Author Topic: The Next Picture Show  (Read 292 times)

Teproc

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The Next Picture Show
« on: January 10, 2018, 03:48:10 PM »
Feels like we should have thread for this, it being a part of the Filmspotting family and all. Though we're in the period of the year where I haven't seen the current films they're talking about, I've been making an effort to catch up with the films they're pairing them with, so I'll come prepared when those films get here, I guess.

Anyway, let's get us started with

To Die For (Gus Van Sant, 1995)

Ah, so this is how Nicole Kidman happened. She is magnetic here: it helps that she's stunning of course, but it's more than that. She's fully committed to her performance, and I get the feeling that she takes the character more seriously than Van Sant does. I didn't know this was based on a true story (I took the opening indication thereof to be Fargo-esque, given the overall tone of the film), but it makes sense now: Van Sant knew the main character would attract attention, but what he really wanted to do the film for were the teens. As a result, the film is a bit of a mess. They're both interesting, but Van Sant never fully commits to a tone, and though I enjoy some of the flourishes with the score and stuff like the opening or Kidman's narration blending in with the action... I'm not entirely sure what the film as a whole is getting at. Capitalism, television, the American dream, superficiality... all of the above ? Probably the latter, but it doesn't have anything especially compelling to say about any of these things. Kidman (and some of the supporting cast) makes it worth watching, but she really has a lot to hold together and it doesn't always work.

Given the pairing with I,Tonya, it amused me that ice skating actually played a bit of a role here. I'm sure it was part of the choice, but they hadn't mentioned it initially so it took me by surprise. It seems I, Tonya is being criticized for similar issues of tone, and it's the kind of film where it tends to be a problem: it's easy to be too glib when handling main characters who are mainly defined by their ineptness. On that subject, it seems the film can never quite decide how competent Susan Stone is: it seems like she's a machiavellian genius for most of the film... but then her plan to deal with her husband is obviously awful. I guess it's another case of two films clashing, or maybe the narrative weight of the original story ? Because a smart psychopath manipulating very dumb teens, which this seems like it's going to be for most of the film, would be more interesting than dumb people doing a dumb thing together.

6/10

oldkid

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 08:59:39 PM »
TNPS is currently my favorite podcast (perhaps behind Invisibility) so this thread is certainly overdue.  I like, Teproc, that you are putting your own spin on this thread, reviewing the films they discussed, which is a great offshoot of your marathon of marathons.   I only listen to their discussion after I watch the film they are focusing on, but because they split the episodes, it is easy for me to listen to half the discussion about one film and not the other, if I still need to catch up with one.

Their discussion on Lady Bird, as well as Adam's and Sam's reviews, was helpful to me in understanding the love of this film.  I still have a hard time understanding why this film is receiving such praise, as opposed to other coming of age films, but I can see now how the many themes it touches on really connects with people so there is a strong personal reaction that I (and Tonya) may not experience.  It reminds me of the division of responses to mother! although if that film doesn't connect with you in some way, then it would just be unpleasant, while Lady Bird is simply enjoyable, if not personally moving.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

DarkeningHumour

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 05:44:49 AM »
I sometimes try to catch up with the older movies they review, but often I find I am not very interested in them.
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oldkid

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 04:31:33 PM »
When I started listening to Filmspotting, it was because they spent as much time on older films as more recent ones.  That has lessened over the years, but TNPS has picked up where they left off.  I want to learn about and watch great older films.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Teproc

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 03:35:13 PM »
It amuses me that they chose Rebecca to pair-up with The Shape of Water, because that choice would have been even more appropriate with Del Toro's previous film.

mañana

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 08:03:48 PM »
It amuses me that they chose Rebecca to pair-up with The Shape of Water, because that choice would have been even more appropriate with Del Toro's previous film.
I think Rebecca is paired with Phantom Thread.
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Teproc

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 06:27:51 AM »
Yeah, you're right. That's less amusing.

Teproc

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2018, 10:35:57 AM »
Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2003)



I was mostly familiar with this film from hearing about the people that were in it, which made me think it would hafve an SNL-sensibility... turns out it's more Comedy Bang Bang than anything else, though maybe that's just my ignorance of American indie comedy past a few podcasts showing. Which means it's considerably weirder than I thought it would be, and that's a good thing. It also reminds me of Community in the sense that it is clearly referencing a bunch of 80s stuff I've never seen (or heard about - I had no idea what the Breakfast Club was when I watched Community)... and yet it works for me ? It's the rare kind of referential humour that's so confident that it works without knowing the reference.

The way it grows more absurd as it goes along is what made it into this cult phenomenon I suppose, and it is a great comedic tool: you laugh as much because of incredulity as anything else: the trip to town is a good example of this. The way it gets more random and specific as it goes along also works in that manner. I'm not entirely enamored with it because, with that kind of random absurdist approach, there's quite a bit that doesn't work, like every scene involving Molly Shannon as Gale (except for the final punchline I suppose, that was pretty funny). But most of it does work, and it is quite fun to see all these comedy stalwarts (and, randomly, Bradley Cooper?) before most of them went on to greater success.

7/10

Corndog

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 11:19:52 AM »
Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2003)

it is quite fun to see all these comedy stalwarts (and, randomly, Bradley Cooper?) before most of them went on to greater success.

Cooper's career started out heavy on the comedy. His big break came in Wedding Crashers, which catapulted him on to do The Hangover films. He doesn't seem random to me.
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Teproc

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Re: The Next Picture Show
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 11:30:14 AM »
Right, but... he's not a UCB guy is he ? He feels out of place (theoretically I mean, he works just fine in the film) among people like Michael Showalter and Janeane Garofalo to me. I guess I didn't know anything he had done before The Hangover really.