Seen Any Good Movies Lately?

DWise1

Well-Known Member
De gustibus non disputantum est. (Of taste, there is no dispute.)

When the movie opened, my son and his fiancée went to see "Les Miserables" (please pardon the lack of appropriate diacritics, I was a German major). He posted this graphic on Facebook:


Since its publication, entire generations had read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. None of those generations could comprehend the reaction of one who had not read those works. Kind of like encountering someone who had never heard the songs of Madonna nor of Michael Jackson (like me).
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
and that, right there, guarantees that I will never see it! Lol.

I thought LOTR was one if the most boring, most ridiculous, never-effing-endingist movies I have ever seen. (All three if them.).

That is hilarious!!

I really enjoyed the LOTR movies, with the exception of the Two Towers which I enjoyed a lot less. The Two Towers I think could really have been summed up with an on-screen graphic that said "Gratuitous orc bloodshed later..." thereby saving three valuable hours. That movie was one bloody battle scene after another. Got pretty old fast, if you ask me.

(And don't even get me started on the suspension of disbelief required by the scenes where three members of the Fellowship are surrounded by countless Uruk-hai (the super orcs) and come out, not only unharmed, but victorious. Really?!? lol)

I think D has a point, though. Having read the books made a big difference in my enjoyment. There were elements of the book that I wanted to see on screen -- Ents, the walking trees, for example. Orcs, too, for that matter, although the first orc sighting satisfied the curiosity.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
De gustibus non disputantum est. (Of taste, there is no dispute.)

When the movie opened, my son and his fiancée went to see "Les Miserables" (please pardon the lack of appropriate diacritics, I was a German major). He posted this graphic on Facebook:


Since its publication, entire generations had read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. None of those generations could comprehend the reaction of one who had not read those works. Kind of like encountering someone who had never heard the songs of Madonna nor of Michael Jackson (like me).

That graphic is funny.

I found one review of Les Mis really funny, as well. In it, the panel of reviewers (the lady from the LA Times, the guy from Rotten Tomatoes, etc) were unanimous. "There were points in the movie when I wished they would just stop singing and have a moment of actual dialogue." What a hoot!

I find the idea of "regular" actors singing a bit jarring, to be honest, although I have seen Hugh Jackman doing a Broadway style, singing and dancing, old soft shoe before (on the Tonys? Oscars? I can't remember.) He's a multi-talented man; he can actually sing. But, once you've donned that pointy haircut and foot-long claws, you'll always be Wolverine to me.

Long story short, there was nothing about the reviews that made me want to see the movie. I probably will see it while it's still on the big screen, though. I can't imagine that it would translate well to television.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
Ever read Der Steppenwolf? When I was in Calw (the birthplace of Hermann Hesse), I picked up a Suhrkamp book on the writing of Der Steppenwolf. When he wrote that work, Hesse was thinking in terms of musical works. In classical music (18th Century -- after 1805 was pretty much past the classical period, regardless of how radio stations are classified), most works are in at least three movements: fast or walking pace (allegro or andante), introducing the themes; slow, developing the themes; faster, bringing on the resolution of the themes. Hesse wrote Der Steppenwolf along those lines; I once encountered the middle movement, Traktat der Steppenwolf (Treatise on the Steppenwolf), as a separate work.

Now, for middle movements, think of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back. What was resolved in that movie? Nothing. But the themes of the first movie were developed further. That's the thing about three-movement creations. The first movement introduces the themes. The second movement develops them a bit, but not to their final resolution. The third movement brings the final resolution.

The Fellowship of the Ring introduced the themes. The Two Towers developed them, but without any final resolution. The Return of the King brought the final resolution of the themes. Most listeners find the second movement boring and uninteresting, but then the second movement requires much more of the listeners, doesn't it?

BTW, Der Steppenwolf, in the original German, is my book of choice for the waiting room. Harry Haller is a 50 year old man, divorced by a mad woman, who swore to have a shaving accident before his 51st birthday (this was in an age of straight razors), but as the decisive moment approached started to have cold feet. He came under the influence of a woman who introduced him to Jazz dancing, which proved to be the path to his salvation. What more can we say? It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
That graphic is funny.

I found one review of Les Mis really funny, as well. In it, the panel of reviewers (the lady from the LA Times, the guy from Rotten Tomatoes, etc) were unanimous. "There were points in the movie when I wished they would just stop singing and have a moment of actual dialogue." What a hoot!

I find the idea of "regular" actors singing a bit jarring, to be honest, although I have seen Hugh Jackman doing a Broadway style, singing and dancing, old soft shoe before (on the Tonys? Oscars? I can't remember.) He's a multi-talented man; he can actually sing. But, once you've donned that pointy haircut and foot-long claws, you'll always be Wolverine to me.

Long story short, there was nothing about the reviews that made me want to see the movie. I probably will see it while it's still on the big screen, though. I can't imagine that it would translate well to television.
Yeah, I remember Leonard Nimoy's book, "I am not Spock." Actors are actors, they don different skins all the time. Fans are much more slow-witted: we still see them as a previous character, not as the current character. I personally feel that Bruce Willis suffers most from being type-cast as an action hero type. I've seen his comedy work and know that he has so much more potential, but he's trapped in an action-hero stereotype.

As I said, I have seen a stage production of "Les Miserable" and it does not contain any straight dialogue. If a film version is produced that is meant to follow the stage production, then why should we expect any straight dialogue from it either?


Perhaps curiously so, your concern about it translating well to the TV screen reminds me of a very apt scene in Hermann Hesse's Der Steppenwolf. Harry Haller, the self-proclaimed "wolf of the Steppes", the "Steppenwolf", abhors all modernity, including the much diminished music coming over the radio. So in the Magic Theater, he is confronted with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself trying to tune in the radio to hear his own music from Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute. The Steppenwolf thinks that the sounds on the radio are tantamount to being sacrilegious, whereas Mozart assures him that the music is immortal and will transcend whatever medium it is transmitted over. So what is it? Schein oder Sein, "mere appearance or actual substance"? Any art that depends completely on how it's transmitted is unworthy. Only art that transcends its medium is worthy.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
No. I've never read Steppenwolf, although it's been on my reading list since I was little, when my brother had a copy floating around the house. I can visualize the cover of that old book. Funny, the things that stick with you from childhood and the things that don't.

The three movement metaphor makes a lot of sense and, of course, you are right. Lots of things happened in The Two Towers that set up the reader/viewer for the resolution that ultimately came in The Return of the King. (I can't remember which things, exactly, since the books and the movies divide things up differently, IIRC.)

But (You saw that coming, didn't you? ) I can't help but wonder if there would have been so many battle scenes if the books had been written at a different point in history. IIRC, The Hobbit, the LOTR trilogy, and all the supporting works were written during and/or between WWI and WWII by an Englishman. Of course epic battles between good and evil figure largely in the plot. Tolkien didn't write his works in a vacuum. That's why I forgave him for all the singing and poetry, btw. Wasn't he a linguist (or something like that?) IMO, it was natural for Tolkien to play around with the language of his characters (not unlike Star Trek, btw. Klingon anyone? *grin*) What better way to play with language than through poetry?

Like you, though, I have to admit that I skipped some of the songs and poems while I was reading the books ... then I would get paranoid that I'd missed something important to the plot, then I would go back and force myself to read the poems .. then I'd be mad that I had not, in fact, missed anything critical. Pretty funny. But I did, eventually, read every bloody page.

It was worth it, even if only for the cultural references one would miss if they had never been exposed. It's funny. When DS and I were leaving the movie, he mentioned ... something. Star Wars, maybe? and its parallels to LOTR. It never occurred to me, until then, that it could be argued Sauron and Saruman were not unlike The Emperor and Darth Vader. Straight up rip-off. Or imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Whatever you prefer.

There's no getting around the fact that these books (and now films) are a part of our culture, even if the development section moves a bit slowly for my taste. *grin*
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
Perhaps curiously so, your concern about it translating well to the TV screen reminds me of a very apt scene in Hermann Hesse's Der Steppenwolf. Harry Haller, the self-proclaimed "wolf of the Steppes", the "Steppenwolf", abhors all modernity, including the much diminished music coming over the radio. So in the Magic Theater, he is confronted with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself trying to tune in the radio to hear his own music from Die Zauberflöte, The Magic Flute. The Steppenwolf thinks that the sounds on the radio are tantamount to being sacrilegious, whereas Mozart assures him that the music is immortal and will transcend whatever medium it is transmitted over. So what is it? Schein oder Sein, "mere appearance or actual substance"? Any art that depends completely on how it's transmitted is unworthy. Only art that transcends its medium is worthy.

Very interesting. I will ponder this ... and see if I can find my brother's copy of that book. :)
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
I think D has a point, though. Having read the books made a big difference in my enjoyment. There were elements of the book that I wanted to see on screen -- Ents, the walking trees, for example. Orcs, too, for that matter, although the first orc sighting satisfied the curiosity.
I can understand this. Although on that point, u should confess that The Hobbit was the first book I didn't finish. I quit reading it midway through, which was highly unusual for me. I just.didnt.understand.it. Oh, sure, I could read it...but I absolutely could not wrap my mi d around any of it. At all.

...and that's how I learned that I just don't *get* fantasy at all. Too literal minded.

I had the same experience just a couple years ago with Game of Thrones (or one of the books in the series, or something). I just could not understand what was going on. Period. Defeated by the fantasy genre yet again.
 

Peaches

Well-Known Member
I wonder if that would hve worked for me. It was for a summer reading assignment years ago, so doing the book on tape wouldn't have been allowed, but I wonder if it would have helped just from an understanding standpoint.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
That's how I learned to love Shakespeare. I bought the (damn hard to read) plays, then rented the PBS adaptations ( which were very faithful to the actual text) and read while I "watched."
 
I can understand this. Although on that point, u should confess that The Hobbit was the first book I didn't finish. I quit reading it midway through, which was highly unusual for me. I just.didnt.understand.it. Oh, sure, I could read it...but I absolutely could not wrap my mi d around any of it. At all.

...and that's how I learned that I just don't *get* fantasy at all. Too literal minded.

I had the same experience just a couple years ago with Game of Thrones (or one of the books in the series, or something). I just could not understand what was going on. Period. Defeated by the fantasy genre yet again.

I enjoyed the Hobbit..but Alice in Wonderland was just a bad trip.. I blame my mother.....
 

Joe

Well-Known Member
Now, for middle movements, think of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back. What was resolved in that movie? Nothing. But the themes of the first movie were developed further. That's the thing about three-movement creations. The first movement introduces the themes. The second movement develops them a bit, but not to their final resolution. The third movement brings the final resolution.

The Fellowship of the Ring introduced the themes. The Two Towers developed them, but without any final resolution. The Return of the King brought the final resolution of the themes. Most listeners find the second movement boring and uninteresting, but then the second movement requires much more of the listeners, doesn't it?
Yet Empire is widely believed the best of the three Star Wars films, whereas IMO the best of the three LOTR films is Fellowship.
 
That's how I learned to love Shakespeare. I bought the (damn hard to read) plays, then rented the PBS adaptations ( which were very faithful to the actual text) and read while I "watched."

i went off theatre a long time ago, but I like Shakespeare in DVD sized doses..but watched "Anonymous"; An Elizabethan film on the premiss that the plays were written by the Earl of Oxford, Edward de Vere..as historical fiction it has some good casting
footnote..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfordian_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
Yet Empire is widely believed the best of the three Star Wars films, whereas IMO the best of the three LOTR films is Fellowship.

True, Joe. I think that Empire WAS the most enjoyable of the three films to sit through. But D is also right. Empire definitely left you hanging and waiting for some sort of resolution of the story line.

And I agree about the LOTR series. Fellowship was the most enjoyable of the three, even though it, too, left you hanging. At then end of Fellowship, Boromir got savaged by orcs. Merry and Pip were abducted. Frodo and Sam set off to Mordor/Mt Doom. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli set off to kill orcs. Everything was unresolved, but it felt good.

At the end of The Two Towers (which I saw on opening night/day at 12:01 AM in the theater) I felt like, "Oh great. Now I have to wait a year to see what happens." No resolution at all. I think it was in the film-making, not in the story.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
No. I've never read Steppenwolf, although it's been on my reading list since I was little, when my brother had a copy floating around the house. I can visualize the cover of that old book. Funny, the things that stick with you from childhood and the things that don't.

The three movement metaphor makes a lot of sense and, of course, you are right. Lots of things happened in The Two Towers that set up the reader/viewer for the resolution that ultimately came in The Return of the King. (I can't remember which things, exactly, since the books and the movies divide things up differently, IIRC.)

But (You saw that coming, didn't you? ) I can't help but wonder if there would have been so many battle scenes if the books had been written at a different point in history. IIRC, The Hobbit, the LOTR trilogy, and all the supporting works were written during and/or between WWI and WWII by an Englishman. Of course epic battles between good and evil figure largely in the plot. Tolkien didn't write his works in a vacuum. That's why I forgave him for all the singing and poetry, btw. Wasn't he a linguist (or something like that?) IMO, it was natural for Tolkien to play around with the language of his characters (not unlike Star Trek, btw. Klingon anyone? *grin*) What better way to play with language than through poetry?

Like you, though, I have to admit that I skipped some of the songs and poems while I was reading the books ... then I would get paranoid that I'd missed something important to the plot, then I would go back and force myself to read the poems .. then I'd be mad that I had not, in fact, missed anything critical. Pretty funny. But I did, eventually, read every bloody page.

It was worth it, even if only for the cultural references one would miss if they had never been exposed. It's funny. When DS and I were leaving the movie, he mentioned ... something. Star Wars, maybe? and its parallels to LOTR. It never occurred to me, until then, that it could be argued Sauron and Saruman were not unlike The Emperor and Darth Vader. Straight up rip-off. Or imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Whatever you prefer.

There's no getting around the fact that these books (and now films) are a part of our culture, even if the development section moves a bit slowly for my taste. *grin*
One "history channel" treatment drew on Tolkien's battlefield experiences in WWI to explain his descriptions of battles and old battlefields. And earlier analysis from decades earlier saw LOTR as allegory for Hitler's rise to power.

Tolkien had invented Elvish in his youth, from what I recall. If you ever read through the description of Tengwar, the Elvish alphabet, you will see that it is very logically laid out according to the principles of phonology.

I believe that I once obtained the source code for the Perl language. Each file contained a quote from Tolkien. And Babylon 5 borrowed very heavily from LOTR, including "Watch the shadows. They move when you're not looking."

Be forewarned about Steppenwolf, though. Many would find it depressing.
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
It's not at all a stretch to see Sauron and his hoards as the Axis powers, seemingly defeated in WWI, only to reemerge bigger and badder, so to speak, in the run-up to WWII.

It's easy to over-analyze, though. Somehow, I can't see William Shakespeare agonizing over using just the right flowers for Ophelia when he was writing Hamlet. But oh boy, did we 9th? 10th? graders ever have to know the symbolism behind each flower that was named. Blech. So who knows what was in Tolkien's mind? *shrug*

I read the Hobbit when I was in high school and again in college -- for fun, not because I had to (Keep your comments to yourself, Peaches :p.) I started LOTR back then too, but just could not make myself finish. I actually finished the trilogy in the months just before the release of The Fellowship of the Ring on film. My dance teacher at the time was a fantasy NUT (also gay and in love with Orlando Bloom lol.) Anyway, Teach and I helped each other through the books by comparing notes during the day after reading all night. The fact that he'd read it before probably helped, as well.


Annnnnyway ... I say all that to say that the version of the trilogy I bought was a promotional, pre-movie volume that had a very comprehensive foreword and lots of notes. It contained fascinating information about and diagrams of the Elven languages and tons of information about Tolkien himself. IIRC, The Hobbit and LOTR grew out of Tolkien's love for and study of language, not the other way around. VERY cool, if you ask me.
 

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