Finally Watching [Nostalgia Movies]

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Postby Merciel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:44 am

It is an extremely depressing movie and I'm glad I never liked it as a kid because that was clearly the correct call.
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Postby Merciel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:26 am

The Secret Garden (1993)

It's weird that nobody from this movie, other than Maggie Smith (who was already well established decades before this), ever really made it big. It's a good movie and it did reasonably well at the box office and everybody put in a pretty decent performance, but nope. That's a little bit of a bummer.

I never saw this as a kid. This was my first time seeing it. Probably because I'm coming to it as an adult (and as an adult who spends a fair amount of time on this here messageboard of pasty alcoholics and depressives), my main thought is: god damn, Colin's dad is an asshole in a movie full of assholes. What is he even out there doing while his kid gets warped into a psychosomatic cripple convinced he's going to keel over any second?

As far as I can tell, Colin's dad just spends his time moping around in hotel lobbies and/or his extremely vampiric carriage, so there's the World's #1 Dad award for you, buddy.

Mary and Colin are also assholes, of course, but the movie does a pretty good job of showing you that they're assholes mostly because of England's deeply entrenched class system, so it's not entirely their fault. Then again, it's not like they ever actually get any better. The end of the movie still shows you Dickon being isolated and excluded because he's lower class so they can't really be friends, at least not when they all grow up.

cool system you got there, guys

Anyway I think the movie improves on the book, but that might be because my only recollection of the book is reading it as a class assignment when I was 9 or 10 and thinking all the characters were goddamn twerps. It's not too hard to improve on that.

Mary needs to give her rose vines some better support. They're falling over all over the damn place.

8.5/10
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Postby universe » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:52 am

I really loved that movie and recently rewatched it and yeah the weirdest thing to me now was Colin's dad just hanging out in hotels with his head in his hands like a goth ether addict or something.
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Postby kid8 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:00 am

Finally.
Oh look, an indoor outhouse.
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Postby Merciel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:36 pm

Probably my favorite change in the adaptation from book to movie is that they made Mary's parents die in an earthquake instead of by cholera because you probably don't want to show people dying of cholera in a kids' movie, it's not really very cinematic to watch people shitting themselves to death.
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Postby worrywort » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:45 pm

oh i dunno. good lighting and sound design goes a long way.
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Postby neuartillery » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:23 pm

Merciel wrote:
WeirdJungle wrote:I wonder if showing mom's death on screen actually makes it more understandable for kids? He gets to talk to her, she tells him it's going to be ok, etc. it's not like she's just suddenly and violently extinguished by an unseen enemy.


I don't think confusion is really an issue.

I think it's just that thing SVC talks about in kids' books sometimes where they all just want you to feel sad. Thankfully this is not a thing with kids' books written in the last 20-30 years or so (that I've read), but it's definitely a thing in Land Before Time.

Also they really drive home the fact that all these dinosaurs ultimately died anyhow. It's not explicit in the movie but you can't have a bunch of dinosaurs dumbly fleeing from volcanoes and earthquakes and famine without continually having to remember that all these guys went extinct.

They all died, nobody survives this story. And the movie will not let you forget it.


Rogue One: A Land Before Time Story
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Postby goofy's dead wife » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:26 pm

wow there are 14 movies in the land before time series
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Postby Merciel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:15 pm

goofy's dead wife wrote:wow there are 14 movies in the land before time series


yeah that was nuts when I saw it on Wikipedia

I have never seen any of them and I never will, but it's bananas to me that a lot of people felt very very differently, judging by the longevity of the franchise
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Postby Spoilt Victorian Child » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:22 pm

I remember The Secret Garden getting a ton of buzz when I was 9 or whatever so it was inevitable that my mom was going to rent it, even though I doubt anyone else wanted to see it. And I remember when she did it just confirmed my suspicion that it was one of those movies that looks like a kids movie but isn't actually. If you're interested here's a list of 49 other such movies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BFI_list_of_the_50_films_you_should_see_by_the_age_of_14

It is at least less boring as an adult. As a tearjerker I guess it goes about its business respectably. Still I can't say it really meant anything to me. I am still probably a bit put off from it from before, because if you are a chronically ill child this is a fairly cruel story to be subjected to -- unless I suppose you have one of those illnesses that is cured by a bossy little girl jumping into bed with you. And come to think of it it probably isn't much better if you happen to be estranged from your father. Maybe it's nice if you're an orphan though.

Roger Deakins is almost completely wasted in this, apart from the one shot during the opening credits where his name appears.
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Postby Spoilt Victorian Child » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:29 pm

This one (not pictured, Roger Deakins's name):

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Postby Merciel » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:31 pm

Spoilt Victorian Child wrote:unless I suppose you have one of those illnesses that is cured by a bossy little girl jumping into bed with you.



:ahuh:
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Postby Merciel » Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:15 am

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

It is so weird to me that Alan Menken and Howard Ashman got to be the Disney musical team based on this supercampy weird-ass movie, which doesn't even have a single actually good song anywhere in it.

It's an extremely uneven film. We watched the 2012 restored version with the excruciatingly long plant rampage at the end, as opposed to the theatrical release "happy ending" version (which is the version that I remembered seeing). The happy ending version is a lot better, not so much because it's happier and more emotionally satisfying -- although it is -- but because the rampage version goes on ABSOLUTELY FUCKING FOREVER and after about two minutes of this shit it's just boring as hell. It makes the Gremlins rampages look like marvels of brevity and tight editing. Even the music isn't interesting, it just keeps banging on the same chords over and over.

Solid two points off for that shit. That ending sucks. I don't care if Frank Oz thought he had to compromise his artistic vision for lame-ass audience sensibilities. The audience was right, this version is self-indulgent garbage with no sense of pacing at all.

The rest of the movie is pretty decent though. I did not know Rick Moranis could sing, let alone that well. Audrey took some getting used to, and I never really warmed to her, but the actress certainly did a good job of inhabiting that particular pillar of camp. Steve Martin was a pure delight (though very strange to see without his trademark hair), and it was fun seeing John Candy and Bill Murray and the crew pop up in bit roles.

I'm glad I saw this again after we started doing the Menken/Ashman Disney films, because honestly the main value of the movie to me at this point is just wondering how in the hell that team got from Point A to Point B.

5.5/10
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Postby Merciel » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:22 am

The Lion King (1994)

We did two movies tonight!

I was thinking this movie was the first one in the good Disney sequence to have any major dud songs ("Be Prepared" is the main one I'm thinking of here, but across the board the big musical numbers aren't as good as in previous films), and it turns out this is the first one Alan Menken wasn't around to work on, so that makes sense. The music's not bad by any means, it's just not as good as in the ones Menken did.

I'm amused that they reunited James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair to reprise their roles from Coming to America.

This is supposed to be the first big Disney animated picture based on an original story rather than an adaptation of a pre-existing work, but I don't know how true that actually is. I mean, it's just Bambi with some different animals (also Jafar is a lion now, and then the hyenas... well, the hyenas at least are new).

Anyway it's pretty good, although it feels a lot flatter as an adult than it did when I was a kid. Simba's emotional arc isn't exactly the most sophisticated rendition of the hero's journey I've ever seen, and I'm not real clear on why Scar's rulership caused the pridelands to get all gray and desolate, or why reinstalling Simba as king made the grass come back. I suppose it's just supposed to be the Arthurian rightful-king-makes-kingdom-flourish thing, but it's not tremendously logical and all the other movies did a much better job of tying negative world consequences to things that the villains actually did, so, you know. NOT IMPRESSED HERE, LION KING.

I like how much of the sweeping grandeur in this thing is straight-up just stealing nature documentary shots.

I am also gratified that there is an entire verse of "Hakuna Matata" dedicated to warthog farts.

9/10
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Postby trope » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:27 am

Merciel wrote:
Milk wrote:
Merciel wrote:[b]In 1992 that didn't go nearly far enough to make anybody happy. In 2017 it would get caterwauling and boycott threats from a sea of rancid idiots in MAGA hats. Fifteen years, and we've backslid that much.


25 years.


god I fuck that math up all the time

it's like the 2000s as a decade just get obliterated and conflated with the 2010s

Yeah I also have difficulty believing that the 90s were 25 years ago. Instead of, like, 5 years ago.
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Postby universe » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:42 pm

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Postby chairkicker » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:15 pm

there are at least three good songs in little shop of horrors, maybe more

and that restored ending is like five minutes, dude. with some pretty wild imagery. yeah, the music sucks there and that's probably part of the reason it feels long, but i'm guessing that's music they cobbled together out of nothing for the new cut, since it's likely the original ending never got scored in the first place.
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Postby Merciel » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:16 pm

You have a lot more patience for tedium than I do.
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Postby chairkicker » Sat Sep 16, 2017 4:21 pm

did you see that audrey ii blowing on that smokestack, though?
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Postby Merciel » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:15 pm

I think that was the only part of the rampage that actually made me laugh.
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Postby Bad craziness » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:20 am

finally saw American Graffiti for the first time tonight

fucking brilliant

giving me a lot to think about
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Postby Merciel » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:30 pm

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)

I was very sad that Kermit was not in a mood to enjoy this movie. We'll have to show it to him again later. He loves his Sesame Street and Muppet clips on youtube so much that he will surely have his mind blown whenever he is actually able to watch movies.

It was fun seeing Diana Rigg and Charles Grodin let loose playing great big cartoon characters in a kids' movie, and a bunch of other actors pop up in hammy little bit parts. They were all clearly having a lot of fun in a way that makes you feel good just to watch them having such a good time.

The high fashion clothes were also pretty fun (although the jewelry wasn't even good rhinestone stuff, so that was a bit of a bummer). The cameos were fun, the jokes were frequently absurdist enough to get actual lols, and all in all this was fun all around. The plot is sort of endearingly misshapen and lumpy, but the plot is never the point with these things. The point is what you can do with the plot, which in the case of the Great Muppet Caper is a ton of weird and wacky stuff.

Being in puppetry in the '70s must have been a hell of a ride. The Muppets are making it big, Sesame Street is making it big, Hollywood's interested in all these increasingly fancy and expensive special effects, and there's no glimmer yet that CGI is going to destroy your career field in a generation's time.

They did some really impressive things. I still can't figure out how the bicycles worked. Clearly the bikes are part of the puppet effect (as SVC noted), but how do they get the bikes to actually move without falling over? They had these bikes going for at least half a mile in an outdoor scene that wouldn't have allowed them to use any major support equipment, and there are like 10 Muppets of different sizes and configurations in the convoy, and they're all on bikes with pedals moving the wheels and it's just, how did they do that?

9/10
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Postby Seamus » Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:49 pm

Merciel wrote:The Lion King (1994)

We did two movies tonight!

I was thinking this movie was the first one in the good Disney sequence to have any major dud songs ("Be Prepared" is the main one I'm thinking of here, but across the board the big musical numbers aren't as good as in previous films), and it turns out this is the first one Alan Menken wasn't around to work on, so that makes sense. The music's not bad by any means, it's just not as good as in the ones Menken did.

I'm amused that they reunited James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair to reprise their roles from Coming to America.

This is supposed to be the first big Disney animated picture based on an original story rather than an adaptation of a pre-existing work, but I don't know how true that actually is. I mean, it's just Bambi with some different animals (also Jafar is a lion now, and then the hyenas... well, the hyenas at least are new).

Anyway it's pretty good, although it feels a lot flatter as an adult than it did when I was a kid. Simba's emotional arc isn't exactly the most sophisticated rendition of the hero's journey I've ever seen, and I'm not real clear on why Scar's rulership caused the pridelands to get all gray and desolate, or why reinstalling Simba as king made the grass come back. I suppose it's just supposed to be the Arthurian rightful-king-makes-kingdom-flourish thing, but it's not tremendously logical and all the other movies did a much better job of tying negative world consequences to things that the villains actually did, so, you know. NOT IMPRESSED HERE, LION KING.

I like how much of the sweeping grandeur in this thing is straight-up just stealing nature documentary shots.

I am also gratified that there is an entire verse of "Hakuna Matata" dedicated to warthog farts.

9/10


WHAT THE.... Be Prepared rules
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Postby Merciel » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:01 pm

The visuals are pretty good. The song is not great.
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Postby Merciel » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:29 am

The Princess Bride (1987)

I refuse to let Ted Cruz ruin this movie for me.

I love The Princess Bride unabashedly. We watched it all the time when we were kids. My dad would come and watch it with us too, because he also loved this movie. (To be fair, some of the other movies in our heavy recurring rotation were, like, the 1986 My Little Pony movie*, so I can only imagine the level of relief my dad must have felt when we didn't want to watch that again.)

(* -- we will not be doing the My Little Pony movie for the project. I am amused that the Wikipedia entry includes this tidbit, however: "With a US$674,724 gross on its wide debut [resulting in a $10M loss!], it remains one of the weakest on record among major features." I'm morbidly curious just how bad this thing would be to me now, but definitely not curious enough to actually find out.)

Anyway, back to The Princess Bride: it's great. It's charming and witty and has a heart full of genuine love for its genre, and all the performances are fantastic, and I am very impressed at how well Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin learned to fence for this, and also this is the only movie in which I actually like Christopher Guest. The special effects are all practical effects so they hold up remarkably well. And Andre the Giant was game enough to do all this shit while recovering from major back surgery, so I don't know how you could refuse to give him some bonus credit for that.

The gender politics are a little Problematic but not quite as much as they might seem on first glance.

In the book version of The Princess Bride (which I hated and found very disillusioning as a kid and don't recommend to anyone, because the book is as mean as the movie is nice, and William Goldman comes off as a huge dick for having written it), it's repeatedly emphasized that Princess Buttercup is a vapid idiot with nothing at all going for her beyond her looks, and Westley is kind of a dingus for loving her, and they're actually only capable of true love because Buttercup's such a simpleton that she loves with the unalloyed purity (and stupidity) of a dog's devotion.

I don't know whether that was meant to be a meta commentary on the role of princesses in traditional fairy tales. It might have been; Goldman is, after all, the guy who adapted The Stepford Wives and presumably has some thoughts on valuing women exclusively for their looks. And I read this book a long-ass time ago when my awareness of these things was not particularly developed, even for a 12- or 13-year-old kid. But I do definitely remember the book's "narrator" making that point frequently, and whether it was satire or not, it got pretty fucking annoying.

The movie doesn't really get into that, at least not overtly. But it also doesn't give Buttercup anything else to do. So she ends up being kind of an extra-passive early-model Disney princess, which is pretty lame but not really the movie's fault. It can only do so much to minimize what's in the source material, particularly given that Goldman wrote the screen adaptation himself.

Everything else in the movie is grand. Inigo Montoya's takedown of Rugen is one of the most satisfying screen vengeances ever, and it loses only a little for being overplayed.

I'm glad that I get to have happy childhood memories of this movie. It is a good one to have happy childhood memories about.

10/10
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Postby Spoilt Victorian Child » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:47 am

I was kind of expecting it to be intolerable but yeah it was totally fine. All of Wallace Shawn's lines are dead now but the rest of the film is pretty much intact. I don't have any fond memories of watching it as a kid or anything.

Here's an excerpt from Cary Elwes's Wikipedia page. Every person's name you see here is a link to a Wikipedia page for that person:

Ivan Simon Cary Elwes was born on 26 October 1962 in Westminster, London, the youngest of three sons of portrait painter Dominic Elwes[6] and interior designer and socialite Tessa Kennedy. He is the brother of artist Damian Elwes[7] and film producer Cassian Elwes. His stepfather, Elliott Kastner, was an American film producer.[6] His paternal grandfather was painter Simon Elwes,[7] whose own father was the diplomat and tenor Gervase Elwes (1866–1921).[8] His other great-grandfathers include the diplomat Rennell Rodd, 1st Baron Rennell and industrialist Ivan Rikard Ivanović. Elwes has Croatian Jewish, English, Irish, Serbian, and Scottish ancestry.[9] His Croatian and Serbian roots come from his maternal grandmother, Daška McLean, whose second husband, Billy McLean, was an operative for Special Operations Executive during World War II.[10][11]

One of Elwes' ancestors is John Elwes, who is alleged in some sources to have been the inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (1843).[12] Elwes himself played five roles in the 2009 film adaptation of the novel.[12] Through his maternal grandfather, Elwes is also related to Sir Alexander William "Blackie" Kennedy, one of the first photographers to document the archaeological site of Petra following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[13]

Elwes was brought up as a Roman Catholic and was an altar boy at Westminster Cathedral, although he did not attend denominational schools as most of the men on his father's side of the family had, including his father.[14] His paternal relatives include such clerics as Dudley Charles Cary-Elwes (1868–1932), the Roman Catholic Bishop of Northampton, Abbott Columba Cary-Elwes (Ampleforth Abbey, Saint Louis Abbey), and Father Luke Cary-Elwes (Fort Augustus Abbey).

He's almost as connected as Lena Dunham.
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Postby Spoilt Victorian Child » Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:48 am

Sorry, correction: Father Luke Cary-Elwes does not have his own Wikipedia page.
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Postby aububs » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:41 am

Spoilt Victorian Child wrote:All of Wallace Shawn's lines are dead now but the rest of the film is pretty much intact.


can you explain what you mean here? his lines are...dead now?
no buddy not really
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Postby chairkicker » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:16 am

dead in their effect via pop culture saturation the same way so much of the holy grail is dead now
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Postby Rainbow Battle Kid » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:31 am

Merciel wrote:The Lion King (1994)

This is supposed to be the first big Disney animated picture based on an original story rather than an adaptation of a pre-existing work, but I don't know how true that actually is.


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