LAFCA gives Best Picture to ‘WALL-E’

Posted by · 1:38 pm · December 9th, 2008

WALL-EShocking.  “WALL-E” is officially the most overrated film of the year, but that having been said, this is one hell of a ballsy move on the part of the L.A. film critics (whose vote came down a lot earlier than I expected).

I correctly anticipated a Sally Hawkins victory in the lead actress category, which will do wonders for her Oscar hopes.  The group also went with Mike Leigh for his “screenplay.”  It makes sense as “Happy-Go-Lucky” was a film dwindling on the Oscar landscape and this group, no matter how much a couple of blowhards within their ranks claim otherwise, like to shine their light in the direction of films they want to find the right traction this time of year.  Eddie Marsan also came in as a runner-up for Best Supporting Actor.

I’m very excited to see Steve McQueen grab the group’s New Generation award.  I’m happy to see some outlets already calling “Hunger” the best of the year.  When I saw the film at this year’s AFI Fest, I knew I was in the hands of a new talent.  I’m glad the LAFCA agrees.

I also have to tip my hate to the group for recognizing Mark Friedman’s brilliant design work in “Synecdoche, New York,” my personal choice for the year’s best in the category.  And I’m glad to see that lenser Anthony Dod Mantle was so close to a win for his wonderfully inventive work in “Slumdog Millionaire.”

But back to “WALL-E.”  I just cannot understand the love-fest for this film, a position I’m sure plenty of movie-goers find themselves in regarding “The Dark Knight” (which came in as a runner-up for Best Picture, beating out contenders like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).  But regardless of my taste, it’s worth pointing out that the only three films to win the LAFCA award for best Picture and fail to secure an Oscar nomination for same were “Leaving Las Vegas” in 1995, “About Schmidt” in 2002 and “American Splendor” in 2003.  You have to go all back to “Do the Right Thing” in 1989 for the last example and it’s only happened a total of six times in 32 years.

Crazy.

The winners (via Variety) after the jump.

Best Picture: “Wall-E”
Runner-up: “The Dark Knight”

Best Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight”

Best Actor: Sean Penn, “Milk”
Runner-up: Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Runner-up: Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Runner-up: Eddie Marsan, “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Elegy”
Runner-up: Viola Davis, “Doubt”

Best Screenplay: Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, “Synecdoche, New York”

Best Foreign Language film: “Still Life”
Runner-up: “The Class”

Best Documentary: “Man on Wire”
Runner-up: “Waltz With Bashir”

Best Animation: “Waltz With Bashir”

Best Cinematography: Yu Lik Wai, “Still Life”
Runner-up: Anthony Dod Mantle, “Slumdog Millionaire”

Best Production Design: Mark Friedberg, “Synecdoche, New York”
Runner-up: Nathan Crowley, “The Dark Knight”

Best Music/Score: A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

New Generation Award: Steve McQueen, “Hunger”

Douglas E. Edwards independent/experimental film/video: James Benning, “RR” and “Casting a Glance”




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139 responses so far

  • 1 12-12-2008 at 4:08 am

    Michel said...

    Scott, I can say without shade of a doubt that you are positevely insane… or too demagogic to debate (and that means TOO demagogic).

    Aren’t you aware that the majority of the ones who went to Iraq were actually the less fortunates of society? The poor are also those who believe the populist messages of political leaders, from countries so different like Venezuela and the UK. There are too many examples to go around.

    Second, we’re talking about class here, not about individuals. Low profile jobs are engrossed by all kinds of people, but I’m talking about those who are born into it and cannot escape from it… namely, your example a). Wall-E was programmed into collecting a compating garbage, wasn’t he? Did he have a chance to change this? Nope. And this is not strange to our own world, but you keep going back to examples in America. Why? Miners in Bolivia don’t have a chance either, their salaries are below what they need to survive, and they work too many hours a day, often risking their lives. The vast majority of them don’t have a chance. Then, what are you talking about?
    (if you think that Wall-E is restrictive to America – and it’s not – then look for “A Day Without Mexicans”… Wall-E could easily be the inmigrant low-worker).

    And, what do you mean by this?

    “You’re playing way too much into Wall-E’s love for EVE. He would have loved Satan or Hitler if he had seen them because he just wanted companionship. My God he was friends with a little bug. He certainly didn’t put EVE’s interests above his, he only chased her because he wanted a friend. He’s exactly like a dog. He just tried to attach himself to the first thing that paid him any attention.”

    …… ??? So? Are you trying to argue the validity of his love? Are you trying to figure out if he SHOULD love her? I wouldn’t. He makes freinds with everybody, and loves the first girl that he met. So what? Life is simple for him, he’s a simple guy… what more do you want?
    I’m gonna call your argument idiotic to not have to call YOU that.

    Optimism works from time to time? Ever heard of a certain now debunked electoral effect? That the message it’s a lie? It’s not based on reality? Yeah, I get that, but also proabbly all religions out there, and many people have found inspiration to do good things from that. Cynicism it’s not infallible. As I say, you always remember more the times you cry than the times you laugh, and we human being have a predisposition to thinking that things are going to turn out wrong. It’s called heuristics.

    You should check three things: 1. The Dark Knight’s ending, again… especially the part about rewarding people’s faith. 2. The Brother’s Karamazov, the part about Ivan and the Gran Inquisitor’s tale. And 3. this SHH thread: http://forums.superherohype.com/show….php?t=312051&

    This is a movie for children, are you actually going to evaluate the reasons for the love of every movie out there? Don’t, because you dear Capra wouldn’t stand such thing.

    Capra, Wall-E. Capra, Wall-E. See? I did it. It’s easy, and it makes sense. And now, on second thought, I’m going to take back what I said before… and call YOU idiotic.

    Take care.

  • 2 12-12-2008 at 11:19 am

    Matt said...

    TDK is the most overrated film of the year, WALL-E is the best. LAFCA helps to go a long way in proving that to whiny fanboys like the article writer. Deal with it, you’re going to see more and more awards for this amazing film.

  • 3 12-15-2008 at 2:49 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Michel, I had an argument typed out and then I hit some button that erased it all. If you are still there I would be more than happy to provide you with it again.

    But I don’t know if you really want that.

    You aren’t half as smart as you think you are. You have some serious misconceptions about society and this film.

    Oh yea, take care.

  • 4 12-15-2008 at 9:38 pm

    Michel said...

    I’m still here Scott, and I wouldn’t mind reading your digressions again. I wouldn’t mind discussing Wall-E’s flaws, and I do think people are missing more important films thinking that they have seen it all with Wall-E and TDK, but I’m still struggling against your inabilityto make a valid point, and most importantly you seem to want to win the debate, even if it means leaving logical arguments at the trash can. But here I am, still giving you the benefit of the doubt…

    So if you want to prove something to yourself here, I ain’t taking the chance away from you. Take your time.

    And take care.

  • 5 12-16-2008 at 6:13 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    First off Michel, let me say that I have no problem with Wall-E in itself. I rather enjoyed the movie. Yet the problem that I have is when people bring a great movie like The Dark Knight into the picture. I’m not bashing Wall-E in its own context, I’m just making the point of why The Dark Knight is far better. The negative tone comes mostly from forming that argument predominately in showing how Wall-E shouldn’t qualify as a great masterpiece that people make it out to be.

    With that said…

    You say that people in fact risk their lives everday in the jobs they have in order to benefit society. Michel, to say it in fewer words, that is bullshit. These people, even the Bolivian coal miners you provide as an example, do this job because it pays them money. It is hard for priveliged people like me and you to comprehend having a low level profession like that where we risk our lives because we have so many other jobs and occupations to choose from. While all or most may not hire us, at least we have options. These Bolivian coal miners do not have that option. For them it is either do this job or starve to death. They sure as hell aren’t shoveling shit because they want to help society out and make it easier on everyone else.

    And the soldiers that you mention in Iraq – yes most of them are the less fortunate ones of society. But dude, this is the 21st century. People aren’t forced by higher powers into going to war. These people chose to go into the military and go to Iraq because it is the only way that they have a chance in life to be honored and remembered and looked upon with respect. People join the military for two reasons today: it provides them with a financial career or it gives them a chance to be heroic and dignify their lives. It may sound mean, but let’s face it, what are these people going to do in their lives that anybody is going to consider important? Nothing. The military provides them with a chance to, in their eyes, become famous.

    My other point that you didn’t understand: Wall-E’s motivations. You yourself said in your post that Wall-E is a simple guy, which backs up my point (By the way, you critique this film like it is Kubrick’s adaptation of a Shakespeare play, and then I analyze Wall-E’s motivations for love and you tell me I shouldn’t do that. What gives there?) You admit, whether you realized it or not, that Wall-E has no larger intentions in anything. When you look at how EVE acts, shooting stuff and blowing up things every time the wind shifts, then what man, robot, anything, would love her based on her actions. Yet Wall-E diligently follows her every chance he gets, because he wants a friend. The film makers, from the start of the movie, obviously wanted to point out Wall-E’s naiveness. This should rock solid prove that Wall-E would have loved any single thing he encountered because he is lonely and it is in his naive nature to love anything at first start. You can’t really argue this aspect of the film.

    Now, here is where everything reaches a head. I have already pointed out to you that Wall-E doesn’t precisely represent the lower class as you present it because that would be completely stupid. Your understanding of how the lower class opersates (and no I’m not talking about America only as you thought) sounds eerily close to those of an aspiring, power hungry dictator – all of the lower class works their asses off to make my life easier. Again this theory is wrong and completely stupid. It could be debateable that someone has this kind of power and authority, but saying that people adhere to this authority because the care about the benevolence of sociiety is idiotic beyond words.

    Okay, now onto your belief that Wall-E and EVE’s motivations changed simply because they cared for each other. Now either you didn’t pay attention or you couldn’t come up with anything to refute my claims, but you didn’t address my statement that it is every bit as likely that Wall-E pursued EVE because, for no need of a better term, he was lonely and had nothing else to do. After all, why do you think that love is such an inportant issue all through0ut history? They have nothing else important to do. Because 99.9% of people’s lives are shit and unimportant and they know it. The only thing that provides them with any comfort and happiness is that they think another person likes them.

    But let’s just hypothetically say that your theory is true. Let’s say that Wall-E and EVE truly change and care about each other and only want the other to be happy. The thing is, not only do I think this could be a legitamite interpretation, it could also be what I believe. But do you not see that in saying this that you are belittling the movie? Do you honestly think that this in anyway reflects how relationships actually work? Your claim that Wall-E was changed by EVE into really caring about what happened to society and the human race is nothing more than a Walt Disney fairy tale; something that the kids can appreciate.

    No, instead I say how the whole relationship thing goes, where all the guy cares about is getting the girl and how everthing he does is in his quest for this goal, and you call this idiotic? Again, if you have this sugar coated minset where everything is nice and pretty, then I guess that would seem idiotic. Again, how I showed you EVE’s actions, actions that certainly wouldn’t attract true love from anything, proved that Wall-E wanted to love and would have forced himself to love anything. Michel, this is how 99.9999999% of relationships start and how most of them remain.

    You may want to make the argument that Pixar is showing the anomalies of love or they are showing how love could be. Yet again, if you don’t find this in anyway childish and full of false hope then there is no need for me to talk to you. Have you ever thought about why all children’s movies (yes, Pixar included) have happy endings? It is because children can not identify or cope with sorrow or loss. We say they are young and INNOCENT for a reason, because adults, or as this proves I guess I better say people with an adult mindset, that they are innocent because they don’t see the true darkness and pain of they world and how everything is essentially fucked up. So we lie to them, yes LIE, and make kids books, movies, whatever else have nice happy endings where everybody is happy and everybody loves everbody for all of the right reasons. So that is why I say that your interpretation could be correct, but I ask you, in what way does that make the movie a cinematic masterpiece, better than The Dark Knight? The answer of course is that it doesn’t, unless you are in a nice fantasy world.

    So it’s either one of two things:

    1) You are right, and the world is this nice and happy place where people fall in love with each other for all of the right reasons and drink tea while that bad meanie comes to his demise. Again I ask you, realistic or accurate in anyway? No, perfectly fitting the mold of a child’s movie.

    or

    2) I am right and the movie is just another analogy of how the world is and how just about all relationships really are. Yet for some strange reason, one we will never know, we have a cop-out ending where everything turns out nice and pretty. I really just can’t seem to form any theory on why they put such a happy ending in there.

    So if you still truly believe the same things you did before while still maintaing that the picture is a masterpiece better than The Dark Knight, then pass what you are smoking.

    If you understood anything about Capra, you would see that his movies celebrate the human endeavor and human possibilities. His films showed a realistic brighter side to humanity and the endings never was just some conventional cop-out to make the viewers happy.

    And no, calling me idiotic and insane doesn’t hurt me when you can’t legitimize my insanity. Remember, we aren’t in the sandbox anymore. Name calling isn’t for grownups because we won’t cry and run to our mommies.

  • 6 12-16-2008 at 6:30 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    And about your last post Michel, I share your lamentations that no matter the awards, this year has come to be all about Wall-E and The Dark Knight.

    And yes, I do want to win the argument because I want to show you and everyone out there that Wall-E is not as good as The Dark Knight. While it is perfectly fine that you like the movie, after all I do myself, thinking that it is a sheer masterpiece is absurd.

    And I don’t know anything that is wrong or illogical about what I have said. And I don’t know what you said about Dostoevsky but it’s probably just another misinterpretation on another great artist. Of your three suggestions:

    1: I don’t see what you are talking about with TDK’s ending. Explain.

    2: Because of school I don’t have time to read long novels in a few days and I’m not looking up an analysis because often times them inadvertently spoil parts of the work.

    3: My computer sucks. It won’t allow me to view the link.

    And again, there are so many great images, quotes, characters, scenes, storylines, etc. from TDK, while as I said, and I see it hard to view otherwise, Wall-E is just another slightly above average, cute, romantic comedy that spells out its cliche and contrived message explicitly because it has to.

  • 7 12-22-2008 at 12:41 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Nice to see you agree Michel.

  • 8 12-22-2008 at 9:11 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Oh yea, take care mother fucker.

  • 9 12-23-2008 at 1:31 am

    Michel said...

    Hey, hey, hey, slow down buddy. Things like this should be a great hint of how wrong you are. Nobody that irascible and emotionally invested in this is able to think things through.

    I’m replying to your post… slowly. It is a lot of text an I don’t have the time nor the interest to put it all at once. However, I will reply. Take it easy. Develop a life in the meantime.

    Take care.

  • 10 12-23-2008 at 2:32 am

    Michel said...

    “First off Michel, let me say that I have no problem with Wall-E in itself. I rather enjoyed the movie. Yet the problem that I have is when people bring a great movie like The Dark Knight into the picture. I’m not bashing Wall-E in its own context, I’m just making the point of why The Dark Knight is far better. The negative tone comes mostly from forming that argument predominately in showing how Wall-E shouldn’t qualify as a great masterpiece that people make it out to be.”

    Not so fast, Scotty. I just had the time to reply, don’t miss me so much. This is going to be one hell of a post because I’m gonna need some quotes to refute what you said. Get a soda, sit back and relax.

    “I’m not bashing Wall-E in its own context, I’m just making the point of why The Dark Knight is far better.”

    No, you’re not. I am the biggest Dark Knight fan I know in person, I actually know all the dialogues in the movie by heart, but I don’t feel that to better support the movie I have to talk trash about other films. See, what you’re actually doing is attacking a much loved film (which means that is also slightly overrated) to defend a film that is also quited loved and mildly overrated like TDK. What’s the point of that? I know Kris here tried t spark some controversial posting but he actually is doing more trash of that kind, almost blindly loving one movie and blindly hating another. Why? Both films are going to be looked down by the Academy being the great entertainment pieces they were, and people like you and Kris are stuck here trying to stir up some dissent without being able to recognize (at least, not publicly) the many values of the OTHER film. Silly.

    Now, if that was the only silly thing you were doing, it’d be fine with me, but really, you went from there until a complete mess of illogical chain of thoughts. After this I’m gonna need you to tell me the relevance of a lot of that stuff.

    “These people, even the Bolivian coal miners you provide as an example, do this job because it pays them money. It is hard for privileged people like me and you to comprehend (…) at least we have options. These Bolivian coal miners do not have that option. For them it is either do this job or starve to death. They sure as hell aren’t shoveling shit because they want to help society out and make it easier on everyone else.”

    Who says they are? First, it’s not hard for me to understand since I was part of the crew of a documentary about these people’s lives. Second, I don’t know how could you misunderstand if the comparison is right there. Like these people, the Wall-E robots don’t have a choice. They are programmed to do what was necessary but undesirable for humans. And they must do it, not matter what. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s because of people like this that the rest of society enjoys their privileges: with coal miners it’s good economy, with Wall-E it was returning to Earth. He basically, quite inadvertently, saved the planet. Forget about his intentions, his work should be not only honored, but emulated. Privileged people should “come down to earth” and work on heavy, dirty tasks like working to reduce the garbage levels.

    Besides, mirroring society’s structure is not the mark of a great movie. Not at all, as you will surely find out before I have to point it to you.

    “And the soldiers that you mention in Iraq – yes most of them are the less fortunate ones of society. But dude, this is the 21st century. People aren’t forced by higher powers into going to war.”

    You’ve never left America, right? Maybe you went to some places in Europe, and that’s it. Wall-E is a global tale. People are still forced into the military in many parts of the world. But hey, let this be a prevention tale. Besides, as you pointed out, it was not about being forced.

    “These people chose to go into the military and go to Iraq because it is the only way that they have a chance in life to be honored and remembered and looked upon with respect.”

    ???…. and? Are you suggesting that because Wall-E was trying to impress EVE and make her wishes to be remembered make his sacrifice dishonorable? What’s your point here?

    “You critique this film like it is Kubrick’s adaptation of a Shakespeare play, and then I analyze Wall-E’s motivations for love and you tell me I shouldn’t do that. What gives there?”

    It’s not in style but in content. Wall-E has a very evident macro-social reading, so I read the macro-social. And because of your mediocre reasons for attacking the movie, you mistake the plot with one of a poor man’s “American Pie” (which is saying enough). This is a children’s movie, designed to have a happy ending and an optimistic point of view. If you try to read it as a cynic story about the shallow nature of love at first sight you’re missing the boat completely. It doesn’t work on that level, and it never has been. Maybe you cannot stand the optimistic, but you don’t have to share the vision to respect it. That’s why I keep bringing Frank Capra, a man who passed into history by making optimistic movies that really didn’t mirror reality but were filled with positive beneficial messages for people.

    And there’s where it enters The Brothers Karamazov and the point with The Dark Knight… I’ll give you a hint: Batman was so adamant about lifting people’s spirits and inspiring to do good that he lied about Dent’s killings. Sure, it didn’t reflect reality. It was a lie. But that didn’t make the intention less positive. That’s why you need to read the Gran Inquisitor’s passage from Brothers Karamazov and stop wasting your time talking about films that are clearly beyond your experience.

    “When you look at how EVE acts, shooting stuff and blowing up things every time the wind shifts, then what man, robot, anything, would love her based on her actions. Yet Wall-E diligently follows her every chance he gets, because he wants a friend. The film makers, from the start of the movie, obviously wanted to point out Wall-E’s naiveness. This should rock solid prove that Wall-E would have loved any single thing he encountered because he is lonely and it is in his naive nature to love anything at first start. You can’t really argue this aspect of the film.”

    I don’t. I’m not arguing this. Wall-E was a guy with lots of love to give, and he finally found the place to put it. And? What’s your point? Do you think the film is making a critique in human relationships? No. It shouldn’t, and it doesn’t say anything incorrect. He wants to give love, at some point she wants to receive it. Coincidence, maybe, but these are robots we’re talking about here. They’re not people, they are archetypes, concepts, ideas embodied into one single character. And archetypes are the one thing that binds all of Christopher Nolan’s filmography, so they shouldn’t really be that shocking to you.

    “All of the lower class works their asses off to make my life easier. Again this theory is wrong and completely stupid. It could be debatable that someone has this kind of power and authority, but saying that people adhere to this authority because the care about the benevolence of society is idiotic beyond words.”

    See, here is the deal, all the lower class works their asses off… and as a result, your life is easier. Mine too. To deny that is to show complete and utter ignorance on the workings of capitalism. That low class that works for you is sometimes even abroad, in the faces of workers from Third World countries making all kinds of products for transnational companies that make jobs there so their production costs are reduced. I’m not saying it’s WRONG. I’m not urging for a class struggle, for a socialist revolution or anything of that crap. But it is a certainty, a reality. I‘m not making a political agenda here, I’m just naming things for how they are. There’s no AUTHORITY to overthrow… just a global system… a global system in the face of multinational corporations. BUYnLARGE. ;) When you’re tired of seeing blockbusters, see Noah Chomsky’s documentary about multinational corporations.

    “it is every bit as likely that Wall-E pursued EVE because, for no need of a better term, he was lonely and had nothing else to do. After all, why do you think that love is such an inportant issue all throughout history? They have nothing else important to do. Because 99.9% of people’s lives are shit and unimportant and they know it. The only thing that provides them with any comfort and happiness is that they think another person likes them.”

    ………….. and that’s wrong becaaaaaause? I fail to see how this reading of yours renders the film any less great. In the most desperate times ever, this two being held on to love desperately, because of the comfort that was so necessary in their lives. It shows how in a world that’s growing alienated and falling apart environmentally speaking, people’s hunger for love will grow a lot… making possible that two people like Tom and Mary will fall in love just after meeting each other. When real human contact is that scarce (the robots holding hands), it becomes more precious than ever. What are you going to say, that that wasn’t “real love”? The cynic in me says that real love does not exist out of our deranged fantasies. But the connection exists anyway. So, everything you said in the previous paragraphs actually meshes perfectly with the movie’s themes.

    “But do you not see that in saying this that you are belittling the movie? Do you honestly think that this in anyway reflects how relationships actually work? Your claim that Wall-E was changed by EVE into really caring about what happened to society and the human race is nothing more than a Walt Disney fairy tale; something that the kids can appreciate.”

    If you think you have a definitive assessment of how the world works, you need a shrik. Read a great book, see a great film. I recommend “Magnolia”. And again, who says Wall-E has to reflect actual, ordinary relationships to be a great movie. See the Capra example again, and the comparison with TDK and Brothers Karamazov. You have absolutely no argument here. And I’m sorry, since it seems that you’re really trying.

    “No, instead I say how the whole relationship thing goes, where all the guy cares about is getting the girl and how everything he does is in his quest for this goal, and you call this idiotic?”

    Yes, because you’re applying complex modern relationship dynamics to a kids movie set in the future. Do not think for a moment that I idealize human relationships. One of my favorite books is Neil Strauss “The Game”. But this is what the movie is representing and it is very coherent with the whole tone of the narrative.

    “You may want to make the argument that Pixar is showing the anomalies of love or they are showing how love could be. Yet again, if you don’t find this in anyway childish and full of false hope then there is no need for me to talk to you.”

    Scotty, you’re slowly crossing the line into complete and irreversible idiocy. False hope? Who are you to label any kind of hope as false or true? What about Obama’s win, was that an anomaly? 

    The movie completely balanced its final act with a very grim and somber view of the planet’s future and the future of human race. Do you think that was hope? The witnessing of an inevitable abandonment of the planet for more than seven centuries? Are you actually demanding from the movie to end on a sad note? Why? Is there any logic to it? Does the movie taste better to you if you get your way? That’s moronic. So moronic that maybe you belong into the zoo. The whole point of the movie is inspiring people to actually work their asses off like the little guys… any little guys… and try to make their surroundings better for themselves… to stop alienating people and start loving each other… to stop worrying about surviving and start worrying about LIVING. That is a very honorable point, made in a technically and dramatically superb film, that also happened to be great entertainment. The message won’t change the world, but it may inspire a few people to do more than just “surviving”.

    Capra also did a bunch of optimistic movies. Either you recognize the similarities or you’re just too biased and stunned to think for yourself. Maybe you’re just a hypocrite… I wouldn’t mind, I’ve known people that resort to all kinds of things to win an argument.

    “So we lie to them, yes LIE, and make kids books, movies, whatever else have nice happy endings where everybody is happy and everybody loves everbody for all of the right reasons. So that is why I say that your interpretation could be correct, but I ask you, in what way does that make the movie a cinematic masterpiece, better than The Dark Knight? The answer of course is that it doesn’t, unless you are in a nice fantasy world.”

    Didn’t Batman and Gordon LIE to the public to INSPIRE people into saving themselves?
    Isn’t that what most RELIGIONS have done since the dawn of man?
    Well, Wall-E did its bit of lying too. That’s it. I never argued Wall-E was better than The Dark Knight. You’re the one who’s on the defensive, trying to prove something I deem so silly that make my eyes hurt.

    “if you still truly believe the same things you did before while still maintaining that the picture is a masterpiece better than The Dark Knight, then pass what you are smoking.”

    This is where you finally screwed it up, didn’t you? If you point it out to me when did I say Wall-E was better than TDK, then I’ll let you go without the verbal bitchslapping. But since you can’t do it, then I have little exercise, just for you… do the following things: 1. take a pen marker 2. write the letters “NOROM” in your forehead. 3. Go to the washroom mirror and look at the cause of all this long, long nonsense in this forums.

    Good boy.

    “If you understood anything about Capra, you would see that his movies celebrate the human endeavor and human possibilities. His films showed a realistic brighter side to humanity and the endings never was just some conventional cop-out to make the viewers happy.”

    REALISTIC?
    You either don’t have…
    1) … seen any Capra film.
    2) … a life.

    “And no, calling me idiotic and insane doesn’t hurt me when you can’t legitimize my insanity. Remember, we aren’t in the sandbox anymore. Name calling isn’t for grownups because we won’t cry and run to our mommies.”

    I don’t need to legitimize your idiocy. You just did that for me.

  • 11 12-23-2008 at 2:44 am

    Michel said...

    “And about your last post Michel, I share your lamentations that no matter the awards, this year has come to be all about Wall-E and The Dark Knight.”

    ??? How can you believe that? The most vocal fans are always the geeky lovers of summer movies (no offense), but this year still has many overlooked strong competitors. Any year that has both “Che” and “Synecdoche, New York” is a great year in cinema. Just because they are too good to academy members doesn’t mean they don’t count in quality.

    “And yes, I do want to win the argument because I want to show you and everyone out there that Wall-E is not as good as The Dark Knight. While it is perfectly fine that you like the movie, after all I do myself, thinking that it is a sheer masterpiece is absurd.”

    Which I’ve come to learn that is the most perfect way of losing one’s time. You were all the time arguing against the wrong person. I don’t think either of those movies are masterpieces… my standards are higher than that. But if I lower them a little bit, maybe The Dark Knight is not on par with Wall-E, but it is with Ratatouille. You’ll probably think “WTF?” and then you’re going to realize that the two movies don’t have a point of comparison. So top wasting everybody’s time with useless ranting.

    “And I don’t know what you said about Dostoevsky but it’s probably just another misinterpretation on another great artist.”

    Oh, you’re way out of you league, little boy. You need a lot of mental steroid if you want to have the balls to tell me I don’t know about Dostoevsky. I give lectures about the man on an annual basis to kids like you (which is not so much a broad statement as an outright insult to my students).

    “I don’t see what you are talking about with TDK’s ending. Explain.”

    I did, above. Read.

    “Because of school I don’t have time to read long novels in a few days and I’m not looking up an analysis because often times them inadvertently spoil parts of the work.”

    You don’t have the time to read masterpieces but you have the time to rant about summer movies. No wonder why you can’t form a sound argument on anything.

    “My computer sucks. It won’t allow me to view the link.”

    Get another computer. It’s worthy. Once you read the thread, you’ll recognize my nickname: it’s Melkay.

    Take care. Next time don’t aim so high when you’re debating. Remember Icarus. Next time, look for one of your peers.

  • 12 12-23-2008 at 2:04 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    First off Michel, I apologize for calling you a MF. I typed out an argument (for the second time) and waited a few days with no response. So I hope you can understand why I got pissed.

    First off, you said that you don’t consider WALL-E a masterpiece. Well why didn’t you say that from the beginning?! Okay I admit it, I jumped to a conclusion. But the depth and even length of your defense of WALL-E against another poster made me think you were a huge, huge fan of the movie. After that we starting bashing each other and got caught up in the argument. Now it sounds like we are close to the same lines of thinking about the movie, although you like WALL-E a little better than TDK, and it’s the opposite for me. But that’s fine. With that said I still have a few things to say.

    The bit about the coal miners again: You say that like them, WALL-E cannot escape what he has to do. Uh, I kind of think that it is safe to say that WALL-E went completely AWOL. Yes, I see how the comparison can be made, but the main difference is that WALL-E is not going to starve to death if he leaves his post.

    I personally didn’t think that people were forced by their governments into war, but I called two knowledgeable friends to somewhat verify and they thought the same thing. If we are wrong, sorry. And yes I have never left America. I can’t help that I am only eighteen and from a rural middle class family who can’t afford to travel the country. When I get the chance, I hope to be able to do such travelling.

    “…your mediocre reasons for attacking the movie, you mistake the plot with one of a poor man’s “American Pie” (which is saying enough). This is a children’s movie, designed to have a happy ending and an optimistic point of view. If you try to read it as a cynic story about the shallow nature of love at first sight you’re missing the boat completely. It doesn’t work on that level, and it never has been. Maybe you cannot stand the optimistic, but you don’t have to share the vision to respect it. That’s why I keep bringing Frank Capra, a man who passed into history by making optimistic movies that really didn’t mirror reality but were filled with positive beneficial messages for people.”

    You said my point right there. It’s a children’s movie that is designed to have a happy ending. This has been my main argument all along. Not to only show you, but also everyone else out there what the movie ultimately is. What I am most mad about is that people are lauding this movie so much when I know that there has to be much better work out there, with Che and Synecdoche being just two of them as you mentioned. Also, remember that I never attacked the movie. Saying that implies I tried to show how it is bad or at least not good. As I’ve said, all I did was try to show all of the people how I don’t feel that this is such an exeptional film.

    Your point with TDK: Yes the film showed instances of lying in order to keep the public’s hopes up, but that’s all they were, INSTANCES. The entirety if WALL-E is a lie about love.

    You ask me my point in stating that no one normal would have loved EVE because of her actions. I again made that point to show how simple and unrealistic the film is on its portrayals of love. But as you said, a film should not always be measured solely on its embodiment of the social structure. But I think I am correct in saying that your original, and remaining defense of the film was comparing it to the social structure and how the characters symbolized them rather accurately. So I merely made that point to show the major absence of realism in just that one scene.

    “See, here is the deal, all the lower class works their asses off… and as a result, your life is easier. Mine too. To deny that is to show complete and utter ignorance on the workings of capitalism. ”

    Yes, of course these people make our lives easier, but I was saying that the reason they do that job is not for that reason, to make our lives easier. I sure was not there, but I highly doubt that these Bolivian coal miners went to work everyday because they wanted to make people like us happy. Napoleon said that religion is the only thing that keeps the poor from murdering the rich. He didn’t say respect or reverene.

    Next, I didn’t say that WALL-E pursuing EVE was wrong. I simply stated that in trying to show you his possible motivations, which were very simple.

    Again, it is man’s nature to be selfish, it’s called the will to power. Sure there are those who are almost the opposite. But these few are extremely disillusioned and clouded by religion. I say this because when a man likes a woman, or vice versa, they don’t care about much else except having that person for themselves. This is a complete contrast to what you originally said, about WALL-E eventually wanting humans to get back to earth only because he wanted to see EVE happy. I stated this this viewpoint was almost childlike because this is not an accurate portrayal of how love goes in the world. Sure we may want to see the other person happy, but only because it means it improves our chances of getting together. And more times than not this means intercourse. I don’t see how And I also like Magnolia very much. Now that is actually how most relationships go. That half-smile at the very end shows a hint of optimism, almost forced optimism that we try to create, but other than that all of the other relationships were a mess, the opposite of what a relationship should be.

  • 13 12-23-2008 at 2:09 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Damnit, I hit the fucking key again. I’ll come back and finish the rest.

  • 14 12-23-2008 at 2:10 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Find a happy place, guys. I’d like to settle the tempers by Christmas at the very least. What can I do to help? Egg nog? Christmas carols? Can I get you guys some gifts?

    Seriously, not to put a damper on debate. I just want to force a group hug on everyone.

  • 15 12-23-2008 at 10:08 pm

    Michel said...

    Scott, I don’t have time to read your entire post, but I will come back and read it soon, I promise. However, I did read the beginning and I feel I must stop you fromjumpoing to more and more wild conclusions (you wouldn’t make a very good scientist, would you?)

    1. No, I don’t consider Wall-E is a masterpiece. It’s certainly flawed and it’s not the second revelation.

    2. I am a huge, huge fan of the movie, that still is not enough to blind me. I see its few flaws but I also see it’s many defects, and instead of cherrypicking some controversial points to validate critique of the movie (Kris, I’m looking at you and your argument about “fat-bashing”) I try to look at the whole picture and see what were the intentions and how effective was the movie on people. I can still defend intensenly the values of the movie without thinking it’s a masterpiece, because I’m a huge fan of the movie.

    3. I like Wall-E a slight better than The Dark Knight??? Seriously, here, you lost all norths. The Dark Knight is my most watched movie since The Return Of The King, I discuss a lot about it and it has been my persona favorite of the year since the moment I saw it. It’s not a perfect movie. And it has no point of comparison with Wall-E. They have a few similarities (summer entertainments, both are genre films, both are targeted at a certain audience that demands certain gratuitous scenes – ‘action scenes’ or ‘cute scenes’ – and they both end up talking about society)… but beyond that, they’re both TOO different to compare. It’s like comparing The Godfather to The Lion King… and TLK it’s NOT a bad film, neither I have to bash it to talk about the virtues of The Godfather. It’s nonsense, complete nonsense started by Kris who is now trying to calm down tempers of fanboys in his blog. He should have known better than that since the beginning.

    I will taclked your other (hopefully more accurate points) in a few days.

    Keep the good spirit, think better your words.

  • 16 12-23-2008 at 10:14 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Michel: In reality, as I’ve said a few times now, the “fat-bashing” stuff is a minor agitation and not my biggest beef with the film. So I wouldn’t say I’m “cherrypicking some controversial points to validate critique of the movie.” I have concerns with the entire second half, which seems to lose its sense of timing and grasp of its central narrative (when one would expect it to catch its stride). The film kind of becomes a slowly unspooling thread at that point for me.

  • 17 12-23-2008 at 10:17 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And by the way, I’m not entirely sure what nonsense you’re talking about, but beyond a harmless poll a few weeks ago asking which of the two populist films readers liked more (given the amount of precursor attention each was receiving at that time), I have never pitted these to films against each other in any tangible way. Like you, I don’t think you have to dislike one to like the other.

  • 18 12-23-2008 at 10:18 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Make that these “two” films. Poor spell-checking on my part.

  • 19 12-24-2008 at 11:39 am

    Michel said...

    Tapley, at least Scott had a legit complaint about the movie… he didn’t like the child-pleasing, cop out happy ending.
    I did read your initial thoughts on Wall-E and you included a brief mention of your worry about “fat-bashing”. This isn’t a new thing. And you biggest complaint is a “change of pacing” and a new directiong in the narrative?? You are complaining over nothing. It’s the transition to the second half that completely validates the narrative. The central conflict (the one defined by the climax) is REVEALED in part of the film that occurs in the Axiom. There is no losing of the central narrative… the central narrative is discovered in the second part.

    And the change of pacing and timing it’s completely called for. Everything changes in the movies… the settings, the background, the routine, Wall-E’s perception of it must change… that’s why we have a different pacing.

    “La Vitta es Bella”, Roberto Benigni’s most acclaimed movie, has one of the most evident changes of pacing in exactly the half of the film… but it is supposed to be that way. It is called for. And the film was still one of the best in it’s year. Remember the Oscars?
    “Adaptation” has one of the most brilliant changes of pacing and direction in film history… a very self-conscious one. Does that make it a bad film? It would not, we’re dealing with one of the three best films from Charlie Kaufman.

    And your (our) precious Dark Knight has been criticized many times (newyorkers) for its change of pacing at the ending, the scene with the triumvirate and Two-Face madness. And it was called for. Harvey’s madness and kidnapping was supposed to be slow, unexpected, disturbing, making all kinds of jolts within the audience. And it worked. It had a quite evident change of rythim and worked.

    So, don’t ask me to understand your complains about Wall-E. You’re entitled to your opinion if you base it on personal tastes, like Scott did. But those arguments you reached for to validate it… sorry, they hold no water.

    Take care, and keep the excellent website.

  • 20 12-24-2008 at 11:54 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “It’s the transition to the second half that completely validates the narrative.”

    This I disagree with. You think I’m complaining over nothing, but just because you don’t agree with my concerns doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. The films you mention are drastic examples of a “change of pace,” done so artfully and with purpose. “WALL-E” hardly takes a similar hard left into new territory, so the comparisons aren’t applicable. It simply gets lost in its second half, becomes uneven and seems to undercut the potential it promised in the first act. Just an opinion.

    It’s not a unique criticism. And it “holds water” for many who took similar issue with the film, whether it does for you or not. I have no interest in changing your mind; that’s not the point of the discussion. But I could just as easily offer empty sentiments like “your arguments hold no water” concerning your views of the film, Michel, and then we’d be arguing in circles. And what would be the point of that? Agree to disagree and move on.

    And finally, no need to continue making this “The Dark Knight” vs. “WALL-E,” Michel. As I said, that is an unnecessary comparison and has no place in the discussion, ultimately.

  • 21 12-24-2008 at 1:09 pm

    Michel said...

    “First off Michel, I apologize for calling you a MF. I typed out an argument (for the second time) and waited a few days with no response. So I hope you can understand why I got pissed.”

    No, I don’t. You need to get yourself a zen master, right away. I didn’t get pissed because you called a mofo. Get pissed for good reasons, not because you felt insecure at some point.

    “The bit about the coal miners again: You say that like them, WALL-E cannot escape what he has to do. Uh, I kind of think that it is safe to say that WALL-E went completely AWOL. Yes, I see how the comparison can be made, but the main difference is that WALL-E is not going to starve to death if he leaves his post.”

    Yes, he is. He is going to die. Maybe not of starvation, but only because he got lucky that the ship’s route passed close to the sun and he could recharge. And that was not even enough… once he got all broke in the Axiom, the only way he could survive was going BACK TO EARTH to look for spare parts. He has no choice, being on Earth doing what he’s programmed to do it’s his only option. That’s the only reason why he didn’t make a rocket ship on Earth to get himself out of the planet. That, and the fact that he didn’t KNOW what was out there. He didn’t even care; another good element for comparison with low-class workers.

    “When I get the chance, I hope to be able to do such travelling.”

    You do that. Nothing can replace those experiences. And yes, some governments still force people into military service, a thing that is aggravated in the eventuality of a war. Cuba, North Korea and the Saudi Arabian kingdom come to mind.

    “You said my point right there. It’s a children’s movie that is designed to have a happy ending. This has been my main argument all along.”

    Are you implying a children’s movie cannot be an exceptional, memorable, oscar-worthy film? I still believe Wall-E belongs in the animated category, designed to calm biases like yours, but that’s the same line of reasoning that only awards tragic, dramatic films and never comedies unless they come in the shape of musicals. That’s the Golden Globe and the Emmys keep making stupidities (safe stupidities) like separating the Drama Category from the Comedy. (Comedy/Musical!!! Like if “A Fish Called Wanda” had anything to do with “Dancing In The Dark”).

    I contemporary cinema, the tragic, bittersweet ending is as much of a cliché as the happy one for children. It’s obvious that Pixar knows its target audience and they have to make money… in the same way that Nolan has to include car chases and long action scenes to make a decent summer action-thriller based on a superhero. And Wall-E’s ending works with the movie… it just happens that it doesn’t work with You. And that’s appropriately subjective and valid… but not an argument.

    “Your point with TDK: Yes the film showed instances of lying in order to keep the public’s hopes up, but that’s all they were, INSTANCES. The entirety if WALL-E is a lie about love.”

    !!!! Forget my little explanation about the abnormal social conditions of the film’s future… Who are YOU to define what love is? Is “A Fish Called Wanda” a lie about love? Is “Love Actually”, with all its diversity but clearly predominant skepticism, a lie about love? Take a classic film like “Schindler’s List”… a film which historians agree that is not a sincere portrayal of Schindler’s self-interested spirit… and do you think that his last moments are a LIE about LOVE? (…”one jew, two cars”).

    No man, even if it were, it would still be no argument for considering it a subpar movie. And it’s not a lie. You cannot define love. You won’t ever be able to define love. Wall-E offers a light-hearted perspective on it, and validates it by setting it on very abnormal circumstances. Wall-E is desperate to love, and EVE discovers that too. They just happen to be there, and in Wall-E’s future, that is more than enough. The same happens with humans, who embrace an almost destroyed planet with the best of spirits, because they want to love… because they want to LIVE.

    And that is a brilliant, beautiful idea set in a genre film. Like film critic Dargis said of TDK: “it is aimed at the space between art and industry” and you shouldn’t be complaining about that. You should be thankful.

    “As you said, a film should not always be measured solely on its embodiment of the social structure. But I think I am correct in saying that your original, and remaining defense of the film was comparing it to the social structure and how the characters symbolized them rather accurately.”

    Macro-social dynamics, Scotty. Dynamics between social classes, urging for a backtrack on the alienation of privileged classes and forwarding a life that honors and emulates hard work, especially one that is meant to save the planet’s future. That is a MACRO-social meaning. If a guy likes a girl for the right reasons has not anything to do with what I was talking about, and yet the film does that in a successful way by making it plausible and probably in a world where interactions between individuals just don’t exist.

    “So I merely made that point to show the major absence of realism in just that one scene.”

    Yes…. and? Do you really want to talk about realism in The Dark Knight?

    Do you think a guy like the Joker really exists out there? Terrorists share similar psychological traits with him (a profound self-loath that wants to change society to feel better about himself) but the Joker’s motives are completely simplified for the purpose of the movie. Almost all terrorists out there have clear goals and targets beyond creating havoc and showing people their own hypocrisy. Just because they’re called terrorists instead of freedom fighters doesn’t mean they don’t have motives. Even Mikhail Bakunin, the father of modern anarchy, had his own defined enemies. (the ruling classes, “those bourgeois pigs”) .

    You’re arguing against the absence of realism in Wall-E but embrace it in the Dark Knight, a brilliant film full of plot holes with a central character that seems to have no motivations beyond destruction. Wow. You are one step away from redefining hypocrisy. Good for you.

    “Yes, of course these people make our lives easier, but I was saying that the reason they do that job is not for that reason, to make our lives easier.”

    And that is relevant to this discussion becaaaause…?

    “Napoleon said that religion is the only thing that keeps the poor from murdering the rich. He didn’t say respect or reverence.”

    Which is exactly how inspiration works, through lies and half-truths. That’s why I want you to read The Brothers Karamazov (do you like LOST? It’s one of the show featured books) and reflect upon the ending of TDK… it ends up with a massive lie, but one designed to help people gain hope and inspiration. One designed to make people better… like religion. You shouldn’t really be arguing so much about Wall-E’s good ending. No one ends up after the film having complete and blind hope, but they have a bit more of it, and that is very good.

    “Next, I didn’t say that WALL-E pursuing EVE was wrong. I simply stated that in trying to show you his possible motivations, which were very simple.”

    And? The motivations you describe match perfectly with the movie. He was alone, he needed someone. People and Robots in the axiom are all together in the same space, and yet they are alone. And that’s why the embrace the presence of love so quickly, because they’re hungry of it. That is established since the moment you see the “doorman robot” learning to wave with Wall-E. Or EVE becoming fascinated with the cigarette lighter. It is announced very early in the movie that getting in love too quickly it’s not just a “wall-e thing”. Another brilliance.

    “Again, it is man’s nature to be selfish, it’s called the will to power. Sure there are those who are almost the opposite. But these few are extremely disillusioned and clouded by religion.”

    Really? Then why does mother sacrifice themselves for their children? To ensure her genetic code gets to live in future generations? WHAT A SELFISH MOTHER!

    Why do atheist people go to war? To get themselves remembered? What a bunch of megalomaniacs, and here I was thinking some of them wanted to protect their loved ones.

    And what did you think when the big black prisoner in TDK threw the detonator off the ferry’s window? “Nolan is crazy if he expects me to buy this”? Right.

    You need to learn a lot in life before you can try to define what “man’s nature” is. Maybe you’ll learn at some point that mere, absolute, selfish survival is “animals’ nature”… and even so, that’s not always the case.

    “I say this because when a man likes a woman, or vice versa, they don’t care about much else except having that person for themselves. This is a complete contrast to what you originally said, about WALL-E eventually wanting humans to get back to earth only because he wanted to see EVE happy.”

    It is a part of human love to see the loved ones happy. Especially people who are accustomed to self-sacrifice. Especially people who don’t have anything else. It is in character with Wall-E’s personality, why shouldn’t he? Like I said before, you seem to know very little about life. But I’m not going to pity you here. Open your mind and look at life with other eyes. You don’t require traveling to check how unexpected, unpredictable and rich life can be.

    “Sure we may want to see the other person happy, but only because it means it improves our chances of getting together.”

    …. When the guy is almost dead? Crushed by giant trash compacters?

    Haven’t you ever heard of guys in terminal illness telling their girlfriends and wives to meet someone after they’ve died, or maybe even breaking with her to allow them be happy and not confined to their deathbeds?

    “And I also like Magnolia very much. Now that is actually how most relationships go. That half-smile at the very end shows a hint of optimism, almost forced optimism that we try to create, but other than that all of the other relationships were a mess, the opposite of what a relationship should be.”

    Hoffman’s character was a completely good man who felt empathy for the old man’s pain and wanted him to help him at all costs. Reilly’s character fell in love with a girl that had almost nothing to do with his personality, and yet he fell in love. And they clicked together in like, less than a day. Julianne Moore’s character says she married his husband for money but fell in love with him while he was old and dying. How is that?

    You’re having too many double-standards in this discussion. Revise some of your arguments (if not all of them) and come back only then, please. Maybe in that way you will stop wasting us both our time.

  • 22 12-24-2008 at 1:27 pm

    Michel said...

    Kris:

    “La Vitta es Bella” turns into a territory that’s completely known: the holocaust tragedy, with the westerners saving the day at the end and the kid living and narrating in voice-over. Nothing new. It’s the contrast with the first half and the cleverness of the father’s antics in the second which validate the film. …. sounds familiar? Wall-E is just like that.

    In “Adaptation” the film takes a turn into predictable (and announced since the beginning) territory by making it a linear movie about individual epiphanies, car chases, guns and drugs. It becomes a pastiche, an intertextualiy, a reference to other great owrks of art that had nothing to do with the first portion of the film.
    Like Wall-E with “2001: A Space Oddissey”, a reference that I would deem superficial if it’s not because Kubrick’s film was ALSO about dependance on artifical intelligence and the steps of human improvement, of human evolution.

    I don’t have any trouble with you disagreeing with me. You arguments hold no water because they’re not inherent to bad films… because they’re likely to be driven by subjectivity and not because of objective analysis. The “problems” you see are present in some of the most brilliant pieces of brilliant filmmaking, but you see it as cheap, “not artfuly” and “without purpose”. How do you define that? What is exactly that made this “not artfully”? The fat that the films I mentiones were art house films not interested with making millions of dollars and Wall-E is a summer entertainment film designed for enjoyment of different generations? Hmmm…. if that’s the case, you’re suffering from extreme hypocrisy and the same closedmindedness that infects the Academy Awards.

    And what do you mean with it’s not unique criticism? It’s certainly a minority, and numbers are not relevant here. Objectivity is. Have you wondered why most critics like the movie but you don’t? That’s the point.

    Learn to distinguish subjectivity from objectivity. The film doesn’t undercut its own promise… you didn’t understood what the promise was. The film doesn’t “get lost” in it’s second half… you did. I’m not arguing agains your opinion… I’m arguing against the obvious contradictions your arguments have, by pointing out how that same “flaws” you mention work wonderfully in other films you don’t criticize. I don’t have a problem with bashing a film, I just don’t get how are you validating that beyond your own opinion… maybe you just can’t put your thoughts into words, and the reasons you select are not the better ones.

    Take care.

  • 23 12-24-2008 at 1:31 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “You arguments hold no water because they’re not inherent to bad films”

    I’ve never called “WALL-E” a “bad film” though. I do appreciate your side of things though, Michel. And no, I’ve never wondered why most critics like the movie and I don’t. I only know how I feel about it and would never betray that simply because I find myself in a minority. I would hope no one would do that.

    And by the way, I’ve never said any of my views on the film are anything other than subjective. You seem to be searching for an absolute truth in all of this. I think such a thing is impossible. You keep trying to damage opinions by classifying them as invalid, Michel. It’s difficult to engage that kind of attitude.

  • 24 12-24-2008 at 2:03 pm

    Michel said...

    Kris:
    You don’t have to betray anything, just stating how you felt is good enough. The moment where you try to find “reasons” (and that word as a meaning) for your displeasure with the film, you’re try to make objective causes for your own subjectivity… and that’s not the way to go.

    Think your problems with the film are subjective? Then act like so. When explaining how you felt, talk about yourself, how you see the world, how you don’t agree with the film’s message, how you would have done things differently, what other kinds of films you prefer… understand that this is an issue about YOUR tastes, now how the film was constructed.

    When you say things like “the film is lost in its second half” instead of “I felt lost inside the second half of the film because it was not a film for me, because I prefer this and that…” then you are acknowledging your subjectivity, and your issues are truly yours, not film’s.

    People can argue about flaws in a film, but only when they are trying to reach common grounds, objective arguments… not when they try to rationalize their own personal preferences in words that are wrongly selected.

    No offense at you, though. Just my two cents on how it’s too late to say this is just your opinion. No wonder why people had such a backlash.

  • 25 12-24-2008 at 2:11 pm

    Michel said...

    ps. sorry about the numerous typos and grammar mistakes. English is not my first language and I tend to write everything without checking it at the end.

  • 26 12-24-2008 at 5:06 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    First off Michel, I’m not a fanboy of TDK. Don’t assume things. Even if you were being sarcastic, don’t say that. Now that that is out of the way…

    We could have avoided a lot of bickering and not wasted a lot of time if I had known from the start that you didn’t think that Wall-E is a better movie than TDK. That’s certainly not to say I start up a discussion/argument everytime someone disagrees with me, it’s just that this particular year there have been people who thought that WALL-E is a masterpiece and TDK is highly over-rated, and their defense of that claim has been awfully, awfully weak. And maybe you or Kris disagrees here, but I think that if you label a film a great masterpiece, you should at least be able to logically back your claim up. Sure, in a technical sense, all art is subjective, but realistically there are a lot of films that almost everyone agrees is at least a good movie. Which reminds me of something you commented to Kris about. You said that the moment where we try to find and classify why we dislike (and I logically assume it goes both ways and we can put like in there as well) a film, we try to make objective causes about this. Well in that case, how can we ever have any film schools; why should we ever try to study great directors and why we consider their films to be of high quality. This certainly is not bound to cinema either. You said yourself that you give lectures on Fydodor Dostoevsky. Even if your lecture was solely from a subjective point of view, is he not already respected and admired enough to earn this extensive probing. That’s not to say that teachers go up their and say, read this or watch this and do what they do and you will be successful. No, but what they do provide us with is a type of format, if you will, that strongly appeals to a wide range of people. Now I’m sure you will say that this is not what you were talking about and that I’m an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but I see hardly no difference in the two. My God, if you watch any interview by any great artist, they will tell you their inspirations and how they endlessly and tirelessly studied these men’s works. Why is Citizen Kane talked about so much in every film class, or why is Shakespeare read so much? I think you have to admit that as a director or writer, these two men’s (that is Welles) is at the very least considered good, if not great, by anyone with a lick of talent in that field. So should we all just sit back and everyone keep saying over and over that Citizen Kane and Macbeth are good stories? No, we study them as much as possible to find out why they appeal so much to our palate.

    I’ll come back later. As I’ve moved towards, there is not much need in me and you discussing WALL-E and TDK anymore, because come to find out we almost view the films exactly the same. However, there are a few things that part of me won’t let go. So I’ll be back shortly.

  • 27 12-24-2008 at 10:44 pm

    Michel said...

    Kris: I don’t know where your comment went, but I can reply anyway.

    It’s not a language barrier. It’s a problem of comprehension. You may say all you want that you talk only about your opinion on the film, yet you speak in terms of absolutes, and people who come to this site do so because they have your (and other regular posters) commentaries in high regard. Because they seek people with a sound knowledge and experience in films, and what you say has an impact. Some responsibility about it wouldn’t kill anyone. When you say things like “the film it’s lost in its second half” you’re not stating subjectivity. You’re not acknowledging. You’re not saying: “I didn’t personally like it because I was expecting something else that prevented me from fully appreciating it”. You’re not.
    Do you want me to consider what you say subjective? Fine. I’ll gladly oblige soon as you type a sentence that fits said criteria of personal opinion. When you write out statements that leave no basis for subjectivity, I’m going to rightly assume you’re putting it out as fact.

    Because facts and objectivity do exist. They don’t exist only in agreements. I’ve been corrected too many times in my life to think that. Maybe that’s what you need too.

    Scott: Fair enough. I won’t call you a fanboy (only you see that as a pejorative) but I will recommend you once again to “slow things down”. You’re missing too many insightful discussions only because you jump the boat too quickly. With time, and security, you’ll do it with perfect timing, being able to identify a zealous stubborn in a moment. That wasn’t me. I love TDK. I also thought Wall-E was superb… and yet, my favorite subject is Ratatouille, which has a greater pacing and a lesser theme. But the main theme and the overarching message is also an integral part of a film, and if Wall-E managed to touch so many people, then it’s probably doing its job. It’s not a “cute-fest” No movie with such a pessimistic/cynical point of view can be a “cute-fest”.

    You should see what Robert McKee says about comedy and Citizen Kane says in his book “Story”. My copy of the book is in Spanish, so I’ll do my best at a translation:

    “Comedy is pure: if the audience laughs, it works, if it doesn’t laugh, it doesn’t work. End of discussion. That’s why critics hate comedy: because they don’t have anything to say. If I had to argue that “Citizen Kane” is an exaggerated exercise of dazzling binges, inhabited by stereotyped characters, slanted by a manipulative narration full of Freudian and Pirandellian clichés in total contradiction and made by a prepotent man of pompous words that is just trying to impress the world, we could be arguing forever because the audience of “Citizen Kane” is silent. But if I said that “A Fish Called Wanda” is not funny, they would feel pity for me and walk away. In comedy, laughter solves all discussions.” – Robert McKee

    ;) Until our next disagreement.

  • 28 12-24-2008 at 10:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    So basically I need to type “in my opinion” next to everything. Got it.

    Merry Christmas, Michel.

  • 29 12-24-2008 at 10:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And by the way, I removed my own comment, because hey, it’s the holidays! Don’t want to get bogged down in an argument. :)

  • 30 12-24-2008 at 11:04 pm

    Michel said...

    And yet here you are.
    I won’t argue anymore, you already got the point. You don’t have to put IMO disaclaimers all over. There are other words, if you want. :) Different kind of language, and you’ll spare the backlash and the controversial posts. Or maybe that’s exactly what you want. I’ll leave it up to you.

    Merry Christmas.

  • 31 12-25-2008 at 12:20 am

    Scott Ward said...

    “Are you implying a children’s movie cannot be an exceptional, memorable, oscar-worthy film?”

    In concise terms, yes. I know Kris and others have mentioned this year that Doubt (which I cannot comment on because I have not had the chance to see it yet) seems almost like it was a play that was filmed; that it looked as if it was copied and pasted on the screen. In other words, a term that has come up often about that film, uncinematic. Which is basically what I think of animated nearly all animated movies. This is also how I believe the Academy sees them; that’s why they have their own category. The documentary is another similarity; in my opinion there can be great documentaries that have very little cinematic aspect to them; again that’s why they have their own category. But back to animation, the director doesn’t have to worry about any lighting or how any of it sounds. He doesn’t have to worry about any boom mikes or tracking shots on a dolley or anything like that. Instead it’s just a group of professionals on a computer creating images. For me personally, the images aren’t nearly as powerful and striking and it’s also easier to do. Now you may believe that the five movies that tell their story the best should be the ones nominated for Best Picture, which is fine. It’s your opinion and mine is different. It’s just that I believe that the five best achievements of that year should get nominated, and as I said, I think is is awfully hard, but not impossible, for a Pixar film to be considered a grand achievement of cinema. Trust me, I have seen plenty of computer nerds, and in fact I live with one, who if you were to give him the time and equipment, could create the look of WALL-E. Sure he probably couldn’t write a good script or even story, but all you need is an English major for that. Not saying this is fact, but all I’m telling you is that you only need knowledge in computers. Whereas on a real film, the director has to know about such things as where to place the actors in the frame of the camera, or simply how to get everything they want in the frame and in the right focus; how to get the lighting right; how to get the sound, not only the dialog, but also external sounds where they aren’t obtrusive, just right. I think you get my point.

    “In contemporary cinema, the tragic, bittersweet ending is as much of a cliché as the happy one for children. It’s obvious that Pixar knows its target audience and they have to make money… in the same way that Nolan has to include car chases and long action scenes to make a decent summer action-thriller based on a superhero. And Wall-E’s ending works with the movie… it just happens that it doesn’t work with You. And that’s appropriately subjective and valid… but not an argument.”

    That’s true. As you know, I’m not a personal fan of happy ending movies, and that is because of how I view the world. In my opinion, they are either are big exaggeration, or they offer up a false lie of how the world is. You seem to think that I wish every movie had a sad ending and that all movies that have one I like. I can tell you that is no where near any truth. I see most movies with downer endings, or complete downer tones for that matter, as either being well converyed and expressed emotionally by the filmmaker and actors, or a pompous and pretentious sermon that fails in capturing the former’s sentimentality. As Fitzgerald wrote, “Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” The truest sense that we have of goodness or achievments is often times ruined by that person, if it was even there at all. Again, this is how I see the world. You probably differ, which would make your interpretation of art very different from mine. Which is why we got really lost in calling each other idiots for a while there. So in summation, yes I like sad endings more because they resonate with me much more than happy ones.

    “Who are YOU to define what love is?”

    Sure I can’t define love, but I can damn well give you its modern day characteristics. Michel I don’t know how old you are, but I can tell you that I have seen many, many relationships from teenagers to young adults. In other words, newly formed and young relationships. In high school I played sports and listened to the talk in the locker room. I listened to the talk, of girls too mind you, not just boys, at the parties on the weekends. I also just pay enough attention to the world in general to have a tight enough grasp on how the majority of relationships in the world work. I can tell you that through the man’s perspective, it’s fair to say that about 50% of realationships are started because the man, were both grown men here so I’ll say it, wants some ass. Does the man say this, certainly not. His entire forte is a load of falsities and lies to make the girl think that he actually likes her personality. I would estimate that around 25% remaining relationships are a case of puppy love. The man hangs around the first girl who smiles at him who he is even slightly physically attracted to. I have sound reason to assume the same is also very likely for the female. About 20%, or a fifth of the couples likely come together out of a case of a mixture of true love and also trying to feed the sexual libido. And the remaining five percent or thereabouts (probably even less, I just wanted to use nice, round numbers for the example) would be what we call true love. That is a strong desire to be with that person without even the thought of sex. Sure there is a physical attraction there, I’m not saying there isn’t, but in a way you can say that it is subordinate or that it takes a back seat.

    Yes I know I’m rambling and you probably don’t see the point, but all along I have said what would be the most plausible motivations for WALL-E in his love for EVE. After doing this, you have always proceeded to call me an idiot or some variation of that, and most recently you have asked me rhetorically who am I to say what love is. Well I’ll tell you Mickey, I, nor anyone else can define true love, but I can sure as hell tell you what I have seen; sights that have occured so often that you can mark them as factual. Now again, I don’t know what generation you are in and how love was then (although I know it couldn’t have been vastly different), but I can tell you how relationships work nowadays. The reason divorces are higer and the relationship as a whole is fleeting is because we are both impatient and controlled by our sexual urges too easily (and I say we here as everyone, not just men). Now you can debate this if you like, but I’ve been around and had my eyes open more than long enough to know that what I see is factual.

    Final point before I leave to go watch a movie and go to bed: the issue of realism in The Dark Knight.

    “Do you think a guy like the Joker really exists out there? Terrorists share similar psychological traits with him (a profound self-loath that wants to change society to feel better about himself) but the Joker’s motives are completely simplified for the purpose of the movie. Almost all terrorists out there have clear goals and targets beyond creating havoc and showing people their own hypocrisy. Just because they’re called terrorists instead of freedom fighters doesn’t mean they don’t have motives. Even Mikhail Bakunin, the father of modern anarchy, had his own defined enemies. (the ruling classes, “those bourgeois pigs”) .”

    Okay, no I don’t think that there is someone who embidies the Joker as we see him. However, as you were getting at, there are many people who share his goals and motivations. I don’t know if you thought about it this way or not, but the Joker is a symbol, and really a perfect one at that. First off, he is close enough to us, in that he is understood to be human, so that his madness seems somewhat real and possible to us. Yet, at the same time, he is dressed up in a ostentatiously bizarre costume to seperate him from us enough to allow Chris Nolan to make his madness and his tactics absurd. Like the perfect symbol in any kind of art, it is real enough to us so we can in some way identify with it and share something with it, yet it is also given some kind of quality that is abnormal to average human experience making it possible for us to better see its absurdities as believable.

    So no, TDK is not completely realistic. But it’s message is. WALL-E is a cartoon. I’m not looking at humans on the screen, so already, by no bias whatsoever as you claim, my brain tells me that this entire work is going to try to form some kind of meaning or message. Again this is not a bias or any kind of close mindedness. If I see one CGI man shoot another CGI man with everything computer generated in the background, my brain is not going to register this as shocking at all because it was created by some people and I know that it only exists in some screen. But now, even if you take actors and it is done with certain prosthetics and other camera tricks, if I see a real man shoot another real man, even though I know that it is fake, it is going to have a far, far more profound affect on me than the CGI stuff had. Even though I know it is fake, I know real bullets weren’t used and I know that the blood is fake, it still looks real to my mind and my conscious has to tell my brain that it is not real. You don’t have to be Sigmund Fucking Freud to realize this stuff. Again, it all goes back to what I talked about earlier; that to be truly effective in its themes or symbolism or motifs or whatever, a work has to seem real enough to the viewer/reader so they can see the possibility of them encountering the same scenario. Yet it also needs to have some kind of exaggerated qualities to allow the highest form of whatever emotion to exist. A Pixar movie has only the latter and none of the former. Again, so you won’t misinterpret, this is not being close minded at all.

    “You’re arguing against the absence of realism in Wall-E but embrace it in the Dark Knight, a brilliant film full of plot holes with a central character that seems to have no motivations beyond destruction. Wow. You are one step away from redefining hypocrisy. Good for you.”

    Can we find a motivation in everything? No. That was one of the main points of TDK. The Joker had no motivations and no higher goal; just destruction. That is why there was nothing that held him back; not money, not power, not women. As you said, there are people out there, namely terrorists, who have motivations that we can’t comprehend. Why do serial killers do what they do? It’s usually something we see as little and insignificant.

    And then you have nerve to call me a hypocrite. Read above. Once again it’s how the mind works. If there is a stupid cop drama that goes through every cliche in the book twice, it is still going to, on a surface level, be more real than a creative animated film. The more realistic work does not always mean the better work. And as I have gone into some detail about, TDK could also validly be said to be more realistic than WALL-E in its meaning and symbolism also. For a man of your self proclaimed stature, name calling at every turn is rather elementary even if it is justified. But in this case, wow. As I said in my previous post, you told Kris that the moment you try to classify your reasons for pleasure or displeasure in something you try to make objective causes. Hell yes you try to find objective reasons for this!!! If your view was correct, then every English or film class I take I would walk up to the professor and say, “Professor Smith, I’m not going to read/watch the assigned book/film because it is merely your subjective opinion that this work is good. Instead I will read/watch what I think is good.” This would be fucking stupid and I wouldn’t learn half of what I would have! Their are aspects of art that appeal to human senses more than others. It should be our honor to try and probe the works the majority of people consider great, and try to understand why they are great so we can share this knowledge with others. No one is obligated to like this works that are considered great, but if you don’t, it’s far more than likely that you don’t have a proper taste in art. This may sound pretentious, but it’s correct, and I also wouldn’t be the only one on here sounding poppous. You told Kris to act like his opinion is subjective and to make his subjectivity clear to his readers when he discusses a film. Then you go on to say, and I quote directly…

    “The film doesn’t undercut its own promise… you didn’t understood what the promise was. The film doesn’t “get lost” in it’s second half… you did.”

    Well Sir Michel, make your subjectivity known. It sure looks like to me that you just told Mr. Tapley flat out that he didn’t understand the promise and that he got lost. Sure seems hypocritical to me. Practice what you preach Mikey. I guess you want everyone else except you to say that their arguments and statements are completely subjective, but not you since you are right.

    I know that none of this has much, if any relevancy at all to the original discussion, but it just shows who the true hypocrite is here. You tell me I need to refine my arguments. Well I can tell you I don’t need to refine shit. I’m not the one on here acting like every one of his words is pure sacrosanctity. If we disagree about something, that’s one thing. But I won’t let you walk easy when you call me a hypocrite when your words prove the same. Now go and call me irreversably or a little boy or something else. Avoid everything but the fact. Again I can take being disagreed with. But as I’m sure you can tell I’m pissed. Now I don’t know what you and your Zen master think is just cause to get pissed about, but in my book being called a hypocrite for no just reason by a hypocrite takes one of the top spots.

    As the saying goes – “Whatever you condemn, you have done yourself.” Remember that often times we place our on vices and faults onto others to try and rid the fact that we ourselves have the trait.

    If you belive in the whole Jesus Christ deal, merry christmas. I’ll be back later.

  • 32 12-26-2008 at 2:52 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Michel:
    I made the claim that it is man’s nature to be selfish; that this is man’s notion of the will to power. And like neary every single person on this planet that has ever lived, you clearly, to some degree, think that this notion is wrong, selfish, and immoral. Well Mickey, I simply paraphrasing a man you may have heard of, Friedrich Nietzsche. Now I hope you are sensible and at least somewhat humble enough not to call this man an idiotic little boy.

    You seem to think that you threw a monkey wrench in my argument when you brought up the mother who sacrifices herself for her children. This is exactly what I was talking about before in regards to love. I said that most people’s lives are shit and a love of something is essentially the only reason that they live. And what I am about to say next is something that the world considers wrong beyond words; that just because I am going against their normal ethos of moral thoughts, that I’m going straight to the ninth circle. What I can safely tell you that I will always value my life enough to die for some person. There. Crucify me. I’m sure that simply because you believe different you will say that I am way out of my league and I need to learn a lot about the world. Well Michel, just because I don’t believe in the world’s bullshit standards, that doesn’t mean that I need to learn something from them. Oh, I can assure that I’ve already had my taste of the world’s standards, so I don’t need to learn anything. Let me remind you that the mother is in a catch-22, whatever decision she makes, even if she decides to do nothing, she is going to be at a loss. And you know damn well that we as a society would ridicule her if she didn’t give her own life for her child’s. This is a sad truth we have formed as a society. Another thing, I can tell you that my life will be important enough to me not to give it away to some person. As I said, this mother is going to face sorrow no matter what she chooses. Anythime someone says they would give their life for their son/daughter/spouse, do they say it boldly and proudly. No, because it is something they feel that they will unfortunately be forced to do. If man’s true nature was not to be selfish, they would instead proudly claim this fact. But no, they don’t. Instead they realize that this action will come at the expense of their own lives, and that saddens them. THAT IS SELFISHNESS. Yes it’s not the way we think of selfishness, but if man’s true nature was as you say it is, that is to be unselfish, then this person would have no problems whatsoever dying for someone else. Sure the mother let herself die for her children, and yes that is an unselfish act. I would certainly say she should be commended for doing that. But did she not go against her nature in giving up her life? Is she not going against her will to live? If you still say that she is not going against that, then you are saying that mankind does not value it’s life in anyway, in that he would be easily willing to die for something. And if you still claim this, don’t waste your time writing anything else because I sure as hell am not going to waste my time responding to someone so disillusioned.

    So again to drive home my p0int, as Nietzsche said, it is man’s nature to be selfish, and by the conventions that our antecedants have formed, most of what is considered good goes against this. Therefore most of the types of actions we strive for are difficult because they completely go against our nature. So simply because we strive for some type of action, does this mean that it is good. No, because as you admit, and as anyone with a good mind admits, religion seriously distorts and clouds the truth. But what people don’t realize is that the ones in the dark, with the misconceptions, are not only the religious people. No, instead this group is nearly every single man because the morals and values that common societies share almost mirror religious values. Which is why nearly all of religious people become that way out of a hope for profit, which is the afterlife. They figure that if the are going to try to be moral and virtuous, they may as well get something good out of it. Yet again, this is a struggle, because it goes against man’s nature to be such a way, which is either something you don’t believe in or something you can’t seem to grasp. Aristotle and Plato and other ancient philosophers allways talked about virtue and morals. But one thing they always mentioned, and I disticnly remember Aristotle talking about this in his Nicomachaen Ethics, is that just because a virtuous action is done, thsi does not mean that the doer of the action is virtuous. Which very closely ties into what I was talking about. Since the woman unselfishly gave her life for her children, does that mean that she is unselfish in nature and does this prove that mankind in general is not selfish? Fuck no!!! Like I, Aristotle, and Nietzsche all say, doing one action does not give that person the action’s characteristics. The actual act of being unselfish does not bring joy to a person. It is only the feeling that they get afterwards from doing the action that the person takes joy in, meaning they take joy in knowing that they have excercised their right to choose and chosen to do the good thing. Contrary to what most think, it certainly don’t believe that this makes the person unselfish. You could even go so far to say that because the person does the action so that they can later take joy in knowing that they did the action, that this in itself is very selfish. After all, like Nietzsche said, truth has been turned topsy-turvy because of mankinds false misconceptions (if you doubt me I can provide you the exact reference). Which I think is safe to say that judging by your words, you suffer from many of these same misconceptions.

    Now I have provided you with sound and logical reasoning to back up my claims. Yet you merely provide me with plain and simple claims that as I have proven are obviously your opinion. Yet you say to me that there is a lot I need to learn about life before I can define man’s nature. Well I can certainly tell you that I don’t know everything, but I know enough to do a lot of good. And you also seem to think that just because we act differently, that our nature differs from animal’s inherent nature. Well just because we have created gods and other sacred things and we therefore cognizantly change the way we act, that does not mean that our nature is different from animals. Animals just DO. That’s the best way to describe it. But since we create these morals for ourselves and try to adhere to them, does that mean we are different. And remember, that’s exactly what morals are, some man made device. As we seem to think happened, one day in the beginning God came dowm and handed us a code to live by; a set of virtues and morals. That did not happen, we invented them. Animals do not have the sophistication to develop this ethos. Hypothetically put a “moral” or “virtuous” animal out there and see how long he lasts. It won’t be long.

    Now you keep on offering me your sacrosanct opinions on the world and acting like they are true and pure gold. You back them up very poorly and you call me a hypocrite for no sound reason. You have issue. My God you even spent several sentences on one post telling me the stupid little trick that everyone has heard about writing “norom” on your head. Michel, I am honestly not kidding you when I say this, and it really makes me wonder why I am arguing with someone who would put that in a serious argument, but we honsetly and sincerely used to laugh about in the third grade, when I was nine. The longest post yet would be one where I pasted every instance where you have placed yourself on a pedestal or you have belittled me. If you really were as smart and sensible as you think and if I really were as childish, ignorant, and idiotic as you think, then I don’t believe you would have had to go to this many lengths to try and disprove what I am saying. Instead you need to try, as hard as it may be, to humble yourself at least for a moment and logically realize that either you are not nearly as smart as you think yourself to be, or I am not nearly as dumb and ignorant as you think I am. I was ready to pass this off as nothing more than a hyperbole until you have kept on and on with the same elementary musings. If you doubt or question my claims about this, just go back and read the previous posts. One instance I will provide you with, quoted by you, “This is going to be one hell of a post.” Now as you have said before about me with no reason or logic, but how can I, in light of statements such as the one provided, truly have a reasonable argument with anyone who feels that way. If you are going to keep with statements such as that, then I will quite bothering with you. I’m sure my friends and I could go toe-to-toe at the worst with George Bush in a debate. But a logical defense by him wouldn’t be that he is president of the U.S. and therefore we aren’t on his level and have no right to argue with him. Well whether you see it or not, this is what you are doing. You said that you give annual lectures on Dostoevsky, but I know I forced you into that one. You also seem to imply that because you worked on a documentary crew in Bolivia, you are more qualified than I to tald about and understand the working class. There are countless instances of you exalting yourself throughout your writings and they often times aren’t subtle at all. Whereas you seem to think so, I am not your student here. The reason that I have not read The Brothers Karamazov yet is because I semi-recently just got into Dostoevsky and I am currently reading his novel The Possessed (or Devils or Demons – whickever translation you prefer). As Bob Dylan sang, “you are very well read, it’s well known.” I haven’t had as much time as you to read these works, but if you are going to hold that against me and think yourself better, then you are only hurting yourself. Like you told me, remember Icarus. And if you say that you have never implied that you are better than me, I can provide you with and explicit and irrefutable example:

    “Oh, you’re way out of you league, little boy. You need a lot of mental steroid if you want to have the balls to tell me I don’t know about Dostoevsky. I give lectures about the man on an annual basis to kids like you.”

    There you go. Once you want to step off that pedestal, we could hopefully have a reasonable argument. I’m going now, but I’ll be back, mainly because you obviously think that I didn’t understand Magnolia and you did.

    And speaking of Icarus, I certainly know the conventional meaning of the myth. But since we one day will all die, wouldn’t that be a hell of a way to go. Could it not be understood that Icarus had been higher than any man had ever gone? Seems like a better way to go than to die of old age where everyone has to do everything for you. Just another take on that myth I though I’d share with you. I’ll be back later.

  • 33 12-26-2008 at 3:14 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    And Michel, the majority of that, especially towards the end, may seem irrelavent to you or you may think that I did that solely to attack you, but that’s wrong. I did that to try and show you that in here, we are on equal platforms, which you obviously don’t think so.

  • 34 12-27-2008 at 12:36 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Oh yea, meant to say “will always value my life enough NOT to die for any person.” Sorry about the typo.

  • 35 12-27-2008 at 11:36 pm

    Michel said...

    Round 3:

    “I know Kris and others have mentioned this year that Doubt seems almost like it was a play that was filmed; that it looked as if it was copied and pasted on the screen. In other words, a term that has come up often about that film, uncinematic. Which is basically what I think of animated nearly all animated movies.”

    Scott, in your last post you implied we were in a similar platform here, and I was to accept that as a sign of courtesy, but then you open your first post with this fine example of idiocy and ignorance… and failing to point that out in the most clear terms I can find would be unfair to you. First, “Doubt” IS a theater play adapted to cinema, and it has certain common places from poorly adapted plays… but so it does “Twelve Angry Men”, both the original and the remake, which are not play adaptations, but extraordinary films in their own right. Or Ian McKellen’s “Richard III”, or Kenneth Brannagh’s “Hamlet”, adaptations from difficult Shakespeare plays that still retain much of the original dialogues but re-contextualizing the visuality in a way that cannot be achieved in theater. Are they lesser works because they are too “theater-playish”?

    Let’s humor you and assume they were… would that be important to the academy? Not really, since they didn’t mind the subpar and too theater-playish “Chicago” winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

    But let’s count out the Academy, since they have figured out the animated films deal a long time ago… let’s just focus on the actual merits of the movie…. why is it that Wall-E fails to be a great CINEMATIC achievement? Because animated features are UNCINEMATIC??? Are you aware that cinema is a mixture of many previous arts like music, theater and other visual arts? You bring “Doubt” into the debate: Are you even aware of what the differences are between mediums like theater and film?

    I’ll be kind enough to give you some of that wisdom. Here I am, quoting again the always concise Robert McKee:

    “In the twentieth century we have three mediums to tell stories: prose (novels, short novels, short stories), theater (plays, musicals, operas, mimic, ballet) y the screen (cinema and television). Each medium narrates complex stories taking its characters to simultaneous conflicts in the three levels of life, but each one has a different ability and a beauty innate to one of those levels.

    – The unique and wonderful strength of the novel is the dramatization of inner conflicts. That’s what prose does better, even better than theater or movies. No matter if it’s in third or first person, the writer slides inside the character’s thoughts and feelings with subtlety, density and a group of poetic images than allow him to project in the reader’s imagination the confusion and passion of inner conflicts. In a novel the personal conflict it’s delineated through description, with verbal images of the characters trying to struggle against society or the surroundings (3rd level of conflict), while personal conflict (2nd level of conflict) receives its form through dialogue.

    – The singular grace of theater is the dramatization of the personal conflict (2nd level of conflict). That’s what theater does, much better than novels or films. Every great work of art, it’s almost in its entirety pure dialogue, maybe an eighty percent for the ear, and just a twenty percent for sight. Non-verbal communication; gestures, glances, making love, fighting, is important, but the personal conflicts will evolve mainly, and for better or worse, through conversation. Besides, playwrights have a license which the screenwriters lack. They can not only write poetic dialogue but, just like Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and Chritopher Frye, use poetry itself as dialogue, elevating the expressivity of the personal conflict until amazing heights. And to that we can add the use of the direct voice of the actor to add connotations and pauses that elevate it even more. In Theater, the inner conflict is dramatized with subtext. Since the actor gives life to a character from the inside, the public perceives through his words and actions the thoughts and feelings concealed behind them. Just like a novel in first person, theater can bring a character to the stage and use a monologue to chat in private with the audience. However, in its direct allocutions, the character doesn’t have to be telling the truth or, if he’s being sincere, be able to understand his inner life and tell the whole truth. The ability that the theater has to dramatize inner conflict (1st level of conflict) through subtext is vast but limited when it’s compared to the novel. The stage can also dramatize extra-personal conflicts, but how much society can it include? How much of set design and props?

    – The unique ability and splendor of film lies in the dramatization of the extra-personal conflict (3rd level of conflict), with enormous and vivid images of human beings trapped inside their society and their environment, struggling with their lives. That’s what cinema does best, much better than a theater play or a novel. If we should select only one shot from Blade Runner and ask the best prose stylist of the world to create a verbal equivalent of that composition, he would fill page after page with words and would never achieve its essence. And that’s only one of the thousand of complex images that flow through the experience of a public. Critics usually complain about chase scenes like if they were a new phenomenon. The first great discovery of the silent film was the chase, which gave life to Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops, to thousand of westerns, to most of D.W. Griffith, to “Ben Hur” and “Battleship Potemkin”. The chase is the hunt of the human being by society, a human being struggling in the physical world to escape and survive. It’s about a pure extra-personal conflict, of movement, of genuine cinematography, of the most natural thing you wish to do with a camera and an editing machine. To express personal conflict (2nd level of conflict) the screenwriter must use a simple and verbal dialogue. When using a theatrical language in the screen, the logical reaction of the public is: “People do not talk like that”. Except in the special case of films based on Shakespeare plays, screenwriting demands a natural form of speech. However, cinema gains a great power in the non-verbal communication. With the close-ups, the lighting and the connotations created with angles, the gestures and facial expressions become very eloquent. However, the screenwriter cannot dramatize the personal conflict with the poetic plenitude of theatre. The dramatization of inner conflict in the screen is limited to subtext, while the camera looks at the faces of the actors to show their thoughts or feelings. Even the personal narration of the filmmaker before the camera in “Annie Hall” or Salieri’s confessions in “Amadeus” present different layers of subtext. Inner life can be expressed in impressive forms in cinema, but it can’t reach the density or complexity that has in the novel.

    Those are the norms. Let’s imagine now the problems of adaptations. Through the decades hundreds of millions of dollars have been dedicated to acquire the cinematographic rights of literary words that later have been thrown to the lap of screenwriters, who have read them and have run away, shouting in the middle of the night: “Nothing happens! All the book is developed in the mind of the reader!”. That’s why the first principle of an adaptation is: – The purest the novel, the purest the theatre play, the worst the film. – “Pure literature” doesn’t refer to literary achievement. Purity in a novel means that the narration is set exclusively in the level of inner conflict ant that it employs linguistic complexities to incite, construct and present the narrative climax independently of personal, social and environmental forces: James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Purity in theater makes reference to a narration that is centered exclusively in the level of personal conflict and uses the spoken word in a poetic excess to incite, construct and presnt the narrative climx with a relative independence to the inner, social and environmental forces: Eliot’s “The Cocktail”.

    If we must adapt, we will have to descend a step or two away from “pure” literature and look for stories in which the conflict is distributed in the three levels… strengthening the extra-personal. “The bridge over the river Kwai” of Pierre Boule may not be taught along Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka in seminars, even though it’s an excellent work, inhabited by complex characters guided by inner and personal conflicts and dramatized mainly in an extra-personal level. Due to Carl Foreman’s adaptation it became, in my opinion, in David Lean’s best film.”
    …

    Hmmm… characters guided by inner and personal conflicts, in a story with a prominent conflict of social transcendence, where lack of dialogue is present to ensure a much more visual work, abundant with body language, chases, movement and social commentary?

    Sounds like Wall-E.

    There you had a perfect lesson on the differences between the different mediums. I do not advocate that purity is necessary to ensure the quality of a movie, but I do know that Wall-E is not UNCINEMATIC. There you had a great lecture on distinguishing three different mediums. If you want to add comic books to that, read Will Eisner’s “Sequential Art” or any interview to the great Alan Moore that touches a semiotic aspect.

    And after you’ve done those rituals (meant to purify you from that extremely uninformed bias you suffer) then watch some examples of animation that excel out-of-this-world expectations, like Mononoke-hime, or the Ghost In The Shell series, or the amazing animated short from polish Tomek Baginski: “The Cathedral” and “Fallen Art” (superb experimental allegories respectively about Religion and the Military, completely lacking of any dialogue, and abundant with social commentary).

    And then, when you have satisfied your need of “non-happy endings”, you can re-watch Pixar’s filmography, if you want. Maybe then you’ll realize that being extraordinarily forward, open and optimistic, in a world that grows more and more ironical… it’s a refreshing gift. Maybe you’ll realize that Wall-E employs visual richness, movement and social conflict (things completely pertinent to cinem) in a way that no other favorite film this season has been able to do simply because they’re all too “talky”.

    Maybe all you need to do is grow some respect for the animated films you were so ready to dismiss. Maybe you’ll realize how you missed your chance to not say anything.

    “This is also how I believe the Academy sees them; that’s why they have their own category.”

    That doesn’t make them right. They’re just taking off the competition. That’s why so many times the Animated category has one favorite and a few other competitors to fill the spaces (except magnificent exceptions like “Les Triplettes De Belleville”.

    “The documentary is another similarity; in my opinion there can be great documentaries that have very little cinematic aspect to them; again that’s why they have their own category.”

    !!!!!!!!!
    God.
    Tell me something, my boy: Have you ever, EVER read any book about cinema theory? Documentary theory?
    Do you happen to know that the VERY FIRST cinematic works were DOCUMENTARIES? Are you familiar with Robert Flagherty? Or the Lumiere brothers??!!
    Do you really think that cinema is almost completely pertinent to fiction?
    You’re slowly crossing the line to complete hopelessness.

    “But back to animation, the director doesn’t have to worry about any lighting or how any of it sounds.”

    !!!!!! ….. Buy a Mononoke-hime’s dvd. Look for the making off. Watch Hayao Miyasaki spend almost two hours defining the correct yellow for a gold piece that appears only a few seconds. Or watch Andrew Stanton supervising the creation of Wall-E’s computerized voice. God, you’re on fire today!

    “He doesn’t have to worry about any boom mikes or tracking shots on a dolley or anything like that.”

    Neither did Hitchcock, he had director assistants and photographers for that. Most of the time, he was comfy in directing chair.

    “Instead it’s just a group of professionals on a computer creating images.”

    Agreed… except the “just” part. It’s still a very talented and arduous work.

    “Now you may believe that the five movies that tell their story the best should be the ones nominated for Best Picture, which is fine. It’s your opinion and mine is different.”

    Yeah, but yours cannot be supported by anything rational, other than your belief in the relative inferiority of animated films. Most of the time, I just agree with my opponent that we have differing views on something. This time my opinion just happens to be better than yours. But looking at what you wrote, that’s no merit of mine.

    “It’s just that I believe that the five best achievements of that year should get nominated, and as I said, I think it is awfully hard, but not impossible, for a Pixar film to be considered a grand achievement of cinema.”

    Right, that was why Beauty & Beast was nominated to Best Film all those years ago, right? The academy members didn’t have any great achievement in cinema and filled the spot with a cartoon movie, didn’t they?

    “Trust me, I have seen plenty of computer nerds, and in fact I live with one, who if you were to give him the time and equipment, could create the look of WALL-E. Sure he probably couldn’t write a good script or even story, but all you need is an English major for that. Not saying this is fact, but all I’m telling you is that you only need knowledge in computers.”

    !!!!!!!!!!
    That’s the genius of the Pixar guys. They make it seem so easy. And then guys like you take it for granted. Good lord in heaven.

    “Whereas on a real film, the director has to know about such things as where to place the actors in the frame of the camera, or simply how to get everything they want in the frame and in the right focus; how to get the lighting right; how to get the sound, not only the dialog, but also external sounds where they aren’t obtrusive, just right.”

    All titanic works that I’ve done more than once, in a filming crew. All things that I could do with my wife and a few friends. And since she has a Phd. In Philology, we wouldn’t have to sweat it too much, shouldn’t we?

    “I think you get my point.”

    Yes, I did. I get that you weren’t trying to sound ignorant of almost every little detail in your long paragraph… you just happened to be so.

    So much for us being a similar level. It wasn’t an attack near the end, it was an attack right the beginning, implying we were on the same page in this topic. It’s almost offensive you think of me like that. Maybe it was just this topic. Maybe you did abandon your extremely ignorant bias in the subsequent topics. I will address them eventually. Now I have to take a break.

    See you soon. And take care…

  • 36 12-28-2008 at 1:18 am

    Michel said...

    A shot at redemption, Scott. Let’s see this time:
    “As you know, I’m not a personal fan of happy ending movies, and that is because of how I view the world. In my opinion, they are either are big exaggeration, or they offer up a false lie of how the world is. You seem to think that I wish every movie had a sad ending and that all movies that have one I like. I can tell you that is no where near any truth. (..) Again, this is how I see the world. You probably differ, which would make your interpretation of art very different from mine.”

    Like you said, I’m right. Since the beginning, I told you how the main cause of your appreciation of the movie was about your own issues, your differences in perspective. And that’s completely fine. Maybe your experiences are not the best ones. People tend to remember more the times they’ve cried than the times they’ve laughed, or been just happy. It’s called “selective heuristics”, look it up. Maybe you don’t like sad endings, at least not gratuitous ones… just bittersweet, a little mixed up, ironical conclusions. But the issue here is that you’re letting your feelings, perspectives and personal issues getting in the way of valuing a film for what it truly is. Not to mention your opinion on animated films. The world is too vast to be measured completely by your own biased point of views. Allowing too much subjectivity in is not the mark of a critic. It’s the mark of passive spectator. Just that, in your case, you’re a passive audience member attempting to judge a film without even attempting to go over your own subjectivity. I’m not saying my way of seeing the world is better or more open than yours… I’m saying that in seeing a movie I try to validate it for what it is, and I don’t think its views or message is wrong… especially when it’s a call for human and environmental improvement, and one that seems to be well-received by people.

    Bottom line… in the moment that you acknowledge this, you’re proving that the one with issues is you… not the film. And I’m not the slightly bit interested in your perspective of the world, but in how the movie is. How is a discussion with you supposed to be enlightening about the film if you acknowledge that one of the bars for judging its quality is that it doesn’t agree with your views? If only you could defend your views, but this topic is too big for both of us. One could only expect a more humble approach, and yet, we got something a lot different.

    “Sure I can’t define love, but I can damn well give you its modern day characteristics.”

    ????

    “Michel I don’t know how old you are, but I can tell you that I have seen many, many relationships from teenagers to young adults. In other words, newly formed and young relationships. In high school I played sports and listened to the talk in the locker room. I listened to the talk, of girls too mind you, not just boys, at the parties on the weekends. I also just pay enough attention to the world in general to have a tight enough grasp on how the majority of relationships in the world work. I can tell you that through the man’s perspective, it’s fair to say that about 50% of relationships are started because the man, were both grown men here so I’ll say it, wants some ass. Does the man say this, certainly not. His entire forte is a load of falsities and lies to make the girl think that he actually likes her personality. I would estimate that around 25% remaining relationships are a case of puppy love. The man hangs around the first girl who smiles at him who he is even slightly physically attracted to. I have sound reason to assume the same is also very likely for the female. About 20%, or a fifth of the couples likely come together out of a case of a mixture of true love and also trying to feed the sexual libido. And the remaining five percent or thereabouts (probably even less, I just wanted to use nice, round numbers for the example) would be what we call true love. That is a strong desire to be with that person without even the thought of sex. Sure there is a physical attraction there, I’m not saying there isn’t, but in a way you can say that it is subordinate or that it takes a back seat.”

    !!!

    …

    That’s your “field experience”. Locker rooms. Little talks. Statistics and all. Huge amount of generalities, taken for granted. Biased assumptions, no irregular cases, no search for causes… miniature pocket sociology.

    Do yourself a favor… read Neil Strauss’ “The Game”. Start from there. Not only it will improve your life, but also spare me the time of having to explain you how much more rich life is apart from those field investigations of yours. Then read Neil’s recommended literature, and read also the books of the guys that are mentioned in the book. I recommend you Wayne Elise.

    And you’re welcome. I won’t even try to reply to anything else you say on the matter, no matter how many times more I see the self-proclaimed connoisseur of modern relationships deem ignorant and superficial stereotypes as “factual” (ugh). Read again what I told you about the circumstances in the movie being exaggerated to understand the sudden need for personal relationships in almost all the characters, and then come back again and talk about the actual movie… not your… (ugh) factual conclusions about human mating.
    (God, reading that, I practically had suicidal impulses for the first time in my life.)

    “I don’t know if you thought about it this way or not, but the Joker is a symbol, and really a perfect one at that.”

    I didn’t have a problem “thinking about it in that way” because Nolan made it explicit in an excessive number of interviews. Joker is a symbol, a synthesis, an archetype. I get that. He was not reflecting human dynamics but rather being an icon of them, an every icon has to carry some inaccuracies, some exaggerations, some falsities… exactly like Wall-E. So, how come you embrace in TDK what you call in Wall-E: “a lie”, stating that real modern dynamics are not like that?

    Hmm… and yet you wonder why I call you a hypocrite. I don’t mind you are one, but arguing later about it it’s not something a clear mind does. Why don’t you reflect over your own arguments instead of just waiting until I have to point it out for you? I wouldn’t think you were right the first time but at least I would admire you for having the pride to do it.

    “So no, TDK is not completely realistic. But it’s a message. WALL-E is a cartoon.”

    !!!!! Kid, I this information as a fact, one that probably may help you later in your life, and not one meant to offend you…….. you are acting like an Idiot. Snap out of it. See this asterisk -> * ? Each time I put it in the text, is meant to be a reminder of your stupidity, and it will appear every time you say a nonsense that’s completely unsupported by any kind of rational thinking. Whether you can see that or not, that’s your business.

    “I’m not looking at humans on the screen, so already, by no bias whatsoever as you claim, my brain tells me that this entire work is going to try to form some kind of meaning or message.”
    *
    “Again this is not a bias or any kind of close mindedness.”
    *
    “If I see one CGI man shoot another CGI man with everything computer generated in the background, my brain is not going to register this as shocking at all because it was created by some people and I know that it only exists in some screen.”

    * It’s called suspension of disbelief. You’re actually making an attack on the entire-science fiction… or your brain. I don’t know. Do you want me to point you at the numerous physics-defying elements of TDK? All the plotholes? All the improbabilities? But that doesn’t stop you from enjoying the film, do you?

    Remember the frogs rain in “Magnolia”? Well, frogs fell from the sky at least a total 12 times in the twentieth century. Watch Discovery, Animal Planet or any documentary channel any day of the week for a number of phenomena that you wouldn’t believe it happens in the world… and it happens anyway.
    But you can’t make your brain immerse in a well-constructed, compelling story because it’s not a live-action representation of that story.

    …. No comments on this.

    “You don’t have to be Sigmund Fucking Freud to realize this stuff.”

    Of course not. You’re probably just being a demagogue. And offensive to the million of people who cried when Bambi’s mother wasn’t “drawn” anymore in the movie ;)
    Oh, and sad.

    “Again, it all goes back to what I talked about earlier; that to be truly effective in its themes or symbolism or motifs or whatever, a work has to seem real enough to the viewer/reader so they can see the possibility of them encountering the same scenario. Yet it also needs to have some kind of exaggerated qualities to allow the highest form of whatever emotion to exist. A Pixar movie has only the latter and none of the former. Again, so you won’t misinterpret, this is not being close minded at all.”

    Yes, this is being close minded. What about fantasy or sci-fi? What about literature, where your brain doesn’t have the images to assist him on his work? What about symbolic theatre? What about films like “Dogville” or “The Seventh Seal”? What about Citizen Kane’s dinner scene, with the passage of time being accelerated and condensed by a clever montage? That doesn’t happen in real life… how can your brain process something like that?

    Yes, Scott, that was complete * , and I’m not misunderstanding you. Maybe you were just holding on anything that looked like an argument to you.

    “Can we find a motivation in everything? No. That was one of the main points of TDK. The Joker had no motivations and no higher goal; just destruction. That is why there was nothing that held him back; not money, not power, not women.”

    Oh, I have just confirmed that your brain needs adjustments. Did you really watch The Dark Knight? I said “seems to have no motivations”, but he clearly ahs one. It was compressed and revealed in a very expository line of dialogue: “What are you trying to prove? That deep down everyone’s exactly like you?” Those were the character’s motivations. Anyone familiar with Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” knows about this celebrated portrayal of the Joker, as a man sunk in a profound self-loathing, whose quest for destruction and corruption happens to be just a way of proving he’s really not the freak he seems to be. That he is more normal than what one may think. He was trying to turn the world and the people in it in deluded, primal psychopaths like him, basically to feel better abut himself. That’s your motivation, right there, Batman spelled it out for yourself and you didn’t get it.

    Guess why Nolan included it? Everything needs a motivation, Scott. Everything in life has a cause, conscious or not, and every major action and reaction in film needs a proper motivation… or it will fail to be more than just a “cheap melodrama”.

    “As you said, there are people out there, namely terrorists, who have motivations that we can’t comprehend. Why do serial killers do what they do? It’s usually something we see as little and insignificant.”
    ??? I didn’t say that. Most terrorists in the world are quit vocal about their intentions and reasons. Even those anonymous serial killers, well, we have criminal profilers for them. There are volumes and volumes of books written on the subject. And this portrayal of the Joker didn’t fail to present some kind of motivation. So, spare me the closedmindedness and the narrow and ignorant view on the world once again, an you?

    “The more realistic work does not always mean the better work.”

    Great! Now you can drop the poorly used “Realism” argument.

    “For a man of your self proclaimed stature, name calling at every turn is rather elementary even if it is justified.”

    I don’t have any self proclaimed stature… every stature I’ve gained here has been due to comparisons to your posts, which I expect to be no reflection at all of your personality. But yes, I recur to elementary name calling. It is justified, and all I need. Most of what you say here is just plain idiocy. You reject the hypocrite label and you don’t realize that is the only alternative I find to thinking you were an actual idiot when you typed those lines. And insults are required and efficient, because then you take it personal and become involved with the debate, enabling two options: a) you are able t get a hold of yourself and distinguish the attitude from the actual argument, something that may be quite valuable to you in your life, or b) at least you’re being told the truth. When I point at the idiocies you write here, I don’t care about your feelings. I don’t care about my image, how civilized others (like Kris) may think I am. I don’t care about sounding kind and polite… I care about making you a favor: calling you on your imbecile phrases. You can improve that, but don’t ask me to lie to you. Things should be called by their names.

    “Hell yes you try to find objective reasons for this!!! If your view was correct, then every English or film class I take I would walk up to the professor and say, “Professor Smith, I’m not going to read/watch the assigned book/film because it is merely your subjective opinion that this work is good. Instead I will read/watch what I think is good.” This would be fucking stupid and I wouldn’t learn half of what I would have!”

    That’s what I’m saying. Are intellectually impaired or something? This looks like an abuse. The professor is meant to provide you with sound and shared arguments and rationale about a topic, a topic about which he is not talking about subjective things (hopefully not without stating it first). Classes are meant not as a way for the teacher to impart his subjectivity, nor a form of proselytism, but about you getting informed data and opinions with authority on the matter. See, I don’t like Cervante’s “Don Quixote”. My tastes are far from it… but I cannot form a reasonable argument against it, and I would be a fool to do so, since one cannot argue about the passing into modern literature without talking about Don Quixote. I’m not telling you to be uncritical, of course. I’m not telling you to never say the emperor is naked. For example, I can provide you with great detail why most of Plato’s ideals, with the exception of the Cave Myth, are pure shit. But I cannot say the same about Marx, no matter how much I disagree with him in one aspect of Dër Kapital.

    Your example of the professor is an argument for objective and common grounds, and not the supremacy of subjectivity. And that’s what I was defending. Read better next time.

    “It sure looks like to me that you just told Mr. Tapley flat out that he didn’t understand the promise and that he got lost. Sure seems hypocritical to me. Practice what you preach Mikey. I guess you want everyone else except you to say that their arguments and statements are completely subjective, but not you since you are right.”

    Wow… now I have to give an explanation of logics to you.
    Allow me to be brief.
    When he says that the film gets lost on the second half, but only supports this with the validation of his subjectivity (that’s how I saw it) and the objective change of pacing and direction (something that is not a mistake, seeing how it was announced early in the movie, and how similar changes work perfectly in other movies which Mr. Tapley has no problem with) then I must ask you: was that an argument? First he tries to shield behind his right to an opinion, no matter how accurate it is, and then tries to reinforce it by pointing out at something that I proved it was not a mistake since it works and has worked on other films. Was that objective? He uses a phrase: “the film gets lost on its second half”…. It does? The film does that? How come thousands of other people, watching the same film, didn’t say that? Are they avoiding the subject? Or, on the contrary… should we acknowledge that a film doesn’t get lost on its own plot, but rather the spectator… especially one like Mr. Tapley who admitted that he just happened to come to the movie with different expectations?

    Lots of people may have found Kris reflections quite pleasing… if it matched their own opinion. But for the purpose of a debate about the film’s value, people are going to be arguing about all kinds of confronted opinions… and that’s sterile. That’s useless. “I think the movie is good”, “I think the movie is bad” and there it goes, no more debate. No new ways of seeing the film, not tangential lessons on the discussion, nothing. Just opinions. And those opinions, obviously, lead to an irresolvable disagreement, which ends in frustration, which ends in insults.

    No, I prefer to use my insults in a better way… pointing out how sterile it is to just list opinions. Do you want to talk about the actual merits of the film? Great. Not my most interesting topic, but I can oblige. Right now, I’m much more interested in pointing out the holes in your argument. Once you admit your lack of argument here, maybe you’ll get to the same opinion I have: the two movies don’t have points of comparison. And that’s it.

    “I know that none of this has much, if any relevancy at all to the original discussion, but it just shows who the true hypocrite is here.”

    *

    “You tell me I need to refine my arguments. Well I can tell you I don’t need to refine shit.”

    * Yes you need, Scott. Stupidity always needs refinement. Always needs improvement. I believe you can still achieve this. But you need a cool mind and a calm temper. All this “shit” and “MF” would be acceptable if you just had at least two or three reasonable opinions to go with. It just happened to not be the case. You were, again, acting like an imbecile. And you may not believe I tell this to you as a constructive criticism, but it is. You may or may not be smart enough to get the advice. If you’re able to be beyond my attitude, then you may have a chance and actually coming up with a major idea here that it’s not utter stupidity.

    “I’m not the one on here acting like every one of his words is pure sacrosanctity. If we disagree about something, that’s one thing. But I won’t let you walk easy when you call me a hypocrite when your words prove the same. Now go and call me irreversably or a little boy or something else. Avoid everything but the fact. Again I can take being disagreed with. But as I’m sure you can tell I’m pissed. Now I don’t know what you and your Zen master think is just cause to get pissed about, but in my book being called a hypocrite for no just reason by a hypocrite takes one of the top spots.”

    (sigh) Maybe this is hopeless. Maybe you’re beyond improvement. Maybe you’re way past a chance at correcting your way of seeing things. Maybe. If that’s the case, I’m glad, since I won’t have to care anymore for you.

    Oh, I almost forgot this —> *

  • 37 12-28-2008 at 11:54 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m closing this thread for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Michel cannot engage with people who disagree with him without stooping to aimless insults. Furthermore, he seems to think that objective analysis is limited to his viewpoint and his only. He is, indeed, a hypocrite, and this circular conversation has run its course.

    (Also, it remains astounding to me that someone who considers himself a thoughtful person believes that just because a device works in one film, it somehow immediately works in another. To say nothing of the fact that such reaching comparisons had no place in the argument in the first place.)

    Just to show that I’m not biased here in favor of someone who (somewhat) shares my opinion, Scott has also been insulting (though not nearly as much as Michel) and continues to spiral the argument into territory that has no bearing on the conversation.

    As much as I appreciate the dialog, I think this conversation has run its course. When you can’t talk about a film without taking cheap shots at one another, the time has come to shake hands and walk away.

    If you two want to continue the debate, feel free to contact me and I’ll put the two of you in touch. But I think you’ve both had equal time on this thread.