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Ryan H.

The Films of Oliver Stone

The Films of Oliver Stone   19 members have voted

  1. 1. The Films of Oliver Stone

    • Seizure (1974)
      0
    • The Hand (1981)
      0
    • Salvador (1986)
      0
    • Platoon (1986)
      4
    • Wall Street (1987)
      1
    • Talk Radio (1988)
      1
    • Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
      0
    • The Doors (1991)
      0
    • JFK (1991)
      7
    • Heaven & Earth (1993)
      0
    • Natural Born Killers (1994)
      0
    • Nixon (1995)
      2
    • U Turn (1997)
      0
    • Any Given Sunday (1999)
      1
    • Comandante (2003)
      0
    • Alexander (2004)
      0
    • World Trade Center (2006)
      1
    • W. (2008)
      0
    • South of the Border (2009)
      0
    • Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
      0

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26 posts in this topic

Yet another entry in our series of "Which is your favorite film by such-and-such auteur" polls, I now turn to Oliver Stone, a director with whom I have a kind of love/hate relationship. I haven't found much about Stone elsewhere in our forum (but I might not be looking in the right places). I wouldn't expect Stone to be an A&F favorite, but nevertheless I'd be curious to see which films Stone has made that A&F does appreciate, and to what extent.

I'll fire the first salvo: I dig NIXON. Don't particularly like anything Stone has done since.

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  1. JFK
  2. NBK
  3. Val-K

runner-up: Nixon, definitely.

Edited by Overstreet

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JFK. When Costner broke the "fourth wall" I was bowled over. It's one of the few times that technique has really worked for me in a movie.

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I love Oliver Stone, but The Doors is one of two films I've walked out of at the theater.

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I've never seen THE DOORS.

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I love Oliver Stone, but The Doors is one of two films I've walked out of at the theater.

:blink:

Really? Why?

The aforementioned Val-K's performance alone was enough to bring me back for two rounds in the theatre. (Granted, that was a long time ago. I wonder what I'd think of it now.)

Edited by Overstreet

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Stone is a blindspot in my film viewing. I've only seen Platoon andNatural Born Killers. And maybe half of The Doors.

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I love Oliver Stone, but The Doors is one of two films I've walked out of at the theater.

:blink:

Really? Why? The aforementioned Val-K's performance alone was enough to bring me back for two rounds in the theatre. (Granted, that was a long time ago. I wonder what I'd think of it now.)

Well, it was half a lifetime ago, but the rocking camerawork made me sick to my stomach. And I like the camerawork in most Stone films, and the editing. But not with The Doors.

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Stone's a major blind spot for me, too - I've only seen three of his films (Salvador, Platoon, and Wall Street), and much as I admire those three, I have no great desire to view his other work.

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I've seen less than half of Stone's ouvre, but JFK is masterful. Even if you don't buy the conspiracy theories, you have to admit that it's a striking piece of filmmaking, dizzyingly weaving a mass of sometimes contradictory information and history into a mythos that remains a part of the popular imagination ("Back, and to the left!") and it's compulsively watchable, with a nearly 45 min monologue/courtroom scene that never seems to drag, and with literally dozens of fine performances. I don't love all the other Stone films I've seen. I think PLATOON, regarded by some as one of his best, is overrated, but I count JFK among my favourites.

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I've seen less than half of Stone's ouvre, but JFK is masterful. Even if you don't buy the conspiracy theories, you have to admit that it's a striking piece of filmmaking, dizzyingly weaving a mass of sometimes contradictory information and history into a mythos that remains a part of the popular imagination ("Back, and to the left!") and it's compulsively watchable, with a nearly 45 min monologue/courtroom scene that never seems to drag, and with literally dozens of fine performances. I don't love all the other Stone films I've seen. I think PLATOON, regarded by some as one of his best, is overrated, but I count JFK among my favourites.

I, too, think PLATOON is overrated. Indeed, I think many Oliver Stone "classics" have a bit of a bloated reputation (alas, yes, even JFK, which I've never been able to love as much as everybody else).

But NIXON, for some reason, clicks with me. I love almost everything about it. Hopkins delivers what I consider to be career-best work. I adore that the script gives everything a grand, mythic arc and sensibility; this is the story of the President of the United States told with all the heft and theatricality normally given to tales about monarchs and Caesars, shot through with a kind of spiritual/moral resonance that's quite unusual for this kind of political flick. And stylistically, NIXON is terrific. The montage sequences are wonderful.

Edited by Ryan H.

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But NIXON, for some reason, clicks with me. I love almost everything about it. Hopkins delivers what I consider to be career-best work. I adore that the script gives everything a grand, mythic arc and sensibility; this is the story of the President of the United States told with all the heft and theatricality normally given to tales about monarchs and Caesars, shot through with a kind of spiritual/moral resonance that's quite unusual for this kind of political flick. And stylistically, NIXON is terrific. The montage sequences are wonderful.

To be honest I haven't seen NIXON since high school, and so I don't feel confident making any proclamations about it. But I want to revisit it one of these days.

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You haven't mentioned Joan Allen as Pat Nixon. It's a brilliant turn for her as well.

Oh, and for me, JFK tops the Stone list on the strength of the park-bench scene with Donald Sutherland alone! The whole thing is exhilarating, but Sutherland is spellbinding in that part.

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Count me in as a huge fan of JFK. So many things about that film shouldn't work. It's heavy on exposition and, as stated before, presents a lot of contradictory ideas. Yet Stone manages to make the jigsaw puzzle come together, unlike Ron Howard with The Da Vinci Code, which faced a lot of the same hurdles and just seems to collapse under the weight of all the information it tries to present.

JFK also provided for one of the funniest parodies that I've ever seen, and still laugh at today...

The Magic Bullet explained

The Magic Loogie

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I found JFK unwatchable. Couldn't sit through it all. Never made it past the half hour mark. Too big a named cast, all for speculation. Yuck.

Nixon was also horrible, but that I saw in the theater. Same problems. Hopkins was miscast, and Steenburgen's career went south after this.

I liked Wall Street best of those I'd seen. Never seen NBK nor Doors nor the autobiography of Mr Hand starring Michael Caine as Jeff Spicolli.

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But NIXON, for some reason, clicks with me. I love almost everything about it. Hopkins delivers what I consider to be career-best work. I adore that the script gives everything a grand, mythic arc and sensibility; this is the story of the President of the United States told with all the heft and theatricality normally given to tales about monarchs and Caesars, shot through with a kind of spiritual/moral resonance that's quite unusual for this kind of political flick. And stylistically, NIXON is terrific. The montage sequences are wonderful.

To be honest I haven't seen NIXON since high school, and so I don't feel confident making any proclamations about it. But I want to revisit it one of these days.

I strongly urge you to do so. :)

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I saw Platoon several years after it was released, and I remember wondering what the big deal was. Sure, there's a powerful moment of heroic sacrifice. But I didn't see that the film itself was anything particularly special.

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Count me among those that "still have quite a long way to go" with seeing Oliver Stone's films. I have seen PLATOON, and the 2 WALL STREET movies, and none of those movies did anything all that special for me. My memory of JFK is fuzzy, I may have to revisit it. Today, I am watching BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY for the first time, and Ryan's comments have me very interested in seeing NIXON very soon!!!

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Chris Wallace examines Stone's JFK for the Los Angeles Review of Books:

 

“What we all dread most is a maze with no center,” Father Brown says in one of G.K. Chesterton’s stories. Borges believed the “metaphysical detective story” of Citizen Kane to be just that maze. And Oliver Stone’s JFK is a maze built of a seemingly infinite number of Citizen Kanes. Every thread, every dark, paranoid alley Garrison and his team uncover gives out onto another, still more shadowy mystery (and a Rosebud destroyed to cover it up). And when the going gets crazy — and the Kennedy mystery is the crazy Mardi Gras of American history, making the paranoid dreams of Thomas Pynchon and James Ellroy look tame by comparison — it is something of a relief that Stone, and by extension Garrison, thinks the unthinkable for us. 

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Today, I am watching BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY for the first time, and Ryan's comments have me very interested in seeing NIXON very soon!!!

I still stand by NIXON. It's one of the very best films of the 90s. See the Director's Cut, if you can.

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Count me in as a huge fan of JFK. So many things about that film shouldn't work. It's heavy on exposition and, as stated before, presents a lot of contradictory ideas. Yet Stone manages to make the jigsaw puzzle come together, unlike Ron Howard with The Da Vinci Code, which faced a lot of the same hurdles and just seems to collapse under the weight of all the information it tries to present.

 

 

 

Late to the game, in more ways than one, but let me agree with this. I watched JFK over the course of two sittings. In some ways, it reminded me of Zodiac (a film I prefer, overall); it also reminded me of the "occult history" of the Red Riding trilogy/quartet. I found the film equally thrilling and tedious, in a way that I can't quite put my finger on. The story is ludicrous--especially if viewed "straight." But it's also pretty amazing as a portrait of someone who basically has his mind made up from the moment he starts investigating--which means that (though Stone didn't necessarily intend this) it's not really about the JFK assassination at all. Instead, it's about the ways paranoia can create its own reality (the fact that Stone doesn't realize this accounts in some ways for the tedium alluded to above; one gets the sense that the filmmakers believe they're doing one thing when they're actually doing another, which leaves one in the position of wanting to praise a movie for being something it manifestly isn't trying to be).

Edited by NBooth

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I found the film equally thrilling and tedious, in a way that I can't quite put my finger on.

This captures my experience of JFK as well, which I revisited recently.

 

There's a sharp dichotomy between JFK and GREETINGS (which I watched around the same time) insofar as they present entirely different approaches to the JFK assassination. Stone's film claims we can access the truth, that we can parse out the truth from the fiction. De Palma is far more cynical; GREETINGS suggests that, if there is any truth, it's completely inaccessible to us, and you just might go mad looking for it (a notion reiterated in BLOW OUT, which spins out from the JFK assassination narrative thread in GREETINGS).

 

Considering that both filmmakers collaborated--or collided, rather--on SCARFACE, it's interesting to consider what might have happened had De Palma directed JFK from a script by Stone.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Coming in Fall 2015: The Oliver Stone experience, by Matt Zoller Seitz.

 

 

ABRAMS is proud to announce the Fall 2015 publication of The Oliver Stone Experience. The book is a comprehensive retrospective of Stone’s life and career, from his New York City childhood and service in Vietnam to his work as an Oscar-winning, politically and stylistically radical filmmaker. 

 

Award-winning writer and film critic Matt Zoller Seitz, author of the bestselling The Wes Anderson Collection, started interviewing Stone for the book last year. It will feature critical essays about Stone’s work, including Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon, U-Turn, Any Given Sunday, W, Savages,and his epic revisionist history documentary series The Untold History of the United States.

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I can't wait.

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