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Random Movie Thoughts Thread

Doctor Anaximander

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At least portrayed the way they currently are. But I suppose it's a fashionable disability to showcase at the moment, which is why they do it. I don't think many autistic people look at these shows and movies and go - woah relatable!

That's because it's usually portrayed as a cute and endearing set of character traits and quirks. "Cute autism" that many people on the spectrum will find difficult to relate to their real life experiences and struggles. It always works out for autistic characters, and usually they magically seem to overcome the most difficult symptoms of their autism and magically find love, friendship and success.

The Problem with Sheldon Cooper and the "Cute Autism" | Autism Support Network

People who have cute autism do funny things like always need to sit in the same spot and memorize obscure facts. They misunderstand sexual innuendo and they carry around white boards and they speak in funny, hyper-formal constructs. They amaze strangers with mental math, and they’re goshdarn persnickety about food and laundry. Cute autism is sometimes paired with cute OCD, which brings on symptoms like doing amusing rituals and being selectively germophobic, needing things to be lined up on shelves, and putting soup cans in alphabetical order.

A person with cute autism might commit a faux pas, but he will not be shamed and kicked out of school for it. He might utter a gaffe, but he will not permanently alienate a friend group because of it. He won’t destroy relationships. He won’t have an ugly emotional meltdown in public, or freak out and hit someone. While Sheldon Cooper’s friends on The Big Bang Theory are often exasperated and annoyed, they never shun him, because Sheldon never crosses the line into causing true offense and hurt. The writers carefully keep Sheldon just on this side of being awful. That is a high bar to set for autistic people in the real world.

Characters who make viewers go “aww” over autism spectrum behaviors create an unrealistic expectation that autistic people be consistently endearing and quirky, and ultimately socially successful. The pilot of Young Sheldon promises little Sheldon will learn to take off his germophobe mittens to hold his father’s hand. That will not happen in real life. The pilot promises that while teachers will yell and students will scoff, Sheldon will prevail. That will not happen in real life. There will never be a very special episode of Young Sheldon where Sheldon beats his own face black and bloody, or cries himself to sleep because his last friend has decided he’s too weird and turned his back on him. The writers won’t allow that.

Consider the autism muppet, Julia, on Sesame Street. She is the epitome of adorable, and she teaches children to tolerate kids who don’t want to be touched, or don’t give eye contact, or make flappy hands. Julia will never push a joke too far or unwittingly say something unforgivably racist. Julia will never do something disgusting, or scary, or inexplicable, because Julia’s job is to teach kids that autism is safe and fine. But autism is not safe and fine. Autism is beautiful, and magical, and brilliant, but autism is also screaming, and hurting people, and agony, and clashing with the world.

The netflix series Atypical is another good example of "cute autism" in TV
 

Totenkindly

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That's because it's usually portrayed as a cute and endearing set of character traits and quirks. "Cute autism" that many people on the spectrum will find difficult to relate to their real life experiences and struggles. It always works out for autistic characters, and usually they magically seem to overcome the most difficult symptoms of their autism and magically find love, friendship and success.

The Problem with Sheldon Cooper and the "Cute Autism" | Autism Support Network

The netflix series Atypical is another good example of "cute autism" in TV

yeah, I've had some experience with autistic friends and it could be frustrating. The reality seems much messier than entertainment suggests.

But that happens to many minority groups translated into entertainment dollars. Part of it is the audience view of entertainment -- they want to feel good while watching it, it's not necessarily meant to be realistic or instructive.

The problem of course is that regardless of that people still mistake the fantasy as the reality (it's something they now "know" versus the real experiences they have NOT had). There's also people's tendencies to not liking "difficult" or ambiguous entertainment.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Val is a character actor born into a pretty boy leading man body and face. Part of the order of pretty, talented weirdos dating back to Brando and continuing with Depp, the Phoenix brothers, et al. It occurred to me Brad Pitt has become one of these as well. Look at the type of roles he's usually taken since Burn After Reading.
 

Totenkindly

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Val is a character actor born into a pretty boy leading man body and face. Part of the order of pretty, talented weirdos dating back to Brando and continuing with Depp, the Phoenix brothers, et al. It occurred to me Brad Pitt has become one of these as well. Look at the type of roles he's usually taken since Burn After Reading.

Yeah, Pitt and Kilmer stayed in that box for awhile. (Wasn't one of Pitt's first performances as the hot young cowboy in Thelma & Louise?) I think Pitt really leaped out to me early with 12 Monkeys, it was playing against his natural beauty. He's actually had a pretty diverse resume over the years and more successful than Kilmer IMO in terms of popularity and diverse roles... although I think he seems more likable and accessible than Kilmer (who seems more prima donna, compared to Pitt's "groundedness"). I don't think anyone would ever call Pitt pretentious, whereas the term might come to mind with Kilmer.

I think it was interesting how fast Depp got out of the pretty boy box. Not that he stopped being, but I'm pretty sure 21 Jump Street was the only early thing that played into that, and he was immediately off doing artsy/weird stuff with his roles to prove himself.

There's always been talk of beauty being a curse of its own, although average looking people don't really view it that way. But in a way it can get you pigeonholed quickly even as it opens doors, I guess. It works the same for women, probably worse. I think it's been really interesting to see Christina Applegate's career develop so much in the last 15 years or so (as an example), considering she got her face in the door from her hot "Married with Children" Kelly persona, which made her known in the pop culture zeitgeist while simultaneously potentially undermining her credibility as an actress.
 

EcK

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yeah, I've had some experience with autistic friends and it could be frustrating. The reality seems much messier than entertainment suggests.

But that happens to many minority groups translated into entertainment dollars. Part of it is the audience view of entertainment -- they want to feel good while watching it, it's not necessarily meant to be realistic or instructive.

The problem of course is that regardless of that people still mistake the fantasy as the reality (it's something they now "know" versus the real experiences they have NOT had). There's also people's tendencies to not liking "difficult" or ambiguous entertainment.

I agree. And TV does that with everything, it's meant to be entertainment after all - I think it would be a bit silly to expect TV to be 'real' when it's an escape from reality and entertainment.
Of course it's a little bit more complicated than that as part of what makes TV entertaining requires some suspension of disbelief / critical thought.

What usually irks me with people pushing minorities (sexual, ethnic) etc. into roles for no 'good reason' to the point of making a show feel very artificial (kinda like the uncanny valley effect with CGI people).
I do not care that it's a minority, but one would have to admit that a period piece about 14th century Middle Age Europe should not have black people in it UNLESS of course, the show is quirky (lets say if it's 14th-century life, with aliens or something of that nature, then clearly we throw realism out the window and the actors could all be Chinese for all I care lol).

I recall there were people complaining about a game called Kingdom Come set in medieval Eastern Europe because all the characters were white, including the main character who was part of that society. That seemed a little absurd to me.
Now if you wanted to do a nice gesture for international players you could, for example, have a different story with a 'mysterious stranger' type of hero that could come from anywhere (like in Skyrim) and then yeah sure, the character could be any race and it wouldn't matter that much. However, for this particular game, the scenario would have made no sense with a mysterious stranger character (it's a revenge story, basically).
 

Totenkindly

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After watching the first Terminator film earlier in the week, eldest and I tried to watch T2 Judgment Day the other night (he saw it once, in his teen years, and maybe just the theatrical version), but my disk had gone bad with the full super-extended cut so I had to order the more recent release/replacement from 2015 or so. Basically this transfer is the best currently for the film (it's the bluray Studio Canal did, I think), it is just missing the few rare additions like when the T-1000 uses his tactile abilities to find John's cache of letters from Sarah hidden in his bedroom. But it still is the regular extended cut, with the chip reprogramming, and the Kyle sequence, and the damage to the T-1000 after it gets shattered, etc. So this is the "best narrative cut" of the film out there in general.

Since we had to wait for it to arrive, we watched Dark Fate (T-6) instead. I think the film was harshed on too much by the critics, because (1) of the opening five minutes which is really frustrating to view and (2) the fact that there have just been too many Terminator films and it is "too little, too late." I consider it a modern retelling of T2, doing some course correction work and trying to wipe 3-5 out of the narrative stream. If T2 did not exist, it would be fairly decent. However, T2 was decent enough that it makes anything else look inferior. So to me Dark Fate is the third best T film, and it did have Cameron's involvement in the story direction.

There's actually some decent action sequences plus cool parallels in the film itself + compared to prior films. My son agrees that Mackenzie Davis (Grace) is the coolest part of the film. Sarah Connor is handled pretty well, I though, and believably so. And despite the shock of the opening sequence, I think the film then takes responsibility to explore what this means and it ENDS with a kind of grace for Sarah in that while maybe she changed her own future so that the Skynet threat no longer existed, she does not become obsolete but actually has value in a person and even a replacement mission / purpose now with value. I like how the film redeems the arcs of the various characters beyond T2 and also makes some adjustments to the mythology to bring it more up to speed with diversity. (I also see the film as a big FU to the last administration, during which this film rolled out. The light it places immigrants in and the decency of the Mexican people in the film really seems positioned purposefully to undermine the US gov stance at the time.)

Anyway, getting back to T2 -- I'm always amazed at how well this film holds up thirty years after release. Even the special effects (some practical, but the big one being the morph CGI which was virtually invented for this film and then suddenly started popping up in PC software within 2 years -- I remember that glut) hold up pretty well despite a little aging. (I.e., the T2 in pure metal form can move a little clunkily, but the morphing itself still seems seamless.) But more than that, this was Cameron in his prime. He was getting bigger budgets but he was pretty meticulous with his story framing. There's a lot of parallel story framing here, throwing back to the first film and even parallels within the film itself.

The other thing is just the logic and consistency of his characters. Cameron (before he devolved a bit by Titanic and Avatar -- those are blockbuster films with more focus on hype and feel and epic-ness) in his early days really excelled with (1) making characters behave sensibly in semi-fantastic scenarios and (2) managing to convey a lot about a character even if not much information is provided about them, i.e., the triumph of the archetypical character that actually feels complex. Some of this is scripting, some might be the directing and acting -- because he typically has a pretty solid cast in his films as well. His skill in this area was really apparent in T2 and Aliens, then slowly began to drop off the more popular he became (and maybe he stopped trying so hard).

But you look at the foster parents, who are pretty generic but by how they talk and act, they stick out, esp the mom. Doc Silverman is memorable despite only being in each film a few minutes. Even the aides are easily recalled (like that sleazebag Dougie). I think one of the best is Miles Dyson (Joe Morton), who you might suspect to be a callous tech creep out for cash and indifferent to the impending death of humanity he was setting up... but Morton plays him as a family-man geek, who sometimes gets swept up in the zone because he loves tech and the process of discovery and creation... yet he still chooses his family when pushed to make a choice, and when he finds out what the last years of his life will lead to, he immediately agrees to destroy his life's work because he can't live with the thought of what will happen. It's not just a pragmatic choice for him, he feels compassion for others. I love also how he remains a bit fearful as they break into Cyberdine and not very talented with weapons or demolitions... and yet he finds courage in himself to do what he has to do. Morton just brings a lot of humanity to the role but also Cameron's angle on the character was unexpected + good. I also appreciate the logic of the T2, how it works, what it can and can't do, and how it starts to break down after being shattered even as it reforms. Even its death throes are poignant, as it reflexively cycles (in what we might view as "horror/anguish") through all of the forms we've seen it take. THe action sequences are just so story-boarded out well, the film makes even more sense (with the T-101 "learning" things) after its chip is reset, and the attempt to show a machine can learn what it means to be human even if it cannot feel things like a human... which is also mirrored in T6.

Cameron has pretty decent story instincts. Even the Reese scene -- I love how it's both a dream and a nightmare, the way it's handled... Biehn plays Reese almost like a spectre coming back to warn/remind Sarah of what she must do, and he maintains a haunted look in his eyes.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Yeah, Pitt and Kilmer stayed in that box for awhile. (Wasn't one of Pitt's first performances as the hot young cowboy in Thelma & Louise?) I think Pitt really leaped out to me early with 12 Monkeys, it was playing against his natural beauty. He's actually had a pretty diverse resume over the years and more successful than Kilmer IMO in terms of popularity and diverse roles... although I think he seems more likable and accessible than Kilmer (who seems more prima donna, compared to Pitt's "groundedness"). I don't think anyone would ever call Pitt pretentious, whereas the term might come to mind with Kilmer.

I think it was interesting how fast Depp got out of the pretty boy box. Not that he stopped being, but I'm pretty sure 21 Jump Street was the only early thing that played into that, and he was immediately off doing artsy/weird stuff with his roles to prove himself.

There's always been talk of beauty being a curse of its own, although average looking people don't really view it that way. But in a way it can get you pigeonholed quickly even as it opens doors, I guess. It works the same for women, probably worse. I think it's been really interesting to see Christina Applegate's career develop so much in the last 15 years or so (as an example), considering she got her face in the door from her hot "Married with Children" Kelly persona, which made her known in the pop culture zeitgeist while simultaneously potentially undermining her credibility as an actress.

I think the halo effect plays into it a bit. So when an exceptionally attractive actor shows they can do more than just look pretty, we're all raving about how brilliant they are and how great it is they fought against being typecasted. You take a character actor who isn't expecially known for their great looks, i.e. Crispin Glover, and people are less surprised or amazed when they can play different characters convincingly.

But there's also the reverse where people expect pretty actors and actresses to be less talented or have less range. So it's good someone like Applegate was able to break from being typecasted as a ditzy blonde her entire career (since attractive women actors probably face even more hurdles and expectations than their pretty boy male counterparts, not to mention a shorter shelf life, unless they're a rare case like Jessica Lange)
 

Doctor Anaximander

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It must suck to be Peter O'Toole, Nic Cage or Michael Caine. All are solid actors cursed with appearing in tons of shitty movies (I know Caine is pretty well regarded now, but he had a run of mostly shitty films in the 80s). And O'Toole must have just had a sucky agent or something.
 

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I watched the fear street trilogy. 1978 was my favorite. I just love the murder at a summer camp theme, lol. The first one was my least favorite. For one, I didn't like the main character. And then my favorite character Kate was murdered and so brutally.

The 1666 one was also really good. I love how they took us back to the origin of the tale to see what really happened (which is something I haven't seen a lot of movies do). I was surprised that the cop was the one who was causing all that stuff to happen. I didn't suspect him until I watched 1666. Overall was a great story.
 

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Watched Bad Teacher again yesterday. It's not a super-great film but Lucy Punch makes me laugh + Cameron Diaz has typically shown some great comic sensibilities -- harkening back to the conversion a day or two ago about how beautiful people are typical underestimated. I'm not sure I remember a "serious" role I thought she was great in, but if the part is laced with humor she typically nails it. I enjoyed her a lot in "Knight & Day" and "My Best Friend's Wedding" for example. Phyllis Smith was just great too.
 

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Watched Bad Teacher again yesterday. It's not a super-great film but Lucy Punch makes me laugh + Cameron Diaz has typically shown some great comic sensibilities -- harkening back to the conversion a day or two ago about how beautiful people are typical underestimated. I'm not sure I remember a "serious" role I thought she was great in, but if the part is laced with humor she typically nails it. I enjoyed her a lot in "Knight & Day" and "My Best Friend's Wedding" for example. Phyllis Smith was just great too.

It's not a bad movie so long as you don't go in with your expectations set unrealistically high -- it's a fun movie to throw on in the company of someone who hasn't seen it and the mood is to just have a good time without trying to think too hard. Justin Timberlake's dry humping scene was hilarious the first time I saw it.
 

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It's not a bad movie so long as you don't go in with your expectations set unrealistically high -- it's a fun movie to throw on in the company of someone who hasn't seen it and the mood is to just have a good time without trying to think too hard. Justin Timberlake's dry humping scene was hilarious the first time I saw it.

Yeah, that was just nuts roflmao -- plus she's transmitting it to his girlfriend's voice mail.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Watched Bad Teacher again yesterday. It's not a super-great film but Lucy Punch makes me laugh + Cameron Diaz has typically shown some great comic sensibilities -- harkening back to the conversion a day or two ago about how beautiful people are typical underestimated. I'm not sure I remember a "serious" role I thought she was great in, but if the part is laced with humor she typically nails it. .

Being John Malkovich?
 

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Unpopular opinion: Leo should've won the oscar for Django Unchained and not The Revenant. Dude sliced his hand over for real on a wine glass and ad-libbed smearing his actual blood all over Kerry Washington's face. Doesn't get any more metal than that.
 

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Being John Malkovich?

Damn, how did I manage to forget that film? She's also playing comedy there, though -- it's a really funny part (the entire movie is quirky comedy) that she pretty much deadpans her way through, playing up the absurdity of it.

Unpopular opinion: Leo should've won the oscar for Django Unchained and not The Revenant. Dude sliced his hand over for real on a wine glass and ad-libbed smearing his actual blood all over Kerry Washington's face. Doesn't get any more metal than that.

I don't think that is an unpopular opinion? Unless it's that he should have gotten it for The Wolf of Wall Street, maybe?

He got the award for The Revenant in the same way that Scorsese won for The Departed --- they both had it comin'
 

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Watched Wrath of Man w/ Jason Stratham. Kind of disappointed by the film (directed by Guy Ritchie).

THere are certain expectations going into a film with Jason Stratham, and this film kind of blows them. There's really only two credible action sequences (one revisited three times and not offering much from him). The film seems to rip off a decent amount of Heat but without the clean choreography and strategic positioning that makes the action sequences crisp and clean. Aside from a 60 second sequence, most of the action consists of just emptying multiple clips at other people in an enclosed space and the audience wondering who is getting shot, who is able to be shot (due to uncertainty over the environment), and why more people aren't dying more quickly. Most of the characters end up being slime in the end (which is fine) but otherwise you don't really get a lot about them and their backstories, other than what they do in the film. The pacing is just terrible, it's almost two hours long and aside from ten minute at the beginning and about 15-20 minutes at the end is boring/flat AF.

Some of this is due to the convention that Ritchie uses about providing more plot information about the lead characters -- he opens with a scene, then later revisits the scene from a new angle and with new information, and does this a few more times. THat device is kind of intriguing... but by the end what information we are getting isn't really worth the sheer repetition of the same material being reused repeatedly.

I'm glad I was watching this with someone because otherwise I might have quit -- the film is much better if you can crack jokes about it throughout.
 

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SONNY! NOOOoOoOoOooooooo :cry:

Sonny Chiba, Kill Bill star and a 'true action legend,' dies from COVID-19 complications

Sonny Chiba, the legendary martial artist who starred in films like Kill Bill, has died at 82.

The Japanese actor's agent confirmed his death on Thursday to Variety, which reported the cause was related to COVID-19 complications.

Chiba, a trained martial artist who held multiple black belts, was known for starring in Japanese movies including 1974's The Street Fighter, as well as for his appearances in American movies like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Kill Bill: Volume 1. In the latter Quentin Tarantino film, Chiba memorably played swordsmith Hattori Hanzō...
 

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Not space chief! Even though he never went into space, I'll miss that guy.

neptune1.jpg
 

Totenkindly

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Watched Reminiscence on HBO Max.

I had been guardedly excited about this film because it was by Lisa Joy (Married to Jonathan Nolan and co-showrunner for Westworld) and in fact there are a few Westworlders who show up in the cast, along with other great actors like Hugh Jackman and Cliff Curtis.

I was generally disappointed by the film basically due to the problems in the writing:
1. The lines and dialogue were often clunky -- or not nearly as profound as they attempted to be.
2. There's a number of important bits of plotting/world-plotting that aren't justified properly by the story.
3. Most of the story and characters were not compelling.

The film starts out okay for about 10-15 minutes despite wooden dialogue and then becomes this total trudge for about 75-80 minutes until the last 20 minutes or so, where it actually is kind of moving despite being generally unearned. I could tell this was one of the sequences that was clearly fleshed out in the writer's mind, but the rest of the film just felt like trying to get there without any real life of its own.

The film itself seems to be "Welcome to a film that is explicitly not Inception but hey you're going on a journey and there's lots of tall buildings with water and..." There's a lot in this film that seems to be pulled from other films that were far better. For example, the memories of Anderton's son Sean in "Minority Report". Or "You're waiting for a train" from Inception. Or going through recorded images of past crimes in "Strange Days." Or noir stuff (like from Dark City) just with a Miami twist.

The actors do their best to compensate for the flatness of the script and plotting, but at best drag the film to a middling reception. Newton in particular is SO much better than her scripted dialogue and plotting, you can see her doing her best to elevate the role to no avail.

The cinematography is gorgeous.

I now officially blame Lisa Joy for how bad Season 3 of Westworld was. This movie (which she wrote and directed, for her first such attempt) seems to reflect similar flaws in that awful season -- plotting that was uncompelling, shoehorning characters into conflict with each other without proper emotional justification, in fact a lack of rationality in both world-building and plotting that usually is not the hallmark of efforts produced by either of the Nolans. I'm trying to determine what she actually does contribute. I am getting the idea she's good at understanding story elements but not sure how to create and compose them with potency on her own. I say this because I've seen Jonathan Nolan generally being far more solid in his work scripting for his brother Christopher (Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight), there is some solid logic in his scripts and he can handle complex plots and structures to generate strong emotion. He wasn't present on this film as a writer and this is what we got. Reminiscence is so inert for much of its run-time. It is more related to other failed generic scifi like Transcendence (interestingly, directed by Wally Pfister who had been Nolan's wonderful cinematographer for so long) unfortunately.
 
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