22nd Hall of Fame

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Inglorious Basterds

Col. Hans Landa: [to Perrier LaPardite] I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.

For quite some time I have held this film just beneath the echelon of huge favorites of Tarantino films, this recent viewing may have cracked open a hole in the floor of that echelon.

Reason being: that while Tarantino's trademark episodic film making has pretty much nailed it from his very first film, (and my favorite of them all) Reservoir Dogs, with Basterds, there is a stumbling that has caused it to reside beneath the others. Much like the hidden family beneath LaPardite's floorboards.
Why it worked so well with others, the most famous being Pulp Fiction is the use of placards. Placing the end of one episode and the beginning of another. We do not have it here and because of it, I have stumbled over the switch-overs instead of glide over them.

BUT,

Surprisingly, there was a gliding over and sans stumbling whatsoever, this time around.
Could it be I have watched this enough times since the first time in the cinema that I instinctively know where one episode ends and the next begins? And therefore my perception has already made the transition without need of a placard?
Could be.
In fact, it's most likely.
I think it is, anyway.

Which is great, because it is a helluva film with all the nuances and devices that I've come to love from the very first time I rented Reservoir Dogs and was so frickin happy to see actual "dialogue" as opposed to "catch phrases" that had become such a horrible staple in the 80s Action genre. And while, at times, in some of his films, conversations DO get a bit long in the tooth, (for me it was Death Proof) the ends to that means, aka the sh#t storm that erupts, is always a great payoff. And, of course, we have it here, in the incredible opening scene that some critique as placing the bar far too high for the remainder of the movie; to the tavern that is, to Aldo's agitation, in a BASEMENT.
Like so many Tarantino flicks, there are "moments" that stick out and make me smile just thinking of them.
Landa smoking that humongous Sherlock Holmes pipe that dwarves LaPardite's pipe. To Hitler's tantrum, pounding on the desk, raging, "Nein! Nein! Nein! Nein! Nein!"
Which is one of those "lines" that gets repeated in our household A LOT.

So, along with being a film I've enjoyed, multiple times, previously, I have an extra thanks for this specific viewing that has allowed me to glide over the bumps.
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They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran





Waco: The Rules of Engagement (William Gazecki, 1997)
Imdb

Date Watched: 05/20/2020
Cinema or Home: Home
Reason For Watching: The 22nd MoFo Hall of Fame
Rewatch: No


I find documentaries to be a significant challenge for me to rate and review. In a normal film, I can talk about acting performances, cinematography, plot, dialogue, etc. But here? Iím not sure what to say or even really how I feel about it.

I didnít enjoy it. That much I know. While the subject matter had the potential to be interesting, this film seemed to linger too long on each point and goes a bit too deep into the minutiae of it all and I was quite bored with it.

I started this film knowing that the events at Waco involved a standoff between a religious sect and the ATF and that in the end a lot of people - including many children - lost their lives over it. I also knew that there was some dispute between the two parties as to who exactly was responsible for those deaths and how the events really unfolded. After 2 hours and 16 minutes of arguments, photographs, thermal video analysis, and interviews, I came away feeling like Iíd learned nothing more. I still donít know which side to believe (though I suspect that the real truth lies somewhere in the gap between both accounts). All I know for sure is that this is a tragic event in American history and that someone is to blame for all those innocent lives lost, but I knew that before I pressed play.





Joker (2019)


A couple of months back I watched Joker, and, well, hated it. I was pissed that it got a Best Picture nomination and I didn't find Phoenix's performance all that great.

Well, if you want to hear what I hate about Joker see my other review. This time I'll be pointing out some things I like about this movie. Every movie I watch is a product of love and work by hundreds or maybe even thousands of people for months or years at a time. No matter how much I may dislike a movie, there is always credit to be given to the people who were clearly passionate in making it.Upon rewatch, I still don't love Joker, but I was overly harsh. I've bumped it up a half star and I have a lot of positive things to say this time.

Joaquin Phoenix, of course, is the thing that holds Joker together. I didn't think his performance was great last time, but this time it all clicked. Every scene he's in he steals - and that's 99 out of 100 scenes. He lost weight and changed his body to play the Joker. He gave it his all. That's commitment. And he won a deserved Oscar.

Without touching on the score (which I still, admittedly, do not like), the sound editing and layout is fantastic. I'm not an expert, but the sound here is great and I love the mix between knowing what is inside Arthur's head and what is actually happening.

I think this time around I was more on board with how the themes were presented as well. Joker doesn't have to be about how we live in a society. To me, it works better as a comment on the loneliness of the individual, especially when that individual craves community. Sure, Taxi Driver did it already and probably did it better. But there's something unique about Joker. There is a raw power in it that Taxi Driver doesn't quite achieve.

So there is a quiet beauty to Joker. It's a loud and in your face movie, sometimes to the point of being obnoxious. But beneath is a bruised butterfly, something so beautiful yet slowly and painfully dying. We look on with fear and horror, yet we somehow cannot bring ourselves to save it.

I still have a lot of problems with Joker. But every movie has problems, and perhaps I was unfair to this movie back in December. At the end of the day, Joker is simply unique and fresh, something that will not be for everyone but is still a movie I'm glad I experienced.


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Queen of Hearts (2019)


If you're a fan of the disturbing, infuriating atmosphere of The Hunt (2012) watch this 2019 Danish movie that pretty much reverses the plot of the Hunt.

With the Hunt, the accused offender is the protagonist - he is entirely innocent, yet a little girl is the victim who made up the crime. She is the "victim" and everyone - rightfully - believes her. In the Hunt, while certain people do awful things, the victim is believed and the townsfolk do not overlook the matter, even if they take it a bit too far.

Queen of Hearts, unfortunately, works the opposite way. What I find particularly fascinating about this is that the female director of Queen of Hearts - May el-Toukhy - chose to make a story about a male victim rather than a female victim. Of course, a victim is a victim but it is uncommon to see a movie about an empowered female abusing a young man (or, ick, boy in this case). And complaints could certainly arise from a movie about a male victim directed by a woman (much like the criticism of Bombshell for having been directed by a man). However, el-Toukhy handles the subject with maturity and, dare I say, elegance. This feels like a story that could happen, and probably unfortunately has!

So, yes, Queen of Hearts is about a married woman - Anne - who has a relationship with her underage stepson - Gustav. No, that's not the worst of it. Then, when Gustav tries to talk about her abuse, no one believes him, and Anne manipulates him and destroys his life. Without spoiling it, things spiral downwards into a bleak and infuriating ending.

What el-Toukhy does so well here is completely pull the rug on Anne as a character. She gets us to have feelings for her - at the beginning she is kind, successful, caring, and loving. She is confident and composed. Friendly yet quiet and not obnoxious.

Yet as we get further and further down the road our feelings begin to change. Anne, as a character we once felt sympathy for, turns into, quite frankly - a bitch - by the end. She breaks the law multiple times and then throws her victim under the bus for her personal benefit. Again, quite frankly, **** her.

So yes, everything here is ramped up to the highest level in terms of our feelings. If you can stomach stories about abuse - and much much more graphically than the Hunt, then check out Queen of Hearts. It's criminally underseen on Letterboxd, and I'm so excited to see what El-Toukhy will be doing in the next years - she has serious serious talent as a filmmaker!


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Joker (2019)
A couple of months back I watched Joker, and, well, hated it. I was pissed that it got a Best Picture nomination and I didn't find Phoenix's performance all that great.

Well, if you want to hear what I hate about Joker see my other review...
Ah, ya can't get off that easy I want to hear what you hated it about. I want specifics! Seriously, you soft peddled that, so how about anteing up and posting your other review.



Ah, ya can't get off that easy I want to hear what you hated it about. I want specifics! Seriously, you soft peddled that, so how about anteing up and posting your other review.
sksksksks ok you asked. Here's my alternate review from a couple months back:

What a disappointment. I was really looking forward to this one, but it was a boring, tired movie with nothing new or interesting to say.

I didn't think it was going to be as similar to Scorsese movies as some people say, but damn, this movie is King of Comedy without the interesting main character, funny script, and tight themes.

The best part about it was the use of one of my personal favorite movies, Modern Times. And that was used more in a way to show the snobbery of the upper class, so that's great. Silent movies = snobs.

Anyways, Phoenix is good. He's not Oscar worthy and I prefer Adam Driver in Marriage Story by a million miles, but I won't let the fact that his performance is overrated affect the fact that it really is quite good.

Script is God-awful. WHAT the **** is this doing with a nomination for best adapted screenplay? Surely the Academy could find some better movie to nominate than to give Joker an 11th nomination.

I just don't see the hype. At all. Or the themes/messages. Idk? Rich people bad. Society bad. Society. Rich. People. Whatever. By the end I get a hollow feeling, the feeling that I just wasted two hours waiting for some takeaway, and I think Kailey was right in her review that I think it's "we should be nicer to random clowns."

Easily my least favorite BP nom so far.

Hey! Cinematography and costumes are pretty great, and while the Hildur's score sucks I always love some Frank Sinatra!



I'm glad Joker improved for you but I wanted to touch on this bit from your previous review.

The best part about it was the use of one of my personal favorite movies, Modern Times. And that was used more in a way to show the snobbery of the upper class, so that's great. Silent movies = snobs.
While I agree that Modern Times was used to show the snobbery of the upper class, I disagree about the actual message Joker was sending. It's not "Silent movies = snobs," it's rich industrialists watching and laughing at movie about the plight of the working class while either not understanding or not giving a crap about the actual meaning behind that film. It's no accident that it was Modern Times specifically that they were watching.



In regards to the screen play nomination:
Letís not forget that Joker also showed how society at large views and treats those with mental illness. Itís been awhile since I saw it, which I will remedy soon, (And Miss Vicky can fill in the blanks and help refresh my memory) but I remember his Social worker (psychiatrist?) was having her office shut down due to cutbacks (?) leaving him no alternative to turn to.
He was literally cast out as an afterthought.
So the screen play nomination was deserving.



I'm glad Joker improved for you but I wanted to touch on this bit from your previous review.



While I agree that Modern Times was used to show the snobbery of the upper class, I disagree about the actual message Joker was sending. It's not "Silent movies = snobs," it's rich industrialists watching and laughing at movie about the plight of the working class while either not understanding or not giving a crap about the actual meaning behind that film. It's no accident that it was Modern Times specifically that they were watching.
Yeah thatís a good point, and I definitely agree. And I actually was fine with the usage second time around for that reason.



In regards to the screen play nomination:
Letís not forget that Joker also showed how society at large views and treats those with mental illness. Itís been awhile since I saw it, which I will remedy soon, (And Miss Vicky can fill in the blanks and help refresh my memory) but I remember his Social worker (psychiatrist?) was having her office shut down due to cutbacks (?) leaving him no alternative to turn to.
He was literally cast out as an afterthought.
So the screen play nomination was deserving.
Yeah, agreed, but also I donít understand what that has to do with the screenplay? Sorry, donít want to come off as aggressive just wondering.

And also keep in mind yíall I was posting my review from months ago, my opinion on a lot of things has changed a lot.



I think we just need to make ahwell watch Joker again and again until he loves it. If it has enough impact to make him increase his rating by, what? Half a popcorn box each time? That's only 5 more times he has to watch it.



Yeah, agreed, but also I donít understand what that has to do with the screenplay? Sorry, donít want to come off as aggressive just wondering.

And also keep in mind yíall I was posting my review from months ago, my opinion on a lot of things has changed a lot.
No worries, I didnít take it as aggressive. *
Everything in the movie sprouts from the screenplay. From the dialogue, to the actions and themes and indeed, anything as seemingly innocuous as how one may eat or drink sometimes.
On occasion there might be thrown in on the fly by the actor (Brando was particularly known for doing so), but generally itís all in the screenplay.



sksksksks ok you asked. Here's my alternate review from a couple months back:

What a disappointment. I was really looking forward to this one, but it was a boring, tired movie with nothing new or interesting to say.

I didn't think it was going to be as similar to Scorsese movies as some people say, but damn, this movie is King of Comedy without the interesting main character, funny script, and tight themes.

Script is God-awful. WHAT the **** is this doing with a nomination for best adapted screenplay? Surely the Academy could find some better movie to nominate than to give Joker an 11th nomination.

Sorry to do that to you, well Cricket had done that to me a couple times, so I guess that's fair Anyway thanks for posting that
It sounds like you really hated Joker on a first watch.

I know you said it was boring and the script sucked. I have a couple questions:

Did you morally/ethically object to anything in the film?

Were you expecting it to be firmly in the Batman universe? And are you a big fan of the Batman movies?

I'm OK with any opinions anyone has, I just curious as to how/why the film failed you at first watch?



No worries, I didnít take it as aggressive. *
Everything in the movie sprouts from the screenplay. From the dialogue, to the actions and themes and indeed, anything as seemingly innocuous as how one may eat or drink sometimes.
On occasion there might be thrown in on the fly by the actor (Brando was particularly known for doing so), but generally itís all in the screenplay.
Ok cool, yeah I meant more dialogue than anything else, which I found really forced. It was trying to be a Scorsese movie (I.e taxi driver which portrays mental illness in a much better way).



Sorry to do that to you, well Cricket had done that to me a couple times, so I guess that's fair Anyway thanks for posting that
It sounds like you really hated Joker on a first watch.

I know you said it was boring and the script sucked. I have a couple questions:

Did you morally/ethically object to anything in the film?

Were you expecting it to be firmly in the Batman universe? And are you a big fan of the Batman movies?

I'm OK with any opinions anyone has, I just curious as to how/why the film failed you at first watch?
1. I think the films intentions were good, but I think it was a really shallow interpretation of mental illness. I canít really explain myself further than that, but the short answer is no, I donít morally or ethically object to anything here much.

2. Nope! In fact I have not seen a single Batman movie, just parts of the Dark Knight.



1. I think the films intentions were good, but I think it was a really shallow interpretation of mental illness. I canít really explain myself further than that, but the short answer is no, I donít morally or ethically object to anything here much.

2. Nope! In fact I have not seen a single Batman movie, just parts of the Dark Knight.
I can agree with the first part. It does come off as shallow on occasion. And Taxi Driver definitely did it better, yes. But I think Joker, despite its flaws, did a good job on shining a light on its subject nonetheless.
Itís nowhere near the same league as Taxi Driver, and in fact I think the comparisons hurt it.
As for the second part? You need to remedy that ASAP. Start with Batman (1989). Then Watch the Dark Knight trilogy



I can agree with the first part. It does come off as shallow on occasion. And Taxi Driver definitely did it better, yes. But I think Joker, despite its flaws, did a good job on shining a light on its subject nonetheless.
Itís nowhere near the same league as Taxi Driver, and in fact I think the comparisons hurt it.
As for the second part? You need to remedy that ASAP. Start with Batman (1989). Then Watch the Dark Knight trilogy
Yes, Iím highly looking forward to those!!



Eh, I don't know that you're really missing much by not having seen the Batman movies. I couldn't even finish Tim Burton's Batman the last time I tried to watch it and I grew up with that movie and generally enjoy Burton. I loved The Dark Knight when I first watched it, but have liked it less with each rewatch to the point where now I don't even much like the movie, I just like Ledger's performance.



1. I think the films intentions were good, but I think it was a really shallow interpretation of mental illness. I canít really explain myself further than that, but the short answer is no, I donít morally or ethically object to anything here much.

2. Nope! In fact I have not seen a single Batman movie, just parts of the Dark Knight.
Those are perfect answers...I asked because I wondered if you might have objected to the film using mental illness to 'entertain', which you said you didn't. And that aspect didn't bother me either, though I could see some people being sensitive to that issue.

I wish more of the film had been focused on Arthur's mental illness and how he coped (or didn't cope) with society, so I agree there too. I'm not at all a fan of the Batman movies and I've only seen the first couple ones like a million years ago.