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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.

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Old June 14th, 2004, 11:49 PM   #46
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I have to add one more thing.

To call any film not true art I think is an insult to the hundreds of persons working in that film. Sure, there might be some suits, craftsmen, actors or even technicians that are going through the motions and using their learned skills to get by but you can also be sure there are the same/similar persons that are bleeding and sweating their passion into the work to produce the best they can.

Now that would be an insult would it not?

And as far as independent films go; for me it still stands "Open Water" is independent. "Lost in Translation" is not.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 12:09 AM   #47
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Very thoughtful post about art, craft, and passion. In reading your thoughts you got me thinking about the “passion” part of art. And I think I see an additional angle. I think artistic passion has less to do about one’s passion for the craft, and more to do about one’s vision and passion about other things in life. Yes, you can get bored with the mechanics of film, dance, music, writing, painting, etc. But that’s not why you do it. You do it (produce art) because you are passionate about _______ (fill in the blank). In other words, its not about your passion for art, but your passion for justice, love, etc. You do it because you feel something deeply about the world or the human condition, and you want other people to feel, see, hear, or think the same thing – have the same experience. To put it yet another way, without a point of view, the “artist” is just a craftsman (not that there’s anything wrong with that – a good craftsman can be hired by someone else with a vision to collaborate on a great work.)

I would also add another quality on which to judge the artist or their art: integrity. Integrity means that there is a direct correlation between the art work and the artist’s world view. For example, I may not agree with all of Mel Gibson’s philosophy but I can respect the fact that made strong work that parallels his personal beliefs. Schindler’s List is all the more compelling because it springs from Spielberg’s personal passion about the holocaust (in contrast with, say Jurassic Park, that has NO integrity whatsoever.)

// Ric
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Old June 15th, 2004, 12:30 AM   #48
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Well put and also an angle which I can accept.

So many angles and such a rush of conversation and waht I love about this kind of conversation is the way your eyes can be opened or even an opinion changed with a new learned view.

Interesting notion about an artist being a craftsman without passion; kind of like the above mentioned artist who forges?

Perhaps only the artist will truly ever know the passion put into a piece while we are left to make up our own minds. Someone on another forum made an interesting point once in saying that "The art is no longer ours once we release it" Kind of like in creating the art is where the true artist is but once it is complete it is not up to us to decide its place.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:28 AM   #49
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Now this is what I'm talk'n about!!! GREAT POV's FROM EVERYONE!!!!!!

I should point something out here about myself. I am in no way saying that whatever I believe I see as the end all or something. I'm very aware that from another person's point of view, what I have to say is 100% wrong, and that opinion is also greatly valid.

I am I should say a relatively loud person, very animated and one could say I should have been put on Riddleon as a child. Much of what comes out of me is far from emotional comparatively to what happens when I'm mad or giddy or whatever. It might come across sometimes that I'm getting heated when I'm not. It may not seem this way, but if you get to know me I'm very accepting of all people just as long as they don't do things to me or others that I consider A-moral. Truthfully, it's hard to find people this passionate about filmmaking, as most see it as recreation. So when I do find people that are passionate, I tend to stir the hornet's nest so to speak to get things rolling. This way, I can get selfish enjoyment discussing/arguing (arguing not meaning heated, just debating) what really makes me and others like me tick.

With regards to Carney, I also realize my comments are very one sided and obviously a bit quick to judge considering I got that one cassevettes quote screwed up already. (lolol) I should then conscede and rephrase my statement saying that Cassevettes, due to HIS comment should take the brunt of my jokes.

. . . however . . .


Let's face it, guys like Carney are pretty easy to see coming from a distance. If he is not even a filmmaker (assuming he's not right now), then he's nothing more than a dork, anyway, becasue what does he really know about it?

(Of course, years ago as teenager when I had only made home movies, I still woul have told you what made a good or bad one, so . . .)

Also, yes, the collabortive effort, in the wisest sense of the word, is the most important thing that takes place, and also that some people enjoyed their lives and helped themselves be fuller.

Anyway . . .

All I state are my OPINIONS, nothing more. That being said, I'm going to mention that the topic really isn't what's mostly important in life, but more so what constitutes (in our opinions) a good movie, and that being said . . .

What's up with this whole "director isn't important as the producer?" Maybe on a "everyone's starving and what's important is the good of the many" point of view, yes. But from an artistic point of view, (assuming the director is allowed complete creative control), I don't care what anyone says, the director is the MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST ON THE SET. (before that it's the writer) I both produced and directed my first feature. It wasn't the producer in me that pulled out the passion I needed, it was the director in me. The producer is much closer to the "Money maker" we all hate in hollywood than the director for sure. In general, producers are assigned a basic assembly-line job to make sure each department is running. Not saying it's easy, but when it comes time for art, he needs to get the hell out of the way.

IMHO, the reason you have good films is not because you have good actors or efficient producers, it's becasue a good director has a very specific vision, and he goes for that vision with all the gusto he can. When the vision doesn't fall into place via production problems, it's his job to fix the holes that will keep the vision on a basic same idea and still make it work.

The reason Keanu Reeves worked in the Matrix was not becasue he was a great actor. It's becasue the directors did what it took to fit him into the film as best they could.

I think it's a question of how many cooks should there be making the soup (artistically). The producer runs the kitchen, but the finished product, the soup should be handed to the director. When it's not, you get all sorts of crap in the film that is toy-based, money-based, ego-based. As long as the director is flexible enough to realize when he needs to concede to unforseeable problems, he has the last creative word. People here will probably say that's not a good idea all the way through, becasue battle savvy editors and the like are good about when a scene is too long or what not, but this falls into play with "a good director knows when to concede . . . and when not to".

By the way, surely an artist can get bored. Sometimes life just isn't the way you planned and it's all you can do to keep moving. But THE GREAT DIRECTORS are the ones that keep reaching inside theirselves to find "The beginner's mind". They keep themslves hungry. I think Spielberg, Lucas, etc. eventually got bored due to power. That's why their poor movies end up suffering (just a guess). Course, could be do to greed and toys and money . . . which also makes plenty of sense.

. . . Oh, come on, Joe . . .

You really think that Carney's opinion of the Terminator is accurate? Nothing but Hollywood crap? Just look at the script alone. It follows (relatively) the 3 unities of playwriting. The characters are well rounded and interesting, the story original, the plot exciting, and makes one think to boot. An action sci-fi, yes, but pretty deep considering. The concept of human kind's self destruction, the concept of their struggle to deal with the aftermath and what suddenly became important. The concept of what is considered life and what isn't, what is considered human and what isn't, what is considered IMPORTANT and what isn't. And a message stating that human beings, with a combination of their intelligence and heart, are perhaps both the best and worst thing that ever happened to the planet Earth.

Throw into this the brutal relentlessness of a villian so cold that it simply has no feelings toward whether you live or die. Is this not like life? Throw into this the eye-candy special effects that "never happens in reality". Did we not see this type of terrible beauty at Pearl Harbor, D-Day, or Hiroshima?

And just think about in the sequel when Arnold hopped on another motorcycle and it started playing "Bad to the Bone" . . . oh wait, that was stupid . . . anyway . . .

Men not very long ago laughed at the concept of Robots and the concept of flying to the moon the way they laugh at time travel now. Not saying that makes time travel realistic, but perhaps adds just enough reality to make the film just a little scary . . . a "what if" scenereo that if the stars alligned just right, could be pretty close to what our future might become. Without imagination, nothing would be invented, nothing would be conquered. We never even would have learned to walk.

So poo-pooing the "shallow" level of a film like the terminator IMHO makes a person relatively narrow-minded. Which is why I took one look at Carney and was willing to write him off, becasue as much as he obviously promotes filmmaking with a passion, he himself (not even a filmmaker) seems to be relatively passionless, unless it's about criticizing the norm.

Of course, I have a tendency to criticize typical art house films . . .

but that's okay, see, because I'm always right and everyone else is always wrong. :)

In fact, I'd like to make a statement here that on this thread everyone has to think I"m right all the time.

. . . no, let's take it further . . .

I'm God.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:30 AM   #50
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Again, all tounge-in-cheek . . . I wuv all of yas!
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Old June 15th, 2004, 08:08 AM   #51
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Some very good and very interesting points being made here.
The conversation seems to be going in several directions at once...but I think that's a good thing.

First off, John:

"I feel that the comment 'Art without craft is random and meaningless.' is not exactly right"

I may have gone too far in those words to prove a point.
I can see now that the word 'meaningless' was the wrong choice.
Perhaps 'unfocused' or 'ineffective' would be a better word.
(obviously i don't have a good understanding of the craft of writing)

My point was that 'art' with NO craft whatsoever would be too random and unfocused for an artist to truly commmunicate with his audience. Your example was:

"I used to paint oils long before I took actual lessons and I swear I put as much heart into I could; there was definate passion in my attempts to create art. Was my lack of 'technical skill' any less meaningful?

You put a lot of passion into your painting, and (I assume) you attempted to learn, if even on your own, how to make your work better. You may not have had lessons from a teacher, but I would hazzard to guess that you were trying to get a handle on the craft. I would not say that your art was 'less meaningful' because of that, but I would probably guess that it was less focused, and more random.

That brings us to what I think is the biggest challenge for any artist, balancing the craft and the passion. That's the trick.
As you said, you did eventually take lessons...and once you begin to learn the craft, you begin to learn the tricks. It's easy to become lazy, and it's easy to lose the passion you originally had.
That's the challenge of the artist, I think, to learn their craft without losing their passion.

Laurence said it well in his post:
"But THE GREAT DIRECTORS are the ones that keep reaching inside theirselves to find "The beginner's mind". They keep themslves hungry"

I think that is exactly right.

Art, to me, is about communication. Artists create work, most of the time, to communicate something to their audience. Whether that is an idea, an emotion, a statement of some kind...they are trying to communicate. The passion is what drives them to communicate, the craft is what allows them to do it in a focused way. Balancing those two is the key.

I read another quote from Cassavetes yesterday when I was reading over that stuff on Carney's site. He said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "You make films because you have to, not because you want to. You make a film to put something INTO it, not to get something out of it."

I thought there was a lot of truth to that statement.
And the passion, as pointed out here, does not necessarily come from the act of filmmaking itself. It comes from the message, the idea, the emotion, or whatever it is that you are trying to communicate to your audience.

Richard said it well in his post:
"You do it (produce art) because you are passionate about _______ (fill in the blank). In other words, its not about your passion for art, but your passion for justice, love, etc. You do it because you feel something deeply about the world or the human condition, and you want other people to feel, see, hear, or think the same thing – have the same experience"

Sorry to quote so much from everyone's posts...but I feel everyone here has made some very valid and good points.

In the end, I still believe that a great artist needs a balance of passion and craft. The key is balance and moderation.

You need to learn enough to understand your medium.
But you have to be passionate enough to know to forget it when it counts.

Not sure if that really means anything, but sounded good, right?


For the record Laurence, I looked up Ray Carney on and he's not credited with anything. I'm pretty sure he's just a scholar, not a filmmaker.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 08:10 AM   #52
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>>What the haitis is he talking about? I disagree. I'm feeling choked up inside at the end of Titanic because I can relate emotionally. Im upset cause I know what its like to love and in losing my love would kill me. Nothing more or less.
What he is saying is you were manipulated into that feeling. The whole premis was to jerk you around and get you feeling sympathetic and sad. The characters in the film were shallow and stereotypical.
The other part of the film was to get you really really mad at rich people, even though the film maker knew full well how structured and segregated society was in those days.

It was cheap armchair moralism. Admit it, you hated all those rich people who got on the boats,instead of the poor people,didn't you? At the very least you were apalled. (and btw, the ships crewman who shot himself in the movie? Never happened during the real incident).

As far as insulting those who are passionate about their craft (sound, lighting, effects). I was not insulting them. I love what they do. In fact they have my utmost empathy. So much talent gets wasted on poorly written scripts and greedy callous producers and/or directors.

My passion/hobby is animaton, both cg and traditional 2d. I've been arguing for years that people should regard it as true art. But because of cheap Sat morning cartoons, and shallow template based story telling by the likes of Disney, it's very hard to get people to accept that. Shrek has given me new hope though.

Lets take Armegeddon for example...
Absolutely great special effects. Best in the world. And a story line deveoped for a 10 year old with severe learning disabilities.

Why was all the flag waving necessary? Are we Americans so insecure we have to constantly be remined how great our country is? I resent a producer exploiting my patriotism for a quick buck. Sorry, thats just me. Bruckheimer was even worse with Pearl Harbor. What a crap fest. Considering what the story should have been about, I was angry as hell. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the craftmanship of ther film. But thats not Bruckheimer, thats the effects director and crew.
Okay, to be totally honest, that movie is where I fell in total lust for Kate Beckinsdale, but that was the only redeeming feature, I literally try to watch every thing she is in. I'm actually excited she married an American.
Just wanted people to know, I'm not some hypocrital snob about all this and can be as suceptable to those influences as anybody else. But just like bad drugs, that doesn't make it alright.

On the other hand..
Take SpiderMan.
Great Special effects, but no better than other high budget films.
What made it a success? Great writing, great acting. Here we have a super hero who is a typical self absored teenager. Wow! Not perfect! In fact his selfish attitudes leads to the death of his Grandfather. Wow! consequences of one actions! What a novel concept. (okay, I'll stop being sarcastic). Though I don't think he exibited any true guilt over what happened. Instead he just takes revenge, as though that absolves him. Plus the producers don't dare give the audience enough time to stop and think about it.

But I'm sure many of you can see the difference between pure shlock like Armegedden and a movie like Spiderman.
(Yes comics are underated)

I'm using these two, to explain, effects do not make a move. Great story, acting and a great team behind the camera make for great film. But only if the goal is honesty and integrity, and even a little humility. A rollercoast can be art, but acheiving that has nothing to do with how excellent the CG department is.
A great script can be the basis for the best movies. But not always. (Antonioni many times would make stuff up and completely change direction during filming, much to the consternation of his actors).

Cassavetes would rewrite his scripts dozens of times during shooting (and inspite of what people say, he most definitely used a script and expected the talent to follow it).

Here's another one.
A sure sign a TV show has no talent hacks for writers is when they put their bad guys in Nazi Uniforms.
Think about it. Take one of the most horrific times in history and reduce it to a cheap easy plot device.
Out of ideas? Make your bad guys Nazis!!!
Even if the show is set in the 24th century or on some other planet, or dimension. Yeah.
It's an easy way to manipulate the audience.

Who with any sort of a conscience isn't offended and apalled by what the Nazis did? Hollywood bean counters are depending on it.

Maybe if you've read this long, you get what I'm saying.

Character based films can give you a differnt type of experience. One that gives you time to reflect, explore and and discover. Takes Cassavetes 'Faces' for example.

The film was made in reaction to his brief stint as a studio director.
It was the most frustrating and demeaning time in his life. Initially he started the film in anger, as a way to expose the underbelly of the Hollywood system.
In the end though, he forgave them and presented them as real human beings with hopes, dreams, faults, and needs. Some brave, some cowards, some decent, some slime balls. But all human and worth caring about.

It was also the first film to explore the sexual needs of older women. In hollywood, at the time, older women were only allowed to be grandmothers, nurses, nuns, or anything that didn't exude any hint of sexuality.

Cassavetes believed that just beacuse you were aging, didn't mean you stopped loving or wanting.
At the time, it was considered scandalous.

Many of you have hit on other issues that R Carney talks about without realizing it .
Things like Integrity. But he also talks about maturity and insight.

What he meant about Anderson and Solenz is that they were simply reacting to Hollywood. Where Hollywood was overly simplistic and sacharin, they were cynical and sardonic. Where Hollywoods characters were artificially good, Andersons and Solenz characters were artificially bad.

R Carney was saying that maybe the truth is showing people as they really are. That being a hero doesn't mean being an artificially perfect person.

That the so called anti hollywood types were acting like high school sophomores who just discovered there parents are real, imperfect human beings, and they can't handle it.
Suddenly, everyone is bad, everyone is full of baloney, and they want you to act shocked because your hero turns out to be a human being with faults and warts. And worse, they pass judgement on them.

What R Carney is really about is using film to explore the human experience without passing judgement on it. He strongly beleives in film as an art form to uplift the species instead of beating it down. He also accepts that politics and other social issues do have their place in film, as long as they keep perspective.

But if you look at what comes out. We are being preached at, told what to think, what to feel, and if we don't agree, then we are low lifes. It's almost like some corrupted type of puritans are making the films. Cowtowing to every special interest, afraid to offend, but ending up offending everyone.

btw he is much less critic, more teacher.

Like I've said before. He's not asking you to agree with everything he says ( I totally disagree with his assesments about the movie Magnolia).
He's asking you to think for yourself, and don't accept the lousy status quo from Hollywood. He even dares you to disagree with him. But if all you are doing is reacting to what he says, instead of thinking things through, then you miss the point.

R Carney hates the GodFather. I always will love the GodFather parts 1 and 2, and because of R Carney, I know why. Because of his statments, instead of being offended, I actually took time and seriously thought through why I like those moves so much. (based on my expriences as a youth in the middle east).

But from the posts I've read, many of you passed judgement without even reading what he has to say.

I mean posting things like..'well he looks like a critic, so that tells me what I need to know', sure... What lazy, sanctomonious crap.

He has written many books and is actually quite the anti-critic. He holds them equally responsible for the sludge coming out of Hollywood. Most of them are sellouts, selling add space, and hoping for lots of swag. Absolutely clueless. And it's gotten worse with internet based critics. Now everyone can make a fool of themselves.

R Carney is simply passionate about wanting better movies. He believes its possible too.
And if you read more of him, you'll find he likes a good rollercoaster ride as much as the next person.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 08:36 AM   #53
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In reference to reactions of Ray Carney you said:
"I mean posting things like..'well he looks like a critic, so that
tells me what I need to know', sure... What lazy, sanctomonious

I'm not sure if that was aimed at me, but just in case I'd like to
point out that what I actually said in my post to Laurence was:

"By the way, I believe he is strictly a film critic, not a filmmaker.
That alone makes him somewhat suspect in my mind."

And, if you read the post again, you'll see that I clearly said this
was before I read any of Carney's writings. I was simply trying to
clear up for Laurence the fact that Carney was not a filmmaker
himself, because Laurence had confused Carney with Cassavetes.
I then immediately went to Carney's website to read some of his
writings (as I said I was going to).

You are right in saying that he is more of a teacher and scholar
than a critic. And there is definitely a difference between that
and a film critic. I simply hadn't read any of his writings, so I
assumed he was a film critic.

Secondly, I never said "that tells me what I need to know."
What I said was, "That alone makes him somewhat suspect in my
mind." And I stand by that statement. I was suspect of him
before I read a word. Is that wrong? I don't think so.

Yes, I hold more highly the opinion and criticisms of those who
actually do, than those who simply analyze. That goes for
anything... painters, writers, artists and occupations of all types.
I'm not saying his opinion doesn't matter, or doesn't hold valid.
I'm just saying that if he is writing about filmmaking, and doesn't
make films himself, he has to prove himself a bit more to me than
someone like Tarkovsky (who also wrote about film).

That was all.
If that makes my comments "lazy, sanctomonious crap" then so be it.

(but I doubt you meant that in a bad way)



sorry to derail the conversation, I just felt I had to clear
up my comments.

By the way Joe:
"I'm actually excited she married an American"
Now who's pushing shallow patriotism?
:) Just kidding around.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #54
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One thing I can agree with in CARNEY (The scholar not Joe!) is that his type is easy to spot. He is not a filmaker and I can't readily accept anything out of his mouth in relation to film just by fiat.

That doesnt mean his opinion is any less valid or invalid for that matter. It is merely his opinion. Sides; you know what they say about teachers. "Those who teach..........."

R Carney states "Oliver Stone and Spike Lee don't represent serious filmmaking - They don't make art; they make publicity events–perfectly ordinary movies dressed up with topical gimmicks and stylistic tricks" (Im paraphrasing)

That comment alone warrants a second glance. I cannot even take someone serious with this kind of opinion. Yeah, we do all have our opinions but when its based in myopia it loses value.

Perhpas R Carney is too caught up in having actually known
"Cassavettes" and actually not being "Cassavettes". Kind of like someone who "knew" Jim Morrison; suddenly they have an opinion. Always on the cusp and never will be on the inside.

Carney doesnt like Citizen Kane, Schindler's List, The Terminator, The Godfather, 2001, Blade Runner, or Pulp Fiction; L.A. Confidential, Blood Simple, Blue Velvet, or Psycho...

He even states "I leave Vertigo, Rear Window, and North by Northwest to high schoolers whose idea of art is tricks and games and button-pushing."

Come now. We've all met this type before. They try so hard to be different. They try so hard to go against the grain. Very self-important. How this guys is an instructor is beyond me. If I had to take his course I'd FAIL for sure cause I just couldnt sit there and listen to this kind of dribble.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 02:03 PM   #55
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Tell ya what John,

Don't worry about failing that class, because all ya gotta do is use this simple rule of thumb . . . Hollywood sucks, Arty Garbage rocks!!!!!! LOLOLOLOL

I'm just hav'n a little fun. By the way, I think the "sanctomonious crap" line was actually aimed more my direction, which is fine, as I am definitely the one being the most sarcastic here. Those who want to give need to be able to take.

"I don't wanna die without any scars" -----Tyler Durdan

Anyway, back to the ring.

Now wait a second, Joe . . . You're gonna ditch out Titanic and Terminator but you're not gonna give on SPIDERMAN??????

Buddy . . . I'm not sure you know this but Spiderman is a comic . . . book . . . superhero. As "near perfect heros" go, he's not too far from the top. He's nice, sweet, moral, cares greatly about his aunt/uncle, is a good student, basically the boy next door. Oooooo, but he's unpopular and relatively disliked, the underdog representing the everman . . . untilllllll . . . He suddenly is handed super powers from an extremely unrealistic freak accident, then learns a most important life lesson on why not to abuse his power, and spends the rest of his life kicking villian ass via special fx while fighting for truth, justice, and the american way.


Can you GET a more hollywood fairy tale represent?????

Ya, ya, his uncle died---typical hollywood lesson to be learned. Ya, ya, didn't get the girl at the end, but we all love his choice not to chance harm to her---typical hollywood marder (which he won't be for long becasue we all know he an the chick hook up later).

I mean, I think trying to use this case to support what you've been saying makes no sense whatsoever.

By the way, (and I'm really not tying to start something here, I'm really not, so please remember at heart all our opinions are valid, but . . . ) IMHO . . .

The FX in Spiderman SUCKKKKKKKEDDDDDD!!!!!!!!

I mean, some were good, but every time Spiderman was swinging or jumping real acrobatically, I was seriously wondering if they had done his stuff with CLAYMATION FX (Not kidding). It was like a bad trip back to the Sinbad movies or Jason and the Argonauts, maybe put a few last arguments for Clash of the Titans. Then again, I think Sam Raimi is the arguement for not trying to do big effects films. His effects always suck. Dark man effects sucked, Army of Darkness effects sucked . . . I mean The Quick and the Dead looked really cool and was a good flick, but it really didn't have many fx anyway. And what was with the Green Goblin Power Ranger? Really bad costume, man. Best thing about the film was the script/acting and really the script in my opinion fell apart around the half way point, went extremely typical as opposed to the cool character development you had in the first half (which was damn close to the comic book origin I might add . . . really liked that).

Dudes, I heard originally James Cameron was asked to do the film, and he asked for a budget that was too high, so they went with Raimi. Now that's a shame. FX would have rocked and the script would have probably been the same as it was. So at least we would have got real looking action out of the deal.

Personally, when I saw Spiderman, I was very dissapointed because it was a rare case where the fx IMHO were bad enough to take me out of the movie. Actually, I saw the flick again on cable and it wasn't nearly as bad for me because it was on a smaller screen (details of fx weren't as prominent).

Anyway, the Spiderman movie was very much typical
Hollywood . . . but . . .

What I do agree with you on is that Armagedon was a sample of the worst of the worst. Now THAT was a BAD MOVIE.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 03:38 PM   #56
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Thats true.

I think SPIDERMAN the film is a really good film; its fun. It s a comic book with good talent and well executed.

UNtil they actually show Spidey flying around. It couldnt look any worse than it does. Giove me old school Donners Superman anyday over this CGI cartoon.

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Old June 15th, 2004, 03:59 PM   #57
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I have visited the Carney page and read some of the stuff there. I am unimpressed. It is nothing I haven't seen before, elsewhere. Viewpoints such as this are not even orginal to film criticism; the same sort of arguments have been used to deride genre fiction, and comic books for that matter, for the better part of the last century. Hating Hitchcock is not even an original stance; it was pretty much the status quo among American critics for the better part of Hitchcock's career.

I could go into a point by point examination of each of Carney's- (as related in the essay I read) points, but I fail to see any profit in such behavior.

That said, I will address a couple of the points made in the essay. When Carny refers to our culture's "Insane faith in science" What is he talking about? The scientific method? Technology? Does he even know- or did it just sound good for the Amen crowd? when he talks about the three day screen writing seminars as symptomatic of our culture's misunderstanding of movies- is he aware that virtually no one takes these things seriously? We also have three day seminars that will teach you how to get rich in real estate- know anyone who ever attended either? I do not, and would not respect anyone who did. Later in the essay, he says that "art" should teach us something. Okay, sure. But the film that teaches person A something may teach person B nothing- or go over something of which Person C was already aware. Is it then, not art?

Furthermore, there is a theme in this writing that I find disturbing, and rather juvinile- agree with me or be marked as one of the stupid.
So be it- it's hardly the first time I've been so designated.

I have lived all over the US, and worked in several different professions, white collar, blue collar, technical, non-technical, clerical and food service. I have met and had the pleasure and displeasure of working with virtually every sort of person imaginable- if people can be broken down into sorts- which, for the most part- they cannot.

That said, I have never met any American who actually reads movie reviews on anything like a regualr basis- or places any faith in them at all.

With two notable exceptions:
I have delt with professional editors, and with many, many, college professors- both of which have, in many, if not most cases- but by no means all- high opinions of themselves, and their ideas, often coupled with an extreme disconnection with reality.
These are the people who, in my experiance, read movie and or book reviews in search of some sort of meaning. Critics watch too much, read too much, and think too much of their own interpritations to be given any real credence. Nothing I saw on Carney's page led me to think differently about him.

What I also fail to see, Joe, is how internalizing someone else's ideas and opinions will lead me to a place where "I can think for myself". In fact, the mere postulation that I do not is, to be frank, and, to use your own diction, both ignorant and sanctimonious.

Just to clarify, Leonard Maltin's book- which according to RC is everywhere, has no place in my house. I do not get my news from CNN, nor do I look to film critics to help me form my opinions of the movies I see. I do however, place a considerable amount of faith- not to a level that could be refered to as insane, though, in the scientific method. As a data collection tool it beats the hell out of assumption and unfounded postulation- unless of course you're attempting to set yourself up as some sort of counter cultural guru- in which case, assume and postulate away, don't worry, somebody will buy into you quackery.

However, I do think that movies can teach us things- sometimes. I also think that movies can be something that carney never sems to talk about- at least in the section of the site that I read- and that is fun- again, though, sometimes.

About Spiderman- how is the evil and rich industrialist (Green Goblin Ranger) any less a "button to be pushed" than Nazi's?

Michael Gibbons
" When some wild-eyed, eight foot tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head against a bar room wall, and looks you crooked in the eye, and he asks you if you've payed your dues, well, you just stare that big suker right back in the eye, and you remember what old Jack Burton always says at a time like that, 'Have you paid your dues, Jack? Yes sir, the check is in the mail."
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Old June 15th, 2004, 05:44 PM   #58
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I don't mean to jump in on what is obviously a very deep series of meditations, but I may be able to offer insight on Michael's final remonstrance:

"About Spiderman- how is the evil and rich industrialist (Green Goblin Ranger) any less a 'button to be pushed' than Nazis?"

What the Green Goblin and the snobbish elites depicted in Titanic share is a two-dimensionality of character, overly simplistic depiction that lacks the inner contractions that characterize the introspective nature of humanity. Many filmgoers saw such truncated characterization as proper to a comic book adaptation, but not to a story based on real events, that was ostensibly supposed to depict historical figures, people who actually lived.

Spielberg has alternately, in his films, depicted the Nazis as comical bungling evildoers and as complicated characters.

The world no doubt enjoyed the Indiana Jones version of Titanic, as evidenced by its titanic box office; some, however, were expecting the Schindler's List version, and perceived the movie's string-pulling as an offense on their sensibilities. Among film critics, this faction of filmgoers were given a voice in Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, whose "impeachment" James Cameron called for a letter to the editor.

In this vicious counterattack on Turan's criticisms (which did not relent as the film's revenue exploded and awards tally multiplied), Cameron defended his screenplay's characters as "archetypes," not "clichés," but neither the filmmaker nor the critic pointed out the essential distinction between what Turan had expected from Cameron's film and the film that Cameron actually delivered: a megabudget arthouse flick on the one hand; a comic-book-ization on the other. As viewed from the perspective of the latter, the film can be admitted to stand as an entertaining, if not entirely novel, spectacle, but from the prejudice of the former perspective, Titanic is an inanity, and given its allegedly undeserved popular acceptance, a profound perversion of the cinema.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:10 PM   #59
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You know; I understand that there are two sides to every story; but I find it hard pressed to tell the nice little story about the Nazi's; I could care less if they have/had families and children and blah blah blah...

Save that story for someone who cares.

Speilberg didnt treat the Nazi's (in this case Ralph Fiennes character of Amon Goeth) story any different than that of Liams Oskar Schindler.

Both characters were shown in not the best of light and neither character was painted in any different light. There is no need for Sympathy for the Devil in this particular area.

Carney the Scholar is a joke and I cant believe there are people like this that are paid good money to teach our children. I have a suspicion that he doesnt teach but forces his opinion onto his students where they have no choice but to succumb.
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Old June 15th, 2004, 07:27 PM   #60
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I think Titanic was exactly what Cameron wanted it to be. Cameron is both a technical detail fanatic and a grandiose storyteller. The details were represented in the historical accuracy of how the ship actually sank, sets, realistic fx, etc. The rest was like Gone With the Wind . . . an extreme story set in a familiar historical scenereo. Personally, I don't think it's his best film (his best was THE TERMINATOR, and his second best was ALIENS), but it certainly was a good film, both as a story and as a technical account of the ship sinking.

Actually, I think he's going a bit overboard with the whole deep sea thing, obviously a man obsessed. The Abyss, Titanic, then this IMAX flick, now a movie with Selma Heyek about the woman holding the world's record for gearless deep sea diving. To become his friend, all I need is to show up at his door with a tiny model submarine as a gift.

Then again, from what I've heard about Cameron, I'm not so sure he's friends with anyone . . . cept maybe Arnold and Bill Paxton.
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