Cinecast Episode 114 – The “Major League” Solution

cinecast_promo.jpg Matt Gamble

Episode 114:
A boatload of catch-up movies to talk about. Matt Gamble from WhereTheLongTailEnds.com joins in since he loves Watchmen so much. Some of us did the homework assignment too: top 5 hangin’ out movies.
Thanks for checking out the show!

Click the Audio Icon below to listen in:

Below the fold are the Show Notes…

Show notes for the Cinecast Episode 114:

  • Intro music: :00 – 2:16
  • Opening crap: :30 – 3:15
  • Stuff we saw recently: 3:16 – 1:04:42
  • Watchmen: 1:04:44 – 1:27:41
  • Top 5 (hangin’ out movies): 1:27:42 – 1:45:54
  • DVD picks: 1:45:55 – 1:59:13
  • “On the Road”: 1:59:14 – 2:07:32
  • Closing stuff: 2:07:33 – 2:10:08
  • Outro Music: 2:06:16 – 2:11:33

Bumper Music (with iTunes links) provided by:

Ram Jam
“Black Betty” (album: The Very Best of Ram Jam)
AND
Michael Jackson)
“Man in the Mirror” (album: Bad)


Track Row Three:

RSS Feeds (paste these URLs into your favorite RSS reader):

Cinecast (Andrew and Halfyard show)
After the Credits (Marina and Co.)
ALL the RowThree Podcasts on one feed
All posts and discussions from RowThree

Visit us on iTunes:


Stuff we looked at:

God Grew Tired of Us
The Betrayal
The Great Buck Howard
I Love You Man
House of Wax (3D) visit the Parkway
Patrick
• (Gamble‘s Review, Kurt‘s Review)
The New World (Extended cut)
Laws of Attraction
Son of Rambow
Sita Sings the Blues
– – see Sita Sings the Blues here
Sita’s title sequence (including the Indo-Techno mentioned) here.
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father


Watchmen:

Kurt’s review
Opening Credits Finite Focus
Dr. Manhattan Too Sexy
Andrew’s Zero Interest article


Top 5 “Hangin’ Out Movies”:

Matt:
5) Stalag 17
4) Roger Dodger
3) Sideways
2) Enemy Mine
1) Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Kurt:
5) Naked
4) Scarecrow
3) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
2) Coffee & Cigarettes
1) The Big Lebowski


“On the Road” with Andrew’s iPod segment:
Babylon A.D.
Andrew’s smile per mile quotient: .6

Blow
Andrew’s smile per mile quotient: .85

Cliff Curtis as Pablo Escobar
Cliff Curtis


DVD Pick(s) for Tuesday, March 10th:

Matt:
Let the Right One In

Blu-Ray
Role Models

Kurt:
Synecdoche, NY

Blu-Ray
Let the Right One In

Andrew:
Rachel Getting Married

Blu-Ray
Traffic

Miguel Ferrer Clifton Collins Jr.


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

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Goon
Guest

did Gamble only show up so he could be the person complaining?

I sense lame.

:/

Goon
Guest

all kidding on the square aside, Gamble's usually good on the show. But I hope he doesn't pull an O'Reillyish yelling over everyone again.

ralph
Guest

i love it when Gamble is on. he is like the color commentary. he adds another dimension and all three of the guys play well off of each other.

love The New World. can't wait to get my hands on the extended cut.

rot
Guest

Gamble's great keep him on, even though I entirely disagree with virtually everything he says.

There are those people who come to a film with a schemata of how a film should work, and each frame of the film will be filtered through this craft expectation. I'm not surprised Gamble had problems with the editing of Dear Zachary, he is that kind of person, the kind that needs everything in check before he allows the film to absorb him.

If you come to Dear Zachary wanting to be moved, you will be moved, the editing of the film operates so that one is following the content not the syntax, you go from experience to experience, and the editing is behaving like an extension of the ontological experience of bearing witness to this grief. It keeps pace with the emotions that rise in you as you encounter the story, it doesn't show any restraint for the sake of secondary concern of craft, its not there to win prizes, to be lauded by people who think of film as design more than art, its there to be felt. Its earnest, its sentimental, its indulgent, its exactly what it should be considering it is a film made by the best friend of the deceased.

In much the same way I thought Trouble the Water was the better documentary last year over Man on Wire, I will always take immediacy over craft, content over syntax, emotion over cool rationalization.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Great films are rarely perfect films. I think Dear Zachary does what it sets out to do in a very effective manner. Sure its biased towards one side, but it plays that to the maximum, making it a better film. The rhythms of the editing seem to be fundamental to the pictures effect. Wash out the manipulation, and what then?

It's a part of the fabric of the film. A Key Part.

Rusty James
Guest

@ Great films are rarely perfect films.

That's the way I feel about Tarnation and Synedoche,NY. S,NY is a mess, but it's a profound experience as well.

Goon
Guest

Listening to Matt and Kurt talk about Watchmen is like the Simpsons when the kids are at the focus group trying to tell them whats wrong with Itchy and Scratchy. They all know they want something different, but they are inconsistent and in fact, often contradictory, and also feel they should win things by watching 😛

seriously, you should listen to yourselves, gotta get the smoking back but cut the cat, gotta make it shorter but are mad X concept that happens 4 times in the book got put into one scene, generally wanting more diversion from the book but demanding the characters be the exact same, wanting more warmth and heart but also wanting it to be more cold and bleak. I mean geez.

Were you the guys complaining about Tom Bombadil being cut from LOTR but also wishing it was shorter? I mean, good thing you didnt read the Let the Right One In book otherwise we'd have another rampage about changes and themes, etc.

This isn't meant to be a pro-Watchmen defense, even though I'm very much pro-Watchmen, its just silly hearing you guys jump all over the place. When you nitpick things to such a huge degree there's a point where it all starts sounding like nonsense, and you actually even sound like bigger delusional fanboys or nerds than the people who would pull the Blade Runner thing.

_______

Son of Rambow is awesome. Listen, there's a zillion other movies that gave me the opposite of what I expected when watching them, it doesnt mean the movie sucks or that its even its fault. Just off the top of my head, look at In Bruges and Rules of Attraction, two movies that were sold as much lighter, happier romps. Do they suck for not being like the trailer, or do you just appreciate the movies for what they actually are?

Kurt
Guest

I've read Let the Right One in, the book. I think the filmmaker made all the right moves in adapting it to the screen, despite some major changes.

Perhaps the people behind Watchmen should have thought outside the box a little more (a la the opening credits, or the Dr. Manhattan finish, instead of just rigorously lighting panels from the graphic novel…

I went in with a number of talking points (well, see my written review), but it did degenerate to a 'bitch session' (or perhaps free-form-jazz-griping) I'll admit that The Watchmen segment on the show was probably the low point. Just read my review text…

Kurt
Guest

I wanted Watchmen to be more warm and more gritty, and well that is a roundabout way of saying -> MORE HUMAN. Except for Dr. Manhattan, these folks are supposed to be people…..not slaves to the framing and lighting and ramp-speed photography and .. etc. etc.

Rusty James
Guest

@ They all know they want something different, but they are inconsistent and in fact, often contradictory, and also feel they should win things by watching

But why do Matt & Kurt need to be consistent with one another? X can argue for more fidelity to source material while Y argues that they should've been willing to drop the source material.

I think it's fair to say the film serves two masters. It should've just picked one rather than serve both mediocre.

Also, I'm reading the original Hayter draft, which is a modern update of the story. Hayter's name is on the film but I think the script is mostly Alex Tse so it's pretty different. I'm about a 3rd done. I'll let you guys know.

Goon
Guest

"But why do Matt & Kurt need to be consistent with one another? X can argue for more fidelity to source material while Y argues that they should’ve been willing to drop the source material."

That isn't what happened, they both fell into the trap.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Wash out the manipulation, and what then?

You have a better movie. 🙂

If the director was named Michael Moore people would be throwing a shit fit over how one sided and manipulative this movie is. But because it is about nice old people people let the manipulation slide, and even funnier, laud the film for it.

Like that whole ridiculousness about the camera. My friend takes pictures? I never knew that. Obviously I never knew him. At all. Let me repeat that throughout the film, pounding my thesis into the proverbial ground.

My friend takes pictures? I never knew that. Obviously I never knew him. At all.

Or you can take the fiance's therapist plot line, which is brought up for one quick moment, then dropped until the very end of the film when the director rushes through to tie up all of his loose ends to resolve the film. Sure nothing about what was going on was ever explained, let alone explored, but that might overly complicate and otherwise simple and direct tale and gawd forbid I possibly ruin my easy to follow dramatic narrative and possibly leave my audience questioning just how this could have happened.

My friend takes pictures? I never knew that. Obviously I never knew him. At all.

Back, and to the left.

Back, and to the left.

Back and to the left.

Back, and to the left.

Repeating something over and over doesn't make it artistic. Doesn't lend to dramatic weight. Doesn't even mean you are right. But it sure as fuck is annoying.

My friend takes pictures? I never knew that. Obviously I never knew him. At all.

In much the same way I thought Trouble the Water was the better documentary last year over Man on Wire, I will always take immediacy over craft, content over syntax, emotion over cool rationalization.

Noise over expression. Irrationality over intelligence. Apples over oranges. May I subscribe to your newsletter?

They all know they want something different, but they are inconsistent and in fact, often contradictory, and also feel they should win things by watching

I'd agree with this. I had pretty low expectations with Watchmen, but what I got certainly wasn't something I enjoyed very much, but it did exceed my expectations. The whole film had a pretty uneven feel, and it made it difficult for me to really enjoy the movie for any length of time.

Were you the guys complaining about Tom Bombadil being cut from LOTR but also wishing it was shorter?

technically, if people wanted accuracy they would have wanted the films to be longer. The story does take place over the course of several years after all. True nerds wanted the movies in real time.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I'm also upset that I forgot Howard the Duck was coming out on DVD this week.

Marina
Guest

I fucking hate you guys. I quit.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

An unabashed lover of Rules of Attraction here. The movie is damn near perfect at what it does.

rot
Guest

Again, Matt, you are obsessed with how a story is told, how complex it is, how things look, rather than what is being looked at. If you started with what is being looked at, the how and why of the design of the film makes perfect sense, it does not aspire to be a great documentary, it aspires to recreate the awe and grief of someone encountering these events. It keeps its eye on the ball. Kurt (the director) did not know his best friend took photography, so he integrated that into the story (the story which is ultimately an intimate one from his perspective) and he repeated it ONCE for dramatic effect. How does that not make sense? If you had a story with so many strange legal quirks to it, and you were bombarded with this information, doesn't it seem an expected way to communicate that experience in film by presenting as a bombardment, with things being held up (like the therapist) until later on?

Your criticisms of Dear Zachary are fucked, Matt, because you are critiquing outside of its intent, like there is this ideal documentary filmmaking and the film is deviating from it in x,y and z ways. The film is carefully constructed to recreate the experience Kurt felt as these events happened around him… its about his effort to memorialize his best friend and as things changed, it became about him as subject encountering the events and the style of the documentary is geared towards embodying that experience. Its not verite, nor does it intend to be, its a carefully crafted recreation of the experience.

I would like to have seen the judge violently murdered onscreen but we suffice with her being ridiculed through the puppeting of her judgment, my god that is the least she deserved. There is nothing extraneous in this film because the emotions it conveys are justifiably indulgent. If this was about the food industry and the same indulgences were used it wouldn't make sense, they work here because this is a very personal document.

I suppose Tarnation was indulgent as well?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Gamble should be watching THE STAIRCASE, (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388644/)because it avoids all of these criticisms, however it has 6+ hours to do its job, whereas Dear Zachary has only 100 minutes.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Still haven't seen Zachary. May have to pick it up this weekend.

Love the love for Role Models. That sort of came and went with little fanfare but I liked it more than most of the other comedies I saw last year (including Forgetting Sarah Marshal & Pineapple Express). And I'm not surprised at the women cooing at I Love You, Man. There's a reason he made my Hot list. Yum.

And huzzah for Samberg love! I don't watch SNL but the guy is fucking gold.

rot
Guest

I can't find the staircase anywhere, Bay Video doesn't even have it.

Marina Antunes
Admin

Sounds like it's worth the purchase. Amazon's<img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=madaboutmovie-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000A1INIK&quot; width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

got it for $20.

murph
Guest

where did the time stamps go???

by the way, ROLE MODELS was good. very unexpected since i hate sean william scott. paul rudd and the Mclovin kid stole the show.

Marina Antunes
Admin

"paul rudd and the Mclovin kid stole the show." Agreed. And Scott has moments when he's good – mostly when he's not *trying* to be funny.

He's pretty good in "Walking Tall" too.

murph
Guest

i don't remember sean william scott in WALKING TALL???

Marina Antunes
Admin

My bad. I meant "The Rundown".

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

The Rundown. Rules

Marina Antunes
Admin

We agree on something? OMG.

Seriously though, my apologies. I saw both and Walking Talk is pretty craptacular compared to The Rundown.

Goon
Guest

Too tired to read Gamble's post, and if I feel like being a spiteful awful person (which I tend to be from time to time) I'll just ignore it.

Basically checked in to add on to the love for Role Models. It starts off kind of as you'd expect, a meh sex comedy, but it builds over time and has a proper payoff. A lot of modern comedies from the extended Apatow family (it's already too big to call it that at this point) start great and gradually kind of either get less funny, or maybe its better to say that they get a little more serious and/or sappy. Role Models doesn't do this, it gets better as it goes along.

It doesn't really match the Stella/State/Wet Hot/The Ten humor that Wain normally does, but that's not a bad thing. He does a good job here. Love the Stella guys.

Of the 3 stella guys though – who have strangely all been given a crack at directing a movie, I'd go with the Baxter by Michael Showalter first. Its less funny than Role Models, its very dry and the humor comes from how lame and straight a person can be, but Showalter is so lovable and good at that character, and Michelle Williams is too goddamn great. Michael Ian Black's Wedding Daze however… um…

I'm very surprised he wrote AND directed that movie, and then put fucking Jason Biggs and a bunch of other douches in it. Isla Fisher though, not bad. Yet as horrible as the movie seems to be on the package, its not as bad as I'd expect. Not good, but better than expected.

Goon
Guest

The Rundown is also good.

Seann William Scott is in a bunch of bad movies and may never get over the Stifler character, but I can see that he really is a pretty damn good actor – between especially Role Models and Promotion, you see he does that poor straightman schtick far more effectively than a Ben Stiller, and unlike Stiller, can actually be a jackass but still seem like an actual human being in the same movie.

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[…] Cinecast Episode 114 – The “Major League” Solution Tags: Dear Zachary, DVD, god grew tired of us, house of wax, I Love You Man, major league, movie, Movies, Patrick, Row Three, Row Three Cinecast, Sita Sings the Blues, Son of Rambow, The Great Buck Howard, Watchmen […]

Marina Antunes
Admin

Good call on The Promotion Goon. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie but I did like the performances from both Scott and Reilly.

And I'm glad you brought up David Wain. I'm sure you remember my huge hate on "The Ten" which I couldn't even finish but I loved Role Models to the point where I'm really interested to check out Wet Hot American Summer.

murph
Guest

agree. Scott is better suited in a role like THE PROMOTION rather than the bad boy, jackass type that people know him for.

Andreas
Guest

Do not buy the Let the right one in Release. The subtitles are really f… up.

http://iconsoffright.com/news/2009/03/let_the_wro

Goon
Guest

Everything Gamble says about Dear Zachary is absolutely correct. It is almost the opposite of The Staircase for me. The Staircase is around 6 hours long and it is one of the best edited ANYTHING I have ever seen – Dear Zachary is nothing BUT editing, raping the entire story, its technique over trauma – its the documentary version of Crash as far as I'm concerned.

There's embracing sentimentality, and then theres abusing it. Dear Zachary rapes sentimentalities corpse and then signs its name on it with its sperm, it has that little regard for common sense.

Spare me this bullshit about 'preconceptions about craft', rot. It's a decent movie on fast forward, an annoying child screaming "watch me dive!". I want to slap Kurt (the director) in the face and tell him to calm the fuck down, that his story is interesting but not interesting enough to demand that panic attack pace. he's a step away from getting the Micro Machines guy to narrate.

Goon
Guest

It really brings to mind immediately how I hate the editing pace of A Mighty Heart too, another movie rot loves.

I can deal with editing rhythms and pacing, but you have to earn it. Neither of these films does. I'm not attacking the technique, I'm not pooh-poohing a certain style of storytelling, I'm saying the choice to use it for THESE particular stories goes beyond simply incorrect into pure obnoxiousness at how much the directors insist on doing it this way.

Goon
Guest

I will take a step back and let you question everything I have written here by saying bluntly I did not watch the whole thing – I turned it off halfway through and I may not ever finish it. And I sit through everything. This director is so smarmy and childish and demanding every second is urgent and interesting that it made me dislike him more than the person who killed his friend. This isn't a person in shock, this is a person making conscious decisions with that narration and editing, and he's a douchebag for doing it.

Jonathan
Admin

"technique over trauma" – what in the world, Goon…

I think most people will admit that it isn't that well made of a documentary. It's downright sloppy (and maybe even obnoxious) at times. I think that has been discussed here on numerous occasions, although the fact that you are targeting in on that so much is almost comical in your excessive disdain for it.

The greatness of Dear Zachary lies in the story alone, which you don't understand because you didn't stick around to see how it all played out. You simply dipped your toes in the water. Despite what you say, to the majority of those who watched it, the story is interesting enough. You can ramble on about how you hate the editing and how it is like Crash or whatever nonsense, but since your stubbornness wouldn't permit you to sit through it to experience the entirety of the story, all I can say is that you really have no idea. Could it have been told as a short nonfiction piece instead of a documentary? Definitely, and it would have been just as effective, I think, because again, it is the story itself that really tugs on those emotional strings.

Goon
Guest

"The greatness of Dear Zachary lies in the story alone, which you don’t understand because you didn’t stick around to see how it all played out."

If someone took the Godfather and put a soundtrack of a baby screeching underneath it, you may not sit through the film. And its not your fault for not sticking around.

Goon
Guest

When Kurt wrote his review he wrote – "Kurt Kuenne has assembled it together with satisfyingly visceral editing techniques that should land him a job with Tony Scott some day."

Is that supposed to be a compliment?

Goon
Guest

anyways the point I'm trying to make at 7am in the morning is that it doesnt matter how great the story is – if someone puts enough obstacles in your way from enjoying it you're not going to finish it, and it may not be your fault.

It may be a pure matter of taste – "I dont like quick editing!" "I dont like horror movies!" "I dont like shakey cam!"

it may be a matter of developed opinion of how something like this is done right, or how often the technique is used…

I was pissed off last night because a hyped up movie I paid for sight unseen turned out to be something I couldnt even sit through. I tried to keep going after my rampage and its just not taking. The story isnt interesting enough to constantly barrage me with its technique.

I had a friend in art school who combined painting with collage, in a not entirely subtle, but controlled yet effective method. But compliments on this technique turned his style from a careful, considerate use of that style into a clusterfuck. I have to wonder if the director had a better documentary, but started messing around with editing, got some compliments, and then went crazy with retarded ambition.

Goon
Guest

Seriously though, what within the first half of this movie is tugging at you strongly enough to keep watching – simply to see what happens to the woman in Newfoundland, or do you actually have some heartstrings connection to the victims or the director?

Every time the director directly talks to Zachary, using clips of the kid asking why soandso has died, the way its cobbled together, I'm not feeling anything FOR these people, I'm only thinking about how calculatedly shrill the director is being, how much he's shouting at you what you're supposed to be feeling, to the point its actually disingenuous and even at times feels like phony outrage – even though its probably not! When you're this coldly manipulative, I picture the guy editing thinking more about how each decision will make his point or tug at people… when I can sense this is going on, my connection is just fading away, there's a distraction put up from the actual feature, the actual story, it becomes all about the director and his smarmy rage.

Perhaps I have ranted and been enough of an asshole for people on here to at times picture me behind my keyboard spazzing out my bullshit – well this is what I sensed about the director of Dear Zachary while watching it.

ralph
Guest

isn't that what documentaries are supposed to do?

Kurt
Guest

@Goon – "When Kurt wrote his review he wrote – Kurt Kuenne has assembled it together with satisfyingly visceral editing techniques that should land him a job with Tony Scott some day.Is that supposed to be a compliment?"

A little of A, a little of B, I generally disdain Tony Scott's Avid-wankery, but when it takes it to the extreme, a la DOMINO, I can get on board. It becomes such an integral part of the story telling in spite of its speedball ADD. In Dear Zachary, it is that extremity in the face of the story that makes it work. As you say, it isn't professional and smooth, it is its willingness to say 'look at me!' and 'I'm outraged' etc. etc. that makes it endearing (obviously your milage will vary). Unlike The Staircase which works as an intellectual exercise as it indulges in the lurid, Dear Zachary is going for the emotional response every time, keeping things moving and 'at 11' for the entire run-time. I had no issue with it, for this story that style works.

Taking Kuenne to task for 'making conscious decisions in the editing room is baffling' – isn't that what the editing of any film is? As pissed and sad as Kuenne was with the incidents, after spending hundreds of hours, I'm sure the craftsmen part of the filmmaking had to come into play as you saw the footage hundreds and hundreds of times while assembling. Weird criticims, Goon.

Goon
Guest

"Taking Kuenne to task for ‘making conscious decisions in the editing room is baffling’ "

I'm saying so often the choices are at odds with what he's presenting, that he does his editing goofarounds so frequently that instead of ingraining itself into the film naturallly, everything felt so amateurishly plastered on. I keep trying to come up with teh best possible analogy…

Its like someone handed me a very good album, but all the tracks have a person I know singing over top of it, or pause mid track and say 'here comes the good part'… Kuenne could have still used this style of editing throughout this movie and I would have been fine with it, but his decision to just throw everything anywhere, was so annoying that I shut off his movie.

Since my rampage last night i watched another 30 minutes, so I'm around 2/3 done – I know its near impossible to expect after that I was going to backtrack or admit anything, but either way I'm still just watching this thing completely disconnected from his story because he's more concerned with showing me how he can edit. he's made it a bigger priority than the story. there's ways to make your "expression" and opinion of whats going on known without ruining your movie, and this isnt it. At least when Morgan Spurlock obnoxiously makes himself the focus, he seems to be able to make that obnoxious glamorization of self seem like it was part of the point. Kuenne maybe was trying to make his self insertion part of the point, but at best its a gimmicky sideshow that is diverting your attention from the main attraction. Even American Teen's tacked on sideshows werent this grating.

Bottom line – the craft of this film annoyed the everylivingfuck out of me, and I'm doing my best to explain why. The director came across as whiny, self absorbed, shallow, attention starved, exploiting his friend and his friends son in ways that didnt affect me whatsoever. I felt Kuenne was insisting how I was supposed, to the point I was actually turned off and felt being spoken down to as a viewer.

If I liked this movie, I'd probably be put off at the angry guy who didnt even finish it too, but sorry – maybe you have a movie that just rubs you this way too, I dont know. This is it, I cant sit through this crap.

rot
Guest

" The director came across as whiny, self absorbed, shallow, attention starved, exploiting his friend and his friends son in ways that didnt affect me whatsoever."

dude, what movie were you watching, this is beyond baffling to me… whiny? what does he do that is whiny, and let's not forget this is a real event, his best friend was murdered, and he is making a film about him, these indulgences of sentimentality are 100% deserved.

I will admit the emotional punch doesn't actually hit me until midway through the film, that you are thrown in the middle of a relationship and there is naturally going to be a point of adjustment, as you learn about who died and what it means to the director.

and I will defend the craft of the film, as I did before, it is exactly what it needs to be. Dear Zachary recreates the experience of horrific events for people who knew the deceased, the story carries you along, words and images overlay each other all building upon an idea of a person (like Tarnation) and you stay focused because of the story (which frankly you didn't get to the best part of Goon).

Goon
Guest

"these indulgences of sentimentality are 100% deserved."

There's a limit – ever been in a political argument when you're talking about rights and someone wants to pull some trump card of a personal tragedy… or you're trying to tell someone at work they did something wrong and they pull out something tragic as a dramatic excuse? – "But my uncle is dead!"

But more specifically, the way he presented everything like I said, abused any right to sentimentality by overdoing the editing. the way he presented things made him look more like a phony drama queen putting on airs – than a genuinely sad person expressing himself on a genuine level.

With that in mind, I can't necessarily judge how people grieve, but I reserve the right to be annoyed by how people do it.

"Dear Zachary recreates the experience of horrific events for people who knew the deceased"

That didn't come through for me based on what I watched, it seems like it was more concerned with Kuenne's experience, which again, didn't seem real under the weight of all that editing. I dont like throwing the word 'self indulgent' around because in a lot of cases, I dont think its a fault. I think its a fatal fault here.

I can get to the 'best part' on wikipedia apparently, without Kuenne's bullshit. For a good crime documentary that is meant to make you mad, I still recommend people hook up with the Staircase or Murder on a Sunday Morning instead.

rot
Guest

Dear Zachary is first and foremost a eulogy from a best friend. so again, this idea that it whiny, its not whiny, its earnest. there's a difference…

maybe you could walk into a eulogy in a church or funeral parlor and take your schemata analysis and go to town on it, I see it as a priviliged place to emote, to indulge, and it can never be TOO indulgent, because it is a personal expression between intimates.

This is why I keep calling out bullshit with regards to these craft first observations… you misunderstand what Dear Zachary aims to be.

if it is overly sentimental, it is SUPPOSED to be, thats not a cheat either… fuck everything has to live up to this textbook idea of what film should be and I am so tired of hearing this brought up, you need to appreciate that this is not like Super Size Me, it has a different aim, you can't equate the two anymore than you could equate the sentimentality between a political speech and a eulogy… its meaningless punditry.

Goon, would you accept any eulogizing documentary that was overly sentimental? Is it about how badly this film did its eulogizing, or does the whole idea of a film that so relentless aspires to give a personally indulgent account of events repel you?

ralph
Guest

this is a dumb argument. it barely is even making sense. you don't feel any emotions because of his editing style? because his particular editing makes you think he cares more about himself than his dead friend?

ralph
Guest

it is meant to be a tear jerker.

of course, it has an agenda too, but it is a movie that can make a guy cry and feel okay about. how this movie plays out it ever man's worst nightmare.

Goon
Guest

"Dear Zachary is first and foremost a eulogy from a best friend."

I have to go back again to simply stating that his editing makes everything else seem like a hollow gimmick. if its a eulogy, its putting on a show and doesnt feel right… again… i guess its a judgment or at least an annoyance with the way this guy grieves. the way me grieves makes me think he's a douchebag, and he doesnt get any privilege out of it because he's still making a film and he's still telling a story.

so as much as im poking fun of the sentimentality, maybe if it actually DID feel earnest and not just drama queen douchey, i'd forgive it? I dont know, but that editing obscures everything… soo…

"Goon, would you accept any eulogizing documentary that was overly sentimental?"

The Lila Lipscomb parts of Fahrenheit 9/11 are ridiculously sentimental as they trumpet her son and her pain. Without some of the war footage and those scenes I dont think the movie would have had any acclaim even then. Her scenes are easily the best part of the movie to me. I'd have to think a bit to come up with another documentary that eulogizes anywhere. Capturing the Friedmans could draw some comparisons, but its not the same.

"Is it about how badly this film did its eulogizing, or does the whole idea of a film that so relentless aspires to give a personally indulgent account of events repel you?"

I've said before that I embrace bombast, so that should go for a film eulogy as well. I can only believe at least today that it was this particular case, and that a more adept filmmaker could have put together an aggressively edited eulogy film.

rot
Guest

I guess it comes down to, a film isn't manipulative if it works. and in your case Goon, something in your psychosis is at odds with the story and how it is told. I suspect there is a type of person that doesn't like to be coaxed to feel or think things (the first whiff of being coaxed and his/her mind can only focus on the effort). This film doesn't shy away from its effort, it doesn't try and conceal what it is doing, you say its calculated but if it was, wouldn't it try and hide these indulgences? no, it says fuck it, this is what I felt, this is the people that felt things to, this is our story and this is our experience and every single filmmaking decision is dictated by that… when they are sad, you see it, when they are angry, you see it, when they are lost and hopeless, you see it.

I could give a shit about the techniques that get you there, and I don't mind someone putting their hand on my shoulder as they try and convey their loss, my psychosis doesn't flare up, its not a competition, the film gods need not be offended, I just listen to the story, and everything else is atmosphere.

Goon
Guest

"you don’t feel any emotions because of his editing style? because his particular editing makes you think he cares more about himself than his dead friend?"

Pretty much.

I'm not saying he doesnt care about his dead friend, but at some point theres a gimmickiness that ruins everything. I mean, again look at Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me has an agenda, but Spurlock makes himself enough of a show that you can question how deeply he cares about the issue.

rot
Guest

the Kurt film recommendation I do take issue with somewhat is Time Crimes.

caught it last night and was underwhelmed. Will do a capsule review probably but in the arena of time travel stories it doesn't break much ground, and actually doesn't make much sense if you think about it. as an independent genre film it I guess is better than normal but still, Kurt you are not seeing the right Time Travel stories.

Goon
Guest

you may have skipped past it Andrew, but since my first blowhard rant I watched the 2nd third. I know what happens, and it didnt change anything for me, if anything, it made me more strongly believe the setup was crass, gimmicky, douchey.

Goon
Guest

Giving extra credit to indie genre is part of Kurts m.o., rot, you know it 😛

I just know if I make a low budget comic book movie that has "ideas", I'm gonna get a pass from Mr. Halfyard, even if I rip off Robocop, have my villain have the same powers as the protagonist, and am an hour too long. 😛

Goon
Guest

I will admit you can't really rip on someone outwardly grieving and not get some douche on yourself as well.

rot
Guest

I think that is why I was dubious at first at Kurt's constant praise of Let the Right One In, because he has blinders for that kind of film, but he was right on that one.

Kurt
Guest

indie is a genre? Who knew?

If it seems I praise Indie films just for the sake of them being small and struggling, allow me to illuminate on the fact that all the tiny little movies that I see and don't like, I simply don't write about or talk about. So, hmmm, what you see splashed on blogs is the stuff worth mentioning. Not quite the same thing as praising ONLY due to indie.

I'm not going to throw out a big list of indie flicks I've seen at festivals and whatnot that are absolute garbage, but I assure you the list is long.

rot
Guest

no, indie + genre films, essentially anything from Fantasia film festival… but like I said, you were right about Let the Right One In, so our tastes match up occassionaly in this area.

Goon
Guest

most of that is teasing Kurt, but I think you can be swayed by things more easily depending on the environment it came from.

I've heard you nitpicking on major movies over things that indie genre films get away with in spades. The bad CGI in LTROI would not go unscathed if it came from a studio, even if it were a mediocre budget 😛 – I remember you hyping up Right At Your Door and Behind the Mask when they came out… man, those were both pretty brutal, its hard to imagine what you saw in those.

Goon
Guest

Since I'm somehow waiting for Jay to show up and tell me why I'm an idiot about Dear Zachary, I'm hoping he'll doubleshot in and rip on Behind the mask, because if I remember right he was not impressed whatsoever either. I'm not the best to comment in general since I dont care for horror movies usually anyways.

RAYD was rather boring in general and the execution seemed pretty amateurish.

Rusty James
Guest

No one who saw Behind The Mask outside of some "fun" festival environment likes it. Literally, no one. It's an awful film borderline unwatchable film. You should be embarrassed for liking it.

John Allison
Editor

I saw it outside of a festival environment… the 6 or so people that I showed it to liked it so there!

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Actually pairing up RayD and BtM is interesting because I believe they interact in a fun 'think-about-it' way while you are watching it. It is as much about 'what would I do' as it is about 'what is going to happen next' – Not enough movies do this. TIMECRIMES is another one of these 'interacts with the audience in unique ways'

There is your answer, of sorts.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I believe the phrase for being 'swayed' by the festival atmosphere is also called "Breathing the Park City Air"

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

We're all agreed on pi & primer though. Smart and crafted indie genre flicks. Are we?

rot
Guest

yeah but Time Crimes makes no sense, or I am missing something… which I think I must be because the opening scene goes absolutely nowhere from my reading.

Primer and Pi are great.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Time Crimes is like a really great Twilight Zone episode, character stuff don't matter, it's all about the premise and the execution of the premise.

I'll have to sit down with that one again, as I don't recall the opening, other than the main character coming home with groceries or something…

rot
Guest

this is NOT a Time Crimes spoiler:

the film begins in a parking lot, driving up to the house and the groceries fall out… that whole credit sequence, I got to wonder what that was there for.

everything else is self-contained but it makes no logical sense, I know why narratively it was done, but its pretty sloppy, more pulpy than something like Primer for sure.

Goon
Guest

"We’re all agreed on pi & primer though. Smart and crafted indie genre flicks. Are we?"

Saw Pi almost 10 years ago now on VHS and dont remember anything about it anymore. Need to revisit that.

Primer is boring as fuck if you don't care about the work they put into the time travel theory. That's all the movie is – theory, the story supporting it is not there.

Rusty James
Guest

@ That’s all the movie is – theory, the story supporting it is not there.

That's what's cool about it. It's a movie about physics by engineering nerds, the type of people who are usually complaining that a movie doesn't make sense (I usually loathe those types) step up and make the film they're always advocating for. Their single-minded pursuit of sound time travel principals borders on autism and demands an unhealthy amount of concentration by the audience. But if you put in the effort it succeeds at being the time travel movie no hollywood screenwriter ever would have even attempted.

It's a classic case of outsiders re-inventing the wheel because they didn't know any better.

Rusty James
Guest

re: podcast.

Goon's right, Matt talks himself full circle on Watchmen. He goes from "all the deviations are bad" to "they should've deviated more".

Rusty James
Guest

@ everyone hates it,

Kurt liked it. And Goon loved it. Is this part of your April Fools joke?

John Allison
Editor

"By all accounts from EVERYONE so far on this site talking about it, it is mediocre at absolute best and shitty shitty bang bang at worst."

Sorry, to say I really enjoyed it also. I'll watch it again before I watch The Dark Knight again.

Marina Antunes
Admin

@ "I’ll watch it again before I watch The Dark Knight again."

I didn't love Watchmen but I complete agree with this sentiment.

Rusty James
Guest

I watched DK twice this weekend. Hadn't seen it since it was in the theater. It is a great film, my esteem of it has only increased.

Even the kind of shakey bits work well in context. The stuff on the boat is an obvious canidate for something to cut. But I love how the movie manages a transition from super hero antics to a film about the soul of Gotham City. From Batman, to his inner circle, to the everyday citizen of Gotham; the scope of the story continually expands. The boat stuff definitely slows the pacing of the final action sequence, but it cements this important thematic transition.

As an action film (it's the best action film of the past ten years or so). As a film about human beings and how they react in times of uncertainty and in pretty much every other imaginable way DK is far superior to Watchmen.

Rusty James
Guest

I just listened to the podcast dude. He raved about Jackie Earl Haley, raved about the opening credits. Overall he was pretty forgiving of the flaws (much more so than I). He was ready to see it twice.

You'd have to parse his review through a pretty opaque filter to deny that it's overall positive.

So the Bill Murray thing was your April Fools joke.

Rusty James
Guest

@ I didn’t love Watchmen but I complete agree with this sentiment.

You people are all outa yer fuckin' minds.

Goon
Guest

"Goon loved it?"

There is no true consensus on Watchmen, except for universal love of the intro and Jackie Earl Haley. From person to person there are different kudos and complaints.

I bought the Tales from the Black Freighter DVD, even though the pirate comic is my least fave part of the graphic novel. I got it more for Under the Hood, which is actually live action with the same actors of the film, runs 40 minutes. Under the Hood on the other hand is one of my favorite parts of the graphic novel. Looking forward to that. Fans of the movie say its pretty damn great, and seeing as I'm a fan… sold.

Rusty James
Guest

@ There is no true consensus on Watchmen

It was an odd point for Andrew to make. Or at least an odd way of making whatever point it was. "Most people didn't love it… so it shouldn't have been made… and it's unfilmable… so everyone should stop talking about it"

Complaining that it's unfilmable is particularly odd since he hasn't seen the movie OR read the book. Which part that he's unfamiliar with did he hear second hand was translated poorly?

But I guess we're supposed to stop talking about it.

God help us if it gets a criterion release.

Rusty James
Guest

When I said Kurt liked it… for some reason I remembered him giving it 3 stars. But I just looked it up and he doesnt assign it a rating at all. I guess I overstated his regard for it.

But he did have a lot of positive things to say about it. And Andrew is overstating this site's low opinion of it. I think Gamble and I (the biggest fans of the comic) are the only people who really came out against it.

Kurt
Guest

To clarify on Watchmen, I'm exactly 50% on it. Lots of stuff to like in there, some real stuff to loathe, but I'll agree that it is one of the major film-cultural touchstones for 2009, and Andrew is a fool for 'completely writing it off' – I'd take 1000 Watchmens over 1 Ironman.

Kurt
Guest

I'm just paying you back in kind for the Bill Murray poking in the other thread. Watchmen will play better in the theatre than on the small screen though.

Jay C.
Guest

Pretty late to this one.

Goon…you are an idiot. Get your head out of your ass.

Regarding Behind the Mask…probably my least favourite film of that year. It's the kind of 'intelligent' filmmaking that's easy to do. It's the slasher equivalent to Fanboys. (Full disclosure: I haven't seen Fanboys.)

Rusty James
Guest

I don't get yer Bill Murray joke at all. It's exactly the same sort of shit we all get into every day on here.

I didn't find it to be any more outlandish than loving BTM or anything you've said about Watchmen. I mean, complaining that I book you haven't read is "unfilmable"? That's actually funny, but apparently you were being serious.

Rusty James
Guest

@ I didn’t make the comment.

your just wrong.

@ It’s because it’s an unfilmable movie and should never have been made.

see.

Rusty James
Guest

Andrew, you're the only person I know who complains that people take your words in context.

Andrew James:

It’s because [many who've read the book believe it to be] an unfilmable movie and [therefore the argument could be made that it] should never have been made [but I'll have to see for myself].

…Is obviously how my comment should be read. Start putting words in my mouth! Or alternately stop putting my actual words in your ear.

If you have a problem with any of that please google "pulling shit out of your ass" + "unfilmable"

swarez
Guest

Are we still talking about Watchmen? When are people going to start talking about it as the first bomb of this year?

It's stupid to say that the book is unfilmable, especially when the book is in a visual medium, but I'm guessing people were thinking that the film would be around 90 minutes. The book is very filmable indeed and probably should have been done as a TV series instead.

It will be very interesting to see the even longer version on DVD.

Goon
Guest

watched "Under the Hood" from the Watchmen disc. It was solid, done as a fake old news program you'd see on PBS, well done, takes care of the 'unfilmable' sidebars of Watchmen creatively. But I can see why its a feature on a disc that is focused more on the animated pirate comic. It's not a standalone 'short film' – its just a damn good bonus taking care of the rest of the comic with the same sort of 'canon' film techniques of the movie.

So if you at least found the movie interesting, you could find worse ways to spend your time than with that 40 minute feature 😛

Henrik
Guest

Instead of buying several discs to get the stuff, I recommend you buy the book and just read it, since you will get everything they're overcharging you for on the discs, plus whatever they couldn't push.

Goon
Guest

Thanks for assuming I don't have the book. Don't be an ass.

Henrik
Guest

Oh I didn't mean to address you personally, just in generel. I would take you for someone who had the book already.

Kurt
Guest

Besides, with all the printing of Watchmen's Trade Paperback edition for the movie, it is pretty easy to find it for sub $20. So yea, Agreed with Henrik.

But I must admit, for the strangeness of the overall Watchmen thing, I'll but the fully loaded Special edition which will include the Pirate stuff and Under the Hood, all in one (probably cheap) package, at some point…

swarez
Guest

Now the longer cut of the film, does anyone know what they intend to put in it, are they going to put the Black Freighter in?

Goon
Guest

^ I don't think so… I would imagine they would pad a bit more of Silk Spectre and her mom, more of Rorschach's back story (as it is, the uninitiated may think his mask is made out of magic and not a specific cloth) and for me, I want a bit more time over at the New Frontiersman..

Goon
Guest

doh – also, spending more time with Dr Manhattan alone on Mars as he ruminates about time would be good.

Henrik
Guest

I want the ending to make sense. I would also like Rorscach to make sense. And I would like for Dr. Manhattan to have a conversation with Veidt at the end, instead of his stupid girlfriend.

Now, where could I get all this? Hmm…

Matt Gamble
Guest

I can't wait for Andrew to state that Watchmen is one of Moore's minor works. Or that From Hell is his masterpiece, or even that MiracleMan was the filet of his earlier works.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I’ll but the fully loaded Special edition which will include the Pirate stuff and Under the Hood, all in one (probably cheap) package, at some point…

Same here. I think the full length "Director's Cut" or whatever they will call it stands a good chance of being a pretty decent film. It'll be interesting to see if they still release it in theaters as well.

Kurt
Guest

I'd say chances of a real theatrical release (i.e. greater than 100 screens) of any lengthened version of Watchmen fall around the snowball in hell variety. But, there may be a few prints struck that travel to comic book conventions and some rep cinemas and other bookings of that type.

There were some prints struck of the Japanese Batman: Gotham Knights, and the one I saw looked great on the big screen.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Yeah, I doubt it sees much of a release either. But even if their are a few prints struck it is movie I would definitely go see in theaters without a second thought.

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