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 A noob's journey through cinema 
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I'm 16 years old and into movies for 2 years now. So I can safely say I'm a noob when it comes to cinema. I'll be posting some short (and badly written) reviews of my endless journey through the world of cinema and I'm looking forward to read your comments and recommendations. :)


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Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:56 pm
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Two classics I watched past weekend.

The Last Picture Show

"One thing I know for sure. A person can't sneeze in this town without somebody offering them a handkerchief."

This movie is paced slowly but surely, as it flows between a handful of different characters who live their lives in the last dying breath of a small Texas town. All of them try but none of them seem to succeed in figuring out what they want out of life. As they hastily force sex and marriage upon themselves, they constantly get hit in the head with the reality of what life really has in store for them.
Moving, beautiful story, yet I don't know what to think of Cybill Shepherd's character. Definitely worth a rewatch.


Once upon a Time in the West

"People scare better when they're dying."

I don't think there's any movie that could be considered perfect, but Sergio Leone's western epic is definitely close, I must say. Slow, filthy, and tense as hell. I keep wondering what a horror movie by him would've looked like.
There isn't really much I can say that hasn't already been said a thousand times better. Just... wow.


Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:02 pm
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOB


I saw The Last Picture Show for the first time when I was a freshmen in college and for the second time sometime this year. it's definitely a movie that will become richer once you've experienced enough disappointments, lost opportunities, long stretches of drudgery, etc.

as for Shepherd's character, I would say she's someone who uses her sexuality as another way to fight the boredom, maybe a way to search for the kind of man who will get her out of this dull town with its dull people. I know Scorsese felt that "unattainable" quality made her a good fit for her character in Taxi Driver.


Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:40 pm
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OUATITW is pretty fantastic, just bought the bluray a few days ago. I might suggest Leone's Dollar Trilogy as well as Duck, You Sucker (aka Fist full of Dynamite).

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Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:47 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
as for Shepherd's character, I would say she's someone who uses her sexuality as another way to fight the boredom, maybe a way to search for the kind of man who will get her out of this dull town with its dull people. I know Scorsese felt that "unattainable" quality made her a good fit for her character in Taxi Driver.

I could see that. I thought maybe she was also trying to copy her mom's behavior, by even sleeping with her lover. And even though I loved how Shepherd played the part, at the end her character just felt less 'sincere' than the story-arcs of the two male leads.

Also, I must mention the heartfelt performance by Cloris Leachman. Her scene at the end, when she slams the coffeepot against the wall and spills out her soul, was my favorite moment in the film. And Leachman did that scene in one take, first time, no rehearsal. :heart:


Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:02 am
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topherH wrote:
OUATITW is pretty fantastic, just bought the bluray a few days ago. I might suggest Leone's Dollar Trilogy as well as Duck, You Sucker (aka Fist full of Dynamite).

Yes, I definitely want to check out more movies by Leone. :up:


Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:03 am
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You're off to a good start. I was not in the least a film buff at age 16. My favorite movie at the time was probably Yeti Giant of the 20th Century.
Maybe Time of the Apes. :)

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Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:08 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
You're off to a good start. I was not in the least a film buff at age 16. My favorite movie at the time was probably Yeti Giant of the 20th Century.
Maybe Time of the Apes. :)

To be fair, those movies really sound awesome. :)


Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:20 am
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Slentert wrote:
I could see that. I thought maybe she was also trying to copy her mom's behavior, by even sleeping with her lover. And even though I loved how Shepherd played the part, at the end her character just felt less 'sincere' than the story-arcs of the two male leads.


could just be a casualty of her story being secondary to the other two main characters. could be Bogdanovich's lack of experience as a young girl grappling with burgeoning sexuality to give it those few extra brushstrokes that would have made it satisfying for anyone who wasn't really feelin' it (not that he portrayed her as a heartless slut either).

also, your post reminded me what a shame that Leone directed as rarely as he did. 60 is too young to die, y'all take care of yourselves.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:08 am
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I found that film recommendations that were made when I was just starting cinema were unnecessary and too ambitious at the time, personally. It's much more wise, I believe, to connect with a good book that can guide you through the slings and arrows of cinema canon and non-canon. For example, reading Hitchcock/Truffaut and watching the films as best you can in chronological order may be a good start. Aside from that, I actually found introductory textbooks to film helpful, as well as many other film texts.

Most of the driviel on the internet is just that, and it's not too helpful at all. There may be, at best, a dozen or so worthy threads on this forum to really acquaint you with film, and maybe the same amount of internet context to guide you. Two personal internet favorites of mine are ROUGE and Senses of Cinema Journal.

Good luck, and don't let film consume you or be a substitution for real-life experience, which so often happens in cinephilia.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:11 am
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if I had to give any advice to a noob maaaaybe it would be to not start with a list of The Best Top 10, 50, 100 Movies Of All Time but find some way to lead up to them.

like if you were to start with Hitchcock, start with The 39 Steps instead of Vertigo. if you're going to start with Kubrick, start with The Killing instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey. if you're going to start with Welles.... well I guess there's no other place to start than Citizen Kane. but you get the idea.
(this may be the same advice that Eminence Grise gave)


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:22 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
(not that he portrayed her as a heartless slut either).

Oh no, definitely not. I just found her a less well rounded character in comparison with the male leads, which is sad because she has some great scenes, especially the ones with her mother. But at the end I couldn't make up my mind what Bogdanovich wanted to say with her story. I'll rewatch this one in the future with your comments in mind, for sure. :)


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:31 am
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Thanks for the really nice message, Eminence. Also great recommendations, I wanted to check out Hitchcock/Truffaut for a while now.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:39 am
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
if I had to give any advice to a noob maaaaybe it would be to not start with a list of The Best Top 10, 50, 100 Movies Of All Time but find some way to lead up to them.

like if you were to start with Hitchcock, start with The 39 Steps instead of Vertigo. if you're going to start with Kubrick, start with The Killing instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey. if you're going to start with Welles.... well I guess there's no other place to start than Citizen Kane. but you get the idea.
(this may be the same advice that Eminence Grise gave)

Oh, than I'm doing it wrong already. :D
My first Hitchcock was Psycho, which I liked the best of all four movies of him I've seen. North by Northwest is my second favorite.
And my first Kubrick was Full Metal Jacket, I think, but that was a long time ago.
And recently I had my Welles-defloration with Touch of Evil, I have to admit...

But yeah, I get the idea. :)


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:44 am
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no worries. the best movies ought to reveal more about themselves upon multiple viewings. and what they say to you may change as you change, etc etc etc.

but not the first three Star Wars. those still say the same thing that was said to me when I was five years old.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:52 am
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Someone once said to me that the best way to experience film history was to start with contemporary cinema and then slowly working your way back to 1900, so the transition wouldn't be too rough.

I'm now cautiously stepping into the thirties.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:56 am
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Slentert wrote:
I'm now cautiously stepping into the thirties.

Keep in mind that filmmakers during this decade were by and large still trying to figure out how to work with bulky sound equipment. As a result, the visual element suffered quite a bit in Hollywood productions that were now restricted to soundstages. A lot of movies of this era look like filmed stage plays as a result. Citizen Kane is heralded not so much because it invented its various dazzling camera techniques but because it serves as a compendium of tricks for creating an illusion of real space on a soundstage and found ways to re-introduce a whole host of techniques from the silent era that were abandoned because they were thought too tricky to pull off either without filming the microphones or without accidentally dumping out sound.

Even something as simple as filming a low-angle shot with a ceiling in the frame required ingenuity because microphones had to be placed overhead (cinematographer Gregg Toland pulled off such shots in Kane by making "ceilings" of sheer muslin that appeared solid on camera when lit but allowed sound to pass through to the overhead microphones; Toland likely picked up this technique when shooting for John Ford, who had done something similar on Stagecoach).

There are exceptions when noting the stagebound nature of '30s movies, but they're largely only "semi-sound" films like M or Modern Times, where only key individual scenes or sequences were recorded with synchronized sound rather than the whole length of the film. When you go back further to the silent era, you may be surprised by how much more visually daring they are in comparison, particularly toward the end of the pre-sound period.

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Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:40 am
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@BL
Thanks, good advice, I'll keep that in mind.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:42 am
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What BL says is especially true of the early 30s, but even then there are a few directors who managed to make fascinating films in spite of their technical limitations, like Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian, Lewis Milestone, Ernst Lubitsch, the Marx Brothers, and Josef von Sternberg, to name just a few of the best English language filmmakers. Oh, and any early musical with Busby Berkeley choreography.

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Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:21 am
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Slentert wrote:
Someone once said to me that the best way to experience film history was to start with contemporary cinema and then slowly working your way back to 1900, so the transition wouldn't be too rough.

I'm now cautiously stepping into the thirties.
Once you get done with film history, it's always fun to discover the limitless possibilities of cinema. The best way to do this is to ignore the canon. You're allowed to watch 8½, but everything else is highly questionable.

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Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:55 pm
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Macrology wrote:
What BL says is especially true of the early 30s, but even then there are a few directors who managed to make fascinating films in spite of their technical limitations, like Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian, Lewis Milestone, Ernst Lubitsch, the Marx Brothers, and Josef von Sternberg, to name just a few of the best English language filmmakers. Oh, and any early musical with Busby Berkeley choreography.

I'd also emphasize King Vidor, who made more than one masterpiece in each era and seemed to lose almost nothing in transition. And I daresay no director had a more diverse run from '29 to '35: an all-Black musical (Hallelujah), a wrestling melodrama (The Champ), a South Seas-shot jungle romance (Bird of Paradise), an adaptation of a Pulitzer-winning play set on a single city block (Street Scene), and Our Daily Bread, a sequel to the silent Crowd, which features one of the most visually ravishing (YES, RAVISHING!) sequences not only in 30s cinema, but all of classic Hollywood (1:05:36-50 still makes me wilt)


Thu Dec 21, 2017 9:29 am
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I envy you. I wish I would've been that into films at that age. I sure loved films, but really got into them while in college.

My advice would be similar to what others have said. Try to watch a little bit of everything. I think going "back in time" is a very sensible approach, but I also think that occasional "time jumps" wouldn't be harmful (like seeing Chaplin's The Kid after something like, I don't know, Empire of the Sun or October Sky). Don't chain yourself to lists like IMDb's or the 1000 Films to see Before You Die, but do use them as reference points perhaps. And don't be afraid to go "out of the reservation" to watch a weird indie, a TV film, or an Asylum film.

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Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:14 am
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Slentert wrote:
Someone once said to me that the best way to experience film history was to start with contemporary cinema and then slowly working your way back to 1900, so the transition wouldn't be too rough.

I'm now cautiously stepping into the thirties.


Stick with watching silent films and you can't go wrong. Forget new movies. They're mediocre.


Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:22 pm
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Thief wrote:
I envy you. I wish I would've been that into films at that age. I sure loved films, but really got into them while in college.

I got into film when I was in 9th grade, but it took me at least a couple more years to get into foreign films.

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Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:24 pm
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Slentert wrote:
Once upon a Time in the West

"People scare better when they're dying."

I don't think there's any movie that could be considered perfect, but Sergio Leone's western epic is definitely close, I must say. Slow, filthy, and tense as hell. I keep wondering what a horror movie by him would've looked like.
There isn't really much I can say that hasn't already been said a thousand times better. Just... wow.
I often feel all alone in the world with this opinion, but I've actually never been a huge fan of Once Upon A Time In The West; yes, it has the signature Leone style, scope, and borderline-mythical tone, but the overall pacing of it just drags so fucking much... so, so much. It's weird, as I'm a big fan of the rest of Leone's later films (from TGTB&TU-onward), and even the 4 hour runtime of Once Upon A Time In America never bothered me, but the pacing of West just felt so forced in its overall ponderousness that I could never really enjoy it.

That being said though, Duck, You Sucker! is really good, Once Upon A Time In America is really good, and The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly has always been one of my favorite films, so keep going with Leone, Slent!

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Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:35 am
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I made a list of my top 100 favorite movies. Maybe you guys want to take a look to get a glimpse of what my taste is like. :)
https://letterboxd.com/chimichanga/list ... 7-version/


Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:24 pm
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Nice list.

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Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:56 pm
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Slentert wrote:
I made a list of my top 100 favorite movies. Maybe you guys want to take a look to get a glimpse of what my taste is like. :)
https://letterboxd.com/chimichanga/list ... 7-version/


I can dig it.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:45 am
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Hmmm. Not familiar with Perdita Durango, The Swimmer or Ride the Pink Horse.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:09 am
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The Swimmer is like a whole season of Mad Men in 90 minutes of surrealism. it's pretty great.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:15 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
Hmmm. Not familiar with Perdita Durango, The Swimmer or Ride the Pink Horse.



The Swimmer is fucking amazing. I'm surprised you haven't stumbled upon that one at some point. I did one night when it was airing on public television and was knocked out by it. Wasn't a particularly big fan of Perdita Durango. Seemed like a half baked hip Robert Rodriguez knock off, and I don't even like the real thing. Ride the Pink Horse is good.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:54 am
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I'm once again amazed by those who claim that they're running out of films to see.

*mounts up for a Swimmer safari*


Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:00 am
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Jinnistan wrote:
I'm once again amazed by those who claim that they're running out of films to see.

*mounts up for a Swimmer safari*


I have no idea how many movies I've watched but it's a lot. I'd probably wager somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 since I have watched them compulsively since I was about four years old. And not even I think I have even scratched the surface of shit. As soon as I realized there was no need box myself in with genres or time periods or countrys the movie have come from or even if they ever made it to a theater, it became clear that good to great movies are almost inexhaustable. The greatest joy was when I began realizing that a movie that is on nobody's radar and that you've never even hear of can still end up being fantastic. If you don't write off large segments of film for shitty and stupid reasons, you'll always have enough to fill up your life.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:11 am
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I feel like I'm out of movies to watch.

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Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:28 am
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topherH wrote:
I feel like I'm out of movies to watch.


you could always read a book instead.


Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:15 pm
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Oxnard Montalvo wrote:

you could always read a book instead.


I have a kindle sitting around with 40 books on it that I haven't found time to start reading any yet. After watching Coco last week, I had the urge to borrow all the old Disney animated movies from the PL after realizing I hadn't really seen many of them at all. But now I kinda don't feel like it.

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Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:06 pm
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If it's ok with you, I'll throw some yearly recs by decade...

2017: Get Out
2016: Cameraperson
2015: The Witch
2014: Kill the Messenger
2013: The Lunchbox
2012: The Hunt
2011: Source Code
2010: Black Swan

Not sure which ones you've seen, but those would probably be my Top films for each year. I'll throw the 2000's later.

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:51 am
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Here's a short list of my favorite films, in case you want some recs: https://letterboxd.com/stusmallz/list/f ... es/detail/

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:54 am
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More recs...

2009: The Road
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2007: There Will Be Blood
2006: Monster House
2005: Syriana
2004: The Village
2003: Kill Bill Vol. 1
2002: The Pianist
2001: Conspiracy (HBO)
2000: Memento

1999: Eyes Wide Shut
1998: The Truman Show
1997: LA Confidential
1996: Hard Eight
1995: Seven
1994: The Shawshank Redemption
1993: Schindler's List
1992: Unforgiven
1991: The Silence of the Lambs
1990: The Grifters

I don't wanna clog your thread, but let me know if you check any of those.

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:45 am
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Thief wrote:
More recs...

2009: The Road
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2007: There Will Be Blood
2006: Monster House

2005: Syriana
2004: The Village
2003: Kill Bill Vol. 1
2002: The Pianist
2001: Conspiracy (HBO)
2000: Memento

1999: Eyes Wide Shut
1998: The Truman Show
1997: LA Confidential
1996: Hard Eight
1995: Seven
1994: The Shawshank Redemption
1993: Schindler's List
1992: Unforgiven
1991: The Silence of the Lambs

1990: The Grifters

I don't wanna clog your thread, but let me know if you check any of those.

I don't know if you're talking to me, but I marked the ones I've seen and I'll check out the others. :)


Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:09 am
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Of course I'm talking to you. It's your thread! :D Anyway, you're in for a treat with the ones you haven't seen.

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:18 am
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Thief wrote:
2016: Cameraperson

I also want to recommend this film. It really disappoints me that such a great, immersive film such as this one can receive so little attention by the public. Fortunately, it got a Criterion release several months ago.

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:25 am
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I also want to recommend this film. It really disappoints me that such a great, immersive film such as this one can receive so little attention by the public. Fortunately, it got a Criterion release several months ago.

And I have to thank this guy for bringing it to my attention! :up:

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:37 am
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Thief wrote:
And I have to thank this guy for bringing it to my attention! :up:

You're welcome.

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:36 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
I also want to recommend this film. It really disappoints me that such a great, immersive film such as this one can receive so little attention by the public. Fortunately, it got a Criterion release several months ago.


Paul Thomas Anderson's films never make much money and they are all so great. The general public doesn't know what they want. Yes they do. They want Daddy's Home 2 which made $100 million dollars.


Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:08 pm
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ski petrol wrote:
Paul Thomas Anderson's films never make much money and they are all so great. The general public doesn't know what they want. Yes they do. They want Daddy's Home 2 which made $100 million dollars.

So far, I've had a strong opinion on all his films. He's a pretty great director. It sucks that his movies don't do well at the box office, but I feel like the vast majority of moviegoers tend to prefer adrenaline, so it really doesn't surprise me when movies such as, oh, I don't know, The Fate of the Furious make a ton of money.

As for Cameraperson, have you seen it? If so, what did you think of it?

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:26 pm
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Popcorn Reviews wrote:
.

As for Cameraperson, have you seen it? If so, what did you think of it?


It's on my list. So far I haven't come across a copy and Netflix isn't showing it. Next up for me is Phantom Thread if it opens up across the street from me soon.


Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:52 pm
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I think a better place for recs is from the ol' Consensus by a bunch of posters that no longer post here...

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=647

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Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:42 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
I think a better place for recs is from the ol' Consensus by a bunch of posters that no longer post here...

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=647


oh shit, I'm bookmarking this. lotta stuff on LEAVES's top 50 I haven't seen.

imo I still think that lists like that top 50 are too canon-y for a noob. like you gotta do I Vitelloni, Eraserhead, Ivan's Childhood, et cetera, before you get to 8 1/2, Mulholland Dr., and Stalker. (ideally)


Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:10 pm
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The individual lists are more likely to stray from the canon. Once you put them together the things that everyone have seen tend to perform better than if everyone had seen every film considered.

I was just trying to save the OP from some really terrible recs.

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