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Everything posted by Rushmore

  1. Joyce and Hopper's meanderings could stand to be cut a bit, certainly. I guess that could trim off one episode. I'm still not sure there's enough dead wood in the remainder to cut another. (Again, lots of things could have been better, but the better version wouldn't necessarily be shorter.)
  2. For Season 2, yes, I don't disagree. For Season 3, I don't think so. Here are some things that Season 3 did: Introduced several hilarious new characters; Made more interesting use of El's powers, as the first time they really advance the drama, not just the plot (if that distinction makes sense): consider the scene where it's revealed that's she's used it rather unethically, though not with premeditated malice; Made more interesting use of Billy, who at first is a textbook ladykiller, i.e. someone whom we want to die, in accordance with horror tropes, and who then becomes more complex (almost, in a way, the replacement for the abused child El in Season 1); Finally brought the El/Mike ship in - this was in preparation since Season 1, of course, but it would be unsatisfying not to see it; Gave Brett Gelman a few more scenes to steal; Developed the odd couple/buddy cop dynamic of Steve and Dustin (consider the single line "If you die, I die," which hits harder than any number of lengthy speeches in war movies); Made Will more interesting than before, as the boy who, for the first time, is aware of his role as the conservative in the group of adolescents, the one who is pained and bewildered by the changes wrought by all these newfangled hormones (Noah Schnapp is a genuinely talented actor, and this is the first chance the show has really given him to show that); Developed the queer themes that were always latent in the show and would have rankled if not addressed, primarily through a candid, drug-assisted conversation in a later episode between two older teen characters, but prepared by an incredibly cutting line from a younger teen character several episodes before; Gave a certain 80s fantasy film genuine dramatic weight, not just nostalgic value, in a brilliant scene reminiscent of Magnolia; Developed a teenage-reporter storyline featuring a girl reporter and a boy photographer, without which a certain artistic integrity would have been lacking. Not everything in Season 3 was successful, of course, but I think it would have been hard pressed to compress all this further than it already was compressed. it could have been better, but I'm not sure that it could have been shorter.
  3. Anyone seen Season 3? I agree that Season 2 was a bit of a letdown. Season 3, while not that great as horror, is as good as the show has ever been as 80s-themed teen drama. Some of the writing and acting in the teenagers' scenes (both the older set and the younger set) are superb.
  4. Rushmore

    Day of Wrath

    Strange. It was attributed to Ron Reed in 2014.
  5. I've created a set of pages for the older top 25 lists in hopes that they'll be serviceable for the short term. Sneak preview here: https://simplegifs.com/stuff/artsandfaith/top-25-horror.html https://simplegifs.com/stuff/artsandfaith/top-25-road.html https://simplegifs.com/stuff/artsandfaith/top-25-marriage.html A few notes on these pages: This is not a professional quality design. I'm offering them simply as a stopgap until we have time/resources to put a more permanent solution in place, on the theory that they reach the "better than nothing" level. The images in the lists (not the images in the nav bar) are taken from the old versions of the top 25 pages. They should be responsive and at least readable on every commonly used device/browser. If they fail at this, please tell me. Also please mention any other accessibility/readability/usability concerns. The "Mercy" and "Waking Up" lists, as far as I know, have never been hosted at A&F at all, but only at Image (where they still are). I don't know the implications of that for re-hosting the lists on this site.
  6. There are still quite nice-looking versions of the lists on Image's website. Is it frowned upon to link to those now?
  7. For several years, I've been maintaining a spreadsheet of all the A&F lists. Here it is updated to include the new list. Interestingly, three of the films on the aging/growing older list—The Straight Story, Wild Strawberries, and Tokyo Story—are also among the films that have appeared on all previous versions of the top 100.
  8. Rushmore

    Stalker (1979)

    Thanks for this, Andrew. This is more helpful than anything else I've seen in coming to terms with my recent reaction to the film, which, at the end, was characterized by crushing disappointment. I felt like I had been tricked into taking a long journey into a black void. That doesn't mean I was oblivious to the beauty of it all. It would have been impossible to feel so profoundly unsatisfied if hadn't also fallen in love with the first two hours. The mesmerizing combination of natural beauty and industrial decay, the sound design, the interesting music choices that arise and pass away... The way the drama, the visuals, and our expectations for the outcome develop over time is absolutely masterful filmmaking. That lengthy rail-car shot, for example: it's beautiful in itself, but it's so good because it comes right there, after the (relatively) fast-paced action of dodging the soldiers and entering the Zone, and it's a perfect time to take a long breath and begin wondering who these men are.
  9. You can choose not to vote on any given film in the poll. Previous polls have stated that not voting on a film means "haven't seen it." A minimum absolute number of votes has always been required for a film to qualify, but as I recall it's been a fairly low number, like 5.
  10. Rushmore

    Tolkien (2019)

    Yeah, "Morgoth on a WWI battlefield" is just about the least interesting way this could have gone.
  11. She's wearing pants and a blouse, not underwear. A re-imagining of Bo Peep doesn't make me any more excited about this, though.
  12. Big problem in the music forum. Is it easy to adjust the board settings so that new users need some kind of manual approval, or perhaps a few posts, before starting new topics?
  13. It is now - it came out on US DVD/Blu-ray a few months ago. But hopefully streaming will allow more people to appreciate it. I never posted here when I finally got a disc that I could watch. It's absolutely fascinating, a complex and searching theological dialogue wrapped up in a medieval mystery play wrapped up in a hard-rock musical. Everyone who's interested in portrayals of the complexities and difficulties of faith, or simply in weird genre-bending, should see it.
  14. Those changes all make sense. One little note: since the rules say not to post anything illegal, they should probably say what jurisdiction's laws are being applied. (Presumably the United States; I don't know if the state matters.) This might especially become relevant for copyright law, which is specifically mentioned.
  15. Rushmore

    The Criterion Channel

    For me, MUBI and Filmstruck are both indispensable, and for very different reasons. Filmstruck is an extensive library that I can browse in at will, choosing my own paths and following my own projects. (Not that it has everything, of course, but it has, to name ones that caught my eye recently, almost all of Ozu, a lot of Kaurismäki, a lot of Rossellini...) However, to really broaden your horizons you should occasionally have someone else choose a movie, and that's the valuable service that MUBI provides. It's given me some memorable experiences that I would undoubtedly never have had otherwise. (Left to my own devices, I would be unlikely to seek out a documentary on Chinese lumberjacks.)
  16. He's right, of course, but yikes. It's not surprising that the email tearing apart the script ("If I were intentionally trying to sabotage this project") failed of its intended purpose.
  17. It might have had something to do with the vote weighting for the top 100/top 25 lists. If we do away with vote weighting, which seems to be the way the wind is blowing, it's probably not of any consequence how posts are counted.
  18. Netflix did the right and really the only possible thing under the circumstances, but I can't help kind of wanting to see this. However, it seems likely, given the absence of continued funding, that postproduction wasn't even completed, so I guess that's unlikely ever to happen.
  19. I've started Leif Enger's new novel Virgil Wander (that's the narrator's name). I greatly loved his first novel Peace Like A River, which I first read as a teenager, but haven't yet read his second, So Brave, Young, and Handsome (it's on order from the library). So far Virgil Wander seems less "magical realist" than Peace Like a River (if I can use the phrase, though "miraculous" would be more accurate than "magical") and more elegiac. It's still beautiful, and it has some characteristics that are recognizable from the earlier book, like the apt, poetic metaphors that crop up unexpectedly. More than anything else, it seems to be full of terrible sadness. It doesn't seem to be about nostalgia or lost happiness - instead, it's about lost opportunities, happiness that should have been. I'm excited (and nervous) to see where the story goes.
  20. michaeljames advertising a plagiarism service
  21. This is a surprise to me, but probably a good thing for the board. I haven't participated much lately, but I still care about this site and the community here, and I don't have a problem with trusting you (Ken) to run it. Thanks for stepping up.
  22. I realize I was excessively melodramatic myself in acting like no one ever questions these films. I think a lot of people have been doing so, with the passage of time and gaining more perspective. On the popular level, though, I don't think their star has fallen much if at all. They seem to be untouchable classics in many circles of the geek/nerd crowd, which has gained quite a lot of cultural power in the last couple decades. (Perhaps these films played a part in that, come to think of it.)
  23. I want to get something off my chest, prompted by rewatching The Two Towers extended edition in the theater the other night. I do appreciate that these films are, in many ways, an enormous achievement. I love the look of many of the sets, landscapes, costumes, etc. I deeply appreciate the immense amount of work that was put into things like languages, getting all kinds of little details right in ways that most viewers wouldn't even notice. I admire some of the writing, and it's quite impressive how many of Tolkien's words are incorporated. The pacing is generally good, such that even The Two Towers goes by quite breezily for a three-and-a-half hour movie (and without an intermission at that, at least in the theater where there's no pause to change discs). And it can't be denied that the major set pieces are amazing. The siege of Helm's Deep is a sight to behold, and while I need to rewatch Return of the King I'm sure that the siege of Gondor succeeds in topping it. But. The greatest impression they leave me with, what overwhelms just about everything else, is that they're so silly. It's strange to me that Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies are so widely derided and mocked while The Lord of the Rings is lauded to the skies, even though all the elements that made The Hobbit: Gilding the Dragon so ridiculous are present in Lord of the Rings too - to a lesser degree, usually, but very clearly present. The same excessive melodrama, which tries to heighten the tension of every scene so much that the dramatic arc is more like a dramatic flat line at the shrillest possible level. The same drunken camera movement. The same outrageous stunts with no regard for their emotional appropriateness. The same corny, overdone action and fight scenes in places where there's no good reason for an action scene at all. The same general bad taste. These. Are. Not. Good. Movies. In some places I was really surprised how clearly the seeds of The Hobbit: An Endless Adventure were planted. I laughed in The Hobbit at the part in the barrel-riding scene where Legolas is surfing down the river with each foot on a dwarf's head while shooting orcs, but I had forgotten that he does a similar stunt in Helm's Deep while sliding down a staircase. There are other places, like the appalling Revenge of the Sith-like Force battle between Gandalf and Saruman in Fellowship, that don't remind me of a specific scene in The Hobbit (maybe there is a similar one; I've forgotten a lot) but are surely just as bad. There are a few extravagant touches, like the skull avalanche, that even admirers of the films admit are too much, but it seems to me that many other parts are just as bad and don't get called out the same way. In the exorcism of Theoden, I almost expected Theoden to start levitating while Gandalf shouted "The power of Christ compels you!" Some of Frodo's experiences, like when he falls into the water in the Dead Marshes and is suddenly surrounded by screaming ghosts, seem to be right out of a B horror movie. (In fact, all the frightening visions Frodo has strike me as far more goofy than scary, and I generally scare very easily.) But then, it's possible that people didn't notice this scene because it was surrounded by so many other unnecessary falls - into water, off cliffs, you name it. In the book, there's one crucial scene where Gandalf falls into a pit in Moria, and it's a devastating moment. In the films, it's not enough for Sam to run out to the boat to catch Frodo at the end of Fellowship - he has to fall into the water and nearly drown. It's not enough for Denethor, in a breathtakingly dramatic tragic climax, to light his own funeral pyre - he has to light himself on fire, run around crazily, and JUMP OFF THE ROOF. It's not even enough for Aragorn to have his own near-death and resurrection to rival Gandalf's - he has to tussle with a Warg and fall off a cliff, because falling off of random cliffs is just what people do in this cinematic universe. It's like watching The Hobbit: Goblintown IMAX all over again. This post may not make me any friends, but I'm at the point where I have to post this somewhere. It seems obvious to me that these movies are an enormous achievement but also full of devastating flaws which would be enough to ruin most movies completely, and the over-the-top praise they get in nearly all quarters makes me feel like I'm living in some kind of bizarro world.
  24. Might as well link to SDG's review. The very limited North American theatrical tour seems to be coming to an end, and I'm still waiting for a way to see this. As yet, the only DVD/blu-ray edition is a French one that lacks English subtitles.
  25. Perhaps this thread is the place to suggest this: I've joined a couple forums where new members need to have one or more posts approved by a moderator before they can post freely. (On CriterionForum.org it's five posts, but one is probably enough.) Seems like a good way to avoid spam without raising the barrier to entry too high.
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