Saturday, December 26, 2015

Nightcap 12/26/15- Bone Tomahawk, By the Sea, Ridiculous 6, a random thought (foreshadowing a longer piece) and tons of links from Randi

Lost Property from Asa Lucander on Vimeo.
I was not going to do a Nightcap this week but I found a short comment I wrote earlier this week, saw a couple of movies that would never get full reviews and I found Randi had sent me a ton of links I figured why not.
The family Christmas movie this year was BONE TOMAHAWK.

It wasn't planned, but I walked into my aunts house and they were watching it.

I'm going to do a full review down the road but for know know that this story about a posse going out to rescue a kidnapped woman is a very intense stomach churning film of exploding violence and dread. I was wincing.

I really liked the film a great deal, as did my cousin. My uncle I thing was unsettled by it and not entirely happy with its lack of clear cut lines at times

I'm mentioning the film because I think, good bad or indifferent its a film that anyone wanting to see a film off the beaten track should see.
Angelina Jolie Pitt's BY THE SEA is a gorgeous film. Its a film whose visual style hearkens back to the Euro art films of the 60's and 70's. Its a film where each image oozes with mood and meaning and emotion.

Its a shame that the story of an American couple in crisis is such a slog to get through. Its knowing looks and longing glances and it kind of goes nowhere real fast. I was bored silly
The Adam Sandler film RIDICULOUS SIX got into trouble when Native American actors got pissed at the portrayal of their culture in the film. The offending bit of the script was released and it did read rather badly.

Then when the film was released on Netflix the film was crucified-largely, it seemed, by people who either didn't see the film and never were going to or people who hated Sandler and his films and decided to use it as a chance to bludgeon a guy they hated for the hell of it.

On Christmas I did sit down and watch the film and a couple of things became clear relatively fast:

1. The film seems to exist to give a bunch of Sandler's friends a chance to hang out with him and get paid doing it.

2. The people kind of cared in the making of the film and had they cared a little bit more not to walk through the motions this might have worked.(Hell there are some clever riffs in the film)

3. The film could be seen as offensive to just about everyone- especially if you don't like running diarrhea jokes involving donkeys

4.  It's not as horrible as everyone has made it out to be. Yes its not particularly good, But at the same time it's a badness born of laziness and an inability to really make the jokes work beyond the instant smile.

5. Its badness is not the "truly awful this is so bad I can enjoy this as a bad film" film of the "this is bad beyond words" bad film of the sort that's not remotely watchable the first reviews made it out to be.- rather this is a bad film of the sort that comes from a film not working. It's a kind of almost might have worked film that just misses because the timing of the jokes is largely off and because the low brow humor isn't sold correctly.

6. Once the film gets going the dead faced dullness of the film kind of gives way to a film that you end up staying with to the end because you're hooked- making you wonder if they had either played it straight or had the jokes worked better this might have been a pretty okay film.

Worth a shot if you're very forgiving- and are in the mood for a film that doesn't really work
I was doing some reading on crime films of the post-World War 2 years and found an interesting statement about how so many of the films that came out following the war portrayed the returning vets much differently than we think- that they were damaged goods. In a line or two the review of some “disposable” film noir stated that the crime films dealt more realistically with the men returning home as people haunted by their experiences… and that was it. A simple line and onward to discussing the film.

I didn’t think much of it.

Hell I read it in context and kept going.

It wasn’t until about a half an hour later when the comment was pinging around in my brain that it occurred to me that the author was dead on right. Instead of GI’s coming home to glory they were coming back to a world that didn’t make sense. If you look at the low budget output of the various studios, not just crime and noir films,  you find that there is this whole subgenre of the returning vet films. Sure some are set years after the war but it’s clear the war left its mark. We all think of the “greatest generation” as a bunch of stoic men of iron but if you really look at popular culture or its fringes you see that things were messed up.

Why was the 1950’s so saccharine- a desperate attempt to cover up the psyche war wounds. It was all pretend and pretense. Hollywood covered for the fact that everyone was hurting.

I would guess that the pain of the parents bled out into the children and things got weird in the 60’s as the kids of the vets went to war themselves or rebelled… all one need to do is look at the low budget or independent films to see where society is – more so than the mainstream since the big studios follow the trends

There is a sociological study here. Probably a doctoral thesis or two as well.

And a post or two down the road
And now Randi's Christmas bounty of links
BBC News Quiz for the year
Star Wars Awakens trailer music
Moomin Advent Calendar
Lessons from Late Night
MAke Superhero Snowflakes
Sound of Music Live Behind the Scenes
How to deal with Anxiety
QI christmas outtakes
Scary Movies you've never seen
Questionable Christmas cards
Star Wars remade without  a single bit of Star Wars
The darkside of Penguins
The Nutcracker's history
What did Christ look like?
The Overlook Hotel in gingerbread
Basil Fawlty is back
The Tunnels of England
This week our look at 1980's Cannon films continues as well as a week of entries from my personal best worst and notable lists

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