Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

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'

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 4 of 13 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›
   301. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:56 AM (#5723788)
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.
   302. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:10 AM (#5723812)
Here's White, a decade ago, on Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, one of the most disappointing and insultingly stupid movies I've ever seen.

Here is how he describes the scene in which Shia LeBeouf - after watching a monkey swing from one vine to another - dopily makes a "eureka" face and then outpaces a jeep by swinging tree to tree:

Spielberg can’t help showing off his mastery, doing so in a challenging, though eager-to-please, way. During a marathon Kingdom of the Crystal Skull chase scene ... a brief interval shows a character bounced from a hurtling jeep and then moving bodily through trees as if in an aerial ballet. The details of this swinging, rapturous jetée must be seen to be believed (and its humor instantaneously interpreted). Spielberg turns a jokey, lowbrow movie reference into a distillation of character and an anthropological theorem—without ever slowing the moment’s pace, or lessening its significance as a plot point. Film craft at this level is wondrous indeed, not only surpassing expectations for the Indiana Jones formula (action, action, action) but enhancing it with a bonus of suggestive lyricism.


Here's how he describes the spectacle of Indiana Jones surviving a nuclear blast, and thousand foot drop, by hiding in a refrigerator:

The astonishing image of Indy rising from post-WWII rubble to observe a nuclear mushroom cloud has the effect of situating historical catastrophe in modern terms... It simultaneously updates the Raiders series’ original, mid-century setting while implicating the modern audience as conscious, wide-eyed witnesses to the phenomena of modernity. Playfulness at this level gives way to shock and awe.
   303. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5723816)
Wow, that is perhaps the worst movie review I have ever read. Not because I agree or disagree with it, but because it fails the basic test of accomplishing the mission statement any movie review.
   304. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:28 AM (#5723821)
It's an astonishingly bad review. It might be the least accurate review ever. It actually wouldn't be a credible satire.
   305. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:35 AM (#5723824)
It seems likely that he had a few blind squirrel reviews over the decades, but I'd be risking suicide if I attempted to search for one by reading through his work en masse.
   306. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:37 AM (#5723825)
Speaking of movies with Nazis in them, last night we watched Amen (2002) by Costa-Gavras. This is a version of Rolf Hochhuth's early-1960s play The Deputy. It centers on a fairly incredible, but real-life Nazi named Kurt Gerstein, who was an SS officer engaged in supplying poison gas to the death camps – and at the same time a surreptitious dissident who tried to get Swedish and Vatican diplomats to understand the enormity of the Holocaust. Hochhuth invented a Jesuit named Fontana who tries to get the attention of Pope Pius XII, of course in vain.

It's not the subtlest movie ever made (and The Deputy is not a very subtle play) but it certainly makes its point. The film has an odd time sequence, at times slowing down or speeding up the chronology, and at others getting a bit ahistorical (eg in one scene Gerstein leaves what seems to be a besieged Berlin on his way to Auschwitz, but Auschwitz would have been liberated by the time that the Soviets arrived at Berlin). It's a deliberately-paced 131 minutes and maybe not for everybody, but I thought it was consistently interesting.

The IMDb notes for the film say that the Vatican refused Costa-Gavras permission to film on location there. No kidding? He ended up filming on a mock Vatican set in Romania. Even so, the film may overstate the help that the Church gave the Jews of Rome during the deportations. A sorry episode.

Google tells me that both Costa-Gavras (mid-80s) and Hochhuth (late 80s) are still alive.
   307. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5723849)
I just finished watching all of Bojack Horeseman. It was good, but I was slightly disappointed until the 4th season, which I loved.
   308. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5723856)
Speaking of (sort of) film reviews, have we discussed David Thomson here? I can't recommend his Biographical Dictionary of Film enough. I don't always agree with his takes- in fact I frequently disagree, and he has weird obsessions like Nicole Kidman- but he's always interesting.
   309. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:32 AM (#5723859)
I found Robert Ebert to be a good reviewer. Most of his stuff wasn't deeply critical but you generally got the sense that he was a good judge of quality of all the various genres out there. Plus his website back in the day was a good first step to deeper analysis of movies and TV. I think he had links to every frame is a work of art and another person who would deep dive scenes.
   310. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5723868)
Lassus, I sent you a site email. No idea if that even does anything.
   311. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:48 AM (#5723872)
Thomson is very good, yes. I'd also recommend Thomas Schatz's book The Genius of the System (1988) to anyone interested in the height of Hollywood studio films (1920s-40s).
   312. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5723878)
I found Robert Ebert to be a good reviewer.


The brilliance of Ebert (my favorite reviewer of all time) is that he both wrote very well and after having read the review I would always have a sense of whether or not I would like the film.

That is not to say I agreed with him, but he always kept in the foreground that his job was to communicate enough information about the film, strengths and weaknesses, to the reader that they would be able to determine if they wanted to watch the movie.

Often he would write about such and so being a movie he did not like, but still a fine example of X type of movie, or conversely a waste of time for x type of movie. My tastes did not perfectly align with his, but I could usually tell movies I would enjoy that he didn't or movies he loved that I would not, just from reading the review.

And of course Mr. Ebert was also very self aware, intelligent, and had many other fine qualities that added to his writing and review abilities. Also his love of movies as an art form always shown through, none of that scorn as a base for everything he wrote that you see far too often.
   313. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5723882)
I really should give “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” a shot; another critic I like (David Ehrlich) also considers it a masterpiece (and easily the best in the series).

I’ve only seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and thought it was profoundly uninteresting, but it sounds like he takes the sequels into a more fruitful direction.
   314. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5723887)
The San Diego alternative weekly used to have a venerable quirky reviewer named Duncan Shepherd. I read him every week for the year that I lived there. His rating system was akin to the Michelin star systems for restaurants, in that the vast majority of films were given zero stars, and even one single star was a mark of real quality. Which, for movies, is kind of useless, in my opinions. One of the funny reviews I remember reading is involved him shlepping up to Los Angeles for a midday screening of a new film by the senescent Alain Resnais. He notices that the crowd is all elderly and laments the poor taste of kids these days ... and then slowly realizes that the crowd is not composed of cineastes but rather of old people with nothing better to do.
   315. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5723889)
I’ve only seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and thought it was profoundly uninteresting, but it sounds like he takes the sequels into a more fruitful direction


Like tens of millions of other people, I thought the original Raiders was fun, and I dutifully went to the sequels until I reached the "bored-out-of-my-mind-by-formula" threshold. I suppose the opposite approach is possible, but I suppose somebody has a similar theory about Jurassic Park or The Bad News Bears, too.
   316. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5723892)
I assume #313 was a jokey post, but overall I don't think skipping ahead to the worst part of something is very enjoyable.
   317. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5723898)
For my part I miss Joe Bob Briggs, who used to review impossibly bad movies nobody'd ever seen in the Dallas Observer. Google suggests that Joe Bob is still working, but I haven't seen his stuff in a while.

If he reviewed The Shape of Water, he'd have something like "Two breasts. Three dead bodies. Monster Fu. Egg Fu Yung. Gratuitous song and dance. Not a whole lotta plot to get in the way of the story. Five Stars. Joe Bob says check it out."
   318. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5723899)
PF, got it, responded.
   319. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5723901)
The worst part of White’s “Crystal Skull” review was when he tossed shade at “Speed Racer.” Judas!
   320. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5723906)
For my part I miss Joe Bob Briggs, who used to review impossibly bad movies nobody'd ever seen in the Dallas Observer. Google suggests that Joe Bob is still working, but I haven't seen his stuff in a while.


I found myself in an elevator with him once at my newspaper in Little Rock, where IIRC he'd started out years earlier writing sports as a kid. No doubt he was there to be interviewed.
   321. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5723907)
Temple of Doom is actually a good example of why knowing what is going on in the background doesn't justify what is going on on the screen. Temple of Doom is a dark negative movie and it is that way because Spielberg was not in a good place personally. Knowing that doesn't suddenly make his choices good for what we see on film.
   322. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:15 AM (#5723910)
I assume #313 was a jokey post


It's impossible to tell what percentage of Davo's commentary is joke, what's dead serious, what's honest but exaggerated, what's trolling. That's why I called him out yesterday. It's tiresome. It would be great if he honestly shared his idiosyncratic opinions, it would be a nice contribution to the site. But the shtick of "I'm just gonna leave this bombastic contrarian take right here" ... ugh.
   323. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5723914)
I’ve only seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and thought it was profoundly uninteresting, but it sounds like he takes the sequels into a more fruitful direction.


If you didn't like Raiders, then yes you should watch the other in the series, especially Temple of Doom and Crystal Skull. There are certainly similarities (as should be expected in a series), but I certainly found my opinions of the movies to vary substantially and yours might as well.
   324. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:20 AM (#5723917)
Temple of Doom is a dark negative movie and it is that way because Spielberg was not in a good place personally.


The Abyss by James Cameron is another example where the movie was clearly and obviously an example of personal life impacting the movie.
   325. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5723919)
A great film critic should use his expertise to identify

1. what the movie is actually doing;

2. How it’s doing it; and

3. Whether it is doing this well (by comparing to other works of art).

I have no interest in the “Two thumbs up!/ Tomatometer/“Go see it!”-ification of film criticidm; it’s devolved into just another part of the Hollywood marketing machine.

(A thought experiment: imagine that overnight the overall quality of film either increased or decreased by a factor of, oh, let’s say 20 million. Would you notice any difference among mainstream movie reviews? Would the vaunted Tomatometer reflect this radically transformative moment? Of course not! Every weekend we’d still learn that of the 4 new movies hitting theaters, 2 of em are great, 1 is ok and 1 is awful. Like clockwork—they’re fulfilling their function as consumer guides, and nothing more.)
   326. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5723924)
David Ehrlich's review of Crystal Skull. Another review that has essentially nothing to do with the movie.
   327. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5723941)
I have no interest in the “Two thumbs up!/ Tomatometer/“Go see it!”-ification of film criticidm; it’s devolved into just another part of the Hollywood marketing machine.


I think you have the timeline reversed. There were film critics before Pauline Kael, before Cahiers du Cinema. They probably saw themselves mostly as consumer guides. But now - particularly with the post-internet disappearance of the local, captive consumer audience - the temptation to say something IMPORTANT about a movie drives bad critics to write reviews that only serve the purpose of announcing their own cleverness to the world.

The Tomatometer? It's just an amalgamation of critical voices. Some of them are as blithely superficial as Gene Shalit, and some of them are as pompous and arrogant and irrelevant as Armand White.
   328. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5723942)
David Ehrlich's review of Crystal Skull. Another review that has essentially nothing to do with the movie.

That's probably because he wrote that 4 years after the movie came out.
   329. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:40 AM (#5723943)
Did any of you bastards google pommes aligot?
   330. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5723957)
I've noticed Pommes Aligot popping up on more steakhouse menus and such. Really great.

I came across this dish while honeymooning in the Alps: Tartiflette. It's a potato casserole with bacon and stinky cheese.
   331. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5723964)
It is insane to me that people could read the essay in 326 and believe it has “nothing to do with the movie.” Like, because it didn’t say “Harrison Ford’s acting was bad but the score and the special effects were good so all in all I give it 3 stars”?
   332. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5723981)
pommes aligot


OK, OK.

Doesn't look hard to make, aside from the beating with the wooden spoon part. What's the best cheese to use that isn't Courbeyrac d'Auvillagnantin or something unfindable?
   333. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:09 AM (#5723984)
Did any of you bastards google pommes aligot?
Meh. Yet another high-falutin' dish based on the premise that "luxurious" texture has to be something that people without teeth can eat. I prefer my potatoes to be texturally identifiable as potatoes, thanks.
   334. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5723989)
I haven't made it yet but the American Test Kitchen came up with a mix of gruyere and mozzarella and it seems all the internet recipes have followed their lead. I've tried finding the traditional cheese for it online to purchase but have had no such luck finding it. I plan on making it for our Christmas dinner. So far the plan is for prime rib, jus and pommes aligot. Haven't fleshed out the rest yet
   335. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5723992)
Meh. Yet another high-falutin' dish based on the premise that "luxurious" texture has to be something that people without teeth can eat. I prefer my potatoes to be texturally identifiable as potatoes, thanks.

I think everybody can identify mashed potatoes as a potato. Do you like french fries?
   336. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5723994)
It is insane to me that people could read the essay in 326 and believe it has “nothing to do with the movie.”


I can give you a concrete example why. The essay in 326 is mostly about the reviewer's idea that the movie brilliantly resolves some sort of family crisis question in the Indiana Jones universe. He traces this type of question in other Spielburg movies, and he follows it throughout the film. Ok, fine. It's pretty sketchy IMO, and it requires some declarative statements about the older movies that many people probably would disagree with, but whatever. That's his thesis.

Now, I mentioned above that this movie had two of the worst action scenes I've ever seen. I was disgusted when I watched these scenes. I felt personally insulted. They were flagrantly stupid and pandering and lazy. I wasn't alone, they immediately became notorious for how shitty they were.

The writer does mention those two scenes, but only the extent to which they factor into his thesis. Nuclear Refrigerator? He sets aside the fact that it's just a brutally stupid and insulting scene in order to focus on a metaphor, a frankly embarrassingly facile metaphor: in the blast, a nuclear family of mannequins gets blown up, symbolizing Indy's fear of commitment. Ok, so there's a metaphor. Great. A metaphor. That doesn't save the scene. The scene is still garbage for a thousand other reasons.

The jungle chase? "The transience of Indy’s existence ... is made visually palpable ... these scenes work to constantly redefine Indy’s place in relation to the world around him, and to collapse his actions in the same frame as those of Mutt and Marion. The jungle chase sequence, for example, uses a wide shot to isolate the Jeep Indy shares with his family from the vehicle steered by Irina and her henchmen, driving the action down two parallel lines that only Mutt can straddle." A visual metaphor supporting the thesis. Great. Ignoring the fact that, again, this entire scene is a flaming trash fire of cinema. Here's the part where Shia LeBeouf learns from the monkeys how to chase down a speeding jeep.

On the one hand it's not fair because this isn't a real review, it's an essay. It doesn't need to have the "consumer guide" function.

But in general I would say that you're exactly right - a review that actually addressed elements such as the acting and score would likely be better in every way. This review doesn't engage with the film - it elides so many details as to not even approach a fundamental understanding of it - the clear focus, instead, is on the cleverness of the writer.
   337. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5723999)
I think everybody can identify mashed potatoes as a potato. Do you like french fries?
Mashed potatoes, yes - they still have some structural integrity and, ideally, some chunks of potato left in them (yes, the dreaded LUMPS!). But literally about 90 percent of images of pommes aligot show them running smoothly off of a spoon. That ain't potatoes.

And yes, of course I like french fries. I'm not in ISIS.
   338. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5724000)
That ain't potatoes.


So call it fondue. Still tastes good.
   339. the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB). Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5724003)

It's impossible to tell what percentage of Davo's commentary is joke, what's dead serious, what's honest but exaggerated, what's trolling. That's why I called him out yesterday. It's tiresome. It would be great if he honestly shared his idiosyncratic opinions, it would be a nice contribution to the site. But the shtick of "I'm just gonna leave this bombastic contrarian take right here" ... ugh.


Perhaps this might help?
   340. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5724006)
The jungle chase? "The transience of Indy’s existence ... is made visually palpable ... these scenes work to constantly redefine Indy’s place in relation to the world around him, and to collapse his actions in the same frame as those of Mutt and Marion. The jungle chase sequence, for example, uses a wide shot to isolate the Jeep Indy shares with his family from the vehicle steered by Irina and her henchmen, driving the action down two parallel lines that only Mutt can straddle." A visual metaphor supporting the thesis. Great. Ignoring the fact that, again, this entire scene is a flaming trash fire of cinema. Here's the part where Shia LeBeouf learns from the monkeys how to chase down a speeding jeep.
Wow. That review is just an incredible amount of utterly amazing horseshit. I would expect Steven Spielberg to come out from behind a curtain and tell the guy "I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work. How you ever got to write about anything is totally amazing."
   341. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5724007)

Cajun smothered potatoes is a traditional dish made with the gravy of the beef or pork steak that you are simultaneoulsy smothering on the stove. As the steak makes gravy you put some to taste in the potatoes that are being boiled down, adding seasoning and herbs and bits of home-cured sausage or tasso or bacon. Very flavorful potato side dish.
   342. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5724011)
So call it fondue. Still tastes good.
Oh, I don't doubt that the flavor is good. I'm just sick of the worshipping and fetishization of mushiness/creaminess.
   343. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:31 AM (#5724012)
Cajun smothered potatoes is a traditional dish made with the gravy of the beef or pork steak that you are simultaneoulsy smothering on the stove. As the steak makes gravy you put some to taste in the potatoes that are being boiled down, adding seasoning and herbs and bits of home-cured sausage or tasso or bacon. Very flavorful potato side dish.
Now that sounds delicious.
   344. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5724023)
jmurph, #308:
Speaking of (sort of) film reviews, have we discussed David Thomson here? I can't recommend his Biographical Dictionary of Film enough.


Thomson's "Have You Seen...?" book with 1,000 one-page alphabetical assessments of 1,000 movies is also excellent and rereadable. It begins with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and ends on "Zabriskie Point." Chronologically, it goes from "L"Arrosseur Arrossé" (1895, 45 seconds long and the first film comedy) to "There Will Be Blood" (2007).
   345. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5724026)
45 seconds long and the first film comedy
I'm assuming it was the prequel to "Man Gets Hit in Groin with Football"?
   346. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5724031)
From my late teens on I read Pauline Kael (no, not on Nixon) sedulously. I especially liked her capsule reviews of movies that eventually were collected in 5001 Nights At The Movies. She's easily the best writer among the movie reviewers I've read, even when she took jabs at some of my idols. That was long ago, though.
   347. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5724038)
That smothered potato dish shouldn't be overdone to a mush. Soft but with a distinct lumpiness.
   348. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5724039)
Mashed potatoes, yes - they still have some structural integrity and, ideally, some chunks of potato left in them (yes, the dreaded LUMPS!).


Probably more assured when one goes with so-called smashed potatoes. Which as it happens I had with lunch yesterday.
   349. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5724040)
A few of my favorite books of film criticism:

Britton on Film (Andrew Britton)
Hollywood from Reagan to Vietnam and Sexual Politics & Narrative Film by Robin Wood
The Films in My Life by Francois Truffaut (and Hitchcock/Truffaut of course)
The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968 by Andrew Sarris

Film criticism for me exists on a continuum, with the basic consumerist reviews on one end to the incredibly abstract/high theory on the other. These authors are as far to the “theory” end as I can go; after them it’s stuff like Bazin and Farber and I just throw my hands up in submission.
   350. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5724045)
What--no Joe Bob Briggs?
   351. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5724046)
Thomson's "Have You Seen...?" book with 1,000 one-page alphabetical assessments of 1,000 movies is also excellent and rereadable. It begins with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" and ends on "Zabriskie Point." Chronologically, it goes from "L"Arrosseur Arrossé" (1895, 45 seconds long and the first film comedy) to "There Will Be Blood" (2007).

Yep, I have that one, too. He did a TV book last year or the year before, but I haven't picked that one up yet.
   352. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5724047)
Besides Kael, I recommend Dwight MacDonald's On Movies.
   353. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5724049)
I don’t know him.

That clip with Shia and the monkeys in 336 was a ton of fun. The “Whoa.” exchange between the two afterwards made me smile. I love it when the characters in an action movie acknowledge “god damn that was really ####### cool, wasn’t it?!?”

Ok that settles it time to request this from the ol library.
   354. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5724050)
Probably more assured when one goes with so-called smashed potatoes.
Oh, of course. I would put the structural-integrity Maginot line between mashed potatoes and "whipped" potatoes, but smashed are preferable to mashed in terms of texture.
   355. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5724059)
Anybody read anything by Ray Carney? He's probably the leading Cassavetes scholar, and wrote books on Mike Leigh among others. He's... interesting, got some weird thoughts on things (and may have stolen Mark Rappaport's digital masters?) and is stridently anti-hollywood and I think probably modern films in general. But I think he's mostly right about how bad critics are when they start searching for symbolism and reading into things that aren't really there.
   356. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5724067)
Mashed potatoes, yes - they still have some structural integrity and, ideally, some chunks of potato left in them (yes, the dreaded LUMPS!). But literally about 90 percent of images of pommes aligot show them running smoothly off of a spoon. That ain't potatoes.

Exactly zero percent show anything running off a spoon -- they show the elastic stretch of cheese being pulled.
   357. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:33 PM (#5724069)
Mark Harris' "Pictures at a Revolution" is an exceptional look at the sea changes in the American movie industry, using the 1967 Oscars as the thematic fulcrum. That year's five disparate Best Picture nominees-- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Doctor Doolittle, and Bonnie and Clyde-- are kickoff points for examining the creative and business fractures, both behind the camera and on the screen, that only widened after 1967.


#351:
David Thomson did a TV book last year or the year before, but I haven't picked that one up yet.


"Television: A Biography" is diffuse and unfocused in a lot of ways, some good, some not. If you think you'd enjoy Thomson wandering from topic to topic, check it out. I'm afraid I was not wowed.
   358. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5724071)
I guess I now have to add mashed potatoes to my take on different Chili and BBQ styles. This ought not be treated as a zero sum exercise. There needs to be allowance and tolerance for interpretation and styles w/o dismissing them as not potatoes. I like purees, w cheese, w/o, mashed, smashed, w skin, w/o skin, all under the umbrella of 'mashed potatoes'.
   359. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:36 PM (#5724073)
I guess I now have to add mashed potatoes to my take on different Chili and BBQ styles. This ought not be treated as a zero sum exercise. There needs to be allowance and tolerance for interpretation and styles w/o dismissing them as not potatoes. I like purees, w cheese, w/o, mashed, smashed, w skin, w/o skin, all under the umbrella of 'mashed potatoes'.


Agreed.
   360. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5724077)
355-I’d not heard of him, but his Wiki page had a link to this fun interview:

MM: Why do you think film critics don’t usually put films within a political or social or even economic context? Would it be helpful for them to do so?

RC: American film reviewing is a form of advertising and advertisements are never political for fear someone might disagree with them. All of the important film reviewers are extensions of the Hollywood publicity machine. If that sounds too harsh, ask yourself why they spend months covering the Academy Awards—which is just a big, self-congratulatory Hollywood company picnic. When was the last time a work of art even got nominated? The reviewers are flacks for the studios. The publicists create phony behind-the-scenes drama for them to report, feed them celebrity gossip in press releases and fly them out to LA on all-expense-paid interview junkets. No one dares to tell the truth about the system for fear that they will be expelled from the club and denied the next big interview with the next big nobody.

MM: What is your biggest gripe with most film criticism today? Do you see any indications of an alternative critical community evolving to counter what you see in the mainstream press?

RC: As my secretary says, “Don’t get me started!” Since we haven’t got a week, I’ll have to give you a short list of some of the most obvious lunacy:

Let’s begin with the fact that Hollywood movies get reviewed in the first place. You know, only about one book out of 100 that is published ever gets even a single-sentence mention in The New York Times, but every Hollywood movie that plays in Manhattan is guaranteed a review—and often more than that: a review, a feature piece and an interview or two with the star on top of everything else. What does that tell you about the power of the advertising tail to wag the editorial dog?

On the other hand, if the reviewers are going to let the advertisers dictate what they cover, why not at least call a spade a spade? Why don’t they tell the truth? Why don’t they say: “This movie was planned and produced to cash in on a trendy social issue to generate publicity; it features a big name star to suck in viewers and generate media interviews; and it pushes a few non-threatening emotional buttons but leaves everything unchanged in the end, in order to give people a feel-good experience that will encourage them to recommend it to their friends.” Why not call the garbage garbage? When was the last time a movie reviewer wrote what is obvious about 99 out of 100 movies? That they were made for morons.
   361. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5724082)
"Television: A Biography" is diffuse and unfocused in a lot of ways, some good, some not. If you think you'd enjoy Thomson wandering from topic to topic, check it out. I'm afraid I was not wowed.

I have this book, but have not read it. It... has friends on that list.


Britton on Film

I'm just waiting for the right time to read this one.
   362. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5724086)
Britton on Film

I'm just waiting for the right time to read this one.
Gotta be a save situation, I assume.
   363. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5724087)
361–Very very very highly recommend. Tough to single any one essay out, but if you can get your hands on the Cary Grant chapter, you’re in for a treat. Really wonderful analyses, illuminating his greatest movies by examining them from a feminist lens.
   364. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5724092)
Exactly zero percent show anything running off a spoon -- they show the elastic stretch of cheese being pulled.
The potatoes and the cheese are combined, no?
   365. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5724093)
In the mashed potato wars, I carry a banner for the "smoother the better" army. When I want potato solidity, I'll eat them fried or baked (etc). But the best mashed potatoes are about five degrees away from drinkable. They should have the approximate consistency of Ponds Hydrating Lotion.
   366. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5724096)
I guess I now have to add mashed potatoes to my take on different Chili and BBQ styles. This ought not be treated as a zero sum exercise. There needs to be allowance and tolerance for interpretation and styles w/o dismissing them as not potatoes. I like purees, w cheese, w/o, mashed, smashed, w skin, w/o skin, all under the umbrella of 'mashed potatoes'.
What's that thing people say that means "you like it one way, I like it another..." I think it's, like, two different pronunciations of the same word.
   367. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5724097)
But the best mashed potatoes are about five degrees away from drinkable. They should have the approximate consistency of Ponds Hydrating Lotion.
You're a worse monster than Snapper.
   368. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5724099)
I exaggerate for comic effect. But I exaggerate slightly.
   369. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:59 PM (#5724102)
That Carney interview has something for everyone:

I’m fed up with professors who try to redeem crummy movies by finding grandiose cultural metaphors and themes in them. You know, the ones that argue that Showgirls is profound because it depicts “the commodification of American life,” or that no matter how boring and trite A.I. is, we have to take it seriously since it is freighted with “metaphoric significance.” Give me a break.


But here:

You seem to be a proponent of moviemakers commenting on the political and social landscape, Mike Leigh being an example. Why do you think this is important? Why doesn’t it take place more?

Ray Carney (RC): Hollywood separates personal and social issues because the producers are afraid of alienating anyone. They are salesmen and every salesman knows better than to discuss religion or politics. You might lose a customer if you actually took a stand on anything that mattered.


On the one hand, no #### Sherlock.
On the other, I don't care. I am unapologetic in looking to films for their escapist qualities. Or, not even escapism. How about just beauty? Entertainment?

I think it's a huge, ugly mistake to believe that films must have social or political meaning.
   370. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5724110)
But the best mashed potatoes are about five degrees away from drinkable. They should have the approximate consistency of Ponds Hydrating Lotion.


I am not a potato purist by any mans, but my ex is, and I get an earful if there are not lumps. Whipped potatoes are just not OK according to my ex. As for me, give me rice over potato any day.
   371. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5724111)
I’m fed up with professors who try to redeem crummy movies by finding grandiose cultural metaphors and themes in them


Dang, just as I was about to post my Lacanian reading of intersubjectivity in Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.
   372. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5724112)
As for me, give me rice over potato any day.

Sounds like you're a secret Cajun. A whole host of sauces, gravies, creoles, etouffees, gumbos, and soups can comport with rice.
   373. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5724120)
Going through Carney's site:

American indie news: Andrew Bujalski's new and eagerly awaited film, Beeswax, will receive its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. Advice to German site readers: Skip the glitzy parties, glamorous VIP events, and glittery movie star appearances, and fight for a ticket for this screening. The writer - director of Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation is one of America's most important filmmakers and a new work by him is an important cultural event. He is taking the pulse of the young and the idealistic, painting a group portrait of what we can look forward to from the best and the brightest. Be there or be cubical. -- R.C.


That's Davo's third favorite movie of all-time BEESWAX, thank you very much.
   374. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:24 PM (#5724125)
The (well, one of the) funny thing with Carney is that his canon is still basically the same canon as everyone else- Ozu and Dreyer and Tati and Capra and Renoir, etc. He just gets there a different way.
   375. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5724133)
I think I liked Funny Ha Ha. What's Beeswax about?
   376. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5724144)
Relationship of 2 sisters in Austin, one of whom is a small business (“beeswax”, as in “mind your _____”) owner.

I’ve actually seen all of Bujalski’s features (save his newest, which I fear may not make it to Minneapolis theaters), and Beeswax is by far his best. (I should caution that I’m a much bigger fan of mumblecore than the average bear, but still, guys, come on, it’s incredible.)
   377. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5724151)
From the reviews here and there (it has a 6.0 rating on IMDB), Beeswax seems to be in the Local Hero vein, which I hugely liked bitd.
   378. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5724152)
Ponds Hydrating Lotion


You call that lotion?
   379. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5724155)
What's your favorite movie with a bad IMDB rating? Now there's a topic.
   380. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5724160)
What's your favorite movie with a bad IMDB rating? Now there's a topic.

Ooh, I like it. Define bad, though, what's our scale?

A movie that I think is perfectly fine that lots of people really, really hate is Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown. That's got a 6.4 on IMDB. Not a favorite by any means but I'm generally down for Cameron Crowe's super earnestness.
   381. PepTech Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:00 PM (#5724161)
What's your favorite movie with a horrible IMDB rating?
Off the top of my head, Hercules in New York. But I'd have to see a list of low-rated IMDB movies to know for sure, and what you consider "horrible".

ETA: Gonna have to do better than that, jmurph. Buckaroo Banzai gets a 6.4 on IMDB. Herc is half that!
   382. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:05 PM (#5724164)
Oh man I don't know how to even find things that low!
   383. jmurph Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5724165)
Next can we do things that everyone else loves that I hate?
   384. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5724166)
I switched from "horrible" to "bad."

I'd say bad is probably <7
Horrible <5 ?


edit ... I'm seeing a lot of unremarkable mediocre but non-stinker films around the 6.5 mark. Maybe we should just use 6.0 as the cutoff.
   385. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:07 PM (#5724169)
Glancing through IMDB most of the movies I thought would get poor scores that I liked are 6+ and even 7+. Hmmm.
   386. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5724171)
Looks like the movies in my top 100 with the lowest IMDB ratings are Unfriended and Resident Evil: Retribution. Nights and Weekends, Momma’s Man and Beeswax are pretty low too.
   387. PepTech Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5724175)
Found the list (IMDB Bottom 100).

I'll stick with my pick; there's some pretty bad stuff on that page, but nothing else I liked. Caddyshack 2, Speed 2, Superman IV, and *two* of the Fifty Shades movies make it. The list appears to be in need of updating; it has Herc at 3.5. The lowest-ranked movie I've seen *any* of is Battlefield Earth (the current rank of 2.4 would be crashing the Top Bottom 10).
   388. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:16 PM (#5724179)
I recall being pleasantly entertained by Spice World (3.5), not that I'd want to watch it again.

I'll assume "so bad it's good" films like Battlefield Earth or Plan 9 From Outer Space don't apply here.
   389. PepTech Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:17 PM (#5724182)
Next can we do things that everyone else loves that I hate?
I really didn't care for Inside Out. Just didn't buy into it, I guess.

   390. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5724187)
Of course one has to remember that IMDB's voting population seems to primarily be young male nerds that prefer semi-brainy action movies. Something like Inception is always going to way rank ahead of something like, I dunno, Phantom Thread or Lady Bird.
   391. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5724189)
I switched from "horrible" to "bad."

I'd say bad is probably <7
I was gonna say Mallrats, but apparently it's aged well and grown on people, as it has a 7.2 rating. It got totally sh*t on for years, but I think it's arguably Kevin Smith's best movie.
   392. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5724190)
I'm seeing a lot of unremarkable mediocre but non-stinker films around the 6.5 mark. Maybe we should just use 6.0 as the cutoff.

I see Joe vs. the Volcano has a 5.8, and let me tell you, that film is a brilliant joy of an experience. Nearly a perfect film, IMO.
   393. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5724192)
To put a little spin on the topic, what movies do you really like have a disappointing rating on IMDB? James Stewart is pretty highly regarded on IMDB (may have more 7.5 and up movies than anyone), but I think his westerns with Anthony Mann are grievously underrated. Ditto with some of Stanwyck's early stuff.
   394. I am going to be Frank Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5724193)
I saw "Spice World" drunk while my friends were high. It was pretty enjoyable that way. I've seen about 10 of the Bottom 100. I didn't enjoy any of them. "Street Fighter" was funny in a bunch of ways.
   395. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:27 PM (#5724194)
Joe Banks: I tell you one thing, though. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we're gonna take this luggage with us!
   396. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5724198)
Can IMDB be trusted on old movies? I'm not sure. I saw all of those Mann/Stewart Westerns all in a big bunch, in a week or two, so they all blend together but I loved them all. Looks like there are not much more than 250 movies with an 8+, so it can't be surprising that any number of classics are sitting below that.

Fight Club is in their Top 10. Forrest Gump is #12! Inception #14. It's not a great list, huh?
   397. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:37 PM (#5724204)
The sub-5.0 movies that I’ve liked? The Bunny Game for sure. Freddy Got Fingered, You Won’t Miss Me and The Happening have moments.

...wow it’s hard to get below 5.0 on IMDb. Everything is above average!
   398. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:39 PM (#5724206)
5 isn't average, obviously. 6.5 seems to be average. It comes of having too granular a ratings system. No need for 10 stars, most people can't differentiate so finely. I bet most people rank most films in the 5-8 range and then every once in a while throw a 1 at a shitty movie.
   399. Morty Causa Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5724207)
Well, it's not like the Stewart/Mann westerns don't have good ratings. They do. But for some reason, some voters don't see Stewart in a western. Too bad because he's good and different. Hell, even a non-Mann Stewart western, Broken Arrow, is excellent. There's a sincerity and simplicity and directness in this early "race" movie that is immensely appealing.
   400. Davo Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5724208)
I recall being pleasantly entertained by Spice World (3.5), not that I'd want to watch it again.


I got so frustrated when the film refused to explain how it was the Spice Girls were able to communicate with the aliens, despite the fact that the aliens were clearly speaking in an alien language.

Page 4 of 13 pages ‹ First  < 2 3 4 5 6 >  Last ›

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam S
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWith two Cy Young Awards, Jacob deGrom on Cooperstown path
(3 - 2:04am, Nov 15)
Last: bbmck

NewsblogYou might’ve forgotten they played for the Nationals, but these players will receive World Series ri
(1 - 1:47am, Nov 15)
Last: bbmck

Hall of MeritMock 2020 Modern Baseball Ballot
(48 - 1:11am, Nov 15)
Last: The Run Fairy

NewsblogBoras bashes lack of competition, senses faster-paced market
(39 - 1:04am, Nov 15)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogAccept or decline? Every qualifying offer decision
(2 - 12:52am, Nov 15)
Last: Dr. Vaux

NewsblogThe Braves spent $40M on a reliever. Is that allowed?
(20 - 12:33am, Nov 15)
Last: Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle

Newsblog2019 MVP Award winners announced | MLB.com
(17 - 11:53pm, Nov 14)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogHe told a kid to slide. Then he got sued.
(89 - 11:35pm, Nov 14)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Newsblog10 players receive qualifying offers
(45 - 11:11pm, Nov 14)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread, Start of the 2019-2020 Season
(847 - 11:06pm, Nov 14)
Last: spivey

NewsblogThe Astros stole signs electronically in 2017 | The Athletic (paywall)
(173 - 10:38pm, Nov 14)
Last: The Duke

NewsblogMLB minimum salary rises $8,500 to $563,500 next season
(25 - 10:12pm, Nov 14)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogOT - November* 2019 College Football thread
(234 - 9:39pm, Nov 14)
Last: Lance Reddick! Lance him!

NewsblogCharity work, singing lessons had a hand in Waino’s decision to return to Cardinals
(3 - 9:07pm, Nov 14)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-14-2019
(18 - 7:26pm, Nov 14)
Last: stanmvp48

Page rendered in 0.8129 seconds
46 querie(s) executed