Recently Seen

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Jinnistan
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:35 pm

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:06 pm
I'm not seeking to silence her by any means and I felt a great deal of empathy for everything she clearly went through, but like most angry rants, the emotions felt like they lead to blunt and disagreeable conclusions on virtually every subject she chose to target, whether it be art, men, comedy, etc.

It reached a degree where it began to feel less like a comedy routine (even compared with more philosophical, one-man-show styled sets like Neil Brennan's recent special) and more like a TED talk.

I know this is putting "comedy special" in a box but I don't recall laughing at all.

That said, I'm a cis-gendered, heterosexual white man so I definitely wasn't the target audience and the level of catharsis I saw displayed by a great many women online and personally shows me it has value on that front.
I still have a fundamental disagreement regarding how comedy lends to the kind of persecution she illustrates. While there are, and have been, a number of bully comedians who use their platform to denounce those who are different from the norm, I'd argue that there have been just as many comedians who fall solidly into that abnormal category, and use the comic form to represent these diverse, unorthodox perspectives. In fact, I feel I could argue without effort that those comedians of this category, while not outnumbering, have surely out-influenced those more normal-codifying comedians over time. Comedy has always been a refuge for minorities, being largely built on Jewish voices. We may no longer think of Lenny Bruce as someone other than a "straight white male", but obviouly many fewer in his time would have. The number of "normalized" black faces in comedy - from Cosby, Flip Wilson, Pryor, Foxx, and Eddie Murphy proves that this was one of the surest avenues for success for young talent. The legacy of LGBT is clear, if not always overt, from Lily Tomlin to Wanda Sykes. The fact seems evident that stand-up comedy has always attracted those who are different and marginalized in a variety of ways. The parallel fact that comedy has also attracted a share of insecure chauvanists, of widely varying degrees of talent and most likely not in any greater proportion than any other professional field, shouldn't obscure the more liberating tradition in comedy to subvert and criticize the banality of normality and the pretensions of popular presumption.

It reminds me also of the unfortunate notion currently bubbling under the more zealous Left, which is to disavow the principle of freedom of speech under the belief that it is a greater tool to perpetuate hateful and oppressive speech than liberal, sympathetic speech. This would have to ignore the history of how free speech was utilized among the abolitionists, the suffragettes, the gay advocates to escape such oppressive volumes. Like speech, comedy is ultimately a liberating force, and it's an asinine irony that Gadsby would use the power of it to denounce that power.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:55 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:35 pm
I still have a fundamental disagreement regarding how comedy lends to the kind of persecution she illustrates. While there are, and have been, a number of bully comedians who use their platform to denounce those who are different from the norm, I'd argue that there have been just as many comedians who fall solidly into that abnormal category, and use the comic form to represent these diverse, unorthodox perspectives. In fact, I feel I could argue without effort that those comedians of this category, while not outnumbering, have surely out-influenced those more normal-codifying comedians over time. Comedy has always been a refuge for minorities, being largely built on Jewish voices. We may no longer think of Lenny Bruce as someone other than a "straight white male", but obviouly many fewer in his time would have. The number of "normalized" black faces in comedy - from Cosby, Flip Wilson, Pryor, Foxx, and Eddie Murphy proves that this was one of the surest avenues for success for young talent. The legacy of LGBT is clear, if not always overt, from Lily Tomlin to Wanda Sykes. The fact seems evident that stand-up comedy has always attracted those who are different and marginalized in a variety of ways. The parallel fact that comedy has also attracted a share of insecure chauvanists, of widely varying degrees of talent and most likely not in any greater proportion than any other professional field, shouldn't obscure the more liberating tradition in comedy to subvert and criticize the banality of normality and the pretensions of popular presumption.

It reminds me also of the unfortunate notion currently bubbling under the more zealous Left, which is to disavow the principle of freedom of speech under the belief that it is a greater tool to perpetuate hateful and oppressive speech than liberal, sympathetic speech. This would have to ignore the history of how free speech was utilized among the abolitionists, the suffragettes, the gay advocates to escape such oppressive volumes. Like speech, comedy is ultimately a liberating force, and it's an asinine irony that Gadsby would use the power of it to denounce that power.
Well put, JJ. I'm not sure what I could add beyond agreement. Like Chappelle's standup, it's nice to occasionally be the choir getting preached to.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:02 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:06 pm
I'm not seeking to silence her by any means and I felt a great deal of empathy for everything she clearly went through, but like most angry rants, the emotions felt like they lead to blunt and disagreeable conclusions on virtually every subject she chose to target, whether it be art, men, comedy, etc.
Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:35 pm
I still have a fundamental disagreement regarding how comedy lends to the kind of persecution she illustrates.
I would strongly disagree that she's ranting or that she's claiming that comedy is just an agent of persecution.

And when you strip it back to its bare essential… components, like, its bare minimum, a joke is simply two things, it needs two things to work. A setup and a punch line. And it is essentially a question with a surprise answer. Right? But in this context, what a joke is is a question that I have artificially inseminated. Tension. I do that, that’s my job. I make you all feel tense, and then I make you laugh, and you’re like, “Thanks for that. I was feeling a bit tense.” I made you tense. This is an abusive relationship. Do you know why I’m such a funny fucker? Do you? It’s because, you know, I’ve been learning the art of tension diffusion since I was a children. Back then it wasn’t a job, wasn’t even a hobby, it was a survival tactic.

When I came out of the closet, I didn’t have any jokes. The only thing I knew how to do was to be invisible and hate myself. It took me ten years to understand I was allowed to take up space in the world. But, by then, I’d sealed it off into jokes like it was no big deal.

Do you remember that story about that young man who almost beat me up? It was a very funny story. It was very funny, I made a lot of people laugh about his ignorance, and the reason I could do that is because I’m very good at this job. I actually am pretty good at controlling the tension. And I know how to balance that to get the laugh at the right place. But in order to balance the tension in the room with that story, I couldn’t tell that story as it actually happened. Because I couldn’t tell the part of the story where that man realized his mistake. And he came back. And he said, “Oh, no, I get it. You’re a lady faggot. I’m allowed to beat the shit out of you,” and he did! He beat the shit out of me and nobody stopped him.

I’m not a man-hater. But I’m afraid of men. If I’m the only woman in a room full of men, I am afraid. And if you think that’s unusual, you’re not speaking to the women in your life. I don’t hate men, but I wonder how a man would feel if they’d lived my life. Because it was a man who sexually abused me when I was a child. It was a man who beat the shit out of me when I was 17, my prime. It was two men who raped me when I was barely in my twenties. Tell me why is that okay.

But this is why… I must quit comedy. Because the only way… I can tell my truth and put tension in the room is with anger. And I am angry, and I believe I’ve got every right to be angry! But what I don’t have a right to do is to spread anger. I don’t. Because anger, much like laughter, can connect a room full of strangers like nothing else. But anger, even if it’s connected to laughter, will not… relieve tension. Because anger is a tension. It is a toxic, infectious… tension. And it knows no other purpose than to spread blind hatred, and I want no part of it. Because I take my freedom of speech as a responsibility, and just because I can position myself as a victim, does not make my anger constructive. It never is constructive. Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine. I don’t want to unite you with laughter or anger.

Gadsby is discussing a personal conflict that is very specific to her and not to all comedy (though I do think that it has implications for other comedians).

She is saying that she finds herself trapped in how to express her experiences. If she tells the joke version of what happened to her, then she must cut out crucial elements of what happened to her. She has to give structure and artificial "up beats" to the events.

To tell her story in its entirety would require anger. Because how else do you tell the full truth of being beaten? Or raped? Or molested?

I think that you could be disengenuous and say, "Well, XYZ comedian discussed this serious issue and he/she was really funny! You can talk about serious things and still be funny!"

But that's not what she's saying. She's saying that the entirety of her story makes HER angry, and that she finds it mentally/emotionally unhealthy managing that necessary tension in a storytelling format. That her anger would be the "binding" emotion if she were to present to a group, and that she doesn't want to be part of spreading that anger. The alternative--artfully getting laughs from her experiences--is no longer something that she can abide either.

The fundamental conflict is that she feels that her story is important, but that she struggles to find a productive way to present it. That turning her experiences into jokes was a survival tactic from her childhood and that the process of "jokifying" her traumas is an unhealthy way to process them. She values truth, but she does not believe that audience entertainment is worth that price.

Most of the time when I tell stories about the things that men have done to me--the assaults, the threats, the intimidation, the "flirting", being followed into a parking garage--I smile and I laugh. And I do that to put other people at ease. And I can't even explain how wretched I feel when I speak to people about those experiences and actually open up the whole story, including my emotions in those moments. There's always crying. Some small part of me feels relief at telling what I know is the full truth, but mostly I feel like crap. Because letting myself feel those emotions makes me feel unspeakably angry. It makes me vividly aware of how powerless all those men made me feel. It makes me vividly aware that many times I've been "lucky" that things weren't worse. I feel vividly aware that walking down the wrong street or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time means I might get a repeat performance. So now I'm angry and I feel powerless. Awesome.

So it's easier to hide those feelings behind jokes. It's easier to pretend being followed into that garage while my adrenaline spiked was a funny ridiculous thing as opposed to a terrifying, nightmarish thing.

I laughed a lot at Gadsby's special, as did a lot of women I know. It was laughter at some of the lines ("A 17 year old girl is never at her prime!" or "My favorite sound in the whole world is the sound of a teacup finding its place on a saucer"), but mostly it was the laughter of recognition.

It's so frustrating to me to see a woman tell a story that men really need to hear and then to see so many men turn around and be like "Well, it sounds like she just doesn't like comedy. Also, she wasn't very funny! I'm not sure that this counts! She should have just written an essay!" Like, ugh.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:55 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:02 am
"Well, it sounds like she just doesn't like comedy. Also, she wasn't very funny! I'm not sure that this counts! She should have just written an essay!" Like, ugh.
Marketing and presentation of an idea matter, regardless of content, nor does a rant mean it is devoid of merit.

If I go to a comedy show, there is the expectation that I'll laugh. She chose to go a deconstructive route for comedy that seeks to say that comedy and authenticity are mutually exclusive for her story and I feel the implication is clearly that this applies to comedy in general as she makes a great many sweeping statements, like her rejecting the notion of separating art from the artist. This leads to me neither laughing, as expected, nor buying into the observation.

There's a push within her stand up than enforces the notions that comedy and art should be selective in whose voices are heard or valued. It's an area that I feel is rather limiting in appreciation and placed an accusation of complicity in those that appreciate the art, much as there's an implication of complicity in "Tell me why that is okay?" Who is she asking? The context implies men. Is she expecting men in general to argue that it's okay for her to have been bashed, molested and raped? The type of men likely do jump through such misogynistic hoops of logic are not watching Hannah Gadsby so those that do, well, they feel that "tension." They feel the anger she claims to not want to be spreading.
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crumbsroom
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:25 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:02 am
I would strongly disagree that she's ranting or that she's claiming that comedy is just an agent of persecution.

And when you strip it back to its bare essential… components, like, its bare minimum, a joke is simply two things, it needs two things to work. A setup and a punch line. And it is essentially a question with a surprise answer. Right? But in this context, what a joke is is a question that I have artificially inseminated. Tension. I do that, that’s my job. I make you all feel tense, and then I make you laugh, and you’re like, “Thanks for that. I was feeling a bit tense.” I made you tense. This is an abusive relationship. Do you know why I’m such a funny fucker? Do you? It’s because, you know, I’ve been learning the art of tension diffusion since I was a children. Back then it wasn’t a job, wasn’t even a hobby, it was a survival tactic.

When I came out of the closet, I didn’t have any jokes. The only thing I knew how to do was to be invisible and hate myself. It took me ten years to understand I was allowed to take up space in the world. But, by then, I’d sealed it off into jokes like it was no big deal.

Do you remember that story about that young man who almost beat me up? It was a very funny story. It was very funny, I made a lot of people laugh about his ignorance, and the reason I could do that is because I’m very good at this job. I actually am pretty good at controlling the tension. And I know how to balance that to get the laugh at the right place. But in order to balance the tension in the room with that story, I couldn’t tell that story as it actually happened. Because I couldn’t tell the part of the story where that man realized his mistake. And he came back. And he said, “Oh, no, I get it. You’re a lady faggot. I’m allowed to beat the shit out of you,” and he did! He beat the shit out of me and nobody stopped him.

I’m not a man-hater. But I’m afraid of men. If I’m the only woman in a room full of men, I am afraid. And if you think that’s unusual, you’re not speaking to the women in your life. I don’t hate men, but I wonder how a man would feel if they’d lived my life. Because it was a man who sexually abused me when I was a child. It was a man who beat the shit out of me when I was 17, my prime. It was two men who raped me when I was barely in my twenties. Tell me why is that okay.

But this is why… I must quit comedy. Because the only way… I can tell my truth and put tension in the room is with anger. And I am angry, and I believe I’ve got every right to be angry! But what I don’t have a right to do is to spread anger. I don’t. Because anger, much like laughter, can connect a room full of strangers like nothing else. But anger, even if it’s connected to laughter, will not… relieve tension. Because anger is a tension. It is a toxic, infectious… tension. And it knows no other purpose than to spread blind hatred, and I want no part of it. Because I take my freedom of speech as a responsibility, and just because I can position myself as a victim, does not make my anger constructive. It never is constructive. Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine. I don’t want to unite you with laughter or anger.

Gadsby is discussing a personal conflict that is very specific to her and not to all comedy (though I do think that it has implications for other comedians).

She is saying that she finds herself trapped in how to express her experiences. If she tells the joke version of what happened to her, then she must cut out crucial elements of what happened to her. She has to give structure and artificial "up beats" to the events.

To tell her story in its entirety would require anger. Because how else do you tell the full truth of being beaten? Or raped? Or molested?

I think that you could be disengenuous and say, "Well, XYZ comedian discussed this serious issue and he/she was really funny! You can talk about serious things and still be funny!"

But that's not what she's saying. She's saying that the entirety of her story makes HER angry, and that she finds it mentally/emotionally unhealthy managing that necessary tension in a storytelling format. That her anger would be the "binding" emotion if she were to present to a group, and that she doesn't want to be part of spreading that anger. The alternative--artfully getting laughs from her experiences--is no longer something that she can abide either.

The fundamental conflict is that she feels that her story is important, but that she struggles to find a productive way to present it. That turning her experiences into jokes was a survival tactic from her childhood and that the process of "jokifying" her traumas is an unhealthy way to process them. She values truth, but she does not believe that audience entertainment is worth that price.

Most of the time when I tell stories about the things that men have done to me--the assaults, the threats, the intimidation, the "flirting", being followed into a parking garage--I smile and I laugh. And I do that to put other people at ease. And I can't even explain how wretched I feel when I speak to people about those experiences and actually open up the whole story, including my emotions in those moments. There's always crying. Some small part of me feels relief at telling what I know is the full truth, but mostly I feel like crap. Because letting myself feel those emotions makes me feel unspeakably angry. It makes me vividly aware of how powerless all those men made me feel. It makes me vividly aware that many times I've been "lucky" that things weren't worse. I feel vividly aware that walking down the wrong street or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time means I might get a repeat performance. So now I'm angry and I feel powerless. Awesome.

So it's easier to hide those feelings behind jokes. It's easier to pretend being followed into that garage while my adrenaline spiked was a funny ridiculous thing as opposed to a terrifying, nightmarish thing.

I laughed a lot at Gadsby's special, as did a lot of women I know. It was laughter at some of the lines ("A 17 year old girl is never at her prime!" or "My favorite sound in the whole world is the sound of a teacup finding its place on a saucer"), but mostly it was the laughter of recognition.

It's so frustrating to me to see a woman tell a story that men really need to hear and then to see so many men turn around and be like "Well, it sounds like she just doesn't like comedy. Also, she wasn't very funny! I'm not sure that this counts! She should have just written an essay!" Like, ugh.
Having just watched Nanette, I pretty much agree with all of this.

As for the complaints it gets, I don't really see Gadbsy as condemning humor as an agent as persecution as much as her explaining her complicated relationship with it. I don't see it as a call to arms for others to change their perspectives on what comedy is or isn't. She's just making sure she articulates where she now is in this argument.

I also don't really understand the criticisms that it veers too far away from comedy since a number of critical darlings in comedy, the obvious ones being Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks , were well known to go into (for lack of a better term) rant mode and forgetting about their supposed contract with the audience to make them laugh. First of all, a good deal of it is funny. As for that which isn't aiming for laughs, it directly deals with the powers and limitations of comedy and story telling. It's all of a giant piece. If this isn't a comedy special, regardless of how intense it becomes, and regardless if she decides she is no longer going to relieve the tension, I'm not sure what else it would be.

And while I'm pretty strongly a 'separate the art from the misbehavior of the artist' type a person, just because her argument of why it can't be done doesn't convince me, I can still disagree with the overall point and not have it detract much from the overall message and purpose of what she is trying to articulate.

It's a pretty marvellous and jarring bit of stand up.
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:34 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:55 am
If I go to a comedy show, there is the expectation that I'll laugh.
I laughed. The whole way through. Different kinds of laughs at different points, but laughter nonetheless. Again, "A 17 year old woman is not at her prime" is funny to me. Because the idea of a teenage girl being in her prime should be laughable to anyone who has been a teenager. The idea that it's hard to be an introvert and celebrate subdued, quaint lesbianism in a pride parade is funny. And the recording of the show itself is evidence that people found it funny. I don't buy for a moment that all the laughter of the audience was just them laughing because they were supposed to.

Someone once talked me into watching a Joe Rogan stand up. I did not laugh once. I tapped out about 10 minutes in, after a supposedly hilarious bit where he bragged about telling a heckler that he was going to "wrap his dick around her neck and start her up like a lawnmower!", then told a "joke" about how it would be so funny if men actually were able to use supplements to grow their penises really huge, because then women would all be walking around with their jaws dislocated. Then he mined a bit of a woman having to push her dislocated jaw around in a shopping cart. The people in the audience loved it. I did not so much as smile. Is this comedy?
She chose to go a deconstructive route for comedy that seeks to say that comedy and authenticity are mutually exclusive for her story and I feel the implication is clearly that this applies to comedy in general as she makes a great many sweeping statements, like her rejecting the notion of separating art from the artist. This leads to me neither laughing, as expected, nor buying into the observation.
I disagree. She is describing her relationship with comedy (and by extension her relationship with her audience) as unhealthy. She never extends this to other comedians. You say it's clear that she's generalizing this, but I never felt that she was speaking about anyone's comedy but her own. And a lot of that is because she only knows the truth of the gap between the comedy version of her story and the whole truth of it. She can't know that about anyone else's experience.

She says, "I need to quit comedy," not "We need to get rid of comedy."

I think that the only broader point she's making is the way that what she says resonated with me (and many of my friends) in terms of the way that we use humor to soften and distance ourselves from upsetting and traumatic experiences, and that maybe we do a disservice to ourselves because we allow others (and maybe especially we allow men) to categorize these experiences as funny things instead of horrible things.
There's a push within her stand up than enforces the notions that comedy and art should be selective in whose voices are heard or valued.
Where?

Her not valuing someone is not the same as saying that no one should value that person.
"Tell me why that is okay?" Who is she asking? The context implies men.
She clearly is referring to the men who victimized her. Why did they think that was okay? It's a question on two levels: on a small level, why did they think that was okay, and on a larger level, what is it about society that she encountered four different men at different stages of her life who felt entitled to victimize her?



And she explicitly addresses this when she acknowledges that the men in the audience may have felt blamed or attacked. "To the men in the room… who feel I may have been persecuting you this evening… well spotted. That’s pretty much what I’ve done there. But this is theater, fellas. I’ve given you an hour, a taste. I have lived a life. The damage done to me is real and debilitating."

I'd feel worse for the "enlightened" men who "don't need" this comedy if I felt like they did more about it. But no guy ever stops to say "Hey, wait. When I endorse this horror film by saying that the nudity is plentiful, I don't even need to specify that it's female nudity" or (as Gadsby points out) "Gosh, a lot of this art museum is nude women." Because the male expectation of access to the female body is a given in art, and the male gaze is so omnipresent that it's mentioned in only the most extreme of cases. And talk about separating the art from the artist is something I literally never hear from other women, only from men. It often feels like just another way that men choose to look past the abuse of women at the hands of powerful men. Guys rarely manage to cross even the lowest of bars, which is to hear someone talk about a trauma and simply say "I'm sorry that happened to you."

And to even express these thoughts is already exhausting because I almost never feel heard or seen. It always ends up being reduced to some weird semantic/"logical" argument, which seems like a convenient way of saying "Oh, we can't address your emotions right now because this is one of those objective discussions about art, blah, blah, blah." Part of why I like Gadsby's show is that she begins by acknowledging that she is a sensitive and emotional person and that those traits largely define her life experience. And she (rightly) calls out that being told to set aside emotions or sensitivity is juts a way of trying to silence someone.

I'm not saying that men aren't allies or don't try to support women. But, frankly, if men aren't going to be proactive problem solvers in terms of the way that society tolerates violence and exploitation of women, then why should Hannah Gadsby be at all sorry for making some men a bit sad/angry for an hour?

EDIT: And the reason I usually don't even want to get into these discussions is that I'm now really upset, thinking about all the horrible crap I've had to deal with, the fear I've felt, the unwanted hands on my body, the legions of female friends who have suffered the same, and then the guy on the other end of the conversation ignores all that and tries to tell me why he shouldn't feel bad about watching Polanski films. If what Gadsby talked about didn't send some deep hurt inside of you ringing like a tuning fork, just feel lucky about that.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:52 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:34 am
I laughed. The whole way through. Different kinds of laughs at different points, but laughter nonetheless. Again, "A 17 year old woman is not at her prime" is funny to me. Because the idea of a teenage girl being in her prime should be laughable to anyone who has been a teenager. The idea that it's hard to be an introvert and celebrate subdued, quaint lesbianism in a pride parade is funny. And the recording of the show itself is evidence that people found it funny. I don't buy for a moment that all the laughter of the audience was just them laughing because they were supposed to.

Someone once talked me into watching a Joe Rogan stand up. I did not laugh once. I tapped out about 10 minutes in, after a supposedly hilarious bit where he bragged about telling a heckler that he was going to "wrap his dick around her neck and start her up like a lawnmower!", then told a "joke" about how it would be so funny if men actually were able to use supplements to grow their penises really huge, because then women would all be walking around with their jaws dislocated. Then he mined a bit of a woman having to push her dislocated jaw around in a shopping cart. The people in the audience loved it. I did not so much as smile. Is this comedy?



I disagree. She is describing her relationship with comedy (and by extension her relationship with her audience) as unhealthy. She never extends this to other comedians. You say it's clear that she's generalizing this, but I never felt that she was speaking about anyone's comedy but her own. And a lot of that is because she only knows the truth of the gap between the comedy version of her story and the whole truth of it. She can't know that about anyone else's experience.

She says, "I need to quit comedy," not "We need to get rid of comedy."

I think that the only broader point she's making is the way that what she says resonated with me (and many of my friends) in terms of the way that we use humor to soften and distance ourselves from upsetting and traumatic experiences, and that maybe we do a disservice to ourselves because we allow others (and maybe especially we allow men) to categorize these experiences as funny things instead of horrible things.



Where?

Her not valuing someone is not the same as saying that no one should value that person.



She clearly is referring to the men who victimized her. Why did they think that was okay? It's a question on two levels: on a small level, why did they think that was okay, and on a larger level, what is it about society that she encountered four different men at different stages of her life who felt entitled to victimize her?



And she explicitly addresses this when she acknowledges that the men in the audience may have felt blamed or attacked. "To the men in the room… who feel I may have been persecuting you this evening… well spotted. That’s pretty much what I’ve done there. But this is theater, fellas. I’ve given you an hour, a taste. I have lived a life. The damage done to me is real and debilitating."

I'd feel worse for the "enlightened" men who "don't need" this comedy if I felt like they did more about it. But no guy ever stops to say "Hey, wait. When I endorse this horror film by saying that the nudity is plentiful, I don't even need to specify that it's female nudity" or (as Gadsby points out) "Gosh, a lot of this art museum is nude women." Because the male expectation of access to the female body is a given in art, and the male gaze is so omnipresent that it's mentioned in only the most extreme of cases. And talk about separating the art from the artist is something I literally never hear from other women, only from men. It often feels like just another way that men choose to look past the abuse of women at the hands of powerful men. Guys rarely manage to cross even the lowest of bars, which is to hear someone talk about a trauma and simply say "I'm sorry that happened to you."

And to even express these thoughts is already exhausting because I almost never feel heard or seen. It always ends up being reduced to some weird semantic/"logical" argument, which seems like a convenient way of saying "Oh, we can't address your emotions right now because this is one of those objective discussions about art, blah, blah, blah." Part of why I like Gadsby's show is that she begins by acknowledging that she is a sensitive and emotional person and that those traits largely define her life experience. And she (rightly) calls out that being told to set aside emotions or sensitivity is juts a way of trying to silence someone.

I'm not saying that men aren't allies or don't try to support women. But, frankly, if men aren't going to be proactive problem solvers in terms of the way that society tolerates violence and exploitation of women, then why should Hannah Gadsby be at all sorry for making some men a bit sad/angry for an hour?
I didn't laugh at her. You didn't laugh at Joe Rogen. You specifically cited bad jokes. Go reread the extremely long rant (and by definition, it's a rant) and count the amount of jokes that are in it. Relative senses of humor aside, there's different goals afoot.

"And when you strip it back to its bare essential… components, like, its bare minimum, a joke is simply two things, it needs two things to work. A setup and a punch line. And it is essentially a question with a surprise answer. Right?" These are musings about comedy in general. They cast her entire rant in a broader context than you're giving it credit for. If there's only specificity to here taking about how stories are the cure for this problem, rather than jokes, then there's no real point to her telling it as it would only apply to her.

When she calls for the rejection of Picasso and cubism because he was a misogynist. She does not say "I'm going to" she says others should. That is in essence saying that only the works of those I agree with morally should be allowed to create art or at least have their art viewed and appreciated by others. It's limiting, short sighted and I don't subscribe to it.

If she were clearly asking the men who victimized her, she likely wouldn't have to put on such a non-apology qualifier at the end for making "good" men feel awkward.

I don't think she should have to apologize for her lecture anymore than I feel like I should have to apologize for disagreeing with statements and not finding much humor in the ordeal.

What response should I have had to it?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:10 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:34 am
I

EDIT: And the reason I usually don't even want to get into these discussions is that I'm now really upset, thinking about all the horrible crap I've had to deal with, the fear I've felt, the unwanted hands on my body, the legions of female friends who have suffered the same, and then the guy on the other end of the conversation ignores all that and tries to tell me why he shouldn't feel bad about watching Polanski films. If what Gadsby talked about didn't send some deep hurt inside of you ringing like a tuning fork, just feel lucky about that.
I'm sorry for any emotional discomfort and pain this discussion has brought about, Tak.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:23 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:52 am
I didn't laugh at her. You didn't laugh at Joe Rogen. You specifically cited bad jokes. Go reread the extremely long rant (and by definition, it's a rant) and count the amount of jokes that are in it. Relative senses of humor aside, there's different goals afoot.
Her piece (which just reread the transcript of in full) has plenty of jokes. Just because her goal was different doesn't make her show not comedy.
"And when you strip it back to its bare essential… components, like, its bare minimum, a joke is simply two things, it needs two things to work. A setup and a punch line. And it is essentially a question with a surprise answer. Right?" These are musings about comedy in general. They cast her entire rant in a broader context than you're giving it credit for. If there's only specificity to here taking about how stories are the cure for this problem, rather than jokes, then there's no real point to her telling it as it would only apply to her.
What you're leaving out of the above quote is the follow-up, where she says that jokes have a set up and a punchline, while stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. She's pointing out that in order to turn her experiences into jokes, she's had to excise certain parts of those experiences. She's reflecting on the fact that dealing with her experiences by turning them into jokes has warped the way that she deals with her own trauma because she's forced to deny more upsetting aspects (like being beaten up) in order to make them fit a certain rhythm. This observation might apply to other comedians, but I don't think she's arguing that it applies to all comedians or to comedy in general. Surely there are experiences which can be related as jokes without altering some fundamental truth of those experiences.
When she calls for the rejection of Picasso and cubism because he was a misogynist. She does not say "I'm going to" she says others should. That is in essence saying that only the works of those I agree with morally should be allowed to create art or at least have their art viewed and appreciated by others. It's limiting, short sighted and I don't subscribe to it.
He said, “Each time… I leave a woman, I should burn her. Destroy the woman, you destroy the past she represents.” Cool guy. The greatest artist of the twentieth century. Let’s make art great again, guys. Picasso fucked an underage girl. And that’s it for me. Not interested. “But cubism… We need it.” Marie-Thérèse Walter. She was 17 when they met. Underage. Legally underage. Picasso was 42, married, at the height of his career. Does it matter? Yeah. Yeah, it actually does. It does matter. But as Picasso said, no, it was perfect. I was in my prime, she was in her prime. I probably read that when I was 17. Do you know how grim that was? Oh, I’m in my prime! Oh, there is no view at my peak.

"And that's it FOR ME."

Questioning whether someone's talent merits overlooking their abusive behaviors is not a silly question. It's fine that you don't subscribe to it. But I do. And more broadly she's pointing out the way that artists are mythologized and packaged in a way that people don't have to feel bad about enjoying their art. She's pointing out that artists are largely the ones who get to reflect society back on itself through their art, and that it's worth questioning those reflections when they are almost exclusively created by men and also when they are created by men who hold problematic, misogynistic beliefs. When people talk about Polanski, they always lean on the word statutory, as if to really emphasize that the problem was just one of numbers. It's a convenient way of overlooking the fact that (1) his victim had taken drugs which would cloud even an adult's ability to give consent and (2) he forcibly performed an act on her that she did not want. So he managed to his the sexual assault hat trick, and yet people only even mention the part that's, like, a technicality. And also, back then, 14 year olds were like really mature. Isn't it funny how when we look at the past we can't decide if teenage girls were pure angels (as compared to the teens now) or basically adult women (when we want to be kind of okay with adults having sex with them)?
If she were clearly asking the men who victimized her, she likely wouldn't have to put on such a non-apology qualifier at the end for making "good" men feel awkward.
Again, she's asking both the men who attacked her AND the men (including the audience) who are part of a society that tolerates those actions.

Her apology is also getting ahead of the "not all men" argument. To me her language in the apology is sarcastic. I mean, "persecuted"?
I don't think she should have to apologize for her lecture anymore than I feel like I should have to apologize for disagreeing with statements and not finding much humor in the ordeal.
You don't have to apologize for not finding it funny or for disagreeing with it. But to say that not finding her funny = "this wasn't comedy" doesn't feel right to me.
What response should I have had to it?
I don't know. My response was to laugh, have a good cry, and reflect on my own experiences and to have the opportunity to discuss those experiences with several (male and female) friends.

I can't say how men should react to this piece of art, because my experience of it is very emotional and subjective. How did your female friends react to it?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by topherH » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:50 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:10 am
I'm sorry for any emotional discomfort and pain this discussion has brought about, Tak.
Why?
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
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:59 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:34 am
And to even express these thoughts is already exhausting because I almost never feel heard or seen. It always ends up being reduced to some weird semantic/"logical" argument, which seems like a convenient way of saying "Oh, we can't address your emotions right now because this is one of those objective discussions about art, blah, blah, blah." Part of why I like Gadsby's show is that she begins by acknowledging that she is a sensitive and emotional person and that those traits largely define her life experience. And she (rightly) calls out that being told to set aside emotions or sensitivity is juts a way of trying to silence someone.
You are one of the most engaged and respected posters on this site. If I were to make a point on the problems with demagoguery, or the demonstrable ways in which emotions can cloud rationality, I might point out that your feeling "never heard or seen" here as an example of a distortion of a reasonably ascertained fact. Now, I'm sentimental, so I don't buy any absolute separation of emotion and rationale, but I do like to specify and focus on the issue I've expressed (as opposed to the grab-bag of strawman povs that I haven't), and if I focus on specificity, your dismissing this as "logical" can also be just another way of trying to silence someone. I'm not diminishing or dismissing any of the feelings you've expressed here in any way other than to say that most of them don't address the point of mine which you quoted, being my "fundamental disagreement regarding the purpose of comedy".

I'm going to set aside the identity politics for an important reason: by citing "straight men", Gadsby forms an unfair portrait for the dynamic of abuse. The fact, clear on a cursory examination, is that most comedians, of all stripes, are damaged people in one way or another. Many straight men in comedy (Bruce, Pryor, Crimmins) have suffered traumatic abuse, sexual and emotional and corporeal. Gadsby is right about that: comedy is a survival tactic, a coping mechanism. My belief, citing the testimonies of many comedians, is that this is a positively constructive tactic, which is where Gadsby differs, ala our fundamental disagreement. There's sufficient examples of this in the portion you quoted: "This [comic/audience] is an abusive relationship", "I’d sealed it off into jokes like it was no big deal", "Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine. I don’t want to unite you with laughter or anger."

Without needing to go much further, these lay out most of the fundamentals of my disagreement: I do not see the comic/audience relationship as essentially abusive; I do not consider humor to be "no big deal"; I do consider laughter to be medicinal as a coping device and as an empathic vehicle; I do not see the incompatibility of "jokes" with storytelling; I do not buy this absolute equivalence between laughter and anger, as if these forces are equally "infectious tensions". I disagree strongly with these positions regardless of whether they are her personal opinon or broader proscriptions.

With the "no big thing" part, there's a lot of language used to tacitly devalue these implicitly trifling things called "jokes", as something to hide behind, as something that undermines truth. She debases it to Borscht Belt formula - set-up and punchline - effectively ignoring all of the formal innovations of the past half-century, including, yes, more storytelling-intensive formats. I, personally, under the best talent and conditions, find a great deal of truth in comedy, a great deal of dignity and courage in that truth. Not everyone, obviously, has the brilliance and vision to accomplish this feat, but enough have to say definitively that it isn't impossible to transmute a deeply painful experience into poignant humor. I found that Tig Notaro's going shirtless after her double mastectomy was more shocking, fearless and ultimately hilarious than Gadsby, and that's in no small way due to Notaro's refusal to disavow the triumphant joy in bringing a house down. Emotions are complex and complicated, and there's no easy dissection of pain, anger, laughter. The best comic art can successfuly distill these things into moral clarity without abandoning the catharsis of elation. "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan."

I respect the form of stand-up too much to give up on it. I guess Gadsby hasn't given up either, it seems, in spite of her Nanette declaration. If I'm guilty of this religion of laughter, so be it. I'm not convinced that being a straight white man has anything to do with it, as there're few other truly universal pleasures (food, music, etc).
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Wed Aug 28, 2019 1:20 pm

topherH wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:50 am
Why?
I took it to mean anyone who had the temerity to wade through the last page + of posts. Could be wrong though.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by crumbsroom » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:03 pm

Is Gadsby's reappraisal of how she has been using comedy in her past really that different from Pryor coming out against his use of the N word in his previous standup? I similarly don't see his about face as anymore against how other comedians tailor their act than Gadsby's. It was a personal revelation that affected their philosophy regarding comedy. Insulated but also confessional. As all really great comedy is, even if it sometimes veers away from simply making us laugh.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:39 pm

topherH wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:50 am
Why?
Why not?
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Takoma1
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:06 pm

crumbsroom wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:25 am
As for the complaints it gets, I don't really see Gadbsy as condemning humor as an agent as persecution as much as her explaining her complicated relationship with it. I don't see it as a call to arms for others to change their perspectives on what comedy is or isn't. She's just making sure she articulates where she now is in this argument.
I missed this response last night, but I agree. I think she's explaining a pretty specific and personal dynamic.
Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:59 am
I might point out that your feeling "never heard or seen" here as an example of a distortion of a reasonably ascertained fact.
What I specifically mean when I say that is that whenever I talk to men about difficult gender-based issues, it feels like they are 10% listening to what I'm saying and 90% composing a reply that's usually largely semantic in nature. I get that you can't debate emotions, but maybe listening to someone and making them feel heard is more important than winning an argument? I feel very heard in most discussions here, but then again most discussions here don't make people feel defensive.

I'm not saying you can't bring logic to a feelings fight, just that it might be nice to begin by acknowledging the validity of the other person's feelings before jumping into the debate side of things.
I'm going to set aside the identity politics for an important reason: by citing "straight men", Gadsby forms an unfair portrait for the dynamic of abuse.
She's telling a story about her experiences, and this is the demographic who have repeatedly victimized her and who she sees as perpetuating a culture that allows that abuse. Straight men don't have a total monopoly on abuse, but they do seem to be behind quite a lot of the physical and sexual violence that I and/or my acquaintances have experienced. And I don't think that she's just railing at straight men for the whole set. She's in conversation with her audience as a sounding board, and she acknowledges the straight men in the audience in particular because of the unusual dynamic of "presenting" to a group toward which she has some strong and negative emotions (like fear).

Gadsby believes that there is an unhealthy dynamic to using humor to cope with trauma. I feel that she's mostly speaking for herself, but I also think that generally speaking she's kind of on to something. Turning trauma into a joke can minimize it and hide the impact. And if someone is hearing a joke who doesn't understand the scope of the trauma, they might reasonably say "Well, how bad could it be if you're laughing and joking about it?".

I don't see her saying "This is why I must quit comedy" as being something that she actually means. I think that this show reflects someone who is going through a period of deep re-evaluation of the intersection between her art, her audience, and her truth.

Again: I don't mind if you don't think she's funny. And I don't mind if you disagree with every single opinion she holds about comedy and gender and art, etc. But I find it strange how many men I've heard express the opinion that "this isn't even comedy." It's her version of comedy. Why the need to deny her a seat at the table?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:25 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:06 pm
What I specifically mean when I say that is that whenever I talk to men about difficult gender-based issues, it feels like they are 10% listening to what I'm saying and 90% composing a reply that's usually largely semantic in nature. I get that you can't debate emotions, but maybe listening to someone and making them feel heard is more important than winning an argument? I feel very heard in most discussions here, but then again most discussions here don't make people feel defensive.
I listened to every word of your response, which is why I felt that it wasn't very relevant to the point I was making. That doesn't make your feelings invalid, it just makes me, imo, an inaccurate target for the "It's so frustrating to me to see a woman tell a story that men really need to hear and then to see so many men turn around and be like....", because the point I was making doesn't imply that I failed to hear her, but that I disagree with one aspect (a significant aspect though) in her act. I'm not tallying a score card here. I happen to strongly believe in the case I made, no doubt just as she feels about hers. I don't know why anyone should feel defensive over the proposition that comedy is ultimately liberating and empathic and happens to attract a lot of otherwise marginal voices. That Gadsby has successfully found a niche is about as ample evidence as anything else.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:06 pm
Turning trauma into a joke can minimize it and hide the impact. And if someone is hearing a joke who doesn't understand the scope of the trauma, they might reasonably say "Well, how bad could it be if you're laughing and joking about it?".
These are presumptions that I don't share, and they fit into the tendency I mentioned of minimizing the value of a "joke". I don't feel that humor necessarily minimizes or hides trauma. It can, because comedy is wholly dependent on context. The context of a joke can have a minimizing effect if constructed in a glib or dismissive manner, but this is a qualitative problem. When Richard Pryor makes jokes about jail rape and police brutality, the effect is not to brush off the seriousness of these issues but to shock people into recognizing them. This is material that no one would touch previously, and no one in his audience felt that these issues were any less important because he put the sting of wit and parody onto them. So much of the best comedy is in this kind of conveyance of personal trauma, and many of these comedians have been outsiders, misfits and the alienated. I don't feel that the complexity of their work should be judged by the scope of the most shallow audience member.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:06 pm
Again: I don't mind if you don't think she's funny. And I don't mind if you disagree with every single opinion she holds about comedy and gender and art, etc. But I find it strange how many men I've heard express the opinion that "this isn't even comedy." It's her version of comedy. Why the need to deny her a seat at the table?
I don't find her unfunny when she's trying to be funny. I pretty explicitly said, right off the bat, that I had no intention of denying her a seat at the table. I took issue with her characterization of how comedy abets abuse, and her general refrain of describing comedy as unworthy a vehicle for her truth. As I said, I'd consider several comedians who have been able to comedically express unfathomable (to me) trauma in such a way that's as worthy as any art. (Whether she finds art worthy is a question I'm not even interested in addressing.)

A couple of extra examples: her bit on "self-deprecating" humor is tone-deaf to me. All comics (including straight white men) use this humor not to humiliate themselves, but to disarm the more pedantic tendencies of the soapbox. I doubt it's a coincidence that my favorite material from the show was self-deprecating ("I identify as...tired" was probably my favorite). And she continued to use self-deprecating humor after claiming that she would not, perhaps as a reflex, but either way not in such a way that I would find to be immolating. When you have the microphone and the rapt attention of hundreds of people, the tendency is to deflate the sails a little, especially among the more self-aware speakers.

"Comedy? Lowbrow. Well, I’m sorry to inform you, but nobody here is leaving this room a better person. We’re just rolling around in our own shit here, people."

Is that not a self-deprecating thing to say, as a comedian? To demean the purpose of your vocation in such a way? Maybe she believes it. Maybe she doesn't really value comedy as more than a scatological indulgence. Maybe I should believe the words I'm listening to are her sincere opinion.

And I fundamentally disagree with this assessment of the value of comedy. I can think of a dozen comedians whose work I honestly believe has made my life a little bit better than without them. She's "informing" me as if she knows better. I doubt she does, not on this point anyway. So combine this barely concealed contempt for the form with her abandonment of comedy in the final third (not my opinion, she announces there will be no more comedy), and I don't think it's an unreasonable question to ask if she's in a profession that she belongs. But I don't bother to ask, and I accept this as a sheer performance, closer to a one-woman show (to which this is hardly out of step), but calling it something different than comedy doesn't make it less valuable than comedy. Probably more valuable if you don't happen to value comedy. Can you see, at least, an incongruency to these sentiments?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:53 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:25 am
I don't feel that humor necessarily minimizes or hides trauma. It can, because comedy is wholly dependent on context. . . . I took issue with her characterization of how comedy abets abuse, and her general refrain of describing comedy as unworthy a vehicle for her truth.
Again, I see her talking about HER comedy, and the way that HER construction of jokes has had a negative impact on her. That by restructuring experiences into jokes (which require certain beats), she feels she has done herself damage. I don't see the target as being Comedy, but rather her specific work as a comedian and the mindset it has necessitated for her.

You say that self-deprecation is a common comedic act, and I agree! But part of the point that she's making is that self-deprecation is a little different when practiced by someone who has already internalized a lot of self-loathing. She's pretty clear about the fact that as a child/teen she internalized a lot of homophobia, and it worries her that self-deprecation may actually be harmful for her. Again, I see this as being something she's explaining about herself, not everyone.
"Comedy? Lowbrow. Well, I’m sorry to inform you, but nobody here is leaving this room a better person. We’re just rolling around in our own shit here, people."

Is that not a self-deprecating thing to say, as a comedian? To demean the purpose of your vocation in such a way? Maybe she believes it. Maybe she doesn't really value comedy as more than a scatological indulgence. Maybe I should believe the words I'm listening to are her sincere opinion.
She says this right after talking about how she'll never be able to use her knowledge of art history because she doesn't "belong" in the "highbrow" world of art. Her point of view that her comedy is essentially wallowing in her own self-hatred in the guise of jokes is pretty consistent throughout the whole set. She can "honestly" say horrible things about herself as jokes, but in order to say bad things about the men who hurt her she has to neutralize them to make them palatable for the rhythm of a joke. I know you disagree but I think that these are her honest opinions about her own comedy.

I think that it is both comedy and about comedy. The incongruity of her comedy causing her pain and unresolved trauma while at the same time being her primary coping mechanism for trauma is rough, but not incongruous. Again: I really do not read this special as an indictment of comedy as a whole or of other comedians. She says "No one's leaving this room a better person", where she could have easily said "No one leaves a comedy show a better person."
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:16 am

Huh. I should watch this thing.
NOTE:
The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Stu » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:25 am

Image

There are days that define your story beyond your life.

Time; it's one of the concepts that defines the very nature of reality itself, and one that varies so wildly from one person to another, as, what can be the happiest day in someone's entire life can simultaneously be the worst ever for someone else, but it's also one of the most rigid, unyielding things in existence at the same time. I mean, just think about it; no matter how rich or poor you are, or how powerful or insignificant or whatever other individual traits a person possesses, no one in the history of the human race has ever had any amount of control over the nature of time, as it's a river that only ever flows forward in the same one direction, washing away everyone and thing in its ceaseless tide, and no matter how wonderful or how much emotional power a moment may hold for you, once it's gone, it's gone forever, its fleeting existence swept away by that merciless river. It's an absolutely humbling concept to contemplate, but one that Denis Villeneuve's Arrival dares to challenge by asking "What if that river... didn't have to flow in one direction?", a question that has earth-shaking repercussions for both its characters and for us as viewers, as the film shatters both our emotions and our perceptions of reality at the same time, with its tale of human fragility that is forever transformed by visitors from far beyond the stars.

It tells the story of Louise Banks, an expert linguist who is struggling to recover from the recent death of her daughter, until she's snapped out of her daily stupor by the titular "arrival" of 12 alien space craft spread out all over the world, an event which leads the government to recruit Banks to use her considerable knowledge in the field of language in order to devise a way to communicate with the reclusive, foreboding extraterrestrials, and answer the question the whole world is hastily racing to answer: "Why are they here?". However, as Louise gradually learns their intimidatingly complex language, her awareness of the world around her slowly begins to transform, a change which not only radically alters Banks on a personal level, but our perception of the film itself, as what we thought we knew about this story is irrevocably changed, and Villeneuve uses our linear experience of time against us in a brilliant creative decision that I'm loathe to go into any further detail about in fears of spoiling Arrival any further, and ruining the aspect that best distinguishes the film, and has left it lingering so strongly in my head since the first time I so vividly experienced it, as, like some of the best Sci-Fi, Arrival is a film bursting at the seams with absolutely endless possibilities and big, bold, thought-provoking IDEAS, while also always respecting our intelligence, and refusing to over-explain or hold our hands through its uniquely, beautifully-fractured plot.

Not that the story machinations are the only thing I love about Arrival, mind you, as another aspect that stands out is the positive twist it places on the familiar, time-worn narrative of aliens invading Earth, as, instead of these "invaders" seeking to mindlessly destroy or conquer humanity like so many other works in this genre, the aliens in Arrival instead peacefully visit the planet in order to teach us in various ways, not only how to communicate in their insanely complicated language of ornate circles, but also to get the various, distrusting nations of the world to cooperate in the process, affirming humanity's ability to cross artificial lines such as language and arbitrary national borders, and put aside our petty, meaningless differences for the good of all mankind. Unfortunately, not every nation reacts as peacefully as it should, but that's to be expected given the history of our species, and I have to admire the fundamentally down-to-Earth (no pun intended) approach Arrival takes to its central premise, as it refuses to become overly America-centric and lose sight of the big geo-political picture amidst its mostly single location-bound narrative, as it takes an undeniably plausible look at how the various nations of the Earth would likely react to this scenario, and the film plays a bit like a thinking man's version of Independence Day (a particularly apt bit of irony, seeing as how Arrival was released the same year as a mostly irrelevant sequel to that film), as it contrasts alien invasion films of the past with a more thoughtful take on a “first contact” scenario, a fundamentally optimistic, forward-looking one, which succeeds in making you feel like there's hope for the future of the human race, if we could all just start working together as a species for once.

Finally, Arrival excels as a fundamentally overwhelming experience, in both a sensory sense as well as an emotional one, as it takes a cold, sometimes outright menacing tone that perfectly captures the terrifying beauty of making first contact, whether it be the grey, sterile, manmade environments that seem just as "alien" as the ones that were actually built by aliens, Jóhann Jóhannsson's foreboding, avant garde score, or the sight of the massive, oval-shaped craft eclipsing the Montana landscape like the black monolith in a certain other Sci-Fi film, and balances that coldness with a strong emotional warmth, as the film's slow pacing and initially detached, subdued style eventually gives way as the characters are forever changed by the world-shattering revelations brought about by their experiences, and their inner emotional barriers are completely demolished in the process. And, as Max Richter's beautiful composition "On The Nature Of Daylight" begins to play at the end, Arrival achieves the miracle of touching our hearts just as much as it's stimulated our minds, as we catch fleeting glimpses of intimate, defining moments in the characters' lives, past, present, and future all blending together into an absolutely overwhelming, heartbreaking kaleidoscope of imagery and emotion, one that I will never, ever forget; they have arrived, indeed.

Favorite Moment:
Final Score: 9
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Wooley » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:15 am

Stu wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:25 am
Image

There are days that define your story beyond your life.
Really nice write-up.
It is a haunting film, I've only seen it once, but it has stayed with me. Aside from the emotional impact of it, the way the protagonists' journey is actually altered in a way that makes us see not only her journey but the nature of journey differently as the film progresses and ultimately concludes is a really beautiful piece of storytelling.
As an aside, where you compare this film to the way others have approached the arrival of aliens to Earth, I really would like to see Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End put up on the screen by a director worthy of the material. If you liked Arrival this much and haven't read it, I recommend it to you.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:16 pm

However much I was expecting to like Arrival, I loved it much more than that. To me it was a perfect blend of interesting sci-fi concepts and a compelling human story. Between this and Annihilation (which I watched shortly after), it was a good little run of existential/character-driven sci-fi.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:31 pm

m'yeah I'm gonna have to see this Chappelle special as well. I am a bit biased, I enjoyed his Comedy Central show a lot. right now I'm gonna go into it assuming that his Michael Jackson bit is in this vein

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/5uemlz/ch ... uncensored

but since I like him, I'm worried he will disappoint me and then if he disappoints me that could mean I'm part of the Cancel Culture SJW Snowflake Mob......maybe.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Wooley » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:39 pm

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:31 pm
m'yeah I'm gonna have to see this Chappelle special as well. I am a bit biased, I enjoyed his Comedy Central show a lot. right now I'm gonna go into it assuming that his Michael Jackson bit is in this vein

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/5uemlz/ch ... uncensored

but since I like him, I'm worried he will disappoint me and then if he disappoints me that could mean I'm part of the Cancel Culture SJW Snowflake Mob......maybe.
I think it is still possible to be an SJW and have a sense of humor and take things with a grain of salt. I call it "being empathetic but also being a grown-up".
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:08 pm

I'll also hop aboard the Arrival is a great film train. It's one of those films which demands to be rewatched. It's such an emotionally powerful and heartbreaking take on the alien film genre. So devastating, so thought provoking. I'm almost tempted to revisit it again.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Thief » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:14 pm

I wasn't a huge fan of Arrival. I'll say that the whole first act, particularly the leadup to the characters entering the spaceship for the first time, was incredibly tense and perfectly directed/acted. But for some reason, it lost me towards the last act. Something about the whole logistics of how things are connected and presented just didn't fully work for me. Overall, I liked it, but it's on my Villeneuve middle-to-bottom tier.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:24 pm

Did anyone else watch Chapelle's Equanimity + The Bird Revelation? If I'm remembering it correctly the first was closer to his usual stand up gigs but the second was him mostly sitting on a stool and talking seriously about all the weird shit happening the last couple of years. Not many laughs to be had. He made some really trenchant and astute observations but ... I don't think people lay out money to specifically hear truth bombs. At least not exclusively. If you go see a comic they should make you laugh. Otherwise you have a right to be pissed and to feel cheated.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by DaMU » Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:55 pm

Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:14 pm
I wasn't a huge fan of Arrival. I'll say that the whole first act, particularly the leadup to the characters entering the spaceship for the first time, was incredibly tense and perfectly directed/acted. But for some reason, it lost me towards the last act. Something about the whole logistics of how things are connected and presented just didn't fully work for me. Overall, I liked it, but it's on my Villeneuve middle-to-bottom tier.
Same. I thought the flick was at its best as an exploration of language and less interesting the more it got into
its timey-wimey wobbliness.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:03 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:53 am
Again, I see her talking about HER comedy, and the way that HER construction of jokes has had a negative impact on her. That by restructuring experiences into jokes (which require certain beats), she feels she has done herself damage. I don't see the target as being Comedy, but rather her specific work as a comedian and the mindset it has necessitated for her.
You may be right, I'll have to review the special to see the specific languange. But I remember it sounding a lot more broad than that, an indictment of the formula of comedy as another tool to control the narrative. And while, I admit, this may be true under strict circumstances, my position, by examples, has been that it has been more substantially the opposite: that comedy has more frequently been an agent of dissolving the status quo than in reinforcing it. It seems, by logical extension, that Gadsby's point was that in order to circumvent this tool of subjugation is to discard it altogether, hence the abandonment of comedy in the final act.


Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:53 am
You say that self-deprecation is a common comedic act, and I agree! But part of the point that she's making is that self-deprecation is a little different when practiced by someone who has already internalized a lot of self-loathing. She's pretty clear about the fact that as a child/teen she internalized a lot of homophobia, and it worries her that self-deprecation may actually be harmful for her. Again, I see this as being something she's explaining about herself, not everyone.
But as I pointed out, this kind of self-deprecation has still proven effective (as in, not self-humilating) when comedians have internalized different forms of oppression, ala "presentation" - Jews to Gentiles, blacks to whites, gays to straight, etc. Lenny Bruce's self-deprecation (about his very typical nebbish neurosis) did not hinder the acceptance of Jews into culture; Pryor's self-deprecation (raised in a brothel) did not dilute the impact of his civil pride. Both are examples of exorcising self-loathing and internalized oppression. And again, it's fine if Gadsby intended these opinions to be exculsive to herself, but I took it as more universally applied. And, while I acknowledge the sin of transference, I can't help but note that a number of Gadsby's reviews and commentators have interpreted her pronouncements as general indictments, rather than strictly personal, as well.


Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:53 am
She says this right after talking about how she'll never be able to use her knowledge of art history because she doesn't "belong" in the "highbrow" world of art.
Yes, I doubt that it's a coincidence that her comments on comedy are in the context of her identical condemnation of western culture in general. Instead, i think many people drew the inference that, as western culture represents the subjugation of marginal voices by the elite straight white males, then comedy, as a cultural apparatus, is identically incriminated. Even worse perhaps. If "art" is bullshit, then imagine what degree of excrement something as beneath that as entertainment must be. (I'm not above making similarly speculative aspersions on how her failure in an art history career has influenced this sour perspective.)


Takoma1 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:53 am
Her point of view that her comedy is essentially wallowing in her own self-hatred in the guise of jokes is pretty consistent throughout the whole set. She can "honestly" say horrible things about herself as jokes, but in order to say bad things about the men who hurt her she has to neutralize them to make them palatable for the rhythm of a joke. I know you disagree but I think that these are her honest opinions about her own comedy.
I disagree only by example. And, as irritating as it is to use the same references, Lenny Bruce did not "neutralize" his enemies (primarily the Catholic Church and the police) by his rhythmic mockery, nor did Pryor neutralize his oppressors (both institutionally and intimately) by turning them into stock characters in his gallery of idiocy.

And, to the previous point, I don't feel that I'm being insensitive to suggest, through these admissions of inadequecy, that Gadsby perhaps requires another format to satisfy these unresolved feelings and experiences. I'm not saying that she isn't good enough for comedy. By her own admission, comedy may not be good enough for her own narrative requirements. By disagreeing with her assessment of comedy's virtues andd limitations, I'm not saying that she's unentitled to sharing her voice in whatever way will satisfy her. I'm sure I will watch whatever new special she releases. I hope it's funny.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:34 am

Oxnard Montalvo wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:31 pm
but since I like him, I'm worried he will disappoint me and then if he disappoints me that could mean I'm part of the Cancel Culture SJW Snowflake Mob......maybe.
That's probably not the best choice of outcome.

Chappelle has a kind of magic in being both sensually funny - he is a true musician of comedy, with about as magnetic a control of audience rhythm as I've ever seen - and intellectually sharp. The former usually overshadows the latter. I think that as popular as Chappelle is, he is still underrated as a truly subversive artist. Chappelle definitely provokes SJW buttons in this new special, but his point, which should be obvious standing a few feet back from it, is not to undermine the mission of social progress. Instead, Chappelle's target is towards the phenomenon of outrage addiction, and I think he marvelously, not so explicitly, shows how the latter is counterproductive to the cause. The dogmatic misunderstanding of his prior "transphobia" shows the problem. Chappelle has been as clear as comprehensibly possible that he supports the dignity of transpeoples. His beef was with the online excoriation of otherwise willingly inclined allies simply on the basis of semantic faux pas. Treating "woke" language like shibboleths and litmus tests has caused a lot of otherwise sensible people to avoid and disdain this online feeding chorus. Chappelle is criticizing this mercilessness, which is quite a separate issue (and somewhat ironic in the sense of intolerent piety) from that of supporting the real-world rights and comforts of transpeople.

I find Chappelle to be an extremely empathetic comedian, although in such a way that may not be apparent on a surface reading. I appreciate that his routines allow a great deal of understanding to seal up the context. One of the most powerful pieces in his set involves the, largely white working class, opiate epidemic. On a surface reading, the bit can seem very cruel. A lot of Chappelle's malice is only designated facetious through his litany of non-verbal cues. But ultimately, the point of the scorn of the piece is very clearly on drawing the hypocrisy of comparing the prerequisite pity aroused by one epidemic compared to another (the 80s crack epidemic). Chappelle's material frequently revolves like this, stringing his issues into parallel and often unflattering vantage. As such, taken as a whole after the fact, Chappelle has constructed some of the most effecively empathethic comedy, showing truly universal concerns among differing people, than anyone I know currently working. The effortlessness is only matched by this subtlety. And, for those with eyes who cannot see, there's still plenty of surface laughs to enjoy without spark of incision.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:48 am

Patrick McGroin wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:24 pm
Did anyone else watch Chapelle's Equanimity + The Bird Revelation? If I'm remembering it correctly the first was closer to his usual stand up gigs but the second was him mostly sitting on a stool and talking seriously about all the weird shit happening the last couple of years. Not many laughs to be had. He made some really trenchant and astute observations but ... I don't think people lay out money to specifically hear truth bombs. At least not exclusively. If you go see a comic they should make you laugh. Otherwise you have a right to be pissed and to feel cheated.
I enjoyed it almost precisely because of the intimacy of it. Small room, late night vibe. And I also thought it was very funny, but in a different way than you'd expect from a stadium theater show. I am definitely intrigued by his extended citation of the Iceberg Slim story (roughly identical to the Godfather II senator with the hooker scenario), and will be eagerly awaiting the remaining unknown details about the incident in which he is referring - quite obviously relating to his fallout with Comedy Central. Chappelle is obviously, ostensibly, free from any contractual obligations now, finally, but he still has been very coy about revealing what actually happened. We know he left. We know that Comedy Central issued press releases to say he was on crack and in a mental asylum in Africa. We know that the latter is utter, and calculated, bullshit. And we know that Chappelle is too scared to press the issue now that he's contractually free to. But at least, in that special, he gives us a small, vague insight into why that is.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:15 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:03 am
Lenny Bruce's self-deprecation (about his very typical nebbish neurosis) did not hinder the acceptance of Jews into culture; Pryor's self-deprecation (raised in a brothel) did not dilute the impact of his civil pride. Both are examples of exorcising self-loathing and internalized oppression.
I think that Gadsby is actually correct that self-deprecation is a tricky thing. On the one hand, it does put you in control of how you are being spoken of. But there's the famous (or maybe just famous on posters in elementary schools?) saying "Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character." I also think that there's the danger of normalizing talking negatively about people because of their gender/race/sexuality/background because there will be people who, through hidden-malice or genuine ignorance, will argue, "But if he/she can say that, why can't I?"
I disagree only by example. And, as irritating as it is to use the same references, Lenny Bruce did not "neutralize" his enemies (primarily the Catholic Church and the police) by his rhythmic mockery, nor did Pryor neutralize his oppressors (both institutionally and intimately) by turning them into stock characters in his gallery of idiocy.
Gadsby is arguing that the alteration necessary to tell the story as a joke (ie ending with simply the man realizing she is a woman) makes him seem like a harmless/ignorant buffoon. By leaving out his physical assault on her, the audience is unable to appreciate the full scope of the threat he represents. Again, I think that comedians are able to walk this line sometimes (as when Trevor Noah talks about the step-father who shot his mother in the head), but I take her point that there's a danger of leaving out details to make a joke flow better which undercuts the troubling truth of her actual full experience. Also, she's been pretty open recently about having been diagnosed with autism, and I think that makes a lot of sense with the dissonance she describes feeling between the "joke version" and the "real version" of her experience.

I also think that comedy is more of a place holder for the status quo than you're portraying. For one, there's a lot of homophobia and sexism that drives a lot of comedians. People on the leading edge of comedy might be moving dialogue forward, but there are plenty of others who are happy to just roll around in time-tested stereotypes. And secondly, I know a woman who is a pretty successful comedian in her state and has done some tours and headlined some shows. There is no shortage of racism and active sexual harassment/predation among especially the male comedians. This includes a man who several women on one tour figured out was repeatedly offering to walk women back to their hotel rooms after the shows, but then literally pushing his way into their rooms, banking on them being too uncomfortable to tell him to leave. At one event she told a male comedian that she was "with the tour" to which he responded "Oh, does your husband do stand up?".

Finally, I'd consider this (short) piece of stand-up in which she quite amusingly (in my opinion) turns around a horrible piece of misogyny, including someone else joking about her being sexually assaulted. I think that Nanette was a piece of deep exploration about her relationship with comedy and I'm really interested to see what she does next.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:05 pm

So Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale finally found its way to my town, and I need one of you to watch it and tell me how I feel about it. My hot take is that this is a "better" movie than The Babadook, but I'm not completely clear about what Kent was going for even after watching some interviews. I really can't say anything without spoilers so I'm hoping some of you get to see it soon.

Fair warning that the first 20 minutes or so are brutally unpleasant, like holy crap.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:39 pm

Captain Terror wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:05 pm
So Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale finally found its way to my town, and I need one of you to watch it and tell me how I feel about it. My hot take is that this is a "better" movie than The Babadook, but I'm not completely clear about what Kent was going for even after watching some interviews. I really can't say anything without spoilers so I'm hoping some of you get to see it soon.

Fair warning that the first 20 minutes or so are brutally unpleasant, like holy crap.
This is the Western, yes?

I read a really positive review of it, but it sounded like the content would be way too much for me to handle.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:07 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:39 pm
it sounded like the content would be way too much for me to handle.
I was ready to tap out for a minute there. Literally sitting in the theater thinking that I was potentially ruining my long holiday weekend. The film is over 2 hours, so thankfully the unrelenting grimness of the opening isn't sustained for the duration, but wow. I'll let you decide what's too much, but I definitely wouldn't begrudge anyone for avoiding it. Although it's your fault that I watched In a Glass Cage, so maybe you owe me. :P

And yes, this is the period piece set in 19th Century Australia.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:57 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:07 am
Although it's your fault that I watched In a Glass Cage, so maybe you owe me. :P
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sat Aug 31, 2019 3:34 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:34 am
That's probably not the best choice of outcome.
nope.

I'll keep your words in mind when I watch the special. although, assuming I have the same reaction you do, it's still troublesome to see him championed by the sorts of people who are genuinely discriminatory. that's not something I think I should blame for Chappelle for though, even if it colors my enjoyment somewhat (regardless if it should).
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:03 am

Just a general heads up that Starred Up was just added to Netflix. I really think it's worth checking out.

Anyone have thoughts on Body at Brighton Rock? It just got added to Hulu. All I've read is one good review and then one person saying they thought it was boring. I'd love a more detailed take from anyone who's watched it.

And finally: I've seen the 20s and 40s versions of A Thief of Bagdad (and loved both), but was not aware of a 1978 version. At all worth checking out, or no?
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:21 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:03 am

Anyone have thoughts on Body at Brighton Rock? It just got added to Hulu. All I've read is one good review and then one person saying they thought it was boring. I'd love a more detailed take from anyone who's watched it.
This one can go either way. I enjoyed it, but I'm easy to please. It works as a lost-in-the-woods movie and although it's got a lot of problems, it won me over anyway. If you're easily frustrated by characters making their own lives harder (like a State Park employee losing her map in the middle of the woods), then this might annoy you. Also, there's a plot development late in the film that you'll either think is fun or stupid. (It's actually both, but I was into it.) Expect nothing more than a fun diversion and you might like it.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:42 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:21 am
This one can go either way. I enjoyed it, but I'm easy to please. It works as a lost-in-the-woods movie and although it's got a lot of problems, it won me over anyway. If you're easily frustrated by characters making their own lives harder (like a State Park employee losing her map in the middle of the woods), then this might annoy you. Also, there's a plot development late in the film that you'll either think is fun or stupid. (It's actually both, but I was into it.) Expect nothing more than a fun diversion and you might like it.
Fair enough.

The person who was complaining seemed to have been under the impression that this was more action/horror. It sounds more like low-key-horror/drama/survival?

Then again, you liked Bokeh so that always counts against you. :heart:
The heart is just to say that I still love you, even if you liked Bokeh. Nobody's perfect.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:50 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:42 am
Fair enough.

The person who was complaining seemed to have been under the impression that this was more action/horror. It sounds more like low-key-horror/drama/survival?

Then again, you liked Bokeh so that always counts against you. :heart:
The heart is just to say that I still love you, even if you liked Bokeh. Nobody's perfect.
Yes, I'd say it's more survival with light horror elements, but you can actually throw "comedy" into the mix as well. It doesn't take itself very seriously which helps some of the dumb stuff go down easier. And while the main character occasionally acts like a bonehead, it's established from the very beginning that she's not the best at her job, which is why I was less annoyed with her than if she was just conveniently losing things as a plot device. In fact I found her endearing.
Again, not perfect but I would disagree with the person that said it's boring.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:22 am

Le Amiche (1955) - 8/10

This is essential viewing for all Antonioni fans, partly for how it shows the development of his unique framing style (which is conveyed particularly well in the beach scene) that he would go on to perfect with L'Avventura. His placement of the characters relative to the environment is truly expressive and unique in the way that emotion and suspense shine quite thoroughly through them. Instead of being a mystery, the film is mostly a drama concerning the lives of the five women who lie at the heart of the film, one where it's easy to get caught up in their differing personalities and behaviors and how they effect each other, particularly the troubled Rosetta. Whatever sympathy some characters show to her is pushed aside when other characters are present, giving the film a consistent feeling of devastation conveyed throughout. With the ending,
it looked like Carlo noticed Clelia on the train. I'm assuming the reason he didn't go up to her was supposed to be because he was too agitated to speak to her, but he went all the way to the station to begin with, so I don't know why he chose to stop right at the last second. I think Antonioni may have made that scene a bit more depressing than it needed to be, but whatever. It doesn't effect my opinion of the film that much.
Overall, check this one out if you haven't yet.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Torgo » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:01 pm

Fatal Future is a very funny satire of the films of Neil Breen (Double Down, Fateful Findings, etc.) It pokes fun at pretty much everything worth making fun of in Breen's movies, including the blank laptops, his Double Down character's ridiculous resume, the corporate paranoia, the terribly flat acting, the unnecessary nudity, etc. I highly recommend at least watching Double Down first because if you're unfamiliar with Breen's style, you won't get all the jokes.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:26 am

:?
Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:15 pm
I think that Gadsby is actually correct that self-deprecation is a tricky thing. On the one hand, it does put you in control of how you are being spoken of. But there's the famous (or maybe just famous on posters in elementary schools?) saying "Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character." I also think that there's the danger of normalizing talking negatively about people because of their gender/race/sexuality/background because there will be people who, through hidden-malice or genuine ignorance, will argue, "But if he/she can say that, why can't I?"
I don't see this as being substantially different from the examples I've mentioned. There's the obvious long-standing controversy among (malicious and ignorant) people who think that humor involving internally derogatory language (the n-word, for example, or the recent example of the NYT writer Tom Wright-Piersanti's overly familiar use of casual anti-Semitism) should give them a right to engage in it as well. These arguments are thankfully rarely entertained as anything other than malicious and ignorant. However, I wouldn't say this is the fault of black and Jewish comedians for using this language. I think it's far more likely that such committed malice and ignorance will find any convenient excuse, and, as with all comic discussions, remains entirely predicated on the specific context of the material. It's not an ideal situation for creative people to inhibit their work due to these bad faith actors seeking to take advantage.


Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:15 pm
Gadsby is arguing that the alteration necessary to tell the story as a joke (ie ending with simply the man realizing she is a woman) makes him seem like a harmless/ignorant buffoon. By leaving out his physical assault on her, the audience is unable to appreciate the full scope of the threat he represents. Again, I think that comedians are able to walk this line sometimes (as when Trevor Noah talks about the step-father who shot his mother in the head), but I take her point that there's a danger of leaving out details to make a joke flow better which undercuts the troubling truth of her actual full experience. Also, she's been pretty open recently about having been diagnosed with autism, and I think that makes a lot of sense with the dissonance she describes feeling between the "joke version" and the "real version" of her experience.
The question of necessity is misleading here. It isn't unnecessary for Gadsby to eliminate these details or to avoid the darker aspects of the incident. I understand how it's extremely unpleasant to expose such vulnerability (although Gadsby effectively did expose herself anyway) and very difficult to construct such humor that "walks the line", as you say. Like Pryor doing a bit about being beaten by his father. It's almost too rare an air to expect most comics to succeed at attempting comedy that "bleeds". All I'm saying is that it isn't impossible to do this. The comedy format has allowed such frank material before.


Takoma1 wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:15 pm
I also think that comedy is more of a place holder for the status quo than you're portraying. For one, there's a lot of homophobia and sexism that drives a lot of comedians. People on the leading edge of comedy might be moving dialogue forward, but there are plenty of others who are happy to just roll around in time-tested stereotypes.
Yes, there are plenty of shitty and cowardly comics. My objection is more about the potential in the stand-up form, which, yes, I tend to judge based on the more excellent examples than on the mundane ones. I don't believe that "comedy" is the problem.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:11 am

Captain Terror wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:50 am
Yes, I'd say it's more survival with light horror elements, but you can actually throw "comedy" into the mix as well. It doesn't take itself very seriously which helps some of the dumb stuff go down easier. And while the main character occasionally acts like a bonehead, it's established from the very beginning that she's not the best at her job, which is why I was less annoyed with her than if she was just conveniently losing things as a plot device. In fact I found her endearing.
Again, not perfect but I would disagree with the person that said it's boring.
I just finished this one and really enjoyed it! Thank you for steering me toward it and adjusting my expectations.

As you said, making the character kind of a screw-up (and not just that, but also someone who is really out of her depth in a dangerous situation) help to take the sting out of any bad decisions (including that one *really* bad decision).

Also, I kind of loved the
supernatural element at the end. In a way it was kind of sweet.

EDIT: And the scene with the
body coming back to life
really scared me!
Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:26 am
I don't see this as being substantially different from the examples I've mentioned. It's not an ideal situation for creative people to inhibit their work due to these bad faith actors seeking to take advantage.
I see Gadsby's main concern being what self-deprecation does to her, not how other people will take it. And on that level I totally understand what she's getting at. Negative self-talk can be very damaging to a person and she's reflecting on how that regular negative self-talk has become a part of her comedy.
The question of necessity is misleading here. It isn't unnecessary for Gadsby to eliminate these details or to avoid the darker aspects of the incident. I understand how it's extremely unpleasant to expose such vulnerability (although Gadsby effectively did expose herself anyway) and very difficult to construct such humor that "walks the line", as you say. Like Pryor doing a bit about being beaten by his father. It's almost too rare an air to expect most comics to succeed at attempting comedy that "bleeds". All I'm saying is that it isn't impossible to do this. The comedy format has allowed such frank material before.
I believe that part of Gadsby's point is that she's "cauterized" her traumas by turning them into jokes and that part of her process of doing that was to reconstruct those stories to make them more palatable--both to herself and to her audience--by removing upsetting details.

I prefer to see Nanette as a moment of evolution for Gadsby. She is acknowledging elements of her comedy that she believes are unhealthy for herself and for her audience. She obviously did not quit. I'm very interested to see the next version of her work--and it may be that she moves toward something like what Pryor was able to achieve. This is why I really don't read Gadsby as just generally slamming comedy. I think that she is mostly talking very specifically about her process and a conflict between the truth of her life and how she has reshaped the stories of her life to fit a comedy format. Again--I'm interested to see where she goes from here.
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Patrick McGroin
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Patrick McGroin » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:35 am

Torgo wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:01 pm
Fatal Future is a very funny satire of the films of Neil Breen (Double Down, Fateful Findings, etc.) It pokes fun at pretty much everything worth making fun of in Breen's movies, including the blank laptops, his Double Down character's ridiculous resume, the corporate paranoia, the terribly flat acting, the unnecessary nudity, etc. I highly recommend at least watching Double Down first because if you're unfamiliar with Breen's style, you won't get all the jokes.
I can't make it through more than a couple of minutes of any Breen youtube video. The guy is a delightful train wreck and all so maybe actually trying a movie would be different. But he comes off like one long extended SNL skit where the crux is readily apparent and there's not much left to be uncovered after the initial introduction.
My heart is still and awaits its hour.
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Captain Terror
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by Captain Terror » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:25 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:11 am
I just finished this one and really enjoyed it! Thank you for steering me toward it and adjusting my expectations.

As you said, making the character kind of a screw-up (and not just that, but also someone who is really out of her depth in a dangerous situation) help to take the sting out of any bad decisions (including that one *really* bad decision).

Also, I kind of loved the
supernatural element at the end. In a way it was kind of sweet.
Yay, I'm glad. I had to be careful with my praise, as Letterboxd is full of 1-star reviews that are some variation of "OMG this girl is sooo stoopid!" Also I have to remind myself that not everyone shares my opinion that
every story is improved by adding a ghost.
So I thought that bit at the end might be a deal-breaker for some.
But yeah, I like a good lost in the woods movie, I thought the moments of tension were well-done (like when the friend doesn't recognize the selfie), and I was pulling for her to succeed.

There was a fun feature on the DVD regarding the bear. Apparently it was the most docile and lovable creature ever so they had to get creative with the editing, and digitally alter its facial expressions, in order to make it look at all menacing. It was simultaneously giant and terrifying but also adorable.
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Stu
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Stu » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:29 am

Wooley wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:15 am
Really nice write-up.
It is a haunting film, I've only seen it once, but it has stayed with me. Aside from the emotional impact of it, the way the protagonists' journey is actually altered in a way that makes us see not only her journey but the nature of journey differently as the film progresses and ultimately concludes is a really beautiful piece of storytelling.
As an aside, where you compare this film to the way others have approached the arrival of aliens to Earth, I really would like to see Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End put up on the screen by a director worthy of the material. If you liked Arrival this much and haven't read it, I recommend it to you.
Thanks, Wool! And thanks for the recommendation as well; I haven't read Childhood's End yet, but I have heard a little bit about its central premise, and it sounds incredibly fucking wild, and I've been meaning to get a new book soon for the occasional day-off-work read, so I just might get me a copy of it soon.
Thief wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:14 pm
I wasn't a huge fan of Arrival. I'll say that the whole first act, particularly the leadup to the characters entering the spaceship for the first time, was incredibly tense and perfectly directed/acted. But for some reason, it lost me towards the last act. Something about the whole logistics of how things are connected and presented just didn't fully work for me. Overall, I liked it, but it's on my Villeneuve middle-to-bottom tier.
I suppose my biggest complaint with the film's mucking about with its chronology, something that I only just noticed upon rewatch, was that Villeneuve tipped his hand a bit too early on that the
"memories" Louise was experiencing weren't really in the past,
a revelation that he should've held back on more, but besides that, I felt the film as a whole was pretty damn brilliant, and the best thing I've seen from Villeneuve so far... not that I've seen that much, mind you, but I have seen his last 3 films, and I definitely prefer Arrival to something like the undistinguished Sicario, a film that I still don't get why people liked as much as they did, as, besides the extradition sequence through Juárez, I pretty much didn't feel a single ounce of tension throughout it, which is obviously a bad thing for something that's supposed to be a Thriller, and that's not even getting into the somewhat troubling gender dynamics of the film, something which has become a bit of a recurring element in Taylor Sheridan's works ever since, even in Wind River, a movie that I genuinely liked otherwise.
DaMU wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 3:55 pm
Same. I thought the flick was at its best as an exploration of language and less interesting the more it got into
its timey-wimey wobbliness.
The linguistic-focused material was pretty fascinating, but the way the film
had its characters experiencing the out-of-time moments right alongside us just added so much to the overall experience, as, instead of being a cheap twist, it gave Arrival so many more layers, with Louise CHOOSING to still have her child anyway despite knowing her future, which adds a whole other level of heartbreaking emotion to the affair, and I wouldn't have the film any other way.
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Re: Recently Seen

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:51 am

Researched Green Room. Fairly disappointed in the blu Ray transfer but man, that is one lean, mean piece of horror thriller that is so aligned with my tastes and interests, I feel like I could've made it.

Made me miss Yelchin all over again. Such a unique presence on screen that can seem timid without being pathetic. The closest I've seen to him is Michael J. Fox. Good company.
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Wooley
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:26 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:29 am
Thanks, Wool! And thanks for the recommendation as well; I haven't read Childhood's End yet, but I have heard a little bit about its central premise, and it sounds incredibly fucking wild, and I've been meaning to get a new book soon for the occasional day-off-work read, so I just might get me a copy of it soon.
It's really good, better than I expected and goes places I didn't think it would, and is also surprisingly easy reading.
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Wooley
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Re: Arrival (Villeneuve, '16)

Post by Wooley » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:30 pm

Stu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:29 am
...something like the undistinguished Sicario, a film that I still don't get why people liked as much as they did, as, besides the extradition sequence through Juárez, I pretty much didn't feel a single ounce of tension throughout it, which is obviously a bad thing for something that's supposed to be a Thriller, and that's not even getting into the somewhat troubling gender dynamics of the film, something which has become a bit of a recurring element in Taylor Sheridan's works ever since, even in Wind River, a movie that I genuinely liked otherwise.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
C'mon man, Sicario was really fucking good, better than the story had any right to be.
And what was wrong with Wind River? That movie was really good too.
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