Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Q & A (remainder)

More answers.

I have not read Brokeback Mountain but in general I think short stories and novellas are better source material for movies than full-length novels ---specifically because of their length and focus. As for another gay film, I think Happy Together is just swell. I will admit that when I first saw it I was too in love to accept its rather bleak outlook on gay couplings. Or at least I misinterpreted it then to be an overall statement rather than an excellent critique of one particular relationship type.

Moving to TV questions: I love the Golden Girls as long as it's in small doses --unlike many other fans I cannot watch them round the clock. Every episode has virtually the same jokes. Not that they aren't good ones. My favorite character is Rose. In the Sex & the City edition of this show Carrie is my favorite.

Travelling back in time for some other movie questions. THE best actress in 1997 was Helena Bonham Carter in Wings of the Dove or maybe that little 4 year-old Victoire Thivisol in Ponette. Further back to 1994? The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most overrated movies of all time. It's so overrated that I can't begin to process the outpourings of love for it. But I don't hate it or anything. It's harmless. Forrest Gump is dead to me. 1994 is all about Pulp Fiction, Heavenly Creatures, and La Reine Margot. Seriously. Those three movies are hard to beat.

Speaking of time travel, many times I've planned to do retroactive awards for the site but the problem is i don't want to commit without rewatching. I'm thinking that will never fully happen. So perhaps I should just put an in-progress retroactive thing? Thoughts? What do you want?


Anonymous said...

Definitely the in-progress retroactive awards. Think of it as giving your loyal readers viewing suggestions for each year while at the same time giving us a 'heads up' for the exceptional artistic and technical aspect of the movies.

Anonymous said...

La Reine Margot wasn't as good as I thought it would be after I saw it on your Top 100 list. It was decent, but I didn't really get into it. Made me slightly dozy.

However, Shawshank is a classic.

(I asked in a previous thread about a movie called Stonewall... thoughts?)


adam k. said...

I don't HATE Shawshank, but I just found it SO incredibly overrated when I saw it the one time that my feelings for it, when compared the hard core love that seems to be the norm, can't help but register as hate/intense dislike. It's like, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say maybe 5 and everyone else seems to think about 50... therefore, when adjusted for the excess, my 5 becomes a 1. It was just so incredibly pretentious. And slow. And I swear there was some line of Morgan Freeman's where it sounded like they needed to reinforce the notion that gays were human too. "Well he is human" or some crap like that... any movie that feels the need to reinforce that like it's something profound is just not worth my time.
Just had to get that off my chest. Gah...

darkcypherlad said...

Re: 1997 Best Actress. What about Julie Christie in "Afterglow"? The film is problematic (then again, what can you expect from Alan Rudolph?) but she was simply wonderful. I feel in love with her in the middle of the restaurant scene and you can tell the camera did too.

Other overlooked actresses that year: Cate Blanchett in "Oscar & Lucinda," Joan Allen and Sigourney Weaver in "The Ice Storm," Sarah Polley in "The Sweet Hereafter," and (I know I'll get laughs for this) Charlize Theron in "The Devil's Advocate."

Bonham Carter was ok in "Wings," but I thought Allison Elliot was quieter and better. I disliked that film intensely b/c I thought it completely mucked up Henry James' novel. Plus--those sex scenes! James must've been rolling in his grave.

Re: Shawshank. I enjoy it, but I too am a bit mystified by its post-theatrical success. Still, I'd rather watch "Shawshank" 100 times rather than view "Forrest Gump." That film was just terrible.

Then again, if I had to pick one American film from that year to view again, it'd probably be Robert Benton's "Nobody's Fool."

adam k. said...

Aw... Forrest Gump may be nothing special, but I did find it to have a good amount of unforced humor... I feel like it doesn't take itself so seriously (or maybe I just don't take it so seriously) and that's why I find it so watchable. Plus, for some reason I just love Robin Wright Penn in it... why was she not one of its bajillion oscar nominations? I dunno... I just find it endearing. Not that I ever watch it anymore. But I used to.
Now, I'm totally a Heavenly Creatures man.

darkcypherlad said...

Oh yeah, about Queen Margot: Love it, but how the heck did Virna Lisi get Best Actress at Cannes? Over Adjani for the same film? Yeesh!

Anonymous said...

I don't know, Nathaniel. I hate to sound so needy (because, truth be told, I consider myself lucky for whatever film criticism you decide dish up), but I too like the "in-progress" approach to retrospective awards. That'd be a time-consuming chore, though, and as soon as you devoted yourself to it, we'd all grow restless with the un-updated Oscar pages! We're such an eternally unsatisfied audience.

P.S. I know now what I really should have asked the other day: How do you manage to work, screen movies AND update your blog as many as three times per day? What time management!

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Heavenly Creatures. I haven't seen La Reine Margot. I haven't seen Shawshank Redemption.

But I have seen Forrest Gump, and I don't quite understand all the resentment. It certainly didn't deserve 13 Oscar noms, but I just can't bring myself to hate it the way I hate more recent undeserving Oscar champs (like Chicago). I don't know. I guess I'm just so much more invested in newer cinema.

Anonymous said...

In progress will do just fine. Anything will do just fine. In my case you are speaking to a woman who has only just started discovering the joy of film. All input is gratefully receieved.

Anonymous said...

The general concensus in the UK is that Judi Dench was robbed of 1997's Oscar for Mrs Brown. Clearly many in the Academy felt the same way, because great as she was in Shakespeare In Love, I don't think she'd have bagged the gold if it hadn't been for some residual guilt from the previous year.

However, much as I think Dench is monumental in Mrs Brown, I'd still place her second that year behind Helena Bonham Carter. I thought she was remarkable. That scene where you see the sly plan forming in her mind is played to perfection. She has to say one thing with her dialogue, but suggest something completely different with her eyes and body language. And she does it.

Never really got the love for La Reine Margot myself, but I certainly found much to admire about it. I'm a sucker for Shawshank though...


Anonymous said...

Adjani in her prime (Adele H) was as good as it gets, so I was a bit disappointed with Reine Margot. It was however better than either Shawshank Redemption or Forrest Gump.

I don't always like Helena Bonham Carter's work but she was wonderful in Wings of a Dove and was Oscar worthy that year. She was also great in a non-period role a few years back. I think it was Fight Club.

The Ice Storm girls (Allen, Weaver and Ricci) all gave great performances.

And Oscar and Lucinda was a great Blanchett performance. But I think her best is yet to come. She and Moore are the two actresses most deserving of the top prize some year soon.

Anonymous said...

In-progress retroactive, please!

- Ali

adam k. said...

But Cate Blanchett just won the top prize... or the second to top prize anyway...
For the record:
Dorothy = Carrie
Blanche = Samantha
Sofia = Miranda
Rose = Charlotte (except Rose is so much better played)

Anonymous said...

I think Heavenly Creatures, while really really good, is not as great as it is often made out to be. Almost too cutesy or fidgety, if that makes sense. I mean, I really liked it, but its not something that I would bring up for people to see. Although, Kate Winslet, my God, acting just doesn't get any better.

As for Judi Dench, I agree: I remember that year a TON of buzz was on her for a nod and win and then to give her a statue for an 8-minute cameo? Talk about making up.

And as for 1997, I think I was the one person who saw (and liked) A Life Less Ordinary, and Lolita. For me, there is no better Humbert Humbert than Jeremy Irons. And Ewan McGregor is incredibly endearing , along with the always great Holly Hunter.

Just my opinion. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

I never saw the Lolita remake because I hate Kubricks original (call me sleepy); however, it very nearly got banned (just like so many other sexual films do in Australia, UGH) so maybe I should give it a look. The original was very tame.

Heavenly Creatures is indeed very great. I remember seeing it about 5 years ago and was blown away.

My thinking with The Shawshank Redemption is that it's one of those films that is obsessively loved by almost everyone who is NOT a film buff type of person and those people who are are very split.

On Forrest Gump, I remember really liking it when I first saw but but over the years my like of it has lessened. Still not a bad movie in any respect, but I'd give it maybe a 6 or so out of 10. 6.5 probably.

Would people have prefered Dench won for Shakespeare in Love or Chocolat, for which she was also nominated - right?

I still think Joan Allen was robbed and is quite possibly the worst snub of my Oscar watching years, closely followed by Collateral's cinematography snub this year.

I am looking forward to Blanchett's new film co-starring Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill (i believe). She plays a drug-addict!


John T said...

Nathaniel, I'm so disappointed I didn't get to get in on the Q&A session. I do have a couple of questions that I'm going to ask anyway (you can save them for the next session, if you like):

1. What film, if you had to pick one, would you like to see remade?
2. If Michelle Pfeiffer and Julianne Moore made a film together, how long would you camp out in front of the theater on opening day?
3. If the Fillm Bitch Awards held a ceremony, who would host it?

adam k. said...

If Michelle Pfeiffer and Julianne Moore made a film together and were both oscar-nominated for best actress and were both great, who would you root for?

Anonymous said...

Glenn - for the record, I'm glad Dench won for Shakespeare. It was exactly the kind of performance the award SHOULD be handed to - an immaculate SUPPORTING turn. It's just such a shocker that the Academy recognised that in these days of category fraud, and in all honesty I don't believe they would have done had it not been for Mrs. Brown guilt.


Anonymous said...

For great leading actresses like Moore and Blanchett supporting actress is not enough. Even if Moore had won supporting for The Hours (for which she was robbed even if it was a bit of category fraud) I'd still want her to win "the big one".

I wouldn't be satisfied either if Streep or Lange just had their supporting trophies.

Dench is a wonderful actress too and I'm glad she's got one Oscar, whatever category. But she's had her due... unless she surprises in some very different edgy kind of role.

Nathaniel!! Get reading Brokeback Mountain ASAP. What kind of self-respecting fag are you anyway!!! (meant in the kindest way)

It's easy to find online or at any decent bookstore. Look for Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999) by Annie Proulx.

And from Christopher Lehman-Haupt's review of the book: “Why should you read these stories, then, if their characters’ lives are so mean and their fates so inevitable? You read them for their absolute authenticity, the sense they convey that you are beyond fact or fiction in a world that could not be any other way. And you read them for their language, not lyrical but a wry poetry of loneliness and pain”.

Anonymous said...

"For great leading actresses like Moore and Blanchett supporting actress is not enough."

Comments like these do nothing but reinforce the notion that Supporting Oscars are not as important as prestigious as Leading ones, which I find rather disrespectful to all those fantastic character actors out there whose work in supporting roles is as good and substantial as any big shot Hollywood leading men/women. As far as I'm concerned, it all comes down to the quality of the work itself, not some categorization.

adam k. said...

I don't think it necessarily says supporting's not important, but if a particular actor has built their career on being a great leading man/lady, then it does make more sense to honor them in the lead category eventually. Besides, that way, real character actors can win the supporting statuettes more easily.
But what's great about Moore, Blanchett, Streep, Winselt, etc. is that they really can do either. Hopefully they will all have one of each eventually (in Streep's case, one MORE of each).

Anonymous said...

Yes, what Adam K said.

The word supporting by it's very nature is not "lead". There's no disrespect in stating the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I've always thought that those small yet significant roles are what Oscars are made off, Dench DID have it, but maybe it needed to be a bit more in terms of running time. 8 minutes is a stretch...


Anonymous said...

Hey Nathaniel, been reading your site since before you changed the name to The Film Experience from FilmBitch. Great work always!

Fully agree on Helena for 1997. Head and shoulders (knees and toes) above the winner that year, little Ms. Helen Hunt.

Shawshank has its overraters, but I find it a lovely little movie anyway. Certainly Heavenly Creatures and Pulp Fiction are the tops of 1994 (haven't seen Reine) but what about Trois Couleurs: Rouge? Not a fan, or just lower on the list?


Trois Coleurs: Rouge is one of my best picture nominees yes.

You will see whenever I make it back to 1994

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