Saturday, August 12, 2017

Weekend Open Thread

Don't forget we're LIVE this Sunday at 5 p.m. CST for our 400th episode!

This should be a fun weekend for us in the F This Movie! community. Before we get to our live 400th show, let's talk about what we've been watching or anything else you feel like discussing.

And there's still time to shoot us an email with a message you'd like read/played on the air at fthismoviepodcast(at) or on Twitter at #FTM400. Talk to you live on Sunday!


  1. I figured the “Beyond the Gates” commentary was the 400th episode?? Glad to hear that you’re doing something special as it is deserved! Hoping to make the proceedings, but if not, I’m sure it will be FTHISMOVIE awesome. I’m sure PB will not stop expressing how much he loved “The Bye Bye Man”. Thanks ALL for the many hours of insight and entertainment. HAPPY 400!!

  2. Hope to be able to listen to at least some of the Live podcast. Going to a party at some point that day and have a friend coming in from out of town also, but I can probably get buy with at least one headphone in.

    I saw a good amount of stuff this week, sometimes at the risk of exhaustion. I watched Vincent Price's debut in the romantic comedy Service de Luxe (1938), the all female cast of The Women (1939), and Chroma Key pioneer Thief of Bagdad (1940). Price is charming in Service, The Women had a stellar cast but in service of an outdated message at the end to put it mildly, and Thief of Bagdad had some stellar effects and sets.

    Also spent the other day visit my dad and watched a few movies with him that I had bought. This included a Romero double feature of Knightriders (which he hadn't seen) and Day of the Dead (which he'd seen at some point but didn't remember well). I don't know that Knightriders really worked for him but he's always willing to watch something new. I also picked up what is pretty much a bootleg DVD of Speed Crazy (1959) which I wanted to see in its entirety after seeing it feature prominently in Joe Dante's The Movie Orgy. Obviously the quality isn't great since some guy must have had to copy this off of 16mm film since it's never been released any other way but it was good enough for just getting a chance to see it. Obviously it doesn't play as well as it does in The Movie Orgy because the scenes aren't being used as punchlines but it was worth a purchase to me.

    1. Who is your favorite actress in THE WOMEN, Ross? For me, it has always been a tossup between Paulette Goddard and Rosalind Russell. The original stage version of THE WOMEN is edgier than the film is. Sometime in the early 2000s PBS showed a revival of it with Cynthia Nixon.

      I just looked up information on THE MOVIE ORGY. Seven hours. Have you watched it in its entirety? THE ATTACK OF THE 50 WOMAN I showed to an ex-girlfriend and a housemate on the strength of the poster art; it is a classic cinematic con game. I had never watched it before. Big mistake. They both hated it and were unhappy with me for wasting their time.

    2. After seeing The Movie Orgy I became briefly obsessed by that demented children's show that keeps popping up. But the Speed Crazy clips are also very, very funny. What's the line that keeps getting repeated?

    3. He keeps saying variations of "Don't crowd me" and "people are always crowing me".

      Casual, I agree that Russell and Goddard come out the best in The Women, partly because I feel that they get characters that are least somewhat defined. Crawford isn't bad but her character is a bit one-note, and Shearer through no fault of her own has to play a character who is treated poorly, finally gets her stuff together and has to make a tough choice, only to run back to her ex-husband in the end happily admitting that she has no pride. I'm not sure if that's a change from the stage version but for a movie that features an all-female cast of 130 actresses that was the worst possible way to end the movie.

    4. The role of Mary Haines is a thankless character. Whatever decision she makes about her errant husband, she will be hurting herself in the end. I doubt Steven's roving eye would cease looking for a new adventures with other women just because they got back together. In the end, it is just extrapolation.

      The stage version ends the same way as the film. It is a problematic ending now and it probably was for many viewers of the period. Although entertainment standards have changed drastically since 1939, human beings have not.

      I also remember the dialogue being more on the racy side and there being a character who is intimated to be a homosexual. You know how the Production Code viewed such matters.

  3. Good weekend to all of you.

    Congratulations to episode 400! That is dedication, Patrick.

    The summer is going by rapidly. It is hard to believe that next week is the middle of August already. I probably should be focusing more on life now than I actually do. Films always seem more interesting, though.

    It was an active week with films, but I took the easy way by watching mostly documentaries. Documentaries require less effort for me to get absorbed in than feature films.

    BALLAD OF THE LITTLE SOLDIER (1984)- This short documentary, co-directed by Werner Herzog, examines the 1980s conflict in Nicaragua through the experiences of the Miskito tribe. You here the stories of atrocities perpetrated against them by the Sandinistas and see young boys, some as young as 10 or 11 years old, being trained for combat. Watching these boys firing a machine gun that is bigger than they are is more than a little unnerving. The reality of being a child soldier is not pleasant to witness.

    SAMPLE THIS (2012) - This music documentary about The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache", a popular track during the early days of Hip Hop, needed a better editor. The narrative veers off in a multitude of directions that only detract from the film's intent. SAMPLE THIS is mainly for those with an interest in the origins of Hip Hop music and culture.

    I got around to seeing a few of feature films.

    DEMONS (1985) - Directed by Lamberto Bava

    I will begin by stating that I had a lot of fun with this Italian horror film. The mayhem in the movie theater is always entertaining and manages to suspenseful at points. The way the action parallels the film-within-the-film is clever. The demon make-up and gore are well executed, and I appreciated the very colorful lighting throughout the film. As for the plot, it truly veers off into nonsensical realms. I am not going to give anything away here, but those of you who have seen the film would know what I am referring to. It also feels like the film ends multiple times. It is hard for me not to view DEMONS as schlock, but it is at least enjoyable schlock.

    THE MAN WHO LIES (1968) - The fourth film from Alain Robbe-Grillet I have watch this summer. This one involves a man supposedly named Boris, who shows up in a French village after WWII telling stories about a beloved Resistance hero who disappeared during the war. With the every story, the fate of the local hero changes. In one version he survives the war, and in another he dies. In the meantime, Boris is trying to seduce every woman he comes across. A strange film but visually intriguing.

    DRACULA SUCKS (1979) - This Dracula production with a '70s adult film cast is definitely an oddity from another period of time. Not quite a spoof but also not a very effective vampire film, either. Jamie Gillis portrays the titular character with more humor than menace. Annette Haven is good in her role as the innocent Mina. Reggie Nalder, who played Albino in MARK OF THE DEVIL, is Van Helsing here.

    1. Way too many typos here. And using "here" instead "hear". Yikes.

    2. That's usually me, I give up now and just roll with it, fat thumbs and little keys and weird predictive text changes come up with interesting stuff to say the least

  4. Been a movie heavy week for me. I watched a few recent horrors, I Am Not a Serial Killer, Late Phases and Darling, all of which I liked at least to some degree. Serial Killer was the best of the bunch for me, Darling didn't do that much for me but I do appreciate the way it's constructed.

    Went for a late-to-the-party double feature at the cinema with It Comes at Night and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Night was an intense experience and Valerian was colorful and fun, but I've pretty much forgotten both already.

    Yesterday, I finally got to see The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, a Finnish movie from last year about the 60's boxer falling in love while preparing for the biggest fight of his life. It's beautifully shot in 16mm b&w, and it feels very Finnish in its stillness, its subtle comedy and its quiet and unassuming central character.

    Older stuff I watched for the first time included 1986's The Wraith and Tom Hanks starrer The Money Pit from the same year. Both were entertaining for their running time, but I don't see myself coming back to them again and again.

    And then there's the movies you put on when you want something easy to watch and comforting. This week they were 21 and 22 Jump Street and Hot Fuzz. Also, The Running Man with Paul Michael Glaser's commentary, but that was pretty dry and the interviewer had to keep prodding Glaser into speaking.

    And about the 400th show, I just assume it's gonna be a Projection Booth-style four hour dissection of The Bye Bye Man.

    1. The only Finnish films I have seen are a few of Aki Kaurismaki's. I found THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST to be an amusing film. Do you have any recommendations for other Finnish films or filmmakers, Mikko?

      THE WRAITH and THE RUNNING MAN are films from my youth. They played a lot on cable TV here in the U.S. in the late 1980s. They are certainly products of their era. I revisited THE WRAITH at the beginning of the year. The car race sequences in it are shot well. The music is used effectively at those moments, too. I also really enjoyed the interplay between Skank and Gutterboy. In light of the creation of reality TV, THE RUNNING MAN can be seen in several ways as a prescient film. In any case, it is still at heart an '80s action film. I have a soft spot for it.

    2. Always ready to promote Finnish movies.

      I've written about a few recent Finnish genre movies here before, movies like Rare Exports, Big Game, Sauna, Iron Sky, Jade Warrior and Bunny the Killer Thing. All of those are more or less worth a watch if you happen upon them.

      As for Finnish "classics", I'm afraid my knowledge is very limited. I watch a lot more Hollywood stuff than Finnish movies. Nevertheless, I can mention a few.

      The Unknown Soldier is THE Finnish classic. It's a WW2 movie based on a revered novel and it's shown on TV every year on our Independence Day. It's the movie that every Finn has seen. There's also a pretty good 80's remake, and a new one coming out this year (it's Finland's 100th anniversary year).

      Inspector Palmu's Error and two of its three sequels are my absolute favorite Finnish movies. They're about a curmudgeonly old detective and are both exciting and hilarious. Based on books by Mika Waltari, arguably Finland's greatest ever novelist (he wrote mainly historical epics, Palmus are among his lighter fare). The second one in the series is my favorite, but public opinion tends to be on the side of the first one.

      Eight Deadly Shots is a bleak tragedy about one man's descent into depression, alcoholism, violence and eventually murder. It's a tough watch, but it might also be the best insight into a traditional Finnish man's psyche ever put on film. Originally a miniseries, but it was edited down into a movie.

      Steam of Life is a documentary about the one place where a Finn is at his most open and honest, the sauna. It follows men up and down the country sitting in saunas and talking about their innermost thoughts. A beautiful movie well worth your time.

      This year's Tom of Finland is an excellent biographical movie about Touko Laaksonen, aka the gay icon Tom of Finland.

      And then there's of course Kaurismäki, who you mentioned. He's absolutely the most celebrated Finnish filmmaker both at home and abroad. The Man without a Past, Le Havre, Drifting Clouds and this year's The Other Side of Hope are all excellent films, and like I wrote about Olli Mäki, they also feel intrinsically Finnish.

      And sorry, I have no idea if any of the films I've mentioned are available internationally.

    3. STEAM OF LIFE was broadcast several years ago on the public broadcasting service here. I remember enjoying it. I love documentaries that offer glimpses into other cultures. To me, jumping into cold water after being in the steam does sound pleasant.

      Knowing how important the World War II period was to Finland's national survival, I am not surprised by that there is a war film in your list. The history of Von Mannerheim, The Winter War, and alliances with anti-Soviet forces is very interesting. I will definitely look for The Unknown Soldier. Is the version from 1955 the one you recommended?

      Tom of Finland might find its way to the States at some point. Those Inspector Palmu films are probably not available here.

      Kaurismaki's work is fairly easy to find. The Criterion Collection has released a lot of his films on DVD and blu-ray.

    4. Correction: "Jumping into cold water does not sound pleasant"

    5. Yeah, the 1955 original is the better one and that's the one that plays on TV every December.

    6. @casual You get to go back in the steam after the cold water! I lived for several month in the north (in a wood stove cabin) and we had a wood stove sauna as well, which we used regularly. There was a small spring feed pool beside it that we would make a hole with an axe, to jump in while taking a sauna. Very cold, and the whole pool almost froze solid and was unusable by the end. The wood stove sauna was excellent because you could dump water on it all you want (not electric) and get it nice and steamy/hot.

      @Mikko Thanks for the suggestions. Hopefully I can find some of these.


    I feel like this is the movie of the year that everyone mocked and no one saw. I bought into the hype that it wasn't any good, and I didn't go see it in theaters. I recently rented it on blu ray and watched it and it absolutely blew me away. It's a movie that I cannot believe got made because it's 2 1/2 hours of mystery and disturbing insanity. We live in a time of wide release horror being very safe, and this movie is most certainly not. It's a breathe of fresh and sick and twisted air. I love that! It has insanely beautiful cinematography and really terrific acting. I know it's cool to hate on Dane Dehaan these days, but I can't join in. I thought he killed it here. It's one of my favorite movies of the year and I think it's a borderline masterpiece.

    I recently read Adam Riske's great column on "Movie Bullying" ( in which it becomes cool to hate on certain movies without seeing them. Riske urges people, of course, to watch movies for ourselves and make up our own minds. The FThisMovie community is so good about this and so much better than other sites. I really reccommend watching 'A Cure for Wellness' because I think it's something really special to discover, even though it's being so dismissed.

  6. Not the heaviest week for me, but I caught:

    BEAUTY AND THE BEST (2017) - The pacing is dreadful, the look nightmarish and the opening dance would work better as the opening of The Masque of the Red Death. Besides that, it's middling.

    The Sweet Hereafter - Sweet jesus, what an effective portrayal of grief. I almost don't even know what to say about this great movie.

    INGRID GOES WEST - I've been struggling a bit with how to describe my basic take on this, until I finally realized what Ingrid reminds me of: she's Julia Robert's character in My Best Friend's Wedding if she had gone completely over the edge. Ingrid is broken in a way I'm not sure she wants to be fixed and the movie doesn't pretend otherwise (and the description of the movie as an Instagram stalker tale is both reductive and a pretty accurate way of describing how her mental illness manifests). This movie is funny as hell, but man, it is also really, really sad and dark and anxiety-inducing. It's absolutely worth seeing, but it got under my skin and I'm going to be thinking about it for a while. It's not flawless, but I think it's really, really good.

    12 YEARS A SLAVE - It's good! Very good! (Yeesh, what else am I supposed to say about it, outside of Sarah Paulson should have been in the Best Supporting Actress race?)

    1. Thanks for the words on Ingrid! I've been unsure about that, but now I totally want to see it!

  7. One of the weaker adaptations from Philip K. Dick, 2007's "Next" with Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel. Plot holes and characters' poor motivations prevent it from being thought-provoking throughout.

    1. Totally agree. I put Next and Paycheck in the same basket, in both the central idea from Dick is intriguing, but the script built around it is just nonsense.

  8. just watched The Guest, for the 3rd or 4th time, and that got me in the mood to try You're Next, which i've never seen.

    1. finished You're Next. it was great, i really liked it. i can see why people like it so much. keep that in mind for what i'm about to say.

      also, SPOILERS!!!!!!

      the movie had its share of clunky dialogues, bad actors and tired clichés. maybe it was the point of the whole thing, kind of a parody of the genre. but i didn't care for the money motivation and probably would've preferred that it was just random bad guys having fun (like Funny Games), or just the brother hating his family.

      that being said, let me suggest 2 other home invasion movies that i doubt you guys have seen. they're both french.

      the first one is Haute Tension-2003 (High Tension). its got a weird twist at the end and the whole movie is very tense (it is in the title after all)

      the other one is Ils-2006 (Them). based on a true story. for my money, it's the best movie of the whole home invasion genre.

      they might be hard to find through the proper/legal channels, but if you can get them, you won't regret it.

  9. Your in for a treat Next

    Wow I wish I could see it again for the first time

    I'll give you 500 if you hit him first!

  10. I had an old friend visiting, and we celebrated with 24 hours of vodka, followed by sleep and a very lazy movie marathon:

    Alien: Covenant - I liked it, especially much of the soundtrack. Weakest element was the CGI aliens. The aliens from AvP: Requiem (which everyone shits on, even though none of you have seen it) were miles better, BTW.
    King Arthur: Something Something Sword - Calme tes nerfs Guy Richie! Every expository sentence was cutting between 5 different scenes..
    Kong Skull, Island - This was fun. Godzilla was good at sneaking up on people, despite his size.
    Source Code - I had already seen this one. My friend liked it. It works better on the first viewing.
    The Founder - Well made, and engaging. But felt a little hollow by the end. It didn't go anywhere you weren't expecting it to.

    Looking forward to the live show tomorrow!

  11. Capped this evening off with a watch of one of the most radical films I have ever seen, SWEET MOVIE (1974). Directed by the Yugoslavian director Dusan Makavejev, then living in exile, the film is visually and thematically anarchic. It could only have been made during that period of cinematic experimentation and openness. SWEET MOVIE is a provocation; you will not watch it indifferently. It touches on sexual freedom, communism, capitalism, self-liberation, and history. Perhaps there other things you might see in it.

    Is SWEET MOVIE a great film, utterly terrible, or just exploitative pretentious trash? Up to you. Amid the craziness and grossness of the film, there is a thrilling sense of freedom. If you dare to watch it, heed this warning: There are some truly disgusting things happening in it.

    SWEET MOVIE, whatever you may think of it, is a unique experience. This is, however, probably not the best place to start watching Makavejev's films. W.R.: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM is a good test for getting used to Makavejev's approach to filmmaking.

    1. I should add that there are two loose story lines SWEET MOVIE is built around. The description above gives the impression that the film is completely random, which is not true. It may feel that way, in any case.

  12. Mr. Freeze: "Today's forecast: Endless Minter!"

  13. I have been very busy with the Melbourne Film Festival, but have seen some amazing stuff. Like Lucky staring Harry Dean Stanton, and it's really good, really simple but a lot of heart. It's pretty much Stanton smoking cursing and hanging out with his buddies and I loved very minute of it.

    Also saw The Square, not a movie I'm not sure how I feel about yet, but really interesting.

    There was also a sci/fi retrospective. Time Crimes, which I liked. But there was a 35 mm print of Nothing Lasts Forever from 1984. It's such a special movie, I don't think it is on DVD, but it has a great Bill Murrary performance, and this amazing 30s futuristic vibe. For me it's a special movie.

    But The Visitor was almost a religious experience. It's not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it might be a masterpiece of some kind. I have never seen anything like it. It played amazeballs with the audience, it wasn't that smug laughter but this amazed I don't know what I am watching but I loving the insanity laughter. It was a perfect movie for 2am.

    Anyway congrats on 400 episodes!!!

    1. Viewing a film that completely defies the standard rules of filmmaking can be a transcendental experience. It is hard to describe; it concerns more than just getting wrapped up in the story and characters. You have an acute sense of the subtle details of the film. I had a similar experience watching SWEET MOVIE over the weekend.

      Having seen THE VISITOR (also at a film festival), I can understand your reaction to it, Lindsay. The film completely defies the norms of narrative, and the stylistic choices are more than a little bewildering. So many things in it happen out of nowhere. I still have vivid memories of the music accompanying John Huston appearing on screen and the bizarre ending of the ice skating rink sequence. The contrast between the talent pool involved and the final product also contributes to the strangeness of the film.