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Irrational Movies

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Then one good thing about Mullholland Drive (one of my finace's favorite movies) is Russell Crowe in the very begining when he breaks cover and slaps the crap out of the wife beater and tells him that if he ever catches him hitting an innocent woman again he'll have him put in prison for being a "kiddie raper" and let prison justice sort things out. Now, that part, I really liked.

I believe that you're talking about the movie L.A. Confidential, not Mulholland Drive. :D

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I believe that you're talking about the movie L.A. Confidential, not Mulholland Drive.  :thumbsup:

To quote Homer Simpson, D'Oh! You're right. We keep them on the stand together. She's never got me to watch Mulholland Drive.

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One movie that I would venture to say is irrational is Dazed and Confused, a 70s nostalgia film about the last day of high school. While on the one hand this movie is really funny, has a great classic rock soundtrack, and features a lot of famous faces who were then unknown, this film has a very questionable sense of life.

The movie has a lot of scenes of teenagers doing things like drunk or stoned, vandalizing property, and even features some pretty brutal scenes of high school seniors hazing the incoming freshman by beating them with a paddle. All of these scenes are depicted as if it is just harmless fun.

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I understand, to a degree, that some Objectivists have a problem with Tarantino...but I enjoy his movies for some non-philosophical qualities. As Roger Ebert once said, the movies aren't about what they are about - they are about HOW they are about them. The "Kill Bill" movies were absolutely amazing - their camera work, the music, the f/x, the fight scenes, the masterful homage/parody of 70s flix. Execution is everything, in this case.

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Neither Scorsese's nor Tartantino's films have the quality of a Dostoevsky novel, in my opinion. Man as either boss or victim is not my idea of a positive sense of life.
It's kinda unfair to compare anyone to Dostoevsky. The only Tarantino movie I've seen recently is Kill Bill (which I loved,) and I don't think it portrays man as either boss or victim.

Someone mentioned "Once Upon a Time in America" as one of his all-time favorites.

I have to say it ranks right up there as one of the most appalling, offensive, unentertaining movies I have ever seen in my life. It is rife with negative sense of life.

I recognize it was not the intent of this movie to glorify gangsters. Its plot-theme is too nihilist for that. Its relentless thirst for violence and its naturalistic focus on its subject matter augment the movie's negative sense of life.

Definitely an irrational movie.

"Violence" does not equal "negative sense of life." How could this great movie possibly be irrational?

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I'm resurecting a dead topic here...

Worst movie ever made: Sin City

My cousin practically begged me to watch it. The whole movie was incoherent violence. All I remember was a completely lawless society, angry killing, and Bruce Willis falling in love with a stripper at least 25 years younger than her. It is still beyond me why anyone, even someone as "depraved" as my cousin, could stand watching it more than once, let alone actually enjoy it.

It was the perfect example of what a good movie should not be.

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I'll categorize the films I think are irrational and just plain boring as well.

Grim "sense of life" movies:

-Lonesome Jim

-Waiting

-I Heart Huckabees

-Little Miss Sunshine

-Last Days

-The Stepford Wives

-Failure to Launch

-Garden State

-You, Me, and Dupree

-John Tucker Must Die

Religious supernatural stuff:

-The Others

-Silent Hill

Just plain boring:

-Wolf Creek

-Cry Wolf

-The Island

-Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

-Meet the Fockers

-Anti-Trust

-Pink Panther(with Steve Martin)

-Ali

-Julie Johnson(had a great idea for the story, but failed to develop it)

-Derailed

-Hitch

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I'll categorize the films I think are irrational and just plain boring as well.

Grim "sense of life" movies:

-Little Miss Sunshine

-The Stepford Wives

Just plain boring:

-Meet the Fockers

I disagree with these three.

Little Miss Sunshine - while one might dismiss it as an overblown attempt at quirkiness, I found it engaging. Each of these characters had their own "dream" - that which drove them at all costs. The fact that the whole dysfunctional family stepped up to support the dream of the youngest member and in doing so found a way to reconnect and hold up their individuality as the highest ideal is touching. I was also happy to see that even though the little girl's dream (winning a beauty pagaent) wasn't something I'd declare as worthy myself I was happy to see that the entire family stood behind her and encouraged her in their own way.

The Stepford Wives - I loved the end portrayal of "a man." A man is not someone who wants an airheaded wife without her own thoughts, ideas, strengths and intelligence but one who is accomplished, intelligent, capable, strong, atriculate. Every "wife" was once a powerhouse - the hero was Matthew Broderick, who realized that he was enhanced by being with a woman who was even more accomplished than him - that he wasn't emasculated by his wife's success, but it said something about his character that he would be attracted to her.

Meet the Fockers - simply listed because I DIDN'T want to find Streisand and smush her. She actually tickled me in sections of this movie. Plus, I found the Focker's valuation and adoration of their son to be moving - they valued his effort, his intelligence and were gleeful in extolling his virtues to others.

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I have learned to sort out the really shitty films by reading the reviews. If it´s about "normal people" and not plot driven, then you can be pretty sure it´s a complete waste of time, because it usually means the "story"(actually, lack of story) is about loosers doing booring things and being depressed. I can enjoy most films as long as they are entertaining, but theese films I really, really hate.

Anyway, yesterday I saw Nineteen eighty-four, and I have to add that to my shit-list. I havent actually read the book, and I don´t think I want to anymore. Of course I can agree with the political message, showing the evils of totalitarian socialist state. It´s just that there was a total lack of heroes. The main character was not very rational; he was sick, weak and not very individualistic. The girl was better, but they both came off as nihilistic. It should have been more in the lines of 'Anthem' and 'We the Living'.

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Little Miss Sunshine - while one might dismiss it as an overblown attempt at quirkiness, I found it engaging. Each of these characters had their own "dream" - that which drove them at all costs. The fact that the whole dysfunctional family stepped up to support the dream of the youngest member and in doing so found a way to reconnect and hold up their individuality as the highest ideal is touching. I was also happy to see that even though the little girl's dream (winning a beauty pagaent) wasn't something I'd declare as worthy myself I was happy to see that the entire family stood behind her and encouraged her in their own way.
The thing I hated the most about this movie is they made the father the bad guy, even though he was the one who had the most ambition of them all. When he would try to tell his kids they should be successful, work hard, and settle for nothing less, the rest of the family would moan and always be complaining about the way he acts.

I hated the ending as well.

Once they actually get to the beauty pageant, the whole family tries to persuade the little girl to bow out because of how they think the audience perceives the event. Also, they end making a mockery of the beauty pageant, and its supposed to look like it was the right thing to do.

I like that the teenager had a goal he worked hard on, but I thought it was completely impractical to sacrifice the thing he did. And not only that, but near the end

his dream is completely destroyed because he was color blind.

It was ridiculous. The movie was trying to portray life as a depressing time that one can only manage to get through, not actually enjoy.

Im sure there were other things that I just dont remember, since I stopped focusing on it after the first 40 minutes.

The Stepford Wives - I loved the end portrayal of "a man." A man is not someone who wants an airheaded wife without her own thoughts, ideas, strengths and intelligence but one who is accomplished, intelligent, capable, strong, atriculate. Every "wife" was once a powerhouse - the hero was Matthew Broderick, who realized that he was enhanced by being with a woman who was even more accomplished than him - that he wasn't emasculated by his wife's success, but it said something about his character that he would be attracted to her.

I was half asleep during the second half of this movie, so I have a hard time remembering a lot of it. I remember roughly that the wives in Stepford were "too perfect" because they were able to perform all the menial tasks around the house, and be happy. Plus, I found the plot and charcters to be superficial. There wasnt any thought required to take on figuring any of it out.

Meet the Fockers - simply listed because I DIDN'T want to find Streisand and smush her. She actually tickled me in sections of this movie. Plus, I found the Focker's valuation and adoration of their son to be moving - they valued his effort, his intelligence and were gleeful in extolling his virtues to others.

Again, I was half asleep during the second part of this one.

Whether or not Streisand was funny in "sections" of the movie, or how supportive they were of their son, I would still say the majority of the movie lacked any kind of entertainment or comedy. The scenes were made up of long, boring conversations with no funny jokes or action. When I say action, I mean scenes like in the first movie when Greg loses the cat, or when he breaks the vase with the remains of their dead mother. I kept hoping for a priceless scene in this movie because the first one had so many of them, but it never came(not even once, I dont think).

I went in with very high hopes because of how good the first one was, but I was so disappointed that I wont even call Meet the Fockers a decent comedy - it was just bad.

Edited by BaseballGenius

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Anyway, yesterday I saw Nineteen eighty-four, and I have to add that to my shit-list. I havent actually read the book, and I don´t think I want to anymore. Of course I can agree with the political message, showing the evils of totalitarian socialist state. It´s just that there was a total lack of heroes. The main character was not very rational; he was sick, weak and not very individualistic. The girl was better, but they both came off as nihilistic. It should have been more in the lines of 'Anthem' and 'We the Living'.

It's rather difficult to make a point about the sheer evil of a force like 1984's complete totalitarianism if the enemy actually gets "defeated" in the end. The fact that Winston Smith "looses" acts as a warning for the reader, making them realise that they should work to prevent a world like 1984's coming to pass.

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It's rather difficult to make a point about the sheer evil of a force like 1984's complete totalitarianism if the enemy actually gets "defeated" in the end. The fact that Winston Smith "looses" acts as a warning for the reader, making them realise that they should work to prevent a world like 1984's coming to pass.

I don´t know if you have read 'We the living' so i´ll put this in spoiler-tags:

'We the living' is quite similar to 1984 in that it tells a story about living under a totalitarian regime, even though in many ways they are very different. However Kira, unlike Winston, is a real hero. When Winston was tortured he mentioned the human spirit cannot be broken. Unfortunatley he did not make a very good example of that. Kira, on the other hand, shows the opposite. In the end, when she "looses", she is still not broken.

What i´m arguing is that 1984 lacked the proper "sense of life". Ayn Rand showed us good fighting evil, in Orwell´s case its the mediocre fighting the truly evil. And that really makes 1984 depressing. Although, of course, 1984 should have credit for showing the evils of totalitarianism.

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So your criticism of 1984 boils down to "it didn't have any Randian heroes." I tend to ignore Objectivist movie reviews, and this is why.

Good movies frequently do (and should) have sad endings, or endings in which the protagonist is defeated. Why? Because it happens that way in real life too. Sure, there need to be movies that show things "the way they should be," but there also need to be movies that show things "the way they are." And happy endings are not always a part of how things really are.

I've never understood why Objectivists often consider it a fault if a movie is realistic. For instance, the guy who criticized Once Upon a Time in America. Yes, the main characters are highly immoral and have an awful sense of life. But, guess what...that's what gangsters are like in real life. The object of the movie, along with other movies like Goodfellas and Casino, is to explore the lives of gangsters and try to depict it as accurately as possible.

In a world like the one depicted in 1984 (which is not as unrealistic as it might seem), Winston's defeat at the end seems a likely outcome.

Edited by Moose

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So your criticism of 1984 boils down to "it didn't have any Randian heroes." I tend to ignore Objectivist movie reviews, and this is why.

Good movies frequently do (and should) have sad endings, or endings in which the protagonist is defeated. Why? Because it happens that way in real life, too. Sure, there need to be movies that show things "the way they should be," but there also need to be movies that show things "the way they are." And happy endings are not always a part of how things really are.

I've never understood why Objectivists often consider it a fault if a movie is realistic. For instance, the guy who criticized Once Upon a Time in America. Yes, the main characters are highly immoral and have an awful sense of life. But, guess what...that's what gangsters are like in real life. The object of the movie, along with other movies like Goodfellas and Casino, is to explore the lives of gangsters and try to depict it as accurately as possible.

In a world like the one depicted in 1984 (which is not as unrealistic as it might seem), Winston's defeat at the end seems a likely outcome.

Yes, my criticism is that it didn't have "Randian heroes" and it didn't depict a good sense of life.

My problem was not the sad ending or the realism. It is rather that the film lacked things that should have been, and could have been. In this case, why did Orwell tell a story about a mediocre man? And would this really be more realistic than having a hero istead? I think it´s more likely for a heroic man to break the rules of a totalitarian state...

I don´t necessarily consider it a fault for a movie to be realistic. I depends on the purpose of the realism, and what parts of reality it focuses on. For example in Goodfellas and Casino i seem to remember a couple of scenes of violence that was unecessarily brutal. But, if you want it really real, why spare the viewer from any of the really "juicy" detail?

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Good movies frequently do (and should) have sad endings, or endings in which the protagonist is defeated. Why? Because it happens that way in real life, too. Sure, there need to be movies that show things "the way they should be," but there also need to be movies that show things "the way they are." And happy endings are not always a part of how things really are.

A movie that depicts things as they are is called a documentary (or it used to be; today's documentaries are most often editorial pieces).

Why do you need to see things as they are?

Art is meant to inspire. A such, it depicts things as they ought to be. Ask yourself, would you buy a painting of a toothless hag pushing a shoppingcart full of junk accross the street? Why would you? If not, then why would you pay to see a movie depicting "things as they are"?

The object of the movie, along with other movies like Goodfellas and Casino, is to explore the lives of gangsters and try to depict it as accurately as possible.
That's fine. But do such movies also condemn the gangsters they so accurately depict?

In a world like the one depicted in 1984 (which is not as unrealistic as it might seem), Winston's defeat at the end seems a likely outcome.

1984 is an awful book. Useful and valuable, certainly, but horrible and disgucting. It's very much like a piece of diseased tissue: you can learn a lot from it, but it's not something you want to look at.

Even then, its value is limited to showing the means by which a totalitarian state controls it subjects. It says little about the principles on which the tyranny acts. Likewise, we see how Winston and Julia defy the state, but not so much why. Worse, neither ever justifies his actions as being right.

I should point out I read the book once and saw the movie once. I've no intention of re-reading the book or ever seeing the movie again.

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My problem was not the sad ending or the realism. It is rather that the film lacked things that should have been, and could have been. In this case, why did Orwell tell a story about a mediocre man? And would this really be more realistic than having a hero istead? I think it´s more likely for a heroic man to break the rules of a totalitarian state...

How is he "mediocre?" Winston is definitely above average, when compared to the rest of his society. He did, after all, begin to realize what had happened with his government and he began to break away, whereas most people just sat complacently by the wayside and didn't question anything. Yeah, he was defeated at the end. That just served to make the novel that much more cryptic and that much scarier. Everyone who has read that book will have the words "He loved Big Brother," etched in their minds for the rest of their lives. It's a warning. Once government is allowed to control our thoughts, it will be practically impossible to break the spell. That is why the protagonist lost, in my interpretation. It makes the point that it's easier to stop things from ever getting that bad than it is to fix them, once we've gone past the point of no return.

I don´t necessarily consider it a fault for a movie to be realistic. I depends on the purpose of the realism, and what parts of reality it focuses on. For example in Goodfellas and Casino i seem to remember a couple of scenes of violence that was unecessarily brutal. But, if you want it really real, why spare the viewer from any of the really "juicy" detail?

Unnecessarily brutal, in what way? The purpose of those movies is to realistically depict the day-to-day lives of gangsters. The only way it would be unnecessarily brutal is if it's more violent than gangsters are in real life.

Edited by Moose

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Unnecessarily brutal, in what way? The purpose of those movies is to realistically depict the day-to-day lives of gangsters. The only way it would be unnecessarily brutal is if it's more violent than gangsters are in real life.

I´ll come back to the first part of your response later, when I have had a little time to think about it, so i´ll start with this.

First of all, I would like to make a difference between the characters actions, and the way they are shown. Gansters are, of course, brutal. So, in a film about gangsters you will need to show them for what they are - violent criminals. However, I do not need to see someone beaten to death in great detail to understand the nature of the gangsters - like the scene in Casino where

Joe Pesci gets beaten with baseball bats; that just made me sick

. It´s enough to show the violent acts in a believable way but additional detail is not necessary.

Do you think violence should be shown in a perfectly realistic and detailed way? I read from an ex-mercenary that if you are going to shoot someone in the mouth you need to cover you eyes, unless you want to be blinded by exploding bone fragments. That´s how nice real violence is. Would you like that in a film? Or someone being beaten and suffering serious brain damage. That´s also something that could happen in real life. Not to mention lot´s of gory detail. Reality can be real friggin ugly sometimes, and I prefer movies not to delve too deep into this.

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Violence in movies has never particularly phased me...except in Passion of the Christ, but that's because violence was quite literally the only point of the movie.

Saving Private Ryan's opening scenes have some very gory violence. However, it is quite effectively used, in that it shows the sacrifice (I use that term in the non-Randian sense) that was made by the Allied soldiers on D-Day. I've seen Casino a number of times, and Joe Pesci's death scene is not all that graphic. As I recall, they show them swinging the bats, but, for the most part, don't actually show them making contact with his body. Even if they did...so be it. The purpose of that scene was to display the utter brutality by which a lot of those people live. It would be less effective if it were candy-coated.

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The thing I hated the most about this movie is they made the father the bad guy, even though he was the one who had the most ambition of them all. When he would try to tell his kids they should be successful, work hard, and settle for nothing less, the rest of the family would moan and always be complaining about the way he acts.

I hated the ending as well.

Once they actually get to the beauty pageant, the whole family tries to persuade the little girl to bow out because of how they think the audience perceives the event. Also, they end making a mockery of the beauty pageant, and its supposed to look like it was the right thing to do.

I like that the teenager had a goal he worked hard on, but I thought it was completely impractical to sacrifice the thing he did. And not only that, but near the end

his dream is completely destroyed because he was color blind.

It was ridiculous. The movie was trying to portray life as a depressing time that one can only manage to get through, not actually enjoy.

Im sure there were other things that I just dont remember, since I stopped focusing on it after the first 40 minutes.

I was half asleep during the second half of this movie, so I have a hard time remembering a lot of it. I remember roughly that the wives in Stepford were "too perfect" because they were able to perform all the menial tasks around the house, and be happy. Plus, I found the plot and charcters to be superficial. There wasnt any thought required to take on figuring any of it out.

Again, I was half asleep during the second part of this one.

Whether or not Streisand was funny in "sections" of the movie, or how supportive they were of their son, I would still say the majority of the movie lacked any kind of entertainment or comedy. The scenes were made up of long, boring conversations with no funny jokes or action. When I say action, I mean scenes like in the first movie when Greg loses the cat, or when he breaks the vase with the remains of their dead mother. I kept hoping for a priceless scene in this movie because the first one had so many of them, but it never came(not even once, I dont think).

I went in with very high hopes because of how good the first one was, but I was so disappointed that I wont even call Meet the Fockers a decent comedy - it was just bad.

I didn't see the father as the bad guy. I didn't see anyone as the bad guy. I saw him as committed to his dreams and goals as anyone else. The only time I did see him negatively was when he was chiding the daughter for ordering the ice cream in the restaurant. I did want to smack him upside the head then - how evil to foist that sort of mindset on an eight-year-old girl. Yes, he seemed a bit overbearing but his real love for his family and honest, sincere desire to see them succeed was apparent to me.

as for the end:

I don't think the family tried to stop her from performing because of fear of the audience as it was fear of how that audience's reaction might hurt the self-esteem of the little girl - they didn't want HER to be hurt. Also, I think their joining her onstage was a way of showing support and love, not mocking anything. Though I think it was great that they didn't dress her up in the conformist uniform of the mini-Lolitas that usually grace the stage. I liked the fact that the audience and officials were appalled by her routine which was nothing really that far from the oversexed atmosphere the regular contestants compete in. As far as the teenager, yes the color blind bit was just overdone and not needed but it was basically a McGuffin in order to get him to relate to his family again. A minor irritation but nothing glaring in my book.

I was tongue in cheek about Meet the Fockers - well, I meant what I wrote but I just mean that my historic distaste for Miss Streisand was such that I was AMAZED by anything that led me not to detest her.

My comments on both of the movies were really to point out the instances in which I found them not to be irrational, that's all. As far as enjoyable - that's another story. There are a ton of movies everyone loves that I can't watch. I've never once gotten through E.T. Go figure.

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In regards to depicting things the way they are, isn't that why we have journalism?

Journalism can only show you something from an outsider's perspective. A movie like Goodfellas attempts to take you into the world of the gangsters, to get inside their heads. Journalism won't go there. It will just sit on the outside and report on drug busts and prison sentences.

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Journalism can only show you something from an outsider's perspective. A movie like Goodfellas attempts to take you into the world of the gangsters, to get inside their heads. Journalism won't go there. It will just sit on the outside and report on drug busts and prison sentences.

that's what documentaries are for.

I'll repeat an earlier question: Why do you need to see things as they are?

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Why do we need to know how many light years it is from one end of the universe to the other?

The answer: we don't. Some people just find it interesting. As someone with a Master's degree in criminal justice/criminology, I find the subject of the criminal mind to be quite interesting. I'm not suggesting that one can gain a true understanding of criminal behavior by watching a Martin Scorsese movie, but it can, nevertheless, be interesting to see it put into dramatic form.

It really does amaze me how people on this board will argue that there is something wrong with depicting something (even something evil) as it is in reality. If you are unable to enjoy movies/books in which the good guys lose, bad guys are given the limelight, and there are no Randian heroes, then I feel truly sorry for you. You're missing out on some of the greatest movies that have ever been made.

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