2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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flyonthewall2983
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Lord of War (Andrew Niccol, 2005)

#276 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:12 pm

Lord of War (Andrew Niccol, 2005)

I really liked this from the first time I saw it and I feel it stands up even and maybe especially now. What really stands up for me now in this is how Nicolas Cage made the genius choice of comparatively looking motionless whenever Jared Leto is on-screen doing his version of an over-the-top Nicolas Cage performance. It's a nice manipulation of the relationship an audience would have with his more hammy performances, and it lends itself all the more that these two characters are brothers.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#277 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:35 pm

I sadly couldn’t find a thread for Elizabethtown, or make one, so I’ll just gush here.

First, for the sake of context, this was a film that prior to its theatrical release I was eagerly anticipating (I still remember the trailer) but ignored it after seeing the reviews and never thought about it since.. until I realized Dunst was in it and decided to give it a shot last night. I’m glad I waited because my late adolescent self was not nearly prepared or mature enough to take in what Crowe is offering. I have never found Crowe’s films to be particularly good or bad, even Almost Famous’ strengths reach a depth that seems to be limited by some artistic ulterior motive for me, but I think this is the film Crowe has been trying to make his entire career, and his very best.

Why does this one succeed where the others fail? Well for starters, his other films are attempting to be too ‘neat’ and so he takes less risks than he appears to and the result is safe, popcorn-fun simmering romantic catharsis. This film though is risky in that it isn’t afraid to be messy (I mean, how audacious to have Ryan Adams’ Come Pick Me Up playing during that courtship phone call! Not only is it mismatched lyrically but it’s distracting, and yet the mood works and describes the feeling of the moment perfectly; one of many examples of the risks Crowe takes based on instinct that both do and don’t work). What ultimately makes these choices work for me is that the content of intangible emotional processing fits with a messy expression, as only such forfeiting of safety could breathe authenticity into a film whose structure is still based on the artificiality of the rom-com’s idealized milieu.

The story focuses on not just love, but love discovered and worked through during a time of complicated grief. One could argue that love and grief are the two most confusing and inexplicable experiences, so pairing them together in a way that both defies the expected benchmarks of the rom-com’s even naturedness, and also succumbs to their fantastical elements all the same, is a perfect mesh that validates the experience of being in love and grieving, and provides the feeling needed from this cathartic genre.

Bloom’s casting is interesting but the more I think on it he suits his character. I don’t find him to be as good or charismatic an actor as a Tom Cruise, but the self-consciousness to his range allows for a more tempered and relatable performance that doesn’t veer off the rails into a dramatic show stopping monologue. His handsomeness and arrogant attitude are thinly disguised to reveal a mask for a fragile identity and limited comprehension of the world (the success vs. greatness realization early on is telling). He’s nominated to be in charge of the funeral as the “responsible one” but his emotional maturity is so low in a cultural context that doesn’t exactly support insight into that invisible yet crucial area, that even his family sees only the mask that hides his actual lack of skills. A great scene involves his impulsive move to stop the cremation, so unpracticed in his emotional space that he can’t identify triggers or think through the parts of his that he has buried- and yet the area where his emotional immaturity stops and the complicated grief begins is wisely left indistinguishable. So instead of getting a series of Bloom working through each set of obstacles toward a cathartic finish, he lives in a dense mixture and Crowe respects the audience, or is humble enough in his own hazy comprehension, to leave that there.

This extends to Bloom’s relationship with Dunst too, who may somewhat fit that Manic Pixie Dream Girl type but is much more than that. This is a guy who pushes away a girl until she sneaks up into his consciousness just like he does with his grief and emotions. This is a girl who is actually realistic insofar as she represents the person who is more unflinchingly forthcoming, something that often turns the other party off before an actual relationship can develop. But here they grow on each other in a weird way, which mimics a more honest account of how a relationship forms than the average rom-com. Also, Bloom continues to exhibit ambivalence about his MPDG relationship and it serves as only a component of his process and not the sole solution or looking-glass by which he can see the light so solving all of his problems. She may be integral to his own development but cannot provide all the ingredients. Perhaps by playfully taking action and caring enough to participate in his life Dunst is able to help build that foundation, but Crowe knows that Bloom has a part too and is giving to her even when we may have a harder time seeing the reciprocity at work.

As I said before, this honesty toward the difficulty material as expressed through a messy approach of direction does abandon some signifiers of the typical romantic comedy but it also fits nicely in the skeleton. There is catharsis and growth and romance and comedy, Dunst does fill a MPDG type role and Bloom gets to work through his grief and find his love within the scope of two hours. Still, for all these tropes hit there are enough resigned. Dunst is attracted to Bloom not because he is handsome and gregarious like a Jerry Maguire in their initial encounter (a pebble has more charm) but she trusts her gut. They play games like most early blossoming romances do and her confidence wilts only through crevices in her disposition like the walk of shame or her realization that Bloom has more to discover about himself before he can be with her. It’s worth mentioning that Dunst is just wonderful here as both an archetype and a real human being bleeding into one another to form the perfect love interest both halves of us want. The human truths of multiple facets for stability is apparent and Crowe doesn’t overdo any one domain nor does he shortchange another, or make any proclamation that x action or mindset will solve y problem. For all the romance and comedy there is a lot left up in the air, and if the process to realizing this for Crowe is also a confounding therapeutic experience it shows through the bumpy ride he takes to get there, and I’m grateful that someone finally made a crowd-pleasing modern genre-entry worthy of replicating some honesty about human behavior and existential submission amidst the cathartic serenity to be found in a cinematic representation of love, loss, and life.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#278 Post by domino harvey » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:30 pm

I think most of the discussion has been predictably located here, but this is as good a thread as any

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#279 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:04 pm

Well maybe we can get a thread started.
Mr Sausage wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:51 pm
These days people seem to have very little tolerance for idealizations (at least in new movies; with old movies people seem more accepting), especially gendered ones. There are probably a whole mix of feelings behind this, some more flattering than others, but I'm not sure that the reaction against Elizabethtown and Dunst in particular is the product (unless incidentally) of a hard lurch in the opposite direction after having been pulled in so easily. It probably has more to do with how we feel people ought to be, or at least how they ought to be represented in society, and what happens when we're presented with characters whose mode is closer to type, making them more generalized. So you get viewers who'll think, yes, that's how people ought to be, and they'll love it; and then you get those who think, no, I don't believe people ought to be that way, and they'll loathe it since people tend to understand idealizations as a form of social recommendation.

A lot of the criticisms in this thread (not necessarily reflecting the reality of this or that movie) come down to:

1. The character has no interiority
2. The character exists as a device to bring the male lead to self-actualization, and therefore owes her existence in the narrative to him.
3. The twee, zany, indie eccentric tone.

3. is a matter of taste and can be ignored. 1. and 2. show that people are worried about the social ramifications of this character type, ie. how we should be conceiving of people and representing them to the public.
I think this is pretty on point, though characters I think of as MPDGs like Portman in Garden State completely undo 1 and 2 I think, while Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Scott Pilgrim cheekily self-reflexively embodies them.

As far as Dunst goes, although I agree that she hits these marks, the story is very clearly Bloom’s to self-actualize and so her service to the story is actually pretty hands-off and sidelined as only a nudge toward this result even if in full support of such a process. I also think a worthy point to mention is that when it comes to relationship dynamics, the roles of each party services the other even if not in a conscious way. There are countless actual examples of women who are self-actualized and attracted to men who are not, the “caretaker” role (to make it unfairly simple) flipped around to the less stereotyped gender.

Dunst’s playful hiding behind a boyfriend that may or may not exist hints at its own shell protecting some vulnerabilities but the strength of the film is that she doesn’t insert this development into the story nor serve as the sole ingredient of inspiration to save the day. There’s a different movie where they’ll get to her psychology, the next chapter of their relationship after that final kiss, but subtle hints going unaddressed actually make for a more honest and three dimensional portrait of how a relationship would likely form under these circumstances in the honeymoon phase vs. a more typically loud expression of emotional reciprocity in a rom com. I’m not saying this is “realistic” but it takes the template and tropes of so many movies and twists them enough to let go of some unwarranted bloating and detailing what’s left with enough honesty to find a middle ground between the fantasy and the real.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#280 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:46 pm

Reading through some details on the film, I'm shocked to learn that the MPDG trope was created in response to this film! Obviously it's the straw that broke the camel's back, what with Garden State and countless other movies leading up to this in the indie male self-discovery revolution of the early aughts, but I still find her character to be, when taken in the context of all the MPDGs before and since, more of a fully formed person whose dimensionality clearly exists but beyond the scope of this story (again, contrasting so many others that take more time fleshing themselves out but leaving it there as if we've already been told their story, more clearly defining their total worth and depth of character-which is the key point that differs here- as the sum of the context of the male protagonist's story).
SpoilerShow
Apparently Ben, Dunst's 'mystery boyfriend,' was supposed to be her brother, and his offscreen character hints at Dunst having a conflicting relationship between being helplessly attracted to Bloom while also floundering subconsciously from the red flags that present themselves in his personality. To me, that's a much more realistic account of the push-pull mechanisms in an early relationship of mid-20s people than most representations, and I mean who hasn't begun to be enamored with someone romantically and regardless of other aspects of life, prioritized those conversations and meetings and thought about that person, giving oneself over to the building dynamic and ignoring other aspects of the self in the process? Because Bloom is going through a family crisis, he doesn't get to match Dunst in the efforts here, but I don't find them to be exaggerated in the least, other than her initial encounter with him on the plane - but even that I've experienced to some degree with the extreme animated personalities I've encountered in my dating days! Maybe I've just been in too many relationships (almost exclusively) with 'intense' people that fit the MPDG personality we see (admittedly without the mental health struggles, trauma, or codependency issues correlative in attachment to these traits) to see at least the narrative as we get it to be as deeply unrealistic as others seem to. I can understand the argument, but this feels like a film that earns more rope than has been given to it, especially with it existing so perfectly between the space of the fantasy and actuality, with the former really serving more as the outlined barriers of the structure rather than directed at the details within as questionable.

To make the treatment of this film more unjust, I'm also noticing that this has no blu-ray release. It seems like it was shot in 1.85:1 but the 1.78:1 re-issued widescreen edition is all my library holds. For those who own it, was it actually filmed in Widescreen or should I purchase the original Paramount DVD?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#281 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:03 pm

CQ is a fun exercise in obsession with cinema fusing reality and fantasy. The chase of the dream job and dream girl have detrimental consequences that stress the dreamer's psyche and sever real relationships, but because this all exists within a layered, light affair that knows it's a Movie, these negative effects are acknowledged as is the myth of happiness in achieving one's fantasies and yet the film doubles down on the entertainment as Davies does the same into his imagination and pleasures, serving as harmful distractions and helpful coping mechanisms. Of course even as we ourselves become inebriated by the blurry division in narrative atmospheres, the escapism is consistently disrupted whether we are invested in the film within the film or Davies' '69 arc. The movie adheres to linear continuity of classic narrative mold and also contains stylistic rearrangements of nouvelle vague ideas that might impress Godard in a generous mood. Billy Zane is perfectly cast as the exaggerated B-movie actor, and Angela Lindvall is majestic as the kittenishly actress that we have all fallen in love with at one time or another while being genuinely intimated by, as well as the character of starlet sexpot that we have all been artificially intimidated by. Or wait, is the genuine intimidation artificial too, since it's still an illusion of what we want- just without the sci fi lasers? I don't know, the line is blurred, but magic exists in reality and part of this movie is about finding that, even if through the paradoxical method of escape, in more than one way.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#282 Post by domino harvey » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:39 am

I haven’t seen this in well over a decade (keep hoping one of these labels finally releases it on Blu-Ray, especially since the disc is an annoying flipper with different bonus features on either side— WTF, there’s a reason no one ever did that), but I can still hear Davies’ girlfriend asking “But what if it’s buhring?” Also, Angela Lindvall is from Oklahoma, though since no one knows who she is she doesn’t get added to my roster of famous people from Oklahoma

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#283 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Nov 03, 2020 12:11 am

Land of Plenty

God I love this film. Wenders takes great risks with his methods of untidy filmmaking in his later career, which veer on uncomfortable alienating techniques in narrative and form. However, here the meditations on two contrasting perspectives around a very acute crisis of faith- in nationalism or God, serving the same role as both characters search for a sense of protection- forges a spiritual experience that is rooted right in the corporeal industrial spaces we occupy on a day to day basis, with the people we know and love. Or, perhaps, who we love and bar ourselves from knowing. This is an especially powerful film to revisit now in the U.S., when people have spurned family members who deviate from their political beliefs, rejecting a Christian encouragement to join in commonality of virtuous intent, opting instead for a rigid unwillingness to open one's mind and see humanity beyond a trait that organizes values in a different order. Wenders' film may appear sloppy and convoluted to some, but the didacticism is far more layered, escaping into an invisible void of spiritual energy that builds between Williams and Diehl, as they nervously wiggle from their cocoons of differences to find common ground.

These characters embody real people, who seem artificial at first because we are accustomed to seeing 'characters' that are more approachable and inviting. Wenders is different than us; comfortable with restraint and motivated to explore complexity with open arms. The focus is on post-9/11 politics of war, but doesn't default its thematic exploration to the conflict, instead choosing to hone in on the process by which two people from different social contexts are capable of giving and receiving themselves to the emotional influence by the other. I called this a "road film of the soul" in an earlier writeup, and stand by this, though the journeys begin with each character so clearly engaging in their own isolated road movies apart from one another, that it becomes such a blessing of relief when they finally merge and share. The early scenes of Diehl and Williams respectively moving in vehicles through the streets, staring out car windows at the vast, enigmatic space, speak emotional volumes. We form the bridge between viewing America as an area of opportunity or threat, welcoming or rejecting. The other early moments when each character is immobile and safe in their separate quarters (Williams writing, Diehl taking a drag of a cigarette in a rare instant of peace) allow us to soak in their personalities with unconditional empathy- seeing through the rough and bland surfaces that may have irked us into apathy in real life, but triggers our humanism here.

The result of their union is incredibly hopeful and accurate in extending the simple idea that people can become vulnerable and take that leap of faith towards trust, not through persuasion or alteration of belief, but kindness, respect, and most importantly, validation for the dignity of the other. The greatest takeaway is that both characters believe they are right and have positive intentions, and yet both harness naivete, requiring peripheral vision sparked by interpersonal engagement to start the journey of self-reflection and discover that they aren't quite as purely righteous as they wish they could be, independently or dependently. Wenders dignifies our desire to be masters of our worlds (physically for Diehl or spiritually for Williams), feel secure, be agents of goodness, and find meaning in a confusing milieu- and also argues that it's not only necessary but inevitable that we will shed pride to surrender to our limitations. Whether we do so willingly or kicking and screaming may be measured by humility and the right support in another kind soul, and as these two indirectly teach and influence the other, their cumulative energy reflects a prism that lays bare the truth of the world around them in the final act- not fitting into a preconceived box. What a scary and ultimately beautiful revelation- to know that those souls exist all around us, waiting to be mined. We are imperfect vessels with innate defective blind spots, and can grow together as complements that won't fill in the entire hole in the other, but can help offer a sense of safety with reciprocal healing, which is all we can really ask for when it comes down to it.

The way Wenders slowly pans his camera down a tree from the sky, wind blowing, bugs buzzing, birds chirping, and finally landing on the two of them at the very end, is a "God moment" that promises something divine connected to their communicative bond. The sharing of their experiences of 9/11 couldn't be more serious, holding the answers to rhetorical questions in these mirrored points of view, to emerge from solipsistic muck to listen in harmony. It sounds hokey, but that doesn't make it any less true. This is a film of faith for the 21st century.

[Note: Having just gone through the deleted scenes, I do wish they kept more of Williams' scenes in the finished film. They grant her blatant shades of internal conflict between belief and action, as well as processing the horrors of the world (the disbelief in news of a murder) that more closely match Diehl's affliction on the opposite spectrum. The finished film without them is a bit lopsided in demonstrated influence, even if it's understood on a more intimate level that the relationship carries balanced reciprocity in a mystical realm]

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#284 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:15 am

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an absolute delight- a balanced combination of screwball comedy and period romantic drama, with enough of the former (especially in the riotous first act) to never allow the latter to ever truly materialize with stagnancy in its pure form, nor disrupt the enjoyable forward momentum of panache injected in this film's DNA. The pleasures here are all in the details, where improvised facial expressions and body language ignite as much charm and laughter as the refined social jokes and constructed visual gags often rooted in strong blocking and other skillful applications of technique. McDormand and Adams can sit on the pedestal with the best mismatched-buddy pairings, and their different shades of femininity work in favor of the necessary 'splitting' personalities, as well as against the grain of the patriarchal systems depicted. The narrative finds a niche space of modern feminist ideas planted in a period film that is acutely aware of the era's social mores, both timeless and bearing strengths that are sourced in a dual reading where the film exists perversely in the time depicted and in today's age looking back. I loved the deliberate usage of double entendres as throwbacks to the films sparring against the early threats of the Hays Code, and the final line of dialogue could have believably been one of many slipped past the watchful eyes to wind up in a final cut!

Adams is illuminating, giving one of her most endearing performances as she takes a page out of the self-conscious ham-actresses in the classic 30s birth of screwball, but with the deep, developed heart of the actresses who took home the Oscars during the same decade. Everyone is so kind and likeable, even when lying, cheating, or manipulating their way to mild stakes of self-preservation, so every movement and exchange is a playful gesture doubling as dignified behavior within the internal logic of their identities' needs, via occupation, status, or love. It's a joy to watch McDormand's faux-social mobility surprise herself most of all, complete with the inebriation of an empowered awakening of adaptability to wrestle with her conditioned rigid ways. The actress nails the wobbly drunken dance between those thrills and the dizzy repercussions of adjusting from interpersonal ignorance to applying her wit toward identification rather than comparison. All characters self-actualize on their own terms, while both women also permit men to woo them as a symbol of their sense of self-worth without damning the comfort (McDormand's words) from said flattery. It's a bit like My Sister Eileen in this respect, except where the energy doesn't stray into an aura of imprisonment, and instead the choices made are fully endorsed with as much merit as the will to be independent might be today. After all, what's the fun in ambivalence around connecting, when good-natured soul mates are so prevalent after a good sobering eye-rub?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#285 Post by knives » Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:43 am

I can’t remember, but wasn’t that the film that had an antisemitism controversy surrounding it on release?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#286 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:21 am

Huh? No. A quick Google search would show there is a grand total of one article on the entire internet even questioning it, and it’s about the book it’s based on, not the movie— an article only from last year, no less. You should have facts before lobbing a half-remembered charge that serious at any movie on here

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#287 Post by knives » Thu Nov 26, 2020 10:45 am

I think my question, which was to clarify if it was the movie I was thinking of which with a little research has proven to be true, was entirely reasonable as it was a big thing at least in my social circle when the movie came out the charges of antisemitism. Here's a 2008 article from the same publication which mentions the film's relationship to the book's antisemitism. Looking around the controversy seems to have been entirely limited to the question of adapting an antisemitic work rather than the film itself being prima facie antisemitic. Nevertheless I think my question was reasonable in asking if this is the film I remembered as having a controversy surrounding it. That it is indeed the film I was thinking of is only a sealant on my question's legitimacy, but it would have been fine even if I had been mistaken.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#288 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 26, 2020 11:04 am

You’ve shown no controversy and no credible claim of the film being anti-Semitic or even accused of such. But you feel justified in what you said. Okay then.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#289 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:03 pm

The only moment in the film that could conceivably be interpreted to find a laugh in 'other'ing is against Germans, and even that isn't problematic here since it's making light of a very serious foreboding threat
SpoilerShow
when the employment agent calls McDormand out for wrestling a previous employer to the floor and asking if he's a Nazi spy
so if anything, it's the opposite of that claim, and validates semitic fears during that era.

Regarding the justification for posing the question: I grew up in a predominantly Jewish community, being the only non-Jewish-identifying person I knew before the age of 15, and I'd put down a three figure bet that none of my close hometown friends would see this movie if they saw your post, no matter how hard I argued against its credibility. Perhaps for similar reasons that I'd be hesitant if someone familiar with addiction made a claim that a film was insensitive to addiction and then it was refuted by non-addicts. We all have our areas of sensitivity, but it's not very fair to this absolutely hateless film to do a driveby with supposition and then leave without retracting the statement. As you even say, this was a "big thing" in your social circle, when it wasn't even true in the finished film, so you know firsthand how hivemindedness can spread based off the wind blowing. The question itself may not have been problematic, though an internet search probably would've helped it not needing to be asked at all, and doubling down doesn't help alleviate its impact of false accusations.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#290 Post by knives » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:22 pm

I never claimed the film was antisemitic. I asked if I was remembering correctly if this was the film that had a controversy connected to it regarding antisemitism. If the answer was no then it would be no and that would be fine, but this is indeed the film I was recalling. There is nothing driveby, as proven my continued engagement with this conversation, about my question.

I will concede that the controversy doesn’t seem to have had legs, but as proven by the contemporary article I posted it existed. My point though is that even if I was misattributing which film I was thinking of I asked a question and didn’t make a statement which is a reasonable thing to do when in doubt.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#291 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:36 pm

I was referring to the claim of antisemitism from what you recalled hearing, not yours (you called it a "charge"- I don't see the difference). Obviously you can't make a definitive claim since you haven't seen the film.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#292 Post by knives » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:49 pm

That’s what I get for not using commas. I apologize for the terrible grammar. None of us, that I can recall, had seen it, but the media we were engaging in, if I recall correctly there was an E! News piece which touched on it, was talking about the film in relation to antisemitism. Specifically if the film was correct in its way of adapting the book’s antisemitism.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#293 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 26, 2020 4:18 pm

Oh I read your statement exactly as you intended it, with none of your circle actually seeing it and consuming media making those charges rather than making them yourselves, and my point is that- just like those "charges" you read have left a stain on the movie ever since, making passing comments can do the same for people coming across this page, who may not deem the film worth pursuing because of this new risk factor, regardless of those who have seen the film claiming they're unfounded.

If I stopped by a thread to ask if the movie in question glorified sexual violence, because I heard that from some people yet didn't bother to see it myself, and then the film's defenders said no it didn't and didn't even feature any sex in the film (but it was in source material!)- a survivor of sexual assault might pass on it based on the mention of an unsupported trigger warning. That doesn't make me responsible for that person's choice, but it also doesn't mean it's a responsible way to engage in discussions on film criticism.

To be clear on my position, it's totally fair to ask questions, it's just also fair to critique such questions for their consequences, intended or unintended (neither of us are strangers to challenging how someone chooses to engage with a film here). Both can be true.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#294 Post by zedz » Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:35 pm

knives wrote:I never claimed the film was antisemitic. I asked if I was remembering correctly if this was the film that had a controversy connected to it regarding antisemitism. If the answer was no then it would be no and that would be fine, but this is indeed the film I was recalling. There is nothing driveby, as proven my continued engagement with this conversation, about my question.

I will concede that the controversy doesn’t seem to have had legs, but as proven by the contemporary article I posted it existed. My point though is that even if I was misattributing which film I was thinking of I asked a question and didn’t make a statement which is a reasonable thing to do when in doubt.
Isn’t that kind of the Donald Trump “Some people are saying. . .” hedge? You get to make the slur while preserving your own (im)plausible deniability.

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#295 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:21 pm

PSA: For those who haven't yet seen this film, please give it a shot and witness the irony that arguably the most warmhearted movie of the millennium has more discussion debating the merits of engaging with it based on its potentially-problematic source than the majestic humanism permeating the film itself. It's literally glowing at times.

In an effort to be more constructively focused toward the positive than I have been- I'm still reeling in wonder at the ways the film pays homage to its historical roots, specifically that final line of dialogue uttered in a tone of romantic sincerity, while also subtly doubling for sexual innuendo. In Code-era films, these lines are often conveyed in a fashion that slyly winks at the audience with a light touch, but sometimes- like here- we are expected to do the legwork ourselves, remaining firmly entrenched within a fog of intimate catharsis. In this instant, it really does feel like a film produced straight out of the era depicted.

Does anyone have the Spanish blu who can attest to its quality? Also, how's the commentary that's supposedly on it (if I translate correctly from the image on the back)?

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#296 Post by domino harvey » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:53 pm

I have the Spanish Blu. It looks good but it’s a BD-R, which I didn’t check when I bought it and some poor soul here imported it after I praised it without knowing its pressed status, so I will not have any more on my head. But if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. One would think Kino Lorber would license it from Universal, but it may be too recent

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Re: 2000s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#297 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:10 am

Good to know, thanks

I wasn't as keen on Down in the Valley (another domino rec from the kevyip), but I still liked it for the most part. The film basically plays out as if Smooth Talk had a gonzo fourth act, and although I didn't find that addition as successful as the first three acts, I did appreciate how
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the film aggressively attempts to achieve comprehension of Norton's character to the point where it becomes a formalist self-fulfilling prophecy, channelling that aggressive pursuit through actual violence! He still persists at remaining unknowable, even as the narrative attempts to fit him into a cookie-cutter bad-guy role, for Jacobson's script and Norton's performance forge honest connection with the younger brother, where the unpredictably tranquil and kind shades of antisocial personality disorders come out- arguably more disturbing than if he went full-tilt "bad" since the characterization is completely foreign from people we (think we) "know" in both film and real life.

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