank and you know it. Hey Jenny Slater.
I do, but I had owned it and seen it before hand. I was only brining up stuff I haven't seen before a matchup.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on April 19, 2008, 11:39:42 AM
Just for the demonic fire-breathing red knight and especially for the scene where the subway station transforms into a ballroom and then switches right back to being a busy subway station, I have to move The Fisher King forward.


good call.

  Yes - agreed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on April 19, 2008, 12:00:00 PM
True Romance vs.  Lone Star

True Romance

I was very surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying this movie. The first ten minutes, particularly the bar scene, had me completely disinterested and despondent; the dialogue reeked of Tarantino the way that of Haggis does for some.  However, once the dynamic between Clarence and Alabama really developed, of course after her big reveal, I was totally sucked in, partially due to the incredibly hot sex scne. Though the music is obviously cheesy and the directing barely competent, I had so much fun watching the whole messy tale play out that I couldn't help but believe in it. Plus, Christopher Walken was awesome.

Lone Star

In a very similar way, it took me a little while to get into this film. Though much more deliberate and languid than True Romance, I eventually warmed up to all of the characters. Because Sayles really took his time in diving into the complexities of each of them, it wasn't until he really got below the surface that I could really involve myself in the film. While his dealings with the racial issues of the town may be a bit simplistic, there is much more to the story, and his portrayal of small town Texas life is ridiculously accurate, speaking from experience. The sex scene here, worthy of comparison to the one mentioned above, is decidedly less hot, but equally effective.  Again, I really enjoyed it, but it took a while for things to get going.


A tough call, but True Romance moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 19, 2008, 01:49:56 PM
That is a rough match-up.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 19, 2008, 05:10:27 PM
What disturbed me most about Paradise Lost was that, in the end, I had no idea who was guilty and who was innocent. The documentary gave me enough to question guilt, but not enough to declare innocence. Usually documentaries are much more definitive. It's not a fault of the film, but more the nature of the trial itself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on April 19, 2008, 10:27:00 PM
Philadelphia vs. Gattaca

Philadelphia
I really never had any interest in this movie. I guess sad, courtroom dramas just were never my thing. So I'm glad I had this little tournament to force me to check it out. Who knows when I would have otherwise.

It's a fine film. But its more fine in a Sunday afternoon TBS sorta way than the "I want to rewatch it soon" way. I guess it could certainly be the 15 years separating now from its release, but it all felt a little too obvious. There's nothing much new or exciting happening. I find it kinda hard to really get into a film when I know there's no chance of surprise or nothing to really discover. And that's definitely the case here.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I quite did. I really liked the music. It's very effective. And there's some great acting - mostly on the parts of the 'good guys.' (I found a lot of the acting on the other side to be a bit overdone - the female lawyer and the main Wheeler guy in particular). But all of the family, Miguel, Joe "the TV guy" Miller, and, of course, Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett were really good. In fact, Tom Hanks is better than good. This scene:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/thphil.png)
really makes the film for me. The passion and pain in his face as he describes that beautiful Opera song make for an unbelievably powerful moment. The kind of moment that makes you go straight home to hug your family.

If the whole film felt like that, or even if there were a few more moments on that level, this would have been fantastic. Unfortunately there's just nothing else that comes close and I was left a little detached from the whole thing. It doesn't help that on a few different occasions I felt the editing was jarring and strange, and near the end Demme throws in some POVs that just didn't work; I assume we're supposed to feel like the jury and later like Beckett himself as the pressure and sickness get to him, but it just felt false and, honestly, kinda lame.

It's not a bad film by any stretch. Near the beginning when Miller finds out Beckett has AIDs, he's immediately taken aback. He doesn't like the hat on the desk; you can just feel him throwing away the cigar after Beckett touches it, and so forth. The last time the two interact, Miller is quick to help Andrew put his little breathing mask back on. That sorta summed up the film for me. It's like, "Ok.. yeah. That works. But c'mon." Yknow?

Gattaca
Like JFK, this was another film I've wanted to watch for a long, long time. Just about everything I've ever read about it has been positive. I knew nothing about it, other than it had Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman and that it was science fiction. I can understand why I'd only heard good word about it. It's an easy film to love.

I was engaged from the first shots, though I didn't initially know what I was watching. Are those fingernails? And then metal shavings? Snow? What is going on? But who cares, right, because it's beautiful to look at and listen to. Soon after, Hawke starts to do crazy stuff like strap a bag of urine to his leg and put on fake fingertips. So I just stopped thinking and went along for the ride.

It's quite a ride. It's sleek and beautiful. Everyone and every thing looks just great. Sure, you have to basically be a robot to really fit in, but I wouldn't mind living in this world. Some (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00270.png) of (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00278.png) the (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00257.png) shots (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/filmpictures/snap00279.png) are overwhelming in their beauty. But despite the slick appearance, I suspect that's not why it's so well received.

The fact that it's an intriguing mystery and thrilling psychological drama probably help too. The story is one of aspiration and inspiration and it's really well done. I never really caught what happens in space, but I never doubted that it meant the world to Hawke's character or that he would (and could) go through so much to achieve it. Throw in a murder mystery that seems sure to stop him and a strong female love interest and you've got just about all you need. The brother was a nice touch and something I admittedly didn't see coming. I really loved their ultimate showdown.

Uma Thurman is awesome. I don't tend to like her, but I thought she was great. I do tend to like Ethan Hawke and here is no exception. Though I could have done without the voice over - I just don't think his voice is cut out for it. The rest of the cast is fine (particularly Jude Law. That scene where he has to drag himself up the stairs almost drove me crazy. I could just feel all that dead weight below his waist and I wished he could move faster. And then when confronted, I was sure the detective was going to ask him to stand up or something.)

There's definitely some cliches: of course Uma had to find out who he really was and then get angry for a while, only to fall for him again. Of course the detective guy was going to be called away before he got to the bottom of the stairs and saw the wheelchair. The old man janitor boss had to show back up. And even when it looked hopeless, did anyone really think he wasn't gonna make it on the ship?

But in the end, I didn't care if it was a little predictable. The story is so well defined and interesting, the acting so strong and the aesthetics so inviting, it's a pretty awesome movie.

The Verdict
It wasn't a hard choice this time. There's a lot to like about Philadelphia, but the fact is, Gattaca is just way more interesting and cool and fun and awesome. So Gattaca is my winner.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 20, 2008, 12:52:00 AM
I think I can get behind this choice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 20, 2008, 01:14:54 AM
I'm glad you really liked Gattaca, it's been a fave of mine from when I first saw it on HBO.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on April 20, 2008, 02:55:48 AM
The Verdict
It wasn't a hard choice this time. There's a lot to like about Philadelphia, but the fact is, Gattaca is just way more interesting and cool and fun and awesome. So Gattaca is my winner.

 :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 20, 2008, 03:16:28 AM
I never thinkGattaca gets enough recognition. It has always been one of my faves. Well done.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 20, 2008, 10:56:24 PM
Dead Presidents (1995, Hughes Brothers) vs Dead Man (1995, Jim Jarmusch)


*This my first initial participation in this battle royale of movies, so please have mercy.*

Well, well, well. It was one heck of a bloody Sunday in my house as Dead Presidents and Dead Man went head to head in a fitting deathmatch. The films:

Dead Presidents
I was not familiar with Larenz Tate as an actor. His part in Barbershop was forgettable and his small role in Crash left me indifferent, so when I discovered that he was the lead in Dead Presidents, I got curious. Let me state that Tate does a really fine job. He's asked to pretty much carry the film. We see him as a young man just finishing high school with high thoughts of joining the army, then as a returning veteran to his hometown where he starts a family, and finally, as a down on his luck criminal just trying to earn a living. That's a lot for a 20 year old actor (Tate's age at the time) to do convincingly. Tate passes with flying colors. I felt there was a lot of range in his acting abilities. Keith David has some good scenes and is always fun. Chris Tucker...I usually despise Chris Tucker, and I was almost ready to scold the movie when I realized that he would have a large role in it, but the Hughes brothers actually manage to restrain him. Tucker gives a..gulp...decent performance. Whoa!
The Hughes brothers bring a lot of effort to this outing, as the late 60s and early 70s are brought to life in convincing fashion. Many of the scenes are well filmed, providing just the right tone, depending on what part of the plot any give scene dealt with. Those Vietnam battles sequeces have a real visceral quality to them. 
So movies about the Vietnam war have been made before. Movies about the how the Vietnam war affected the participating soldiers have been done before. Deer Hunter, which came before Dead Presidents, even made use of a similar plot chronology (see the characters before, then during, and finally after their wartime experience). But Dead Presidents still manages to be highly entertaining and gripping, primarily because it's allows the viewer, any viewer, to see an African American perspective of the Vietnam war. No, the movie isn't that much different from other Vietnam films, but it still won me over.

Dead Man
I had no idea what to expect from this film. I didn't even know this thing was in black and white. Jim Jarmusch decides to go western on us, in a film that really isn't much of a western at all. At least, not in the traditional sense. We are brought to the 19th century wild west, but here the main character is an accountant (who does no accounting whatsover in the film) and a Native American (that is how it's said in the US?) sidekick. Here again, the main performances are strong. Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer have excellent scenes together, and although their camaraderie does not really take off until deep into the story, I felt that they worked well with one another from their very first scene. Nobody's (the character) dialogue is often fun, but quite intriguing at the same time. I already have some ideas about that but multiple viewings will surely reveal more meaning to them.
The film begins in a unique fashion, with shots of Depp trying to mind his own business while on a train ride to Machine and outside shots of the moving train accompanied by a memorable score by Neil Young. Right from the get go we know this is going to be different. Many sequences have a special quality to them, almost a fantastical quality to them (Blake's first 'test' when he encounters two guys and Iggy Pop as a woman, Nobody's referencing of Blake to the famous poet of the same name whom Blake insists he is not, and of course Blake's 'transformation' into, well, William Blake). Jarmusch shows his story in black and white and uses rather stationary camera angles that I felt gave the film a rather 'classical' look to it. However, there's no denying that the plot is complete twist on the western genre. I did not, however, find the three villains who are on Blake's trail to be all that engaging and was rarely amused with their scenes.

In honour of the Stanley Cup playoffs, this game's going to sudden death overtime!

So what should go through to the next round? A part of me wants to put Dead Presidents through because it's a different perspective on an important part in American History, as well as having a surprisingly strong male lead. Another part of me wants to put Dead Man through because I love movies that try to be different and succeed in aces, in style and substance. Historical importance or style?

I'm a big, big fan of historical dramas, but in an upset, and by the narrowest of margins, my winner is Dead Man.

*I'll try to make these shorter next time if I'm awarded another chance.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on April 20, 2008, 11:01:09 PM
never see dead presidents (adding to the q) but i love Dead Man so i've vry happy with you decision.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 20, 2008, 11:02:33 PM
You've made the correct choice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 20, 2008, 11:12:06 PM
*I'll try to make these shorter next time if I'm awarded another chance.

Please don't. I like reading everyone's reviews. That's the best part of this process!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 20, 2008, 11:28:24 PM
Congrats on making the choice that skjerva and faceboy and sdedalus will not kill you for.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 20, 2008, 11:46:00 PM
Congrats on making the choice that skjerva and faceboy and sdedalus will not kill you for.

Oh thank god! I was trembling as I clicked the 'post' button earlier this evening.
 ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 21, 2008, 12:29:24 AM
Out of Sight vs. Snow Falling on Cedars

Out of Sight
Major Flaws: Jennifer Lopez. Otherwise, it's predicated on the kind of suspension of disbelief in relationships and attraction that never fully works (though the joke about Three Days of the Condor addresses this problem). Finally, depending on your point-of-view, the film is very superficial. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it's rare that pure entertainment is also transcendent.

Major Attributes: As a film that knows it's intentions and desires, it really has everything in hand. The damage caused by Lopez is minimized as best it can be. Everything anyone loves about Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven is present here and in a more complexly entertaining way. It's really wonderfully put together. The look and visual rhythm reinforce the tone in a way that a certain actor often fails to. Most importantly, it was supremely entertaining and almost entirely convincing with almost all the actors doing supreme jobs. I was really surprised just how much I admire the look of the film.

Snow Falling on Cedars
Major Flaws: The single biggest flaw of the film is the Ishmael storyline. It's a B-story at best and at worst it's an unnecessary framing device. For this film to succeed, it should have been a remake of Anatomy of a Murder using this crime/trial storyline. The listlessness of the love story and Ishmael's motivations only serves to reinforce stereotypes about white heroism in service of needy minorities. This isn't even Hawke's fault, as he was fine, though not good. There is nothing additive about the love story and the main story is developed weakly as it is. From the opening shot, it is absolutely clear who was good, who was evil, who had done wrong, who was wrongly treated and how all this racism was going to shake out. There's even palpable misogyny thrown in for no good reason in the guise of greater xenophobic venom coming from women than from the mostly understanding and fair-minding men. But at it's core it's a really basic replaying of the reductive storyline of the bad white people battling the good white people for the souls of disenfranchised minority characters. That's not to say the Japanese characters weren't disenfranchised, just that it could've been handled much better. On top of all this, it dragged through multiple sequences.

Major Attributes: Not surprisingly, it lived up to it's cinematographic legend. It is really shot and lit beautifully with framing that is better than average. Also, Max von Sydow has to work very hard to be so bad as to be mediocre, and he didn't try hard enough here, relegating him to the level of spectacular. He's really unstoppable. It's heart was in the right place and between the editing and the dialogue involved in the court drama, it had a bit of something interesting going on with the development of that storyline. However, as stated earlier, it fell flat and detrimentally predicable. On a separate note, don't construe the relative paucity of praise in comparison to the flaws as a complete condemnation. There really are some good aspects the the film, just not enough. I would be really interested to see a remake, it's too bad Preminger is too dead to do so. If you want to see it, you will see some good things.


Verdict: This was never really close. That's not to say that Snow Falling on Cedars was unworthy, but it just can't stand up against a slate of really good and great films. Out of Sight was one of those really good films and for that it moves on.

Out of Sight > Snow Falling on Cedars
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 21, 2008, 12:41:38 AM
I've never seen Snow but it sounds like it was a painful experience. I always wondered whether it was worth checking out. Now I know...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 21, 2008, 12:42:48 AM
I've never seen Snow but it sounds like it was a painful experience. I always wondered whether it was worth checking out. Now I know...
Sorry again pixote.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 21, 2008, 01:02:50 AM
Smoke vs Malcolm X

When I first received this match up, I was excited and nervous. I had never heard of Smoke and I had only seen small parts of Malcolm X. I was glad to see two films as close to a first watch as possible.

Smoke
This is one of those films that is hard to describe a plot. Mostly it revolves around a group of characters that either frequent a cigar shop in New York or are connected to one of these regulars through some story. The stories themselves don't truly tie into one another, but are like the stories of many in the big city in that many people are involved. I think many would consider this an "actor's movie" as there are some great performances. William Hurt plays the hermit author that has gone into seclusion since the murder of his wife at a bank robbery and Forest Whitaker does an amazing job as a man trying to restart his life after running away from his past. I would call this a "writer's movie" though. There is very little action in this film as the whole movie is moved through dialog. Most scenes are with two or three people and reminiscent of Six Degrees of Separation. Stockard Channing has a small role in this film as well that is very outside her norm as a one-eyed blonde. Overall I was impressed with the writing, but didn't become to attached to the characters.

Malcolm X
For me, a great film will cause some form of emotion while watching. Whether it be happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. Well this film had them all. From the beginning of the film I was laughing when young Malcom Little was attempting to be cool with his fly suits, became sad when he became a hustler and literally stole jewelry off the fingers of people, angered with him at the outrage blacks have endured, and then angry at him with his statements about JFK's assasination, and finally sad when he was gunned down by the same people that he had been loyal to for so long. Denzel Washington does such an amazing job portraying Malcolm X that when they display photos and videos of the real Malcolm X at the end of the film, it is hard to distinguish the two. Al Pacino won the oscar that year for best actor in Scent of a Woman, which I'll have to rewatch because Denzel was quite convincing here. And for a film that is over three hours long, it moves at a perfect pace.

This wasn't a close fight. Malcolm X is the winner by quite a margin, but Smoke is definetly worth checking out.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 21, 2008, 01:10:07 AM
I've always been a huge fan of Spike Lee and especially Malcolm X. Denzel Washington does indeed give a great performance (his best?). I have the two-disc special edition and it's a real treat for history buffs.

I like that movie so much I wonder who (message board member) and what film might take it down, if at all.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 21, 2008, 01:26:17 AM
I'm up for that challenge.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 21, 2008, 07:35:08 AM
I like that movie so much I wonder who (message board member) and what film might take it down, if at all.

I'd pick Smoke over Malcom X any day.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on April 21, 2008, 09:03:28 AM

I'd pick Smoke over Malcom X any day.
Me too.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 21, 2008, 09:10:54 AM
Judging by the seeding of the new 138 films, the latest verdicts have all gone as expected:


I suspect this trend will not continue for long.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 21, 2008, 10:05:30 AM
The thing Smoke had going for it was the unkown. I had no idea where each story was going to go and if they'd ever tie in. I knew what was going to happen to Malcolm X, but I think it was still a more powerful film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 21, 2008, 10:48:47 AM
The thing Smoke had going for it was the unkown. I had no idea where each story was going to go and if they'd ever tie in. I knew what was going to happen to Malcolm X, but I think it was still a more powerful film.

I couldn't agree more. Malcolm X feels like a force of nature whenever I watch it. I just hope I'm not served a matchup involving Malcolm because the opponent already has a good chance of going down straight off the bat.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: philip918 on April 21, 2008, 04:52:31 PM
I like that movie so much I wonder who (message board member) and what film might take it down, if at all.

I'd pick Smoke over Malcom X any day.

As one would hope from someone whose avatar is The Dude ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on April 22, 2008, 11:29:51 PM
Deconstructing Harry vs King Gimp


Deconstructing Harry
I'm a big fan of Woody Allen. I think he's one of the funniest guys in film. Something about the way he (and his characters) rambles, bringing religion and culture and relationships and any number of subjects together is really appealing and hilarious to me. I keep hearing people say that he stopped making good movies in the early nineties, but the more I watch his work from the past ten or 15 years, the more I realize people are stupid.

Deconstructing Harry is awesome. It's one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time and it's thematically and structurally amazing. There's so much stuffed in here that for a good chunk of the film I was thinking "this is hilarious, but it's kind of a mess." But by the end, everything makes sense and is tied together perfectly. It's basically A Christmas Carol meets Wild Strawberries; so obvious, but so brilliant a blending.

The stories that illustrate Harry's past are great. They so well bring to life all the flaws this man has they may as well have been truth. That whole "Out of focus" thing? Phenomenal. It's such a fascinating way to tell so much so simply. Just slightly disguise yrself and the people you know and throw em into some outrageous (or not so outrageous) situation and you have not only more character developement than any normal flashback could ever provide but it's also way funnier. Especially when you also allow those slightly disguised characters to come out of the past and address the situations so bluntly. I just found the whole thing so fascinating and clever and funny that I couldn't help but love the film. Plus, the ending is wonderful...it gives this guy, who has basically proven to be a charming loser and all round not so good guy the happy ending he deserves, and at the same time kinda, yknow, restarts the whole thing.

PS - Woody Allen trying to "Out-evil" Satan? Greatest thing since Monkey POV.

King Gimp
So art documentaries and documentaries about unique, amazing people are some of my favorite kinds. When you have a documentary about a unique or amazing person who happens to be an artist, too, well, sign me up. That's exactly the case in King Gimp. Dan Keplinger was born with cerebral palsy, but still managed to not only break out of his 'special school' and into a regular high school, but he also went on to university and graduated with a degree in art. That's a pretty incredible story.

He paints with a variation on how he types; that is, a paintbrush strapped to his head. Most of the paintings are self-portraits and other people. And wow, are they great. Not only because he's disabled, either. They'd be great coming from the steadiest hand of a healthy artist. It's a great example of natural talent mixed with an incredible amount of willpower. That someone with such a difficult life can produce something this (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v63/Kypade/snap00031.png) wonderful is a true testatament to the power of the human spirit.

It's only fifty minutes long, despite that fact that the filmmakers spent thirteen years filming him, but it covers just about all the bases. I can't really think what else could have filled up two hours or anything that might have been unnecessary. You see the every day struggle he goes through, physically, but you also get a great sense of his internal struggles. He wrote the film, so you hear his words: his thoughts and feelings and fears. It's impossible to imagine having to live like he does, so to see him not only living but excelling at life is truly inspiring.

Verdict:
Once again I'm stuck with a difficult decision. I guess I should feel lucky, as all 6 films I've had for this so far have been at least "good" or much better, but I think one more round where I love both films like this and JFK v. Malkovich and I might go insane. I'd love to move Harry on, because it's so clever and funny and fun...but I think ultimately King Gimp is indispensable. It's too powerful and wonderful and in such a perfectly concise little package that it's gotta be the winner.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 23, 2008, 12:39:30 AM
Surprisingly, this wasn't an upset either.  King Gimp was the 23rd seed, and Deconstructing Harry the 116th seed.

Great reviews, kypade.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 23, 2008, 12:49:34 AM
Great job kypade. I'm kind of curious to see King Gimp now. That's what I love about this game. I get to watch and read about films I probably never would have known existed.

By the way, my verdict for Heart of Darkness vs. To Die For should be ready by Thursday at the latest.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 23, 2008, 11:57:06 AM
I've always said that if I ever become an actor and have to do a scene where I cry, I'll pop in a copy of King Gimp into my trailer and the waterworks will start flowing. I really love that movie and remember the reason I watched it was the year it won the Oscar. The put the camera on Dan who is sat in the very back and is flailing around madly. At first you think he's having a seizure but you realize he is overcome with joy and excitement he can't hold it in. Great film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Sonse on April 24, 2008, 05:09:46 PM
Alien³ vs. The Iron Giant

Alien³
I've always liked Alien³ - is that already an unpopular movie opinion? I still liked it after rewatching it this time around. No Newt, no Hicks, just a bit of Bishop works for me. Ripley still rules, in particular bald and pissed. Sad to see Charles Dance's Clemens killed off half way through - kind of liked his stiff upper lip character ("That's a bit uncharitable"). I guess Ripley's guys are a bit like the Bond girls...
I don't exactly know how much Fincher still is in the movie, yet I can see his visuals are there. The grainy brown look manages to create some atmosphere.
Its major flaw are the other minor characters, the religious (huh?) prisoners + staff. They are anonymous alien fodder, completely interchangable running around dark corridors. Is it just me or have others problems knowing who in the finale is still alive or has just been killed? The last couple of minutes work fine for me though.
It suffers from being compared to its brilliant predecessors. Honestly, if this would have been Alien², it would fare better. Could it possibly beat Aliens  and its hundreds of monsters with a single one after we had that already in the first one?


The Iron Giant
Vin Diesel in his best role ever! I had not seen The Iron Giant before and was looking forward checking it out since I am huge fan of Bird's The Incredibles. The space robot truly seems to be come from a kid's daydream.
It reminded of one of my few memories from kindergarten. It was probably in my first week there. The kindergarten teachers read a story to us, something about a mouse living in an apple. Afterwards they wanted us to draw the mouse and its apple. I thought that was pretty boring and drew a robot (I am not sure where my fascination with robots came from at the time, my suspicion is that it was the cartoon Danger Mouse, which had a giant robot in one story and hey, the main character is a mouse, there's the link!). Anyway, the teachers weren't happy about my little mutiny and told me and my poor Mum I'd be better off sticking to assignments next time. Yep, that is my robot story. No way as huge as Hogarth's though.
Animation auteur Bird has created something beautiful and magic already before working for Pixar. However, his way of depicting his characters is already there. Hogarth's Mum could be a sister of Elastigirl. The sculptor from the junkyard is one of the most likeable characters in an animation film and the bad guy is great, too. I laughed so hard when he and Hogarth were watching each other for hours, determined to not look away for a split-second.
I don't want to get into its criticism of idiotic militarism here, but I think it adds to its charm. The story incorporates some cliches, although this doesn't do it any harm.
The Iron Giant has heart, wit and wisdom. Nobody bursts into a song, the score is serious and mostly dark and there isn't one cheap laugh in it. I loved it.


Verdict: The fight odd-shaped monster from outer space vs. huge space robot weapon goes to the one with a heart: The Iron Giant.
While Alien³ had a chance to move on in my hands, I just loved this affectionate animation masterpiece. As a kid it would probably have moved me even more and I am glad you guys finally made me watch this. Thank you!
 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on April 24, 2008, 05:16:17 PM
Yay!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on April 24, 2008, 05:17:38 PM
Yay!

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Sonse on April 24, 2008, 05:23:31 PM
 ;D

I would take another match-up, but only if you don't mind that it might take 2-3 weeks... No doubt, it will take ages to find a match-up available to me anyway.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 24, 2008, 06:29:44 PM
;D

I would take another match-up, but only if you don't mind that it might take 2-3 weeks... No doubt, it will take ages to find a match-up available to me anyway.
You will be hearing from Pixote.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 24, 2008, 06:52:26 PM
I can't say I'm overjoyed with this pick, but I can't blame it, either. Alien3 had no chance against The Iron Giant.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 24, 2008, 07:04:22 PM
I can't say I'm overjoyed with this pick, but I can't blame it, either. Alien3 had no chance against The Iron Giant.
Nice to see you maintaining perspective.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 24, 2008, 09:17:47 PM
I think a sensible verdict was handed out in the Iron Giant vs Alien 3 matchp. Good show! Could not have put it better myself. Iron Giant simply has more emotion and character going for it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on April 26, 2008, 01:31:25 AM
i will post mine this weekend for sure!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 27, 2008, 12:44:42 AM
Pi
vs.
A Bronx Tale

Pi.

Major Flaws.

It was a little obvious. Religion is bad. Consumerism is bad. Alright. I get it. Some of the acting was a little sub-par, but it didn't hurt too much.

Major Attributes.

This movie is so damn intense. It is riveting and I was engrossed throughout. It is aurally as well as visually arresting. As a former math nerd the whole concept was intriguing.

A Bronx Tale
.

Major Flaws.

I don't like gangster movies. I don't like the sense of entitlement inherent in the characters we are supposed to empathize with. Luckily, there isn't much of that in this movie, but it's still there a little. It all felt a little familiar, as well. This wasn't helped by my movie watching habits of the past month or so (Goodfellas, The Godfather Parts I and II, and Millers Crossing). I didn't really like either actor for C, either.

Major Attributes.

In the second half the movie took off in a different direction and I was more interested in the racial tension rather than the regular mobster stuff. Also, the soundtrack was CINECAST!ing awesome with Come Together, All Along The Watchtower, Baby I Need Your Loving, and This Is A Man's...Man's World. Excellent. De Niro and Palmintery collaborated well not only acting wise but behind the scenes as well. I want to use Sonny's test to find the right girl.

The Verdict.

Although I liked the development in A Bronx Tale, I liked the entirety of Pi, and I liked it better. It was more interesting and a better made movie. So Pi moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 27, 2008, 01:37:25 AM
You will probably make an enemy with this one Junior. I'm not sure who, but I'm expecting someone.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 27, 2008, 01:43:10 AM
I saw Pi in the movie theater and I remember liking it. That is the one with the drill right? I haven't seen A Bronx Tale.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 27, 2008, 03:31:08 AM
I am the enemy!

You will probably make an enemy with this one Junior. I'm not sure who, but I'm expecting someone.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on April 27, 2008, 09:49:36 AM
masochist, duties of sucking up the contemporary gangster canon, or am i just missing something?



I don't like gangster movies[...]my movie watching habits of the past month or so (Goodfellas, The Godfather Parts I and II, and Millers Crossing).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on April 27, 2008, 10:03:31 AM
I am the enemy!

You will probably make an enemy with this one Junior. I'm not sure who, but I'm expecting someone.


  I am stunned by your pick junior...dat was not de right choice...fugetaboutit...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on April 27, 2008, 12:19:04 PM
masochist, duties of sucking up the contemporary gangster canon, or am i just missing something?



I don't like gangster movies[...]my movie watching habits of the past month or so (Goodfellas, The Godfather Parts I and II, and Millers Crossing).

Well, half of those movies are classics, so I got some pleasure from it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 27, 2008, 12:22:32 PM
Another favorite moves on.... Pi was the 30th seed, A Bronx Tale the 109th...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on April 27, 2008, 02:55:10 PM
Affliction
vs
The Ice Storm

Affliction

Flaws
There were times when I couldn't understand a word Nick Nolte was mumbling, which made it quite annoying.  The ending feels really tacked on, almost as if it was tested and the audiences went "huh? what happened to x, y and z?" forcing them to add it and frankly I could've done without it. Nolte's character takes a fairly sudden turn in his mental state around 2/3rds into it that didn't seem entirely believable.  Could've done without the narration aswell.

Attributes
A really incredible performance by James Coburn as the abusive Father and Husband.  Nolte gives a good performance as does Sissy Spacek, the moments where we see Nolte trying to be a good Father to his daughter are great.  It's wonderfully bleak tone and performances really drew me in to this very good character study.

The Ice Storm

Flaws
I didn't really have that many problems with it, at least nothing glaringly obvious, but is there a likeable character in the bunch?  Save Tobey Maguire's Fantastic Four reading virgin, it seems to be full of self absorbed and ultimately selfish characters.  The audience is given almost no reason to sympathise with any of the characters, which leads to a very detached viewing experience.  There's no consequences for any of the characters actions includings people getting caught shoplifting and nothing coming of it and the pacing is fairly poor.

Attributes
It's very obviously set in the 70s, the set design, costumes, makeup, hair etc are all spot on.  It's well filmed and the eponimous storm looks great.  It's got a great cast and a few very good performances from Klein and Weaver.

Verdict
There's nothing really glaringly wrong with The Ice Storm, especially in comparison to some of Affliction's faults, but sadly there's also not a lot to get excited about.  So, although it does have quite a few problems, I'm putting Affliction through to the next round.  Though I don't suspect it will stay around very long.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 27, 2008, 03:27:37 PM
The Ice Storm

Flaws
I didn't really have that many problems with it, at least nothing glaringly obvious, but is there a likable character in the bunch?  Save Tobey Maguire's Fantastic Four reading virgin, it seems to be full of self absorbed and ultimately selfish characters.  The audience is given almost no reason to sympathise with any of the characters, which leads to a very detached viewing experience.  There's no consequences for any of the characters actions including people getting caught shoplifting and nothing coming of it and the pacing is fairly poor.


I agree that the characters are pretty unlikeable and that is ultimately why I don't go back to this movie. Though isn't there a major consequence? Doesn't their kid die.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on April 27, 2008, 04:12:05 PM
Upset alert!  The 125th-seed Affliction has toppled 14th-seeded The Ice Storm!

In the balloting, The Ice Storm received only postive votes:  8 votes leaning to include, 7 votes really, really wanting to include, and 3 votes fighting to the death for.

Affliction was a wildcard choice, only seen by four people.  One leaned against including, two leaned towards including, and one really, really wanted to include it.  It would have just missed out on the bracket had someone not made it their #1 film to save on the second ballot.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on April 27, 2008, 04:29:03 PM
The Ice Storm

Flaws
I didn't really have that many problems with it, at least nothing glaringly obvious, but is there a likable character in the bunch?  Save Tobey Maguire's Fantastic Four reading virgin, it seems to be full of self absorbed and ultimately selfish characters.  The audience is given almost no reason to sympathise with any of the characters, which leads to a very detached viewing experience.  There's no consequences for any of the characters actions including people getting caught shoplifting and nothing coming of it and the pacing is fairly poor.


I agree that the characters are pretty unlikeable and that is ultimately why I don't go back to this movie. Though isn't there a major consequence? Doesn't their kid die.

hmm that's completely true and a good point.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on April 27, 2008, 04:30:30 PM
Pixote just alerted me to the Affliction upset;  I was the staunch supporter.  (Staaaaawwwwnch. S-T-A-U-N-C-H.)  I picked movies that I really wanted to revisit, and this was one of them.  I watched this one time on a whim, not knowing a thing about it besides the Oscar nominations.  I remember being blown away by the story.  It fell outside the norms for abuse dramas, and if I remember, didn't really provide the expected release for the victim.  It was: "Here is the shitty past and the shitty repercussions.  You want the redemption in the end?  F*ck you."
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on April 27, 2008, 05:26:53 PM
a very detached viewing experience. 
I have this problem with every Ang Lee film, never seen Affliction and I own The Ice Storm, though it's still in the wrapper ::).

Quote
So Pi moves on.

No enemy here, alway a good decision.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 27, 2008, 10:06:27 PM
To Die For (1995, Gus Van Sant) vs. Heart of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991, Fax Bahr)


This turned out to be a rather peculiar matchup. On the one side, To Die For offered faux-documentary footage in the form of acted interviews for the purpose of telling a piece fiction. On the other hand, Heart of Darkness is an actual documentary regarding the stress induced production of the fictionalized vision of a true event. Curious no?

To Die For
Having not seen all of Van Sant’s films, I cannot say that I am a ‘go to’ guy about his work, but I have seen enough to know that he likes to play things a little differently (Elephant and Paranoid Park come to mind). To Die For falls under this category as well. Nicole Kidman plays a strange, and quite honestly psychotic young women who dreams of a career on television. Shortly after her marriage to Matt Dillon’s character, she earns a spot as the weather women at a small local tele station. Mayhem ensues (no spoiler here).
I’ve gone on record for saying that Kidman rarely offers a performance that excites me. However, Van Sant has somehow managed to squeeze out a nice effort from her here. There’s a bit of quirk, a bit of the odd, a bit of the cute, and just a pinch of the psychotic thrown in for good measure. Matt Dillon seems to be checking his watch however. Not so impressive, but then again, he never has been in my book. Thankfully, his sister, played by Illeana Douglas was a pleasure to watch. Very colourful and honest as a character. Her ‘interviews’ for the camera were worth the time I spent watching this film. Even Joaquin Pheonix, despite his young age here, offers a respectable job.
The idea of having various characters talk to the camera as if in actual interviews set the tone of the film nicely. It helped give the impression that the murder Nicole Kidman is involved in was a shocking enough to warrant a documentary made about it (although the film never shows who the characters are talking to). It allows many of those same characters to be very honest with their thoughts and emotions actually. It also reminds the interviewer the influence that tv has on audiences. which is one of the themes of the film.    Not the best Van Sant effort, but a strong one nonetheless.

Heart of Darkness
Ah, the documentary about the creation of one of my all time, yes, all time favourite movies. With much footage taken from Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, during the filming of Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness takes the viewer into the madness and frustration of that production. I had heard many stories about how troubled the filming of Apocalypse Now was, but had never imagined all of this. Changing actors when already weeks into filming, Marlon Brando acting like genuine Madonna about how much time he would allocate Coppola, the weather, the costs of production, the very controversial topic of the Viet Nam war, etc.  Tensions were sometimes flying everywhere and this hindered the relationships between actors and producers. Fascinating stuff and well worth a viewing for Apocalypse Now fans.
If there was one thing that perhaps annoyed me just a little bit, it was that there are a few scenes in which we see Coppola genuinely attempting to ‘explain’ certain key Apocalypse Now sequences to his actors. Of course a director has to have his or her actors understand what’s expected of them, but I wish I hadn’t witnessed those moments. I love Apocalypse Now because I fill in the blanks every time, it isn’t Coppola doing it for me. This documentary had Coppola doing it for me. A minor flaw (I’ll still keep seeing Apoc Now in my own way regardless) but a flaw nonetheless.

So what’s it going to be, fact or fiction? Well, for the second week running, I think I have an upset on my hands. To Die For, which has a neat story told in a neat way, overcomes the documentary about a film I always have and always will love.

To Die For moves on.

PS. I think the verdict would have gone differently had it been To Die For actually against Apocalypse Now. Apologies to HOD fans.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 27, 2008, 11:31:06 PM
You've made the right choice.

This write-up gets "The Faceboy Seal of Approval". Bravo!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 28, 2008, 08:35:08 AM
'Tis an honour.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 28, 2008, 09:00:34 AM
I just noticed a little typo in my review of To Die For. Near the end, when I wrote that that 'it reminds the interviewer the influence tv has...' it should read 'it reminds the VIEWER the influence tv has...'

I don't know if had confused anybody when they read the review, but there you have it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on April 28, 2008, 09:36:16 AM
I just noticed a little typo in my review of To Die For. Near the end, when I wrote that that 'it reminds the interviewer the influence tv has...' it should read 'it reminds the VIEWER the influence tv has...'
You should be able to fix that mistake by clicking the "modify"-button on the post in question.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 28, 2008, 11:22:56 PM
Barton Fink Vs. Strange Days

Barton Fink

Major Attributes: Well, the Coens are masters at making sure the environments that their characters inhabit feel totally implicit to the story. Think of Barton's apartment or the Shining-esque hallways of the hotel. It all works to illicit a feeling of dread and that feeling is palpable. Then there is John Goodman who, oh my god...

Major Flaws: That line that John Goodman says almost at the very end. I can't wrap my head around it. I don't know why it is there. Perhaps someone can explain it for me.

Strange Days

Major Attributes: Everything that has to do with playback, squids and all that crap. It's completely fascinating and the idea is interesting enough that I can enjoy it solely based on those terms. Also, Fiennes makes an interesting anti-hero.

Major Flaws: Juliette Lewis is awful, awful, awful. Also, for about half of the movie I kept thinking, "wow, this is like Southland Tales in the 90s." That's not a flattering comparison. However, this is a much more interesting film that one (even though it lacks its comic brilliance).

Honestly, it wasn't really close. Strange Days develops an interesting world and has a really cool gimmick (whoa 1st person sex scenes) but outside of that, there really isn't much there. Barton Fink however left me exhilarated. I'm still bothered (and awed) by the ending of the film sorta like TWBB. I can't get it out of my head.

The Coens pass...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 28, 2008, 11:39:42 PM
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on April 28, 2008, 11:52:28 PM
 :'(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on April 28, 2008, 11:54:52 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 28, 2008, 11:55:05 PM
Which line?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: philip918 on April 28, 2008, 11:56:43 PM
The Cruise vs Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Hasta la Vista Levitch.

T2 moves on.

I know I should write more, but I'm tired and want new movies.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on April 28, 2008, 11:57:39 PM
Which line?

Heil Hitler.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 28, 2008, 11:59:40 PM
Ah . . .  I have no idea.

Something about anti-intellectualism and fascism?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 29, 2008, 12:09:10 AM
Ah . . .  I have no idea.

Something about anti-intellectualism and fascism?
I always took it as explaining his delusions and general power-trip down madness lane. He's conflating evil powers together.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on April 29, 2008, 09:26:53 PM
Heat v. Vanya on 42nd St.

Whoever put this matchup together and then gave it to me is a cruel person.  They're incomparable, and I disliked them both.

Heat

What I liked:

Robert De Niro - I saw the mockable parts of his performance - his facial ticks, his talking out of the side of his mouth - but it didn't matter.  I forgot about them as soon as they passed, and they were never as pronounced as an imitator might show them.  He was fit, which was important to his part, and I took him seriously.

The photography - There's a shot midway through the movie, a seemingly throwaway shot of the bad guys against a background of stacked boxcars.  The boxcars are in rust hues against a blue sky.  The actors are in earth-toned suits, and, if I remember correctly, the shot was from a low angle.  I was struck that such an unimportant shot required so much care.  There are many, many, many more examples of the beautiful photography, but this is the one I'd like to highlight.

The cat-and-mouse - Midway through there's some great "Who's fooling who?" stuff.

The beginning heist and the final shoot-out.  Extremely tense.  Really well done.

What I disliked:

Al Pacino - Take everything I said about De Niro and reverse it.  He is a mockery.  He's out of shape and you have to somehow believe that he can hoof it through the streets of L.A.  His bulging eyes make him look like a drunk fish.  He should not be in movies.

The treatment of women - The women are cardboard cutouts.  They are there for the males to act against.  They are there to serve as motivations for the males.  They have no redeeming characteristics, or when they do, it's to serve the plot of the male.  It was really gross.

The bank heist - I know it's supposed to be one of the greatest shootouts in movie history, but it's awful.  Jerry and I laughed our asses off.  And it ends with one of the worst cliches: the good guy with perfect aim shoots down the bad guy who's holding a hostage as a shield.  Horrible.  Awful.  Horrible-awful.

Verdict: I hated this movie.  I loved it when I saw it in the theaters, but I hated it this time.

Vanya on 42nd Street

What I liked:

The dialogue - It's the only thing in this play/movie, so you'd be screwed if you didn't like it.

The acting - Same.  It's a movie for actors or theater folk.  I liked seeing the contemporary interpretation of old lines.  I imagine that the actors were in hog heaven finding readings for which they'd be proud.

In general, it was interesting.

What I disliked:

Nothing happens.  Characters talk and talk and talk and talk and don't do anything.  Toward the end I thought someone might actually shoot someone else, but no such luck.  This is an esoteric exercise.  It is brainy.  No, not just brainy.  Hyper-brainy.  Extra super-dooper brainy.  If someone has the patience to parse the individual lines, the declarations, to find deep ideas, go for it.  Not me.

Verdict:  Very, very interesting, but a snooze.

So, I have to pass one of two movies, neither of which I would recommend.  With Heat, I know I'm in the minority in my hatred, and I wouldn't wish Vanya on my worst enemy.  There's something to hating a movie instead of being unmoved and ultimately bored by a movie.

Suz Orman says:
Heat: Approved
Vanya on 42nd Street: Denied
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 29, 2008, 09:54:25 PM
I'm glad Heat is going through but also disapointed to read that you liked it less the second time around. I've always been a big fan of Heat.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on April 30, 2008, 09:07:32 AM
I'm glad Heat is going through but also disapointed to read that you liked it less the second time around. I've always been a big fan of Heat.
"Liked it less" is an understatement.  I hated it.  Michael Mann should be beaten with Al Pacino's bulging eyeballs.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 30, 2008, 09:56:27 AM
I'm glad Heat is going through but also disapointed to read that you liked it less the second time around. I've always been a big fan of Heat.
"Liked it less" is an understatement.  I hated it.  Michael Mann should be beaten with Al Pacino's bulging eyeballs.
I wouldn't worry. Heat won't last through more than one more round, and that's if it's lucky.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 30, 2008, 12:25:05 PM
I wouldn't be too sure about that; Heat was the #13 seed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 30, 2008, 12:30:52 PM
Where can we see the seeding? Is that the right term?  :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on April 30, 2008, 12:33:54 PM
It's top secret, more or less.

I shared it because I think that's what pixote would have done.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on April 30, 2008, 12:45:07 PM
Well now I feel a little guilty.  It was either: punish an unsuspecting innocent with 3+ hours of offensive stupidity or 2 hours of talking.  It seemed to me that offensive stupidity was the lesser of two evils.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 30, 2008, 01:16:33 PM
It's top secret, more or less.

I shared it because I think that's what pixote would have done.
He would have.

We're basically keeping it under wraps for the first round so that it can't influence voting. In the second round we don't think it'll matter.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on April 30, 2008, 01:36:50 PM
I'm glad Heat is going through but also disapointed to read that you liked it less the second time around. I've always been a big fan of Heat.
"Liked it less" is an understatement.  I hated it.  Michael Mann should be beaten with Al Pacino's bulging eyeballs.

Ouch! While I don't think Michael Mann deserves that kind of treatment, I must say ripping out Pacino's eyeballs would preventing him from reading and hence signing on to terrible scripts any longer.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on April 30, 2008, 02:33:19 PM
It's top secret, more or less.

I shared it because I think that's what pixote would have done.
He would have.

We're basically keeping it under wraps for the first round so that it can't influence voting. In the second round we don't think it'll matter.

That makes sense
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on April 30, 2008, 05:16:09 PM
It's top secret, more or less.

I shared it because I think that's what pixote would have done.
He would have.

We're basically keeping it under wraps for the first round so that it can't influence voting. In the second round we don't think it'll matter.

That makes sense
Thanks, validation is comforting.  ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on April 30, 2008, 08:15:34 PM
The Cruise vs Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Hasta la Vista Levitch.

T2 moves on.

I know I should write more, but I'm tired and want new movies.

I've never heard of The Cruise. Did it even have a chance?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on May 01, 2008, 04:39:07 PM
The Cruise vs Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Hasta la Vista Levitch.

T2 moves on.

I know I should write more, but I'm tired and want new movies.

I've never heard of The Cruise. Did it even have a chance?

If someone with discerning taste would have watched it, it would have moved on ;)  It's a love letter to NYC - moreso an essay on place as character - by a sometimes endearing and often irritating eccentric bus tour guide - well worth a look.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on May 04, 2008, 12:18:04 AM
Three Kings vs. Sleepy Hollow

Ok, so when pixote sent me my latest matchup, I figured this would be fun. Pitting what looked like a typical Hollywood action movie set in the Gulf War and starring some reasonably big-name actors against a movie by Tim Burton - a directory I really like and enjoy (Lets pretend the Willy Wonka remake never happened, okay).

Three Kings

So as is evident from that prelude, I really wasn't excited at all about watching this one. The poster didn't look particularly encouraging either. Another Hollywood movie about how bad war is for the world... great. Suffice to say, this movie completely belied my expectations. Firstly, unlike the typical anti-war polemic, the first 20-25 minutes of this movie turned out to be really funny and totally won me over. The characters were likeable and recognizable and I just knew I would have fun spending time with them. The beginning is rather irreverent. There are a lot of images of soldiers partying to celebrate the supposed victory despite being confused about what had actually happened during the war.  Lots of shots depicting mayhem really effectively. So by this time, I had set myself up for what promised to be, if nothing else, at least a really fun ride. Then the plot started to kick in with the finding of a map and a plan that sounded too good and too simple to ever work. At this point, I was sort of relieved that this movie seemed to be turning into a good old action adventure instead of the "war is bad" lecture series I had so feared. By the time the movie ended, I realized that the movie had actually cleverly delivered that dreaded lecture but in such a fun way that I actually didn't mind it at all. The movie tries rather dangerously to be a mainstream Hollywood action movie as well as a thoughtful engaging film that criticises Government policy and shows the audience just how thin the line between right and wrong / good people and bad people can be. Consequently, the movie is both a really exhilarating ride and thought-provoking. Yes, the film tries to be many movies at once and sometimes comes off as too cool and clever for its own good1 . Yes, the movie lacks subtlety. But what a completely fun time I had watching this one!


1 Too many jumpy angles and handheld shots that were distracting at times + the U2 song over the end credits felt rather cheesy to me and again felt like an exagerrated focus on being cool.

Sleepy Hollow

In case of sleepy hollow, I was inherently rather pumped up about watching the film. I vaguely remember watching the movie on TV a long time ago and had very pleasant memories of a movie that looked like it came out of one of the beautifully illustrated fairytale books I coveted as a child. The first 45 minutes of the movie confirmed this earlier memory. I especially loved the first few scenes in Sleepy Hollow. Everything in the town looks a little off-kilter. All the houses seem a little crooked and the people (barring Christina Ricci) never smile. I also really enjoyed the way Ichibold Crane's character was an atypical hero - a constable who is an intellectual and doesn't really have much of a taste for action and is even a little bit of a coward. Soon, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and was really enjoying all the splattering of blood and rolling of heads!! My enjoyment was short-lived however. Somewhere around the halfway mark, the movie just completely lost me. I was no longer blinded by the novelty and beauty of the visuals and needed the plot to actually move forward. What happened instead was a mishmash of random plot twists that had zero emotional payoff. By the time we got to the climax, I really didn't care about any of the characters. Once the mystery and intrigue that made the first half so enjoyable was gone, the movie had nothing to offer. In fact, by the end the movie actually managed to irritate me on a few points. Firstly, there seems to be a whole back-story to Johnny Depp's character that only distracts from the main story and doesn't contribute anything to the rest of the movie. I can understand if the back-story is meant to give us additional insight into the character's motives and behavior. However, I didn't feel like that really happened in this case. Secondly, in a stylized fable like this, I am not sure I needed to really understand all the deep underlying neuroses that the characters suffer from. Another thing that really bothered me is a long scene where the perpetrator of the crime postpones killing one of the characters so that (s)he can deliver a monologue explaining his/her actions. I really don't want to believe that the movie had no other way to resolve the plot besides this monologue. So, to summarize, Sleepy Hollow is a really pretty movie that ends up seeming really empty and hollow by the end.

Verdict: Contrary to my initial expectations, Three Kings moves on and honestly, it’s one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make for the bracket.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 04, 2008, 12:23:11 AM
You have chosen correctly.

That's really quite a mismatch.

A #3 vs. #136 seed mismatch, in fact.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 04, 2008, 12:33:43 AM
You have chosen correctly.

That's really quite a mismatch.

A #3 vs. #136 seed mismatch, in fact.
Indeed. Not only was it the 3 seed, it was in the group in the top 5 that was miles ahead of everything else. This received so many top votes that it was the 1 seed until we got the last handful of ballots in.

Also, Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on May 04, 2008, 12:39:34 AM
You have chosen correctly.

That's really quite a mismatch.

A #3 vs. #136 seed mismatch, in fact.

Aww, shucks :(. I am hoping to see an upset verdict sometime soon. We haven't had any yet, right?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 04, 2008, 12:59:23 AM
You have chosen correctly.

That's really quite a mismatch.

A #3 vs. #136 seed mismatch, in fact.

Aww, shucks :(. I am hoping to see an upset verdict sometime soon. We haven't had any yet, right?

No, we had at least one.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on May 04, 2008, 08:09:17 AM
I liked how Three Kings used actual cadavers during scenes to explain what happens when a lung is punctured and so forth.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 04, 2008, 08:39:14 AM
I haven't even seen Three Kings and probably would have picked it anyways. Sleepy Hollow :P
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 04, 2008, 02:18:12 PM
The Cruise vs Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Hasta la Vista Levitch.

T2 moves on.

I know I should write more, but I'm tired and want new movies.

I'll work on getting you a new matchup, but can you expand on this verdict a little first maybe?  Most people haven't really heard of The Cruise.  Do you second skjerva's recommendation at all, or did Levitch totally annoy you.  And how does T2 hold up?  Have some flaws become more magnified with time?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 04, 2008, 02:24:39 PM
Aww, shucks :(. I am hoping to see an upset verdict sometime soon. We haven't had any yet, right?

No, we had at least one.

Affliction over The Ice Storm was a huge upset, with the 125th seed beating the 14th seed.  The other recent upset was To Die For (90) over Hearts of Darkness (49).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 04, 2008, 10:23:13 PM
Waiting For Guffman (1996, Christopher Guest) vs. Wild at Heart (1990, David Lynch)


Waiting For Guffman

Christopher Guest directs and stars in a story about a small group of oddly untalented people people from the town of Blaine Missouri who put on a play about the history of Blaine just in time for its anniversary. Ironically enough, Christopher Guest’s character is the director of the play…and also stars in it.
This is a very funny movie. I found myself laughing quite a bit throughout the story. This mostly has to do with the comic abilities of the cast. Waiting For Guffman benefits from a slew of talented and funny actors and actresses. Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, Chatherine O’Hara and a hysterical cameo from David Cross (Arrested Development will always rule!) are all colourful and enjoyable. There’s really nothing too serious going on here. No lessons are learned, the viewer isn’t spoon fed any morals or viewpoints either. It’s simply a good laugh. Even the actual play itself about the history of Blaine is quite entertaining (mainly because it’s so cheaply done, but yet has some heart).  The characters who are involved really want to put on a good show because, as a character in the film says, Blaine is the heart of Missouri after all. The cast does a swell job of portraying nice, small town folk without making them seem imbecile. A lot of films are tempted to make people from smaller cities seem foolish or an embarrassment to the rest of the world, but Waiting For Guffman avoids this trap. Sure, most of these people have never been outside of Blaine, but they’re still decent. Christopher Guest himself as the ‘married’ (to apparently a women) but yet obviously gay director of the play, hoping to score a return ticket to Broadway, is also very entertaining. I really didn’t have any problems with this film.
Rent the film, slap it on the tele, and have fun for about 90 minutes. It’s worth your time.

Wild At Heart

Some of you are already familiar with my feelings towards David Lynch. Pretentious, intentionally frustrating, time waster, all of these I find are accurate when describing his work (not the man of course, that would indeed be rude).  Wild At Heart tells the convoluted story of two lovers, Lulu and Sailor (what?), who hit the road in order to start a new life and escape Sailor’s dark past. However, Lulu’s devious mother vehemently opposes their love and sends a hitman to have poor Sailor killed.
 Lynch, if I’ve even remotely understood what he likes to do, enjoys starting with a plot clearly based in reality and then put in on acid, or speed, or crack, or whatever is necessary for that reality based plot to really go on a ‘trip’. There’s strangeness and, to a certain extent, some fantasy to his films. Somehow Wild at Heart manages to be the Lynch film that annoyed me the least. There is a bizarre cuteness about the Dern/Cage couple that does ring true, regardless of how pathetic they are as people. Lulu’s mother (Diane Ladd) is offered a layer of complexity after she’s realized that perhaps sending a hitman to do the job may have been a stupid idea. There’s a bizarre (it’s Lynch, everything is bizarre) night scene in which Dern and Cage witness the death of an unfortunate car crash victim that works very well. A bit of human touch as someone dies…how poetically just!
However, there are far too many characters that simply remained unattainable for me. Dafoe’s character, Freeman’s, and other smaller ones that I just couldn’t make myself like. We also get some vintage Lynch visuals that I’m sure mean something for the story but, as usual, struck me as cold and useless (witch on a broom, lighting of a match, house of fire). There are some scenes that were really annoying, such the vomit scene, the sex torture scenes which leads to a character’s death, Lulu’s mother painting her face in lipstick. What the heck is going on?!

This review has been longer than usual and I apologize for going on a rant. Thanks to those who are still reading. It’s official. I’ve seen enough Lynch films to know that I can’t digest this guy’s work. I respect those who disagree (I was on the losing side in that Cronenberg/Lynch poll not long ago) but I just can’t do it.

Waiting for Guffman
is by no mean high class art, but I had fun with it. I didn’t have fun with Wild At Heart.

The past two weekends, the more unique, artsy films won my matchups. The buck stops here. It isn’t out of malice, but Waiting for Guffman goes through, ‘cause I’m sick of waiting for Lynch to make a movie I can stand.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 04, 2008, 10:34:59 PM
I haven't seen Wild at Heart but I'm pretty sure it's more entertaining than Waiting for Guffman.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 04, 2008, 10:38:04 PM
Guffman, the 37 seed, was the clear favorite here over Wild at Heart, the 102 seed.  Most of Wild at Heart's in the balloting was of the "leans towards including" variety.

I haven't seen Wild at Heart but I'm pretty sure it's more entertaining than Waiting for Guffman.

That's my instinct, too.  I was pretty let down by Guffman when I finally got around to seeing it.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 04, 2008, 11:09:15 PM
I haven't seen Wild at Heart but I'm pretty sure it's more entertaining than Waiting for Guffman.

It's vintage Lynch. Do you like Lynch? Yes? Then you'll like Wild at Heart. It fits perfectly in his repertoire.

I don't like Lynch, and this movie didn't help. What can I say.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 04, 2008, 11:59:47 PM
We're one verdict away from the first round being halfway done. 8)

pixote
I'm really pleased with the speed at which this happened and have high hopes for the summer.

Chasing Amy vs. Black is...Black Ain't

Chasing Amy

Major Flaws: Can I just classify them as the Kevin Smith bag of flaws? The dialogue was grating during portions. Some of the conversation scenes were really crowbarred into the film in places that they didn't make sense and destroyed the pacing. Many of the themes and characters came off as a bit oversimplified considering their aspirations. The one year later epilogue/ending was one of the worst endings on a mediocre or better film I can ever recall, outdoing Vanilla Sky. It was visually boring through most of the film and didn't stay on point despite it's desire to do so.

Major Attributes: I laughed. Not a hell of a lot, but a more than a few times. Also, the themes and "message" of the film were executed well enough that they were clearly communicable. Also, unlike many of Smith's films, none of the performances bothered me, which is a big step up for him. On top of that, there's a handheld shot in the apartment during one of the friends' confrontations that was really pretty well done and almost beautiful. As opposed to above, the "true" ending that takes place before the temporal jump was actually really good and would've elevated the whole film if the epilogue didn't exist.

Black is...Black Ain't

Major Flaws: It has a particular style that has been parodied en masse in the years since, especially by its patron, PBS. With the lone actor in front of the black background making movements meant to be thematically evocative and intercuts or overlays of text that do the same, it really comes of as hokie but to no fault of its own. The pacing rambles a bit in the final third of the film as putting it together becomes a distinctly difficult process.

Major Attributes: Most of the above can be ignored. All the flaws (except the pacing) actually work beautifully in the film and make it clear why it became so heavily co-opted and parodied. It intelligently portrays ideas of blackness, especially in concert with other identities within the black community while becoming an elegy to a filmmaker and his career. It seamlessly covers its points in relation to the main topic while (for the most part) integrating the end of the filmmaker's life and his final contributions into the film in tribute. It probably suffers slightly by going from Riggs to his assistant director after his death. It embodies one of the most interesting uses of meta filmmaking I can recall and is sweetly crushing in so many ways. It borders on expanding the parameters of the documentary as a form. It's not perfect, but it's fantastic in so many ways.

Verdict: Smith's film was better than a lot of his work and interesting in a lot of ways, but it wasn't great on it's own and ran into an unexpected juggernaut in Riggs' accidental requiem. Black is...Black Ain't moves on in a walk.



Come on Chester (or anyone else) start the second half!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 05, 2008, 12:12:35 AM
This is a pretty big upset on paper (the 98th seed over the 39th seed), but Black Is...Black Ain't was such a wildcard selection (only three people voted for/against it in the balloting) that the seeding was sort of meaningless.  Fight on, underdogs!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on May 07, 2008, 09:53:02 AM
Light Sleeper (1992) vs Jesus' Son (1999)

I hadn't even heard of either of these films before this match-up was assigned to me, so it was really refreshing to watch these films for the first time.


Light Sleeper stars Willem Dafoe as a mid-level drug dealer deciding what to do with his life when his boss, played by Susan Sarandon, wants to get out of the drug business to pursue a career in the cosmetics industry.  He also reconnects with a past girlfriend and becomes inadvertently involved with a mysterious death linked to a client.  Paul Schrader was the writer/director of this film.  He also wrote/directed American Gigolo, and there are a lot of parallels between that film and this one; it practically ends the same way even.  Ultimately, I think American Gigolo is a stronger film.  Willem Dafoe is just fine as the lead character, but I found Susan Sarandon pretty amateurish.  I really can't believe that she acted in this film after Bull Durham and Thelma and Louise and gave such a weak performance.  As far as the direction is concerned, I found practically everything about this movie to be overbearing and heavy handed, from the dialog to the lighting, and especially the soundtrack.  Schrader also wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ, and I think under the hands of a more capable director this could have been a better film. 


Jesus' Son stars Billy Crudup as an absent-minded, socially awkward drug addict named F*ckhead.  Running throughout the movie is narration by Crudup that chronicles his drug addiction and his relationship with Michelle, played by Samantha Morton.  There are also strong supporting performances by Jack Black and Dennis Hopper playing "Jack Black" and "Dennis Hopper" as well as Denis Leary and Holly Hunter.  I think Billy Crudup was fantastic and convincing as F*ckhead and played a character wildly different from anything else I have ever seen him in, and the narration he provides (which even includes some jumping around in time because he forgot to mention a part of the story) moves the film along nicely.  I enjoyed how this film takes a unconventional look at drug addiction rather than the same wild highs to wild lows to redemption as most addiction films do.  I don't think this film sugarcoats it, but it does take a different approach to it and I found that refreshing.  I found this film funny, sad, sweet, and eccentric all at the same time.


No contest, Jesus' Son moves on.   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 07, 2008, 09:57:57 AM
Well, time for me to watch Jesus' Son.
Thanks
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 07, 2008, 10:04:06 AM
Well, time for me to watch Jesus' Son.
Thanks

You should, it's great.  Alternatively, you can wait to see if it gets assigned to you in a later round!  ;)

Jesus' Son was a slight favorite, by the way, as the 58th seed.  Light Sleeper was seeded 81st.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 07, 2008, 10:57:10 AM
Is Light Sleeper the second part of Schrader's Lonley Man trilogy?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on May 07, 2008, 11:09:58 AM
Is Light Sleeper the second part of Schrader's Lonley Man trilogy?

Yep, along with Taxi Driver and American Gigolo, both superior films to Light Sleeper in my opinion.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 07, 2008, 11:11:36 AM
Is Light Sleeper the second part of Schrader's Lonley Man trilogy?

Yep, along with Taxi Driver and American Gigolo, both superior films to Light Sleeper in my opinion.

Hmm, Google told me that the trilogy (so-called) consists of American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Walker.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on May 07, 2008, 11:14:19 AM
Is Light Sleeper the second part of Schrader's Lonley Man trilogy?

Yep, along with Taxi Driver and American Gigolo, both superior films to Light Sleeper in my opinion.

Hmm, Google told me that the trilogy (so-called) consists of American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and Walker.

pixote

Hmm...Maybe, my source was from wikipedia.  Who knows?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 07, 2008, 11:16:32 AM
Either way, I can't drum up much interest to see any of them.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 07, 2008, 11:24:03 AM
I had heard The Walker was part 3 when it came out last year (and no one saw it) and that AG was part the first but I wasn't sure which was #2.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 07, 2008, 12:00:21 PM
Well, time for me to watch Jesus' Son.
Thanks

You should, it's great.  Alternatively, you can wait to see if it gets assigned to you in a later round!  ;)

Jesus' Son was a slight favorite, by the way, as the 58th seed.  Light Sleeper was seeded 81st.

pixote
You really should, I have the poster on my wall. I'm a big fan of this film.

Also, we've managed to have a female director make the second round, no small feat when you crunch the numbers (though I don't know if she's alone).

Finally, Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on May 07, 2008, 12:02:50 PM
Finally, Faceboy stamp of approval.

Yay!  :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 07, 2008, 12:13:04 PM
Also, we've managed to have a female director make the second round, no small feat when you crunch the numbers (though I don't know if she's alone).

Alison Maclean joins Sofia Coppola, Jennie Livingston, and Susan Hannah Hadary (co-director of King Gimp) in the second round.  Allison Anders, Mira Nair, Deborah Hoffmann, and others are still in contention.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 07, 2008, 01:20:21 PM
Also, we've managed to have a female director make the second round, no small feat when you crunch the numbers (though I don't know if she's alone).

Alison Maclean joins Sofia Coppola, Jennie Livingston, and Susan Hannah Hadary (co-director of King Gimp) in the second round.  Allison Anders, Mira Nair, Deborah Hoffmann, and others are still in contention.

pixote

Kathrine Bigalow was defeated  :'(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 07, 2008, 01:33:53 PM
Also, we've managed to have a female director make the second round, no small feat when you crunch the numbers (though I don't know if she's alone).

Alison Maclean joins Sofia Coppola, Jennie Livingston, and Susan Hannah Hadary (co-director of King Gimp) in the second round.  Allison Anders, Mira Nair, Deborah Hoffmann, and others are still in contention.

pixote
I thought there was more.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 07, 2008, 02:45:43 PM
Alison Maclean joins Sofia Coppola, Jennie Livingston, and Susan Hannah Hadary (co-director of King Gimp) in the second round.  Allison Anders, Mira Nair, Deborah Hoffmann, and others are still in contention.
I thought there was more.

I don't see any more already in the second round, but "and others" above referred to Penny Marshall, Nancy Savoca, Gillian Armstrong, Penelope Spheeris ...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 07, 2008, 03:27:03 PM
I wasn't a questioning statement but an affirmation.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 07, 2008, 04:47:10 PM
What's the Sophia Coppola film in this tournament?

By the way, it would be nice to have Jesus's Son in a matchup. It would finally force me to watch it, which may the only way for me (I've got movies left, right and center to see already)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 07, 2008, 04:51:48 PM
Sofia Coppola's film is The Virgin Suicides.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 07, 2008, 05:21:15 PM
That's another one that received positive buzz but that I unintentionally overlooked. That's why  this tounarment is so interesting. So far  I've pretty much been watching movies I had never heard of or that I have heard of but never seen.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: philip918 on May 09, 2008, 07:36:33 PM
More on The Cruise vs Terminator 2...

By popular demand.

The Cruise
Had not heard of this before, but recognized Timothy "Speed" Levitch from Waking Life once I popped the DVD in, so I had an idea of what to expect.  The "Cruise" refers to Levitch's physical circling of Manhattan on a tour bus as a verbose tour guide, and Levitch's quirky metaphysical journey down life's twisting path.  Levitch is certainly a lively character with a lot on his mind, and if I had been a teenager his live-out-side-the-box philosophy may have rang fresh and been kind of inspiring.  There's also some interesting historical information about various New York landmarks, and there's a memorable scene on the Brooklyn Bridge in which Levitch rails against folks who have done him wrong in the past.
If you're not hanging on Levitch's every word (I wasn't), the film tends to drag a bit.  And, I found the ending to be an over-the-top Levitch love fest, a cinematic money shot, so saccharine and heavy handed that it had me clicking the film off before the credits rolled.

Terminator 2
So, Terminator 2 weathers the sands of time, not entirely unscathed, but it holds up as one of the great action films of the decade.  Arnold Schwarzenneger is a terrible actor.  Wooden seems a bit too animated in describing his performances (maybe Formican would do?).  So, making him a cyborg is a great solution and he fits the role perfectly.  Linda Hamilton is also good as a militant, paranoid future freedom fighter bent on protecting her son from the forces of future evil.  Edward Furlong is still a whiny little b*tch.
The molten metal CGI used for the T-2000 looks a bit hokey these days, but the film is more concerned with physical action and the scooter/semi chase down the reservoir is among the best car chases on film.  The final fight is also pretty epic.
The ending is saccharine and heavy handed.

Ahhnold easily terminates Levitch.
T2 moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on May 09, 2008, 10:24:56 PM
Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight! Doing It Tonight!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 09, 2008, 10:40:19 PM
Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It! Holding You To It!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 10, 2008, 11:27:17 AM
Hey you, Chester! I see you hiding there!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 10, 2008, 12:50:38 PM
When We Were Kings

The events surrounding the Mohammed Ali v. George Foreman fight in Zaire.  Ali is the main subject, but it begins at this intersection of world politics, sport, and culture.

What I liked:
  The many, many layers that Leon Gast, the director, piled into the beginning and mid-section of this movie kept me grasping and smiling.  He juxtaposes scenes of Africans dancing against scenes of war against Ali fighting against Mobutu pointing at the sky against B.B. King sweating against James Brown dancing against Don King shaking his head against Norman Mailer and George Plimpton and Spike Lee pontificating against a woman breathing.  It was an amazing, amazing collage.

The editing and the construction of the movie was a great homage to Ali’s dancing and flying.  It jumped and jabbed and was fast.

It made me want to be there.  It celebrated black 70s better than any perfectly costumed Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, or Tarantino fiction.

Ali’s personality, his force.  Before this movie, I knew Ali only as a parody.  Because of this movie he became a goliath to me - a taut, well-toned goliath, not a bulky thing.  It was great to see a parody shattered.

What I didn’t like: There was a point right before the fight that was tiresome.  Gast dragged the build-up to the finale a little too far.

After the fight, there was a wonderful analysis of the fight and a reprise from earlier in the movie of Ali on a road, throwing punches at the camera.  The movie should have stopped there.  Instead, Gast gave us 5 or 6 extraneous minutes celebrating Ali through a montage.  Unlike the confusing, thrilling montages earlier in the movie, it came off as fawning praise.  It was unnecessary because the rest of the movie had already celebrated him so perfectly.

Verdict: Amazing.

Hands On a Hard Body

Contestants have to keep one hand on a hard body truck in Longview, Texas while maintaining their sanity.  The one person left standing wins the truck.

What I liked:

In the first few minutes, I was prepared to dismiss this movie because I see these Texas people all the time; these people, with their accents and hands raised in praise to Jesus aren’t caricatures.  And I’m predisposed not to like them; that’s my prejudice.  At the twenty-minute mark or thereabouts, I realized that I liked each of the contestants.  My initial impression had flown.

The patience - this idea of a contest as a social experiment, watching the many different stages - exhaustion, joy, weakness, camaraderie, pain, frustration, mind/body disassociation - that these people go through to win a truck.

The simplicity of the movie.  It was great to see something so simple showcase so many themes - spirituality v. carnality, mind v. body, surface appearances v. reality, rivalry v. friendship.

What I disliked: There were a few amateurish editing effects that got on my nerves, but that’s it.

Verdict: Great experience.

Structurally, I think Hands was better; it maintained itself more cohesively. However, When We Were Kings shot higher.  It was more willing to experiment.

If the two movies were EKGs, When Were Kings would be erratic and confused, rarely consistent.  Hands on a Hard Body would show a steady and strong beat.  I prefer the confusion of Kings, but can't dismiss Hands.  It is powerful in its own right.

When We Were Kings goes through.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 10, 2008, 12:57:07 PM
Great analysis.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on May 10, 2008, 01:11:04 PM
Dead Man Walking

A film full of solid and sometimes great performances. I loved the humanity that Robbins was able to portray without being to preachy or obvious. The only problem I had was that it didn't seem fresh to me. Again, this may be because I had heard so much about this film for so long without ever seeing it. It's a heavy drama, and I feel like I have seen so many of these kinds of films. Still, it really was a great film. Penn was amazing as always. Glad I saw it.

The War Room
It is a perfect time be be watching this film. With The Clintons back in the spotlight right now (go Barack!) , I am sure they are reliving all of this. The film however focuses on George Stephanopoulos & James Carville. The War Room successfully conveyed the tension and accomplished what many documentaries don't. I totally knew how the ending turns out, but I was so wrapped up in the story and the dedication of these two men.

winner....
Dead Man Walking is a powerful film that deals with issues still relevant today
The War Room is a powerful film that deals with issues happening slightly different today.

Both are great, But I enjoyed The War Room a bit more.

However I think the better film is Dead Man Walking.

so the winner....

Dead Man Walking


Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 10, 2008, 01:53:07 PM
You guys make me happy — vicariously, because you discovered some new films that you liked; and directly, because I enjoyed reading your verdicts.  Thanks!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 10, 2008, 06:22:02 PM
Both writeups were great and the discovery of new films you both really liked was particularly heartening, as you both got shafted with a lot of films you hated in the past. Great jobs.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 10, 2008, 06:44:27 PM
You guys are so inspirational, I'm going to go rent my two 90s films (plus Accatone) and settle in with them for the night.

I also have to give inspirational credit to the sun, for beating me down so thoroughly.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 10, 2008, 06:45:41 PM
You guys are so inspirational, I'm going to go rent my two 90s films (plus Accatone) and settle in with them for the night.

I also have to give inspirational credit to the sun, for beating me down so thoroughly.

pixote
You should probably move your computer out of the greenhouse, it's starting to affect your brain.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 10, 2008, 09:38:30 PM
You should probably move your computer out of the greenhouse, it's starting to affect your brain.
I know this is an appropriate query for faceboy.  Please explain the difference between affect and effect as verb.  (I understand effect as a noun.)  And this is a sincere request.  I'm all into words right now.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 10, 2008, 09:53:01 PM
You should probably move your computer out of the greenhouse, it's starting to affect your brain.
I know this is an appropriate query for faceboy.  Please explain the difference between affect and effect as verb.  (I understand effect as a noun.)  And this is a sincere request.  I'm all into words right now.

Woo!  Words and Grammar and Stuff (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2961.msg113232#msg113232)!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 10, 2008, 11:18:39 PM
You should probably move your computer out of the greenhouse, it's starting to affect your brain.
I know this is an appropriate query for faceboy.  Please explain the difference between affect and effect as verb.  (I understand effect as a noun.)  And this is a sincere request.  I'm all into words right now.
Well, as far as grammar and syntax go, I'm not to be trusted. However, affect is almost always a verb and effect is almost always a noun. Effect is really only a verb when you're drawing out the effect of the object. Basically, whenever you're talking about changing something, they verb you're searching for is affect.

Now, someone come and make that 1% margin of error count!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 11, 2008, 01:03:03 AM
Alex right and Chester wrong?  Is it the Apocalypse??
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 11, 2008, 11:02:28 PM
The Hunt for Red October (1990, John McTiernan) vs. The Limey (1999, Steven Sodergergh)

The Hunt For Red October
I really like John McTiernan. Predator, Die Hard 1 and 3, are all movies I can watch over and over again. I was therefore anticipating The Hunt for Red October with glee. The movie is about a Russian submarine captain (Connery) and his closest men who wish to defect from the Soviet Union and flee to the US with the use of the latest in Russian submarine technology, all the while trying to avoid trouble with American shuttles and their own former ‘comrades’. 
By looking at my avatar you can probably guess my sentiments towards Sir Sean Connery. I was happy to see that he was in fine acting form in this film. Not his best performance simply because he seems to be putting on the same stoic face pretty much during the entire movie, but his voice carries his presence, even though he doesn’t even try to use a Russian accent. Which reminds me that Connery and his ally Sam Neil do speak Russian in a few early scenes, only to have the movie ‘translate’ their speech later on. Not sure what that was about but anyways...
The movie is a breeze to watch. Time really flies because McTiernan keeps the pace lively with some fun submarine scenes that actually have some tension as well as some playful dialogue. The sets look great and the movie offers some impressive shots from outside the submarines which look quite realistic. I was really drawn into those moments when the submarine was escaping incoming torpedoes. I’m a fan of submarine films, so you can understand my joy while watching this movie.
I am not an Alec Baldwin fan, even though I liked him in the Departed. Here Baldwin is serviceable, but not outstanding. He does what’s required of him, but I found his one liners a bit pathetic. They always seemed out of place. There’s even a scene in which Baldwin imitates a line Connery said earlier, but since even Connery wasn’t using a Russian accent the whole joke seems kind of sad. The climax, which includes a gunfight inside the submarine, is a bit of a dud however. It felt a bit out of place and almost frustrating given some the great earlier scenes.

The Limey
Soderbergh is another one of those directors who always seems to hit the right note in my book. The Limey tells the story of an ex-con (Terence Stamp) from Britain who has travelled to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his daughter. Help from Luis Guzman’s and Lesley Ann Warren’s characters leads him to Terry Valentine, played by Peter Fonda, who was his daughter’s last boyfriend. It’s a rampage of revenge!
Stamp delivers in aces here. What’s interesting about his performance is that he finds the crucial balance between cold-blooded ex-con and lively bloke. There are some scenes in which we as the viewer see a different side of Stamp’s character, a somewhat kinder side. However, when on a role and after those that may have had something to do with his daughter’s unfortunate demise, Stamp is like a fireball. His lines are very well written and his reactions to certain people and situations are priceless.
Peter Fonda plays the role of Stamp’s target quite well. He seems like an okay chap in some scenes, but there’s a slight sleaziness to his character that Fonda pulled off convincingly. He’s the type of guy who’s willing to go dirty, but only through his orders since he won’t ever actually get his hands dirty.
Then of course there’s Soderbergh’s presentation of the movie. He uses sharp edits that seem to shorten scenes between characters. Not time is wasted and all the dialogue is pertinent to the story telling. It’s a style that felt daunting for a few early minutes, but, if you’re patient, the payoff is great. It works as a story telling device because not only does is add a sense of confident style, but also trims any unnecessary fat, leaving only essential shots an dialogue.

After last weekend’s easy verdict, I was glad to once again be pulled by two quality films. I love  me some Connery, but Soderbergh and Stamp steal the show this week with a taught tale offered with some nifty editing.
The Limey goes through.

Besides, I liked it more when 007 was employed by Her Majesty’s Secret Service anyways.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 12, 2008, 12:45:04 AM
The 90’s: when postmodernism became commercial… and thus banal (or more satisfying, in a narrower way).

The Player

I’ve always known that Altman is the height of smug pomposity but given his reputation I always assumed it was deserved.  I’ve never had the opportunity (lie) to dip into his classic period aside from a few minutes of The Long Goodbye which I dug.  I have seen Prêt-à-Porter which was terrible, Gosford Park which was terribly over rated, some episodes of Tanner on Tanner and The Company which were terribly boring and A Prairie Home Companion which thankfully was terribly funny.

This film reeks of of that smugness.  It is a story within a story (though we don’t know that till the end) but its also a film about film featuring actors not playing actors but themselves because they all buy into Altman’s heyday genius.  But it’s not really Altman’s fault that this film is so detestable.  That fault lies directly with the screenplay.  Surprise it’s about an evil producer and his mistreatment of writers.  I listened to a bit of the commentary from said writer and he is insufferably full of himself.  The film sets up a story that deconstructs the “Hollywood film” which is supposed to be where the comedy comes from but I really wasn’t laughing.  Instead it felt more like the quintessential insider flick where everyone is in love with everyone and they all celebrate their greatness together.  You know that as soon as cut was yelled they all just sniff each other's farts for pleasure.

Simple Men

This was my first venture into the world of Hal Hartley and a strange world it is.  In this wry tale 2 opposite sons (one a thief and the other a student) set out from Manhattan to wilds of Lindenhurst, Long Island to seek their anarchist father who recently escaped from custody after being on the lam for most of their lives – before that he was a short stop with the Brooklyn Dodgers.  While out there they encounter hilariously bad dialogue, oddball denizens and melodrama.  The dialogue is intentional – platitudes expressed whist looking off, wide eyes and camera right - and the melodrama is deconstructed with an ironic wit.  The cast plays everything straight but laughs and snickers abound.  Once the musical dance number to Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing” kicked in I was in love with this one.

Technically Hartley, has a better eye as well.  The shots are beautifully composed and add to the deadpan nature of the content compared to The Player whish is really just an ugly thing to watch in addition to its own ugly content.

VERDICT: not even close Simple Men to round 2
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 12, 2008, 01:10:36 AM
I won't disagree with your verdict, because I love Simple Men, but I think you're being terribly unfair to The Player.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 12, 2008, 02:08:56 AM
it does seem to be universally loved, maybe i'll check it again in a few years.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 12, 2008, 09:17:16 AM
Whoa, back-to-back upsets!  Not huge upsets, but still:  The Hunt for Red October and The Player were the 45th and 55th seeds, respectively; The Limey and Simple Men were seeded 93rd and 84th.

All three of Hal Hartley's bracket films have now advanced to the second round (The Book of Life, Trust, and Simple Men).  Soderbergh has gone two for two (Out of Sight, The Limey), with Schizopolis's first-round matchup still pending.  And each director just messed out on having a fourth film in the bracket: Henry Fool and King of the Hill just missed the cut.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 12, 2008, 10:00:56 AM
it does seem to be universally loved, maybe i'll check it again in a few years.
Not necessarily.  I loved it in the theater and was very disappointed when I revisited it last year.

I watched Nashville for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I have a half-assed theory.  Nashville was about a very particular place and time.  So was The Player.  They both featured cameos by real-life stars of the time.  In the case of The Player, those figures - Cher, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts - have since gone through the cultural ridicule process.  That process is still fresh on the minds.  In fact, it's still on-going.

In contrast, Nashville featured Elliot Gould.  He also went through the cultural ridicule process, but that time is further in the past.  We don't remember so much his laughable characteristics.  Or if we do, he's still greatly respected.  We give him his props because he lived through it and came out a winner.

When your movies have a lot of nods and winks, as Altman's do, they get judged on them.  Because the nods and winks in Nashville are regarded with a sugary nostalgia that seems fresh, the movie is better for it.  Because the nods and winks in The Player are fresher but relatively rotted, the movie suffers.

Welcome to Alex's Half-Baked Ideas 101.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on May 13, 2008, 01:55:32 AM
Confessions of a Dutiful Daughter

With a running time of only about 40 minutes or so, Confessions.. is a sensitive portrayal of a daughter's experience with her mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. What really surprised me about the film is how humorous and even joyful the movie turned out to be. The filmmaker's love for her mother is really palpable throughout the film. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the documentary is ultimately positive and offers hope to people coping with what is clearly an extremely difficult situation. I felt like she neither romanticized nor over-dramatized the subject and yet managed to be poignant.

Despite all this, at the end, I didn't really feel like this was a documentary that really revealed to me aspects of the subject that were heretofore invisible. I love documentaries and inevitably find that I learn something new even from the badly-made ones. At the risk of belittling an Academy-Award nominated documentary, the film felt a little bit like a polished home-video. While I understand the personal nature of the documentary, at the end it became too personal and therefore too specific for me to be able to really embrace it.

One last thing, I am completely in love with Barbara Hoffman's mother. She comes across as spirited and intelligent and funny and makes a great poster child for someone who is successfully coping with AD. Plus, this turned out to be the perfect movie to watch around Mother's Day.

Schizopolis

I watched the two movies in my matchup back to back. So I basically switched from a movie that I just criticized as being too simplistic to one that I found amazingly cryptic and disjointed. I really can't offer any kind of coherent plot summary for this movie. The movie begins with a set of disclaimers, most of which made little sense and were only mildly amusing if at all. I was a bit worried at this point and the series of mostly disjointed vignettes that followed did little to alleviate my fears. However, once it became evident that the movie really wasn't going to follow a formal plot-driven structure, I gave myself up to it and realized that I was quite enjoying myself. For one, the movie is pretty funny in parts. Secondly, the movie seems to explore some interesting questions about language - both cinematic language and outside it. There are scenes where people use words that mean something in the English language as we understand it to convey something completely different. It's only the voice inflections that indicate what these words probably stand for. In other scenes, characters describe what they mean to say instead of saying anything. Then a character switches to speaking in Japanese for part of the film. All of this sounds absurd and pretentious (for lack of a better term) but somehow still managed to sustain my interest. The movie is defintiely self-conscious and both self-referential and references specific techniques from other films. A film like this would've really irritated me if it weren't for the fact that i really felt that the film never takes itself too seriously. It also didn't feel smug but rather like the work of someone who wanted to really experiment with absurdism anjavascript:void(0);d had fun doing it. I am usually much more fond of Soderbergh's more mainstream stuff but I grew rather fond of this one and intend to watch it again for certain.

Confessions is definitely worth watching but Schizopolis made for a much more enjoyable and surprising (albeit requiring more attention) experience. 

Schizopolis moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 13, 2008, 02:06:32 AM
Soderbergh is undefeated.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 13, 2008, 09:30:46 PM
Aladdin v. Mississippi Masala

Aladdin – A singing diamond-in-the-rough meets cute with Robin Williams and a princess.  Complications ensue.

What I liked:

The singin’ and the dancin’.  The Ashman-Menken Disney musicals were the best.  You can have your Elton John odes to hakuna-ing and matata-ing.  I’ll take characters looking toward the moon and singing about “A Whole New World.”

I rented the special edition, so there must’ve been some remastering of the images.  Disney does spectacle so well, and it shows in the color palates.

The original Shrek gets a lot of credit for sticking it to Disney, but Disney was doing it to itself a decade before.  There are many, many instances of Disney willing to make fun of itself.

What I disliked:

Obviously, the plot is very simple.  While it may be tempting to give it a pass on this point given its target demographic, I don’t think it was ever completely excusable.  Even before Pixar.

Having said that, I was genuinely surprised at one or two turns in the plot.

Having said THAT, there is one plot reversal at the end that I never bought, even when I saw it the first time.

Verdict: It’s always been a favorite.  I love this movie, and I was genuinely delighted, even after my fifth viewing.

Mississippi Masala

Ugandan Indians move with their daughter to Mississippi.  Eighteen years pass, and their daughter falls in love with Denzel Washington.

What I liked:

Mira Nair is interested in this idea of cultural displacement and how it affects two generations.  She did it better in The Namesake, but the same themes are here.  Like in The Namesake, the story of the older generation is intriguing.

Sarita Choudhury as the grown-up daughter does a great job with her otherwise predictable story.

Roshan Seth as Mina’s dad also does a great job.  Unfortunately, his need to return to Uganda never rings true.  Not from a lack of trying.  There are big signposts all along declaring that he really, really, really wants to return to Uganda.  Unfortunately that’s all he’s given to do.

What I disliked:

As I said, overall Denzel’s and Sarita’s story drags the movie down.

There is some very clumsy acting that could have been edited around.  Just a trim could have cut out the awkward pause after one of Denzel’s lines and a bit player's line.  This is just one instance out of many where the side character’s weak acting distracts from the focus of a scene.

Verdict: There were parts I enjoyed, and I didn’t hate it.  Overall I wanted it to end long before it did, and I don't want to ever re-watch it.  If Mira could have trimmed a lot of fat, about twenty minutes worth, keeping the magical last scene between Roshan and a child, it would have been much better.

Even after all that, I’m still going to let Mississippi Masala go through.  The reason I’m doing that is because Aladdin will not win the competition; it just won’t.  Neither will Mississippi Masala.  However, I want to read someone else’s take on it because I can see where someone else might absolutely love it.  On the other hand, nothing I read is going to change my opinion of Aladdin.

Mississippi Masala goes through.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 13, 2008, 09:34:52 PM
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 13, 2008, 09:37:34 PM
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Did you read the rest?  I let the loser go through for my own selfish reasons.  I think it's a very weak movie.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 13, 2008, 09:39:04 PM
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Did you read the rest?  I let the loser go through for my own selfish reasons.  I think it's a very weak movie.
I did, but I have my own agenda.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 13, 2008, 09:48:36 PM
I probably would have had Mississippi Masala go through for the same reasons actually.
That and I've never been big on Aladdin.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 13, 2008, 09:52:17 PM
I probably would have had Mississippi Masala go through for the same reasons actually.
That and I've never been big on Aladdin.
Man, I like you.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 13, 2008, 10:04:01 PM
Great minds think alike.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on May 13, 2008, 10:07:45 PM
Great minds didn't go to Aladdin for their first theater experience.

BURN?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 13, 2008, 10:10:44 PM
Aladdin v. Mississippi Masala

You, too, are an inspiration.  More people should quit their jobs and turn around two matchups in the same week.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 13, 2008, 10:11:37 PM
...also, under very odd circumstances, the 100th seed just upset the 41st seed.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 13, 2008, 10:16:18 PM
Which reminds me, my verdict may be up by tomorrow. I won't be home during the weekend, which is when I usually deal with the matchups.

Maybe I'll even fit in another one before Friday, who knows.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 13, 2008, 10:21:00 PM
...also, under very odd circumstances, the 100th seed just upset the 41st seed.

pixote

It was wrong then and it is wrong now... for Abu's sake the better film should've won.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 13, 2008, 10:25:55 PM
...also, under very odd circumstances, the 100th seed just upset the 41st seed.

pixote

It was wrong then and it is wrong now... for Abu's sake the better film should've won.


I have no gripe with Abu, but the better film did win. No offense.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on May 13, 2008, 10:44:43 PM
i just requested my two film from the bibliothèque, so hopefully soon...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 14, 2008, 10:57:56 AM
That's the thing with Aladdin.  You either like it or you don't.  You either like Disney or you don't.  You either like cartoons or you don't.  You either like movies with prominent product tie-ins or you don't.

If you haven't seen it by now and have no desire to, you have your reasons.  And if you haven't seen it but are curious about it, it's not like it's hard to find.

Mississippi Masala, on the other hand, might appeal to someone that is willing to overlook the clumsy acting, editing, and slow pace.  There are people that are looking for different things in movies.  I think the idea of two people from different cultures falling in love is really predictable; that doesn't mean it won't delight someone else.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 14, 2008, 11:00:00 AM
Just curious:  What's your favorite modern animated Disney, alexarch?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 14, 2008, 11:03:46 AM
That's the thing with Aladdin.  You either like it or you don't.  You either like Disney or you don't.  You either like cartoons or you don't.  You either like movies with prominent product tie-ins or you don't.

If you haven't seen it by now and have no desire to, you have your reasons.  And if you haven't seen it but are curious about it, it's not like it's hard to find.

Pretty much.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 14, 2008, 11:06:43 AM
These are my favorite Menken-Ashmans:

The Little Mermaid
Beauty and the Beast
Aladdin (I pretend that Tim Rice is not attached to this.)
Hercules
(Not a Menken-Ashman.  A Menken-Zippel, but the songs are still fun and light.)

Of those four, The Little Mermaid has always been my favorite and Beauty and the Beast is my least favorite.

I never really got into Pocahontus or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Besides the Menken-Ashmans, I love The Emperor's New Groove.  Eartha Kitt and Patrick Warburton really tickle me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on May 14, 2008, 11:20:15 AM
I have emotional scaring about events surrounding Pocahontas. I feel like Hercules (my mythology prof used the Heracles pronuciation and it screwed with me the whole time) and Hunchback of Notre Dame are really underrated.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 14, 2008, 11:33:07 AM
That's the thing with Aladdin.  You either like it or you don't.  You either like Disney or you don't.  You either like cartoons or you don't.  You either like movies with prominent product tie-ins or you don't.

If you haven't seen it by now and have no desire to, you have your reasons.  And if you haven't seen it but are curious about it, it's not like it's hard to find.

Pretty much.

disagree, I like some cartoons and dislike others.  I don't really go by the medium as much as the genre, plot, catchieness of the songs (if there are any) ect.  I think Aladdin is the highpoint of the Katzenbergh era at Disney animation (Roger Rabbit has an asterix) because of a number of things - music, storyline that appealed to me at 12, Williams when he was funny, male-centric action adventure genre (one of the reasons I never liked B&B), Abu, ect.

I know somepeople who will watch anything animated (often to the exclusion of live action... there's a whole other psychological thing going on there - Hentai, really?) but like Colbert, I'm colorblind when it comes to the medium in which the story is told.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 14, 2008, 11:36:38 AM
but like Colbert, I'm colorblind when it comes to the medium in which the story is told.
Aren't you so above it all.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 14, 2008, 11:45:17 AM
not so far above it that I wouldn't deign to offer my opinion on the subject (high and mighty as it is).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 14, 2008, 11:47:13 AM
Hentai, really?

This should be our next marathon.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 14, 2008, 11:58:24 AM
Have to get that as an option on the next "which marathon next" poll.  hearing the adam & matty's in depth analysis would be gold.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 14, 2008, 12:01:39 PM
Hentai, really?

This should be our next marathon.

pixote

This made me laugh more than it should've.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 14, 2008, 01:29:24 PM
Forgive me for appearing like a bafoon, but what is Hentai?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 14, 2008, 01:53:38 PM
Forgive me for appearing like a bafoon, but what is Hentai?
Pretend you didn't ask and don't wait for an answer.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 14, 2008, 02:00:03 PM
Forgive me for appearing like a bafoon, but what is Hentai?
Pretend you didn't ask and don't wait for an answer.

Yeah, seriously.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 14, 2008, 08:45:47 PM
(http://i29.tinypic.com/2mhzvko.jpg)
Husband and Wives  (Woody Allen, 1992)

Woody Allen is married to Mia Farrow.  Judy Davis is married to Sydney Pollack.  They're all best friends.  Heading out to dinner one night, Davis and Pollack casually announce that they're separating.  Allen and Farrow are all, "Whaa?"  Then everyone takes a long, hard look at themselves.  The end.

Husbands and Wives does not open well.  For one thing, the arc of the film is disappointingly obvious from the start (Pollack and Davis end up back together; Allen and Farrow drift apart).  Worse than that, the film is so anxious to demonstrate that it's going for a documentary style that it completely oversells the idea.  Carlo Di Palma's jittery camera careens about so amateurishly in the first scene as to be absurd.  There's zero realism to the photorealism, and it's really off-putting.

The cinematography settles down as the film progresses, but the nonfiction trappings rarely rise above the level of a half-baked conceit.  The film does use one aspect of the style to real advantage, though: The one-on-one interviews with the characters are generally excellent.  Allen writes a very good monologue, and the actors here make the most of these scenes.  I especially enjoyed Benno Schmidt's seemingly incongruous appearances as the ex-husband of Farrow's character.  Very nice contrast, there.

I glanced at a few reviews that lumped the film's editing together negatively with the film's camerawork.  I totally disagree with that.  Susan Morse's cutting was a huge asset here, with most every jump-cut being well-timed and good for either a smile or a key dramatic emphasis.  The transitions in and out of the interviews are great, and the film flows nicely overall, despite a couple fat scenes here and there.

On the whole, though, the film was just so-so for me.  Not many bad scenes, but not many great scenes.  Some nicely observed writing, but also some overly broad writing.  I did make it through the whole film without once thinking of Soon-yi Previn, however, so I'm grateful to myself for that.

(http://i30.tinypic.com/8xtxk1.jpg)
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control  (Errol Morris, 1997)

Clowns?  I had no idea I was signing up for clowns.  Wtf, why didn't someone warn me?  I thought we were friends.

It's hard for me to remember what else this film was about.  Those brief moments of clown terror really overshadow everything.  Wait, it's coming back to me.  There was a wild animal trainer and a robot scientist and a topiary gardener and a mole-rat expert.  They said stuff into the camera.  Then there was a bunch of pretty (terrifying) circus B-roll shot by the awesome Robert Richardson.  Oh, and there were fantastic excerpts from some ridiculous old movie serials produced by Republic and Universal Studios.  And the music, I can't forget the music — a relentless, propulsively meditative score by Caleb Sampson.

Those were all the elements, I think.  Then some noble editors mixed them all together and a documentary was born.  And that resulting film is never boring.  There's always something interesting going on, either visually, sonically, or philosophically.  In a way, though, it's the kind of film where you get out whatever you yourself put in.  Morris makes a few loose connections here and there, but you could write fifty different papers about the "core idea" of the film — personal obsession, God in the modern world, man vs. nature, evolution, etc. — and all fifty could be perfectly valid.

That's not a criticism, by the way.  I dig that sort of thing.  It's sort of the documentary equivalent of a film like Mulholland Dr — you don't have to 'get' it, you can just enjoy letting it wash over you.  And that's pretty much how I viewed Fast, Cheap & Out of Control.  About half way through, I gave up trying to tease out a thesis and just savored the individual elements.  I would have preferred to have a few more personal epiphanies, but I didn't let their absence discourage me too much.

Glancing at reviews, I saw some suggestion that Morris is making fun of his characters.  I didn't see that at all.  However, I should say something more negative here because I haven't made it clear that I was actually kind of disappointed in the film.  Was it just the clowns?  No, there was something else... Well, I guess it all goes back to the idea that the film never quite coheres, except tonally.  And Morris never quite gets as much out of the topiary gardener and the mole-rat expert as he does the robot scientist and the wild animal trainer.  That's understandable, in a way — robots and the big top are much more interesting, visually, than static topiary bushes and ugly rodents scurrying through plastic tubes — but it's one more aspect that keeps the film from feeling fully formed.

Verdict:  Husbands and Wives ekes out a B-, while Fast, Cheap & Out of Control nets a strong B with good potential for improvement on a second viewing.  And another documentary moves on to round two.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 14, 2008, 09:37:20 PM
Forgive me for appearing like a bafoon, but what is Hentai?
Pretend you didn't ask and don't wait for an answer.

Yeah, seriously.

Very well then. Point taken.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 14, 2008, 11:58:20 PM
No faceboy stamp of (dis)approval?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 14, 2008, 11:59:49 PM
No faceboy stamp of (dis)approval?

pixote
Seen neither, have no opinion.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 15, 2008, 12:08:01 AM
Fine, we'll just have to assume I'm right.

Damn, sdedalus has Husbands and Wives as the #19 film of 1992, and Fast, Cheap & Out of Control as the #19 film of 1997.  Where can I turn for validation?!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 15, 2008, 12:43:25 AM
I much prefer Fast, Cheap.  I haven't looked at either of those years in awhile, some revision is in order. . . .
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 15, 2008, 12:52:53 AM
There we go: Husbands & Wives at #27, Fast, Cheap at #11.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 15, 2008, 01:11:28 AM
There we go: Husbands & Wives at #27, Fast, Cheap at #11.

Thank you!  I will sleep so much easier now.  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 15, 2008, 01:20:45 AM
No problem.  I really need to check those 90s years for revisions.  I don't think I've looked at them in a couple years.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on May 15, 2008, 08:58:03 AM
Pixote, your struggle to find interesting things to say seems to have paid off.  Kudos.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on May 15, 2008, 07:18:46 PM
Living in Oblivion vs In the Company of Men

Living In Oblivion
So, this movie seemed to be made for the sole purpose of being shown at film school's worldwide.  There's some fun stuff throughout the three sequences within the movie.  I loved the use of colour and monochrome in the first sequence, and found myself wishing they kept that going all through the movie instead of abandoning it after twenty minutes.  The use of dreams leads to a slightly annoying third sequence as you are inevitably trying to work out who's dream it is this time.  I see it described as a comedy in most places, which I found to be rather strange.  Sure it has one or two funny moments, but to me it seemed more like a surealist meta-mocumentary than a comedy; I half expected it to pan back and show Tom DiCillo directing the movie.

It does have it's share of problems though.  As I mentioned, the use of dreams is frustrating as it takes the viewer out each time it happens and makes it pretty much impossible to give a damn about anybody.  Catherine Keener, who I'm normally a fan of, was pretty rubbish here as the lead actress.  The constant re-doing of scenes led to boredom setting in for me about halfway into each sequence.  Interesting viewing however, with Dermot Mulroney and Peter Dinklage being great.

In The Company Of Men
Whoa what a nasty little movie.  It's hard to know how to feel about a film that makes you deliberately hate the lead characters but it definitely succeeds at doing just that.  Great central performances by Matt Milloy as Howard, Stacy Edwards as the deaf 'victim' and, in particular, Aaron Eckhart as the nasty bastard Chad.
I was amazed when I read that Stacy Edwards isn't deaf and can infact hear perfectly as she gives such a fantastic performance.
But as I said earlier, Eckhart's fantastically over-the-top Chad is the real star here as he is clearly a nasty, spiteful even slightly evil man with his very misogyinstic views and selfish acts.  It's easy to see here why people think Eckhart has potential to be a star, and in a strage way made me look forward to seeing him as Harvey Dent even more.

The movie does have a very noticeable 'stage' feel to it and feels like it would've worked a lot better as a play than a feature film.  There's a few scenes which don't really go anywhere, one in particular when Chad has a co-worker in his office and talks to him about a promotion in a very strange way.  Though I guess he kind of explains that towards the end with his 'because I can' comment, but I don't buy that the scene would've went down like that without consequences afterwards.

There's a few problems with believing the relationships between the two men and Christine.  First being, I don't believe for a second that no men would want to date Christine, as she's clearly very pretty and intelligent and I don't think being deaf would make her invisible to men.  Secondly, going with that, after accepting a date with Chad, I don't believe she would look twice at Howard.  He never comes across as confident, and he's certainly no looker; and doesn't show any obvious charm that would get her to agree to multiple dates.

However, the final scenes are really fantastic and make the film almost worth watching.

Verdict: I didn't really like any of the movies, certainly not enough to recommend.  But I'm going to put In The Company Of Men into the next round, as I'm interested in another person's view of Chad and the other characters, whereas I suspect that anybody with any interest in Living In Oblivion will have already seen it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on May 15, 2008, 07:28:50 PM
I was glad I didn't get assigned In The Company Of Men, I can't remember enjoying it for one moment. Not that it is a badly made movie, but certainly a joyless one.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on May 15, 2008, 07:29:46 PM
Joyless is the perfect word to describe it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 16, 2008, 03:00:19 AM
After seeing another Neil LaBute film, I can't say I have high hopes for his first one, but I didn't like the 20 minutes I saw of Living in Oblivion either. Good writeup though.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Sonse on May 16, 2008, 10:29:05 AM
Night on Earth vs. Dark City
aka Darkness + Clocks vs. Darkness plus Clocks

I had not seen both so far... It ended up being a tough fight.

Night on Earth

It is a sweet film by Jarmusch. I like its slice of life nature. Ultimately you end up judging it by its parts and not so much as a whole. My favorite episode by far is New York. The performances were great. Müller-Stahl gives a good turn as the "Ossi"-New-New Yorker, although I don't get why he speaks so much German (if nobody understands it why bother?) and Esposito is fun to watch as well (Why did that guy not get more work? I just remember him from The Usual Suspects). I enjoyed it the most. Second is Helsinki. Probably because I like listening to Finnish (I'm grateful that not everybody speaks English here) and recalled my trip there last year. Then Paris, Los Angeles and Rome was my least favorite. I had trouble with Ryder convincing me of her character and Benigni just annoyed me and I hoped for the episode to be over soon.
Thus, overall I liked Night on Earth - it's kinda nice, but didn't do much for me.

Dark City

Loss of identity, detective story, serial killer theme, time, aliens meddling with humans, memories, city vs nature, psychokinesis in stunning visuals with an abundance of film references. Its gloomy, gothic looks are its major attribute: the Metropolis cityscape, the Strangers, which reminded me a lot of the Grey Men in Momo (1986), except that those are heavy smokers and time-stealers... By the way, Müller-Stahl played the head of these bad guys in that movie... Except for Sutherland all performances are solid, given the material. Unfortunately, the film is so over the top and incoherent that I had trouble being sucked into this world right from the beginning. The voice-over narration in the first few minutes is unnecessary as it gives away stuff the film later on tells more or less anyway. As I usually love sci-fi-dystopias and noir I expected enjoying it more than I actually did, but there is still a lot of potential here.

Verdict: Tough decision.. I loved neither and I disliked neither. I think Night on Earth is the less flawed film, but I am willing to award ambition here. So I choose space over Earth by a small margin: Dark City moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Sonse on May 16, 2008, 10:31:07 AM
@pixote: I don't have much time at the moment. I will let you know as soon as I am able to watch a new match-up.  ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 16, 2008, 11:15:15 AM
 :'(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 16, 2008, 12:36:08 PM
Our 60th matchup is in the books!  This is really awesome.

Dark City was a huge favorite over Night on Earth, by the way — with the 33rd seed triumphing over the 111th seed.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 16, 2008, 02:35:34 PM
:'(
Wow, you've got some tough decisions ahead of you. Maybe I'll kill The English Patient just to watch you squirm.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 16, 2008, 08:09:03 PM
Dark City deserves to to move on. Totally underrated.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 17, 2008, 01:11:24 AM
:'(
Wow, you've got some tough decisions ahead of you. Maybe I'll kill The English Patient just to watch you squirm.

I like Night On Earth a lot, but I don't suspect it'll return.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on May 17, 2008, 08:06:13 AM

Check it out:


(http://i29.tinypic.com/19s0w7.jpg)

(http://i29.tinypic.com/2nkt0lv.jpg)

(http://i30.tinypic.com/1r5bic.jpg)

(http://i25.tinypic.com/2wpqou9.jpg)

(http://i26.tinypic.com/2gucbgn.jpg)


During the first third of Baraka, that's what you get, a random assortment of images from all over the world, each one more beautiful than the one before. It's hyptnotic, I was loving it and thinking to myself "another hour of this? Bliss." (also: "I hope they drop the music soon").

At the 30-minute mark however, out of nowhere, we see a tree getting cut down.


(http://i32.tinypic.com/2u6h5l0.jpg)


Uh oh. The tree falls down.


(http://i31.tinypic.com/e67p8j.jpg)


A local looks in disbelief.


(http://i31.tinypic.com/335gmde.jpg)


Oh shit, it's a dumb, heavy-handed message movie.

Time to blow up a bunch of rocks.


(http://i26.tinypic.com/33n9hxg.jpg)


And why should we not cut down trees and blow up rocks? Next shot:


(http://i29.tinypic.com/i51yqv.jpg)


Ah yes, children. They're the future, apparently. This is all very profound.


(http://i32.tinypic.com/dneslf.jpg)


Dehumanizing working conditions, yes.


(http://i25.tinypic.com/zjbgac.jpg)

(http://i25.tinypic.com/2637p5w.jpg)


The monotomy of urban life, of course.


(http://i25.tinypic.com/30blo5g.jpg)


Dehuma... we already did that one.


(http://i27.tinypic.com/1zoc49l.jpg)


Animals being processed for food. Awful.


(http://i29.tinypic.com/egeqdu.jpg)


Again, we already did that one. Or are you drawing comparisons between the animals in the factory and the people people in the subway?


(http://i25.tinypic.com/1zw0v1i.jpg)

(http://i31.tinypic.com/2crlzza.jpg)


You are. That's deep. Urban settings, modernity, technology, this is unbearable; cue mystical man in extreme agony:


(http://i29.tinypic.com/2cde32v.jpg)


That'll get the message across in case someone missed it. So is this the part where you go about showing us all the things that are wrong in this otherwise beautiful planet of ours? I bet it plays like a checklist of generic clichés. Let's see, famine?


(http://i27.tinypic.com/2n9ji42.jpg)


Check. Poverty?


(http://i29.tinypic.com/2h7i0yw.jpg)


Check. Prostitution?


(http://i29.tinypic.com/9titub.jpg)


Check. War?


(http://i26.tinypic.com/k1840i.jpg)

(http://i28.tinypic.com/2nks4u0.jpg)


Check. Hum... oil fires?!


(http://i28.tinypic.com/2ns2fdg.jpg)


Check. Overall desolation?


(http://i29.tinypic.com/efrtlj.jpg)


Check. You're not doing the Holocaust, are you?


(http://i30.tinypic.com/301mxjn.jpg)

(http://i26.tinypic.com/2m4oq6d.jpg)

(http://i31.tinypic.com/fwr3pe.jpg)


Look, it's a mini-Night and Fog! How cute. Seriously though, this is terrible, can we get back to the seemingly random though not necessarily meaningless collection of pretty shots? You're so good at that.


(http://i29.tinypic.com/295z5t0.jpg)

(http://i25.tinypic.com/2gy2l1e.jpg)

(http://i26.tinypic.com/2q9dyfm.jpg)

(http://i27.tinypic.com/8xquzm.jpg)

(http://i26.tinypic.com/2mfmas0.jpg)

(http://i27.tinypic.com/r1n86e.jpg)

(http://i30.tinypic.com/2yug9ch.jpg)


Actually, nevermind, I stopped caring an hour ago. Please go away now.



On to The Addiction then, a pretty straight forward vampire movie disguised as a weighty art film. The narrative arc is what you'd expect, but Ferrara still manages to put a fresh spin on the genre (is it a genre?). For one, he grounds the movie in reality (as much as possible) from very early on, by establishing visual analogies between vampiric blood lust and heroine addiction.


(http://i32.tinypic.com/2imaujn.jpg)

(http://i28.tinypic.com/34y1lzm.jpg)

(http://i30.tinypic.com/waoe4o.jpg)


It's immediately much creepier. The main departure from your typical vampire movie, though, is that the vampire here also happens to be a philosophy grad student, so besides biting and sucking on other people's necks, she's constantly trying to justify her actions by invoking Heidegger and Nietzsche (amongst others) and making broad statements about humankind, particularly in regard to a supposed propensity for evil.


(http://i29.tinypic.com/33limc4.jpg)
There is a difference between jumping and being pushed.


These are all obvious, simplistic, mostly inconsequent, but that's ok because it's part of the character rather than an attempt on Ferrara's or screenwriter Nicholas St. John's part to say something oh so incredibly profound (I'm looking at you, Baraka guy). In the last few minutes of the film, it becomes obvious what it is they're going for, and how much of a red herring the philosophical mumbo jumbo really is.


(http://i25.tinypic.com/2n9wdib.jpg)


Also noteworthy are the gorgeous cinematography and Lily Taylor's performance. And Christopher Walken has a few minutes in there somewhere. So yeah, it's fun.


Needless to say, The Addiction moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 17, 2008, 08:37:18 AM
Well, I'm convinced.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on May 17, 2008, 10:50:25 AM
I'm not.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on May 17, 2008, 11:35:51 AM
Short Cuts v My Voyage to Italy or The Battle of Realism

Short Cuts
The only Robert Altman film I've seen is A Prarie Home Companion. I'm not sure if it's considered "true Altman" but I found it an ok film. Short Cuts, or as I think it should be titled How Many Actors Can I Get to Show Themselves Naked?, just didn't do it for me. The film is based on some short stories by Raymond Carver who I have not read so I'm not sure how spot on these are. The stories told in this film all center around different couples in the "crazy" city of Los Angeles. There's the op-ed news man and his nieve wife, the adulterous cop with anger problems, the doctor and his art wife, and of course Huey Lewis. There are many others and I just didn't feel for any of them. The only story I found remotely interesting and "real" was one that involed three guys going out to fish who see a dead body and debate whether or not to go fishing or stop their once a year visit and tell someone. Especially in a time before cell phones were everywhere, I could see this truly happening. As one guy says, "She ain't getting any more dead." The rest of the stories were either too out there or just too dull. There's a story in which a baker makes a cake for a child that he does not now has died. When he calls the father to say the cake needs to be picked up the father, in his grief from losing a son, yells at the baker he doesn't want the cake. Well the baker does something I didn't understand and keeps calling the house and tormenting this poor couple even further because he doesn't like being hung up on and yelled at. If you want to see some of your favorite actors' genitalia you won't want to miss this, but besides that it's not worth checking out.

My Voyage to Italy
Well after three hours of Short Cuts I was nervous for another long film, but it was made by Scorsese who has made a great many films that I enjoy. Well I was pleasantly surprised. The film is a documentary of Italian cinema that Scorsese grew up with. I have never seen any Italian cinema and now will be adding many to my queue. Scorsese goes through a large amount of his favorite films and dissects each one explaining not only how they affected him but why they deserve to be seen by all. The small moments they showed of The Bicycle Thief and L'Aventura moved me and I couldn't believe films like this were being made in the 50s. Scorsese talks about how these films were the Neo-Realism period and focuses on the life and times of regular people. Altman could benefit from watching these films as you could see the heart and emotion in these lives of regular people. I did not attend film school and strongly recommend this film to anyone interested in film history as I learned a great deal about the power these films had on later directors.

I found very little to enjoy about Short Cuts and the downfall of My Voyage to Italy is that it doesn't feel like a "90s film" but it's just too good to pass up so My Voyage to Italy moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 17, 2008, 11:47:13 AM
Die Altman die!  (though I could've used more pictures to get a better understanding ;))

El Duderino, great review.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 17, 2008, 12:37:25 PM
Two excellent decisions thus far today.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 17, 2008, 01:12:58 PM
Two upsets of similar caliber.  The 95th seed (The Addiction) and the 97th seed (My Voyage to Italy) beat the 44th seed (Baraka) and the 42nd seed (Short Cuts), respectively.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Emiliana on May 17, 2008, 04:40:23 PM
After these great reviews, here is my incoherent, rambling one:

Death and the Maiden vs The Fugitive

Death and the Maiden

This film is a chamber piece for three characters: Sigourney Weaver plays a woman who is convinced that the stranger her husband meets and brings to their house during a stormy night is the man who brutally tortured and raped her many years previously.

I had big problems with this film. I found it hard to care for the characters and to be invested in the development of the plot. Even though the actors definitely deserve a lot of credit for their work with such difficult and intense characters and source material, I never really became invested in the outcome of their story. I was never quite sure what the film was trying to do: I was confused whether I was seeing a woman who tried to avenge the wrongdoings she had suffered, or a sleazy, uncomfortable tale about violence and guilt and revenge that actually smelt suspiciously of misogyny in the way that Sigourney Weaver’s character was conceived and presented. I’m not sure if my criticism should rather be directed at the play the film is based on rather than the film itself, because I don’t find many remarkable things to say about the actual filmmaking aspects like directorial style or the film’s photography.

There are surely great discussions to be had about the psychology of these characters, and about guilt and revenge and all that, and it’s perfectly possible that I am not giving this film a fair treatment, but it just didn’t work for me at all.


The Fugitive

Somehow, I had managed to never see this film before. I was hooked from the beginning, where we get the whole setup of the story in just a couple of snapshots of the night of the crime and the trial. The economy of this sequence was preserved throughout the whole film, where there is only as much dialogue as necessary, and where the pacing of the plot is almost perfect, so that the suspense can go on building and building.

Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones create characters that are incredibly memorable. The script is so subtle and understated that the few lines of dialogue always hit home perfectly. The plot was so suspenseful and well paced that I was completely gripped from the great start to the absolutely satisfying ending. Even all the necessary plot exposition near the end was handled comparatively well given how much information needed to be delivered.

Overall I think this film is probably the best action thriller I have ever seen.

The Fugitive moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 17, 2008, 04:46:58 PM
The Fugitive is not the best action thriller I've ever seen, but I'm glad to seeit move on.

By the way, my verdict will be up sometime this weekend. I have watched 1 1/2 films and am trying to find the time to finish off Hard Height.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 17, 2008, 05:32:45 PM
I have watched 1 1/2 films and am trying to find the time to finish off Hard Height.

Now I'm worried you're watching the unlikely porn takeoff on the film you were actually assigned...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on May 17, 2008, 10:15:52 PM
Awesome review of Baraka El Duderino. I'm certainly not as hard on it but you are spot on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on May 17, 2008, 11:05:28 PM
Awesome review of Baraka El Duderino. I'm certainly not as hard on it but you are spot on.

For the record, I was harsher on it than I needed to be. Overall, I would say it's worth watching.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 18, 2008, 12:09:45 AM
I have watched 1 1/2 films and am trying to find the time to finish off Hard Height.

Now I'm worried you're watching the unlikely porn takeoff on the film you were actually assigned...

pixote

Porn yes, but none involving Philip Baker Hall. 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 18, 2008, 12:13:14 AM
Romeo + Juliet (1996, Baz Luhrmann) v. Hard Eight, aka Sydney (1996, P. T. Anderson)


Romeo + Juliet

5 minutes into the film I regretted accepting this matchup. My knowledge of Shakespeare is minimal at best, having read only Macbeth and Julius Caesar (not even Romeo and Juliet!). Worse still, I quickly realized that Shakespeare’s writing was literally being brought to the late 20th century. Essentially, the film is Luhrmann’s attempt at providing a modern ‘vision’ to Shakespeare’s original words. I was clearly in over my head. I did try my best to just go along for the ride however.
So the dialogue is not always the simplest to follow. Still, there is some fun to be had here. Anyone with a minimal knowledge of Shakespearean English can probably understand most of what’s being said (as mentioned before, I had read two of his plays).  It’s nifty to see young hooligans walking and posing like they would today but talking like it was 1595. DiCaprio and Danes give performances that are earnest, even though they are quite young with room for improvement (did Danes ever improve by the way?). There is fair range of depth to DiCaprio’s acting in this film and I think it rests in the fact that the story follows him more, so we get to see him in many different situations. Danes seems apparently capable of only showing two or three facial expressions. Then again, we don’t see her as much as Dicaprio.
What I found distracting however was the editing, or ‘speed of play’ of particular scenes. When the action became a bit more fast and furious (the opening gun fight, Mercutio’s death scene) Luhrmann opted to dramatically speed up the movement of the picture and the cutting. My irritation with this lies in my respect for a lot of Shakespeare’s material. It was meant for the theatre, which requires performance, performance, performance! Fast editing and movements felt far too jarring for me in an adaptation of a Shakespeare play. It all felt a bit too eccentric for me.
It’s strange to criticize the plot given that the story of the film, even the dialogue itself, is straight from Shakespeare, the king of kings when it comes to tragedy. Having said that and after having now read/seen 3 of his plays, Romeo and Juliet is my least favourite thus far. The viewer must be ready to accept that two people can fall so deeply in love in such short period of time that they would get married only a few days after their initial meeting. I simply could not. Yes, I know, their basically little teenagers who may not even know what they’re getting themselves into, but I had trouble digesting this.

Hard Eight (or Sydney)

When I learned that this was P. T.’s directorial debut, my interest grew tenth fold. TWBB was my number one movie last year (I respect NCFOM, but TWBB was the better cinematic experience for me) and I was anxious to see his first project. Big names are attached to this film, including Philip Baker Hall, Gwyneth Paltrow and John C. Reilly (Shake and Bake!). The story is about how a professional gambler (Hall) who takes a poor, down on his luck chump (Reilly) under his wing (reasons explained later in film and will not be revealed in this review) and trains the bloke into a moderately successful gambler like him.
Anderson seems to love long, calm shots from intriguing angles to tell his stories. In fact, I would not even say that there’s much of a story to either Hard Eight or TWBB. There both explorations of characters and themes. The plot is merely a device that permits Anderson to begin dissecting his lab rats for our viewing pleasure. As well, we get plenty of careful camera movements that show us the action from visually stimulating angles, while never feeling too pretentious either.
    Hall gives a measured performance as someone who obviously seems to want to help poor John (Reilly’s character), but who doesn’t show too much affection (note the spelling) either. He’s reserved and yet very kind. It’s a difficult balancing act to succeed, but Hall passes the test. Paltrow is also quite good. In fact, she’s a lot better here than in the recent Iron Man film. I absolutely believed her as the poor waitress/hooker who, like all movie hookers should, has a sweet heart, even though she may not be the bulb in the casino. The weaker link here (not ‘weak’ per say) is Reilly, who isn’t given enough story for me to latch onto. He’s an okay guy (even if a little silly and slow, like Paltrow’s character) but I just couldn’t get into him as much as I did Hall and Paltrow. I think the problem lies in a flash forward Anderson uses early in the film right after Hall and Reilly meet. Suddenly, Reilly is Hall’s respected and faithful partner. We don’t get any hints about their bonding years, which I felt was unfortunate.
The payoff explaining why Hall chose Reilly as a pupil is revealed quite late into the film. While I would have wanted an explanation earlier, it did force me to rethink many of the earlier scenes and discover a new appreciation for them.

Oh no, is this Anderson v Luhrmann or is this Anderson v. Shakespeare? Anderson tells a simple, yet interesting enough tale which holds a Shakespearean tragic twist of its own while Luhrmann provides a very bold, if ultimately not satisfying enough vision of Shakespeare’s beloved play.
In a very peculiar matchup, I’m allowing Hard Eight to stroll into the next round.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 18, 2008, 07:29:04 AM
Faceboy stamp of approval.

Also, I caught Romeo + Juliet on tv last night and not even the HD saves it. I really just think it's awful. My somewhat greater knowledge of Shakespeare than edgar just makes my experience exponentially worse.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on May 18, 2008, 08:01:39 AM
Yeah, I never liked it either. I have to say though that this might still be Claire Danes best performance to date.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 18, 2008, 09:39:37 AM
I don't think I disliked it as much as you fellows, but there was something... unreal about it. I may be too unwilling to have classic work toyed with, but that editing really did not work for me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 18, 2008, 10:57:54 AM
I like both of those films, but I don't think you made the wrong choice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 18, 2008, 12:05:10 PM
Six people voted for Romeo + Juliet as a film they really, really wanted in the bracket; and another two voted for it as a film they'd fight to the death to include.  Hopefully some of these folks can step up and restore my interest in seeing Luhrmann's film since, right now, edgarchaput's review is more than offsetting the appealing presence of "Talk Show Host" and "Exit Music (for a film)" on the soundtrack.

Romeo + Juliet was a slight favorite in that matchup, incidentally — though Hard Eight was a late addition to the ballot, so not everybody had a chance to vote on it.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 18, 2008, 10:44:26 PM
hving seen both but not i a while i would've defnitely moved R+J on.  Aside from Dash Mihok the acting is top notch with the biggest praise to Leguizamo & Perrineau as Tybalt & Mercutio.  I'm a massive Luhrman fan though.  I think he may be an aquired taste but what he does is nothing short of brilliant.  The pastiches of his Red Curtain Trilogy are so much fun to watch.  Can't wait for Australia.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Emiliana on May 21, 2008, 03:42:45 PM
Office Space vs. Little Women

Ok, my guess is that no one taking part in this Bracket-thing would have gone into this matchup knowing as little about what's behind both of these films as I did. I was all "Mike Judge - who?" and "Little Women? I think I heard an abridged audiobook version a couple of years ago."


Office Space

So it was only after I saw the film that I looked up who these people were, and had I known before, I would definitely have been very prejudiced against the film. As it was, the film disappointed me all by itself. The 90s office made for quite a good setting, and the story is ok as well, but it could have also been told in six or nine panels of a comic. The characters ranged from amusing (the boss and the Bobs) over bland (Jennifer Aniston's character) to annoying (Milton and the neighbour). My biggest problem with the film, however, was that I just didn't find it funny enough. Some jokes completely misfired, and some gags were dragged out and trampled on until there was nothing funny left about them. Maybe some of you will think that I don't have a sense of humour, but all I can say is that it just didn't make me laugh as much as I had hoped.


Little Women

From the first few frames of the film, it was clear that this was just a visually beautiful film. The production design and the cinematography combined made for an impressive spectacle - which is one of the things I love about period pieces and literary adaptations. As I have said, I hadn't been as familiar with this story as many of you probably are, so I can't really judge the quality of this film as an adaptation of the book. But not knowing too much about all that meant that I was able to just get lost in the story. It was great to see Christian Bale in a role that required him to smile a lot, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a side of him that I hadn't seen much of before. Winona Ryder had no problems carrying this film, and I enjoyed most of the supporting performances as well. If I wanted to find something negative to say, then it would have to be that the film could maybe have been a little better paced in places... Overall this is just a lovely film (with a poodle puppy and lots of kittens in it!!! - ahem, sorry for the little-girlish sillyness)


Little Women moves on.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 21, 2008, 04:09:48 PM
Now there's a pretty big upset.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on May 21, 2008, 04:33:41 PM
I love Office Space because I have worked in an office for many years and Office Space is a great send up of the office environment. Many times I have wanted to take my printer out back and kick the crap out of it.

For me, watching Office Space is like watching Reality Bites right after graduating from college. The movie may not be generally significant, but the movie does perfectly capture the feel of a recent college graduate that I completely identified with it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on May 21, 2008, 04:34:00 PM
My heart aches  :(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 21, 2008, 04:42:09 PM
Now there's a pretty big upset.

Yeah, I'm pretty upset.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Emiliana on May 21, 2008, 04:56:31 PM
Um, sorry. Looks like it was bad luck for all of you who love Office Space that this pair was assigned to me of all people: give me a great-looking literary adaptation, and there is not much that will be able to compete against it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 21, 2008, 05:11:54 PM
The Mike Judge classic goes down to a poodle puppy and lots of kittens... AHHHH!

;)

Can't say that I agree but it is your match up.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 21, 2008, 06:48:53 PM
Little Women moves on.

*jaw drops*
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on May 21, 2008, 06:54:58 PM
Thanks for taking some heat off of me!  ;) (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2536.msg56232#msg56232)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 21, 2008, 07:16:46 PM
Upsets are cool.  Matchups that get turned around in less than a week are even cooler.

Based on the 19 people who voted for it in the balloting, Office Space was the #10 seed in the second batch of films (i.e., not including the original sixty-four).  Only 6 people voted for the lesser seen Little Women, but it only made it into the bracket as someone's very unlikely 'number one film to save.'  As a result, Little Women ended up as the #128 seed.

Five people had seen and voted on both films:

Ballot #1
Little Women — Really, really want to include (+3)
Office Space — Really, really want to include (+3)

Ballot #2
Little Women — Really, really want to exclude (-3)
Office Space — Really, really want to include (+3)

Ballot #3
Little Women — Really, really want to exclude (-3)
Office Space — Will fight to include (+5)

Ballot #4
Little Women — Will fight to include (+5)
Office Space — Lean towards including (+1)

Ballot #5
Little Women — Really, really want to include (+3)
Office Space — Really, really want to include (+3)

Total
Little Women — +5
Office Space — +15

Not as drastic a difference as I would have expected, given the reaction so far.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 21, 2008, 07:53:06 PM
Makes me wonder which one of those was mine, since I didn't save my ballot and I can't remember.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 21, 2008, 07:56:42 PM
Makes me wonder which one of those was mine, since I didn't save my ballot and I can't remember.
I had the same thought. If one of those is even mine.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 21, 2008, 07:58:10 PM
Little Women is one of those films that I'm pretty sure I've watched but I'm unable to remember a single thing about it. Winona Ryder is in it, right?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 21, 2008, 10:10:11 PM
Makes me wonder which one of those was mine, since I didn't save my ballot and I can't remember.

You were Ballot #2 (-3 / +3).

I had the same thought. If one of those is even mine.

No, you didn't include Little Women on your ballot.

Little Women is one of those films that I'm pretty sure I've watched but I'm unable to remember a single thing about it. Winona Ryder is in it, right?

Yeah, this is the version with Winona Ryder as Jo, though Emiliana just mentioned that in her verdict, so that's cheating.  The film also features Gabriel Byrne, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Daines, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, Susan Sarandon ...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 21, 2008, 10:48:45 PM
Makes me wonder which one of those was mine, since I didn't save my ballot and I can't remember.

You were Ballot #2 (-3 / +3).

I had the same thought. If one of those is even mine.

No, you didn't include Little Women on your ballot.

Little Women is one of those films that I'm pretty sure I've watched but I'm unable to remember a single thing about it. Winona Ryder is in it, right?

Yeah, this is the version with Winona Ryder as Jo, though Emiliana just mentioned that in her verdict, so that's cheating.  The film also features Gabriel Byrne, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Daines, Christian Bale, Eric Stoltz, Susan Sarandon ...

pixote
That sounds right. I think I saw it but I really don't remember it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 21, 2008, 11:19:06 PM
I'll be curious to see how many other notable 90s comedies survive this week — Groundhog Day, Election, South Park ...

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 21, 2008, 11:25:35 PM
I'll be curious to see how many other notable 90s comedies survive this week — Groundhog Day, Election, South Park ...

pixote
I have a guess, but I feel I should keep it to myself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on May 22, 2008, 12:29:21 AM
Tombstone
VS.
Rounders

When you think about it, these movies are pretty similar. They both have a "hero" who reluctantly gets brought back into the world they thought they left. Both "heroes" are saddled with a brother/friend that brings down the movie whenever they are on screen. They both have poker. I'm running out of similarities here.

Tombstone.

This movie is awesome. Allow me to list:
1. Kurt Russel as Wyatt Earp
2. Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday
3. Sam Elliot as Wyatt Earp's brother
4. Powers Boothe as that bad guy
5. Michael Beihn as that other bad guy
6. Kurt Russel as Snake Pliskin as Wyatt Earp
7. The one shot where that guy gets the butt of a rifle on the head in a melee horse driveby

The not awesome things:
1. Bill Paxton as anything in any movie ever
2. The direction wasn't anything special
3. Most of the girls were forgettable

In summary, this movie is awesome.

Rounders.

Everything that this movie has going for it (Matt Damon, John Malkovitch's ridiculously awesome accent) is completely derailed by none other than Mr. Ego, Ed Norton. Fortunately, the final showdown takes place without him, but it's not enough to save the movie. It's really unfortunate, too, because this would be at least a B+ movie without him, but it is brought down to an average C.

In the end, Bill Paxton's poor performance doesn't bring down Tombstone as badly as Ed Norton's in Rounders. And even without the two bad actors Tombstone is still a better movie.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 22, 2008, 12:38:59 AM
I don't think I'll ever understand the backlash against Norton.  Nor will I ever understand that scene in Tombstone where slo-mo Kurt Russell yells, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That said, I'll still be your huckleberry.  Oh, and originally the screenwriter was the director, too, but I think Sam Elliott got him fired for not shooting any closeups.  So they brought in George P. Rambo Cosmatos, who effed things up a little less.  Something like that.

Mild upset, by the way:  the 87th seed over the 57th seed.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 22, 2008, 12:56:33 AM
Although I do like both Matt Damon an Edward Norton, I'm kind of glad to see Tombstone move on. It's a fun movie.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on May 22, 2008, 12:57:02 AM
I don't think I'll ever understand the backlash against Norton.  Nor will I ever understand that scene in Tombstone where slo-mo Kurt Russell yells, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!"

That "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" was only there to set up the "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" in Star Wars episode 3. Obviously.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 22, 2008, 12:58:09 AM
I haven't actually seen Tombstone, but I'm pretty sure you made the right decision as Rounders is a potboiler level film at best.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 22, 2008, 01:04:08 AM
I like them both, Rounders is better, but this decision isn't a tragedy.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 22, 2008, 01:06:02 AM
I haven't seen Rounders.  I had planned to, but then Junior, with all his crazy restrictions on film availability, stole my matchup. :P

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on May 22, 2008, 01:49:17 AM
I'm glad Tombstone made it through.   :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: chesterfilms on May 22, 2008, 01:50:12 AM
Tombstone is great
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on May 22, 2008, 05:02:23 AM
I like them both, Rounders is better, but this decision isn't a tragedy.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on May 22, 2008, 09:31:00 AM
I'll be curious to see how many other notable 90s comedies survive this week — Groundhog Day, Election, South Park ...

pixote

I started watching South Park last night, but I got sleepy (no fault of the movie). I'm on my way though.

I heart Groundhog Day, not so much Election.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on May 22, 2008, 11:29:04 AM
I'll be your Huckleberry!

Rounders is fun and I enjoy watching it, but watching an overweight Billy Bob Thorton slapped until he bleeds and hearing an old man yell "You're all pimps! I'll rip your goddamned pimp heart out!" is so much better.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on May 22, 2008, 11:37:31 AM
Rounders is really rewatchable. I watch it any time it is on. Junior is right, John Malkovich as Teddy KGB (great name and accent) is awesome.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on May 22, 2008, 09:59:55 PM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 23, 2008, 12:19:13 AM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
I'm disappointed in the outcome, but could you elaborate on your decision?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 24, 2008, 02:34:42 PM
Searching For Bobby Fischer vs. Singles

eh?

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Major Flaws: The Laurence Fishburne character is kinda window dressing. I see the purpose of the character (providing a counterpoint to Kingsley) but he felt really underused. Also, seeing as this is a "sport" film, it does play out in a rather formulaic way. I feel like I've seen this before.

Major Attributes: Well, it's a formula for a reason. It's pretty damn effective. Everyone is top-notch, especially the kid in one of the great child performances (I'm a sucker for these). This film reminds me of how much I like Joe Mantegna as an actor and yet I can't remember anything else he's been in. It also raises some interesting questions regarding game(sport) vs. art. Is chess just a game or can it be art? Is baseball just a game or can it be art?, etc. I like to believe in the latter.

Singles

Major Flaws: Well, the entire Expect the Best stuff is pretty cheesy as are all the early 90s grunge bands stuff (I just don't like it, sari). Also, I began to fear for the worst when Campbell Scott began the film by talking to the camera. I wasn't sure if Cameron Crowe could make that gimmick work.

Major Attributes: Well, even though I could care less about the whole Gen-X Seattle grunge scene stuff, the actors made me forget about all about it and just have a good time. Campbell Scott (boy, he's terrific) is that guy we all want to be. Bridget Fonda (what happened to her?!) is fun and lovable. Matt Dillon is hilarious as the lead singer of Citizen Dick. The film gets by on its charm. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Verdict: This has probably been the toughest verdict so far. I actually went in expecting to hate Singles (I had seen bits and pieces of it on TV, seemed really cheesy) and I was ready to give it to Searching for Bobby Fischer but, to my surprise, it really won me over. Both films are remarkably solid and in a perfect world, I would want both films to make it to the next round so they can be seen by more people. However, there can only be one and, today, I feel like engaging in a little wish-fulfillment. Sometimes, all I really want is to be friends with Bridget Fonda, hang out at some coffee shop and fall in love, you know?

Singles moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 24, 2008, 02:37:28 PM
That is a brutal matchup.  We may not have heard the last of Bobby Fischer.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 24, 2008, 02:38:59 PM
Yeah, I really like both of them. The verdict is just based on my mood, really. It could've easily been Bobby moving on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 24, 2008, 02:41:32 PM
I love them both.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 02:42:39 PM
We may not have heard the last of Bobby Fischer.

Take the draw, and we'll share the championship.

Take the draw.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on May 24, 2008, 02:44:25 PM
Good choice!

I haven't seen Bobby Fischer, but still...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 02:44:49 PM
If you win, everyone says, "Well of course he won, he's the best."

But if you lose....  :(

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 02:56:19 PM
Did I mention that the 101-seed just knocked off the 38-seed?

roujin knows you disapprove of him. He knows you think he's weak. But he is not weak. He's decent.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 24, 2008, 03:48:08 PM
Dear diary: how do I judge between farce and melodrama in this particular match-up for the best of the 90’s bracket.

First is Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, a tale of eccentricity among gangsters and dramatists during prohibition.  John Cusack is the Allen character (hypersensitive, neurotic writer) who is desperate to put on his play without compromise.  Everyone else plays the forces working against him including Jennifer Tilly as a bad actress, Dianne Wiest as a grande dame, Chazz Palminteri as a thug, Tracey Ullman as a flake, Jim Broadbent as a british actor with an eating problem, Harvey Fierstein as an overly effusive agent, Mary-Louise Parker as his cute girlfriend and Joe Viterelli as a mob boss.  Never has there been a better exercise in type casting (ok, except Rob Reiner’s sexually accomplished intellectual), and they’re all fantastic.  The film is pretty damned funny and the script and direction from Allen are all top notch.  The period detail is also a sight to behold especially Viterelli’s art deco mansion – I’m not sure how much I watched the actors in these scenes as I was lost in the set design.  The one main weakness of the film was the “diary” voice over from Cusack’s character which felt a bit contrived and just a place for a few too obvious jokes.  I had seen pieces of this before but I’m glad I was forced to take in the whole thing. 

American Me, unlike the breezy Bullets is a somber melodrama… or is it an social epic… well director and star Edward James Olmos can’t make up his mind what story he wants to tell and as a result the film is a hodgepodge of ideas and a mess.  The first half of the film is flashback with Olmos providing voice-over from his sad prison cell about the days of his mother and father’s courtship and his own birth and youth in violence that has lead him to where he speaks.  When he finally reaches prison the flashback and VO drop out but we find out later that indeed this is still in the past from the original timeframe that was set up.  Olmos and trusted friend William Forsyth who is white but grew up in East LA along side much if the chicano gangs rise up to run Folsom and spread their power to the whole of the California penal system.  When released however Olmos has a problem functioning having been incarcerated from the age of 16.  In one gruesome scene he meets a woman and is in the midst of his first sexual encounter at 32 while intercut is a scene of prison rape which is what his own encounter becomes.  The procedural aspects of how the prison system is taken over is not really relayed well and when he gets out he talks about helping his people via his gang leadership but this was never established as motivation while he was actually there.  He is arrested again and we hear the now almost forgotten instructions from the guards that floated over the opening credits and we realize that finally we have come full circle though to what end is unclear.  The overarching theme of the film is violence begets violence but there are a bunch of other ideas in there that are never fully rendered.  For a better look at the rise of Chicano prison gangs in California check out Tyler Hackford’s Blood In, Blood Out/Bound by Honor which was released less than a year afer this one and for a more focused and powerful Olmos helmed film the HBO Original Walkout form 2006.

Diary, in then end it was pretty easy - obviously Woody gets the nod.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 04:01:28 PM
I'm having a rough day in this thread.

No hard feelings, ese.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 24, 2008, 04:13:24 PM
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 04:18:52 PM
Bullets over Broadway (56) was a slight favorite over American Me (83), but nobody but me had seen American Me before the balloting, so that necessarily doesn't mean a whole lot.

American Me becomes my fourth 'film to fight for' to go down to defeat in the first round.  Only one has advanced so far (Three Kings).  That leaves me four more chances for heartbreak (the tenth film, King of the Hill, having never made it into the bracket).  :'(

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 24, 2008, 04:21:14 PM
Bullets over Broadway (56) was a slight favorite over American Me (83), but nobody but me had seen American Me before the balloting, so that necessarily doesn't mean a whole lot.

American Me becomes my fourth 'film to fight for' to go down to defeat in the first round.  Only one has advanced so far (Three Kings).  That leaves me four more chances for heartbreak (the tenth film, King of the Hill, having never made it into the bracket).  :'(

pixote
You have chosen my film over pixote's. Bravo. Now me and pix are gonna go fight in secret.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 04:22:58 PM
I'm counting on kw to avenge this defeat.  :P

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 24, 2008, 05:04:27 PM
I don't know why I even bothered to put this off.

The English Patient vs. Jackie Brown

The English Patient
Major Flaws: By far the biggest flaw was that I found Fiennes and Thomas' love story uninteresting and completely unsympathetic. I really could've used the percentages of minutes given to each of the two stories to be reversed. I am shocked that this one so many technical awards. The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy. Is that really a problem? Well, if you don't care about the prevailing story, then the visuals must become paramount and they just weren't there. On top of that, I thought the pacing was poor, particularly in the early section before we are supposed to know that the patient is Almasy. Really, is it really a mystery? If you ever wonder why casting stars is not always the best idea, try creating a mystery around which character your scarred central character correlates to and then try slipping Ralph Fiennes by me. He is the patient as long as they don't kill him off before the events of the patient. The mystery never comes close to working and taking your time revealing just pushed me away from this film before the end of the first act. So from here, I had another 2 hours to deal with. I'll stop here, and I haven't even mentioned the myriad of political/ideological issues I have with it.

Major Attributes: I really liked Naveen Andrews in particular and his story with Binoche as a whole. Also, if their story had been the majority of the film, I would be able to say the cinematography was quite nice. But I can't. Also, the Colin Firth thing that Firth does worked pretty well here. Sorry, that's it.

Jackie Brown
Major Flaws: Well, I really like Elmore Leonard in film (apparently) but I do feel that sometimes I see his dialogue a bit more than the attempt at verisimilitude would wish I did. I wish Chris Tucker didn't draw so much damn attention to himself as a real person rather than a character (not that him being unendingly annoying wasn't helpful here). It didn't have as much going on in the cinematography as say Out of Sight did and I was disappointed in how pedestrian the look of it was.

Major Attributes: It's hard, in my opinion, for actors to fail when given broad caricatures and no one does here. I think Pam Grier did well in trying to play against her own persona from the 70s while also attempting a sense of the believable, but she wasn't great. It didn't really occur to me initially, but the fact that I bought Forester wholesale, as if he was a real-life bondsman hired to act, is a pretty good indication of his deft work here. Everyone else worked in their roles and entertained me (even if De Niro bothered me slightly). I really thought the editing here, unlike The English Patient, was a huge plus to the film and really controlled the release of a story which was just as long as Minghella's film but never dragged in the least and doled out installments that felt individually satisfying as the build to the whole. The space was controlled with the cuts, keeping the viewer moving through the sets and actively engaged in the storyline in as much as it should. To be more succinct, the editing always maintained the camera's perspective in a position that cooperated with the telling of the narrative. In addition to everything above and a few things not mentioned, this was also vastly entertaining.

Verdict: I won't explain myself, as most of you knew beforehand how this would go down. I'll just say this, really consider before you resurrect The English Patient Sean, because not only did it pale in comparison to Jackie Brown, but it was just a pretty mediocre film on its own.

Jackie Brown will fly again.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 05:07:42 PM
Alligator!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 24, 2008, 05:09:35 PM
Alligator!

pixote
I think he'd take that as a compliment.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 05:14:57 PM
And, to be clear, that's how I mean it.  (I'm a big fan of Jackie Brown, and felt it was correctly seeded at #8, while The English Patient also deserved its #131 seed.)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 24, 2008, 06:32:19 PM
Alligator?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 24, 2008, 07:55:20 PM
I believe it was Robert Forster's role in the John Sayles-scripted 80s classic Alligator (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080354/) that really brought him to Tarantino's attention.

(http://i25.tinypic.com/2crnl3n.jpg) (http://i25.tinypic.com/2crnl3n.jpg)

He flushes his daughter's baby pet alligator down the toilet.  It doesn't stay a baby for long.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 24, 2008, 08:28:38 PM
Nice.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on May 24, 2008, 09:56:49 PM
Singles moves on.

crap.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 25, 2008, 01:22:35 PM
The Ice Storm

Flaws
I didn't really have that many problems with it, at least nothing glaringly obvious, but is there a likeable character in the bunch?  Save Tobey Maguire's Fantastic Four reading virgin, it seems to be full of self absorbed and ultimately selfish characters.  The audience is given almost no reason to sympathise with any of the characters, which leads to a very detached viewing experience.  There's no consequences for any of the characters actions includings people getting caught shoplifting and nothing coming of it and the pacing is fairly poor.

Attributes
It's very obviously set in the 70s, the set design, costumes, makeup, hair etc are all spot on.  It's well filmed and the eponimous storm looks great.  It's got a great cast and a few very good performances from Klein and Weaver.

Verdict
There's nothing really glaringly wrong with The Ice Storm, especially in comparison to some of Affliction's faults, but sadly there's also not a lot to get excited about.  So, although it does have quite a few problems, I'm putting Affliction through to the next round.  Though I don't suspect it will stay around very long.

What's your take, faceboy?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 25, 2008, 04:30:25 PM
I don't know why I even bothered to put this off.

The English Patient vs. Jackie Brown

The English Patient
Major Flaws: By far the biggest flaw was that I found Fiennes and Thomas' love story uninteresting and completely unsympathetic. I really could've used the percentages of minutes given to each of the two stories to be reversed. I am shocked that this one so many technical awards. The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy. Is that really a problem? Well, if you don't care about the prevailing story, then the visuals must become paramount and they just weren't there. On top of that, I thought the pacing was poor, particularly in the early section before we are supposed to know that the patient is Almasy. Really, is it really a mystery? If you ever wonder why casting stars is not always the best idea, try creating a mystery around which character your scarred central character correlates to and then try slipping Ralph Fiennes by me. He is the patient as long as they don't kill him off before the events of the patient. The mystery never comes close to working and taking your time revealing just pushed me away from this film before the end of the first act. So from here, I had another 2 hours to deal with. I'll stop here, and I haven't even mentioned the myriad of political/ideological issues I have with it.

Major Attributes: I really liked Naveen Andrews in particular and his story with Binoche as a whole. Also, if their story had been the majority of the film, I would be able to say the cinematography was quite nice. But I can't. Also, the Colin Firth thing that Firth does worked pretty well here. Sorry, that's it.

Jackie Brown
Major Flaws: Well, I really like Elmore Leonard in film (apparently) but I do feel that sometimes I see his dialogue a bit more than the attempt at verisimilitude would wish I did. I wish Chris Tucker didn't draw so much damn attention to himself as a real person rather than a character (not that him being unendingly annoying wasn't helpful here). It didn't have as much going on in the cinematography as say Out of Sight did and I was disappointed in how pedestrian the look of it was.

Major Attributes: It's hard, in my opinion, for actors to fail when given broad caricatures and no one does here. I think Pam Grier did well in trying to play against her own persona from the 70s while also attempting a sense of the believable, but she wasn't great. It didn't really occur to me initially, but the fact that I bought Forester wholesale, as if he was a real-life bondsman hired to act, is a pretty good indication of his deft work here. Everyone else worked in their roles and entertained me (even if De Niro bothered me slightly). I really thought the editing here, unlike The English Patient, was a huge plus to the film and really controlled the release of a story which was just as long as Minghella's film but never dragged in the least and doled out installments that felt individually satisfying as the build to the whole. The space was controlled with the cuts, keeping the viewer moving through the sets and actively engaged in the storyline in as much as it should. To be more succinct, the editing always maintained the camera's perspective in a position that cooperated with the telling of the narrative. In addition to everything above and a few things not mentioned, this was also vastly entertaining.

Verdict: I won't explain myself, as most of you knew beforehand how this would go down. I'll just say this, really consider before you resurrect The English Patient Sean, because not only did it pale in comparison to Jackie Brown, but it was just a pretty mediocre film on its own.

Jackie Brown will fly again.


Good boy!....faceboy. Yeah, that sounded cheap.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 25, 2008, 05:55:52 PM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
I'm disappointed in the outcome, but could you elaborate on your decision?

I'd be curious to hear a little more about this matchup, too.  I have only the vaguest memories of what Gas, Food, Lodging was even about.  I can picture a trailer and ... maybe fireworks?

Had you seen Jurassic Park before, MR?  If so, how did it hold up?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 26, 2008, 12:04:52 AM
The Ice Storm

Flaws
I didn't really have that many problems with it, at least nothing glaringly obvious, but is there a likeable character in the bunch?  Save Tobey Maguire's Fantastic Four reading virgin, it seems to be full of self absorbed and ultimately selfish characters.  The audience is given almost no reason to sympathise with any of the characters, which leads to a very detached viewing experience.  There's no consequences for any of the characters actions includings people getting caught shoplifting and nothing coming of it and the pacing is fairly poor.

Attributes
It's very obviously set in the 70s, the set design, costumes, makeup, hair etc are all spot on.  It's well filmed and the eponimous storm looks great.  It's got a great cast and a few very good performances from Klein and Weaver.

Verdict
There's nothing really glaringly wrong with The Ice Storm, especially in comparison to some of Affliction's faults, but sadly there's also not a lot to get excited about.  So, although it does have quite a few problems, I'm putting Affliction through to the next round.  Though I don't suspect it will stay around very long.

What's your take, faceboy?

pixote
Not having seen Affliction, I must say that I think he underrated Lee's film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 26, 2008, 12:05:11 AM
I don't know why I even bothered to put this off.

The English Patient vs. Jackie Brown

The English Patient
Major Flaws: By far the biggest flaw was that I found Fiennes and Thomas' love story uninteresting and completely unsympathetic. I really could've used the percentages of minutes given to each of the two stories to be reversed. I am shocked that this one so many technical awards. The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy. Is that really a problem? Well, if you don't care about the prevailing story, then the visuals must become paramount and they just weren't there. On top of that, I thought the pacing was poor, particularly in the early section before we are supposed to know that the patient is Almasy. Really, is it really a mystery? If you ever wonder why casting stars is not always the best idea, try creating a mystery around which character your scarred central character correlates to and then try slipping Ralph Fiennes by me. He is the patient as long as they don't kill him off before the events of the patient. The mystery never comes close to working and taking your time revealing just pushed me away from this film before the end of the first act. So from here, I had another 2 hours to deal with. I'll stop here, and I haven't even mentioned the myriad of political/ideological issues I have with it.

Major Attributes: I really liked Naveen Andrews in particular and his story with Binoche as a whole. Also, if their story had been the majority of the film, I would be able to say the cinematography was quite nice. But I can't. Also, the Colin Firth thing that Firth does worked pretty well here. Sorry, that's it.

Jackie Brown
Major Flaws: Well, I really like Elmore Leonard in film (apparently) but I do feel that sometimes I see his dialogue a bit more than the attempt at verisimilitude would wish I did. I wish Chris Tucker didn't draw so much damn attention to himself as a real person rather than a character (not that him being unendingly annoying wasn't helpful here). It didn't have as much going on in the cinematography as say Out of Sight did and I was disappointed in how pedestrian the look of it was.

Major Attributes: It's hard, in my opinion, for actors to fail when given broad caricatures and no one does here. I think Pam Grier did well in trying to play against her own persona from the 70s while also attempting a sense of the believable, but she wasn't great. It didn't really occur to me initially, but the fact that I bought Forester wholesale, as if he was a real-life bondsman hired to act, is a pretty good indication of his deft work here. Everyone else worked in their roles and entertained me (even if De Niro bothered me slightly). I really thought the editing here, unlike The English Patient, was a huge plus to the film and really controlled the release of a story which was just as long as Minghella's film but never dragged in the least and doled out installments that felt individually satisfying as the build to the whole. The space was controlled with the cuts, keeping the viewer moving through the sets and actively engaged in the storyline in as much as it should. To be more succinct, the editing always maintained the camera's perspective in a position that cooperated with the telling of the narrative. In addition to everything above and a few things not mentioned, this was also vastly entertaining.

Verdict: I won't explain myself, as most of you knew beforehand how this would go down. I'll just say this, really consider before you resurrect The English Patient Sean, because not only did it pale in comparison to Jackie Brown, but it was just a pretty mediocre film on its own.

Jackie Brown will fly again.


Good boy!....faceboy. Yeah, that sounded cheap.
Faceboy stamp of approval.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on May 26, 2008, 11:09:35 PM
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut vs. Devil in a Blue Dress

South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut
The South Park boys watch a fowl-mouthed movie, which ultimately leads to WW III.

Major Flaws
I can't take the movie seriously enough to care about the message the movie is delivering. It is extremely self-referential. The plot revolves around the idea that the public wastes energy criticizing shows like South Park when it would be better served to fight real threats to our society, like war. I don't know how seriously the movie expects us to take the message, but even intellectualized fart jokes are still fart jokes.

Major Attributes
The music is great. The songs are funny and fun and I loved nearly all of them. Every time the singing starts the movie becomes ten times better. It is truly the best part of the movie. I may not get Uncle F**KA out of my head for days.

Devil in a Blue Dress

Easy Rawlins has been caught on the wrong side of the most dangerous secret in town.

Major Flaws
It just didn't grab me. I never felt invested in what was happening. The tag line above suggests "the most dangerous secret in town", but I never felt the stakes. Even when the secret was revealed, I didn't feel a big pay off. It didn't help that I had just read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler for the Filmspotting book club. I loved the way the book brought together a great detective story. The book and the movie have the same noir spirit, but the movie lacks the crisp dialogue and dark feel I would expect. I also didn't buy Jennifer Beals as the female lead. She didn't command the screen like I would expect and want. 

Major Attributes
Denzel Washington is strong as always. I also enjoyed the late appearance of Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander. Mouse brought a much needed sense of humor to the movie.

Verdict

I don't believe either movie is the best movie of the 90s and I feel kind of meh about both. Which movie best accomplishes what it sets out for: South Park as a self referential comedy or Devil in a Blue Dress as a detective thriller? Really I had to ask myself What Would Brian Boitano Do?

South Park moves on.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on May 26, 2008, 11:37:45 PM

The English Patient
Major Flaws: By far the biggest flaw was that I found Fiennes and Thomas' love story uninteresting and completely unsympathetic. I really could've used the percentages of minutes given to each of the two stories to be reversed. I am shocked that this one so many technical awards. The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy. Is that really a problem? Well, if you don't care about the prevailing story, then the visuals must become paramount and they just weren't there. On top of that, I thought the pacing was poor, particularly in the early section before we are supposed to know that the patient is Almasy. Really, is it really a mystery? If you ever wonder why casting stars is not always the best idea, try creating a mystery around which character your scarred central character correlates to and then try slipping Ralph Fiennes by me. He is the patient as long as they don't kill him off before the events of the patient. The mystery never comes close to working and taking your time revealing just pushed me away from this film before the end of the first act. So from here, I had another 2 hours to deal with. I'll stop here, and I haven't even mentioned the myriad of political/ideological issues I have with it.

Major Attributes: I really liked Naveen Andrews in particular and his story with Binoche as a whole. Also, if their story had been the majority of the film, I would be able to say the cinematography was quite nice. But I can't. Also, the Colin Firth thing that Firth does worked pretty well here. Sorry, that's it.

I totally agree. The screen time that Andrews and Binoche get is far more interesting. In fact those characters are featured far more prominently in the novel.

My favourite part of the English Patient is when Fiennes and Thomas are having a secret discussion under the bleachers while people are watching a movie. After their exchange she walks away and cracks her head on a metal pole like it's a Zucker, Zucker, and Abrahams movie. 

When is Sack Lunch playing?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 26, 2008, 11:42:52 PM
South Park moves on.

In a word ... Yay!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 27, 2008, 11:22:12 AM
South Park moves on.

In a word ... Yay!

pixote

And now a rousing sing-a-long of Kyle's Mom...

WEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLL... (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) (edit: sorry)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8od2Us0LSPo
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 28, 2008, 06:41:00 PM
Crooklyn vs. The Shawshank Redemption

#2 film of all time, sez the internet

Crooklyn

Major Flaws: Nothing too bothersome. Early on in the film, I felt like there was too much screaming and whatnot. Not a flaw, by any measure.

Major Attributes: It draws such a beautiful sketch of everyday family life that I felt I had also lived through everything the characters had. I think I'm a sucker for films about childhood though so make of what you will. All the kids are great but I think special mention should go to Delroy Lindo who gives a wonderful performance as the father. It's a small, touching film and I tend to treasure these more than most.

The Shawshank Redemption

Major Flaws: I don't know. Maybe the warden is too much of a villain? Maybe.

Major Attributes: It's just a damn compelling story. And it's well-told. And it's well-acted. I remember the first time I watched this film just sitting on the couch with tears in my eyes. It shook me. Each time I revisit it, I can't help but get caught up in the tale of Red and Andy. With each consequent viewing, some of that initial power is lost but what's left still makes Shawshank a great film. Maybe not up there as IMDB says, but I don't think its power can be denied.

Verdict: I wanted an upset. I really did. I wanted Crooklyn to go on to the next round. "Everyone's seen The Shawshank Redemption anyway," I told myself. But, while Crooklyn is indeed a great film (one you should go out and see!!!), I can't in good conscience take Shawshank out.

The Shawshank Redemption moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 28, 2008, 06:43:27 PM
I think I'm a sucker for films about childhood though so make of what you will.

Tell that to Josh Waitzkin.  :P

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 28, 2008, 06:46:28 PM
One thing I forgot to mention, Crooklyn has a great, great soundtrack... you know, for when you get around to seeing it...

I think I'm a sucker for films about childhood though so make of what you will.

Tell that to Josh Waitzkin.  :P

pixote

I also like chess. Sometimes, I just don't get myself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 28, 2008, 07:05:45 PM
#2 film of all time, sez the internet

By the way, Shawshank was also the #2 film in our second batch of films.  (Crooklyn was underrated at #137.)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 28, 2008, 07:21:41 PM
#2 film of all time, sez the internet

By the way, Shawshank was also the #2 film in our second batch of films. 

I'm not surprised. I figured it would be high up there. That's a neat coincidence, though.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: philip918 on May 28, 2008, 09:41:26 PM

The English Patient
Major Flaws: The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy.

The English Patient was the first digitally edited film to win an academy award and it was edited by Walter Murch, one of the most acclaimed editors in contemporary cinema.  The movie doesn't do much for me, but I think this is why it got a lot of attention as far as editing goes.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 28, 2008, 10:02:07 PM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
I'm disappointed in the outcome, but could you elaborate on your decision?

I'd be curious to hear a little more about this matchup, too.  I have only the vaguest memories of what Gas, Food, Lodging was even about.  I can picture a trailer and ... maybe fireworks?

Had you seen Jurassic Park before, MR?  If so, how did it hold up?

One last push for elaboration... :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 28, 2008, 10:51:26 PM

The English Patient
Major Flaws: The editing (both sound and visual) was fine and the cinematography was pretty enough to call it such but neither was remarkable or noteworthy.

The English Patient was the first digitally edited film to win an academy award and it was edited by Walter Murch, one of the most acclaimed editors in contemporary cinema.  The movie doesn't do much for me, but I think this is why it got a lot of attention as far as editing goes.
Well my assumption was that Murch got the award on his back catalog, along with the overall momentum of the film's buzz. I think you're overplaying the digital editing aspect of the award, as the academy could've chosen any number of film if they just wanted to showcase digital editing technology. Considering that up to this point he had only ever won for sound editing, it's no surprise that they may have felt the need to finally give him one.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 29, 2008, 12:51:29 AM
The editing Oscar very rarely has anything to do with the quality of a film's editing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 29, 2008, 12:55:26 AM
The editing Oscar very rarely has anything to do with the quality of a film's editing.
This statement could be appropriated to describe most oscars.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 29, 2008, 01:11:21 AM
This year's Oscar for Best Editing went to The Bourne Ultimatum over No Country for Old Men.

Just like in The Filmspots.

:'(

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 29, 2008, 01:16:58 AM
The editing Oscar very rarely has anything to do with the quality of a film's editing.
This statement could be appropriated to describe most oscars.

Very true.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 29, 2008, 01:17:17 AM
This year's Oscar for Best Editing went to The Bourne Ultimatum over No Country for Old Men.

Just like in The Filmspots.

:'(

pixote

And I'm Not There should have won both.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 29, 2008, 02:13:05 AM
This year's Oscar for Best Editing went to The Bourne Ultimatum over No Country for Old Men.

Just like in The Filmspots.

:'(

pixote

And I'm Not There should have won both.
Not my fault.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 29, 2008, 11:57:08 AM
Predictable outcome. Good outcome, if predictable.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on May 29, 2008, 07:21:43 PM
beautiful girls vs. kicking and screaming

beautiful girls
attributes - the performances.  all (or most) of them.  even rosie.  in fact rosie is one of the better ones.  the characters felt real and so did their actions.  i thought demme did an excellent job of playing with our expectations as viewers.  and rosie's big speech in the middle of the film.  that was great.

flaws - the music (the score part not the soundtrack).  really really over sentimental.  and the script at first.  a little choppy and awkward but by the end it wins you over.

kicking and screaming
attributes - i chuckled at least once i guess.

flaws - i didn't care for the characters at all.  i thought their circumstances didn't make any sense.  all the actors looked 10-15 years older than the characters they were supposed to be playing.

verdictbeautiful girls goes on in a walk

for more readings on my thoughts (or just expanded blabbering about what i said) go here:  http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/ (http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 29, 2008, 07:23:49 PM
kicking and screaming
attributes - i chuckled at least once i guess.

Was it with the broken glass?  'Cause I'm pretty sure that's the one time I chuckled.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 29, 2008, 07:50:09 PM
for more readings on my thoughts (or just expanded blabbering about what i said) go here:  http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/ (http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/)

Also, you undersold the blog entries.  Definitely worth reading:

Beautiful Girls (http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/1990s-bracket-beautiful-girls/)
Kicking and Screaming (http://fourfilms.wordpress.com/2008/05/29/1990s-bracket-kicking-and-screaming-1995/)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on May 29, 2008, 08:45:35 PM
Wow.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on May 30, 2008, 12:42:23 AM
i know right?  i totally picked the right one.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on May 30, 2008, 01:04:53 AM
Donnie Brasco (1997, Mike Newell) versus The Apostle (1997, Robert Duvall)


There’s nothing quite like a character study piece to get a debate going. Both films in this matchup focus on particular characters subjected to great threats and stress which change them in some way.

Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco is but an alias for Joseph Pistone, and undercover FBI agent played by Johnny Depp requested to infiltrate a mob gang and help the agency bring them to justice. ‘Lefty’ who is played by Al Pacino, is the man who meets Brasco by ‘accident’ and takes him under his wing into the mob life. However, the more time dear Donnie spends with the enemy, the more he becomes like one of them, even to the point where, gasp, his own wife doesn’t recognize him anymore!
Cops/gangster/mob movies being right down my alley, I was thoroughly entertained by Donnie Brasco. Depp really shines in the titular role. It’s a layered role and one that Depp aces. He has to be confident enough as an FBI agent, but at other moments a brash and inexperienced mobster, all the while being very calculated in his ‘inexperience’ (since in fact, as an FBI agent, he knows exactly what he’s doing).
Pacino here is better than usual. At first, I feared that he would put on his ‘Scarface’…face and wing it. Thankfully, that fear dissipated as the movie strolled along. You see, ‘Lefty’ has been around the block for years already and worked hard within the gang. Despite this, he has rarely, if ever, been shown appreciation by the mob powers that be.  As Brasco’s presence in the gang is celebrated, Lefty is left to wonder what might have been, as well as display some resentment towards Brasco.
Poor Anne Heche though. A decent actress by my standards (which are dubious at best), she is relegated to whining wife. Sigh…
Visually the film is very ordinary. I honestly couldn’t tell if Mike Newell had any particular style through this film. Camera work, editing, cinematography, it was all standard. Not poor by any means, just standard. It’s good enough to properly tell the story and that’s all that mattered really. The pacing was very good however. The story took just enough time making each chapter of Brasco’s mission feel complete and compelling (meeting with Lefty, first few days, rise in the ranks, climax).

The Apostle

Written, directed and starring Robert Duval, The Apostle is the story of preacher Euliss ‘Sonny’ Dewey who, after committing a rather un-preacher worthy act, is compelled to flee the authorities and start a new church elsewhere. His travels take him to Louisiana where he regains some personal credibility (under a new identity) until the authorities catch up with him…
I couldn’t help but feel that The Apostle had a There Will be Blood atmosphere to it. Not in the music or cinematography mind you, but in its main character. Sonny is fascinating being because he is such a conflicting character. He’s a preacher, a person that church goers look to for comfort and inspiration. By normal standards he should be an okay bloke. Sonny however is actually rather possessive over his loved ones, which pushes him to commit his shocking crime. I haven’t seen that many Robert Duvall movies, but I’d be willing to bet that this represents one of his finer performances. The movie really revolves around him, so had the writing or the performance failed to impress, the movie itself would have failed as well (sort of like There Will Be Blood). Duvall is quite convincing as Sonny, a man so devoted to God that every action he makes or decision he takes is somehow influenced by the Almighty Himself or the devil. He is full of energy, laughter and a willingness to serve the Lord that few could probably rival. And yet he is a man on the run from the police. In fact, we’ve seen him when he’s in a bad mood: he’s not very nice. This is what acting is all about, or a least should be all about. Nuance, conviction and the ability to send a chill down the spine of the viewer.
The narrative itself is not the strongest (like in There Will Be Blood). There is a ‘plot’ but the movie seems content with following Sonny’s many adventures and encounters rather than telling some epic tale, which quite frankly, was fine by me.

This is a difficult decision. We have two fine actors, Depp and Duvall, both giving inspired performances. I want to choose Donnie Brasco because it has a more solid narrative structure, but I’m going with The Apostle. The movie simply invites us to follow an ambiguous character at the dispense of traditional plot structure, and I had fun with every step that Sonny took while mumbling mumbo jumbo about the Lord.

The Apostle.

Now let’s get to round 2!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 30, 2008, 01:08:33 AM
And another one of my 'fight for' films goes down to defeat in round one.  :-\

Nice writeup, though.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on May 30, 2008, 01:10:18 AM
pixote gots no luck.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on May 30, 2008, 01:27:46 AM
And another one of my 'fight for' films goes down to defeat in round one.  :-\

Nice writeup, though.

pixote

you certainly picked interesting films to fight for.  are there really yr faves or did you decide to go political and choos ones that you thought some others would not?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on May 30, 2008, 01:33:15 AM
you certainly picked interesting films to fight for.  are there really yr faves or did you decide to go political and choos ones that you thought some others would not?

I'd have to go back and check, but I think I picked the ten films that I was most excited to share with other people.  But yeah, pretty much my faves.  I had South Park and Three Kings in there, but the rest were a little more niche.  Do I really like Pump Up the Volume more then Jackie Brown (which I had in the tier below)?  It's surprisingly hard to say.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on May 30, 2008, 02:17:01 AM
Not remembering either film with perfect clarity, I'm inclined to say that I approve of this result.

As for karl, that boy worries me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 02, 2008, 12:13:46 AM
I present to you the evidence for the following two contenders, feel free to make your own decision… I hope mine is the right one.

Clean, Shaven (henceforth C,S)

What is the mind of a schizophrenic feel like?  This film tries to answer this question along side portraying the social stigma and malignment associated with the sufferers.  Peter Greene plays Peter Winter who is seen in the opening shots leaving a mental institution.  It is not made clear, like so many things in the film, if he was just released or escaped and based on the events that follow either is possible.  In order to put us in his mind the soundtrack and editing combine for a static-y & jarring experience with random voices that may or may not be coming from talk radio.  In an early scene a ball is thrown at his car and he has a moment with the thrower, a young girl.  We cut to an unidentified time later and hear screams off camera but see nothing.  Winter the sets out to find his  own little girl based only on a Polaroid of her as an infant. She has been given up for adoption by her grandmother as her mother is deceased.  A string of child murders follows him and there is a detective hot on his trail.  Nothing in this film is what it seems to be and everything is – it is left up to the viewer to decide, even the final don’t truly resolve any questions but I wanted to believe Peter was actually a good man so I took the ending as deeply tragic.

Not that I would revisit this film all that often as some scenes are so cringe-worthy as to make one look away (he thinks there are transmitters in his fingernails that must be excised… ‘nuff said), but It should be experienced at least once as it is one of the best films I’ve seen to tackle mental illness from the victim’s point of view.

Thelma & Louise (henceforth T&L)

Wow, was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.  Female bonding in films usually involves burning pictures or old boyfriends, sing-a-longs to crappy/clichéd music or something to do with primping.  This had none of those elements.  There were sing-a-longs but the music was a-ok with me and despite what some Texans may think it does happen in real life and its great when it does. Fly Eagles Fly… sorry got off track there. 

Other than that T&L really does a great job of reinventing the On the Lam Western for the 90’s.  Our two heroines set off from their useless bo’s (Christopher McDonald proves once again that if ya want someone to loath onscreen he’s the man to call) for a nice fishing weekend.  On the way they stop for drinks at a honky-tonk and after a good bit-o-sauce Thelma (Geena Davis) finds herself out in the parking lot with a lascivious brute forcing himself on her.  Louise comes in just in time and with a 6 shooter to pull her friend from danger.  The brute though decides to fling some insults while they make their escape and Louise turns right around and puts one in his chest.  From here they start off on a 6 state journey that eventually ends at the Grand Canyon.  Not before adding armed robbery, damaging police property, kidnapping an officer, reckless endangerment and a host of other crimes to their wanted posters.  Harvey Keitel is both the detective on their case and their sole empathizer in a world of male oppression that has led them down this path.  He believes based on eye witness reports that they might not be the hardened criminals the rest of the law enforcers think they are and doesn’t want to see the system destroy their lives.

The “on the lam” genre is one of the few that is really underserved but was very big in the 90’s.  I think this film from 91 was part of the reason for all the solid pieces that followed along with some of the revisionist westerns as well.  It’s also just a blast to watch with an excellent blues soundtrack.  C,S on the other hand is a truly visceral experience and one that you will not soon forget.  At first I thought I’d put T&L through due to a perceived lack of fun films winning but a quick look at that stats shows that this is not the case so with no wrongs to right, I believe I will get a nice big stamp for promoting C,S to the next level.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 02, 2008, 02:00:21 AM
I can't believe you made it through your Thelma & Louise review without mentioning Brad Pitt.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 02, 2008, 02:11:11 AM
I can't believe you made it through your Thelma & Louise review without mentioning Brad Pitt.

...or posting delicious screenshots of him.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 02, 2008, 10:45:13 AM
...adding, you've got me really intrigued to check out Clean, Shaven and to revisit Thelma and Louise

Nice.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 02, 2008, 10:46:07 AM
I can't believe you made it through your Thelma & Louise review without mentioning Brad Pitt.

Ya know, when writing I had tacked on trow away line about him in the last pargraph then decided it would be more fun not to mention what the film has more become known for; aka Pitt's star-making vehicle.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 02, 2008, 12:24:56 PM
...I believe I will get a nice big stamp for promoting C,S to the next level.

Uh oh, nothing yet!  Maybe you picked the wrong film!  :'(

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 02, 2008, 12:31:29 PM
I present to you the evidence for the following two contenders, feel free to make your own decision… I hope mine is the right one.

Clean, Shaven (henceforth C,S)

What is the mind of a schizophrenic feel like?  This film tries to answer this question along side portraying the social stigma and malignment associated with the sufferers.  Peter Greene plays Peter Winter who is seen in the opening shots leaving a mental institution.  It is not made clear, like so many things in the film, if he was just released or escaped and based on the events that follow either is possible.  In order to put us in his mind the soundtrack and editing combine for a static-y & jarring experience with random voices that may or may not be coming from talk radio.  In an early scene a ball is thrown at his car and he has a moment with the thrower, a young girl.  We cut to an unidentified time later and hear screams off camera but see nothing.  Winter the sets out to find his  own little girl based only on a Polaroid of her as an infant. She has been given up for adoption by her grandmother as her mother is deceased.  A string of child murders follows him and there is a detective hot on his trail.  Nothing in this film is what it seems to be and everything is – it is left up to the viewer to decide, even the final don’t truly resolve any questions but I wanted to believe Peter was actually a good man so I took the ending as deeply tragic.

Not that I would revisit this film all that often as some scenes are so cringe-worthy as to make one look away (he thinks there are transmitters in his fingernails that must be excised… ‘nuff said), but It should be experienced at least once as it is one of the best films I’ve seen to tackle mental illness from the victim’s point of view.

Thelma & Louise (henceforth T&L)

Wow, was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.  Female bonding in films usually involves burning pictures or old boyfriends, sing-a-longs to crappy/clichéd music or something to do with primping.  This had none of those elements.  There were sing-a-longs but the music was a-ok with me and despite what some Texans may think it does happen in real life and its great when it does. Fly Eagles Fly… sorry got off track there. 

Other than that T&L really does a great job of reinventing the On the Lam Western for the 90’s.  Our two heroines set off from their useless bo’s (Christopher McDonald proves once again that if ya want someone to loath onscreen he’s the man to call) for a nice fishing weekend.  On the way they stop for drinks at a honky-tonk and after a good bit-o-sauce Thelma (Geena Davis) finds herself out in the parking lot with a lascivious brute forcing himself on her.  Louise comes in just in time and with a 6 shooter to pull her friend from danger.  The brute though decides to fling some insults while they make their escape and Louise turns right around and puts one in his chest.  From here they start off on a 6 state journey that eventually ends at the Grand Canyon.  Not before adding armed robbery, damaging police property, kidnapping an officer, reckless endangerment and a host of other crimes to their wanted posters.  Harvey Keitel is both the detective on their case and their sole empathizer in a world of male oppression that has led them down this path.  He believes based on eye witness reports that they might not be the hardened criminals the rest of the law enforcers think they are and doesn’t want to see the system destroy their lives.

The “on the lam” genre is one of the few that is really underserved but was very big in the 90’s.  I think this film from 91 was part of the reason for all the solid pieces that followed along with some of the revisionist westerns as well.  It’s also just a blast to watch with an excellent blues soundtrack.  C,S on the other hand is a truly visceral experience and one that you will not soon forget.  At first I thought I’d put T&L through due to a perceived lack of fun films winning but a quick look at that stats shows that this is not the case so with no wrongs to right, I believe I will get a nice big stamp for promoting C,S to the next level.
(http://i27.tinypic.com/2dtnnv5.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 02, 2008, 05:07:50 PM
is that stamp a giant prison in the shape of stalin?

I have this sitting on my shelf:

(http://www.pinkghost.net/temp/blog/Stalinbronze.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 02, 2008, 05:12:33 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 02, 2008, 05:15:55 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Are you challenging me?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 02, 2008, 08:35:49 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Are you challenging me?

Only if you think size matters.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 02, 2008, 09:14:42 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Are you challenging me?

Only if you think size matters.
It's all in the way you use it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 02, 2008, 09:21:05 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Are you challenging me?

Only if you think size matters.
It's all in the way you use it.

I expect you will use it with great care then.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 02, 2008, 09:28:05 PM
I don't think that stamp is big enough.
Are you challenging me?

Only if you think size matters.
It's all in the way you use it.

I expect you will use it with great care then.
My stamp is very selective.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on June 10, 2008, 09:09:48 PM
Welcome to the Dollhouse
(Todd Solondz, 1995)
vs.
American Movie
(Chris Smith and Sarah Price, 1999)


About two years ago, after watching Storytelling with some people, one of them stated that the “non-fiction” section’s film was based on American Movie.  The idea being that Smith and Price made and/or cut their film at the expense of Mark Borchardt and friends; going in I was braced for an exploitative treatment. 

Dawn:      Why do you hate me?
Brandon:   Because you’re ugly.

That exchange sums up Welcome to the Dollhouse, but I think it also informs this question of intention in American Movie.  While Dollhouse is not so easily about being ugly, but more about being different and unwelcome because of this difference.  American Movie could also be read as such a commentary on difference, and moreso how the idea of the American Dream instills unrealistic desires, but I unfortunately have little sense that Smith and Price were making that movie.  Or were they? 

I found Borchardt and friends beautiful characters.  Certainly Smith and Price had something to do with framing Borchardt at best as a persistent man following his dreams and at worst a delusional lovable loser.  That said, there was plenty of footage that was beyond the making of Coven and Northwestern, and it seemed that more often than not this footage was a poke at Borchardt.  Without knowing how the film about a film was chosen, it seems that Smith and Price could have filmed another film project, likely without such a loaded “star”, it seems there must have been some understanding that Borchardt was a good subject because of his lovable loser vibe – because “he’s ugly”.  This raises the question one of Mark’s brothers asks of why Coven is being made – 'what is the moral standing of such a film?'

When I rented American Movie from my local dealer, the guy at the counter said this was probably his favorite documentary – “but you really think it’s a mockumentary.”  Clearly there is some ambiguity surrounding the subjects, and it seems that it is easy to understand the film as a bit of a joke on them.  But is this fully the responsibility of the film-makers instead of the audience?  I don’t think so, but again, it seems a stretch to maintain that Smith and Price didn’t knowingly use Borchardt as a butt, knowing the audience would likely react in a such a way.

Contrast Movie to DollhouseDollhouse is clearly indicting systems of oppression, and individual oppressors, making Dawn’s life miserable – school, boys, family.  Solondz is making clear commentary on the ugliness of normative U.S. culture.  The problem is that the film, much like this write-up, is a bit tedious and pedantic.  I get it.  No nuance.  Hmmm. 

Movie, as problematic as the film-makers’ positions might be, can be read as a similar critique of the U.S., but doing so with warm and real characters.  Forget the fact that they are “real”, as documentary subjects, but Solondz’ characters are such flat characterizations (as his characters tend to be, even when nuance is attempted) that it drains any interest and investment in their struggle.

With some reluctance, American Movie moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 11, 2008, 12:01:14 AM
The final seeding is still in flux, but as things stand right now, the #81 overall seed (American Movie) barely held off the #130 seed (Welcome to the Dollhouse).

Sorry neither viewing was bliss, skjerva, but it sounds like at least the two films informed each other, so all was not lost.  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 11, 2008, 01:00:38 AM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 11, 2008, 01:55:17 AM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.

I think you can expect at least five more between now and the end of the weekend, including mine.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 11, 2008, 10:36:05 AM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.

I think you can expect at least five more between now and the end of the weekend, including mine.

pixote
I'll believe it when I see it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 11, 2008, 10:40:29 AM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.
I think you can expect at least five more between now and the end of the weekend, including mine.
I'll believe it when I see it.

Book it!  (And that five wasn't even counting you, who could easily up it to six.)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 11, 2008, 10:41:49 AM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.
I think you can expect at least five more between now and the end of the weekend, including mine.
I'll believe it when I see it.

Book it!  (And that five wasn't even counting you, who could easily up it to six.)

pixote
Nah, I'm still in the great white north.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 11, 2008, 03:05:27 PM
You are still waiting on my match-up correct?
You did not reassign it?

I have the films just looking for some free time this week.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 11, 2008, 06:17:50 PM
You are still waiting on my match-up correct?
You did not reassign it?

I have the films just looking for some free time this week.

I never doubted you.  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 13, 2008, 06:31:50 AM
The Age of Innocence
Martin Scorsese, 1993

VS

The Lion King
Roger Allers and Bob Minkoff, 1994

The Age of Innocence
So, Martin Scorsese doing a period romance.
A diversion for him, it's a slow thoughtful film that takes it's time, reminding me of watching Barry Lyndon - fine stuff, but don't expect the narrative to run away. Watching it today, it's odd to see Daniel Day Lewis not being the scene as he has been lately, but rather giving a balanced performance of a man forced by society to live with one he does not love.
But it didn't do it for me.
A few years ago, in an odd moment of self-awareness, I realised that some films I would be unable to "get" until I myself had experienced certain things. How can I appreciate a scene of divorce having never been there, or how the birth of a child can change one so greatly. But a certain amount of responsibility lies with the filmmaker. For a film that is focussing on it's characters, Scorsese himself seems to tire of it, and often throws in a crossfade or narration just to spice things up a little. He himself needs to include visual flourishes to keep the movie moving.
Or maybe I'm still just a little inexperienced....


The Lion King
Way back in 1994, when my cinema trips were few and far between, The Lion King and Forrest Gump were out at the same time, and a friend's parent took us to see the latter. I enjoyed it, but everyone else had seemed to have seen The Lion King. Being a young teenager back then, by the time The Lion King came on telly, I was far too cool to watch a family film, and a Disney one at that!
So fast forward a decade and thanks to these messageboards, The Lion King is finally going to hit my radar.
First impression - wow - that's some opening.
With all the advances in technology, it's not the be all and end all of stunning animated imagery, and the charge of the animals at the beginning of this film grabs you, propelling you into the film, and what's surely Jeremy Iron's best performance to date. The actors in this film have been cast perfectly, from the powerful James Earl Jones to Nathan Lane and Rowan Atkinson and a surprise Matthew Broderick halfway through, every character is rich and real, with the exception of the lioness, who's not given much time at all.
Overall a success, fast paced, fun songs and that hand-drawn look that makes the African plains wild and real.


Not even a close call, The Lion King moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on June 13, 2008, 08:54:39 AM
What about the songs?!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 13, 2008, 10:14:08 AM
The #35 seed has demolished the #168 seed.  Junior will be very relieved!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 13, 2008, 10:19:02 AM
What about the songs?!

Great stuff - go Elton!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on June 13, 2008, 11:06:15 AM
Bleh.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 13, 2008, 12:04:31 PM
I agree.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on June 13, 2008, 12:25:00 PM
I'm not sure what choice I would've made here.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 13, 2008, 05:57:34 PM
They're certainly different films, and go for totally different things, but the very basic bottom line is The Lion King held my attention a lot better, and I rate that quality in a film quite highly.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 13, 2008, 06:23:34 PM
I saw a terrible performance of the Lion King musical once so maybe I'm mixing these up. I'm not even a big fan of Age of Innocence.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on June 13, 2008, 06:28:15 PM
The #35 seed has demolished the #168 seed.  Junior will be very relieved!

pixote

Well, yes. This is a sentimental favorite for me. Haven't watched it in years, though.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on June 13, 2008, 08:31:55 PM


The Truman Show v Dogfight

Truman
I've always liked this movie, but I have only seen it a couple times and not in something like 5 years. Anyway, I'm glad I got to rewatch it, because it's pretty awesome.

First, Jim Carrey is great here. He doesn't do great often, so that's nice. And the entire thing is just really entertaining and fun. It's such a crazy concept, but it's so well realized that it's easy to believe. I guess this makes sense, as the whole "world" of the film is controlled and constructed, but I couldn't get over how real it all feels. Showing and interviewing people outside looking in adds to that reality. Plus, it's just really clever. Cleverly written, cleverly filmed, etc. I never realize just how many of the shots were clearly "hidden cameras"...obviously a lot yr supposed to notice, but even some of the more conventional shots you can find a camera hidden somewhere...I mean, they're all over the place. I also never really caught (or certainly didn't remember) all the 'commercials' throughout. hahaha.  And I love the ending...it's kind of a scary, sad idea, that this guy is literally alone in this world...sure, he doesn't know it, but man, to live decades without any real friends or family, where every single thing you encounter is false...that's not cool. The ending is just about as positive as you can get.

Dogfight
I hadn't even heard of this film before this bracket. All I knew going in was what Netflix described on their site and dvd sleeve. But it sounded interesting enough that I picked it out to watch.

Unfortunately, though, it's more than a little lame. Some of the music is great, and it's a pretty well designed film, but I just didn't find much interesting about it. All of the marines (they were marines, right?) are annoying, and yeah, I guess that's the point, but that doesn't make em less annoying. The actress playing Rose was solid, and she's easy to feel for, but I didn't like River Pheonix much at all. Once the two of them finally start liking each other it was a little too late. I didn't buy that connection, and at that point, the connection was pretty necessary. I dunno, I wish I had more to say or more to like...but it just didn't really work for me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: kypade on June 13, 2008, 08:43:03 PM
I just realized I didn't give a winner, but I think it's clear that The Truman Show is my pick to move on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 14, 2008, 02:15:43 AM
Boooooooooo
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 14, 2008, 02:55:47 AM
Yayyyyyyy
 ;D

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 14, 2008, 03:59:57 AM
Boooooooooo

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 14, 2008, 10:08:01 AM
Boooooooooo

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?

pixote

It has Lili Taylor in it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on June 14, 2008, 01:28:02 PM
I didn't like River Pheonix much at all

gasp!

Boooooooooo

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?

pixote

(http://www.xfamily.org/images/thumb/3/38/RiverPhoenix1.jpg/210px-RiverPhoenix1.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 14, 2008, 02:07:38 PM
Boooooooooo

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?

pixote

Oops, i was reading the previous verdict (LK v AoI) and just hit reply not realizing there were other posts to read.  The Boooooo is in reference to that (and the continuing Wynona hating).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 14, 2008, 05:15:45 PM
The Usual Suspects

Synopsis: Thugs blow up.

Because of other threads, I’ve noticed that gay artists dominate the top spots in my Last FM.  I don’t want to be defined by my sexuality.  Certainly I want people to know about it, but I also want them to know about my supposed wit and wisdom.  Or at least think I’m cute.

And if there were ever to be a Bryan Singer movie that I didn’t like, this would have been it.  It’s got guns.  It’s about a bunch of thugs.  It’s a crime movie.  It’s a cult movie.  It’s got a twist ending.  I didn’t really love it that much the first time.

I was going to say that because my first viewing was long ago, I discovered new things.  That’s not really true.  What’s more true is that in spite of knowing where the movie was going, I still enjoyed it.  For instance, early in the movie the movie was offered Gabriel Byrne as Keyser Soze.  I should have been turned off or bored by knowing that.  On the contrary, I admired how well it offered him as a red herring.  It was subtle.  In spite of knowing the outcome, I was still confused.  And that’s a thrilling experience: to not know what’s going on and CARING about not knowing what’s going on.

Due to Adam’s obsession with auteur v. hack arguments, I was also looking to judge Singer for mediocre visuals.  There was nothing really, really thrilling with the visuals, but there were a few instances of really great framing and camera movements. Singer or his DOP could have just been copying better people.  However, in this case, I’ll say, “So what?”  It takes a certain amount of artistry to know from whom to steal and when.  There is a consistent level of better-than-average to excellent visual story-telling.  It was a better experience than Heat, where there were beautiful shots mixed in with really, really distracting bad shots.

In the end, I was disappointed.  Disappointed that I loved The Usual Suspects.  I guess I can still be contrarian by not seeing what the big deal is with Donnie Darko.  And I still have Apt Pupil to hate.

Babe: Pig in the City


Synopsis: Talking Pig Has More Adventures

A bad movie made worse by a promise of something better.  The first Babe offered an Animal Farm-like (and -lite) comment on society.  I thought for sure that this one would also tackle larger issues.  It seemed like there were times when it wanted to go in that direction:

The opening farmer’s accident – I really thought the movie would be daring enough to kill off James Cromwell.  That would’ve given Babe something substantial to deal with.

The city – If the farm was allegorical, a stand-in for society in the original, what would the city stand for?  With the excellent set design, I thought that the movie would take that on.  Nope.

The homeless animals – There was a period of ten minutes when the movie was about to say something about communism and authoritarian rule.  Then it devolved into an action scene that lasted way too long.

The movie was content to be series of unconnected, muddled, silly set pieces.  A friend of mine who saw it way back when, said that it was deeply disturbing.  If only it had had the balls to be deeply disturbing.

This one's easy.  The Usual Suspects goes on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 14, 2008, 05:25:59 PM
Boooooooooo

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?

pixote

Oops, i was reading the previous verdict (LK v AoI) and just hit reply not realizing there were other posts to read.  The Boooooo is in reference to that (and the continuing Wynona hating).


Ok, to respond to the "booooooo" which is a response to my review of The Lion King and Age Of Innocence.....oh.

I stand by my call. Can't add too much to what you've said, though I've got nothing against Wynona Ryder, and her performance in this is admirable. But it isn't easy to pull off a study of the minutiae of human emotion suppressed by society, and Scorsese doesn't succeed this time.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on June 14, 2008, 05:56:27 PM


Babe: Pig in the City


Synopsis: Talking Pig Has More Adventures

A bad movie made worse by a promise of something better.  The first Babe offered an Animal Farm-like (and -lite) comment on society.  I thought for sure that this one would also tackle larger issues. 

i reckon someone will step up to the plate for this one, face?  i have an awful memory and i only have the memory-sense that Pig in the City did tackle larger issues, but i'd have to give it a fresh look, i'd be surprised if my positive feelings for it are based on anything other than that.  either way, it seems that i have been in just the right mood lately for this peach :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 14, 2008, 06:22:02 PM
Jon, you missed my point.  If it did tackle larger issues, it didn't have the balls to see it through to completion.  An example: there's a really, really compelling scene of Babe - the guy with good intentions, backed by the pit bull - the authoritarian, handing out jelly beans to homeless pets in a line, while another authority figure stands in the shadows not comfortable with how things are going down.  The scene is completely abandoned and interrupted with an ridiculous too-long action sequence.  The consequences of that compelling scene are never revisited.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on June 14, 2008, 06:27:13 PM
gotcha.  but i think my adoring memory also suggests that i wasn't disappointed by a lackluster take-up of issues, i just don't remember the damn thing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 15, 2008, 05:13:32 PM
The 80th completed matchup in this bracket pits two oddly similar films against each other.  One serves as prequel to a tv series, made after the fact; and the other feels a lot like a tv pilot that never was.  Both explore the dark underside beneath seemingly idyllic surfaces, whether in suburbia or in a smaller, more remote town.  And both are very, very concerned with the breasts of teenage girls.  Fancy that.

(http://i31.tinypic.com/2f090rq.jpg)
American Beauty  (Sam Mendes, 1999)

I'd seen this once before and, when it was over, I turned to my friend and said with surprise, "Huh, I didn't hate that."  That reaction pretty well sums up my latest viewing as well.  I mean, all the pieces are in place for an insufferable film.  Thematically, it's very generic (zomg! these shiny happy people aren't necessarily so!), the characters all flirt with caricature, the symbolism teeters on the brink of banality, and the basic narrative doesn't offer a whole lot of surprises.  The saving grace, though, is the execution, which itself is rarely spectacular, but just strong enough to let the movie work as a pleasant diversion and not an exercise in tedium.

Kevin Spacey is solid here, at his best when his character gets to act out (certain scenes had me wanting to watch The Ref again tonight); but in the softer moments — especially when he plays tender — he gets boring.  Annette Bening has the less interesting, less well written role to work with; she's good at playing with the plastic side of her character, but she never comes close to making the role feel real or worth caring about.  Conrad Hall's photography is adequate, I guess, but I'm still mad that the Academy gave him the Oscar over Robert Richardson's work for Snow Falling on Cedars, so I'm hardly a fair judge.  The editing is not very good at all, and a couple attempts at using overlapping edits were kind of sad, but, hey, at least those guys didn't win the Oscars they were nominated for (thanks to The Matrix).  Mendes doesn't take many chances in his direction, and that's probably for the best, as, really, this film lives and dies with Alan Ball's screenplay.  The writing isn't nearly as funny as incisive as I remembered (okay, 'incisive' was always too strong a word), but there's definitely some satisfying dialogue, a good sense of pace, and what I guess is a rather commendable job of mainstreaming an arthouse story.  Plus, I laughed pretty good at Spacey's line "Well, actually, Janine is senior drive-thru manager, so you kind of are on her turf."  So points for that.

(http://i31.tinypic.com/30uy6o6.jpg)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me  (David Lynch, 1992)

I watched the entire Twin Peaks television series for the first time in preparation for this matchup, and really enjoyed and admired the bulk of the first seventeen or so episodes (basically, the "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" storyline).  As for the last twelve or so episodes, well, I didn't hate them, but they really didn't do much for me either.  Whenever things stayed centered on Kyle MacLachlan's character (FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper) or whenever things tended towards the surreal, I loved it.  On the other hand, there were a fair number of subplots I could have done without, especially those with aspirations of being over-the-top kooky.  At times, the show's sense of tone reminded me of Family Guy's sense of humor; you get the sense that the writers have no real idea what works and what doesn't, so they just try everything and hope something hits.

Anyway, going into Fire Walk with Me, I avoided learning anything about it, not even which cast members would make appearances, or what storyline it would follow, or if it was a prequel or a continuation or something entirely new; I did eventually see that Laura Palmer was on the cover of the DVD, and that seemed like a good sign.  And as the opening credits unfolded, I actually clapped a bit (briefly, before feeling embarrassed for having done so) when Miguel Ferrer's name appeared.  But then, we got to the "M"s, and there was no mention of MacLachlan, and I got a little scared, but they were just saving him for last, which was a huge relief, and I was now psyched for this movie, and here we go...

Okay, so, um, have you ever watched a dvd that included a ton of deleted scenes in the special features and since you liked the movie you eagerly hit "Play All" to see all the extra stuff?  But then, after each deleted was over, your reaction was one of two things, either the more mild "I can see why they cut that" or the more severe "Oh my god, thank god they cut that!"  Well, that's what watching Fire Walk with Me was like for me.  Not right away, though.  We start off following two new characters, FBI agents played by Keifer Sutherland and Chris Isaak, and things are passable but still rather disappointing.  Then those two disappear (literally in one case), and we get a few teasing moments with MacLachlan's character.  Finally we move into the heart of the movie, which concerns Laura Palmer and the events in her life in the week leading up to her murder ... and that's where the movie's real problems begin.

First of all, Sheryl Lee gives what I can only assume is the worst lead acting performance in this entire bracket.  Glancing at metacritic (http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/twinpeaksfirewalkwithme) (where this film appropriately scores a 28), I was shocked to see that some critics singled her out for praise.  Time: "Lynch ... elicits a nicely horrifying turn from Lee.  TV Guide: "... it is Lee who keeps the film centered, with a harrowing but poignantly sympathetic portrait of a woman's descent into horror and madness."  These people are lying to you.  She's horrible.  Only Eric DaRe (as Leo) makes her look good by comparison, but keep in mind that he's such an awful actor they turned him into a vegetable halfway through the show just to keep him from having any more lines.

But that's by no means the biggest problem here.  Mainly it's just that all this backstory isn't really that interesting.  The movie forgoes almost all the charm of the series and instead spends its time exploring the more lurid aspects of the story (boobies! drugs! boobies! oh my!).  It's all very joyless, and I don't really want to think that more about it, honestly.  Halfway through, I was prepared to chalk the film up to a disappointment.  But by the end, I had to admit that it was more than that.  I hated this movie.

Verdict:  American Beauty, damned with faint praise, easily moves on over Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, just plain damned.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 15, 2008, 05:17:50 PM
wow, 3 in a row I actually agree with!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 15, 2008, 05:36:12 PM
I guess it's no surprise that those last few films we voted into the bracket — everyone's "one film to save" — aren't faring too well.  Twin Peaks' defeat brings the record of those movies to 4-15.  The four to advance so far are Affliction, Eyes Wide Shut, Little Women, and The Limey.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on June 15, 2008, 05:52:53 PM
Glad to see The Limey getting some love. :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 15, 2008, 09:53:53 PM
Hey, I'm just glad someone turned one in.
I think you can expect at least five more between now and the end of the weekend, including mine.
Nice, we're just one verdict from making good on this expectation.  There's still time!

Assuming this response isn't just because you hate Truman Show ... can you try to sell me on seeing Dogfight?
(http://www.xfamily.org/images/thumb/3/38/RiverPhoenix1.jpg/210px-RiverPhoenix1.jpg)
You are very persuasive.  Well played.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: J5er on June 16, 2008, 01:43:23 AM
Joe vs. the Volcano vs. Ed Wood

Joe vs. the Volcano

I had no idea that this film existed before I got assigned it for the bracket.  With its title, I totally expected some cheese kung fu film or something.  So I start it up, and to my surprise it's a randomly charming Tom Hanks movie.  I had a difficult time believing this was a 90s film, because it seemed so incredibly dated, but then I realized that the 90s were a long time ago.  I don't know if this film really rose above a cute feel-good movie, but it was good for what it was.  Meg Ryan was adorable in dual roles, and Tom Hanks had his usual charm turned on, which makes most any film fun, no matter how small the scale.

Ed Wood
What a grand film.  I am so glad this bracket finally forced me to see this film.  I was shocked by how much I loved this film.  Everything was perfect about it.  The black and white perfectly fit the feel of the era Burton was going for.  Johnny Depp is perfectly creepy as the idiosyncratic Ed Wood. The supporting cast is all around fun.  I love when a film about making movies so perfectly captures a love of film.  I love the way each character is introduced and sucked into Wood's crazy little world.  I also was once again sucked in by Burton's efficient filmmaking, I think he tells these odd/slightly creepy stories really well.

Verdict
Ed Wood is a superior film in all levels.  Its ambitions are so much higher and it achieves those ambitions well.  Joe vs. the Volcano is charming, but it really doesn't deserve to be compared on the same scale as Ed WoodEd Wood moves on. (Best of luck to it! )

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on June 16, 2008, 07:14:41 PM
A League of Their Own vs. Toy Story 2

Sorry all, I don't have much to say here. In theory, a movie about the role of women in American society during World War II would be more interesting than one about toys, but while the latter is witty and creative and moving and all-around immensely enjoyable, the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is reduced to over-sentimental schlock. I'll take the toys.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on June 16, 2008, 10:17:12 PM
Passion Fish vs Leaving Las Vegas

The Battle of the Alcoholics!

Passion Fish
This is a film about a female soap star, Mary Alice (Mary McDonnell), that is in a car accident and becomes crippled from the waist down. She decides to move back to her small home in Louisana where she begins to drink rather than rehabilitate and goes through caretakers just as fast as the wine bottles. Mary Alice finally has Chantelle (Alfre Woodard) as a caretaker that is just as determined to keep this job as Mary Alice is to drink and watch TV. We learn some back story of Chantelle and the two women bond and help each other.

I really enjoyed the supporting cast of this film much more than the main two leads. David Strathairn as the boy Mary Alice used to have a crush on that remained in the bayou is excellent. Nora Dunn plays her old high school "friend" and, unfortunately I cannot recall the characters name, but Mary Alice's replacement on the show tells a great story of her first role in a film. The two leads however seem very "made for tv" and didn't impress me.

Leaving Las Vegas
Ben (Nic Cage) is an alcoholic that writes scripts part-time. He loses his job, destroys all his possessions, and moves to Vegas to drink himself to death. There he meets Sera (Elizabeth Shue), a prostitute that he just wants to spend the night with. Sera falls for Ben because I believe he's the first person to treat her like a real human being. She attempts to take him in and care for him but not getting in the way of his drinking. This becomes quite difficult and their relationship is tested.

This was a very dark film that really drew me in. The acting by Shue and Cage is much superior to McDonnell and Woodard. I found myself enthralled wondering how Sera could fall for a man like Ben, but also seeing Ben isn't the worst guy in the world, he just has a drinking problem. An interesting "love story" and I think Sera proves to be a better caretaker than Chantelle ever could have been.

One of my main problems with the film was the music. I'm not sure if there was a low budget but there were pretty much two songs in this film, one by Sting and another by Michael McDonald. After hearing both of them for the third time I was ready to watch the film on mute with subtitles on. The other is the movement from one scene to the next. We'll watch a scene where Sera bends over to have her pimp cut her skin as punishment for not bringing in a decent amount of money, and then cut to jovial jazz music and Ben attempting to pawn a watch. It was very odd.

So to compare both films, I liked that Passion Fish had a great cast of characters, unfortunately the main two weren't them. Leaving Las Vegas may need some work in the editing and sound departments, but the acting and story were so top notch that the drunk and the hooker move on. Leaving Las Vegas wins.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 16, 2008, 10:31:05 PM
And another one of my 'fight for' films bites the dust.

"I did not ask for the anal probe."  Oh, yes you did, wolverine.  Yes you did.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on June 16, 2008, 10:32:28 PM
Such bad luck you have, pixote.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 16, 2008, 10:35:54 PM
Such bad luck you have, pixote.

Or bad taste?  :-\

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on June 16, 2008, 10:45:01 PM
Haha. No! I did NOT ask for the anal probe. I wrote in my review that that was one of my favorite scenes, but as a whole I don't think the film held up.

I'm sorry pixote. I'll make you some gumbo as a consolation dish.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on June 17, 2008, 12:23:43 PM
Fearless (1993)
Directed by Peter Weir

Fearless tells the story of a man, Max (Jeff Bridges), who survives a horrendous plane crash.  This radically changes his personality as he develops a sense of invulnerability.  His wife, (Isabella Rosselini) struggles to keep her family together and to deal with her husband's new view on life.  Max then befriends another crash victim, Carla (Rosie Perez), whose baby was killed in the crash.  Max tries to help Carla deal with the grief she has experienced by the loss of her child.

First of all, I felt that the plane crash at the beginning of the film was extremely effective. The way it was shot showed both the devastation of the crash and the new found serenity that Max was feeling.  I have always been a fan of Jeff Bridges and here is no exception.  Isabella Rosselini, for me, was such an intricate part of this film.  She is both strong and vulnerable at the same time, and she really impressed me.  The main point of contention I have with this film is Rosie Perez. I have never liked her, and although she isn't as distracting in this film as most other ones I have seen her in, she completely took me out of the story.  Which is bad, because she is in most of the second half of the film.  I ultimately like the ending, even though I found it slightly predictable, I thought it was shot beautifully.

Big Night (1996)
Directed by Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci

Big Night
tells the story of two Italian brothers, Primo (Tony Shaloub) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci), whose authentic Italian restaurant is failing and being out competed by an Italian restaurant down the street run by Pascal (Ian Holm), who is serving "americanized" Italian food.  With the promise of a visit from a famous jazz musician, Louis Prima, the brothers throw all that they have in to saving the restaurant with this one "Big Night."

This film was delightful to watch.  The interaction between Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci is great, and Tony Shaloub is particularly convincing as the chef of the restaurant (Tucci runs the front of the house), staying pure to his Italian roots, and insisting that it is the customer's problem if they aren't satisfied with his food.  I didn't care for Ian Holm's portrayal of the other Italian restauranteur, and I found him particularly unconvincing. Also,  I felt like he was over acting.  The small supporting roles played by Minnie Driver, Isabella Rosselini, Allison Janey, and Campbell Scott were all well acted. 

The direction by Scott and Tucci was competent and pretty pedestrian throughout most of the film, but I love the way they shot the preparation of the food, and the service of the big meal. (Yes, it made me very hungry.)  The party scenes of the dinner were also fun to watch.  There is also one long take at the end of the film where Tucci is making some eggs, which is very nice.  The camera just lingers on him cooking and setting out plates, etc. The music played throughout the film was also a lot of fun. I think this is a very sweet, simple story.

This was a tough decision.  I ultimately like both films, but I think I have to put Big Night through to the next round, because it is a film that I would watch again as well as recommend to friends.  Although I am glad I watched Fearless, I don't know if I would do the same as in the case with Big Night
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 17, 2008, 12:27:35 PM
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on June 17, 2008, 12:28:03 PM
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pixote

I knew it!  I am sorry  :-\. Don't hate me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 17, 2008, 12:30:42 PM
Fearless used to be one of my favorite films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on June 17, 2008, 12:35:50 PM
Fearless used to be one of my favorite films.

What happened?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 17, 2008, 12:37:41 PM
I read the book.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on June 17, 2008, 12:54:22 PM
I read the book.

I'll try not to do that then :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on June 17, 2008, 01:28:12 PM
Woohoo!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 17, 2008, 01:55:53 PM
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pixote

I knew it!  I am sorry  :-\. Don't hate me.

  Are you kidding me?
  Excellent choice Sarah!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on June 17, 2008, 01:56:56 PM
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pixote

I knew it!  I am sorry  :-\. Don't hate me.

  Are you kidding me?
  Excellent choice Sarah!

Thanks Marty!  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 17, 2008, 02:09:08 PM
Woohoo!

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I knew it!  I am sorry  :-\. Don't hate me.
  Are you kidding me?
  Excellent choice Sarah!

I can only assume you two have never seen the other film.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on June 17, 2008, 02:23:35 PM
pix, so sorry (but kinda funny, in a sad way).  i will say it looks like it would have been a fun pair to watch, haven't seen either since they were initially released.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on June 17, 2008, 02:35:02 PM

I can only assume you two have never seen the other film.

pixote

I saw the first half of it 15 or so years ago.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 17, 2008, 03:09:46 PM
I saw it but:

1. I hate Rosie Perez - her voice is grating.
2. I am an old retaurant person and I believe in the connecting power of food and how it heals.

It's (The Big Night) a better movie in my opinion...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 17, 2008, 03:11:03 PM
Fair enough.  I'm just having fun.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on June 17, 2008, 03:51:09 PM
If it's any consolation, Fearless looks awesome. Definitely checking it out.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 17, 2008, 04:50:01 PM
Try to get it in widescreen. I'm convinced that's the reason it failed here.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on June 17, 2008, 05:47:53 PM
Try to get it in widescreen. I'm convinced that's the reason it failed here.

Keep telling yourself that Tequila  ;)

If it's any consolation, Fearless looks awesome. Definitely checking it out.

You should, it is definitely worth watching.  I liked both films.

I saw it but:

1. I hate Rosie Perez - her voice is grating.
2. I am an old retaurant person and I believe in the connecting power of food and how it heals.

It's (The Big Night) a better movie in my opinion...

Agreed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 18, 2008, 01:14:07 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, get your crackers and wine cuz tonight we have cheese!

When prejudging a campy cheesefest you look at the actors and one name rises above all others – Bruce Almighty!!! (or Campbell).  However can the power of one measure up to a mélange of TV rejects including Caper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Patrick Muldoon, Rue McClanahan, NPH and …Michael Ironsides!!  (Oh… and they’re all playing Brazilians)

Army of Darkness is actually the 3rd in the Evil Dead series but after a quick intro that rarely becomes a hindrance to the film standing on its own.  Bruce works so well in these rolls because he has no compunction with selling the drama – despite the fact that he’s in a comedy.  Utterly without shame and hamming it up like a veteran soap star (with looks to match), Campbell is this film.  Without him it is just a student flick with outdated effects.  With him it’s an endearing hilarious romp with one liners Ahnuld would be proud of.  This is however its main problem.  Despite BC this is a flawed film; it looks bad (despite some great camera work from Sam Rami’s early period).  The stop motion, wide shots with obvious dummies and visible people inside masks on close-up all scream cheap tricks.  Really I think Rami just wanted to have one last bit of fun with his old friends on a big studio’s dime and for the most part that’s what the viewer sees as well – with all its pros and cons.

Starship Troopers on the other hand takes its name from the Hugo winning novel by Robert Heinlein but really owes little to no debt to that predecessor if reports on its production are to be believed (note: never read the book).  Troopers is set 1100 years from the middle ages of Army in a militarized future in which high-schoolers look like 30 year olds and the human race is being attacked by intergalactic bug semen.  Here it’s Michael Ironsides (ironic that he is so often an amputee) that shines as he scowls, hollers and makes you believe in this intense on-screen war despite director Paul Verhoeven’s constant undercutting.  The rest of the cast is vacillates between campy fun and badly annoying but this isn’t really a character based film… nor is it a plot based one as it’s little more than a standard teen romance (obviously the actors are better at these parts than the war ones – 90% of them were on 90210 or Saved By the Bell).  What PV does here is to use these very familiar avenues and slick visual FX to create a full on modern satire for the MTV generation.  And this is why it moves on to round 2.

Yep, I was relishing avoiding serious art films in this match-up but only one allowed me to do that.  Troopers has larger ambitions than Army and even masked the way it is Verhoeven gives us a strong social satire with even greater relevance 10 years on… and a camped up whiz-bang thrill ride at the same time.  This is 90’s pop culture at its best.

(note 2: I did own ST on DVD but had not watched it in more than 5 years and that is still the case with the disc.  I like it better than before)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 18, 2008, 01:17:56 AM
Ah, finally a verdict I can ready and enjoy without all that anxiety (I haven't seen either film).  Thanks, Keith!  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 18, 2008, 07:12:44 AM
Starship Troopers is not a satire.  There's no intention to its badness.  It's awful, plain and simple.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on June 18, 2008, 07:18:34 AM
No it's not. It's just not better than Army of Darkness.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 18, 2008, 08:05:57 AM
Starship Troopers is not a satire.  There's no intention to it's badness.  It's awful, plain and simple.

  You are so wrong - ST is a truly great science fiction movie coupled with stinging social satire all the while loaded with great camp. Get with it citizen!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 18, 2008, 08:57:02 AM
The only good part of Starship Troopers was the ass double for Casper. The rest of it made me want kick old ladies.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 18, 2008, 09:12:35 AM
I liked Dina Meyers naked...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 18, 2008, 10:52:54 AM
This is Verhoeven... there is always intention to his badness (but can someone explain it to me re: Hollow Man?)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 18, 2008, 11:56:10 AM
After thinking about it for a while, you might be onto something.

Thinking about my qualities of camp:

1) A deep, sincere vision with intent to create something on the grandest of scales.
2) Matched by an equally grand failure in execution.
3) A queer sensibility.

I think you have the first two with Starship Troopers, but it's missing the queer sensibilities.  So, I'd classify Starship Troopers with Total Recall as Camp for Straighties.  And that may be the reason that I loathe it with all of my being.  I don't like what rightfully belongs to us being co-opted.  It's like being shoved out of our gayborhoods by gentrification.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 18, 2008, 12:41:11 PM
After thinking about it for a while, you might be onto something.

Thinking about my qualities of camp:

1) A deep, sincere vision with intent to create something on the grandest of scales.
2) Matched by an equally grand failure in execution.
3) A queer sensibility.

I think you have the first two with Starship Troopers, but it's missing the queer sensibilities.  So, I'd classify Starship Troopers with Total Recall as Camp for Straighties.  And that may be the reason that I loathe it with all of my being.  I don't like what rightfully belongs to us being co-opted.  It's like being shoved out of our gayborhoods by gentrification.



  But couldn't you almost paint Van Diem's and Meyer's relationship as that twisted sort of fag/hag relationship - unrequited until he's drunk then instead of forcing her into hag exile, Verhoeven just kills her.
  I thought some of the shower scenes exhibited some queer sensibilities not to mention the whipping scene (dungeons, leatherboys anyone?)...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 18, 2008, 12:47:43 PM
Anything remotely queer about Starship Troopers gets negated by Ironsides.  He emits a phermone that acts as an Anti-Queer.

Try this as a social experiment.  Put Ironsides in the middle of P-town on Labor Day.  Four hours later all the boiz will be looking for a lawn to mow, a dart to throw, an eight-point buck to shoot, or a beer to swig.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 18, 2008, 12:53:16 PM
Anything remotely queer about Starship Troopers gets negated by Ironsides.  He emits a phermone that acts as an Anti-Queer.

Try this as a social experiment.  Put Ironsides in the middle of P-town on Labor Day.  Four hours later all the boiz will be looking for a lawn to mow, a dart to throw, an eight-point buck to shoot, or a beer to swig.
There's P-town ... and then there's Top Gun.

(http://i29.tinypic.com/4g0j7a.jpg)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 18, 2008, 01:26:03 PM
Anything remotely queer about Starship Troopers gets negated by Ironsides.  He emits a phermone that acts as an Anti-Queer.

Try this as a social experiment.  Put Ironsides in the middle of P-town on Labor Day.  Four hours later all the boiz will be looking for a lawn to mow, a dart to throw, an eight-point buck to shoot, or a beer to swig.

  Thanks for making me laugh out loud then try and explain it to my co-workers...

  Butt then - Ironsides did star in (as Pix has shown) Top Gun - a movie so gay that I thought Meg Ryan was a trannie for yrs (and I still think Kelli McGillis, with that voice, might be one). He had a hot and steammy line in the showers and I thought his eyes were straying south as he ordered the young cubs, Goose and Mav, up to big bear Viper's office for their "discipline"...cuz they went below the "hard deck"....
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 18, 2008, 01:32:34 PM
Would they be mowing the lawn in jean short cut offs?  If so then I think its not all straight & narrow.

Seriously though the ultra po-mo 90's were a time when camp finally got a "Big Tent" after being relegated to a gay and urban sophisticate population for the most of the century (like the republicans & their Log Cabin black sheep).  Susan Sontag said "You can't do camp on purpose," yet John Waters & Rocky Horror proved you could and as Gen-X embraced irony, camp followed as a logical outcropping.  Of course this reversed the roles in that as the straight kids were all accepting, sensitive and hipster/metro.  PV goes and fires off an ultra militaristic yarn with ideas of valor and social responsibility when nothing meant nothing - at the beginning of the film in class Ironsides talks about how all the liberals of their past had let the human race fall like the roman empire into a state of decadence and that "the patriarchs" (or something like that) has wrested control of the nation states and imposed rigid military discipline on the populous creating the harmonious time in which they lived. Of course since then the pendulum has swung the other way.  

I never considered the fact that "Camp for Straighties" would offend a gay man but since that is exactly what camp is supposed to do (offend the status quo, which is in opposition in this particular theater to the "status quo") I rate it even higher!!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on June 18, 2008, 01:36:36 PM
See _Keith_, if you want to engage in thoughtful conversation with someone, you're going to have to look somewhere else. 'Cuz all I read in your post was, "blah, blah, blah, boring, boring, boring, John Waters, blah, blah, blah, Gen-X, blobbidy, blobbidy, blah."
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 18, 2008, 01:40:38 PM
 ;D exactly the response I was expecting.  I have no problems pontificating to enlarge my post count... I mean it beats whoring right?

(oh and I know you also read cut off jean shorts)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on June 18, 2008, 02:20:20 PM
Anything remotely queer about Starship Troopers gets negated by Ironsides.  He emits a phermone that acts as an Anti-Queer.

Try this as a social experiment.  Put Ironsides in the middle of P-town on Labor Day.  Four hours later all the boiz will be looking for a lawn to mow, a dart to throw, an eight-point buck to shoot, or a beer to swig.
There's P-town ... and then there's Top Gun.

(http://i29.tinypic.com/4g0j7a.jpg)

pixote


Yee haw, Jester's dead!  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 22, 2008, 11:43:25 AM
Trekkies VS Happiness


Trekkies

This documentary film by Roger Nygard about the lives of uber geeks who eat, breathe and sleep Star Trek was a surprising upbeat breath of fresh air. I have never been one to understand the devotion required to learn Klingon or to write a homoerotic story of Captain Kirk and Mr Spock, but I do understand the love that is obvious between the fans and the actors/creators of this franchise. I fully expected to find these people pathetic and in need of a life, but instead, what I found was a wonderful give and take between them. There is a real love and appreciation for the obsessions that these Trekkies/Trekkers bring to the table - even more important - there is a lot of respect flowing between both groups. I found James Doohan's particular story of his interaction with a suicidal fan powerful and moving. While it might not be for me - these people have created a real community - and shelter in the storm perhaps as (unfortunately) a lot of them would have a difficult time finding acceptance out there in the "normal" world.
Technically - this doc was nothing special - a series of talking heads and slice of life vignettes of the fans interspersed with the same of the creators/actors. Hosted by Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar of The Next Generation), it's strength lies in its message and the very sympathetic portrayal of some very odd people.

Happiness

Happiness, by Todd Solondz, is a narrative film that follows the lives of 3 sisters and people around them. In short, Solondz creates no truly redeeming characters and brings up some unsettling subject matter- among them child molestation, murder, rape, loneliness, despair...the list goes on. In the midst of all this - Solondz creates some darkly comic moments but through it all - I was never quite comfortable laughing. The performances are deep and layered and quite good, especially Dylan Baker as the child molesting, pedophile therapist and Jane Adams as one of the sisters who is NEVER lucky in love.
For me, this film brought to mind the deep sumptuous colors of Douglas Sirk and also Sirk's twisted vision of suburban america - all is not well out here in what is supposed to be the safe and secure suburbs of New Jersey - danger, unhappiness, loneliness lurk just around the corner, preying even on the little children. No one seems to find any closure or moves any closer to the happiness seemingly promised in the title. Solondz seems to enjoy dumping more and more pain on his characters who never look to fight back at their circumstances - they take whatever comes their way.


I know for most of you, this seems like a slam dunk, an easy choice - Happiness is a film geek's dream - it's darkly disturbing, it has a lush look and great performances but it's also unapologetic and cavalier with some very dark material. It made me uncomfortable and I am pretty sure that's what Solondz's intention was.
Trekkies made me feel good. It gave me hope where Happiness took it away and I spent a good portion of last night before I went to sleep and this morning when I awoke wondering how I was going to justify sending such a downer of a film on to the next round when my heart was with the documentary about the geeks but in the end - the choice is obvious - Happiness's twisted vision unfortunately will stay with me longer than the inspiring hopefulness that is Trekkies and that makes it the better film (not my favorite between them) and so it is with a heavy heart that I send Happiness on to the next round.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on June 22, 2008, 01:02:57 PM
Terrific writeup, marty.  You actually made me want to watch Trekkies again, despite my having previously been sure that once was enough.  I've never seen Happiness, but I think I can understand your choice.  Despite some good content, the Star Trek documentary feels more like a DVD supplement than a stand-alone film (that's how I remember it anyway).  And, as a supplement, it's quite good, but compared to all the craft that (presumably) went into Happiness, the hosted presentation of a series of talking heads starts to seem a little artless.

Anyway, your verdict was a good read and a nice surprise to start the day.  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on June 22, 2008, 07:26:49 PM
I don't ever want to watch Happiness again. So I say leave it behind!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on June 22, 2008, 07:28:36 PM
It's a great film but I agree with the "I don't really want to see it again" sentiment.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 22, 2008, 07:41:30 PM
I don't ever want to watch Happiness again. So I say leave it behind!


It's a great film but I agree with the "I don't really want to see it again" sentiment.

  And I agree totally - this was a hard choice for me and right up until I typed the words, I didn't know what I was going to choose. But sometimes how good a film isn't defined by how good it makes you feel but rather how strongly it makes you feel and this one made me feel pretty CINECASTIN' strong... :(

  I'll never watch it again - but it will stay with me for quite some time.
  The scene where Dylan Baker's character is explaining to his son about what he did and what he would have done to his son was beyond disturbing. It was like if the spider got to talk to the fly before he invited him into his web and was upfront about what was going to happen - pure predator.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on June 22, 2008, 11:39:38 PM
You should wait a year or so and watch it again - the dark humor comes across much better (ok watch it the second time with a friend who has already seen it and after a few drinks... its a riot, though you may feel bad about laughing in the morning)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on June 23, 2008, 02:52:28 AM
I have zero interest in anything Solondz.  Life's too short.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on June 26, 2008, 09:46:30 PM
Keith, you made the wrong decision, but I won't hold it against you because of your previous fantastic decision.

Marty:

(http://i29.tinypic.com/f3hop3.jpg)

though Trekkies is good.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on June 27, 2008, 12:29:15 AM
Oy - that was a tough call...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on July 01, 2008, 11:50:04 PM
Edward Scissorhands vs. Shakespeare in Love

Equally reluctant about both of these films, it obviously took me a while to complete this match-up. Apologies for that.  Schissorhands is a film I had seen half of under less than ideal conditions, and Burton has never truly impressed me. Shakespeare in Love earned my misgivings when my foolish history teacher praised it incessantly, along with Forrest Gump.  Regardless, I've now seen them both, and here are my thoughts:

A friend of a friend summed up Schissorhands best in a manner similar to the following, "Yeah, it's got its flaws, but everything with Depp and the hands is pure magic." This is true. Depp is a completely captivating performer, and this role was constructed for him. On that note, the concept of this film is just perfect for Burton, and the result is a tonally perfect delight. It's whimsical, dark, comical, and heartbreaking all at once, and most of this is attributable to Depp, the direction, and the score.

Its faults are few but noticeable, particularly the scenes with the inventor (Take that, Ratigan!). I felt like at least one or two of these were missing, and, as a result, those that were included felt kinda... cold, which is how I feared the whole film would be. So yeah, those are out of place, and other than that, the depiction of suburbia isn't really anything new, but it works reasonably well as the 'strange land' for our 'stranger'.

Beyond the aforementioned history teacher, I had plenty to blame for my predicted dislike of Shakespeare in Love (Sparknotes, for one. My prior viewing of George Lucas in Love (http://laughingsquid.com/george-lucas-in-love/), for another.), but, nonetheless, I was prepared to be swept away. Plenty of actors I love (Tom Wilkinson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush), a recent excitement about period pieces, and some mild appreciation for Shakespeare's talent all had me ready for a good time.

At first, I was along for the ride. A few witty remarks here and there was enough to sustain my interest, along with Paltrow's 'bosom'. Plus, all the things I mentioned above were genuinely fulfilled by most of the film. Also, to my surprise, I totally bought the William-Viola romance, and was almost emotionally involved in it for a while. The need for a love triangle, involving a facially hairy woman, at that, was mostly lost on me, though I think I understood its relation to Shakespeare's oeuvre and era.

By the end, when it was time to actually put on the show, I started to wonder how the film had expanded upon its premise. Ultimately, besides some clever dialogue, a few subtle literary references, and an occasionally engaging love story, it really didn't. That's not good enough, I'm afraid, to best the magical journey of Edward Scissorhands.


Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 01, 2008, 11:52:07 PM
Excellent choice my friend....nice write up.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on July 01, 2008, 11:56:09 PM
Thanks. One thing I want to add...

The reason I mentioned George Lucas in Love is that I really feel like it is superiorly executed, largely because the concept of both is better suited for a short rather than a feature-length film. Hopefully that's something I touched on there towards the end.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 01, 2008, 11:56:32 PM
(http://i31.tinypic.com/iemaza.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 01, 2008, 11:57:36 PM
I, too, think you made the right choice, Basil.

(Sorry, no cool stamp of approval though.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 09, 2008, 09:59:03 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 09, 2008, 10:04:46 PM
I just have images of a muscled, tattoed Ed Norton stomping the sh*t out of Forest Gump...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 09, 2008, 10:11:42 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump
Am I missing something here?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 09, 2008, 10:22:12 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump
I just have images of a muscled, tattoed Ed Norton stomping the sh*t out of Forest Gump...

  There you go - write up complete. :P
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 09, 2008, 10:23:08 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump
Am I missing something here?

i am having trouble coming to terms with my current leaning
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 09, 2008, 10:29:49 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump
Am I missing something here?

i am having trouble coming to terms with my current leaning
With decent explanation, I may give you a stamp of approval either way.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on July 10, 2008, 05:32:08 AM
City of Hope
vs.
Wayne's World


(is this the new format? certainly a lot easier on the old keyboard :))
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on July 10, 2008, 11:01:20 AM
What's eating Gilbert Grape (Lasse Hallstron, 1993)
vs.
The Game (David Fincher, 1997)

I had watched and liked both these film years ago and I knew going in that the decision wouldn't be easy. What I didn't realize at the time is how good a pairing this would turn out to be. I felt like both these films explore the same basic central theme - the feeling of being trapped in a situation from which you see no escape. In one film, we have Gilbert Grape stuck in Endora, Iowa in a completely dysfunctional albeit close-knit family. In the other we have Nicholas van Orton trapped in his gated San Francisco mansion with no real connection to his family. The two protagonists, one whose current ties are too strong to let him break free and another whose utter lack of human connection has him trapped in a empty albeit plush void, provide a nice contrast to one another.

I found very few flaws in Whats eating Gilbert Grape. The characters are all human and flawed in their own ways. The performances are excellent - Johnny Depp is magical and the rest of the cast is amazing as well. Leonardo di Caprio is very endearing as Arnie and a special shoutout to Darlene Cates who plays Gilbert's mom. Depp and Juliette Lewis share great chemistry and overall the movie really worked for me. The movie works especially well in its creation of small moments - Gilbert's betrayal of his ex-boss by visiting Foodland, the interactions between Gilbert and his mom. Overall, the movie ends up being really engrossing and moving.


It's relatively easy to criticize The Game for its gaping plotholes and the utter suspension of disbelief it requires from the viewer. Despite all that, I love mindbenders and puzzles and got drawn pretty easily into Fincher's dreamlike world. The movie is stylish and really clever in parts and like a fun amusement park ride, it keeps throwing the viewer into unexpected dizzying loops. What spoilt the movie for me was the utter lack of payoff in the end. It feels like there hasn't even been a rudimentary attempt at tying the threads together to give the movie some semblance of coherence. Overall, the movie doesn't really stand up to repeat viewings or to any kind of postfacto analysis.

Overall, I think Gilbert Grape really succeeds at what it's trying to do whereas the Game mostly failed in that respect for me. So Gilbert Grape moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 10, 2008, 11:09:39 AM
I like The Game, but would have chosen the same.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2008, 11:35:24 AM
I believe that's the fifth Johnny Depp film to advance to the second round — further proof that Donnie Brasco wuz robbed!

Nice writeup, worm.  Glad at least one of the films was worth revisiting.  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on July 10, 2008, 11:52:02 AM
It's relatively easy to criticize The Game for its gaping plotholes and the utter suspension of disbelief it requires from the viewer.

That's my all time favourite quote from these boards!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on July 10, 2008, 07:26:33 PM
City of Hope
vs.
Wayne's World


Because I'm unimaginitive, I find it hard to believe that anyone reading this hasn't seen Wayne's World. Compare that to The Love Guru, which I'd be surprised if many people here had seen, and it's shocking to think of the difference between pre and post-Shrek Myers.
I'm biased of course. I've seen Cat in the Hat of all things, and kinda liked a couple of things Myers' did in it.
Wayne's World is a good film. I'm a bit disappointed (or completely wrong) when I see that it's this and not Wayne's World 2 that has made it onto the list. But this is the film that bought headbanging to Bohemian Rhapsody. It's hard to imagine a time when that didn't happen. This film, to a small extent, changed the world we live in. Also lots of laughs. And the Scooby endings are awesome.

As for City of Hope, I gotta admit I hadn't heard of this film before pix sent me a message asking me if I'd like to watch it. As often with this contest, two completely different films have been paired up. City of Hope has John Sayles writ all over it - I couldn't tell you who directed Wayne's World!
Oddly enough City of Hope gives us much more of a world than WW does, with numerous characters' lives interweaving - an ensemble in the best sense.
City of Hope is a real film featuring real people. This was the (Paul Haggis) Crash of it's day.


And yet, I'm giving it to Wayne's World.
I'm not an awards ceremony, no pressure here to give it to the "worthy" film. And I've seen enough bad comedies to appreciate everything WW gets right.
Party on filmspotters!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2008, 07:33:12 PM
Wayne's World was definitely the favorite going in — the 73rd seed against 140th-seeded City of Hope.

The previous matchup, by the way, was the most even of the entire first round:  the 106th seed (Gilbert Grape) against the 107th seed (The Game).

I really like City of Hope, but I'm strangely okay with Wayne's World's moving on.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 10, 2008, 07:39:50 PM
I would have liked to see City of Hope get some love, a film I saw about 5 years ago and remember being moved by; I really think it's something of a forgotten gem. With all that said I find the argument "I've seen enough bad comedies to appreciate everything WW gets right", really convincing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2008, 07:42:07 PM
With all that said I find the argument "I've seen enough bad comedies to appreciate everything WW gets right", really convincing.

Yeah, that's what sold me, too.  Even after being reminded of The Love Guru's existence.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2008, 07:49:39 PM
So John Sayles goes 0-for-3, with City of Hope, Passion Fish, and Lone Star all losing?  :-\

Maybe there's an argument for resurrection in there somewhere.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Valentine McKee on July 10, 2008, 08:20:27 PM
I would have liked to see City of Hope get some love, a film I saw about 5 years ago and remember being moved by; I really think it's something of a forgotten gem. With all that said I find the argument "I've seen enough bad comedies to appreciate everything WW gets right", really convincing.


Thankyou.
I should add that works with "good comedies" as well. Of which WW definitely is one.

I haven't seen The Love Guru, but I'm sure even that stands up well against Dana Carvey's Master of Disguise.
Sorry, I'm getting seriously off topic!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 10, 2008, 08:22:04 PM
Clean Slate had its moments!  And then, well, :-X.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 10, 2008, 08:29:14 PM
I would have liked to see City of Hope get some love, a film I saw about 5 years ago and remember being moved by; I really think it's something of a forgotten gem. With all that said I find the argument "I've seen enough bad comedies to appreciate everything WW gets right", really convincing.


Thankyou.
I should add that works with "good comedies" as well. Of which WW definitely is one.

I haven't seen The Love Guru, but I'm sure even that stands up well against Dana Carvey's Master of Disguise.
Sorry, I'm getting seriously off topic!

Love Guru v. Master of Disguise. I don't even want to think about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbBpwW3i7dc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbBpwW3i7dc)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on July 11, 2008, 01:38:39 AM
So John Sayles goes 0-for-3, with City of Hope, Passion Fish, and Lone Star all losing?  :-\

Maybe there's an argument for resurrection in there somewhere.

pixote

Perhaps . . . .
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 12, 2008, 02:04:26 PM
American History X
vs.
Forrest Gump

I can’t help but think pix intentionally set these films against one another – two films vaguely on the theme of memory and American history.  Going in I was assuming AHX would have no problem pummeling Gump, as Marty suggested.  I experienced AHX first and really liked it, thus making Gump an even longer shot (and that is being generous).  Finally getting a good copy of Gump, I eventually found some time and mood for it, the film begins with the sickeningly sweet score, ridiculously trite feather, and Hanks' grating Forrest accent on the trope of the intelligent retard – this film was done.  Somehow, only five minutes in, I was hooked.

While the tired use of a disabled character as extraordinarily insightful really rubs me the wrong way – especially as these characters are often played by non-disabled performers and too easily attract Oscar attention – somehow (and very conflictedly) I was charmed by Forrest and was happy to have this “slow” character be so profound, he championed the position of the universality and importance of Love and Care.  Also, I liked the taboo-busting portrayal of the relationship between Jenny (Robin Wright) and Forrest.  I appreciated the idea that anyone could potentially have an impact on the course of history, that storytelling is an important aspect of reimagining history.  Still, I was constantly uncomfortable with the film, and for several important reasons.

Perhaps most obviously is the way Gump represents social conflict – primarily Viet Nam and race relations of the Civil Rights era: people had different perspectives, but these differences of perspective were really meaningless, what mattered – Gump argues – is that we are all Americans, whatever happens We will all be okay.  Unlike AHX, Gump pretty much avoids the fact that individuals have distinct beliefs and feelings.  Forrest is primarily a blank slate of a human being with nothing more than a loving and open disposition with a couple of oddly meaningless slogans.  “Stupid is as stupid does” seemingly clears Forrest from the stigmata of retardation, reframing stupidity onto those that do stupid acts, but one is hard pressed to find something in the film that would be represented as a stupid act.  There are no bad people or acts in Gump, merely silly miscues, best exemplified by Forrest being named after a Klan leader as a reminder that people sometimes do strange things.  This being the case, why include the ever-present stupid is slogan?

Somehow, I think this gets us to the other nefarious theme of Gump, that is that Gump is primarily about The American Dream – see, even a retard can be successful.  The real stupids are those that don’t succeed.  Whether or not this connection works, certainly the film is about the ability of anyone being able to succeed in America – and, of course, success is measured by the traditional markers of fame and monetary excess.  Forrest earns all kinds of awards – so his story goes – and boatloads of money, that he so generously gives away (thus reifying the “free-market” safety net of philanthropy over a socialized network of supports).  While the film spends about half of its 2:20 running time enumerating Forrest’s achievements, it closes on the simple situation of Forrest working (without pay) for the University mowing lawn and with his family (importantly the unfit mother dies, suggesting a return of The Father.)

Even with this damning critique of Gump I was tempted to move it forward to the next round because it was so effective in subtly pushing its ideology, I was often lulled into enjoying the film, even while I felt disturbed for some reason.  It is a well-crafted film (in the traditional description of how a film should be) and certainly provides a feel-good journey. 

I’m not sure what I need to write about AHX that won’t be covered by whoever writes it up for next round’s match-up.  It is a clear, in-your-face, narrative about hate, violence, and redemption.  Each aspect of the film is solid, though with a much more responsible representation of America, and the world, than Gump could ever dream of being.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 12, 2008, 02:29:40 PM
Excellent writeup, skjerva.  I really love the way you engaged you Gump.  And while the pairing of these films was accidental, I was pretty happy about it (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2511.msg103231#msg103231).  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 12, 2008, 03:22:55 PM
(http://i33.tinypic.com/1627fr6.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 12, 2008, 04:27:53 PM
If I could only own one of them, it would be American History X.

I don't think Jenny was seen as an unfit mother. Unfortunately the choices she made in her past (drug use, random sex) caused her to die from what I believe is AIDS. Her mothering though was never questioned. She raises li'l Forrest on her own and he's "very smart" and seems to be doing just fine before big Forrest arrives.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 12, 2008, 05:53:48 PM
Great write-up Jon...and really..I didn't think it was that cut and dried (like I had posted before your write up) and I do agree with you - AHX explores the same territory but in a more realistic manner...suprisingly (like you I think) I found less ideology being delivered in AHX than in FG.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 13, 2008, 10:23:49 AM

I don't think Jenny was seen as an unfit mother. Unfortunately the choices she made in her past (drug use, random sex) caused her to die from what I believe is AIDS. Her mothering though was never questioned. She raises li'l Forrest on her own and he's "very smart" and seems to be doing just fine before big Forrest arrives.

To an extent I agree with you, as I wrote, I think the film does not want to appear to make judgment on anyone - this is effectively modeled with Forrest's blank-slate acceptance of everyone, aside from those that hit Jenny.  The key relationship in the film is clearly Forrest and Jenny, so I think we have to ask why Jenny was created as she was.  It seems to me that some of her traits are meant to evoke a skeptical/uneasy/negative reaction - user/addict, sexual woman (I'm not even sure we could call it "random sex"), a "normal" woman that has sex/a relationship with a "slow" man, a mother that does not tell the father of their child, even the fact that she was an anti-war hippie (unamerican).  I think all of this is meant to illustrate how loving and caring Forrest is, there is not even the suggestion that there is a need to forgive Jenny or that she needs to atone for anything, rather that she is just worthy of love and care, like everyone else.  This is one of the commendable aspects of the film, the idea that we are all worthy of love and care, that we all ought to practice Forrest's zen-like acceptance of others.

Here I should pause to amend my initial write-up, as I note above the violence against Jenny is understood as a bad act, and on some level we might wonder if the rest of Jenny's miscues are saved from judgment since she is a victim of child abuse.  That said, the fact that Forrest and Zemeckis & Co. make clear that this violence against Jenny is not okay, makes it all the more curious that the character is written to die, Zemickis chooses to do violence to Jenny by killing her off (not naming her condition AIDS, as secondcitywolverine points out, that is clearly what this is).  Could the film not have worked with Jenny and Forrest going off together in the sunset with Little Forrest?  For some reason Zemeckis thought not, or at least chose not to do that.  So Forrest has essentially one moral prohibition - violence against Jenny (I'm not willing to call this a prohibition on violence against women, I think that is another discussion) - thus Gump, the film, also seems to be about that prohibition, but it very cleverly upends that prohibition by doing violence against Jenny by infecting her with AIDS and killing her off.  This seems to be the perfect analogy to the complex manner that a very conservative ideology structures the film while otherwise suggesting it is a compassionate film with a compassionate Forrest.

Likewise, secondcity importantly notes the film closing on an affirmation of Little Forrest being "very smart", in a sense questioning the value of having Big Forrest be "slow" with all the work that the film seemed to otherwise be doing in support of people with some sort of perceived disability.  So the trope of the intelligent retard is only of temporary value (perhaps not so much a value, but marker of a historical era where the single mother raised children) as the cultural norm of smartness can be put back into place, importantly coinciding in the film's re-establishing Forrest - or The Father - as the foundation of the family.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: worm@work on July 13, 2008, 10:31:45 AM
skjerva, that's a wonderful writeup and while I am pleased that AHX gets to move on to the next round, I am now tempted to give Forrest Gump a second viewing.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 13, 2008, 10:40:42 AM
skjerva, that's a wonderful writeup and while I am pleased that AHX gets to move on to the next round, I am now tempted to give Forrest Gump a second viewing.

thanks :)  i think it probably is worth another look
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on July 13, 2008, 10:50:17 AM
Forrest and Jenny as two halves of the baby boomer spectrum:

Jenny: hippie, feminist, drug-using liberal.

Gump: square, military, businessman, compassionate conservative.

Thinking about it now, our current president ran his initial campaign on the Gump platform, didn't he?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 13, 2008, 11:03:46 AM
Forrest and Jenny as two halves of the baby boomer spectrum:

Jenny: hippie, feminist, drug-using liberal.

Gump: square, military, businessman, compassionate conservative.

Thinking about it now, our current president ran his initial campaign on the Gump platform, didn't he?

exactly
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 13, 2008, 11:54:01 AM
Do you think Jenny's death may be an attempt at making a point of the death of liberalism? As we moved out of the 1970s into the 80s, the drug using, love and peace generation dwindled away and the new technology of the 80s was arriving (the letter from Apple at the end).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 13, 2008, 12:02:26 PM
Do you think Jenny's death may be an attempt at making a point of the death of liberalism? As we moved out of the 1970s into the 80s, the drug using, love and peace generation dwindled away and the new technology of the 80s was arriving (the letter from Apple at the end).

I don't think it symbolizes the death of 60s idealism/liberalism (hippies becoming yuppies) as much as it was retribution for a lifestyle. Jenny was punished for her participation in the counterculture.   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 13, 2008, 12:10:35 PM
Do you think Jenny's death may be an attempt at making a point of the death of liberalism? As we moved out of the 1970s into the 80s, the drug using, love and peace generation dwindled away and the new technology of the 80s was arriving (the letter from Apple at the end).

i'm not sure what you mean by liberalism, i take that word to mean very much the same thing that many contemporary conservatives would champion - individual liberty, the free exchange of ideas (the "free market").  my sense is that you are using it in the sense of liberal values.  that being the case, i don't think the film is making a point about the death of liberal values, but is a part of the problem causing the death of liberal values.  i think sean's clarifying the opposed social values represented in Forrest and Jenny is more what the film is about - that even though the hawks and doves, the blacks and whites, name your dichotomy, seemingly don't get along, they really do/should because they/we are all americans.  i think Zemeckis/Gump wants to make this case that we should be uniters not dividers, while really advancing a highly conservative cultural/political agenda.

[and while i was writing:]

Do you think Jenny's death may be an attempt at making a point of the death of liberalism? As we moved out of the 1970s into the 80s, the drug using, love and peace generation dwindled away and the new technology of the 80s was arriving (the letter from Apple at the end).

I don't think it symbolizes the death of 60s idealism/liberalism (hippies becoming yuppies) as much as it was retribution for a lifestyle. Jenny was punished for her participation in the counterculture.   

yep :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 13, 2008, 12:26:03 PM
i'm not sure what you mean by liberalism, i take that word to mean very much the same thing that many contemporary conservatives would champion

Liberalism is a tricky term. You're right in that as far as classical economic theory goes liberalism is actually a free-market ideology that most would understand as conservative. However in the popular press liberal is typically synonymous with left (which really isn't accurate) and this is the use of the term I think secondcitywolverine was using. In Canada, where I live, the term becomes more confusing because we have the Liberal Party of Canada.   

Leaving the liberal semantics aside, to my mind Forrest Gump is very much a conservative film. It was co-opted by conservatives like Newt Gingrich for good reason. It is a simplistic rewrite of post-war American history that marginalizes and punishes rebellion.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 13, 2008, 12:45:03 PM
I wish I remembered Forrest Gump better so I could chime in here.  (Then again, the movie pissed me off, so there's a virute to my forgetting.)  Anyway, I'm curious how Lieutenant Dan's character ties into these themes.  Can the loss of his legs punishment for something, or is that just an example of the film appropriating from other genres/films?  And what leads to his finding peace later on (I assume that happens; I can't actually remember)?

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on July 13, 2008, 12:59:29 PM
He changes his lifestyle and redemption comes in the form of restored legs and his wife?
My recollection of this is a bit sketchy, but didn't the film suggest early on that Jenny's childhood was one of poverty, broken homes and child abuse? If so, is that merely a way to let Jenny as a character off the hook or yet another way to condemn counterculture?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: philip918 on July 13, 2008, 01:16:13 PM
Forrest and Jenny as two halves of the baby boomer spectrum:

Jenny: hippie, feminist, drug-using liberal.

Gump: square, military, businessman, compassionate conservative.

Thinking about it now, our current president ran his initial campaign on the Gump platform, didn't he?

exactly

I think you can step back another step and without getting political say that Jenny is someone very much of the times - she's a hippie, a disco queen, etc.  She changes with every passing movement or fad (which is what most of us do), and she serves to highlight Forrest's odd timelessness - his hair, fashion sense and attitudes never change.
I wouldn't go so far as to say she was killed off for her "liberal" (political/social views/actions) sins.  AIDs had a huge impact in the early 80s and I felt the filmmakers thought it was important to include it in the film.
All that said, I don't think this is an especially great film and I'm happy to see AHX move on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 13, 2008, 01:21:12 PM
He changes his lifestyle and redemption comes in the form of restored legs and his wife?

yeah, as significant as Lt. Dan feels to the film, he really doesn't seem to have too much screen-time, and i've not fully figured him out yet.  basically a jingoistic, het, white male.

we meet him as a friendly C.O., Forrest saves him, we learn he comes from a long line of warriors who died for america (and that he wanted to die for america, too), he becomes a drunk and womanizer after losing his legs though he defends Forrest when one of the women (prostitutes we are led to believe) calls Forrest stupid (so Lt. Dan is honorable, or at least to his Band of Brothers), he also keeps his promise to be Forrest's companion if Forrest becomes a shrimp-boat captain, he thanks Forrest for saving him without thanking him (the unsharing/unfeeling, emotionless warrior has returned), then he basically gets his legs and bride. 

Here, with the bride, Lt. Dan has an odd reverberation with Forrest's seemingly important artifact - the Curious George book.  like the man with the yellow hat taking george from africa, Lt. Dan has an asian-looking bride.  i suspect the audience is supposed to assume that she is Vietnamese, otherwise why have her appear Asian?  this is his war spoils, along with the to-be-returned legs.  it seems Lt. Dan, like Forrest, represent American colonialism; a similar line of argument can be tied to the cultural appropriation of Bubba's shrimping knowledge, getting us back to Forrest's charity (philanthropy vs. socialized care) to Bubba's family.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 13, 2008, 02:29:27 PM
I think you can step back another step and without getting political say that Jenny is someone very much of the times - she's a hippie, a disco queen, etc.  She changes with every passing movement or fad (which is what most of us do), and she serves to highlight Forrest's odd timelessness - his hair, fashion sense and attitudes never change.
I wouldn't go so far as to say she was killed off for her "liberal" (political/social views/actions) sins.  AIDs had a huge impact in the early 80s and I felt the filmmakers thought it was important to include it in the film.
All that said, I don't think this is an especially great film and I'm happy to see AHX move on.

I think you're right that Jenny is a device to show numerous pop culture trends ---- psychedelia, disco....etc, but I still think it's more than that.

In my mind she is a montage of everything the the new right (neo-cons, social/Christian right, Goldwater Republicans, whatever you want to call it) thinks about the 1960s. She is everything that offends them: a folksinger, an anti-war activist, a promiscuous woman, a drug user, and perhaps worst of all a single mother. Collapsing all these figures is of course a misleading re-write of of history, as Thomas Byers writes:

"the coeds who posed for Playboy were not generally the ones who identified with Joan Baez... and the HIV-positive single mothers of the late 1980s were not, by and large, coeds in exclusive southern women's colleges in the mid-sixties. But the symbolism is perfect for the revisionist version of the counterculture, which collapses together (as "liberal" and evil) any and all behaviors that deviate from the repressive norms of the 1950s"
   

In other words different movements, ideas, and issues are blended together to buttress the staus quo. Those looking to live their lives otherwise or challenge norms are simplicity represented as out of control train wrecks who ultimately get what is coming to them: AIDS.   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 19, 2008, 07:58:43 PM
(http://i35.tinypic.com/121pt85.jpg)
Poison  (Todd Haynes, 1991)

I was really surprised how assured the filmmaking was here.  In telling the film's three different stories, Haynes tackles four distinct styles (clockwise from above left: documentary, 50s B-horror, impressionistic romantic, and realist romantic; something like that) and executes each with considerable ease.  Some of the acting is rough (even making excuses for possibly intended Brechtian distanciation), but, from a technical perspective, there's very little wrong here.  The editing is especially good, given the difficulty of intercutting between the very distinct stories and styles.  The film almost always finds the perfect point to cut away from a scene and an equally good entry into the next scene, so that I rarely ever regretted pushing aside one thread to pick up another.  Most of the exceptions involve the black-and-white, horror movie section, where the narrative is too broad and the thematics too thin to maintain interest for very long.  It's kind of a weight on the rest of the film, but luckily Haynes always cuts away to something more interesting before too long.  The other possible complaint here is that the three stories don't really play off each other enough.  As a viewer, I really had to strain to make connections towards any kind of synthesis.  The individual scenes and moments are fascinating enough that such overall cohesion doesn't feel essential; but it still would have been nice.

(http://i34.tinypic.com/eg3f37.jpg)
Good Will Hunting  (Gus Van Sant, 1997)

Good Will Hunting is a really intriguing mix of elements.  Visually, it's very bland and mainstream; everything seems bathed in warm, glowing sunlight like pictures in a furniture catalog.  The dialogue, though, is gleefully R-rated, something very unexpected given the innocuous visuals, but all the more appreciated.  The many Elliott Smith songs add a third layer of jarring contrast, with a track like "Between the Bars" containing little if any vulgarity and even less sunniness (though it sure makes me happy).  Somehow all these seemingly ill-fitting pieces work together to create a pretty entertaining film (a lot like Hancock!).  The movie is at its best when it focuses on moments of pure character or locale; an early scene of Damon and Affleck at a batting cage easily could have been cut, from a story perspective, but it's really one of the most delightful scenes in the film.  The script and Van Sant's direction both have a better feel for these moments; whenever they have to advance the plot, things generally turn pretty clumsy.  What's most impressive, though, is the way the film succeeds in spite of itself.  There are about four key emotional scenes of emotion, and each is set up awkwardly.  So, watching, I'm thinking, "Ugh, this isn't gonna be good."  And yet, the film nails all four of those scenes, and they're all very effective — surprisingly effective.  All told, this second viewing pretty much matched my memory of my first one: despite a fair number of flaws, this movie works.  It's forgettable, maybe, but also pleasant and satisfying.  The one thing I didn't remember was how appealing Minnie Driver was.  She totally brightened every scene she was in.  (Is she still around?  I feel like I haven't seen her in a while.)

Verdict:  I graded both these films as B/B+, so this is my first really close matchup.  Eventually, though, I bumped Poison up to a straight B+, for its ambition and for meeting my B+ standard of a film I'd watch again next week; Good Will Hunting, though, got bumped down to a B, penalized for ultimately being as benign as its look.  Posion moves on.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 19, 2008, 08:04:08 PM
awww
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 19, 2008, 08:20:59 PM
I also like Good Will Hunting, but yay!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on July 19, 2008, 08:33:42 PM
I haven't seen Poison, so I can't disagree, but I am sad that GWH didn't make it through.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 19, 2008, 08:37:04 PM
I haven't seen Poison, so I can't disagree, but I am sad that GWH didn't make it through.

qfl.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 19, 2008, 10:59:03 PM
Apoolo 13 v. The Joy Luck Club

Apollo 13

The true story of three astronauts on a trip to the moon. Trouble ensues.

"Apollo 13 was the third manned lunar-landing mission, part of Project Apollo under NASA in the United States. It launched on April 11, 1970. Two days after the launch, the Apollo spacecraft was crippled by an explosion."

The Good

Ron Howard is good with hope. He gives you the warm fuzzy feelings at all the right moments and the swelling music is mostly on target. He handles those moments where ordinary-people-are-doing-extraordinary-things-under-extreme-circumstances very well. I find the entire story very compelling. Good director or bad, the story is completely fascinating. Three men are stuck in space with no way home and hundreds of people come together to find a way, any way, to get these guys home. It seems too fantastic to be true. I especially like the moment when they have to find a way to make a square carbon dioxide scrubber fit into a round hole. It just shows how on-the-fly this whole thing was. It is amazing what people can do sometimes. But like they say in the movie, "If you can get a washing machine to fly..." then anything is possible.

The Bad
I never truly felt the stakes. While it is an interesting story, I didn't really feel the intensity of it. I felt fascinated that it all happened, but in a very academic way. As in, "Hmm... that's interesting." Take the beginning of the movie Sunshine. Within the first 5 minutes of Sunshine you feel completely isolated and claustrophobic. You immediately feel that stakes of being millions of miles from home and what it means to encounter trouble under those circumstance. I never had that feeling during this movie. Of course I knew the outcome here, but when high stakes are properly set, I don't think it matters.

The Joy Luck Club

Based on a book by the same name and written by Amy Tan, it is the stories of four Asian mothers and their four daughters.

"The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. "This bird", boasted the market vendor, "was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose. And now look, it is too beautiful to eat!" Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of lei wide, stretching their necks toward America. On her journey, she cooed to the swan, "In America, I will have a daughter just like me. But over there, nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husbands belch. Over there, nobody will look down on her because I will make her speak only perfect American English. And over there, she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow. She will know my meaning because I will give her this swan, a creature that became more than what was hoped for." But when she arrived in the new country the immigration officials pulled the swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory. For a long time now, the women had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her; "This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions."


The Good

Wow, the stories of these mothers and daughters. As the stories are told they only get more interesting and more heartbreaking. Each story different and each well crafted. While I did remember that this movie is about women, I hadn't realized how much it is actually about the men in these womens' lives. This movie is about the relationships and choices that we make and also about how we endure. To see such a strong group of women given such great roles is really an amazing thing.

The Bad


The movie sets up a few questionable dichotomies: Asian men are bad and American men are good and the Asian culture is cruel and repressed while America is a place of freedom and hope. Almost all of the relationships that are successful are those that the daughters have with white men while all the relationships with Asian men are failures. It is clear that that the filmmakers must have thought of this because of a change from the book. A boyfriend that is described as a white Jewish male in the book is changed to an Asian boyfriend in the movie. Also America is made out to be the cure to all the tortures of the Asian culture. Both characterizations are unfair and unrealistic. Also the final story of the twins, when that story finally plays out, it feels a bit weak compared to the other stories. I think this is because much of that story is told rather than shown, like the other stories. Regardless, when the daughter gets off the boat at the end of movie to meet her sisters, it inevitably sends me sobbing. It is truly a beautiful moment.


Apollo 13 is an interesting story and is compelling to that end, but Joy Luck Club was what really grabbed me and took me on an intense ride.

Joy Luck Club moves on.





Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 20, 2008, 12:34:14 AM
two good write-ups, two good verdicts :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Basil on July 20, 2008, 01:43:07 AM
I'm not sure about either of these, but I enjoyed reading!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 20, 2008, 05:26:36 AM
I had a longer list of things to talk about with both my films, but was rushing to get my verdict out.  For one thing, I'd also forgotten how monologue-heavy the Good Will Hunting script.  The characters are constantly telling long stories or jokes, or just riffing on something at length.  It generally works, not always, but it's interesting for being unusual and unexpected in a film of this sort.  Also, the still I posted for Good Will Hunting says a lot about the movie.  It's just a quick shot in the film, and my first impression was probably, "Hmm, decent shot."  But a half second later, I was thinking about how there's no good reason for Will to be working out this problem on the mirror — it's actually kind of stupid — except for the fact that it looks vaguely cool.  And there's a metaphor in that for the film as a whole.

Back-to-back upsets, by the way.  The 49th seed (Good Will Hunting) lost to the 156th seed (Poison), and the 100th seed (Apollo 13) lost to the 120th seed (Joy Luck Club).  Poison is the seventh-lowest seeded film to advance to the second round (so far).  The six lower seeded winners are Clerks, Affliction, Little Women, Serial Mom, Kids, and Safe, another Todd Haynes film.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 20, 2008, 09:09:14 AM
Two of my favorite films have been cut  :'(

I haven't seen Poison and I watched Good Luck Club when I was maybe 15 and can't remember much about it. So I could end up agreeing with these well written reviews, but it still hurts  ;)

Winrit, I'm surprised you said you didn't feel the stakes of Apollo 13. The final scene where they're waiting to hear from the astronauts as they enter the atmosphere, I remember bawling when they finally do and everyone's cheering. I also think the soundtrack, both the classic 60s songs and the score, was great and some of the best movie music out there.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 20, 2008, 11:06:51 AM
The final scene where they're waiting to hear from the astronauts as they enter the atmosphere, I remember bawling when they finally do and everyone's cheering. I also think the soundtrack, both the classic 60s songs and the score, was great and some of the best movie music out there.

Oh and I did too. I cried at the end of both films, but my tears at the end of Joy Luck Club felt more authentic to me. It wasn't just swelling music that got me in Joy Luck Club, it was genuine catharsis.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 20, 2008, 12:16:15 PM
The final scene where they're waiting to hear from the astronauts as they enter the atmosphere, I remember bawling when they finally do and everyone's cheering. I also think the soundtrack, both the classic 60s songs and the score, was great and some of the best movie music out there.

Oh and I did too. I cried at the end of both films, but my tears at the end of Joy Luck Club felt more authentic to me. It wasn't just swelling music that got me in Joy Luck Club, it was genuine catharsis.

great observation.  while i think there is something understood as superior craft for being able to evoke emotion using film technique (score, etc.), i much prefer films that tap into something real with their stories, that have something more to say about what it means to be human.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 20, 2008, 06:51:36 PM
Braveheart
VS.
Casino

I'm getting tired of these movies with mobsters in it. And I'm getting tired of Joe Pesci. Feel free to stop reading if you don't want to hear about how good Braveheart is.

Braveheart.
There hasn't been a Mel Gibson directed movie that I didn't at least admire if not enjoy. He brings something to the table that I don't see very often, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The characters, especially Gibson's Wallace and Gleeson's Campbell, are a lot of fun to watch. Until the end, that is. Then there is the torture and violence that some people don't like about Gibson's movies. I can certainly understand the criticism, but I thought it was well done and effective. And screw historical accuracy. This is a movie, not an essay.

Casino.
I enjoy Scorsese movies. Really, I do. But this and Goodfellas just irk me. I can't explain, really. Maybe it's just Joe Pesci. I can't stand him. And he wasn't any help in this one. Sure DeNiro and Stone were good and the story was at least passable, but I just couldn't get going with this one. Sorry.

Braveheart moves on to the next round.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 20, 2008, 06:53:41 PM
Casino sucks. Good choice!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 20, 2008, 06:55:59 PM
And screw historical accuracy. This is a movie, not an essay.

You know how sometimes you read something and then laugh — out loud?  I did that here.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on July 20, 2008, 07:14:09 PM
And screw historical accuracy. This is a movie, not an essay.
I hear you. Whenever I ask a certain friend of mine why he hates that that film so much, the answer has something to do with chain mails ::)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 20, 2008, 07:30:12 PM
Thanks. Glad to know I'm not alone on that front.

PS. It's mostly British people that get pissy. Dunno why... they won.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 20, 2008, 07:38:36 PM
Good choice. Casino was the lousy step-brother of GoodFellas.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on July 20, 2008, 10:53:18 PM
I love Braveheart, it was on HBO last night, and even though I have seen it a thousand times, I watched it anyway.  Good choice!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 21, 2008, 07:56:11 AM
what's the word (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=3439.msg103058#msg103058)?  my memory says i also agree with Braveheart, though i think of Casino as one of my fave Scorseses
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on July 21, 2008, 11:56:50 AM
Election vs. Little Odessa

Election (1999):
Let’s start with the bee sting. Pretty much the only thing I remembered from when this film had its theatrical run almost ten years ago was a scene from the trailer where a somewhat agitated Matthew Broderick was running around with a giant bee sting below his right eye. And while I’ve always been curious about that scene, the mere presence of Broderick (whom I’ve revealed as one of my least favorite actors ever somewhere on these boards) has always prevented me from checking it out. Well, turns out that’s not just a single scene. It’s like half the movie. And it’s swelling. Funny.
I know, it’s more than a visual gag, it’s symbolism. Payne is too smart a filmmaker to rely on slapstick alone but the pleasure of watching a character get tortured for his previous missteps is still what this is mainly about. Not that he didn’t deserve it, no, he’s unfaithful to his wife, he’s abusing his position and he’s also pretty much a jerk in general. So are a lot of the other characters in case you’re wondering, except maybe for Tammy who is just angry because her perfectly fine stereotypical, plot-serving lesbian relationship just broke down. And her brother, who is stupid but good at sports.
I think this might be the time to quote the old Van Hallgren on Alexander Payne (FS #166): “Great writer but like in so many of his other films I felt like he really does take pleasure out of people’s pain and misery”. Yeah, that’s dead on. Unfortunately, I can’t dismiss him so easily this time around, this is satire after all, you’re allowed to be cruel here. Actually, there isn’t even a whole lot wrong with this film. The writing’s pretty sharp I guess, the acting is very good (was that Witherspoon’s breakout role?) and apart from a slight overuse of the freeze frame technique, the fancy visual style really fits the tone of the film.
I still really don’t care though.

Little Odessa (1994):
Visually this is sort of the polar opposite of Election in that it alternates between dark (mostly) night scenes and bright and snowy daylight-scenes with long takes and the occasional tracking shot. The use of real locations also provides the film with something of a realistic edge that works quite well (for what it’s worth, I also though the apartment-set was pretty effective). It may not be the Godfather, but there is a certain elegance to it. The acting is overall solid too with Schell and Redgrave as the parents pretty much outshining their cinematic sons Furlong and Roth. In fact, the family scenes are probably where this film is at its best, managing to establish the portrait of a dysfunctional family through little dialogue and good acting. Both parents also maintain very different relationships to their sons so there is some interesting dynamic too and while none of this is handled with a lot of subtlety, it kept me interested enough. Unfortunately the narrative is still where this film fails: all the family drama scenes work so much better than the crime story, which is rather dodgy and doesn’t always seem to make sense. I think language is a crucial element in all milieu films, but here Roth’s tough guy talk comes off phony most of the time not to mention the fact that as an experienced hitman, he should probably know better than to constantly wave his gun in public. In these scenes, the film also throws in a whole lot of supporting characters who appear to be of considerable importance to the events following but are never properly introduced. Nevertheless, for most of its brisk 90 minute running time, the film seems to know about its strengths and separates the two storylines while clearly putting the focus on the family scenes, thus making the whole thing somewhat watchable. Of course it all goes downhill when they try to tie it all up in a very convenient, overly dramatic showdown. After that there is a short scene that seems to come out of nowhere and is so heavy on symbolism that it made me laugh.

Conclusion: Meh. I think Election is clearly the less-flawed film here so even while I pretty much hated it, I believe there might be a good chance that other Filmspotters will appreciate it more. Or maybe that’s just me wanting to torture someone else.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 21, 2008, 12:26:32 PM
Payne and Gray both seem to be love-it-or-hate-it-type directors, so as much as I like both films, I can't say I'm surprised here. Still, sorry to hear you didn't like either very much.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 21, 2008, 01:00:23 PM
Tequila, remind me to give you a can't-miss pair of films of the start of the next round.  I don't remember the bee sting stuff in Election, so I pictured the allergy gag in the Hitch trailer, and I got very depressed on your behalf.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 21, 2008, 02:34:17 PM
Sorry for the delay...

(http://i34.tinypic.com/dy4mcn.jpg) vs. (http://i38.tinypic.com/q3wj.jpg)

Julien Donkey-Boy
Flaws: It's really just a combustible formula of pretty much every attempt ending in failure. For a film so clearly attempting to be non-narrative, it relies so heavily on the supposition of a narrative that when the narrative fails, the film fails twice. That's failure squared people. Beyond that, the visuals had absolutely no thematic relevance, and the portrayal of Julien didn't even mimic any understanding of a schizophrenic I've ever read of medically nor what I've experienced. Now, this could be accounted for by misdiagnosis or by the incomplete amount of reference afforded to the filmmaker by basing it off of his uncle and little else. There was never a moment of emotional resonance despite blatant attempts to evoke it. In addition, those visuals aforementioned often fell flat of suspected execution devolving into a superficial realm which would only be alright if that was the intention of the film (which I will never believe it was). Also, I don't know whether it was because Herzog can't act or because Korine made a mistake in letting Herzog play his character as himself, but the portrayal seemed laughably bad and really didn't connect to the story beyond being a simple codifier of a bad father. I don't even have the energy to get into the problem of it being a faux-documentary style. There's more, but I'll stop here (just as I should of on the DVD 40 minutes in).

Attributes: It's technically proficient. That is to say, it was always quite obvious that everything done (visually at least) was entirely intentional. Bremner was good in hitting the portrayal that was asked of him and Sevigny was fine. I can't in good conscience add anything else.

Menace II Society
Flaws: The film is often clumsily written, whether it be some bad dialogue/voice over here and there or the sometimes stilted plotting and a few unnecessary scenes. The camera work and production design fell off a bit at moments and the soundtrack was awful in a few less than key places.

Attributes: As a film that I feel very clearly is almost an essay film in response to middle and upper class perception or ignorance of black urban society/the film Goodfellas in particular and mob films in general/80s summer comedies, it is extremely successful and engaging. It takes a voice-over that would be grating without subtext and uses it to take the film in multiple directions. The way the references to all the above, particularly the quite clear counter-point to Goodfellas, were very cleanly and effectively integrated without diluting the plot. Really, the best part of the film is it's adept deliver of it's criticisms, even if it is very didactic. But the character portrayals were great from all fronts and it's really a film that, while not near perfect and maybe not even great, is quite good and deserves your time.

Verdict: So, obviously this is a cakewalk, but considering I hated the only films I'd seen from both these directors (Gummo and From Hell), I was quite surprised by the results. I actually preferred both these to the hated ones. However, it is self-evident. Menace II Society moves on (maybe to face Goodfellas?).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 21, 2008, 02:36:42 PM
[null]
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 21, 2008, 02:39:13 PM
(http://i36.tinypic.com/v5wlec.jpg)

no fair
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 21, 2008, 02:40:15 PM
Oh fine.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 21, 2008, 02:43:53 PM
The 193rd seed won faceboy's matchup ... and it wasn't even an upset.  :)

(Julien Donkey-Boy was the 199th seed.)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 21, 2008, 02:58:20 PM
For a film so clearly attempting to be non-narrative, it relies so heavily on the supposition of a narrative that when the narrative fails, the film fails twice. That's failure squared people.

 :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 21, 2008, 03:03:33 PM
For a film so clearly attempting to be non-narrative, it relies so heavily on the supposition of a narrative that when the narrative fails, the film fails twice. That's failure squared people.

 :D
Indeed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on July 21, 2008, 03:06:43 PM
woohoo!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 21, 2008, 03:07:22 PM
woohoo!
Indeed.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 21, 2008, 03:40:08 PM
I never cared much for Election. I found everyone in it to be terribly unlikeable and ultimately I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. Both bracket movies that I find completely joyless have moved through now: Election and Happiness.  :-\
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: mañana on July 21, 2008, 03:54:30 PM
I think this might be the time to quote the old Van Hallgren on Alexander Payne (FS #166): “Great writer but like in so many of his other films I felt like he really does take pleasure out of people’s pain and misery

I never cared much for Election. I found everyone in it to be terribly unlikeable and ultimately I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. Both bracket movies that I find completely joyless have moved through now: Election and Happiness.  :-\

When it comes to Payne, I generally agree with these statements. I didn't really like About Schmidt or Sideways, but Election has always been the one Payne film that worked for me. I think his characters in Election are definitely pathetic (best word I can come up with) but I don't know if they're really unlikable, and more importantly Election seems to be the one instance where Payne doesn't hate his characters. He shows them as flawed and a lot of humor comes from that, but I really think this film has a lot more heart than people give it credit for. I actually think Election is a really great film. Does it have any other supporters around here?   
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 21, 2008, 04:00:03 PM
Does it have any other supporters around here?   

It must.  It's seeded in the top 20.  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 21, 2008, 04:09:23 PM
I think this might be the time to quote the old Van Hallgren on Alexander Payne (FS #166): “Great writer but like in so many of his other films I felt like he really does take pleasure out of people’s pain and misery

I never cared much for Election. I found everyone in it to be terribly unlikeable and ultimately I didn't care what happened to any of the characters. Both bracket movies that I find completely joyless have moved through now: Election and Happiness.  :-\

When it comes to Payne, I generally agree with these statements. I didn't really like About Schmidt or Sideways, but Election has always been the one Payne film that worked for me. I think his characters in Election are definitely pathetic (best word I can come up with) but I don't know if they're really unlikable, and more importantly Election seems to be the one instance where Payne doesn't hate his characters. He shows them as flawed and a lot of humor comes from that, but I really think this film has a lot more heart than people give it credit for. I actually think Election is a really great film. Does it have any other supporters around here?   

I also like bananas.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 21, 2008, 06:29:51 PM
The Insider vs. Sense and Sensibility

The Insider

Flaws: I think Mann has a tendency to lay it on too thick. Too many instances where he kills the impact of his direction with some really heavy-handed music making it seem like this moment is the most important ever. There's also a lot just dumb shots like the shot where the camera is right next to Crowe's ear. I don't know. Just a lot of random stuff like that bothered me.

Attributes: The acting is pretty solid although Crowe's wife killed me with her awfulness. I liked Pacino a lot but that may be more the character than him. I can never tell. Pretty solid story as well.

Sense and Sensibility

Flaws: Unspeakably boring. Nothing about this film appeals to me. I fell asleep three times while trying to watch it.

Attributes: It has people I like in other movies.

Sorry, I got nothing.

The Insider moves on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 21, 2008, 06:37:38 PM
Sense and Sensibility

Flaws: Unspeakably boring. Nothing about this film appeals to me. I fell asleep three times while trying to watch it.

Attributes: It has people I like in other movies.

Sorry, I got nothing.

And thus Ang Lee, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Tom Wilkinson, Imelda Staunton, Alan Rickman, Hugh Laurie, Kate Winslet, and Jane Austen are dispatched.

Barbarian!  :(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 21, 2008, 06:55:38 PM
 ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 21, 2008, 06:57:42 PM
Seeding info:

Braveheart (87) over Casino (127)
Election (13) over Little Odessa (187)
The Insider (51) over Sense and Sensibility (154)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on July 21, 2008, 07:51:34 PM
;D

I knew that would be your pick  ;).  It's a tough one, I like both movies.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 21, 2008, 08:09:06 PM
;D

I knew that would be your pick  ;).  It's a tough one, I like both movies.

I wouldn't mind the choice of The Insider (both it and S&S have a metacritic rating of 84, after all), but S&S ought to get more praise than it did.  :(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 21, 2008, 08:55:04 PM
thanks for taking that one Roujin.  I knew when pix offered it to me that I would feel the same way so I declined this match-up.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 22, 2008, 12:29:39 AM
Yeah, about 20 or so minutes into the film, it kinda dawned on me that I might really have a bias against these kind of films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on July 22, 2008, 03:43:37 AM
Sense and Sensibility

Flaws: Unspeakably boring. Nothing about this film appeals to me. I fell asleep three times while trying to watch it.

Attributes: It has people I like in other movies.

Sorry, I got nothing.

The Insider moves on.

Wow.

That's pretty weak.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 22, 2008, 10:57:31 AM
Yeah.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 22, 2008, 11:55:13 PM
I don't want to be dismissive of a film that you guys really like (although I don't know why) so I'll answer some questions leveled at me during the chat.

how's it compare to other lee films?

Obviously, I would rank it dead last from what I've seen (haven't seen Hulk, his early Taiwanese films or his western). Lee jumps from genre to genre and he's done them all really well from what I've seen. There's probably some kinda thematic connection (outsiders, sez pix?) but I don't really see it that much in this film. I don't really know what makes an "Ang Lee" film outside of it being enjoyable so...

do any actors do a good job with their roles?

I guess this is hard to judge. I mean, I didn't dislike anyone outright. I just found the characters completely uninteresting and the actors didn't change my mind. But I don't think they're bad. I liked watching them. Particularly, Alan Rickman and Hugh Laurie because they reminded me of other stuff I'd rather be watching.

Note: I expected to like Emma Thompson a lot. Same with Kate Winslet. I usually like them. Zero interest here.

is the script occasionally witty?

This is also hard to judge. I remember chuckling every time Hugh Laurie said something but I don't remember anything he said. I understand if someone finds this entertaining. I don't.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 23, 2008, 01:08:25 PM
I don't want to be dismissive of a film that you guys really like (although I don't know why) so I'll answer some questions leveled at me during the chat.

how's it compare to other lee films?

Obviously, I would rank it dead last from what I've seen (haven't seen Hulk, his early Taiwanese films or his western). Lee jumps from genre to genre and he's done them all really well from what I've seen. There's probably some kinda thematic connection (outsiders, sez pix?) but I don't really see it that much in this film. I don't really know what makes an "Ang Lee" film outside of it being enjoyable so...

do any actors do a good job with their roles?

I guess this is hard to judge. I mean, I didn't dislike anyone outright. I just found the characters completely uninteresting and the actors didn't change my mind. But I don't think they're bad. I liked watching them. Particularly, Alan Rickman and Hugh Laurie because they reminded me of other stuff I'd rather be watching.

Note: I expected to like Emma Thompson a lot. Same with Kate Winslet. I usually like them. Zero interest here.

is the script occasionally witty?

This is also hard to judge. I remember chuckling every time Hugh Laurie said something but I don't remember anything he said. I understand if someone finds this entertaining. I don't.
I approve of this format (without opinion on the content)!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 23, 2008, 01:15:01 PM
What I love about this film and what I think Emma Thompson's screenplay, Lee's direction, and the actors capture better than most Austen adaptations is the portrayal of a society that has set up certain rules of behaviour and propriety for itself that it has a difficult time living with (especially the women, who are most bound by those rules). Some things are just "not done" and "not said" and so much is "understood" but must not be said aloud in proper society and the characters (and actors - they do it beautifully) constantly have to find ways to express themselves under those terms. The result is that small words or phrases or silences are loaded with meaning and/or double meaning (another result, of course, is misunderstanding(s) because characters must try so hard to read the unspoken or cryptically spoken). I love watching the characters/actors cleverly find ways to say so much to each other by hardly saying anything at all. (The horror of saying "too much," too, is wonderfully highlighted by Marianne's character, who says what she feels.) The film also highlights beautifully the hold that money/wealth had over the direction of these characters' lives and their relative inability to do anything to change their monetary circumstances, except by way of approved marriage. Most of the characters are subject to the whims of those who hold the most wealth - as we see in the case of leading women, especially. And Austen doesn't present a solution to the problem - she highlights it and criticizes it (the novel is more caustic in that way than the film as the romance and marriages at the end aren't described quite as satisfactorily as the film shows them): Marianne is "saved" by marrying wealth and giving in to the strictures of society (giving over her "sensibility" by seeing its unreasonableness) and Elinor and the man she loves are "saved" by the gift from a wealthy patron (the church living). (Elinor's "sense" is also rewarded by the film as the the safest course - the most in line with society's rules.) I could say a lot more about each of the other characters and how they fit in (but I won't). If you haven't read or don't like Jane Austen much, I'm not surprised you don't like the film. At face value, it's a rather boring romance, a chick-flick, maybe. But I do hope you give it (or, even better, Austen's novels) another chance someday. It really is more than it might seem in that it critiques the society it portrays with wonderful wit and sarcasm.

('Course, you might be like Ebert and think the film is not good because Austen's novel is not very good in the first place. I like most of Ebert's reviews, but in his Sense and Sensibility review, he really misses the mark by criticizing an Austen novel.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 23, 2008, 01:17:09 PM
P.S. I'm not trying to convince you to change your verdict or anything, just to give the film another try someday.  :)  (Maybe after you take a "Special Topics in Literature: Jane Austen" class.  ;))
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 23, 2008, 01:19:44 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 23, 2008, 01:23:45 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel
That Joe Wright, he really makes some unconvincing, uninteresting crap.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 23, 2008, 01:26:14 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 23, 2008, 01:26:54 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there are no Joe Wright films. Bleh.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 23, 2008, 01:31:12 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.

Oh really. Hmm, maybe I'll give S&S a shot after all.

Eventually.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Tequila on July 23, 2008, 01:50:42 PM
('Course, you might be like Ebert and think the film is not good because Austen's novel is not very good in the first place. I like most of Ebert's reviews, but in his Sense and Sensibility review, he really misses the mark by criticizing an Austen novel.)
Yeah, that's just not done. ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 23, 2008, 02:12:19 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.

Oh really. Hmm, maybe I'll give S&S a shot after all.

Eventually.

Good.  :)


('Course, you might be like Ebert and think the film is not good because Austen's novel is not very good in the first place. I like most of Ebert's reviews, but in his Sense and Sensibility review, he really misses the mark by criticizing an Austen novel.)
Yeah, that's just not done. ;)

It most certainly is not.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on July 23, 2008, 02:42:03 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.

Me too, I love the BBC version.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 23, 2008, 03:55:31 PM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.

Me too, I love the BBC version.

Yep.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 24, 2008, 12:49:47 AM
That's some good writing. You almost convinced me to watch it myself (I say almost because then I remembered how uninteresting Pride and Prejudice was to me).

edit: I mean the Joe Wright film, not the novel

I like to pretend there's no Joe Wright film. Bleh.
Me too, I love the BBC version.

Yep.  :)


sheesh, i'm going to have to do the work for two since chris isn't around, and i'll not defend as well as he would, but both Atonement and Pride & Prejudice were damn fine, well directed films.  be gone you naysayers wedded to source material, be gone.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on July 24, 2008, 12:52:03 AM
I'm not wedded to anything. They aren't that great.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 24, 2008, 03:03:56 AM
I'm not wedded to anything. They aren't that great.

Me neither. I haven't read them.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Emiliana on July 24, 2008, 03:09:31 AM
I feel that I have to thank oneaprilday for her post about S&S. Ever since roujin posted his verdict, I felt that sombody should step up to articulate what's so great about the film. I haven't seen it in a few years, and thus could never have done it as eloquently as she did.

Do I have to clarify that I am in no way attacking roujin? - If it's not his cup of tea, then we're jut going to have to live with it ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 24, 2008, 03:11:05 AM
Do I have to clarify that I am in no way attacking roujin? - If it's not his cup of tea, then we're just going to have to live with it ;)

Maybe an Office Space vs. Sense and Sensibility Random Movie Death Match is in order here.  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 24, 2008, 08:52:05 AM
Do I have to clarify that I am in no way attacking roujin? - If it's not his cup of tea, then we're just going to have to live with it ;)

Maybe an Office Space vs. Sense and Sensibility Random Movie Death Match is in order here.  :D

pixote

Office Space!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JokerXgg on July 24, 2008, 11:29:34 AM
stealing the template from Winrit <3

Swingers (1996) VS. The Hours and Times (1991)

Swingers

"This is a story about Mike, a guy who left his girl in New York when he came to LA to be a star. It's been six months since his girlfriend left him and he's not doing so good. So, his pal and some other friends try and get him back in the social scene and forget about his 6 year relationship"

The Good

This movie had me interested throughout the whole thing. The acting by Vince Vaughn was not just good, it was really great. The expression he would have one his face when "Mikey" would do something really "emotional" (tell all his feelings about his ex to the girl he was trying to hook up with) was just so funny. The movie tells the story of Mikey trying to overcome his heartbreak, which makes it good because it didn't have multiple plots to worry about. One thing that really put the icing over the cake with this one was the Goodfellas/Reservoir mockups Swingers had in the movie. This movie was truly enjoyable and had some extremely funny parts.

"You are money, Baby!" -- Vince Vaughn

The Bad

I wouldn't necessarily call this things bad, not because of my ideals but because it just happens to be part of the movie. One thing that I didn't really like is the undermining of women. Like I said, it was part of the movie and everything but they treated them like a certain type of object. Another thing that I didn't like was how the ending became a little predictable, "Mikey finds another girl, and forgets about the old one". Overall this was a really solid movie.

The Hours and Times

A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.

The Good
One thing that I really liked about this sort of movie is that it was in black and white. It just seemed to be a lot more fitting into the story. The actor who played Brian Epstein (David Angus) did a marvelous job acting like a homosexual and having his crush on John Lennon. A second thing I enjoyed about the movie is the way the movie was directed. There seemed to be a lot of silence in the movie, just looking at certain things. I also liked how the movie started and finished, looking at the vista of Spain. I think this was to symbolize how after the little rendevouz Brian Epstein and John Lennon had, they had to go back to their old ways (not having a relationship).

The Bad
There were many things i loved about this movie, but there were also some things I didn't. It might seem foolish but one thing that bothered me at the end is how under-developed the characters went. Yes, they developed, but not to the full extent that could have helped me understand the two characters (maybe that's what the director wanted). Also, the movie seems to make Lennon seem like he is extremely carefree of his wife. While this movie is a fictional event, it still portrays Lennon as some sort of jerk. All of the things i mentioned in THE BAD are not necessarily bad things, they are just things that seemed to bug me.

Verdict

Both movies were extremely good, and I enjoyed both. Swingers seemed more of a comedy and The Hours and Times more of a Drama. I recommend both this films to our filmspotter community.

Contrary to popular belief, some of my opinions might be worth disagreeing about. If you belief that is the case, feel free to disagree.

For now....Swingers moves on
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 24, 2008, 11:33:33 AM
never seen H&T but I quote from swingers quite often :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 24, 2008, 11:37:16 AM
nice write up (i also like that template), i'm happy to see Swingers move on (though i've not done THatT).  speedy delivery, too!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: karlwinslow on July 24, 2008, 11:40:32 AM
For now....Swingers moves on

that decision's so money and you don't even know it!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 24, 2008, 11:41:53 AM
Contrary to popular belief, some of my opinions might be worth disagreeing about. If you belief that is the case, feel free to disagree.

Clearly, popular belief is too well ingrained.  :D

(Plus nobody else has seen or even heard of The Hours and Times, practically.)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 24, 2008, 11:42:27 AM
For now....Swingers moves on

that decision's so money and you don't even know it!

:)  sweet! (i wish i could respond in kind)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JokerXgg on July 24, 2008, 11:48:59 AM
im glad you guys liked it :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ses on July 24, 2008, 11:57:58 AM
Nice write up and decision JokerXgg!!   :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 24, 2008, 12:38:41 PM
sheesh, i'm going to have to do the work for two since chris isn't around, and i'll not defend as well as he would, but both Atonement and Pride & Prejudice were damn fine, well directed films.  be gone you naysayers wedded to source material, be gone.

Source material isn't the only reason I don't like it. Too sentimental and too much Keira.


I feel that I have to thank oneaprilday for her post about S&S.

My pleasure.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on July 24, 2008, 12:42:26 PM
Agree with everyone else - really nice write-up, JokerXgg. You've convinced me to see both films.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: JokerXgg on July 24, 2008, 12:53:16 PM
Agree with everyone else - really nice write-up, JokerXgg. You've convinced me to see both films.  :)

Im glad to hear that oneaprilday :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 24, 2008, 03:41:26 PM
Agree with everyone else - really nice write-up, JokerXgg. You've convinced me to see both films.  :)

  You're so money and you don't even know it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: smirnoff on July 26, 2008, 09:10:24 PM
I haven't been following this 90's bracket thing so maybe someone can fill me in, how did you all select this movies in the first place? And is it too late to get involved?

btw, winrit I just read your break down of The Joy Luck Club and thought you were bang on. I'm a big fan of the movie myself, and glad to see it move on.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 26, 2008, 09:19:22 PM
I haven't been following this 90's bracket thing so maybe someone can fill me in, how did you all select this movies in the first place? And is it too late to get involved?

btw, winrit I just read your break down of The Joy Luck Club and thought you were bang on. I'm a big fan of the movie myself, and glad to see it move on.
Check out the first page and the most recent pages of the 1990s Bracket (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2511.0) thread for more information.

I am Face, Master of Information!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 26, 2008, 09:27:50 PM
btw, winrit I just read your break down of The Joy Luck Club and thought you were bang on. I'm a big fan of the movie myself, and glad to see it move on.

Thanks!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 26, 2008, 11:55:21 PM
I haven't been following this 90's bracket thing so maybe someone can fill me in, how did you all select this movies in the first place? And is it too late to get involved?

btw, winrit I just read your break down of The Joy Luck Club and thought you were bang on. I'm a big fan of the movie myself, and glad to see it move on.

and yes, you can still get in (if face's direction did not provide that info for you).  the second round will start any day now (i had hoped to have my match-up complete as of about now, but am now hoping for late tomorrow/early monday).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 27, 2008, 11:54:53 PM
Groundhog Day vs. La Ciudad (The City)

What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?

This is the life of the denizens of La Ciudad (The City) (gotcha, didn’t I?  Its ok you can admit it).  We open in grainy 16mm black and white to a desolate cityscape and then cut to a portrait studio which will become the anchor of the film which actually is 4 vignettes revolving around the lives of Latin American immigrants in where else but NYC.  The first story is of a group of day laborers that are picked up and have to clean bricks at a crumbling old factory.  Tragedy strikes when a wall collapses.  The second is the story of two young lovers who meet at a Quinceañera only to discover they are both from the same villiage in Mexico.  The third deals with a homeless puppeteer and his struggle to do the best for his daughter and the final chapter with a seamstress in a sweatshop who’s daughter is sick back in Mexico.  These people are stuck here trying to build better life for their families and loved ones back at home and the film never fails to have the characters state this explicitly!!  At least in the first 2 chapters.  They are didactic and the non actors aren’t terribly great in their roles.  Lovers feels out of place as the only uplifting piece in the set but also because its just very bland.  Feels like a first cut of a first draft of an unvetted idea.  The piece that really shines though is Puppeteer.  This feels like a modern retelling of The Bicycle Thief with a fantastic performance (by another non-actor like most of the roles) from the father.  There is very little in the way of exposition just beautiful mood that captures their precarious situation.  This is also why their images are on the poster I believe.  I can’t say that this film is very bracket worthy though.  Pix was wondering that as he wasn’t sure if anyone had even seen it.  It does make a strong case for immigration reform but unfortunately I watched the director’s featurette on the DVD and now it feels more like exploitation, but for 25 minutes there was greatness in this film.

Of course this match-up was unfair from the beginning.  After watching GD (for the millionth time – but probably the first in its entirety since the theater) I’m not sure what could beat this film for the title.  There are 2 wrong notes in this entire film: 1 when the old man dies for the first time, the nurse’s dialogue is just too insipid “it was just his time” and 2: the linger on Ned Ryerson’s reaction at the final party.  Other than that this film is pure bliss.  Murray and MacDowell are not only pitch perfect in their roles but their chemistry is a sight to behold.  I’ve heard some slag the film for its depiction of small town America but don’t think that is what Ramis does here.  These stereotypes just add contrast to the self-importance that is Murray’s Phil Connors at the start.  Some people can just be happy with the simple things like a honeymoon in Pittsburgh and Wrestlemania tickets especially when they have each other. Also this is the (first or second) best fantasy film ever made.  The purgatory that Connors lives in Punxsutawney for the innumerable decades that pass is a powerful concept.  He is able to make things right on earth and until he gets the balance just right he cannot move on and in the end that is what the film is about, getting that balance right and live the most perfect single day of your life.  Not about love or friendship or helping those in need – though these are all parts of it.  No matter how many times he tries to save the old man, he dies.  No matter how many times he comes to the rescue of others he still wakes up on February 2nd.  No matter how hard he tries to get the girl he gets slapped or again wakes up to “I Got You Babe.”  No, it’s when he has bettered himself to the point that this perfect day no longer seems forced but becomes a peaceful, natural occurrence born out of personal growth without ulterior motive that Connors is permitted to move onto to the next phase.  Oh and the jokes are really funny.

Note: I am now typing this as the GD dvd menu loops… I feel all gushy inside. :D

You know who goes on from here, and I hope it keeps going on over and over again.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 28, 2008, 12:35:08 AM
Very nice write up. If I had a stamp I would approve it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: StarCarly on July 28, 2008, 01:05:15 AM
"Baby I'm your weatherman" great DVD menu song, and one of the only choices I have agreed with in the tournament so far.  :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 28, 2008, 01:17:17 AM
"Baby I'm your weatherman" great DVD menu song, and one of the only choices I have agreed with in the tournament so far.  :)

Not a fan of La Ciudad?  :P

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: StarCarly on July 28, 2008, 01:48:47 AM
"Baby I'm your weatherman" great DVD menu song, and one of the only choices I have agreed with in the tournament so far.  :)

Not a fan of La Ciudad?  :P

pixote

I'm not so in to the whole "watching movies" thing. I prefer to blindly agree what _Keith_ says.  ;D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on July 28, 2008, 10:33:32 AM
Pleasantville vs Sling Blade

Pleasantville
This movie is beautiful to look at.  Once they go into pleasantville, the use of colour against black and white looks fantastic, the scene with the leafs falling off the tress in particular is great.  The performances are pretty much spot on throughout the entire thing.  Tobey & Reese are both great here, Tobey in particular, this is definitely the best I've ever seen him be.  The performances from Macy and Allen as the Pleasantville parents are great, and Daniels is good as the cafe owner.

Unfortunately, it seems to send out a message that in order to turn colourful and real, you have to go have sex as often as possible.  Excluding a few, the whole town turns into technicolor by going upto the hills and having sex in their cars and somehow this is portrayed as a positive thing.  They don't show any repurcussions that could come off, nobody gets pregnant, nobody gets any diseases, it's simply shown to be a wonderful carefree thing and I don't believe that's a good message to send.  There's also an extra-marital affair in which we're, I assume, supposed to sympathise with the cheater rather than the loving husband who's done nothing to deserve it which annoyed me and then at the end, the husband is one we're expected to forgive when he turns into technicolor by admitting he misses her.  Again, not a fan of that.

It also makes heavy handed comments on racism and fascism, big surprise folks - it's bad.  Also, it's weird for a movie so concerned with racism, including a massive nod to To Kill A Mockinbird towards the end in a terrible court room scene, that there isn't a single black person in the entire movie; even with Pleasantville 'opens up' it's still an all-white town.

However, despite these problems I did really like it and I certainly think people should see it as it took me by surprise.

Sling Blade
Now this is something completely different, there's a few outstanding performances in this.  Billy Bob Thornton's is the obvious performance here as the 'simple' man, released from the state hospital for the murder of his mother, starting a new life in a small town.  Upon release he makes friends with a little boy and, perhaps incrediously, is allowed to move in to the garage at the boy's house with him and his mother.  The other great performances here are from Dwight Yoakam as Doyle, the alcoholic, abusive lover of the boy's mother, Lucas Black as Frank the boy and perhaps best of all is the almost unrecognisible John Ritter as the gay best friend of Linda, the boy's mother.  It says a lot about the performances that, while almost all of the characters are stereotypical, they feel like real characters from the minute they step on screen.  The only poor performance is from Rick Dial as the boss who gives Karl (Thornton) a job.

This movie had a lot going for it.  Obviously the performances as stated earlier, there's the deliberate pacing in the direction from Thornton who keeps the movie going at a steady pace and doesn't feel the need to rush anything.  The soundtrack is fantasic and while the ending is perhaps a little predictable there's a great touching moment between Karl and Frank towards the end which made me forgive the predictability of what was to follow.

I don't want to say too much more about what happens as I want the next person who watches it to not know too much about it.  So, progession for Sling Blade I reckon, uh hum.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 28, 2008, 10:49:38 AM
You have done well in all respects!  :D

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 28, 2008, 11:15:15 AM
"Baby I'm your weatherman" great DVD menu song, and one of the only choices I have agreed with in the tournament so far.  :)

Not a fan of La Ciudad?  :P

pixote

I'm not so in to the whole "watching movies" thing. I prefer to blindly agree what _Keith_ says.  ;D

I prefer this as well - everyone should be more like Star. :D
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 28, 2008, 11:15:43 AM
Billy Bob Thornton's is the obvious performance here as the 'simple' man, released from the state hospital for the murder of his mother, starting a new life in a small town.  Upon release he makes friends with a little boy and, perhaps incrediously, is allowed to move in to the garage at the boy's house with him and his mother.

The scenes between Karl and Frank are what still stand out in my mind (been a while since I saw this).  The opening monologue is strong, as is the conclusion, but more than anything else I remember the seemingly less dramatic scenes of the growing friendship between Karl and Frank.  Lucas Black and Billy Bob Thornton are so great here, seriously.

Oh, and Jim Jarmusch is wonderful as the fry guy.  :)

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on July 28, 2008, 11:21:25 AM
Wow I didn't even see notice that it was Jarmusch, awesome.  Duvall and J.T. Walsh are also both great in two relatively small roles but man did the chair dragging at the start annoy the hell out of me.

Talking of small roles, yay for Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) in Pleasantville \o/
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 28, 2008, 11:34:35 AM
Pleasantville vs Sling Blade

Very nice write-ups Wilson... however, I think you missed a LOT of what was going on in Pleasantville.  Its not the wanten sexual abandon that takes place up at look-out point or whatever the cliff is called that triggers the color change - as Reese hangs a lantern on when she talks about having more sex than anyone.  It is the fact that they break from their script.  Remember they are not in a real world, they are in a 50s TV show.  This is also the reason there are no people of any other "color" and why you are supposed to sympathise with the stereotypical 50's housewife played by the amazing Joan Allen.  All of what happens in Pleasantville is not of the free will of the citizens but based on the script that was written for them.  Macy's character though has done wrong to Allen in that he takes her for granted treating her as more of a servant than a wife. Which is why when Macy is forced to some a more "feminine" trait (very bad in 50's TV world) in his sensetivity and longing for his partner and not just for her food and cleaning abilities he finally changes color.  The facist paralells are there to draw attention to how close the attitudes of the people so closely mirror the enemy presumably many of then had just defeated in WW2 that helped to give birth to this world in the first place (GI Bill, ect).

I do hope this one gets re-upped as I think it is one of the most insightful cultural critiques of the last 15 years.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 28, 2008, 11:37:11 AM
Pleasantville vs Sling Blade

Very nice write-ups Wilson... however, I think you missed a LOT of what was going on in Pleasantville.  Its not the wanten sexual abandon that takes place up at look-out point or whatever the cliff is called that triggers the color change - as Reese hangs a lantern on when she talks about having more sex than anyone.  It is the fact that they break from their script.  Remember they are not in a real world, they are in a 50s TV show.  This is also the reason there are no people of any other "color" and why you are supposed to sympathise with the stereotypical 50's housewife played by the amazing Joan Allen.  All of what happens in Pleasantville is not of the free will of the citizens but based on the script that was written for them.  Macy's character though has done wrong to Allen in that he takes her for granted treating her as more of a servant than a wife. Which is why when Macy is forced to some a more "feminine" trait (very bad in 50's TV world) in his sensetivity and longing for his partner and not just for her food and cleaning abilities he finally changes color.  The facist paralells are there to draw attention to how close the attitudes of the people so closely mirror the enemy presumably many of then had just defeated in WW2 that helped to give birth to this world in the first place (GI Bill, ect).

I do hope this one gets re-upped as I think it is one of the most insightful cultural critiques of the last 15 years.

great reply.  it reminded me how much i appreciated the film
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Wilson on July 28, 2008, 11:44:58 AM
I did get most of that really, I was just too lazy to type it all in.  I still don't agree with how the Macy/Allen is portrayed with her being made to look pretty much completely innocent in the whole thing.  However, I do agree that it would be great Pleasantville to be one of the revivals as I really, really enjoyed it despite its flaws.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 28, 2008, 12:08:13 PM
One of the few battles in which I've seen both films. I think I would have to agree with Wilson that Slingblade should move on but Pleasantville is a lot more than sex. I enjoy the beginning of the film in which we see teachers informing current graduating students of the problems of today, creating the old "How great times used to be" argument. So we're then taken back to that time and realize not everything was that great and every generation will have it's problems.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 28, 2008, 01:03:57 PM
I'd forgotten that Sling Blade was a huge underdog in that matchup (the 152nd seed to Pleasantville's 48th seed).  Seems weird to me, since I like Sling Blade so much more, but there it is.  But yay for triumphant underdogs!

Oh, and Groundhog Day is the #2 overall seed (I know!), incidentally, so no surprise it killed off poor, helpless La Ciudad (#192).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 28, 2008, 07:05:18 PM
I'd forgotten that Sling Blade was a huge underdog in that matchup (the 152nd seed to Pleasantville's 48th seed).  Seems weird to me, since I like Sling Blade so much more, but there it is.  But yay for triumphant underdogs!

Oh, and Groundhog Day is the #2 overall seed (I know!), incidentally, so no surprise it killed off poor, helpless La Ciudad (#192).

pixote

You guys better hope I don't get Groundhog Day next round.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 28, 2008, 07:11:54 PM
I'd forgotten that Sling Blade was a huge underdog in that matchup (the 152nd seed to Pleasantville's 48th seed).  Seems weird to me, since I like Sling Blade so much more, but there it is.  But yay for triumphant underdogs!

Oh, and Groundhog Day is the #2 overall seed (I know!), incidentally, so no surprise it killed off poor, helpless La Ciudad (#192).

pixote

You guys better hope I don't get Groundhog Day next round.

You too?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 28, 2008, 07:14:17 PM
I am not a fan.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 28, 2008, 07:16:00 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 28, 2008, 07:20:53 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.

Very much so.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 28, 2008, 07:24:27 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.

Very much so.

You too?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 28, 2008, 07:42:46 PM
I am not a fan.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: duder on July 28, 2008, 07:45:31 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on July 28, 2008, 07:46:30 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.

Very much so.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 28, 2008, 07:54:57 PM
(http://meow.catsplz.com/cats/pictures/234/I-see-what-you-did-there.jpg)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 28, 2008, 08:52:30 PM
I am not a fan.

Seriously.

Very much so.

i keep accusing people of being soulless monsters... oh well, if the shoe fits.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: StarCarly on July 28, 2008, 10:26:18 PM
[I see what you did there]

For about 5 minutes, I did not.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 29, 2008, 03:25:47 AM
Contact
vs.
Saving Private Ryan

if i had i my way, neither of these would move on.  at least Contact had the nice critique of Reason.  SPR pretty much only stank it up.

i'll write more later, i just thought i'd get the verdict out.

Round 1 complete!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on July 29, 2008, 03:45:24 AM
Round one ends with a second consecutive upset, with Contact, the 151st seed, killing off the more popular Saving Private Ryan, seeded 57th.

Yay, I can go to bed now!

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 29, 2008, 03:51:19 AM

Yay, I can go to bed now!

pixote

me too :)  night pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on July 29, 2008, 12:57:46 PM
You're all lovely, lovely people.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: winrit on July 29, 2008, 01:39:57 PM
Even though you sent it through with a back handed comment... :) Yay Contact!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on July 29, 2008, 01:40:40 PM
SEAN SEAN SEAN
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on July 29, 2008, 03:01:28 PM
A film with Matthew McCounaghey beat out a film with Matt Damon?

Oh you filmspotters.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on July 29, 2008, 03:47:59 PM
Even though you sent it through with a back handed comment... :) Yay Contact!

YES!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: J5er on July 29, 2008, 04:30:42 PM
SEAN SEAN SEAN

...    :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on July 29, 2008, 11:55:44 PM
A film with Matthew McCounaghey beat out a film with Matt Damon?

funny.  as soon as McCounaghey showed up i thought crap and as soon as Damon showed up i briefly felt good.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 01, 2008, 01:12:23 PM
Contact
vs.
Saving Private Ryan

if i had i my way, neither of these would move on.  at least Contact had the nice critique of Reason.  SPR pretty much only stank it up.

i'll write more later, i just thought i'd get the verdict out.

Round 1 complete!

i'm not ever going to feel like writing this one up so i might as well just barf it out.

both are way too long C 2:33, SPR 2:50 - i can imagine this material (really any material) needing that much time, but execution was nonsense in both cases.  both films rely way too heavily on syrupy scores to evoke emotion, horribly so in SPR, where the music seems to cue certain emotions in discordant ways (sorry, i don't remember where it happened, but remember being struck by it).  both films lazily bank on easy plot devices to evoke emotion - C opens with the motherless Ellie (what's sadder than being motherless?), nicely played by Jena Malone, losing her father at age 9 - seriously?  that's just CINECASTing lazy!  i couldn't even tell you what spielberg was trying to evoke in SPR, it's a freakin' war movie, we expect everyone to die, i just never cared. at all.  i actually went into SPR expecting to have the typically conflicted experience of a masterful film-maker tugging all the right strings to sucker me into balling, only for a short-lived 20min, at about the 1:30 mark, did i get into the film (around when Damon showed up).  it kinda blows my mind how bad this movie is.

SPR opens and closes with the freaking hideous Ryan family trip to the national cemetery.  trying to bank on the revisit gimmick in Schindler's List, this bit of fiction just irked to high heaven.  then, we are dropped into one of many hideously long and utterly uninteresting combat scenes.  seriously?!  what is the freaking point of a 15min combat scene?  over and over?  is this really going to give me a better sense of what it was like for the soldiers?  of course not.  just a wasteful, masturbatory nearly two-hours of combat enactment.  while we get a sense of several characters, they are developed very thinly.  of course we can't really get to know them over the nearly three hour running time because they are mostly just in CINECASTing battle.  and yes, i get it is a war movie, but who the CINECAST cares?  the film gestures to an anti-war message, but of course it isn't.  it is more a love letter to Country and the bitter pill that is essential - claims the hyper-individualist, super-rich Spielberg.  CINECASTing gag me!  then, of course, is the ridiculous pro-war statement of the meek, justice-oriented Upham (Jeremy Davies) closing the film by getting his man on and becoming a lustful killer.  clearly, this film pisses me off like few films do. all the worse because i would expect the film to be well crafted, but it awkwardly jumps from combat to combat.  i suspect Spielberg had some consultants that he felt compelled to appease and "honor" by listening too much to them about needing more battle scenes.  whatever the reason, POC! 

Contact, from the bits i noted above, mostly tries too hard.  a few nice cast members - Jena Malone, Jodie Foster, David Morse, and John Hurt as the eccentric Hadden (i guess Skerritt also filled his role nicely); McConaughey just didn't work for me, kinda emphasized the cheese that this film was.  Kent Clark?  really?  not clever, not funny, just lame.  oh, did i just use the slur lame?  i guess i was in the mood since Contact lazily falls back on the trope of the extra-sensory lame person - you see, Kent is blind.  Ohhhhhh. Ahhhhhhh.  a blind person super in touch with his ability to hear, as well as being super, extra compassionate to Ellie the Super-Scientist Outcast.  just lazy.  as i briefly noted in my first "write-up", Contact moves on only because it questions the sanctity of Science with important unprovables like Love, Family connection, and human contact in general.  i'll be shocked if this clunker makes it out of the next round.

[sorry for the super-cranky vibe.  i really didn't like SPR and mostly didn't like C, it was a chore to revisit them with the required write-up :p ]
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on August 01, 2008, 02:06:55 PM
*uncomfortable silence*


Ummm...I agree..mostly because I'm afraid I'll get bitch-slapped if I don't. :-\
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on August 01, 2008, 02:25:19 PM
*uncomfortable silence*


Ummm...I agree..mostly because I'm afraid I'll get bitch-slapped if I don't. :-\

HAHA  :D

skjerva: I remember reading/watching an interview with Spielberg and him feeling he did the same mistake he had with Raiders in which the opening scene is so monumental, the rest of the film didn't stand up. Do you think the storming of the beach scene was so intense, the rest of the film fell flat?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 01, 2008, 02:56:05 PM
*uncomfortable silence*


Ummm...I agree..mostly because I'm afraid I'll get bitch-slapped if I don't. :-\

:) yeah, pretty hardcore, eh?

skjerva: I remember reading/watching an interview with Spielberg and him feeling he did the same mistake he had with Raiders in which the opening scene is so monumental, the rest of the film didn't stand up. Do you think the storming of the beach scene was so intense, the rest of the film fell flat?

not at all.  plus, the opening scene isn't the storming of the beach, it's the old Ryan with family solemnly walking to Miller's (Hanks) grave.  that said, i was COMPLETELY bored with the storming scene.  the bullets through water was neat, but i could otherwise have cared less.  people gave Wright crap for the Dunkirk scene in Atonement, but i don't think that came close to being as masturbatory as everything Spielberg was doing in Ryan.  i am honestly having a hard time believing how much i hated this movie.

i've been wondering how the film, and all the combat scenes, played for other folks.  i can understand some WWII vet liking it, or some family of a dead WWII vet, but a typical movie-goer?  i have no clue.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: gateway on August 01, 2008, 03:30:24 PM
I'll give that the bookending scenes shouldn't be in the film, but they compose about two minutes of the movie, and are easily ignorable. As for the bulk of the film, all I can say is that every time I watch it I'm completely captivated by every sequence, every scene, every shot. There are only a handful of movies I can think of where I cared deeply about every single character, and Saving Private Ryan is one of them. Whenever it comes on TNT I almost always drop whatever I'm doing for the next three hours, because I know I won't be able to stop watching.

That's my vague, impassioned defense of Saving Private Ryan.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on August 01, 2008, 04:23:36 PM
There are couple of minor scenes that have stayed with me:

One is where Hanks and crew are marching and as they crest a hill, the light seems to radiate from them - it shimmers across the the tips of the grass. Is he trrying to address the angelic innocence of soldiers in battle? I don't know but I really love that shot.

The other is another marching scene where a flock of sheep move across a meadow, perhaps speaking to the absurd surrealism or the hyper-reality of wartime.

Don't ask me why those two shots are ingrained upon me but they are, also the scene where Vin Diesel dies is very moving to me as well...as for the Normandy scene, I have relatives who fought in many wars and they say it captures the experience.
Masturbatory?
Maybe - but isn't that the point of art?
Spielberg has some chops, there's no denying it and perhaps he was indulging himself but again, I say that is the raison d'etre of art/film.
I would venture that your objection lies more in the subject matter than action of the director, and perhaps deservedly so if you feel that strongly about it. I don't think it glorifies war, just the opposite, that scene scared the sh*t out of me. It showed that people were puking, dying, crying all in the midst of performing a service to the free world (stopping the Nazis)...heroes are not cast in stone, but made of the same stuff we are...(if you buy into the fact that they were heroes). In fact it shows them committing acts of cruelty towards the end of that scene(letting the Germans burn instead of shooting them) so is it saying war leaves no one innocent or everyone is guilty?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on August 01, 2008, 04:42:05 PM
skjerva, I'm curious about your reaction to other war films, say, The Thin Red Line? Did the combat scenes in that film feel less masturbatory to you, and if so, why do you think so?
(I'm really just curious - I have no interest in defending SPR since I haven't seen it and don't much want to.)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 01, 2008, 04:47:05 PM
It seems skjerva and I will never ever agree on a movie. Ever.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on August 01, 2008, 04:52:09 PM
just a wasteful, masturbatory nearly two-hours of combat enactment.

[Woody Allen joke]

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: secondcitywolverine on August 01, 2008, 05:03:38 PM
Along the same lines of OAD, what did you think of Children of Men?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 01, 2008, 05:05:57 PM
There are couple of minor scenes that have stayed with me:

One is where Hanks and crew are marching and as they crest a hill, the light seems to radiate from them - it shimmers across the the tips of the grass. Is he trrying to address the angelic innocence of soldiers in battle? I don't know but I really love that shot.

The other is another marching scene where a flock of sheep move across a meadow, perhaps speaking to the absurd surrealism or the hyper-reality of wartime.

Don't ask me why those two shots are ingrained upon me but they are, also the scene where Vin Diesel dies is very moving to me as well...as for the Normandy scene, I have relatives who fought in many wars and they say it captures the experience.
Masturbatory?
Maybe - but isn't that the point of art?
Spielberg has some chops, there's no denying it and perhaps he was indulging himself but again, I say that is the raison d'etre of art/film.
I would venture that your objection lies more in the subject matter than action of the director, and perhaps deservedly so if you feel that strongly about it. I don't think it glorifies war, just the opposite, that scene scared the sh*t out of me. It showed that people were puking, dying, crying all in the midst of performing a service to the free world (stopping the Nazis)...heroes are not cast in stone, but made of the same stuff we are...(if you buy into the fact that they were heroes). In fact it shows them committing acts of cruelty towards the end of that scene(letting the Germans burn instead of shooting them) so is it saying war leaves no one innocent or everyone is guilty?

yeah, i get everything you write, and mostly agree with it.  but i do think the film suggests that the horrors of war are a small price to pay for The American Way.  and again, i was very surprised that the film had essentially no effect on me.  i agree that Spielberg is as good as it gets at making movies, and getting audiences to emotionally invest in the stories, but i got none of it here.  while i agree that the subject matter/ideology bugged me, i was also disappointed in the film Spielberg put together.  i keep thinking to compare my recent viewing of Forrest Gump - despite being ideologically disturbed by the film, i was completely sold, the super-cheesy score actually worked, i sobbed several times over the course of the film - i think this is the experience i expected from Ryan, and it didn't come close.

skjerva, I'm curious about your reaction to other war films, say, The Thin Red Line? Did the combat scenes in that film feel less masturbatory to you, and if so, why do you think so?
(I'm really just curious - I have no interest in defending SPR since I haven't seen it and don't much want to.)

i wondered this too.  i've not done The Thin Red Line [maybe during the brackets?], and i guess i have little interest in war films.  i've done Platoon and Full Metal Jacket, and have no memory of being bothered by the combat scenes.  i think the excessiveness of the scenes in Ryan just bored and bothered me - i would not be surprised if there were more than two scenes that were over 15min long that were all combat; of course, there were also several other shorter scenes.  i just don't think it was necessary to have these scenes go on and on and on and on - it just seems unimaginative and unnecessary.

It seems skjerva and I will never ever agree on a movie. Ever.

i feel like we have.  maybe.  pixote, what have we agreed on? ;)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Pacze Moj on August 01, 2008, 05:12:23 PM
I think Saving Private Ryan has had a huge influence on the way people "see" the Normandy landings and WWII in general: everything from first impressions by kids watching the film in schools and then having those pictures stuck in their heads if they ever read or learn more about the war to the colour scheme Spielberg uses and how it's been recreated in nearly every WWII video game since.

That doesn't mean it's a good film, of course, but it does mean there's something about the film's aesthetic vision that appeals to many people and sticks with them. Then again, it could also just be saturation; SPR is a film that's on TV a lot. Which is my own personal peeve about it, and also about Spielberg's Schindler's List: that the history and events become so associated with the films, it's no longer possible to separate the real from the recreated.

:D

Your post almost makes me want to see SPR and SL again, though, just because I'm curious what my reaction would be!

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 02, 2008, 02:09:45 PM
It stinks.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on August 02, 2008, 10:06:19 PM
Yes, I do recall Sean, how you found it insulting to the viewer...right?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 02, 2008, 11:35:15 PM
Among other things.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: gateway on August 03, 2008, 01:26:20 AM

That doesn't mean it's a good film, of course, but it does mean there's something about the film's aesthetic vision that appeals to many people and sticks with them. Then again, it could also just be saturation; SPR is a film that's on TV a lot. Which is my own personal peeve about it, and also about Spielberg's Schindler's List: that the history and events become so associated with the films, it's no longer possible to separate the real from the recreated.


I don't think you can chalk it up to saturation. A big reason Saving Private Ryan is on TV a lot is because it was a very successful film, the biggest grosser of 1998 in fact. I think it goes to Spielberg's vision, plain and simple. Simply being on TV once every month isn't going to generate endearment, there has to be something there to endear the people to the film.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 05, 2008, 10:55:55 AM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
I'm disappointed in the outcome, but could you elaborate on your decision?

You know, here we are about 20 pages in the thread later and I finally got up the gumption to reply to this - especially in light of the fact that I signed up for Round 2 and got a pleasant-but-firm private message saying, "You didn't elaborate. Please elaborate before Round 2."

Both Jurassic Park and Gas, Food, Lodging exemplify the extremes of what 90s American cinema became. Jurassic Park exemplified the big, loud, and dumb summer blockbuster that shook your ribcage with its thumping bass. Sure, some of the scenes didn't make sense (like how did the big T-Rex get into the building at the end?) but frankly who cares? This is a movie that promises one thing and one thing alone - dinosaurs eating people - and on that level it delivers the goods and then some. This film paved the way for other loud summer blockbusters like Twister, which promised (and delivered) little more than tornadoes sucking up cows and ID4, which promised (and delivered) little more than aliens blowing up stuff. This is sound and fury signifying nothing, but it is freakin' cool sound and fury. This is the type of film that people would buy to show off their home theater systems but never really watch. 2/5

Gas, Food, and Lodging on the other hand exemplifies the excess of American Independent Cinema. This movie has not aged well, probably because most of the cinematic territory that may have seemed fresh and invigorating at the time has been mined so thoroughly that it has become a cliche. It is a coming-of-age story about a family of working-class, yet incredibly good-looking, women who sling hash and live in a mobile home. For a talky film that is more of a character study than a story, the dialogue is not that sharp and the characterization consists of whining, crying, or yelling. The best aspects of this film come from its intents more than its actual execution - the main characters are women and the decision to focus on presenting a female perspective in a landscape that became dominated with the testosterone juices of Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith a few years afterward. But good intents do not necessarily make a good movie. The one scene that stands out for me - the scene where Ione Skye decides she really likes this guy enough to let him impregnate her - is a great example of intent vs. execution. The couple decide to copulate in a cave filled with luminescent rocks. The idea of filming in a textured environment as a way of conveying both the sensuality of the moment (much the way sand is erotically presented in Woman in the Dunes) as well as the symbolism of their relationship (the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus book - published the same year as this film - made much hay about "men living in their caves" plus there is this vague thematic idea that Ione Skye is supposed to be something akin to an earth mother - she is at her happiest when being surrounded by ground) should combine to create a moment that is both rich with symbolism as well as hot. Unfortunately, the execution - with neon blue and purple rocks, cloying rock music, and sand-that-looks-more-like-glitter-than-sand struck me with all the force of two teens blindly groping in a rave. Throughout the scene, I kept asking myself questions like , "Aren't those rocks sharp?" "Does this drag-her-to-a-cave method for getting women actually work?" and "Is she getting glittersand in her buttcrack?" This is not the profound moment it was meant to be; this is unintentional hilarity. 1/5
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 05, 2008, 10:58:51 AM
Finally, finally got around to watching Gas, Food, Lodging for the first time. While it was enjoyable and certainly shines as an example of 90s independent film, I will have to say that Jurassic Park is the better of the two films.

It was closer than one would think, but this one goes to the 800-pound T-Rex in the room.
I'm disappointed in the outcome, but could you elaborate on your decision?

I'd be curious to hear a little more about this matchup, too.  I have only the vaguest memories of what Gas, Food, Lodging was even about.  I can picture a trailer and ... maybe fireworks?

Had you seen Jurassic Park before, MR?  If so, how did it hold up?

pixote

I have seen Jurassic Park many many many times. I managed a video store when it came out on VHS and we were forced to play it on our TV screens non-stop for about three months solid. It is one of those movies that you do not have to really pay attention to in order to get the general feel of the plot (dinosaurs go on a rampage - not much room for a subtle twist ending there).
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 05, 2008, 04:39:11 PM
That's a shame, I had higher hopes for Gas, Food, Lodging, but at least it gave you a chance to promote Teshigahara some more.

That said, I'm glad you clarified because I couldn't imagine how that outcome could come from anyone but Junior and it makes much more sense now how the mediocre at best JP could take down a much more ambitious film. Is there any chance in hell that anyone else would have a better experience with G,F,L than you did?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 05, 2008, 05:57:30 PM
That's a shame, I had higher hopes for Gas, Food, Lodging, but at least it gave you a chance to promote Teshigahara some more.
Is there any chance in hell that anyone else would have a better experience with G,F,L than you did?

I am sure it was considered quite groundbreaking at the time (about fifteen years ago). This was when American Independent Film was just beginning to blossom and things really held the promise of something great. This is pre-Reservior Dogs, pre-Clerks, and about the same time that Simple Men was hitting screens. I think it was an exciting time when films looked like they could be about people in small towns or teenage girls moving from adolescence to adulthood. Part of it was that I came to the film with high expectations. For years I never understood why anyone thought Liza Minnelli had any talent, but when I finally got around to watching Cabaret, I thought, "Of course. Now I understand why people go gaga for her." Having only seen and been underwhelmed by both Grace of My Heart and the one segment of Four Rooms, I was hoping for a similar moment from writer/director Alison Anders. Instead, I saw a lot of elements that were perfected in other films. This film pioneers some of the trailer park aesthetic that was later perfected in films like Boys Don't Cry.  Even a completely unrealistic light comedy like the recent Waitress does a more entertaining job of showing the working poor being working poor. GFL is too stylized to be considered completely realistic and too realistic to draw the audience into the drama of the situation.

I will say that the performances are pretty good, but there isn't much there to work with. I respect the ambition of the project much more than the actual execution. I really did want to like this movie and I really wanted to see it kick in the teeth of a nearby raptor, but it was just too much miscalculation.

So I would recommend it for historical purposes. Films like the aforementioned Boys Don't Cry and Waitress both could have not been made without a film like this pioneering the way.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 05, 2008, 06:52:45 PM
That said, I'm glad you clarified because I couldn't imagine how that outcome could come from anyone but Junior and it makes much more sense now how the mediocre at best JP could take down a much more ambitious film.

I'm sorry I enjoy fun films. And I'm sorry that JP is a shining example of the fun film. And I'm sorry that I'm so awesome.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on August 05, 2008, 07:25:52 PM
That said, I'm glad you clarified because I couldn't imagine how that outcome could come from anyone but Junior and it makes much more sense now how the mediocre at best JP could take down a much more ambitious film.

I'm sorry I enjoy fun films. And I'm sorry that JP is a shining example of the fun film. And I'm sorry that I'm so awesome.

  I have to agree - sometimes it's not the most ambitious, intellectual or serious film that wins but the most entertaining and sometimes entertaining is none of those things. I'm not saying it can't be...
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 05, 2008, 07:56:52 PM
If there is one thing that I feel gets overlooked around these parts it's the entertainment value of film. Yes film is art but it is also a playground. Sometimes the two overlap (Be Kind Rewind is a recent example) and sometimes they are just one or the other. I don't think that one part is more important than the other, although I do tend to lean a little towards the "fun" side.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on August 05, 2008, 11:51:17 PM
I enjoy fun films, too — Hancock! — but I also find fun in a lot of art.  This is confusing.  Why so serious?

pleasant-but-firm
I've also been called tough but fair (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=4097.msg133383#msg133383).  Not sure I like this repuation I've got going.  I'll think I'll start cultivating a Manic Pixie Dream Girl image instead, so I can maybe make that Top 5.

Very cool that you took the time follow up on your verdict all this time later.  Glad you were rewarded with a new matchup that has everyone else jealous.

pixie
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 12:39:01 AM
If there is one thing that I feel gets overlooked around these parts it's the entertainment value of film. Yes film is art but it is also a playground. Sometimes the two overlap (Be Kind Rewind is a recent example) and sometimes they are just one or the other. I don't think that one part is more important than the other, although I do tend to lean a little towards the "fun" side.

yeah, this is an interesting stigma on the boards - the idea that folks that critique films don't also enjoy them.  (okay, i'm addressing my issue:) ) or, that in asking questions about why and how we find pleasure in films is somehow a problem.  i would also disagree that the entertainment value gets overlooked, i think this is partly exemplified by responses from raising cultural criticism.  responses seem to tilt in the "it makes no sense to inquire into films in such a way" direction - i think there is a clear preference to "enjoying" film, and there is nothing wrong with that (if that is what we want to call it).  if, however, you mean there is a connoisseur-vibe with folks tending to discuss according to auteur theory, obscure/"art"/"foreign" film, then you prolly have a stronger case, though there is certainly is a lot of discussion on mass market movies.

further, i would say "the two" (art and entertainment) always overlap.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on August 06, 2008, 12:47:58 AM
If there is one thing that I feel gets overlooked around these parts it's the entertainment value of film. Yes film is art but it is also a playground. Sometimes the two overlap (Be Kind Rewind is a recent example) and sometimes they are just one or the other. I don't think that one part is more important than the other, although I do tend to lean a little towards the "fun" side.

yeah, this is an interesting stigma on the boards - the idea that folks that critique films don't also enjoy them.  (okay, i'm addressing my issue:) ) or, that in asking questions about why and how we find pleasure in films is somehow a problem.  i would also disagree that the entertainment value gets overlooked, i think this is partly exemplified by responses from raising cultural criticism.  responses seem to tilt in the "it makes no sense to inquire into films in such a way" direction - i think there is a clear preference to "enjoying" film, and there is nothing wrong with that (if that is what we want to call it).  if, however, you mean there is a connoisseur-vibe with folks tending to discuss according to auteur theory, obscure/"art"/"foreign" film, then you prolly have a stronger case, though there is certainly is a lot of discussion on mass market movies.

further, i would say "the two" (art and entertainment) always overlap.

in complete disagreement with that last statement ;)  Irreversible would be my exhibit A.

One can find pleasure in art without finding entertainment but one can also appreciate a negative reaction that is neither pleasurable or entertaining (to the viewer at least - 2 Girls, 1 Cup has shown us that this experience can be both entertaining and pleasurable to those viewing the viewer.

I usually try to blend the art, technical and entertainment aspects into one when writing about a film and if it fails in one way or another I think I try to call said film on it.  I think some of that ability though comes from experience - I noticed in the film a year thread my favorite from childhood were nostalgia picks - films that i just out and out love for what they represent and my rose colored memory of them where as the later years favorite film = best film of the year.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 12:57:15 AM
If there is one thing that I feel gets overlooked around these parts it's the entertainment value of film. Yes film is art but it is also a playground. Sometimes the two overlap (Be Kind Rewind is a recent example) and sometimes they are just one or the other. I don't think that one part is more important than the other, although I do tend to lean a little towards the "fun" side.

yeah, this is an interesting stigma on the boards - the idea that folks that critique films don't also enjoy them.  (okay, i'm addressing my issue:) ) or, that in asking questions about why and how we find pleasure in films is somehow a problem.  i would also disagree that the entertainment value gets overlooked, i think this is partly exemplified by responses from raising cultural criticism.  responses seem to tilt in the "it makes no sense to inquire into films in such a way" direction - i think there is a clear preference to "enjoying" film, and there is nothing wrong with that (if that is what we want to call it).  if, however, you mean there is a connoisseur-vibe with folks tending to discuss according to auteur theory, obscure/"art"/"foreign" film, then you prolly have a stronger case, though there is certainly is a lot of discussion on mass market movies.

further, i would say "the two" (art and entertainment) always overlap.

in complete disagreement with that last statement ;)  Irreversible would be my exhibit A.

One can find pleasure in art without finding entertainment but one can also appreciate a negative reaction that is neither pleasurable or entertaining (to the viewer at least - 2 Girls, 1 Cup has shown us that this experience can be both entertaining and pleasurable to those viewing the viewer.


i reckon i should clarify the ideas of "art" and "entertainment" do not mean positive value judgments, instead "art" merely means there is an aesthetic component and "entertainment" an engagement with (dis)pleasure.  both imply a set of ways of engaging the film, perhaps thinking of these as operating on something like a spectrum - art/entertainment, how much is there?  how is it there?  these questions, of course, always imply a set of predispositions about what we mean when we engage the ideas.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on August 06, 2008, 01:27:10 AM
but entertainment is generally taken as associated with positive connotations, with pleasure minus the (dis) - even if it is "sick" pleasure or pleasure stemming from schadenfreude, based on a morally subjective value judgment.  Displeasure itself can be an emotion brought out by "art" and appreciated on that level but not something that a fully functional (that's loaded, couldn't come up with a better term at 2:20AM) person would want to experience over and over again and thus would not be "entertained." 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 01:38:02 AM
but entertainment is generally taken as associated with positive connotations, with pleasure minus the (dis) - even if it is "sick" pleasure or pleasure stemming from schadenfreude, based on a morally subjective value judgment.  Displeasure itself can be an emotion brought out by "art" and appreciated on that level but not something that a fully functional (that's loaded, couldn't come up with a better term at 2:20AM) person would want to experience over and over again and thus would not be "entertained." 

to use your description, i'll reply that anything someone finds entertaining also has an aesthetic component.  also, that an aesthetic component is not absent if entertainment is absent.  but i think that is the less interesting claim Junior is making :)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on August 06, 2008, 02:55:11 AM
Junior is awesome :)

Fixed.

Part of the problem, I think, is that sometimes it's easier to critique than to celebrate.  And that's a trap some of us fall into more often than others.  I personally try to counterbalance this in my own posts by using the word awesome at least once in every one of them.  Sometimes twice or three times, because I'm that awesome.

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 06, 2008, 03:18:58 AM
Art is entertainment.  It's what humans do to pass the time.  Different people like different things.  Skjerva enjoys films that reinforce his political ideologies, junior enjoys CGI dinosaurs.  Most of us like all kinds of different movies.

Criticism is the examination of the objects of entertainment.  It's not anti-entertainment, it's an investigation into, and often a rationalization for, entertainment.

Some people think Spielberg is fun and Tsai Ming-liang boring.  Some think Tsai is fun and Spielberg boring.  Both are right.  Aesthetic explanations come after the initial experience of fun/boredom.

In other words, junior, we all watch the movies we think are fun.  Whether or not you think they are boring, other people might think differently.  Entertainment value is never overlooked around here.  None of us watch the movies we watch without thinking they'll be entertaining.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: roujin on August 06, 2008, 03:27:50 AM
Junior is awesome :)

Fixed.

(http://www.vicious-trollop.com/userforum/images/smilies/praiseia2.gif)
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 04:24:20 AM
[to get this thread back on track ;) ]

The Truman Show
Peter Weir, 1998

vs.

Paris is Burning
Jennie Livingston, 19901


I had never experienced The Truman Show, though I've always wanted to - I'm not sure if I didn't because I assumed it would put the interesting idea to waste, but I was enthralled early on.  What does it mean that Truman (True Man) acts authentically and everyone else in "his universe" is scripted?  As Christof (nicely played by Ed Harris.  are we to invoke Christo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo_and_Jeanne-Claude)?)) states (from IMDb):  "We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented. "  This, apparently, is a problem.  I(/we/the audience) am(are/is) seemingly sharing the reaction with the audience of the television program, The Truman Show, who at film's end, are portrayed as sympathizing with Truman's burden of confinement.  However, they, like us, have accepted the reality of the world presented.  For 30 years, the millions of viewers have been content with Truman The Guinea Pig - they/we have been complicit.  This film is about how we are spoon-fed into complacency; how ideology works.

Likewise, Paris is Burning illustrates ideological tensions.  In duder's first-round write-up (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=2536.msg101505#msg101505) he notes

Quote
Later on, there seems to be an attempt on her part to widen the canvas by placing this community in contrast with the Outside World, even drawing some parallels, but I'm not sure she's quite as successful there, or even what it is she's trying to say exactly.

but really, the entire film is nothing but a contrast in constant dialogue with "the outside world".  in fact, one weakness of the film is that the narrative is so heavily constructed around reductive quotes from the family members, e.g. (again from IMDb),

Quote
In real life, you can't get a job as an executive unless you have the educational background and the opportunity. Now the fact that you are not an executive is merely because of the social standing of life... Black people have a hard time getting anywhere. And those that do, are usually straight. In a ballroom, you can be anything you want.

The film is punctuated with title pages that describe terms used.  One of them, resonating with the above quote, as well as The Truman Show, is "REALNESS".  This film is utterly about how "the real world" - really, the wealthy, straight, white world - does not accept gay people.  Moreso, resonating off the final sentence of the above quote, early in the film a person describes the ball culture as a place to "feel 100% right being gay...and that's not what it's like in the world".  This is a common theme in the film, "the world", "society", "being real", are all "their" attributes.  Despite that, there is a place that these "outcasts" are 100% Right, and that is in drag culture, an important component of this is the "Houses".  The houses are organized around matriarchs who have proven their worth to the Ball establishment by not only being recognized performers, but as successful "mothers".  These mothers, and their houses, care for the gay youth when their blood family - the "they" society - would not. Mothers give them places to stay when they are kicked out, they feed them, and advise them on navigating that society that will likely meet them with violence.  The film raises the question of which world is the more desirable real.  Wonderfully, the constant desire to belong to "their real" resonates with most every subject the film spends time with while it also makes it abundantly evident how 100%-right their "false real" really is.

So, while the film does lean heavily on a dozen or so seemingly simple statements, they are so profound and somehow Livingston has made such obvious fodder so real.  So Beautiful.  Such an amazing film.

Without going much more deeply into either film, I want to emphasize that it is difficult ruling out The Truman Show.  Not knowing which other films will be ruled out by Round 2's end (and heart-breakers will certainly abound), a cautionary case for resurrection should be made taking into account a solid set of performances by Carrey, Harris, Linney, and that that-guy Noah Emmerich.  The script is fantastic, gliding easily over the 50s-esque satire, media/advertising/pop-culture criticism, and existential themes.  Though the film's tone shifts awkwardly about half-in as the reveal occurs, it leads to such a nice payoff that it is easy to overlook.  Wier does an amazing job of suturing the show's audience onto "we"-audience, asking us what we are complicit in being entertained by, and whether or not we will simply jump to the next show once our attention drops from a perceived wrong. 

Though it is easy to rule-in Paris is Burning - a profoundly humane and complex film - it is still difficult to rule out The Truman Show, though I can only muster that it is smart and a fair bit better than average (I might feel comfortable calling it Top 100 of US 90s films).

-----
1 Or 1991, as current version reflects changes made after initial festival release for '91 Sundance.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 06, 2008, 04:43:31 AM
So, if I read that right, you think Paris Is Burning is a great film because it depicts a subworld in which a group of people get to act more like themselves when they can't act that way in the larger world.

Is there anything cinematically interesting about it?  I've never seen the film, but based on my understanding of your description, I have zero desire to.  I know it sucks that gay and/or drag people are oppressed and I think it's great they've managed to create a culture wherein they don't have to behave in compliance with the society that oppresses them.  So what can this film tell me I don't already know?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 05:46:30 AM
[written way too late/early; can't believe i haven't bedded yet :( ]

So, if I read that right, you think Paris Is Burning is a great film because it depicts a subworld in which a group of people get to act more like themselves when they can't act that way in the larger world.

Is there anything cinematically interesting about it?  I've never seen the film, but based on my understanding of your description, I have zero desire to.  I know it sucks that gay and/or drag people are oppressed and I think it's great they've managed to create a culture wherein they don't have to behave in compliance with the society that oppresses them.  So what can this film tell me I don't already know?

worthwhile point, but it should be clear that my take is that Livingston takes obvious material, seemingly presented in obvious ways (e.g., black title screen with white lettering, anthropological representation of a hidden sub-culture), and imbues it with something that really resonates.  i reckon part of this is attributable to the two-ish years she (apparently) spent filming.  she was able to construct a great social commentary by hanging it on a few primary characters and a few key ideas.  while the social commentary is obvious, and there are many clear and diluted statements made by subjects, it somehow evades being preachy or seeming obvious - and this seems like quite a bit of craft to me.  these black screen intertitles - HOUSE; MOTHER; REALNESS; READING - punctuate the film every few minutes introducing characters and concepts, they are almost annoying, seemingly unnecessary, but somehow make complete sense.  there is something so stark and obvious about the construction and presentation of the film  so much so in that it brilliantly suggests an equivalence to the obvious presence of these social outcasts, so why must there be a difference?  these basic terms utterly redefine the logic of rich, straight, white culture - or question the assumptions of this logic.  there are also a couple of strange and great segments of Wall Streetish white folks, basically representations of the characters the ballers seem to invoke, in this pairing there is something so obvious yet powerful happening.  there is seemingly something so simple and reductive in that which is real, the film and the representation of it's subjects unmasks such easy thinking as a lie, the real, while simple, is never easy, or easily understood.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 06, 2008, 06:38:59 AM
In other words, junior, we all watch the movies we think are fun.  Whether or not you think they are boring, other people might think differently.  Entertainment value is never overlooked around here.  None of us watch the movies we watch without thinking they'll be entertaining.

Obviously. However, I feel like what I get entertainment from is (sometimes) looked down upon as a lower form of entertainment. Why watch CGI dinosaurs when you can watch a movie about abortion? Just because you don't have to use you mind much doesn't mean it isn't interesting or exciting.

In short. I am always right and whatever movie I watch is the best movie ever. And I am awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 10:55:00 AM
In other words, junior, we all watch the movies we think are fun.  Whether or not you think they are boring, other people might think differently.  Entertainment value is never overlooked around here.  None of us watch the movies we watch without thinking they'll be entertaining.

Obviously. However, I feel like what I get entertainment from is (sometimes) looked down upon as a lower form of entertainment. Why watch CGI dinosaurs when you can watch a movie about abortion? Just because you don't have to use you mind much doesn't mean it isn't interesting or exciting.

In short. I am always right and whatever movie I watch is the best movie ever. And I am awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
See, I look down on Jurassic Park because I find the action and plot really predictable and not very exhilarating in its staging. Therefore, despite an entire argument raging without me for a night, I have won the argument. We all like entertaining films (like sean said), your choice is just not that fun. Now, you want to come quote Futurama somewhere, I'll be right there with you.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on August 06, 2008, 11:05:41 AM
So, if I read that right, you think Paris Is Burning is a great film because it depicts a subworld in which a group of people get to act more like themselves when they can't act that way in the larger world.

Is there anything cinematically interesting about it?  I've never seen the film, but based on my understanding of your description, I have zero desire to.  I know it sucks that gay and/or drag people are oppressed and I think it's great they've managed to create a culture wherein they don't have to behave in compliance with the society that oppresses them.  So what can this film tell me I don't already know?
You may not be interested in the movie for all those reasons - cinematically or as a study of a subgroup or whatever.  You may not want to take away a message.

You may find it enjoyable just to see the particulars, to learn what a house is and how it is structured.  And how each house has its own personality, and the specific personalities of each of the houses shown.  And how the personalities of each house play against each other.  If you think that's too much like fishbowl gazing, then don't see it.  If, on the other hand, you like looking into fishbowls, go for it.

It might also be interesting to see how this particular movie is still influencing today's New York gay scene.  How the concept of houses is still playing out - in ironic terms or sincere terms.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on August 06, 2008, 11:10:49 AM
It might also be interesting just to see where Madonna got one of her most iconic dances from.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 06, 2008, 11:34:31 AM
This will be my final word on this debate (unless I say more). I don't care if you don't enjoy JP as long as you can accept that it is just as valid a movie as 8 1/2 or any other movie. It may be just a fun film, but that doesn't detract from its movie-dom. 
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 11:39:44 AM
This will be my final word on this debate (unless I say more). I don't care if you don't enjoy JP as long as you can accept that it is just as valid a movie as 8 1/2 or any other movie. It may be just a fun film, but that doesn't detract from its movie-dom. 
Yeah, i was never saying it's a less valid form. You probably shouldn't assume things. I still say it's not fun.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on August 06, 2008, 11:50:10 AM
That was a real interesting verdict skjerva. Very well written. I've never watched either of the two movies you evaluated, but now I'm interested in both.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 12:29:22 PM
So, if I read that right, you think Paris Is Burning is a great film because it depicts a subworld in which a group of people get to act more like themselves when they can't act that way in the larger world.

Is there anything cinematically interesting about it?  I've never seen the film, but based on my understanding of your description, I have zero desire to.  I know it sucks that gay and/or drag people are oppressed and I think it's great they've managed to create a culture wherein they don't have to behave in compliance with the society that oppresses them.  So what can this film tell me I don't already know?
You may not be interested in the movie for all those reasons - cinematically or as a study of a subgroup or whatever.  You may not want to take away a message.

You may find it enjoyable just to see the particulars, to learn what a house is and how it is structured.  And how each house has its own personality, and the specific personalities of each of the houses shown.  And how the personalities of each house play against each other.  If you think that's too much like fishbowl gazing, then don't see it.  If, on the other hand, you like looking into fishbowls, go for it.

It might also be interesting to see how this particular movie is still influencing today's New York gay scene.  How the concept of houses is still playing out - in ironic terms or sincere terms.

yeah, all of that.  plus, if not clear from my first post, it was entertaining, as well as socially and spiritually satisfying.  one of the film's great assets is in showing an alternative culture, suggesting that other worlds are possible.  getting back to The Truman Show and riffing on the all-important shared theme - realness - Paris, in a sense, picks up where Truman leaves off.  Truman bids adieu with his "in case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night" - the canned nicety to the all Good, all White world of The Truman Show.  Truman doesn't know what the "real world" is like, but he knows he no longer wants to participate in the world that is inauthentic, unreal.  The all Good, all White world is a myth of media and advertising, Christof sells it to millions of viewers, and folks like Venus Extravaganza, Octavia St. Laurent, Paris Duprée, you, and me all buy it.  Even though many of the ballers profess their joy, fulfillment, and connection to family, they believe that "their" world, the White world, is where they want to be.  the same "their world" that has killed them, kicked them out of birth home and family, and generally alienated them.  both films are about finding one's self and community against the immense pressures of what is sold as Real.  Truman wants to leave but Meryl (Laura Linney, "the wife") reminds him that he is tethered to mortgage payments and car payments, he still wants to run [see also Carrey's fabulous yet over-looked Fun with Dick and Jane]; similarly, in Paris, at least one person dreams of a world without money.  and there is a sense that Ball Culture does run on a different economy, sharing and support are primary values because they need to be, many of these ballers were kicked out of home (and various other aspects of "society"); merely buying expensive clothes is commented on as returning to the root of the problem.  Money does not equal Real, but we are constantly bombarded with ideas that suggest otherwise.  as previously noted, part of the simple complexity of Paris is that it seems at times so obvious that the film is all about this idea of "realness", about what it means to be "real" and the social implications of buying into that game, but it never lingers on the idea, instead just continues introducing different ideas and characters.  Livingston's film shades, just as certain ballers do.  brilliant.

on so many levels, such a fine film experience.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 06, 2008, 12:31:28 PM

I think, is that sometimes it's easier to critique than to celebrate.

And it all depends on what is fun to you. I rate the "entertainment" value of a film based on how much human interaction I get because of a film. So when a film comes along and I don't like it, but can still get a lot of discussion out of it, I can enjoy what it brought to my life. Even though I thought Once was just-ok-but-not-brilliant, I consider it one of the more entertaining experiences from the past year because there was so much post-film discussion about it.

Same goes for films like Apocalypse Now, a film that I consider overrated, but love because I've had so many good discussions about it.

Critics are a strange mess of people. I think that was one reason I was so brief on my first pass on GFL - I disliked the film so much that I thought there was nothing to talk about aside from just being mean. Enough time has passed that I can go, "Ok, I see where they were trying for this, but instead wound up with this." as opposed to an earlier review which was along the lines of, "MAKE THE PAIN STOP!"
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 12:32:47 PM

I think, is that sometimes it's easier to critique than to celebrate.

And it all depends on what is fun to you. I rate the "entertainment" value of a film based on how much human interaction I get because of a film. So when a film comes along and I don't like it, but can still get a lot of discussion out of it, I can enjoy what it brought to my life. Even though I thought Once was just-ok-but-not-brilliant, I consider it one of the more entertaining experiences from the past year because there was so much post-film discussion about it.

Same goes for films like Apocalypse Now, a film that I consider overrated, but love because I've had so many good discussions about it.

Critics are a strange mess of people. I think that was one reason I was so brief on my first pass on GFL - I disliked the film so much that I thought there was nothing to talk about aside from just being mean. Enough time has passed that I can go, "Ok, I see where they were trying for this, but instead wound up with this." as opposed to an earlier review which was along the lines of, "MAKE THE PAIN STOP!"
That's pretty much how Harmony Korine makes me feel.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 06, 2008, 12:39:32 PM

I think, is that sometimes it's easier to critique than to celebrate.

And it all depends on what is fun to you. I rate the "entertainment" value of a film based on how much human interaction I get because of a film. So when a film comes along and I don't like it, but can still get a lot of discussion out of it, I can enjoy what it brought to my life. Even though I thought Once was just-ok-but-not-brilliant, I consider it one of the more entertaining experiences from the past year because there was so much post-film discussion about it.

Same goes for films like Apocalypse Now, a film that I consider overrated, but love because I've had so many good discussions about it.

Critics are a strange mess of people. I think that was one reason I was so brief on my first pass on GFL - I disliked the film so much that I thought there was nothing to talk about aside from just being mean. Enough time has passed that I can go, "Ok, I see where they were trying for this, but instead wound up with this." as opposed to an earlier review which was along the lines of, "MAKE THE PAIN STOP!"

nicely put
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on August 06, 2008, 12:49:15 PM
My main interest in critiquing is not to simply have other people read or listen to my take on a film, but to elicit some kind of reaction and start a conversation/debate/violent argument about the movie in question.  m_rturnage pointed that out when he mentioned the issue of the human interaction that one can get from watching a film. I don't really like solely sticking to my opinion and idea of a film. Rather, I think understanding a movie from other peoples points of view is just as exciting. 

I used to be content with checking out the written reviews of movies on the net, but now there are shows, such as Filmspotting, as well as message boards, just like this one, which basically rely on the 'human interaction' created by film (two hosts discussing, not just one talking endlessly). That's entertainment!
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 06, 2008, 01:45:54 PM
It might also be interesting just to see where Madonna got one of her most iconic dances from.

Now there's a reason to watch a movie!

I've been having trouble with documentaries lately.  So much of our reactions to them seems based on whether or not we're interested in the subject, and less in the unique ways the story is told.  It seems the way we think about (and rank them in lists or contests like this) has less to do with film than it should.  I don't mean to pick on skjerva, but he provided an excellent example of this phenomenon.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 01:49:12 PM
It might also be interesting just to see where Madonna got one of her most iconic dances from.

Now there's a reason to watch a movie!

I've been having trouble with documentaries lately.  So much of our reactions to them seems based on whether or not we're interested in the subject, and less in the unique ways the story is told.  It seems the way we think about (and rank them in lists or contests like this) has less to do with film than it should.  I don't mean to pick on skjerva, but he provided an excellent example of this phenomenon.
I absolutely agree, as I've been complaining about this to no end. I'm really sick of it being enough to create a rote mimic of the popular documentary style just because the topic is intriguing. What bothers me more is that people are often so reticent to deal with documentaries that are adventurous in their style. When I was still at the film festival, we'd get 2 or 3 interestingly experimental documentaries every year, and (despite my best efforts) they'd get shot down in the preliminary judging every time. Now, a poorly put together film about a bunch of drunks at the Jersey shore, that gets multiple supporters without dying. It's really getting to me.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: pixote on August 06, 2008, 01:51:52 PM
I'm not a monster, just ahead of the curve (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=3008.msg75744#msg75744).

pixote
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 01:53:17 PM
I'm not a monster, just ahead of the curve (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=3008.msg75744#msg75744).

pixote
Yeah, I remember that vaguely.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on August 06, 2008, 01:55:10 PM
But for us sloped-foreheadeds, we just want to see things go whiz-bang.  We're not interested in advancing the medium.  And yes, I presume to speak for all sloped-foreheadeds.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on August 06, 2008, 01:57:02 PM
I partially agree but part of the raison de etre of a doc is to inform and intrest the viewer on a subject - if you are informed and interested than by default the doc can't be all that bad.  but when watching i find that I pay more attention when there are fewer talking heads and more experimental storytelling.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 06, 2008, 01:57:52 PM
Sure, we all like whiz-banging.

But I think if you're going to call a film great, it's got to have something you won't see on an episode of Frontline, doesn't it?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: alexarch on August 06, 2008, 02:01:15 PM
But I think if you're going to call a film great, it's got to have something you won't see on an episode of Frontline, doesn't it?
I'm not sure because I'm not interested in film being great.  I'm interested in liking a movie.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 06, 2008, 02:02:08 PM
You say that like there's a difference.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on August 06, 2008, 02:06:47 PM
You say that like there's a difference.

Chihuahua?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 06, 2008, 02:56:49 PM
This will be my final word on this debate (unless I say more). I don't care if you don't enjoy JP as long as you can accept that it is just as valid a movie as 8 1/2 or any other movie. It may be just a fun film, but that doesn't detract from its movie-dom. 
Yeah, i was never saying it's a less valid form. You probably shouldn't assume things. I still say it's not fun.

I wasn't talking about you at that point. You all get lumped in if you aren't named Alex.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: facedad on August 06, 2008, 02:57:43 PM
This will be my final word on this debate (unless I say more). I don't care if you don't enjoy JP as long as you can accept that it is just as valid a movie as 8 1/2 or any other movie. It may be just a fun film, but that doesn't detract from its movie-dom. 
Yeah, i was never saying it's a less valid form. You probably shouldn't assume things. I still say it's not fun.

I wasn't talking about you at that point. You all get lumped in if you aren't named Alex.
Well, more proof that I was right about you.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Junior on August 06, 2008, 03:00:43 PM
This will be my final word on this debate (unless I say more). I don't care if you don't enjoy JP as long as you can accept that it is just as valid a movie as 8 1/2 or any other movie. It may be just a fun film, but that doesn't detract from its movie-dom. 
Yeah, i was never saying it's a less valid form. You probably shouldn't assume things. I still say it's not fun.

I wasn't talking about you at that point. You all get lumped in if you aren't named Alex.
Well, more proof that I was right about you.

Exactly.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: St. Martin the Bald on August 06, 2008, 03:02:04 PM
So, if I read that right, you think Paris Is Burning is a great film because it depicts a subworld in which a group of people get to act more like themselves when they can't act that way in the larger world.

Is there anything cinematically interesting about it?  I've never seen the film, but based on my understanding of your description, I have zero desire to.  I know it sucks that gay and/or drag people are oppressed and I think it's great they've managed to create a culture wherein they don't have to behave in compliance with the society that oppresses them.  So what can this film tell me I don't already know?
You may not be interested in the movie for all those reasons - cinematically or as a study of a subgroup or whatever.  You may not want to take away a message.

You may find it enjoyable just to see the particulars, to learn what a house is and how it is structured.  And how each house has its own personality, and the specific personalities of each of the houses shown.  And how the personalities of each house play against each other.  If you think that's too much like fishbowl gazing, then don't see it.  If, on the other hand, you like looking into fishbowls, go for it.

It might also be interesting to see how this particular movie is still influencing today's New York gay scene.  How the concept of houses is still playing out - in ironic terms or sincere terms.

  What I found so interesting (and not just from this film) was that this is an epicenter of fashion and style.
  As far as the film goes - I think there is a poignancy to a lot of the observations (whether they are intentionally ironic or not) on display in this film...these girls fight and scratch for every bit of pride and self repsect they have (especially coming from the notoriously homophobic black community) and there is a lot of pain and vulnerability here. I came away with an even greater respect for how they choose to live their lives and the courage it takes.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: oneaprilday on August 06, 2008, 03:13:30 PM
Without going much more deeply into either film, I want to emphasize that it is difficult ruling out The Truman Show.  Not knowing which other films will be ruled out by Round 2's end (and heart-breakers will certainly abound), a cautionary case for resurrection should be made taking into account a solid set of performances by Carrey, Harris, Linney, and that that-guy Noah Emmerich.  The script is fantastic, gliding easily over the 50s-esque satire, media/advertising/pop-culture criticism, and existential themes.  Though the film's tone shifts awkwardly about half-in as the reveal occurs, it leads to such a nice payoff that it is easy to overlook.  Wier does an amazing job of suturing the show's audience onto "we"-audience, asking us what we are complicit in being entertained by, and whether or not we will simply jump to the next show once our attention drops from a perceived wrong. 

Noted! Thanks, skjerva. If I'm still able to play god once this round is finished and I get to decide which losing films get to be resurrected, your comments are really useful. I have seen The Truman Show and like it a lot, but I'm sure I will not have seen a number of the losing films in upcoming match-ups (as my film knowledge is not as wonderfully encyclopedic as sdedalus's) - thus, I'd love for any of you to make a case for resurrection after future match-up results if you think one needs to be made.

Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 06, 2008, 03:30:08 PM
I don't really like solely sticking to my opinion and idea of a film. Rather, I think understanding a movie from other peoples points of view is just as exciting. 

I used to be content with checking out the written reviews of movies on the net, but now there are shows, such as Filmspotting, as well as message boards, just like this one, which basically rely on the 'human interaction' created by film (two hosts discussing, not just one talking endlessly). That's entertainment!

To add to this train of thought, I become very passionate about films that win me over after a good conversation and a second viewing. I remember being bored with the first halves of both Vertigo and Out of Sight, both films I have grown more passionate about with each repeated conversation and viewing.

As far as the documentary on a specific topic is concerned - what turns me off is the trend of documentary directors who somehow become their documentary subjects. The one called out by Spout was The Business of Being Born. Sometime during filming a documentary about pregnancy the director... becomes pregnant and gets to make a documentary about herself.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on August 07, 2008, 12:52:35 AM
It might also be interesting just to see where Madonna got one of her most iconic dances from.

Now there's a reason to watch a movie!

I've been having trouble with documentaries lately.  So much of our reactions to them seems based on whether or not we're interested in the subject, and less in the unique ways the story is told.  It seems the way we think about (and rank them in lists or contests like this) has less to do with film than it should.  I don't mean to pick on skjerva, but he provided an excellent example of this phenomenon.
I absolutely agree, as I've been complaining about this to no end. I'm really sick of it being enough to create a rote mimic of the popular documentary style just because the topic is intriguing. What bothers me more is that people are often so reticent to deal with documentaries that are adventurous in their style. When I was still at the film festival, we'd get 2 or 3 interestingly experimental documentaries every year, and (despite my best efforts) they'd get shot down in the preliminary judging every time. Now, a poorly put together film about a bunch of drunks at the Jersey shore, that gets multiple supporters without dying. It's really getting to me.

I completely agree with these comments. A documentary's primary focus should indeed be to inform us on a particular subject. However, it is a type of film and can be evaluated as such using much of the same criteria we use when discussing other kinds of movies. It is possible to respect and have a certain appreciation for a documentary even though you may dislike the given topic.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: sdedalus on August 07, 2008, 12:53:16 AM
And vice versa?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: edgar00 on August 07, 2008, 01:07:57 AM
And vice versa?

Absolutely. Why not?
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: Pacze Moj on August 07, 2008, 09:21:32 AM
Quote
A documentary's primary focus should indeed be to inform us on a particular subject.

I think the focus of a documentary should be to document an unscripted event—one that would be happening whether the camera was there or not. Hence, footage of some guy on a tightrope in New York is documentary footage; an interview with that guy and any dramatizations based on his life are not. It would also help if there wasn't a lot of editing involved, no outside music, etc.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: m_rturnage on August 07, 2008, 09:23:57 AM
Quote
A documentary's primary focus should indeed be to inform us on a particular subject.

I think the focus of a documentary should be to document an unscripted event—one that would be happening whether the camera was there or not. Hence, footage of some guy on a tightrope in New York is documentary footage; an interview with that guy and any dramatizations based on his life are not. It would also help if there wasn't a lot of editing involved, no outside music, etc.

Welcome to the board, Albert Maysles! I love your films.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: ¡Keith! on August 07, 2008, 10:50:10 AM
Quote
A documentary's primary focus should indeed be to inform us on a particular subject.

I think the focus of a documentary should be to document an unscripted event—one that would be happening whether the camera was there or not. Hence, footage of some guy on a tightrope in New York is documentary footage; an interview with that guy and any dramatizations based on his life are not. It would also help if there wasn't a lot of editing involved, no outside music, etc.

now that sounds like a dogme95 style rule game for doumentary filmmaking.  Von Trier would love it.
Title: Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
Post by: skjerva on August 07, 2008, 01:16:54 PM
I've been having trouble with documentaries lately.  So much of our reactions to them seems based on whether or not we're interested in the subject, and less in the unique ways the story is told. 

but sometimes that a story is told at all is unique.  that said, i don't find the need to fetishize the new and assume that there is something better about a unique style or technology being utilized.  if the objective of documentary is to teach/share new information (whether that be content or form (not that i want to press the case that there is much of a difference there)), then what matters is the reception of the text and whether or not it is understood by the audience. 

sean, question for you.  that you have trouble with an interest in subject matter, is this to say that you judge documentaries only on form?  to get a better idea where you are coming from, which documentaries do you like (and why)? 


Quote
A documentary's primary focus should indeed be to inform us on a particular subject.