Random Thread for February, 2017

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I’ve had my copy of Film Comment for a while but just leafed through it for the first time. Here is the results of their annual poll of the best films of the year (2016, of course).

  1. Toni Erdmann
  2. Moonlight
  3. Elle
  4. Cemetery of Splendor
  5. Certain Women
  6. Paterson
  7. Manchester by the Sea
  8. Aquarius
  9. Things to Come
  10. No Home Movie
  11. The Lobster
  12. Right Now, Wrong Then
  13. Love & Friendship
  14. Cameraperson
  15. Kaili Blues
  16. The Handmaiden
  17. Everybody Wants Some!!
  18. The Fits
  19. Neruda
  20. The Other Side

Of all the movies I see each year, both in theaters and other ways, I’ve only seen six of these. I disagree about Elle, which I didn’t care for. My Netflix queue is already to capacity so it may be awhile until I get to these. Anyone seen any of the more obscure ones?

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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.

28 responses »

  1. The Fits was free on Amazon Prime and only an hour and twelve minutes long so I just watched it. What a time we live in–think of a movie and then watch it instantly!

  2. I’d say that The Fits was a promising debut made for no money, but probably wasn’t one of the best movies of last year. That 1:12 runtime feels like double that, though.

  3. That recently happened to me with a recommendation Nick wrote on James’ FB wall.
    They mentioned it, and there it was on Netflix, and it was amazing.
    And now I can’t say ‘There’s nothing on Netflix’ because I found this obscure but really awesome Norwegian movie when I thought of it.

  4. On a side note, this morning I saw the greatest interview I’ve ever seen.
    So DeNiro goes on The View, right? To talk about his new movie The Comedian (that’s getting absolutely hammered by critics), and he comes out his usual reticent self and they start talking about the movie and Whoopi does the worst attempt to try to get DeNiro to talk about his comedy and how good he is in comedy (her main reference a Scorsese movie from 1982 that is far closer to a psychological thriller than a comedy) and he begins stuttering about the movie and in the middle of his description and how he likes comedy and how it was a passion project for him and the writers and the director and he just trails off and shrugs and says “Well, we tried…we tried.” The last ‘We tried” you can barely hear, but it’s an amazing look into DeNiro and what he’s thinking and I couldn’t help but wonder why he’s doing these things (especially from what I’ve heard of the movie, which includes a joke where he sings song called ‘Making Poopie’ in place of ‘Makin’ Whoopie’, and it’s central to the plot).
    So they start talking about Trump and DeNiro is getting obviously more and more reticent, and he has to walk back his ‘punch him in the face’ comment now that Trump is President and say how it wasn’t literal, it was figurative and he obviously doesn’t want to be there anymore and then Whoopi suddenly steers him to A Bronx Tale (what?) and Joy Behar, near the end of the segment, leans over to DeNiro and says “What was that movie’s name again?” and then suddenly everything dies. Jason Biggs goes “Please tell us who you are again?” and laughs and DeNiro stares straight ahead and Whoopi suddenly goes to commercial because Behar says something to the effect of “It’s Friday and I have to get out of here” and they come back from commercial and DeNiro is gone. No goodbye, no nothing.
    Simply…………amazing.

  5. No. They were talking about The Comedian. Sorry I didn’t make that clear. She mentions King of Comedy and then DeNiro goes into The Comedian and how it was a passion project for Hackford and him and the writers.

  6. I know King of Comedy is great, and one of the greatest performances of all time, but it was 1982, and to watch DeNiro talk about The Comedian in the same vein, and then to simply stop midstream and trail off and grumble “Well, we tried…we tried.”

  7. A movie, by the way, being compared to King of Comedy that has a joke where he turns ‘Makin’ Whoopie’ into ‘Makin’ Poopie’…..
    Never mind. Guess you had to be there.

  8. I’ve seen a grand total of 0 of those 20 Best Of Film Comment lists. This is one of the reasons why I have little interest in Netflix and other forms of streaming TV-based entertainment.

    Firstly, their choice of films (especially more than a generation or two old) isn’t great and you’d find some better choices on YouTube. Secondly, with there being so much recent cinema to catch up on who has the time to binge-watch multiple TV series as seems to be the rage currently? There’s only so much time one has and there’s so much cinema I haven’t seen I’d rather concentrate on that.

  9. The IMDB closing down their messageboards has created a bit of news over the past few days. There’s been some predictable outrage about it but I’m generally sympathetic to why they did it.

    I occasionally posted on the messageboards in the 2000s but there was so much junk and tripe on it that I didn’t bother anymore. I think the pivotal reason why it was low-standard was that they didn’t start when the IMDB itself started in the mid-1990s (they started in the early 2000s I believe). If they’d started when IMDB than a better posting culture would’ve been created before it became massively popular. As it was, it started when it was a massively popular site and it became a free-for-all; once in a while you’d get occasionally interesting discussions but 95% of the time it would be a longer, more obnoxious version of Twitter.

  10. I just saw Inferno on Netflix DVD.
    What happened to that movie. I don’t even remember seeing commercials for it. How’s Ron Howard’s career and why is Tom Hanks impervious to bad movies?

  11. Yeah, was only just OK. Guess that’s what happens when most of the nominees aren’t widely seen or known so therefore don’t have that pop culture hook to hang easy jokes on.

  12. I saw that and was surprised that Will Smith is a doing a TV movie, too. I guess, given his recent calamaties at the box office, that it was inevitable. How long before he’s back doing a series?

  13. It’s not really a TV movie though. Bright was the subject of a bidding war between several major studios and Netflix happened to win it. It’s just a different form of distribution. We’re in the future.

  14. The only difference between Bright and Manchester By The Sea is that Amazon has a partner to release their films in theaters. Netflix has dabbled in this as well, but to date hasn’t taken that theatrical side very seriously.

    I think it makes sense to go theatrical when they’re chasing awards. I expect you’ll see Netflix follow Amazon’s example with The Irishman next year

    Academy voters, right or wrong (note: very, very, very wrong) are still likely to look down upon something that premiered on a streaming service.

  15. Who’s going to spend $50 on a rental? It reminds me of when videocassettes first came out and the buying price was close to $100. That didn’t last long.

    Completely agree. I think the best idea is:
    – Close the theatrical to home video window to 45 days (from 80-90 currently). The vast majority of films are out of theaters within a month and are pirated by the 1.5-2 month mark as screeners/digital foreign releases leak in 1080p quality.
    – For the increasingly rare megahit or sleeper that plays for months and months, window closes once daily or weekend grosses go below a certain dollar figure
    – If the studios insist on day-and-date: premium rate for the one percenters or people willing to pay $50-100 bucks to watch Avengers: The Infinity War at home on opening day. Treat it as a 48 hour rental for the first 45 days, but then they own the movie after 45.
    – Theater chains get profit sharing on all films rented between day 1 and day 90
    – Studios agree to no further changes to the theatrical window for 10 years, but give themselves an out on films that they decide not to release theatrically (which will be a larger and larger % of movies as the decades goes on).

  16. Do you think Will Smith is happy he’s in a major film that will never be in a theater? I wonder if this will affect contracts in the future, such as guaranteeing the film will get theatrical distribution.

  17. Why would he be unhappy?

    Smith and David Ayer chose Netflix over other offers (including Warner Brothers, where the two of them just made the 745m grossing Suicide Squad) knowing and embracing how Netflix’s model works.

    Speaking of which, here’s the trailer for Brad Pitt’s next movie, which is also from Netflix:

  18. I disagree that Will Smith isn’t unhappy about starring in a Netflix movie. Will Smith isn’t Brad Pitt. Brad Pitt has long ago let go of his ‘biggest movie star on the planet’ moniker.
    I see Suicide Squad supporting roles, that horrible movie about death and now this Netflix movie as the greatest signifiers that he’s done in his role as the biggest name on the planet. I assume, after Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Chris Pratt will be taking that title.
    Smith needs to slide back into prestige roles like he did when he was up and coming.

  19. Again, Smith could have made Bright for Warner Brothers. They had an offer. They chose Netflix. If the lack of a theatrical component was a big deal to Smith…it wouldn’t have happened.

    The Smith family already has a relationship with Netflix, as well Jayden co-stars on The Get Down.

    Also – it’s safe to say that Will Smith’s run as the world’s biggest star ended when he decided to take three years off beginning in 2009.

  20. And being a “star” vs a “draw” are two very different things. Stick Chris Pratt in a picture where he’s not in space or being chased by dinosaurs and see how it does.

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