Cinecast 79 – You Really Really Like Me!


This Episode:
Oscars!, DVDs and a new Top 5.

Unwrap the complete Show Notes…

cinecast_promo.jpg

Show notes for Cinecast Episode #79

  • Intro music: :00 – 4:45
  • Oscar talk: :22 – 45:03
  • Top 5 List: 45:04 – 1:21:18
  • DVD picks: 1:21:19 – 1:37:11
  • Closing rambling: 1:37:12 – 1:43:12
  • Outro music: 1:42:02 – 1:44:31

Bumper Music by “Radiohead” and “Johnny Greenwood”


Row Three Podcasts:

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Oscars:

Oscar recap article (and photo gallery)
Oscar live discussion (still available for viewing and commenting)


Top 5 times Oscar chose the correct best picture:

Andrew:

5) 1986: Platoon
4) 2007: No Country for Old Men
3) 1999: American Beauty
2) 1962: Lawrence of Arabia
1) 1990: Dances with Wolves

Wiki-pedia entry

Kurt:
5) 1971: The French Connection
4) 1957: The Bridge on River Kwai
3) 1970: Patton
2) 1972: The Godfather
1) 1943: Casablanca

Wiki-pedia entry


DVD mentions for Tuesday, February 12th
Consensus:
Darjeeling Limited
The Darjeeling Limited

Kurt (choice for movie we haven’t seen):
Darkon
Darkon

Andrew (choice for movie we haven’t seen):
The Banquet
Legend of the Black Scorpion (aka The Banquet)

Other DVDs mentioned:
Goya’s Ghosts
30 Days of Night
PTU
The King and the Clown


Comments or questions?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, or email us:
feedback@rowthree.com (general)
andrew@rowthree.com
kurt@rowthree.com
– – Kurt’s BLOG

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Henrik
Guest

I'm only 1/3 into the show, and already my point about the Cinematography nominees has been stolen!

Matt Gamble
Guest

They do that a lot.

Henrik
Guest

5. 1969 – Midnight Cowboy. A ballsy decision and a worthy film.

4. 1994 – Forrest Gump. A great comedic take on history. I don't understand the hate for the films win – I guess people just love Pulp Fiction so much. It's a great film either way, and worthy of the win.

3. 1995 – Braveheart. A childhood favorite, and a film that still holds up. Angus McFadyen does a great job. Hollywood at its best.

2. 1977 – Annie Hall. I realize this is the internet and this is a hated decision by a generation, but once they grow up they will realize that Annie Hall is a fantastic piece of cinema. A definite classic, both in content and form.

1. 1984 – Amadeus. In all modesty the best film ever made (well… If one were to pick one). The most deserved winner in the history of the oscars.

It sounds like Kurt appreciates the sound and solid craftsmanship of a great genrefilm more so than ambitious and challenging films from this weeks discussion. French Connection a perfect film? It's easy to follow conventions. It's not even near the film that A Clockwork Orange is. I mean is there even a thought worth having about The French Connection other than technical prudence in the way it's put together? A Clockwork Orange is still relevant to human beings everywhere – I think that makes a hell of a lot closer to perfection than The French Connection.

Goya's Ghosts is a good film, albiet structurally difficult to understand. Javier Bardem definitely is not embarrasing in it, that makes no sense to me. It's definitely not the film you'd expect, even though the title tells it all.

Henrik
Guest

Is it prudence? Or prowess? Might be something else, just a word for exceptional skill and solidity. I need a good link to a free danish-english dictionary.

Kurt
Guest

Henrik. Should we be citing references in cinecast? It's the cinecast from the third row. We discuss everything is fair game. I happen to agree with the point you made several months ago. We're having a conversation.

I didn't want to make it like everything that comes out of our mouths is 100% our idea. Andrew and I trawl the web for movie stuff a lot. Things we happen to agree with seep into our brains and are spewed back out during the conversation.

(What is more remarkable is that we actually agreed on something sir! 🙂 )

p.s. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, or so I'm told (unless you are Single White Female or Buffalo Bill), and see also the title of this weeks Cinecast, it's all for you Henrik. 🙂 )

Kurt
Guest

I'm going to get to Goya's Ghost eventually, just because your comments are so at odds with what I've heard elsewhere.

The French Connection has a lot of interesting things to say how society views, accidentally awards crime compared to the enforcers of the law, and (maybe cliche, maybe not) how close the line is in behavior at times. The grit this film shows is brilliant. A Clockwork Orange is also a great film, it's a bit bombastic and blunt at times too, it also is in love with form as much as it is with getting to the bottom of human nature (high-speed sex anyone?). So we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I acknowledge that my choice is a tad controversial.

Forrest Gump is an offensive piece of drivel. It's a juke-box with no brain, and offensive in its execution and it's message. The fact that people take this thing serious is one thing I'll never understand. I'm not easily offended by cinema, but Gump had me running for the vomit bag so many times I think my heart started palpitating.

Braveheart. Don't get me started. Forget Hostel, Captivity, and the Saw movies. Mel Gibson's Oscar-winner is the true meaning of torture-porn. All in the name of FREEDOM baby.

Kurt
Guest

Actually, we agree on Annie Hall though Henrik, we've agreed on that one in the past. No comment, other than I find it amusing how it makes Andrew froth at the mouth.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah I was more taken aback by your agreement to my statement, than I was outraged that you didn't cite me as a reference. I didn't mean it as an attack, it was meant as a joke.

I hardly take Forrest Gump serious. I just think it's hilarious. And I think history is interesting. It's all-american, but it's a great film about america as well.

The form in A Clockwork Orange is outrageous, innovative, revolting, revolutionizing. The sex being in highspeed is directly in proportion to the extreme slowmotion of the violence set to The Thieving Magpie, where Alex asserts himself. I think Clockwork Orange is blunt to the point where it does make sure that you can take something away from it if you just go to watch a science-fiction movie , but it's pretty obvious that it is aware of the more clunky scenes. For example, instead of having the issues of safety vs. freedom worked into the narrative, the film just has a direct debate between inconsequential characters – it's almost as if what is actually going on is so much more profound than the simple debate, and the characters are above any sort of 'stamp' or narrative that you can apply to the film afterwards. This is further enhanced by the music. But I guess if you want people defending A Clockwork Orange, there are probably better people out there doing so than myself. There can be no doubt though, that YOU ARE WRONG! 🙂

Braveheart does take place in the early 14th century though. I think the violence in this film is easierly excused than in Hostel. I don't think it is as "look-at-me-pushing-the-envelope-with-violence!" as the Saw films are. There is something else going on – more specifically politics, and something that is often forgotten are the family aspects of the film. Robert The Bruce always, to me at least, comes off as the more interesting piece of Braveheart.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

"I just think it’s hilarious. And I think history is interesting. It’s all-american, but it’s a great film about america as well."

You may be onto something, every time folks rail on HOSTEL and HOSTEL 2, i try to point out the fact that they are in actuality black comedies.

Another viewing of Gump as a full blown parody of the American Dream may actually make the film sit better with me. I doubt that was the intent behind the films making, whereas I'm almost sure the comedy is inseparable in the Hostel films. It's hardwired into Eli Roth…just look at Cabin fever.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Braveheart – the phrase 'hamfisted' comes to mind in the family/political/historical plotting and execution (pun intended) of the film.

Henrik
Guest

I don't know that phrase :(.

I have not seen Hostel or Hostel 2 though. I have no interest in subjecting myself to them. I did see Saw and while I didn't think it was particularly effective, I did hear about a film where a pregnant woman was kicked repeatedly in the stomach before a gang cut her stomach open with a knife. I have no interest in that. And Bravehearts torturescene has no blood as far as I recall. It's not torture-porn.

The humour in Forrest Gump is definitely intentional. I mean when he complains about the flashlights, and calls somebody to go and check their electricity, I think that is pretty funny. It's probably not the humour you'd enjoy though, I do think that you can look at Forrest Gump as (to be topical) almost the antithesis of Daniel Plainview. Smile to the world, and the world smiles back.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

The phrase means blunt, obvious and clumsy.

John Allison
Editor

P.T.U is an amazing movie. Its been available for a while I'm still interested in seeing if its been cleaned up much (not that the original R1 was bad).

I love the opening scene in the restaurant.

John Allison
Editor

Oh and guy (Simon Yam) on the front of the DVD is focused on a bit more in the movie. Suet Lam losing the gun is the impetus for the story but I wouldn't consider him the star.

Also, one thing that I've really discovered with Johnny To is that he really should be a photographer for a magazine. He always has his cast pose in the perfect way at least once.

On the Vantage Point front. I totally agree, this was a movie that I was really looking forward to and now just don't really care.

rot
Guest

I have listened to 8 seconds of the podcast so far (good work, keep it up!). Any podcast that begins with Radiohead's Reckoner (my quintessential song for 2007) has already garnered my respect

Andrew James
Guest

Hey Henrik. I'm all about Forrest Gump. I think it's a fantastic film. Pulp Fiction though is my favorite film of all time (after SW of course). But I have no problem with FG winning best pic. Also up that year I believe was Shawshank. That was a tough year for voters.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

We had to give Radiohead some love on the Oscar show, because niggly little Academy rules prevented Johnny Greenwood from being in the running for There Will Be Blood.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Almost finished with the show and again, great job guys.

As for the top 5's, no disagreements from me on either front but I will say this much: I'm not a big fan of western but "Dances with Wolves" is one of my favourite films of all time and for good reasons (most of which you guys touched on). No hate mail from me just lots of love.

As for the DVD picks…."30 Days of Night" was pretty good, mostly because of Ben Foster's small appearance, Hartnett's decent acting, Slade's direction but I particularly loved the cinematography of Jo Willems (who was also responsible for the look of "Hard Candy"). I saw "The Banquet" and thought it was beautiful. Gorgeous film. Can't say I remember more than that. May need to look at it a second time. And "Goyas Ghosts"…generally disliked. I remember talking to a few folks who saw it at VIFF and some didn't manage to sit through it (rare for a festival screening). That said, I'm still curious to see it.

What I'm most excited for this week is "Darkon". The live action D&D is actually called LARPing and I'll take this moment to direct your attention to my original post on the subject.

John Allison
Editor

On the topic of LARPing. I don't talk about it much at all here but I actually participate in 2 LARPs myself. There are so many different kinds. The ones I'm in are mostly like an extended murder mystery party. Everyone creates a character within a world (story and overall plot) that the people running the game have created. Its basically improv theatre with game rules.

Its pretty geeky at times but it is also pretty creative and is a lot of fun if you are a theatre type.

Some LARPs focus on combat and they usually suck in my opinion but too each his own. I love creating a story with several other people simply because you never know how it will unfold. Each character is in control of their own story but all the stories mesh up into one larger story.

I'm really interested to see Darkon just to see what style of LARP they show.

Marina Antunes
Admin

I've never LARPed though in HS D&D was a pretty big part of my life for a few years. Recently, the closest I've come is costuming.

Here's the trailer for the film:

<center><embed width="448" height="365" src="http://www.spike.com/efp&quot; quality="high" bgcolor="000000" name="efp" align="middle" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer&quot; flashvars="flvbaseclip=2814197" ></embed></center>

John Allison
Editor

Darkon looks to show Boffer LARP. In Boffer you actually use padded or latex weapons to act out the combat. It is similar to the the combat that the Society of Creative Anachronism does.

The other style that I do uses dice to determine who wins a combat or a challenge of any sort.

I've never participated in a Boffer LARP. It might be fun to try once but it even gets a bit too geeky for me. 😉

Marina Antunes
Guest

I've never participated either and to be honest, I find it hard to distinguish between this and SCA. That said, I'm really looking forward to picking this up. I may just spring for it on DVD and completely bypass the rental.

Marina Antunes
Guest

Another thought…I was thinking of music for next year's Oscar….Michael Giacchino's "Roar Overture" from Cloverfield needs to make the cut. That thing is AWESOME.

rot
Guest

My first encounter with Lawrence of Arabia happened last month and I have to say I was really impressed with it, particularly how subversive parts of the film were, how it plays against type for the epic genre.

Bridge on the River Kwai is in my queue

I still say the go-to David Lean film is Summertime, shamefully overlooked masterpiece.

Jonathan
Admin

Oh lordy lordy lordy… that Darkon trailer… priceless…

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Great cinecast as always guys! Some quick thoughts.

Kurt – you must see Lawrence of Arabia! I caught up with it this year working though my odd list of '101 to see films that I can't believe I haven't seen', and even on my wee lil tv it was phenominal. Oh course I'm sure it would rock on a big screen and I totally understand waiting (or creating!) that opportunity!

Also, I think you mentioned The Band's Visit wasn't here yet (in TO?). It's at the Cumberland til tomorrow (Feb 28) then Sheppard Grande after that. I always post the weekly Toronto releases on Fridays over at my site.

Andrew – I'm restraining from commenting about Dances with Wolves. I rarely speak of films I've not seen, but Kevin Costner. Sigh. To each their own! 🙂

Totally digged to convo about the renamed of films. SPL is so much cooler (and appropriate) than Killzone. Great flick.

Jonathan
Admin

This is an odd topic, so I just went with my gut. I was going to do 'Top 10 times Oscar chose the incorrect best picture' too, but there were too many and I couldn't narrow it down.

Top 5 times Oscar chose the correct best picture:

5. The Departed

4. Unforgiven

3. On the Waterfront

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (ridiculously tough year)

1. Casablanca

Henrik
Guest

On the topic of Lawrence of Arabia, at the end of April there is a pretty amazing film festival going on in the biggest theatre in Danmark. A 70MM film festival, where they show huge movies – in 70MM – on their massive screen. Among the films being shown – you guessed it, Lawrence of Arabia! Other films include Titanic, Cleopatra and the one that I am going fucking nuts over – 2001: A Space Oddysey.

Colleeny
Guest

I am so glad David Lean is getting so much love on Row Three. He is my favorite director of all times.

Lawrence of Arabis is a masterpiece, and River Kwai has one of my favorite moments in film ever.

Everything that man directed is good at worst, and insanily fantastic at best. Summertime is overlooked film for sure.

I'll stop ranting now.

rot
Guest

Hey Colleen,

I just IMDB'd David Lean, have you seen Ryan's Daughter or A Passage into India? By the end of the year I would like to see his entire filmography. Picked up River Kwai today.

Jonathan
Admin

Andrew, I purposely put that in there, because I knew it would stir shit up. 🙂 With that said, I completely, 100% believe it deserved to win Best Picture over all of those you mentioned. In fact, the only movie I think could give it a run for its money last year was The Proposition. But arguing over The Departed winning Best Picture is soooo 2007 (because the correct answer is yes, it did deserve it!).

Also, YouTubing "LARP" is quickly becoming a favorite pastime.

And if there is a reason to watch The Postman, it's seeing Tom Petty act in a post-apocalyptic movie alongside Costner.

Kurt
Guest

This may make you change your mind Andrew, or maybe not, the fabulous Grady Hendrix, who I don't always agree with, but he has good taste to suss out quality:

Feel the Sting of My Foam Sword

A must-see documentary about LARPing.

By Grady Hendrix

Darkon is a LARP (live-action role-playing game) where normal people dress up in homemade armor and pretend to be inhabitants of a fantasy realm. They fight battles in parks and on soccer fields over pretend land in a pretend country that has its own pretend religions and pretend economy. It's meatspace Dungeons & Dragons, with people brandishing swords wrapped in foam and slamming each other around with padded shields. Founded in 1985, Darkon is one of America's oldest and largest LARPs, and the showdown between two kingdoms within it, Mordom and Laconia, was captured in the documentary Darkon, a movie so mighty it needed two directors (Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer). The film has its television premiere on the IFC Channel tonight at 9 p.m., where it joins the ranks of movies like Hoop Dreams and Murderball as one of the great documentary dissections of how Americans play.

In his apocalyptic nonfiction book Bowling Alone, Harvard-based political scientist Robert Putnam lays out in detail how, since the 1970s, American civic life has died like a sackful of puppies thrown onto a rush-hour freeway. He amassed a mountain of hard data showing that we're going on fewer church picnics, joining fewer bowling leagues, and taking fewer pies to our neighbors every year, and, as a result, community bonds are crumbling. We're not voting, we're not volunteering, we're not taking care of our kids; America has become a nation of demented shut-ins, dying all alone in houses full of moldering TV Guides and stray cats. One solution is to do what our parents nagged us to do on gorgeous summer days when we just wanted to sit around watching Family Feud: Turn off the TV, get out of the house, and go play with our friends.

This is what the Darkon players have been doing for years. There are tens of thousands of LARPers around the world, and in the United States, a national LARPing event like the massive Ragnarok meet held in Ohio can draw several thousand attendees. Darkon has 700 members, fielding up to 150 people at any given battle. "The documentary shows us at the height of our imperialistic pretensions," says Kenyon Wells of his country, Mordom. "We're dominating the world and reveling a bit in being the imperialistic bad guy. We hadn't lost a land fight, let alone a war, in 15 years." Mordom attracted the best new players, they had the deepest pockets, and they loved winning.

"Very few people are left who pre-date Mordom," says Skip Lipman, who leads his country of Laconia against Mordom in the documentary. "They helped create Darkon, which is one of the most successful and longest-running LARPs. They're arguably the greatest LARP nation there ever was." They are also depicted as being relentlessly evil. Starting as allies, Laconia turned on Mordom after an earlier campaign against another group of players known as the Dragonhood. "That really changed my mind about how they played the game," Lipman says. "The Dragonhood insulted the Mordomian gods, so Mordom destroyed everything they had. It was really tough on those guys. They never came back in the same strength as before. LARPing, like the real world, has a good-old-boy network, and Mordom was in control of the realm and of the game at that point."

Lipman, a shaggy extrovert and self-admitted "natural ham," became a househusband after being fired from the family business for punching his brother in the mouth. He's less of a king and more of a den father for Laconia, trying to get all of his citizens off the bench and onto the field, insisting that they play fair. Wells is blond and fair, built as solidly as a Viking, and has been playing for decades, morphing from a shy introvert into a powerful leader. "When I first got into this hobby, I was a teenager and it was an escape from the stresses and angst of high school," he says. "But over time Darkon helped me hone my leadership skills." His parents rave about its beneficial effects, and now Wells is a vice president at a large IT consulting company.

"When we originally started cooperating with the filmmakers, we were concerned with exposing this hobby—which is relatively dorky, all things considered—to the public," Wells says. Lipman adds: "There's still debate over whether the events that took place in the documentary are part of official Darkon history or was it all a dream scenario, because there's a feeling that the camera was a motivational factor. But I feel that they captured Darkon at its best."

The war between Mordom and Laconia teaches many valuable strategic lessons: Numbers and money will always carry the day; everyone wants to be on the winning team; the army that defends a large, plywood castle probably has a tactical advantage; and dark elves will most likely turn on you the second your back is turned, no matter how much money you pay them. But it's also about the serious business of play.

Play is as necessary to civic health as dreaming is to mental health, but playing makes Americans suspicious. We measure our worth by our jobs, but what happens when there are fewer and fewer meaningful jobs? Many of the Darkon players are trapped in the classic nerd conundrum: They don't find the corporate track fulfilling, and so they wind up working as Starbucks baristas and office administrators. At the same time, they're smart enough to know that being called a Starbucks "team member" is just a nicer way of being called a Starbucks slave. "Everything is gone," Andrew of Laconia says. "Everything that was once noble and good in this world is gone and it's been replaced by Wal-Mart. And McDonald's. And Burger King. Some people just want more. They're tired of working their ass off for material goods. You could just stay home and watch TV, or you could work for adventure, you know?"

So what happened in Darkon when the adventure was over and the moviemakers went home? It all depends on whom you ask. According to Wells, "Winning all the time was beginning to become a chore. Mordom dominated the game for two decades and every battle was becoming more and more stressful to us because we had to be perfect. So we decided to abandon our empire and focus on wandering the land." But according to Lipman, "Mordom spent more fighting this war than on any war in the past, there was internal strife, they had nothing more to gain and everything to lose and so, amazingly, like the Soviet Union, they folded. Also," he says, referring to a LARPer whose quest for his first girlfriend figures in the documentary, "Danny got laid. That's another really good thing that's come out of the movie."

But no matter how many people it helps to get laid, Americans will always be suspicious of adults playing a game of make-believe as gloriously and goofily unself-conscious as Darkon. Maybe if it used a ball or a racquet people could accept it but, as it is, Darkon makes outsiders cringe. So, why do these weird people in Maryland and Virginia keep playing it? "The game isn't an escape," Wells says. "It's a hobby and a sport. If other people had the guts to try it, they would love it."

Darkon players are social creatures by necessity—they can't play their game alone—and in a country where socializing is endangered, that's a sterling recommendation. But there's something else at work, too. In Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut writes: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Darkon is made up of hundreds of people who spend the majority of their lives pretending to be high-school students, soldiers back from Iraq, administrative assistants, waiters, project managers, probate lawyers, retail clerks, and textile buyers. But Darkon shows them for who they really are: warriors, princesses, magicians, kings and queens. They're hacking reality, creating a social system where the part of their lives that matters isn't the part that stresses over a PowerPoint presentation, but the part that charges into battle and does great things. They're careful about what they pretend to be, but to them, what they need to be careful about is pretending too hard that their jobs are all that they can be.

Or not.

"Darkon is an enclosed social environment. It's its own little Lord of the Flies with subcultures and cults and religions," Lipman says. "It's an excellent microcosm of the world. But mostly, we do it because we like to run around and hit each other."

Grady Hendrix, a New York writer, runs the New York Asian Film Festival.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2177830/

Kurt
Guest

And jonathan, I'm siding with Andrew in that you are a real nutter to think that Departed was best film of last year, it wasn't even in the top 5…

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

Aw, Andrew I'm more of an agree to disagree person. I liked Costner in Bull Durham and that is about it. I'm not really sure I want to sit through Dances with Wolves, it never really appealed to me.

I was looking for Darkon on zip.ca and couldn't find it! I wonder if it will be on IFC up here.

Colleeny
Guest

@rot I have not seen Ryan's Daughter, but Passage to India is fantastic. It won oscars for supporting actress and musical score that year, but was nominated for dozens. Like all things Lean, he can make the drab and ugly amazing fascinating to watch. When you watch bridge, really focus on Alec Guiness face near the end of the film when he finally puts 2 and 2 together (you'll know when). One of my favorite shots in film.

@AndrewJames I have a tendancy to make up words alot. My personal blog is actually called "Leeny's Lexicon of Peril"

@ Andrew James also Kevin Costner has been in alot of amazing films…but those film where amazing despite him, not because of him (generally). I will admit I Loved Mr. Brooks.

Kurt
Guest

but those film where amazing despite him, not because of him (generally) – hah truer words (JFK, Untouchables, etc) – although an exception is OPEN RANGE, which is solid all around.

Colleeny
Guest

Also.. I was banned from the Lougheed Mall Movieplex for screaming at the screen during the Postman. Postman is the film I most likely to make me go homicidal! There is nothing redeeming about that film. Ask Marina, shes seen me in full on rant mode about that disaster. Costner destroyed my 3rd favorite book of all time!

Taking deep breaths and stepping away from the keyboard…

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Never read the book, but I have to say I enjoyed the film for what it was. It's goofy and earnest and 'flag-wavy to the max!' but above all, nowhere near the 'bad' film that it was vilified as upon its release.

C'mon, how can you not dig Will Patton as the baddie. That was awesome!

I guess, The Postman plays out (for me) how Henrik mentioned Forrest Gump played out for him, a self-parody of a culture made within the culture for the culture. Weird that Gump was a success and Postman was a failure. I blame the Waterworld fiasco….

Henrik
Guest

Also check out Roland Emmerichs 'The Patriot' if you enjoy 'flag-wavy to the max!' action movies.

"I enjoyed the film for what it was. It’s goofy and earnest and ‘flag-wavy to the max!’ but above all, nowhere near the ‘bad’ film that it was vilified as upon its release.

C’mon, how can you not dig ***Jason Isaacs*** as the baddie. That was awesome!"

In addition it has one of John Williams' best scores, one of his only listenable love themes. And awesome production design/costume design/visual effects/overall production value. Also, Tom Wilkinson in a good role, before he decided to get all showy with his acting and do bit (shit) parts in stuff like Batman Begins.

Marina Antunes
Admin

You guys are fully to blame for turning on Colleen's Costner rage. I'll not be held responsible for anything I may do in defense of the man (and NO, I still haven't seen "The Postman" but I did like "Waterworld"), the man's good in my books.

Shannon – yeah…not sure what the deal is with Darkon not showing up on Zip. I was planning on picking it up anyways but I've put in a request for them to purchase a copy.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Yea, but The Patriot is so fucking mean-spirited and awful, that I barely made it to the end of the film without vomiting (I'm 90% sure that Mel Gibson ghost-directed a goodly portion of that craptacular bit of rah-rah-propaganda masquerading as an historical blockbuster.)

John Allison
Editor

"Yea, but the patriot is so fucking mean-spirited and awful, that I barely made it to the end of the film without vomitting (I’m 90% sure that Mel Gibson ghost-directed a goodly portion of that craptacular bit of rah-rah-propaganda masquerading as an historical blockbuster.)"

Is there something wrong with me when Kurt's comments like this make me want to watch a movie just to see if it would annoy me just as much?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I'd say no, as often I tend to gravitate towards movies that piss other people off to see if they missed/misread something. Although I'll strongly re-iterate (the swearing above was very intentional) that THE PATRIOT (other than a world of vulgar propaganda) has no redeeming value (Wilikinson and Isaac's should know better 🙂 )

Andrew James
Guest

The Patriot is AWFUL! It's an exact remake of Braveheart in a different historical setting.

Marina Antunes
Admin

I've never seen "The Patriot" but I'm with John…I'm curious to see if the hate is well deserved.

Andrew James
Guest

Oh, not to mention I'm pretty sure The British didn't lock hundreds of women, children and elderly in churches and then proceed to burn it down.

Henrik
Guest

Heath Ledger is good in it too. The action sequences are good. It looks amazing. I don't see how the propaganda-aspects of it are vulgar, mean-spirited or awful. Do you not like violence in your blockbusters Kurt? I happen to think Mel Gibson is quote good in the part, I like him. I think he pulls the part off. The scenes where he is riding with the american flag – or indeed, leading the charge of the revolutional colonists using the flagpole as a spear – are obviously over-the-top, but they don't put me off. I don't see how it's any worse than 98% of all other american blockbusters – dare I say movies as a whole.

If ANYTHING, the redeeming value comes from Caleb Deschanel, who is a fantastic cinematographer! I mean come on… You don't have to align yourself with the politics of something, in order to enjoy it. I enjoy The Patriot as an eye-candy, actionpiece. I will admit to having a childhood fascination with war and warhistory though, which may be why I'm more lenient towards it. That also may be why I enjoy Luc Besson's Joan of Arc more so than Carl Th. Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc. No, I am only kidding.

Henrik
Guest

The british burned buildings with people inside them, and they burned churches. The movie just combined these two facts to make a better drama. Who cares? Do you have to hate the british to enjoy the film? Obviously not.

Henrik
Guest

"It’s an exact remake of Braveheart in a different historical setting."

Mel Gibsons presence helps this conclusion along. But hey – I think Braveheart rules as well. It is better than The Patriot. Patrick McGoohan… I mean how can you not find him memorable? "Yes, but we'll hit theirs as well. We have reserves. Attack. Shall we retire?"

Andrew James
Guest

I like Braveheart – a lot actually. It deserved the 11 Oscars it received. "The Patriot" was an attempt at re-creating that. Not just because of Mel. It's the EXACT same story…

***TECHNICALLY SPOILERS***

Similarities that happen in both stories:

1) Mel is a pacifist, tries to convince others in his community not to fight.

2) the evil fascists show up and kill someone very close to Mel. He gets angry. Tell everyone they should fight.

3) becomes a mythical figure. Somehow managing to tackle lots of the evil people with very small numbers.

4) Becomes known as the ghost or something – in Braveheart he's also referred to as someone mythical, gets some kind of nickname.

5) Slowly builds an army and takes on the bad guys in a huge epic fight.

IT'S THE SAME DAMN MOVIE!

Andrew James
Guest

Ooops. Guess it won five and was nominated for 10. My numbers get goofy after 12 years.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I think it is quite facetious to compare The Patriot to a host of other blockbusters. It wears its hate on its sleeve which dwarfs most fascist regimes. The fact that the film is earnest is what drives me completely batty. The facile moralizing and oversimplifying going on in this movie makes me ill in ways I can't quite express. I don't recall Deschanel's cinematography because well, cinematography can only go so far when a movie is this offensive.

Only thing I found worse in terms of gore-for-glow was Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, but that is another whole can of worms. (And Deschanel rocks there too, i guess, as it plays out like an over the top gory music video). I don't know why I can't lighten up on Gibson-directed materials, but for what it is worth, I dug on Apocalypto as a gorgeously fun B-Film. Because intentional or not, all the earnest-holier-than-thou-nonsense is dropped in that one.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

For the record, I really, REALLY hate Braveheart too. And the Patriot manages to be even dumber, less coherent and more vulgar.

Henrik
Guest

Well, the main difference in the characters is that in Braveheart he is just lazy and learns the lesson that freedom is important through loss. In The Patriot it's more like a continuation, where the characters has been through a war and comitted atrocities, and that's the main reason he's not interested in fighting for what he believes is right. He is still as violent and despicable as he was earlier, whereas in Braveheart everybody is like that. To be perfectly honest, I do actually think that there is alittle bit of an edge in The Patriot. For example, the british soldiers falling on their knees, surrendering, that are shot through the eyes. I don't really think that his character becomes angry when he decides to take up arms either – it's a more sombre way of joining the fight than you make it out to be. But yeah, there is alot of corny and cheesy shit. Like Gibsons character being a better tactician than the generals of the rebel army, and his past is treated alittle too hollywoody to ever be interesting. Nevertheless, fairness should be exercised – for better or worse, it is a part of the character, and a major thing that sets him apart from the Braveheart character. The other major thing, is that he is a parent in The Patriot. I think Mel Gibson does a good job in the early scenes establishing somewhat of a connection with the children, and I think most of the kids give pretty (in)credible performances.

And – like I mentioned – Tom Wilkinson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Rene Auberjonois, Tchéky Karyo, Heath Ledger. I mean to say that the film has NO redeeming qualities is simply not right! In my book at least.

Jonathan
Admin

To not enjoy Braveheart, one must have no soul.

Henrik
Guest

I have a sneaking suspicion that Kurt's spouse has let a line drop sometime in the past that she thought Mel Gibson was an extremely handsome man.

Shannon the Movie Mo
Guest

I thought the Patriot was awful, turned it off around 1/2 way though.

Jonathan
Admin

Mel Gibson is very cool in my book. He's been in more crappy movies than good ones, but the good ones (Braveheart, Payback, Mad Max 1 & 2, Lethal Weapon 1 & 2) make me really like the guy.

And Apocalypto was a whole lot of fun to watch in the theatre. Very enthralling.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I like Gibson's genre output from the 70s and 80s. From the Mad Max films to even Lethal Weapon (the sequels get worse as they go along), when he turns on the charm in fluff like Maverick he is good too.

When he is the pop-spiritual-adviser in catholic guilt and torture….er…not so much.

Payback is a much lesser film (despite or Giamatti and Colbourne) in light of a movie that went all the way with the concept, namely GET CARTER (1972!) or heck, even The Limey.

In response to your facetious wife comment. LJ's favorite celebrities to get 'excited' about are Guy Pearce and Pierce Brosnan (collectively known as 'the two pierces' because 'double pierce' sounds a bit rude!) She seems to have a thing for Rupert Everett, but for some reason is reluctant to sit down and watch DELAMORTE DELAMORE with me.

Gibson, not so much….

Henrik
Guest

I was trying to be funny Kurt. I know it's facetious.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I know you know. 😛

Dave Becker
Editor

A few thoughts:

1. Great show, and very little to argue about in your choices. I'm a French Connection fan (though, like Andrew, I might have also gone with Clockwork Orange here), and agree that it still holds it's appeal all these years later.

2. Kurt: hold out to see Lawrence of Arabia on a big screen. I only wish my first viewing of that great movie was on a big screen. I'm sure that, if you get the chance to do so, it will instantly catapult itself to being one of your greatest cinematic experiences, if not THE greatest. In fact, many of Lean's films are great on home video, but only make you wish you've seen them in the theater (Bridge on the River Kwai, Dr. Zhivago, etc).

3. Check out Witness for the Prosecution when you can. It's a great Billy Wilder film, and Charles Laughton is superb. It also has an awesome twist at the end that, even all these years later, really works. Mind you, it won't make you change your pick (Bridge on the River Kwai is a better film overall), but it is one to see.

4. I'd have chosen Goodfellas over Dances with Wolves in 1990, but Dances with Wolves is an excellent film (and I'm an admitted Scorsese addict, so I may be a bit too biased)

5. Speaking of Scorsese, I'm gonna agree with Jonathan that The Departed deserved the award last year (but only because Children of Men wasn't nominated).

6. 1977 – Look, I'm as much a fan of Star Wars as anyone…and sure, a very strong case can be made that it was the Best Picture. But Annie Hall is a really entertaining film. Oscar has screwed up bigger than it did this year (1980, 1983, 2005, etc., etc., and so on, and so on). As bad as Woody's been recently (Match Point the exception), that's as good as he was in the 70's and 80's (and a portion of the 90's as well). He can be written off nowadays for what he's turning out, but his overall filmography has as many hits as it does misses.

7. Great choice with Darjeeling Limited, which made my top 10 of 2007. It's Wes Anderson back on track (and I say that having liked The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou…just not as much as Tenebaums and Rushmore, or even Bottle Rocket).

Again, great show!

John Allison
Editor

Back on the LARPing bit. There are some really cool pictures of a LARP that takes place in Germany

LARP pictures

They really take it serious with their costumes.

And since I have no dignity: Me</>

Marina Antunes
Guest

Hehe. I like the pics John. To even out the geek factor, I've never been involved with LARPING but costuming….that's something all together different.

My first parade (for which I had to borrow a costume)

Pics from the second (for which I sowed a dress that weighs about 15 pounds)

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