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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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106 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko
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    Best not to ask too many questions while watching the movie, either. Like, why the well would be located there, and why that means of disposal of the water was chosen. Or Charlize Theron’s arm. Or how the paint could still be good after all those years. Or why some of the characters have American accents and some have Australian accents.

    Stuff like that, you’ve got to just roll.

    But an interesting question would be how much the warlord, who was visibly older than Max, and therefore had lived in the civilized, industrial pre-collapse world, actually believed in the mythology that he was selling to the war boys and his oppressed serfs (some of whom also looked old enough to have lived in the industrial world, but maybe that was just bad dentistry).Report

  2. Avatar CK MacLeod
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    Structure of Strategic Revolution: Total War and the Roots of the Soviet Warfare State, by James J Schneider

    Was recommended to me by a young defense intellectual a year or two ago when I’d brought up Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government, by James T Sparrow.

    Took me a long time to get around to it, but complements Sparrow’s book even more usefully and interestingly than I had anticipated, since the first chapters are – from this amateur’s point of view – a masterful, just technical-enough reconstruction of world-historical advances in “military art” (a concept that the author runs with, by the way), through a systematic examination of American Civil War strategy that among other things identifies Ulysses S Grant as a creative genius.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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        What if I say I’m looking forward to new episodes of Silicon Valley and Penny Dreadful tonight, but not so much Game of Thrones anymore, and not at all Veep?Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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          …That’s better, thank you.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod
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          Is it just me, or has this season of GoT kind of…just not worked that well? There’s no poetry in it (one brief interlude aside).Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Glyph
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            Not sure it’s a “poetic” question. For me, it’s more on the level of narrative or plot: Lots of stuff happening, but not adding up or getting anywhere, instead getting more diffuse: Everyone spread all over the landscape, encountering new obstacles and difficulties. Last two seasons seemed to be pointing to more meaningful narrative developments than have developed: invasion of the zombies, whatever they’re called; invasion of Westeros by Daenerys; paralyzed Stark kid attaining superduper power-enlightenment magic whatever; Arya re-connecting with her family; things going critical for the Lannisters. Haven’t read the books and don’t intend to, but I understand that even hardcore fans have problems with the rambling, never-quite-satisfying storyline. So we’re left with sexploitation and sadism and scenery and tactical-level fights, YMMV, but nothing “strategic,” and no one to identify with actually achieving anything positive. Martin’s strategy seems to be a variation on “make them laugh and make them cry, but most of all make them wait.” Seems to be working out as “titillate them and punish them, make them wonder if there’s anything worth waiting for.”Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to CK MacLeod
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              This season of the TV show is diverging significantly from the books; it’s simplifying the story by removing subplots and in some cases combining two characters into one. I suspect that GRRM has told the showrunners where he’s headed, and they’re dong all they can to get there in two more seasons.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Mike Schilling
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                I think the TV changes are for the better. Getting rid of Jeyne Poole makes Sansa’s storyline that much more intense (and unpleasant, but that’s the story). Jaime and Bronn’s Great Dornish Adventure was a great idea, much more interesting than what GRRM did with Jaime in the books. Less magic, less fanservice. We don’t need Tyrion going through How To Learn To Love Being A Slave before he gets to Danerys. We don’t need Mance-but-not-really-Mance keeping his identity secret. And we don’t need a wide cast of characters in the House of Black and White teaching Arya how to be an assassin; Jaqen H’Gar does just fine in that role and the actor playing him is inspired in his performance of a seemingly deadpan character.

                I’m not super keen on the reveal of Who Killed King Joffrey but I am keen on how likeable the TV series has made Sansa and Stannis, who in the books are pretty cold fish. Alsotoo the dragons are way cool and Danerys needs to use them more often because that seemed to work when she introduced the noble houses of Meereen to her kids.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Burt Likko
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                Re: the Dornish adventure. Sure, putting Jaime and Bronn together is a good idea, but the Sand Snakes are just Silly, and that aborted fight with them was the most TV-looking GoT has ever been.

                GoT has been many things: brutal, lyrical, thought-provoking, explotative; but never before, Just Plain Goofy.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko
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                I don’t like what they’re doing with Sansa, because the end of the last season was pointing to her becoming more proactive and taking charge of her own story, and now they’re just making her a victim, again, who needs someone to intervene and rescue her, again. If they’d changed the Jeyne Poole storyline so that she could actually use the support of people inside Winterfell to overthrow the Boltons and take back control (and likely ally with Stannis) that would be an interesting new direction for her character. But they’ve moved her character backwards instead, to where she was in Season 2 with Joffrey, except she’s not even showing as much savvy as she was then, and she’s being victimized more severely.

                I’m strongly opposed to this direction for her character.

                And they used a completely gratuitious attempted-rape scene to get Sam and Gilly together-together. It’s the writers’ go-to device for cheap drama, and I’ve gotten quite sick of it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to KatherineMW
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                Yeah, I’m wearing black for Sansa, it was brutal and utterly pointless. They basically set her back to square one so she can be a damsel in distress for Theon fishing Greyjoy to rescue. I was crushed since she was my favorite character from the books and I was honestly interested to see what she’d grow into.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph
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            There once was a dwarf from King’s Landing …Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Glyph
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            The only thing really working for me is the King’s landing plot. It’s the showrunners at their strength: taking something that was scattered and boring in the books, making it punchy, giving it good dialogue, and letting us see it from an unexpected angle. The show has always been more explicit about homosexuality in Westeros than the books, and they’re finally paying it off with a real story moment.

            I’m particularly disappointed with Sam this season. The Night’s Watch commander elections were sort of the point where his character gained real agency–not just bumbling into heroism, but actually using his skills to do something cool–and then the subsequent trip let him really be on his own (even if it was just as boring and unfocused as the rest of the fourth book). We see none of that in show Sam. That said, the stuff at the wall does have me liking King Stannis more than I though possible.Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Alan Scott
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              My own very unscientific research indicates divided opinion on the Jonathan Pryce storyline. I’m going with it so far.

              Now will someone with knowledge of the books care to spoil something for me, please? What’s taking Theon’s sister so long to arrive in the nick of one or another time? Thought we were kind of promised more from her.Report

  3. Avatar Will Truman
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    I’m within a half-hour of finishing the fourth and final season of The Killing! Wowowowowowow. I hope they don’t blow it. After I finish this, I’m done listening to TV shows for a while. I’ve started a Michael Connelly audiobook (Can’t remember which one. The second Mickey Haller one, after Lincoln Lawyer).

    Still no progress on Daredevil. The mouse turd issue has consumed a lot of the last couple of days.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    I just started House of Cards, after many, many recommendations. Four episodes in, I must admit that I’m unimpressed. Frank Underwood seems to be the only devious person in Washington, so when he wins it’s like Kramer being the star of his tae kwon do class because the rest are ten-year-olds. Kevin Spacey is amazing, of course, and it’s always nice to see my old buddy Robin Wright. (I sat next to her once at back-to-school night. I think we said Hi.)

    Before that I watched the David Caruso episodes of NYPD Blue. He was wonderful, and he was a damned fool to leave thinking he’d be a movie star. It’s striking how what seemed so cool back in the 90s (the shaky-cam, the cop-talk, all the bosses being weasels) has been done so often that now it’s just hokey. It’s making me rethink buying the Hill Street Blues collection, but I suspect I’ll still do it.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Drew
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    The whole world of Mad Max never appealed to me and still doesn’t; I’m starting to wonder if now I need to sit down and try to take it in like a bowl of mashed peas. Is it essential?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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      May depend on what myths are taking its place for you.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
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      The nuclear apocalypse is my favorite apocalypse. (Also: I love love love the Fallout games.)

      Are you a fan of any of the other apocalypses (robot, zombie, alien, etc)?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        (I ask because if you’re not a fan of the whole “what would a remade world look like post-reset button being pressed” noodling thing that post-apocalypse movies do in general, I’d say that the Mad Maxes won’t change your mind about the post-apocalypse genre.)Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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          I’m trying to think of ones I like. I actually just got Interstallar from the RedBox, which I think has apocalypse as the background, but then instead of remaking the world, does escape instead. I might be more of a “run away from apocalypse” movie guy than a “remake the world” movie guy. Also: “what was the world like before it was remade?” and “what is the world like now that we don’t see”? Also, I like good depictions of the actual apocalypse: Contagion was gripping for me, and War of the Worlds is I think one of the most underrated scifi-action movies of this century. But those don’t get into the post-apoc. world building. They just kind of pan out on the smoking crater after the storm passes.)

          So I guess the answer is, not so much. Thanks, good insight.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Drew
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            I don’t see why you need to look at them as post-apocalypse movies at all. I mean, they are, but that’s kind of incidental.

            Do you like The Magnificent Seven, or The Man With No Name films?

            They are like that.

            Except with awesome machinery instead of horses and stagecoaches and trains, and strange desert war tribes taking the place of the Indians.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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              So many Thermopylaes.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Glyph
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              Not big on classic Westerns either, though I recognize the art. Again, sort of bowl of mashed peas territory for me.

              However, it’s more something about the in-your-face “fearsomeness” of the war tribes and theirr get-up that just seemed to be trying too hard to me as a kid who saw snippets of the movies here or there.

              It also just might be the desert setting I don’t like. I get the same basic feeling watching Raising Arizona. It’s just not an appealing setting to me.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                …Again, these are not good reasons for me not to watch it, just reasons I haven’t. That’s why I’m asking if I need to suck it up and experience it, because I’m missing something important.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew
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                As an action movie, you could do a *LOT* worse. Car chases, a couple of fistfights, people shooting at each other from cars, car crashes, cars blowing up, all kinds of destruction. If that’s all you want, you’re going to get a lot of it.

                With that said, if you don’t like desolate setpieces, you should stay away. This movie is practically Lawrence of Arabia.

                Well. Not artistically, of course.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
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                If you haven’t seen the recolorized lawrence of arabia, you owe it to yourself to watch it on a proper screen.Report

            • Avatar Neil Obstat in reply to Glyph
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              Reframe that to “Yojimbo” and “The Seven Samurai”. Kurosawa, please.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Neil Obstat
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                We already had the “ALL film is a footnote to Kurosawa” thread a week or two ago on Saul’s reboot/remake post. ;-).

                Anyway, the Mad Max films are more directly Western-descended (and as anyone who has seen The Proposition knows: Australia, for historical and cultural reasons, knows how to make a Western).Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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            These worlds are supposed to be the extreme opposite of appealing. The appeal is the discovery or re-discovery of values or meaning, or recognition of transcendent values or meaning, which, if truly transcendent, would apply in our pre-apocalyptic world as well, or provide a more authentic basis for our own variations on them. So Road Warrior and Walking Dead and also incidentally Game of Thrones and the Comic Book Superhero movies, too, give people disconnected from especially the traditional warrior and masculine virtues a way to re-connect with, celebrate, bathe in them without admitting that that’s what they’re doing or that it’s in any way “serious” for them.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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              Mm. I guess it’s possible I only like appealing film worlds, but I think there are unappealing ones I am okay with (i.e. for the purpose of conveying the kind of meanings you describe – not those ones perhaps, but others). Something like the New York of The French Connection or the L.A. of Blade Runner – not terribly appealing (maybe you’d disagree), but places I don’t mind being in for a couple hours.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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              …But no, I get that’s the point. I’m not sure it’s equally unappealing to everyone in reality, but I guess what I’m asking is, how essential is are the films for the kind of meanings you describe (or for other reasons)?Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to CK MacLeod
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              I said this in another thread, but I think the appeal of zombie apocalypse movies (and really, the Mad Max movies are pretty much ZA films too – here the ravening hordes aren’t *technically* dead, but everything that made them human – mercy, compassion, art – has long been stripped away) also appeals because, as is stated specifically in this movie, only one animal instinct need remain – survival.

              The near-infinite number of ethical and moral and even consumer choices we must make every day is simplified into one basic question – live one more hour, or not?

              And a lot of otherwise-unthinkable things can now be accepted and dismissed without a second consideration – the protagonist did exactly what he had to do in every single moment, no more and no less.

              On a primal level, I think that that mental decluttering/streamlining is very, very, very powerful to us.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Drew
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            Gerrold does a good “end of the world” slow burn, with plenty of time to contemplate what happens to society after 90% of humanity dies. And Things Get Worse.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Drew
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      I saw it last night.

      It ruled.Report

  6. Avatar Chris
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    Watching The Honourable Woman. Also season 2 of Defiance with the teenager.

    Gide, Gide, Gide. He wrote a lot of stuff.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    Ended up doing a lot of unplanned binge watching of Sons of Anarchy, which — after two seasons — I think I may be done with. Really enjoyed it, so maybe it’s just a product of the binging, but at the cliff hanger at the end of Season 2 I was kind of like, “You know, I wasn’t very interested in this plot line when Angel did it, and so I don’t know that I have any desire to see someone do a weak copy.”Report

  8. Avatar veronica d
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    For Mad Max, I wrote this after I saw it:

    So I saw the new Mad Max movie last night. It was intensely fun, with nearly non-stop action and impossible, over-the-top violence and things crashing and exploding and people screaming, burning, and dying, right and left. No one is safe. The visuals were amazing, even by modern “we have CGI” standards. Which is to say, the world shown in the film was legit horrifying, and on a really huge scale. The creepy bits were creepy as fuck and the freakish bits made me quiver and the scenes of emptiness were profoundly empty, and that’s our world stretching out into nothingness and there’s no hope anywhere, except maybe a few days more. It was kinda cool.

    Oh, and evidently it was “feminist” or something. Yeah, I guess. That part was cool also.

    So anyway, I’ve seen it again since I wrote that, and I think it’s probably one of the better movies I’ve seen in a few years. They hit the right notes again and again, and the dialog was never phony, the exposition never unnatural — which, the “as you know, Bob” thing is an enormous peeve of mine and it pretty much takes me way out of the movie. It was pure visual storytelling, and I just loved how they put it together.

    We’re getting all the predictable arguments about whether it was “feminist” or not. My take: who cares, exploding trucks!

    But seriously, I think it was feminist enough.

    The women were badass, but they didn’t feel like token male-gaze warrior chicks. There was no dangerous panther girl who falls for the lame-ass dude, nor any banal femme fatale. They fought as hard as the men, they were as brave as the men, and when they died they died just like men do, and the director didn’t give us any long tedious shots where we’re supposed to feel all protective.

    On the other hand, regarding other social justice themes, the film had a subtext where ugliness related to iniquity and beauty to virtue. That’s kinda fucked up. But then, Hollywood.

    But anyway, the characters made sense and they did stuff that worked without too many lame plot clichés, except for [spoilers] the one war boy who joins up with the crew. Regarding him, I can sort of get it. They more or less sold it. I was happy to buy in. But still, it was a false note.

    It was metal-as-fuck, so I’ll forgive them one false note.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to veronica d
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      The war boy was interesting insofar as he was the only character with an arc.

      I mean, I kept mumbling “kill him already!” during the first half of the movie and they kept *NOT* killing him.

      If they shot him early on (I’m sure you remember a couple of times when you thought “Okay, now Max is going to shoot him in the head”), I would have snorted and then forgotten it by the end of the flick. (They could have figured out something else to do with the combat, I’m sure.) As it is, I’m struck wondering at my own bloodlust.

      The kid got redeemed at the end. Good for him.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Jaybird
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        @jaybird — Good point about the arc. Which is to say, I liked the character and indeed something would have been missing in the structure without that.

        I think Max does have an arc, but it is a really small one: “will I step up and help these people?”

        Which, of course, it’s so expected and predictable I’m glad they didn’t tie too much of the drama to that. There were also hints of an “can I overcome the ghosts of my past?” thing, but they also gave that a light touch. Which, thankfully. (I cannot help but suspect a lot of that stuff got taken out either during shooting or editing. I have no evidence of that, but I get the sense the writers had more in mind with that.)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        He realized he’d been sold a bill of goods by Joe, and the “glory” he sought (“I live. I die. I live again” / all the “Valhalla” nonsense) was not to be found in dying for his own gain, but in dying to protect another.

        He got his glory, but on his own terms.

        (And of course, we didn’t see a body. He could pull through! The gyro captain did!)Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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          The more I think about it, Nux is essentially the gyro captain analog. Starts as antagonist, becomes ally, is strangely cheerful in the face of all the chaos and mayhem (he’s far more ‘mad’ than Max is). I wouldn’t be shocked to see Nux come back. Max survives a comparable crash/roll at the start of the film, and the gyro captain falls from the sky and still lives, IIRC.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird
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        I feel the same about Nux. He was a very well-done character.Report

  9. Avatar rexknobus
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    “The Road Warrior” (“Mad Max II”) vs. “Mad Max: Fury Road”

    “The Road Warrior”

    – very charismatic leading man playing Max
    – identifiable sympathetic back story
    – cute dog
    – funny sidekick
    – adoring child protegee
    – grows from isolated mercenary to savior of (admittedly small) civilization
    – spectacularly memorable villain (gay mohawk warrior guy)
    – several somewhat developed sympathetic secondary characters whose deaths matter

    “Mad Max: Fury Road”

    – leaden lead performance with almost zero character development
    – no emotional connections within the story or for the audience

    Both:

    – incredible vehicle, camera, and stunt work

    Recommendation:

    Go watch Mr. Miller’s incredible work when he was a younger man with more heart.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to rexknobus
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      @rexknobus

      Haven’t seen MMFR yet, but I think if anything you understate how appealing and well-wrought MMRW wase: It had at least two spectacularly memorable villains (how dare you forget the Lord Humungus?), a very nicely interwoven framing narrative (i.e., the reveal of the narrator’s identity), and several (other) somewhat developed sympathetic characters whose being saved mattered.

      It may be that FR has other virtues but qualifies as less humane. Wouldn’t surprise me.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to rexknobus
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      – leaden lead performance with almost zero character development
      – no emotional connections within the story or for the audience

      Well, Max isn’t really the protagonist/”lead” of this. At most, he’s co-lead.

      Honestly, if not for the character/franchise/name recognition (and a touch of POV character, in the the sense that some of the things we see, we see look strange to him also), you could almost drop Max entirely from this; it’s pretty much Furiosa’s story, all the way.

      Besides, “a younger man with more heart” didn’t make Babe: Pig In The City, which is, no foolin’, fantastic.

      This movie stayed away from CGI overuse enough that one of the two instances of really obvious big-time CGI really stood out.

      The dust/fire storm was pretty excellent, actually.

      But there’s a bit right at the film’s climax that they should have dropped, IMO.

      There’s no shame in being the second-best Mad Max movie.Report

      • Avatar rexknobus in reply to Glyph
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        Certainly grant that Furiosa had more development than poor ole Max — but that didn’t add up to much, really. “Babe, PitC” was 17 years ago. I liked it as well.

        Actually, Mr. Miller has never been a big fave of mine. A couple really good things and a few that weren’t much, and long years of nothing at all. “Road Warrior,” however, is an all-time favorite. It shared so many similarities with “Fury Road,” which still had almost none of the things that made “Road Warrior” so special.

        (As an aside: despite that fact that so many, many people seem to be on the “I hate CGI” bandwagon in regards to this film, I couldn’t care less. If the shot works, it works. If not, tough. CGI isn’t really an issue, at least to me. Grew up worshipping Harryhausen (big career influencer), matured into Trumbull and Dykstra, like the way CGI frees people up to get what they want on screen. And I’m willing to bet that nearly every shot in FR had some CGI in it. -shrug- )

        But the comment about “no shame in being the second-best Mad Max movie”? Well said, sir.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to rexknobus
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          Oh, I agree most every FR scene probably had some CGI in it. I very deliberately stated “CGI overuse“. CGI can be used very well as part of the overall filmmaking toolkit; Peter Jackson USED to know how, and Spielberg did too at one time.

          But many, many, MANY (I’d say most) action sequences use it to excess and badly now; and I think people are responding the way they are to FR, in part, is because there actually ARE stunt guys on poles, swinging around, in real space. (My wife commented on the Cirque du Soleil aspects).

          There is a real physicality to getting that on film; and I think people are on the edge of their seats here realizing they haven’t actually felt nervous in a film in a while, because the excessive unreality of most modern-day CGI is so obvious that you are never worried about the safety of any human being (or vehicle).Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Glyph
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            CGI can often feel like video games. And not good videogames with grit like Anachronox or Thief either. You find yourself thinking “How do I play this scene” rather than being in the moment.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to rexknobus
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          @rexknobus – here’s some B-roll, sans CGI :

          Yeah….STILL awesome. 😉Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to rexknobus
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      I think I disagree with this. We probably agree that The Road Warrior was the first “real” Mad Max movie.

      As such, I go from there to argue that Mr. Miller was practically creating a mythology and he didn’t yet know what he was going for. He told a story (and, arguably, a better one) but Fury Road is a distillation of the archetypes he was beginning to dig out of the ground.

      The reluctant warrior haunted by his past failures.
      The grotesque innocents that need saving from grotesque villains.
      The Mosaic resolution that leaves the warrior back to the wasteland and his ghosts.

      Fury Road is him, finally, figuring out the story he wants to tell.Report

      • Avatar rexknobus in reply to Jaybird
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        I appreciate your point, but what I sensed was more like: “I’ve been thinking up cool stunts for the past 20 years — let’s just shoot those!” And then he took some garishly made-up actors and gave them some odd names and semi-motivations just to get them into the COOL CARS! (And, damn, they were cool!)

        I didn’t hate the film (though my comments make it sound as if I did); I just didn’t see much beyond empty spectacle. Excellent empty spectacle — but completely disposable. But I can still see and feel the very human faces and desires that lit up “Road Warrior.”Report

  10. Avatar Michael Cain
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    If my suspicions regarding what this comment is an answer to is correct, I have a number of technical questions about how it ended up here :^)Report

  11. Avatar aaron david
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    So, the wife is watching Friday Night Lights, which means I am watching Friday night lights. Seems good so far.

    Reading wise, Eco’s Prague Cemetery still. I am about 100-150 pages in an I am just can’t really care. This is my second attempt and I kinda dread picking it up. So, time for something else.Report

  12. Avatar Maribou
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    I’m not feeling very discursive but I did want to mention the fabulous Song from the Sea – a kid’s movie by the same folks who made Book of Kells, every bit as beautiful, and with a far stronger story. Many <3's in maribouland.

    (And yeh, Mad Max: Fury Road rocked for pretty much the reasons that I expected it would rock when I first heard they were making it. Plus a couple more.)Report

  13. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    Just finished watching the first season of “Daredevil” on Netflix. I’m very impressed. Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Kingpin was magnificent- showing both amazing brutality and childishness, and the connection between them. The show also put Matt Murdock’s code against killing front and center in a way that is very grounded. The whole show was grounded and gritty and dark. (Be warned, there’s some pretty gory bits, though not quite to Sam Peckinpaugh levels). It really kept the feeling that unlike, say, The Avengers, the people in this show are real people who have Skillz, not super-powers.

    Three thumbs up from our house.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I loved Kingpin in that one. The only problem is the question of how they’re going to rehabilitate him so they can do the Born Again storyline.

      I mean, the problem of Kingpin is the problem of Lex Luthor. His greatest weapon is the fact that he’s a respected member of the business community. If you take that away, sure, he might have a devastating haymaker but the fact that he’s “untouchable” is what makes him so very scary.

      If he’s not untouchable, he’s just a big guy with a hard punch who can withstand two or three kicks to the head.Report

  14. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    @jaybird The reason Max can’t stay is two-fold: First, if he stayed, we couldn’t have more stories. Second, he feels a sort of warrior’s alienation. All he knows is how to fight, and he fears that it won’t let him fit in to a society that doesn’t have to fight. This is, in some sense, PTSD. It’s present in, for instance, “Yojimbo” (and of course, its remakes). Also in “Shane”, and in “Pale Rider” (a remake of “Shane”, to be sure).

    In some sense, Captain America is feeling this in The Age of Ultron.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I thought they did a good job of it in Thunderdome, actually.

      Max found his little utopian cargo cult and told them “we’re going to live here and we’re going to be thankful” but, wouldn’t you know it, (some of )the kids went off to Bartertown anyway and he had to save them and get them on the plane but the only way he could do that was by making enough runway for them.

      He might have liked to have joined… but he couldn’t.

      I kinda liked that more than the walking away at the end of Fury Road.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Max also knows that ultimately there can be no truly happy ending.

      Like the movie itself, the only way to have one is to choose when to stop the story. If he stuck around, sooner or later there would come some unwinnable battle, and he would lose his new ‘family’ all over again, and he will not risk that.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      Useful thoughts, @doctor-jay , but in part because they point to some flaws in the Max concept: Max fails as a “hero” because he is unwilling or unable to become a “founder.” He remains as much an “anti-hero” as a “hero”: The warrior’s alienation presumes that a new founding is impossible, either because the hero is damaged, because a society remains intact enough that he would have to displace or disrupt it in order to found a new one. There are numerous related sub-alternatives, but, if you look to the Walking Dead and some other interesting “post-apocalyptics,” there is or might be a different continuation or challenge available for the character, especially given the evidence that there is no society likely to grow up in this world (or any world) that “doesn’t have to fight.” Will have to see the movie, soon, to see how it handles this question: Previous installments seemed to imply that there might be durable security available for the communities that Max, despite himself, co-founds before abandoning (or banishing himself from them). I’m not sure it was persuasive, and, as far as allowing for new narratives, it evidently makes for repetition rather than growth.Report

  15. Avatar KatherineMW
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    says:

    Fury Road was a very enjoyable movie. Liked how they did the character of Furiosa, liked the other women being proactive and participating in their rescue, liked the action, liked that the female society Furiosa came from was rough and post-apocalyptic like any other (though with postive elements) and not some idyllic utopia. The film has been widely described as feminist; I’d say that its feminism primarily consists of not being actively sexist (i.e.: the women and men are both characters with their own arcs; the female characters aren’t just girlfriends/sideline characters to the male ones, and aren’t just eye candy), something that’s unsettling rare in action movies. (That may sound like hyperbole, but I think it’s true. Look at the big superhero action movies that are some of the biggest blockbusters recently: the typical template is white guy hero, sometimes a black guy sidekick/secondary character [War Machine, Heimdall, Falcon], white female love interest [Pepper, Jane, Gwen Stacey, Lois Lane].)

    And I liked the lack of backstory. When you’ve got a world where 1) gas is scarce and 2) conflicts are resolved by massive car chases, it’s best not to examine things things too deeply. Seriously, it’s as if you had a world with severe food scarcity and resolved all problems via food fights. The movie’s explanation of “everyone’s crazy” is as good as you’re going to get.Report

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