Wednesday, April 18, 2018

FTM 435 - RETURN OF THE JEDI

Many Bothans died so Patrick and Jackson Stewart could bring us this podcast.



Download this episode here. (52.1 MB)

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Follow Jackson Stewart on Twitter and Instagram at @bossjacko

18 comments:

  1. Great podcast. I love hearing very intelligent, and different conversations about mainstream blockbusters. Always entertaining! This has always been my least favorite of the trilogy, but I wonder how much of that is because it's been screwed with the most by the special edition. This has motivated me to get the "Despecialized Editions". Thanks for that!

    Always great to have Jackson on the show!

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  3. The same people who shit on Jedi are the ones who heap praise on Rogue One. That's fine, but really we couldn't be friends

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    1. I loved The Last Jedi. I also loved Return of the Jedi. (Not sure which Jedi you're referring to). But I also loved Rogue One. Can we be friends?

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  4. Spielberg directed "Poltergeist". Period. People who have worked on the film have said so, repeatedly - and just LAST YEAR, John Leonetti – who, crucially, WORKED ON Poltergeist AS CAMERA ASSISTANT while his brother Michael served as the movie’s cinematography – said that while Hooper “had input” on the film, it was Spielberg who was really calling the shots:

    “Candidly, Steven Spielberg directed that movie. There’s no question. However, Tobe Hooper – I adore. I love that man so much…[Hooper was] so nice and just happy to be there. It was really more of a set-up because Steven developed the movie and it was his to direct, but there was anticipation of a director’s strike, so he was ‘the producer’ but really he directed it in case there was going to be a strike and Tobe was cool with that. It wasn’t really anything against Tobe. Every once in a while, he would actually leave the set and let Tobe do a few things just because. But really, Steven directed it.”

    PERIOD. THE END. There is no debate. SPIELBERG DIRECTED "POLTERGEIST". Give it up.

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    1. https://1428elm.com/2017/07/15/confirmed-steven-spielberg-directed-poltergeist-not-tobe-hooper/

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    2. There are just as many people who say that Tobe Hooper was the actual director. Actors who were there. People who were on the set.

      http://ew.com/movies/2017/09/14/poltergeist-tobe-hooper-steven-spielberg/

      From Mick Garris:

      “I was doing publicity on Poltergeist and a lot of people were talking about the Spielberg and Tobe Hooper situation,” said Garris, who later worked with Hooper on Showtime’s Masters of Horror series. “From my perspective, it was Tobe’s first studio movie. Here he is, on a studio lot, on a big soundstage. Steven Spielberg had written the shooting script, was on the set, and was producing, and Spielberg is a consummate filmmaker and he lives and breathers movies. He probably has sprockets up and down his spine. Very passionate, very intelligent, very articulate. And, yes, I would see him climb on the camera and say, ‘Maybe we should push in on a two-shot here,’ or ‘do-this-or-that,’ there. And Tobe would be watching. Tobe was always calling action and cut. Tobe had been deeply involved in all of the preproduction and everything. But Steven is a guy who will come in and call the shots. And so, you’re on your first studio film, hired by by Steven. I mean, Tobe DIRECTED that movie, Steven Spielberg had a lot to DO with directing that movie, too.

      The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Only two people ever knew the whole of it: one of them is now gone and the other one isn't talking. Opinions and second hand accounts aren't proof. Therefore, there will ALWAYS be debate.

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    3. Leonetti's statement will and always will be dumb because if leaving the set to Hooper "to do a few things just becaue" isn't exactly what a producer would do to a director, then I don't know what is.

      And don't give me any of that "Spielberg had the stronger voice" bullcrap because if Hooper didn't have the power to veto anything he didn't like (which, funnily enough, is something Garris points out, though that tiny bit is scrubbed out of the quote as transcribed), he would have walked off the set.

      It may very well have been the same situation with Marquand and Lucas, even though I haven't done the same research behind this film as the former. There's a quality to Return that feels distinctly more old-fashioned, and Marquand was an older gentleman/director with more roots in an older style. Probably very similarly, Lucas let Marquand do his thing as based on his blueprints, then pushed him out after the work of shooting it. Again, it all depends on your definition of a "director" is, and what defines a film.

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  6. confession time: I saw both Ewok movies theatrically.

    Return of the Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I saw on it's release. on my birthday even. and after we went for junk food. I will defend Return of the Jedi till the day I die!
    not certain about defending the Ewok movies though...

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  7. I love Return of the Jedi, though not quite as much as Star Wars, Empire, or the Last Jedi. I have to acknowledge that the film has problems, however, and don't hold it against anyone who doesn't like it. I think people rail against the Ewoks, because they best represent the, I dunno, sloppiness of the movie? RotJ is a ton of fun, but I would say that it lurches from set piece to set piece much less gracefully than the best films in the series. The opening sequence at Jabba's Palace slaps all the characters together fairly haphazardly, and characters come and go without much fanfare. The Emperor is amazing, as is the final lightsaber duel, but Han and Leia's story is under-served to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the movie, and think it's a satisfying end to one of the best trilogies ever made, but when people write the movie off as "the one with the Ewoks" I would say that they're really just having trouble articulating why something they want to love doesn't resonate with them.

    Re: the above comments about Poltergeist, movies are collaborations. Tobe Hooper obviously had a ton of input on Poltergeist, as did Spielberg, as did countless other people. Why do we care who had the most? Poltergeist is great, Tobe Hooper is great, Spielberg is great - isn't that enough?

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  8. Growing up Jedi was always my favorite film because it gave us the grand finale and ultimate happy ending. New Hope was kind of the generic adventure movie, and Empire was just too slow for a twitchy kid full of energy waiting for the next episode of Power Rangers.

    As an adult it's a bit more of an inverse and I know that is kind of the crowd mentality discussed on the podcast. Me and my best friend watched Empire and Jedi this past Christmas Eve and I can say that Empire is an almost perfect masterpiece, while Jedi is incredibly flawed. I won't get into the George Lucas debate, or even Ewoks.

    If you watch Empire you just get these incredible shots that are absolute touch stone's to American cinema, such as Han being drug of to be frozen while Leia and Chewey watch in horror. Jedi really lacks too many of these shots. Empire constantly has you on your toes even for the more slowly paced scenes. With Jedi, after you leave Tatooine there is a massive lull in the movie. Yes we have Yoda's death (spoilers), and the speeder chase, but overall there's a good hour of dead time. Plus, the twin twist just seems incredibly tacked on and kind of undermines the love triangle we had going in the first two films.

    I will say that the battle between Vader and Luke in the throne room is the absolute best sword fight we get in the entire series of films thus far. There aren't any insane acrobatics (minus Vader doing flying down the steps), no one twirls their swords, and the actual fight doesn't take place over a great length of time. What we have is a story unfolding through a fight. Luke desperately wants to turn his father back, but the Emperor taunts him by discussing turning his sister to the dark side.

    I also love the tease of Luke turning to the dark side, which I missed as a kid.

    Overall, I like the film, but it isn't nearly as tight as the other two films in my opinion.

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  9. your discussion about Star Wars being an all audiences and ages movie reminded me of the quote you've said before: There are people who love movies, and then there are people who love the movies they love (something like that ,right?) But the point being the people who just love the movies they love have always seemed like the people who were furious that Ewoks turned Star Wars into a "kids movie."

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  10. I'm just really appreciating all this love and appreciation for RotJ, which has always taken a back seat to the other films in the series on internet lists and in the media, but yet is adored and considered the favorite by a lot of people of a certain age. RotJ has an awful lot of meat on them bones.

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  11. Some great stuff in here! I do agree with Patrick's passing suggestion that it's a fool's game to try and chase the imagined reasons why some people rate this movie lower than the others - you end up at something of a caricature of a whiny Star Wars fan complaining about Ewoks and about Han being subordinate to Leia. Which, to be fair, there are millions of those people!

    But most of the gripes that I've seen in writing by interesting people, and that to some extent I share, are about how this works as a film and a narrative: Han, Leia and Lando have screen time and tasks but no character arcs; the intercut climax is over-busy and somewhat undercuts the emotional payoff of Luke and Vader; the quick stop for Yoda's death and exposition is super sloppy; the repeat Death Star is as much a failure of imagination as Jabba and the Emperor are triumphs; the principal cast kinda seem like they're coasting through senioritis; the brilliant Jabba sequence is fairly awkwardly welded to the main body of the film; Marquand doesn't always have Kershner's knack for composing/lighting a shot to make a memorable image out of the dialogue scenes; etc.

    On Marquand and Lucas: after a deep dive into the Cinefex issue on this film I came away with the strong, strong impression that the model for both of the sequels was for the hired director to tackle the talky stuff and for Lucas to oversee the massive effects-shot operation. In this case, the latter is basically the majority of the film, turning the story and character director into almost a second-unit director... but I do think the identity of that person matters in terms of getting dialed-in performances from the actors and putting together shots that stick in our minds and convey emotional information. To that end I really appreciate your calling out the handheld and tracking shots on the Death Star - those ARE good and I should give them more credit! But so much of the Endor and Dagobah stuff is just kinda flat and expository, IMHO.

    I'll still defend it from the haters - it's a delightful, if episodic, adventure movie with a number of really memorable scenes. It surely has the most effects shots of any of the original trio, and every one holds up brilliantly. I'd put it above most of its video-aisle peers for an entertaining afternoon's viewing. But I do think there are reasonable points of critique that don't come down to the bruised opinions of fanboys who were 12 for the first film and then, at 18, felt compelled to distance themselves from a film that suddenly felt a little too kiddie-ish.

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    1. I didn't meant to suggest that there are not legitimate flaws with the movie or that people with criticisms are just MRA d-bags or haters, and if I came off that way I'm sorry. Everything you bring up is totally valid. I think I got caught up in the larger conversation of people owning what Star Wars "should" be and didn't always address RotJ on its own as a film at times. Thanks for the comment!

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  12. RotJ holds a very special place, because it was the only Star Wars movie that we had on VHS as a kid (recorded off of the TV). It was the one I watched again and again and again.

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  13. Great conversation, very thoughtful.

    In my last Letterboxd comment for RotJ I said that the Ewoks weren’t so bad and for Vertigo that I like it but can’t quite accept it as the greatest film of all time. I’m a free thinker!

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