The 13TH Hall of Fame


Legend in my own mind

Dances with wolves (1990)

I remember as a kid that was a lot of fuss about this film and that it did well.
I also remember that I had watched it because my Dad had it on VHS.
There is a vague memory that I found it boring. I was 11 at the time of it's release and so will have been 12 when I watched it. I was always going to struggle with a 3 hour film at that age and never mind one that is so dialogue heavy.

I was delighted when it was nominated on the HoF tournament, as I hadn't watched it since that first time and was almost certain that I would understand it more this time and almost certainly appreciate it more.

The film stars Kevin Costner (above) playin Lt. John Dunbar who after being named as a hero requests to be posted to the Western frontier. He gets his wish but find the post deserted. He remains faithful to his posting and keeps a journal, which also serves as the narrative to the film.

He comes into contact with various animals and people whilst there, and eventually he finds himself face to face with a tribe of Sioux.

What I liked
I loved so much about this film. The key thing for me is that I found it totally believable from start to finish. I was invested and immersed throughout.
The writing, acting and directing were superb and woven together created a special piece of film. I felt empathy with many of the characters throughout and the film took me on an emotional journey as well as a visual one.
I thought the cinematography to be spellbinding. The way it was shot simply captured the time and place that it was meant to portray. I was utterly convinced that these shots were taken at the Western frontier in the late 1860s.
The costumes seemed authentic and convincing, as did all of the characters.
One of the things that I appreciated most was the subtle, yet powerful story of the film with key messages of humanity throughout.

What I didn't like
I am seriously struggling to find anything that I didn't like about this film.
The one thing that comes to mind is questions about how easy it seemed for 'Stands with fist' to recall vocabulary in order to communicate. It was more of a question than a problem though.
Apart from that nothing comes readily to mind.

I loved this film. It really was a joy to watch. 3 hours long and I was disappointed that it ended. It has immediately gone into my top 20 films.
Such a well made film and it is easy to see why it won so many awards.
The characters, cinematography, costumes, directing, acting etc were, as I have already said, of a really high quality and they all combine to tell a wonderful story of hope, integrity, friendship, greed, prejudice and so much more. This is a film that has, action, romance, tension and drama, as well as offering so much more.
I am so pleased that it was nominated. Great shout @Miss Vicky

"I don't want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me" (Frank Costello)

Great write-up, Sarge!
Instant top 20? That's impressive.

I'm really liking the responses to Dances With Wolves, well most of them anyway. I was on the fence about nominating it, since I rarely see people mention it on the forum, except to complain that it won so many Oscars instead of Goodfellas.

Dances With Wolves (1990)
Dir. Kevin Costner
Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

While I know embarrassingly little about American history, Dances with Wolves does look and feel truly authentic. The costumes and sets are simply spectacular, and with a story that is almost universal in nature, facts like whether it was the Sioux or the Pawnee who were historically known as being the more aggressive tribe are irrelevant in my opinion. The Sioux in this film could easily have been replaced with a number of other Native American tribes instead, since the loss of resources and traditional ways of life was something that affected every tribe across the country. That fact is actually something that quietly haunts this film from start to finish, since we, as modern viewers, know exactly what is going to happen to these people. You can see that the invasion of their land weighs heavy on their minds, but they are unaware of the scope of the tragedies that will soon occur.

The following two paragraphs contain spoilers, so you may not wish to read them if you have not already seen the film.

I decided to look up the differences between the Extended and Theatrical cuts in case any of the things I wanted to mention were only available in the longer version. I discovered that many of the scenes I enjoyed the most were actually only part of the Extended cut, so I'm glad that I dedicated the extra hour to watching this film. In particular, the scenes throughout the first half of the film where John is bonding with Two Socks is something I definitely would've missed in the Theatrical cut, especially since it plays such an important role in the Sioux name he is eventually granted. Also, moments which show John's acceptance into the tribe, such as the touching scene where his neighbours donate their own belongings so that he has something to offer Kicking Bird seem like travesties to cut. An earlier scene where Kicking Bird and Two Bears discuss signs is probably not necessary to the overall plot, but it ends on such an entertaining line that it became one of my favourites.

And none of that even includes the scenes that show how much John has truly become “Dances with Wolves” instead of “Lieutenant Dunbar”. His complete apathy for his soldier's duties after the buffalo hunt, and his disgust at the sight of the abandoned hunter's camp near sacred ground really help sell how his immersion in the Sioux culture has changed him. He was once a partly selfish soldier so afraid of losing his leg that he'd rather commit suicide by riding straight into the enemy lines, but is transformed into a man who will put the needs of his adoptive community before his own wishes. He is no longer looking for a taste of the American Frontier before it is lost, but is rather someone who is afraid that the culture and legacy of a great group of people will be destroyed by disrespectful men he once called his brothers. Those scenes might not be critical to that understanding, but I think they're definitely worth seeing.

I think I got a little off track there, but I was just astonished by what was actually cut from the film. To anyone who loves Dances with Wolves but has only seen the Theatrical version, I think you are doing yourself and this film a disservice by not watching the Extended cut instead. There was one thing about both cuts of the film that a lot of people seemed to like that I don't actually agree with, and that's the narration. While I liked Costner's performance and his character, I didn't actually like his voice over work at all. The writing was perfectly fine and even occasionally poetic, but I just didn't care for his delivery. Ultimately that is a very minor complaint though, and it didn't really distract me from the film too much.

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Guess I might have to check out the extended cut after all.

I'm usually not a fan of narration in film, but Dances With Wolves is one of the few exceptions to that and I think Costner's delivery has a lot to do with why it's an exception. Shame you didn't agree, but oh well.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
some really great write ups, especially on Dances With Wolves. I'm still searching for the extended cut, myself. I had watched some on a streaming site and saw the explanation on why the fort was abandoned before Dunbar's arrival. And, like stated before, I had to stop when I realized there was no subtitles for Sioux. SOOO aggravating! But I'm sure I'll find it, or rather, it'll find me.

Also, wanted to say how much I enjoyed hearing Nestorio speak about his youth and having the carnivals come. There is something intrinsically magical about that. Not sure why, but there is.
Got to work as a Carnival grunt as a 16 yr old for about 3 weeks. One at my school, the other 2 a few miles away. When they closed up, they invited me to go with them across state for the summer. Always regretted not going.

For myself, just finished Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. . . and Spring. Rather enjoyed it. Will be writing something in the next day or so.
- This is one of those films where I liked it on first viewing but I feel like watching it again might actually make me dislike it, but that's pretentious existentialism for you.

Wings of Desire

This film is perhaps the best angelology treatise (I think Pseudo-Dionysius would be happy to see this) ever put in a picture (I don't even want to start comparing this to a half-baked and derisory romance City of Angels - that was a crime committed against Wenders's picture). I like Wim Wenders films as they always transcend the story and characters and makes you reflect about the life. Wender's pictures are true mysticism and watching them I really feel now and here. Anyway it is not that easy to put the feelings from his films to appropriate words.

We literary live the lives of two angels Damiel and Cassiel over the West Berlin. We can see how they see, hear how they hear, feel how they feel. We are participating on their disputes, desires. We see their purpose to oversee, protect, comfort, help the people. Only children can see them and opened and sensitive adults can sense them somehow. Just like Peter Falk. Wenders picked the very appropriate place for the story - West Berlin. Where else you could find more desperate people if not in Berlin after WW2 madness and subsequent division of the city. This desperation was nicely displayed by Homer character searching the Plaza and Cafe that is not there any more - searching for this eternal place where he could finally rest in peace so to say. Angels can read our minds and sense our state of souls however they cannot feel emotions, touch things, and their view on the world is only "black and white".

Damiel desires to feel, wants to love, feel pain, simply he wants to be a human being. Notice how he enjoys to see blood and feel pain at the beginning of his human existence. It is through pain we truly feel we are humans, fragile, limited and mortal. Damiel enjoys every trivial thing as he goes thru the city. He enjoys colours, time, feelings, people, he simply enjoys life. Huge message for me. I got much more to say but everybody need to pick it up themselves.

Acting, cinema, arts, message, music score, all perfect. That band reminded me of the band in Bang Bang Bar in Twin Peaks or is it the other way around? Grand nom @CosmicRunaway !

Flesh + Blood

Not a Sunday afternoon family movie, that's for sure. There is lots of symbolism involved but lots of historical and fact goofs too (to name a few: survival of lightning strike, construction of this fire truck over night, use of cannons that didn't exist and they were grey on top of it...). We see plenty of caricatures as well. Cardinal is a half wit drunk with a shrieking voice yelling about signs how he pleases to. Scholar is this effeminate weakling with lots of useless ideas. Soldiers are practically animals. The whole movie is like this never ending Saturnalia with seven deadly sins theme park. Yes, the title is right. There is lots of flesh and blood involved.

So, I watched this soldiers first allowed to do another Sacco di Roma then prohibited to do so. They are obviously pissed and decide to make a living by robing people dressed like a pilgrim monks ironically asking for alms. Their first job happened to be Arnolfini bunch together with soon to be Steven's wife Agnes. Lots of rapes and parties after. Another Sacco di Roma. Searching party, attack, plague, happy end

Whatever this movie wants to be and whatever I said in the 1st paragraph I was still enjoying the feature and was kind of wondering how far Verhoeven will go. So there is some kind of magic to it and it keeps me pretty interested and involved throughout. Good nom @Blix the Goblin !
You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.

looks like i got 2 noms to go that i shd be able to watch and write up by the end of this week. Then I will be ready for 1940s HOF. I dont see anyone taking care of this thread much. Is Camo ok?

Forbidden Games

First I was kind of torn between negative and positive watching this. I didn't know whether to start pouring cursing litany out of my mouth or gentle laudes. But then I realized the beauty lies in simplicity. Anything that is simple yet exquisite catches the attention and calls for admiration. The war is horrible of course but at the same time the war is shaping up our characters. There is a clear correlation between the real battlefield and this little community in rural France. I remember my father saying even thou 3 years old he still clearly remembers the blasts of bombs from canons some 30 KM far from the place they lived. It changes you. People are very quick to help but at the same time they are very quick to leave you die. People during war live their lives, work, fall in love, they bury their relatives, they hate, they don't drop the family feuds etc. Everything is the same except there is this threat in the air. It's always there no matter what. So I think the dynamics of relationships are different, emotions and feelings as well. This is, I think, what René Clément meant to say via this short and simple story.

We see this little girl, Paulette, loosing her parents by a snap of the fingers in the bombing raid. Then she just kind of wanders off the crowd of refuges and encounters a boy, Michel from the Dolle's family living nearby. They talk a while and then he takes her to live with his family. Then there are this little and various situations throughout displaying the characters of involved. Simple yet deep conversations and reactions. All this subtlety with which an attentive viewer is picking up the deep meaning of this movie is something personal that is even hard to share or put in words. It was very clear at the end of the film Paulette finally realizes what actually happened to her. It all comes to her going with Sick and Orphans Convoy. This was my second watch but that was long time ago and I could barely recall any scene from first time watching it.

Not much else to say. Great nom @Jeff Costello !

what else you need to watch?
Flesh and Blood, Great Dictator and The Hunt.

Then rewatches of Manchester by the Sea and Spring Summer....

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

Seasons change and world, and life, continues to spin. . .

With all the talk about the animal abuse, I was in cringe mode, waiting for it to occur, so that I could continue to watch the film itself.
While I won't add specifically to the atrocities shown, (I saw mine on dailymotion, not sure if that was equal to or less than other renditions) but I rather liked the lesson learned by the child afterward. Which carried on to the remaining situations throughout the film.

I truly did enjoy the film as a whole. The use of the doors opening to signify each season/time in life was a splendid bit of narration.
Also, I did enjoy the emotional interaction of the characters and much of the camera work.
There was some touching and beautiful moments that equally balanced the more harsher situations. Such as the young monk, and the girl who comes to be cured, and what transpires there, and after they leave.

For me, this was quite a good story that was filmed quite well. Not epic, but very good all the same.

This review IS horrifyingly short, and I DO apologize for that; I usually have far more to say. But much like the older monk, there is far more spoken in the most minimal of ways.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

With all the talk about the animal abuse, I was in cringe mode, waiting for it to occur, so that I could continue to watch the film itself.
While I won't add specifically to the atrocities shown, (I saw mine on dailymotion, not sure if that was equal to or less than other renditions) ...
Miss Vicky posted a link that contained the various scenes of animal abuse in Kim Ki-Duk's movies.

The version I watched included all of the scenes, the scenes at the end of the movie, were the most disturbing.

I suggest everyone who hasn't seen the original version watch the missing scenes in the link below, so that you can decide for yourselves if it is right or wrong to do what the director did.

To see just the scenes from Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring of the second boy pushing rocks into the mouth of small animals, skip to the 8:33 mark.

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?

Dances With Wolves Extended Version

When this first came out, I was quite a huge fan and could not count the times I watched it within the following decade.
It soon went to the wayside, for no particular reason and now, WITH the extended version, I am more than just a little happy to re-visit this.
As previously noted, I have not had an easy time, online or at my library finding, firstly, the extended version, and THEN, one with subtitles. Refusing to see it any other way.
My resolution paid off and I found exactly that and I was VERY overjoyed, for it.

So, the answers to WHY Fort Sedgewick was empty is answered, along with a number of situations between characters that I knew nothing of in my earlier, Theatrical viewings. Making for a much fuller movie experience for me.

I've always enjoyed Costner and many of his movies. My #1 Western is his Open Range. He IS a solid story teller who can bring the viewer in, emotionally, with, it seems, barely trying. His heroes are more human than legend; with flaws and failings, who rise to the challenges thrown at them. Dunbar is another of those heroes and his sojourn through it all is an engaging sight to see.

What is also a staple in a Costner film is the excellent people he has working with him. The actors/actresses bring the lifeblood of this film and, for many scenes, the reasons that brings you in and holds you secure for the film. Characters like Wind in His Hair and Kicking Bird and his wife and many of the Sioux were endearing people who, like Dunbar's character, were very much human, not bigger than life. And that truly makes all the difference in the world for a movie like this.
On the opposite end, there are a number of Blue Coats that do an excellent job. Specifically, the Major at the Post that Dunbar receives his orders to go to Fort Sedgewick. There was a sad beauty to this tragic figure and was incredibly played by Maury Chaykin.

I have truly missed this film and with this reunion I have now found MORE to love in the extended version.

[email protected] BRAVO, @Miss Vicky for nominating this!!

Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Miss Vicky posted a link that contained the various scenes of animal abuse in Kim Ki-Duk's movies.

The version I watched included all of the scenes, the scenes at the end of the movie, were the most disturbing.

I suggest everyone who hasn't seen the original version watch the missing scenes in the link below, so that you can decide for yourselves if it is right or wrong to do what the director did.

To see just the scenes from Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring of the second boy pushing rocks into the mouth of small animals, skip to the 8:33 mark.
the version I watched on dailymotion didn't include the rocks being stuffed into the animals - thankfully. Though the tying a string with a rock to it was more than enough for me.

I didn't delve into this simply because it was already spoken of, quite well, previously. So I simply went to the remainder of the film.

As for myself, do I approve? No. Not one bit.
I understand the meaning behind them for the story and for the young monk and the man that he becomes. It doesn't justify it, but, I get it.