View Full Version : M. Night Shyamalan

Chris Knipp
08-06-2002, 01:48 AM
Is Shyamalan "The Next Spielberg" as Newsweek says in huge letters this week? I'd like to see a discussion of "Signs". I've got some things to say about it. He brings up a lot of issues about commercialism vs. "art" in the movies. If a movie is popular does that mean it can't be artistic? What are we waiting for, let's talk about Shyamalan!

08-06-2002, 06:59 AM
Good point...

I think that most of the selections will come from the independent film circle although as you note, artistic major releases are not uncommon...so lets include them too.

I guess we could simply mix forums for good releases (whether major or indie) or divide discussion sections into "major releases" and "indie releases". What do you think? Good idea?

Chris Knipp
08-06-2002, 01:08 PM
I didn't know you intended to specialize in indie films. If so, then M. NIght Shyamalan is another category, and perhaps should be excluded from discussion. Personally, I'd prefer not to separate movies into such categories. Many indie directors when they become more successful become big budget directors, so what's the difference? Shyamalan's first two movies were small, unsuccessful efforts. P.T. Anderson started small, but Magnolia has Tom Cruise in it. So why ghettoize movies?

08-06-2002, 05:46 PM
No, definitely agree with you there. The intention isnt really to specialize in indie films. I just tend to see more of them...

Lets simply broaden that. I agree, indie vs. major is kind of a silly line to draw, if not impossible to define.

Ever since the first previews, Ive been hoping for a good one out of "Signs". Havent seen it yet, but look forward to it. Keep the ideas flowing...


Chris Knipp
08-06-2002, 07:44 PM
Like you I also see and like a high number of foreign and inde US films, more than the average American moviegoer, but I'm always happy when a big mainstream American movie turns out to be great, because that's what most people are going to see and judge the others by.

In my opinion, in 2001 Spielberg's "A.I." was pretty great, though seriously flawed. "Apocalypse Now Redux" was wonderful, too--not exactly a small budget production. I also liked "Ocean's Eleven" and "Gosford Park" a lot. Both I assume had pretty big budgets, though I know actors work for Altman and maybe also Soderbergh for less money just for the chance to work for them.

In the year 2000, I picked "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovitch,""Nurse Betty," "Almost Famous" and "Cast Away" among my US ten best. The rest were small productions, but 2000 was a good year for big budget movies, for me. I would say Soderbergh was on a roll, and also that he is a director who has kept quality and individuality while going big budget.

This is an interesting topic, one I'm always thinking about: Do directors "sell out" when they become big budget? For instance, is "Insomnia" inferior to "Memento" because Nolan got a much bigger budget? Do small directors survive becoming big box office, or does the money and the size of the production muddy their creativity? I guess you have to judge it on a case-by-case basis.

What is "The Virgin Suicides"? Small budget? Indie? When it was made by Francis Coppola's daughter? There are a lot of gray areas, and from some viewpoints most American movies, even so-called indie productions, are "big budget," compared to a movie made in Africa, say.

08-07-2002, 02:07 AM
Exactly, a very muddy topic. Royal Tennenbaums may be my favorite example of late. Major cast, semi-major budget, huge gross (relative to expenses), but with a decidedly artistic sensibility.

And how about Being John Malcovitch? Or Oh Brother Where art Thou?

And of course the flipside: that an indie budget certainly does not equate to a good film, lest we be tempted to say that indie=good.

Good topic and one that's been around and will be around for a while.