The Movie Thread

edited December 2010 in The Screening Room
I am watching "Gran Torino" for about the 5th time, and it occured to me we need a movie thread. Clint Eastwood's role reminds me so much of my own father, with the prejudices and honor of his generation, and the confusion of America's changes over the past 90 years.


  • edited December 2010
    He reminds me of my father too, though it's mostly because he's always shooting people and blowing stuff up.

    No, wait - that's Mom, actually. Never mind...
  • The movie reminds me of my old neighborhood growing up - the largest Hmong community in America....
  • I always planned to see that movie but never got around to it, but I will eventually so nobody give it away.

    I also desperately want to see the movie Up. They keep playing a five minute loop of it in Target and it is totally elfin hilarious.
  • worst movie candidate: dragonheart.

    dennis quaid.

    a knight.


    lupin is out of control. i should stop.

    then there's the godzilla in ny flick that sux the big ticket stub.
  • Just started watching "Model Shop" from 1969. It's set in LA, really interesting so far...
  • One of my Christmas presents was a copy of Pirate Radio, which would probably appeal to most people here (assuming you all haven't seen it already!). It was great fun, and really great use of music.
  • My wife's been obsessing on Gosford Park to the point that I've had to learn some Ivor Novello songs (they're better on the bari uke than on the mando). The scene when Novello entertains the house offers so many precious images, particularly of the cooks and servants listening up through the stairwells. At times the portrayal of the aristocracy's rejection of popular culture becomes ham-fisted, particularly with Trentham's (Maggie Smith) discouragements. "Land that Might-Have Been", which could be interpreted as a lament to the limits of homosexual love, seems more sarcastic here--an elite unwilling to change with the times. (I've always believed that the underlying tension between Sir William and the family was that he wanted to divest himself of enterprises in the empire and put money into popular entertainments.)
  • @brittleblood - Oh man did I make fun of that movie like crazy after seeing it in theaters. However it was totally outdone in worstedness by that atrocity called First Knight.

    @Rudie - Just put that on my queue, almost forgot about it. Totally wanted to see that when I first heard about it.
  • Pirate Radio was on just about a week ago. Tood bad I got tired and left off in the middle. I should have Tivo'd it to see the end.

    In case anyone is wondering, it is about radio in Britain in the early?late? 60s when BBC was not letting Stones, Beatles, The Who, etc to be played on the national stations. This barge dropped anchor just over the line where the international water line started, and was able to broadcast without a license. Of course an evil so-and-so in gov't wanted to shut them down. I don't want to know the ending! In my head, they must have won.
  • edited January 2011
    In my teens I used to listen to Pirate Radio regualrly. The only music radio station in the UK was called the Light Programme on BBC. On the whole it played anything but pop/rock. There were just a few programmes at the weekend that were worth listening to. Otherwise there was Radio Luxembourg, but it was a very poor signal and was only on, in English, during the evening. The pirate stations, broadcast from boats just outside the territorial water boundary. I still have very fond memories of Radio Caroline and Radio London. But after about three years the governmant got fed up, changed the rules and shut them down. But overtime the movement that they started could not be held back. Now we have a massive range of national and local stations playing all kinds of music. In many ways they were part of the social revolution that the Beatles played a major part in developing in the UK. One particular memory was listening all the way through Sgt Pepper on its very first airplay anywhere in the World - it was totally amazing to hear.
  • edited January 2011
    The movie is up on HBO again so I will get to see the end, after all.
    The beginning was cool, showing people from all walks of life, listening to the new music in hair salons, girls at a slumber party gathered around a teensy radio, and so forth. It really captured what you wrote about the"movement that they started could not be held back". Those people were having FUN.
  • edited January 2011
    OK, this movie had 4 stars so I thought it would be good, despite its odd summary:
    The Tin Drum - "In protest of adult behavior in Nazi Germany, a boy deliberately stops growing at age 3, pounds a drum and screams shrilly. Based on a book by Gunter Grass."

    Has anybody here actually been able to sit through this? It is just so weird. Too weird even for me, and I tend to like German films with subtitles. The only parts I like in this one, are when he screams and breaks glass. When he met the midget in the circus, that was OK.

    I think I'll watch Pirate Radio again. I really like the end credits where they flash all the album covers.
  • edited January 2011
    Has anybody here actually been able to sit through this? It is just so weird. Too weird even for me, and I tend to like German films with subtitles.
    I sat through it once, though I'm pretty sure I had to be strapped down at the time (or did they use heavy chains? It was a long time ago). I've actually seen worse (Alejandro Jodorowski, anyone?) -- as I recall, it was only the infamous eel scene that caused me any actual physical revulsion in The Tin Drum.

    Don't listen to me, though. I got through all of Inland Empire too, and I've seen nearly all of the Luis Bunuel filmography, plus Kwaidan, so I'm clearly not quite right.
  • @Katrina, I'd get through it the same way I got through a handful of Fellini films: by reading a book. <badaboom> Though, just don't ask me what any of the films where about. ;-)
  • Katrina, I watched the Tin Drum back in 1982, and I confess that I took a date to the theatre (it played at our school--she might have been required to see the film for a class; can't think why else we would have gone). Yes, I remember the eel scene, which I think grossed out my date. The rest of the movie made little impression. I have since read the book, which is as good as its reputation.
  • I switched it off before this infamous eel scene. Looked up the eel scene on the internet and read about it. Yep, nothing I need to see.
    Thanks, I think I will try the book instead.

    @ScissorMan I'm clearly not quite right.
    Oh, we already KNEW that. tee hee
  • At the risk of coming off as too Dave-Barry-like, I'd just like to point out that "The Infamous Eel Scene" would be a good name for an indie rock band.
  • For years I really wanted to start a band called Violently Exploding Water Closets based on the article he wrote about my college's toilet tower.
  • "The Best of Everything" - all I can say, is it looks like a Mad Men set. What darling dresses these gals are wearing. What dashing figures the men cut in their narrow lapeled suits and narrow ties. It takes place in a publishing house, instead of an ad agency.
  • Just watched an interesting movie, Crazy, (loosely it turns out) based on the story of Hank Garland, well known Nashville guitar session player and artist of the 50's into the 60's, played on a lot of famous tracks including a bunch by Elvis, and some Xmas tunes you know. A wikipedia trip would be in order afterwards for history's sake. However revisiting eMu I find they still have this 2 disc Move! The Guitar Artistry of Hank Garland for $6.49 - that's a steal and it is a terrific jazz, yeah jazz, record well worth having.
  • edited July 2011
    After suffering through the first 20 minutes of Alive! Is Michael Jackson Really Dead? on Netflix streaming, I'm convinced that someone should make a movie called Enough Already! Was Michael Jackson Ever Really Alive? in the hopes of settling this matter once and for all.
  • Since cancelling cable, we've been hitting Netflix pretty hard. Figured I'd start mentioning some of the better ones we've seen.

    Last night, we saw...


    "Safety Not Guaranteed"
    -Trio of magazine staff writers go on a short road trip to investigate a man who is running a classified ad looking for a partner for time traveling. I was shocked by how well done this movie was. I expected something kind of cute but amateurish... but it was solid straight through. If I had to compare it to something else, maybe "Little Miss Sunshine"... it's got solid story-lines for each character, provides each character with sufficient depth and purpose. Wonderful script. Camera work is great... shots of the scenery mix in with the main story, no odd camera angles or, well, you know... some of that stupid shit that sometimes pops up in the cinematography of indie films, whether intentional or not. Nice music to accompany the film, but nothing invasive or superficial. Decent amount of seriousness and black humor, light moments and heartbreaking ones.

    One of those movies that was a real pleasant surprise to have happened upon accidentally from random netflix browsing. Not sure how well known it is, but I'm betting that it hasn't gotten as much attention as it deserves.
  • @jonah - We just watched that the other night, too. Really enjoyed it.
  • I have that one in my queue too; Tiny Mix Tapes compared it to Primer, although they gave it a really bad review, but have you seen Primer? It's a really awesome time machine movie which is indie as hell. Wikipedia says:

    Directed by Shane Carruth
    Produced by Shane Carruth
    Written by Shane Carruth
    Starring Shane Carruth
    David Sullivan
    Music by Shane Carruth
    Editing by Shane Carruth
    Distributed by ThinkFilm
    Release date(s)
    October 8, 2004
    Running time 77 minutes
    Country United States
    Language English
    Budget $7,000
    Box office $424,760[1]
    Primer is a 2004 American science fiction drama film about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel. The film was written, directed, and produced by Shane Carruth and was completed on a budget of $7,000.[2] Carruth graduated from college with a degree in mathematics and is a former engineer.[3]Primer is of note for its extremely low budget, experimental plot structure, philosophical implications, and complex technical dialogue, which Carruth chose not to simplify for the sake of the audience. One reviewer said that "anybody who claims he fully understands what's going on in Primer after seeing it just once is either a savant or a liar."[4] The film collected the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, before securing a limited release in the United States, and has since gained a cult following.[5]

    It recently showed up on Netflix, so I watched it for the third time. Still don't entirely understand it.
  • I loved Primer, but admit that I need to watch it 3 or 4 more times before I can hope to understand it.

    Now that I'm finding time to watch movies again, I plan on making my way through Den of Geek's Top 50 Foreign Language Films of the past 10 years list. I've already seen 15 of them (including 3 of the top 4) and had at least a half dozen more in my queue. Lists can be so much fun!
  • @thom, I would agree with all of the German entries on that list, but would also want to add Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (Sophie Scholl: Die letzten Tage) (which stars Julia Jentsch, who is also in The Edukators and is brilliant). Some viewers find it a little slow in places as it focuses on dialog and ideas, but I find it gripping, all the more so as it is based on actual recently rediscovered interrogation transcripts. I use it in class and so have watched it seven or eight times and I am still not tired of it.
  • edited April 2013
    Thom, thanks for sharing that list. I've seen a few of these movies and The Lives of Others deserves to be up at the top.

    @GP That is a great movie. I saw that a few years ago as part of a school's film series.

    I would also recommend a movie called The Band Visit. An Egyptian Military Band gets lost in Israel. It has its serious moments, but overall it's a charming film.
  • edited June 2018
    Mostly I use my HBO Now subscription to watch boxing and their tv show line-up.  But lately I've been thirsting for plain o'l movies, and since there's so many I haven't yet seen, I've been making use of my watchlist function and picking out stuff that looks good.

    Last night, I chose "Logan"

    See, now this is a the kind of superhero story I like.


    I should probably state in advance, that I only ever watched the first X-Men movie, and a little bit of the second (I think, but maybe not)... there's a part of me that thinks maybe I didn't even get to the end of the first one before boredom made me stop.  But it's obvious that some serious shit happened in the subsequent movies, but Logan starts out with all mutants supposedly wiped off the earth, Logan and Caliban are taking care of Xavier, who appears to be suffering from dementia or Alzheimers, and they're all hiding out along the border.  Not sure if they're living in El Paso or if they're across the border (which would be Juarez, I believe).  Logan is driving a limo for income.  I think not having seen all the crap that went down before this made me like the movie more... I like a story that simply says, here, this is the shit the characters are in the middle of and does it really matter so much the details that got them there?

    Eventually we learn that a bunch of the mutants had their DNA co-opted, and a whole bunch of children were infused with it.  There was a breakout.  One that got free is Logan's "child."  Can I just say what a wonderful job the director/producer did casting that little girl.  She completely nails the demeanor and facial gestures and posture and behavior of a feral child.  She has an odd face and weird look to her, and I like how she eats like mad and can barely stop from stuffing food in her face, and I like that she doesn't speak ever (except at the very end, which is a very funny scene the first time she reveals to Logan that she could speak all along... and it's Spanish!).

    Logan, reluctantly, helps her out... at the gentle coaxing from Xavier, and, well, also the threat of the people now chasing them both down.

    I really liked how many of the people in the movie tell Logan they were a fan... including one of the main bad guys chasing him.  It was interesting watching Logan read an X-Men comic book.  That kind of meta shit is right up my alley... especially when it comes to the concept of "stories."

    I really liked how Logan was totally broken down.  One of the things I grew to dislike about the cape & mask comics of my teenage years was the blithe attitude the characters had to all the fights they were in and the deaths tallied up and just how there has to be an emotional and psychological and physical accumulation of pain and deterioration and despair... no matter how heroic they might be.  Logan's life and his behavior is of a person, a human being, who is suffering the toll of a life of fighting and hiding and fear and bravery.  The fact that all he wants to do is buy a damn boat and sail out in the middle of the sea so he and Charles can spend their last days together in peace is something very easy to relate to.

    But now he's sucked into taking this kid to North Dakota, where supposedly there's a safe place for her.  He does it reluctantly and it isn't til near the very end that he finally allows himself to feel some of the altruistic drive and emotions that once balanced out his feral violence of his younger days.  That's very cool and very real.

    I like how all of the new mutant kids run screaming from the armed bad guys as they're chased through the forest.  Yes, they have powers, but, fuck, they're just kids.  They're scared.  That makes sense to me.


    I thought the death of Xavier and Logan were both handled well.  They were given the weight they deserved without being over melodramatic.  I appreciated that.


    I liked that the fight scenes didn't get totally drawn out.  It's one of the things that really bores me in these Netflix Hero shows... the fight scenes go on forrrreeevvvvveerrrrrr and it gets to the point where it seems like a punch or kick or car slammed on top of a head doesn't mean anything any more.  I mean, all these cool choreographed flip kicks and punches would mean more if they truly knocked someone out.  But when these fights go on foorrrrrreevvvvveerrrrr it makes it seem like they're all of a bunch of feather fists and don't know how to just kick someone in the mouth like they mean it.  Or how in other movies, a million bullets go flying, but no one gets hit.  Guh.  In "Logan," the fight scenes are quick and to the point, don't get unnecessarily drawn out, and the violence is blunt and in your face and ends things quickly.  I like that.  Violence is fucking real.  People get hurt and sometimes they die, and it really isn't something that we should celebrate (notable exception:  beating the crap out of Nazis.  Go Captain America!)

    I liked the music soundtrack.  Most of it was melancholy, minimalistic stuff, and was more in the background rather than used as a way of telling you how you were supposed to be feeling emotionally.

    It was cool to see Eriq La Salle again.  Not sure if that guy is a good actor or not, but he has a charisma on screen that's pretty potent.  I went through a brief ER binge back in the day (it was cool seeing shots of Chicago when I was living in Denver and in the thick of my nostalgia).  I checked his IMDB resume, and it appears he's been keeping busy with other TV shows.  Good for him.  Plus, I always want the Coming to America alumni to keep getting roles.  I thought the scenes at his house, the image of Home and how Logan and Charles and the little girl (is her name Laura maybe?  That doesn't sound right.  It probably was an L name though... Logan and "L...") react to it.  That whole series of scenes could have been (and often are) handled totally hammy and syrupy.  I thought the movie gave those scenes just the right amount of emotional weight.

    Even though I haven't really ever watched much of the X-men movies, I really like that they cast Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier.  It was an inspired decision.  The guy is a talented actor, and that he's able to bring that talent to well-established, genre-based based characters (space captain Picard, super hero mentor Xavier) is an achievement that probably doesn't get the acclaim he deserves.  He totally IS Xavier... like the character had been written all these years with Stewart in mind.  His acting shifts my memory of how Xavier was in the comics.  That's powerful stuff.

    I like how the movie eventually became a road trip film.  Small towns and highways and backroads and Main Streets of all kinds.

    And, again, I really love how this superhero story was about their humanity and not their powers.  It was about Logan's despair and the little girl's hope and Xavier's fight against sickness and Caliban's desire to be useful and helpful and the love and care of a parent for their child and the struggle to do the right thing.

    And it was just the right mix of introspection and action for a Friday night, when the week has exhausted me of everything I've got and I just want to stretch out on the sofa and be entertained as the cats use me as a giant pillow.

    I want more superhero stories like "Logan."
  • Hey, are any of you big into Criterion Collection?  I'm in the process of buying a bunch of DVDs of older movies I want on my shelf, and I'm wondering if I should automatically buy any that have a Criterion edition or if I really need to check the reviews to see if the original movie version is superior to what Criterion put out.
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