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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:04 am 
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axordil wrote:
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it was emotionally devastating in a way that made me pretty sure I don't ever want to watch that one again


Those are always hard to grade. I can't imagine sitting through Schindler's List--or Seven, for very different reasons, or Pan's Labyrinth, for still different reasons--again, even as I acknowledge they're good, possibly great movies.


While those are all very sad or dark, their tragedy doesn't feel personal to me so I can take those. It's the ones that do hit me in that hard personal way that are too tough to bear. The ones that aren't just emotionally tough but emotionally tough about me, ya know?

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:06 am 
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I can understand most of those except "Life is Beautiful". What did you dislike about it Yov?

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:16 pm 
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#1 - Well, first, I don't find Benigni funny at all. I find him more irritating than amusing, really. That kills the first half where it's just a simple comedy. And the movie has a general kinda amateurish look and feel to it. Lots of mediocre, broad acting and such. This part was mostly just boring.

#2 - And then we get to the Holocaust. I was genuinely cringing at how ill-conceived most these scenes were. The idea - a father tries to shield his child from the horrors of the Holocaust through humor and games - is an extremely bold one with massive artistic potential but I found the execution utterly crass and tasteless. To pull of its "it's just a crazy game!" conceit, this movie ignores and shrugs off so much of the suffering around them which feels like a total cop-out. Benigni simply isn't anywhere near a good enough actor or director to pull off the wild feat with the sensitivity and thoughtfulness it would truly require.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:29 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
axordil wrote:
Quote:
it was emotionally devastating in a way that made me pretty sure I don't ever want to watch that one again


Those are always hard to grade. I can't imagine sitting through Schindler's List--or Seven, for very different reasons, or Pan's Labyrinth, for still different reasons--again, even as I acknowledge they're good, possibly great movies.


While those are all very sad or dark, their tragedy doesn't feel personal to me so I can take those. It's the ones that do hit me in that hard personal way that are too tough to bear. The ones that aren't just emotionally tough but emotionally tough about me, ya know?


Strangely, the movies that hit that kind of note with me don't have the same effect. I'm thinking about something like Ian McKellan's version of Richard III, which I identified with more than was probably healthy at the time of its release, while I was going through one of my unfortunate Rat Bastard phases.

It's the movies that incite rage at injustice (usually that involving harm coming to innocents) that I can't deal with, because my emotional response has nowhere to go: the movie is an artifice, and any real-world analogue is generally beyond my reach. That's one reason I think I started writing seriously: to channel the rage into something other than violence.


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:48 pm 
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My Unfortunate Rat Bastard Phases seems like it should be the name of....of I don't know what but of something.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:08 pm 
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:devil: It does have a certain ring to it...


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:24 am 
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axordil wrote:
Quote:
it was emotionally devastating in a way that made me pretty sure I don't ever want to watch that one again


Those are always hard to grade. I can't imagine sitting through Schindler's List--or Seven, for very different reasons, or Pan's Labyrinth, for still different reasons--again, even as I acknowledge they're good, possibly great movies.


I saw Schindler's List in the cinema three times in the course of a month in December 1993-January 1994. What a tremendous film.


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 12:29 am 
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yovargas wrote:
As I've noted before, I find that this IMDB list is overstuffed with a lot of gangsters, criminals, cowboys, and other varieties of "tough guy" protagonists that I often find really boring. Lots and lots of "machismo". This has had me wondering for some time now if the list would look significantly different if we could see how each gender was voting. Would women in general find all this machismo less exciting than men do? Would they be more keen on other kinds of stories, perhaps ones movies that *gasp* have cool women as the protagonists instead? (Crazy talk!)

Unfortunately, IMDB doesn't have a way to look at a "Men's Top 250" or a "Woman's Top 250" lists, but I was excited to discover this morning that you can click into individual movies and see the demographic breakdown of the voting. . . .


I thought there was an analysis posted over the summer at one of the data-driven news sites (maybe Vox?) that purported to show that some men were going out of their way to give "chick flicks" poor ratings on IMDB, but I can't find it now.

Wait! I think this may be what I was thinking of, but it's on 538 not Vox, and it was about TV shows not movies:

Men Are Sabotaging the Online Reviews of TV Shows Aimed at Women

Still, I absolutely agree with you that IMDB favors action films. It also vastly under-represents older films and foreign films. Scanning quickly, I see four or five Akira Kurosawa films, but only one from Yasujiro Ozu and none from Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Bresson, or Satyajit Ray.

And Shawshank Redemption remains astonishingly popular there. This was the subject of a discussion on TORN more than ten years ago. Though not a flop, Shawshank was not a big hit in 1994, and while nominated for multiple Oscars, it won none and was liked but not loved by critics. I saw it on its opening weekend and enjoyed it, but would never have predicted so many would take it to heart.


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:56 am 
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N.E. Brigand wrote:
Still, I absolutely agree with you that IMDB favors action films. It also vastly under-represents older films and foreign films. Scanning quickly, I see four or five Akira Kurosawa films, but only one from Yasujiro Ozu and none from Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Bresson, or Satyajit Ray.


While it'll always be open for debate whether a particular type of film is "over" or "under" represented, I think it's fair to say that "vastly" is an overstatement. There are really quite a lot of foreign-language films. Kurosawa, Felini, and Bergman all have multiples, and it has older beloved foreign films like Diabolique and Das Boot along with more modern ones like Amelie and City of God. I really do think on that front, the list has a pretty darn good mix of stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:26 am 
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yovargas wrote:
N.E. Brigand wrote:
Still, I absolutely agree with you that IMDB favors action films. It also vastly under-represents older films and foreign films. Scanning quickly, I see four or five Akira Kurosawa films, but only one from Yasujiro Ozu and none from Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Bresson, or Satyajit Ray.


While it'll always be open for debate whether a particular type of film is "over" or "under" represented, I think it's fair to say that "vastly" is an overstatement. There are really quite a lot of foreign-language films. Kurosawa, Fellini, and Bergman all have multiples, and it has older beloved foreign films like Diabolique and Das Boot along with more modern ones like Amelie and City of God. I really do think on that front, the list has a pretty darn good mix of stuff.


First, on a tangent: I have a hard time thinking of Das Boot, which came out was nine, as "older"!

But to address your main point: while I agree that all such statements are subjective, I find, based on the IMDB top 250 as currently listed (which may differ a little from the titles you have been viewing), that 157 of the films, or 63%, are American, and another nine, nominally from other countries, might as well be American given their actors, setting, and language spoken. (Details at bottom.) And sure, the United States has been the most commercially successful film-making country, but even so, it has accounted for far probably 20% or less of the films produced globally. I think that at most 40% on the list should be American.

Obviously, there's no way to force that in a poll! (Unless you can get the Russians to hack it, maybe.) And I suppose you might reply that I should be grateful the list wasn't 100% American, and not dreaming about a list where half the 1950s films were Japanese.

It's especially irksome that two of the nine French films are in English in a list that includes nothing directed by Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir, Marcel Carne, Rene Clement, Max Ophuls, Jacques Becker, Jean-Pierre Melville, Robert Bresson, Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Alain Resnais, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Demy, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Agnes Varda, Bertrand Tavernier, or Maurice Pialat--and those are just the first names that come to mind; give me a little time and I could name at least half as many again notable omissions. But almost all of the famous national movements you'd find in any standard textbook aren't represented at all, or, as with The 400 Blows for the French New Wave, have just one example. It's rather like reading a list of important English novels that leaves out, say, Austen, Scott, and Thackeray.

On top of that, even the American film heritage is rather skimped by the list's huge emphasis on recent works. The 1930s and 1940s ought to have at least as many films each as the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. By cutting those decades down to almost nothing, we're left with a list that includes, for instance, just one film by John Ford and none by Howard Hawks!

Well, I've ranted enough. This is, my grumblings notwithstanding, a fine exercise you've set yourself, and I'm glad you're sharing your findings with us.


1910s - 0

1920s - 6 (U.S. - 4; Fra. - 1; Ger. - 1)

1930s - 7 (U.S. - 6; Ger. - 1)

1940s - 12 (U.S. - 10; Ita. - 1; U.K. - 1)

1950s - 26 (U.S. - 16; Fra. - 2; Ita. - 2; Jap. - 4; Swe. - 2)

1960s - 17 (U.S. - 7; Fra. - 1; Ita. - 4**; Jap. - 1; Swe. - 1; U.K. - 3*)

1970s - 22 (U.S. - 15; Ind. - 1; Leb./U.K. - 1; U.K. - 4; U.S.S.R. - 1)

1980s - 28 (U.S. - 18; Ger. - 1; Ita. - 2**; Jap. - 4; U.K. - 2*; U.S.S.R. - 1)

1990s - 42 (U.S. - 32; Fra. - 2***; Ind. - 1; Iran - 1; Ita. - 1; Jap. - 1; Tur. - 1; U.K. - 3)

2000s - 55 (U.S. - 28; Arg. - 1; Ausl. - 1; Bra. - 1; Chn. - 2; Fra. - 2***; Ger. - 2; Ind. - 7; Jap. - 2; Mex. - 1; N.Z. - 3; S.Ko. - 2; Spa. - 1; Tur. - 1; U.K. - 1)

2010s - 35 (U.S. - 21; Arg. - 1; Ausl. - 1; Can. - 2****; Den. - 1; Fra. - 1; Iran - 1; Ire. - 1; U.K. - 2)

* U.K. films include 4 directed by American Stanley Kubrick, co-produced with U.S., starring American actors playing Americans
** Italian films include 4 in English by Sergio Leone, set in U.S., starring American actors playing Americans
*** French films include 2 in English
**** Canadian film is set in the U.S. and stars American actors playing Americans


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:22 pm 
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N.E. Brigand wrote:
But almost all of the famous national movements you'd find in any standard textbook aren't represented at all, or, as with The 400 Blows for the French New Wave, have just one example. It's rather like reading a list of important English novels that leaves out, say, Austen, Scott, and Thackeray.


This is precisely why I like the list, at least more than ones typically put together by critics. It is, by and large, not a list concerned with textbooks, history, and importance, but instead concerned with what actual people enjoy watching. Thackeray may be very important but how many people would name his books amongst their favorites? I find that critic type lists over-emphasize old movies precisely because they are more a list of what's important and influential - and of course older movies are more important and influential than new ones. But that's precisely the kind of thing that gets Birth of a Nation on those critic lists despite that nobody, outside maybe film students, wants to watch Birth of a Nation. Like, I know that Godard's Breathless is a far more significant part of film history than, say, Groundhog Day, but I'm pretty sure which one I'd enjoy more!

And despite that, we still get films like Seventh Seal on the list. Pretty impressive, IMO.


Quote:
First, on a tangent: I have a hard time thinking of Das Boot, which came out was nine, as "older"!


Oh wow, for some reason I thought it was a 50s movie. Had no idea it was from 81. I actually thought it was in B&W. I'm actually watching that one today!
(ETA: just realized I was confusing it with Battleship Potemkin. Wrong boat! :P)

Quote:
The 1930s and 1940s ought to have at least as many films each as the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.


While I do agree that the list skews too heavily towards newer movies (mostly, I think, because newer movies are being seen and rated more than older ones) I strongly disagree with this sentiment. While there are many delightful moves in the 30s and 40s, if you ask most people "What are your favorite movies?" you'll mostly hear newer movies named. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Quote:
And sure, the United States has been the most commercially successful film-making country, but even so, it has accounted for far probably 20% or less of the films produced globally. I think that at most 40% on the list should be American.


Even if they have less than 20% of the films produced globally, what % do you think they have of the films actually watched globally? Outside of maybe India's Bollywood films, I wouldn't surprised by if well over 60% of movies people actually go see are American. If I'm right, the list is actually under-representing US films. But of course, it's not; people are just voting for what they like. It's hard to vote for a movie you've never even heard of. I consider myself decently well versed in film but of the long list of directors you wrote, I can only name one movie by any of them (Godard's Breathless). I looked up one of those, Max Ophuls (who I've never heard of), on imdb and his top movie has 6K votes where at the very lowest movies need 30K to get on the list. I appreciate that there are surely lots of great movies that almost no one has seen but to have a list that emphasizes those is essentially asking for the list to be more elitist. And there are surely more elitist lists out there for those interested (here's one critics list with only 5 movies made in my lifetime, of which I've only heard of 2: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -spot.html) but I'm not that interested in that. Me, I think the imdb is is just about the right level of elitist. :halo:

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Well, I've ranted enough.


I must disagree again! :D

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:57 am 
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And now for my latest crop:

Groundhog Day A
Fanny and Alexander A-
Dog Day Afternoon B+
Ikiru B+
Life of Brian B+
The Sting B
Das Boot B-
Some Like It Hot B-
Into the Wild C+
Trainspotting C+
In the Mood for Love C
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre C-
A Fistful of Dollars D+

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 4:25 am 
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There are several on there that I kind of want to see. Did you review Into the Wild somewhere, and I missed it? I'm curious why you gave it a C+.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:21 am 
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Reallly??? Groundhog Day a better movie than Trainspotting? Life of Brian? Das Boot? Were you stoned by any chance? :)

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:40 am 
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Yeah, just to make a change from "everyone criticises yov for giving a cinematic masterpiece a low grade" I was going to jump in and say that I can't see how Groundhog Day gets an A. I found it mildly entertaining for a while but pretty forgettable overall.


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Lalaith wrote:
There are several on there that I kind of want to see. Did you review Into the Wild somewhere, and I missed it? I'm curious why you gave it a C+.


elsewhere, yov wrote:
[On Into the Wild] I am conflicted on this one. On the one hand, this young man's choice to abandon civilization to go live in the wild seems to find his "true self" come off utterly foolish, naive, self-absorbed, and pompous. I wanted to smack him the whole time! On the other, his foolishness makes him tragically compelling - how does a good, smart kid get so *broken*? I empathize with him while being SO frustrated by him. C+


Basically, I dislike the way it romanticizes an act so reckless and foolish it borders on suicide.

Alatar wrote:
Reallly??? Groundhog Day a better movie than Trainspotting? Life of Brian? Das Boot? Were you stoned by any chance? :)


I've said this several times I'm sure but I'm not grading which movies are "better", I'm grading how much I personally enjoy them. That said - yes, I think Groundhog Day is better than all of those. :) Its script is basically flawless (it reminded me of Back to the Future on just how pitch-perfect it is written), Bill Murray's performance is so utterly winning and charming, a premise that could have been totally gimmicky is used so imaginatively and cleverly and thoughtfully, and it even earns its ultimate romance unlike 93% of movies. I had a big ol' grin on my face practically the whole time watching it. :D

Trainspotting - I find its wanna-be-edgy cynicisms childish.
Life of Brian - great but a little lumpy and uneven. Not every bit is a winner.
Das Boot - very intense but a good deal too long and I hated the abruptness of the ending.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:42 pm 
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Thank you. I thought I remembered reading your review of it, but I wasn't sure if it was on here or FB. And I was too lazy to search. :oops:

Groundhog Day is one I've been meaning to watch forever.

Life of Brian is the only other one I've seen. I thought it was hilariously sacrilegious, but I would agree with your grade. It doesn't quite hit as many of the perfect notes as Holy Grail.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:46 pm 
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In fairness, Das Boot wasn't a movie. It was a TV Mini series that was edited into a movie subsequently. The original is an absolute classic, but I imagine if you tried to edit any Mini Series into a coherent movie it would be overlong and uneven.

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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:01 pm 
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I loved Groundhog Day.

And there's a time looping episode of Stargate SG1 where they reference it, too. :) That episode is one of my favorites. I can never remember the real name of the episode but if you google SG1 groundhog day, it comes right up. The actual name is "Window of Opportunity".


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 Post subject: Re: IMDB Top 250 films
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:08 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
In fairness, Das Boot wasn't a movie. It was a TV Mini series that was edited into a movie subsequently. The original is an absolute classic, but I imagine if you tried to edit any Mini Series into a coherent movie it would be overlong and uneven.


Ok. I'm picky, but it was the other way round: the original version is the cinema version of 1981 which is 149 minutes long, the TV series aired in the mid-eighties (this is the first version I saw on German TV) and is around 5 hours long and the director's cut is 200 and something minutes and the version which I own now and occasionally have watched with students. (Some scholar years, I let my students watch a movie and make a movie critic instead of reading a book at home by themselves. It depends on the class. There are some very good German movies and not all of them are about Nazis - although to be fair, most.).

I know it's a late comment, but when I saw Schindler's List for the first time in cinema, I cried so hard I could not even hear the movie any more. That was in that scene where the women are counted in Auschwitz. For days after it, I could not speak in German and even now, sometimes when I count people I think of that haunting scene. I felt like I could not say the numbers in that language any more because nothing but the number had been a death sentence for totally innocent persons.

And, yov, "Once upon time in America" is my favorite movie, or was it before LOTR...

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