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What is your BOLDEST film opinion?

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maxwelldeux
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What is your BOLDEST film opinion?

#1

Post by maxwelldeux » August 25th, 2020, 6:36 am

What is your boldest film opinion that you will vehemently defend?


Not about a specific film or specific director, but slightly more generally - about film movements, genres, countries/regions, etc. Make it bold, and then defend it.

I'll start:

Parodies are massively underrated as a genre and the great parodies should be lauded among the great films.

With a statement like that, it's pretty obvious I love parodies. But it's not just that I love to laugh - while I love comedy, films that make me laugh are relatively common. But a great parody can not only make me laugh, it can make me think, make me appreciate a genre, and push me in ways that elevate anything they do in the film. Better yet, they push you to learn and reward you the more knowledge you have.

Here is my justification:
  • To be a good parody, it has to be hilarious. Comedy is awesome.
  • To be a good parody, it has to also nail the genre. Whatever you're parodying, you also have to provide a really good example of the genre(s).
  • To be a good parody, it has to nail the film style - you should recognize shot construction, films angles, specific scenes, etc.
  • To be a good parody, it has to push the viewer to learn/know more to appreciate the intricacies of the film.
  • To be a good parody, it has to actually work as a good film in it's own right.

Airplane! is the obvious film to discuss here, but since there's pretty widespread acclaim for that one, I'm going to start with Hot Shots! The film is hilarious - same writer as Airplane!, the joke density is among the best you'll ever see in a film - nearly every second has some sort of joke while still advancing the plot. It's a parody of an air force action film, and is a good air force action film in its own right - you see airplane battles, drama on the base, etc. You see the elements of Top Gun in there - MANY scenes are directly lifted (and I'd argue) elevated in the parody. The better you know Top Gun, the more you'll enjoy the film, but there's more than that - the more you know film in general and weird bits of knowledge in general, the better the film is; my favorite microcosm of this is the scene in the teepees (which in and of itself is a parody of Dances with Wolves) where they're speaking a "native" language, which just happens to be random Minnesotan cities listed haphazardly. Hilarious.

But maybe you think Hot Shots! is too mainstream - OK, here are two TV examples:

1. 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer: This is a parody of 12 Angry Men (obviously) where they debate if Amy Schumer is fuckable. Opinions of her aside, the parody is BRILLIANT. Spot-on parody - hilarious, same opening shots (e.g., opening the window), a bunch of [ingroup] debating the fate of [outgroup person], and has a solid message. Link for more info
2. Master of None: S2E1: This an amazing parody of Bicycle Thieves. Brilliant working of the show plot into the plot of the film, used many of the same camera angles, sets, and brought out a lot feelings in an unexpected way for a comedy series. Link for more info

So there's my bold opinion. What's your reaction? What's your BOLD opinion?

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#2

Post by Onderhond » August 25th, 2020, 10:11 am

I definitely think comedies in general are underappreciated (my the more cinephile communities). Comedy (like horror) is a difficult genre though, people are quick to dismiss a film when the main genre elements (i.e. the jokes) aren't to their liking. Whereas someone who doesn't really like a drama often still ends up with a 6 or 7 rating, comedies (and horror) films quickly end up with 4 or lower ratings. Not quite sure why that is.

I will say that comedy is the only genre for me that can rise above bad film making. Maybe it's because I don't often run into great comedies, but when I find something really funny (like Visitor Q for example), I can look beyond low-quality camera work, poor soundtrack, mediocre performances and whatnot. There's no other genre out there that can do the same for me.

As for parodies in particular, I usually like watching them but they don't often end up among my favorites. There aren't that many pure parodies either, usually the framework of the film is a parody, but the comedy itself is supplemented with puns, slapstick and other forms of popular comedy. Many of these films also go for "hit & miss" and "let's throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approaches, which makes it harder for me to find them consistently funny. I do like parody scenes in more regular comedies though, Jing Wong has a couple of great parody moments in his film, Matsumoto's Big Man Japan has some hilarious moments (though I think the principal comedy there is not the parody itself) and something like Hentai Kamen is pretty great too, but when I'm honest it's probably the absurdity that makes it great comedy for me, rather than the parodies themselves.

But sure, parodies (and comedies in general - not dramadies though) deserve more respect from cinephile communities. I wouldn't hold my breath though.

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#3

Post by Onderhond » August 25th, 2020, 10:53 am

As for my boldest film opinion, I guess it's that I see a film as a stand-alone entity (which sounds very vague, I know, but I have no better way to put it).

What I mean with that is that the moment it is released, a film loses its connection with the context it was created in. That includes time, location, budgetary restraints, production problems, technical limitations, political situations, whatever you can think of. While I recognize that every single one of these things has a direct influence on the film itself, I as a member of its audience should not bother with any of it. I don't watch films to gauge how well a director did his job under the circumstances, I simply look at the result and go from there.

It's no doubt part of the reason classic cinema doesn't really appeal to me, as it is often defended by the context in which it was made (though to be clear, not by everyone).I also don't care if a director had to sell his last pair of shoes to get the film made, nor do I care whether the main character had a cold that day and wasn't in their best frame of mind to act. It also means that when technology improves and new films come around and do things better, it makes the old films less special to me. Similarly, if one film becomes so popular that a bunch of others mimic it ad nauseum, it makes the original less special to me.

I also feel I don't have much loyalty towards a film, nor do I think they deserve a level of fairness that you'd expect in a human relationship. They are merely things that have no emotion, no sensibilities, no capabilities to be offended. The only thing they deserve is to be watched with an open mind and in full.

To be clear, I don't think anyone else should approach films like this, it's merely how I look at them/experience them. I will however, vehemently defend my stance, as noted in the op :D

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#4

Post by blueboybob » August 25th, 2020, 2:25 pm

A movie doesn't have to have great cinematography, historical accuracy, proper dress, (all the things the oscars celebrate) to be amazing.

Jackass is the greatest movie of all time!

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#5

Post by Teproc » August 25th, 2020, 3:33 pm

I guess I don't find any of these opinions particularly bold. :shrug:

But I don't know that I have any bold opinions myself. Maybe that a film being dated is not bug, it's a feature.

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#6

Post by beasterne » August 25th, 2020, 4:26 pm

Re: Parody--I am not sure I agree with your overall thesis, but I will say that Documentary Now! is at the very top of the parody genre at the moment. The parodies they pull off are just incredible. They're hilarious on their own, but when you're familiar with the source material it elevates them so much more. The parodies are simultaneously critiques, celebrations, and continuations of the original documentaries. The filmmaking is top-notch (they actually look like missing scenes from the original doc in some cases) and the performances are perfect.

Now, any time I watch one of the original documentaries I immediately pair it with the episode of Documentary Now, which enhances both experiences immensely (recently did this with The War Room and The Bunker, and had an excellent time with both).

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#7

Post by Onderhond » August 25th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Teproc wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 3:33 pm
I guess I don't find any of these opinions particularly bold. :shrug:
I don't find my theory that bold either, but just try it out in cinephile communities. Tell them how classic cinema is inherently flawed and lesser than contemporary films. I assure you they won't be very accepting :D

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#8

Post by Teproc » August 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm

Onderhond wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 4:30 pm
Teproc wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 3:33 pm
I guess I don't find any of these opinions particularly bold. :shrug:
I don't find my theory that bold either, but just try it out in cinephile communities. Tell them how classic cinema is inherently flawed and lesser than contemporary films. I assure you they won't be very accepting :D
That's not what I see as being your argument, because I do disagree with that quite strongly. I do however agree that arguments such as "it was very innovative for its time" hold no value to a person watching a film now. They make a film interesting historically, but no more enjoyable obviously. I agree about your fairness comment as well, though I also think that one should take a film on its own terms, up to a certain point. I do enjoy older films though, I just think every era has its clichés and overused techniques/tropes, and that none is inherently superior or inferior to another save for sheer quantity, which means there naturally are more interesting/"good" films made today.

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#9

Post by Onderhond » August 25th, 2020, 4:51 pm

Teproc wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 4:32 pm
That's not what I see as being your argument, because I do disagree with that quite strongly. I do however agree that arguments such as "it was very innovative for its time" hold no value to a person watching a film now. They make a film interesting historically, but no more enjoyable obviously. I agree about your fairness comment as well, though I also think that one should take a film on its own terms, up to a certain point. I do enjoy older films though, I just think every era has its clichés and overused techniques/tropes, and that none is inherently superior or inferior to another save for sheer quantity, which means there naturally are more interesting/"good" films made today.
I understand your arguments, but I don't agree. Mostly because for me atmosphere is extremely important and increase in technological capabilities have given directors the ability to work with way more precision. From color correction, stable camera work, audio manipulation, split-second editing etc etc. Again, totally subjective, but quite bold when uttered among cinephiles.

But even your example (historic context) is something that should be brought up with care.

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#10

Post by OldAle1 » August 25th, 2020, 4:53 pm

maxwelldeux wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 6:36 am


Parodies are massively underrated as a genre and the great parodies should be lauded among the great films.

I'd really need some more convincing as to the first part of that sentence, but I very much agree with the second part.

As a genre is the sticking point. If you're going to talk about the whole genre you have to accept the bad and the good, and there is such an enormous number of really terrible parodies that it really brings the average down. If I made the same argument for blaxploitation - a genre I really love - it would be similarly impossible to back up, because so many of the films are awful. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some really great ones, just as there are some really great parodies, and in fact we can link the two with Black Dynamite, my pick for the greatest parody of this century so far and maybe second only to This is Spinal Tap all-time. I would also note - not that I need to, you and most people here know this I think - that parody has a long and distinguished history going back to the earliest days of film. Another amazing example IMO is My Favorite Brunette, a noir parody made during one of the peak noir years before anybody had even named the style/genre/whatever.

One limitation of parody of course is that most parodies, even the best of them, aren't nearly as funny if you don't know anything about the sources they spring from. I really doubt Blazing Saddles would be all that funny to somebody who had never seen a western, and I've found a lot of my favorites, including all the ones I've mentioned, have improved over time as I've learned more about where the jokes are coming from.

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#11

Post by 3eyes » August 25th, 2020, 6:58 pm

One of my all-time faves is Allegro non troppo. It's neither a parody of Fantasia nor an homage, but an answer or critique. Every time I watch it it hits me more strongly how vacuous Fantasia is. It has serious things to say about the human condition and the state of civilization, and the segments are set in the context that parodies of Italian neorealism.

Yeah, I do love parodies and it's always fun to discover new jokes I didn't get before as I come to understand more about the targets.

--

I have what I suppose may be a bold opinion about a certain actor - maybe I'll share it by and by.
:run: STILL the Gaffer!

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#12

Post by maxwelldeux » August 25th, 2020, 10:41 pm

blueboybob wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 2:25 pm
A movie doesn't have to have great cinematography, historical accuracy, proper dress, (all the things the oscars celebrate) to be amazing.

Jackass is the greatest movie of all time!
I will say, I do enjoy Jackass and the follow-ups - Is there a reason you like the first one more? They all kinda blend together.

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#13

Post by maxwelldeux » August 25th, 2020, 11:22 pm

Onderhond wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 10:53 am
As for my boldest film opinion, I guess it's that I see a film as a stand-alone entity (which sounds very vague, I know, but I have no better way to put it).

What I mean with that is that the moment it is released, a film loses its connection with the context it was created in. That includes time, location, budgetary restraints, production problems, technical limitations, political situations, whatever you can think of. While I recognize that every single one of these things has a direct influence on the film itself, I as a member of its audience should not bother with any of it. I don't watch films to gauge how well a director did his job under the circumstances, I simply look at the result and go from there.
I think I've been there myself at certain points in my life, but I've personally found I derive a lot more enjoyment and appreciation for the films I watch knowing the context, or at least some context. Like silent films are much cooler knowing that they actually had to do a lot of those effects and invent filming techniques to make it appear dangerous on the screen. But I get your point.

The one spot I'd really quibble with is the political/societal situation - a lot of films are made in direct response to what's going on in the world, and I would argue that understanding what's going on is absolutely critical. What's your reaction to overtly "political" films?

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#14

Post by maxwelldeux » August 25th, 2020, 11:41 pm

Onderhond wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 10:11 am
As for parodies in particular, I usually like watching them but they don't often end up among my favorites. There aren't that many pure parodies either, usually the framework of the film is a parody, but the comedy itself is supplemented with puns, slapstick and other forms of popular comedy. Many of these films also go for "hit & miss" and "let's throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" approaches, which makes it harder for me to find them consistently funny. I do like parody scenes in more regular comedies though, Jing Wong has a couple of great parody moments in his film, Matsumoto's Big Man Japan has some hilarious moments (though I think the principal comedy there is not the parody itself) and something like Hentai Kamen is pretty great too, but when I'm honest it's probably the absurdity that makes it great comedy for me, rather than the parodies themselves.

But sure, parodies (and comedies in general - not dramadies though) deserve more respect from cinephile communities. I wouldn't hold my breath though.
I'm not holding my breath either... :whistling:

But yeah, I'd agree about pure parodies. I guess in my mind I was thinking more about pure parodies and narrow-genre parodies. Like Not Another Teen Movie I thought was a brilliant parody of the romantic teen sex comedy genre. It's the restrictions the parody form places on the filmmaker that breeds so much creativity, IMHO.
beasterne wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 4:26 pm
Re: Parody--I am not sure I agree with your overall thesis, but I will say that Documentary Now! is at the very top of the parody genre at the moment. The parodies they pull off are just incredible. They're hilarious on their own, but when you're familiar with the source material it elevates them so much more. The parodies are simultaneously critiques, celebrations, and continuations of the original documentaries. The filmmaking is top-notch (they actually look like missing scenes from the original doc in some cases) and the performances are perfect.

Now, any time I watch one of the original documentaries I immediately pair it with the episode of Documentary Now, which enhances both experiences immensely (recently did this with The War Room and The Bunker, and had an excellent time with both).
You know, I've eyeballed Documentary Now! for a while, but never pulled the trigger - which is dumb, because I love both documentaries and parodies. Thanks for the reminder!
OldAle1 wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 4:53 pm
maxwelldeux wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 6:36 am
Parodies are massively underrated as a genre and the great parodies should be lauded among the great films.
I'd really need some more convincing as to the first part of that sentence, but I very much agree with the second part.

As a genre is the sticking point. If you're going to talk about the whole genre you have to accept the bad and the good, and there is such an enormous number of really terrible parodies that it really brings the average down. If I made the same argument for blaxploitation - a genre I really love - it would be similarly impossible to back up, because so many of the films are awful. But that doesn't mean that there aren't some really great ones, just as there are some really great parodies, and in fact we can link the two with Black Dynamite, my pick for the greatest parody of this century so far and maybe second only to This is Spinal Tap all-time. I would also note - not that I need to, you and most people here know this I think - that parody has a long and distinguished history going back to the earliest days of film. Another amazing example IMO is My Favorite Brunette, a noir parody made during one of the peak noir years before anybody had even named the style/genre/whatever.

One limitation of parody of course is that most parodies, even the best of them, aren't nearly as funny if you don't know anything about the sources they spring from. I really doubt Blazing Saddles would be all that funny to somebody who had never seen a western, and I've found a lot of my favorites, including all the ones I've mentioned, have improved over time as I've learned more about where the jokes are coming from.
That's a fair point about the genre argument, but I would return that even the bad parodies are better than they are generally viewed. Something silly like Bare Wench Project is actually pretty decent because they did a good job with the parody - nudity only takes it so far... the parody and the comedic elements what mimic the source film elevate the film. And to your last point, the film wouldn't be nearly as good if I didn't know the source film.

But good to know about Black Dynamite... I've been watching more Blaxploitation films of late, and I think I'd enjoy that now.

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#15

Post by RogerTheMovieManiac88 » August 26th, 2020, 3:06 am

Heehee, my BOLDEST film opinion?

That Nazi-era German/Austrian cinema has a lot of gems among its outfit - from comedies, musicals, melodramas, and more!

Another opinion of mine that might be considered bold/controversial is that the E.U. and its funding schemes have been bad for pan-European film-making. I think it has promoted a homogeneity and washed over a lot of what made the cinemas of individual countries unique and intriguing.

Those bold enough for you, Max?
That's all, folks!

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#16

Post by eutow » August 26th, 2020, 3:24 am

Onderhond wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 10:53 am
As for my boldest film opinion, I guess it's that I see a film as a stand-alone entity (which sounds very vague, I know, but I have no better way to put it).

What I mean with that is that the moment it is released, a film loses its connection with the context it was created in. That includes time, location, budgetary restraints, production problems, technical limitations, political situations, whatever you can think of. While I recognize that every single one of these things has a direct influence on the film itself, I as a member of its audience should not bother with any of it. I don't watch films to gauge how well a director did his job under the circumstances, I simply look at the result and go from there.

It's no doubt part of the reason classic cinema doesn't really appeal to me, as it is often defended by the context in which it was made (though to be clear, not by everyone).I also don't care if a director had to sell his last pair of shoes to get the film made, nor do I care whether the main character had a cold that day and wasn't in their best frame of mind to act. It also means that when technology improves and new films come around and do things better, it makes the old films less special to me. Similarly, if one film becomes so popular that a bunch of others mimic it ad nauseum, it makes the original less special to me.

I also feel I don't have much loyalty towards a film, nor do I think they deserve a level of fairness that you'd expect in a human relationship. They are merely things that have no emotion, no sensibilities, no capabilities to be offended. The only thing they deserve is to be watched with an open mind and in full.
This is to a fair degree the exact opposite of a controversial opinion in some circles. Within literary studies, over the 20th century there were multiple efforts to disconnect the artwork from contextual influences - most importantly not to treat and read a text as simply and only a consequence of the writer's biography (the poet loved X girl, we'll put in lots of effort to find out who she was exactly, how much the poems describe her and the poet's relationship with her, etc.; this would be the "lowest" method of analysis imaginable, pretty much), but as a closed system whose potential for creation of meaning is practically infinite. Barthes' essay "The Death of the Author" is infamous in this regard, and Wimsatt and Beardsley's "Intentional Fallacy" is also important (though less rhetorically dazzling than Barthes). Of course, it's not to say that art appears out of thin air, but it is better, more fair, to treat it as if it were.

However, where I might disagree is how you apply that to older, classic cinema. Classic cinema was defined by its context just as much as today's cinema is, it's just that today's contextual relations don't feel that unusual or "foreign" to somebody who grew surrounded by and psychologically molded by these influences. (At the end of the day, I do not actually think that sticking strictly to the "death of the author/context" doctrine is the ideal way, or even a realistic possibility, of consuming art, but that's a different matter.)
RogerTheMovieManiac88 wrote:
August 26th, 2020, 3:06 am
Another opinion of mine that might be considered bold/controversial is that the E.U. and its funding schemes have been bad for pan-European film-making. I think it has promoted a homogeneity and washed over a lot of what made the cinemas of individual countries unique and intriguing.
As somebody living in a small European country, I definitely agree that our "national style" is frustratingly unoriginal. Apparently, most of the big names in our filmmaking circles adore Romanian cinema, so the current trend is to imitate them, with slow, musicless domestic dramas about family violence, poverty, etc. etc.
But, I don't really know to which degree EU funding has influenced this situation.

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#17

Post by RogerTheMovieManiac88 » August 26th, 2020, 4:01 am

eutow wrote:
August 26th, 2020, 3:24 am
RogerTheMovieManiac88 wrote:
August 26th, 2020, 3:06 am
Another opinion of mine that might be considered bold/controversial is that the E.U. and its funding schemes have been bad for pan-European film-making. I think it has promoted a homogeneity and washed over a lot of what made the cinemas of individual countries unique and intriguing.
As somebody living in a small European country, I definitely agree that our "national style" is frustratingly unoriginal. Apparently, most of the big names in our filmmaking circles adore Romanian cinema, so the current trend is to imitate them, with slow, musicless domestic dramas about family violence, poverty, etc. etc.
But, I don't really know to which degree EU funding has influenced this situation.
Well, I think some of these ''national styles'' are re-inforced by national film boards - in thrall to what outside funding they can get - who regurgitate drabness, in order to carry on and at least reap some revenue. Rather than empowering film-makers, I think the processes that one sees in many of Europe's smaller film-producing countries result in run-of-the-mill film-making. I think national film authorities are to blame as well for their models and their approaches, but the number of co-productions that I see with E.U. funding makes me wary of the E.U. approach to funding film-making across the continent. Creative voices are, I'm afraid, being drowned out.

It's just a hunch and a feeling that I have. Perhaps I am being unduly unfair to the E.U.
That's all, folks!

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#18

Post by sebby » August 26th, 2020, 5:10 am

Wilder is deeply unfunny. Almost embarrassingly so.

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#19

Post by Onderhond » August 26th, 2020, 8:18 am

eutow wrote:
August 26th, 2020, 3:24 am
This is to a fair degree the exact opposite of a controversial opinion in some circles.
Maybe, but since we're talking film and cinephilia, I guess it's better to just stick with this circle :)
eutow wrote:
August 26th, 2020, 3:24 am
However, where I might disagree is how you apply that to older, classic cinema. Classic cinema was defined by its context just as much as today's cinema is, it's just that today's contextual relations don't feel that unusual or "foreign" to somebody who grew surrounded by and psychologically molded by these influences. (At the end of the day, I do not actually think that sticking strictly to the "death of the author/context" doctrine is the ideal way, or even a realistic possibility, of consuming art, but that's a different matter.)
I know the argument, but don't quite agree.

1/ I'm a Belgian country bumpkin with a soft spot for Japanese(/asian) cinema. Classic cinema was even more prevalent than Asian cinema when I grew up, so the idea that classic cinema is simply "too foreign" or "too unusual" is a bit odd.
2/ I do agree that classic/modern cinema is equally influenced by context, but since they're equally unimportant for me what remains are the means to create atmosphere, which are much richer and more precise compared to classic films. Which is pretty much why I prefer contemporary films over classic films.
3/ I get the "death of the author" thing, but find it quite odd to agree with as I do have a strong focus on directors. But that's from a selection process angle, not a grading/experience angle.
maxwelldeux wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 11:22 pm
I think I've been there myself at certain points in my life, but I've personally found I derive a lot more enjoyment and appreciation for the films I watch knowing the context, or at least some context. Like silent films are much cooler knowing that they actually had to do a lot of those effects and invent filming techniques to make it appear dangerous on the screen.
Sure, everyone has loves film in their own way and for me there's no right or wrong way to go about it (as long as it's still about the films I guess). I do think that "invention" is royally overrated. Most of it is just simple problem solving and when there's virtually nothing there, invention is actually very easy. As someone who has worked in the web dev business for 14 years (often as a problem solver), I can attest that there's very little magic involved, nor extreme smarts or skill. And if you wouldn't have been the first to do something, someone else would've just as easily figured it out whenever they were faced with the same problem. There's a kind of convenient romance thinking about such things though, I'm just not sure how realistic it is.
maxwelldeux wrote:
August 25th, 2020, 11:22 pm
The one spot I'd really quibble with is the political/societal situation - a lot of films are made in direct response to what's going on in the world, and I would argue that understanding what's going on is absolutely critical. What's your reaction to overtly "political" films?
I usually don't take very well to films with overt messages. I guess I'm more of a "there's two sides to every coin" type of guy? I do agree that knowledge about a films subject matter/cultural elements can make it easier to place things or clear up certain elements that otherwise feel odd or off, but those aren't usually the things that bug me/excite me about films :)

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#20

Post by blocho » August 26th, 2020, 6:47 pm

I'm not sure how many bold opinions I have. It depends on the definition of boldness, which is a conversation that doesn't feel very enticing. But here's one opinion I've recently shared with the podcast people on discord:

The good/bad paradigm for evaluating movies is bad. Instead, most people should use entertaining/boring or interesting/uninteresting. I have to admit that I'm not always good at living up to this edict.

There's also the effective/ineffective paradigm, which I always associated with Ebert: Does the movie accomplish what it's trying to accomplish?

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