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View Full Version : Verily, Behold! The Third Annual Historical Appreciation Challenge Be Upon Us!


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Travis McClain
05-24-12, 04:22 PM
So, uh, I kinda dropped the ball and we only have about a week before this one gets underway. Looking through last year's discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/590394-hear-ye-hear-ye-second-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-discussion-thread.html) thread, I don't really see much in the way of suggestions or requests for changes from last year, so my proposal is to re-use last year's checklist. We've got a week, though, so anyone who has any thoughts: now is the time to speak up! We're all-inclusive here, so if you've thought of something new or maybe you're new to the challenge, I'd love to have your ideas.

In a nutshell, here are the basics:


This challenge will run from 12:01 AM 1 June until 11:59 PM 30 June.
Movies and TV content specifically about a historical figure, event or period are eligible.
2 hours TV content (based upon broadcast, not run, time) = 1 entry


The initial premise was to combine War and Western challenges, and those are the primary focuses here. You're welcome to expand to include biographies, documentaries, even "costume dramas."

Regarding specific films, I would suggest--and this goes for any questions--that you ask about a specific film in the discussion thread and see what feedback you get from others who have seen it. If you don't get anything helpful, I would say if you feel that you have a sufficient reason to believe that it's an appropriate selection then go ahead and watch it. If it turns out not to really fit the nature of this challenge, go ahead and share those thoughts with us.

Lastly, many of the films at the heart of this challenge have considerable run times, so even though there's always a sort of de facto goal of hitting 100 movies watched, it's not really expected here. We'd much rather you take this opportunity to finally see Lawrence of Arabia than to squeeze in two shorter films.

Check List
GENERAL
--- Recreation of a specific Historical Event (like Apollo 13)
--- Sports film
--- Bio Pic
--- Documentary
--- Folk Hero/Mythological (Robin Hood, Greek gods, etc.)
--- Judeo-Christian (based on stories from the Torah, Mishna, New Testament, etc.)
--- Non-Judeo-Christian religion (may be about an individual holy person, like Kundun)
--- Film about Women's History (prominent woman, feminism, etc.)
--- Film about minority rights (prominent minority figure, civil rights, etc.)
--- Film about LGBT rights (prominent LGBT figure, gay rights, etc.)
--- Zeitgeist Film (movie that captures the spirit of a specific setting)

DECADES - Watch a film set--but not produced--during five different decades no more recent than the 1980s:
--- Movie 1 (Decade)
--- Movie 2 (Decade)
--- Movie 3 (Decade)
--- Movie 4 (Decade)
--- Movie 5 (Decade)

Watch a film that takes place during five different centuries prior to the 20th Century (Note Century of setting):
--- Movie 1 (Century)
--- Movie 2 (Century)
--- Movie 3 (Century)
--- Movie 4 (Century)
--- Movie 5 (Century)

Watch 5 movies about historical events of different countries (Note Country of setting).
--- Movie 1 (Country)
--- Movie 2 (Country)
--- Movie 3 (Country)
--- Movie 4 (Country)
--- Movie 5 (Country)

BIO PICS
--- Bio Pic of a War participant
--- Bio Pic of a Historical Person
--- Watch a Western Bio Pic
--- Watch a Sports or Humanities Bio Pic
--- Watch a Bio Pic about a prominent woman, minority or LGBT figure

Watch a Documentary from each of the following (may be as general or specific as you prefer):
--- War
--- Western
--- Historical Event
--- Biographical
--- Sports or Humanities (Miracle on Ice, Frida, etc.; lots of range here!)

WAR
Watch 5 movies that take place during different American wars. (Civil War, World Wars I or II, Viet Nam, etc.)
--- Movie 1
--- Movie 2
--- Movie 3
--- Movie 4
--- Movie 5

Watch 5 movies that take place during different countries' wars (Trojan War, Crusades, the Anglo-Zulu wars, etc.)
--- Movie 1
--- Movie 2
--- Movie 3
--- Movie 4
--- Movie 5

WESTERN
--- John Ford Western
--- John Wayne Western
--- "Singing Cowboy" Western
--- Clint Eastwood Western
--- Spaghetti Western (not starring Clint Eastwood)
--- Comedy Western (may be spoof, parody or just humorous)
--- Western based on a novel
--- Western told from perspective of Native Americans
--- Western told from perspective of Outlaws
--- Western about cross-country travel (wagon train, cattle drive, etc.)

Wild Cards (3 max): The checklist is pretty generous, so be very selective about what you use here.

Travis McClain
05-24-12, 04:28 PM
Online Resources

These aren't necessarily "safe" lists (though most should be fine), but these should all prove helpful to participants as they seek to explore the themes of this challenge.

Crackle - Free Streaming!
Biography (http://www.crackle.com/shows/index.aspx?c=82&name=Movies#o=2&fa=82&fs=&fx=&fab=&fg=Biography&fry=)
Documentary (http://www.crackle.com/shows/index.aspx?c=82&name=Movies#o=2&fa=82&fs=&fx=&fab=&fg=Documentary&fry=)
Historical Films (http://www.crackle.com/shows/index.aspx?c=82&name=Movies#o=2&fa=82&fs=&fx=&fab=&fg=Historical&fry=)
War Films (http://www.crackle.com/shows/index.aspx?c=82&name=Movies#o=2&fa=82&fs=&fx=&fab=&fg=War&fry=)
Western Films (http://www.crackle.com/shows/index.aspx?c=82&name=Movies#o=2&fa=82&fs=&fx=&fab=&fg=Western&fry=)

The Criterion Collection
Made During World War II (http://www.criterion.com/explore/90-made-during-world-war-ii)
War Films (http://www.criterion.com/explore/114-war-films)

Flickchart (www.flickchart.com)
Letterboxd (www.letterboxd.com)

The History Channel
TV Schedule, 1-7 June (http://www.history.com/schedule/6/1/2012?view=week)

I Check Movies
IMDb - Biography (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/biography)
IMDb - History (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/history)
IMDb - War (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/war)
IMDb - Western (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/western)
100 Essential Westerns (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/100+essential+westerns)
Spaghetti Westerns (http://www.icheckmovies.com/list/spaghetti+westerns)

YouTube - Free Movies (http://www.youtube.com/movies?fl=f&pt=fm)

Mubi
Biopic Movies (http://mubi.com/watch?utf8=%E2%9C%93&genre_id=16&sort=popularity)
Historical Movies (http://mubi.com/watch?utf8=%E2%9C%93&genre_id=49&sort=popularity)
War Movies (http://mubi.com/watch?utf8=%E2%9C%93&genre_id=50&sort=popularity)

Free Streaming Movies
In the Year of the Pig (http://mubi.com/films/8752)
Messenger of the Great River (http://mubi.com/films/messenger-of-the-great-river)
Remote Transmissions (http://mubi.com/films/remote-transmissions)
Zero Silence (http://mubi.com/films/zero-silence)

Netflix Watch Instantly
Art & Design (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=2416&pgid=2223) (Good for Humanities selections!)
Biographies (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=314&pgid=315)
Classic War Stories (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=639&pgid=306)
Classic Westerns (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=640&pgid=306)
Documentary (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?lnkctr=mhwG864&sgid=864)
Epics (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=333&pgid=306)
Faith & Spirituality Documentaries (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=857&pgid=2108)
Foreign Action & Adventure (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=2500&pgid=296)
Judaica (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=1132&pgid=2108)
Military & War Action (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=679&pgid=296)
Military & War Drama (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=680&pgid=315)
Westerns (http://movies.netflix.com/WiGenre?sgid=390)

Ash Ketchum
05-24-12, 05:39 PM
I have tons of period gangster, westerns, kung fu (old China) and sword 'n' sandal left over from the Action/Adventure/Crime and B-Movie challenges--plus actual historical epics and fact-based war movies. I'll be busy.

pagefrance
05-24-12, 07:57 PM
I participated in last year's challenge and was surprised as to how much I enjoyed it since it really took me out of my comfort zone. Sadly in my personal collection I don't have that many titles that I could use for the challenge so I ended up renting most of the movies watched.
Even so, I believe I'm in this year as well if only to see Lawrence of Arabia, which I've never seen all the way through!

shadokitty
05-24-12, 08:07 PM
I have tons of period gangster, westerns, kung fu (old China) and sword 'n' sandal left over from the Action/Adventure/Crime and B-Movie challenges--plus actual historical epics and fact-based war movies. I'll be busy.

Sword and Sandal? If that is eligible I have many movies in my MC Warriors collection that I never watched during the B Movie challenge

BobO'Link
05-24-12, 09:55 PM
I have *several* documentary sets I purchased for last year but ran out of time. Not to mention dozens of westerns I've stockpiled over the past year waiting for this challenge! Heck... I just ordered a couple of westerns from Timeless that qualify for both my theme in the MYO *and* this one. Once again, I have too much content to squeeze in and some tough decisions to make as to just which ones will get a viewing! :)

Ash Ketchum
05-25-12, 06:39 AM
Sword and Sandal? If that is eligible I have many movies in my MC Warriors collection that I never watched during the B Movie challenge

Well, since this is an item in the checklist:

--- Folk Hero/Mythological (Robin Hood, Greek gods, etc.)


...I figure that anything with Hercules, Samson, Goliath, Achilles, Helen of Troy, etc. is eligible.

NoirFan
05-25-12, 09:59 AM
I'll probably take part and watch a few Criterions, though I'll be away for a big chunk of the month.

Trevor
05-25-12, 11:12 AM
Glad to have you back MLS!

I'll be doing a few documentaries with the wifey this time. Maybe a dozen if it rains a lot on my work days.

mrcellophane
05-25-12, 03:05 PM
I'm excited to participate! I'm in the midst of taking a summer French course, and watching films has become something of a release for me. There's nothing like escaping into a good story after hours of translation and reviewing verb tenses.

omike
05-25-12, 04:51 PM
I'm really looking forward to this challenge too. I'll probably start out with a week or so of war movies then move to mainly westerns. I plan to finally dig into The Films of Budd Boetticher among other things.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
05-25-12, 05:55 PM
I'm starting off with:
Hondo
Ride Lonesome
Comanche Station
Shenandoah
The Professionals
Hombre
The Shooting
Will Penny
Support Your Local Sheriff!
The Ballad of Cable Hogue
Bad Company
Jeremiah Johnson
Ulzana's Raid
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
The Long Riders
Pale Rider
The Last of the Mohicans
Open Range
Yellow Sky

After that I'm pretty much going with my mood.

Doc Moonlight
05-26-12, 11:47 AM
I'd like to see a Musical added to the checklist (there was some discussion of this last year), as well as a Contemporary western ("Lonely Are The Brave", "Coogan's Bluff", "Junior Bonner", etc.).

I'll also repeat my annual argument for the inclusion of "Zeitgeist" films, contemporary films that capture a moment in time ("Rebel Without a Cause", "Saturday Night Fever", etc.). Yes, I understand that these are covered by the Wild Card, but for me, the term "Wild Card" carries a certain stigma of "yeah, OK, we'll let it slide" of not really belonging, while I think these films should be front and center. I agree they shouldn't dominate the challenge, but on the other hand, they shouldn't be considered the bastard sons of the Challenge. either.

davidh777
05-26-12, 12:04 PM
I'm really looking forward to this challenge too. I'll probably start out with a week or so of war movies then move to mainly westerns. I plan to finally dig into The Films of Budd Boetticher among other things.

I cracked open my Boetticher for the B-Movie challenge and watched a couple. For this challenge, I'll probably watch some of the items that seemed too high-end for that one, like The Magnificent Seven. Several of Mister Peepers' items are on my shelf as well so I might try to slip in some of those.

Travis McClain
05-27-12, 02:19 AM
Even so, I believe I'm in this year as well if only to see Lawrence of Arabia, which I've never seen all the way through!

Greatest movie ever made, and if I'm not mistaken, the Blu-ray Disc is *supposed* to come out (at least somewhere) during this challenge.

Sword and Sandal? If that is eligible I have many movies in my MC Warriors collection that I never watched during the B Movie challenge

...I figure that anything with Hercules, Samson, Goliath, Achilles, Helen of Troy, etc. is eligible.

Not "anything" per se, but definitely anything that plays it straight. You can watch Disney's animated Hercules if you want, but I think it's best to avoid the late 90s TV show because that was really more about creating and growing its own mythology and continuity than in celebrating the original mythology.

Glad to have you back MLS!

"I never left." ;)

I'm excited to participate! I'm in the midst of taking a summer French course, and watching films has become something of a release for me. There's nothing like escaping into a good story after hours of translation and reviewing verb tenses.

Absolument! Le cinéma est trčs bon pour la déviation!

I'd like to see a Musical added to the checklist (there was some discussion of this last year), as well as a Contemporary western ("Lonely Are The Brave", "Coogan's Bluff", "Junior Bonner", etc.).

I didn't see anything about musicals when I skimmed through the thread, but I admit I didn't read everything closely. Where would you like to see that added, specifically?

I'll also repeat my annual argument for the inclusion of "Zeitgeist" films, contemporary films that capture a moment in time ("Rebel Without a Cause", "Saturday Night Fever", etc.). Yes, I understand that these are covered by the Wild Card, but for me, the term "Wild Card" carries a certain stigma of "yeah, OK, we'll let it slide" of not really belonging, while I think these films should be front and center. I agree they shouldn't dominate the challenge, but on the other hand, they shouldn't be considered the bastard sons of the Challenge. either.

I think this whole challenge is considered the bastard child of the challenges! Zeitgeist films are the gateway films to anarchy and ruin. They are the first slippery step in a steep, slippery slope to no guidelines at all and if we allow them then the terrorists win. Or something. The hell with it. I'll add 'em. Knock yerselves out, y'all. Just do try to remember that the spirit of the challenge is to use cinema to look into the past and not justify counting whatever it is you're gonna watch anyway. (And that holds for all checklist items.)

Doc Moonlight
05-27-12, 10:42 AM
the hell with it. I'll add 'em.

Victory!!!!

Travis McClain
05-27-12, 01:57 PM
Zeitgeist films are the gateway films to anarchy and ruin. They are the first slippery step in a steep, slippery slope to no guidelines at all and if we allow them then the terrorists win.

Victory!!!!

You see it for yourselves, folks. Doc Moonlight is a terrorist.

Also, I still need you to clarify for me exactly where you want to see musicals on the checklist.

Travis McClain
05-27-12, 02:21 PM
Also at present, there are a few History Channel specials available free on iTunes (in HD, no less!).

America's Book of Secrets: The Monuments (http://itun.es/isV4hq)
America's Book of Secrets: The White House (http://itun.es/isV4hp)
10 Things You Don't Know About: Benjamin Franklin (http://itun.es/isV47d)

Titanic: How It Really Sank (http://itun.es/isV47C) [National Geographic Channel special]

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
05-27-12, 09:26 PM
I think this whole challenge is considered the bastard child of the challenges! Zeitgeist films are the gateway films to anarchy and ruin. They are the first slippery step in a steep, slippery slope to no guidelines at all and if we allow them then the terrorists win. Or something. The hell with it. I'll add 'em. Knock yerselves out, y'all. Just do try to remember that the spirit of the challenge is to use cinema to look into the past and not justify counting whatever it is you're gonna watch anyway. (And that holds for all checklist items.)

Does this mean that most noirs would count?

Travis McClain
05-27-12, 10:02 PM
Does this mean that most noirs would count?

Dammit, Doc Moonlight! This is what I was talkin' about! >:(

Actually, now that March is the Action/Crime Challenge month I think noirs are probably more appropriate then than in this challenge.

Gobear
05-27-12, 10:31 PM
Dammit, Doc Moonlight! This is what I was talkin' about! >:(

Actually, now that March is the Action/Crime Challenge month I think noirs are probably more appropriate then than in this challenge.

No, noirs do not count because they are films set in their present, and this challenge is about films that look at the past. Little Caesar might look historical to us because it was made 82 years ago, but that film is up-to-the-minute for 1930, its subject a thinly veiled portrait of Al Capone, a contemporary celebrity gangster. There is no historical perspective in noirs or crime films that are "ripped from the headlines."

The Godfather was made in the 70s and set in the 1940s, so it counts because it looks back to a past era. Little Caesar and its ilk do NOT qualify because they deal solely with their contemporary period, although it would IMO qualify as a "Zeitgeist" film, but those should be limited.

mrcellophane
05-28-12, 02:23 AM
Will episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman qualify?

davidh777
05-28-12, 02:38 AM
No, noirs do not count because they are films set in their present, and this challenge is about films that look at the past.

Yup, this. A neo-noir like LA Confidential would be perfect, though.

Travis McClain
05-28-12, 02:50 AM
No, noirs do not count because they are films set in their present, and this challenge is about films that look at the past.

I already ruled on it. It's rather bad form to ignore a host's ruling and offer your own. Or have things changed around here while I've been "away"?

Will episodes of Little House on the Prairie and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman qualify?

Yarp. They've been eligible since we started this challenge.

mrcellophane
05-28-12, 03:05 AM
Yarp. They've been eligible since we started this challenge.

Merci! A little research would have answered my question... and reminded me that I watched some episodes of Little House on the Prairie for last year's challenge. Perhaps, I should lay off the liquor as it seems to be addling my little grey cells!

Gobear
05-28-12, 03:25 AM
I already ruled on it. It's rather bad form to ignore a host's ruling and offer your own. Or have things changed around here while I've been "away"?

This is a discussion thread, and part of discussion is to offer points and counterpoints, give and take. You gave an opinion, I dissented, and I provided a reasoned argument to support my point. If that prompts a response like an outraged Margaret Dumont ("bad form"? My goodness, did I butter my bread with the fish knife?), then I shall, like Groucho, slouch away from this thread and skip participation in this month's challenge.

I have deleted my list.

davidh777
05-28-12, 03:40 AM
This is a discussion thread, and part of discussion is to offer points and counterpoints, give and take. You gave an opinion, I dissented, and I provided a reasoned argument to support my point. If that prompts a response like an outraged Margaret Dumont ("bad form"? My goodness, did I butter my bread with the fish knife?), then I shall, like Groucho, slouch away from this thread and skip participation in this month's challenge.

I have deleted my list.

Actually I thought you guys had agreed that noirs didn't count. :hscratch: I hope we're not getting into battles even before we start. :(

Travis McClain
05-28-12, 04:29 AM
Merci! A little research would have answered my question... and reminded me that I watched some episodes of Little House on the Prairie for last year's challenge. Perhaps, I should lay off the liquor as it seems to be addling my little grey cells!

Or - and follow me on this - you could make a Little House drinking game for the challenge.

This is a discussion thread, and part of discussion is to offer points and counterpoints, give and take. You gave an opinion, I dissented, and I provided a reasoned argument to support my point. If that prompts a response like an outraged Margaret Dumont ("bad form"? My goodness, did I butter my bread with the fish knife?), then I shall, like Groucho, slouch away from this thread and skip participation in this month's challenge.

I have deleted my list.

*le sigh* We have hosts to make the final determination about things. This wasn't a new topic, and has been discussed and considered for three years now at one time or another. As host, I was already familiar with the arguments for and against, etc. It was not an opinion. It was a ruling.

Nor was it a ruling offered arbitrarily or because I'm some power mad keyboard warrior, but because my experience has taught me none of us really care to spend 15 posts of back-and-forth just to get to the point where I would have eventually ruled anyway. And it had to be me to rule, 'cause I'm, like, the host and that's what hosts do. Because otherwise, we get overrun with "points and counterpoints" and get nowhere.

Again, though:

Noirs are accepted as "Zeitgeist Films," but because we have a challenge devoted to crime films, participants are strongly discouraged from loading up on them. God knows we've made this challenge pretty inclusive already, and there's really plenty of content to be viewed that's specifically appropriate for this challenge and not some of the others.

shadokitty
05-28-12, 09:06 AM
Does anyone know what they are starting with? Myself I don't know where to start as I have Dogfights season 1, a season of Little House, a few westerns, a few war movies, a season of Adventures of Robin Hood, and the MC Warriors 50 film set. I have no idea where to start.

Trevor
05-28-12, 09:47 AM
I was all set to make a joke about any film with real actors should count, as people are historical, but perhaps the timing isn't right.

As for what to start with, I have a huge pile of docs at the house, but have no idea where to begin. I could probably fill the whole month with NASA type docs, or Life/Earth stuff, or WW2 things; but I'll probably just do a mix of everything. Depending on her schedule on the 31st/1st, I'll let Jen pick the first item.

Doc Moonlight
05-28-12, 09:56 AM
You see it for yourselves, folks. Doc Moonlight is a terrorist.

Also, I still need you to clarify for me exactly where you want to see musicals on the checklist.

I was thinking of musicals as a one item category on the checklist-Watch a musical that depicts an historical period.

BobO'Link
05-28-12, 11:41 AM
Does anyone know what they are starting with? Myself I don't know where to start as I have Dogfights season 1, a season of Little House, a few westerns, a few war movies, a season of Adventures of Robin Hood, and the MC Warriors 50 film set. I have no idea where to start.
I'm leaning towards finishing S1 of Rawhide to both start this one and finish the MYO since it fits with my "50s/60s TV" theme. After that it's on to a few titles I purchased last year intending to use for this challenge but never got to:

History Presents: The 60s Megaset
This is a comprehensive set of documentaries which contains the following:
King - Tom Brokaw's portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.
1968 with Tom Brokaw
The Vietnam War, Vol. 1: Vietnam: On The Frontlines 1-4
The Vietnam War, Vol. 2: LBJ And Vietnam: In The Eye Of The Storm / Command Decisions: Tet Offensive / Unsung Heroes: The Battle of Khe Sanh
Race to the Moon, Vol. 1: Failure Is Not An Option
Race to the Moon, Vol. 2: Code Name: Project Orion / Modern Marvels: Apollo / Modern Marvels: The Space Shuttle
Voices of Civil Rights Vol. 1: Voices of Civil Rights / Mississippi State Secrets / Crossing The Bridge
Voices of Civil Rights Vol. 2: Biography: Martin Luther King Jr. / Biography: Thurgood Marshall
JFK: A Presidency Revealed, Vol. 1: Feature
JFK: A Presidency Revealed, Vol. 2: Bonus programs- Biography: John F. Kennedy / Biography: Joseph Kennedy Sr.
The 60's: The JFK Assassination / Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 / Bay of Pigs Declassified
The 60's: Peyote to LSD
Days of Rage and Wonder: Hippies
Days of Rage and Wonder: Riot: The Chicago Conspiracy Trial / Sex and the Vietnam War

And follow that with:
Empires Megaset
Which contains the following documentaries:
Engineering an Empire - 14 episodes dealing with Rome, Egypt, Greeks, Aztecs, Carthaginians, Mayans, Russians, Early Britains, Persians, Chinese, Napoleonic France, Byzantines, and Italy.
Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire
Ancients Behaving Badly with an episode each on Caligula, Attila the Hun, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, and Nero.
Barbarians with an episode each on The Vikings, The Goths, The Huns, and The Mongols

After that (or between episodes) I'll probably watch some of the WWII movies I've stockpiled.

Greg MacGuffin
05-28-12, 11:59 AM
Probably going to start with my unwatched copy of The Wild Bunch.

Ash Ketchum
05-28-12, 12:22 PM
I was thinking of musicals as a one item category on the checklist-Watch a musical that depicts an historical period.

Last year, I watched THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE for the Historical Challenge. It's a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical about the famous husband-and-wife ballroom dance duo from the 1910s. WWI figures in it.

Other musicals that fit this challenge:
FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942) - WWI musical with Gene Kelly and Judy Garland.
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944) with Judy Garland - set in the past and based on a real family.
THE PIRATE (1948) with Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and the Nicholas Brothers--set on a Caribbean island in the early 1800s.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME (1949), a period baseball musical with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Esther Williams.

Tons of songwriter musical bios from the 1930s and '40s:
SWANEE RIVER (Stephen Foster)
YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (George M. Cohan)
RHAPSODY IN BLUE (George Gershwin)
NIGHT AND DAY (Cole Porter)
Tons more about lesser-known songwriters: TIN PAN ALLEY, MY GAL SAL, I WONDER WHO'S KISSING HER NOW, THREE LITTLE WORDS, etc.

Plus a million biopics from later years about rock and rock-&-roll greats.

BobO'Link
05-28-12, 12:42 PM
^Don't forget Calamity Jane with Doris Day. A western *and* musical! Which reminds me that I still have S3 of Deadwood waiting to be watched.

mrcellophane
05-28-12, 12:50 PM
Or - and follow me on this - you could make a Little House drinking game for the challenge.

I'm already formulating it! Drink when Ma worries about money, when Pa says "Half Pint," when Mrs. Olsen needs to be pushed in the face...

Does anyone know what they are starting with? Myself I don't know where to start as I have Dogfights season 1, a season of Little House, a few westerns, a few war movies, a season of Adventures of Robin Hood, and the MC Warriors 50 film set. I have no idea where to start.

I have so much that I cannot choose! I want to continue Dr. Quinn and Little House and finish the first seasons of each. I also want to watch Rome and Boardwalk Empire. As for films, I want to get through some of my unwatched westerns and period films.

Cardsfan111
05-28-12, 03:27 PM
I rarely purchase anything to use specifically for this challenge, but I found this DVD titled Broken Silence (http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Silence-Jack-Fuchs/dp/B00018D4PO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338232920&sr=8-1) at Big Lots over the weekend for $3 and couldn't resist knowing June was just around the corner.

Trevor
05-28-12, 03:58 PM
I rarely purchase anything to use specifically for this challenge, but I found this DVD titled Broken Silence (http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Silence-Jack-Fuchs/dp/B00018D4PO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338232920&sr=8-1) at Big Lots over the weekend for $3 and couldn't resist knowing June was just around the corner.
So a nice pick-me-up film when you hit a lull.

Travis McClain
05-28-12, 04:19 PM
BTW, in the list thread, you'll see a new section of daily recommendations (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/601948-third-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-lists.html#post11248730). These all connect to events in that day in history. I even threw in a couple of wild card suggestions. Obviously, several of these events have been depicted in numerous movies and TV shows so there are plenty of alternatives. As yet, I don't have any recommendations for the 19th or 30th.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
05-28-12, 05:53 PM
If you have a DVR, the History channel has a 3 night Hatfield and McCoy mini-series starting today.

As for what I'm watching with this new rule change, I'll still be starting with my westerns but then switch it to noir. I'm only including noir because I'm working on a list of 250 and I have 60 left. It's my last chance to get any in before I can't watch any of them until November due to the challenges from July-October I'm going to participate in.

Doc Moonlight
05-28-12, 07:28 PM
A few War musicals:

DARLING LILI
OH, WHAT A LOVELY WAR!
SOUTH PACIFIC
THE SOUND OF MUSIC (sort of, deals with the family fleeing the Nazis)
1776!

Some other possible choices for the challenge:
STAR! (biography of Gertrude Lawrence)
FUNNY GIRL/FUNNY LADY (biographies of Fanny Brice)
FANCY PANTS (Is it a musical or a western comedy or both?)
PIRATES OF PENZANCE
DREAMGIRLS (set in the 60's)
HAIRSPRAY (Set in the 60's)
HAIR! (also set in the 60's)

WHen you think about it, there are a lot of musicals that qualify.

shadokitty
05-29-12, 02:41 PM
As for what I'm going to start with, a friend recommended I start with my Robin Hood episodes, so might start with those.

shadokitty
05-29-12, 02:42 PM
I was all set to make a joke about any film with real actors should count, as people are historical, but perhaps the timing isn't right.

As for what to start with, I have a huge pile of docs at the house, but have no idea where to begin. I could probably fill the whole month with NASA type docs, or Life/Earth stuff, or WW2 things; but I'll probably just do a mix of everything. Depending on her schedule on the 31st/1st, I'll let Jen pick the first item.

Life/Earth docs count? I thought they were more nature than historical.

Travis McClain
05-29-12, 04:50 PM
Life/Earth docs count? I thought they were more nature than historical.

We take pretty much all docs here. It's not like they're going to qualify for any other challenge, and gettin' yer learn on is part of the objective of this challenge.

davidh777
05-29-12, 04:55 PM
I'm leaning towards finishing S1 of Rawhide to both start this one and finish the MYO since it fits with my "50s/60s TV" theme. After that it's on to a few titles I purchased last year intending to use for this challenge but never got to:

History Presents: The 60s Megaset
This is a comprehensive set of documentaries which contains the following:
King - Tom Brokaw's portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.
1968 with Tom Brokaw
The Vietnam War, Vol. 1: Vietnam: On The Frontlines 1-4
The Vietnam War, Vol. 2: LBJ And Vietnam: In The Eye Of The Storm / Command Decisions: Tet Offensive / Unsung Heroes: The Battle of Khe Sanh
Race to the Moon, Vol. 1: Failure Is Not An Option
Race to the Moon, Vol. 2: Code Name: Project Orion / Modern Marvels: Apollo / Modern Marvels: The Space Shuttle
Voices of Civil Rights Vol. 1: Voices of Civil Rights / Mississippi State Secrets / Crossing The Bridge
Voices of Civil Rights Vol. 2: Biography: Martin Luther King Jr. / Biography: Thurgood Marshall
JFK: A Presidency Revealed, Vol. 1: Feature
JFK: A Presidency Revealed, Vol. 2: Bonus programs- Biography: John F. Kennedy / Biography: Joseph Kennedy Sr.
The 60's: The JFK Assassination / Modern Marvels: Apollo 11 / Bay of Pigs Declassified
The 60's: Peyote to LSD
Days of Rage and Wonder: Hippies
Days of Rage and Wonder: Riot: The Chicago Conspiracy Trial / Sex and the Vietnam War

And follow that with:
Empires Megaset
Which contains the following documentaries:
Engineering an Empire - 14 episodes dealing with Rome, Egypt, Greeks, Aztecs, Carthaginians, Mayans, Russians, Early Britains, Persians, Chinese, Napoleonic France, Byzantines, and Italy.
Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire
Ancients Behaving Badly with an episode each on Caligula, Attila the Hun, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, and Nero.
Barbarians with an episode each on The Vikings, The Goths, The Huns, and The Mongols

After that (or between episodes) I'll probably watch some of the WWII movies I've stockpiled.

I have a bunch of these History sets and I'm sure a lot of them have repeated components. My shelf space would be ecstatic if I could figure the definitive version of each and toss the rest, but until then my Trevor-like OCD forces me to keep them all.

shadokitty
05-29-12, 05:14 PM
We take pretty much all docs here. It's not like they're going to qualify for any other challenge, and gettin' yer learn on is part of the objective of this challenge.

Nice, I have the series of Life, as well as some Wild Kingdom sets on DVD.

Travis McClain
05-31-12, 10:58 PM
We go live in an hour. Any last minute suggestions or requests?

Travis McClain
05-31-12, 11:31 PM
BTW, I forgot to actually add Musical to the checklist until just now. If you've already copied and pasted it, you'll want to update that.

gp1086
06-01-12, 12:11 AM
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Counts?

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-01-12, 12:28 AM
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Counts?

I'd be surprised if it did.

gp1086
06-01-12, 12:32 AM
I'd be surprised if it did.
Haha. Just playing. I think I'll go by IMDB genre as my guide. ALVH is listed as: Action | Fantasy | Horror | Thriller

Not sure how many I'll get around to watching. Even if it's just a few, will try to make it a point to watch some of the more popular war movies and biographies I've never seen - there's a lot of them.

Travis McClain
06-01-12, 12:37 AM
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Counts?

We allowed X-Men: First Class last year strictly as a Wild Card on the basis that it's a period film and a new release several participants were going to see anyway. If you want to count it strictly as a Wild Card this year only, be my guest. Just remember it's not part of your official list, so don't use it for any other checks. That basically allows you to make note of the fact you saw it, but not to boost your totals with it. It's a sort of non-compromise, really.

Travis McClain
06-01-12, 05:25 AM
The nice thing about having a rough night during a challenge is that at least I can distract myself with movies. I started this year's challenge with Bronenosets Potyomkin , streamed from HuluPlus. I reviewed it on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/battleship-potemkin/):

This has been on my To See list for ages. I can't say for sure when I first heard of it, but sometime around 15 years ago I learned that the train station shootout in The Untouchables was an homage to this and that was enough to pique my interest. At long last, I've finally seen it and I can easily understand why it has been held in such high esteem for so long.

The opening episode, "Men and Maggots," plays like a typical silent film. From then on, however, I found myself less attentive to the staged theatrics of the cast and more captivated by the sheer scale of the film. The term has become so commonplace as to lose some of its value, but if ever something were "epic," this may be it. Look at the mutiny on the deck of the Potemkin or the enormous stream of mourners at Odessa and the slaughter there. Scene after scene had me wondering just how, in 1926, a production of this scale was accomplished.

Likewise, during the climactic showdown between Potemkin and the admiral's fleet, I found myself fixated on the attention to detail of the preparations for battle. So often in such stories, our perspective is on the bridge where command decisions are made. Not so here. Instead, we're never privy to the bridge and it's a bit unclear just how a command structure was agreed upon post-mutiny. It may be tempting to say such matters are irrelevant to the story, but I would posit that instead the absence of attention to them is actually a relevant demonstration of the revolutionary fraternity. The mutineers act as one, rather than as subordinates.

Only in John Ford's firsthand documentary The Battle of Midway can I recall seeing such attention to detail. There are parts of the ship showcased in this film that are scarcely even acknowledged to exist in most others, including in documentaries! It all creates such a sense of realism that even though I was cognizant of the shortcomings and manipulations of the character-based narrative, I was incapable of escaping my awe long enough for them to take me out of the movie.

I came closest during the famed Odessa Staircase sequence, partly because I kept looking for the moment that I would recognize from The Untouchables and partly because when it came, the mother's applying fake blood was so obvious that it seemed incongruous with the otherwise (mostly) realistic portrayals of violence in the film.

Much has been made of director Eisenstein's attention to editing, intending his film to evoke as much emotion as possible. Historically, it represents a watershed achievement in propaganda, demonstrating the potential for film's impact on our social consciousness.

I've been reading Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, also set during the Bolshevik Revolution, and while I have seen David Lean's film of that book, I found myself recognizing more of Pasternak's work here. The spirit of revolution is almost palpable throughout, with several fist-pumping moments of triumph.

Battleship Potemkin isn't merely a "first draft" of how film could work. It is a genuine masterpiece.

[B]Bronenosets Potyomkin [Battleship Potemkin]
Recreation of a specific Historical Event (Mutiny of the Potemkin)
Decades: 1900s (1905)
Historical event of different countries - Russia
War - Takes place in different countries - Russia (Bolshevik Revolution)

Screwadu
06-01-12, 09:45 AM
BTW, I forgot to actually add Musical to the checklist until just now.

I'm not seeing it.

Trevor
06-01-12, 09:47 AM
I have a bunch of these History sets and I'm sure a lot of them have repeated components. My shelf space would be ecstatic if I could figure the definitive version of each and toss the rest, but until then my Trevor-like OCD forces me to keep them all.
Yeah, I think about getting rid of some versions of releases, or the DVDs if I have the BDs, but if there is even one second of differences in the feature or the extras, I feel like I have to keep it.

But for space-savings, I (think I) am to the point where I can ditch the packaging and just put the older disc(s) in sleeves in the newer release.
The nice thing about having a rough night during a challenge is that at least I can distract myself with movies.
While I hope and pray for good nights for you, I'm glad we have Challenges ~340 days a year for you now.

Screwadu
06-01-12, 12:09 PM
What about Martial Arts films set in the old dynasty periods? On one hand, they're set in a certain historical "moment in time", on the other hand, they're not "historical" as they never really happened.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-01-12, 01:21 PM
Yeah, I think about getting rid of some versions of releases, or the DVDs if I have the BDs, but if there is even one second of differences in the feature or the extras, I feel like I have to keep it.

I got a DVD double feature of Death Bed and Castle Freak, along with the single movie of Castle Freak in the Full Moon mystery box. I hate the cover of the double feature and like the Castle Freak cover. In theory, I shouldn't care and I don't have enough shelf space for everything but I still kept both DVDs.

Travis McClain
06-01-12, 04:36 PM
While I hope and pray for good nights for you, I'm glad we have Challenges ~340 days a year for you now.

Thanks. Thankfully, there's also Twitter. :) I think I know at least one Crohnie in each time zone, so there's always someone with whom to commiserate.

What about Martial Arts films set in the old dynasty periods? On one hand, they're set in a certain historical "moment in time", on the other hand, they're not "historical" as they never really happened.

They're comparable to Westerns. If it's heavy on supernatural content (like, say, Big Trouble in Little China) then save it for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge or maybe even the Horror Challenge. As long as it doesn't seem appropriate for one of those challenges, then it's okay here as long as the setting is clearly sometime in the past.

Travis McClain
06-02-12, 04:36 AM
My second selection was Hell Is for Heroes. Here's my review, as posted on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/hell-is-for-heroes/):

My family owned a consignment shop for 20 years. This DVD came in several years ago, but it never sold so when its time was up, I snagged it. I grew up liking reruns of Daniel Boone starring Fess Parker, so I was interested to see him in this. Finally, after having the DVD for several years, I got around to watching it for the third annual DVD Talk Historical Appreciation Challenge.

The opening credits alone yielded two surprises. "And Introducing Bob Newhart" was a curious thing to see. He's been around for so long that I forget there was actually a beginning to his career (though technically, The Bob Newhart Show had already been on TV before this film opened in 1962). Also interesting for me was that the score was composed by Leonard Rosenman. I only know him from his score for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. There's actually very little music in this picture; I would guess about 12 minutes or so, tops, but I certainly recognized a similarity between this and his Trek work.

I've never been particularly fond of war movies because they tend to be rather generic and banal, and unfortunately this one is just as guilty as any other. The Interwebs tell me that screenwriter Robert Pirosh was in the U.S. Army during World War II, and that he collected information about skirmishes along the Siegfried Line that served as the basis for his fictionalized story. The Interwebs also tell me Pirosh was supposed to direct the film, but left after finding himself incompatible with star Steve McQueen. McQueen also seems to have rubbed everyone the wrong way. His reluctance to participate or be around anyone is pretty clear on the screen and inadvertently the on-set misery imbues it with one of its few genuinely interesting elements.

Still, I'm a sucker for the tragically hopeless underdog story. Be it Glory or Shaun of the Dead, there's something about the human spirit of perseverance even in the face of certain death that I find fascinating. Beyond the obvious nobility of sacrifice, there's always the opportunity to speculate about oneself. Could I carry on in those kinds of situations? So far I've been fortunate that it's merely an abstract curiosity but I know every day around the world, our brothers and sisters are made to find out for themselves.

There is a sort of "futility of war" message here, but it doesn't seem willing to assert itself over the "heroism of sacrifice" theme. It's left to us the viewer to decide whether to applaud or pity the doomed protagonists.

I found myself liking the characters, and I wanted to care about them but it felt as though the film was just going through the motions. It felt as though the film was a chore for all involved, like the cinematic equivalent of that last album an artist records to finish off their contractual obligation to a label they're desperate to leave.

Hell Is for Heroes
DECADE - 1940s (1944)
WAR - Takes place in an American war (World War II)

BobO'Link
06-02-12, 10:07 AM
I took the 1st off because of a huge amount of unused vacation. That let me mini-marathon the last day of the MYO and, I'd hoped, help jump-start the Historical but it was not to be. I spent the day playing video and board games with the grandkids which was still a win but not a viewing one.

I *did* manage to squeeze in the 2 documentaries King and 1968 with Tom Brokaw. Those really took me back. I was "coming of age" during the latter part of the 60s, saw and remember all of this happening, but didn't truly understand the impact many of those events would have on our nation until years later. My parents *never* discussed politics or national policy in front of my sister and me. We were left to find our own way through the morass. Sometimes I don't know if that was good or bad.

On a lighter note:

My copy of Maverick - S1 came in yesterday! It's been over 20 years since I've seen any episodes of this series and I couldn't wait to watch a few. I managed to watch the first episode last night and it was *great*!! I'm already wanting S2 (kind of like when I left the theater following Return of the King saying "I want The Two Towers *now*!"). That first episode already has everything in place that made Maverick one of the great and unique westerns. I'm planning more episodes today. :)

Undeadcow
06-02-12, 06:54 PM
Salon Kitty was sleazy fun but beneath the nudity, pig slaughter, and eccentrities there was a meatier theme of emotional sexuality versus lustful intellectual control/persuasion; either that or I became delirious from the strong content and dreamed it in a frothing mouth spasm. Salon Kitty is not for everyone but glad I checked it out; and I think multiple reviewings will reward deeper content. Although as a long time vegetarian I frown on the albiet brief animal bit. It was sort of like Salo's tamer but more musically inclined bohemian cousin.

Undeadcow
06-02-12, 10:06 PM
Dear Gladiator,

Why did you betray me by advertising Academy Awards on your box and enticing others to recommend you when you are a mediocre action drama that fails on both accounts? Yes, you are pretty but a tease.

BuddhaWake
06-02-12, 11:28 PM
can I get a ruling for Chinatown? Never seen it so not sure if its based on "another period" of time or if it was contemporary. thanks.

jmsmath
06-03-12, 12:15 AM
I watched Kelly's Heroes for the first time tonight and it was not at all what I expected, but I loved it. I went into it expecting a serious war film, but got a light-hearted, care-free film full of comedy that worked. Donald Sutherland stole the show for me, but I also loved Carrol O'Connor's character even if it was over the top and almost cartoonish. Highly recommended and the run time of 144 minutes seems more like 30 minutes.

mrcellophane
06-03-12, 02:15 AM
I got off to an excellent start with some great documentaries and and interesting western. Despite some silliness, the documentaries about C.S. Lewis (narrated by an actor playing the writer) and Cleopatra (music and camerawork to rival a second-tier melodrama) were fun and conveyed quite a bit of information. The Art of the Steal looked into the often outrageous Art World and the appropriation of the Barnes Collection by Philadelphia. I love learning more about art and its industry, but I often feel saddened at the politics and money that surround it.

I also watched Saddle the Wind which was interesting and could have been longer to delve into its characters.

Ash Ketchum
06-03-12, 10:13 AM
This morning I watched the WWII drama, KINGS GO FORTH (1958) with Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra and Natalie Wood and only when I went on IMDB to look up the actors' ages did I realize that today is Tony's birthday. I love when that happens.

Other Tony Curtis films I can watch from my collection that are eligible for this challenge:
THE VIKINGS (1958)
THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (1954)
BEACHHEAD (1954) which I watched for the Action/Adventure challenge
THE SON OF ALI BABA (1952)
THE PRINCE WHO WAS A THIEF (1951)
KANSAS RAIDERS (1950) in which he plays one of the Dalton Bros.

Oh, and (everyone in unison):
TIME FOR A STICKY ON THE LIST THREAD!!!!

Greg MacGuffin
06-03-12, 10:53 AM
can I get a ruling for Chinatown? Never seen it so not sure if its based on "another period" of time or if it was contemporary. thanks.

It's definitely a period piece. Made in the 70s, takes place in the 30s. I'd count it.

Also - one of the best films ever made. You're in for a treat.

Doc Moonlight
06-03-12, 11:05 AM
I started off the challenge by revisiting an old favorite, VERA CRUZ, Robert Aldrich's nihilist Western that established the template for spaghetti westerns (everyone's corrupt, no one can be trusted, strong anti-hero in Burt Lancaster). The BluRay release was better than the DVD, but not as good looking as I hoped it would be.

Travis McClain
06-03-12, 07:10 PM
Dear Gladiator,

Why did you betray me by advertising Academy Awards on your box and enticing others to recommend you when you are a mediocre action drama that fails on both accounts? Yes, you are pretty but a tease.

I remember leaving the theater when it opened feeling very underwhelmed. I was so cognizant of all the artificiality of the production that I could never get into it. It never felt like an organic movie to me; more like a demo for the next generation of video games. The thing I took away from Gladiator was conviction that Braveheart really was the last of the true epics. We'll never again see a production like that, where most everything is done for real with actual people and practical effects on real locations.

can I get a ruling for Chinatown? Never seen it so not sure if its based on "another period" of time or if it was contemporary. thanks.

It's definitely a period piece. Made in the 70s, takes place in the 30s. I'd count it.

Also - one of the best films ever made. You're in for a treat.

^What he said.

Oh, and (everyone in unison):
TIME FOR A STICKY ON THE LIST THREAD!!!!

We go through this every challenge. You can request this yourself! All you have to do is click the little red triangle icon on any post to send a message to the moderators. Moreover, I already requested it. Since I don't have moderator access, that's all I can do.

Travis McClain
06-03-12, 07:24 PM
Late last night, I decided it was time I finally got around to watching my DVD of the 1999 TV mini-series, Joan of Arc. Here's my review, as shared on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/joan-of-arc-1999/):

I don't even know how long I've had this in my library, but it's been several years. I finally got to it around 1AM when I realized I couldn't sleep. Productions like this always trouble me because I'm enthusiastic and modestly knowledgeable about the subject matter. I can be easily mollified if they get something right, or I can fixate on when they get something wrong.

This 1999 TV mini-series is a mixed bag. I'm of the mind that its primary shortcomings are the limitations of the television format and that it succeeds in many places in spite of those limitations. The DVD bonus content is restricted to some cast & crew bios and a few pages of production notes. What I've gleaned from them is that this project began with writer (and lawyer, they wish you to know) Michael Alexander Miller conducting research about Joan of Arc and writing the screenplay on spec in the aftermath of his mother's passing in 1994. There were several small bits of the story that jived with my understanding of Joan's life, and I feel relatively confident attributing those touches to Miller.

However, the production notes also make note that CBS brought in Ronald Parker "to punch up the story," which I'm almost certain is code for "make palatable for TV viewers who need to be spoon fed." The parts of this mini-series that rang falsest are almost certainly feeble efforts to pander to Joe Sixpack, and they reflect the very kind of "No! Make it better!" meddling that characterizes almost every TV or film project rooted in historical fact.

I'm unfamiliar with there being such hateful strife between Joan and her father, for instance. The subplot carries on throughout the mini-series until its entirely contrived and inexplicable resolution in the final act. Joan has returned home to lick her spiritual wounds but has yet another ugly confrontation with her father. In their very next scene together, it's the next morning and all of a sudden they're wanting each other to know how much they love one another? WTF? It could only be the work of a network shill whose marching orders were to manipulate the 25-49 demographic.

Most of the first episode is full of very awkward exposition, and I mostly just shrugged at that. The seemingly small detail I can't accept or forgive, though, is a scene in which Joan discusses the saints visiting her with her local priest. In the record of her trial, she was explicit that she never spoke about the saints with anyone until she arrived in Vaucouleurs and offered the information to help compel Robert di Baudricourt to agree to send her to Charles. There was no obvious storytelling need to contradict the historical record on this point, and the fact that they did again only serves to make me mindful of the clumsiness of those who think themselves empowered to "improve" upon truth.

Moreover, I'm unfamiliar with any collusion between Charles VII and Bishop Cauchon to use Joan. Cauchon's machinations were solely his own, reflective of his pro-English partisanship. But, of course, in 1999 I'm sure someone at CBS was certain that Joe Sixpack needed to see a clearly defined "Joan vs. The Bad Guys" structure, so Cauchon's inappropriate and illegal Inquisition was married to Charles's conspicuous silence after her capture.

On the whole, I'm somewhat accepting of "creative license," but in this case I feel that the known record is compelling enough that there was no need for such ham-fisted "improvements." Being constructed as a four-episode TV mini-series necessitated allowing for commercial breaks, as well, which imposed a logistical obstacle to the storytelling. Most of the segments end with an obvious shot designed to make us not change the channel during the obligatory commercial breaks. As it aired, I'm sure it played as tension-building but presented as single work on DVD, it just feels silly every twelve minutes for the music to swell as the camera fades out and back in.

The cast is terrific, though, particularly Leelee Sobieski as Joan and Peter O'Toole as Cauchon. The depiction of Joan's actual trial is genuinely captivating, driven by their performances. O'Toole gives us a conflicted Cauchon, with more apprehension about what he's doing than we believe the real Cauchon felt, but here is an example where creative license can work. There's no obvious contradiction between his facial expressions and what we know of the real Cauchon, and O'Toole sells it that this is a guy who is very mindful that he has to be able to present the sham of a trial as somehow being legitimate. Everything there works especially well.

At first, I wasn't a fan of the camera work and editing, but after enough footage it began to remind me of documentary reenactments, such as those in History Channel specials. I was still mindful of the limitations of the budget and the primitive work that yielded, but somehow it became almost endearing in a way. I credit that to director Christian Duguay, whom I'm told by the production notes worked in documentaries early in his career.

What works far less well, unfortunately, is the attempt to replicate the end of Braveheart. Of all the times I cringed at the clumsiness of the story, that was easily the worst because it was as obvious and uninspired as it was just outright lazy.

I can only wonder what Miller's original work looked like, before Parker "punched it up." I suspect if CBS had had confidence and vision, my review would be significantly more favorable.

Joan of Arc [1999 TV Mini-Series]
GENERAL - Bio Pic
GENERAL - Folk Hero/Mythological
GENERAL - Film About Women's History (prominent woman, feminism, etc.)
Watch a film that takes place during five different centuries prior to the 20th Century (15th Century)
Watch 5 movies about historical events of different countries (France)
BIO PICS - Bio Pic of a War participant (Hundred Years' War)
BIO PICS - Bio Pic of a Historical Person
BIO PICS - Watch a Bio Pic about a prominent woman, minority or LGBT figure
WAR - Watch 5 movies that take place during different countries' wars (France - Hundred Years' War)

Undeadcow
06-03-12, 07:39 PM
Is The Other Boylen Girl a good movie or is that just my Natalie Portman obsession messing with my head again? The world may never know.

JOE29
06-03-12, 08:00 PM
I went and watched Snow White and the Huntsman today- would that fit into any category for the challenge?

Travis McClain
06-03-12, 10:00 PM
I went and watched Snow White and the Huntsman today- would that fit into any category for the challenge?

"Snow White" is a European fairy tale that existed in various iterations for quite some time before the Brothers Grimm presented their version in 1812. It's really more fitting for next month's Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge, but I suppose one could argue that fairy tales are part of "mythology." I haven't seen the movie so I can't speak for its tone. If there's much supernatural content (i.e., magic mirror, etc.) then it's probably not an appropriate choice here. If it's played more as a straight period piece, though, then I suppose it's okay (this year anyway) to count toward Folk Hero/Mythology.

JOE29
06-04-12, 12:13 AM
"Snow White" is a European fairy tale that existed in various iterations for quite some time before the Brothers Grimm presented their version in 1812. It's really more fitting for next month's Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge, but I suppose one could argue that fairy tales are part of "mythology." I haven't seen the movie so I can't speak for its tone. If there's much supernatural content (i.e., magic mirror, etc.) then it's probably not an appropriate choice here. If it's played more as a straight period piece, though, then I suppose it's okay (this year anyway) to count toward Folk Hero/Mythology.

It's got a bit of both in it. Fantasy things plus some good battle scenes, storming the castle things going on. It has a Lord of the Rings feel to it from time to time.

Travis McClain
06-04-12, 12:27 AM
It's got a bit of both in it. Fantasy things plus some good battle scenes, storming the castle things going on. It has a Lord of the Rings feel to it from time to time.

Yeah, sounds more appropriate to next month's challenge. You can claim it as a Wild Card under the "X-Men: First Class Clause" (as someone else is doing with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this year). Just don't count it toward your checklist. Sound reasonable and all?

JOE29
06-04-12, 12:29 AM
Yeah, sounds more appropriate to next month's challenge. You can claim it as a Wild Card under the "X-Men: First Class Clause" (as someone else is doing with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this year). Just don't count it toward your checklist. Sound reasonable and all?

That works for me. I'll use it as a WC.

jmsmath
06-04-12, 12:45 AM
I knocked another classic off my unwatched pile tonight by watching The Wild Bunch. Loved every second of it and still don't know why I delay the classics so often to watch junk.

Travis McClain
06-04-12, 03:06 AM
I knocked another classic off my unwatched pile tonight by watching The Wild Bunch. Loved every second of it and still don't know why I delay the classics so often to watch junk.

I can think of nothing more shameful for me to admit than that I went to the theater to see Batman & Robin and The Quest twice apiece, but I have yet to see Citizen Kane.

While perusing ICheckMovies.com, I came across this list of "100 All-Time Best Movies for History Buffs." (http://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/100+all-time+best+movies+for+history+buffs/mariusmariusmarius/) Sure, like any list it's highly debatable, etc., but I thought it might be helpful for some of us looking for suggestions to explore specific eras.

BobO'Link
06-04-12, 08:09 AM
...still don't know why I delay the classics so often to watch junk.
Maybe you do like me. I save the "best" for last. I do it with everything I own/collect: films, comics, novels, TV, etc. I have *piles* of classics just waiting for me to finish the "junk"... :( Fortunately, for the films and most TV, I've seen many of them so it's just getting through the unopened pile, but they are still there waiting.
I can think of nothing more shameful for me to admit than that I went to the theater to see Batman & Robin and The Quest twice apiece, but I have yet to see Citizen Kane.
I took a "Motion Picture Appreciation" class in college (before home video so there was no possibility of "catching up" at home) in which one of the major works we screened was Citizen Kane. I skipped class that night because we were not told the film we'd be watching plus we'd only been watching shorts and bad ones at that (yeah stupid, but it gets worse). Then for the next 6 classes we had little pop quizes over the film. I *barely* squeeked through on that one. I *still* have not seen Citizen Kane.

Cardsfan111
06-04-12, 08:53 AM
I knocked another classic off my unwatched pile tonight by watching The Wild Bunch. Loved every second of it and still don't know why I delay the classics so often to watch junk.

Maybe you do like me. I save the "best" for last. I do it with everything I own/collect: films, comics, novels, TV, etc. I have *piles* of classics just waiting for me to finish the "junk"... :( Fortunately, for the films and most TV, I've seen many of them so it's just getting through the unopened pile, but they are still there waiting.


I do the same thing. Guess I rationalize the behavior by knowing that when I'm finished with something that I anticipate being mediocre, I can either delete it off of the DVR or move the DVD to my "to sell" pile clearing up space.

I could make a long list of great films that I own and are still unopened/never viewed. I should make it a goal to at least get to one of them each month. Of course, I run into another dilemma when I think about watching a highly regarded film and decide to hold off so I can save it for the Academy Award Challenge.

Ash Ketchum
06-04-12, 10:25 AM
First and foremost: watch CITIZEN KANE!!!!!!!-eek-

Second, today is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway between the U.S. and Japanese navies in the Pacific. So watch something Midway-related. You can choose from MIDWAY (1976), an all-star Hollywood production; THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY (1942), a wartime documentary by John Ford who filmed a lot of it himself--during the battle(!); and I BOMBED PEARL HARBOR (1960), a Japanese film that includes the battle from the Japanese perspective--a real eye-opener into why they botched the job.

critterdvd
06-04-12, 11:50 AM
I might partake, depending on if work slows down. Lately I've been pulling 6 12-hour days so there hasn't been much time for DVD watching (but my Bank Account is happy). I still have "Band of Brothers," "Generation Kill," "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (A stretch I know) and "Lonesome Dove" - all still sealed and never-before-seen by me on my shelves that I would like to pile through.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-04-12, 12:04 PM
Citizen Kane never did anything for me. I never got hooked into it at the start, so it just went on and on for me. Orson Welles is hit or miss with me and when it's a miss, it ends up being a long, drawn out miss that makes me not want to watch anything else for a day or so.

Undeadcow
06-04-12, 12:07 PM
I have a sudden urge to watch Citizen Kane. Also planning Battle of Algiers soon.

pagefrance
06-04-12, 01:05 PM
Yeah, sounds more appropriate to next month's challenge. You can claim it as a Wild Card under the "X-Men: First Class Clause" (as someone else is doing with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this year). Just don't count it toward your checklist. Sound reasonable and all?

I was one of the ones that put X-Men: First Class on my list last year as a Wildcard and I explained my reasons for doing so - I believed the movie had enough actual historical elements to be included in the challenge. I now regret doing so because clearly I was stretching the limits of the challenge too far.
I will watch Snow White and the Huntsman but will not include it, not even as a Wildcard, since it contains NO historical elements, neither of setting/era (like most fantasy it's in some undefined "middle ages" where magic exists) nor of people since the story is purely a faerie tale.

mrcellophane
06-04-12, 11:41 PM
Just finished up Raoul Walsh's Desperate Journey with Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan. It's a bit of an uneven war film, oscillating between tearful scenes and jovial humor. It never gets a sure footing and comes off as terribly silly.

I've also been delving back into my Adventures of Young Indiana Jones sets and the wealth of documentaries they contain. Though these spectacular features, I have learned a lot about France's involvement in World War I. One of the hallowing factoids I learned was that France lost more soldiers in WWI than the United States has lost in all wars combined. Over 4% of the French population was killed during the war. To me, this makes their quick surrender in WWII more understandable. I just cannot imagine the sheer destruction.

Mondo Kane
06-05-12, 01:35 AM
Just finished Anzio (1968). Standard (And kinda dull) first hour, but once the combat starts, things really picked up (Even some good suspense involving a sequence taking place in a mine-field)

But boy, what a difference several years makes when it comes to war movies. What I mean by that is that the last 60's war movie I saw was Merrill's Marauders (Back during Memorial weekend) which was a good movie, actually....Except for the extremely laughable and cringe-inducing ballet theatrics that the soldiers always gave when they got shot and killed. I was glad to see that those antics were certainly toned down here in Anzio (Quite hard to believe since this made in the same decade. But the inclusions of the words, "Goddamn son-of-a-bitch" and some bloodspatter let viewers know that things were finally changing)

Travis McClain
06-05-12, 09:53 AM
I've also been delving back into my Adventures of Young Indiana Jones sets and the wealth of documentaries they contain. Though these spectacular features, I have learned a lot about France's involvement in World War I. One of the hallowing factoids I learned was that France lost more soldiers in WWI than the United States has lost in all wars combined. Over 4% of the French population was killed during the war. To me, this makes their quick surrender in WWII more understandable. I just cannot imagine the sheer destruction.

Actually, their surrender was not unanimous. Rather, it was the work of Marshal Philippe Pétain. Pétain was actually a French hero of World War I, and it was his reputation and symbolism that made him appealing to France at the time. Though already in his twilight years, he had remained outspoken about French pride and quite critical of her international relationships. The French people had anticipated him being their guiding light.

Instead, Pétain ultimately caved to Hitler. It's a rather complicated subject for the purpose of this thread, but the gist of it is that it became Pétain's approach to cut their losses and cooperate with Hitler in hopes of being given a seat at his table rather than being conquered outright. Pétain personally opposed Hitler, but saw it as the most pragmatic course of action. France did not surrender quickly to Hitler; she was sold out by her own hero.

Don't think for a minute, though, that the French people collectively accepted Pétain's underhandedness. That's why there was Vichy France (named for Vichy, the town in which Pétain's government was seated) and Free France, the rest of the country that refused to lay down arms and instead answered Charles de Gaulle's call to arms, made in exile.

The most symbolic thing I can point you to about the difference between what France expected and what she got was that he formally changed the French motto from "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" ("Liberty, equality, fraternity") to "Travail, famille, patrie" ("Work, family, fatherland"). His vision for France was devoid of idealism; rather, it was one of resigned acceptance of subjugation. In fact, "felony of opinion" was a serious crime in Pétain's Vichy government and he openly sought to abolish "the false idea of the natural equality of men."

When France was eventually liberated, the Nazis removed Pétain's cabinet to Germany. To his credit, though, Pétain refused to stay and he returned to France to face trial for treason. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but in light of his age and cumulative legacy, he was not executed. Instead, he was sent to a prison island where he lived out his final days in a state of decline.

Pierre Laval was Pétain's right hand man, though, and many feel he was largely responsible for urging Pétain into the policies he adopted. There was no World War I heroism or pitiable age for his defense, and after his conviction for treason, he was executed.

Paul Reynaud was a member of Pétain's cabinet who vehemently opposed surrendering. He resigned in protest, was arrested and kept in Germany through the end of the war. The fact that he was imprisoned in Germany, rather than in France, speaks volumes about whose interests were in fact being represented in Vichy.

Still, Reynaud was also responsible for the most important lifeline of all. It was he who had dispatched Charles de Gaulle to Great Britain in June, 1940. De Gaulle was therefore not at home when Pétain formally sold out France, and it was from across the English Channel that de Gaulle took up the cause to rally the French to resist. Had Reynaud not sent de Gaulle out of France when he did, the whole of our history is very likely different.

Again, though, there's an awful lot to all this but what I hope you take away from this is that the French surrender was not an accurate reflection of French attitudes. It was a decision made by a Marshal who turned his back on the very ideals for which he had made his name defending, and a Cabinet comprised largely of selfish cowards who saw more opportunities in cooperating with Hitler than in opposing him.

Greg MacGuffin
06-05-12, 11:04 AM
^^^ That was very interesting, thanks for sharing that.

mrcellophane
06-05-12, 12:37 PM
Actually, their surrender was not unanimous. Rather, it was the work of Marshal Philippe Pétain. Pétain was actually a French hero of World War I, and it was his reputation and symbolism that made him appealing to France at the time. Though already in his twilight years, he had remained outspoken about French pride and quite critical of her international relationships. The French people had anticipated him being their guiding light.

Thanks for the history lesson! There is a documentary about Pétain that I haven't gotten to yet.

Travis McClain
06-05-12, 05:34 PM
^^^ That was very interesting, thanks for sharing that.

Thanks for the history lesson! There is a documentary about Pétain that I haven't gotten to yet.

Glad you both indulged me and got something out of it! :) My degree is in history and French history in particular was my favorite subject. One of my biggest pet peeves is this decades-long stigma of France as being populated by "surrender monkeys" (to borrow Dave Letterman's description). Were it not for the courage of the Free French, there may have been little hope of any success on the continent once the U.S. finally got involved more than three years after Hitler fired his first shots in Poland.

One other thing I forgot to mention (and God knows there's plenty to be said about all this!) is that we tend to think of World War II as the "sequel" to World War I. If you really look into it, though, you can trace the roots of both wars to the Franco-Prussian War. That war gave birth to Germany, reorganized out of Prussia. The grudge between the two peoples had a lot to do with the international climate between the reluctant armistice of that war, and the dawn of World War I.

As all Europe prepared for World War I, France made the mistake of trying to be ready to re-fight the Franco-Prussian War while Germany had forward-thinking vision and planned to win World War I. In an example of how learning from the past is important, what really sank Pétain's chances of defying Hitler early on was that France prepared for World War II by getting ready to re-fight World War I. Their strategies and equipment were a good 30 years out of date in each war.

Again, though, that's a failure of leadership - not a fair illustration of the character of the French people.

Greg MacGuffin
06-05-12, 09:47 PM
I'm actually reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt and today there was a brief mention of Pétain. I saw his name and thought, "Hey, thanks to MinLShaw, I know all about that guy!"

mrcellophane
06-05-12, 10:57 PM
This is a bit off topic, but a friend told me about a resource that I thought may be of interest. Yale has a program called Open Yale Courses which include tapes lectures and other resources about various topics. There are quite a few about historical subjects. Thought y'all might like to know!

I watched a couple of episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Season One features a slimy General Custer, a historical figure I love to hate ever since reading Evan S. Connell's Son of the Morning Star. Also, watched a western called Albuquerque which surprised me after a rocky start.

First and foremost: watch CITIZEN KANE!!!!!!!-eek-

Motion seconded!

Trevor
06-05-12, 11:02 PM
Going off my documentaries challenge and starting the Hatfield and McCoys miniseries. Enjoying the first night so far.

Travis McClain
06-06-12, 04:29 AM
This is a bit off topic, but a friend told me about a resource that I thought may be of interest. Yale has a program called Open Yale Courses which include tapes lectures and other resources about various topics. There are quite a few about historical subjects. Thought y'all might like to know!

I would also point you in the direction of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast. They do a terrific job with research and presentation, in easily digestible episodes.

Ash Ketchum
06-06-12, 07:47 AM
Today is June 6, the 68th anniversary of D-Day. A good time for THE LONGEST DAY, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and THE BIG RED ONE, among others.

Trevor
06-06-12, 08:22 AM
Today is June 6, the 68th anniversary of D-Day. A good time for THE LONGEST DAY, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and THE BIG RED ONE, among others.
Two of those have been in my unwatched pile for WAY too long. Think I'll have to go "off-book" again.

My Dad was at D-Day btw.

davidh777
06-06-12, 12:08 PM
Glad you both indulged me and got something out of it! :) My degree is in history and French history in particular was my favorite subject.

Brings to mind the name of a certain blog I've read too ;)

From what little I know about the war, the French resistance is certainly one of the most compelling images.


My Dad was at D-Day btw.

Very cool

Undeadcow
06-06-12, 12:13 PM
Wow... Alexander director's cut is no less painful. I though getting 300, Troy, and Alexander in a 3-pack for $10 was a good deal when all I wanted was 300 but it seems they got the last laugh.

Travis McClain
06-06-12, 10:10 PM
Just finished streaming the 1952 Moulin Rouge. I actually started it around 1:30 or so this morning, but I had connection problems and became drowsy from the antibiotic I'm on. I don't think breaking up my viewing had much effect on my reaction to it, though. Here's my review, as posted on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/moulin-rouge/):

I have, of course, seen and enjoyed the 2001 film by the same title but this was my first exposure to the 1952 film. The entire first 10 minutes or so, set inside the titular Moulin Rouge, were terrific fun. I loved the costumes, the set, the music...it was a thrilling production. To boot, my favorite line in the entire film is spoken in the beginning when Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec notes, "Some men can swing by their heels on the flying trapeze. Some men can become president of the republic. I can drink cognac." I settled in, feeling I was in for my kind of movie.

Alas, the remaining 110 minutes of the film rarely lived up to the promise made by the opening. The presentation of Henri's life story (through a series of vignettes that play while he walks home at night) is as clunky as it is perfunctory. The middle section of the film, following Henri's volatile relationship with Marie Charlet, was stronger but I felt too often their conflict kept going simply because it served the story for them to not get along.

I did identify strongly with Henri's frustrations. I've become similarly disillusioned with any belief that I'll find truly rewarding companionship here on out, knowing that I'll at best be an indulgence from a woman who, like Marie, has had it so rough that she's willing to overlook my deficiencies. Unlike Henri, however, I haven't a fortune with which to purchase such indulgence.

At some point, I became conscious of how peripheral the Moulin Rouge itself was to the story told in this film. I had expected a greater emphasis on that setting, and more musical numbers. Instead, I found a disjointed bio pic/period drama lightly punctuated with the kind of extravagance promised by the poster.

The cast was decent, with Jose Ferrer's mercurial Toulouse a genuine standout. He's alternately wry, wistful and wounded, and I bought it all (even when it seemed absurd for him to be combative). I particularly enjoyed his defiant defense of his painting, insisting it was not depicting a woman undressing in front of a man, but rather a woman dressing in front of her husband.

"They are celebrating their twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. They are going to have dinner with their oldest son. He is a taxidermist. I am appalled that you should thus malign these good people. It goes to prove what I have always maintained, that evil exists only in the eye of the beholder. I will thank you to stop looking at my pictures."

I loved that their son is a taxidermist. That level of detail was so unexpected and genuinely original that I feel it may be the single finest moment in the entire film. It's a perfect microcosm of Toulouse (or at least, this characterization of him).

I did not expect this film to strongly resemble the 2001 Moulin Rouge, but I did enter into it with the expectation of a lavish musical production. I did not get that film. Perhaps I'm being unfair for being disappointed in this movie not being the movie I thought it would be, but I was entirely too conscious throughout many passages of how paint-by-numbers it was. I think some plot threads should have been either better developed or entirely omitted, but of course...nobody asked me.

Moulin Rouge [1952]
GENERAL - Bio Pic (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)
CENTURY - 19th Century (mostly the 1890s)
BIO PIC - Watch a Sports or Humanities Bio Pic (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec)

Doc Moonlight
06-07-12, 01:09 PM
I watched DARLING LILI hoping to find an undiscovered gem, but thought it was only OK. Not bad, but not particularly noteworthy, either. Interesting to watch a G rated film with 2 striptease numbers, though.

Doc Moonlight
06-07-12, 01:17 PM
A couple of checklist questions.

Do all Euro westerns count as spaghetti westerns? I'm thinking here about the German Winnetou movies or the Red Westerns, westerns made in East Germany that typically depicted Native Americans as heroes and the US Government as oppressors?

On the Wars checklist, previously we had allowed the World Wars to be counted as both "American" and "Other Countries" wars on the checklist, providing that the film that was entered on the other countries' checklist did not show American involvement in the conflict. An example would be DAS BOOT. I'm assuming this is still OK.

Travis McClain
06-07-12, 01:51 PM
A couple of checklist questions.

Do all Euro westerns count as spaghetti westerns? I'm thinking here about the German Winnetou movies or the Red Westerns, westerns made in East Germany that typically depicted Native Americans as heroes and the US Government as oppressors?

Meh; close enough.

On the Wars checklist, previously we had allowed the World Wars to be counted as both "American" and "Other Countries" wars on the checklist, providing that the film that was entered on the other countries' checklist did not show American involvement in the conflict. An example would be DAS BOOT. I'm assuming this is still OK.

Yarp.

Undeadcow
06-07-12, 02:54 PM
...still can't make it through Alexander; but committed to keep trying. Why is Colin Farrel talking with an faint irish accent to portray an asian conqueror?

mrcellophane
06-07-12, 04:19 PM
I had a rough time with a French translation, and decided to have a little marathon yesterday. I watched a couple of westerns and rewatched The Duchess which I saw in the theater. I remember afterward I was the last person remaining at the end of the credits, and one of the theater workers asked if it was any good. I was most enthusiastic, but I'm not sure I convinced him to watch it. I'm a big fan of costume dramas, and the Duchess of Devonshire was definitely a paragon of fashion. I have the Amanda Foreman biography but haven't read it yet. I get so busy reading for class and reading novels to help with my own work that I often neglect my nonfiction reading. Need to remedy that!

I watched Spartacus today for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for a good epic, and Kubrick makes such compelling films. There's also footage of Peter Ustinov eating a donut and going through the gladiator movie on the BD so that was fun!

davidh777
06-08-12, 12:18 PM
After seeing the publicity for what must have been a solid year, I finally saw My Week with Marilyn. And fortuituous timing puts me on the board! :banana:

I thought it was a really good film. Michelle Williams embodied Marilyn well (I admit I've only seen a handful of her films), and I didn't realize the cast was so packed. It also fit because I've been catching up on the Marilyn-themed Smash as well.

This was a rental, but today Amazon puts My Week with Marilyn in my GB picks. Stop monitoring my PS3, Amazon! (Probably wouldn't rewatch it enough to justify a purchase.)

gp1086
06-08-12, 10:06 PM
Watched HBO's TV movie Too Big To Fail (2011) tonight. Fantastic as usual from HBO. Very solid cast and great script.

JOE29
06-08-12, 11:48 PM
Wow... Alexander director's cut is no less painful. I though getting 300, Troy, and Alexander in a 3-pack for $10 was a good deal when all I wanted was 300 but it seems they got the last laugh.

How are those movies spread out over the three discs? I have seen that set in the store and I was thinking of picking it up because those three movies, I have in Standard DVD form. It would be easy to buy that set and upgrade all three movies to blu at the same time. Are each of those movies on a seperate disc?

That'sAllFolks
06-09-12, 05:00 AM
Glad you both indulged me and got something out of it! :) My degree is in history and French history in particular was my favorite subject. One of my biggest pet peeves is this decades-long stigma of France as being populated by "surrender monkeys" (to borrow Dave Letterman's description). Were it not for the courage of the Free French, there may have been little hope of any success on the continent once the U.S. finally got involved more than three years after Hitler fired his first shots in Poland.

One other thing I forgot to mention (and God knows there's plenty to be said about all this!) is that we tend to think of World War II as the "sequel" to World War I. If you really look into it, though, you can trace the roots of both wars to the Franco-Prussian War. That war gave birth to Germany, reorganized out of Prussia. The grudge between the two peoples had a lot to do with the international climate between the reluctant armistice of that war, and the dawn of World War I.

As all Europe prepared for World War I, France made the mistake of trying to be ready to re-fight the Franco-Prussian War while Germany had forward-thinking vision and planned to win World War I. In an example of how learning from the past is important, what really sank Pétain's chances of defying Hitler early on was that France prepared for World War II by getting ready to re-fight World War I. Their strategies and equipment were a good 30 years out of date in each war.

Again, though, that's a failure of leadership - not a fair illustration of the character of the French people.

Most interesting posts in a long time. Thanks MinLShaw.

May have to get into this challenge. I watched a bio on the History Channel on-demand on Ben Franklin last night and am working my way through History Channel's Founding Fathers. So I guess I've been doing this challenge anyway ;)

Now I'd like some good docs on France's involvement in WWI and WWII

spartickes
06-10-12, 05:56 AM
So I post in the challenge thread but I have some....reservations shall we say about some of the movies I've put on my list. Primarily due to their historical touches, or rather the lack thereof. Now I'm never sure if I'm being to strident with the rules, but as I do love me some nitpicking, I figured I'd ask how everyone else feels about my inclusion of these particular films.

The big ones I feel iffy about are "Let Me In" "Ravenous" and "Jules Et Jim". "Night Of The Hunter"
concerns me, but to a lesser degree, I feel I could make a strong case for the films depression era setting playing a very strong role in the plot and tone of the film.

Ravenous I feel bad about, because (not having seen it before) I had believed it to be a more truthful retelling of the saga of the Donner Party, only using different names. I didn't know there would be fantastical elements such as some sort of pseudo-vamprism effect from the eating of human flesh.

Let Me In I feel the same way about, actually. I felt like the original Let The Right One In made interesting use of it's setting both in space and time to help inform the story. Whereas here I felt that the couple nods to the era were mostly just lip service. There could be some correlation drawn between the footage of Reagan giving his speech about "the greatness and genius of America" being that "America is good" could be shown as a counterpoint to the actions within the story, the corruption of the most innocent among us in an incredibly manipulative way by one who sets themselves up as a protector etc.

And finally, Jules Et Jim, which, while set during the first World War, is primarily about the lives of just 3 people (4 if you include the child). I definitely feel that the attitudes and therefore the actions of the characters are shaped by the world and times in which they live however, so, I don't feel so guilty about that one, now that I lay it out actually.

Thoughts?

Trevor
06-10-12, 07:34 AM
Thoughts?
I'm not one to think about things beyond an extremely superficial level, and may not "get" some of the rules/concepts of this Challenge; but I can't imagine how Let Me (the Right One) In could even be remotely considered as counting. It's for October mainly, although July or March could work too.

Trevor
06-10-12, 10:41 AM
FWIW, I've been working on the Challenge Compendium again and the below table hopefully contains the full, ahem, history of this Challenge. There appears to have been no results for 2011, but I didn't triple check; and just guessed at the Giles and 57 from perusing the lists. Please correct my mistakes or omissions. I know we don't stress numbers or winners in many of the Challenges, but am just using the same table for each one.


Historical Appreciation Challenge - June

<table border="4"> <tr><td>Year</td><td>Discussion Threads</td><td>List Threads</td><td>Results Thread</td><td>Number</td><td>Winner</td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/573321-june-2010-history-film-challenge-discussion-thread.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/574316-historical-film-challenge-war-westerns-period-sports-biographical-list-thread.html)</td><td>results (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/576327-historial-challenge-2010-results-thread.html)</td><td>105.25</td><td>Trevor</td></tr> <tr><td>2011</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/590394-hear-ye-hear-ye-second-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-discussion-thread.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/591153-second-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-list-thread.html)</td><td>none?</td><td>57?</td><td>Giles?</td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/601871-verily-behold-third-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-upon-us.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/601948-third-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-lists.html)</td><td>insert results link</td><td>insert #</td><td>insert DVDTalker</td></tr></table>

Travis McClain
06-10-12, 06:54 PM
Most interesting posts in a long time. Thanks MinLShaw.

[snip]

Now I'd like some good docs on France's involvement in WWI and WWII

Thanks! When we initially conceived of this challenge, I always had hopes that our discussions would use what we watch as a means of inviting at least some side talk about the actual events and people. I think that's why this challenge is the one I take most personally.

I'll try to round up a few recommendations for you about those docs. I know I've seen several over the years but I can't recall any titles offhand.

So I post in the challenge thread but I have some....reservations shall we say about some of the movies I've put on my list.

My personal rule of thumb has been that if I went into a movie expecting it to count, but then discovered in the course of viewing that it strays too far from the spirit of the challenge, I count it anyway but make note of it. For instance, I streamed Women in Trouble for last year's Drive-In/Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge. The poster and synopsis made me think it was very much an exploitation movie. Instead, it's more or less a straight drama with a couple of semi-outrageous subplots but at no point did it really become the movie I thought it was going to be. Still, I invested nearly 2 hours watching it on the expectation it was an exploitation movie.

FWIW, I've been working on the Challenge Compendium again and the below table hopefully contains the full, ahem, history of this Challenge. There appears to have been no results for 2011, but I didn't triple check; and just guessed at the Giles and 57 from perusing the lists. Please correct my mistakes or omissions. I know we don't stress numbers or winners in many of the Challenges, but am just using the same table for each one.


Historical Appreciation Challenge - June

<table border="4"> <tr><td>Year</td><td>Discussion Threads</td><td>List Threads</td><td>Results Thread</td><td>Number</td><td>Winner</td></tr><tr><td>2010</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/573321-june-2010-history-film-challenge-discussion-thread.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/574316-historical-film-challenge-war-westerns-period-sports-biographical-list-thread.html)</td><td>results (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/576327-historial-challenge-2010-results-thread.html)</td><td>105.25</td><td>Trevor</td></tr> <tr><td>2011</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/590394-hear-ye-hear-ye-second-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-discussion-thread.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/591153-second-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-list-thread.html)</td><td>none?</td><td>57?</td><td>Giles?</td></tr><tr><td>2012</td><td>discussion (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/601871-verily-behold-third-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-upon-us.html)</td><td>lists (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/601948-third-annual-historical-appreciation-challenge-lists.html)</td><td>insert results link</td><td>insert #</td><td>insert DVDTalker</td></tr></table>

I never really thought of this one as having a "winner," because of all the epics this challenge invites (and encourages) participants to watch. Last year, we discussed post-challenge thoughts and ideas briefly in the main discussion thread. Also, I think last year I very informally suggested Ash Ketchum as the MVP of the discussion thread, for enthusiastically sharing all his knowledge about various films and their historical contexts, but I was speaking as a participant and not as host when I said that.

spartickes
06-10-12, 08:36 PM
I'm not one to think about things beyond an extremely superficial level, and may not "get" some of the rules/concepts of this Challenge; but I can't imagine how Let Me (the Right One) In could even be remotely considered as counting. It's for October mainly, although July or March could work too.


This is where we find (I believe) the dangers of genre classification. When I watched the original a couple years ago I went in thinking "classy horror movie" but I came out thinking "coming of age drama with supernatural elements". To the point that I probably would council against using it in a horror challenge. There are a few intense scenes, but gore does not a horror movie make. I think that this movie largely falls into the same classification problems as "Silence Of The Lambs".

All three works, (book, Swedish, American) are ostensibly period pieces, which is why I "remotely considered" it as a good 1980's movie. The original I believe makes good use of its time and place to help tell the story. I also feel that the remake, as I remarked uses some elements of America at that time to deepen the story. Reaganomics, a righteous America, and the innate goodness of man are all elements that were supposed to be at the forefront of culture at the time and are subverted here to help tell the story of one boy coming of age.

I think that while the movie could have been set at any time and still been effective, it helps quite a bit to set it far enough in the past that people would see the time frame nostalgically rather than cynically (much they did with Super 8). The idea that we were more innocent then, that things were "better" I think gets played with very effectively in both adaptations.

I will totally remove it from my list if y'all think it's inappropriate, I just love to talk about movies and this seems like an interesting hair to split.

Trevor
06-10-12, 09:01 PM
I will totally remove it from my list if y'all think it's inappropriate, I just love to talk about movies and this seems like an interesting hair to split.
Great analysis there spartickes (where's that from btw?).

Don't remove it on my account, you've almost convinced me to remove it from my previous October lists!

I'm very unobservant, and didn't even realize it was set in the 80s; but then, to me, everything fom the 70s on feels 'current' to me. I stopped aging in 1973.

spartickes
06-10-12, 10:53 PM
Great analysis there spartickes (where's that from btw?).

My last name is Ickes and when I was in college I became known as a film nerd. I came back to my dorm room one day and someone had replaced my first name on the door nameplate with "Spart" and a picture of Kirk Douglas next to it. I love a good pun and am a huge Kubrick fan so I've kept it as my alternate name 'lo these many years.

Doc Moonlight
06-11-12, 10:06 AM
Regarding documentaries of France during WWII, I recommend Claude Chabrol's EYE OF VICHY.

JOE29
06-11-12, 12:08 PM
Just finished a Richard Dawson / Hogans Heroes tribute. I thought about it when he died last week, but I haven't had time to complete it until today. May go on to War Horse next which I haven't seen yet.

Undeadcow
06-11-12, 08:00 PM
Unless anyone objects I'm counting Brotherhood of the Wolf; that movie never gets old.

Watching 300 again was fun but seems shallow. I was surprised by all the negative space and vacant background that added to an empty feeling, necessary because of all the blue screen backdrops that do not come across as smooth as thise responsible might have expected.

davidh777
06-11-12, 08:29 PM
I just watched the Paul WS Anderson Three Musketeers, and while some of the concepts were fun, some of it was WTF absurd. I'm still going to count it, and I was actually surprised how many elements of the original book they did retain. It also reminds me of a report I did on Cardinal Richelieu in grade school. :)

But really it just gave me a hankering to pull out the old foolscreen DVDs of the Richard Lester movies.

Undeadcow
06-11-12, 09:04 PM
How are those movies spread out over the three discs? I have seen that set in the store and I was thinking of picking it up because those three movies, I have in Standard DVD form. It would be easy to buy that set and upgrade all three movies to blu at the same time. Are each of those movies on a seperate disc?

Regarding the 300/Troy/Alexander Warner Brothers triple feature set it is a 4-disc collection with each film identical to it's individual release in content. Alexander is spread out over 2 discs, making the 4 discs. If you're interested in the films it's a good buy. Walmart has it for $15 right now.

BobO'Link
06-11-12, 09:13 PM
I just watched the Paul WS Anderson Three Musketeers, and while some of the concepts were fun, some of it was WTF absurd. I'm still going to count it, and I was actually surprised how many elements of the original book they did retain. It also reminds me of a report I did on Cardinal Richelieu in grade school. :)

But really it just gave me a hankering to pull out the old foolscreen DVDs of the Richard Lester movies.
I'm a sucker for almost *any* film based Dumas' novel. I'd have a hard time chosing the Richard Lester films or the 1948 version with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, Van Heflin, Gig Young, Angela Lansbury, June Allyson, and Vincent Price. The earlier version is the one I first saw as a kid and fell in love with the story and action. Another favorite Musketeer story is At Sword's Point (1951) starring Maureen O'Hara, Dan O'Herlihy, Alan Hale Jr., and Cornel Wilde.

Undeadcow
06-11-12, 10:20 PM
It is interesting that there aren't many apparent movies about French history. Watching Aguirre, Wrath of God (which is a classic) also makes me wonder about the possibilities of more spanish conquestador flicks.

davidh777
06-11-12, 10:43 PM
I'm a sucker for almost *any* film based Dumas' novel. I'd have a hard time chosing the Richard Lester films or the 1948 version with Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, Van Heflin, Gig Young, Angela Lansbury, June Allyson, and Vincent Price. The earlier version is the one I first saw as a kid and fell in love with the story and action. Another favorite Musketeer story is At Sword's Point (1951) starring Maureen O'Hara, Dan O'Herlihy, Alan Hale Jr., and Cornel Wilde.

I should see that one, but I think of it and can only picture Kelly mugging through the silent portions of Singin' in the Rain :)

davidh777
06-12-12, 01:10 PM
Relevant Amazon lightning deal good till noon Pacific today:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/goldbox/discussion/A379K8SHS0FE7C/

Anthology of War on Film Collection, $42.99

Twenty-disc set includes "Twelve O'Clock High" (Special Edition), "The Longest Day" (Special Edition), "The Great Escape" (Special Edition), "Von Ryan's Express" (Special Edition), "The Sand Pebbles" (Special Edition), "Battle of Britain" (Collector's Edition), "Patton," "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Special Edition), "A Bridge Too Far" (Collector's Edition), and "Platoon" (Collector's Edition).

Ash Ketchum
06-12-12, 02:37 PM
Another favorite Musketeer story is At Sword's Point (1951) starring Maureen O'Hara, Dan O'Herlihy, Alan Hale Jr., and Cornel Wilde.

In AT SWORD'S POINT, Cornel Wilde played D'Artagnan Jr. and Alan Hale Jr. played Porthos Jr. Alan Hale Sr. had played Porthos in THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK (1939). In THE FIFTH MUSKETEER (1979), Wilde played D'Artagnan and Hale Jr. played Porthos.

JOE29
06-12-12, 02:40 PM
Just watched War Horse, thought it was wonderful. It kind of reminded me of Winchester'73 when the horse was passed around to all the people of the times on all sides of the war especially just like the Winchester rifle. I just picked up War of Arrows which looks good, but I bought it on a blind buy. I'm looking forward to checking it out in the next few days.

Undeadcow
06-12-12, 03:12 PM
Just watched War Horse, thought it was wonderful. It kind of reminded me of Winchester'73 when the horse was passed around to all the people of the times on all sides of the war especially just like the Winchester rifle. I just picked up War of Arrows which looks good, but I bought it on a blind buy. I'm looking forward to checking it out in the next few days.

I thought War Horse was an interesting movie in terms of framework because there is only a horse pulling together so many different elements but flawed by over-emphasizing the horse when there is so much other misery surrounding it. It worked really well at capturing a snapshot of many different environments but was pretty syrupy (as much of Spielberg's output is). Definitely worth a watch.

shadokitty
06-13-12, 01:23 AM
Quick question. I own the MC Warriors 50 movie set, and know the Hercules movies in the set would count under folk hero/mythology and the movies about hisorical figures would count, but would the generic sword and sandal movies in the rest of the set count in the challenge? If so I was hoping to use this challenge to make a large dent in the set.

Travis McClain
06-13-12, 02:00 AM
Quick question. I own the MC Warriors 50 movie set, and know the Hercules movies in the set would count under folk hero/mythology and the movies about hisorical figures would count, but would the generic sword and sandal movies in the rest of the set count in the challenge? If so I was hoping to use this challenge to make a large dent in the set.

I defer to your discretion. If you think it's a movie more appropriate to the Action or Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenges, then maybe pick something else. If it makes fair use of the setting and plays it at least as straight as, say, a Western or a War movie, then go for it says I.

Travis McClain
06-13-12, 07:11 AM
Just finished a first time viewing of A Fistful of Dollars. My review, as posted on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/a-fistful-of-dollars/).

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE RECEIVING E-MAIL UPDATES (though I suspect I'm the only one here who hadn't already seen A Fistful of Dollars) Also, I'm not spoiler-ing my review for length, but because of actual spoilers.

I returned the Road to Perdition graphic novel to the Oldham County Public Library yesterday and rummaged around for a few things. I left with A Fistful of Dollars on DVD, Bruce Springsteen's The Promise on CD, the first volume of The Walking Dead collected editions and the Stephen Mitchell English translation of Lao-tzu's Tao te Ching. I found it a seemingly eclectic, yet actually thematically unified, assortment.

This was my first time viewing A Fistful of Dollars. All I knew going in was that Clint Eastwood plays The Man with No Name. I nearly watched the trailer first (it's the only bonus feature on the 2004 MGM DVD) but fortuitously I decided to wait until I had finished the feature. We complain about trailers today showing all the best parts and spoiling the end of movies, but this trailer makes it clear that boneheaded practice was in effect at least as far back as 1964.

In fact, my favorite part in the entire picture is presented in the trailer in a butchered form. The Man with No Name approaches the ruffians who had accosted him upon entering San Miguel and explains he's there representing his offended mule who seeks an apology. It was an endearing bit of levity that perfectly set up the payoff line, addressing the coffin maker whom he had instructed to prepare three coffins en route to the melee: "My mistake. Four coffins." That whole scene was pitch perfect, establishing the tongue-in-cheek/over-the-top machismo of the entire production.

Unfortunately, as the story wore on, I felt as though it tried to play things a little "straighter." Yes, death-by-barrel is suitably absurd and the final showdown (also spoiled in the trailer!) is outrageous but on the whole it began to resemble a predictable Western narrative. Of course, the story was taken from Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo - which, in turn, was based on a 1929 novel, Red Harvest - so perhaps the problem for me was simply that I've seen too many other stories who took the same source inspiration.

Regardless, it was billed as an adventure and that's just what it is. The library also has A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and I intend to make my way through the trilogy throughout the next few days.

A Fistful of Dollars
Watch a film that takes place during five different centuries prior to the 20th Century - 19th Century
WESTERN - Clint Eastwood Western

Trevor
06-13-12, 09:58 AM
SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE RECEIVING E-MAIL UPDATES (though I suspect I'm the only one here who hadn't already seen A Fistful of Dollars)
:wave:
I may have seen it as a kid, and think I may need first time adult viewings of several of the Leone films.

And thanks for not just using spoiler tags but also spelling SPOILER out. Many people still don't realize that tags don't translate into the emails, and that many of us read the forum through email.

That'sAllFolks
06-13-12, 01:54 PM
watched Green Zone
Boring, distracting (with the hand-held Cloverfield feel) and ultimately unsatisfying -- 5/10

starting to watch Apocalypse: The Second World War on the Smithsonian Channel on-demand. Very interesting -- uses only archival footage and narration. Mentioned Petain ;) at the end of the last ep and hoping to get more into that.

Do Hollywood Treasures or Storage Wars count. I would think HT (like Pawn Stars for Hollywood memorabilia) would, but SW may be a gray area.

Travis McClain
06-13-12, 04:12 PM
And thanks for not just using spoiler tags but also spelling SPOILER out. Many people still don't realize that tags don't translate into the emails, and that many of us read the forum through email.

Let it not be said that I am without manners. :)

Do Hollywood Treasures or Storage Wars count. I would think HT (like Pawn Stars for Hollywood memorabilia) would, but SW may be a gray area.

For a moment there, I thought you were asking about Doc Hollywood and I was really excited to hear what possible rationalization you had for that. :sad:

Anyway, I think in the past our police has been that we've pretty much accepted that anything on The History Channel is safe - even the stuff we as individuals find questionable.

That'sAllFolks
06-13-12, 09:40 PM
Actually Hollywood Treasure is on SyFy -- it's just similar to Pawn Stars, but with Hollywood memorabilia.

Storage Wars is on A&E,so I guess it's affiliated enough with History ..

mrcellophane
06-14-12, 12:43 AM
Just watched War Horse, thought it was wonderful. It kind of reminded me of Winchester'73 when the horse was passed around to all the people of the times on all sides of the war especially just like the Winchester rifle. I just picked up War of Arrows which looks good, but I bought it on a blind buy. I'm looking forward to checking it out in the next few days.

I also enjoyed War Horse and will have to check on Winchester '73. Spielberg films almost always tug at my heartstrings, and I am a sucker for a good animal story. It was also nice to see David Kross, an actor whose performance I loved in The Reader.

Major Spoilers: I just finished John Ford's Fort Apache, a film that I found a bit maddening.
I usually enjoy John Ford's films (including The Wings of Eagles which I watched yesterday), but this one felt like a Frankenstein's monster of western cliches. I also wasn't expecting to detest Henry Fonda's character so much. He was so odious and unsympathetic, but not in an interesting way. Most of the other characters were very underdeveloped. The comedy was uninspired: drunken Irishmen, a drunken doctor, pratfalls. And I wasn't sure how the film wanted me to feel. Of course, there is the pro-military speech at the end, but this is marred by the unwarranted hero-worship that Thursday posthumously receives.

Ash Ketchum
06-14-12, 06:27 AM
I also enjoyed War Horse and will have to check on Winchester '73. Spielberg films almost always tug at my heartstrings, and I am a sucker for a good animal story. It was also nice to see David Kross, an actor whose performance I loved in The Reader.

Major Spoilers: I just finished John Ford's Fort Apache, a film that I found a bit maddening.
I usually enjoy John Ford's films (including The Wings of Eagles which I watched yesterday), but this one felt like a Frankenstein's monster of western cliches. I also wasn't expecting to detest Henry Fonda's character so much. He was so odious and unsympathetic, but not in an interesting way. Most of the other characters were very underdeveloped. The comedy was uninspired: drunken Irishmen, a drunken doctor, pratfalls. And I wasn't sure how the film wanted me to feel. Of course, there is the pro-military speech at the end, but this is marred by the unwarranted hero-worship that Thursday posthumously receives.

The whole point of FORT APACHE is to criticize the way the military handled conflict with the Indians. Fonda's Colonel Thursday is meant to invoke Custer, whom Ford was quite critical of. (Check out the Custer scene in THE SEARCHERS for more.) And the way the whole thing is slanted at the end is to show how history is routinely distorted to pursue the goal of the national interest. Ford was very sensitive to these issues--check out THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE ("When the legend becomes fact, print the legend") for a further explication of this theme--yet he himself succumbed to that tendency often as well, as in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, which is a powerful film about Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, but is completely fictional. One can argue with Ford's endorsement of that kind of distortion but one can't deny the power of his filmmaking and his courage in tackling these issues in a commercial medium.

MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, FORT APACHE, THE SEARCHERS and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE are Ford's western masterpieces and are best viewed together in succession. And then follow up with SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON, RIO GRANDE, WAGONMASTER and TWO RODE TOGETHER.

P.S. Granted, Ford tends to let the army itself off the hook, preferring to blame a rigid officer, but you must remember that Ford had only recently come off a gig in the Navy during the war and was intensely loyal to the men of the service. He showed greater skepticism of the institution as the years progressed--just look at his treatment of the military in THE SEARCHERS and CHEYENNE AUTUMN, as opposed to his cavalry trilogy.

JOE29
06-14-12, 10:37 PM
I always was, and still am, a big fan of Fort Apache. I even got my wife into the movie a bit. She likes all of those dance sequences with Shirley Temple. I really didn't get to see this movie and appreciate it until DVD's came out. I may have time to view this movie for the challenge. Moving on first. I'm putting in the 300 Spartans from 1964 in a few minutes. Another movie that I have seen many times over the years. I really love these movie challenges. They force you to watch movies that you haven't been able to see in a few years. Which is the case for the 300 Spartans. I think the last time that I saw the 300 Spartans was for last years challenge, or the year before.

Giles
06-14-12, 10:39 PM
I missed the news that 'animal/nature shows' are now included for this year... guess I can watch my 'Flying Monsters 3D' bluray I just got.

however my main goal is to watch all of 'From Earth to the Moon' and 'Band of Brothers' (and hopefully 'The Pacific' if time allows - I'm about to go off on vacation for nine days with little to no time to watch stuff).

are there wild cards this challenge?

davidh777
06-15-12, 03:53 AM
Resuming my annual tradition of buying the latest Mad Men BD on Black Friday and watching it for this challenge! :banana:

Travis McClain
06-15-12, 04:09 AM
Actually Hollywood Treasure is on SyFy -- it's just similar to Pawn Stars, but with Hollywood memorabilia.

Storage Wars is on A&E,so I guess it's affiliated enough with History ..

I defer to your discretion on the matter. If you feel they offer a legitimate look at history in keeping with the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, then count 'em.

I missed the news that 'animal/nature shows' are now included for this year... guess I can watch my 'Flying Monsters 3D' bluray I just got.

are there wild cards this challenge?

Natural history docs were always eligible, at least as I recall. Pretty much any doc is fine, really, because by virtue of being a work of non-fiction it offers a look at the history of some subject in some way or another.

We do allow three wild cards (which I think I'm going to reduce to one next year), but given how broad the scope of this challenge is it's hard to imagine anyone finding something that's even remotely eligible that you can't just count anyway. So far the only real use of the wild card has been to watch a new release movie that isn't necessarily a historical film but is at least a period film. I've taken to calling this "The X-Men: First Class Claus."

While I'm on the subject, I saw a preview screening of the new Pixar movie, Brave, last night. It's definitely more suitable for next month's Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge, but if anyone is set on seeing it when it opens next Friday and wants to count it as a wild card choice, that's fine with me. It won't be eligible in this challenge next year.

Undeadcow
06-15-12, 11:24 PM
I'm trying to decide if Synapse Films' release of the exploitation cheapie Thou Shall Not Kill... Except that centers on 1969 era Vietnam vets facing off against drug crazed counter-culture cult should count. Maybe it's wild card material.

Otherwise I am planning Mission in Action 1/2 for some more Vietnam era tomfoolery.

BobO'Link
06-16-12, 11:39 AM
On the checklist items which read:

"Watch a film"
"Watch 5 movies"

I'm assuming "Watch a film" includes documentaries and "Watch 5 movies" excludes documentary films. Is that correct?

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-16-12, 11:54 AM
I think we should change it to a Historical-lite challenge. I'm not saying it's bad or anything but it seems to be easier to find things that don't count, rather than do. As long as something takes place prior to today, it seems to be fair game or could be argued. I wouldn't watch Night of the Living Dead or E.T. for a historical challenge but in the current rule set, I don't see why it wouldn't count as zeitgeist.

After I finish 3 westerns, I'm going to practice what I preach and switch to some historic classics set that Mill Creek put out.

Undeadcow
06-17-12, 12:04 AM
I think we should change it to a Historical-lite challenge. I'm not saying it's bad or anything but it seems to be easier to find things that don't count, rather than do. As long as something takes place prior to today, it seems to be fair game or could be argued. I wouldn't watch Night of the Living Dead or E.T. for a historical challenge but in the current rule set, I don't see why it wouldn't count as zeitgeist.

After I finish 3 westerns, I'm going to practice what I preach and switch to some historic classics set that Mill Creek put out.

If the original intent was to combine War movie and Western challenges then this proposal works. Many westerns are pulp junk (albiet still fun). I agree that considering historical inaccuracies inherent to facual erosion over time (history is told by the winners) and dramatic license it's debateable how accurate any film could be.

Travis McClain
06-17-12, 11:15 AM
I think we should change it to a Historical-lite challenge. I'm not saying it's bad or anything but it seems to be easier to find things that don't count, rather than do. As long as something takes place prior to today, it seems to be fair game or could be argued. I wouldn't watch Night of the Living Dead or E.T. for a historical challenge but in the current rule set, I don't see why it wouldn't count as zeitgeist.

I had hoped to hold off on this discussion until after the challenge, but since you bring it up I guess now is as good a time as any. This year, I dropped the ball by not starting the discussion thread in nearly enough time. To be honest, I've become fatigued by all the various fringe requests. It's my feeling that the basic checklist (which is going to be noticeably overhauled for next year) is generous and enough that there really shouldn't be any use for wild cards at all anyway.

Since last year, we've added two new challenges. I've erred on the side of inclusion last year and this for the sake of building an annual interest in this challenge but next year will be its fourth year. With those two additional challenges, my view is that henceforth if it's eligible for any other challenge (except TV on DVD*, Academy Awards and Criterion), then it is ineligible for this one.

That said, because there (should be) a greater instance of watching epics during this challenge, view counts aren't really emphasized here so it really shouldn't be too much of an issue whether someone's list includes a lot of questionable items. Such content doesn't really count toward the checklist, except one selection can be the "zeitgeist film."

My intention is to formally make ineligible a lot of content next year, and to revamp the checklist. Instead of view counts, the checklist will become the challenge here. This takes the onus away from counting some often very high run times and places it on focusing on content specific to the spirit of our challenge.

For instance:


Noirs - now that we have a Crime Challenge, these should be watched then.
Martial arts - Drive-In/B-Movie/Exploitation Challenge is their natural home. However, I am planning to include Samurai films as a sub-section of the checklist next year, owing to their being analogs of Westerns.
Documentaries - Will actually be formally incorporated into the checklist as a sub-category, but will be narrowed in scope.
Wild Cards - None next year.


If the original intent was to combine War movie and Western challenges then this proposal works. Many westerns are pulp junk (albiet still fun). I agree that considering historical inaccuracies inherent to facual erosion over time (history is told by the winners) and dramatic license it's debateable how accurate any film could be.

We already had that discussion when we first proposed this challenge three years ago, but the short answer is that this is why I've insisted it be called the "Historical Appreciation Challenge" and not the "Historical Challenge." "Appreciation" makes it clearer that this challenge is in the spirit of celebrating the past, whereas calling it the "Historical Challenge" suggests a more formal emphasis on study, etc.

Greg MacGuffin
06-17-12, 11:56 AM
I like it. Some of the other challenges have become so expansive that it sort of defeats the purpose of even having a challenge. This one in particular, I think, benefits from being more limited and specific.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-17-12, 01:13 PM
I like it. Some of the other challenges have become so expansive that it sort of defeats the purpose of even having a challenge. This one in particular, I think, benefits from being more limited and specific.

I agree with this. I also think you can't exclude titles just because they're eligible for other challenges. That would mean excluding war films, since they're more than likely eligible for the action challenge. There's also a lot of good history shows and films on TV, which counts for the TV challenge.

I think there needs to be a limit towards how much influence a historic event has towards the overall story. X-Men: First Class has part of it during the missile crisis but that's not really what the movie's about.

Leeway towards accuracy should be a given. There's enough films out there that take place during certain events, like a specific battle, that are horribly inaccurate but I think that sort of thing should be allowed. I've always found it interesting to watch something like that to see what liberations they've taken with what actually happened or using it as a starting point to learn more about events and then laughing at how wrong it was. Plus there's always debate on how things actually were, so the truth might be somewhere in the middle.

Travis McClain
06-17-12, 01:37 PM
I agree with this. I also think you can't exclude titles just because they're eligible for other challenges. That would mean excluding war films, since they're more than likely eligible for the action challenge.

War films are part of the nucleus of this challenge. They will always be accepted here, despite also being eligible for the Action Challenge (which I admit I forgot about until just now).

There's also a lot of good history shows and films on TV, which counts for the TV challenge.

I already noted that it wouldn't be an issue for anything that's also eligible for the TV on DVD*, Academy Awards and Criterion Challenges. Those are challenges not focused on the actual content.

I think there needs to be a limit towards how much influence a historic event has towards the overall story. X-Men: First Class has part of it during the missile crisis but that's not really what the movie's about.

Yeah, I've decided to close the First Class loophole after this year. Presently, it has existed to allow for participants to watch new release movies that are admittedly peripheral. It's been kind of an allowance for the fact our challenge takes place in June during the summer movie season. Going forward, though, I don't think there's anything wrong with closing that door.

Leeway towards accuracy should be a given. There's enough films out there that take place during certain events, like a specific battle, that are horribly inaccurate but I think that sort of thing should be allowed. I've always found it interesting to watch something like that to see what liberations they've taken with what actually happened or using it as a starting point to learn more about events and then laughing at how wrong it was. Plus there's always debate on how things actually were, so the truth might be somewhere in the middle.

There are so many accuracy hairs that we could split that it would require a panel of historians to scrutinize everything to create a truly "safe" list. My feeling on the matter is that as long as the film is plausible (i.e., no steampunk or supernatural content) and makes prominent use of setting then that's sufficient for our purposes here. Ideally, participants would follow up on what they watch and learn more about the historical record of depicted events, eras, etc., but that's not something we can really require.

Ash Ketchum
06-17-12, 08:41 PM
What about animated content? I have way more animation than I can watch in August and wanted to include some here. Certainly, "Rurouni Kenshin" and its "Samurai X" spin-offs would be eligible because they're so rooted in very specific historical events in Japanese history. I have a ton of Japanese animated series based on famous novels from the west, e.g. "Tom Sawyer," "Little Women," and "Dog of Flanders" and I wanted to watch some of those episodes for this. There are several WWII-themed animated films based on real life-stories: GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES, BAREFOOT GEN, RAIL OF THE STAR, KAYOKO'S DIARY. Not to mention an anime version of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.

There are all sorts of ninja and samurai anime titles, some, like DAGGER OF KAMUI, firmly rooted in history, although I would leave out the ones with supernatural content (e.g. NINJA SCROLL and BLOOD REIGN: CURSE OF THE YOMA) or futuristic content (BLACK LION).

As for kung fu, quite a number of those are set in specific historic time periods and involve historical characters and events, such as those involving Shaolin Temple and the battles by famous rebels Fong Sai Yuk and Hung Si Kwan against the Qing oppressors. Wong Fei Hung was a historical figure of more recent vintage (1847-1924) and is the subject of numerous kung fu films, some of which are more loosely based on his life than others. But then one can argue the same thing about westerns about such figures as Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Travis McClain
06-17-12, 10:19 PM
What about animated content? I have way more animation than I can watch in August and wanted to include some here.

Animated films have been accepted and even encouraged in the past here, the hope being that participants might use them as a means of introducing their young ones at home to the events of the past. If you're asking about next year, just hold off on that. We can discuss these matters when this year's challenge is over.

As for kung fu, quite a number of those are set in specific historic time periods and involve historical characters and events...

Again, they're already in for this year and we'll discuss future challenges at a later time.

But then one can argue the same thing about westerns about such figures as Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

:doh:

ororama
06-17-12, 11:46 PM
Martial arts - Drive-In/B-Movie/Exploitation Challenge is their natural home. However, I am planning to include Samurai films as a sub-section of the checklist next year, owing to their being analogs of Westerns.


I feel that kung fu movies don't fit the Drive-In/B-Movie/Exploitation Challenge, at least as I watch them (in the original language with subtitles). I probably said this in a discussion of this issue in a previous year, but I view them as Chinese equivalents of the western, as samurai films are Japanese equivalents of the western.

Discussion after this challenge is over should be interesting and could be useful. I don't understand how film noir became generally acceptable in this challenge (unless it was just exhaustion with the repeated inquiries about it) and zeitgeist is the exception that swallows the rule-it's anything that anyone wants it to be.

Travis McClain
06-17-12, 11:55 PM
...and zeitgeist is the exception that swallows the rule-it's anything that anyone wants it to be.

There are two kinds of sources: primary and secondary. Primary sources are those artifacts from a given era that give us insight into the people who lived then and there. Secondary sources are those commentaries made by other people from the outside looking in. The argument is that some movies are so consciously of their own times that they exist as a primary source for understanding their eras. Because they're not made after the fact, they would otherwise be ineligible here under the must-be-set-in-a-time-before-its-actual-production clause.

ororama
06-18-12, 01:43 AM
The one movie in my list (so far) that I didn't expect to qualify for this challenge was The Virgin Suicides. I watched Lost In Translation this month, and wanted to watch The Virgin Suicides first. I didn't realize that it was primarily set in the mid-1970s until I was watching it.

I didn't feel that the movie was overly concerned about the period details, although a lot of the music was the Top 40 pop of the time (we really needed the punk that began to get played on the radio about a year after this), and when I saw Josh Hartnett's hair, I was reminded of a couple of my friends from high school.

I assume that Sofia Coppola's aim was to tell a story relevant to contemporary teenagers, and I doubted whether this movie fit this challenge except in the most technical sense, but then I thought about it some more. I was about the age of the younger Lisbon sisters in the mid-1970s, and the process of deciding whether to include this movie in my list made me think back to that time. I knew a girl, who was a few years older than me, who killed herself then. I suspect that Coppola successfully conveyed the emotional world of the novel (which I have not read), and for me she captured the emotional feel of high school in this time, while still producing a work relevant for today's teenagers.

For the above reasons, The Virgin Suicides worked as a historical movie for me, as well as a reminder (as my wife sometimes observes when I comment on the price of hamburgers or gasoline) that this was a long time ago and I'm getting old.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-18-12, 11:58 AM
Discussion after this challenge is over should be interesting and could be useful. I don't understand how film noir became generally acceptable in this challenge (unless it was just exhaustion with the repeated inquiries about it) and zeitgeist is the exception that swallows the rule-it's anything that anyone wants it to be.

Noir came in with zeitgeist, since many of them are a product of the times. I think for a lot of people, they take zeitgeist to include much more than it actually does.

Ash Ketchum
06-18-12, 03:28 PM
Louis Jourdan is still with us and turns 91 tomorrow. TCM is running a bunch of his films, including some that are eligible for this challenge (AMAZONS OF ROME, MADAME BOVARY, DANGEROUS EXILE). I'll try and watch one of those or LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN. I watched one of his films for this challenge on Saturday: ANNE OF THE INDIES (1951), an unsung pirate movie with a great Jean Peters in the title role.


From MADAME BOVARY (1949):
http://www.acertaincinema.com/workspace/media/optimized-louis-jourdan-bovary.jpg

That'sAllFolks
06-19-12, 01:55 PM
I have often complained in these challenge discussion threads that they are way too inclusive.

My opinion: No film should be included unless it depicts an event that occurred PRIOR to the making of the film. Just because a film is made in the 1930's does not qualify it as a HISTORICAL film. That event should be an actual historical event ... and should not be a side note to the story (like X-Men First Class), but should be a major event in the story. That would exclude many Westerns, since though they depict a past time, it is still a fictional event. The only grey area I can see is a fictional film set in an actual historical war -- like MASH ... but my tendency would be to exclude them if they don't center around an actual historical event in the war.

davidh777
06-19-12, 02:04 PM
War films are part of the nucleus of this challenge. They will always be accepted here, despite also being eligible for the Action Challenge (which I admit I forgot about until just now).

It would have to be a specific war, correct? Rather than, say, Act of Valor, which is a military film but not about a war.

I have often complained in these challenge discussion threads that they are way too inclusive.

My opinion: No film should be included unless it depicts an event that occurred PRIOR to the making of the film. Just because a film is made in the 1930's does not qualify it as a HISTORICAL film. That event should be an actual historical event ... and should not be a side note to the story (like X-Men First Class), but should be a major event in the story. That would exclude many Westerns, since though they depict a past time, it is still a fictional event. The only grey area I can see is a fictional film set in an actual historical war -- like MASH ... but my tendency would be to exclude them if they don't center around an actual historical event in the war.

My preference is for looser rules just because I use the challenges as a way to catch up on unwatched items. So I would favor costume dramas even if they don't depict a particular historical event. However, I agree that it doesn't make sense to include films noir that depict a period that was contemporary to them at that time.

Travis McClain
06-19-12, 02:18 PM
I have often complained in these challenge discussion threads that they are way too inclusive.

My opinion: No film should be included unless it depicts an event that occurred PRIOR to the making of the film. Just because a film is made in the 1930's does not qualify it as a HISTORICAL film. That event should be an actual historical event ... and should not be a side note to the story (like X-Men First Class), but should be a major event in the story. That would exclude many Westerns, since though they depict a past time, it is still a fictional event. The only grey area I can see is a fictional film set in an actual historical war -- like MASH ... but my tendency would be to exclude them if they don't center around an actual historical event in the war.

Duly noted. I'll address matters of specificity for future challenges more thoroughly in a couple of weeks.

It would have to be a specific war, correct? Rather than, say, Act of Valor, which is a military film but not about a war.

Was this a question for this year's challenge or about hypothetical tighter restrictions going forward?

davidh777
06-19-12, 02:21 PM
Was this a question for this year's challenge or about hypothetical tighter restrictions going forward?

It was originally formulated as a question for this year, but what little I read about Act of Valor makes it pretty clear (to me) that it wouldn't qualify so it's more of a long-term clarification (war, but not military).

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-19-12, 03:20 PM
I have often complained in these challenge discussion threads that they are way too inclusive.

I agree on this particular challenge. The other challenges are broad enough to carry everything else.

I view this challenge as the opposite of the Make Your Own Challenge.

Travis McClain
06-19-12, 03:39 PM
It was originally formulated as a question for this year, but what little I read about Act of Valor makes it pretty clear (to me) that it wouldn't qualify so it's more of a long-term clarification (war, but not military).

Previously, I was of the mind that "War" was acceptably synonymous with military films in general. Now that we have an Action Challenge, though, I guess it's fair to reexamine the breadth of our scope here. My original thought on the matter was that this was basically the Cowboys & Soldiers Challenge and I wasn't terribly concerned about those military films that weren't set during a specific war. This will require some consideration.

davidh777
06-19-12, 04:04 PM
Previously, I was of the mind that "War" was acceptably synonymous with military films in general. Now that we have an Action Challenge, though, I guess it's fair to reexamine the breadth of our scope here. My original thought on the matter was that this was basically the Cowboys & Soldiers Challenge and I wasn't terribly concerned about those military films that weren't set during a specific war. This will require some consideration.

That's pretty much what I was thinking, but changed my mind when I read the guidelines. It kind of raises questions on numerous titles: Red Dawn (fantasy? zeitgeist?), Taps (probably not), Rambo?

Travis McClain
06-19-12, 04:04 PM
I'm late on my updates, but I have now finally seen the Dollars/Man with No Name Trilogy! I shared my thoughts on A Fistful of Dollars earlier in this thread. Here are my thoughts on For a Few Dollars More (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/for-a-few-dollars-more/) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/) (links go to my Letterboxd reviews, quoted here for your convenience).

For a Few Dollars More
Not a lot to really say about this one. I really liked Lee Van Cleef as the seasoned veteran showing Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name how it's done and it was fun to watch them play off one another. I'm given to understand that the conservative Eastwood wasn't very interested in Van Cleef's overtures of friendliness while making the picture. It does imbue the film with a sense of reluctance and apprehension that suits the characters very well, but it's also a shame if true.

A Fistful of Dollars often felt to me like Reservoir Dogs; namely, like a glorified play rather than a film. For a Few Dollars More is clearly a movie, though, with a bigger budget and a greater awareness of giving the viewer "movie moments." It's all about stunts, gags and machismo here, trading the first film's character intrigue for the reluctant team-up.

It's a fun movie, maybe a bit more so than its predecessor in the trilogy. I did miss Eastwood's wry dialog from the first picture. There's nothing like seeking an apology on behalf of his mule here.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
At long last, I have finally seen the entirety of Leone's "Dollars/Man with No Name" Trilogy. I was initially a bit confused whether Lee Van Cleef was reprising his role from For a Few Dollars More, but quickly cottoned onto the idea that this was a separate character. A shame, because I really enjoyed his performance as Col. Douglas Mortimer. Incidentally, that character having been a Civil War "veteran" suggests that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is a prequel to the other two films.

What struck me most about this picture was the morally ambivalent cruelty. In A Fistful of Dollars, "Joe" is an opportunist but he has a code of conduct. In the sequel, he's nearly heroic. Here, though, he's a selfish user. More evidence of the film being a prequel? I can't say, but it would make sense.

Ultimately, I'm not sure I really even have anything to say about this film. I didn't expect it to be nearly 3 hours! There were some interesting sequences and character content, but I wasn't really wowed by this one. It's touted as one of the greatest Westerns ever made, and the single greatest spaghetti Western but I'm of the mind it's not even the greatest of the Dollars Trilogy; I favor For a Few Dollars More.

For a Few Dollars More
Watch a film that takes place during a century prior to the 20th Century (19th Century)
WESTERN - Watch a Clint Eastwood Western

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Watch a film that takes place during a century prior to the 20th Century (19th Century)
WAR - Watch 5 movies that take place during different American wars (Civil War)
WESTERN - Watch a Clint Eastwood Western

Travis McClain
06-19-12, 04:12 PM
That's pretty much what I was thinking, but changed my mind when I read the guidelines. It kind of raises questions on numerous titles: Red Dawn (fantasy? zeitgeist?), Taps (probably not), Rambo?

Alas, I've yet to see a single one of your examples but I know enough that your point is well taken. As I've noted previously, I'm of the mind that the advent of the Action Challenge allows us to become more discerning about such matters.

Since so much of the discussion thread the last page or so has been dominated by concerns over shoring up our eligibility standards, I'm curious to know how everyone feels about their own selections to date. Have you watched something expecting it to fit the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, but then felt it strayed too far? Have you changed your mind any about what the nature of this challenge is (or should be) because of something you've watched?

Ash Ketchum
06-19-12, 04:26 PM
I'm late on my updates, but I have now finally seen the Dollars/Man with No Name Trilogy! I shared my thoughts on A Fistful of Dollars earlier in this thread. Here are my thoughts on For a Few Dollars More (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/for-a-few-dollars-more/) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/) (links go to my Letterboxd reviews, quoted here for your convenience).

For a Few Dollars More


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


For a Few Dollars More
Watch a film that takes place during a century prior to the 20th Century (19th Century)
WESTERN - Watch a Clint Eastwood Western

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Watch a film that takes place during a century prior to the 20th Century (19th Century)
WAR - Watch 5 movies that take place during different American wars (Civil War)
WESTERN - Watch a Clint Eastwood Western

Question: which version of GOOD, BAD, UGLY did you see? The theatrical cut we saw here in the U.S. remains my favorite Leone. (I should point out I've seen every Leone western in theaters, either on initial release or reissue a couple years later.) The version that was "restored" about 9 or 10 years ago was, IMHO, an atrocity. The scenes that were put back in completely destroyed Leone's beautiful rhythms while not adding anything of value to the film. If that's the version you saw, I can understand your ambivalence.

Also, it helps to see these films in theaters with appreciative audiences. I remember seeing GOOD, BAD, UGLY on a triple bill with THE WILD BUNCH and BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE some 40 years ago and the crowd applauded three times during the credits of GBU: for Eli Wallach, Ennio Morricone, and Sergio Leone. We used to go to quadruple bills in Times Square that ran all three films in the "Dollars" trilogy plus Eastwood's first starring American western, HANG 'EM HIGH.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-19-12, 04:48 PM
Red Dawn (fantasy? zeitgeist?)

Zeitgeist. We were living in the cold war at the time. It wasn't the first time we had a movie dealing with the red scare where the commies invade and take over America. 60 years ago we had the film Invasion USA.

I think Red Dawn is a decent example of zeitgeist.

davidh777
06-19-12, 05:07 PM
Alas, I've yet to see a single one of your examples but I know enough that your point is well taken. As I've noted previously, I'm of the mind that the advent of the Action Challenge allows us to become more discerning about such matters.

I haven't seen Red Dawn or Rambo either. :lol: Taps I would recommend for general viewing, but unless we're going really broadly military it wouldn't qualify. Military academies are by nature sort of timeless (I've never attended one so this is just my impression) so I don't think you'd count Officer and a Gentlemen, Lords of Discipline, Cadet Kelly, etc.

Trevor
06-19-12, 08:40 PM
Just got home from a little family vacation. Two days with family in New Jersey, then two days doing touristy things in NYC. Anyone have any documentaries to recommend on the area/city?

Did the Empire State Building last night, and am searching for docs on it as soon as I post this.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-19-12, 09:23 PM
Just got home from a little family vacation. Two days with family in New Jersey, then two days doing touristy things in NYC. Anyone have any documentaries to recommend on the area/city?

Did the Empire State Building last night, and am searching for docs on it as soon as I post this.

September 11 films and the documentary known as Ghostbusters and it's sequel.

davidh777
06-19-12, 09:32 PM
There was also the NY miniseries by Burns-not-Ken

Travis McClain
06-20-12, 04:36 AM
Question: which version of GOOD, BAD, UGLY did you see?

The DVD that the library has is this (http://www.amazon.com/The-Good-Ugly-Clint-Eastwood/dp/6304698798) 1-disc edition from 1998. There are some scenes that were only in the Italian cut, but they're presented individually as bonus content and not added to the film itself. Run time is 161 minutes.

Also, it helps to see these films in theaters with appreciative audiences. I remember seeing GOOD, BAD, UGLY on a triple bill with THE WILD BUNCH and BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE some 40 years ago and the crowd applauded three times during the credits of GBU: for Eli Wallach, Ennio Morricone, and Sergio Leone. We used to go to quadruple bills in Times Square that ran all three films in the "Dollars" trilogy plus Eastwood's first starring American western, HANG 'EM HIGH.

That brings up a subject I'm planning to explore in a blog post soon, actually, about the appeal of seeing classic/catalog films in a theater.

Ash Ketchum
06-20-12, 05:59 AM
The DVD that the library has is this (http://www.amazon.com/The-Good-Ugly-Clint-Eastwood/dp/6304698798) 1-disc edition from 1998. There are some scenes that were only in the Italian cut, but they're presented individually as bonus content and not added to the film itself. Run time is 161 minutes.



So you saw the right version. Sorry it didn't bowl you over. Maybe if your first screening of it was in a theater...
I've seen it well over a dozen times over the years, either in theaters, on VHS or DVD. I have gotten tired of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, though.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-20-12, 11:21 AM
Have you watched something expecting it to fit the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, but then felt it strayed too far? Have you changed your mind any about what the nature of this challenge is (or should be) because of something you've watched?

I was going to watch some noir once I finished my westerns but I changed my mind and started watching things based on history and not just films that take place prior to today and calling them eligible. Even then, I felt slightly dirty counting David Copperfield. What's the difference between a costume drama and a western? Less drama and more action is about it.

Travis McClain
06-20-12, 02:04 PM
So you saw the right version. Sorry it didn't bowl you over. Maybe if your first screening of it was in a theater...
I've seen it well over a dozen times over the years, either in theaters, on VHS or DVD. I have gotten tired of FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, though.

C'est la vie. Perhaps it will grow on me. It wouldn't be the first time I was unimpressed by something that later I counted among my favorites.

I was going to watch some noir once I finished my westerns but I changed my mind and started watching things based on history and not just films that take place prior to today and calling them eligible. Even then, I felt slightly dirty counting David Copperfield. What's the difference between a costume drama and a western? Less drama and more action is about it.

The original novel by Dickens shows Copperfield born 1820 and follows his life from there. It was serialized from 1849-1850, and was subsequently collected and published as a novel. I'm reminded of Mr. Holland's Opus, which followed the teaching career of the titular character across a few decades comparable in scope to the life story of Copperfield. How would you feel about Opus for our challenge?

I would take this opportunity to note that three years ago, I was against the inclusion of costume dramas as part of the challenge. I also resisted zeitgeist films until this year. In fact, going through our 2010 discussion thread (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/573321-june-2010-history-film-challenge-discussion-thread.html) I'm reminded how many of these issues of eligibility became frustrating matters in the first place. I've come to favor all-inclusiveness mostly because the argument was made that my original scope was "too limited" and that I was attempting to impose too academic a perspective on this challenge. Do we feel differently now?

Also, I just realized that in addition to forgetting to comment on making my way through the Dollars/Man with No Name Trilogy, I've failed to post my thoughts on Grey Owl...

Travis McClain
06-20-12, 02:14 PM
Monday, I watched Grey Owl. I've owned the DVD for several years now but never got around to watching it. In fact, it's even more embarrassing than that. I've started a virtual movie club through Facebook where we watch and discuss one movie weekly and last week, this was the film I selected. I wasn't even on time for my own movie club! Anyway, here are my remarks as posted on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/grey-owl/).

SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE RECEIVING EMAIL UPDATES

Having now seen it, the casting of Brosnan actually does make sense. I've avoided researching Grey Owl to avoid spoiling the movie, but I confess I've kind of been squeamish about seeing it. I love Pierce Brosnan - he may actually be my favorite actor out there today - but this just seemed disingenuous and "off" to me.

Grey Owl was released in 1999, I think about six months before The World Is Not Enough (Brosnan's third Bond). I'm not sure I agree [with a friend of mine] that this is a particularly different kind of performance from him. There were a lot of undertones here that felt very familiar. Sure, Archie has different ambitions and such from other Brosnan characters, but there's still a very recognizable jaw-clenching, I-don't-have-time-for-this attitude. I think of the scene in The Thomas Crown Affair when Rene Russo gets out of the car and he runs after her, proposing that she go on the lam with him, or the early part of The World Is Not Enough where Bond confronts M about sealing Elektra King's file.

I was also pretty distracted by Annie Galipeau's dialect/accent. During her particularly emotional scenes, she sounded like a deaf woman which I found really peculiar.

I'm of the mind that this film needed another half an hour or so. Too many key scenes happened so quickly that they became perfunctory and lost their emotional impact. It was like there was a checklist that had to be ticked off as quickly as possible. My favorite scenes in the whole picture are the ones at the cabin with the beavers. Those scenes didn't feel so rushed and I was able to really get into them.

The DVD is loaded with bonus content including two different commentary tracks (one with Richard Attenborough, who directed; the other is with Jake Eberts, who produced); two vintage shorts with the real Archie Grey Owl, a pair of featurettes about the movie, some interviews and the DVD-ROM bonus content includes the screenplay, a biography of Grey Owl and some other stuff. I haven't checked out any of it yet, but I'm rather curious about it all now.

Grey Owl
GENERAL - Bio Pic (Archie Grey Owl)
GENERAL - Film about minority rights (prominent minority figure, civil rights, etc.) (Archie Grey Owl; Native Canadians)
DECADES - Watch a film set--but not produced--during five different decades no more recent than the 1980s (1930s)
BIO PIC - Bio Pic of a Historical Person (Archie Grey Owl)
BIO PIC - Watch a Bio Pic about a prominent woman, minority or LGBT figure (Archie Grey Owl)

Regardless of what other revisions to the eligibility standards we adopt, that Bio Pic category needs some serious revision. "Bio Pic of a Historical Person" is possibly the most extraneous checklist item we've ever had for any challenge.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-20-12, 02:38 PM
How would you feel about Opus for our challenge?

I have an irrational hatred for that movie because I saw it on an airline flight. About 5-10 minutes in, the tape would get messed up and they would rewind it and start it from the beginning. They kept doing this over and over. It would die in the same spot and they'd keep trying. That being said, I guess they'd both be fine since they're basically biographies.

I guess I'm not really against all costume dramas, as long as they're decently connected to a historic even. I'm also not really that against zeitgeist as long as we aren't stretching the definition like silly putty just to include something.

mrcellophane
06-20-12, 07:46 PM
Watched The Agony and the Ecstasy in which Charlton Heston is a terribly bombastic Michelangelo and Rex Harrison is a terribly British Pope. I wasn’t expecting the film to delve into the codependent relationship between the two men.

A few days ago, I broke open my Oliver Stone box set and watched the director’s cut of Nixon (1995) for the first time. It was captivating, and I was quickly pulled into the story. I find Stone to be hit or miss as a director, and this film was definitely in the former category. The non-linear storytelling was quite effective, and Stone’s use of montage is wonderful, especially in the added scene with Sam Waterston as Richard Helms. Since I enjoyed the Stone film so much, I decided to watch Frost/Nixon again and found it just as enthralling as the first time I watched it.

I must confess that I didn’t really become conscious of politics until the last part of Clinton’s first term when I was around sixteen and haven’t really done much reading about American politics. So my understanding of Nixon and Watergate is pretty much shaped by a couple of American history surveys I took as an undergrad and fictional representations such as All the President’s Men and Futurama commentaries. I wonder just how accurate the films are in their portrayal of Nixon.

I also watched Men in Black 3 which quite accurately portrays the Boglodite debacle of 1969. Brilliant attention to detail.

Travis McClain
06-20-12, 08:25 PM
...my understanding of Nixon and Watergate is pretty much shaped by a couple of American history surveys I took as an undergrad and fictional representations such as All the President’s Men and Futurama commentaries. I wonder just how accurate the films are in their portrayal of Nixon.

Nixon is one of my favorite figures to study, actually. There's something fascinating to me about someone with his potential becoming prey to such obvious foibles as the ones that felled his presidency and cast such a pall across not only his legacy, but over American politics for the last few decades. Even the skeptical Founding Fathers weren't as suspicious of government as many became after Watergate.

I highly recommend David Gergen's Eyewitness to Power, in which he profiles the presidencies for which he worked from Nixon through Reagan, and then briefly for Clinton. His insights into the Nixon administration are particularly intriguing. I'm a political wonk but I think Gergen's style is pretty accessible to casual readers.

The thing about Nixon is that he was so complex that pretty much any portrayal you may have seen is at least mostly accurate. Go back to the 1952 campaign, when he was Eisenhower's running mate. In September, just two months before the election, the press begins raising questions about whether Nixon - an outspoken critic of corruption, ironically enough - had himself been the beneficiary of improper campaign contributions. Ike is willing to throw him under the bus if it means appeasing his constituents. Nixon goes off on his own and gives "The Checkers Speech," managing to portray himself as a blue collar guy trying to do the right thing. It strikes a chord with the American public and all of a sudden, Nixon goes from being potential dead weight to Ike to instead being the hit of the whole campaign!

It's the perfect microcosm for studying him, though. You've got the irony of the association of Nixon with dubious campaign tactics, obviously, but there's also the matter of his populist persona. He really wasn't a man of the people, of course. He had blue collar roots but he didn't belong in the same part of the world as Joe Q. Public any more than he belonged in the realm of the political elites and intelligentsia who publicly scorned him.

There's the old Native American parable in which the man tells his son that there are two wolves within each of us; one of peace the other of turmoil. "Which one wins?" asks the boy. "Whichever you feed," says his father. Nixon had two very powerful wolves, and while I don't mean to suggest making excuses for him or anything of that sort, I am certain after studying him as I have done that his greatest failure was in surrounding himself with people who fed the wrong wolf.

I also watched Men in Black 3 which quite accurately portrays the Boglodite debacle of 1969. Brilliant attention to detail.

Given how prolifically that was documented at the time, they would have had no excuse for failing to properly depict it.

davidh777
06-21-12, 03:38 AM
Thoughts on Pixar's Brave?

SPOILER ELEMENT BELOW

It's set in 10th-century Scotland, and does provide a glimpse of life at that time. However, the main thrust of the movie is probably fantasy so I'm sort of leaning against it.

Undeadcow
06-21-12, 11:45 AM
Maybe it strays too close to camp and fantasy action but the Missing in Action films are better than I thought they would be, especially part 2. As a kid I remember hearing about "missing in action" soldiers from Vietnam. One of my best friend's father was a Vietname helicopter pilot who had a black MIA sticker on the front door that always stood out to me. Granted these films are silly with Chuck Norris basically shrugging his shoulders and superhumanly disposing of anything standing in the way of the credits they were themselves time capsules from era of cheap 80s action.

Ash Ketchum
06-21-12, 05:34 PM
I was at an anime convention two weeks ago which featured an appearance by a Japanese pop music group I adore. I was with tons of other fans of this group celebrating this particular aspect of Japanese pop culture.

Since then, I've watched a few documentaries about World War II for this challenge, including several that recount the horrible brutality of the Japanese during the war. I realized how little I actually knew about the Pacific War, so I went to the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan and found three books offering overviews of the Pacific War and bought them.

Today, I watched THREE CAME HOME (1950), which tells the true story of one woman's account of life in a Japanese prison camp during the war. It doesn't flinch on the cruelty with which the captors treated their civilian women prisoners. There is torture and an attempted rape, pretty strong stuff for a Hollywood movie from 1950. I'm impressed that they didn't try to soften things in the interest of postwar peace. Sure, there's a cultured Japanese commandant (Sessue Hayakawa) who went to school in the U.S. who befriends the protagonist, chiefly because she's an author and he'd read her book. But he does nothing to ameliorate her circumstances or try to provide more food and medicine to her and her fellow prisoners and their children. The men under him act with impunity and regularly brutalize the prisoners and force them to work hard hours on a small amount of food per day. We're asked to feel some sympathy for the commandant late in the film, but I didn't feel any. He got what he deserved.

Everytime I see something like this (or read a book like "The Rape of Nanking," by Iris Chang) I get angry at the Japanese all over again and wish we'd dropped even more bombs on them. But if we'd done all that, today we might not have all the anime and J-pop I love so much. Such is the painful, schizophrenic world of Ash Ketchum.

THREE CAME HOME makes a good companion piece to EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987), another film about noncombatants held during the war by the Japanese, which I have to watch for this challenge. I've never seen it all the way through even though I read the book by J.G. Ballard that it's based on. I fear that Spielberg was completely unable to capture the desperate tone of Ballard's youthful experience as a prisoner of the Japanese. I worry that Spielberg will soften it in a way that the makers of THREE CAME HOME, 37 years earlier, had the courage not to do. It certainly seemed that way in the first hour, which I have watched.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-21-12, 06:51 PM
Everytime I see something like this (or read a book like "The Rape of Nanking," by Iris Chang) I get angry at the Japanese all over again and wish we'd dropped even more bombs on them. But if we'd done all that, today we might not have all the anime and J-pop I love so much. Such is the painful, schizophrenic world of Ash Ketchum.

If it makes you feel any better, I make sure to remind my wife of certain anniversaries, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor which lead to the downfall of her country.

pagefrance
06-21-12, 09:11 PM
I'm curious to know how everyone feels about their own selections to date. Have you watched something expecting it to fit the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, but then felt it strayed too far? Have you changed your mind any about what the nature of this challenge is (or should be) because of something you've watched?

I think all my selections have been very "Historical" with the exception of two that I watched to fill checklist items: Guinevere an Arthurian tale, for the "Folk hero / Mythological" category and a couple of Roy Rogers movies (whose historical content is null) for the "Singing cowboy" category.

I also believe the checklist should be pared down because there are some overlapping (or just plain repeated) categories. Such as:
In the GENERAL list we have "Documentary" and then below we have "Watch a documentary from each of the following...". This renders the "Documentary" in the GENERAL list redundant. The exact same thing goes for "Bio Pic" which is the GENERAL list and then below in its own BIO PIC list.
Again in the GENERAL section we have "Film about LGBT rights" and then below in the BIO PIC list we have "Watch a Bio Pic about a prominent woman, minority or LGBT figure". The "LGBT" is redundant in the second listing.

All these of course are suggestions for next year's list.

BobO'Link
06-21-12, 09:46 PM
Since so much of the discussion thread the last page or so has been dominated by concerns over shoring up our eligibility standards, I'm curious to know how everyone feels about their own selections to date.
I feel quite good about mine since it's been 100% documentary product other than that season of Maverick. I like westerns but don't necessarily consider them to be "historical" unless about a specific person/event. Because of that I felt that watching Maverick was a bit of a cheat but it *does* fit within current rules very comfortably.
Have you watched something expecting it to fit the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, but then felt it strayed too far?
Not at all.
Have you changed your mind any about what the nature of this challenge is (or should be) because of something you've watched?
No. But I *do* feel it's become a bit too loose. I'd like to see it restricted to documentaries or films about historical figures and/or events whether real or based on a legend (Robin Hood, Greek Gods, etc) although I'm not fully sure about "legendary" type films as many of them are fantasy and/or adventure films which fit in other challenges. After I read other comments I'm sure I'll change my mind a bit but generally feel qualifying titles must have a basis in actual historic events.

mrcellophane
06-21-12, 11:37 PM
Since so much of the discussion thread the last page or so has been dominated by concerns over shoring up our eligibility standards, I'm curious to know how everyone feels about their own selections to date. Have you watched something expecting it to fit the spirit of this challenge as you understand it, but then felt it strayed too far? Have you changed your mind any about what the nature of this challenge is (or should be) because of something you've watched?

I feel really good about my selections, but my view of the challenge may be a bit too inclusive. I'm not sure. A lot of my selections are not overly tied to specific historical events, but do explore a historical period. For example, the Young Indiana Jones series always figures in historical figures and events, and since the television show doesn't include any of the fantastical elements of the films, I included them. Of course, there is some tampering with history in some of my selections. A friend and I were talking about just how whitewashed Dr. Quinn is with issues such as racism and gender bias often "fixed" by the end of each episode.

I'm all for inclusion up to a point, but I can see the appeal of shoring up the standards. However, by limiting the challenge only to films overtly about historical events, I think you miss out on films that are about the nuances and themes of historical periods. For example, Foyle's War doesn't deal with historical events (though they do show up), but it does provide an interesting analysis of England during WWII. Often, the cases are the product of a society in wartime. The two episodes that I've watched recently delve into the paranoia, anger, and even the acceptance around a possible German invasion.

I highly recommend David Gergen's Eyewitness to Power, in which he profiles the presidencies for which he worked from Nixon through Reagan, and then briefly for Clinton. His insights into the Nixon administration are particularly intriguing. I'm a political wonk but I think Gergen's style is pretty accessible to casual readers.

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll look up the book next time I'm at the library. My ignorance of American history is really unforgivable. I basically have a timeline in my head, and it really needs to be fleshed out since history isn't a list of dates and names.

BobO'Link
06-22-12, 01:00 PM
...I'm all for inclusion up to a point, but I can see the appeal of shoring up the standards. However, by limiting the challenge only to films overtly about historical events, I think you miss out on films that are about the nuances and themes of historical periods. For example, Foyle's War doesn't deal with historical events (though they do show up), but it does provide an interesting analysis of England during WWII. Often, the cases are the product of a society in wartime. The two episodes that I've watched recently delve into the paranoia, anger, and even the acceptance around a possible German invasion...
That's why I'm somewhat "on the fence" about feeling "rigid" in the interpretation. There are dozens of examples like yours which *do* fit the feel and theme of the challenge and my overall feeling a title needs a basis in actual historic events. Many such titles don't truly fit anywhere else. It all comes down to how/where you draw the line.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-22-12, 01:17 PM
Maybe those sorts of things are what wild cards are for.

Trevor
06-22-12, 02:02 PM
I like the way this Challenge has been running and am more than ok with the same content counting for multiple Challenges. But then, I think I've always leaned to the extreme end of inclusivity.

Part of the joy of every Challenge, for me, has been the extreme diversity of content. I love looking at people's lists and seeing a marathon of content that I wouldn't have thought of for the month. We should be allowing people to watch what they want, as long as it is "close", IMO.

I know that having a uniformity of content to help foster a greater sense of community is the major goal of our Challenges, but I don't think it should bother us if a few participants seem to be "off book". Any western or war film should always count IMO, with each of us having the flexibility to shade the included genres towards our viewing preferences.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-22-12, 08:31 PM
Any western or war film should always count IMO

I don't think Wing Commander, Battlestar Galactica, or Oblivion should count ;)

ororama
06-23-12, 08:08 AM
I like the way this Challenge has been running and am more than ok with the same content counting for multiple Challenges. But then, I think I've always leaned to the extreme end of inclusivity.


This is my position on this issue as well.

There is something to be said for simplicity as well. The rules, prior to the zeitgeist ruling this year, were clear. Basically, war movies, westerns, biographies, movies set in the past and some types of documentaries counted (probably missed a few categories, but those were the major ones). If someone asked a question, it was either unnecessary, checklist- related (i.e., technical) or an attempt to include something that really didn't belong in the challenge.

There could be more discussion of the films that we watch. I'm trying to be better about including short comments about the movies that I'm watching in my list. But in my opinion a discussion quickly becomes dull and unreadable when it becomes a series of "Does this count" queries and replies. Changing the rules to require that movies be "historically accurate" or "historically based" not only invites that constant dialogue, it almost requires it. It also invites gamesmanship (you could make almost any movie that the judge hasn't seen sound like it fits the challenge, so unless you're going to research every movie that you're asked about...).

It seems like this is an "If it ain't broke..." situation. I would suggest that anyone who thinks that the rules need to be changed look at the lists that have been posted this year (and maybe in past years as well), and think about whether this challenge would be better next year with less participants and with less (but purer) movies included on most lists.

The zeitgeist rule, on the other hand, invites pointless argument about subjective issues, and lets in movies that have nothing to do with the original concept of the challenge. The film noir rule, for example, permits almost all contemporary American crime dramas made between 1941 and 1958 (utilizing the strictest definition of film noir) to be included. That's not an aberration, though-it's not unreasonable to say that film noir captures the zeitgeist of its era. Of course, one could say that screwball comedies capture the zeitgeist of the Depression, etc.

JOE29
06-23-12, 11:16 AM
Got to watch Geronimo An American Legend the other day. Loved it . I just wish that they would make more movies like this today.

Ash Ketchum
06-23-12, 01:14 PM
Today turned out to be "casual racism out west" day. First was SHANGHAI JOE, an Italian western about a Chinese kung fu fighter who goes to Texas where abuse is constantly heaped on him, and everyone calls him "Chink" or "yellow" or "slanty-eyed bastard," you name it. He then has to defend himself from one set of scuzzy killers after another, with Klaus Kinski, as Scalper Jack, being the scuzziest of them. (Or is it "Pedro the Cannibal"?)

Then, THE LONE RANGER, which compiles the origin episodes into feature format, and has poor Tonto constantly called "injun," even by his allies! At one point, he rides into town to get the sheriff for something and the sheriff ignores him because he's an Indian. Later, when he tries to get a posse of the sheriff's men to go rescue the sheriff, the men deliver racial slurs and insults and basically threaten to kill him if he doesn't leave town. And this is the series' second lead! And it's all so matter-of-fact.

This comes a day after EMPIRE OF THE SUN, in which the British colonials in Shanghai throw the "Chink" word around and regularly order their Chinese servants around--until the Japanese come in and throw them all in a prison camp.

This is why I like watching Hong Kong kung fu movies where the Chinese heroes routinely kick asses, including those of bigots (both white and Japanese).

Travis McClain
06-23-12, 01:53 PM
I also believe the checklist should be pared down because there are some overlapping (or just plain repeated) categories. Such as:
In the GENERAL list we have "Documentary" and then below we have "Watch a documentary from each of the following...". This renders the "Documentary" in the GENERAL list redundant. The exact same thing goes for "Bio Pic" which is the GENERAL list and then below in its own BIO PIC list.
Again in the GENERAL section we have "Film about LGBT rights" and then below in the BIO PIC list we have "Watch a Bio Pic about a prominent woman, minority or LGBT figure". The "LGBT" is redundant in the second listing.

All these of course are suggestions for next year's list.

Yeah, I meant to revise that going into this year but I dropped the ball entirely. Those will all be addressed for next year!

I'd like to see it restricted to documentaries or films about historical figures and/or events whether real or based on a legend (Robin Hood, Greek Gods, etc) although I'm not fully sure about "legendary" type films as many of them are fantasy and/or adventure films which fit in other challenges. After I read other comments I'm sure I'll change my mind a bit but generally feel qualifying titles must have a basis in actual historic events.

It's interesting to me that this is becoming such a prevailing view of this challenge in our third year. Duly noted!

Today turned out to be "casual racism out west" day.

I'm pretty sure just about any day of this challenge has the potential to be "Casual Racism Day." In fact, I think many of us become suspicious of movies about certain times and places that aren't casually racist!

Doc Moonlight
06-23-12, 02:10 PM
Just watched FEAR STRIKES OUT for the sport and sports bio categories on the checklist. This has to be the darkest sports bio ever made. Mental illness, father issues, pressure to perform, electro-shock therapy... I also think it's the only Red Sox-oriented film I ever saw where the words New York Yankees were not mentioned even once.

davidh777
06-23-12, 11:27 PM
I've already said I'm in favor of inclusion but like trevor and ororama's points. Just to elaborate further:

-I think it's kind of a bummer to have to research titles to see if they qualify. This is kind of a pain for the Oscar challenge. I usually make a mental or physical list for upcoming challenges, then it's disappointing to have to strike them because they don't qualify.

-It's kind of a spoiler to figure out if these qualify. My personal preference is to know as little as possible about a title going in, other than I want to watch it. One of the cool things about this challenge is that you might find a movie unexpectedly taking you in the direction of an actual historic event or dropping in a historical person. It'd be superawesome if I could think of an example at the moment, but then that might be a spoiler anyway. :p

-The more the merrier with these challenges, and more inclusion generally means more participation. There are few things sadder than a current challenge thread getting eclipsed by anticipatory comments on the next challenge. The Criterion challenge in September is the prime example of this. :(

Undeadcow
06-24-12, 12:09 AM
Watching 300, Alexander, and Troy it's interesting how mich overlap there is in character geneology and timeline. Next year I might be interested in setting up historical movie based on a chronology linking them together.

In Troy although Brad Pitt playing Archilles is flamboyant I enjoyed Troy more than i thought. The romance subplot is nonsensical and a transparent attempt to add characteriation but ultimately dragging down the film by not making sense. There's a good bit of intelligence in the script mocking "gods" which were emphasized in the traditional story.

Ash Ketchum
06-24-12, 06:46 AM
Watching 300, Alexander, and Troy it's interesting how mich overlap there is in character geneology and timeline. Next year I might be interested in setting up historical movie based on a chronology linking them together.

In Troy although Brad Pitt playing Archilles is flamboyant I enjoyed Troy more than i thought. The romance subplot is nonsensical and a transparent attempt to add characteriation but ultimately dragging down the film by not making sense. There's a good bit of intelligence in the script mocking "gods" which were emphasized in the traditional story.

You should follow up with HELEN OF TROY (1955), ALEXANDER THE GREAT (1956) and THE 300 SPARTANS (1962), just to get the old Hollywood approach to the same subjects.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-24-12, 09:26 PM
The Criterion challenge in September is the prime example of this. :(

To be fair, horror is way more accessible than Criterion. I know if I was in high school, there'd only be a handful of Criterions I'd be interested in and wouldn't take part in that challenge. There'd also be zero chance I'd do a history challenge. I get enough of that in school(at the time).

Travis McClain
06-24-12, 09:40 PM
I've already said I'm in favor of inclusion but like trevor and ororama's points. Just to elaborate further:

-I think it's kind of a bummer to have to research titles to see if they qualify. This is kind of a pain for the Oscar challenge. I usually make a mental or physical list for upcoming challenges, then it's disappointing to have to strike them because they don't qualify.

Nobody wants there to be any great barriers of entry to any of our challenges here, and I take your point about having to do research about eligibility. I have a few ideas how we can maybe streamline that process here, but I'm still brainstorming as feedback rolls in.

-It's kind of a spoiler to figure out if these qualify. My personal preference is to know as little as possible about a title going in, other than I want to watch it. One of the cool things about this challenge is that you might find a movie unexpectedly taking you in the direction of an actual historic event or dropping in a historical person. It'd be superawesome if I could think of an example at the moment, but then that might be a spoiler anyway. :p

I definitely understand the apprehension over spoilers, but I think we just have to accept that's part of studying people and events from our own real past. I think of the kids on Twitter who (allegedly) were astonished to discover that Titanic was based upon an actual shipwreck. They really ought to have known going into the movie at least that much. From that line of reasoning, then we get into the realm of how impossible it is to know all about every person or event that has ever taken place. Sometimes, we'll just have to take it on the chin I suppose and have a movie spoiled for us.

-The more the merrier with these challenges, and more inclusion generally means more participation. There are few things sadder than a current challenge thread getting eclipsed by anticipatory comments on the next challenge. The Criterion challenge in September is the prime example of this. :(

To be fair, horror is way more accessible than Criterion. I know if I was in high school, there'd only be a handful of Criterions I'd be interested in and wouldn't take part in that challenge. There'd also be zero chance I'd do a history challenge. I get enough of that in school(at the time).

I believe his actual point was that it's disappointing when participating in a challenge when all the talk is about next year's challenge and not about what anyone is watching during the active challenge. I very much agree about that, which is why I'm trying to be selective about responding to issues about how this challenge ought to evolve for next year.

By all means, I do invite as much feedback as anyone wishes to offer. I also hope that we don't lose sight of the 2012 challenge during this last week. To that end...I'm about to watch Saving Private Ryan for the first time ever!

shadokitty
06-24-12, 10:02 PM
All this talk of next year's challenge has actually kind of disillusioned me with this year's challenge. That's why I haven't watched much of late.

Trevor
06-24-12, 10:20 PM
To that end...I'm about to watch Saving Private Ryan for the first time ever!
Shhhh!

Nobody tweet or post for another hour or two. We need to make sure Travis finally gets through this film.

Doc Moonlight
06-24-12, 10:21 PM
Just watched the Red Western APACHES. According to the liner notes, it is based on events of the "Mexican-American War of 1846-48), which I had never heard of before.

davidh777
06-25-12, 03:00 AM
I definitely understand the apprehension over spoilers, but I think we just have to accept that's part of studying people and events from our own real past. I think of the kids on Twitter who (allegedly) were astonished to discover that Titanic was based upon an actual shipwreck. They really ought to have known going into the movie at least that much. From that line of reasoning, then we get into the realm of how impossible it is to know all about every person or event that has ever taken place. Sometimes, we'll just have to take it on the chin I suppose and have a movie spoiled for us.

I'm a history fan too (though not as knowledgeable as you), and I think if I'm going to watch Gunfight at the OK Corral, then knowing that's a real event is a different case than watching a random Western (as I like to do during this challenge) and seeing it happen to turn in a historical direction. I'd have to prescreen my stack of Westerns and spoil all the plots to find which ones qualify in the latter case. Honestly, I'd rather watch the movie fresh than do that just to participate in the challenge. I'd still participate for sure, but only with titles that I already knew would qualify.

To be fair, horror is way more accessible than Criterion. I know if I was in high school, there'd only be a handful of Criterions I'd be interested in and wouldn't take part in that challenge. There'd also be zero chance I'd do a history challenge. I get enough of that in school(at the time).

I believe his actual point was that it's disappointing when participating in a challenge when all the talk is about next year's challenge and not about what anyone is watching during the active challenge. I very much agree about that, which is why I'm trying to be selective about responding to issues about how this challenge ought to evolve for next year.

By all means, I do invite as much feedback as anyone wishes to offer. I also hope that we don't lose sight of the 2012 challenge during this last week. To that end...I'm about to watch Saving Private Ryan for the first time ever!

Actually, MP was correct in that I'm talking about one month's challenge vs the next month's. Granted it's a stacked deck since I believe horror is what made the challenges in the first place, and the Criterion is most likely the least popular. So it's comparing two extremes, but I think the core of the problem is less participation in the challenge and in the thread overall. But I do agree that the debate this year is particularly diverting and I'm sorry to see some of the participants getting turned off by it. :(

Shhhh!

Nobody tweet or post for another hour or two. We need to make sure Travis finally gets through this film.

:lol: :up:

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 03:40 AM
Honestly, I'd rather watch the movie fresh than do that just to participate in the challenge. I'd still participate for sure, but only with titles that I already knew would qualify.

Speaking as a participant, I have a rule where if I feel I have reason to believe a movie fits the spirit of a challenge and then find out during the viewing that it doesn't, I count it anyway on the basis that I only invested the time to watch it with the expectation of it being part of my challenge. I do make sure to note the matter, both in my list post and in the discussion thread. As for the question why not seek a ruling first, I just don't feel like submitting every first time viewing for prior approval for the very reason you've offered: It takes away all the fun and sense of exploration of a challenge.

Actually, MP was correct in that I'm talking about one month's challenge vs the next month's.

This is what I get for trying to think along with people.

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 03:47 AM
A VIEWING FOURTEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING...

Saving Private Ryan

At long last, I can mark off Saving Private Ryan from my To See list! I now understand why it's so polarizing here on this forum and I confess; while I don't side with the fringe group of haters, I do side with the vocal group of underwhelmed viewers. Here are my thoughts as shared in my Letterboxd review (http://letterboxd.com/travissmcclain/film/saving-private-ryan/):

I'm not even bothering with a critical look at this film; it's been discussed ad infinitum since its release 14 years ago. Here are strictly my own thoughts, formed at 2:30 in the morning.

This has been a movie monkey on my back since 1998 and it feels kind of good to finally seen it. First off: yes, the action sequences were all captivating, sufficiently graphic and blah, blah, blah. Maybe it's because, as a history major, I was already familiar with the gruesome nature of D-Day and maybe it's because I'm just jaded but I wasn't really fazed by what I saw in Saving Private Ryan. In fact, at one point, I had the presence of mind to realize I wasn't fazed.

That led me to question: had I been taken out of the movie by something, or had I simply never really gotten into it? I don't know. It occurred to me that this is another film that could only have been made in the Clinton 90s, when Hollywood was free to explore higher ideals. In 1998, we could accept the mission to rescue Private Ryan as a sort of exploration of the value of the famed Bixby letter of Lincoln's. What would that kind of situation have looked like in our darkest hour?

Made today, though, I suspect many viewers would become insulted and hostile. "Now what's so damn special about that family that they would send my kid on this mission? Don't be risking my kid just because they've had some bad luck!" Who could blame anyone with such a reaction? Soldiers are selfless; families are protective.

Where Saving Private Ryan worked best for me was in its dry sense of humor. As a Southerner, I have often been forced to clarify for others that just because we make jokes about a grim situation doesn't mean we don't fully understand or respect the matter at hand. I don't even think it's quite accurate to call it a self defense mechanism, because that suggests we can't handle serious situations without humor. I have instead come to believe it's merely how we process things. Just as toddlers explore things by testing how they feel and taste, we process things by testing how we can joke about them. I am certain that writer Robert Rodat is a Southerner, or at the very least was heavily influenced in his life by people with strong Southern heritage.

Unfortunately for me, where Saving Private Ryan doesn't work is the bulk of its actual narrative. There just weren't any surprises for me. It all felt too obvious to me what was going to happen, when and even why. No one asked me, but I think I would have clipped the modern-day bookends of the film. All we're left with is knowing that Private Ryan grew to be an old man whose wife thought it silly he would need to be told he was a good man. I wonder if that was tacked on because of Titanic's use of the same structure? Regardless, it added nothing to the film except arguably the symbolic value of reassuring us that the Greatest Generation were decent folks.

Saving Private Ryan
DECADES - Watch a film set--but not produced--during five different decades no more recent than the 1980s (1940s - 1944)
WAR - Watch 5 movies that take place during different American wars. (World War II)

I suppose one could also argue to check it off for "Recreates a specific Historical Event (D-Day), though starting with that and then turning to a work of historical fiction seems a bit questionable to me personally.

mrcellophane
06-25-12, 09:32 AM
A VIEWING FOURTEEN YEARS IN THE MAKING...

Saving Private Ryan

At long last, I can mark off Saving Private Ryan from my To See list! I now understand why it's so polarizing here on this forum and I confess; while I don't side with the fringe group of haters, I do side with the vocal group of underwhelmed viewers...

Congrats on getting to mark the film off your list. I haven't seen in since I'm a bit of a squeamish wuss, but I'm getting better and hope to see it soon in my quest to watch the AFI 100.

Due to my sister's wedding (which went awesomely!), I haven't had a spare moment to sit down and turn on the old television. Hope to remedy that today after French class and a dental appointment!

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 10:22 AM
Congrats on getting to mark the film off your list. I haven't seen in since I'm a bit of a squeamish wuss, but I'm getting better and hope to see it soon in my quest to watch the AFI 100.

There are two ways I know to overcome movie-watching squeamishness. One is to watch a lot of making-of features. A couple years ago, my wife and I were visiting some friends of hers and the decision was made to stream Beetlejuice. It really started to make their daughter uncomfortable, so I paused the screen and began to explain to her how each character was only gruesome because of clever makeup, costuming and set creations. Once those elements were broken down for her, she was no longer bothered and could just enjoy the movie.

The other suggestion I have is to delve into documentaries for a while. You'll see enough faithful reenactments and even live footage of events that Hollywood's versions lose some of their visual impact. Don't worry about not being able to "go back" to works of fiction; done properly, you'll still invest yourself in their characters enough to care about how they fare throughout the harrowing events portrayed.

Due to my sister's wedding (which went awesomely!)...

Congratulations to your sister and family! :)

Ash Ketchum
06-25-12, 12:23 PM
I forget, but have you seen THE LONGEST DAY yet? If not, you should. It gives the context for the Normandy invasion and all the build-up and a bit of the aftermath. Then, you should also check out THE BIG RED ONE (reconstructed version), which includes Omaha Beach, an eyewitness account because the writer-director Sam Fuller was there and actually witnessed the speech where the commanding officer shouts, "There are only two kinds of people who are going to stay on this beach: those who are dead and those who are gonna die. Now let's get the hell off this beach and die inland!"

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 12:37 PM
I forget, but have you seen THE LONGEST DAY yet? If not, you should. It gives the context for the Normandy invasion and all the build-up and a bit of the aftermath.

That's still on my To See list, but I don't really need a lot of elucidation about D-Day. I've studied it well enough. In fact, I think that was my problem with Saving Private Ryan. It's like I'm a hipster about historical stuff; I'm already decently well informed about things by the time mainstream movies depict them and Joe Q. Public finally catches up to me.

I've thought about it some overnight and I'm actually now less impressed by the invasion itself. Those kinds of gruesome injuries were, of course, quite real and well documented. My problem, though, is that the invasion itself feels like a "greatest hits" montage of those injuries. We don't know who any of those guys are, so our empathy is limited. It's not quite fair to say it's all about the shock factor, but it comes awfully close to only throwing at us the kinds of things that Joe Q. Public probably didn't know about before he saw the movie.

Then, you should also check out THE BIG RED ONE (reconstructed version), which includes Omaha Beach, an eyewitness account because the writer-director Sam Fuller was there and actually witnessed the speech where the commanding officer shouts, "There are only two kinds of people who are going to stay on this beach: those who are dead and those who are gonna die. Now let's get the hell off this beach and die inland!"

That's a great line!

Ash Ketchum
06-25-12, 12:45 PM
That's still on my To See list, but I don't really need a lot of elucidation about D-Day. I've studied it well enough. In fact, I think that was my problem with Saving Private Ryan. It's like I'm a hipster about historical stuff; I'm already decently well informed about things by the time mainstream movies depict them and Joe Q. Public finally catches up to me.

I've thought about it some overnight and I'm actually now less impressed by the invasion itself. Those kinds of gruesome injuries were, of course, quite real and well documented. My problem, though, is that the invasion itself feels like a "greatest hits" montage of those injuries. We don't know who any of those guys are, so our empathy is limited. It's not quite fair to say it's all about the shock factor, but it comes awfully close to only throwing at us the kinds of things that Joe Q. Public probably didn't know about before he saw the movie.



That's a great line!


You've echoed a lot of my criticisms of PRIVATE RYAN. The great thing about LONGEST DAY and BIG RED ONE, esp. the former, is that you get to know these guys and the context for the invasion. SPR eliminates the context and goes for the shock value of the gore, leaving out the different conditions the other soldiers faced on the other beaches.

davidh777
06-25-12, 02:07 PM
You've echoed a lot of my criticisms of PRIVATE RYAN. The great thing about LONGEST DAY and BIG RED ONE, esp. the former, is that you get to know these guys and the context for the invasion. SPR eliminates the context and goes for the shock value of the gore, leaving out the different conditions the other soldiers faced on the other beaches.

It seems like you're criticizing SPR for not being a movie it isn't. I don't think I've seen the Big Red One, but The Longest Day is a movie *about* D-Day. That's just a prologue in SPR. Yes, it could have spent an extra 10 minutes before the beaches to introduce some of the soldiers, but that would have affected the balance of the whole, and for me it still hit very hard to see those guys getting mowed down. Would I have felt worse if I'd known one of them was from Idaho with a single parent and two sisters? Probably, but I think there was plenty of punch in the scene as it was. I think Spielbereg was operating from the information-age perspective that we know the goal and we know the stakes and we know there are many fronts--this particular front is a microcosm. Then once that's over, we proceed to the real focus of the movie.

I'll confess I have a strong reaction to SPR for a variety of reasons. I did see it in theaters when it was new. It was the first "Academy screening" cassette I ever received. And when I added a sound system to my newish DVD player, the tanks approaching the village was one of the first sounds that I felt really added to the impact of the movie. And to this day, I still have to fast-forward through the killing of Mellish. I don't think it's a perfect movie by any means, but it's one that I can condense into an hour of watching and still feel thrilled, and spent, and moved.

But congrats to MinLShaw for finally checking this one off! :up:

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 03:06 PM
You've echoed a lot of my criticisms of PRIVATE RYAN. The great thing about LONGEST DAY and BIG RED ONE, esp. the former, is that you get to know these guys and the context for the invasion. SPR eliminates the context and goes for the shock value of the gore, leaving out the different conditions the other soldiers faced on the other beaches.

It seems like you're criticizing SPR for not being a movie it isn't. I don't think I've seen the Big Red One, but The Longest Day is a movie *about* D-Day.

On this point, I agree entirely. SPR branches out of D-Day, but it isn't a movie about that operation. Rather, D-Day itself is the context for SPR. I personally was fine with that.

That's just a prologue in SPR. Yes, it could have spent an extra 10 minutes before the beaches to introduce some of the soldiers, but that would have affected the balance of the whole, and for me it still hit very hard to see those guys getting mowed down. Would I have felt worse if I'd known one of them was from Idaho with a single parent and two sisters? Probably, but I think there was plenty of punch in the scene as it was. I think Spielbereg was operating from the information-age perspective that we know the goal and we know the stakes and we know there are many fronts--this particular front is a microcosm. Then once that's over, we proceed to the real focus of the movie.

My point was that the D-Day reenactment is devoid of any association with anyone, leaving me to only empathize with them in a generic, fellow-human-being kind of way. I had made no investment in anyone as a character. Essentially, they were all fodder as much for me as a viewer as they were for their assailants. Certainly, the unrelenting lack of mercy was palpable and stoked my emotions, but that's just the problem I have.

Its way of stoking those emotions was to cut from one atrocity to the next in a way that it began to feel less a tribute to the horrors survived that godawful day, but instead a sort of highlight reel: we move from the guy looking for, and picking up, his own arm CUT TO a guy lying in his own entrails CUT TO a guy who has already lost his legs being dragged away and then shelled into oblivion CUT TO ad infinitum. Every injury or killing was a specific "stunt killing" (to use a movie way of describing it).

I know those kinds of things really did take place and that they weren't the product of Robert Rodat's imagination. But the way they were presented just felt too gimmicky to me, cut together the way they were.

I'll confess I have a strong reaction to SPR for a variety of reasons. I did see it in theaters when it was new.

My brother saw it in the theater with one of his friends. They were in their teens, and there were several veterans in attendance. My brother is not prone to emotion or introspection, but he struggles to describe how he felt watching those men react to that movie.

But congrats to MinLShaw for finally checking this one off! :up:

Thanks! :)

Ash Ketchum
06-25-12, 03:29 PM
It seems like you're criticizing SPR for not being a movie it isn't. I don't think I've seen the Big Red One, but The Longest Day is a movie *about* D-Day. That's just a prologue in SPR. Yes, it could have spent an extra 10 minutes before the beaches to introduce some of the soldiers, but that would have affected the balance of the whole, and for me it still hit very hard to see those guys getting mowed down. Would I have felt worse if I'd known one of them was from Idaho with a single parent and two sisters? Probably, but I think there was plenty of punch in the scene as it was. I think Spielbereg was operating from the information-age perspective that we know the goal and we know the stakes and we know there are many fronts--this particular front is a microcosm. Then once that's over, we proceed to the real focus of the movie.

I'll confess I have a strong reaction to SPR for a variety of reasons. I did see it in theaters when it was new. It was the first "Academy screening" cassette I ever received. And when I added a sound system to my newish DVD player, the tanks approaching the village was one of the first sounds that I felt really added to the impact of the movie. And to this day, I still have to fast-forward through the killing of Mellish. I don't think it's a perfect movie by any means, but it's one that I can condense into an hour of watching and still feel thrilled, and spent, and moved.

But congrats to MinLShaw for finally checking this one off! :up:

You make the same defense of the movie that I heard when it came out and I can't argue with it. I don't think it would have bothered me so much if the rest of the movie had actually been based on something that had really happened--check out THE BIG RED ONE in this regard--but it isn't. Instead, after the Omaha Beach opening, SPR becomes just a generic, fictional WWII patrol movie. And that bothered me. There were so many real stories in the aftermath of the invasion that would have made great movies. There was no mission to save a private whose siblings had been casualties. There was talk of it, but no actual mission. It's all made up.

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 03:44 PM
... after the Omaha Beach opening, SPR becomes just a generic, fictional WWII patrol movie. And that bothered me. There were so many real stories in the aftermath of the invasion that would have made great movies. There was no mission to save a private whose siblings had been casualties. There was talk of it, but no actual mission. It's all made up.

What bothers you more: that they followed the reenactment of D-Day with a made-up story, or that they prefaced their made-up story with the reenactment of D-Day?

In fact, I'd like to open this up to our discussion overall about the content of this challenge. What threshold do you have for the relationship between the real and the fictitious?

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 03:48 PM
Just got an e-mail from The History Channel that a few episodes from some of their TV shows are available free from iTunes right now: iTunes.com/HistoryChannel

davidh777
06-25-12, 03:49 PM
My point was that the D-Day reenactment is devoid of any association with anyone, leaving me to only empathize with them in a generic, fellow-human-being kind of way. I had made no investment in anyone as a character. Essentially, they were all fodder as much for me as a viewer as they were for their assailants. Certainly, the unrelenting lack of mercy was palpable and stoked my emotions, but that's just the problem I have.

Its way of stoking those emotions was to cut from one atrocity to the next in a way that it began to feel less a tribute to the horrors survived that godawful day, but instead a sort of highlight reel: we move from the guy looking for, and picking up, his own arm CUT TO a guy lying in his own entrails CUT TO a guy who has already lost his legs being dragged away and then shelled into oblivion CUT TO ad infinitum. Every injury or killing was a specific "stunt killing" (to use a movie way of describing it).

I know those kinds of things really did take place and that they weren't the product of Robert Rodat's imagination. But the way they were presented just felt too gimmicky to me, cut together the way they were.


Would it have been more successful as a shorter scene? Or with the deaths more interspersed with soldiers successfully avoiding the bullets?

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-25-12, 03:54 PM
When I saw SPR in the theater, I got through a good portion of the beginning and then dozed off in between all the action sequences, until the movie ended. Gunshots would wake me up, I'd watch the action, action would end, I'd try to stay awake but then fall back asleep. Took a few times watching at home before I could finish it.

I didn't think it was really boring or anything, it just put me to sleep. Maybe it had something to do with me watching COPS at the time to go to sleep along with the huge comfy chairs the theater had.

Titanic was the same for me as well. Got through the beginning, dozed off until everything went to hell.

Travis McClain
06-25-12, 04:10 PM
Would it have been more successful as a shorter scene? Or with the deaths more interspersed with soldiers successfully avoiding the bullets?

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but...I would point to the opening of Revenge of the Sith as a solid example of how it would have worked better for me. We track the melee, but we only follow our protagonists. That allows us to get our storytelling bearings, identify and invest in the characters and still we can be inundated with the action. I found every time the camera wasn't on Tom Hanks, I had no idea what was expected of me. The emphasis should have been on him and maybe two others from the core ensemble with at least one of them in frame at all times. Instead, it felt like Spielberg frequently paused to gawk at background atrocities, and because of this I was unable to get into the film properly until after D-Day.

I will go ahead and anticipate the counter argument, which is that I was supposed to be overwhelmed by D-Day as were the soldiers who fought and died there. This is where Ash's point about it not being a movie about D-Day comes into play. For me, by not being a D-Day movie, it forfeit some of its claim to dazzle me with D-Day. That is to say, D-Day exists in SPR to establish the hell into which our story takes place. For that purpose, then, D-Day should have established our characters as well and it didn't do that.

Ash Ketchum
06-25-12, 05:33 PM
What bothers you more: that they followed the reenactment of D-Day with a made-up story, or that they prefaced their made-up story with the reenactment of D-Day?

In fact, I'd like to open this up to our discussion overall about the content of this challenge. What threshold do you have for the relationship between the real and the fictitious?

These are good questions. With SPR, it bothered me more that they followed such a realistic depiction of D-Day with such an unrealistic, contrived story.

As for the relationship between the real and the fictitious, when it comes to WWII movies, there are a number of such movies that I really enjoy that are entirely fictional: THE DIRTY DOZEN, WHERE EAGLES DARE, KELLY'S HEROES. There's no attempt at realism in these, and no attempt to integrate actual events. Then there are those I celebrate that are designed to be entirely fact-based: THE LONGEST DAY, MERRILL'S MARAUDERS, PATTON, MIDWAY, THE BIG RED ONE, etc. Just as long as you know going in what you're going to get, I'm fine.

Then there are those that are based on famous war novels written by combat veterans, like THE NAKED AND THE DEAD and THE THIN RED LINE. I have mixed feelings about those movies since I've read the books--two great novels--and feel that the movies didn't do the books justice.

Then there are those made during the war that were based on real battles but featured composite or fictional characters and made-up stories: AIR FORCE, SAHARA, BATAAN, ACTION IN THE NORTH ATLANTIC, OBJECTIVE BURMA. These are films I like a lot but you have to make some allowance for propaganda intent.

If I thought about it long enough I'm sure I could come up with some examples of films that are based on specific battles but tell fictional stories. BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965) is one that's initially fun to watch, but gets downright silly the more it strays from the facts. It's more like KELLY'S HEROES than like THE BIG RED ONE. There must be some like this, though, that I like. Robert Aldrich's ATTACK! is a good example of a totally fictional story set in the days after D-Day as they moved into Belgium, which uses the war for a really harsh treatise on cowardice and command and the officers' protection of their own.

I hope this helps.

BobO'Link
06-25-12, 06:21 PM
I forget, but have you seen THE LONGEST DAY yet? If not, you should. It gives the context for the Normandy invasion and all the build-up and a bit of the aftermath. Then, you should also check out THE BIG RED ONE (reconstructed version), which includes Omaha Beach, an eyewitness account...

That's still on my To See list...
I'll second the recommendation for those 2 films. It's been *years* since I've seen TBRO but it's in my unopened pile hoping I'll finish the pile of documentaries and get to it before the end of the month. One of the things I like best about TLD is that it shows the invasion from *both* sides of the war.
You've echoed a lot of my criticisms of PRIVATE RYAN...SPR eliminates the context and goes for the shock value of the gore, leaving out the different conditions the other soldiers faced on the other beaches.
...after the Omaha Beach opening, SPR becomes just a generic, fictional WWII patrol movie. And that bothered me. There were so many real stories in the aftermath of the invasion that would have made great movies. There was no mission to save a private whose siblings had been casualties. There was talk of it, but no actual mission. It's all made up.
I agree. While I remember enjoying the film for the battle sequences it just didn't have the same impact as other, earlier, WWII films. I frequently wonder if that's simply because I grew up watching the ones made during the war and those that came out during the 50s/60s. I recall going into SPR with a "it's just another summer blockbuster" mentality and have only seen it once, when it first came out. At the time it just didn't feel "genuine" and had no emotional impact. It felt overproduced, overblown, contrived, and as you say, generic. Does that make it a "bad" film? No, just another in the long list of somewhat disposable war films. I should probably watch it again to see if I still feel the same way.

FWIW, the "rescue" of the last surviving son *was* loosely based on an actual event which would have made for a boring film as there was no true "rescue". Read about it here (http://www.canisius.edu/archives/niland.asp),

Undeadcow
06-25-12, 11:07 PM
My grandfather was a WWII sniper who was awarded a purple heart. When asked what war movie most accurately depicted WWII he said that none of them could but he thought Saving Private Ryan stood out. SPR strikes me as syrupy and at times overly preachy but the scope and those action scenes can't be beat.

Ash Ketchum
06-26-12, 12:10 PM
When I can, I like to use these challenges to catch up on things I know I should watch, including previously unseen films by important directors. For this challenge, I watched two by John Ford that I'd never seen before: THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT (1953) and MARY OF SCOTLAND (1936), two very problematic films.

I want to discuss MARY OF SCOTLAND (1936). It's a very odd film and it put me in the position of wondering what it was about, what the point of it was. As played by Katharine Hepburn, Mary, who comes back from France in the 16th century to take over the throne of Scotland, is quite a woman of passion and emotion, who wants to live freely, to follow her heart rather than have her life be dictated by politics. If this is the case, why does she marry Lord Darnley for political reasons and then cling to the throne? And why does she make a claim on the English throne, occupied by Elizabeth I? Why doesn't she simply give it all up to follow her heart? There's a real contradiction here and I don't really get what the film's about.

The film makes Elizabeth out to be a cold, scheming villainess, who gave up being a woman so that she could have power. And Mary addresses her with a whole speech at the end saying she wouldn't give up a day she spent with Bothwell (Frederic March), her third husband, for Elizabeth's whole life. (This exchange never happened in real life.)

But what does Mary actually do that earns our sympathy or that justifies making a whole film (two hours, but seemingly much longer) about her? Elizabeth actually accomplished quite a bit--kicking Spain's ass, encouraging English settlements in the New World (some of which included my ancestors), and promoting a culture during her reign that gave us Shakespeare, to name three. If Mary did anything comparable, I don't know about it.

Granted, I should add that I'm somewhat biased here. According to my brother's genealogical research, Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's lover, is a direct ancestor of our family, as is Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother. We have Scottish blood, too, but I don't know if it extends to the House of Stuart. (We also share a common ancestor with Lady Diana and the current Prince William, who's in line for the throne.) So, yeah, I have a horse in this race.

Still, it's a fascinating film and generally uncharacteristic of Ford, although his use of Scottish songs and bagpipe music enhance the film in a distinctly Fordian way. And some of his regular performers are on hand: John Carradine, Donald Crisp and Alan Mowbray.

The film generally has a bad reputation and I don't wonder why, but I was quite engrossed during the first half. The plotting and intrigue just get too wearying in the second half. Hepburn's quite good, but she never ages in the nearly three decades over which the film's plot spans. Frederic March is good and has great chemistry with Hepburn, but his Scottish accent comes and goes.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-27-12, 12:25 AM
About a week ago I started working through my Historic Classics 50 movie set. I'm only on disc 4 out of 12 but it's been pretty good so far, and I'd put forth my recommendation for it. Out of the first 14 movies I've watched, there was only one real dud. So far I've seen some based on classic literature, a president, the civil war, some biblicals, one around the time of our independance, Napoleon, and a time travel one taking place in medieval times starring Boris Karloff as a king. It's been a pretty good variety so far. I got a late start on it this year since I wanted to catch up on some westerns but I guarantee I'll be starting off with the rest next year.

Ash Ketchum
06-27-12, 09:17 PM
I've watched a number of documentaries about the war in the Pacific on Mill Creek's Pearl Harbor set for this challenge and every so often I see shots of black soldiers in the footage. I was curious about how they came to be there, since the military was segregated at the time and I didn't know of any black units sent to fight in the Pacific. Well, today on CNN there was a news item about Congressional Gold Medals being bestowed on black veterans of WWII who were in a segregated marine unit called the Montford Point Marines, who were indeed sent into combat in the Pacific.

Here's a link to a news story:
http://www.freep.com/article/20120627/NEWS07/120627054/Montford-Point-Marines-congressional-gold-medal-award

I love synchronicity.

shadokitty
06-27-12, 09:41 PM
So far I've seen some based on classic literature, a president, the civil war, some biblicals, one around the time of our independance, Napoleon, and a time travel one taking place in medieval times starring Boris Karloff as a king.

Wouldn't a time travel movie be more suited for next month's sci fi challenge than the historical challenge?

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-27-12, 10:26 PM
Wouldn't a time travel movie be more suited for next month's sci fi challenge than the historical challenge?

The time travel device was less a machine and more of a guy getting hit on the head at the beginning and once again at the end. It was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. For me, it's not stretching the limits of this challenge compared to some other things out there. It's more of a lighthearted look at history.

shadokitty
06-27-12, 11:13 PM
The time travel device was less a machine and more of a guy getting hit on the head at the beginning and once again at the end. It was A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. For me, it's not stretching the limits of this challenge compared to some other things out there. It's more of a lighthearted look at history.

Ah, that's understandable then.

davidh777
06-28-12, 12:18 PM
Got Red River and 3:10 to Yuma (2007) in before the lock on non-historical Westerns! :banana: :)

Speaking as a participant, I have a rule where if I feel I have reason to believe a movie fits the spirit of a challenge and then find out during the viewing that it doesn't, I count it anyway on the basis that I only invested the time to watch it with the expectation of it being part of my challenge. I do make sure to note the matter, both in my list post and in the discussion thread. As for the question why not seek a ruling first, I just don't feel like submitting every first time viewing for prior approval for the very reason you've offered: It takes away all the fun and sense of exploration of a challenge.

I like that approach, but for me to believe that it qualified going in, then I'd have to have reasonable expectation that there's something historical involved. In the case of the two I just watched, I knew 3:10 was a remake of a '50s film and I knew... pretty much nothing about the plot of Red River. After the fact, I could read up on the films, but as you said, I prefer to do that after instead of before. So I doubt I'd have watched these if we're requiring historical basis in the future.

Not trying to be argumentative--just explaining my approach to this challenge.

Ash Ketchum
06-28-12, 12:47 PM
Got Red River and 3:10 to Yuma (2007) in before the lock on non-historical Westerns! :banana: :)



I like that approach, but for me to believe that it qualified going in, then I'd have to have reasonable expectation that there's something historical involved. In the case of the two I just watched, I knew 3:10 was a remake of a '50s film and I knew... pretty much nothing about the plot of Red River. After the fact, I could read up on the films, but as you said, I prefer to do that after instead of before. So I doubt I'd have watched these if we're requiring historical basis in the future.

Not trying to be argumentative--just explaining my approach to this challenge.

RED RIVER is based on a specific Texas cattleman, but I can't recall his name offhand. It's also about a specific historic movement: the development of cattle ranching in Texas and the initiation of cattle drives up to the railroad spur in Kansas for shipping cattle to other cities. The bit where Montgomery Clift and John Ireland show off their guns to each other is...well, based on something else. :D

Screenwriter Borden Chase once said that John Ireland's part (Cherry Valance) was cut because the director Howard Hawks was interested in the leading lady, Joanne Dru, but she preferred Ireland and the jealous Hawks retaliated. (Ireland and Dru got married afterward.) Hawks said in an interview that Ireland was unreliable because he went off in the desert to smoke pot all the time. You decide. :)

Giles
06-28-12, 10:20 PM
is 'Moonrise Kingdom' acceptable - even though a real year is given, but the place and event, the storm are fictional ?

how about 'Brave'?

davidh777
06-29-12, 04:10 PM
how about 'Brave'?

I asked a while back but didn't get an answer so I counted it as a wild card

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-29-12, 04:20 PM
Brave was brought up before as counting for this challenge but wouldn't in later ones.

davidh777
06-29-12, 04:38 PM
Brave was brought up before as counting for this challenge but wouldn't in later ones.

Excellent, thanks. I must have missed it when it first came up, perhaps due to my aversion to spoilers. :) Here was the mention:


While I'm on the subject, I saw a preview screening of the new Pixar movie, Brave, last night. It's definitely more suitable for next month's Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge, but if anyone is set on seeing it when it opens next Friday and wants to count it as a wild card choice, that's fine with me. It won't be eligible in this challenge next year.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
06-29-12, 06:10 PM
Anyone else have end of the challenge plans? I'm on on disc 6 of 12 in my Historic Classics 50 movie set and I'd really like to finish off this disc before switching to the Historical Science Fiction and Fantasy Appreciation Challenge at midnight.

Movies on the disc are:
Martin Luther-1953 Niall MacGinnis
Becky Sharp-1935 Cedric Hardwicke
The Pilgramage Play-1949 Nelson Leigh
King Solomon's Treasure-1977 David McCaullum

I have 20 minutes left of Martin Luther but I'd need to also crank out 3 full movies with around 6 hours to spare after I get home, which is entirely possible time wise but without falling asleep or wasting time doing other stuff, which is the real trick.

After midnight it's Ancient Aliens and an amusingly bad time travel movie I own but forget the name of. The guy doing the traveling is meant to come off as some sort of hero in the film but in reality he's more of a bumbling fool, or at least that's what I got out of it. The only part I ever remembered was when he went back to when JFK got shot. It took him a few tries before he managed to both save JFK and not get arrested. I vaguely remember one of his first attempts was to stand there and watch Oswald get his shots off before wrestling the rifle away, letting Oswald get away and then being all proud and showing the police he got the gun when they came running in, followed by him getting arrested and realizing that wasn't the best thing to do.

mrcellophane
06-29-12, 07:15 PM
Anyone else have end of the challenge plans? I'm on on disc 6 of 12 in my Historic Classics 50 movie set and I'd really like to finish off this disc before switching to the Historical Science Fiction and Fantasy Appreciation Challenge at midnight.

I'm not doing the crossover/starting early thing and have a couple of films I hope to watch either tonight or tomorrow if time allows. (I'm about to dash out the door to attend a dinner for some friends who are moving tomorrow.) I really want to watch Platoon, which I've been putting off for the entire challenge. I also want to perhaps watch Che or the Cate Blanchett Elizabeth movies. I also have a couple of documentaries that I want to get to. Geez, too many films, too little time!!!

Of course, I may end up watching episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Who knows!

davidh777
06-30-12, 12:12 AM
Started watching Jackie Brown thinking it might be a blaxploitation period piece but it was not. I'll probably watch the second half anyway, but too bad it isn't sci-fi/fantasy either. :(

davidh777
06-30-12, 12:09 PM
Getting some stuff done today so watching an old favorite at the same time

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Doc Moonlight
06-30-12, 06:39 PM
Just completed the checklist. I'll probably squeeze one more in before midnight.

Undeadcow
06-30-12, 09:15 PM
Spartacus is a gem, much better than I expected, and a world superior to he likes of Gladiator. Good way to end this challenge.

Last of the Mohicans is better than I expected too.

davidh777
07-01-12, 11:17 AM
James Coburn is such a badass in Mag7. Unfortunately that turned out to be my last entry. I rented both War Horse and The King's Speech but a meeting ran long and I didn't get to watch either. :( Not sure whether to "waste" a watch anyway or just return them and wait for the Oscar challenge.

shadokitty
07-01-12, 11:24 AM
I fizzled out on the historical challenge about halfway though due to all of the people demanding strcter rules. It kind of disilluisoned me to the challenge and I lost interest in it.

davidh777
07-01-12, 11:39 AM
I fizzled out on the historical challenge about halfway though due to all of the people demanding strcter rules. It kind of disilluisoned me to the challenge and I lost interest in it.

I didn't watch a ton of titles but a lot of them wouldn't have counted under the more stringent guidelines. :D

BobO'Link
07-01-12, 01:53 PM
I fizzled out on the historical challenge about halfway though due to all of the people demanding strcter rules. It kind of disilluisoned me to the challenge and I lost interest in it.
I guess I'm a bit confused. I'm one who would prefer stricter rules but my understanding was that we were taking about possible changes for *next year* and *not* the current challenge.

If any of my comments drove any of you away I apologize and I hate it that anyone lost interest because of our discussion! :(

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
07-01-12, 02:37 PM
Yeah, today is the day we can all officially start fighting over the rules for next year.

Ash Ketchum
07-01-12, 02:54 PM
I made it to 47 entries. It was tough because I rarely had time for the long epics I wanted to indulge in and found myself at odd times watching B-westerns and wartime documentaries because I had limited time and energy. There was so much to choose from in my collection that I wanted to plunge into:
Samurai and ninja films & TV series; Hong Kong historical dramas/operettas; kung fu films; westerns; WWII films; anime treatments of old Japan; anime treatments of classic novels like "Tom Sawyer" and "Little Women," etc. etc. etc. Plus a bunch that my nephews gave me over the last few Christmases that I keep telling them I'll watch: AMERICAN GANGSTER, TIGERLAND, PURPLE BUTTERFLY and the Blu-ray of BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.

Still I did get to watch 20 films that I'd never seen before that had been on my priority viewing list for quite some time:

ANNE OF THE INDIES (1951) - pirate movie based on a real historical figure
THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946) - son of Robin Hood
BEST OF THE BADMEN (1951) - all-star cast of outlaws after the Civil War
CHINA DOLL (1958) - American airmen in China, WWII
CUTTHROAT ISLAND (1995) - pirate extravaganza
EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) - life for English civilians in a Japanese prisoner camp in Shanghai
HIGH FLIGHT (1957/England) - aviation drama I'd last seen when I was five years old
JAMAICA INN (1939/England) Alfred Hitchcock
KINGS GO FORTH (1958) - love triangle in France during WWII
MACARTHUR (1977) - Douglas MacArthur: the war years
MARY OF SCOTLAND (1936) John Ford
THE MOUNTAIN ROAD (1960) - China in WWII
THE MASTER OF KUNG FU (1973/Hong Kong)- Wong Fei-Hung in middle age
THE PRICE OF POWER (1969/Italy) -Oddball Italian western
RETURN OF THE BAD MEN (1948) - More outlaw all-stars
ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1950) - son of Robin Hood, again
SHANGHAI JOE (1973/Italy) Chinese kung fu expert in the wild west
SHINSENGUMI CHRONICLES: I WANT TO DIE A SAMURAI (1963/Japan) historical samurai film
THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT (1953) John Ford
THREE CAME HOME (1950) American woman in Japanese prison camp in WWII

All were worth seeing; a handful were excellent: ANNE OF THE INDIES, THE MOUNTAIN ROAD, SHINSENGUMI CHRONICLES: I WANT TO DIE A SAMURAI, and THREE CAME HOME.

Travis McClain
07-01-12, 03:15 PM
I fizzled out on the historical challenge about halfway though due to all of the people demanding strcter rules. It kind of disilluisoned me to the challenge and I lost interest in it.

I'm sorry to hear that. This is why I really didn't want to go into all that during the challenge, but it sort of took on a life of its own and I felt compelled to respond to some specific points as they were raised which I'm sure, in turn, kept the thing going.

I was going to stream Marie Antoinette from Crackle last night to end the challenge, but then my night became hijacked by some stuff on Twitter. C'est la vie.

My participation was dramatically less than I had hoped, with a whole week between a couple of my viewings. Everything I watched was a first time viewing, though, and I've finally now seen Saving Private Ryan and the Dollars/Man with No Name Trilogy, as well as Battleship Potemkin. By far my favorite part of this year's challenge was discussing Phillipe Petain and his Vichy government here, and I hope that those of you who were interested in that part of French history explore it further. I'll try to find some film recommendations about that for next year.

That brings me to the point: Before we launch into the full-fledged debate over the future of this challenge, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts about what you actually watched this year. Did you find any new favorites? Learn anything about history that you'd actually like to know more about now? Would you recommend any of what you've watched? Doesn't have to be in the context of this challenge, but just in general?

davidh777
07-01-12, 03:22 PM
I liked the discussion of the French Resistance and just this weekend discovered that's the subject of Army of Shadows. Will have to crack that open next year.

I consider a challenge a success if I pick off some big unwatcheds, and I did that with My Week with Marilyn, 3:10 to Yuma, and Red River. Season 4 of Mad Men is really good and I'll finish that off even for no credit.

mrcellophane
07-02-12, 01:17 AM
That brings me to the point: Before we launch into the full-fledged debate over the future of this challenge, I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts about what you actually watched this year. Did you find any new favorites? Learn anything about history that you'd actually like to know more about now? Would you recommend any of what you've watched? Doesn't have to be in the context of this challenge, but just in general?

I greatly enjoyed participating in this challenge. It gave me a chance to check out some new films as well as rewatching a few favorites. While I did not get to Platoon (I started but it stressed me out too much), I did get to cross a couple of big films off my "To Watch" list such as Griffith's Intolerance, Grand Illusion, and Night and Fog. Griffith's epic was quite beautiful despite the lack of subtly, and I really enjoyed it, especially the modern and the Babylon story lines.

I've already noted my interest in French involvement in the World Wars. I am going to check out The Sorrow and the Pity and a couple of other documentaries about France.

I ended the challenge with a couple episodes of Foyle's War which follows the titular detective as he investigates murders during WWII. It's a fascinating show that explores how things change in the face of war. Suddenly, individual murders are not as important when bombs are falling on your town. I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in mysteries and wartime narratives.

Favorite First Time Viewing: Ivan the Terrible, Part II, Eisenstein's look at the possibly insane tsar was engaging, narratively and stylistically. I understand Stalin's reluctance to have the second part released.

Less Favorite: Desperate Journey, a muddled war flick with a unbalanced mix of humor and pathos

One I Thought about the Most: Firecreek, James Stewart is a part-time sheriff who must defend a town of "losers" against a violent gang led by complex Henry Fonda. I think this film captured my attention because of the parallels with High Noon which offers an interesting mix the western genre and Ayn Rand. Firecreek felt like the antithesis of High Noon, purporting the importance of community and the functions of individuals within that community.

BobO'Link
07-02-12, 10:00 AM
I...I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts about what you actually watched this year. Did you find any new favorites? Learn anything about history that you'd actually like to know more about now? Would you recommend any of what you've watched? Doesn't have to be in the context of this challenge, but just in general?
While I *did* watch an old favorite, Maverick, I mostly focused on documentaries.

I happened across a bargain on the series Cosmos and jumped on it as I'd not seen the series since its original airing and had missed a couple of segments. I had good memories of the series and rewatching proved to be enlighting. While I greatly enjoyed the series I was somewhat surprised at the political slanting of several episodes. In retrospect I shouldn't have been as they echo the sentiments of Dr. Sagan and focus on several of his life-long projects. Overall, still a favorite.

I also watched many documentaries about events and people of the 60s. I grew up during the 60s and, via TV, observed many of the events as they took place. Even so, I still learned something new from just about each documentary I viewed.

I also enjoyed the documentaries on the ancient world. The very long series on Rome was very entertaining but I'd like to know more of that era other than the military history, which seemed to be the focus of most films I watched. Basically I'd like to now how the "common" people felt and lived.

Of all of the "ancient world" documentaries I watched, I enjoyed the ones on the so called "barbarians" the most. The Mongols and Huns were pretty well covered in the programs in that massive Empires set I'd picked up. Overall, I'd like to have seen more about the Vikings and Goths. They, and the other barbarian races, seem to get the short stick in History classes and films. I purchased documentaries about other barbarian races (the Saxons, Franks, Vandals, and Lombards) but didn't get to them because I failed to notice what day the 30th actually fell! My mis-calculation put me a full day behind. :( I doubt I'll wait until next year to view them but it *will* be a couple of months as the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Challenge is strongly calling. :)

There are several I'd highly recommend:

Cosmos - A great series on the universe and our place in it.
JFK: A Presidency Revealed - I learned quite a lot about the administration of our 35th President and came away with new respect for the man.
Voices of Civil Rights, Mississippi State Secrets, and Crossing the Bridge - These should be required viewing in Senior High School History classes. I think *all* our kids would learn something about the true meaning of "Civil Rights". I lived through this era but *still* learned a few things.
Hippies - A good look at the late 60s movement through the eyes of the participants. Another one that should be required viewing. I think most people would come away with a greater respect and understanding about both the movement and participants.