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#101 Rachel Anne

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 12:22 PM

Well, the movie is down about 55% or so from last Friday, and looks to end up with about $5M. The filmmakers get about half, and the movie cost $20M (more than originally reported), so that leaves Mr. Aglialoro about $17.5M short. He will get a chunk of that back from TV and home video, and international box office, but he will still end up under water.

Mr. Aglialoro is now threatening to make parts 2 and 3 just to spite the critics. At some point though, he is likely to sober up and realize that spiting the critics isn't much of a business model. Also, although I realize that although he is unlikely to be much of a fan of Bill Clinton, he might want to bear in mind Clinton's maxim: "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel."

#102 Ryan H.

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 12:25 PM

Clinton was just rehashing Mark Twain: "Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."

#103 Rachel Anne

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 02:53 PM

Clinton was just rehashing Mark Twain: "Never pick a fight with a man who buys his ink by the barrel."


Thanks! That quote sounded like it should pre-date Clinton, but I couldn't find the original source.

#104 Christian

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 08:35 PM

New York Times finally gets around to panning 'Atlas Shrugged'


My advice to conservative filmmakers: Don't waste your time on out-of-date icons like Rand, since today's audiences will rarely show up for any kind of period drama, especially one stuffed with boring political ideology. Make comedies. It's an art form uniquely suited for conservative ideology, since by nature, comedies make fun of self-aggrandizing, out-of-touch, politically correct dolts, which you'd have to admit can be found nearly everywhere in Hollywood.

Doesn't Goldstein know that the last movie the Fox crowd rallied around was that David Zucker comedy, "American Carol," which bombed? How soon he forgets.

Edited by Christian, 30 April 2011 - 08:35 PM.


#105 Rachel Anne

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Posted 30 April 2011 - 10:58 PM

New York Times finally gets around to panning 'Atlas Shrugged'


My advice to conservative filmmakers: Don't waste your time on out-of-date icons like Rand, since today's audiences will rarely show up for any kind of period drama, especially one stuffed with boring political ideology. Make comedies. It's an art form uniquely suited for conservative ideology, since by nature, comedies make fun of self-aggrandizing, out-of-touch, politically correct dolts, which you'd have to admit can be found nearly everywhere in Hollywood.

Doesn't Goldstein know that the last movie the Fox crowd rallied around was that David Zucker comedy, "American Carol," which bombed? How soon he forgets.


I don't think that comedy is a traditional conservative strong suit. Socially and politically comedy tends towards anarchism (and beyond that, even nihilism). Goldstein's call for a conservative "Animal House" isn't possible: even if you replace the conservative authority figures with liberal ones, that doesn't turn the anarchist protagonists into conservatives.

Now, if you want to make a top-flight conservative film, I recommend horror. Frankenstein, Faust, The Exorcist, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, all great and all fundamentally conservative in outlook.

Edited by bowen, 30 April 2011 - 10:58 PM.


#106 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 05:21 AM

What was Rands' attitude towards flip-floppery?

I'd say, flip-floppery is flip-floppery. Speaking as a conservative, yes comedy is perfect, but so many conservatives are humorless. Or, true believers are humorless. An American Carol was funny at least. At most times. So, it's a start.

#107 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 01 May 2011 - 11:25 AM

I don't think that comedy is a traditional conservative strong suit. Socially and politically comedy tends towards anarchism (and beyond that, even nihilism). Goldstein's call for a conservative "Animal House" isn't possible: even if you replace the conservative authority figures with liberal ones, that doesn't turn the anarchist protagonists into conservatives.

... but so many conservatives are humorless...

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#108 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 02:01 AM

'Atlas Shrugged' heads to DVD this fall -- and a sequel won't be far behind
EXCLUSIVE: Atlas Shrugged: The Trilogy is still alive. The producers of the Ayn Rand adaptation will bring the first part of their planned series to home-entertainment platforms this fall, courtesy of a deal with 20th Century Fox, and expect to begin production on "Atlas Shrugged: Part 2" in September. They hope to bring the new film to theaters during the 2012 election season. . . .
Kaslow said the release of "Atlast Shrugged: Part 2" next year in theaters will be timed to capitalize on the national mood during the presidential election. "There will be a debate going on about the direction of the country, and a lot of the groups who have embraced Ayn Rand’s philosophies will be engaged," he said. . . .
Los Angeles Times, July 1

#109 Rachel Anne

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 10:02 AM


I don't think that comedy is a traditional conservative strong suit. Socially and politically comedy tends towards anarchism (and beyond that, even nihilism). Goldstein's call for a conservative "Animal House" isn't possible: even if you replace the conservative authority figures with liberal ones, that doesn't turn the anarchist protagonists into conservatives.

... but so many conservatives are humorless...


(Thank-you for Smoking - Christopher Buckley)
(A Modest Proposal - Jonathan Swift)
(The Incredibles - Brad Bird)
(Pictures from an Institution - Comedy)


Christopher Buckley rather famously endorsed Obama.
A Modest Proposal is not a conservative piece: what is conservative about it?
The Incredibles depiction of Insuricare doesn't seem conservative to me. Rather the opposite.
I've not read Pictures from an Institution and have nothing to say about it.

I will say if these are your best examples that conservatism naturally produces good comedy, I think you've strengthened my case rather than weakened it. Just considering movies, let's just take the top 10 from the AFI 100 best comedies list (not that I endorse the list, but it seems a reasonable place to start):


1. Some Like It Hot 1959
2. Tootsie 1982
3. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964
4. Annie Hall 1977
5. Duck Soup 1933
6. Blazing Saddles 1974
7. MASH 1970
8. It Happened One Night 1934
9. The Graduate 1967
10. Airplane! 1980

If these movies are political at all, they are not conservative. They are not necessarily "liberal" either. I stand by my position that politically and socially comedy tends towards anarchism and even nihilism. Fundamentally, movie comedy is about bad people doing bad things or foolish people doing foolish things. When these people are political or other authority figures, it tends to undermine them and even the idea of politics (in any positive sense) and authority.

#110 vjmorton

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:33 PM

1. Some Like It Hot 1959
2. Tootsie 1982
...
I stand by my position that politically and socially comedy tends towards anarchism and even nihilism. Fundamentally, movie comedy is about bad people doing bad things or foolish people doing foolish things. When these people are political or other authority figures, it tends to undermine them and even the idea of politics (in any positive sense) and authority.

I could quibble with the fact that Buckley endorsing Obama was notable precisely BECAUSE of Buckley's conservative pedigree; or that THE INCREDIBLES is plainly an elitist (we can't all be special) pro-family movie (however it portrays this or that American corporation); or that A MODEST PROPOSAL is plainly anti-utopian and a critique of a proto-Enlightenment rationalism; and that PICTURES FROM AN INSTITUTION is the Ur-example of satirical contempt aimed at a liberal-left "Establishment."

But I'd rather look at the general framework, that comedy is an essentially destructive genre about bad and evil people taking down authority figures. I think you are incorrect and that the two films cited at the top of that AFI list provide the perfect counterexamples. Even the most anarchic and nihilistic behavior presupposes and relies on norms, otherwise there are no expectations to play against, nothing to be incongruous with -- and the result isn't funny.

SOME LIKE IT HOT and TOOTSIE are both from the most misunderstood of genres -- the cross-dressing film. Po-faced feminist analysis tells us the genre supposedly undermines patriarchal norms, shows gender to be a role-playing exercise, etc. Hornswoggle. That would be at least a defensible view if these films were straight ... ahem ... dramas. But they're not. They are laugh machines, inviting us to laugh (in various ways) at people not abiding by patriarchal norms, who are role-playing *contrary to their biological nature.* That's why both films the cross-dressing as final acts of desperation. And why it's funny when Michael falls in love with Jessica Lange and gets mistaken for a lesbian come-on from Dorothy. To put it crudely, if a man can marry a man as normally and easily as a woman, why is the Daphne-Osgood thread (and it's farcical closing scene and line) funny?

#111 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:02 PM



... but so many conservatives are humorless...

Christopher Buckley rather famously endorsed Obama.
A Modest Proposal is not a conservative piece: what is conservative about it?
The Incredibles depiction of Insuricare doesn't seem conservative to me. Rather the opposite.
I've not read Pictures from an Institution and have nothing to say about it.

I'd suggest reading a single one of Christopher Buckley's books. He is fundamentally conservative and is by far one of the funniest writers out there today. If you read his column where he said he was voting for Obama, it was essentially out of what he believed to be McCain's rejection of his father's principles. Jonathan Swift was Whig/Tory. A Modest Proposal is making fun of government attempts at helping the poor. The Battle of the Books is laughing at modern literary criticism (with a preference for the ancients). Also try A Tale of a Tub sometime - there is nothing nihilistic or anarchical about it.

Besides the family stuff in The Incredibles VJ Morton mentions, Frederica Matthewes-Green wrote how little things in the film kept taking philosophical positions:

While public schools across America are eliminating honor rolls and honors classes to spare the tender esteem of low achievers, Bob Parr gripes that "They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity." Young Dash wants to go out for sports, but his parents have discouraged him, because his superpowers would reveal the family's secret. And maybe it wouldn't be fair? "Dad says our powers make us special," he protests to his mom. "Everyone is special, Dash," Helen says. "Which is another way of saying no one is," Dash mutters.

If you've never read Pictures from an Institution, just tell me that this writing isn't funny.

I will say if these are your best examples that conservatism naturally produces good comedy, I think you've strengthened my case rather than weakened it. Just considering movies, let's just take the top 10 from the AFI 100 best comedies list (not that I endorse the list, but it seems a reasonable place to start) ... If these movies are political at all, they are not conservative. They are not necessarily "liberal" either. I stand by my position that politically and socially comedy tends towards anarchism and even nihilism. Fundamentally, movie comedy is about bad people doing bad things or foolish people doing foolish things. When these people are political or other authority figures, it tends to undermine them and even the idea of politics (in any positive sense) and authority.

I fail to see how anything in these listed films makes anarchism funny. Atlas Shrugged certainly savors of anarchy, but I'd challenge you to find one single little intentionally funny sentence in the entire tome. There is certainly nothing funny about nihilism unless someone like G.K. Chesterton makes fun of it. Many conservatives have a great sense of humor, and Garrison Keillor, John Stewart and Hunter S. Thompson proved to me long ago that liberals can have incredible senses of humor as well.

A regular and often repeated objection to Ayn Rand is that she took herself too seriously. Stories about her lack of any sense of humor may be funny, but I can't find a single genuine laugh within anything that she's written. Snide mocking remarks about little, selfish, petty government bureaucrats maybe - but nothing to take any real joy in.

#112 Rachel Anne

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:20 PM

But I'd rather look at the general framework, that comedy is an essentially destructive genre about bad and evil people taking down authority figures. I think you are incorrect and that the two films cited at the top of that AFI list provide the perfect counterexamples. Even the most anarchic and nihilistic behavior presupposes and relies on norms, otherwise there are no expectations to play against, nothing to be incongruous with -- and the result isn't funny.

SOME LIKE IT HOT and TOOTSIE are both from the most misunderstood of genres -- the cross-dressing film. Po-faced feminist analysis tells us the genre supposedly undermines patriarchal norms, shows gender to be a role-playing exercise, etc. Hornswoggle. That would be at least a defensible view if these films were straight ... ahem ... dramas. But they're not. They are laugh machines, inviting us to laugh (in various ways) at people not abiding by patriarchal norms, who are role-playing *contrary to their biological nature.* That's why both films the cross-dressing as final acts of desperation. And why it's funny when Michael falls in love with Jessica Lange and gets mistaken for a lesbian come-on from Dorothy. To put it crudely, if a man can marry a man as normally and easily as a woman, why is the Daphne-Osgood thread (and it's farcical closing scene and line) funny?


Years ago, John Cleese was giving an interview about the development of "Life of Brian", and he was talking about the original concept, which was to build a character around a fictional apostle of Jesus. Although they had a number of bits they liked (trying to get a table at a restaurant for 13 people for the last supper — where everyone would sit on the same side of the table), the big problem was Jesus. Whenever he appeared in a scene, he killed the comedy. Cleese said (and I wish I could quote him exactly but I can't) that the trouble was that Jesus was wise, and good, and humble, and kind, and that comedy wasn't about any of those things: comedy was about stupidity and greed and arrogance and pride. And thus, Jesus was pretty much removed from the movie, except for a couple of very brief scenes whose purpose was to establish that Brian wasn't meant to be Jesus.

Now, if we look at the most overtly political top movies on the AFI list (Duck Soup and Dr. Strangelove) we see national leadership as being basically composed of pompous, stupid, arrogant jerks. This makes for good comedy. However, it doesn't make for "liberal" or "conservative" comedy in that both require the belief that there is such a thing as good government (even if they don't agree as to what constitutes good government) and there is no good government in either movie. Duck Soup ends with government more or less collapsing into anarchy and Mrs. Teasdale's attempt to sing the national anthem resulting in her being pelted with fruit. Dr. Strangelove ends with the governments in question destroying the world (presented as comedy). The tendency of political comedy towards anarchism or nihilism is clearly evident in both.

The gender comedies in the list (Some Like It Hot and Tootsie) aren't overtly political in that same sense: neither is about government. What is going on in them is more subtle and is (I think) quite ambiguous. Both are in the genus of mistaken identity comedies (Mater being mistaken for a secret agent in Cars 2 is in the same genus) with mistaken gender being the species. As to why they're funny, they can be read as reinforcing gender norms, but they can also be read as subverting them, and it may be that they are doing some of both. You think that it is absurd to think they are subverting them, but it evidently was not absurd to the National League of Decency in 1959, when it condemned SLIH, nor to the MPAA, which did not approve the movie as conforming to the Production Code. I won't argue with your interpretation, because I'm not entirely sure on this question myself. The pro/con thing aside, it is even possible that at bottom it no more takes a stand on gender roles being good or bad than Cars 2 does on whether spy agencies are good or bad things.

Edited by bowen, 06 July 2011 - 08:42 PM.


#113 Holy Moly!

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:34 PM

A Modest Proposal is making fun of government attempts at helping the poor.


This is at best a novel reading of Swift. By the same logic you could call Dead Kennedys' "Kill The Poor" a conservative diatribe.


#114 Rachel Anne

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:29 PM

I'd suggest reading a single one of Christopher Buckley's books.

Besides the family stuff in The Incredibles VJ Morton mentions, Frederica Matthewes-Green wrote how little things in the film kept taking philosophical positions:

While public schools across America are eliminating honor rolls and honors classes to spare the tender esteem of low achievers, Bob Parr gripes that "They keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity." Young Dash wants to go out for sports, but his parents have discouraged him, because his superpowers would reveal the family's secret. And maybe it wouldn't be fair? "Dad says our powers make us special," he protests to his mom. "Everyone is special, Dash," Helen says. "Which is another way of saying no one is," Dash mutters.


I do not have time to take up everything you bring up (a problem with discussions like this is that they are like hydras, constantly growing new heads). Since this is a movie forum, I will take advantage of that and use it as a filter to limit my response to movie-related points. (For what it's worth though, I thought Buckley's Steaming to Bamboola quite funny; I tried to read another book of his, but don't remember which, thought it a bore and stopped; I thought the movie Thank You for Smoking not an awful movie, but a pretty awful comedy in that it just wasn't funny; it was slow-footed where it needed to be swift.)

That said, of the various topics you discuss, I'd like to talk about The Incredibles a bit. I think that Brad Bird was coming from a place of great frustration. He is (of course) an extremely talented guy whose first movie, that he had poured a great deal of himself into, was more or less tossed away by Warner Bros. I think his frustration expressed itself in two directions in The Incredibles: first, against the corporate world in general, as evidenced by the extremely hostile treatment of Insuricare, and also by the general situation of Mr. Incredible, who could do great things but wasn't being allowed to. (Mr. Incredible's situation is an expression of the dominant concern of existential philosophy: he was being forced to live completely inauthentically.) Both, I think are expressions of Brad Bird's situation as a deeply frustrated artist. Mr. Incredible's triumph at the end of the movie, where he achieves happiness by finally resuming the life that expresses his abilities is also Brad Bird's triumph in making the movie (and having it succeed) he is capable of making.

I think that Bird revisits some of this same territory in Ratatouille. To be happy, Mr. Incredible needs to be what he can be: a superhero. To be happy, Remy needs to be what he can be, a great chef. Again, both are fundamentally dramatizations of existential philosophy, where happiness is living authentically. The conflict in both is fundamentally between the protagonist attempting to be himself and the various obstacles in his path. Both also, ironically, get into situations where in attempting to be authentic they end up involving themselves in deceptions, creating crises, and both only ultimately succeed when they drop the deceptions and behave honestly. (It is also worth noting that the anti-corporate hostility of The Incredibles is also present in Ratatouille, but in a milder form. Skinner's merchandising plans are presented as morally wrong, but not nearly at the same level of wrong as Insuricare's effots to cheat sick people out of the health care they paid for.)

One area where I think that Bird makes revisions between the two movies is how he portrays the rest of us: those who are not great artists. While Mr. Incredible and the the other supers may save normal people, the movie doesn't like them very much. When they are not victims, they are villains (and often both — suing their benefactors). One could argue that Edna Mode is different, but she is something of a super herself, and shares their concerns: she wants to design new uniforms for the Incredibles because it is worthy of her abilities and saves her from boredom and frustration. (See Remy and why he wants to be a chef.) Linguini in Ratatouille has no real counterpart in The Incredibles. He is an ordinary person who gets sucked into Remy's deceptive plans, and perversely, Remy's efforts to live authentically through dishonesty cause Linguini to live inauthentically. Also, Linguini, though the son of a great chef, is not himself any kind of chef (compare him with Violet, who is assured by her mother that she will know what to do because it is in her blood). Linguini, though a non-super / non-artist is still a sympathetic character who may wrong Remy but is also wronged by him. The treatment of Linguini gives Ratatouille a warmth and generosity that The Incredibles, perhaps, lacks. In Ratatouille, it isn't just supers/artists who count: everyone counts.

Edited by bowen, 06 July 2011 - 08:31 PM.


#115 John Drew

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 09:52 PM

I wonder if a new thread on "Comedies in a Conservative or Liberal Vein" could be branched off starting 8 or 9 posts back. These past posts have been much too good to waste away under the Atlas Shrugged thread.

Moderators?

BTW, I was thinking today that The Big Lebowski tries to succeed in having all three (conservative, liberal and nihilistic) views represented. Some of the funniest bits are when the Dude continually quotes George Bush's "This aggression will not stand" soundbites, while sipping his White Russians, or lighting up a joint.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 06 July 2011 - 09:58 PM.


#116 Ryan H.

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 06:03 PM

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#117 Tyler

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 12:45 PM

This is the #1 Sci-Fi/Fantasy movie on iTunes right now. I don't know why it's in that category, either.

#118 NBooth

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:27 PM

This is the #1 Sci-Fi/Fantasy movie on iTunes right now. I don't know why it's in that category, either.


It's really tempting to say something snarky here--complete with a troll face--but I think I'll refrain.

#119 NBooth

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 03:05 PM

Ayn Rand's timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice....wait, what?

“It’s embarrassing for sure and of course, regardless of how or why it happened, we’re all feeling responsible right now.” says Scott DeSapio, Atlas Productions’ COO and Communications Director “You can imagine how mortified we all were when we saw the DVD but, it was simply too late - the product was already on shelves all over the Country. It was certainly no surprise when the incredulous emails ensued. The irony is inescapable.”

[Snip]

Atlas Productions has setup a web page for consumers of the DVD to request a replacement title sheet free of charge: http://www.AtlasShru...om/title-sheet. The new title sheet will more accurately read “AYN RAND’s timeless novel of rational self-interest comes to life...”


Edited by NBooth, 11 November 2011 - 03:07 PM.


#120 Tyler

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 03:07 PM

Sounds like they're planning to go through with the trilogy, from that story.