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Author Topic: Top 100 Club: smirnoff  (Read 6136 times)

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #120 on: January 21, 2021, 09:35:19 PM »
Unless your new list kicks these off, I'll be watching:

Moneyball
Tim's Vermeer
Touching the Void


Quite a variety there. One feature's a magician, one features a Boney M song, and one features a this guy who was once in an episode of TNG. :))

Okay, I found the magician(s) in Tim's Vermeer and Chief Engineer Lieutenant Logan scouting for the Oakland A's under the name Pittaro in Moneyball, so that means the Boney M song must be in Touching the Void. :) I just picked that one up at the library, so will watch soon!

Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #121 on: January 21, 2021, 11:18:11 PM »
Tim's Vermeer




"Oh, my aching back!" - Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners.

Be careful what you start, especially if you're a stickler for detailed completionism. Even my back hurt for Tim Jenison, as he continually bent over at a certain angle while painting minutia month after month. I get the draw of wanting to test out a theory that is so compelling, the findings could change the very nature of what it means to call Vermeer a genius artist. But, obsession for answers can come at a dear cost. For Tim, it's not just vast amounts of time, continual setbacks and seemingly endless need for innovation, it's unrelenting tedium, severe, chronic pain and even possibly slipping sanity. Without the support and expectations of others, he might not have finished the quest. But, he did and it was documented and he now has a "Vermeer" of his own making above his mantlepiece.

Some art critics were "sour grapes" about what Tim did and what his experiment illuminated, but they missed the point entirely. Using newly understood science to enhance art doesn't make one less genius, it makes one more impressive. As Teller said, “Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” I agree. Magic/genius is more about effort than innate unearned skill.

Teproc

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #122 on: January 22, 2021, 02:04:06 AM »
Sideways (Alexaner Payne, 2004)

Always in danger of succombing to the "why should I care about these people again ?", but Giamatti and Haden Church are really quite good here and keep it grounded with the film having enough empathy for its characters without letting them off the hook either. Madsen is excellent in what feels like a pretty underwritten role, and Payne milks everything he can out of the Nappa Valley (ish? I'm not very knowledgeable about Californian geography) setting. It's witty and soulful, with an ending I can get behind. Still hampered by the fact that films about a somewhat unpleasant man's midlife crisis are... numerous, but this one has enough specifity and self-awareness to work better than most.

7/10
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #123 on: January 22, 2021, 08:56:12 PM »
Sideways (Alexaner Payne, 2004)

Always in danger of succombing to the "why should I care about these people again ?", but Giamatti and Haden Church are really quite good here and keep it grounded with the film having enough empathy for its characters without letting them off the hook either. Madsen is excellent in what feels like a pretty underwritten role, and Payne milks everything he can out of the Nappa Valley (ish? I'm not very knowledgeable about Californian geography) setting. It's witty and soulful, with an ending I can get behind. Still hampered by the fact that films about a somewhat unpleasant man's midlife crisis are... numerous, but this one has enough specifity and self-awareness to work better than most.

7/10

I think he's worked well in that sort of mode, that of the somewhat unpleasant, somewhat unlikable. Election is problematic, but successful in telling the story of the bad (but to me, maybe not terrible?) high school teacher. About Schmidt I think is the closest comparison to Sideways, in terms of a bristly, kind of shitty retiree coming to terms with himself and a changing America. Nebraska really has the most sympathetic characters of any Payne I've seen (seen all four mentioned here and no others). If you haven't seen it, though, I might check out About Schmidt.
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smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #124 on: January 23, 2021, 02:36:50 AM »
Tim's Vermeer

"Oh, my aching back!" - Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners.

Be careful what you start, especially if you're a stickler for detailed completionism. Even my back hurt for Tim Jenison, as he continually bent over at a certain angle while painting minutia month after month. I get the draw of wanting to test out a theory that is so compelling, the findings could change the very nature of what it means to call Vermeer a genius artist. But, obsession for answers can come at a dear cost. For Tim, it's not just vast amounts of time, continual setbacks and seemingly endless need for innovation, it's unrelenting tedium, severe, chronic pain and even possibly slipping sanity. Without the support and expectations of others, he might not have finished the quest. But, he did and it was documented and he now has a "Vermeer" of his own making above his mantlepiece.

Some art critics were "sour grapes" about what Tim did and what his experiment illuminated, but they missed the point entirely. Using newly understood science to enhance art doesn't make one less genius, it makes one more impressive. As Teller said, “Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” I agree. Magic/genius is more about effort than innate unearned skill.

This was in response to 1SO watching Room 237 but I find that it applies to this film just as much:

Stupid as some ideas may be, I think there’s value in following through. There’s no rhyme or reason why playing the movie backwards and forwards, one over the other, should reveal anything. But in following through on the exercise things may come up which open a line of thinking which you may never have reached before. It’s two hours spent focusing on a movie in a unique way, and may yield some unique thoughts. There’s no substitute for time sometimes. :)

I think about the moment when Tim discovers that a certain aspect of the painting has a slight curve and what that reveals about the methods. It's something that he never would have come across without following through. I mean sure he basically proved the concept after a few hours, but in carrying on that's when the discoveries unlooked for reveal themselves. I imagine everyone here has experienced this sort of thing in writing about movies to some degree. You know in a general way if you enjoyed a movie or not and a star rating would suffice to express your reaction, but by choosing to follow through and attempting to document that enjoyment and spending more time thinking about it, perhaps revisiting a scene or two in the process, an idea or insight may be generated. Or a revelation.

I think about the marathons people undertake here, the lists, the polls, and other mad experiments (1SO's chapter by chapter reviews for example)... all fantastic things that cause a person to spend more time thinking about a film, or seeing a film in a certain way. Even following through on something as simple as assembling a top 5 such-and-such films, while it may seem like a trivial exercise, anyone who has tried will know that it caused them to look at the films in a different way. Maybe a new way. Like Tim's Vermeer, the discoveries are quite rare and only come after much toil. But who would argue that it wasn't worth it? And even if it wasn't, that in itself would be a discovery. So either way there's value in the doing. :)

The other aspect I appreciate about the film is that it's quite calming to watch. There's a lot you can sit and contemplate while observing Tim's labour. Or just zone out. I've heard painting can be quite calming, but watching someone else do it is perhaps even more calming. :))

There's also an irreverence in the act that I enjoy. Bucking the idea that some things are best left to the experts. The non-painter creating a masterpiece. There's a lesson build into this exercise that I feel a person can extrapolate to many areas. How many jobs are based primarily upon tools? Is Tim an artist... well, when he has the tools, he's at least 95% the artist that Vermeer was. What's a plumber but a person with costly equipment that a ordinary person can't justify purchasing for a one-time job? The knowledge is easily accessible for a person with the desire to do the job correctly (a coin flip when you hire someone). And like Tim you can achieve 95% of the skill after a few hours. In every job or art there will exist a Michael Jordon (of welding, of cooking, of accounting...), but very few tasks in any job require an such a high level of artistry to be done effectively. More often it is will, and time, and tools. I dislike these gatekeepers that make things sound more complicated than they necessarily are. There's a scene I enjoy in the film A Walk in the Woods where Robert Redford's character (Bill Bryson) is trekking the Appelachian Trail, and at one of the rest areas a fellow trekker, a gear nut, asks him why he chose the SuperTrax550 backpack... Bill simply responds that he thought it would be easier than carrying everything in his hands.

I'm basically just reiterating what you already said in your review, but I wanted to say more than "I completely agree". :)) So glad you got to see this one, Sandy!

smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #125 on: January 23, 2021, 03:22:16 AM »
Sideways (Alexaner Payne, 2004)

Always in danger of succombing to the "why should I care about these people again ?"

:)) It wasn't until I watched this film with my girlfriend (who absolutely hated it) that I ever really sensed this might be a question floating around. There is no shortage of despicable bahaviour from both Miles and Jack, but at the same time... I dunno... I find Jack funny, I find Miles a pitiable, I find their friendship endearing. Jack opening that bottle in the car that Miles had been saving, or Jack telling Miles to quit therapy and stop taking Lexipro and that he just needs to "get his joint worked on", or Jack chewing gum during a wine tasting. All things that drives Miles crazy... and make me laugh. But Jack is good for Miles I think, and Miles is good for Jack. In spite of all these events the friendship is never in jeopardy. After everything I think they're only closer.

I'm not usually a fan of Payne's films... I don't find them funny. But I enjoy this one for exactly the reasons you laid out.





Sandy

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #126 on: January 23, 2021, 07:46:49 PM »
smirnoff, honestly, I could also reply with "I completely agree" to all of what you've written. But, I will add that I've been sitting with your words and have pondered on times where I have gone down interesting paths, as I really spend time thinking on a movie. I look back at some reviews and the most rewarding ones are where I let myself get carried away on those paths. My happiest rabbit hole was talking about The Matrix with you. We spend much more time than "anyone else might reasonably expect" but came out the other side with fun discoveries. Thank you for trips like those! And, for always having such intriguing and thought provoking movies on your top 100 list. :)

For old times sake...

The Matrix


Also, this paragraph is so you. I think you told me once that when you see something you want to make, you say, "I can figure out how to do that" or, "If they can do it, so can I" and then you do.

Quote
There's also an irreverence in the act that I enjoy. Bucking the idea that some things are best left to the experts. The non-painter creating a masterpiece. There's a lesson build into this exercise that I feel a person can extrapolate to many areas. How many jobs are based primarily upon tools? Is Tim an artist... well, when he has the tools, he's at least 95% the artist that Vermeer was. What's a plumber but a person with costly equipment that a ordinary person can't justify purchasing for a one-time job? The knowledge is easily accessible for a person with the desire to do the job correctly (a coin flip when you hire someone). And like Tim you can achieve 95% of the skill after a few hours. In every job or art there will exist a Michael Jordon (of welding, of cooking, of accounting...), but very few tasks in any job require an such a high level of artistry to be done effectively. More often it is will, and time, and tools. I dislike these gatekeepers that make things sound more complicated than they necessarily are. There's a scene I enjoy in the film A Walk in the Woods where Robert Redford's character (Bill Bryson) is trekking the Appelachian Trail, and at one of the rest areas a fellow trekker, a gear nut, asks him why he chose the SuperTrax550 backpack... Bill simply responds that he thought it would be easier than carrying everything in his hands.

I really appreciate that can-do stance and it motivates me to try new things.


« Last Edit: January 23, 2021, 07:51:24 PM by Sandy »

Antares

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #127 on: January 23, 2021, 08:03:47 PM »
Why are there continuity errors? We’ll never know the truth, but from John Ford to Martin Scorsese to David Fincher, these mistakes happen all the time and they’re usually caused by accident.

One day I was looking at this movie's IMDB page way back before I joined this forum and was amazed at how many continuity errors there were with this film. So then, I looked at the IMDB pages for all of Kubrick's films and he has to be the Babe Ruth of film continuity errors. It's staggering the amount of them there are in his films.
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Antares

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #128 on: January 23, 2021, 08:15:42 PM »
Some art critics were "sour grapes" about what Tim did and what his experiment illuminated, but they missed the point entirely. Using newly understood science to enhance art doesn't make one less genius, it makes one more impressive.

Especially when you take it in the context of the time that Vermeer lived. It takes a genius to discover what he did about light and the use of the camera obscura. I mean, no one else in art history discovered this "trick". While I thought the documentary slogged a bit, I was still fascinated by what Vermeer did. He's always been one of my and my wife's favorite artists. No other artist captured light and color so well.
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smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: smirnoff
« Reply #129 on: January 24, 2021, 08:32:45 AM »
Also, this paragraph is so you. I think you told me once that when you see something you want to make, you say, "I can figure out how to do that" or, "If they can do it, so can I" and then you do.

How many humans have done a thing? I'm a typical human... so in theory I should posses the basic requirements to also do the thing. Not the best version of a thing perhaps. If I wanted to make a wedding cake I would not imagine it will be the highest level, but could I achieve 85%? I have hands, and eyes and if I spend some money I would have the tools. If I watched a few hours of things on youtube I would have the knowledge. Could I manage a cake that would be respectable? I imagine so.

Sometimes things seem like art, and then you see tools that were used to create the thing and it's like, oh well... I could probably do that. :))

« Last Edit: January 24, 2021, 08:45:20 AM by smirnoff »