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Mike's favourite movies

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  • Mike's favourite movies

    Mike I recall you saying you enjoyed Rob Roy. I saw "A few Good Men" again last week and I wondered what you thought of the film and the issues it explored. The court room drama seemed to work quite well for me. I am anti-military, but I sympathised a (very) little with some of Colonel Jessop's views, "standing watch at the wall with thousands of the enemy trained to kill him..."

  • #2
    I'm anti-war, in common with a lot of soldiers, but wouldn't say I was anti-military, having had a lot of good friends who have served in the military at one time or another! That said, I never go to see soldier movies, however good they are, so I never saw A Few Good Men and I have only seen bits of Saving Private Ryan, for intance, on TV. The last 'war movie' I saw, I think, was Apocalypse Now. I haven't even watched the new version of that, though I have the video! I've asked a few friends about this and they, like me, had enough of explosions and
    being terrified in the real wars (I, of course, was a passive civilian getting bombarded by rockets as a child) and can't see much point in reliving that. I have nothing against such movies --- whether about soldiers or wars --- being made. I just have no interest in them. I'm sure if I had a reason, or someone insisted, I would watch them, but
    they fill me with depression. Personally, I also get depressed by the kind of brutalising language and drill used in the army, even though I understand the purpose such stuff is trying to serve. In my youth I had plenty of unpleasant parade ground experience of my own because of my complete inability to tell left from right but happily I never had to do any kind of military service after that. I take your point, however, about A Few Good Men, which no doubt get at the truth a lot better than such films as Blackhawk Down, with its grave distortions of history.
    I liked Rob Roy because it did not greatly distort actuality. I hated
    Braveheart, as I despise most Gibson films, because of its ridiculous
    distortions. I'm not sure what I'll make of The Passion if I see it! I must admit that it looks pretty good... But then I'm a sucker for Jesus films,
    perhaps because I don't feel much threatened by religion, which I've always tended to look at rather from the outside, having had virtually no formal religious background. That's me -- hate military stuff, love Jesus stuff...
    :)

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      PS I hated Gangs of New York, by the way, just as much as the others I've mentioned, because of the gross distortions. I thought this of Gandhi and Cry Freedom as well. The films subtly took responsibility from certain groups -- the Irish in Gangs and the English in Gandhi and Cry Freedom. We have to live with our historical responsibilities, even though we should put pointless guilt behind us. I have never seen Breaker Morant, speaking of such things, but hope to do so some time. I don't know if a video or DVD of the movie exists. I did like Kubrick's
      early Paths of Glory, with Kirk Douglas, which struck me as a very good film about the injustices of certain kinds of military attitude.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        I thought K Pax was an interesting movie. Kevin Spacey's unusual charisma shows how important a contribution an actor's charisma can be to making a good movie.

        If you havent seen A Few Good Men I think it is worth seeing. Its about jusitice with drama and suspense and some very puritanical military folks who are judged by all.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tales from Tanelorn
          If you havent seen A Few Good Men I think it is worth seeing. Its about jusitice with drama and suspense and some very puritanical military folks who are judged by all.
          It's also worth watching if you're a fan of The West Wing, as both were written by Aaron Sorkin. I got tired of trying to keep up with all of the political minutiae in West Wing, but both pieces benefit from Sorkin's gift for writing riveting monologues... lots of furrowed brows and righteous indignation and tugging at the emotional heartstrings. The fireworks can be fun to watch, even if I don't always understand/agree with the argument being put forward.

          D...
          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, you talked me into it. Isn't it odd that on most American TV stations the most serious discussion of issues is done on things like West Wing and episodes of The Practice or Judging Amy ? Maybe that's what makes so many US TV series so good in comparison to their UK equivalents. UK TV has lots of room for political discussion and makes
            such discussion redundant in fiction ? Of course, this might help explain what is meant by that otherwise baffling phrase in the US 'the liberal media'... :lol:

            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
              OK, you talked me into it.
              But if you hate it, the whole thing was Tanelorn's idea...

              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
              Isn't it odd that on most American TV stations the most serious discussion of issues is done on things like West Wing and episodes of The Practice or Judging Amy? Maybe that's what makes so many US TV series so good in comparison to their UK equivalents. UK TV has lots of room for political discussion and makes
              such discussion redundant in fiction?
              I think the UK is good for self-contained dramas that deal with serious issues, but because they're self-contained they can't develop an argument or show quite as many different perspectives or consequences as a long-running series can. It's a shame that we have to import so many shows just to break-up the near constant stream of "reality" TV.

              Of course, I'm biased because the BBC keep rejecting my scripts. Sigh...


              D...
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

              Comment


              • #8
                Breaker Morant

                "Breaker Morant" is a really good film. It captures some of that Catch-22 stuff that is highlighted in the surreal context of fighting a war while obeying seemingly arbitrary military laws.

                That's not too far from how one man's "patriot" is another man's "terrorist." [Yes, always with the topical kick to the balls.]

                Anyway, I don't really blame soldiers, not ever, even though some of them are more enthusiastic about warfare than I find acceptable. First, I blame wars on our representatives. Then I blame all of us, including myself.

                The first absurdity to overcome is the illusion of control. Isn't reality the product of our shared dreams and nightmares?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Personally, I find Braveheart to be rather entertaining. It is a very emotional movie at points. I do dislike the glarring historical inaccuracies, and like Mike said about movies such as Gangs and Gandhi, Braveheart removes some of the responsibility from the Scotish. I am willing to look past all of that for the sake of some simple entertainment. But that's me. The problem is that most people aren't aware of the actual history and take Randal Wallace's screenplay (which was based more on the myth of William Wallace than the history) as the truth. That's at the core of alot of problems I have with the media today, specifically the entertainment industry. They present fiction as fact to a public programmed to belive them and disinclined to do a little research into the truth.

                  On the subject of American TV: one show I have always enjoyed for the way it approaches the issues of the day is Law & Order. The original, not the spin offs (L&O: Criminal Intent, and L&O: Special Victims Unit). I haven't seen too many from the last few years, but the older episodes are very good. There have been several that create wonderful dialoges on various issues that actually remain objective (one example I can think of is an episode dealing the death penalty). Many times the issue of the flaws of the American Judicial system has been a factor and it always seems to be presented fairly and honestly. Plus it is just a good show! Being raised by a peace-officer I've become somewhat jadded to the way the police and police procedure is represented in the media, but L&O isn't all too bad in that aspect either (certainly better than most shows out there).
                  "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                  --Thomas a Kempis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EverKing
                    Personally, I find Braveheart to be rather entertaining. It is a very emotional movie at points. I do dislike the glarring historical inaccuracies, and like Mike said about movies such as Gangs and Gandhi, Braveheart removes some of the responsibility from the Scotish. I am willing to look past all of that for the sake of some simple entertainment.
                    I agree with you. I treat a film, no matter how much it may be "inspired" by history, to be fictional (unless it's presented as a documentary, obviously). I loved Braveheart, but I wouldn't even dream of thinking I learned any history from it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I like Dexter's Laboratory! I always get frustrated with TV shows because all of the people are pretty. There's this one detective show (CSI or Cold Case Files or whatever) that always makes me comment "my that detective who is solving all the crimes that have stumped everyone else, sure is young and pretty." Sure, they may have a few normal people thrown in, but the most important people are usually good looking - to a degree which makes them unbelievable for me. It is always some twenty-something with perfect make-up and a perfect body. I am sure, somewhere in the world, there are models solving crimes, but I don't want to see them.

                      As far as movies go, there are too many to list. Nothing recent though.
                      When they had advanced together to meet on common
                      ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
                      and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
                      each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
                      mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
                      killing, and the ground ran with blood.

                      Homer, The Illiad

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        VonWeiner, that's another thing about L&O I like...with the exception of the various female Assistant DA's everyone is pretty normal looking. The only detective I ever had trouble beliving was Benjamin Bratt...he always seemed too young. Other than that, its a pretty good, older, average looking cast.

                        PS: Dextor's Lab rocks!
                        "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                        --Thomas a Kempis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Films are never going to give you the whole picture because they have to tell a story. A story can't be hindered by the fact that both sides commited hideous atrocities. It won't work. It's like somebody said on this site a while ago (I think it might have been Von) about how well LOTR transfers onto the screen, because one side is perfect, the other evil and how Elric is not great to show to an audience, because though you sympathise with Elric, you know at the back of your mind that he's a complete weakling, with no backbone or moral fibre and he's killed everyone he's ever liked.
                          I hated GONY, not just for it's Historical inaccuracies (Which I can forgive) but also for its crap ending. Anyone who has see it can testify to the disappointment felt when there isn't a big fight and just a tiny little tussle between the two protagonists.
                          For example, I don't know if anybody recalls The Man in the Iron Mask (Leo diCaprio, Gerard Depardieu, John Malkovich) which, despite making horrible liberties with Dumas' work and plagarising history and legend for all it was worth, remained a great bit of film with a fantastically memorable ending and was a marvellous bit of cinema. I think film can't be balenced, becauseit has to be entertaining, and to tell a story to an audience as wide as possible, it has to appeal to a broad range of intelligence.
                          Life of Brian was funny to different people on different levels. Some laughed becasue Reg said the words "Fuck off!" others laughed at the wit and others laughed at the inherent satire. With most films however, it always has to be aimed at the lowest common denominator, otherwise it will not succeed.
                          Indeed, Elric is quite fortunate in its timing as, with LOTR just fading into memory, the public are deperate for a new trilogy to adore and Elric can be clever and dark and witty and still draw big crowds because it is fantasy and people die.
                          It's all entertainment!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Red-Arrow
                            I think film can't be balenced, becauseit has to be entertaining, and to tell a story to an audience as wide as possible, it has to appeal to a broad range of intelligence. Life of Brian was funny to different people on different levels. Some laughed becasue Reg said the words "Fuck off!" others laughed at the wit and others laughed at the inherent satire.
                            Bizarrely, I recently heard a programme on the radio about how historically accurate Life of Brian was! Apparently most of the "liberation" movements of the time did prefer to fight amongst themselves, rather than take on the might of the Roman Empire... which also tended to rule by providing many valuable public amenities to its newly acquired citizens. At the time it was also blasphemy (ppunishable by death) to say "Jehova" in any context whatsoever, but you were allowed to be as rude as you liked about the gods if you didn't use their holy names. Also of course, what Monty Python captured was the sense that people living in the past were just as petty and silly as we are now. So many historical films pretend that everyone involved in our world's history was either very noble or very evil, whereas the truth is probably closer to Life of Brian than anything else.

                            Sorry, I'll stop rambling now.

                            D...
                            "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I saw The Pianist for the first time tonight and I saw Schindlers List a few years ago. Mike, I wondered what you might have to say about these films.
                              I remember when Schindlers List came out I wondered if it was the right thing to do to make money out of a terrible human tragedy like that. However, perhaps these films help to ensure that the story is never forgotten. The wicked evil that was carried out against the Jews in the Holocaust is unimaginable. It is beyond my comprehension to imagine how one person can behave this way to another person. I recall you saying that the British were the first to use concentration camps in S Africa. Did they also exterminate people in death camps like the Germans did to the Jews?

                              I think it must be difficult for Germans today to reconcile with the past crimes of their country, although I believe no one should feel responsible for the events that they had no part in. I have to admit the first time I got to know a German guy I felt a little unsure what to expect. I firmly believe though that we should always try to build bridges between countries and cultures to bring humanity closer together.

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