14th Hall of Fame

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I hear ya!


Ha! I remember that line, good one You know what else I liked about Lone Star but didn't mention in my review was:

I liked the way that we see Charlie and Buddy in the past, through the eyes of the townsfolk. It's like we're not seeing the real Charlie and Buddy, but we're shown them as legends as others see them... so we never get to know them and they don't become three dimensional, but remain as memories of a myth. Does that make sense? Because I hadn't the hardest time writing that.
Keeping them AS myths WAS a nice touch for me as well. That way we never really knew the final outcome between the two of them. Kept the mystery going.


And being unaffected or lukewarm about a movie DOES make it more harder to write about.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."





La Grande Illusion (1937)
Dir. Jean Renoir
Starring: Pierre Fresnay, Jean Gabin, Marcel Dalio

War in La Grande Illusion is a farce, and many of the characters seem aware of the fact that it fails to solve any real problems. Von Rauffenstein and de Boeldieu in particular know the truth, and for the most part are only going through the motions out of duty. They also know that aristocracy is in decline, and that they are going to face a post-war period in which the working class will become the leaders of society. While their opinions of this inevitable change differ greatly, they still feel a kinship with each other despite being on opposite sides of the war, due to their similar backgrounds. The film does a great job addressing the differing social classes, and it's one of La Grande Illusion's many strengths.

There is one thing I have to address though, and that is Erich von Stroheim, the actor who plays von Rauffenstein. For a man who was born in Austria, his German is absolutely abysmal. I don't know French well enough to speak to his other dialogue, but his German certainly didn't match the character's supposed aristocrat status, making his conversations with de Boeldieu about class unintentionally hilarious. Despite the disparity between the characters' lines and how the actor spoke them, it didn't really influence my opinion of the overall film, especially since there were other intentionally comedic moments throughout. My amusement at Stroheim did not seem too out of place, but it was something that I couldn't help but focus on.

I do think that the film should've ended 20 minutes sooner, after the last scene with von Rauffenstein. The symbolic flower would've been a powerful image to end on, but I understand why Renoir continued to show us what happened with Rosenthal and Maréchal. At a time when anti-Jewish sentimentality was on the rise, having a Jewish character like Rosenthal be one of the most selfless characters was a great attempt to combat prejudice and subvert the stereotypes that still exists today. Giving his character closure was probably the right decision, and I did actually like the final scene. The whole film was very well made and entertaining to watch, so I'm really glad it was nominated.

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I think Night on Earth will be next for me. If I don't go see Kingsman today, I might even get a review up this evening. I do have to work very early tomorrow morning though, so if I can't watch it until a little later, I likely won't have the time to write anything until tomorrow.



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
Barton Fink




First off a little of my history with the Coens. I've probably seen less of their movies than most people. There are 4 movies from them that I consider favorites; Fargo, Blood Simple, No Country for Old Men, and The Big Lebowski. I thought Miller's Crossing was decent, O Brother Where Art Thou mediocre, and I flat out can't stand Raising Arizona. Out of their remaining movies, I wanted to see Barton Fink, Inside Llewyn Davis, and especially True Grit. The rest of them do not appeal to me at all. The Coens have always reminded me of Wes Anderson, and although I've warmed up to that director, quirky movies are not my preference as a general rule.

Barton Fink was pretty much as I expected, and unfortunately that means I don't have an awful lot to say. I wouldn't argue with anyone who thinks it is a great movie because I don't have any issues with it. The most unexpected positive of the movie is how it looks. I would give that an easy A+ and that didn't even occur to me going in. The performances of John Turturro and John Goodman are fantastic and the rest of the cast has plenty of good moments. The story is fine enough and the dialogue is actually pretty excellent. After the first 20 or 30 minutes though, I just wasn't interested. I hate it when I feel that way but there's not much I can do besides try it again some day. After all, I felt the same way about The Big Lebowski after my first watch. However, those are 2 very different movies when it comes to my taste. I do think it was an excellent nomination and I'm glad to have finally seen it. I could see it doing well here. One more thing, I already forget which part because I watched it last night, but there was some point that it reminded me of The Shining. I thought that was strange because it's the second time that has happened this Hall of Fame with the other movie being Passengers.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
As always, loved reading your review, @CosmicRunaway. The fact that the German spoke atrocious German does sound hilarious to me.
And I agree how the flower scene WOULD HAVE made a powerful ending. Definitely an amazing end of Act II as it turned out to be.

And @cricket, I'm surprised you haven't seen Coen's True Grit yet. I'm actually unsure which way you'll go with that one. Overall I mean. I know there'll be a number of things you will enjoy about. Especially Jeff Bridges' "Rooster" Cogburn.



@cricket You should check out Burn After Reading. Its quite similar to The Big Lebowski and so if you liked that you might like the other one.
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First off a little of my history with the Coens. I've probably seen less of their movies than most people.

There are 4 movies from them that I consider favorites; Fargo, Blood Simple, No Country for Old Men, and The Big Lebowski. I thought Miller's Crossing was decent, O Brother Where Art Thou mediocre, and I flat out can't stand Raising Arizona.
That's a lot more Coens than I've seen, you're well watched

I'm surprised to hear you didn't like The Big Lebowski at first and now it's a favorite. I've seen it once and it annoyed me. Can I ask what didn't you like about it at first? and what made you favor it after a second viewing?



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
That's a lot more Coens than I've seen, you're well watched

I'm surprised to hear you didn't like The Big Lebowski at first and now it's a favorite. I've seen it once and it annoyed me. Can I ask what didn't you like about it at first? and what made you favor it after a second viewing?
I've seen it about 5 times and it's gotten better each time. I don't really look at it as a laugh out loud comedy and I think that's what I expected at first. Now I find it to be a movie that is just immensely enjoyable.



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
@cricket You should check out Burn After Reading. Its quite similar to The Big Lebowski and so if you liked that you might like the other one.
I will confess I only formed my opinion of that from the trailer so who knows.



I've seen it about 5 times and it's gotten better each time. I don't really look at it as a laugh out loud comedy and I think that's what I expected at first. Now I find it to be a movie that is just immensely enjoyable.
On the first viewing what didn't you like about it?



That's a lot more Coens than I've seen, you're well watched

I'm surprised to hear you didn't like The Big Lebowski at first and now it's a favorite. I've seen it once and it annoyed me. Can I ask what didn't you like about it at first? and what made you favor it after a second viewing?
I liked The Big Lebowski a lot more the second time because I spent less time thinking about the plot and more time looking at The Dude's interactions with everyone else which let me enjoy the film a lot more than my first time.

You should give it a second try and maybe you'll warm up to it as well



There was nothing wrong with Von Stroheim's German. He spoke with a "Bavarian" accent though.



I liked The Big Lebowski a lot more the second time because I spent less time thinking about the plot and more time looking at The Dude's interactions with everyone else which let me enjoy the film a lot more than my first time.

You should give it a second try and maybe you'll warm up to it as well
I'm not keen on watching it a second time. I liked the plot fine and I liked Jeff Bridges as the Big Lebowski, in fact I did review it and wrote this:
This is one of those films that have a buzz around it. It's a quirky, anti-hero, anti-establishment cult film, the type of film I usually love.

But I found The Big Lebowski to be a disappointment. I did like the character of the Dude and Jeff Bridges did a good job with what he had to work with. I even liked the idea of the film too, but the dialogue felt artificial and lazy. There's a lot of dialogue too. The dialogue doesn't gives us insight into the characters or move the story along. I was left with the feeling that the characters were one dimensional and I wanted them to be more.

It's like the Coen Brothers had one idea only...'lets get a stoner surfer dude...dress him in a house coat, shorts, dark sun glasses and put a drink in his hand...then we'll hire Sam Elliot to stare into the camera and deliver a manufactured catch phrase that the audience will eat up and repeat....The Dude Abides, The Dude Abides'...that felt like a cheap manipulation.


Steve Buscemi would have been interesting had he been given something to do, he's wasted in this film. Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman are bright spots.


John Goodman tore up the screen with his mega loud performance, drowning out the other actors,...damn he was annoying! And I usually like him in movies too.

With a tighter script this film could have had a 'wow' factor to it and been something special. Think about how Tarantino has his characters talking about nothing important and yet the dialogue flows like butter...and in what Tarantino's characters say, they give us insight into their lives and that puts flesh on their bones. I wish the Coens would have invested more effort in fleshing out their script.



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
On the first viewing what didn't you like about it?
It's been a long time since that time, but I remember my expectations were enormous which never helps. I probably just didn't find it that funny, which I don't especially now, and I missed everything else. It's the kind of movie I can turn on at any point now and just start watching. I find it extremely likable.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
like cricket first remarked, Lebowski DEFINITELY gets better with rewatches, though I think I enjoyed it from the very first time (god knows how many times I've seen it since. It is on our List of Movies we fall asleep to, as well).
And during rewatches, along with all the little things you begin to catch, you do see Buscemi isn't wasted; he is a background that actually grabs your attention, time and time again. Some of his reactions as others are talking or taking up the scene are scene-stealers in themselves.



Speaking of Steve Buscemi, did anyone here know that he has a brother who acts?

I was watching the season premiere of "Gotham" last night, and I thought one of the villains was Steve Buscemi, but I looked him up, and it was his brother, Michael Buscemi.
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Just so everyone knows, I finished " Lone Star " couple of days ago. I'll post my write-up after I watch one more film.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Speaking of Steve Buscemi, did anyone here know that he has a brother who acts?

I was watching the season premiere of "Gotham" last night, and I thought one of the villains was Steve Buscemi, but I looked him up, and it was his brother, Michael Buscemi.
Had NO IDEA, VERY cool!
On a side note, I need to start watching Gotham again. I originally saw the first season and for whatever reason never continued.

I got The Hurricane from the library yesterday, started Time of Gypsies a week ago and need to finish and that'll leave Empire of Passion for me which, I do believe, is at my library.



I have to confess I didn't think The Big Lebowski was nearly as good as I had originally when I saw it for the 4th time over the course of about 15 years. I did enjoy parts of it, but as a whole experience it felt a bit too self aware of its own eccentricities. I suppose you could say that about any Coen Bros film such as Barton Fink, but I don't know. I guess it's a matter of taste. The good thing is that a film I didn't care for on a re-watch, or a first time, could be a film I absolutely cherish somewhere down the timeline. Not to get too weird or crazy but I really think that the atmosphere surrounding your movie watching state plays a very important part in what you get from the film. What time was it? Was it night? Was there a window behind the tv, and if so, could you see the moonlight reflecting off of the window frame? Was it brisk, and did you have tea and crackers, maybe some cheese. Was your life going pretty OK at that time? All of this should be considered. I guess that's why I always give films another chance and am not afraid to disclose my prejudices in reviews, because it's a beautiful thing to have awakenings or realizations about the art form of life and it's reflection on a medium such as film, one cannot exist exclusively without the other.