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Thread: The Popular Movie Blindspot Thread

  1. #151
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Steamboat Bill, Jr. -- Haven't seen it. Is Buster Keaton not an auteur? I submit Sherlock Jr and everything else as my evidence.

    Swing Time -- Total masterpiece. I already brought up George Stevens as a possible Rob Reiner type.

    Gone with the Wind -- Not close to a five-star movie for me, and I agree Victor Fleming is probably not an auteur. Selznick probably more so.

    Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Children of Paradise, Bicycle Thieves, Red Shoes, Third Man -- All incredible movies. At the very least, Vittorio De Sica and The Archers should be considered auteurs.

    Pandora and the Flying Dutchman -- Never seen it or heard of Albert Lewin. If this is a five-star movie, it is a prime candidate for this discussion.
    The credited director on Steamboat Bill, Jr. is Charles Reisner, not Keaton (though he likely had a hand in the directing). De Sica and Powell aren't generally considered auteurs in the classic sense of the term because of their close collaborations with Zavattini and Pressburger and because their self-effacing visual styles don't lend themselves don't lend themselves auteurist readings.
    Just because...
    Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (Yuen Woo-ping, 1978) mild
    Avec amour et acharnement (Claire Denis, 2022) mild
    Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg, 2022) warm

    The last book I read was...
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (trans. James E. Woods)


    The (New) World

  2. #152
    I would argue there's much more than mere visual style that makes someone an auteur, particularly in the case of the Neo-realists. Still, style is style -- even when it's "self-effacing." An "x" and ornate cursive are both acceptable signatures. And the fact that Powell and Pressburger were a team and not a single auteur seems to me a technicality (and based on the films I've seen, most notably The Red Shoes, I wouldn't describe their visual style to be at all self-effacing.)
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 05-20-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  3. #153
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    I would argue there's much more than mere visual style that makes someone an auteur, particularly in the case of the Neo-realists. Still, style is style -- even when it's "self-effacing." An "x" and ornate cursive are both acceptable signatures. And the fact that Powell and Pressburger were a team and not a single auteur seems to me a technicality (and based on the films I've seen, most notably The Red Shoes, I wouldn't describe their visual style to be at all self-effacing.)
    At the risk of being pedantic, I think it's worthwhile to distinguish historical auteurism of the 1950s and '60s, as practiced by Cahiers du cinéma, Movie, and Andrew Sarris from the habitual assumption of most reviewers and cinephiles today that the director is the author of a given film, whether it's Max Ophüls or Judd Apatow, which stretches the concept of auteurism so thin that it becomes not just ahistorical but functionally useless and was often already taken for granted by reviewers hostile to the Auteur Theory, such as Pauline Kael (who, to judge by her reviews, evidently took Altman, Antonioni, and Satyajit Ray to be the authors of their films in the sense of being the dominant artistic personality shaping the work, often at the expense of their collaborators). Historical auteurism was essentially a critical activity (rather than a theory) that produced auteurs by subjecting films to art movie readings, interpreting unusual camera set-ups (Nicholas Ray's upside-down point of view shots) and other stylistic techniques as authorial expressiveness: e.g., Renoir's group stagings in long shot manifest the director's democratic, non-hierarchical worldview in which each character is given equal weight. It would be possible to make an auteurist case for Powell and Pressburger, interpreting specific techniques as manifesting an anti-collectivist, Tory worldview (De Sica is arguably the harder case because the violations of classical norms in his films are clearly motivated as realistic, rather than expressive, touches), but what would be the point? It's not the 1950s anymore.
    Last edited by baby doll; 05-20-2022 at 02:33 PM.
    Just because...
    Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (Yuen Woo-ping, 1978) mild
    Avec amour et acharnement (Claire Denis, 2022) mild
    Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg, 2022) warm

    The last book I read was...
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (trans. James E. Woods)


    The (New) World

  4. #154
    Can't stop won't stop DFA1979's Avatar
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    I rather like 1950s cinema even more as I view more of it that I haven't seen. I forgot that Pauline Kael was the one who was really hostile to the author theory. And huh maybe baby doll makes a good point here that has me thinking that streaming hurts the theory a lot since Netflix and Disney have projects that arguably have multiple collaborators. I still think Orson Welles is largely responsible for Citizen Kane, though.
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  5. #155
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    ... the habitual assumption of most reviewers and cinephiles today that the director is the author of a given film, whether it's Max Ophüls or Judd Apatow, which stretches the concept of auteurism so thin that it becomes not just ahistorical but functionally useless ...
    This is more or less the reason I've never really given auteur theory much thought. I care about the director of any given film, and if I'm familiar with their work/style. That's the extent of it. Never seemed worthy of academic pursuit to me personally. As for the historical mid-century auteurism -- I'm happy to now know of the differentiation. (I don't mind a little pedantry at all, so long as I'm learning something interesting, as I am here. Always appreciate a little historical context.)


    Quote Quoting DFA1979 (view post)
    And huh maybe baby doll makes a good point here that has me thinking that streaming hurts the theory a lot since Netflix and Disney have projects that arguably have multiple collaborators.
    On the other hand, Netflix have occasionally used their resources to gift certain directors their "dream projects," like Scorsese and The Irishman for instance.
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 05-20-2022 at 09:31 PM.

  6. #156
    Is this discussion of The Auteur Theory on topic? Drumroll.......... No, definitely not!

    LB's most popular movies of 1999:

    1. Fight Club 1.5m views
    2. The Matrix 1.2m
    3. 10 Things I Hate About You 761k
    4. American Beauty 728k
    5. The Phantom Menace 831k (c'mon Irish, I know you want to say something)

    With 121 views total, The Auteur Theory is likely outside the top two- to three-thousand movies of 1999 in terms of popularity. It does star Natasha Lyonne, however, in her fifth credited film from that year alone. The other four are American Pie, Detroit Rock City, But I'm a Cheerleader, and Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby.

  7. #157
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    This is more or less the reason I've never really given auteur theory much thought. I care about the director of any given film, and if I'm familiar with their work/style. That's the extent of it. Never seemed worthy of academic pursuit to me personally. As for the historical mid-century auteurism -- I'm happy to now know of the differentiation. (I don't mind a little pedantry at all, so long as I'm learning something interesting, as I am here. Always appreciate a little historical context.)




    On the other hand, Netflix have occasionally used their resources to gift certain directors their "dream projects," like Scorsese and The Irishman for instance.
    That's also very true. I doubt The Irishman would have existed without Netflix. Also a lot of other directors have benefitted from streaming immensely.
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  8. #158
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    I still haven't seen American Beauty. I just haven't been interested in seeing it mostly due to my gut feeling that the film is probably dated like a lot of 90s movies.
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    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
    That let us bet when you know we should fold
    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
    And of the whole mess of roads we're now on

  9. #159
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    But you're leaving out the lengthy shit-talking scenes. To me this is the flow of the movie: Pacino mouths off for a while > something moves the narrative along > Pacino mouths off again > narrative moment > Pacino > narrative. It starts and stops, repeatedly, like putting bad miles on a car. As long as you enjoy Pacino mouthing off, it's no problem. But I would disagree it's always progressing somewhere.
    Sure, but that's part of the appeal of the experience, IMO; I mean, nothing truly important happes in the scene where Tony's in the bubble bath, and pissing off Elvira/Manny with his attitude, but it's still neccessary to get a sense of where his relationships to them is at in that particular point, you know? Then again, I've always had a weakness for movies that focus on character development, so I get why others would feel different.

  10. #160
    Continuing to watch the #2 most popular movie of each year according to LB (if I haven't seen it already).
    ___________

    1953: Roman Holiday. I don't have much to say except it has a delightful tone throughout, the final scene is absolutely perfect, and watching Audrey Hepburn is like staring into the sun. Love and dignity can sometimes be opposing forces, but that isn't the case here. One of the best romcoms ever. Four stars.

    ___________

    Up next: Three from the 40s. [
    ]

  11. #161
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Up next: Three from the 40s. [
    ]
    Hint #2: [
    ]

  12. #162
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    The Lady from Shanghai?
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    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
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    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
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  13. #163
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    Or Double Indemnity I donno
    Blog!

    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
    That let us bet when you know we should fold
    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
    And of the whole mess of roads we're now on

  14. #164
    Quote Quoting DFA1979 (view post)
    The Lady from Shanghai?
    Correct! The lady who drove Chuck (Charles Foster Kane) crazy and may or may not be of non-Western origin is The Lady from Shanghai. I say she may or may not be of non-Western origin because I haven't seen the movie and don't know if Rita Hayworth's character is actually supposed to be from Shanghai.

    Any guesses for the other two movies? Hint #3: [
    ]

  15. #165
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    Lady From Shanghai is a pretty good one. Endless movies have ripped off the finale.
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  16. #166
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    I'd have to think about the other ones. This is like me trying to guess what's going to be shown on The Last Drive-In every weekend.
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  17. #167
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    I forgot to mention that I watched Steamboat Bill, Jr. back in 2020 when I was stuck inside because of the pandemic. Excellent movie, very entertaining, one of Keaton's best.

    Plus I also viewed Cat Ballou on some free Plex service Sunday night. That's one of the last major 1960s westerns I had not seen before and it was a marvelous picture. Now I know where There's Something About Mary got the singing band gag from.
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    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
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  18. #168
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    I finally viewed The English Patient. This movie made over 200 million at the box office and won Best Picture so I think it counts for this thread. Great flick, very engaging despite its length-actually it should have been a mini-series and there is such an adaptation coming out in the form of a TV series. Fargo definitely should have beaten it out for Best Picture however I'm sure the Academy would have chosen something like Jerry Maguire had neither film won so it's all a moot point.
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    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
    That let us bet when you know we should fold
    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
    And of the whole mess of roads we're now on

  19. #169
    Quote Quoting DFA1979 (view post)
    I finally viewed The English Patient. This movie made over 200 million at the box office and won Best Picture so I think it counts for this thread. Great flick, very engaging despite its length-actually it should have been a mini-series and there is such an adaptation coming out in the form of a TV series. Fargo definitely should have beaten it out for Best Picture however I'm sure the Academy would have chosen something like Jerry Maguire had neither film won so it's all a moot point.
    I've seen parts, never the whole thing. Seinfeld ruined it for me.

  20. #170
    Continuing to watch the #2 most popular movie of each year according to LB (if I haven't seen it already).
    ___________

    1947: The Lady from Shanghai. Bottom tier Welles still has its moments. How important was it that he have that accent? Lots of uncomfortable, sweaty close-ups and sleazy performances. I think I used to like noir more than I do now. So much talking, plotting, scheming -- I find it hard to care after a while. The zany funhouse showdown leaves a fantastic aftertaste. Three stars.

    1944: Laura. I liked this more. The dialogue was quite clever in an Oscar Wilde type of way, particularly when the aging writer was onscreen. I didn't love where the story went after a big halftime reveal. Dana Andrews played a great detective, but he couldn't fully pull off what was required later in the film. Three stars.

    1942: Bambi. Always thought Bambi was a girl. As you might imagine, watching this for the first time as an adult was odd. The entire first half is Bambi being clumsy. Then the thing happens. Then everyone gets super horny for a while before the big scary climax. Pretty incredible animation, and the music is nice throughout. I did not cry. Three stars.

    ___________

    Up next: The Invisible Man (1933) and A Page of Madness (1926).
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 06-01-2022 at 07:16 PM.

  21. #171
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    I've seen parts, never the whole thing. Seinfeld ruined it for me.
    I know the joke but she was wrong I mean the nurse was keeping him alive haha.
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    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
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  22. #172
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    Lady-8 or 7.5 from me. Good solid film noir.

    Laura-9.5, maybe a 10? Not sure. It rocks though and is one of my favorite film noirs.

    Bambi-9 probably it's been a long time. Definitely one of the best early Disney movies.
    Blog!

    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
    That let us bet when you know we should fold
    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
    And of the whole mess of roads we're now on

  23. #173
    Continuing to watch the #2 most popular movie of each year according to LB (if I haven't seen it already).
    ___________

    1933: The Invisible Man. A tight little thriller featuring some neat sfx and a killer performance from Claude Rains. There's not much to say. Solid entertainment that won't change anyone's life. Three stars.

    1926: A Page of Madness. Now here's a movie that could change someone's life. The intro alone is worth a rental, with superimpositions, quick cuts, extreme close-ups and more channeling a horror version of Vertov's Man with the Movie Camera (which wouldn't come out for another three years). The ending -- in which everyone puts on a creepy porcelain masks -- is also a highlight. The story, as it were, takes place largely within an asylum and is somewhat reminiscent of Shutter Island: what is madness, who is really mad, etc. Without any intertitles one basically has to guess what's going on (apparently there was narration during its original theatrical run? Seem borderline essential). It's very impressive how many unique and striking shots they manage to squeeze out of what is basically a single set. Mad props for being so far ahead of its time, but it lacks the narrative and thematic cohesion to catapult it into the top tier of silents. Three stars.

    ___________

    Next up: Starting over at 2019 and counting back the #3 most popular movie of each year. First will be Villeneuve's Prisoners.

  24. #174
    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    Without any intertitles one basically has to guess what's going on (apparently there was narration during its original theatrical run? Seem borderline essential).
    I've yet to read Aaron Gerow's book on the film (his Visions of Japanese Modernity is brilliant, by the way), but my understanding is that Kinugasa did find a benshi to do the in-theatre commentary, though it's not clear to me how much they explained. Japanese films from the period are typically self-sufficient without benshi commentary so one has to assume that the film's obscurity is intentional. (Sampling Gerow's book on Google Books, I find that a pre-release version of the film had inter-titles but Kinugasa was persuaded by friends to eliminate them in order to bring the film in line with "contemporary ideals of cinema"--which I take to be an allusion to the Pure Film Drama Movement.)
    Just because...
    Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (Yuen Woo-ping, 1978) mild
    Avec amour et acharnement (Claire Denis, 2022) mild
    Crimes of the Future (David Cronenberg, 2022) warm

    The last book I read was...
    The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (trans. James E. Woods)


    The (New) World

  25. #175
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    The Invisible Man is pretty cool.

    No idea if Jason and the Argonauts counts in this thread since it didn't do well at the box office. I liked it a lot, haven't seen the mini series it inspired all the way in the 2000s.
    Blog!

    It's a luscious mix of words and tricks
    That let us bet when you know we should fold
    On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped
    And of the whole mess of roads we're now on

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