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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films

 
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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 5/3/2013 5:16:32 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


Posts: 3544
Joined: 24/10/2007
From: The Valley of the Wind
If it wasn't for Rocky Horror Picture Show, we wouldn't have Emma Watson in lingerie in Perks Of Being A Wallflower so I can't completely hate it That being said I've never seen it.

I've also never seen Dangerous Liaisons but that poster is just superb As is Rocky's as well.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 22/3/2013 2:25:22 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54597
Joined: 1/10/2005
Did you see this?

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/william-friedkins-restored-sorcercer-getting-a-re-release-aiming-for-the-venice-film-festival-20130321
http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/william-friedkins-misunderstood-1977-sorcerer-getting-re-release-exclusive-81966

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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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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 28/3/2013 12:42:23 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
Pardon my Francais, but about cunting time!!!!!!!

Now, what's the odds on it only getting a blu ray release in the States..........

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 20/6/2013 12:44:45 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
It’s been a while, so time for a film I like…


Valhalla Rising, Nicolas Winding Refn (2009)

The world of the good-bad film and bad-good film is a fascinating place to wander through. It’s the not-genre-specific middle meeting point (and melting pot) of general cinematic quality control, where ponderous high fore-headed 70mm widescreen pretention frequently and comfortably rubs shoulders with fart gags, sharks that can swallow a speedboat whole, and Amazonian women jiggling their enormous breasts on wrongly framed 16mm cinefilm. You can easily get lost in the myriad of styles and subjects on offer, but the trick is knowing what to look for, because good-bad and bad-good films are VERY distinct from good-good and bad-bad films, and the line between them all is very fine indeed. Whilst good-good (especially the good-good) and bad-bad films have their fans and enemies, with rarely a unanimously shared consensus across the board, good-bad and bad-good films are, more often than not, less divisive and come with far fewer flame wars about their qualities, or lack thereof. In short, good-bad and bad-good films have a more communal appreciation and a less fractious contempt about them.

Confused? Let me briefly explain the basic theory with a few examples in each category, which not everyone may agree with, but I’ve chosen some the most likely candidates that most people would have seen or at least are familiar with, purely to illustrate my point:

A good-good film would be, at its most obvious, something like The Godfather Part II, Blade Runner, Jaws, or Badlands – films with all-round high quality and considered by most critics and film goers alike as bona fide masterpieces (although they will always have their staunch detractors, of course).

A bad-bad film would be almost anything that ever featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, or stars Rob Schneider (the first Deuce Bigelow film being the commonly regarded exception) – just dreadful attempts at film making that are impossible to sit through (although they will always have their staunch supporters, of course).

A good-bad film is usually, but not always, a low budget genre flick which, on paper at least, has few things to recommend it – bad acting, bad script, terrible (not so) special effects, etc etc. Yet, despite seemingly setting itself up for an almighty fail, the end result can be sincerely brilliant, at least in the viewer’s eyes. Unlike a bad-good film, there are usually no lofty intentions in the planning and making of a good-bad film, so it’s a work which is far removed from what a few people consider as a “guilty pleasure”, or an absolutely abhorrent piece of screen excrement that one person counts amongst their favourites – a proper good-bad film easily finds itself a relatively broad and large audience. One of the best examples of a proper good-bad film is Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, a second sequel to a ropey (albeit competent) film which didn’t need a first sequel, which should be abominable, but I have yet to meet one person who hasn’t been totally taken in and entertained by its legion of misguided yet mesmerising qualities once they’ve laid eyes on it (i.e. preconceptions are usually quickly dashed). The fact that it also, pretty much single-handedly, kick-started an entire straight-to-DVD sub-genre of ridiculous angry aquatic life films is testament to its rise to unexpected greatness. Other examples of the good-bad film include Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (which I actually think is a terribly dull bad-bad film and wholly undeserving of its current stature, but I acknowledge few people agree with me and place it on a similar pedestal as Shark Attack 3), Jim Muro’s Street Trash (the melt movie masterpiece, covered elsewhere in this thread), and, of course, Flash Gordon. You could say that these good-bad films are vaguely similar to those unfortunate canines that get entered into the ugliest dog on the planet contest – plenty of people sincerely love ‘em, despite the pooches looking like they’ve been through a mangler on more than one occasion. As a brief aside, it could be argued that the aforementioned Deuce Bigelow also slips into the good-bad category, but I and many others think it stands up well of its own accord as a genuinely good mid-level comedy (also cf. Hot Rod and Baseketball).

The flip-side of the above is the bad-good film which, in many ways, is a far more disappointing and sometimes harder to defend affair than anything featuring barking sharks, drunken hobos playing catch with a recently detached penis, a random framed photo of a spoon, or Brian Blessed in pants. Because the point with bad-good films is that they set out with serious intentions and should be a lot better than they invariably end up being – they are legitimate films with a good pedigree where so much is promised on several fronts, but so little is delivered come the end credits. Regardless, a bad-good film is not without its charms, many of which are charms of a genuinely good quality appreciated by most who see said film – great performances in an otherwise poor film, brilliant plots and stories which fail to fully transfer to the screen, or a work of technical brilliance which completely lacks anything to properly engage an audience. Good examples of these, respectively, might be – Scarecrow (a totally pointless, vacuous, almost dreadful film which happens to feature the best performance of Gene Hackman’s entire career), Nightbreed (there’s a three or four alarm horror masterpiece in there somewhere), and The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick’s most divisive film to date, a technical marvel which is otherwise infuriatingly made up of little more than all of the stereotypical criticisms cynically applied to the director since Days of Heaven).

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising firmly slots into the bad-good category. On paper, and in trailer form, you can imagine it’s the sort of film that Uwe Boll always wanted to make – a serious medieval action flick with deep themes of religion, madness and the inhumane crimes of man – but lacked the talent, if not the brains, to do so. In reality, however, it’s a slow, plodding, misanthropic ninety minutes with a cast of about ten, minimal dialogue – a good, some would say unhealthy, chunk of the film comprises of nothing more than silent posed static shots of the actors (in a nod to Werner Herzog) – and little in the way of characters (11th century clansmen [as in Celtic clansmen – we’re not in the deep South in the 1930s] is pretty much as far as any characterisation goes) or plot (which can also be summed up neatly by saying “11th century clansmen”), peppered with the odd burst of random visceral violence (I’m convinced Refn and Ben Wheatley attended the same class on realistic film violence and the resultant gore). Further, star Mads Mikkelsen, as a mysterious one-eyed hard nut fighting gladiator/slave turned child protector and leader to condemnation, utters not a single word during the entire film and his (non)performance is just a series of moody cycloptic (both its literal and alternative meanings) stares and intimidating physical movements. And so the end result is a film which basically does nothing and goes nowhere, whilst its 90 minute running time, mostly taken up by shots of bearded men walking, sitting in a boat, and walking some more, feels more like 3 hours. All of which makes it sound like the least interesting and seemingly longest nothing of all time. Yet it is a seemingly long enigmatic nothing of high quality, with much to recommend it – the acting throughout is superb (at least as it can be with the minimal material provided), it looks wonderful, feels authentic and is just a fascinating watch, in the same way that Tarkovsky’s Solyaris is strangely enchanting despite also being a(n even longer) long nothing, where the most exciting bit of “action” briefly comes in the form of some lights being reflected off an astronaut’s space helmet. There’s something about Valhalla Rising, be it its thick atmosphere or the almost impenetrable plot mysteries (assuming they are there – every chance they are not), which compels one to watch and keep watching right to the very end, even though the final “reward” is effectively something which could have happened literally within minutes of the film starting and it wouldn’t have made too much difference other than making it end a whole lot sooner.

Despite showing huge stylistic flair and promise so early in his career with the Pusher trilogy, a style which he has maintained with every subsequent film, it’s fair to say that Refn splits critics and audiences. Whilst most would agree that Drive is a fine film (and by far the best car-based thriller since Walter Hill’s Driver [purposely not including Friedkin’s To Live and Die In LA, which isn’t a car-based thriller despite featuring one of THE great cinematic car chases], which was of course one of the biggest influences on Drive), it may yet prove to be his “ONE BRILLIANT FILM”™ that most directors are capable of. The remainder of Refn’s output has otherwise been critically fair to middling, with people having been less kind about Bronson’s and Pusher’s patchy style over substance, the ludicrous violence and nihilism of Only God Forgives, and Valhalla Rising itself. Yet there is far too much going on in Refn’s films to completely discard them to the “forgettable” or “frustrating” bins, not least the way in which he skilfully crams in references to other films and directors. Perhaps more than any of his other films to date, Valhalla Rising perfectly encapsulates his style – a huge mish-mash of nods to filmic influences mixed in with his own unique approach to action film as slow and moody art-house cinema. Whilst Quentin Tarantino has, unfortunately (in my opinion), made a successful career out of the unapologetic wholesale lifting of plots, dialogue and scenes, mostly from little seen 60s and 70s exploitation flicks, Refn’s more basic (or more complex, depending on how you look at it) scattergun approach, where little bits and pieces of a variety of film history are put together in some sort of hap-hazard-but-it-works cinematic sandwich, comes across as more of a study and reverential celebration of everything he loves, adding his own spin in the process. That being the case, if nothing else about Valhalla Rising appeals, then the average film fan with a half respectable record of seen films behind them can play spot the pigeon to see how many of the disparate references, however small, they pick up on. And so we get Bergman by way of Herzog and Malick, with a smattering of references to literary Joseph Conrad (as opposed to cinematic Coppola), and even a couple of mild visual and audio nods to Ruggero Deodato’s most notorious 80s films Cannibal Holocaust and Inferno in diretta. Refn, and Valhalla Rising in particular, is almost a door for the average mainstream film goer to go through in order to seek out everything from hardcore impenetrable Russian cinema, to ultra violent video nasties, whilst maintaining his and its own air of individuality.

Boiling it down to a simple capsule review (far be it from me to do that in the latter part of this thread!), one might attribute to Valhalla Rising those immortal words – noble failure.

Mind you, it’s still heaps better than any Uwe Boll film…


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 20/6/2013 1:24:32 PM   
Harry Tuttle


Posts: 7993
Joined: 12/11/2005
From: Sometime in the future.
I thought Valhala Rising was fantastic personally. I like the way Refn punctuates the melancholy with extreme violence and Mikkelsen totally sells the brooding Norse warrior. I think it has slight pacing issues but otherwise it's a great film.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 20/6/2013 1:27:58 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
I must admit when I first saw it a couple of years ago I fairly quickly forgot all about it. But when I saw it again on BBC2 the other night, I was hooked from beginning to end, despite the (agreed) pacing issues.

I just find it thoroughly intriguing.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 1/8/2013 1:13:07 PM   
great_badir


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






Pissed off but blank faced Bill Cosby shoots a man, almost in cold blood, on a LA beach whilst swimmers and surfers, having already ignored a shoot-out involving several other men (with machine guns) and a now downed helicopter, continue to swim and surf. Cosby dejectedly sinks to the ground and looks around for signs of panic and/or help:

“…nobody came…”

Robert Culp squints into the distance whilst taking Cosby’s gun away:

“…nobody cares…”

Exhausted, the two walk past the carnage they’ve caused and trudge off, not very happily, into the sunset, carrying a suitcase which contains what may or may not be millions of dollars worth of counterfeit money, to an unknown fate.


And so ends one of the most unlikely American cop thrillers of the 1970s, as two shit-heel private dicks leave a trail of confusion and dead bodies in their wake, in and around the scummy basin areas of a not very glamorous Los Angeles, in this long forgotten slice of infinitely messy neo-noir.

The make-up of Hickey & Boggs (Robert Culp, 1972) is interesting, to say the least. Part cast and crew reunion of popular 60s spy comedy series I-Spy, part TV actors’ attempt to shake off small screen/light entertainment/comedy leanings, part miserable tribute to latter day French noir. From an idea by one of I-Spy’s DOPs (who also produced), directed by star Robert Culp in a first ditch attempt to move away from “murderer in Columbo” and “dry witted person of authority” guest spots and make a career behind the camera, scripted by then relative newcomer Walter Hill, lensed by the legendary Bill Butler (also quite early on in his career), and co-starring Bill Cosby at the height of his stand-up and talk show popularity, we’re in definite also-ran territory here (think The Seven-Ups), as pretty much everyone involved had enthusiasm and ideas which eclipsed their combined (and restricted to) television talent at the time, whilst simultaneously doing a 180 in style, mood and content compared to what their fans had previously been used to seeing them doing. As such, the end result pretty much equals the sum of its parts. If that makes sense.

In many respects, Hickey & Boggs is an abject failure – right from the very beginning, and despite an uncharacteristically wordy script by Hill (it’s no surprise that his later, shall we say more basic, scripts purposely tended to lack sub-text and characterisation), the viewer doesn’t really have any idea who is who, or even a basic knowledge as to what the hell is going on. What starts simply as a suggested nonce hiring the titular detectives (one of whom used to work for the LAPD but was a bit of a loose cannon and had problems with authority, natch) just to locate a woman, soon turns into an enormously convoluted and confusing melting pot of murder, shady money dealings, kidnapping (maybe, but we’re never quite sure), general ambiguous mayhem, and one of the most eyebrow raising (in a confused manner) shootouts ever committed to celluloid, where, by the end, pretty much everyone has been killed (including Cosby’s on-screen wife), and we’re still none the wiser as to why. Or whom. Not that this is due to it having a complex plot(s), it’s purely down to too much going on with not enough restraint (or big screen feature film experience, for that matter) on the part of the TV people who made it. Further, Hickey & Boggs is a rare example of a film which would be improved, massively, by copious amount of exposition but, as it is, the only exposition is provided by muttered half sentences and cryptic references made on the assumption that the audience should know what’s happening (which, of course, we don’t and there’s no way we can). None of which is helped by the proto-MTV style editing, which not only speedily and messily intercuts within scenes, leaving you scratching your head and failing to piece the story jigsaw together, but also cuts from one seemingly incomplete scene to the next, as if a load of stuff was randomly cut out without any attention paid to continuity or logical development, making you wonder whether or not a great film has been buried in huge piles of mess and is struggling to get out (cf. Clive Barker’s Nightbreed).

So a bit of a made-for-TV misfire then? No, not by a longshot.

There’s no doubt that Hickey & Boggs is a cinematic feature – despite his relative inexperience behind the camera, Culp composes everything as one would expect to find in a cinematic feature, as opposed to a filmed TV show (de rigeur for the time). He certainly shows (showed – he’s dead now) a keen director’s eye with the locations – the rarely filmed asshole ends of the City of Angels, no doubt helped by Bill Butler’s specific style of cinematography (lighting levels, colour palette and framing are all VERY similar to Jaws), coaxes some good low key performances out of most of the cast (Cosby is especially fine here, playing it absolutely dead straight and down the line, and the complete opposite of most of the rest of his acting career), and successfully pulls off the action sequences as well as any other lower A/upper B-grade American director of the 70s. And, whilst the script is way too convoluted for its own good, it still bears all of the hallmarks of Hill’s later writing work – mostly essential, fat and frill free, dialogue only, very light on humour, very little characterisation or personal motivation (although, here, there is a lot more [in relative Hill terms] of both). Further, it’s a great work for fans of the grittier and scummier side of classic American film making – despite the blue skies and sunshine, everyone’s depressed and has at least a touch of bastardliness about them, there’s a total absence of glamour and sheen, main character past times include drinking, smoking and generally giving others a hard time, everyone and everywhere seems to be suffering from low to mid level poverty (hell, our “heroes” can’t even afford decent cars or to pay for on-street parking charges, instead driving around in battered shitters and covering up parking meters with a paper bag saying “OUT OF ORDER”) and there’s the fact that most characters appearing in the film aren’t alive by the end of it (in fact, most of them cark it within two minutes of appearing on screen).

BUT. But…it is also an incredibly frustrating film. The slapdash editing REALLY harms the film’s flow, several scenes (such as an apartment ransacking and a shootout at a football stadium) are so confusing that they may as well have been left on the cutting room floor and it wouldn’t have made too much difference, and it never gets quite as good as you want it to be, nay as good as it SHOULD be. What’s left, then, is another bad-good film, with much to recommend it, but also just as much to feel let down by. It feels like it has the potential to be a classic two and a half hour thriller, but as it is it’s a one hour and fifty minute exercise in almost-but-not-quite-there. Whether there was any footage, that might have improved the flow and plot logic, cut out, or if the film as it currently exists is “it” is a total unknown.

In essence, Hickey & Boggs is an unfortunate missed opportunity. But a missed opportunity that is still worth a watch.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 5:26:22 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


Posts: 3544
Joined: 24/10/2007
From: The Valley of the Wind
An angry gun-wielding Bill Cosby? Sounds amazing! I'm willing to watch anything (some of the films I've suffered through this year will testify to that) so I might track this down at some stage

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 1:17:14 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
It is worth it just for Cosby's performance - he's never been like it before or since, and for anyone used to his comedic or standard TV drama work, it's an epic eye opener and makes you wish that he was in more similar fair.

It also makes you wish that Culp was given another shot at feature film directing - he could have made something quite special second time round.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 1:18:29 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
One of the more interesting stylistic and thematic developments in film making, in relatively recent years at least, is the advent of the found footage genre. Whilst the basic elements of fictional found footage presented as fact (“they were never seen again and, despite years of searching, their whereabouts to this day are unknown”) can be traced back to the Italian “mondo movies” of the 60s and 70s. But, leaving then legendary, now embarrassing and sleep-inducing Snuff aside, the first feature film to properly exploit the technique and use it in a manner with which we are now familiar (albeit interspersed with traditionally filmed fictional scenes that remove the viewer from the found footage environment) was Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust. For those who haven’t seen Cannibal Holocaust, and/or only know of the controversy surrounding it and its infamous Video Nasty™ status - a group of American documentary film makers go missing in the Amazon. Their last known whereabouts are traced, by a “famous anthropologist”, to a small cannibalistic tribe who, it quickly becomes apparent, had the film makers “over for dinner” after their guests behaved…inappropriately towards said tribe. The “famous anthropologist” negotiates with the tribe’s leaders to take away the film makers’ cans of undeveloped film (in exchange for taking part in a cannibalistic ceremony, natch) and, once back in the States, begins to piece the footage together. And so the viewer learns the full fate of the film makers through what they filmed up to and during their demise (social commentary, social commentary, pointy finger, social commentary, violence in media, pointy finger, developed world corruption of nature, social commentary, pointy finger, closing rhetorical epithet).

Despite being such a simple, effective and, most importantly, cheap technique, it has not subsequently been employed by film makers as much as you might think. In fact, even after Cannibal Holocaust’s success (both financially and reputationally) proved that, as a marketing device if nothing else, found footage was a surefire way of at least piquing the curiosity of the average cinema goer, and the fact that home video equipment was becoming more affordable, the two decades that followed were surprisingly bereft of other examples of the genre, with most (certainly major cinema releases, anyway) only being released since 2000. Those that were made following Deodato’s example were, typically, straight to video releases and, of those, only a very small handful were of note – the stunningly effective (and, to this day, cruelly overlooked) 84 Charlie Mopic remains one of the most impressive Vietnam war films ever made (despite the 50p budget, visible cast of just ten, and it being shot primarily in peoples’ back gardens), Man Bites Dog which, probably, requires no further introduction, and The Last Broadcast, which only really became famous thanks to the success of the subject of this entry.

Because this entry (into the “Shit” files, I should add at this point) isn’t about Cannibal Holocaust. It’s about the one that, in 1999, opened the floodgates and REALLY showed executives what you could do with the genre. It changed everything – the way low budget films were made, the way most (including mainstream blockbuster) films were marketed and released for the home video market, and the way a (literally) snotty nosed woman could shift over $200million against an overall budget of (a lot) less than $1million.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m talking about The Blair Witch Project.



In 1999, DVDs and the internet, in the UK at least, were still quite new, and we were all still finding our feet with our (dial-up) connection to the rest of the world, wondering how all of that information made it down our telephone wires whilst waiting several minutes for a medium-res picture of boobs (or cock, depending on your particular fancy) to load up, row by painstaking row of pixels, before frantically trying to close it when one of our parents walked into whichever room had the computer (monitor WAY too big for the desk it was on, of course) to ask you a question.

…um…so I’ve been told by friends…

Anyway, back in 1999, DVDs were still a lot cheaper in the States than they were here in the UK (and, as a huge bonus, they had all the extras, whilst those chumps languishing in late 90s region 2 hell had to plump for over-priced vanilla discs, which often weren’t even anamorphic, and that’s IF they were in widescreen in the first place), and films were still generally being released over there quite a while before we got them over here. In many ways, this was fantastic – you could proudly and smugly wave around your super-stacked region 1 version of Blade II on DVD (and, if you were REALLY lucky and your region 1 supplier was based in and selling from the UK [usually from out of a garage or lock-up, cleverly exploiting a complicated legal loophole that otherwise forbade selling American DVDs “off the shelf” on UK shores, but oddly made it sort-of okay and legal from “private premises” as long as the DVDs were “unwrapped” – definition of “unwrapped” loosely and subjectively applied by the individual seller], they’d even let you have it a day or two before the official US high street release date), weeks before it had even been released in the cinema over here. It also meant that, for a reasonable price (unlike laserdisc), you could finally get your hands on uncut versions of all those video nasties, and show your friends all those juicy deleted scenes which had previously assumed to be myth. In other ways, this whole enterprise was NOT fantastic – all too often you’d hit the BUY button based on little more than early untested word in the US - i.e. hype, and in the entertainment industry there’s nothing more incorrect than US hype – price or, at weakest, the cover alone, all of which resulted in every Zero Effect having at least two or three Hurlyburlys (with IMDB also being in its relative infancy, it was, for the mostpart, only big new releases and the classics which had anything like reliable information and reviews attached).

The one film that had majorly grabbed Hollywood’s attention and had thrown most critics into a frenzy of plaudits that summer was The Blair Witch Project. At the time, all we in the UK knew of it was that it was made for nothing (anything between $25000 minimum for just the making of the film, up to about $500000 maximum once distribution and marketing costs had been taken into account), was comprised entirely of found footage, at that point had a mysterious internet-only marketing campaign which stuck to the “this really happened!” vibe, and was, apparently, the pants-wettinglyest (iest?) scary film since…well, the last one, with Exorcist style reports of “old woman dies whilst watching it!!!” and “people ran out of the screen vomiting!!!!!”. So, one naturally has to get the DVD, right? I mean, it’s not out in UK cinemas for another month yet, but I can have it delivered to my door in just a few days for about a tenner (the pound-dollar exchange rate was also very favourable at this time)!

And, so, I did.

I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw. And I don’t mean that in the sense that, like US critics and audiences (both of whom have always been a lot less restrained in their opinions and reactions compared with us cynical Brits – I’ve never experienced collective whooping, booing or applause, except for anything that had lots of kids in the audience) I was climbing the walls shitting myself, howling at the screen in intense fear, or hiding under a blanket throughout the whole thing. More that I was completely perplexed. Because, what I was led to believe was this incredible force of atmospheric horror, scarier than just about anything that had been made before it, actually turned out to be half an hour of out-takes from Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends, followed by fifty-odd minutes of…not very much, except map checking, camera shaking, arguing, screaming, twigs, teeth, facing a wall and nasal mucus. That’s right, the smash horror hit of the last fifteen years was three idiotic students running around in the woods being bothered by things we (the audience) never see.

To be fair, Blair Witch remains a very clever slice of independent film-making, and IS a good blue print for anyone with a small (tiny) budget and a bit of creative and technical nouse. Further, the internet marketing campaign was inspired, presenting the whole thing as real and using snippets of out-takes from the film as part of a created universe, increasing the intrigue surrounding the film more than a hundred cryptic media reviews ever could. Ironically, a similar web marketing campaign was employed for the US DVD re-release of Cannibal Holocaust, such was the success of Blair Witch’s – no longer did you have to set aside millions for a balls-out display in the world’s media (remember what was done for and how much was spent on the marketing for Last Action Hero?), you just needed a couple of thousand dollars to employ a techie spod to create a web-site, and then sit back and watch word of mouth spread to epidemic (it would now be called viral) proportions. And, thanks to the microscopic budget, the thing is STILL making pots of money for everyone who was involved with it, not least Artisan Entertainment, a company whose long-term existence has all but been guaranteed by this one film alone.

But, I’m sorry, it’s still an awful film.

It’s not even that it’s not cat-jumping-out-of-a-cupboard scary enough, or gory enough, or freaky enough. Hell, the original The Haunting still scares the bejeepers out of me, and that’s fifty years old, black and white, obviously studio-set bound, mostly takes place in one (well lit) location and co-stars Russ Tamblyn. It just…bores and tires me, to the point where its brief 80minute running time, in my head, lasts for days. And that’s days of repetitive scenes, endless following the stream, mundane overhanging trees at night, steamy condensation, “OHMYGOD WHAT IS THAT!!?!??!? WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!?!?!?!” (camera shakes around all over the place, me – “huh, what? What? Where? What am I looking at? What is it? Is it scary? I can’t see anything amongst all the motion. When Cannibal Holocaust did this, at least you saw a cock getting chopped off…”). And on and on. For the same reason that Fred Vogel(who has made a little cottage industry out of found footage “films” which are no more than pointless vignettes of various depraved and offensive acts with no plot or story)’s films have perfectly and, on paper, perfectly exploited the genre to the max, Blair Witch fails to be anything more than an advertising gimmick, and a poor one at that.

It comes to something when one treasures the DVD of a film they hate, purely for the extras alone on that DVD. It says a lot when those extras are infinitely more interesting (and, in the case of the included faux documentary [as opposed to mockumentary] about Rustin Parr, far more scary with its oddly affecting soundtrack and disembodied narration, going full circa-1990s Sci-Fi Channel) than the material they are supposed to be backing up. But, simultaneously fortunately and unfortunately, that is precisely the case here – everything from the fascinating little extra bits and pieces feeding into the perceived “facts” of the “case”, up to the genuinely funny and interesting commentary by directors Eduardo Sanchez and Dan Myrick, both of whom charm those that have bothered to listen to it with their easy going and often self deprecating demeanour.

And it comes to something else entirely when one would rather watch the appalling sequel than sit through one more minute of Heather Donahue emptying the entire contents of her mucus sacks all over the screen…


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 2:26:05 PM   
SadFace

 

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Rocky Horror is brilliant. That is all.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 2:55:23 PM   
great_badir


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I would say "sad face" in response to that.

But I know the response I would get.



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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 3:59:24 PM   
matty_b


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That's a great review of BWP, but I disagree with every word of it - I thought at the time, and still do, that it's an absolute masterpiece.


So, you know, there you go.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 4:07:04 PM   
great_badir


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Thanks matty.

Reading it back, though, less than half of it is actually about the film

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 4:12:13 PM   
Harry Tuttle


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I agree with every word. I still don't think BWP has been topped as the most disappointed I've ever been whilst watching a film at the cinema. I've watched it on the small screen as well and still thought it was complete and utter bobbins.

I'm sure homer spotted a pattern last time the discussion of Blair Witch came up that most of the people that hated it were people that first saw it at the pics whereas people who first saw it on the small screen were much more likely to enjoy it. Obviously that isn't the case here but it did seem to be the case during that discussion which I found odd.

< Message edited by Harry Tuttle -- 6/8/2013 4:26:17 PM >


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 9:08:28 PM   
matty_b


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See, I'm the opposite. Saw it at the cinema, loved it then and still find it as great on the small screen.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 6/8/2013 9:57:57 PM   
great_badir


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To be fair to those who DO like it (big or small, fnarr) I've never seen it on the big screen. I'd already seen it (twice) on DVD by the time it reached it our shores, and was already fed up with it by the time it did get here.

Maybe had I seen it on the big screen first, my opinion may have been different. But I doubt it.

My poster is, by far, the best thing about it. Which is more a comment on my thoughts of the film than it is my talents as a film poster designer.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/8/2013 12:27:21 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


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Great post mate, never seen BWP though

Added The Haunting and 84 Charlie Mopic (it's on Youtube!) to my films to see list.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/8/2013 12:46:43 AM   
MonsterCat


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quote:

ORIGINAL: scarface666brooksy!!

never seen BWP though



The fuck have you been doing with your life?

Blair Witch is one of the greatest horror films of the last twenty years.

< Message edited by MonsterCat -- 7/8/2013 12:48:25 AM >


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/8/2013 12:56:58 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat

quote:

ORIGINAL: scarface666brooksy!!

never seen BWP though



The fuck have you been doing with your life?



A lot of questionable things.

And watching other films of course.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 7/8/2013 11:58:03 AM   
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Blair Witch is amazing. One of the few films that really creeps me out, the first time I saw it was the middle of the night, alone in the house with all the lights off. I don't think I slept for about a week after that.



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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 22/8/2013 12:52:07 PM   
great_badir


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gimli The Dwarf
Blair Witch is amazing. One of the few films that really creeps me out, the first time I saw it was the middle of the night, alone in the house with all the lights off. I don't think I slept for about a week after that.


Sorry, I missed this...

Amazing how very different peoples' reactions can be, isn't it?

I had the same thing with Paranormal Activity - it bored the hell out of me, but it I know it creeped a lot of people out.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 22/8/2013 12:53:07 PM   
great_badir


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Michael Moore would, probably, like to think that he has his chubby finger firmly on America’s social and political pulse, and that he is the one-stop shop-cum-champion for any grievance American Joe Public has with the big ISSUES they are facing - the US healthcare system could do with a bit of reform, the banking system is infinitely corrupt and constantly on the verge of collapse, the politicians are at best confused about their local constituents and the things they are worried about, at worst flagrantly ignoring voters and any major problems that get waved in front of them (any of this sound familiar?), all whilst their government, so-say the greatest single power on God’s Green Earth™, appears to be unable to do anything about solving the problems it has created, with or without its citizens’ help. Oh, and guns are bad, mmmkay. Thanks Mike – how interesting, and I’m in no doubt whatsoever that you are right. About everything.

There was a time when Moore was just trying to get an interview with General Motors’ president Roger B. Smith, or acting as Britain’s less-annoying-than-Jonathan-King US correspondent, or poking gentle fun at Canadians on the big screen. And then, some time in 2001 or 2002, he gained entry under false pretences into the home of a visibly feeble and unprepared Charlton Heston and, with the help of his crew, cornered Heston in his “old man’s chair” and effectively began to lay blame for America’s inherent gun problems and the Columbine High School massacre entirely at his feet (granted, Heston’s response to Columbine, his general stance and the way he went about his support of firearm ownership was at least questionable, but Moore’s very personal and heavy handed retaliation was a low blow indeed, especially considering how generally open and willing Heston otherwise was to talk of his thoughts on gun ownership, however controversial and to the point, to anyone who would listen and discuss on an even playing field). Continuing on the same arguably tasteless tack, Moore also paraded victims (albeit with their permission, help and support) of gun crimes around KMart to further highlight the fact that guns are bad, mmmkay. Later, he would take a tour through Canada, the land he’d previously held in some (humourous) contempt, and found that the place was safe and lots of people leave their doors unlocked (in classy city areas, completely ignoring other problem areas), and point out how great the UK’s NHS system is in comparison to the US’ paid-for service (completely ignoring the obvious advantages and disadvantages of both systems, as well as the distinct similarities between them). One sided? Exploitative? Ill informed? Hidden agendas? Self serving? All of these things? None of these things? The other week, for the first time since it first came out, I caught Bowling for Columbine again and it surprised me just how left-wing it was (and I think most of us would agree that, more often than not, extreme left-wing is just as bad as extreme right-wing, although obviously in completely different ways). I wasn’t overly impressed with it when I first saw it, immediately taking a dislike to Moore’s new found techniques in tackling a difficult subject – whereas in his early career he took a softly softly approach and slowly dogged his quarry in an agreeable fashion until they eventually capitulated, now he seemed to be brazenly going tastelessly balls out from the off without so much of a hint as to what his goal is (also cf. Nick Broomfield – from presenting himself as a quiet and slightly bumbling English gentleman to coax fascinating unguarded subject portraits, to almost full-on paparazzo confrontation with Courtney Love). But with this second viewing I picked up on just how devious and how one sided the so-say liberal Moore has become. Whilst it’s good to note that, since Bowling for Columbine, Moore’s previously bullet proof reputation has dwindled somewhat and he probably now has as many sensible and logical detractors as he has supporters (Trey Parker and Matt Stone, once keen supporters of Moore’s many causes, now tend to distance themselves from him, and have even spoken out against him several times, famously blowing him up in Team America), he is still thought of by many as the most important American socio-political commentator alive. That’s right, this unassuming, portly, baseball cap wearing man from Flint, Michigan, is a Christ-like media figure trying to absolve us all of our sins. Or something. But this isn’t an entry in the Shit Files for one of Moore’s more recent works.




Regardless of Moore’s assumed power in the US media, the unflinching The Killing of America says a hell of a lot more about America’s many violence problems, and in a much more even handed and level headed way, in just-short of 90 minutes, than the entirety of Moore’s latter-career output put together. Assembled by husband and wife team Leonard (brother of Paul) and Chieko Schrader in 1982, this largely bullshit free examination of the country’s slow social decline during the preceding twenty years was originally financed by and intended for Japan’s then burgeoning shockumentary market, where anything featuring death, unusual customs and the more extreme end of existence, all caught on camera, was enthusiastically devoured by audiences who liked the basic ethos of the Italian Mondo genre, but were put off by the high amount of staged and contrived footage (think Top Gear with on-screen “deaths”). The Japanese wanted their mondo shocks, but they wanted them real. Real cyclist crushed to death by a real bus? Where do I get tickets? (Badly) faked lion attack resulting in death and dismemberment (of an obvious dummy)? No thanks, not interested. If you were in Japan in the 80s, the chances are that you would have seen endless queues at the local picture house for the likes of Shocking Asia, or Japan: the Shocks, whilst some contemporary mainstream American blockbusters were comparatively ignored. But, whilst The Killing of America is filled with distressing film, video and CCTV footage and photographs of murder, hostage situations, major injury, rioting, and VERY uncomfortable interviews and audio recordings (all of it REAL), it was far more akin to the later (equally impressive and equally incredibly hard to watch) British documentary Executions than it was the typical exploitative fare of the time – po-faced, matter of fact, few answers to explain the often pointless (as in why it happened in the first place) death and destruction on screen, no death metal or eerie synthesiser soundtrack, no exaggerated hyper-narration which often deviated from the facts behind the images to mere speculation (instead it’s “this is what happened, no one’s really sure why”) – those expecting and hoping for the next instalment in the dreadful-but-sometimes-unintentionally-hilarious Faces of Death series would have been incredibly disappointed. But even compared with other examples in the Japanese shockumentary genre, which despite their often eyebrow raising taglines still had the odd moment of release with some bit of humourous or harmless cultural oddity, The Killing of America is mostly absolutely relentless in its finger pointing misery, with analysis and footage of high profile assassinations, interviews with serial killers (the unbelievable chat with normal and affable Ed Kemper is, quite frankly, terrifying), footage of their trials and heart wrenching photographs of their victims, footage of callous and motive-less murders, heartless media coverage of numerous shootouts and “situations” – from the Kennedy assassination up to the murder of John Lennon, and the major cases in between. Oh and, of course, the mandatory involvement of Los Angeles coroner to the stars, Dr Thomas Noguchi. Natch. But, like Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy, the Schraders’ view of the United States after just one watch will forever make the viewer feel guilty for just about everything, and rightly so when you look around and see what we are doing to nature, the planet and the other people living on it.

Those of you who have seen the very dry Executions, a documentary which is probably (and unfairly, in my opinion) more (in)famous for escaping the BBFC’s scissors and the OUTRIGHT BAN red card totally intact than what is actually contained within it, should know to expect a similar production with The Killing of America – despite the odd deviation into typical shockumentary eyes-to-the-sky moments (remember, it was made for Japanese shockumentary audiences) and an opening 5 minutes which features a none-more 80s rock backing, it is otherwise a sensational subject dealt with in a (for the mostpart) sensible, grown up and, most importantly, thought provoking fashion. Which makes it all the harder to watch. Unflinching is a word which is used all too often with documentaries, normally in relation to the latest “freak show” chaff shown on channel 5 (Fuck Me, It’s A Man With Eight Bollocks For A Face!!!!!!!) or a desperate-to-fill-the-schedule channel 4 (The Man Sadly And Unfortunately Suffering From A Physical Disorder Which Has Left Him With Several Testicles Attached To His Face-stroke chin stroke chin), but The Killing of America (and Executions) really is unflinching, both in what it shows and what it says. Unlike Michael Moore’s shotgun (no tasteless pun intended) approach to uncaringly blaming specific people based on nothing other than personal feeling and/or timely public whoopsies (to put it very mildly and lightly) and completely failing to compare eggs with eggs, The Killing of America harshly points the finger of blame at everyone, from those who carry out crimes, to those who lap up the results when invited by the media to do so (the irony of that completely understood and acknowledged by the production) – the evidence is presented on screen for 90 minutes. Fans of the “death film” note – even though the footage contained within it will seem relatively (actually, make that “very”) mild and tame when compared with subsequent similar fare, it still may well make you question your allegiance to the genre when faced with 1980s statistics which are shocking enough now (for instance - at one point in the late 70s, there were so many “working” serial killers that several of them didn’t even get reported by the national media – an initially flimsy sounding fact until you start Googling some of the names mentioned and discover that there really was nothing reported, other than maybe a brief footnote in the national rags), let alone facing up to the reality that those statistics have almost certainly been eclipsed in the 21st century.

Amazingly, aside from a very brief theatrical run shortly after its completion, The Killing of America has NEVER been officially released in the States whilst, even more amazingly, it has, along with Executions, (legally) been available fully uncut in the UK for years. It has even been shown on UK television a few times over the years, presumably thanks to UK audiences’ high tolerance for difficult subject matter presented in a proper fashion, as opposed to American audiences’ desires for something which is more sensationalist in its approach, but shying away from things when it gets a bit too close for comfort (a slightly sweeping statement on both counts, granted, but true at its most basic level – just compare pretty much any post-watershed UK TV documentary, even those made by channel 5, with most American equivalents).

Although it has unfairly and incorrectly been lumped in the el-cheapo exploitational death film genre for years, it is no mere collection of whatever dodgy footage its creators could get their hands on edited together with some faux voice over and unsuitable background music. Whilst it DOES contain dodgy footage, it DOES have a trailerman voiceover (no, really – narration is provided by 80s trailer fave Chuck Riley), and it DOES have the odd punctuation of unsuitable soundtrack, it is otherwise, if you will, a more considered death film for more intellectual grown ups who are more interested in debating the serious points than saying “gross - did you see the blood splatter when that guy got shot?!?!!?” With a damning opening section highlighting the quite ridiculous levels of personal gun ownership and the complete lack of legislation, and numerous other direct allusions during its relatively brief running time, The Killing of America is, probably, the most honest and brutal indictment of American social collapse and criticism of US gun control (or, rather, lack thereof) that has ever been made, and it is still frighteningly prescient over 30 years later, even moreso with the increasing number of (or, perhaps, increasingly reported) random killing sprees, acts of terrorism and general unrest in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It is now available to view, in full and uncut, on YouTube. If you can handle it, watch it, BUT – if you are not familiar with the “death film” genre, apart from the very graphic images and subject matter it is also incredibly upsetting and, as I wrote earlier, guilt-making. You have been warned.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 23/8/2013 1:13:33 AM   
scarface666brooksy!!


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Another superb post badir, really piqued my interest. I shall definitely have a look for it.

And I like Bowling for Columbine quite a lot, it's a film that blew my mind when I was younger and hadn't watched many docos before. I've seen a heap more now so it's not as high up there for me anymore though.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 23/8/2013 12:28:48 PM   
great_badir


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I used to love Michael Moore (not in that way), but the minute I saw that scene in Columbine I did a complete 180. It's like he became a different person all of a sudden. Unforgivable in my opinion.

And every doc he's made since then has featured something which is at least suspect, if not downright unacceptable.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 23/8/2013 1:54:24 PM   
matty_b


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I can't really disagree with most of badir's BFC criticisms, yet I still think it's a great film. If nothing else, I think there's a genuine anger and sadness at the heart of the film - how did we end up like this? That's what works for me.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 23/8/2013 1:59:02 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
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From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b
I think there's a genuine anger and sadness at the heart of the film - how did we end up like this?


Very true. I just didn't like the way he went about it in Columbine, and I haven't liked the way he's gone about it since.

I mean, he asks the same basic question in Roger and Me (although, obviously, the "this" in that case is unemployment), but in a much more sensitive fashion.


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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 27/2/2014 8:11:58 PM   
elab49


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quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

Did you see this?

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/william-friedkins-restored-sorcercer-getting-a-re-release-aiming-for-the-venice-film-festival-20130321
http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/william-friedkins-misunderstood-1977-sorcerer-getting-re-release-exclusive-81966


Guess which film I just saw the first public viewing of the new restoration of?

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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 - 3/3/2014 12:01:46 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
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Trancers. Obviously. Tim Thomerson's finest hour (and a quarter). Obviously.

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RE: Great Badir's Favourite Films - 3/3/2014 7:07:37 PM   
elab49


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No................

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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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