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Demetrios Makes Everything 20% Cooler from Wheeling, Illinois Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Makes Everything 20% Cooler
Dec 31st 2018 at 3:36:13 PM

Yeah, that is a good movie. :)

Wishing I was where the sunlight is: Florida or South Africa
TompaDompa from Sweden
Jan 6th 2019 at 12:15:04 PM

Watched High School, a 1968 documentary by Frederick Wiseman. It is shot in the style of cinéma vérité and portrays—what else?—a high school, specifically the relationship between the students and the faculty. It does not paint the faculty in a particularly good light, and the attitudes espoused by the people and by extension the system made me raise an eyebrow quite a few times (in particular, the sex education shown in the film is decidedly not something I would characterize as "enlightened"). At any rate, I found it kind of interesting to reflect on the differences and similarities between what's shown in the film and my own experiences in school, and I have to admit that I'm curious how much of the differences are explained by this being a different time and how much by it being a different country.

Ceterum censeo Morbillivirum esse eradicandum.
Jan 6th 2019 at 1:43:03 PM

Count me in as loving The Sting, too. The movie gets a little bit lengthy if you know it already, but I would watch it for Robert Redford alone. And I just love the score! One of my favs!

LongTallShorty64 Frumpy and grumpy Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
Frumpy and grumpy
Jan 6th 2019 at 1:51:34 PM

The Scott Joplin score is really inspired. I'm actually unsure if it's actual ragtime music or a score inspired by it. Either way, great music.

"It's true that we had a gentleman's agreement, but unfortunately, I am no gentleman."
Jan 6th 2019 at 1:56:32 PM

It's "the Entertainer" and yes, it's a genuine ragtime piece. Really fun to play.

RavenWilder Raven Wilder
Raven Wilder
Jan 6th 2019 at 5:09:11 PM

How well-worn was the con artist heroes are also conning the audience trope before The Sting came out? Or is it a Trope Maker?

"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
Jan 6th 2019 at 5:30:10 PM

Mmm...I am thinking...the original Oceans 11 came out earlier, but frankly, I can't remember if they mislead the audience in this one. There is also Topkapi, but there it is only in the book that the main character tries to figure out what the criminals are really up to, in the movie the audience is mostly in on the plan from the get go.

I can't think of a movie, but there has to be one, right?

Oh, wait...naturally there is one: Psycho!

Jan 6th 2019 at 6:45:51 PM

High School is indeed very illuminating in how it shows students being indoctrinated. The thing that interested me was what it did not show, namely, any social interaction between students. I guess that would have distracted from the theme.

Jan 6th 2019 at 8:10:26 PM

And The Sting is just a marvelous movie. I love that it went up for the Oscar against a Bergman flick.

Jan 6th 2019 at 8:15:12 PM

The '70s was a pretty interesting time for the Academy Awards, lot of unusual nominees and atypical winners. So many crime movies won in the early 70s when that would have been unthinkable a decade back. I don't think the Oscars were ever as adventurous before or after that.

Jan 6th 2019 at 8:33:36 PM

[up]The Oscars certainly picked better. The list of winners is a pretty goddamn good list of movies. Sure Rocky shouldn't have won in 1976, but Rocky was a really good movie regardless.

That list certainly looks better than the 1980s where Oscar whiffed quite badly most of the time.

TompaDompa from Sweden
Jan 24th 2019 at 2:09:01 AM

Watched In the Year of the Pig a couple of weeks ago and just got around to making a page for it. It's a 1968 documentary about The Vietnam War and the events leading up to it. It doesn't exactly hide that it's not in favour of the war, but I didn't really expect anything different. It's pretty good.

Ceterum censeo Morbillivirum esse eradicandum.
LongTallShorty64 Frumpy and grumpy Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
Frumpy and grumpy
Feb 1st 2019 at 2:14:02 PM

I watched Mikey and Nicky starring Peter Falk and John Cassavetes. I thought it was an interesting character study film, but it did get a little long at parts and dragged a bit.

I didn't know that Cassavets was also an actor. I thought he was just an influential indie filmmaker only. Huh, the more you know!

"It's true that we had a gentleman's agreement, but unfortunately, I am no gentleman."
Feb 1st 2019 at 2:49:33 PM

Cassavetes was a popular character actor of the time. He was one of The Dirty Dozen, was Mia Farrow's creepy husband in Rosemary's Baby and in The Killers by Don Siegel (Ronald Reagan's last movie role, he plays the villain). He funded his movies by his acting fees and the royalties he got from roles.

Feb 1st 2019 at 4:03:23 PM

Yeah, Rosemary's Baby, that's a can't-miss. And don't forget, the front entrance of that apartment building was where John Lennon was murdered!

Meanwhile I'm guessing that Long Tall Shorty just signed up for the new Criterion Channel like I did.

LongTallShorty64 Frumpy and grumpy Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
Frumpy and grumpy
Feb 1st 2019 at 4:46:57 PM

Guilty as charged: I got the Criterion Channel. I feel like a bum watching movies on my phone, but dammit, my commute is long! The Criterion Channel is too good to pass up. I want access to rare movies. And Mikey and Nicky is pretty rare (at least the 70s are a blind spot for me). Never heard of it before. And it has the rare female director to boot. I'll definitely make a work page for it.

"It's true that we had a gentleman's agreement, but unfortunately, I am no gentleman."
BorneAgain Trope on a Rope from Last House on the Right
Trope on a Rope
Feb 1st 2019 at 5:20:49 PM

When rereading Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, it was telling to see how much Spielberg and Lucas stuck out among the New Hollywood generation in the height of the era. There's an easy generalization of the two nerdier kids hanging with the cooler and more rebellious crowd admittedly, but when hearing about their unironic love of material like old serials, comics, and the genre films considered schlocky at the time, the subsequent box office success relative to the others makes sense.

Whether or not the shift to the 80s blockbuster period was now the industry pumping out escapist fantasy fare or Hollywood finally being capable of pulling off otherworldly/high concept movies is a matter of debate. However its wild to me that so many directors and writers that made the resonant movies about contemporary culture fell out of relevance so quickly when that transition occurred. There's a fascinating what if of the more grounded filmmakers of the era doing their own takes on the more out there genre pictures of the 80s.

Still waiting for a Legion of Losers movie...
Feb 1st 2019 at 6:02:07 PM

That book you mention is considered highly disreputable and Dated History. Literally everyone in that book called it false. Spielberg said to Roger Ebert, "every word in that book about me was a lie". And it's not just him, but even Robert Altman, a more anti-establishment figure who called it trash.

The truth is there wasn't that much of a difference as you mention. George Lucas for instance studied anthropology and made experimental films in college and his first film THX-1138 was a very arty Godard inspired science-fiction movie. And he has a lot of high-brow and high-concept references which you can see in Star Wars and actually the prequels which has some really striking ideas and references. They were all interested in reviving old genres and concepts.

Gangster films for instance were disreputable as was horror. And yet Coppola and Scorsese made the gangster films into high art. They also tried to make the musicals something that could work with "serious" themes while still having singing and dancing. Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters are every bit as representative of the New Hollywood as Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now. Close Encounters of the Third Kind also has the only performance by François Truffaut out of his own movies.

BorneAgain Trope on a Rope from Last House on the Right
Trope on a Rope
Feb 1st 2019 at 6:27:52 PM

Eh, claims of Dated History aside, I'm still inclined to believe there was something to the sensibilities of those two that led to them being head of film empires in the ensuing decade beyond just circumstance.

Still waiting for a Legion of Losers movie...
Feb 1st 2019 at 8:13:03 PM

There was nothing inevitable about Lucas and Spielberg's success, although it seems that way now.

In the case of George Lucas, nothing he did outside of Star Wars and Indiana Jones was ever successful. In the entire period of the '80s he produced a number of projects like Willow and Labyrinth and others that failed. His best productions in that, non-Star Wars and non-Spielberg, are his collaborations with Coppola and Paul Schrader, and that didn't make money. He's actually not credited for being a daring producer because if you see his filmography he produced stuff like Mishima. American Graffiti was a success, critically and commercially, and holds up pretty well and is quite original in being a movie comprised mostly of characters talking to each other in moving cars while driving past each other but THX bombed hard, so much so that American Zoetrope folded briefly.

Spielberg had a problem in that his non-genre movies (The Sugarland Express, Nineteen Forty One, Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, Hook) didn't do as well as his science-fiction stuff and Indiana Jones. It's not till the '90s, with Schindler's List that he managed to get past. But other New Hollywood types are handicapped...Scorese only does well when he makes these violent gangster movies and sociopathic character studies even if he does want to do other kinds of movies. Coppola's piggy bank was The Godfather, Lucas' was Star Wars.

Basically all these guys wanted to be film-makers who could be ambitious, experimental and make any kind of movie and have it all...and they had that only when they made certain kinds of movies.

Feb 2nd 2019 at 2:20:31 AM

yeah, I agree. George Lucas, well, I think it is always worth to remember that the best Star Wars movie is the one which wasn't written and directed by him. So...always worth remembering. He is the kind of guy who got elevated based on who he worked with.

Spielberg on the other hand is the kind of director who can do everything and who ELEVATES everyone working with him. He has directed and produced so many movies, but I can count the "bad" ones on one hand. And no, Schindler's List isn't the exception in terms of non-genre movies. There are also movies like Munich. (And remember, box office success is no indicator of quality).

Spielberg might be the best director not of the current generation but ever, just because of his versatility. And if someone would asked me who I would want on the help of a new Indiana Jones movie my answer would always be: Just let this franchise die, but if you have to, pick Spielberg and keep Lucas as far away as possible.

Edited by Swanpride on Feb 2nd 2019 at 2:21:41 AM

Feb 2nd 2019 at 6:56:39 AM

I am a huge Spielberg fan. This guy is a natural born film-maker and I even think Nineteen Forty One which has this reputation as a stinker is a daring comedy and quite good. I am not fond of the idea of separating Lucas and Spielberg from the rest. They were part of the same group. And Martin Scorsese has never once tried to say otherwise.

Lucas is a great talent and I disagree that the The Empire Strikes Back is better than A New Hope (which Lucas directed). And Lucas was involved in Empire, he created the characters of Yoda and Lando Calrissian, insisted on the Han/Leia romance, and he wrote the big plot twist at the end. All that was done by him. Not that Irving Kershner didn't do a great job but he himself admitted that this was still Lucas' baby (and he also entirely approved of and participated in the Special Edition re-edits for that reason). Empire Strikes Back was intended as a small stakes low-key movie after the first's the only Star Wars movie without any big character deaths for that reason.

Lucas' early student films are pretty good. And even then he did unusual things like Filmmaker that was a documentary about the making of Coppola's early indie movie The Rain People (which is actually quite good), and Coppola said that it was an example of a making-of movie better than the actual movie.

Feb 2nd 2019 at 7:18:37 PM

I just watched a film called $.

No really, $. Sometimes referred to as Dollars but the title is definitely $.

Not a bad little film, heist movie with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn. Drags in the third act, the heist is barely halfway through the movie and much of the end is a looooooong chase scene halfway across Germany.

Feb 3rd 2019 at 12:01:07 AM

[up] Isn't the chase scene mostly in Hamburg?

Feb 3rd 2019 at 12:58:41 AM

Starts in a Hamburg warehouse, then they chase him to a train station, then he hides on a train, then they chase him out of the train station, then Warren Beatty hops into a car that's being transported on a truck...which takes them out of Hamburg into the country, where the bad guys find the truck and then chase Warren Beatty down a hill and across a frozen lake. One bad guy gets killed and Warren hops on a train but the other one is still chasing Warren Beatty for the Briefcase Full of Money, driving his car to the next station where he finally makes the train and catches Warren.

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