Author Topic: 1990s US Bracket: Verdicts  (Read 477705 times)

StarCarly

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1450 on: September 16, 2008, 09:27:22 PM »
Has J5er came to a conclusion yet?

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ses

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1451 on: September 16, 2008, 09:31:54 PM »
Boo...again.
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Mandrake

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1452 on: September 16, 2008, 09:48:38 PM »
To Die For Vs. Boogie Nights

I've seen both of these films several times, both on their original theatrical release and more than once on video.  But I wanted to watch To Die For again before deciding this, as it's been longer since I'd seen it and I know Boogie Nights very well (I even wrote a paper about it in college).

I like them both, To Die For being a darkly comic Buck Henry satire about the perniciousness of the media and Boogie Nights being a rise-and-fall story about the porn industry from the late 70s to the early 80s.  Gus Van Sant's conceit for his film is that the story of a dim-witted, media-obsessed psycho is told documentary-style, with the various characters talking directly to a camera or off-camera interviewer.  The effect isn't so much that of a dystopian world where everyone wants to be on TV (which I think Van Sant was going for) so much as an over-the-top reflection of the anti-heroine's cracked state of mind.  Nicole Kidman is pretty good in the role, much better than she had been in any of her American films to that point, but it isn't nearly her best performance (that would be Eyes Wide Shut, made four years later).  There's also a fine supporting performance from Illeana Douglas and it's kind of fun seeing Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck just starting out.  In all, though, it's merely a solid film.  The satire's too broad to be really effective (too many characters are way too dumb for the film to be a truly biting indictment of reality).

Boogie Nights, on the other hand, is one of my favorite films.  It borrows freely from all kinds of other movies (I Am Cuba, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, etc, etc), but instead of some kind of cynical exercise in pomo winkiness, Paul Thomas Anderson's homages feel like the honest enthusiasms of a young filmmaker in love with the cinema.  The film imposes a simple plot structure on an ensemble cast that's one of the great collections of indie acting talent assembled in the late 90s (Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, John C Reilly, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Melora Walters, Luis Guzman, William H. Macy, Philip Baker Hall, Alfred Molina, Ricky Jay, Tom Jane and Burt Reynolds).  I always have a soft spot for a director's early films, when they're just trying everything they can think of and throwing it all up on the screen (Mean Streets, Killer's Kiss, Breathless, Pulp Fiction, As Tears Go By among others) and this is a perfect example: we've got long tracking shots (not just the pool one from I Am Cuba, the New Year's Eve party shot is even better), musical dance sequences, fast cut montages, split screens, jump cuts, quick zooms, slow zooms etc.  Anderson pulls liberally from the entirety of post-New Wave film style, investing every shot with what Truffaut called "the joy of making cinema". 

My three favorite moments in the film:

1) the opening shot, when what is clearly a crane shot floating around the outside of the club invisibly cuts to a handheld tracking shot, following Reynolds inside the club and introducing almost every major cast member in the one single shot.  It serves a narrative purpose (uniting the principle characters in space) while simultaneously looking really cool (years after being blown away by this shot the first time I saw the film, I learned they digitally erased the cut.  It doesn't matter, it's still awesome). 

2) During the New Year's Eve Party, Philip Baker Hall is trying to convince Reynolds to switch to video.  His speech:

"I'm not a complicated man.  I like cinema.  In particular, I like to see people CINECAST!in' on film.  But I don't wanna win an Oscar and I don't wanna reinvent the wheel..  I like the simple pleasures.  Like. . .butter in my ass, lollipops in my mouth.  That's just me.  Call me crazy.  Call me a pervert."

Whereupon Robert Ridgely, playing The Colonel and sitting out of focus in the background, starts laughing hysterically.

And 3) the slow zoom in on Marky Mark in Alfred Molina's apartment during "Jessie's Girl" when Todd! Parker! is about to pull a gun and Marky first begins to realize that he seriously needs to reevaluate his life.  Maybe it's acting and maybe it's just Wahlberg's blank slate allowing us to read his state of mind onto his face, either way, the shot works perfectly.

So, yeah, this was an easy victory for Boogie NightsTo Die For is good, I have it as the 11th best film of 1995.  But Boogie Nights is a masterpiece, the best film of 1997 and my #117 film of all-time.

So sorry I haven't used the word "perniciousness" in my reviews - - only real film critics use that word

Junior

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1453 on: September 16, 2008, 09:49:12 PM »
Let's get a little perspective here, shall we?

I kicked out Dead Man way early in the bracket and there was a huge uproar. Everybody hated me for forever. Then like a day went by and nobody cared. In the end it's all is fair in love and war. Dunno which one this is... probably both.

And we already know who the winner of the bracket is.
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pixote

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1454 on: September 16, 2008, 09:56:08 PM »
[ginormous block of quoted text]

So sorry I haven't used the word "perniciousness" in my reviews - - only real film critics use that word

That's a very long way to go to increase the negativity in what's generally a very awesome thread.  Can't say I'm a fan of that.

Getting this thread back on track:  Can you clarify what put Kids over the top for you in the end?  You find it a more singular film than Lebowski?

Same question to you, J5er... why did Sling Blade prevail when the dust settled?

pixote
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 09:59:35 PM by pixote »
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

sdedalus

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1455 on: September 16, 2008, 10:02:03 PM »
That's a very long way to go to increase the negativity in what's generally a very awesome thread.  Can't say I'm a fan of that.


Agreed.  I don't think anything more needs to be said.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1456 on: September 16, 2008, 10:04:16 PM »
While I admire your guts Mandrake thought out reasoning would be nice. I mean I made an even ballsier choice but I had a three page explanation.

Just sayin'  ;D

pixote

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1457 on: September 16, 2008, 10:12:01 PM »
I made an even ballsier choice

Not quite.  You advanced the 151st seed over the 8th seed.  But 3rd-seeded Lebowski just lost to 182nd-seeded Kids.

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1458 on: September 16, 2008, 10:13:24 PM »
I made an even ballsier choice

Not quite.  You advanced the 151st seed over the 8th seed.  But 3rd-seeded Lebowski just lost to 182nd-seeded Kids.

pixote
???

That all just went waaaay over my head.

pixote

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Re: 1990s US Bracket commentary
« Reply #1459 on: September 16, 2008, 10:15:44 PM »
Translation:  Lebowski was more of a favorite than Se7en and Kids was more of an underdog than Contact.  So, according to the seeding, Mandrake's verdict represents the bigger upset.

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.