Re: Yes, From A Rooftop. While Holding A Dove That Appeared Out Of Nowhere.

1

McMegan is a jackass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:19 PM
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Word.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:19 PM
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Wait no, wrong knee-jerk response: you are incorrect, Ma'am. Bladerunner is a terrific movie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:20 PM
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It's too bad Becks won't live. After delivering herself of this opinion. You see. Then again, who will?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:21 PM
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Far better if you hold a couch that appeared out of nowhere.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:21 PM
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Nope, you are sadly mistaken. The only legitimate question is whether this new edit will become the canonical version of the masterpiece. No other opinions are worth listening to.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:22 PM
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1 gets it exactly right. So does 6.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:25 PM
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I have seen things, that you people wouldn't believe. Attackships, on fire, on the shoulder of Orion. I've seen C-beams, glitter in the darkness at Tannhauser Gate.
All those moments lost in time like tears in rain


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:27 PM
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Don't worry, Becks. I've got your back.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:28 PM
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I guess those reports of declining drug purity in the nation's capital were wrong.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:29 PM
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I've never seen it; seems like you'd have to go out of your way to see it now. What was the occasion, or is this based on a long-meditated judgment?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:33 PM
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New cut just re-released, IDP. No excuses.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:34 PM
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When we left the theater, I was ready to get all text-y a la 6, and then Becks pronounced her opinion. My roommate: a Replicant.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:37 PM
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Ebert just added the new Final Cut version to his list of "The Great Movies". Of course, he seems to have lowered the bar lately, having covered Citizen Kane and its ilk long, long ago.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:44 PM
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Had she never seen it before?

I'm willing to be completely anthropologist about this, observing the customs of a strange tribe.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:44 PM
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15: As in, you're offering your services, Dr. Frazer? She had never seen the movie before. Because she's a Cylon.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:46 PM
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Or no, she had seen it but didn't remember it.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:47 PM
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18

There's no point in saying something like this and giving no reason for why you think so.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:47 PM
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Bah. A Cylon just ain't a Cylon unless it's got a red light bouncing back and forth where its eyes should be.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:47 PM
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I have never seen this movie, but instinctively I know Beck and Teo are right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:48 PM
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Cylon or Replicant? Make up your mind! Sure to you meat people all fictional robots are the same, but that's just prejudice!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:48 PM
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My initial response was, "Motherfucker.", but after 13, the scales have fallen from my eyes. The only question: how does McMegan's opinion enter into anything?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:49 PM
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Becks: Philistine.


Posted by: Jared Woodard | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:49 PM
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19: haven't you seen? The new Cylons can dress all sexy and play mind games with you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:49 PM
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Not to pile on, but this post is utter madness.

Fun fact: The principal screenwriter officiated at my best friend's wedding. Excellent guy. I won't let him know about this heresy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:54 PM
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Balderdash!

Blade Runner is, in some ways, not a good movie -- it has pacing problems (I'm sorry, it does) but it is a great movie. It is stylish, and it's sense of style never feels contrived (contrast, for example, Minority Report).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:55 PM
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Blade Runner is a triumph of style and design, but there's about maybe twenty-five minutes of it that's good cinema, all of them involving Rutger Hauer or Daryl Hannah. Those are a fabulous twenty-five minutes, but they're not a movie.

This would have been completely different if Edward James Olmos had been in the lead role, instead of a bit part. But I guess you can't blame them for that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:59 PM
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11, 20, et al.:

Those who haven't seen Blade Runner in any form are cultural miscreants. 'Tis no badge of honor to have missed this film.

Prithee, the film in its several forms plays upon the well-known (nay?) Dick novella. We won't go on.

Becks is going to have to spill if she says otherwise.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 8:59 PM
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I find that if you give a movie the benefit of the doubt, you don't find yourself searching for seemingly illogical things that you can harp on as examples of why it's bad. It's freeing, really.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:00 PM
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30

The title of this post reminds me of Lisa Simpson saying "Yes. I'm going to marry a carrot."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:00 PM
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31

As George W. Bush is to the wider world of knowledge, culture and travel, so am I to science fiction.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:00 PM
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In your hearts, you know I'm right.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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Those who haven't seen Blade Runner in any form are cultural miscreants. 'Tis no badge of honor to have missed this film. Prithee, the film in its several forms plays upon the well-known (nay?) Dick novella. We won't go on.

Sometimes the words say "oui oui" but the tone says "no no".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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The sense of style is never contrived. It meditates on issues of identity, mortality and humanity without being in your face or pretentious about it. It holds up so well over time, looking simultaneously like LA in the 40s, LA when it was made and LA right now. The movie has fucking everything.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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IT'S NOT SCIENCE FICTION

IT'S SF


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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Amending 27: okay, the scene where Deckard shows up at the strip club pretending to be from the "Federation of Variety Artists" is also pretty great. Thirty-five minutes, then.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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Prithee, the film in its several forms plays upon the well-known (nay?) Dick novella.

Not nearly as well-known as the movie itself.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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I admit that much of my antipathy for this movie comes from the fact that I saw it in a class with a terrible instructor who kept trying to convince us that it was both the greatest movie ever and totally relevant to the Spanish conquest of the Americas (the subject of the course). When we discussed it afterward I don't think anyone had anything good to say about it. Maybe one person.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:02 PM
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18 to 32. Also, if Blade Runner is here analogous to US political priorities, I agree with Becks's analogizing herself to Barry Goldwater.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:03 PM
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40

It develops the important themes of Dick's story while replacing his speed-addled rambling with a structure appropriate for cinema.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:04 PM
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40: We're not talking about A Scanner Darkly.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:05 PM
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42

Is A Scanner Darkly any good? I have it on my shelf, but haven't opened it yet.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:06 PM
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42: People either love it or hate it. I'm in the former camp.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:07 PM
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24: 19: haven't you seen? The new Cylons can dress all sexy and play mind games with you.

I know. I just like my Cylons old school.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:07 PM
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There is a funny conversation about a flaming hash monster in A Scanner Darkly. I like it.

It develops the important themes of Dick's story while replacing his speed-addled rambling with a structure appropriate for cinema.

But what about the TV show?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:08 PM
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41: The book A Scanner Darkly contained MORE speed-addled rambling than the movie? Impossible.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:10 PM
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47

The TV show version of Total Recall, another Dick adaptation, was centered around a character named David Hume. This almost made me watch it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:10 PM
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48

My friends: Blade Runner is a terrible, terrible movie.

Gawd, you're evil. I can feel it through the screen. You're supposed to forget the dove (and much of the rest of the plot).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:12 PM
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46: Never underestimate Dick's supply of speed-addled rambling.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:13 PM
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BTW, speaking of movies, this movie countdown rocks, and Blade Runner checks in at #97.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:13 PM
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Have I mentioned, BTW, the similarities in the opening sequences of Blade Runner and The Terminator?

In both you see a landscape, a caption appears on the screen saying Los Angeles [Date] and a vehicle flies across the screen.

Is there any argument that Blade Runner is the best American SF film ever made?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:13 PM
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52

Becks == nekulturney


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:14 PM
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53

The movie has fucking everything.

Including—forgive me, rob, but it has to be said—some godawful improvised pretentious dialogue.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:14 PM
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34: Actually, the depiction of Los Angeles in Blade Runner is a bit off. The nightmarish Los Angeles of 2019 is unimaginably dense, an urban planner's dream. Our nightmare is more horizontal than Ridley Scott imagined.

Still, the movie is beautiful and mysterious. And worth seeking out. (Is this new cut different than the director's cut that came out a dozen or so years ago?)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:14 PM
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I own the novella, and the thing with Blade Runner is that it really doesn't follow any of the book. No post-apocalyptic world in which people yearn to own animals and their electric cat is a source of shame; no abandoned Earth, no mercerism. They kept the is-he-or-isn't-he-a-replicant idea and turned it into the whole movie and moved it to neo-Tokyo.

I haven't seen the movie recently enough to know whether I agree with Becks, but I remember not being blown away by it.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:15 PM
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There is a funny conversation about a flaming hash monster in A Scanner Darkly. I like it.

The botched suicide scene is pretty great, too. But that ending? Jesus.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:16 PM
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57

Becks is right, although she left out at least a few "terribles."

I haven't read this thread.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:16 PM
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You're supposed to forget the dove (and much of the rest of the plot).

No, not the rest of the plot! Ok, the dove was hokey. But look, Dekerd might be a robot and not know it! Rutger Hauer can't face mortality and has a criminal lack of empathy! (Like Becks!) The humans in the movie are amoral too!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:16 PM
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No, no no. I cannot argue with 53, but a big old hell no to the post.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:16 PM
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60

The animal thing is in the movie, Cala.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:17 PM
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46, 49: Between 1963 and 1964, Dick wrote twelve novels. He was averaging a novel every two months. A little bit after that burst, he wrote Ubik and Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge, his two best stories (which have yet to be made into movies.)

That's a lot of speed-addled rambling.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:19 PM
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35: DS, good on that amendment. I'd also say some of the noir scenes in Decker's apartment with the playing of the piano. But I'm not sure if those were in the original cut of the film or in the second version.

I seem to have seen that movie at least half a dozen times, and it doesn't pale.

As for Cylons, is the new Battlestar Galactica coming on again any time this decade or what?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:19 PM
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No post-apocalyptic world in which people yearn to own animals and their electric cat is a source of shame; no abandoned Earth, no mercerism

If I could afford a snake, would I be dancing in a club like this?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:19 PM
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64

60/hr is very good blogging, but so far completely on topic.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:20 PM
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Ubik would be a hell of a weird thing to make into a film. Not sure I'd like to see that. It'd be something like Logan's Run, maybe.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:20 PM
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54: The thing that struck me was the way the floating cars with spotlights in Blade Runner foreshadowed the police helicopter surveillance you started seeing in the 90s.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:21 PM
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Eh, reading the book it feels more like middle-class striving. A sheep! Is that a toad?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:21 PM
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A little bit after that burst, he wrote Ubik and Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldridge, his two best stories (which have yet to be made into movies.)

No complaints about Ubik, but I like several books of his better than Palmer Eldridge. (I recognize that VALIS is the last thrusts towards sanity by a crazy man, but I still think it's a great book.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:22 PM
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51: Is there any argument that Blade Runner is the best American SF film ever made?

No such argument can be made, because it's patently untrue. Kubrick would have to claw his way out of his grave and gnaw all of our brains out. It's maybe one of the most visually influential American SF films ever made, but that's not same thing.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:23 PM
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Cala, the religion and the idea that human empathy can be captured by participating in a weird video game had to be dropped to cut down on speed addled rambling. But the basic theme that human empathy fails to be much more than robot empathy is still there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:23 PM
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It's very different, certainly. But it's not just abandoned.

It's worth noting that Neo-Tokyo is ripping off Blade Runner, not the other way around.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:23 PM
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51: Is there any argument that Blade Runner is the best American SF film ever made?

Lessee, if I were picking great American SF movies, I'd say, in order of release:

2001
The Empire Strikes Back (original version)
E.T. (original version)
Star Trek II
The Terminator
Robocop
Aliens
The Matrix
The Iron Giant

Is Blade Runner better than every one of those movies? I'd say no. Great effects and atmosphere, great ideas, but the pacing is off.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:24 PM
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So this movie opens with a bored corporate drone asking a poorly groomed, slackjawed, hapless bum the most hurtful questions imaginable off of a form; machines, not the interrogator, watch to check how upset the bum gets. The bum gets unreasonably upset, because he's not human, and kills the barely-there drone, who is. None of this is spelled out for the first viewing. It's not Short Cuts or M, it's overbearing, heavy-handed movie making, but it's nicely executed.
The book is better, again short on subtlety, long on psychosis and misogyny, but with virtues that IMO more than compensate for these flaws. I liked Minority Report a lot too, despite usually hating Speilberg.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:24 PM
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Kubrick would have to claw his way out of his grave and gnaw all of our brains out.

I would watch this movie. Would other great assholes of cinema get to come back as zombies, too? Because I'd like to be eaten by zombie Hitchcock, I think.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:24 PM
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75

E.T. (original version)

Is Blade Runner better than every one of those movies?

Oh no you din't.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:25 PM
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I see very few bad movies. I wish people wouldn't go into movies looking for things to complain about. Give it the benefit of the doubt, people. People work very hard to make movies, try to enjoy the experience they are providing you.

I've only seen like 5 movies in theaters in the last couple years that left me angry at the filmmakers for wasting my time (The Black Dahlia, Sahara, De-Lovely, Be Cool Scoop), but it seems like a lot of people I know feel embarrassed about not finding something to complain about after leaving the theater. It's one of the symptoms of our society's overvaluing cynicism and sarcasm.

And if I'm going to complain about something being pretentious, I try to really ask myself if the creators really failed in their attempt to be artistic, or if they succeeded and I just didn't like the fact that it was overly artistic or poetic or mannered or disorganized. After asking myself this, sometimes I can say "Yes, there was no reason for Petulia to be that hard to follow. It was, in fact, pretentious. Definitely."

While watching I'm Not There later this year, for example, try not to be on the lookout for pretentiousness. Benefit of the doubt, please.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:26 PM
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Fine, 'really doesn't follow any of the book' was a little strong, but when I read the book, having seen the movie, I was expecting something a lot closer to the tone of Neuromancer than what was actually there.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:26 PM
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lw, Short Cuts is overbearing, heavy-handed movie making. Given my respect for Altman and the source material, it's one of the great cinematic disappointments of my lifetime.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:27 PM
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62: Actually, now that I think of it, the opening scene where Leon is getting questioned and blows away his interlocutor after saying "Let me tell you about my mother" is also pretty classic.

I guess what it comes down to is that there's a lot of cliched characterization and pacing problems, but also lots of great material despite that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:27 PM
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80

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a really good novel.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:27 PM
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81

With that being said, I've never seen Blade Runner. I hope it's good, though, because it's a really great title for a movie.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:28 PM
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82

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a very poorly written novel. The movie is much better.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:30 PM
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83

The Empire Strikes Back (original version)

I used to semi-subscribe to this bit of CW, but I saw it last year and it's got all the defects of the other two.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:30 PM
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72: Not a bad list, but I think it makes the case for Blade Runner. The Terminator and Robocop both have better pacing than blade runner, but much, much worse acting, and are less imaginative (The Terminator, ranks high on my list of SF movies, but it is very clearly a hedgehog movie. It has a great premise, that it executes better than competantly).

The Matrix, on the other hand is terrible. I halfway liked it the first time I saw it and couldn't stand it the second time I saw it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:31 PM
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85

Obligatory KHAAAANNNNN!.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:32 PM
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86

Becks, I thought we could be friends. (That's why I friended you!) Now I see, how much I was mistaken. Barkeep! Put on some Vangelis! For I am sad and futuristic.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:32 PM
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82: The movie's writing is awful.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:32 PM
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88

Aliens over Alien is crazy.


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:32 PM
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but when I read the book, having seen the movie

The move does a poor job of setting you up for the book. I also encountered them in that order, and the book didn't make any sense the first time I read it. When I went back and read it again, I liked the book a lot, and it's very different.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:32 PM
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It'd be something like Logan's Run, maybe.

OH! This whole thread I've been thinking of Logan's Run, not Blade Runner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:33 PM
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Not that I've seen either one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:33 PM
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What's with all the hatin' on ET and ESB? Go find another way to burnish your revisionist-cinehipster credentials. The fact is, those movies rocked audiences' worlds in ways that few others have, in any genre.

And Harrison Ford never had a better line of dialogue than when he tells Carrie Fisher, "I know."


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:33 PM
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55: Dude, the thing about Blade Runner is that it's one of those few film adaptations that's just as good, albeit in an entirely different way, as its original literary counterpart.

72: What is The Iron Giant?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:33 PM
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74: Would other great assholes of cinema get to come back as zombies, too?

They'd go to pitch meetings, and when asked what their movies were about they'd say "BRAIIINSS!" and come leaping across the desk.

Hey, this thread gives me an idea. I'm going to go watch Blade Runner.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:34 PM
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And the novel is much more complicated. Is Mercerism even in the movie?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:34 PM
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96

I still like the first Matrix.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:34 PM
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97

Spaceballs, upon re-watching, did not hit the mark. But I did finally realize that "The Schwartz" is a pun on "The Force."

I'm a dim bulb.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:34 PM
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I have never seen this movie, but instinctively I know Beck and Teo are right.

OH! This whole thread I've been thinking of Logan's Run, not Blade Runner.

Heebie has opinions about many movies that she has not seen.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:34 PM
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(84: The Matrix is really a glorified chop-socky flick. If you don't like the genre you won't be able to sustain a liking for it.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:35 PM
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72: What is The Iron Giant?

It's the first film by Brad Bird, who went on to do The Incredibles and Ratatouille. It's kind of like ET, but animated and with a 100-foot robot in set in the 50's.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:35 PM
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And now that I'm reading this thread, I see I'm probably repeating what Cala has said.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:37 PM
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Go find another way to burnish your revisionist-cinehipster credentials.

Your jaded anti-jadedness routine has no power over me.

And Harrison Ford never had a better line of dialogue than when he tells Carrie Fisher, "I know."

Improvised, too -- in the script he was supposed to say "I love you too."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:38 PM
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I wish people wouldn't go into movies looking for things to complain about. Give it the benefit of the doubt, people. People work very hard to make movies, try to enjoy the experience they are providing you.

This is of course completely wrongheaded. Most movies are made with the intent to get people to pony up $10 on opening weekend. These films have minimal, usually infantile artistic pretensions. They are rarely, though occasionally, enjoyable.

The remainder of the films made each year are indeed intended by their creators to be something more than a box-office draw, but here the sad fact is that most people who make movies -- most people who get the funding to make movies -- have no idea how to make good movies, and they almost always fail to do so. Film as a medium lends itself to cheap wish-fulfillment more than any other, and acquiescing to that shit can addle your brain.

Also, Becks is totally smoking crack.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:39 PM
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Improvised, too -- in the script he was supposed to say "I love you too."

It still counts. Harrison Ford also improvised shooting the fearsome swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The bottom line is, Harrison Ford back in the day could do no wrong.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:40 PM
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55: Dude, the thing about Blade Runner is that it's one of those few film adaptations that's just as good, albeit in an entirely different way, as its original literary counterpart.

72: What is The Iron Giant?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:40 PM
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M is overbearing too. I like well-done overbearing in film.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:40 PM
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105: See #100.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:40 PM
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It still counts.

I meant this in a good way, GB. It's the best line in the film.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:41 PM
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i have a feeling i would agree with becks, if i were ever to watch the movie, which i don't intend to do.
also: does the thread hitherto betray a fairly clear m/f opinion divide?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:42 PM
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Also: No feedback on the link in #50? It's a video, y'all. Check it.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:44 PM
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does the thread hitherto betray a fairly clear m/f opinion divide?

Just where are the women bloggers, anyway?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:44 PM
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I be of the womanly persuasion.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:45 PM
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104--
if find that deeply implausible.
ford improvised having a pistol loaded with blanks, though the script didn't call for his using it?
the sword-wielder also improvised being shot, and this was caught by a separate camera, although it was all improvised?
i'm thinking harrison ford back in the day had a very good press agent, and lucas & spielberg didn't mind sharing around the glory.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:46 PM
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18 said: There's no point in saying something like this and giving no reason for why you think so..

False.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:46 PM
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#104: I mean the shooting script called for a long sword-on-whip fight, but Ford said he felt sick, and couldn't he just shoot the guy? Spielberg was smart enough to realize this was awesome, and made the change on the spot.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:47 PM
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I am woman, hear me give opinions on movies I haven't seen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:47 PM
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Sorry, #115 refers to #113, not #104.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:48 PM
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109: does the thread hitherto betray a fairly clear m/f opinion divide?

Parsimon claims to be female, but this is an elaborate ruse.

The movie's on. Ah, the dulcet strains of Vangelis.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:51 PM
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115--
more plausible.
more credit to spielberg.
less impressive on ford's part.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:51 PM
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In addition to my Blade Runner support, I would cite Teo's support for the anti-BR side as evidence against a gender split.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:52 PM
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118--
i've thought this before about parsimon, but i don't want to be harshing on anyone's gender-appropriateness.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:52 PM
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Yeah, I don't really see much of a gender split here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:53 PM
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How many fire-belching skyscrapers are slated for construction in L.A.? Anybody know?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:53 PM
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By the way, 116 in no way implies that this is a trait of women in general. Just of this woman. And what a woman!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:54 PM
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I'm invisible, of unknown gender.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:54 PM
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OT, get your Freakonomics on:

In a paper presented at Stanford Law School last year, he reported that, after adjusting for other differences, states where Internet access expanded the fastest saw rape decline the most. A 10 percent increase in Internet access, Kendall found, typically meant a 7.3 percent reduction in the number of reported rapes. For other types of crime, he found no correlation with Web use. What this research suggests is that sexual urges play a big role in the incidence of rape -- and that pornographic Web sites provide a harmless way for potential predators to satisfy those desires.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:54 PM
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Bah. A Cylon just ain't a Cylon unless it's got a red light bouncing back and forth where its eyes should be.

My thoughts exactly!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:55 PM
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122--
you'll find it more convincing if you use people's reactions to the movie as an independent basis for gender assignment.
then i think you'll find the correlation is quite striking, tea.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:55 PM
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I be of the womanly persuasion.

Tenselessly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:57 PM
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m/f opinion divide about what? Whether Blade Runner is a great movie?

I don't see it. Female here.

What Neuromancer (mentioned in Cala's 77) has to do with it is at first baffling, then intriguing.

DS, yeah, cliched characters, but that's part and parcel of film noir, and I'd at least float the idea that the troubled pacing is intentional, or at least works. The film is ragged and dreamy. Smoother pacing would be too packaged. Just a thought, nothing I'd need to argue strenuously.

(Sorry for the double post above, by the way, some weird browser problem.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:57 PM
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it seems like a lot of people I know feel embarrassed about not finding something to complain about after leaving the theater. It's one of the symptoms of our society's overvaluing cynicism and sarcasm.

Oh, I don't know. I get a lot of pleasure out of dissecting movies after I've seen them, talking about what I thought was done brilliantly or adequately or inadequately, and trying to put my finger on what choices were responsible for what I saw as aesthetic failings. I don't think this is because I'm a giant cynic, or because I'd be embarrassed to like something without reservations. I just find it a large part of the pleasure of seeing movies with another (similarly tempered) person.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:57 PM
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Tenselessly.

Aye.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:57 PM
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The video linked in 50 is indeed pretty cool. I was disappointed at how many of the films I couldn't name.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 9:59 PM
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(Deckard trying to get noodles. One of the things I like least about the movie: its tacit implication that everything's gone to hell because too many foreigners have moved in.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:00 PM
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Why is there a new cut, anyway? Two weren't enough?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:02 PM
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Dick is apocalyptic and paranoid, also doesn't write characters especially well, which even without the generous helpings of misogyny, tends to appeal more to men than women IMO. The movie, thanks to a few good actors and bursts of good filmmaking, mitigates some.
Also, is Short Cuts widely considered to be disappointing? I thought Carver OK but overrated, and Short Cuts quite good. Who writes well about film these days? Rosenbaum is OK, but too many undertones of anger.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:03 PM
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Sad. I assume you don't like Highlander either?


Posted by: Fred F. | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:06 PM
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The movie countdown linked in comment 50 is a product of madness.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:10 PM
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134:

(Deckard trying to get noodles. One of the things I like least about the movie: its tacit implication that everything's gone to hell because too many foreigners have moved in.)

Deckard. Right. Not Decker.

Anyway, yeah. But are we critiquing the underlying messages of the movie or its filmic integrity (for lack of a better snooty term)?

The world envisioned in the film is xenophobic. There you go, that's what it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:17 PM
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72:
I'm with you on the impact of ESB and ET (although SW was probably bigger impact than either) ...

but better than the matrix, robocop, aliens (but alien was much better), terminator? sure. easy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:25 PM
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[init]You people are philistines.
[read the thread] You people are philistines.
First of all, the relationship between the novella and the novella is principally conceptual: Dick could never have articulated a female as realistically as Scott did Ethically Dubious Love Interest # 1.
Secondly, Scott did a better job with Dick's aesthetic than did any of his successors, including Linklater, who should have known better.
Thirdly, I really like Dick.
I recommend Martian Time-Slip


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:27 PM
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actually, the `easy' in 140 is unfair (at least, to some of them)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:27 PM
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I freely admit to being a philistine, as well as to not having seen many movies and not having many strong opinions about anything, really.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:29 PM
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That is, while I agree with Becks's assessment, my opinion is not very strongly held and I'm neither prepared nor inclined to defend it vigorously.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:31 PM
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it's ok teo, we understand you don't know what you're talking about


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:33 PM
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I suspect I just don't like much science fiction. Of the movies listed in 72 that I've seen, I would not watch any of them again unless either I was bored and they happened to be on, or someone else wanted to see them. I think I dislike Blade Runner most, though.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:34 PM
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This is likely the result of holding Blade Runner to a higher standard, something I assume most people would say that it meets.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:35 PM
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we understand you don't know what you're talking about

I rarely do, and when I do it's generally about something no one else cares about. This is one of the many reasons I don't comment much these days.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:37 PM
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88: It's unfair to compare almost anything to Alien. It really is one of the finest films ever made. If loving Aliens is wrong, I don't wanna be right, but Alien was a jaw-droppingly good piece of cinema. Shoulda gotten Best Picture, not that that Academy was ever, ever, ever going to pick it, or even nominate it, over Kramer vs. Kramer.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:39 PM
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148: bah. stop doing that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:43 PM
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Sorry.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:44 PM
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I'd watch Tron again, now that I think of it. But mostly because I don't remember it that well.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:45 PM
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151: and that, too!

damn. you know teo, I realized I have no idea when to take you completely seriously. I was just teasing, but can't tell if the self-deprecating stuff (which doesn't hold water) is just schtick, or you mean it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:48 PM
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I agree with teo's opinion that there is too much commenting of the genre "personal insult coming out of nowhere" in situations where "respectful disagreement about unimportant matter of taste" would make more sense. It's not funny if everyone tries to do it all the time. I vow to point it out when people do this in the future, so that he is not alone in his quest.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:48 PM
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The movie and the book are hard to compare because they end up being about different things. The movie ends up being a meditation on mortality -- the replicants are just in a stepped-up version of the situation we all find ourselves in. The book feels like it takes place five minutes before the heat death of the universe. The book has lots of striking elements that would be hard to put in a movie, such as the Penfield mood organ, the idea of kipple, or the entire alternate fake police force that arrests Deckard.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:49 PM
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I just remembered the one SF movie I might like better than Blade Runner -- Existenz.

I don't know that it's a great movie, but for whatever reason every element of that movie works for me.

I watched Tron again recently (don't ask), and I was shocked at how clearly it was a Disney movie.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:49 PM
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Of course, just about every other blog is worse for these matters, except some completely non-political and non-gender-related ones.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:49 PM
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Whether you like SF or not, good SF movies are few and far between. Blade Runner is one. Dune might be another. City of Lost Children and Delicatessen I suppose might count, but beyond that I'm drawing a blank. Why a genre so well disposed to special effects should be so ill-served by film is puzzling.

p.s.141's the novella and the novella s/b "the film and the novella" and you all are princes among men for not mocking for it so far,


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:49 PM
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You know what movie sucks? "The Dark Crystal".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:50 PM
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Go fuck yourself, Cryptic Ned.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:51 PM
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I vow to point it out when people do this in the future

That'll be fun.

Also, Blade Runner is an enjoyable movie, so there.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:51 PM
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159: Ned, after that, I can't take your 154 seriously. You want me to tell you I now think you're a worthless piece of shit. But that would be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:52 PM
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158: I think because it is so often used as a vehicle for demonstrating new special effects, and that's how holywood knows how to market them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:53 PM
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I liked Solaris a lot, but it was so unbelievably depressing I don't know if I could watch it again.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:54 PM
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two els, even.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:54 PM
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The only movie that legitimately deserves the label "sucks" is Labyrinth.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:55 PM
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I'm surprised 2001 hasn't come up yet.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:55 PM
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God, I loved Solaris. Wept openly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:55 PM
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In this thread I'm just kidding. And there's no need for Cryptic Ned to point out the personal attacks about matters of taste; it's not like they aren't obvious and obviously meant in jest.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:56 PM
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Solaris is another where the book and movie both hold up.

We've forgotten Metropolis, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:57 PM
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158, 164: 2001? Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:57 PM
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Well, all of your comments are very interesting, but each of them diverts attention from from the clear implicature of 22: McMegan is such a replicant, it's not even funny.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:57 PM
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162: I saw it as a kid, and it evoked no emotions other than depression and hopelessness. Then in college, it had just about the same effect. Maybe it contains breathtaking technical feats of muppetry, but I wasn't paying attention to those things. Maybe I should watch it with the sound off.

"Labyrinth" was much better. Much, much better.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:58 PM
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And I do apologize for bringing my self-deprecating shtick into this thread, with which I have no problem at all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:58 PM
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171: beyond thunderdome? that's heresy, ben.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:58 PM
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And there's no need for Cryptic Ned to point out the personal attacks about matters of taste; it's not like they aren't obvious and obviously meant in jest.

If you don't like my contributions, you can take a long walk off a short pier, you mongoloid.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 10:59 PM
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Racist.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:00 PM
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(aside to people taking walks off short piers: head for the shore)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:00 PM
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you can take a long walk off a short pier

Ah, so you say. But can he?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:01 PM
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I was in France when Kubrick died. One of the French channels decided to show all of his films over the next week or so. Some were dubbed; other subtitled. It took something like 40 minutes to find out whether 2001 was subtitled.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:02 PM
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As long as the walk is longer than the pier, it can be called "long". These words have only relative meanings.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:02 PM
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173: Ah. As a depressed and hopeless kid, I found it deeply moving and beautiful, whereas I found Labyrinth to be maudlin and silly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:05 PM
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Ack, Solaris, another one for the short list. The list of which 2001 is most definitely off, though not for lack of trying.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:06 PM
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But Labyrinth had David Bowie!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:06 PM
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Solaris was haunting.

I liked Existenz, but I'd gotten the impression that I was alone in this opinion.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:07 PM
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Isn't the dark crystal basically the last large scale puppet/muppet/whatever based feature? It's not like E.T. holds up that well either, regardless of DSs (correctly) pointing out the impact it had at the time.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:08 PM
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I liked Labyrinth. Also City of Lost Children. I haven't seen any of the rest of these movies.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:08 PM
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186, it was really the only large scale muppet feature with no humans at all. "Labyrinth" came later.

As a depressed and hopeless kid, I found it deeply moving and beautiful, whereas I found Labyrinth to be maudlin and silly.

Oh, I didn't watch it at that point in my life. But I never looked for movies that I could use to make my sadness more poetic. I had music for that.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:10 PM
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Is Labyrinth the movie where it's pointed out that if you keep your hand on the wall you might head down the wrong paths, but you won't double back without knowing it (or something like that, I'm not describing it well)?

I thought that was pretty cool, having spent a lot of time doing mazes on paper without thinking of what a maze would be like in three dimensions.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:11 PM
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184: Even as a child, I knew those pants, with their own testicle-pouch, were a crime against humanity. Plus, I wanted there to be hot s3xx0r between him and the girl. Or at least, whatever I fantasized about at that age instead of hot s3xx0r.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:11 PM
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188: I was six when I saw The Dark Crystal, so I didn't have a music collection to moon around to yet.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:12 PM
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I like every single movie that's been mentioned in this thread -- I dearly love many of them -- except Solaris, which I haven't seen yet. Dunno what this says about me, but I do know that it means sci-fi is awesome!

I just today read a review of Strange Days and thought "hey now, that was a pretty darn rad movie." Sucker for it, I am.

Thanks to Becks, I made plans to see this new edit of Blade Runner sometime soon. Go, Becks! Spread the word!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:13 PM
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189: yes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:13 PM
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One of my sisters-in-law can make her face look exactly like a Dark Crystal muppet.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:13 PM
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191: I think 188 is referring to Solaris, not The Dark Crystal.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:14 PM
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149: Alien was a jaw-droppingly good piece of cinema.

Maybe I gotta watch it again. I remember being turned off by the cheesy computer consoles aboard the ship, and the fakey talking android head special effects. And for my money, Sigourney Weaver in the loader machine fighting the alien queen was just so damn awesome.

Also, two points:

(1) Muppet-related movies (Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, TMNT, and yes, even the Muppet Movie) range from "overrated" to "sucks completely". The only completely successful use of muppetry in the cinema is Yoda.

(2) Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is another in the unending series of movies in which Mel Gibson, or the actors he directs, gets graphically tortured and abused. It starts with his very first film appearance in Mad Max and goes all the way through Road Warrior, Thunderdome, Lethal Weapon 1, 2, etc., Payback, Braveheart, and the Passion of the Christ, up to Apocalypto. Seriously, this guy has issues.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:15 PM
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195: I don't think so. See 159.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:15 PM
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190: Operation Labyrinth successful! Commence mass distribution immediately.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:15 PM
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whereas I found Labyrinth to be maudlin and silly.

I had the same impression. But then, I saw it when I was really stoned, in the bedroom of an unemployed twenty-five year old who demanded silence every time David Bowie appeared on the screen. And tried to keep me from leaving after I entered, lest I ruin the hotboxing session they had going.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:16 PM
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Just to be clear, in the start of #149, I was contrasting Alien (fakey talking head) with Aliens (awesome loader fight).


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:16 PM
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"Dark City" is a great movie, I think. Also "Twelve Monkeys". I don't see many SF movies. "Gattaca" has been near the top of my mental list of "movies I'd like to see" for about fourteen years, but I never want to see it by myself. It seems like something I should watch with other college students. Better round some up before I finally leave campus for good!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:16 PM
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196 contains so many flaws I can't even begin to enumerate them.

A Boy and His Dog, now there's a hell of a post-apocalpytic movie.

Mel Gibson didn't get graphically tortured or abused in Road Warrior. He didn't direct it, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:17 PM
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Okay! Now we're getting somewhere limits-to-the-catholicism-of-my-taste-in-sci-fi-movies-wise. Dark City blew, and Gattaca blew like a hurricane.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:19 PM
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201: I've seen and liked all three of those movies. Sifu and I will now fight to the death.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:20 PM
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Ack, Solaris, another one for the short list. The list of which 2001 is most definitely off, though not for lack of trying.

I'm having a hard time imagining what short list 2001 is most definitely off. "Films that are not 2001," perhaps, but that would be a very long list.

You know what hugely popular science fiction film is vastly overrated? Star Wars, that's what.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:21 PM
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They Live is pretty much the final word in post-apocalyptic movies.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:21 PM
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Becks, is this what happens after a near-mishap? I'm so sorry. I did not know one minor near-death experience at a party could drive someone completely mad.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:21 PM
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You liked "A Boy and his Dog" more than "Dark City"? I am powerless to respond to this appropriately, having unilaterally decided not to use gross personal slanders at this blog.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:22 PM
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I had an idea for a sequel to Gattaca, where they discover the hitherto undiscovered gene for indomitable will that allowed Ethan Hawke to accomplish everything in the original, thus ushering in a golden age of perfectly objective evaluation of human ability.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:22 PM
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#202: So leave out Road Warrior from the list in #196 (although certainly it's in the spirit as the other films, with guys getting their fingers chopped off and strapping their enemies to the bumpers of speeding cars.) What other "errors" are you talking about?


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:23 PM
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#210: Oops, "errors" s/b "flaws".


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:24 PM
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I thought most of Gattaca was interesting, but it became less interesting as it went on.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:24 PM
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208 meet 206, pretentiously and at great length, while wearing a trenchcoat.

Gattaca is fine except for the plot and acting.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:24 PM
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Riddley Walker and A Canticle for Liebowitz constitute the short list of good postapocalyptic novels. Discuss.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:24 PM
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196: issues a christ complex.

Still, Road Warrior is the best of that lot.


Alien has some cheesy special effects, sure. It has great tone and pacing though.

Aliens is a much better than expected example of what happens with a follow up with a much larger budget. It throws enough cheesy action flick schtick in that even though the special effects are much better the tone & feel aren't as good. It's got some good scenes, but it's not a great film.

Wrt the original, I think a lot of sci-fi doesn't age well, because we get distracted by retrospectively bad special effects (and predictions).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:25 PM
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Alien is an awesome film.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:25 PM
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200: I thought the fight at the end of Aliens was cheesy ("Get away from her, you bitch"? Ugh), one of my least favorite parts. Alien is great - great use of silence and of darkness, great pacing, etc.

And the Skeksis redeem all the weaker elements of Dark Crystal.

Also, if anyone's curious, the new version of BR is almost exactly the same as the 92 version.


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:26 PM
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Road Warrior is just an utterly kickass movie. I could give a shit about Mel Gibson's career after he got to this country, but between Gallipoli and the former the guy built up some real good will with me in the early days.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:26 PM
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The Matrix was a great film, but it was basically a reworking of Dark City.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:27 PM
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Sifu, you claimed to like all science fiction movies, but you didn't like Gattaca or Dark City? What was your definition of science fiction movie? "Star Wars or one of its sequels?"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:29 PM
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On the Beach is a post-apocalyptic movie, but not SF: just a bleak, bleak cold war nuclear annihilation film.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:29 PM
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A Canticle for Liebowitz is canonic. Didn't Ursula LeGuin write a postapocalyptic novel? The Lathe of Heaven?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:31 PM
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Jesus has succeeded in making me hate 2001.

2010 was much better. There. I said it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:31 PM
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220: movies which (a) incorporate speculative or futuristic themes, characters, or events and (b) aren't retarded.

I mean, seriously, ooh, in the genetically determined future we've lost the ability to identify people by sight? What?

Dark City was so boring, and so vastly inferior to the nigh-identical Existenz that the only thing I remember about it is that Jennifer Connolly was pretty hot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:32 PM
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214: The latter was my favorite book in high school.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:32 PM
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THE BIFFTRIX.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:32 PM
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222: Canticle for Liebowitz is excellent, yes. I think that U.K.L novel was actually made into a (bad?) movie.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:33 PM
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2010 was much better

Okay, now you're just trolling.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:33 PM
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226: well I'll be lol.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:34 PM
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2010 and Aliens have a lot in common.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:35 PM
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(1) See, I liked "Get away from her, you bitch!" Yes, it's superficially cheesy, but it's also perfectly appropriate in context, and it signals to the audience that major ass-kicking is a-comin'.

(2) I do like Road Warrior. It's not only a good movie, but it's one of the movies I saw when I was young and un-jaded enough that the violence really freaked me out. (i.e., "Holy crap, that guy just got his damn fingers cut off!") Robocop was another one. Memories of being freaked out by a movie really stay with you.

(3) The Skeksis were just as crappy as the rest of Dark Crystal. The one who was always saying "Hmmmmmmm..." was teh lame. (Interesting footnote: It sure looks like Pixar stole the Dark Crystal's soul-sucking machine for Monsters, Inc.)


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:36 PM
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I loved the Lord Chamberlain skeksis. Brilliant evocation of the kind of creepy people who try too hard to get in good with kids and have evil intent.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:38 PM
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231 (1) you also rate robocop surprisingly highly ....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:39 PM
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205:
short list 2001 is most definitely off:
good sci-fi movies
successfully attempted sci-fi movies
sci-fi movies

movies that successfully attempt to capture the spirit of human endeavor and its limitations.
movies that almost capture the spirit of human endeavor and its limitations.

short list 2001 is most definitely on:

movies appropriate for an early acid trip
movies appropriate for a mid acid trip

movies that a kubrick fan has to apologize for


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:39 PM
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Once again, the blogosphere is riven into pro- and anti- Lord Chamberlain Skeksis factions.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:41 PM
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I don't remember any so-called "skeksis". Maybe I should watch it again. But that probably wouldn't work either, because it's so ugly to look at that it was hard to pay attention in the first place.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:41 PM
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234.last not ever, no. That's one of my top three, if not my favorite movie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:42 PM
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2010 and Aliens have a lot in common.

2001 : 2010 :: Alien : Aliens


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:43 PM
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successfully attempted sci-fi movies

Kubrick didn't even succeed in attempting to make a sci-fi movie?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:43 PM
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I'm astonished every time I watch 2001 at how pretentious it is. It's less accessible and less enjoyable than anything by Antonioni, ever. It really is very, very, pretentious. But good.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:44 PM
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237: Well, a rebuttal to 223 then: Jennifer Connolly is hot.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:44 PM
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I don't see how 2001 is inaccessible, unless by "inaccessible" you mean "pretty sweet".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:46 PM
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237: He may be on acid, but Tweety speaks the truth. Eyes Wide Shut, on the other hand, sure. But I think that's the "movies that a kubrick fan has to apologize for" list in its entirety.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:46 PM
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240 is correct. 2001 is a good movie; it's just a pretentious art film rather than a pretentious sci-fi movie.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:47 PM
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231.1 - Well, yeah it's supposed to be a big fist-pumping moment, but as such it's out of step with the movie up to that point, which was filled with a sense of confusion and besiegedness.

Dark Crystal is one of those childhood movies I'd defend to the death regardless of whether I was right, but in this case I also am right.


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:47 PM
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movies that a kubrick fan has to apologize for

Not 2001. That goddamn Eyes Wide Shut piece of crap.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:48 PM
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I don't see how 2001 is pretentious, inaccessible, or an art film.


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:48 PM
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Pwned by Jesus. Goddamn you, Jesus.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:49 PM
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I saw Eyes Wide Shut right when it came out, and I thought it was a masterpiece, but the reaction to it was so negative that it makes me wonder if I just misinterpreted it. I keep meaning to watch it again to see if I still like it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:50 PM
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238 is exactly right.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:50 PM
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I don't see how 2001 is inaccessible, unless by "inaccessible" you mean "pretty sweet".

Well, it moves unbelievably slowly and makes no sense without a long explanation from someone who knows what's going on.

I speak from the point of view of someone not on drugs, of course.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:51 PM
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#249: I remember liking Eyes Wide Shut, too, although I only saw it the once, and don't know how it would stand up to multiple viewings.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:52 PM
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I watched EWS for the first time recently, and I thought it was very good, even if not one of Kubrick's best. Can someone explain the hate?


Posted by: Toadmonster | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:52 PM
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Goddamn you, Jesus.

You're just saying that because you're Catholic.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:53 PM
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Is there a Kubrick movie that doesn't have long tracking shots? I've only seen 4 or 5 of them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:55 PM
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251: I figured it out pretty well on my own before I'd done any drugs. Maybe it's just aimed at the naturally quick-witted and thoughtful?

Boy am I in a rare mood tonight. Probably all those murder jokes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:55 PM
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The wheels on the gusti bus go round and round.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-07 11:59 PM
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EWS lost me my virginity, so I can't hate.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:02 AM
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can't really argue with that, AWB.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:02 AM
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258 suggests a promising redirection of this thread.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" almost did it for me, but I didn't know what was going on at the time. I still am not sure what was going on at that time.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:04 AM
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Almost Amores Perros—seriously—for me, but it didn't actually happen.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:05 AM
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247:I don't see how 2001 is pretentious, inaccessible, or an art film.
2001 was pretentious inasmuch as it assumed a previous genre into an art film. 2001 was an art film because the primary actors were symbolic. Initially, you have the frustrated ape against the artifact,which is presumably artificial. Then you have the voice controlled computer (which at the time was sci-fi), then you have the computer controlled man. Each is an artifact of the other, except the initial artifact, and the final nebula, which are connected by their presumed origin. How this is inaccessible escapes me.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:09 AM
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Amores Perros is an awesome movie, but a weird one to get all groiny about.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:10 AM
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If any one movie could be said to have most directly contributed to my losing my virginity I guess it'd have to be Silence of the Lambs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:10 AM
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Goodfellas: not a good date movie.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:11 AM
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I don't credit the content of the film for getting me laid, but I think it served as a way of announcing what we both imagined would happen that night, after a previous surprise make-out at a party. We hung out all the time for a year before that, so saying, "Let's go see this movie that is purported to contain lots of kinky sex stuff" was a way of saying, "Maybe you should have prophylactics handy."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:11 AM
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How this is inaccessible escapes me.

Oh, come on. It's not obvious. It's the very opposite of obvious. One gets to an explanation like yours after thinking long and hard about the work.

I saw it in a room with about 10 other people, all honors students. None of us were stoned. When the "star child" appeared at the end, nobody had the faintest idea what was going on or what had happened to the main character.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:12 AM
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Alien is one of the few movies that truly terrifies me to the point that I have to hold someone's hand while I watch it. I love it so much.

2001 is an incredible film and Dark City is unquestionably awesome.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:12 AM
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You people are young. I lost my virginity to Battleship Potemkin.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:12 AM
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"Hey, let's sit down and watch this fucked up movie and..." (grope, grope, grope, date, (time passes), Rush CD)

But I don't think we saw any other movies together in the meantime.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:13 AM
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Barry Lyndon was pretty conventionally shot, IIRC. And how EWS could impair virginity I can't imagine. If that was my image of the sexual life, I think I'd hold out for Ben's if nothing else.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:13 AM
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271, see 266. It's not like we learned anything from watching the film that was useful later in the evening.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:14 AM
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Aliens, and I love Aliens, is a movie. Alien is a film. PI rewatched all four of the Alien quartet for my birthday as a gift to myself (this after finding out that Joss Whedon was responsible for the script for Alien: Resurrection) and was left whomperjawed at the craftsmanship on display in Alien.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:17 AM
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269--
my thoughts exactly. ews just came out, yesterday, didn't' it?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:17 AM
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Alien: Resurrection is kind of boss, if you forget all that came before.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:20 AM
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Amores Perros is an awesome movie, but a weird one to get all groiny about.

It was a weird situation.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:22 AM
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275: I loved it. The Jeunet-ness was lovely.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:22 AM
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The correct model for Sifu's movie preferences is the random walk.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:22 AM
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My dad was much more into SF than I've ever been; I think I respect it and have taken it more seriously than I would without his example.

In the late seventies, or early eighties, whenever Alien came out, he was making a little extra money counting the people who came in and went out of theaters, so he got to watch the movies. He loved Alien, and was able to link things he saw to stories he'd read fifty years before.

I've a pretty weak impulse to see SF, but I've usually appreciated the ones mentioned here that I have seen.

For some reason, movie dates never worked as well sexually as dinner dates for me, I think because they put my mind, and possibly my date's in a different place. They may also have affected my attention, and ability to pick up signals.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:22 AM
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Jacob's Ladder is another terrible date movie.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:23 AM
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I don't know why, but it always seems odd to me that both David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet have done Alien [sequel modifier] films.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:23 AM
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There are no terrible date movies, only terrible people.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:25 AM
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I've read an ungodly amount of classic sci fi -- like short stories from the forties through the sixties -- which presumably helps fuel my appreciation for SF films.

Seriously though Alien: Resurrection is a clever, very French action movie which has next to nothing to do with (a) any of the previous Alien movies or (b) being scary. But for what it is it's very well done. Certainly better than the godawful Alien 3.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:26 AM
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I hate movie dates.


Posted by: Travis Bickle | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:26 AM
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282: If by "terrible people" you mean the kind who invite you over to have sex and then fall out of the mood while watching a movie, I concur.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:26 AM
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282: I dunno Man Bites Dog was a pretty rough date movie, as was the director's cut of Bullet in the Head.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:27 AM
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The Alien movies are sort of disturbing if you think about them from a cultural contact perspective.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:27 AM
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Did someone on this blog once confess to making out watching Schindler's List, or is that a story I remember from like a Seinfeld episode or something?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:28 AM
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You squares. The last movie I can recall (before the event) enjoying with the lady in question was Reality Bites. Her taste in movies got better while mine got worse. I blame the patriarchy.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:28 AM
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Well, it was the basis for a Seinfeld episode. But life could imitate art.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:29 AM
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Can someone explain the hate?

I don't exactly hate EWS, and it's been a long time since I've seen it, but I remember it seeming unfinished and unfocused, as though it needed more editing, at the very least. Even 2001 had more coherence and conviction. Pretty people, though. Lots of sex talk.

Off to bed. Night, imaginary people.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:29 AM
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288: Yes that was a Seinfeld episode, and while I can't account for every single commenter out there, I did make out during a showing. We were in high school class project though, if that makes any difference.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:32 AM
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291: Sure, but any movie that ends with the line, "We should fuck, as soon as possible," is a great date movie.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:32 AM
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It's pretty sad that I can no longer tell the difference between Seinfeld episodes and Unfogged.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:33 AM
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285 reminds me that my dating was pre-VCR era, so when I talk about a movie date I mean going to a theater w/. Inviting someone over to watch on some home entertainment device doesn't seem like a date to me.

Doesn't Woody Allen's character in Annie Hall say his favorite movie is The Sorrow and the Pity? Maybe that's the origin of the notion.

I love that movie, but it wouldn't put me in the mood.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:33 AM
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Sorry:

Alice Harford: I do love you and you know there is something very important we need to do as soon as possible.
Dr. Bill Harford: What's that?
Alice Harford: Fuck.

Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:34 AM
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Wasn't the Seinfeld concept defined, maybe by him, as "a show about nothing?" Could be the affinity.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:36 AM
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Unfogged isn't about nothing. Unfogged is about cock jokes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:37 AM
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Some people who comment at Unfogged can't stand Seinfeld.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:39 AM
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Oh, *I* can't really stand Seinfeld. Which is why I think it's kind of sad.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:40 AM
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Kobe, eb, and I can't stand it, for instance.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:41 AM
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FUCK


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:41 AM
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The 300, 301 pwn train is a funny train. A funny train I want to ride.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:42 AM
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I have to admit to being in the camp that doesn't really rate 2001. There are some brilliant visual moments and inspired sequences but, as a film, it doesn't work for me at all.

I'm fairly sure I saw it for the first time at the cinema, too. When they brought out 2010 our local cinema showed it as a double bill.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:43 AM
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I am unconvinced that Alien: Resurrection is very clever. It is clearly very French. And just as clearly it is not dumb. The movie just screams 'designed!' to me; there is Something Going On in it beyond someone simply hamfistedly mauling the franchise.

That said, I don't think Jeunet actually did a very good job with Resurrection. There's a bunch of points in the movie that I can just point at and ask, 'What the hell was Jeunet thinking?' Parts that I don't feel can be waved away by invoking auteur's prerogative.

Also, the frightening thing about Alien 3 is that, having read some of the other scripts that real screenwriters with real reputations created, I'm glad we got what we did. Some of those screenplays were eye-gougingly bad (I'm looking at you, Eric Red). William Gibson's was pretty good, though.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:43 AM
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I am also with the Seinfeld haters.*

* well, more accurately, I find it occasionally funny and well-crafted but the funny is outweighed most of the time by teh-unbelievably-annoying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:45 AM
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I am unconvinced that Alien: Resurrection is very clever.

Oh, I would never say "very." I would say "a bit."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:47 AM
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I always thought my problem w/ Seinfeld was that I was too old for it. Relieved to find how many clever people about the right age for it feel the same.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:49 AM
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Yes, it has a certain Jeunet sais quoi to it.

Anyway, I was surprised at how much I ended up liking A Very Long Engagement.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:50 AM
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How do you not like Seinfeld? I understand that some people don't, which is why I'm curious. Peruvians like it, and Brazilians love it, but Israelis prefer "Everybody Loves Raymond." The non-UK Commonwealth seem to get it, but the UK and Kiwis don't. FWIW, Argentinians don't give a fuck either way.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:54 AM
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307: 'a bit clever' I can get behind. 'There's something happening there' is tolerably high praise for art coming from me, and Resurrection is clearly art. It's not good art, but it's art.

309: Arg.


Posted by: Nbarnes | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:54 AM
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Let's stop hating on Seinfeld for his TV show, and start hating on him for his crappy movie about bees.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:55 AM
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Seinfeld mostly irritates me. I don't like shows (or books, or movies) where I'm meant to empathize with constantly, determinedly unpleasant people. Nor do I like shows (books, movies) where there's no sympathetic POV at all (it could be the narrator, I'm not picky).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:56 AM
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Seinfeld isn't that great. Curb Your Enthusiasm, on the other hand, lets Larry David really cut loose and make you squirm.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:59 AM
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re: 310

It's not that I don't 'get' it. I just don't like it. I find the characters intensely irritating.

Of course, comedy does that a lot. Exaggerates the worst aspects of people's characters to create comic archetypes that we can both sort of identify with [the worst parts of ourselves writ large] and which we can also sort of hate. I can think of lots of comedy characters that are like this and clearly exhibit exaggerated versions of traits that I personally share or recognize in people I know. Those characters can be painfully funny.

With the Seinfeld characters it's not like that. They are like aliens.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:00 AM
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Also, Ricky Gervais is a fucking genius.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:02 AM
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I feel the same way about Ricky Gervais that ttaM feels about Seinfeld.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:18 AM
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First: whether or not your like seinfeld is less important than:)a your taste in sci-fi, b)your taste in Kubrick, c)which movie first got you laid, in exactly that order.

That said, you're all stuck up pricks, aren't you? Seinfeld is fucking brilliant, and fuck the lot of you, anyhow.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:23 AM
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I like 2010 because it showed that you could make a sequel to the Most Overrated Movie Ever (regardless of actual quality) and still let it succeed on its own terms. It's actually more watchable as a film than 2001 was, because it has a proper plot.

It's also interesting to see how the sixties future of the first movie changes into a far more believable yet equally dated eighties future, with its "realistic" portrayal of the Cold War continuing and East-West tension on the brink of nuclear war.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:23 AM
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214: Just because I don't think anyone ever took you up with Riddley Walker, I have to say that it is indeed fantastic. I'm generally a sucker for dialect-novels, but since reading RW I just end up comparing all others to it.


Posted by: caldwellian | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:36 AM
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139: The world envisioned in the film is xenophobic.

Also: the film envisages the world xenophobically, a bit.

But it's a sweet film, if a bit slow in spots. Becks' post is definitely busted.

What shenanigans in this thread. People praising Alien: Resurrection? Claiming Dick couldn't write characters (pretty much his sole skill)? Calling out 2001? You're all clearly insane.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:38 AM
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ahhh mindless contrarianism, I love it, good to see a new generation coming through, taking the genre to new heights. However, of course, the thing about contrarianism is that usually it's wrong and in this case, I feel that's the case. "Pacing" ye gods, what the hell does that even mean. Also, the way a film "looks" is not a minor, peripheral fact about the film. Furthermore, she really is a terrible, facile, shallow journalist.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:26 AM
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I feel the same way about Ricky Gervais that ttaM feels about Seinfeld.

Walt is on crack. The guest appearances on Extras are especially good.

Orlando Bloom clip.

Daniel Radcliffe clip.

Daniel Radclife and Diana Rigg clip.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:31 AM
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The question must be asked: is it really worth getting up at 4am (and thus losing a whole 90 minutes of sleep) in order to fly to the Midwest? I think the answer is clearly "No."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:42 AM
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but the reaction to it was so negative that it makes me wonder

EWS got the weirdest critical reaction of any movie I ever saw. It was advertised as an erotic movie, and it turns out that wasn't what Kubrick had in mind at all - but the reviewers rated it as a failed erotic movie.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 4:44 AM
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The question must be asked: is it really worth getting up at 4am (and thus losing a whole 90 minutes of sleep) in order to fly to the Midwest? I think the answer is clearly "No."

If it's the only way you can finally escape to here, than I'd say "Yes."


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:31 AM
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324 -- The antecedent question is whether life is ever worth getting up at 5:30 am. Sadly, no.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:34 AM
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"contains breathtaking technical feats of muppetry" -- new rollover text?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:46 AM
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I almost always get up before 6:00. Usually I sleep soundly for about 5 hours and then toss and turn. So often I get up and do some things and then take a nap as early as 9:00 a.m.

Sleep disorders is a common problem with aging, and one of the worst.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:50 AM
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Coming in late, Becks is wrong. But, I can see why she's saying it. While BR is a great movie, it requires a whole lot of willing suspension of disbelief -- once you start giggling at it, it gets silly. I originally saw it in a theatre, and then made a bunch of people in college who hadn't seen it watch it on a VCR with me; they started making snide remarks, and it became pretty much unwatchably absurd.

Seinfeld I've always kind of hated -- this is probably an idiosyncratic reaction, but it feels like mean ethnic humor to me, and I'm the ethnicity in the spotlight. If I were Jewish and felt this way, I'd probably think it was anti-Semitic, but the hostility isn't at the particularly Jewish bits of the characters, it's at the New York urban bits of them. It's week after week of "Yes, America, city people are just as empty, cold, frivolous, rude, and cruel as you think they are." I'm not going to defend this as a reason that it's wrong to enjoy it, if you do, but I can't get more than five minutes or so into an episode of Seinfeld without wanting to turn it off angry.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:57 AM
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Did someone on this blog once confess to making out watching Schindler's List?

I laughed inappropriately during Schindlers List.

I was seeing it in the cinema in the U.S. with a German girl. There's a sequence near the beginning, during the clearing of the ghetto, where a Nazi shoots a Jew who is being held by his arms on either side by German soldiers. There's a moment of dark irony where one of the German soldiers yells (in German), "You asshole, you could have shot me."

The girl and I both laughed involuntarily, to the horror of our fellow spectators, who hadn't caught the dialogue and had just watched a man being brutally murdered on screen.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:59 AM
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I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Barbecues on fire by the chalets past the castle headland. I watched the gift shops glitter in the darkness off the Newborough gate. All these moments will be lost in time, like ice cream on the beach. Time for tea.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:18 AM
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Yes, I've always thought that LB was a ringer for Elaine, but I didn't want to say that.

/baiting

Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus is an heiress of the Dreyfus Group, which is worth billions, though I don't know how big her cut is. I once calculated that she was richer than Paris Hilton, though I'm no longer sure that that's true.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:20 AM
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330: My recent time in New York has brought me in touch with authentic salt of the earth Real American fucked-up-ness. It's not exactly what you'd guess, but it's beyond mere neurosis. E.G. hearing a 60 year old say "Fuck you!" to his 80 year old mother.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:23 AM
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No such argument can be made, because it's patently untrue. Kubrick would have to claw his way out of his grave and gnaw all of our brains out.

If this comment is meant to imply that 2001 is anything other than a crashing crashing bore, except for a few minutes with HAL, then I must respectfully suggest that Dr. Slack put down the pipe.

Also, Blade Runner is a fantastic movie. Philip Dick was a great imaginer of situations and a nearly unreadably bad writer.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:35 AM
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My favorite movie of last year was Miami Vice. I saw it four times.

In the theater. The week it came out.

That's what I thought.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 6:37 AM
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The Truth About Blade Runner:

Hollywood makes terrible, terrible SF films. Almost as bad as its fantasy films. (Remember who gave us Legend.)

Blade Runner is a moderately interesting, moderately flawed film that LOOKS LIKE A FUCKING MASTERPIECE COMPARED TO ALL THE OTHER SF SHIT THAT'S ON FILM.

Hence the desperate clinging to it with all four paws, evinced in the foregoing thread.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 7:18 AM
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Philip Dick was a great imaginer of situations and a nearly unreadably bad writer.

I often wonder if Vonnegut explicitly had PKD in mind when he created Kilgore Trout.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:00 AM
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I liked Solaris a lot, but it was so unbelievably depressing I don't know if I could watch it again.

I feel this way about most Sun products.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:08 AM
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337: Some of us have watched non-Hollywood SF, so your thesis may be speed-addled rambling require some revision.

mcmc, the pipe is all I have. Don't take it away from me! But yes, 2001 is a wonderfully mysterious and atmospheric film and deserves its reputation, despite having no explosions.

People, John Grisham and Tom Clancy are "unreadably bad" writers. Dick is a good, but extremely weird, writer. If you can't tell the difference...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:13 AM
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I feel the same way about Ricky Gervais that ttaM feels about Seinfeld.

Me too. Awkwardness plus humor is better than awkwardness without humor, in my opinion.

I've watched five episodes of "Extras" and the only time I laughed was at some pun Kate Winslet made.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:14 AM
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Philip Dick was a great imaginer of situations and a nearly unreadably bad writer.

I often wonder if Vonnegut explicitly had PKD in mind when he created Kilgore Trout.

I often wonder if Martin Amis had PKD in mind when he wrote The Information, in which the protagonist's MS. causes brain lesions and other serious health problems in readers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:23 AM
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I am nostalgic for the pre-Bush world when I could find Verhoeven's scifi fascism amusing. Robocop and Starship Troopers really were fine entertainments, though of course neither belongs in the pantheon of great scifi movies.

I remember a Troopers review that described it perfectly as "Triumph of Will 90210". Mind you, this was a favorable review.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:31 AM
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340: Right the first time.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:31 AM
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I often wonder if Kenneth Eng had PKD in mind when he wrote the character of Dennagon in Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:33 AM
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344: Good on you then!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:34 AM
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PKD had an interesting set of interactions with Polish SciFi writer Stanislaw Lem. Lem was a "fan" of Dick's - or at least PKD was one of the few traditional SciFi writers that Lem showed any respect for. Lem laid it out in a piece entitled "Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans" for Science Fiction Studies in the mid-70s. However, this was about the same time when PKD in his madness was accusing Lem (and various literary critics) of all manner of perfidy, such as being KGB agents, in letters to the FBI.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 8:56 AM
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RE: Seinfeld:

See, I don't feel any need to identify particularly with any of the characters, especially in a comedy. I suppose if there were nothing recognizable then it would be hard to enjoy except in a nasty point-and-laugh way. But I think that the good thing about Seinfeld was that the 4 main characters each have glimmers of sympathetic humanity (except towards the end when George just became 100% schmuck), but it never lasts - whether it's stealing a rye from an old woman (who among us hasn't stood in a store cursing some fellow human for taking the last X, or dithering about a choice?) or a Kramer scheme gone off the deep end.

Point being, there was something there, but they didn't let mere humanity stand in the way of the humor. What else do you want from a sitcom? Very Special Episodes?

PS - And I find awkwardness humor absolutely excrutiating. Talk about a failure of empathy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:14 AM
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202, 208:A Boy and His Dog, now there's a hell of a post-apocalpytic movie.

H. Ellison is a vicious misogynist, and this flick (a very faithful reproduction of the short story) is among his nastiest bits of misogyny.

It's really so awful that I am tempted to go presidential to admit how much I loved it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:16 AM
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H. Ellison is a vicious misogynist, and this flick (a very faithful reproduction of the short story)

It says otherwise here. But I haven't read the book so I don't know.

I did feel that the last line might have completely ruined the movie for me. But not quite.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:19 AM
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350: On balance, I think the short story is considerably more misogynistic than the movie (if you can imagine that), and Ellison, in addition to hating women, is a lying prick. If you've spent any time reading Ellison-on-Ellison, you know this.

True, the movie's final line isn't in the story, but it really catches the spirit of the short story in a way the rest of the movie doesn't. As I recall, the short story ended with a different misogynist joke - basically one that compared women unfavorably with dogs.

That said, I loved both the movie and the story so much because I thought they perfectly crystallized adolescent male rage toward women.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:29 AM
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basically one that compared women unfavorably with dogs

A boy loves his dog.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:31 AM
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As I recall, the short story ended with a different misogynist joke - basically one that compared women unfavorably with dogs.

Right, as she realizes he's about to kill her to feed to his dog, she says "Don't you even know what love is?" and he answers, after feeding her to the dog, "Of course I do. A boy loves his dog."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:35 AM
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352: Which, in context, was at least as nasty as the movie's closing gag.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:35 AM
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I see, now, that the whole geek cred thing has been an elaborate ruse to draw true geeks to Unfogged and then ridicule them mercilessly. Obviously Becks and the rest of you 2001-haters are not nerds in any real sense of the word. You sadden me, you dork-baiters.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:40 AM
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I find awkwardness humor absolutely excrutiating

Hear, hear. I couldn't sit through Meet the Parents or 40 Year Old Virgin, or probably any movie of that genre. It's simply too uncomfortable for me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 9:53 AM
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249: I saw Eyes Wide Shut right when it came out, and I thought it was a masterpiece, but the reaction to it was so negative that it makes me wonder if I just misinterpreted it. I keep meaning to watch it again to see if I still like it.

I enjoyed Eyes Wide Shut myself, although "masterpiece" is putting it a little strongly. I think the reaction was negative just because people went into it expecting softcore porn starring really famous and kinda respected actors which echoed an idyllic real-life marriage (this was before Tom Cruise was widely known to be nuts, if I remember correctly), but viewers got a pretentious psychological drama with a kinda weird premise.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:21 AM
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348 PS, 356: Agree completely. Add quite a few sitcoms to that list, like Friends and Frasier. It might not have been every episode that relied on awkwardness humor, but it was often enough that it grated.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:25 AM
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Becks is mad, mad, mad. As for other science fiction movies which haven't been mentioned, my love for Until the End of the World (and the late Solveig Dommartin) is undying, despite the plot holes a truck could drive through, and I even still like Silent Running, too.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 10:32 AM
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You Alien: Resurrection haters are nuts: it's the best sci-fi parable about reproductive politics ever and was written by Joss Whedon, and is thus funny and moving.

Q.E.D.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 11:11 AM
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oh, thank you, Becks. Blade Runner bites moose. Harrison Ford's "performance" would have to be several orders of magnitude better than it is to deserve the encomium "wooden." Darryl Hannah is even worse than usual, which is going some. space does not permit me to do justice to the epochally bad script.


Posted by: tim serbo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:34 PM
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Blade Runner bites moose.

The little-known sequel starring Rick Moranis and John Candy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:37 PM
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with guest cameos by Rocky and Bullwinkle.


Posted by: tim serbo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:41 PM
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now, who will have the courage to stand up and admit to the world that Radiohead is a wicked crappy band?


Posted by: tim serbo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:43 PM
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364: I'm your guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 12:51 PM
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delighted to hear it, S.T. this comments thread seems an oasis of clear-headed sanity in desert of uck.


Posted by: tim serbo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:05 PM
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I love Blade Runner though, not sure if that complicates your perspective.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:06 PM
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Until the End of the World

I really, really dig that movie. Finding out that Rah also likes it was one of those tingly moments of falling in love.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:10 PM
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your affection for the movie baffles me, S.T., but i'll give you a mulligan, seeing as you're on the right side of the far more pressing question of Radiohead's world-historical suckitude.


Posted by: tim serbo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:17 PM
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369 comments into a thread about good sci-fi movies and no one has mentioned Brazil?

Also, A Clockwork Orange and Dr. Strangelove need to be mentioned, although these are a different type of sci-fi than most of what has been discussed here.

All three of these movies are no doubt better than Blade Runner, but Blade Runner is still my favorite of the four.


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:26 PM
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Brazil and A Clockwork Orange are more allegorical than SFnal, I think.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:28 PM
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370, 371: There's a tendency to try to find a label other than "scifi" for anything that's really good.

12 Monkeys gets one respectful mention by CNed in 201, but that's another great one that I think people perceive as transcending the genre.

Did y'all know that Clockwork Orange - both the movie and the U.S. edition of the book - cut off Burgess's final chapter, in which the protagonist grows up and reforms?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:37 PM
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372: There's a tendency to try to find a label other than "scifi" for anything that's really good.

But it's nevertheless fair to say that fiction that's not really speculating about future scientific trends isn't SF.

cut off Burgess's final chapter

Burgess disavowed the film for that reason, didn't he? I didn't know they had done this with the book, too.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:47 PM
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Burgess put out an unabridged version in which he assails the movie and his U.S. editor. The editor, Burgess says, contended that Burgess was too reluctant to face up to the consequences of his bleak vision.

It's funny how often writers strike me as unreliable narrators when discussing their own craft. Burgess's editor was clearly right, in my view.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:55 PM
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now, who will have the courage to stand up and admit to the world that Radiohead is a wicked crappy band?

How does that take courage? Hating on Radiohead as a demonstration of daring contrarian coolness has been hugely popular since at least O.K. Computer. Even Matt "Michael Bay is an important and gifted director" Yglesias has done this one.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 1:58 PM
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But it's nevertheless fair to say that fiction that's not really speculating about future scientific trends isn't SF.

Not sure what you're going for here. There are "hard" science fiction aficianados who would dispute the scifi authenticity of "soft" scifi, but I think those people are mistaken.

I don't think I can come up with a definition of scifi that would exclude Brazil and 12 Monkeys, although possibly Dr. Strangelove is more properly thought of as satire than scifi.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:01 PM
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Did y'all know that Clockwork Orange - both the movie and the U.S. edition of the book - cut off Burgess's final chapter, in which the protagonist grows up and reforms?

To be fair, Burgess's ending is totally stupid.

12 Monkeys ... another great one that I think people perceive as transcending the genre.

People do not think this about 12 Monkeys.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:01 PM
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373: The problem is that the scifi label arbitrarily shrinks and grows. Technically you could limit the label to just hard scifi speculation about the future, and I've seen people do just that. But most people don't (they'd count Star Trek and Star Wars as scifi) adhere to such a strict view, and only back off the label when the movie or book is good.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:12 PM
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374: The editor, Burgess says, contended that Burgess was too reluctant to face up to the consequences of his bleak vision.

Which is true.

376: There are "hard" science fiction aficianados who would dispute the scifi authenticity of "soft" scifi, but I think those people are mistaken.

There are no hard-and-fast boundaries of SF, but generally speaking the difference between "hard" and "soft" SF is that one is more concerned with technical accuracy than the other. (And fantasy is in there somewhere, which tends to have its own genre conventions.) Both are roughly united by being speculations in some way about future trends. Brazil is more a satire on existing mentalities and phenomena, in the same vein as 1984.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:14 PM
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generally speaking the difference between "hard" and "soft" SF is that one is more concerned with technical accuracy than the other.

Or rather, as the terminology is used in practice, makes more of a show of being concerned with it. And, often, whether or not it is written by men.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:16 PM
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Or rather, as the terminology is used in practice, makes more of a show of being concerned with it.

Heh. Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:17 PM
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People do not think this about 12 Monkeys.

So true. A terrible, terrible movie.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:18 PM
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I saw it having walked through an incredibly creepy snow/lightning/generally apocalyptic storm, and thought it had a lot of impact. But the weather outside may have given it an undeserved boost.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:22 PM
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12 Monkeys is good, haters.


Posted by: BBrock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:25 PM
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12 Monkeys is indeed good.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:27 PM
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383: I don't think it's terrible, per se, I just think it's fatally clunky and loaded with bloat (the animal rights activist plotline, Brad Pitt's over the top ka-razy act, etc.). It especially holds up poorly next to its fairly elegant, minimal source material. Gilliam makes very striking movies, and 12 Monkeys looks very striking, but at best it's an interesting concept executed poorly, after previously being executed much better.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Yglesias the other day was complaining about Terminator 2, in that it didn't successfully deal with various time-travel paradoxes. This is factually correct, but a pretty dumb observation. 12 Monkeys is pretty much the only movie I've ever heard of that does successfully deal with those paradoxes.

BBrock is right, even if he stutters.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:29 PM
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Space opera (Star Wars) is arguably not really SF. More like fantasy dressed up with spaceships and ray guns.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:29 PM
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12 Monkeys is no La Jetée, but it's still a pretty good flick.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:30 PM
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I saw Twelve Monkeys on DVD with a group of friends, and when the credits rolled, we just sat there dumbstruck for a couple of minutes (and not just because we have been smoking some primo Dutch ganja).

Finally, one of the group spoke up and said, "Do you realize that we have 9 Ivy League degrees among us, and not one of us has any fucking clue what just happened?"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:31 PM
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386: Then you're wrong. It's terrible. I don't think the director intended for the audience to root for the plague, but that's the effect.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:34 PM
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387: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure actually handles time travel very elegantly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:34 PM
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You people deserve network television 382 is a pose, right? 12 monkeys was great, as was La Jetee, briefly available on Google video. How many Hollywood films have an ending of such studied ambiguity? You know another great HWood movie? Twilight. Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner; quiet, slow, dark, unkind-- could have been Polanski.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:35 PM
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I didn't think the ending was ambiguous.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:35 PM
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could have been Polanski

Did you see Bitter Moon? Also good at evoking the "please let the world end" sentiment.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:37 PM
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I think "science fantasy" is the current term for Star Wars and similar movies/books.

All I remember about 12 Monkeys was that I didn't think Brad Pitt was convincing as a crazy man.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:38 PM
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390: Dude, that was the ganja. There's nothing mysterious at all about 12 Monkeys. It's not a good movie. It's not a terrible movie, either, but dear god is it not a good movie.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:40 PM
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Terry Gilliam most certainly did intend for the audience to understand and sympathisize with the motives of the people releasing the plague, yes, if they were not figments of Willis' character's insanity.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:40 PM
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12 Monkeys is nowhere near as confusing as Primer.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:40 PM
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12 Monkeys is pretty much the only movie I've ever heard of that does successfully deal with those paradoxes.

There's also the original Terminator, as well as 12 Monkeys's source material La Jetee. But as you yourself note, adherence or non-adherence to the rules of time travel doesn't make for a good movie.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:42 PM
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399: But Primer is intentionally confusing. There's stuff in there the filmmakers didn't even attempt to explain; it's just left for you to imagine as another unknown horror of time travel.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:44 PM
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I had the same exact experience as 390, except with the movie "The Spanish Prisoner". Totally incomprehensible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:44 PM
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390: A bright fellow of my acquaintance once said to me that he really appreciated the scene in Back To The Future 2 in which Doc Brown lays out the different timelines on a chalkboard - otherwise my friend wouldn't have understood the movie.

From my point of view, this was ludicrous, but it made me realize I'm so steeped in scifi tropes that the chalkboard bit seemed like way too much exposition to me.

KR, I'm guessing that if there was a holder of physics degree in the room, he would have been able to explain 12 Monkeys to you, but it does rely on familiarity with some relatively obscure scifi themes.

392: I think Yglesias's complaint about T-2 was sufficiently dopey that he might make the same complaint about Bill and Ted - though perhaps he would acknowledge that Bill and Ted joked cleverly about time travel paradoxes.

394: I'm with you. No ambiguity at all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:45 PM
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I think Back to the Future has to be the acknowledged gold standard here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:45 PM
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I don't remember 12 Monkeys as ambiguous, but I also don't remember how it ends. I haven't seen it in 15 years.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:47 PM
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406

La Jetée!!!

[Swoons.]

There's a book version, too, which costs several hundred dollars. It has, of course, been "lost" from my university's library since a few weeks after it was purchased.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:47 PM
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We don't know whether or not Willis' character is a complete nutjob and the whole film is a solipsistic tour of his madness.
For confusing puzzle films, David Lynch wins among American directors, but as with the Coen brothers, I can't bring myself to care.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:48 PM
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You know what movie really dealt successfully with the paradoxes of time travel? Back to the Future. The part where Marvin Berry calls up his cousin Chuck to let him listen to Johnny B. Goode? Sheer genius. [/patentlyinsinceresnark]


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:49 PM
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D'oh, pwned by Brock.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:50 PM
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407: I completely disagree with this. The movie is completely unambiguous that Willis's character is essentially sane, if a bit understandably confused.

The most interesting innovation in 12 Monkeys - one that I haven't seen elsewhere - is the fact that the future-people don't want to stop the release of the plague. That's a piece of the time-travel paradox that the original Terminator - and every other time travel movie I've ever seen - absolutely does not grasp.

Never seen (or heard of) La Jetée, though. I'll need to look that one up.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:54 PM
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I'm guessing that if there was a holder of physics degree in the room, he would have been able to explain 12 Monkeys to you, but it does rely on familiarity with some relatively obscure scifi themes.

They teach obscure scifi themes in physics degree programs? Jeez, E.D. Hirsch didn't know the half of it.

Unfortunately, the degrees in question ran more in the direction of "Masters in Art History" and "Doctor of Divinity". There might have been a J.D. or two in the room, but a lot of good that did us.

In truth, Stras' diagnosis in 397 is probably pretty close to the mark.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 2:54 PM
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410: That was the bit that I admired, too. They're not going back in time to stop the plague. I think there's a suggestion that they can't go back in time and stop the plague. They're going back in time to learn about it so they can fix the future, and all the clues are from the last day there was civilization.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:00 PM
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Children of Men was surprisingly good for a big budget sci fi film.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:00 PM
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Children of Men was masterful.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:01 PM
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Willis's character is essentially sane,
But his recounting of the central memory differs every time we see it, and all of his attempts to communicate with his handlers or to otherwise find objective confirmation of his fantasy that he is here to save the world are consistent with madness. The points of contact with reality that should be most firm are softest. The only firm external reality is that he runs into is a second nutjob, Brad Pitt's character.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:01 PM
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They teach obscure scifi themes in physics degree programs? Jeez, E.D. Hirsch didn't know the half of it.

I suppose you're being sarcastic here, but yeah, my intent was precisely Hirsch-ian, and entirely un-ironic.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:02 PM
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Whoops. That's what I get for talking with imaginary people.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:04 PM
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415: the firm external reality confirms his "fantasy" at several points. Like the fellow time-traveller, who turns up in Madeleine Stowe's research and whom he also encounters. The WWI bullet they did out of his leg. It's not left ambiguous.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:05 PM
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I suppose you're being sarcastic here, but yeah, my intent was precisely Hirsch-ian, and entirely un-ironic.

Really? Explicate!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:07 PM
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418: Not to mention the two conclusions of the movie - the airport scene that matched the Willis character's prior knowledge, and the scene on the plane with the agent of the future chatting up the villain. Not ambiguous at all.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:08 PM
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I liked the ending scene, especially because iirc, the future agent was identifiable to me primarily because of her distinctive voice. I think she's only previous seen in the reflection of a mirror during one of Willis' earlier scenes in the prison.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:11 PM
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There's a book version, too, which costs several hundred dollars.

MIT Press/Zone reprinted it earlier this year.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:14 PM
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Clearly I need to rent this movie again. Everything being said about it is totally foreign to me.

I worry sometimes about my long-term memory. I've been hit in the head, hard, probably too often.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:15 PM
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I've been hit in the head, hard, probably too often.

The consensus among people who know me seems to be that I haven't been hit in the head, hard, often enough.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:18 PM
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Children of Men was masterful.

Ditto.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:19 PM
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Oh yay! Thanks Jesus, I had somehow missed that. Early Christmas!

(Guess those people trying to sell the first edition are bummed it's no longer out of print, though.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:19 PM
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Hm-- I'll watch it again, a lab test for the bullet would be suggestive, and disappointing for the movie. But "our" knowledge of the future is just a look into Bruce Willis' lunacy; the question is whether he convinces Madeleine Stowe into a folie a deux or whether she finds something real. The main ambiguity is that he comes from the future but can't usefully predict the future in the present, and all his claims at confirmation depend on his reported prescience. Our seeing faces on the screen during his hallucination is not a confirmation; think Secret Sharer. Google video still has the 26 min La Jetee. Thanks for the Children of Men recommendation.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:27 PM
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I worry sometimes about my long-term memory. I've been hit in the head, hard, probably too often.

Dude, weren't you, like, 14 years old when that movie came out? Cut yourself some slack.



Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:28 PM
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It doesn't take much for me to like a science fiction movie. For example, I liked the Denzel Washington movie "deja vu".


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:30 PM
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427: I think you're wanting the film to be cleverer than it actually was.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:31 PM
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Really? Explicate!

Well, I'm not a physicist myself and I'm making assumptions about why your group didn't get that movie, but here goes:

For me, the concept of the "multiverse" is familiar as a scifi/fantasy trope, but it has a real basis in physics. At the risk of exposing my own ignorance, I would go so far as to say that current physics theory demands something like the multiverse. (Which is different from saying that physicists actually believe in the multiverse - I suspect most would say that this merely highlights our ignorance about the true laws of nature.)

Anyway, once you grasp the idea that Willis can't go back and change the future he came from - but that he is capable of changing the future as he experiences it - much of the movie that would otherwise be ambiguous becomes clear.

And, I argue, a physicist would grasp this plot point instantly.

Phooey. That's about the best I can do, but I admit it may not be adequate.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:33 PM
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Speaking of misremembering movies, I recently watched Easy Rider on the onboard entertainment system on an airplane. I saw it the first time about 15 years ago, and man was I struck by how much darker it is than I remember. I was kind of halfheartedly making out with a girl on the couch the first time, so that might have distracted me.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:33 PM
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12 Monkeys. Love it in general - but in its specifics it tends to grate.

1) Appreciate that they handle the "can't fix the past" trope a little more subtly than some**, but the burning need for the unmutated virus seems quite the stretch.
2) I think it is cinematically cheap to have Brad Pitt be the one gunned down in at least one of Willis's re-imaginings of the airport scene. ...maybe it is indicating his own confusion all the way down at the subconcious level, but not very subtle. Ditto the dead body in the State Park while he is at the party.

**However, I do like the "time-travel paradox head fake" that potentially the whole idea for the virus release came from a future time traveler suggesting it to Brad Pitt in the asylum.

For "puzzle" pics related to time - I think Memento is an intriguing and well-executed idea.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 3:39 PM
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#390: I saw Twelve Monkeys on DVD with a group of friends, and when the credits rolled, we just sat there dumbstruck for a couple of minutes (and not just because we have been smoking some primo Dutch ganja).

Finally, one of the group spoke up and said, "Do you realize that we have 9 Ivy League degrees among us, and not one of us has any fucking clue what just happened?"

Holy crap, Knecht -- I saw the movie with a bunch of Ivy leaguers and someone said the same exact thing! Reading your comment, for a second I thought you were one of them and we actually saw the movie together. But my group saw it in a theater and without the ganja.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:22 PM
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How many Hollywood films have an ending of such studied ambiguity?

Anyone seen Limbo?


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:23 PM
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This Wikipedia page breaks down all the conflicting timelines in the Back to the Future series in excruciating detail. It's really quite amazing. Example:

In the context of M-theory, the use of the phrase Ripple effect appears plausible at first sight, as the term to ripple is used in said theory when different universes caused by the occurring of events (such as time travel) interfere or collide. However, this effect would follow from above-mentioned quantum mechanics explaining the creation of alternate timelines yet outruling their destruction as mentioned by Doc, presumably by means of Eternalism or Gödel metric.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 5-07 5:27 PM
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re: 434 and '9 Ivy league degrees'

I had a similar experience with the second Matrix film. I was ranting about how shit it was [I presume this is undisputed fact] and one of my wife's workmates [who doesn't know me] said something like, 'Oh, you just didn't understand it. You need, like, two philosophy degrees to understand it.' I think she was a but surprised when I pointed out I have two philosophy degrees, and still thought it was shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:42 AM
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In the second Matrix, when Mr. Smith first takes over that guy's mind, I was thinking, "how the hell did he do that? He's a program, he can't do that stuff in the real world...holy shit, they never really escaped the Matrix. They've been tricked!" I thought I'd been blindsided by this great plot twist, and took the end scene where he stops the Sentinels as confirmation that they were in fact still in the Matrix.

Then came the third installment, and I found out that plot and consistency are dead, and that as well as being able to bend the rules of the Matrix, Neo's a fucking wizard in the real world who can blow up shit with his mind. I started wishing for bad things to happen to the Wachowski brothers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 1:27 AM
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I honestly thought 12 Monkeys was pretty straightforward as time travel goes until I read this thread.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 1:31 AM
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That is: straightforward for the kind of thing it is.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 1:31 AM
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I was ranting about how shit it was [I presume this is undisputed fact] and one of my wife's workmates [who doesn't know me] said something like, 'Oh, you just didn't understand it. You need, like, two philosophy degrees to understand it.' I think she was a but surprised when I pointed out I have two philosophy degrees, and still thought it was shit.

That reminds me of this story: Some movie critic blasted a Rob Schneider movie (Deuce Bigalow 2, methinks) and Schneider lashed out at him in the press, saying he was a hack critic who wasn't talented enough to be passing judgment on the movie. Then Roger Ebert got wind of the incident and wrote in his own review something like, "Well, Rob, I have a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and your movie sucks."


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 1:44 AM
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I saw the movie with a bunch of Ivy leaguers and someone said the same exact thing!

We actually do this after every movie. It's a well-worn trope, and one of our least endearing qualities.

(With the use of emoticons barred, I will explicitly state that I'm kidding.)


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 6:08 AM
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"That reminds me of this story"

Roger tells it better.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:31 PM
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So he does.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:33 PM
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In fairness, I should probably also note this.


Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:33 PM
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We actually do this after every movie. It's a well-worn trope, and one of our least endearing qualities.

Don't be so hard on yourself, KR; I'm sure you lot get most of the disney stuff.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:35 PM
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439 gets it right.

That reminds me of this story: Some movie critic blasted a Rob Schneider movie (Deuce Bigalow 2, methinks) and Schneider lashed out at him in the press, saying he was a hack critic who wasn't talented enough to be passing judgment on the movie. Then Roger Ebert got wind of the incident and wrote in his own review something like, "Well, Rob, I have a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, and your movie sucks."

I remember when Roger Ebert was being interviewed on the Howard Stern show, and they were being very friendly and complimentary for a while, and eventually Howard said "Now Roger, I have a question. Rob Schneider is a big friend of the show and his movies are hilarious. Your review of 'The Animal' was completely wrong, and I just want to know how you can be such a smart guy who knows so much about movies, and not like 'The Animal'." Ebert tried to explain how the acting was bad, the humor was juvenile, the directing was bad, the script was a bunch of cliches, and all the while more and more people came in to say that they also thought 'The Animal' was great and Ebert should maybe watch it again and he'd be sure to like it. Eventually Ebert could find no words to express his rational opinions and just sort of burst out in laughter, as if he had entered a parallel universe where cinephiles have genuine enthusiasm but only about the worst movies imaginable.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:50 PM
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12 Monkeys is idiotic, and there was a theory on ark about how the matrix movies were shaping up somewhat along the lines of Tannargramat's suggestion supra. It would have been much better in every conceivable way than what actually happened.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 12:59 PM
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Thanks for finding those links, Gary; I was too lazy to hunt them down.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 11- 6-07 5:53 PM
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448 makes me think there's got to be a word for that sort of phenomenon. We saw it with the Matrix, and Harry Potter, and Star Wars, where the original world of the work is a rich imaginative playground, and everyone speculates as to what the ending might be, or what really happened, and the author gives us the equivalent of 200 pages of bitching in a tent, a really awful rave scene, and mitichlorians.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11- 8-07 7:59 AM
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451: I'd go so far as to take the contrarian (but sincerely felt!) view that the first Star Wars movie was the best.

And god knows what the Wachowskis were thinking, but I'd put Rowling in a different category. Lucas and especially the Wachowskis set themselves up in broad universes where they could have done pretty much anything.

Rowling created a crimped universe set mostly inside a boarding school, and had enough imaginative ideas for about three hefty volumes. When you try to stretch that to seven volumes, you're going to spend some time in tents.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11- 8-07 8:10 AM
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