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Over-Rated Movies


Guest son, jery

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Guest pert, ud

I saw "The Bicycle Thief" for the first time last week on TCM and I'm very disappointed. I knew it was renowned for its realism, but its ending was flat. I couldn't believe this was the cherished film I'd heard spoken of. Even from a minimalist viewpoint, it really gives very little to hang on to. I found the story affecting, initially, as a poor man who needs his bike for a living searches around Rome for it. After a short sequence of failures in this respect, the man attempts to steal one himself, fails, and the film abruptly ends. I can approach movies from a variety of angles and admire their styles. Downbeat is no problem. I like Vittorio De Sica. But if anyone really likes this film, I would love to know why. It would help me to understand its ranking as one of the all-time greats.

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Guest Dan, Coffee

Let me add SINGIN' IN THE RAIN to this growing list, not because it's a bad film, but because it's taken far too seriously as film history. I've sat through two film classes in which SINGIN' IN THE RAIN was presented as history without any corrective commentary from the instructors. In fact, when I asked a cameraman who was working during the transition from silence to sound what it was like, the first thing he said was, "It wasn't SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, that's for sure -- it was a hundred times worse!" The story in SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is told and presented so well that it has achieved the status of modern myth. Few people realize that Betty Comden and Adolph Green made most of it up, using actual events as their point of departure. It warped film scholarship to the point that you really didn't see any good history of the transition years until THE SHATTERED SILENTS was published in 1977. As you can see, serious scholarship on this period is a relatively recent development. Judging only from what I've seen in my film classes, I would lay a good deal of the blame on the overwhelming success of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, because it's been played and replayed so much that it's taken for granted as the way things happened. Ah, the power of film!

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Guest son, jery

Right, on, Coffee Dan! I've always enjoyed "Singin' in the Rain" as entertainment--but if I see Gene Kelly stomping around in the rain again with that idiotic grin on his face, I'll scream. You would think this movie was one of the Eighth Wonders of the World if you ever read Ebert, Maltin, Kael, etc. I wish someone would make a nitty-gritty, sweat and all, of how horrible it must have been during the transition--when movie legends literally became has-beens after their talkie debuts flopped.

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Guest Schaefer, William

Trying again, first one didn't take. Your question is a tough one. I thought "Outward Bound" was Leslie Howard's first film, which would make the Pickford movie a talkie between "Taming of the Shrew" and "Kiki." If she'd wanted to destroy the film, she probably had the power to (and she often had the inclination). Her least favorite of her films was an Ernst Lubitsch called "Rosita;" she named him the worst director she'd ever worked with! She was no judge of her own movies, and certainly didn't appreciate their significance to history. I read "Sunshine and Shadow" some time back, and another biography of Mary I can't remember the title of. One of them describes an episode where she's lying in bed, bemoaning her own artistic contributions, when Pearl Bailey stops by and straightens her out. Poor Mary. She never seemed to realize that she was more than a feminine icon--she was really a great actress.

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Guest (GingerRogers25), Josie

Lots of people are going to get mad at me for this, but I couldn't understand this obsession with Casablanca. I watched it and sure It had its moments (I am shocked, SHOCKED, to see there is gambling in the place!) But the ending, gosh. The way Bogey said it was so monotonus and, dare I say it, bad acting. I dont even understand the ending really well, actually. So he let her go, and started a friendship with a police captian. okay....

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Guest kathalina

Oh my god I think the "Maltese Falcon" is sooo boring too! And, I'm sorry but Mary Astor (isn't that her name?) is so not sexy in that role.

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Guest son, jery

William, I've solved the mystery of Mary Pickford's never-seen "Secrets" that she made with Leslie Howard in l930/1931. She made one version--and promptly destroyed the negative. I just read her memoirs again and she said, in typically Pickford logic, "it was horrible." So, she then went ahead and made a SECOND version of "Secrets." I've never seen it listed anywhere--either on TV or on cable or on video.

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Guest son, jery

Woody Allen has yet to be raked over the coals so let me be the first one to do so. His movies have become so precious and cute and flip that it amazes me he still churns out a new bomb every year. I think in the last one he played a man so sexy and cuddly that all the girls went crazy over him. He's another one of these Peter Pan types--like Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford--who refuse to admit they're getting a little mature and absurd.

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Guest pert, ud

Sounds like a beacon of hope to me. Nothing wrong with going to the movies and living a fantasy, and when I see old guys (particularly Woody Allen, who didn't even have sex appeal when he was young) getting the girls and being heroes, I like it. I think most people who are TCM fanatics like classics better than current movies, as I do. But I really like Woody Allen movies because he feels the same way! He is the only director these days who tries to capture a bit of old Hollywood magic in his pictures. I have rarely seen a better recreation of the thirties "look" than the scene in "Purple Rose Of Cairo" where Jeff Daniels takes Mia Farrow "into" the movie that's playing up on screen. The "Top Hat" finale to that film is a heartbreaker. And I really liked "Curse Of The Jade Scorpion" last year--it had a good feel for its 1940 setting and was all in fun. Here's to the geriatric set--they beat Keanu Reeves and company any day!

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Guest K, Sandy

Hmmm, well I love BULLETS OVER BROADWAY (Don't speak!) and RADIO DAYS. But I think that some of the earlier stuff is overrated like LOVE AND DEATH and MANHATTAN. Sorry, I fell asleep during these! Also HUSBANDS AND WIVES has the most annoying performance in it by Juliette Lewis. After reading Mia Farrow's autobiography, What Falls Away, I have a major distaste for Woody Allen. The man is sick. However, that raises the question that is one of the themes of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY: Can you separate the man(artist) from the work? I'm still working on that one.

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Guest pert, ud

Agreed! His early stuff is far less entertaining then his later work; proof that age can be a blessing. I really don't know if I swallow everything Mia Farrow says about Allen, but even if I did, I can absolutely separate man from material. I wouldn't be able to enjoy any movies if I couldn't.

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I find it hard to separate the man from the material myself. I did manage to enjoy RADIO DAYS very much. It was a sweet look back at a more innocent time. I'm not sure if I remember correctly, but Woody didn't actually play a role in RADIO DAYS did he? Wasn't he just the narrator? It's been years since I've seen this. I loved the aunt and uncle who keep telling each other to take the gas pipe!

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Guest pert, ud

I don't think he was in it physically, though it's been years. That one, "Purple Rose," "Bullets Over Broadway," "Manhattan Murder Mystery," "Jade Scorpion," "Zelig" are among his "nostalgia" movies, all of which I like. He can keep his modern dramas and mood pieces. He also directed a musical, "Everyone Says I Love You." Hard to dislike someone who'll do that these days. (Maybe he should direct "Rent.")

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Guest K, Sandy

No, Alix, Woody Allen did not play an on-screen role in RADIO DAYS. However, a young Seth Green played the "Woody" character of the young protangonist. Seth Green is best known now for his protrayal of Scott Evil, Dr. Evil's son in the Austin Powers films. Woody Allen doesn't appear in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY either. The "Woody" role in that film (the idealistic playwright) is played by the always-interesting John Cusack. I just realized that my two favorite Woody Allen films don't contain Woody as an actor. Hmmmm...

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Guest son, jery

I tried watching James Cameron's "Titanic" again last weekend. E-gads! Talk about dated. The first half is so irritating. Two pretty teenagers discover they're in love. The second half was so flat. I remember all the HYPE about how they used computers for special effects. I discovered I was trying to decide what was computer generated and what was real. Finally, I realized I didn't care. Give me the l950 version, a great classic, starring the great Babs STanwyck and Clifton Webb and a very young Robert Waggner.

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Guest walker, ken

jery son, While I agree with you about the performances in Fox's "Titanic",[Richard Basehart as the priest,when told "for Gods sake don't go down there!",replied,"For Gods sake,I AM going down there" and perishes with the others.Stanwyck telling Webb that their son was not his;the son staying with Webb as the ship goes down is all great drama.Aside from the digital effects,Camerons version had little for me to like.I felt the love story was contrived and the macho performance by Kate Winslett was overdone.Stanwyck was strong ,but in a different way. My favorite by far is "A Night to Remember" with Kenneth More.

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Guest cooper, jeane

I agree wholeheartedly on your favorite Titanic flick. I remember seeing in on TV for the first time when I was about 15. Sure I had heard about the disaster, and enjoyed the Stanwyck and Webb version. But this brought chills to me and truly effected me the way movies are supposed too. Years later, I had to go to Broadway to see their version (it was work - not by choice). I remember thinking they could have put up a big screen and just shown "A Night to Remember" and had much more emotional response from the audience.

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Guest mongo

Although "Titanic" with Stanwyck was very good we still had to get through her marital problems, the defrocked priest and the young lovers before the inevitable finale although Thelma Ritter added some comic relief. Cameron's "Titanic" is a glorious retelling of that fateful night 90 years ago. The special effects were amazing and the sinking was spectacular movie making. The love affair with the poor kid and the girl from an upper crust family fit perfectly into the screenplay and Gloria Stuart's character of Rose was perfecto. The finale with the great ship breaking in half (a fact not known at the time of the other films)and all those souls in the frigid water was very realistic. Cameron's "Titantic" is certainly a night to remember.

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Guest walker, ken

mongo, While I agree with most of your opinions,I have to differ with you on the latest "Titanic". The British production,"A Night to Remember" offered a much more realistic story of the tragedy,with a fraction of the budget of the Cameron film.Perhaps the biggest difference I saw was the fact that Cameron made the picture to appeal to a certain audience.The British film was made for a general audience[ie],those who were interested in details of the sinking. No sub plots,just straghtforward story telling.There were no STARS, and computer generated effects.It still was a very successful film. Im not knocking Cameron's movie,I just think "Night to Remember" is the better film.

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Guest cutandprint

Any Monty Python-esque film. Great TV series but sorry, apart form Munchausen, it didn't ever work on the big screen. If I hear 'We are the Knights who say 'ni'' one more time I shall implode in fury!

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Guest mongo

I recall seeing "A Night to Remember" at the RKO Albee in Brooklyn on a double bill with "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker". It was a grand presentation on the big screen of the sinking of the Titanic, for its time. Now years later I'am in awe of Cameron's "Titanic" probably because because of the outstanding special effects and new data regarding the sinking of the ship.

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Guest r, cyndi

Oh cutandprint, While the last thing I want is for your head to implode, I must disagree with you about Monty Python. They are the quint essential campy cult classics that everyone should know, love and talk back to the screen to... Thier movies as a team, and as individuals are equally good in thier own right...LIFE OF BRIAN, SEARCH FOR THE HOLY GRAIL, BRAZIL, A FISH CALLED WANDA and BARON MUNCAUSEN just to name the ones I can think of. While I'll admit they're not everybodies cup of tea, I think they work very well on the big screen!!! ~~~~~~~~Come on cutandprint...."Always look on the bright side of life..." =)

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Did anyone else think MOULIN ROUGE was overrated besides me? I don't know what I was expecting, but I just know I was disappointed. All that idiotic bursting into the "best of the 70's" songs really got on my nerves! I was pleased, however, to see that Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor could actually sing! And McGregor looked Babe-a-licious, even without his lightsabre.

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Guest Dan, Coffee

Pull up a chair and sit next to me, Alix -- I think MOULIN ROUGE is overrated, too. When I was visiting my mom back in February, we rented it from the video store, and turned it off after 20 minutes. While we agreed that Nicole Kidman and Ewen MacGregor looked great, we didn't like the way the songs were interpolated into the film. They were treated more like in-jokes than songs, and that really put me off. And despite some gorgeous color photography, the optical printing was badly done. The whole picture was way too noisy, both visually and aurally.

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