[CASUAL] January Movie Challenge

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Post Post #125  (ISO)  » Thu Jan 13, 2022 11:57 pm

In post 122, Ythan wrote:Completely real. Catholics are super metal.


It wasn't that it I thought it was fake, more of how over the top it was.

Like, these mfs:

Spoiler:
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Show up and are like: "You're all going to die from the plague. You, you, and you. You're all fucked"

and then leaves.

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Post Post #126  (ISO)  » Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:06 am

My understanding is they invite God to concentrate his vengeance (erstwhile powering the plague) into their scourges, beat themselves into near unconsciousness, then the locals dab their blood up on rags as relics, and all of this just spreads the plague faster. It's the most over the top.

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Post Post #127  (ISO)  » Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:07 am

And of course they just traveled all across Europe doing this, sigh.

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Post Post #128  (ISO)  » Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:04 pm

35) Designated Survivor, Season 3 (10 Episodes)

Wow, that was... something? So Designated Survivor ran for two seasons on ABC. ABC gave up on the show, but Netflix picked it up for an additional 10 episodes. Normally we don't think too much about what network is airing a show or how the show is distributed, but there are definite side effects to the change in production. Aside from the obvious shortened series run (10 episodes vs 21/22), there are a ton of characters from the first two seasons who didn't make the move to Netflix. A few of these are explained (the president's son is off at college now!) but the majority are just gone, their absences not even commented on. It's a bit jarring to discover that not only will we not be getting closure on some old characters, but we are also introduced to new people that we are now supposed to care about. Some of these do better than others.

The other big change caused by the move to Netflix is that the characters are allowed to swear now. It's a bit jarring at first; we've just seen two full seasons of nobody swearing ever and now the president is saying fuck, his young daughter is calling things "shitty", and Kal Penn describes a political rival as a cunt. It's not a big change, but its certainly one way to set itself apart from The West Wing.

I don't want to spoil too much about the plot of the season. The general story arc is whether or not President Kirkman can get reelected as an independent candidate. It's obvious that he's going to pull it off; the entire point of Designated Survivor is to show an alternate world where the Good Guy Who Just Wants To Fix Government is given the opportunity to do so. What is interesting is the writing choices that the show uses to get there. One of the new characters is a social media intern who helps the president get his message to the voters and let the voters get their messages to him. To this end the show uses actual videos by non-actors talking about how politicians have failed them on a wide range of topics from the opioid crisis, employment, health care, gentrification, and more. These are real people who are not breaking the fourth wall per se but are certainly opening a window in it.

We are also introduced to President Kirkman's sister-in-law, a trans woman who at first exists merely to drag Kirkman into the culture wars (the right hates that Sasha exists, the left hates that Kirkman never mentioned her before because maybe he was embarrassed(?), Sasha wants to be left alone as a private citizen). At one point Sasha attends a trans support group where trans people discuss their journeys and tell their stories. Once again, these are not actors and their stories are not scripted. It's a little hamfisted in terms of storytelling, but there's no denying that its powerful at hammering home a message.

Unfortunately where Designated Survivor misses the mark is a crucial element of the show that has been baked in since the very beginning. Kirkman is an independent, and the show wants us to believe that his brand of practical centrism will help the nation. However, it sends mixed messages when it comes to Kirkman's own stances. He's liberal on almost all of the social issues. We are told that he's a fiscal conservative but we never see evidence of that. He's certainly stronger on national security (which tbh is to be expected considering he became president thanks to a bombing that killed thousands), but a real-life Kirkman would be running in the Democratic primary. This is at odds with the stated premise that his centrism is somehow a strength. Designated Survivor wants us to strive for compromise while also ignoring its own beliefs that one party is more correct on the issues than the other. Hell, in the three-way presidential race the only antagonist is the Republican nominee; I barely remember the Democratic nominee's name and the only reason he exists is to make the electoral map closer. Its bad writing and ultimately bad politics.

The other disappointing part of this season is the storyline for FBI agent Hannah Wells. She is investigating a bioterror conspiracy, which is potentially exciting except for the fact that her storyline is 100% divorced from the main cast until episode 8 of 10. She never interacts with the president, she's never acknowledged by a character we know, and ultimately the entire storyline feels like a missed opportunity and a waste of a good actress.

All in all season three took some ambitious swings. Not all of them landed. Despite the flaws I still found it to be an entertaining show and I don't regret that I watched Season 3 unlike some other shows that became "rescued" by Netflix (looking at you, Arrested Development).
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Post Post #129  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:01 am

6) Santa Claus: MST3K version. Season 5 or something

Yeah, I mean....I confirmed through this that I don't actually like MST3K, at least not the version of Mike. The movies are old and slow (since they kind of have to be public domain for the show to work), I only really find a third of the jokes funny, and there's a good portion that feel far too punch downy/out of touch for me. Also the cutaways I just don't find all that much more engaging than the other parts and Mike's vibe just feels all wrong.
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Post Post #130  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:04 am

7) Licorice Pizza

The 70's were bonkers, and kinda trash to live through huh? I was thoroughly entertained by this movie but more in a "Ummmm....are you sure about that decision, PTA?" than anything else. There are probably some deeper meanings and themes that can be gotten from it but they all feel stifled by the actual ending.
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Post Post #131  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 2:55 am

27) Veronica Mars: The Movie

Fun story! I helped kickstart this movie so I was glad to have an excuse to give it another watch. Honestly I watched this after finishing up season 3 and it holds up really well and is a much better place to go with the series than the end of Season 3. A big highlight for me was the return of Krysten Ritter as Gia. Really there was so much to love about this. The Jamie Lee Curtis and James Franco cameos, the reintroduction to our favorite characters and what they were doing, the nice little nods to the people who helped kickstart it, and really a pretty well put together story made for probably one of my favorite entries into the Veronica Mars universe. There are a couple things I didn't care for and a couple plotlines that started with no direction of where they would go, but for a series that was not supposed to be around anymore, Rob Thomas and the rest of the cast should be really proud what they put together with the rest of the kickstarter crew.

4.7/5

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Post Post #132  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:02 am

28) American Dad Season 15

You know? After how much I loved Season 14, this was a bit of a let down. It wasn't bad and had some gems such as "Exquisit Corpses" where Jeff, Francine & Roger start a business to go visit famous murder sites, "Game Night" where Stan tries to treat the family to a real life game, but everyone's super over him and his bad attitude, "First Do No Farm" where stand turns the family home into a sort of pseudo amish property to toughen up everyone, "The Chilly Thrillies" where Francine becomes obsessed with ASMR and "America" which is basically like somewhere between final destination and groundhog's day. Aside from the above episodes though I found myself getting bored and often felt like Hayley once again got the shaft from a number of episodes. I hope season 16 is better or else I might need to move on to other shows. 3.2/5

EDIT: There were 22 episodes about 25 minutes each.

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Post Post #133  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:22 am

8-11) Witcher Season 2 (Eps 2-8)

Is very good. Wasn't a huge fan of Season 1 but this easily justifies it's existence.
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Post Post #134  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:25 am

I don't think that's how you're supposed to count it? But also harrumph. Counting something I watched with you *knowing* I won't, harrumph sir.

Also, you're wrong about Season 1, it was very good. Season 2 is just better.
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Post Post #135  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:44 pm

In post 87, VashtaNeurotic wrote:On a more serious note, Kublai, if you are just going to do runtime calculations for people rather than taking what they give, you may as well just be like "40 minutes of movies is a point". I'm happy to find runtimes for my stuff btw, like it's a google away and I usually check the runtime anyway. Though I get how that can end up being way too much work for you for people who don't give runtimes.

No worries. This might sound dumb, but I kinda enjoy tracking/organizing data to a small extent.

In post 89, Nero Cain wrote:movies are about an hour and a half long but an hour+ is likely a pretty decent time frame to call it a "movie." doccies might be a bit shorter and doccy series on tv/youtube are like 40 mins. I wouldn't really count tv-shows...I mean maybe you could argue that a canceled/completed tv show that has an ending that brings its storyline (mostly? plot holes and cliffhangers are ok.) to an end is just like a really long movie. I mean one could certainly argue that short-form media is a short movie in its own right: a 45-minute episode of law and order completes its storyline when the bad guy or girl is caught and sentenced to jail. or when Bender is rescued from Robot Hell. There's a lot of subjectivity here. The easiest thing would be if we just all watched movies/documentaries but this is just for fun and not competitive besides none of us are going to beat Malk anyways. :lol:

My suggestion might be something like

1 hour 20 minute-1 1/2 hour movie=2 points but if you want to watch something like Matrjoschka it still counts for 2.
3 episodes of 40ish min show/video=2 points making each episode worth .6
6 episodes of a 20ish min show/video=2 point making each episode worth .3

and I just kinda wanted to give my opinion but lets all just have fun with it and not get caught up in scoring or anything. I myself here am here to show off my great taste in movies and learn about other movies I have not watched/heard of.

Totally agreed with that last line. Seeing what other watch (and get their opinions) is one of the big benefits of the challenge. The points are really just a thing to gamefy the whole experience and to drive people to watch the thing they wanted to watch instead of putting it off. This first round is just to kinda gauge interest and then from there we can discuss/adjust scoring.
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Post Post #136  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 4:52 pm

Spoiler: @GeorgeBailey
In post 92, GeorgeBailey wrote:So, I came into this movie being told that Joker ripped it off and it's pretty much the same thing. The truth is... sort of? Joker is very much the same in multiple ways. But Joker focuses more on Mental health issues, while King of Comedy focuses more on the obsession the main character has with getting on the Talk show. I will admit that this was a lot better than Joker.

Yes! I definitely saw the bare bones of King of Comedy lurking under the Joker (along with Taxi Driver which you also watched).

It's been a while since I saw it though, but I think I did interpret DeNiro's character's obsession as being mentally unhealthy and the big scene at the end in the restaurant where he shows himself succeeding on TV as a fantasy sequence. I re-watched the ending on YouTube just to refresh my memory and I was surprised to read in the comments that people thought that he was funny. Which kinda threw me for a loop because I thought the stand-up was really hackneyed and bad on purpose, which juxtaposes with the laughs and informs the view that it can't be real. But maybe I misinterpreted it or it could go either way? I'm not sure. I agree that it's a great movie though.

In post 93, GeorgeBailey wrote:I've been told this is supposed to be one of the best movies ever made.

i'll be honest I did not really understand what happened in this film. Taxi driver is lonely, hits on girl, gets rejected, doesn't stop crimes happen, tries to fix one of the crime, then tries to kill a senator? Why the fuck did he try to kill the senator? I don't understand this movie but I loved some of the visuals. I'm just gonna post a bunch of the frames cause idk what else to talk about. Idk if it was a satire on noir? A lot of the monologues seem so over the top that it seems like satire, but that's also probably due in part that I don't understand what the film is trying to convey.

I really like Taxi Driver. Though I think it's one of the movies where it helps to watch with others and discuss it afterward because everyone who watches it seems to pick up on different things. I've always enjoyed it as a character study into a mind that disconnected from the rest of the mainstream. Like, I can't claim to understand the choices that he makes (bringing a first date to a porno?), but I do get the strong sense that the choices aren't totally random. He has some sort of internal consistency that I'm not totally privy to and that fascinates me. It's also possibly a bigger commentary on how war and PTSD can cause that disconnect from the mainstream since this is a post-Vietnam movie and the character is a vet.

The writer (Paul Schrader) has been one of my favorites for a while. But I do like him because all his movies seem to leave me feeling like I'm glimpsing into a great truth about human nature and maybe I'll understand it if I just keep staring head enough. (more of his credits I liked: Bringing Out the Dead, First Reformed, Last Temptation of Christ, Hardcore, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters)

Oh, and don't worry about knowing the end to Sopranos. It won't compromise your enjoyment of it.
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Post Post #137  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 5:26 pm

Assa (Sergey Solovev-1987)

Russian movie from the late 1980s which was revolution for existing because it focused on how the youth is dissafected with the system and wanted systemic changes (which I guess later happend with the rise of Gorbashev taking power and capitalism coming in. It features actual Russian blacklisted musicians and the music is actually pretty good for 80's new wave and rock. I mighty actually track down the soundtrack.

This ending scene probably best encapsulates the movie. A bossy bureaucrat goes over the contract to hire a musician and they just leave and go rock.


Freaks (Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein-2021)

A good slow reveal sci-fi story so I'm not going to talk too much about the plot. But I did enjoy this. It times it's time setting up the story, but once we know all the components, it satisfies.

The Choice (Ross Katz-2016)

What is going on with the accents? They just sounded so jarring and phony and just made all the characters so unlikeable in this romantic comedy.

Pajama Party (Don Weis-1964)

Oh man, this was really weird and fascinating. The 1960s had a genre of movies just called "Beach Party" because I guess teenagers just wanted to go to beaches and dance. This one featured an inept alien doing recon for a takeover of civilization, but falls in love with a local girl. Meanwhile a conman is trying to swindle millions for a local philanthropist with the help of Buster Keaton playing a really unfortunate Native American charicature. There is plenty of bikins, bad jokes and camera mugging and Don Rickles gets a paycheck. Just an amazing snapshot of American culture.

Zerkalo {a/k/a Mirror} (Andrei Tarkovsky-1975)

This is one of the best looking movies you'll ever see. Every scene is just composed, lit, and shot to perfection. Ranks high on so many critic's lists.

But it was just boring and I could not get into it. This has been my experience with every Tarkovsky movie. It's like a Joe Satriani album. Technically amazing, but I just don't find it engaging at all.


Boardwalk Empire - Season 2, Episodes 3-7

The novelty of it being a 1920s mafia story is wearing off. I'm only finding 60% of the character stories really compelling. I find myself really wanting Michael Kenneth Williams' character to go to war with the klansmen but I know it won't really happen because it's trying to stay true to the historical scenario.


I'll update scores later tonight.
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Post Post #138  (ISO)  » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:20 pm

*gasp* what happened to new post for each thing? :o
(note: I am extremely only giving you shit in an affectionately sarcastic way)
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Post Post #139  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 2:11 am

In post 138, xofelf wrote:*gasp* what happened to new post for each thing? :o
(note: I am extremely only giving you shit in an affectionately sarcastic way)

I thought about spamming 6 new posts. Then I kinda realized that it's not really necessary.

Scores updated. Those watching whole seasons definitely have the advantage.
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Post Post #140  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 10:09 am

I mean if you're implying that you'll wanna keep doing this as like a... long term thing, I'm very in for that. I'll still be doing my own self-inflicted only movies and things that are like extended movies, but I wouldn't hate continually doing this. I watch tons of stuff, and have tons of thoughts about things.
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Post Post #141  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 2:59 pm

For what it’s worth when it comes to TV shows I’m only counting full seasons, as they lend themselves well to being reviewed as a whole. I’ve watched individual episodes of other shows but I’m not claiming points for them because that feels like cheap pointgrubbing.
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Post Post #142  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 2:59 pm

13) Suicide Squad (2016)

Image
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Post Post #143  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 3:04 pm

11) Suicide Squad (2016)
That sure was a movie, huh? I'll admit I was watching this because I wanted to see just how far the Harley Quinn and new Suicide Squad films had improved upon their source characters. And dear god, it sure was all it promised to be on the bad front. The script was just real bad. I can't say the acting was bad cuz I think people did real good with the shit they were handed, and boy was it some shit, huh? There were some cool visuals at least, but all the action scenes were all trash with singular moments of *okay*.
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Post Post #144  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 5:13 pm

Witcher season 2

Super boring for the most part, with a couple good scenes sprinkled in
worse than random

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Post Post #145  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:29 pm

I've watched more movies in the past two weeks due to bouts of not feeling like doing anything, including Mafia, because real life is kicking my ass right now and when I am not working I'm exhausted for the most part. My favorite channel is TCM, and that's where all of these come from.

1. Repeat Performance (1947) -- New Year's Eve, 1946. Actress wishes she could undo the events of 1946 that led to her shooting her husband on New Year's Eve. She falls asleep and wakes up to New Year's Eve 1945.

This movie sucked me in, as I started it about halfway in on the East Coast feed, watched it to the end, then watched the entire movie again on the West Coast feed. There's something about those years, 1947-1953, that fascinate me. I think it may be because my parents were kids then and grandparents were adults of course, but just soaking in the way people dressed and talked and treated each other and comparing that stuff to today is edifying. This movie had a simple, run of the mill premise, but the acting was solid and, apparently, the film was lost for some time or something and found within the last 20 years I think. 2/5 stars

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Post Post #146  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:29 pm

2. A Night at the Opera (1935) -- Classic Marx Brothers. I've seen 20+ times. Some comedy doesn't age well, some ages beautifully. This is the latter. 5/5 stars

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Post Post #147  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:30 pm

3. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) -- Retired war vet travels to desert town with a population of about 12 to find a particular person. When he gets there he learns the person he's looking for is no longer there. The town's residents are hostile to him, and he suspects foul play.

Spencer Tracy is a strong lead. Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis. 3/5 stars

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Post Post #148  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:30 pm

4. Topper (1937) -- Comedy. I've seen it before but it's been probably 20 years. Funny ghost movie with Cary Grant and Roland Young, but Constance Bennett steals it. Not a particularly great story. 3/5 stars

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Post Post #149  (ISO)  » Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:31 pm

5. The Philadelphia Story (1940) -- Comedy. I've seen 20+ times. High society wedding, with moralistic twist ending. Misogynistic and dated, etc., but still a top 10 film for me. Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart. Big secret though is Ruth Hussey and Virginia Weidler almost steal it. 5/5

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