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Wednesday, August 01, 2018

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (August 2018)

After watching the pilot episode of “Deadwood,” I got up, lowered the blinds, dimmed the lights and burned through the rest of the DVD in a fugue of wonder and excitement. I didn’t leave the series until the next day, staggering limply into the harsh sunlight like Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend.”

It was 2004, and I had been the chief television critic at The New York Times for about a year. HBO had sent me advance screeners of its new western. And I was discovering binge watching.

There are dramas that are arguably better or more widely appreciated than “Deadwood”: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire” or “Breaking Bad.”  But of all the shows I have reviewed over the past 12 years, “Deadwood” is the one I would most like to see again for the first time.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 01, 2018 at 03:06 AM | 1210 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   201. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5722977)
Flip it, you bastard!
   202. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:38 AM (#5722978)
Went there before going to see Mission Impossible. Was kind of sort of into wanting to see it since all the hype said it was the best one but I still found it a bit lackluster.


I really enjoyed most of the first part of the movie (as high speed action adventure movie, not as art). But it kept getting dumber and dumber, more and more gratuitous in the final act, to the point it was just dumb. But then the movie leaned into it and kept going ... all the way around again to enjoyable in a laughable fashion.

If you like ridiculous action sequences filled with practical effects and stunts performed by the actor then you should see it. If you want something even vaguely believable then stay far far away.

Note: Tom Cruise is older now than Wilford Brimley was when he made Cocoon.
   203. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:41 AM (#5722984)
82 in a 65?

Pshaw.

One of my Nebraska tickets was 59 in 55... within sight of the sign where the speed limit is dropped to 55 from 65. Because apparently, you are supposed to jam on the breaks an immediately decelerate to 55 despite it being an interstate.

"Four miles over? Just past the sign where the speed limit drops to 55?"

"Is 59 more than 55?"

"yeah, but.."

"But that's why you're getting a ticket".


Something like this happened to me as I was crossing over the border into Illinois from Wisconsin in some podunk town where they once again setup a speed trap for revenue. I also recall in another situation getting pulled over for going 5 MPH over the speed limit with the cop telling me that the speed limit is 45 MPH so 50 is not acceptable. He gave me a warning so I had to ponder why in the world the guy pulled me over to begin with. I've got off with a warning I think 3 times in my life and had another time or two had the ticket changed to something that I could get removed with some hassle. Like mailing in proof of insurance or finding a cop to sign off on proof that my car got inspected. Stuff like that.
   204. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5722992)
If you like ridiculous action sequences filled with practical effects and stunts performed by the actor then you should see it. If you want something even vaguely believable then stay far far away.


That's a bit contradictory don't you think? I liked that the people for the most part weren't super karate ninjas and instead were kind of badass brawlers but I don't think the scenes were well shot or framed. The bathroom fight scene isn't really beautifully shot or staged. It is just a fight in a bathroom. We've seen that hundreds of times. Skydiving is just skydiving. Sure they did attempt to shoot that beautifully by having them fall against a great looking building but I don't really think any real tension existed in that scene and it the whole scene happened so quickly that I don't think we had time to really process any of it.
   205. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5723011)
My overwhelming sadness that I'm going to die without ever hearing a weekly RDP/McCoy movie review podcast has not abated.
   206. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5723017)
Then get your arse out to the softball game this week.
   207. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5723018)
   208. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5723019)
I do love the complaint that a skydiving scene happened too quickly. Perhaps some balloons would have slowed them down?
   209. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5723022)
Then get your arse out to the softball game this week.

Fair.
   210. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5723026)
I do love the complaint that a skydiving scene happened too quickly. Perhaps some balloons would have slowed them down?

Why have the scene? They spent millions on it and many months. It is over in less than a minute. What did it add to the film? Really, what purpose did it have in the movie other than a cheap one liner at the end of the scene? We knew Henry was a brute who is akin to a hammer rather than the scalpel that Cruise is supposed to be (though of course in the movies he is not). We knew going in that Cruise was of pure heart. We know Cruise isn't going to die or become a paraplegic. We know Henry isn't going to die. At the end of the scene the characters are exactly in the same place they were before the scene. It didn't move the plot along, it didn't develop the characters, and it didn't raise the stakes. So what was the point of it?
   211. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5723030)
That's a bit contradictory don't you think?


No, of course not, and I have zero idea why you would think so.

The movie was filled with ridiculous action sequences, largely done with practical effects and Cruise doing his own stunts. Many people like that sort of thing and this is absolutely the movie for them.

If you want a believable (relative to Hollywood norms, not real life) then this is a terrible movie, silly in many, many, and still more ways.
   212. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5723039)
At the end of the scene the characters are exactly in the same place they were before the scene. It didn't move the plot along, it didn't develop the characters, and it didn't raise the stakes. So what was the point of it?


You have totally missed the point of the movie, which is on brand for you I must admit. The entire movie is a series of set pieces, all joined together by a twisty and mostly silly connective tissue that exists only to tie together those action scenes. The entire point of the movie is to have those sequences, where Tom Cruise gets to do "amazing" things on film, done with mostly practical effects.

That is the point of the movie. That is basically the point of the entire franchise. Asking "Why do that set piece?" is akin to asking "Why did they charge admission?" - because absent that there was no point to the movie.

And yes it is fine if you think that is a terrible way to make a movie. But that is the movie they made, and they didn't hide it from anyone; this is what they have done over the entire course of the franchise.

At some point it is on you for expecting something different. "Man I hate Jazz music!" "Then why did you go to this Jazz festival?"
   213. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5723040)
I haven't seen the movie so I can't comment on the skydiving scene. I'm just amused by the idea that a scene featuring a man or men falling out of the sky at terminal velocity would be over too quickly.

They spent millions on it and many months.


Irrelevant.

We know Cruise isn't going to die or become a paraplegic.

Does this also bother you about every other action movie in history?

It didn't move the plot along, it didn't develop the characters, and it didn't raise the stakes. So what was the point of it?


I always find this type of comment bizarre. It's supposed to be a thrilling action movie. It provides thrilling action. That is, in and of itself, worthwhile.

I, in fact, particularly love action scenes that do not move the plot along. The plot of most action films is a cheap, lousy framework for the thrill of the action. Action is often better when it's unburdened by plot. When a James Bond movie opens and he's skiing around and shooting people and you have no damn idea where he is or what he's doing, sometimes that's the best part of the whole movie. The scene would not be improved by the introduction of some cumbersome McGuffin.
   214. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5723045)

You have totally missed the point of the movie, which is on brand for you I must admit. The entire movie is a series of set pieces, all joined together by a twisty and mostly silly connective tissue that exists only to tie together those action scenes. The entire point of the movie is to have those sequences, where Tom Cruise gets to do "amazing" things on film, done with mostly practical effects.

That is the point of the movie. That is basically the point of the entire franchise. Asking "Why do that set piece?" is akin to asking "Why did they charge admission?" - because absent that there was no point to the movie.

And yes it is fine if you think that is a terrible way to make a movie. But that is the movie they made, and they didn't hide it from anyone; this is what they have done over the entire course of the franchise.

At some point it is on you for expecting something different. "Man I hate Jazz music!" "Then why did you go to this Jazz festival?"


No I didn't miss the point. I mentioned in the first post I brought it up that it happened so quickly that it was a poor choice for a set piece.
   215. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 10:54 AM (#5723054)
I haven't seen the movie so I can't comment on the skydiving scene. I'm just amused by the idea that a scene featuring a man or men falling out of the sky at terminal velocity would be over too quickly.

Why? It isn't supposed to be believable as Mellow Mouse pointed out. Pretty much everything in action movies and in Mission Impossible movies would be over quickly in real life so why are using the real life as the standard that must be followed for skydiving. Virtually no other movie follows that standard and Mission Impossible does not follow that standard in any other action scene.

Irrelevant.

No it isn't. It is a movie and they consciously made a decision to devote that much time and money to a short scene. Why? They could have spent the millions on other things. They could have used the time to work on other things. But they chose to do it for this. Why? What are we the viewers supposed to get out of it and do they achieve that goal?

Does this also bother you about every other action movie in history?

That was a statement that goes toward tension and intent.



I always find this type of comment bizarre. It's supposed to be a thrilling action movie. It provides thrilling action. That is, in and of itself, worthwhile.


You're dissecting individual sentences without factoring in all that was stated. My first argument about the scene was that it wasn't thrilling.


I, in fact, particularly love action scenes that do not move the plot along. The plot of most action films is a cheap, lousy framework for the thrill of the action. Action is often better when it's unburdened by plot. When a James Bond movie opens and he's skiing around and shooting people and you have no damn idea where he is or what he's doing, sometimes that's the best part of the whole movie. The scene would not be improved by the introduction of some cumbersome McGuffin.

In this statement you're down to dissecting part of a sentence and ignoring the rest. Every scene should be doing something and my view is that the skydiving scene didn't achieve whatever it was supposed to achieve. Now if the point was that we didn't just want Tom and Henry to walk into a club then, ok, they achieved not doing that. Kudos.

The movie was 150 minutes long. That was bloat and it served no real purpose.
   216. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5723070)
I mentioned in the first post I brought it up that it happened so quickly that it was a poor choice for a set piece.

The movie was 150 minutes long. That was bloat and it served no real purpose.


Tom Cruise wanted to do a scene skydiving. Because then he got to go skydiving and perform stunts. Pretty much the same reason Cruise learned to fly a helicopter for the movie, because he wanted to do that and have an extended (and mostly dumb) helicopter chase scene where he got to be the pilot and do his own stunts.

When assembling a movie (again set pieces and flimsy connective tissue between them) it is all about what they (the producers and director, plus Cruise) think will end up being fun and exciting to do and then see on the big screen.

That is really all there is to it. It is OK if a particular scene didn't work for you, but that doesn't invalidate the scene or movie.

Note: I can't believe I am actually defending that ridiculous movie. The end set of sequences were so over the top I honestly starting laughing at the movie, but still it was pretty much exactly as advertised, so I have no cause to complain they deceived me in any way.
   217. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5723079)
Where does it rank in the list of greatest 6th entries in a movie franchise? Ahead of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but behind Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is a given, I assume. But is it better than Fast & Furious 6 or On Her Majesty's Secret Service?
   218. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:30 AM (#5723089)

That is really all there is to it. It is OK if a particular scene didn't work for you, but that doesn't invalidate the scene or movie.


You're defending bloat. Expanding on why it was bloat doesn't actually negate that it is bloat.

Through all of this no one has come along and actually posted on what that scene achieved other than to defend its bloatiness. Did the scene make the movie better? Would the movie be worse off if they had cut the scene? The scene didn't achieve anything outside of allowing Cruise to jump out of an airplane and allowing him to do that has what to do with reviewing a movie?

The fight scene in the bathroom achieved something. It moved the plot along, it created tension, it showed that Tom and Henry's characters aren't really working together well and introduced the lead female. Cutting that scene would have harmed the movie and forced them to fill that gap with something. Cutting the skydiving scene does nothing to the movie.
   219. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5723106)
Through all of this no one has come along and actually posted on what that scene achieved other than to defend its bloatiness.

And through all of this you still haven't understood the point. Action, in an action film, is not bloat. Action is the raison d'etre of an action film. Plot is bloat.
   220. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5723111)
And through all of this you still haven't understood the point. Action, in an action film, is not bloat. Plot is bloat.

So a 9 hour action movie is ok?

Action in an action film can be bloat and in this case it was bloat. If they had shown Tom Cruise for 10 minutes actually running through the city instead of cutting it down to key moments would you say that wasn't bloat? Would you say that is good action? That is what you want? Tom Cruise on film for ten minutes running two miles through a city?
   221. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5723116)
Sometimes McCoy is like a museum of terrible arguments.
   222. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5723138)
This 'Ambition Impossible' debate is a good time to let you know that the Oscars are adding an as-yet unspecified award for "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film."
   223. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5723163)
Sometimes McCoy is like a museum of terrible arguments.

I can't even say you're making a terrible argument because you're not even making one. Your argument is basically they did, they put it in the film therefore it is above criticism and that is nonsense.

Tell me what did that scene do for you? Did it work? If so why? If for the home release they cut it (a la Alexander) and simply have Henry and Tom walk into the club are you missing out on anything? Telling me that Tom Cruise wanted to jump out of an airplane is not a good enough argument for justifying it as a scene in this movie. It explains why it happened but it doesn't explain why it needs to be in the finished product.
   224. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:40 PM (#5723164)
The Rock, you get an Oscar.

Agnes Varda, you don’t get an Oscar.
   225. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5723176)
Kim Newman adds some perspective:

At the first Academy Awards in 1929, two Best Picture Oscars were awarded ... Outstanding Picture, which went to the big budget war movie Wings, and Best Unique and Artistic Picture, which went to Murnau's Sunrise ... In 1930, the Academy ditched Best Unique and Artistic Picture and just went with Outstanding Picture, won by the big budget musical The Broadway Melody. This means the Best Picture Oscar is ALREADY a dumbed-down 'most popular' award. And has been for 87 years.
   226. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5723179)
Also:

Some of the most insightful takes I've seen on it have come from black critics and Film Twitter folks, who are correctly likening it to something akin to segregation, saying they have no interest in seeing Black Panther honored with some kind of cynical second fiddle award.
   227. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5723181)
Anyway, despite hating everything about 21st century Hollywood, I still irrationally follow and care about the Oscars. I can’t quit them!
   228. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5723182)
The end set of sequences were so over the top I honestly starting laughing at the movie,
That happened to me during the third Hobbit movie^, when Legolas was battling some troll or orc or whatever and, even within the ridiculous construct of the film, physics were just a little too strained to take remotely seriously. People around me were all shocked and glaring at me. I just said "what? That was hysterical, c'mon!"

^ I didn't see the second one in the theater, but if I had, I would have LOL'd at Legolas (again) doing his archery standing on the heads of dwarves, in barrels, floating down the river. In the LOTR movies, they either excelled with set pieces (Helm's Deep) or played them for laughs ("that [the oliphaunt] still only counts as one!") but in the Hobbit movies they outdid themselves with really, REALLY stupid sequences which they appeared to be taking seriously.
   229. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5723184)
Regardless of the racial implications this year, I assume this is widely being recognized as the "Please Watch the Oscars, Superhero/Comic Book Movie People" award?
   230. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:58 PM (#5723185)
Action in an action film can be bloat and in this case it was bloat.


Your opinion, but as valid as any other opinion. But still by your own words it was a short scene.

the whole scene happened so quickly that I don't think we had time to really process any of it


That doesn't sound like some sort of horrible bloat, since it was done so quickly.
   231. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5723187)
In 1930, the Academy ditched Best Unique and Artistic Picture and just went with Outstanding Picture, won by the big budget musical The Broadway Melody. This means the Best Picture Oscar is ALREADY a dumbed-down 'most popular' award. And has been for 87 years.


Can't tell if this is a serious argument or not. What they did in 1930 doesn't have much impact on the fact that movies like Moonlight and The Shape of Water - low-grossing and critically adored films that sometimes have hardly even been shown outside of Los Angeles when voting takes place - win the big award.

Just because those films aren't the absolute bleeding edge of film artistry doesn't mean that's just a big popularity contest. It's still voted on by a bunch of LA film veterans, not a handful of edgy international tastemakers.
   232. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5723189)
Thank god the producers of big box office dreck will finally be rewarded with something other than, you know, the uncountable sums of money they already receive.
   233. Zonk is a Doorknob Whisperer Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5723190)
I think I actually lean more towards McCoy than not.

But then, I am probably the worst person to ask about "action movies" - as I generally cannot stand them. The ones I like tend to be either nifty back stories (like the first Bourne movie) or scifi films (first matrix and first two Terminators).

To each his or her own, but yeah... I've seen (and liked!) They Live! -- so I have had my lifetime fill of fight scenes.
   234. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5723191)
I also think McCoy is obviously right in this one, specifics not withstanding (haven't seen the movie in question).
   235. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5723195)
I also think McCoy is obviously right in this one, specifics not withstanding (haven't seen the movie in question).


That a scene that was too short to process was also simultaneously movie bloat? I mean, I guess, but man I actually saw the movie (which may or may not be relevant to discussing it) and there are like a dozen other and better places to scream "Stupid Bloat!" about it.
   236. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5723196)
That doesn't sound like some sort of horrible bloat, since it was done so quickly.

I'm not suggesting it is of the scale of "horrible" but it is bloat nonetheless. To take it all the way back to the beginning of the argument. Outside of its pointlessness it wasn't memorable. There is no reason to remember that scene 20 years from now. The original Mission Impossible was like what others said. It was three set pieces with dialogue and plot sewn in between the set pieces but the set pieces were memorable. The skydiving scene is a set piece but it is a rather weak one that gives the viewer virtually nothing. The only thing it has going for it is a brief 2 second shot of a well lit up building in the background at night. When I watched the film in the theater the pointlessness of this scene was jarring. I asked myself what did I just watch and why.


   237. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5723198)
You guys are lame, I don’t even watch movies, I just read the Wikipedia plot summaries, that tells me everything I need to know, and only takes 2 minutes (compared to 2 hours to watch the whole dang thing.)
   238. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:13 PM (#5723202)
I asked myself what did I just watch and why.


Which I answered a while back.
   239. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5723203)
To each his or her own, but yeah... I've seen (and liked!) They Live! -- so I have had my lifetime fill of fight scenes.


Well, They Live is awesome ... not Carpenter's best ... but I'm giving you a choice, either put on these glasses, or start eating that trashcan.
   240. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5723204)
That a scene that was too short to process was also simultaneously movie bloat? I mean, I guess, but man I actually saw the movie (which may or may not be relevant to discussing it) and there are like a dozen other and better places to scream "Stupid Bloat!" about it.

You and PF have essentially argued that this movie exists to allow Tom Cruise to check off his bucket list of stunts and to provide action sequences untethered by plot. The Cruise part is at least partially true but the #### still has to make sense, and McCoy isn't being a pedant for pointing that out.
   241. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5723205)
That a scene that was too short to process was also simultaneously movie bloat? I mean, I guess, but man I actually saw the movie (which may or may not be relevant to discussing it) and thee are like a dozen other places to scream "Stupid Bloat!" about it

This is odd. I listed an example in the movie that highlighted a problem that I felt about the movie and the rejoinder is but you only picked one! That is what an example is supposed to be! The movie is 150 minutes long and has tons of bloat. Some of it is dialogue bloat, some of it is plot bloat, and some of it is just too many scenes bloat.

The whole scene from being in the plane to landing probably takes up 5 minutes of screen time and is totally pointless to the movie. You can literally cut the entire scene out, start the club scene with Tom and Henry walking through the club and you wouldn't miss a beat. For the sake of good editing you could insert an establishing shot of the building and then all you would need to do is cut one line later in the movie where Tom says he regrets saving Henry's life.
   242. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5723207)
You could cut it down to 15 seconds. Just, title screen, then Tom Cruise smiling and saying “More like Mission: Accomplished”, then roll end credits.
   243. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5723209)
You and PF have essentially argued that this movie exists to allow Tom Cruise to check off his bucket list of stunts and to provide action sequences untethered by plot.


That was Mouse, not me. I think that everything concerning the production of the move - how long it took, how much it cost, why it was done - is totally irrelevant.

And McCoy in fact is not arguing that the scene didn't make sense, he's arguing that it was unnecessary. I haven't seen the damn movie, so I don't know, maybe it was the dumbest scene ever. But I find the general complaint - that an action scene in an action movie doesn't advance the plot - totally absurd.
   244. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5723213)
Which I answered a while back.

If the answer is "You and PF have essentially argued that this movie exists to allow Tom Cruise to check off his bucket list of stunts and to provide action sequences untethered by plot", then what does that have to do with the movie? If Tom Cruise wants to score a TD in a Super Bowl so they have Tom run into the Superdome during MI:7 and catch a ball and get into the end zone while chasing a terrorist that doesn't mean that scene is above criticism just because the answer to why we saw it is because Tom Cruise wanted to score a TD in the Super Bowl. I mean that is your answer. Tom Cruise wanted to do therefore it is above criticism and I disagree and so should everyone else. Producers, directors, writers, and actors make decisions on what they want to do all the time and we get to review their end results. To argue that we cannot or that we must go with it is absurd.
   245. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5723215)
But I find the general complaint - that an action scene in an action movie doesn't advance the plot - totally absurd.

Eh, I think it's fair, but I guess I'd say it's more a symptom of why a movie is bad vs being the cause of why it was bad. I'm thinking of the 2nd Nolan Batman movie, which was terrible for many, many reasons, but one of the things that stands out is the random 20 minute trip to Hong Kong that seems to exist just to make an action sequence in a skyscraper in Hong Kong. That was a dumb, unnecessary scene!
   246. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5723216)
I haven't seen the damn movie, so I don't know, maybe it was the dumbest scene ever. But I find the general complaint - that an action scene in an action movie doesn't advance the plot - totally absurd.

That wasn't the sole argument. I argued that it didn't do anything with advancing the plot being one of the things a scene can achieve. I argued that the skydiving scene did not advance the plot, did not develop the characters, did not create tension or excitement, that it served no purpose inside the film at all. The same thing can happen with a 20 minute gunfight. That's why we have bad action films. IF you're watching something and it doesn't do anything it is a failure. That scene with any other actor probably doesn't get shot or it does with extensive modifications. But Tom Cruise gets to call the shots nowadays in his films.
   247. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5723224)

Eh, I think it's fair, but I guess I'd say it's more a symptom of why a movie is bad vs being the cause of why it was bad. I'm thinking of the 2nd Nolan Batman movie, which was terrible for many, many reasons, but one of the things that stands out is the random 20 minute trip to Hong Kong that seems to exist just to make an action sequence in a skyscraper in Hong Kong. That was a dumb, unnecessary scene!


Great example! That movie was full of bloat. Besides the Hong Kong scenes (which they used to advance their convoluted plot) also had something like 3 endings. That movie should have been 2 hours long instead 2.5 hours.
   248. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5723255)

"Four miles over? Just past the sign where the speed limit drops to 55?"

"Is 59 more than 55?"

"yeah, but.."

"But that's why you're getting a ticket".


Heh, I had a friend get a ticket for speeding just before a sign where the speed limit dropped from 55 to 45. She was going 50, but according to the policeman "you're supposed to brake before the speed limit sign."
   249. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5723263)
I'm thinking of the 2nd Nolan Batman movie, which was terrible for many, many reasons, but one of the things that stands out is the random 20 minute trip to Hong Kong that seems to exist just to make an action sequence in a skyscraper in Hong Kong. That was a dumb, unnecessary scene!
Like that stupid casino scene in The Last Jedi.
   250. BDC Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5723271)
the Oscars are adding an as-yet unspecified award for "Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film."


I had to Google that item to make sure it wasn't a joke :) I also did not know about the dual award in 1929; thanks, Davos.

PreservedFish is right that Best Picture, for about 15 years now, has tended to go to films that would look plausible on an art-house marquee. But for the 70-odd years before that, it was perhaps more common for some big money-spinner to get Best Picture.

The recent turn almost exclusively toward "unpopular" Best Pictures is the result of many factors. I think one major factor is that big Hollywood pictures are now more than ever aimed for the global market. They are visual rather than verbal and action-oriented rather than dramatically interesting. McCoy may or may not like them, and they may be more or less skillfully made, but the typical blockbuster these days is not hitting on all creative cylinders. Many of them never were, but big Best Pictures (eg From Here to Eternity or The Godfather, just to mention a couple) were often literate and character-driven as well as being splashy and hyperbolic. ("Splashy," I guess I was thinking From Here to Eternity in particular :)

Anyway, it's an interesting turn. I think people concerned about Best Popular Film as a consolation prize should wait a bit and see. In a few years Best Picture may become a niche category that essentially equals "Best Unpopular Film."
   251. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5723281)
You and PF have essentially argued that this movie exists to allow Tom Cruise to check off his bucket list of stunts and to provide action sequences untethered by plot.


That is not actually what I argued. It is a relation to what I argued, dumbed down with extra straw, but that is not the worst ever characterization I have ever seen of an argument here.

What I argued was ... it is an action movie. Specifically an action movie of the type - like the rest of the franchise - which is a series of set pieces connected by plot. In this case a twisty spy plot following in the footsteps of Bond, previous MI movies and many many others.

The specific set pieces are chosen based on several criteria, they should be fun, visually interesting, and yes Tom Cruise has as much as admitted that they must be things he wants to do (it is basically his movie after all) - like pilot a helicopter, sky dive, leap from building to building ad so on*.

I don't think any of the above is remotely controversial or even arguable. Which means some here don't agree and want to argue about it I guess.

* Note: In one of the chase sequences Cruise jumps from building to building and comes up limping. His limp quickly disappears. As it turns out it was one of the stunts he did (like basically all of them) and he broke his ankle doing it, and filming was halted while he healed. Yes, I watched the movie next to a pop culture geek who follows all that stuff, why do you ask?
   252. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5723290)
They are visual rather than verbal and action-oriented rather than dramatically interesting. McCoy may or may not like them, and they may be more or less skillfully made, but the typical blockbuster these days is not hitting on all creative cylinders.


Part of this is also the rise of television as an artistic medium. Movies can no longer hope to even touch the dramatic heft of a 100-hour long, deep, character-driven tv drama. Hollywood is right to lean heavily on its unique value proposition - visual thrills.

Hollywood has bifurcated. The Oscars are themselves a prime reason for this. There are artsy movies, which hope to win Oscars, and blockbusters, which do not, and fewer and fewer films that are halfway between. Just like the Darwin's finches, the disappearance of the long reliever and the rise of the LOOGY, the Morlocks and the Eloi, it is the tendency of all things to increasingly specialize.
   253. BDC Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5723296)
Excellent point about TV, Fish.

I will admit, too, that I am fascinated by awards, from the Oscars to the Pulitzers to the Newbery Medal. Awards committees usually get things wrong, but at least they offer a framework for discussion. Annual awards don't have the benefit of hindsight, and sometimes they have badly-designed voting systems, but at worst they offer a snapshot of what kind of work people valued at a given historical moment.
   254. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:47 PM (#5723313)
So I was curious about the MI Box Office, and then learned more than I wanted to know. Box Office: 'Mission: Impossible 6' Had A Near-Record Hold For A $60M+ Opener

I think BDC and PF are correct up thread when they talk about movies being global (China) and forced to evolve because of TV.
   255. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 02:51 PM (#5723320)
The specific set pieces are chosen based on several criteria, they should be fun, visually interesting, and yes Tom Cruise has as much as admitted that they must be things he wants to do (it is basically his movie after all) - like pilot a helicopter, sky dive, leap from building to building ad so on*.

The third is meaningless to us as a movie watcher so in terms of the first two how did the skydiving scene achieve either?
   256. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5723329)
Part of this is also the rise of television as an artistic medium. Movies can no longer hope to even touch the dramatic heft of a 100-hour long, deep, character-driven tv drama. Hollywood is right to lean heavily on its unique value proposition - visual thrills.

Phantom Thread and Lady Bird, for me, were at least on par with whatever 2017's best TV season was for dramatic heft. Yet the Justice League, which as far as I can tell no one actually liked, made 650 million worldwide, most of it outside the US.

**Actually Lady Bird kind of made a lot of money relative to its presumably small budget, so maybe that's a bad example!
   257. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:04 PM (#5723335)
To be clear I'm not arguing with the quoted part there, just thinking out loud. Are we quenching our thirst for adult-oriented drama with tv shows because they're a better vehicle for delivering on that, or because Hollywood is failing to fill that role due to its focus on international blockbusters?
   258. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:05 PM (#5723336)
I also think that Hollywood's tastemakers are nervous about all this - note the fervor for unabashedly nostalgic films like The Artist and La La Land, which celebrate the little world of old Los Angeles, to the probable exclusion of most viewers. Even The Shape of Water appeared to be a loving mash-up of moth-balled cinematic forms, the Sirk melodrama and the creature feature.
   259. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5723337)
Well, for once it's foreigners dumbing American culture down instead of the other way around, so I guess we can't complain too loudly.
   260. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5723341)
Phantom Thread and Lady Bird, for me, were at least on par with whatever 2017's best TV season was for dramatic heft.


I think this is interesting. Here's an uncontroversial opinion: The Godfather and The Wire are two of the most impressive and meaningful things I've ever seen. The Godfather is about 20 times shorter. How could it possibly compete? But it does.
   261. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:14 PM (#5723349)
I think this is interesting. Here's an uncontroversial opinion: The Godfather and The Wire are two of the most impressive and meaningful things I've ever seen. The Godfather is about 20 times shorter. How could it possibly compete? But it does.

I think its Emily Nussbaum, New Yorker tv writer, who hates when people describe tv as "cinematic" because they're just different things, different types of storytelling.

This is not an answer so much as an adjacent thought.
   262. jmurph Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:18 PM (#5723357)
And speaking of the Godfather, those movies are now on Netflix, and it occurred to me that I had never seen part 3 in full, so I decided to check it out to see if it was as bad as everyone says it is. And boy is it! But I couldn't quite figure out if it's just the bad acting or if it's a bad story, or both, or other things. In a way I feel bad for Sofia Coppola, she clearly shouldn't have been put in that position, but wow, that's just a bad performance. And Pacino is in full caricature mode at that point, too.
   263. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5723363)
The third is meaningless to us as a movie watcher so in terms of the first two how did the skydiving scene achieve either?


I don't think the third is meaningless to the movie watcher asking "why?", because it goes to the answer. As to the first two, well they are fairly subjective. I found most of the stunts in the movie interesting in and of themselves, just because I knew going in Cruise did them all himself. For my money watching Cruise sky dive while doing ridiculous things is more interesting than watching CGI or a stunt person sky dive while doing ridiculous things (but that is totally subjective).

Overall it was fast enough and developed the characters enough that it didn't bother me, despite the fact that (for example) Travelers (TV Show) had a much better sky diving sequence. Did it add more than other silly action sequences in the movie? Well it added more than much of the silly helicopter nonsense at the end of the movie, but less than other bits. Personally I find most hand-to-hand fights in movies really boring (unless as well done as say Atomic Blond or Daredevil (TV)), but clearly other folks love those things, so I mostly try to ignore those or find bits f them I like (or go to the bathroom during them).
   264. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5723385)
The third is meaningless to us as a movie watcher so in terms of the first two how did the skydiving scene achieve either?


I don't think it's meaningless-plenty of people just want to watch Movie Stars do Movie Star things. Charisma is a real thing.
   265. McCoy Posted: August 08, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5723399)
I don't think it's meaningless-plenty of people just want to watch Movie Stars do Movie Star things. Charisma is a real thing.

What does that have to do with a scene being in a movie because Tom Cruise wanted to jump out of a plane? Tom Cruise could also want to make Easter dinner that doesn't mean it is going to be a good scene in Mission Impossible or that it justifies its presence in the movie to a movie goer.

Why am I watching Tom Cruise cook a lamb roast?

Because Tom Cruise wanted to cook a lamb roast.

Oh, ok. well, then never mind it's a good scene.

The director originally had a different vision for the bathroom fight scene and the introduction of Rebecca to the movie. It was much more dialogue heavy and after they shot the scene and were in the editing room he felt what they shot wasn't right for the movie so they cut it down a great deal. The same should have happened for the skydiving scene. Just because somebody wanted to do it, just because they wrote it, just because they shot it doesn't mean it has to be in the movie or that it makes sense to be in the movie.
   266. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5723416)
Well, Tom Cruise wanted to jump up on a couch and start screaming a lot of batshit crazy stuff, and a ton of people watched that.
   267. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5723420)
#HotTake: All movies AND all TV shows suck, so the debate over which is better is pointless.
   268. Nasty Nate Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5723429)
I will admit, too, that I am fascinated by awards, from the Oscars to the Pulitzers to the Newbery Medal. Awards committees usually get things wrong, but at least they offer a framework for discussion.
I generally find those frameworks to be unnecessary, restrictive, or otherwise detrimental.
   269. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:30 PM (#5723430)
I feel like Davo keeps trying to get a rise out of everyone, and keeps failing.
   270. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5723433)
I’ll never stop posting.
   271. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5723436)
I’ll never stop posting.


HTH - I initially read this as posing.
   272. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5723438)
But ok, sometimes Hollywood can still #### out a good movie. Legally Blonde, Gravity, Resident Evil: Retribution, Michael Clayton, Speed Racer, etc. But tv. All tv is awful. And you should feel ashamed for pretending it’s not.
   273. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5723440)
I’ll never stop posting.

I don't want you to stop posting.
   274. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5723444)
Ok, let's take Speed Racer. That movie was widely panned, and lost money. Why does it make your list of rare triumphs? Can you give us an authentic justification for that?
   275. BDC Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5723445)
All tv is awful


This is like somebody in the 1870s saying that all novels are awful :)
   276. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:46 PM (#5723446)
I'd be more curious to see what he comes up with for Legally Blonde.
   277. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5723449)
I'd be more curious to see what he comes up with for Legally Blonde.


I would love to have a slate of movies and have McCoy and Davo go over them, a modern Siskel and Ebert if you will.
   278. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:51 PM (#5723451)
Once I picked up a screenplay writing book and the writer kept using Legally Blonde as its example of a perfectly constructed, tight, and (critically) easily sellable movie.
   279. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5723452)
But tv. All tv is awful.


Bojack Horseman is a better show than you deserve, and it has cartoon animals getting high.
   280. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5723453)
Here are the three reviews I’ve posted of SPEED RACER on my Letterboxd timeline.

Speed’s final race is the only time a movie had made me cry tears of joy. It’s probably the most beautiful moment in the history of western art. HIS WHOLE WORLD TURNS INTO A CHECKERED FLAG.

Elle Woods in Legally Blonde is one of Hollywood’s great feminist heroes. Right up there with Barbara Stanwyck’s Stella Dallas: women who triumph in masculine/patriarchal institutions (Harvard Law)not by acting like men (which merely reinforces masculinity norms cf Wonder Woman cf Kill Bill) but by embracing their femininity.

And of course, Witherspoon gives one of the great performances of all-time. Damn Hollywood with their anti-comedy bias. She should have won a zillion Oscars for that.
   281. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:17 PM (#5723473)
But tv? It’s just advertisement. Sometimes for other products, but always first and foremost tv shows are advertisements for themselves.

Which...you CAN tell good stories with that albatross around your neck. Martin Chuzzlewit is a’ight despite it ya know.

But by and large it is evil.
   282. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5723477)
Thank you for your contribution.
   283. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:29 PM (#5723482)
I would love to have a slate of movies and have McCoy and Davo go over them, a modern Siskel and Ebert if you will.

The INDISPUTABLE 100 Best Movies Ever.
   284. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5723487)
Davo, your takes on movies and tv are...not the ones I have.

But I will defend to the death your right to have them.

Okay, no, not to the death. But definitely to the point of minor inconvenience.
   285. JJ1986 Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:38 PM (#5723490)
The INDISPUTABLE 100 Best Movies Ever.
Why is Step Brothers so low?
   286. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:44 PM (#5723496)
It would be easier to enjoy these ridiculous opinions if they were tempered with any amount of humility. Everyone likes a quirky take. But instead, with the bombastic delivery, it just feels like trolling.
   287. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:46 PM (#5723498)
But I couldn't quite figure out if it's just the bad acting or if it's a bad story, or both, or other things.


I think it's more. When Michael says, "Every time I think I'm out...," what he really means is, "Every time I think I'm out, and can keep my billion dollars...." There's not much dramatic interest in whether he can pull that off. I think that the Roth/Cuba storyline of GF2 suffers from the same flaw, although it's saved by the emergence of the conflict with Fredo.
   288. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5723501)
285–Demerits to McKay, he crossed the picket line, the damn scab.
   289. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:16 PM (#5723513)
It would be easier to enjoy these ridiculous opinions if they were tempered with any amount of humility. Everyone likes a quirky take. But instead, with the bombastic delivery, it just feels like trolling.
Have you ever listened to Joe Posnanski's Poscast with Michael Schur, where Schur takes on the persona of the "hot take internet guy," spouting completely misinformed, usually contrarian opinions with supreme confidence? It's exactly like 280, so much so that it seems intentional.
   290. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:42 PM (#5723527)
I mean, nobody's forcing Davo to watch all these movies. I'm sure he has a core of honest enthusiasm. I just wish I could take his opinions seriously, and engage with them, but they're presented in a manner that makes it difficult. I clicked through some of the reviews on that site. He reminds me a bit of the infamous reviewer Armond White, who makes these deep grandiose Judgments based on apparently scattershot criteria, as if he chooses to like or dislike the movie at random and then has to work backwards to come up with some overblown justification for his opinion.

Actually I know an actual Film Professor that's like this - I got into an argument once when he said that Temple of Doom was the best Indiana Jones movie. Lost touch years ago, I don't know if he's gotten less ridiculous or not.
   291. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:50 PM (#5723529)
Here's White on the film of the moment, just for fun:

[Mission Impossible] Fallout’s big, elaborate set-pieces conflate perpetual motion with religious ritual, and overstimulation comes across as the politics of a capitalist who fools himself — and his consumers — into thinking that violence is creativity
   292. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:52 PM (#5723531)
TNR has rotted White’s brain. I quit him when he got in on the “Parkland survivors are crisis actors” InfoWars bullshit. Was sad to see.
   293. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2018 at 06:57 PM (#5723536)
Yes, I hadn't realized what a shill he'd become. His reviews are all obsessed with politics. Of course your comment suggests that you think he used to be good.
   294. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 07:22 PM (#5723550)
Thank you for your contribution.


I would have gone with this ...
   295. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 08:19 PM (#5723578)
Armond White’s early writing is really freakin good. He only started going downhill, the “contrarian for contrarian’s sake” shtick, after he became Internet famous (gotta get those clicks!), and then yeah, once he joined the National Review he turned full-on troll.

I have a book of his reviews from the 80s and 90s (titled “The Resistance” or something) and it’s full of brilliant analyses.
   296. Busted Flush Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5723659)
For the Travis McGee fans out there, I can not recommend enough the recent audio books read by Robert Petkoff.

Now John D. MacDonald is one on my favorite authors (see name) and so I may biased, but Petkoff is amazing. And I’m not even that big of an audiobook fan and much prefer reading. But you’ll find his readings an entertaining way to spend a few hours.
   297. Davo and his Moose Tacos Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:38 PM (#5723675)
296–thanks for the heads up! I’m not really a fan of audiobooks (I have too hard a time following along), but, always open to giving it another try.
   298. Morty Causa Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:06 PM (#5723760)
I like the oldies you selected for your list, Davo. They would be on my list, but, then, my list would be just old movies.
   299. Howie Menckel Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:16 PM (#5723763)
I’m not really a fan of audiobooks

the only audiobook I ever bought was the Springsteen book - partly because Bruce himself did the readings.

we're both Jersey guys at heart, so maybe kindred spirits. although he mispronounces the name of the little town about 2 miles from where I grew up where they recorded "Born to Run" - right behind the diner that later became my late-night stomping grounds.

all that said, I think for anyone that book is much richer off his read. he had a lot to get off his chest, and his voice takes you "Down the Shore" no matter where you are from.

and no, it's not a political book. it's a family background book and coming of age book, which has some fame stuff thrown in later. what a ride
   300. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:55 AM (#5723787)
I have a book of his reviews from the 80s and 90s (titled “The Resistance” or something) and it’s full of brilliant analyses.

White wrote for the NY Press in the early 90s, which I read religiously, and was a clown from the word go. I suppose the 80s were too soon for me, but I'm not seeing it.

I am, however, seeing his influence on Davo. Very, very, very good call, PF
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