Wednesday, May 30, 2018

FTM 440 - SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

Patrick, JB, and Jan B. discuss the latest Star Wars spinoff and discover the origins of a scoundrel.



Download this episode here. (43.6 MB)

Listen to F This Movie! on Stitcher.

Also discussed this episode: The Screaming Skull (1958), Birth of a Nation (1915), Deadpool 2 (2018), Overboard (2018), Phenomena (1985), Ibiza (2018), Legal Eagles (1986)

43 comments:

  1. Well this just instantly made my day better. Can't wait to listen!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you guys are over thinking the laughing issue. I can't speak for Phenomena because I have not seen it, but I honestly believe people laugh during films like The Birds solely based on the special effects. I know that the vast majority of laughers are of my generation, people used to high production values from tv shows like Game of Thrones. They've probably never seen a movie made before the 1980s, but they recognize the name Hitchcock and in hopes of gaining some "hipster cred" they decide to go see a "classic" movie at a "classic" theater. Their expectations are high, but clearly have no idea how movies were made during the time. They see it, are disappointed, they laugh.

    It's a shame, but it's their loss.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really liked Solo. Certainly not the best movie ever. A few quibbles (the name thing... ugh), but i will rewatch it in theater and will buy the blu-ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the name thing is what we can all agree on. ;)

      Delete
    2. Is the name thing silly or too on the nose? Eh, maybe. But is it any more silly or on the nose than a loner being born with the name Solo? I think that's why it never bothered me so much.

      You know what's ironic? This movie was planned before George sold Lucasfilm to Disney, so Kasdan actually had to pitch the film to Bob Iger... and it's the naming scene that got the movie greenlit.

      Delete
  4. I think the ironic laughter/hipster thing is pretty much what repertory cinema is now. I've watched a couple of documentaries about rep cinema (The Rep and Out of Print) and I think the scene (not a movie scene but like how The Maxx on Saved By the Bell is a scene) is what's most important to a lot of rep theatre patrons. It's a communal hangout like how the bowling alley is popular but not because of the bowling. The experience is the thing and not the movie. If it's just a regular screening/non special event some people are then conditioned to turn it into an experience for themselves (laughing ironically or some other forced experience they can post about on Twitter).

    I don't think there's anything wrong with it. People are having fun. It's just a fun that I've aged out of where I probably would have dug it 10-20 years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's a really good insight, Mr. Riske. The current twenty-somethings and even early thirty-somethings are all about experiences and being at a thing so that they can then talk about being at that thing to other people who were either also at that thing or weren't because they were at a different thing.

      Delete
    2. I haven't noticed this at movie theaters yet, but this is a thing at baseball games - at least here in San Francisco. It's a stadium filled with people who just want to talk about being there and take selfies. They have no real interest in the baseball game.

      Delete
    3. Speaking of San Francisco, I went to the Castro Theatre once. It was nice.

      Delete
    4. That's all fine, but can we please have special screenings for people who actually want to watch the damn film? With a "no hipster" sign out front?


      What?

      Why yes I am a bit older - why do you ask? And while you're at it, get off my lawn.

      Delete
    5. Adam, I LOVE the Castro Theatre. We have an Alamo Theatre here, too. It's a great city for movie lovers.

      Delete
    6. Steve - your comment made me laugh. I feel your pain. I have just admitted defeat at this point personally.

      Delete
    7. In addition to the Castro theater, I've had good experiences at the Roxie in SF as well.

      Delete
    8. I think it hurts because a lot of people watch the kinds of movies we here love (Junesploitation type stuff let's say) because they think it's "so bad it's good". They treat it like THE ROOM, simply because it's the kind of thing they're not used to. It can hurt listening to people make fun of something you love while you're trying to enjoy it.

      Delete
    9. Unless these hipsters are in their 30s or 40s, it may just be a case of young pricks who don't know any better. Sometimes Facebook shows me my old posts from 7 years ago and I can't help but think "what a douchebag." I don't think we'll ever progress as a society to the point where 22 year olds aren't completely insufferable.

      Delete
  5. I'm excited to hear this discussion.

    For my part, I enjoyed SOLO. It's definitely "generic STAR WARS" in that way a lot of the EU novels felt like "generic STAR WARS," but that apparently works on me.

    The name thing is really stupid, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. worked for me too. i think the studios, and the crowd, need to stop expecting those to be the new great thing that will reinvent Star Wars every time and expect it to make 20 billions.

      the name thing and cinematography aside, it's darn fun, and i will remember bits of it, as i do with other Star Wars i watched in the past few years

      Delete
    2. The movie worked for me as well. I thought it was a lot of fun. The two call backs I did like was when Han hot-wired the car in the beginning and his comment to Lando about his name being Han and not Haan. Funny and subtle, they worked for me.

      Delete
  6. Perhaps I feel diferently about this movie because Star Wars isn't AS important to me as others. I like Star Wars a lot! Star Wars is cool! They're fun sci-fi adventure movies. I just don't think they're untouchable masterpieces. Solo is also a fun sci-fi adventure movie that's really well directed with fun characters being played by really charismatic actors. That's really all I needed. Is it a brilliantly well written masterpiece? No! Is it going to change my viewing of Star Wars 1977? Nope! I don't care. I'm not saying I "turn my brain off" I'm just saying maybe I expect less from Star Wars movies. I really like this movie. I don't care much where it ranks or how it fits in cannon. I had a great time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, I get why people want totally stand alone, unrelated Star Wars movies, and I'd be into that too. But... so many space fantasy adventure movies without Star Wars characters exist. We can all watch those, so I don't know what we're mad about.

      Delete
    2. I find it really disappointing that the STAR WARS fanbase is largely awful.

      Delete
    3. Me too. Looking at Star Wars "fans" on twitter is horrifying. I'm happy to separate myself from them and enjoy Last Jedi and Solo, which are two movies that make me feel good about humanity.

      Delete
    4. Same. My brain just can't grok the hatred for TLJ. Like, I get that some folks might not like some of the narrative choices. But I simply can't understand the hatred some of the fans seem to have for it. Like, are we watching totally different movies?

      Delete
    5. One consistent complaint I hear is how it pushes a political agenda, and it really seems they're referring to all the strong women in it. There's a reason people like us can't understand the hatred. They're not really talking about a film.

      Delete
    6. Not to pat myself on the back too hard, but when the Ravager pulled off her mask and the "this is shocking" music played, my first thought was, "Wait, are we supposed to know this character or something?" Took me a moment to realize, "Oh, this is supposed to be shocking because it's a young woman." Come on, dudes, women are awesome, we should all know that by now.

      Delete
  7. All I want to say is that the OG Overboard is no Captain Ron.

    One last thing, as neat as Darth Maul looks I always thought he was trying a bit hard with the name, like a dude who made up his own tough guy nomenclature. Kind of my problem with all the new star wars, I can see the effort all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. -so right about wanting to go to the movies and there not being as many options as there used to be. Especially in summer, as a teacher when you want to go every day but you’re relegated to rewatches or kids movies. That’s how you end up seeing a good movie like Star Trek Beyond three or four times (that summer was bad for this conundrum).

    -Movies like Kramer vs Kramer still come out in theaters. It’s not all tv or vod or Netflix. In fact it’s more in theaters than those three combined. It’s Oscar movies. It’s Indie movies. Brooklyn, Phantom Thread, Carol, Spotlight...these movies come out all the time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's rough in the summer. I've been wanting to go to the movies a lot lately but with the big movies making up multiple screens at a time, the option just aren't there. But I don't see it as a problem the rest of the year. You're right about Oscar season, that's a gold mine for the theater. Love it.

      Delete
    2. I think there's still a lot of movies out there, but they're getting forced out to smaller arthouse theaters even more now than they used to be. Theaters are all about maximizing attendance so we're getting situations right now where 2/3's of the screens in a theater are taken up by Solo, Deadpool 2, and Infinity War.

      Theaters like the one I'm at though are getting some good movies in right now though that aren't getting a lot of attention like Beast or First Reformed.

      Delete
    3. I'm really excited about First Reformed, which is coming to my local arthouse late next month. I'll be there for it as soon as I can.

      Delete
  9. ****SPOILERS for Solo****




    About Darth Maul. He doesn't come back in a boom, but in the cgi animated tv show The Clone Wars, which is a fantastic show. He also makes an appearance in Rebels, also good but less than Clone Wars. That makes me think Solo is set between episode 3 and 4

    In Clone Wars, if memory serve, he is revived by a bunch of witches from his planet and is given robot legs

    I do agree that the cameo, while interesting to me, is not well made, because less people saw the shows than the movies.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Shanghai Surprise (1986) with Madonna and Sean Penn is my pick for a "movie that is nothing". A definite "filmed deal" as JB says.

    ReplyDelete
  11. *SPOILERS*

    Like kunider points out, Maul has been around for a while (*nerdnoise*) and as far as I can tell, they're just trying to tie the movies together to the other stuff in the canon (like they're always doing, this time only more glaringly). To me, this is really the one thing that fantasy has going for it as a genre - most of what happens in a fantasy movie has a great deal to do with the world it takes place in. There's a (not so) fine line when joining the dots becomes fan-service - I think most of it has to do with the proximity one SW-movie has to the other ones. I think the prequels were very careful in joining the dots and adding to the world, Rogue One too, but most of Solo was unfortunately standard prequel-jokiness. TLJ had some of this irreverance too, but that at least was a conscious choice. In Solo it just felt arbitrary

    As a fan, yeah I'm ready to fill in a lot of holes in these movies, because I think that's often how they are designed. Every movie is a piece of a puzzle, and like in classic mythology, I think we have to read the characters through what their actions represent. I don't think Star Wars has anything special going for it if they're just going to be conventional flicks, with your ABC-plot, charater motivations, familiar formulas and neat conflicts - but I'd accept it if that's what they're going for. Solo seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle, just like you say it really lacks personality. It felt like to me like Ron Howard organized the project more than he directed the movie.

    Also, would have collapsed during that Phenomena screening, or crawled out. I love that movie so.

    Great show, keep it up! I rarely comment (because I can't shut up), nor do I always agree with your tastebuds (budz), but yours is the only podcast I never miss an episode of.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Man, you all are mad at things that never would’ve registered with me...that’s not a slight, just mentioning to show that as someone like me who isn’t into the lore of Star Wars can really really like this movie as an action movie, and Star Wars fans aren’t that into it. Kinda like Daniel said above.

    As far as the screenplay it felt Kasdan really tapped into old school mode here and it felt old school summer fun. I dunno. I thought Last Jedi was the movie that felt like it had 7 acts, not this one. What gives!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Though I enjoyed your podcast more than I enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story, I did like it a lot more than I thought I would and Alden Ehrenreich pulled off the character way better than I expected. But, yeah, a lot of problems and I think you managed to touch on all of them - I don't have a lot to add but I have a couple comments to on your overall discussion:

    Patrick, to give you a bit of hope for the future (or at least the present), I can tell you that when our local film festival showed the restored Suspiria, it played to a packed house that never laughed ironically and gave the film the respect it deserves. The $15 ticket price probably helped keep out the riffraff but it was a mostly young audience from what I could tell, so all is not lost.

    And I replayed part of the podcast several times to see if I was hearing Jan correctly and I hope she reads this because I have to know: Did you say "the mayonnaiseness of [people's] own curated experiences" because I don't think that's a word but it should be because I totally get it, and if you didn't make it up (I googled it and there was NOTHING) I guess I did! I mean, "The Mayonnaiseness of America" pretty much sums up the whole problem, doesn't it?

    A couple other random points:

    - I also found the film very dark so yeah, I think that's officially just a thing
    - I'd have to listen again and I haven't seen anyone else saying this, but I thought the music playing at the Imperial Recruitment place sounded like The Imperial March in a major key instead of minor. That is a thing you can find and it's very interesting how it's still recognizable but makes it sound kinda happy instead of foreboding.
    - I'm sure everyone noticed "Get off of my ship!" as a little Air Force One reference - harhar.
    - Fuck the dice, fuck "Solo" and fuck "Chewie" - if that stuff makes you hard, all the power to you, but I find it kinda insulting somehow.

    Thanks for the great podcast guys - it was a fun way to follow-up an okay movie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I did say "mayonnaiseness", and thank you for noticing. That's the kind of badass word coinage that fans have come to expect from this quality podcast. Feel free to use it in everyday convo, Sol! Glad somebody out there "gets" me. :)

      Delete
  14. I've definitely laughed during horrifying moments in movies. Sometimes it's because it's cheesy, other times because it completely works on me or wins me over. I think there is a "Holy shit this rules" type of laughter that movie violence can elicit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This minor bit of criticism regarding an otherwise fine podcast is offered in the spirit in which Princess Leia sings about Life Day in the Star Wars Holiday Special:

    Regarding the Kessel Run, Han was not cheating! It's not a race! It's not a contest! There are/were no rules concerning making the Kessel Run. It's a route. When Han brags about it to Obi Wan in Star Wars, it's not "Oh, but there should be an asterisk next to that." He actually did the Kessel run in 12 parsecs. Anyone who would know what the Kessel Run is, would know that the only way to do that would be to take a shortcut through the Maelstrom, which (according to this movie) should have gotten him killed. It's still an achievement, because there are apparently no other verified accounts of anyone ever having done it. And it speaks highly of the Millenium Falcon, because, outside of the escape from the gravity well, every few seconds in the Maelstrom threw a potential instant destruction hazard at any ship trying to get through it. The one problem I see with the Han's Kessel Run, which has become legendary by the time of The Force Awakens, is that I can see most of anyone who hears about it assuming the story is bullshit, or having no idea what that means (galaxies are big).

    Also, the timeframe of the movie is definitely between Episodes 3 and 4, probably during a few years near the midway point. On trying to leave Corellia, Han joins the Imperial Navy. There was no "Empire" until Episode 3, when the Galactic Republic became the Empire. Additionally, it's around 35 years between episodes 1 and 4. So if Solo took place before episode 1, Han would be in his 50s in episode 4. Darth Maul's appearance, which can understandably be confusing, merely incorporates into the live action continuity his resurrection from the Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon series (set between Episodes 2 and 3). As in that series, the lower half of the resurrected Maul's body was mechanical, designed by appearance to resemble the original organic body parts. Maul dies for good in the Star Wars Rebels cartoon series (set between Episodes 3 and 4), to tidy up the continuity.

    And it's not established that Han only does one job for Jabba the Hutt, and that it's on that job that Han drops his shipment, and the relationship goes sour. Han may have smuggled for Jabba, and others, for several years, without issue, before the incident referenced in the original trilogy. So, if there is a sequel to Solo, it does not have to pick up with the dropped shipment incident, or how Han and Chewbacca found themselves in the Mos Eisley cantina the day Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker needed transport to Alderaan.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I am late on this because I saved it until I saw it. I can't say I disagree with anything that JB, Jan (always wonderful when she make an appearance), and Patrick said other than one thing, really. The one thing is Maul. While I wasn't 100% sure when the story took place, it's obviously between Sith and ANH. Maul surviving TPM (ignoring the animated series) is fine and dandy. We don't know what's at the bottom of that hole, and I hope they have some kind of plan of where that's going. It felt like a weird dangling plot point at the very end. Someone else (Vader, Jabba, whomever) would have been tidier, but it Maul being alive, to me, less confusing or jarring that Poe showing up on whatever planet that was the Resistance is on in TFA. Since Maul has mechanical legs, obviously he was saved somehow. But yea, that lightsaber moment was pointless.

    I did want to share something that I have been worried about since they announced this film, which is what William Goldman says in "Which Lie Did I Tell." On a site like this, I'm imaging that many if not most folks have read it, but to be brief, he loved the script, called it one of his best (pre-filming) but knew it was sunk when producer Michael Douglas stepped into the role of Remington (they had trouble casting and someone suggested Douglas just play the part). Goldman wrote the character as a mysterious roguish hunter, but said it only worked if his history was a mystery. Once Douglas took the role, based on his star status and producer status, he knew that the role would need beefing up, and Douglas wanted a sympathetic backstory. Goldman said once you knew what the guy's problems were, his power essentially disappeared.

    Han Solo needs no backstory, as Patrick said, ANH is his backstory. The only reason I could look beyond it is that I thought Ehrenreich was so miscast, bringing none of the charm Ford had and really none of the charm he had in Hail Caesar. Honestly, there were times I had to remind myself he's supposed to be Han.

    More Jan in the future please!

    ReplyDelete