Saturday, December 26, 2015

Weekend Open Thread

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

There's just one week left in 2015, so let's take the next few days to catch up on all the stuff we've missed this year. In the meantime, let's also talk about whatever you guys want.

33 comments:

  1. Can't wait to hear everybody's top ten lists for this year. I saw a lot of great movies from last year solely because I heard about them from this site (movies like Starry Eyes, the Guest, Cheap thrills, Babadook). I'm a casual movie fan and wouldn't have even known about those movies without your help. Love the site, great job guys.

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  2. So how did everyone celebrate Christmas, movie-wise?

    I got into the holiday spirit with a double bill of Rare Exports and Die Hard. Guaranteed to bring out the ho-ho-ho.

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    1. I like to watch You're Next and pretend its a Christmas Movie, it really should of been

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    2. Saw "The Hateful Eight" and "The Revenant" almost back to back, then at work most of the 25th because the retailer I work for needed the store to be ready for the hordes of day-after-Christmas holiday shoppers. All that plus my throat is sore and hurts when I swallow (like the son of a certain character in "Hateful Eight"... wink, wink), which is no fun. All in all, not the greatest of Christmas but for an Atheist that doesn't celebrate the holiday I've had worse.

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    3. I watched 'It's a Wonderful Life' for the first time! It was great. James Stewart is like my favourite human being. I was surprised by how funny the movie is while still being pretty dark, and the framing device was pretty unexpected too. But really this movie just speaks to so many things about how we deal with life, and as a Christmas movie it has such a positive outlook, that was really perfect for me on Christmas.

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  3. Anyone catch "Joy" yet? I think I'm gonna try to see that and H8 this weekend.

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    1. Was going to see this on the 25th but it was sold out, so I went with "The Revenant" instead.

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    2. I saw it and liked it. I really liked the way O. Russell handled it and the performances were fantastic from all involved.

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    3. Saw Joy a couple of days ago at an outdoor theatre actually (which was really cool!). I thought the movie was pretty solid, it certainly is more grounded than O Russell's last couple of films and you sorta wonder whether he made it like that just to change things up a bit or serve the story, because it feels like he could have gone funnier with it. Still, it's a true story so there is that responsibility, and he still manages to find quirks and weirdness in whatever loose version of the truth he's playing with. All the performances are great, I think everyone expected that, and although Bradley Cooper has a smaller part than previous films he's so likeable in this one and Jennifer Lawrence is great as always. The film worked so well as a Christmas movie actually, it feels so full of love and happiness (Joy even?). In saying all that I found the first half much more effective than the second, more generic half.

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    4. I agree with the first half being stronger than the last. I also forgot to mention that being raised by a single mom really made the fist half hour resonate with me. It's so well crafted and tense showing how much responsibility she has.

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  4. Since there was no 'Netflix' column this weekend, this is as good a place to let you know that a ton of good movies are leaving U.S. Netflix on January 1st and 4th (mostly Disney movies on the 4th). CLICK HERE to see a complete list of what we're losing as well as what we're getting back.

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  5. I haven't been able to do much movie stuff the last couple days cause of all the family events. But tomorrow I'm seeing the Hateful Eight and I hope to see Joy and The Revenant before New Years.

    Just curious, did anyone else feel like this was kind of a down year for movies compared to last year, or at least that it was a little top-heavy? I feel like this time last year I was scrambling through a deep list of awesome films to figure out a top ten. This year I know the top 5 or 6 but after that it gets kinda meh. Maybe it's just me.

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    1. I was feeling that way until the last few months, at which point so much stuff came out that I'm having a hard time containing the list to just 10. I wish they could spread out releases a little more evenly, but oh well.

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    2. I came up with my top ten fairly easily and even have ten more to round out a full 20 for the year that I really liked a lot. I thought it was a great year for films for the most part but maybe not so much "Blockbuster" films.

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    3. I hear you Patrick. I think that's part of the problem. I've missed alot that came out in the last couple of months (I blame no one but myself) so it may be that I'll find more to love about this year when I'm watching rentals in early 2016. It'd be great if just a few of these movies were released in like March or something.

      Chaybee, I actually felt like the deficit this year was in the smaller films, but that may just be because I'm not hearing about the good ones as much. Alot of the movies I've loved this year were wide releases, and that's kind of odd for me. I guess personal taste comes into play alot there. It may also be partly due to just how damn good 2014 was, too.

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    4. Fair enough, Andy. I think I saw a lot of films that I thought were simply good. Not great but I didn't dislike them. For me, that's a win for the year! I agree, it depends on taste as well as genre.

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    5. Last year I made a list of my 10 favorite 'blockbuster' movies for 2014, so I started to put one together for this year...and I couldn't come up with more than maybe 4 or 5.

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  6. Yeah, the big money-makers were really good when they were good but not that numerous. After the first 4 or 5 you start asking yourself things like, "Do I REALLY wanna put Age of Ultron on this list? If so, what's next? Ant-Man? Spectre? Jurassic Wo--NO. No I'm out."

    I look forward to the Top Ten episode when you guys bring up several great ones I might've missed. I.e. Why Don't You Play In Hell from last year.

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    1. Wonder what the other 9 will be after The Road Chip?

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    2. Sounds like a Doug routine waiting to happen. 'My number one movie of 2015 is 'The Road Chip.' Now listen, listen...' :-P

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  7. I saw The Force Awakens on Christmas and it was all the awesome.
    That is all.

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  8. Watching "Phantasm" several times for a project (long story). Never seen it before now.

    I'm thinking it was easy to become a "well loved" movie in the era of 70mm screens. Just have a couple of full screen shots of bare boobs in your movie...

    Outside of the silver ball (that sprays blood all over the place that then instantly disappears) and the presence of Angus Scrimm this film aspires to be a mess.

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  9. I just saw The Hateful Eight in 70mm and thought it was great. Though I must say that quite a bit of it what slightly out of focus. It didn't take away from the film but it was a bit annoying, especially when you would get a crisp, beautiful shot, then the next shot was noticeably softer. I should have went to the Music Box, but oh well.

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  10. You guys heard of the Bechdel Test? Is that a thing in film school? I saw The Hustler on a flight last week and was SO ANNOYED by the ending (for the girl) that I angrily googled WOMEN DYING IN MOVIES as I was waiting in the aisle to get off. The Hustler was amazing at first - I was comparing it to Whiplash in my head, but only it was better because there was a super interesting girl and the romance was super layered and full of self awareness. I felt like I might actually learn something insightful about relationships from this movie or at least see something unusual. Then the end! It wasn't just an ending. Movies are not just chronological. They're a piece of art where you kind of examine the whole thing together as a whole. So the "F you, you die" to the woman at the end felt like, in retrospect, I was being slapped in the face from the beginning.

    I was not at all always annoyed by sexism in movies; I didn't even notice it before recently. Since being a kid I loved and bought into movies and they impressed upon me what it looked like to be a desirable woman of value in their stories (which doesn't include a very varied range of characteristics, I see now). Recently, though, I've become disenchanted with those ideas of life that rarely begin or end before or after a man. And now I feel like movies...are not my friend. Like they have major potential and influence but they are bad, irresponsible teachers who will do you very wrong if you're a girl and you believe them. I do still love movies, I love the form, and they tell some good parts of stories, but lately I often find myself feeling deeply betrayed by them and heartbroken over them. Anyway. That's it.

    Also saw Fading Gigolo. Maybe John Turturro should stick to musicals.

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    1. Of course I've heard about the Bechdel Test. It's not necessarily an indicator of whether a movie is good or bad (a film could still be good and fail the Bechdel Test), but it is a good measuring stick of just how short-sighted and low Hollywood sells female characters in the stories it turns into motion pictures for the world to consume.

      As for your feeling toward movies, do me a favor and watch 2015's "The Wolfpack" (it's on Netflix Instant) and then tell me how you feel about movies afterward. You won't be sorry, promise. :-)

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    2. Be careful, Meredith. The online culture at this time is all about everything being sexist. Almost any movie can be googled with the word "sexist" after it and there will surely be an article of some sort claiming it is. It's not always true. I'm not saying sexism doesn't exist, it does of course and more-so in the days of old Hollywood. BUT don't buy into it as a "buzzword" because it's happening all too often. Yes awareness is up which is great, but a lot of people love throwing that word around with no idea of what it is.

      The first movie you list on your Blogger profile as your favorite is Groundhog Day. Check this dumb shit out - http://soonestmended.com/2014/02/02/re-visiting-groundhog-day-lobotomizing-women-in-the-name-of-love/

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    3. I think William Golding put it perfectly when he was asked why Lord of the Flies was about a group of boys instead of a group of girls. He said he chose boys because he was a boy. He had no idea how a bunch of girls would react in that situation. Considering that most filmmakers and producers over the last hundred years have been men, it might be a simple explanation as to why there aren't more fleshed out women in movies.

      Obviously things are starting to change. Just give it more time.

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    4. Well, historically there is a trend of women being treated unequally in Hollywood. The 1995 film "From The Journals of Jean Seberg" is one of the most eyeopening, fucked up and depressing stories I've ever heard. She became one of my favorite people after watching that and learning more about her. Changes are happening now, but some for completely wrong reasons. I don't get political and I really don't like politics, but the barrage of "this is sexist" stuff that these writers concoct and fabricate because it's a trend and gets them clicks really hurts the actual sexist problem that exists.

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    5. Okay, Chaybee hombre, I went ahead and read that Groundhog Day article out of curiosity, and, it's not "dumb"; it's actually fairly well-written. Now, I don't think Ayoun built a compelling argument for why Phil's acquired omniscience depowers or "lobotomizes" Rita, as she's still free to wake up on February 3rd and decide that she wants a better man than him for a partner. On the other hand, I don't find the notion that, through decades of self-improvement, Phil is able to become her ideal man through patience and force of will devoid of creepiness, either. According to Wikipedia, Ramis has guessed that Phil spent several decades in the cycle, making him a much older man than her - sort of, emotionally speaking (time travel makes everything weird) - without her having the faintest clue. (I think? I haven't seen the movie in years.) If life partners are supposed to share intimate thoughts and feelings, can Phil ever have an honest relationship with her if he never tells her about the cycle? If he were to tell her, would it break the spell? Does the enlightened life he's experienced over those Groundhod Decades make up for the emotional poverty of his prior real life? These are all very ambiguous yet legitimate questions that Ayoun only glances at.

      I haven't seen 50 First Dates, but her arguments there are much more convincing. (Arrr, does removing the time travel element help.) However, the fact that Ayoun does not really grapple with the thornier issues of Groundhog Day does not necessarily mean her conclusions are wrong, or that her unease is unwarranted. It would be fascinating to see an attempt to gender-flip the story, though the relative willingness of most men to engage in casual relationships with a willing and smitten partner might make it a fundamentally futile one. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if such a story indeed creeped me out, as a guy identifying with a male character who has no idea what's really going on.

      Meredith, I agree that sexism is all over pop culture, and the movies especially. In a weird way, however, I almost envy women their predicament at times, in that they've got something real and important to righteously rebel against. Sure, I call myself a feminist and like to think that I'm not part of the problem, and am maybe even nudging things a tiny bit in the right direction, but I hardly think it's the same. It's all very complex and confusing. But, as a first step, I'd like to urge all women to never date dudes who won't comfortably and publicly call themselves feminists, and definitely never date Republicans. Hit the patriarchs where it hurts! :P

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    6. I wasn't referring to the quality of the writing, I mean, I've read some dumb ass books which are well written, I was referring to the fact that the piece exists under false representation of what the agenda was for writing it. But, right on, we're just going to disagree on it because I'm not buying into the intention of the article for one second. One of the commentators on the piece echoes my thoughts a bit more eloquently.

      Regardless, I'M the real "dumb shit" here as I certainly know better than to engage in political discussion on the internet, especially on a movie blog.

      Btw - I like your idea for Ghostbusters 3 much better than what is coming.

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  11. Thank you, guys, for your thoughtful input.

    J.M., yea I don't even know that much about the Bechdel Test. Although I don't like rules or tests for subjective things like movies too 'much, it just has a great theory behind it. I completely agree with you that it doesn't indicate whether a movie is good or bad. I don't think The Hustler is bad at all. I hate throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Chaybee, yes, thank you. I should not have used the word "sexism". I thought it was efficient but I don't know fully what it implies. Neither do I, like you, really care. I complained on Adams article about The Intern - that an older male character tells the woman what to do in that story. But the truth is- I said that to try to point out what looked like OBVIOUS sexism and injustice but the truth was - Robert Deniro telling Ann Hathaway what to do didn't bother me personally at all. What bothered me was how undeveloped Ann Hathaways character remained in the end. Just because she's a successful career WOMAN character doesn't mean she doesn't deserve development. It felt like uninteresting status quo under the guise of a (very stale) idea of what it means to be a successful woman. Anyway, my point is you're right. Terms like sexism can take away from true understanding of the situation.
    Re: Groundhog Day- thanks for the article which I'll read later. I just know that I want to become the kind of person Phil Connor is at the end of that movie. I watch it almost every day.

    Luke- ya, for the reason you described I have never actually held it against male movie makers...although actually I'm starting to realize there is so much laziness in their lack of research of female characters when female characters are called for (understandably not in Lord of the Flies)

    El- thanks for your sensitivity to how confusing and subjecting it is! And Thanks for being a feminist. The term feminism is like the term "art" for me- an inclusive umbrella term that CANNOT be exclusive. Which means it's too broad to almost be described except as having the intention of supporting women. At least that's what I always think.


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    1. That was an extremely thoughtful reply, Meredith. Cheers!

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