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MattP

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About MattP

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    The artist formerly known as popechild

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    http://www.summersetproductions.net
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  1. I'm still seeing them. Or at least I'm seeing your new "books to read this summer" post when I click View New Posts.
  2. Whatever Works

    Thanks for posting that Peter. I didn't read the LA Times article, but the New York magazine piece that it references was fantastic.
  3. American Idol

    I'd assumed the same kind of career for Kris - that he'd try to be John Mayer but isn't distinctive enough to make it work. I don't think he'll go the Taylor Hicks route, because unlike Taylor, he doesn't already look 45. But after watching last night's show, I really think he'd be smart to think country. Not Randy Travis country, but more contemporary rock/country. It was brilliant pairing him with Keith Urban. He's got the background, looks, and sound to fit extremely well in that world. I think if he has any chance to become a star in his own right, that's where it is.
  4. American Idol

    I never understood the "it's a lock for Adam" sentiment. Where did this come from anyway, just the judges persistent fawning? Like Christian, when I heard that only a million votes separated them the week before, and Gokey's votes were the ones up for grabs this week, it seemed like Adam should have been the long-shot, not Kris. Of course, I've already seen the "he lost because he's gay" and "Kris won because he's a Christian" responses that you could've pretty much written before we even knew the winner. I'm sure there were "Adam won/Kris lost because of the gay vote" stories ready to be published just in case. Basically, any time anyone loses something (or in this case, the person they're pulling for loses), it's up to the losers to come up with 1000 reasons they *really* lost that enable them to still feel superior to the winners. I've got one theory. Adam lost because he frequently used his considerable vocal abilities to simulate the sounds of a wailing banshee instead of actually singing the songs. It's not a race to see who can hit the highest note the fastest and hold it the longest. His ridiculous vocal range became a crutch he used in every performance. And if I was an actual AI voter, and not just a casual viewer, I would've dialed in 4 votes for Kris myself, one for each of the judges who smugly told us all season long that we should feel honored just to be witness to Adam's presence. But I guess that's theory number two.
  5. Rachel Getting Married

    I understand. If someone were to say anything bad about The Three Amigos, I'd find a way to reach through the computer and punch them in the face. What if I told you I hadn't ever seen it! You would just make me sad.
  6. Rachel Getting Married

    I understand. If someone were to say anything bad about The Three Amigos, I'd find a way to reach through the computer and punch them in the face.
  7. The Office: USA

    Just watched the finale. Ultimately it didn't have much of a "finale feel" other than the final scene I guess. Biggest question - why does someone get a blood test for a sprained ankle? Fun guest spot from James Urbaniak.
  8. Rachel Getting Married

    I think maybe if they had at least made *some* reference to the choices being made, some hint at the motivation or desires involved, it would have helped. As it is, the only way (that I can remember) that you could see Rachel as the kind of person who would make those kind of choices is by using the choices themselves as your evidence. I especially don't remember anything about Rachel whatsoever that would even hint at the choices being a true reflection of who she is. Again, other than the specific wedding choices themselves. That was the problem for me. I wanted to be moved, but I was too distracted by what felt like an overwhelming falseness, at least as it relates to the wedding celebration. I *was* moved by the primary characters and their interactions with Kym. Severely dysfunctional, all, but believable and heartbreaking. I don't believe the whole movie is a Statement. There were specific times I felt it was a making a statement (like the comment at the rehearsal dinner). More often I agree with Peter that the movie assumes a worldview, and in my opinion an incredibly idealistic one. Maybe part of what makes it stand out so awkwardly is the level of idealism in a film with such a pessimistic lead story. Hmm. This makes me think of Facing the Giants, where the filmmakers tried to deflect criticism about the "God fixes everything" theology by claiming that all of the events in the film had really happened to people in their church. Well, yeah, but people also got cancer, and divorced, and lost their jobs... Ah, well, I was familiar with the actor/artist who plays the main character, in fact he plays in one of my favourite bands and produced one of my favourite albums of last year. So I didn't find him dull at all (plus, the "dishwasher" scene is so great, how could you think this?). I wonder if that played in my own reaction at all. Still, I'm not sure what aspect of his character you felt made him seem "retarded," other than that he is a quiet musician type. Care to explain more specifically? Also, the fact that most of the "retarded" people I've met are far from "obscenely dull." I can't believe this statement has gotten away unchallenged thus far. I strikes me as in pretty bad taste. Let's please not read a more offensive motivation into the statement than what's already there. Once we got further into the film (certainly by before the dishwasher scene) I had abandoned that line of thought. But for a significant length of time earlier in the film, Syndey is such a part an uninvolved part of the scenery (especially for such a key role) that he seems to almost not react to what's going on around him. In any other film, I don't think the question would've even come up, but for a movie where I already felt like No One Is Left Out, I did wonder if maybe that's where the film was ultimately going to lead with that character - some sort of mild retardation that made him react a little more simply to the events around him. It's a statement about the movie, not about retarded people. Ok, it didn't feel real to you. You didn't believe it. But please be careful of making such an absolute statement like you did here. I think you might be shocked, but I totally bought it. I've had friends in communities like this one (and I guess been a part of them). It didn't stick out like a sore thumb to me. In fact, I never realized people would react so strongly to that aspect until reading over this thread. Not just your comments, but others. What absolute statement are you referring to? That it wasn't believable? I'm assuming that however absolute a statement like that might sound, it's still clear that it's very much my own opinion. In that context, I don't see exactly what you're saying I need to "be careful" about. I just don't feel like qualifying every comment I have about a movie with "in my opinion..." or "if you ask me..." I disagreed. I really liked this part of it, especially since so many of the supporting actors were musicians, it made sense to me. As a former wedding DJ, I also know that of all the movies where you're going to use "sourced" music, a wedding movie perhaps makes the most sense of any. Most weddings are FILLED with music. Why not take advantage of it, as it tells you a lot about the characters. Also, many members of my wife's extended family are musicians, and it just wouldn't be a family get together without someone on the piano or playing the violin (my wife's young cousin is a prodigy! No exaggeration. He doesn't go many places without it). So that seemed pretty "real" to me too. My question is still why? What does the film gain by not using soundtrack music, especially given how far out of its way it has to go to achieve this. It's kind of like a 5-minute long tracking shot in a film that doesn't have any purpose other than to be a 5-minute long tracking shot. Why not use it when it makes sense, and not when it doesn't (the dishwasher scene, for example). What do you lose other than the novelty of it? I think if the film hadn't felt like it had so much potential to me, I wouldn't have been as disappointed by it. As it was, I felt like the setting and community detracted from what was otherwise a very good story. Come to think of it, there might have been some very interesting themes to examine in how people could be so accepting and open and appreciative of everyone *except* for their immediately family members; how such a thoroughly dysfunctional family could be so thoroughly functional with the rest of the community. Hmm... Noticing that no one has commented on the cameramen in the shots yet. As that was another thing that just seemed to constantly take me out of the story, I'm wondering if no one else experienced that? If not, why do you think that is?
  9. Rachel Getting Married

    Hmm... I just recently saw this and felt like it was worth discussing, but realize from looking through this thread that I'm like a guy showing up late to a restaurant and then hoping someone feels like sticking around while I eat. Heh, maybe someone can find something here for dessert... First, I've got to say that Hathaway's performance was really, really good. She deserved all the accolades she received. I'd seen Rosemarie DeWitt before in a few tv series: Mad Men (pretty good) and the short-lived Standoff (not so good), but was still very impressed with her as well. I was also really impressed in a few places with how intentionally awkward Demme was able to make me feel, like during Kym's toast at the rehearsal dinner scene. I already really found myself liking Kym, and wanted her to prove everyone wrong, so when she gave that excruciatingly self-serving toast it was just painful to watch. I'd say in general the entire A storyline was really effective. Only complaint there was that certain scenes seemed to drag. on. forever. Witness the rehearsal dinner scene again. Come to think of it, almost every scene seemed to drag on forever. I suppose the fact that I felt connected to that storyline in spite of that recurring frustration says something. But. I really, really disliked the rest of the film, and for reasons largely related to the issues of multiculturalism that have already been brought up. Maybe it's not worth rehashing for anyone else, but reading through the comments so far, I haven't seen a POV that really seemed to address this in the way that I experienced it. A few friends I saw this with seemed to think I was reacting against the idea of multiculturalism or inclusiveness itself, but this isn't it. I've lived in big cities for most of my life, and I'm thoroughly familiar with the idea of melting pot communities. It's also not about some idea of reverse-racism. I didn't even notice that only the white people seemed to have problems until I read that in this thread. Though I did find the fiance character to be one of the most obscenely dull characters to ever share the screen in such a character-driven film. I *honestly* thought at one point during the film that maybe he was meant to be somewhat retarded. And therein lies an example of what I disliked thoroughly about the film. I really believed that he might be retarded because it seemed like surely the filmmakers wouldn't have left retarded people out of their Inclusive Nirvanaland. It's not hard for me to believe that people have friends from diverse cultures, or that people enjoy or appreciate a range of cultural goods or traditions. But the community shown in this film does. not. exist. Not like it was portrayed here. Not somewhere in Connecticut with no backstory to explain it. There was nothing remotely believable about it. It stood out like such a sore thumb, that the movie became just as much *about* that as it was about the story itself. Okay, so what's wrong with that? Nothing, if the movie admits that it's about that, and deals with it. Examine why it isn't normal, or why it should be, or what the challenges and benefits of it are. But it was ignored so thoroughly, so completely, so universally, that I never truly felt that these characters inhabited this universe - I felt that the filmmakers had fabricated a universe that they were holding up proudly for me to see and envy. I don't believe the family was sitting around working the seating arrangement around Kym, I believe they were trying to solve the No-Two-People-Of-The-Same-Ethnicity-Can-Sit-Next-To-Each-Other dilemma. I'm pretty sure when Kym got a sad face toward the end of the dancing scene at the reception, it was because she had just realized that there weren't any Eskimos in attendance. Someone earlier suggested that it wasn't necessarily clear that the film was celebrating this multicultural nirvana. I don't think it could have been more clear that that was the intention. Every joyful moment in the film was seeped in it. And when the mother of the groom stood and commented that this was like a rehearsal for heaven, I didn't hear a character expressing her heart, I heard a filmmaker yelling through a bullhorn. I didn't dislike the characters individually, I simply disliked the falseness the filmmakers surrounded them in. Maybe there are people who would decide to have an Indian elephant cake at their wedding, even though they're not Indian, have never been to India as far as we know, and don't seem to have any Indian friends. Probably not many, but maybe a few. I don't believe for a second that not a single one of the wedding guests would ask why the *hell* they chose it though. I want to know that as a viewer. Show me how this community came to be, or why they would want an Indian elephant cake, because that's a interesting freaking choice, and it expects an explanation. Otherwise, I don't buy it at all, and I think you're only putting it there to make a point. (Oh, and I also *really* could have done without the dogme-style insistence on only "sourced" music. If you want me to accept that these are real people with real lives at a real wedding, having a dude whip out his violin to provide accompaniment during a dishwasher loading competition ain't the way to go. Was there any benefit to doing the music this way, beyond the simple novelty of it?) And if no one feels like talking about any of that, I noticed that no one has mentioned the choice to let the camera guys roam freely in the background in multiple scenes. Did I miss the part where they explained that the wedding was being filmed by a documentary crew (made up entirely of young white males)? What's that? No one's reading this thread anymore? Ah well...
  10. The Road

    Wow. As someone who loves the book, that trailer makes me angry. I hope it's just marketing crap and not actually representative of the film.
  11. Staying logged in

    I believe the software only allows you to "stay" logged in on one computer at a time as well. So if you're moving from work to home and back or from a laptop to desktop or something, it may require you to re-login every time you make the switch. At least I know it did that at one point.
  12. Who knew that Dr. Baehr was such a fan of handbell choirs?
  13. An Announcement about the Future of A&F

    Ellen, if you feel that I'm being disingenuous, or looking for a place to flame people, please feel free to PM me to discuss privately. Thank you.
  14. An Announcement about the Future of A&F

    The Politics forum hasn't been flammable since Obama was elected -- not for lack of effort on my part! I'm willing to let it go, though, especially since the interest level in that area has plummeted since November. Not that we're compiling votes here, but I rather like having the politics and religion forums around. Some people have trouble staying out of them despite themselves if they see conversations happening there, so I think it's appropriate that politics at least doesn't show up in the "View New Posts" list. The whole nature of politics is borne out of debate, so those not comfortable with debate, even rigorous at times, simply never need click on the Forum. But I like it precisely because this *isn't* a forum dedicated to politics or religion, but a forum centered around the arts where I can find others who also come primarily for the arts, but enjoy side conversations now and again about things like religion and politics. I like that I can find a community of people here who I can engage with in discussions ranging beyond simply the arts, but know that the primary ties that bind point back to the arts side of things. In short, I like to see hear what people who have an appreciation for the arts and culture think about things like politics and religion, more than I'd want to hear what people who care primarily about politics and religion care about politics and religion. I respect SDG's perspective on film in part because of what I've witnessed from him in the religion forum. Same for Christian and his interaction in the politics forum, and a number of others. Generally speaking, I agree with Jeff that the non-arts fora are critical to the way that individual relationship build - the more I can engage people on life's broad array of topics, the more I feel I get to know a person behind a username. But for me, if politics and/or religion were cut out of that mix, I'd personally view it as a loss. Isn't it simple enough for anyone who feels a particular forum does them more harm than good to just not take part?
  15. An Announcement about the Future of A&F

    let me state before the shift that i am not at all comfortable with looking at anyone's colon... :shock: can we please ban all images of colons from the next iteration of this forums? please? Just please don't ban ellipses... I'm not sure whether I'd be able to manufacture a post without them.
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