Happy anniversary! I plan to watch Avatar tonight in your honor. Can't wait to look at all that cheddar!
Meals on wheels.
I can't believe that we talked for 90 minutes and I didn't mention Under The Skin, one of my favorites of the year so far.
That's my favorite of the year so far :-)
Watched Under the Skin today. Enjoyed it but still processing. It's the cinematic equivalent to walking through an art gallery; impactful but not entirely sure my interpretation is what the filmaker intended.
What was your interpretation? I'd love to read it. Call out SPOILERS if you are sharing any (which I'm assuming you would).
From my perspective the major themes were the contrast between those who give and those who take, the power of physical attraction, and the nature of intimacy. This is a little different from the views of the screenwriter.*** The following discussion contains SPOILERS for UNDER THE SKIN. ***Givers versus Takers: The alien was motivated by its own interests, and used charm and physical attraction as a means to get what it wanted. Most of the men initially appeared to be helpful (giving directions to a lost traveler), but ultimately acted in their own self-interest (satisfying their sexual desires). Some men, like the group attacking the parked van, did not bother with the pleasantries. By contrast, others were more selfless: they picked up the fallen; gave food and warmth to the stranded; and provided shelter to the lost.The characterization of givers and takers was exemplified best during the beach scene. The swimmer did not feel lonely or alienated; he sought solitude. Coincidentally, he seemed unaffected by the aliens' charms. While the alien was focused on its prey, the swimmer was aware of those around him and heroically took action when danger arose. Ultimately, the giver was overcome by the taker, who relied on a more direct approach (bonk) while being completely indifferent to others' needs.Power of Physical Attraction: The men were fixated upon the female figure as they entered the black void, seemingly unaware of their fate while submerging into a gooey liquid that would ultimately suck the life out of them. Discuss.Nature of Intimacy: In the first act, we see the alien go back and forth between blank indifference and engaging charm. The banter escalated to physical contact with the disfigured man. Although the contact was used as part of the entrapment scheme, the act seemed to initiate a change in the alien's behavior. The Alien subsequently became disoriented (falling on the street), started exploring new experiences (eating cake), and later participated in a more intimate relationship with the man from the bus. The relationship ended when the alien realized it was not prepared for intimacy. This is presented physically with the newfound awareness of human anatomy; it could also be interpreted as symbolism for not wanting to expose one's true self in a close relationship.
I honestly don't think there have been any movies this year so far that I have felt super passionate about, movies that I have loved, that have hit yet. I really, really liked Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That's probably my favorite movie so far this year.I'm really holding out hope for: Godzilla X-Men: Days of Future Past (word is it's the best X-Men movie since X-2)22 Jump Street (yeah...I'm optimistic)How to Train Your Dragon 2Guardians of the GalaxySin City: A Dame to Kill For (it could be good...)The Purge: Anarchy (a much improved premise, it seems)Boyhood (that looks to me like it could be really great. I'm in love with the trailer)And then there's the stuff coming out toward the end of the year like Interstellar (because Nolan and McConaughey), Gone Girl (because Fincher) and, I dare say, Dumb and Dumber To (again, optimism!).
Two other things:1.) Neighbors is decent. It's nothing that will change your life, but there are several funny moments, and both Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are great. It's entertaining enough2) regarding the trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West, for the most part, it doesn't look appealing to me...EXCEPT when I saw the trailer before Neighbors and in it Doc Brown shows up with his "weather machine." I laughed out loud at that joke/reference.
I swear to god, I made my little joke on Twitter about the Scream factory Sleepaway Camp release and it's unconscionable lack of the F This Movie commentary before listening to this episode.
"Life is short, reading is long" (JB, F This Movie)
Godzilla was pretty great, saw it tonight at a screening (sitting right at the front, which was awful). I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but it's a much superior effort to Pacific Rim.
I like the sound of that.
The only highlights of 2014 for me have been Captain America: The Winter Soldier & The Raid 2. The Raid 2 is one the best action movies I’ve ever seen but I’m just as disappointed with the Raid’s anemic box office as Patrick & JB. I’ve heard all these arguments about American moviegoers won’t watch subtitled movies but didn’t we make Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon a success back in 2000(?). What happened? All of us “action movie geeks” talked about how great The Raid Redemption was & couldn’t wait to see the sequel & all we got was near empty theaters. I can’t wait for the Blu Ray on July 8.As for Non-Stop, I was on the bandwagon with JB, but I jumped off after the main villain’s offensive explanation for his motivations twist. I won’t spoil it but it’s a shame since they could’ve just gone with the Die Hard it’s all about the money. The simple motivation would’ve been better than what we got. I have no interest in X-Men DOFP. I’m just tired of this version & the cast. Except for First Class, they’re not X-Men movies. They’re “Wolverine and His Friends” movies. I admit the commercials are featuring Jennifer Lawrence to cash in on her star power so maybe she’ll get a lot of screen time. Or maybe it will be the “Mystique & Wolverine & Those Other Mutants” movie. Fox already has X-Men Apocalypse’s release date set no matter what this does. It’s just as cynical as Sony’s Spiderman plans. It’s a coin toss between this & Spiderman about which franchise needs to go away for at least five years & have the rights back to Disney. Alexander wrote that Godzilla is a superior to Pacific Rim. If that’s true, count me in this weekend.
Great conversation and truly interesting back-and-forth about the year so far. I agree more than I disagree, but here's a couple of points I wanted to chime in on. Regarding comic book movies...for me, the criteria that I expect as a starting point for any comic book film is respect to the source material. That does not mean literal interpretations of storylines or comic-accurate costumes, it means that I want to feel like whoever is making this movie is familiar enough with the source material of whomever they are bringing to life that they are following the rules of that character. You guys both mentioned the 1998 Roland Emmerich Godzilla in this episode and JB pointed out that they changed Godzilla. Now, changing Godzilla was probably not the most glaring sin that movie commited (a weak script, muddled plot, inexplicable Godzilla babies immediately spring to mind), but the fact that Emmerich did change Godzilla, as well as the many other problems in that film, indicate that he wasn't playing by the rules of a Godzilla story. If you don't play by a well-known character's rules and aren't respectful to what makes them appealing then it's all downhill from there. Getting the character right is just step one in a near-infinite-step process, but respect and familiarity with the source material should always be where you start from. This is why people love Raimi's Spider-Man movies as much as they do: Raimi LOVES Spider-Man and he has read lots of Spider-Man comics. Raimi was not a slave to those comics and was not beholden to repeating stories beat by beat, but you can tell that he loves it all. Joss Whedon LOVES The Avengers. If you don't start from a place of respect and investment, you're doomed to fail. Which brings me to point #2. JB wants to know what the appeal of Transformers are. For me, Transformers is a deep universe filled with compelling characters and interesting histories. And on top of that, they look really cool and change from this thing into that thing. The original Transformers cartoon from the 80s had much more of an arc and narrative than many of its peers and over time it has evolved with me. I liked them as a kid because they were colorful robots that changed into vehicles and fought the bad guys. But as I grew up the story grew with me. There are tons of political and social elements that have been explored in the last 10 or 12 years, including the exploration of democracy and how quickly rebellion against corruption can lead to something that is really no better. Super-interesting concepts for a franchise built around transforming robots. Transformers has also never been afraid to kill characters and show the true weight of sacrifice and loss. Of course, NONE of this has been represented in the Michael Bay films, which is why I wanted to write that column I did (Adapting Transformers). Transformers, like so many of its comic book movie kin, fails to capture the core of the property that it is trying to cash in on. I'm amused right now because as geeky as I sound writing this defense, I've pretty much been rejected by the geek community for being too critical not allowing myself to embrace something on nostalgia. Anyway, my point is that we can have fun with this stuff when the people creating it understand what makes these decades-old characters compelling in the first place but the movies really suffer and become tiresome when they're treated as just another property to use in order to make money. See, I wrote all that and didn't ONCE mention Amazing Spider-Man 2.
One more thing. I shouldn't say that Michael Bay and the writers of the Transformers films have "cashed in" on Transformers because that's a statement that can't be proven. Perhaps they love the characters immensely. I can only judge based on the fruits that are present in the work they have produced, of which I see very little. It's not that roads aren't explored, it's that the roads don't even seem to be present. But the third Transformers film, Dark of the Moon, was the most open to the exploration of complicated ideas.
Agree in part with point 1. The source should be the starting point, in particular regarding characterisation and inter-character relationships, and to an extent motivations. But then there shouldn't be fear in changing things in service of the movie being made. Change things if necessary but if not then keep to the source.
I agree 100%. Let changes drive a better story and not feel arbitrary. You've seen this story about the NBC executive who asked if the Walking Dead could be done without zombies? That's the mentality I'm speaking against.
For sure, versus the death of Gwen Stacey scenario (sorry) where they felt they had to kill her and to do that they had to introduce the Harry, have him turn into green goblin and have her die by falling and for Peter to catch her and break her back. You could argue that gwens death was organic to the story but all the rest was a result of being too slavish to the source.
It's true. My affection for that movie comes from the things that work outweighing the things that don't, but the catalyst of the Gwen finale comes out of left field and exists not for the betterment of the story but for checking that box. And like I said on the podcast, what would have been really great for the story would have been letting Gwen live because they have an opportunity to tell stories with that character and do things that have never been done. But I also feel like they HAVE done things with her that have never been done and made a great character out of someone who was just another pretty face and had no personality in the source material. So they've definitely deviated from the source material but not when it counted the most.
I still have to say, though, that I think the movie has elevated that story far beyond the source material. That story is nothing in the comics. Spider-Man is basically like "hey, you killed my girlfriend! I'm gonna murderize you!" He's still quipping. And the movie, while getting there in a bonkers way, gave it weight that it's never, ever had. So that's a change that does work and benefit the movie. I think that's why I'm able to overlook the lazy way they got there, because how it happens isn't as important to me as where they take it. I know it's just me, though.
But where they take it is just a 20-second 'seasons changing' montage before he goes right back to be awesome, jokey Spider-Man. It has no effect. Like everything in the movie, its impact is only in the moment.But that's just me talking.
sorry, i didnt mean to use that example to bring up old wounds (in the moment of being at the movies I kinda liked it...except the villains, but Peter and Gwen worked for me), I just thought it worked as the other end of the spectrum.
Patrick, listen. LISTEN. If we've learned anything from my contributions to F This Movie in the last two weeks it's that 8 years is ample time for Japan to get over the horrors of atomic warfare during World War II and that a 20-second montage is more than enough time to get over the death of a loved one.
I was surprised you were unable to come up with any good comedy sequels. May I suggest some possibilities:Bill and Ted's Bogus JourneyChristmas VacationNaked Gun 2 1/2Adams Family ValuesShrek 2Ghostbusters 2Crocodile Dundee 2Rush Hour 2Oddly enough several of these follow the "same stuff in new location" formula (e.g., Crocodile Dundee 2). But they all work well enough.
Yes! It was hard to think of some on the spot. But you've got some great picks there -- Addams Family Values and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey in particular. I'm not as fond of some of the others, but a case could be made for several. Thanks!
Don't feel too bad, I asked a couple of friends yesterday, and we couldn't think of any either. Or at least comedy sequels that were distinguishable enough to make it nearly as good as the first (looking at you Ghostbusters 2).Of that list Addams Family Values is probably the only movie I might consider to be superior to the original. Mostly because of the camp sequences, and the strange Christina Ricci obsession I had for a couple years. Although I think everyone in the 90's went through the same Ricci related journey. "Well I don't like Casper... but damn do I love Christina Ricci".
+1 to the inexplicable Christina Ricci fascination of my youth. I just wanted to stare into her giant eyes.I'm also embarassed to have misspelled Addams Family Values and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Shame on me. (I love how Patrick is able to so politely correct people in an indirect way.)For me, Ghostbusters 2 worked well because I was still young when it came out so I was totally scared of Vigo.
I only liked Casper because of Christina Ricci. And I seem to recall that Patrick was more of a Gabby Hoffman fan, but Ricci was also the main reason I liked Now and Then back in 1995. She was A-OK in my book
well, her and Thora Birch.
What, no love for the first three "Pink Panther" sequels as superior-to-the-original comedies (and blockbusters to boot)? Ignoring the Edwards/Sellers-lacking "Inspector Clouseau" and post-"Revenge" movies, "A Shot In The Dark," "The Pink Panther Returns" and (my particular favorite) "The Pink Panther Returns" are all arguably better, funnier and building on what the previous comedy did. Not a diss on the original "Panther" (it has its own charm) but it is quite slow and the laughs are spaced out. By adding key elements (Dreyfus and Kato in "Dark," a cartoony disregard for physics, etc.) as it went along the first three sequels actually improve and are better than the original "Pink Panther," IMHO.
Also! Chaplin's Mutual shorts coming to Blu-ray is very exciting. I have those but may consider an upgrade. The entire section toward the end of JB reading upcoming niche DVD and Blu-ray releases has me excited. Can't wait to get my 4K aquarium swerve on!Come on. Let's make history. -Jesus
I swore JBs followup comment to Jesus' "I'm coming" was going to be very different. Says more about me.
I did too.
I went to the free screening of Weekend at Bernie's as well, but in California.I saw the trailer for it in front of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and dragged my mom to see it. Surprisingly, she laughed at the film so hard she still talks about the experience.A couple years later we went to see the sequel and was greatly disappointed. Not funny one bit.Happy to report July 29, 2014 Twin Peaks comes to Blu Ray and All That Jazz will be out in August from Criterion.
Yes! I love All That Jazz with all of my little black heart.
Great podcast guys - you've got such an extensive stable of co-hosts to revolve through now that I'm excited by whoever's on. "Yay! A JB episode!" "Yay! A Mike episode!" "Yay! A Mark episode!" etc. Yay!A few thoughts:I wonder if the creators of The Purge realize that the vast majority of the murders that take place during "The Purge" would probably be spousal. Makes the whole premise a little ridiculous. It should pretty much be called Finally Kill Your Wife Day.I LOVED Blue Ruin - truly an Oscar-worthy performance by MACON BLAIR and such a unique take on the genre. I wish Canada was quicker with the VOD options because it really does seem to be the medium for more interesting films and it feels good to support them.Best time at the movies for me so far was definitely The Raid 2. I don't think I've ever cared or been so disappointed about a movie's box office take - where the hell was everybody? Is The Raid really still such a hidden gem, because I thought everyone loved it?Looking forward to catching Godzilla this weekend so I can be up-to-date for the next podcast - do please continue to give us the heads up on what's to come - I'd rather be prepared than surprised! :)
I can't speak for everyone, but I would have been there for The Raid 2...if it had come to a theater near me. I still really want to see it, though. I also need to check out Blue Ruin, apparently.