Jump to content

Plot Device

Member
  • Content Count

    267
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by Plot Device


  1. Nominating Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, 1941

    IMDB link

    Existing A&F thread

    Orson Welle's 1941 masterpiece, Citizen Kane, displays in dramatic form the outworking of the biblical saying,"What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?" Welle's Kane is given great wealth but little love from his mother, and spends the rest of his life conflating the two. In his attempt to make the world love him, he uses his wealth like a blunt instrument, alternatively to coax and bully. While the Deity is conspicuously absent from the narrative, the camerawork evokes the eye of God, swooping in and out of walls and windows to observe the great emptiness Kane's money could never fill.

    Netflix: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Citizen_Kane/60000605

    I second this nomination.


  2. The Perfect Stranger

    (This is not the Halle Berry feature film, Perfect Stranger)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0466923/

    Arts & Faith topic URL: Looks like I don't have permission to start such a thread.

    Ouch! That's right!! New members are required to make a minimum of (I think) 5 "reply" posts in already-established threads before they are allowed to launch their own threads.

    Hmm ... Try posting here and there throughout the forum to get your "minimum" fulfilled. (Just make sure they are them "real" posts with real substance is all. Some newbs try to fake it by posting the word "Hi!" and that's it.)


  3. Meet John Doe

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0033891/

    http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=19194

    When a homeless man (Gary Cooper) is hired to play a suicidal man named John Doe as part of a scam to increase newspaper sales, he unintentionally inspires hundreds of thousands of people to start following a Christlike pattern of loving one's neighbor. As the "John Doe" movement grows, so does John's own belief in the ideals he's being paid to preach. When the truth about John Doe's past comes out, the strength of the movement and the ideals on which it was founded are tested.

    Netflix

    Amazon

    (I'm not real happy with that summary, but it's almost 5am so I don't think I'm going to be able to do much better. I'm happy to use anyone else's summary instead.)

    I second this nomination whole heartedly. And I offer my reasons in the A&F discussion thread for this film.

    http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopi...mp;#entry169743

    A truly worthy film. And one of Frank Capra's best, imho.


  4. I am happy to "second" this nomination for the Top 100 List.

    I saw this film by mere chance as a child on broadcast TV on a Saturday afternoon, back in the days when there were ONLY the three networks, and PBS, and maybe one or two independant stations. It deeply touched me and I still vividly remember it all these years later. There are even whole stretches of dialogue that I still remember from it, and I promise you I only saw it once. Every character was so compelling, especially the female lead. Frank Capra had such a feel for women's roles and he crafted them into rich and believable characters of both depth and darkness. While I regret I haven't seen ALL of Capra's filmography, I'd be willing to bet that this one is perhaps the very darkest of his career.

    This film explores in a chilling and gritty way the selfish evil hidden just below the surface of all people. And yet in spite of that it DOES offer hope for humanity, as all good Capra films do.

    I second this nomination because I think an exploration of our own proclivity toward evil is the most significant spiritual exercise of all.


  5. Heck, I can't even get the definition of "2006" correct, and you expect me to define terms like "spiritual" and "significant". C'mon!

    But, in any case, in keeping wth A&F tradition: I adamantly refuse to define "spiritually significant". I furthermore believe that this ambiguity is one of the keys to the list's success.

    I would encourage you to visit the Top100 site (artsandfaith.com/t100) and peruse the list to infer a definition. I would also recommend the excellent reviews of the from past years, by Overstreet, Reed, and Leary--their comments are available at the Top100 site.

    Okay. I can live with this reply. :)

    Thanks.


  6. What I'm REALLY tring to say, Alan, is: I need a very firm explanation of "spiritually significant." And I am not finding one anywhwere on the web site.

    Can you pin down what "spiritually significant" means?

    I have made two nominations up above that some people might not agree to be "spiritualy significant," depending on how they are treating the definition. So if you would clarify what the working defintion is supposed to be, I might consider withdrawing my two borderline nominatons.


  7. Remember: Don't just nominate films you like, but films you think might have a shot.

    ...

    So now that we've started, feel free to nominate additional films. Any feature film listed at IMDb as having a USA release date in 2006 or earlier.

    Keep in mind that, I'm not arguing that these films are artistically significant, but spiritually so.

    Alan, can you post in this thread the criteria and guidelines we should be following for considering/nominating a film? (In other words, can you put EVERYTHING in this thread so we don't have to go hunting for it in all the links?) I'm sure the criteria is listed SOMEWHERE here at A&F, but I don't know exactly where it is.

    What I'm saying is: you've certainly outlined the date ranges of films, but I want to know what kind of merits we should we be zeroing in on.

    Thanks.


  8. Autumn in New York

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174480/

    http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=19192&hl=

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn_in_New_York_%28film%29

    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=autumninnewyork.htm

    Richard Gere stars as a successful and complacent playboy who falls for a twenty-something Winona Ryder. It holds up for brutal scrutiny his idealized and self-satisfied lifestyle of unbudgeable bachelorhood, serial boyfriend-hood, thoughtless two-timing and "playing the field" (especially with women half his age). The film exposes how the weightier ramifications of infidelity and a lack of commitment almost always fall far more heavily upon the woman than the man, harming her permanently on both social and emotional levels, yet leaving him free to walk away to his next conquest.

    The film does not ever once mention God or spirituality, but it does drive home the need for women to be protected from predatory men. It also insists that the best protection should ideally come from her own family. And yet on the man's sdie of the fence, it puts forth that the much-admired playboy life Gere has built for himself should be discarded by contemporary men and no longer strived for as their ultimately wish-fantasy. It instead advocates that men should seek to foster the virtue of self-control (although it never once used the word "virtue") and be more conscious of the vast, deep, and life-changing damage they are capable of inflicting on women through their own selfishness.


  9. Autumn in New York

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174480/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn_in_New_York_%28film%29

    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=autumninnewyork.htm

    Richard Gere stars as a successful and complacent playboy who falls for a twenty-something Winona Ryder. It holds up for brutal scrutiny his idealized and self-satisfied lifestyle of unbudgeable bachelorhood, serial boyfriend-hood, thoughtless two-timing and "playing the field" (especially with women half his age). The film exposes how the weightier ramifications of infidelity and a lack of commitment almost always fall far more heavily upon the woman than the man, harming her permanently on both social and emotional levels, yet leaving him free to walk away to his next conquest.

    The film does not ever once mention God or spirituality, but it does drive home the need for women to be protected from predatory men. It also insists that the best protection should ideally come from her own family. And yet on the man's sdie of the fence, it puts forth that the much-admired playboy life Gere has built for himself should be discarded by contemporary men and no longer strived for as their ultimately wish-fantasy. It instead advocates that men should seek to foster the virtue of self-control (although it never once used the word "virtue") and be more conscious of the vast, deep, and life-changing damage they are capable of inflicting on women through their own selfishness.


  10. The Good Son

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0107034/

    http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=19191

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Son_%28film%29

    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=goodson.htm

    A very young Elijah Wood stars as a troubled pre-teen boy grieving over the recent death of his mother. His father reluctantly leaves him behind with cousins while he goes to Japan on business. Wood makes friends with his same-aged cousin played by Macaulay Culkin who turns out to be a brilliant yet secret sociopath. As Culkin diabolically frames Wood again and again for his own heinous crimes, including cruelty to animals and causing a multi-car pile up, Wood pleads to his non-spiritual and cooingly sympathetic child psychologist that it's really Culkin who has been doing these things, and that the boy is "evil." She kindly smiles and says: "Oh, but I don't believe in evil." To which Wood replies in a simultaneously dark yet frightened tone: "You should."

    The film never once mentions God or any form of spirituality EXCEPT for that one crucial exchange between Wood and the psychiatrist. It instead very cleverly points out how things can go alarmingly wrong on a moral level when a child (Culkin) is raised by loving parents who provide a nice home, a good education, and yet only choose to teach him about facts and science (the kind of science that does NOT believe there's such a thing as evil). It dismantles the foolish assumption that compassion and character will arise naturally as an incidental bi-product of a loving environment. The total vacuum of any overt moral teaching leaves open the gateway for Culkin to flourish in the capacity of finely calculated evil. He was taught from a very early age to think with accuracy and precision, and he uses those skills with lethal success.

    The film is an excellent treatise on the doctrine of the inherent evil of mankind, and a compelling argument for the need to actively train children in morality --and possibly even religion and spirituality-- starting at a very young age.


  11. The Good Son

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0107034/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Son_%28film%29

    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=goodson.htm

    A very young Elijah Wood stars as a troubled pre-teen boy grieving over the recent death of his mother. His father reluctantly leaves him behind with cousins while he goes to Japan on business. Wood makes friends with his same-aged cousin played by Macaulay Culkin who turns out to be a brilliant yet secret sociopath. As Culkin diabolically frames Wood again and again for his own heinous crimes, including cruelty to animals and causing a multi-car pile up, Wood pleads to his non-spiritual, yet cooingly sympathetic child psychologist that it's really Culkin who has been doing these things, and that the boy is "evil." She kindly smiles and says: "Oh, but I don't believe in evil." To which Wood replies in a simultaneously dark yet frightened tone: "You should."

    The film never once mentions God or any form of spirituality EXCEPT for that one crucial exchange between Wood and the psychiatrist. It instead very cleverly points out how things can go alarmingly wrong on a moral level when a child (Culkin) is raised by loving parents who provide a nice home, a good education, and yet only choose to teach him about facts and science (the kind of science that does NOT believe there's such a thing as evil), foolishly assuming that compassion and character will arise naturally as an incidental bi-product of their own love. The total vacuum of any overt moral teaching leaves open the gateway for the boy to flourish in the capacity of finely calculated evil. He was taught from a very early age to think with accuracy and precision, and he uses those skills with lethal success.

    The film is an excellent treatise on the doctrine of the inherent evil of mankind, and a compelling argument for actively training children in morality --and possibly even religion and spirituality-- starting at a very young age.


  12. Bruce Almighty

    http://imdb.com/find?s=all&q=bruce+alm...mp;x=13&y=7

    http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopic=2485

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_almighty

    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=brucealmighty.htm

    Bruce Almighty is described by its distributors as a "supernatural romantic comedy." It's primarily a rom-com, and the issue/obstacle that comes between the story's lovers (Jim Carrey as local TV news correspondent Bruce, and his girlfriend Jennifer Aniston as kindergarten teacher Grace) is Bruce's self-absorption and life-owes-me-a-living attitude. But this self-focus is challenged when God, played by Morgan Freeman, decides to allow Bruce to BE God for one week. Before sending Bruce off to his new role as the Almighty, he explains to him "the rules" about being God, such as no one can know he is God, and he cannot violate anyone's free will.

    Bruce --already grossly self-centered-- uses his new powers to embark upon a hyper ego trip of re-ordering everything (including the sizes of not only the moon but even Grace's breasts) to his liking. And his ultimate feat is to exact cruel revenge upon his TV station colleague Evan (Steve Carell) to the point where Evan loses his anchor position so that Bruce can get the job instead. But he simultaneously offends Grace by his mounting egocentricity, and she ultimately breaks up with Bruce.

    My favorite line in the movie happens as Bruce pleads for God's help in winning Grace back. When God reiterates "the rules," Bruce asks: "How do you make someone love you without violating their free will?" To which God laughingly replies: "Welcome to my world, son!"

    The remainder of the film is Bruce relenting of his narcissism and trying to get Grace to forgive him. The climax involves a truly touching and even profound scene that explores the concept of prayer. Without giving away the end, I will merely say that Bruce gets "saved" by ... Grace. And he also gets saved by blood.

    The film's overriding message of reliance upon God, and its many clever inside puns based upon Bible passages make it a delight for the Evangelical Christian. But even people of other faiths can enjoy this film since it keeps the entire "God" concept fairly generic while still illuminating profound truth through its undeniable humor.


  13. I wrote:

    : Based on Friday revenues, it's looking like this film will be lucky to make much more than $33 million this weekend . . .

    Now they're saying it probably made $32.1 million. Is it too early to call the film a flop?

    No. Not too late to make such a call.

    From my understanding, in order to be a success, this movie needed to gross about $120M in its opening weekend (only because the budget was a staggering $210M). My general rule of thumb has always been that you need to achieve about 50% of budget on opening weekend in order to NOT be a flop. That's because from opening weekend onward you will suffer drops of roughly 50% each successive weekend until you dwindle away to nothingness. By starting out so low on this first weekend, their overall domestic take will probbaly only be about $80M is they're lucky. Foriegn will probably be another $80M. So they will fall heart-breakingly short of even breaking even. The after-market of cable TV and DVD sales will NOT be enough to salvage anything.

    When I first heard six months ago that this film was proving to be THE most expensive comedy of all time, I began to worry-- if only for Tom Shadyac and any future attempts he might make to infuse his Christian faith into his films. Liar, Liar offered a rather generic (yet amiable) morality, while Bruce Almighty had overtly Bibical concepts in it. I feared mightily for the future of Hollywood's "closet Christians" who covertly try to slide their faith into their work. And I wondered "Why the heck is this film costing so much???" And then I saw on TV last week a special about the film, and the answer was at last made clear. The runaway finances of this film can be blamed upon two factors:

    1) The proper care and feeding and housing and wrangling and transport of animals costs loads to maintain and even more to insure. As a comparison, I believe part of what bankrupted Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch was his Citizen Kane-like menagerie of exotic animals all over the property.

    2) The added effort to make the film "green" also cost a lot of money. Shadyac insisted that whatever they built had to be recycled, and that they needed to leave the countryside unscarred after they left. Shadyac was trying to adhere to an ultra-conservative take on the Boy Scout's motto on camping outdoors: "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

    Focusing JUST on Point#1 about the animals here in my post, there was a SERIOUS plot flaw that was annoying me all throughout the movie, and I think they sacrificed plot coherence to try and apease a bang-for-your-buck mentality. That plot flaw was that nobody believed Evan in spite of the fact that all those animals --even dangerous animals like rhinos and large cats-- were mysteriously following him around everywhere (and the authorities were all up in arms about his ark, but had no concern about wild animals running around). It was almost as if the animals were invisible to everyone else but him, but we know that wasn't the case. God was invisible to everyone else but not the animals. And so the frustration of no one believing him was NOT cinematically credible. That lack of credibility was a huge detriment to the plot. If only the filmmakers had REFRAINED from having ANY animals show up until much much later in the story, our sympathy for Evan's inability to convince everyone (including his wife) would have worked better. And also, a key moment for Evan's wife was a direct rip off (okay, it was an homage) from Field of Dreams when Evan's wife was trying to lovingly convince him that maybe he should comply with the court order to take down the ark. But then she looked up and saw ALL those wild animals suddenly making their way toward the ark in pairs. And THAT was what convinced her. And then she turned to Evan and said "Don't you DARE take down this ark!" THAT should have been the very first time in the film that animals should have shown up. It would have worked so much beter plot-wise. BUT ........ I'm thinking they felt the need to justify the long-term housing of the animals on the set and wanted to get as much out of the animals as possible (more bang for your zoological buck) and stuck the animals in much sooner. Also to get some laughs. And also to get some earlier-than-that-Field-of-Dreams-moment kiddie appeal happening so the kiddies don't get bored and tell Mommy they wanna leave. But it just ruined the plot for me.


  14. The tree log scene was badly done in the 1970's version--no suspense, not fast or tense enough. And the giant snake was just dumb looking.

    Jessica Lange was very good and did what she could with bad material.

    The script wanted to emphasize the sexual attraction by Kong toward her, which is ridiculous. And so I appreciated Jackson's version which went for a Diane Fossey take on the relationship between Kong and Ann.

    If anything, the set-up of Act 1 was pretty good in the 1970's version--the whole oil exploration thing.


  15. I liked this movie. But I have two complaints.

    First, I found the scene where they

    fire-bombed London

    truly disturbing. It went beyond SFX and had a deeply cutting 9/11 feel to it that got under my skin. The sounds of the windows being smashed by the heat really got to me.

    Second, the one scene where

    the woman strapped to the table was being attacked

    was unnecessarily prolonged. It went on and on and just wouldn't stop. I actually had to look away from the screen, which annoyed me since I was then being taken out of the film.


  16. Plot Device wrote:

    : The trailer featured no less than three individual clips where the disembodied hero is having a conversation with another disembodied soul, an old man in a hospital gown.

    Wow! I don't know if I ever saw that trailer, but still -- wow!

    I know this sounds really lame, but I am unable to view/watch trailers from my home computer (not enough processing speed). I can listen to web radio, but You-Tube is out of my reach right now. Otherwise I would have gladly linked that trailer here (provided it still exists on the web somewhere). But I shy away from blindly posting any alleged smoking gun/Exhibit A specimen without at least being able to view it first.

    Ditto for the Ron Burgundy trailers.

    BTW--good review, Peter.


  17. I first heard the term "trailer trash" (a verb) in the context of film marketing just a few years back. It refers to the annoying (and growing) practice of so drastically re-editing a film at the eleventh hour before its initial release so as to totally change (usually throw out comlpetely) much of the imagery/clips we repeatedly saw (and probably looked forward to) in the pre-release trailers.

    One classic example off the top of my head is Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (a film which I liked, btw). What ever happened to the scene from the trailer where Will Farrell and his female lead are writhing sensually (and fully clothed) on the news studio floor in front of everyone, and he shouts out to her "Let's make a baby!"?? Whatever happened to the scene from the trailer where someone pulls a gun on the female lead and Will Farrell leaps forth Secret Service-style, in slow motion, and takes the bullet for her?? I never saw the DVD so I have no idea if any of that made it into the "out-takes" segment. But these weren't extraneous moments that the film had to jettison for time-saving purposes, these were (from the look and feel of the trailer) core plot elements concerning the main protag's character arc and the story's climax.

    The Invisible can now officially join the disturbingly swelling ranks of trailer trashed films.

    The trailer featured no less than three individual clips where the disembodied hero is having a conversation with another disembodied soul, an old man in a hospital gown. The old man says to him in one clip "You will never be seen again!" and in another clip "If you can solve the riddle of your own death, only then can you live again." And the theatre lobby posters supported that claim with the tag line "How do you solve a murder when the victim is you?" So, we had a muder mystery here. Echoes of Patrick Swayze in Ghost.

    I went and saw it last night (Tuesdays is bargain days, five bucks a ticket all day--yes, that's my apologetic excuse). And the old man never once appeared in the entire film. I kept looking and waiting for him to make his entrance, but it never happened. So the old man got trailer trashed. And thus, I can only surmise that the main thrust of the story line got radically changed as well.

    It's probably worth noting that The Invisible pulled an "Aon Flux" and was withheld from critics prior to release. That's usually a bad sign (and it pisses off resident film critic Peter T. Chattaway to no end). So I suspect they were editing and re-editing right up until its release this past Friday. The final story line came off as less of a murder mystery and more of a journey through contemporary, nihilist-ridden, teen angst with a messiah complex tossed in somehow.

    The film was "okay," but not brilliant. The characters weren't particularly engaging, but also not particularly repellent. The one "good" kid who kept NOT coming forward with the truth of his friend's assault was really annoying me in his failure to do so (in other words, I wasn't sufficiently convinced that he wouldn't come foreward). I did find the performance by the mother somewhat compelling

    I can't recommend this film. But I also won't out-right condemn it. It's so-so. The messiah thing at the end is worth a look from Christians on an intellectual/artistic level (not on a theological level though). I don't feel the messiah motif was done in a convicning way as far as satisfying the believability of the plot, but it was a bit different than most of its ilk and has some artistic merit.


  18. Note to Plot Device: What was that you were saying about the Miller-Japanese connection?

    - - -

    WB nabs rights to 'Ronin'

    After turning the Frank Miller graphic novel "300" into a hit, Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to Miller's "Ronin" to adapt into a live-action feature.

    Sylvain White ("Stomp the Yard") will direct.

    In the story, a ronin, or disgraced samurai warrior, bears the shame of allowing his master to be assassinated by a shape-shifting demon in 13th century Japan. When the master's sword is unearthed in mid-21st century New York, the ronin and the demon are brought to life and battle gangs of mutants and thugs to try to take possession of the mythical sword. . . .

    Variety, May 1

    I was commenting that 300 will probably pay VERY well in Japan because, out of all the Western incarnations of soldiery, the Spartan seemed to most-resemble the distinctly Japanese aura and myth of the uber-warrior with a mystical/spiritual destiny to BE a warrior, and nothing else BUT a warrior.


  19. Peter, I might be 1 of maybe only 5 super-geeks on this whole web site who actually enjoys box office data. So this artcile did NOT go unappreciated by me. And I can tell you put a lot of work into it. (I likewise have posted similar examples of meticulously presented stats, and it can take me an hour or more to compose such a post.)

    In my scriptwriting endeavors, I keep reading again and again from other writers and industry professionals that studios want to see 3 things in your script, none of which have anything to do with drama, characterization, and story structure:

    1) merchandizing potential (poster child: Star Wars)

    2) product placement opportunities (poster child: E.T.)

    3) sequel fodder (poster child: ET and Dirty Dancing and Titanic)

    So these 3 bean-counter considerations have been an ever-growing part of the greenlight process in the past twenty years. I am told that current coverage sheets for some studios actually include check-off boxes for these three elements

    (BTW, I can't find the original "Superman: The Movie" anywhere here in your data. Did it really make so little??)

    ETA: (I added "Titanic" to #3 above)


  20. This sounds really exciting for you, but I wanna give you one warning:

    End of August is a roll of the dice that far north when it comes to the weather. It can get a tad chilly from time to time that late in the season. One of the great things about summer in Maine is the endless sunshine (sun rises at 5 AM, sets at 10 PM). But in late August the length of the sunlight hours isn't as dramatic as it was back in June and July. And even a very rare frost can strike in late-August, especially if you're inland. So, the crummy part about late-August is you stand the possibility of losing all that groovy cool stuff (lengthy sunlight, mild weather, etc) you thought you were making that ridiculous journey for in the first place.

    It's still peaceful. It's still almost perfectly bug-free. The air is still cleaner than an angel's ear. But if you suffer a Canadian cold snap all that week, you might as well have gone to the Poconos.

    Unless you LIKE a nice good chill from time to time. If THAT's the case, have a blast!!

×
×
  • Create New...