oldfilmsflicker asked: I'm so glad you also hated Stoker.
it’s so weird, in the reactions i’ve gotten to my list of least favorites, even if most of the movies people LOVED, if there’s one they also hated, it like instantly bonds us together. i think film enthusiasts tend to gravitate more towards mutual hatred than mutual love. i wonder why that is.
freezeframesandetcetera asked: Alright, I've got one question that will determine whether your recommendation of Spring Breakers applies to my own taste: were you able to sit through Trash Humpers?
i’m sorry to let you down, but SPRING BREAKERS is the only harmony korine film i’ve seen :( i seek to rectify that in the coming year, however.
thatfilmdudekalen asked: I'm forever defending Spring Breakers to every one I know.
it’s funny, i don’t think any film of quality needs me to “defend” it per se. SPRING BREAKERS more than stands on its own merits. i can only elucidate what resonated with me, why i liked it, what i think its important qualities are. i can certainly counter or challenge other people’s perceptions of the same film, but in discussions such as these i don’t usually imagine it as a “vs” battle but more of a give & take conversation.
alright, well it’s clear you didn’t like SPRING BREAKERS and i’m not going to change your mind. i’d comment however that i think korine NOT giving the audience catharsis and forcing them to identify with these vapid, poor decision-making girls is one of the film’s strong points, an audacious POV that would normally not be taken, again, because these are the kind of people we as a culture tend to mock, discredit, demonize or ignore.
but this spirited discussion has me intrigued to revisit the film and see if it casts its spell on me a second time. cheers.
misterroebot asked: If you look at all the protagonists in films there is at least one redeeming factor to make the character "likable" or "connectable". At no point in Korine's "crime drama" (better classified as an hour and a half long MTV music video) are the characters, save for Alien (and only because he's so idiotic in his mannerisms) enjoyable to watch on screen. Also the ending where they just outright kill him and then press on with the mission makes no sense. Am I also to believe these girls wouldn't die?
i feel like you are just taking everything too literally. the film is what it is, ultimately. obviously that’s something you didn’t care for but you gotta evaluate its choices on its own terms. instead of saying, that’s not realistic that the girls didn’t die!, ask yourself why they lived.
misterroebot asked: Just no? No rebuttal? I mean come on, let's discuss this. I really am fascinated when people love Spingbreakers because I can't wrap my head around it. It has some interesting cinematography, a great performance from Franco and could easily have been a great film if it weren't for the awful script and the morally reprehensible female protagonists. I honestly cannot digest this film because there is no message here other than Generation Y sucks. What is the theme of this piece if there is any?
SPRING BREAKERS is clearly a social satire wrapped in an unconventional crime drama. I mean, yeah, Bonnie & Clyde robbed banks in the Great Depression but does Penn’s film suggest they did it because they were revolting against the banks or because they got off on the thrill of it? I mean, do we take Malik’s portrait of teen criminals in BADLANDS to be a generational statement? Why does SPRING BREAKERS necessarily paint a bleak portrait of all Millennial culture, instead of just being one film amidst a history of the “young people gone wild” genre?? The theme is universal and eternal—young people get restless, do stupid shit. Spring break is just the lurid backdrop (stunningly photographed) of this particular iteration of the narrative.
As for the protagonists being “morally reprehensible,” when did objective moral forthrightness become a requirement for good cinema? Because Citizen Kane was an asshole and I’m pretty sure everyone in The Godfather is a monster. So…
miracule asked: obviously style is important in film. but do you think that depth or meaning is what makes a film? like, could a movie stand only on its aesthetic style? i don't know how to phrase this question exactly. but like...you said that upstream color lacked depth and meaning (i didn't like it either), but it makes me wonder...how important is meaning to you? or narrative? i guess it would depend on the kind of movie, though. also i'm a film/lit major and i still feel like i don't know anything.
first of all, nobody knows anything, so don’t worry about that.
second of all, yes, a film can be a purely aesthetic exercise—many experimental (non-narrative) films are just that and are lovely.
my problem with UPSTREAM COLOR was that it was pretending to say something profound, but its meaning was empty and false. the “meaning” then was overcome by a falsified style; IMO, style should always follow substance and/or vice versa if the film is meant to be primarily a stylistic exercise.
narrative doesn’t have to be the primary arbiter of quality in a film; it just depends on how much emphasis the film itself puts on its various elements.
for example, THE THIN RED LINE is ostensibly a WWII film but by emphasizing the inner spirituality of its protagonists, it becomes more of a thematic meditation on life & death. Malick’s films are often based on real events but use only the bare bones of these events as a spring board to explore the themes that are important to him as an artist—I would argue that this is a defining feature of his filmic style.
SPRING BREAKERS is smart filmmaking about stupid people (see: THE BLING RING, PAIN & GAIN)
it takes a special kind of filmmaker to find the profundity in the legitimately dumbshit actions of people you would otherwise look down upon or ignore. i like SPRING BREAKERS for bringing that (to me) insane, almost otherworldly environment to life with such vividness (it’s also why i like the other two similar films mentioned above).
Anonymous asked: was stoker anger-inducing or just dull?
it managed to be both at the same time, which is quite an accomplishment. or should I say, the script was anger-inducing(ly bad) and the direction/performances were achingly dull.
Anonymous asked: What's wrong with upstream color
it is literally the embodiment of pretentiousness, in that it has nothing to say but says it in such an overblown, faux-mystic/spiritualist way like we’re supposed to fucking care about any of it just because it’s shiny & whispery. it’s just a fucking turd wrapped in tinsel.
it is so aggravatingly offensive to my every sense that even thinking about it is making me angry. upstream color hateblog ‘13. the only good thing about it is that it’s short & baby pigs are pretty cute.
primer sucks too.
Anonymous asked: did you like what maisie knew?
i thought the performances were great but the ending sort of betrayed the sad realism of the first part of the movie.
wouldn’t even have been on my radar if not for this great list of netflix movies to watch before year’s end:
Anonymous asked: What's an organization I can join where I can get screeners and go to awards screenings?
cineffect asked: So glad you got to experience the Antoine Doinel saga. What's your favorite of the bunch? I alternate between The 400 Blows and Bed & Board.
Bed & Board is definitely my favorite—joyous and melancholy at the same time. Should have been the end of the series. Love in the Run is fine, but pretty pointless as an final chapter in the Doinel saga. Even Truffaut recognized it as a mistake. Too often a mere clip show than a fully realized film.
I was surprised by my ambivalence towards The 400 Blows. I think because I had seen most of its powerful, iconic scenes in other places—documentaries, retrospectives, etc—a lot of the joy of discovery was diminishes. The fin shot, for example, was just sort of meh bc I knew what was coming. I guess I can understand the power it had in 1959, but its revelatory impact just wasn’t there for me.
It might be sacrilege to say, but I prefer Leaud more in Truffaut’s non-Doinel films & in the films of Godard.
Anonymous asked: I was (unsuccessfully, to this day) looking for non-pretentious film blogs to follow and I found your tumblr on another film blog I've since unfollowed, along with most others. The funny thing about your blog is, you sometimes post stuff like Tarkovsky and Bergman, which is exactly the type of movie I can't stand, and yet it doesn't make me want to hurl things at the wall like it does when other people do this. You have a way of making pretentious things seem non-pretentious, which I love.
boy, where do i even begin with this message…
first of all, you hate bergman & tarkovsky because of OTHER PEOPLE’S reactions to their films? what the fuck kind of film fan are you, anyway. i get that everyone has personal preferences but you think just bc someone likes international cinema, that’s somehow pretentious?
i think it’s time to actually look up the definition of pretentious, since it’s apparently so important to you:
adj. “attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.”
so while i can see this definition applying to someone who actually hasn’t SEEN a tarkovsky or bergman film (someone, perhaps, like you?), if a film blog actually WATCHES and LIKES these films, how is it that they’re feigning this knowledge?
if anything, what you’re doing is some kind of bizarro, anti-intellectual reverse pretentiousness, as if your declaration of ignorance immunizes you from the terrifying possibility that you might like something different if you tried it.
every film blog has a certain aesthetic & preference on how they post about movies, OF COURSE, and mine just happens to be rather straightforward (i don’t make pretty graphics or gifs, for example, simply out of ignorance of how to do so), but don’t you fucking go telling me i make pretentious things “non-pretentious.” what the fuck, that doesn’t even make sense. get some fucking education before you spout off your so-proudly held ignorance.
Anonymous asked: How was 12 years a slave (if you've seen it)?
i have seen it, but this is actually a tough question for me because i’m still struggling with my response to the film.
my initial, gut reaction was that i didn’t enjoy it. but this was followed immediately by the understanding that it’s not a film i should “enjoy.” just as i don’t think films about the holocaust should necessarily be enjoyable or entertaining, i think films about slavery shouldn’t be judged based on whether you “liked” it or not. it’s not a “likeable” film and it isn’t very much on purpose.
i’m also struggling with my response to the violence in the film. for me, over-the-top exploitation violence & bloodshed is so much easier to absorb and understand than the straight-ahead, almost everyday pedestrian violence in 12YAS. it didn’t shock me, but it did unsettle me, in that i recognized its historical antecedents and understood that the incidents being portrayed were commonplace & ordinary in the south.
in this way, i was confronted with my own bias, preferences & expectations as a liberal, middle class white person—what kind of violence against black people i was used to vs. what kind of violence i expected. (for example, i WANT a django-esque/blaxploitation revenge uprising to occur, even though i KNOW that’s not the reality of the situation).
i KNOW that the history of blaxploitation films is partially a white guilt-assuaging fantasy (in addition to being a real independent film movement amongst the black community). i also KNOW that for most of my life films about the “black experience” have been told primarily through the white point of view, with a paternalistic white character to sort of “ease” white folks into walking a mile in black shoes.
so i KNOW that because 12YAS was written/directed by & stars black actors, the fact that it even exists is something of an unusual and perhaps revolutionary event in american movies. as a film however, it strikes me as just an aestheticized history lesson—very dry and by the numbers. i only felt really involved in solomon’s story at two specific moments in the film (both of which involve ejiofor looking directly into the camera/at the viewer). for long stretches of the film, i felt like i was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something BIG to happen—BUT AGAIN THIS IS WHAT I’M USED TO.
the film does not play into my expectations and for that, i respect it, but it’s very hard for me to “like” it. there are no big, oscar bait-y COLOR OF PURPLE/SCHINDLER’S LIST moments in the film, for which i’m grateful.
even ejiofor’s performance is small, in a way. it’s almost an exhausting performance because his character is put through so much with so little pay-off for either the character or the audience. it’s a film without catharsis, which makes it a very uncomfortable—but all-together more truthful—experience.
so, even saying all these things, i still don’t really know where i stand on the film. maybe 5 yrs from now, i’ll look back and realize i was a fool not to praise the film from the get-go. maybe i’ll rewatch it and see things i didn’t the first time. idk, really.
i do know that ejiofor WILL win best actor. there’s pretty much no question. the film’s chances for best picture are more uncertain.