Random Thread for September 2012


Geez, we’re to the third of the month already and no Random Thread. Anyway, sorry to hear that Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away at the age of 54.


About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

69 responses »

  1. Today I find myself REALLY wanting to win the lottery – not for the usual dream of riches, but so I can avoid upcoming tasks I know will get dumped on me.

  2. No. But though the spectre of that horrible experience still hangs over me, it doesn’t give me any great sense of perspective.

  3. Watching the convention. Too bad Michelle Obama isn’t less mannish. If she shaved her head she could steal some work away from Andre Braugher.

  4. That’s horrible. She’s easily the coolest First Lady in my lifetime. Although Laura Bush did kill someone, which I guess gets her cool points.

    That’s horrible, too. Sorry.

  5. And Michelle Obama is annoying. Not as bad as Teresa Heinz Ketchup or Tipper Gore would have been, but she’s very upper crusty. And she’s more masculine than Barack.

  6. I think Michelle Obama is terrific, and find your ideas of femininity and masculinity bizarre. Just because she’s got toned arms doesn’t make her masculine.

  7. On the other hand, he didn’t say that that’s what he finds masculine about her. “She’s got toned arms” seems to speak more of your ideas of what constitutes masculinity.

  8. No, I don’t think toned arms constitute masculinity. I was just making a guess–it’s the most commented on of her physical attributes. The only physical characteristics I consider to be masculine are the penis and testicles. And I find it odd that someone watches a political speech thinking about the relative gender qualities of the speaker.

    In other news, the honorary Oscars have been announced:


    Jeffrey Katzenberg, Hal Needham, D.A. Pennebaker and George Stevens, Jr.

  9. “The only physical characteristics I consider to be masculine are the penis and testicles.” – Jackrabbit Slim

    If this was my final day at GE, I would leave fulfilled.

  10. I’m not taking the arms into consideration. It’s the face, and to a lesser extent the broad shoulders. I mean – she’s not Barbara Bush level masculine, but she’s masculine.

  11. I hate to prolong an infantile argument, but how is a face masculine? She doesn’t have a beard. You may not find her attractive, but faces don’t have masculine or feminine qualities, at least not to me.

  12. That is a hard one to answer, but I do believe most faces can have one quality or the other or both. I can’t give a definitive: “It’s because of this or that” but I guess one example is looking at Robert Duvall and Maggie McOmie in THX 1138. The shaved heads and similar clothing means we have only their faces to differentiate.
    To me it is absolutely clear that Duvall is a man. McOmie could be a teenage boy or a woman, but there is definitely something different about her face and to me it is less masculine than his.

  13. If anyone’s wondering, I’m in Florida, and just now remembered that it’s Friday. No Openings this week, I’m afraid.

  14. Filmman, you especially may find this web site of interest: cinemetrics.lv. It’s a site that enables one to measure the length of shots in films, and also has a huge database of films that have already been measured.

  15. Just saw THE MASTER. I’m looking forward to completely disagreeing with all of you. (And to be fair, with the majority of critics.)

  16. HANGON…………………..no. No, no, no. NO. Uh-uh. Rob, no,no, no,no. (That is all the no’s I can use, as not having seen it.) But….NO.

    On another note: Slim, I’m not sure how to write it any other way, so I’ll say it: The ‘movie woodie’ I got when I saw Breakfast Club shots were 4 seconds and the average shot of The Conversation was 13 seconds was indescribable.
    LOVE that sight. Love. Love. Love.

    Rob: NO. No, no, no. Please, no. I have had too much ‘movie’ disappointment this year. NO.

  17. Would The Brothers McMullen even *make* it into Sundance today? Would it even make it into the Long Island Mastic Neighborhood Online Film Festival? Or was it simply in the right place at the right time before digital ‘democratized’ filmmaking?
    This is in no way a comment on the movie itself. Simply…the state of independent film.

  18. I’m not expecting The Master to be as good as There Will Be Blood, but I’m curious re: the level of Rob’s disappointment.

  19. Is anyone using Spotify? I’m obsessed with it, but anytime I try to explain the value to friends I can tell they remain completely puzzled.

  20. Is anyone using Spotify? I’m obsessed with it, but anytime I try to explain the value to friends I can tell they remain completely puzzled.

    Yup. Joe too, I think.

    Doesn’t pass a day when I’m not using it, several hours a day.

    Not sure if it’ll still be around in five years or so, Apple and Google are apparently considering their own versions of it, but right now there’s nothing better on the market. Happy paying $15 a month for it instead of spending time downloading.

  21. I use Spotify. Weird that friends don’t get it, because it’s not really a novelty – it’s a lot like the Yahoo Music subscription I had years ago.

  22. I use Pandora at work. I also have it on my phone, but for the last several weeks it hasn’t been working. In fact, I had to run today without any music because I couldn’t get it working. So…I guess I’ll look into this spotify thing.

  23. “I’m not expecting The Master to be as good as There Will Be Blood, but I’m curious re: the level of Rob’s disappointment.”

    I don’t mean to give the impression it’s a bad movie… I just didn’t find it to be a very good one. Hoffman is spectacular, and while Phoenix flails in a sea of tics on his own, he excels when playing directly opposite Hoffman. It’s also an incredibly beautiful film in both cinematography and score.

    I’ll save my criticisms until it opens, but they boil down to a lead character whose journey over the 2+ hour running time is solely geographical.

  24. Yes, I use Spotify (free version) when I remember I have it. Still use mainly CDs in the car. I also dislike purchasing albums by buying the MP3s through iTunes or Amazon or whoever is selling them. I love a physical copy with liner notes and the rest. PDFs are not the same.
    The new iPod looks nice though

  25. So first timer director Erik Carl Rinsch has allegedly been fired from the massive-budget Keanu Reeves vehicle ’47 Ronin’ post re-shoots.

    Given the production history and reports that the film is near unreleasable: it’s really shaping up to be my most anticipated movie of 2013 or 2014 or whenever Universal decides to dump it. It’s going to be a fascinating watch regardless of quality.

  26. Apple’s replacement for Google Maps in IOS 6 is absolutely embarrassing. The turn-by-turn directions barely work, you need to manually scroll through the directions as you’re moving (at least on the iPhone 4, hopefully not the 5) and it inexplicably reversed the directions mid-trip in an attempt to revert me back to my point of origin. I’m actually considering downgrading if there’s a way.

  27. You have to wonder whether it’s a major turning point for Apple. The hold they’ve had not just in terms of popularity but in pop culture itself has been remarkable. In Australia – and I presume in many other countries – the release of a never verison of their product is treated as a major news event of significance. The way people line up for hours just to purchase an iPhone is like what people usually do to wait for rock stars.

    It must be enormously frustrating for the opposition as apparently there are several viable competitors who are arguably better but they’re comparatively ignored. Perhaps this is all going to change now. And I speak as an iPhone user for several years who loves it.

  28. True, although it’s important to remember that Android actually has a bigger slice of the market at this point (although spread across like 500 different types of phones).

    But I agree overall. While the iPhone 5 is a ridiculous success and the rollout of ios6 is (I believe) the most successful in history in terms of the rate of downloads – I think there’s definitely a sense of “been here, done that” across the board from users and the press. I just hope Apple gets back to true innovation with the next release, rather than the incremental updates we’ve seen the last two years.

    And I speak as an iPhone user for several years who loves it.

    Agreed. To this day: the iPhone 4 is probably the best electronic device I’ve ever owed. I can run my entire business from it. I also love the integration between the phone and my Macbook (particularly with the improvements in Mountain Lion).

  29. I haven’t smiled wider in a long time. Devin Faraci on Mumblecore:
    (I want this in a tattoo on my left side.)

    Joe, I really want to thank you for coming down to Austin, Texas to talk. I understand that last night you and your wife wanted to have some Chinese food, and Magnolia is now releasing that into 100 theaters next weekend. I’m here not because I hate Joe Swanberg – that’s just a plus – but because I love independent cinema. I love indie movies! They’re the beating heart of film. This is the best, the brightest, our greatest directors from Oscar Micheaux to Roger Corman to Dennis Hopper to Katherine Bigelow, Richard Linklater, Paul Thomas Anderson’s independent cinema. These are people without big means, these are people with big dreams, big visions – and usually, take note, a script. Even Cassavetes who didn’t have the scripts had these amazing actors, incredibly trained naturalistic actors whose qualifications were much more than just being willing to simulate sex onscreen with the director. You are the opposite of everything that’s great about indie film. It’s the laziest form of filmmaking. It’s a bunch of middle class white kids whining about their ennui, about their middle class white lives in front of a camera, without a script, without good actors. Here’s what you need to make a mumblecore movie: A sense of entitlement, white skin, and Greta Gerwig. To me, the word “core” at the end of mumblecore sounds like it should be something punk rock, something amazing, something edgy, instead of the blandest, most self-indulgent bullshit and only at the narcissists who make it. Your audience, pretty much, is you.


  30. Has anyone else had a local theater close because of digital conversion? I didn’t know this was forcibly happening already. From http://www.riotheater.com/

    The film industry has decided to only make movies on DVDs, no more film, starting in November 2012. This is closing a lot of small theaters and independent theater owners because of the cost to upgrade to digital. We will close the theater and continue to run older movies and events every once in a while…

  31. Joe, a small independent theater across the street from our apartment was closed for two weeks for a conversion. I guess they figured it was worth the expense, and even though I never go there, I’m glad they’re still open.

    It’s misleading, by the way, to say that the industry is only showing movies “on DVDs”. Most often, the digital files shown – for mainstream movies anyway – are more akin to Blu-ray. The industry standard is 2K, a little better but not all that much different than the 1080p that Blu is capable of.

    On the other hand, now and again movies are shown in 4K, which really is significantly better than Blu, especially on a big screen. filmman noted that The Master is being projected at 4K (assuming theaters are equipped to do it), as was The Dark Knight Rises, and assorted others. Premium Rush, of all things, was 4K. Don’t ask me why.

    But generally speaking, even 4K theaters are provided with 2K files, because most digital intermediates (i.e., the digital file that filmmakers use to finish post-production) are 2K. Maybe there’s some good reason for why 4K isn’t the industry standard, perhaps because heavy effects work is cheaper and more seamless in lower-res 2K, but as is you’re really not seeing anything much different than you get at home in most cases.

    Anyway, not that anyone asked, but there it is.

  32. Awesome!

    Me and my brother will be there visiting our sister between the 16th and 27th. Our hotels seem to be around some place called SoHo.

  33. SoHo (not sure whether you’re being sarcastic or not) means South of Houston Street, and is way downtown, south of Greenwich Village, but north of Tribeca (the Triangle Beneath Canal). The most significant cinematic feature of the neighborhood is Film Forum, probably the best revival house left in the city. That’s it for your New York City geography lesson for the nonce.

  34. Only half sarcastic, don’t know the geography that well. Sister lives around Wall Street and I wasn’t sure if that was north or south of the island. Your strange way of naming streets also confuses and confounds me.

    Me and the brother are planning on seeing The Hobbit in IMAX, but I think that’s about it as far as movies go. Rather see other parts of the city than go to movies we can just as well watch later in Scandinavia.

  35. Above about Washington Square, the streets are easy–numbers going up from North to South, avenues running from East to West. But below that, good luck, and take a map!

  36. And Wall Street is in Tribeca, and the extreme southern tip of the island. Not far from the still-in-progress Freedom Tower, Statue of Liberty, South Street Seaport.

  37. Wow, a Gone Elsewhere meet-up at long last? I’d certainly be in as well, Nick. Slim’s closest, but I’m only about an hour away. I’m not sure where Brian (Filmman) is nowadays, Boston, NJ or NY.

  38. “Our minds and eyes can’t discern the difference between 2K and 4K.”

    Didn’t know that. I’ve heard that with 4k and 8k, though. Apparently there’s no discernible difference until you’re at something like 150 inches or higher – which isn’t going to be an issue for 99% of consumers. That’s probably why it will be a non-starter.

  39. 4K and 8K? Wow….of course we don’t see that difference. Where did you get 8K? A RED manual for a camera in a couple years that’s 8K and 8mbs?
    It’s the mbs, man.

    I’m not far from NYC.

  40. Awesome!

    How about you guys agree on a meeting place and date that works for all? Day or night. Maybe Saturday 22nd? Maybe eat at some fun place around some parts worth seeing for a foreigner.

    Could be NJ, could be NY, both work for me.

  41. Cool. Slim, I’m cool with anything. Manhattan probably makes the most sense. I’ll probably just take in Metro North in.

  42. I know the places I would go if I was showin’ you a hot time in the city, Nick, but I’m sure you wanna be in midtown or above and I don’t know where anyone else wants to be. I would stay downtown. I know Slim likes the village, too. But I’m sure all the good ‘big locations’ are what you want.

    Is this gonna be a meetup? Holy crap, that’d be excellent. Is there some way to get Brian a plane ticket?

  43. Yeah, Manhattan makes the most sense. I don’t think we need to pick a place right now. My future is very uncertain, so you guys pick a date and I’ll try to make it work.

  44. And if Cloud Atlas is better than The Master, I’ll be very sad. But at the same time happy. Because I love Tykwer.

  45. Is this gonna be a meetup? Holy crap, that’d be excellent. Is there some way to get Brian a plane ticket?

    Sadly, the plane ticket is the least of my problems. I really doubt I’d be able to get away from work, and I’m not sure about my holiday schedule in general.

    Plus, I know the only reason you want me there is so that you can sneak up behind me and push me in front of a subway train.

  46. Easily one of my favorite tv episodes ever. Vincent D’Onofrio. Andre Braugher. So good.

    …what must you all think of me.

  47. Now I feel Slim suddenly doesn’t want to go because I said I was around there.

    Don’t be paranoid. If you must know, I have a part-time job and I almost always work on Saturday night. But I hope to have a real job by then. Therefore, don’t plan around me.

  48. We got a new 55in TV, which is an upgrade from 720p to 1080p for us. And I can’t stop throwing random Blu-rays in just to see what they look like. I thought Blu was a huge upgrade from DVD even with our old TV, but even still I’m amazed by how good Blu-rays look in their full glory.

    I think my favorite so far is the Coens’ True Grit, but geez, I haven’t put one in yet that wasn’t impressive.

  49. What model, Brian? I have an 8-year old 50″ RCA DLP 720p/1080i that’s light tunnel is starting to fall apart. It’s either buy a new light tunnel & color wheel assembly (around $400) or new TV. Or my current options which is to wait it out while a dark triangle slowly creeps down my screen. I won’t be making a move any time soon, but I’m always keen on keeping my ears open for what’s out there.

  50. Same thing happened to me with the Dark Knight. Simply, unabashedly, remarkably amazing in 1080p. Is it a plasma? Proper light distribution, no color wheels with rainbow effects and no LCD where it’s brighter on the edges than at the center.

  51. I still don’t even have a flat screen TV. I’ve got one of those huge things that weigh a ton and it’s only 26 inches. Of course, I don’t have a smartphone, either. I’m about ten to fifteen years behind the times.

  52. I put my semi-ancient 2004 Sony rear projection LCD HDTV to rest last year after 7 years of service. The screen was slowly turning purple, a defect SONY reportedly knew about when manufacturing the television but failed to alert consumers about until well past the expiration of the MFG warranty. Even the warranty to cover the defect was rolled out in a way to ensure no one heard about it. My PS3 (a whopping 3 years old) died around the same time. I replaced that, but I’m kind of done with SONY products for now.

    I bought a 46″ Samsung last year and absolutely love it. Have a smaller one in the master bedroom and it’s stunning as well.

  53. Expect Openings later in the day than usual, even by recent standards. It’s 4:00am and I just got home from work, and it really wasn’t all that good of a night.

    Joe, to answer your question, it’s this model.

    filmman, I’d have considered a plasma more strongly if I had a darker room. But plasmas have a harder time in brighter environments, or so I understand, and typically have much more reflective screens. So it didn’t really seem workable for us.

    James, I’ve had a lot of Sony products, and don’t have much bad to say about them. Our old TV was a Sony, bought in fall 2006, and it still worked well enough all things considered. The only real reason we got a new one was because I wanted an upgrade and the price has dropped so much on the newer ones; we actually got the new one for cheaper than our old one six years ago.

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