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11 Responses

  1. Scott Nye says:

    Could not disagree with your read of 12 Years a Slave more. As I said in my top ten, it digging into slavery is not the central point of the film at all. It’s not setting out to convince you that slavery is a bad thing; it assumes you’re smart enough to figure that out, and explores what could make such a thing possible, many of the same mindsets that continue to enforce other inhumane systems today. It’s actually an extraordinarily challenging film, because it asks each person, no matter their social/political/economic stature, how they can continue to tacitly allow such things to happen.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I think the only section that bears out this interpretation is with Benedict Cumberbatch, and it is appropriately my favorite part of the film. That a “good man” can still own slaves and can do such an inhumane thing in as humane a way as possible speaks to the over all insidiousness of the institution. It was deeply convicting.
      And while that is a powerful section of the film, it is only one section, and most definitely not the one to which the film devotes most of its time and energy. Afterwards, unfortunately, the film moves into the primary section which, while emotionally effective, was never as challenging as the Cumberbatch sequences.

      • Scott Nye says:

        I’d also point to the flashback in which we see Solomon (as a free man) in a shop, trying to avoid confrontation when a slave wanders in and kind of giving those “well, what can you do” smiles to the shopkeeper.

        As for the Fassbender section, it’s obviously not addressing the same concerns as emphatically (though I think Solomon’s attempts to regain his freedom, and the resistance he encounters in asking for help, and the way his eventual exit shows how little he can do even with his freedom, are reflective of this), but I also don’t think it’s as simple as just saying “slavery was a big deal you guys.” We see the level of delusion required for Fassbender’s character to justify everything about his life, owning the slaves and his attraction to Patsy and how his wife deals with all that and so on. It’s not as intellectual a concern, but it digs at the human relationships that inevitably develop even in systems designed to dehumanize many. The whipping scene really crystalizes it all by revealing the cowardice of greed and power, determined to maintain the latter while turning away from the horror of those actions.

  2. Juhani Kenttä says:

    I found the segment dealing with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest somewhat surprising. I thought it was one of those movies that although maybe not talked about all that often but pretty universally loved nevertheless.

  3. Hudsucker says:

    Good episode guys? Mind if I inquire what films you are anticipating for 2014? Other than 300: Rise of an Empire of course.

  4. Marko says:

    I thought “The Greatest Show On Earth” was the film that was widely regarded as the weakest Best Picture winner. Or at least that’s what I remember hearing around the time that Crash had won.

  5. Ray (@RaySquirrel) says:

    I was actually surprised that Inside Llweyn Davis was not nominated for best picture, considering No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man, and True Grit were all nominated. Plus the Academy nominated nine films for best picture instead of ten. It is almost as if they are mocking the Coens! For some reason that makes me like the film more.

    I work in a movie theater (which one reviewer on Yelp described the staff as “very carnie-like”) so I get a good impression of the films released each year. This year was unique in that it began with one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time (Texas Chainsaw 3D). Over the summer the quality of the films climbed to mediocre (Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel). And all the best films came out in the fall with the year ending with the best film I’ve seen in a long time (The Wolf of Wall Street).

    Overall this has quite a lackluster year in my opinion. If we are going to rank years a lot of people say that 2007 was a great year for movies. Though that year was dominated by a handful of masterpieces (Zodiac, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood). For me a good year has got to have good films of various kinds, released all throughout the year in order to qualify. In that sense I would include the summer of 2008 as one of the best moviegoing seasons in a long time. One interesting thing to note the one similarity between 2007-2008 and the other great year for movies 1999, is that they were both years prior to a presidential election. So if this correlation has any predictive value we can anticipate many great movies for 2015-2016.

  6. Dave Amiott says:

    I liked this episode. I find it interesting that you didn’t raise the issue of the vote being split when there is a strong field in a certain category. This is the only explanation I can conceive of for why “You’ll Be in My Heart” from Disney’s “Tarzan” won Best Original Song over both “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2” (which should have won) and “Blame Canada” from “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut” (which had anti-establishment appeal).
    Now that I think of it, “anti-establishment appeal” in a firmly-establishment institution like the Oscars has potential as a topic of conversation in and of itself…

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