BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby The Write Profile » 26 Oct 2012, 23:08

Matt Wilson wrote:Taxi Driver wasn't a blockbuster.


No, it wasn't- at least not in the Jaws, Exorcist or the Godfather sense- but it was a major hit in the context of the time. One of the top grossing films of 1976, in fact. But that's what I was getting at- for all the critical acclaim and influence of the "Movie Brat" generation, most of them were able to keep making the movies they did during the 1970s because in retrospect, the studios had no idea how to combat falling revenues and the continual dominance of television. Once Jaws and especially Star Wars came along, they were onto a winner- but looking back at the notices for both, no one expected them to be the major hits that they were. The production history for both was dire, it was remarkable they came out looking as good as they did.

D'avey wrote:I struggled with whether to put Raging Bull on my list or not. It has always been a film that left me colder than it probably should. I have no issue around whether it glamorizes La Motta or not. Our culture glamorizes guys like him - in a sense, not really wanting to look at the implications of the savagery we expect of him professionally. Of course Mike Tyson would ultimately come along and bring up those questions, but I'm not sure we collectively looked too deep into our culpability in his crimes.

Ultimately I suppose I just never felt that Raging Bull led me to any questions that bugged me enough to keep chewing on it. Maybe I should try again.


I think Scorsese is both fascinated and repulsed by the guy in equal measure- as more than one person has pointed out in the past, why would you do a biopic on the guy who got beat by Sugar Ray Robinson, arguably the forerunner to Ali? The balletic boxing scenes aside, and admittedly, the gorgeously crisp b&w cinematography (it's probably his best-looking film), it 's a grimy and often unpleasant picture in terms of its actual milieu. And Jake is ultimately revealed to be an absolute shell of a man who destroys everything around him. Where the admiration comes through in Scorsese's work, is literally the guy's ability to take as many hits as he does. There's a masochistic streak that runs through so many of his films, it arguably reached its height in the Last Temptation of Christ.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Snarfyguy » 27 Oct 2012, 07:04

Bleep wrote:
the masked man wrote:I can't agree. Once Upon A Time In America is very flawed, and Raging Bull, while it has great production values, is ultimately empty macho bullshit. One critic (I forget who) described it as an epic about a bum who enjoyed beating up people, and he was right. There's a real disconnect between the grand operatic structure and the subject matter; Jake La Motta simply doesn't deserve this treatment. I found this a really empty movie, even if the in-the-ring sequences were maginificently staged. A good comparison here is with Darren Aronofsky's naturalistic 00s film The Wrestler, which exists in a similar vein, but seems far less forced, and more human. This worked because it understood the main character's delusions and yet couldn't ultimately condemn him either. Scorsese's folly was just too uncritical of his flawed subject, and dealt in unwise romanticism.


I have to agree with Geraint here and say that I think your criticism of Raging Bull as "macho" is remarkably inaccurate. La Motta is portrayed as an ugly, vile man with little or no respect for anyone around him. Sure, the celebration of him as a boxer may be "glorified" but Scorsese's direction is brilliantly ambiguous - are we meant to respect him as a boxer to gloss over his flaws as a human being? That's for us to decide because you can be taken in by the balletic cinematography during the fight scenes.


D'avey wrote:I struggled with whether to put Raging Bull on my list or not. It has always been a film that left me colder than it probably should. I have no issue around whether it glamorizes La Motta or not. Our culture glamorizes guys like him - in a sense, not really wanting to look at the implications of the savagery we expect of him professionally. Of course Mike Tyson would ultimately come along and bring up those questions, but I'm not sure we collectively looked too deep into our culpability in his crimes.

Ultimately I suppose I just never felt that Raging Bull led me to any questions that bugged me enough to keep chewing on it. Maybe I should try again.

I've just watched it for the first time since the dawn of the home video era and I'm genuinely surprised there's any discussion about whether the film "glorifies" its subject. LaMotta is depicted in no uncertain terms as an abusive, macho, sado-masochistic tyrant, and one that's ultimately pathetic. Indeed, his masochistic streak might be his only humanizing or potentially redeeming characteristic; it seems that getting beaten up is the only way he can ameliorate the guilt he feels about the way he treats his family, and his decline is truly pitiable.

Objections to the film's glamorizing LaMotta fail in the same way Beenieman's condemnation of McCabe and Mrs Miller or Five Easy Pieces (due to their characters' moral and ethical shortcomings) doesn't withstand scrutiny: we're not asked to identify with or root for these characters. In the final analysis, what they deserve most is our pity.

LaMotta's not the hero of his own story here, or even an anti-hero. It's really more like a Greek tragedy than anything.

MM, you should give it another chance. It's really much more nuanced than I think you're giving it credit for.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 27 Oct 2012, 07:26

Snarfyguy wrote:Objections to the film's glamorizing LaMotta fail in the same way Beenieman's condemnation of McCabe and Mrs Miller or Five Easy Pieces (due to their characters' moral and ethical shortcomings) doesn't withstand scrutiny: we're not asked to identify with or root for these characters. In the final analysis, what they deserve most is our pity.



Hopefully you recall that the morals of Nicholson's character in Five Easy Pieces were defended by at least 1 poster here so clearly that message did not get thru to everyone.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby The Write Profile » 27 Oct 2012, 07:31

Snarfyguy wrote:I've just watched it for the first time since the dawn of the home video era and I'm genuinely surprised there's any discussion about whether the film "glorifies" its subject. LaMotta is depicted in no uncertain terms as an abusive, macho, sado-masochistic tyrant, and one that's ultimately pathetic. Indeed, his masochistic streak might be his only humanizing or potentially redeeming characteristic; it seems that getting beaten up is the only way he can ameliorate the guilt he feels about the way he treats his family, and his decline is truly pitiable.

Objections to the film's glamorizing LaMotta fail in the same way Beenieman's condemnation of McCabe and Mrs Miller or Five Easy Pieces (due to their characters' moral and ethical shortcomings) doesn't withstand scrutiny: we're not asked to identify with or root for these characters. In the final analysis, what they deserve most is our pity.

LaMotta's not the hero of his own story here, or even an anti-hero. It's really more like a Greek tragedy than anything.

MM, you should give it another chance. It's really much more nuanced than I think you're giving it credit for.



There are two scenes that bring this home: one, where LaMotta is in the cell, and has no recourse to punch the wall repeatedly. The other is the final fight with Sugar Ray- probably the most kinetic scene in the film- where LaMotta is just beaten to an absolute pulp and glowers back "you never got me down, Ray. You never got me down.". It's pretty much a love-letter to masochism, but its protagonist is to be loathed for it. If anything, the "macho bullshit" (to use maskedman's phrase) it admires is in Pesci's brother, because at least he's found a way to accept who he is.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Matt Wilson » 27 Oct 2012, 17:44

beenieman wrote:
Snarfyguy wrote:Objections to the film's glamorizing LaMotta fail in the same way Beenieman's condemnation of McCabe and Mrs Miller or Five Easy Pieces (due to their characters' moral and ethical shortcomings) doesn't withstand scrutiny: we're not asked to identify with or root for these characters. In the final analysis, what they deserve most is our pity.



Hopefully you recall that the morals of Nicholson's character in Five Easy Pieces were defended by at least 1 poster here so clearly that message did not get thru to everyone.


And yet you got through Romper Stomper.

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 27 Oct 2012, 18:32

Matt Wilson wrote:
beenieman wrote:
Snarfyguy wrote:Objections to the film's glamorizing LaMotta fail in the same way Beenieman's condemnation of McCabe and Mrs Miller or Five Easy Pieces (due to their characters' moral and ethical shortcomings) doesn't withstand scrutiny: we're not asked to identify with or root for these characters. In the final analysis, what they deserve most is our pity.



Hopefully you recall that the morals of Nicholson's character in Five Easy Pieces were defended by at least 1 poster here so clearly that message did not get thru to everyone.


And yet you got through Romper Stomper.


Surely you saw Russell Crowe's moral & ethical shortcomings in that movie?

Really. If you can't see the difference in attitudes behind those two movies I am truly stunned. And somewhat sad.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Matt Wilson » 27 Oct 2012, 20:38

So what are ya saying, Beenie, that you didn't see Nicholson's "moral and ethical shortcomings" in Five Easy Pieces?

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 27 Oct 2012, 20:45

Matt Wilson wrote:So what are ya saying, Beenie, that you didn't see Nicholson's "moral and ethical shortcomings" in Five Easy Pieces?


I saw them.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Snarfyguy » 27 Oct 2012, 22:45

I think we're getting a little off the track here. I was just saying that I think if masked man rejects Raging Bull for the same reason Beenieman rejects Five Easy Pieces, i.e. that we don't like the protagonist, he should maybe re-watch it and reconsider his position.

I don't think it says anywhere that we're supposed to like those characters in order to consider those good movies.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 27 Oct 2012, 23:11

Snarfyguy wrote:I think we're getting a little off the track here. I was just saying that I think if masked man rejects Raging Bull for the same reason Beenieman rejects Five Easy Pieces, i.e. that we don't like the protagonist, he should maybe re-watch it and reconsider his position.

I don't think it says anywhere that we're supposed to like those characters in order to consider those good movies.


I didn't finish watching Five Easy Pieces in part because I felt that the moviemakers indulged the unpleasantness of the lead character rather than simply because I didn't like the lead character.

Five Easy Pieces actually celebrates Nicholson's character. It played into the culture prevailing in Hollywood at the time. You just know that Nicholson thought he was glorifying his character because his own personal lifestyle had the same flaws.

Also I thought it was a sh*tty movie and I rejected it on that basis too.

It's discussed back here:

http://www.bcb-board.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=92310&start=1740
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Snarfyguy » 27 Oct 2012, 23:16

beenieman wrote:I didn't finish watching Five Easy Pieces in part because I felt that the moviemakers indulged the unpleasantness of the lead character rather than simply because I didn't like the lead character.

I'm sorry if I've misrepresented your position, beenie.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 27 Oct 2012, 23:30

Snarfyguy wrote:
beenieman wrote:I didn't finish watching Five Easy Pieces in part because I felt that the moviemakers indulged the unpleasantness of the lead character rather than simply because I didn't like the lead character.

I'm sorry if I've misrepresented your position, beenie.


No worries. I'm just glad in this instance I could remember my position :D

But seriously if I didn't watch movies because the lead character was unpleasant I'd have pretty limited viewing. I wouldn't be able to watch Mars Attacks because of the martians right?
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Matt Wilson » 28 Oct 2012, 01:33

Five Easy Pieces doesn't glorify Bobby DuPree any more than Raging Bull glorifies Jake LaMotta, or any more than Taxi Driver does Travis Bickle or even Citizen Kane does Charles Foster Kane.

I could go on and on but there doesn't seem to be any point. He's gonna like what he likes and stop watching at the twenty minute mark when he doesn't.

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby beenieman » 28 Oct 2012, 02:00

Matt Wilson wrote:Five Easy Pieces doesn't glorify Bobby DuPree any more than Raging Bull glorifies Jake LaMotta, or any more than Taxi Driver does Travis Bickle or even Citizen Kane does Charles Foster Kane.

I could go on and on but there doesn't seem to be any point. He's gonna like what he likes and stop watching at the twenty minute mark when he doesn't.


You sure you're ok with that? It doesn't sound like you are?
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (RESULTS - #51-6 UP).

Postby Matt Wilson » 31 Oct 2012, 14:55

Any chance you can post the final five today, Algroth?

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

Postby algroth » 01 Nov 2012, 19:25

The countdown is now complete. Terribly sorry about having taken this long, it's that I've been busy studying and doing other things.

Anyways, the big shame for me is that, despite Blue Velvet achieving the top spot, no one (else) voted for The Elephant Man which for me stands firmly among his finest work. Andrei Tarkovsky, despite a good run in the all-time poll, was also widely ignored.

Still, it's a very solid list overall.

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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

Postby beenieman » 01 Nov 2012, 19:44

I voted for #1 - Blue Velvet.

And Withnail & I wasn't on top.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

Postby Snarfyguy » 01 Nov 2012, 20:15

algroth wrote:Andrei Tarkovsky, despite a good run in the all-time poll, was also widely ignored.

I might have been tempted to nominate something by him, but I've never seen any of his 80s work (and it's beginning to look as though I never will unless I buy the DVDs).

I did vote for all the movies in the top five, so I was pleased to seem them all place so high.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

Postby beenieman » 01 Nov 2012, 20:22

Snarfyguy wrote:
algroth wrote:Andrei Tarkovsky, despite a good run in the all-time poll, was also widely ignored.

I might have been tempted to nominate something by him, but I've never seen any of his 80s work (and it's beginning to look as though I never will unless I buy the DVDs).

I did vote for all the movies in the top five, so I was pleased to seem them all place so high.


It's interesting that a number of people voted for the entire top 5.
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Re: BCB's Top Films of the '80s poll (FULL RESULTS).

Postby Copehead » 01 Nov 2012, 20:57

You've put the top 5 in upside down

Other than that top job

Where was Revenge of the Nerds?
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