love

Author Topic: Top 100 Club: smirnoff  (Read 5416 times)

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 22176
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #110 on: December 24, 2020, 08:19:15 PM »
Edmond

What in the name of white people did I just watch. Edmond might as well become a male variant of Karen, a guy stifled by his privileged life because it is "boring." We then see his spiral as he takes to the back alleys looking for inspiration but is stingy and demanding toward those he encounters who do not have his privilege. Even though he probably gained success as part of some manner of scam, he's hypersensitive to what he sees as injustice he faces, even when he enters in fully aware of the terms. In kind of a Fight Club manner he distills life down into some lofty philosophical grandeur, with certain glamorization of ascetic life that only someone who gave up so much can have, and is annoyed when others aren't interested.

Like Fight Club, I'm not sure how critical the film really is of its lead. It certainly isn't an enjoyable venture, with the racism and misogyny right up front. It has a bit too much of a Tarantino streak about it and ultimately that made it not my cup of tea.

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #111 on: December 25, 2020, 04:52:42 AM »
Do you find it too light? I kind of think that’s a blessing… escapism instead of making a point. It wouldn’t get made like this these days… you can imagine who Burt and Heather would be representing on the political spectrum. It wouldn’t be possible for me to have fun if the film dredged up all my bitterness… Who has the patience to be lectured by a film about giant worms anyways? Heck with that. Pardon my French. :))

Can you play this movie for your students under the guise of a geology lesson?

Second part first, LMAO. 4th graders, I'm finding, have the most king-sized of imaginations on the planet. They would not be able to separate gigantic, killer worms from any other rumbles in the earth, and would probably be randomly found on the roofs of their homes for the next year or so. And my certificate would be called in.

On the first point, I don't typically do well with pure escapism, but it depends. My observation on theme was far more just that, an observation, than a criticism. My primary criticism would be in the writing, especially in how basic some of the characters are. I liked the back-and-forth between Val and Earl, but there isn't much I can readily remember about any of the banter, and it wasn't as funny as I had expected. As for my own tastes, there is one creature feature in my 100, The Host, which has some heady themes and some difficult turns, but is as outright escapist as anything you'll find on that list, outside of maybe The Sound of Music and The Neverending Story (neither of which are all that light, either, what with Nazis and an ever-expanding abyss). Anyway, sort of a perspective on where I'm coming from. Even though I initially said it was exactly what I expected it to be, I actually think I was expecting a little more, but I did like it.

Maybe a good example of a film that only takes the shots it knows it can make, rather than lobbing balls from half court and hoping for something truly amazing. It can definitely leave something to be desired, relative to other greater more ambitious achievements.

Quote
There is a distinct visual appealing to both Four Weddings and a Funeral and Tremors, which, along with your beloved True Grit and the Nolan films you like, help me start to understand your taste, though I still need much more data. I still don't process the visual information in films with the acuity many people who post here possess, so I kind of suck at laying out the shots that really draw you in, though I know them as I experience them. I've been an avid reader far longer than I've thought seriously and frequently about cinema, so I process literary themes and characterization much more easily than visual themes and motifs. I'm working on it.

Sometimes it's just fun to find the similarities. :))
















smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #112 on: December 25, 2020, 06:25:59 AM »
ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959) - As a newly minted attorney at law this was a very enjoyable experience staying relatively close to the more realistic aspects of a criminal trial.  James Stewart plays our attorney, a southern gentleman (interestingly who has an alcoholic friend that sort of hints at a possible influence on John Grisham's characters in A TIME TO KILL, not sure but a thought) who is a caricature of a fire and brimstone attorney (that are actually quite rare in my limited experience and for reasons I'll mention later).  The case itself is extremely spicy by today's standards much less the late 50s, a military lieutenant is on trial for the murder of a barkeep who allegedly attacked and raped his wife.  Initially the lieutenant believes the murder to be justified because of the expected outrage any husband would have in response to such an atrocity against his wife.  It is pretty common for the public to have misconceptions about the application of law and defenses and the movie gets it absolutely correct that such a defense is not possible unless the husband walked in the act en flagrante delicto

I watched a Harry Potter film last nice, and this is all I can picture. FLAGRANTE DELICTO!


Quote
even then such a defense is imperfect (in the sense that it would mitigate the offense from murder to manslaughter).  Ben Gazzara plays our military officer whom I strangely remember for his interesting part (and his drawn picture haha) from the BIG LEBOWSKI. He is great in this as he exudes sliminess underneath his out-of-regs officer uniform.  Lee Remick steals the show as the victim-wife, she is gorgeous, but also playing a role that sort of reflects some of the double standard of the times. The marriage is clearly your normal military marriage (from a much broader experience within my own family who have served in some capacity in every branch of the armed forces), two young people who have very little in common except for carnal desires and having no business getting married.

The story unfolds in a pretty similar way a normal trial would going through some of the pre-trial stuff, I really appreciated the way Stewart contemplates defenses with his client, but never gaining too much incriminating information (or promoting fraudulent falsehoods by the client) to stay within the required ethical bounds.  It is actually pretty brilliant because it allows Stewart to present the only way he can secure a victory with a legally viable defense, but allowing the lieutenant to consider why and how he was temporarily insane.  This insanity defense is one you would learn for the bar exam, but is extremely jurisdictionally dependent. What's great is it shows the ancient way of legal research, diving through voluminous legal books reading cases--thanks to the internet and Westlaw (or Lexis depending on your preference) that kind of research no longer requires any books, but the reading of a multitude of cases remains.  Clearly I enjoyed the technical aspects of the film, though once the trial is underway Stewart's antics, as well as the prosecution's might have found some citations for contempt or Rule 11 sanctions. The use and introduction of evidence has also changed a bit, but these are minor quibbles and the use of these antics heighten the drama of the film so quite easily forgiven.

Remick's character does raise a few things though, she is sort of portrayed by the prosecution as this sort of hussy running around and very likely having an affair.  In fact they try to insinuate that she may not even have been raped at all, the film does setup a few scenes to allude that this is perhaps true.  When Stewart finds her out on the town (while her husband is on trial!) and tells her to leave immediately and that she needed to "wear a girdle" from now on, he recognizing that the impressions required for a trial did require some better behavior on her part. The film is great at leaving some questions on the truth of what actually happened, though the ending seems to resolve toward an ending that supports justice.  Remick is treated as if she is morally bad because she is not your traditional good girl type wearing a girdle and not going out dancing. I get where Stewart is coming from on the legal perspective front, but not on the "you need to wear a girdle" front, I am guessing this means more of "you need to wear a bra" (as a man with no experience I am not sure the difference so only speculating) because we better not see even a hint of nipple (shocking!). She is a beautiful young woman and her husband was likely no faithful angel, yet his sin is forgiveable because a man is entitled to defend the honor of his wife--as if he owns her and is given additional rights to defend that honor. Now I am not saying any man would be devastated and ferociously angry at the news of the alleged rape, but it is pretty clear that Gazzara's character's motives are entirely selfish and not rooted in any kind of chilvarous or noble justice.  Remick on the other hand is questioned about her clothes and how she dresses in the outside world, this kind of victim shaming is very out of date and if allowed in for the prosecution should have swung open the door completely (which it sort of does) for the rape being a driving force that sparked the temporary insanity. 

This is a really fun story and even for a non-legal film watcher this is such juicy material a mix of bad characters and some twists along the way make for a great watch.  Remick, Stewart, and Gazzara are complimented by a strong supporting cast that includes George C. Scott as the attorney general assisting the prosecution.  Great technical work and a really fun film!

Very cool to hear a lawyer's take on this film, and even more interesting to hear that it is quite technically sound (for a courtroom movie). This review is a like a free version of Law'd Awful Movies (a Patreon segment of The Opening Arguments podcast, where they watch and comment on various courtroom movies... one of the commentators is a lawyer). Have you listened to that podcast before Col.?

This was a delight to read and makes me want to track the movie down and watch it again immediately.

Going back and watching some scenes I'm struck by how little we see Scott's character doing anything early on in the movie. He is like this seated statue at the prosecution table, with his sharp black suit and slick black hair. My memory is that it's mainly Stewart who gets fiery and that Scott keeps his cool... except for one time he really lays into a witness and it totally blows up in his face :))

I do love some fiery acting in the courtoom though.


I've been listening to a podcast recently called Courtroom Junkies that features a lot of soundbites from different cases. One thing that strikes me is how different everything sounds in a real courtroom. I never hear the attorneys sound as smooth as they do in movies. They always sound like a bad impressions of a movie lawyer... it always sounds disingenuous. Is that because there's not really any school for "how to act in a courtroom" and everyone just tries to do what they know (which is what they see on TV)? It seems like it must be something one has the "knack" for.

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #113 on: December 25, 2020, 06:42:26 AM »
It's the difference between digging for clues left by a mastermind serial killer and taking a hike. It's about what assumptions you bring into the film and what you come out of it with based on those assumptions. I find great joy in metaphorically walking up a pretty hillside with a friend who knows the area and can point out all of the interesting things they've seen on previous trips because it makes my enjoyment of the hike all the more full for picking up on things I may have missed and making connections I wouldn't have made. I don't find the same joy in following my brilliant detective friend as they spot things I never could have seen and making wild leaps in logic to make those clues add up to a definitive meaning. Without my detective friend, I'm lost at the crime scene, but on the hike I can still look around myself and see what there is to be seen, and I can learn from previous trips with my friend what to look out for, even if I'm on a different path entirely.

I like your analogies. To take it a step further, I would say it also depends on the friend's attitude. Are they inviting you to notice, or are they showing off. Something I like about Room 237 is that the theories never came across as someone showing off. They laid out there ideas, the connections, etc, but never came across as smug (a la Tarantino ranting about Top Gun). Nobody wants to go hiking with a know it all. :)

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #114 on: December 25, 2020, 06:50:17 AM »
Quote
though I find I have no idea how that sort of thing comes about. Do Tom and Gerri speed up that process? Do they delay it? I really would like to know.

This is a great question, one that I am not so sure has a completely correct answer.  If you think about in terms of enabling, is the lack of judgment or active encouragement hindering the growth of Ken and Mary, like "nice guying them to their grave."  An argument could be made that they create the space within which the behaviors and actions can and do exist, but I think this might be a more pessimistic view. From my limited experience there should always be boundaries when dealing with people who struggle with certain things. In terms of alcoholics you don't want to enable them to continue taking advantage of you and allowing them to continue to submit to their problems without consequence. On the other hand the road to recovery is often fraught with relapse and these constant slips are enough to drive most loved ones to the point of giving up on people entirely.  This is where I think Tom and Gerri are wonderful people, because they do not simply throw up their hands and give up, they continue to exude love and patience, an ideal most, including myself would often lack. They tend to avoid drama by not actively participating in it.  So while it does seem that their overabundance of patience does allow Ken and Mary to continue on their detrimental paths without too much consequence, but I think it is a larger sign of love and generosity by being the constant and patient friend and not giving up on those they care for.  A very interesting point that is very debatable.

Well said!

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #115 on: December 25, 2020, 08:01:48 AM »
Edmond

What in the name of white people did I just watch. Edmond might as well become a male variant of Karen, a guy stifled by his privileged life because it is "boring." We then see his spiral as he takes to the back alleys looking for inspiration but is stingy and demanding toward those he encounters who do not have his privilege. Even though he probably gained success as part of some manner of scam, he's hypersensitive to what he sees as injustice he faces, even when he enters in fully aware of the terms. In kind of a Fight Club manner he distills life down into some lofty philosophical grandeur, with certain glamorization of ascetic life that only someone who gave up so much can have, and is annoyed when others aren't interested.

This is wonderful.

Quote
Like Fight Club, I'm not sure how critical the film really is of its lead. It certainly isn't an enjoyable venture, with the racism and misogyny right up front. It has a bit too much of a Tarantino streak about it and ultimately that made it not my cup of tea.

Don't you feel like the ending puts a pretty big stamp on things? I would call Fight Club a ride off into the sunset compared to Edmond. No Durden-like legacy, no getting the girl... for all his ranting and belligerence who will remember any of it? He's as pathetic a protagonist as I can remember, and he dashes any pity one might feel for him. I enjoyed your male-Karen description... seeing where his privilege and racism takes him felt like some kind of justice. I'm not sure if there's meant to some kind of self-discovery in that ending or not. Maybe so, but it still didn't feel like any kind of redemption to me.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 10:22:21 AM by smirnoff »

colonel_mexico

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1418
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #116 on: December 26, 2020, 01:50:15 PM »
Quote
Very cool to hear a lawyer's take on this film, and even more interesting to hear that it is quite technically sound (for a courtroom movie). This review is a like a free version of Law'd Awful Movies (a Patreon segment of The Opening Arguments podcast, where they watch and comment on various courtroom movies... one of the commentators is a lawyer). Have you listened to that podcast before Col.?

This was a delight to read and makes me want to track the movie down and watch it again immediately.

Going back and watching some scenes I'm struck by how little we see Scott's character doing anything early on in the movie. He is like this seated statue at the prosecution table, with his sharp black suit and slick black hair. My memory is that it's mainly Stewart who gets fiery and that Scott keeps his cool... except for one time he really lays into a witness and it totally blows up in his face :))

I do love some fiery acting in the courtoom though.


I've been listening to a podcast recently called Courtroom Junkies that features a lot of soundbites from different cases. One thing that strikes me is how different everything sounds in a real courtroom. I never hear the attorneys sound as smooth as they do in movies. They always sound like a bad impressions of a movie lawyer... it always sounds disingenuous. Is that because there's not really any school for "how to act in a courtroom" and everyone just tries to do what they know (which is what they see on TV)? It seems like it must be something one has the "knack" for.

I have lots of my law school friends who listen to those different podcasts, so I really need to find some time to enjoy some of those. The way lawyers sound in real life is a wide spectrum that depends on a number of things experience, expertise, poise and talent. Law school offers advocacy teams that allow the honing of these courtroom skills, but the top students mostly become transactional lawyers but litigators. I would imagine most of the podcasts focus on criminal cases and in my experience most of the top students o into corporate law, business law, or other mundane areas of law. And that's not to disparage the law grads who go into criminal law, it's just the best moot court advocates I knew will be nowhere near a courtroom. There are brilliant criminal lawyers but also a number of clowns so it really depends.
"What do you want me to do draw you a picture?! Spell it out?! Don't ever ask me, as long as you live don't ever ask me more!"

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #117 on: December 27, 2020, 08:39:41 AM »
I have lots of my law school friends who listen to those different podcasts, so I really need to find some time to enjoy some of those. The way lawyers sound in real life is a wide spectrum that depends on a number of things experience, expertise, poise and talent. Law school offers advocacy teams that allow the honing of these courtroom skills, but the top students mostly become transactional lawyers but litigators. I would imagine most of the podcasts focus on criminal cases and in my experience most of the top students o into corporate law, business law, or other mundane areas of law. And that's not to disparage the law grads who go into criminal law, it's just the best moot court advocates I knew will be nowhere near a courtroom. There are brilliant criminal lawyers but also a number of clowns so it really depends.

That's really interesting! It makes sense when you hear it, but I'd never thought about it before.

colonel_mexico

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1418
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #118 on: January 04, 2021, 11:27:55 AM »
Since we have an additional month of Smirnoff's list I will grab V FOR VENDETTA (unseen) and a rewatch of A FEW GOOD MEN (kinda excited to see that one again since its been awhile and I am now a lawyer :) )
"What do you want me to do draw you a picture?! Spell it out?! Don't ever ask me, as long as you live don't ever ask me more!"

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25718
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #119 on: January 05, 2021, 12:14:28 PM »
Since we have an additional month of Smirnoff's list I will grab V FOR VENDETTA (unseen)

Oh yea, that's a good little film. I think you may find some tiny morsels there to nibble on. Oh let me think, what little qualities it may possess... oh, only THE GREATEST FULLY MASKED PERFORMANCE SINCE JAMES EARL JONES VOICED DARTH VADER!!! (among other things)

Seriously though... it hard for me to sit here and not rub my hands together with a huge grin when thinking about about you sitting down to watching this. :))

Quote
and a rewatch of A FEW GOOD MEN (kinda excited to see that one again since its been awhile and I am now a lawyer :) )

Defense counsel will address the witness as Colonel or Sir.

I'm quite sure you've earned it. :)

 

love