You talkin’ to me?

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15 Responses to “You talkin’ to me?”

  1. I am not the best person to discuss the 2010 Oscar nominations because, as of today, I have only seen about 50% of the films that have been nominated by the Academy. I will say two things about YOUR nominations that I love. First, your inclusion of IN THE LOOP for BEST PICTURE and for nominating Peter Capaldi for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR. IN THE LOOP is one of my favorite films of 2009. I laughed my way through the entire film. For me is was better than WAG THE DOG and as a polical satire it ranks right up there with DR. STRANGLOVE.

    Peter Capaldi would be my pick for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR most definitely. He was incredible. The BEST performance of any actor or actress from 2009. So… kudos for both those nominations.

    I also respect your nominations for the three animated films. 2009 was not the greatest year for films IMHO but, it most surely came through with the quality and diversity of its animated films. I hope you don’t get any flack from nominating all three of those wonderful movies just because they are animated. They were all, so far, in my TOP 20 films of the year.

    That’s all the input I have for you but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your website and your nominations and there is validity and much thought in your choices.

  2. Thanks, Whitney! Did you mean to post this here? Did you know you can reply directly to the post that you’re responding to?

    Anyway, I agree with you about In the Loop and Capaldi (obviously), but I’m wondering if you’ve seen Inglourious Basterds yet. As great as Capaldi is I think Christoph Waltz might even be better.

    Glad you agree with me about the animated films. It’s been a great year for animated films, and I didn’t even see The Secret of Kells or A Town Called Panic (which I’m told is great). I’m happy the Academy found room for Up in the Best Picture category – a result, I’m sure, of expanding the category to 10 films.

    Anyway, thanks for dropping by!


  3. Mat,

    I just reviewed the 1973 film, “The Sting,” last night; as always, I enjoyed the film on a host of dimensions. I was curioius as to your ranking of this movie. To my surprise, you did not mention it in your 1973 list.

    Inasmuch as it won 7 Oscars, including best film, how can you reconcile your omission? In particular, if it is neither a Top 10, nor a runner up, nor an other worthwhile release, then how can it not be considered overrated?


  4. Mat,

    I just saw the Usual Suspects again and as always, was enthralled by the depth, breadth, and style of this “masterpiece.”

    I note that you place it in your Top 10 for 1995. My first question is “Where do you think this ranks across time and all genre?” The subsequent question is “Where do you think it ranks across time in its own genre?”


  5. Mat,

    For 1967 films, I note that you ranked both “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “In the Heat of the Night” as overrated. Moreover, you never mentioned “To Sir, with Love.” Do you dislike Poitier or just these 3 of his films, one of which was the best picture of that year, and all 3 of which voiced a social consciousness of the time, namely racial equality.


  6. Mark,

    The Sting – It’s been eighteen years since I’ve seen The Sting, so I guess it’s about due for reappraisal.

    The Usual Suspects – I’m not sure it can be comfortably fit into any particular genre. Is it a mystery? a thriller? a gangster movie? Perhaps that speaks to its originality. Anyway, whichever genre it belongs to I’d probably place it somewhere in the top 20.

    Poitier – I have nothing against Poitier per se, but as a rule I don’t like “social-conscience” pictures. All too often they strike me as preachy, self-righteous, and heavy-handed. Of the three films you mention, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is the worst. Tracy has his consciousness predictably raised, learning that their great love transcends the difference in the color of their skin. It’s not just that we’re being taught a lesson, it’s that the lesson is delivered in such a drearily obvious fashion, often explicitly through dialogue, with the characters functioning as mouthpieces for “the message” the filmmaker doesn’t want us to miss.

  7. Mat,

    I don’t think “Guess …” is a good movie, but did like Tracy’s finale speach.

    Remember that in the US in the 1960’s, interracial marriages were illegal in some states. And certainly, interracial relationships were “taboo.” So, I’m not sure if this is something you consider while reviewing, or you beleive is not relevant inasmuch as morality is only relative.

    But even so, you do have your own sense of morality and ethics, and I believe that your value system aligns with that of Tracy’s character after his epiphany and reflection of what his character come to believe.

    Aside, I’m surprised that you didn’t enjoy “In the Heat …” if for anything other than Steiger’s amazing performance.


    P.S. I didn’t see “The Usual Suspects” in your Top 50 countdown.

  8. I don’t object to the film’s message (that is to say I have nothing against interracial marriage) but I do object to the didactic way it’s presented. I don’t go to the movies to get a lecture, to have a message jammed down my throat, whether I agree with it or not.

    Plus, Poitier is idealized beyond belief, which makes it a lot easier for Tracy to undergo his change of heart. Too bad Poitier hadn’t played a pimp from the ‘hood instead of a handsome, clean-cut, intelligent, successful, upstanding member of the community – now that would have been interesting!

    You’re right, the film was probably more controversial in its day. That’s another problem with “message movies” dealing with topical issues – they tend to date badly.


  9. Mat,

    The fact that Poitier’s character is ideal – suave, educated, successful, humanitarian, etc., – is a requirement because then, the only objection to their marrying must be based on his race. If he were a thug, then a credible objection can be based on the content of his character and not the color of his skin.

    As to message movies, it seems most movies carry/deliver a message or two. And if the message rings true with me, I am not bothered.


  10. Mat,

    I looked at your Top 50 countdown and didn’t see The Usual Suspects. You had written that you would have it in your Top 20. Is it time to update the countdown?

  11. Mark,

    I was being facetious when I said too bad he wasn’t a pimp from the ‘hood (though it would have been a helluva lot funnier). Still, Poitier is just too damn…perfect. An idealized black man raises Tracy’s consciousness rather than a real, believable black man with some – god forbid – character flaws.

    The problem I have with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and films of its ilk is that they take a sledgehammer approach. I prefer it when a filmmaker is more subtle, when he trusts the audience to be intelligent enough to pick up on themes without hammering you over the head with them. One pet peeve of mine is when dialogue is used to spell out themes/messages, and that occurs throughout Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. The characters don’t come across as real people; they’re mouthpieces for a screenwriter making sure you don’t miss the point.

    Regarding my Top 50 and The Usual Suspects. I said “whichever genre it belongs to I’d probably place it somewhere in the top 20.” I didn’t mean it would make my all-time Top 20 – or 50. It would probably be in the Top 100, though.


  12. Mat,

    I like the “Film Log” part of your site, but you only have 2012. It would be great to see your ratings of movies that you saw before this year (i.e., Film Logs from previous years or otherwise). In fact, it would be great to see your rating of every movie to which you’ve assigned a rating.

    For example, I recently watched “Gigantic” and “Cedar Rapids,” two small films in completely different genres. Have you seen either? If so, I am interested in hearing your opinion.


  13. I already answered this when you asked me the same question in the 2012 film log.


  14. In Part 6 (Gadflies) you wrote:

    “There are two types of people in the world, my friend: those with loaded guns and those who fetch popcorn. You fetch popcorn.”

    How many other shameless rip-offs (here, a rip-off from Leone’s TG,TB, ATG) are embedded in your writings? LOL

  15. Ha. Yeah, well, I’d prefer to call it an “homage” or a “reference.” And, yes, the story is peppered with, ahem, homages and references. But not just to Leone films. And not, for that matter, just to films. Some are explicit, others are subtle.