Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Filler Quiz from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly

Late night doing and stuff... I look out for a quiz from Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule to kill my boredom when I can't entirely do a new review or article just yet.

1) Second-favorite Stanley Kubrick film.

A Clockwork Orange (favorite is 2001: A Space Odyssey)

2) Most significant/important/interesting trend in movies over the past decade, for good or evil.
Most significant is the darkness added to modern cinematic pictures. Most important is the ever continuing conversion to digital. I'm really holding out for film to survive.

3) Bronco Billy (Clint Eastwood) or Buffalo Bill Cody (Paul Newman)?
I'm only familiar with Bronco Billy.

4) Best Film of 1949.

Tough call between artistically superior The Third Man and thrill-ride White Heat, but I think I'll go with The Third Man.

5) Joseph Tura (Jack Benny) or Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore)?
Oscar Jaffe

6) Has the hand-held shaky-cam directorial style become a visual cliché?
Most definitely. But every once in a while, it doesn't matter. The story works with it.

7) What was the first foreign-language film you ever saw?
Well, technically English would be my foreign language, but if we ignore that, the earliest I can remember is Kung Fu Hustle...

8) Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) or Mr. Moto (Peter Lorre)?
Charlie Chan. I actually know who that is... Man, I feel so behind on cinema from these things.

9) Favorite World War II drama (1950-1970).

10) Favorite animal movie star.
The missing in action cat from Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye.

11) Who or whatever is to blame, name an irresponsible moment in cinema.
The deaths of Brandon Lee and Vic Morrow. Probably Morrow's is worse since it not only resulted in his death, but the death of two children.
One that probably doesn't involve a death would the Maria Schneider rape scene in Last Tango in Paris or the scene where they actually cut Marilyn Burns' finger in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

12) Best Film of 1969.
Easy Rider. No contest. The DEFINING movie of 69.

13) Name the last movie you saw theatrically, and also on DVD or Blu-ray.
The last film I saw theatrically was Zero Dark Thirty and on DVD is Rear Window (which I've come to the conclusion that I simply cannot go a month without seeing that movie - I need to add it to my collection soon!).

14) Second-favorite Robert Altman film.
Wow, that's actually pretty hard to say because to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Altman from what I've seen. I suppose since my favorite was The Long Goodbye (thanks largely to the coolness of Saul Rubinek's performance), my second favorite would be The Player (already we're on movies I'm indifferent to though I acknowledge their significance).
The only other Altman movie I've seen is Nashville.
I am somewhat optimistic for MASH, Short Cuts and Gosford Park, though.

15) What is your favorite independent outlet for reading about movies, either online or in print?
Movie blogs most certainly - in particular, film squish and Lost in the Movies decide what will be the next movie I watch really... I also enjoy various books, in particular naming Easy Rider, Raging Bulls. The only movie magazine I still read is Fangoria. It use to be Empire, but they're really sort of the People magazine of film to me now (sorry...), though I do enjoy them asking film professionals trivia questions on their own movies.
Every once in a while I read Variety and I do intend to read Premiere sometime soon.

16) Who wins? Angela Mao or Meiko Kaji? (Thanks, Peter!)
I suppose if you're more into the sexualisation of kung fu, you'd go for Meiko, but it's all Mao for me.

17) Mona Lisa Vito (Marisa Tomei) or Olive Neal (Jennifer Tilly)?
Mona Lisa Vito. This is totally based on looks, though I did like Tomei's performance. C'mon, she was beautiful!

18) Favorite movie that features a carnival setting or sequence.
Grease is the only good movie I can think of with one (albeit there are horrifying high theater related memories with it). Star Kid felt good as a child but not anymore and I have not finished The Notebook without sleeping (though I don't think it's necessarily a bad movie). I do wish I'd seen Strangers on a Train, Lady from Shanghai or Frankenstein and Me already.

Really, my favorite carnival sequence is not even film: It's the final battle between the Joker and Batman in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.

19) Best use of high-definition video on the big screen to date.
David Lynch's INLAND EMPIRE, which brilliantly uses digital video effects to heighten the disorienting terror of his vision.

20) Favorite movie that is equal parts genre film and a deconstruction or consideration of that same genre.
I love Scream and Last Action Hero (terribly underrated that second one), but I'm going to give it to Starship Troopers. Very ballsy film to call out nationalism and modern propaganda. Well done, Verhoeven.

21) Best Film of 1979.
ALIEN!!!!!!! ALIEN ALIEN ALIEN!!!!!!! ALIEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

22) Most realistic and/or sincere depiction of small-town life in the movies.
I like to think of Blue Velvet, since there is somewhat a line between the wholesome neighborhood wonder and the gritty, shocking horrific underground...

23) Best horror movie creature (non-giant division).
The Wolf Man (Both Lon Chaney Jr. and Benicio Del Toro, although the Del Toro film was awful), Boris Karloff's The Mummy and Frankenstein and Elsa Lanchester's The Bride of Frankenstein.
Like I said, I'm a sucker for the Universal Horror Movie Classics.
I would give honorable mention to the Xenomorph, Count Orlock and The Thing.

24) Second-favorite Francis Ford Coppola film.
The Godfather, Part II (first favorite is Bram Stoker's Dracula - yea, I know I'm in the minority on that one).

25) Name a one-off movie that could have produced a franchise you would have wanted to see.
If they hadn't quickly ended the battle between Ness and Capone in The Untouchables, I would've loved to see their battle span a few more movies. They may have even extended Malone's life span, I want to see more of that bastard.

26) Favorite sequence from a Brian De Palma film.
It's a toss-up between Carrie unleashing her havoc on the prom or The Phantom of the Paradise confronting Swan.

27) Favorite moment in three-strip Technicolor.
The witch creating her poison apple in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Just a single interchanging sequence of the apple to showcase how it dooms one who eats it... so many colors and brilliant animations without being too excessive.

28) Favorite Alan Smithee film. (Thanks, Peter!)
Well, the only one I've seen was The Birds II, which was eh ugh meh. I've seen Heat on tv, but given it was tv in Algeria, they used the theatrical cut. So, I can't say Heat.

29) Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) or Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau)?
Buttermaker, man. C'mon, son.

30) Best post-Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen film.
I've taken more to sticking with earlier Woody Allen so far, so to my regret the only Woody Allen post-Crimes and Misdemeanors films I can admit to seeing are Small Time Crooks and Midnight in Paris. I'll go with the latter.

31) Best Film of 1999.
Ooo wow, very tough one. We got Fight Club, The Matrix and Being John Malkovich. We got Eyes Wide Shut, American Beauty and Ghost Dog. I'm more in the mainstream for what films occurred then...
My selection of Best Film of 1999 (not my favorite of 1999, though it's up there)... Julie Taymor's Titus. It's brilliant, you don't see things like that anymore today.

32) Favorite movie tag line.
'Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water' and 'In space, no one can hear you scream.'
If you don't know where neither of those come from, I can't help you.

33) Favorite B-movie western.
Really can't call out any western I've seen as a B-movie... Closest I can think of is The Wild Bunch and that is so not a B-movie.

34) Overall, the author best served by movie adaptations of her or his work.
Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leonard. I think Chandler would be the better in this field. Maybe Stephen King if some of his stuff wasn't so bad.
I like to think though some of Clive Barker's adaptations weren't very good, they all had the feel needed for his tales of the macabre.

35) Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) or Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard)?
When in doubt, always go with Hepburn. Susan Vance, sir.

36) Favorite musical cameo in a non-musical movie.
Aerosmith appearing at the last second of Wayne's World 2 to save Waynestock by performing 'Shut Up and Dance'. I was a child, had no idea who Aerosmith was at the time (my mom fixed that for me) and that was still a FUCK YEAH moment for me.
I don't know if Singles counts for Alice in Chains performing 'Would?' at the club while Matt Dillon talks about 'Citizen Dick'. It's a pretty awesome performance.

37) Bruno (the character, if you haven’t seen the movie, or the film, if you have): subversive satire or purveyor of stereotyping?
I haven't seen the movie but as a once devoted watcher of Da Ali G Show, he's my least favorite Baron Cohen persona. Purveyor of stereotyping in my mind.

38) Five film folks, living or deceased, you would love to meet. (Thanks, Rick!)
David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, Dennis Hopper, Boris Karloff, Quentin Tarantino

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Guard (McDonagh, 2011)

So it's a Saturday and I decide to stay in and watch a movie. Well, I look about and I see that there's an an obscure picture titled The Guard which is apparently starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Mark Strong, all actors I enjoy, and directed by an Irish bloke named McDonagh. When I read the last name, I think of Martin McDonagh, writer and director of two fantastic films in themselves... In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, probably among the greatest recent scripts I had seen performed since Chinatown and Casablanca.
So, when I hear that John Michael McDonagh is in fact the brother of Martin, I like to predict that the writing talent runs in the family.
Well, The Guard was not a fine script. But it was damn good movie and one that I'd be happy to watch again with a pint in hand and friends to laugh along with me.

Just to knock out the bad to begin with the plot in itself is not bad, but I expected to much of the genius intricacy that Martin had already showcased in his work... That everything's going to come back to something. If Martin McDonough had been working at the time Arrested Development was airing, McDonough would be a perfect writer for the staff. Part of the problem with the plot is that it sets up to be a sort of buddy cop film: Apparently, Brendan Gleeson's Garda would need to work with Don Cheadle's FBI agent to take an international drug smuggling ring... It's even marketed that way.
But that's simply not the case. Cheadle's actually just there to specifically be showed off by Gleeson's character. Gleeson has the upper hand almost the entire time. And it's not just that Cheadle doesn't really solve the case, it's that he doesn't do anything! At all! He's there to have banter with Gleeson and that's it. The structure of the movie sort of fails because there's not a real use for Cheadle's character, it could have been Gleeson's show the whole time. You could take Cheadle's character and you'd more or less have the same script.

In place of the lack of necessary plot device and progression though, the McDonough wit is there in spades. The humor is black and yet it is fresh, you don't hear jokes like these come along in a real while. There are brief poignant moments, particularly involving Fionnula Flanagan as the mother of Gleeson's character, but instead of being teary-eyed and overwhelming, it's poignant in the two characters sharing their observations and witticisms. It's kind of sweet.
My favorite small detail is Gleeson discussing his past visit to America with Don Cheadle... He had went to Disney World alone, no family, no friends, no romantic interest, no one. And as far as Gleeson's persona shows, he still had a ball. He loved it, he particularly mentions that he loved taking a picture with Goofy, it was a fantastic moment in his life.

You see, Gleeson's character, Sgt. Geary Boyle, is alone. He is almost totally alone, except for his dear mother. He antagonizes every one he comes across, including Cheadle's Agent Wendell Everett and his superiors, and he has a gas doing it. Almost nobody likes him, but he doesn't give a shit. Boyle is not Randy the Ram. He is not Travis Bickle. He is not Norma Desmond. He doesn't need your damn sympathy, his life's just fine in a sense, despite any setbacks he has. He is as he himself says 'the last of the independents.'

And yet he has his standards. His main objective in the movie is to find out the circumstances behind his partner's death. He feels it's deserved. He has his duty put before him and he performs it to the best of his abilities, regardless of how his superiors take it. The ending probably establishes his honor better than anything else. It is an ending that is expected, but I didn't take it in a bad way. It's how a movie like this was bound to end. Any other way would not have made sense.

The real strength of the movie lies entirely on Boyle's character. Sure, the movie is shot pretty well for a debut feature, and it's really funny. But you're not going to be interested in anybody except Boyle, much like you solely care about Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. And I would say it's worth it. I'd probably enjoy another look at the movie every once in a while. It'd be nice to see Boyle again. He's really a son of a bitch.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Social Network (Fincher, 2010)

So I've thinking in retrospective... I've been surprised that, after posting screencaps from two different facebook conversations as well as trying to send out a facebook page for this blog, I've been surprised that I have not made a review for The Social Network yet. It's obvious that it's been a picture many have been aware of for a while now, having won Oscars (deservedly) for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing. The Facebook phenomenon has grown larger than any other social networking site, defeating Myspace, Friendster, Twitter and Tumblr. in the internet mythology of social manifestation. Everybody in my family has a facebook, even surprisingly my own father, even my first cat has her own page. The beginnings of its inception was inevitably going to be a topic that sparked interest, however much dramatized this film is.

I'm just checking your math on that... Yes, I got the same thing.

Ignoring the obvious lines between fiction and non-fiction (the fact that the movie was based on a book based largely on testimony by Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) - the superficially victimized character of this story; the non-existance of Erica Albright (played by the beautiful Rooney Mara) as the real Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) has had a stable and constant relationship with Priscilla Chan - they have been married this past year), one cannot ignore the fact Aaron Sorkin's writing is more than just an exceptional script - he really does understand the decade... He has single-handedly represented the 00s in the most authentic and yet an unassuming manner. He probably didn't tell the story as it happened, but he told a damn good story. For as much as one can pride Quentin Tarantino on dialogue mastery, it feels as though Aaron Sorkin has a mastery of that...
You can learn about each character just by reading the lines they say... without even watching the brilliant actors perform them.

You write your snide bullshit from a dark room because that's what the angry do nowadays.

Looking into the cinematography, at first glance, I had thought that the movie felt more show-offy in that aspect. I can name specific shots that seemed weird and cannot be forgiven... the camera has unexplained and unnecessary lack of focus when the girl Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake, who probably had met his real-life counterpoint before in several lawsuits...) has slept with rushes out of the shower and then returns after explaining Facebook to him, probably just done to get a PG-13 rating avoiding any absolutely visible nudity. The little gag where Zuckerberg tosses a beer at Parker's female friend a second time and it cracks... that was not natural, it really puts off that scene briefly.
But everything else about how it's shot... even the apparent visual wet dream that is the Cambridge crew race... it's unimaginable to imagine this movie shot differently... You can't think of it like that. It's mentally impossible.
In fact, it took me a while to realize that was the atmosphere of the time, though... Coming out from film classes in college, that is what every film student has to be about the best picture, the next updated thing - this movie is no longer living on film, what Fincher has used as a necessary tool despite being vocally for 'digital'. No, fuck that now... Fincher's using the RED and it's the exact same thought process any man in a progressive mindset like the minds behind facebook would be in.
And yet, there's more to it than just to show off its picture quality still. There's a distinct difference between the warm and the cool colors used for the atmosphere... We're introduced to the shadowy settings in scenes of parties and social gathering the 'glowing green light' to Zuckerberg's 'Gatsby' and think of them as the college Holy Grail... no matter what other motivations come up, it's all about parties for this incarnation of Zuckerberg...
But when he actually reaches that height of status quo... Yes, the darkness of the scenes is familiar to us, but it also reflects more on the heart's trappings rather than it's desires... It's surprisingly an evil feeling now... It's near nightmarish in some instances - Parker's arrest or Brenda Song's character suddenly burning her boyfriend's gift on Eduardo's bed...
I wouldn't think it at first... this manner of vision, but now I can't think of any other from a cinematic world like this.

Drop the 'the'... just 'facebook'. It's cleaner!

In a similar manner, Trent Reznor and Atticus Rose's score had to become a real acquired taste for me. My music fandom shan't be a surprise given my name and previous posts, and I am a very enthusiastic fan of Nine Inch Nails (I don't care who says what; I will always prefer NIN's original 'Hurt' to Johnny Cash's also amazing cover). But, I didn't initially feel the music's influence in the story...
It's ambiance. It's a touch of the suggestion that this bond between Eduardo and Mark is dying and it's going to end soon... just around the corner...
I'm not entirely a fan, but I'm not going to be too harsh on it...
... On the other hand, the weaknesses of the score are covered by the brilliant sound editing (which it clearly did not win... because it was not a action shoot 'em up)... the amount of detail in the background noise, it feels like the atmosphere of the room you are actually watching the movie in... Really, The Social Network is a technical masterpiece, much like Zuckerberg would in himself direct it and make nitpicks until there are little issues with it.

I was your friend... You had one friend.

Jesse Eisenberg's diagnosed with ADD in real life. I find that probably helped immensely in this character of Mark Zuckerberg. He doesn't come off too much as an asshole to me until the climactic confrontation with Eduardo. Instead, he's a guy who does not know how to talk to people, he's a genius who doesn't want to depend on others but regrets that he has to. One could clearly suggest that there are many more facets to the character of Zuckerberg than can be attributed just the one-dimensional claim that he is solely a bad guy.
If somebody tries to argue that, the whole point of the movie falls on its face.
He represents more than Facebook or intellectual ideas or the struggles involved in innovative pursuits. He represents a subcultural division of this past decade's generation. He taps into the insecurities of nearly everyone. The film taps into this generation's impersonal and superficial methods of socialization. When Eduardo and Mark's friendship collapses, that's a representation of the collapse of the trust in today's social relations.
It's this generation's The Graduate. It's going to be remembered for telling a lot more than how Facebook started... That's only the tip of the iceberg here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

'It Can't Rain All the Time...' - A Visual Tribute

 There's too much that has to be said about my love for rain...
I think it easily makes for the most beautiful shots...
For the most romantic moments...
For the most heroic battles...
The most intense stands...
I will let the pictures speak a thousand words...
I will let you hear the rhythm of the drops in your own head and imagine the movement in your eyes...

If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. - Exodus 8:2

'A little too much champagne?'

Someday a real rain will come
and wash all the scum off the streets...

Storm's getting worse...
We'll pass through it soon enough...

Rain doesn’t come to Sin City real often, and when it does, it’s usually pretty lame stuff. Warm as sweat and lucky if it gets to the pavement before it evaporates.
But maybe twice a year, the desert sky really coughs it up and spits it out. A cold, mean torrent that turns the streets to glass and chills you to the bone.
Most people hate the rain when it’s nasty like this. But me, I love it. It helps me think.
I’m not real smart, but I feel a whole lot smarter when everything goes slick and everybody skitters off the streets and gets out of my way.
I love the rain. I love the icy way it creeps down my neck. The way the air goes electric and everything seems so clear.
You breath in and your nostrils work.
That’s what I do. I breathe and I just let my feet take we wherever they want.
And I think.
-Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye by Frank Miller

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe...
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion...
I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate...
All those moments are to be lost in time...

Tears... in rain....
Time to die....

Thank you for viewing this tribute...

And as a little P.S....
Fuck John Cusack.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

'Cheddar!!!!! AWOOO Cheddar Whizzit!!!' - The Smell of Cheese in Cinema

Does anybody remember the films that were really stupid looking, had a really stupid feel, really sucked badly...

... and yet we can't help but really want to watch them?
They usually more or less have a cult status despite their quality.
Army of Darkness
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Big Trouble in Little China
Manos: The Hands of Fate

There is just so much more I can name, but it would take a lifetime, because the perception of how much melodrama, how much 'cheese' is in a motion picture can really range over just about every damn movie. So, where does that come from, the feeling that makes you and your friends together go 'Damn, that film was cheesy as cheddar'? What compels you to just go back to said movie, beyond entertainment value? - because you can find entertainment in anything if you push yourself enough. Where does a community of film goers with such a reception come to a point where they can give a certain film that stamp of universal approval?
That point where a picture that would've been predicted as forgettable in the days to come becomes a revered cult classic?

Get dat cheese, son!!!!
I had been discussing this with a friend when he was giving Any Which Way but Loose a hearty bashing. He notes that the movie's cheese is what makes it sink as a quality picture, while movies like the twenty-million Roger Corman Syfy television films and the Ed Wood pictures or The Room and such that get that 'it's so bad, it's funny' reaction from the audience.
Already we have one possibility for the following that pictures like these get. Nobody will claim they're good movies above the age of 12. They go back to them because they need something to laugh at. They need something familiar, they cannot take seriously at times when they would want to be just comforted by whatever's happening outside the celluloid world by an absolutely facetious piece of motion picture defecation.

If I do say so myself, I thought that last line was pretty eloquent. I might just stop cursing out movies, cause fuck it, man.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, we then see pieces of cheese everywhere in a way, like I mentioned before. Said friend insisted that he perceived John Carpenter's Halloween as cheese, like any slasher film could reasonably be perceived as, with their formulaic, exploitative and certainly over exaggerated presentation, despite Halloween being one of the more original pieces of this genre and the movie that started such a trend that would quickly be regarded as shlock. He himself cited particularly the usage of the serial killer's viewpoint the straw that breaks the cheese camel's back.

WARNING: Clip features female frontal nudity.

But if that's the case, would one easily perceive Spielberg's horror/adventure classic Jaws as cheesy for the same usage of murderer's point of view, when it was so highly regarded at the time, the essential piece to the chilling effect of those frightening and sensational scenes? Is Jaws' largest advantage also it's subtle disadvantage? Could Jaws as a picture be put in the same realm as the Halloween knock-offs as shlock, as cheese?
The answer is yes again, if only solely from perception. What may have worked for one audience, may just make another audiences eyes roll, the percentages and statistics on what makes how many people tick does not entirely matter in the end.

But then those still are regarded as anomalies if not a unanimous reception. There has to be an exact science to this, an exact factor that allows certain pictures to be certified cult classics, to be completely easily esteemed. And the cheese does not only affect the cult films.

Anybody can find melodrama or cheese in modern films like Star Wars, Carrie, Phantom of the Paradise, The Untouchables, the Indiana Jones series, Jurassic ParkBlade RunnerSuper 8, Sin City, Hot Fuzz, Stephen Sommers' The Mummy, any Tarantino, Raimi, Hitchcock or Coen Brothers flick, the French New Wave, even and especially the legendary David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks - alongside much of his work like Blue Velvet, The Elephant Man or Mulholland Dr.

And the reason is that those melodramatic factors, those elements that impose upon you to recognize and feel nostalgia or humor from the presentation, those are put in deliberately. Some in homage, some in parody, some because the movie wants to appeal to children ('course sometimes a great big mess-up... I'm talkin' to you, Jar-Jar Binks!), some to jolt you, to shock - whatever intention the creator feels makes the melodrama necessary to be turned up to 10, it's there and it's done on purpose.
The fact that the element is deliberate and controlled in these works suggest that something has to be tapped in emotion of performance and script that elicits these demonstrations of over exaggeration. And the challenge is especially in keeping these movies tasteful.

So where is it? Why do these movies have a popular reception beyond a cult following...
Well, my friend insisted that one element is the production value of these movies, but even then movies put their all into production value, so that's a variable that can go both ways, it simply cannot be a constant until the final product is made. Look at Apocalypse Now and again Jaws, these films were just going with the flow for the most part, plagued with production issues, and came out as very well-received classics of motion picture auteurship.
It means they can never receive that cheap feel of Corman or Russ Meyer, who made due with what they had, who legitimately and frequently did their best to make their films presentable by working their best with the limited means they had...

'As a producer, I'm probably a little stronger than most, since I was a director originally.' -Roger Corman

The Spielbergs and Coppolas and De Palmas of our times cannot reach that feel because they have too much money, too much pride. They can't make a movie bad on purpose, lest it get really bad...
Corman doesn't even do it on purpose, nor Russ Meyer. They work with what little they're given and they build something out of it. Roger Corman and Russ Meyer are, for better or worse, among the ultimate independent filmmakers

So, what is it indeed that gives the status of cheesy? I, myself, in my extremely limited yet modestly expanding knowledge of cinema and humble opinion, think part of the effect of cult and melodrama and cheese, comes from the test of time and how it treats a motion picture.

Let's take thought to that for a moment. The true legacy of a film cannot be determined immediately after a release. We have no idea how The Dark Knight will be perceived 30 years from 2008 yet, we have to wait until we're steadily approaching that date. Because, despite the reception of a movie at the time of its release, the legacy of a picture can be affected by the next audience to come around, by the youth and how they are affected by the content on the screen.
Halloween's legacy is easily tarnished by copy cat slasher films like Friday the 13th and Prom Night and all; not only that, but the re-hashing and remakes of these films by Rob Zombie (albeit earnestly and well-intentioned in some cases) and Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes.
The same can be said for Forbidden Planet which loses its originality and power as each Flash Gordon and Star Trek gets more and more into the light.
It's like how people perceive the original version of The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' as inferior to Van Halen's cover these days... ugh, people...
It also is probably one of the factors in Sam Raimi's newfound reception after a rebooting of Spider-Man, but I'll get into that in a later article, because I have A LOT to say about that matter.

I'd shown the film Re-Animator to a group of friends one night and they seemed largely disinterested in it, despite its camp, making me feel sad that nobody shared my feelings of excitement and glee towards the overcamping of a work by one of my favorite authors, H.P. Lovecraft and Jeffrey Combs' reservedly manic performance as Herbert West, a performance that deserves to be as legendary as Bruce Campbell's Ash from the Evil Dead trilogy.
Of course, their attention was particularly anchored once a certain kidnapping took place (I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it - I want you people to watch and be repulsed, because that's the effect Stuart Gordon was going for - it is extremely distasteful).
At the same time, one of those friends, Dreylon (of the second Django article - jokingly to be referred to as 'Dreylon Unchained') had to see the initial episodes of Twin Peaks for a college assignment and regarded the reactions of Laura Palmer's murder as hokey and reacted with 'Do I really have to watch this?'

Anyway, this does not affect movies that are perceived undeniable classics... We can't publicly call out Star Wars or Jaws or The Maltese Falcon or Metropolis or The Matrix as 100% Grade-A movie cheese despite their hokeyness, both due to and in spite of how much they took and how much is owed to them - the way they have reached that classic status. Despite their extreme and obvious camp, The Bride of Frankenstein, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Carrie are forgiven - even though they influenced all these easily obnoxious horror tropes and stereotypes, they get away with it...

And another thing, I've never seen a movie with an initially positive reception ever go entirely downhill in audience appreciation. It's always the other way around a movie has to be outright hated for the most part and then others later on see it for what it's worth... it happened to Fight Club, it happened to Blade Runner, it's currently happening for Heaven's Gate and so many of Buster Keaton or Orson Welles' works and so on and so on...
Course there is that area of films that get a cult following without a raise in their IMDb rating - people who fuel the following that The Room or Battlefield Earth or Manos: The Hands of Fate or Plan 9 or Reefer Madness or Boxcar Bertha have will never admit to those movies being good, they know better... they just like watching them.
No, it takes just a small group of people to give a film a legacy...

I'll kill somebody if that happens for The Master of Disguise.

Don't laugh at me, you bald fuck! You killed Garth's career!!!
The friend I was discussing this subject with responded with this, a statement that concisely sums up a history that would've probably taken forever for me to type so thanks, Erik Yabor...
 I think the test of time has been kind to '50s film noir, Spaghetti Westerns, late '60s/early '70s Charlton Heston science fiction films (because apes on horses are awesome), '50s Westerns and kung fu films even though they're all filled with cheese because there was at least one visionary who made a few brilliant films in those genres to make them respectable. Conversely, history has not had as kind an opinion on blaxploitation films (unless you're Tarantino), slasher films and '80s action films because even the best films of those genres could not reach far beyond their intended audiences. I had a very low opinion of super hero films of the past decade in general (even though there were a few good ones) until The Dark Knight came out. I have a similarly low opinion of torture porn films of the past decade, which generally appear to be on a decline and I probably always will because I never saw a single one that I didn't outright despise. 


However, the very last thing to state is that these genres, these cult films, these cheesy aspects, by the end of the day, something still compels us to see these films again and again and then there's really something that impacts us in these films to feel the emotions we feel like new, whether laughing at how bad the movie is or legitimately being scared or amused or excited... We can't blame it on solely the tropes, because we could easily instead select any similar production with those same tropes, instead of returning wholeheartily to a favorite...

'This is the third time I saw that decapitation! Every fucking time!'
In any case handled improperly, it could be unappealing, but even Tommy Wiseau or Ed Wood have a way of making cinema appealing in some form, despite the obvious bad quality of their work... It's why they get their following...It really is something that relies on the director's touch of the film. The way he, as the author of the film, assaults us with images and sound that actually would make these feelings of melodrama and hoke seem fresh and new, even when we can call them out as absolutely unrealistic. It has a signature from the director, a uniqueness even in its unoriginality, even in its extremely similarity, the sameness of the slasher or the beach party or the zombie or the found footage movie.

You have to give these guys credit for that. I hate Zack Snyder with a passion, but I'm assuming there's something in he's doing to the audience that gets them craving more, short of lacing every film reel to be projected with cocaine...
The cult filmmakers have the same way to go about it...

A director needs to know what he's doing. When a filmmaker takes pride in his craft, sometimes people will see the same thing that director sees in his work. And then that work is remembered. And then that work is appreciated. And that work becomes a classic. Cult or otherwise...

Wanna check out some cult movies? We (Erik and I, since this article is based on our conversation and I incorporate points he's made, I'd like to give him credit for inspiring this article) like to recommend the works of these directors...
  • John Carpenter
  • Sam Raimi
  • Roger Corman
  • Brian De Palma
  • Stuart Gordon
  • George Romero
  • Ed Wood
  • David Lynch
  • Russ Meyer
.... By the way, if you hate one of the films... it means Erik suggested it. Fuck you, Erik.
You guys can trust me...