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Christian

Turning Off Acclaimed Movies

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Going back to the film's original question, I don't think it's bad to not finish a film--as long as you don't really judge or comment on the film. I get annoyed by people who issue strong judgments about a film without having seen the whole thing.

Here's another thing to think about. I don't know about anyone else, but I really love dvds, and with the steady stream of re-released films on dvds as well as current films on dvd, I get this sense that there's always more films I need to see; I often feel this harried, and I'm behind and got to catch up. If other people experience this, I can understand giving up on films pretty quickly. There's so much to see on the list, so if a film is not interesting, there's a temptation to just move on to the next one.

On the other hand, what I normally do is just keep playing the film and do other things. If I can just get through a film, I feel pretty good about that even though I'm not giving it my full attention. On the other hand, I'm concerned that this rushed feeling leaks into my viewing of films in general, and that's not a good thing.

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This one didn't even make it to the legitimate "turning off" point.

Y'all know I love Bergman. So, over the weekend, I opened up Smiles of a Summer Night, which had just arrived from Netflix, popped it in the DVD player, watched the original trailer, took the disc out of the player, put it back in its sleeve, and sealed it to send back. Yes, I knew it was Bergman's romantic comedy, and I knew it would be different. But I don't think I'm ready. Guess I prefer the dark and disturbing Bergman. Maybe I need help. wink.gif

Hope I didn't miss a gem. Maybe someday....

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This one didn't even make it to the legitimate "turning off" point.

Y'all know I love Bergman. So, over the weekend, I opened up Smiles of a Summer Night, which had just arrived from Netflix, popped it in the DVD player, watched the original trailer, took the disc out of the player, put it back in its sleeve, and sealed it to send back. Yes, I knew it was Bergman's romantic comedy, and I knew it would be different. But I don't think I'm ready. Guess I prefer the dark and disturbing Bergman. Maybe I need help. wink.gif

Hope I didn't miss a gem. Maybe someday....

I was underwhelmed the first time I watched it, but was heartened when my wife--not a big fan of Bergman's dramas--chose to watch my copy of the movie one night while I was out, and enjoyed it. I've since come to appreciate it much more.

Now if I could only figure out why Bergman's most acclaimed film (arguably), Wild Strawberries, fails to move me. It's been years since I watched it. Time for another look, no doubt.

Another Bergman title I purchased with high hopes, sight-unseen, and which left me befuddled: The Magician.

Have you blogged those films yet, Diane? I'd be eager to read your comments.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I remember seeing the film "1776" with a friend of mine, and both of us walking out in the middle of it-----that's how bad--and boring it was!! This coming from somebody who's NEVER walked out of a film, no matter how bad it's been. However, several years later, I did come close to walking out of the film S. O. B.(Standard Operational B******t) and taking the MBTA(Mass Bay Transit Authority) back home, but didn't, because I was with my family, and we all had a delicious dinner together in a nearby restaurant afterwards.

I also saw "Gosford Park" when it first came out, and, unfortunately, it was overrated, I thought. Wasn't crazy for it.

However, I love the great classic film "West Side STory" as much as ever, and, in fact, I watched the TCM airing of WSS over at my family's house yesterday, since I don't have cable.

s

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Have you blogged those films yet, Diane? I'd be eager to read your comments.

Sorry for the delay, Christian. I missed your question yesterday. I checked my blog, and I only put down one sentence about Wild Strawberries, which is odd. I'll PM you about it.

I've never seen The Magician, but I want to. Too bad Netflix doesn't carry it.

Edited by Diane

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I remember seeing the film "1776" with a friend of mine, and both of us walking out in the middle of it-----that's how bad--and boring it was!!

Is that the one with Al Pacino? I saw most of it one night (missed the very beginning). I toughed it out because it so beautifully evoked the time and place...but as a narrative story it really drags and wanders around, I think. Nice as a documentary, but not so hot as a good story told well.

Glad to hear I'm not the only one who came out thinking, "Boy, that looked expensive to make!" Instead of "what a cool story!"

Neb


Fortus fortuna uvat!

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""I think that a good film is one that has a lasting power, and you start to reconstruct it after you leave the theater. ..."

I watched CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS last night. And while I was never bored, or anywhere near sleep, I wasn't all that impressed. It seemed to "on the nose" and obvious. Until the home stretch, when suddenly all the straightforwardnesses got less so, and the metaphors I'd found overly obvious started to gain some real complexity. Until a long conversation afterward with a friend. Until sleeping on it. Until attending a Rob Johnston class on the film today, and talking with others about it, and not being able to let go of the conversation. I'm finding that a film which, 90% of the way into it I would have called Not As Big A Deal As Everybody Seems To Think, ends up working its way relentlessly into Favourite territory.

When I just spectated the movie, it was one thing. When I regard it as a whole, and start remembering specifics, it becomes another.

So much for instant gratification. Glad I didn't walk out.

(Actually, years ago when the film was new, my wife and I rented it, got ten or fifteen minutes in and bailed. Seemed too talky, too explicitly philosophical, very uninvolving. I didn't really blame the movie so much as my own mood and preferences, but... Glad I walked back in.)

Ron

P.S. Definitely an essential choice for our A&F 100. Good call, all ye who voted thereupon.

Edited by Ron

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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Oh, I forgot "The Tuxedo". I think we made it about 15 minutes. I knew we were in trouble when they got rid of Jason (be still my beating heart) Isaacs right out of the gate. I was sad, because I love Jackie Chan. Jennifer Love Hewitt has always seemed kind of luke warm to me.

Neb


Fortus fortuna uvat!

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Something that often surprises me about film fanatics (and I consider myself to be one) is that they/we often treat "classic" films, and especailly classic foreign films, as if they are something holy. I think we forget too often that critics are often wrong in their judgements throughout [film] history. I doubt that anyone here would disagree that historians are often wrong about their interpretation of history. The annals of film citicism and the public opinion are not that much different from the history books.

The Academy has passed over numerous great films, only to give Best Picture to some forgettable fluff film that no one at all regards as "classic." The fine art world does the same thing. Is not the Mona Lisa the most overrated painting of all time? How is it relevant? It's not bad, but it does absolutely nothing for me, nor do many of the so-called "foreign classic" films.

Two filmmakers in particular that drive me up the wall are Goddard and Tarkovsky. As a film student, I was told that their films were classic and should be appreciated. I watched Solaris and Andrei Rublev and actually felt bad that I didn't "get it". What was wrong with me? Later, I read an interview with Tarkovsky where he said that the 10 minute driving scene at the beginning of Solaris was just to clear the theatre of anyone "that didn't belong there." I've heard similar things about parts of Goddard's Weekend. Man, screw that. I don't go to movies to be messed around with. I believe film is a meduim to connect with people and let them experience things, not a pedistal for a director's bloated ego (granted, one could argue that being frustrated with the filmmaker is "experiencing" something). But I guess it's good for me that I feel that way about those films, because when my friends start yawning and looking at their watch while we're watching a Bergman or Kieslowski film, I can understand where they're coming from.

There's nothing holy about film, or about some dead critic's fallable opinion of Goddard. It's my personal opinion that many films are grossly overrated, just as many are underrated. But more importantly believe that looking down on those poor souls who "just don't get it" is just another form of Gnosticism--a fairly un-Christ-like philosophy.

The bottom line is: no one should ever feel guilty (or be made to feel guilty) for liking or not liking a movie. So if you or your wife or your friend falls asleep during an artsy foreign classic, it's ok. Jesus might fall asleep too.

Edited by finnegan

I have a blog? here at A&F that I sometimes post in.

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Neb wrote:

: Oh, I forgot "The Tuxedo".

That film was "acclaimed"? smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Thanks. This is a really cool forum. I wish I had known about it years ago.

Yeah, I figured I would be stepping on some toes with that post... Hopefully no one takes any of it personally. I guess you could say I'm a recovering film snob who had to change my ways after meeting much snobbier film snobs.

I used to be in a band and we had a "side project" of sorts that was just basically a noise band. People used to run out of our shows grabbing their ears. All the while I thought we were so cool and that people just didn't get us, or that we were too avant garde for them. But then one day I realized there's really not much to making noise and there's really nothing to "get" except the fact that we were annoying the crap out of people.

Oh, and just for the record, I really do like Breathless and much of Rublev and the latter part of Solaris. I just resent the parts of certain movies where I feel like the director is intentionally trying to screw with the audience.

Edited by finnegan

I have a blog? here at A&F that I sometimes post in.

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Well, I don't want to rush to conclusions, but it could be that finnegan is an authority on the films of Robert Goddard, who recorded many of his Nell rocket test flights in the '20s and '30s. I don't know their titles, but I assume that they could be titled Weekend (surely Goddard executed a test launch instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons at least once in his life?) or Breathless (surely he chased a few rockets through some corn fields and became seriously winded at one time or another?), and no doubt most, if not all, of the critics who liked Goddard's films are dead now, which seems to be one one of finnegan's criteria. On the other hand, I find the films of Goddard interesting...and I'm not dead yet.

However, Goddard's films were most certainly not classic foreign films (depending on where finnegan lives), so that does throw a wrench in things.

Edited by Doug C

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Hmmm, so frustration sometimes leads to dismissal and not engagement, then, Doug? wink.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The last acclaimed film I turned off was Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. Being both a Storaro and Bertolucci fan, I very much wanted to watch this film, but there were no English subtitles! I had to turn it off in the first few minutes, because I can't watch films without subtitles on DVD, even if they're in English.

I intend to pick up a DVD from Korea sometime, which is much more likely to have English subtitles than one from the U.S. (which, by the way, is quite sad.)

Edited by theoddone33

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finnegan wrote:

: I guess you could say I'm a recovering film snob who had to change my ways after

: meeting much snobbier film snobs.

By refusing to spell directors' names correctly? wink.gif

: Oh, and just for the record, I really do like Breathless and much of Rublev and the

: latter part of Solaris. I just resent the parts of certain movies where I feel like the

: director is intentionally trying to screw with the audience.

Interesting that you specify "the latter part" of Solaris. As we've discussed in earlier threads, Tarkovsky was pretty up-front about the fact that, even though he was adapting a sci-fi novel, he had little interest in sci-fi; what's more, the first third of the film has nothing to do with the original novel and is thus a purely Tarkovskian creation. FWIW.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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for me the movie would be Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse, i'm pretty tough watched it for 2 hours but i kept skipping the movie, can anyone tell what is the good of the movie?

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for me the movie would be Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse, i'm pretty tough watched it for 2 hours but i kept skipping the movie, can anyone tell what is the good of the movie?

There are any number of people more qualified than I to respond, and who have visited the film more recently (I saw it during its U.S. theatrical run in, I believe, the early 1990s), but what stays with me is the focused examination of the creative process, as we watch a man create a work of art from scratch.

Others have been more blunt about why they admire the film: Emmanuelle Beart


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Even for those who find Beart striking in the buff, I
Edited by Doug C

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Certainly, one significant insight played out beautifully in TBN for both the viewer and Beart's character alike is the realization that physical nakedness is paltry and comparatively insignificant when contrasted with true emotional vulnerability and transparency. There may not be any way to get there apart from being reminded at length and repeatedly that though the model is unclothed and seemingly at the artist's direction, what he wants is larger and deeper and much more difficult to give. I don't know if Rivette could have accomplished that to the same effect in a significantly shorter film.


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Certainly, one significant insight played out beautifully in TBN for both the viewer and Beart's character alike is the realization that physical nakedness is paltry and comparatively insignificant when contrasted with true emotional vulnerability and transparency.

Absolutely, Russ. Very well put.

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Certainly, one significant insight played out beautifully in TBN for both the viewer and Beart's character alike is the realization that physical nakedness is paltry and comparatively insignificant when contrasted with true emotional vulnerability and transparency.  There may not be any way to get there apart from being reminded at length and repeatedly that though the model is unclothed and seemingly at the artist's direction, what he wants is larger and deeper and much more difficult to give.  I don't know if Rivette could have accomplished that to the same effect in a significantly shorter film.

Along these same lines of "process is form is content"...

Victor Erice's El Sol del Membrillo, goes just as deeply of the rather maddeningly quixotic and herculean quest of an artist to capture something that he sees.

Not recommended as a double feature, however.

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