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What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in Time

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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » September 24th, 2018, 11:10 pm

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The 25th anniversary was today. Richard Linklater's version of a John Hughes high school film might be better than any time John Hughes went to Shermer (but don't tell the 80's kids that have all the power that). The film feels much more realistic and made by someone who lived those experiences (in fact, Mitch basically is Linklater) instead of an older conservative who thinks he's in with it but more than likely forgot what it was. The Austin setting, despite being 1976 recreated in 1992, feels lived in and it's got a hell of a cast (McConaughey, Ben Affleck in a role that's probably autobiographical, Milla Jovovich pre-action heroine, the dad from Oculus as a bigger stoner than Cheech and Chong, The Hebrew Hammer, that one guy from Rent, T.S. from Mallrats, and 90's indie queen Parker Posey, for starters). There isn't much of a story but it's refreshing to see a high school film that isn't about preaching or creating a world that was created by people two or three decades behind. It could be the Platoon of high school movies set in the 70's.

Meanwhile, the end of the movie left me wondering what became of these people. Sure, we got Everybody Wants Some!! 23 years later but that was a spiritual sequel. I'm convinced that for most of them, things didn't turn out so well and they became what they rebelled against. In 2018, a lot of them would probably be saying awful things about those who are 18 now. But I'm convinced Mitch and Sabrina turned out fine.

Up next: Thelma and Louise (Kalifornia was supposed to be tomorrow night but the screening was canceled)
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » September 26th, 2018, 11:49 pm

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Back when Ridley Scott was still able to make good movies, he broke out his moodiness and gave us perhaps the benchmark for female-led action films until Mad Max: Fury Road. Basically an A-list version of grindhouse/drive-in fare such as Ms. 45, this story of two women forced on the lam after killing a rapist in self-defense is not the kind of film you'd see made today as Hollywood is too busy trying to pass films that are actually scared of women like Bad Moms as empowering. Susan Sarandon is good as Louise but Geena Davis is really good as Thelma. And there's something about early Brad Pitt that gets to me (I think it's that accent he'd usually use combined with his youthful dimness).

Also, I'm convinced Quentin Tarantino really likes this film. Two Tarantino regulars appear and True Romance and Natural Born Killers have that similar "on the run" storyline.

And the audience that I saw it with was fun. They cheered during some of the big moments, got into it when Pitt was on screen, and applauded at the end.

Up next: Fight Club (what my refund for the canceled screening went to).
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » September 28th, 2018, 12:27 am

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Those who view this movie just for the fights and thinks that it defends their meathead lifestyle got it so wrong. This is more or less the 90's Taxi Driver: the story of an insomniac who uses fantasy to ignore that his real life is in fact spinning out of control. The fighting is really a plot device for the main theme: insanity. The Narrator is someone who is only dying more and more inside, no matter what new idea he or Tyler creates to add spice to their humdrum lives. He is crazy but cannot accept his fate. The film does not glamorize the actions of underground fight clubs or Project Mayhem. If anything, it condemns them as well as the culture they set out to destroy. The message is that this is their lives and that they are dying one minute at a time. They are lost causes and are afraid to admit it.

Meanwhile, it's kind of sad that Helena Bonham Carter has forever been typecast as the crazy lady due to this and her work with Tim Burton. She has much more to offer but never gets the chance anymore. And I'd forgotten that Meat Loaf was good. Also, why did David Fincher have to sell out for Oscars and box office glory? He was so much better before he got his own fight club.

Up next: The Monster Squad.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 2nd, 2018, 9:26 pm

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This was a lot darker than I remember it being. Perhaps one of the earliest examples of an attempted kid-friendly film getting a PG-13, I can't say I'm surprised that even with the short running time (82 minutes), they still couldn't get the desired PG (which likely killed it in its original theatrical release). This gets violent in places and I'm sure smaller children will get scared by it (also, there's some homophobia in the early scenes but I'm sure some would write that off are kids trying to the 80's version of edgelords). But we probably like this movie more for the monsters anyway than the elementary/junior high version of Ghostbusters. The effects (with Richard Edlund of Ghostbusters fame and Stan Winston leading the way) combine what was cutting-edge at the time with the cheesy charm of the Universal horror of the 30's and look stellar while also having some kitsch to go with it. The cinematography gives what could have been a cheap matinee some gravitas and the production design is quite good. And despite the aforementioned edginess, I think the film's heart sells it and helped (combined with the scarcity of the film on home video for some many years) what was once a forgotten film find a cult following.

In the end, I don't think the film is at the level of the director's Night of the Creeps (another film that died in theatres, albeit one that got regional distribution instead of a wide release, but found an audience on home video) but it's still a fun movie.

Up next: High Anxiety.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby W » October 3rd, 2018, 9:51 am

My kid said she watched the original Spider-Man, then named Andrew Garfield so I decided we needed to pop in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. She said "He has an uncle in this one?" I felt so ashamed.

Anyway, until Iron Man #1, Spidey #1 was my favorite superhero film. On a rewatch it really doesn't hold up well. Green Goblin reminds me of something from Power Rangers. It was so much more campy that I remembered. That Dark Knight trilogy certainly changed a lot. It was kind of cool going back and pointing out the future stars that I didn't notice the last time I watched it (Elizabeth Banks, Joe Manganiello, Octavia Spencer). The two things that hold up: J K Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson and Randy Savage as Bone Saw McGraw.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 3rd, 2018, 11:26 pm

I was in a Half Price Books a couple days ago (found a pair of Criterions for $15 each) and two people got into an argument over the best Spider-Man. One of them was so insistent that Andrew Garfield was the best Spider-Man that threatened to break up with her boyfriend because he liked Tobey Maguire more. Stop letting your fandom dictate your life, people.

Back on topic...

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Mel Brooks does Hitchcock. In an era where not many people could legally see Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock took it out of circulation in the late 60's and it wouldn't be until after his death that it returned to theatres), Brooks does a loving parody of the film, as well as other Hitchcock masterpieces such as North by Northwest, Psycho, and The Birds. Featuring his stock company and a team of writers (including future Oscar winner Barry Levinson), Brooks keeps the gags at a steady pace and in a way, makes somewhat of a spiritual successor to Young Frankenstein.

Disappointingly, the film didn't exactly amuse many in the audience. I'm not sure how they'll respond to the works of Frank Capra next month.

Up next: The Dark Crystal.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 7th, 2018, 9:37 pm

A fantasy double bill.

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-and-

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Before it became a massive franchise with a new movie featuring characters you don't care about along with young Dumbledore (why couldn't have just been young Dumbledore goes to America and fights fanaticism while living cowboy fantasies?) and fans so obsessive that there are probably entire fanfics built around Kingsley Shacklebolt and Peeves the Poltergeist, it was a book for children with an adaptation that nicely shows off the magic of the early books before Scholastic let Rowling be her own editor and wrote books even more bloated than the last one (I'm convinced Rowling never forgave Scholastic over the book's domestic renaming and this led her to be become the anti-Richard Curtis when depicting the US in stories). The effects haven't held up so well but the wonderment is there and it's made me realize that maybe the Chris Columbus installments are the best Harry Potter films. They are long but they have strong pacing and were made by someone who knew that there was more of an audience than "we need a 19 minute scene where Viktor Krum and Cedric Diggory share an afternoon tea and if this scene isn't here, I'll raise holy hell in the auditorium".

Meanwhile, The Dark Crystal might be the perfect example of the fantasy genre. The film takes us to worlds we've never seen before, featuring characters and ideas that only a master of artistry could come up with. This might be the most thorough world Jim Henson ever came up with, especially with the decision to create all of the characters in his workshop. Today all this would be CGI, which makes the film even more impressive that Henson was able to make it all with puppets. The film also deserves credit for being under two hours and showing off the world in every one of those minutes. I wish that Jim Henson had gotten the opportunity to do The Hobbit. That would have been amazing.

I would go into a rant about filmgoers for both these showings but I'll spare you guys the trouble. Carry on.

Up next: it was supposed to be Strait-Jacket but the screening got pushed back and the new date conflicted with another movie so instead, it will be Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 10th, 2018, 12:03 am

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I must wonder why audiences in 1992 were so disdainful of this film. No prequel to Twin Peaks was ever going to be conventional so it's interesting why potential audiences turned their backs on it. Was it because of Season 2 (which isn't even bad television)? Was it because of the incest storyline? Was it because a lot of the show's humor got edited out? Maybe not many read the tie-in novel (The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer) where much of the premise is derived from. Whatever it was, I have a feeling that no film was misunderstood by audiences that year more than this one. In addition to being an effective, fast-paced horror film, it might be the best teen film of the 90's. Even though this is perhaps the most mainstream of Lynch's films (with the exception of Dune), he keeps things interesting by introducing new ideas and challenging the viewer, especially those who hate being challenged and whose idea of terror is gore and boobs (there's still plenty of that, though).

Meanwhile, I've come to realize that I wish we got to know more of Ronette. Though a minor character in both the first two seasons and Fire Walk with Me, you are left wondering how she got into the whole mess with Laura and BOB. Sure, it is briefly touched upon with the swingers magazine but a whole prequel told from her viewpoint would have been interesting.

Up next: Friday the 13th Part 3.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby numbersix » October 10th, 2018, 2:58 am

Buscemi2 wrote: Even though this perhaps the most mainstream of Lynch's films (with the exception of Dune),



And The Elephant Man. And The Straight Story.

I think audiences disliked the darker tone, for sure, but also people were kinda done with TP as the ratings were dropping after the killer reveal mid-season.

Ironically, at Cannes 92 Tarantino was quoted as saying Lynch disappeared up his own ass. Oh, how the table has turned, QT.

I love Fire Walk With Me. It's a terrifying film about a teen girl facing one of the most traumatic experiences she could imagine. The sequence in the forest is pure horror.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 10th, 2018, 3:09 am

The Elephant Man is still a pretty difficult movie to sell, being that it's a black-and-white film based on a figure that was really only known in the US for being the basis for two different plays. It did get a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars, though. And The Straight Story would probably be comparable to this year's The Rider: marketable in some areas but not exactly mainstream.

Funny thing about the Tarantino quote is that the introduction before the movie by the assistant manager noted this exact anecdote when talking about the initial critical reception. And the person next to me was the only person in the crowd who saw it during its original theatrical release (she was also the only one laughing in places, though the floor cleaning bit with Leo and Shelly had a bunch of people in hysterics). And Alamo Drafthouse did an excellent pre-show that covered the early 90's Twin Peaks phenomenon, featuring making-of footage, the SNL parody, the Sesame Street parody, and ads done in Europe (a Ruffles ad with Kyle MacLachlan) and Japan (the Georgia coffee series).
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 10th, 2018, 10:51 pm

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This film didn't hold up at all. When I was thirteen, I would have considered it as one of the better Jason movies. Now, I'm kind of scared to revisit them (but I still maintain that Jason Lives is good due to its insanity). I'm under the impression that a lot of the film's following was due to the 3-D effects (the theatre was supposed to show an anaglyph version but ended up only screening it flat), which you can tell a lot of work was put into them though some of said effects show the strings and projectiles used to drive them to the camera. The cast is attractive but there isn't much else going for it. The problem lays in the script, which after you get past the unnecessary gang subplot, the creepy proto-incel Shelley, the discount Tommy Chong character that really has no purpose to the story, and the padding to get the run time above 90 minutes, you come to figure out that it's basically a remake of the original but in 3-D. Yes, they built the Jason character up and gave him his trademark mask and machete but between that, adding a pregnant teenager as one of the possible victims, and a rather nice early scene with an animal-loving shopkeeper (if there's a character that loves rabbits, you want that person to live), it's not much different from the other early films.

Up next: Phantasm.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 13th, 2018, 1:09 am

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The best film of the 90's. Currently making the rounds in a beautiful 4K restoration, Jonathan Demme's masterpiece of terror both set in stone a return to classy horror films made for more than just teenagers and proved that genre films can hold their own against more awards-aimed works at the end of the year (it's interesting to note the parallels between this and Get Out, both opened in February, were massively profitable, and won major Oscars while still being aimed towards the horror/suspense crowd). Watching it in a theatre really heightens the terror on display and shows off Demme at his best as a director. I also noted Tak Fujimoto (who did many of Demme's films as well as a number of M. Night Shyamalan's films)'s use of close-ups to increase the mood and tension. I must also point out that it's a fantastic adaptation of the book, with only some small details left out (either due to time constraints or the myriad of rights issues over the use of the Hannibal Lecter characters).

The screening was sponsored by the local library system and before the movie, the representative hosting the screening mentioned that they were originally set to screen Cannibal Holocaust before deciding it was too inappropriate. That's the second theatre here that's considering showing that film only to back off (and yet no theatre will run Salo, which I believe to have a lot of historical and political significance and is more than "that movie where they eat excrement").

Up next: Phantasm (still).
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 16th, 2018, 6:24 am

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It's interesting to note that this film found mainstream acceptance when only a few years later, something like this would have been derided for not being gory enough and too confusing. But I think that it's near-experimental nature is what makes this film so charming. Don Coscarelli, after being burned by studios twice before, lets his creative juices flow with this nightmarish vision of death and blurring of reality and fantasy. The film is much like a dream: you can't really figure out what's real and what isn't. I also like that the film feels much like a walk in the woods. What might not be happening can be scarier than what is happening.

Also, I can't be the only person who thinks Mike looks like the girl from Suspiria.

Up next: The Craft.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Chienfantome » October 16th, 2018, 6:33 am

Buscemi2 wrote:Currently making the rounds in a beautiful 4K restoration, Jonathan Demme's masterpiece


I saw it this year on the beach at Cannes, it was fantastic to see it on a big screen, I never had.
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Re: What Are You Watching Right Now? Episode 3 - Turtles in

Postby Buscemi2 » October 16th, 2018, 11:16 pm

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R.L. Stine wishes that he could have written something as good as this. Part tribute to 70's horror TV movies, part 90's self-aware teen film, you should come to expect fun camp rather than a compelling study of witchcraft among Los Angeles teenage girls. This something you watch to be entertaining and it did a pretty good job as we are still getting more and more movies and TV shows focused on the culture of witches against a realistic backdrop (I'm also convinced the concept of Wicca also became big because of the film). Combined with Scream (ironically also featuring Skeet Ulrich before Cleveland Brown shot him on the cruise ship), 1996 might have been one of the most influential years for the horror genre.

Up next: Donnie Darko.
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