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The Oscar nominations: Brokeback leads the pack

 
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 11:58 am
Lightwizard -- Why is it so important that everyone think as you do, in lock step? Geez! Isn't it wonderful that some of us think for ourselves?

I clearly remember that the film currently being discussed -- Magnolia -- received some pretty mixed reviews.

You seem pretty insecure about people disagreeing with you.

Oh, btw, I saw a film much worse than any under consideration in this thread: Da Vinci Code.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 12:01 pm
And I never said Rotten Tomatoes asigns stars, but, it does a statistical analysis. If a critic might assign 2 and 1/2 stars -- which most people would consider sufficient to make a movie worth seeing -- then it goes into the favorable pile.

Besides, look at the approval ratings in the local paper, which might give you the nearby dailies and weeklies, People, NY and LA Times, and a few others. There are always some critics who like everything and some who like nothing.

Personally, I think Ebert and his partner comment for the LCD. That's lowest common demoninator. I judge their enthusiasms accordingly.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 12:17 pm
You didn't specify that you were referring specifically "Magnolia" in a thread about "Brokeback Mountain," but mentioned it in passing a few posts back. It's best to be clear about what you are making a comment on. I'm not going to go back and see what was the verdict for "Magnolia" by the Boston critics but for "Brokeback" is was over-whelmingly positive.

What is the "LCD?" A liquid crystal display? Again 86% positive is not "mixed reviews." Under 60% is mixed reviews and under 40% is worse than just "mixed."

I don't understand the media when they even mention "The Da Vinci Code" in getting "mixed reviews" -- it got trounced as badly as "The Passion of the Christ."

A rating of "2" is not a recommendation -- it's a warning that the film is only average fare and really not worth spending one's money at the box office. Maybe not even wasting one's time with cable or DVD, not to mention network TV, interrupted by commercials.

Ebert and Roeper's "Thumb's Up" correlates with a rating of 2-1/2 stars to 4 stars (when they will declare, "Thumbs way up!")
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 12:19 pm
You didn't specify that you were referring specifically to "Magnolia" in a thread about "Brokeback Mountain," but mentioned it in passing a few posts back. It's best to be clear about what you are making a comment on. I'm not going to go back and see what was the verdict for "Magnolia" by the Boston critics but for "Brokeback" is was over-whelmingly positive.

What is the "LCD?" A liquid crystal display? Ebert and Roeper are published by the Chicago Sun-Times and on ABC with "At the Movies." What qualifies this as a "lowest common demoninator?" Whether you know it or not, you often come off as an elistist and not a very rational elitist.

Again 86% positive is not "mixed reviews." Under 60% is mixed reviews and under 40% is worse than just "mixed."

I don't understand the media when they even mention "The Da Vinci Code" in getting "mixed reviews" -- it got trounced as badly as "The Passion of the Christ."

A rating of "2" is not a recommendation -- it's a warning that the film is only average fare and really not worth spending one's money at the box office. Maybe not even wasting one's time with cable or DVD, not to mention network TV, interrupted by commercials.

Ebert and Roeper's "Thumb's Up" correlates with a rating of 2-1/2 stars to 4 stars (when they will declare, "Thumbs way up!")
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 12:52 pm
plainoldme wrote:
I didn't see Magnolia because of the mixed reviews it received. I loved Short Cuts. A friend of mine -- a graduate of one of America's leading colleges -- couldn't figure out what it was about. To me, the film was about personal responsibility.

I couldn't see anything of that sort in Crash, but, then I saw less than an hour of the film. I thought it was some sort of television series. I did, however, see something of a theme of connectedness, as I wrote above.

Two or three years ago, a woman remarked to me that Clooney was growing as an actor. After seeing Goodnight, I thought how talented he is as a director. He's the first person to be nominated in a single year for directing, writing and acting (in a role outside of the movie he directed).

The only person to receive both acting and writing awards is Emma Thompson.

On the strength of Goodnight, if Clooney choses to continue to write, he may be the second.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 08:00 pm
plainoldme wrote:
Lightwizard -- I keep telling my former boyfriend that I hate rotten tomatoes. When you boil down a review, say that gives a movie 2 and 1/2 stars out of a possible 4 to a statistical favorable, well, you get where I am going. Rottentomatoes is hardly nuanced. Besides, when I say mixed reviews, the Boston critics largely hated it. I prefer getting to know a critic, reading or listening to him/her over at least several months to see what their taste is and how they evaluate things. I really don't care that Sam Spade in DesMoines like a film if I know nothing of his taste and his sensibilities. How can I compare his reaction to mine if he an unknown quantity?


Besides "Brokeback Mountain" there have been six other films mentioned on the past few pages. I'm suppose to know which one, considering eoe had just posted"

(Quote)

Finally saw BBM last night.

The cinematography was gorgeous and I liked that it was slow-moving but all-in-all, it wasn't that great of a film, to me.

I do have some questions tho...

Ennis sure knew how to 'wet his whistle' during their first big sex scene. That indicated to me that this was not his first time with a man. Had Ennis engaged in sexual relations with other men before meeting Jack?

Also, did Jack's wife know about him? The story she told Ennis of how he died was, of course, not how he died. Did she know that he was murdered and why he was murdered but covering it up with the exploding tire story?

(Quote)


To which I replied:



(Quote)

Proulx line in the story went something like "no instruction manual needed" as far as Ennis taking advantage of the situation. I don't detect any kind of inference that, especially at his age, Ennis had any previous sex with a male.

There's been and will always be an ongoing debate whether the flashback on the screen on a hate crime is what actually happened or what Ennis wanted to believe happened (it would kind of help let him off the hook because it realized his fears). The ambiguity of the film is to be filled in by the viewer's mind using their own emotional intelligence. It's an analysis of character motivation that cannot be absolute.

I'm sure the impact of the film is quite varied -- perhaps having a somewhat similar experience makes the film much more potent. I've had such experiences so it's not difficult to understand the circumstance the characters are in and appreciate that they were in love with one another. But it is not unconditional love and that's the point.

(Quote)

To which you have gone out-of-gear and are swerving off the road.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 10:09 pm
I finally saw the movie, the same weekend that eoe did, actually.

I agree with eoe's take on the movie. Great cinematography, I'm a sucker for cinematography, and this movie has it. Otherwise though, It was an ok movie. I see what my friend, who is gay, and is about the only gay guy I know who didn't like the film, meant when he rolled his eyes, telling me about the movie, saying, "Come on, you're either gay or your not." The theme of the movie is rather antiquated. He's not one for cinematography, and thought the panoramas shot were tedious and boring, and slowed the film too much. I don't mind a slow film necessarily. The pace has to compliment a film, and in this one, I think it does. It helps establish a sense of time that passed during which Ennis and Jack lived virtually alone with each other.

The movie made me think that Jack's wife was somehow complicit in Jack's beating, because of the way they'd flash to those scenes while showing her talking on the phone to Ennis, telling him the tire story. They mostly showed her while she was relating the story, interspersed with the beating, only occasionally showing Jack, as I recall.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2006 09:09 am
You're either gay or your not is not an untypical reaction by any gay person, but did your friend grow up during the 60's? The 60's were, in a way, antiquated as homosexuality itself was still buried deep in a closet in America. Even today, bi-sexuality is not that uncommon. I suppose if one hasn't personally encountered it, it is difficult to understand. Which is, of course, one of the reasons Proulx wrote the story and the film was made. It's not always a gay person in denial, although that would be the take, I guess, of the average gay person. I've encountered more armchair psychiatrists in the gay world than in the straight world.

I'm still with the beating being in Ennis' mind as a sort of vindication that he tried to warn Jack, but Jack's death was as banal as was being described.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 01:42 am
My friend grew up in the seventies. I agree that in the sixties there was much more intolerance to homosexuality and did cause homosexuals to hide in the closet. It was only in 1973 that the American Psychiatirc Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Who wanted to live with the stigma of being thought mentally ill?

I think that the point that my friend was trying to make is that this film which is set in the sixties, was produced in the twenty-first century, in 2005. The themes are antiquated for this decade. The movie would have been revolutionary in the sixties, and even in the seventies, but in the first decade of this century this movie comes across as decidedly dated and quaint.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 08:09 am
I disagree that it is "dated and quaint" in the way your friend seems to characterize it. It has a historical viewpoint that is extremely important, especially about the New West and Wyoming. That's what Proulx loves to write about. Of course, the environment, especially the interior environment and milieu, could be called "quaint," especially Ennis' wife, her characterization being the typical country girl. This film would obviously have been impossible to make when your friend suggests for the very reason suggested -- it would never have been acceptable until now. That says a lot about the quaintness of the minds of the general public even with the improvement of some acceptance in our society. It's not just acceptance that is necessary, however, but understanding. That's a huge mountain to climb. It's a wish dream to imagine it being made even in the sexually expanded Seventies. Instead, we got Al Pacino in "Crusing," which made the gay world dark and forbodding.

Your friend is still a bit nieve in believing that there are not many individuals who are not essentially gay (not living the gay lifestyle) who have sexual relationships with the same sex and remain on the fence their entire lives. The story rings true and especially in the environment and the milieu the characters are circumstantially set in.

It's not as easy as imagining some internal "gear shift" or experimentation that while enjoyable at the time is not accepted by the individual as a dominant lifestyle.

BTW, what did you friend think of Ang Lee's "The Wedding Banquet," another ground breaking gay film?
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 10:04 am
Jeez!

Lightwizard wrote: Again 86% positive is not "mixed reviews." Under 60% is mixed reviews and under 40% is worse than just "mixed."

I answer: Look. Let's create a hypothetical film. It stars a popular and admired actress (not a movie star) and co-stars a new comer male in a supporting role. It is adapted from a so-so novel. The film script can not overcome its source, but the actress does her usual fine job. However, the newcomer is brilliant and steals the show. Just for ease of reference, let's say 100 critics review the picture.

Let's imagine 41 of the reviews say the film is hampered by a script that needs one more rewrite but that the leading lady does her usual fine job and is as fun to watch as she always is and the critics suggest the film is worth seeing for her sake.

Then, 45 of the reviews praise the newcomers work to the hilt and say despite the tepid script, this exciting newcomer is a find whose career must be documented and watched by all film buffs, so these writers urge everyone to see this film, despite their giving it 2 and 1/2 stars.

So, 86 of 100 reviews recommend the film. Not strongly. Let's use another example of a weak recommendation. I watched Ebert and Roeper's show in which they reviewed DVC and Roeper said he was giving it "a mild thumbs up." Ebert chimed in and said was also giving it a mild thumbs up and that he read the book and feels Ron Howard is a better director than Dan Brown is a novelist. So, reviews of the sort that I illustrate with my imaginary film and of the above referenced Ebert/Roeper tv review would be given a Rotten Tomatoes positive.

Are they truly positive reviews? No. They're tepid.

Now, when I watch Ebert and Roeper, I do it with an eye toward the fact that they are reviewing for the general audience, for movie goers and not film enthusiasts. When I read a review in the Boston Phoenix, I know they are writing for an intellectual audience. I weigh what each says differently.

If I just feel like kicking back and if a movie is well made, I would go see it on the strength of a Roeper and Ebert review. You can tell by comments within the review if it is well made. However, most of the time, I want to go a film. I like depth.


Rotten Tomatoes lacks nuance. We don't know unless we go back and read those 100 reviews whether they were raves -- that is, truly favorable -- or, in Roeper's word, "mildly" favorable.

In this area, there are two very popular second run houses that are well attended by the sort of people who would read the Phoenix. When a film gets 2 stars, as the DVC did from the Phoenix, this person might decide to see it in the theatre, but in second run.

Besides, lots of movies with 1 and 1/2 stars are seen by millions of people in multiplexes around the country. Some people live in areas where there are only multiplexes, no art houses and no second runs. If they want an evening out, they are stuck with whatever corporate America has given them.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 10:08 am
On the question of you're either gay or your not, well, there are some complications here.

Women are frequently warned by their mothers and girlfriends and therapists that there really are no bi-sexual men and to get out of relationships with men who say they are. MEn don't seem to receive those same warnings and enter into relationships with women who claim to be bi-sexual. To complicate matters, many women who call themselves lesbians enter into sexual relationships with men and rationalize the whole thing by saying that sex with men is just something to do but sex with women is an expression of their emotional being.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:08 am
"The Da Vinci Code" did not received "mixed reviews," no matter thumbs up and Ebert didn't just give it a mild thumbs up but three stars in his column. You don't comprehend very well or don't remember. DVC was soundly thrashed by the critics, which is not "mixed reviews." Why it's being drug into this discussion, I don't know, but there it is.

You're comprehension of what reviews mean are entirely your own mindset. You're being just as insistent that I "drop into step" with you as you accuse me of being. Find one place where I insist anyone must agree with me.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:12 am
plainoldme wrote:
On the question of you're either gay or your not, well, there are some complications here.

Women are frequently warned by their mothers and girlfriends and therapists that there really are no bi-sexual men and to get out of relationships with men who say they are. MEn don't seem to receive those same warnings and enter into relationships with women who claim to be bi-sexual. To complicate matters, many women who call themselves lesbians enter into sexual relationships with men and rationalize the whole thing by saying that sex with men is just something to do but sex with women is an expression of their emotional being.


You have a lot of personal experience here or are you quoting some study? I can slightly agree with some of this but it's still subjective opinion and has little to do with this film about the 1960's when I suspect virtually no woman, especially in Wyoming, was warned about bi-sexual or gay men. That's what I don't get about reviews of BBM -- many of the disavow the gay cowboy claptrap but they don't seem to be cognitive of the time frame, or at least ignore it.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:14 am
BTW, this "let's imagine" qualifiation is just hiding what is outwardly only subjective opinion, just like a movie review. Every film has to be considered on its own merits within its genre without bias. There's still going to be the stigma of bias in the background of any review of BBM.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:20 am
Lightwizard wrote:
"The Da Vinci Code" did not received "mixed reviews," no matter thumbs up and Ebert didn't just give it a mild thumbs up but three stars in his column. You don't comprehend very well or don't remember. DVC was soundly thrashed by the critics, which is not "mixed reviews." Why it's being drug into this discussion, I don't know, but there it is.

You're comprehension of what reviews mean are entirely your own mindset. You're being just as insistent that I "drop into step" with you as you accuse me of being. Find one place where I insist anyone must agree with me.


HE SAID WITH HIS OWN MOUTH THAT HE AGREED WITH ROEPER AND GAVE IT A MILD THUMBS UP.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:21 am
Lightwizard wrote:
plainoldme wrote:
On the question of you're either gay or your not, well, there are some complications here.

Women are frequently warned by their mothers and girlfriends and therapists that there really are no bi-sexual men and to get out of relationships with men who say they are. MEn don't seem to receive those same warnings and enter into relationships with women who claim to be bi-sexual. To complicate matters, many women who call themselves lesbians enter into sexual relationships with men and rationalize the whole thing by saying that sex with men is just something to do but sex with women is an expression of their emotional being.


You have a lot of personal experience here or are you quoting some study? I can slightly agree with some of this but it's still subjective opinion and has little to do with this film about the 1960's when I suspect virtually no woman, especially in Wyoming, was warned about bi-sexual or gay men. That's what I don't get about reviews of BBM -- many of the disavow the gay cowboy claptrap but they don't seem to be cognitive of the time frame, or at least ignore it.



WOW!!! IS THERE OBJECTIVE OPINION???
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:38 am
Lightwizard -- In the above post, I cited your use of the phrase subjective opinion. Now, I want to talk to you about calling me an irrational elitist.

When I talk about books being literature and people being literary, I am not being elitist. A friend who was formerly a member of the same book group I had been in once made a statement based on his life expectantcy and the rate at which he is able to read (he's an emergency room doctor) about the number of books he can expect to read during his lifetime and how -- because the number is limited -- he wants them to be good books, worth reading.

That doesn't make him an elitist.

When I was in high school, the list of recommended books sent out (two closely typed pages, not rated, just listed) contained a book with an intriguing title: April Snow by Lillian Budd. I read it. I thought I wasted my time. I asked the senior English teacher why it was included and she said the faculty tried to include books on different levels and I simply chose one below my level.

Toward the end of my senior year in college (I was a political science major and a pre-law student because that was what my mother wanted), I was frustrated because I had trouble finding books I wanted to finish. So, I made the decision to go to graduate school in English.

I could say that I haven't invested many years in three degrees in order to read The Da Vinci Code. There is nothing wrong with that because my elementary and high school teachers presented the notion that one went to college to become an educated and cultivated person. My freshman English classes at college revolved around books by the 60s cultural and literary critics who analyzed high and low culture.

However, rather than say I didn't go to college to read The DVC, I think it more appropriate to say I'm an adult, therefore, I read adult books.

Furthermore, what a person choses to read is a matter of taste and taste can not be rational or irrational.

And I do not ask you to conform. You think because Rotten Tomatoes arbitrarily decided that 86% of the critics surveyed gave reviews that can be put in the positive category -- often by the skin of their teeth -- that the majority of critics really feel that way. No! That's why I don't consult RT.

I know when a book critic is telling his/her readership that a book is not literature. The key phrase is the author is a good story teller. I avoid those books.

Now, I no longer read much fiction. I don't find it particularly satisfying. for a few years, I was upset by this. I just learned to accept that I prefer to read history. That said, I am currently reading two works of fiction -- one contemporary, Jonathan Strange and MR. Norrel, the other part of the so-called canon, Bleak House. I am enjoying both of them enormously.

As for your adherence to RT, when you carry on about 86%, I just hear my father saying to my oldest brother, "Yeah, and if all your friends jump off a bridge, will you do that to?"
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:51 am
The 86% good reviews was not the reason I saw "Brokeback Mountain," but along with the many (and I mean many) awards, it puts the naysayers in a position of defense. So far, the defense has been biased and very weak. There's no "adherance" to just Rotten Tomatoes, I also linked to Metacritic and IMDb, not to mention other sites which gauge the quality of a movie.

Your opinion of "The Da Vinci Code" which now seems to be your criteria for all movies good and bad was not the only reason I believe you come off as being elitist. So I'd watch my step as far as that bridge! Very Happy
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2006 11:56 am
There is objective opinion, believe it or not. Critics seldom indulge in it but it still exists. Paulene Kael, as far as films, was the most often objective. It's not an oxymoron.

I've followed Ebert since the old "At the Movies" and three stars has never correlated with a mild thumbs up on his show. 2-1/2 stars is a mild thumbs up. I don't know what you heard but Ebert was the first to comment on the movie and gave it a straight thumbs up, Roeper a mild thumbs up. I have it on my DVR and played it back. You are wrong.
However, I won't shout it out (all caps denote shouting on the Interent, in case you did not know).
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