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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 16th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #76
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Robert,

For those of us who may be less well read, mind telling us who your favorite author is?
:)


It seems in the end that we all agree on one thing at least,
that 'art' is in the eye of the beholder.

And although we've strayed pretty far from Laurences original post, I'm glad ... good conversations always stray.

-Luis
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Old June 17th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #77
 
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Dudes,

Really nice. Cool convo.

Actually, I'd agree with the whole Nazi thing, it's generally really lame and overdone, save really for just the one film Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Now I know this sounds kind of ludicrous, for pretty much the whole movie we've got going on the stereo-typical Hollywood Nazzi thing. The reason I think this one stands out is that sometimes there's a type of villian cliche that begs to be done right. I'm not saying it's not cliche, but even cliches can be done right. I think Raiders took the typical Nazi cliche and turned it into a very valid plot device, which was this . . .

You've got Jones, who really symbolizes the "serial action hero" of the 1940's, right, back when our parents and/or grand parents used to go to the movies and watch pretty much the same guy (only not as cool as Raiders made him, hee, hee). This cliche character, Jones, set in the 1940's, almost needs the cliches around the 40's to get one into the mood, if you are going to make a "salutatory film" to this particular genre. Kind of like, you can't make a Superman movie right without Lex Luthor (slightly different, but you get the idea).

Now . . .

You also have to take into account the originality of the idea of someone digging up the Ark of the Covenant, and realize that if you're going to make a movie in the 40's about someone wanting to rule the world, their really isn't any better true to life person of this than Hitler. I mean, there was also Musolinni and all, but let's face it, the big guy was Hitler.

So . . .

I'm way all right to finally have found an "original cliche" (lolol if there is such a thing) in the whole Nazi idea. The idea that an American-government-hired archeologist was trying to beat an obsessed madman to the punch in aquiring the greatest possible weapon of the age seemed to fit quite nicely, and in some ways spookily realistic, to the ways things would happen (beyond the unrealistic magic behind the ark, which of course some religious buffs would also buy).

In other words, the script used many cliches, yes, but unlike the norm, it used them well, very very well, used them as something to ADVANCE the story at hand, not CARRY the story along.

And personally, I felt that the character Jones in the first film (as opposed to the others) was much more interesting, in that he was not in it for the government or for somebody else nearly as much as he was in it for STRICTLY HIMSELF. I don't care what anyone says, in the first film, the reason he was so awesome was that he represented a realistic human characteristic. JONES WAS GREEDY. HE WAS A GREEDY, OBSESSED MAN, WILLING TO KILL PEOPLE IN HIS WAY OF GETTING HIS HANDS ON THAT ARK!!!

I mean, not as "chaotically evil" as say people specifically looking to take over the world, but Jones didn't have any qualms about Xing people left and right during that truck chase.

Really, the only thing that made him a hero was that he was MORE moral than the Nazis, which really all is relative, now isn't it?

Of course, they screwed all that up with all the stupid kids and crap in number 2. Funny how in Raiders, he was smiling at the big bald guy he was fighing by the plane just before he watched him get a propeller in his head . . . and yet, in temple of Doom, he was willing to try to save some guy who just tried to smash his head in a giant bolder-crusher. Now that's good sequel character follow through.

And don't get me started about the 3rd movie. Now there the Nazis were a lot worse because it had been done once and done right, and I think they were just running out of treasure ideas, so they changed the ark to the grail (which grail was cool treasure, but . . . . ) and tried to make the same flick only this time Marion turned into his stupid dad.

I would have seen the movie 200 times if Indy at the very end found a time machine, he and his dad went through it, they ended up back fighting the Turbin guy with the boulder crusher in Temple of Doom again, and his dad ends up spouting "JUNIOR, JUNIOR, JUNIOR, JUNIOR, JUNIOR, JUNIOR!!!" Like the stupid annoying dope he is one too many times, and Indy drop-kicks Connery into the crusher feet first so he has time to scream and beg and plead the way Quint did in Jaws, watching his body get devoured, until finally we see his head explode like a bloody melon, and then Indy and the Turbin guy start laughing, hug, and go have a beer. Then they trade stories about their separate adventures while the 2 of them, now drunk, make a sport out of "who can chunk the children in the crusher funnier", the last of course, would be Short Round, who ends up getting it the worst of it becasue it turns out the Turbin guy is a pedifile that's got a thing for asian boys. Meanwhile, Indy runs into Willie again, (the stupid annoying blonde singer) and sense the Turbin guy is off having fun, he gets lonely, ties her up with his whip, goes forward in time with her to a point where there are also "alternate reality machines", Then he goes to our current reality where spielberg and willie (now considered Kate Capshaw) are married, and Indy forces him and Lucas and also his alter-ego Harrison Ford to watch wille get tortured to death in retaliation for making his charcter go through 2 really lame sequels.

. . . . Did I mention I only like the first movie?

:)
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Old June 17th, 2004, 11:17 PM   #78
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This is a great conversation. So many twists and turns and you nailed Indiana Jones on the head.

The first one is one of the best films I have ever seen; they took it seriously (wow, this goes back to what I had said earlier). It was a world they invented and they treated it real.

The sequels were crap. As a child I liked them (I was 13 when Part 2 came out).. The Third was just plain embarrassing.

Marcus is turned into a baboon. Connery is a doof for sure and even Sallah is reduced in size.

Part 4 is on the way and I just pray they go back to the roots. Look at LORD of the RINGS; they totally took it seriously. Such a ridiculous little world but it is presented ina what if this happended scenario.

I hope they dont screw up 4. They will though.
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Old June 17th, 2004, 11:33 PM   #79
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If you had told me six years ago that the guy responsible for "Meet the Feebles" was going to do Lord of The Rings, I would have been depressed for weeks. What do you know, miracles can happen in this industry.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 12:01 AM   #80
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Wow, thats a great point. Scary to think?

Hell lets not forget about the alumni of Roger Corman!

http://www.newconcorde.com/alumni.htm
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Old June 18th, 2004, 12:20 AM   #81
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Well, looks like we've strayed again.... fine by me.

John, funny you should say what you did, because I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine today about this very topic.

I think you hit at the heart of one of the most important things
that makes a great movie. You said "they took it seriously."

To me one of the biggest problems with most films I see is that
you get the feeling the the director feels superior to his characters.
That this material is somehow beneath him.

It's something I've been discussing with a few friends of mine,
because I can't really get a handle on it, on where I get this
feeling. But, many people seem to agree ... and just like John
pointed out 'they took it seriously.'

What is it that gives us that feeling?
What is it in the first Indiana Jones that let's us see that
Speilberg respected his characters, and respected the material?

And what is it about something like.... Van Helsing that gives
me the feeling that Sommers not only doens't respect his
characters, but doesn't even see them as individuals?

Just curious on any thoughts.

-Luis

ps.
Robert, when you get a chance, I'd still like to know the author
of that quote.
:)
Thanks.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 02:07 AM   #82
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I think it goes back to violating the universe that was created. Instead of 'What if....' it becomes 'Why not....'

Im not sure what goes through writers/directors/producers minds when they do films like this:

The Gymnast Jurrassic daughter
The Little Chinese Karate expert beating up goons in INDY 2
The absurdity of the entire 3rd Jones film
Val helsing and The Mummy and Mummy 2

Oh jeez; I could go on and on. I want 'What if....' Dont insult me with childish gimmicks.

Look at the original ESCAPE FROM NEW YORk; took it very serious and I think this is a classic film.

Then there was ESCAPE FROM LA; which obviously was a big joke; Snake is surfing now and he's a 'baller'?

What about the last James Bond film? James is surfing the big waves into a mission; very clandestine. Or he's Wind Surfing a massive tidal wave? Come on.

I really dont have a clue as to why this happens. Do people like it? I mean, the films in this matter gross millions. IS this what mainstream moviegoers want? A big fat joke of a film where there are no rules or guidelines? Just an anything goes scenario?

Not me. In fact, that is what disapoints me about modern cinema is the lack of seriousness and plausiblity in the film. Im not saying everything has to be '21 Grams' depressing (which I loved by the way) but I need to at least 'buy it'.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 08:16 AM   #83
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John,

Again you brought up a good point when you said:
"but I need to at least 'buy it'"

I think what might be getting under my skin with these films is
that you get the feeling that the reactions and actions of the
characters are simply not believable, they are not sincere.
And if a character in a film doesn't take his world seriously, and doesn't believe it, why should I?

You mention that a film needs to be 'plausible.'
I would probably say that it is not the world, or even the
storyline that needs to be 'plausible,' but it's the reactions
of the characters that need to be 'plausible.'

A human in the future, or the past, or in outerspace, is still
a human. And we can all feel insincerity when we see it.

-Luis
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Old June 18th, 2004, 03:48 PM   #84
 
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See again,

I don't think the character needs to take things seriously . . . as long as HE NEVER TOOK THINGS SERIOUSLY. As long as you stick with what you presented early on, when you were "creating the character and universe", you're okay.

I mean, Austin Powers is nothing but ridiculous, everything about it, but that's okay, because it was never supposed to be anything but ridiculous.

Indy started serious then became ridiculous in the sequels. That doesn't work. Most sequels do this. That's why they don't work.

As for why people pay to see the movies, well, that I'm not sure. What I do know is this: Not nearly as many people go to see the movies to get the millions. Prices are much higher now.

Also, if you notice, the movies that make franchises are the good originals. The ones that start bad ususally don't make the serious killer cash. I mean, they make cash, but not as much . . . not NEARLY as much.

Again, the unfortunate fact is that massive advertising to the public "COWS" will make money for the most part. That doesn't surprise me that people are stupid enough to buy into advertising and the status quo. What surprises me is that the studios are so stupid that they don't realize that a GOOD sequel to the Matrix would pull in three times (or maybe 4 or 5) as much. That's why in this thread I went off once about how lazy Hollywood has become in general as filmmakers. With that type of backing and power, there's simply no excuse for a bad movie . . . save for spoiled studio execs and talented, yet rich guys that lost "the beginners mind" years ago.

Ya, John

One of my biggest complaints with Indy 3 was the destruction of marcus/sallah. Man, talk about disrespecting characters.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 04:22 PM   #85
 
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By the way,

Sense so much sequel talk goes on here, I think it would be a riot to find out what everyone considers to the the worst sequel of all time.

Now the way I personally define the worst sequel is . . .

The sequel that fell the greatest distance from the one before it.

So for instance, even though Lethal Weapon 3 was one of the worst sequels ever, it really wasn't surprising, being that Lethal Weapon 2 showed plently of downfall from the first film. So there was kind of a cushion provided by the stepping stone from 2 to 3. (Then again, Lethal 3 may have been the worst sequel of all time compared to even the second one . . . lololol).

Anyway

Here's my vote:


Larry thinks the worst sequel compared to the one before it was . . .



ESCAPE FROM L.A.!!!!!!!



Ya, John, you had to remind me of that one. LOLOLOOLOL


OHHHHHH LOLOLOLOL


Could it possibly have been ANY WORSE??????

You know, both Carpenter and Russell both claimed that the movie was in fact an ATTEPTED FARCE . . . but I'm not so sure. You never heard that BEFORE the movie tanked at the box office, now did you?

I think they were so embarrassed by the numbers and reviews, that they turned around and tried to make up for it by claiming they tried to make it bad.

Ya, right . . . . nice try guys . . . or poor try as the case may be.


Indy 3 would have taken it for sure if it wasn't for Temple of Doom before it.

Star Wars Episode I had a little Ewok cushion from Jedi.

However, a close second to Escape from L.A. was HIGHLANDER 2!!!!!


Man, that was so bad, and same cast and same director and everything? What happened?


Matrix Reloaded was DEFINITELY in the running.

Die Hard 2 was DEFINITELY in the running.

I'm probably gonna get knocked for this, but I actually liked Jurassic Park (the original) very much (not nearly like Jaws, but perhaps I expected any Spielberg flick at that point to be candy-coated crap, and I didn't see it that way . . . ) so . . . the Gymnastic-Raptor routine in the second one for me brought Jurrasic Park 2 up for consideration.

Plenty-O-others, too, but I think it's gonna be hard to beat Escape From L.A. From a huge bald guy with nail-ridden bats to shooting hoops . . . man, it was just unbelievable.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 04:31 PM   #86
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Even worse, Escape from LA plundered so much from Escape from NY. It was almost the same plot.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 04:38 PM   #87
 
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Sense I'm staring this stuff off, it's fun to do it with lots of categories. For now let's also vote on best and worst remakes.

My vote for best is John Carpenter's THE THING

My vote for worst is . . . . .

?????

mmmmmmmm

Well, as a movie it really wasn't that bad, but the thing is . . .

PSYCHO. . . because the remakers were so lame, they pretty much made the EXACT SAME MOVIE. It wasn't even really a remake, I'd say it was more of an upgrade with current actors substituted for the older ones. Save for the ending, I think (if memory serves) is was nearly shot for shot and line for line the first movie. They could have done just as well using the old film and computer imaging in the new actors. I mean, if you're gonna have the balls to remake something as classic as Psycho, take a leap, man, don't run up to the edge, try to stop because you decide to chicken out, and then accidentally fall off the ledge like a puss!!!!!

Based on the premis of the "virtual upgrade" as opposed to a "remake" is why it gets my vote. LAME.....
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #88
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The Zoltan Korda version of "The Fourth Feathers" I think was the third version of that ever made. It is THE great British empire adventure.

And then came the version by Shekhar Kapur in 2002. So lifeless, dry and lame.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:23 PM   #89
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PSYCHO. . . because the remakers were so lame, they pretty much made the EXACT SAME MOVIE.

To be fair, that was exactly what Van Sant set out to do. Which does it make it a good idea (truthfully, I can't understand why anyone with a real budget would do this). He didn't make a the exact same movie becuase he couldn't think of a better way to remake but because that's what he wanted to do. So at least he had a vision. Of sorts.

Along the same lines, I saw the shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark that three 10 year olds made, it was really great - it's up there as one of the best 'remakes' of all time.
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Old June 18th, 2004, 05:23 PM   #90
 
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Lolololol,

Nice, Joshua, nice.
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