What DVDs should I rent?

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Ken
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Post by Ken » Wed May 07, 2008 7:54 am

We rented Across the Universe last night. It took awhile to get going but turned out to be a worthwhile watch. Don't bother renting it if you don't have an appreciation for Beatles music.
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Dave C
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Post by Dave C » Wed May 07, 2008 1:08 pm

Just saw Superbad. Rifleman would love it I'll bet. Hilarious cops scenes. It's a slow starter but by the end I was mclovin it.

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Post by aRifleman2 » Wed May 07, 2008 4:31 pm

OMG you are correct sir! I have this movie and watch it over and over. Chicka Chicka Yeah! Super Troopers is another one of my favorites. It actually came out in the theaters when I was a Sheriff in Wabasha county. I went to the Burger King in uniform and the kid behind the counter said into the mike after I ordered "double baco cheeseburger, it's for a cop". So I played along and asked what's that about he gonna spit in it now. And he replied no that's so he makes it good. The manager didn't realize we were qouting the movie and came over and started apoligizing after I sat down to eat. I told him it was OK and that I saw that he didn't spit in my burger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKZzUC2Ejic

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Post by Cup » Fri May 09, 2008 7:05 pm

most of apatow's movies are winners

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Ken
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Post by Ken » Fri May 09, 2008 10:53 pm

Ken wrote:We've been enjoying a couple of HBO series on DVD. We finished Rome a couple of weeks ago and are most of the way through the first season of Deadwood.

I recommended both although you may find yourself calling people cocksuckers a lot after watching Deadwood. :)
I forgot to mention that the story of Deadwood doesn't end. They made 3 seasons and everyone thought they were going to make a fourth but for some reason the cocksuckers at HBO canceled the show.

It's still a worthwhile watch.
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

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Mark in Vancouver
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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Mon May 12, 2008 12:31 am

Dave C wrote:Just watched Donnie Darko again tonight. What a fantastic trip.
I saw this for the second time tonight, and I need some help, I think. A lot of my friends love this movie, and it has its merits, but WTF? It's like they edited out several key scenes or something...

The acting is good, the film is attractive to watch, but there are all of these loose ends everywhere in the plot. He's crazy? He's not crazy, but the world is? He's just dead, and the last 90 minutes were crazy?

When he goes to the old woman's house, why are the school bullies waiting for him inside?

I remember being frustrated by it on the first viewing, but tonight it feels more obviously unsatisfying. I'm not down on the movie, but I demand an explanation! There's some key information here that I'm missing.
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Post by Dave C » Mon May 12, 2008 7:39 am

Obviously no one should read this post if they haven't watched Donnie Darko & plan to.

Much of the movie is up to the interpretation of the viewer. There are no right answers and nothing has been left out. But it's vague enough that you can have a different interpretation and that will suffice for your needs. This is how I saw it.

The movie is about a schism in the time continuum thingy, parallel universe. When the jet engine hits Donnie's house there is no plane flying overhead, it's from a tangent universe. Apparently that's a bad thing and doesn't bode well for the existence of our universe. Frank gets Donnie out of bed so he doesn't die from the crash, he is chosen to fix this shite. Much of the movie is spent educating him on the concepts of time travel & stuff like that. It's in Sparrow's book that he learns all of the concepts & his role in this. It's like Donnie is transported into the tangent universe, one where his girlfriend becomes his girlfriend & dies, the Swayze freak gets found out etc. The final bit is where Donnie takes the engine falling from his mom's plane back through a wormhole to his primary universe... time is reset, he hasn't met his girlfriend, she's obviously alive etc. Everyone involved in the tangent uni feels some sense of remembrance of what happened. Donnie laughs as he lies down in bed cus he knows he's going to die but also knows that he was successful and the world will continue. The bullies were at Sparrow's house because they were bullies, it was Halloween and she was a nutbag. Maybe they were going to rob her, dunno, not really important. Hope this helps.

I bet if you watch it yet again, with this understanding of the story, you'll like it better.

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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Mon May 12, 2008 12:15 pm

No I get all that. I just thought it was a cop out to have him be schizophrenic, but then to provide an alternate reality that says, "he wasn't crazy after all, just dead." I think I just have a problem with punchline movies - and there was a spate of them out of the US in the 90s... Think Sixth Sense. It just feels like a cheap trick to tack on these "It was all a dream" endings. I think they're supposed to be clever, but it feels like a betrayal.

Surprise endings very rarely work, IMO. They should complement the story, not provide an alternate explanation.

Anyway, I know this is another flick that you enjoyed more than I did. No big deal.
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Post by janma » Mon May 12, 2008 1:35 pm

Dave C wrote:Just saw Superbad. Rifleman would love it I'll bet. Hilarious cops scenes. It's a slow starter but by the end I was mclovin it.
I liked this one too. Some of the cast is in many extremely funny movies, which my girlfriend doesn't understand. She thinks its weird to find "40 year old virgin", "Anchorman" funny still after the 7th time of watching, women pfff...

Also like to recommend "Horton hears a Who?", works for kids and grown-ups :D
-Janne

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Dave C
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Post by Dave C » Mon May 12, 2008 5:42 pm

Mark in Vancouver wrote:Surprise endings very rarely work, IMO. They should complement the story, not provide an alternate explanation.
I would argue that if you read/understood/agreed with the description of the story as I described it in my post then this was not a surprise ending nor an alternative explanation. The entire movie alluded to the ending throughout and the ending was the only possible climax to the movie. But we don't have to agree.

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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Mon May 12, 2008 7:39 pm

Dave C wrote:
Mark in Vancouver wrote:Surprise endings very rarely work, IMO. They should complement the story, not provide an alternate explanation.
I would argue that if you read/understood/agreed with the description of the story as I described it in my post then this was not a surprise ending nor an alternative explanation. The entire movie alluded to the ending throughout and the ending was the only possible climax to the movie. But we don't have to agree.
No, I hear ya. This was not the same kind of twist ending as Sixth Sense - which was a total rip-off, IMO.

I guess I was just not satisfied by the lack of clarity - was it mental illness or was it time travel and a sort of miraculous, Christ-like self sacrifice to save the ones he loved? That point is presumably left to interpretation, which I find weak. Or if it's both, what does the movie say about mental illness - both his and the old lady's?

To write that off as just entertainment, or to excuse the bizarre plot twist of having the bullies ambush him inside the old lady's house as just incidental (and then vanish from the scene)... That's sloppy film making. There were other characters whose side-stories were seemingly central, but then end up as cut-outs with no closure.... The Chinese student, the English teacher, the elder sister, Grandma Death, the science teacher... I mean, the science teacher just happens to carry this time travel book around with him? Those details were lazy, I think.

I am abundantly aware that I am a film snob, too serious, blah blah blah... But I also love cinema and thinking about it beyond the entertainment value. Good cinema should either not leave questions unanswered, or do it in a deliberately insightful way, IMO. Or, I guess, avoid any depth at all, and just go for entertainment via industrial light & magic.

I suspect that I wanted a lot more out of the film because so many of my friends told me for so long what a stupendous movie it is. I guess finally seeing it came as a disappointment.
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Post by Dave C » Mon May 12, 2008 9:22 pm

Mark in Vancouver wrote:I guess I was just not satisfied by the lack of clarity - was it mental illness or was it time travel and a sort of miraculous, Christ-like self sacrifice to save the ones he loved? That point is presumably left to interpretation, which I find weak. Or if it's both, what does the movie say about mental illness - both his and the old lady's?

To write that off as just entertainment, or to excuse the bizarre plot twist of having the bullies ambush him inside the old lady's house as just incidental (and then vanish from the scene)... That's sloppy film making. There were other characters whose side-stories were seemingly central, but then end up as cut-outs with no closure.... The Chinese student, the English teacher, the elder sister, Grandma Death, the science teacher... I mean, the science teacher just happens to carry this time travel book around with him? Those details were lazy, I think.
I don't think you're a film snob, in this case. I think you just don't get some of the stuff in the film so you're writing off huge swaths of it.

Some of what you missed is funny too. For instance, the bullies are robbing Sparrow & they're required to be there in order for Gretchen (girlfriend) to be killed & Frank to be shot. It's a contrivance I admit, so does the author. When the bully asks Donnie "why are you here" Donnie says "Deus ex machina". Kinda funny.

Much of what happened after the first engine dropped were a sequence of events that led to the second. The Science teacher had the book & gave it to Donnie, that led him to Sparrow, which led to the final episode. Burning Swayze's house led to the trial, which caused the old bat to miss the girls' big show, which caused Donnie's mother to attend and allow Donnie & his sister to have a party, which led to the final scene.

Much of the film is about alienation. The Chinese girl represents this, in my opinion. She wears the earmuffs to symbolically shut out the noise of all the people that mock her. Donnie relates to her as he's having similar shit going on. That's why he puts on her ear muffs in the end.

Drew Barrymore's role is one of a strong supportive person, enabling Donnie to have the courage to do what he does in the end. She also leads him to the "cellar door".

None of it seems lazy to me. Contrived maybe, but not lazy. I understand that many wouldn't like the flick because many details aren't laid out at your feet. But that doesn't mean the writer is lazy, maybe it points to lazy movie goers. We're used to someone coming in at the end and explaining each detail (Vanilla Sky is a good example of this). IMO that's one of the things that's great about this movie. Each time you watch it you understand a different facet that eluded you before. But I can totally understand why many don't bother.

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Post by Mark in Vancouver » Mon May 12, 2008 9:47 pm

I'll have to give it another go, maybe. The sticking point for me is the level of contrivance. If everything is in place all along the way, what is the ultimate point of it? There's an initial leap because time travel doesn't and can't exist, but mental illness is very real. So we're expected to accept the magic realism of that aspect of the film. Fine.

It's just that the two "realities" seem totally disconnected to me. Is the answer that Donnie isn't mentally ill, but simply an adjunct to this time travel? And there's the sticking point. How does an hallucination inform reality? It's a very minor thing at this point in the discussion, but I'd like you to get my POV. Time travel and psychoanalysis are both treated as being "real" in the film. Then the main character is conflicted by both realities.

I'm ending up with a message that somehow says, life is hell, but it's an illusion. You can alter the hellishness of it by essentially killing yourself by going back in time. For mentally ill people life is hell, but it's an isolated kind of hell... but mental illness is an illusion because hallucinations are actually insightful.

Either way you look at it, there's a muddle at the end.

I'll have to watch it again and see if it makes sense on the third viewing. I appreciate that it's a film you like and can watch repeatedly. Give me 8 1/2 any day! In fact, I'm going to go and plug that old gem into the box right now.
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Post by Ken » Mon May 12, 2008 9:54 pm

Mark in Vancouver wrote:I'll have to give it another go, maybe. The sticking point for me is the level of contrivance. If everything is in place all along the way, what is the ultimate point of it? There's an initial leap because time travel doesn't and can't exist, but mental illness is very real. So we're expected to accept the magic realism of that aspect of the film. Fine.

It's just that the two "realities" seem totally disconnected to me. Is the answer that Donnie isn't mentally ill, but simply an adjunct to this time travel? And there's the sticking point. How does an hallucination inform reality? It's a very minor thing at this point in the discussion, but I'd like you to get my POV. Time travel and psychoanalysis are both treated as being "real" in the film. Then the main character is conflicted by both realities.

I'm ending up with a message that somehow says, life is hell, but it's an illusion. You can alter the hellishness of it by essentially killing yourself by going back in time. For mentally ill people life is hell, but it's an isolated kind of hell... but mental illness is an illusion because hallucinations are actually insightful.

Either way you look at it, there's a muddle at the end.

I'll have to watch it again and see if it makes sense on the third viewing. I appreciate that it's a film you like and can watch repeatedly. Give me 8 1/2 any day! In fact, I'm going to go and plug that old gem into the box right now.
I've only seen the director's cut of DD and I loved it.
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”

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Dave C
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Post by Dave C » Mon May 12, 2008 10:10 pm

Mark in Vancouver wrote:It's just that the two "realities" seem totally disconnected to me. Is the answer that Donnie isn't mentally ill, but simply an adjunct to this time travel?
IMO yes, that's the answer. Donnie is not mentally ill. His analyst tells him he was on a placebo medication. He seemed fine to me, just a little odd. And he was a tool necessary to fix the time screwup.

As for life being hell, you have to remember that the idea is that after Donnie leaves his bed & the engine falls Donnie is moving through the tangent universe. At least that's how I see it. Everything that happens after that, until he returns with the engine, is in an alternate universe. He doesn't travel through time so much as he goes from that tangent universe back to his bedroom and continues from there. It's like Frank yanks him out of his universe into the tangent one to fix things up. So life may indeed be hell in the tangent universe. Not that I necessarily thought it was. It looked like pretty normal teenage life to me.

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