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What Is The Last Film You Watched? (Older Films)

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The Thing Called Love (1993) Director's Cut

 

I've loved this movie for years. I saw it on TV when I was a kid and it instantly became one of my best movie buddies for life. Director Peter Bogdanovich describes it as an arthouse film. It was a complete and total disaster at the box office when it was released. Roger Ebert absolutely slammed the film and wrote that its top-billed star (who would be dead just a few months after the film's release) looked ill. When I introduce this flick to people, they usually enjoy it.

 

It tells the story of 20-somethings in Nashville trying to make it as country musicians. If that immediately turns you off, don't let it. Our dearly departed Mr. Phoenix gives one hell of a performance. It's very weird. There are times when he looks...off. He looks older than his age. The final shot of the movie has the characters driving off in his truck and Bogdanovich wouldn't allow him to drive because he suspected he was on something. Still, you can't keep your eyes off him. You can't tell if his weirdness is just performance or possibly the result of being on some kind of narcotic. There's a brilliant scene, a long take (which the movie is full of), where he and Samantha Mathis (the real star of the film) argue in the kitchen and he's no longer brooding and pouting his lips, his faux Texan accent is gone, and he seems to be the same guy who turned in those magnificent performances in Running on Empty, My Own Private Idaho and, yes, the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

 

The rest of the cast are exceptional. Samantha Mathis is so lovely and she and Phoenix have amazing chemistry. They became a couple during filming. Dermot Mulroney, well he's always good. And Sandra Bullock shows up in an early role. You can tell she was destined for stardom. The songs are terrific, all performed by the cast and never released, making it one of my most-wanted soundtracks.

 

The DVD is extremely well-produced, which is surprising given the poor reception and box office. There's an informative and entertaining commentary by Bogdanovich and several excellent behind-the-scenes features. There are even a couple of brief clips of Phoenix being interviewed on the set. He was known for being a method actor and he seems to still be in character during the interviews. He doesn't make much eye contact, although that could just be a fear of cameras, or being in character. It's very strange, but you can tell from the interviews in the special features that all involved had a great time making the film and I always have a great time watching it.

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7 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

It is not your strong point, Alex. 

 

Either that or I'm surrounded by nitwits. With Bollemanneke declaring Live And Let Die the stupidest song ever and you not getting my sarcastic reaction to his post, I 'm inclined to believe it's the latter option. Richard would have got it immediately!

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8 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

Both the song and George Martin's score are something of a classic. Bollemanneke was just being silly

 

Just because something is a classic doesn't prevent people from thinking it's stupid, Steef. We've just been a witness to that. Wanna bet that Bollemanneke prefers the A-ha song? Heck, you probably prefer it too!

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Vertigo

 

This was a first time for me. I had thought about watching it for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it. I didn't know what to expect, but I like Jimmy Stewart, so I had high hopes. This movie is great. It dragged at some parts, but the dragging made it so that when stuff happened, it was even better. The score was pretty good too.

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Jack Reacher - an distinctly average start for Lee Child's hero on the big screen. Ploddingly paced, this only jerks sporadically to life in the all-too-brief and all-too-rare action sequences. And Werner Herzog's villain seems to have stumbled in from a Bond film ... not in a good way, either.

 

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@Stefancos and @Alexcremers, that Empire of the Sun thread is very interesting. Sounds like I missed a lot of interesting things. Of course, it's like the SW ring theory -- perhaps it was all intentional and it's a masterpiece (the ring composition part, I'm not talking about the film itself, I'm trying not to get into any arguments), or perhaps we're reading too much into it. Either way, there's something to be said for the director leaving such a degree of ambiguity. 

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The "child's fantasy" angle of EOTS is certainly not by accident. The author of the book the film was based (J.G. Ballard) has stated as much in interviews,. How the book was based on his own childhood experiences during the war. And how those memories are far for adventurous and positive as the actual events themselves probably were.

 

This is probably the very aspect which drew Spielberg to the project in the first place. Taking it over from David Lean. And I actually think the Spielberg of those years was better suited to the material. Still having something of the "childlike wonder" of Close Encounters and E.T. in him.

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I think he slowly lost it when he had children himself. Empire Of The Sun is the last time where Spielberg succesfully filmed a story from a childs perspective. A few years later with Hook and Jurassic Park, it was already different. More like a father than someone who still vividly recalls his own childhood.

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Actually, it's the only one of his movies where we see the subjective viewpoint of a child. In his other movies, Spielberg was always the narrator. In Empire Of The Sun the narrator is Jamie. We are seeing HIS innocent, rose-tinted reality, and that's why the narration is, in fact, unreliable. People didn't expect this approach from Spielberg. That's why Empire Of The Sun has been severely misunderstood at the time it played in theatres.

 

 

Alex

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On 10/23/2016 at 0:05 PM, Stefancos said:

True, well said.

 

This helpful for you, Will?

 

Yes, this has been a very interesting discussion. :)

 

As a side note one of the scenes I totally misunderstood was the one that some believe implies rape. I was so confused when watching it and had no idea why the boy was looking so horrified at the foot prints. I figured someone had been in the room, obviously, to ransack the place, but I didn't catch the struggle aspect. 

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It's very unusual for a JWfanner not to like The Shawshank Redemption. Maybe it wasn't a good idea to watch this movie while sitting in a room filled with testosterone. If you and your roommates get back together again, watch Mad Max: Fury Road or something.

 

 

Alex - Movie adviser

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Shawshank Redemption is a great movie, but not a "watch with a bunch of buddies" movie.  That's what action flicks are for

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