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Movies Everyone Except You Loves


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#61 SDG

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:12 PM

Bowen: Wow, blackface analogies and appeals to gay culture in the same post. If there's not a rider to Godwin's Law for that, there will be now.

The Wizard of Oz stands in the tradition of stage musicals in which child roles may be given to more mature actors. Peter Pan is a typical example; Peter is usually played by an adult woman, as is Wendy, and this can work fine on the screen, as Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby have shown. For that matter, in the past female roles were played by male actors.

As you say, nothing obliges you to accommodate your taste to conventions you find unappealing. By the same token, nothing obliges anyone else to take seriously the rhetorical techniques of trolls. ;)

I notice you don't even try to defend TPB's disturbing infantilization of Buttercup.

#62 Overstreet

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:24 PM

I disliked Garden State. (And yet I too love The Ice Storm; it's my favorite Ang Lee film to date. But not *for* a date.)

Tim Burton: At the moment, I can't think of a director whose films inspire such extremes of like or dislike for me. I *love* Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I can't stand Big Fish and I loathed Planet of the Apes. I like the look of Sleepy Hollow, but little else. Corpse Bride and Sweeny Todd were both very impressive.

Edited by Overstreet, 16 December 2009 - 11:29 PM.


#63 J.R.

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Posted 16 December 2009 - 11:48 PM

Rear Window - one of my least favorite Hitchcock's.

#64 Benchwarmer

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:31 AM

12 Angry Men


Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. Meh, I can't talk, the 5 films I listed will definetely raise a few eyebrows. But still, why 12 Angry Man? I love that film to death!

Visually uninteresting?
Predictable outcome?

#65 Crow

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:32 AM

Easy Rider
Wedding Crashers
Miller's Crossing

Edited by Crow, 17 December 2009 - 12:33 AM.


#66 Ryan H.

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 01:47 AM

Tim Burton: At the moment, I can't think of a director whose films inspire such extremes of like or dislike for me. I *love* Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I can't stand Big Fish and I loathed Planet of the Apes. I like the look of Sleepy Hollow, but little else. Corpse Bride and Sweeny Todd were both very impressive.

Indeed. When Burton's on autopilot, he drives me insane. But there are a number of films where things click, including BEETLEJUICE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, and THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. ED WOOD gets a mention, though honestly, I like that more for Landau's Bela Lugosi than anything else. Burton's allergy to anything resembling a coherent story often gets him in trouble. SWEENEY TODD is actually my favorite Burton film (one could make the case that it's the most visually refined film Burton's ever made, and it's also arguably his most focused and unified film as well).

#67 Rachel Anne

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 02:35 AM

By the same token, nothing obliges anyone else to take seriously the rhetorical techniques of trolls. ;)

I notice you don't even try to defend TPB's disturbing infantilization of Buttercup.



I'm not being a troll. I don't like the The Wizard of Oz and I never have. I find the performances bizarre and can't empathize with any character in the movie; it is like a competition in terrible acting. The ending is also a classic cheat — perhaps THE classic cheat.

I have agreed that Buttercup is an underdeveloped character, but she is no more so than, say, Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, who wanders through her movie in the same sort of daze as does Buttercup in hers, and who also is surrounded by much more interesting and active male characters. I would say that like Casablanca, The Princess Bride has so many interesting characters and such memorable dialog that it more than offsets the weakness of one character.

At least I am acknowledging the weaknesses of The Princess Bride and am willing to give consideration to its weaknesses. I will even give a positive nod to The Wizard of Oz: its plot is very well-structured. It has a much tighter narrative than its source material, in which the Wicked Witch of the West is killed about half-way through the book. I think the movie sets up its pay-offs very well, and if the characters were cast, written and performed differently it could easily have been a movie I would have enjoyed. Even the ending, cheat though it may be, is well set-up by the opening scenes and has no fault in terms of construction.

Edited by bowen, 17 December 2009 - 09:48 AM.


#68 SDG

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:26 AM

Bowen, I believe that your antipathy for The Wizard of Oz is unfeigned. "The rhetorical techniques of trolls" was my tongue-in-cheek characterization of the gratuitous and inflammatory invocation of blackface and gay iconography.

Ilsa in Casablanca plays a decisive role in trying and eventually persuading Rick to help Lazlo (and her) escape. Buttercup does nothing but wait faithfully, or fail to wait faithfully, for Westley.

#69 Christian

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:36 AM

I'm pretty jaded to these lists, although I enjoy reading everyone's choices. Still, I confess to some level of shock at seeing The Wizard of Oz among these choices. If I consider any film untouchable, it's that one. I used to watch it every Thanksgiving, when it would air on network TV (somebody confirm this for me; I'm not just imagining it, am I?)

I watched it at home. I watched it in the TV room of my grandparents' condo building.

But I hadn't watched it for years until I played it for my own kids a couple months ago. I have a laserdisc copy purchased for $10 as the format was dying off, and had never bothered to watch it. I worried that the experience of seeing the film as a grown man and father would alter my view of the film in a way that would be difficult to reconcile with those long cherished memories of the film's power.

Not so! Sure, the experience of watching it now was different from watching it as a young boy, but the film is delightful on so many levels that it added to, not substracted from, my admiration of the film. I can't wait to watch it again -- before Thanksgiving, I think. ;)

#70 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 05:56 AM

I'll take a different tack. Almost to a film, I don't like the films of:

Spielberg, Lucas, The Coens, Herzog (caveat: yet to see recent films and am curious), Bresson, Dreyer, Mendes, Hitchcock,

#71 Rachel Anne

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 09:56 AM

Buttercup does nothing but wait faithfully, or fail to wait faithfully, for Westley.


You are not remembering the movie well. After leaving the fire-swamp, Buttercup saves Westley's life (temporarily at least) by offering to go back with Humperdink in exchange for Westley being returned to his ship. She also prompts Humperdink (she thinks) to look for Westley to ensure that he is dead before marrying Humperdink. She also attempts to escape from the ship when kidnapped but is driven back by the screaming eels, and in the end decides she would rather die than be married to Humperdink and is about to kill herself when she finds Westley. She is not the movie's best or most active character, but she is not so hopelessly passive as you make her out to be.

Ilsa in Casablanca plays a decisive role in trying and eventually persuading Rick to help Lazlo (and her) escape.


As a character, Ilsa allows her fate to be decided by the men in her life. She isn't the one who decides she is going with Laszlo, Rick is. Her life is reduced to an instrumental value of being "the thing that keeps Laszlo going".

Edited by bowen, 17 December 2009 - 10:03 AM.


#72 Christian

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:07 AM

Now we know why Rich doesn't visit the Film threads very often. He should be BANNED FOR LIFE! ;)

#73 SDG

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:24 AM

You are not remembering the movie well. After leaving the fire-swamp, Buttercup saves Westley's life (temporarily at least) by offering to go back with Humperdink in exchange for Westley being returned to his ship. She also prompts Humperdink (she thinks) to look for Westley to ensure that he is dead before marrying Humperdink. She also attempts to escape from the ship when kidnapped but is driven back by the screaming eels, and in the end decides she would rather die than be married to Humperdink and is about to kill herself when she finds Westley. She is not the movie's best or most active character, but she is not so hopelessly passive as you make her out to be.

I have watched the movie often and recently, and my memory of it is nearly verbatim. :)

To clarify, I don't mean that Buttercup doesn't try to act. I mean that -- with one exception that you rightly point out -- at no time does the plot turn on Buttercup as a causal agent affecting the outcome of events through her choices and acts.

The one exception is on the far side of the fire-swamp. She is still a naive dupe for trusting Humperdinck (note the c), and Westley is still in control in the sense that he knows what is going on and Buttercup doesn't, but her action does directly alter the course of events and in fact ostensibly prevents Westley from being killed on the spot, so I give you that.

As a character, Ilsa allows her fate to be decided by the men in her life. She isn't the one who decides she is going with Laszlo, Rick is. Her life is reduced to an instrumental value of being "the thing that keeps Laszlo going".

That is a straightforward and valid construal, though I think there is enough deliberate ambiguity to at least allow the question to what extent Rick acts or is acted upon.

Now we know why Rich doesn't visit the Film threads very often. He should be BANNED FOR LIFE! ;)

All he needs to do is add Welles and Kurosawa and he wrests thread bragging rights from Bowen (and everyone else). Forever.

#74 Rachel Anne

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:28 AM

I have watched the movie often and recently, and my memory of it is nearly verbatim. :)

To clarify, I don't mean that Buttercup doesn't try to act. I mean that -- with one exception that you rightly point out -- at no time does the plot turn on Buttercup as a causal agent affecting the outcome of events through her choices and acts.

The one exception is on the far side of the fire-swamp. She is still a naive dupe for trusting Humperdinck (note the c), and Westley is still in control in the sense that he knows what is going on and Buttercup doesn't, but her action does directly alter the course of events and in fact ostensibly prevents Westley from being killed on the spot, so I give you that.



That Buttercup is naive is certainly true.

But your admission that Buttercup TRIES to act is a very different thing than your earlier characterization that all she "does nothing but wait faithfully, or fail to wait faithfully, for Westley" which simply isn't true and doesn't do her justice. I don't want to push my defense of Buttercup too far; I do in fact agree that she is not a strong character (in any sense) in the movie. My comparison to Ilsa in Casablanca I think is pretty good: her primary function in the story is to serve as a motivation for the OTHER characters to act, and her own actions, while not altogether absent, are of secondary importance. I'd also like to say that in making this observation about Ilsa, I don't intend to diminish Casablanca, whose status as a great movie I fully endorse. (Not that it needs my endorsement.)

#75 du Garbandier

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:37 AM


12 Angry Men


Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude. Meh, I can't talk, the 5 films I listed will definetely raise a few eyebrows. But still, why 12 Angry Man? I love that film to death!

Visually uninteresting?
Predictable outcome?


Nope. I actually found the film visually successful considering its limited, theatrical scope of plot material. The tight, claustrophobic visuals are very suitable and create a nice aesthetic.

I should mention that it has been an awfully long time since seeing 12 Angry Men. All I remember is that I just plain didn't like it. For one thing I simply disliked the Fonda character. But in general it's not so much the predictability of the film; it all felt untrue to human nature in the way
Spoiler
. It may be due to the fact that I often have a hard time accepting time lapses in film. The power of film to create the illusion of being in real time and space--in a way that literature does not--can make it hard for me to really register a given time lapse. And so, it felt to me like the judgment and consciences of these eleven individuals were being steamrolled. The persuasive power of the Fonda character seemed driven by some unbending external force or quality beyond itself. At the time I supposed that force to be the will of the filmmakers to valorize the Fonda character, and possibly Fonda himself, or something. But in reflection, maybe it was really just the hour and a half march of the film itself in time that I was reacting against. So much persuasion in so little time!

However, I would need to see it again before saying these are my definitive criticisms. I like to think I've matured in my judgment and capacity to pay attention over the years and may well have a different take on things.

Edited by du Garbandier, 17 December 2009 - 10:51 AM.


#76 SDG

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 10:57 AM

But your admission that Buttercup TRIES to act is a very different thing than your earlier characterization that all she "does nothing but wait faithfully, or fail to wait faithfully, for Westley" which simply isn't true and doesn't do her justice.

The context for my earlier comment was my countervailing comments about how the female characters in The Wizard of Oz "drive the plot" (bold in original).

I'm not judging Buttercup as a human being, merely commenting critically on her active participation, or lack thereof, in the unfolding of the plot.

#77 MattPage

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 11:20 AM

: Nice try, Mr. Ordet Weeper's Club President.

Funniest thing said on here since Dan Buck went AWOL


And I'm ambivalent on WoO as well' I sorta look forward to watching it with my kids (once they're old enough not to be terrified by the flying monkeys), but I have absolutely no desire to watch it again before then.


And Jeff. Didn't you have a Garden State avatar here for a while? Someone definitely did.

Matt

#78 M. Leary

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 12:16 PM

Breaking the Waves

#79 BMW

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 04:05 PM

Hi Everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm sure I'm in good company here, but I always get blank stares from my friends whenever I mention that I can't stand a number of Adam Sander movies. Mainly Billy Madison and Big Daddy.

#80 Persona

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 04:19 PM

Hi Everyone. Long time lurker, first time poster.

I'm sure I'm in good company here, but I always get blank stares from my friends whenever I mention that I can't stand a number of Adam Sander movies. Mainly Billy Madison and Big Daddy.


Welcome, BMW! I hate all Adam Sandler films, except for the one total exception to the rule: Punch Drunk Love, which is a sheer, unmitigated work of genius.