Re: What he ched

1

Corrected.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 5:57 PM
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Well now there's basically no point to this post.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 5:58 PM
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If Che was right, maybe.... maybe we don't need an embargo on Cuba?

Augh! I'm filled with confusion and unhappiness! Fuck you, Sodaborg!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:01 PM
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4

My Hero! A martyr, a saint, almost divine!

Che was ok too.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:07 PM
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This makes me wonder what the current mainstream critical opinion of Salt of the Earth is. Anyone know?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:20 PM
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I believe there's a website with the name "Rotten Tomatoes" that provides an easy reference for such questions.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:21 PM
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Perhaps, but that solution would involve visiting more than one website.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:22 PM
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Extremely positive, it seems. Rather low salience, though. Also, that site has a lot of ads.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:29 PM
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9

I salted your mom's earth last night, teo.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:36 PM
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10

10-4.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:38 PM
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Look, without having seen the movies, and disregarding my political inclinations, I am probably in sympathy with Scott.

I have been trying to articulate why I think a biographer needs to add some "warts" to show that his portrayal is not hagiography, and thereby can be trusted.

IIRC, Ben Kingsley served that purpose in SL.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:41 PM
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And, from what I hear, James Franco helps "humanize" Harvey Milk. The Franco character could have been eft out of the movie, and, no, he is not justified by a "just the facts" defense. All artists leave out much more than they include.

The aesthetic logic goes something like:"Ok, Mahatma's been an inspired saint for an hour, I'll show him renewing his vows."

Now it could be that Soderbergh made the artistic decision to not include any of the usual distancing signals, in part to elicit controversies about objectivity. That would be interesting, and I am not sure that this is not what Scott feels is missing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 6:54 PM
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Not only have I not seen the film, but I haven't yet read Scott's review (though I did just read Kotsko's review of the review, if that counts...which, since this is the blogosphere, it should). But since Scott is my favourite New York film critic guy, and actually the only New York film critic guy that I like (and I like him a lot, as a matter of fact), I guess I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, couldn't Scott be calling for a treatment of Guevera that is both sympathetic and critical? that is neither demonology nor hagiography, in other words?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 7:52 PM
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The aesthetic logic goes something like:"Ok, Mahatma's been an inspired saint for an hour, I'll show him renewing his vows."

You know, I think you'd really like Phillip Glass's operatic take on Gandhi. Satyagraha, or something very similar. It just keeps going.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:33 PM
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It's also very beautiful and moving, in case I hadn't made that clear.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:34 PM
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What I want to know is whether the thing is extremely boring.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:38 PM
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("The thing" being Che.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:38 PM
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The Glass opera is beyond boring and into transcendant and also boring. I imagine nonviolent revolution has a lot of that.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:45 PM
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A four hour movie is, like, presumptively pretty boring, right? Unless you get to see it over two days.

I saw a terrific political movie recently -- Blame It On Fidel". Political issues are seen completely through the eyes of an officious yet adorable little girl who wants to be a princess.

My faith in my movie-picking powers has been shaken because a close friend of mine whose film tastes I trust gave "Synecdoche, NY" just a tepid thumbs up. We both agreed, however, that "Rachel at the Wedding" is massively overrated and sucky.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:47 PM
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Alain Danielou or someone said that boredom is an intrinsic part of 5-hour Indian concerts or 24-hour epic recitations or dramas. Part of the esthetic effect, and beyond that, a stage of meditation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:51 PM
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I don't think the request for "nuance" or "skepticism" is necessarily tied to asking for a soul-searching, psychological portrait of Che. It would be tied to asking for a reasonably complete picture of his actions as a revolutionary--e.g., we get to see him heroically battling it out in the jungle, but do we get to see him administering show trials and political executions for the new government? [Note, I haven't seen the movie, so they very well may go into all that, but that's an example of the type of beef Scott might have with the film that I would find totally legitimate and not really touched by the linked post's criticisms.]


Posted by: Byron the Bulb | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 8:58 PM
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I wasn't really talking about what I might like.

I might like Soderbergh & del Toro fully embracing Soviet Realism in their treatment of Che, with noble stances framed by red sunsets, and single beams of sunlight following Che down the streets of Havana. Like fullon undisguised propaganda mode.

A revolutionary movie about a revolutionary should discard bourgeois notions about character narrative "truth" & "realism."

That would be funny. This is Soderberg tho, not Lars von Trier.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:00 PM
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I'm of the opinion that many people who think they don't like Synecdoche, NY are actually just watching it wrong.

On another note, Rachel Getting Married appears to be the most inaccurately cited movie title in the history of film.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:09 PM
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Quick question on use/mention: Should I have put "Rachel Getting Married" in quotes above?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:11 PM
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23.1: good, good!

23.2: whoops.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:13 PM
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Isn't Seven Samurai 4 hours long? It's not boring.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:16 PM
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Kill Bill is non-boring and 4 hours long if regarded as a single film, though I'd be surprised if many had watched it as such.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:18 PM
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Adam, your monotheistic mind missed the intended effect. Uma was channeling Milarepa.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:27 PM
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Adam, your monotheistic mind...

Anti-Semite.

And I'll bet you also have a problem with bears too, eh? So conventional, so narrow-minded...


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:35 PM
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Lawrence of Arabia is playing at the Aero in Santa Monica tomorrow night, and I'm very tempted to go see it for the third time in the theater (only in the theater). Three hours 42 minutes....ach! It's playing tonight, not tomorrow.

Not a boring stretch, though.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:42 PM
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Bears are not Jews, but omnivores. No kosher bears.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:46 PM
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If the review can be trusted, the film must be pretty despicable.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:49 PM
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There's one scene in Lawrence of Arabia, about 30 minutes in, that always makes me really thirsty.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 9:49 PM
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34

No kosher bears.

Truer words were never spoken at unfogged. A bear has no interest in, nor respect for, ancient and venerable traditions, it's just looking for its next meal before the snow settles in. Probably a brown bear (I can't speak for the grizzlies, whose tastes are rather more specialized, and also quite deadly) would eat pareve matzo meal quite happily, if it were placed on a low-hanging branch, though I'll confess I've never tried the experiment.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 10:10 PM
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The critical praise for Milk infruriated me even more than the scorn for Synecdoche, New York. At least the latter film was complicated.

Really, though, the severity of this string of wrong calls is shocking.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:03 PM
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Probably a brown bear (I can't speak for the grizzlies

Tsk, MC. Grizzlies *are* brown bears. I begin to doubt your Canadian cred.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:03 PM
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37

Isn't Seven Samurai 4 hours long? It's not boring.

Not that I recall. (About the length. I agree that it's not boring.) Ran may be longer, but is also not boring.

Checking IMDB, the longest cut of SS is nearly three and a half hours, whereas Ran is only two and two-thirds hours.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:06 PM
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38

"kosher X" does not mean that X keeps kosher.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:07 PM
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39

The longest cut of Andrei Rublev is not quite three and a half hours, and yet: not boring. The Sorrow and the Pity? Just over four hours, not boring. What are these boring four-hour movies you're seeing, PGD?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:50 PM
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40

Last Year at Marienbad may not be four hours long, but it's pretty damn boring.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-13-08 11:53 PM
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Last Year at Marienbad clocks in at all of 94 minutes, according to IMDB. The secret? Alain Robbe-Grillet, who could pack months worth of crushing boredom into a slender hour and a half.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 12:03 AM
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Yeah, I checked after posting 40. I left early, so I have no direct experience of its full duration, but the subjective duration of the part I did see exceeds four hours for sure.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 12:06 AM
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Similarly, the subjective duration of Robbe-Grillet's La Jalousie exceeded for me that of À la recherche du temps perdu.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 12:19 AM
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44

Kill Bill is over 1,000 times as boring as Rachael Becoming Wed. Also, stupider.


Posted by: Cryptec nid | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 12:49 AM
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Last Year at Marienbad is my image of those kinds of academic or ideological discussions where you are doomed to experience an infinite succession of slightly different variations of what's essentially exactly the same thing. (Paradox alert! Can a variation be exactly the same thing?)

I also think of the film, possibly by Bunuel, in which the congregation of a Catholic church finds itself somehow enchanted and frozen in their pews at the end of the mass. No one can leave for days. Finally the spell is broken by a herd of goats entering the church.

Or maybe I imagined that. A herd of goats would have improved Marienbad a hell of a lot, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:10 AM
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The italics are just for Last Year at Marienbad obvs.

How many movies would not be improved by a herd of goats? Very few, in my opinion. If they had more goats in them I'd start going to movies again.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:12 AM
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Last Year at Marienbad is one of those movies that Netflix perpetually lists as "Availability: Unknown". I guess that means they don't have a copy. Maybe because everyone thinks it's boring.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:18 AM
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It seems to me that people take more pleasure in shitting on movies other people (or "the critics") like than in liking movies others don't. Somewhere there is a person who loves film so purely that he or she doesn't enjoy any actual existing movie.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:19 AM
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Tell me what you like, Kotsko, and I'll shit on it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:22 AM
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50

High School Musical 3: Senior Year.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:24 AM
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Unless you liked Fargo, The Big Lebowski, or Shakes the Clown. Everything else is fair game.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:24 AM
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He likes being shit upon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:25 AM
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53

The fart jokes in that one were s-o-o-o-o dated.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:25 AM
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Hey, I mentioned a movie and said it wasn't boring. How much more goddamn praise am I supposed to produce on this thread?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:37 AM
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You should praise the movie that you think needs it most.

(BTW, Shouldn't we be getting a report on how the "game" went?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:45 AM
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Every movie is good in its own special way. There's no such thing as a bad movie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:53 AM
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57

There is one bad movie: Scarface.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 8:59 AM
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57: Which one?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:01 AM
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Holy crap, did this freak anyone else out in their childhood? Scarier than Scarface, for my money.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:02 AM
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#56: Nine Months, with Hugh Grant and Tom Arnold, is a bad movie with no redeeming goodness.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:05 AM
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60: ?? It gave you a movie to identify as having no redeeming goodness. Ingrate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:08 AM
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The Al Pacino one.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:09 AM
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I suspect the recently released to video movie Christmas Cottage (listed at iMDB as Home for Christmas) is possibly a candidate. It supposedly is based on the true story of how Thomas "Painter of Light" Kinkade found his calling and is being shilled on his various websites. It has relatively mainstream actors in the leads, and an odd assortment in supporting roles including Ed Asner (!), Peter O'Toole (!!??) and Chis Elliot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:12 AM
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Nine Months is the specialest movie of all. Someone who was into Hugh Grant, as my sister is, could turn the sound off and ogle.

Right now we're having the heaviest snowfall in my four winters back her. The winters have been disappointing. Quiet snow and no blizzard, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:14 AM
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Chris Eliot is always the weakest link any movie he appears in, and has come close to sinking otherwise excellent movies. Examples: Groundhog Day, There's Something About Mary.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:15 AM
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60 is false. There's the scene where the two expectant dads get in a fist fight with Barney in the toy store, and the scene where the two dads get in a fist fight with each other in the delivery room.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:47 AM
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#67: I might agree with you if either of those scenes developed naturally out of the characters and the situation, instead of being a screenwriter's cynical concoction. Nine Months is to humor what artificial strawberry flavor is to strawberries. Not a single frame of that movie was even marginally believable, including the one where Hugh Grant runs into three or four people in his SUV and takes them all to the hospital. Ugh.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 9:56 AM
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53 to 52.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 12:07 PM
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65: He also can do that with any book he writes. I'm donating one to the public library store, I'm hoping some twit buys it.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12-14-08 1:16 PM
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Also, late with this observation, but I think Anthony Lane is a mediocre and overrated movie critic. His major concern seems to be Anthony Lane's good taste, not the movies themselves. I think David Denby is better and more thoughtful.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:18 AM
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True about Elliot's effects on movies and books. But his TV show was damn funny, at least for a while. Zoo Animals on Wheels!!!!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:19 AM
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Oh, whoops, this is about AO Scott. Never mind. I just assumed that if a movie reviewer seemed prickish, it was probably Anthony Lane.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:19 AM
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But his TV show was damn funny, at least for a while.

And his one-man show on the life of FDR was hilarious.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:33 AM
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I'm of the opinion that many people who think they don't like Synecdoche, NY are actually just watching it wrong.

Certainly if you try to cling to narrative sense you are going to hate the movie.

I'm of the opinion that many people who like Synecdoche, NY are smugly presumptious.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12-15-08 11:42 AM
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