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Thread: Most overrated

  1. #16
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    Re: overrated usually means a movie is good

    Originally posted by Johann

    With regards to Citizen Kane, either you get it or you don't. If you can't look at one frame and see genius stamped all over it, then you "need to go back to the woodshed" as Spike Lee says. Orson created a whole new language for cinema. End of story. All techniques for storytelling were given a fresh coat of paint by this PRODIGY.
    Precisely, Johann. Moreover, the care Welles took to pick his cast and crew. For instance, Gregg Toland's experiments and revolutionary use of deep focus photography give unusual importance to mise-en-scene to direct the viewer's attention. Thus, the art director is challenged to think of stuff he's never had to think before, when part of the frame was out of focus and deemphasized. But technical innovation and creativity need to serve a higher purpose if this is to be great cinema. CITIZEN KANE
    has much to say about how we got here as a civilization and as a nation, on a macro level, while being an intimate, minutely detailed portrayal of a man's search for meaning and consequence.

  2. #17
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    Fight Club

    Originally posted by Perfume V
    Fight Club is an absolute watershed film for American cinema, and I would put money on its influence becoming more pronounced with time.
    Hey, I had fun watching it. Over the top, borderline ridiculous but entertaining nonetheless. I resisted being negative but ultimately found your comment too hyperbolic to leave unchallenged. Fincher dresses up mainstream masochism and macho posturing in designer grunge. Influential? The horror.

  3. #18
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    Macho posturing? The whole film was an attack on notions of masculinity. That's like saying Dr Strangelove is a war-mongering film. And yeah, it was exaggerated. Most comedies are.

    I believe it will become influential, for exactly the same reasons people are citing for Citizen Kane. What Fincher did from a technical standpoint in that movie had only been hinted at in previous films. The shot behind the fridge, the camera move through the bullet-hole in the glass windscreen, the drop down from the skyscraper window to street level...

    Why, when people appreciate the technical innovations in old movies, are they considered cinephiles when people who appreciate the technical innovations in modern ones are just fools being dazzled by eye candy?
    Perfume V - he tries, bless him.

  4. #19
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    Technical innovations

    George Lucas once said, "A special effect is just a tool, a means of telling a story. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing." Granted Lucas has somewhat fallen by the wayside in his storytelling, but I still grant him credit for trying. But he's right, and I marvel a lot at the technical innovations in modern movies, with the extensive use of computer technology, different camera techniques, and whatever else they're coming up with. MY problem with a lot of movies that use these is that as stories, they are shallow and pointless. The movie has little substance beyond the visual effects. I think what defines a good movie is if the special effects enhance the movie instead of taking over. I don't like a movie that is all special effects and eye candy if the story couldn't move without it. "The Matrix" is a good example...nothing new when you take into account all the books by Philip K. Dick and anime like "Ghost in the Shell"). Nonetheless, it's a good story that made excellent use of these great special effects. It's easy to think that the movie is dependant on them (but then again, it's a movie about computer generated worlds, so maybe the argument is valid), but "The Matrix" was also a very good story, so the special effects were more than just eye candy...they enhanced the story. Same with "The Cell," which to me is only eye candy because of Jennifer Lopez. But otherwise, I think the visuals in that movie do well to help tell the story. They don't overtake the story so much as they are tools to enhance the idea of this what this man's criminal mind looks like.
    I think it's a shame though that people can't appreciate movies like "Tron" and "The Last Starfighter" from the early '80's because without those films, we wouldn't be using computer technology the way we do in movies today. Sure they're obsolete and maybe even laughable by today's standards, but what those films accomplished paved the way for what James Cameron ultimately did in "The Abyss" and "Terminator 2."
    In a nutshell, I think special effects are only eye candy if the story isn't any good. If there is a good story, then today's technical innovations should be used to improve rather than retract by taking over.

  5. #20
    Indeed. I thought what Fincher did in "Panic Room," concerning the moving through the house and literally through the floors was impressive. Over-the-top? Possibly. But so was deep focus, back in the day. Couldn't Welles have told the story without Deep Focus? Probably, but he wanted to use the effect. Could Fincher have told "Fight Club" or "Panic Room" without the visual effects? Probably, but he wanted to use them. The difference is not that deep focus was integral to the story; it was a convenient invention that became the norm.

    If Fincher, "The Matrix," etc., give us film tricks that end up being used in every mainstream film over the next twenty years, they won't be considered "eye candy" any longer. History is written by the winners.

  6. #21
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    BORROWING

    Originally posted by Perfume V
    Macho posturing? The whole film was an attack on notions of masculinity. That's like saying Dr Strangelove is a war-mongering film.
    I suggest we should give credit to others when we borrow specific ideas and examples from them. Michael Wilmington would appreciate it.

    What Fincher did from a technical standpoint in that movie had only been hinted at in previous films.
    What passes for creativity and innovation in western cinema nowadays is very often borrowed from Asian filmmakers. Their work is poorly distributed and marketed. I am particularly impressed with taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's meta-narratives, Wong Kar-Wai's brilliant editing and Australian Chris Doyle's fluid and expressive camera movement. There are many others. Mr. Fincher seems particularly enamored of Hong Kong cinema which is fine. I enjoy his films, to a point. Now, I'll borrow some ideas:

    "The most frankly and cheerfully fascist big-star movie since Death Wish. It is macho porn." R. Ebert

    "What's most troubling about this witless mishmash of infantile philosophizing and violence is the increasing realization that it actually thinks it's saying something of significance" K.Turan(LA Times)

    "Consumer society gets the blame for male malaise but there is no missing the misogyny at the heart of the piece" Detroit News

    "A dazzling entertainment that wants us to luxuriate in violence " Sight and Sound

    Maybe we are better off with films like "Panic Room", a game of hide 'n' seek with no hypocritical pretensions, just borrowed techno wizardry.

  7. #22
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    Most overrated

    On that list I would have to say "Memento" or "The Shawshank Redemption".

    I liked 'Memento", it had quality performances in it and a nice gimmick. The film is directed and executed crisply and impressively.

    I always thought "Forrest Gump" was overrated and that "The Shawshank Redemption" should have won best picture that year. However, just putting "The Shawshank Redemption" on that list makes it a prime candidate for most overrated.

  8. #23
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    Ilker81x and Memento Supporter

    I have to agree with Ilker81x that to simplify Memento as a fancy gimmick and a film made in reverse is to grossly overlook the immense editing work and careful script design that must have gone into this twisting, intriguing storytelling. I'm surprised that some movie afcionados apparently glanced over this in the same blase manner that they complain about in the movies they don't like.

  9. #24
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    If god told me: "oscar, you can enjoy any film in the list except one. You pick it. If you ever watch a minute of it, you will burn in hell for eternity.
    I would pick Star Wars. Now, do I want to find fault with it or dismiss it? NO.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-03-2003 at 10:41 PM.

  10. #25
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    Star Wars - A Space Opera

    From a science fiction perspective, Star Wars (1977) really doesn't generate a lot of new ground, replacing the old epic movies of the Roman Empire with a translated version into outer space and special effects. What Star Wars did do was to bring to the masses the popularity of science fiction that they could relate to in terms of war battles, exciting action thrillers, and new adventures that audiences hadn't seen before. Logan's Run (1976), The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976), Zardoz (1974), Fantastic Planet (animated, 1973), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Andromeda Strain (1971), and particularly 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Planet of the Apes (1968), Barabella (1967), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Fantastic Voyage (1966) were the new crop of hard core sci fi movies that came into vogue after the horror/monster flicks of the 50s. But after 2001, Star Wars made sci fi popular, a blockbuster option, opening up doors to respectable science fiction movies with big budgets. Later to come were Superman (1978), Alien (1979), Star Trek - The Motion Picture (1979), Blade Runner (1982), E.T. (1982), and The Terminator (1984). So while Star Wars didn't break much new ground and is over-rated as a science fiction movie, it broke the glass ceiling that 2001 had cracked to enable science fiction genre to become a serious and legitimate film industry.

  11. #26
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    Re: Star Wars - A Space Opera

    Well said tabuno, well said.

    "Star Wars" does deserve that credit of making sci-fi movies adventurous, and as a result a blockbuster option for filmmakers. I think "2001: A Space Odyssey" did open the door for sci-fi to become a serious genre with better budgets and production quality, but I also think that movie, and later "Blade Runner" paved the way for philosophy in sci-fi as well, showing it to not just be all space and futurism and adventure, but something to truly THINK about. "2001..." while outdated today in 2003, I think is still a very possible future...we already have space stations and shuttles going back and forth in Earth orbit. We just haven't really gone back to the moon, either from lack of interest or lack of resources (most likely both). Now we're thinking about Mars. Who's to say that next we won't be trying Jupiter? Like George Orwell before them, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick undershot a little, but look at the state of our political affairs. Orwell's not too far off when you think about it...as such, I think Clarke and Kubrick had a very probably vision for the state of our exploration into space. "Blade Runner" also beckoned the age old question of what it means to be human and whether or not we could make machines to be more human than human (BTW, for those who haven't read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I highly recommend it...it's different from the movie in many ways, and even has an element of satire, but it's an excellent read). True we haven't really been approaching that stage of making human-like androids with artificial intelligence (at least not to my knowledge), but with the advent of cloning and these new A.I. engines they're making for video games and films (like the one they used for the battles in "Lord of the Rings"), one does begin to wonder if it will become a valid concern in the next twenty years. Again, author Philip K. Dick undershot a little in the book ("Do Androids..." was originally set in 1992 before being later changed to 2019 in new editions of the book to fit the movie), and Ridley Scott had the movie in 2019...but looking at that city of L.A. in "Blade Runner," it doesn't look too far off from the hyper-industrialized state of today's modern cities.
    Do I think "Star Wars" is overrated? Yes. Combine the Roman Empire, with the Knight in Shining Armor, with a Samurai story...set in space, and you get "Star Wars." I do understand its appeal and its importance in making sci-fi a genre to make money on, but I think "Blade Runner" and "2001: A Space Odyssey" are the movies that gave sci-fi the seriousness it deserves.

  12. #27
    To Oscar: I appreciate your impassioned defense of Citizen Kane and your academic dismissal of Fight Club, though I reserve my right to disagree. However, I get the impression that I could search the web for quotes listing Citizen Kane as overrated and Fight Club as a legitimate masterwork and your opinion would be swayed just as little as mine is. Besides, criticizing Fight Club for being misogynist at heart is a little ironic, given that the hero spends most of his time beating up other men (and himself), and in the end finds redemption in a woman. Sounds like Rocky to me.

    Oh, and if you're interested in quoting others, as you've pointed out with Perfume V, feel free to do it with me, too.

  13. #28
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    Fight Club

    I like "Fight Club," but I didn't think it a masterpiece as almost everybody I know thought it was. I read the book and thought it was a well-written exploration into a man's descent into a different kind of insanity, one brought on by insomnia and the need to find out what his life is about. I think the movie captured the essence of the book very well, and I think David Fincher showed how good a director he is...sure he's done that before with "Se7en" and "The Game," but "Fight Club" was a good movie that showed that he knows what he's doing. I haven't seen "Panic Room" yet, but I hear it's good.

    My problem with "Fight Club" is NOT the misogyny or the idea of solving problems through violence. Personally, I find that entertaining...not because I am male, but because it satisfies that innate desire I think all humans have to at least once "destroy something beautiful." I could go into the philosophy of that a little more, but I don't want to bore people. I think everybody, no matter how tree-hugging or how "normal" you consider yourselves, has some primal urge hidden deep within to indulge in a little violence...that's what action movies satisfy, and "Fight Club" satisfied that while also providing some good points on finding your place in life (albeit they seemed dressed up and pretentious with all the fighting going on).

    My problem with "Fight Club" is that I too have gone through bouts of insomnia and narcolepsy and boredom at work and with my life in general...yet I didn't go crazy and conjure up some adonis-like companion who would inevitably take over my psyche. Maybe it's because I'm not a schizophrenic...to my knowledge anyway...hehe...but as interesting as it was, as entertaining as it was, I couldn't take it too seriously either because it was a good concept in written form, and while it's a well-made movie, it just didn't strike me as anything tangible. It's the same problem I have with "Crash." Good book, great concept, but seeing it on film is totally unbelievable because it's too difficult to think that there are people that warped and so far gone that they'd indulge in near-death auto-erotic sexual ecstasy like that.

    I could be wrong...maybe there are people like that, but...in my group of friends, I've seen a LOT of fucked up people...and even they were far more normal than the people in "Crash" or "Fight Club." I do marvel at "Fight Club"'s technical merits, and I think it's a great movie, one that I can watch when I need to quiet my rage...but a masterpiece? Maybe time will change that, but I don't think so. That's just me though.
    Last edited by Ilker81x; 03-04-2003 at 12:15 PM.

  14. #29
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    Originally posted by miseenscene
    To Oscar: I get the impression that I could search the web for quotes listing Citizen Kane as overrated and Fight Club as a legitimate masterwork and your opinion would be swayed just as little as mine is.
    My intention is primarily to present others an alternative point of view, when I have a significant diagreement with the one presented. My contention remains that: FC is a good film I enjoyed twice; it appears technically innovative to those with only casual interest in Asian cinema, and that I want technological advancements to be subservient to a higher purpose or vision. If you are open-minded and give honest consideration to an alien point of view, that would be icing on the cake.

    [QUOTE]Besides, criticizing Fight Club for being misogynist at heart is a little ironic, given that the hero spends most of his time beating up other men (and himself)

    You don't mean that violence and self-injurious behavior cannot coexist with hatred of women, right? I will grant you that my charge of misogyny may indicate a particular sensitivity of mine. Now, miseenscene, consider for instance how the film does little to dispel one of many "Tyler-isms" such as the feminization of men being the result of a generation of men being raised by women. IF the film intended to be a critique of machismo or male privilege, the message sailed past its target audience.


    Oh, and if you're interested in quoting others, as you've pointed out with Perfume V, feel free to do it with me, too.
    I think that providing a sample of the critical response can stimulate debate. I often, but not always, agree with the quotes I provide. My problem with Perfume V's post was that he used the same 49 year-old movie as illustration that critic M. Wilmington used in his published review, without giving Wilmington credit.

    By the way: I share your enthusiasm for The Sweet Hereafter. It is perhaps my fave film about a topic dear to me: fatherhood.
    Question from one "raised" on punk rock(and Verdi): What makes SLC Punk one of your favorites?

  15. #30
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    star wars and memento

    To dismiss Star Wars as a rehashing of old Roman Empire epics completely false. Lucas credited Kurosawa's "The Hidden Fortress" as a major inpsiration and watching it we see it parallels a decaying feudal society rather than a roman empire. Lucas has expressed a desire was to create a new mythology. Dropping the viewer into that universe with only bare bones expository text was sheer genius. With the budget he had, Lucas succeeded in creating a universe that sparked the imagination of millions.

    I don't think anyone is dismissing "Memento" as just a gimmick, but clever does not always mean great. On a list of great films, "Memento" sticks out as being overrated.

    "Fight Club" was vastly overrated but not on the original list.

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