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Aug 11, 2010

The State of the Cabins (8/11/10)

Things to Click On
* Are you a "theater jumper?" I don't approve of such practices (you scofflaw!), but if you happen to, The Dark of the Matinee's Mad Hatter has got your back, along with some guidelines on how to do it all proper like.

* A Life in Equinox's mythical Univarn returned with the second episode of his Film Enigma game show podcast. He needs to ask me for pointers on how to make it just that much better (I have an asshole, ergo an opinion), but I really love the idea. It's tough, is a compact 30ish minutes, has a fantastic final segment, and is full of laughs.

* First Nick started up his new Demented DoorVlog series (see what he did there?), which included shout-outs to yours truly, and now Jason of Invasion of the B Movies has put up a new vid as a part of his 5-year anniversary. Great stuff on both of these.

* Fitz of Nevermind Popular Film turns 21 (you're only 21?!?!) and lists some of the best gambling movies to date.

* Film Forager's Alex sees Commando (for the first time, it would seem?) and loves it. Awesome.

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
* Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
I don't want to, but I couldn't NOT like this even if I wanted to. Paul Newman is like my cinematic link to the classics - a truly modern actor working in films made pre-1970. Unlike so many actors I see in movies of yore, Newman is never doing that annoying stage acting/overacting thing. So even if Piper Laurie is melodramming it up in The Hustler, Newman is there to keep the film grounded and real. Thank god for Paul Newman.

On top of him, you add Redford, and you've got a charmfest the likes of which I hadn't seen before not counting the Ocean's series. In fact, this might be heresy, and the ages probably aren't right anymore, but if they had made a remake with Clooney as Butch and Pitt as Sundance (Pitt being Redford's heir and all), could anyone have really complained?

There wasn't quite enough here for me to *love* Butch and Sundance, but I liked it plenty. The banter between the two leads is phenomenal, the use of sepia is only bettered by the outstanding transitions between it and color, the New York montage was classy and fun, the settings and cinematography (by Conrad Hall) are amazing.

I don't know - perhaps a few more viewings of this and I will indeed love it.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You're the best...around!"
"It's in the hole!"

* Mad Max
Awhile back, Simon of The Simon & Jo Film Show discussed his first time watching Mad Max. Suffice it so say that he was not impressed.

It was with that critique fresh in my mind that I sat down to watch The Movie That Made Mel Gibson. Simon decried the film as cheesy, even playing a clip from the film to illustrate his point. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me?), the clip he chose was, without doubt, the cheesiest part of the film, after Max quits the force and goes on vacation with his sweetie. There he gets all sensitive and truly awful, overly sentimental instrumental music (from the 50s?) plays loudly over the soundtrack. (In fact, the music was far and away the worst thing about Mad Max in general.)

However, that scene aside, Max was fairly strong, though I was still expecting from the film something that I don't think I'll be getting until I see The Road Warrior - Mad Max is not the tale of some post-apocalyptic drifter fighting for the oppressed and downtrodden (Waterworld). Nay, it's a revenge flick , 90 minutes in the making, as we get to know Toecutter and his gang more than anyone else in the film - not that there's anything wrong with that.

Basically, it's a film for car nuts. If you dig chase scenes mixed with Australian accents and guys with funny names like Rockatansky who dress up in leather daddy outfits, this is the flick for you. And I guess I'm one of those people, too, as I kind of dug it. Not a masterpiece by any means, but an engaging action flick.

Note: my Expectation rating probably would have been an "It's in the Hole!" prior to hearing Simon's review...

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
"Darn tootin."

Music I'm currently obsessed with:
* Nuttin'.

Book I'm currently reading:
Just finished A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole at lunch. A good read, but not the comedy classic I was expecting. Ignatius J. Reilly is indeed a pop culture icon, and after having read the book, I can see him more and more all over the place, from sources as varied as Hunter Thompson and Stewie Griffin. Burma Jones cracked me up the most of anyone, though ("Whoa!"), and I'm dying for a film version, if only so that I might cast Flavor Flav in his role.

The story picked up in time for a nice climax - I wasn't quite sure where Toole was going to take it, but thankfully, it didn't get out of hand like Chuck's Choke or anything like that. My main criticism is that the book is a bit repetitive; it may be the point that Ignatius never grows up, but that doesn't exactly make for the best reading. You're given scenario after scenario that essentially play out the same way, until you feel as though you've been beaten over the head with the point.

Good, not great, read. Next up: perhaps Battle Royale.

9 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (8/11/10)"

Nick said...

Yay! Battle Royale!

And thanks for the shout out.

Castor said...

Love Butch Cassidy. Unlike most westerns, it is light-hearted with plenty of banter between the two highly charismatic leads. The cinematography is splendid to boot. Glad you liked it!

simoncolumb said...

Wha-a-a-t! I think you have watched the film, decided I was unfair (fair enough ... though wrong) and now you are beginning to give the more more and more credit to wipe my face in the mud.

Another 'cheesy' bit - when, for some inexplicable reason, Mad Maxs' boss is watering plants with a flower pot and wearing only leather pants and a scarf. Messed up.

Another, Mad Maxs' friend in the club looking at the stripper and 'falling in love'.

You are wa-a-ay too kind. The film is NO WAY 'in the hole'! ha ha


Fletch said...

Castor - indeed. I think my favorite scene is when they're on the cliff debating their options. Just some great writing in it all-around.

Simon - I didn't give MM an "in the hole" - just a "Darn tootin." So I don't know how much that changes your opinion of what I wrote.

Really, I think you just prepared me for the worst. Had I not heard your review of it first, it's possible that I would have been expecting the type of stuff that's likely to be in The Road Warrior and been left thinking "what is this shit?!," but I don't know. It certainly had some oddball things going on, but not enough to warrant the blasting you gave it. There's still a lot of action and gore, and considering that it was likely made on a shoestring budget, it's decent film making (with terrible, terrible music).

Sadako said...

There's an art to sneaking into movies? Intriguing! :)

Ryan McNeil said...

Holy Hannah! Linkage Love makes it way to the Cabins, and I'm part of the innaugural class!! Musta been what Ty Cobb felt like when he was amongst the first baseball players inducted into the hall of fame.

And what week would be complete without a film missing Fletch's expectations??

For what it's worth I'm listening to the "Here Lies Love" album by David Byrne & Fatboy Slim, and currently reading "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

Fletch said...

Hatter - You will never be accused of having a good memory. Link love has been here on and off for years (Thursday's Things to Click On?). I've decided to bring it back because people like yourself love being linkified, and I like to share, and this segment seemed a good place for it.

You seem really bothered by my Expecation-o-meter. Dude, this is why I don't watch a lot of 'classic films' - 60% of the time, they disappoint me every time.

Fatboy's cool, but beyond the radio-friendly hits, I've never gotten into Byrne (and don't really wish to). Talking Heads and Flaming Lips both fit into that category for me.

You can read my thoughts on Never Let Me Go in previous installments of The State of the Cabins. Finished it a month ago or so. Pretty good; looking forward to seeing what they do with the movie, which I assume you're seeing at TIFF...

Ryan McNeil said...

Oh man...now I don't feel as special. I'm no Ty Cobb...I'm not even a Dom Cobb...now I just feel like Cobb Salad. Thanks for the awesome start to my Friday...

I think you're putting yourself into a position to be a return guest on The Matineecast if only to have the expectation conversation.

Funny thing about the Byrne/Fatboy record...they mostly had the vocal work over to other singers, and instead focus their energy on the instrumental melody and production. Check out some track snippets - you might be surprised!

You're the second person who has told me that NLMG is a good book, which has me hopeful. I'd like to catch it at TIFF - here's hoping the schedule is kind to me and makes it happen.

Fletch said...

Hey, first-class or no, link love is link love, no? I was kinda hurt you didn't recall my old editions. *tear* ;)

Haha - you know I'm down for a return spot anytime, but this week's LAMBcast will probably tide you over for a bit. Or perhaps not. My expectations for how that episode would play out were not exactly met.

Okay, you've got me convinced on the Byrne/Fatboy stuff. I'll seek it out.

NLMG has some serious issues - it's a good story, but I didn't love the way it was written. It's frankly annoyed me at times. But I'd definitely still recommend it.