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Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021)


mrbellamy
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I mean, I posted it responding to someone asking if you were still firm in your opinions.

 

I'll apologize if it came off a bit harsh, but it's hard to shake that feeling when so many others have responded differently having actually seen the film. So I'd think perhaps you could be more rational and justified in your critiques if you had a better frame of reference for what it contained over the prior adaptation.

 

(By the by, I am just remembering two others having similar sentiments, even if they came from different places. Also, I should've double checked that post in either this or the Matrix 4 thread over what was said about having seen only one.)

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4 minutes ago, HunterTech said:

I mean, I posted it responding to someone asking if you were still firm in your opinions.

 

I'll apologize if it came off a bit harsh, but it's hard to shake that feeling when so many others have responded differently having actually seen the film. So I'd think perhaps you could be more rational and justified in your critiques if you had a better frame of reference for what it contained over the prior adaptation.

 

(By the by, I am just remembering two others having similar sentiments, even if they came from different places. Also, I should've double checked that post in either this or the Matrix 4 thread over what was said about having seen only one.)

 

Why do you think I would offer an opinion without watching it first?

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Indeed, I completely misremembered the post I was thinking of. For that, I'm sorry for the accusation.

That being said: with how many of your criticisms being purely pinned on the pointlessness of its existence (with some seriously confusing logic on why it flopped), rather than pinpointing exactly why the changes did little to justify its overall existence, can you blame me for thinking that at all? You are perfectly within your right to refuse to elaborate on a subject that you feel shouldn't have much to be said about, but as more people are likely to see the film on streaming soon, such talking points are only getting more and more weightless. Yes no one but Spielberg might've been asking for it, but so what? It's here now, so it merits more discussion towards what makes it stand on its own as a take on the musical over the original film. Because love it or hate it: it ain't a 1-to-1 translation of a prior iteration (to which there are many), and it'd be a full on denial to say it is.

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I went and saw it and offered my honest opinion just like anyone else.

 

 

Why should there be a special burden on me? Is there a burden on those who said they didn't like it or do they have to write a dissertation about it too?

 

I have actually posted a lot in this thread. You are free to go look up my posts both before and after I saw it.

 

I don't think the movie has many merits. I found the script to be on the nose, bad and unimaginative. I didn't care for most of the actors. I thought they lacked charisma. I think the characters were all paper thin and under developed (take someone like Bernardo, his role seems to have much less impact.) I think the performances are strictly okay and some of the song placement is strange. I think the production design and costume design don't look like they spent 100 million dollars on them. Photography is okay. Direction is ordinary. Songs are too cut up in various locations - too much clutter like in most modern movies. 

 

The third act is absolutely ridiculous (as played in this movie). Overall I found the movie regressive, dated, unimaginative and an extremely poor and ineffective attempt at any sort of an update. 

 

It isn't a complete disaster - it is difficult to do that with good material and Spielberg ain't a complete hack. But this to me is his least successful film in decades. Overall I would call this a failed remake and I literally don't need to see this film again. I literally think it did nothing better, absolutely nothing, not one thing better than the original. Yes it fixes some white-washing issues, but that by itself isn't a reason to remake a perfectly good film (perfectly good, NOT perfect).

 

I am not against remakes. But they should actually RE MAKE the original source material. This regurgitates the old stuff in an inferior fashion and doesn't add anything besides shouting the subtext in Kushner's over-egged script.

 

So this movie to me is a failure. There I said it. Let me know if this is enough for you if you would like me to elaborate further. 

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Another display of human error on my end, as that post would've been before I had any interest in the film from positive word of mouth.

 

I wasn't trying to imply that you needed to have a special burden on you, and I'll admit that I think having lengthy discussions with others about the film has clouded my judgement for how to approach the movie. With how much praise has gone into how much effort is placed into every single aspect, I guess I get a bit befuddled when someone from the other side comes in guns a blazing without much variance in their words.

 

I think a thing that most likely separates us in our opinions on the film is just what we think of the original movie adaptation. While I liked it fine enough when I watched it for theater class, I wouldn't say it was a great piece of cinema. It purely appealed to me because of the period it was made in, rather than because I thought it was particularly effective in its presentation of the story.

 

With the new version, I felt it hit a lot more on what actually makes the racial divide between groups what it is. I just don't see what's so "regressive" and "dated" about changing a character who was effectively nothing in the original (Chino) into someone who I partially saw myself in, as well as other people. Plus, I certainly agree with what others have said about it actually having some weight behind its story and character beats, while the previous version effectively felt like this sanitized film length dance number. I'm sure some of this comes from the fact I likely don't have the great familiarity with the story like many others do, but based on my own experiences and what those I know have gone through, this rings much truer to the conflicts that we still face many decades later.

 

So yeah, it goes without saying that our differing backgrounds likely inform why we stand worlds apart on this particular flick. I just wanted to hear what someone from the other end had to say about it. As for me: I ain't a musical guy, but I think it did something right if it made more of an impression than freaking Spider-Man did when I saw that hours later that day.

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I don't think the original is a great piece of cinema. But it is very good. And would serve most people who wanted to experience WSS.

I think the remake is tiresome even on its own terms. It stretches out what is a thin story over a protracted length just to adhere to a dated sense of movie musicals or what not. There isn't enough story to sustain 2.5 hours. Apparently the entire story takes place in like 36 hours.

Now that shouldn't have been the case. The original is that way - why carry over this weakness? Why not spread the story over a week or a month? From the remake, because the leads have little to no chemistry, it seems like they speak for 20 minutes total before deciding to spend their life with each other. I can buy that idea in a "movie movie" way if the performers can sell it. Here they did not.

 

The lugubrious pace is dated. I thought the accent work was distracting. Why did they have to speak in put on accents. They cast the right actors of the right ethnicity and race right? Why couldn't they all speak in their regular accents?

 

There was no attempt to update the material, as if no enlightenment has happened in the past 60 years. Why remake if you are going to resort to the same tropes. Again, if I want to see something rooted in the 50s, I might as well watch the 1961 version.

 

Also for all its racial protestations, it seems the goal of the film was to develop the white characters more rather than PR characters. Added background is added to Riff and some to Tony but Bernardo is great diminished. He's a boxer and that's it. 

 

It seems a misbegotten enterprise to me. I genuinely think it was only made to placate Spielberg's ego and scratch his itch. I don't think he had meaningful to say here. It was all just an exercise. 

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37 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

There was no attempt to update the material, as if no enlightenment has happened in the past 60 years. Why remake if you are going to resort to the same tropes. Again, if I want to see something rooted in the 50s, I might as well watch the 1961 version.

 

 

You mean two rivaling rap gangs? No thanks!

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On 01/03/2022 at 4:54 PM, AC1 said:

 

You mean two rivaling rap gangs? No thanks!

 

Better two rivalling symphony orchestras during the romantic era.

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On 01/03/2022 at 4:14 PM, TheUlyssesian said:

It stretches out what is a thin story over a protracted length just to adhere to a dated sense of movie musicals or what not.

[...]

There was no attempt to update the material, as if no enlightenment has happened in the past 60 years. Why remake if you are going to resort to the same tropes. Again, if I want to see something rooted in the 50s, I might as well watch the 1961 version.

[...]

It seems a misbegotten enterprise to me. I genuinely think it was only made to placate Spielberg's ego and scratch his itch. I don't think he had meaningful to say here. It was all just an exercise. 

An apposite review! Nowadays, Spielberg is no more than an unimaginative incumbent stealing the chances from young talents to shoot relevant movies and win prestigeous awards.

 

And I can only repeat myself: The fact that he got nominated for West Side Story as best director, whereas Villeneuve did not for Dune, takes any credibility from the Academy!

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I watched it a couple of days ago.

 

Overall I quite enjoyed it, especially the choreography which I thought was very clever. But despite the flashy dancing and brilliant cinematography, somehow I couldn't get behind it in the same way I could get behind the 1961 film. I was lacking enough of the "why". Musicals like these need to sell the songs to the audience in some sense; you have to believe that the people on screen really could dance and break out into song. But it didn't always quite work for me. Just compare the 1961 and 2021 versions of America. The latter was clearly done on a far grander scale, but when I watch it closely, it lacks the organic quality of the 1961, which looks like it perhaps once did happen on a roof top in NYC.

 

I'm being nitpicky though, as I did enjoy it overall. My favourite number was Cool. And the film looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous anyway.  In fact out of all the Oscar-nominated movies I've watched it's in my top 3. I just wish it were even better!

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1 hour ago, Brundlefly said:

 

 

And I can only repeat myself: The fact that he got nominated for West Side Story as best director, whereas Villeneuve did not for Dune, takes any credibility from the Academy!

 

He was actually widely predicted to be not nominated for his work here. He still somehow sneaked it - I am guessing on his name alone. But he did not merit this nomination for sure. 

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21 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

He was actually widely predicted to be not nominated for his work here. He still somehow sneaked it - I am guessing on his name alone. But he did not merit this nomination for sure. 

 

Geez, that's a bit harsh. I just finished the film and thought it was one of the best directed films I've seen in years!

 

Not to take away anything from Villeneuve, who did a fantastic job on Dune as well.

 

2 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

And I can only repeat myself: The fact that he got nominated for West Side Story as best director, whereas Villeneuve did not for Dune, takes any credibility from the Academy!

 

The Oscars have been a complete joke for decades. They have zero integrity.

 

Williams losing to Gustavo Santaolla in 2005 was the final nail in the coffin for me, not only because Memoirs of a Geisha was a masterpiece but the sheer body of work Williams accomplished in that single year was exceptional.

 

The Academy then spent 14 years completing their burial, with losses for War Horse, Lincoln, Force Awakens, Rise of Skywalker... the list goes on.

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Please look at the last chapter of Dune, the part with the Fremen, folks. That is not great film directing. 

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57 minutes ago, crypto said:

Geez, that's a bit harsh. I just finished the film and thought it was one of the best directed films I've seen in years!

 

Not to take away anything from Villeneuve, who did a fantastic job on Dune as well.

 

Neither would make even my Top 25 best achievements of direction for 2021, let alone the past few years. 

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12 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

Plain and simple: you're blinded by cynicism and pretension.

Nope, that's wrong. Sensitive art affects me if it's well made. Cynicism only in the right spots. Pretension is a no-go.

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On 1/3/2022 at 7:14 AM, TheUlyssesian said:

I don't think the original is a great piece of cinema. But it is very good. And would serve most people who wanted to experience WSS.

I think the remake is tiresome even on its own terms. It stretches out what is a thin story over a protracted length just to adhere to a dated sense of movie musicals or what not. There isn't enough story to sustain 2.5 hours. Apparently the entire story takes place in like 36 hours.

Now that shouldn't have been the case. The original is that way - why carry over this weakness? Why not spread the story over a week or a month? From the remake, because the leads have little to no chemistry, it seems like they speak for 20 minutes total before deciding to spend their life with each other. I can buy that idea in a "movie movie" way if the performers can sell it. Here they did not.

 

The lugubrious pace is dated. I thought the accent work was distracting. Why did they have to speak in put on accents. They cast the right actors of the right ethnicity and race right? Why couldn't they all speak in their regular accents?

 

There was no attempt to update the material, as if no enlightenment has happened in the past 60 years. Why remake if you are going to resort to the same tropes. Again, if I want to see something rooted in the 50s, I might as well watch the 1961 version.

 

Also for all its racial protestations, it seems the goal of the film was to develop the white characters more rather than PR characters. Added background is added to Riff and some to Tony but Bernardo is great diminished. He's a boxer and that's it. 

 

It seems a misbegotten enterprise to me. I genuinely think it was only made to placate Spielberg's ego and scratch his itch. I don't think he had meaningful to say here. It was all just an exercise. 

Yikes, tell us how you really feel. Are you sure the end credits didn’t scroll by too slowly either?

 

No movie is perfect, but Spielberg’s WSS is far from the dumpster fire you’re basically calling it. While I respectfully disagree with pretty much every single point you brought up, I am curious to know the 25 films from 2021 that you think are better directed than WSS. That’s a mighty claim to make, IMHO.

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20 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:

Neither would make even my Top 25 best achievements of direction for 2021, let alone the past few years. 

 

What are your top 25? Genuinely curious.

 

Even in films I don't like, I'm able to appreciate quality direction. That said, I'm not familiar with the older film or the musical, so it's hard to judge whether your criticisms are exclusive to Spielberg's film or the source material.

 

It's a delicate balancing act with adaptations of older works, between modernising to fit societal norms or staying respectful to the dated source material. Hypothetically, should a modern Indiana Jones film stick with the cartoonish/stylised portrayal of its villains (in line with cinematic trends of the 80s, when the earlier films were made) or go with the modern approach of "dark and gritty" instead?

 

This might just be a case of, no matter which approach Spielberg chose, he would face criticism regardless.

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Right, because the cinematographer works in a vacuum and does whatever the hell he wants, with no instruction from the director.

 

Seems people don't understand the basics of how films are made (Spielberg films no less, considering the brilliant visualist he is). 

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9 hours ago, Bayesian said:

While I respectfully disagree with pretty much every single point you brought up, I am curious to know the 25 films from 2021 that you think are better directed than WSS. That’s a mighty claim to make, IMHO.

 

8 hours ago, crypto said:

What are your top 25? Genuinely curious.

 

By popular demand, here are  - 

 

TheUlyssesian's Top 25 Directorial Achievements of 2021

  1. Ryusuke Hamaguhi - Drive My Car
  2. Hong Sang-soo - The Woman Who Ran 
  3. Wes Anderson - The French Dispatch
  4. Paul Thomas Anderson - Licorice Pizza
  5. Paul Verhoeven - Benedetta
  6. Apichatpong Weerasethakul - Memoria
  7. Ryusuke Hamaguhi - Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
  8. Pedro Almodóvar - Parallel Mothers
  9. Chaitanya Tamhane - The Disciple
  10. Tsai Ming-liang - Days
  11. Julia Ducournau - Titane
  12. Joanna Hogg - The Souvenir: Part II
  13. Joachim Trier - The Worst Person In The World
  14. Paul Shrader - The Card Counter
  15. Pablo Larraín - Spencer
  16. Bruno Dumont - France
  17. Jane Campion - The Power Of The Dog
  18. Leos Carax - Annette
  19. Cristi Puiu - Malmkrog
  20. Asghar Farhadi - A Hero
  21. Radu Jude - Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
  22. Rebecca Hall - Passing
  23. Sean Bake - Red Rocket
  24. Jonas Poher Rasmussen - Flee
  25. Mia Hansen-Løve - Bergman Island

I actually do not watch as many films as many of my film loving friends watch, and yet it was very easy for me to come up with this list. I exclude several films like

 

Zack Snyder - Zack Snyder's Justice League

 

because it did not get a theatrical release just to show you that even when I exclude films, it is very easy to come up with a top 25 list of directorial achievements. I also excluded any number of 2021 films that I have seen but which did get a theatrical release in the US like - 

 

Jonas Carpignano - A Chiara
Nadav Lapid - Ahed’s Knee
Michelangelo Frammartino - Il Buco
Hong Sang-soo - In Front of Your Face
Radu Muntean - Întregalde
Gaspar Noé - Vortex
Maureen Fazendeiro, Miguel Gomes - The Tsugua Diaries
Alessio Rigo de Righi , Matteo Zoppis - The Tale of King Crab
Audrey Diwan – Happening
Terence Davies – Benediction
Arthur Harari – Onoda: 10,000 Nights in the Jungle

 

So you see, compared to any film in my top 25 directorial achievements, I found Spielberg's direction to be extremely subpar and banal.

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Take out Carax's Annette, and you have some mighty fine films on that list.

 

How was Lapid's Ahed's Knee? I missed it at TIFF, but really enjoyed his other films and was looking forward to it.

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1 hour ago, Brundlefly said:

People still seem to mix up cinematography and direction.

 

 

Don't even get my started on the supposed ignorance about what film direction even is. SO MANY film fans confuse direction with visuals. Even some famous and popular film youtubers or other such media personalities have no idea what film direction is. Like someone was speculating in October - how can Drive My Car get a directing nomination? It is not visually stunning. I will like, you don't understand what direction is at all right?

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1 minute ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

 

Don't even get my started on the supposed ignorance about what film direction even is. SO MANY film fans confuse direction with visuals. Even some famous and popular film youtubers or other such media personalities have no idea what film direction is. Like someone was speculating in October - how can Drive My Car get a directing nomination? It is not visually stunning. I will like, you don't understand what direction is at all right?

 

Very quick ... what is it?

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7 minutes ago, KK said:

Take out Carax's Annette, and you have some mighty fine films on that list.

 

How was Lapid's Ahed's Knee? I missed it at TIFF, but really enjoyed his other films and was looking forward to it.

 

I included Carax to respond to this sentence by crypto. I am actually not a fan of Annette - but I can acknowledge that it is well directed. 

 

As for Ahed's Knee - it is good but not as good as his prior film which I absolutely loved. Synonyms was one of the best films of 2019 to me, the 3rd best to be exact, but Ahed's Knee is a good film and shows him to be an obvious talent that we should watch out for.

 

8 hours ago, crypto said:

Even in films I don't like, I'm able to appreciate quality direction.

 

--------

 

2 minutes ago, AC1 said:

Very quick ... what is it?

 

I am not certain if this question is ironical or rhetorical. 

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2 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

I am not certain if this question is ironical or rhetorical. 

 

It's just a question, not ironical or anything. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, AC1 said:

It's just a question, not ironical or anything. 

 

I am sure you can google what film direction is if you don't already know. There isn't a need to rely on one message board user's subjective perspective. 

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So you don't know? I mean, you're being very evasive for someone who claims to know so well.

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Just now, AC1 said:

So you don't know? 

 

Apparently not.

6 minutes ago, AC1 said:

 I mean, you're being very evasive for someone who claims to know so well.

 

You added this sentence after I responded. So I will respond to it.

 

I didn't claim I know well (what exactly though?).

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1 hour ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

Funny how much of a boring, pointless, overlong, and unnecessary waste of time this discussion about West Side Story supposedly being a boring, pointless, overlong, and unnecessary waste of time is. And now we're a full page into Film 101 with Professor Ulyssesian and the Tenet guy for some reason???

 

We're all very tired and I think you should give it a rest.

And praising the hell out of a mediocre score or movie pages and pages to come - something which is by no means unusual on this forum - is not a waste of time? Don't call a discussion expendable, just because of your disagreement. We two could also talk for hours about how great At Eternity's Gate was - you wouldn't call that a waste of time, you betcha.

 

3 hours ago, crypto said:

Right, because the cinematographer works in a vacuum and does whatever the hell he wants, with no instruction from the director.

I said: direction is not the same as cinematography.

You implied that I said: direction has nothing to do with cinematography.

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I'll admit, @TheUlyssesian, that yours appears to be a thoughtful list. From that list, I've only seen French Dispatch (and thought it was brilliant) and recognize the titles of maybe three or four others. Many of these entries seem to be arthouse fare or really auteur. 

 

This doesn't necessarily diminish your take on WSS's direction or the validity of your list, but it reminds me of the notion of "audience gradient" (my term) that affects both film and film music. Spielberg is a crowd-pleasing filmmaker who mostly makes films that appeal to wide audiences, but many of your faves from 2021 likely appeal to film connoisseurs. I'm going to argue that there is a distinction between the two forms of film, just like there is a distinction in music between Ligeti or Boulez and Zimmer or Gia. In both situations, the products fit the literal definition "film" or "music" but substantively they are complete worlds apart.

 

Spielberg made a brilliant crowd-pleasing film (that unfortunately not enough crowds saw in theaters), and within that universe, I think he made a better-looking and better-flowing film than 90% of his conventional Hollywood competition. I suspect that's how most people defending the film here are looking at the situation.

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On 01/03/2022 at 3:54 PM, AC1 said:

 

You mean two rivaling rap gangs? No thanks!

This is a film called West Side Story.

It's an epic tale of love, lust, and glory.

Two tribes, fighting forever,

While love brings two of 'em together,

To see what each can see on the other side of the tracks,

To love, and not hate; these are the facts,

That both learn, but even though these acts of love,

Turn them, all their homies wanna do is to burn 'em.

T'was ever thus, and so it shall be,

Is it gonna be the same for you and me?

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Bayesian said:

I'm going to argue that there is a distinction between the two forms of film, just like there is a distinction in music between Ligeti or Boulez and Zimmer or Gia. In both situations, the products fit the literal definition "film" or "music" but substantively they are complete worlds apart.

There definitely is that spectrum that reaches from mass-appealing to ... niche/arthouse/whatever, but firstly, there is not just two categories with nothing in between, and secondly, being a mainstream film doesn't apologize for lazy direction. The distinction between a bad film, a mediocre film, a good film and a great film doesn't suddenly dissolve.

 

4 hours ago, Bayesian said:

Spielberg made a brilliant crowd-pleasing film (that unfortunately not enough crowds saw in theaters)

Well, with Spielberg being stuck in the 60s there, it wasn't even that crowd-pleasing, I guess.

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21 hours ago, Bayesian said:

I'll admit, @TheUlyssesian, that yours appears to be a thoughtful list. From that list, I've only seen French Dispatch (and thought it was brilliant) and recognize the titles of maybe three or four others. Many of these entries seem to be arthouse fare or really auteur. 

 

This doesn't necessarily diminish your take on WSS's direction or the validity of your list, but it reminds me of the notion of "audience gradient" (my term) that affects both film and film music. Spielberg is a crowd-pleasing filmmaker who mostly makes films that appeal to wide audiences, but many of your faves from 2021 likely appeal to film connoisseurs. I'm going to argue that there is a distinction between the two forms of film, just like there is a distinction in music between Ligeti or Boulez and Zimmer or Gia. In both situations, the products fit the literal definition "film" or "music" but substantively they are complete worlds apart.

 

Spielberg made a brilliant crowd-pleasing film (that unfortunately not enough crowds saw in theaters), and within that universe, I think he made a better-looking and better-flowing film than 90% of his conventional Hollywood competition. I suspect that's how most people defending the film here are looking at the situation.

 

See @Bayesian. I disagree. There is nothing that divides different kinds of cinema. It is all cinematic story-telling after all, just executed at different levels of rigor and achievement. You sell Spielberg short by labelling him "Spielberg is a crowd-pleasing filmmaker who mostly makes films that appeal to wide audiences, but many of your faves from 2021 likely appeal to film connoisseurs". Speilberg is one of my favorite film-makers too and I like all of these other films also. Speilberg films routinely feature in my Top 10 let alone Top 25. There is no difference in what he makes or what any of these directors make.

 

Hamaguchi, the number one director in my list, said recently recently at the Berlin film festival, "In past history there was no gap between [mainstream and arthouse films]. The role of the Berlinale is to declare there is no gap. It might look like an arthouse film, but it might have some commercial aspect."

 

This is really genuinely true. Think about it, the same Academy members that nominated Speilberg for directing West Side Story, also nominated Hamaguchi for directing Drive My Car. Those who nominated West Side Story for Best Picture, also nominated Drive My Car for best picture.

 

What is difference is the the collapse of commercial mainstream film-making in the US and other english speaking countries - an artistic collapse. Think to the movies that were nominated for best picture in the 1970s - all classics, all great artistic achievements but more importantly all commercial achievements too. All hits, all critically acclaimed. There used to be no difference earlier. 

 

Two things have happened. Audiences have gotten dumbed. And the mainstream hollywood film-making is just garbage gutter trash dumpster fire risible and disposable. Take it from Martin Scorsese, if not from me. 

 

So again, the movies that I have picked, they are no different from the movies you watch. Surely they might have subtitles, but that surely isn't a barrier in this day and age? I found The Batman boring. It is a 3 hour film. I found Drive My Car entertaining, it is also a 3 hour film.

 

The infantilization of the American film-going audience need not reflect on all of us. We need not be bound helplessly to the steaming pile of shit that Hollywood is throwing at us. Great cinema exists in many forms and it comes at us from everywhere in the world.

 

Once you do that, a list like mine doesn't seem strange but begins to appear to be extremely commonplace and expected. 

 

Which is needless to say, Speilberg is a very great director. As great as any of the ones I listed and greater than most of them. He can and should do better. I expect better from him because I know how capable he is of greatness. So I am just asking more of Spielberg, not singling him out as a bad director or anything. 

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I would definitely agree that the thing about your list is that all you really have to do is just follow Cannes, Berlin, and/or Venice in addition to the Oscars. They're major film institutions and a commercial marketplace, it's not like you're digging around blindly for obscure stuff just to be different. Many commercially viable and not so commercially viable movies come out of the history of these festivals. A big Hollywood distribution sale is part of many an international film's narrative.

 

I'd say anybody who is even a little more interested in movies than average, for example enjoys watching Oscar Best Picture winners or AFI 100 classics, would also be equally encouraged to make the Palme D'Or winners and Sight & Sound part of their movie world. I found many entertaining and interesting favorites doing this and I'm basic as hell. I live in rural midwest America and work at a Target warehouse with a 2-year college degree. I'm pretty fuckin average. But I did drive an hour+ to see Annette, Benedetta, Parallel Mothers, Drive My Car, and The Worst Person in the World in a multiplex and Licorice Pizza in 70MM.

 

I wouldn't say I defend WSS and Spielberg's direction on limited mainstream Hollywood parameters. I saw Annette, I like Annette, I love Carax and Sparks. I was excited for Annette and I was not that excited for West Side Story. I thought West Side Story was a better movie musical and a more rigorous (if less eccentric) piece of direction. I wouldn't call it banal. It's okay if it doesn't make someone's top 25. I also thought Drive My Car was brilliant and engrossing. Although I admit I was waiting for somebody to fuck the car. Wrong movie.

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I feel there is a myopic phobia around what are perceived to be "art films" that they are imaccessible.

 

You are right, take my list. Worst person and bergman island can be said to romcom dramedies, with plenty of romance, sex and nudity and laughs. Bergman island is even in English!

 

Titane is kinda like this action thriller with weird high concept scifi elements.

 

Benedetta and Spencer are camp films and Benedetta has nudity galore. It is a hot sexy nun movie for heaven's sake.

 

Red rocket is kinda a sex comedy too about a horny sleazebag.

 

Wheel of fortune is like your Woody Allen movie.

 

Card counter is an extremely mainstream commerical movie that was a wide release in theater. 

 

Licorice pizza is a fun breezy rom com ish films.

 

2-3 are more demanding, like Malkrog, but most of these are extremely accessible mainstream entertaining extremely watchable well produced good looking movies.

 

 

There should be no barrier in literally anyone watching any of these movies.

 

People just need to break away from the tyranny of blockbuster Hollywood fare and look just a little bit further.

 

With streaming these movies are widely widely widely available and accessible - a mere click away.

 

 

So again I ain't preaching some hermetic ascetic form of Cinema, just regular good Cinema away from the 100 million dollar remake reboot rehash franchise culture of Hollywood like wss and others.

 

 

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I saw Benedetta in a virtually empty theater and it really made me wish it was a packed house because I'm sure it would have been a hoot with a crowd. My friend and I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Verhoeven!

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8 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

I saw Benedetta in a virtually empty theater and it really made me wish it was a packed house because I'm sure it would have been a hoot with a crowd. My friend and I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Verhoeven!

 

My crowd hollered at the reveal of the mother Mary dildo. It is a kind of outrageous movie.

 

But again, why is no. 5 on my list? Because it is so bloody good!

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My experience with Spielberg's 'recent' batch of movies:

 

I switched off The Adventures Of Tintin. I begrudgingly watched War Horse. I tried to watch Lincoln two times but I just don't like what I'm seeing (or how it's directed). I managed to finish Bridge Of Spies but wasn't a fan. I did not bother with The BFG. I switched off The Post after just one scene (I really have a problem with Spielberg's tone of storytelling). I switched off Read Player One after one hour or so (it made me nervous and felt it I did not get anything in return). I'm hoping West Side Story and The Fabelmans will bring a change in my 'relationship' with Spielberg's movies.

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We finally watched the movie on Friday, overall I liked it but there were a few little tweaks to the story that I think had unintended implications to what worked and what didn't. 

 

There was a lot more depth added to most of the major characters. I think at first glance, changes to characters like what the movie did are fine, and nothing really offensive or super out of characters. Little things like Bernardo being a big boxer. Stuff like that was never in any iteration of the show, as far as I know.

 

It was the personality changes that made the difference and made certain scenes ring hollow. Tony and Riff having such a contentious relationship like they did...I don't know if Tony would have shown up to the rumble like he did, considering they weren't as close as they were in the original version. Then, when Riff is killed by Bernardo, two tweaks don't work there. First, Tony wouldn't have had a "You killed my best friend!" reaction like he does (rightfully) have in the original musical. He'd be a lot more regretful that he couldn't do more for him, they weren't closer, etc. Then, he spends more time trying to win over Bernardo, knowing he's Maria's brother. Previously, he barely knew the guy. So with this, killing a guy he was trying to be friendly with for a guy he seemed like he had a major falling out with awhile back didn't really make sense. 

 

Another example was the extended date time with Maria, and the addition of Tony being on parole. Part of why the events of the show worked the way they did was because Tony and Maria's romance was very simple. "I just met you and I love you" and that was basically it. It was a blind faith, first impression love. Tony and Maria having a few dates, including a confession of what was it, almost beating a guy to death? That plus getting to know the guy and his flaws, why would Maria actually want to run away with the guy after he killed her brother? Too much depth changes the characters motivations and what their reactions should be.

 

Those are really the only things that were wrong with the movie. I loved how beautifully shot it was, the direction was fun, some of the changes WERE interesting. I loved using the Somewhere ballet as Maria waking up in the morning and sneaking around.

 

I just can't get over the fact that they couldn't make it work with Williams. Having Williams do a musical again after all these years, plus it being the music of someone he was very close with, missing that opportunity is just sad. I know that won't affect what most people think of the film, but for me, knowing that just puts a damper on the whole thing. The arrangements themselves were extremely faithful, almost to the point of wondering why there needed to be an arranger in the first place, but giving the music that Williams flair would have been super fun, and been the thing that gave the movie it's own identity in the best way.

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On 06/03/2022 at 6:37 PM, TheUlyssesian said:

Two things have happened. Audiences have gotten dumbed. And the mainstream hollywood film-making is just garbage gutter trash dumpster fire risible and disposable. Take it from Martin Scorsese, if not from me. 

More objectively said, it is a kind of film that is created by cold calculation instead of individual intuition and is no longer art, because there is an underlying economic model that shapes these movies and fills them with hypocritical meaningfulness (in the worst case). The format of moving pictures and sound are not enough to justify the term "art".

 

On 07/03/2022 at 8:47 AM, AC1 said:

I switched off The Adventures Of Tintin. I begrudgingly watched War Horse. I tried to watch Lincoln two times but I just don't like what I'm seeing (or how it's directed). I managed to finish Bridge Of Spies but wasn't a fan. I did not bother with The BFG. I switched off The Post after just one scene (I really have a problem with Spielberg's tone of storytelling). I switched off Read Player One after one hour or so (it made me nervous and felt it I did not get anything in return). I'm hoping West Side Story and The Fabelmans will bring a change in my 'relationship' with Spielberg's movies.

WTF, do you have issues with your attention span? Is that a usual practice? When I start a movie, I stick with that decision. There was one recent exeption which involves a German comedy... but well, it's a German comedy, you know...

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10 minutes ago, Brundlefly said:

WTF, do you have issues with your attention span? 

 

That would mean that I'm bored and I need more explosions, but that's not the case here. These days, when I dislike what I'm seeing, I simply stop watching. There's no point in tormenting myself. 

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