Cinecast Episode 171 – Spiffed Up Stuffy Stuff

 
Waxing (on, and off) nostagic this week with glossy summer product. Two remakes from the heady cheese days of the 1980s dominated the multiplex last weekend: Will Smith Jr. in The Karate Kid and flying tanks in The A-Team. Contrary to what we say in the show it does not get very “spoilerific” at all; if you are over 30, these two films are more or less beyond that (your mileage may vary). Gamble has a quick take on the upcoming weekends behemoth Toy Story 3, from the perspective of someone (perhaps the only one) who didn’t like Toy Story 2. Kurt talks at length on The Duplass’ brother’s Cyrus which also opens this weekend in a few cities. Furthermore, in an ongoing behind-the-curve look at pop-cultural phenomenon LOST, Kurt continues to moan about the bad drama and stalling nature of the narrative, but does praise the heck out of the Season 2 closer and the Season 3 opener (there are *spoilers* ahoy in that conversation, be warned). Rounding out the show are DVD picks, a few other tangents – anyone up for Chinese cultural imperialism, or Communism vs. Fascism in 80s trash? How to parse TV awards shows? Ron Mann’s choice of having comic book authors read lengthy portions of their books on screen? Fashion Fan Boys? Oh, and another round of the piracy, file sharing, copyright debate ensues.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_171.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_171-alt.mp3

 
 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…


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IN-HOUSE BUSINESS:

– – If you prefer the show without the background music, download this alternative version. Same content, sans bells and whistles:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_171-alt.mp3

– – Movie Club Podcast (new episode should be posted by sometime on Friday 6/18)


MAIN REVIEWS:
The A-Team (IMDb)
The Karate Kid (IMDb)


OTHER REVIEWS:
Toy Story 3 (Andrew’s review)
Cyrus (sneak review)


WHAT ELSE WE WATCHED:
“LOST” (season 2 + a bit of Season 3)
Nerdcore Rising
Comic Book Confidential
The September Issue
Steal this Film
Steal this Film II


DVD PICKS:
        Andrew:
Family Guy [vol 8] (IMDb)

       

Kurt:
Collapse
(Rot’s review)

       

Matt:
Youth in Revolt
(IMDb)

BLU RAY:
        Andrew:
Book of Eli
(Kurt’s review)

        Kurt:
Book of Eli
(Kurt’s review)

        Matt:
I only have an Xbox 360.


OTHER DVDs NOW AVAILABLE:
Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black
When In Rome
Unthinkable
Darkman
[Blu-ray] Flash Gordon (1980) [Blu-ray] Enter the Dragon [Blu-ray]


OTHER STUFF MENTIONED:
Matt Gamble’s Book (on sale next week!)


NEXT WEEK:
Toy Story 3
Jonah Hex
Ondine


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

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Emma Jeanmarie
Guest

Rad little Cinecast summary…"heady cheese" indeed!

rot
Guest

someone really needs to put the first scene of Baghead on Youtube… I wasn't much of a fan of the film as a whole, but the first scene is a hilarious meta-moment about mumblecore movies.

rot
Guest

the shit I like from early Season 3 Lost is everything on Hydra. Not Hurley and the Jeep and jack and the tattoo (which is after all the Hydra stuff). You are all still crazy.

Kurt
Guest

Well, other than the 'spinal surgery' stuff, I thought all the stuff on HYDRA was pretty swell. particularly the introduction of the island and and its village in the first episode of S3. That they had sort of killed all the awesome by the 4th episode (or at least, radically muted it) was kinda disappointing. But I'm still keen on finishing season 3 and the rest of the shows episodes.

Antho42
Guest

I am bit worry about Jay Cheel, due to Matt Gumble's blatant obsession with him. Jay, never drink a beverage offered by Gamble, since it might lead to…

rot
Guest

The spinal surgery is awesome… when it was on tv there was a long hiatus at that cliffhanger and I think its everything after that episode that goes downhill, a slump more in the middle of the season than the beginning. Watching a character who is methodically in control lose control and in a way I didn't see coming, right at the moment that things are going Empire Strike's Back at the cages, the music ratcheting up the tension, in my mind it doesn't get better than that. The show is rarely as focused on characters on the island as they are right then, there feels like stakes, its not jumping around between so many characters just the central ones. And I don't care what you say Kurt, Jack is awesome.

Matt Gamble
Guest

Jay, never drink a beverage offered by Gamble, since it might lead to…

Too late. Jay already suckled on my Dr Pepper for an entire weekend.

rot
Guest

Some LOST Season 3 spoilers

just so we are exactly on the same page, what I am talking about is 6 of the first 8 episodes, ending with Flashes Before Yours Eyes, and everything except the Echo episodes… so mostly the Hydra stuff. Expose, Tricia Tanaka is Dead (Hurley), Stranger in a Strange Land, where the show is definitely treading water, that is AFTER the Hydra stuff. The Hydra stuff is not filler, you are setting up two of the most interesting characters on the show and genuinely building upon the central love triangle in a way that breathes more than anytime during the show. Andrew rewatch Jack and Kate talking through the glass wall, or Kate telling Sawyer to fight back, or Sawyer trying to hide the truth about the island they are on from Kate to give her hope, show me another instance in the show where this same story hits that sense of emotional stakes. Then you also have Ben conning Sawyer and the great line by Ben "You're a pretty good con man, Sawyer, but we're a lot better". A build-up of Ben's control that is turned over in the surgery. Juliet with the tv, Jack getting Mr Friendly's attention mid-surgery "now give me that walkie-talkie" and I am sorry, Jack sacrificing himself for his friends to escape in the way its done, in the need for Kate to recall the story he told her the first time they met, it is everything working at once.

There was a drop off in ratings when this aired because it is so different from what came before, and frankly what came before sucked. A certain segment of the audience wanted episodes where the sole function was Jack finding water, and liked the Survivor fetishism of beach life and all of a sudden you are a prison story and questions are multiplying fast. What comes after this is only for the most patient, geekiest fans of mystery, the audience has to thin out.

Mike Rot
Member

here is an example of what I am talking about:

<object width="480" height="269"><param name="movie" value="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xwwsb?width=480&theme=none&foreground=%23F7FFFD&highlight=%23FFC300&background=%23171D1B&start=&additionalInfos=0&autoPlay=0&hideInfos=0&colors=background%3A171D1B%3Bforeground%3AF7FFFD%3Bspecial%3AFFC300%3B"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/video/xwwsb?width=480&theme=none&foreground=%23F7FFFD&highlight=%23FFC300&background=%23171D1B&start=&additionalInfos=0&autoPlay=0&hideInfos=0&colors=background%3A171D1B%3Bforeground%3AF7FFFD%3Bspecial%3AFFC300%3B&quot; width="480" height="269" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></embed></object>Vitre Jack Kate I doUploaded by Total-smallost.

Mike Rot
Member

and this:

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/FXfZCTWUF50&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/FXfZCTWUF50&hl=en_US&fs=1&&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

Mike Rot
Member

and the infamous surgery

<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/RUxn9zbD9K0&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/RUxn9zbD9K0&hl=en_US&fs=1&&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>

Jandy
Guest

Kurt, you need to finish Lost so I can air my grievances about the finale – I think we'll be on the same page about a lot of it. I didn't hate the flashbacks as much as you do, but I do think there were way too many of them and they took up way too much time. I have bigger issues with the retconning that you touched on (and I'm sure people will say that at some points I just wasn't paying enough attention to catch the foreshadowing, and they're right – I lost investment in the characters in S3 and didn't really get it back, so often watched the show as background noise while doing other stuff). But they do far too much of "oh, this is the really important thing….oh, actually, no it's not, look at this new shiny thing we've got" for my taste. It got to where I couldn't take any of it seriously and I never believed anything they were doing was anything more than a giant red herring. Okay, that's enough for now – more and I'll get spoilery.

Matt, granted I haven't seen The Karate Kid (either one, actually, but that's neither here nor there for this comment), but I had to laugh at your whole Communist thing. The whole "everything's connected, things working together thing" in terms of martial arts isn't political, it's based on like every single Eastern religion going back thousands of years. Maybe Kurt equating militarism with fascism is a slight stretch (though not that much, and I'm relatively conservative politically), but equating Communism with tenets of Buddhism/Confucianism/Taoism/etc. and with making Beijing look pretty is, to quote you, "ridiculous." 🙂 But that entire segment made me bust out laughing while stuck on the 10 freeway in rush hour LA traffic, so I'll give you props for that.

On the auteur theory stuff, I've always thought the auteur theory works best as one approach out of many, and as a general guide rather than as a set of hard and fast theoretical rules. One statement that gets thrown around in auteur theory intro texts (can't remember who said it now, someone else might know, and this is a paraphrase) is basically "the worst film by an auteur is better than any film by a non-auteur," which I think is one of the silliest things ever said by anyone UNLESS you interpret "better" as "more interesting to study from an academic perspective." And even that might not work if there are other interesting points of view to bring to the non-auteur film in question, as there likely are. Anyway, if you get into the nitty gritty of "but is the director actually responsible for this, or is the cinematographer/writer/source material/etc," then yeah, it gets complicated and may start to fall apart, but that doesn't mean that the theory has no purpose or interest. In fact, I think the fact that Coens work with Deakins over and over or that Scorsese usually has Schoonmaker as his editor or that Wes Anderson often casts the Wilson brothers is an auteur choice and choosing what source material to use or which people to work with is part of what gives their films auteur status. On the other hand, when the theory was originally conceived, it was applied to directors who had very little control over any of those things, and still managed to have recurring themes or motifs; in a way directors now have much more control and it's much easier to construct an auteur argument for the Coens or Scorsese because they actually have the ability to feed their own auteurdom, which studio-era directors didn't as much. Of course, if you take the auteur theory as originally postulated by Truffaut, he didn't just require a recognizable thread running through a filmography, but specific types of themes and cinematic approaches that set directors apart from the "cinema of quality" style that he felt stilted French cinema in the '40s and '50s. The auteur theory has never been clean and precise, and I think it actually works better that way.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

I'm liking what you have to say about the Auteur Theory, Jandy, because I'm more or less on the same page. To quote: "no model is 100% accurate, but some models are useful" and when talking movies, the auteur can often fit the bill.

On Lost, I'm pushing along with Season 3 and it is getting better as it reveals more of Othersville and such. I'm liking it, but that EXPOSE (diamond thief show) plays as a one-off Twilight Zone episode rather than doing anything to drive the story forward. It's filler, but in all fairness occasionally fun in a silly sort of way – even if you want to play 'spot-the-RETCON' during that episode. It's shoehorning at its best and NOWHERE near as good as the other 'island-flashbacks' – Maternity Leave (Claire) and The Other 44 Days (Tailies) or even Michael's eventual return near the end of season two.

Hurley has a hilarious auto-critical line about the Invisible Monsters in the Jungle and the Hatch Explosion and all the other local craziness – something to the effect of, I don't care unless it is right in front of me, one thing at a time (dude). Which is baffling, but it is how Lost tends to treat it's not-quite-immanent threats in favour of its shiny new narrative toys. For all the praise of the show and long term plot, it still has serious ADD. Still The Other Camp, and any reveals of other Hatches and whatnot are when the show is behaving at its best. Thankfully, the flashbacks seem to be getting short (less than 50% of screen time now) and the Island geography/threats/Others stuff is getting to dominate the material.

Mike Rot
Member

Lost is not a show you can half-watch in the background, especially with the culmination of the finale and expect to have it mean much. It took me a week or two and a lot of reading online to get to a point of understanding much of what it meant… I think that is to the detriment of the storytellers. I am not a proponent of the argument Lost is great because it makes you work so hard, that goes up to a point. I think the fault is some retconning, but a surprising amount of it isn't, and can be sourced back and worked on, but you really have to dig and piece together yourself.

Matt Gamble
Guest

but equating Communism with tenets of Buddhism/Confucianism/Taoism/etc. and with making Beijing look pretty is, to quote you, “ridiculous.”

Oh that's more to annoy Kurt, especially since he loves to claim how fascist Red Dawn is and then doesn't apply that same kind of filter to movies he likes. Karate Kid is clearly being made to act as an advertisement for China (Smith is at one point walking around in a t-shirt with the People's Liberation Army symbol on it, WTF?) and by China's very controlled and manipulative nature with the media that should bring about some pause when someone like Kurt watches the film.

But I guess he was mesmerized by CGI Smith spinning around like a top.

Jandy
Guest

I don't mind a show making me work to put pieces together; I mind it not being interesting while doing so, and not carrying through on the things I thought were interesting and instead focusing on the things I thought were the most mundane and shunting storylines off into something all but unrelated. I watched every episode, but by S3-4, I wasn't invested enough in it to care about keeping track of continuity even from week to week. And you can say that's my fault and sure, it partially is, but they also lost my trust and though they succeeded at doing interesting things after S3, they never succeeded at keeping everything coherent enough for me to feel it worth my time to rationalize it into coherence. I just went along for the ride after that, which is fine, but by this season I was only still watching because I'm a completionist (and it was ending soon – if I hadn't known this would be the last season, I would've stopped).

Jandy
Guest

Matt, I knew you were mostly doing it to rib Kurt, which is why I figured you wouldn't mind when I said it made me laugh. 🙂 On the other hand, Kurt has a point that making an advertisement for something is a very capitalistic move, so…. "Come to China, spend your tourist money here" may be a political subtext on the part of Chinese government funding the movie, but it's not a communist one, according to the THEORY of communism, anyway. Whereas building an army and taking out everyone who stands against you is consistent with the THEORY of fascism. Of course, it's not hard to argue that communism in practice in the USSR and China sometimes has more in common with fascism (in theory) than it does with communism (in theory). But I'm not really knowledgeable enough about politics or political theory to continue in this conversation, so yeah. It made my commute better. That's all.

Matt Gamble
Guest

12 kids in the woods is hardly an army. I think Kurt's true point is the glorification of the military is a tenet of Fascism, but then why isn't he harping on other pro-military films? Red Dawn isn't even the most egregious offender of even the sub-sub-genre of children going of to war (Hello Iron Eagle you magnificent bastard!). And I'd even argue that fellating the military is hardly something solely engaged by Fascist countries/rulers/auteurs, nor is building armies.

I think more its just Kurt wanting to scream out "FASCIST!" whenever he gets the chance. Next time I'm tossing a coffee mug at him.

Mike Rot
Member

not your thing, Jandy, I can totally understand. I was with Battlestar until the last season or two and it got awful, went in a direction I didn't want it to go. To each their own.

Jandy Hardesty
Admin

Well, "fascist" is a fun word to say.

Mike, yeah, I loved Battlestar right the way through. I didn't like how they finished Starbuck's arc, but other than that I even liked the finale. Every time BSG changed focus, it felt like it was getting into murkier ethical questions and expanding what we knew about the Cylons and organically opening our minds to new possibilities. It was only right at the end that it seemed like they were grasping to finish everything off, and they had written themselves into a bit of a corner with a couple of things that turned out awkward, but by and large, I liked every shift BSG made. Whenever Lost changed focus, it felt like they couldn't figure out how to resolve any storylines and started a new one instead. I'm gonna try to rewatch Lost at some point and see if it gains coherence for me, but I dunno. I can't say I'm looking forward to it.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Rot/Jandy: I also gave up on BSG after the season3. It's too bad, because the shows high-points are pretty high. But when they got all plot and melodrama heavy and the show became 'who's a cylon?' I lost interest.

Gamble: Trust me, I spend time harping on egregiously war-fantasy films like Top Gun (and yea Iron Eagle), a lot of Michael Bay's filmography qualifies too. Give Me The Thin Red Line or The Big Red One, hell, Paths Of Glory or Inglorious Basterds any day of the week.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

And, gamble, you don't think I draw enough water in this town?

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Kurt
Guest
Kurt Halfyard
Admin

From a reader-email on the censorship of the Karate Kid remake (titled Kung Fu Kid in china):

I didn’t see the American version, but I just saw the Chinese version (which is rightfully titled The Kung Fu Kid) thru torrent and I really dug it. From this short article, apparently the Chinese govt deleted 7-8 mins. I’m not sure I completely agree with this blogger about the drastic change in themes, but they did cut out the excessive violence and the kissing scene between 12 yr olds.

https://shandongxifu.wordpress.com/2010/07/24/chi

Also, there’s obviously no English subtitles in this version. But it really only affected one scene in the movie for me…the scene when Jaden speaks Mandarin to the girl’s father. Other than that, the lack of subtitles fit Jaden’s foreigner in a foreign land predicament.

After listening to Gamble’s epic rant on the movie and the entire country of China for the second time, ironically I think he may like the “communist censored” version more than the over-the-top American version.

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