Sea of Noise

Fri, 09 Jun 2006

102 Movies?


Jim Emerson posted a list of the 102 movies he thinks everyone ought to have seen to have an informed discussion about movies. (Not necessarily, he notes, the best 102 movies ever made. And, technically, there are 103.)

Since all the other cool kids are doing it, I'd thought I'd play along and note the 44 I've seen. (Though there are probably a couple more I've forgetten I've seen, as well as a couple I know I've seen but mostly forgotten.)

Of the ones I haven't seen, there are several on my must-see list, e.g. Citizen Kane; a few I couldn't care less about, e.g. Halloween; and several I've watched over and over again (with Holy Grail coming in second only to The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Overall, it seems to be a good list, though I get the sense that Emerson's attempt to "represent key examples of all important genres, movie stars, directors, historical movements, and so on" skews it a bit. (And if you're going that way, where are the "teen" movies like Don't Knock the Rock or Breakfast Club?)

Too bad I just cancelled my Netflix membership.

[via Whole Night Sky]

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Fri, 01 Jul 2005

Neal Stephenson Explains Star Wars

The suckage of the Star Wars prequels may be disappointing, but thanks to Neal Stephenson at least it finally makes sense:

In the 16 years that separated it [Episode I: The Phantom Menace] from the initial trilogy, a new universe of ancillary media had come into existence. These had made it possible to take the geek material offline so that the movies could consist of pure, uncut veg-out content, steeped in day-care-center ambience. These newer films don't even pretend to tell the whole story; they are akin to PowerPoint presentations that summarize the main bullet points from a much more comprehensive body of work developed by and for a geek subculture.

I am, incidentally, finally reading the third volume of Stephenson's recent Baroque Cycle, and my opinion of the series has only improved as I've read more. They're big, complicated books that require a sustained investment of time I don't have lately; but when I do get a chance to immerse myself in them, they're worth it. With the next installment of Harry Potter to be released in a matter of weeks, I may soon find myself in quite a dilemma about what to do with my scant pleasure-reading time...

[via Adactio]

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Tue, 14 Sep 2004

Hitchens on Moore

How did I miss this back in June? Christopher Hitchens summarizes, in a lengthy, but dead-on rant, why "Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness" and "a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of 'dissenting' bravery."

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A Heap of Trouble

"Nine naked men, just walking down the road, would cause a heap of trouble for all concerned..." [via kjpepper]

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Mon, 19 Jul 2004

Rise of the Flockumentary

Reviewing Outfoxed, Steven Zeitchik coins the wonderful world "flockumentary":

Yet to call these films propaganda is also to misunderstand them. They don't seek to convince the unconvinced or herd the untamed. They aim directly at the sheep. Little wonder that the main means of distributing "Outfoxed" is through house parties organized by, the group whose Bush-bashing is at least as bald-faced as anything on Fox. Call them flockumentaries, movies people attend en masse, to nestle together in easy confirmation of their most cherished beliefs -- to learn, really, what they already know.

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Lileks on Moore

James Lileks doesn't like Michael Moore and doesn't share his contempt for the American people.

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Sun, 18 Jul 2004

Finding Fahrenheit 9/11

Has Michael Moore abandoned the independent movie theaters that gave him his start? One theater owner thinks so. [via disinfo]

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Sat, 17 Jul 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Fails to Excite Another Sympathizer

Brian Doherty's review of Fahrenheit 9/11 at Reason this month makes me suspect that continuing to not see this movie may be more fun than seeing it...

My mind drifted to such fantasies while watching his new hit film because Fahrenheit 9/11 itself is--and this was a genuine surprise to me--so disappointingly dull. It's only the firestorm of discourse surrounding it that has created enough ambient heat to warm this tedious farrago and make it seem palatable. As is blindingly obvious from all the fooferaw surrounding the movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 works as a chemical test whereby your preconceptions can be determined by observing what color you turn upon exposure to it. Those opposed to its thesis of course find it painfully propagandistic and based on some verifiable untruths; those sympathetic manage to smile on it indulgently even while seeing its flaws.

One thing I've been surprised to read, though, that some who see it (c.f. Robert Jensen's essay) are smelling the whiff of racism, or at least racial stereotyping, in the air:

(Indeed, Moore evinces a particularly old-fashioned, Flint, Michigan style hard-hat leftism here, daring the doyens of diversity to attack. Some key bits in Fahrenheit ride on representations of foreigners, whether Saudi or Palauan, as sinister and/or risible merely because they look and dress funny to Middle American eyes.)

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Thu, 15 Jul 2004

Hezbollah's Hollywood Hero

Who is "Hezbollah's Hollywood Hero", according to Jacob Laksin?

So how can one explain Moore's appeal among the bloodthirsty? Moore's longstanding sympathy for their work is a good place to start. Though it's largely forgotten today, in the early '90s Moore was workshopping an idea for a movie about the Palestinian Intifada. The project . . . was never made. But John Foren, a reporter for the Flint Journal in Michigan, Moore's adopted hometown, had no illusions as to what it would look like. "If Michael touches that [the Intifada], you're going to see the real Michael," Foren told the Washington Times in 1990. "And it's not something that people are going to love."

[via disinfo]

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Why Fahrenheit 9/11 Is A Conservative Film

Robert Jensen offers a lengthy and intelligent critique of Moore's latest film from a left perspective in "What Michael Moore Misses About the Empire".

. . . it is a serious mistake to believe that these wars can be explained by focusing so exclusively on the Bush administration and ignoring clear trends in U.S. foreign and military policy. In short, these wars are not a sharp departure from the past but instead should be seen as an intensification of longstanding policies, affected by the confluence of this particular administration's ideology and the opportunities created by the events of 9/11.

[via disinfo]

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The Daily Show on Moore

...and vice versa. Links to video.

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Another Reaction to Fahrenheit 9/11

As I continue to enjoy the film vicariously...

Disinfo has a nice essay with a refreshingly-personal take on Fahrenheit 9/11.

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Fahrenheit 9/11:Entertaining Propaganda

Jon at netcynic posted a nice essay with his response to viewing Fahrenheit 9/11: it's entertaining propaganda.

Ironically, Mr. Moore uses the same tactics in his anti-Bush film that he (and I) have attcked Mr. Bush for using. In the film I detected no outright lies, but Mr. Moore, just as Mr. Bush did, insinuates falsehoods without directly stating them.

I still haven't seen the film. I guess I need to make some room on my hard drive and download it, if only to find out whether it's as inaccurate, manipulative, and generally devoid of intelligence as Moore's last film, Bowling for Columbine. (For the record, I did enjoy Roger and Me, despite generally disagreeing with much of Moore's politics.)

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Wed, 14 Jul 2004 Takes Moore At His Word

It shouldn't have been controversial when the folks at MooreWatch went ahead and took Moore at his word by posting a link to a pirated copy of his film. Of course, Moore can say whatever he likes about his personal view of piracy, knowing that his corporate masters will attack anyone who attempts to take the idea seriously.

Michael, let's see you put your money where your mouth is and release your film under an open license instead...

[via disinfo]

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Moore Says Piracy OK


Director Michael Moore says he doesn't mind if folks copy his film illegally for their own private use:

"I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I'm happy this is happening."


Update: See also this clip of the interview.

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Fahrenheit 9/11 and the MPAA

Still haven't seen the film, but on the face of it, I'd have to agree with this criticism of the MPAA's rating and subsequent actions.

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Tue, 13 Jul 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Transcript

An unofficial transcript of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is now available. Not having seen the film, I can't vouch for its accuracy; but hopefully this will be a useful tool for furthering intelligent debate. [via boingboing]

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Fri, 09 Jul 2004

Harry Potter News Aggregator

If for some strange reason you're not already hearing enough about Harry Potter, check out the Harry Potter News Aggregator.

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More on Moore

One of many responses to Michael Moore's latest film. I haven't seen the film yet, so no comment from me, but I thought this was worth posting because there are also a number of good links at the bottom of the article.

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Thu, 08 Jul 2004

Mansfield Drive-In

If you live in Connecticut, yes, there's still a place you can go in your car and watch movies (and, optionally, neck)! The Mansfield Drive-In has three screens with the new-fangled FM radio broadcasts for the sound, as well as some of the old-school sound thingies. The snack stand doesn't serve anything healthy; but, hey, it's a drive-in--bring your own food. You can't beat the price or the atmosphere.

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