Author Topic: Top 100 Club: 1SO  (Read 11301 times)

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2018, 06:15:04 PM »
One Two Three

First, I want to share this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ0eoH4l4us

This is the song I had in my head every time I thought about the title of this movie. And anytime after I thought about the title.  Thank you very much.  Now I'll pass it on to you.

Okay, so this is a Billy Wilder joint, with Cagney starring and both of them working hard to make the laughs come. And they came.  And came.  In fact, I'd have to say this is the most successful Wilder comedy I've seen.  Sure, there are some solid chuckles in Sunset Boulevard and The Apartment despite the dark spirit in those films.  Some Like It Hot was fine, but not my style, relying a lot on physical gags.  I'm guessing that with Cagney, he needed to focus on language and verbal sparring.  And so he made this, his answer to His Girl Friday, fast-paced, a gag a minute.  Only instead of a battle of the sexes, it is a battle of the ideologies, a cold war with sizzling hot words.

Cagney is a capitalist, working for one of the most successful corporate enterprises, Coca Cola, when they still had parts of the world to conquer.  Cagney has his eye on the USSR ("that's short for Russia"), which is almost within sight, when his bosses 17 year old daughter comes to visit and gets pregnant.  But it's okay, she's married.  Oops, married to a true-blue dyed-in-the-wool communist, whose fondest dream is to take his love to Moscow to live red-ever-after. It is up to Cagney to come up with a scheme to save his job, keep the deal with Russia and get the promotion he lusts after more than anything.

Never have I been so uncomfortable laughing as hard as I did.  The movie is rooting for the capitalists to win, for the girls to be humiliated and under patriarchal control, to present a number of foreign stereotypes and plenty of male gaze.  I should hate this film, but the jokes come so fast and so very funny, I couldn't stay upset at the film for longer than a few minutes here and there.  The pacing is as perfect as Cagney can make it and while the character arcs and circumstances are silly, in this fantasy of Donald Trump, it actually works. 

It works mostly because despite the stereotypes and sexism, everyone is pretty happy, and the movie successfully helps us believe that everyone would be happy. Marriages are made and saved and despite the success of capitalism, love prevails.  Wilder is just that good.  Frankly, better than many other of his films.  I shouldn't want this to work, but it does and I'm so glad of it.

4/5
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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2018, 02:28:18 AM »
One, two, three, look at James Cagney.
Three, four, five, look at him jive


You bring up something interesting about the film and Cagney in general. There were a number of actors who came up in the 1930s that would be disrespectful to women in a way that was considered charming at the time. Pat O'Brien would often tell a woman some variation on the line, "Shut up and do this for me and I'll throw a burger down your throat. With onions and everything." I've seen nearly every Cagney performance and the charming jerk was one of his staples. As he got older, he pushed this side of him further into demagoguery, peaking with A Lion is in the Streets (1953), a flawed but fascinating film that first made me think of the similarities between some of his work and Donald Trump.

When Trump was first elected, it was odd how often a film would be tainted by reminders. Now that it's stopped being the least bit funny and all our nightmares are coming true, I curse how easily Trumpism has ruined some of my favorite films. I don't want to think of Cagney's similarities, so instead I focus on his differences. MacNamara has a deep amount of honest charm and charisma. He isn't just hiding behind a persona, he's a man who can get things done and done right. His wife (Arlene Francis) is well aware of what's going on behind her back and when the odds stack up against her husband, she takes in a small pleasure of revenge. However, she also enjoys seeing him dig his way out of his hole, proving once again what a good and competent person he can be.

I like that you compare this to His Girl Friday, something I also do. I think in the last 30 minutes, One Two Three tops it for speed of the jokes. Cagney firing off commands like a machine gun is the most fun I have watching him perform.
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oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2018, 11:31:29 AM »
Oh! I forgot to mention Arlene Francis.  She stole every scene she was in, with her perfect, often sarcastic, delivery.  I wish more had been done with her.
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ferris

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 02:59:37 PM »
1SO, looking at your list, I'm pleased to see so many films in common with my top 100.  I might take this opportunity to finally catch up with "Aguirre: The Wrath of God".  I've got 3 Herzog's in my top 100 already so I have no excuse to not have seen this yet.
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jdc

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2018, 07:45:22 PM »
I am on and off traveling for most of the next 6 weeks so may have a difficult time getting something in and a lot of these I think I will have a hard time finding, but I can check Netflix in various places.

One I am most curious about though I saw it back in the theater is Rocky 3??? And to make it even odder, there is no Rocky... 

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1SO

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2018, 11:15:35 PM »
I could've sworn there was a review around here somewhere. Rocky III is a perfect formula, with the best fight scenes (including the comedic one with Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips), the best training montages (the only thing better than "Gonna Fly Now" is "Eye of the Tiger") and the best opponent in Mr. T as Clubber Lang. I like Rocky and Rocky II, but III is entertaining as hell and while it's not as deep, I don't think it's shallow, like Rocky IV, which is a remake of III.


ferris, for many Aguirre is a person's first Herzog. I love the thought of you going in with high expectations because of what's already been seen. I hope it can live up to that for you.
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ferris

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2018, 09:04:46 PM »

ferris, for many Aguirre is a person's first Herzog. I love the thought of you going in with high expectations because of what's already been seen. I hope it can live up to that for you.

I think the best strategy is to let it just wash over me as it comes...
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Bondo

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2018, 09:26:09 PM »
I’d feel bad doing The Human Condition for you AND as make up for PA, but frankly it is worth two.
The Human Condition counts as 3 movies, or 9 depending on how you divide them. The first is my favorite, so you can blame the rest on PA.

Six films simply based on length. I managed two hours today, should probably finish part 1 tomorrow.

PeacefulAnarchy

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 02:02:42 AM »
I don't know what I'll be watching for 1SO, not as many as I'd like though since I'll be busy and then on vacation. But I'll watch at least one and catch up on others later.

Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: 1SO
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 03:08:02 AM »
Almost Famous - Untitled (Cameron Crowe, 2000)

I suppose it is fitting for a film like this to achieve moments of greatness (or something close to it), but for them to be somewhat lost in a sea of repetitive self-indulgence. That's perhaps a little harsh (or should I say merciless ?), because I did enjoy it overall, in large part thanks to its great ensemble, but scenes such as the airplane almost-crash left me wondering if I was supposed to see the whole thing as a parody, only for the ending to confirm that this was not the case: Crowe simply did not know how else he could get to the emotional place he wanted to get to, so he just decided to have everyone go through a near-death experience and suddenly confess random things ? That's just lazy, and felt like a Spinal Tap scene to me, which is fine as long as you don't expect me to be emotionally involved with the characters involved, and Crowe clearly does. I'm also a little skeptical as to the Rolling Stone people's behaviour throughout, as well: that too feels like artificial plot mechanics more than anything else.

The other problem is maybe that I didn't particularly care for the relationship between Penny Lane and Russell Hammond: I like both performances (Hudson especially), and I found Penny Lane's character to generally be the most interesting part of the film, as she embodies the ups and downs of being a real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girl living only to inspire other people. It's an exciting life, but there's an expiration date, and I think the film generally deals with it relatively well, in that I don't think Crowe lets her be a character that must be saved by Will either. Well, he does literally save her, but the way things end for her feel appropriate, and I'd probably like the film more if it was simply focused on her.

I watched the Untitled cut (since that's what 1SO has on his list) but I wonder if I might have enjoyed a shorter cut more: it's not that there's anything specific that I think should be removed, it's simply that the best scenes (anything involving Philip Seymour Hoffman, singing in the bus, Frances McDormand's phone call) get diluted and I end up feeling down on the overall film. That speech PSH gives Will towards the end really is great though, and McDormand saves some early scenes through force of will and never lets us forget her character. In the end it really is the performances that save the film for me: they're strong across the board and do make the Stillwater tour a pleasant place to spend time in if nothing else.

6/10
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