Sunday Morning! Obligatory Oscars Post (Pt. 1)

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    says:

    You know, I really like this:

    I can’t say that I exactly liked the film. But I can’t quite shake it.

    I recall having a similar reaction to No Country For Old Men I watched it on DVD then went out for dinner with my wife and daughter and kept thinking about it, wondering what had just happened to me. I read some reviews the next day, and finally started to draw a bead on it. Knowing a bunch of other Coen brothers work helped, too.

    Maybe Joker wasn’t as good, but when a film makes me have the reaction you describe, I think that’s probably a really good sign.Report

  2. Avatar Christopher Carr
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    says:

    I really enjoyed Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. I’m not a huge Tarantino fan, but I found this a lot more measured and mature compared with his previous films. I especially appreciated the slow build and the implicit, as opposed to explicit, exposition.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Prior to Joker coming out, the big worry was that it’d be a movie that celebrates the violence that it revels in. A movie where you, the guy in the audience, feels a thrill as the protagonist engages in anti-social behavior. Fight Club: 2019. Yet another movie about a mediocre White Male who is experiencing Mangst. Mansplaining violent acts in manplausibly deniable manways.

    And it wasn’t that movie. Whatever the movie was, it wasn’t *THAT*.

    The parts of the movie where Joker displayed Chaosmancy took less time than Heath Ledger had screen time in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Heck, I’d say that the scene on the stairs, the scene on the subway at the end of the flick (where he steals a mask and starts a fight thereby), and the scene in the police car might be the only ones. (I’m debating about including the scene with the gun after the shooting. So maybe that one too. Maybe the scene where he has to open the door for his friend.)

    A movie that half the online discussion audience worried about and a movie that the other half hoped for turned out to be a comic book Requiem For A Dream.

    That, somehow, made a billion bucks.

    Here’s a statement that I imagine has been made a couple dozen times in Hollywood board rooms/steam rooms/hot tubs over the last few months:

    “You know what? We should make the movie that everybody thought Joker was going to be. That might make even more money.”Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Yeah, it definitely was NOT the movie people were worried and incensed about before it came out. It’s striking just how much it goes in the opposite direction from celebratory. I had to take a break about an hour in to pet the cat and make a coffee and get time off from how depressing the film was. And, the thing is, people live that way! So, the violence isn’t cathartic at all- it feels horrible when he stabs the fellow or shoots the strangers. Because you keep hoping maybe things will get a *little* better for the guy and the violence resolves nothing- it just makes everything worse.

      Maybe a different comparison- the film felt like a prank. Is it a good movie? I don’t know, but I’m glad someone tried it.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        I also took time out to feed the cat – and never got back to watching the rest of the movie. I’m not sure I want to, either, preferring more upbeat films like Schindler’s List. I think it would be wise if, halfway through the movie, they’d flash up the suicide hotline number.

        I suspect that the wild acclaim of Heath Ledger’s Joker was taken as a challenge, both to actors and directors, to top it. I just hope it doesn’t do for annual movie-industry ticket sales what Jaws did for beach vacations.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        I don’t know how it made a billion dollars. It ain’t a “see it twice” kinda movie.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          You can say that again. I watched it once but I’d fight like hell to never have to watch it again even though I cannot honestly say it is a bad movie. It’s just an incoherent anguished scream of a movie.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Rufus F.
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        says:

        The prominent use of the Gary Glitter song seemed like he was trolling.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    A great writeup (I haven’t seen any of these movies) but I do want to pull out this

    “that Nazis are, above all, tragic idiots”

    That seems to me not at all correct based on the classical Aristotelian definitions of tragedy.

    And in contrast with The Joker which (from what I get from yours and other writeups) *does* have a strong sense of Aristotelian tragedy. (and where the debate rests in how the film resolves them, and how we’re supposed to feel about that)Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F.
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    says:

    Yeah I was thinking the use of that adjective was incorrect, although not tragically so. I think the film captured the pathetic aspect of Nazism, it’s buffoonish quality, which sometimes gets left out by more serious movies that make them the embodiment of pure evil.Report

  6. Avatar Mike Schilling
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    says:

    the film was written from the viewpoint of a narcissistic, angry, and unbalanced protagonist.

    I’ve been reading about people like that.Report

  7. Avatar PD Shaw
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    says:

    We watched Capernaum today, a finalist in last year’s foreign film category. It was a pretty intense journey through the Hell which Beruit had become for a boy and his siblings (real and chosen). The subtitles explain that the title means “chaos,” but its a specific kind of chaos, with a nod to its Biblical origins, the chaos of things once grand and now cast down in disarray. The dilapidated buildings and plumbing and amusement rides testify to a grander past in which a near-apocalyptic struggle now takes place. I cried a bit, and I pretty much never cry from movies; their manipulations are too transparent. But I was beaten down, and then there was a little miracle.Report

  1. February 2, 2020

    […] Last week, I offered my subjective, fairly irreverent, impressions of four of the movies nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award this year. I said that I was not going to speculate about which one will win- something that strikes me as a mug’s game- or which one was the “best” of the bunch. I also warned that spoilers would follow. The same holds true this time. So, let’s start with… […]Report

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