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Thread: Mank (David Fincher)

  1. #1
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Mank (David Fincher)



    Big enough that it deserves its own thread, IMO.

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  2. #2
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Sure, it looks good and feels like what we think old movies look like, but will that gimmick last past ten minutes?

    In Fincher I trust and all, but not going to lie that I have some doubt on this one.

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  3. #3
    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Sure, it looks good and feels like what we think old movies look like
    I can't think of any 1940s Hollywood movies that were shot in a 'Scope format. Also, it may just be my computer, but some shots look so under-lit on my screen that I couldn't make out the actors' faces, even though they're the stars of the film. (In Citizen Kane, it's only the anonymous reporter who's hidden in the shadows.) All in all, based on the trailer, it looks like a contemporary movie in black and white, which is what I expected.

    According to an article on Wellesnet, an early version of Jack Fincher's script followed Pauline Kael in giving Mankiewicz primary credit for the script of Citizen Kane, even though Kael's article has been discredited by subsequent researchers who've looked at the different drafts of the script (which Kael didn't do). This in itself isn't very surprising: After all, who wants to make a biopic about a screenwriter who made significant but not definitive contributions to the script of a great movie? The interesting question for me is why Hollywood has such an ideological investment in rewriting its history to trash Welles all these years later. Not to get all Jonathan Rosenbaum about it, but it seems that the degree to which Welles remained an outsider in Hollywood even before reinventing himself as an independent filmmaker based in Europe, and the shabby treatment he received from the studios who recut his films ostensibly to make them more commercial (never-mind that most of them flopped anyway), is such a challenge to the ideology of the studio system--which maintains that commerce and art are not just reconcilable but mutually enhancing--that a form of Freudian projection becomes necessary to keep that ideology alive: Welles' victimization by the studios gets transmuted into a fantasy of Welles' victimizing a Hollywood insider who was the real genius behind his best film in much the same way that conservatives like to cast themselves as victims of reverse racism against whites in order to deflect attention from white supremacy.
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    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    I think it's neat that the script is by Fincher's late father.
    I'm not being dramatic, I just feel like I'm going to throw up my heart and my head is going to fly away like a bird.

  5. #5
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    I still pine for Finch of the Seven and Fight Club times...but I'll take any Finch over no Finch.

  6. #6
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    I still pine for Finch of the Seven and Fight Club times...but I'll take any Finch over no Finch.
    From what I've seen, Se7en is probably his most successful and disciplined film, but Fight Club might be even more interesting on a scene-by-scene despite being less successful and disciplined as a whole (the plot doesn't make any sense). The Social Network and Gone Girl are fun, as is most of The Game. Zodiac and even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have their moments but are less compelling as narratives (the former gets bogged down in procedural minutia and gruesome effects; the latter is like a less disciplined Forrest Gump). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a great opening credits sequence and then goes steadily downhill from there; the plot is so overloaded with dramatic events that it's impossible to believe very seriously in any of it. It's been too long since I've seen Alien 3 to evaluate it. Overall, it seems to me that Fincher has never stopped being a director of music videos insofar as he has more aptitude for flashy effects than any sort of sustained narrative.
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  7. #7
    Sunshine and peace Wryan's Avatar
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    Panic Room?
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

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  8. #8
    Quote Quoting Wryan (view post)
    Panic Room?
    Ain't seen it.
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  9. #9
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Ain't seen it.
    I'm curious what of the plot of Fight Club doesn't make sense?

  10. #10
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    I'm curious what of the plot of Fight Club doesn't make sense?
    The Big Twist.
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  11. #11
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    The Big Twist.
    Why not?

  12. #12
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    From what I've seen, Se7en is probably his most successful and disciplined film, but Fight Club might be even more interesting on a scene-by-scene despite being less successful and disciplined as a whole (the plot doesn't make any sense). The Social Network and Gone Girl are fun, as is most of The Game. Zodiac and even The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have their moments but are less compelling as narratives (the former gets bogged down in procedural minutia and gruesome effects; the latter is like a less disciplined Forrest Gump). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has a great opening credits sequence and then goes steadily downhill from there; the plot is so overloaded with dramatic events that it's impossible to believe very seriously in any of it. It's been too long since I've seen Alien 3 to evaluate it. Overall, it seems to me that Fincher has never stopped being a director of music videos insofar as he has more aptitude for flashy effects than any sort of sustained narrative.
    Zodiac gets bogged down in gruesome effects? I assume you mean gore but given it's a movie about a serial killer, they show very little violence or blood on screen. I think the total screen time for the few killings that are depicted is less than 30 seconds.

  13. #13
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    Why not?
    Up till this point, the film has been developing in a more or less logical fashion, but any pretence to narrative consistency goes out the window when we learn that Tyler Durden is the narrator's imaginary friend. It doesn't make any sense that a bunch of guys happening upon the narrator fighting an invisible opponent would form a cult around him (as the film apparently expects us to believe), and in the film's last half-hour, there doesn't seem to be a single white man in America who isn't a member of Project Mayhem. Even as a fantasy the story doesn't hold together.
    Last edited by baby doll; 10-09-2020 at 09:43 PM.
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  14. #14
    Quote Quoting amberlita (view post)
    Zodiac gets bogged down in gruesome effects? I assume you mean gore but given it's a movie about a serial killer, they show very little violence or blood on screen. I think the total screen time for the few killings that are depicted is less than 30 seconds.
    I didn't time the violence with a stopwatch, but as I've argued in another thread, the problem as I see it is one of context and emphasis: In Zodiac and other docu-dramas, a mania for facts--including the facts of random murders, however restrained the film's handling of them--manifests a crisis in faith in narrative itself, as if the audience wouldn't believe a story that didn't come with footnotes. Moreover, Fincher seems to regard putting the facts of the case onscreen as an artistic end unto itself, even if those facts are boringly familiar (as is the case here). It's not clear to me why, of the subjects available to filmmakers, Fincher thought it was worth anybody's while to make a film about the Zodiac killer; the film never answers the fundamental question: Who cares?
    Last edited by baby doll; 10-09-2020 at 09:37 PM.
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  15. #15
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    It doesn't make any sense that a bunch of guys happening upon the narrator fighting an invisible opponent would form a cult around him (as the film apparently expects us to believe)
    I always try to be very careful when I discuss FC (because its a film near and dear to me), so I want to be very clear that in no way am I saying youre wrong to feel this way. It does take some leaps as mentioned above. That being said...I don't think its impossible that a cult could be born of such an event. You say that [insert above quote], but are you approaching that from the perspective of someone (like I view myself) that would most likely not be duped into joining a cult? Because we would see through such things and immediately label it a cult? Obviously people that would join a cult do not think like us. Now I'm not going to fan-fic this, but I see that event going like:

    Its closing time. A group of trashed white collars see a guy punching himself [thats in the movie]. They ask him wtf he's doing. Tyler is the emergent personality responds, "I've never been in a fight. Have you?" They say, well actually, no. Drunk idiots look at each other, say fuck it. They laughingly pick two and it begins. Always with Tyler pacing around indoctrinating them with his "cute" cutting remarks about society, digging his claws into their fragile psyches. [now from the movie] It grows from the parking lot, to the basement, to the house...grow and grow and grow.

    My biggest argument for this is A FUCKING MORON WHO CAN'T SPEAK A COMPLETE SENTENCE HAS TAKEN OVER THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. Imagine what an intelligent, motivated, non-golfer could accomplish.

    and in the film's last half-hour, there doesn't seem to be a single white man in America who isn't a member of Project Mayhem.
    Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. If it doesn't work for you, I get it. It did seem to spread incredibly quickly to all the right people with no one ever squealing.

    Someone on here or RT said it, and its damn true...if you watched that movie and wanted to start a fight club, you completely missed the point of the movie. EDIT: I'm not saying thats what your saying or anything, obvs...but I did know a few white boys at the time that did look at it like that...and I eyerolled them hard and deleted from friends list.
    Last edited by Skitch; 10-09-2020 at 10:18 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    I always try to be very careful when I discuss FC (because its a film near and dear to me), so I want to be very clear that in no way am I saying youre wrong to feel this way. It does take some leaps as mentioned above. That being said...I don't think its impossible that a cult could be born of such an event. You say that [insert above quote], but are you approaching that from the perspective of someone (like I view myself) that would most likely not be duped into joining a cult? Because we would see through such things and immediately label it a cult? Obviously people that would join a cult do not think like us. Now I'm not going to fan-fic this, but I see that event going like:

    Its closing time. A group of trashed white collars see a guy punching himself [thats in the movie]. They ask him wtf he's doing. Tyler is the emergent personality responds, "I've never been in a fight. Have you?" They say, well actually, no. Drunk idiots look at each other, say fuck it. They laughingly pick two and it begins. Always with Tyler pacing around indoctrinating them with his "cute" cutting remarks about society, digging his claws into their fragile psyches. [now from the movie] It grows from the parking lot, to the basement, to the house...grow and grow and grow.

    My biggest argument for this is A FUCKING MORON WHO CAN'T SPEAK A COMPLETE SENTENCE HAS TAKEN OVER THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. Imagine what an intelligent, motivated, non-golfer could accomplish.
    Something like that could happen in a movie, and one might accept it as believable in a certain fictional context (irrespective of how actual cults function), but that's not what happens in Fight Club. We see a bunch of guys staring at the narrator getting beaten up by the Invisible Man, end of scene.

    Again, I'm not saying you're wrong. If it doesn't work for you, I get it. It did seem to spread incredibly quickly to all the right people with no one ever squealing.

    Someone on here or RT said it, and its damn true...if you watched that movie and wanted to start a fight club, you completely missed the point of the movie. EDIT: I'm not saying thats what your saying or anything, obvs...but I did knew a few white boys at the time that did look at it like that...and I eyerolled them hard and deleted from friends list.
    Likewise, one might accept the fictional premise that Project Mayhem could attract widespread membership, but again, the problem is the film doesn't make this premise believable on its own terms. In one scene, it's a dozen or so guys operating out of Durden's basement; then, all of a sudden, it's all men everywhere (in which case, why the need for secrecy? Who's left for them to squeal to?).
    Just because...
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  17. #17
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Something like that could happen in a movie, and one might accept it as believable in a certain fictional context (irrespective of how actual cults function), but that's not what happens in Fight Club. We see a bunch of guys staring at the narrator getting beaten up by the Invisible Man, end of scene.
    You are correct, but we do later see those same guys fighting in the parking lot, and them getting irritated when they turn off the parking lot lights. The implication must be that they see him fighting the invisible man, and drunkenly went to investigate, and stupidly wound up in a cult. And Tyler says, "it started in the parking lot, we took it to the basement, now we're moving out of the basement with project mayhem".

    Just because you and I look at that moment and would react differently (again, here comes personal speculation) I don't think is out of the realm of real world possibility that drunk fucking idiots wouldn't moth-to-light that event. Qanon exists and has ardent followers. The Flat Earth Society exists. I'm not sure which I'm more curious about, that the idea that the Fight Club premise is ridiculous or that even more insane shit than that really does exist in our current world lol.

    Edit: again, I'm not trying to get you to like fight club, I just don't think the cult part is far fetched. But my perspective is skewed, because where I live they are having amish buggy flag waving trump train parades. (no joke)
    Last edited by Skitch; 10-09-2020 at 10:46 PM.

  18. #18
    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    You are correct, but we do later see those same guys fighting in the parking lot, and them getting irritated when they turn off the parking lot lights. The implication must be that they say him fighting the invisible man, and drunkenly went to investigate, and stupidly wound up in a cult. And Tyler says, "it started in the parking lot, we took it to the basement, now we're moving out of the basement with project meyhem".

    Just because you and I look at that moment and would react differently (again, here comes personal speculation) I don't think is out of the realm of real world possibility that drunk fucking idiots wouldn't moth-to-light that event. Qanon exists and has ardent followers. The Flat Earth Society exists. I'm not sure which I'm more curious about, that the idea that the Fight Club premise is ridiculous or that even more insane shit than that really does exist in our current world lol.

    Edit: again, I'm not trying to get you to like fight club, I just don't think the cult part is far fetched.
    Again, I don't think it's very relevant whether this sort of thing could or could not happen in real life; the question for me is: Is it believable as fiction? As Aristotle wrote in the Poetics, "Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."
    Just because...
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    Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Jason Woliner, 2020) cold
    Sword of Doom (Okamoto Kihachi, 1966) cold

    The last book I read was...
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    The (New) World

  19. #19
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Again, I don't think it's very relevant whether this sort of thing could or could not happen in real life; the question for me is: Is it believable as fiction? As Aristotle wrote in the Poetics, "Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."
    ...

    At this point I think its best if I pour myself a bev and exit stage left.

  20. #20
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    the film never answers the fundamental question: Who cares?
    1. Robert Graysmith, 2. Paul Avery, 3. Dave Toschi. Pretty obsessively, actually. Which is the fundamental point of the film.
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  21. #21
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Again, I don't think it's very relevant whether this sort of thing could or could not happen in real life; the question for me is: Is it believable as fiction? As Aristotle wrote in the Poetics, "Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."
    The narrative of Fight Club works because the entire thing is based on an unreliable narrator. Yes, that means you can pretty much brush away any inconsistencies, but it is enough to allow the themes and sheer comedy of it all to take precedence. I too did not like the reveal of the narrator fighting by himself in the parking lot, feeling that it looked too stupid to every attract a following - but it does not take too much imagination to see one of the men coming up to Norton and asking what the fuck is wrong with him, and Norton saying "I want you to hit me as hard as you can" and things moving on from there. Maybe Fincher should have included that to forestall criticisms like yours, but nothing about the film is predicated on the story lining up on screen.
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  22. #22
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting transmogrifier (view post)
    The narrative of Fight Club works because the entire thing is based on an unreliable narrator.
    stated in "ah, flashback humor."

  23. #23
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm a moron...is it not generally (among film knowits) thought that FC is a comedy? I thought it was? I've always thought its hilarious. It's the tech filmmaking and writing bits that twisted me thinking its brilliant.
    Last edited by Skitch; 10-10-2020 at 02:14 AM.

  24. #24
    I'll go out on a limb & reject the idea Norton is an unreliable narrator, because he never intentionally deceives the audience --- everything we see from his point of view is true as far as he knows it, which is more than you'll get from most real people, nevermind fictional ones.

    I don't think "Fight Club" works because it's an inherently dishonest movie. It doesn't play fair with its narrative conceit and it contradicts its own themes. For something that plays itself off as a tricky thriller, it never allows the audience to figure things out for themselves. In fact, it (and not Norton) visually lies to the audience during several early scenes. Worse, it tacks on a happy ending that essentially allows group-think to "win," and in a movie that cops an attitude about the importance of individuality. "Fight Club" is a 15 year old boy decked out in Hot Topic and thinking of himself as a true punk because he bootlegged "My Way" off a torrent site.

    Anybody who started a fight club after watching absolutely understood the message the movie sent. They didn't misinterpret a thing, which is a major reason why it's a bad movie, or at least a morally dubious one.

    The book is more consistent, with a different ending, too, because the story could only legitimately end one way. [
    ].

    Meanwhile, "Zodiac" revels in gross detail. It's one of those cheesy re-enactments on "America's Most Wanted" but with a high aesthetic gloss, a movie made by a guy who collects serial killer memorabilia and really wants to tell you about it.

  25. #25
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I'll go out on a limb & reject the idea Norton is an unreliable narrator, because he never intentionally deceives the audience....
    The entire film is told in flashback after he has found out who Tyler is, so technically he is deceiving the audience from the first couple of minutes by keeping the information secret. But what I was referring to is the fact you cannot trust the narrator's recollections; it has nothing to do with "intentional deception", which is apparently your definition of it, but not mine.

    And complaining about Zodiac revelling in detail (the "gross" does not make sense, given that the actual murders are all done within 30 minutes and the rest of the film is names, dates, places, recollections) is like complaining about Jaws making sharks scary - it's the whole entire point of the thing. (And if you cannot distinguish between how the lake murders are set up and the tension controlled and how Forensic Files does things, well, your eyes are broken )

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    "Fight Club" is a 15 year old boy decked out in Hot Topic and thinking of himself as a true punk because he bootlegged "My Way" off a torrent site.
    Richard Roeper from 2000 called and wants his criticism back.
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