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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk => Topic started by: Corndog on February 15, 2010, 12:57:49 PM

Title: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on February 15, 2010, 12:57:49 PM
To commemorate my 5000th post, I would like to argue for Forrest Gump being my favorite film. That gave me the idea to start a thread where everyone can submit an entry as to why their favorite film is their favorite film. This first post will be an index. I hope that it will create good discussion and get people to express their love for their favorite films. Your presentation can be any length, as I know mine is probably quite long.

1SO - The Godfather (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=8652.msg586534#msg586534) (also with The Graduate)
Bondo - 12 Angry Men (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg408744#msg408744)
Bill - The Shawshank Redemption (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg408972#msg408972)
Clovis8 - Before Sunset (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg441712#msg441712)
Corndog - Forrest Gump (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg408650#msg408650)
ferris - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg412303#msg412303)
FroHam - Close Encounters of the Third Kind (http://filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg445687#msg445687)
Junior - Fanny and Alexander (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg750066#msg750066)
Lobby - Lost in Translation (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg619300#msg619300)
'Noke - Princess Mononoke (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg458947#msg458947)
Pratters - Greed (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg410017#msg410017)
Sam the Cinema Snob - Days of Heaven (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg442970#msg442970) [Apr 2010]
Sam the Cinema Snob - Days of Heaven (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg730014#msg730014) [Apr 2013]
smirnoff - Terminator 2: Judgement Day (http://www.noffload.net/?p=408)
stevekimes - Spirited Away (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg434484#msg434484)
Totoro - #3 Star Wars: A New Hope (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg621276#msg621276)
verbALs - Network (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7372.msg595096#msg595096)
zarodinu - Woman in the Dunes (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.msg409296#msg409296)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on February 15, 2010, 12:58:03 PM
(http://i46.tinypic.com/jb1zmc.jpg)
Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)

Forrest Gump has been my favorite movie since I first saw it as a child. There is something that it does, something in the story it tells, how it tells it, and who is in it that hits me in all the right places. Off hand I cannot easily describe it, but in the following essay, I hope to be able to convey to you why Forrest Gump means so much to me. At the same time I understand this is not a film that will enchant every viewer as it has done for me. I hope that people can see it as a great film because personal feelings aside, I still feel as though it is just that, a great film. At the same time, I know for a fact that the personal connection the filmmakers make to me is the single reason it is my favorite film of all time. There is no other explanation. For the rest of this essay, I will prove to you that Forrest Gump will live forever in my life.

I will start my argument with the characters of the story and their portrayals by the great cast. Obviously, the power house of the film is Tom Hanks as the title character Forrest Gump. For the longest time, I knew that this character was the reason I loved the film. Forrest has a low I.Q., yes, but he is not dumb. In many ways he is the smartest character in the story. Why? He follows his heart. While most of the other characters are searching for their destiny and wondering what they should be doing, where their life is going, Forrest simply follows his heart. This would be insignificant if his heart was not as pure and innocent as it is. I once attempted to read the original source material, a novel by Winston Groom, but failed to get very far because I was appalled to find that Forrest was not as innocent as he was in the movie. That is the key to my love of the character.
Because Forrest is so innocent, I connect with him. I would be doing myself a disservice to say that I am that innocent, but honestly, I am still quite innocent, or at least I fancy myself so. As such, I connect with Forrest, I root for him, I appreciate his ways and hope that he can stay that way, no matter who he encounters no matter what experiences he has. He is pure.

Tom Hanks plays him so well. At the same time, so does Michael Conner Humphreys, who plays Forrest as a child. If it wasnít for him early on, I would not have been hooked by the character from the beginning. Hanks even modeled his adult Forrest on the cadence and mannerisms of Humphreys, a young boy from Mississippi in his first role on screen. Hanks breathes life into a character that already has so much. At the same time, the role needed a charismatic, capable actor to keep that life there, to keep the innocence there, and to keep the joy that Forrest so often exudes throughout.
(http://i50.tinypic.com/o56qyv.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/znr2ae.jpg) (http://i46.tinypic.com/k0ipo1.jpg)
Along with young Humphreys, the beginning part of the film is carried by Sally Field as Mrs. Gump. Until Hanks shows up to play a major role in the film, the audience has to depend on Field to tell the story alongside Humphreys. Without her performance, the film may be lost altogether. She is central in why Forrest is the way he is. Like Forrest says, ďShe had a way of saying things so I could understand them.Ē She had her popular phrases like, ďLife is like a box of chocolates. You never know what youíre gonna get.Ē She had a way of guiding Forrest to where he needed to go. She would comfort him and encourage him. Once he grows up, she does not play as big a role, appearing only seldom, but she is still a presence in Forrestís life up until the day she dies.

Next we have Lt. Dan Taylor, as portrayed by Gary Sinise. He is such a well written character. We do not meet him until Forrest is in Vietnam; he is the commanding officer. A brief history tells us that he has a history with the military: someone from his family has died in every American war. As such, while Lt. Dan is a good soldier, he fully expects to die in Vietnam. However, Forrest comes to his rescue, something that initially upsets Lt. Dan. He thought it was his destiny to die with his men, proclaiming, ďWhat am I supposed to do now?Ē He is lost. And as such, when he returns home, a cripple with no legs, he goes into somewhat of a tailspin, becoming a drunk. Meanwhile, Forrest is off pursuing other things once he returns home and we do not see Lt. Dan for sometime until he shows up after Forrestís appearance on the Dick Cavett show, where he inspired John Lennon to write ďImagineĒ by the way. We see his defeated condition. Drinking heavily, not taking women seriously, as they hardly take him seriously, finally calling him a ďfreakĒ after he defends Forrest after they call him ďstupidĒ. He lives in a scarce apartment and is frustrated with life, struggling to see how he will ďwalk beside Jesus in the kingdom of Heaven.Ē

We have a short break from Lt. Dan again until Forrest becomes a shrimp boat captain, like he had promised his army buddy Bubba before he had died in Vietnam. Lt. Dan had off hand promised that if Forrest one day became a captain, he would be his first mate. What is significant here is that he stuck to his word. He had made the promise as a joke, but once it came true, he was a man of his word, and thankfully so because in the end it saved his life. Shrimping is tough going at first, but as fate would have it, they are the only boat to survive a hurricane and they become very rich in their venture. During their struggles at first, Forrest would pray to God for support, an off hand suggestion by Lt. Dan. And during the storm, Lt. Dan seemingly made a connection with God, as Forrest says during one of the most poignant parts of the film, ďI think he had found God.Ē

Again we have another break from Lt. Dan until near the end of the film when we learn that he has ďnew legsĒ and is set to be married to Susan. His life has been fulfilled. He thought he was supposed to die, then he thought his life was over because of his disability, but now he has overcome both and found the love of his life.
(http://i49.tinypic.com/n6rf49.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/28krqqq.jpg) (http://i46.tinypic.com/2egdvfb.jpg)
I save Jenny Curran, played by Robin Wright (Penn), for last because she has become my favorite character in the film. She is Forrestís lifelong friend and lifelong love. We first meet her as the ďvoice of an angelĒ, welcoming Forrest to sit down on the bus when no one else would. We soon learn that she has a troubled home life, connecting instead with Forrest and begging him to say with her ďa little longerĒ so she did not have to go home to her abusive father. She goes so far as to pray to God to make her a bird so she ďcan fly far, far far away from here.Ē The trouble with Jenny is that she doesnít know what her destiny is. Lt. Dan thought he knew, but Jenny does not have a clue, she is a nomad, travelling from place to place, trying to put her past behind her and discover a new life and new destiny. Forrest manages to pop into her life just enough to remind her that he will always be there and always love her, but she is fearful of staying with him for some reason. She has not had luck with men, starting with her father. They have mistreated her, abused her, and ignored her, sometimes getting her into drugs. She lived a hard life, but she spent her life running away from her problems instead of confronting them.

Another moving moment in the film is when Forrest and Jenny are taking a walk in their hometown of Greenbow, Alabama and they come across her childhood home. She realizes that her father ruined her life. He set her off as a fearful, runaway child into the world and she senses that it was this that made her take so long to find Forrest the way she should have long ago. Robin Wright gives such a great performance, better than Hanks in my opinion. Her facial and bodily expressions are what sell me here. Itís in what she doesnít say and the way she says the things she does that are great. Her subtlety is what I appreciate most.
(http://i46.tinypic.com/2dqoyt3.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/65d4js.jpg) (http://i48.tinypic.com/2aexmpy.jpg)
Now one big sell for me in most films are the visuals and Forrest Gump is no different. Though not one of the best of all time, it is no slouch visually either; there is plenty of beauty to behold. To capture a life such as Forrestís there is no other way than to show the beauty of life through images. Instead of trying to use words to describe visuals, I will just show you.
(http://i45.tinypic.com/k2z1h4.jpg) (http://i47.tinypic.com/34h8dj4.jpg) (http://i47.tinypic.com/5eacl1.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/2rmlbpe.jpg) (http://i50.tinypic.com/2v8ssvd.jpg) (http://i46.tinypic.com/24x0zyo.jpg)
Robert Zemeckis was the perfect director for a film like this. It was going to require visual effects. In addition, he knew how to tell a story like this, a wonderful adventure like Back to the Future, but at the same time a quiet, moving film like his later film Castaway. Zemeckis and Eric Roth, the screenwriter, knew that the romance between Forrest and Jenny was the heart and soul of the story, something previous screenwriting attempts failed to recognize. Their collaboration struck magic with a story like this. Moment to moment, the film progresses and the fact that it is simply Forrest sitting on a bench telling his life story because he tried to remember his first pair of shoes is amazing. Itís a story well worth telling. In addition, the fact that it catches up to real time and continues the storytelling into the future, telling of the reunion of Forrest and Jenny, is the best way it could have ended. Originally, the film was supposed to end on the bench, but I donít see how that would have worked, and Iím glad it ended the way it did. In addition, this may be my favorite score, or at least up there. What Alan Silvestri is able to create is a mood and a sound that perfectly reflects what is on screen. And it compliments the extensive soundtrack that is so capable of capturing the times of the film, the social aspect. The emotional part is left in the very capable hands of Silvestri.

One of the major themes of the film is destiny. It is mentioned multiple times and it begins and ends with a feather ďfloatiní around accidental-like on the breeze.Ē The characters have varying viewpoints in destiny. Lt. Dan thinks it exists, Mrs. Gump thinks life is random, and Jenny and Forrest donít seem to know. Jenny is trying to find her destiny, but does that mean that it is actually there? To me destiny is a fascinating concept.

I think the most central theme that I connect with in the film is love. The whole film is full of love: paternal love, fraternal love, platonic love, and, of course, romantic love. If it wasnít for Mrs. Gump, would Forrest be what he was? What about Bubba? If it wasnít for Forrest, would Lt. Dan or Jenny be who they are? And if it wasnít for Lt. Dan and Jenny would Forrest be the same? I would think the answer to all of these questions is no, they wouldnít be. Love is easily my favorite theme in film, in literature, and in life and the way it is dealt with here is wonderful. Itís not simple: around every turn you have Jenny denying Forrest. At one point, Forrest asks Jenny to marry him and she says no, ďyou donít want to marry me.Ē She thinks she is damaged goods, but Forrest tells her that he ďmay not be a smart man, but [he] knows what love is.Ē That line breaks my heart every time. ďStupid is as stupid does,Ē which basically means that Forrest is not stupid because he follows his heart, he loves and he has never done a stupid thing in his life. Itís really endearing to me.

I must have seen the film over 50 times. It never gets old and always manages to make me cry. I know that there are things I didnít talk about here that I could have too. Whether it be tears of joy for the romance, or how beautiful the world is, or if itís the tragedy in the film: Bubba dying by the lake in Vietnam, Lt. Dan struggling with surviving, or Jenny confronting all the demons in her life throughout the film, I always end up crying at least somewhat. I do not expect this to be everyoneís favorite film, I donít even expect everybody to like the film. The connection I have made with it over the years is unique and unbreakable. It will forever hold a place in my heart. It is romance, adventure, comedy, history all rolled into one. It is complimented by astounding visuals, great performances, and an emotion that hits me. With this write-up, I hope to at least inspire people to see it for the first time or at least give it another chance.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 15, 2010, 03:51:47 PM
Damn, those pretty pictures make me want to see this.

Also, one day soon, I'll reveal to you all why Days of Heaven is so damn great...around the time I fix screen captures on my stupid programs.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bill Thompson on February 15, 2010, 04:02:49 PM
You know I got your back on Gump, great write-up. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: StarCarly on February 15, 2010, 04:09:18 PM
I love this idea, and your review. Someday soon I'll let you all in on the secret of why High Fidelity is the best movie ever made.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on February 15, 2010, 04:16:53 PM
You did it Corndog, just like you said you would :)

Good thread idea.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bondo on February 15, 2010, 05:12:03 PM
Corndog, you set a pretty high bar with the effort of your write-up...it is pretty intimidating. Here is my very modest take on why 12 Angry Men is the best movie ever.

First off, this film is over 60 years old, yet it is thematically just as relevant as it ever was. Unlike other classics (notably in my case, Rashomon which I critiqued from a feminist perspective) where certain aspects necessarily need to be justified as being elements of their era, 12 Angry Men needs no such justification. These people all still exist as personality types.

It has the weight of being a successful critique of the criminal justice system and how quickly the principle of innocent until proven guilty can be lost to prejudice and mere apathy. It toys with our sense of perception and how slight deficits or tricks of memory can have far reaching implications.

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment is the ability for a film that is twelve guys in a room talking to keep a real sense of tension. You can feel the heat and the fraying nerves. Last but not least you have the performances. Henry Fonda has a slightly detached, suave, intelligence and compassion that puts him near the top of my man crush list. Lee J Cobb manages to portray a bully that you feel sympathetic for because he too is an emotionally complex character. 12 Angry Men is just a complete, flawless movie, and thus is my favorite film ever.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jbissell on February 15, 2010, 05:17:08 PM
Nice idea corndog. Perhaps one day when I'm feeling motivated, I'll write about the awesomeness of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FLYmeatwad on February 15, 2010, 05:17:49 PM
Nice idea corndog. Perhaps one day when I'm feeling motivated, I'll write about the awesomeness of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.

Tim Burton.

End of discussion, you know?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on February 15, 2010, 07:44:49 PM
One of these days, I will wax eloquent on the wonderful subtleties of Spirited Away.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on February 15, 2010, 09:51:42 PM
Corndog, you set a pretty high bar with the effort of your write-up...it is pretty intimidating.
I like to look at it as inspiration.  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on February 15, 2010, 10:00:31 PM
I will talk about the awesomeness that is Princess Mononoke during Ferris' and mine Miyazaki marathon (PS when are we getting this started?). But I was planning on doing a commentary on Serenity, this should help push me towards this.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on February 15, 2010, 10:01:58 PM
Corndog, you set a pretty high bar with the effort of your write-up...it is pretty intimidating.
I like to look at it as inspiration.  ;)

Yea, convince me guys. Tell me I'm wrong and back it up with proof. Let's go Filmspotters
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Basil on February 16, 2010, 01:23:29 AM
My favorite film is Out of Sight. I go into pretty great detail about it here (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=5149.msg204289#msg204289).
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bill Thompson on February 16, 2010, 07:33:04 AM
I wrote this a while back on my blog, but it does sum up my thoughts rather nicely on my all-time favorite and #1,

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Sometimes writing about movies can be difficult, other times the words flow like a river in the country. The Shawshank Redemption falls somewhere in the middle, because I regard it so highly that it gives me so much to write about, so much in fact that I have trouble collecting my thoughts into a cohesive form. At this point I know that most of my readers are shouting, ďCohesive? When did you start writing cohesively?Ē That is most likely the truth, but let a man have his delusions, okay! Even though I could write a book about The Shawshank Redemption, and have honestly considered it, I will keep this review as concise as I can.

The first thing that should immediately get anyone who experiences The Shawshank Redemption is the simplicity of its message and its theme, but how complex that simplicity becomes when you try to break it down. The base message is one of hope, of a stoic reserve that allows you to overcome the impossible. But, when you dig deep into that message and watch how the movie handles the delivery of that message one canít help but marvel at the depth of the message. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption isnít a tangible matter, it isnít an issue at the forefront. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption is a periphery matter, something the inmates donít allow themselves, yet something every one of them must carry around with them. The Shawshank Redemption isnít heavy handed in its handling of its messages because it never takes the typical prison story route. Chicanery is implied, not every character is rotten, violence is seen from far away. The Shawshank Redemption takes a unique approach to prison life and that unique approach creates an interesting delivery system for the various messages in the film. There can be, and often is, a deep complexity in simple ideas and The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of that way of thinking.

It should go without saying by this point but Roger Deakins and any film equals epic win for the audience. The Shawshank Redemption is no exception, from the opening aerial shot of the prison to his wonderful use of muted tones and colors to create a drab look, Deakinsí cinematography adds texture and depth to The Shawshank Redemption. The film is beautiful to look at, it is highly depressing and ugly, but there is a beauty in how Deakins renders through his visual style and lighting choices the tone of the characters and what they are going through in their lives. Too often in film prisons are wide open, but even in the scenes where the characters have space to work with they are shot so that they are corralled into small spaces. The Shawshank Redemption is a very claustrophobic movie and in a lot of ways it is a horror movie. Scary monsters and creatures from the beyond arenít necessary for a horror tale, the loss of a mans freedom and the redundancy of life as the walls continually close in on him can be the worst of all horrors.

The music is yet another excellent factor of The Shawshank Redemption. The music isnít bombastic or loud, like the characters and the setting, it is quiet and muted. In short, the score sets the perfect atmosphere for what happens in the film. The score doesnít really stand out in any way, but it isnít meant to, the score in The Shawshank Redemption is meant to seep into the prison itself, to become a part of the prisoners daily life for the viewer.

In a film full of nothing but strengths, the direction and the acting may be the strongest of all. Frank Darabont did the near impossible with The Shawshank Redemption, he made an extremely slow moving story fascinating and captivating to watch. But beyond that, he made evil men guilty of terrible crimes into characters we care about. This was only possible because of the bravo performances from Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, William Sadler and James Whitmore as the prisoners along with Bob Gunton as the warden and the always awesome yet extremely underrated Clancy Brown as lead prison guard. They are human characters, they are evil, they fear, they have insecurities, they arenít just malicious caricatures, they have reasons for why they do what they do and we loathe or feel for them depending on the character. When Brooks leaves the prison we know what his fate will be and in the hands of a lesser director we wouldnít care about his ultimate fate, but we care because Darabont understands how to make us care.

I know my praise for The Shawshank Redemption is gushing, but I believe it is a film worthy of that type of praise. I have broken down this film numerous times, watched it more times than I can remember and it remains just as perfect today as it did when I first witnessed it. Whether it is the cinematography, the score, the acting, the story, the human drama or any other enticing factor, The Shawshank Redemption reaches its mark. I canít say much more, and I doubt many people havenít seen The Shawshank Redemption, but great messages always need to be heard and hope always springs eternal for anyone who hasnít seen The Shawshank Redemption to join everyone else in the experience.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on February 16, 2010, 06:15:14 PM
Woman in the Dunes

(http://www.wileywiggins.com/asmik%20.jpg)

My all time favorite film.  It was made by Teshigahara whose background is in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement.  This unique credential results in every shot of the film being a delicate balance between light and shadow and the different objects occupying frame.  Roger Ebert pointed out how he lost count of all the different symbolic meanings of sand in this film, and I agree, Teshigahara has a gift of endowing inanimate objects with menace, foreboding, and meaning.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8B1u9oIaxf4/Sd318OCryQI/AAAAAAAAAU0/0QyQeNmwQ_U/s400/Ikebana-120.jpg)

The story is pretty simple.  A Japanese man goes out to the desert to collect bugs, his hobby.  However, he is surprised by a storm and seeks shelter with desert villagers who live in pits dug in the sand dunes.  He is allowed to spend a night in the house of a woman who lives on the bottom of one such pit, her entire existence consisting of shoveling sand out of her pit to keep the desert from consuming her home, recently her husband and daughter were buried alive when one of the pits walls collapsed.  In the morning he wakes up to discover the ladder is gone and he is a prisoner in the sand pit; he quickly realizes that the villagers want him to take up the role of the dead husband as a full time sand shoveler to help the woman.      
 
(http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z43/sevenarts/cinema/womaninthedunes2.jpg)

So the basic plot is similar to a prison escape movie.  But the movie takes the simple premise and really runs with it.  Our hero is smart, resourceful, defiant, creative, and possesses tremendous willpower.  No prison, however well constructed or carefully guarded can keep him in or break his spirit.  However, even as he plans his escape, a second prison threatens to ensnare him forever.  Life in the pit is simple, and the manual labor slowly dulls the mind and creates a certain resignation to ones fate.  As the hero starts to forget about the outside world, the broken down hut in the middle of sandpit suddenly doesn't seem so squalid.  The routine is simple and has a certain pavlovian effect on the man, he becomes so used to his situation, that slowly he gets used to his new fate.

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_gAsRTGk1Kss/SJB3YX110DI/AAAAAAAAAYA/kkboBFUvP58/s400/WomanInTheDunes2.jpg)

All these cobwebs that begin to wear down our hero are perfectly symbolized by the pits other occupant.  The woman is utterly servile to the new man in her life, she meekly suffers his wrath and abuse, and yet despite her utter submissiveness she seems to slowly gain the upper hand and ensnare the man.  As the two enter into sexual relations, one feels how the man is slowly consumed by his lover who herself is perfectly content to spend her entire existence in the pit.    

(http://twi-ny.com/womaninthedunes.jpg)

Ultimately the sand pit is a symbol of all the things that grind down a free man until he is no longer a master of his own life.  The film shows how work, routine, relationships, responsibilities, and family slowly wear down on us until we are living in a prison of our own making.  Ever wonder how the same generation that went to Woondstock, took LSD, and made love in the mud turned into the cynical, lonely, aging ex-hippies of today?  This movie gives the answer.

10/10 and the best movie ever made.

PS:  This movie has the best sex scene in any movie ever.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on February 16, 2010, 08:18:18 PM
Even I liked it. And me and zaro don't exactly have identical tastes.  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on February 16, 2010, 08:50:43 PM
Even I liked it. And me and zaro don't exactly have identical tastes.  ;)

Indeed not ;D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Pratters on February 18, 2010, 04:03:18 PM
Greed - The TCM Restored version. Absolute masterpiece. Shame the original prints were destroyed.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on February 19, 2010, 01:19:40 AM
Greed - The TCM Restored version. Absolute masterpiece. Shame the original prints were destroyed.

Interesting.  I'd love to have you convince me to watch it.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Pratters on February 19, 2010, 03:53:20 AM
Quote
Interesting.  I'd love to have you convince me to watch it.

The raw human emotions displayed in the film are superb. It is a very basic story but the way it is presented with it's tragic elements makes it a great drama piece. I have not seen any thing like it and I have seen some great silent films which have drama. The acting by the central character is top notch. The way TCM treats the material is just perfect (As you expect from TCM standard wise) and they make it as complete a movie as possible based on what they have got.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 22, 2010, 11:19:32 PM
(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794841967_cMSg2-M.png)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind
(Steven Spielberg, 1977)

What follows is a discussion of Close Encounters of the Third Kind Ė the Collectorís Edition, which Spielberg considers the definitive cut.  He canít get the toothpaste back in the tube of having shown us inside the ship in 1980.  But weíll do our best to forget that that answer was ever left anything but completely ambiguous.

Have you had this problem?  Iím in casual conversation with someone and it comes out that Iím a bit of a film lover.  The first question is always ďoh! Whatís your favorite movie?Ē  I respond a bit sheepishly because I know the response Ė ďoh so youíre a sci fi fan?Ē  I go on to explain I have 5 sci fi films in my top 100, so Iím not sure I quite qualify for that label!

Quite frankly -  I have to be reminded that this is a science fiction movie.  I think of it as so many other things.

Here, something to listen to while you read:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoyPu95yCxw#)


(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-16h58m03s73/794842196_9NQgR-M.png)
"where are the pilots!?  Where's the crew!?"

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h23m36s44/794843105_4bi5R-M.png)
(This irconic scene did not make the original 1977 cut)

First, I have lost the tools to try to perceive this in any kind of unbiased way.  Iíve reached the point where watching this film is like looking at old home movies.   ďHey remember that time I was driving that pickup and Indiana and that bright light showed in the sky and turned half my face red?Ē  Itís so integrated with the memories of my childhood that I could swear to this day Iíve been to Devilís Tower on several occasions.  

So I wonít bother trying to write some academic criticism.  

Heck, I could do a whole essay just on significant times in my life when I watched this movie.  Here are the first three:

1) The summer of 1978.  
Close Encounters hits the area Drive-ins.  Me and my older brother laid on the roof of the town-and-country station wagon.  I was 9.  Not old enough to follow the story, but old enough to have its iconic images with the smell of concession dogs and pop corn and the cold breezes of NY summer evening imprinted on my brain for life.

2) The summer of 1980,
The ďSpecial EditionĒ came out.  My dad took me special  - in a very fleeting moment of one-on-one time.  (Everyone else went to see Private Benjamin in the cineplex.  )  In those days you didnít see a film more than once!  But here we where recreating the scene from my memory.  Same car, same drive in, same smells.  All those iconic images were exactly as I remembered themÖPLUS!  WE got to see this NEW version where he goes INSIDE THE SHIP!  Cool!  (although later Iíll have to pretend ever seeing or liking that part) .  Now Ė a mere two years later I was amazed at what a different movie it was.  I was 12 Ė at a point where I was taking pride in watching adult movies and understanding them.  There is little exposition in the first 1/3 of this film!  Years later my Dad reported I asked about a 1000 questions in that 2 hour span.  

3) August 1984.  
Iím in Oshawa Ontario on an exchange student program.  tI happened that movie was on television one evening that summer.  My host could speak French and translated all that mysterious French language for me. That alone gave her a high level of undeserved importance Ė Iíll never forget her unique perspectives on the films   So awesome because this third viewing informed yet another deeper appreciation.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794840436_CWxjf-M.png)
No eating of mash potatoes in our house goes without someone saying:
"This means something.  This is important!"

These three experiences were enough to make me a life-long lover of this film and to give me a deep appreciation of what I film could reveal without spoon-feeding you every step of the way.  In that respect it is probably now the benchmark for me on how to deal with exposition Ė how to reveal the answers to mysteries and how to treat the world with a sense of awe.  Very much like Jaws, the subject of our curiosity is well hidden through most of the film.  When the spaceships are finally revealed to us the characters have such a genuine sense of wonder and amazement.  Itís a criticism I have of a lot of films Ė the actors donítí act enough like they hadnít seen it all before.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h48m22s61/794844098_AhDn2-M.png)
"I saw bigfoot once.  1951.  Sequoia National Park!  It made a sound that I would not want to hear twice in my life"
(this scene wasn't included in the original 1977 cut)

But what I have to stress Ė as is extremely important to note about this filmÖSci Fi films up this point in history were either a subgenre of horror or action.  If the action took place on earth, the aliens were coming down to probe us or attack us.  If the action took place in space it was just cowboys and Indians in different costumes (or man vs. machine).  Audiences fully went into Close Encounters expecting a horror film.  Makes sense right?  The Cowboy and Indian film (Star Wars) came out that previous summer.   The CE trailer preyed a bit on that expectation.  

A first watching of Close Encounters might surprise you with some of the horror elements to it.  In this day and age itís hard to go in not knowing itís optimistic nature, but for audiences in that day Ė itís not until the last reel where it finally gets revealed that these are friendly visitors.  Itís an intergalactic kumbiyah complete with the sing-along.  This marks a clear delineation in film that lasted until The Matrix where there was this positive view of extraterrestrials.   After E.T. this attitude was all but cemented.  In 1976 we had such a clear idea of who the enemies were Ė the Soviets, computers and aliens.  By 1988 all this was completely turned upside down and the films of that era show it.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h44m56s42/794843914_ecH98-S.png) (http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794842783_urgWC-S.png)

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794843640_X6SNX-S.png) (http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794843765_aZP6i-S.png)

One of the most impressive aspects of the film is the music.  Allow me to wax philosophic for a moment.  Humans are drawn to things by their nature.  There is a reason people want lakefront property and love them a good mountain view.  There is a reason we have a social gravity towards the approval of others.  LOVE has a reason.   Itís all about survival and the perpetuation of the species.  But weíre all drawn to music too.  All over the world itís a constant.  There is no direct link between music and evolution, but itís there all through our history.  Music helps us remember.  It gets stuck in our head.  It can be mathematically defined.  But it does not provide a perch to watch for our enemies, or fresh water to drink, or nutrition.  It does not help us get strength in numbers.   Spielberg here does a magical thing here in implying that music is the common language of the cosmos.  It gives music an evolutionary purpose in the dawning of an intergalactic age.  Iíve never seen this idea in film prior or since.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h27m28s64/794843193_cSZMg-S.png) (http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h27m53s49/794843272_Su3j7-S.png)
"I'm sorry, my English is not good too"

For me the conversation between the humans and the mothership is the finest 10 minutes in film history.  And Iím AMAZED at the time itís given.  If this film was made today they would have had to rush right through that.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-18h18m39s52/794842063_6DXEC-M.png)

My favorite aspect of Close Encounters is its structure.    Spielberg has long been very effective at taking the small perspective of large events: Look at Saving Private Ryan, Schindlerís List, ET, and even War of the Worlds: stories told of world-changing events from the eyes of a fairly ordinary protagonist.  He is SO disciplined in the way that the audience cannot know anything that our protagonist doesnít.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794843485_WvS9L-S.png) (http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h49m15s77/794844191_Jcx8P-S.png)

In Close Encounters, the structure is a bit more eager.  Letís look at how this is laid out:  The film is trying to work on two levels Ė we have this story told large: the government has been investigating the strange appearances of long-since missing  manmade crafts from different point in history.  Meanwhile we have a  common blue-collar family man from Muncie, Illinois who is struggling to deal with a strange sighting in the night sky and the implanted visions heís had ever since.  Truth be told, the large/small parallel device is tried in films all the time Ė usually wth very poor results.  Deep Impact and Pearl Harbor are two great examples of where it goes very wrong.  Usually you want to pick a side and stick with it.  Star Wars rarely breaks contain on the story told from Lukeís perspective.    Goodfellas rarely breaks contain on Henry Hillís perspective.  

So why does it work here?

It works because of brilliant device employed by Spielberg:  we tell the government story from the perspective of pseudo-outsiders: a Frenchman and his mapmaker-turned-translator.   Not just any Frenchmen - FranÁois Truffaut Ė (yes THAT FranÁois Truffaut).   The translator guides us through the story Ė asks the questions we want asked.  Heís swept up in a whirlwind away from his usual duties, in the same way Richard Dreyfus back home.  He is not a part of the conspiracy, heís a searcher.  It's a story of his redemptions as much as anyone's

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794844387_CZqao-S.png)
"What I need is something so scary it'll clear three hundred
(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794844239_pdJbQ-S.png)
square miles of every living Christian soul "

One of the great iconic scenes of the film is when Dreyfus and the other two meet.  Weíre about 4 miles from Devilís Tower.  All civilians have been evacuated.  They want answers from him and he wants answers  from them but they canít connect.  As an audience itís excruciating!  Ugh if they could just trust each other!  Both have questions they are struggling to answer and both have near blindly lead to this spot in the Eastern Wyoming highlands.  

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794841730_ni2s4-S.png)
"Yeah, I got one just like it in my living room"
(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794841863_w24RX-S.png)
"Who the hell are you people!!?"

Back to the structure: We enter the film given bite-sized puzzle pieces, each fairly equal in length.  We start in the Mexican desert where some planes have mysteriously appeared from a 1945 training missing over the Bermuda Triangle.  We jump to an air traffic control center in the Midwest where two unseen pilots are reporting ďunknown trafficĒ.  We jump to Roy and his family on school night Ė a scene so reminiscent of my childhood itís a labor to admit!  Like so many seasons of Lost weíve been given about two dozen questions and not a single answer.  From here on out the questions start to pile up to a point of saturation where Speilberg finally loosens the reigns a bit in a scene where the cartographer guesses correctly that music coming from the cosmos translates to a latitude and longitude on a map which lead us directly to this meeting in the trailer outside the momument.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794842269_xuai9-S.png)
"saliů el sol y me cantů"
(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794842414_p9ZaW-S.png)
"Aries 31, do you wish to file a report of any kind?"
(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h06m36s80/794842573_QR3e3-S.png)
"Quickly Brad, there are thousands of lives at stake here"

End the end of Close Encounters, Roy disappears into the ship with the answers to a thousand questions that are left to our imaginations.  So married to his structure, Speilberg cannot reveal a nugget of information outside of the perspective of our dual storytellers.  I shudder at the Michael Bay treatment of the same material.  May this film be never remade!

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794842129_hBsG5-M.png)

Lastly Ė if you go on to watch this film, or watch it again based on my enthusiasm for it, I want you to pay close attention to the kid actor.  He has two scenes that he nailed on the first take Ė mostly due to little tricks Spielberg played on the set.   At one point the kids shrieks with glee ďTOYS!!!Ē Ė it is perfect, although I think a more mature Spielberg would have used a different take.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h05m40s36/794842516_Fw625-M.png)

So much more to say.  I could go on and on.   I guess Iíll stop there for now.  I may come back and edit later.

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19/794840565_MtunH-M.png)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on February 22, 2010, 11:32:00 PM
Such a great write-up and yet I feel you barely scratched the surface of this amazing film. I'll bet you feel the same way.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 22, 2010, 11:36:47 PM
Thanks Froham :)

I think I know why you like it:

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h56m26s34/794840801_YJgV6-S.png)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 22, 2010, 11:40:14 PM
Keep going, ferris!

Oh man!  I could go on and on :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on February 22, 2010, 11:44:38 PM
Thanks :)

I think I know why you like it:

(http://jeffstatt.smugmug.com/Photography/CloseEncounters/vlcsnap-2010-02-19-17h56m26s34/794840801_YJgV6-S.png)

It's funny, every time I see that I think of these headlines (http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2752cde8-5cf4-409d-ab36-f61b94fbbc32) and others like it. I remember a a number of comments on big news channels in the days after September 11th mistakenly claiming that the terrorists were from Canada or that there were far more terrorists waiting in Canada. Funny how a little sight gag of a headline in a movie from the late 70s could ring so serious so many years later.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Melvil on February 22, 2010, 11:46:09 PM
Awesome review, ferris! I really do want to go watch it again now. Well done.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on February 22, 2010, 11:55:54 PM
Great writeup.

Does it make me a movie nerd that during my cross country drive to college I made a point of stopping at the Devils Tower?

(http://photos.igougo.com/images/p327088-Wyoming-Devils_Tower_Up_Close.jpg)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 22, 2010, 11:56:30 PM
Awesome review, ferris! I really do want to go watch it again now. Well done.

Awww thanks!  I've been running the soundtrack all evening while working on this.  It's got me wanting to rewatch as well!

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 22, 2010, 11:57:21 PM
Great writeup.

Does it make me a movie nerd that during my cross country drive to college I made a point of stopping at the Devils Tower?



LOL!  Makes me feel better that this has been a lifelong goal for me!  Too bad it's really not on the way to anywhere!  (Except Mt Rushmore)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on February 22, 2010, 11:58:17 PM
Great writeup.

Does it make me a movie nerd that during my cross country drive to college I made a point of stopping at the Devils Tower?



LOL!  Makes me feel better that this has been a lifelong goal for me!  Too bad it's really not on the way to anywhere!  (Except Mt Rushmore)

A dirty filthy lie.  Its totally on the way to Yellowstone Park.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 12:03:43 AM
Great writeup.

Does it make me a movie nerd that during my cross country drive to college I made a point of stopping at the Devils Tower?



LOL!  Makes me feel better that this has been a lifelong goal for me!  Too bad it's really not on the way to anywhere!  (Except Mt Rushmore)

A dirty filthy lie.  Its totally on the way to Yellowstone Park.

Funny. you mention this.  We did a Yellowstone trip last summer and we were working hard to fit in DT but the math (gas/time etc) on it just wasn't working out for us.  But yeah you're right.  It's close enough depending on what you're other destinations are.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on February 23, 2010, 02:58:52 AM
GREAT review, ferris!  One of your best, which is only appropriate.  If I didn't already love this movie (and have seen all the versions at least once), I would be rushing out to watch it right now!

One thing I must take issue with you, though-- 1980, we were CERTAINLY watching movies more than once.  I watched Star Wars at least 12 times in the theatre in 77-78, and in 1980, I saw Empire a few times and Airplane! and Any Which Way But Loose at least twice each.  And how many times did you watch Raiders, which came out the next year? 
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on February 23, 2010, 03:31:26 AM
Ok, does this mean I should go out of my way to watch the Collecters edition first?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on February 23, 2010, 04:07:09 AM
Also, can someone help tell me how I can get screen captures on my mac?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 09:32:12 AM
GREAT review, ferris!  One of your best, which is only appropriate.  If I didn't already love this movie (and have seen all the versions at least once), I would be rushing out to watch it right now!

You are too kind Steve :)

One thing I must take issue with you, though-- 1980, we were CERTAINLY watching movies more than once.  I watched Star Wars at least 12 times in the theatre in 77-78, and in 1980, I saw Empire a few times and Airplane! and Any Which Way But Loose at least twice each.  And how many times did you watch Raiders, which came out the next year?  

That is true actually.  In fact, if Purple Rose of Cairo taught us anything that habit has dated back since the dawn of cinema.  In 1977 ticket's were about $2.50 a piece and you could find a dollar mantinee.  Our family (of 8 ) went almost exclusively to the drive-in because a whole carload could get in for $4 and it was always a double feature with cartoons beforehand.   My dad knew how to spot a deal!  :)   If it didn't run at the drive in we didn't go see it.  

But you're right - in that era it was always bragging rights "I saw Star Wars 8 times!" people would say.  

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 09:39:50 AM
Ok, does this mean I should go out of my way to watch the Collecters edition first?

I think it would be hard to find one of the other two versions these days in North America.  In fact the original 1977 cuts were all but destroyed by Paramount except for one or two sets of reels to keep in their vaults.   Not sure what you'd expect to find in your part of the world.

The recently released Blu-Ray has the "Ultimate Edition" which is confusing because it's not a new cut.  It contains all three of the earlier cuts:  1977 Original, 1980 Special and 1997 Collectors. It has a number of deleted scenes, a cool "making of" documentary, and an interview with John Williams over the composing of the score.  Pretty cool stuff.

The TV cut of this is fairly decent.  Not chopped to death or dubbed like things like "Fight Club".  You are likely going to get the Special Edition if you catch it on TV.

I think any version is pretty much fine.  Just keep in mind that the inside-the-mothership stuff was not Spielberg's idea.  It was his compromise with Paramount to "finish his film" and release it to the theaters.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on February 23, 2010, 09:52:32 AM
Great writing, great review. I'll have to watch it again soon.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on February 23, 2010, 10:28:18 AM
Ok, does this mean I should go out of my way to watch the Collecters edition first?

I think it would be hard to find one of the other two versions these days in North America.  In fact the original 1977 cuts were all but destroyed by Paramount except for one or two sets of reels to keep in their vaults.   Not sure what you'd expect to find in your part of the world.

Yeah the bluray has all three versions. The most recent DVD has all the versions. Any other DVDs have the Collectors Edition version. The newest version of the film is definitely the way to go. It builds the main character a bit more and it has the ship in the desert scene. It ends up being a slightly better paced and more effective film. But the theatrical version is nearly as good. Stay away from the middle on with the inside of the ship though.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on February 23, 2010, 10:29:55 AM
you've convinced me to watch it asap...after I finish getting Ken Burns' Civil War series from Netflix
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 10:31:50 AM
you've convinced me to watch it asap...after I finish getting Ken Burns' Civil War series from Netflix

Great.  Would love to hear your thoughts

Great writing, great review.

thanks.  nice compliment :)

Yeah the bluray has all three versions. The most recent DVD has all the versions. Any other DVDs have the Collectors Edition version. The newest version of the film is definitely the way to go. It builds the main character a bit more and it has the ship in the desert scene. It ends up being a slightly better paced and more effective film. But the theatrical version is nearly as good. Stay away from the middle on with the inside of the ship though.

This alone might get me to make the jump to blu-ray this year.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on February 23, 2010, 10:33:03 AM
btw, I haven't read it yet, I'm gonna wait to see it first.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on February 23, 2010, 10:38:23 AM
Yeah the bluray, other than same big time edge enhancement ringing near the beginning and a couple other spots, is almost flawless. When I went to see the movie on the big screen a couple weeks ago is was actually just the bluray projected through a digital cinema projector. It held up amazingly well. When I told my friends afterward that it was the bluray we were watching they could not believe it. The only reasons I knew were the ringing and the fact that I actually saw the bluray player startup logo during one of the pre-show switchovers.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on February 23, 2010, 10:38:59 AM
btw, I haven't read it yet, I'm gonna wait to see it first.

Ha, me too. Just based on the length, visuals and other positive feedback of your write-up is what convinced me lol. You clearly are a devoted fan of the film and I greatly appreciate that. At some point I think I'm going to try to do a marathon based on everyone's favorite films. Maybe after this thread expands a little bit more.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 10:40:22 AM
Yeah the bluray, other than same big time edge enhancement ringing near the beginning and a couple other spots, is almost flawless. When I went to see the movie on the big screen a couple weeks ago is was actually just the bluray projected through a digital cinema projector. It held up amazingly well. When I told my friends afterward that it was the bluray we were watching they could not believe it. The only reasons I knew were the ringing and the fact that I actually saw the bluray player startup logo during one of the pre-show switchovers.

I would have LOVED to have been there.  How was the sound system in the place?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on February 23, 2010, 10:44:03 AM
Yeah the bluray, other than same big time edge enhancement ringing near the beginning and a couple other spots, is almost flawless. When I went to see the movie on the big screen a couple weeks ago is was actually just the bluray projected through a digital cinema projector. It held up amazingly well. When I told my friends afterward that it was the bluray we were watching they could not believe it. The only reasons I knew were the ringing and the fact that I actually saw the bluray player startup logo during one of the pre-show switchovers.

I would have LOVED to have been there.  How was the sound system in the place?

It was the big ScotiaBank Theatre downtown. Great auditorium. Amazing sound system. And the fact that bluray contains the DTS Master Audio track means it could be pumped through theatre speakers with the same quality as a proper digital or film print soundtrack. It was incredible to say the least.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 04:26:57 PM
I wrote this a while back on my blog, but it does sum up my thoughts rather nicely on my all-time favorite and #1,

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Sometimes writing about movies can be difficult, other times the words flow like a river in the country. The Shawshank Redemption falls somewhere in the middle, because I regard it so highly that it gives me so much to write about, so much in fact that I have trouble collecting my thoughts into a cohesive form. At this point I know that most of my readers are shouting, ďCohesive? When did you start writing cohesively?Ē That is most likely the truth, but let a man have his delusions, okay! Even though I could write a book about The Shawshank Redemption, and have honestly considered it, I will keep this review as concise as I can.

The first thing that should immediately get anyone who experiences The Shawshank Redemption is the simplicity of its message and its theme, but how complex that simplicity becomes when you try to break it down. The base message is one of hope, of a stoic reserve that allows you to overcome the impossible. But, when you dig deep into that message and watch how the movie handles the delivery of that message one canít help but marvel at the depth of the message. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption isnít a tangible matter, it isnít an issue at the forefront. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption is a periphery matter, something the inmates donít allow themselves, yet something every one of them must carry around with them. The Shawshank Redemption isnít heavy handed in its handling of its messages because it never takes the typical prison story route. Chicanery is implied, not every character is rotten, violence is seen from far away. The Shawshank Redemption takes a unique approach to prison life and that unique approach creates an interesting delivery system for the various messages in the film. There can be, and often is, a deep complexity in simple ideas and The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of that way of thinking.

It should go without saying by this point but Roger Deakins and any film equals epic win for the audience. The Shawshank Redemption is no exception, from the opening aerial shot of the prison to his wonderful use of muted tones and colors to create a drab look, Deakinsí cinematography adds texture and depth to The Shawshank Redemption. The film is beautiful to look at, it is highly depressing and ugly, but there is a beauty in how Deakins renders through his visual style and lighting choices the tone of the characters and what they are going through in their lives. Too often in film prisons are wide open, but even in the scenes where the characters have space to work with they are shot so that they are corralled into small spaces. The Shawshank Redemption is a very claustrophobic movie and in a lot of ways it is a horror movie. Scary monsters and creatures from the beyond arenít necessary for a horror tale, the loss of a mans freedom and the redundancy of life as the walls continually close in on him can be the worst of all horrors.

The music is yet another excellent factor of The Shawshank Redemption. The music isnít bombastic or loud, like the characters and the setting, it is quiet and muted. In short, the score sets the perfect atmosphere for what happens in the film. The score doesnít really stand out in any way, but it isnít meant to, the score in The Shawshank Redemption is meant to seep into the prison itself, to become a part of the prisoners daily life for the viewer.

In a film full of nothing but strengths, the direction and the acting may be the strongest of all. Frank Darabont did the near impossible with The Shawshank Redemption, he made an extremely slow moving story fascinating and captivating to watch. But beyond that, he made evil men guilty of terrible crimes into characters we care about. This was only possible because of the bravo performances from Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, William Sadler and James Whitmore as the prisoners along with Bob Gunton as the warden and the always awesome yet extremely underrated Clancy Brown as lead prison guard. They are human characters, they are evil, they fear, they have insecurities, they arenít just malicious caricatures, they have reasons for why they do what they do and we loathe or feel for them depending on the character. When Brooks leaves the prison we know what his fate will be and in the hands of a lesser director we wouldnít care about his ultimate fate, but we care because Darabont understands how to make us care.

I know my praise for The Shawshank Redemption is gushing, but I believe it is a film worthy of that type of praise. I have broken down this film numerous times, watched it more times than I can remember and it remains just as perfect today as it did when I first witnessed it. Whether it is the cinematography, the score, the acting, the story, the human drama or any other enticing factor, The Shawshank Redemption reaches its mark. I canít say much more, and I doubt many people havenít seen The Shawshank Redemption, but great messages always need to be heard and hope always springs eternal for anyone who hasnít seen The Shawshank Redemption to join everyone else in the experience.

Hey Bill - great review.  I quoted the whole thing because I sense people missed this when you posted it earlier like I did.

I love this film too.  I think it's somewhere around 47 in my top 100.  For a long time I fought putting it there, because I guess I did consider it a bit to optimistic, but repeat viewings won me over big time.

I'm glad you mentioned the score.  I have sections of it in a various playlists.  It's one of earlier scores by Thomas Newman (Finding Nemo, American Beauty) - much more orchestral than his later compositions - but those great signature chord changes are there in force.  The main theme seems to harken back to that Mozart concerto that Saliari famously faved about in Amadeus.  I like how you mention how well the score matches the muted tones and performances in the film itself .  Such a contract to Revolutionary Road, where Newman's score seems constantly at odds with the tone of the film.

Hope others get a second to read and respond to your review :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bill Thompson on February 23, 2010, 04:46:26 PM
Damn ferris, I'm sorry man. I mean, thanks for reading and the kind words. But, I had a whole paragraph written about your score musings and I hit the wrong key and it was erased. In summation, at first I thought the score was bad because I didn't like it, but with each viewing I realized how Newman perfectly wove his score into the film and its characters. You can't hear his music without thinking of TSR and its characters, the music is always in the background because it is just as much a part of the film as the setting, the characters, etc.., heck, I'd argue the score in TSR is a character all by itself.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on February 23, 2010, 05:23:10 PM
Damn ferris, I'm sorry man. I mean, thanks for reading and the kind words. But, I had a whole paragraph written about your score musings and I hit the wrong key and it was erased. In summation, at first I thought the score was bad because I didn't like it, but with each viewing I realized how Newman perfectly wove his score into the film and its characters. You can't hear his music without thinking of TSR and its characters, the music is always in the background because it is just as much a part of the film as the setting, the characters, etc.., heck, I'd argue the score in TSR is a character all by itself.

Man I hate that!  I've taken to writing to Notepad first and copying over I've lost so many things over the years.  Bummer. 

I agree though.  BTW: Newman's score in Finding Nemo is perhaps one of the most underappreciated scores in this decade.  They run it during the Finding Nemo ride in Disneyland. I'm sitting there thinking "I'm the only one here digging on the music instead of the fake undersea creatures out the window!"
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 11, 2010, 04:23:57 PM
I wrote this review for this thread, I couldn't find it and so I posted it on my Miyazaki marathon.  But now I can put it where it belongs:


Why Spirited Away is My Favorite Film of All Time (with no close second)

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ITptP6GAt1E/SSzA8dbcxWI/AAAAAAAAB_Y/RkSOjDZIkQY/s400/Spirited-Away2.jpg)

I really appreciate what 1SO said recently, that as one gets to the top of oneís all time favorites list, that it becomes more personal.  I think that is really true.  My top ten is peppered with films that mean something important to me personally, but may not be as thrilling to others: Wendy and Lucy, The Mission, Being There.  They all carry double meaning for me: not only being well done films in their own right, but also expressing messages that are important to my life.  They not only speak to others in a general way, but they speak to my life directly in a way others might not understand.

So, with Spirited Away, I can give you the many reasons why this favorite film of my favorite director is generally excellent.  The animation is top notch, for one.  In re-watching Ponyo, I realized how much we are missing in focusing on computer animation instead of hand-drawn.  It has taken hand-drawn animation almost a hundred years to reach this place, while computer animation is still a teen.  Computer animation is wonderful, but it still has a long ways to go to establish a set of symbols we recognize as human emotion.  Miyazaki, however, has taken the step that Disney never did to make characters that are so real we feel that we know them.  This is certainly found in the writing and the voice acting (even the dubbed vocals!), but especially in the drawing.  It is not because they are more realistic looking, but because we grew up with this kind of animation, and Miyazaki, adding in expressions found in manga and older anime, has given us a visual language we can truly connect with.

(http://www.cinematik.sk/en/wp-content/woo_custom/83-Spirited_Away.jpg)

Also, Spirited Away is one of the magnificent stories of imagination.  Setting aside the Japanese spiritism (which we will talk about in a moment), the amount of imagination that creates both the settingóa bath house for spiritsóand specific unique characters such as No Face and the Radish Spirit, takes even the imaginative achievements of The Wizard of Oz, The Neverending Story and Labyrinth to new heights.  But more than that, this imaginary story is realized perfectly visually.  We can see this world existing.  This isnít just an amusing tale with muppets or dressed up humans or poorly executed claymation.  This is another world that we have the opportunity to visit for a couple hours, and that experience gets added to our own.

(http://images.allmoviephoto.com/2002_Spirited_Away/spirited_away_002.jpg)

I am just saying what could really be said of almost any of what I call ďfirst tierĒ Miyazaki.  As well as this: Miyazakiís characters are fully realized.  These are real people, even the spirits are of a type of character we recognize.  While there is sometimes comedy, it is the comedy of real life, not just pratfalls and one liners.  When there is achievement, it is rarely of the deeply heroic kind.  Rather, it is the daily success of those who act noble in small ways.  In this way, Miyazaki can connect to us in ways that blockbusters rarely do.  There are scenes in Miyazaki that, despite the outlandish settings, we can see as reflections of our lives.  Or our lives as we wish them to be.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_gRWMZ-x-wV0/SfhFSENg2FI/AAAAAAAAEjU/aIXF470EOAw/s400/spirited_away_profilelarge.jpg)

There are two reasons, however, that Spirited Away especially speaks to me personally.  First of all is because we get to see Chihiro/Sen grow up.  I have three children of varying agesó17, 14 and 9óand they are all in different stages of development.  All of them are, in a sense, Chihiro.  At the beginning she is whiney and grumpy and self-centered.  The move is hard on her, her parents realize this, but it is necessary and they need her to stay strong through the difficulty.  But it is when her parents become self-centered that she is forced to grow up and become stronger than sheóor her parentsóever thought she could be.  

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_4pmUNQE7llI/SekehrhDBhI/AAAAAAAAIKI/aEFOfpQhCeQ/s400/spirited_away_05.png)

Step by step we can see her shed her self-centeredness and fully take on the task of being responsible as the best of grown-ups are.  This is in contrast to Kiki of Kikiís Delivery Service who begins the movie responsible and hard working.  Chihiro had to struggle through every step of the way.  First she expresses the moral outrage many young people express when they see grown ups acting irresponsibly.  Then she follows important instructions for how to live in the new world (something most fairy tale protagonists fail to do).  Then she learns boldness and tenacity in the face of threat.  Then she learns about hard work under someone elseís orders.  Then she learns about loving people even when they seem to not be lovable at times.  Then she learns about sacrifice for love.  And finally, she learns that intelligence balanced with care and wisdom is what truly saves the day.  

(http://educatedpony.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/spirited-away-01.jpg)


These are the life lessons I want all of my children to learn.  They are the lessons I see them learning, bit by bit.  The art of raising children is the art of seeing them become the Chihiro at the end of Spirited Away.  Every once in a while, as a parent, you can think to yourself, ďI taught them thatĒ, but most of the time you canít.  These are lessons they have to learn themselves in the midst of the struggles they have to face in life.  But at the end of the movie, I am so proud of Chihiro, the buttons on my vest would burst, if I actually wore a vest.  She is my children.  My son becoming a responsible adult.  My oldest daughter being self-confident and self-reliant.  My youngest daughter learning to speak with respect and act in mercy.  This is all I hope for my children, in the strange worlds they will have to challenge.

(http://thecia.com.au/reviews/s/images/spirited-away-8.jpg)

My final reason is my strangest, and probably my most significant personal reason why I love this film.  I am only going to tell you guys, and I hope you wonít tell anyone else.  Not because Iíd get in trouble, but because itíd be difficult to explain to my denomination and especially my congregation.  I could do it, but it wouldnít do any good, so why bother?  Anyway, here it is:  the metaphysics of Spirited Away is pretty close to how I see the world functioning.

No, I donít think that spirits have their own bath house and restaurants.  I donít think that if humans eat spirit-food that they turn into pigs.  Nor do I think that young girls could be hired by someone to serve spirits.  I do, however, believe that there is an alternative universe, that runs on its own physics, that runs parallel to ours.  I do think that there are beingsóand you could call them spiritsóthat live in that universe.  I also think that most of them are morally neutral, neither good nor bad, just trying to live their lives by their own values.  And I think that, at times, the two universes can converge, and allow communication between them.

(http://jaykinghorn.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/spiritedaway1.jpg)

This is not an unusual worldview, in the broader scheme of things.  Historically, before the Christian era, almost everyone in the world believed that summary of mine.  Certainly the ancient Jewish people did, as well as the first Jewish Christians.  It is Plato and his disciple Augustine that began to turn the world away from this notion.  They saw the spirit world as either the realm of ideas or as under the control of a single unified being.  Under their philosophy, the spirit world is neat and orderly, with everything politely lined up perfectly, within the mental grasp of humanity.

(http://www.sbarnabas.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/staugustine_canterbury.jpg)


The ancient pagan world, the ancient first temple Judaism and the first century Christian church saw the spirit world as full of chaos as it was of spirits.  Each spirit had its own focus and desires and hopes.  They had their own realms of responsibilityójobs, if you willóof rivers and vegetation and winds and planetary beings.  Part of the spirit world is described as a sea, filled with dragons of chaos, battling against spirits who desired order and peace in both the spirit world and on earth.

(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2229/2381802759_411ec432f5.jpg)

Spirited Away, although a fantasy, is based on Japanese spiritism, a form of that ancient worldview.  In a twisted sense, the metaphysical basis of that movie is somewhat the same as the writers of the Bible.  This is how I see the world working.  I do not deny scientific realityóour world does operate on the laws of physics and development of life as discovered by scientists.  But looking at the physical realm is only a part of the story, like Chihiroís parents seeing an abandoned amusement park.  

(http://www.johnkafka.com/assets/images/spirited_away_statue1.jpg)

Some are content with this world and understanding its laws.  Others get to see the wonder and magic of the world below the surface, on a level not usually seen by eyes.  I wish to be one of the later.

Any who are concerned about my right to be a pastor, or my sanity, I would be glad to give the phone number of my denomination, and you can rat me out.  I understand.  Sometimes I donít think Iím completely sane, either.  By the way, my wife already knows, so you donít need to bother calling her.
(http://www.elpasoteller911.org/files/cell_phone.png)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 11, 2010, 05:43:11 PM
I really appreciate what 1SO said recently, that as one gets to the top of oneís all time favorites list, that it becomes more personal.  I think that is really true.  My top ten is peppered with films that mean something important to me personally, but may not be as thrilling to others: Wendy and Lucy, The Mission, Being There.  They all carry double meaning for me: not only being well done films in their own right, but also expressing messages that are important to my life.  They not only speak to others in a general way, but they speak to my life directly in a way others might not understand.
While I certainly have plenty of titles like this in my favorites, I don't feel like most of my top 10 actually have a deeply personal connection to my life. I've suffered no great tragedy or lost anyone close to me, yet my list is filled with films about loss and tragedy. Maybe I just hate myself or something.  ;D

There are two reasons, however, that Spirited Away especially speaks to me personally.  First of all is because we get to see Chihiro/Sen grow up.  I have three children of varying agesó17, 14 and 9óand they are all in different stages of development.  All of them are, in a sense, Chihiro.  At the beginning she is whiney and grumpy and self-centered.  The move is hard on her, her parents realize this, but it is necessary and they need her to stay strong through the difficulty.  But it is when her parents become self-centered that she is forced to grow up and become stronger than sheóor her parentsóever thought she could be.  
Excellent point, this is something I noticed a lot more on my second viewing. She start out as the winy, selfish little girl we've all met but it's only through slowly becoming selfless instead of selfish that she can grow as a person and hope to ever save her parents.

I do, however, believe that there is an alternative universe, that runs on its own physics, that runs parallel to ours.  I do think that there are beingsóand you could call them spiritsóthat live in that universe.  I also think that most of them are morally neutral, neither good nor bad, just trying to live their lives by their own values.  And I think that, at times, the two universes can converge, and allow communication between them.
And now you lost me. Not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that every person has a spiritual form that starts neutral or that there are neutral forces in a parallel universe that exist independent of ours but that the two can in some ways be connected? I've never been one to understand the whole spiritual side of anything though.

Some are content with this world and understanding its laws.  Others get to see the wonder and magic of the world below the surface, on a level not usually seen by eyes.  I wish to be one of the later.
Well put. I'm with you on this one.

Any who are concerned about my right to be a pastor, or my sanity, I would be glad to give the phone number of my denomination, and you can rat me out.  I understand.  Sometimes I donít think Iím completely sane, either.  By the way, my wife already knows, so you donít need to bother calling her.
The world needs more crazy pastors because the sane ones are rarely right.  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 12, 2010, 12:19:05 AM

The world needs more crazy pastors because the sane ones are rarely right.  ;)

You are so right.   Maybe you should be a crazy pastor  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 12, 2010, 08:49:26 AM

The world needs more crazy pastors because the sane ones are rarely right.  ;)

You are so right.   Maybe you should be a crazy pastor  ;)
People keep telling me this. I wouldn't mind speaking but I hate dealing with stupid people problems.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 12, 2010, 09:03:35 AM
Steve,
Great write-up.  I finally got around to reading this.  Love your points about watching kids grow up and the "other world".  You are so right to have this as a favorite.  I'm going through my Miyazaki marathon and each film has me more and more excited to rewatch Spirited Away. 

I hope your review encourages more people to write about their favorite film.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 12, 2010, 10:28:04 AM

The world needs more crazy pastors because the sane ones are rarely right.  ;)

You are so right.   Maybe you should be a crazy pastor  ;)
People keep telling me this. I wouldn't mind speaking but I hate dealing with stupid people problems.

It is true, pastoral work is all about dealing with stupid people at their stupidest.    I actually have an essay called "How to Love Idiots". It helps.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 12, 2010, 10:59:48 AM
I need a copy of that essay
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 12, 2010, 02:02:17 PM
http://stevekimes.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-love-idiots.html (http://stevekimes.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-to-love-idiots.html)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on April 13, 2010, 09:28:50 PM
Even I liked it. And me and zaro don't exactly have identical tastes.  ;)

Indeed not ;D

Thanks for the write up... I am going to start looking for it tonight...
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: edgar00 on April 13, 2010, 11:27:10 PM
I think I'll be writing mine soon. I've enjoyed everyone's entries so far. Nice writeups people.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 13, 2010, 11:31:26 PM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 14, 2010, 12:18:10 AM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 14, 2010, 12:23:49 AM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 14, 2010, 12:33:22 AM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.

Then do both.  I'd really like to hear your support of Apocalypse Now.  Are you a Redux fan?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 14, 2010, 09:06:13 AM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.

Then do both.  I'd really like to hear your support of Apocalypse Now.  Are you a Redux fan?

The Redux is actually the only one I've seen.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 14, 2010, 12:02:09 PM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.

Then do both.  I'd really like to hear your support of Apocalypse Now.  Are you a Redux fan?

The Redux is actually the only one I've seen.
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 14, 2010, 01:00:12 PM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.

Then do both.  I'd really like to hear your support of Apocalypse Now.  Are you a Redux fan?

The Redux is actually the only one I've seen.
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 14, 2010, 01:02:35 PM
I should do a double shot of BttF and Apocalypse Now for this thread. It would be episode. Even more epic? If I somehow found thematic links between the two and made it one giant essay.

If you could find tie-ins that would be fantastic.  Otherwise, just  stick with Apocalypse Now.  Not because we fully agree that BttF is your favorite, but I think we know your reasons for that.   :)

My reasons have never been put together in a long articulated fashion. Also, I love both films, but they are so much the opposites of each other that I do feel the need to present them equally.

Then do both.  I'd really like to hear your support of Apocalypse Now.  Are you a Redux fan?

The Redux is actually the only one I've seen.
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.

Both versions are awesome though.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 14, 2010, 05:19:16 PM
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.
Yea, I quit watching at that exact point. It was just so indulgent and excessively unnecessary.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 14, 2010, 05:29:45 PM
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.
Yea, I quit watching at that exact point. It was just so indulgent and excessively unnecessary.

That sequence destroys any fluitity to the film (and it doesn't have any normal fluidity to begin with) and almost acts as it's own short. It's a dreamy interuption within an already dreamy film. And after that point it also gets even more crazy.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on April 14, 2010, 06:21:37 PM
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.
Yea, I quit watching at that exact point. It was just so indulgent and excessively unnecessary.

That sequence destroys any fluitity to the film (and it doesn't have any normal fluidity to begin with) and almost acts as it's own short. It's a dreamy interuption within an already dreamy film. And after that point it also gets even more crazy.

I have to interrupt the hate parade.  The French sequence is amazing.  Showing the surreal holdouts of Western colonialism in the middle of the jungle hell, absolutely amazing.  It is sad and surreal and beautiful.  Reminded me of the scene in Downfall where Hitler is crowing over architectural plans of enormous temples and pseudo-roman coliseums he wants to build in Berlin as the city around him burns.

I think that once you saw Redux its impossible to go back to the original.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 14, 2010, 06:54:21 PM
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.
Yea, I quit watching at that exact point. It was just so indulgent and excessively unnecessary.

That sequence destroys any fluitity to the film (and it doesn't have any normal fluidity to begin with) and almost acts as it's own short. It's a dreamy interuption within an already dreamy film. And after that point it also gets even more crazy.

I have to interrupt the hate parade.  The French sequence is amazing.  Showing the surreal holdouts of Western colonialism in the middle of the jungle hell, absolutely amazing.  It is sad and surreal and beautiful.  Reminded me of the scene in Downfall where Hitler is crowing over architectural plans of enormous temples and pseudo-roman coliseums he wants to build in Berlin as the city around him burns.

I think that once you saw Redux its impossible to go back to the original.

Actually, I was on the side of the French plantation sequence. It may not have sounded that way, but it's only because I think the film's perfection comes from its mess.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 14, 2010, 06:56:28 PM
(not meant at anyone specifically)

This thread needs less chit-chat and more reviews!!!!!!!

(I keep getting excited when I see that there are new posts)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on April 14, 2010, 06:58:04 PM
(I keep getting excited when I see that there are new posts)

I'm absolutely the same way, especially considering one of my current marathons.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 14, 2010, 07:13:52 PM
Whaaaaaa?!?! It was soooo bad and needlessly drawn out. I'm gonna give the theatrical a fair shake though.

The Redux is what I watched first because it was what I had on hand. It blew me away completely. I have since watched it many times and I cannot imagine any piece being cut out and the film still having the same effect on me.

Interesting take on the film. I saw the theatrical cut first and its the one I love the most. I really like the redux except the French village scene always kind of bothers me. I dont quite get what it is getting at.
Yea, I quit watching at that exact point. It was just so indulgent and excessively unnecessary.

That sequence destroys any fluitity to the film (and it doesn't have any normal fluidity to begin with) and almost acts as it's own short. It's a dreamy interuption within an already dreamy film. And after that point it also gets even more crazy.

I have to interrupt the hate parade.  The French sequence is amazing.  Showing the surreal holdouts of Western colonialism in the middle of the jungle hell, absolutely amazing.  It is sad and surreal and beautiful.  Reminded me of the scene in Downfall where Hitler is crowing over architectural plans of enormous temples and pseudo-roman coliseums he wants to build in Berlin as the city around him burns.

I think that once you saw Redux its impossible to go back to the original.

Actually, I was on the side of the French plantation sequence. It may not have sounded that way, but it's only because I think the film's perfection comes from its mess.

To continue the hated chit-chat:

I loved the French sequence.  In the original book, Heart of Darkness, there is a steady progression of insanity, culminating in the climax of Kurtz making himself a god in the deepest hear of Africa (it was originally on the Congo River).  In the theatrical cut, I felt that the insanity actually climaxed with Duvall's scene on the beach.  The rest was kind of anti-climax.  In Redux, the pacing is re-set, with the realization that the true insanity is less happening in outward appearance, but in people's denial of reality.  The French plantation scenes set that up.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 14, 2010, 07:20:42 PM
To continue the hated chit-chat:

Yes....sorrry...As you were :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 25, 2010, 04:40:05 PM
Before Sunset (2004)

PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN BOTH FILMS!

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h01m04s137.png)

Great art becomes part of one's life. It effects us in ways we cannot describe. We carry it with us, like an emotional touchstone. In some cases we measure our lives against it. For me, no painting, sculpture, novel, or film can measure up to Before Sunset, in this sense. Celine and Jesse's relationship has become part of my life in the same way as my own, and those of my closest friends.

I feel bad for those who did not view this film, and it's prequel Before Sunset, when they first came out. I dont think it can ever become part of you, like it has for me, if you did not see the original as a 20-something, wait 10 years for the sequel, and see it as a 30-something. Your life must parallel Celine and Jesse's.

This is the only film I love unconditionally. I cannot see flaws in it. Perhaps they are there, but they are forever invisible to me. Like a new lover, it is perfect.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-13h37m09s118.png)

The film opens with its ending, a structure which I only began to appreciate on multiple viewings.

It opens with Jesse on the last stop of a book tour. He has written a novel about he and Celine's first encounter. During the question and answer period a reporter asks him why his books ends on an ambigious note. He replies that it is a litmus test which will tell the reader whether they are a cynic or a romantic. This is same test we are put to while watching the film. In fact, this may be one of the greatest such tests ever put on film.  

As he is answering questions, he is stopped suddenly when Celine appears. He stammers, unable to keep his train of thought; unable to conceal his fear and joy at seeing her.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-15h26m33s222.png)

They spend the next hour walking around Paris, in real time. At first they are both coy but she wastes little time getting to the question we all need to ask; "Did you show up Vienna?". He answers no. We feel both saddened but a little relived. We cant decide which is better; them having not met again, or them having met and having a doomed relationship.

Celine pretends she is not a romantic. She covers herself with cynicism. She pretends to have forgotten that night. When she says she cant remember it, you can see Jesse deflate. How can she not remember it? It meant so much to us.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h15m15s199.png)

They take a boat ride on the Seine and Jesse tells my favorite apocryphal story of all time about how the Germans were ready to blow up the major landmarks in Paris. They had the Notre Dame Cathedral wired, leaving behind a soldier to push the button, but he couldn't do it. It was simply too beautiful.

Slowly their mutual walls begin to fall. They stop lying and expose themselves. She wants to touch him so badly but cant do it.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h32m08s82.png)

She finally gets up the courage to hug him, covering her desire with a friendly gesture.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h34m02s199.png)

"I wanna see if you stay together or if you dissolve into molecules."

The films ends with my favorite final scene and line of all time.

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h46m51s208.png)

"Baby, you are going to miss that plane"

(http://i51.photobucket.com/albums/f363/clovis8/vlcsnap-2010-04-25-14h46m57s18.png)

" I know"

We are not told if they get back together, but of course they do. They must, for I am a romantic, and this relationship means too much to me for it not to succeed.

Some people have seen these films and suggest that Jesse is too pompous or Celine is too neurotic. These are some of the very qualities that make me love them both. They are real. They are not perfect. They are human. To love someone is to love the good and the bad. Sure Jesse is pompous but he is also intelligent, loving, charming and a romantic. Celine may be neurotic but she is also tender, funny, and filled with passion.

The idea of a third film scares some but I want to meet up again with Celine and Jesse in the same way I want to see an old lover or friend. Their absence lessens me.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bondo on April 25, 2010, 05:18:21 PM
Since I was 21 when Before Sunset came out, I obviously cannot abide by your ideal timeline. What saddens me is when I first watched Sunrise I probably would have imagined they show up and Sunset that they stay together. Now if I could go back to Sunrise (without knowing Sunset) I would think they wouldn't show and in Sunset that they wouldn't stay together. It's not been a good 5-6 years where romantic idealism is concerned. Anyway, I really really need to watch these again (I own them so it isn't hard, just priorities). Maybe this time around I'll come to your Sunset > Sunrise view. Either way, both are top 25 all time.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on April 25, 2010, 05:26:22 PM
I have not seen this movie yet. I hear it's good.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 25, 2010, 05:28:29 PM
I have not seen this movie yet. I hear it's good.

DONT READ MY WRITE UP!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 25, 2010, 06:11:56 PM
Nice write up!

I love that you included that snippet of her 'almost' touching the back of his head in the car.  I have probably 15 clips of that in my screenshots folder where I was trying to get the perfect one for my best of the decade slideshow.


I thought about debating this comment a bit....

Quote
I dont think it can ever become part of you, like it has for me, if you did not see the original as a 20-something, wait 10 years for the sequel, and see it as a 30-something. Your life must parallel Celine and Jesse's.

But I'll let you have it on the strength of the fact that the 10-year wait in between would have made the 2nd film even a more rewarding experience. 
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on April 25, 2010, 06:13:55 PM
Before Sunrise was in my Top 50 of the 90's.  Sunset didn't take off for me until Jesse's frustrated moment of regret on the boat.  I loved everything after that as the hesitancy melted away.  I'm going to add Sunset to my Rebuttal Marathon. (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7718.0)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 25, 2010, 06:17:53 PM
Before Sunrise was in my Top 50 of the 90's.  Sunset didn't take off for me until Jesse's frustrated moment of regret on the boat.  I loved everything after that as the hesitancy melted away.  I'm going to add Sunset to my Rebuttal Marathon. (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7718.0)

I would love to see your comments on a rewatch.


I thought about debating this comment a bit....


 I dont think it can ever become part of you, like it has for me, if you did not see the original as a 20-something, wait 10 years for the sequel, and see it as a 30-something. Your life must parallel Celine and Jesse's.


Perhaps it is not fair to say you cant appreciate it the same in other circumstances, but I think back to back first time viewings can never produce the same longing I got with a decade between viewings.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 25, 2010, 07:20:38 PM
Great writeup. I still have issues, but I can see why you love this film.

In a perfect world we would all be able to teleport in time and match our ages perfectly to get the optimum age to watch each great movie. And I do look forward to seeing Before Sunset as a thirty year old. Maybe if I just delude myself into believing it doesn't exist until I'm 30 I'll be able to connect to it like you have.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 25, 2010, 07:39:13 PM

Perhaps it is not fair to say you cant appreciate it the same in other circumstances, but I think back to back first time viewings can never produce the same longing I got with a decade between viewings.

So true - In fact I forced myself to watch 19 films in between just to try to simulate the lapse in time.  Not the same....at all.

It is very much worth a "favorite" moniker.  Not sure where it's going to fall in my Top 100 yet...but certainly it made my BOD ballot.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on April 25, 2010, 08:44:39 PM
I think my favourite moments in the movie are when they are discussing why Celine wasn't there at the train station that day 10 years ago or whenever. At first he says he wasn't there either, and I was thinking "oh noooo, is this going to hang over the entire movie?" But thankfully Linklater recognized that it's the honesty between the characters that is the most compelling thing and so he doesn't draw it out so long it becomes annoying. What follows is that hilarious moment where Jesse admits how much of a dork he was putting up signs and stuff, and Celine feels terrible. You feel for both of them. And then the movie carries on.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on April 26, 2010, 03:51:26 PM
I'm doing my Mononoke essay now, and I've already two pages purely on just the Great Forest Spirit and the Boar Demon at the beginning.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ses on April 26, 2010, 06:39:06 PM
I swear Clovis, reading your write-up made tears come to my eyes, I am in just that kind of mood. and it made me remember why I love that movie so much.  Thanks,  :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 26, 2010, 06:50:46 PM
I swear Clovis, reading your write-up made tears come to my eyes, I am in just that kind of mood. and it made me remember why I love that movie so much.  Thanks,  :)

glad you enjoyed it. :D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 27, 2010, 11:35:14 PM
Days of Heaven (1979)

Director/Writer: Terrence Malick
Actors: Richard Gere, Broke Adams, Linda Manz, Sam Shepard
Cinematography: Nestor Almendros (With additional footage shot by Haskell Wexler)
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Art Director: Jack Fisk


I can't do this film justice in one post so I won't try. Instead, throughout the coming weeks and months I will be dissecting the film scene by scene. Yes, that's right, scene by scene. I think the film is that good. I'll be placing a directory to each part here to each post so that I don't clog up the main directory. I'm also going to be posting these on my blog (http://wp.me/pC1yx-xU) if you'd rather follow along and comment over there.

Opening Credits (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.90)
Scene 1 - The Foundry (http://wp.me/pC1yx-yQ)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 27, 2010, 11:46:26 PM
Opening Credits

Most opening credits in films are an afterthought, something that the writer or director seems to come up with after the fact. Occasionally it might have some relation to the plot, but usually itís a drawn out, mundane event such as a car ride or character walking through a bustling street or going to their job.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Title.png)
 
However, a great credit sequence will wordlessly immerse us into the world that we are about to experience for the next couple of hours and Days of Heaven is such a film.

We will be treated to something grand and magnificent, mysterious and ethereal. We know it from the moment the first notes of the dreamlike ďCarnival of the Animals ĖThe AquariumĒ by Camille Saint-SaŽns starts to play. We know we are about to witness something beautiful and odd, something like this fantastic castle made of ice.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Castle.png)
 
Weíre in America. How do we know this? Simple: theyíve got baseball. There are many who would argue that the great American pastime is baseball. Iím not much of a sports fan but Iíll take their word for it.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Baseball.png)

This is also a time of with a great divide between the wealthy and the poor. In contrast to the above shot of children in simple clothes playing a sport in the confined space to the city we have these grand men lined up in magnificent suits and tall hats, status symbols of their wealth and power.
 
(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Politics.png)

And their wealth is built off the backs of hard working men in the upheaval of the industrial era. How man relates to this technology that emerges from this era and how it affects him and the world around him will be of interest as the film develops.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-ManVsMachine.png)

But this is not simply a story of man and machine. Even more than that itís a picture about man and nature. Here we see man enjoying the world around him in nature. Yet at the same time, man and nature seem to be an awkward fit, not quite in harmony with each other as is indicated by the oblique angle of the canoe.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Boat.png)
 
This will also be a film about the beauty, majesty and awe of nature. Here we see a woman looking out across the ocean in a breathtaking image. Take note of the name that appears in the credits here. Itís no mistake that the director of photography, Nestor Alemendros, is placed in conjunction with this image. It lets us know that the images that we are about to witness are going to be first and foremost about the beauty of the natural world around us.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Shore.png)
 
Yet thereís also something treacherous about our relationship to nature. Perhaps part of it is the harshness of the natural world around us as is visualized in the harshness of the rocks in the frame bellow. But perhaps the treachery is in our human brashness, in our foolish leaps and bold daring into danger.

(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Jump.png)
 
And here we get a group of children playing in the dirt. Itís an image of absolute poverty yet despite it all they seem happy and joyous, blissfully unaware or perhaps enlightened? Itís interesting that writer and director Terrence Malick credits himself with this image. Little is know about the elusive man, but I would conjecture that perhaps this is his way of suggesting that this film is about him returning to a childlike state.
 
(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Children.png)

And then the last shot of the film subtlety shifts us from photos taken in the real world into the world of the film. In a masterful move, the film gives us a shot that perfectly replicates the same look of the previous images, but manufactured in the time the film was made. Itís of the actress Linda Manz who plays the character Linda in the movie. Itís through her perception of the movie that we will take this journey so it is fitting that she is the one who bridges the gap from the credits of the film into the first shot of the film.


(http://i777.photobucket.com/albums/yy56/lotr-sam0711/Days%20of%20Heaven/Credits-Linda.png)
 
And there you have it. In one minute and 48 seconds everything we need to know about the world of the film is conveyed wordlessly with simple still images.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on April 27, 2010, 11:57:01 PM
You've almost convinced me Days of Heaven > Badlands. :)  Anyway, I do love that credit sequence, and paired with the music, it might be my favorite ever? I don't know, but it's amazing.

Beautiful write-up, sam.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on April 27, 2010, 11:57:21 PM
lol this will be the world record longest review. Someone call Guinness. :D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 28, 2010, 12:00:39 AM
You've almost convinced me Days of Heaven > Badlands. :)  Anyway, I do love that credit sequence, and paired with the music, it might be my favorite ever? I don't know, but it's amazing.
That's the goal.

lol this will be the world record longest review. Someone call Guinness. :D
"I'm doing it for the kids, ya know? So that like future generations know about the greatness of this film. Because if this films dissapears, the aesthetic quality of wheat in art is going to plummet like crazy. Next thing you know, people will be starving for beautiful wheat imagery. That kind of starvation can kill a person's soul."
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: chardy999 on April 28, 2010, 07:30:28 AM
I think I need to see Before Sunset  :P. I liked Before Sunrise but in the year since I watched it, I haven't urgently felt the need to see its sequel.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on April 28, 2010, 10:00:07 AM
lol this will be the world record longest review. Someone call Guinness. :D

Just you wait till I'm done with my essay.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 28, 2010, 12:58:34 PM
lol this will be the world record longest review. Someone call Guinness. :D

Just you wait till I'm done with my essay.

Oooo!  A contest!  ;D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on April 28, 2010, 03:51:15 PM
I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on April 28, 2010, 03:55:48 PM
The grand man tipping his hat there kind of looks like President Wilson, no?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 28, 2010, 04:58:24 PM
I'll take quality over quantity any day of the week.
I'll be hoping for both, but I'll take this as slow or as fast as I think I need to for the content to remain good.

The grand man tipping his hat there kind of looks like President Wilson, no?
I think it actually is, but didn't think it was worth noting. Although, I though a different president is in that train that rolls by later in the film. Could be wrong. I'll find out soon enough and if it is I'll be sure to bring it up.

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: edgar00 on April 28, 2010, 11:32:47 PM
Okay, I'll definitely be watching Days of Heaven again. I think when I saw it a few years ago or so I just didn't get it. That was a great writeup.

And did I ever mention how much I love this thread?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 29, 2010, 12:07:02 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: edgar00 on April 29, 2010, 12:09:16 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Do you mean an analysis of a single scene?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 29, 2010, 12:17:46 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Do you mean an analysis of a single scene?

No, I mean I'll do what sam is doing and go in depth with every single scene in the film. The final big scene will be broken down as there are some clear distinctions between sections during that sequence.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: edgar00 on April 29, 2010, 12:21:31 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Do you mean an analysis of a single scene?

No, I mean I'll do what sam is doing and go in depth with every single scene in the film. The final big scene will be broken down as there are some clear distinctions between sections during that sequence.

This I have to read. Go for it.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 29, 2010, 12:28:51 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 29, 2010, 12:32:42 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")

I knew you would love this.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 29, 2010, 12:33:59 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")

I knew you would love this.

You and I need to do a commentary together.  Seriously....
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 29, 2010, 12:36:44 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")

I knew you would love this.

You and I need to do a commentary together.  Seriously....

I'm not sure how good it would be. I would probably just be saying variations of "Oh my god this is so amazing" throughout the whole thing.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 29, 2010, 12:44:58 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")

I knew you would love this.

You and I need to do a commentary together.  Seriously....

I'm not sure how good it would be. I would probably just be saying variations of "Oh my god this is so amazing" throughout the whole thing.

Yeah it would totally be 2 hours of the Chris Farley show
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on April 29, 2010, 12:46:36 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
(http://www.messentools.com/images/emoticones/varios/www.MessenTools.com-Varios-big-071.gif) (http://"http://www.messentools.com/en/msn-emoticon-details-and-download/id/583/")
I knew you would love this.
You and I need to do a commentary together.  Seriously....
I'm not sure how good it would be. I would probably just be saying variations of "Oh my god this is so amazing" throughout the whole thing.
Yeah it would totally be 2 hours of the Chris Farley show

The only thing worse would be me doing a commentary for BttF. I would just be me quoting lines about 5 seconds before they are spoken in the film.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Melvil on April 29, 2010, 01:53:43 AM
I look forward to the awesomeness, FroHam and sam. Should you maybe have your own threads for continuities sake and just leave an introduction here? I also don't want to see other people get drowned out if they want to do a simpler write up of their own favorite.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on April 29, 2010, 02:00:51 AM
I look forward to the awesomeness, FroHam and sam. Should you maybe have your own threads for continuities sake and just leave an introduction here? I also don't want to see other people get drowned out if they want to do a simpler write up of their own favorite.

Please do, you can link to new paragraphs.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on April 29, 2010, 03:17:42 AM
I look forward to the awesomeness, FroHam and sam. Should you maybe have your own threads for continuities sake and just leave an introduction here? I also don't want to see other people get drowned out if they want to do a simpler write up of their own favorite.

Please do, you can link to new paragraphs.

I like this idea as well.  Someday I'll do one for Synecdoche, NY
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on April 29, 2010, 03:23:46 AM
I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

How you people ever find time to actually watch movies, I will never know.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: chardy999 on April 29, 2010, 06:02:35 AM
I look forward to the awesomeness, FroHam and sam. Should you maybe have your own threads for continuities sake and just leave an introduction here? I also don't want to see other people get drowned out if they want to do a simpler write up of their own favorite.

Please do, you can link to new paragraphs.

I like this idea as well.  Someday I'll do one for Synecdoche, NY

A scene by scene analysis? If so, LOL. The arrogance!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 29, 2010, 07:48:41 AM
Okay, I'll definitely be watching Days of Heaven again. I think when I saw it a few years ago or so I just didn't get it. That was a great writeup.
Glad to see you are given it another chance. It was kind of my goal in writing all this. (Also, don't tell anyone, but I didn't think that much of Days of Heaven either after the first time I saw it!)

I would like to warn everyone that I will be following in the footsteps of lotrsamnumbers and will be doing a scene-by-scene breakdown of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Good to have company. I'm also interested in how other people would address such a process because I'm sure we'll learn from each other in doing this.

Should you maybe have your own threads for continuities sake and just leave an introduction here?
I could just keep it on my blog and link it in this thread. That would be the easiest way for me.

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 03, 2010, 03:23:22 PM
lotr-sam0711's Days of Heaven Commentary

Scene 1 - The Foundry (http://wp.me/pC1yx-yQ)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on May 03, 2010, 04:01:18 PM
lotr-sam0711's Days of Heaven Commentary

Scene 1 - The Foundry (http://wp.me/pC1yx-yQ)
It's superb how well you articulate your interpretations.

I can only sit back in the knowledge that my opinions are absolutely correct until I decide to change my mind.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jbissell on May 03, 2010, 07:35:06 PM
Days of Heaven (1979)

Director/Writer: Terrence Malick
Actors: Richard Gere, Broke Adams, Linda Manz, Sam Shepard
Cinematography: Nestor Almendros (With additional footage shot by Haskell Wexler)
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Art Director: Jack Fisk


I can't do this film justice in one post so I won't try. Instead, throughout the coming weeks and months I will be dissecting the film scene by scene. Yes, that's right, scene by scene. I think the film is that good. I'll be placing a directory to each part here to each post so that I don't clog up the main directory. I'm also going to be posting these on my blog (http://wp.me/pC1yx-xU) if you'd rather follow along and comment over there.

Opening Credits (http://www.filmspotting.net/boards/index.php?topic=7372.90)
Scene 1 - The Foundry (http://wp.me/pC1yx-yQ)

Hadn't been paying much attention to this thread but I'm looking forward to this.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on May 03, 2010, 08:47:55 PM
In which I steal lotrsamnumbers' idea and apply it to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the second-greatest film of all time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director/Writer: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Deyfuss, FranÁois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Special Effects by: Douglas Trumbull

This film is awesome. I will review it scene-by-scene. You know the drill and I need not say more.

Introduction (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/scene-by-scene-close-encounters-of-the-third-kind.html)
Scene 1 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/close-encounters-scene-1.html)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on May 03, 2010, 10:33:15 PM
In which I steal lotrsamnumbers' idea and apply it to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the second-greatest film of all time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director/Writer: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Deyfuss, FranÁois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Special Effects by: Douglas Trumbull

This film is awesome. I will review it scene-by-scene. You know the drill and I need not say more.

Introduction (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/scene-by-scene-close-encounters-of-the-third-kind.html)
Scene 1 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/close-encounters-scene-1.html)

I hate that I didn't think of this first!  I'll be enjoying every frame.  Very cool you're doing this.

One thing I would have have you highlight is the first of what I call the "Speilberg Foremovements".  In one of the shots in that opening scene the flap from the plane wing is flinging up and down in the foreground while one the guys is yelling out serial numbers (I think).  The first of many cool little directing touches in the film
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on May 05, 2010, 05:20:22 PM
In which I steal lotrsamnumbers' idea and apply it to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the second-greatest film of all time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director/Writer: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Deyfuss, FranÁois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Special Effects by: Douglas Trumbull

This film is awesome. I will review it scene-by-scene. You know the drill and I need not say more.

Introduction (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/scene-by-scene-close-encounters-of-the-third-kind.html)
Scene 1 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/close-encounters-scene-1.html)
Scene 2 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/5/close-encounters-scene-2.html)

SCENE 2 IS UP!!!!! It contains screencaps of radar screens.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on May 05, 2010, 10:28:52 PM
In which I steal lotrsamnumbers' idea and apply it to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the second-greatest film of all time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director/Writer: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Deyfuss, FranÁois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Special Effects by: Douglas Trumbull

This film is awesome. I will review it scene-by-scene. You know the drill and I need not say more.

Introduction (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/scene-by-scene-close-encounters-of-the-third-kind.html)
Scene 1 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/close-encounters-scene-1.html)
Scene 2 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/5/close-encounters-scene-2.html)
Scene 3 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/5/close-encounters-scene-3.html)

And now there's Scene #3!!! Go read it or else!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on May 05, 2010, 11:53:11 PM
In which I steal lotrsamnumbers' idea and apply it to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the second-greatest film of all time.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director/Writer: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Deyfuss, FranÁois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban
Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond
Edited by: Michael Kahn
Music by: John Williams
Special Effects by: Douglas Trumbull

This film is awesome. I will review it scene-by-scene. You know the drill and I need not say more.

Introduction (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/scene-by-scene-close-encounters-of-the-third-kind.html)
Scene 1 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/3/close-encounters-scene-1.html)
Scene 2 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/5/close-encounters-scene-2.html)
Scene 3 (http://www.thereelists.com/main/2010/5/5/close-encounters-scene-3.html)

And now there's Scene #3!!! Go read it or else!

I can't think of a movie with 3 more perfect opening scenes.


"look with care, for the shape of a square..."

Clovis have you heard the story about how Speilberg got the great reaction from Barry in front of the open fridge?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 12, 2010, 08:14:20 PM
Days of Heaven - Scene 2 - Train Ride (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/days-of-heaven-1978-s2-train-ride/)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on May 12, 2010, 10:57:36 PM
Days of Heaven - Scene 2 - Train Ride (http://cinemasights.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/days-of-heaven-1978-s2-train-ride/)

I'm fascinated by your left/right screen positioning discussion. I haven't heard a theory like that before.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 12, 2010, 11:01:35 PM
I was wondering about this. It's something I picked up when we discussed the basic principles of image composition in film in one of my classes. I might need to go about explaining it better.

Basically what they found is that all people have a tendency to focus on the right side of the frame, therefore it has more dominance.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on May 12, 2010, 11:33:22 PM
Some people have this idea that Malick's shots of nature are magnificent and cinematic. However, I prefer to see them as indulgent and they make his films slow and boring.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on May 12, 2010, 11:36:09 PM
Some people have this idea that Malick's shots of nature are magnificent and cinematic. However, I prefer to see them as indulgent and they make his films slow and boring.

You're probably right. You're also probably wrong. I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a Malick dictation in our future and then we'll be forced into this argument.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 12, 2010, 11:36:53 PM
O yes, there will be at the first possible opportunity.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on May 12, 2010, 11:56:47 PM
O yes, there will be at the first possible opportunity.

I think you'll have to manufacture a reason. It doesn't seem like his next film will ever come out!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 12, 2010, 11:59:39 PM
I'll find one. Just you wait.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bill Thompson on May 13, 2010, 06:17:00 AM
Some people have this idea that Malick's shots of nature are magnificent and cinematic. However, I prefer to see them as indulgent and they make his films slow and boring.

Slow and boring are two words I would never use to describe as Malick film, magnificent and cinematic, however, are two words I would use to describe a Malick film.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 14, 2010, 04:55:52 PM
Days of Heaven - Scene 3 - The Arrival (http://wp.me/pC1yx-BU)

More wheat, magic hour and a mention of that Oscars thingy.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: frantastical on May 14, 2010, 08:22:46 PM
I'm loving the Days of Heaven write-ups, a film that I discovered and fell in love with not too long ago.  Have you ever been able to see it on a  big screen? I can barely fathom the awesomeness.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 14, 2010, 08:26:05 PM
Not yet. I hope to one day. It's on the bucket list.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 25, 2010, 08:30:51 PM
Days of Heaven - Scene 4 - Harvest Begins (http://wp.me/pC1yx-DF)

Wherein religion and horses drawn carts are considered scary.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on May 31, 2010, 08:21:46 PM
(http://i50.tinypic.com/1zmee00.jpg)
Princess Mononoke

As film buffs we seem to have some sort of obligation to having a favourite film of all time, and when it comes down to picking a favourite film, or even a top ten, the choices you make become intensely personal. See, I think The Godfather is the acme of the filmic medium, that and Once Upon a Time in the West. The audacity of the storytelling, the perfection of the craft, the characters which seem to fuel every single stereotype and never seem to blemish them, the perfect craft, performances, and on and on. They are the pinnacle of the medium, yet they donít invoke a personal reaction. I enjoy watching them, course I do, and they would both make a top 20 (Godfather would make top 20, OUATITW would make my top 5) if I made one nowadays (actually, Millerís Crossing may be perfect too...never mind. This thread will go nowhere.). They are fantastic, but they are just pieces of work. Movies that make my top 10, movies I adore, they become a part of your life in a way. Maybe they dictate your world view; maybe they become something you think about on a regular basis, something you quote endlessly. Maybe these characters bring themselves into your world, suddenly become the people you know, the people you hang out with, people you recognize in everyday life, or maybe they are unique characters, ones you have never seen before and are fascinated by. My favourite film...It feels like it does all of these things. It speaks to me more personally far more than any other film has, while being more perfect in craft and story and characters and emotion than any other movie Iíve seen:

(http://i48.tinypic.com/20svmz7.jpg)

If I were to make a list of my filmmakers, Hayao Miyazaki would be an easy number one. Iíve loved every film of his, and I am captivated by the images he creates and the characters he gives us. For me, there are many filmmakers who would influence me as filmmakers, influence my filmmaking style, but I think Miyazaki may be the only person who I built part of my lifestyle around his films, the mysticism and sense of wonder in his movies makes me look for that wonder in real life. You know? I guess what Iím saying is, I feel as though the spirituality and the magic and the emotional power of these films have become a part of my life, a huge part.

(http://i47.tinypic.com/35it8d0.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/21jc7py.jpg)
(http://i48.tinypic.com/2dtyfr9.jpg)

Which is strange, because Mononoke may be the least ďMagicalĒ of Miyazakiís films. There is magic and mysticism, mostly brought to us in the guise of the Great Forest Spirit. While most creatures in Mononoke are simply large and powerful animals, the great forest spirit is a deer with a face. All characters in Mononoke have sides, and they all face the burden of the world they live in but the forest Spirit has the same face, one of peace. He is the god of life and death, and he controls the fate of all the characters in this world. He is the god of all creatures, and everyone reacts to him differently. The Wolves, the boars, and San all react to him with respect, devotion, as we would look up to a god, and they do not dare desecrate him otherwise he will act their vengeance upon him. The humans all look upon him with fear. They are scared the forest spirit will be mad for their actions, for cutting up the forest and using it to produce Iron, and they dare not wander through its forests for fear of angering him. When Ashitaka and Kouroku wander through the forest, he is constantly on edge all time, and when they return the villagers are all surprised they passed through the ďForbidden ForestĒ so quickly. This is strange because the sequence where they travel through the forbidden forest, and Ashitaka gets his first glimpse of the forest spirit, is largely harmless, a sequence built around establishing the forest itself while the conflict doesnít get established until later on. Lady Hiboshi, however, thinks of it as just another creature to be killed, just another one in her way, and itís this pigheadedness from both sides that makes this conflict so difficult to resolve.

(http://i50.tinypic.com/2eofjom.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/29267f7.jpg)

Ashitaka is the only person who seems to understand exactly what the forest spirit is and how to react to him. He is at first in awe, the image and figure of the spirit is magical and beautiful, awe inspiring, so like the audience he is shocked by this image, the bright light pouring around a deer like figure, which leaves small piles of leave with every step it takes. But he understands exactly what the forest spirit is, it is fate. It does not judge you for your actions, nor take prejudice. It is a god of life and death, but what Ashitaka realises and everyone else fails to is it is nothing else. Why do we fear something of such beauty, and something which does not alter its mind? When it chooses to remove you of life, it does so not because you have peeved it off, but because it is your time. And if it is your time all you can do is face up to it.

(http://i46.tinypic.com/28j8lc3.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/e6f2i8.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/2vhtclf.jpg)
(http://i47.tinypic.com/10prlso.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/24lo2hl.jpg)

This mysticism in the image of the Great Forest Spirit is the most spiritual, magical moment in the movie. This doesnít mean to say it is the only beautiful moment in the movie, but there are certain moments in Miyazaki films that are just pure magic, where problems have dissolved away and all thatís left is the magic and the images and the feeling of wonder in what is happening. Iím talking about when Howl and Sophie walk on air in Howlís Moving Castle, the introduction to the gardens of Laputa in Castle in the Sky, the final scene of Nausicaa, a lot of Scenes in Spirited Away but mainly bathing the Stink Spirit, And the bus scene in Totoro. Multiple beautiful Miyazaki images, but simple ones. That one indelible image from Mononoke is probably the only simple image in the whole movie. It is a movie filled with beautiful images, but each one is packed with emotion and there is so much complexity in this movie and the characters are so angry and so troubled that we cannot be pulled away, and we are here till the end, itís like we are put in Ashitakaís position. We, like he does, have to sort this out, otherwise they will destroy each other, and the chances are they will destroy each other anyways. We feel the burden that Ashitaka has to carry, and the way Miyazaki is able to pull that off is masterful.

(http://i50.tinypic.com/24eawly.jpg)

The plot of Mononoke is the most complex and brilliant story Miyazakiís ever told. The movie opens on a small town that is home of the Ameishe tribe, where the people live in peace with nature. Ashitaka is the last surviving prince of the clan, which is a dying tribe, as they have been pushed out to the east by gods and capitalists. One day, their camp is invaded by a demonic creature, which it turns out was a giant boar god who became a demon through hatred. But before I get to that:

(http://i49.tinypic.com/29x85m1.jpg)
Every film has its details you love. So, I want to mention the details I love, in particular, this tower, and its guard. I LOVE the design of this tower, the way it sort of collapses in the middle. The thing is, there is no way a normal person can climb that quickly, plus itís not very sturdy, but in the world Miyazaki creates it fits in perfectly but is so stilted and sharp it sticks out like a sore thumb. There are millions of little details like that I adore.

The demonic creature is iconic Miyazaki, and when it bursts into the opening it is an astonishing sight. Miyazaki brings the creature to life fabulously, the coating of multiple squiggly demonic branches all flowing together to create something demonic. I canít describe it. I just need to show you:

(http://i49.tinypic.com/1zein81.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/2cpb1pf.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/iodsfc.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/3132c2d.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/15r1308.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/ftoh35.jpg)

But even more amazing is when this creature is moving, the little dark pieces flowing over the body, the haunting beauty of the pace at which it runs with those legs, itís masterfully done. Whenever Miyazaki sets a pace like this itís beautiful to behold, and especially here, where his actual framing of shots create an exciting and brilliant chase scene.

(http://i47.tinypic.com/14awow4.jpg)

The moment where the boar roars and shows his true nature, throwing the demon off for a second and we realise there is a human (well, a god, but something with true human emotions) underneath the disguise is the first note of what exactly Miyazaki is doing here, but more on that later. Later on in the film Miyazaki brings back the creature as he pushes one of the main characters to a situation where they become so devastated by the situation they are in that they start to become a demon like this one earlier, and this is being done to a character, one of the few characters, who is not controlled by hatred, and one we have grown to empathise with and admire and like. And the moment the demon starts to develop in him is devastating.

(http://i46.tinypic.com/zkfnzm.jpg)

The lead up to the attack, the first moment in the film, is quiet, and the rustling from the forest, watching flashes of darkness in openings, creates a wonderful uneasy sense of dread. There is a starkness of noise, where you feel the fact that there is nothing being said, no sounds in the background. You can hear the heartbeats as we wait for the attack to begin. The demon gets introduced by having small bits of darkness flow in a wall surrounding the village, and then suddenly, it bursts through the wall, with Joe Hisaishiís score bursting into this dark, nihilistic drum pattern which matches the mood perfectly. The moment the demon bursts through the open it starts to rampage towards the village, and Ashitaka does everything in his power to stop it. In a huge character point, he starts by trying to appeal to the boar to turn back, and tries to sort out the situation harmlessly. The flashes of trees in the forests, the flowing demon, the elk Ashitaka rides, it all comes together to create one of the best chases on film, so many beautiful moments, Miyazakiís motion is just a joy beyond words. At first the Demon seems not too interested in Ashitaka, and Ashitaka does not attack the Boar Demon. They rush through the forest, trying to resolve the situation peacefully, but a creature of so much hatred cannot be helped, only stopped. As he gets closer to the village, they burst into a plane by the village with the obligatory girls in need of help (although these girls are quite strong characters, just not enough to fight a giant pig demon.) Ashitaka attacks, hitting the creature in the eye, which lashes out and grabs Ashitakaís arm before he hits the boar in the head to kill it.  The image of the boarís arm lashing out at Ashitaka is great, the way the Boar shape shifts and flows, like how it crunches up into a ball when hit then explodes, has such haunting grace it sends shivers down the spine yet you want to watch it again and again. And instead of having the demonís arm become something of a weapon Miyazaki has the camera flow with the arm, with the mass of limbs bursting out at Ashitaka, and it tracks it as it rushes by Ashitaka riding his elk and..It just blows my mind, and pulls me in, and all sorts of superlatives, the beautiful flow of that one shot, the way it comes together with Ashitakaís face, his emotions, and the way he rushes towards the Boar are all done to absolute beauty and perfection.

(http://i49.tinypic.com/1gswhc.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/2u76pt3.jpg)

As the Boar falls to Ashitakaís second strike, the demon scars itself into the landscape, and the living parts of it disappear. In its place is marks left on the ground, surrounding the boar, and on Ashitakaís hand. And this begins a downward spiral for Ashitaka, for with this and circumstances that happen he starts to become less and less a prince of the Ameishe Tribe by spirit, and more and more his own person. And he starts to understand that the teachings of the Ameishe are not going to be able to help this situation, but the ideological foundations of the ways do. And so he creates his own moral code. This is not a bad thing, itís not like those movies of obsession or drugs, itís more where he keeps the ideological foundations but becomes more open and receptive to the world around him. The design of the actual mark represents that, as well as the cutting of his hair. The mark itself is seared on him, and is slowly taking him over.  And the design stands out against his arm, and the way it contrasts with his soul and personality and it creates part of Ashitaka, as much as the Ameishe tribe and his beginnings and his feelings towards both arguing parties in the forest. That mark creates the conflicted persona of Ashitaka. The landscape of the film is green and brown, and it evokes this beautiful forest imagery, and what Miyazaki does so masterfully is here is a film where the colours are completely natural, which doesnít take anything away from the utter beauty, but thatís what it is. The reds and blues of the townsfolk fit perfectly in, not that they meld but the colours donít stand out, neither does the white coat of Okoto, or the grey skies during the one scene involving rain (a great scene). And so, Miyazakiís genius is creating this world, and then having anything demonic be presented in this stark dark purple, which to the eye, which is accustomed to this landscape, it stands out against the landscape. Any time it comes up it shocks you, and your eye canít pull away. Itís starkly beautiful, itís pure corruption, if that makes sense, it is pure hatred.

(http://i47.tinypic.com/3495bv4.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/opsf0z.jpg)

And so the infection of this mark becomes Ashitakaís dark side. Whereas other characters contain their hate within themselves, Ashitaka is always aware of his hate as it is contained within that mark. On one hand, that means he knows where his hate is and can come to terms with that. On the other hand, his hate is growing larger and larger and will eventually destroy him.

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2cct65l.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/8wf704.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/9ay3yb.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/2nl8yed.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/2air0br.jpg)

Before Mononoke, Miyazaki would deal out emotions in very simple doses, one character is full of hate, one is full of love (and I think he gets somewhat better at this on Porco Rosso). Think about it. The purity of Nausicaa, the character, only wavers once, and she is instead a symbol of peace and justice and all that, whereas the big bad humans are simply big and bad. This is not a bad thing, Miyazaki never delves into the clichť, but it is true. Same with Castle in the Sky. The two kids are the heroes, they can do wrong but their intentions are never bad and their emotions are pure, whereas the voice of Luke Skywalker coming out of an accountant is pure evil. Castle in the Sky shows Miyazakiís lovely ability for overturning our expectations, but never his ability to live in the grey. Once again, this does not hurt these films at all. These are not faults with his previous work, but more a trump card to Mononoke.

(http://i49.tinypic.com/2duxkcy.jpg)

In Mononoke, Miyazaki lives in the grey. For me, itís not a bad thing he doesnít do this before, the worlds he creates never require it, hell, maybe theyíre better for it. But with this world heís created, he knows he canít properly portray it without creating a morally complex world where everyone is full of hatred for the either side and neither side is right. This should be a simple decision, but can you name me ONE other director who portrays two sides so full of hatred, in such a life or death situation, and yet gives both sides their due. The narrative doesnít have to be interesting, or good in anyway, just tell me of someone who never vilifies either side. No? Cameron, Costner, Hell, even Disney. No one does this.

(http://i47.tinypic.com/332bd4l.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/fa7fpc.png)
(http://i49.tinypic.com/zxa4yd.jpg)

So hats off to Miyazaki, but this aspect isnít even close to the greatest aspect of the narrative here. After the amazing opening, the narrative is pitch perfect, I mean not a scene, not a step that, for me, could have been done any better. As Ashitaka wanders through the countryside, Miyazaki takes his time in allowing this singular character to be developed, and for us to understand everything about Ashitaka. He is the mediator. He is, and the movie so brilliantly says, the man who sees ďwith eyes unclouded by hateĒ. He has been brought up by a tribe who believes in peace, with never resorting to violence unless absolutely nothing else can be done. Then, when he arrives in this village, he is forced to delve into this world where both sides are unwilling to listen to the other. He cannot pick, and isnít supposed to pick, a side to fight for. Which spins everyone for a loss. The people of Irontown wonder why a human, born into a human society, will not fight for their side. The answer is simple, he wasnít born in Irontown. The gods wonder why such a kindred spirit, a man of peace, is helping the humans. Quite simply, it is because he cannot let the humans perish.

Miyazaki juggles all these problems and conflicts wonderfully. In this one film, he has to deal with the demon mark on Ashitakaís hand, the war between gods and humans, the great forest spirit and the relationship between Ashitaka and San, all large enough to carry their own films. And he handles it amazingly. He doesnít just handle all these disparate parts well but he is somehow, with his magical touch, is able to bring these all into one, simple overarching narrative.

(http://i49.tinypic.com/2i1mavr.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/14ww2e8.jpg)
(http://i47.tinypic.com/2nlhkpl.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/20t174z.jpg)

Miyazaki makes most of the characters incredibly sympathetic. He creates this foil in the human camp, the pairing of Toki and Kouroku, and Toki is sort of the stand-in for the women in the town. Sheís strong, but not without fear. Sheís tough but kind. She, and in turn the people of Irontown, are the perfect side characters. Donít you hate side characters, or sidekicks, who are wimpy and need to be helped along every step of the way? The people of Irontown are incredibly strong in their own right, but also incredibly dwarfed by the problems around them.

(http://i48.tinypic.com/9runfp.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/34ypnp4.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/2d0l83m.jpg)

And then look at the some of the things Irontown does. Ok, yes it completely bastardizes the forest near it and has no qualms about the lives of the gods and the forest spirit. But they also donít look down on women, or on the sick. They donít judge their own, hell, they do everything they can to help the outcasts of humanity. When Ashitaka returns after aiding the enemy they donít judge him, they trust that he actually wants to help them. Itís not much of a plot point, but it makes perfect sense. Or look at the community itself, the way everyone interacts with each other is warm and welcoming. Miyazaki spends a lot of time allowing us to get familiar with Irontown, and so we canít side against the people there. And that is how he twists the formula.

(http://i46.tinypic.com/29atlid.jpg)

And then thereís the gods. We humans, or maybe us cinemagoers, the people who seek out this type of film, we are all about environmental issues, and about how the capitalist society is all bad, and must be punished. And so we should easily side with the gods, and their struggle to fit for their own land away from the greedy Americans, I mean, people of Irontown. Letís call this the ďNaíaviĒ syndrome. Itís typified by a comment made by one of my friends when we left the cinema after seeing Avatar, where he said ďGod, donít you just hate humanity now?Ē So itís easy to tap into this.

But, just as Miyazaki took his time by showing us the bright sides of the people of Irontown, neither does he shy away from showing us the negative aspects of the gods. These are angry creatures consumed with rage, and whatever judgement they have left is not blinded but is certainly affected by this rage. And they are paranoid, paranoid of letting the one man who may be able to help them into the camp. They are angry, bitter, vengeful creatures, and Miyazaki has no qualms in letting these emotions come out.

Now, donít get me wrong, the people of Irontown are still destroying the land the gods rightfully own and the gods are still sympathetic and are wise, thoughtful creatures. But Miyazaki, where other directors wouldnít, creates full characters, where their flaws are as apparent as their strengths, and this turns them into people, with personalities and emotions, not figure heads made for giving passionate speeches about how we must save the forest, or clichťs built to carry a message. Which, when considering the breadth of the narrative, is an amazing achievement. 

(http://i47.tinypic.com/v595cz.jpg)

Lord Asanoís Samurai? Theyíre a plot device, nothing else. A great plot device, but their character and philosophy means nothing to the overall impact of the film.

And so we move on to our main characters:

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2u61955.jpg)

As a character, Jigo is probably the simplest persona of the bunch, and it makes it hard to write about him. He is sort of like a reincarnation of Porco from Porco Rosso. He is arrogant, greedy, ruthless, and uncaring. He is the closest thing we get to a villain but at the same time, heís kinda charming. Plus, he doesnít affect the narrative as much as any villain would; he is not the antagonising force in this movie by a long shot, his character only dictates, like Lord Asano, that he push events forward. And for a character like that heís pretty great, and a lot of fun. He also seems to act as a driving force for the corrupt side of Lady Hiboshi, whereas the people of Irontown may be the pure side of Hiboshi.

(http://i50.tinypic.com/2eas00p.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/10r4llh.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/1z63vbk.jpg)

The Lady Hiboshi herself is something else entirely. Her main motive and ideology for her actions is that she tries to conquer the unconquerable, to kill gods and the Forest Spirit because she believes she is greater than all of them. And, while she treats her townsfolk well, she is also blissfully ignorant of the power of the gods, the emotional damage she is causing, the environmental damage and the consequences of it, because she wants to kill not a god, but THE god, the god of gods, and would therefore become the god of gods. And yet I sympathise slightly with her. I donít know why, but itís those little moments of interactions with the people of Irontown, and the community she sets up there. It just works.

(http://i48.tinypic.com/28btwk0.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/ao9ysl.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/91jazk.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/18hdag.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/125p4k7.jpg)

On the other hand we have the wolf princess, San. Her motives are noble, and we understand exactly where sheís coming from. But she is consumed with anger against the humans, and she is starting to go over the edge of reason in this anger. This is her main and only true flaw, she has a kind heart, and she is strong and an amazing character beyond that.

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2ikdrfm.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/idaz5f.jpg)
(http://i47.tinypic.com/2z3tlpu.jpg)

This very beautiful relationship begins between these two kindred spirits of San and Ashitaka. As she is the link Ashitaka has with this world, and with nature, and Ashitaka kind of sees how she should really be humanityís link with nature, but how humanity shut nature off, pretending nature had no place in their lives. But above all, itís just a simple love, and Miyazaki is the best at portraying love on screen. Thereís no grandstanding, no crutches, the love relationships he creates are pure magic, and this one maybe the most magical to watch onscreen of all, as well as heartbreaking and complex and all other superlatives.

And then thereís Ashitaka, who I have gone on and on about. He is my personal favourite character in all of the cinemas. He just is. Screw the people who donít understand him. He is a completely new creation; you canít link his character as ďBlank with a blankĒ, or as being like this character from that movie. Nobody has written anything like Ashitaka before, and probably never will. Clovis says his actions arenít understandable. Fine. Let him go watch Before Sunset over and over again. Because, for me, I completely understand Ashitaka. He has no hate inside him, and coming from the peaceful village where he grew up this hatred scares him. When he arrives in this town, and at this forest, he sees everything for exactly how it is, unlike everyone else who are biased towards other characters. He understands everyone, and how life is and how it should be. And, Iím sorry for saying this on a film forum with film buffs who all care about the purity of the film, and who are all about foreign language films and whatnot(and Iím one of them.), but Billy Crudup gives one of the greatest performances of all time. The rest of the English cast is great, but Crudup, an actor whose other performances I really love, completely embodies everything I love about the character of Ashitaka. He is perfect in the role, and I could not have asked for anything more.

At this point, I would go into cinematography, but I canít really describe the beauty of this film to you. It is the single most beautiful film, animated or otherwise. Let me show you why:

(http://i47.tinypic.com/2d6jd43.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/ka0lub.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/1f9539.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/68bz1d.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/33y6psi.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/s5zacx.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/2prblht.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/2rgnkg9.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/mc6iw3.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/4qsp50.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/2iupaa1.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/33z5wk8.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/34s3r00.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/2jblkdg.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/rs96o5.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/140hdtl.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/34petsw.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/118iogx.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/vxitrl.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/28qytf9.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/29nuo3n.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/mr38jt.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/2i90ysj.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/rc0eqa.jpg)
(http://i47.tinypic.com/2meye8l.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/zv8ms5.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/34h9ook.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/k0gjh0.jpg)
(http://i48.tinypic.com/wsvjv8.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/2554dib.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/sg3gxj.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/ek7m9.jpg)
(http://i50.tinypic.com/2qd2zjn.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/33wpc2r.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/5yhhkh.jpg)(http://i46.tinypic.com/xgm729.jpg)
(http://i49.tinypic.com/11j17p3.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/12631jo.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/20z1qn5.jpg)(http://i50.tinypic.com/qznij8.jpg)
(http://i46.tinypic.com/2zokjyw.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/33kbski.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/296f69x.jpg)(http://i45.tinypic.com/24etj4g.jpg)
(http://i49.tinypic.com/2w2em1d.jpg)(http://i49.tinypic.com/rk3jfr.jpg)(http://i48.tinypic.com/2hh3uys.jpg)(http://i47.tinypic.com/2lc2xoh.jpg)

As for the score:

Joe Hisaishi / Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H82QHiUvY5E#)

(http://i50.tinypic.com/6rq9tk.jpg)

I just have one more point to make, and itís about the frame above. Going into this review I was sure I was going to talk about my favourite scene from the movie, but watching it again I realised that every other scene is as good as that one scene, and I couldnít pick just one scene, so I decided against it. But this one moment, this hug they share, is the greatest moment in film. As the world crashes around them, they share that one moment of purity which is so beautiful words do not describe it.

I guess, before leaving you all, I have to mention why this film hits me on such a personal level. Problem is, unlike most of you, I donít know the answer to this question. I know it has, I just canít figure out why.  Iíve already talked mildly about my love for the film (Iím being serious, I still donít think I was effusive enough.) but as for real world parallels, I dunno. Iím a nature kinda guy, so the landscape of the forests just works for me. The story of feuding clans and the sort of struggle between nature versus man is my favourite kind of story, I guess. And Ashitaka may be the kind of character I try and be in real life. Itís hard to find real world parallels. I mean, Iím still just 16, Iím not supposed to have this complete idea of what I believe yet. Iím still so confused, just kind of wandering through life trying to find things to grasp onto, you know? Maybe thatís it. Maybe itís like these characters, you know? Weíre all confused by the capacity of humanity and canít find what weíre looking for in the world around us. Maybe itís that confusion I respond to. Because, I may seem confident on these forums, I wouldnít know. But I am so confused and unsure of myself in real life. I havenít got a grip on anything, on trying to express emotions, or trying to be the best person I can, or trying to complete a work of art, and thatís where Mononoke speaks to me.

And so here it is. I was going to start out by doing a long article going through the plot scene by scene but kinda started to realise that was a bit too indulgent and I might bore all you. I might do one of those scene by scene analysisí one of these days, like Sam and Froham (pretentious snobs). I hope Iíve gotten more people to see Mononoke, for the first time or again. Itís the only movie, the only piece of art Iíve fully absorbed into my life, and talking about it is hard as I canít describe my love for it. Iím assuming you all feel the same way about your favourites. Iíve gone for about seven pages about how great Mononoke is, but the passion I feel for it, I havenít even gone near it, because it is all consuming, but in the best way possible. I cry every time I watch it, Iím blown away by its beauty every time I watch it. I get excited every time I watch it. If I ever watch anything else that matches the perfection on display here, my life will be complete.


Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on May 31, 2010, 10:35:46 PM
I have Princess Mononoke at home right now - I'll come back and read after I watch it. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on May 31, 2010, 11:54:23 PM
Lovely review.  Just lovely.

I've loved all the activity this year with people talking passionately about their favorite film.  I'm currently without a #1.  There are films I love, but nothing I can defend with such detailed fervor.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: maŮana on June 01, 2010, 01:19:24 AM
Wow! Great write-up, 'Noke.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on June 01, 2010, 02:53:05 AM
Lovely review.  Just lovely.

I've loved all the activity this year with people talking passionately about their favorite film.  I'm currently without a #1.  There are films I love, but nothing I can defend with such detailed fervor.

That is what you latest marathon is for!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: chardy999 on June 01, 2010, 04:34:08 AM
I have Princess Mononoke at home right now eyeing me at the video store - I'll come back and read after I watch it. :)

I did read the first paragraph about personal Top 10's. Wonderful paragraph.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bill Thompson on June 01, 2010, 09:54:28 AM
Great write-up my Irish friend, honestly, top notch stuff, you hit on all the reasons I love Mononoke and in a far better fashion than I could ever muster.  :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on June 03, 2010, 12:27:49 AM
One more reason why this is my favorite thread. Nice work 'Noke
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Abomination on June 03, 2010, 12:34:10 AM
I would like to write something up for this, but I'm not sure what my favorite film is...
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on June 03, 2010, 01:38:04 PM
I just finished watching Princess Mononoke this morning; I loved your write-up of it, 'Noke. I love the way you discuss the film as it relates to you personally, the way it hits you personally - really very moving.

I liked the film a lot - much more than Spirited Away - and that kind of surprised me. :)

I was describing some of the story and how much I was enjoying the film to Uri last night at dinner (he didn't really like Spirited Away, so I was trying to convince him I thought he should give Miyazki another chance, like I was :) ) - anyway, my 8-year-old, hearing the story but not realizing I was describing a movie, was really intrigued and wanted me to get the book for her - she loves the fantastical. She was so disappointed when I told her it was a movie that would be too scary for her for now. I'll have to start her on some other "gentler" Miyazaki. :)

'Noke, I watched it with the subtitles, but you seem to think quite highly of the dubbed version. Which version do you like best?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: °Keith! on June 03, 2010, 02:05:52 PM
its animation... they're all dubbed versions ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on June 03, 2010, 02:07:03 PM
 
its animation... they're all dubbed versions ;)
:P
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Melvil on June 03, 2010, 02:08:10 PM
 :-X
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: °Keith! on June 03, 2010, 02:09:40 PM
its animation... they're all dubbed versions ;)
:P
:-X
;D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on June 03, 2010, 02:10:18 PM
I'm with iKeith!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on June 03, 2010, 02:18:52 PM
:-X
Me too. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on June 03, 2010, 02:21:46 PM
New question!

'Noke, do you prefer the English voice actors or Japanese voice actors?  :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: °Keith! on June 03, 2010, 02:49:55 PM
New question!

'Noke, do you prefer the English voice actors or Japanese voice actors?  :)

you English teachers and yr query specificity.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Abomination on June 03, 2010, 03:23:10 PM
Do dubs and subs always use the same script?

I don't really agree with everyone here because the film is animated with the original script and language in mind, so something might be one syllable in Japanese, but five in English, which can be handled in subtitles better than in the dub.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on June 03, 2010, 04:56:23 PM
Do dubs and subs always use the same script?

I don't really agree with everyone here because the film is animated with the original script and language in mind, so something might be one syllable in Japanese, but five in English, which can be handled in subtitles better than in the dub.

No, but I think some of the dubbed scripts can be rushed out to release the film in the two markets quickly. Miyazaki (and, by turn, Studio Ghibli) usually take their time in adapting the film properly. They took two years to bring this to the states, enlisting the help of Neil Gaiman no less, and so they took their time.

New question!

'Noke, do you prefer the English voice actors or Japanese voice actors?  :)

I haven't actually ever watched the film the whole way through in subs (Scandalous!)but having only just weatched a scene now, I happen to prefer the english voice actors, and maybe it's a language barrier but I think the English actors do a great job of investing their characters in the world of the film (ie, they don't make the feel "american" at all). Also, the dialogue is slightly different, like they refer to the great forest spirit as the deer god, and some small word changes, which aren't notciable at all for anyone else, but since I've seen it so many times I can recall the exact dialogue in my head as it's playing so it stood out to me. I also don't like that Moro is voiced by a male instead of a female. And I heart Crudup's performance. So, yah. Glad you liked it so much!!!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on June 07, 2010, 12:46:20 AM
I just finished watching Princess Mononoke this morning; I loved your write-up of it, 'Noke. I love the way you discuss the film as it relates to you personally, the way it hits you personally - really very moving.

I liked the film a lot - much more than Spirited Away - and that kind of surprised me. :)

I was describing some of the story and how much I was enjoying the film to Uri last night at dinner (he didn't really like Spirited Away, so I was trying to convince him I thought he should give Miyazki another chance, like I was :) ) - anyway, my 8-year-old, hearing the story but not realizing I was describing a movie, was really intrigued and wanted me to get the book for her - she loves the fantastical. She was so disappointed when I told her it was a movie that would be too scary for her for now. I'll have to start her on some other "gentler" Miyazaki. :)

'Noke, I watched it with the subtitles, but you seem to think quite highly of the dubbed version. Which version do you like best?

She would LOVE Kiki's Delivery Service
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on June 07, 2010, 12:56:11 AM
I just finished watching Princess Mononoke this morning; I loved your write-up of it, 'Noke. I love the way you discuss the film as it relates to you personally, the way it hits you personally - really very moving.

I liked the film a lot - much more than Spirited Away - and that kind of surprised me. :)

I was describing some of the story and how much I was enjoying the film to Uri last night at dinner (he didn't really like Spirited Away, so I was trying to convince him I thought he should give Miyazki another chance, like I was :) ) - anyway, my 8-year-old, hearing the story but not realizing I was describing a movie, was really intrigued and wanted me to get the book for her - she loves the fantastical. She was so disappointed when I told her it was a movie that would be too scary for her for now. I'll have to start her on some other "gentler" Miyazaki. :)

'Noke, I watched it with the subtitles, but you seem to think quite highly of the dubbed version. Which version do you like best?

She would LOVE Kiki's Delivery Service
Thanks! I'll check it out.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on June 07, 2010, 05:29:47 AM
I just finished watching Princess Mononoke this morning; I loved your write-up of it, 'Noke. I love the way you discuss the film as it relates to you personally, the way it hits you personally - really very moving.

I liked the film a lot - much more than Spirited Away - and that kind of surprised me. :)

I was describing some of the story and how much I was enjoying the film to Uri last night at dinner (he didn't really like Spirited Away, so I was trying to convince him I thought he should give Miyazki another chance, like I was :) ) - anyway, my 8-year-old, hearing the story but not realizing I was describing a movie, was really intrigued and wanted me to get the book for her - she loves the fantastical. She was so disappointed when I told her it was a movie that would be too scary for her for now. I'll have to start her on some other "gentler" Miyazaki. :)

'Noke, I watched it with the subtitles, but you seem to think quite highly of the dubbed version. Which version do you like best?

She would LOVE Kiki's Delivery Service
Thanks! I'll check it out.

And Castle in the Sky.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on June 07, 2010, 01:21:31 PM
April - An 8 year old would love My Neighbor Totoro.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on June 07, 2010, 01:27:51 PM
Thanks, guys, I'll have to check out Castle and Totoro, too.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on June 07, 2010, 01:58:23 PM
Great write up 'Noke, I just took the time to read it now. Very thorough. I think you mentioned just about everything I love about the film. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on August 06, 2010, 11:08:03 PM
Days of Heaven Scene 5-Dinner Time (http://wp.me/pC1yx-Te)

It returns! And just in time for dinner.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on November 10, 2010, 06:39:44 AM
This thread needs more entries!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Mike Shutt on November 10, 2010, 07:04:02 AM
This thread needs more entries!

I will eventually have my Citizen Kane write-up. Don't worry.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on January 09, 2011, 01:28:30 AM
The Days go on! (http://2010 was a year with films. Some good. Some bad. some seen. Some unseen. As far as containing units of times to ascribe group value, it has some great films. A few I'll own, love and rewatch. In the end, I can ask no more for a year in films.)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on March 07, 2011, 10:10:07 PM
When I have some free time, I'll post a essay on why I believe Andrei Rublev is the best film of all time. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on March 07, 2011, 10:53:35 PM
When I have some free time, I'll post a essay on why I believe Andrei Rublev is the best film of all time. :)

Please do, I recently re-watched it and even though it was always in my top 20, I think I had it too low.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 07, 2011, 11:06:07 PM
I will in turn make a response about why Marketa Lazarova is better than Andrei Rublev. The argument will hinge entirely on a sheep.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: zarodinu on March 07, 2011, 11:31:35 PM
I will in turn make a response about why Marketa Lazarova is better than Andrei Rublev. The argument will hinge entirely on a sheep.

I see your sheep, and raise you a cow, on fire (the cow was covered in a special jelly and was not actually hurt). 

Tarkovsky lit a cow on fire (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJHXqYXJgI0#ws)

AND

A horse rolling over. 

Tarkovsky made a horse roll over (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxpXnFYudnk&feature=related#ws)

Andrei Rublev wins.

PS:  I have not seen Marketa Lazarova but will check it out.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 07, 2011, 11:43:53 PM
You make a compelling argument, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to bring in the wolves if you're going to open the whole barn up to discussion.

They did kill the horse that fell down the steps in Andrei Rublev, too, so animals were certainly harmed during the production.

I don't know why you mentioned that the cow wasn't hurt, though. I just want to know how the old lady who got a spear in the chest is doing.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: MartinTeller on March 07, 2011, 11:47:17 PM
I will in turn make a response about why Marketa Lazarova is better than Andrei Rublev.

They're both overrated if you ask me.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 08, 2011, 12:04:02 AM
I will in turn make a response about why Marketa Lazarova is better than Andrei Rublev.

They're both overrated if you ask me.
Why should people rate them lower than they do?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on March 08, 2011, 12:22:02 AM
Perhaps I'll review The Earrings of Madame De... instead.  :-\

It's really difficult to defend a film that PETA would not approve of (to put it lightly). I still love it though!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: JeanRZEJ on March 08, 2011, 01:20:36 AM
I love Andrei Rublev. It's one of my favorite films, and I just slightly prefer Marketa LazarovŠ, or so my recollection implies. I was just splitting hairs in order to stir up some fake controversy. I don't think you can possibly generate this much hype for Madame De...

As for PETA, I can't say they'd be too happy with Marketa LazarovŠ, either. Not one bit.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on March 08, 2011, 09:02:45 PM
Alright, alright. Rublev it is. :P

I will have to see this Marketa Lazarova film...
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on March 27, 2011, 07:20:27 PM
I invite you to my website (http://www.noffload.net/) to read my Terminator 2: Judgment Day review. Typically I'd post such reviews on the forum but in this case it's simply too long. I hope that doesn't deter anyone. I tried to make it as enjoyable as possible. If nothing else it capture my love of the film.

(http://noffload.net/uploader/files/1/term2/t2-%28711%29.jpg) (http://www.noffload.net/)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on March 27, 2011, 07:22:19 PM
MOAR NOFFLOAD!!!! ;D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Melvil on March 27, 2011, 08:08:44 PM
Super awesome review, noff! I love the movie almost as much as you do, so I was totally into the enthusiasm of it. And many lols were had.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on March 27, 2011, 08:15:43 PM
While I dont share your love of the movie, your review is so awesome, it makes me like it even more!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on March 27, 2011, 08:19:56 PM
Super awesome review, noff! I love the movie almost as much as you do
I hope it doesn't come off as one of those I like it more than you reviews though ;) Either way, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
While I dont share your love of the movie, your review is so awesome, it makes me like it even more!
Thanks, that's all I could ask for :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on March 27, 2011, 08:22:11 PM
Yeah, I had the same reaction as Clovis. I have a lot of problems with the movie. It often takes itself too seriously, yet a lot of the humour I don't find funny either. I don't care for the relationship between kid and terminator. But all those problems washed away when I was reading your review gush over every little thing.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Melvil on March 27, 2011, 08:24:29 PM
Super awesome review, noff! I love the movie almost as much as you do
I hope it doesn't come off as one of those I like it more than you reviews though ;) Either way, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Heh, not at all. I consider it top 20, so the "almost" is a fairly minor distinction. 8)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on March 28, 2011, 05:40:22 AM
Thanks, everyone. :)

A naked man walks into a bar....
(http://noffload.net/uploader/files/1/term2/t2%20%2820%29.jpg)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day review (http://www.noffload.net/?p=408)
Sweet write-up, 'noff.    Love the Star Wars parallels early on :D and all the many other wonderful 'noff-isms.  Awesome choices in screen-caps.  You've definitely convinced me it's time to watch T2 again.  :)
Hooray! Thanks

A naked man walks into a bar....
(http://noffload.net/uploader/files/1/term2/t2%20%2820%29.jpg)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day review (http://www.noffload.net/?p=408)

Awesome is an awful term because I am awed but a lot more than 'some'. Your understanding and love of action films make your opinions especially in this area invaluable. if I had another hour or two I would have gotten past page 2.
Hehe, yeah. It does go on a bit :D Thanks
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: verbALs on May 20, 2011, 10:34:10 AM
Network

(https://img.skitch.com/20101219-tndu4edr78wnw6dess22smgr6x.png)

The key concept and conceit of Network is laid out by Faye Dunaway's Diana Christensen in her first scene, a typically wordy, virtual monologue; the sort that makes the film a kind of cinematic platform game. You jump from one great speechifying scene to another in long audacious chunks of dialogue. She expounds to her clearly disinterested staff that Vietnam, Watergate, CIA shenanigans etc, etc. have turned America into a dulled land looking for the next thrill. The proof is in Howard Beale's initial promise of suicide that is entirely missed by the distracted staff in the production booth watching him. This to explain her interest in a piece of film where urban terrorists film themselves robbing an Arizona bank assisted by an heiress they kidnapped three weeks earlier. This is her template for network programming to stimulate the masses and return this network UBS to financial health.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110518-1t2g8c15dxy359ajq15ru5278k.jpg)

The demented Howard Beale who is concurrently melting down over on the news programme is destined to become her star and pawn, the key to this insane masterplan. The fact that the throwback head of news Max Schumacher has drunkenly detailed the same plan for the terrorist hour with Beale, who then goes on air to reveal the plan is deep irony. Schumacher, played with growling, moral majesty by William Holden creates the Beale monster, uses him to screw his bosses on air in the second of Beale's mind farts; then has to battle to put the genie back in the bottle.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110518-e41e1ei16fbc5cty51tms4kcgq.jpg)
'You are tv incarnate'.

In the first half hour, Sidney Lumet and Paddy Chayefsky introduce an entire corporate hierarchy of shirt and tie types, the kind that typically blend into the wallpaper in business based films. That character defines these people and not business titles means that even with a roaring plot unfolding centre stage none of these characters gets lost in a confusing mix. Corporate evil is represented by Robert DuVall in a raging, hard-faced performance. Dunaway is pretty much out of control throughout the film even though Finch is the designated madman of the piece. It is the centring performance of Holden, who moves in and out of the story; actually providing a commentary of events; which reminds me of his turn in Sunset Boulevard that balances the dark forces.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110519-8i1awuhb2hrfjqatkhub5tg1km.jpg)
'I'm Imbued'  'It is the exulted flow of the space/time continuum'

(https://img.skitch.com/20110519-jg61p2j6rbh8c2yxhtiapcahxq.jpg)
'How you doing Mr. Beale?' 
'I must make my witness'.
 'Sure thing Mr. Beale'

...and then the film changes into....King Lear. Peter Finch delivers the epitome of the modern madman. He talks to a greater force in his dreams, he extemporises his delusion becomes the tool of some divine inspiration. He has his day walking in the storm as his kingdom crumbles- soooo Shakespearean. Whilst the scene that this builds up to is so well known that it is almost a cliche, it becomes almost an inevitable conclusion to what comes before. In a film that has contemporary messages and parables pouring out of it, it is possible to simply watch this as a cautionary tale about the weakness and potential madness within any of us, and how obsession can destroy.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110205-e7mrgp5ush5c59n7ctg84k1jdf.jpg)
"Oh my god, I can't believe he CINECASTing swore on television"

'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore'. How many ways can one phrase be spoken. Well if Finch received his posthumous Oscar for anything, it was for saying the same thing six very different ways. The crowd then take up the chant and add all kinds of variety to the phrase; building to an insensible roar; primal with the backing of a storm out of King Lear. Perhaps the genius of Sidney Lumet is that, in his most iconic moment in film-making, there is very little auteurism, no little touches that signify the control of a master; very straightforward directing. A director of actors, but also a film director with cinematic flourishes- not a play or a book.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110520-ndhrrrqsea8ijgpq5717ny1ebw.jpg)
'Hi, I'm Diana Christensen. A racist lackey of the imperialist ruling circles.'
'I'm Laureen Hobbs. A badass, commie n*****.'

I think many films would have that 'mad as hell' scene as its finale. Having set up such a powerful premise, only in it's first hour it then plays out a number of plot strands to their logical conclusions. It is playful with all of them. A typical love scene where, instead of sweet nothings, Dunaway's character talks incessantly about tv ratings and ad breaks right up to the scene's...er...climax, and the terrorists are shown in negotiation for distribution points so that the Communist Party turns a profit on the Mao Tse-Tung Hour tv show. This is the weakest part of the film because this is one of those films where it is difficult to find sympathy for any of the players. It even does its best to denigrate Holden's Max Schumacher, who is characterised as an old man looking for a childish last hurrah, a roll in the sack; destroying his family for a fling. Again not many films take such trouble to examine the love lives of a 60 year old couple.
(https://img.skitch.com/20101219-rp1q1hmf6pcuf7cqter9ucur9p.png)
Lotso the Bear talks economics

If the film loses people I think it is after the 30th or 40th monologue from someone on some DEEEEEEEEEP subject or another. Pity because this is all byplay for the great Arthur Jensen speech. 'There is no America. There is no Democracy. There is only IBM, AT&T, etc. These are the nations of the world' Heavy, but when you have Lotso the Bear selling the message in roaring tones, it can seriously affect your world view. To be honest, never mind the serious messages, I can only admire a film that even attempts a vision this broad.

(https://img.skitch.com/20110520-rab791simpusykwesd7f4j8xd2.jpg)

One of Beale's rants directly discusses the fear that people live their lives through television, vicariously. He says that the masses take their truth about the world from the tube, but that tv is more like a three ring circus. He says, 'We are in the boredom killing business'. These messages may have had more of a science-fiction feel in the mid-70s, a morality tale about the dangers of a future world. It isn't a stretch to say we live in Network's future. Everyone can be a cameraman with their phone and the internet shows uncensored images of murder, insurrection and unjustifiable military action. So TV competes against the naked truth in a desperate struggle to turn a profit.

It makes Network a valuable message, a dark fantasy rooted in the realities of cold shareholder driven business practices. It isn't perfect because the messages it tries to drive through are too large for a two hour movie, but the ambition is audacious. [I am going to leave Network as my number one film. Rear Window IS my idea of the most effortlessly perfect film and it has its own important messages about the nature of voyeurism. However, compared with the leviathan Network it is a fluff piece. Perfection is overrated, anyway]
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on May 20, 2011, 10:52:22 AM
Network is the most perfectly paced, most entertaining sermons ever.  One of my favorites.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on May 20, 2011, 02:44:32 PM
It's on my need to see list.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Antares on May 20, 2011, 05:50:46 PM
The best part of Jensen's speech is at the end when he tells Beale to spew the corporate mantra and Jensen repeats word for word, the dialogue heard by Beale in his divine intervention, as if God was speaking now through Jensen. Probably Chayefsky's finest moment of dialog.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: verbALs on May 20, 2011, 05:58:49 PM
Yep Beale says. "Why me?" and Jensen says through a halo of light, "Because you're on television, dummy". The reach of the film and the writing is unbelievable.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 28, 2011, 08:24:43 PM
Days of Heaven - Scene 7 - Waste Not (http://wp.me/pC1yx-1AJ)

Time to get this train rolling again.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on May 29, 2011, 12:06:18 AM
So happy to see this segment return. Always a great read. Waiting for you to get to my least favorite shot and edit, which I don't think is too far off.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: tinyholidays on May 29, 2011, 11:18:28 AM
I'm excited to read these, now that I've seen Days of Heaven! It's so beautifully composed.

Also, imagining doing they same for my favorite movie, My Fair Lady, is hilarious to me. "In this frame, we see clearly how the insanity of Cecil Beaton overwhelmed production..."
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 29, 2011, 12:26:11 PM
Haha, well I suppose it depends on the film, but I think there's a lot more craft that goes into a shot than most of us think about. You really have to completely isolate it from the film, watch it over and over again before you notice all the interesting details.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on August 25, 2011, 02:15:06 AM
Encouraged by Corndog, Iíll post a few lines about why Lost in Translation ended up as my number 1 on the 100 film list this year. It wonít be a proper review, since itís been a while since I saw it. But Iíll try to put words into why it lingers in my heart.

First Iíd just like to say that Iím not rigorously fanatic about this movie being the ďbest movie of the world ever and if you donít realize it youíre an idiotĒ. If Iíll make a new top 100 list next year, it could very well have been replaced by something different. Actually itís quite likely, since this varies more or less on a daily basis, depending on my mood and whereabouts. However, I definitely think it will remain on my top 100 list somewhere, and here are some of the reasons.

Sometimes in our lives we reach a point when weíre feeling lost, disconnected and utterly lonely. It can happen in your twenties, paralysed at the thought of all the opportunities there are, worrying about making the wrong choices. Or the feeling will come to you as you middle aged stare into the mirror in disbelief, wondering if that old, tired, ugly person really is YOU, and you wonder if this was all there was to it, life, if itís over now and why the hell didnít you make more out of it?

Travelling to a strange country, spending times at those in-between-places like hotels and airports, enhances this feeling, which can be for good and for bad. Mostly for good I think, as long as you donít get stuck in the time-out from your ordinary life.

Iím not sure if I manage to convey this feeling to you properly, but I know that Lost in Translation does it. But while itís a movie of deep melancholy, thereís also something soothing about it. Itís as if it whispers to me somewhere: yes, weíre just a bunch of small, insecure and lonely people, regardless of how old we are, regardless of the size of our bank account. Life sucks to a certain extent and weíre all lonely wanderers, walking on a path that is our personal, which no one ever can share completely. But it also whispers to me that while weíre lonely, we donít need to be it all the time. Sometimes we meet people who we recognize on a deeper level - what do they say? Ė like a thief recognizes another one as they meet on the street. We see their vulnerability and they see ours and while our paths are going in completely different directions, this moment of truth can stay with us, like the bottle of Galadriel to pull out from our memory storage, reminding us that we are not quite as alone as we feel.

At heart the movie is most about Bob and Charlotte of course, about their disconnection to their lives and about the nature of their friendship (oh, how liberating isnít it that they never get closer to being intimate with each other than just holding a foot!). But I also liked it as a movie about travelling. I bet I would feel just as foreign as they would if I visited Japan, but also as intrigued. Thatís how travelling to far distant countries is. Itís intriguing and fascinating, but at the same time scary as hell and you feel so small and insignificant and while it exhausts you it also make you sleepless. A special form of feeling awake and alive.

Corndog, I don't know if this description of why I put Lost in Translation as my number 1 makes any sense, but it's the best I can do for the time being. Itís not so much about the movie being good from any special point of view, like photo, acting, script, music, editing. I just know that it tells something about being me.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on August 25, 2011, 02:21:46 AM
Love your reflections, Lobby. You make me want to watch it again soon.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on August 25, 2011, 03:18:30 AM
Encouraged by Corndog, Iíll post a few lines about why Lost in Translation ended up as my number 1 on the 100 film list this year. It wonít be a proper review, since itís been a while since I saw it. But Iíll try to put words into why it lingers in my heart.

First Iíd just like to say that Iím not rigorously fanatic about this movie being the ďbest movie of the world ever and if you donít realize it youíre an idiotĒ. If Iíll make a new top 100 list next year, it could very well have been replaced by something different. Actually itís quite likely, since this varies more or less on a daily basis, depending on my mood and whereabouts. However, I definitely think it will remain on my top 100 list somewhere, and here are some of the reasons.

Sometimes in our lives we reach a point when weíre feeling lost, disconnected and utterly lonely. It can happen in your twenties, paralysed at the thought of all the opportunities there are, worrying about making the wrong choices. Or the feeling will come to you as you middle aged stare into the mirror in disbelief, wondering if that old, tired, ugly person really is YOU, and you wonder if this was all there was to it, life, if itís over now and why the hell didnít you make more out of it?

Travelling to a strange country, spending times at those in-between-places like hotels and airports, enhances this feeling, which can be for good and for bad. Mostly for good I think, as long as you donít get stuck in the time-out from your ordinary life.


Nice write up.  I enjoyed this film and you articulated very well why I did.  I spent 5 months in Tokyo between Nov 2004 and Apr 2005 and could relate to many things that you feel well watching this.  The funny thing, many of the locals that I talked with really didn't like the film basically feeling it was racist in the way it portrayed the Japanese.  Though, to me, it wasn't so much that it was in Japan, it was more about being thrown into a location where you will automatically be out of place, Japan just happens to work very well.

It was shown in very few theaters there though I saw the DVD in most video stores.

I was also curious of their opinion of The Last Samurai, it was generally liked but they didn't think it was really a close representation of Japan of the time though I never really got into what they thought it was like.

I suppose being similar to liking Dances with Wolves but not thinking it is anything close to being representative of that time period
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on August 25, 2011, 05:37:38 AM
@Oneaprilday: Thanks. I'd love to talk about it further if you decide to give it a revisit.

@jdc: Yeah, I've heard the racist criticism, but I don't agree with it. It's not about pointing fingers at Japanese people as being weird, it's about showing the alienation you can feel to the world and life as such, which is enhanced in a very foreign environment. It just happened to be Japan. However again: I suspect that those who think it's racist would say that I don't see the racism because I'm such a racist... It makes it a bit hard to run a meaningful discussion about it.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on August 25, 2011, 07:34:11 AM

@jdc: Yeah, I've heard the racist criticism, but I don't agree with it. It's not about pointing fingers at Japanese people as being weird, it's about showing the alienation you can feel to the world and life as such, which is enhanced in a very foreign environment. It just happened to be Japan. However again: I suspect that those who think it's racist would say that I don't see the racism because I'm such a racist... It makes it a bit hard to run a meaningful discussion about it.

I agree and the movie is not about Japan but more to do with the alienation one can feel being in a place that do not understand.  I was just always interested in understand how locals perception of different things and this movie was an easy one at the time.

Racism does seem quite universal from what I see so I am just more interested in hearing their thoughts then every trying to defend the film.  I am often a casual observer as I often hear casual remarks about different countries from one and the other.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Corndog on August 25, 2011, 08:22:07 AM
Lovely Lobby, just lovely.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on August 25, 2011, 09:02:02 AM
@jdc: oh, it's cool. I understood that you were just observing the reactions, not necessarily agreeing with them.  And yes, it's definitely interesting to see how different reactions a movie can get from audiences in different countries. Not always the one you would expect.

@Corndog: /hug
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sandy on August 25, 2011, 09:49:08 AM
Sometimes we meet people who we recognize on a deeper level - what do they say? Ė like a thief recognizes another one as they meet on the street. We see their vulnerability and they see ours and while our paths are going in completely different directions, this moment of truth can stay with us...

Lobby, this well expressed concept is so powerful and resonates with a zing! I keep coming across moments like this here at the forum, where others' thoughts and ideas connect with me. Something I don't get to experience very often in my other day to day interactions.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on August 25, 2011, 09:56:42 AM
Oh yes. I suppose... somehow Internet invites us to it since we're not so easily put off by our prejudices about other people's appearances, differences in age etc etc.

In the movie they manage to overbridge the age gap even if they meet IRL. But it's more likely that it will happen on the webs, even though it isn't exactly the same as meeting on a deeper level with someone you can see and hear. Wordless body language ftw!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on August 25, 2011, 11:28:26 PM
I really liked your reflections, Lobby.  I think they may explain why I never got the film.

I have never had that sense of "lostness" you describe.  Even when I was in India for six months, I knew what I was there for and was confident in every situation.  I've been in many situations many people haven't, but I've always been confident about knowing the right thing to do and making every attempt to do that.  I haven't always been right, of course, but I've always been confident.

So these characters were just out of my experience.  I had no idea why they felt unease or seemed at bay.  They just seemed very... thoughtless.

But I appreciate your thoughts.  Very helpful.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on August 26, 2011, 12:35:19 AM
I really liked your reflections, Lobby.  I think they may explain why I never got the film.

I have never had that sense of "lostness" you describe.  Even when I was in India for six months, I knew what I was there for and was confident in every situation.  I've been in many situations many people haven't, but I've always been confident about knowing the right thing to do and making every attempt to do that.  I haven't always been right, of course, but I've always been confident.

So these characters were just out of my experience.  I had no idea why they felt unease or seemed at bay.  They just seemed very... thoughtless.

But I appreciate your thoughts.  Very helpful.

Maybe you are outside the norm, you never get any feeling of alienation even if you are confident in any situation if you are in another country where it is difficult to communicate?  I can't ever say I didn't feel confident, had no problem going out on my own, trying things etc.  But then at times, it gets a little tiring and then you can start feeling alienated for periods. 
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on August 26, 2011, 01:38:18 AM
I thrive on the difference.  It never cripples me like it did the characters in LiT.  I'm just glad to know why this movie never clicked for me.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on August 26, 2011, 01:04:11 PM
@Oldkid: I can imagine that those characters were a bit alien to you. You don't seem to be the lost or alienated kind of person.

I'm really glad if I could help you with a key to the movie that opened it up a little, even though you probably never can embrace it the way I do.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on August 31, 2011, 06:31:02 PM
Part 1 of My Trifecta of My Favorite Films Ever

#3 STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE (George Lucas, 1977)

(http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/4/42/StarWarsOpeningLogo.svg)

Everyone has their one big epic that they fell in love with. Here, it seems to be Forrest Gump, Casablanca, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Elsewhere, it's Lawrence of Arabia, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or Gone with the Wind. For me, the big epic that caught my attention to explore what film is is George Lucas' 1977 masterpiece, STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE. This was the film that became an obsession over the years. When I was young, I saw it over and over. After a period of having not seen the film in over five years, I popped it in again and found that it's just as fine a film as the first time I saw it in 1994.

(http://www.popscreen.com/assets/thumbs/v/original/8324453uyx_o.jpg)

Let's move on to why I love it so much. Start at the beginning, what do we see? A little text then BOOM, John Williams' score blasts you off into another world. There are few films that immediately catch your attention like Star Wars does. After a few paragraphs of context, we are shown a small ship followed by a gigantic space ship shooting at it. In this very instant which is still the same shot, George Lucas paints the central conflict of the film and even the entire trilogy. A little backstory: Lucas was a good friend of Joseph Campbell and strictly wrote the script with the hero's journey in mind. Nowadays, many film makers try and fail to subvert this structure. I'm not saying all stories should follow the structure, all I'm saying is that your film won't suck if you stay within the confines of it like Star Wars so spectacularly does.

(http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lk9k7ajTNn1qc8b0ao1_500.jpg)

We are introduced to two droids who, as powerless as they seem, become the major inciting incident for the entire trilogy to begin. What if those Imperials decided to shoot down that escape pod as it hurtled toward Tantoonine, hmm? This plot technique was first done in THE HIDDEN FORTRESS, but while those two were bumbling thieves, these two are pretty much bumbling servants, weak and with a limited emotional range. This technique of starting with the lowest of the lowlifes - protocol droids - offers an interesting way of beginning the plot. The droids are dumb to the world around them as are we, but as the journey continues they meet several more people who know more and we learn with the droids about the universe around them.

(http://www.the-editing-room.com/img/star_bores_4.jpg)

Setting is the most important aspect of Star Wars. Harrison Ford was quoted of saying, "You can write these lines, but you sure can't say them." Au contraire, Mr. Ford. I believe the part of what sells Star Wars is that the characters are down to Earth and very much, well, human. We know Luke Skywalker as that kid in our hometown who always wanted to get out and see the world because he was so bored with his own life. We know Han as the guy who's been around, got in a lot of trouble, but still has his charm and handsomeness about him. We know Obi Wan as the old teacher we all always wanted to hang around because he knew so much more than we did. These basic archetypes are so universal that I can feel right through the dialogue what the characters are really saying to each other and because of that, I'm allowed to escape within their world and care about what the Force is and what the Rebel does. Another important part of setting is art direction. There's a high level of care put into detail into the film. There are several different species of aliens in the bar scene in Tantoonine - some of these are shown later, but most of them aren't. There are a wide variety of topics spoken about. As the film continues through it's main plot, you feel the sense of suggestion of the other planets there are outside of the few visited. This is essentially the key to the film's ongoing success. Star Wars has created a full universe that feels almost never ending in time or space. In a normal film, these small details would be bypassed because screenwriters often feel that "every page should advance the plot". That Star Wars implements these side details while keeping a brisk pace is a marvelous achievement all on its own. Speaking of pace, the film often feels edited to match the score and the story. Everything comes together so seamlessly to make sure everything is moving forward in plot with as little fat as possible. The special effects make look somewhat dated now, but I feel that, in my personal opinion, it will never truly date. When the story & direction are as tight & strong as this, you look over some of the more minor technical aspects.

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_iBuNz7Kv1jk/TQBGon4uVRI/AAAAAAAABAw/ekn7d0yv-ts/s1600/StarWars1.jpg)

One thing that comes to mind when people criticize the film is the acting. Personally, I don't have a problem with it at all. What people have to remember is that films are very much set by their tones. In Star Wars, the tone of the story is very much escapist sci/fi. Broad actions are pushing the plot forward. While it has strong characters, this is not a character driven film. For strictly genre escapist sci/fi, the film's acting is perfectly fine. The standout is, of course, Alec Guiness who should've won the Oscar for his role. In a different kind of role completely is James Earl Jones' voice work for Darth Vader. It's completely unnatural, haunting, and yet, kind of dare I say, seductive? The presence of a hulking black suited man feels oh so mysterious as to why he's evil and whether or not he's human.

(http://www.robotvsbadger.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/darth-schwarzenegger.jpg)

I can only think of several films in my life that have touched me in the ways that Star Wars did. It's very similar to The Wizard of Oz (not in my trifecta, but in my top 25) in the way it introduces and establishes a new world and creates a very simple, yet complex feel to the universe through remarkable work of adding the obvious and tiniest details. This is most definitely a film I could go on and on about, but I'd rather save future points for discussion if anyone wants to debate the merits of this film. I WILL BURY THE DETRACTORS INTO THE GROUND. I'm kidding for the most part. So, to recap: Star Wars is my third favorite film of all time. It is my epic, it is the film that dazzles me most in the way of what film can do. I can't think of a better movie that has me escape to a different place or, I guess you could say that STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE helps me escape to a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

(http://3inq.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/death-star-explosion.jpg)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on August 31, 2011, 06:35:46 PM
The force is strong with this one.

Hold still, lemme check your midichlorians.  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on August 31, 2011, 06:44:28 PM
That word...midiclorians...seems familiar... but nope, can't remember where it may be from... ;) :P

This review was somewhat difficult for me. I don't see how anyone can't love STAR WARS, so writing a review/analysis/thoughts as to why I love it so much was a challenge. It's the kind of film where I felt that anything could happen. It's the kind of film that despite it's rigid structure, I felt that it took hold of the meaning of Stanley Kubrick's famous quote:

"If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed."

There's so much more I can say about it.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oneaprilday on August 31, 2011, 07:10:55 PM
Cool write-up, Totoro.  You've set me wondering again about the best time to watch it with my kids - I want them to love it, too. :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on August 31, 2011, 11:23:54 PM
Thanks!  That was a great surprise to see here tonight! Great write up.  Count me among those who stood in line for hours to see it in the theater back in '77, who memorized the "Story of Star Wars" off the 8-Track o'er many a family road trip, and sat with friends for hours debating what would happen to Darth Vader when "part II" came out (err..uh...part 5....)

Hey question - have you ever seen the Phantom Menace Review?  You probably should :)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on September 01, 2011, 12:27:38 AM
I'm a fan as well.  I watched Star Wars twelve times the summer of '77. 
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on September 01, 2011, 12:41:39 AM
I'm so jealous of you old timers, but glad that you share my love for the film!

Once at a screening of North by Northwest, the screener asked what other films he should show which led to people shouting out their favorite films. I shouted, "Star Wars!" No one joined in with me! Then someone yelled, "Blade Runner!" and several people jumped in. I like Blade Runner, it's alright, but it's no Star Wars. I was quite appalled that night at the human race. I really want to see it on the big screen. I think when I was little my parents took me to see the Empire Strikes Back Special Edition on the big screen. I'm going to hunt down a theatre for the original theatre for those 3-D showings when they come around.

If you know me, you probably know what #2 and #1 will be. I hope to write #2 by the weekend and #1 by next. I could do a series after this, haha. A review for every single film in my top ten. But I'll just work on #2 and #1 for now.

I wanted to do three because I feel like at any time they can interchange.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on September 01, 2011, 12:45:24 AM
@Totoro: What a wonderful presentation! I was admittedly always more of a Star Trek fan than a Star Wars fan. But of course I love the original movies, just not with the same heat as you do. Especially the first one is wonderful. Oh, and the intro.... Best musical introduction ever of a sci-fi movie, I think. I still get happy every time I hear it.

Your enthusiasm made me want to revisit it the three in the original series. Thank you for being such an inspiration!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on September 01, 2011, 12:46:26 AM

Hey question - have you ever seen the Phantom Menace Review?  You probably should :)

Plinkett's? Yes, yes I have.

Or is there someone else's?
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: ferris on September 01, 2011, 12:47:13 AM

Hey question - have you ever seen the Phantom Menace Review?  You probably should :)

Plinkett's? Yes, yes I have.

Or is there someone else's?

Yeah, that's the one. 
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: verbALs on September 01, 2011, 04:24:46 AM
I'm a fan as well.  I watched Star Wars twelve times the summer of '77.
Blimey I thought three times was a lot!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on September 01, 2011, 10:27:21 AM
It was an unspoken competition between us kids in the neighborhood.  My next door neighbors won with 21 times
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Junior on September 01, 2011, 10:47:12 AM
Blade Runner is about a billion times better than Star Wars. Make it a trillion, just to be safe.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on September 01, 2011, 12:38:38 PM
Blade Runner is about a billion times better than Star Wars. Make it a trillion, just to be safe.

Last time I checked, A New Hope doesn't have a weak, eye-rolling romance subplot, does it?

Star Wars > Blade Runner

 8)

Edit: I don't want to derail the thread. I remember several times where I've seen Blade Runner played in the theaters after its initial release.  One time was for the Director's Cut. The only time Star Wars was shown was with the Special Editions. It's a lot more rare. I wish it happened more. But I don't need to wish anymore because it's re-releasing in 3D.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Lobby on September 01, 2011, 12:47:21 PM
Sorry, but Bladerunner has one of my absolute favorit lines of any movies. It doesn't matter how much it's quoted; I never grow tired of it.

Bladerunner > Star Wars.

Star Wars is still great though.
<3 Totoro!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Totoro on September 01, 2011, 12:52:28 PM
Sorry, but Bladerunner has one of my absolute favorit lines of any movies. It doesn't matter how much it's quoted; I never grow tired of it.

Bladerunner > Star Wars.

Star Wars is still great though.
<3 Totoro!

(http://morgellonspgpr.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/luke.jpg)
"Nooooooooooooo! That's... that's impossible!"

;)

Lets not (turn this into a SW vs. BR debate) and say we did.

And then let's say Star Wars won. :P

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on September 01, 2011, 12:55:30 PM
Let's say both films are pretty awesome.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FroHam X on September 01, 2011, 12:57:13 PM
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on September 01, 2011, 12:58:27 PM
But Yoda spoke of another.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: MartinTeller on September 01, 2011, 01:03:43 PM
The romance in Blade Runner is neither weak, eye-rolling, nor a "subplot".
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on September 01, 2011, 01:10:41 PM
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!
Fine, Blade Runner, then.  :P
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 'Noke on September 01, 2011, 01:57:27 PM
Let's not derail the thread anymore. (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10484.new#new)


Awesome Totoro. I think I will try and rewatch A New Hope before I read your review though. It's due for a revisit.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 13, 2013, 01:00:32 PM
Days of Heaven (1978)

Every time I rewatch Days of Heaven, I have this nagging fear in the back of my mind that it wonít be as wonderful as the last time I viewed it. But each viewing holds up, yields more and strengthens my desire to revisit the film. Part of my fears have to do with the irrational thought that somehow this film has to be the cornerstone of my movie tastes, it needs to be the high bar, the pinnacle of what I think is great cinema. If I end up having a new favorite film, somehow that would invalidate my tastes, as if my tastes are this stagnant thing that will never evolve. Yes, itís silly. Part of the reason I think I worry that one day Days of Heaven wonít be my favorite is because the first time I watched it, I didnít like it.

Anyone who watched the film on DVD for the first time before late 2007 viewed a sloppy, dim and murky image and suffered a dampened audio track by a Paramount DVD that was only cleaned up enough to make the film watchable. Image quality is essential, especially for a Malick film. Seeing a Malick film with a proper image can literally change the quality of the film.

Criterion came out with a magnificent transfer in October 2007. At this point, I had already seen The New World a handful of times and knew Malick was a director I would want to revisit frequently. Even though I wasnít enamored with Days of Heaven on first viewing, I wanted to give it another chance. At this point, I didnít know much about Criterion, I had rented a few of their transfers from Netflix, but hadnít owned one yet. I bought Criterionís release of Days of Heaven. On the second viewing, everything changed.

Seeing Nťstor Almendrosí golden cinematography in its proper glory (or at least as close as I could get in a pre-bluray era in the comfort of my home) and getting a proper audio mix brought out the richness of the audio-visual experience of Days of Heaven. I immediately fell in love with the film after that viewing and it has been my favorite film ever since.

Why Days of Heaven? Iím not sure Iíll ever be able to give a satisfying answer. All I know is that the second I start the film something happens that Iíve only experienced with a few other films. It might not be the best way of saying it, but the film is essentially a metaphysical experience to me. I chose that over the term spiritual, because I still derive a lot of pleasure and enjoyment from the film in the base, physical experience. The synergy of music, imagery and narration is enthralling. Lindaís opening narrative string on the train is possibly my favorite moment in film.

But itís not just that experience, thereís more to it. I find Days of Heaven a soothing and relaxing experience. And I donít mean in the kind of put something on to let your mind wander and unwind at the end of the day, but that the film captures a tranquility, a stillness that I find peaceful on a spiritual level.  The film is one that celebrates being while never ignoring the hardships of existence. Yes, things can be tough, you can get stuck in hard work or find yourself in circumstances you see unfair or disparaging, but thereís still something wonderful and exciting about being.

Thatís a thread that runs through all of Malick films, yet I find it most compelling in Days of Heaven. I find this film the most elusive of Malickís work. Unlike Malickís later films, this film holds any themes closer to its chest. While The Thin Red Line, The New World and The Tree of Life all use narration and other techniques to frame the broader ideas of the film, Days of Heaven begins with Lindaís personable, low-lever narration of just existing on a farm. Yes, some of her narrations tie into the themes, but there never quite as direct or self-aware as Malickís later narrations.

I like that nuance, I like having to tease those out, or mull over snippets of answers to questions the film never directly asks. I find that Days of Heaven requires a lot more digging than Malickís other films to get to the questions and even more to suggest the answers. Itís a struggle, but a struggle I always enjoy returning to as I get more and more out of it with each viewing.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sandy on April 13, 2013, 03:35:02 PM
You loving this movie to such an extent makes me love it more. :) Next time I watch it, I'll read your words first, then they'll be fresh in my mind, so I can see if I can also capture some of what you experience.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 13, 2013, 04:13:26 PM
 :D

Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 13, 2013, 07:51:52 PM
First time I saw Days of Heaven, I saw it as a film I really liked, but it wasn't great.  Since then, I've seen The New World and Tree of Life, both of which I gave 5/5 and are in my top 100.  I think I may have misjudged Days of Heaven and I must give it another chance.  I am looking forward to my next viewing of it.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 13, 2013, 08:13:07 PM
Malick's films have a way of growing with each subsequent viewing.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: 1SO on April 13, 2013, 08:15:21 PM
Your review comes off very honest, sincere and direct. I love that you question 'Why'. Though I don't love Malick or the film, I can agree there is a transporting quality that begins with those initial images and that unforgettable music.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on April 13, 2013, 08:43:46 PM
Malick's films have a way of growing with each subsequent viewing.

I agree for Brave New World, watched it for the 3rd time on Friday.  I need to revisit Days of Heaven but on Blu-ray this time
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on April 14, 2013, 06:32:06 PM
Malick's films have a way of growing with each subsequent viewing.

I agree for BraveThe New World, watched it for the 3rd time on Friday.  I need to revisit Days of Heaven but on Blu-ray this time

Unless there is a Malick adaptation of Huxley that I don't know about.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: jdc on April 14, 2013, 06:39:51 PM
Malick's films have a way of growing with each subsequent viewing.

I agree for BraveThe New World, watched it for the 3rd time on Friday.  I need to revisit Days of Heaven but on Blu-ray this time

Unless there is a Malick adaptation of Huxley that I don't know about.

i was very tired yesterday
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Timbzy on April 15, 2013, 10:02:53 AM
I've never seen Days of Heaven. Perhaps I should give it a go.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on April 15, 2013, 10:33:47 AM
I'd recommend it.  ;)
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: FLYmeatwad on April 15, 2013, 10:45:56 AM
Malick's (second?) best!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Timbzy on April 15, 2013, 12:24:55 PM
I loved Tree of Life and Thin Red Line. Not a fan of The New World
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Junior on October 08, 2013, 11:11:05 PM
I don't think I ever did this. I just wrote a few thousand words over at my blog about my new favorite movie of all time. In the spirit of perhaps providing an audience for such an undertaking to those that don't visit other boards and communal happiness, allow me to present the full thing here (sans pictures, videos, and links, because I gotta entice you somehow). Nearly 3000 words in the making, here's why Fanny and Alexander is my new favorite movie of all time. The second part (after the horizontal split thing) is more focused on the analysis of some themes and junk, if that suits your fancy. To read with all the stuff in it, visit these two links: Part 1 (http://benefitsofaclassicaleducation.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/why-fanny-and-alexander-is-my-new-favorite-movie/), Part 2 (http://benefitsofaclassicaleducation.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/why-fanny-and-alexander-is-my-new-favorite-movie-part-2/).

I had all these grand ideas of presenting my new top 100 movies list in a long and drawn out way, building anticipation and excitement and all that jazz until the reader just couldnít wait to know which movie of all the ones Iíd talked about was number one. Would Magnolia retain its title, or would There Will Be Blood swoop back in and reclaim its rightful throne? Or would it be some other movie entirely, either newly watched this year or newly appreciated (Blade Runner, maybe, thanks to praise from awesome Swedish blogger Jessica over at The Velvet Cafe)? Well, nearly a month after watching that movie up there in the title of this post I canít stop thinking about it and I canít wait to talk about it some more. So here it is, a whole post gushing about Fanny and Alexander, my new favorite movie of all time.

Itís kind of funny (or perhaps Iím just clever) that I mentioned Jessica in the previous paragraph, as her hometown is featured heavily in this wonderful film about growing up and mothers and fathers and faith and evil and family and the power of stories. Maybe the strongest single element of the Fanny and Alexander is the world it creates. It all begins as Alexander, our main character, is left seemingly alone at home. Weíre introduced to his opulent surroundings which at once indicate that his family is rich and that theyíre also quite good at making the ostentatious feel comforting. Itís a warm place, though you can also tell that itís chilly outside. The house is a protective cocoon which fosters all kinds of imaginative playing as Alexander finds ways to entertain himself. I, too, spent much of my childhood making my own house into a personal playground, and I, too, sometimes imagined scary sights out of everyday object. Here itís a statue that has probably faded into being just a part of the scenery for Alexander until his imagination sparks it to life. Creepy stuff, and table setting by director Ingmar Bergman to prepare us for what will come later. But then our fear is wiped away as Christmas comes.I watched the full TV version of Fanny and Alexander. It is preferred by Bergman himself, who had to go in and cut out nearly two hours of footage to get down to a still-long three hours for theatrical presentation. Bergman himself stated that ďwith each cut I reduced the quality of [his] work,Ē (Images). It feels true, though I have not yet gone back to watch the theatrical version. The full TV version dedicates the entire first ďepisodeĒ to the prologue I discussed above and the subsequent Christmas celebrations. This is the first bit of evidence for the filmís masterpiece status, and itís a large bit. Christmas on film has often been warm but never this warm. We begin with each of the family members separate, going about their last duties on Christmas Eve. One brother is wrapping up a good season at his theater company he shares with his wife and kids (the titular characters). He gives a speech to his players and thanks them for participating in his ďlittle worldĒ that gives the audience a chance to get away from their larger concerns. This dichotomy between the little world created by stories and family as a protector against the big, harsh world is echoed by his brother in the final act of the movie after all of the bad stuff has happened. Still the little world remains, ďa little room of orderliness, routine, care and love.Ē

Yet another brother closes up his restaurant while the matron of the family prepares an elaborate dinner, or guides her maids in preparing it. Sheís visibly old and kind of broken down, but when she speaks her spirit is lively and strong. Once a stage actress in the theater group her son now runs, she was famous, and through her the family made a lot of money. Yes, itís a bourgeois paradise of intellectuals and artists, and that might throw off some viewers from initially connecting to these characters. Once the Christmas celebrations begin in earnest, though, itís hard to not get sucked in. Taking up a full hour and a half, the Christmas feast and post-dinner activities give way to bedtime for the kids and a splintering for the adults. Some relish in secret dalliances, others fight over their marriage. A comedown, to be sure, from the delightful Christmas scenes, but an important one which sets up each of the characters and enriches them into being real people. The relationships are all complex and realistic, which again helps the later fantasy scenes feel more real.

The most important scene in this first act is one which reveals how kids are drawn in by stories and audiences are made to believe in anything if the storyteller is any good. Iíve included the scene above so that you can watch it for yourself. Fanny and Alexanderís father comes into the kidsí room to scold them for still being awake at such a late hour. He sees that they arenít finished celebrating and decides to tell them a story about a seemingly ordinary chair which is, in actuality, possessed of supernatural powers. An invented fairy tale, it bewitches the kids instantly and sends them to sleep with a little magic. Of course, all cannot remain so sweet, and the next episodes put one giant obstacle in their path.

Before his untimely death, Alexanderís father (Oscar) rehearses a (not-so) new play, William Shakespeareís Hamlet, in which he was going to play Hamletís ghost dad. He has a stroke onstage and is rushed home for medical treatment which doesnít work. His death sets into motion a series of events which leads to his widow (Emilie) marrying the townís bishop (Edvard). Edvard is everything that Oscar wasnít: cold, mean, vengeful, and cruel. Itís clear to see how Emilie could get pulled into his arms, wanting to get as far away as she can from Oscarís theatricality, but man, itís also clear how bad of a choice sheís made from the get go. If Bergman werenít so good at what he does Edvard would be a one dimensional villain like, say, the Emperor from Star Wars, but heís got depth and a purpose behind him which makes him not only evil but humanly evil. His religious convictions lead him to be ascetic in all undertakings, including child-rearing. When Fanny and Alexander move into his house they arenít allowed to take any belongings, not even books or clothes. Itís positioned as a new start for them but itís really a way to indoctrinate them into a particular world-view which would be undermined by any worldly possessions.

Maybe the easiest way to see the differences between Oscar and Edvard other than looking at their characters is to examine their households. One is decadence to the max, a rich, red and gold wonderland which seems like it would be the softest place to exist. There arenít any sharp edges except on the knives used to cut giant mounds of meat into edible chunks. Contrast that with Edvardís house run by his shrew of a sister. There the walls are blank and gray, the only books allowed are in the bishopís personal library, and Iíd hazard to say that there wonít be many fairy tales to be found on those shelves. The kidsí room sports a doll-sized replica of the house but even that isnít enough to make it a fun place to live. In that first scene Alexanderís imagination was spurred by his lavish surroundings, when he moves into Edvardís house the only inspiration he encounters is for nightmares.

Early on Alexander hears about Edvardís previous family, how he had them killed through some kind of cosmic force or constant terrorizing. His telling of this story to his young sister and their keeper while Emilie is away enrages Edvard Ė though he never really shows it Ė and gives him an opportunity to punish Alexander physically and mentally. Here the insidious nature of Edvardís evil is in full evidence. Heís all grim smiles and lengthy speeches about taking responsibility without any real display of caring for the young boy or how he grows up. Alexander does learn from this, of course, but itís not the lesson Edvard was teaching. Instead Alexander learns that sometimes being right is no match for wrong people with more power. He is sent to the attic for the night as additional punishment where he encounters the creepy ethereal ghosts of the bishopís previous kids. They taunt him for messing with their father, which is supremely unsettling as they must have been getting treated similarly when they were ďaliveĒ. If we take their appearance to be real in the world of the movie, itís the first really supernatural occurrence with any kind of repercussions for the characters, though they could just as easily be hallucinations brought on by Alexanderís lack of food and mental torment earlier in the day. Bergman wonít commit one way or the other, so weíre left to our own interpretations. I wouldnít have it any other way.



Last week I started writing a big olí post about how Fanny and Alexander was my new favorite movie of all time. I thought I might be able to get it all into one post but the task quickly grew a little out of control and I only ended up covering about half of the greatness of the film in 1,500 words. So hereís another attempt at it, call it the second half and hopefully it wonít turn into a three part series, though that probably wouldnít be the worst thing in the world. Letís get this party train moving.

Last time around I left off with the very real threat of Edvard, the evil town bishop and new father for the titular children, demonstrating the full force of his terror with physical and emotional abuse towards Alexander which led to a visit from his previous victims while Alexander was trapped in the attic of his dreary house. With all of that in mind, letís visit in on what his mother, Emilie, was doing in the meantime. When she married Edvard he forced her to cut off all communication with her dead husbandís family, the warm and friendly, if a little odd, Ekdahls. A matriarchal family, Helena embodies all the grandmotherly characteristics one could want. Sheís off in her summer home and worrying about her daughter-in-law since she hadnít seen her or her grandkids for a long time. While the rest of her family is off on an afternoon boat trip, she gets a visit from Emilie who has escaped her imposing husband for a few days. They discuss the problems Emilie is having and whether or not the children are safe (hint: theyíre not) and Emilie shares a new wrinkle, her pregnancy. This meeting is important for setting up the endgame of the film, a clever heist pulled off by family friend Isak Jacobi.

This is another important location in the film, one of four which go a long way towards establishing the mood of the scenes that take place therein. Here we have another opulent location, this one set in clean whites surrounded by lush greens which perfectly evoke the spring setting. Still, itís raining outside and thereís clearly an air of melancholy permeating the vacation home. Itís also the location of a visit from Oscar, Helenaís dead son. He is decidedly quiet through the visit which allows Helena to talk to the audience about how sheís feeling and what is happening with his widowed wife. Ghost-Oscar repeatedly visits his family members Ė mostly Alexander Ė to remind them that there was once something good in the world, and that the good could return. His most important visit happens in the fourth location, after Isak Jacobi pulls off a spectacular (and supernatural) ďkidnappingĒ of the kids away from Edvardís evil grasp. They stay for a while at the Jacobi house, a weird and wonderful repository for stagecraft and semi-religious artifacts. Here Oscarís visit feels entirely natural, as if the magic of the surroundings summon him from beyond as much as Alexanderís yearnings for his father.

Oscar is an embodiment of the question Bergman asks throughout his career (or, at least over the two movies of his Iíve seen, but I have it on pretty good authority that he continues the trend), that of the existence of God. Oscar basically is a kind of god, a creator who projects from his own mind a view of the world for others to step into lasting at least the duration of a play, if not longer in the audienceís mind. Alexander understands this implicitly and gawps at even the rehearsal of such an act early in the film. After Oscar dies Alexander becomes a liar, a creator in his own small way before Edvard attempts to take that expression of creativity away along with the books and stuffed animals. Even in punishment, though, Alexanderís creativity is manifest as he conjures the ghosts of Edvardís first set of children. And when placed into the great workshop that is the Jacobi house his imagination is allowed to run wild, first seeing his father in his typical all white ghost garb then falling back in fright from a giant puppet version of God operated by one of Jacobiís nephews. Itís pretty clearly a puppet after the first few seconds of screen time but itís a darn convincing one and Alexanderís questioning of God has opened him to the potential veracity of this appearance. And really, wouldnít it? If you were magically rescued from a horrible step-father by an enigmatic old Jewish man and then visited late at night by the ghost of your beloved father while thinking deeply about the existence of God wouldnít a larger-than-life marionette version of God, full throated and with accompanying giant footstep sounds, feel real? An answer to a probing young man made of wood and string and theater tricks is actually closer to ďrealĒ for Alexander than a cloud-borne be-cloaked guy with a beard. The Jacobi house is full of reassuring and scary answers to the questions Alexander and the audience have been asking for the previous four hours.

Jacobi himself soothes the kids to sleep with a parable that must have been the inspiration for the Coen brothersí own tale of religion gone right and wrong, A Serious Man. Stories are the ultimate power in Bergmanís world. Religious tracts, classics of literature, fairy tales, or just comforts and tales of good days past, the storyís ability to transport literally or figuratively is demonstrated over and over again. The performance of those stories allows others to come along for the ride. A chair becomes a precious heirloom because Oscar is so convincing. Hamlet enables Oscar to return for guidance and warnings like the titular heroís own father. A discussion between a mother and her dead son puts the both of them at ease and on the right course of action. A lie becomes the truth thanks to Jacobiís magic.

Fanny and Alexander is, in part at least, a magical realist tale which allows it to operate on this theoretical level with great power and flexibility. Shelter is found in the comforts of family and stories. At the end of the film, after everybody is rescued from their captivity and two babies born Gustav Adolf Ekdahl gives a speech that echoes his brother Oscarís speech from the beginning of the film. In fact, much of the same audience is in attendance and there are even stronger familial bonds forged in the tribulations surrounding Emilie, whose return to the theater company her husband had once run is welcomed and celebrated as much as the newborn children on this occasion. Gustav implores his audience, ďTherefore let us be happy while we are happy. Let us be kind, generous, affectionate and good. It is necessary and not at all shameful to take pleasure in the little world.Ē The little world of family, the little world of friends and co-workers, the little world of stories and performances. All are celebrated in Bergmanís garden of Eden, returned to its former glory after a brief fall. As a capper (well, nearly) to his career, Bergman at once justifies his work and indulges further in the escapist capacity of film. He celebrates, too, cinemaís power to put us through the ringer and come out the other side as changed as the characters we follow. Escapism is important, so is the didactic ability inherent in stories.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: DarkeningHumour on May 25, 2015, 04:18:30 AM
I everyone definitive(-ish) about their favourite movie of all time ? If I had to pick among my top 10 it would feel so arbitrary. And my top 10 already feels arbitrary.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on May 25, 2015, 10:50:33 AM
I am absolute.  I have had the same favorite movie (Spirited Away) for over ten years, and I see nothing that would change my mind.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: DarkeningHumour on May 25, 2015, 10:59:46 AM
I am absolute.  I have had the same favorite movie (Spirited Away) for over ten years, and I see nothing that would change my mind.

Try this. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119698/)  ;D
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Junior on May 25, 2015, 11:34:38 AM
I'm good on my number 1. Everything else is accurate plus or minus ten spots.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: MartinTeller on May 25, 2015, 11:44:37 AM
I everyone definitive(-ish) about their favourite movie of all time ? If I had to pick among my top 10 it would feel so arbitrary. And my top 10 already feels arbitrary.

I've had three different #1 movies since joining the forum, but the first doesn't really count because my first list was hastily slapped together.  The other change was swapping one Bergman for another.  I've thought about putting Mahanagar as my new #1, but it doesn't feel right yet.  So I guess I'm fairly definitive in practice, but in my mind it's a lot more arbitrary. 

I'd like to be more fluid with my list than I am, but as I get older and make fewer new discoveries, I feel my list solidifying into a personal canon.  At the moment, there are only two replacements I'm thinking about making... one is a movie that's already in my top 250, the other is a movie I've known for decades.  There's one movie I want to move up the list and another one I want to move down.  And that's it.  It will be the least amount of revision to my top 100 list since I started keeping one.  I have very mixed feelings about that.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Bondo on May 25, 2015, 12:02:10 PM
I think I listed American Beauty as my #1 from when it came out until I saw 12 Angry Men a couple years later, and that held the spot on all my formal lists until 2013 when I saw Jurassic Park in the theatre again. My next list will have Children of Men at the top spot, moving up from #2 where it had been since I saw it originally.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on May 25, 2015, 09:29:34 PM
I am absolute.  I have had the same favorite movie (Spirited Away) for over ten years, and I see nothing that would change my mind.

Try this. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119698/)  ;D

I have, good sir.  Many times.  And PM makes my top 100, but couldn't possibly top my #1.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Clovis8 on May 25, 2015, 09:37:37 PM
I'm definitive too. Hands down Before Sunset.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: oldkid on May 25, 2015, 10:09:27 PM
Good to know that some things don't change.  You can just count on them.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on May 25, 2015, 11:23:30 PM
I used to worry I'd find a film that I loved more than Days of Heaven. Now, I just don't see anything coming along to topple it. Certified Copy was pretty close for a while, though. But nature beat out beautiful architecture in the end.
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: chardy999 on May 26, 2015, 12:21:19 AM
It's hard to supplant a favourite film. I've certainly seen better films than V For Vendetta. I've even seen a few perfect films. But when it comes to a number one it's often something a bit intangible that gets it over the line, demonstrated time and again by the stubborn emotional responses in this thread so far. I am no different!
Title: Re: Presenting Filmspotters Favorite Films
Post by: smirnoff on May 28, 2015, 05:32:56 PM
If I can see one film that cracks my top 100 every year than I'm satisfied. I don't think that's ever not happened. And new experiences feel to me like they have the advantage. My enthusiasm for those new films will be at it's utmost directly after seeing them (and that will be a lot more recent than the majority of things on my top 100). So it's like a big wave of enthusiasm will push them into my top 100, and then when the wave recedes you find out if they stuck somewhere or washed back out to sea. So there's really nothing preventing the #1 film from being topped, it'll just take the perfect tide and the pefect wind the perfect phase of moon to create the perfect wave. You can never predict when that will happen, and I think that's what keeps me watching movies.