Sunday, November 8, 2009

A good choice and a baaad one.

This is about how I feel right now.

While completely absorbed by the awesome Nintendo DS games about Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright, I have managed to press in two film viewings aside from Night of the Demon (1957) in the previous post. Now, let's play a guessing game. One film was chosen by me and was watched only my me and my headset. The other film was chosen by three men, one of them my boyfriend and the other two our dear friends. (Why do I almost only have male friends again?)

The guessing game: the films in question are Terminator Salvation (2009) and Inherit the Wind (1960). Who chose which film?

I will make this a little easier for you (I know it's hard) by listing the positive and negative elements of each film. Here we go.

Terminator Salvation

Good stuff:

  • The main character Marcus Wright was interesting.
  • Helena Bonham Carter had a supporting role. She's cool.
  • There was a cool car chase scene.
  • The length - 1 h 46 min. Most films nowadays are over two hours long.
  • Once again we see Arnold Schwarzenegger naked, even if he this time is computer generated.
Bad stuff:
  • Confusing plot.
  • Shaky camera combined with ridiculous amounts of jump cuts = the cinematic cliché of the modern film making era.
  • Too much CGI masturbation. Confusing and boring.
  • Christian Bale and his Batman voice. (I liked him before he started with that darn voice. I have to see The Prestige (2006), I think that one might be able to restore my respect for mentioned actor. Anyone else that thinks that Mr. Bale has a clause in his contract demanding him to use the dark Batman voice at least once in every film he does?)
  • Hard-to-hear dialog, almost exclusively shouting during massive explosions. Sounds like "Ouahouahouah! Come with me if you wanna live! Ouahouahouah! My men died down there!!! Ouahouahouah! You grow a beard!" (I swear, he said the last thing. Although the other guys said he actually shouted "You brought him here", which I find rather unlikely.)
  • Did I mention all over-the-top special effects?
  • More special effects and more cliché dialog. I actually believe that the script to this film was made by cutting all mainstream action movies made during the last 30 years to pieces, and just clued random lines together into a dramatic over-the-top script with dubious purposes. I really didn't understand a thing.

Inherit the Wind

Good stuff:
  • Spencer Tracy as Henry Drummond.
  • Fredric March in the most unflattering role ever, the sweaty hypocrite Matthew Brady.
  • Gene Kelly in his coolest, most suiting role ever - the cynical journalist E. K. Hornbeck. He should have done more roles like these.
  • The camera work, constantly having things going on in the foreground and background simultaneously.
  • The opening scene, with black dressed men with straw hats gathering to arrest the young school teacher who has the guts to teach evolution to his students, all to the sound of a single woman singing "(Gimme Dat) Old Time Religion". Brilliant.
  • Intense courtroom scenes with brilliant cross-examinations.
  • The closing scene - Drummond carrying Darwin and the Bible on top of each other out of the courtroom. "Do people really have to choose between religion and science?" it seems to say, and at the same time stating that this is a film that takes for granted that its audience isn't a bunch of retards that needs explosions and CGI to be entertained.
Bad stuff:
  • It ended.

So, take a guess. Which film did I choose, and which film was preferred by the sweet gentlemen that surround me? I really hope that I will be able to study film at the University of Stockholm this spring, 'cause I am in desperate need of film buddies with taste...


NoirGirl said...

Yeah, I guess Terminator Salvation was pretty bad... But I'm a Bale devotee, so I didn't mind that much. ;) You realize of course that The Governator didn't actually film that nude scene, right? They added his CGI face to an actor's body. He did agree to have his likeness used, though.

Haha, I wouldn't be surprised if poor Christian is forced to use the Batman voice in all his films! It annoyed me very much that he was hardly allowed to talk at all in Salvation.

What? No thoughts on Sam Worthington? ;)

I have Inherit the Wind recorded, but haven't watched it yet. Your review makes me want to turn it on right now!

Amanda Cooper said...

Pretty obvious that you chose Inherit the Wind! : ) Saying that the only bad thing about it was that it ended was a dead giveaway.

I haven't seen it yet, but I know the basic premise. Just a thought: isn't it strange that a man is being tried for teaching evolution in a public school, but these days schools aren't allowed to teach creationism? It's a rather interesting turn of events that certainly reflects on our culture.

Christopher said...

you look pretty good all smudged over..
..I wouldn't change a thing..

Mykal said...

Lolita: I can't bear Bale since Batman and that stupid, fake voice. I also can't watch him since I heard him bitch out that poor camera man on YouTube. What a pompous ass.

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of Inherit the Wind, either. Just a little to Hollywood Politically Correct for me. Spencer Tracy at his "This is such an Important Performance" worst. Dang, I'm losing points all over.
I'm in a crabby mood. Crap. -- Mykal

Elsie said...

I remember getting to watch the second title in high school, during research about the real life trial. I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, kids being kids, I think I was the only one that truly did! If that Terminator movie were available back then, I'm sure they would have loved it. Ha.

Lolita said...

Oh yes, I knew - but that didn't change the fact that I like to see him nude in the films, haha! My friends thought I was crazy eyeballing the shadows around his crotch to see if anything was revealed, haha. (It wasn't. Sad smiley.)
Sam Worthington was a fair actor, but the character interested me more than the actor. He's not my type of a man ;)

Amanda Cooper:
Still, I COULD have chosen Terminator Salvation and gotten disappointed ;) But it's not very likely, I guess. Watch the film!
Very interesting turn of events. As Darwin's theory is taught as basically science, I don't see why creationism couldn't be taught as a theory. After all, creationism is something that many believe in, so why not include it in Religion class?

Haha! I was actually crying when that photo was taken, my boyfriend is just so used to it that he thought I wouldn't mind to be captured in a cool portrait like that ;) I like the picture!

Oh my! Go grab a beer at the nearest bar and come back in a little better mood, alright?! Haha.
That YouTube clip is phenomenal, what the hell is his problem? Still, he's pretty handsome. I want to see The Prestige and see if I can start drooling over him again. I don't think so, though.
You don't like Inherit the Wind? Not even for it's cinematic qualities? Or for Gene Kelly? Hmm... That's strange! I think you should give it another shot ;)

That was the same thing when we saw Spartacus in school. A class of 12 year old kids just didn't have the patience, it seemed. Except for me, of course. I fell in love with Kirk Douglas ;)

Mykal said...

Lolita: I love that "Still, he's pretty handsome" reaction regarding Bale. That's very Lolita. ;-). The “handsome quotient” does need factoring in, I suppose!

Regarding Inherit the Wind I always dislike when the elite of Hollywood try to teach me a lesson in history and morals, as is the case here, particularly in the big, star packed spectacle like Inherit. I always feel like I’m being bludgeoned or manipulated in unpleasant ways. They always seem to be talking way down to me, making sure I get the point.

You're right, of course. I should just shut my yap and watch the movie again (I did like Gene Kelly in it. He never made a wrong move once the cameras rolled). Grabbing a beer was excellent advice as well. -- Mykal

Matthew Coniam said...

I'm with Mykal, I'm afraid... I used to love Inherit the Wind, until I learned the truth about the Scopes Monkey Trial on which it was based - that the whole thing was a put-up job and the teacher volunteered himself for the trial that they knew would be the inevitable outcome in the intersts of publicity. Nobody was persecuted...
Then it started to look like pretty sleazy propaganda.
That said, the reason creationism isn't taught in science lessons (though I thought that increasinly it was) is the same reason that flat-earthism isn't taught: it's not true. The theory of gravity doesn't have to fight its corner against competing 'theories' and neither should the theory of evolution!
On a happier note: I think you'll love The Prestige. It's really strange and haunting, beautifully filmed, Bale is perfectly tolerable, Scarlett is gorgeous and there are some amazing images and ideas. You'll dig it, I'm sure.
Oh, and you left out the best thing about Inherit in your list of Good Stuff: the teacher is Darren from Bewitched...

Mykal said...

Matthew puts it well. The actual "Monkey trail" was actually nothing but a complete and utter fabrication. Town leaders in Dayton, Tenn. (where Scopes taught) saw such a trail as a wonderful bit of publicity for their struggling town and approached John Scopes with the idea. Scopes had absolutely no interest in such a thing, but after much coercion decided, reluctantly, to go along. He admitted years later that, in fact, he had never taught evolution at all, had purposefully avoided bringing it up in class at all. His students were carefully coached by the aforementioned town leaders. Scopes was embarrassed by the whole affair and regretted the remainder of his life his participation.

Clarence Darrow, for his part, offered his services because he saw it as a lovely way to humiliate his hated rival, William Jennings Bryan; and as a way to garner much publicity for his own practice. All in all a disgraceful affair for all concerned.

It has always mystified me who Hollywood decides to vilify or honor. They nearly always get it dead wrong. Two words. Roman. Polanski. – Mykal

Mykal said...

Forgot to mention: The judge for the trail was hand selected, and the "decision" (Scopes was found guilty and fined $100) was decided before trail began. This verdict was guaranteed to scopes, and the town father's, of course, paid the fine. Thus Darrow was given free reign (by the put-up judge) to pound away without mercy at Bryan. In a real court of law such terrible harassment would never have been allowed and could have been easily crushed with a simple objection.

Thus all the dramatic court room antics of the movie is complete nonsense and serves only to celebrate this fraud.

Lolita - I apologize for this rant! I blame Matthew - he always manages some how to get me stirred up! -- Mykal

Kim said...

I like Christian Bale but also hate that voice. I won't go anywhere near Terminator Salvation so I admire that you sat through it.

On another note Inherit the Wind <3. I really liked everyone in that film but especially Fredric March (although I am biased). I think his performance was fantastic and while Spencer Tracy was also great I actually though March should have got the Oscar nomination instead. Maybe because I felt playing a character like Brady was a bit more difficult. And I read that March specifically wanted that role because Brady's views were completely against his own.

Kim said...

@ Mykal

That's interesting about the court case basically being a farce. Personally I don't usually let Hollywood movies dictate what I feel about an issue. I usually judge them by other issues. In the case of Inherit the Wind, I still like the performances, specifically March & Tracy going at each other in the courtroom.

Lolita said...

Yeah, there's nothing wring with a little good ol' fashioned drooling over handsome actors/actresses!

Matthew & Mykal:
Yikes! Fascinating piece of information, I must say! I'm really happy that you take your time to discuss in my comment threads, it's always welcome!
As for the film adaptation of the obviously staged trial it doesn't change my opinions - I see movies as not only entertainment and art, but also as pieces of history and politics. I might even say that all this extra information about what went on behind the stage made me more fascinated by the film! After all, no sane person takes Hollywood film adaptations as 100% correct. If one has that in mind while viewing, the film experience may include another valuable depth - the intellectual one. Isn't film analysis just wonderfully interesting?

Oh, and about creationism. In my opinion it's just loads of crap - Christianity trying to find new ways to reach the young people by acting all scientific. But it could still be taught from another point of view, say religion or history. "Contemporary history", perhaps...? Aauurrggh, I don't know - but the whole thing is pretty interesting, and it never hurts to teach the school kids to analyze and criticize!

I agree with the Fredric March statement - he impressed me more than Tracy. I love when actors take on challenges like that - a character that is the total opposite of themselves. That can only mean that the actor loves what he does.

Mykal said...

"I see movies as not only entertainment and art, but also as pieces of history and politics. I might even say that all this extra information about what went on behind the stage made me more fascinated by the film!"

Well said. -- Mykal

monty said...

Unusual pairing of Salvation and Inherit the wind. I remember seeing Salvation with some friends when it first came out back in May. Loved the first half, hated the second half. And the one image that sticks in my head is towards the end where Bryce Dallas Howard has this crazy ass look on her face as Marcus tells her to use his heart to save John Connor. Just a random observation and believe it or not Inherit the wind is one of the few classic films I have not seen yet. Have to add it to my must watch list now.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

My friends know by now that I'm a cinematic snob, so they wouldn't dare pull something akin.

PS. Glad you like Inherit the Wind. Gene Kelly should have been nominated.

Lolita said...

Now that I read my response I see that I have trouble hiding my true film nerd personality! But I mean what I said, even though it sounded kind of pompous.

Do that, you're welcome to post your opinions of Inherit the Wind here when you have seen it!
Thanks for all the comments on my older posts, Monty! It's really fun to know that someone goes through older posts and get something out of them. (Even though I myself seldom can stand reading my old posts, I always find them childish and complain to myself that I should have been a little more professional with my writing.)
So thanks! I see that your blog looks promising too, I'll keep en eye open!

Well, guys are guys... and if I want them to remain my friends I guess I just have to accept the game sometimes! After all, my day of revenge will come, and then they will watch The Band Wagon with me! Moahaha!

Mykal said...

Lolita: You never sound sound pompous at all, just passionate and intelligent. -- Mykal

Lolita said...

You're too sweet! Thanks. I'm passionate, all right - and I sure hope I can make something out of it!