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A Good Movie

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So, I'm sitting here tonight reading the posts about movies when I started to get upset about how nobody is making any really good films recently. What about any of you or people you know? Are there any Objectivists (or people who make almost-good films) out there working on original material?

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So, I'm sitting here tonight reading the posts about movies when I started to get upset about how nobody is making any really good films recently.

I do not know by what standard you judge films, but a few very recent "really good films" that I have enjoyed are The Phantom of the Opera, The Incredibles, Finding Neverland, The Polar Express, and A Very Long Engagement. I also very much enjoyed Sideways, but I suspect that that film may have a smaller audience of appreciation.

Edited by stephen_speicher

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So, I'm sitting here tonight reading the posts about movies when I started to get upset about how nobody is making any really good films recently. What about any of you or people you know? Are there any Objectivists (or people who make almost-good films) out there working on original material?

But aren't you really excited about the fact that they decided to make "Fat Albert" into a movie? I haven't been this exited since they made films of: Starsky and Hutch, The Flintsones, The Brady Bunch, Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, or those fantastic Batman sequels!

Who needs Atlas Shrugged to be produced when all of this valuable art is being created and rehashed?

I think that one Chocolat per every 400 (Dodge Ball, Police Academy 6, or Freddie vs. Jason) theater releases per year is plenty.

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So, I'm sitting here tonight reading the posts about movies when I started to get upset about how nobody is making any really good films recently. What about any of you or people you know? Are there any Objectivists (or people who make almost-good films) out there working on original material?

Are you interested in watching just newly released movies? May I suggest some old movies which might interest you? Try October Sky, it is a true story about a kid who designed mini sky rockets and eventually worked at NASA. A good value extracted from that movie is aiming high in goals of your life. Another good one is Inherit the Wind; it is also a true story about the Monkey Trial and a very good movie about religion. I suggest you get the later version of the Inherit the Wind movie, I have not seen the earlier version though but you might get annoyed by the cinematography of the earlier version.

Unfortunately, most of the good movies are true story. Therefore, there are not much movie writers that has a good sense of life. As you've noticed, most fiction smovies are horrifying, altruistic, and anti-life. They depict their movies as what life 'is' (for a mediocre person) and not what life 'should' be.

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About "Closer".

Aside from some excellent acting, what is it that you recommend about the film? I saw little else of value, neither in technical filmmaking nor in personal value.

Ditto on the acting. I am no expert on technical filmmaking, so can't say much about it. Though I think the music and its integration with the story is pretty good.

As for the value of story itself, I agree that it is very personal. I think the movie offered, or at least tries to offer, a bold and in depth look at some common themes in couple's relationships. Maybe it's plain and obvious to some, but I personally think that what have been played out in the movie make sense.

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I think the movie [Closer] offered, or at least tries to offer, a bold and in depth look at some common themes in couple's relationships.

If you think that those were "common themes in couple's relationships," then we live in two different worlds. But, regardless, I for one have appreciated and/or enjoyed movies with exaggerated characters even though I may not personally value them, but I found the characterizations in this film to be rather trite and uninteresting.

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** SPOILERS ** (I guess.)

I first saw this in a theater that I don't usually go to. To my surprise, it was packed, and not with an audience that made it easy to pay attention to what was happening on the screen. So at the end I thought I had missed quite a bit.

But on second viewing, I know I didn't. The fatal flaw is that there are no heroes. Each of the four are so unsympathetic that by the end I don't care what happens.

The acting is good. The dialogue at times is exquisitely essentialized. Some moments are extremely touching and well made. The overall production values are quite good. I really like the song in the opening sequence, too. To a certain extent, there's a sense of honesty in exposing the reactions of people to infidelity.

But a movie lives and dies by its story. A good friend raved about the play, so I was eager to see it, even apart from the participation of the very talented and beautiful Natalie Portman. I understand the ending of the play is different, even though the film's screenplay is by the playwright himself.

By the way, does anyone know why the name is "Closer"?

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Ed,

I largely agree with everything you said about "Closer", except

The fatal flaw is that there are no heroes.

I think the movie intentionally does not focus on the heroic aspects of those people. For example, Anna could well be a heroic character from another point of view (succesfull career, etc.), despite all her stupidities in relationships.

BTW, I also have no idea why is it called "Closer". Hope somebody can enlighten us.

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By the way, does anyone know why the name is "Closer"?

It is supposed to signify taking a "closer" look after love at first sight, which is the thematic of the movie. Personally, I think that was rather tritely implemented -- no real depth or human understanding .

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Ed,

I largely agree with everything you said about "Closer", except

I think the movie intentionally does not focus on the heroic aspects of those people.  For example, Anna could well be a heroic character from another point of view (succesfull career, etc.),

Career success is not a standard for heroicism. If it were, Peter Keating and James Taggart would be heroes. There were no "heroic aspects" of the characters in the movie.

despite all her stupidities in relationships.

But the "stupidities in relationships" is what the movie was all about. :thumbsup:

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*****Spoiler*****

Stephen,

Well, perhaps I should have used the word "achievement" instead of "career success". Whether or not the characters in the movie achieved anything significant in life or work is besides the point of the movie. And I think we should assume neither. Dan is the exception - he is explicitly portrayed as a loser in all aspects.

But the "stupidities in relationships" is what the movie was all about.  :)

That I agree.

I just want to say that there are many facades in a person's character. I've seen some extraordinary individuals failed miserably in relationships. Actually I think Hank Rearden could be one of them.

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I just want to say that there are many facades in a person's character. I've seen some extraordinary individuals failed miserably in relationships. Actually I think Hank Rearden could be one of them.

I think it to be a grave mistake to compare in any way, the error in knowledge that Hank Rearden made with the fundamental moral flaws of the characters in that movie.

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I think it to be a grave mistake to compare in any way, the error in knowledge that Hank Rearden made with the fundamental moral flaws of the characters in that movie (Closer).

You obviously read something more than what's in my words. All I've said is that extraordinary individuals sometimes fail miserably in relationships and I think Hank Rearden did just that. I did not compare him to the characters in the movie at all.

OK, just for argument sake, let's say that I had compared Rearden to, for example, Larry (though I would not make such comparison because there isn't sufficient data). Then why do you think it would be a grave mistake? Can you elaborate more on what exactly do you mean by the "error of knowledge" of Rearden and the "fundamental moral flaws" of the characters in Closer?

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OK, just for argument sake, let's say that I had compared Rearden to, for example, Larry (though I would not make such comparison because there isn't sufficient data). Then why do you think it would be a grave mistake? Can you elaborate more on what exactly do you mean by the "error of knowledge" of Rearden and the "fundamental moral flaws" of the characters in Closer?

It is no accident that John Galt, in his speech, says "Do you hear me now, Hank Rearden, the greatest of the victims I have avenged?" Hank Rearden was a rational man of great moral stature, but he made an error of knowledge and judgment (see the "sanction of the victim"). Rearden was a victim, made possible by the best within him, not the worst. By contrast, the characters in this movie are a bunch of irrational emotionalists, motivated and governed by their feelings. I'm uncomfortable even treating the distinction between Rearden and these others, in a serious vein.

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Stephen,

I agree that Rearden is a rational man of great moral stature. However, he married and continued to live with the woman he despises. He admittedly visited whorehouses. He committed adultery and cheated on his wife. He was driven to violence by jealousy. He yielded to the most despicable blackmail and by doing so compromised his integrity and made tremendous damage to many good people. Can you use your own word to state explicitly what exact "error of knowledge and judgment” that Rearden has made in regard to such behaviors in his relationships?

I agree with you that the characters in Closer, for the most part, are "irrational emotionalists" as you say. Is that what you mean by "fundamental moral flaws"?

I have no intention to persuade anybody here. I perfectly understand why people don't like this movie. (My husband also doesn’t like it). I just want to know exactly what you have been saying.

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If you want to see Natalie Portman (from Closer) in a good movie, try _Where the Heart Is_ (2000). It is the story of a poor pregnant teenager and her struggle to make it, and it quite heartwarming.

Some of the pleasant surprises (from an Objectivist point of view) in the movie: the notebook, the baby's name, the portrayal of WalMart.

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...

labrat, you seem to have missed the essence of Rearden's conflict. I suggest you study the various writings on the mind-body dichotomy and the sanction of the victim, and then go back to Atlas Shrugged and apply what you learn to Rearden's actions throughout the book. There is simply too much material in this for me to cover.

I agree with you that the characters in Closer, for the most part, are "irrational emotionalists" as you say.  Is that what you mean by "fundamental moral flaws"?

Yes. Rationality is the prime Objectivist virtue, and essentially the source for all others.

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Labrat, seriously you request a post that will take at least a few hours to compile and compose. How many times have you read Atlas Shrugged? I doubt if it was more than once, because I have also noticed quite a few errors in your understanding of Rearden (he's never been to a whorehouse, what an insane suggestion). So I recommend another reading of the book before you ask for a 10-page paper in response. Read the book and you'll know the answer yourself.

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Just saw Gattaca. EXCELLENT!

I agree. One thing that struck me was the optimistically futuristic setting. People dressed in style and were quite civilized. Not only did Gattaca portray a world with improved technology, it portrayed an improved culture as well.

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