Seymour, Audrey, and the Price of Obscurity

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Real depth can come from the most surprising sources, things which at first glance are commercial grabs, but which, when mined, show greater depth. On the one basic hand, Star Wars is ships in space shooting at each other and guys beating on each other with laser swords. On the other hand, the critical hand that studied at a college, it’s an examination of our yearning for a call to adventure lost in the grit of seventies cinema.

Consider Little Shop of Horrors, one of the movies that came out of the well of nostalgia that is the eighties. Many remember it as a musical. Many remember it as a comedy. Many remember it as a horror flick. Few, if any, read much into it.

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OutFOXed: Rupert Murdoch’s War Against Journalism (2004)

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This documentary has very good intentions. It attempts to expose what Rupert Murdoch is doing with the Fox News Network, which is essentially to create a Republican propaganda machine. If you don’t know that’s what he’s doing, then this movie might wake you up. Or at least get you to look into it a little more.

The problem is, if you don’t know what Fox News is doing, you’re probably a moron. And you’re probably not seeking out intellectual pursuit of such concepts. And you wouldn’t do best to watch this particular video.

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Unbreakable (2000)

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This is, to put it plainly, my current favorite film of all time.

Let me count the ways:

Cinematography. It’s experimental without being art kitschy. If there’s one thing that M. Night seems to get, it’s a good director of photography. The man knows how to frame a scene. A lot of that, I assume, is just like writing a book. Practice. And M. Night, judging from the early age at which he started making films, has a lot of practice. There are a number of angles in this film that just stick with you. The scene in the train from the perspective of the child. The scene from above the weights, giving the audience weight on the main character. The scene in the rapist’s home where you see the rapist suddenly appear. Willis in frame in his Security Outfit, as superhero as a superhero movie gets.

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The Passion of the Christ (2004)

i6kXMnzI believe that the intention of Mel Gibson and this entire production was noble. The idea, that of bringing the relevance of Christ’s sacrifice to the forefront, is something that a lot of people love and identify with. I am an atheist myself, but I believe in many of the philosophies Christ espoused, and I pattern a lot of my life on his tactics and thought. I believe in honesty, truth, martyrdom for good causes, beauty, and most of all, I search for a God with all of my heart and want to find some kind of supernatural existence for us all through writing. That’s the intent of these creators, I am assured. Unfortunately, the best laid plans.

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Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)

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This movie has a lot of quirky, funny moments. Iggy Pop Meeting Tom Waits, for instance, and just jawing about whether they’re on the jukebox or not, and the White Stripes talking about Tesla coils and the resonance of the earth. It’s an arty film, and if arty films are your bag, you’ve found the right place. If you like Jarmusch, you’ve also found the right place. There are a number of recurring themes that resound nicely. Certain cups, certain patterns on tables, and certain lines of dialogue are mentioned.

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Neal Bailey's Worst 5 Movies of All Time

5. Das Boot
Whether it’s the enthralling scene of the men being inspected buck naked for pubic lice, the constant phallic up and down of the sub, or the fact that the movie takes forever to get nowhere, this movie is one of my most reviled experiences. I tried to watch it no less than four times before becoming so frustrated with its banality that I returned it the day I rented it so as not to be in the same room as its crapiness.

4. Dogville
This is a nice one. I just reviewed it, actually. A four hour film about how all poor people in small towns will turn to evil, and then deserve what they get when the mafia machine guns their babies and sets the town on fire. To boot, there’s a lot of nasty rape, a cliché theater device that doesn’t work well, and an ending montage that’s so out of place I still don’t get.

3. Batman and Robin
The governator, in blue make-up, screaming, “GET THE HEROES” He also advises his associates to put them on ice. Bane, one of Batman’s most complex villains, is turned into the nuclear man. Cod pieces. Good God, cod pieces. And a Batgirl that not only looks and acts illiterate, but makes Alfred cute. Kill me if I ever watch it again.

2. Chicago
As if there isn’t enough male hate in this world, let’s make a musical that glorifies the fact that not only is it okay to kill a man if he cheats on you, but after you do, the way to get off the charge is to become as cute and adored by everyone as you can, ergo becoming an attention whore. Mr. Cellophane is a great song, but not because it’s elegant, but because it points out the critical errors of the mains. Did I also mention that this story has a song that makes it seem sexy when lawyers dance around the truth? How can I identify with any of these worthless goons?

1. Buffalo 66
This movie made me want to vomit, it sucked so hard. The first half is Christina Ricci meeting a criminal and the quest for her to get to the bathroom, the rest of the story is how it’s okay to love someone who’s a complete and utter dick. The director, when you listen to him speak, is like swallowing glass, if you ever hear him in public. The arrogant artist in repose, if you will. Watch out for this one.