Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scott's Links August 2012

Scott roams the internet far and wide to ply his trade as a link dealer. Fortunately, Scott provides links free to us. Check these out. . . share your thoughts! And away we go. . .

Did 12 Angry Men get it wrong?

Andrew, this one's for you. I know the subject has come up before and I'd love to get your take on this (LawHawk's, too). This article suggests that, among other things, there are just too many coincidences, not to mention Fonda's character would've been disqualified for having done his own independent research (the business with the knife).

How appeasing a global audience is making Hollywood movies weaker

I rarely care about Hollywood politicking but this trend disturbs me. "And it all gets back to like they always say this about foreign [audiences] – ‘don’t put a black person on the poster because they won’t sell in Germany.’ And you’re like, well what does that say? Are we saying it’s okay? We really want to sell in Germany so let’s not put black people — what does that mean? Are we just willing to make the buck and sell it to racists? Well, yes..."

The frustrating thing about Hollywood remakes

"Remakes won’t erase the original, and even if they change the context in which the original is viewed, there is great merit in remaking films. [...] There’s less merit in relying on them more and more, but what’s truly frustrating about the Hollywood remake trend is the sheer amount of potential that will never be given a second look, let alone a chance to flourish." Oh, and I just read Universal is gearing up for a remake of Cronenberg's Videodrome. If they get Katy Perry to play the Debbie Harry role, I'm in. Otherwise, meh...

10 literary devices and where you can find them in sci-fi

This article doesn't talk about setups and payoffs; it uses sci-fi to explain heady concepts like "bathos" and the "pathetic fallacy" which, coincidentally, was my nickname in high school.

Examples of ensemble movie posters

Even within the "ensemble" category of movie advertising, there are still sub-categories. I for one miss the "retro montage." You'll know it when you see it!

Celebrating 35 years of The Kentucky Fried Movie

I don't think The Kentucky Fried Movie is as funny as its reputation suggests (though the DVD commentary is hilarious) but it did begat Animal House and Airplane! which, in turn, begat countless other movies and TV shows, including The Blues Brothers, The Naked Gun films, and more. It was the big break for a young director named John Landis and a young team of sketch comedians named Jerry Zucker, David Zucker, and Jim Abrahams: these guys helped shape my childhood!

Star Trek facts

Another day, another mention of Trek. As a Jew, I'll share credit for Nimoy's "Live long and prosper" salute. [smile] Also, did you know James Doohan is missing a finger? Despite trying to hide it all those years, you can see it in Star Trek V when Uhura brings him a meal on the bridge.

100 wonderful and terrible movies that never existed

I love articles like this, which give us a peak inside a parallel universe where these movies existed: Watchmen by Terry Gilliam, Fahrenheit 451 by Mel Gibson, Total Recall by David Cronenberg, I Am Legend by Ridley Scott... and it gets weirder: Oliver Stone's Planet of the Apes, Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, and the infamous Starfleet Academy. I do wish they'd get to work on a Roger Rabbit sequel but it would probably cost too much money.

Why Rotten Tomatoes is bad for film criticism

In theory, I like what Rotten Tomatoes does, but I can't disagree with this article: it's bad science to reduce a movie to an algorithm. The author then compares Rotten Tomatoes to a political website that plays to an echo chamber while offering nothing new. (I can think of one or two of those.) Not to mention the mistake many people make: film criticism and discussion is not a binary equation!

Breaking down the new definition of movie star

I know people complain about the lack of "stars" today but I think it's time to get past that type of thinking. To quote the article, "Rather than an A-list, it might be better to think of a 'hot list,' in the words of one mega-agent: 'That's what it is -- the guys you hope will last because nobody's shown they can do that just yet.'" I think Channing Tatum and Jennifer Lawrence have broken through, but the Twilight kids? Nope. Stardom is a fickle beast indeed, and "Perhaps the very idea of being a star has become outmoded [...] Social media and tabloid ubiquity have helped to bring these stars down to earth."

53 Arrested Development jokes you might've missed

Along with Freaks and Geeks, Arrested Development is one show that I'm not sure I can ever watch again. As entertaining as it is, it's near-perfection, and deep down I know I'll never make anything as good, in any medium, ever. Having said that, enjoy a look back at some jokes you might've missed the first time around. (I am, however, looking forward to the show's return next year on Netflix.)

Tony Scott: a brief career retrospective

Sadly, we end our link page here. I was shocked when I heard the news. While I rag on his Pelham 123 remake, the man was responsible for Top Gun, Enemy of the State, Crimson Tide, True Romance, and Man on Fire, along with several others. I wish he would've reigned himself in a little bit (Domino is a rather unpleasant experience) but the man was one of the good ones. He will be missed.

Last night's listening:

Intrada recently released Bernard Herrmann's famous score for Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest. The previous 1995 CD release used damaged sources but this CD comes from restored elements. There was an excellent re-recording released in 2007 (featuring Joel McNeely conducting the Slovak National Symphony) but sometimes there's nothing like the original. And if we have a Commentarama Secret Santa thing this year, I'll take one of these.


BIG MO said...

Tony Scott's "Crimson Tide" remains one of my favorite films. It hits all of the right notes: great direction, story, casting, writing, characterization, mood, setting and musical score.

Anonymous said...

I own it on Blu-Ray but I haven't watched it in years. I guess I should see it again one day soon - I have no excuse!

And after I saw Enemy of the State, I told my parents what I wanted to do for a living: "I want to work for the CIA or the NSA and be one of the guys in the van." :-) (So far, this hasn't panned out.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Thanks for the links. More thoughts to follow.

On 12 Angry Men, there are several problems with the film. For one thing, his independent research would be grounds for a mistrial. Jurors are not allowed to bring in outside information and what he's done is considered juror misconduct.

Just as importantly, logically, he's wrong. When you break something down into small enough parts, you can disprove anything or at least cast doubt on it. His job as a juror is to look at all the evidence as a whole, not to struggle to find anything he can doubt. Basically, if we allowed the system he uses, then no one could ever be convicted of anything because there is always doubt. That's why the term is "reasonable doubt" not "absolute certainty."

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I've only seen the film once and that was five years ago. I recall generally agreeing with Fonda's point of view (at least in the context of the film) but I'm sure if I watched it today, I might feel somewhat differently.

I know when he presented the knife, deep down I knew that would never happen in real life.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the film, but it's packed with straw men arguments, straw men people, and lots of illogic passing logic. It's basically a set up to reach the result Fonda wants to reach.

Kristina said...

+1 on Crimson Tide, also no wonder you love the NxNW score, so good. gives me the goosies every time. Now Bernard Hermann did the score for the 2 "best" (if you buy into that sight & sound poll thingy) movies Vertigo & Citizen Kane. BTW, Andrew if you ever run dry of ideas do a debate post on best movie composers. Thanks Scott for the great links roundup as always!

AndrewPrice said...

Kristina, We absolutely should do a debate post about movie composers! :)

Anonymous said...

Kristina -

Yeah, it's a great score! I remember buying it when I was in film school only to be disappointed to find out that the master tape that featured the theme and all of its subsequent appearances in the score (like the climax) had been damaged. I'm usually pretty forgiving with this sort of thing but those tracks were like listening to music underwater.

The 2007 re-recording was a blessing and now I've come full circle with the remastered original. :-)

And your welcome!

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

You beat me to it but I was going to tell Kristina that I'd be pretty disappointed in myself if I hadn't already suggested a film score debate.

We could probably do favorite score and/or composer, though if you want to go a little deeper, we could do something like, "Worst score" or "Best/Worst use of music in a movie."

OR... we could do "Worst Music Trend." For instance, have you noticed every other trailer now has this?

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, We'll add it to the list for the next round. And yes, I've noticed that bwong thing. Trailers are all starting to look/sound alike too.

Anonymous said...

That's another question we could do: "Best/worst movie advertising."

Personally, I think trailers have looked the same for years. Every genre has its own cliches and I think my personal pet peeve is the comedy trailer where the music pauses for the (usually unfunny) punchline. Or when the only "comedy" line in the trailer is something we've heard a million times.

Seriously, how many trailers from the mid-90s onward used the phrase "That's gotta hurt!" :-)

tryanmax said...

Yay! It's link day!

One Angry Viewer I'm that odd guy who doesn't like this film (I'm not really angry, I'm just paralleling), and it's for precisely the same reasons given in the article. Fonda doesn't persuade his fellow jurors. He wears them down. Although, now that I think on it, I could get with the film if I just assume Juror № 8 to be an anti-hero.

Hollywood, INTL Along the lines of "the kids are all white," I wonder if that helps to explain the increase of generic-faced actors, even in ensembles. Used to be, an ensemble cast would be comprised of very distinct and different faces. In America, those differences are merely useful to distinguish individuals, but in Europe where they are more aware of features as ethnic identifiers, I wonder if there is some worry about offending certain nationalities? Also, it seems like there has been an increase in the number of non-blonde leading ladies lately. I'm a brunette man, myself, so I don't mind, but I wonder if that could be related, as well?

Remakes and Pains This is one of the best argumentsfor rolling back ridiculous copyright durations I've encountered. Incidentally, Katy Perry in a highly excited state of overstimulation is a concept I can totally get behind.

Left to their own Nerd Out! I'm not surprised to find that understatement has Anglo-Saxon origins. To this day, the Brits seem to like it. "It's just a flesh wound."

The more the merrier My favorite is the "Chocolate Box," but then I am a graphic designer whose penchant is for layouts. Still, in the world of grids, there is still much room for much creativity, as evidenced by the Hairspray and Magnolia posters. I also couldn't help but notice that the Cap't America "Christmas Tree" had an angel on top.

Original Recipe I’ve only seen KFM once and that was some time ago. I’ve also seen most of everything listed as having spawned from it. Pretty impressive.

(to be continued...)

tryanmax said...

(...we now return to our show)

Trek Facts If one were to ignore the Nemoy origins of the Vulcan salute and verbal exchange, the similarities between Vulcan and Jewish symbolism would have incredible implications for the origins of religion on Earth.

What might have been OMG, I would so totally see The Toon Platoon. Same goes for a BioShock movie. And, of course, I must say once again that my all-time fantasy movie would be a Metroid treatment.

Something rotten I don't go to Rotten Tomatoes all that often, and when I do I'm sure I'm not using the site as intended. But I know enough to agree with the assessment that there is an epidemic of consensus in the online world.

My God! It’s full of stars! I'm not sure how to react to the article. My first instinct is to take it as good news for a couple of reasons. 1) While celebrity obsession will never go away, this perhaps indicates a tempering. That means fewer film stars pontificating on politics and pissing me off. 2) With less focus on a handful of stellar actors, this opens up more possibilities for lesser knowns to take larger roles, a boon to both performer and audience, IMO. As far as the dollar amounts go, it's still nothing to sneeze at.

Arrested Development was never my bag... Baby.

Tony Scott There are a lot of good movies here. I still need to see Unstoppable and Pelham. Maybe that’s what Labor Day is for.

Music I've got nothing for the N xNW soundtrack. I've seen the movie I don't know how many times, but I just can't conjure the music in my head. (I know, I know, there's YouTube for that. Maybe later.) I just want to know how on Earth a show that lasted only three seasons produced 15 discs worth of music? I would have maybe guessed six. Oh, and Santa Claus is dead.

Finally, I could totally get on board with the advertising question, but I'm afraid your soundtrack discussion will leave me in the dust.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

Re: 12 Angry Men - Like I told Andrew, I haven't seen it in years but I should probably check it out again after reading this article. There was also a TV adaptation done in the 90s (with George C. Scott and a lot of other familiar faces) and I'd like to see that one, too, one day.

Re: Hollywood INTL - I don't know... a lot of folks seem to think actors have gotten more and more bland over the years but I wonder if that has less to do with international markets and more to do with our society and the societal changes that brought up this generation.

I always use Robert Mitchum as an example. The conditions that led to him being the man he was (hell, he was riding the rails as a kid!) don't exist anymore.

Re: remakes - When it comes to remakes, I only wish Hollywood would remake things that deserve it. Instead, they take perfectly good properties from as recently as a decade ago and decide to do them again. Could you image someone remaking Star Wars in 1987 because "there's a new generation of kids who never saw it"?!

Re: word nerdery - I just get a kick out of this stuff, though I don't remember anything I learned in English class back in high school. (Seriously, what's a gerund?)

Re: posters - I forgot you were a graphic designer! We may have to talk one of these days. I'm trying to get into my university's graphic design program - I have a portfolio review next spring but in the meantime I just started Graphic Design 1, which is a prereq course.

Re: Kentucky Fried Movie - It's amazing how you can trace much of modern comedy back to about a half-dozen people.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

And we're back...

Re: Trek - Yes, it certainly would have interesting implications. :-) Just once I would've liked to see a menorah on Star Trek. The first officer on Babylon 5 was Jewish and we see her lighting one in an episode.

Re: what might've been - In addition to Toon Platoon and the various unfilmed Trek projects, I would've liked to see Vincent Ward's Alien 3, which was to take place on a wooden planet populated by Luddite monks who see Ripley as this troublesome character who brought along with her pure evil.

Re: Tomatoes - I imagine most filmmakers really don't care about reviews but in today's media-saturated culture, the reviews themselves have become valid news stories along with the movies. I don't like this development, nor do I like the idea of people complain whenever someone gives a negative review to their favorite film. (Then again, that pretentious contrarian Armond White seems to get off on "being different.")

Re: stars (love the 2001 line!) - there are plenty of talented performers out there but gone are the days of $20 million paychecks and household name status... Michael Fassbender might be a great actor but my folks wouldn't recognize him from Adam. And I just don't think stars (most of them) are what attract people to movies nowadays. Today, it's all about the "concept."

Re: Arrested Development - I got into the show in its second year and it was love at first sight... it's not for everyone (it's more a cult thing than anything else) but I enjoyed it.

Re: Tony Scott - Unstoppable was okay but Pelham wasn't very good... you're better off seeking out the original.

Re: soundtracks - with Star Trek, there are 34 original episode scores and at about 25 minutes each, that comes out to roughly 14 hours... that's not counting library cues and bonus cues that have never been heard before.

tryanmax said...

In English, a gerund is a verb ending in "-ing" that takes the place of a noun in a sentence indicating that the act is an object of discussion. In many cases (but certainly not all) the gerund includes modifiers to form a noun phrase. As a noun, the gerund can occupy any space that a regular noun can.


Swimming is fun. (subject)
I like eating pizza. (direct object)
I gave boxing a try. (indirect object)

Incidentally, "eating pizza" in the above sentence is an example of a gerund clause. More typical clauses resemble figures of speech, such as "He is taking a vacation," or "I can't help falling in love with you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks... and now I know why I forgot all that stuff. :-)

Truth be told, I've been complimented on my writing skills on occasion but I'm just one of those people who has trouble breaking down a sentence. I just know when something doesn't sound right and I guess there's something to be said for that.

(And one of my guilty pleasures is scouring the net for examples of bad typos, grammar, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I'm off to school in a few so I'll be back later.

BIG MO said...

I'd love a movie and TV (and video game?) score thread! Suggest naming it: "Who are your favorite and least favorite movie/TV composers (who aren't John williams)?"

I've got my favorites already, but will save them for such a thread. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Video game score? Final Fantasy... no contest. :)

T-Rav said...

Scott, I saw an article on Cracked some time ago about several sequels that a) never got made, and b) would have ruined the original had they been made. The proposals were....haunting, to say the least.

BevfromNYC said...

Max Steiner! (That's my answer for any questions on film score composers...)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, "Max Steiner" sounds like a German beer. LOL!

Unknown said...

Scott: I didn't have that many lucky coincidences to convince a jury in all the years of practice combined. The knife alone was grounds for mistrial. The heavy-handed anti-racism played well even for a few years after the film was released, but it seems almost ludicrous now (though it's certainly in keeping with the left's view of society even today). I enjoyed the movie as drama. As real life or real law, not so much.

T-Rav said...

I liked 12 Angry Men when I saw it, but it was obviously Old Left sanctimony through and through. I don't have enough experience with the law to say whether it's realistic from a legal standpoint or not, but it seems the consensus from those who do is a big NO.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, No, not at all. Which is not say it might not happen, but if the judge found about about it, there would be a mistrial and the whole thing would start right over.

BIG MO said...

Andrew - uh-uh. "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" and "Batman: Arkham City" (the score, not the pop/rock album). :) :)

T-Rav said...

By the way: Commentarama Secret Santa?! Can we do that, please, huh, can we, can we, pleeaaaasssseeee????? :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, I haven't played either, so I can't say. I can say, however, that I found all the soundtracks to the Final Fantasy series to be highly addictive listening!

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Sure! :)

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Tryanmax... You're welcome!

Music... Score, Composer, Soundtrack, use of music or song (I'm thinking Peer Gynt Suite from Fritz Lang's M for example), worst, etc.

12 Angry Men... it's in the title. Jurors are supposed to be measured and objective. Angry people make rash/foolish and mostly wrong decisions. Fonda should have been angrier at Jane and less angry at the system and we'd have all been a whole lot better off. Liberals have

Kristina said...

look forward to a composer debate, a great many of whom sound like euro-beers! saving my comments too on that and also love the idea of song, advertising, themed ones too.

forgot to mention, re : remake madness, nowadays if the sequel, rethink, or straight remake isn't enough, there's other angles from which to hit the pinata, ie the PREquel or the Behind the scenes/filmmakers' story-- witness the Hitchcock "making of the Birds", the psycho prequel, etc. or else just make the movie with the same title and nothing else to connect to the original. poor aspiring screenwriters with original ideas.

and Scott your example of Mitchum applies to the directors back then as well, who did SO many other things, had a lot of life and adventures totally unrelated from moviemaking before they got into it. today it's mainly directors who just consume movies, maybe music videos and ads and not much else. of course that's cause there was little movie history for them to grow up on, but as you say, it was background like that, that showed in the movies.


Anonymous said...

Big Mo -

As I mentioned above, I'm all for a film score debate thread. I have my favorite composers, though I'm not enough of an expert to have a "least" favorite composer.

And picking a favorite score would be like trying to pick a favorite child!

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I'm not really a gamer but as far as videogame scores are concerned, I absolutely love Michael Giacchino's work on the Medal of Honor series.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

I'm sure I've seen that Cracked article. What's funny (or sad) is, considering how awful many movies are, the fact that each of them got made is itself a miracle.

I only seem to remember the unfilmed movies that sounded pretty cool - I don't remember any awful ones off the top of my head.

Anonymous said...

Bev and Andrew -

Max Steiner, like many of the early Hollywood composers, was a European emigre. Same with Dimitri Tiomkin, Miklos Rozsa, and Franz Waxman.

And I think we can all figure out why Bev likes Steiner. :-)

Anonymous said...

LawHawk and T-Rav -

Interesting. It looks like I'll definitely have to see 12 Angry Men again. Truth be told, it didn't come across as heavy-handed to me the first time around but I was going in completely fresh and as I mentioned to Andrew above, I'm wondering how I'd react if I saw it again today.

Anonymous said...

Floyd -

Thank-you for that. :-)

Anthony said...

Damn shame about Tony Scott. I loved First Blood Part 2 (that movie is the most 80's of action movies IMHO) and Man on Fire (a bit slow to get going, but once it got going, it was breathtaking in its brutality).

Anonymous said...

Kristina -

I noticed that. We went from zero Hitchcock movies to two! They both look interesting, too. The one on The Birds is about his obsession with Tippi Hedren.

And there's going to be a Psycho prequel TV series on (I think) A&E.

As for actors and directors, you're correct. If I recall, the Spielberg/Lucas generation was the first group of filmmakers who were raised on films and I guess that reflects in some of their work.

But some filmmakers are simply better than others. David Fincher started in music videos and commercials... but so did Michael Bay. Similar background but completely different aesthetics.

Anonymous said...


Tony Scott didn't direct First Blood: Part II. That was directed by George Cosmatos, who passed away in 2005. (He also directed Tombstone.)

Anthony said...

As a huge gamer (been addicted for 35 years) my favorite soundtrack is that of LBP2, a game I play all the time with my two daughters. Music video at the link below.

Least favorite game soundtrack? A game called Carnage Heart, an obscure PS1 strategy game in which one built and programmed robots before sending them into battle. The soundtrack was fingernails on chalk bad and it took hours to program a mech. For the first and only time when playing a game, I turned off the audio.

Anthony said...

Thanks for the correction Scott. Looking over the filmography, like all kids in the 80's, I thought Top Gun was incredibly cool.

T-Rav said...

Scott, I wouldn't say it's heavy-handed, but it did come across as rather obvious to me, and I was 13 or 14 when I watched it. I liked it and everything, but it was hard to miss.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

There are a small handful of movies I really liked when I first saw them and later couldn't understand the criticisms... till I saw them again.

I'm NOT comparing 12 Angry Men to these films, but I remember watching Crash and enjoying it for what it was. Only later did I start reading all the negative reviews, calling it manipulative and melodramatic. I think my reaction was, "Yeah, I guess it kinda was."

And I watched the Nostalgia Critic's review of Patch Adams... Oh. My. God. I kept thinking to myself, "I've defended that film to people! What was I thinking?!" :-)

T-Rav said...

Scott, I can't really remember Patch Adams beyond the fact that Robin Williams was in it. As for Crash, I always thought it was pretentious and crap, but I was glad to see it steal the Oscar from Brokeback Mountain, just to see the horrified looks on everyone's faces.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Scott, nice selection of links!

12 Angry Men:
As our 2 resident lawyers explained, it would've been a mistrial, but the film was entertaining.

Hollywood, INTL:
Not a good idea in most cases, because all too often it results in a bad movie, or not meeting it's potential.
Lots of films that appeal to Americans do well overseas.

Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, The Avengers, Batman, Battle L.A., all did well on the intl. market.

If the film is good, most folks worldwide will like it.
Americans won't snub an American bad guy film if it doesn't smear all Americans, for example, and I'm sure that's true of most civilized countries.

Unfortunately, too many in hollywood are going the pc route and it waters down what might otherwise be decent films, and actually loses them money or reduces profits.

I can understand producers wanting to respect cultural taboos but they often go way overboard, and should be more concerned about having good writers, directors and actors along with a good story than pissing off Turkey or Greece or whatever.

I'm not against them if they are done well, but I would prefer to see more sequels of great films rather than a remake.
They did that poorly with The Thing (prequel) but other than that it's mostly been just remakes.

It seems that most remakes that are made are just trying to make a quick buck on the name and everyone's fond memories than making a quality film that folks will be watching for years.

This is a pet peeve of mine, but some films have become so iconic that a remake feels like an insult.
True Grit was one example, as were the Pink Panther films.

The remakes weren't horrible, but no one can fill The Dukes boots, or capture Inspector Clouseau's character as well as Peter Sellers.

Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, Young Frankenstein, Die Hard, Ghostbusters...don't bother even trying, Hollywood, please.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew, I concur, the soundtrack to the Final Fantasy games are great! My favorite was FF7, but they are all excellent and catchy (at least up to 12, I haven't played any of the newer ones since I still have a PS2).

Anonymous said...

USS Ben -


Re: Hollywood Int'l - At the end of the day, you are correct - if it's a good movie, people will eventually find it. Specifically, China has some downright bizarre taboos which might impact what films are made in the future, at least by the major studios. For instance, time travel. Really!

I guess what concerns me is the idea of some young neophyte screenwriter being forced to add some arbitrary character or concept (or delete some character or concept) because some marketing flunkie thinks it'll help sell the film better in Estonia.

Re: remakes - I'd like to see more adaptations. Think of all the novels and short stories that have never been made into films.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

A friend of mine asked me if I saw Brokeback Mountain. I told him no and that, even if it was a straight love story, it still wouldn't appeal to me. I'm pro-gay this and that but I'm not going to see a movie just because gay people are in it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Scott, The Nostalgia Critic also ripped The Leprechaun (and he did a hilarious job of it) but it's still one of my favorite flicks.
It's fun to watch, and so are the sequels, albeit to a lesser extent.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Re: remakes - I'd like to see more adaptations. Think of all the novels and short stories that have never been made into films."

Indeed! There's a literal treasure trove of great stories out there since it seems like many film writers have run out of good ideas.
Absolutely more adaptations!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Rotten Tomatoes:
I concur, Scott. It's funny, but I have found that in most consensus critiques (of at least arguably good films) it appears that many of the critics haven't watched the film and only repeat what a few main critics have said.

Lots of cult films were initially panned by most if not all the big critics for one reason or another.

In fact, I've even seen a herd mentality among the big (paid) critics at times.
They certainly suffer from a lack of objectivity if the subject matter of the film they are critiqueing makes them uncomfortable.

I tend to read film reviewers rather that the big critics, such as Andrew, of course, Nolte (but he don't seem to have the same qualities he used to bring as Dirty Harry, no doubt due to his other duties, all you guys who write here, Scott, Jed, Tryanmax, sorry if I missed anyone) and the commenters here. Oh, and Kurt at BH is good.

I still don't always agree with everything that excellent list of folks say, but we can agree to disagree respectfully after talking about a film, and I almost always get something out of what you guys write and talk about. :^)

Sure beats what most of the paid, big critics say by a mile!

Anonymous said...

Re: Rotten Tomatoes -

When it comes to Kurt at BH, let's just say you and I have a huuuge difference of opinion. As for Nolte, I do wish he'd do more at BH but, IMHO, BH is a shell of its former self... a glorified gossip rag. Nolte was at his best during the old Dirty Harry days.

Anyway, I'll agree that there is a herd mentality. That's not to say critics are always wrong - I know some people who instinctively avoid movies that critics love but sometimes those movies are actually worth seeing. At the end of the day, no one should let any single critic stop them from seeing a movie, nor should they be made to feel bad for disliking a movie that a critic loved.

And you're correct about cult films, which only proves that the only true test of a film's success isn't money or awards or critical accolades - it's time.

Probably Andrew said...

The only critic who is ALWAYS right is our Andrew! ;)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

New definition of a movie star:
I concur...mostly. I still think there will always be a few stars that are so good they really stand out, such as Robert Downey, but there are fewer that stand out than there used to be.

I think you're onto something by mentioning Mitchum.
Experience counts. Talent is great, but there's no substitute for experience.

An actor must know the character he or she is playing, and often they can't do that by simply reading the script.

The best actors do their research. I was impressed (and I don't impress easily) that Aaron Eckhart actually participated in the Marine Corps bootcamp and learned their tactics and the way they talked before beginning Battle, L.A..

It showed. He gave a realistic and believable performance and he got the little stuff right.
I reckon the little stuff, the experience is what did it.

He couldn't have done the great job he did without having something he could relate to. And if the actor can't relate to their character (or relate wrong) they ain't gonna be convincing.

Modern actors would do well to follow his example. Learn and know the characters they are gonna play and their talent will shine through.

To quote my drill instructor (without the colorful metaphors): "You maggots might have all the talent in the world, but if you don't put in the work, individually and as a team, it don't mean sh*t."

That's the sanitized version. :^)

Anonymous said...

That's always good advice. :-)

Eckhart is a good example but any decent actor worth his salt would've done the same thing. Actors research roles all the time and sometimes it's a big deal, other times it isn't. Some roles mean Marine boot camp; other roles mean working at Target for an hour or two. :-)

As for experience, even I'm guilty of this. But I would like to see 20-something filmmakers shoot higher than simply writing about themselves and their slacker friends. Believe me, I sympathize and I have my own personal stories I could write... but where is the 20-something writing the next Star Wars?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Scott: I haven't read all of Kurts reviews so I'm not saying they are all good. He did nail The Walking Dead, IMO pretty good. Especially this last season.

I'll check out some more to see if he is consistently good.

Concur about BH not being as good as it was.
Or as consistent. One article may be good and another one will be horrible or so off base I wonder why they bothered.

Not sure who is in charge but I hope they right the ship so to speak and become less reactionary (although sometimes it is necessary to some extent) and more pro-active...and do more research.

I've seen more than a few posts that were poorly researched. The Dodd piece is one recent example.
Knowing Dodds behavior in the Senate, before he left to head the RIAA/MPAA, set off warning signals when he agreed with republicans about internet "privacy" and "freedom."

Well, the republicans he agrees with is the Huckabee/Santorum crowd, and they don't advocate either privacy or freedom on the net although they say they do.

Both Dodd, these republicans I mentioned and most democrat politicians wanna control the internet, not keep it free.

So that was one very poor article that only saw bipartisanship and thought it was a good thing because they used the magic words.

It's not the truth, however, and I expect more from those guys.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

RIP Tony Scott. He will be missed.
I loved many of his films! Top Gun was fun and entertaining (but not very realistic in some parts, but that's a pet peeve of mine). Still a good film.

Enemy of The State is one of my favorites (somebody please put Smith and Hackman together again).

And Crimson Tide rocked.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm assuming BH still doesn't pay most of its contributors. "You get what you pay for" is a good general rule of thumb whether left or right on the political dial.

Nolte is great on older films (his forte as Dirty Harry) but he's sworn off going to new movies. I don't know if he still brags about not going to see movies, but it's hard to run a reputable pop culture site if you refuse to go see newer offerings no matter how empty and idiotic.

I may of course be wrong as I no longer have any inside info over there.

I would add Christian Toto as a good reviewer and all around good egg.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to turn this into a BH thread but I don't go there nearly as often as I used to. (What would be the point?) Nolte hasn't reviewed a new film in a while but he still gets screeners from the studios and he reviews those, the most recent example being Battleship.

I don't know Toto but so many of their stories are just your basic "Did you hear what X said?!" There's no in-depth analysis, no how-to advice for would-be filmmakers... just crap, with the occasional good article.

Nolte did brag about not being interested in film festivals, which I always thought was a huge mistake (and a sign of anti-elitism which itself is a kind of elitism). There's talent waiting to be discovered and some of that talent [gasp] might just lean to the right. :-)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Floyd, I hear what you're saying but there should be some standards or BH wqill continue to lose readers.

Commenterama has standards and no one here is paid.
And I can name more conservative sites I visit that also has high standards and who consider the truth to be the most important thing (and readily admit when they are wrong).

High standards, doing some research before posting, and a reverence for truth along with something interesting to say will make a blog successful because there's a lot of folks like us that will keep coming back here because of it.

This blog, for example is high on my trustworthy meter because the authors do hold themselves to such high standards and they don't let their egos write checks their brains can't cash.

Plus, if they are wrong about something they quickly admit it, correct themselves and move on.
Not many blogs like that. :^)

Plus, the authors here are accessable. That means a lot to commenters and I hope we never take it for granted because it's not easy sometimes. Thanks guys!

There's also high quality commenters here who bring something constructive to the conversation or debates.

Sadly, BH doesn't have very many of those. Granted, it's more difficult with a bigger blog but it's doable. I hope they improve.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Scott, those are some valid points, I think.
Although I understand why they mention the vile things some celebrities and politicians and journalists say.

It's a tactic called pushback, and it can be effective In fact, it has been more effective than I can ever recall which means it's having an impact).

However, I do wish sometimes that the entertainment section, or Big Hollywood section had an option to skip the politics for those who just wanna read reviews or interviews.

Of course, I would still wanna know if some film had a hidden agenda they don't mention in their trailers, but I expect rigid honesty in that respect but there seems to be less of those nowadays than their used to be.

Anonymous said...

USS Ben -

I understand pushback though there does seem to be a lack of discernment on BH's part. In other words, some things aren't worth writing about... and as a result, they're also missing a lot of good stuff, too.

For instance, the links I posted about the international market and remakes... those are good stories that a site like BH should be paying attention to.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

"Labor of love" unpaid is the best kind. BH doesn't do that.

Back OT. Thanks for the head's up on the NxNW score and my excitement for Arrested Development was re-intensified. :-)

Oh and Tryanmax...I don't think you got my gift I left you a few comments up. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I think it's impossible to mix commercial and labor of love without it becoming perverted. Once a hobby becomes about money, corners get cut and the love gets shortchanged.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Andrew... isn't that the theme of Pretty Woman? ;-)

True that. That's why I comment here for free. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, LOL! Pretty Woman? Wasn't that a movie about a woman struggling to make her business work in the midsts of a recession?

As an aside, we do have a premium plan if you want your comments to appear exactly the same way they do now, but you want to be $20 lighter each month. ;)

Kit said...

Did I hear film score debate?!?!?


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