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This is exactly how I imagined your reaction was. Only, replace monocle with heart palpitations. Said heart palpitations were brought on by Travolta’s pelvic thrusting. Which explains the need for fanning yourself.
I think you've nailed the problem. I got so hot and bothered by that choreographed bleacher dance that I couldn't think straight. No wonder the story didn't make any sense to me!



The trick is not minding
I think you've nailed the problem. I got so hot and bothered by that choreographed bleacher dance that I couldn't think straight. No wonder the story didn't make any sense to me!
Travolta’s pelvic thrusts have had that effect on many a young woman. You’re just the latest victim. Surely not the last, either.

#StopTravolta’spelvicthrusts



I don't see Stu saying anywhere that it isn't a "sexual reference," just that "did she put up a fight" means sweet-talking and persuasion, as opposed to force/assault.
Yup, and I'm sorry that I mis-interpreted Takoma's complaint about the line, but that was because I've heard other people interpret that line in that manner multiple times before to complain about it, so that's the first place my mind went to there as a result. That being said though, I also don't think it's an entirely fair characterization to act as though the male side of the song is the only one with any sexual undertones to it, considering that Sandy's the one who mentions the other's physical attractiveness, which is something that Danny doesn't do at any one point, so I feel it's important not to disregard details like that, otherwise we end up painting an innaccurate picture of those lyrics.



I mean . . . yeah. Do I read the song as him asking if Danny raped Sandy? No, and I don't think I said that that's how I read it.
You did not, but you did tell Stu he was "misreading" it when all he said is that he didn't think it was about sexual assault, so I'm not sure how else to read that.

My "real" explanation is a whole meta theory about how general signaling gets confused with actual disagreement, but that's probably a bit much in this context, but people can PM me or whatever if they wanna get into headier stuff.



Victim of The Night
I'd love to be on board with that final segment, but the degree to which she's fetishized totally takes me out of it. Especially the whole bondage sequence. She fails to be a character. She 80% a body being posed for a male audience and it's super disappointing. None of the female characters get personalities.
I get that, but again, I am exactly the audience for that whole thing.
Though I don't agree that she fails to be a character, to be honest. Like I say, she actually influenced me, because I was at the right age to see her absolute fearlessness and unwavering moral compass as utterly heroic and exemplary. While I will absolutely not deny that I found it sexy as hell too, I feel pretty certain that this was the first time in my life that I, a hetero/cis-normative boy, actually wanted to be a female character.

Also, I thought all of the female characters (except maybe Katherine, she seemed nice but didn't get enough screen-time to know much about her) had personalities from the femme fatale in the first, to the Evil Queen in the second (though admittedly she's not the best part of it, her competitor for the throne is with his yawning "You die, she dies, everybody dies..." attitude) who is almost exactly like a woman I used to date, to the hilarious stenographer that has the affair with John Candy's robot (I found her very funny), and finally to Taarna, who, like the young girl who becomes her successor, I imagine has just left an actual life to heed the call of duty... "To defend: this is the pact. But when life loses its meaning and is taken for naught... then the pact is to avenge." She comes to that temple from somewhere, a life she leaves behind to do the thing she was born for. Which she does, sacrificing herself in the end in a scene, with her and the bird-thingy, that always just fills me with all the feelings of heroism.



Victim of The Night

By MGM - http://poster.scancollections.com/view.php?id=443197, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/inde...curid=59843667

The Philadelphia Story - (1940)

Nice to see an adaptation of this play where we have age-appropriate actors for all the characters - I found Bing Crosby in High Society a little off-putting. Cary Grant though - I have no problem with that - I love Cary Grant now, after seeing a whole heap of his movies over the past year or two. I never knew that early Cary Grant would turn out to be a comedic persona, but as far as feature films are concerned he was a great comedian. Here, he shares the spotlight with other actors, mainly Katharine Hepburn (with whom he made many films) and a very young James Stewart. Fine performances throughout, and a great screenplay - I enjoyed this just as much as I'm enjoying other films from this era lately. They showcase upper-class hijinks without alienating the audience - a tricky thing to do. Next up : Heaven Can Wait.

8/10
Yeah, this really is an all-time great Comedy.



Yup, and I'm sorry that I mis-interpreted Takoma's complaint about the line, but that was because I've heard other people interpret that line in that manner multiple times before to complain about it, so that's the first place my mind went to there as a result. That being said though, I also don't think it's an entirely fair characterization to act as though the male side of the song is the only one with any sexual undertones to it, considering that Sandy's the one who mentions the other's physical attractiveness, which is something that Danny doesn't do at any one point, so I feel it's important not to disregard details like that, otherwise we end up painting an innaccurate picture of those lyrics.
You did not, but you did tell Stu he was "misreading" it when all he said is that he didn't think it was about sexual assault, so I'm not sure how else to read that.
The problem as I see it is that there aren't strict lines between the things we're attempting to characterize here. Where does "wooing" end and coercion begin? Where does coercion start to trip into intimidation? Where does intimidation become threat? Obviously applying relentless verbal pressure to someone is not the same as physically holding them down, but they're not entirely unrelated dynamics.

Characterizing getting a woman to have sex with you as something you have to overcome inherently starts to skew into non-consensual territory. (Though again there is nuance because sometimes a person is hesitant or unexcited about something but is happy ultimately that someone talked them into it. In the specific context of this film, Sandy is obviously happy about how things went with Danny.).

I still fundamentally disagree with you, Stu, in your initial comment about seeing "Love at first sight" and "Did she put up a fight?" as contrasting ways of talking about the same thing. We can agree that "Did she put up a fight?" is asking "Did she resist having sex with you?", right? Considering innumerable women have had to literally fight off men, the phrasing gives me icky vibes, even if it's just meant to refer to verbal persuasion.





El Fantasma del Convento, 1934

Couple Cristina (Marta Roel) and Eduardo (Carlos Villatoro) and their friend Alfonso (Enrique del Campo) get lost while on an outing. They are seemingly saved when a man appears out of the forest and offers to take them to a nearby monastery. Once there, however, the trio discovers that one of the cells belonged to a monk who discovered dark powers connected to desire. This aligns with current tensions in the group, as Cristina is clearly attracted to Alfonso and he is slowly becoming tempted by her overtures.

While this film does take a little while to find solid momentum, it is full of spooky atmosphere and wraps up with a last act replete with great visuals.

The first half of the film does a lot of work in building the monastery's creepy credentials. The characters walk down many a long hallway filled with cobwebs. We are frequently shown a monk's cell that has been seemingly sealed with a large cross. The three visitors follow the dark, solemn figures of the monks through the many hallways. These sequences also give us plenty of time to watch Cristina flirt with Alfonso over and over, establishing the threat of infidelity and betrayal.

It's in the last half hour, though, that the film gets really fun and interesting. Having learned that the monk who haunts the monastery once lusted after his friend's wife, a situation that ended poorly for all involved, Alfonso manages to find the cell holding the remains of the infamous monk. Finding a book in which the monk wrote down his reflections on what happened, Alfonso experiences a series of visions related to his feelings for Cristina. The visuals and special effects here are really effective and jolting. And while it might be a touch predictable, I liked the way that the legend of the monk intersected with Alfonso's current situation.

The main downside to the film is the characters themselves. I didn't really gel to any of them. Eduardo in particular feels like kind of a non-entity. This has the effect of slightly dulling the sense of urgency about what's happening between the three of them.

I also thought it was interesting that the final act centers so much on Alfonso. Surely Cristina---the person really aggressively pursuing the infidelity---is the one who should be learning a lesson from a blood-drenched monk memoir, right?! Something that was not entirely clear to me in the way that the dialogue plays out in the last act is the degree to which Cristina's behavior was driven by the haunting. It's certainly impacted by it---the film says as much overtly. But was the whole point to make Cristina behave this way so as to drive Alfonso to a crisis point where he'd be more receptive to the message from the dead monk? I almost prefer this reading, because otherwise Cristina is just a terrible person who is sort of being used as a prop for Alfonso's character growth. The idea that her behavior was more out of her control is actually more scary and more satisfying.

I have to call out a great line from the end of the film. It does go kind of into spoiler territory though. In the end we discover that (BIG SPOILERS)
WARNING: spoilers below
the monks have actually been long dead and exist only as skeletons in coffins. After learning this and trying to wrap their heads around it, Alfonso remarks, "I don't know if they came to life for a night, or if we died for a night." Woof. Love that line.


Part of the World Cinema Project and a lovely print is available (at least in the US) on YouTube. Definitely recommended! Doubly so if you enjoy spooky 1930s horror.




10 Foreign Language movies to go

Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7313123

Heaven Can Wait - (1943)

Well, this was certainly a very nice film and I did enjoy it a lot - but of course I did miss the participation of either Cary Grant or Irene Dunne, who inject the films they're in with a sense of unbridled comedic sensibilities. I did laugh a lot though, and when I wasn't laughing I was touched, despite the fact that the main character in this is a bit of a philanderer (mind you, this aspect was dialed so far back because of the production code that you can hardly detect it.) I thought Heaven Can Wait was plenty funny and had a good story - it was also very well directed by Ernst Lubitsch. The early technicolor process gives it a beautiful look - one that only these films had, with vivid colours turning scenes into cinematic flower-beds. Don Ameche plays Henry Van Cleve, who believes he belongs in hell due to the aforementioned philandering - so must convince the devil. Unfortunately (?) he's lived a kind of decent, loving life of devotion to his family. The film's very funny moments elevate it - as does Charles Coburn in the pivotal role of 'Grandpa' Hugo Van Cleve. Next up, I've decided to go with To Be or Not to Be.

7/10
__________________
My movie ratings often go up or down a point or two after more reflection, research and rewatches.




In regards to the Grease debate, I understand giving something the benefit of the doubt, but I don't think there is really any doubt what the word 'fight' is implying. Just in the way the line is sung, like there is a leering wink in his eye, I think it is silly to think this is him wanting an answer to the question 'did she also fall in love at first sight'. Like, not even remotely.


And while I don't think the guy is straight up asking if he raped her, you have to keep in context that this movie was made in a time where date rape was not even an acknowledged thing. It was in many circles considered a part of teenage courtship, that both man and women participated in (the old 'her lips said no but her eyes said yes' deal) . So while in the parlance of the times, it isn't rape, I think when updated towards modern usage, he's kind of asking 'did you have to be forceful in having sex with her' (which today would be rape).


It's rapey.


Now do I think this sullies the feel good charm of the movie. Not really. It's definitely jarring, and I don't fault anyone if they got hung up on the implications of what it seems to be saying, but I think it is fairly clear Danny is not necessarily the type of guy who fights girls into bed. He's better than that. But his friends might not be so suave.



Now do I think this sullies the feel good charm of the movie. Not really. It's definitely jarring, and I don't fault anyone if they got hung up on the implications of what it seems to be saying, but I think it is fairly clear Danny is not necessarily the type of guy who fights girls into bed. He's better than that. But his friends might not be so suave.
Right. I don't think that the implication is that Danny (who we see rolling his eyes at his friends' leering questions at least two different times and who clearly won Sandy over with charm, not manipulation of any kind) is a rapist, or even that the character who says the line (who we later see fumbling in a sexual situation) is a rapist. But it kind of gives you the impression they wouldn't be opposed to it if it's something that someone in their friend group did, which is a yucky feeling.

The line didn't ruin the movie for me, or whatever (I didn't mention it in my initial review, for example). Mainly it made me roll my eyes. But it's an example of something in the film that kept me from embracing the characters and having good vibes with them. I wasn't offended by the film so much as perpetually kept at arm's length by various elements of the movie.



Right. I don't think that the implication is that Danny (who we see rolling his eyes at his friends' leering questions at least two different times and who clearly won Sandy over with charm, not manipulation of any kind) is a rapist, or even that the character who says the line (who we later see fumbling in a sexual situation) is a rapist. But it kind of gives you the impression they wouldn't be opposed to it if it's something that someone in their friend group did, which is a yucky feeling.

The line didn't ruin the movie for me, or whatever (I didn't mention it in my initial review, for example). Mainly it made me roll my eyes. But it's an example of something in the film that kept me from embracing the characters and having good vibes with them. I wasn't offended by the film so much as perpetually kept at arm's length by various elements of the movie.

For me the whole movie lives and dies by Travolta's performance and, of course, the music.


I'm generally very mixed on Travolta as an actor. And by mixed, I mean I think he's terrible. But for a terrible actor he miraculously has about five performances that I'm in love with (Blow Out, Saturday Night Fever, Pulp Fiction, and possibly Face Off). Grease would be the fifth, and it is because of his doofus charm that it sings. It's like he made an entire performance out of my favourite moment in Fever ('he hit my hair') and he never fails to amuse me. Travolta in his baseball gear is a particular hoot, and I ****ing hate the word hoot, that's how much I love that moment.

My gf though hates the movie and it is informally banned in the house. So it now only lives in my memories.



Grease would be the fifth, and it is because of his doofus charm that it sings. It's like he made an entire performance out of my favourite moment in Fever ('he hit my hair') and he never fails to amuse me. Travolta in his baseball gear is a particular hoot, and I ****ing hate the word hoot, that's how much I love that moment.

My gf though hates the movie and it is informally banned in the house. So it now only lives in my memories.
LOL. "Doofus charm" is exactly right. And I think just the right mix of confidence and thinly masked insecurity.