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Moriarty's Rumblings From The Lab

Hey folks, Harry here with the latest from my good friend James... The dear Professor recently took a weekend off from conquering the world to join me at BUTT-NUMB-A-THON and apparently impregnated henchman Mongo with some sort of evil seed. I don't really understand the experiment, but... Well evil geniuses do as they must... Hmmm... Now get ready for one hell of a busy Rumbling!!!! Oh... Oh yes... In case you are wondering why I have not written about FANTASIA 2000 or my opinion... I will write about it, but not till after I talk about the film with Ebert next week... I'll be damned if I tilt my hand to him! (this also goes for: TALENTED MR RIPLEY, GALAXY QUEST, THE HURRICANE and ANY GIVEN SUNDAY!)

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

First of all, let me just say "Damn you, Knowles." I am still trying to recover from the effects of the Butt-Numb-A-Thon this weekend. I will be filing a report about the entire event in the next few days, but just getting back to work has been a major drain on me. It's the cumulative effects of this past weekend, and it's all your fault. I hope you enjoyed your birthday and all your cursed pwesents (that Harry Knowles action figure was particularly impressive), because I am going to make you pay.

Before that, though, I've got a number of other, more pressing things to share with our readers. As a result of many letters I've gotten from people about this column, I'm going to try to use headers to separate each topic. That way, you can see what catches your eye. Let me know if it's a help, or if it seems like overkill. I've got the new Fiona Apple CD playing on endless repeat... I've got a case of Jones Green Apple soda chilling in the icebox... let's see what's going on this week.


First and foremost, I'd like to discuss a film called UNBREAKABLE. This has been one of the most-discussed films that no one knows anything about for the past few months here in town because of the deal that was made for Disney to purchase the script. It's the first new piece from M. Night Shyamalan since the opening of his colossal hit THE SIXTH SENSE, and the deal for the film netted him $10 million to write and direct. That's a record -- $5 million for a screenplay. I've been a big fan of Shyamalan's since I first read the original draft of STUART LITTLE almost three years ago. I've been a very vocal advocate of his work in that time, and was one of the first people to go on record about how big I thought SIXTH SENSE would be this past spring. As a result, when I was contacted by not one but two different spies who wanted to send me copies of UNBREAKABLE, I leapt at the opportunity.

I mean, this is the script that Disney's been bragging no one would see early in the press lately. Supposedly the only copies of it were being kept under lock and key. And now, suddenly, I was getting it from multiple directions. A copy arrived on the doorstep of the Labs just moments before I had to leave to catch my flight to Austin last Thursday. I had been experiencing major computer problems all morning, so I hadn't been able to write my GREEN MILE review or my RUMBLINGS, and I needed to unwind on the flight. Knowing I had this wonderful new prize to chew on during the trip was the one thing that kept me sane.

Once I was seated on the plane, I opened the script and dove right in, something Shyamalan made easy. This guy has one of the cleanest, most immediate styles of any screenwriter working today. His scripts literally don't even look like other people's work. He has a real gift for drawing you in quickly, for etching characters out of little details. Within three pages of the start, I knew I was reading the work of the same guy whose LABOR OF LOVE had so completely demolished me, whose SIXTH SENSE was such a powerful read. I don't think I've ever read a script as quickly as I read this one, and I don't think I've ever re-read a script as quickly as I re-read this one.

And what did I think?

Well, I wish I could say I loved it. I wish I could say it was another home run. I wish I could say Shyamalan was going to blow the audience away again. I can't, though. I can't say any of those things, and it bothers me. This script is the work of a gifted, even inspired storyteller, but it is a story that, ultimately, doesn't tell us anything. It is flawed in some major ways, and unless Shyamalan backs off from his "trust me, I know best" stance that he's taking with Disney right now, it's going to be a film that anger and isolates its audience in the end.

There's a brilliant setup to the film. We start in 1961 with a short scene involving the birth of Elijah, one of the film's two central characters. We're in a department store and there's a doctor just arriving. He's too late to do much; the baby's been born. The doctor inspects the mother, who is fine, then turns to the baby, which is screaming hysterically. As he inspects the baby, the doctor goes pale. Something's wrong. He asks who delivered the child, then asks the woman if she dropped the baby. He explains that he's never seen anything like it, but the baby appears to have been born with both arms and both legs broken.

Just like that, we're in the present, and we meet the film's other central character, David Dunne. This is the role that Bruce Willis has already signed to play, and he's a fascinating character. Just from the first few scenes, we get the feeling that David's life isn't what he wants it to be, and that he doesn't quite know how to fix that. He's on a train from New Jersey to Philadelphia, passing the time by idly flirting with a woman despite the wedding band he wears. The somewhat teasing mood of the scene is cut short by a horrific crash that destroys the train. In a family room in Philadelphia, David's ten-year-old son Jeremy watches a news report about the wreck and freaks out, at the same time that David's wife Megan sees the report while working.

Turns out that Jeremy is concerned for nothing, though, since David somehow survives the crash without a scratch. He's the only survivor, and no one can figure out how that's possible, least of all David. What should be a happy, elated moment is muted by some unspoken trouble between David and Megan, though. His trip to New York was a job hunt, one that seems to be part of a break-up in progress that Jeremy doesn't know about. David's a broken man in these early scenes, not quite connected to his own life, and Shyamalan etches these scenes with real efficiency.

He also keeps us guessing at the purpose of the film by tossing in another flashback to Elijah as he grows up. We see an eight-year-old Elijah at the fair, wandering away from his mother to ride the Hurricane, one of those bucket-seat-on-a-whip style rides. He pads himself into his seat with stuffed animals, padding his safety bar with a sweatshirt. Once the ride is underway, his mother realizes where he is and rushes to try to stop the ride. She's too late, though, and Elijah is thrown around a bit in the car, resulting in what seems like an impossible number of bone breaks, leaving him in a twisted "S" on the floor of the ride.

Back in the present, David finds that he is the subject of much speculation about how he could have surivived the crash. He gets a mysterious note asking if he can remember ever being sick. That note starts him on a path of painful self-examination that leads him to some startling realizations about who he is and what he is capable of. It also leads him to the adult Elijah, set to be played by Samuel L. Jackson. Elijah is as fragile as David is powerful, and the two of them seem to hold certain clues to unlocking one another's natures.

Make no mistake... this is a smart, powerful, provocative piece of entertainment for much of its 128 pages. When it finally does hop the tracks, though, there's no saving it, and that only compounds my frustration with the read. In particular, there is a revelation made in the last three pages that is meant to obviously be a twist on par with the nature of Bruce Willis' character in SIXTH SENSE. That was a natural, logical leap for us to make, though, and it brought the film into a sharper focus, amplified it in every way. This twist betrays the character of Elijah in such a specific, painful way that it will turn audiences against everything that has come before. It throws the goodwill that the script has earned back in the face of the reader. It is a miscalculation of almost epic proportions, and it was the reason I had to re-read the script immediately.

I think Shyamalan is close. I think that with a rewrite that introduces and clarifies the film's water motif earlier and that changes the ending to avoid isolating the audience's hard-earned affection for what is a charismatic, fascinating character, this could be the film that does what BATMAN and SUPERMAN and BLADE and THE MATRIX and all the other comic adaptations were all unable to do. This could be the film that finally proves that superhero stories aren't exclusively for children, but can be complex moral stories with real, three-dimensional characters. Yes, that's right... THE SIXTH SENSE may have been Shyamalan's version of a ghost story, but this is his take on the superhero mythos. You can be certain that as this project takes shape, we'll be tracking it closely here at AICN. I know I'm rooting for Shyamalan to solve this thing and deliver something truly transcendent to viewers in 2001. Here's hoping he's up to the task.


Michael Fleming has been raising questions about Steven Spielberg's next film in the last few weeks, and it seems like he's dragging his feet in deciding what he's going to actually do. That's strange considering those standing MINORITY REPORT sets over on the Fox lot. Still, I can imagine that the lure of AI is fairly strong, especially if Speilberg is truly writing the piece himself. For someone who so often turns to others to bring his visions to life, there has to be something gratifying about working to help realize the final SF vision of one of our greatest filmmakers, someone who was also a dear friend.

Then there's that wild card, the Steve Kloves script for the big-screen version of the enormously popular Harry Potter series. With Kloves adapting the first book, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE, it seems a safe bet that it will be smart commercially-minded fare. In an effort to understand the Potter craze, I picked up the first book and read it last week, and for once, I don't think kids are insane. Pokemon may mystify me, but I understand the appeal of the Potter novels. After all, I was weaned on a steady diet of Roald Dahl as a kid, and if there's anything that these books remind me of, it's the work of Dahl and Robert Aspirin's MYTH ADVENTURES series. There's a real wit to the world, a distinctly dark vision that manages to entertain without ever pandering. I actually hope Spielberg does find a way to make this film, since I think it would benefit greatly from his touch as a filmmaker. Giving this to some flavor of the month could give you a slick, soulless adaptation that looks great but never gets past the surface. With the right script, Spielberg could turn this into another classic film series that redefined family entertainment. It's been a while since he's truly done something for kids, and this would mark a glorious return.


By now, I'm sure everyone's well aware of the truly bizarre decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Incompetence and Unfairness... er, Arts and Sciences, I mean. They have ruled that TARZAN and SOUTH PARK aren't eligible for Academy recognition this year because the category they would be eligible for isn't going to be included this year. For some reason, though, they called the category "Best Song Score" in the announcement, and that's the way everyone has been reporting it.

But there's no such category.

In the 1998 Oscars, there were two winners for Best Score. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL picked up Best Dramatic Score, while SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE picked up Best Comedy or Musical Score. Admittedly, the second category was created in 1995 to basically take Disney out of competition with other films since their musicals were kicking the stuffing out of everyone on an annual basis, but the win by Stephen Warbeck's score should have proven the category to be one with life beyond just animated collections of songs.

So there aren't more musicals besides SOUTH PARK and TARZAN this year. So what? There's been other films that could be nominated. NOTTING HILL had a great score, as did MYSTERY MEN. That's just the first two I think of as I sit here. There's obviously others that would qualify.

This raises the troubling question: why was the category dropped? I know if I was Marc Shaiman, I'd be doubly concerned. He does truly wonderful work for the Oscar telecast every year, arranging and orchestrating samples of the scores for every nominated film. It's one of the reasons that the score he wrote with Trey Parker for SOUTH PARK was so witty; he has played with every song style that Disney's used in the past decade. He's a witty, limber musical arranger, and the idea that he's good enough to work on the Oscars but not good enough to be recognized by them should grind him to no end. This move smacks of politics, and the fact that they have even changed the name of the category that they dropped should indicate the lengths that they are going to in an effort to avoid recognizing what would be a controversial film. TARZAN's just a smokescreen here, people, a sacrificial lamb that happened to get between BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT and the Oscars. I don't think this decision has been rationally explained yet, and I hope we're not done with the story. When something stinks this much, you can be sure there's a hidden agenda behind it.


Last week, Harry mentioned to you that he joined me at the Los Angeles premiere of THE GREEN MILE, and I wanted to write about the film before it opened. When I kept having crash after crash with my computers, though, I wasn't able to finish. Turns out Henchman Mongo is going through some bizarre phase involving humping the hard drives at the Labs. I've got him scheduled for surgery later in the week to keep that from happening again, and I had the computers serviced (in the good way) while I was in Austin. I wish I had been able to share these thoughts earlier, but better late than never.

I came to THE GREEN MILE with all sorts of personal baggage, and I wasn't sure how I'd be able to review the film. After all, I consider Frank Darabont more than just a friend... he's a teacher, a guide, someone who I try to emulate as I move through this business. He has been part of my life since his days on THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, and he's one of the most decent people I know. I read THE GREEN MILE as soon as it was finished, and I practically haunted the sets last year, watching them shoot almost every major sequence at Warner's Hollywood Studios. I explored every inch of the sets, watched dailies, and played with Mr. Jingles. I got a chance to observe that amazing cast as they bonded and found their rhythms together. I ate with them, I listened in on them, and I learned from them. Even before seeing the film, I had already had a hundred GREEN MILE experiences that mark the film for me. So how would I react to seeing it all put together finally?

I can honestly say I didn't expect to be hammered as hard as I was by the emotion of the piece. I think as a whole, the film is a confident, leisurely chunk of storytelling, classic in form and direct in content. Once again, Frank's captured the peculiar voice of Stephen King in a way that few directors have been able to do. Tom Hanks turns in one of his best performances of the decade, right up there with his exemplary work in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO, leaps and bounds ahead of the unsubtle, obvious award-grubbing turns that marred PHILADELPHIA and FORREST GUMP. This is Hanks with rough edges, with real quirk, creating a real character. He's given phenomenal support at every turn by David Morse, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Barry Pepper. There is solid work turned in by the sly Bonnie Hunt, the wonderful James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Graham Greene, Sam Rockwell, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Sinise, and the always good Bill Sadler, but there are a few performances in the film that leave even Hanks in the dust.

Michael Jeter is one of those guys who always turns in interesting character work. He almost stole THE FISHER KING out from under the four fascinating leads, and he managed to register amidst the deranged carnival atmosphere of FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS even with Depp and Del Toro chewing the scenery. Still, nothing he's done prepared me for how much I was moved by Eduard Delacroix. For one thing, I didn't see Jeter onscreen at all. He seemed to have vanished into the character completely. His thick Louisiana patois is almost indecipherable at times, but it always rings true. His "bad death" is one of the most memorable images of the year, but it's the moment when they distract Del by having him show off Mr. Jingles to visiting "guests" that really broke my heart.

Doug Hutchison as Percy Whetmore is the kind of character that, as written, could easily be played over the top and beyond belief. This young actor never missteps, though, and by the end of the film, I had actually found myself in sympathy with a character I felt nothing for on the page. Hutchison's a little man with big dreams and even bigger rage, and the way he asserts himself on the Green Mile is both pathetic and understandable. You want to hate him without reservation in the film, but Hutchison is smart enough to make that impossible. He invests too much bruised humanity in Percy. Even at his worst, there's a strong sense of fear underneath that makes him real.

But the best work in the film, and the most surprising, is the portrayal of John Coffey, gentle giant, by the beautiful Michael Clarke Duncan. He is the beating heart of the film, and he is impossible to look away from. There's a moment late in the film that says as much about the transporting power of art as any ten books ever could, and it all works because of the magic inherent in Duncan's blissful smile. When his face lights up, it's impossible not to see directly into his soul. I am truly haunted by his final moments onscreen.

I think Terrence Marsh's production design is amazing, especially since I saw the sets up close. The Green Mile looks huge, and the film's compact settings somehow never become claustrophobic. David Tattersall's confident photography is a big part of that, and it burnishes this memory piece with a lovely finish. The Thomas Newman score is more subtle, more invisible than his work on AMERICAN BEAUTY, but when it needs to work, it does. And as for Frank's direction of his screenplay... it's really quite lovely. Admittedly, it takes its time, but I find that to be a virtue in this particular tale. I liked taking my time getting to the end. I loved the bookends here, finding them much more successful than they ever were in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Many critics have begun to beat up on this film, but I think audiences will respond en masse, and I still believe this film is a major contender for Oscar recognition in the spring. Even if it doesn't end up winning awards, though, it is a beautiful film, an experience I am glad to have had, and one which will endure.

After the film, Harry and I went to the party at the Armand Hammer museum, and I had one of the most surreal evenings of my life. It's hard to explain what it's like to be at ground zero with Harry at an industry function, but that damn cartoon in the upper left corner of this page is responsible for how strange things get. Harry looks just like that darn cartoon, and people can't help but walk over and talk to him. We had conversations with all sorts of fascinating people, ranging from Robin Astaire, widow to the iconic Fred Astaire, to the overly animated and very funny Quentin Tarantino; from the charming Vin Diesel to the still relatively unknown David Leslie Johnson, who is currently scripting DOC SAVAGE for Frank to produce. It was a wonderful night, and it was capped by getting a chance to talk to Duncan, to Jeter, to Darabont, and getting a chance to impart to them directly the impact that their film had on me. It was the kind of night that reminds me of why I do what I do, and it's one I'll never forget.


I am dying to see MAN ON THE MOON. I loved the script, and reading Bob Zmuda and Bill Zehme's recent books certainly has me at a fever pitch in regards to seeing the finished picture. Still, would all the lame Andy Kaufman wannabes please take a seat until the film's been released? If I see one more wacky fake stunt from Zmuda or Jim Carrey or ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, I'm going to be sick. That lame junket bit wasn't funny, and it didn't get any funnier as the entertainment magazine shows beat it into the ground. Part of Andy's charm was that he came at the audience from unexpected directions, always keeping them on their toes. There's nothing unexpected about the nonsense that's been going on, and it's just a pale shadow of the brilliance of the real deal. Just release the movie... that's entertainment enough.


When I read that Sony had purchased a screenplay called SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VENGEANCE OF DRACULA for Chris Columbus to produce and possibly direct, I knew I'd have to read it and discuss it. It is, after all, yet another tiresome tome about my greatest enemy, no doubt making him look great while either ignoring me or turning me into some simpleton who the "great detective" easily bests. I'd given up on the idea of ever seeing myself portrayed properly on film. With Dracula serving as the villain of this film, I figured I'd have even less chance of seeing a "Moriarty" that seemed even remotely familiar.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the script turned out to not just be good, but great. Michael B. Valle is a major talent, and the way he's imagined this film is bold, ambitious, and thrilling. If the right director and cast are attached to this film, the sky's the limit. Not only is it genuinely exciting all the way through, it also offers actual character growth in Sherlock Holmes, in Moriarty, in Watson, in Dracula. It takes these iconic characters and makes them into real, identifiable figures. Valle demonstrates a great understanding of both of the mythologies that he's mixing here. The film follows the form of a classic Holmes story, but it never forgets that Dracula is a powerful enough figure to control the story. Somehow, Valle strikes just the right balance, twisting the story in new and exciting directions with each page. There were several places where I got so excited while reading that I wanted to celebrate. I wanted to see the film right then. I wanted to see this richly-imagined England come to life. This has the potential to be one of those geek-heaven projects when it is finally released, and I'm sure I'll be bringing you in-depth coverage of the picture as it progresses. Hats off to Sony for their ambition and their eye in taking this one off the market.

My only complain about the film is that, once again, it paints Holmes as some sort of hero while painting me as a villain. I maintain that I am far more likable than that cocaine-using, woman-hating, half-mad fiddle player, but Hollywood always idolizes him. If Sony does me the courtesy of hiring Anthony Hopkins to play me, I have a feeling this film may finally change everyone's perception of who I am. The world will see me for the genius I am, and Holmes will be exposed as a sham.

Well, a man can dream, can't he?


The oddest couple in recent memory has got to be Gus Van Sant, who just signed on to direct Columbia's FINDING FORRESTER, and Sean Connery, who is starring in and producing the drama. Still, based on a read of Mark Rich's Nicolls Fellowship-winning script, there may be some kind of alchemical magic in the pairing. It's a sweet, smart little script about a JD Salinger-like writer who takes a reluctant interest in an inner-city youth who has a wonderful writing voice, but who is considering a basketball scholarship. Forrester, the writer, pushes the kid to consider all his options and to pursue his dreams. The two of them are not fast friends, and the script doesn't take the gooey way out by throwing easy fixes at the characters. Instead, it gives Connery a chance to play a real character, someone with some fascinating traits, someone who's both unlikable and likable, someone who can be infuriating and ingratiating within pages. It's the same kind of smart emotional drama as GOOD WILL HUNTING, and Van Sant should really rip it up. Here's hoping this works as well onscreen as it does on the page.


I'm going to finish up this week with a review of next year's very first film, set to be released on January 1, 2000 on IMAX screens around the world. In some ways, it's an extraordinary film that should delight animation fans everywhere. In other key ways, though, it's a betrayal and a letdown that hurts for days after being viewed. I'm speaking, of course, about FANTASIA 2000, a film that Harry and I saw at the new Edwards IMAX screen in Valencia on December 6.

The screen we saw it on was 55 feet by 70 feet, still spanking new, and a tour of the booth was genuinely impressive. IMAX really isn't like any conventional format. The image is crystal clear, ridiculously huge, and it's ideal to show off some of the remarkable work that's been done to update Disney's grand experiment. The film starts very well, with the serene, strange image of an orchestra pit floating in space as panels tumble in from all sides to complete it. The first piece is introduced by Walt Disney himself in narration lifted from the first film as the concept of FANTASIA is explained to us. A piece of "pure music" is first up, with Beethoven's 5th Symphony kicking off the new film in high style. It's abstract, beautiful, and brief. It definitely sets the tone, though, and the images are startling on the IMAX screen.

The strangest thing appears after the segment, though... Steve Martin. He comes out and starts doing a bit. I was puzzled by the appearance of a celebrity doing cheap one-liners. All of the sudden, it was as if I was at MGM/Disney in Orlando, waiting to get on a ride, watching some crappy intro film in line. Even when Martin hands the intro over to Ihtzak Perlman, the patter doesn't get any better. It's just a gag, a way to kill a little time and throw some famous faces up there in front of us.

The next segment is "Pines Of Rome," the sequence involving the flying whales. There are parts of it that are really beautiful, but parts of it bothered me. The eyes on the whales looked like a late addition, and if they were, I have to ask why. The sequence tries to be balletic, and the lame cartoon eyes on everything keeps breaking the spell of the piece.

Quincy Jones is the next celebrity out, and he introduces Ralph Grierson, pianist, who takes the lead on the next segment, based around my favorite piece of music ever. There's something about "Rhapsody In Blue" that just speaks to me on every level, and the piano performance in the piece is terribly important, with both wit and heart required in equal measure. Grierson proves to be up to the task, as do the animators who brought this mini-masterpiece to life. Both simple and profound, this piece is set against the backdrop of '30s New York, and I wanted to stand up and cheer the sheer artistry of the entire endeavor. In particular, there's a moment involving the ice skating at Rockefeller Center that is as eloquent an expression of desire as I've ever seen in a film.

Coming off that artistic high, I was aghast to be confronted by a 55-foot-high Bette Midler prattling on about rejected FANTASIA segments over the years. Folks, I can't state this strongly enough... the celebrity segments in this movie are death. They pull you out of the spell that each segment casts, jar you back to the fact that this is a product, something Disney is selling. When you watch "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" or "Carnival Of The Animals" or "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" or "Pomp and Circumstance," it's art. When you're assaulted by Penn and Teller (really... I'm not kidding) or Angela Lansbury or James Earl Jones, it's just dull and obvious. The segments are totally unnecessary, and they date the film immediately. It's one of the most ham-handed examples of Disney's corporate thinking I've ever seen.

Of course, when you see Stravinsky's "Firebird" suite, all concerns about the level of art involved with this film vanish. This is a magnificent undertaking, and it almost matches the power of Miyazaki's PRINCESS MONONOKE. Like that film, this is a simple fable about nature and rebirth. It's not like anything I've ever seen from Disney before, and I think it represents a giant step forward for the studio.

In the end, I would tell any animation fan to run to any IMAX theater playing the film between January 1 and April 30. Be prepared to have to grit your teeth through some hideous connective material, and also brace yourself: "Sorerer's Apprentice" hasn't dated well, not when set next to newer animation. Obviously there's an affection I have for the piece, and I loved seeing it, but blown up that big, it's not the same as it is in my mind's eye. For that reason, I wish the whole film had been new material. Whatever my quibbles, this is a great theatrical experience, one I'll be having again as soon as possible.

That's all for now, Harry. Next week starts my four-part look back at the '90s, one of the most ambitious things I've tried here at AICN. Until then...

"Moriarty" out. __________________________________________________

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:44 a.m. CST

    New Years Day & Fantasia2000

    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    After my fabulous Xtcy trip on New Years eve, we are going to smoke a fat one and go watch Fantasia2000. Any trippers out there planning the same voyage???

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Actually I take that back.....

    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    After my fabulous xtcy trip on New Years Eve, I am sleeping in for three whole days....Fuck Fantasia!!!!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:58 a.m. CST

    Harry, please...

    by Augustine

    can we get Moriarty in smaller chunks?

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3 a.m. CST

    Eeeeeeek... Augustine is a cannibal!!!

    by Harry Knowles

    Ummm... Augustine... Umm, I really want to keep Moriarty in the one undigested hunk that he is. Ewwww... that sounds even worse!=======Harry

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:13 a.m. CST

    I'll have my Moriarty Medium rare.

    by squonk

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:13 a.m. CST

    Stop explaining why you haven't discussed THOSE films . . .

    by soylentphil

    Tell us why you've ignored Dogma since the day of its release, Mister Harry! C'mon! Where's the review? Wasn't all you hoped for? It's been out a month! Anyone can trash Schumacher - show some moxie!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:43 a.m. CST

    No kidding about Dogma!

    by Choda

    That's right (previous poster). Harry, you have been saying for over a year now that you refused to read the Dogma script posted on Kevin's web site because you so anxiously awaited the release and didn't want to spoil the experience. Well now that you have seen the movie (I assume) I would like to know your opnion, or review as it were, of the movie. You say you are a big Kevin Smith tell us what you think. I'm sure Kevin would like to know himself. He claims that he reads your site all the time and loves to look at the talkbacks concerning his lets here it Harry! Oh, and by the way, you missed out on reviewing the funniest movie of the summer, American Pie. Can't believe you skipped that one!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:53 a.m. CST

    All this time...


    ...I thought Moriary had named himself after the immortal Michael Moriarty star of the amazing Larry Cohen epics "Q" and "THE STUFF". How disappointing. Oh and the article? Wow, it must be fun to be friends with Darabont and hang out with celebs. Good for you.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:11 a.m. CST

    Is anyone gonna talk back ABOUT the movie...

    by Intruder

    Well... I'll start things off... No matter the slight imperfections that the movie might have, or I should say... ALL MOVIES HAVE... I'm sure that this is one movie that will undoubtable be worth the price of watching it... and It's about time IMAX had a feature movie what will bring the people to watch the unique experience that is IMAX... (still, I agree... I totally see these guest appearences by famous people as a nuisance... take them out and put in all the other musical numbers that disney decided to take out of the final version) CK

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:18 a.m. CST

    Why I haven't reviewed DOGMA

    by Harry Knowles

    It's because I haven't seen it. Call me picky... but I'm gonna hold off watching DOGMA till the big fat DOGMA dvd hits (hopefully with all the deleted footage that Kevin cut). So... this is going to be one of those films that I save for later. I want to see those deleted scenes... and if that means waiting a year or two.... then I wait. I'm a patient person.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Actually, his name's MIKE Rich...

    by Renly

    I live in Portland, and he's a local DJ. We've been hearing about this script and what not for like a year. But my father, who listens to his adult-contemporary-drive-time slot, will be happy to know that his success has finally been "officially" discussed! Renly

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:50 a.m. CST

    I like to Score

    by Renly

    On the subject of musical/comedy scores, Toy Story 2 would certainly be one of the nom's. So, out of curiosity, does this mean that only what the academy deems to be Dramatic scores will be chosen, or just that there is one category, inclusive of all types of movies? I have watched my South Park DVD like 4x this past couple weeks, it's too addictive. I go around singing What would Brian Boitano Do constantly. On the other hand, as much as I would like "Up There" to win best original song, if Randy Newman doesn't win for "When Somebody Loved Me", then something is not right. Maybe I'm just a sensitive bastard, but anyone that didn't choke up while that song was playing in TS2, while Jesse was all forgotten under the bed, has a heart made of, um, something, that's, like, not human. Renly

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Disney has lost its way

    by Isidore

    For several years now I have been associating Disney feature animation with McDonalds. Not because they put out toys for everything in the world, but because they're movies have almost an assembly line quality to them. There wasn't the spark that made the "golden era" of Disney what it was. It isn't innovation for innovation's sake, but as a gimmick to make money. I thought that all of this was coming to at least a temporary halt with Fantasia 2000. But this thing with actors introducing the pieces sounds as though they've taken steps in the wrong direction. Maybe I can just close my eyes at the end of the segments and sing loudly to myself in order to keep this illusion of a new disney alive in my mind. That said, I would like to put out a little call to all people near and far, "Uncle Fucker!" should win best song at the oscars!!! It is still eligible, just the score is out. Enough rambling...ahhhhh....

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:05 a.m. CST


    by Lazarus Long

    there's a real unbiased viewpoint on the green know, moriarty, I enjoy your writing and reviewing, but when you're so close to Frank Darabont that you're seeing his shit before it comes out his asshole, perhaps you should refrain from reviewing the film. Now granted this isn't a newspaper, but unless you're telling us that the Green Mile is a perfect film, you neglected to comment on ANY flaws this film might have. There are very few PERFECT films that have been made. Most of you know that our greatest directors usually aim so high that it is virtually impossible to make something perfect. But it is the risks and the effort that make them so great. Neither Harry nor Moriarty managed to point out anything that may have been less-than-stellar about this film. And I hate to say it, and I would never accuse either person of being paid or "told" to write a review, but this is some serious boot-licking here. I smell a Mr. Jingles. Moriarty, if you maybe didn't like the Green Mile and told us as such, do you think you would have the access on the set that you had this time? And I'm sorry, but calling John Coffey the best acting in the movie just shows how fished in you were. What a 2 dimensional character. The guy was fine, but that wasn't no tour-de-force. I think you were warmer when you talked about Michael Jeter, who I think was the most impressive. And Percy having some humanity? Whatever! Wild Bill and Percy were cardboard cut-outs of evil propped up just so a big thunderbolt of good ol' American righteousness could knock 'em down. There was NOTHING that made you even think about caring about the fate of these two. Take Ralph Fiennes character in Schindler's List. The guy was a fucking Nazi and you wound up viewing him as a human being. That's a character. Tom Hanks' best performance this decade? Well that's not saying much since it was about as one-note as everything else he's done. And stop comparing this guy to James Stewart. Hanks has yet to play a role where there's something less than 100% decency flowing through his Yankee blood. Stewart, later in his career chose roles that deconstructed and even tainted his image (Vertigo, Winchester '73). Let's hope Hanks comes to the same realization before more undeserved oscars are thrown his way. And after that idiotic speech he made when getting his Golden Boy for Philadelphia, someone should have beat him over the head with that award and forever barred him from the proceedings. What the hell was that? The angels, shut the hell up already! It sounded similar to the rambling at the end of the Green Mile. Coincidence?

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:12 a.m. CST

    FUCK the academy!!!!!!!

    by philamental

    Sorry, but Im really pissed off about this South Park Nom thing. I heard what I thought was a rumour about this, but now I'm really fuckin pissed off at this shit they are pulling. I mean they didn't even have to give it the golden dildo, just recognise it. It's one of the greatest musicals ever in my opinion, and I'm livid that it's getting screwed like this. Who says there has to be a certain number of noms??? It's like saying that if there was only one good film out in a year, there would be no Best Picture category!!!! Don't be fuckin ridiculous of course there would! Even if they had to fill the other noms with the best of the remaining shit, they would do it so they could honour the one good film. I'm somewhere between furious and depressed now, it just pisses me off so much. I hope that Marc Shaiman will not be too disappointed with this catastrophy of a decision. He is an immensely talented musical genius, that has in recent times lifted my soul with his inspired songs. Marc, Keep it up, and dont feel bad, your music has entertained and will continue to entertain millions, and we love you for it.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:20 a.m. CST

    M. Night Shyamalan is portentous

    by Mickey Finn

    The Sixth Sense relied for its impact upon the notion of a child having to go through unbelievable trauma. Unlike Linda Blair in The Exorcist, this child was forced to take on an adult sense of responsibility in order to cope with his problem (instead of doing funny things like saying 'Your mother sucks cocks in hell' and puking). The effect of watching the film (and the reason it received such good reviews) is the same effect as watching a child with lukemia win a prize at school prizegiving - everybody praises their performance, but is there really any other response you could conceivably have? I won't accuse Shyamalan of being emotionally manipulative, because that's not a fault in a filmmaker, but I would contend that The Sixth Sense is a more shallow construct than it initially appears. Now, the idea of his next film opening with a kid born with broken bones, and then featuring a kid break his bones in a fairground ride? Well, sorry folks, but that's EXACTLY the same kind of sympathy-winning trick as the kid tormented by ghosts. It looks meaningful just because it's grim, it looks sensitive just because the children are played sensitively, and everybody will love it - how could they not? The Sixth Sense left me with an unpleasant afterstaste, and the same slight queasiness returned when I read Moriarty's report on this new script.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:42 a.m. CST

    About Unbreakable......


    I am going to have to dissagree with Moriarty on this one. I also read the screenplay for Unbreakable this past week and I have a couple of problems with it, but they weren't the last three pages...i felt the end did NOT betray Elijah. I felt it showed a side of him that could very well be hidden and real...just because you invested yourself into this character with hopes of thinking he is a certain way and ends up different doesn't make it a let down...that frankly is your fault for trusting in it...i over all think this will make a cool film but my problems with it lay in the climax...or should i say anti-climax. The scene where Dunne goes to the train station again after speaking to elijah to find someone...did elijah know this person dunne was supposed to find...or was it shear random pickings....and secondly....the scene that followed seemed like it should have been a little bigger in terms of action....yes i know this is more of a thinking mans superhero film....but the GREEN VS. ORANGE battle seemed week in comparison to the other scenes...(other scenes refering to the lifting weights scene)...i felt let down by the magnitude of it....yes it has alot more of an emotional core to it....but if M. Night could compound that with a little something bigger (maybe drawn out a little longer) i suppose i wouldn't feel so cheated. over all though i still thought it was a great read and i have tried to be as vague as possible with my description while still trying to explain myself....i would very much like to hear your thoughts on what i said, Moriarty. To see if i am missing something you might have understood. Thanks

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6:38 a.m. CST

    Spielberg's apparent indecision.

    by Nafl

    Just a thought, but is it possible that Spielberg seems to not be doing much at the moment only because he's busy secretly working on his short film for the new year's celebrations? "The Unfinished Journey" is what I heard it was going to be called. I dunno. I'd imagine that'd be taking up lots of his time about now, though.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6:53 a.m. CST


    by Midnight Cowboy

    Moriarty may be right about the star segments in Fantasia being misguided but to call the Tin Soldier art is even more so. Never have I seen a more dull, unimaginative and inappropriately paced piece of animation. The characters are slick but incredibly boring and the story predictable. The stylisation of the characters is right out of some cheap ad, and the only good moment is the pioint where the soldier travels down the gutters. Rhapsody in Blue was by far the best segment of FANTASIA 2000, and funnily enough wasn't even meant to be part of the movie. It breaks from the tired Disney mold and presents us with a clever story and brilliantly executed animation, a million miles away from the yawnsome Lion King platitudes of the Pomp and Circumstance segment (which was littered with on-the-cheap animation). Worth seeing but I would have expected a lot more for such a grandiose project.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 7:25 a.m. CST

    damn you, moriarty, damn you all to hell!!!

    by tommy five-tone

    i wanted to know as little about 'unbreakable' as possible, but you know i can't resist devouring 'rumblings from the labs'! you truly are an evil genius!!!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 8:10 a.m. CST

    whale eyes

    by Teko

    As I understand it, the whale's eyes were hand-animated and then mapped to the whales...this was done a year or so ago, before Disney decided to open Fantasia/2ooo in IMAX. It's regarded as an embarrasing fluke in the movie.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 8:16 a.m. CST

    more drunken rambling...

    by tommy five-tone

    respect moria-tah! (sorry, i know it's lame, but i just wanted to say that.) a coupla quick bits: glad to see the evil genius thinks 'joe vs. the volcano' contains some of hanks' best work (i always shed a couple of manly tears when joe comes out of the doctor's office and embraces that great dane while ray charles' 'ol' man river' swells on the soundtrack...sniff, excuse me). after listening again and again to the soundtrack for 'bigger, longer and uncut', i'm definitely of a mind that parker and shaiman deserve SOME kinda recognition for their work...if only for 'uncle fucka'. can't wait to see 'sherlock vs dracula' come to the screen (director: alex proyas, holmes: daniel day lewis, dracula: rupert everett, watson: hugh grant, moriarty (!): richard e. grant - mix and match as you will). i'm outta beer, i'll catch you later. five-tone audi, y'all (sorry, just realised i'm not actually african-american - just a thirtysomething white boy).

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 8:44 a.m. CST

    I'm super, thanks for asking...

    by All Thumbs

    The Academy has made some strange choices in the past; last year's tap dance numbers, the tribute to John Glenn (what? did he make a movie? I didn't get that...), Four Weddings and a Funeral nominated for Best Picture and now, this stupid piece of politics regarding the comedy and musical score category! From what I read, Shaiman is plenty upset, but it sounds more sad upset than super angry upset -- I'm counting on Parker and Stone and Disney for THAT. They messed with the wrong people; can't wait to see what Parker and Stone do to ridicule the academy and can't wait to see what the Eisner does for Disney's retribution. (Although I can just see Tarzan being put into the best Dramatic score category because it WAS more of a dramatic movie than a comedy if you look twice at it.) I really hope one of the songs from South Park makes it into the Best Song category. (My votes are the Big Gay Al song "I'm Super!" and that one Sadaam sings.)***I have taken on my own personal protest to have the best comedy or musical score reinstated so South Park can be nominated -- I vow not to go a day without listening to (at least) one song from the South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut soundtrack. This isn't exactly a sacrifice, because it is excellent satire and just super music, as Big Gay Al would say. But, afterall, it's the thought that counts.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 8:50 a.m. CST

    getting better...

    by reni

    Hats off Moriarty, these are your best rumblings yet... I'm excited to see Sherlock Holmes happen and I'm also getting there with Unbreakable, I think 6th Sense maybe this year's best for me... Also I agree with Harry about waiting for DVD Dogma. The film as it is is really good, even though a few of the jokes fall a bit flat. But you can definately tell things were cut and scenes shortened especially in the Train Carriage section. And it's always nice to get the fuller picture... Ah well, it's nice to talk...

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Don't make a Harry Potter movie

    by dehayd

    After hearing a commentary from a 6th-grade English teacher on NPR a few months ago, my eyes were opened to the true value of the Harry Potter books. The teacher was reading the books to his students one chapter at a time, and they were enthralled by the images that were conjured up in their imaginations by the words alone. One kid almost punched another for trying to show him the book illustrations, because it would "ruin" the movie that was inside his head. These books have brought an awareness of the power of the written word to a whole new generation, and to make movies and t-shirts and Saturday morning cartoons and all the other inevitable crap which will result from Spielberg's involvement will just reduce it to another Power Rangers fad for the masses. "Just because we CAN do something doesn't mean we SHOULD do it."

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:09 a.m. CST

    An answer at last!

    by soylentphil

    I guess to get a response you need to post at 3AM. :) Anyway, thanks for the reply, Harry. I'm surprised you opted to NOT see the film in theaters, though. That's a new one for ya, I think. I wonder if Dogma would have performed better at teh BO if you'd posted a review here . . . Say- did you guys have the same shitty, red, spliced to hell print of Phantom of the Paradise that I got to see in NJ?

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Moriarty

    by Yossarian

    Thanks for the headers, I like 'em. The ironic thing is, this was such a good Rumblings, I read it from top to bottom. It's nice to know you guys repond to our requests. That goes for the DOGMA non-review issue as well. And Harry, you're right to wait for the DVD. The film was butchered in places. Some of the jokes failed because events that were necessary to make the joke work had been eliminated. So all you end up with is a punch line, but no set-up. The hospital scene at the end has a glaring plot hole due to editing that I won't go into for fear of spoilerish material. Suffice to say, go ahead wait for the DVD. This story take more than the 2 hours allotted by the execs to tell. Same with the Green Mile. It takes its sweet time, but the movie is all the better for it.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Headers AND a nod toward "Joe vs. the Volcano"!

    by Duke

    Wow! I don't care how evil you are. These are some great rumblings and with the inclusion of headers, they are no longer "ramblings." As long as you keep this up, I want my Moriarty in one big dose. Lastly, it's good to see that I am not the only one with a secret love for "Joe vs. the Volcano". Man....that was one awesome set of luggage.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:57 a.m. CST

    What the KRAPPP?

    by Dreckhead7

    Did he say Bob Zmuda & Jim Carrey were Kaufman wannabes?

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Mongo Only Pawn... In Game Of Life

    by Anton_Sirius

    Moriarty, dude- if you'd stop cross-breeding them with Dobermans, they wouldn't be in heat. Seems pretty basic to me. Anyhoozit, it's time for my annual call to IGNORE THE SHINYBALDGUYS. The Academy has done their "Look at us, we're idiots" dance a little early this year, but the routine is still the same. The Oscars are, and have been this entire decade, completely irrelevant to the recognition of quality in film. Pick any year this decade, any category, and you can find glaring ommisions in the nominations and, likely, a total cock-up of a winner. Dances With Wolves? Jack Palance? FORREST GUMP??? The Oscars are no better than the Golden Globes, except that people still take them seriously. Hell, I still talk in terms of "such and such deserves an Oscar." We need a new award, for a new millenium. Something that recognizes quality no matter where it lurks, and isn't blinded by huge box office totals or Harvey's salesmanship. Who's with me?

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Anton Sirius

    by Duke

    Apparently with his recent "seed-planting" Moriarty has a very hard time ignoring his "shinybaldguy". Sorry....couldn't leave a line like that untouched.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Oscar & South Park

    by houndog

    It truly disappoints me, though it doesn't surprise me, that the Academy in its wisdom won't include South Park in its annual celebration of film. I was also disappointed to hear that they're cutting out the traditional interpretive dance numbers also. I was so looking forward to see what Debbie Allen could do with "Uncle Fukka".

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 10:38 a.m. CST

    I'd Like To Thank The Academy.....

    by mrbeaks

    .....for continuing to avoid honoring true artistic achievement in the tradition of HOOP DREAMS, THE THIN BLUE LINE, ROGER & ME, DO THE RIGHT THING, THE SWEET HEREAFTER, GOODFELLAS (we must never forget that Scorsese's masterpiece lost to DANCES WITH WOLVES,) etc. Oh, but did y'all get Billy to come back? That's just aces! He's the naz! You know what I like? When he takes subtle jabs at the Academy for ignoring *his* performances. He's so damn edgy! I'm glad you didn't get that profane Chris Rock. He'd rock the boat, and upset poor Gregory Peck, who's still smarting at being ignored for OLD GRINGO when his Alzheimer's permits. Here are my predictions for this year's Best Picture nominations: THE GREEN MILE, AMERICAN BEAUTY, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, THE SIXTH SENSE, ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. See you on the first Tuesday in February!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Faster Moriarity, Kill Kill

    by smilin'jackruby

    I do not want a shorter Moriarity piece, but that's just me. Maybe I'm cynical, but I was more emotionally moved when I read Darabont's script to "Green Mile" (the one that's been over at Drew's-script-o-rama for ages) than when I saw the movie. Maybe it's because I already knew the story, but I think it is because Mr. Darabont missed his calling. I will see every fucking movie he ever makes, but Jesus, can he WRITE!!! Anyone who wants to write scripts should pick up something Mr. Darabont has put to paper. Yes, they are adaptations, but it is very hard to explain why his writing is so damn good. The published "Shawshank Redemption" screenplay is like reading an amazing novel. Not to say that I didn't like "The Green Mile" movie, indeed, I did, but for those who haven't scooted across the Internet to read the script, I'd recommend it wholeheartedly. As many movies as I see, I still have not seen "The Sixth Sense." I keep planning to, but just don't do it. Strange, eh? This weekend, my priority is "Sweet and Lowdown," though.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 11:02 a.m. CST

    "Go F your uncle, uncle father..."

    by Uncapie

    You gotta admit, that's one memorable song. I'd vote for it!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 11:04 a.m. CST

    "Dances With Wolves"

    by Peregrin

    I can't believe the anti-"Dances With Wolves" sentiment; the film is a unique, moving, powerful, masterful piece of film-making and some of the lesser-intelligent posters up above are completely and totally dismissing it -- even going so far as to equate it with the lack-luster "Forrest Gump!" Don't get me wrong, I love "Goodfellas" as well, but as to who should have won the award I think it was most definitely a toss up. It seems to me that a lot of folks on this site simply equate good film-making with either violence and profanity or special effects...I assure you there is more to it than that...

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Ah, Peregrin..... We Meet Again!

    by mrbeaks

    DANCES WITH WOLVES was a surprisingly accomplished achievement from Costner (especially when you consider THE POSTMAN,) but I can't place it at the level of GOODFELLAS, which I feel is easily one of the decade's ten best. While DWW served a valuable purpose by combating the insensitive portrayal of Native Americans in film, I felt it ended up being an overcorrection (not really a word, but I'll use it anyway.) It was still a simple case of good vs. evil, only this time the roles were reversed.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST

    "Fantasia" Narration

    by Pope Buck 1

    I want to correct one small mistake, Moriarty -- if the opening narration for "Fantasia 2000" is lifted from the original "Fantasia," then it isn't Walt Disney doing the voiceover. That was Deems Taylor. I have to agree with you about the Harry Potter books, and frankly I'm surprised it took you this long to come across them! And you should be in for a pleasant surprise when you continue the series -- each book in the series has been better, richer, and deeper than the one before! I second your vote for Spielberg as the director.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 12:34 p.m. CST

    First The Dance Numbers...Now This!!

    by Mini Ebert

    O.k. so the dance numbers suck, but dropping a cotegory just because there not enough entries? Does anyone remember the three song nominations for "Beauty and the Beast" ? This is politics at its worst, welcome back to the McCarthy era in hollywood folks!

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 12:42 p.m. CST


    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    AMEN TO THAT!!!! I Couldn't have said it any better! I endured the Green Mile and thought it was a okay piece of work. Nothing eventful, I DO NOT think Tom Hanks should be nominated for his boring performance...The mouse was a much more dramatic offering then Mr. Double Chin Moons over My hammy Hanks!!! There is too much hype over the Mile and although it was well made, It is nothing to write home about!!! I thought Angela's Ashes was much more moving and a better picture. Note to Tom Hanks and Robin Williams...."Please report to the nearest Raisin Ranch A.S.A.P!!! No more films please, at least for a while!!!"

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Sony take notice! The fan's wish-list page for the cast and cre

    by Larry Cucumber

    Here's the URL: Bob the Tomato (of

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Sony take notice! The fan's wish-list page for the cast and cre

    by Larry Cucumber

    Here's the URL: Bob the Tomato (of

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Give me a break, Harry

    by TRIGGER95

    You're not going to see Dogma until the DVD comes out? You don't do this for other films, do you? And don't give me any crap about the studio butchering the finished product-- I saw Dogma and it was overlong as it was-- maybe Kevin Smith should learn how to edit himself instead of blaming the studio. Sounds to me like you're afraid to critique a friend's work, something I can kind of understand; it's just a shame you won't admit it. Of course, neither you or Moriarty has a problem with heeping praise on a friend's work if it's halfway decent. I mean, The Green Mile for best picture? Give me a friggin break. It was one of the most unpredictable movies I've ever see, not to mention completely unbelievable. I mean, I had no idea death row prison guards in the 1930s were such nice guys. It was also somewhat offensive--the slow-minded black guy sacrificing himself for the nice group of white guys, who aren't racist at all, even though they most certainly would be during that time period. The Holmes script sounds pretty cool. From what I hear it could be a banner year for Holmes. Besides the feature Moriarty reviewed, there's two tv shows featuring Holmes in development (one sounds pretty cool, one sounds terrible-- think Nash Bridges)

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:15 p.m. CST

    I meant to say the Green Mile...

    by TRIGGER95

    was predictable, not unpredictable.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Sony take notice! The fan's wish-list page for the cast and crew

    by Larry Cucumber

    Here's the URL: --Bob the Tomato (

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Agent Cole's Ten Best of the Decade

    by smilin'jackruby

    In a word, laughable, but as I don't mean to offend, I will chortle in my tea. As for the Magneto helmet, what a lotta hype for a single little photo that ain't all that. As rumors trickle out that "X-Men" has had some probs, hype like that will continue to be generated by the studio's hype machine to drive people to the box office on the first day. As for best of this decade, what about "The Sweet Hereafter," "The Remains of the Day," "Deconstructing Harry," or any of the films made BEFORE this year. There have been a number of landmark films made in this decade, a number of which would bop "Eyes Wide Shut" or "eXistenZ" right off the list.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Thnks Mo' evil for the ramblings and Dances With Wolves

    by Spectre-Inc

    As always a great ramble from the evil one himself...the "breakers" do work so please leave them in...and I just wanted to throw my 2 cents worth reagards to mrbeaks and Peregrin, In my opinion Dances with Wolves was a fantastic movie but only because of the writing and cinematography, Martin Scorcese did deserve the win for direction with Goodfellas but lost because the BRILLIANT Dean Semler was backing up Kevin Costner on Dances. Dean Semler was long overdue for an oscar so it was his turn for DOP and Kevin rode his coattails all the way to the podium...but lest we not forget about Braveheart , another brilliant movie buy an OK actor that was DP'd by another long overdue DOP, John Toll...which, by the way was offered to Dean Semler who decided to stick with Costner instead to make WATERWORLD ... Mel Gibson offered to him because of their days together doing the Mad Max movies...Oh well, you win some and you lose some...pardon my rambling... Spectre out...

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:51 p.m. CST


    by Dwan

    Get it right when pontificating about the Oscars, you angry posters. The MPAA rates 'em, AMPAS picks 'em.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Picking Up The Gauntlet

    by Anton_Sirius

    AgentCole, to answer your challenge- Searching For Bobby fischer, the most perfect film of the decade. Maybe not the best, but certainly the most perfect.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 1:56 p.m. CST

    you pull my trigger then you blame my gun

    by erendis

    just wanted to give you a little thumbs up on the fiona apple cd there moriarty. it's awesome and jazzy and seductive.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:01 p.m. CST

    Great headers, Moriarty... and F2K from an insider's p.o.v.

    by Bregalad_

    Yeah, the headers are good idea, nice n' clean [Give Mongo an extra scooby-snack for his hard work on those HTML tags]. Here where I work in Dinsey Feature Animation, folks have been snorting and winking that the Fantasia 2K interstitials were horrid. A 50-foot horse-toothed Bette Midler?? Who needs it? We've been giggling about how truly awful they are but not too loudly, since Uncle Roy sits right upstairs. And I fully agree with you about giving pianist Grierson extra credit, he did a smashing job. My fellow animators and I are deeply humbled by the true master, Miyazaki, and the very mention of his name in the same sentence with our work on 'Firebird' is a truly rich reward. Thanks Moriarty, that was a generous acknowledgement. But don't get me started on those WHALE EYES!! Oy, vey.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:09 p.m. CST

    What I Meant Was...

    by Anton_Sirius

    I don't think Dances With Wolves is a bad film (but then, I didn't think Heaven's Gate was bad either.) Nor do I think Palance is a bad actor. But there's no way on Goddess' green earth that either one deserved to be named the 'Best' of their particular years. Both got their Oscars for reasons other than their quality.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Better Films Than EYES WIDE SHUT?

    by mrbeaks

    Being that I'm still not convinced that was the final cut (and, man, did it ever show,) here's a list of films that were, sadly, better than what could've been Kubrick's final masterpiece: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ROSETTA, THE WINSLOW BOY, THE DREAMLIFE OF ANGELS, TOY STORY 2, and maybe AMERICAN BEAUTY (I need to see it again.) THE STRAIGHT STORY was, I would say, on the same level as EWS; a very good work from a great filmmaker.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:45 p.m. CST

    refresh my memory

    by Yossarian

    Is there any award to, say, "Best Animated Feature" or anything to that affect? I really would like to see Brad Bird & crew get some kudos. Even if it is just a measly Oscar:)*** In response to above posts: Actually, Oscars mean a lot to a film. Since the Oscars are the industry standard, they can generate a lot of interest, renewed or otherwise in a body of work. If a film wins an Oscar, how often do they fail to mention this on the VHS casing? If some little-known film wins an Oscar, it's a lot more like that even Cut-and-Shoot, TX is gonna have a copy of it to rent to the unwashed masses.TRANSLATION: Additional revenue. TRANSLATION FOR SOME OF YOU: This means more money. Come'on this is Hollywood. Winning an Oscar means more than an award. It's all about the Franklins.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:46 p.m. CST

    EWS Was Not Perfect

    by mrbeaks

    The following is my post on Harry's review of EWS. ".....I'm not about to begin trying to break this sucker down yet. At first glance, it's a morality play, wherein decent, family man Bill Harford goes "out of his depth" as a reaction to his wife's devastating confession of fantasized infidelity. What I most liked about this film is that, after all is said and done, Harford never truly commits adultry. Luck keeps interceding on behalf of his marriage's well-being (be it through a cel phone call, or a blood test result,) a point that Kidman reiterates in the final scene (she concludes that they should be grateful for surviving their near infidelities.) I will say, though, that the film still seems a little rough around the edges. Ex-Warner execs Semel and Daly can keep claiming that this was a final cut, but we all know that Stanley was never finished with a film (to wit: his famous trimming of THE SHINING a week after its initial release.) A few things I found jarring: 1) the abrupt fade from the mirror scene to the montage depicting the daily routine of the Harford's (underscored brilliantly by Shostakovich's 2nd Jazz Suite, which acts as a kind of theme for the film itself,) 2) the overlength of the disclosure-filled billiard room scene between Pollack and Cruise; although, that might have been intentional, 3) the minor Mcguffin which allows us to see the mask on the pillow next to Kidman before Cruise finally makes it to the bedroom. Wouldn't it have been more effective to discover this at the same time as William? Oh, and let me just add my two cents to the "naughty bits" blockers..... shame on you, WB! The point of the scene is to drive home the crassness of the act, but, by shielding our virgin eyes from the violent thrusting, the impact is blunted. Also, a comment on some of the negative print reviews I've read so far: 1) anyone bemoaning the absence of steaminess from this work flat out missed the point of the film, 2) Owen Gleiberman's review in EW might very well be the shallowest piece of film criticism ever composed. Rather than giving the filmmaker his due, and probing the themes at hand, the doofus stays at the surface and takes Kubrick to task for not hiring more extras for the Village scenes. All this from a guy who gave I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER a higher grade than Kubrick's last effort. This is all rather disjointed, but I can't help it. Like the rest of y'all, I'm still digesting this wonderfully intriguing swan song."

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 2:56 p.m. CST

    just you wA.I.t and see

    by Dwan

    ... A.I. will be next from Spielberg. (and it will be amazing - Kubrick has willed it to be from beyond the grave).

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Why Dances With Wolves won the Oscar

    by Smack

    I think the circumstances involving its production rather than merit was the determining factor in DWW's Oscar win. I really enjoy it, and think it is an "Oscar caliber film", but I think Goodfellas is much more powerful and better made. I think Hollywood fell in love with the story of an actor who had a vision that he wouldn't compromise. Westerns weren't supposed to be successful. Three hour movies weren't supposed to be successful. Yet he was able to overcome those biases and make a very good movie. Plus Kevin Costner was pretty well respected back then, unlike today. I think it was an underdog and that's what catapulted it to it's Oscar wins rather than quality. Agent Cole, we go through this every time. I understand you love David Lynch, but putting EVERY film he's released in the 90's on your top 10 list is stupid. It just makes people not take you seriously. I think the Best Comedic or Musical score category was added because anytime a Disney film was nominated for score it won. This occurred from The Little Mermaid through The Lion King. In 1995 they created the new category and Pochantas won that. Since then I don't think a Disney score has even been nominated (maybe Mulan was but I'm positive that Hunchback and Hercules weren't). I think it's funny since Disney isn't even getting the nomination they used to for a category that was basically created for them.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:07 p.m. CST


    by TRIGGER95

    Am I the only person who thought Eyes Wide Shut was nothing more than an extremely well made and extended episode of Red Shoe Diaries directed by a brilliant, yet completely out of touch filmmaker? And does Agent Cole work for David Lynch or something? I like the guy's work, too, but give me a break!

  • .....had the studio not butchered Welles' cut, and destroyed the excised footage. The fact is, the flaws in EWS are there. They hurt the film, and, yes, knock it below TOY STORY 2 in my estimation, which, BTW, is easily the best screenplay of the year. If there's been a tighter script since EXOTICA, I haven't read it.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Agent Cole - what if...

    by Dwan

    ... Kubrick knows more than you. After all, he did give Spielberg his notes and storyboards. Or was Kubrick just delusional? Can't you and all the other predictable Spielberg-haters/Kubrick-idolizers that post here assume for just a moment that A.I. is a good thing and not a sure sign of the cinematic apocalypse. If Kubrick is so infallible then you have to grant that his decision to involve Spielberg in A.I. is the correct one.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Smilin'JackAss Retorts

    by smilin'jackruby

    Dude, Agent Cole, not sure who you are, but I can and will now subsequently name films from the 90s that are better than "Eyes Wide Shut." I can't believe that you really believe that, but oh, well, 'tis your right. Here are better films than "Eyes Wide Shut" from the 90s: "The Butcher Boy," "The Young Poisoner's Handbook," "American Beauty," "Pulp Fiction," "L.A. Confidential," "The Big Lebowski," "Matrix," "Election," "The Sweet Hereafter," "A Simple Plan," "The Insider," (I felt as such), "Trainspotting," "Iron Giant," "Fargo," "The Usual Suspects," "Hoop Dreams," "Being John Malkovich," "RUSHMORE!!!," "Three Colors: Blue, White, Red," "Fearless," "The Spanish Prisoner," "Babe," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Waiting for Guffman," "Out of Sight," "The Limey," "Silverlake Life," "Stalingrad," YOU WANT ME TO KEEP GOING??? I can go on all day. The 90s, with the rise of the independent film and more studios taking chances has been a GREAT decade for film. "Eyes Wide Shut" will not go down in history as the greatest film of the year, much less the decade. I'm not saying that "Eyes Wide Shut" is down in the gutter with "Two If By Sea," but it isn't on a shelf with "Deep Rising" (oops, I mean "American Beauty").

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:29 p.m. CST

    "Krakow Papers?"

    by smilin'jackruby

    Didn't Kubrick have to scrap "Krakow Papers" or "Aryan Papers" or whatever it was called because it was too similar to "Schindler's List?"

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:33 p.m. CST

    What's Your Source, Cole?

    by mrbeaks

    Your asshole? They apparently talked frequently, and about more than merely special effects. By all accounts, they were friends, and unless you were in on those conversations, your above post is bullshit of the highest order.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:34 p.m. CST

    tapping directors' phone lines

    by Dwan

    How is it that people like Agent Cole always know what Spielberg and Kubrick spoke about in their private conversations? Perhaps Agent Cole really is an agent.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Gee maw! Let's go sees that thar movie wit' Bette Middaler!

    by Godai-kun

    I just want to say that I think the celebrities inserted into Fantasia 2K sound horrible, but I can sort of understand the reasoning behind it. See, back in the mid-80's, I saw Fantasia in the theater with my friend and his mother. His mother was so bored by the end, she made us leave before "Night on Bald Mountain" and I didn't get to see it 'till the movie was released again in the early 90's. Chances are, we would have stayed had some dopey celebrity cameos been in it. The sad truth is, most people is dumb! I question Disney's bending over backwards to cater to these people, but they are a business after all (not a shot, but the truth)and an animated film set to classical music is a hard sell. So brace yourself for the commercials that say "Fantasia 2000 starring Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg,.... oh, and some animation and music too." UGh, I understand Disney's reasoning, but I don't have to like it. Our only hope is that the people who are drawn in by the stars realize what a travesty they are once they see the animation. Then it will go to video and we can all fastforward through it together ... As for "Pines of Rome", Disney came to my college in late 1996 and showed us most of this. The whale's eyes were yet to be changed and everyone in the room was blown away. Why did they have to mess with a good thing? I guess you get a little antsy when your segment is finished 3-4 years before the film is released. Oh well.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Moriarty and dehayd

    by pennylane

    Moriarty, another excellent bit of rumblings, and the headers are most appreciated. The good professor's columns have quickly become one of my favorite small pleasures in life. Also, I have to second dehayd's request that the Harry Potter novels remain unfilmed even by the more-than-qualified Mr. Spielberg. My favorite books as a child were Madeliene L'Engle's Time Trilogy, the books that first revealed to me the transporting effect of the written word and gave me lifelong love of reading. It seems J.K. Rowling's books are serving the same purpose with another generation of readers. These kids are discovering they don't need a TV set, movie screen, computer monitor or multimedia museum exhibit to gain a sense of wonderment. As much as I think a movie version of, say, "A Wrinkle in Time" would be delightful, I know that nothing could ever match my own vision of the Murry family adventures. (Indeed, part of me is saddened to know LotR , another classic trilogy in children's literarture, is about to be fleshed out in film.) The same is most likely true for Harry Potter. Let these children's conceptualization of the young wizard remain unsullied by the outside influence of a movie. Some things are just better left to the imagination.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Correcting "Moriarty" ...and Harry

    by Jambalaya Gumbo

    Walt Disney DID NOT appear in the "first film", Moriarty. And correcting a previous statement by Harry, Bela Lugosi DID NOT model for Chernobog in FANTASIA (like every other director alive at that time, Bill Tytla found him difficult to work with and replaced him - with another animator). As for the film being dated - um, the name of the film is FANTASIA 2000. Deems Taylor's intros to FANTASIA date that film just as much. The interstitials are essentially meaningless, as the sequences will simply be reshuffled again - and re-introduced again - in the future. I miss Deems Taylor as much as the next person, I suppose, but FANTASIA is an experiment - instead of getting hung up of the pitchmen who introduce the results of that experiment, perhaps maybe more attention and critical faculty should be applied to the final result of their endeavours, not the silly inconsequential interstitials. Hasta, Bucky Rister

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 3:55 p.m. CST

    by Dwan

    Although Michael Fleming did just get it right when he wrote the A.I. is Spielberg's next, one shouldn't always trust in the gospel according to Variety. But even if so, there is no big "read-between-the-lines meaning" to Kubrick's quote about he and Spielberg being different kinds of directors. Of course they are different - and Kubrick's different than Mike Leigh and Howard Deutch and Orson Welles etc. - so what! What you continue to ignore is that Kubrick and Spielberg were friends and now one friend is going to complete the film that other friend started. There's worse things in the world to fret over. And finally, does it surprise you that SK and SS spoke about the special effects of A.I. - it is a special effects heavy movie. I hardly think that indicts Spielberg.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:25 p.m. CST

    When is he doing A.I?

    by gilmour

    Spielberg said on Larry King just a week ago that he isn't ready to do "A.I" anytime soon. It sounded like he was much more ready to do the 4th Indiana Jones movie.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:26 p.m. CST

    back at ya'

    by Dwan

    Just to let you know, I am a big fan of both Kubrick and Spielberg though neither is among my handful of favorite directors. But you asked me a loaded question as to which version of A.I would be more "powerful." And here's my answer - I don't know. Kubrick has had some misses in his career, and Spielberg has had some inspirations. It's a hypothetical question. We will never see Kubrick's A.I. - but from what I know about the story, it is a sci-fi retelling of the Pinocchio tale in which a young android (for lack of a better word) wants to be human. If "powerful" means "more philosophically probing" then maybe Kubrick would be a better choice to question the nature of man's existence (as he did in 2001), if "powerful" means "more emotionally revealing" then maybe Spielberg will work his magic. What I think we will get as a rare mixture of the minds - one of the few cases (if not only)in cinema history where a film is the reflection and by-product of two extremely talented filmmakers.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Steven Spielberg - More Than You Know

    by Jambalaya Gumbo

    There have been alot of potshots taken at Mr. Spielberg in this thread - I submit to you the following, and hope it fosters something like informed debate about how talented Mr. Spielberg really is... EMPIRE OF THE SUN (d. Steven Spielberg, scr. Tom Stoppard, ph. Allan Daviau) JAMIE: I was dreaming about God. MARY: What did he say? JAMIE: Nothing. He was playing tennis. Perhaps that's where God is all the time -- [in our dreams] -- and that's why you can't see Him when you're awake, do you think? MARY: I don't know. I don't know about God. JAMIE: Perhaps He's our dream ...and we're His. ***** In the short documentary, THE CHINA ODYSSEY, Steven Spielberg talks about his take on author J.G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel, EMPIRE OF THE SUN. Ballard's book details his own true-life experiences as a British child of privilege separated from his parents by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai in 1941, and one of Spielberg's boldest opinions of the work was that half of the book was a lie -- half of it true in the broad strokes, certainly, but it was Spielberg's belief that the details and vignettes were completely warped by Ballard's childhood perception. This is crucial to understanding Spielberg's work on the film - which has long been dismissed or completely, fundamentally misread - not a single shot can be trusted. Consider the scene referenced above. Spielberg concludes this passage with a shot of Jamie in bed while his mother and father look on fondly. Spielberg's editor Michael Kahn then does something strange - he performs a quick dissolve of this same shot onto itself, which at first glance appears to be a gaffe. Only later - and only if you're looking - do you see the payoff to this moment. Jamie becomes separated from his parents and spends the remainder of his childhood in a Japanese internment camp. He's spent years idealizing his parents to the point where he finally admits - in a scene of tremendous power - he can't remember what they actually look like any more. Subtly illustrating this point, hanging next to Jim's makeshift prison bed is a Norman Rockwell painting torn out of the pages of LIFE Magazine. The painting is of a Mother and Father looking fondly at a child in bed. It is the exact same image from earlier in the film. The implication here is that the earlier scene never happened, or at the very least didn't happen in the way Spielberg presented it to you -- the reality of the moment has been skewed by Jamie's fantasies. Either way, Spielberg's camera lied to you. And there wasn't a film critic in America who noticed. Spielberg's camera is a font of dishonesty in EMPIRE OF THE SUN, a blazingly original, criminally ignored film. Nothing in the frame can be trusted. Consider the first appearance of John Malkovich as the stranded maritime con man, Basie. When we first meet Basie, he is one cool customer, strongly backlit, his face obscured by dark sunglasses and a G.I. cap. This is all fine and good, except Basie's appearance has already been foretold by the cover of the WINGS comic book Jamie reads in the first moments of the film. The cover of the comic details a back-lit G.I. wearing dark sunglasses and a wide-brimmed cap. The truth is that Steven Spielberg, long considered dead behind the eyes in some circles, made a film that toyed with reality as much as RASHOMON or BLOW UP, but because at that time he was critically regarded as a live-action Walt Disney, his work was dismissed. EMPIRE OF THE SUN would seem to be sitting up and begging for analysis, so loaded it is with moments of fantasy and reverie in the midst of suffering. The film is all about the human need for escapism and denial in the face of a harsh reality (a human feature also highlighted in GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES), but it was received as a Shanghai version of AN AMERICAN TAIL by way of a David Lean imitator. This was incorrect. Many critics, in fact, directly faulted Spielberg for the unreality of EMPIRE OF THE SUN and took him to task for it. They missed the point. Spielberg literally lifts the subconscious interpretation of events by a 12 year-old boy and prints those memories onto film. The prison camp - which was criticized for being a Hollywood construct and not a real environ - exists as the child remembers it. Since children can have quite a fine time with a cardboard box, you can imagine how much fun a boy who loves planes had living next to an airfield. Spielberg puts that interpretation on film. The headache-inducing result of his labor was that audiences took his moments - some of them wildly abstracted - at face value, too long conditioned to shut off their frontal lobes when viewing a work with the word "Spielberg" attached to it. The film is jammed full of impossible moments that clearly are not happening, including a toy glider that stays impossibly aloft, the aforementioned scene involving the family, a trio of pilots who salute the young boy in a hail of welding sparks, a pilot of a P-51 who waves to Jim, a refrigerator that bursts open revealing - instead of food - glitter and toys...there's a gesture that Jim sees his father perform, rubbing his finger across his upper lip. Later, Jim will have a new father figure, Dr. Rawlins, who will repeat the same gesture. Film critic Patrick Taggart actually asked what the point of this gesture was. Ten years later, I'm happy to tell him the gesture is the result of Jim's fading recollection of his parents. He remembers his father making the gesture, and as Dr. Rawlins becomes his "new" father, Jim begins superimposing attributes onto him, including his father's own mannerisms. Spielberg reveals to us this inner life in an enormously subtle way. The standard practice for Dream Scenes is to clue the audience in by the use of hazy wipes and dissolves. Spielberg discarded these completely, trusting in the intelligence of his audience. One quick throw-away even spotlights the British POWs reading from A Midsummer Nights Dream, another little clue to the movie's intentions that Spielberg discards like so much pocket lint. Time and time again, Spielberg and his screenwriter Tom Stoppard serve up an entire cast of characters who choose to ignore the reality of the world around them and end up emaciated shells of their former selves or worse. The film's message seems to be that in the face of such a serious reality, denial and escapism are deadly, and the world must be dealt with on its own terms. Jim's Great Dream - other than flying - is to reunite with his parents, and he carries all of his childhood memorabilia in a small suitcase. Jim must forsake this fantasy and grapple with reality - this case that contains his dreams will later be seen floating alongside the dead in the Shanghai Harbor. Because of his pre-occupation with exploring this theme, EMPIRE OF THE SUN is unique in the Spielberg canon in that it is a film less concerned with plot than it is with examining an idea - the value and necessity for denial and escapism -- and all the ways the human animal lies to itself. The unfortunate result is a film that winds down emotionally by the end of its 2nd hour. Movies are things we go to for many reasons, but primarily we go because we want to feel something. Works like EMPIRE OF THE SUN almost function like a parlor-game -- they're a great work-out for the left-side of your soul and a litmus test for how you view film, but they're also a bit emotionally cold. This oft-repeated criticism of EMPIRE OF THE SUN isn't something so easily dismissed away. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA sported a hole in the center of its drama in the shape of a man who was a total enigma. EMPIRE OF THE SUN - which David Lean himself was attached to at one point - also has a protagonist at its center who is emotionally distant, keeping the viewer at arm's reach. The difference being, in LAWRENCE, you had a man of fathomless interest and contradictions at its fore, and in EMPIRE OF THE SUN you had a spoiled child. To me, EMPIRE OF THE SUN represents the death of the Spielberg I grew up with, just as much as it tells the tale of a child who must shuck off the best parts of childhood in order to survive. Its my personal belief that the failure of this film was a giant blow to the man, whose career went into a tailspin even as it was generating ever-higher box office returns. Spielberg's public quotes around this time are the most self-loathing of his life, referring to works like INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, ALWAYS, and HOOK as "hamburgers" and himself as little more than a McDonald's fry chief. INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE - in particular - is the flattest, least-inspired and assured film he ever made. The great thing about video is that it gives films a second chance, and it is never too late to rediscover a buried classic. EMPIRE OF THE SUN deserves your attention on home video, but what's more, I think Spielberg's work in the film deserves your open mind and your further contemplation. -- Bucky Rister

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Gumbo, Empire, Indy IV

    by Dwan

    Well said Gumbo - I've seen the film twice, read the book, and you make me want to see the movie again. As for Indy IV, don't get in line yet - you'll be there for a while. Face it Agt. Cole, A.I. is next.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:40 p.m. CST


    by gilmour

    Yes i'm positive Spielberg said it very clearly that he had other films he wanted to do before he does "A.I" and even then it didn't sound like he was too excited about it. He discussed minority report, memoirs of a geiza (sp?) and the next Indy film much more. So to me it souned like years before he intends to do it.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:45 p.m. CST


    by Dwan

    ...ain't just a river in Egpyt. A.I. is next. And, to quote Telly Savalas, "you can take that to the bank." But if it makes you two feel better - keep dreaming about Indy V.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Dwan, do you work for Spielberg?

    by gilmour

    And btw its Indy iv not v.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Agent Colostomy Bag

    by smilin'jackruby

    Um, Agent Cole, as we are now reduced to name-calling, you dismiss an awful lot of people. We all know "Wild Wild West" was a big piece of shit. However, when you dismissed James Cameron, now I have to laugh. The guy's no King Vidor, but he knows how to arc a story. I'll watch "Aliens" over "Eyes Wide Shut" any day of the week.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 4:54 p.m. CST

    my employer, Gilmour

    by Dwan

    Yeah, right! And I used to work for Kubrick until he died. First Spielberg gets Kubrick's movie, then he gets his assistant. What an evil genius!

  • I like that. Coming off the noble failure that was THE COLOR PURPLE, Spielberg collaborated with one of our greatest living dramatic writers, and turned out a work that befuddled audiences and critics alike. They're not alone. I've only seen the film twice (back when it was first released on video,) but I always knew there was more going on beneath the surface, even if I was too young to grasp it. It's the kind of thing you feel viscerally, like watching 2001 at a young age. It's not possible, unless you're Woody Allen's kid, to fully comprehend Kubrick's profound cinematic gesture, yet it somehow makes sense. I definitely need to revisit EMPIRE, and plan on doing it tonight.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:02 p.m. CST

    why the oscars suck the big one

    by Isidore

    The oscars almost always try to recognize the PC view of the world. (in the 90"s anyway) Come on, Dances with Wolves was given best picture because the native americans were shit on for centuries. Shindler's List even if it was a Piece of total crap would have gotten best picture. (and by the way the ending for it sux) Only a few time has the academy given a movie that wasn't a period piece with thinly constructed trite plots the big golden one. I love watching the telecast just to see what will be the big theif. Its all based in marketing and I'm glad that Shakespeare got the award. SPR had several huge problems with me. For one it tried to be emotional, Key word is TRIED. I won't get started on it, but I wil say tha it should have only been the first 40 minutes and over. I want to see real movies win not just the flavor of the week come april. It will never happen,look Forrest Gump won over Pulp Fiction AND Shawshank. It's a popularity contest and blows the way prevailing sentiment will blow. Enough! If that made any sense then I will be amazed! Oh and what would any post be with out: Shit, Fuck, cocksucker, Asswipe, and blowjob. Feel free to insert them where ever there needed.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:06 p.m. CST

    6th sense

    by MGP

    Shymalan's writing on 6th sense was less than excellent - why does everyone keep hyping it so much. A decently played spook story with a neat resolution, sure. But many clunky dialogue scenes - the opening "reading the plaque scene" so awful that the good word of mouth on the rest was all that kept me in my seat! It was credit to performers and shymalan's direction that the thing stayed afloat at all.

  • That opening moment by the fireplace was damn near unbearable. My problem with THE SIXTH SENSE was that there was depth to it. As a result, I guessed the big twist finale as soon as the kid shot Willis, even though I didn't know there was a major surprise coming (I saw it on opening day, and purposefully avoided the talk backs, like I do with most movies I haven't seen.) It was a superbly shot film, and pretty well directed, to boot. I've resigned myself to the fact that it's a lock for a Best Picture nod, but I don't for a second believe that it's deserving of the honor.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:14 p.m. CST

    various topics (I hope Harry and/or Moriarty reads this)

    by r_dimitri22

    First of all, Moriarty, I enjoy your rumblings as always, but I entirely skipped that Unbreakable review. (I echo the appreciation for your adding subject headings.) Frankly, I was scared to read it, because as I perused it I got the impression that too much was given away. Could you give a bit of a spoiler warning next time? I realize it's not the finished product that you're reviewing, but nevertheless the potential spoilers greatly annoy me. That's something I've never understood about you and Harry. I realize you love film and the entire filmmaking process, but don't you ever wish that you weren't privy to all of this knowledge? Don't you ever wish that you could watch a movie completely untainted? Spoilers are an inherent evil of this site, and reading them always frustrates me. Yet I can't resist and keep returning for more cool news. Still, there's a major difference to me between finding out who will play Anakin or what the X-Men costumes look like and being told or hinted toward the crucial plot point on page 80 of either of those scripts. Being insiders, you and Harry probably can't escape the spoilers. However, as a fan of the site and strictly a watcher of movies (rather than someone who aspires to be a part of the industry or an expert about it), I wish that I could escape them. Do you sometimes try to review films with the state of mind that you did not already read the script? For example, I liked The Green Mile, but I can not imagine that it would be as emotionally affecting with prior knowledge of the plot. I think just the fact that I knew about the supernatural element greatly diminished my enjoyment. As for Dogma, how can you wait for the DVD, Harry? (I'm not being contentious; I was just curious.) I have the impression that you are aware of every single project from stage one -- except possibly this one. Was this a case in which you wanted to remain untainted? Why did you not read the script for Dogma when given the chance? Regardless of what you think of Episode I now, you read the script for that long ago and well before the movie. Could you not resist? Based on your writings, I know your level of anticipation for that was immense. Is your level of anticipation for Dogma even higher? Did Kevin Smith himself tell you that he would prefer you watch the future DVD director's cut rather than the studio-imposed shortening? Also, I've asked this before, but did Moriarty or Harry ever review The Limey? I'd be interested in their opinions and would like to discuss the movie in talkback. Oh, and to the poster above (AgentCole) who listed his top ten list for the nineties, the name of Clint Eastwood's opus magnum is "Unforgiven" -- not "The Unforgiven." "The Unforgiven" is a 1960 John Huston film. Sorry -- just a pet peeve of mine. (I like that the title refers to the state of being unforgiven rather than a group of people who are unforgiven.)

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:16 p.m. CST

    The Phantom Menace

    by Zelig

    AgentCole said something earlier in this talkback that totally explains why TPM failed with the public... "...I expected much more than they did. Although the space scenes were excellent, they were not as revolutionary as I thought they would be..." Stop blaming Lucas, fer godsake.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:16 p.m. CST

    "Sixth Sense" nom, but not a winner

    by smilin'jackruby

    I even have a hard time believing that "The Sixth Sense" will get a nomination, what with "The Green Mile," "Man on the Moon," "Magnolia," "American Beauty," "The Insider," "House on Haunted Hill," "The Cradle Will Rock," and "Love's Labors Lost" all making that big, last minute Oscar push. As for those with problems with "The Sixth Sense," see "A Stir of Echoes" when it comes out on video. A truly cool throwback that really captures the feel of Mr. Matheson's writing.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:17 p.m. CST

    the agent is way off base

    by Gravy Boat Capt.

    AgentCole, you believe TRUE ROMANCE is a better movie than PULP FICTION? And TWIN PEAKS: FWWM is on you top ten list of the decade! Now that's about as fucked up as a soup sandwich. EWS is an excellent movie, but is far short from being the best film of this year, much less the decade. Kidman's character was so cold that I found myself rooting for old Tom to get himself laid by a warm blooded animal. TOY STORY 2 is a much better movie. So is GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, HOOP DREAMS, BABE, ED WOOD along with about 25 others.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:19 p.m. CST

    ...And Before You Get Y'er Panties in a Bunch

    by smilin'jackruby

    ...the "House on Haunted Hill" mention was a joke. That's a film that no Oscar ceremony could truly do justice to, even now as we gaze forth into the next millennium. (melancholy sigh).

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:22 p.m. CST

    What is this world coming to?

    by Pomona88

    I've been trying to ignore rumors of an H.R. PUFNSTUF movie, but Cinescape says it's getting the fast track treatment. And now they're talking silver screen LAND OF THE LOST, too.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Excellent post Jambalaya!!

    by Bregalad_

    Yes, the brilliant EMPIRE OF THE SUN was very underrated. Hardly do people see far enough past their noses to learn the layers of cinematic art. If you will, please read my post about the layers of PRINCESS MONONOKE over on the Miyazaki item from yesterday.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Agent Colostomy Bag II

    by smilin'jackruby

    I know longer worry about Agent Cole knowing all that much about film. He just referred to the Jedi Council as looking like "a bunch of homos." This is definitely a funny day at AICN.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Oh, and just to weigh in on the subject of Two Socks...

    by r_dimitri22

    Dances with Wolves was a great film. I think it was a worthy best picture, and it's probably in my all-time personal top thirty. On the other hand, Goodfellas is in my all-time top ten. Still, I can understand that the Best Picture award can be political or go to the more audience-friendly film. Solution: The director/best picture awards should have been split with Scorsese receiving his one and only directing Oscar.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Rumblings and Bumblings

    by Joe Buck

    I know there's no convincing you Cole so I'm not going to try (much), but while I absolutely loved EWS and Straight Story, I found both John Sayles' Limbo and Magnolia to be even more powerful. EWS had the best cineamatography and score, Limbo the best screenplay, but Magnolia is the best total package (of course I'll need to see this a 2nd time to confirm). I would hesitate to pick a decades top 10, though I know I would place other films like Breaking the Waves, Babe, Unforgiven, and To Live above EWS. I think it's much ado about nothing RE: South Park and the Oscars. It never would have been nominated or awarded one in the 1st place. 95% of all voters probably dismissed it out of hand, as much as it is deserving. Anyone have any idea what the foreign film picks will be beyond All About My Mother and maybe Rosetta? The Red Violin, Run Lola Run, Last Night, and I believe Dream Life of Angels have all been passed over in previous years so are not eligible for this year's awards.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Tom Arnold

    by smilin'jackruby

    On a side note as I had failed to notice Agent Cole in his infinite wisdom referring to me as smilinJACKoff, I never really said that I liked James Cameron (I can't believe I defended him, but he was pretty funny in "The Muse" this year). Has anyone been hearing how hardcore Tom Arnold has been pushing for the "True Lies" sequel? It's kind of funny. While I admit, he was damn funny in "True Lies," that's about the only thing I've seen him do anything well in.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:37 p.m. CST

    I Keep Forgetting About LIMBO

    by mrbeaks

    Great ending; although, most people hated it. Still, it was really the only way Sayles could conclude it without copping out.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:37 p.m. CST

    To knorm1

    by Pomona88

    A few things TRUE ROMANCE has over PULP FICTION: 1. No Amanda Plummer (probably the single worst example of female overacting ever). 2. No Uma Thurman (she wasn't terrible in PF, but her scenes were definitely the weakest part). 3. Dennis Hopper lecturing Christopher Walken on ethnic history. Hilarious. 4. Patricia Arquette instead of Rosanna Arquette. All that being said, I prefer PF. Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson were superb, and I dig the out-of-order chronology, even if it's not original. Also, Christian Slater really should have died at the end of TR.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:42 p.m. CST

    "Limbo" and Sayles

    by smilin'jackruby

    I haven't seen "Limbo" yet, though I consider myself a fairly big fan of John Sayles' work. I think he's a fantastic writer and I'm glad to hear good words about "Limbo" as the audience reaction was decidedly mixed. I'll definitely rent it this weekend. Has anyone ever seen "Men at War?" It's some Dolph Lundgren straight-to-video actioner Sayles wrote a few years ago (probably for the cash as Sayles has proved he can write in any genre with no problem) which has the gall to advertise in the trailer that it was written by "Oscar-nominated Screenwriter, John Sayles." Always thought that was funny.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Spielberg's next is...

    by Joey Jojo

    Breakin' 3.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6 p.m. CST

    EWS/Dogma and other films

    by Aicntb

    Yes EWS had great cinematography. That doesn't overcome poor acting and a disjointed story. Dogma is a tremendous waste of good acting talent. KS has no clue how to direct a film. The opening prologue was ridiculous and undercut much of what the film had to say. Chris Rock, Linda Fiorentino and some of the others gave horrible performances which I can only assume were the result of the poor direction. Green Mile is a good film with several flaws, not the least of which is its inaccurate portrayal of what prison would be like. The acting was very good.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6:48 p.m. CST

    smokin' potter

    by jbreen

    Clearly we don't have to many young kids posting on this site. The news that Spielberg might be doing the first Potter book is quite something. I agree with Capt. Chaos - make Harry American and you kill of 90 per cent of the character. He is resolutely, erm, British - huge touches of St Trinians, Molesworth etc. run through his school experiences for instance. It would be nice if Little Stevie actually turned his hand to all three flicks - with the exception of 'Schindler's List' there is something off-puttingly earnest about his 'serious' works, even if I did get misty during 'Amistad'. He is really a golly gee-whiz film-maker, and is best served with genres like sf, fantasy and terror. Do these films, Steve. Do them real quick in the next coupla years and then do Indy 4. I believe I speak with the authority of the people on this one.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6:53 p.m. CST


    by Boss Hog

    Get out your brooms. I'm declaring shananigans on the Academy. Not just because they are dirty cheats, but because they have been long ripe to get some fucking sense beat into them! Everyone knows that SOUTH PARK deserves high praise for the most creative use of music in any recent film. Everyone also knows that the Academy won't honor that, not because of any category noneness, but because the movie is dirty and controversial and the Academy is filled with a bunch of spineless, pandering, corrupt bastards that have no clue as to what film is about.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 6:57 p.m. CST


    by Zelig

    I'm not saying that that YOU'RE blaming anyone for the failure of TPM. What you said was actually very true (the truth: not something you speak very often) of most fans out there, where the situation was that they were expecting to be magically whisked back to their childhood days by the insignificant event of a film release, and were suddenly jolted back to reality when they realized that they skipped out on their day job (where they work out of a cubicle), and lied to their boss (they called in sick) to go see a KIDS MOVIE...

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 7:05 p.m. CST

    My 10 best of the decade....

    by Zelig

    Okay, I'm sure I wont raise as much furor as AgentCole did, but I think that this is a cool idea...In no particular order 1)The Shawshank Redemption 2)Unforgiven 3)Chasing Amy 4)Iron Giant 5) Titanic (shut up you all) 6)The Piano 7)Kids (scary!) 8) Contact 9)The Shadow (a GOOD comic movie!) 10)American Beauty

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Zelig, don't forget...

    by TRIGGER95

    1) My Favorite Martian 2) Super Mario Bros 3) Speed II: Cruise Control 4) Street Fighter 5) Batman & Robin 6) Rocky V 7) Almost anything produced by Jon Peters 8) Father's Day 9) Krippendorf's Tribe 10) Species II

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Empire, Green Mile, and Shenanigans ;-)

    by Dagny_T

    I know I'm a bit late for this, but I just had to say one huge THANK YOU to Mr. Gumbo and the spirited review/defense of Empire of the Sun he posted earlier. You've obviously been thinking about this one for awhile man. I saw that film in the theater when I was 13 - too young to understand any of the more symbolic things you so eloquently pointed out in your review. But at the same time just the right age to understand completely how sometimes the difference between reality and fantasy isn't all that clear when you're a kid. The movie literally blew my mind. It's the first movie I went out and bought on video (well, ok, actually my mom bought it for me - I WAS only 13). I revisit it every year or so, and every time I do it has the same remarkable effect on me. Definitely on my all-time personal favorites list. Re: The Green Mile. I have now read a lot of reviews of this movie, not to mention plenty o' talkbacks, and there is a repeated complaint that I just don't get. Why does everybody keep saying that a major flaw of the film is that no Southern death row Depression-era prison guards could possibly be such nice people? Maybe not, but in the first place, were you THERE? And in the second, if every guard in this movie had been a violent, brutal asshole then you just know all the people saying the guards are too nice now would be complaining that the film has cliched mean racist guards and couldn't the filmmakers be more original? People, it's a movie about miracles for crying out loud. Stop looking for hyper-realism. And finally, I too call shenanigans on the Academy. Any movie with a song that so expertly rips off the end of the first act of Les Miserables (La Resistance - it's almost note-perfect without actually copying, just amazing) deserves a naked golden guy in my book. Besides, just think of what a hilarious Matt-and-Trey acceptance speech we're missing out on.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Trigger 95

    by smilin'jackruby

    You rule! I humbly request my list of best of the decade be rescended as I know when I've been bested. You are absolutely correct, those are the true best pics of the 90s. I bow down before you.

  • Dec. 16, 1999, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Nicole Kidman: EYES WIDE SHUT

    by CastorDurden

    What does everybody think about Nicole's chance of getting an Oscar nod for this role? To me she was the only redeeming part of the movie?

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:39 a.m. CST

    I guess I wasn't the only one...

    by Powerslave

    ...who thought that the guy 'crashing' the Jim Carrey press conference was all part of a publicity stunt. Same deal with that "scuffle" with Jerry Lawler on the set a while back. Of course, they all said it wasn't a publicity stunt, but that's exactly how it turned out.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:56 a.m. CST


    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    10.Kansas City (zzzzzzzzzzzzz Altman's ultimate cure for insominia) 9.Julian Donkey Boy (Sorry Harmony, yer 15 minutes are up!!!) 8.Stigmata (it was so boring, it was scary!!!) 7.The Postman (funny as hell but boring as fuck!!!) 6.Any Movie with Robert Redford done in this decade! 5.Hideous Kinky (PURE CINEMATIC TORTURE!!!) 4.Meet Joe Black (god lets take our sweet ass time shall we...) 3.The Portrait of a Lady (Uggghhh I will not even go there!!!) 2.Seven Years in Tibet (more like seventy fucking years in the theatre) 1. THE NUMBER ONE BORING MOVIE OF THE DECADE GOES TO: LIMBO!!!!! no comment, see for yourself! be warned!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:30 a.m. CST


    by Dead Eye

    I really hope they won't have Columbus direct this (same with Spider-Man). I mean this guy makes good family movies and stuff but you want someone like Burton (wouldn't that be great) or Fincher, and I'm scared to say (i.e THE MESSANGER), maybe Besson to do this film. Come on, this is the guy who did BICENTENIAL MAN. Just a little on the corny side. I bet he'd try and alter the screenplay and make Dracula, Holmes, and Moriarty all bachelor buddies at the end (well maybe not).

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Twenty films this year far better than Eyes Wide Shut

    by mooch

    I'm sure I could name at least twenty films this year that wipe the floor with the absolutely abismal Eyes Wide Shut. And I live in Britain, so I don't get to say Three Kings, The Green Mile, Magnolia, Sleepy Hollow, American Beauty, Man On The Moon, Sweet And Lowdown, The Talented Mr Ripley, or Any Given Sunday, although I did get to see Being John Malkovich at a special preview. So. My favourite films of this year: 1) RATCATCHER

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Twenty films this year far better than Eyes Wide Shut

    by mooch

    I'm sure I could name at least twenty films this year that wipe the floor with the absolutely abismal Eyes Wide Shut. And I live in Britain, so I don't get to say Three Kings, The Green Mile, Magnolia, Sleepy Hollow, American Beauty, Man On The Moon, Sweet And Lowdown, Bringing Out The Dead, The Talented Mr Ripley, or Any Given Sunday, although I did get to see Being John Malkovich at a special preview. So. My favourite films of this year: 1) RATCATCHER 2) Fight Club 3) The Thin Red Line 4) Happiness 5) Celebrity 6) Election 7) Rushmore 8) Ride With The Devil. Other films that are better than Eyes Wide Shut: Pi, Shakespeare In Love, Your Friends And Neighbours, Best Laid Plans, Hilary And Jackie, The Matrix, Go, A Civil Action, The War Zone, A Simple Plan, Bulworth, Arlington Road, All About My Mother, Les Diner Des Cons, This Year's Love (yep - bizzarely it turned out to be very, very good), and I'm sure there are probably more that I can't think of off the top of my head. Face it you fucking moron, Eyes Wide Shut was lame as all hell. They say that film appreciation is subjective, but this is only true to a limited degree. It is fucking obvious that The Waterboy is not as good as a billion other films, it is scientifically provable. I don't care if you are going to dismiss this as "elitist", that is just a shallow criticism; the fact is that I'm not scared of my own opinions. I agree with the guy who said EWS was by a great director who is out of touch. It was pretentious and over-simple (yes both) and it was boring as fuck. I'm fed up of all this kid gloves approach in the press to Eyes Wide Shut. No. Rubbish. The dialogue was utterly utterly atrocious, the stoned scene was most embarrassing thing I have ever sat through: including Some Mother's Do 'Ave 'Em, There was NO suspense or excitement or even fucking interest in the scenes where there were supposed to be things happening, and the whole thing just stank of that disgusting upper-middle class complacence, pretention and desire pass itself off as genuine (I'm sure there is a single word for that last sentance phrase). Alright look, I'm exaggerating when I say that EWS was "Abismal", that's just how I felt after seeing it. The best I'll let you off with is: it is "okay". It would make the top thirty of the year. But it is a lame, lame ass film.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:06 a.m. CST

    AgentCole's List

    by mrbeaks

    That's the list of someone who hasn't seen many films. Where's THE BICYCLE THIEF? CITIZEN KANE? GREED? KING KONG? No Preston Sturges films? Have you ever seen any? If so, which ones, and describe how they're not up to LOLITA. No Hitchcock? No Ford? No Wilder? No Huston? No Lubitsch? Have you seen *any* films made pre-1960? Have you even seen Kubrick's PATHS OF GLORY, which is easily better than LOLITA (for the record, I prefer Lyne's adaptation of Nabokov's masterpiece, even though Nabokov wrote the watered-down script for Kubrick's version,) and one of the greatest war films ever made (yes, better than SPR.) My suggestion: see more movies. You're clearly not knowledgeable enough to be making such a list (at least, not one that anyone would take seriously, which is why you get raked over the coals so often.) Notice how I don't make any lists? It's because there are a ton of films I haven't seen by directors who, on reputation alone, deserve my attention (Bergman, Tourneur and Bresson to name a few.)

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:08 a.m. CST

    "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

    by r_dimitri22

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:20 a.m. CST

    You people are nuts...

    by Peregrin

    ...Everything that was said up above in the excellent post about "Empire of The Sun" applies more so to Kubrick's brilliant beyond words "Eyes Wide Shut." Everyone is missing the point, to take 'Eyes Wide Shut' on a purely literal level is pointless. The film is based upon the "DreamNovel" and is an exploration of Freudian Psychology; similar to "2001" being an exploration of Nietzche's Philosophy. In "Empire of The Sun" Spielberg may very well have aimed to do everything that is being attributed to him above, but so what? To question the literal reality of a child's imagination is nothing all that special; in fact its a fucking cliche! It's not brilliant; while it may be a good film and it may be a well made film its certainly nothing on the level of what Kubrick succeeds in doing for EWS, where he analyzes the relationships between an ADULT'S realities and fantasy, using the procreation act, fundamental to the survival of the species, as a starting point. The point is, everyone knows kids don't see things like adults; they believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny for Christ's Sake! Kubrick questions our ability to see the truth and remain faithful [both mentally and physically] with the constant pressure of our id causing us to experience emotions [like Kidman's for the naval officer] that come unlooked for, unasked for, and often unwanted...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:34 a.m. CST

    I Agree Peregrin.....

    by mrbeaks

    I truly admired what Kubrick attempted, and mostly, achieved with EYES WIDE SHUT, but I can't make allowances for Cruise's uneven performance, or the general unpolished feel (too many rough transitions for my taste.) Still, a very good film, and far from the failure many on this board claim it to be.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Agent Cole's List

    by smilin'jackruby

    I feel bad even dignifying your list with a response. Ever seen a film that wasn't in English? For that matter (excepting Milos Forman) made by an American?

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Top Ten Lists

    by Gravy Boat Capt.

    Didn't AFI compile a pretty darn good list recently? It's not perfect, to be sure (all American), but Agent Cole's list is totally laughable. No CITIZEN KANE, SNOW WHITE, THE SEARCHERS, DUCK SOUP, etc... Agent Cole, get thee to a video store pronto or at least watch some AMC or TCM. And that's an order from the Capt.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Agreeing & Disagreeing With Mr. Beaks...

    by Peregrin

    I disagree that Cruise's performance was uneven because I definitely feel that he was supposed to be largely out of his element throughout the course of the entire film. He displayed the almost cocky confidence he's known for throughout the beginning of the film, but after Kidman's revealing of her fantasy he is completely and totally thrown into the dark spaces of his mind. His ego takes a severe thrashing, and his id surfaces from his subconscious to fill in the void. I felt that all of this was reflected beautifully in Cruise's portrayal. I do agree however, that some of the films editing and transitions were a little rough, but I am cerrtain that Kubrick would have corrected these small problems during the three months prior to release...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:11 a.m. CST

    by Jambalaya Gumbo

    Thanks to everyone for their kind comments re: my essay on EMPIRE OF THE SUN. The review is from my electronic newsletter, THE OUTSIDER, a non-profit weekly e-zine that discusses various aspects of the entertainment industry. If anyone would like to be on its distribution, just drop me a line. Yours -- Bucky Rister

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Take a stress pill and think things over

    by Pomona88

    Some of you guys get too bent out of shape by AgentCole. I don't agree with all of his choices either (DIRTY HARRY, especially), and any Kubrick fan should recognize that LOLITA is one of his lesser works, while PATHS OF GLORY one of his best. But come on! Cole's got some damn good films on his list. Does anyone really think SNOW WHITE is better than ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST or THE GODFATHER? Then to attack him for not including foreign films...I think we discussed this recently under another topic. Some posters aren't sure whether we want to restrict our Top 10/Top 100 Lists to English language films that most of us have seen or can find in the video store. The others just don't seem to care about the foreign films. I think I was dismissed once for bringing up Kurosawa and Bergman. Anyway, if you like THE BICYCLE THIEF, I suggest you watch UMBERTO D, a far more touching film in my opinion.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Pomona88 do you really believe that 'Lolita' is...

    by Peregrin of Kubrick's "lesser" works? I don't see how that's possible. I think 'Lolita' is perhaps one of his best works, in that it succeeds in the difficult task of creating a character who you loath at the beginning of the film, and then feel for by the end. It's such a powerful turn around, and it's so rare in film, I can't call "Lolita" anything more than stunning. Not to mention inspired performances by the entire cast, a full complement of Kubrickian laughs, a potent ending, and a statement about the fleeting nature of our sexual attractions. I would just like to know why you consider it among his 'lesser works'? [Plus, if you're a fan of "American Beauty," you have to love "Lolita" from which much of it is borrowed...]

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:43 a.m. CST

    It's Called Criticism, Cole

    by mrbeaks

    Because few films are perfect, I weigh both strengths and weaknesses when discussing them. That's what most intelligent people do when discussing art. BTW, you made the list. Why don't you start explaining why those films are worthy, and then I'll shoot some of them down. Oh, you said DIRTY HARRY warranted a place on your list because it's a glorified "fascist fantasy?" What the hell kind of logic is that? Leni Riefenstahl made some wonderful odes to fascism that far outdid Siegel's admittedly entertaining work; ergo, if that's your only criteria, I suggest you check out Hitler's favorite filmmaker. BTW, as a sustained metaphor for the Red Scare, Siegel's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is a far more accomplished piece than DIRTY HARRY. I do, however, think that any list attempting to rank the Top 10 of the decade is awfully suspect if CITIZEN KANE is omitted. Welles and Toland introduced a new cinematic language that opened doors for people like Kubrick and, especially, Lynch.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Nah, Don't Worry Pomona88, We're Just Having Fun

    by smilin'jackruby

    Nothing quite like geeking from my workstation. Agent Cole's on crack, I don't really care, he's fun to goad. I'm just waiting to see the Friday review summaries on IMDB. I'm just happy it's Friday and I can FINALLY see "Sweet and Lowdown" and hopefully "Felicia's Journey" this weekend. That, and Christmas shop like mad. I can't believe's cracking down on the ripped off coupons over at At least the Amazon ones still work (pre-ordered the "Rushmore" Criterion DVD last night-YES!!!).

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Thank you Jambalaya Gumbo...

    by agentcooper

    ...For your well written, very thoughtful essay on Empire of the Sun. So often, Talkback turns into a series of name calling flames. This, admittedly, is part of the fun, but it is nice to know that there are some serious minded film buffs out there who can bring something new to the discussion. I'm a huge Spielberg fan, but Empire was the only movie he directed that I did not see in a theater (besides Sugarland-I was too young). This was largely due to the fact that critical response to the film was lukewarm, at best. Upon viewing it, however, my faith in Spielberg was renewed. It is a brilliant film. Your critique makes me want to see it again. You bring up so many subtle images that I have not noticed before. I plan on popping it in the Laserdisc player tonight. Thanks again.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Cole, You Need To Sober Up

    by mrbeaks

    Obviously, I meant "century," but, as I'm doing about three things at one time here, I am subject to making the occasional mistake. If I was of the mind, however, to pick through your hopelessly irrational posts and make spelling and grammatical corrections, I'd be here all day. Quick, since you're hanging around, put down the bowl and explain why CITIZEN KANE is not worthy of your all-time list. Making lists is easy, defending them is a tad more difficult.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Fine, Cole.....

    by mrbeaks

    Explain how A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is one of the greatest films of all time.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I'm not a Kubrick fanatic, but...

    by agentcooper

    I'd like to weigh in with a bystander's view on Eyes Wide Shut. I consider myself to be a film lover, and have admired Kubrick's past work, my favorite being A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. The secrecy and rumors surrounding the making of Eyes Wide Shut, combined with the fact that it turned out to be Kubrick's last film, made me anxious to see it. I must admit, the film left me cold and uninterested. The cinematography was beautiful, and I actually enjoyed Cruise's performance, as well as Pollack's, but I didn't find much else to like about the film until more than halfway through. The paranoia that Cruise's character felt after the orgy sequence started to work on me, then came crashing to a halt with the billiard room scene. Kidman's mannerisms felt heavy handed, and I did not feel anything for these characters. This is my main point of criticism. You FEEL all of Kubrick's other films. You don't just watch them, you EXPERIENCE them. I didn't feel anything in EWS. In his other films, he draws you into the world he creates. In EWS, it is all surface. We don't delve in. We are not allowed to connect emotionally with the characters or situations, and therefore remain uninterested observers. I think that if this film had been the work of a lesser known filmmaker, it would have been dismissed outright. Kubrick was a brilliant director, but he stumbled on this one.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Mr. Beaks is probably right...

    by Peregrin

    ...'Citizen Kane' should be included on all top ten films lists, but, strangely enough, it doesn't appear on mine! I recognize how brilliant and influential the film was, I recognize how ahead of its time the story structure, cinematography, sound design, and just about every other facet of the film were, but somehow or another I just don't personally care for it! As long as we're all here to curse about our opinions, allow me to throw out what I would consider to be a probable version my Top 10 Of All Time List. (1) 2001, (2) Gone With The Wind, (3) Dr. Strangelove, (4) Metropolis, (5) A ClockWork Orange, (6) The Elephant Man, (7) The Big Sleep, (8) It Happened One Night, (9) Barry Lyndon, (10) tie: The Godfather & The Straight Story...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:40 p.m. CST


    by Peregrin

    How could you have possibly felt no connection with any of the characters in EWS? The only conceivable way I can see that is if you have never been in a relationship in your entire life! Come on man, haven't you ever been involved with a woman before? Anyone who's been involved in any type of fairly serious relationship has probably had conversations similar to those that Cruise and Kidman shared in EWS. It's a fundamental fact of our psychology, that's what the film is about -- man and women relationships; I just don't understand how anyone, except someone inexperienced in love, can possibly find no connection to the material...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:41 p.m. CST


    by Peregrin

    How could you have possibly felt no connection with any of the characters in EWS? The only conceivable way I can see that is if you have never been in a relationship in your entire life! Come on man, haven't you ever been involved with a woman before? Anyone who's been involved in any type of fairly serious relationship has probably had conversations similar to those that Cruise and Kidman shared in EWS. It's a fundamental fact of our psychology, that's what the film is about -- man and women relationships; I just don't understand how anyone, except someone inexperienced in love, can possibly find no connection to the material...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Film snobs are "brilliant beyond words..."

    by Powerslave

    ...because they make me laugh.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:57 p.m. CST

    A List Of Sorts

    by mrbeaks

    Since I've been lobbing grenades all day at AgentCole, here's a list of films I believe to be some of the finest ever made. There may be omissions and oversights, but I figured I should give y'all some idea of where I'm coming from. These are in no particular order: 1) CITIZEN KANE, 2) INTOLERANCE, 3) THE GENERAL (Keaton,) 4) 2001, 5) THE GODFATHER PARTS I & II, 6) HIS GIRL FRIDAY, 7) DR. STRANGELOVE, 8) PATHS OF GLORY, 9) JAWS, 10) REAR WINDOW, 11) THE RIGHT STUFF, 12) RAGING BULL, 13) THE SEVEN SAMURAI, 14) THE WORLD OF APU, 15) THE BICYCLE THIEF, 16) CONTEMPT (hard to defend, but a favorite,) 17) NOTORIOUS, 18) PSYCHO..... well, I could go on, but I'll stop there. Oh, and DR. STRANGELOVE. And HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO. And RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Fine, I'll stop.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 12:59 p.m. CST

    It's funny how you're called a "film snob" when...

    by Peregrin demand films that are visually dazzling, thematically deep, emotionally resonant, intellectually challenging, and superbly crafted. I mean, shouldn't we all be looking for that in a film? Wouldn't that be the pinnacle of film-art? A film that functions not only as entertainment, but as a catharsis...allowing us, albeit briefly, to clean away the mass-produced, pre-molded, suburbian, post-modern grime that covers our subconscious and allowing us a chance to peer into the very things that make us all human. In "Twin Peaks" Major Briggs explains that a "vision" is the "mind revealing itself to itself," I submit to you the capacity for film and other art forms, both written and visual, to be able to do the same. And, if that makes me a "film snob" than I feel that's really more of a compliment. In fact, I'd have to say that I guess I'm a complete and total snob about everything else in life as well...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:06 p.m. CST

    I Don't Know About Film Snobs, But.....

    by mrbeaks

    .....chimpanzees sure do make me laugh.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:06 p.m. CST

    "Deep Rising"'s Biggest Fan=Film Snob?

    by smilin'jackruby

    Then call me a film snob and hand me my popcorn (and cast Kevin J O'Connor)

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Disney is now a child patronizing coporate whore

    by sir slob

    If Walt Disney were alive today the first thing he would do would be to blow up the corporate offices and strangle roy. There used to be a time when Disney took risks. This is no longer the case, now they whore toys and happy meals. Here is a synopsis of every Disney film since 1991. 1. Opening music number introduces story. 2. introduce the obligitory outcast who then breaks into a nobody understands me song. 3. introduce unfunny patronizing animal sidekicks. 4. introduce the outcast love interest and a new nobody understands me song. 5.Enter the villian with a see how evil I am song. 6.the actions of the villian bring our outcasts together for a aren't we specail together love song. 7.pepper the movie with talking animal antics. 8.kill off a main character to manipulate the emotions of the audience. 9.confront villian then sing a sappy love song After viewing Disney would like you to take the kiddies to buy a happy meal. Next step buy the cliched sound track.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Great Discussion

    by Joe Buck

    This is a great one we've got here. 1stly I don't know how anyone could find Limbo boring. In my mind, Sayles is the best writer for characterizations and dialogue working today. The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, and Men With Guns are all great works. Cole, I respect your love of Kubrick and love many of the films on your list, but in my opinion Kurosawa is the greatest director. Ikiru and Rashomon are masterpieces, and he's made many other great movies as well. My all time top 10 1) Taxi Driver 2) Dr. Strangelove 3) Ikiru 4) It's A Wonderful Life 5) Rashomon 6) The Maltese Falcon 7) King Kong 8) A Clockwork Orange 9) Star Wars 10) Midnight Cowboy

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Sir forget to mention that...

    by Peregrin

    ...minus the music, that's a general outline for most films made!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:10 p.m. CST

    But, as I felt I had to defend myself...

    by smilin'jackruby

    ...yep, I'm probably a film snob. I wouldn't pay money to see "Deuce Bigelow" until someone tells me otherwise, so I guess I'm a snob.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:30 p.m. CST

    top ten lists

    by Gravy Boat Capt.

    I think it is great that we can all disagree so much over these lists. That's why everyone has a list of favorites, so we could argue over them. But when someone's list is made up almost exclusively of the work of a couple of directors, it becomes clear that this person is more of a fan of a certain director than of movies in general. Kudos to mrbeaks for recognizing HIS GIRL FRIDAY, REAR WINDOW, and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK as classic films worthy of inclusion on a list. And I have a request for AgentCole, name your three favorite Disney movies. The Capt. is just curious.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:43 p.m. CST

    "Frank and Ollie?"

    by smilin'jackruby

    Hey, for all you Disney fans, anybody seen "Frank and Ollie?" It's the documentary about the early days at Disney animation and , I think, is now out on video. It's actually a lot of fun (if you put away that typical FanBoy anti-Disney rhetoric). Frankly, I liked "Sleeping Beauty" and will probably always watch it.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Cooking with gas

    by Pomona88

    Alright, this discussion is starting to ROCK! Thank you, Joe Buck, for putting some Kurosawa films on the table. What do you think about KAGEMUSHA and HIGH & LOW? I still don't see any Bergman anywhere. I wish you guys would drop KING KONG. I mean, it's good, but CUCKOO'S NEST is one of the great acting ensemble films of all time (right up there with THE GODFATHER). *** Why didn't I like Kubrick's LOLITA? I thought Peter Sellers really stank in it. And I know that Humbert is nuts, but I just can't identify with a man's lust for a girl. At least in AMERICAN BEAUTY, the girl was sexy. Frankly, I didn't care for Nabokov's book either, but I could sort of understand the character's lust when Lolita would squirm on his lap. *** Hmmm. Peregrin and AgentCole really are starting to sound like the same person. *** Having a lot of trouble putting together my own Top 10 list. Too many good films. It just pleases me to see so many people recognizing the quality of certain core films like DR. STRANGELOVE, which I consider the best technically made film ever, though I prefer CUCKOO'S NEST emotionally.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:09 p.m. CST


    by agentcooper

    I'm not saying that the subject matter of the movie wasn't interesting: Wife tells husband of her fantasies of infidelity and he ventures forth into the night, contemplating sexual revenge. But the way it was presented was very cold. Many people praised Kidman's performance, but I found her delivery very grating. she...delivered..every...line. Then the episodic nature of Cruise's journey did not inspire emotional connection. Yes, we've all had wrenching conversations with our significant others, but it takes a delicate touch to make an audience feel for the characters. Perhaps Kubrick was trying to paint with too broad a brush. His films were always full of "over the top" elements. Usually, they work because of the subject matter. I think he tried to make similar choices in EWS, at the expense of intimacy. I never felt that our two main characters were real people, and therefore did not care about them as they journeyed forth. Like I've said before: Kubrick was a brilliant filmmaker, but EWS was not anywhere near the quality of his earlier films.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:12 p.m. CST

    "Smiles of a Summer Night"

    by smilin'jackruby

    Fine, Pomona88, I consider Bergman to be one of the greatest artists of the century because of his work in theater and in film. I am a Bergman worshipper. However, it is very, very difficult to peg one single film and say that it is his masterpiece, similar to John Ford. Bergman went through phases. I like "Smiles of a Summer Night" the absolute best and enjoy watching it more than any of his other films. That doesn't mean I don't like "The Silence," "Hour of the Wolf," or "Winter Light," any less, but I just really like that pic (and "The Magician"). I love Bergman. Strangely though, it is more because of his body of work rather than anything else. If this makes me a film snob, so be it. And just for those who jump up on this, I do really like "The Seventh Seal," but prefer other works, especially "Sawdust and Tinsel."

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Kurosawa and Kubrick

    by Joe Buck

    Ok, one last post before I leave for the day. Kubrickwise I thought Sellers was excellent in Lolita and added humor that seemed both weird to have in a film like this and at the same time to fit in wonderfully with the tone. EWS was supposed to evoke a dream state, it was taken from "Dream Novel" after all. The deliberateness of speech and action was all intentional and part of the spell Kubrick cast. As for Kurosawa I have unfortunately barely scratched the surface of his genius. There are MANY of his films I've never seen including High & Low. I do have many of them on tape, I taped 3 of the 4 weekends that Turner Classics showed Kurosawa stuff in Septmember. But I have a little one and a big DVD habit so I haven't had a chance to watch the tapes yet. Kagemusha, I really liked most of the movie, but was let down at the end. It didn't have the swirling battles of Ran, or the emotional resonance for me, though it is a great story. Sanjuro is the only one of his movies I haven't really cared for, but I need to watch it again. Here's my ranking of Kurosawa movies that I've seen (and yes, Seven Samurai is further down on the list than probably anyone else, but I find Ikiru to be his best movie. It was American Beauty 50 years ago, and even more moving). 1) Ikiru 2) Rashomon 3) Ran 4) Yojimbo 5) Throne of Blood 6) The Seven Samurai 7) Kagemusha 8) Sanjuro

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by Jambalaya Gumbo

    Is marvelous, but is still only half the documentary it could have been. One of the most lasting contributions to film language has been animation, and these guys were around - and were instrumental in - five of the the greatest films ever photographed (namely, SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA, DUMBO, and BAMBI). As for SLEEPING BEAUTY, the film is certainly engaging enough, and a treat to look at, but the characters are emotionally cold. The Disney storymen never found the heart of the story, and apparently couldn't invent one.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:46 p.m. CST

    I Think CO Is Pretty Flawed

    by mrbeaks

    In short, I think Kubrick spends far too much time depicting the depths of Alex's depravity, when it's pretty apparent the guy is amoral within the first fifteen minutes. Few of his exploits further the story, suggesting that the scenes exist for shock value alone.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:47 p.m. CST

    To Joe Buck

    by Pomona88

    No, you're not alone in thinking that SEVEN SAMURAI doesn't belong near the top of Kurosawa's list. I think the character development is very superficial. I am shocked that you think that RAN is more emotional than KAGEMUSHA. Tatsuya Nakadai was a cold fish in RAN but much more animated in KAGEMUSHA.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Well on a lighter note..

    by CastorDurden

    Any guesses on Golden Globe predications? They are announced on Monday. Nicole Kidman for Best Actress in a Drama anyone?

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:03 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    As far as his adaptations of Shakespeare go, I think Kurosawa's MACBETH is his best.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Film snob wants better quality, Disney, we know you can do it.

    by All Thumbs

    Sir slob, you are correct in calling Disney what you did in your Talk Back begining line, but I have to say there have been at least three Disney animated films (for that list really goes for Disney animation and not live action) that have gone mostly "outside the formula" and those are Tarzan, Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Hell, when I see it, I'll probably include Fantasia 2000 because it already breaks that formula. Not that I don't agree with you on the other films or your inner wariness of Disney's current intentions. Most people like to make money on their movies, but lately Disney has turned into a money munching machine that jams every single movie down our throats, expecting us to buy merchandise for a movie that is lackluster at best. I'm still angry about paying money to see Inspector Gadget, but that's my fault for letting myself get talked into going. They defiled a good cartoon! I'm paying money, I want the qualities discussed by all the other "film snobs" above.***I also want to say I notice people many times leave Beauty and the Beast out on the best animated list of Disney.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:11 p.m. CST

    For AgentCooper...

    by Peregrin

    ...I guess this is really just a matter of personal taste because the very same features of EWS's style that you felt alienated you from the characters, I see as bringing me closer to them. I found that, to me, the characters became mirrors for my own emotions; allowing me to connect with Cruise and Kidman on a level that was extremely personal. As a result I found the story to be allegorical and universal...

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:15 p.m. CST

    And what's wrong with shock value?

    by r_dimitri22

    I agree that it's sometimes a cop-out that doesn't require as much creative energy, but I think it can have its place within the story. I feel the same way about the criticism of "shock value" that I do about the criticism of "manipulation." Some of the scenes in film that people have dismissed as cheap shock value are also some of the scenes which are most indelibly etched in my movie experiences.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:19 p.m. CST

    this TB is a waste of space

    by Lazarus Long

    thanks for making me scroll down through acres and acres of name-calling....can't you people wait like 6 hours before posting again? Give more than one person time to read what everyone wrote and comment on it. If you want to have one-on-one discussions take it to a chat room (or motel room) somewhere. Having said that, I am suspect of any "best" list that contains films of the current or previous year. Great films are ones that stand the test of time, no matter how great they may seem in the short-term. That's why Citizen Kane wasn't considered #1 until 1961. Sight and Sound (british film mag) conducts a poll every 10 years (next is in 2001 I believe) of Directors and Critics and attempts to select the 10 best of all time. If you can find the lists you'll see an interesting shift in people's tastes and attitudes over the years. On the 1991 list they finally divided into two so you can see the seperate lists of directors and critics. But one thing has remained constant: Citizen Kane is the greatest film ever made. As much as I loved Fight Club, I wouldn't put it on any best of all time list. Maybe if in 10 years it still resonates. As for Eyes Wide Shut, yes it was flawed, but would you rather it wasn't released at all? F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon was never completed, but it is published and greatly admired. I feel honored at being able to view Kubrick's unfinished film, and perhaps it isn't "perfect" in form as films that were fine-tuned, but there are moments of greatness contained within that no other director could have done. Just as I'm sure many of Welles' unfinished projects (that we may still eventually see) will show the same thing (keep fingers crossed for a Don Quixote release). As far as the 90's are concerned, I'll have to challenge anyone here to find anything at the level of the Three Colors Trilogy by Kieslowski. There is nothing this decade by a director with such a gift for visual perspective AND screenwriting collaboration. The films produced some of the best insights to humanity I've ever seen. Combine this with phenomenal acting (Binoche, Jacob, Tringant), great score, and it can't be topped. The academy recognized "Red" with noms for director, cinematography, and screenplay. Tarantino said it was the best film at Cannes in 1994 (when Pulp Fiction won). The man was planning on doing a 3-film trilogy of the Divine Comedy set in modern-day Los Angeles. Unfortunately Kieslowski died, but the screenplays are apparently written. Need I say more? Make these films!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:26 p.m. CST

    for Peregrin

    by agentcooper

    I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one. I wanted to like the film. I really did. It just didn't do anything for me. The cinematography was beautiful, though.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Fantasia 2000

    by Rebel Scum

    I saw the original FANTASIA when I was a young lad during the 80s when it was re-released. I saw it at the Stanley Theatre (which has been changed into an actual live theatre...sniff) and it was a nice 70 mm screen and it was GLORIOUS! I'll never forget NIGHT ON BALD MOUNTAIN as long as I live. It's a stunning piece of work and it's classic. Disney should have NEVER done anything to it. But MouseCorp wants more cash, so a little mutilation doesn't hurt them none. BOYCOTT THIS FILM!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 3:50 p.m. CST


    by Stephen Dedalus

    Thought I would jump in to say that the New York Film Critics Circle just announced their 1999 awards... BEST FILM: Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy." I have not seen this yet, but I LOVE all of Leigh's dramas, and this, a look at how Gilbert and Sullivan made "The Mikado," certainly looks interesting... BEST ACTOR: Richard Farnsworth in "The Straight Story." 'Nuff said... BEST ACTRESS: Hillary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry," which may be the best gay drama in years... BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: John Malkovich in "Being John Malkovich." Unexpected, seeing as the critics usally award actors who go out of their way to create a role, rather than just an autobiographical one... BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Catherine Keener in "Being John Malkovich." This could easily put Keener above Cameron Diaz for the Oscar running. BEST DIRECTOR: Mike Leigh for "Topsy-Turvy." Also awarded... BEST SCREENPLAY: "Election." BEST FOREIGN FILM: "All About My Mother." BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "The Straight Story." BEST DOCUMENTARY: "The Buena Vista Social Club." LIFETIME ACHIEVEMNT AWARD FOR FILM CRITICISM: Manny Farber. And here's the pride and glory- a new category for... BEST ANIMATED FILM: "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut." Now there's one I didn't expect to see.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 4:06 p.m. CST

    f2k for Reblescum

    by agentcooper

    Rebelscum- It was Walt Disney's original intention to make Fantasia a continuously evolving film, re-released every few years with a mixture of old and new sequences. While it remains to be seen whether the new sequences match the quality of the old, we shouldn't fault the Disney company for trying to fulfill the wishes of its creator.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Pulling teeth

    by Pomona88

    Having to choose among so many great films was like making a Sophie's Choice, but I think I've narrowed it down. I had to toss out some gems because I had only seen them once and couldn't guarantee that they'd stand the test of time. Here are my tentative finalists: 1. Dr. Strangelove 2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 3. The Godfather 4. 2001: A Space Odyssey 5. Rashomon 6. Fanny & Alexander 7. It's a Wonderful Life 8. Citizen Kane 9. The Conversation 10. The Shining

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 6 p.m. CST


    by LT Weezie

    Although a long-time reader and fan of AICN, this is my first entry in TALK BACK. I just had to give a big YES YES YES to comments made about the idiots at the "Academy" concerning their obvious panic-stricken reaction concerning one of the best films EVER - SOUTH PARK. My husband and I both love soundtrack music and in fact, can usually guess the composer after listening to a few bars of music. SOUTH PARK was easy to identify Mark Shaiman's work. It has elements of several of his terrific pieces. In fact, the chorale vocals sound like the same group used in CITY SLICKERS 1 and 2. We loved the film and the music and we both commented to each other that the music deserves recognition but that there would be some scrambling from the "Mucky Mucks" to keep the film from the awards for best score that it so richly deserves...well this was verified..what a load of CRAP! But should we be surprised? WELL NOOOOO! I am so used to seeing the popular films we all love losing to an "artsie fartsie" film that few have (or care to) see, that I was actually SHOCKED (but happily) that BRAVEHEART and TITANIC did so well. Remember STAR WARS in 1977? Oh sure, it won all kinds of awards for technical excellence, but the big one, Best Picture---ANNIE HALL?--Well, LA-DI-DA - And where is THIS celluloid lovely on the box office top earners? So this bit of manipulation is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the OSCAR Wieners! I also want to comment on FANTASIA 2000. My brother-in-law is in a very high position with the Disney organization, and over the years, we have learned some interesting tidbits on various projects both on attractions and film. (It is really great having a relative high up---free admission to all the Disney parks!). I am really looking forward to seeing it...they were concerned (and this was something that I thought about right away) that doing it in IMAX would severely limit the circulation, but fortunately, this is such a unique experience and the IMAX and OMNIMAX are becoming more prevalent, that they went ahead with it. It does sound like it will be weird with celebrity intros, but I have a feeling that this is for the benefit of those poor uncultured individuals who do not enjoy the nuances of classical music or anything musical that does not destroy the Otic nerves with the bass or assault the ears with unintellible drival...and who think that "animation" is the same as "cartoon." The celebrity element may be annoying to those of us who know and love the original FANTASIA and have the wonderful deluxe Laserdisc set, but they are probably a necessary annoyance. Thanks again for all the news and views and down right fun that AICN has brought to the web...I even told my local newspaper's Film Critic about the site! Keep on watchin'!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 8:26 p.m. CST


    by gilmour

    How in god's name can you call "Summer of Sam" one of the 10 best of the year? My god it was horrible. Really I wanted to leave the theater. There were continuity errors, laughable cliched scenes and stupid, annoying, stereotypical characters. It was too long and just terrible. Its the worst, or one of that i've seen in 99'.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 8:35 p.m. CST

    entertaining movies are one thing. thinking that everyone in the

    by sir slob

    I'm glad to see some intellegent people have replyed to my post. I will go see Fantasia 2000. My grief right now with the movie industry as a whole is that company management only see films as elongated comercials. Things are begining to turn around though. This year we were given several thoughtful films. The Matrix was fun escapism that never once patronized my intellegenge. The Fight Club although flawed was a huge risk for a hollywood movie studio. Lets also not forget that a grainy little inventive horror flick shot on a camcorder has sent studio marketing departments into orbit. Most of the regurgitated crap such as The Mod Squad and Wild,Wild West failed. What I would like everyone here to think about is what a film leaves you with after you've left a darkened theatre. A good film no matter the genre should at least offer a viewpoint of the world that has you rethink yours. A good film should inspire conversation with friends and family. If you want to see two movies that challenge thinking and perspective please rent Dark City or The Iron Giant. Both of these films illustrate what I consider good film making. Also I feel that Dark City was the best film of the decade. It is much more acomplished and mature in handling philosophic issues than The Matrix ever will be.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 9:54 p.m. CST

    I Can Deal With The Fez's List

    by smilin'jackruby

    Actually, the Fez had a pretty good list. I, for one, thought "Summer of Sam" was one of the best, most misunderstood films of the year. I don't care what anybody says, but "Summer of Sam" kicked major ass.

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:04 p.m. CST


    by Outsider News

    Other clues in EMPIRE OF THE SUN that stress the fractured reality of the film -- the spectre of death stalking the edge of the frame at the Lockwood Christmas party, the bombs exploding over the Shanghai docks as Jim's fledgling libido begins to kick in, Basie actually pulls the WINGS comic book with his own likeness on the cover out of Jim's pocket at one point, the car that smashes through the burning wall (mirroring the admiration Basie has for a stunt show...Basie tells Jim his outfit is going to be named after the drivers of that stunt show, who perform the outlandish stunt of driving through a burning Jim's mind, this is what Basie is off doing and when they re-unite, this is precisely what Jim sees Basie never happens), Jim's delirium and subsequent belief he's seen the atomic blast at Hiroshima, his hallucination that he's performing CPR on his own dead childhood self...could go on and on. As for comparing the relative worth of EMPIRE OF THE SUN to EYES WIDE SHUT, or rather, comparing the value of a film that explores the death of childhood and escapism versus the value of a film that illustrates the destructive force of sexual obsession and jealousy - I'm not sure what point there is to such an undertaking, or why anyone would even bother. Yours -- Bucky Rister

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Summer of Sam...

    by gilmour

    I completely understood SOS, and i still thought it was god aweful. I'm a Spike Lee fan and SOS had a terrific trailer but boy was I dissapointed! BTW I completely knew going into the film that it's focus wasn't about David berkowitz and instead about the summer of 77' and how it affected the people in the neighborhood. That being said, it was still a steaming piece of shit!

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 10:44 p.m. CST

    bottom 10 movies of the decade

    by sir slob

    1.duece bigalow 2.armagedon 3.drop dead fred 4.twister 5.the pokemon movie 6.bats 7.lake placid 8.the stupids 9.highlander 3 10.con air

  • Dec. 17, 1999, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Sir Slob, you have a short memory...

    by Powerslave

    Most of those "worst" movies came out in the last 2 years, and one - Highlander - came out in 1986. I do agree, though: 'Twister' was horrible, easily one of the worst movies I have seen in any decade, never mind the '90's.

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 12:06 a.m. CST

    10 Worst...

    by gilmour

    How can we have a 10 worst list without having any Van Dam films? or do we exclude him because he will hog the list?

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 2:36 a.m. CST


    by greenlightscafe

    Michael Crichton $10 million for AIRFRAME This guy $5 million for UNBREAKABLE Shane Black $3.5 million for THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 2:44 a.m. CST

    Shane Black

    by greenlightscafe

    Whatever happened to Shane Black? Does Moriarty know what happened to AWOL? Why didn't New Line Cinema who bought THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT buy AWOL? Check out Speaker's corner on and you can figure it out for yourselves.

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 5:24 a.m. CST

    honestly, who gives a "ratcatcher's" ASS...

    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 5:33 a.m. CST


    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    hit the enter button by mistake... Okay what I am saying is who cares what movie is on someone else's list, that is their pics, their faves, their choices... What is important is that we all share our passion and love for the films that make us happy! So fucking what if "A Clockwork Orange" is AgentCole's idea of a cinematic orgasm! If Mr.Breaks says Citizen Kane belongs on most list, thats cool but it's not on my list and that is not because I don't think it is genius! I prefer Mommie Dearest actually, I just think this rambling on about this list and that movie is pretty pathetic! Okay just lay out the list and if you think someone has some absurd films on their list, then cap on it but don't cap on films that aren't on their list! That's lame!!!! It's like me saying "HEY MR BREAKS! WHY ISN'T THE LONELY LADY STARRING PIA ZADORA ON YOUR LIST BUCKO???"

  • Dec. 18, 1999, 2:35 p.m. CST

    I agree........

    by GEEKBASHER 3.0

    How about a list of your favoirte 100293293004040 films???? Ten just wouldn't cut it in these days and times........

  • Dec. 19, 1999, 1:35 p.m. CST

    To GunRay

    by Pomona88

    I'll tell you why those two films you mentioned should be excluded from Top 10 Lists: 1. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS is a fun movie to see once or twice, but it's only a 3 star flick. Richard Dreyfuss's acting is annoying and over the top. Then there's the whole issue of the bullshit rerelease with a few more not-so-special effects thrown in just to bring audiences back one more time. Crass commercialism. 2. 400 BLOWS is rather lifeless and highly overrated, especially the freeze frame shot. BFD. The French New Wave was a bunch of useless, pseudo-intellectual navel-gazing.

  • Dec. 22, 1999, 1:49 p.m. CST

    by Swami Scott

  • Dec. 22, 1999, 1:50 p.m. CST


    by Swami Scott

    Looks good!