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View Poll Results: Favorite Paul Schrader film?
Blue Collar
21.43%
Hardcore
10.71%
American Gigolo
0
0%
Cat People
28.57%
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
17.86%
Light of Day
3.57%
Patty Hearst
0
0%
The Comfort of Strangers
0
0%
Light Sleeper
0
0%
Touch
0
0%
Affliction
7.14%
Forever Mine
0
0%
Auto Focus
7.14%
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist
3.57%
The Walker
0
0%
Voters: 28. You may not vote on this poll

Paul Schrader

Old 03-22-18, 09:38 PM
  #26  
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Re: Best Paul Schrader Films Ranked

Good thread, focusing on my favorite film director. Too bad so many of his movies are either unavailable on modern home video, or are only available via P.O.S. DVD's with terrible transfers.

Here are some reviews of some of his films I posted on other sites - but are even more appropriate to this thread:

Hardcore (1979): The film is both extremely well done & very disturbing. I liked the extreme contrasts in the film: The wintry, cold, midwestern, seemingly "wholesome" small town Americana vs. the sunny, sleazy, dangerous big city in heavily urban CA that the Scott character has to unwillingly navigate in order to find his daughter. Also, Scott's conservative, religious views vs. the seedy characters he dealt with while searching for his daughter.

My favorite scene
Spoiler:
is at the end, after the daughter is "rescued" - the prostitute tells Jake van Dorn (Scott) that he needs to leave & go back to his life, and that he doesn't belong there in that "world" (I'm paraphrasing). Very sad, bittersweet ending.


The connection between this film & the Schrader-written Taxi Driver are obvious; both films feature young females who have been drawn into the sex trade & need to be "rescued". In both cases, it's unclear whether these women would go back to their "normal" lives after being taken away from the sleazy world - or, if they would run away again.

American Gigolo (1980): Incredible film, that epitomizes the '80's to a great extent, - even though it was almost certainly filmed in '79. The opening scene of Julien (Gere) driving down the highway while Blondie's "Call me" screamed over the radio is one of the best opening scenes to any film I've seen - great way to introduce the lead character!

There is something intriguing about being a guy who not only lives off of women, but who takes pride in doing so. That being said, the movie also shows the "negative side" of such a lifestyle - which I found added a good dose of realism to the film.
Spoiler:
One of the most interesting aspects of AG to me is that Schrader, instead of making a movie that glamorizes Julien's lifestyle (which he easily could have done), takes the opposite route & clearly illustrates the darker side to the "profession". I.e., if you are in the "business" you will probably need to do some degrading/dangerous things, you will be looked down on by many (much of which is probably because of envy), and there are a lot of sleazy people out there who will betray you in a NY minute...

When Julien (Gere) is being set up for the murder of a former "client", you can see how everyone that he was in good graces with prior to that - ends up dropping him like a hot potato. I.e., his "relationships" are very tenuous & based on services rendered, and that's it.

This is why the politician's wife supporting him & staying by his side (despite the permanent damage this did to her & her husband's reputation) was especially touching- she was the only one that believed in Julien, due in large part because she had fallen for him - very poignant theme here. I don't consider this unrealistic, just unlikely - though definitely not impossible. Remember, she pursued him due to her being intrigued by him, etc.

The irony in the film is that what saved Julien in the end was the love of a woman, which is something that he had actively tried to avoid at all costs...


Cat People (1982): Gorgeous film. IMHO, this is a truly classic movie. Excellent but sad story, beautiful actresses (NK & AOT), good effects (for the time), extremely impressive visuals - especially the flash-back prehistoric?! sequences with the matte paintings & creepy, red lighting - and last but not least, incredible scenery of early '80's, pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985): Brilliant film.

I especially liked the surreal & stream-of-consciousness aspects present here - it was interesting that it basically skipped around between the present (which in this case was November 1970), to flashbacks from the past (b&w), to the stories that were taken from Mishima's work.

One of the many elements that really stood out for me was the story involving the son making the deal with that older woman so that his mother's debts could be paid off. The color in these segments was amazing - very bright & in many cases neon-like red, orange, pink, green, etc.

And, obviously, the score by Philip Glass was sublime.

I also got the impression that though Mishima was a very well-respected author & playwright with a large following, he still felt alienated from others much of his life. This may have been why Schrader decided to make the film, since many of the films he either wrote and/or directed focus on characters alienated from others, i.e. Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Julien in American Gigolo, John LeTour in Light Sleeper, etc.

Auto Focus (2002): Another excellent film. I was never a fan of Hogans Heroes, but you don't need to be to enjoy the movie. Good time-capsule of the 1960's - late 1970's, and the colors were especially vivid in many scenes.

I've been fascinated by the BC death ever since seeing the film & a related documentary about the crime. Since there were no signs of forced entry into Crane's apartment, the authorities do think that he knew whoever killed him:

Light of Day (1987): Excellent film; great story, and good '80's hard rock soundtrack. This film was so realistic, it may as well have been a documentary.

I'm not a huge MJF fan, but Joan Jett & Gena Rowlands (as well as many of the supporting actors) were fantastic. JJ seemed like she wasn't even acting but was basically playing herself, which was perfect because her persona really fit the role.

Great rock & roll songs, especially the original?! songs like "Light of Day", which opened & closed the film.

Spoiler:
The scene towards the end - when Patty (JJ) spoke to her mother (Rowlands) at the hospital - was quite poignant.


It would be great see this with better picture quality/sound on DVD/Blu some day, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. IMHO, one of the reasons (if not the only reason) this hasn't hit modern home video is because of the licensing rights involving the music in the film. There are a plethora of artists featured here re: many of the cover songs played by JJ's band, as well as The Fabulous Thunderbirds concert sequence, etc

Forever Mine (1999): Great love story/revenge drama set in the 1970's; extremely underrated these days. IMHO this is Ray Liotta's second best role (behind Goodfellas), and Joseph Fiennes' best film.

Unfortunately, the PQ on the DVD I've seen is terrible - this film definitely deserves an upgrade.

Patty Hearst (1988): Excellent drama based on the actual incident from the early 1970's. Natasha Richardson is amazing in the title role.

The Comfort of Strangers (1990): Extremely creepy & unsettling film - Natasha Richardson & R. Everett play a couple from the UK on vacation in Venice, Italy. They meet a mysterious guy & his wife (C. Walken & H. Mirren) who seem nice at first, but appearances can be deceiving.
Spoiler:
This movie has a very horrific & extremely unexpected ending.


Blue Collar (1978): Excellent dramatic & at times very funny film; great late '70's look at union factory jobs in Detroit. This film has a perfect mixture of humor & drama, which is unusual for a Paul Schrader film. Richard Pryor was especially good in this. Well-done.

Light Sleeper (1992): Depressing & dark film, with amazing performances by Dafoe & Sarandon.

The Walker (2007): Excellent, and one of Woody Harrelson's best performances. Kirsten Scott Thomas & Lauren Bacall were amazing in this as well.

Last edited by TheDude; 03-22-18 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 03-22-18, 10:26 PM
  #27  
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Re: Best Paul Schrader Films Ranked

Originally Posted by TheDude View Post
Good thread, focusing on my favorite film director. Too bad so many of his movies are either unavailable on modern home video, or are only available via P.O.S. DVD's with terrible transfers.

Here are some reviews of some of his films I posted on other sites - but are even more appropriate to this thread:

Hardcore (1979): The film is both extremely well done & very disturbing. I liked the extreme contrasts in the film: The wintry, cold, midwestern, seemingly "wholesome" small town Americana vs. the sunny, sleazy, dangerous big city in heavily urban CA that the Scott character has to unwillingly navigate in order to find his daughter. Also, Scott's conservative, religious views vs. the seedy characters he dealt with while searching for his daughter.

My favorite scene
Spoiler:
is at the end, after the daughter is "rescued" - the prostitute tells Jake van Dorn (Scott) that he needs to leave & go back to his life, and that he doesn't belong there in that "world" (I'm paraphrasing). Very sad, bittersweet ending.


The connection between this film & the Schrader-written Taxi Driver are obvious; both films feature young females who have been drawn into the sex trade & need to be "rescued". In both cases, it's unclear whether these women would go back to their "normal" lives after being taken away from the sleazy world - or, if they would run away again.

American Gigolo (1980): Incredible film, that epitomizes the '80's to a great extent, - even though it was almost certainly filmed in '79. The opening scene of Julien (Gere) driving down the highway while Blondie's "Call me" screamed over the radio is one of the best opening scenes to any film I've seen - great way to introduce the lead character!

There is something intriguing about being a guy who not only lives off of women, but who takes pride in doing so. That being said, the movie also shows the "negative side" of such a lifestyle - which I found added a good dose of realism to the film.
Spoiler:
One of the most interesting aspects of AG to me is that Schrader, instead of making a movie that glamorizes Julien's lifestyle (which he easily could have done), takes the opposite route & clearly illustrates the darker side to the "profession". I.e., if you are in the "business" you will probably need to do some degrading/dangerous things, you will be looked down on by many (much of which is probably because of envy), and there are a lot of sleazy people out there who will betray you in a NY minute...

When Julien (Gere) is being set up for the murder of a former "client", you can see how everyone that he was in good graces with prior to that - ends up dropping him like a hot potato. I.e., his "relationships" are very tenuous & based on services rendered, and that's it.

This is why the politician's wife supporting him & staying by his side (despite the permanent damage this did to her & her husband's reputation) was especially touching- she was the only one that believed in Julien, due in large part because she had fallen for him - very poignant theme here. I don't consider this unrealistic, just unlikely - though definitely not impossible. Remember, she pursued him due to her being intrigued by him, etc.

The irony in the film is that what saved Julien in the end was the love of a woman, which is something that he had actively tried to avoid at all costs...


Cat People (1982): Gorgeous film. IMHO, this is a truly classic movie. Excellent but sad story, beautiful actresses (NK & AOT), good effects (for the time), extremely impressive visuals - especially the flash-back prehistoric?! sequences with the matte paintings & creepy, red lighting - and last but not least, incredible scenery of early '80's, pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985): Brilliant film.

I especially liked the surreal & stream-of-consciousness aspects present here - it was interesting that it basically skipped around between the present (which in this case was November 1970), to flashbacks from the past (b&w), to the stories that were taken from Mishima's work.

One of the many elements that really stood out for me was the story involving the son making the deal with that older woman so that his mother's debts could be paid off. The color in these segments was amazing - very bright & in many cases neon-like red, orange, pink, green, etc.

And, obviously, the score by Philip Glass was sublime.

I also got the impression that though Mishima was a very well-respected author & playwright with a large following, he still felt alienated from others much of his life. This may have been why Schrader decided to make the film, since many of the films he either wrote and/or directed focus on characters alienated from others, i.e. Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Julien in American Gigolo, John LeTour in Light Sleeper, etc.

Auto Focus (2002): Another excellent film. I was never a fan of Hogans Heroes, but you don't need to be to enjoy the movie. Good time-capsule of the 1960's - late 1970's, and the colors were especially vivid in many scenes.

I've been fascinated by the BC death ever since seeing the film & a related documentary about the crime. Since there were no signs of forced entry into Crane's apartment, the authorities do think that he knew whoever killed him:

Light of Day (1987): Excellent film; great story, and good '80's hard rock soundtrack. This film was so realistic, it may as well have been a documentary.

I'm not a huge MJF fan, but Joan Jett & Gena Rowlands (as well as many of the supporting actors) were fantastic. JJ seemed like she wasn't even acting but was basically playing herself, which was perfect because her persona really fit the role.

Great rock & roll songs, especially the original?! songs like "Light of Day", which opened & closed the film.

Spoiler:
The scene towards the end - when Patty (JJ) spoke to her mother (Rowlands) at the hospital - was quite poignant.


It would be great see this with better picture quality/sound on DVD/Blu some day, but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. IMHO, one of the reasons (if not the only reason) this hasn't hit modern home video is because of the licensing rights involving the music in the film. There are a plethora of artists featured here re: many of the cover songs played by JJ's band, as well as The Fabulous Thunderbirds concert sequence, etc

Forever Mine (1999): Great love story/revenge drama set in the 1970's; extremely underrated these days. IMHO this is Ray Liotta's second best role (behind Goodfellas), and Joseph Fiennes' best film.

Unfortunately, the PQ on the DVD I've seen is terrible - this film definitely deserves an upgrade.

Patty Hearst (1988): Excellent drama based on the actual incident from the early 1970's. Natasha Richardson is amazing in the title role.

The Comfort of Strangers (1990): Extremely creepy & unsettling film - Natasha Richardson & R. Everett play a couple from the UK on vacation in Venice, Italy. They meet a mysterious guy & his wife (C. Walken & H. Mirren) who seem nice at first, but appearances can be deceiving.
Spoiler:
This movie has a very horrific & extremely unexpected ending.


Blue Collar (1978): Excellent dramatic & at times very funny film; great late '70's look at union factory jobs in Detroit. This film has a perfect mixture of humor & drama, which is unusual for a Paul Schrader film. Richard Pryor was especially good in this. Well-done.

Light Sleeper (1992): Depressing & dark film, with amazing performances by Dafoe & Sarandon.

The Walker (2007): Excellent, and one of Woody Harrelson's best performances. Kirsten Scott Thomas & Lauren Bacall were amazing in this as well.
Good notes...I definitely to check out some more of those...I've been meaning to pick up The Walker, especially, but was hoping to wait til it comes out on Blu-Ray...Need to check out Light of Day and Comfort of Strangers, as well...I've read a little bit about them (such as the book Schrader on Schrader), but have tried to avoid spoilers...I look forward to checking them out in the future...

I might watch Forever Mine or American Gigolo tonight...Currently watching Atom Egoyan's Remember, which is surprisingly great...

I appreciate the feedback...
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Old 03-23-18, 12:51 AM
  #28  
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Re: Best Paul Schrader Films Ranked

Watched Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist. Pleasantly surprised...Not a great movie, but a solid one...Features some cheesy CGI from time to time, but aside from that the storyline was pretty good...I'd rank this just slightly above Cat People, in terms of my list...And I'd also add that the opening scene is very harrowing and one of the most intense things Schrader has ever written...Not a bad way to spend two hours...
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Old 03-23-18, 10:04 AM
  #29  
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Re: Paul Schrader

Schrader is mightily over rated. Almost all the movies he had directed are shit. The only things i could ever repeat watch are Blue Collar and Auto Focus, and even they don't peak my interest much anymore.
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Old 03-23-18, 10:29 AM
  #30  
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Re: Paul Schrader

If you don't like Schrader's films, that's one thing. But saying he's overrated is erroenous - because, other than Taxi Driver (which he didn't direct, but only wrote the script for) & possibly American Gigolo - many casual film-goers haven't even seen his films, and probably wouldn't recognize his name if they were asked about him. He also seems to work outside of the Hollywood system re: many of his movies - which is one of the reasons he's my favorite director.

It's also worth noting that Schrader gets no respect when it comes to home video releases of his films:

-Many of his films aren't on Blu-ray.

- The films of his that are on DVD are in many cases still in the P.O.S. non-Anamorphic, pan & scan format w/awful PQ.

-Some of his films aren't on any modern home video at all (i.e., DVD or Blu).

So, that's another reason his films aren't seen that much - they're not available in a decent home video format.

Here's another review:

The Canyons: I saw this several years back - only because I'm a huge Paul Schrader fan.

Thought the movie was O.K. - not nearly as bad as everyone is making it out to be, but definitely far from great. I'm not a huge Bret Easton Ellis fan (his books & films are basically all about spoiled rich people, which I don't find compelling), and IMHO this was far more a BEE film than it was a Paul Schrader film.

That being said, I did like certain aspects to the movie:

-The shots in the beginning (and I believe throughout the film) of the empty, abandoned movie theaters, and the later conversation that two characters had about film - i.e., "When was the last time you went to see a film in the theater that really meant something to you?" - I'm paraphrasing here, but the theme seemed to be that people aren't going to see films in the theater as much anymore, the art of film is dying/dead, and that most films made now aren't that great and/or don't mean as much as they used to. Also, it is true that I see less movie theaters around these days; a lot of them have shut down in my area, and there are very few new ones to replace them....

-The scene when the young guy who was having the affair with the Lohan character confronted another guy in a parking garage who had been following him - I thought this was a nice homage to a very similar scene in Schrader's magnum opus, American Gigolo (1980).....

Last edited by TheDude; 03-23-18 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 06-06-19, 09:02 PM
  #31  
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Re: Paul Schrader

Just watched Hardcore for the first time, as a rental. It was fucking great! It's a trip because it had certain beats that reminded me of 8MM, as if that was a remake of it. I saw that Hardcore was released via Twilight Time years ago, so that one is OOP. I may just import the Indicator release from the UK.
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Old 06-06-19, 09:19 PM
  #32  
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Re: Paul Schrader

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Old 06-06-19, 09:48 PM
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Re: Paul Schrader

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
Just watched Hardcore for the first time, as a rental. It was fucking great! It's a trip because it had certain beats that reminded me of 8MM, as if that was a remake of it. I saw that Hardcore was released via Twilight Time years ago, so that one is OOP. I may just import the Indicator release from the UK.
Hardcore is 3/4 a truly fine, intelligent, thoughtful movie, and 1/4 pure insipid, Arron Spelling-esque shit.

As good as it is, it really goes off the rails in the last act with that silly, studio mandated ending more geared for the climax of a Charlies Angels or TJ Hooker episode, than the harrowing drama/ sensitive character work that precedes it.

BTW- The Indicator is the slightly better version anyway, and region free as well.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:30 PM
  #34  
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Re: Paul Schrader

Originally Posted by Paul_SD View Post
Hardcore is 3/4 a truly fine, intelligent, thoughtful movie, and 1/4 pure insipid, Arron Spelling-esque shit.

As good as it is, it really goes off the rails in the last act with that silly, studio mandated ending more geared for the climax of a Charlies Angels or TJ Hooker episode, than the harrowing drama/ sensitive character work that precedes it.

BTW- The Indicator is the slightly better version anyway, and region free as well.
I had heard about the last part of the film being not-so-good, but it was fine, IMO. It served as a cool action piece, with great lighting and violence, and a very ambivalent ending - even if it was studio-mandated.
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Old 06-06-19, 10:48 PM
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Re: Paul Schrader

Big Dick Blaque approves.






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Old 06-06-19, 11:26 PM
  #36  
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Re: Paul Schrader

That was a funny ass scene!
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Old 06-07-19, 07:57 AM
  #37  
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Re: Paul Schrader

I remember seeing "Cat People" in the theater and getting in an argument with my then-girlfriend: I appreciated it as a Horror film with some artistic intentions (or pretensions, some would say) and she just found it ridiculous. I felt a little redeemed when the late, great "Cinefantastique" printed a lengthy article praising the film. It's been poorly treated on home video with poor transfers and a song cue edit.
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Old 06-07-19, 08:03 AM
  #38  
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Re: Paul Schrader

Hardcore is great.

Anybody follow Paul on Facebook? Dude posts some funny shit.

First Reformed has continued to stick with me. I'd put that right under Taxi Driver at this point, I think (regardless of only written by).
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Old 06-07-19, 09:52 AM
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Re: Paul Schrader

I did see that "Adam Resurrected" is on PRIME, so I may give that a watch today. PS does have a shit ton of films that still have not seen.
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Old 06-07-19, 10:00 AM
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Re: Paul Schrader

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
I did see that "Adam Resurrected" is on PRIME, so I may give that a watch today. PS does have a shit ton of films that still have not seen.
Don't sleep on Light Sleeper, a very underrated film with an excellent performance by Willem Dafoe. It is the third part of an unofficial trilogy along with Taxi Driver and American Gigolo.
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Old 06-12-19, 07:28 PM
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Re: Paul Schrader

Originally Posted by Why So Blu? View Post
That was a funny ass scene!
The Blu-ray uses that scene for the artwork



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Old 06-12-19, 08:03 PM
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Re: Paul Schrader

^ I got Light Sleeper from UK, I believe. Haven’t gotten to it yet. I remember seeing Hardcore late night on hbo when I was young. Don’t remember much of movie except Scott and had to do with porn. Actually thought it was rated X for some reason. Indicator have some extras?
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Old 06-12-19, 08:07 PM
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Nm. Indicator looks great!
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Old 06-13-19, 12:28 AM
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Re: Paul Schrader

I just got my shipping notice from the UK - it was out of stock when I ordered it last week. My grand total was $16.27 shipped from the UK, which is a great price.
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