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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 07:51 am:   

This is a thread to post info on books, music, and movies that you really hate and think others would hate also. Anti-Recommendations, basically.

For example, I hated, or at least was not having too much fun during, Aguirre: The Wrath of God. Soon-to-be-dead Spaniards floating downriver in a raft. Big deal.

JeffV
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 10:32 am:   

Very disappointed with Brin's THE KILN PEOPLE. It was very good for about 90% of the novel, and then the author (or perhaps the editor) put in a whole chunk of metaphysical philosophy that tossed me right out of the story and into my chair. Even though I felt the end of the novel worked quite nicely, I never got back into the story, and I had invested 500 pages of reading time at that point.

JK
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:12 pm:   

OK, I feel better now. I thought it was just me who didn't care for "Aguirre." I love most of the other Herzog films I've seen, but "Aguirre" just didn't do it for me. I liked the monkeys tho.
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Forrest
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:18 pm:   

"Soon-to-be-dead Spaniards floating downriver . . . "

Hey, that's ME! Well, except I'm not soon-to-be dead, so far as I know. And I'm not technically Spanish, though my father was adopted by a Spaniard.

No, I didn't like the movie much either. Though you would think that I should be making some kind of royalty from it, being the family name and all. :-)

Forrest Aguirre
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Richard Calder
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 10:48 am:   

Aguirre, Wrath of God? I thought it was a wonderful film, far, far better, say, than 'Apocalypse Now' which it in some way resembles (involving, as it does, a trip down a tropical river into a heart of darkness). And Kinski is such an incredible actor. (I'm just glad his stunning daughter never inherited his looks.)

Of course, I really shouldn't be heaping praise on a thread dedicated to things hateful. But there you go. Call me Mr Perverse.
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 11:46 am:   

I am perverse also. I liked Aguirre, Wrath of God a great deal, as I do most Herzog films. Aguirre was one of the better ones though for me, even though I don't recall it having any chickens.

Brendan
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Richard Calder
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 01:30 pm:   

Aha. The extremely perverse Dr Black. Yes, I like just about everything else Herzog has done, too. But since this thread is supposed to be about what we find *dislikeable*, let me cite THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. A horribly popular film, which was, at heart, a crude, manipulative piece of maudlin bullshit, absolutely *full* of chickens -- all of them headless. The very worst of what Hollywood has to offer. And that's saying something ...

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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:12 am:   

And wasn't THE GREEN MILE sort of er the same film again?
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Richard Calder
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 01:52 am:   

However much fun it is to see people electrocuted, I must concur: THE GREEN MILE was Hollywood saying the same old thing: you gotta trust your feelings, you gotta get in touch with your cute little inner mouse, Go with the Force, Luke -- and similar Disney-like, New Age nonsense. It's the equivalent of having McDonald's, Mickey and Madame Maudlin (of the Maudlin League of Super Heroes) forced down your craw, and then be expected to weep with gratitude. This is the failure of sentiment. The failure of rendering real emotion. Other like films: A BEAUTIFUL MIND and the truly revolting GOOD WILL HUNTING. Utter tosh.

Electrocute Robin Williams.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 08:33 am:   

I couldn't even sit through A Beautiful Mind. It was a happy, sanitized version of schizophrenia. His real hallucinations were much more interesting than the film ones. I really hate the sanitized and happy view of insanity that is so common.

I was also shocked they didn't even get the Nash Equilibirium close to right (what they had in the film has no relation to the actual economic theories). Overall, it was like they based the film on the summary on the back of the book, instead of the actual book.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 08:51 am:   

>I really hate the sanitized and happy view of insanity that is so common.

It is well known that every female mental patient looks either like Winona Ryder or Angelina Jolie (though I did actually think Jolie was OK in GIRL, INTERRUPTED - at least she came close to looking largactyl-ed out).

BTW, I like the sound of Madame Maudlin. Does she really exist (in a fictional sense?) or did you invent her?
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 10:26 am:   

Hi Richard,

I believe we both share the honour of being listed by Jeff Vandermeer as being the pith of decadence . . . I dont remember his words exactly . . . Probably not pith . . .

If we are going to complain, I will say emphatically that I do not like TOM HANKS FILMS. I also do not find GEORGE CLOONEY in the least bit charming. I also think CHICKEN BREASTS are the worst part of the bird. (Give me a wing; give me a thigh.)

Brendan
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GabrielM
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 11:17 am:   

I was disappointed by Jack Ketchum's short story collection PEACEABLE KINGDOM, not least because the publisher chooses to make no mention (either on its website or in the book) that roughly a third of the stories had previously been collected as EXIT AT TOLEDO BLADE BOULEVARD. I really think that's inexcusable. In any event, the collection as a whole just confirms my view that (with a few exceptions) Katchum is a far better novelist than a short story writer.
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Richard Calder
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 11:30 am:   

Hi Robert, Liz, Brendan --

What a bloody hot day it is. Perfect for a good dog-day afternoon-ish rant.

Yes, the Hollywood attitude to insanity, or rather, perhaps, the Hollywood attitude to anything suspected of being vaguely intellectual, seems to be: You just *may* be a cove of great talent, but -- HA-HA! -- don't think you're better than me because of it, sap! After all, I'm in touch with my feelings! Yeah, FEELGOODVILLE is *my* home town, where the welcome sign always flashes NORMALITY = MEDIOCRITY. You, laughing boy, are destined to become a cold, empty wreck --and blind, too -- like anybody else who damn well COGITATES! So get lucky, and repeat after me: Intellect BAD. Feelings GOOOOOD! Vote for Georrrrrge BUSH!

Liz: Madame Maudlin is Reginald's sister ... or, perhaps, an entity who owes her sole being to Calderian extemporization. Take your pick. (If she *were* a super heroine would she vanquish her foes by acts of gross and disgusting lachrymosity?) Hope you're keeping well, despite the heat. I have hay fever. Achoo.

Brendan: Mr Jeff's a diamond, but I rather think 'Bookmunch' was telling us to pith off. (FYI: Madame Maudlin's secret identity is Christina Flook.) And yes, let's electrocute Tom Hanks too, while we're at it, alongside Robin Williams. We'll call ourselves the DEAD MR.FEELGOOD SOCIETY.
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 12:46 pm:   

Richard, RE Bookmunch. It is probably a good sign if you pith someone off that much.

I saw a wonderful Latex cat-girl suit last night that made me think of Miss Flook.

Brendan
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Richard Calder
Posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - 02:26 pm:   

Brendan -- yes, you're right. 'When the critics disagree, the author is happy.' (Oscar Wilde)

In other words, it's good to throw a cat amongst the pigeons.

When the brickbats fly, we shall simply have to equip ourselves with pith helmets.

Richard

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JeffV
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 10:17 pm:   

I'm going to suffer Brickbats myself, but...

Green Mile--not very good.
Shawshank Redemption--very good
Aguirre Wrath of God--not a very good Heart of Darkness, as far as I can tell--Apocalypse Now much much better. Kinski's acting was...well, just okay in Aguirre.

JeffV
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 12:42 am:   

I liked SHAWSHANK too. Maudlin, yes, but it has redeeming features . . . unlike THE GREEN MILE, which I didn't like at all. Didn't enjoy the book either.
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Richard Calder
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 06:00 am:   

All the above films rather pale in comparison to something I recently watched on video. I've always liked Troma: 'Rabid Grannies', 'Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator', and 'Blondes Have More Guns', all deserve honourable mention in the role call of DIY trash aesthetic. But Troma outdid themselves when they made TEENAGE CATGIRLS IN HEAT. 'All women are crazy,' says one of the key protagonists. 'Especially TEENAGE CATGIRLS.' Christina Flook would surely concur.
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 01:46 pm:   

Gabe--I have to strongly disagree with your assessment of Ketchum's short work, especially as represented in Peaceable Kingdom. I think that book illustrates his large and largely unappreciated range as a writer, particularly with stories like "The Box," "The Rifle," "Gone," and the new novella "Closing Time." As for the repetition of stories from Exit at Toledo Blade Boulevard, I thought that both the Subterranean website and other announcements made the TOC clear, and since the earlier collection is OOP and had a short print run of 500 copies, not many folks had a chance to read it anyway.

As for not very: Richard Laymon. About once a year, I pick up a Laymon novel after listening to too many people admiring his work again, and I'm inevitably disappointed. What accounts for his near-deification by horror/suspense fans? Something that clearly eludes me.

~Jack~
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 02:54 pm:   

Richard -

Oh, it's worse than that! It's not just that Mr. Hanks has to get in touch with his feelings, it's that Mr. Hanks is the white man expiating unexpressed white guilt about all the black men who get fried gassed or injected every year. I can't imagine watching that tender execution scene in which Whitey McWhite-White receives tender loving permission from the Noble Black Man (straight from central casting and the steaming injection molder) to burn him, without bellowing BULLSHIT! at the top of my lungs. "It's ok. I s'pose massa's gotta do what massa's gotta do." Thrill to the sound of my vomit hitting the ground.

Behind the getting-in-touch message there is often a learning-from-the-wise-black-person message. This in turn is a kind of "hey man, we white pampered suburban types *understand* your pain (that we don't feel)" subliminal. Bronx cheer.
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Iain Rowan
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 12:54 pm:   

Any comedy which involves tender, warm-hearted moments where the characters hug each other after adversity. Bah humbug to that.

Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow for being so good for so long and then for going so amazingly, terribly wrong at the end.

The Alienist for being such tosh all the way through.

Me for not being able to stop reading a book even though I know from early on that it is so bad that it won't ever be able to redeem itself. See The Alienist, above.

Anything with Tom Hanks in at all. I'm sorry, but his head just annoys me in an irrational way, and I find it very hard to watch him. Don't even get me started on Forrest Gump.

Books from respectable publishers that are stuffed with errors (taught for taut, for example). The crime novel that I can't remember that suffered from the worst case of said-bookism I have ever encountered, including a line like '"don't go there," he hissed'. Really.

Pollen.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 01:03 pm:   

Now, I liked THE ALIENIST. And the sequel. Feel free to beat me about the head with a festooned videotape.

But I do agree about MISS SMILLA. Suddenly, it became a bad episode of the X Files.

With you on the pollen thing. <achoo> Sorry.
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 02:17 pm:   

Iain:

I agree on both counts--and on Tom Hanks.

I have to admit something, though: I like Harry Potter. Yes, I said it. I like Harry Potter. It's good escapist fantasy, and there's nothing wrong with that. :-)

JeffV
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 06:05 pm:   

Oh I like them too. Not as much as my wife does, mind you, but I like them. I suspect it's the insane media juggernaut that accounts for so much of the negative reaction. And I sympathize with that, because it bugs the crap out me as well, but on the other hand there's something nice about the fact that it all surrounds a BOOK and not the new shitty summer movie blockbuster or whatever....
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 06:16 am:   

Saw ATTACK OF THE CLONES last night. It was cable and my wife and I looked at each other and shrugged a 'nothing else on...' shrug. It was nearly an hour into the movie, but we decided that didn't matter. If for some reason we loved it, it would be on again.

What complete, utter dreck. The effects looked terrible. The story was awful. The acting was worse than awful (even though there are several actors I like in the movie). The dialogue was more wooden than your typical Cinesex late-night feature. Etc. Etc. Etc.

At one point--between exclamations of "This sucks!"--my wife turned to me and said, "This is like a really horribly done original Star Trek."

It reminded me of the Star Trek rip-off movie I made in 8th grade with my friends. Except that was meant to be bad and funny.

JK
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 08:29 am:   

I've been wondering which film has worse acting and worse dialog - Attack of the Clones, or Matrix Reloaded? Both had some of the worst acting and dialog I've seen in a Hollywood film (and that's saying a lot). I'm just thankful I didn't pay to watch either.

I'm one of the few people I know who thought Attack of the Clones was worse than Phanotm Menace. Both were bad, but at least PM had good fight scenes between real people, not digital actors fighting digital actors, or real actors swinging swords around and digital people inserted in after.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 08:32 am:   

Attack of the Clones: utter shite. What a letdown.

Mind you, I'm going to see Matrix Reloaded on Wednesday. Watch this space...
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JeffV
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 08:42 am:   

Robert--I agree with you on both counts, although I thought Matrix was a better movie. But Clones was such utter utter rubbish.

Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 09:24 am:   

I think both new Star Wars films were pretty bad. I am sick of films that rely on special effects and are devoid of story, decent dialogue and half way believable acting. I also dont like guys with little braids hanging off the sides of their heads. What is that all about?
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 09:32 am:   

What is the problem with writing decent dialogue? "Buffy" manages it. I do not understand how movies with this huge budget get scripts that read as though they were sketched out on the back of a table napkin by someone who has had their imagination stolen by demons.

That scene with Anakin and whatsername was truly the pits of the pits.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:10 am:   

"Attack of the Clones: utter shite. What a letdown."

You mean you were expecting it to be good? Or, like me, were you waiting to see a really bad movie and it turns out to be even worse than your very lowest expectations?

"That scene with Anakin and whatsername was truly the pits of the pits."

His acting in one word: constipation. Don't get me started on the rest.

I like to call it ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS. And the joke's on the audience.

Cheers,
Luís
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:18 am:   

Yes, when Anakin and the Princess in stretch trousers stand against Lake Como and plight their faith to the sound of mawkish strings . . .
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:29 am:   

I wasn't expecting a great film, but I thought it might be watchable. And I don't think it was, really. The stretch trousers were bad enough (SO last year) but the dialogue....! "The desert sand is so...rough. And your skin is so...smooth." If that had been me, I'd have thrown myself into Lake Como.
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Richard Calder
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

I saw the original STAR WARS at the Odeon Leicester Square, soon after it was released, back in the mid seventies, and thought it was absolutely incredible. I now think the only thing incredible about it is the fact that so many of us enjoyed it, and so unreservedly, too. Films, like all things, date, of course, but some date more than others. STAR WARS now seems a curious fossil, way past its sell-by date. Give me DARK STAR, ALPHAVILLE and BARBARELLA any day!

Richard
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 10:53 am:   

When STAR WARS was re-released about seven years ago, I heartily went to so it in the theatre. I left thinking: what's the big deal? There's almost no story! Give me AMERICAN GRAFFITI any day if I have to watch Lucas.

As I watched the film, I almost felt sorry for the actors who were forced to improvise and pantomine instead of act. But to top it off, the damn ILM couldn't even animate around the actors. When Ewan MacGregor was fighting that crab thing in the arena in the end, there was one point when he was mostly facing the camera and fighting towards the audience while the crab thing was off to his left. Are we supposed to assume that his awesome Jedi powers allow him to be so nonchalant about defending his own life that he doesn't have to try and fight his opponent? And this thing is bigger, faster, stronger, than a person, has multiple appendages, yet spends ten minutes feinting around Obi Wan like it was contractually obligated to not hurt Obi.

OH, and how seriously can I take a film when nearly ALL of the main good guys are known to have lived through the battles they're fighting? And, why does Saruman, sorry, Christopher Lee call Yodi's troops the rebels? Aren't they part of the group that's in power, (see, I wasn't watching too carefully) and it's Lee's group that is rebeling against the Queen? Wouldn't that make the dark-side Jedis, and Yodi's side the Empire?

Just curious.

JK
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

I dont think you are supposed to try and figure any of that stuff out.

If I were making a space movie I would give the Princess three or four breasts for good measure and dress her in loose flowing robes of ultra transparent neon light.

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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 12:38 pm:   

Purportedly true story: Lucas visits Scorsese on the "Gangs of NY" set, which is a full-scale, one-mile stretch of housefronts and docks, with ships, etc. Lucas' comment - "Why'd you build all this stuff, when you could have had it CGI'd in after shooting?"

Harrison Ford, describing Lucas' style of direction: "He only ever said two things to us: give me more, and do it faster."

Lucas is too dumb to know what he knows, and too bad to see how good he is. THX1138 is a bona-fide good movie (even if its message of human liberation is inextricably bound up with a sort of "it's not just a car it's your freedom" message); I can imagine Stanley Kubrick enjoying a screening of it. Star Wars and Empire were good movies, too (even if Alec Guinness hated his part and his lines). I feel sorry for Lucas; he plainly does not understand his own story.

http://www.aslan.demon.co.uk/mask-of-god.htm
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 01:06 pm:   

I agree. Star Wars and THe Empire were both good. After that it went down hill. Part of the big problem for me is all the cutey cutey stuff. Teddy bear aliens and other doll-like creatures. Anyone ever see the Kirosawa film Star Wars was based on? Now that is a director.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 02:21 pm:   

I agree with Brendan - the rot set in with the Ewoks.

Has anyone read the 1977 Playboy parody, 'Star Spats'?

'...Two meters tall. Bipedal. Flowing black robes and a simple string of cultured pearls. Hair by Sassoon. Face forever masked by a black Tiffany breathing creation stunningly punctuated by pear diamonds and rough-cut emeralds. A Dark Lord of the Sith was a dazzling shape as it snapped its tight little buns back and forth, heading down the corridors, glancing self-consciously at its reflection in the mirrored walls. Solidly into S/M, it normally sported heavy leather-and-chrome manacles and a set of expensive Spanish handcuffs. Once-resolute rebel crew members ceased resisting at the sight and threw themselves at its feet, crying:
"Where did you get your hair done?" '

Darth Annie, indeed...
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 03:34 pm:   

I did not care much for 'Matrix Reloaded' either, but one thing in its defence - Monica Belluci. My advice for the third installment - more Monica Belluci, less Keanu Reeves.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 04:04 pm:   

I'd plea for the keeping of Keanu, who, although he is a thesp of plank-like dimensions, is nonetheless very easy on the eye....
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 06:33 pm:   

When I first saw them, I loved the original Star Wars movies. But I don't think they have aged well. I don't have a problem with the ewoks. I just think for supposedly "great films" they're all lacking in decent dialog and acting.

One point that illustrates this for me is when Luke discovers his family dead. At that point, the overly dramatic music cues up. The music has to be overly dramatic to compensate for the lack of direction and acting. With a little more emotion out of Hammill, we could actually be moved by his performance, rather than needing overbearing music to stir emotions in us.

I think a lot of the appeal for them is people saw them as kids and loved them, but don't judge the films on content without also judging them on nostalgia and cultural significance. What if you watched them for the first time today? Would you still love them, or consider them in the same category as today's "blockbuster" films, which are big on effects, short on acting and story?

I think they're enjoyable examples of modern fairy tales, but enjoyable doesn't necessarily mean great. Kind of like Harry Potter - it appeals to our escapist fantasies, but I wouldn't call HP a great work of literature, and I wouldn't call Star Wars a great work of cinema.
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, June 23, 2003 - 11:57 pm:   

No, Star Wars was no cinematic masterpiece - but it was good, in the sense that I enjoyed it a great deal at the time. And even if the acting was bad, compared to Attack of the Clones it was great. There is certainly a difference between something that is enjoyable and something that is great. Unfortunately the amount of great films being made these days is very close to nil.
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2003 - 06:59 pm:   

"I liked SHAWSHANK too. Maudlin, yes, but it has redeeming features . . . unlike THE GREEN MILE"

Liked SHAWSHANK. Haven't seen GREEN MILE. But I do tend to like Michael Clarke Duncan.

"I'm one of the few people I know who thought Attack of the Clones was worse than Phanotm Menace."

Yes, I'm one of those people, too. TPM I suffered through silently, but AotC made me ashamed to be a Star Wars fan.

"Or, like me, were you waiting to see a really bad movie and it turns out to be even worse than your very lowest expectations?"

Yes, that too. Even as a relatively optimistic SW fanatic, I knew it would be bad. And then I read the book, and I knew it would be awful. But even then I was not prepared for the film. Ugh.

"OH, and how seriously can I take a film when nearly ALL of the main good guys are known to have lived through the battles they're fighting? And, why does Saruman, sorry, Christopher Lee call Yodi's troops the rebels? Aren't they part of the group that's in power, (see, I wasn't watching too carefully) and it's Lee's group that is rebeling against the Queen? Wouldn't that make the dark-side Jedis, and Yodi's side the Empire? "

It works like this. Palpatine and the Count are the two Sith. They are also, respectively, the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, and the leader of the Seperatists. They don't give a crap about the politics, they're just in it to start a big fight, kill a lot of Jedi, and end up in power. So they commission the clones to fight against the rebels that they're stirring up.

"Lucas visits Scorsese on the "Gangs of NY" set"

Speaking of which, GoNY also makes the NOT VERY list.

And so does Harry Potter. I found the first book amusing, but the second was truly AWFUL. I've been assured time and again that I'll love 3 & 4, but haven't gotten around to reading them yet. Maybe this summer. Are they better than CHAMBER OF SECRETS?
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 06:35 am:   

GoNY: The Search for a Script. Very NOT VERY. A good idea that went awry.

So, Palpatine and the Count are Sith (do we learn this in the movies, or is it part of SW dogma that every SW fan knows by heart?), but do they represent the voice of Republic? If so, then yes, Yoda and snuggly friends are rebels against them. If, however, Palpatine and the Count are a minority voice against what they Republic stands for, then, at this point, they are the rebels. Of course, I am only working with the definition of the word rebel as set forth by Webster, not by Lucas, wherein rebel...sorry...Rebel means Yoda, Obi Wan, Luke, et al, no matter if they are in power or not. In these first movies, the Jedis do not seem to represent a rebel force, but more of a force maintaining the status quo.

If you didn't like the second Harry Potter, I doubt if the future ones will pique your interest. Although, it depends on what you didn't like about the second one. I've enjoyed all four, and am waiting for fifth to be available as a trade paperback to keep my bookshelf consistent.

JK
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 07:47 am:   

"I've been assured time and again that I'll love 3 & 4, but haven't gotten around to reading them yet. Maybe this summer. Are they better than CHAMBER OF SECRETS?"

They're pretty much the same regurgitated crap, I'm afraid.

Best,
Luís
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 08:37 am:   

Huh, Star Warts, sorry... Wars. Far more deserving of approbrium than Aguire which, for me, is one of Herzog's best.

My viewing of SW--which I was very eager to see before it first appeared--was skewed by the fact that Stanley Kubrick reissued 2001 shortly beforehand. Some friends and I went and watched 2001 for the first time, sat through the whole thing twice. SW was still exciting (and the effects *were* impressive at the time) but the whole thing came across as fatuous and juvenile and Hollywood through and through. The thing that strikes me about SW now is how much everyone bickers and bitches through the whole thing. There's hardly a single scene that doesn't have someone whining and complaining to another character, it's like a bad soap opera. I've not seen the latest films, probably look at them when they turn up on TV. As with most things in Hollywood that purport to be sf, one could start criticising the way it's set in another galaxy that's somehow evolved human beings, that the vacuum of space turns out to be very noisy indeed, that women seem to be barred from being involved with The Force (TM), but's it's not worth it, really, is it?
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 01:19 pm:   

I have never read Potter and I feel fairly confident I never will. If I am going to read children's stuff I will stick to old Tin-Tin and Asterix comics.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 03:52 pm:   

I feel for some reason obliged to point out that I am not advancing GoNY as superior to SW or what have you - I didn't see it! But I do think Scorsese is the superior director; he just doesn't do it for me in the costume-drama department. The book, however, is a great read.
John - There is an endemic dialog problem in modern film and television, I think. Ordinary conversations are pitched at the level of arguments in order to infuse them with a false drama; thus indicating a certain degree of general bad faith. It should also be remembered, as I tell my students (when I have any), that the sermon is the most basic form of American literary expression, then and now. Every dramatic tv show or film has to have at least one moment in which one character morally browbeats another. Phooey.
Brendan - I'm with you on Potter. Double phooey. Plummy English public-school nostalgia of the worst kind. I want to see someone do an "IF..." number on Hogwarts.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 04:09 pm:   

Oh, OK - so I've just returned from MATRIX RELOADED and thought it was OK. Possibly because my expectations were so low to start with....


...obligatory space for spoilers but I think I've been careful, so on with the whinging...



Characters were one dimensional. The plot was utter, utter bollocks and had more holes than a string vest (OK, so a bullet does massive damage, but someone plunging their hand into your chest doesn't? - as a tiny eg). The cod philosophy was deeply irritating, as was the presence of the bearded person and the 'faster than a speeding bullet' number.

But the car chase was great and had that vaguely green seventies tinge that I always like; the Merovingian was kind of interesting and so were his twins and Monica, and generally I liked the dripping, gothic third-world engineering feel to Zion. The sex scene went on far too long, however, and looked like a rock video. The dialogue was fairly dire, though momentarily redeemed IMO by the line about swearing in French.

But overall, yeah, I didn't feel as though I'd wasted a fiver. The audience gasped at the end of the car-chase explosion, which considering we all live in a town where the pier has burned down twice in the space of 3 months, says something. I'm not entirely sure what, though.
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John Coulthart
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 04:44 pm:   

>But I do think Scorsese is the superior director; he just doesn't do it for me in the costume-drama department.

I thought Age of Innocence was great, better than Cape Fear, anyway (which still has good things about it I find it hard to be hard on Marty.) Not seen Gangs yet, I'm waiting to see if his full edit appears on DVD. He lists Visconti's The Leopard as one of his five favourite films which is possibly why he feels driven to go the costume route, beyond his usual preoccupations.

>The book, however, is a great read.

Anything with an intro by the Venerable Jorge has to be worth a look.
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LuĂ­s Rodrigues
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 07:41 pm:   

Liz: "Swearing in French is like wiping your ass with silk."

That one made me laugh.

Cheers,
LuĂ­s
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 08:07 pm:   

"Not seen Gangs yet, I'm waiting to see if his full edit appears on DVD. "

The theatrical version was the final version, I believe. It's the one he was happiest with. I doubt there will be a "director's cut," because I think what was in theatres WAS the director's cut.
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

I find director's cuts very insulting. If that's what you meant to do, why didn't you do it at the time? Yes, I know often the director is forced to make changes or cut things because of events outside their control. I just wish if I have to buy the director's cut DVD, i.e. no other edition available, it should be REQUIRED to include the theatrical release. I want to be able to see both versions so that I can compare them and see if the "director's cut" truly is superior or if it's just one person wanking themselves to show how they got the light just right in these two scenes they cut because they don't advance the story.

JK
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 12:40 pm:   

The new Cat Power CD is NOT VERY. I picked it up on the basis of "He War," which really is a terrific song. Unfortunately, it's the only real song on the album. The rest of em are dreary one-note ditties sung in a mumbling monotone. Remember Lili Taylor in "Say Anything"? This is like a full album of "Joe lies, Joe lies when he cries..."

I also recently watched "I Woke Up Early the Day I Died," a modern movie based on a "lost" Ed Wood script. It's in German, but there's not really any dialogue. It stars Billy Zane in this mutated Princess Leia 'do, along with a small army of cult and wannabee cult actors. Ron Perlman plays the bagpipes. Sandra Bernhard does a striptease. Well, of course, it's a wretched movie, but it kind of left me in a state of paralyzed awe.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Saturday, June 28, 2003 - 07:50 pm:   

Not very: DARKNESS FALLS.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 29, 2003 - 01:59 am:   

Something that left me in paralysed awe was a very gory and odd movie called something like ATTACK OF THE SPACE MUTANTS, in which a bunch of mutated people were living on a space station and, natch, attacking people.

My film knowledge is so patchy that this will undoubtedly turn out to be something really famous, but I'd never heard of it. It was originally in Spanish, but when I saw it, had been badly dubbed into Russian. I saw it about 3 am and was about to go to the airport, so I may have imagined the whole episode.
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Lucius
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 07:28 pm:   

Christ, a film thread I hadn't noticed. I have to chime in on SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, which, until AMERICAN BEAUTY came along, occupied the place on my mental shelf reserved for Most Loathesome Slab of Sentimental Crap Disguised As Social Document. Realism, of course, is not a tool much utilized by Hollywood, but after watching this film, I thought it would have been more aptly titled, SPANKY GOES TO JAIL or something of the sort. I was only able to watch it by viewing it as a science fiction movie, a kind of alternate universe prison flick. So much of it was just wrong. That transcendant scene in which Tim Robbins broadcasts a coloratura soprano out into the yard and all the convicts hearken as if to an angel's voice -- that would have gotten him killed. Music lovers with different tastes, reacting badly to having this (to their ears) godawful caterwauling foisted upon them, would have carved him into chum. Impositions of this sort are taken extremely personally in prison. I'm a great believer in the power of fantasy to reveal, but this was fantasy
reduced to male soap opera and the only revelation I derived from it was that Frank Darabont can't direct traffic. This, by the way, is the second of THREE Darabont prison movies, the first being BLACK CAT RUN, which is not quite as excrable as the other two, and this leads me to believe that Frankie may have a thing for restraints. In any case, I can't recall a single scene from the film that doesn't ring emotionally false.

I feel better now.
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Richard Calder
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 02:15 am:   

SHAWSHANK is, indeed, a hateful piece of bunkum. Just one of the problems I had with this film was that Shawshank (the character, that is) is obviously guilty as hell. I'd thought the movie, at some stage, might *partially* redeem itself by revealing this fact, instead of indulging in ever more loathsome variations on tree hugging.

An incredible, and frightening, 'true life' account of incarceration can be found in Warren Fellows autobiography 'The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison'. Recommended.
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Lucius
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 11:27 am:   

Hi, Richard....

In my view, the guilty parties were King and Darabont, but whatever...

I think you may have mentioned the Fellows book elsewhere, did you not. Perhaps on your blog. Whatever, I'll check it out.
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 02:09 pm:   

Bad news for people who do not like Frank Darabont films - he's due to direct the new film version of 'Farenheit 451'. Wasn't crazy about the Truffaut version either.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 02:41 pm:   

Hey great - let's see if we can get the corpse of Bill Bixby to direct the new film version of Birth of a Nation!

Say Lucius - I'm begging you to say a few words here about AMERICAN BEAUTY, a film which, for me, is just about as skleazy as can be got. I could make a few obvious notes, like: not only was AB's acting like method on methamphetamine, but her character was just a big pile of nothingness - also, the bit about the beautiful floating bag, if I'm not mistaken, was taken directly from a (good) student film - think it's called The Notebook - that shows up on NY public TV now and then.

"The Notebook" (if that's what it's called) is VERY. Short film, no actors, quietly put together. The narrator explains that, while working as a pushcart vendor in the city, he found a notebook associating certain words with certain addresses. Shot of a change cubicle in an old-style arcade - VO says "The Island." Shot of a liquor store window with rows of bottles - VO says "The Periodic Table."
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 07:00 pm:   

For some of Lucius's comments on AMERICAN BEAUTY, check out his ElectricStory review of Donnie Darko.
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JeffV
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 07:05 pm:   

Actually, I like Shawshank Redemption and think it works nicely. It falls into the same category as Harry Potter for me--harmless escapism, entertaining and decently constructed.

I guess I have a couple of categories in my mind--stuff that's the mental equivalent of popcorn and stuff that's the mental equivalent of a four-course meal. For popcorn, I don't have a problem with Shawshank or Harry Potter. I don't confuse it with a four-course meal.

JeffV
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Mastadge
Posted on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 08:19 pm:   

I think that many do consider Shawshank a four-course meal. And it considers itself a four-course meal.
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 05:42 am:   

Yes, well, I have to throw some distractors at Lucius, Michael, and Brendan, or they'll eat me alive. If they think I think it's popcorn, I might just survive until tomorrow. ;)

JeffV
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 07:48 am:   

Well, actually, when I watched Shawshank I enjoyed it. If I only was interested in high art I would watch NO Hollywood type films that have been produced in the last, say, fifteen years. It is almost all trash. Some of it just happens to be amusing. None of it is profound. If I want profound I watch Kirosawa; if I want something truly cool I turn to the old Italian cinema. For books though I am more choosey. I find it close to impossible to read a bad book. I do now and again, but generally without pleasure.

Brendan
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:32 am:   

I also can't read a bad book. A bad film is maybe 2 hours of boredom, but a bad book is a lot more. I used to feel like I had to finish everything - that's why I read the Belgariad. I thought the first book was quite bad, but couldn't stop after reading just one, so I tortured myself with the whole series. Luckily I can now quit a book or series once I stop enjoying it.
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:38 am:   

Agreed. I can't read a bad book. But I can read a very surface book, well-crafted if not very deep. The thing is, when I'm doing editing or I'm writing, I really can't also engage in a book at a deep level. So a throw-away mystery is great, for example. And sometimes I wind up finding something that I thought was going to be "just" entertainment and it turns out to be something more.

Jeff
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 09:53 am:   

I think that my radar is good enough now that I manage to avoid starting most bad books. My problem is that there are some good books that I just can't read. I've never been able to get into Terry Pratchett. Dunno why. Couldn't even manage GOOD OMENS, though I tried three times, and I love Neil's stuff.
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:03 am:   

I can't get into Pratchett, either. Or Fforde. And yet I loved the Hitchhiker books growing up.

JeffV
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:25 am:   

I find all this "I can't read a bad book" stuff amusing.

Pretty much the only bad books I read these days are Star Wars books -- which aren't all bad, but a goodly number of them are. There have even been two or three since '91 that have made my Very Good list.

But there are plenty of books that I hear so much about, and I can't stand. And I've seen some of the books I really enjoyed getting a royal thrashing from smart people.

So generally I manage to avoid "bad books" these days, but it's really a very subjective thing and therefore makes a very amusing assertion.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:53 am:   

Is it really a "good book" if you can't get into it? Good is subjective, just as bad is.

I couldn't get into Pratchett either. Reading Good Omens was a chore I only put up with due to Gaiman being involved with it.
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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:57 am:   

I have been trying to convince people for years that my taste in art and literature is not subjective; but no one wants to listen to reason!

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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:13 am:   

I didn't mean to imply that "good" wasn't subjective while "bad" was. Of course they both are. There are certain factors that are not subjective, but a book's overall "goodness" is a very subjective thing.

de gustibus non disputandum.
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RajanK
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

I have to admit to having a tough time with Good Omens, too (which I just started reading recently)...
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Liz Williams
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 11:33 am:   

I like the 'Witches' books.
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Lucius
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 06:26 pm:   

Michael,

Watching AMERICAN BEAUTY is like watching a dog named Hollywood lick its own ass. It's grotesquely lascivious in that way. It was the studio system saying, look, we can do art, and then showing us this tedious take on THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT full of smarmily conceived "art' touches. The paperbag thing, which may well have served the student film, here came across as stupid overstatement. Context is everything. Its manipulations are gruesome

As for all you SHAWSHANK lovers, love away. I have no wish to impose my opinion. But my distaste for this particular glob of Darabont has nothing to do with its profundity or lack thereof. I don't require a film be profound in order to like it. Hell, I like chopsocky flicks. It's just a bad movie in my book. Badly acted, badly written formula. Cheaply manipulative and laughably psychologically inaccurate. The voiceover,is beyond belief. A hardened black criminal in the forties droning on endlessly about the virtues of a white boy? Give me a break. The only reasonable explanation for this kind of avuncular fixation would be if Morgan had punked Tim out. It really seems a form of softcore racism. But that's hardly surprising coming from King, who typically deals in this form, running in on an average of one spiritual wise ol' Afro-american per novel. They may be po' economic primitives, Steve appears to believe, but they know de Lawd and is blessed with horse sense.

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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 06:37 pm:   

We all have our blind spots. Those are some good points--I still liked the movie. And I know you like chopsocky flicks--I love 'em too!!

I thought Shawshank was a kind of fairy tale, frankly.

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:42 pm:   

Someone mentioned Tintin and Asterix--love 'em! Grew up on them. Never even heard of the dreaded Mouse until I was 12.

Jeff
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 08:45 pm:   

BTW--I now have an image of Lucius sitting at a bank of computers 24-7, waiting to pounce on the latest movie thread... :-)

Re bad books/good books--isn't it a given when someone says this that they're talking about their own personal taste? Do we have to preface everything with "in my opinion" or can we just assume that if someone's telling us about something...it's their opinion.

JeffV
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 09:37 pm:   

TERMINATOR 3. Tired now, comments tomorrow.
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Richard Calder
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 01:21 am:   

Jeff -- Is taste, or rather Taste, personal, or is it, like language itself, a cultural artefact that we tap into and quote? And if everything is subjective, does that include the statement 'everything is subjective'?

Liz is the philosopher. Let her sort it out.

(BTW -- wasn't Tintin a fascist who once worked for the Vichy government?)


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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 02:54 am:   

Tintin a facist? No. He just kept working when that government was in power. It is a bit different.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:39 am:   

Taste is intersubjective. All cultural production and consumption take place within a highly socialized structure, one which overdetermines those things we call "individual taste" and "objective quality".

When we say something is 'good' we not just experiencing some goodness, we're responding to both our reaction to the text and our understanding of where the text goes in some social construct of what is good and bad. That's why we end up with people lauding kitsch, camp, debased genres, etc. "It's so cheesy, it's good." "It's not Shakespeare, but I loved it." Or the reverse: "Joyce is a genius, but I couldn't get past three pages of Finnegans Wake." "I'm glad the Met is offering chair-back subtitles for Wagner operas, now I can finally understand what I'm sitting through!" etc etc.

Intersubjectivity would also be a good model if one were to want to draw a taxonomy that starts with pulps and ends (thus far) with Jeff Vandermeer. Even the reactions/revolutions in taste and aesthetics are intersubjective.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:06 am:   

if one were to want to draw a taxonomy that starts with pulps and ends (thus far) with Jeff Vandermeer.

Nick: Huh? What?

Jeff
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JV
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:07 am:   


Taste is intersubjective. All cultural production and consumption take place within a highly socialized structure, one which overdetermines those things we call "individual taste" and "objective quality".

Re the above--that's a rather massive assumption for your foundation.

JeffV
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:42 am:   

What would be some examples of commodity production and consumption that don't take place within a highly socialized structure (e.g., the use of a language known, used, and changed by many people; that uses known socio-cultural referents or coins new ones that refer to old ones; that often take the form of commodities)? Or did you mean that idea that "individual taste" and "objective quality" are overdetermined by the same? In that case, I have to say I'm still not sure what you're getting it, because even "individual" and "objective" are historically and socially constrained concepts.

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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:49 am:   

I've just always wanted to say "that's a rather massive assumption for your foundation" to someone, Nick. In this case, it just happened to be you.

Anyone else got any NOT VERY's?

JeffV
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 10:54 am:   

We should make it a t-shirt! I could sell a bunch at the Radical Philosophy Association conference.

I have a very disappointing NOT VERY. "A Better World's In Birth!' by Howard Waldrop was the worst story of his I have ever read. I'm usually a huge fan, but "Better World" fulfilled the claims that non-Waldrop fans occasionally make: historical characters popping up for no reason, a baffle-em-with-bullshit plot, etc.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Friday, July 04, 2003 - 02:25 am:   

> Liz is the philosopher. Let her sort it out.

Whaaa -? Leave me out of it! (I spent much of y'day evening discussing goat-shagging with Graham Joyce (don't ask) and I come home to a thread about aesthetics....hmm. Life's strange.)

Unless they can prove that some sort of aesthetic preference is hard-wired into the human brain, it has got to be cultural, and since I don't believe there are cultural absolutes, that means that one is immediately plunged into the mire of relativism with all that this entails - i.e. the impossibility of _proving_ that anything is better than anything else. I am deeply unhappy with this view, but I don't see any way round it in a logical sense.

Comes down to "I dunno much about art, guv, but I know what I like..."


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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 02:41 pm:   

Okay, I've got the ultimate 'not very' right here. Just saw 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' - Holy Dog Crap, Batman, this movie stinks! Damn those bastards for taking what was the greatest idea ever for a sci-fi steampunk epic and turning it into a lame ass shoot-em-up! Also those idiots have never been to Venice if they think you can take a submarine through the city's canals. I swear, when it comes adapting material like this, Hollywood is like the digestive system - no matter what great food you put in, it all comes out as poo. My friend Linus and I were talking about a 'League of ORDINARY gentlemen', consisting of literary characters like Babbit, that guy from 'Death of a Salesman', and Updike's Rabbit etc. who say things like - 'A superhero? I'll tell what a superhero is. A superhero is a man who goes day in day out to a job he loathes, just so he can put food on the table for his family, just so his children can go to college and have a better life than his. A life where you don't feel your soul die little by little every time you punch in your card. That's what a superhero is, I tell you!'
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JeffV
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 03:13 pm:   

Damn. That's a shame!

For Not Very, for me, despite what I said earlier, is the latest Harry Potter. I'm kind of pissed off about it, because it's not just the book itself, which is really choppy in the 50 pages I read, but that I've got those damn mediocre movies of the first two books in my head, so I no longer have my original mental images of the characters and settings. And then with all of the reviews and the Byatt article and the counter-point on Salon.com, there's just too much white noise. I think I'm *not* going to go to *any* adaptation of a book I love if I'm afraid it's going to do that.

JeffV
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 03:21 pm:   

Re: LEG. You know it's bad when even Ebert gives it a bad review. I mean, he like Tomb Raider, Mummy Returns, The Phantom Menace and, IIRC, Resident Evil. So I shudder to think how awful LEG must have been from him to have given it a *bad* review.
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 03:22 pm:   

Re: mental images. My imagination is not at all visual, so I've never had that problem.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   

Actually, Ebert loathed The Mummy Returns, he was harsher on it than Mr Cranky was (and Cranky is usually the harshest critic out there). One star for Resident Evil too. He does give out a lot of bad reviews.

I have no plans to watch LEG. I like the comic a lot, but I figured this would just ruin everything good about it.
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jonathan Brandt
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 06:46 am:   

To return to the STAR WARS thread for a moment...

I once saw an interview with Harrison Ford, where he described how he would force the director (not Lucas) to re-shoot a scene if the ACTING wasn't as good as the effects, and therein lies my gripe with Episode One and Clones: all the creative person-power is focused on the effects, the marketing opportunities, and explaining the rules for upcoming video games. I agree with the statement that Lucas is too dumb to know his own story, and I think there's too much money flowing for anyone to bother.

Now, an apology:

I quite enjoyed SHAWSHANK as well as GREEN MILE and AMERICAN BEAUTY. Just did.
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 12:10 pm:   

Actually, for me the ultimate Not Very was "A Perfect Storm".

It is absolutely amazing that someone gets paid to write this stuff!
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 - 01:22 pm:   

I hear ya on that--Perfect Storm sucked.

JeffV
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Tanya Andrews
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 02:32 pm:   

I found Gangs of NY to be a huge letdown. The Character diCaprio portrays is utterly unbelieveable. I guess they were aiming for a conflicted character, but ended up with just a muddled one. Daniel Day Lewis was a thrill to watch and though his character was better, it wasn't fully developed enough--but very intense, as only he can pull off.
I think the problem with the movie, for me, was too much metaphor, symbolism, and grandiose social statements thinly cloaked in garish garb. (The scene at the docks where immigrants arrive and soldiers depart is a good example.)
The unnecessary use of flashbacks to remind us of who is who ('oh yeah-that guy') was insulting to the viewer. All in all, the movie was patronizing and over-the-top, in my opinion.
Like in a dark-toned movie where the cast wears black all through it til the end and they throw in a couple yellow t-shirts to change the tone. The showing version of 'show, don't tell'. Um, did that make sense?
The last time a movie made me feel that way was Titanic, not that I have anything against Leo though. Actually he was awesome in that Tom Hanks flick that was out recently---I can't remember the title. (Though I share the view of others here on Tom Hanks movies in general.)
Just my opinions, and I'm just a wanna-be writer with no credits that has no real business critiquing the pros anyways, hehe.
Thanks for the vent. Whew.
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Neddal
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 06:27 pm:   

So not very it hurts - IN THE CUT w/Meg Ryan and some guy w/a mustache that says "Get tha fuck outta here" a lot. I don't know where to begin w/this - the entire plot hinges on Ryan's character being a complete idiot; Campion went all out and shot it in forebode-o-vision, all the colours are hyper-saturated and no one just walks around, they all loom; the characters are all horrible cliches and stereotypes; the "look, I'm oh so literary" shots of the transit poetry; ugh, I could go on but will spare you all the bad words.

To make the movie watchable I suggest playing the IN THE CUT "give yourself alcohol poisoning" drinking game. Take a shot:
- Every time you see Meg Ryan naked or partially naked.
- Everytime Mustache Man says, "Get tha fuck outta here!" or some variation thereof.
- Every time a gratuitous sex scene is juxtaposed w/a murder or a refernce to a murder.
- Every time you see Mustache Man's tattoo.

Has anyone read the book?
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, June 02, 2004 - 07:41 pm:   

We just saw Kill Bill, Vols. 1 and 2. Some really cool scenes, but what a dud otherwise, in so many ways. A lot of pacing problems. A lot of bad dialogue. The reason why a good cheesy kungfu movie has a certain charm and liveliness is that it DOESN'T KNOW it's cheese. Tarantino set out to do some kind of hybrid of Pulp Fiction and a kung fu movie, but you can't set out to make a B-movie in a cynical way. Not a great B-movie.

And if you thought the end of Return of the King was long, check out the talky, retarded ending of Kill Bill 2.

Jeff
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Lawrence A
Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:07 am:   

Jeff mentions he hated the film Aguirre at the beginning of this thread. Just thought I would mention that I once attended a special screening of Aguirre probably about 8 years ago in Cape Town. Werner Herzog, the director was there and he fielded questions from the audience after the film. I didn't mind the film at all, not great by any means but Kinski is always watchable.

Somebody asked Herzog what it was like to direct Kinski, and Herzog kind of half laughed and kept shaking his head from side to side, he didn't really answer the question, I don't think he could really, but he didn't say anything bad about Kinski. Yet if you read Kinski's memoir KINSKI UNCUT where he describes his relationship with Herzog, not only during Aguirre but the other films they made together, Kinski does not disguise his feelings about Herzog, who he calls a tyrant and without talent and deserving to be shot, that the only great things about Herzog's films is Kinski himself. Kinski was not one for modesty, his temperament would not allow it. He claims that Herzog deliberately sent several lammas to their death on a raft down river during the making of Aguirre. But you can't take Kinski's accusations too seriously.

If you have not read KINSKI UNCUT, do yourself a favour and get hold of this book. This guy led one hell of a life, I mean he was insane and not one for moderation in lifestyle. I mean he was full throttle, he never let up and he paid a price as far as his sanity went. His insatiable lust for women makes Colin Farrel look like the Pope.
And Kinski could ACT.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 01:13 pm:   

This is how it's done.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~imcfadyen/notthenet/fantasy.htm

JeffV
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Jeremy Day
Posted on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:11 am:   

I have to say that I was largely disappointed with China Mieville's Iron Council. There were entirely too many plot holes and unnecessary story elements to make it worth a second read, and that is highly unusual for China. I also really didn't care for Catherine Asaro's The Charmed Sphere. That one sounded like it was written for children, because she didn't leave it up to the reader to figure out how anyone felt (based on descriptions or actions), and she has a propensity for pointing out extremely obvious metaphors. For instance, the King (not Elvis) dies in the winter, and Asaro points out that the following Spring the spirits of the people lifted like the newly rising grass. Or something like that. It was awful.

- Jeremy
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Geoffrey Maloney
Posted on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 02:20 am:   

Hi Jeff

Only got a round to seeing Kill Bill 1 last night but and I thought it was brilliant Tarantino. Every scene was set up and played out to perfection, particularly the last samurai scene in the snowing Japanese garden and the inclusion of the anime up front was just way so cool.

Maybe the Vol 2 will kill it for me, I'm aiming to get it out this week.

cheers

Geoff
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 02:14 pm:   

At this point, this guy just cracks me up:

http://www.kenjisiratori.com/

Geoff--Well, it just seemed like the best parts were traditional, in which case, go see a real kungfu flick.

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 08:57 am:   

Er not very was being stuck in traffic on the way down to Ft. Lauderdale during the Thanksgiving rush...We spent two hours stuck watching this scene...yes, that's right. A landfill over which hovered hundreds of vultures. It did not bode well for our sojourn.

JeffV

Text description
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 08:27 am:   

This isn't well known, but if you take some Kenji Siratori text, translate it into Japanese on Babelfish and then run it back again into English you get a paragraph from SWORD OF SHANNARA. It's weird.
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JV
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:05 am:   

Really? I thought you might get a wheeling sky of vultures.

JeffV

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