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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films

 
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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 4/10/2012 1:07:59 AM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire
Is it as bad as World Trade Center?

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 4/10/2012 7:29:31 AM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf
but I do hope this means a thread resurrection!


That wasn't really my intention and I'm not sure if anyone would be that bothered. But we'll see.


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
Is it as bad as World Trade Center?


It's MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH worse. Easily Stone's worst film, by an enormous margin.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/11/2012 12:43:26 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Sooooooooooooo, can anyone back me up about Savages?

Anyone?

Anyone at all?

..........

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 10/11/2012 3:14:33 AM   
siegfried


Posts: 13582
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From: Long ago and far away
It's the worst load of utter shit I've seen in many a long year. A complete insult to our collective intelligence. Stone should not be permitted to make any further films.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 1:12:30 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Thank you.

And - agreed.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 1:39:02 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
Why would someone put their heart and soul into characters and then cast Blake Lively? That's some real self-hate at work there.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 1:58:19 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49
Why would someone put their heart and soul into characters and then cast Blake Lively? That's some real self-hate at work there.


Why would someone put their heart and soul into characters and then coax performances that bad out of the entire cast?!?!?!

Best bit...ONLY good bit in the whole film is Travolta finishing off his snack when we first see him on screen. Oh, and the end credits of course.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 2:00:29 PM   
elab49


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You should have gone to the GFT you know.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 2:21:38 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire

quote:

ORIGINAL: great_badir

Sooooooooooooo, can anyone back me up about Savages?

Anyone?

Anyone at all?

..........


I don't think anyone saw it.

And Blake Lively was good in The Town.

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Post #: 489
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 3:04:14 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
Joined: 1/10/2005
I think we might drastically disagree on that one tbh.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 490
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/11/2012 4:00:56 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49
You should have gone to the GFT you know.


Hindsight is an amazing thing.


Actually, yeah I thought Lively was okay in The Town. Not brilliant, but certainly not noteworthy bad. My complaint (my one of many complaints) about Savages is how bad the entire cast is, it just so happens that she plays the most hateful character in the whole thing.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/2/2013 7:26:21 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Coming soon - two MULTI-STORY films about ISSUES which see the A-LIST cast converge at the end as their STORIES MINGLE.

They're about ISSUES...

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/2/2013 7:38:26 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54577
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You've rewatched Crash?

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 493
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/2/2013 8:14:03 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Maybe...

And one other.

But they're both getting the special badir fecal treatment.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/2/2013 11:08:18 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Overture

The following comments belong to great_badir and great_badir only. They are not necessarily correct, nor are you expected to agree with them. They are merely personal opinion and presented here within this forum only for interest.

Also, spoilers…


People LOVE seeing a large group of otherwise disparate famous actors appearing on screen together. A dream cast of B and C-listers feeds into an audient’s nostalgia and excites the geeky generation-Xers, whilst a who’s-who cast of A-listers is gold for just about everyone on the planet. At the very least, in the worst case scenarios, even if the resulting film is terrible, it remains an interesting curio if it is headed up by people you would normally expect to see in the latest $200million blockbuster or award worthy drama (cf. Movie 43 – which I admit I’ve not yet seen, and nothing I’ve read about it suggests to me that it will be any good, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to see it, just for the cast). For some film goers, there is little better example of the film-making medium manifesting itself in the above than the MULTI-PLOT ENSEMBLE film. Although elements of it have existed for years (Robert Altman devoted about twenty years of his career to it on and off, albeit in a very specific Altmanesque fashion) and there are examples of it in all sorts of genres (but usually one of comedy, drama or thriller), it’s only within the last decade or so that the multi-plot ensemble film has become a recognisable and definable sub-genre in its own right, and one that has slotted itself quite fastidiously within a certain frame of “realistic” character based drama dealing with real world ISSUES (so, for this entry, I am completely ignoring Tarantino). These are, effectively, TV series made large (and, heh, shorter). Everything from Z-grade made-for-TV/straight-to-DVD chaff (often starring one-time big stars – usually from the 70s and 80s [think Steve Guttenberg] – or familiar TV faces) right up to A-list Oscar chasers has dipped its toes in the water. Some are bad. Some are okay. Some are good. One or two are excellent. And some…some are downright horrendous.

The multi-plot ensemble film, at least the type I’m attempting to comment on in this text, has as its ingredients one, some, or all of the following:
A number of big A-list stars (or, at the very least, faces that are familiar to most average film goers, depending on what level of budget and which end of the market we’re talking about) with equal screen time and IMPORTANCE within the film as a whole;
Dramatic plots and THEMES which are about ISSUES and which are familiar to and/or (if the film makers are really lucky) have been/can realistically be EXPERIENCED by any person within the audience;
Specific character traits EXPLORED and, to some extent, exploited in a sign-posted fashion (usually, but not restricted to, doubt, self worth, self loathing, egotism, prejudice, faith and belief, amongst many others);
At least one of the characters must have a secret or previously unexplored trait which is buried very deeply within their conscious, which is not revealed until some way into the film, preferably about three quarters of the way through, or at a key point within the story (this is as distinct from a plot twist) – this secret or character trait can be good or bad;
All of the lead characters must get INVOLVED some way and some how with at least one other set of (preferably previously unconnected) characters at some point in the film, and their stories should either COLLIDE in an EXPLOSIVE (narratively speaking, that is) fashion, or be revealed to be part of the same sub-plot. Ideally, all of the lead characters’ individual plots will come together near the end of the film and you will have a figurative De Niro-meets-Pacino moment repeated ten times over;
At whichever point the above happens, LESSONS must have been LEARNT by at least two characters, or sets of characters, within the film’s universe. Again, ideally all of the lead characters will have LEARNT, or at least EXPERIENCED, something to change them for the better. This will most often be as the result of some form of HARD HITTING GRIEF, or of a more obvious physical EXPERIENCE. Either way, this should be conveyed by a slow montage which covers all affected characters, accompanied by a maudlin interstitial soundtrack;
Perhaps most importantly, there should be no flights of fancy. That is to say that none of the above should happen within a world which is unfamiliar or unrealistic to the audience – so it will not be set in a sci-fi universe, or as part of an action film where ammunition never runs out and rocket launchers can easily be purchased via mail order and are then sent to the purchaser via standard package delivery.

These films (at least the A-list Oscar chasers) naturally attract much media attention, be it the sheer talent involved, or controversy over the subject matter, and, as such, spend quite a long time churning through the hype machine before we mere mortals set eyes on them. More often than not, we are aware (/told) about the importance of the film (whichever typical example you would like to use) before we know whether it’s any good or not. But these films must be good, right? Right?? ‘Cos they’re all, like, about real stuff and things, and important subjects an’ that. Right?!?!?!

Let’s quickly look at some good to excellent examples of the specific thing I’m talking about, just so you know where I’m casting my critical eye. Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic (which was a remake of a stunning channel 4 series, and which was then itself remade/continued as a mediocre American TV series) utilised the above (sub) genre characteristics in an incredibly expert and subtle fashion, resulting in a rare example of a film every bit as good as its source. Traffic can be taken as my personal top of the tent-pole example. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Amores Perros (which can arguably be seen as the first of these BIG and EPIC multi-plot ensemble films, at least as we currently know them and within the specific frame I talked about further above - Magnolia [see below] was too left-field to take the crown), whilst its impact was lessened by the hype that surrounded it on the way to the UK, is nevertheless another shining example and gritty in both style and subject matter – it lacks (in a positive way) the sheen of a Hollywood equivalent. Todd Solondz was the king of the indie end of this market, with his incredibly uncomfortable Happiness, a film which took all of the above and scaled it right down to a quiet and low-key masterclass in general horribleness (this mantle was later taken up in a less than agreeable and more excessive fashion by Paul Thomas Anderson’s I-couldn’t-care-less exercise in pointlessness Magnolia, with Tom Cruise and his cock, and raining frogs being the new equivalent of everyone loving it up whilst staring at a big hole in the earth in Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon). Stephen Gaghan‘s Syriana, whilst dour, furrow browed and supremely complex (often at average Joe Public’s expense), is nevertheless commendable for tackling a subject most people know only the bare bones of, shuffling many of the above conventions and not ending on a satisfying or clear-cut note, all in only a snitch over two hours.

Then there are the okay also-rans, which are watchable, but only the once. Things like Inarritu's Amores Perros’ two US follow-ups, 21 Grams, which really does very little and goes nowhere over its two hours, but features some good performances and the odd interesting story thread, and Babel, one of the most frustrating entries in this sub-genre, where you spend the whole running time hoping that Cate Blanchett survives after the effort you’ve invested watching it.

So that’s the kind of thing I’m on about. All of which unnecessary rambling brings me to the first of my two-fer choices - Paul Haggis’ famous, infamous and legendary Crash.



Crash is the perfect storm of multi-plot ensemble films – a cast of then big name stars and on-the-rise newcomers, very simple (but MAJOR) themes which are familiar to and have been experienced by everyone, culminating in a finale which ties up everything that has preceded it in a way that is also familiar and could be experienced by everyone. Chief amongst its themes are racism and social class, where things are not often as they seem within otherwise stereotypical archetypes. But Crash’s main problem is that things ARE ALWAYS as they seem and the stereotypical archetypes remain stereotypical archetypes right to the very end – two black males at the lower end of the social ladder complaining about how everyone assumes they are gang-bangers (in the American criminal sense) then spend the film carjacking; a tormented racist cop sexually assaults a black woman and later on saves her life; a meek and put-upon black director eventually has enough and gets enraged when he’s been stereotyped one too many times; a shaven headed tatooed hispanic man turns out to be an honest family-man; a rich upper class politician’s trophy wife is suspicious of every one who doesn’t have pearly-white skin; a Middle Eastern man spends most of his time as a paranoid wacko who ends up believing he’s been saved by one of God’s miracles. And on, and on, and, Jesus Christ, on.

Before anyone says it, NO that ISN’T the point. The point of Crash (which, to give it its one credit, does not really ever take sides) was to make the viewer question their own thoughts on the subject and the stereotypes they apply in real life, just as Paul Haggis did when he went through the real-life carjacking by a couple of black youths that inspired the story. But all Crash ends up doing is re-affirming everything it has just shown on screen, which re-affirms Haggis’ thoughts during his carjacking experience, pretty much saying “well, yep – there’s general society represented EXACTLY as it in real life, right there. Yay me”. In the same way that Spike Lee’s Malcolm X largely took a dump over all the good work he did in Do the Right Thing (which is one of THE last words on the whole subject and as important as any film about race made since cinema began, in my opinion), at least in terms of balance (but then I guess that is Malcolm X’s prerogative, even if it isn’t Bobby Brown’s), so Crash glazes over the subject as a whole and presents itself as an IMPORTANT and FACTUAL document to be placed in a time capsule for future generations (with whom, one would hope, colour is not even recognised, let alone be an issue) to mull over, without ever really tackling the subject in a properly thought out and grown up manner. Haggis pulled off a rather neat trick, y’see, by making people think he’d put out something meaty and thoughtful and SERIOUS and worthy of attention and analysis, without ever doing so. The controversial subject matter and individual moments (racist cop assaults black woman, etc) cleverly mask the fact that the film as a whole is bereft of any of that and all we, the viewer, end up thinking about is those specific characters in that specific place and that specific time. I didn’t walk away from Crash overwhelmed with challenging questions like I had the first time I saw Do the Right Thing. Rather, over 2 hours later I was mainly still annoyed about Larenz Tate and Ludacris complaining about applied stereotyping for 5 or 10 minutes, immediately followed by them living up (/down) to that applied stereotyping. Errr, I think you’ve made a little whoopsie there, Paul. Intentional or not, it completely flies in the face of what the film purports to do and patronises the audience to an incredible degree (it actually offended me, and it’s very rare that anything offends me).

One of Crash’s other big failings is that it tugs so obviously on the heartstrings, with the cast EMOTING like they can see the Oscar at the end of the credits, that it wouldn’t be too out of place in company with Ron Howard’s textbook 1-2 emotionally charged (read cod sentimental) and sign-posted flicks Cinderella Man (to this day it bewilders me how it achieved 4 stars from Empire, whilst the infinitely more poignant Rocky Balboa was given only 3) and A Beautiful Mind. In that respect, the only thing Crash is missing is sepia tone and soft focus. Even Magnolia (and those of you who know me well enough are already aware of how low an opinion I have of the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, so this is a big statement coming from me) manages some elements of subtlety and pathos in between Tom Cruise’s cock and raining frogs. As a very brief aside, I actually really like the opening sequence of Magnolia and think it’s PTA’s best work by a long stretch. But, basically, Crash smacks of “oh-so-importance” and assumes itself to be a significant work, whilst the subject matter(s) requires something less obvious and more complex than a bunch of hopeless paper thin characterisations which add up to nothing more than a typical rich white man’s view of the fringes of society he probably generally avoids, all applied with very broad brush strokes.

Quite why the thing is held in such high regard is one of the intriguing and ongoing mysteries of typical Oscar fodder (although it’s pleasing to note that it is not without its critics, both professional and cinema going, and many of these have been even harsher than me), but maybe it’s because it is so simple minded – it is accessible. An easy access mainstream discourse on racism that pulls every punch going, and the complete opposite of the likes of Do the Right Thing, White Dog, Romper Stomper and, heh, Brother From Another Planet.

And that mention of John Sayles’ excellent micro-budget commentary on relations between humans and ALIENS, brings me nicely onto my second choice for this entry – Wayne Kramer’s Crossing Over.



So, everything I’ve written above, right?, just replace “racism” with “immigration” and you have matching comments for what is, essentially, exactly the same film. Hell, it's even got the same fucking poster.

Well then…

< Message edited by great_badir -- 12/2/2013 11:13:39 PM >


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 12/2/2013 11:21:21 PM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire


Crash is utter bollocks, Oscar pandering to an annoying degree. Haven't seen Crossing Over.

< Message edited by MonsterCat -- 12/2/2013 11:25:48 PM >


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 13/2/2013 6:27:13 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77554
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I love Crash but that's an ace review.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 13/2/2013 12:21:23 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
Haven't seen Crossing Over.


If you've seen Crash, you don't need to.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf
I love Crash but that's an ace review.


Thank you. It was actually seeing Crossing Over that enraged me enough to write about Crash (which I've not seen for a few years). It was like it pissed me off all over again.


I WILL be mixing this thread up with some more films that I actually like soon (I'm in the groove again), but I'm working on another shit one for the next entry that will probably be a bit divisive...

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 13/2/2013 10:55:57 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77554
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
You should start up your box office bombs again. It's been 6 years!

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So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

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Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 13/2/2013 11:48:09 PM   
scarface666brooksy!!


Posts: 3544
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From: The Valley of the Wind
Great write-up for Crash, which I don't hate as much as other people but I can totally understand the criticism against it. Haven't seen Crossing Over.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 14/2/2013 7:31:37 AM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf
You should start up your box office bombs again. It's been 6 years!


Good griff, so it has!

I'll think about it...

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 14/2/2013 7:32:38 AM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: scarface666brooksy!!
Great write-up for Crash, which I don't hate as much as other people but I can totally understand the criticism against it. Haven't seen Crossing Over.


Thanks.

If, er, heh, if you've seen Crash then, er, heh, you don't need to see Crossing Over.

No, REALLY - it's exactly the same film.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 14/2/2013 9:17:12 PM   
chambanzi


Posts: 441
Joined: 31/8/2010
I love how easy it would have been to change 'Crash' to 'Trash' but instead you chose the word shit

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 15/2/2013 12:50:30 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Oh, dear chambanzi - I don't want to break a tradition so early into the proceedings...

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 15/2/2013 11:07:24 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

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Joined: 13/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat

Is it as bad as World Trade Center?

WTC gets unfair press, its a very solid piece of filmmaking. There fore Saveges must be far worse

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 20/2/2013 11:33:15 AM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle


You have to admire critics, if not love them. Being a critic in any medium is a thankless task – they’ll never please everyone all of the time, and they’ll rarely please some people some of the time. Further, there is not one single critic in existence, or who has ever existed, that everyone agrees with. People’s tastes are just far too different, varied and personal for that. I mean, I L O V E Chevy Chase. I can’t get enough of the guy. Find me one critic who will happily sit through a Chevy Marathon that DOESN’T include Caddyshack or the first Vacation film. There are plenty of arguments that critics are the bane of the film buff (except Bane wouldn’t critique, he’d just go and kill everyone involved if he didn’t like it – no mucking about with Bane. If he was in charge of destroying the one ring, he’d have it gone in minutes and there’d be no need for 10-odd hours of walking and climbing, followed by three hundred endings), but they are a necessary bane. Okay, some people avoid all critical responses to a film, even to the point of completely avoiding a brief synopsis, so they go in with a completely clear mind and without pre-determined ideas about what the next few hours might bring. But most people, like it or not, need a critic’s response to at least gauge whether or not a certain film will agree with their cinematic palate. A critic, after all, can give you a reasonably educated opinion. Whether you agree with it or not, is another matter.

So, generally and roughly, an experienced critic’s batting average, in terms of level of public agreement, will vary somewhere between 50/50 and 75/25, the latter being either one of in agreement OR disagreement – it’s a reasonable guess at the number when you factor in films that the critics loved but the audience didn’t, and films the audience loved but the critics didn’t. But every now and again the critics get it wrong. VERY wrong. And, some years down the line, those critics accept that they were wrong and change their opinion with the benefit of repeated viewings, older age and, maybe, just a little bit of public persuasion. A classic example of this is Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Whilst it was never the critical and box office mega-disaster so often portrayed (the film did receive quite a few positive notices and made a small profit world-wide once it had done the rounds), it was nevertheless a general disappointment on its original release. Most critics agreed that it looked wonderful, had top flight effects and mostly decent performances, but also thought it lacked substance and depth (and, of course, it didn’t feature a brown turd with eyes and arms, a breathing problem and a creepy probing Maglite finger [no WAY you’re sticking that up my ass, especially not when you eat my Reese’s Pieces with it]). It certainly wasn’t the five alarm masterpiece it’s considered to be today, and that didn’t happen until 1992 when the Director’s Cut was released, at which point, all of a sudden and with VERY minimal changes, everyone realised that, actually, there was a shit load more going on in the film than first appeared. Most critics at this point did a tory government U-turn and re-evaluated their original thoughts. Of course, one or two critics maintained their original negative opinion and to this day accuse the film of lacking humanity (which is odd, considering that’s what the damn thing’s about), but they were and are few and far between. That little switcheroo has happened several times over the years. Other examples include Michael Cimino’s studio busting Heaven’s Gate, which was largely savaged on release but is now considered to be his strongest film and something of a classic. Coppola’s The Godfather Part 3 (sorry, III), so often thought of as the trilogy’s bastard off-spring and drawer of much negative attention, these days fares much better (despite the still-appalling performance from Sofia Coppola) and is thought of as a great American mob movie, if not a fantastic part of the trilogy it closes (but when the first two parts are SO good, the film deserves a bit of slack). I could go on…

Sometimes the critics do a mass unnecessary “change-my-review” when they were right in the first place – in the long journey to its eventual release, James Cameron’s Titanic had little in the way of positive things written about it and most people (critics and audiences alike) assumed that it would be the cinematic equivalent of the real event. A Cinematic Titanic, if you will (a little in-joke for those who know what MST3K means…). Everyone was prepared for a huge stinker of a film and many critics had already written negative speculative reviews from excerpts they’d seen in the months prior to release. But then it came out and it was immediately the King of the movie world. Most of the negatives quickly turned to positives and it famously made an obscene amount of money in a very short space of time. The rest, as they say, is history, both for the film and those involved with it. But hang on – it turns out the critics WERE right first time round. Watch it again. Seriously? You think it’s good?? You don’t think it’s mawkish, dreadfully acted, hugely over-long, clumsily (sub)plotted with intense levels of sick-making schmaltz that makes E.T. look like Cannibal Holocaust????? …oooookay then.

But this entry isn’t about Titanic. No. This entry is about an entirely different beast altogether. This is about a high-camp, ultra low budget musical that SHOULD have received negative reviews, but didn’t. It SHOULD have been considered as the worst thing since sliced bread when it came out, but wasn’t. And it’s still inexplicably revered to this day. Of course, I’m talking about Jim Sharman‘s The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Admittedly, I’m not really into musicals - I can probably count on less than one hand the musicals I genuinely like, and one of those (The Blues Brothers) is arguably not even a musical in the strictest and traditional sense of the genre anyway – so perhaps I’m beginning from a point of harsh bias. But the fact that it’s a musical is not the problem. It’s not even the fact that it’s high camp – I’m a big fan of La Cage aux folles. Hell, I don’t even mind its US remake, The Birdcage. The problem, for me anyway, is that Rocky Horror is the filmic equivalent of those posh university annual review shows, where all the blokes dress up in women’s lingerie (and/or jackboots) and sing show tunes. Hilarious (presumably) and entertaining (presumably) for those involved and those looking on who are part of that whole fraternity, otherwise infinitely toe curling for anyone else unfortunate enough to experience it. It’s the type of thing that can NOT be watched ironically unlike, say, Flash Gordon or The Ice Pirates (if one were to assume that Flash Gordon and The Ice Pirates both ended up like that by accident, which of course they didn’t), because Flash Gordon and The Ice Pirates succeed in appearing to take themselves seriously even though high-camp is intentional, whilst Rocky Horror doesn’t (take itself seriously, that is) and just becomes a piece of high-camp for the sake of being high-camp, in the same way that most of Wes Anderson‘s films are odd for the sake of being odd. In other words, Rocky Horror is very selective in who(m) it wants to entertain and the way it wants to entertain. The target audience appears to be the sort of people who dress up as nuns or nazis for showings of The Sound of Music, or nazis (again) for Cabaret. Safe to say I’m not part of that target audience…

The (very) odd thing about Rocky Horror’s critical and commercial popularity over the years is that its closest kissing cousin in terms of style, tone and execution is the Mae West magnum opus Sextette, a film so vilified from the moment of its release that critics, audiences (well, those who saw it anyway) and most of the people involved with making the thing would be happy if it, and its memory, were completely wiped off the face of the planet. Ignoring plot specifics, there is really very little that distinguishes the two films – both are badly acted, glitzy (although, obviously, Rocky Horror is all proto-goth “glitz” whilst Sextette is all shiny sequined “classic glitz”), hugely homo-erotic and filled with cheesy “toe tapping” musical numbers. And both are intentionally so. The only difference between the two, so far as I can tell, is that Sextette’s relatively large budget eclipsed Rocky Horror’s (the exact figure is unknown, but Sextette’s budget ran anything between $10-12million, compared with Rocky Horror’s minute less-than $1.5million), and one features a cast and crew of veterans whilst the other is made up of young talent. Yeah, okay, Sextette has Timothy Dalton married to an octogenarian sex pest, but then Rocky Horror has Tim Curry mincing about in a basque and Charles Gray teaching us a dance. Hmm. Not that I’m defending Sextette, you understand – it’s a truly abysmal film with all the endearing qualities of a large bin set aside for dumbass jocks and morbidly obese Americans to puke into after attempting the latest YouTube drinking challenge (current “favourite” – Edward 40 Hands). My point is that, for me, Rocky Horror is just as terrible and just as embarrassing for not very different reasons.

I mean, let’s not forget that at the end we find out the film’s pro-cum-antagonists (as in Dr Frank and his clan) are ALIENS from the planet Transsexual, which is in the galaxy of Transylvania. They then take off in their spaceship. Which is the castle. Oh, my aching sides. And in between we have the titular Rocky oiled up and strutting about in a nappy, a motorbike riding Meatloaf, an orgy in a swimming pool and numerous cabaret moments, all in an overlong 100minutes. Breath taking…

…ly awful.

Like Blade Runner, there is a popular misconception (still held to this day by some) that Rocky Horror was initially a critical and commercial disaster. Unlike Blade Runner, Rocky Horror was received almost universally well by critics (perhaps benefiting from the success of the original stage show) and, whilst its initial big screen opening in 1975 was financially disappointing, a re-release on the Midnight Movie circuit just nine months later made it a huge success, to the point where some argue that it is one of the earliest blockbusters, when you take into account budget against revenue. All of which is particularly grating for me when I can see little quality in the film aside from set design and cinematography (echoing, heh, what many critics said about Blade Runner).

Anyway, it's shit, etc.


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Post #: 506
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 20/2/2013 11:52:33 PM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77554
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
That is an amazing poster

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So, sir, we let him have it right up! And I have to report, sir, he did not like it, sir.

Fellow scientists, poindexters, geeks.

Yeah, Mr. White! Yeah, science!

Much more better!

(in reply to great_badir)
Post #: 507
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 21/2/2013 12:02:57 AM   
MonsterCat


Posts: 7934
Joined: 24/3/2011
From: St. Albans, Hertfordshire
I was going to take umbrage at you shitting on Rocky Horror but the poster made me lol.

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Films watched in 2013

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Post #: 508
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 28/2/2013 12:28:00 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
'mazing - Savages extended cut on DVD, on offer in WHSmith. Ever since I saw it, I yearned for it to be longer.

Might have to buy two of them, just in case one wears out.

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Post #: 509
RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 4/3/2013 10:50:49 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle


If a film looks beautiful, and I mean REALLY beautiful – the kind of beautiful where everything from cinematography and locations, right down to the trimming on period costumes and the exact placement of lit candles in a sumptuously decorated chamber, is worthy of framing - can it be that bad? And I mean REALLY bad – the kind of bad that makes you want to gnaw away at the ass (uncooked ass at that) of a corpse even though your plane hasn’t crash landed on a remote mountainside. After all, films by their nature are basically, and as exhibited, nothing more than images on a big screen (let’s for a moment leave aside otherwise important things like dialogue, plot, characterisation, sub-text etc – I’m merely taking a simpleton approach to demonstrate a point here). A lot of people would immediately gravitate towards Terence Malick’s is-it-or-isn’t-it-worthy Tree of Life as a good example of a beautiful looking film which is also a bad film. It’s a Terence Malick film, of course it looks amazing. But, oh my, does it have its critics, and far more so than his previous films. I’ve only seen Tree of Life once, on a tiny screen in a small indie cinema when it was first released, and I still haven’t made up my mind about it – I have no idea if I like it or not. I need to see it again, for sure, but do I wait for the inevitable blu ray release of the 6 hour version? (rhetorical, and off topic) In any case, and despite my indecision, it doesn’t strike me as being a “BAD” film. Empty maybe. Ponderous and pretentious certainly. Perhaps even pointless. But not bad. Not ass eating bad. And definitely not Savages bad.

Further complicating the answer to the above question is the fact that sometimes the film is a huge critical darling, with professional critics and average audiences alike. We all know, despite endless and never ending arguments to the contrary about certain films in these here forums, that all film (in fact, all art) is subjective. No one is right or wrong - beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that. How else could I defend my genuine love for Vegas Vacation (which was too embarrassed about itself to even think about carrying the National Lampoon banner), whilst at the same time having a low opinion of important works like Schindler’s List (that is to say my low opinion of that is purely from the point of view of the medium of film and has nothing to do with the appalling real life events it documents – the facts need to be separated from the execution [no off-colour pun intended] in order to understand my problems with the FILM)? Ergo, every now and again, there’s one, and only one, lonely voice professing a love or hate for something which is otherwise universally considered as being the opposite. Other cases in point, which carry a far less challenging genesis than Schindler’s List, but are no easier to defend having a low opinion of (again, in terms of the medium of film) – Citizen Kane, It’s a Wonderful Life, Trainspotting, E.T., all of which universally adored by the masses and lauded over by critics. I loathe each one of them – as I’ve already mentioned earlier in this thread (and many many times elsewhere on the forum), I think Trainspotting is THE worst film ever made. I think Kane is, to use an over used phrase, the most over rated film ever made and one of Welles’ weakest (I sincerely think that even the generally sniffed at F for Fake is at least ten times the film Kane will ever be). And, between them, It’s a Wonderful Life and E.T. pack enough awful sick-making schmaltz to fill every vomit bag flying about in our skies at any given time.

Am I wrong? (rhetorical, but you can say yes if you want)

And yet I DO love Vegas Vacation – it brings a huge smile to my face just thinking about Chevy half covered in blue dye saying that his pen burst. So, can a person actually be wrong when it comes to an opinion about art? (rhetorical but, again, you can say yes if you want) And we’re not talking about an opinion on whether or not Tracy Emin’s Unmade Bed, or Mark Rothko’s Blue are art (of course, they’re not…wink). We’re talking about an equivalent opinion on whether or not the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (true story – closed for painting when my wife and I went to Rome in 2007) is art.

Stephen Frears’ Dangerous Liaisons, the primo screen version of Pierre Choder(heh – choder…choda)los de Laclos’ original novel (unless you count the hardcore gay porn version, of course), is one of many brain blocks I have. Understandably considered as one of the most beautiful and authentic looking period films ever made, even amongst the numerous faithful screen adaptations, I’ve nevertheless slotted it firmly into my shit files. I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of period costume dramas. As with musicals perhaps I am biased, but I find them to be too similar to each other, too farcical, too fan-wavy/blushy/giggly under a cupped hand, too heaving bosomy and too sighy for my tastes. Just too damned theatrical. I should clarify at this point, if it weren’t obvious, that when I say period costume dramas, I’m referring to the “ooohhh, Mr Darcy” type and not the likes of Bill Douglas’ stunningly down ‘n dirty Comrades, or Roland Joffe’s The Mission (which has its own detractors, but I’m not one of them). But, back at the farm, Liaisons isn’t too far removed from a musical, given that this particular version was adapted by Christopher Hampton from his own Tony award winning (so it’s MAAAAAAHHHHHHHVELOOOOOUUUUSSSSSS, daaaahhhlings) Broadway play which used to star Alan Rickman before he saw sense and decided to do Die Hard instead – well done that man. Further, to these cynical eyes at least, the lack of bawdy gutter humour is pretty much the only thing that stops it from becoming an embarrassing late period Carry On film. Except that, obviously, Frears opted (and had the budget) for huge lush French locations and sympathetic natural lighting, whilst the late period Carry On crew would have been happy on some awful cardboard two-room studio set right at the very back of Pinewood Studios next to the caretaker’s shed, and using massive spot lights on loan from an in-between-productions Bond crew.

Not that that lets Liaisons off the hook too much, mind, because now I move on to one of the main problems I’ve always had with the film – the acting. Quite who decided that Glenn Close and John Malkovich were good actors, and when this happened, is a mystery on the scale of how and why Adam Sandler continues to keep getting work and relatively high profile films (even his REALLY terrible films of the last few years still got a big mainstream release). Granted, at the time Malkovich was considered as a controversial and unusual choice to fill the role of Valmont, but as soon as critics saw the film they were unanimous in their praise. WHAAAAAT?!?!?! Let’s not forget, this was at a point in Malkovich’s career when he was something of an eager scenery chewer and not the low key man of furrow browed menace or apathy he’s become in the 21st century. But here, as an 18th century French sex pest (sorry, lothario), the 80s Malkovich line up is only one or two notches down from a milkshake drinking Daniel Day Lewis. But then maybe that’s what 18th century French sex pests (sorry, lotharios) were like. Similarly, Glenn Close, who was absolutely amazing in Reversal of Fortune (I’m being “clever” with that statement, so think about it…think about it…), is stunningly awful as a busty and annoying prick tease, with a face and demeanour so punchable it makes you wish she was a man. Okay, yeah, maybe that’s the whole point of the character, but Close’s performance doesn’t make it any better. Worse still is the unusual main supporting cast – a totally miscast Swoosie Kurtz and, guffaw, Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman, who between them and with very little effort destroy any illusion that we’re in 18th century France. The only actors who walk away from the whole thing with any semblance of modesty intact are Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Capaldi, which is surprising given that Capaldi’s big screen performances at the time were, shall we say, not brilliant or, at least, stood out for the wrong reasons.

Earlier, when I mentioned farce, I didn’t mean farce in the commonly accepted use of the word – bawdy comedy - I meant the more literal meaning of ludicrous. If any of you saw Hatfields and McCoys on channel 5 a while ago, you may well have thought of it the same as me – nice to see gritty realism in a TV series (and a genre series at that), but at the same time disbelief at the farcical and repetitive nature of the events – one of Bill Paxton’s lot goes for one of Kevin Costner’s lot, so in revenge one of Kevin Costner’s lot goes for one of Bill Paxton’s lot, so in revenge one of Bill Paxton’s lot goes for one of Kevin Costner’s lot, so in revenge one of Kevin Costner’s lot goes for one of Bill Paxton’s lot, so in revenge one of Bill Paxton’s lot goes for one of Kevin Costner’s lot, and so on for nearly 6 hours. Yes, we KNOW that’s what happened in real life (or at least we did once we’d Wikid the incident), but in the frame of a TV series it just got silly. And so, Liaisons’ fictional farce is Valmont getting all rapey and then not, and then getting all rapey, and then falling in love, and then not, and then getting all rapey, and then losing interest, and then getting all rapey, and then not, etc etc etc ad nauseam.

I’ll say at this point that I DO realise the story and, particularly, this screen version is intended as blackly comic, which gives it an out in that respect. However it’s an out that doesn’t wash with me.

I suppose that, over and above specific performances, my problem with it could be that it is what it is – a big screen version of a stage play. Some of you will probably remember that I’m not overly enamoured with theatre and am certainly not a fan of to-the-back-of-the-room performances, especially when they are in a film. But, so the acting in the film version of Liaisons follows stage adaptation rules and is all big and expressive, almost hammering points home that don’t need to be hammered.

So, am I wrong?


…except I’m definitely NOT wrong about Keanu Reeves and Uma Thurman, who are just terrible.


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