Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Month's Worth of Commentary

Yes, I'm going way back here. I told you I was behind...

Kevin Smith: I would still call myself a fan, but I think he's a funnier person than he is a good filmmaker. Chasing Amy is a cut above most of his films. Dogma is funny and clever. But the rest are really kind of mediocre. Even Clerks has flaws, making its mark primarily because no other film dared put so much weight on dialogue alone to carry a plot. It is ingenious in that regard, but next to, say, The Seventh Seal, it's just another Evening with Kevin Smith.

John, are you a Tori Amos fan? Or was that a college phase? I have to know before I reveal the true extent of my fanhood.

Ben, I thought Waking Life was boring. I wanted to like it, but I couldn't stay focused on the dialogue. A Scanner Darkly was slightly better, but it still didn't grab me. If either of those films had not been animated, I doubt they'd be as well known as they are. On the other hand, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset are two of my favorite romantic dramas. The former especially blew me away when I saw it for the first time. Linklater's definitely got range.

I LOVED The Straight Story. I used to think I liked David Lynch--back when I was concerned about having film cred, and thought that liking David Lynch was a requirement--but most of his stuff is really inaccessible to me. I tried watching Inland Empire and kept falling asleep. I'll try again someday. Probably. Maybe.

I think it was Brandon who put out the first Disney live action best-of list. What a great list! Swiss Family Robinson captivated me a kid. The Black Hole is terribly underrated. Flight of the Navigator captured my fancy as well.

Ben, I watched the Community Christmas special and liked it even though I'm not familiar with the characters. I've seen one other complete episode--the zombie one--and thought it was really clever. But it's on a bit too early on Thursdays. My family watches The Office together, and sometimes 30 Rock, and I got hooked on The Apprentice (should I admit that?)--one more show seemed like too much. Too bad it wasn't on after The Office instead of the dreadful Outsourced, which I found myself watching more often than not while waiting for The Apprentice to come on.

Criterion films: I feel like a putz, I've seen so few of these. As I've mentioned before, I tend to watch movies late, so I watch stuff that won't put me to sleep, like horror or comedy or action. But I LOVE foreign and arthouse films. I wish I could figure out how to set aside more time for them. Oh, well--back to Hot Tub Time Machine!

John, you might appreciate that I've been buying Fantagraphic's great Seegar Popeye collections for the kids' comics section at the library. In fact, I bet if you came to my library and saw my kids' comics collection, you might actually be tempted to put your own degree to use. You should all come up sometime. I'll keep inviting you... You missed out on a great double feature at the Dryden on New Year's Eve: The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. We unfortunately only had time to watch the former, but oh how wonderful it was on the big screen!

I hope it doesn't get me kicked out of the club, but I've not ever really been a fan of making top ten lists. Reading them, yes, but making them stresses me out so. I always leave something out or can't decide what order to put them into. I prefer to make lists like "Here is a list of some stuff I liked in no particular order and I'm not committing to it, really, so don't hold me to it."

Ben, I've been wanting to see Primer for a long time now. I love time travel movies (see my entry on Timecrimes) and read some good things about it. I even picked up a used copy at a gas station. Of course, now that I own it, it goes to the bottom of the list after all the stuff I have checked out at the library and all the stuff on my NWI queue that's expiring, etc., etc. I'll check out your link for sure after I've seen it.

John, THANK YOU for the lovely care package. I LOVED the drawings you included and the bonus films. I will try to watch JDB soon and let you know what I think. I've been soft on Korine the two other times I've seen his stuff, so the odds are good that you'll finally have someone to share your appreciation for the film. A note from you would have been nice as well, but of course I wasn't surprised at its omission.

Paul Chadwick's art and writing is unique and unparalleled. Kudos to you, John, for spreading the word.

Brandon, I actually spoke with Bryan Lee O'Malley at NY ComicCon this year and he told me that originally the screenplay to Scott Pilgrim called for Scott and Knives to end up together, but it was rewritten at the last minute. That likely accounts for how awkward it seems. The ending is quite different from the comics, and I was really disappointed in it. Right up until the final battle, though, I'm with you all the way. It's a shame it didn't do so well at the box office because it's really the first of its kind.

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