Underrated and overrated films (and other general filmy chat)


Watching The Lobster the other night, my father in law had to leave the room.

I like my father in law, a lot. I have to admit I also like trying to expand his narrow envelope of movie appreciation, even though I now it will just end up with him being frustrated.


I kind of get the point, I was wondering if the movie was a bit overwhelmed by the rewrites, and they were never able to find the focus or the voice of the movie.

However, statements like this: "A couple of 9-year-olds on a screen-free rainy afternoon would come up with better adventures, and probably also better dialogue.", undermine what real value the review may have. Of course the intent is to be humorous, but it makes me feel like the reviewer is taking sport in critiquing the movie, rather than giving an honest review. Jumbled at times and maybe a bit unfocused, the movie is still light years beyond the casual popcorn movies out there. Another way to look at it... maybe it is important to plant a seed in many, rather than drive home points that will resonate only with the believers?


I recall there was some talk previously about Jacques Tati and his films as M. Hulot. I just finished watching his last feature, Parade, a Swedish television film. This one has no pretense of having a plot of any kind, it's ostensibly simply the record of a circus performance with jugglers, acrobats, various music acts, and Tati replicating some of his classic music hall routines. The film continues Playtime's goal of breaking down the barriers between the performers and the audience, and finding the comic possibilities available in the everyday. Probably not the best introduction to Tati, that would be Mon Oncle in my estimation, but if you know any of his work and like it, I'd highly recommend Parade.


Saw Arrival last night. A nice film.


My introduction to Tati was M. Hulot's Holiday which, funny enough, was shown to me by my spouse's uncle. I'm glad to have started with a video--we watched the first five minutes then rewound and started over mainly because so much happens but also it was so funny we just had to watch it again.

I'm ashamed to admit I've never seen Mon Oncle. Especially since it now has me wondering if the Wallace Stevens poem "Monocle et Mon Oncle" has anything to do with Tati. Not that it would be obvious in any way with Stevens.


All of Tati's films are like that. It is a ballet of life happening on screen and there is always stuff happening in the background.


Saw it in the college film society just after it first came out. The sheep scene disturbed me enough that I've been reluctant to see it again, but I still remember it pretty well. Really, it is just a classic picaresque, with dystopic outcomes to every adventure. Voltaire trod the same ground with Candide, and more recently there was Farscape (which could have been written by Voltaire).

The early 70s were so choked with angst-ridden downer films, OLM was almost cheerful by comparison.


Just finished watching Stone Cold...

... the Rifftrax version, that is. What a stinker! Lance Henriksen must've had some credit card bills to pay off or something. And Brian Bosworth as a leading man? WHY.


I have never seen it (Jaws 4) but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built and it is terrific. - Michael Caine


As for an actual film…Today I watched Okatsu The Fugitive a simple but well done samurai revenge story. Solid acting, bright red blood, rape, and lots of great swordplay. What else could one want?


The Neon Demon

Looks great, sounds great, is very silly. I am increasingly of the opinion that Winding Refn got lucky with Drive.

Also watched The Lobster recently. I liked that a lot, although it slightly ran out of steam.


Re Michael Caine, my theory has long been that he'll accept absolutely any job offer he receives that pays his going rate, and that, just like Danny Trejo, no matter how good or terrible the movie itself will turn out to be, he'll be the best thing in it.


It's almost as if... acting in movies is his job!!!


At some level, you're doing what you love and getting paid for it. Even if this particular job isn't the best of all possible jobs, it beats working in an office. And you can pay for your grandkids' college.


I'm doing a lot of extrapolating here but some actors seem like they don't enjoy acting very much. Sterling Hayden comes to mind. He seemed, based on what I know, to only act to make just enough money to go and do something else.

Others like Caine and, I think, Ben Kingsley, enjoy acting so much they'll take any job. There's a reason the documentary That Guy Dick Miller ends (spoiler alert!) with the line "Yeah, I'm available."


I wonder if Daniel Day-Lewis likes acting?


The thing is, these guys aren't contract players who are obliged to do whatever work is handed to them. Even I am privileged to walk away from a decently-paying gig like Fuller House when it turns out to be subjectively unbearably awful... and Caine needs the money less than I do. Movie stardom is hardly factory work, and once you reach a certain minimal level of stardom, you typically can have your pick of gigs, and can blithely turn down the ones that seem unlikely to burnish the gleam of your stardom, as it were. Sure, you can work on an obvious turkey if it looks like fun, but Caine seems to bounce between prestige work and horrific cheeseballs with careless abandon, more so than most other actors at his level of talent, experience, and prestige. He just seems to love acting in whatever script lands on his desk, and god bless him for it.


I think the good films he did do in the 80s probably weren't very well paid (Educating Rita, Hannah and her Sisters?), so a little topping up didn't do any harm. Except to his reputation. Then he took most of the 90s off...


Yeah, Woody's films typically pay scale, so Caine didn't make much on that one.


Just look! We won't survive! Even Hux is gone.



Enough said.