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Brian Hague
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 12:32pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'm among those who feels that Ghostbusters is a terrific film, with lots more going for it than it is being credited here. The story beats come fast & furious, the character work is excellent, and the climax works far better than most, especially if you saw it in a theater and didn't know the Marshmallow Man was coming. It's quotable, stays true to its premise, doesn't cheat*, and everyone in it, even the most extreme characters like Spengler and Peck stay on this side of being a cartoon**, which can't be said for the sequel or the reboot.

Ghostbusters hits that 80's-era sweet spot along with Back To The Future, Princess Bride, and Die Hard where everything in the film works if you go with it. If you're determined to sneer, you certainly can do so, but what's the point?

I have a good friend who just last night was remonstrated by his fiance (again) for being a film snob. It's useless to point it out to him, however. His "enjoyment" of a film only comes from being able to "meh" it afterwards. He'll praise foreign films and loves the work of David Lynch and Werner Herzog. Those are worthy of praise and it demonstrates a certain something about him that he will rise to the occasion to do so. 

Nearly everything else is met with a dead stare while watching and the ever-at-the-ready, "It was kind of... meh..." afterwards. He will often make a point of checking out of films as the climax approaches to play with the cats, calling out to them, and engaging in conversations with them over the dialogue on-screen to demonstrate that the film-makers clearly have NOT engaged him and he has not been taken in by their ham-fisted attempts to manipulate him.

Which makes it a pain in the ass to watch movies with him sometimes, but he is a friend and that's what we do with friends. We take them as they are. God knows he makes allowances for my innumerable shortcomings. 

I have another friend who has a list of the 100 greatest movies ever made he clipped from a magazine and will only discuss those. I don't know that he watches anything else. But only those are of substantial enough content to merit discussion. Anything else... isn't. 

For some reason many of us need to carry this sense of what we will and will not tolerate in stories with us into the world like standard-bearers***. If we let the lesser stuff in, we'd be tainted by it. Left stained and unclean. It's important to let others know that we won't allow that to happen. "Oh, you liked that, did you? Yes, I understand many did..."

Taking "popular" films down a peg is a vital component of our message to the world that things allowed for by others will not be accepted by us. We weren't taken in . They didn't fool us. Sorry, filmmakers. It will take a little more than that to "wow" us. 

We all draw those lines in different places (I was dead-set against seeing "Goonies" for most of my adult life. I don't know that I am significantly improved by having finally given in on that.) and if you want to hold out against Ghostbusters, fine, but it's not the film's fault. It's fun. It's well-made, and it does its job well. History to date has put it in the "classic" column, but hey, maybe if we all chuck enough ennui at it... :-)

* Crossing the streams isn't cheating. It's a desperate "Hail Mary" that was said to be hazardous early on; a classic example of "Chekhov's Proton Pack."

** Eh, Rick Moranis maybe not, especially after being turned into a dog...  

*** Heyyy, waitaminnit...

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Brian Hague
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"It's a Wonderful Life" is a favorite of mine going way back. It has an amazing element to it that lets us think our bleak and pointless suffering is being watched by somebody, somewhere and allows us to feel that maybe we are telling stories here on Earth that matter somehow. But, man alive, is it dark...

I was just talking about the film with a co-worker who spent her early life trying to get out of the one-horse town she grew up in. Watching "It's a Wonderful Life" back then was intensely depressing for her because even at the end, he... never... gets... out... Not even for a vacation, she pointed out. I mean, hopefully at the end there with all that money, maybe he and the wife can finally, finally, finally slip away to Paris for a week or something, but y'know what? He's probably just going to break even. He'll have the money to pay the bank (an amount the bank owner has already stolen) and then... what? Put the rest away in savings for the kids? It's still not that much... 

Now that she has gotten out of that town she says she can look back on the film with a little more optimism, but really, he still never gets to pursue his dreams. He just learns to live with what he has and appreciate it better. 

Which is the message of the film and even it's title, I know, but man... Dark... :-)


Edited by Brian Hague on 22 December 2019 at 1:00pm
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Brian, i`m no movie snob, i just don`t get it`s
popularity, it`s all down to personal choice. The other
80`s films you mentioned, i adore!
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 12:54pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The film does get off to a slow start with Venkman zapping that one guy while trying to make time with a student... Maybe that's what's throwing people. :-)

No problem, Bill. My two friends are definitely snobs, but that doesn't mean everyone is with a level of resistance to these films are. I should have made that clear. Sorry. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 22 December 2019 at 12:58pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 1:28pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Is it a sordid confession to say that I actually enjoy Gone With the Wind with its sweeping scope, vast panoramas, and a story arc for its heroine like none other in film? I don't even mind the long running time.

I haven't yet seen Lawrence of Arabia. And I really should, I think.

I get the craftsmanship and power of the Godfather films, but I don't like them. My father was a police officer so f*ck crime families.

How's this for a confession: I grew up watching for more TV than I did films, so when I look back on my life, there are a few films here and there that I see as benchmarks, but for a real feeling of what my life was back in the day, I watch TV shows, and feel far more of a connection to Charlie's Angels or St. Elsewhere than I do the films of those same times, Back to the Future and the Breakfast Club being the obvious exceptions. Obviously. :-)

Okay, and Young Sherlock Holmes. But just those three. 

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Bill Collins
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Posted: 22 December 2019 at 2:12pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I have tried to see the films that are regarded as must
see classics by critics, some i loved, some i thought
were tedious. It`s been a while since i saw The
Godfather films, they were ok, but i get were Brian is
coming from regarding crime families.
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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 23 December 2019 at 4:16am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

When did you see Star Wars Andrew?

I'm old enough to have seen it when the movie was first released here in the UK. I'm fully prepared to accept that Lucas and co. had not scripted the relationship between Luke and Vader at that time, but that didn't stop everyone in the schoolyard guessing it well in advance. No psychic powers involved, it was just bloomin' obvious.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 23 December 2019 at 8:33am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

The way STAR WARS plays, Obi Wan could just as likely be Luke's father as Vader, if you're assuming he was lying about any of it (and at that point, why would you?).  Uncle Owen wanting Luke to avoid him; the fact that he has his father's lightsaber; the paternal instinct toward Luke (I mean, he chopped off a...guy's arm just because they got into a tussle).

Vader says, "The Force is strong with this one!" in reference to Luke in the trench, but is he picking up 'Force vibes' or just observing that he's too good of a pilot to not have "help"?  If he's "reading" Luke, how does he not sense a familial connection? Or, for that matter, having been in much closer proximity for a much longer time, sense his own daughter?? (Even after capturing her again in EMPIRE. It's clear Vader doesn't put it together until the climax of ROTJ, thanks to Luke). Or, at least that the Force was strong with her, as well? She did resist the truth droid, or whatever that was. And was a hell of a shot. Vader felt Obi Wan almost immediately upon the Falcon being brought aboard the Death Star. 

Granted, he thinks his children are dead, but even if he didn't know what he was "looking" for, wouldn't he at least have noticed a similar "signature" coming from both Luke and Leia?

And then there's Luke's Leia crush, not entirely unrequited, by the way. All of this makes the ensuing revelations problematic, in retrospect, but also makes it less probable (though, I can't say impossible) that one would guess upon simply viewing STAR WARS - with no other input than from contemporaries on the playground - that Vader was Luke and Leia's father.  






Edited by Brian Rhodes on 23 December 2019 at 9:04am
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 23 December 2019 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I avoid films where people I regard as ‘bad’ are the protagonists so I tend to avoid ‘gangster’ Or crime family films. 

I watched one (Casino?) where a guy’s head got put in a vice. Why do people find this watchable?
So, yeah, the Godfather. Not watched it. Don’t intend to. 


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Brian Hague
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Posted: 23 December 2019 at 12:57pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Brian Rhodes wrote: " If he's "reading" Luke, how does he not sense a familial connection? Or, for that matter, having been in much closer proximity for a much longer time, sense his own daughter?? (Even after capturing her again in EMPIRE. It's clear Vader doesn't put it together until the climax of ROTJ, thanks to Luke)."

As I've often said, the Dark Side is not that bright.

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Shawn Kane
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Joined: 04 November 2010
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Posted: 23 December 2019 at 1:58pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I'm with James and Brian as far as gangster movies. Terrible people doing terrible things doesn't appeal to me as far as entertainment goes. Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects are movies I've skipped.

Edited by Shawn Kane on 23 December 2019 at 1:59pm
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Craig Earl
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Posted: 24 December 2019 at 3:46am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

*includes spoiler alert for 'It's a Wonderful Life' in second paragraph

I find most gangster movies generally scarier than horror movies, and I'm a horror fan. It's just that ever present thought that everyone seems to be one scene away from a gruesome end, no matter who they are. There are same great gangster movies, from 'Angels with Dirty Faces' to 'State of Grace', the latter of which never seems to get mentioned despite a stellar cast (Ed Harris, Sean Penn, and an unforgettable Gary Oldman).

* Brian, I watched 'It's a Wonderful Life' again last night (a household tradition at this time of year. Yep, there's no denying it is dark. It still sticks with me that Potter (essentially the movie's villain) gets away scott-free with a ton of money!

Anyway, continuing the original thread, I've come up with a few more that I've never seen that some hail as classics. 'Memento' - 'A Clockwork Orange' - 'Fargo' - 'Some Like it Hot' 
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