Author Topic: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!  (Read 9024 times)

Corndog

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Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« on: December 17, 2009, 09:34:57 AM »
I have stevekimes, 'Noke and ferris to thank, as well as everybody else that contributed to the formulation of this list. It was specifically designed to make my head hurt as much as possible without it actually exploding (I hope since we're all friends here). But the point is, I volunteered for this and I got excited about it...because I'm a crazy person! Alright so here is the list of films again and I will try to keep up with the reviews to keep you informed of my progress and where my head is at.

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Brazil (1985)
Barton Fink (1991)
Audition (2000)
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Old Boy (2003)
Eraserhead (1977)

Awards
« Last Edit: March 11, 2010, 11:23:45 PM by Corndog »
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

ferris

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2009, 09:46:52 AM »
I have stevekimes, 'noke, and ferris to thank,

Can't wait!  Looking forward to the reviews!
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2009, 10:26:10 AM »
#1
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Written & Directed by David Lynch

WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!
The film opens with a bit of non-sense, probably a good indicator of things to come. We have quick editing and strange images strung together that, even after finishing the film, don't necessarily make sense. Then we open to Mulholland Dr. and some type of celebrity in the back of a limousine. It is here that I started writing my questions down. I had my notebook out to take notes so that I might make my write-up on the film that much more complete and hopefully clear, but what I ended up doing is just writing down a million questions that were raised in my mind, hoping to keep track of what was going on and hoping they would be answered at some point down the line. My questions were never answered. That sort of frustrated me, but I think what Lynch was doing was letting the viewer answer their own questions, which I think I always like those types of movies where you can make it mean what you want it too.

First of all, there were a lot of different characters in the film to keep track of. You had the main characters of Betty (Watts) and Rita (Harring), but you also had Adam the director (Theroux) and a whole slew of random characters and movie people. There were so many 'that guy's in this it was astounding. I think I probably recognized every actor but could not place them at all. And am I mistaken, was Billy Ray Cyrus in this, really? I was also intrigued by the fact that the Production Designer was Jack Fisk because I only knew of his work with the legendary Terrence Malick.

So the story. I basically think that the majority of it is a dream sequence and the rest is actually reality. Here is what I think is reality: Betty arrives in Hollywood to stay at her Aunt's place and try to make it as an actress. She goes into an audition that goes really well, but she soon realizes what Hollywood is all about: the bad, manipulative people, the crime and crazy people that are all around. The detective from the car crash and the actor that she auditioned with were both Robert Forster, so something has to give. But this isn't just about Hollywood, it's about a small town girl arriving in a big city and getting a slice of reality. The world sucks sometimes and there are some crazy things that happen and some crazy people that happen. The rest of the film is just a dream sequence, a personal fable of Betty's as a way of relaying the story to the viewer. The specifics I don't think happened. Rita I don't think is real, she may just be one of Betty's persona's, especially since we see Betty repeat the opening scene almost exactly the same. Adam is probably real and probably the other Hollywood players, but the bottomline is that it isn't 100% reality I don't think.

It is interesting to note that everybody changes persona's after Rita opens the box with the key that was in her purse. It is kind of like opening Pandora's Box, everything is released and all hell breaks loose. Rita become Camilla Rhodes, who gets the part in the movie over Betty (I think that is what happens) which causes rejection in addition to Adam starting to like her over Betty, who at this point in now Diane (more rejection). The two find Diane dead in her apartment before Betty becomes Diane though, so what does that mean? She is somehow connected to Rita, was it Betty/Diane? Too many questions! I'm not sure what all the lesbian stuff was about either. I think it goes back to that theme of rejection, because then Rita/Camilla starts liking Adam instead. They're not lesbians, they're thespians. The dialogue is a good indicator of this theory in my mind. Because the dialogue often comes off as very unnatural and not fluid at all, kind of like it is being scripted through someone's mind. I also think the ending of the film, with the couple from the plane, kind of supports it in the way that they were there at the idealistic beginning and then after everything has went down they are there to terrorize Betty.

There are two scenes in particular that I still cannot find connections. The diner scene at Winkie's with the two men, the one having a repeated dream, and the scene where Adam comes home to find his wife cheating with the pool man. But what about "The Cowboy", the scene at the late night "magic" show and the large man that comes to Adam's house looking for him. What does it all mean? I'm not sure I will ever know, even if I watch this 100 more times, but then again maybe I can come up with a theory by that time. I probably didn't cover everything, but how can you? I hope I raised some interesting points for people to talk about and I hope that I didn't hurt anyone's mind because only mine is supposed to hurt.

Rating: ***1/2

Mind Status: Extremely active, but not blown or hurting. Just all kinds of thinking going on.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 11:31:00 AM by Corndog »
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

ferris

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2009, 10:49:34 AM »
Good start.  Good primer for what's to come.  Great review!  (I'm not seeing the photo, though?).  I'd like to hear people's takes on the breakfast at Winkies scene too.
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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Melvil

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2009, 10:56:22 AM »
Nice review. Not at all how I believe it is "explained", but a very interesting take on it!

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2009, 10:59:18 AM »
I remember research studies that talk about the dream cycle, and how you'll have disconnected fragments that later become a part of your main dream, while elements from your earlier dreams may appear later as disconnected fragments.  The diner scene - with the waitress' name tag and the demon behind the dumpster - is all stuff Diane hasn't worked through at the beginning of her dream that's aching to come to the surface.

I'm a big subscriber to the theory that the first 90min is all the dream and the crazy 3rd Act is all in the waking world.  One of my favorite bits is how normal the dream section is when it involves Betty.  The strange Lynchian scenes are when Betty is off-camera.  I was tipped off to that when Betty says goodbye to the old couple at the airport.  We get a cutaway to the couple in the car, with big weird smiles on their faces.  It's Diane dreaming about how happy they must be since she wasn't in the car.

Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2009, 01:00:00 PM »
#2
Brazil (1985)
Written by Terry Gilliam, Tom Stoppard & Charles McKeown; Directed by Terry Gilliam

Will Most Likely Contain Spoilers
Wow, wtf? Typical Terry Gilliam I suppose. Look, it's just not my bag. Holy Grail is the only of his that I've seen that I can stand and that statement holds true after this one as well. Does it fit in well with the marathon idea? Absolutely it does. It has the oddball, confusion plot and it takes place in another world that is completely unfamiliar and strange. Gilliam is notorious for off the wall and the sets and world he creates here are so ridiculous. This is a personal thing, I understand, but I don't like it, I don't like the style of Gilliam and the way he paints a picture. He is very similar to Tim Burton that way. I don't like him either, though I wouldn't say I hate every film he has done. Like Holy Grail, Burton at least has Big Fish (and Pee-Wee for that matter).

Okay, so let's see if I can make sense of this. Average guy gets wrongfully arrested, dies latter.The guy they were supposed to arrest was a rogue heating engineer(De Niro). Yea, I said rogue heating engineer. You see, the world that Sam Lowrey(Johnathan Pryce) lives in is some future world full of organization and paperwork that is so bland and uniform, except maybe for Jill Layton(Kim Griest), the secret love of Sam's life. When they go to a restaurant each item on the menu has a number and in order to get it the customer must actually say the number. And while at the restaurant an explosion takes place and they just ignore it completely, letting the firemen and others to tend to it. It is so bad in fact that Sam goes so far as to tell his mother and her friends that he doesn't have dreams and aspirations.

The film is interrupted by Sam's placid dreams/fantasies of Jill. He is always chasing her and trying to save her from some monster. I think this is just Sam trying to break from the order of the world around him and him pursuing love in the form of Jill. A noble goal and a noble theme, though I don't think it was handled the best way I would have liked.

Between the sets and the camerawork, Gilliam actually manages a few pretty nice shots and atmospheres, but it isn't consistent and most of the time I was turned off by the futuristic style world. The score is good, especially the main theme. The acting? Well I have never liked Pryce, but the others were good. I was amazed at how little De Niro was on screen. Though for most of the film I was unimpressed, I did think the last 20 minutes or so were pretty good. The comedy was alright too. It didn't really work for me overall, but there was a decent laugh or two here and there. I did rather enjoy one poster in the background at the parcel plant that said, "Mind that parcel. Eagle eyes can save a life." So strange and I guess that's why it fits so well into this marathon. But it hardly accomplished it's mission here, so I will move on to bigger and better things hopefully and enjoy the Coen Brothers and John Tuturro a little bit more. There is probably a deeper meaning and had I liked what the film was doing I may have been able to pay closer attention and figure that out and maybe enjoy it a bit more, but the style was just too off-putting for me.

Rating: **1/2

Mind Status: Still just thinking about Mulholland Dr.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 01:02:49 PM by Corndog »
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

ferris

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2009, 01:36:15 PM »


Mind Status: Still just thinking about Mulholland Dr.

Funny when I finished watching Mulholland Drive my mind status was "Still thinking about A Serious Man".  Which may still be my status now!

I breezed through your review but didn't read it since I haven't seen it yet. 
"And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs" - Exodus 8:2 KJV
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Corndog

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 01:39:19 PM »


Mind Status: Still just thinking about Mulholland Dr.

Funny when I finished watching Mulholland Drive my mind status was "Still thinking about A Serious Man".  Which may still be my status now!

I breezed through your review but didn't read it since I haven't seen it yet. 

yea, I've had a couple months to sit on A Serious Man so I'm good there.
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

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Re: Corndog's Mind is Blowing Up!
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2009, 03:26:35 PM »
Brazil will be part of My Top 100 Movies Marathon.  I haven't seen it in at least 10 years, so I'll hold my comments for now.