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crumbsroom 11-26-20 05:51 PM

Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom
 
Former Corrie/RT members know what this means. Sporadic posting. Some pretty good reviews. Lots of bad ones. Tangents. Drug addiction. Insect infestations. Crime. Punishment. Russian Literature.

All the fun stuff.

And maybe some Louis Del Grande trivia if your lucky (you won't be, nobody in this world is that lucky)

https://i.postimg.cc/V5ytTdL1/louis.jpg

Q: ?
A: ?

ThatDarnMKS 11-26-20 05:57 PM

What are you watching today and why is it BLOOD RAGE?

crumbsroom 11-26-20 05:58 PM

The Leningrad Cowboys would probably prefer you didn’t laugh at them, but they’re okay if you do. They don’t see anything particularly funny about their rock and roll tubas, or their Rumpelstiltskin shoes or their duck bill hairstyles that point accusingly at each other as they play. If they didn’t seem so indifferent to the reactions they get while up on stage, you’d almost think these over coiffed heads were blaming each other for the miserable or confused or indifferent state of their audiences. A Rock and Roll Mexican Standoff where no pompadour dares fire first. But laugh if you must. These are the Leningrad Cowboys after all, hardened against the world by years of practicing in the howling Siberian wind. If you laugh at one, you laugh at them all. And they will just keep playing, regardless.

Because of this resolute nature, when we do eventually laugh at the sight of them—the odd shape they make with their instruments in hand and their hairstyles in the way—it is only to love their inability to ever fit in anywhere. They make no apologies for their strangeness. They barely even make facial expressions. Together they stand, in matching suits, matching sunglasses, matching dead pan gazes and a matching passion to Balalaika the night away. They are a unified block or who cares, just do it. In many ways they become the perfect stand in for a true Rock and Roll spirit, which has only become much too serious over the years. The Leningrad Cowboys let us once again use laughter to affirm the vitality of our life juices. A lethal combination when paired with the Mashed Potato.

In this way, Leningrad Cowboys Go America is one of the great rock and roll movies, even though what they play is in not traditional rock and roll. Roving from State to State, looking for radio acceptance, they seem to absorb all of the country’s rich musical heritage as if picking up transmissions through their antennae hair-dos. Like the bastard child of rock and roll itself, the Cowboys are a boiled over melting pot of influences, their foreignness finding home in the swaddling of all manner of regional sounds; from country to swing; Tex-Mex to rockabilly.

As a result their roadtrip across America will play as an anthropological study of American music, an examination of its sponge like ability to appropriate anything that comes near it, and a criticism of the ruthless business practices that corrupt its best intentions. But it is mostly a celebration of taking something blind stupid in its passion with hopeless sincerity. Being so sincere we can’t help but laugh at it. A beautiful thing.

And so it will be as the Leningrad Cowboys stare stone faced down at us from the stage, squeezing their squeezeboxes and grumbling with their fluzelhorns, their ludicrous haircuts will point out at us as if beckoning us to join them. And why shouldn’t we? We’re already laughing, after all.



crumbsroom 11-26-20 05:59 PM

Originally Posted by ThatDarnMKS (Post 2144558)
What are you watching today and why is it BLOOD RAGE?
You raise a good point

ThatDarnMKS 11-26-20 06:00 PM

Originally Posted by crumbsroom (Post 2144561)
You raise a good point
It’s the only way to test the veracity of the claim that a substance is or is not, in fact, sauce made from cranberry.

Captain Terror 11-26-20 06:02 PM

Glad to see this thread revived, because I have some things to say about Strongman.

crumbsroom 11-26-20 06:04 PM

Originally Posted by Captain Terror (Post 2144563)
Glad to see this thread revived, because I have some things to say about Strongman.
Oooooo, do tell.

kgaard 11-26-20 06:27 PM

I am here for this.

Captain Terror 11-26-20 10:02 PM

Your review of Strongman pretty much says it all. (You should post it here if you haven't already. I read it on Letterboxd). So I'll start by saying I agree with everything you said there. So some random thoughts:

*I've never watched a couple break up in real time while sharing a block of cheese. That tells me these crazy kids are gonna make it after all.
*The "nail through the block of wood and two license plates" trick seemed like an ill-advised choice for a child's party. One wrong move could result in a bloody mess and several scarred psyches.
But on a more serious note-- I'd like to see a followup/prequel that profiles the girlfriend. She comes across as an intelligent person and her old modeling photos show a stunning beauty, so how did she end up in Jersey playing half-hearted hype man to Stanless Steel? I found her as fascinating as Pleskun.
But mostly I'd like to know how Stan feels about the finished film. When he watches it does he recognize the despair and futility that is so clear to us, or is he just stoked that a bigger audience can see him bending pennies? I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's the latter. His argument with the agent regarding the braids doesn't suggest an overabundance of self-awareness.
But yeah, great doc. Thanks for bringing it to my attention

ps--The more I think about the nickname the less sense it makes. ARGH!

crumbsroom 11-27-20 12:15 PM

Originally Posted by Captain Terror (Post 2144599)
Your review of Strongman pretty much says it all. (You should post it here if you haven't already. I read it on Letterboxd). So I'll start by saying I agree with everything you said there. So some random thoughts:

*I've never watched a couple break up in real time while sharing a block of cheese. That tells me these crazy kids are gonna make it after all.
*The "nail through the block of wood and two license plates" trick seemed like an ill-advised choice for a child's party. One wrong move could result in a bloody mess and several scarred psyches.
But on a more serious note-- I'd like to see a followup/prequel that profiles the girlfriend. She comes across as an intelligent person and her old modeling photos show a stunning beauty, so how did she end up in Jersey playing half-hearted hype man to Stanless Steel? I found her as fascinating as Pleskun.
But mostly I'd like to know how Stan feels about the finished film. When he watches it does he recognize the despair and futility that is so clear to us, or is he just stoked that a bigger audience can see him bending pennies? I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's the latter. His argument with the agent regarding the braids doesn't suggest an overabundance of self-awareness.
But yeah, great doc. Thanks for bringing it to my attention

ps--The more I think about the nickname the less sense it makes. ARGH!
For a movie that has seemingly disappeared between the cracks, its a really really good documentary. Strange, funny, frightening, sad. What more could you ask for from reality.

I watched it years go and that review was from RT wayback. I've just slowly been stockpiling writing I somehow salvaged from there (and Corrie) on letterboxd so it's all in one convenient place.

And the nickname is a headache inducer. It's a so clever it's stupid kind of thing, but not actually even clever. Just lots stupid.

crumbsroom 11-27-20 12:21 PM



If you ever come across Stanley Pleskun wandering about a parking lot or through the aisles of a Walmart, his hair in pigtails, his undersized t shirt rising high around his belly, he’s probably hoping that you suspect that he’s one of the strongest men in the world. Or, if not, that maybe you’ll at least ask. For those who do neither, then it seems it will be up to his girlfriend to set you straight as she acts as the carnival barker who will introduce him and his act. Speaking in her hesitant and not-quite-sure-if-what-she’s-saying-is-true manner, she will begin to say the words she has probably recited hundreds of times, yet never once gotten entirely right—“Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the strongest man in the world at bending steel and metal, Staanless Steeeeel!!!”—which will bring about a smattering of applause from the audience that has come outside from their afternoon of discount shopping to congregate amongst the parked cars. They are here to see what one can do with such strength, and Pleskun will oblige by lifting trucks with his legs, or women with a single finger, or, in his signature trick, even bend pennies with a few grunts of his bare hands.

But even though he is a mountain of a man, built both high and wide with equal amounts raw muscle and beer induced flab, this will not be a documentary of a man whose enormous strength has kept him from being broken by the awfulness of life. This is the story of a man who is simply aware enough to know that the only thing he has in this life is this strength, and in trying to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste, he will use every ounce of it to wrestle iron pins, and horseshoes and whatever loose change he comes across in his pocket. Watching him struggle as he slowly bends whatever trinket his assistant has handed to him, hunching over, groaning, teeth grinding together, it becomes clear that Pleskun has no choice but to fight with these inanimate pieces of metal, since there is nothing else for him to test his superhuman strength upon, at least not without having the cops called. So as his face turns so red that we begin to fear that blood might start spitting out from his ears, and as his body begins to tremble as if what he’s twisting in his hands might possibly be electrified, watching Stanless Steel at work begins to become even an endurance test for us. And this discomfort will only increase as we realize that those who have come out to watch these public displays of his suffering are usually no more than a handful of loiterers lingering about empty parking lots, or children at birthday parties who are paying more attention to the slices of cake that they have in their laps. It seems that even when performing, Stanley Pleskun is completely alone.

From the very beginning of Zachary Levy’s documentary “Strongman”, we will be witness to the slightly leery manner in which the world views such a peculiar and out of step specimen as Stanless Steel Pleskun. It will be right there for us to see during the opening scene where we will be introduced to him while he is on the phone, attempting to rent a truck for one of his stunts. As he begins to engage the man on the other line in polite small talk, explaining what he needs such a heavy vehicle for, even divulging the meaning behind his awkward and somewhat stupid moniker, he will suddenly be hung up on, as if the details of his life sound more like a prank call than anything to be considered seriously. This will be a moment that captures the essence of this man, and it will be as good an introduction as any to what will be the many small defeats that he will suffer in the first stretch of the film, each of which he will accept with one of his sighing chuckles, as if he hopes to appear that he too is in on the joke.

But this will only be one of many distractions that Pleskun will use to keep up the airs the he is a very tough man indeed. And as much as he will sometimes drunkenly boast that he is so unnaturally strong that he is completely impervious to the harm of others, there is so much about his demeanor that will make us increasingly doubt this fact as the movie goes along. During close ups we will see that in his eyes he carries the wounded look of someone who has never fit in anywhere, and has probably never been able to figure out why. When we get a shot of someone reacting to something that he has said, it seems that they only nod along, instead of ever really showing any understanding of what it is he’s getting at. Even in the long roving scenes of Pleskun wandering about, just through the simple manner in which he moves, we will be given some notion of how poor a fit he really is in this world. Nearly aping the gait of a child who has suddenly realized it’s in a place it has never been before, yet nevertheless is always moving forward in hopes of not appearing lost, one cannot look at this man without wishing that at some point he will stop and admit to someone that he has chosen a wrong path somewhere. There is a desperate hope that, sooner rather than later, he will reach out for someone’s hand that can lead him in a better direction.

But as we come to realize that this is not likely to ever happen, something apparently in the DNA of this strongman precludes him asking for help, this will be where the movie will be able to build its currency of tension, despair and frustration in its audience. This film wants us to ache at the disconnect this man has between how he appears on the outside, and who he really is, and it can’t help but succeed when it continually refuses to look away from how wide and black the chasm between these two things really is.

The whole set up of “Strongman” is essentially to create a friction between these two contrasts in Stanley’s personality. Not only will we slowly begin to note the disparity between the strength of his exterior and the fragility of his interior, but most uncomfortable of all will be the vast gulf we will see between how Pleskun believes he is viewed, as opposed to how he is really seen. Pleskun seems completely unaware that everyone in his life, from his talent agents, to his girlfriend, to his peers in the world of strongmen, to even the audience of this movie, are constantly being given a nearly pornographic view of his gaping vulnerability. No matter how many things he can destroy in his enormous hands will ever distract us from this. This is why, as we are forced to bear witness to yet another feat of his misplaced strength, it begins to feel increasingly uncomfortable for us with every show he puts on. While he stands up on stage, struggling with whatever hunk of metal that he is slowly trying to warp somewhere inside of that violent bear hug he appears to be giving to himself, there is a feeling of complete impotence as he groans and staggers and goes cross eyed with his effort. As he sweats himself into a stupor, we can’t help but feel that nothing at all is being done to tend to the the unrelenting middle aged miseries of his life, and that they are now free to press in ever closer and completely drown him as he diverts all of his attention towards the fruitless twisting of a penny. We get the feeling that even if someone were to throw him a life preserver, instead of putting it on, his immediate instinct would be to show how quickly he could tear it in half.

As for what these terrors in his life are, while they are initially kept off screen for us to only wonder about, it will be during one remarkable scene half way through the film where we will finally see what it is that haunts this man as we watch the demon’s in Pleskun’s life suddenly materialize like a nightmare before our very eyes. What begins as a simple scene where Stanley hopes to show his girlfriend some old photographs he has come across at his childhood home, suddenly will darken as the reality of the world he both inhabits, and has clearly been infected by, slowly begins to creep into every corner of the frame. The metamorphosis of this scene will begin with the jarring, off screen sound of a blender, grinding what sounds like nuts and bolts, drowning out his voice and the memories he’s trying to share. Before Stanley can even protest to this noise though, an old shirtless man with saggy **** suddenly appears, attempting to flex his muscles. Then we will cut sharply to the image of an old woman in a bunk bed across the room, rigid with dementia, mouth agape and making snapping sounds. Then, as if stumbling in from an outtake of Deliverance, a drunken toothless beast of a man wobbles about the centre of the room, maybe dancing, maybe about to fall over, shouting what sounds like the words “Veronica Lake”. It is late at night, the moon is presumably out, and we have now been properly introduced to Pleskun’s family—mother blending, father flexing, grandmother snapping and brother bumbling. It’s a moment of sensory overload for not only the viewer, but also Pleskun as he seems overwhelmed with the noise and grotesque absurdity of his existence, and storms from the room in a flurry of cursing and barely restrained violence. It is a reality that he can do nothing to alter. He can’t twist it into a better shape, and it wouldn’t be proper to threaten it with fists. All he can do is run to another room and pretend that it isn’t there.

But like many men who have been backed into a corner, at some point a fight must take place, and this will be where Pleskun’s need to be a strongman comes into play. Unable to rise above the drudgery of his day job, the dysfunction of his family, and the increasingly hard to overlook signs that he may have problems with alcohol and other drugs, his fight with metal has become the only viable sign that he is still trying to hold his ground. This film is about this battle which takes place every time Stanless Steel is handed yet another seemingly unbendable obstacle, and how the success he believes that he achieves every time a hunk of metal relents, is completely secondary, since there can be no victories in a life like this. What he offers us as he gets on stage, and chalks his hands, and takes a deep breath before bending his bones and busting his blood vessels, is the spectacle of an internal struggle becoming manifest. There will never be enough horsehoes to twist, or coins to bend for him to ever claim victory. His fight is eternal. It is a struggle simply for the sake of a struggle. When reduced to his absolute essence, Pleskun is nothing but a man who has simply got more than his share of albatross’ slung about his neck, and the unfortunate strength to keep on carrying them wherever he may go. And it is the fact that he doesn’t simply collapse from this daily burden of his that is his most astonishing feat of all—even more so than the one he does with the penny.

SpelingError 11-27-20 12:35 PM

Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom
 
That review makes me want to watch that film. Excellent breakdown of it.

matt72582 11-27-20 01:25 PM

Re: Watching Movies Alone with crumbsroom
 
Kaurismaki and Pellonpaa is one of my favorite combinations. The sequel was disappointing, though... I love "Shadows in Paradise" the most.

crumbsroom 11-27-20 01:27 PM

Originally Posted by matt72582 (Post 2144690)
Kaurismaki and Pellonpaa is one of my favorite combinations. The sequel was disappointing, though... I love "Shadows in Paradise" the most.
Was Pellonpaa the manager? If so, he's great

matt72582 11-27-20 01:33 PM

Originally Posted by crumbsroom (Post 2144692)
Was Pellonpaa the manager? If so, he's great

Yup. He's one of my favorite actors. If you haven't already, also check out "Ariel", "Take Care of Your Scarf, Tatiana", "La Vie Boheme" (all with Aki), and even "Arvomatt" with Mika Kaurismaki

Jinnistan 11-27-20 05:54 PM

I was told there would be drugs and Russians.

crumbsroom 11-27-20 06:37 PM

Originally Posted by Jinnistan (Post 2144840)
I was told there would be drugs and Russians.
All that's left is the insect infestation. Interested? First come first serve

Jinnistan 11-27-20 06:48 PM

Originally Posted by crumbsroom (Post 2144867)
All that's left is the insect infestation. Interested? First come first serve
I'm thinking firefly-motif?

Rockatansky 11-27-20 09:37 PM

Originally Posted by crumbsroom (Post 2144867)
All that's left is the insect infestation. Interested? First come first serve
Excuse me while I put my coat in the refrigerator.*

crumbsroom 11-28-20 10:02 AM

Originally Posted by Rockatansky (Post 2144922)
Excuse me while I put my coat in the refrigerator.*

Oh, who doesn't love a Things reference.

You win three cockroaches!


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