Author Topic: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017  (Read 659 times)

jdc

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 09:39:16 PM »
Honestly, kind of shocked how Tasha lists MOTHER!, PHANTOM THREAD, & I, TONYA but doesn't even acknowledge the problem many people have with all three films: they either have a questionably misogynistic view of their leading female characters or don't treat their problems with the respect they deserve. I hoped that someone else on the roundtable would've discussed these problems, but not a peep.  :-\

SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED MOVIES:

Both MOTHER! and PHANTOM THREAD don't investigate the central female characters beyond their relation to their man. Their goal is to love a man who is withholding love for them because they're obsessed with their art. Regardless of how innovative in style they are, the core narratives of these films have not only been done before, but are pretty repugnant.arely any.

I don't think just because the main character is misogynistic that is makes the film misogynistic, anymore than a film that may show racism makes the film racist. mother! really gave me the opposite reaction, it made me reflect more on how I communicate and make decisions with my wife. Both can be improved and watching it in such a way does make me reflect on myself.

I haven't seen Phantom Thread yet but I don't see mother! the same way that you do.
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AliceGuyBlache

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 10:25:45 PM »
Appreciate these perspectives but don't share them. (Haven't seen Mother.) Can't speak for Tasha but would seem she doesn't either.

It's just disappointing because I think she's one of the more socially conscious critics out there but a lot of discussion on film sites like letterboxd has been over the gender politics of these films, especially MOTHER!, but I felt the conversation was more about Aronofsky's aesthetic choices and its divisiveness rather than why it's divisive in the first place.

I hope you touch upon 2016 Golden Brick nominee Chad Hartigan on his review for PHANTOM THREAD for your review which lies down the problems of the film better than I ever could:

Quote
On the one hand, this is everything I ever want in a film. A sensationally gifted director at the top of his game choosing a subject to explore, diving deep into the details of that world, and populating it with the best actors in the game. I could have watched this film for ten hours for those reasons. Moment to moment, it's exquisite.

On the other hand, it's a pity that the best PTA could come up with for this whole endeavor was the story of a man who yearns for nothing but perfection in his work and a woman who yearns for seemingly nothing but a man. No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.

But man it's done so, so well.

https://letterboxd.com/chad_hartigan/film/phantom-thread/

AliceGuyBlache

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 10:58:24 PM »
Honestly, kind of shocked how Tasha lists MOTHER!, PHANTOM THREAD, & I, TONYA but doesn't even acknowledge the problem many people have with all three films: they either have a questionably misogynistic view of their leading female characters or don't treat their problems with the respect they deserve. I hoped that someone else on the roundtable would've discussed these problems, but not a peep.  :-\

SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED MOVIES:

Both MOTHER! and PHANTOM THREAD don't investigate the central female characters beyond their relation to their man. Their goal is to love a man who is withholding love for them because they're obsessed with their art. Regardless of how innovative in style they are, the core narratives of these films have not only been done before, but are pretty repugnant.arely any.

I don't think just because the main character is misogynistic that is makes the film misogynistic, anymore than a film that may show racism makes the film racist. mother! really gave me the opposite reaction, it made me reflect more on how I communicate and make decisions with my wife. Both can be improved and watching it in such a way does make me reflect on myself.

I haven't seen Phantom Thread yet but I don't see mother! the same way that you do.

No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.

1SO

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 11:38:05 PM »
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.

AliceGuyBlache

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2018, 02:08:11 AM »
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.

I don't understand how you can feel that way when the ending is not the kind of one the lead man would prefer, to put it lightly.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2018, 07:23:59 AM »
No, I'm not saying anything about who the main character is as a person, but how these men write their main female characters to serve as blank vessels void of personality outside of their total and utter devotion to their man.
This reads like my reaction to The Beguiled, written by Sofia Coppola.
To me, the entire film is about female desire, not devotion.

As for mother!, it's pretty clear that Jennifer Lawrence is framed as the artistic muse, but I think the entire film complicates this idea and condemns artists for abusing women to create their art. I'm not sure how the audience is supposed to side with Javier Bardem in this film as the entire film aligns us with the Mother character. Convention should have her function as a devote wife for the struggling artist type, but she isn't at all and that's where the entire conflict of the film emerges from.

I think there's a strong difference between depicting women in a devout way that can be demeaning, but I don't see it with either of these films. I think especially with The Beguiled, Coppola is trying to show women's sexual desire for men, not in a dominating sense, but simply the desire to want and to be wanted. That's a very human thing and it doesn't make women blindly devoted to men, it's simply a natural part of sexual desire and the need for emotional and relational stability.

Also, there's a sense in which we aren't considering the function of genre in these films. Both The Beguiled and mother! function more like horror films and mother! also has a heavy apocalyptic slant. How do those sensibilities change how characters function in relation to the work as a whole?

Plus, I think that Javier Bardem in mother! is just as much a vessel for the tortured male artist as Lawrence is for the artistic muse. They're function as archetypes in this vision of how art functions and the film aligns us with the muse, not the male artist. I think the gender politics critique is simply a fundamental failure to understand the genre mother! functions within. None of the characters are supposed to be complex portraits and the characters serve more to say something about art and creation than they are supposed to depict life as the director sees it.

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2018, 08:24:37 AM »
Great show, as usual, BUT ... it was disappointing to hear the unmitigated piling on re The Florida Project, which was, by far, the biggest disappointment of 2017.  Without going into the eye-rolling final shot, to me and my significant other, the entire film came across as poverty porn dressed up with indie affectation and never once did we sense that the ridiculously overpraised Brooklynn Prince was unaware of the camera, who took us out of the movie from the very first moment.  (As for all the references to the Little Rascals? Um, no, sorry.)
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Adam

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2018, 02:49:48 PM »
Great show, as usual, BUT ... it was disappointing to hear the unmitigated piling on re The Florida Project, which was, by far, the biggest disappointment of 2017.  Without going into the eye-rolling final shot, to me and my significant other, the entire film came across as poverty porn dressed up with indie affectation and never once did we sense that the ridiculously overpraised Brooklynn Prince was unaware of the camera, who took us out of the movie from the very first moment.  (As for all the references to the Little Rascals? Um, no, sorry.)
I say this with no snark or condescension intended - but maybe the most, let's say, misguided take I've heard all year. As in disagree strongly with everything you express here.
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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2018, 02:58:27 PM »
No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.
I know what he's referring to here specifically, but this sentiment is something you could also suggest about There Will Be Blood, and who knows how many how other really good to great films not directed by PTA. Not only is the 'how' really important, but there are lots of unpleasant (and real) relationship dynamics that are absolutely still worth exploring despite (because of?) that unpleasantness. Can't come up with a scenario in any PTA film off the top of my head where there's a relationship held up as ideal... not problematic... flawed... even, I don't know, dangerous. Take your pick. (And yes, I'm using "relationship dynamics" here to include, among other things, the respective priorities of Woodcock and Alma.)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 03:31:10 PM by Adam »
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AliceGuyBlache

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Re: #662: (Pt. 2) Top 10 Films of 2017
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2018, 06:21:24 PM »
No matter how well it's done, we've seen it a million times and need it now less than ever.
I know what he's referring to here specifically, but this sentiment is something you could also suggest about There Will Be Blood, and who knows how many how other really good to great films not directed by PTA. Not only is the 'how' really important, but there are lots of unpleasant (and real) relationship dynamics that are absolutely still worth exploring despite (because of?) that unpleasantness. Can't come up with a scenario in any PTA film off the top of my head where there's a relationship held up as ideal... not problematic... flawed... even, I don't know, dangerous. Take your pick. (And yes, I'm using "relationship dynamics" here to include, among other things, the respective priorities of Woodcock and Alma.)

Honestly, that's my only problem with THERE WILL BE BLOOD. It's a well-worn story that Americans love: you can be filthy rich but at the end of the day, money can't buy you love. I acknowledge that that's a mass reduction of what the film is about (I don't think Plainview even wants love), but it's still the general slot I would file the film away into if I were to categorize.

However, the problem with PHANTOM THREAD is that he gives so much time to observe Alma and, by the end of the film, we know very little about her than what I knew from the onset. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? It's certainly something I've seen many times before.