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Thread: What are some movies that you think everyone should watch?

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    fuck the chupacabra Randall's Avatar
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    What are some movies that you think everyone should watch?

    I may as well essentially make the same idea into three threads.

    What are some movies that you think are important enough that everyone should see? Perhaps something that changed your perspective on life, or made you a better person just from the virtue of watching it.

    Also, try to include WHY you think everyone should watch the film.

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    Member MacGuffin's Avatar
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    I'll write about two films I think are often misunderstood.

    Citizen Kane (1941)
    Most of those that love film know why this one often tops the lists of the greatest movies of all time, but the modern viewer often just wonders what the fuss is about. You can start with the story itself: the biography of a dead man told in flashback by those that knew him. The American "self-made" man, who did it by inheriting an obscene amount of wealth and building an empire with it. The non-linear format is used by future filmmakers like Kurosawa in Rashomon, and Tarantino in Pulp Fiction. The film's MacGuffin, Rosebud, sets in motion the reason for all these flashbacks, but some get confused thinking that a sled actually means something, when MacGuffins don't really matter. The telling of a complex American titan (modeled on the life of William Randolph Hearst) was done in a much darker way by Paul Thomas Anderson in There Will Be Blood. Can you ignore that Orson Welles is doing all this while only 26 years old? Look at the technical accomplishments: did you see the way the camera moved through the table? They did it by moving two halves together after the camera passed, you can see the hat wobble. Did you think that giant statue of Thatcher was real? It was a miniature, hand-spliced into the film. Look at the way Welles uses perspective and deep focus. When he wants Kane to appear great, he lowers a fake ceiling down so it almost brushes his head. For the opposite, he walks towards some windows in deep focus that appear normal-sized, only by the time he gets there you realize they are huge, diminishing Kane. The movie rewrote the language of film. The reason why it seems like no big deal is because everything after flows from it.

    Fight Club (1999)
    I think this might be one of the most misunderstood movies of all time. So many people refused to look beyond the surface... men beating the crap out of each other then banding together to fuck with society. There are those I've seen online (esp. in the PUA circles) that exalt Tyler Durden, thinking he has a line on what it means to be a real man in today's society. What this film is really about is an exploration of cults of personality and fascism. Have you ever wondered why Nazi Germany went so batshit crazy following Hitler? For the same reason people think Project Mayhem might be a good idea - fascism is seductive to those that look to blame someone for their troubles. In the end, no matter how seductive, you are supposed to wake up like the Narrator does and say "this is fucking crazy!" The fact that many still side with Durden only goes to show how powerful a charismatic leader with some half-truths and bullshit can be.

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    The fact that many still side with Durden only goes to show how powerful a charismatic leader with some half-truths and bullshit can be.
    A similar argument could be made about American History X. Another fine Edward Norton film by the way.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    I'll write about two films I think are often misunderstood.


    Fight Club (1999)
    I think this might be one of the most misunderstood movies of all time. So many people refused to look beyond the surface... men beating the crap out of each other then banding together to fuck with society. There are those I've seen online (esp. in the PUA circles) that exalt Tyler Durden, thinking he has a line on what it means to be a real man in today's society. What this film is really about is an exploration of cults of personality and fascism. Have you ever wondered why Nazi Germany went so batshit crazy following Hitler? For the same reason people think Project Mayhem might be a good idea - fascism is seductive to those that look to blame someone for their troubles. In the end, no matter how seductive, you are supposed to wake up like the Narrator does and say "this is fucking crazy!" The fact that many still side with Durden only goes to show how powerful a charismatic leader with some half-truths and bullshit can be.
    You're both right and "wrong" (interpretations of movies are matters of subjective perception/opinion, so you're not really wrong-wrong).

    Durden's a charismatic psychopath (and is a deliberate allusion to people like Hitler), but another key subtext of the movie is that he's the product of the narrator's self-repression and the falseness of conventional society's demands on the individual. His charisma comes from his tendency to have a point about these things, and the film (certainly the book, and I think the film as well) is very intentionally playing with the ambiguity there. The moral is still very much "you have to figure these things out for yourself and forge your own path; you can't just follow people who tell you what to do" but there's also a related observation that you don't get Tyler Durdens in a society that doesn't give them a reason to exist. Palahniuk used to hang out with punk/anarchist people and the book is partly a sympathetic depiction of what drives people into those subcultures. There's a thesis/antithesis/synthesis progression in which the arrival of Durden into the narrator's life is a necessary event that frees him from the helpless, sad-sack state that he's in at the beginning--he just then has to proceed to free himself from his subjugation to Durden's influence to complete the process. (And of course the movie changed the ending.)

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    Member MacGuffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Mexico View Post
    You're both right and "wrong" (interpretations of movies are matters of subjective perception/opinion, so you're not really wrong-wrong).

    Durden's a charismatic psychopath (and is a deliberate allusion to people like Hitler), but another key subtext of the movie is that he's the product of the narrator's self-repression and the falseness of conventional society's demands on the individual. His charisma comes from his tendency to have a point about these things, and the film (certainly the book, and I think the film as well) is very intentionally playing with the ambiguity there. The moral is still very much "you have to figure these things out for yourself and forge your own path; you can't just follow people who tell you what to do" but there's also a related observation that you don't get Tyler Durdens in a society that doesn't give them a reason to exist. Palahniuk used to hang out with punk/anarchist people and the book is partly a sympathetic depiction of what drives people into those subcultures. There's a thesis/antithesis/synthesis progression in which the arrival of Durden into the narrator's life is a necessary event that frees him from the helpless, sad-sack state that he's in at the beginning--he just then has to proceed to free himself from his subjugation to Durden's influence to complete the process. (And of course the movie changed the ending.)
    Right, I think we are on the same page. "fascism is seductive to those that look to blame someone for their troubles"

    Whether right or wrong, if the Narrator doesn't feel victimized by society then he would never fall under the influence of Durden.

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