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Monday Movies: An open thread

No movies for me this week — just plenty of West Wing and our new passion, which is available on Netflix instant: A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Are others more committed to the cinematic arts than I?


October 11, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. I was not. I watched Mallrats on free VOD, and what a turd of a movie that was. Granted, I watched it by myself after my wife had gone to bed but I barely grinned or chuckled. I understand that sometimes comedies work better in a group viewing environment.

    There have been movies that seemed funny in the theater, but when I later watched them in a different setting did not hold up. With this movie, though, I feel like there were hardly even any jokes or attempts at humor. I was also reminded why I couldn’t stand Jason Lee before he did My Name is Earl.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | October 11, 2010

  2. Yes

    Last night was the Bad Lieutenant remake. Heck, even though I find Cage often unbearable, it had a good source, and it’s Werner Herzog. So much for Herzog, changing the demonic to the picaresque. Signofthetimes. When we lose the understanding of and capacity for transcendant evil, goodness goes with it. I’ll watch it again.

    OTOH, the Coen Bros A Serious Man is a likely masterpiece. Stanley Elkin came to mind.

    Spent 3-4 hours last night in Ebertville. Lee Marvin, Atom Egoyan. I meant to look for 80s theory, but got distracted.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 11, 2010

  3. You couldn’t stand him in “Mallrats” but do stand him “Earl”?! That is perverse.

    Comment by Craig | October 11, 2010

  4. We watched “Couples Retreat” the other night and found it to be surprisingly funny, although, certainly, rather silly and the final message was insulting at best. Having said that, the guy who is in that new Will Arnett TV show is absolutely hilarious, as was the yoga instructor. Charlotte, from “Sex and the City,” was intolerable, but that is her norm. Kristen Bell is a terrible actress, but tolerable this time around–at least in terms of her near-autistic insanity which was perfectly matched to Jason Bateman’s similarly almost-autistic insanity. I feel I will spend the next week slapping the dogs on the ass saying, “Yes, encouragement!” Vince Vaughan makes everything funny–even that movie were he is some rich guy on the run and is really, really mean to John Travolta. Other than his man-tits, John Favreau was unremarkable.

    Comment by Craig | October 11, 2010

  5. I figured somebody would call me on that. In the Kevin Smith movies, he always seemed to me to be this angry dude who showed emotion by changing his volume. It was incredibly irritating.

    For me, My Name is Earl was preferable because they pretty much just took away the emotion, and I thought the first couple seasons of that show were pretty hilarious. I remember thinking the Cops episode was one of the funniest episodes I had seen on TV in a long time.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | October 11, 2010

  6. I saw Koji Yakusho at a restaurant on Saturday! That was about as starstruck as I have ever been.

    Comment by jms | October 11, 2010

  7. Mallrats will forever hold a place in my heart as the movie that cast Ben Affleck as the villain whom you have to stop before he fucks your ex-girlfriend in the ass.

    Comment by Dopey D | October 11, 2010

  8. Meshi by Miko Naruse;Satsuko Hara lead. Very much a woman’s picture, and of its time and place.

    Marital problems of the young and lower middleclass. I need to watch these more than once, and I intend to.

    According to one site, men & women speak different Japanese.
    “Syokuji” is formal. “Gohan” is the polite and woman’s word for “meal” or “rice.” “Meshi” is used by men with each other almost exclusively, having besides “meal/rice” also a meaning of “summons” or “call”, IOW “meshi” is meal in a commanding or dominating tone. “Isn’t my supper ready yet?”

    But you don’t need to know this to understand that this is the couple’s problem. A resentful wife and an ungrateful husband.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 12, 2010

  9. Mikio Naruse, Yama No Oto 1954 (?) aka “Sound of the Mountain” or “Thunder on the Mountain” or “Echo”. Based on a novel by Nobeller Yasunari Kawabata. The novel looks spectacular at Wiki. Satsuko Nara again as daughter (-in-law) and a great performance by So Yamamura as father-in-law. Naruse apparently has captured enough of the novel.

    Read last night that many Japanese believe the West overrates Ozu and Mizoguchi because of formalism and Orientalism. Naruse is useful to me as a bridge between those two.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 14, 2010

  10. Mizoguchi Sansho Dayu no I hadn’t seen it before

    subtly subverts itself, the men’s heroic kindness causes or adds to women’s suffering

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 15, 2010

  11. last week i didn’t watch until the end anything, the netflix history was like watched 3 min out of 98 or 14 min out of 112 something, and don’t remember what i tried to watch
    this week was more productive, i watched Like water for chocolate, Babiesand Gosford park
    what obnoxious people were English nobility and what degrading is a role of servant, one spit on the spoon and polished it, gah can’t eat in the public places for some time now excluding the cafeteria cz there everything is plastic/paper single use
    the babies were adorable, i remember reading a review that there was no any narrative to it that made it boring, but it has a lot of contrasting or unifying shots that made a very clear narrative to me, just if one can’t stand flies, snotty noses or group activities(like me), should stay away from watching it
    Like water for chocolate was also a strange magic story, and i ended up thinking how that, exaltated, i mean everything’s so exaggerated, that couldn’t feel any connection to the story, i just wanted to watch it cz a friend has a blog named that so i was curious why

    Comment by read | October 15, 2010

  12. spat was the correct form, or maybe spitted
    i checked specifically merriam-webster for it, cz was thinking it’s a non-changing verb, spit-spit-spit
    but it was spit-spat-spitted
    i confess i hate how webster looks now, very busy and blinking

    Comment by read | October 15, 2010

  13. and the role, cz it’s definite
    i used to watch a lot of Japanese terebi dorama’s, then got bored with them, b/c they are very schematic and repetitive and sterile
    Japanese older movies i also never watch except comedies cz also don’t find much connection to the topics, always yakuza, geisha and other Japanese specificities, or too dramatic and not just plain dramatic but with that, minimalist etc as if without any pretensions dramatic

    Comment by read | October 15, 2010

  14. i should not dismiss all J cinema like this as if i’m somebody to judge, maybe pretensions are what makes up culture, one could stay one’s honest and true self without making any progress in anything, if not to aspire to anything

    Comment by read | October 15, 2010

  15. This thread amazes me.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | October 15, 2010

  16. oh great, Netflix Shipping, email says, For Sat: Le Samourai
    have no idea why it’s in French though and why i picked it up, perhaps someone recommended it here

    Comment by read | October 15, 2010

  17. 16:Well, I won’t bother to look them up, but there is an movie around 1970 by Melville with Delon, and another around 2000, bi-national Japan/France, which has something to do with time-traveling ninja princesses. Or something. Based on a “graphic novel” or manga and possibly associated with Besson. I have seen the second, and forgotten it.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 15, 2010

  18. Kaneto Shindo, Onibaba 1964

    Criterion, awesome cinematography and direction. Very definition of early 60s arthouse movie, even had bongos.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 15, 2010

  19. Comments 10 and 13

    While Sansho Dayu is I think covertly subversive, Onibaba is the first radical critique of Japan I have encountered. It is famously an allegory of the trauma of Hiroshima and post-war Japan, and Shindo was the director that confronted the repressed.

    (Google books, Trauma and Cinema, E. Ann Kaplan, Ban Wang, p. 149 is articulate)

    “post-Hiroshima national victimhood, where national iconic images of the militarized male are replaced with images of the blameless self-sacrificing maternal female…Japanese womanhood became fully implicated in sustaining the myth of national innocence and victimology…etc”

    Okay. Now this is what has to kept in mind when watching Ozu for instance, Late Spring etc. What makes his films disturbing is that he is subverting these tropes while apparently supporting them.

    It surprises me just how leftist and feminist the great Japanese directors were, and how they even flourished during the 30s. Kurosawa, with his samurai background, being the exception.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 16, 2010

  20. i think you’ll enjoy this 日本の美人像変化
    three-four of my favourite actresses are not there though, but they are all relatively young, from the 70-90ies and up
    leftist and feminist they are in their high cinema maybe, but in their pop culture and generally their general attitude towards women is like that as if their function is ornamental and everything is always very class conscious, and everywhere even in the professional environment, their i mean women’s role is viewed as if it should be submissive and limited
    but sure everything depends on the individual’s character, there were i think many strong matrimonial characters in Japan throughout history and the wars

    Comment by read | October 16, 2010

  21. matronal, matrimonial is of marriages I recall

    Comment by read | October 16, 2010

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