EPISODE 399: WHAT IS INDEPENDENT?

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12 Responses

  1. Hudsucker says:

    On Interstellar, wouldn’t Pfister’s cinematography and that spinning room fight scene at least raise it to a D?

    • Hudsucker says:

      *Inception

      (Nolan needs to make less movies that start with I, cause I almost wrote Insomnia)

      • Ray (@RaySquirrel) says:

        Prior to watching Interstellar I joked to myself that this was the concluding entry of his “IN-” trilogy (along with Insomnia and Inception). After watching Interstellar I thought that these films really do make a trilogy, charting Nolan’s rise as a noteworthy director. Each film involves a protagonist with a troubled past, who is caught in a hostile environment where their mistakes are reflected back on them.

        All three films invert traditional concepts of time. Insomnia is set in a place where the sun doesn’t set half the year. Inception takes place in dreams within dreams were time moves slower in each concentric layer of the dream state. And now Interstellar takes place between planets where time moves slower in relation to source of gravity, causing characters to age slower than their relatives on Earth.

        And all three films end with deathbed confessions where the main character reconciles his past actions with his present self.

        • Hudsucker says:

          If only he was slated to direct Insurgent…

        • alex says:

          And maybe even more crucial to the trilogy (mild spoilers ahead):

          At the end of Insomnia, Pacino finally goes to sleep.
          At the end of Inception (or last half), everyone goes to sleep.
          At the end of Interstellar, the audience goes to sleep because hey man, deciding to check out the 9PM showing was a bad idea.

  2. Seth H. says:

    I have never disliked a Christopher Nolan movie (including Interstellar, which I saw last night and loved). I am also older than twenty-three. Having read David’s review both before and after I watched it, I don’t have any of his problems with it. I suppose I have blinders on when it comes to Nolan, and probably always will. Maybe that goes against the BP philosophy of constant critical thinking, but I don’t care. I love loving his movies. Everything he does works for me on some level. And I don’t think that’s the same as giving him a pass. I see it as just being deeply in tune with his sensibilities. I would say the same about Terrence Malick or Guillermo del Toro, even if Pacific Rim was a bit of a misfire even for me. Oh well. I still kinda liked it.

    As for Interstellar specifically, I can only liken it to how David felt about Avatar a few years ago. He loved it for its more primal, intangible qualities and didn’t really fuss over the particulars. Certainly Interstellar is one of Nolan’s most emotional films, and I loved seeing that come through. And I was swept away by the pure grandeur of it. I’m not bothered in the least by extensive exposition, scientific babble or that trademark Nolan solemnity, which is why I also still enjoy Inception, though I’m a little more open to your criticisms there.

    All that said, I still would say my favorite Nolan films are Insomnia and The Prestige, weirdly the two that people seem to talk about the least. I would like to see him do something on that scale again, and I think perhaps he will (because let’s face it, he certainly can’t make something BIGGER than Interstellar, though I confess I’d enjoy seeing him try).

    Anyway, just my two or three cents on the subject. I still love you guys despite the fact that you clearly have nothing but seething contempt for Christopher Nolan and all his fans.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I’m glad you mentioned Avatar. I was thinking about it a lot while watching Interstellar. I would have written about it, too, but I chose to focus more on the Signs comparison, which felt more fertile.

      Anyway, I do believe they have the same impulses but Nolan is pretentious and self-conscious in ways that Cameron isn’t. He wants to have his cake and eat it too.

      – David

      • Seth H. says:

        I don’t agree with your read on Nolan vs. Cameron, but even if it was true, since when is pretension too big a hurdle for David Bax?

      • alex says:

        I can agree with this —

        I really enjoy both Christopher Nolan and James Cameron, but with Nolan’s work, it feels like every movie ought to begin with a title card reading “PREPARE TO HAVE YOUR MIND BLOWN.” There’s something self-conscious about the movies he writes or chooses to adapt. Nolan comes under more scrutiny for plot-holes than other directors, but it’s because he’s portraying the script as if it already has all the answers. Would people pick apart INCEPTION as much as they have if it wasn’t 60% exposition? If there were fewer threads to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, would we be willing to “go along” with it?

        Maybe the difference between Nolan and Cameron is this: in AVATAR, the bad guys are after a mineral called ‘unobtainium’. If it were Nolan’s movie, the mineral would have a sciencier name (‘mendelevium?’), and we’d be given be treated with a conversation between two characters about why this element is important, why it’s not found on earth, and why they needed to travel this far to get it.

  3. alex says:

    Really enjoyed this episode, and I particularly found interesting the discussion about whether or not one should see a movie based on the idea of it.

    I recently went to go see THE BOXTROLLS; the commercials and the critical reception didn’t make it sound like an outstanding movie, but I really love stop-motion animation. Because I don’t want those kinds of movies to die out, I wanted to “vote with my dollars”. As long as I’m not passing up an alternative that I’d actually rather see, this should be fine, right?

    Let’s say I wanted to see INTERSTELLAR and NIGHTCRAWLER equally. Would it be practical to go see NIGHTCRAWLER just on the principle that I’d like to see more movies like that than more movies like INTERSTELLAR?

  4. Ryan says:

    I liked a lot of the ideas of Interstellar and the grandeur of it. I felt the father-daughter relationship was really strong. But the dialogue…my God, the dialogue. Absolutely cringe-inducing. I mean, “say it, don’t spray it”. That actually happened. In a movie for adults.

  1. November 16, 2014

    […] Pretension: On their regular episode, Tyler Smith and David Bax deal with the always interesting, but also impossible to answer, […]

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