A noob's journey through cinema

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Popcorn Reviews
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:55 pm

I feel like another good approach to getting someone in to classic films is to start with gateway/cult films and slowly ease your way into classic films over time.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:06 pm

Yeah, Eyes Wide Shut would be ballsy. I love it but it might feel too slow to the wrong audience.
Of course, me, I'd show them a Halloween movie without question, so out of your choices, I'd go with Spider Baby, which I loved. But it's not without risks.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:26 pm

I would not want to watch Eyes Wide Shut as part of a group movie night.

But, then again, I really don't understand liking it all that much to begin with.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:55 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:06 pm
Yeah, Eyes Wide Shut would be ballsy. I love it but it might feel too slow to the wrong audience.
Of course, me, I'd show them a Halloween movie without question, so out of your choices, I'd go with Spider Baby, which I loved. But it's not without risks.
While Eyes Wide Shut is definitely a slow movie, I find the entire thing to be such a hypnotizing experience I don't care. When I'm watching it, I never know if I'm only five minutes into it or 4 hours, I just get so lost in it. But if your not on the movie's wavelength, I image sitting through it must be dreadful.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:57 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:06 pm
Of course, me, I'd show them a Halloween movie without question, so out of your choices, I'd go with Spider Baby, which I loved. But it's not without risks.
I'm also leaning the most towards Spider-Baby personally, that or The Big Lebowski. Seems like the movies that would be the most fun with a crowd.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:00 pm

I also think Batman Returns might be a fun time, and something my friends would really appreciate, but I feel hesitant in showing a movie I haven't seen previously myself.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:41 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:26 pm
I would not want to watch Eyes Wide Shut as part of a group movie night.

But, then again, I really don't understand liking it all that much to begin with.
Huh. You must have a perspective on this I don't.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:42 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:55 pm
While Eyes Wide Shut is definitely a slow movie, I find the entire thing to be such a hypnotizing experience I don't care. When I'm watching it, I never know if I'm only five minutes into it or 4 hours, I just get so lost in it. But if your not on the movie's wavelength, I image sitting through it must be dreadful.
Yeah, I am, but I think if one wasn't it could be a chore.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:15 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 6:55 pm
But if your not on the movie's wavelength, I image sitting through it must be dreadful.
Correct.

As a whole I just found the film deeply uninteresting.

It's not that there aren't things to praise, it's just that it completely failed to cohere into anything I actually cared about. Like, I know what happened in the movie, but I doubt I could describe a single scene. I know some people really like/admire it, but that was not my experience.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:22 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:15 pm
Correct.

As a whole I just found the film deeply uninteresting.

It's not that there aren't things to praise, it's just that it completely failed to cohere into anything I actually cared about. Like, I know what happened in the movie, but I doubt I could describe a single scene. I know some people really like/admire it, but that was not my experience.
I put it in Kubrick's top-tier (maybe on the low-end of his top-tier), which for me is in the top tier of all filmmaking.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:11 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 4:26 pm
I would not want to watch Eyes Wide Shut as part of a group movie night.

But, then again, I really don't understand liking it all that much to begin with.
I mean....it's no Dorm That Dripped Blood or anything. :[
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:16 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:11 am
I mean....it's no Dorm That Dripped Blood or anything. :[
I got no joy out of Eyes Wide Shut. I'd much rather watch Dorm that Dripped Blood.

But I also have to wonder . . .
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:18 am

I'm good.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:38 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:41 pm
Huh. You must have a perspective on this I don't.
I just recently had a looong discussion with another friend (not on this forum) about the film, so I'm slightly burned out on discussing it. But here are some key points as to why it's just not a film for me:

1) At the time that this movie came out I was in my teens and I was just beginning to grapple with the conflict between my love of film and the often exploitative ways that female bodies were treated in films (and especially horror). So along comes Eyes Wide Shut and there was SO MUCH conversation about how Nicole Kidman was going to be naked in it; hey, is it worth buying a ticket to see her boobs? I hear she's completely naked in it; I heard it's just in the first few minutes so you don't have to wait through too much of the movie to see her; etc, etc. Between this and the orgy scene, the prevailing conversation around this film was treating it like jerk-off material. Now, I realize that the fact that many of my peers were teen boys probably influenced this quite a bit, but later, actually watching the film as a 30-something, it put extra focus for me on the nudity. And . . . why is there so much female nudity in this film? Why does Kidman bear all but Cruise doesn't? And please don't think about using a few background orgy scene penises to try and say "But there's nudity from both genders!" because that would be misleading as to the way that female bodies are put on display in the film.

2) Combining my natural disinterest for protagonists like Cruise's lead character with Kubrick's emotionally distant style left me feeling pretty cold toward the whole narrative. Women in the narrative, again because of the distant style, feel like they are objects. And the problem is that because their bodies are so on display, the are objects not only in the world of the film, but to the viewer as well. What a character sees and what an audience sees need not always be the same--we are capable of inference. I cannot personally identify with the themes of sexual jealousy and repression, so the theme puts me at arms length and the style pushes me even further away. At the end of the day I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say. And the cheaper elements of the plot (like the HIV thing) do nothing to make it feel like something you want to take seriously.

3) Looking at the film as a critique of intentional male ignorance/complicity is an interesting lens, and probably the most compelling argument I've seen in the movie's favor. But by the same token, the film seems just as disinterested in the internal lives of the women as its protagonist (unless, of course, we're looking at sexy sexy fantasies), and in adding the element of a possible murder, it turns them into plot pawns. I really do think that this is where the film's deluge of sexy female nudity slightly shoots it in the foot--because it does not do enough to distance itself from the fantasy of naked Nicole Kidman or a roomful of subservient women offering themselves up to average-looking dudes. The mask on the bed and the shot of the men from the party near the daughter at the end turn the audience's attention to an *external* threat and undermines the film's supposed focus on the internal dynamics of the marriage. I can certainly empathize with themes of sexual jealousy, but not in this film. It simply lacks the emotional anchor points that I'd need to be onboard with it. Also, if the film is to be an analysis of male fragility and complicity, it certainly raises some serious questions about the necessity of shooting the orgy scene as outlined in that other article.

This article (while the people in it are generally pretty positive on the film and their experience) touches on a lot of what I find problematic: https://www.vulture.com/2019/06/eyes-wi ... story.html

Some excerpts:

"Stanley said, “It’s not gonna be any of this,” and he made a thrusting gesture. Instead, he said it would be more a kind of modern dance with the inference of sex. . . .I think his vision of the orgy scene over the course of the time we worked on it became much more of a literal orgy. . . .Leon came back one day with pictures from the Kama Sutra and said, “Stanley would like you to draw inspiration from these images,”"

"Stanley had asked me to be in the orgy scenes, but I felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable with the idea of doing that kind of action in front of a crew. I’m not a prude, but I didn’t see the point in doing that stuff, especially if I’m in full mask. I had been sexually assaulted on the street in London just a few years earlier, and being attacked does things to you. I told him, “It’s not that I’m saying that I won’t do it; I’m saying that I can’t do it.” I was upset. I’m not going to lie."

"They came to us and said, ‘There’s been a change of plans.” They explained that the women would no longer be wearing their G-strings and that the men would be completely naked except for a cup over their bits."
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:23 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:38 pm
I just recently had a looong discussion with another friend (not on this forum) about the film, so I'm slightly burned out on discussing it. But here are some key points as to why it's just not a film for me:

1) At the time that this movie came out I was in my teens and I was just beginning to grapple with the conflict between my love of film and the often exploitative ways that female bodies were treated in films (and especially horror). So along comes Eyes Wide Shut and there was SO MUCH conversation about how Nicole Kidman was going to be naked in it; hey, is it worth buying a ticket to see her boobs? I hear she's completely naked in it; I heard it's just in the first few minutes so you don't have to wait through too much of the movie to see her; etc, etc. Between this and the orgy scene, the prevailing conversation around this film was treating it like jerk-off material. Now, I realize that the fact that many of my peers were teen boys probably influenced this quite a bit, but later, actually watching the film as a 30-something, it put extra focus for me on the nudity. And . . . why is there so much female nudity in this film? Why does Kidman bear all but Cruise doesn't? And please don't think about using a few background orgy scene penises to try and say "But there's nudity from both genders!" because that would be misleading as to the way that female bodies are put on display in the film.

2) Combining my natural disinterest for protagonists like Cruise's lead character with Kubrick's emotionally distant style left me feeling pretty cold toward the whole narrative. Women in the narrative, again because of the distant style, feel like they are objects. And the problem is that because their bodies are so on display, the are objects not only in the world of the film, but to the viewer as well. What a character sees and what an audience sees need not always be the same--we are capable of inference. I cannot personally identify with the themes of sexual jealousy and repression, so the theme puts me at arms length and the style pushes me even further away. At the end of the day I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say. And the cheaper elements of the plot (like the HIV thing) do nothing to make it feel like something you want to take seriously.

3) Looking at the film as a critique of intentional male ignorance/complicity is an interesting lens, and probably the most compelling argument I've seen in the movie's favor. But by the same token, the film seems just as disinterested in the internal lives of the women as its protagonist (unless, of course, we're looking at sexy sexy fantasies), and in adding the element of a possible murder, it turns them into plot pawns. I really do think that this is where the film's deluge of sexy female nudity slightly shoots it in the foot--because it does not do enough to distance itself from the fantasy of naked Nicole Kidman or a roomful of subservient women offering themselves up to average-looking dudes. The mask on the bed and the shot of the men from the party near the daughter at the end turn the audience's attention to an *external* threat and undermines the film's supposed focus on the internal dynamics of the marriage. I can certainly empathize with themes of sexual jealousy, but not in this film. It simply lacks the emotional anchor points that I'd need to be onboard with it. Also, if the film is to be an analysis of male fragility and complicity, it certainly raises some serious questions about the necessity of shooting the orgy scene as outlined in that other article.

This article (while the people in it are generally pretty positive on the film and their experience) touches on a lot of what I find problematic: https://www.vulture.com/2019/06/eyes-wi ... story.html

Some excerpts:

"Stanley said, “It’s not gonna be any of this,” and he made a thrusting gesture. Instead, he said it would be more a kind of modern dance with the inference of sex. . . .I think his vision of the orgy scene over the course of the time we worked on it became much more of a literal orgy. . . .Leon came back one day with pictures from the Kama Sutra and said, “Stanley would like you to draw inspiration from these images,”"

"Stanley had asked me to be in the orgy scenes, but I felt so vulnerable and uncomfortable with the idea of doing that kind of action in front of a crew. I’m not a prude, but I didn’t see the point in doing that stuff, especially if I’m in full mask. I had been sexually assaulted on the street in London just a few years earlier, and being attacked does things to you. I told him, “It’s not that I’m saying that I won’t do it; I’m saying that I can’t do it.” I was upset. I’m not going to lie."

"They came to us and said, ‘There’s been a change of plans.” They explained that the women would no longer be wearing their G-strings and that the men would be completely naked except for a cup over their bits."
You make some great points, I've always felt their was an uneven amount of male nudity compared to all the female bodies that are put on display. Yet I must say I never found the nudity to be titillating in any way, rather off-putting and almost scary, probably because of Kubrick's cold approach.

I don't have an emotional connection to Cruise's characters either, but I don't think we're supposed to. I consider the movie to be a satire, of the male ego to be more precise. Cruise, who we see is already flirting with other women from the get-go, is shocked to find out that his wife once had fantasies about other men, without acting on it, mind you. He loses his grip on reality, and goes out into the world trying to get laid, somehow hoping to regain his manhood. He fails. Every woman he meets he imagines they're totally into him, considers himself to be irresistible to the other sex, and even his own sex, considering the scene with Allan Cumming. Yet he is never able to act upon these perceived feelings, always something that hinders him, like the hiv scene you mention. The movie is taking the piss out of Tom Cruise, and his real-life image as a sex symbol in movies like Cocktail.

Not to become too personal or anything, but this is how all sexual dreams I've ever had ended, not with the fantasy of intercourse, but a sobering awakening. And that's how I view Eyes Wide Shut, as a dream, which allows me to excuse several moments in it that don't entirely make sense and frankly don't exactly work. But I love watching, I love its mood, like I said earlier, I find it completely hypnotizing everytime I sit down with it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:05 pm

The Devils (1971)

A hysterical movie. A relentless assault on all your senses. The entire thing just spirals out of control. The only person remaining somewhat steady among all this chaos is Oliver Reed, of all people.

This all shouldn't work, yet it so undeniably does. It is as effective as a wrecking ball can be.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:07 pm

Slentert wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:23 pm
You make some great points, I've always felt their was an uneven amount of male nudity compared to all the female bodies that are put on display. Yet I must say I never found the nudity to be titillating in any way, rather off-putting and almost scary, probably because of Kubrick's cold approach.
This is frequently an argument I hear about female nudity, and especially female nudity in horror movies. And I kind of just disagree with it.

Do I agree that nudity can have a disorienting effect? Absolutely. I think that sometimes it sounds like I think that women should never be naked/semi-naked on screen and that is completely not the case.

But the nudity presented on screen here is fantasy. I would argue that it's meant to be titillating to a certain degree. Consider these quotes from the article I linked above: "they had to be totally natural. No Botox, no breast enhancements, anything like that." "And that was because Stanley wanted this very particular body type, a sort of Barbie-doll type."

At a stretch I'd maybe accept this argument in terms of the orgy, because these women are meant to be sex workers and I'm okay with the idea that a sex worker servicing super wealthy men would be in good physical shape. But the woman who overdoses? Kidman's character? The same body type is repeated over and over. The same "oops, and you see her topless" moments.

The film's own creators and promotional material use the term "erotic", so sexiness is clearly an intent of the film.
I don't have an emotional connection to Cruise's characters either, but I don't think we're supposed to. I consider the movie to be a satire, of the male ego to be more precise. Cruise, who we see is already flirting with other women from the get-go, is shocked to find out that his wife once had fantasies about other men, without acting on it, mind you. He loses his grip on reality, and goes out into the world trying to get laid, somehow hoping to regain his manhood. He fails. Every woman he meets he imagines they're totally into him, considers himself to be irresistible to the other sex, and even his own sex, considering the scene with Allan Cumming. Yet he is never able to act upon these perceived feelings, always something that hinders him, like the hiv scene you mention. The movie is taking the piss out of Tom Cruise, and his real-life image as a sex symbol in movies like Cocktail.
But this idea that the film is satirizing Cruise himself feels kind of tone deaf to me. Where is the humor? "What if a guy was rich and smart and successful and surrounded by beautiful women but it never worked out for him? WHOMP WHOMP."

Is there some humor in how completely unraveled this man becomes because he learns that his wife one time considered leaving him? Yes. But that isn't enough to sustain the whole film, and the introduction of a murder plot pulls attention away from the characters internal dealings.
Not to become too personal or anything, but this is how all sexual dreams I've ever had ended, not with the fantasy of intercourse, but a sobering awakening. And that's how I view Eyes Wide Shut, as a dream, which allows me to excuse several moments in it that don't entirely make sense and frankly don't exactly work. But I love watching, I love its mood, like I said earlier, I find it completely hypnotizing everytime I sit down with it.
I think that most people experience this, and it's a very relatable thing.

But a two hour dream where all women are, to some degree, available and/or literally for sale? And they almost all end up nude or semi-nude? (And everyone is also white? In New York?). I get why people like it. During my conversation with my other friend he linked me to several articles arguing in the film's favor (including one that discussed the film as being about male fragility that I thought was very well-written), so I understand what some people get out of it. But it isn't for me.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:34 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:07 pm
This is frequently an argument I hear about female nudity, and especially female nudity in horror movies. And I kind of just disagree with it.

Do I agree that nudity can have a disorienting effect? Absolutely. I think that sometimes it sounds like I think that women should never be naked/semi-naked on screen and that is completely not the case.

But the nudity presented on screen here is fantasy. I would argue that it's meant to be titillating to a certain degree. Consider these quotes from the article I linked above: "they had to be totally natural. No Botox, no breast enhancements, anything like that." "And that was because Stanley wanted this very particular body type, a sort of Barbie-doll type."

At a stretch I'd maybe accept this argument in terms of the orgy, because these women are meant to be sex workers and I'm okay with the idea that a sex worker servicing super wealthy men would be in good physical shape. But the woman who overdoses? Kidman's character? The same body type is repeated over and over. The same "oops, and you see her topless" moments.

The film's own creators and promotional material use the term "erotic", so sexiness is clearly an intent of the film.
I'm not disagreeing with anything you're saying, there is definitely some fetishism going on on Kubrick's part. And the article you mention makes me feel like I'm giving the man too much credit on the way he handled certain things.
Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:07 pm
But this idea that the film is satirizing Cruise himself feels kind of tone deaf to me. Where is the humor? "What if a guy was rich and smart and successful and surrounded by beautiful women but it never worked out for him? WHOMP WHOMP."

Is there some humor in how completely unraveled this man becomes because he learns that his wife one time considered leaving him? Yes. But that isn't enough to sustain the whole film, and the introduction of a murder plot pulls attention away from the characters internal dealings.
While the movie isn't outright comedic, I think there is definitely an ironic touch to the entire thing.
Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:07 pm
But a two hour dream where all women are, to some degree, available and/or literally for sale? And they almost all end up nude or semi-nude? (And everyone is also white? In New York?). I get why people like it. During my conversation with my other friend he linked me to several articles arguing in the film's favor (including one that discussed the film as being about male fragility that I thought was very well-written), so I understand what some people get out of it. But it isn't for me.
I never quite understood why the movie took place in New York. The original novel took place in 19th century Vienna and the film itself was famously filmed in London. You could argue that it's a fantasy version of New York, but I find that to be kinda weak myself.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Stu » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:38 am

Slentert wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 7:00 pm
I also think Batman Returns might be a fun time, and something my friends would really appreciate, but I feel hesitant in showing a movie I haven't seen previously myself.
I like BR, and feel it wouldn't be a terrible choice to stretch your friends' cinematic tastes a bit as it's a more personal, relatively "auteurist"-feeling mainstream movie, with plenty of blatant Burton-isms in its style, but it really isn't the kind of film that plays best in a crowd (which helps explain why it under-performed at the box office, heh). Best to just watch it solo first and sort your thoughts and feelings about it on your own, and then share it with them if you want; anyway, for a movie that's a bit older and very stylistically ambitous in order to broaden their horizons, but one that's still super-accesible and entertaining as hell, why not try The Third Man instead?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:10 pm

Wooley wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:22 pm
I put it in Kubrick's top-tier (maybe on the low-end of his top-tier), which for me is in the top tier of all filmmaking.
This is pretty much where I stand with it. I love it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:33 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:38 pm
1) At the time that this movie came out I was in my teens and I was just beginning to grapple with the conflict between my love of film and the often exploitative ways that female bodies were treated in films (and especially horror). So along comes Eyes Wide Shut and there was SO MUCH conversation about how Nicole Kidman was going to be naked in it; hey, is it worth buying a ticket to see her boobs? I hear she's completely naked in it; I heard it's just in the first few minutes so you don't have to wait through too much of the movie to see her; etc, etc. Between this and the orgy scene, the prevailing conversation around this film was treating it like jerk-off material. Now, I realize that the fact that many of my peers were teen boys probably influenced this quite a bit, but later, actually watching the film as a 30-something, it put extra focus for me on the nudity. And . . . why is there so much female nudity in this film? Why does Kidman bear all but Cruise doesn't? And please don't think about using a few background orgy scene penises to try and say "But there's nudity from both genders!" because that would be misleading as to the way that female bodies are put on display in the film.
I don't find it to be very convincing to base any judgment over the film on your horny peers. It's important to understand that the film' promotional material (including the brief shot of Kidman and Cruise nude in front of their bedroom mirror) was thinly-veiled bait of titulation dangled for the purpose of arousing this kind of public slather, as alluringly attractive as a couple of young models promising to take Cruise over the rainbow. But, of course, the title of the film should be the obvious clue that there will be an inevitable switch. I don't think that very many knowledgeable film fans were seriously under the impression that Kubrick had decided to turn into Zalman King. Adolescents, equally obviously, tend to be the most wide-eyed suckers available, especially in more hormonal matters.

The issue of nudity dovetails with the second point, but I'll just point out here that the question of why we don't see Tom Cruise nude is still pretty obvious on a number of grounds. First of all, he's probably tiny (secure men don't need to hump airplanes for compensation), and more practically, given how the studio plastered precisely-placed CGI obstructions into the orgy scene (after Kubrick's death and completely against his intentions), it isn't realistic to think that the studio would have allowed star penis in the film anyway. Three years later, Paul Schrader complained that he wasn't allowed to show dick in Autofocus. This issue definitely deserves criticism aimed at certain authorities, but it's not a criticism that Kubrick deserves here.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:38 pm
2) Combining my natural disinterest for protagonists like Cruise's lead character with Kubrick's emotionally distant style left me feeling pretty cold toward the whole narrative. Women in the narrative, again because of the distant style, feel like they are objects. And the problem is that because their bodies are so on display, the are objects not only in the world of the film, but to the viewer as well. What a character sees and what an audience sees need not always be the same--we are capable of inference. I cannot personally identify with the themes of sexual jealousy and repression, so the theme puts me at arms length and the style pushes me even further away. At the end of the day I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say. And the cheaper elements of the plot (like the HIV thing) do nothing to make it feel like something you want to take seriously.
I don't believe that it's necessary to "identify" with themes of sexual jealousy and repression (I personally don't either, for example) in order tio recognize that many people do, and, more to the point, these unhealthy tendencies lead to an enormous amount of personal and social dysfunctions that, in one way or another, we all have to deal with. Puritanical sexual phobias, viewing women as property, the traditional patriarchal presumption that infidelity is a male prerogative - all of these are based on themes of jealousy and repression, and, more importantly, by examining these themes the film is hardly endorsing these views, as you tend to make it seem. In fact, the film is a long series of subversions of these presumptions. Cruise's stoic shell (control=power) is one such subversion, as his sense of control is consistently undermined. And sex, as presented in the film, is the ultimate arbiter of male control/power, a corruption reflected as this secret society. Women are precisely treated as objects, as a matter of course. This is not a flaw of the film's perspective, it is the point of it. This is the idea that the movie is trying to say. Cruise is shocked by Kidman's fantasy of infidelity not (solely) out of jealousy but out of his presumption that that women do not engage in similar sexual fantasies as men do. He has failed to appreciate his wife, and other women, as sexually autonomous human beings with their own desires and gratifications. This failure, uncoincidentally, is the source of Cruise's trouble throughout the film. Cruise only recognizes Kidman on an even keel after finding the mask on his pillow, the culmination of his fateful evening. She delivers the final line of the film as his sexual equal. (Her nudity is, indeed, front-loaded in the film, prior to this revelation.)

Eyes Wide Shut should say it all - this gawking fascination of sex that ironically blinds us to our emotional realities. The HIV detail is part of an escalation of danger that Cruise faces, because all of his sexual encounters, beginning with the OD'd prostitute followed by the greiving daughter of his patient, are tacitly connected to death. Finally, the secret society provides the ultimate danger, and its accompanied thrill, as this society acts as the spiderweb which entangles this sexual fascination, sex and power consummated in elite privilege, where "average-looking dudes" can compel obedient arousal, and where we can clearly infer blackmail ("fidelio" indeed!) and murder among their applications. Sexual desire, initially so innocent seemingly (who gets hurt?), is weaponized into sinister complicity.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 7:38 pm
3) Looking at the film as a critique of intentional male ignorance/complicity is an interesting lens, and probably the most compelling argument I've seen in the movie's favor. But by the same token, the film seems just as disinterested in the internal lives of the women as its protagonist (unless, of course, we're looking at sexy sexy fantasies), and in adding the element of a possible murder, it turns them into plot pawns. I really do think that this is where the film's deluge of sexy female nudity slightly shoots it in the foot--because it does not do enough to distance itself from the fantasy of naked Nicole Kidman or a roomful of subservient women offering themselves up to average-looking dudes. The mask on the bed and the shot of the men from the party near the daughter at the end turn the audience's attention to an *external* threat and undermines the film's supposed focus on the internal dynamics of the marriage. I can certainly empathize with themes of sexual jealousy, but not in this film. It simply lacks the emotional anchor points that I'd need to be onboard with it. Also, if the film is to be an analysis of male fragility and complicity, it certainly raises some serious questions about the necessity of shooting the orgy scene as outlined in that other article.
I don't think the film is so much "disinterested" in the interior lives of women as it is involved with unraveling the sexual compulsion of men, being from the heterosexual male POV. In the context of social power (and its resulting corruptions), the heterosexual man is the prime candidate in history to examine, those who have rigged the system to be almost exclusively allowed (under elite permission) to indulge their sexual fantasies, while victimizing the "objects" of their indulgences. It's clear to me that in order to be concerned with this compulsion, which leads to ideas of objectification and ownership of women, it necessarily implies a belief in the validity of women's internal lives. If Kubrick believed in such objectification, he wouldn't have a made a film subverting the roots of it (which, yes, involves clear illustrations of women as desirable objects to be effective).
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:56 pm

Those are all great points, Jinn. I'll add that I find it interesting that Kidman's confession of her "thought" or "desire" of having an affair (whether it's meant to be a moment of real openness or a lash at Cruise's character) has the effect of launching him, directly or indirectly, in a quest to commit *real* adultery, and he finds himself in countless opportunities, some of which are meant to seem bizarre, otherworldly, and even ridiculous, to "succeed" at it. Women are, literally and figuratively, thrown at him. I think that also says a lot about how society has the scales set between genders and how couples might try to upend the other instead of being open about their desires and insecurities, treating themselves as equal.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:47 pm

Thanks, Thief.

Criticizing the film for objectifying women so widely misses the point of what the film is about. It's almost like criticizing Paths of Glory for being too violent.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:56 pm

The Reflecting Skin (1990)

A gorgeous, slightly surreal but undeniably hopeless portrayal of childhood that must've been a major inspiration for Guillermo Del Toro when making The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, Philip Ridley's debut feature tells the story of 9-year-old Seth who lives in the country side of 1950s North America with his abusive mother and lackluster father. His older brother is away to fight in the Korean War and mom and son dream of his return and there possible way out of this dump. When his father tells him about the vampires in a book he is reading, the young boy gets convinced that the widow further down the road is one, and is responsible for all the murdered children in the neighborhood. However, the town folks try to pin those on his father, who then kills himself in front of his son's eyes to escape possible conviction. With his father gone and his mother slowly starting to loose it, Seth hopes that the return of his brother will save the day. But his brother is not the hero he wants him to be, and on top off all that, has no intention of staying in this backwards town and has his eyes set on the neighborhood widow.

While the whole world seems like a never ending meadow, Seth's universe seems limited to a those few houses and roads around him, and a possibility of escaping this narrow place seems unlikely if not unimaginable. The world literally isn't any bigger than his back yard. Sprawling fields and clear blue skies have never felt so doomed and suffocating. It's like a Edward Hopper landscape that is slowly starting to decay.

I read a lot of reviews complain about how most, if not all, of the characters are unlikable, and especially the main protagonist. I think we're so used to children in fiction (especially in the young adult genre) to be polite and well-adjusted kids without bearing any marks of their abusive and traumatizing childhood, that we underestimate how these horrific events can severely fuck up a young mind. Believe me, if you grew up in a broom closet you're not going to be as sociable as Harry Potter was.

The entire movie you're feeling for Seth, you're scared of what might happen to him, but you're also scared of what he might do. He has seen so much, yet doesn't understand most of it, he doesn't have a proper grip on reality. If only someone could just sit down with him, talk and listen to him and set him straight, but everyone around him isn't able or willing to take up the responsibility of being the paternal figure he so desperately needs. So he is left to his own devices and (misguided) instincts.

Some supporting performances in this movie push it a little too far in that they almost become parody (especially the sheriff of the town, who feels like a pathetic, foolish version of Robert Shaw in Jaws, hardened but without any of the expertise to back it up) but the majority of it is so powerful and evocative that you can forgive it these odd tonal shifts.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:26 pm

Slentert wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:56 pm
The Reflecting Skin (1990)

I read a lot of reviews complain about how most, if not all, of the characters are unlikable...
One of the least-valid, frequently-used criticisms in all of criticism, it absolutely drives me nuts when people use this to criticize a movie. It's ok for one to not enjoy a movie because the characters are unlikable, but that is entirely on the viewer for not being able to accept the film for what it is instead of what one wants it to be, no fault of the film whatsoever, especially when, as is usually the case, that is the intent. Weak sauce, and I appreciate you arguing the contrary to this lame-assery.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:38 pm

I will argue though that, if a movie tries to make a case for or defends the actions of an unlikable character, this can be a flaw. For the most part though, no. Art doesn't need to have a moral barometer. My beliefs and what I consider to be great art are unrelated. I wonder what the people who argue otherwise have to say about movies like Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Le Samourai, or other movies where murderers are the main characters. Are those films flawed as well? I may despise the morals of certain major characters in those films, but I look past them when I watch them. I wouldn't ever criticize those films and others like it based on how those characters act.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by LEAVES » Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:48 pm

Film criticism is a close, critical look at a film.

Film review is a positive or negative assessment of a film. It’s rarely film criticism.

Complaining about unlikable characters can’t be film criticism, because it’s obviously nonsense.

Complaining about unlikable characters can be film review, because film review can be nothing more than complaining that a film wasn’t the exact pleasure-delivery vehicle that you wanted. It’s totally valid. It makes one wonder why anyone would read film reviews, though...
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:24 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:38 pm
I will argue though that, if a movie tries to make a case for or defends the actions of an unlikable character, this can be a flaw. For the most part though, no. Art doesn't need to have a moral barometer. My beliefs and what I consider to be great art are unrelated. I wonder what the people who argue otherwise have to say about movies like Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction, Le Samourai, or other movies where murderers are the main characters. Are those films flawed as well? I may despise the morals of certain major characters in those films, but I look past them when I watch them. I wouldn't ever criticize those films and others like it based on how those characters act.
:up:
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:29 pm

LEAVES wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:48 pm
Film criticism is a close, critical look at a film.

Film review is a positive or negative assessment of a film. It’s rarely film criticism.

Complaining about unlikable characters can’t be film criticism, because it’s obviously nonsense.

Complaining about unlikable characters can be film review, because film review can be nothing more than complaining that a film wasn’t the exact pleasure-delivery vehicle that you wanted. It’s totally valid. It makes one wonder why anyone would read film reviews, though...
Yeah, but I like reading y'all's reviews, even when I disagree, and I like writing mine.
I think the trick is in not thinking one's review is legitimate criticism. Except when it is. When I write up a film that has a bad script and bad acting, I feel like that is criticism. However, when the script and performances are just those of characters I dislike, if it's something I can't overcome, I'll just say it wasn't for me rather than take away from the film.
I think this happened with some film in the last few months where I just loathed everyone in it and in the end was sorta sorry I wasted my time watching something I genuinely did not enjoy because of that reason, but I can't remember the film.
I think this is why I refer to what I do here as "write-ups". I'm just writing about the film and my reaction to it not telling other people how they should or might feel about it or critiquing it, except when I am.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by LEAVES » Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:55 am

Wooley wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:29 pm
Yeah, but I like reading y'all's reviews, even when I disagree, and I like writing mine.
I think the trick is in not thinking one's review is legitimate criticism. Except when it is. When I write up a film that has a bad script and bad acting, I feel like that is criticism. However, when the script and performances are just those of characters I dislike, if it's something I can't overcome, I'll just say it wasn't for me rather than take away from the film.
I think this happened with some film in the last few months where I just loathed everyone in it and in the end was sorta sorry I wasted my time watching something I genuinely did not enjoy because of that reason, but I can't remember the film.
I think this is why I refer to what I do here as "write-ups". I'm just writing about the film and my reaction to it not telling other people how they should or might feel about it or critiquing it, except when I am.
My point was: You say that speaking negatively about "un-likable characters" is bad criticism, but I say it's not criticism. It's just an expression of preference. Expression of preferences doesn't really have anything to do with criticism - it's not a look at the film, it's a look at yourself.

There's no reason to elevate some idea of "legitimate criticism" above other criticism. I think the far more interesting question is - is something even criticism at all, or merely an expression of preference? If the latter, why read it? "I like movies. I like actresses that act realistically. I like when characters are likable. I like scenes that are fast-paced and exciting." There's an immense amount of self-flattery required to think that everyone else is THAT interested in your own particular preferences. I don't think there's any reason to start delineating between people who are thoughtfully speaking about interesting elements of a film in good faith, casting one as legitimate and one as illegitimate. I don't think talking about whether or not you like "un-likable characters" is illegitimate criticism, I think it's legitimately not criticism, and I think the self-flattering art of preaching your personal preferences is asinine and should be distinguished from criticism, not some ideas of "legitimate and illegitimate criticism".

What is the point of acting, and why spend time discussing if it's good or bad? There are innumerable films that you like with acting that is not naturalistic, I'm guessing. There are interesting things to be said about those films. Perhaps the film with bad acting has a lot of other bad elements, too, and there's not really much to talk about? Well... perhaps it's better to spend time on interesting things? Otherwise it just devolves into a sport of attacking bad things, and that's not really criticism. To me, criticism is an inherently positive thing, always providing additional elements to think about. Talking about how you don't like bad acting is... not that. Even stating that a film with un-likable characters "wasn't for you" isn't necessary, is it? I just find the idea that you can "take something away form the film" is kind of silly - it assumes that your opinion is something that contributes to others' experience. It isn't, you're just talking about your own experience. Interesting critical analysis? That can certainly contribute. I don't know that the term "write-up" has a meaningful definition, but if it includes merely talking about your preferences... I would say it's probably not worth talking about any more than saying that you don't like un-likable characters.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:37 pm

LEAVES wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:55 am
My point was: You say that speaking negatively about "un-likable characters" is bad criticism, but I say it's not criticism. It's just an expression of preference. Expression of preferences doesn't really have anything to do with criticism - it's not a look at the film, it's a look at yourself.

There's no reason to elevate some idea of "legitimate criticism" above other criticism. I think the far more interesting question is - is something even criticism at all, or merely an expression of preference? If the latter, why read it? "I like movies. I like actresses that act realistically. I like when characters are likable. I like scenes that are fast-paced and exciting." There's an immense amount of self-flattery required to think that everyone else is THAT interested in your own particular preferences. I don't think there's any reason to start delineating between people who are thoughtfully speaking about interesting elements of a film in good faith, casting one as legitimate and one as illegitimate. I don't think talking about whether or not you like "un-likable characters" is illegitimate criticism, I think it's legitimately not criticism, and I think the self-flattering art of preaching your personal preferences is asinine and should be distinguished from criticism, not some ideas of "legitimate and illegitimate criticism".

What is the point of acting, and why spend time discussing if it's good or bad? There are innumerable films that you like with acting that is not naturalistic, I'm guessing. There are interesting things to be said about those films. Perhaps the film with bad acting has a lot of other bad elements, too, and there's not really much to talk about? Well... perhaps it's better to spend time on interesting things? Otherwise it just devolves into a sport of attacking bad things, and that's not really criticism. To me, criticism is an inherently positive thing, always providing additional elements to think about. Talking about how you don't like bad acting is... not that. Even stating that a film with un-likable characters "wasn't for you" isn't necessary, is it? I just find the idea that you can "take something away form the film" is kind of silly - it assumes that your opinion is something that contributes to others' experience. It isn't, you're just talking about your own experience. Interesting critical analysis? That can certainly contribute. I don't know that the term "write-up" has a meaningful definition, but if it includes merely talking about your preferences... I would say it's probably not worth talking about any more than saying that you don't like un-likable characters.
I understood your point.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:33 pm
I don't find it to be very convincing to base any judgment over the film on your horny peers. It's important to understand that the film' promotional material (including the brief shot of Kidman and Cruise nude in front of their bedroom mirror) was thinly-veiled bait of titulation dangled for the purpose of arousing this kind of public slather, as alluringly attractive as a couple of young models promising to take Cruise over the rainbow. But, of course, the title of the film should be the obvious clue that there will be an inevitable switch. I don't think that very many knowledgeable film fans were seriously under the impression that Kubrick had decided to turn into Zalman King. Adolescents, equally obviously, tend to be the most wide-eyed suckers available, especially in more hormonal matters.
I didn't say I based my judgement on the film on this, but did it impact how I feel about the film? Yes.

Do I realize that filmmakers are not in charge of how their film is marketed? Yes.

But look--I am often told that I should set my feelings and experiences aside when I view/review a film. But that is just not how my brain operates. And because I recognize this, I try to be really clear about any "externals" I am bringing to the table when I talk about a film. I had to listen to a lot of hurtful/objectifying garbage as a teenager and this film/its marketing were a key offender.
The issue of nudity dovetails with the second point, but I'll just point out here that the question of why we don't see Tom Cruise nude is still pretty obvious on a number of grounds. First of all, he's probably tiny (secure men don't need to hump airplanes for compensation), and more practically, given how the studio plastered precisely-placed CGI obstructions into the orgy scene (after Kubrick's death and completely against his intentions), it isn't realistic to think that the studio would have allowed star penis in the film anyway. Three years later, Paul Schrader complained that he wasn't allowed to show dick in Autofocus. This issue definitely deserves criticism aimed at certain authorities, but it's not a criticism that Kubrick deserves here.
Tom Cruise probably looks great naked. He's a very physically fit and conventionally attractive man who clearly pays attention to how he looks. Whether or not he'd be comfortable with being naked on screen is another question, but it seems to me that if we can survive male nudity in Trainspotting, The Talented Mr Ripley, Much Ado About Nothing, and Wild Things, it would not have been an impossibility in Eyes Wide Shut.

While I don't think that the weight of this falls entirely on Kubrick (obviously), him ordering women like they're from a take-out menu and the blunt presentation to them of "you will now be fully nude" (while male actors were still allowed to wear cups) doesn't speak to someone fighting very hard.
I don't believe that it's necessary to "identify" with themes of sexual jealousy and repression (I personally don't either, for example) in order to recognize that many people do, and, more to the point, these unhealthy tendencies lead to an enormous amount of personal and social dysfunctions that, in one way or another, we all have to deal with.
That's fine. I just didn't find it to be a very interesting exploration and the fact that I didn't have much personal stake in it just made it even harder. When a film has a theme close to my heart, it's easier to engage with it.
In fact, the film is a long series of subversions of these presumptions. Cruise's stoic shell (control=power) is one such subversion, as his sense of control is consistently undermined. And sex, as presented in the film, is the ultimate arbiter of male control/power, a corruption reflected as this secret society. Women are precisely treated as objects, as a matter of course. This is not a flaw of the film's perspective, it is the point of it. This is the idea that the movie is trying to say.
I always looks critically at films/books/whatever that indulge in a viewpoint while condemning it. Is it possible to convey that women are objectified without objectifying them? I'd say that the answer is yes. To say, "Well, I just HAD to show these women's bodies to help you understand how women are objectified" is garbage, sorry. There are plenty of ways to convey female desirability without seeing their genitals. What's more, Kubrick's insistence on a certain "type" (again--all white?) bothers me. Men in power desire all types of women. Whose fantasy is this (Cruise's?)?

And the real issue is that the film lasers in too much on Cruise's character. There are a whole bunch of men at that orgy who are living the life! Cruise is on this personal journey of sexual frustration and realizing he doesn't have the status he desires, but in creating a scenario for him to realize this, we are incidentally exposed to a bunch of men who are objectifying women and having a grand old time of it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
Do I realize that filmmakers are not in charge of how their film is marketed? Yes.
Well, that was my point. Kubrick was in charge of how the film was marketed, but you missed the purpose of it. It was marketed by dangling the possibility of racy sex between the biggest star couple at the time, doing bad bad things. The title of the film, and the knowledge of Kubrick's sense of humor, should clue you in that there'll be a catch. He wants to bait the audience the way Cruise and Kidman are baited at the Christmas party by their respective temptations. The rug was all set to be snatched. And, indeed, at the time, the film was not considered the classic it is today by contemporary viewers because they felt it lacked the eroticism they were hoping for, much as Cruise failed to find his thrills as all of his adventures lead to subsequently darker places. The marketing was a tease that the film deliberately frustrated, and it needs to be understood in that context. If you found the tease to be overly exploitative, then countering those expectations with a sobering reality should be welcome.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
But look--I am often told that I should set my feelings and experiences aside when I view/review a film. But that is just not how my brain operates.
I'm neither asking for such a thing nor do I think it's necessary. What I'm asking is that you simply consider what the film is intending to convey. Clearly I agree with you that "I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say". The film is saying something, and I've run down the basic themes from erotic disillusionment to undermining the presumption of sexual power as a male prerogative. You can criticize the film on how successfully it conveyed these things, but I also have to note how little of your response addresses these issues that I mentioned in the last post. I think these themes lead to a more constructive understanding of the film than its surface titillation.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
Tom Cruise probably looks great naked. He's a very physically fit and conventionally attractive man who clearly pays attention to how he looks. Whether or not he'd be comfortable with being naked on screen is another question, but it seems to me that if we can survive male nudity in Trainspotting, The Talented Mr Ripley, Much Ado About Nothing, and Wild Things, it would not have been an impossibility in Eyes Wide Shut.
In all honesty, I'm certain that a blink-shot of Cruise's doubtlessly immaculate bulb would have improved the film. It would be nice to live in a society which didn't get twisted knicks over silly displays of natural anatomy. None of this is particularly relevant to the film, except to suggest that male sexual privilege also extends to protecting their discretion. Maybe Kubrick could compensate with an enormous porcelain specimen elsewhere.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
While I don't think that the weight of this falls entirely on Kubrick (obviously), him ordering women like they're from a take-out menu and the blunt presentation to them of "you will now be fully nude" (while male actors were still allowed to wear cups) doesn't speak to someone fighting very hard.
All extras on film sets get treated like they're from a take-out menu. Most decisions involving extras don't go further than thumbing through their head shots. They're superficial by design.

As for Kubrick himself, I'm not sure what private kinks he indulged aside from his wife of 40 years (who is lovely but not quite a supermodel).


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
That's fine. I just didn't find it to be a very interesting exploration and the fact that I didn't have much personal stake in it just made it even harder. When a film has a theme close to my heart, it's easier to engage with it.
This is the crux of it. Given the brief remarks here, [mansplain]I don't think you were very interested in the film, and became irritated by the sexuality which the film clearly wore on its sleeve but was intending to subvert.[/mansplain] I definitely see no evidence that Cruise was ever intended to be a likeable character, or that his journey was ever intended to display healthy sexual impulses, or that Kubrick himself condoned these sexual desires which he spent so much time sharpening the edges of.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
I always looks critically at films/books/whatever that indulge in a viewpoint while condemning it. Is it possible to convey that women are objectified without objectifying them? I'd say that the answer is yes. To say, "Well, I just HAD to show these women's bodies to help you understand how women are objectified" is garbage, sorry. There are plenty of ways to convey female desirability without seeing their genitals. What's more, Kubrick's insistence on a certain "type" (again--all white?) bothers me. Men in power desire all types of women. Whose fantasy is this (Cruise's?)?
1) The issue of depiction=endorsement is a common complaint about a number of films but it isn't something that interests me very much. In depicting a socioeconomic elite sex cult, the depiction of women being employed as objects becomes a matter of fact. That these women are "the same body type", "Barbie dolls", homogeneous and anonymous, confirms the objectification. They are quite literally fetishized. If I were depicting a film about BDSM submissives, I might have to have a few dog collars and leashes. It's ugly but accurate.

2) I'm not sure if I ever saw genitals in the film. I saw some pubic hair, but I saw no organs. Like Tom's assuredly massive hog, I'm not sure I would have cared one way or another, but this goes back to getting past the shock of natural anatomy.

3) The absolute worst thing about this socioeconomic elite sex cult with extortive and homicidal tendencies is their lack of diversity in beauty standards. At the very least, we have a number of hip hop videos which have imitated this scene by people who also didn't understand the film.


Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:29 pm
And the real issue is that the film lasers in too much on Cruise's character. There are a whole bunch of men at that orgy who are living the life! Cruise is on this personal journey of sexual frustration and realizing he doesn't have the status he desires, but in creating a scenario for him to realize this, we are incidentally exposed to a bunch of men who are objectifying women and having a grand old time of it.
Yeah. All of that is true. Cruise is the protagonist. Had another man at the party been the protagonist, it would have been a vastly different film. It's also worth pointing out that we have no idea how grand a time they're having because we know nothing about them beyond this setting, other than they have the finances and power to be there. They could all be miserable farts, which makes more sense because, after a certain age, the scene has the smell of desperation to it. Would you prefer a film about some happy-go-lucky schmuck who indulges in this hedonistic cobweb completely unaware and unconcerned with its victims? That would be a strange desire for someone so against the objectification and exploitation that they are indulging in.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 am
Well, that was my point. Kubrick was in charge of how the film was marketed, but you missed the purpose of it.
Um, I did not miss the purpose of it. At all. Because I was really into film at the time I read a handful of self-satisfied tidbits about how Kubrick had played a "joke" on the horny audience by putting the frontal nudity right at the beginning of the film. I understand the purpose. But purpose and actual effect are not the same thing. And the guys around me who saw the film did NOT take the point. Unless a discussion of Nicole Kidman's pubic hair and the women at the orgy is teenage male code for "Man, I'm rethinking my objectifying stance toward women! Boy were my expectations subverted!". Also, I had to listen to this conversation while running a mile for gym class, something we did through the streets around our school and which was often occasion for me to be honked at by strange men in cars. So I'm not too stupid to understand the "clever" marketing technique, but it had a negative impact on me regardless of its intent.

I'm neither asking for such a thing nor do I think it's necessary. What I'm asking is that you simply consider what the film is intending to convey. Clearly I agree with you that "I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say". The film is saying something, and I've run down the basic themes from erotic disillusionment to undermining the presumption of sexual power as a male prerogative. You can criticize the film on how successfully it conveyed these things, but I also have to note how little of your response addresses these issues that I mentioned in the last post. I think these themes lead to a more constructive understanding of the film than its surface titillation.
I understand that the film is trying to accomplish several things (and I don't think that its primary purpose is cheap titillation), but I do think that some of them are at odds with each other and I find it lacking, not sure of a better word, a coherent thesis that I can embrace. To reference that Robert Ebert quote, I don't so much take issue with what the film is about, it's how the film is about it. Losing Ground covers similar themes and I think it's ten times better.

I don't hate the film or anything, I gave it a 7 or 8 on the IMDb. But I think that some parts of it are problematic and frankly I find the thriller stuff kind of hacky. Much like how in that article I linked the person says "At some point Stanley's idea become more of a literal orgy," I think that the film would have been better in a dreamier, less literal space. I don't need
Cruise being menaced by goons at the mall.
In all honesty, I'm certain that a blink-shot of Cruise's doubtlessly immaculate bulb would have improved the film. It would be nice to live in a society which didn't get twisted knicks over silly displays of natural anatomy. None of this is particularly relevant to the film, except to suggest that male sexual privilege also extends to protecting their discretion. Maybe Kubrick could compensate with an enormous porcelain specimen elsewhere.
I'm not saying that a penis would have solved the film's problems (or, to be more specific, what I perceive to be the film's problems). It is relevant to the extent that this film participates in a long history of putting naked female bodies on display for entertainment and that the film itself and the process by which it was made do so in a way that echoes some of the worst tendencies of men exploiting women. And, yes, I get that addressing female objectification and exploitation is something the film is critiquing. But when Kubrick is ordering women with specific body types and telling them that they can't wear underwear, meh. When a character looks at another character naked, then the character is being objectified. When the audience is looking at the character naked, that objectification extends to the relationship between the audience and the character. And, unlike Cruise, the audience (primed by the advertising) gets exactly what they were promised: naked Kidman, naked women, orgy scene.

The film Lilya 4 Ever contains multiple scenes in which the main character is violently objectified and sexually assaulted. And yet we don't see her naked, ever. I do think that nudity can serve a purpose, and I think that this can be the case even in the case of exploitative scenarios. When it comes to Eyes Wide Shut, I'm not convinced.

[mansplain]I don't think you were very interested in the film, and became irritated by the sexuality which the film clearly wore on its sleeve but was intending to subvert.[/mansplain]
This is basically what I said in my first post. And I went into the film after reading a positive review of it and thinking "Hey, maybe I was wrong to judge this movie without seeing it. It sounds like it might be pretty neat!". Ha. Nope.

The issue of depiction=endorsement is a common complaint about a number of films but it isn't something that interests me very much. In depicting a socioeconomic elite sex cult, the depiction of women being employed as objects becomes a matter of fact. That these women are "the same body type", "Barbie dolls", homogeneous and anonymous, confirms the objectification. They are quite literally fetishized. If I were depicting a film about BDSM submissives, I might have to have a few dog collars and leashes. It's ugly but accurate.
So it's a sex cult, but they only want to have sex with one very specific body type? Not a single person in the cult has a thing for, like, Asian women or fat women?

See this is where I'd have been happier if the film had been more dreamy and surreal. I'd actually be okay with the homogeneity of the women if we were to take the orgy as being more in Cruise's head. But as a real depiction of what a large group of wealthy men would "order"? Nah.
2) I'm not sure if I ever saw genitals in the film. I saw some pubic hair, but I saw no organs. Like Tom's assuredly massive hog, I'm not sure I would have cared one way or another, but this goes back to getting past the shock of natural anatomy.
I was being hyperbolic, yes, but you knew what I meant. Is our viewing of the female bodies essential to our understanding?

Yeah. All of that is true. Cruise is the protagonist. Had another man at the party been the protagonist, it would have been a vastly different film. It's also worth pointing out that we have no idea how grand a time they're having because we know nothing about them beyond this setting, other than they have the finances and power to be there. They could all be miserable farts, which makes more sense because, after a certain age, the scene has the smell of desperation to it. Would you prefer a film about some happy-go-lucky schmuck who indulges in this hedonistic cobweb completely unaware and unconcerned with its victims? That would be a strange desire for someone so against the objectification and exploitation that they are indulging in.
My point is that you can't say "Oh, but this film is showing how much of a failure this man is who objectifies women" when part of how that is shown is by contrasting him with the men who DO belong in the sexy sexy orgy. They are shown to be powerful and have access to women (and men) to fulfill their sexual needs. If the film is to be read as a critique of male fragility and that space between fantasy and reality, then isn't it a necessity that there be a "goal" for the main character to aspire to (and fall short of)? We can make up all kind of back stories about how the one old guy walking around with the topless woman is probably miserable in real life and his golf swing is off and he's kind of gassy, but that's not based on anything that is actually present in the film. To me it feels less like a critique of objectifying women and more like a specific story about one dude who thought he was cool enough to hang with the big dogs but actually wasn't. Again, if the film was dreamier you could maybe question what these rich dudes represent. But the film makes them too literal. They are rich dudes. And they will threaten you at the mall.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:39 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
Um, I did not miss the purpose of it. At all. Because I was really into film at the time I read a handful of self-satisfied tidbits about how Kubrick had played a "joke" on the horny audience by putting the frontal nudity right at the beginning of the film. I understand the purpose. But purpose and actual effect are not the same thing. And the guys around me who saw the film did NOT take the point. Unless a discussion of Nicole Kidman's pubic hair and the women at the orgy is teenage male code for "Man, I'm rethinking my objectifying stance toward women! Boy were my expectations subverted!". Also, I had to listen to this conversation while running a mile for gym class, something we did through the streets around our school and which was often occasion for me to be honked at by strange men in cars. So I'm not too stupid to understand the "clever" marketing technique, but it had a negative impact on me regardless of its intent.
Again, I don't think that this unfortunate experience with horny peers who clearly were not mature enough to understand this 'R'-rated film amounts to a sufficient criticism of the film itself rather than a criticism of these boys more generally. I'm sorry that their stupidity has ruined the film to the degree to be unable to see past this.


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
Losing Ground covers similar themes and I think it's ten times better.
The one with Duane Jones? That's a good film, and we can name dozens of films that deal with relationship jealousies. I think that the primary theme that is missing, that EWS deals with, is the same part that you're having the most trouble with: sexual objectification. EWS is concerned with the gulf between juvenile sexual obsession and adult emotional affection. It deals primarily with sexual taboo, the hint of danger and temptation of transgression that aren't quite evident in Losing Ground, the flame which compels the moths. This is why all of Cruise's succesive sexual encounters have connotations of death around them. These are not healthy impulses, in fact that's precisely why Cruise finds them intriguing. They're bad bad things. People have a wide-eyed fascination with sexual immorality, not meaning things like orientation but a sexuality which creates harm or at least the threat of potential harm. I've seen this self-destructive impulse across gender and orientation.


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
When a character looks at another character naked, then the character is being objectified. When the audience is looking at the character naked, that objectification extends to the relationship between the audience and the character.
I know you get frustrated when we get involved on aspects of viewing nudity in films, but this is an example of where we have very divergent perspectives on the subject. I don't believe that nudity ipso facto objectifies a person, I don't believe that everyone who views nudity is objectifying that nude persson whether as a character or an audience. This may be a fundamental difference that is irreconcilable.

In terms of how EWS uses nudity, it is for the purpose of objectification however, so sticking with that then I have to go back to what I've previously pointed out as the point of this theme of objectification in the film. When men sexually objectify women, the latter become "pieces of meat", T 'n' A, etc. The anonymous bodies at the orgy are the embodiment of this reduction.


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
And, unlike Cruise, the audience (primed by the advertising) gets exactly what they were promised: naked Kidman, naked women, orgy scene.
I think you probably need to stop listening to your high school pals on this one as well. The audience, fairly obviously, does not get exactly what they wanted, and this is precisely why audiences and critics in 1999 were so dissatisfied and frustrated with the film. It may be enough for horn dog teens, superficially, because those without experience tend to have lower standards when it comes to superficial stimulation. We do see Kidman's ass (first shot), but this ignores everything else about her character that follows. We do see naked women - a number of whom end up dead. And we do get an orgy scene of some degree. It's funny to remember how disappointed many audiences and critics were at how unenticing this orgy was. It was criticized for not being erotic, for being cold, bizarre, alienating, the sex critiqued as animalistic. Many critics used words like "tame" and "boring" to describe it. If you happen to be solely happy with the sight of nipples, divorced entirely from the all of the creepy and morbid context sheathing them, then I suppose that's good enough for some kids, but such expectations and gratifications are pretty lowest-common-denominator and even more naive than our clueless protagonist.


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
This is basically what I said in my first post.
Right. I think it's clear enough. My plea is only to consider the possibility that this has led to a bias which may have informed a misunderstanding of the film.

Consider this review from Janet Maslin in descibing the film's use of nudity and titillation: "its mood is not strictly one of eroticism. Here sex and death are inextricably interwoven, never more so than in the vision of sexual purgatory in a ritualized, moribund orgy sequence."


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
So it's a sex cult, but they only want to have sex with one very specific body type? Not a single person in the cult has a thing for, like, Asian women or fat women?

See this is where I'd have been happier if the film had been more dreamy and surreal. I'd actually be okay with the homogeneity of the women if we were to take the orgy as being more in Cruise's head. But as a real depiction of what a large group of wealthy men would "order"? Nah.
It seems that you're overlooking the essential evil that this "organization" represents. I admit that you probably know a lot more wealthy men than I do, but this is not some kind of swank-spank spa. This is a group who is primarily interested in control. Sex is simply an effective honey to lure the bear. I assume other nefarious vices are involved. The point is to compromise these powerful figures, keep them in line. We'll feed you what you need in exchange for confidence and loyalty. This element of control extends to why only a very narrow definition of perfection (what dumb men call a "10") is allowed. The exclusivity of their tastes is an expression of their power to discriminate. They want all their women to be 5'11" D-cups? Snap of a finger. That's what this is about. It's a demonstration of power. Someone can order 10 magnums of Dom Perignon for their party. Do they consider that different people like different spirits? No, they don't have to. It's understood what's being expressed here.


Takoma1 wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:28 am
My point is that you can't say "Oh, but this film is showing how much of a failure this man is who objectifies women" when part of how that is shown is by contrasting him with the men who DO belong in the sexy sexy orgy. They are shown to be powerful and have access to women (and men) to fulfill their sexual needs. If the film is to be read as a critique of male fragility and that space between fantasy and reality, then isn't it a necessity that there be a "goal" for the main character to aspire to (and fall short of)? We can make up all kind of back stories about how the one old guy walking around with the topless woman is probably miserable in real life and his golf swing is off and he's kind of gassy, but that's not based on anything that is actually present in the film. To me it feels less like a critique of objectifying women and more like a specific story about one dude who thought he was cool enough to hang with the big dogs but actually wasn't. Again, if the film was dreamier you could maybe question what these rich dudes represent. But the film makes them too literal. They are rich dudes. And they will threaten you at the mall.
Well, I don't know if any of this accurately describes what happens in the film. Tom Cruise doesn't "fail" by not being allowed into the orgy club. He wasn't rejected from it because he wasn't "cool enough". And the participants who are there is not due to their coolness or big doggedness. They are there because they are complicit in a conspiracy of corruption. Cruise was not supposed to be there because he has not compromised himself in this complicity. They don't control him (although, ala the mall men at the end, they now have leverage to command his silence). As literal as you say they are, I don't see that you understand what these men represent. Beyond money and sex, these men represent fundamental and amoral power.

I don't think the film is so much about "the space between fantasy and reality" as it is specifically about the space between sexual fascination (fantasies informed by taboos and obsessions) and actual emotional intimacy (reality informed by familial affection). The goal of Cruise is to recognize this distinction, recognize how destructive one is to the other, and finally shed these unresolved and barely conscious impulses. If you look past the mall men at the end, you'll see that Cruise and Kidman confirm their commitment to their affection and finally deal with sex frankly, without taboo or titillation.

The reason why I feel that those men at the orgy are likely miserable farts is because they obviously have not had such a realization. They're still wide-eyed in the cobweb of anonymous, affectless "cold" and "animalistic" sexual impulses. They remain slaves to their shallow desires and blind to its emotional consequences. They're marionettes and sex is the strings. After a certain age, it begins to smell of emotional desperation. Cruise very clearly dodged a bullet.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:39 am
Again, I don't think that this unfortunate experience with horny peers who clearly were not mature enough to understand this 'R'-rated film amounts to a sufficient criticism of the film itself rather than a criticism of these boys more generally. I'm sorry that their stupidity has ruined the film to the degree to be unable to see past this.
Again, the reaction of my peers is not a criticism of the film. It is the background that I am bringing to a viewing of the film. And it's also a comment on the fact that there were people for whom the base titillation promised in the advertisements didn't lead to any "a-ha" moments at all.

I've certainly had experiences where I was put off by the reactions of others but the film itself spoke to me in a way that effectively allowed me to separate the film from my annoyance at reactions/reviews. This just wasn't the case with Eyes Wide Shut.
The one with Duane Jones? That's a good film, and we can name dozens of films that deal with relationship jealousies. I think that the primary theme that is missing, that EWS deals with, is the same part that you're having the most trouble with: sexual objectification. EWS is concerned with the gulf between juvenile sexual obsession and adult emotional affection. It deals primarily with sexual taboo, the hint of danger and temptation of transgression that aren't quite evident in Losing Ground, the flame which compels the moths. This is why all of Cruise's succesive sexual encounters have connotations of death around them. These are not healthy impulses, in fact that's precisely why Cruise finds them intriguing. They're bad bad things. People have a wide-eyed fascination with sexual immorality, not meaning things like orientation but a sexuality which creates harm or at least the threat of potential harm. I've seen this self-destructive impulse across gender and orientation.
I understand that element of the film intellectually, but I did not find his journey of self-discovery all that interesting. Again--it's just too literal for me. About the third encounter that's like "boobs . . . but also death :( " it's like, I get it. Again, I'm fine with what the film is about, but not that drawn to the way it's presented.
I know you get frustrated when we get involved on aspects of viewing nudity in films, but this is an example of where we have very divergent perspectives on the subject. I don't believe that nudity ipso facto objectifies a person, I don't believe that everyone who views nudity is objectifying that nude persson whether as a character or an audience. This may be a fundamental difference that is irreconcilable.
I would argue that when you are viewing a nude person in an objectifying context (like, I don't know, a young actress sprawled half-nude on a couch or, say, an orgy full of nude/semi-nude women), some objectification is inescapable. Especially when the actresses have been specifically ordered to specifications for that purpose.

Consider this review from Janet Maslin in descibing the film's use of nudity and titillation: "its mood is not strictly one of eroticism. Here sex and death are inextricably interwoven, never more so than in the vision of sexual purgatory in a ritualized, moribund orgy sequence."
And part of the problem is that I didn't find most of these sequences as ominous or foreboding as I was supposed to. And, again, the danger becomes far too literal. Even the review you cited above includes this line: "one of the few ill-advisedly earthbound scenes in the film, a denouement that threatens to rupture the reverie with too much cloak-and-dagger plot".
I admit that you probably know a lot more wealthy men than I do,

:?
This is a group who is primarily interested in control. Sex is simply an effective honey to lure the bear. I assume other nefarious vices are involved. The point is to compromise these powerful figures, keep them in line. We'll feed you what you need in exchange for confidence and loyalty. This element of control extends to why only a very narrow definition of perfection (what dumb men call a "10") is allowed. The exclusivity of their tastes is an expression of their power to discriminate. They want all their women to be 5'11" D-cups? Snap of a finger. That's what this is about. It's a demonstration of power. Someone can order 10 magnums of Dom Perignon for their party. Do they consider that different people like different spirits? No, they don't have to. It's understood what's being expressed here.
And, again, this is too literal for me! If the point of the film is all about contrasting objectification and affection, I do not need the evil mob-ish people. And, yes, I understand how you could argue that the desire for control/power goes hand-in-hand with the sort of juvenile impulses that lead men to sexually objectify and try to control women. I then also question the symbolism of him being "redeemed" by the woman.
Well, I don't know if any of this accurately describes what happens in the film. Tom Cruise doesn't "fail" by not being allowed into the orgy club. He wasn't rejected from it because he wasn't "cool enough". And the participants who are there is not due to their coolness or big doggedness. They are there because they are complicit in a conspiracy of corruption. Cruise was not supposed to be there because he has not compromised himself in this complicity. They don't control him (although, ala the mall men at the end, they now have leverage to command his silence). As literal as you say they are, I don't see that you understand what these men represent. Beyond money and sex, these men represent fundamental and amoral power.
So is this film or is this film not, as previously asserted, taking shots at Tom Cruise? It seems like the arguments about what we are meant to see as the message of his character's arc changes as the discussion goes on.
you'll see that Cruise and Kidman confirm their commitment to their affection and finally deal with sex frankly, without taboo or titillation.
I do like their final exchange and I do think that it shows the growth of his character. But, again, I find his journey simply not very compelling.
The reason why I feel that those men at the orgy are likely miserable farts is because they obviously have not had such a realization. They're still wide-eyed in the cobweb of anonymous, affectless "cold" and "animalistic" sexual impulses. They remain slaves to their shallow desires and blind to its emotional consequences. They're marionettes and sex is the strings. After a certain age, it begins to smell of emotional desperation. Cruise very clearly dodged a bullet.
On this point, I think that the film just lacks balance. We spend so much time with Cruise's erotic/deadly adventures that the film doesn't lay out a very good portrait of mature sexual intimacy. The final exchange is strong, but the thriller stuff makes it seem like his wife is more of a safe alternative than an actual desired outcome.

Again: I don't hate this film. Not by a long stretch. I will say that I strongly admired several technical elements of it and overall enjoyed watching it through that lens. But it does not gel with me in any meaningful way emotionally, I frankly was never very invested in Cruise's character to begin with, and to go way back to my original point, it's not a film that I would show a group of people on a movie night.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:47 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
And it's also a comment on the fact that there were people for whom the base titillation promised in the advertisements didn't lead to any "a-ha" moments at all.
I wouldn't doubt that. People miss the point of things all of the time, and Kubrick's films have all kinds of niche misunderstandings (ala Room 237). Some people even think that Blue Velvet is sexy. I can't help them.



Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
Again--it's just too literal for me. About the third encounter that's like "boobs . . . but also death :( " it's like, I get it.
That's kind of a glib way to phrase it. I think Maslin's quote was closer to the heart of the meaning.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
Especially when the actresses have been specifically ordered to specifications for that purpose.
Yes, exactly....as long as we, at least, recognize that purpose. If the purpose is to show a systematic objectification, for example. You've been suggesting some kind of dual purpose involved, as if the objectification being narratively portrayed was promulgating the objectification (despite its sinister depiction), or that Kubrick himself was getting his objectifying rocks off while shooting it (again, irrespective to the clearly toxic environment he's staging).


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
Even the review you cited above includes this line: "one of the few ill-advisedly earthbound scenes in the film, a denouement that threatens to rupture the reverie with too much cloak-and-dagger plot".
Sure, but what say you about the rest of Maslin's thoughts? She doesn't feel that the majority of the film is so overly literal as to support your argumentt.

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
:?
Do I have to slap a :P on all of my jokes?


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
And, again, this is too literal for me! If the point of the film is all about contrasting objectification and affection, I do not need the evil mob-ish people. And, yes, I understand how you could argue that the desire for control/power goes hand-in-hand with the sort of juvenile impulses that lead men to sexually objectify and try to control women. I then also question the symbolism of him being "redeemed" by the woman.
Apparently, the film isn't literal enough to avoid these kinds of issues. The evil mob is a manifestation of these self-destructive taboos taken to a dangerous extreme and given a sociopolitical dimension of patriarchal control. I'm not going to argue "necessity" regarding these things, rather I'll ask how you would have preferred for such a manifested taboo to be presented? Because, yes, control/power is integral in a patriarchy which insists on preserving a hypocritical privilege for its elite men. And lastly, I think that "redeemed" is a poor term here. Cruise is shown mercy at her expense, but any redemption Cruise has is the product of his own realization. He's more accurately haunted by this experience than redeemed.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
So is this film or is this film not, as previously asserted, taking shots at Tom Cruise? It seems like the arguments about what we are meant to see as the message of his character's arc changes as the discussion goes on.
The film has a satirical current with Cruise. It's not like it either does or doesn't tacitly mock his futile efforts. This doesn't rule out his arc of realizing this futility.

It's a complex film with a number of layers, but I don't think I've mentioned any aspects that're contradictory. We still have his presumptions of male prerogative and unresolved fascinations, and as these things are frustrated, sometimes in darkly humorous ways, we see some maturity start to creep into his worldview.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
The final exchange is strong, but the thriller stuff makes it seem like his wife is more of a safe alternative than an actual desired outcome.
Nothing suggests that Cruise could not have tried to get back into this cult's good graces, if he wanted to try, but more importantly, he did not. This doesn't necessarily make his choice a "safe" one, rather than a moral and affectionate one. In the last scene, this is not a loveless relationship, despite their exhaustion.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:44 am
Again: I don't hate this film. Not by a long stretch. I will say that I strongly admired several technical elements of it and overall enjoyed watching it through that lens. But it does not gel with me in any meaningful way emotionally, I frankly was never very invested in Cruise's character to begin with, and to go way back to my original point, it's not a film that I would show a group of people on a movie night.
No, I wouldn't call it a "party" film either.

But also back to your original point: "I really don't understand liking it all that much to begin with." Consider this as my attempt to expand your imagination on this a little. I don't want to force you to appreciate the film, and obviously I cannot dictate your emotional responses. But in the assessment that I responded to, I couldn't see very much understanding of the film, which was confirmed when you pointed out that "I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say". Because there have been a number of intensive and thoughtful reviews of the film, I don't feel as if I'm imposing my own personal interpretation, but only trying to lay out some of the evident examples of what the film is trying to say. We can argue execution, efficacy and presentation, but what the film is saying is still there, evident on screen, and, love it or hate it, it should be judged with this message in mind. The film has a superficial erotic glow, but it is not substantially an erotic film. The eros in the film is like the rainbows it alludes to, it's attractive, an illusion, and impossible to touch. Many will probably die chasing it.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:44 am

When Blade Runner 2049 came out in 2017 I fell completely in love with it and it was my favorite movie of that year, it was the perfect movie for my 16 years old, science fiction loving self. It was like someone made a movie just for me. But I have only seen it that one time in the theater and I have been scared to rewatch it since, suspicious that it might not hold up. So I rewatched it last night just to finally find out.

I still like it. Not as much as I used to but it's better than it has any right to be, being a sequel to a 35-year old cult movie that arguably didn't need one, made in hellscape that is the current studio climate. It's a miracle that it came out as well as it did.

It's weird. During it's original release a lot of people around me complained "nothing happens in that movie" but now I feel like it's almost to plotty for a Blade Runner sequel. Too many side-stories and characters that don't really go anywhere, like those fuckin' revolutionaries who disappear as suddenly as they initially popped up.

Jared Leto still remains the worst aspect of it all. I've never seen anyone overact in such a passive manner. It would almost be impressive if he wasn't so annoying.
Luckily, he is only in like five minutes of the movie.

I'm not the biggest fan of Ryan Gosling when he is in his intense-staring-mode, I prefer him when he is allowed to be charming or funny or at least something that resembles a human being, but man, his sad giant puppy eyes work perfectly in this.

Not my favorite movie of 2017 anymore but it sits comfortably around the 4th or 5th spot now.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:23 pm

Slentert wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:44 am
When Blade Runner 2049 came out in 2017 I fell completely in love with it and it was my favorite movie of that year, it was the perfect movie for my 16 years old, science fiction loving self. It was like someone made a movie just for me. But I have only seen it that one time in the theater and I have been scared to rewatch it since, suspicious that it might not hold up. So I rewatched it last night just to finally find out.

I still like it. Not as much as I used to but it's better than it has any right to be, being a sequel to a 35-year old cult movie that arguably didn't need one, made in hellscape that is the current studio climate. It's a miracle that it came out as well as it did.

It's weird. During it's original release a lot of people around me complained "nothing happens in that movie" but now I feel like it's almost to plotty for a Blade Runner sequel. Too many side-stories and characters that don't really go anywhere, like those fuckin' revolutionaries who disappear as suddenly as they initially popped up.

Jared Leto still remains the worst aspect of it all. I've never seen anyone overact in such a passive manner. It would almost be impressive if he wasn't so annoying.
Luckily, he is only in like five minutes of the movie.

I'm not the biggest fan of Ryan Gosling when he is in his intense-staring-mode, I prefer him when he is allowed to be charming or funny or at least something that resembles a human being, but man, his sad giant puppy eyes work perfectly in this.

Not my favorite movie of 2017 anymore but it sits comfortably around the 4th or 5th spot now.
I'm not gonna lie to you, I thought it should have been (and certainly had a right to be) a lot better than it was.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm

Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:47 am
That's kind of a glib way to phrase it. I think Maslin's quote was closer to the heart of the meaning.
Glib but also pretty accurate. To quote the IMDb (sexy, sexy spoilers people!)

A woman is shown unconscious on a couch after a drug overdose, full-frontal nudity shown briefly.

A doctor examines a female patient. Her breasts are clearly visible.

Cruise opens her top and feels her breasts, though no nudity is shown.

A scene shows a dead woman in a morgue; her naked body is shown.


You can call this "eroticism tinged with morbidity" or whatever, but the template that the film follows of "naked body + death" got old to me.
Yes, exactly....as long as we, at least, recognize that purpose. If the purpose is to show a systematic objectification, for example. You've been suggesting some kind of dual purpose involved, as if the objectification being narratively portrayed was promulgating the objectification (despite its sinister depiction), or that Kubrick himself was getting his objectifying rocks off while shooting it (again, irrespective to the clearly toxic environment he's staging).
Oh, I'm still not convinced that there wasn't a dual purpose, sorry. And that goes to the brain of a man who is dead, so we'll never know for sure.

Knowing what I know about Kubrick, I can grant that it's more likely that he saw the female actresses as pawns/props as opposed to delighting in getting to disrobe a bunch of beautiful women. But it doesn't necessarily make me look more favorably on him. Especially not with that quote from the woman who was sexually assaulted who implies she got pushback for not wanting to be naked on camera. There are things about how the orgy scene is described that do make it sound like something not above board. Especially the element of starting by wanting one thing (an abstract sexy dance) and then pushing the boundary and pushing the boundary until the women aren't allowed to wear underwear (but the men are still covered because . . .).
Sure, but what say you about the rest of Maslin's thoughts? She doesn't feel that the majority of the film is so overly literal as to support your argument.
Well, her florid prose was a good insight into what someone who likes the movie thinks and how they saw it. I agree with all of her technical assessments (such as the use of colored lighting), but I didn't have the same rapturous response as she did. She highlights scenes that are effective (such as the argument the couple has while getting high in their bedroom), but to me they don't come together in a satisfying whole. I can't specifically refute anything she says. She digs this vibe of ominous eroticism and that's simply not a vibe that I get from the film.

Apparently, the film isn't literal enough to avoid these kinds of issues. The evil mob is a manifestation of these self-destructive taboos taken to a dangerous extreme and given a sociopolitical dimension of patriarchal control. I'm not going to argue "necessity" regarding these things, rather I'll ask how you would have preferred for such a manifested taboo to be presented? Because, yes, control/power is integral in a patriarchy which insists on preserving a hypocritical privilege for its elite men. And lastly, I think that "redeemed" is a poor term here. Cruise is shown mercy at her expense, but any redemption Cruise has is the product of his own realization. He's more accurately haunted by this experience than redeemed.
But what taboos? There is no taboo about having sex with beautiful women. There is no taboo, I would even argue, in wealthy men cheating on their wives or hiring sex workers of a certain caliber. Patriarchy and privilege and control do harm to the women and men at its mercy. The orgy is too civilized to convey that harm, in my opinion.

The only perceived harm is
the death of the woman who saves Cruise. (I used the word "redeem" because that is the word used in the film)
.

And putting Cruise in harm's way takes the spotlight off of those who are actually being victimized. The film cannot resist making Cruise a victim, and thus a potential abuser gets more "visible" sympathy than the people who are being abused. You can say that we are meant to care about the fate of the prostitutes/secondary female characters as much as we care about Cruise, but I don't think that's the way that the film is set up.

Nothing suggests that Cruise could not have tried to get back into this cult's good graces, if he wanted to try, but more importantly, he did not. This doesn't necessarily make his choice a "safe" one, rather than a moral and affectionate one. In the last scene, this is not a loveless relationship, despite their exhaustion.
I'm not saying it's loveless, but I am saying that it feels more like the comforting alternative to the overstimulating and overwhelming experiences of his last 24 hours.

But also back to your original point: "I really don't understand liking it all that much to begin with." Consider this as my attempt to expand your imagination on this a little. I don't want to force you to appreciate the film, and obviously I cannot dictate your emotional responses. But in the assessment that I responded to, I couldn't see very much understanding of the film, which was confirmed when you pointed out that "I feel like I have no idea what the movie was trying to say". Because there have been a number of intensive and thoughtful reviews of the film, I don't feel as if I'm imposing my own personal interpretation, but only trying to lay out some of the evident examples of what the film is trying to say. We can argue execution, efficacy and presentation, but what the film is saying is still there, evident on screen, and, love it or hate it, it should be judged with this message in mind. The film has a superficial erotic glow, but it is not substantially an erotic film. The eros in the film is like the rainbows it alludes to, it's attractive, an illusion, and impossible to touch. Many will probably die chasing it.
My statement about liking it all that much was more a response to the praise it was getting. Again, I gave it a 7/10 on IMDb. I'd even say I liked it. But I don't understand liking it as much as some people clearly do.

If the film's message is that it's futile or demeaning to chase power and juvenile sexual gratification, then I get it. I guess. But I am unconvinced by it and I think that it's "earthbound" plotting and thriller elements undercut what it is trying to accomplish. And I still think that it privileges a male point of view to an extent that it's criticism of objectification rings a bit hollow. Especially given the homogeneity of how the film defines female beauty (because the film itself--outside of the main character's interests--does not even PRESENT other female types).
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:13 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
Glib but also pretty accurate. To quote the IMDb...
IMDb: Otherwise known as the Den of Glibitude.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
You can call this "eroticism tinged with morbidity" or whatever
Actually, I've been very clear that whatever eroticism is in the film is illusory. Based on your repetition of trying to reference the film's "sexy sexiness", along side your experiences with the male dorks on your track team, I think that this is something that has clouded your judgment of the film.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
Knowing what I know about Kubrick, I can grant that it's more likely that he saw the female actresses as pawns/props
If you know anything about Kubrick, you would probably say that he uses all of his actors as pawns/props. But it's worth remembering that his wife of 40 years was once one of these actresses (in Paths of Glory), and I doubt anyone exiting that film would consider her use as a "prop". I think you've developed an idea of who the man Kubrick is that may not be very accurate.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
Especially not with that quote from the woman who was sexually assaulted who implies she got pushback for not wanting to be naked on camera.
I didn't see anywhere in that article that Kubrick was aware of her prior sexual assault or where she was prevented from not participating in the shoot.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
(but the men are still covered because . . .).
A: Warner Brothers, who, even in light of Kubrick's restraint on male nudity, subsequently chose to further obscure whatever nudity Kubrick had shot after his death.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
Well, her florid prose ...
Again, superficial. What about the substance of what she was saying, specifically regarding the use of nudity and sex in the film....


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
She digs this vibe of ominous eroticism and that's simply not a vibe that I get from the film.
Well, the vibe is there, and there must be a reason why so many people do get it from the film. In fact, more so than anyone who felt aroused by its nudity.



Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
There is no taboo about having sex with beautiful women.
There is if you happen to be married with a child. Taboo = forbidden. They use words like "unfaithful" and "cheating" for a reason.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
The orgy is too civilized to convey that harm, in my opinion.
Except the part where they kill a woman, I guess....


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
The only perceived harm is
the death of the woman who saves Cruise. (I used the word "redeem" because that is the word used in the film)
.
OH! And this also kinda implies that this sort of "sacrifice" is routine to the ritual. It was in the service of this ritual that the word "redeem" was used, right? Sort of in the aggrandizing way that ritualistic language puffs up the significance of the moment. Point being that murder seems like a casual, familiar act to these folks.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
And putting Cruise in harm's way takes the spotlight off of those who are actually being victimized. The film cannot resist making Cruise a victim, and thus a potential abuser gets more "visible" sympathy than the people who are being abused. You can say that we are meant to care about the fate of the prostitutes/secondary female characters as much as we care about Cruise, but I don't think that's the way that the film is set up.
I wouldn't call Cruise a victim because he initiated the course of events himself. I don't see the film proportioning sympathy in such a zero-sum fashion. I guess I do sympathize just enough with Cruise to avoid labeling him a "potential abuser", but then again I also never saw his rejection from the big dog club as a form of failure on his part. I think it's clear where this abuse is rooted.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
I'm not saying it's loveless, but I am saying that it feels more like the comforting alternative to the overstimulating and overwhelming experiences of his last 24 hours.
You suggested an insincerity on Cruise's part in staying with his wife and daughter, a choice driven more by fear than a preference for stable affection. He definitely chose "comfort" in that affectionate sense, but that's also the mature option.


Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:36 pm
And I still think that it privileges a male point of view to an extent that it's criticism of objectification rings a bit hollow. Especially given the homogeneity of how the film defines female beauty (because the film itself--outside of the main character's interests--does not even PRESENT other female types).
The novella was written by a man, the film was made by a man, and a man is the POV protagonist. This is true. I don't disqualify a male POV as being incapable of critiquing objectification. The film does not "define female beauty". It defines objectified female beauty, and objectification requires homogeneity (like an assembly line product). I think it's a poor reading of the film to say that this objectified standard of beauty is in any way being promoted as an idealized standard for anyone other than elite control freaks.

(And Kidman, btw, is not the same body type as the women at the orgy. Kidman has a much leaner figure and much smaller breasts. It doesn't really matter, but you brought it up.)
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am

Slentert wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:44 am
Not my favorite movie of 2017 anymore but it sits comfortably around the 4th or 5th spot now.
It's funny how personal preferences can shift like this. Imagine what you'll think of it in another ten years or so.
Jinnistan wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:13 pm
IMDb: Otherwise known as the Den of Glibitude.
I'm just providing factual accounts of the nudity in the film. I'm sorry you don't like the source? I'm sure there are plenty of other horn-dog catalogs of the nudity in the film.
Actually, I've been very clear that whatever eroticism is in the film is illusory. Based on your repetition of trying to reference the film's "sexy sexiness", along side your experiences with the male dorks on your track team, I think that this is something that has clouded your judgment of the film.
My references to the film's sexiness are to the sex/eroticism that are presented in the film. If you think they are illusory, fine. But I don't get that argument. In order for it to have the charge, it must walk the line. It must be sexual AND foreboding. From the article you keep referencing: "gloomy and lascivious adventures," "erotically charged odyssey", "suffused with sexual possibility", "its mood is not strictly one of eroticism" (emphasis mine). You can say that you don't find the sex/nudity a turn on. Fine. But to deny that there is any real eroticism here is bogus. Nicole Kidman slipping out of her dress is damn sexy. You can argue that the sexuality is all tinged with doom, but saying that there's no genuine sexiness to this film baffles me.


If you know anything about Kubrick, you would probably say that he uses all of his actors as pa
wns/props. But it's worth remembering that his wife of 40 years was once one of these actresses (in Paths of Glory), and I doubt anyone exiting that film would consider her use as a "prop". I think you've developed an idea of who the man Kubrick is that may not be very accurate.
I'm very aware of who he is. I know that he put actors of both genders through rigorous, exhausting shoots, multiple takes, etc. That's why I said it was more likely that he saw the women as props rather than as sexual toys for himself, because that's how he sees anyone (or anything, to reference the anecdote about the smoke blowing the wrong way) inside of his frame of composition. But I always go back to question power, and anytime that a man (in particular) uses power to put nude female bodies on screen, to dictate their physical appearance, to hand them a copy of the Kama Sutra, I'm going to put that under extra scrutiny.
I didn't see anywhere in that article that Kubrick was aware of her prior sexual assault or where she was prevented from not participating in the shoot.
I said that she implied that she got pushback. She says that she had to insist and that she had to "stick to her guns". You don't say "stick to my guns" unless you are getting resistance.
Again, superficial. What about the substance of what she was saying, specifically regarding the use of nudity and sex in the film....
I mean, what else is there to say. She says that the frontal female nudity is used to "potent effect." Okay. That's her opinion and mine is different? What else are you seeing in her writing? I've read the piece like four times now. Her only reference to nudity is to compare Kidman's nudity to previous nudity. And then to say that when Cruise takes care of the overdose victim he seems "not to notice" her being naked.
Well, the vibe is there, and there must be a reason why so many people do get it from the film. In fact, more so than anyone who felt aroused by its nudity.
I'm not denying that. At all. I'm saying I don't feel it, and thus much of the film's power is probably lost on me. I can't compel myself to feel an eeriness. And I don't think that my judgement is clouded. I just think I'm not on the film's frequency.
There is if you happen to be married with a child. Taboo = forbidden. They use words like "unfaithful" and "cheating" for a reason.
Again, I just disagree. The rich guy getting it on with the nanny is a cliche at this point. Think trophy wives. I don't find "rich men sleeping with attractive women" to be a very powerful taboo.
Except the part where they kill a woman, I guess....
In theory. This happens off-screen, and it's used as a device to unsettle the main character, not to actually elicit empathy for the women who have been and will continue to be harmed. The stuff that we actually see is pretty tepid (not just sexually speaking). It's where the combination of "real" and "staged" again just doesn't balance for me.
OH! And this also kinda implies that this sort of "sacrifice" is routine to the ritual. It was in the service of this ritual that the word "redeem" was used, right? Sort of in the aggrandizing way that ritualistic language puffs up the significance of the moment. Point being that murder seems like a casual, familiar act to these folks.
So your understanding of what happens in this film is that
the woman saves his life knowing that she is going to be ritualistically killed for it?
I wouldn't call Cruise a victim because he initiated the course of events himself. I don't see the film proportioning sympathy in such a zero-sum fashion. I guess I do sympathize just enough with Cruise to avoid labeling him a "potential abuser", but then again I also never saw his rejection from the big dog club as a form of failure on his part. I think it's clear where this abuse is rooted.
Whatever wording you choose, Cruise's fate is the one that the audience is most asked to care about.
You suggested an insincerity on Cruise's part in staying with his wife and daughter, a choice driven more by fear than a preference for stable affection. He definitely chose "comfort" in that affectionate sense, but that's also the mature option.
It's also his only alternative that is presented. It doesn't feel like he's running TO that relationship so much as running FROM where he's been all night, if that makes sense.
The novella was written by a man, the film was made by a man, and a man is the POV protagonist. This is true. I don't disqualify a male POV as being incapable of critiquing objectification. The film does not "define female beauty". It defines objectified female beauty, and objectification requires homogeneity (like an assembly line product). I think it's a poor reading of the film to say that this objectified standard of beauty is in any way being promoted as an idealized standard for anyone other than elite control freaks.

(And Kidman, btw, is not the same body type as the women at the orgy. Kidman has a much leaner figure and much smaller breasts. It doesn't really matter, but you brought it up.)
Well, I'm glad that another conversation about this film could come back to the size of Kidman's boobs. It's like gym class all over again!

I don't understand why ALL the women in the film (Kidman's undersized breasts excluded) have to align to the same standard, even before Cruise goes on his quest for infidelity. Objectification does not require homogeneity. And even if it did, I'd still argue that it doesn't make sense in an orgy as literal as the one we see. If one attendee is allowed to be gay, why is no one allowed to "order" a woman of a different race/build?

Unless, and this would be amazing, you're suggesting that Cruise ultimately rejects the homogeneous beauties of the orgy only to return to that hideous troll of a wife, with her lean figure and undersized boobs.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:00 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
I'm just providing factual accounts of the nudity in the film.
Thank you. I don't think there's a great deal of controversy over the fact that the film contains nudity. The issue we were discussing involved how that nudity is used and the film's purpose of critiquing objectification, and, sorry, I doubt IMDb has a lot to say on that more qualitative matter.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
My references to the film's sexiness are to the sex/eroticism that are presented in the film. If you think they are illusory, fine. But I don't get that argument. In order for it to have the charge, it must walk the line. It must be sexual AND foreboding. From the article you keep referencing: "gloomy and lascivious adventures," "erotically charged odyssey", "suffused with sexual possibility", "its mood is not strictly one of eroticism" (emphasis mine). You can say that you don't find the sex/nudity a turn on. Fine. But to deny that there is any real eroticism here is bogus. Nicole Kidman slipping out of her dress is damn sexy. You can argue that the sexuality is all tinged with doom, but saying that there's no genuine sexiness to this film baffles me.
I don't see this as being so complicated. The film allures with erotic promise, but frustrates this allure, pops the balloon of our expectations. I'm not sure I can explain it better than I already have with the rainbow symbolism. The eroticism is illusory, this illusion is apparent in the film. It isn't a question of whether the film is erotic or not, but whether or not the eroticism is the point. Which it isn't.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
hand them a copy of the Kama Sutra
What's wrong with the Kama Sutra?


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
I said that she implied that she got pushback. She says that she had to insist and that she had to "stick to her guns". You don't say "stick to my guns" unless you are getting resistance.
Didn't she "stick to her guns" because she wanted more money? This is the actress who played the OD'd woman. I'm not sure if she shot that scene before or after the orgy. Regardless, I haven't seen anything to indicate that anyone was forced to do anything that they were uncomfortable with.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
I mean, what else is there to say.
I'm specifically asking about her thoughts on the effectiveness of combining the themes of sex and death in the film, especially in the orgy sequence. I offered that quote as an example of what I've been describing as the intention of the mood it sets. You seem to assume that it's intended to be "sexy" as some kind of prurient fodder. I did not see it that way, and neither did Maslin or any other critics. Terms like "purgatory" and "moribund" are more accurate. Funny enough, you acknowledge that this sequence isn't particularly arousing either, but you're not considering how it's not really supposed to be.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
Again, I just disagree. The rich guy getting it on with the nanny is a cliche at this point. Think trophy wives. I don't find "rich men sleeping with attractive women" to be a very powerful taboo.
A lot of rich men have gotten in a lot of trouble for getting it on with the nanny. It's a risk. That (forbidden) risk is part of the thrill for those who risk it.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
In theory. This happens off-screen...
There is very little ambiguity that it happened in practice, and I wouldn't trust the acuity of an audience member unable to figure that out.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
So your understanding of what happens in this film is that
the woman saves his life knowing that she is going to be ritualistically killed for it?
Yes, I believe she was aware of the risk. Don't they even ask her to think about it and make sure that's what she wanted? Think about Pollack's response. This was par for the course.



Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
Whatever wording you choose, Cruise's fate is the one that the audience is most asked to care about.
It's his POV, no doubt, that monopolizes the film, but I think it's ridiculous to suggest that the audience is incapable of caring about a number of others, including Kidman, Nick, the costume shop owner's daughter, etc. I don't think that any film requires such exclusivity of concern for the protagonist.



Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
Well, I'm glad that another conversation about this film could come back to the size of Kidman's boobs. It's like gym class all over again!
That's bullshit, Takoma. You brought up the issue of body type, and I corrected an inaccuracy. Damn my eyes, I guess. I'll generously assume this wasn't intentional baiting.



Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
Unless, and this would be amazing, you're suggesting that Cruise ultimately rejects the homogeneous beauties of the orgy only to return to that hideous troll of a wife, with her lean figure and undersized boobs.
You're assuming that I find Kidman's wife to be a "hideous troll" based on absolutely nothing I've ever said about the film. And you're assuming that I value a woman based on her breast size, equally based on absolutely nothing I've ever said here or on RT. If insulting me is your way out of the discussion, G'speed.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Takoma1 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am

Jinnistan wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:00 am
Thank you. I don't think there's a great deal of controversy over the fact that the film contains nudity. The issue we were discussing involved how that nudity is used and the film's purpose of critiquing objectification, and, sorry, I doubt IMDb has a lot to say on that more qualitative matter.
I said that there were repeated scenes of nudity + death and I found it repetitive. You said I was being too glib. I just cited the IMdb to point out the repetitiveness of this dynamic in the film.
I don't see this as being so complicated. The film allures with erotic promise, but frustrates this allure, pops the balloon of our expectations. I'm not sure I can explain it better than I already have with the rainbow symbolism. The eroticism is illusory, this illusion is apparent in the film. It isn't a question of whether the film is erotic or not, but whether or not the eroticism is the point. Which it isn't.
Illusory means not real. You are saying that the eroticism in the film is not real. I am saying that there is real eroticism and that it is contrasted with danger/death. I'm saying that there are genuinely sexy moments/images in the film, and I don't understand how you can disagree with that. A film can be sexy and also pair sexiness with danger/death.
Didn't she "stick to her guns" because she wanted more money? This is the actress who played the OD'd woman. I'm not sure if she shot that scene before or after the orgy. Regardless, I haven't seen anything to indicate that anyone was forced to do anything that they were uncomfortable with.
No, she stuck to her guns because she'd been assaulted and didn't want to film a sex scene on camera. She appears nude, but did not want to perform/simulate sex acts on camera. And I didn't say she was forced, just that her wording implies that she got pushback when she denied Kubrick's request that she be nude in the orgy.
I'm specifically asking about her thoughts on the effectiveness of combining the themes of sex and death in the film, especially in the orgy sequence. I offered that quote as an example of what I've been describing as the intention of the mood it sets. You seem to assume that it's intended to be "sexy" as some kind of prurient fodder. I did not see it that way, and neither did Maslin or any other critics. Terms like "purgatory" and "moribund" are more accurate. Funny enough, you acknowledge that this sequence isn't particularly arousing either, but you're not considering how it's not really supposed to be.
I understand the intent. It does not work for me. I'm not sure how else to say this. I don't find it eerie therefore it's just a bunch of naked women therefore it feels objectifying to me because I feel like I'm just looking at bodies.

Consider me an outlier, but understanding the film better isn't going to change my basic response to it.

A lot of rich men have gotten in a lot of trouble for getting it on with the nanny. It's a risk. That (forbidden) risk is part of the thrill for those who risk it.

In the scheme of things it's a pretty low level risk for a super powerful white old man.
Yes, I believe she was aware of the risk. Don't they even ask her to think about it and make sure that's what she wanted? Think about Pollack's response. This was par for the course.
Par for the course to sacrifice people? Taken literally this just seems silly, sorry.
It's his POV, no doubt, that monopolizes the film, but I think it's ridiculous to suggest that the audience is incapable of caring about a number of others, including Kidman, Nick, the costume shop owner's daughter, etc. I don't think that any film requires such exclusivity of concern for the protagonist.
I didn't say that the audience couldn't care. But I'm not sure that it seemed like the film cared all that much.

That's bullshit, Takoma. You brought up the issue of body type, and I corrected an inaccuracy. Damn my eyes, I guess. I'll generously assume this wasn't intentional baiting.
What I find ridiculous is the idea of differentiating Nicole Kidman (thin and gorgeous and white) from the other naked women we see in the film (thin and gorgeous and white), as if they actually represent different body types. As if Kidman having a smaller cup size somehow represents female diversity.

Image

Image
You're assuming that I find Kidman's wife to be a "hideous troll" based on absolutely nothing I've ever said about the film. And you're assuming that I value a woman based on her breast size, equally based on absolutely nothing I've ever said here or on RT. If insulting me is your way out of the discussion, G'speed.
You keep telling me about assumptions I'm making that are not in what I'm writing. I pointed out the (in my opinion) ridiculousness of suggesting that Nicole Kidman and the other women in the film are different enough in type to be considered non-homogeneous. And I pointed out the irony that a conversation that began with me expressing discomfort and distaste with male peers talking about a woman's body arrived at . . . a male peer talking about a woman's body. (And in further reading today I got to read a male critic talking about how he'd figured out the identity (or non-identity) of the Mysterious Woman based on her pubic hair. Cool.) You've called me glib, and been sarcastic, but when I use sarcasm it's now a personal attack? If I thought you were sexist I wouldn't be talking to you in the first place. I do not give time or attention to conversations that I don't think are genuine or respectful.

You seem upset that I don't like the movie (or more accurately that I don't like it enough or for the right reasons). I'm reading all the links and comments in good faith, but I'm just not convinced by most of it. Yes, I have a deeper appreciation now for the themes of the film and some of the symbolism. I understand the point of view of someone who loves the movie. But that deeper understanding doesn't resolve the issues I have with the film.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Jinnistan » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:09 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
Illusory means not real. You are saying that the eroticism in the film is not real. I am saying that there is real eroticism and that it is contrasted with danger/death. I'm saying that there are genuinely sexy moments/images in the film, and I don't understand how you can disagree with that. A film can be sexy and also pair sexiness with danger/death.
The erotic allure, like the rainbow, is illusive in the film. The very real eroticism in the film is superficial, aesthetic. The heart of the film is darker than that. The dark eroticism of the orgy scene isn't meant to arouse the audience, which is why so many in the audience were disappointed that it did not. You are correct to say that the scene isn't very sexy, but the problem is that you seem to think that it should be. Superficially, yes it should, after all people are sexing. But the intention of the mood is to unsettle. The lack of erotic power in this scene is not a failure of the film, but the point of it. This is a curdled eroticism. The initial disapointment is that few people (other than teen boys, I guess) left the film with a strong sexual desire. That's intended. In addition to not being a great party movie, it's a terrible date movie.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
No, she stuck to her guns because she'd been assaulted and didn't want to film a sex scene on camera. She appears nude, but did not want to perform/simulate sex acts on camera. And I didn't say she was forced, just that her wording implies that she got pushback when she denied Kubrick's request that she be nude in the orgy.
Ah, I was confusing that with another quote of hers: "I and another girl, we opted out. I said to the other girls, 'If you do this, that’s a completely different scenario. I would ask for more money if I were you.'"


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
Par for the course to sacrifice people? Taken literally this just seems silly, sorry.
People are afraid of this cult for a reason. They kill people. If they've ritualized their sex, why wouldn't they also have ritualized their murder?


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
As if Kidman having a smaller cup size somehow represents female diversity.
Didn't say it did. I didn't say a lot of things there. I made a physical observation that Kidman has a more lithe body type than the orgy girls. If we look past the sweater...


Image


...this isn't exactly a revelation.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
I pointed out the (in my opinion) ridiculousness of suggesting that Nicole Kidman and the other women in the film are different enough in type to be considered non-homogeneous.
As an example of the homogeneity of the orgy girls, I was under the impression for a long time that the OD'd woman was the same as the sacrificed woman. They have remarkably identical bodies. Kidman has a different body type, not just the breasts but a slimmer frame, smaller hips and shoulders. I probably wouldn't have done any better by pointing out how Marie Richardson and Leelee Sobieski also have different body types. Vinessa Shaw on the other hand..... But these are physical observations. I'm not placing any value judgment here.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
And I pointed out the irony that a conversation that began with me expressing discomfort and distaste with male peers talking about a woman's body arrived at . . . a male peer talking about a woman's body.
As if there were no contextual distinctions? I made an observation, I didn't lewdly denegrate Kidman's body. I didn't associate her cup size with her desirability or value as a woman. I mean, I did lewdly denigrate Tom Cruise's penis earlier, but he's the one strapped to that aluminum flying phallus.

If you don't want me to mention the female body in any context, whatever. I'm not trying to upset anyone. I don't think it's fair to take that dry observation and make it into something skeevy though.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
You've called me glib
I called your reduction of "boobies=death" glib because it is. Part of the frustration is that I know you aren't typically so glib.


Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:54 am
You seem upset that I don't like the movie (or more accurately that I don't like it enough or for the right reasons). I'm reading all the links and comments in good faith, but I'm just not convinced by most of it. Yes, I have a deeper appreciation now for the themes of the film and some of the symbolism. I understand the point of view of someone who loves the movie. But that deeper understanding doesn't resolve the issues I have with the film.
I don't mind that you don't like the film, I'm not trying to force you to like the film. I'm about convinced it's a lost cause at this point to reiterate the film's Eros/Thanatos mission, but I think the film should be judged on this intention rather than reduced to sex/death banality. I want to unravel the film's erotic intent and its morbid frustration as themes beyond audience manipulation, the awes and thrills. I want to synchronize its satire with its sympathies. If these things were overly literal then they wouldn't need to be stated. I guess, all I'm really asking for is that you dislike the film in all of its complexity as opposed to reducing it to a glib dismissive trek about a man trying to play with his dick in the night.
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Slentert
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:07 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:19 am
It's funny how personal preferences can shift like this. Imagine what you'll think of it in another ten years or so.
I'm currently reshaping my list of favorite movies (something I do every year around november/december) and a movie that made my top 3 (!) last year won't be on the new list at all. I used to say it was my favorite comedy of all time, but after the last rewatch it completely fell out of grace with me.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:20 pm

Slentert wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:07 pm
I'm currently reshaping my list of favorite movies (something I do every year around november/december) and a movie that made my top 3 (!) last year won't be on the new list at all. I used to say it was my favorite comedy of all time, but after the last rewatch it completely fell out of grace with me.
Out of curiosity, which one is it?
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Slentert » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:55 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:20 pm
Out of curiosity, which one is it?
Annie Hall.
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Wooley » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:43 pm

Slentert wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:55 pm
Annie Hall.
Image
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Re: A noob's journey through cinema

Post by Thief » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:53 pm

I got you, Slentert. I got you.

https://letterboxd.com/thief12/film/annie-hall/
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