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bartist
Posted: Thu May 07, 2020 2:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6583
Teehee.

The Mister Rogers film which Gromit was asking about.

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gromit
Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 3:29 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
What confused me was I had the title It's Such a Beautiful Day on my list of Dvd's to buy. And mistakenly put that in with the new films. I assumed it was the Tom Hanks flick, until I saw the titles didn't match.

Turns out the film I wanted is a Don Hertzfeld animated film from 2012, in which a stick figure with health issues tries to come to terms with his pointless existence.
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2396224/
Sounds good if you can accept an hour of existentialism and rudimentary drawings.

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gromit
Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 12:58 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
Fell asleep after 2/3rds of Richard Jewell.
I liked the setup. But then it got kind of draggy and plodding in that very literal-minded Eastwood manner. Some of the interactions and dialogue were clunky. Some scenes seemed rather TV drama-ish.

Almost everything with the female reporter was kind of cringe-worthy. She sleeps with an FBI guy to get the scoop, then needs a male reporter to write the story for her, because she no write well. Yikes.

I'll see how the last 1/3 goes. But the middle was mediocre at best.

Well, I only had 20 minutes left and nothing much happened.

The main FBI agent is a fairly weak point of the film as well. Very basic stuff seems to flummox him. He grimaces a lot. Acts unprofessional.

Clint is as always pretty blunt about who the good and bad guys are. Maybe that's why the Richard Jewell character is the best in the film, because some ambiguity is there throughout (well, unless you know the story). But the RJ portrayal was the best part, as he is an unlikely hero, and more of a misfit than you find at the center of most films. Otherwise, the film was pretty workmanlike and plodding, imo

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billyweeds
Posted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:44 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 20 May 2004 Posts: 20521 Location: New York City
Gromit--Disagree completely about RJ. Clint's best movie in decades. Well, IMO his only good one in decades. Some like his films. Not me.
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gromit
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 4:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
It probably is Clint's best in decades, but it still has some of his signature plodding manner. An example:

Late in the film Jewell and lawyer go to the FBI office for a formal interview.
Jewell says he thought that the logo on the door meant something, that the FBI did important things, now he see they are just punks (i loosely paraphrased). Then on their way out, the door swings shut and Clint holds on the logo for a few seconds. Clunky. Either do one or the other. Focus on the logo at the end. Or talk about it in the interview. Doing both is just a double beat on the obvious. A lot of the film felt that way. Not subtle.

The RJ actor and character was handled pretty well. Rockwell does a solid/workmanlike job, in a largely one-note role. The mother is decent in a limited role. And all the other side characters are bad to awful in poorly designed roles. But the film just drags and gets so step-by-step, that I got distanced. It's a good story and decent film, just could have been tightened up and improved.
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One thing that struck me while watching was how similar Jewell and Zimmerman were. Two wanna-be law enforcement losers, who were overzealous when given even a small amount of authority. Then their stories weirdly diverge. Jewell's officiousness actually pays off and he's a genuine life-saving hero but winds up vilified. While Zimmerman overdoes things and kills an innocent person, yet becomes a hero to some. Maybe the difference is Jewell stays within the rules, just insisting on going by the book, which pays off. While Zimmerman goes rogue and disastrously initiates an unnecessary confrontation.


Last edited by gromit on Sat May 09, 2020 6:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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gromit
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 4:47 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
Blinded by the Light didn't do much for me. It's likable enough. I liked the Pakistani family dynamics more than anything else in the film. there's a nice moment when the lead character discovers/is let in on the fact that his sister has a Pakistani boyfriend. And he quizzes her sternly, and for a beta or two you don't know if he's going to be object like his father would, or will support her rebelliousness.

Otherwise a lot of the film felt film-ish, without real stakes. All the girlfriend stuff you knew would work out happily. The racism is only mildly threatening and even after the father gets beaten still feels limited menacing. I think this was in the way the film looks, was filmed, and how things move on quickly.
Maybe the film looks to bright and colorful and non-gritty compared to its locale. I felt this way about the film even before they broke into musical numbers at times.

I never liked Springsteen's music and this film helped me understand why. The choruses to his songs are really banal ("everybody's got a hungry heart" and such), while he seems too earnest about the mundane. It seems rather high-school level feelings. And his singing has a weird muffled tone. There's hints of Elvis and Tom Waits but it just comes off as limited.

And a problem in the film is who really cares if the kid gets to see Springsteen in concert or get to Asbury Park (which magically happens via a 10 second speech by his teacher (oh by the way, that essay of yours ... you can go to NJ for free). And the whole film is about how strict these immigrant families are, then suddenly the Sikh buddy also inexplicably comes along for the trip to NJ.

Other issues I had, which maybe were just me. I got confused when this film was. First I thought it was mid-70's, then I went with early 80's by the Flock of Seagulls hairstyles and mentions of Maggie Thatcher. But then it turned out it was 1987. I also thought it was high school. But then it turned out to be a college, which seemed to be like a community college. I got lost in time and place, which perhaps was my attention issues, but seemed the film didn't make that stuff fully clear (at least for me).

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gromit
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 2:09 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
I preferred Yesterday, a similar film about a Pakistani in the UK and pop Music as salvation, in which the Beatles play the Springsteen role, and the film is a fantasy-comedy, without the family and racial issues.

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bartist
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6583
Yesterday - would you say the film takes the easy way out? If so, did it have a good reason?

BTW. Anyone heard from Syd lately? He seems quieter than usual.

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Syd
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 6:45 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 21 May 2004 Posts: 12611 Location: Norman, Oklahoma
I'm here. Haven't watched a film for a while. I'm doing a Naruto binge on Netflix, and, since there are over two hundred episodes, it's taking a while. Aslo rewatching David Attenborough nature series.

I also had an attack of iritis last week which made it hard to read the computer. The University has gone online through the summer and I've been working remotely from home. Also reading C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy, but I misplaced "Perelandra" and started on N. K. Jemisin's new novel and loved it. Now have to find "Perelandra" again.

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bartist
Posted: Sat May 09, 2020 8:00 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6583
CS Lewis trilogy was one of the first sf/fant things I read, in my early teens. Seems worth reading, again. Hope your eyes survive increased screen time. I think eye irritation is pretty common these days what with more telecommuting, Zoom chats, bingeing etc. I had some myself a while back, and would have to force myself to go out and walk or do yard work, anything to create space between me and cyberspace. If you're still reading this, stop! Cheers.

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gromit
Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 3:49 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
bartist wrote:
Yesterday - would you say the film takes the easy way out? If so, did it have a good reason?


They are different films with a lot of basic similarities.

Yesterday is a fantasy rom-com. It's nothing great, but as a nice escapist weird little drama/alt universe, it works. Mostly because it is consistent and sweet. Also, Beatles music (not really what I listen to) is better than The Boss, imo.

For me, Blinded By The Light is a more important and personal subject since it involves growing up, the immigrant experience and pop music. I just felt that tonally it seemed anodyne and like a Disney film, so the grittiness and racism was undercut by a lack of gravitas or threat.

But I'm not really sure what your question was asking.

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bartist
Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 10:51 am Reply with quote
Joined: 27 Apr 2010 Posts: 6583
Sorry, I was jokingly borrowing the lyrics of Day Tripper. I watched Yesterday last night and liked it a lot. I was a Beatles fan as a young lad and could happily live inside that film. I thought it was cleverly written, enjoyed all the alternative things in the parallel universe and the social confusions resulting, and the satiric look at the modern music industry. The stewardess reaction to "do you have Coke? " got a belly laugh. To be sure, the plot is highly predictable, and it's a trope that practically writes itself. Not to get too spoilery, but you know which Beatle he's going to meet. And the romcom outcome is screamingly obvious (it's Lily James, for godssakes). If I rated films simply on fun and enjoyment (and inhabiting them), this would be my top film of 2019. Sometimes I like taking the easy way out.

Meanwhile in Penny Lane the barber won't be shaving another customer until Fall at the earliest.

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gromit
Posted: Sun May 10, 2020 11:55 am Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
Yesterday was likable and his versions of the Beatles classics were pretty good. It's a nice trick to get you to sit there for 90 minutes watching a Pakistani-Brit sing Beatles songs. it's a fairly light film and never explains how things came to be as they are in the film.

I think Blinded By the Light had more potential, but got the tone wrong. It's too easy when the hardass Dad suddenly is willing to adopt the Springsteen philosophy at the end. That kind of thing makes the film feel slight and phony.

I liked in Yesterday when everyone disses his heartfelt own composition and only like the Beatles material. And when he plays Yesterday to mild appreciation and tries to explain its one of the greatest pop songs, and his family all think he's getting rather full of himself.

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gromit
Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
I was mostly bored by Marriage Story. Talky, Talky, Talky. And there seemed to be a lot of effort involved, from the actors and the screenwriter.
The stakes were low; the kid they were tussling over was spoiled and annoying. The whole thing was so white and privileged, I was almost expecting Woody Allen to turn up.

I thought Scarlett J was pretty good with what she had to work with. Her mother kind of wacky interesting, annoying. Alan Alda was interesting as this show biz lawyer turned family lawyer who is sort of low key cheerful cynical.
Was surprised how much Laura Dern annoyed me. Like she was channeling Meryl Streep or something.

I imagine I'll completely forget this film rather quickly. Probably just remember that Scarlett had a boyish haircut throughout.

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gromit
Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 3:04 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 31 Aug 2004 Posts: 8737 Location: Shanghai
I thought Judy was pretty terrific. Superb casting, nice pacing, authentic period look. In a way it's similar to Marriage Story, an actress divorced and trying to stay with her children. But with the addition of aging and broken dreams, addiction and doubts about if your talent is still intact.

Renee Zellweger is pretty fantastic. Actually it wasn't until 20 minutes in that I recognized/realized it was her. I really go into films blind and try to know as little as possible, except the basic plot and the perceived quality (so i can avoid clunkers).

The storyline is fairly familiar, a former star on the decline and trying to keep up appearances and hold things together despite drink and drugs. But it's all handled so well, that it's affecting and resonant. Impressive film, and I have minimal interest in Judy Garland or her music aside from the Wizard of Oz really. Goes right to the top of 2019 Films for me.


Last edited by gromit on Sun Jun 14, 2020 2:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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