Thursday, September 20, 2012
Doug Asks Patrick Questions About Movies
What's your favorite genre of film, and why? It's horror, isn't it. You're going to say horror. #ScaryMovieMonth
It might just be the October talking, but, yes, it's probably horror. Or maybe action. Those are two genres that can be difficult to love, because there are SO MANY MOVIES in both categories, and MORE THAN HALF of them aren't any good. Not even a little bit. But those are the only two genres in which I'll watch just about any movie (which is exactly what most of the people who make the D-grade junk that comprises much of the genres), mostly because I know it will deliver at least some of what I'm looking for. It takes a great deal of patience and dedication to wade through the stacks of hay to find just one excellent needle -- a Needle of Excellence -- but that's part of the fun, too. Not only does it make the highs feel even higher (you have, in the words of Capt. John Miller, EARNED THIS), but, like those French critics argued in the 1950s, there is something to be learned and understood about the genre by watching every entry in the genre. They all have value, even when they don't. But picking horror and action as my favorite genres is like naming pizza as your favorite food -- it's the easiest to enjoy, it's always available and you always know what you're going to get in one way or another. If you're hungry and you can grab anything to eat, you go for pizza. If I want to watch a movie and I can grab anything, I go for zombies or Steven Seagal.
Now that it's getting cooler outside, do you have a go-to autumn movie? Something that you feel like you can/should only watch in the fall?
I know you and I have talked a lot in the past (on our own, not on a website in front of a THOUSAND JUDGING EYES) about music that we will only listen to in the fall (which I don't really even do anymore, because I've given up on music), but the same doesn't really hold true for movies. Obviously, there is ALL OF OCTOBER (#ScaryMovieMonth) in which I watch exclusively horror movies, but beyond that I can't think of too many movies that I specifically seek out once the leaves change. Good Will Hunting is kind of a fall movie for me, but it's not like I watch it every year (I don't like them apples). For some reason, I don't think I would watch Girl, Interrupted in any season but fall, but I also don't think I would watch Girl, Interrupted in any season (that movie is fine, but I'm good). These are the months that are typically reserved for "good" movies in theaters -- the awards bait, the auteur-driven indies, the movies for grownups, so maybe I watch those kinds of movies? Or maybe I get enough of those at the theater and spend my time at home watching Steven Seagal movies. I don't know.
What I'm saying is that the answer is Meet Joe Black.
Best disaster movie -- go!
This is a genre in which I'm pretty deficient, because a) the disaster movie boom of the '70s was before my time and b) I've never been interested in those movies enough to go back and seek them out. I've never seen Earthquake. I've never seen The Towering Inferno. I haven't even seen The Poseidon Adventure (or Poseidon, for that matter). I also mostly skipped out on the mid-'90s resurgence of the disaster movie, so I never went to see Dante's Peak or Volcano or Deep Impact (though I just put then latter into my Netflix queue). Many of the disaster movies I actually have seen are directed by Roland Emmerich -- The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 (#nomorepullups) and Independence Day. I guess that last one would be my favorite almost by default, and I wonder if that's because it dresses up the usual disaster movie trappings with aliens and spaceships and lasers and Jeff Goldblum.
I'm considering purging some of my older, rarely watched DVDs. How do you decide if a movie's worth keeping, even if you haven't played it in years?
I have a really hard time parting with DVDs, because I'm always positive I'll be in the mood to watch a movie again AT SOME POINT. As much as I think I'll never want to see A Perfect Murder again, I can't bring myself to part with it because I know my own madness and I know the way my mind works, and one of these days I'm going to get on some big Andrew Davis kick (no doubt brought on by my first viewing of Steal Big, Steal Little. Or my tenth viewing of Chain Reaction.) and I'll be kicking myself for having gotten rid of it. And for what? $1.50? Half an inch of shelf space? No thank you. You stay right here with me, A Perfect Murder. At the same time, I've tried to be much more careful about what I actually buy (these days, that means hardly anything at all) so that I'm not put in that position. The only stuff that comes into the house is either movies that I know we love and will watch regularly for years (at least until the Snow White and the Huntsman chip is implanted into my brain) or is something I have to review.
Also, what are you getting rid of? Anything I might want? I understand you recently regained possession of a certain copy of Harvard Man...
Say something (ANYTHING) nice about Paul W.S. Anderson.
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and the picture of milla is what?ReplyDelete
I think Patrick is trying to get at that Paul W.S. Anderson is married to her, ie: a good thing (for him, anyway). Also, she is in the Resident Evil movies, I think all of which he wrote and produced, and many of which he directed.Delete
Proof that there is no good and hacky, show-offy filmmakers that put their hot movie star wives in their movies (Les Wiseman, etc.) feel the need to rub it our faces. MORTAL KOMBAT!!!Delete
I'm a sucker for disaster movies - especially cheesy 70's diaster movies (maybe it's the decade - I love cheesy 70's sci-fi as well). There's something inspiring to me about the standard trope: a group of individuals from vastly differing walks of life must work together to overcome a life-or-death situation. The absolute king of these films for me is The Towering Inferno. Earthquake is all right, but that movie suffers from a supremely annoying performance by Ava Gardner - who believe it or not is supposed to be Lorne Green's DAUGHTER. That's one special effect the filmmakers just couldn't pull off.ReplyDelete
One of these days I'll have to go back and watch a bunch of them. It's a big flaming skyscraper-sized hole in my movie watching.Delete
One of the movies that I'm CONSTANTLY considering getting rid of (but never do) is 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' Yes, I know it's "good," which is why it's in my collection (a collection heavy on the "good" movies of the early 2000s -- I had money for the first time), but I can't imagine myself ever actually watching it again.ReplyDelete
I think as much as 10% of my DVDs are films I have no desire to rewatch. Some of them are good and some are bad. The bad ones, I kind of bury so they don't reflect poorly on me when people peruse my collection.ReplyDelete
I can't be bothered to actually get rid of any DVDs for the same reasons as Patrick mentioned. I've given away a handful of things I double dipped on but never have I sold a disc I no longer wanted.
Never be embarrassed about anything you own, Darren.Delete
I can never even hint about parting with any of my DVDs. The only times I get rid of one is when a new and better disc comes out, and even then I'll keep the old one if the special features weren't all carried over. Mainly for the same reason, every three to five years I have a need to watch Silent Running or even (lord help me) Mortal Kombat.ReplyDelete
I keep thinking I should rip the discs, make some kind of digital copies, but the amount of hard drives to take all the discs is not a small number and the price of all those drives hurts to even think about.
Grey, I agre with you on "Mortal Kombat." I own the old non-anamorphic DVD (yuck) but feel no need to upgrade to the bare-bones Blu-ray, and yet this is a movie that I can't bring myself to not watch at least once a year. For me it boils down the the music score (it's an insanely catchy array of techno tunes, especially the self-titled theme song), Christopher Lambert (you can tell the man is having a ball playing Lord Rayden as a seen-it-all God that's actually excited about the tournament; his enthusiasm infects the movie and the actors around Lambert react to him better than on Rayden-less scenes) and residual affection for the videogame series (which peaked with "Mortal Kombat II").Delete
This was also Paul Anderson's breakthrough movie so, for better or worse, we have an unending "Resident Evil" series because "MK" hit it big back in Aug. of '95.
You know what's interesting and I'd love to hear people talk about is something that came up here. I think MOST of us probably bought DVDs hand over fist back when they first started coming out, and I think a lot of us have cut back recently. I have a literal WALL of DVDs and blu-rays. hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds. People come over and they don't even know what to say. The thing is, Some of them go back to 1999, and I've been collecting movies for a LONG time, but I rarely buy any these days. What's that about? Is it because the movies aren't as good? Is it because I've got all this stuff eclipsing one quarter of the room and I have to be more selective?ReplyDelete
I did just get rid of probably 100 DVDs a few weeks ago. It was actually kind of nice. There were some old flipper discs in there (the worst) and some movies that I don't even remember buying and have never watched even though they've been on the shelf for years. But still, there's like a thousand movies. I hope there's never an earthquake, someone could get hurt.
Patrick, do you feel comfortable talking about giving up on music? It's come up twice recently, and I'm just curious what that process has been like and why you came to it. Does music in movies bother you, either a score or songs used as transitions and backgrounds? Just wondering. This is a safe place.
*takes off pants*
I got to a point where I was no longer able to just buy a movie whenever I wanted. The money wasn't there anymore. And Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, any streaming that I'm forgetting, made it so easy to just click and watch.Delete
Also, the wall of DVDs is becoming a problem. I simply can not fit another bookcase into the room.
*Takes off pants* is the funniest thing I've read in these comments in a LONG time.Delete
Also, your guess about most of us buying DVDs -- for me, at least -- is dead on. I got a job in 2000, had money, DVDs were new (and shiny), and I bought EVERYTHING. I used to have a three-to-five movie habit a week ... for years. Now I have a wall full of movies (like you) that is "impressive"(?). But most of the new additions are gifts -- I haven't gone on a shopping spree like that in years (and Best Buy's current fiscal situation tells me I'm not alone).
Patrick and JB win(?), however; if I had to guess, I'd say they collectively own over 15,000 DVDs and Blu-rays. THAT IS NOT A JOKE.
You guys ever think about joining a DVD swap site? Maybe you can trade "Crouching Tiger" and "Garbage Pail Kids" for something you want to watch but aren't willing to plunk down money for? Just a thought...Delete
Long live Heath Holland, forever. That hit me just right. *Ssshhh*ReplyDelete
I stopped buying movies because I realized that movies got cheaper later, and I never minded waiting a few months. I'd gotten tired of paying $20 a pop, and then I got pickier about what I wanted for my money (nowadays, a director's commentary is my #1 favorite extra).
Sounds like we're all in the same boat on the DVD thing. We were young, DVD was new, we had disposable income (sort of) and we went crazy. Now we have DVDs of Goodfellas that you have to turn over half way through the movie. Maybe we could take all those old discs and make solar panels out of them and heat our houses in the winter. Maybe a nice shiny coffee table?ReplyDelete
I remember watching some show (MTV Cribs?) a loooong time ago and Rob Zombie was showing off his movie room where he stored all his old horror films. It was like going to the library, there were all these shelves in this room, and I remember thinking how awesome that must be to have all that. And lord help me, I tried. I felt personally responsible for archiving the movies of the world. But that was a long time ago, and with Netflix it's not necessary.
*still without pants, puts on bandana*
I think it's also a function of us having a lot of the things we want. If you spend five years buying up all the movies you like from the first 100 years of movies, you only have to buy new stuff going forward. And there's not enough of that to warrant the same kind of purchase patterns -- there are fewer titles overall, and even fewer that are worth owning. There's still plenty of stuff I would want that I don't have (or that hasn't been released), but we have enough here to keep us busy for years.Delete
Also, less money.
MTV Cribs aside, there are so many reasons I wish I was Rob Zombie.
I, too, used to buy dvds like a madman when they first came out. I just thought the prices were fixed, like laserdiscs were--so I didn't mind paying $20 (instead of the $35 LD fees).ReplyDelete
However, a few years into, noticing that ALL prices go down (DVDs, Blu Rays, even TV box sets), I now only buy for 3 reasons.
1. I have to have it now.
2. The price is as good as it will ever get.
3. I need something $10 or less to get free shiping on Amazon.
Like many of you, I have thousands--but I luckily have managed to sell the ones that I do not want as I go along--thus funding my habit.
Blu Ray almost killed me (another format!), but luckily those prices have dropped significantly.
It used to take a whole year (or more) before VHS becamse priced to own. Now, you can get a brand new release on Blu Ray for that price on opening day--or less, if you wait 2 to 3 months.
Less if you buy the previously viewed ones at Best Buy (if you can find one still open).
At the very least, collecting movies is one of the few addictions where you have something to show. The problem is one has to invest in good shelves.
My wife asked when we were dating, "Why are they in alphabetical order?" If they weren't, I would never find a thing.
Alphabetical order! Wow, I would love to do something like that, but I'd be so conflicted, because I'd want them organized into genres and I'd even be tempted to put all the Van Damme in one section and all the Universal horror in a section and all the Clint Eastwood categorized not just alphabetically but also by western, drama, war, etc.Delete
I seriously have respect for an alphabetized collection. That sounds like a nearly impossible task for something that is fluid and ever growing. Do you have interns?
Wait, what? Your collection is not alphabetized? I'm nervous just thinking about that. How is it organized?Delete
If your discs are not arranged alphabetically, how do you SLEEP at night?!!Delete
Usually I drift off after the second hour of quiet sobbing.Delete
oh, and my collection is organized in my own anal way: in some cases by actor, in some cases by series, and in some cases director. Like, David Fincher movies go together because he's the tie that binds there. Van Damme movies go together. Stallone movies go together. But then, I have a western section and a horror section. I have a Doctor Who section, an animation section, and a TV section. It all makes sense in my mind.Delete
I used to have my collection arranged in a fluid evolution way. Kind of like you Heath, but each movie needed to be related to the one next to it either by director, actor, series etc but it could change as it went a long. i.e. Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Unbreakable, Signs, Lethal Weapon. I guess like six degree of Kevin Bacon. I would try to get the longest chain possible, which was a few shelves worth.Delete
Now, Im much more digital. Purchases are more for "Must Haves", while digital is more for all the other "I think Ill check that out"
My collection is organized chronologically. Not in the order they were produced, but by the order they take place. So all the movies that take place in 1875 are together, movies made in 1941 (that take place in the then present) are grouped with whatever WWII movies that place in '41.Delete
I can't do alphabetic, my mind simply refuses to work that way and when I try I can't find anything.
^ Hmm, that actually sounds a lot more confusing and time consuming than alphabetical to me.Delete
Part of the joy of building a movie collection is to organize it. Alphabetical never did it for me. I prefer to sort by filmmaker or genre. My collection is mapped out in my own brain so that I know the general location of most titles though others have a bit of trouble finding things.ReplyDelete
Really at this stage I don't put a lot of thought into where new purchases go and just plop onto anys helf that still has room. But like everyone else my collection is not growing that much in recent years because I pretty much have most of the films that I really want to own.
Hey, Patrick, since you haven't seen the 70's disaster movies I have a shortcut that could save you time and give you a pretty accurate read of the genre: STICK TO THE MOVIES PRODUCED/DIRECTED BY IRWIN ALLEN (excluding the made-for-TV movies, which easily more than double his output). It's only five theatrical movies: "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno," "The Swarm," "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" and "When Time Ran Out." That's a straight timeline of the disaster genre going from boom to bust in ten or so years.ReplyDelete
All of Hollywood jumped on the disaster bandwagon after the success of "The Poseidon Adventure," but the Allen movies (even the bad one's which he directed) have the blueprints of a filmmaker committed to this type of genre because he genuinely believes he's making a good movie with something important to say. "Poseidon Adventure" and "Towering Inferno" are the highlights of not only Allen's disaster movie canon but also of the entire genre pre-Roland Emmerich bringing it back with a CGI vengeance. I think they're both fucking awesome movies in their own right, so at the very least you won't waste your time (I can totally see a Patrick-JB podcast resulting from seeing either one).
The remaining Allen disaster movies have more in commong with the "Earthquake's" and "Avalanche's" that Hollywood cranked out. Even within the calculated attempt to milk the cow dry there are touches of "class" (for lack of a better word) in an Irwin Allen disaster movie than in any other. The fact he got big-for-the-time stars to appear in these turkeys is almost the only reason to keep watching them, but whatever. After you watch the Allen disaster movies feel free to pick-and-choose among the rest but it's very slim pickings in a very hit-and-miss criteria.
I personally think Allen's made-for-TV mini-series "The Night The Bridge Fell Down" (1983) is better than any disaster movie from the 70's except "Poseidon Adventure" and "Towering Inferno," but what do I know? I've only seen them all. ;-)
Dick: I guess it looks as if you're reorganizing your records. What is this though? Chronological?ReplyDelete
Rob: No ...
Dick: Not alphabetical ...
Rob: Nope ...
Dick: No fucking way.