Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 06:45 pm
So I've been home sick with a stomach virus the last few days and decided to make use of my lethargy by watching television. We have "On Demand" so I decided to watch a movie. Now, I hardly ever watch TV and I never go to movies so as I browsed through the selections I chose the one movie I remembered hearing something about:

"Funny Games"

What kind of crazy, messed up movie is that!?

Once you're watching, you kind of have to keep watching even though you feel really bad about watching it. Then that guy turns to the camera and starts talking to you and it is just too creepy. You know you should just turn it off. But you don't (or I didn't) and you (I) don't know why. Weird.

Have you seen this movie?
What did you think of it?
Did you somehow feel compicit in what was happening?
Was that the point?

If you haven't seen this particular movie, is there some other film that made you scratch your head and wonder "Is this supposed to be entertainment?"

Thanks!
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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 2,850 • Replies: 25
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 06:48 pm
Not a movie, but E.G. and I were channel surfing the other day and some horrible thing came on MTV that I was convinced was satire and he said no, it's real. People jumping out of airplanes with no parachutes, varieties of stunts that resulted in serious injuries, a teaser (for next show or after the commercial) about a guy who broke his neck (during a filmed stunt), just... ACK! What? I was just gawping at it.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Apr, 2009 07:45 pm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitary_(TV_series)
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 09:44 am
That sounds like "Jackass", soz. I've never seen it but Mr. B saw part of a movie they made. Unbelievable.

DrewDad, I'm speechless. I think you trumped "Funny Games" with that reality show. I'd never even heard of it. Who would sign up for something like that? I can't even imagine.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 10:56 am
@boomerang,
No, it was way Jackassier yet. I know about that one, Johnny Knoxville etc., E.G. knew about this new one and said it's upping the ante, and that there are a ton like it. I'll ask him what it was called.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 11:00 am
Reputedly, Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Far, far too generous an estimate--people will settle for 45 seconds, and do damned near anything to get it.

Me . . . i'm gonna take the dogs for a walk, and avoid anything dangerous, controversial or even merely notorious.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 11:02 am
@sozobe,
OK, found the no-parachute guy:



This is probably the show:

http://nitrocircus.com/mtv/
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 12:55 pm
Jackassier -- love that word.

I've never understood the allure of fame, Set. It is kind of crazy that people do all kinds of dumb stuff trying to get famous and then, once they're famous they wonder why nobody takes them seriously.

Turns out, "Funny Games" was given some good reviews. That must have been what I remembered. Here's a blurb from one review that kind of fits in with my original post:

Quote:
To be honest, Funny Games is not a movie you watch for fun or entertainment. It's much too brutal for that. Instead, it's the kind of thing you watch as an exercise in filmmaking. Haneke has a point he's trying to make, and the whole picture is structured to make that point in as direct and disturbing a manner as possible. The original version was a commentary on the public's thirst for violence in media. This one is too, but it works on a whole other level given the popularity of "torture porn" movies in the last few years. Pictures like the Saw series and Hostel have turned excessive onscreen brutality into a spectator sport. The point of those movies is to watch innocent characters getting dismembered, mutilated, and eviscerated in increasingly foul ways. And let's face it - the audience digs it. If you took all the blood and gore out of the Saw movies, would anyone care about them?

This sort of audience bloodlust seems to appall Haneke, who sets out to show us how terrible violence really is. Like I said, the central situation is not altogether unfamiliar (in fact, the current film The Strangers has a nearly identical set-up), but the approach is. Haneke intentionally tries to disturb and repulse the audience, not by inventing bits of exploitation but by playing it real. He removes all the fantasy and catharsis from the situation, lingering on the incessant fear that Ann, George, and Georgie endure at the hands of Peter and Paul. The ghastly nature of what occurs is robbed of the dark beauty that torture porn filmmakers often try to bring to it. It's almost as if Haneke is saying, "You think it's fun to watch people getting tormented? Well, I'll show you how much fun it really is by making you squirm uncomfortably until you're sick to your stomach."

DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 12:59 pm
@sozobe,
One assumes they practiced before-hand, and I note that they have two backup parachutists (the helper and the camera person).

Not a film I would choose to make, and let's hope no one attempts to emulate it amateurishly.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 01:17 pm
@boomerang,
I saw Funny Games. My sister told me about it - she said that she had no real idea what it was about when she rented it, but watched it, and told me - 'Don't watch it. It'll upset you- DONT WATCH IT!

So I decided not to watch it, but when I was in the video store browsing, I saw it and told the guy what my sister had said, that it was violent and upsetting and I think he thought I meant gory - so he said, 'It's not really gory...no...it's pretty interesting really - if you don't like it - you don't have to watch it - turn it off - but he said- 'I really liked it.'

So I got it. And Jesus - was it upsetting - but fascinating in such an odd way that I watched it twice to catch all the nuances.

Like the scenes with the neighbors - when they're in the front yard as the main couple are driving through the neighborhood - and when they walk over and the older male neighbor introduces the other guy as a 'family friends' son', etc.
The white gloves - why didn't she get freaked out at that?
I thought the whole sense of something being slightly off kilter and the very suble dissonance in the opening scenes helped build the sense of foreboding really masterfully.
And there's just enough doubt involved to keep you watching because you don't know what's gonna happen- and you do keep hoping - at least I did.

The scene with the little boy and the tv - STUNNING. I couldn't contain myself- literally - I thought the acting was incredible - especially by the father.
And then the last scene, when what happens to the mom happens - again- you just sit there, shaking your head, unbelieving of what you've just seen, but knowing that really, she was probably relieved to be honest...

As upsetting as it was - I thought it was fascinating. There really are people like that in the world.

The only other movie I've ever seen that was as forcefully and psychologically upsetting to me was 'The Stepfather.' I watched that in the theatre and there's a scene where the bad guy kills a good guy by beating him to death with a two by four, really just business like and purposefully, and I sobbed out loud with every blow. The guy I was with (on a date) was like, 'Jesus- are you alright?'
I can't explain it - it was like I was watching someone get beat to death in real life. I didn't sleep at all that night. I searched around the tv until I found Brian's Song playing at about three oclock in the morning, and that finally took my mind off it long enough so that I didn't see that beating scene on my eyelids everytime I closed my eyes, and I could fall asleep.
I felt sort of psychologically assaulted - the whole thing about misplaced trust and the deception of loved ones by someone who was supposed to love and care for the people he attacked.

Funny Games was like that too - terrifying in its depiction of such evil taking place in such ordinary surroundings to ordinary people, and the presentation of death as an event - without all the noise and gore and fanfare was really so powerful.
The silence of the aftermath said it all.


Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 01:28 pm
@boomerang,
I kinda had that thought process regarding the movie "American Beauty". My husband and I had never seen it and like your situation it was on demand free of charge so we figure - what the heck and watched it.

At first I thought it sick - the dad having fantasies about her teenage daughter's friend - but as it went along I found it more funny like a comedy. Then the whole f*cked up ending sort of left me feeling - what the h*ll kind of movie was that!
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 01:31 pm
Michael Haneke wrote and directed 2 versions of "Funny Games." His first version was filmed in Austria in 1997. He was asked to make a new American version in 2007. (The 1997 version is in German; the 2007 version is in English; the two versions are almost identical otherwise.)
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 02:08 pm
@DrewDad,
Yeah... it could've been horrible but it wasn't. That particular one was kind of thrilling, especially since it had a happy ending.

When we first turned it on, though, it was a shot of someone sprawled at the bottom of a canyon of some kind -- a stunt gone wrong. Never found out what happened to the guy (from their flip commentary I'm assuming he must've lived, but it was obviously serious). Then later someone was talking to the camera while someone else was shooting him with... what? I dunno. He'd recoil in apparently real and apparently extreme pain each time, but kept talking after swearing for a bit, then finally went after the guy shooting him. Then came the "broken neck" teaser, with scary footage. Just... ack.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 02:13 pm
@aidan,
I can't believe you were able to watch it twice but I agree, it was oddly fascinating.

I think she was a little creeped out but was too polite to really show it. Then, when she's creeped out and asking her husband to throw the guys out, he's apologizing and making excuses for her, trying to be polite.

And I confess -- at the beginning where he knocks her phone in the water I thought: she's kind of a bitch.

The polite thing. I remember reading a book some time ago called "The Gift of Fear" that said people often get themselves into bad situations just trying to be polite.

I guess I "got" "American Beauty" becuase it didn't bother me but "Falling Down", which was also billed as a black comedy, made me crazy. It was so claustrophic and sweaty and real feeling. I remember leaving that movie thinking I just wanted to get home and take a shower; I felt dirty.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 02:19 pm
@boomerang,
I think I was surprised by American Beauty because I did not realize it was black comedy. Sometimes though it can make a movie better in a sense because you don't expect it until the end and once you absorb it a bit. I remember the movie getting all these awards and stuff, but honestly never remembered what it was all supposed to be about.

Falling down is a bit - yeah sorta thing and ick sorta thing at the same time. But I was expecting that one a bit more.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 02:20 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
I've never understood the allure of fame, Set. It is kind of crazy that people do all kinds of dumb stuff trying to get famous and then, once they're famous they wonder why nobody takes them seriously.


I doubt if that has changed much through human history. I'd say Warhol believed that "celebrity" was being degraded, but that would have been because he was ignorant of how celebrity has always worked. In the days when England had more than 150 hanging offenses, people who were condemned to "ride a mare foaled from an acorn" (referring to the oak from which the gallows were constructed) made a big show of it, if they had the chuptzpah and the means. Those who could afford it wore a new suit of the most fashionable clothing, and rode to Tyburn (or whatever the execution venue was) in the most expensive coach and four they could afford. Bleachers were erected, and the condemned's last words were offered for sale on broadsides printed for the occasion, of course, written up and printed before hand, and before anyone knew what the last words would be. Vendors circulated in the crowd selling food, and cut-purses (the pickpockets of their day) did a lively business. It was great public entertainment, and those who would swing often seemed to relish their brief flash of fame. The crowds weren't necessarily impressed with claims of innocence, either. I once transcribed the manuscript journal of a man who emigrated from England to the United States in 1831. He went to London a few days before his ship sailed to enjoy the sights with is cousins. One of the entertainments was a public hanging. He commented that the condemned man's final speech was very affecting and convincing--but that he was obviously lying, because they wouldn't hang him if he weren't guilty.

I suspect that people have always sought some sort of fame if they could find it, and that the only historical difference would have been their reach. Absent mass media as we know, the circle of their notoriety would necessarily have been limited in comparison to our times. I agree with Samuel Clemens when he wrote: "Obscurity and a competence--that is the life best worth living."
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 02:21 pm
The one other movie I remember having a bit impact - that sort of can't stop watching, but it hurts thing was Clockwork Orange. To this day I can't watch the movie again, but thought it was very good. Like American Beauty I didn't get it at first and almost walked out of the movie because of the level of violence. But I couldn't turn away either. As the movie progressed I got absorbed in the psychological aspect of it.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 04:00 pm
@sozobe,
Yeah, I don't get that.

Besides, why wait for it to come on TV? Just do a YouTube search for "faceplant".
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 06:56 pm
@Linkat,
I really liked "A Clockwork Orange". Maybe it was because I'd read the book before I saw the movie and the movie did a really excellent adaptation of the book. But it was a very brutal movie that did not in any way glamorize violence. And maybe that's the thing that makes these movies stand apart -- the violence is not glamorized in any way.

In a way, it would make an interesting companion piece to "Funny Games" because they're both about reactions and perceptions of violence, or so it seems to me.

Your mentioning "A Clockwork Orange" does remind me of a really terrible, hard to watch scene from "Resevoir Dogs" where the guy is dancing around tormenting that policeman to the song "Stuck In The Middle With You". I can't hear that song (or "Singing in the Rain", for that matter) without crazy images showing up in my head. I guess I should be glad I don't listen to either opera or thrash metal......
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Apr, 2009 07:18 pm
@boomerang,
I saw the Austrian original, of which the movie you saw is a remake. From what I gather on YouTube, the script is identical except for the translation.

I think there are several points to the movie:

  • to be a thriller,
  • to unmask the unrealistic viewing conventions that make conventional thrillers bearable. (Remember the part where the captured woman shoots a tormentor, and then the other tormentor rewinds the movie to where she gets hold of the gun, makes sure she doesn't get hold of it, and takes it from there?)
  • to genuinely shock the audience, which I guess the director assumes to have immunized themselves to what's really being shown in thrillers.

The same director has made a movie based on a counter-factual history where a Yugoslavia-like civil war breaks out in Germany. It follows a nice, middle-class family, which is on its way to its holiday home in the Black Forest as the war erupts. Over the next hour and a half, the family's niceness, middle-class-ness, and mere civility come apart, and they end up doing some pretty sick things to survive. I don't remember the title, but this movie was disturbing in a similar way as "Funny Games" was.
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