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The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners! 
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
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In other words, reading Slaughterhouse Five is the same thing as watching Transformers. One's just good, one's just bad.


Uhhhh....yeah? I'm capable of enjoying both but even if I hated Transformers I would still say one's just good, the other's just bad. There's not much more to it than that. Even if a movie's bad, the worst you can do is call it bad. You can't crucify it. If one thing holds true, it's that any piece of work can be analyzed. If it's bad, you can break down why it's bad. Analyze the flaws in the material, the production, anything.

Here's the problem with the Last Supper analogy: you can stare at it for an hour if you want, but that's not comparable to a film. A film has a set temporal property for watching it. A painting does not. There's really no way to compare, either in terms of art or entertainment. I really think that all movies have to be judged as entertainment because let's be honest, all movies ARE entertaining to their target audiences. There are people who were entertained by Godard's latest Film Socialisme. So it is still a piece of entertainment. Many people find L'Avventura more entertaining than Pirates of the Caribbean. Don't know how many exactly, but they're out there for sure. There aren't any exceptions to that rule are there? If so, what?

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You realize in order for a movie like Pirates to make money, it has to give the promise of entertainment, right? It may not succeed in your eyes, but it's designed as a form of entertainment in order to get people to pay.


Not really true, unfortunately. People pay for a brand. People pay for the new Spider-Man on the promise of Spider-Man, not the promise of entertainment. That's a flat fact. Unless you'd argue that it would make just as much money were it an original sci/fi concept and not a Spider-Man movie.


Fri May 02, 2014 9:31 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Ken wrote:
I do think it's silly to define art as being somehow in opposition to entertainment.


This is exactly what I'm getting at. I initially posted in the thread asking Hugh why he thought WoWS won because it was fun, not because it's art. I don't understand that thinking, as the two aren't mutually exclusive and they constantly overlap in movies all the time. That said:

Ken wrote:
So I am perfectly willing to accept Die Hard as art. Some talented people put some hard work into it and it obviously resonates with its audience well enough that it's often brought up as a classic of its genre.


I don't consider that to be what constitutes art. Just because a talented person works hard, doesn't mean they're creating art. Carpenters work hard building neighborhoods of houses that look the exact same every single day. They aren't creating art by doing that. They're making a living and providing people with something that they need/want. Die Hard is similar. Those hard workers got paid to provide people with something they desire - entertainment. Sure, that's the case with virtually every movie, but some offer more than just entertainment. That's when art and entertainment overlap.

MGamesCook wrote:
Uhhhh....yeah? I'm capable of enjoying both but even if I hated Transformers I would still say one's just good, the other's just bad. There's not much more to it than that. Even if a movie's bad, the worst you can do is call it bad. You can't crucify it. If one thing holds true, it's that any piece of work can be analyzed. If it's bad, you can break down why it's bad. Analyze the flaws in the material, the production, anything.


You really don't see the idea that a person is likely to get more out of Slaughterhouse Five than Transformers? You really don't see that connection? Being able to analyze the raw parts that compose something isn't the same as getting more than the raw parts out of something. You can analyze whether the editing or lighting in a movie scene is good or bad, but that's the same as using editing as part of your message. For instance, look at how Scott Pilgrim vs. the World uses its editing style to enhance the comments it's making about how the current youth culture moves a million miles an hour. That's an artistic choice, not a technical one. There's a HUGE difference.

MGamesCook wrote:
I really think that all movies have to be judged as entertainment because let's be honest, all movies ARE entertaining to their target audiences. There are people who were entertained by Godard's latest Film Socialisme. So it is still a piece of entertainment. Many people find L'Avventura more entertaining than Pirates of the Caribbean. Don't know how many exactly, but they're out there for sure. There aren't any exceptions to that rule are there? If so, what?


I'm not saying that Film Socialisme, or L'Avventura, or any other art house movie you want to name, can't be found entertaining. In fact, I've been steadily stating the opposite throughout the thread. I do think if you asked those filmmakers what their intentions were in making those films, the words "to entertain" would be very, very low on the list of reasons they came up with. All movies are entertaining to some people, sure. I'm not sure that qualifies all movies as forms of entertainment in the grander sense. Those movies are made for reasons that are more than entertainment. That doesn't mean they can't be entertaining, although I think we'd all agree the majority of people wouldn't find them entertaining.

MGamesCook wrote:
Not really true, unfortunately. People pay for a brand. People pay for the new Spider-Man on the promise of Spider-Man, not the promise of entertainment. That's a flat fact. Unless you'd argue that it would make just as much money were it an original sci/fi concept and not a Spider-Man movie.


And how do such things becomes brands that people continuously pay to see? By promising entertainment and delivering. Again, you're saying you don't like these movies, which, frankly, is irrelevant. You don't find them entertaining. That's fine. I don't either, for the most part. But TONS of people do, which is why they have brand loyalty. They've been entertained in the past by Spider-Man, so they'll pay to see him in another movie in the hopes that they'll be entertained again. The fact that they keep coming back is pretty solid evidence that they're continuously entertained.


Fri May 02, 2014 10:38 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
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You can analyze whether the editing or lighting in a movie scene is good or bad


Of course, especially if you want to go into the technical side of filmmaking yourself. I understand exactly what you're saying. I'm not saying a Transformers film is on par with an Edgar Wright movie. I'm just saying I can enjoy it for what it is whether it's art or not. I understand that Scott Pilgrim is trying to be art. I don't know that it succeeds entirely, which is also a factor of how enjoyable it is. I think Transformers succeeds at what it's trying to be, and I think L'Avventura does as well. Sure, the latter is greater and deeper, but I can enjoy both. I'm as interested in arthouse stuff as I am in action, but I'm really not a fan of the star rating system. Sure, if pressed, one of them might be 4 stars and the other 3, but I find that a useless distinction because I'd just as soon watch a 3 star film as I would a 4 star film.

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And how do such things becomes brands that people continuously pay to see? By promising entertainment and delivering.


Yeah, and if the movie promises and doesn't deliver, the next couple installments at least will still make some money on the basis of the brand. Is that really such a damn controversial thing to say? Is franchise marketing a new concept or something? I could name many cases where even the first film of a franchise is unpopular but the sequel STILL makes money. This new Spidey movie could have a 99% on rottentomatoes and be hailed as the most entertaining flick of the year. Still wouldn't make as much if it wasn't Spider-Man. Quentin Tarantino imitators tend not to do well at the box office. But even though Mark Webb is accused of rehashing Raimi, the movies still make pretty decent bank at the box office. No Bond movie has every truly flopped in a massive sense, even though people know some of them suck. Because it's Bond. Several Bruce Willis action movies have been called Die Hard sequels mainly just so they would make money, and it works! I don't get why you're disagreeing with me on this. I mean, we're both right. Some people pay just to be entertained, many just pay for the brand.


Fri May 02, 2014 11:33 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
PeachyPete wrote:
I don't consider that to be what constitutes art. Just because a talented person works hard, doesn't mean they're creating art. Carpenters work hard building neighborhoods of houses that look the exact same every single day. They aren't creating art by doing that. They're making a living and providing people with something that they need/want. Die Hard is similar. Those hard workers got paid to provide people with something they desire - entertainment. Sure, that's the case with virtually every movie, but some offer more than just entertainment. That's when art and entertainment overlap.

In your idea of art, where do the differences lie? What are the parameters that distinguish art from not art? Not trying to interrogate anybody; I find this to be a genuinely interesting subject.

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Fri May 02, 2014 11:40 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I think instead of a linear ranking, comparing films to each other is a game of infinite rock/paper/scissors. Every good film has an edge over other good films which in turn have their own edges. Every movie is good for slightly different reasons, except the ones that are just bad because they don't have an edge.


Sat May 03, 2014 3:59 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
MGamesCook wrote:
Of course, especially if you want to go into the technical side of filmmaking yourself. I understand exactly what you're saying. I'm not saying a Transformers film is on par with an Edgar Wright movie. I'm just saying I can enjoy it for what it is whether it's art or not. I understand that Scott Pilgrim is trying to be art. I don't know that it succeeds entirely, which is also a factor of how enjoyable it is. I think Transformers succeeds at what it's trying to be, and I think L'Avventura does as well. Sure, the latter is greater and deeper, but I can enjoy both. I'm as interested in arthouse stuff as I am in action, but I'm really not a fan of the star rating system. Sure, if pressed, one of them might be 4 stars and the other 3, but I find that a useless distinction because I'd just as soon watch a 3 star film as I would a 4 star film.


I'm in 100% agreement with all of this. Well, I probably like Scott Pilgrim a little more than you, and Transformers a little less, but that's kind of splitting hairs. I'm definitely not trying to say something that's designed as pure entertainment can't, or shouldn't, be enjoyed as such. And, honestly, most movies have some of both. One of my favorite things about movies is defending stuff like Skyfall that's typically seen as entertainment, but is probably more artistically minded in terms of how it's crafted than most art house films.

MGamesCook wrote:
Yeah, and if the movie promises and doesn't deliver, the next couple installments at least will still make some money on the basis of the brand. Is that really such a damn controversial thing to say? Is franchise marketing a new concept or something? I could name many cases where even the first film of a franchise is unpopular but the sequel STILL makes money. This new Spidey movie could have a 99% on rottentomatoes and be hailed as the most entertaining flick of the year. Still wouldn't make as much if it wasn't Spider-Man. Quentin Tarantino imitators tend not to do well at the box office. But even though Mark Webb is accused of rehashing Raimi, the movies still make pretty decent bank at the box office. No Bond movie has every truly flopped in a massive sense, even though people know some of them suck. Because it's Bond. Several Bruce Willis action movies have been called Die Hard sequels mainly just so they would make money, and it works! I don't get why you're disagreeing with me on this. I mean, we're both right. Some people pay just to be entertained, many just pay for the brand.


I'm not so much disagreeing with you as I am trying to point out the ideas of brand loyalty and franchise marketing are all offshoots of the promise to entertain. If these properties didn't initially promise that on some level, there'd be no need to worry about creating brand loyalty or marketing franchises.

Ken wrote:
In your idea of art, where do the differences lie? What are the parameters that distinguish art from not art? Not trying to interrogate anybody; I find this to be a genuinely interesting subject.


I think art has to be some creative endeavor that brings some kind of enlightenment (an intentionally vague term because there are really endless ways we can all be enlightened to endless ideas, feelings, etc.) to other people. A fire hydrant sitting on a street corner isn't art, but if someone films, or photographs, or paints it, it can be. The human interpretation of something is how it gets turned into art. I don't think there are any real limits to that as long as it's being filtered through a person. What we each consider art can vary wildly, and I think that's a great thing.


Sun May 04, 2014 6:13 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I agree that art is a matter of an idea being filtered through a human being, but isn't that just what a fire hydrant is? And if someone views that hydrant, in itself, and has a deeply moving emotional experience the likes of which come from art, is that person wrong?

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Sun May 04, 2014 10:43 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
The filter is on the other end. A human being processing the world around him isn't art. There has to be some filter between the person and reality.


Tue May 06, 2014 1:20 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Here's my suggestion: if a person declares oneself an artist and proclaims something to be his or her artistic work, then that thing is art. Maybe not good art, maybe not even interesting art, but art nevertheless. Art is nothing more, nothing less than a way of framing something so that we consider it in a way different from non-art objects. An artist is the person doing the framing.

I realize that's a very broad definition, but that broadness is necessary for accommodating the wide variety of undisputed artistic works that have occurred and will occur.

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Tue May 06, 2014 3:24 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I agree. It's actually exactly what I'm saying. The artist is filtering whatever he/she is claiming to be art, in whatever way they choose, and we are processing it. You used framed, and that works too.

I don't think that means I can point at a fire hydrant and claim it to be art.


Tue May 06, 2014 5:30 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I don't see why not. If John Cage can proclaim that anything you hear in a room in the space of four minutes and 33 seconds is his composition, why can't you proclaim that an object within a certain chunk of physical space--such as a fire hydrant--is your work of art? Admittedly, the only merit I can personally think of for doing such a thing is to challenge more constrictive ideas about art, but that's perfectly valid as far as I'm concerned.

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Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Ken wrote:
I don't see why not. If John Cage can proclaim that anything you hear in a room in the space of four minutes and 33 seconds is his composition, why can't you proclaim that an object within a certain chunk of physical space--such as a fire hydrant--is your work of art? Admittedly, the only merit I can personally think of for doing such a thing is to challenge more constrictive ideas about art, but that's perfectly valid as far as I'm concerned.


Because the existence of that fire hydrant has nothing to do with you. Saying it's yours, on any level, is factually incorrect. It's there regardless of whether you exist or not, and you didn't put it there. The "artist" in this scenario isn't filtering or framing anything. They're merely pointing out that it exists. I can't just say, "that fire hydrant exists," and proclaim myself an artist. I mean, I can, but it doesn't mean I am. It means I'm full of shit.


Tue May 06, 2014 7:51 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
You don't own the hydrant, but you are responsible for the context. You put a frame around it--the frame that signifies where the art ends and everything that isn't the art begins. Without that context, even the Mona Lisa is just a bunch of paint on a piece of cloth.

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Tue May 06, 2014 10:31 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
I understand what you're trying to say, I just don't agree. I don't think pointing out the existence of a fire hydrant is providing any context, or framing it in any way.


Wed May 07, 2014 9:37 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
Back to Pete's original question of me (that I missed sorry) -

A simple question, is WoWT on par with Scorsese's best? Of course not. But nor was it intended to be. It was an exercise in opulence and obscene notions of fun, mischief and living a completely excessive life. Thinly dressed up a bio.

Ken or Mark (or both) once said that Bringing out the Dead was the last 'serious' Scorsese film. And I agree. It was the last one that quite possibly was a piece of conscious artistic expression above entertainment*



*That isn't to say there isn't art in some of his films since

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Wed May 07, 2014 9:52 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
NotHughGrant wrote:
Back to Pete's original question of me (that I missed sorry) -

A simple question, is WoWT on par with Scorsese's best? Of course not. But nor was it intended to be. It was an exercise in opulence and obscene notions of fun, mischief and living a completely excessive life. Thinly dressed up a bio.

Ken or Mark (or both) once said that Bringing out the Dead was the last 'serious' Scorsese film. And I agree. It was the last one that quite possibly was a piece of conscious artistic expression above entertainment*


I'm not sure what you mean by "nor was it intended to be". Are you saying he intentionally set out to make a film that wasn't as good as his other films?

As for the movie, it certainly was those things, but more to the point, it was a condemnation of those things. Ignoring that is a dissmissive way of looking at what the movie is trying to do. It may not have had the serious tone of his other films, but tone alone doesn't measure artistic merit. I think that's something a lot of people confuse, actually. Depth and intelligence don't necessarily have to announce themselves in the form of serious. A great work of art doesn't have to clearly label itself as serious in order to be taken seriously, right? Tone is just one aspect of a story, not the be all end all of what it can or can't be.

So, WOWS might not have a serious tone, but that absolutely doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously.


Wed May 07, 2014 12:47 pm
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
NotHugh is right. It's not art, nor is it trying to be. And I think tone actually does matter in consideration of art vs. not art. Doesn't affect my liking for a movie though. I also don't see much that's "opulent" about Wolf of Wall Street. The sets are thinly designed, the lighting never calls any attention to itself. Opulence is like Skyfall or The Grandmaster.

I think Wolf may or may not be a condemnation of its own portrayed activities. Personally, it doesn't strike me as a condemnation so much as just an observation, which is quite a different thing.

To Nothugh though: as a professed fan of Crank 2, you must agree that that film makes Wolf's "obscenities" look like Sesame Street.


Thu May 08, 2014 2:04 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
PeachyPete wrote:
NotHughGrant wrote:
Back to Pete's original question of me (that I missed sorry) -

A simple question, is WoWT on par with Scorsese's best? Of course not. But nor was it intended to be. It was an exercise in opulence and obscene notions of fun, mischief and living a completely excessive life. Thinly dressed up a bio.

Ken or Mark (or both) once said that Bringing out the Dead was the last 'serious' Scorsese film. And I agree. It was the last one that quite possibly was a piece of conscious artistic expression above entertainment*


I'm not sure what you mean by "nor was it intended to be". Are you saying he intentionally set out to make a film that wasn't as good as his other films?

As for the movie, it certainly was those things, but more to the point, it was a condemnation of those things. Ignoring that is a dissmissive way of looking at what the movie is trying to do. It may not have had the serious tone of his other films, but tone alone doesn't measure artistic merit. I think that's something a lot of people confuse, actually. Depth and intelligence don't necessarily have to announce themselves in the form of serious. A great work of art doesn't have to clearly label itself as serious in order to be taken seriously, right? Tone is just one aspect of a story, not the be all end all of what it can or can't be.

So, WOWS might not have a serious tone, but that absolutely doesn't mean it shouldn't be taken seriously.


Of course he tried to make it the best he could. But he wasn't trying to make another Taxi Driver either

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Thu May 08, 2014 2:18 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
MGamesCook wrote:

To Nothugh though: as a professed fan of Crank 2, you must agree that that film makes Wolf's "obscenities" look like Sesame Street.



True, but come on!

Crank freakin 2 is very, very special indeed!

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Thu May 08, 2014 2:23 am
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Post Re: The Fifth Annual ReelViews Academy Award Winners!
NotHughGrant wrote:
Ken or Mark (or both) once said that Bringing out the Dead was the last 'serious' Scorsese film. And I agree. It was the last one that quite possibly was a piece of conscious artistic expression above entertainment*

Hm. Sounds sort of like something I'd say about that movie, though I'd hasten to clarify that I think Bringing Out The Dead was the last movie where Scorsese was channeling his own deeply felt spiritual uncertainties into his character of choice. It helps that it's his reunion with Paul Schrader, who either wrote or co-wrote the lion's share of Scorsese's most personal films.

I wouldn't characterize his other movies as unartistic, but they definitely have different artistic goals, whereas I find Scorsese at his most interesting when he locks you in with his most tormented characters and refuses to let you leave. Bringing Out The Dead qualifies for sure.

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Thu May 08, 2014 4:59 am
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