January 26, 2007

Friday Talkback

Sound off on this week's reviews:
Next week: Something creepy, kooky, spooky, and ooky.

30 comments:

dave said...

Re Smokin' Aces: Man, that's a shame. I really love Narc and I had high hopes for Aces, but I already got a bad feeling from the trailer and - even worse - the Carnahan Q&A at chud.com. I really hope Walter's wrong, but he rarely is and Slant's Nick Schager wasn't that thrilled either... Carnahan's project White Jazz looks great on paper, though...

Dave Gibson said...

Never got the “Narc” love myself. Liotta was good—but, it was just so overwrought and stagey; afflicted as it was with the “Off the Ritalin” editing style which evidently makes “Smokin’ Aces” unwatchable. Another Hit Man movie—Jebus...contract killers have become veritable folk heroes these days.

Benaiah said...

I would love to see someone review CSA: Confederate States of America. I thought it was one of the best movies of last year.

Rick said...

It sounds like the only good thing about Smokin' Aces is Jason Bateman's odd performance, is this true?

Cap said...

Next week: Something creepy, kooky, spooky, and ooky.

New Pen. Cruz film?

Moving on - see this link - "a television program for PBS is in the works"?

James Allen said...

Referring back to the previous thread...

Bill wrote:
Anybody see last week's "Family Guy"? They spoofed The Ring, but the viral video was actually the trailer for Mannequin.

Here's the clip for those interested.

And that's almost worse than the time when Stewie saw Bewitched

ryan said...

Bill, Walt, are we ever going to see the Worst Films of 2006 list? I've been hankerin' for it. Apologies if this has already been asked.

Rick said...

Did anyone really laugh at Bewitched?

Bill C said...

Ryan: I'm worried the moment for a worst-of may have passed at this point, though I actually saw a 2006 movie last week--Trust the Man, by Julianne Moore's talentless kept husband--that was so awful it made me glad we hadn't published anything yet. The answer is we probably won't bother now, or if we do, it'll probably wind up being part of the 2007 Annual. (That is, if we even bother with that.)

Rick said...

In reference to the Family Guy clip, I love how Macfarlane puts himself in the position of being the only one smart enough to realize that Bewitched was not funny. I don't think the dumbest of people were laughing at that movie, let alone a whole audience.

I find it strange that a lot of the Filmfreak guys seem to love Family Guy. It has it moments, but so does South Park and other mediocre shows with occasional laughs. During the 90s Mr Show and the Simpsons set the satire/irony bar so high I just can not take all the filler in these shows

Rick said...

Bill, if David Duchovny's character in Trust the Man really existed, I would love to throw acid in his face. ( just as a quick fix to wipe off the constant look of self-satisfaction and smugness) And after doing so, I would come on here and post about it because Alex empathizes with acid-throwing maniacs, as long as they are unapologetic and candid. God damn those acid-throwers who are ashamed of their actions! Guess I have to see Crazy Love, something seems lost in translation from the writeups

Anonymous said...

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James Allen said...

In reference to the Family Guy clip, I love how Macfarlane puts himself in the position of being the only one smart enough to realize that Bewitched was not funny. I don't think the dumbest of people were laughing at that movie, let alone a whole audience.

The joke wasn't that Bewitched wasn't funny. but the slow, meticulous lengths went through by Stewie to exact revenge. At least that's the joke I laughed at.

I find it strange that a lot of the Filmfreak guys seem to love Family Guy.

Why do you find it stange?

It has it moments, but so does South Park and other mediocre shows with occasional laughs.
During the 90s Mr Show and the Simpsons set the satire/irony bar so high I just can not take all the filler in these shows


Well, Family Guy obviously owes a huge debt to The Simpsons, but it has, at least, hit upon its own style (which seems to be perfect for the age of You Tube, as it happens, as the short gags are constantly excised and posted there). Is it better than The Simpsons in its prime (which for me is about seasons 3-7)? Gosh, no. But I suppose it has the advantage of being better than The Simpsons is now (which ain't saying much, man is that show pathetic). I think it's better than mediocre, though.

And I've never cared for Mr. Show. God knows, I tried, but David Cross in particular has never made me laugh. (My favorite 90's sketch show was The Kids in the Hall.)

And for the record I still like South Park, especially for what people criticize it for (like Ian and Alex). The contradictions are the point, and even though they may offer a pat, sometimes smug "solution," by the next episode, everyone is back to acting they way they were before, because, of course, no one really learns much of anything and instead settle into their same behavioral patterns.

And I try to avoid Trey and Matt's interviews, because I think that their quotes about their own work undermine it. They are smug, but no more so than other people I've heard talk about their own work (listen to enough Simpsons commentaries and you'll find that those guys think they invented the family sitcom, animation, and comedy.) The work should speak for itself without explanation (or backtracking, for that matter, something I also hear a lot of.)

rachel said...

Did anyone really laugh at Bewitched?

Does laughing at Colbert's interview with Nora Ephron count? "I could've been a movie star... but clearly, I chose TV."

rachel said...

Also, speaking of cartoons, did anyone catch the Animation Show? I thought it was a bit weaker than the previous years (nothing transcendent like Fallen Art, anyway). The best, I thought, was Overtime-- an ode to a dead puppetmaster-- while some of the higher-profile stuff left me cold. However, Butthead's intro was still a hoot, and Dan Hertzfeldt remains a crazy genius.

Rick said...

I love Alex's review of South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut. At the time of the movie's release, I was getting so tired of older critic's praising the movie in order to seem hip or in touch with today's youth. The empty and pointless nihilism never really bothered me, I just thought the show was not very clever and the irony was very basic and underdeveloped. You watch an old Simpsons episode, there are just so many more layers of thought driving every satirist moment than anything ever presented on a South Park episode. And with Family Guy and South Park, I hate how they just throw a pop-culture reference out there without taking it to another level, like the Simpsons would have. Such as, Partick Duffy is the leg of a monster in one of the first episodes. Ok? They just dump the reference in an annoyingly trying-too-hard-to-be-irrevent scene. The Simpsons spoof this kind of meaningless irreverence Here. Notice Steve Guttenburg's name is rattled off.

And I've never cared for Mr. Show. God knows, I tried, but David Cross in particular has never made me laugh. (My favorite 90's sketch show was The Kids in the Hall.)

I enjoyed The Kids in the Hall, but it was way more hit and miss than the incredibly consistent Mr Show. I would give Mr Show another chance, I think it is the most brilliant sketch comedy series ever created (Monthy Python who?). And I can see where people do not like David Cross, alot of people were turned off by his mean-spirited mock dancing to Jim Belushi's Band. Cross claims that Belushi refused to sign an autograph for a sick kid or something (on BobandDavid.com), but I think he is just laying it out on the guy. I mean Cross clearly hates most of humanity, so why would he elevate a sick kid above everyone else? That doesn't seem to fit his personality. I love Cross, I think he's a genius, but he can be off-putting. Plus, he is probably the oldest hipster to be seen attending Blonde Redhead and other various indie rock shows.

Chad Evan said...

While Family Guy occasionally gets a smile out of me, I generally hate it. In addition to the put-on cleverness (which strikes me as mere flippancy and high-school nihilism) the melding of script and visual is jarringly unpleasant. It's not just that the animation and design are bad; they are innapropriate.
If you look at South Park, the animation is extremely limited, but the design is highly stylized and generally fits the bizarro world of the show. In some of the Adult Swim shows that reuse or parody old Hannah-Barbara shit factory animation, they are attempting (however successfully or unsuccessfully) to create an ironic juxtaposition between the insistantly cutting-edge material and deliberately retro visuals. With Family Guy, you have this same insistance on hipness in the writing wedded with generic (if unusually crummy) animation. It's not that the animation is intentionally crude, retro, or stylized--it's not even really limited--it's just completely vanilla.

Alex Jackson said...

And after doing so, I would come on here and post about it because Alex empathizes with acid-throwing maniacs, as long as they are unapologetic and candid. God damn those acid-throwers who are ashamed of their actions! Guess I have to see Crazy Love, something seems lost in translation from the writeups

Ayup, my fault in the writing. I should not have used the word "unapologetic". The guy is in fact quite apologetic, he explicitly says that he wishes he could go back in time and undo this. He even sees marrying the victim as an act of attrition to make it up to her.

When I said that, I was meaning more that he doesn't make excuses for his actions and basically accepts that what he did was monstrous and can't be undone. There is no real rationalization or justification, he owns his problem as Dr. Phil would say.

But yeah, he feels guilty. If he didn't and said he wouldn't change a thing, then that wouldn't be cool with me.

Again, problem on my end. Really need to be more careful with my words. This writing thing man... sheesh!

Crazy Love was picked up by Magnolia pictures I think. Sounds like theatrical distribution may be limited, but it will be readily available on DVD, so you will be able to see it eventually.

Rick said...

Does anyone have any idea why almost $8 million was spent on Son of Rambow? Good or not, I do not understand why that much. It doesn't seem like it has the potential to be a Little Miss Sunshine-like profit machine. Is Charles Wang running Paramount Vantage?

Patrick Pricken said...

I for one like South Park. Yes, it swings at everything, and with a big, crude bat, and it often misses. But there are also homeruns where they hit it out of the ballpark. I for one also like that they heap it on everyone. Everyone deserves to see his favorite topics be satirized – and yes, despite the guts and fecal humor, I hold that SP does satire – just so everyone doesn't take himself or his beliefs too damn serious.

Do I often wince at farting gags in SP? Yes, and I wish it would possess more class. On the other hand, SP has earned its existence just by its Scientology episode alone... and Isaac Hayes's reaction demonstrates exactly why I think it's good that they take on everything.

Anonymous said...

Random change of subject: I was looking in the archives for last year's Oscar nomination post (from back when Walter used to blog) and I found this comment interesting:

The hard truth to swallow is that if films of actual indisputable quality and courage were ever nominated for Best Picture, then you'd have to take a good hard look at those films again to suss out exactly how you over-estimated them.

It had already occured to me that that this was a relatively good year for Oscar/FFC agreement, thanks to The Departed and Letters from Iwo Jima which both made Walter's top 10 and received a "yay" in Bill's "professional commentary." So I was wondering, just out of perverse curiosity, if Walter is now questioning whether these films contain some fatal flaw that made them shitty enough to be Oscar-nominated.

(This is Carl, by the way. I switched over to my Google login for Blogger and it won't let me log in to comment anymore).

Benaiah said...

Not to become repetitive, but does anyone have thoughts on CSA: Confederate States of America? I thought it was fiery parody of American history and race relations, where the ultimate joke is not "what if the South won?" but, "Did the South win?" Anyway, I would like to see someone post on it.

Alex Jackson said...

Not to become repetitive, but does anyone have thoughts on CSA: Confederate States of America? I thought it was fiery parody of American history and race relations, where the ultimate joke is not "what if the South won?" but, "Did the South win?" Anyway, I would like to see someone post on it.

I liked it actually. Wonderfully sick, that "consult your vetinarian" gag was fricking hilarious! The film was heavy handed I guess, but there is something to how it portrays slavery as being more a crime of love than a crime of hate or even of economic necessity. That's thorny, volatile stuff.

And he successfully and lucidly illustrates through the "my great great granddaddy did not sleep with that woman" joke just how incredibly insane the attitudes behind the "one drop" rule were.

Wasn't impressed with the dig at Cops though. People who say that Cops is racist need to watch it more. They cheerfully marginalize poor people of all races.

benaiah said...

Sorry, did it seem like I didn't like it. I loved it. The juxtaposition of all the things the U.S. really did (segregation, attacks on South America, killing the Indians, et al), with this extremist government was brilliant.

I am a little surprised you didn't like the Cops dig though. The theme song is "Bad Boys," and as CSA points out, "boy" has a racial connotation. Sure they marginalize all types of poor people, but in America there is too strong a correlation between economic status and race for that not to result in a negative depiction of poor people.

The funniest line for me, was the Presidential candidate demanding reparations from Canada for not "lost labor." The most telling was the speech in the fake war movie about "this world being made for the God fearing." It was easily one of my favorite movies of the year.

Rick said...

Ive never seen Alex call an exploitation film tasteless, Hounddog must be completely empty and worthless.

And if someone has to review Because I Said So, Im so sorry. How could such a horrible thing happen to someone so young? Why would God let this happen?

Johnson said...

Hello all. Long-time reader from the UK (Edinburgh). Been lurking forever and thought I've got to sign up for the blog. Enjoy the work of all five FFC writers and think it's a great mix..

Studied film history in Liverpool and had hopes to make it as a professional critic but they keep cutting jobs at the newspapers and magazines, and I have to admit that I'm almost relieved not to be doing it professionally. Alex once mentioned on his site how having to watch every single crap that comes out is bound to drain your enthusiasm after a while so I guess blogging about the stuff in my free time allows me to be a bit more selective in what I watch and choose to write about. Not that I always only go to films I reckon I'm going to like, mind.

The blog I'm writing for with my partner (http://burnsandjohnson.blogspot.com) is an evolving thing and I think you can see it in my own writing. I used to write more anonymously and while I like some of my earlier stuff like the CARS review, I don't think I could go back to that now (and I'd rewrite my SNAKES ON A PLANE entry which in hindsight I really don't like but I'm going to leave it). Alex' writing in particular appeals to me because AJ talks a bit about himself as well and how his personality and tastes evolved, and I've tried to do that in my most recent reviews, the MALTESE FALCON SE DVD and THE FOUNTAIN, both of which I'm really pleased with.

Have to admit I feel kinda insecure about my "B-" rating for THE FOUNTAIN. I can't get that film out of my head and although I absolutely love parts of it, there's stuff in it that really rubs me the wrong way, so I'm genuinely unsure whether to give it a higher or lower average B grade. It's a good film for sure and really underrated/misunderstood.

Anyway, looking forward to future talkbacks though I may avoid those about new films I want to see as we're often getting them a bit later here in the UK.

Rich said...

Moviegoers up here in Canada could be getting the same kind of release delays as the UK if Fox get their way. Apparently we're all movie bootleggers up here. I love how our country is actually being pressured into changing our laws and law enforcement methods not by our politicians or somebody else's, but by a moneygrubbing corporation concerned only about their profits. Not exactly shocking, but sickening.

theoldboy said...

Well, Johnson, the key--I think--to making The Fountain work for you is watching it as much as possible. I saw it three times when it was around in the US, and each time the bits that I'm assuming bothered you and that irked me the first time I saw it melded better into the rest of the movie. You might come to accept the campiness of some of the 1500s material, and the obtuseness of the future sequences, and while I guess you could say they're flaws, they aren't actually detrimental to appreciating the film.

I'm considering starting a new movie blog of some kind. I had one a while back that died pretty quickly. But right now I've got some good stuff in the pipeline. I'm particularly proud of my analysis of the cinema of Uwe Boll. He's an inadvertent genre deconstructionist.

Johnson said...

theoldboy: I'd have loved to see THE FOUNTAIN for a third time this weekend but am out of town till Sunday eve and I'm not sure I'll have time to see it this week. It's bound to be dropped by next Friday, I'm sure. I thought the Tomas storyline and, for that matter, almost all of the space scenes worked fine though both stories felt compressed at times, trimmed in scope. As I said in my review, I have a major problem with Izzi's character. I believe in Tommy's love and grief for her, but I don't believe in her as a person. She's too much of a symbol, a cypher. I guess that might be intentional so that we can project ourselves onto Tommy and Izzi but she just doesn't ring true to me. One thing that I really did like about that middle section though was the fleeting shot of her running away from the camera, presumably Tommy's POV. I thought that was a very touching shot which worked both as a summation of happier times and as a metaphor for how she is slipping away from him.

Regarding the conquistador scenes: I thought that the conclusion to that storyline was pitch-perfect, and in its own way it got the message of the film across more memorably than the finale of the future narrative did (which I found too much of a good thing; it felt too sentimental - and yet sincere). I'll definitely get the DVD in May, for sure.

Deven said...

Hey Great Blog. As much as Family guy used to rock in the first few seasons, it is getting down every season with same stale comedy and jokes. IMO Souht Park and SImpsons are also going down the hill.

Anyway for those who can not download Family guy from torrents and are looking for all Seasons of Family guy, they can download it from here -

http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-1
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-2
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-3
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-4
http://www.mwolk.com/tv-shows/family-guy-season-5

Hope this helps others.
Cheers