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Gort wrote:
You explained this a bit later. But if this question is taken slightly out of context it speaks directly to the subjective experience of film, which you addressed. And I wonder if this subjective experience is itself altered if you consider the generation in which the person experiencing the film grows up.


I think that's absolutely right. There will always be individual differences in film viewing based off of experience. There are really so many elements that can color a film in a particular way. However, when talking about the "value" of a film, I'm not really talking about pure subjective experience vis-a-vie like and dislike. Certainly, if two people sat down together and watched a particular film, they would indeed be watching the same film. The frames do not change, and to barrow a phrase from Andre Bazin, the film is "change, mummified". That is, we could agree on the blocking of film, the set design, the camera movement, costume, and more (i.e., the totality of the mise-en-scene), and those things together, along with themes and so on, would (technically) assist us in assessing a film's value. For example, when I first watched Citizen Kane I was quite young and I hardly felt anything other than my butt on the seat while watching, however, after hearing about the various contributions it made to film form I was piqued to do multiple rewatches, and although it still doesn't really touch me emotionally or in any pleasant way, I highly appreciate the value that it had on cinema and culture.

Gort wrote:
So I might deduce that you would not agree that a film must first entertain you (get your attention, so to speak) before it can educate or inform you? I certainly can see your irritation with the idea of film as nothing but entertainment. But I grew up in an era when films were expected to have a social message. I find many of those films boring, now. When I was 20, I thought Five Easy Pieces was such a monstrously perfect film. When I was 42 and watched it again, it was a piece of worthless shit. The film didn't change!

But I still prefer films that make me think and give me a cultural point of view that I would not be able to come across on my own. Completely shallow, mere entertainment movies bore me, too.

Although, I must admit that a lot of the time the messages I find in films may well be my own interpretation of what I think I see, rather than what the filmmakers purposely intended as they built the art object.


My point on entertainment is purposely severe because film is so one-sided in its ambitions towards entertainment and amusement. I think anyone can agree that film is typically for entertainment's sake and not much else; however, film is not mere entertainment, as we all know. I think it should be understood that most cineastes' entertainment may come from the educative or informative standpoint, whereas others may just want to be distracted for a period of time because their life is boring, or their simply conditioned to audio/visual siesta, etc. There are plenty of issues with film as a dream to get lost in, but that's beyond the scope of what were discussing and probably deserves a thread of its own! :D

However, I take no issues with high budgets or spectacle in film if they're used creatively. But they rarely are. And I have no issues with films being entertaining in a general sense, either. However, entertainment has perhaps taken precedence over serious dialectic and critical thinking in the current state of affairs. Old Hollywood is a good counterpoint to what I'm discussing. Even though there were plenty of duds back then, there were also amazing directors embedding portent themes and creative form in their works; this hardly exists anymore for many reasons. Steven Soderbergh outlines some of them here.


Gort wrote:
Capitalism leads to enormous excess of product in all areas, don't you think? I doubt anyone could ever watch every film ever made. Or every TV episode ever made. Or read every book ever published. Or listen to every song ever written, or even every song ever recorded. Yet, having always lived life in a country that has all that excess, I wouldn't want to give it up (not entirely). Nor would I want others in total control of what I could see and when (I already lived that way as a youth, remember).


Yes, capitalism does, hah! Here I'm simply using Marxism as a philosophical counterpoint to our discussion. They both have their pros and their cons. There's a sort of freedom about capitalism that is highly intriguing, although that has plenty of issues (i.e., it could be an illusion of prosperity, see: the american dream). And Communism is very just and pure and utilitarian, however it can be unduly restricting for some people. My point was that since film is one of the largest capitalist products on our planet, it is certainly subject to a high degree of manipulation, and things like "running the numbers" for blockbuster films and studio executives that don't even watch films are an issue. This is also a bit out of scope of the conversation but needless to say, money often corrupts, which is an issue. Although apparently cinema has a great trickle-down economic system (see Soderberg video).

Gort wrote:
Do you see films as existing outside the general question that can be phrased, "Yes, but is it art?" which is a cheeky way that people sometimes express it, but does illuminate the fact that art is as much subjective as it is objective. Isn't your opinion of the significance of a film of paramount importance to you? It seems that your pondering of its place as a cultural object fascinates you as much as the adventure of a blind viewing fascinates Mac. Perhaps watching a film is an exercise to you. And you appreciate and enjoy that exercise. Maybe even to the point of it entertaining you more than merely watching the film could ever do.


As Das once said on here, all film is art, there's just shitty art and good art! :D The debate on art is very subjective and has been highly debated--I, myself have debated it with others to the point of inanity--so I won't get into it. Although I think what Das said is a fine assumption.

My own interests and direction towards film is certainly personal, there's no denying that. And as I said earlier, we each have our own ways of appraising a film. However, there are also ways we can evaluate a film in a relatively objective way, which is what something like a neo-formalist approach is trying to get at in cinema. Regardless of ones personal attitude toward film, the film can still have a heavy impact. Films are independent in a sort of way, existing outside of the bounds of mere human subjectivity. To take a crude example, mud can either be very beautiful to someone or absolutely disgusting, however, it's needed for flora to grow, and so it has its own independence regardless of human appraisal. Citizen Kane is an influential film, love it or hate it!

Gort wrote:
Perhaps that's the source of your original, insightful question. You don't see spoilers as significant because they don't affect your analysis of the film and its place within the echelons of similar cultural objects. I might be totally misreading what you mean by the quoted phrase above, of course.


That's more or less it. My position is actually very similar to Mac's, which is why I didn't respond to it.


Gort wrote:
But if you are honest, does your fascination with that aspect (cultural significance of the individual art object, and indeed with the collection of all such art objects as a form of art) ever distract you from things that others might consider more important?


Probably...lol. Despite my words, which are highly limited, I'm open to the prospect of different viewpoints. But what I'm doing here is importuning, and I hope others importune on me. That way we can have a sort of dialectic. And it may actually revive a lukewarm forum, too! :D

Gort wrote:
So I'm not certain there is a single, monolithic set of things that are important and all other things are not important. And maybe that wasn't what you meant at all. But isn't capitalism built on diversion? Even if it's from one "important thing" to another. I always wanted my potential customers to be diverted from looking favorably toward my competitors, to my production company for all their video production needs. Fortunately, I had already learned that my competitors weren't shitheads or gnarly ogres. They were other people who really enjoyed earning a living by creating videos. And none of us had to create 100% of the videos made by Memphis companies in order to make a good living.


Again, the values of capitalism are there, but since its not a perfect system, its flaws need to be understood, which they're often not. There are plenty of pitfalls in the system, and that's what's important to understand. You can live very peacefully in a flawed system as long as you know the game rules--if you don't then the game is likely to get one-up on you. Even though almost everyone I know just wants to "Netflix and chill", I still encourage them to question what they're watching, why they're watching it, and in general, think critically.


Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:36 am
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Interesting discussion! And might I say delightfully random.

I share Macro and Popcorn's preferences in this. I generally avoid spoilers at all costs. Let me try to address a few questions about the value of this approach that has been raised.

First, before addressing specific questions, I should clarify, I don't count as spoilers merely information about the plot. As Macro said, I try to avoid knowing almost everything about a film before going to see it. This means various facts about the mise-en-scene, its narrative format, stylistic devices, various technical choices, behind the scenes elements related to production, and even, in some cases, too much information about casting.

One can immediately see this creates a paradox for a viewer like me, as is invoked in some of the questions here: How can I know whether I want to see a movie or not if I don't allow myself to know nothing about it? It's a matter of degree. Knowing the director invariably will tell me some things, maybe lots of things, about what the film is going to be like from a stylistic point-of-view. Knowing the director is basically a necessary condition for my seeing a movie. It's for that reason I don't like to know too much stylistic beyond that, although I do often appreciate more general observations (X took a different approach in this film, or X builds on techniques from before, and so on). I can also watch the trailer, which often gives me a very immediate sense of what the film is going to feel like. I usually know within 5-10 seconds of a trailer whether I want to see the film. The overall sense I get from the production values, mise-en-scene, setting, and general sense of the plot is typically all I need to know to build anticipation to see a film. I also rely heavily on recommendations from people who I trust.

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:24 am
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OK, those are my own admitted idiosyncrasies, but I think the question of plot spoilers can be seen as an extension of that. I see plot information as directly relevant to my film experience just as other technical aspects of the film are. But another paradox is lurking: can we not assess a film's value independently of our own reactions? This is a complicated question, but my short (controversial) answer is: not really.

Eminence Grise asks whether spoilers decrease a film's objective value. It's hard to know what that would be like in general rather than on a case by case basis. To me this would be like supposing that everyone who saw a given film knew what was going to happen before they saw it. That's going to be more true in some cases than in others, and may yield different results depending on the film. In general, I think it's hard to know what a film's more objective value would be independently of audience reaction to it. And I don't mean the subjective, highly variable judgment "X was an enjoyable movie" or "X was an unenjoyable movie". I mean "X elicited this psychological response in most, if not all, viewers". We can talk about whether a film was technically influential, yes, but that's usually not all we mean when we say Citizen Kane, for instance, is great. We mean that its techniques were not only revolutionary, but effective in generating certain audience reactions, and that its techniques were influential because of that fact.

In Kane's case, its innovations appear more "objective" because many of its effects (appear to be) more perceptual than emotional (although I would contest that, just not here). But they are still psychological effects. Here's a basic one: Deep focus allows you to see more in the frame, thereby allowing the audience to pick up more (realistic) visual information. The capacity to see vast open space is a perceptual response by the audience. This is a valuable tool used in innovative ways (e.g at various angles) that can be picked up by other directors to deploy similar effects. Extremely deep focus with a fisheye lens can create a certain eerie uneasiness in the audience, for instance. In short, if we only care about influence, and not the effect that an artwork has on society, then I'm not inclined to believe we're talking about the real objective value of the artwork.

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:26 am
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Finally, LEAVES asks whether films that can be spoiled have value beyond the information that can be gained about the plot. I think yes. Let me say just a bit more about what I think is lost with a spoiler. There isn't just this basic fact about surprise and curiosity that's at stake. Even in a Whodunit?, it's not merely the case that I am just curious about who is responsible for the crime. Rather, there is value in certain kinds of experiences that can't be had when you go in with complete knowledge of the events that will unfold. There are two ways this might happen. Some spoiler-dependent films put you in the shoes of the characters / protagonists in the film and some don't. That is, one's epistemic vantage point may be either on par, privileged or impoverished relative to the characters in the story. This will have a variety of interesting effects on the audience as they interact with the film. In the first case, when what we know is roughly what the characters know, it allows us to go on this emotional journey with them. It allows us to greater identify with the characters and empathize with their emotional stakes and circumstances. We might, for instance, greater identify or appreciate the unique nature and scope of character's feeling of betrayal if we learn only when they do that they have been betrayed. In some sense, even we have been betrayed. The shock and discovery may even bring us to tears.

Abstracting from this, narrative construction is a function of technique. I enjoy considering the ways in which narratives can use tools to withhold and reveal information, and to what extent some of these techniques are more effective than others. For example, generally speaking, voice over isn't going to be the best form of reveal; better, as in the case of horror for instance, is a reveal of some important detail that is perhaps partly obscured by shadows in the background of the frame, which will tend to be more effective since it will generally be, say, creepier.

Unfortunately, it's not often that I go into Hollywood movies with this sort of experience because effectively concealing a plot point is a lost art in many cases. Films that rely heavily on formula and convention can often be solved very quickly. But there are still masters out there, and when it's done well, it can have a powerful effect, at least on me. Most masters of genre and the art of reveal (not just in the case of mysteries, but of any kind of narrative information) these days are either working in TV or are not working in Hollywood.

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:30 am
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This is getting gooood.

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:49 am
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Thanks for chiming in, Izzy :D

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Knowing the director invariably will tell me some things, maybe lots of things, about what the film is going to be like from a stylistic point-of-view. Knowing the director is basically a necessary condition for my seeing a movie. It's for that reason I don't like to know too much stylistic beyond that, although I do often appreciate more general observations (X took a different approach in this film, or X builds on techniques from before, and so on). I can also watch the trailer, which often gives me a very immediate sense of what the film is going to feel like. I usually know within 5-10 seconds of a trailer whether I want to see the film. The overall sense I get from the production values, mise-en-scene, setting, and general sense of the plot is typically all I need to know to build anticipation to see a film. I also rely heavily on recommendations from people who I trust.


I believe we touched upon this in a different thread earlier so it’s good to bring it up again within this discussion. It seems that this is a fundamental difficulty for the cinephile. Certainly, when you’ve seen a large portion of film and have at least an intermediate knowledge of film, at least some surface knowledge will be present with just about any film you watch. However, I’ve been surprised plenty of times, and that’s always great!

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Eminence Grise asks whether spoilers decrease a film's objective value. It's hard to know what that would be like in general rather than on a case by case basis. To me this would be like supposing that everyone who saw a given film knew what was going to happen before they saw it. That's going to be more true in some cases than in others, and may yield different results depending on the film. In general, I think it's hard to know what a film's more objective value would be independently of audience reaction to it. And I don't mean the subjective, highly variable judgment "X was an enjoyable movie" or "X was an unenjoyable movie". I mean "X elicited this psychological response in most, if not all, viewers". We can talk about whether a film was technically influential, yes, but that's usually not all we mean when we say Citizen Kane, for instance, is great. We mean that its techniques were not only revolutionary, but effective in generating certain audience reactions, and that its techniques were influential because of that fact.


I think this gets tricky, especially if we’re taking into consideration experimental film. Mothlight didn’t provoke really any emotional reaction in me whatsoever (other than boredom because it’s eerily long!), but I could immediately appreciate it’s contributions and innovation to the medium.

And I agree with you, technical prowess and psychological elicitation often go hand-in-glove and they perhaps can’t be separated. Technical choices are very much like language where each word is designed to deliver a certain effect given the former and latter choices. It takes a real master craftsman to be able to pull off effective reactions from an audience. However, this gets complicated, too. For example, we all know many poorly made films that deliver much too much pathos and become the apogee of the “tear jerker” film. Although I haven’t seen it, “This Is Us” may be a good example. I think this is why - and I mentioned this earlier but we can go further into it – there has to be some level of separation between our emotional reactions and the illusion on screen. Of course, I’m more than happy to applaud a film if it tricked me throughout, but afterwards there has to be some level of detachment in order to observe the film properly (although I don’t like that word!).

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In short, if we only care about influence, and not the effect that an artwork has on society, then I'm not inclined to believe we're talking about the real objective value of the artwork.


I’m not sure if I countered this point in any way, but if I did, it was a mistake. I completely agree. I don’t see these as mutually exclusive in any way. If a film is great, with patience and care, I should be able to show just about anyone why and how it may impact the sociopolitical domain.


Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:03 pm
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The solution to spoilers: Dramatic irony - The audience is supposed to know more than the characters, and the fun is watching the ignorant characters run around like ants in a maze while you, the god-like viewer, watch over in omnipotence and self-satisfaction. This is how gossip works, too. This is also how watching idiots gossip works, because they just think they know everything, but really they're horrible people. See how self-satisfied everyone is? It's great.

Izzy Black wrote:
Eminence Grise asks whether spoilers decrease a film's objective value. It's hard to know what that would be like in general rather than on a case by case basis.
Would that not merely be an aggregate of subjective values? And not even a way like, "Price is an aggregate of consumers' subjective desires and the costs of supply", where an objective equilibrium independent of each individual is reached, just something that is not useful to anything larger than each person considered, and meaningless when reduced beyond that (the imdb aggregate score tells you nothing about anything). Even the price in this case doesn't actually tell you anything about the individual, it only tells you that there is "some population" that will purchase the item in question at that price and "some other population that will not", but you don't even know where any individual who buys the item will fit in either population. To get anything meaningful would require a different price for each person - which is to say: it is not useful to anything larger than each person considered. The answer to the question, "What kind of meaningful statistical data can you get from an aggregate of people's opinions" is "something of a kind entirely different from the kind that it originated from, or nothing".

Even when you say this:
Izzy Black wrote:
I mean "X elicited this psychological response in most, if not all, viewers". We can talk about whether a film was technically influential, yes, but that's usually not all we mean when we say Citizen Kane, for instance, is great. We mean that its techniques were not only revolutionary, but effective in generating certain audience reactions, and that its techniques were influential because of that fact.
...what you're really saying is that there is some large population of people that are above some line of "audience reaction", but each is so inextricably different that to say merely that they hold in common this borderline of "great" seems arbitrary, since you could also separate it into a larger group of "really really good" or a smaller group of "life-changing" and still it would tell you nothing of any meaning about any of those people. It wouldn't even tell you if each of those people's conception of "great" is the same, which only muddies everything to beyond the point of meaninglessness.

Izzy Black wrote:
Unfortunately, it's not often that I go into Hollywood movies with this sort of experience because effectively concealing a plot point is a lost art in many cases. Films that rely heavily on formula and convention can often be solved very quickly. But there are still masters out there, and when it's done well, it can have a powerful effect, at least on me. Most masters of genre and the art of reveal (not just in the case of mysteries, but of any kind of narrative information) these days are either working in TV or are not working in Hollywood.
You spoke of the varied ways in which spoilers can ruin films, and the curiosity in understanding these sorts of films, but there's still an essential question: If the types of films that can be spoiled are often formulaic, and the people capable of making them rarely work in film, and there are a plethora of films and types of films that cannot be spoiled, I ask again: Is it really worth your time, as a human being, to use any energy whatsoever to avoid spoilers when it's so fleetingly rare that you will even have an experience that could have been meaningful spoiled, and you can damn-well-certain find any number of unspoilable films without exerting any effort whatsoever? To me, no. I imagine, by this point in your life, you have experienced the gamut of possible ways that spoilable films can be made, so the curiosity into the form probably has limited potential to surprise, so you're just left with what seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.

Also, there is something to be said for being a viewer who knows things that you weren't intended to know, and watching a "spoilable film" from the perspective of the omniscient viewer can be quite interesting, as you can see the strings without wasting your time with ignorance. Ain't nobody got time for ignorance around here. #staywoke

Oh, and hi Izzy!

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:28 pm
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Eminence Grise wrote:
I believe we touched upon this in a different thread earlier so it’s good to bring it up again within this discussion. It seems that this is a fundamental difficulty for the cinephile. Certainly, when you’ve seen a large portion of film and have at least an intermediate knowledge of film, at least some surface knowledge will be present with just about any film you watch. However, I’ve been surprised plenty of times, and that’s always great!
Doubful! I still see you sitting there in the back playing your trumpet while the film's Rome burns... or maybe that's just your old avatar...
Eminence Grise wrote:
As Das once said on here, all film is art, there's just shitty art and good art!
I like to say, "Just because it's art doesn't mean it's good. Kindergartners make art. Art is not a genre of art."

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Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:30 pm
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LEAVES replied to Izzy:
LEAVES wrote:
You spoke of the varied ways in which spoilers can ruin films, and the curiosity in understanding these sorts of films, but there's still an essential question: If the types of films that can be spoiled are often formulaic, and the people capable of making them rarely work in film, and there are a plethora of films and types of films that cannot be spoiled, I ask again: Is it really worth your time, as a human being, to use any energy whatsoever to avoid spoilers when it's so fleetingly rare that you will even have an experience that could have been meaningful[ly] spoiled, and you can damn-well-certain find any number of unspoilable films without exerting any effort whatsoever? To me, no. I imagine, by this point in your life, you have experienced the gamut of possible ways that spoilable films can be made, so the curiosity into the form probably has limited potential to surprise, so you're just left with what seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.

Hear, hear! Although, your argument may have less impact than we would imagine. Because "films being spoiled" for people is an obvious emotional response to the spoiling, and not an aloof and objective one.

And in response to some other comments:

I can't easily separate the emotional response a film gives me from the objective worth of the film...in that watching a film is not an aloof, scientific activity. Film is, and is meant to be immersive. Thus, its power to divert. Thus, its power to change people. Or culture.

Sometimes "spoilers" help me avoid a film that will make me cry on a day when I don't want to cry.

The memories we make that are most enduring are those that are linked to strong emotion (including strong levity, not merely the bummer emotions). It may be impossible to move people to a goal without eliciting an emotional response to your signals.

Also, it still seems to me that "spoilers" are bits of information that ruin a moment of your viewing experience, but they seem to be different things ruined, and different kinds of information. If they are so varied and personal, how the hell can the rest of us avoid spoiling your movies? :D

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels will also lose all its images on the same day. But just think about how many images Jedi has on Photobucket, and the other posters here.


Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:47 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
Would that not merely be an aggregate of subjective values? And not even a way like, "Price is an aggregate of consumers' subjective desires and the costs of supply", where an objective equilibrium independent of each individual is reached, just something that is not useful to anything larger than each person considered, and meaningless when reduced beyond that (the imdb aggregate score tells you nothing about anything). Even the price in this case doesn't actually tell you anything about the individual, it only tells you that there is "some population" that will purchase the item in question at that price and "some other population that will not", but you don't even know where any individual who buys the item will fit in either population. To get anything meaningful would require a different price for each person - which is to say: it is not useful to anything larger than each person considered. The answer to the question, "What kind of meaningful statistical data can you get from an aggregate of people's opinions" is "something of a kind entirely different from the kind that it originated from, or nothing".


I think this is an interesting comparison and brings up a point, which is, subjective value determines the “objective value of a given film” (perhaps in aggregate), and so value is only as important as the desire that the film produces in an intrapersonal sense. However, it doesn’t seem like so-called “valuable” films are very desirable. The question I’m trying to get at may be: where does value lie within cinema, is it in the individual, or does the product have its own quality, its own life? Of course it needs to be seen by humans, but there may be intrinsic value there. For example, we know that cars are very valuable and useful, however, some will pay very little for a car and others a great deal, but certainly we can all agree that cars, in general, have value (aside from Co2 emission, etc.!) Film is certainly not an aggregate of one’s desire or pleasure, which is why the descriptive statistics of imdb are pretty much useless. However, could we say that, at least in an epistemological sense: is objectivity itself the aggregate of subjective nature? We could say the object of a real tree is an objective signified, but it of course depends on the subjective nature of one’s perception and so on.


Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:34 am
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I can't easily separate the emotional response a film gives me from the objective worth of the film...in that watching a film is not an aloof, scientific activity. Film is, and is meant to be immersive. Thus, its power to divert. Thus, its power to change people. Or culture.


Again, I think this is an interesting point that could be discussed at length. For me, detachment at some level is necessary in order to see clearly. For me, I see both the beauty and the danger of cinema, and when seen, I think you begin to understand the urgency of viewing film in this way. It’s clear to me that film conditions people. It’s clear to me that film is by and large often a pleasurable distraction away from our lives. It’s clear to me that, to use sigmund kracauer’s words, film “invites dreaming”, which can be dangerous (and lead to subsequent conditioning, etc.). If you put these elements into a context of ideology and capitalism and its explotive potential, film can be a highly portent tool of propaganda. If this is the case, and I believe it is, then film MUST be watched critically and from a somewhat detached perspective. As most of us have heard before, Plato’s Cave allegory fits nicely in the context of cinema.

You see, saying this things, I’ve always thought, is highly divisive in the midst of cinephiles because they love film so much. Personally, I hardly watch films at all anymore, but I think about them often. And the problem is, when something gives so much pleasure, it often distorts how we observe it, and that’s an issue.


Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:43 am
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LEAVES wrote:
You spoke of the varied ways in which spoilers can ruin films, and the curiosity in understanding these sorts of films, but there's still an essential question: If the types of films that can be spoiled are often formulaic, and the people capable of making them rarely work in film, and there are a plethora of films and types of films that cannot be spoiled, I ask again: Is it really worth your time, as a human being, to use any energy whatsoever to avoid spoilers when it's so fleetingly rare that you will even have an experience that could have been meaningful spoiled, and you can damn-well-certain find any number of unspoilable films without exerting any effort whatsoever? To me, no.

To me, yes.

I wouldn't say that it's rare to come across an unspoilable film. There are many films which can be spoiled. I don't know what you or anyone else on this board considers to be a spoiler, but I consider any movie with a major character death or a scene that's vital to advancing a film's plot to be a spoiler. In my experiences, movies feature these two things all the time. It's not a fleetingly rare occurrence for me. While there are some films which can't be spoiled, there is another great amount of films which can be spoiled. Also, it can be hard to tell which films will have scenes which can be spoiled and which films won't have scenes that can be spoiled. Movies surprise me all the time, and when they do, I think to myself, "I would've never expected that to happen". I just try to limit the amount of info I read before I watch films for my first time, because for all I know, a huge surprise may be in one of them. So, in short, it's possible to come across surprises in films, and when those moments do happen, i'm usually glad I didn't know about them beforehand.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:47 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:

I think this gets tricky, especially if we’re taking into consideration experimental film. Mothlight didn’t provoke really any emotional reaction in me whatsoever (other than boredom because it’s eerily long!), but I could immediately appreciate it’s contributions and innovation to the medium.


That's why I emphasize psychological response. Experimental film may challenge these notions, particularly the kinds of emotional responses targeted by narrative driven cinema, but in many cases, tedium, even boredom, and more cognitive engagement may be the target of experimental film. I suppose I am deeply skeptical of technical innovations "for their own sake", since I'm not even sure how to even conceive of such a thing. Technique is a means to an end. Decisions are made to for functional reasons, e.g. to create some kind of psychological experience for the audience. Cinema presupposes various psychological capacities: the capacity of sight, the capacity to interpret three-dimensional shapes from a two-dimensional projection, and (in many cases) the capacity to understand language (English or otherwise), to recognize certain iconography, symbols, and pick up on certain cultural references, among other things. How much a director assumes of their audience vary by the film, and how much an audience agrees is sufficient for getting the "meaning" of a film will equally vary (one needn't, say, get all the obscure movie references in a Tarantino film to share a sort of baseline agreement with others about what the general movie is about and what it is trying to achieve in affecting the audience. This might be because, in the end, knowing all the references may not add very much to the overall value of the film).

Eminence Grise wrote:
For example, we all know many poorly made films that deliver much too much pathos and become the apogee of the “tear jerker” film. Although I haven’t seen it, “This Is Us” may be a good example. I think this is why - and I mentioned this earlier but we can go further into it – there has to be some level of separation between our emotional reactions and the illusion on screen. Of course, I’m more than happy to applaud a film if it tricked me throughout, but afterwards there has to be some level of detachment in order to observe the film properly (although I don’t like that word!).


But pathos is just one sort of emotional engagement. There are other emotions: anger, excitement, boredom, fascination, shame, anguish, euphoria, anxiety, disgust, humor, envy, and so on. The gamut of human emotion is wide, potentially endless. The problem with the tear jerker, or too much "pathos", then, is the over emphasis on generating one sort of emotional response from the audience at the expense of all others, and perhaps, in a way that also feels too manipulative, cheap, or unearned. Nevertheless, full on emotional detachment may also be the target of a film, but that's still a cognitive engagement. My claim is that cinema is designed to target psychological responses, emotional or otherwise, and so its value cannot be assessed independently of audience reaction (of some kind). But I am generally suspicious of cognitive engagement that lacks any sort of emotion or affect in the audience at all. In watching cinema, we feel something to some degree, even when it's seemingly a more intellectual engagement.

Eminence Grise wrote:
I’m not sure if I countered this point in any way, but if I did, it was a mistake. I completely agree. I don’t see these as mutually exclusive in any way. If a film is great, with patience and care, I should be able to show just about anyone why and how it may impact the sociopolitical domain.


Agreed.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:08 am
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LEAVES wrote:
The solution to spoilers: Dramatic irony - The audience is supposed to know more than the characters, and the fun is watching the ignorant characters run around like ants in a maze while you, the god-like viewer, watch over in omnipotence and self-satisfaction. This is how gossip works, too. This is also how watching idiots gossip works, because they just think they know everything, but really they're horrible people. See how self-satisfied everyone is? It's great.


I mentioned the various ways an audience might engage the film: knowing what the characters know, having less knowledge than what the characters know, and a more omniscient state of knowing more than what the characters know.

I think all of these have value. I don't see why one must go for one at the expense of the others. They also all may reflect different ways a director might intend an audience to see their film.

One thing I appreciate about avoiding spoilers, is that the value of the film increases on subsequent viewings. Then I have a baseline comparison of how I felt when I watched the film without knowledge of what was going to happen to my more subsequent viewings where I might, in addition, focus on other things and scrutinize certain details. It's having your cake and eating it too.


LEAVES wrote:
Even the price in this case doesn't actually tell you anything about the individual, it only tells you that there is "some population" that will purchase the item in question at that price and "some other population that will not", but you don't even know where any individual who buys the item will fit in either population. To get anything meaningful would require a different price for each person - which is to say: it is not useful to anything larger than each person considered. The answer to the question, "What kind of meaningful statistical data can you get from an aggregate of people's opinions" is "something of a kind entirely different from the kind that it originated from, or nothing".


I'm not talking about opinions, but rather audience reaction. I distinguish the judgments "I like this" or "this is good" from the kinds of emotional responses a film can elicit from an audience. There is a certain baseline of psychological responses that can be commonly shared in an audience, particularly when people have accurate understanding of the plot and details of the film.

But you still might not find intersubjective reaction valuable. Personally, I do. I think, in many cases, films can say something about what kinds of people we are and the things we have in common. In other cases, they can highlight our differences. It's also useful in communication. It allows us to have disagreements about art in a way that's informative. I can explain why something is good even if someone didn't see that on their first viewing. They can go back and find out what I mean. (More on this below).

LEAVES wrote:
Even when you say this:...what you're really saying is that there is some large population of people that are above some line of "audience reaction", but each is so inextricably different that to say merely that they hold in common this borderline of "great" seems arbitrary, since you could also separate it into a larger group of "really really good" or a smaller group of "life-changing" and still it would tell you nothing of any meaning about any of those people. It wouldn't even tell you if each of those people's conception of "great" is the same, which only muddies everything to beyond the point of meaninglessness.


Again, I'm not talking about people's opinions or value judgments. What makes the film "great" in the objective sense, in my view, is that a film expertly achieves it goals in generating certain audience reactions. In art, we tend to privilege certain reactions over others. I won't, for the moment, try to unpack what I think that is, but setting that aside for the moment, I think the former is at least one key criterion for cataloging the great films.

Also, I'm not talking about actual audience reactions, but how audiences would react under certain circumstances. Often we go into films and miss important details, perhaps because we weren't paying attention or we didn't pick up on important references. Yet, sometimes a friend might inform us of a key plot point on something we missed, and we can go back and watch the film and get the expected sorts of reactions. I think we can assess what's great on the basis of how most audiences would react had they viewed the film under the appropriate, intended circumstances.

LEAVES wrote:
You spoke of the varied ways in which spoilers can ruin films, and the curiosity in understanding these sorts of films, but there's still an essential question: If the types of films that can be spoiled are often formulaic, and the people capable of making them rarely work in film, and there are a plethora of films and types of films that cannot be spoiled, I ask again: Is it really worth your time, as a human being, to use any energy whatsoever to avoid spoilers when it's so fleetingly rare that you will even have an experience that could have been meaningful spoiled, and you can damn-well-certain find any number of unspoilable films without exerting any effort whatsoever? To me, no. I imagine, by this point in your life, you have experienced the gamut of possible ways that spoilable films can be made, so the curiosity into the form probably has limited potential to surprise, so you're just left with what seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of gain.


Well, first, while I think many big budget, major studio Hollywood films are too formulaic and conventional in a way that makes them too predictable, this hasn't always been the case. It's an especially egregious moment in Hollywood. Fortunately for me, most of the movies I see in theaters are independent films. The genre masters are mostly working independently or in TV. I love genre film, so that's what I spend most of my time watching these days. A recent example would be James Gray's The Lost City of Z. The film emotionally floored me. I do not believe I would have had quite that same experience if I knew what was going to happen. Some of the scenes in the film, including the ending, hit me like a bag of bricks because I was discovering something at the same time the characters were (or in some cases even because I learned something certain characters didn't).

Also, I'm skeptical that there are a plethora of un-spoilable films. But like I said, I have an expansive notion of what constitutes a spoiler. You can spoil a film's style by telling me too much about it. So it's not just narrative driven films that can be spoiled for me.

LEAVES wrote:
Also, there is something to be said for being a viewer who knows things that you weren't intended to know, and watching a "spoilable film" from the perspective of the omniscient viewer can be quite interesting, as you can see the strings without wasting your time with ignorance. Ain't nobody got time for ignorance around here. #staywoke

Oh, and hi Izzy!


Hi! Thanks for the reply. Always enjoy the discussion.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:40 am
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Gort wrote:
I can't easily separate the emotional response a film gives me from the objective worth of the film...in that watching a film is not an aloof, scientific activity. Film is, and is meant to be immersive. Thus, its power to divert. Thus, its power to change people. Or culture.

:up:

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:41 am
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Super interesting responses from everyone. I'll come back later for more.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:43 am
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A quick point before I go: sometimes with narrative spoilers we over-emphasize the 'big' reveals. But there are smaller, subtler (and perhaps even more potent) ways of revealing information to the audience. Take the last episode of the first season of The Knick (spoilers ahead). We see a doctor administering Thackery a drug as Thackery lays on the bed at the rehab clinic. The last shot switches from an out of focus shot of the medicine bottle that is sitting on the end table next to Thackery to an in focus reveal that it's a bottle of heroin. It's a great shot that's a perfect capstone to the season's themes and acts as a harrowing preview of the misery that's to come for Thackery. If you knew exactly what was going to happen before you even started the episode, would the scene have been equally as effective? In my case, it's hard to imagine that it would.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:23 am
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That's why I emphasize psychological response. Experimental film may challenge these notions, particularly the kinds of emotional responses targeted by narrative driven cinema, but in many cases, tedium, even boredom, and more cognitive engagement may be the target of experimental film. I suppose I am deeply skeptical of technical innovations "for their own sake", since I'm not even sure how to even conceive of such a thing. Technique is a means to an end. Decisions are made to for functional reasons, e.g. to create some kind of psychological experience for the audience. Cinema presupposes various psychological capacities: the capacity of sight, the capacity to interpret three-dimensional shapes from a two-dimensional projection, and (in many cases) the capacity to understand language (English or otherwise), to recognize certain iconography, symbols, and pick up on certain cultural references, among other things. How much a director assumes of their audience vary by the film, and how much an audience agrees is sufficient for getting the "meaning" of a film will equally vary (one needn't, say, get all the obscure movie references in a Tarantino film to share a sort of baseline agreement with others about what the general movie is about and what it is trying to achieve in affecting the audience. This might be because, in the end, knowing all the references may not add very much to the overall value of the film).


Perhaps you’re right, there cannot be a separation between the image and a psychological response. We think in images and symbols, our language is symbolic, and we’re quick to translate what we see into meaning of some kind, and thus psychological responses occur whether we’d like them to or not. I don’t think this is an issue. I suppose my point is that these responses may be false. For example, we may be responding in accordance with our own conditioning, in which case, we may trapped in an illusion. This is an issue. In other words, thoughts and emotions aren’t always representative of what is, they can be just as much of a projection as the flickering light on the screen. What I’m advocating--if I may be so bold--is a sort of metacognitive process that encapsulates these elements which may put a film into context. I don’t think this is an issue for most individuals on this forum; however, it seems to be an issue in the general population. Most people just simply want more of what they like--more pleasure--and they pursue that pleasure in a never ending cycle. Great films can break that cycle. That said, I’m not advocating one be a “Stone Buddha” and be neutral towards one’s emotions or otherwise, but there’s a difference between experiencing emotions and/or thoughts as such and being a slave to them. This is why, as we know, appealing to the emotions through ideology and propaganda is the surest way to reinforce these systems rather than challenge them, and all patterns need be challenged (including the one I’m advocating! :D)


Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:57 am
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I can't easily separate the emotional response a film gives me from the objective worth of the film...in that watching a film is not an aloof, scientific activity. Film is, and is meant to be immersive. Thus, its power to divert. Thus, its power to change people. Or culture.


Well, I’m a scientist so maybe this is the problem!? :D

Perhaps we can bring it down to this: are you a (post) logical positivist, or a constructivist? Personally, I can see the value in both as I’m highly interested in empiricism as well as art and even mysticism. These interests fundamentally collide in a sense, however, I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. They’re two sides of the same coin and should be fused in harmony, in my view. I love to be entranced by a film, especially upon first viewing, but upon introspection (or if someone else points out that it deserves attention, etc.), if I think the film is worth a second viewing, I’ll do so (semi)independently of the aforementioned trance. Allowing for a deeper realization of the film may help me to assess the value (if any) of the given film, which includes thinking about its power to change people or influence culture. But it must be noted that my initial viewing may be a sham (for reasons posed in my response above) and misinformed in some way, so it seems critical to me to return for a deeper viewing.


Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:09 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Well, I’m a scientist so maybe this is the problem!? :D

That's no problem! Vertebrate Zoologist, here. A Bachelor of Science degree. (And I've always thought I was pretty good at B.S.)

It's always been interesting to me that when I worked in the Virology Department of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis from 1979 to 1982, nearly everyone, P.I.s and techs alike, were involved in both science and one or more of the arts. As a performer or creator, I mean. Not just as a hobbyist.

An aside: my P.I. was mapping the genome of Adenoviruses 2, 7, and 11. But when I went to work for him he was still developing techniques for recombinant DNA research. When Time magazine had a cover article about that field, he and I had been working in it for two years, already. I was reluctant to leave the field, but I had a chance to start my own video production firm, and did so.

I also have a B.A. in Film and Video Production. My career in that field lasted from 1982 to 2004, with a codicil two years ago when I edited a Sociology documentary film.

Is your education in one of the "harder" sciences, like Chemistry or Physics?

Eminence Grise wrote:
Perhaps we can bring it down to this: are you a (post) logical positivist, or a constructivist? Personally, I can see the value in both as I’m highly interested in empiricism as well as art and even mysticism. These interests fundamentally collide in a sense, however, I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. They’re two sides of the same coin and should be fused in harmony, in my view. I love to be entranced by a film, especially upon first viewing, but upon introspection (or if someone else points out that it deserves attention, etc.), if I think the film is worth a second viewing, I’ll do so (semi)independently of the aforementioned trance. Allowing for a deeper realization of the film may help me to assess the value (if any) of the given film, which includes thinking about its power to change people or influence culture. But it must be noted that my initial viewing may be a sham (for reasons posed in my response above) and misinformed in some way, so it seems critical to me to return for a deeper viewing.


I see I need to back up and read some earlier posts in order to properly understand this part of this one. :) I got caught up in the thrill of learning that another Corrie poster is a scientist, as well. Who knows how many of us have been concealing that edge of our personalities?

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:56 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Again, I think this is an interesting point that could be discussed at length. For me, detachment at some level is necessary in order to see clearly. For me, I see both the beauty and the danger of cinema, and when seen, I think you begin to understand the urgency of viewing film in this way. It’s clear to me that film conditions people. It’s clear to me that film is by and large often a pleasurable distraction away from our lives. It’s clear to me that, to use sigmund kracauer’s words, film “invites dreaming”, which can be dangerous (and lead to subsequent conditioning, etc.). If you put these elements into a context of ideology and capitalism and its exploitive potential, film can be a highly potent tool of propaganda. If this is the case, and I believe it is, then film MUST be watched critically and from a somewhat detached perspective. As most of us have heard before, Plato’s Cave allegory fits nicely in the context of cinema.

It may seem that I'm resisting your ideas, but I don't strongly disagree with anything you've written so far.

But, I'm still struggling to understand why you want to analyze film objectively. I can see the value in doing so, but I cannot relate to any tool for doing so.

A reel of film in a can is...a doorstop. You asked, and observed, in a reply to LEAVES, "where does value lie within cinema, is it in the individual, or does the product have its own quality, its own life? Of course it needs to be seen by humans, but there may be intrinsic value there."

Unless it is seen by humans it doesn't exist. Does that make any sense? It is the perception of the cinematic artwork that causes it to exist. (Is this similar to that idea that is sometimes called, I think, The Cosmological Argument about our existence within the Universe?) An unobserved movie is nothing at all. The images and sounds must be processed by a living human brain to have any existence or meaning at all. Right?

A painting or sculpture exists. When no one is there to look, either type of artwork continues to be present. There is no meaning to either, unless observed and pondered, but the thing exists. Movies are more like the printed word. Unless observed and perceived the marks on sheets of paper mean absolutely nothing, nor does the story being carried by the marks exist until they are read. If a book is opened and observed by a person who is illiterate (or who cannot read the language in which the marks are cast), the story within the words still does not exist. Its only place of existence is within the human brain and/or mind. So, you must either be able to read and understand the marks yourself, or have someone read them aloud to you (in your language).

The physical existence of the book does not translate into the physical existence of the story, because the story never exists physically.

A film being projected to an empty theater by an automated system would show as light on the screen. There would be motion and sound, but without anyone to observe it, the film would not "exist' as other than some physical objects and light and sound energy radiating through that unoccupied space.

Or, one might argue that observation cannot be completely objective, because we must first perceive the reconstructed light and sound from a Criterion DVD in order for it to be anything but pits on a plastic disc. I think that the necessity of observation by an organism makes it unlikely that anyone will actually view any film truly "objectively."

Obviously, you are making a grand struggle to do just that, and perhaps even to understand the way in which you might do it. If my paltry suggestions help you to do that thing, then I see that as a good outcome. But I'm not convinced that any human undertaking can ever be truly objective, given the aforementioned necessity of all our input having to pass through biological receptors to reach our brains. (Maybe you see things in a way that makes it possible to imagine that, and if so, please continue trying to teach me.)

In other words, I am skeptical that you have ever objectively evaluated any film. :D

Eminence Grise wrote:
You see, saying this thing, I’ve always thought, is highly divisive in the midst of cinephiles because they love film so much. Personally, I hardly watch films at all anymore, but I think about them often. And the problem is, when something gives so much pleasure, it often distorts how we observe it, and that’s an issue.

Division in terms of argumentation often is the tool by which people find common ground, though. Sadly, American politics is failing to conform to that model lately.

I'm also wondering how you would avoid propaganda from all its other potential sources. Maybe the best shield against the vagaries of film would be to self-examine. And that's something you're already about, as far as I can tell.

It's a little daunting, and not the world I had hoped to live in, but the realization came to me some 25 years ago that the majority of humans are manipulative creatures, intending to persuade those around them that 1) their ideas, products, politics, services, food, exercise regimens... are the correct ones, and that 2) all the others should come along for the ride. So, the idea that film would become a tool for that was inevitable. But before film was such a tool there was the printed word, drawn and photographed images and human speech (at first physically present, and then via wireless radio transmission).

As for diversions, cinema is one of the biggest ones, but not the biggest. Sports seems to outdo movies in terms of diversion, even to the point that, as cinephiles often believe about films, some people actually believe that which team wins a game is important. :D You might be among them, for all I know.

I found and read this after making this post:
Eminence Grise wrote:
Perhaps you’re right, there cannot be a separation between the image and a psychological response. We think in images and symbols, our language is symbolic, and we’re quick to translate what we see into meaning of some kind, and thus psychological responses occur whether we’d like them to or not. I don’t think this is an issue. I suppose my point is that these responses may be false. For example, we may be responding in accordance with our own conditioning, in which case, we may trapped in an illusion. This is an issue. In other words, thoughts and emotions aren’t always representative of what is, they can be just as much of a projection as the flickering light on the screen. What I’m advocating--if I may be so bold--is a sort of metacognitive process that encapsulates these elements which may put a film into context. I don’t think this is an issue for most individuals on this forum; however, it seems to be an issue in the general population. Most people just simply want more of what they like--more pleasure--and they pursue that pleasure in a never ending cycle. Great films can break that cycle. That said, I’m not advocating one be a “Stone Buddha” and be neutral towards one’s emotions or otherwise, but there’s a difference between experiencing emotions and/or thoughts as such and being a slave to them. This is why, as we know, appealing to the emotions through ideology and propaganda is the surest way to reinforce these systems rather than challenge them, and all patterns need be challenged (including the one I’m advocating! :D)

Honestly, how would you respond to my thesis that we are all slaves to our own perceptions? And that this is part of simply being a biological organism in the first place. After all, that's basically what my argument above embodies.

Breaking out of this takes so much energy and will that, apparently, most people don't even reach the point of seeing any reason to put out so much work, much less any good that could come of it. At the root of all problems is personality differences. But it seems to seem to most, that it's the other guy who's causing all the problems. I think I could be happy in a world filled with introverts and passive extroverts. It's the radical extroverts who seem to cause all the problems. :D

But without them the world might also be unrecognizable, that is if I remembered the way it was before all the extroverts got into a fleet of spaceships and flew away to find new external sources of stimulation to conquer. ;)

I think it's clear that were that to occur, you and I and most posting in this thread would be left here.

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If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:43 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
To me, yes.

I wouldn't say that it's rare to come across an unspoilable film. There are many films which can be spoiled. I don't know what you or anyone else on this board considers to be a spoiler, but I consider any movie with a major character death or a scene that's vital to advancing a film's plot to be a spoiler. In my experiences, movies feature these two things all the time. It's not a fleetingly rare occurrence for me. While there are some films which can't be spoiled, there is another great amount of films which can be spoiled. Also, it can be hard to tell which films will have scenes which can be spoiled and which films won't have scenes that can be spoiled. Movies surprise me all the time, and when they do, I think to myself, "I would've never expected that to happen". I just try to limit the amount of info I read before I watch films for my first time, because for all I know, a huge surprise may be in one of them. So, in short, it's possible to come across surprises in films, and when those moments do happen, i'm usually glad I didn't know about them beforehand.
I don't watch films that have important plots, typically, and if I do I try to ignore the plots. Also, my favorite "narrative" films tend to be dark comedies which typically either never have any resolution, and hence can never be spoiled, or operate with dramatic irony. Each scene is compounded not by the events that happen but by the content of the scenes, and the content of the scenes can't be meaningfully conveyed through anything other than the full experience. Take a recent great film: Force Majeure - the film revolves around a reaction to a manmade avalanche, where nothing happens. Throughout the film, the characters react to the fact that the parents reacted differently in that scene. Each scene explores a differen aspect of that reaction, but no scene is any more important than any other. The film is: Nothing happens, and two people navigate the tension until the end, at which point nothing happens, again. Brilliant film!

Furthermore, IF a film can be "spoiled", what is the importance of every other part of the film, then? It seems to me like a giant Rube Goldberg machine built around one tiny, tiny piece. Pointless, and perhaps worth as much as the slight piece of text which can ruin the film but probably not.

A list of films that can't be spoiled:
Every film made by:
Peter Greenaway
Eric Rohmer
Hirokazu Koreeda
Shuji Terayama
Sergei Parajanov
etc.
etc.
etc.

The disinterest in the narrative cinema of "conflict" is elucidated well by Raoul Ruiz in his Poetics of Cinema. And you can't spoil the beauty of poetry, even if the poetry has a plot!

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:21 am
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LEAVES wrote:
I don't watch films that have important plots, typically, and if I do I try to ignore the plots. Also, my favorite "narrative" films tend to be dark comedies which typically either never have any resolution, and hence can never be spoiled, or operate with dramatic irony. Each scene is compounded not by the events that happen but by the content of the scenes, and the content of the scenes can't be meaningfully conveyed through anything other than the full experience. Take a recent great film: Force Majeure - the film revolves around a reaction to a manmade avalanche, where nothing happens. Throughout the film, the characters react to the fact that the parents reacted differently in that scene. Each scene explores a differen aspect of that reaction, but no scene is any more important than any other. The film is: Nothing happens, and two people navigate the tension until the end, at which point nothing happens, again. Brilliant film!

Furthermore, IF a film can be "spoiled", what is the importance of every other part of the film, then? It seems to me like a giant Rube Goldberg machine built around one tiny, tiny piece. Pointless, and perhaps worth as much as the slight piece of text which can ruin the film but probably not.

A list of films that can't be spoiled:
Every film made by:
Peter Greenaway
Eric Rohmer
Hirokazu Koreeda
Shuji Terayama
Sergei Parajanov
etc.
etc.
etc.

The disinterest in the narrative cinema of "conflict" is elucidated well by Raoul Ruiz in his Poetics of Cinema. And you can't spoil the beauty of poetry, even if the poetry has a plot!

I can understand why you wouldn't be effected by spoilers as much if you enjoy watching dark comedies. I suppose preference in spoilers can be influenced by your tastes (for instance, I like watching documentaries, another genre which I've found to be difficult to spoil). However, I watch all kinds of genres, not just dark comedies and documentaries. Many of those genres can easily be spoiled. As I said, movies surprise me all the time. It's not uncommon for me.

But sure, I wouldn't say that a spoiler can ruin a film since there would likely be many other aspects in a film you could get wowed by. However, my argument is that spoilers can diminish a film's impact. They make me feel disappointed that I wasn't able to feel the joy of getting surprised (I enjoy surprises in films). I'd rather be wowed by the surprises as well as the other aspects, not negate the effects of one of those aspects (surprises).

Anyways, I'm really loving this discussion we're all having. It's pretty interesting to hear so many different viewpoints I didn't think of before.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:13 pm
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That's no problem! Vertebrate Zoologist, here. A Bachelor of Science degree. (And I've always thought I was pretty good at B.S.)

Is your education in one of the "harder" sciences, like Chemistry or Physics?


Clinical Psychology here. It may be considered either a “hard” or “soft” science, and I may be able to make an argument for both, but this probably isn’t the place for that. Needless to say, modern psychological sciences are highly interdisciplinary, and my work is informed mostly by biology, neuroscience, medicine, epidemiology, endocrinology, and more.

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It may seem that I'm resisting your ideas, but I don't strongly disagree with anything you've written so far.

But, I'm still struggling to understand why you want to analyze film objectively. I can see the value in doing so, but I cannot relate to any tool for doing so.


Resistance is welcome! It seems to me that perhaps a fusion of the various viewpoints may be best, as long as they’re well informed! 

Let me try to clarify what I mean by “objective” valuation of cinema. What I mean is that we’re basically watching the same film—the décor, the lighting, the color, the montage, the structure, the narrative and so on can be viewed the same way as any object can be viewed by any one person. Now, the sum of those elements and how they are constructed may make up the “value” of the film. Of course, there may be differing interpretations of how these elements combine to make up said “value”, however, I think most can come to a common agreement based on the “objective” elements listed above. If anyone’s analysis is completely independent of the observed qualities of the film, there’s a problem; if the analysis is highly idiosyncratic and avoids any formal analysis, there’s a problem, and so on and on.

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Movies are more like the printed word. Unless observed and perceived the marks on sheets of paper mean absolutely nothing, nor does the story being carried by the marks exist until they are read. If a book is opened and observed by a person who is illiterate (or who cannot read the language in which the marks are cast), the story within the words still does not exist.

The physical existence of the book does not translate into the physical existence of the story, because the story never exists physically.



I’m not sure that movies are like the printed word, at least in a few respects. My principle argument here is that film is distinct because it possesses a highly particular form that can be perceived perhaps a priori of experience. Although an illiterate person could not understand the written words on the page due to lack of experience and no understanding of symbols, that person can perhaps observe form. Eyes and ears don’t need to learn anything, they simply are. And film is special in its way of displaying form. Even if a person knows nothing, they can still make out the form of pages and words, and in the case of film perhaps even more, such as trees, cars, women, men, and any other object placed on screen. This is why “objective” valuation takes into consideration that form that is sans semiology. Of course, the issue is that we immediately translate what we see and hear into symbols--mostly pictures and words--which creates a coherent narrative and so on. I think this process can be understood as both a strength and weakness through something like metacognition, meditation, or what have you (see my reply to Izzy).

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It's a little daunting, and not the world I had hoped to live in, but the realization came to me some 25 years ago that the majority of humans are manipulative creatures, intending to persuade those around them that 1) their ideas, products, politics, services, food, exercise regimens... are the correct ones, and that 2) all the others should come along for the ride. So, the idea that film would become a tool for that was inevitable. But before film was such a tool there was the printed word, drawn and photographed images and human speech (at first physically present, and then via wireless radio transmission).


Yes, and hopefully the best of art, as Izzy said, could challenge these issues. That, too me, would be a valuable film!


Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:27 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Clinical Psychology here.

Exellent!

Neurophysics. I discovered that this is the name of a discipline when I Googled it out of silliness! I didn't think it would exist. Surprise, Gort! Do you ever use the findings of neurophyscists in your work? I wouldn't be surprised.

Eminence Grise wrote:
Let me try to clarify what I mean by “objective” valuation of cinema. What I mean is that we’re basically watching the same film—the décor, the lighting, the color, the montage, the structure, the narrative and so on can be viewed the same way as any object can be viewed by any one person. Now, the sum of those elements and how they are constructed may make up the “value” of the film. Of course, there may be differing interpretations of how these elements combine to make up said “value”, however, I think most can come to a common agreement based on the “objective” elements listed above. If anyone’s analysis is completely independent of the observed qualities of the film, there’s a problem; if the analysis is highly idiosyncratic and avoids any formal analysis, there’s a problem, and so on and on.

I get into a bit about why I am skeptical that such a system could be devised, and still represent anything...shall we say, real. That's at the end of this post.

Gort wrote:
Movies are more like the printed word....

Eminence Grise wrote:
I’m not sure that movies are like the printed word, at least in a few respects. My principle argument here is that film is distinct because it possesses a highly particular form that can be perceived perhaps a priori of experience. Although an illiterate person could not understand the written words on the page due to lack of experience and no understanding of symbols, that person can perhaps observe form.

Sorry. I either included something or left out something that may have misled you concerning the point of my analogy. I was merely arguing that a painting has canvas, brush strokes, a frame. These items have physical existence. Nothing is needed beyond the painting in order to perceive it and develop some understanding of it. Looking at the painting is both seeing it and perceiving it. Assigning meaning, is another thing, of course.

A book contains printed symbols, yes, but those symbols embody a story. And in order to exist (only in an analogous way, not physically) the words and resultant story must be perceived. The story is the point of the book, the reason it exists as a physical, symbolic object in the first place. My argument was not about the symbols at all. Merely the story that is codified by the symbols. (I hope that's clearer).

The similarity I was drawing between a book and a film is that the story that is the film, itself "exists" only after it is perceived. And this is the analogous point that I attempted to make to a book. The story of the book must be deciphered before it can be perceived. Is that an additional step in getting to the story of the book? I think you are correct to point out that there is that extra step. If you are the reader, that is.

The symbols, the images on the screen can in fact tell the story, yes. As you write:
Eminence Grise wrote:
Even if a person knows nothing, they can still make out the form of pages and words, and in the case of film perhaps even more, such as trees, cars, women, men, and any other object placed on screen.

I don't disagree that the film is more readily perceived by a wider slice of the population of viewers. But my argument was meant to be that the only place the film itself has any "being" is in the mind of the perceiver. The story of the film, which is encoded into its signal, must be apprehended and analyzed before the "thing" exists. The book itself is not the story of the book. The film and its sounds and images are not the story of the film, either.

But I certainly agree that a viewer is basically more ready to glean the story of a film than he or she is to glean the encoded sounds and meaning of a book (unless it's primarily a picture book). But, someone can read a book aloud to me (a popular marketing idea these days!) and I can envision the story it tells. Writing is a fairly low-tech artform when compared to others.

Cinema is perhaps the most comprehensive art form (with a scope that is possibily similar to the scope of architecture in the engineering arena). Filmmaking encompases and comprises all the other art forms. But the physical object created is like the book: it contains a story, and the story is the actual product, not the medium into which that story is encoded. I believe that the value of a book or a film is solely in the value of its story. As I wrote above, another person can read the book to me and I can construct the message and the story of the book.

But I must watch a film in order to get the story. No one else can give me the story of the film. I'm not considering the descriptive narration tracks on discs here, because that's merely literary, a form of the film reduced to storytelling in words. What the blind listener would perceive is unlikely to be the image that Stanley Kubrick's PA actually recorded for the physical film.

The story, and thus, I think, the value of either medium can be discerned only when the signals are transformed into messages in the minds of the perceivers. Thus, the very construction of the film's value or story is subject to: subjective perception. Objective observation, as nearly as I can determine, cannot occur. Thus, what data remain to be analyzed afterward are already robbed of objectivity. Be as objective as you can manage to be, and you are still analyzing, categorizing, evaluating subjective data.

Eminence Grise wrote:
This is why “objective” valuation takes into consideration that form that is sans semiology. Of course, the issue is that we immediately translate what we see and hear into symbols--mostly pictures and words--which creates a coherent narrative and so on.

I would argue that these things are not translated into symbols. Either they are symbols that we already recognize, or we assign (not translate) a meaning to the symbols as we encounter them. Other aspects of the film remain neutral. For example, if a loudly barking dog scared us when we were children, there might be a symbology of fear when we see a loudly barking dog on the screen and hear its sound grating from the speakers. But our neighbor in the adjacent seat, having never had a bad experience with a dog, would be very unlikely to experience the shot or scene in the same way. The shot may be asymbolic for her. Or she may be merely irritated by the noise. Thus, the semiotics of the two viewings would not be coincident (maybe not at all). Multiply this by all the symbols within the film and....

That is perhaps not a very strong example. But consider that the signal of the book, the signal of the film are already set. The message of either is yet to be determined, because the message is not fixed by either artwork. The message, and therefore the value of either piece only exists and can only exist within the mind of each individual viewer (the receiver or receivers).

It's a bit like eyewitness studies, I think, where no two observers manage to see exactly the same thing. Hmm. These studies are often facilitated by using film or video as the observed incident, aren't they!? The objects (films or videos) are immutable and objective physical records, but when perceived they become something different to each observer. And I think you're up against the same difficulty in objectively analyzing cinematic art objects. :D

Certainly through discussion (which for some of us is exquisite fun!) we can compare notes. I'm simply despairing that we could ever make a list of forms and assign them weighted or straight values that would determine anything in an objective way.

I suppose it's possible, but with the necessity of the signal being apprehended and interpreted by a complex biological/psychological living system I don't see any possibility of developing an objective way to analyze film and determine a particular film's value from that.

Anyway, I feel that I'm rehashing things in an attempt to make them clear. If they aren't already clear enough, perhaps clarity is beyond the scope of my skills.

I understand that such a system could be devised. I'm arguing that it would have no value on its own, and would therefore be impaired from determining any value for the artworks in question. At least I don't think it would be any better at it than the current system of criticism that has developed. And that is clearly nowhere near what you have in mind for this! :D

As a Clinical Psychologist you know more about and are more directly familiar with the problems of reproducibility in psychological studies than I will ever be. But I believe that the stumbling block for analysis of film in an objective way is the same one that makes it very difficult to reproduce study results in a clear way in human psychology. And it's the thing that we Biologists beat our chests and crow about as the pinnacle of biological theory: variability. Variation; the seeming fact that Biological organisms exist in such an array of possible developmental outcomes, that it is difficult to wipe out a species worldwide if it has migrated to that extent. No two members of a species who are exactly alike are...exactly alike!

So, the artwork can be analyzed only by those who perceive it. But each individual perceives it in a slightly different way, via a complex system of semiotics and neurology and thus constructs a different and specific (very subjective) message from it. Can we analyze the forms apart from the perceptions, do you think? Won't those developing the rubric for analysis of the forms have varying opinions, beliefs and so forth about the various components of the rubric? Can the objective criteria somehow be teased out of the obligatory primary subjectivity of the biological system? I don't know.

Weather is another very complex system. Meteorologists have made vast improvements in the ability to predict how local and regional weather cells will develop. Satellite imagery was one of the bigest new tools in the better understanding of weather phenomena.

Perhaps you will develop the "weather satellite" so to speak, that can be applied to film form valuation. I'm not saying it cannot be accomplished, but as a biologist I see too many variables to herd into a steady array. And you already know how herding variables is just like herding cats. :D

Maybe the discussion about spoilers that led us here is also a good analogy to the difficulties of assigning objective values to the aspects of films in order to evaluate them. Each poster here has a different notion of what a spoiler is. Where it comes from. I suspect that the things that I consider spoilers are not spoilerific to all the other people expressing their thoughts about spoilers in here. Some may be, to some of the other posters. And although we could possibly hash out a list of things that are spoilers, and vote on how relatively bad the spoilers are, I am not sure we could devise a way to accurately identify and quantify the effects of spoilers into a system that would satisfy all our individual experiences.

But I'd be willing to try, dadburn it! :D

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What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:39 am
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The story is the point of the book, the reason it exists as a physical, symbolic object in the first place. My argument was not about the symbols at all. Merely the story that is codified by the symbols. (I hope that's clearer).

The similarity I was drawing between a book and a film is that the story that is the film, itself "exists" only after it is perceived. And this is the analogous point that I attempted to make to a book. The story of the book must be deciphered before it can be perceived. Is that an additional step in getting to the story of the book? I think you are correct to point out that there is that extra step. If you are the reader, that is.


Yes, you’re right, if we’re talking about placing narrative as the paramount centerpiece of this discussion then there’s no doubt it works the way you say. However, form (perhaps structure here) is required for narrative to exist. But film in itself is not a symbolic object no more than a tree is a symbolic object, regardless of its productive intentions. A tree is what it is, and so is a film because it consists (though not always) of real objects frozen in time. Humans are the meaning-makers here and that’s my point.
Although we are teasing form and narrative apart, they go hand-in-glove. I’m just using one as a counterpoint to the other as a type of form vs. content argument. Although they are sort of the same. Narrative is a type of form and is nearly inextricably linked with cinema (although there may be experimental cinema that counters this).
And if we’re talking in narrative terms, yes, you must know language before you can understand it, however, this isn’t the case with film, which again has natural objects and form that require no symbolic understanding to be experienced. Coherence and story, however, do, but who’s to say that story should be primary? I have plenty of films that I enjoy just because they’re put together well yet they have terrible narrative.

Quote:
I don't disagree that the film is more readily perceived by a wider slice of the population of viewers. But my argument was meant to be that the only place the film itself has any "being" is in the mind of the perceiver. The story of the film, which is encoded into its signal, must be apprehended and analyzed before the "thing" exists. The book itself is not the story of the book. The film and its sounds and images are not the story of the film, either.


I would substitute “being” here with “meaning”. Also, I don’t think the story is encoded in the signal, the story is in the mind of the perceiver, encoded in the film is the form. This is why you could make a film that has no narrative, yet people will automatically try to assign it meaning that it wasn’t intended to possess.
The comparison between books and films is a bit rocky, I feel. There must be a special type of knowledge to read a book: language. However, film can be viewed by anyone, which is perhaps why children are so taken with film at such an early age, as well as cell phones. They need no knowledge to interact with the object nor to elicit some sort of response. Even young kids can react to the formal elements of a film without knowledge of language and thus no narrative understanding. Fear, joy, etc. can be experienced by children before they have any clue about the narrative. This is a powerful case that form in itself can elicit strong reactions without having symbolic understanding.

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It's a bit like eyewitness studies, I think, where no two observers manage to see exactly the same thing. Hmm. These studies are often facilitated by using film or video as the observed incident, aren't they!? The objects (films or videos) are immutable and objective physical records, but when perceived they become something different to each observer. And I think you're up against the same difficulty in objectively analyzing cinematic art objects. :D


This may be more an example of cognitive deficits rather than a flaw in multiple interpretation. In the case of cinema, I can pause, rewind, fast-forward, slow down, and watch it all over again, ad nauseam. This releases the viewer of any cognitive deficit and provides a palette for analysis.

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Certainly through discussion (which for some of us is exquisite fun!) we can compare notes. I'm simply despairing that we could ever make a list of forms and assign them weighted or straight values that would determine anything in an objective way.


Companies already are doing this, however. Criterion Collection, Masters of Cinema, etc. seek to elucidate what may be considered a valuable film. Their collections are by no means exhausted, and certainly canon isn’t everything, but it’s getting at my point.


Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:55 am
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I have time to answer only one of your points this morning:
Eminence Grise wrote:
But film in itself is not a symbolic object no more than a tree is a symbolic object, regardless of its productive intentions. A tree is what it is, and so is a film because it consists (though not always) of real objects frozen in time. Humans are the meaning-makers here and that’s my point.

Nothing is inherently symbolic, because things existed before humans were around to invest things with symbols.

But what I'm arguing is fully embodied in the last of your quoted sentences: "Humans are the meaning-makers here and that’s my point." And that's my point, too.

Everything is symbolic when perceived. And everything that we discuss, view, worry about in the dark, is perceived. Because nothing exists in human experience or discourse without first being perceived.

Narrative does not have to exist in the perceived object (your later argument about meaning holds here). The human act of perceiving a string of not-inherently symbolic objects will invest them with both symbols and then assign meaning to them (and possibly assign meaning to the order in which they are perceived).

That's the problem with the study of Homo sapiens. We are studying ourselves, and the act of attempting to step back and observe ourselves dispassionately and objectively is a subjective act! Noble as it is.

In my old age, experience has led me to the conclusion that everything we study is interconnected (all disciplines are to one extent or another dependent on all others), teasing apart is necessary in order to understand the components, but we seem to most often forget to attempt the synthesis of the knowledge from various disciplines in the end. Perhaps we can only understand the parts. I don't know. Maybe art attempts to take the parts and synthesize a whole from them, but does so as clumsily as the initial study is done.

The germ of this occurred to me in my second full year of university. It has grown on its own over the years. I've never made any attempt to force-fit concepts into the framework of interrelatedness. But my youthful belief in objective study has been severely challenged over the decades, and I no longer believe that true objectivity is possible unless you study things that are non-living. Even then, all students are inseparably connected to their biophysiology and its resultant effects on perception (the initial effect being, of course, perception itself).

It isn't hopeless. In fact, it's all done with great and sincere hope. And your job as a clinical psychologist relies heavily on each practitioner's devout efforts to achieve at least understanding of what is the truth and what he/she would like the truth to be, and keeping those separated as much as possible.

If I get a chance later, I'll write about "teasing form and narrative apart," because somehow I haven't expressed myself clearly. What I am doing (or trying to do) is insisting that you cannot separate them. Nor can form and narrative even be separated from the perception of either form or narrative. And that form is a matter of perception, as is the concomitant narrative! :D

I am enjoying this. It got started in the "wrong" thread, and I'm terribly clumsy at supporting my notions in print. Also, I think I'm arguing from the standpoint of philosophy and you might not be, but it's still quite interesting.

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

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Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:38 pm
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Elevator to the Gallows Feb. 6, 2018
Night of the Living Dead Feb. 13, 2018
The Silence of the Lambs Feb. 13, 2018
The Hero Feb. 20, 2018
An Actor's Revenge Feb. 20, 2018
Tom Jones Feb. 27, 2018

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Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:50 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tom Jones Feb. 27, 2018

When I saw this film pan and scan on television it was so hilarious. :heart: And we saw it on our new color TV! 20-inch diagonal measure, and rectangular CRT, to boot!!! The sucker was huuuge for the day, and had rare-earth phosphors, for true reds.

I've been afraid to watch it since then. I was 16 or 17 and the humor was right up my alley back then.

Maybe when there is a sale on Criterion discs I could snap it up. Or maybe I should just let it ride and relish the old (inaccurate by now) memories of my one and only viewing. :D

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"The wealthy and powerful always remind us that cream rises to the top.
What they fail to acknowledge is that pond scum also rises to the top.
And there is a lot more pond scum in the world than there is cream.
If you become rich and powerful, I hope that you will be cream rather than pond scum." --YTMN

YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
Thread abandoned 1 Aug 2017. Thread COMPLETE 25 May 14 (2d time!)
Images will disappear about 13 Feb 2018 forever.
I had fun. Thanks for reading!

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Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:59 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Image

Great timing on this one too, what with Demme's recent demise; nice little tribute, intended or otherwise.

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Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:09 pm
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Stu wrote:
Great timing on this one too, what with Demme's recent demise; nice little tribute, intended or otherwise.


They're putting it out the day before Valentine's Day because Jodie is my valentine.

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Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:49 pm
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Kayden Kross wrote:

They're putting it out the day before Valentine's Day because Jodie is my valentine.
Oh you...

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Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:36 pm
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I bought Safe, Hopscotch and Sid & Nancy this time.

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Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:35 pm
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list of movies coming to Filmstruck in December

December 1
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Stanley Kramer, 1963
Happy Together, Wong Kar-wai, 1997
The World of Jacques Demy, Agnes Varda, 1995

December 8
Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1954
Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse, 1956
Godzilla Raids Again, Motoyoshi Oda, 1955
Rodan, Ishiro Honda, 1956
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Ishiro Honda, 1964
Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1964
Invasion of Astro-Monster, Ishiro Honda, 1965
The War of the Gargantuas, Ishiro Honda, 1966
Son of Godzilla, Jun Fukuda, 1967
Destroy All Monsters, Ishiro Honda, 1968
All Monsters Attack, Ishiro Honda, 1969
Godzilla vs. Megalon, Jun Fukuda, 1973
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Jun Fukuda, 1974
Terror of Mechagodzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1975

December 12
Return to Glennascaul, Hilton Edwards, 1951


December 13
Phoenix, Christian Petzold, 2014

December 15
Woman in Witness Protection, Juzo Itami, 1997
A Quiet Life, Juzo Itami, 1995
Tales of a Golden Geisha, Juzo Itami, 1990
The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion, Juzo Itami, 1992
The Funeral, Juzo Itami, 1984
Rubber Band Pistol, Juzo Itami, 1962
The Last Dance, Juzo Itami, 1995

December 20
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Nagisa Oshima, 1983


Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:02 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
December 8
Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1954
Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, Ishiro Honda and Terry O. Morse, 1956
Godzilla Raids Again, Motoyoshi Oda, 1955
Rodan, Ishiro Honda, 1956
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Ishiro Honda, 1964
Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1964
Invasion of Astro-Monster, Ishiro Honda, 1965
The War of the Gargantuas, Ishiro Honda, 1966
Son of Godzilla, Jun Fukuda, 1967
Destroy All Monsters, Ishiro Honda, 1968
All Monsters Attack, Ishiro Honda, 1969
Godzilla vs. Megalon, Jun Fukuda, 1973
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Jun Fukuda, 1974
Terror of Mechagodzilla, Ishiro Honda, 1975


I can't wait until they get around to physically releasing these. It's a shame that King Kong vs. Godzilla is omitted from the list, it deserves the criterion treatment more than most. I'd love to see a decent version of the Japanese cut.

Is Filmstruck just a classy version of Netflix? The prices are pretty comparable.


Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:47 am
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Grabbed a copy of Stalker and Kwaidan today. B & N has a sale until tomorrow if anyone is feeling the urge.

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State of Siege |Gavras, 1972| +
Deadpool |Miller, 2016| +
Z |Gavras, 1969| -
The Confession |Gavras, 1970| +
Missing |Gavras, 1982| +
The Revenant |Inarritu, 2015| +
The Hateful Eight |Tarantino, 2015| +

+ Recommended


Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:23 am
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Post Re: The New Criterion Releases Thread

Spencie Returns wrote:
Is Filmstruck just a classy version of Netflix? The prices are pretty comparable.


yeah, that's fair to say.


Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm
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I haven't seen any of Itami's films.

:-/


Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:52 am
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Post Re: The New Criterion Releases Thread

Jinnistan wrote:
I haven't seen any of Itami's films.

:-/


I just watched Tampopo and Rubber Band Pistol over the past couple nights. Tampopo is a weird, delightful blast; his debut short has its moments -- I dug the first ten minutes -- but overall it's pretty aimless.

Definitely interested in seeing more.

_________________
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.


Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:42 pm
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Post Re: The New Criterion Releases Thread

The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion, Juzo Itami, 1992

This is the one that got him in trouble with the Yakuza.

He died on December 20, 1997[5] in Tokyo, after falling from the roof of the building where his office was located, after the press published evidence that he was having an extramarital affair. The suicide letter he reportedly left behind denied any involvement in such an affair.[6] One theory is that Itami's suicide was forced by members of the Goto-gumi yakuza faction. A former member of the Goto-gumi faction told journalist Jake Adelstein in 2008, “We set it up to stage his murder as a suicide. We dragged him up to the rooftop and put a gun in his face. We gave him a choice: jump and you might live or stay and we’ll blow your face off. He jumped. He didn’t live.


Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:52 pm
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Macrology wrote:
I just watched Tampopo


Oh, I have seen Tampopo then. So that one.


Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:27 am
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Post Re: The New Criterion Releases Thread

Not a day goes by that I'm not sad about the fact that Filmstruck isn't available outside the U.S.


Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:06 pm
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