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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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« Randomness: Grandmaster, Paddington, Catwomen and Babies | Main | Oscar Voting Begins! Three Suggestions for Academy Members »
Friday
Dec272013

Link is the Warmest Blog Post

The Awl the year in topless Geraldo Rivera. Super good read.
Deadline an FYC video for Adèle Exarchopoulus... can she sneak into the locky-locked-up Best Actress lineup?
Badass Digest 10 best alternative old movie posters of 2013 vintage
Thompson on Hollywood great movie quotes of the year - #1 is a moment I'm personally obsessed with already
Badass Digest thinks American Hustle will be destroyed by winning the Oscar. Which, yeah, most films are but it's not going to win. And also. Will people please stop comparing it to Wolf of Wall Street. I hate this comparison and especially hate that people think Wolf is better. Er, no. Or by better did you mean longer? In which case, yes. 

HuffPo FYC another August: Osage County interview in which everyone understands that Julia Roberts is the lead. Now, if only Oscar will follow suit and save the supporting category for supporting ladies
The Advocate Blue is the Warmest Color and other great LGBT graphic novels of the year. I love Artifice, too (wrote about it here)
Cinema Blend Gail Gadot begins training for 'body mass' to play Wonder Woman in that probably very ill advised Batman vs. Superman movie
SPR Kurt's top ten list - he's still bravely mad for Lee Daniels' The Butler and Spring Breakers
i09 on breakout stars of genre television. Some good choices though they have weird conceptions of who is "new"... like Norman Reedus (Um, he's been around a LONG time in film and television)
Newsweek internet predictions circa 1995 in a piece called "why the web won't be nirvana" a great find from twitter that's wrong about virtually everything except this:

 Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen. 

It's a Wolf Wolf Wolf Wolf World 
Business Insider Scorsese's film already inspiring future Belforts as the financial industry cheers it on 
The Informer Wolf of Wall Street victim speaks out  
Antagony & Ecstacy has a smart take down of the film a lot of people don't want to hear taken down -- wear protective gear, Tim! 
Some Came Running a defense of Wolf of Wall Street against readings that Scorsese has no point of view on the characters. (Critics who love this one are very riled up about its detractors, like they've just come from a Belfort fist-pumping retreat... only, like, way more articulate about their 'fuckyeahs!') 

And on this same topic, today's must watch...

It's a Wonderful Life on Wall Street

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Reader Comments (36)

It's hard for me to think American Hustle is better when everyone is overpraising Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale (who I can't stand), and Bradley Cooper over the far more deserving Amy Adams. I don't get it.

Plus, I'm a real sucker for a childish movie made for adults.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRahul

If Leo doesn't get nominated for an Oscar this year, the internet may finally break. His fans are even more riled up than critics, I think.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

But it *is* better than American Hustle, Nat... ;-)
And way too short...

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I really don't get the Hustle comparisons to WOWS and Scorsese. If having non-stop music cues of rock music means you're 'stealing' from Scorsese then every filmmaker of the last 30 years is guilty of it. As Matt Zoller Seitz noted, Hustle never goes into the potential darkness that a Scorsese film does. If anything it reminds me of a 1930s screwball comedy where even the criminals are good people. It's sort of a 1930s nostalgia within a 70s aesthetic, which honestly had some prevalence in the 70s if you just went by Peter Bogdanovich's filmography. If you also think camera movement is the smoking gun that DOR took from Scorsese than SLP and The Fighter are also 'guilty' of that but I heard none of it with either. It's his style. To me Hustle is a quintessential David O. Russell film.

Folks like Faraci are just the bane of film 'criticism'. It's far too early to make this call and frankly he's coming from a POV where Wolf has a shot which is DUMB. 12YAS and Gravity are the front-runners.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG you are my hero. very well put on Hustle's style. it's weird to like both films and feel that both are unfinished / too raggedy.... and then here such EITHER/OR mania online. How about "both have their pleasures and their foibles and are totally different films"... or am i being too reasonable for the internet?

December 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel- Personally, this felt like a throwback to the early DOR films I liked very much but with a strong, repertory feel. The more I hear crap thrown at it, the more I am digging my heels in the ground to defend it. It's not even a lock for my top 10 but I hate seeing unoriginal criticisms thrown at it.

And Martin Scorsese is one of my all-time favorite directors. That said, female characters are not his strength. I am trying to imagine how Amy Adams' character would work within a Scorsese film. People celebrate Sharon Stone as a great Scorsese leading lady turn but her whole existence works in the in-between of Pesci and DeNiro. Adams' character always is in cahoots with Bale's character but her agency is expressed when she is dangling sex toward Cooper's character. You have a sense that the character knows what she is doing and I never felt her tension with her and Jennifer Lawrence's character felt like a competition (unless us actressexuals) where we have to be on somebody's side. Russell finds vulnerabilities and weaknesses with both, but he seems to like both of them a lot. I don't find Russell ever wants to exploit any 'failures' of his characters. Not that Scorsese does but he has always been pretty moralistic with his characters that I never sensed with Russell.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Just to clarify the Wolf/Hustle comparison is weird. I guess there are just so many heavy dramas. Also Wolf of Wall Street is on a completely different level than the at times enjoyable, but that is all American Hustle was. WOWS, has the best male performance of the year.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

Hey Nathaniel,

Have you ever loved a Scorsese film? Like really loved it?

Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino are amazing but I have a hard time believing they would ever crack your top 5. It's not a bad thing you don't like/love these films it is just personnel taste, but I definitely do, so it makes it hard for me to trust your opinion on certain types of films.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

I love that moment in "Inside Llewyn Davis." I kept expecting the film to be a tale of redemption, but the Coen Brothers rightfully insist that that is not how the world often works. When Grossman brushes off Llewyn I kept waiting for him to give him some shred of hope, something to hold on to, but nada.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Nat, both have their pleasures and their foibles and are totally different films. ;-)

The only reason I personally would compare them is the same reason I would compare, say, August: Osage County to Nebraska: They're both Best Picture contenders. I loved the Scorsese and the Russell, I just think WOWS is on the whole, a better film.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Personally, I think Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, and The King of Comedy are Scorsese's best. To me that shows more range and interesting angles about America and about men.

Casino, to me is such a bore and redundant within his filmography. And maybe this is because my Dad is a boxing fan, but Raging Bull serves no interest to me. Give me John Huston's Fat City any day of the week. It's beautiful but it's a boxing movie that is pretty adamantly anti-boxing because an all too easy brute is the subject than an actual artist like Sugar Ray Robinson. DeNiro's weight gain celebrated one of the worst trends in method acting and for what? One major scene. His documentaries and his 'failures' (DeNiro's work in New York New York is cooler than Jake LaMotta and After Hours is awesome) are more interesting than the canon he has built among the 'bros'. The Departed and Shutter Island is the work I can really stand. I admire Hugo and Gangs of New York than I actually like either but holy moly is The Aviator a chore that at times feels like a Vanity Fair shoot.

I admire Scorsese as an important figure in cinema and restoring often lost works of world cinema. But the feeling I get with his movies is the constant insistence from certain cinephiles that every work is a masterpiece. True, all works of a great artist can contain a lot of worth while textures to it. Does not mean it's necessarily the best cinema in a 'B-grade Scorsese is still A-grade cinema' kind of way.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

@ Anonny

I know he actively is indifferent to Casino. Which basically makes it the Cate Blanchett of Scorsese's filmography.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Scorsese is the greatest living director. Even his somewhat lesser fare, Casino, Hugo, Bringing out the Dead are still unique and worth watching. Something like Raging Bull, which is probably his best directed film will be watched 50 years from now and it came out in 1980. Granted it did not win the Oscar and neither did Goodfellas but Dances with Wolves I guess was just too strong. :) The fact he can still do something this extravagant and provocative and his age is amazing. His last two feature films, not counting his George Harrison documentary have just got even better with Dicaprio. It interesting as much of a historian of film as he is, he only shoots on video now, and basically has sworn off 35mm.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

That whole thing about Scorsese and 35 mm is simply not true. He, Richardson and Schoonmaker had no choice with Hugo being in 3D.

Also, a fair portion of Wolf was shot mostly in 35 mm and is the last 35 mm print from Paramount.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

If this is becoming a Scorsese's best post, can I throw one for After Hours and Alice? :D Well, yes, and Mean Streets and Taxi Driver too.

As for that Badass Digest piece, I dunno, I have a hard time taking someone seriously when he uses the word dumb to describes people who didn't like a movie he loved.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

@Pitry:
New York, New York
The Last Waltz

;-)

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -

I... have never seen New York,New York.

*hangs head in shame*

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

Pitry- The latest blu-ray of New York New York is out and have heard goods things about that.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Thank you, CMG. I hope it has all three (or is it four?) cuts on it.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Are they really any more riled up then you when you say a critics organization that doesn't recognize Mad Men's ensemble is useless? Or how genuinely angered you were by the negative critical response to Les Miserables? I'm genuinely curious because I don't see the difference and you constantly posit yourself as someone who aims to be reasonable on the internet. So are those comments the standard to which you wish the internet would aim for?

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

arkaan -- if you don't see a difference between the way i behave online and the people who ridicule and shame people who don't agree with them and refer to them as 'mouth breathing idiots' and so on than I don't know what to tell you other than I don't think you're reading very carefully. sorry. either that or i am the least self aware person ever.

but yes those are two valid examples of me being angry about the groupthink and mob mentality in critics... I think wolf of wall street (which i like but dont love) is revealing really ugly things about people's need to be "right" . I far prefer open discussions of a films merits and flaws than "I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG AND SHUT UP YOU HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF CINEMA" ... and if you really think that's how i am that depresses me and maybe i need to work on my writing some more to make sure i dont come across that way because the people who do that are not people i'd like to emulate or be mistaken for.

December 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I liked WOWS better than AH. I haven't been on movie sites much bc of Oscar season, so I guess I'm out of the loop on WOWS defenders. But didn't this happen with The Dark Knight? I mean it's not like this is something new and I personally think it was a lot worse with The Dark Knight.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Paul- As I was told opining an unrated cut of TWOWS available on DVD/BluRay, I was told that Scorsese often has his work locked the moment it's released. So I believe there's just one version of that film featured. We never saw that original Gangs of New York cut pre-Harvey Scissorhands so....

Arkaan- Not to speak for Nathaniel, but I think the issue is that these supposed defense pieces, not to say there has not been good writing (Bilge Ebiri has a good piece as does Nick Pinkerton- although his aside about American Hustle is irksome- while David Fear's negative comparison to Casino has me fearing I may not like this), have a tinge of anger toward people not 'getting it'. Scorsese's whole career has been a lot of controversial films. This seems like child's play. It's like the most pro-Scorsese critics just want to fast-forward when history will be on their side calling it a classic. They forget good, smart critics who favored The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver had to actually make a convincing case that did not involve knocking down other movies. I get more of that tone from critics I usually respect like Glenn Kenny (who had that piece about American Hustle re: Scorsese that just irked me despite seeing neither at that point) is annoyed there has to be that much muscle to defend the film.

I don't remember the ZDT defense pieces being this off-putting but maybe I came from the point of view of a pro-Bigelow and very much pro-ZDT camp.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Paul & CMG - I think I'll have to go hide in a corner now but I'm still on DVDs. However, Amazon are stocking it on DVD as well, huzzah \0/ *clickety click*

The thing about Wolf/Hustle is that there seem to be two things going on here. People who didn't like Hustle seemed to be in shock at the positive reception it's getting even before WOWS. The first piece that crossed the line from "I didn't like it" to "People who did are stupid/conned" was that Variety piece before Wolf was seen (and anyway, he hated Wolf too). Wolf just added a second layer of people who didn't like Hustle, loved Wolf, and seem to view the reception to Hustle as a personal insult and added an additional layer of nastiness. Now it's not just about why people like Hustle, it's about how could people ever like Hustle because Wolf! That's when you get pieces like Glenn Kenny's and Devin Faraci's who are doing no one, lease of all their authors, any favours whatsoever. Instead of expresing with what they loved about Wolf and explain it and letting it stand on its own, it just becomes increasingly arrogant tantrums about American Hustle. I would have thought Wolf of Wall Street deserves engagement on its own merits, not only to be compared to a movie that never tries to be Scorsese in the first place (even if, to continue quoting those wonderful Matt Zoller Seitz tweets, it wears a Scorsese toupee on its bald head).

(/full disclosure time, I liked Hustle better than Wolf.)

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

Pitry- No worries I am just obsessed with DVD/BluRay cover art.

Yeah, I liked MZS comments until he joined the chorus of the Scorsese-ness of it all, though he had those same complaints about early PTA and noted that as well. It's been talked about by many people on Hustle's side (Alonso Duralde, Armond White, Stephanie Zacharek among the notables) saying it's their favorite Scorsese movie of the year. That's not doing it any favors. I think Wesley Morris, who really liked Hustle but Wolf is high in his Top Ten, best articulated how Hustle is actually pretty old Hollywood in its screwball nods in Martin Scorsese clothing. The fact so few are picking up these clear nods to old-school screwball given who DOR is a bit troubling. It makes me question how much has film criticism just simply is not as invested in the Preston Sturges/George Cukor/Gregory LaCava films as DOR is.

But I completely agree that there seems to just be a general bloc of Wolf fans who are offended by the comparisons yet will constantly make the comparisons to show Hustle as an inferior film as well as be offended they have not found well-articulated pieces on whether the film is amoral/empty. As I noted, David Fear managed to write a great critique piece not on either of those things but in a more damming way; that the movie is just shapeless and drives in just one gear the whole way.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

anonny -- sorry i thought i responded to this. I love Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy unequivocally.... and am also a big fan of The Departed. I'm not sure where this perception came from that i don't like Scorsese but maybe its the internet's thing that if you don't love something you must hate it?

p.s. the only scorsese film that i've seen that i actively dislike is Casino.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

@CMG--Yeah a lot of the discourse surrounding these films is a big reminder that for a lot of critics modern filmmaking starts in the 70s, and everything before is either helpfully catalogued in the Criterion Collection or its ancient history.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Well, there is that bit about Blu-Ray quality being better and the frustrations of having a fraction of the bonus features, which is more why I'm hiding in my corner in shame. Especially as the gap in prices isn't all that pronounced these days. I should just bite the bullet and get a BluRay player one of these days, sigh.

Anyway, I agree that saying DOR out-Scorsese'd Scorsese and/or that it's the better Scorsese film is just as bad. There are a few stylistic flourishes in AH that are taken straight out of the Scorsese book, true, but the movie never aims at the same places Scorsese aims at. It's not interested in the same things. Ignoring the tone and heart and goals of the movie just because of some stylistic similarities is insulting to both filmmakers, as it suggests that there's nothing behind what they do other than style.

And on the selfish note of a fan, yes, it doesn't do AH any good - if you only look at the most obvious layer of style, it does look like cheap Scorsese imitation at best. It's not as slick, not as focused, and yeah, some parts of the narration at the beginning are downright baffling (until you realise you're hearing two people convincing themselves that they're falling in love rather than telling the story of how they fell in love. Or maybe I was just slow on the uptake?). But these style flourishes aren't the point of Hustle. And it's frustrating as hell that people get stuck on them and ignore all the other layers of the movie. Huh. Now I'm indignant on Hustle's behalf. A good hint to walk away from the keyboard ;)

Speaking of other influences though, was it also Morris who pointed out that there's something of Lumet in Hustle as well? I know I've seen this comparison somewhere and it made a lot of sense. But yes, the director of SLP influenced by screwball comedies? I'm surprised so few people are saying this.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

@CMG and Pitry: I have seen the 155-, 136- and 163-minute versions of NYNY, but I also seem to remember seeing (on TV?) a shorter, badly butchered version. This release seems to be the complete 163-minute version that was re-released in 1981. At any rate, I love this movie. Liza's singing and acting are even more remarkable than in Cabaret despite (because of?) her being the "girl" outside the boys' club, and DeNiro allows his character to be truly unsympathetic, which is part of the reason this film was and is so divisive. A method musical.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Full Disclosure 1: I want to see WoWS, so I haven't actually read any reviews about it except Nathaniel's (because I was curious about his commentary since the podcast where he mentioned feeling like he was the only one who disliked it). It's not as if they're going to convince me to skip the movie or encourage me to go any more than I am right now.

Full Disclosure 2: I never finished the first season of Mad Men as I found it frustrating yet stylish pablum; that's where my viewership begins and ends.

CMG, you know the worst thing - I hear comparisons to Casino and I want to run to the hills. Nathaniel's complaint that Wolf of Wall Street is repetitive is the exact thing I was concerned about from the trailers. So the idea that WoWS might be flawed beyond "the olds" not liking it is fair. And I can definitely understand Nathaniel's frustration with the narrow-minded hordes on the internet. We've already seen how that limited palette affects what Hollywood makes.

But I don't believe Nathaniel is the change he wants to see when he makes a statement like this

"No Hamm. No Sale! Both groups fail to nominate Don Draper and, thus, fail."
"Any TV awards groups that ignore Mad Men are pointless."

Seriously. Let's replace Hamm with Sandra Bullock for Gravity, and Mad Men with Wolf of Wall Street

"No Bullock. No Sale! Both groups fail to nominate Ryan Stone and, thus, fail."
"Any [Movie] awards groups that ignore Wolf of Wall Street are pointless."

If someone said this, don't you think this would be the end of reasoned engagement? To me, his comments presuppose that there is no room for debate on Mad Men's qualities. And on top of it, he is someone who admits he doesn't watch an overwhelming amount of television (I would be genuinely surprised if Nathaniel watched every other nominee to have an opinion of their relative quality). So it's not merely that those that have an opposite viewpoint are wrong (and lets be clear, why is it that he's the only one that can still see the shows unalloyed greatness?) but he gets to operate where those who actually engage more in the medium are somehow lesser (at this point, I'm expanding to the critics who had problems with the make and direction of the sixth season) because they're criticizing a show merely because of it's awards haul over the years.

Nathaniel says I'm not reading very carefully, but can someone explain to me how else to read those statements? If I'm being unfair, I'll apologize and shut-up. I don't want to become a pest.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

ETA: Not actually true that I haven't read anything about WoWS, though. I read the reports on that screening and specifically Sasha Stone's take. I've also read some of the twitter insults, which yes, are stupid. I haven't read Kenny, Pinkerton, etc.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

TB- It's a shame since Scorsese's chief influences, and not just the giants Powell/Pressburger and Ford, long preceded him. I think he even stated he did not 'invent' the idea of contemporary music in movies but that Kenneth Anger did. Give him credit, he is usually the first person to note his influences. I mean, Hugo is practically an advertisement to keep alive film preservation. Some good observations I have been getting from Richard Brody, Miriam Bale, and Pinkerton is a surprising showcase of his influences in this that is going way over the head of the Faracis, Jeff Wellses, and Sasha Stoneses of the world. Jerry Lewis cum Billy Wilder actually excites me.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

arkaan -- i stand by both those statements. the first one is obviously instant commentary snark with a little Liz Taylor drama "no sale" so it's not meant to personally insult anyone. but i do agree with myself - LOL- that if you ignore Mad Men, I can't see a point in your tv group existing. because its one of those things that's still better than most other things even at its weakest.

but i dont recall ever saying that i was the only one that saw it's worth in its later seasons. I hope i did not because that would be INSANE (or typed while very drunk). but comments like yours remind me why i dont want to be a tv critic. I don't want to have to watch 70+ hours of somethign i dont like (jesus the time people waste on tv shows they dont totally love) just so people who dont like mad men can trust my opinion on madmen. crazy talk.

anyway i have never been as disrespectful to people who disagree with me on a regular basis as most film sites are when they have a pet film/actor... and as someone who obviously has read the site for years, you should know this and i remain confused why you're trying to paint me with that brush.

CMG -- I like the writing of a lot of the folks you mentioned earlier (who are actually impassioned WOWs supporters. But I just think critical discourse is more interesting and lively with fun diverse tangents and angles if people aren't doing cheap shots and anger... a lot of the critics who go there are too strong to have to go there, if you know what i mean.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Okay; thanks for taking the time to respond.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

The American Hustle/Wolf of Wall Street critical divide is so uncalled for, and seems rooted solely in the fact that they opened within a week or two from each other. Had one of them opened in October or early November, I doubt we would have this critical conversation. The two films are so different on every level that it's really comparing apples and oranges. I had a lot more fun watching American Hustle, but that doesn't mean I thought Wolf was an affront to the cinema gods - I actually thought Wolf was pretty good, with a great performance from DiCaprio, but I don't think it needed to be that long (even if I never got bored).

Or, put into internet-speak, American Hustle is better and everyone who doesn't think so obviously hates cinema and/or was hypnotized by Leo's bare bum. ;-)

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I would have to agree with Arkaan on your responses to certain things. If you loved WOWS you would have no problem with its defenders. I do think you're very passionate regarding films and actresses, but one thing I don't like is you have an extreme bias when it comes to films you're not particularly fond of. There have been far more detracters to WOWS than American Hustle. I personally thought you were quite over the top being a Les Mis defender last year.

As for the film themselves there's no need for comparisons, both are pretty mediocre. AH is a chore to sit through. The Wolf of Wall Street is a repetitive bloated mess. In the long run WOWS may be more remembered bc of the controversy surrounding it, but honestly no one will give 2 shits about these films 3 years from now.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

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