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Themroc is a French absurdist social commentary film, very much like Siddon's nom for the 16th Mr Freedom (1969), I'm surprised he didn't love Themroc.
I mean, I love William Klein to death but Themroc blows Mr. Freedom out of the water, lmao. On this note though, I guarantee I'd have gotten no flack if I'd nominated Godard's Weekend, even though its the same movie but probably twice as pretentious and obnoxious (still love that film of course, lol) just because the director is a name.



Bicycle Thieves (1948) -


This was one of the few remaining well-known classic films which I hadn't seen before joining this HoF. I was a bit worried that it wouldn't live up to its reputation, but fortunately, it ended up blowing me away.

I noticed that some people here criticized how Antonio grows more and more unlikable as the film progresses, but I think that was actually the point of his character. Watching him slowly lose his humanity by acting forceful with the various people he encounters while the chances of him reclaiming his stolen bicycle kept diminishing was quite tragic. During his attempts to reclaim his stolen bicycle, he acts forceful with an elderly man, he rudely disrupts a church sermon, he slaps his son, and he acts forceful with a young boy and potentially causes him to have a seizure. I found the ending to be a powerful culmination to his arc as it showed how much the events of that day had changed him and lowered his morals.

The excellent twin performances from Lamberto Maggiorani (Antonio) and Enzo Staiola (Bruno) enhance the film's emotional core. Maggiorani is able to transmit so much of the desperation and hopelessness he experiences in the film through his facial expressions. Equally impressive is Staiola's performance. Despite being only 9 years old when this film was released and not having many lines, he reflects both the increasing desperation his father feels as the film progresses in addition to the direct and indirect pain his father causes him throughout the film onto his face. I found the final scene to be quite heartbreaking, in part due to the thematic implications of it and also due to the facial expressions from both actors.

While the emotional core to the film is compelling, this film is a lot more than just a story about a stolen bicycle. It's also a bleak portrait of the poverty which many Italians faced post-World War II. We see some immediate effects of this like crowds of people desperately trying to get jobs, people shoving past each other to get on buses, and people selling their personal possessions to get a job. The film also explores the various ways people coped with poverty, like resorting to thievery, falsely claiming they could see the future by becoming a fortune teller, or being a prostitute. Most of these effects weren't explored in much detail and were instead treated as backdrops to the main action, but they got under my skin regardless and made the film's scope both epic and intimate at the same time. In the chaotic, poverty stricken city shown in the film, Antonio's bicycle means everything to him and it's clear how vital it is that he reclaims it...
If only one person discovers and loves my nom, then I consider that a success! Glad to hear that you Bicycle Thieves.



If only one person discovers and loves my nom, then I consider that a success! Glad to hear that you Bicycle Thieves.
You're welcome! I'm hoping for my nom to do pretty good here as well.



course it's not as bad as breaking a TIE
I wasn't going to bring this up again, but that comment makes it appears as though you didn't understand or are being dismissive of why some of us didn't agree with your method.

Breaking ties wasn't the issue. It was the fact that you were using other member's ballots to influence your own ranking of the films. There are ways to break a tie that don't involve altering the amount of points you would've otherwise given a nomination.

If you don't see that as a problem, that's fine. I'm not trying to start an argument or anything; I just want to clear the air. If this comes across rudely or disrespectful, I'm honestly sorry as that's not my intention.



Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

I should preface this little review by stating that Vertigo falls squarely into a genre that I actively dislike and it really never had a chance to avoid that but I also think its decidedly bad in its own right too. For the first two acts the film goes between being okay and fairly boring, with the initial setup not being the least bit intriguing and the follow through not ever changing that. Just scene after scene of dull, dry exposition and spoken by characters it would be impossible to care about. At least it looks good, though it sure would be nice if it looked more than just good as I can count on one hand the number of shots that even boarder on looking great (one of which is pictured above). So at this point I'm not having a particularly great time but it's just a bit boring, nothing offensive and hey, that one scene in the forest is actually pretty good. But then that third act comes around and boy does it take a nosedive from there, starting with the hilariously convoluted reveal and that just baffling use of a matte painting. From there the film becomes an absolutely unbearable slog. Just so annoyingly repetitive and with a destination that is never for a second in doubt I couldn't watch this for more than like 5-10 minutes at a time without having to take an equally long break. I genuinely can't tell if we're supposed to feel anything for either of these characters and when we finally get to the classic "suddenly, the dumbest thing possible" Hitchcock ending I didn't even have the energy to laugh. Very bad film did not like.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

I should preface this little review by stating that Vertigo falls squarely into a genre that I actively dislike and it really never had a chance to avoid that but I also think its decidedly bad in its own right too. For the first two acts the film goes between being okay and fairly boring, with the initial setup not being the least bit intriguing and the follow through not ever changing that. Just scene after scene of dull, dry exposition and spoken by characters it would be impossible to care about. At least it looks good, though it sure would be nice if it looked more than just good as I can count on one hand the number of shots that even boarder on looking great (one of which is pictured above). So at this point I'm not having a particularly great time but it's just a bit boring, nothing offensive and hey, that one scene in the forest is actually pretty good. But then that third act comes around and boy does it take a nosedive from there, starting with the hilariously convoluted reveal and that just baffling use of a matte painting. From there the film becomes an absolutely unbearable slog. Just so annoyingly repetitive and with a destination that is never for a second in doubt I couldn't watch this for more than like 5-10 minutes at a time without having to take an equally long break. I genuinely can't tell if we're supposed to feel anything for either of these characters and when we finally get to the classic "suddenly, the dumbest thing possible" Hitchcock ending I didn't even have the energy to laugh. Very bad film did not like.
This review on one of the greatest films ever is almost as bad as picking Themroc

just kidding, btw



Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

...that just baffling use of a matte painting...
I noticed one matte composition shot that didn't match the quality of the rest of the film. It was an aerial shot of the bell tower with a real foreground and a matte of the bell tower looking down onto it. Is that the one you mean?



I noticed one matte composition shot that didn't match the quality of the rest of the film. It was an aerial shot of the bell tower with a real foreground and a matte of the bell tower looking down onto it. Is that the one you mean?
Lmao yeah!



That matte didn't look good to me either...But in Hitch's defense: matte work was very common in the mid 20th century so audiences of that time would've readily accepted it. Of course these days that shot could be taken from a helicopter with a steady cam mount and then digitally any elements that didn't belong in the shot could be removed.

I'd bet Hitch couldn't just do a crane shot due to the height of the bell tower and the angle of the shot...and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that such a shot would then include an ugly parking lot or something of that type...hence Hitch went to the matte composition.



That matte didn't look good to me...but in Hitch's defense: matte work was very common in the mid 20th century so audiences of that time would've readily accepted it. Of course these days that shot could be done from a helicopter and then digitally remove any elements that didn't belong in the shot. I'd bet Hitch couldn't just do a crane shot due to the height of the bell tower and the angle of the shot...and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that such a shot would then include an ugly parking lot of something of that type...hence Hitch went to the matte shot. But I never understand why they light the matte shots they way they do, with flat studio lighting.
For the record I adore matte paintings but yeah this one didn't quite pan out. I'll give him points for being a madman and actually going for it though.



For the record I adore matte paintings but yeah this one didn't quite pan out. I'll give him points for being a madman and actually going for it though.
It's the lighting on the matte I think. I've heard that Hitch was a control freak for lighting and hated shooting on location. That fact IMO hurts his films for today's audiences as a lot of his shots can have that fake looking flat studio lighting. But then again that style of lighting was popular up until the 90s.



I wasn't going to bring this up again, but that comment makes it appears as though you didn't understand or are being dismissive of why some of us didn't agree with your method.

Breaking ties wasn't the issue. It was the fact that you were using other member's ballots to influence your own ranking of the films. There are ways to break a tie that don't involve altering the amount of points you would've otherwise given a nomination.

If you don't see that as a problem, that's fine. I'm not trying to start an argument or anything; I just want to clear the air. If this comes across rudely or disrespectful, I'm honestly sorry as that's not my intention.

Yeah well my problem is that your making these rules out of thin air. I was pressured into doing these halls in the first place given no guidelines as to how to run and then threatened to have my ballot removed by individuals who really shouldn't have any authority over the matter to begin with. The group voted and Rules lost and now years later he's bringing this up to rehash it again.



Citizen Rules once again wanted to throw out my ballot over a joke. Instead of sending a simple PM for clarification which is what a normal person should have done I wake up log in and see all of this drama. Four times I've been exposed to films with underage nudity which to me is completely unacceptable. I am no longer going to commit to any hall as long as individuals who run the halls refuse to properly the screen the noms.



Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

I should preface this little review by stating that Vertigo falls squarely into a genre that I actively dislike and it really never had a chance to avoid that but I also think its decidedly bad in its own right too. For the first two acts the film goes between being okay and fairly boring, with the initial setup not being the least bit intriguing and the follow through not ever changing that. Just scene after scene of dull, dry exposition and spoken by characters it would be impossible to care about. At least it looks good, though it sure would be nice if it looked more than just good as I can count on one hand the number of shots that even boarder on looking great (one of which is pictured above). So at this point I'm not having a particularly great time but it's just a bit boring, nothing offensive and hey, that one scene in the forest is actually pretty good. But then that third act comes around and boy does it take a nosedive from there, starting with the hilariously convoluted reveal and that just baffling use of a matte painting. From there the film becomes an absolutely unbearable slog. Just so annoyingly repetitive and with a destination that is never for a second in doubt I couldn't watch this for more than like 5-10 minutes at a time without having to take an equally long break. I genuinely can't tell if we're supposed to feel anything for either of these characters and when we finally get to the classic "suddenly, the dumbest thing possible" Hitchcock ending I didn't even have the energy to laugh. Very bad film did not like.



I'm definitely down for some sort of a screening, although exact guidelines would probably be quite tricky.



It wouldn't hurt to include the ratings and a content advisory for each movie on the post listing each person's choice, at least.
I hope you at least stick around for this one, Siddon, and not just because I want to see The Long Goodbye. You give good commentary.
__________________
Last Great Movie Seen
Horror of Dracula (Fisher, 1958)



I'm definitely down for some sort of a screening, although exact guidelines would probably be quite tricky.
Did you (or @Siddon or anyone else - I'm just asking in general) have any suggestions as to how that could theoretically be implemented if this idea gains traction? I don't mean in regards to how anyone would decide what should or shouldn't be excluded, but how the screening process would actually work as I think that's the biggest hurdle.

Unless the host watches every film sent to them before the HoF starts, it might be difficult to tell if there's offensive content. Many films will have plenty of documentation online, but I frequently see Wikipedia pages that barely have a cast list or basic plot summary. The more obscure the film, the harder it would be for the host to tell if it's acceptable or not.



The website Does the Dog Die? is a good place to start. Most of it is about animal death or abuse, but there are some non-animal categories like "is there a shower scene," "does a parent die," etc. They don't have a lot of information on more obscure releases like Themroc, however.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Firmly against screening movies. Not everyone will agree on what and where the line is drawn. I certainly won't do it if I'm a host and I don't think I'd join a HoF with someone else doing it. We're all adults if someone can't handle it bye bye.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Whiplash (2014)

Damn! This thing still holds up after 3 or 4 views!

Now, there are two sides to this: first, the cinematic. It's still an amazing experience, with obviously top-notch acting from JK Simmons and Milles Teller. The latter, in particular, impressed me more this time. His role is far more complex than Simmons' (who basically only needs to shout to stand out). Teller delivers a very interesting performance as the shy, anti-social kid with a huge complex of inferiority and unmeasurable ambition.
The cinematography is great, the last scene being obviously a standout, but Chazelle gives a very homogenous tone to the whole film with the camera work as one of the main tension builders. And then there's the soundtrack, which is the greatest thing about this film, IMO. Apart from the exhilarating drums solos, there's a tension being built on the background that's just superb. The scene where Andrew gets the part while rehearsing Caravan with the two other drummers has this drone note being sustained by the piano that pretty much makes the whole scene. It's so simple yet incredibly powerful.

On the other hand... My opinion about the morals of this film has changed since the last time I watched it. Let me say, first, that this is obviously a hyperbolic film and that's an important thing to know, or else the film can be judged unfairly. Yes, there's abuse in music schools but this is borderline criminal and not a faithful portrait of the reality. However, it does point in the right direction. I've met many teachers who think exactly like Fletcher. There's this scene where Andrew sees him talking to a little girl and her father and being super friendly and then he faces the musicians and he's the devil. This happens. Normally the toughest teachers are very kind outside of the music-making space and that's because they feel they have to create this character who simply destroys whoever isn't good enough.
And, in the mind of a 19-year-old kid who wants to be the greatest musician ever, this makes sense. I can't count the number of times I defended this type of behaviour when I was this age.
But the fact is: it's wrong. The greatest musicians I ever met, and luckily I met some of the greats, aren't this soulless machines who are obsessed with perfection and wouldn't mind having a cymbal thrown at their heads. They're kind, in love with life and music, have many interests besides making music and wrong notes are the least of their concerns. Because those are the ones who survive in the long run. Kids like Andrew might have a few great moments but they eventually realize that they forgot why they loved music in the first place and the greatest pleasure comes from not making mistakes (which might be the most harmful way to be in music). And then comes depression, or drugs, or whatever else... And then you have Charlie Parker dying poor when he was 35 years old. Or, the equally sad alternative, you have people finishing their bachelor or masters degrees and just stop playing immediately after that because they have nothing else to give.
Of course, you need infinite amounts of resilience and hard work, and you have to get used to hearing NO many many times until you make it. But if it's the opinion of someone else leading the way, instead of your own passion then you'll never get there. And if music is the only thing you know about... Then I'm sorry, but you don't know the first thing about music.
Whiplash glorifies a bad example. It doesn't make the film any worse, because the story is still valid and the execution is close to perfection, but it is what it is. And I find it interesting that I only get that just now.