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June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

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View Poll Results: I intend to watch content from...
Westerns
22
81.48%
War
22
81.48%
Biopics
16
59.26%
Documentaries
18
66.67%
Sports-related
11
40.74%
Period Dramas
15
55.56%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 05-05-10, 01:11 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

i think that the checklist should incorporate the challenge as a whole and not specific genres within the challenge.
Old 05-05-10, 01:30 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BuddhaWake View Post
i think that the checklist should incorporate the challenge as a whole and not specific genres within the challenge.
That's one vote for a comprehensive checklist. I assume what you meant was that we should not have separated checklists, and not that the checklist should not include, say, War or Westerns. What elements would you suggest for the checklist, though? Consider the following:

Actors
Directors
Writers
Events
Locations
Specific time periods (year/decade/etc.)
Subjects (people)
Old 05-05-10, 04:29 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by jpb07 View Post
Exclude comedies such as 1941.
How about the use of a few wild cards like in the Horror Challenge for comedies like 1941, No Time for Sergents, Blazing Saddles? or others of your own choice?
Old 05-05-10, 04:58 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Right now, my plans are to watch Deadwood, a few TV things like my old single discs of Have Gun, Will Travel and Gunsmoke, my 5 or so western blu-rays, and my Billy the Kid 20 film pack.
I've got 8 Western Blu-rays in my queue, plus a few Watch Now titles. DVDAf tells me I own 86 Westerns, so I'll try to watch all of them plus commentaries.
Old 05-05-10, 08:31 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Add me to the westerns only list.

I know it's already grown way past this point, but I'd have left it a war/western challenge. It keeps it simple to define what's included, just go by IMDb. Expanding to include biopics and documentaries and period pieces and anything else based on true events opens up so much grey area you could make an argument for almost anything to count.
Old 05-05-10, 08:40 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

I initially thought I might sit this one out, but the more I read the post in this thread this intrigues me since alot of blurays in my to watch pile fall under this catagory - sorry I think that was a run on sentence. I'll go light, and just set my projected movies seen 'low' and not go overboard, less sleep makes this bear grouchy.
Old 05-05-10, 08:52 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by smashthesymbols View Post
Add me to the westerns only list.

I know it's already grown way past this point, but I'd have left it a war/western challenge. It keeps it simple to define what's included, just go by IMDb. Expanding to include biopics and documentaries and period pieces and anything else based on true events opens up so much grey area you could make an argument for almost anything to count.
You have a good point.

I think combining is a good thing, overall. There are at least 20 different genres, but only 12 months. So combining similar ones seemed a perfect compromise.

We're never going to make everyone entirely happy, but perhaps if we fine tune things we can make most of us mostly happy.

Bio pics and documentaries are small enough sub-genres where they would never merit their own Challenge, and are related enough to war and western to lump them together as 'historical', imo. Period pieces are much more grey, and I'd be fine with losing those personally.
Old 05-05-10, 09:11 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by smashthesymbols View Post
Add me to the westerns only list.

I know it's already grown way past this point, but I'd have left it a war/western challenge. It keeps it simple to define what's included, just go by IMDb. Expanding to include biopics and documentaries and period pieces and anything else based on true events opens up so much grey area you could make an argument for almost anything to count.
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
You have a good point.

I think combining is a good thing, overall. There are at least 20 different genres, but only 12 months. So combining similar ones seemed a perfect compromise.

We're never going to make everyone entirely happy, but perhaps if we fine tune things we can make most of us mostly happy.

Bio pics and documentaries are small enough sub-genres where they would never merit their own Challenge, and are related enough to war and western to lump them together as 'historical', imo. Period pieces are much more grey, and I'd be fine with losing those personally.
Out of the current Challenges (Horror, Holiday, Academy Award, Sci-Fi, Criterion, B-Movie/Exploitation/Drive-In, MYOC, and Animation), Sci-Fi and Horror are really the only two limited genre Challenges we have. Most of them are open to many types of films. I don't see why this one shouldn't be too.
Old 05-06-10, 01:04 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Concerning Period Dramas
I'm still not terribly in love with "period dramas," mostly because I think what qualifies them for inclusion is strictly their setting--and not necessarily their content. I'd like a clearer idea what kinds of features and TV series participants have in mind for this segment, because the more arguments I'm hearing against them, the more convinced I'm becoming they run the risk of being too far off-topic.

Concerning Sporting Events
I have so far endorsed the idea of including sporting events in this challenge, because there have been several that really had an impact on society. When we think of the "Miracle on Ice" game from the Olympics and the significance it held in the context of the Cold War, it becomes apparent that this game mattered. I hadn't intended this clause to allow something like UFC matches to count, though. I stand by my belief that sporting events should be permitted, but we need to establish some parameters for what the spirit of the challenge is, and what kinds of events adhere to that spirit, and which do not. Which brings us to...

The Spirit of the Challenge
The features that participants select for this challenge should help them explore an era, an event and/or the lives of people who helped shape our collective story. As host, I realize that the early stages of planning a challenge are really about what to exclude, but I'm really trying to find ways of including as many participants and features as possible, while trying to keep from diluting that objective.
Old 05-06-10, 05:15 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Of the 1000s of Westerns there are probably a handful or two that are even alleged to be based upon real events. War movies are similar in that most are not based upon real events but writers constructs. Considering this, I think it's a bit disingenuous to insist everything else in the challenge be based upon true events. Don't confuse personal taste with ideals of a challenge. There's essentially no difference between something like Amadeus or the Madness of King George and Pride and Prejudice. All three are purely fictional, but two of them put on a pretense of being based upon real persons. Then there's Historical fiction, like Titanic (any Titanic film, not just Cameron's), where the events might be true, but the main story is fictional. Would you want to get into a "truth police" kind of mode? I think you would have a very compelling challenge in one that was more about Historical periods and the stories told therein rather than a strict History (as in true events) challenge, which is already compromised by Westerns and War movies being mostly fictional anyway.

Of all the challenges, I think this one has the most potential to be embraced by women. I wouldn't shut them out by excluding Historical Romance and similar genres unless there is a compelling reason. I believe challenges should be approached logically. What kinds of films should and could be allowed and what shouldn't and why not. Does TV fit into this challenge? Personal taste isn't one of the best reasons for excluding types of films if they would fit in otherwise.

Oh, and did I misunderstand something? Is it really being suggested to include actual sporting events, like the Stanley Cup or something? I thought the Sports thing was to be about Pride of the Yankees or Rudy or the like.

Last edited by caligulathegod; 05-06-10 at 06:30 AM.
Old 05-06-10, 07:00 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by caligulathegod View Post
Of the 1000s of Westerns there are probably a handful or two that are even alleged to be based upon real events. War movies are similar in that most are not based upon real events but writers constructs. Considering this, I think it's a bit disingenuous to insist everything else in the challenge be based upon true events. Don't confuse personal taste with ideals of a challenge. There's essentially no difference between something like Amadeus or the Madness of King George and Pride and Prejudice. All three are purely fictional, but two of them put on a pretense of being based upon real persons. Then there's Historical fiction, like Titanic (any Titanic film, not just Cameron's), where the events might be true, but the main story is fictional. Would you want to get into a "truth police" kind of mode? I think you would have a very compelling challenge in one that was more about Historical periods and the stories told therein rather than a strict History (as in true events) challenge, which is already compromised by Westerns and War movies being mostly fictional anyway.

Of all the challenges, I think this one has the most potential to be embraced by women. I wouldn't shut them out by excluding Historical Romance and similar genres unless there is a compelling reason. I believe challenges should be approached logically. What kinds of films should and could be allowed and what shouldn't and why not. Does TV fit into this challenge? Personal taste isn't one of the best reasons for excluding types of films if they would fit in otherwise.
I agree with this, it would be great if things were clear cut but even the "based on real life" stories are mostly fictional or take many artistic freedoms. I know I'll be watching some period pieces even if 100% fictional. I plan on watching Belle Epoque, El año de las luces, Soldier of Orange, I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed, The Galindez File, etc.
Old 05-06-10, 08:53 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

In some ways this challenge hearkens back to a film series that I saw in NYC in the late 70's. It was called "Americana" and featured stunning 35mm prints of classics like FORT APACHE, THE SEARCHERS and RIO BRAVO (on a double bill which one reviewer from the Village Voice called "the two best westerns by the two best directors"), CITIZEN KANE, STAGECOACH, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY and even AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STATE OF THE UNION and, the one "clunker" of the festival (IMHO) 9-30-55. While these titles seem commonplace today, this was the pre-home video era and it was a real kick to see these films uncut, in a theater with an audience.

I've always kept this festival in mind in mid-June as I view it as kind of a precursor to July 4. So I will be letting the spirit of that festival guide my choices for this challenge. I'd also like to request that the Challenge end on July 4. As a matter of fact, it could start on Memorial Day (May 31 this year) and end on July 4th, encompassing two holidays that seem directly related to the spirit of the Challenge.

In any event, I'm in!
Old 05-06-10, 08:59 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

To me, I'm considering what counts/doesn't count from a "historical" perspective. Did what I watch actually happen? Is it based upon something that actually happened?

Of course, with all challenges, I don't know if I've ever been bothered if someone counted something that I personally wouldn't count. I always remind myself it's a challenge, not a contest. And the challenge is more about personally challenging yourself to view titles under a certain heading/genre over a 30/31 day period of time. How you define it is somewhat up to each individual.

Last edited by Cardsfan111; 05-06-10 at 09:10 AM.
Old 05-06-10, 09:01 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by caligulathegod View Post
Of the 1000s of Westerns there are probably a handful or two that are even alleged to be based upon real events. War movies are similar in that most are not based upon real events but writers constructs. Considering this, I think it's a bit disingenuous to insist everything else in the challenge be based upon true events. Don't confuse personal taste with ideals of a challenge. There's essentially no difference between something like Amadeus or the Madness of King George and Pride and Prejudice. All three are purely fictional, but two of them put on a pretense of being based upon real persons. Then there's Historical fiction, like Titanic (any Titanic film, not just Cameron's), where the events might be true, but the main story is fictional. Would you want to get into a "truth police" kind of mode? I think you would have a very compelling challenge in one that was more about Historical periods and the stories told therein rather than a strict History (as in true events) challenge, which is already compromised by Westerns and War movies being mostly fictional anyway.

Of all the challenges, I think this one has the most potential to be embraced by women. I wouldn't shut them out by excluding Historical Romance and similar genres unless there is a compelling reason. I believe challenges should be approached logically. What kinds of films should and could be allowed and what shouldn't and why not. Does TV fit into this challenge? Personal taste isn't one of the best reasons for excluding types of films if they would fit in otherwise.

Oh, and did I misunderstand something? Is it really being suggested to include actual sporting events, like the Stanley Cup or something? I thought the Sports thing was to be about Pride of the Yankees or Rudy or the like.
I'll have to, once again, agree with our misshapen pagan diety.

Inclusivity above all else. And TV should fit in every Challenge in my minority opinion, especially this one.

But actual sporting events? Where did that come from? I'd vote no on those. Initially I'd say that watching important historical events like the Miracle on Ice are within the spirit of the challenge and should 'count' as much as a film based on the event. But we'd be diving into a real grey area there, with arguments over what is 'important' or 'historical' and what isn't.

I know I usually argue for inclusivity, but these Challenges are largely about film and television, fiction really, and actual sporting events seem like something outside of our realm here.
Old 05-06-10, 09:14 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
But actual sporting events? Where did that come from? I'd vote no on those.
I know I usually argue for inclusivity, but these Challenges are largely about film and television, fiction really, and actual sporting events seem like something outside of our realm here.
I agree. But i'm only doing the war / western category anyway.
Anything else i'm not going to even touch for the challenge.

But There are a few releases in June that I will get and I will watch that have
nothing to do with this challenge. ( The Wolfman on 6/1, Shutter Island, etc. )
They'll just have to subtract some time away from the challenge and my final score.
Old 05-06-10, 09:18 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Doc Moonlight View Post
I'd also like to request that the Challenge end on July 4. As a matter of fact, it could start on Memorial Day (May 31 this year) and end on July 4th, encompassing two holidays that seem directly related to the spirit of the Challenge.
Oh, good ideas!
Originally Posted by cardsfan111 View Post
Of course, with all challenges, I don't know if I've ever been bothered if someone counted something that I personally wouldn't count. I always remind myself it's a challenge, not a contest. And the challenge is more about personally challenging yourself to view titles under a certain heading/genre over a 30/31 day period of time. How you define it is somewhat up to each individual.
Good points. That's why I think prizes should never be awarded and counting should be discourged.

We don't want things to get nasty, with people competing and arguing that so-and-so shouldn't be able to count that title, or so-and-so must be cheating.

All of our Challenges should emphasize discussion and building community, and the personal challenge of getting to whatever goal you set for yourself.
Old 05-06-10, 09:53 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

this one will be hard because unless is documentaries there are many things that would be considered not based on real events, like many war movies. they may be set in wwII or vietnam but most of the stories are not real. so if war and westerns are going to count so should anything else brought up that is fiction based ie. films.

Last edited by BuddhaWake; 05-06-10 at 12:47 PM.
Old 05-06-10, 10:38 AM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by caligulathegod View Post
Of the 1000s of Westerns there are probably a handful or two that are even alleged to be based upon real events. War movies are similar in that most are not based upon real events but writers constructs. Considering this, I think it's a bit disingenuous to insist everything else in the challenge be based upon true events. Don't confuse personal taste with ideals of a challenge. There's essentially no difference between something like Amadeus or the Madness of King George and Pride and Prejudice. All three are purely fictional, but two of them put on a pretense of being based upon real persons. Then there's Historical fiction, like Titanic (any Titanic film, not just Cameron's), where the events might be true, but the main story is fictional. Would you want to get into a "truth police" kind of mode? I think you would have a very compelling challenge in one that was more about Historical periods and the stories told therein rather than a strict History (as in true events) challenge, which is already compromised by Westerns and War movies being mostly fictional anyway.
I think we should be able to count a movie like Bonnie and Clyde (based on real events) as well as Paper Moon (set in a historic era). Just stipulate that the films should be "reality-based," not Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Horror (so people won't count something like Van Helsing on their lists).
Originally Posted by caligulathegod View Post
Oh, and did I misunderstand something? Is it really being suggested to include actual sporting events, like the Stanley Cup or something? I thought the Sports thing was to be about Pride of the Yankees or Rudy or the like.
Yeah, I don't get this either.
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
We don't want things to get nasty, with people competing and arguing that so-and-so shouldn't be able to count that title, or so-and-so must be cheating.
Have there been any arguments about whether or not a title counts since "The ET Incident"?
Old 05-06-10, 12:28 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Dimension X View Post
I think we should be able to count a movie like Bonnie and Clyde (based on real events) as well as Paper Moon (set in a historic era). Just stipulate that the films should be "reality-based," not Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Horror (so people won't count something like Van Helsing on their lists).
This is how I feel. Otherwise I'd just be mostly looking at Documentaries unless it was really obvious a movie qualified.

Along the same lines, I don't see why a western comedy shouldn't be allowed. It's still a western.
Old 05-06-10, 12:46 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

it appears that there is much of an agreement. I figured that if in doubt it will be ok to come back here and get a consensus if xxx title would count. I'm down with the no Fantasy/sci-fi/horror thing, there's enough leeway already within period pieces, westerns and war. although like everything else i'm sure someone could make an argument for something like The Bunker counting.

BTW: I saw this on wikipedia so this might be a good start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...al_drama_films

MinLShaw, how do you feel about some of those periods as part of the checklist. so maybe a movie set in each one of those periods?

also, this list seems pretty massive. I'll eventually get a doctorate in this crap so pardon my over selousness.
http://www.vernonjohns.org/snuffy1186/movies.html

Last edited by BuddhaWake; 05-06-10 at 12:54 PM.
Old 05-06-10, 01:11 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Several interesting thoughts, but I think I can address most of them by just responding to caligulathegod:

Originally Posted by caligulathegod View Post
Of the 1000s of Westerns there are probably a handful or two that are even alleged to be based upon real events. War movies are similar in that most are not based upon real events but writers constructs. Considering this, I think it's a bit disingenuous to insist everything else in the challenge be based upon true events. Don't confuse personal taste with ideals of a challenge.
As I indicated in the first post of this thread, we expect films to take certain liberties, even with real events--and with regard to Westerns, we really don't care unless there's something blatantly wrong with the story (ray guns, for instance).

I think perhaps there's some confusion over where I'm trying to draw the lines. It may be because I still haven't perfected communication through a toneless medium, but I assure you it has nothing to do with my own personal taste. I am coming to this challenge as someone who earned his degree in history. I assure you I am quite capable of being objective enough to keep my own personal taste out of this. Where I'm having problems, though, is quieting the voice inside my head that is on a permanent quest for accuracy--or, barring that, the approximation of capturing the essence of what has happened. The questions I've raised are to gain a consensus about where participants feel the scope of the challenge should begin and end. So far, there have been some very helpful arguments for one thing, or against another, and I sincerely appreciate the feedback.

Would you want to get into a "truth police" kind of mode? I think you would have a very compelling challenge in one that was more about Historical periods and the stories told therein rather than a strict History (as in true events) challenge, which is already compromised by Westerns and War movies being mostly fictional anyway.
Of course I have no desire to be the truth police. (This is why I have hired a former KGB agent to monitor the lists thread when it goes active.) I would debate the merits of stories being included on the basis solely of when they are set, but this isn't about me. It's about the challenge, and since several participants are in favor of their inclusion, they're in.

Of all the challenges, I think this one has the most potential to be embraced by women. I wouldn't shut them out by excluding Historical Romance and similar genres unless there is a compelling reason. I believe challenges should be approached logically. What kinds of films should and could be allowed and what shouldn't and why not. Does TV fit into this challenge?
I would love for this challenge to be popular among women. I think it's a bit misguided to assume that they would flock to it if we emphasize that "Historical Romance" is fair game. (Assuming you meant the cinematic equivalent of Harlequin novels.) And, yes, TV has been included from the outset. It would be simply shameful to exclude the fine work of The History Channel, or some of the astounding HBO specials and mini-series from over the years.

Oh, and did I misunderstand something? Is it really being suggested to include actual sporting events, like the Stanley Cup or something? I thought the Sports thing was to be about Pride of the Yankees or Rudy or the like.
When the issue of sports was first raised, it was in the context of including biopics and such along the lines of what you mention. Somewhere (and I can't say now where), it seems someone expressed an interest in watching their box set of a particular team or event. You know, like the World Series boxes that have come out, including every game on DVD with a documentary. My first thought was that while not every game or series has had a major cultural impact, they seemed like a logical extension of documentaries. Then someone raised the issue of whether a participant could have a list that included a bunch of UFC matches on DVD and I became concerned about that possibility.

I still think the relationship between them and documentaries is valid, but there is obviously a point where these are no longer representative of the spirit of the challenge. I was hoping we could help identify that point, rather than an outright exclusion. Failing a well-articulated argument, I suppose we'll exclude them since that's the consensus so far.

One other thing: It has been suggested that the challenge run from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July. I'm not sure about a first-time host encroaching on the calendars of two other challenges. This month's Make-Your-Own challenge is also new, and I think flexible enough to permit the overlap. July's is...what? Sci-Fi? I'll look into it, but I'm not sure what the protocol is.
Old 05-06-10, 01:16 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by BuddhaWake View Post
it appears that there is much of an agreement. I figured that if in doubt it will be ok to come back here and get a consensus if xxx title would count. I'm down with the no Fantasy/sci-fi/horror thing, there's enough leeway already within period pieces, westerns and war. although like everything else i'm sure someone could make an argument for something like The Bunker counting.

BTW: I saw this on wikipedia so this might be a good start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...al_drama_films

MinLShaw, how do you feel about some of those periods as part of the checklist. so maybe a movie set in each one of those periods?

also, this list seems pretty massive. I'll eventually get a doctorate in this crap so pardon my over selousness.
http://www.vernonjohns.org/snuffy1186/movies.html
Thank you for those links; both lists are great! I'd say anything that's on either list is "safe" for our purposes.

How far along are you with your studies? Field of interest?
Old 05-06-10, 01:40 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

This just popped into my head when reading the latest replies. What about movies that aren't hisotrical themselves but are because of immediate events. Manhatten Melodrama is featured in Public Enemies as the film/showing used to trap Dillinger. For this reason it would fall into the historical due to the events surrounding it argument.
Old 05-06-10, 01:40 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
Thank you for those links; both lists are great! I'd say anything that's on either list is "safe" for our purposes.

How far along are you with your studies? Field of interest?
After 7 years since my BA i'm starting (very slowly in the fall). Focusing in Latin America, mostly issues of natiolalism and colonialism/colonial times. Since i waited so long I have to work towards a masters first.

As for the list, I thought they were pretty good so a good foundation there and I like the breakdown for time period.
Old 05-06-10, 02:00 PM
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Re: June 2010 History Film Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by jpb07 View Post
This just popped into my head when reading the latest replies. What about movies that aren't hisotrical themselves but are because of immediate events. Manhatten Melodrama is featured in Public Enemies as the film/showing used to trap Dillinger. For this reason it would fall into the historical due to the events surrounding it argument.
That's probably a bit too tangential.

Originally Posted by BuddhaWake View Post
After 7 years since my BA i'm starting (very slowly in the fall). Focusing in Latin America, mostly issues of natiolalism and colonialism/colonial times. Since i waited so long I have to work towards a masters first.

As for the list, I thought they were pretty good so a good foundation there and I like the breakdown for time period.
I took a pair of courses on Latin American history back when I was earning my associate's. It's been ages, and all I seem to remember is the class joking about how often we discussed maize. Did you catch the archaeological report earlier in the year about the Mayan religious carvings? Some fascinating stuff being learned down there these days.

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