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2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Old 09-14-18, 08:00 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
That being said, I doubt I'll watch it any time soon. My image of it has changed quite a bit and not in a positive way.
I certainly don't have a problem with Criterion adding it to the collection. When it came out, I was twenty-two. I saw it in the theater (since I'd loved Sixteen Candles), and it really impressed me. When I got home after seeing it, my brother, who was sixteen at the time, asked me what I thought of it, and I told him that it was a film that everybody needed to see, especially teenagers. I went back and saw it again a few nights later.

I didn't see it again for several years, and I realized when watching it that I wasn't enjoying as much as I previously did. I chalked it up to familiarity breeding contempt. The last time I saw it, which was probably a decade or more ago, I found myself actively loathing the movie. What had once seemed fresh, rebellious, and, most importantly, REAL to me now seemed to be absolutely calculating and fake. I don't know if had more to do with my growing out of my youthful idealism or a fine-tuning of my bullshit detector, but I found watching it to be excruciating. And that final freeze-frame, that so affected me when I first saw it? I realized that it didn't mean a thing--it was just a way to end the film.

Like I wrote at the start of this reply, I don't have a problem with Criterion adding it to the collection. At the time it came out, it meant a lot to a great many young people, and many of them still like it today. It made people aware of John Hughes as a director, and it made a stars (or bigger stars) of its cast. It's a snapshot of mid-eighties culture, and it was a popular and important work when it came out. All of that makes it worthy of being picked up by Criterion, even if I don't personally care for the film.
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Old 09-14-18, 10:25 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

PEOPLE. I got to see Persona at the Speed Art Museum here in Louisville tonight. If I'd had my pick of any Bergman film--or even any film in the Criterion library--to see on the big screen, this would have been it. Two of my friends joined me for it. As soon as the lights went up, I turned to see their faces. They were both blank. I immediately started laughing, which I saw elicited a disapproving look from a woman sitting farther down the row.

The film curator always makes a little introductory speech before showings, and prints programs that include essays (often the ones from Criterion where applicable). He characterized the film as "psychological horror", and I immediately shook my head to my friends to signal that I didn't concur with that. He elaborated that it isn't a horror in the conventional sense. I still felt that wasn't quite right, though.

And then the movie played and I realized that I'd been wrong and he was right. I attribute this to the fact that my previous viewings were all at home, by myself, with a rather modest setup. There in an intimately sized theater, a lot of elements played quite differently for me than before. I had always recognized the intensity of certain scenes, but they never quite evoked the kind of visceral reactions that I had tonight.

I thought I'd never get a crack at seeing this on the big screen, and I cannot overstate how thrilled I am that I got to. This experience has already begun to change my relationship with the film, and that's exactly what I hoped would happen. And getting to share it with friends made for the perfect movie-going outing.

This is, it is fair to say, by far the best opening I've ever had to this challenge! I dunno that I'll get through all of my goals, but even if this turns out to be the only eligible movie I watch this month, it's been a successful challenge in my book!
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Old 09-14-18, 10:50 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
This is, it is fair to say, by far the best opening I've ever had to this challenge! I dunno that I'll get through all of my goals, but even if this turns out to be the only eligible movie I watch this month, it's been a successful challenge in my book!
I'm so glad it was such a rewarding experience for you!

I've been slowing watching Tokyo Olympiad tonight. A lot of distractions and interruptions but I'm getting there (It's also almost a 3 hour movie!)

If you haven't heard of it, it's a documentary of the 1964 Olympics that took place in Tokyo but along with races/long jumps and swimming meets, it focuses on the athletes and the spectators. I wasn't sure how I was going to like this one, but I find myself oddly invested in what is being shown and figuring out who won almost 55 years ago.

Having read the supplements, it seems like it was a controversial film as the men who ordered its making wanted a documentary that focused mainly on the updated, post-war city and Japanese athletes. Instead, they received a very broad range of international athletes, reaction shots of the crowd and flags of countries not Japan with a dash of the Rising Sun. I think the reason why it lasted was because it wasn't what it was supposed to be, though!
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Old 09-15-18, 01:49 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Glad you had that experience, Travis.

One of my local (Portland) art house theaters will be showing Andrei Rublev starting Sunday. Not sure I can find a time that works, but damn I'm gonna try.

Last year another theater was doing a Lynch retrospective. Having mostly only seen his films at home, it was a a bit surprising how differently they played on a big screen. Eraserhead was an even deeper nightmare. Dune was an even greater vision of the far future of Man. Still don't like Wild at Heart, but I have a better appreciation of it.

More recently I watched De Palma's Sisters. Saw it many years ago. Liked it even more this time. And Margot Kidder

Also, I hate to say it, but I feel De Palma (sometimes) out Hitchcocks Hitchcock. Though it may be easier to refine a technique than invent it, the enjoyment I get from De Palma vs. Hitch speaks for itself.

Finished Tom Jones, too. Occasionally called one of the worst Best Picture winners (assuming whomever can stop ranting about Crash for a second), I found myself mostly enojying it. It's clearly a product of the 60s, and the fourth wall breaking doesn't always work. But Albert Finney is likable, even while constantly cheating on his (alleged) One True Love. Maybe someday I'll take a crack at that 1000 page novel.
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Old 09-15-18, 07:51 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

So, random question for everybody. When choosing movies to get from my library for the challenge, I went by year so I could watch at least one from every decade. I picked up Chaplin's The Gold Rush.

Originally released in 1925, Chaplin reedited it, cleaned it up, did a voice over, and basically made it his own director's cut version in 1942. Length is different as well.

If I watch the 1942 version, does it still count as a film from the 1920s?
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Old 09-15-18, 09:05 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
So, random question for everybody. When choosing movies to get from my library for the challenge, I went by year so I could watch at least one from every decade. I picked up Chaplin's The Gold Rush.

Originally released in 1925, Chaplin reedited it, cleaned it up, did a voice over, and basically made it his own director's cut version in 1942. Length is different as well.

If I watch the 1942 version, does it still count as a film from the 1920s?
Is it the Blu-ray? It has both versions on the disc. Iíd a bit OCD on that, so would count them as two separate films and decades.

Edit to add: I think most releases, DVD or BD, will have both versions.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:24 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Is it the Blu-ray? It has both versions on the disc. I’d a bit OCD on that, so would count them as two separate films and decades.

Edit to add: I think most releases, DVD or BD, will have both versions.
It does have both; I watched the '42 version. I went for the "definitive" Chaplin version. I just looked it up on Criterion and see they have it under the 40's, so I think that's how I would do it too.

For the film itself, I appreciated the voice over narrating the film. I'm not a big slapstick person, more watching a few of his films this challenge to get them off my "to watch" list than anything else. I laugh a few times. I also appreciated seeing the original "potato dance." I remember seeing it in Benny and Joon so now I know where it came from.
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Old 09-16-18, 12:37 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Satellite TV can be a big help sometimes to watch movies you werenít planning to watch. I was just browsing the Dish Guide tonight, seeing if there were any eligible films on. I came across a Tobey Maguire western on Encore Westerns, called Ride With The Devil . It is a beautifully shot Civil War epic about the Kansas Missouri border wars. I didnít know what to expect in how good it would be when I turned it on, but I loved it. I was riveted to my seat until the movie finished signing off.
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Old 09-16-18, 01:27 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by shadokitty View Post
Satellite TV can be a big help sometimes to watch movies you werenít planning to watch. I was just browsing the Dish Guide tonight, seeing if there were any eligible films on. I came across a Tobey Maguire western on Encore Westerns, called Ride With The Devil . It is a beautifully shot Civil War epic about the Kansas Missouri border wars. I didnít know what to expect in how good it would be when I turned it on, but I loved it. I was riveted to my seat until the movie finished signing off.
I've been meaning to see that for awhile now. It came to my attention when I went through a Jewel phase. I'm not even entirely sure why I got away from her music, as it's not like I stopped enjoying or appreciating it. In any event, her being in it is why I ever heard about it in the first place, and still the chief reason I want to see it.
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Old 09-16-18, 09:59 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I just finished watching Boyhood. Man, that is 3 hours of my life I'm not getting back. Ok, it's not that bad. I mean, I really like the concept of following the same actors over the years as they grow and age. However, it just had no point. When something significant happened, they never followed through.
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Old 09-19-18, 02:35 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I watched I Married a Witch and Androcles and the Lion last night. Both were watchable. Witch was sort of cute, but looking at it through 2018 eyes, it's not as charming as it may once have been. Spoilers ahead:

Spoiler:
Basically, the witch punished the whole family for their ancestor turning in her and her father as witches by cursing them to bad marriages. When she is released, she tries to break up the current family member's engagement through various means before trying a love potion. She ends up drinking it and falling in love with him-neither are upset that her love for him is false and proceed like it was real and she wasn't trying to ruin his life. That kind of bugged me.


Androcles is billed as a comedy/adventure and it does start off that way before taking a right turn towards very serious towards the end. I enjoyed Alan Young in this. I just wasn't fully sure what the movie wanted to be. A serious movie about Christians in Rome or a comedy like A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum?
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Old 09-20-18, 05:40 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Digital rights just confuse me. Apple and Amazon have Y Tu Mama Tambien but Vudu and Xbox do not.
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Old 09-22-18, 01:36 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

After at least 2 years of telling myself that I was going to watch Pan's Labyrinth, I actually did tonight. I have to say that it's probably been my favorite that I've seen so far this challenge and I'm pretty sure it will be for the whole month, though I plan on watching a few more before the challenge is over.

The movie was totally different than the impression I had of it-I had thought it'd be more of a "horror" film but it's really more of a fantasy film that's violent.

It's a beautiful movie. Sometimes I get too involved in the subtitles and forget to watch what else is on the screen, but not this time. The visuals really are stunning. The little girl was really good in the role and the man who played the Captain was a very convincing villain.

The only thing that I would say I disliked would be the violence. Don't get me wrong, I know it's important to the film, but there are about 3 or 4 times where it's just too over-the-top for me. If you've seen the film, I'm sure you could guess what I'm talking about. I have never enjoyed gore and this film, while not glorifying it, does embrace it somewhat. Also, I find that as I get older, I don't have the tolerance for it that I used to.

Anyone else have that happen? Where you used to be able to tolerate something and now, your tastes have changed enough where you can't sit through it anymore at all?
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Old 09-23-18, 02:10 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

The violence of Pan's Labyrinth does seem to contrast rather harshly with the fairy tale tone of the rest of the film. But if you want to establish the cruelty of your main villian who doesn't have a ton of screen time, a bit of the ol' untral violence is the way to do it. I don't think I've seen the film since it came out, but If I recall, there's not much of an antagonist in the fantasy scenes.

I'm finally catching up on my watching. This week it's been:

Three Cases of Murder: A nice anthology of supernatural/crime stories.

The Breaking Point: The second adaptation of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not in less than ten years. People complain about all the remakes nowaday, but they were doing it in the 40s.

Chimes at Midnight: I never get tired of Shakespeare, even if I don't always understand it. Pretty impressive battle scenes. John Gielgud was the most enjoyable to watch. Am I wrong, or do a lot of Welles's movies have really terrible ADR?

Child's Pose: This was my first Romanian New Wave film. Definitely felt a bit like a Dogme95. Fantastic lead performance. A mother will do anything to protect her son, but she also blatantly manipulates him and everyone else.

What's Up, Doc?: Not really up to speed on screwball comedies, but this seemed to get it right. Barbara Streisand manages to be likable while playing a rather terrible person. The last line was a great poke in the eye to Love Story.

Hopscotch: Third time I've seen this one. I should probably just buy it at the next B&N sale. Forget those Borne movies. Walter Matthau's the real anti-Bond.
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Old 09-23-18, 10:35 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I finally caught up with Personal Shopper during a Criterion month!

I didn't know anything about it going in, other than it got a lot of acclaim and had Kristen Stewart. Can't say it was my favorite. It had some interesting stuff, and Stewart was good, but ultimately it left me cold and not that involved.
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Old 09-23-18, 11:48 AM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. Mantle View Post
The violence of Pan's Labyrinth does seem to contrast rather harshly with the fairy tale tone of the rest of the film. But if you want to establish the cruelty of your main villian who doesn't have a ton of screen time, a bit of the ol' untral violence is the way to do it. I don't think I've seen the film since it came out, but If I recall, there's not much of an antagonist in the fantasy scenes.
I don't know, the fantasy is pretty dark, look at the Pale Man scene, so I think the violence as a whole, is a theme throughout the whole movie, not just reality...The Captain is in a lot of the movie, but you're right, not in the fantasy scenes. I know the director wants to keep us guessing, is this real fantasy or all in this little girl's head? I think the fighting scenes and the Captain's orders would be enough to show how much of a psychopath he is, or even just one of the scenes would be enough for me. *shrugs* I know we all have different tolerances, but personally, I could have done with less. It honestly took me out of the world he created when it happened. I'd cringe, turn away from the screen/cover it until it finished. Then, it takes a bit to get back into the movie.

I've definitely had movies with more ultra violent scenes but I've also not liked those as much...
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Old 09-26-18, 04:51 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

With October fast approaching, I wanted to watch a little horror today. I figured that I may as well get some credit, so I looked through my eligible horror titles, and decided on Godzilla: King Of The Monsters . Maybe it has to do with the fact that I saw this version long before I saw Gojira , but even though that is widely considered to be the better film, I have always enjoyed KotM more.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:04 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

This is the first year that I've ever completed the checklist.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:32 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
This is the first year that I've ever completed the checklist.
Congrats!

Only watched 10 or so new-to-me films, but they were all quite good. Hard to pick a favorite, but probably The Thin Red Line or Pina. More later hopefully, scrambling to queue up some horror.
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Old 09-30-18, 08:25 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
This is the first year that I've ever completed the checklist.
Congrats! I was hopeful I would finish, but I think I'll end up missing 2, maybe three. I ordered three last ones from the library last week, 2 came in but the 3rd never shipped for some reason. Oh well, I came pretty close!

Finishing off the challenge with Chungking Express. It's a bit slow going but watchable. I also saw Harlan County USA yesterday and while enjoy would not be the right word considering the subject matter, I did like it. The whole documentary is very well done.

I watched 13 films, 11 of them new to me watches, and I enjoyed most of them!
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Old 10-01-18, 07:46 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Gobear View Post
This is the first year that I've ever completed the checklist.
Very cool! Congrats!

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
I watched 13 films, 11 of them new to me watches, and I enjoyed most of them!
I'm almost as surprised by that as I'm sure you are! (And probably even more pleased!) Glad to hear you actually found some stuff to like. Told you you would!

I didn't get anywhere close to completing the checklist or even my own listed goals. I also didn't offer much in the way of guidance for conversation in the thread as host, and I apologize for that. I was in the hospital for the first 10 days of the month and rest of it was kind of a topsy-turvy mess.

I did, however, squeeze in the entire contents of the In the Realm of the Senses Blu-ray and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse DVD in the last day-plus. The former is a movie I probably shouldn't even be able to finish, but there's something surprisingly engaging about it. The latter may merit more consideration now than at any time since its original production.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:09 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

I hope you feel better soon, Travis. I didn't watch much this year, but I did enjoy the movies I did watch. Got 6 movies in, and found out that Fishing With John was on YouTube. I used a couple episodes of those when I wanted to work on the Challenge, but didn't want to sit down and watch a full movie.
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Old 10-01-18, 08:34 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by Travis McClain View Post
I'm almost as surprised by that as I'm sure you are! (And probably even more pleased!) Glad to hear you actually found some stuff to like. Told you you would!
Hey, I resemble that remark! I'm not usually too hard to please, really, there's just some very...outside of my normal taste type of movies in the Criterion collection.

I did try a little harder this time to aim for movies I thought I might enjoy more. I definitely was trying more for quality than quantity as my original goal was to watch one per decade, then when I saw how close I was by coincidence to get one in every spine number category.
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Old 10-01-18, 09:55 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Originally Posted by shadokitty View Post
I hope you feel better soon, Travis. I didn't watch much this year, but I did enjoy the movies I did watch. Got 6 movies in, and found out that Fishing With John was on YouTube. I used a couple episodes of those when I wanted to work on the Challenge, but didn't want to sit down and watch a full movie.
Thanks. I'm recuperating. It's a messy process. I watched Fishing with John a few years back during another of these challenges and got a kick out of it. I hate fishing, so for that show to have entertained me was surprising.

Originally Posted by LJG765 View Post
Hey, I resemble that remark! I'm not usually too hard to please, really, there's just some very...outside of my normal taste type of movies in the Criterion collection.

I did try a little harder this time to aim for movies I thought I might enjoy more. I definitely was trying more for quality than quantity as my original goal was to watch one per decade, then when I saw how close I was by coincidence to get one in every spine number category.
I knew you had potential.
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Old 11-02-18, 04:10 PM
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Re: 2018 Criterion Challenge Discussion Thread

Wish I would have known about this challenge before. Can't wait to participate next year!
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