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Mar 9, 2010

Tuesday's Things to Click On (3/9/10)

What with the Oscars and some family stuff hanging over the last few days, I've been a bad blog reader/surfer and have nothing for you to click on today. However, I still have My Week in Pop Culture:

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
Far From Heaven - Here's a little hindsight math for you, using movies that were released before and after Heaven came out in 2002:

Pleasantville x A Single Man ÷ Revolutionary Road = Far From Heaven

Todd Haynes' film is so over-the-top "50s" that it feels like a comedy at times, but it's done so intentionally to clash with the insanity/irony of the graveness of the subject matter. The paralells to Pleasantville are the most striking and eerie: short of the whole "warped into a TV" concept and with the central character being the mother as opposed to the children, it's essentially the same movie, only presented through the prism of realism and not bizarro fantasy. It presents a sad (depresssing) portrait of America as it existed a mere 50 years ago; a place where everyone was happy...only no one was really happy. Gay men couldn't come out; non-whites were treated as second-class citizens (or ignored altogether), and yet everyone wore a smile that betrayed themselves. Delusion and manners for the loss.

The Warriors - The problem with Director's Cuts is that if that's what you see first, you don't know what's new and what's original, and I'd prefer to base my opinion of a movie off of what was seen by everyone else at the time of its release. As you might've guessed, I saw the Ultimate Director's Cut of The Warriors. So I went back to IMDb's FAQ section for the movie (really an unheralded part of the site and tremendous if you want to know more beyonf the Trivia section for each movie) and there was an answer there about the differences. Not bad, but still a bit vague. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that my favorite part of The Warriors was something entirely new - the comic book-style scene transitions. They were tremendous and really gave the movie a much more modern feeling; without them, I can easily see it feeling just as dated as the 1979 on the copyright says. So tell me - were there any of those transitions before or all they all-new?

Outside of that, I can see why it's a classic of sorts, though I was a bit shocked given the first five minutes at just how little action there was. If Lord of the Rings is a trilogy about people walking, The Warriors is a movie about people trying to get on and off of subways (with lots of walking inbetwixt).

Some other random thoughts:

* Mercedes Reuhl as an object of desire? GTFO! I would have never guessed that possible.

* I can see now where James Remar got his sleazeball roots.

* Wow...some of those gangs outfits. Where to start. The Baseball Furies? Nothing scares me more than dudes in old-school Yankees unis wearing face makeup. The guys in black spandex tank tops were pretty hot, too. Oy.

* Needed more Cyrus. Cannnn Youuuuuu Digggggg It? Yes I can.

17 Again - Neither as bad as I thought it would be nor as good as it could/should have been. Zac Efron actually displayed some charisma (I thought he had none), and Thomas Ian Lennon was his typical great self, but the setup was all botched, pretty much from the start. We never really see or care why Matt Perry's adult is so miserable - he just mentions it a few times. Ok. Then, his transformation into a 17-year old is done with no magic (cinematic or otherwise) - one scene, he's an adult, and - cut - the next he's Efron. No Zoltar machine. No magic stones or potion or strike via lightning. It just happens...and then, of course, at the end, it happens back. No dream sequence. The rest of the movie follows along with the same lack of creativity, showing us almost nothing that any normal person would do were they to have their back go back in time two decades, instead opting for generic "bad dad" crap. Somewhat charming but empty and mostly unmemorable.

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* Nothing really new, though I just today listened to The XX, which I had somehow missed all these months. Not great overall, but the opening "Intro" track is pretty sweet. Like most reviews I saw for it, I would have liked it their was a bit of a growing passion in the songs a la Arcade Fire; instead, it stays mellow the whole time. Sounds like great music depending on the mood/setting, but not great overall.

Book I'm currently reading:
I finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo over the weekend and an now eagerly awaiting the film version, which ought to make its way to a theater here in late March (note: it's 2.5 hours and in Swedish, so if you're in a small town, don't bet on it). How often do you get to see a movie that stars someone named Noomi? Greatly enjoyed the tale of corruption and murder, and liked the characters and Scandinavian setting even more. Also looking forward to the next book in the series, which will be in paperback also in late March.

Now reading Chuck Palahniuk's Snuff, a charming little novel about a gang bang porno that may or may not turn into a snuff film. Yay, I can't wait for people searching for those terms to hit my site... Not loving it so much thus far, but like all Chuck (this is my fifth after Fight Club, Choke, Survivor and Stranger than Fiction) he's a bit tough to read and it takes a bit to really get into his books.

Finally, the Things to Click On:
* Okay, how 'bout we hear Daniels' thoughts on the Oscar ceremony. I agree with nearly all of them. Weird that the Academy didn't just go out and get NPH to host, right?

10 people have chosen wisely: on "Tuesday's Things to Click On (3/9/10)"

JacksSmirkingRevenge said...

Let us know how you like Snuff. It is the only Palahniuk book I have yet to read.

Daniel Getahun said...

Glad you found some similarities in my Oscar thoughts - really wasn't a night to remember, was it? Ah well, at least it comes every year as opposed to the Olympics or something.

I saw The Warriors last year for the first time and am still a little tripped out by it. Better believe Tony Scott's upcoming remake is going to be completely awful.

The Film Cynics said...

The Warriors has always been a favourite of mine. I've actually seen it on a big screen! I own both the original cut and the director's cut on DVD, and I made sure to hold onto both because they each have different strengths/qualities.

Did you know that The Warriors was one of the first films to employ an electronic music soundtrack? Isn't that crazy?

No, those comic book transitions weren't there in the original - and I sometimes feel that they cheapen the atmosphere that they were trying to create. See, I never took this movie any other way but seriously - even if they did have a memeber of The Bloodhound Gang in there. On the other hand, they do frame it more in the genre that had actually been intended, before guys who wish he had roaming street gangs like that in his hometown growing up.

Fletch said...

JSR - especially since you've read all his other stuff, you ought to check it out, if only because it's so short. I don't even think it's 200 pages. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and don't really dig it yet, but I'll surely finish it, and maybe by next Tuesday (I don't usually have all that much time to read in a day, so even a short book like this'll take me a couple weeks unless I devour it like I did with Dragon Tattoo).

Daniel - Yea, I definitely enjoy the show each year. This just happened to be a lesser one; I'm sure they'll come back soon. I think a big thing that hurt this year's show, aside from all the production issues, was the lack of any kind of major upsets, especially in the acting categories. So many people knew they were winning, and that leads to boring acceptance speeches.

Tony Scott - yes, I still heart Top Gun, and True Romance is the tops. I even dig the lesser Enemy of the State and somewhat underrated Spy Game. But god, I'm having a really hard time taking him seriously in the last decade or so.

Steve - interesting note about the electro soundtrack. Where does Logan's Run fit into that, I wonder?

I liked the transitions. It was hard to take the story all that seriously, especially with all of the silly costumes, so I think it added an element to it, and certainly modernized it quite a bit. The main intro made it feel like 300...

The Film Cynics said...

Yeah, I really dug the idea of overtly tying it to a story from ancient Greece (or Rome?) I think a lot of cool modern stories could be told using some old school inspiration like that. A gangster King Arthur or a schoolyard Gilgamesh, or a house party Trojan War (all ideas copyright, Steve 2010).

You know, when I think about Logan's Run, I think about how they decided to do their laser gun effects using fireworks. Bold choice.

And no matter how much a like Tony Scott's work, I have no interest in seeing him complete a Warriors remake. In fact, I wish all kinds of calamities on the production so it doesn't happen.

Have you played the Warriors video game? It was actually pretty cool: kind of a prequel to the movie.

elgringo said...

Walter Hill wanted the comic book imagery (and an all-black gang) but didn't get either of them. If the interludes had been in the original film, I'd probably be okay with them but as they are now, they just seem distracting. And seeing how they're the only real change between the Director's Cut and the theatrical cut, that DVD just seemed like a weak attempt to cash in on the film's cult status. And seeing how I now own multiple copies of The Warriors...I guess it worked.

The Film Cynics said...

Totally agreed. I think I'd even buy it again if they came out with a Director's cut & Theatrical cut version.

An all black gang, eh? Funny how the only all-black gang kind of wound up being the bad guys.

Reel Whore said...

Watched 17 Again a few weeks back and totally agree. Where's all the cool mystical stuff?! Plus it had those two preposterous scenes:

1) the abstinence speech that everyone clapped for, huh?!

2)If you were magicked back to being 17 without any cool magic and your daughters three hot friends all wanted you to rock their world, why would you not hit that before going back to lame-o adult land?!?!?! That's a better excuse than the different states rule!

Fletch said...

Cynics - no, never played The Warriors video game. Since I hadn't seen the movie, it would have been weird to play the game based off of it.

Didn't the only all-black gang end up being the saviors, though? Without them, the Warriors were toast.

RW - RE 17 Again. The abstinence speech - no kidding. I guess he was just crazy persuasive.

Exactly on your point. He does really nothing fun like that, and his few weak attempts seem to keep backfiring on him. Really, all there is is the one speech in the cafeteria where he humiliates that Stan guy.

The Film Cynics said...

Yeah, I suppose the more astute observation was that the all-white gang were the real bad guys.