What Was The Last Movie You Watched?

Discussion in 'The Moving Picture' started by Amy Jeanne, Aug 5, 2007.

  1. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    The Last Days of Disco from 1998 with Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny (that name doesn't spell itself), Chris Eigman and Mackenzie Astin / written and directed by Whit Stillman

    Other than that I know there are very strong opinions out there about Whit Stillman movies, I don't really know what the debate is about nor could I have named a Whit Stillman movie prior to seeing this one, even though, I subsequently checked, I had already seen two or three of them. Hence, I know my comments will miss the mark on whatever the bigger Whit Stillman's issues out there are.

    Set in the early '80s, the story centers around two young college-graduate women, Beckinsale and Sevigny, trying to transition to adulthood in New York City. They work as interns at a publishing house during the day and party at night with their guy friends at "The Club," New York's hottest disco, which I assume is modeled after Studio 54.

    As is common with young kids, their friends are entwined in their lives - they share apartments, steal each other's boyfriends and girlfriends, hook up casually, gossip and both undermine and help each other.

    In a way, that's the movie. Sure there are some small plots about the club being investigated by the district attorney's office (with one friend working at the club and another on the DA's staff) and whether the women will be promoted to assistant editors, etc., but this is a character-driven, moment-in-time movie.

    And as a character, Kate Beckinsale nails the post-college, smart, arrogant, manipulating, know-it-all woman who projects a confidence that hides the same insecurities everyone is dealing with. She issues edicts and maxims with conviction in one scene, only to dismiss them in the next one when they are inconvenient: "never date someone in advertising" she tells her friend when she wants to break up her relationship, followed later by, "of course I wasn't serious" when she starts dating the same guy [quotes are paraphrases].

    All the characters here are a type - the shy brainy one, the guy who ditched college but is doing well, for the moment, managing at The Club, the liberal idealist bemoaning the plight of the low-paid white-collar workers in publishing, the advertising guy trying to suck up to his bosses for a promotion - but each actor brings enough personality and distinction to keep you somewhat interested.

    Having moved to NYC in the '80s after college, I knew the people in The Last Days of Disco - cocky, "in the know," opinionated, lived in their group and, generally, annoying. Stillman clearly knows these people too as he perfectly captured, not only the type, but that type at just that moment and place in time. And while New York City in the movie looks more like late 1990s New York, when the movie was filmed, than early 1980s, the actors' attitude and posturing are all 1980s.

    Now, twenty-plus years after it was filmed, the movie's New York street scenes are a treat. Combined with smart, if sometimes, over-written dialogue, the full-on-'80s zeitgeist and enough humanity to counter the many cliches, it's kinda an enjoyable movie. Plus, if you happened to have been just out of college and living in New York City in the '80s back then, the movie will produce some feelings of nostalgia.
     
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  2. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Cause for Alarm (1951) with Loretta Young and Barry Sullivan, dir. Tay Garnett. Young plays the wife of bed-ridden Sullivan, who thinks she's two-timing him. Most of the story takes place at home, and it makes one think it could easily have been done on tv's The Loretta Young Show.
    The Big Heat (1953) with Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, and Lee Marvin playing the really vile Lee Marvin character. Directed by Fritz Lang. Gritty, dark, rough, with not a wasted shot or scene. We couldn't take our eyes off of it.
     
  3. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Alien - 2003 Director's Cut, german synchro.
     
  4. Peckinpah

    Peckinpah New in Town

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    Haven't watched yet, but I have just ordered The Killers (1964) an adaptation of a Hemmingway short story which was previously adapted for the screen in 1946 (that version starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner). This one stars Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson and... Ronald Reagan in his last film role.

    Has any of the Fedora Lounge members seen this one? Looks really good, do love '60s Neo Noirs.

     
  5. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    A couple of bad movies whose names I don’t remember. At some point I kind of stopped paying attention. Still, they were probably better than Wonder Woman 84.
    :D
     
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  6. Worf

    Worf I'll Lock Up

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    "TWEET" "That's 15 yards! You got 15 comin'. He's got the poor film down on the ground and he givin' it "da business" and he don't expect me to throw no flag???!!!".

    Man you're brutal, what a massive backhanded roast.

    Worf
     
  7. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Rewatching The Godfather Part II.

    Let's see, if my impression changed. :)
     
  8. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    But I just like this scene:

    Senator Geary:
    "I don't like your kind of people. I don't like to see you come out to this clean country with your oily hair, dressed up in those silk suits, trying to pass yourselves off as decent Americans. I'll do business with you, but the fact is that I despise your masquerade, the dishonest way you pose yourself — yourself and your whole fu--ing family."

    Yes!! :cool:
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Dr Stangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb from 1964 with Peter Sellers, Sterling Hayden and George C. Scott

    A rogue US general, wonderfully played by Sterling Hayden, spouting crazy anti-communist theories launches an unauthorized nuclear attack on the USSR at the height of the Cold War. The rest of the movie is saner people - the general's aide-de-camp, the president, most of his military leadership team, the rightfully-suspicious Soviet America diplomat and the USSR's president - trying to stop the attack before it sets off, owing to a Soviet "doomsday machine," a nuclear armageddon.

    Sure, it's a smart black comedy about the Cold War and the arms race. And if you accept that the characters are supposed to be over the top, then the acting is spot on. And if you think about it in the context of 1964, the height of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, then it must have had a timeliness that increased its impact.

    It's all those things - and they're good - but it's also smug and condescending. Most people are philosophically against war, fighting and arms races. And few would argue against the moral superiority of being for peace. So it's easy to be "against war and killing," as this movie is, the hard thing is to stop the Hitlers, the USSRs and other dictatorships set on world domination with flowers, not bullets, with nice ideas, not physical might.

    Dr Stangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb doesn't try to offer a solution to that question because it takes the easier route of pointing out how all of our military efforts and conflicts can look absurd when you step outside of them. Strangelove shines at showing that absurdity by exaggeration as when we learn that the rogue general launched the attack in part because he believes fluoridation of the water is a communist plot to poison our "precious bodily fluids." Or they look absurd when we watch equally wackadoodle top-military advisor to the president, George C. Scott, ridiculously twist every turn in the story into a communist plot or a way for him to have more casual sex.

    There's even more crazy here as we see a former Nazi scientist, now one of the president's top advisors (one of the three roles played by Sellers, the other two are the president and the rogue-general's aide-de-camp) who has an injured arm that can't help giving the Nazi solute as he discusses plans to repopulate the earth after a nuclear winter. And perhaps the movie's most-famous crazy moment is when the pilot of the one American bomber that makes it through the Soviet air defences - a stereotyped and exaggerated American cowboy itching to bomb "the commies -" ends up riding the bomb like a rodeo bull to its target. No symbol or message is subtle or nuanced here.

    This low-budget film is a bit clunky for a Stanley Kubrick effort with, for example, poorly done combat scenes when the army tries to storm the rogue general's base. Stranglelove is a secondary entry in the early '60s plethora of bleak political commentary movies like Seven Days in May or Fail Safe. Most of them are good movies that raise smart and serious questions, but most of them also, like Strangelove, take the easy route of denouncing war or bombs or something most of us denounce, without telling us how to resolve the problem. The viewer, like the movie maker, gets to feel morally superior, but it is an on-the-cheap emotion as mocking a problem isn't the same as solving it.
     
  10. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    Ah, Senator Geary. I understand The Family needed him, but if I were Michael Corleone he probably wouldn't have walked out of that meeting. Excellent performance by G.D. Spradlin, R.I.P., who had a nice little acting career playing that sort of character and doing it very well.
     
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  11. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Nobody plays a better long game than Michael.
     
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  12. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Was this intended to be a satirical review of a movie widely understood (even at the time) to be satirical? Is your Rand quote satirical too? Because if you take Rand seriously, then I guess you took Dr Strangelove serious, and your bizarre review starts to become understandable.
     
  13. Doctor Damage

    Doctor Damage My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    The welder with a welding torch under the table sounds almost as dangerous as a raygun!!!
     
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  14. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    From a distant memory, I believe Connery said he was truly nervous during the filming of that scene owing to the welding torch. But I don't remember where I read that.
     
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  15. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Goldfinger remains a favorite Bond, but this one scene really ended 007's credibility.
    Goldfinger, a gambler would have let the hand play out. Bond's quip, considered, but rejected
    inside the opponent mind essentially finished the hand. 007's retort seen for what it was,
    a desperate bid of little substance. A bluff. Seen and raised-no pun intended.
     
  16. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Ronin. Classic. :)

    "Either your part of the problem, part of the solution or part of the countryside."
     
  17. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Parachute-Jumper-1933-1.jpg
    Parachute Jumper from 1933 with Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis and Frank McHugh

    A very Warner Brothers pre-code B-movie where they pack a ton of story and stuff into seventy-two minutes.

    Front and center is the Depression as our three leads are jobless, hungry, bedraggled (for glamorous movie stars) and nearly homeless. Former US Marine flyboys Fairbanks and McHugh ask unemployed secretary Davis to move into their tenement apartment to help her out and to share the expenses and cause, well, Fairbanks is kinda sweet on her.

    But no hanky-panky happens yet as these three need jobs. First up, Fairbanks gets hired by a gangster's girlfriend as her chauffeur and, and it's not hidden at all, boy toy (he'd have an open and shut case of sexual harassment against her today). From here (everything happens quickly in this one), Fairbanks is hired away by the gangster himself to be his bodyguard and, then, he becomes the gangster's pilot for bootleg liquor (with Prohibition mocked by all in this movie) and, unbeknownst to Fairbanks, narcotics.

    In some pretty good action scenes for the day, Fairbanks and McHugh (he gets hired as a pilot by the gangster, too), with a plane full of bootlegged alcohol, engage in a mid-air gunfight (pistols and machine guns) with border patrol planes. Warner Brothers made sure there was never a dull moment in this one.

    Meanwhile, coincidentally, Davis gets hired by the same gangster to be his secretary, which causes Fairbanks and Davis to separate (Fairbanks thinks there's something going on between those two). But that's secondary for the moment as the Feds are closing in on the gangster and Fairbanks and McHugh could go down in the bust. (Spoiler alert) Fairbanks and McHugh turn the tables on the gangster who had planned for those two to take the fall, but once they are out of that jam, they are unemployed again.

    The wrap up (more spoilers), like everything else in the movie, is fast as Fairbanks hunts down Davis and, in a fun and charming scene, borrows two-bucks from her to get a marriage license so that he can ask her to marry him. That one-minute scene has more real romance in it than ninety percent of the treacly nonsense Hollywood usually puts out.

    And going full-in on its pre-codeness, there's a scene near the end where Fairbanks, trying to find Davis, walks into a series of offices in his search: the first one is a divorce lawyer who denigrates marriage, the second one is a stereotypical gay man and women that Fairbanks openly mocks and the third is "The Society for the Enforcement of Prohibition" where the man at the desk is caught sneaking a drink. It's as if Warner Brothers had a list of taboos they wanted to get into the movie and had to all but force them in at the end.

    Add in an earlier scene where McHugh, hitchhiking, gives the bird to a car that passed him by, all the casual sex, sexual harassment (of a man by a woman) and the narcotics dealing and this pre-code is ready to call it a day - phew.

    Finally, there's this: Davis gets my nod as the greatest actress of all time, but even she can't hold onto her southern accent in this one for more than half a scene. However, still, even inchoate, Davis' acting talent shines.
     
  18. sal

    sal One of the Regulars

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    Just finishing: In The Heat of the Night
     
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  19. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    Still as true as can be. I will take that 15 yards and a charge of contempt added to it. Keep it coming because I cannot stop.
    :D
     
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  20. Touchofevil

    Touchofevil

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    On TCM! A great flick, I have seen it many a time and always enjoyed it.
    :D
     

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