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January 19, 2011

Movies ***SPOILERS***
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:12 PM * 162 comments

On the day between Arisia and move-in day at Curry College, we had some down-time. We spent it at a motel in Merrimack, NH. Very close to the Merrimack Cinemagic all-stadium-seating theater.

So, I played The Movie Game. That is, you walk into the theater, and see The Very Next Movie Showing (that you haven’t yet seen). In this way, I saw five films.

To lead off, I want to rant about Tangled.


Tangled is a Disney CGI cartoon version of Rapunzel. Which means that it’s pretty hard to spoil it, because everyone knows the story. (All the way back to the Life of St. Barbara.)

But that is not why I wish to rant. In the Grimm’s version, the young lady is a commoner, and the guy who shows up is a prince. Here, the young lady is a princess, and the guy is a commoner. Hey, I can live with that. But RANTITY RANT RANT, why the foo did they have to make the guy a thief? Same problem as in the Disney Aladdin. Why is the smart, physically fit, handsome young man stealing stuff? Couldn’t he get a job as an underwear model? Weren’t the King’s Guards recruiting? Why not make him a miller? A miller’s son? A poor soldier returning from the wars? A traveler from a far-off land? The second son of Some Guy, whose older brother got the the house, lands, and title, leaving him to make his way in the world? If they wanted him to be all transgressive and everything, why not go all Ben Franklin and make him a run-away apprentice? Why a thief?

Hey, Rapunzel, he’s no good. Chuck him out and find someone honest.


Other films from the Movie Orgy:
The King’s Speech: A whole lot of fun. Top actors in top form, good dialog, great Hat Values. (That is, these guys had some good-looking hats and knew how to wear ‘em.)
Season of the Witch: Reekeroo. Insanely stupid from any angle. Anachronisms. Plotting. Dialog. Everything. And everything else. A Medieval Pick-up Team (three knights, a priest, an altar boy, and a swindler) have to transport a suspected witch 400 leagues to some monastery where she can get a fair trial. Hijinks ensue. 400 leagues! They could walk from Prague to Paris and back and still come in under 400 leagues. Arrrgh! The only thing that could save this movie would be a great deal of gratuitous nudity. No, one off-angle butt shot is not good enough. Also, bad Hat Values.
Tron: Legacy: Snooze-fest.
True Grit: Not so much a remake of the John Wayne classic, but a different movie based on the same novel. Another film with good Hat Values.
Two Ron Perlman films (voice in Tangled, major role in Season of the Witch). Two Jeff Bridges movies (Tron: Legacy and True Grit). Any film with Cole Younger as a character in it is a Good Film (True Grit). Any film that even the presence of Undead Monks can’t help is a Bad Film (Season of the Witch).
Comments on Movies ***SPOILERS***:
#1 ::: Milena ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 04:28 PM:

I may be completely off the mark, but it seems to me that the new Disneys use "young, smart, fit but still a thief" as a sort of half-hearted attempt to create some sort of social reference. At least in Aladdin, it was played that way (he's poor and everybody thinks he's no good so -- presumably -- he can't get a job, so he steals to live, thus confirming the prejudice). But I still haven't seen Tangled, so I have no idea if they followed the same principle here.

Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it and they went with thief here simply because Aladdin was so popular as character.

#2 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 04:37 PM:

Saw True Grit this past weekend and really enjoyed it. Some great banter and if Hailee Steinfeld can steer clear of the rom-com pitfall, she will be a major talent in the coming years.

Also really enjoyed the King's Speech. Fine acting and boy howdy, Timothy Spall's Winston Churchill was a scene stealer.

Tron has one of the best soundtracks, ever. Yep. Just a fantastic soundtrack. Someone should make a movie with it, instead of a 2 hour long music video.

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 04:38 PM:

It sounds like people should have watched "George and the Dragon" instead of "Season of the Witch" because the former at least was played for laughs.

BTW... I hear that there's a "Mister Peabody" movie in the works, with said canine's voice to be done by Robert Downey Jr. And Christian Bale will play Tesla in some other flick.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:01 PM:

George and the Dragon wasn't playing at the multi-banger I went to.

And, when playing The Movie Game strictly, one sees The Very Next Movie Showing, regardless of whether it's reputedly good or bad. Or even if you've ever even heard of it.

Films I didn't see (but might have since they were all showing in the same multi-screener, it was luck of the draw which I watched) were Green Hornet, Gulliver's Travels, The Fighter, Little Fockers, Yogi Bear, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Dilemma, and Black Swan.

Season of the Witch came with a trailer for The Rite, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, in which a Young Priest is trained as an Exorcist by An Old Duffer Priest. The young guy says, "I don't believe in Satan," and I said to myself, "Guy, you are in the wrong line of work. Have you considered becoming an aluminum siding salesman?"

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:10 PM:

I liked Tangled. Making the guy a thief added opportunity for conflict and interesting misunderstandings, I guess.

The King's Speech was great.

* * *

Um, I don't know if this is true of ALL Walgreen's drug stores, but all the ones by me have these bins of discount DVDs. 90% (or more) utter junk, but there are some great films in there.

Multiple copies of great films.

Suprising ones.

Like the animated adaptation of Persepolis, and American Splendor, and The Lives of Others.

For $4.00, you can buy 'em, watch 'em, and loan 'em around.

#6 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:11 PM:

Saw True Grit on Monday. I thought it was very nearly a perfect film, and I couldn't understand what Stuart Klawans was going on about in The Nation when he said:

You cannot find a more impeccably made film, nor one with less apparent reason to exist. After you've marveled at the precision of each setup, camera movement and edit; the faultless modulations of tone among suspense, pathos, humor and excitement; the utter self-assurance of all the performers (starting with Jeff Bridges, that Old Faithful of America's male stars, but crucially including young Hailee Steinfeld in the central role), the experience dissipates like mist. There's nothing left to brood over after you've watched the film—nothing to appreciate more deeply on second or third reflection. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the experience cancels itself even as you watch, given the indifferent curiosity with which Joel and Ethan Coen call up and then skim over the themes that have long haunted the western, as if they were mere outmoded superstitions to be ticked off a list. Finally the Coens have achieved the goal toward which their cinema has always tended: a perfect void.
"Indifferent curiosity"? "Outmoded superstitions"? What the hell does he want out of a film?

#7 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:12 PM:

My complaint about Tangled is that the 'kingdom' makes no sense. The castle and town fill the entire island, and the forest on the mainland is so undeveloped and lawless that an inn full of criminals can safely exist and Gothel can hide the princess in a tower at most two days away from the town. So where do the people get their food? What is the castle supposed to protect?

In the art book, they say that they took their design inspiration from Mont Saint-Michael (which was historically an abbey, not a castle-and-town), and Disneyland (which is fake), so I'm not sure they even tried to think about these sorts of things.

#8 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:13 PM:

Jim, I highly recommend Black Swan if you get a chance to see it. Beautifully done, very haunted and suspenseful without resorting to any obvious tricks. It's a genuinely smart and very tense thriller.

#9 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:18 PM:

Theophylact@6:

It's reviews like that that make me wonder if the critic saw the same film I did. It's possible Mr. Klawans wandered into a screening of the first True Grit, and so was preoccupied with trying to figure out how Jeff Bridges managed to pull off such a convincing John Wayne impression.

#10 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:25 PM:

Re: Tangled

It's all part of a massive and relentless cultural conspiracy to brainwash young girls into falling for "bad boys", thereby undermining their future autonomy and success.

My level of seriousness in this assessment may be assumed to be whatever makes the reader most comfortable.

#11 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:35 PM:

Heather Rose Jones@10:

BUT I CAN CHANGE HIM!

(Yeah, that's it.)

That said, I really loved "Tangled." It had the feel of an old-school musical, both leads had actual character arcs, none of the animals talked, Maximilian was pure awesome, and the "I'm so happy!/I'm a terrible daughter!" scene was so true/real/relatable that I about fell out of my seat.

#12 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 05:38 PM:

Carrie@11:
both leads had actual character arcs

Indeed they did, and what's more, they were mirror images of each other. Flynn's character arc was about his relationship with himself. Rapunzel's character arc was about her relationship with everyone other than herself.

#13 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:01 PM:

Jon Rosebaugh @ #7: Disney Kingdoms virtually never make sense. There's never any actual business, no entourage, no agricultural base. You never see a king kinging. In fact, most of the Kings are buffoons at best, with the intelligence and political acumen of a horse-collar, and none of the usefulness of one. (Both kings in Sleeping Beauty get drunk, the King in Cinderella spends all his time wanting grandkids, not to continue the line or secure legacy, but so he can play with them, the Sultan in Aladdin almost gets to do some kinging, but still lacks brains).

Similarly, I remember noticing that Eric in the Little Mermaid couldn't have got away with some of his behaviour if he was a Prince. After a while, I decided he was actually a Merchant Prince whose house was meant to try and make up for the lack of title. It makes slightly more sense. (Not a lot, mind you).

#14 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:06 PM:

Jim, I know a guy whose niece was hired by Disney to work in their animation department. She's since moved on to other things. Here's why. Disney has formulas. Disney loves its formulas and will not mess with them. The animation studio is run on an apprenticeship model and very little non-formula stuff makes it through the grind. Nick's niece wanted to do the Mexican folk tales she grew up with and was told, more or less "fuggedaboudit."

Also, Disney has a lot invested in its Princess line. That's how they get money out of little girls' parents. They have an economy-driven story telling style. For non-princess stories, they use Pixar. (There's a Cars 2 coming out sometime in the next year or so. I'm betting they're hoping to pick the pockets of little boys with it, too.)

"Tangled" is a white washed "Aladdin" set in a fantasy-Europe. Aladdin was a thief and he had a reason to be one, since the idea seed was taken from Aladdin and the 40 thieves. (As Milena at #1 pointed out) Also, the prince in the original Rapunzel was more than a bit of a looser. Can't have that in a Disney princess' life. It's better to have the male version of "hooker with a heart of gold".

I basically went for the visual art and music. Plot wise, most Disney animateds leave me cold and indifferent.

I haven't seen The King's Speech yet, but I want to. (and only part of it is for Hat Value) You were spot on about the Hat Value in True Grit.

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:18 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ 10...

"Girls flirt with the dangerous guy, they don't bring him home; they marry the good guy."
"I can be the good guy."
"Logan, the good guy sticks around."

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:21 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 4... Too bad, because "George and the Dragon" has the Princess (Piper Perabo) knocking out George (James Purefoy) every time he tries to slay the dragon's egg. Oh, and did I mention Patrick Swayze as a bad guy with a bad wig who tries to get everybody interested in eating licorice?

#17 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:27 PM:

Disney Animation occasionally surprises.

I'm thinking Lilo & Stitch.

Also, FWIW, it would much, much harder to get Miyazaki films if it weren't for Lasseter (?) saying, in effect, "We really, REALLY want to distribute this guy's films, don't we?"

#18 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:34 PM:

I'd argue that both "Tangled" and last year's "Princess and the Frog" break the usual mold in having a hero/love interest who actually has personality, and a heroine who has a goal that doesn't involve "hook up with first guy who comes along." And in both, the hero helps her achieve that goal. They both have a lot more in common with the modern romance novel than Grimm's fairy tales or even the classic Disney princess movie.

I had a theory for awhile about a Cabal of Unsupervised Animators at Disney who managed to produce not just "Lilo and Stitch," but "The Emperor's New Groove," "Treasure Planet, and "Atlantis." All nonstandard and interesting.

#19 ::: Terry Hunt ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:38 PM:

Victoria @ 14

The guy associated with the 40 Thieves was Ali Baba, not Aladdin. However, in the earliest versions of the two stories, Aladdin was indeed a thief (in a rather Arabic version of China) or at least a "ne'er-do-well", while Ali Baba was an "honest merchant" (so saith Wikipedia, at any rate), which may have led to latter-day confusion between the two.
(Delurked after 5+ years to say that - Hi everyone! Most of the principals here probably don't know me, but a few of the occasional UK posters can vouch for me.)

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:41 PM:

I always liked the version of Aladdin played by Bugs Bunny, and the Djinn played by Jim Bacchus.

#21 ::: Sarah M ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 06:52 PM:

RE: the hero in Tangled - there is actually some rationale given for him being a thief, other than plot convenience. If I recall correctly, he told Rapunzel that as a child, he wanted very very badly to be rich like his storybook hero (Flynn?), and he figured that being a thief was the only way to do it.

#22 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 07:00 PM:

Serge @#3: Christian Bale as Tesla will be fun, although I'm partial to David Bowie's version. Despite "The Prestige" doing silly things with the thing they portray him inventing.

ob.Kate Beaton Tesla comic.

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 07:08 PM:

It helps, when viewing the Disney Aladdin, to remember that the source isn't Aladdin, it's The Thief of Baghdad (Douglas Fairbanks Sr.).

The main male character in Tangled is named Flynn Somebody, apparently in honor of Errol Flynn (and he rather favors the young Errol Flynn, if Errol had had eyes the size of his hands). But the classic Flynn outlaw (Robin Hood/Peter Blood) had been forced into outlawry through injustice, not because he thought stealing stuff was a neat idea.

Also: The Flynn of Tangled would have failed SERE school. When you're in a Survival/Evasion/Resistance/Escape scenario, you avoid areas with high tactical value. Thus: No bridges, no towns, no crossroads, no roads in general, no taverns, and especially no peal towers.

But all this fades into insignificance in comparison to Season of the Witch. That movie makes Tangled look like the companion film to Marc Bloch's Feudal Society by comparison.

#24 ::: hapax ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 07:44 PM:

Flynn was a thief for a very sensible reason. He wanted stuff, and he didn't want to work for it. Same approach that he took in his relationships, as well.

However, although TANGLED was pretty, I'd warn folks that the ugly ugly subtext about families (your biological parents are your only REAL family, anyone else can't possibly really love you and only wants to abuse you) may be very upsetting to any adopted or step- or otherwise blended family-children out there.

#25 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 07:52 PM:

Terry Hunt @19: welcome, lurking one! Do you pun or poesy?

#26 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 07:57 PM:

#24: My sister and nieces had no problem with the movie's take on adoptive moms. They're tweeners, though. Maybe younger kids wouldn't be as savvy.

My sister was actively worried by reports that "Despicable Me" showed adoption in a poor light. Refused to go during the theatrical release, despite my reassurances. They finally saw it via On Demand and loved it.

#27 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 08:24 PM:

In re movies and silliness ...

I saw a trailer on some website I visit (it was the interlineal ad before a short video) that, while it doesn't QUITE make me want to SEE the movie, at least makes me intrigued that it exists.

Plot summary: in a generically medieval live-action world, a prince and his screwup brother are tasked with a Quest involving taking a girl across country. Said girl is HOTTTTT. And also a ballbusting BAMF* who can (and does) beat them all at once in an epic barfight. All language is modern American (except where being forsoothly is funny), and there is OMG SO MUCH SWEARING.

It looked like it might possibly be hilarious, but probably just stupid. Still, there were gleams of Awesome visible in the trailer.

Unfortunately, I can't remember the names of any of the actors, or the title of the film, though it was the sort of title one might expect on a generically medieval sort of quest thing.


*Bad-donkey mommy-botherer, roughly.

#28 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 08:35 PM:

Carrie V. I had a theory for awhile about a Cabal of Unsupervised Animators at Disney who managed to produce not just "Lilo and Stitch," but "The Emperor's New Groove," "Treasure Planet, and "Atlantis."

O.K., this is where Bruce disrupts the room with the choking noise, because you're half right and the half that's not right is a chicken bone. Blame this on the Variety subscription I had at the time.

Lilo and Stitch was not a typical Disney production: I can't remember the exact wording of the agreement but it amounted to "If the budget stays under 'X' amount then Disney can't bother the production team." The team had a number of hassles, from technical (they'd made a decision to go with watercolors as backgrounds and from the press accounts it was pretty clear they didn't have any contact with anyone at Disney who had worked with watercolor backgrounds--or could get any info from the Disney Archives on shorts that had used them) to overzealous nutballs at the studio (trying to force them to replace the voice of Lilo's sister because the actress doing the voice "didn't have a pure enough image"). The later made-for-home-video movies were the standard Disney production teams, which explains why Variety hated 2. (They loved 3.)

The Emperor's New Groove was cancelled by the studio at least twice, and if my memory isn't failing me it was actually cancelled three times before it was finished and released. That being said, the studio did a minimal job on promoting it because they KNEW that the upcoming Treasure Planet was a much better film that would bring in the cash.

Treasure Planet. Ah, yes. This was to be THE way that Disney Animation was to go, even more than Sleeping Beauty was to have been two generations before. The best way I can sum it up is this: there was a publication that was originally for the general public called Animation Magazine that rapidly became a sort of trade publication. When it came time for Oscar nominations, that's where the "For Your Consideration" ads ran, rather than, say Variety. I clearly remember the issue before the 2003 Oscar nominations--it's in my storage locker. Back cover, Ice Age. O.K., Dreamworks is entitled to run an ad and it wasn't that bad a film. Inside front cover add was Lilo and Stitch. Fair enough: a well written film with a lot of audience appeal that had been well received.

Inside back cover: Spirited Away, which was acquired by Disney as the Studio Ghibli deal so Disney could dump them straight to video because they weren't made by Disney and who'd ever heard of Hayao Miyazaki, or would care? (This lead to John Lassiter scheduling a viewing for the head of the studio of Princess Mononoke "so you know what you've got." After internal debate it was turned over to Miramax because Disney couldn't release it with a "G" rating. Harvey Weinstein wanted to remove a half hour from it, and when told he couldn't because of the contract between Ghibli and Disney prevented changing as much as a frame of the film without Miyazaki's express permission [a clause that was added after Miyazaki saw the edit for Warriors of the Wind years before and threw the TV and VCR out of the window of a high-rise], he released the film with minimal advertising--and it still got Best Animated Picture.) The Oscar win for Mononoke clearly was the reason that Disney bought an ad for Spirited Away, but obviously they didn't think it was their best chance at a win.

Front Cover: For Your Consideration! Treasure Planet. Estimated studio budget $140,000,000. USA gross $38,120,554. Biggest loss for the studio animation department since The Black Cauldron. (Probably bigger than the loss for Sleeping Beauty if adjusted for inflation.) A remake of the Disney version of Treasure Island in space, where nobody had ever read the Galaxy Magazine ad about not changing a western into a SF story. And it shows--if you ever saw the live-action Disney feature from the 50's, BOY does it show.

Atlantis. I remember there was some discussion in the coverage when this one came out about how insecure the studio felt about no musical numbers, which explains Lassiter's little story about the first viewing of the Toy Story storyboards by Disney execs who couldn't figure out where the big musical number was supposed to go. Outside of that, nothing unusual in the press at the time.

So. A Cabal of Unsupervised Animators, or Undersupervised Animators for two of them? Yes. Not so much for the third, and definitely not for the fourth: Treasure Planet. had everyone's hands in the pie.

#29 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 08:39 PM:

What bugged me about Disney's Aladdin was that they Europeanized the lamp and genie into the "three wishes" tradition. In the original IIRC, as long as you have the lamp the genie (djinn) does your bidding.

But it didn't bug me very much.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 08:45 PM:

Eliot #27 Plot summary: in a generically medieval live-action world, a prince and his screwup brother are tasked with a Quest involving taking a girl across country. Said girl is HOTTTTT.

That sounds very much like Your Highness.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 09:56 PM:

Mary Dell @ 22... "The Prestige" doing silly things with the thing they portray him inventing

You mean Tesla didn't really build Atomic Robo?

#33 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 10:14 PM:

CarrieV@18:
I had a theory for awhile about a Cabal of Unsupervised Animators at Disney who managed to produce not just "Lilo and Stitch," but "The Emperor's New Groove," "Treasure Planet, and "Atlantis." All nonstandard and interesting.

You aren't far from the truth. All those films were in the pipe when Disney decided to shut down their 2D animation. They were essentially the last round of cars off the assembly line before the shuttered the factory. They had only minimal investment in the marketing of those films and so basically let the directors and creative staff have more leeway than usual. See, the Big Brass at Disney was convinced 2D was unprofitable and that CG/3D was where future profits were to be had.

The only reason this changed was because of John Lassiter and Pixar. When Disney bought Pixar, he stipulated that he'd come along if they reopened their 2D animation studio and let him supervise it. He used the distribution deal he brokered for Disney with Studio Ghibli as proof of concept. I mean, if you can get Americans to watch 2D Japanese animated movies, then you could easily make some bucks off of new 2D from Disney.

And so we have the Princess and the Frog and Tangled.

Also, what Bruce@28 said.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 10:36 PM:

Speaking of Cinéma...
Coming soon to the Skiffy Channel...
"Mega Python vs Gatoroid"

(Every time I think there's no way their stuff can be more bizarre than the premises I come up with, they prove me wrong.)

#35 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2011, 11:32 PM:

hapax, #24: Thanks for the heads-up. That would be enough to make me walk out of the theater, so I won't bother to walk in.

James, #30: Oy. I really am allergic to sitcoms. Even Zooey Deschanel getting to make fools out of a couple of Macho Sues isn't enough to make that one attractive. Which is too bad, because it does look like a romp.

#36 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 12:48 AM:

Keith Keisser: See, the Big Brass at Disney was convinced 2D was unprofitable and that CG/3D was where future profits were to be had.

The other three films she mentioned made money. Treasure Planet's huge losses were the deciding factor, as far as I can tell.

#37 ::: Harry Payne ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 02:25 AM:

Is there no love for Tron: Legacy? Anyone?

Okay then. I liked it; but then I didn't go into the cinema thinking it was the second coming of, well, anyone or anything, really. I enjoyed the CGI and the music (both Daft Punks original and the 80s stuff that fires up in Flynn's arcade) and thought the plot was no more lightweight or silly than the original.

Plus I didn't watch it in glasses-creating headache-o-vision. Which is always a plus.

#38 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 02:27 AM:

Serge @3: Mister Peabody is one of my favorite Time Lords. He has kept the tradition of picking up some odd human as a traveling companion.

#39 ::: Laurel ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 03:05 AM:

Tim at Antagony and Ecstasy has a fascinating series of reviews of every Disney animated movie in existence at http://movieglut.blogspot.com/2005/08/disney-animated-features.html. Lots of information for anyone interested in studio politics, breakthrough animation technologies, or the rest of the story behind the movies. He definitely made me want to watch all of them over again.

#40 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 04:47 AM:

Serge @ #34

"Mega Python vs Gatoroid"

First parsed as "Monty Python vs Gatorade".

<FX: Cutout bare foot descends into orange puddle.>

#41 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:06 AM:

Serge @#34: I wish he had! The thing he invents in The Prestige is even cooler, though, but the people in the movie fail to see its full potential. Cracked has a spoileriffic article that features this invention--warning, spoiler for The Prestige is writ large on the very first page: Six Magical Movie Items They Wasted On Bullshit.

Rob Rusick @#38: Oh, very good. Yes. Of course.

#42 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:09 AM:

Cadbury Moose @40: Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Do you have it in you?", doesn't it?

(That was the marketing slogan for a recent ad campaign by Gatorade.)

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:22 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 38... If Sherman is a Companion, who's the Master? Marcel Delgadawg?

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:32 AM:

Mary Dell @ 41... Neat link! And yes, people should beware of spoilers.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:34 AM:

Cadbury Moose... Ginger... I wouldn't be unduly surprised that "Do you have it in you?" is how that movie's idea was spawned.

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 09:09 AM:

Mary Dell... Back to Atomic Robo, I don't know if you ever saw the Robo suit that Devin Harrigan had made and worn at the Montreal worldcon, but HERE is a photo. The character's creators, Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener, were quite pleased with the results.

#47 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 09:10 AM:

The King's Speech could have been really good if they'd paid more attention to getting the history right than to trying to have a Hollywood story shape. I nearly walked out when Baldwin warned George VI about Hitler. Stanley Baldwin! He does not deserve to have his reputation whitewashed.

Also, having WWII starting being a happy ending is an odd thing to do. And the thing that George VI did to help win WWII was to stay in London and not run away during the Blitz, not make stilted radio speeches.

However, they did that total scumbag Edward VIII very well.

I also recently saw The Thief of Badhgad (1924) which has the best special effects I've ever seen and which clearly inspired every platform game in the world. It also had a plot and made sense and villains whose clever plans were actually pretty clever.

#48 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 09:51 AM:

Sadly, SEASON OF THE WITCH won a Nicholl Fellowship as a spec script. It was a terrific piece of writing, but was murdered in development.

#49 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:01 AM:

#47, Jo

One remembers that Htlr dubbed HRM Queen Elizabeth "the most dangerous woman in Europe" after her comment "I'm so glad we've [Buckingham Palace] been bombed, now I can look the East End in the face."

#50 ::: elaine ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:09 AM:

#47 Jo Walton..on inaccuracies in The King's Speech..what bothered me the most was the time frame. Bertie started seeing Logue in the late 1920s just before a major Australian tour..the movie seems to indicate it was in 1935 just before George V died, making it seem like a short haul transformation. It makes the movie go easier with dramatic flare, but as a historian, it makes me cranky. The actress playing Wallis is wonderfully sharp and evil..no poor little confused American victim here..

#51 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:29 AM:

I actually saw True Grit last weekend (probably over a year since I'd last seen a movie). Not familiar with the book or the earlier movie.

I agree with, apparently, pretty much everybody that Hailee Steinfeld did a great job with a quite difficult part. Her bargaining with the horse dealer may be the best scene in the film. Overall I liked the movie quite a bit.

The changes to speech rhythms resulting from nobody using contractions were quite startling and interesting. Anybody have any idea about the actual frequency of contractions in American English in that period?

One thing at the end struck me as egregiously stupid. This is current enough that spoiler protection is in order, so...Nsgre fur'f tbar naq tbggra urefrys ovggra ol gur fanxr (juvpu gurl xvaq bs sbeprq), gurl'er irel hetrag nobhg gnxvat ure gb gur qbpgbe. Fb gurl fraq ure bss funevat n ubefr jvgu gur byq thl. Gurl evqr gung ubefr gb qrngu (naq vg jnf ure ubefr, obhtug rneyvre va gur svyz), naq ur pneevrf ure gb gur qbpgbe, naq gurl unir gb nzchgngr ure unaq. Ohg gurl fubhyq unir unq frireny fcner ubefrf (sebz gur tnat gurl xvyyrq; abg nyy gur ubefrf tbg xvyyrq). Gnxvat n fcner ubefr jbhyq unir znqr vg n yrff urebvp naq zhpu fnsre wbhearl!

#52 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:45 AM:

I saw a trailer for an upcoming SyFy show that (SHOCK! HORROR! Dogs and cats living together!) actually looked interesting.

It's called Face-Off, and it's apparently a variant on the Project Runway/RuPaul's Drag Show/Top Chef model of reality/competition shows.

But the magisterium of skills upon which the contestents are competing is ... high-end Hollywood makeup. Like, 'making aliens or turning women into men' makeups.

Worth watching the first ep, imho. Unfortunately, I don't have cable, so I have to camp on YouTube and other such venues until someone posts it ... unless SyFy does streaming of recent eps on their site? Something to check into, I suppose.

#53 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:49 AM:

Elliott Mason (52): Skiffy* streams a lot of their shows on their website. It's certainly worth checking if that's one of them.

*I suppose eventually I'll cave and use that other stupid name. But eventually is not yet.

#54 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 12:08 PM:

Mary Dell @ 41: It should probably be noted that the book is much less silly in this regard, as both the invention and the plot are significantly different. The invention's potential is still wasted, but in a way that's more in line with the way the magicians waste their whole lives in pursuit of their obsession.

It should also be noted that, despite this, the film is, as the Cracked link put it, "surprisingly awesome."

#55 ::: Terry Hunt ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Ginger @ 25: Well, I'm known to engage in low wordplay, but Serge or others usually beat me to the pun(ch) here by a long way, as I'm rarely reading in real time. As to poeticising, I can sometimes work up a haiku or limerick given a week or so: this is an area I rilly rilly intend to begin practising real soon now, inspired in part by the many excellent examples regularly appearing at this our revered hosts' permanent virtual salon.

#56 ::: Tim Bray ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 12:33 PM:

Currrent working hypothesis: As knowledge of, and popular interest in, the real European Middle Ages increases, the quality of movies purportedly set therein declines. (Latest disappointment: The Pillars of the Earth.)

Please provide evidence to refute.

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:02 PM:

Terry Hunt... I'm known to engage in low wordplay, but Serge or others usually beat me

"I'm not sure, but I think we've been insulted."
"I'm sure."

:-)

#58 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:13 PM:

Those of us who are slow to pun will have to club together to get faster.

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:32 PM:

"Puns are the lowest form of humor - unless you think of it first."
- Seamus Zelazny Harper

#60 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:33 PM:

Tim Walters @#54: It is surprisingly awesome! I like the film a lot. And within the film it makes perfect sense for the invention to be used the way it is used--I didn't question it while I was watching, only later.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:41 PM:

I didn't mind how Tesla's invention was used in "The Prestige".
My big problem is that there was nobody to root for aside from him.

"Society tolerates only one change at a time.
#62 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 01:53 PM:

Serge @#61: what, you don't like a story in which everybody is a sociopath?

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 02:04 PM:

Mary Dell @ 62... I guess so. True, there was Michael Caine's character, but that's about it. Speaking of Caine, is it my imagination or has he mellowed in his old age?

#64 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 02:07 PM:

Serge -

I was distracted enough by the Jackman and the Bowie to enjoy The Prestige as I was watching it, but it's telling that even those elements didn't encourage me to re-watch or purchase on DVD.

As far as No Likeable Characters, the last supposedly brilliant film I saw that I hated was "There Will Be Blood". Everyone loved it and I wanted to know why I spent two hours watching people get crapped on, except for the Giant Asshole to end all Giant Assholes. It's put me of "Important Films" for a couple of years now.

#65 ::: John Fiala ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 02:56 PM:

So, one thing that occurred to me about Tangled was that it passes the Bechdel test - at the start of the movie, Rapunzel and her mom do talk about a bunch of things other than the Prince. (Admittedly, because he hasn't shown up yet.)

On the other hand, I'm not sure Tron: Legacy had two female characters with names.

#66 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 03:25 PM:

ddb@ #51 re: linguistic idiosyncracies in "True Grit"

The Language Log blog does its typically delightful debunking of language myths relevant to this movie's publicity here and here.

The short version seems to be: the no-contractions quirk seems to be true to the dialog in the original published novel, but bears no resemblance actual historic speech patterns.

#67 ::: The Modesto Kid ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 03:42 PM:

everyone knows the story. (All the way back to the Life of St. Barbara.)

I beg to differ: I knew the story, but not the part of it relating to St. Barbara. So, thanks.

#68 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 03:55 PM:

nerdycellist @ 64... That being said, I can take stories where the main character is amoral, in certain cases. For example, Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name was amoral, but somehow he'd wind up doing the Right Thing, even though he usually did so because it was advantageous to him.

#69 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 04:25 PM:

Serge, #68: I can sometimes take a story in which the main character is a complete asshole, as long as (1) there's enough plot and background to be interesting and (2) I'm not being asked to identify with him. As I've mentioned before, John Barnes' Kaleidoscope Century is a good example of this -- but its sequel, the name of which I forget, got culled.

#70 ::: Ingrid ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 04:49 PM:

I found Timothy Spall very distracting as Churchill, mostly because my mind has been poisoned by Harry Potter movies. "Watch out, Bertie!" I thought, "that's Wormtail!"

*facepalm*

(Oddly, I did not have the same reaction to HBC as HRM. Although seeing Jennifer Ehle in a room with Colin Firth did give me a momentary Pride & Prejudice flashback.)

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 04:51 PM:

Lee @ 69... In Season One of "Dexter", the character knows he is a monster, and we certainly don't identify with him, but he constantly makes himself learn to BE human. (I didn't care much for the later seasons, which turned more into a soap than anything although it was a rather gory soap.)

#72 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 05:57 PM:

nerdycellist @ 64: As far as No Likeable Characters, the last supposedly brilliant film I saw that I hated was "There Will Be Blood". Everyone loved it and I wanted to know why I spent two hours watching people get crapped on, except for the Giant Asshole to end all Giant Assholes. It's put me of "Important Films" for a couple of years now.

That's more a Paul Thomas Anderson thing than an Important Film thing. One-and-a-half of the two movies I've seen of his Boogie Nights and Magnolia) could be described that way.

Re The Prestige: the book is much lower-key than the movie. The incident that precipitates the feud is much more banal, nobody goes to jail or shoots anybody, and the characters seem like, well, feuding Victorians rather than sociopaths (not to say one can't be both). One still doesn't root for either, but since the story is told by their respective diaries you get more of their points of view (as well different accounts of all the major events, but in such a way that you can usually figure out what happened), and one understands their obsessiveness better.

And the frame story about the grandchildren gives one a rooting interest of sorts.

#73 ::: Kate Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 06:52 PM:

I liked Tangled okay, although nothing about it made me want to see it again. Someone upthread compared it to Aladdin and I agree, especially when it came to the songs. I actually had "A Whole New World" stuck in my head as I left the theater after seeing Tangled.

I was really disappointed with Princess and the Frog last year. The story felt like it was written by committee (probably was) and I think the prince would have been a better match with the main character's squeaky-voiced friend. But it wouldn't be a Disney princess movie if the main character decided to stay single and pursue her life's dream alone, would it?

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:06 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 28:

Similarly, it is rumored that Walt got distracted by other productions while "Dumbo" was being made, and the crew managed to keep it off his radar until it was released. The result is a movie with a decidedly progressive view of race and class from a studio that has always pushed a petty-bourgeois (not to say aristophilic; all those princes and princesses!) outlook on society.

nerdycellist @ 64:

I would much have preferred "There Will be Blood" to have been updated to take place in the nuclear reactor construction boom of the 60's, so the agonist (not pro him, not me) character could get severe radiation poisoning and die a slow, painful death. Any other resolution strikes me as glorification of evil.


Re Hats:
Good Hat Values are vital to the success of any dramatic presentation. The only reason I've still got my DVR programmed for "The Cape" is that The Great Malini wears a seriously good-looking leather top hat, which I covet.

#75 ::: Sarah E ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:25 PM:

The script of Under the Gaslight (1867) is swimming in "ain'ts," although Daly was likely using contractions to indicate character and/or social class.

#76 ::: Trey ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 07:31 PM:

Am I the only one that found all the closeups of Rapunzel in Tangled kinda weird? For me, it was trip to the uncanny valley...

#77 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 10:43 PM:

Bruce Cohen: it is rumored that Walt got distracted by other productions while "Dumbo" was being made, and the crew managed to keep it off his radar until it was released.

I would buy this, except for two items: the film was completed during the strike, and, according to most accounts, if you take a look at the clowns and at caricatures of the animators on strike you'll see the clowns have been drawn to match the strikers. No, Walt was involved on that one, if for no other reason than he was legendary at finding the weak spots in storyboards/scripts. The fear that the man generated otherwise can best be seen by looking at "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" (I have the first edition, ha ha! The publisher thought there'd be no call for later editions and destroyed the plates so all later editions are made from a copy of the first, so are fuzzier. I have the clean one!), specifically the sketch of the look that Walt got that meant he'd either seen something interesting about the way you moved and was memorizing it or that he was about to rip you a new asshole. It was almost twenty years after Walt had died, but the artist who did the sketch refused to be credited.

#78 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2011, 11:42 PM:

part of a Civil War period (1861) letter:
father it is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand for to write a few lines to you. I am wel and in the best of health I have got tierd of looking for a letter from home or cornels I can get letters from any where els that I want for to hear from but I dont say that you dont rite. the leters miscaries and I dont get them the boys are all wel except david M davis he is sick yet william Blair got his fot mashed the other day by the wheel of a canon wagon runing over it

#79 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 01:25 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @77: Most of my 'library' is in boxes, but my copy of "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" remains accessible on a bookshelf. I pulled it out and looked; it does not specify a print run. Copyright 1984. Would this mean its a first printing?

#80 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 02:01 AM:

hapax @24: That's a subtext in a lot of Disney films - because it's a subtext in all of the public-domain fairy tales they lift from - but Mother Gothel isn't Rapunzel's stepmother. She kidnapped Rapunzel as an infant to use her magic glowing Power Hair. She's not evil because Rapunzel's real mother died and Mother Gothel married the king and is a jealous old biddy.

Serge @32: Reminds me of the comic where Atomic Robo is briefing a group of military brass by explaining that the problem they are facing is 'something out of science fiction.' Everybody's hands immediately shoot up, to which Robo testily replies "Yes, I see the irony."

#81 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:30 AM:

John Fiala @ #65: On the other hand, I'm not sure Tron: Legacy had two female characters with names.

The white-haired woman who takes him to see Zuse also has a name, so that's two.

I don't think the movie gets more than the one Bechdel point, though. (And I'm tempted to dock it that one for his mother being introduced, killed off, and dismissed from the narrative in the space of a single sentence.)

#82 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:34 AM:

Speaking of Tesla, as somebody around here was a moment ago...

#83 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:38 AM:

me @ #81: his mother being introduced, killed off, and dismissed from the narrative in the space of a single sentence

Come to think of it, she didn't get a name, did she?

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:39 AM:

What I didn't get about "TRON: Legacy" is why Clu is still around, since he was derezzed, early in "TRON". By the way, whatever happened to Tron's girlfriend Yori? Say, if Zeus is supposed to be a Bowie program, is there also a Mick Jagger program? And a Pat Boone program?

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:41 AM:

Paul A @ 82... I especially like the Heisenberg card.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:42 AM:

"Given the results of last night's experiment..."
"Y'mean the failure."
"There is no failure in Science, Robo. Only missteps on the path to greater understanding... Let's see what we can do to physics today, hm?"
(later)
"Should it be doing that?"
"I have no idea."

(A conversation between Atomic Robo and his father, Nikola Tesla, in the 2nd issue of "Deadly Art of Science")

#87 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 09:50 AM:

Serge @ #84: What I didn't get about "TRON: Legacy" is why Clu is still around, since he was derezzed, early in "TRON".

That was covered in one of the flashbacks: This isn't the same Clu; Flynn programmed a new one some time after the old one was destroyed.

#88 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 12:06 PM:

The other named female program in Tron Legacy was Gem, though I think her name was mentioned all of once. And looking on IMDB, apparently all four of the female programs that dress Flyn in his Tron suit were named Gem, so they were basically interchangeable. The one Gem who shows up later to lead Flyn to Zuse wasn't really a character, more of the digital equivalent of a Comprimario.

And seeing as Quorra had little to do but stand around and be special in a vague metaphysical way until Flyn decided to be in love with her, the whole movie was a disappointment from the Bechdel perspective.

#89 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 12:24 PM:

@Kate Shaw #73: Naveen and Lottie? New Naveen would have been bored and embarrassed within a week and Old Naveen would have managed to spend all of the LeBoeuf fortune in about a year. Lottie has a good heart, but man is she annoying. And naive. And annoying.

Lottie needs a character arc. I imagine a sequel in which Big Daddy LeBoeuf loses everything in the Crash and dies of a heart attack shortly afterward, leaving Lottie without visible means of support. So Tiana and Naveen take her in and she becomes a hostess at Tiana's Palace, where her bubbly personality makes her a favorite with the regulars. Then something dynastic happens back in Maldonia and Tiana and Naveen have to go there, leaving Lottie in charge. She is doing a pretty decent job, although she is terribly stressed out, but then the local gangsters decide to move in on her. Somewhere in there she has to make a choice between somebody who offers her escape into her old fairytale world (false, or true but with bad consequences for the people who are counting on her) and somebody who will back her up right where she is and help her fight. Probably romantic, but not necessarily.

#90 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 02:33 PM:

Rob Rusick: Most of my 'library' is in boxes, but my copy of "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life" remains accessible on a bookshelf. I pulled it out and looked; it does not specify a print run. Copyright 1984. Would this mean its a first printing?

Well, I bought mine between 1977 and 1983, when I was at the UW, so 1984 sounds like a later edition. Did you get the three 35mm frames with it? Those only came with the limited first edition. My frames are presumably in the boxes holding the contents of my old desk, which is currently in storage.

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 02:39 PM:

Regarding movies to be released in the coming months... I fervently hope they don't eff up "Captain America".

#92 ::: Kate Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2011, 07:21 PM:

Jenny @89: I want to see that movie! For one thing, I suspect Lottie has a core of steel under her fluffy, bubbly exterior. I'd love to see a movie that lets her discover it.

#93 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 12:42 AM:

Paul A. @83 - I noticed that. At least the dead mother's namelessness allows me to believe that Kevin Flynn did not "win back" Lora (who didn't get a last name, being a woman) after the credits roll on the original, meaning that she may still alive somewhere, inventing awesome shit. Although she's probably not married to Alan, since he shows up in Legacy and never mentions her. Not that being married to a woman is a bar on Tron:Legacy characters never mentioning said woman, of course.

I was also annoyed at the quick dismissal of Flynn Jr.'s grandmother via the "Away, superfluous woman who cannot possibly understand me - I am seeking My God Father!" trope. Which trope, loosely speaking, shows up distressingly often in The Cape, which I've enjoyed so far, but not without frequent bouts of yelling at the screen.

(My problems with The Cape Ep. 2 deserve a full soapbox but I don't have time to write the full nuanced thesis tonight. Suffice it to say: Dude, you not only still have a son, you have a wife. Does she get no love? And, what, you pretend to be someone else and it's What Soldiers Do, but she retakes her maiden name so she and the kid won't starve and it's all Why Are You Erasing Daddy THAT'S NOT YOUR NAME!? It damn well IS her name, Skippy, why are YOU trying to erase HER family?! And... *slaps own hand to halt the proceedings* ...you get the picture. And that's just one of the categories of problems that have me occasionally talking back to the screen.)

#94 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 02:01 AM:

"The other named female program in Tron Legacy was Gem, though I think her name was mentioned all of once. And looking on IMDB, apparently all four of the female programs that dress Flyn in his Tron suit were named Gem, so they were basically interchangeable."

One of the Gems did speak to another one, which I believe is the movie's sole line spoken between female figures. And they're not quite interchangeable if they're talking to each other. I missed her name, however, in two viewings of the film.

(No Bechdel point, in any case: the line was "This one is special," or maybe "This one is different." Referring to Flynn.)

I find Tron Legacy's failures interesting rather than irritating, for some reason. Maybe just because of being twelve when the original came out.

#95 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 05:14 AM:

Nicole @ #93:

According to that invaluable source, I Read It Somewhere On The Internet, Lora is alive and well and married to Alan. Like you, I don't recall this coming up in the actual movie, so presumably it was mentioned somewhere in the promotional material. (Come to think of it, I seem to recall also reading that one of the promotional events involved Alan and Lora appearing in character.)

Someone on my Livejournal friendslist did a reaction post on the first couple of episodes of The Cape, and by the end of the comment thread there was a pool going on how long Mrs The Cape is going to last before the writers kill her off. Living wives are awkward; Hollywood writers know how to handle dead wives.

#96 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 09:44 AM:

Nicole @ 93... The whole thing is pretty lame. I was chatting with someone who worked on ST-TNG and asked whether or not the cape itself is supposed to be magical, and she couldn't tell, and suggested that neither did the show's writers, which she said usually is a Bad Sign. As for Episode Two, on the plus side, Zee Evil Frenchie gets his face stuck on the kitchen's stove, which I guess makes him a French Fry.

#97 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 03:38 PM:

Serge @ 96:

My problems with The Cape are less ideological (I gave up on that within the first few minutes just based on the dramatis personae: come on, enough with the whitewashed black sidekick already, even if he does turn on his friend!) than unbelievability. For example, the villain lives in a large apartment with mostly glass outside walls. So why doesn't the hero just fire an RPG into it from across the street some night?

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 03:42 PM:

Bruce Coen @ 97... And how does the Cape get around?

#99 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 05:06 PM:

Serge, French Fry, groooooan.

I'm not quite caught up yet - gonna Hulu Ep 3 tonight with John. But given developments in Ep 2, I hope the writers will give Mrs. Faraday a bit of a story arc before they ultimately do predictable things to her.

The thing that got me was when The Cape was all by his lonesome in the baddie's sekrit lair, and gets a message that He Should Go Elsewhere Right Now -- so he does the flashbomb thing.

The flashbomb thing, which is NOT a teleportation device, but a smoke-and-mirrors cover-your-getaway trick.

WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING HIM.

For whose benefit does he do it? I amuse myself by saying that he does it for the audience, in sort of the same 4th-wall-blurring vein as both Eps 1 and 2 have characters providing a dramatic vamptrack on nearby convenient organ/piano keyboards.

As for treatment of black characters - Oy, don't get me started. My parents had to hear me quipping, "Oh hey look! Another bad guy and/or guy who's gonna betray the good guys. How do I know? 'Cause he's not white and/or he's got a thick accent. Whee!"

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2011, 06:09 PM:

Nicole @ 99... Was the Cape's escape clearly explained as just smoke&mirror? Or is it just the show making crap up as it goes?

#101 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 04:40 AM:

re True Grit and contractions: This quotation from LL makes one wonder why this person did this:

None of the characters in John Norman's Gor novels use contractions. I think the first contraction I found was in a tag question some fifteen books into the series. It seems to be an idiosyncrasy of the author's style.

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 06:52 AM:

Terry Karney @ 101... Data did not use contractions either. Lore did, but then again he was evil.

That being said, you've got me thinking I'd like to see the Cohen Brothers's adaptation of a Gor novel.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 07:21 AM:

Argh. It's 'Coen', not 'Cohen'.

#104 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 08:50 AM:

93: The trope you're seeing with Junior's grandmother is the maternal variant of "I am so messed up that even a woman cannot comfort me."

There was so much in this movie that annoyed me, from the monotonously thrumming soundtrack to the weird downer ending featuring the main character wearing the sequel on a chain around his neck. (And indeed I see on IMDB a follow-on TV series.) It was pretty and had lots of good skin tight pulchritude (whatever your persuasion) and at least they let Boxleitner talk a little, and at least the acting and dialogue are vastly improved from the original (the one line lifted straight from Tron sticks out).

#105 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 10:54 AM:

It is worth noting that the characters of Damon Runyon do not use contractions neither.

#106 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 11:33 AM:

Contractions, not using: Hmmm; maybe it is a habit dating to when authors were mostly paid by the word?

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 12:01 PM:

James Macdonald @ 105...

" If a guy did not have a doll, who would holler at him?"
- Nathan Detroit

#108 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 04:49 PM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @ 74:

I haven't seen Dumbo in awhile and so can't comment much on its politics, but I did find it disturbing that all of the characters in Dumbo have faces--except for the black workers setting up the tents.

#109 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 04:52 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @90: Did you get the three 35mm frames with it? Those only came with the limited first edition.

No frames for me :(

#110 ::: johnofjack ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 06:02 PM:

I should add that I was using "politics" as shorthand for "intended political statement," which is something I should know better than to do. At one of my former jobs I was frequently asked "why are you so political?" and would invariably* answer "you're assuming that support for the status quo is not a political position."

*and smugly, because that's the kind of person I was.

† I hope the past tense is justified.

#111 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2011, 07:51 PM:

Bruce Durocher @90 -- the reference work I've been doing shows the signed limited having a foot of film (about 16 frames) rather than the 3 you mention. I wonder whether yours got trimmed?

#112 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2011, 11:31 AM:

Tom Whitmore: the reference work I've been doing shows the signed limited having a foot of film (about 16 frames) rather than the 3 you mention. I wonder whether yours got trimmed?

Well, I haven't looked at it since Margaret and I got married: I may be confusing it with the piece I was given of a 70mm print of "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a half Century," which was only three or four frames. Unfortunately, there was no pocket in the Disney book to hold it (as I remember it the film was just dropped inside the front cover like a bookmark), so it's probably boxed with the other contents of my desk from Vashon.

#113 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2011, 03:14 PM:

Serge @100 - I'm pretty sure so, yes, given the bit from the Ep. 1 training montage. Not that they couldn't also be making shit up as they go along. Cf. your 96 and "neither did the show's writers."

#114 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2011, 03:45 PM:

Dumbo: I definitely did not get until I rewatched it as an adult that the "waking up in a tree" scene is basically playing off a stereotyped scene of "guys go on a bender, wake up on a street corner in Harlem". "What are we doin' here? No, what are you guys doin' up here?!"

#115 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2011, 06:04 PM:

Jim @ 23.

I guess I adjust my expectations too much to play your game. Between the trailers and the first 5 minutes of Season of the Witch I decided it was a Renaissance Festival-esque Action Adventure and turned off the part of my brain expecting realism. Although the bridge scene did have me installing a lockout/tagout on that particular circuit breaker.

All of my movie reactions fall into a What Did I Expect vs. What Did I Get spectrum.

#116 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2011, 08:21 PM:

Victoria @115: I know what you mean. I'm convinced that the issue with certain movies I like but (all of fandom, or whomever) haaaaate is that they're angry with the movies for not being the movie they expected to get.

M. Night Shmyalan's The Village, for example, which I enjoyed greatly.

#117 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2011, 10:53 PM:

I liked The Village too. It's not a horror movie, and was mismarketed as one. I hate horror movies, so I liked it...but almost didn't see it, because the ads made it look like a horror movie!

I can see why horror fans would be annoyed.

#118 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 12:17 AM:

It wasn't so much that Season of the Witch didn't match actual medieval history, it's that it wasn't even internally consistent, and it made bone-headed errors. (e.g. having our guys take The Girl (she doesn't even have a name; that's what she's called in the credits) 400 leagues, and wanting to do it six days. 400 leagues is a long, long way. It would take them 16 days if they didn't stop to eat or sleep, were going over clear, flat terrain, and were unburdened. Then, they make it in four days.

I overlook the use of nylon line... almost everyone in movies does that. (Though True Grit used sisal, which, in addition to the Good Hats, gets them more points.)

Internal contradictions: In the movie's world, the Plague really is caused by the devil, and the Girl really is a witch, possessed by the devil and spreading plague. Yet, when they reach the monastery, the plague was already there, even though the girl hadn't yet arrived. Then we find out that Satan's Clever Plan (TM) was to have these guys get the Girl there, so that he (Satan) could get inside and destroy the only copy of the Key of Solomon, which was the only thing in the whole world that can stop Satan. The monks were busy making multiple copies, so that the Key of Solomon could be sent around and break the power of Satan. So, Satan, who only arrives after our guys show up, magically makes the manuscripts catch on fire.

Wouldn't it have been a far better Clever Plan for Satan to show up the day before our intrepid heroes and burn those manuscripts so that they wouldn't have a chance to read it out loud in the middle of the final action/adventure fight? What was wrong with the week before? What was the point of any of the tom-foolery along the way?

Well, if Satan burned down the last remaining copy of the Key of Solomon before our guys set out, they wouldn't have had to go over that rickety rope bridge somewhere high in the Carpathians, would they?

What is it with adventure movies and rope
bridges?

All this aside from the accents that the various characters used, which made it rather sound like they were trying to meet a challenge on Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The scenery was pretty. Two points for scenery.

#119 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 12:23 AM:

My problem with The Village is that I guessed the Big Twist in literally the first scene. And I'm lousy at guessing Big Twists.

#120 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 01:36 AM:

My problem with The Village is that I guessed the Big Twist in literally the first scene. And I'm lousy at guessing Big Twists.

Doyle and I guessed the Big Surprise Ending for Sixth Sense pretty much about the time the titles ended. (I also figured out the Big Surprise from The Crying Game about two seconds after our IRA terrorist walks into the bar.)

And I make a point of avoiding reviews/spoilers for movies I haven't seen.

#121 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 02:08 AM:

Tim Walters @ #119: My problem with The Village is that I guessed the Big Twist in literally the first scene.

I have always assumed that I guessed the Big Twist the first time I watched the trailer. I never bothered to watch the actual film.

#122 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 02:18 AM:

Jim Macdonald @118: It would take them 16 days if they didn't stop to eat or sleep, were going over clear, flat terrain, and were unburdened. Then, they make it in four days.

I saw an interview with P.D. James where she describes writing a scene with her character Adam Dalgliesh. She had him climbing up a cliff face, then as he pulls himself over the top, flopping over on his back, exhausted.

The cliff face was a real world location, and her son-in-law was a climber who was familiar with the spot, so she had him review the scene.

He read it, and laughed "I'll say he's exhausted! He just did a two hour climb in five minutes flat!"

#123 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 08:42 AM:

Jim Macdonald #118 - I don't know much about movies, but the thing about rope bridges is that they are quite clearly a matter of life or death, require no knowledge of how to setup a dangerous scene involving historical items, e.g. the danger from mounted bandits or wolves or suchlike, and are part of every audience's memory from previous films so the writers put them in deliberately on a kind of paint by numbers basis.
Basically, lazy storytelling.

#124 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 08:54 AM:

Tim Walters @119: See, that's misplaced assumptions about the movie, again.

IMHO, it's not a 'twist' movie any more than it's a 'horror' movie.

It's a coming-of-age sociological/psychological film about how we choose to engage, or not engage, with the world our parents build for us.

#125 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 09:22 AM:

My problem with The Village is that every adult in on The Secret is a coward who should be shot and have his or her children removed.

Nonetheless, I like it. It makes for some conflicted internal monologue, lemme tell you.

#126 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 11:23 AM:

Elliott Mason: See, that's misplaced assumptions about the movie, again.

I didn't watch the film with any particular assumptions. A friend put it on at her house when I wasn't even expecting to watch a movie at all.

When I do see a film that turns out to be something different from what I expected, that's usually a good thing, not a bad thing.

IMHO, it's not a 'twist' movie

It has a big twist that's meant to be a surprise. Whether that makes it a "'twist' movie" I leave to essentialists. Is there more to the film? Of course. Does guessing the twist make the film less effective? I thought so.

Carrie S. @ 125: My problem with The Village is that every adult in on The Secret is a coward who should be shot and have his or her children removed.

This is true, but I don't think the viewer is meant to approve of their actions, so I'm fine with that.

#127 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 11:45 AM:

This is true, but I don't think the viewer is meant to approve of their actions, so I'm fine with that.

I dunno. There's the bit at the very end where Ivy's coming back and her father says something to the effect of "Noah's actions will allow us to maintain this place." It seemed clear to me that that was supposed to be a good thing. I suppose I could be misreading it, but if so I think it was an easy misread.

#128 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 05:49 PM:

#123 Guthrie e.g. the danger from mounted bandits or wolves or suchlike....

The CGI wolves come later.

#124 Elliott Mason It's a coming-of-age sociological/psychological film about how we choose to engage, or not engage, with the world our parents build for us.

Except not one single person in it make a choice about engaging, or not engaging, in the world their parents built for them.

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 06:08 PM:

Carrie S: But they also recognize that the death of Noah is their karma for their crime against their children.

Jim: Ivy does. She chooses not to rat out the parents at the end, when she knows all. A bad decision in my opinion, but she makes a choice.

And Lucius wants to go to "the towns" from the very beginning. He feels stifled by the restrictions the elders have put on his generation, even though he never questions that they're telling the truth.

I think the entire elder generation in that movie are evil scumbag wimp shitheads. Ivy's tragedy is that, in order to learn what she needs to know to save Lucius, she has to agree to join in their evil. That's definitely a choice she makes.

#130 ::: LMM ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 07:12 PM:

This is not the world's most epic delurking, but it is a delurking ...

James Macdonald @ 120: I'm not entirely convinced that noticing the Big Surprise in "The Crying Game" isn't due to a cultural and/or generational gap. I watched the movie with my family a few years back, and both my sister and I caught it within a few seconds. OTOH, my father (who had watched it previously, years ago) had described the movie as having a major twist due solely to the Surprise.

#131 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 09:14 PM:

Ivy was the blind chick, right?

I'm not certain that she knows what's what, even at the end.

Meanwhile, in The Crying Game, those IRA terrorists were certainly incompetent terrorists. If they wanted to know how to run their op they should have called me on the phone.
(Short version: When the op's blown, say "Op's blown" and walk away. There'll be other times and places and chances to take.)

#132 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 10:17 PM:

The headquarters for ARK, in The Cape, are filmed at the building where I work. They told us this week,since they're going to shooting something-or-other outside this week, at night.

#133 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 10:30 PM:

Jim, the flashback sequence shows her father showing her the costume used to portray Those We Don't Speak Of. He told her everything so she'd know what she needed to know for her journey.

The fact that he let her go instead of going himself is another reason he's a scumbag.

#134 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 11:15 PM:

The fact that he let her go instead of going himself is another reason he's a scumbag.

And here I thought that was just bad writing.

"Gee, we really need some penicillin here. Who should go? Someone who knows what penicillin is, knows the whole score, and can easily find their way there and back, or a blind chick who could just as easily get completely lost in the woods, break a leg, die in misery, and not bring back the penicillin? Let me think, let me think ...."

#135 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2011, 11:31 PM:

Heh. From Wikipedia's summary of The Village:

They have built a barrier of oil lanterns and watch towers that are constantly manned to keep watch for "Those We Don't Speak Of", who are spoken of numerous times early in the film.

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 12:11 AM:

The excuse, Jim, was that he'd sworn an oath never to leave the Village. He'd already accepted the lack of medical care (at least as long as the consequences were for the younger generation, though he admits he felt ashamed when his daughter was born blind).

To break that oath would have meant he was wrong about everything he'd done. Remember, he was the one who came up with the idea in the first place. Cult leaders (and that's what he was) don't easily admit they've been completely wrong about all the ideas of the cult. He would have let Lucius die without a qualm if Lucius weren't attached to his daughter.

So he asserted his power as alpha male bull goose loony by Granting her a Quest.

Oh, and another reason she was the only one he could send (besides himself or one of the other assholes of his generation) is that she was blind, and wouldn't see things in the towns that would corrupt her, or that she'd bring back to tell in the Village.

OK, maybe it's not the greatest writing in the world. But you can see what they were trying for. It's not completely off the wall.

Avram, the Fair Folk were called that because they were dark. Those We Don't Speak Of is a perfectly cromulent name for beings of whom one lives in constant fear, like the Honored Ones.

Still, that's a damn cute remark by that Wikipedia joker.

#137 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 12:51 AM:

And nothing ever flew over the Village? Mercy flight helicopter, Piper Cub, commuter jet? Not even a contrail in the sky?

#138 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 01:42 AM:

That's right, nothing flew over the village because, we were told, these guys were So Rich that they were able to re-route all the airliners in the world.

Which is Pretty Darned Rich.

#139 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 02:29 AM:

That was my biggest annoyance with The Village. At some point well before the Big Reveal, I thought to myself that maybe the village was sitting in the modern world somewhere, but then I thought that couldn't work, because you'd get airplanes flying overhead every so often, and it'd be totally implausible that someone could have all that air traffic diverted, unless maybe the village was some kind of high-priority government project.

Then it turns out the writer had the same thought I did, and decided to wave it away by having money be magic.

#140 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 02:34 AM:

And now that I think about it, there's not really any reason for the no-fly zone. I mean, if the goal of the village's creators is to isolate themselves from the sinful outer world, they can just tell their kids that passing airplanes are dragons, or angels, or something mysterious they don't understand. It's not as if the kids can go off in quest of an answer, because hey, the village is surrounded by monsters.

The no-fly zone exists for the sake of the audience, because if we saw a plane fly over, or heard people talking about it, the Big Reveal would be blown right then.

#141 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 08:13 AM:

The no-fly zone exists for the sake of the audience, because if we saw a plane fly over, or heard people talking about it, the Big Reveal would be blown right then.

That, and small planes. It wouldn't be a problem for airliners so much, but someone in a small plane might notice the town with no electric lights, get close enough to see the clothing, and decide to go looking for the nifty little reenactment village.

This, however, is trying to make the setup make sense, which it manifestly doesn't. Lucius is a grown man, probably early to mid twenties and the last modern photo contains him as a babe in arms. Yet they still have cotton clothing, metal for the blacksmith, kerosene, paper enough to make party decorations out of...where exactly are they getting these things? There are too many people to all be part of the families of the five or six Elders we're shown; who are they? There are some people who are older than Lucius but younger than the Phobics; who are they, and how was the sudden change in lifestyle explained to them, since they would have been old enough to notice? Why did the Elders not notice that the late Victorian era was just as riddled with violence as the modern one?

I think I said this the last time the topic came up, but if so I'll say it again: I don't know what level of culture you can maintain with the resources they're shown to have, but it's sure as hell not Late Victorian.

#142 ::: Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2011, 10:24 AM:

True Grit is written as the girl's memoir when she's old, so the stilted syntax is what she imagines to be good prose, imposed on conversations that almost certainly did not -- er, didn't -- sound anything like that.

#143 ::: Ken Josenhans ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2011, 01:54 PM:

"True Grit" was one of my three or four "WOW" movies for the current awards year. I haven't really analyzed why, except that I loved the way the actors played with words. And there's the message that retribution is not cheap.

Another of my WOW movies, "Winter's Bone," is much a similar story, young girl on a quest through dangerous land.

(The other: "I Am Love," if only for the photography, the editing and the John Adams score. Maybe-Wow movies were "The Secret In Their Eyes" and "How To Train Your Dragon.")

I don't see enough movies to be willing to play the Movie Game as described; there are too many things I want to see. And, I have the Metropolitan Opera and Emerging Pictures opera-movie series using up about 15 theater trips per season, so that's making a huge dent in non-musical movie-watching.

#144 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2011, 02:13 PM:

Some "big reveals" should be relegated to second-tier home decorating cable TV shows.

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2011, 03:49 PM:

Jim @ 118: I'll assume the leagues they refer to as the modern term (i.e. three miles) not the Roman league (about 1.4 miles), or the strange entry in wikipedia, " the league most commonly refers tothe distance a person, or horse, can walk in an hour).

Using that, if they stopped not at all, they still need to be moving 12.5 miles an hour, nonstop, to cover the needed 300 miles a day. At a more normal pace (say 7 leagues a day, if one were on unimproved roads, not muddy tracks, or open fields), I get not quite 60 days to cover the distance at that rate.

Your 16 days still has them covering 75 miles a day. If they pushed to ten leagues a day they can do it in forty, but that's a lot of ground to cover, each day, every day. 30 miles is hard marching for soldiers, who are in shape.

Re movie bad guys conspiring to pull "ops": yeah, they could call you, or me, or.... pretty much anyone who reads ML and get that sort of advice. Of course, if they needed to they ought not be in that line of work, and they wouldn't be for long.

#146 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2011, 03:52 PM:

My "wow" movie this year was The Kids Are All Right.

#147 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2011, 05:47 PM:

Terry #145 Your 16 days still has them covering 75 miles a day.

Indeed it does. It assumes that they're doing 3.125 mph, 24 hours a day, for sixteen days straight. As I said, if they didn't pause to eat or sleep. (In any case, even if using the old Roman leagues, they're asked to make 96 miles a day in their tasking orders, and actually achieve 140 miles a day. Which would be pretty spectacular given the terrain they're shown traversing if they were driving jeeps.)

#148 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2011, 12:54 PM:

FWIW - not much probably - the geography ın Season of the Wıtch struck me as being as dodgy as its history.

Any crusaders who were fighting battles ın Edremit or Smyrna were quite some way off target: both are on the Western coast of Turkey. There was also a bıt when the hero and his sidekick were shown walkıng along the sea-coast of Styria, which I would imagine to be more or less contiguous with that of Bohemia

#149 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2011, 11:25 PM:

If you haven't already seen The King's Speech ... you likely won't ever be able to do so.

The MPAA announced today that The King’s Speech will be re-released by the Weinstein Company with a PG-13 rating. The film had famously received an R rating for a scene in which Geoffrey Rush’s character encourages Colin Firth’s King George VI to curse like a commoner in order to help him get over his stutter. “Given The Weinstein Company’s commitment to advertise and promote the new version of The King’s Speech as a differently rated movie and to remove all prints of the earlier version,” says National Association of Theater Owners president and CEO John Fithian, “and given the high-profile of the movie, we believe there is little likelihood of confusion among our patrons [between the R rated and PG-13 rated versions].” Nothing in the release hints at what words were removed to get the new PG-13 rating — the Weinstein Company has yet to release that information — but we have some guesses about that, too. It’s probably the roughly 14 times King George says the word s—, or maybe the dozen or so times he uses the word f—, or else maybe the one time he uses the word t–s. We’ll have to wait for the re-release to know for sure.

Emphasis added.

It is a striking, memorable, and important scene.

Too bad.

#150 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2011, 11:32 PM:

Death, death, DEATH TO THE MPAA!!!!

May all their efforts fail, and all their wishes be frustrated, and may any successor organization suffer the same fate.

#151 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2011, 12:29 AM:

Do you suppose they'll have the original theatrical release on the DVD?

#152 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2011, 01:28 AM:

Considering how often DVDs of bad movies are marketed on the basis of including The Bits The MPAA Made Us Take Out, I should think there's hope.

#153 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2011, 01:29 AM:


One of the "read more" links at the bottom points to this article, which suggests that they're not actually going to cut the scene out, just render the problem words inaudible. That's better, though of course still not nearly as good as leaving the damn thing alone.

(It also implicitly answers the big question I had about the prospect of cutting that scene, which was what they were planning to do about the other scenes later in the film where Bertie falls back on swearing, including during the big climactic sequence that even they presumably would think better of cutting out.)

#154 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2011, 02:43 AM:

If they make the cuts, can they promote the film as an Oscar nominee or (we don't know yet) winner?

#155 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2011, 09:17 AM:

The MPAA rating system in itself is a stupid idea. During that brief, happy moment between the end of the Hayes Code and the beginning of the MPAA ratings, we had some of the most vibrant and creative American movie-making ever.

#156 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2011, 12:35 PM:

Have you read Kim Newman's "The Pierce-Arrow Stalled"? It's a hypothetical about a version of Hollywood history where a car breakdown leads to the Hays Code never getting off the ground.

#157 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2011, 01:44 PM:

praisegod @148

Not necessarily. A couple of the crusades took the land route to the holy land (Though I think they crossed the Bosphorus rather than the Hellespont and never went down the Western Coast of Asia Minor.) There also could have been battles around there between the Latin Empire and the Nicaeans after the conquest of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade.

(Not having read the book in question, I don't know if the dates and places line up, but I would be surprised to find anywhere in the Eastern Mediterranean that wasn't visited by Crusaders at some point between 1096 and 1453.)

The coast of Styria is pretty bad, though. One presumes the author meant Istria, or is that giving too much credit?

#158 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2011, 01:56 PM:

Well, yes, Turkey itself is not too bad, given that the fourth crusade sacked Constantinople, and there are quite a lot of Crusader castles in the south east of the country (and Edessa is modern Urfa). But, as you say, probably not down the west coast of the country.

#159 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2011, 01:57 PM:

The coast of Styria seems particularly egregious given that it's a half-Hungarian production.

#160 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2011, 07:11 PM:

In re the King's Speech subthread: There's a truly marvelous movie called This Film Is Not Yet Rated (which is itself unrated; the MPAA wouldn't dignify it). It's a documentary about the history of the way the MPAA rates movies (and includes an awful lot of the "what had to be cut out to get our R/PG-13/etc rating" scenes from a grand variety of movies.

In case anyone was wondering, the MPAA demonstrably discriminates against small-producer films, both in rating them harder than big-studio productions, and in telling studios what they need to cut to get down below (whatever), whereas indies are just told, "Too bad, so sad, we couldn't say, it's the overall impression."

#161 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2011, 06:13 AM:

Speaking of Good Hat Values, have you seen The Adjustment Bureau yet?

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