EPISODE 387: BLOCKBUSTER ELATION

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9 Responses

  1. Scott L says:

    Just started listening to the episode, but I have to immediately get something off my chest: The Stanford Prison Experiment is such a deeply flawed study with such massive methodological issues that there are literally no conclusions to be drawn from it (other than that Phil Zimbardo really knows how to milk one train wreck of an “experiment” for attention).

    That is not to say that David was wrong in the argument he was making, just that I have a pet peeve about the Stanford Prison Experiment being treated as anything other than an interesting anecdote, let alone some kind of seminal study.

    • Battleship Pretension says:

      I always welcome being called on my assumptions!

      – David

      • Scott L says:

        There’s really no reason for anyone who isn’t a social psychologist to know that. As a social psychologist, though, I get annoyed that if someone knows anything about social psychology, it’s probably the Milgram experiments (flawed, as well, but understandable given when they were conducted) and the Stanford Prison Experiment. I consider it fighting the (probably very annoying and inconsequential) good fight to complain about the prison experiment.

        I do remember liking that movie, Das Experiment, though. So that’s something.

  2. Hudsucker says:

    David, I just noticed both Winter in the Blood and Expedition to the End of the World are both being released this weekend. Must be a pretty good week for you.

  3. Ray (@RaySquirrel) says:

    In his most recent book The Better Angels of Our Nature: How Violence Has Declined, linguist Steven Pinker examines how many of the practices and interests which were considered vulgar throughout history have simply been the upper classes looking down on the activities of the lower classes. He points out that the word vulgar originated from the vulgate, the language of the vulgus or “common people”. We can continue to see it today in the stigma placed on cheap fast food while expensive “organic” grocers are treated with prestige (Even though there is little different between these retailers in terms of nutritional value, environmental impact, and economic policies but that is a discussion for another time). I believe the same stigma has been placed on Hollywood blockbusters.

    While the audience for art house and independent films are not really composed of the wealthy elite, they often differentiate themselves as being more cultured and lettered than the masses who consum big budget blockbusters. This attitude is on full display in Sofia Coppola’s (overrated) Lost In Translation. The audience is meant to see Anna Faris’s Hollywood actress for being ditzy and shallow. Scarlet Johansen’s neglected wife character is made to seem more intelligent and cultured because she skips the movie stars press conference to attend a flower arranging class. This very facile method characterization one of the reasons why over the years I have grown to absolutely loath that film. We are meant to believe that Scarlet Johansen has a degree in philosophy from Stanford even though she does not say or do anything that suggests that what so ever! In fact some of the dialogue that is clearly written to suggest that she is an intelligent and thoughtful individual is even dumber and more insulting than some of the things Anna Farris is given to say. It gives me no surprise that Coppola made Marie Antionette the way she did, watching Lost In Translation I can just hear her, Hollywood royalty, saying “Let them eat cake”.

    It is clear from the refferences to Keanu Reeves that the film they are indirectly refferencing is The Matrix Reloaded which was released a few months prior to Lost In Translation. There is a reason why I mention it so much in these comments because I think it is quite possibly the most transgressive cinematic act preformed in my lifetime. All of the advertisements promised an action blockbuster extravaganza, and audiences were given that. They were also given characters engaging in 5 minute long conversations on esoteric philosophy. As Scott mentioned with the Wachowskis Speed Racer (which is a movie I can see why a lot of people love but can also see why it’s a film a lot of people hate) the ideas are given equally as much weight screen time as the action and the special effects. People went in expecting Michael Bay and got Richard Linklater. (BTW am also working on a fan edit of Richard Linklater’s “Before…” trilogy. Linklater and the Wachowskis filmmakers that love long conversations about esoteric philosophy unrelated to any sort of a plot and have made sci-fi movies with Keanu Reeves.)

    I apologize for these essay long comments. If they become too overbearing just say so.

  4. Davide says:

    Very interesting discussion. I guess I’ll have to watch that G.I. Joe movie now.. I totally agree with Scott on Avengers, that is one ugly looking movie. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only person to like the second pirates movie 🙂 Oh and White House Down is so much fun everyone should check it out!

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