Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by Bullitt68, Dec 21, 2017.
Def. a lifetime achievement award for him.
The Darkest Hour was created in an "oscar bait" lab.
Again he really should have won for Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, that showed that he could do alot more than a wide variety of characterisation.
History post-grad. That's one of the biggest differences from undergrad to masters, there is way more theory and conceptual work. So a lot of it is about the fact that historical narratives are constructed in the same way as literary ones, the impossibility of objective historical truth, the illusion of historical representations of 'the past' (Barthes in particular) etc. etc. Or most recently, about the 'violence of the archive', the archive as a 'document of exclusion' and 'monument to a specific configuration of power'. In Derridean terms:
I mean what in the name of almighty fuck!
Don't get me wrong, there are a few interesting and useful points here and there but it just seems to be the case that they push the arguments further than they will go, and often a lot of the writing seems to be basically word-salad. In fact one of my lecturers (who comes from an english lit background) went off on a rant about deliberately obscure writers the other day, I tend to agree, if you can't make your point clearly then you're basically intellectually masturbating rather, rather than attempting to convey an actual point (of course some of it is complex because it needs to be, but you know what I mean).
Hayden White is one of those theorists (he's a post-modernist, perhaps you have come across him too) who popularised all this stuff about narrativity who doesn't really bother me, even if you don't agree with him (and quite naturally a lot of historians don't) he raises some interesting ideas that force you to question certain aspects of the discipline - I suppose that is why it's set as a reading, not because the majority of history professors buy into it, but most importantly he doesn't write in a completely obscurantist bullshit style. But like you also mention, he often falls into the same thing you already mentioned, ie. making a bunch of claims and arguments that at times contradict one another.
I mean I am left-leaning in my politics if anything (maybe more likely to say I am apolitical these days tbh), but yeah, a lot of that stuff is just hilarious bullshit.
Did you see this hoax article get published in a journal: The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct:
It was a pay-to-publish journal, so not that bad, as it's not as if it got peer-reviewed but even so....
Lol that Everybody Loves Raymond clip is gold.
I have actually never read any Rand, she does have a poor reputation amongst certain groups of people though lol.
Thankfully I will never have to!
Yeah that big bald fuck Focault pops his head up everywhere too, he casts an insanely long shadow on the humanities..no matter what you study he will probably come, he appeared in some Anthropology modules I took in first year of undergrad too. For a while I thought I liked Focault, Discipline and Punish is ok, but The Archaeology of Knowledge...well just fuck that book, I can't even understand the majority of it...again, possibly some interesting points, but if it's written in a such a way that it can't even be comprehended by a normal person, well a normal student (and I don't like to think I'm just stupid lol) then it's doing something wrong.
I really don't like the War Room, but maybe I will pop in some time.
Gary Oldman 100% deserved Best Actor for Darkest Hour, amazing performance.
They never should have made that movie, not only was it mediocre, it detracted from the first, much like Aliens 3 did to Aliens 2.
Aliens 3 Directors Cut is actually pretty good, tbh I prefer it's brooding, tense vibe to the straight-up action of Aliens...which I have found I don't really enjoy rewatching as much anymore, whereas I used to love it most as a kid. Alien is still the best for me.
I wish they stuck with the monastery idea instead of a penal colony though.
Not the answer I was hoping for.
I never did manage to actually finish that movie. I tried it on two separate occasions, but - and I don't say this about a lot of movies - it was just too slow and boring for me. Spy stuff tends to be hit-or-miss with me like that: Either it's riveting and I fucking love it or it's like watching paint dry.
It's an absolute travesty that everything from film studies to cultural studies and from philosophy to history and everything else in between is anchored in nonsense. It's the biggest con in the history of philosophy, and sadly, all that I can think of when I think about this shit today and how to possibly get people to just fucking admit already that the emperor is bare ass naked is the old saying about how it's easier to fool someone than to convince them that they've been fooled.
Yep. Did you ever read Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's book Intellectual Impostures? Aside from being a hilariously awesome shredding of postmodernism/poststructuralism, they constantly point out the spots where it's exactly what you're talking about: At best, the points being made are sound if a little bit on the obvious/banal side of things; at worst, the points are utter nonsense dressed up in fancy but meaningless jargon.
It's like Ludwig Wittgenstein said in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: "What can be said at all can be said clearly." If you can't say it clearly, then it's nonsense; if you won't say it clearly, then you know it's nonsense. The obscurantism and jargony double-talk is so ridiculously transparent that I constantly find myself quoting a line from a Phil Collins song to people: Any fool can see you're fooling yourself but you ain't fooling me.
I don't know if you've ever dealt with a hardcore poststructuralist, but at times, it gets so ridiculous that it actually becomes funny. If you get someone who's been in the humanities for two or three decades and hasn't read anything that wasn't written by a poststructuralist in like 25 years, then their brains have literally atrophied from being inside the loony echo chamber to the point where they don't know what thinking is anymore. Debating with them becomes like fighting Wimp Lo: They don't realize that they've been trained wrong and they think the more they get their asses kicked the smarter they're proving themselves to be.
Also, here's my new go-to analogy when it comes to obscurantism:
Yeah, I know him. It's outside the scope of history (it's in the context of the philosophy of art), but in his book Beyond Aesthetics, Noël Carroll has a brilliant critique of Hayden White in an essay titled "Interpretation, History, and Narrative." It might be interesting for/relevant to you. It was originally published in The Monist in 1990 if that helps you to track it down.
I'd also imagine you already know Eric Hobsbawm, but his write-up on postmodernism as "the new threat to history" is also cool from a specifically history angle. He blasts "the rise of 'postmodernist' intellectual fashions in Western universities, particularly in departments of literature and anthropology," because they inculcate the notion "that all 'facts' claiming objective existence are intellectual constructions. In short, that there is no clear difference between faction and fiction. But there is, and for historians, even for the most militantly antipositivist ones among us, the ability to distinguish between the two is absolutely fundamental."
How sad is it that something so fucking obvious not only needs to be explicitly stated in the first place but that it needs to be defended?!
Sokal 2.0. It's still relevant, but after Alan Sokal's famous hoax article "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," Katha Pollitt observed that "the comedy of the Sokal incident is that it suggests that even the postmodernists don't really understand one another's writing and make their way through the text by moving from one familiar name or notion to the next like a frog jumping across a murky pond by way of lily pads."
Sadly, in their book Intellectual Impostures, with reference to the fact that they were trying to convince academics that the emperor has no clothes, they had to admit - despite not wanting to sound, in their words, "unduly pessimistic" - that the story does end: "And the chamberlains went on carrying the train that wasn't there."
Clearly, they're still fucking at it
If you're ever feeling curious and/or ambitious, Atlas Shrugged is the best thing to read on the fiction side of things and the edited collection Philosophy: Who Needs It is the best thing on the non-fiction side.
Here's a little story for you that might convince you to give at least one thread in The War Room a shot (for the record, I almost never post in The War Room outside of that one thread myself ):
The biggest problem I had with it is it completely ruined Aliens 2 within the first 5 minutes by making Ripley's heroics a complete waste of time, for absolutely no payoff. It was a decent thriller but putting it up against Alien and Aliens, it's going to fall short. I consider both Alien and Aliens to be masterpieces, I can watch both now and still get the same enjoyment.
Personally its really only when your dealing with an incomplete story that a following film can damage a previous one for me, I have no problem watching Aliens and believing the happy ending is an ending.
I can see the payoff for the deaths in Ripley's character but I must admit I still find Alien 3 a bit of a mixed bag, the tone especially seems quite uncertain to me which really has been a feature of every Alien film since. The first two films I think really nail there tones perfectly, the original building its atmpehere and having very realistic subtle performances, the sequel becoming more melodramatic but telling a story that suits that style well. Alien 3 kind of feels caught between those styles, arguably wanting to be more like the original but having a lot of more over the top action elements added.
Big time. I didn’t see DDL’s film yet and I’m sure he’s great too. But Oldman gave a phenomenal performance in a good not great movie.
Finally got around to 10 Cloverfield Lane. Really enjoyable. I thought the atmosphere was tense and creepy throughout. Big takeaway for me was the reminder of how awesome John Goodman is. There are not many actors who are as prolific and as eclectic as that guy. Highly capable of delivering great work in multiple genres.
Finally watched some Leos Carax other than Holy Motor's with his debut Boy Meets Girl. Must admit whilst I enjoyed the former it did feel a little gimmicky to me were as Boy Meets Girl felt like the more serious sections(stars a much younger Dennis Lavant as well) expanded over an entire film. Actually reminds me rather of something like the Double Life of Veronique in that I don't think it looks for any direct message so much as a generally feeling, like that film as well its amazing to look at, especially how he films lead actress in Mireille Perrier.
Just watched Guillermo del Toro's debut feature Cronos.
Absolutely excellent vampire fantasy.
It almost felt to me kinda like a superhero origin story. I wonder if it was at all influenced by Sam Raimi's Darkman, and if it itself influenced M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable at all.
Still more time this week to get into my DVD/BR backlog with two rather different films today...
Calavry by John Michael McDonagh which was absolutely superb, of a similar standard to his brothers Three Billboards for me and indeed not really that dissimilar in style mixing black humour and drama albeit rather darker. Great performance from Gleeson(maybe his best?) and a lot of irish comedy talent cutting there teeth on something more dramatic with great success, equally nice to look at with your typical irish costal scenery cast not as your typical rustic/romantic fashion but something a lot more epic.
Bangkok Dangerous, lent from a friend and not something I'd have bothered with honestly but I have to say alot better than my low expectations. The cheesy name puts it in the same category as Cage's typical direct to DVD action stuff and whilst that's pretty true of the basic story its actually filmed in quite a classy fashion by the Pang Brothers, it does definitely have a very strong hong kong flavour to it in style.
I really liked how the vampirism was presented as a cure for mortality, a fountain of youth so to speak. And of course the vessel itself, the bug thing in the golden devise, was not like anything I've seen before. Also having it center around an old man and his granddaughter was another big change from usual vampire cinema.
Watched Witchfinder General (1968) earlier. It stars Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins, a 17th century witchhunter who took advantage of the chaos caused by the English Civil War to kill hundreds of alleged witches.
I thought it seemed little bit dated in that what would have been quite shocking torture scenes back then (and apparently it was criticised for it's violence), are very tame by todays
standards (and there is some iffy fake blood), but what it lacks in gore it makes up for in psychological realism - the 'horror' of the film really comes unflinching sadism of the titular character. The cinematography was excellent too, and there were some beautiful shots of the excellent countryside contrasted with the brutality of the witch hunting. So while it wasn't quite what I was expecting and wasn't scary in the slightest it was still a very good film.
I suppose it probably influenced The Witch as well as A Field in England.
I'v been meaning to see A Field In England for awhile, I'v got Highrise from Wheatley knocking around on BR unwatched as well.
That movie is pretty much bleeding De Palma (Hitchcock).
I thought it was pretty effective overall mostly hinging on John Lithgow's performance.
It was hard to get into first because a lot of weird editing choices, but after about 30mins it gets noticeably better.
There was also a few of too convenient elements showing up to advance the plot.
What helps the Film a lot is a really tense Finale.
It would make a good double bill with Split.
A really sweet story about a tired princess taking her very own vacation time.
Wyler Films often tended to be too long, but this never felt too long.
Nothing needs to be said about Peck and Audrey Hepburn as actors.
I really liked the atypical (for the 50s) Ending.
I watched it a while back -
Wasn't that keen on High-Rise.
You watched Michael Reeves/Vincent Price flick and didn't tell me about it in advance!!!?
Vincent Price, also known as; the pinnacle of western civilization.
Vincent's performance in Witchfinder General, is really interesting -- in that he slices down on the usual ham and plays it much more restraint, introverted and psychologised. You get this sensation that deep down -- on some abstracted plane of thought -- he is fully knowlage about the evil that he's doing and that witchery is all a bunch of hogwash, but that he's inable to stop doing what he's doing since it fufills some base need within him to punish and hurt other human beings, especially women.
And not to mention his thuggish henchman, the vile and wretched John Stearne played by Robert Russell! He's the absolute opposite of how Vincent Price plays it, basically the Id personifierad, a true animal and a real wretched unbridled scum. The way his raw sadism contrasts and plays with Price's more sinister and psychologised sadism is just a fantastic dynamic in the film.
I never really got the "watching horror movies because they're scary" maxim, simply because the amount of horror movies that are scary could probably be counted on two hands, at least in adulthood. For me, it's more about the mood, atmosphere, or the thrill of seeing a story about death and survival. Or in the rare cases of a film that possesses the quality of Witchfinder General, the sheer psychological darkness in it.
Can we talk about the ending? We need to talk about the ending.
The ending just has psychological darkness up the wazzu.
I think Witchfinder General is one of the better "Revenge will Destroy you" narratives around.
Richard Marshall girlfriend -- the very person he set out to achieve vengence for -- has just been tortured right in front of him. His mates break into the prison and finish of Hopkins. Marshall goes crazy, tossing himself at Hopkins corpse, screaming at them for killing him so to deny him his vengence. All while his girlfriend is wallowing in her own misery.
In this critical moment, Marhsall has become so consumed with vengence that he cares more about killing Hopkins then the wellbeing of his girlfriend. His smoldering need for vengence has debased the earnest love he once had for Sara. So insterad of comforting Sara, protecting her, being there for her in her moment of need, reasussuring her that their love can conquer all -- all his thoughts are of Hopkins and his mad anger at being denied vengence. Instead of being a person dominated by his thoughts of love for Sara he is a person dominated by his loathing for Hopkins.
That virtues man who swore to deliver justice to Sara's father inside the church ain't there anymore. That's some dark, disturbing shit right there -- and Witchfinder General just plays this development sublimely.
I've always wondered what film people were describing when they talked about "pseudo-artistic pretentious bullshit", but after I saw A Field in England, I finally understood what film they were talking about. I felt like clawing out my own eyes watching that film.
It's good but I've always found it vastly overated. Audrey Hepburn never had the zest that people attribute to her.
To me, it seems that when people describe the quality of Roman Holiday, they talk about Hepburn's journey that is formative for her. She's this sweet, innocent girl whose having a fun adventure that is a growing-experience for her. It's like a tale of adolescence basically, growing as a person.
But I never got that sensation from her. She seems to child-like, somehow. It's less about seeing the growth of an adolescence than the growth of a child. It changes the whole dynamic.
Personally, I think that someone like Jean Seberg fufills this "adolescent formative story" waaay better in movies Breathless and Bonjour Tristesse than Hepburn ever even came close to in Roman Holiday (as well as being more beautiful, on top of that).
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