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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   

   By MarcL on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:20 am:

I watched HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE last night. I don't know why I did it. There must be some lost inner child part of me that thought it would still enjoy a stoner movie...even without being stoned. The movie is awful, incredibly lazy, but if you can get past that, the Kumar character was pretty great--he has a funny screen presence. Almost everything he did was amusing. I suppose if I were stoned I might have liked it.

I've heard enough people say they liked GARDEN STATE that I overcame my initial doubts and rented that for tonight. I had intended to rent OPEN WATER, but so far I haven't heard enough to convince me it's worth it, so I just grabbed some comedies instead.
   By MarcL on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:32 am:

I've been gradually shoring up my Hitchcock DVD collection. The essentials for me have been FRENZY, VERTIGO, PSYCHO...I'm plotting to get the new release of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN soon...NORTH BY NORTHWEST and SHADOW OF A DOUBT are also on the shortlist. Ended up getting a collection that contained REAR WINDOW and the Jimmy Stewart version of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (still the only Hitch movie I've watched with my kids) for Xmas. VERTIGO means a lot to me personally. But over the years, FRENZY has continually returned to the top of my list for some reason. It's the one that stops me every time I come across it while flipping through channels. It's just so damn dark I can't resist it.
   By Lucius on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 10:51 am:

I guess I just don't get it, why people like Hitch so much. My favorite was NbyNW, because James Mason was in it. Jimmy Stewart always bored the heck out of me. Quien sabe?

Harold and Kumar is Dr. Dre's favorite movie...
   By Dave G. on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 11:03 am:

I think we've been over Open Water ad nauseum earlier in the thread, but I found it dull and anticlimactic. We never really learn anything about the characters, except that they lead hectic lives (oh, those yupsters!). There is no real plot arc, and so there's no real suspense. It's just take two yuppies, dunk and bicker. Not the prescription for a riveting film. It had its moments, but maybe if there was a "race against time" subplot, it would have been more exciting. When I saw it, people in the theater seemed to find the characters annoying, and found their waterlogged arguing funny.
   By Lucius on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 11:41 am:

My audience also laughted, and I was at a critic's screening.

It;s the kind of picture that could stand the addition of Joel and two robots....
   By MarcL on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 12:41 pm:

"That's a lotta Keefe!"
   By StephenB on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 01:26 pm:

Hey Mark, would you put The Birds and Dial M for Murder on your short list as well? Dial M for Murder is the first Hitch movie I saw, I think.
I watched both Rear Window and North by North West the other night. Liked them both.

I also saw the two 1970's Three Musketeer's movies with a couple buddies. I did really enjoy the movies. They had some funny parts, good action, raw sword fighting, and a somewhat historicaly convincing setting, with clever casting and strong acting. I was smokin the whole time... and there were some hilarious moments in those movies. I'd say they were good movies forsure.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:19 pm:   

As I recall, the chief thing to recommend TTM was the presence of one Raquel Welch, then in her bodacious prime. "Kansas City Bomber" anyone? :-)
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:22 pm:   

Oh, she's so hot in the movie. My buddy mentioned that she looked like Raquel Welch, and at first I said, ya I see the resemblance but this actress is hotter than Raquel Welch... and then we figured out she was Raquel Welch... young and with less makeup than usual.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:50 pm:   

I don't like Dial M for Murder much. Only saw it once, in 3D, but it felt like a stage play put on film. Ditto for Rope. I pretty much hate filmed plays. The Birds is great, full of classic moments, but it's not one I hurried to add to my collection for some reason. Some of the early ones are lots of fun, but I haven't seen them in years: Rich and Strange springs to mind as one I particularly enjoyed the one time I saw it, which was about 25 years ago.
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 02:52 pm:   

Jason's general movie topic is now active, right after General. I'm not sure all the lower level movie discussions will migrate there though.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 03:06 pm:   

Where will the higher level discussion go...and are there any? :-)
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 07:58 pm:   

To
Catch
a
Thief
!!!!!!
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 08:03 pm:   

Hey Stephen, you ever watch the 1950 Cyrano de Bergerac? A must see if you're look to have your swash buckled.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 06, 2005 - 08:15 pm:   

I met my first wife because i was snuffling tearfully during Cyrano and she thought that was real sensitive... :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 07:57 am:   

Last night I watched a pretty cool revenge movie, Blue Tiger, starring Virgina Madsen and Harry Dean Stanton. Madsen's son has been killed by a yakuza who wears a blue tiger tattoo. There's a Japanese myth about the blue tiger and the red tiger that feeds into the film. To cut the story short, Madsen somehow enbodies the myth of red tiger, getting a tattoo from Stanton, a reclusive artist, and begins seducing yakuza in Little Tokyo, trying to find Blue Tiger.

Also watched Blueberry (AKA RENEGADE) starring Michael Madsen and Victor Cassell, a mystical western derived from a French comic book. The ending's kind of a mess, but the rest is good cheesy fun and it beats the shit out of Spiderman. Ah, Madsen nights... :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 08:19 am:   

I've always thought Virginia Madsen was underrated. Let's hope SIDEWAYS brings about a Madsen renaissance.

As far as Michael goes, I think the guy's a terrific talent who has been in some great stuff, but he plays the same Hawaiian-shirt and pleather mobster jacket-wearing, toothpick-chewing tough guy in every project! And, frankly, this new thing, "Tilt" on ESPN, looks like more of the same.

Lucius, do you have any other recos of mold-breaking Michael Madsen work?

A last note on "Tilt": is that Agnes Bruckner playing the girl? And she was so good in the excellent BLUE CAR...sigh...
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 08:25 am:   

If you want to see a good Virginia Madsen movie, see Gotham. It's noirish thing she dd for Showtime with Tommy Lee Jones.

And for Madsen, check out Iguana. It was the great Monte Hellman's last directing job, kind of a beauty and the beast thing. Madsen doesn't play the lead, but is the hero's protagonist.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:08 am:   

Is that Monte Hellman of Two Lane Blacktop and Ride the Whirlwind?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:16 am:   

Yes, and the terrific Charles Willeford novel adaptation with Warren Oates, Cockfighter.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:38 am:   

The Washington Post just ran an "appreciation" discussing that novel sometime within the last week or so. Never read that one, but did get a big old kick out of the Re/Search reissue of High Priest of California back in the mid-80s. Quite a read.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 10:50 am:   

Check it out. Novel and movie are both pretty good.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:23 am:   

Basically, read any and all of Willeford's books that you can get your hands on. As for movies, they even did a decent job with the adaptation of MIAMI BLUES. The four Hoke Moseley novels will never be topped.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:29 am:   

I liked Miami Blues. Fred Ward, Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, were all good.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 11:40 am:   

Alec Baldwin's greatest role. There's supposed to be a movie version of the Woman Chaser, but I haven't seen it.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 01:28 pm:   

Heh, I just posted the same thing about The Woman Chaser up at the general Movies thread, which got going on about noir movies.

I know one person who saw that movie, loved it, said Patrick Warburton was excellent, and I've been looking for it ever since. It was a great story.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 01:32 pm:   

I just ordered it from amazon. There are about 19 used. Very reasonable, good sellers...
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 04:21 pm:   

Minz, I haven't seen that Cyrano. But I remember seeing a Cyrano movie in the 80's sometime.
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bryan
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 04:40 pm:   

i like 'rope' by hitchcock. it's one of two or three of his films that i remember the most fondly.

lately i've really been digging on 'gozu' and polanski's 'the tenant'.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 04:58 pm:   

Love "The Tenant." Haven't seen "Gozu" yet.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 05:22 pm:   

Vice versa for me. Loved Gozu, haven't seen the polanski.
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Minz
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 05:46 pm:   

Stephen: That version of Cyrano pops up on late-night PBS from time-to-time. Well worth a late cup o' coffee and bag or microwave popcorn.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 05:50 pm:   

If you like Polanski at all, you must see "The Tenant." I mean, you don't have to like all Polanski, but this is some of the best. I mean, you can like the opening title sequence and the first tracking camera shots of "The Ninth Gate" and hate pretty much the rest, but still love "The Tenant." I'm also really excited that he's taking on Oliver Twist.
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bryan
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 05:54 pm:   

you should see 'the tenant', it's an almost perfect paranoia film. may be the only movie i've seen where some of the actors speak english and others are dubbed. it bothers some people, but i think it adds to the film's surreal nature.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 07, 2005 - 06:11 pm:   

I'll pick it up. But I don't think I'm as excited as you by Oliver Twist, just on principle...I wish talented people would proceed as if the 20th and 19th centuries didn't warrant a do-over. But maybe it'll be great...
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 08:52 am:   

Watched Battles without Honor and Humanity, the first film in Fugusaku's Yakuza Papers, the godfatheresque five-part cycle that documents the rise of the Yakuza after WW 2 and covers a thirty year period. Fugusaku's final film was Battle Royale, but this was his masterpiece. Great stuff.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 02:58 pm:   

Are you telling me it was better than Green Slime?
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 03:36 pm:   

Have you ever seen the Yakuza papers? I recommend it. And I have to assume it's a pinch better than Green Slime, cause I haven't seen that one.

I saw the five yakuza films first at a portland Fugusaku retrospective. I'm aware that he did some crap later, but these are good films.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 05:20 pm:   

Green Slime is something I dragged my long-suffering father to when I was a tyke. It's hard to imagine anything worse. I thought Battlefield Royale was hilarious. The Yakuza movies sound great.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 05:37 pm:   

I think Fugusaku had a career similar to Kobyashi, who's early films went contrary to the grain of Japanese culture. K's Hara Kiri debunked the samurai myth and the Human Condition, based partly on K's conscientious objector status, took an unflinching look at the Japanese of Machuria. These films by Fugusaku dashed the romantic image of the yakuza and he had trouble, I think, finding work for a while. It even got down to where he served as a line director on Tora Tora Tora! Kinda sad.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 05:47 pm:   

That's supposed to read "...an unflinching look at the Japanese occupation of Manchuria...:"
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 09:54 pm:   

Hara Kiri: Still my favorite "Samurai movie."
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Jason Williams
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 10:01 pm:   

I picked up The Yakuza Papers last night, and shall hopefully take in the first film tonight.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 08, 2005 - 10:06 pm:   

Hara Kiri is fucking brilliant . My favorite, too.

Enjoy, Jason!
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Jason Williams
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 02:34 am:   

Just finished Battles Without Honor & Humanity. Fucking excellent stuff. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the series over the next couple of days.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 09, 2005 - 06:21 am:   

I figured you'd like it, J. I didn't know about these films until I stumbled into a retriospective at the Portland Art Museum. Fucking blew me away. 70 bucks well spent, huh?
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 10, 2005 - 11:35 am:   

I am over the moon with delight!

I just found a DVD copy of "Jandek on Corwood" at my neighborhood bookstore. I've been waiting to see this music doc for months. At last, I will learn all the secrets of America's most enigmatic, uncompromising, uncommercial artiste! Been curious about this guy ever since the first Jandek album landed at WZBC in the early early 80s...
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 07:16 am:   

At last, I have something to contribute.

Had the pleasure of seeing Nicole Kassel's THE WOODSMAN last night, a movie of a type I thought might have gone into hibernation: a small, straightforward film about flawed people coping with impossible situations. No tricks, no special effects, no gimmickry, no irony, no incessant quoting of campy or "classic" sources. Just actors employing their craft in the hottest possible crucible. This was the cinematic equivalent of two lightning-quick 26-year old South American featherweights fighting for a ticket to the States.

I haven't seen enough Kevin Bacon to expound on how "underrated" he is, but we see him here in a nakedly emotional way we've never seen before. His wife, Kyra Sedgewick, is equally fine, as is the rapper Mos Def as a policeman barely able to contain his disgust at the child molester seeking to beat his illness and go straight. Hannah Pilkes is about the most honest child actor I've ever seen. Bacon conveys "redeemable but corrupted" as well as anyone I've seen recently. There is plenty of the kind of ambiguity here I thought American audiences has long since lost their taste for. And Bacon writes some nice incidental music for the score, also.

Very strongly recommended.

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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:02 am:   

Bacon writes the music? I;ve heard the Bacon Bros. :-) Sounds good. It's on my list.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:03 am:   

BTW, American audiences HAVE lost their taste for ambiguity...
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

I could be mistaken, but I think that Bacon wrote the very ambient title theme, which was nice. Very Gallo-esque.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 08:22 am:   

Whoops, my bad. I think the theme I described is by Nathan Larson who I believe is a former member of the band Shudder to Think.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 09:30 am:   

Now there was a good band...Much better than the Bacon Bros. :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 09:56 am:   

But...they sang in French! :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 04:46 pm:   

Oh, and I apologize to Agnes Bruckner. Upon further review, it was not the "Blue Car" actress who is appearing in the new "ESPN original series" "Tilt," but Kristin Lehman, from Lucius' fave flick "The Chronicles of Riddick"...:-)
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MarcL
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 03:20 pm:   

Got my work cut out for me. Just got word that CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS has finally come into the library. Should be heartwarming family-friendly fare! Then a friend at work lent me THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and the first season of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. Good thing I got a lot of reading done last week.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 05:00 pm:   

Loved the Fredman's, didn't see Cadavra, hate Arrested Development and HBO's entire idea of comedy. For me, this evening, it's a movie called R-point, which may or may not be based on my Story, Delta Sly Honey. I'm hoping it is!
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Jason Williams
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 08:07 pm:   

Oh, you did pick up R-Point? Cool, let me know how it is.
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Lucius
Posted on Thursday, January 13, 2005 - 08:32 pm:   

Yup. I will.
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StephenB
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 02:06 am:   

I just read your story Delta Sly Honey not that long ago in Ends of The Earth. When did R-Point come out?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 05:43 am:   

It's a 2004 korean movie....Didn't get to see it last night.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:24 am:   

Lucius, isn't Arrested Development on Fox? I don't mind the show, but I find the use of voiceover narration to explain what's going on pretty irritating. You gotta admit, Jeffrey Tambor rules! "Hey, now...!" :-)
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:25 am:   

Speaking of HBO comedy, does anybody watch Ali G? It was in the news yesterday that Sasha Baron Cohen, in his annoying Kazakh guy character Borat, nearly caused a riot at a rodeo in Virginia. Wish I had been there!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:27 am:   

Is it? Oh, well...I hate Fox, too.....

I was thinking of Curb Your Enthusiasm
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:45 am:   

Lucius, please tell me that you don't hate CYE. Oh, the pain! The agony!
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 09:54 am:   

CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS gave me nightmares.

I'm not crazy about Jeffrey Tambour, haven't knowingly watched a Fox comedy in years, but I like David Cross and I've had a few people who share my sense of humor tell me it's a good show, so I'm willing to go with this. I tried watching the second season without having seen any of the first and I couldn't figure out any of it. So the rules seem a bit different than your standard sitcom.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:03 am:   

Yep, I detest Larry David and anyone associated with Seinfeld.

Capturing the Friedman's is a nightmare.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:10 am:   

CTF made me swear of birthday-party clowns forever.

Marc, tell me you didn't think that THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW's Hank Kingsley was one of the all-time great TV comedy creations, I dare you!
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 10:21 am:   

But the greatest talk show sidekick was Fred Willard's Jerry on Fernwood Tonight.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 11:01 am:   

OK. You got me there. Jerry Hubbard and Happy Kyne were beyond compare.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 11:06 am:   

Yup.... :-) And the Mirthmakers....
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 12:45 pm:   

Fernwood 2Night, and, later, America 2Night, was an example of the kind of great absurdist humor that could never exist on TV today. The idea of a shoestring local TV talk show with ditheringly inept production values and inanely wacky "talent" could never fly now. Reality TV has rubbed our nose in so much groaningly unfunny amateurism (William Hung, anyone?) that F2N's relatively novel ironic approach now has holes worn in it. Tony Roletti was hysterical, but is there anything dumber, more trite and less funny nowadays than ANOTHER cheesy lounge singer act?
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 01:40 pm:   

I have watched quite a few bad movies just because Fred Willard is in them. The last of the American Pie movies, for instance.

Don't be suckered into Harold & Kumar because FW's name is on the box, btw. His scene is right at the beginning and lasts only a couple minutes, and he doesn't get to do much of note.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 01:41 pm:   

I didn't have cable when Larry Sanders was on, so I sort of missed the whole thing, and it's not something that has held up very well in reruns (I try watching them when I stumble across them). You might be right that Tambour did a great character there. I have other associations with him, I guess.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 01:45 pm:   

I don;t know, Dave. I think Tony Roletti's still is funny, because there's a storyiine and a character and so forth...

Marc, yeah, Willard does a lot of cameos. Wish he do a real comic part.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 02:12 pm:   

I agree, Lucius, Bill Kirchenbauer's Roletti is still funny ("Tuna Roll Blues," yeah!), because he was the original. But Bill Murray, Andy Kaufman, right on down to Adam Sandler's THE WEDDING SINGER, have tortured that act to death.

SANDERS is hard to watch on TV in reruns because they have edited the crap out of it. They have to fit so many damn commercial breaks into each episode, any sense of comic flow or timing is gone.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 02:14 pm:   

My advice re: SANDERS: rent the DVDs. It's worth it, if only for Rip Torn.
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 03:49 pm:   

I do love me some Rip Torn. I forgot he was in that.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 04:09 pm:   

Gary Shandling is a rough go, as far as I'm concerned. Not a very funny guy. A whiner... I don't relate to whiney comedy. You might want to get your Rip Torn somewheres else.
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Rich P.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 04:24 pm:   

F2N was the best... Wasn't Happy Kline the Nazi play write from the PRODUCERS? He used to wear a correcting chin brace. Funny stuff. I thought Willard was good in "Waiting for Guffman". Worth renting if you haven't seen it yet.

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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 04:56 pm:   

Happy Kine was NOT the nazi playwright from the Producers. That was Kenneth Mars.
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Rich P.
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 07:32 pm:   

Was Kenneth Mars was a regular guest on the show? I'm sure I remember him from F2N.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, January 14, 2005 - 08:07 pm:   

Frank de Vol was Happy Kine. I think Kenneth Mars may have made a couple of appearances, but I don't have any specific memory of them.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 11:32 am:   

Lost Skeleton of Cadavra...boy was it not funny. A 10 minute gag dragged out to 90 minutes, by someone who clearly thinks he's funny but...isn't. It attempted to be the typical Mystery Science Theatre offering, with the comedy built in, but it just didn't work.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, January 15, 2005 - 12:30 pm:   

Oh, well. I had a feelin'l...
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StephenB
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 03:59 am:   

I saw Rabid. I thought it was a good weird horror movie, which was probably original for its time. I thought Marilyn Chambers was good and sexy in her role. I liked the end.

I also saw Ghost in the shell 2. I liked it a little better than the first. The animation is really good. The story and dialog are actually pretty good too. Reminds me of Phillip K Dick, and the Blade Runner movie.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

I am a confirmed ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT fan now. I've watched about 10 of the first season episodes. It took me two or three to really start to get into it, though.

Ghost in the Shell 2 looks good. I really didn't care for the first one, which I found cold and confusing.

I have fond memories of seeing Rabid in the theater (in a double bill with Tobe Hooper's crocodile horror pic, Eaten Alive) when I was in high school. Some images from that movie never left me.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 01:16 pm:   

I'm with StephenB in "Ghost in the Shell 2". It was very, very good. I thought Ghost 1 was fine, but I think Ghost 2 is better.

JeffV
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Dave G.
Posted on Saturday, January 22, 2005 - 03:48 pm:   

Whatever became of Marilyn Chambers' mainstream career?
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 08:35 am:   

:-)

She had a talk show for a while, but people weren't interested in seing her talk...
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 06:33 am:   

But they apparently were interested in seeing her suck blood through a spike in her armpit, suffer a hideous untimely death, be frozen stiff in a meat locker, and be discarded in a municipal dumpster.

People. Go figure.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 02:29 am:   

I watched the Japanese horror film, Ju-On, made by the guy who made Ringu. It's a pretty good movie, with lots of creepy imagery and suspense. It's really a haunted house story, about the evil presence left behind when a man murdered his family in a jealous rage. It jumps around alot, and goes from one character to the next; all victims. Some of the characters actions didn't really make sense to me, like when the women goes back to the house -- which is yellow taped by the police -- looking for her friend. The central mystery (why the main women doesn't get taken by the evil spirits ever) was still left somewhat unclear.

I haven't seen The Grudge yet.

Next up, later tonight, I'll watch Von Trier's Dogville.
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DB
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 06:26 am:   

DOGVILLE is supposed to be the first of a trilogy about Nicole Kidman's character, Grace; the second part, MANDERLAY, is due for release soon, with Bryce Howard as Grace. But Von Trier has interrupted the trilogy to make a horror film, ANTICHRIST, which proposes the idea that the world is Satan's creation, not God's. I'm looking forward to that one.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 12:09 pm:   

Sounds good.

It's been brought to my attention that the movie I saw last night, Ju-On: The Grudge, is made by Takashi Shimizu, who's not the same guy who made Ringu: Hideo Nakata.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 06:39 am:   

Interestingly, I also watched DOGVILLE this weekend. I enjoyed it, particularly performances by Stellan Skarsgard, Lauren Becall, Patricia Clarkson, et al. A nifty, if somewhat obvious, parable about the evil that lurks in the hearts of men. I thought the ending (which I won't reveal) was a nice twist. Nicole, when confronted with some good material, has really got some chops, all right. All that voiceover (was that John Hurt?) was a bit irritating, though.

(Does anyone remember Clarkson back in the day as a newsbabe Dirty Harry saves in THE DEAD POOL?)

Watching DOGVILLE made me think of a couple of other interesting films that seem to have vanished from the face of the earth: A WOMAN IN FLAMES, a big 80s arthouse "scandalette" about a European housewife who becomes a dominatrix on the side; and Peter Greenaway's THE BABY OF MACON, a medeival passion play-within-a-historical-drama with Ralph Fiennes and Julia Ormond that was challenging, jaw-dropping, intricate and incredibly fascinating. As far as I know, it played almost nowhere when it was released and then fell into some kind of Abyss of Abject Films from which it has never emerged. I would love to get a copy of it.

A bit off topic, but while I was watching my way through the unwatched-DVD pile, I also checked out two episodes of Charles Dutton's HBO series THE CORNER, which was really riveting stuff. Very well acted.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 10:06 am:   

Saw Von Trier's Dogville last night, it's an interesting movie. It's made like no other movie I've seen. It seemed like an old morality play to me. As if I was watching the play from the theatre of my own dreams. All around a great movie. The casting, acting, and script are on. I really liked the style of the narrators voice and the way he tells the tale. It's told in the style of a childrens fable or tale, and I like that in contrast with the movies darker, adult, plot. You should really check this movie out if you haven't seen it.
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 10:09 am:   

Dave: I liked the ending too. James Cann was a nice suprise as her father. I guess I shouldn't reveal too much.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 10:17 am:   

If you dig that play-within-a-play thing, you should check out THE BABY OF MACON. If, that is, you can find it!
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mastadge
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 05:57 am:   

Question: I like Se7en okay, and like Fight Club too, but don't care for Panic Room. How's The Game? It looks fairly silly from the trailers, but it does star Deborah Unger, whom I like . . . anyone seen it?
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MarcL
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 09:50 am:   

The Game is horrible beyond all reason. Truly one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen. Even worse, it thinks it's clever.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 10:18 am:   

Panic Room was a waste of good actors on an idiotic script.

I enjoyed The Game.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 10:43 am:   

I agree, Marc, the Game was so self-congratulatory in it's stupidity, and so patronizing in it's attitudes to its audience, it deserved to be loathed, not merely disliked.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 10:52 am:   

If you like Deborah Unger, check out Cronenberg's CRASH or Catherine Hardwick's THIRTEEN.

Why don't we see more of this woman? She is a great talent.

I remember seeing THE GAME, but don't recall much about it, good or bad. Just rewatched both SE7EN and FIGHT CLUB and loved them both even more the second time around.

If you are watching the final scene of FIGHT CLUB, one of the most brilliant climaxes in recent years, try freeze-framing your DVD. You will get a big surprise. :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 11:03 am:   

Oh boy I can hardly wait for the surprise. What is it? Tell me, because I wouldn't watch that crap if you paid me...
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mastadge
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   

Isn't it just a full-screen shot of a penis or some such?
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 12:41 pm:   

That would, indeed, fit in with Pahuniak and Fincher's stylings.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 01:09 pm:   

Mastadge, maybe a full screen shot of a penis isn't a surprise to you, but it sure was to me! Guess I need to go to a few of your parties...:-)
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 01:56 pm:   

You sure you don't want to restate that, Dave? :-)
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ben peek
Posted on Friday, February 04, 2005 - 09:15 pm:   

mastage: i liked THE GAME. go figure.

didn't like PANIC ROOM at all, however. awful. FIGHT CLUB and SEVEN are things i like, too. so, you know, give it a shot. don't expect anything too intelligent, though.
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lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 06:01 pm:   

Saw Ong Bak, the new martial arts flick starring Tony Jaa. Wow. A must-see. Tony Jaa is the shit, he's gomma be huge. Uses a primitive version of muy Thai. that is really effective and dramatic. The subtitled American version is dubbed with a rap sound track. My advice, look for the hong kong import without subtitles. It has a great soundtrack of oriental-style jazz. You don't need subtitles to follow in and the music makes a world of difference.
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2005 - 08:07 am:   

I just saw IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL, the documentary about outsider artist Henry Darger. The animations of some of his paintings were interesting to watch, but overall, not a very great film. It illustrates the difficulties in profiling a hermit. Almost nobody knew anything about him. The most trenchant insights people had were things like he wanted to buy a dog, but couldn't afford it, or that he talked to himself in different dialects. Or that he collected twine or was obsessed by weather forecasts. Far from riveting stuff. And Dakota Fanning's narration, which was supposed to play off of the strangeness of Darger's obsession with little girls, seemed rather obvious and forced.

I suppose reasonable minds can differ pretty widely over the merit and value of Darger's work. I went hoping for some new understanding or appreciation but walked away with none. Inner-focused fantasy visionary or kooky old hermit with nothing but time to doodle? You make the call.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 03:23 am:   

Thanks to Hollywood and bad parenting, Dakota Fanning is growing up into one twisted cookie.

IMO, Darger is pretty cool doodling in the interests of visionary fantasy.
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Adam-Troy Castro
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 07:24 am:   

Lucius:

Are you reviewing THE WOODSMAN? I'm interested in knowing whether you found it as fundamentally dishonest as I did.
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Dave G.
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 07:56 am:   

Adam, what did you find so dishonest about The Woodsman? Clearly, the guy was a sick puppy, fighting his problems one day at a time, perpetually at a risk to backslide (as he almost does). I would have had big problems if they made Bacon out to be a dashing, action hero, but that was far from the case. What was your issue with it?
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 08:07 am:   

Adam, I don't think I'il be reviewing it. I missed it in the theatres and it's didn't play here long. But I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts because I am planning to catch it on DVD. Have you seen LIE with Bryan Cox? I thought that was a pretty good film about a molester.
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Adam-Troy Castro
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 08:32 am:   

This is what I wrote in my newsgroups:

Much praise has gone to THE WOODSMAN, a recent movie release about a pedophile
(Kevin Bacon) released from prison after twelve years, who struggles with
his impulses while starting a relationship with a co-worker (Kyra Sedgewick).

The praise has all singled out Bacon's powerful performance.

Well, yeah. Bacon is terrific. And I am absolutely willing to buy the concept
of a serial pedophile who, once released, doesn't WANT to do it again...but
I can't buy where this film goes.

While powerful, the movie is also profoundly dishonest -- dangerously dishonest
-- in ways that insult the subject matter.

Consider this a spoiler warning.

A key plotline has the pedophile, who has unwillingly rented an apartment
across the street from an Elementary school, spot another sexual predator
hanging around the school. Immediately recognizing the guy's intent, he
watches with sick paralysis, unable to act.

He simultaneously finds himself sickly attracted to little girls at the
mall and on the bus.

UNTIL, making overtures to a ten-year-old-girl in the park, he determines
that the little girl is already being molested by her father, sees the pain
this experience has caused, and, filled with self-loathing, confronts and
beats up the other guy.

The film treats this as a redemptive act, and fades out with him moving
in with pretty Kyra Sedgewick, to live what we're supposed to believe will
be a law-abiding life.

Even the cop who has been harassing him since his release seems to buy this.
He knows that Bacon's character is responsible for beating up the other
perve, who was wanted elsewhere for raping kids. But he obliquely lets Bacon's
character know that he knows, and wishes him luck, while simultaneously
acknowledging that he will keep an eye on him.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

DANGEROUS Bullshit.

In the first place, a cop handed the opportunity to imprison a paroled child
molester, on ANY charge, will take that opportunity as a gift. He will not
take the position that the molester has shown himself to be a good guy.
He will send the sicko's ass back to prison.

And in the second place, he will be right to do so.


I refuse to believe the comforting fiction that a serial child molester,
attracted to girls of 10 and 12 (as opposed to a guy who, lets say, accidentally
sleeps with a mature-looking girl of 15 he thought to be older), can be
redeemed by conscience and the love of a good woman.

I refuse to believe that he can cure himself out of sheer good intentions.
EVEN IF HE WANTS TO, and some folks will argue that even that's a stretch.

I TOTALLY REJECT THE IDEA THAT A GUY WHO LURKED ON A PARK BENCH INVITING
LONELY GIRLS TO SIT ON HIS LAP IS OKAY JUST BECAUSE HE BEAT THE SHIT OUT
OF ANOTHER GUY WITH A SIMILAR FETISH.

That's what this film seems to be saying.

THE WOODSMAN appears on many best-ten lists, mostly on the basis of the strong
subject matter and the powerful Bacon performance. In actual effect, it's
dangerously naive at best and pernicious at worst.

At the very worst interpretation, it's downright evil.

Well-made. Good performance by Bacon. Good performance by Sedgewick.

Piece of shit.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 08:46 am:   

Your points seem well-taken. Child don't often, if ever, change their proclivities. It sounds, as you say, dangerously naive.
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mastadge
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 12:00 pm:   

Curious about two movies, if anyone's seen them and would recommend for or against seeing them.

The first in THE PROPHECY with Christopher Walken, which looked like an amusing B-movie sort of thing several years ago.

The second is a movie called SAVIOR with Dennis Quaid playing a mercenary in Bosnia I think.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 12:23 pm:   

The Prophecy's a lot of fun. Viggo Mortensen plays the devil. You nailed it. Amusing B-pic with some nice touches.

I saw Savior and remember being overall unimpressed. Like not a total waste of time, but pretty close.
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StephenB
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 12:26 pm:   

I saw Dead Alive last night. One of Peter Jackson's early films. It's a gore fest, but it's actually quite funny. Worth seeing, especially if you like non-hollywood B zombie/horror movies.
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 01:16 pm:   

I was on the A-V squad with Greg Weiden who directed PROPHECY...I really loved Walken's character, and one of the Daliesque shots of Heaven. It was a fun supernatural flick.

Watched TAXI DRIVER last night for the first time since I was a teenager. Very different from what I remembered. I really only intended to look at some of it, but I found myself unable to stop watching.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 03:08 pm:   

Taxi Driver, huh? Not one of my faves. Hey, Marc, did Jeff F email you yet?
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MarcL
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 04:31 pm:   

I always liked TAXI DRIVER but hadn't seen it in years, so I liked it for different reasons now. Still, I like it. DeNiro and Bernard Herrrrrmannnn. The conversation between Iris and Travis struck me as remarkable. In the bit of the "making of" feature that I watched, there was some interesting light on it.

I plowed through it to clear the decks (and my palate) for THE RIVER, which is up next. Then TOKYO STORY.

JeffFord emailed me about something I sent him the other day, apologizing (!) for not having read it yet (!). Not sure if that's what you're referring to.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, February 12, 2005 - 05:04 pm:   

Nope. What's your email? Do you mind putting it on the net? I have reasons for withholding mine. If you can't give it to me, I'll get it from Ellen...
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 04:36 am:   

Dave, no spirited defense of the Woodsman? What did you think of Adam's points?
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 07:40 am:   

Well, re: THE WOODSMAN, I don't know that there is much to say by way of "refutation," since it all comes down to the main question of whether Nicole Kassell's movie felt honest to a particular viewer.

(Let me say right off the bat that I have no personal experience with this kind of behavior, and no real expertise with the scientific research, so I'll leave that to the experts. I'll stick with my experience as a filmgoer.)

I guess one's basic reaction to this film comes down to whether you believe that this particular pedophile -- not pedophiles generally -- is capable of disgust and loathing at his own behavior, is capable of sufficient self-knowledge to reverse his behavior, is capable of exercising control over his behavior. Again, I'm not a psychologist, but for me, it was a measure of Bacon's performance (and through that, the success of the film) that I was able to care about Walter, believe in his own revulsion at his impulses, and believe in his desire (if not necessarily his ability) to control those impulses.

Obviously, if any of these ring false to you, the movie falls apart.

I'll just say that, while I'm unaware of recidivism numbers for pedophiles and rapists, I know they're not 100%, so people like Walter must exist. I read news reports about rapists who asks judges for castration, so I know that this kind of revulsion happens somewhere. So who am I to refuse to "suspend my disbelief" and give Kassell a chance to tell her tale?

I am a very huge hater of the pat, neat, happy ending, so if I felt, as Adam does, that the moment on the bench was meant to be transformative, to cleanse Walter of his impulse toward pedophelia, and to permit him to ride off into the sunset, I would feel cheated, abused and lied to, as he does. My take on the movie was that Walter's war of impulse control was perpetual, his risk of backsliding omnipresent, his future happiness anything but certain. I thought "man, this guy's life is going to be hell." My sense of his relationship with Kyra Sedgwick was not "happily ever after," but rather one of two messed-up, marginally-functional characters clinging to each other for dear life.

The Woodsman, to me, was not about redemption or cure, but about pure survival.

As for the excellent Mos Def, I would have to say that what he "knew" was less important to his decision not to return Walter to jail than what he could "prove." I assume that evidence is still needed in these cases, and, for whatever reason, molester #2 was unable or unwilling to give an ID to the cops. I never had the sense that Mos Def's character (what do you call this guy? Mos? Mr. Def?) was sending Walter off with glad tidings. I think he would have grabbed him up in a minute if he could have. This wasn't John Vernon telling Clint Eastwood that "the war is over" in that final scene of The Outlaw Josey Wales.

When Bacon beat up molester #2, I did not feel for an instant that it was a purge of Walter's own impulses; it felt to me like Bacon was attacking the parts of himself he hated and continued to hate. Walter had a helluva lot of work left to do.

The ultimate message, to me, wasn't that these guys could be saved by conscience and the love of a good woman, but that these are deeply damaged people that we need to find a way to live with somehow, by helping them fight their own addictions.

For me, the ending was much more ambiguous, uncertain, clouded with mixed emotions. And that made it more real to me. But it's one of those movies...if you refuse to buy into Kassell's premise, it's going to ring hollow to you and fail on every level. It's one of those movies that is both a window and a mirror, and there aren't many directors who have the nerve to make them nowadays. For that alone, it's worth supporting.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 08:05 am:   

Bravo! Good stuff. I'll have to see it, I guess
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 12:25 pm:   

I agree with Castro. This is a dangerous line to blur.

Any "art" that even remotely seeks to mainstream/empathize with a sex predator earns my unequivocal denunciation.

As for recidivism of child molesters, it would be zero if we'd keep them locked up for life and a day.

Laird
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 12:52 pm:   

Laird, have you seen the movie?
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 01:02 pm:   

Blurring lines is what art does, isn't it? And if not the dangerous ones, then which?

I think part of Kassell's point is that we can't keep all our problems locked away forever. So now what? It's a question worth asking, particularly in light of films like Capturing the Friedmans, which hints that sometimes the lines are already blurred without any help from filmmakers.

Nobody condones what guys like Walter do or implies they shouldn't be punished for it and severely, but it's hard not to empathize at some level in a society where advertising and media sexualize kids for profit every day.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 01:51 pm:   

Laird: I guess it all depends on how you view sex offenders. I think we could agree that these people are very sick individuals, who have probably been through sexual abuse themselves. That's no excuse, and what they do is dispicable and weak, no doubt. But some of them may really be sick in the head, and have urges that they have little control over. I'm sure you could show more compassion to a hard core drug addict -- so can I. But some of those people may not be beyond redemption and rehabilitation. And some of them may really want to get "better". Still, I know that some people are beyond rehabilitation or redemption. Some murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, feel no remorse for their actions and have no desire to change. They may still be sick in the head, but fuck them anyway.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 02:02 pm:   

I saw the Sonny Chiba movie, Street Fighter. It's a pretty good action/martial arts movie. Chiba's character is like the Dirty Harry of martial arts. He's perfect for that role. This movie is violent, chauvinistic, and somewhat funny.
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Matthew
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 02:11 pm:   

Here's an interesting article on sexual preditors:


http://www.vachss.com/av_dispatches/parade_071402.html
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T Andrews
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 02:22 pm:   

I greatly appreciated Adam-Troy Castro's review. I had contemplated seeing the movie, but now I won't bother.
I think it's possible to feel compassion for the pedophiles, and to even shed a tear over their own past as victim and their difficult, burdened present as a mentally ill person wanting to be well. I could flip the switch that would fry those guys and my liberal heart would bleed for them. It would. But ultimately, my only regret would be that you can only put down a sick animal like that once. So,like Stephen says, fuck em anyway.
Who cares if one or two of them 'might' rehabilitate. They should be locked up forever, as far as I'm concerned.It's not worth the chance of having them re-offend. I'd rather have a handful of remorseful pedophiles lose freedom that they ultimately deserve, than have a handful of innocent children experience the horror of a molestation.

Dave: while your review sounds well-argued, when you say: 'it's hard not to empathize at some level in a society where advertising and media sexualize kids for profit every day.'...I just gotta shake my head. Empathize? Really? I know the phenomenom of American media is a frightening/comic thing, but come on...people aren't THAT maleable, are they? 'Sailor Moon made me do it'??? Ridiculous.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:16 pm:   

Hi Ellen.

I walked out on it, so possibly I missed some redemptive quality. I probably shouldn't say much about it, but I do fear the normalization of sex predators via dramatization in that it's delusional to think that the majority of them who are released are "cured". There's a reason the court system holds Level 3 offenders in custody long after they've served their sentences.

I'm not an expert in this matter, however, I witness the devastation of childhood sexual abuse each day as part of my job, and deal with the very real and permanent damage done to its victims. I have also worked with teen offenders. Re: the predators--confine them, treat them, just don't dramatize their plight. I'd rather see an honest documentary on the subject.

Hi Dave.

Can the function of art be said to blur lines? Or is the function of art to elicit an emotional/intellectual response? I see it as a tool--inherently neutral but for the artistic intent and to a slighter degree the veiwer's reception. In other words, a tool used for weal or woe or something else on the spectrum as the artist is inclined.

I accept your argument that marketing contributes to predatory behavior, although I suspect it would be more accurate to say that commercialization of children innures the average person to this devaluation of human existence.

In any event, I don't post much, but lurk frequently. I appreciate the chance to participate in the discussion.

Best,

Laird
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:27 pm:   

I must admit being more in sympathy with the POV espoused by Laird and T Andrews, but nonetheless I now want to see the movie, to determine for myself how much it propagandizes the subject...
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 03:37 pm:   

T., obviously, nobody is saying that "Sailor Moon made me do it." Nor is anyone saying "let's not punish these guys because it's society's fault." Obviously, they deserve to be punished, and should not be placed in situations where kids are likely to be victimized.

But empathy? Empathy is the ability to place yourself in another person's shoes, try to experience what he/she is going through. It's something human beings can do (or used to be able to). It's the first step toward understanding someone's disease, and, hopefully, treating or curing it. Sorry if that sounds corny to all the "lock 'em up and throw away the key" types, but the reality is that these folks exist and we've got to figure out a way to deal with them. Empathy is the starting point. The alternative is maybe vigilante justice, just round 'em all up, dig a pit and throw 'em in and cover 'em up. The problem with treating problems this way is that history tells us they don't stay buried for very long.

And while it's easy to come up with some crazy paraphrases to make my point sound like "the devil made me do it" hokum, and I'm sure that makes people feel a lot better, there's nobody on this board who can credibly deny that we don't tart kids up as grown-up lust objects every day. And, while that copy of Entertainment Tonight shouldn't be Exhibit A for the defense of any child molester, how can we possibly say that it doesn't contribute to a climate that slyly encourages folks to push the envelope sexually? Nicole Kidman with a ten-year-old kid? Anybody see Thirteen? These media images come from somewhere and, cumulatively, they have an effect. No intelligent person would deny it. Let's be honest with ourselves.

Bottom line: sexual predators are human beings, and the ones that can be helped and want to be helped should be. Man, it sends a chill up my spine to have to write a sentence like that. If we can rehabilitate and turn the occasional murderer into a socially-useful citizen, there's no reason it can't happen in appropriate cases with sex offenders. Let's be careful, but let's not forget to be human, even if it's a little extra work.
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T Andrews
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 04:33 pm:   

Very well put, Dave. Yourself and Laird have shown eloquent responses that put mine to shame. Forgive me my hyperbole. And any that follows. :-)

I won't try to put a 'devil made me do it' twist to your point re the influence of media. However, I think pedophiles are what they are without the need of a cumulative effect of anything but their own desires. That said, whenever I see JonBenet's made-up face on the magazine rack at the super-market, I do wonder at the choices parents make.
Regarding empathy, well...I can't empathize. I can muster up a small measure of sympathy perhaps, or compassion, but it's a no-go on the empathy. I'm a left-of-left leaning person, but I draw the line here.
My bottom line is: I can't help but see any attempt to help the pedophile as a waste of resources that could be used to help the children. Pedophiles just don't seem to rehabilitate. They tend to re-offend. It's a fact. So why do we let them out at all? We need a Guantanamo Bay for pedophiles. We have a War on Drugs and a War on Terror, and a Patriot Act--Wait a minute, I'm going on a rant again. Sorry.

Maybe when my kids are grown I'll watch this movie.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 06:56 pm:   

This may not be popular to say, but I think I almost believe in criminal justice for some of these horrible pedophiles. Pedophiles are the most hated prisoners and are often killed by the other inmates if given the opportunity. Same with the worst sort of serial murderers and rapists. I'm against capital punishment for a number of reasons and I almost have more faith in prisoners picking the right people to die than the government. Problem with this is, if the prisoner accused of pedophilia is really innocent, it would be tragic to throw him in jail to be abused and killed by the other inmates. So I'm not exactly suggesting that justice will somehow always be served. But with the pedophiles that we know beyond a shadow of a doubt are guilty, with hard DNA evidence, people like Gargon and Gasey, why not through them in jail with the rest of the inmates?

Or there's Bill Hick's idea: Put them in the movies, in the latest slasher flicks. The realism of those special effects couldn't be topped.
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Dave G.
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 07:01 pm:   

The vehemence of the sentiment here kind of underscores for me what a brave film this was to make, regardless of what people may think about the underlying subject matter.

I think we all agree that the safety of the innocents comes first. But as medical science grows more sophisticated in its understanding of the mind and psychopharmacology, treatments may be developed to help sexual predators lead normal lives. If and when they can be reliably treated, I think our views of them should change accordingly.

Obviously, it's a hot-button issue with a lot of emotion attached and should be.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 07:08 pm:   

I think he was refering to serial killers like Dalmer, mostly, in that joke.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 07:13 pm:   

Dave: You should start a slogen "Save the Sex Offenders", and picket it, fight for their rights.(g)

Honestly, don't take what I've said in my last few posts too seriously... but still, I think you know that with all the injustice in this world, sex offenders shouldn't be on the top of our priorities of people to fight for.
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Minz
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 06:41 am:   

I'm all for trying to reform pedophiles. Just leave them in prison for the rest of their lives, and try to help them. And while we're at it, let's get Cardinal Law behind bars for enabling repeat offenders. What that s.o.b. did far outstrips the actual sexual predators, who at least have some sort of excuse (i.e. they're friggin' sick puppies). I'd love to learn that Cardinal Law was sent to prison, and died during a gang rape. (Oops, I'm thread-jacking.)

I'm tempted to see the Bacon film. 1) Dave's made persuasive arguments. 2) I think Bacon is a very talented actor (granted he's made a few bad films along the way).

But obviously, it's a hot button issue for me, and I'm not certain I could watch it as just a movie. But I think it's a good thing it was made, if for nothing more than the debates and arguments it's inspiring. Too often, it's a subject that's been swept under the rug (I'll resist any further rants about the Catholic Church).

And I'll point out how gutsy it was for Patrick Swayze to play a similar role in Donnie Darko (granted, a much more minor role, but it was surprising to see him take on that role.)
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 06:44 am:   

Listen, I was afraid of this, that because I liked The Woodsman I would become the "Sex Offender Hugger" of the board...Kind of like being against capital punishment and ending up being portrayed as "soft on crime." <g>

Seriously, guys, just a couple of last points:

1. The thing I loved about The Woodsman is thing, interestingly, that a lot of people -- guys mostly -- on the board seem to have hated: that somebody took on an incredibly difficult and emotionally-fraught subject and tried to go where angels fear to tread, inside the head of society's most abject members.

2. Of course their crimes are heinous and demand to be punished in the very most severe fashion. No argument there.

3. Let's not forget that, as Stephen B reminds us, not every accused sex offender is, in fact, guilty. Due process needs to run its course before the torches and pitchforks come out. Remember the Friedmans.

4. I don't claim to be a psychologist or an expert on rehabilitation. If the numbers indicate that the vast majority of predators are recidivists, I won't dispute it. Obviously, keep those folks out of circulation. But we're learning all the time and I hold out hope that effective treatments may one day emerge. If people can be reclaimed, we should make the effort. That's all I'm saying.

As for forming an advocacy group, well, my dance card is kind of booked up these days...

Now, I think I'll move on to some film that arouses less disgust, revulsion and anger among board members...maybe Constantine! :-)
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 09:32 am:   

Hey, you know Constantine's not half bad. Only trouble is the half that is bad is Keanu Reeves.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 10:00 am:   

I'm glad I didn't jump right into this at the beginning...I had a feeling it would get heated fast.

My only real comment was on the use of the word "dangerous" in reference to a movie. This seems a pretty dangerous word itself, and one that is generally seized by censorship groups to justify suppression of artistic works. I'm not commenting on the movie itself (haven't seen it), no matter how much bullshit it may or may not contain, no matter how deliberately or naively misguided it may be, whether the director's vision came across as intended or whether it came out somehow twisted by the process of making it...I think we should be very careful about characterizing movies as dangerous.

So maybe this should be a separate thread: Dangerous Movies. I'm interested in whether people can point at other movies that they consider genuinely "dangerous." Lots of movies like to portray themselves as dangerous, as an edgy threat to the status quo, but that's just marketing.

Can a movie, a work of fiction, genuinely be dangerous? And if it is a genuine artistic expression (as opposed to a propagandist statement), then at what point would it be considered reasonable to say that we're so completely convinced that there is actual danger in a film, that people would be willing to take the step of suppressing it to protect a public that might conceivably be unable to make its own decision about how much danger to expose themselves to?

Are people suggesting that The Woodsman might comfort or incite pedophiles? Or that it might cause the criminal justice system, or fellow inmates, to treat them more lightly? Or that it might give the public a false sense of security? Or that it might give rise to a whole genre of sympathetic pedophile movies?

I have seen movies that seemed to have been made by pedophilic directors, in charge of a very young cast...a real-life situation that seems more dangerous than anything in a fictional movie attempting to explore the fictional life of one particular fictional pedophile.

I remember watching "Happiness" and hoping that the final scenes had been shot with the adult and child actors at completely different times, so that the child actor would be shielded from the emotional intensity of the scene.

Anyway...dangerous movies. Who can name some movies they consider truly dangerous? How so?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 10:24 am:   

Victor Salva, director of Powder and Jeepers Creepers 1 and 2, comes to mind. A child molestor whose lascivious treatment of the male torso informs all his films.

I don't really think The Woodsman is dangerous, because it incites people like Laird, Minz, Adam, and T to speak their mind. Dangerous movies. Hollywood product movies. Movies like Shawshank and Forrest Gump and American Beauty. They are celluloid sedatives with laid-in propaganda designed to placate, to assuage. Relax, it's all good, you can take it up the ass and like it. Weapons of Mass Seduction. I'm convinced there has a war against thought waged by the marketing people, and Hollywood is a big part of their arsenal.

Any film labeled dangerous is probably not dangerous, because it generates controversy.
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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 10:42 am:   

And let's not forget Roman Polanski, who copped a plea and split to France in 1978.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 10:54 am:   

I remember standing in line at the local natural food store behind a woman with two kids. The cashier asked her if she was going to watch the TV version of Stephen King's THE SHINING that was on that night. She launched into a rant about Stephen King, how she despised such horrific people and would never expose her children or her own pure thoughts to such disgusting and dreadful trash. Then she proudly took out the video she had just picked up for her family's evening entertainment and held it up for his edification: POWDER.

I know, I should have said something.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 11:09 am:   

Hey, Marc

I certainly don't advocate censorship of The Woodsman. I object to its seeming manipulation of the subject matter and feel compelled to offer my admittedly humble opinion on the matter.
As for my opinion re: it being "dangerous" I think that was sufficiently covered in my previous comments.

Assuming civilized standards of discourse are in effect, as they have been here, isn't the suggestion that we restrain our reactions to a work of art, or that some expressions of dissent may go too far, implicit of censorship in and of itself?

Seems to me the best course is reasoned discussion sans artificial limiters.

Best regards,

Laird

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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 11:13 am:   

Marc, your point is well taken. No parent wants the mind of his child tarnished by the lewd, morally corrupt, indefensibly evil and inhuman ideas of a degenerate, no doubt out to impose his sick, criminal designs on an impressionable youth. I mean, imagine, letting your kid watch the work of a...a...


...a Red Sox fan!...<cringe> :-) It's almost too awful to think about.

I admit I liked the first half of Jeepers Creepers 1, tho.

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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 11:40 am:   

Laird, your opinion on the matter could hardly be humbler than mine! Hope you don't think I was veering toward uncivilized discourse...I tend to avoid those forums. I'm not saying to suppress our reactions, but to broaden the context.

My original reaction to descriptions of THE WOODSMAN was: Sounds like a great performance from Kevin Bacon in a movie I wouldn't really enjoy watching. It never occurred to me that the movie might be somehow dangerous.

CLEAN-SHAVEN was another movie dealing with this topic that I found impossible to watch beyond a certain point. However, the viewpoint was presented in such a way that you clearly knew you were dealing with a warped mind. It was a technique that let the audience clearly separate the protagonist from the filmmaker. Sounds like THE WOODSMAN'S more naturalistic/realistic approach has made that more difficult to determine.

I like to believe that many filmmakers (at least independent ones) make their films to explore subjects, not to expound on them, and if they end up in uncomfortable territory, the audience are free to talk about that (as we have) without suggesting that the filmmaker shouldn't have explored the terrain, or should have come up with different conclusions. I imagine filmmakers are too close to their work to see all of its implications. And I doubt that feedback from critics is the least bit useful to them, however useful it may be to the rest of us. They're stuck with their preconceptions, just as surely as they're limited in their ability to communicate ideas through film.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 12:00 pm:   

Clean Shaven was a great performance by Peter Green....though with Green, it;s hard to say whether it was a performance.
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Laird Barron
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 12:16 pm:   

Marc,

"Hope you don't think I was veering toward uncivilized discourse...."

Not at all! I was establishing context for my argument while seeking amplification of your statement regarding the use of potentially inflammatory terms to characterize reactions to art. Thanks for doing so, by the way. I think your analysis of my potential problems with the depiction of the predator is cogent. I can't shake the feeling I was intended to overly empathize with him--that the world was evil, fate contrived against him, etc. Mileage varies, I suppose.

I'm absolutely not suggesting that the filmakers shouldn't have explored the terrain, or that some shouldn't interpret the message in a differently than I have. I'm really just exercising my prerogative to cry, "Fie on that bullshit!" And I have, perhaps excessively so. ;)

Definitely a hot button issue of mine.

Best,

Laird


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Dave G.
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 12:42 pm:   

SPOILER ALERT -- sort of

After screening the picture for her backers, Kassell reshoots the ending of The Woodsman. In her rewritten ending, Sgt. Lucas watches Walter and Vickie drive away. As they turn a corner -- literally and figuratively, one imagines -- Lucas' radio goes off. The beaten molester has awoken and has made a positive identification of Walter as his assailant. Lucas catches up with Walter's car on a main drag, and in front of a stream of noonday traffic, drags him from the car, cuffs him and throws him into his own car, over Vickie's hysterical objections. Lucas requests backup from a squad car and, after meeting up with the patrolman, takes Walter to the schoolyard where they administer a savage beating, all the while Lucas mocking Walter's desire to go straight. Lucas savagely kicks a red kickball away with the residue of his anger and throws Walter in the back of the squad car. As the uniformed officer drives away, Lucas picks up something that has fallen from Walter's pocket: a torn-out page from the journal Walter had tried to keep for his shrink, one which he lamented the difficulties that lay ahead and expressed a hope for a better life. Lucas crumples it and tosses it into the trash atop a collection of discarded food wrappers and school supplies. "Another one bites the dust," Lucas muses, as he kicks a stone and ambles toward his car. He drives off into the distance. Fin.

Question: Would we now be having the animated, and somewhat contentious discussion about The Woodsman's merits and the corrosive nature of its ideas, or would it go down as a somewhat ambitious, well-made, if socially-misguided indie effort?

Discuss.
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MarcL
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 01:26 pm:   

Are you sure that's not a scene from MIXUP RIVER?
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 05:10 pm:   

New thread below.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 02:23 pm:   

Where?

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