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November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things" 
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Die Hard 3 is excellent. I always scratch my head in confusion when someone claims that Die Hard 2 or Die Hard 4 is better.

I've always been a bit perplexed by JB's praise for the Star Wars prequels. They're just amazingly bad films, and the "people were expecting too much" defense doesn't really hold up. The Harry Plinkett reviews from Red Letter Media were spot on.

As far as revised opinions on certain films, it's understandable if you don't want to rewrite old reviews, but it would be nice if you added updates to old reviews, just a quick paragraph to describe how your feelings on a film have changed over the years.

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Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:51 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Jory wrote:
Die Hard 3 is excellent. I always scratch my head in confusion when someone claims that Die Hard 2 or Die Hard 4 is better.

I've always been a bit perplexed by JB's praise for the Star Wars prequels. They're just amazingly bad films, and the "people were expecting too much" defense doesn't really hold up. The Harry Plinkett reviews from Red Letter Media were spot on.

As far as revised opinions on certain films, it's understandable if you don't want to rewrite old reviews, but it would be nice if you added updates to old reviews, just a quick paragraph to describe how your feelings on a film have changed over the years.


They weren't badly made films by any stretch and aside from the obvious continuity errors concerning technology, I have no real problem with them as far as lore goes (they could be a million times better but I never felt wrong footed). Having said this, I did only see the originals for the first time in the early 90s so maybe I just didn't 'get' where people were coming from.

What does irritate me a little is when people say "Oh yes I like Star Wars... BUT NOT THE NEW ONES!!!". Who cares? So you like Star Wars, noone will think less of you for just liking the thing as a whole. Jeeze.


Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:38 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
What does irritate me a little is when people say "Oh yes I like Star Wars... BUT NOT THE NEW ONES!!!". Who cares? So you like Star Wars, noone will think less of you for just liking the thing as a whole. Jeeze.

You're talking about people who admit to liking the prequel films while being ashamed of it, I assume. Otherwise, the statement above doesn't make sense.


Tue Nov 22, 2011 9:14 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
ilovemovies wrote:
Hey James, they just announced that Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are all working on a third Before Sunrise movie. Would that make your most anticipated if you had known about that before you started writing this piece. I know you loved the first two!


That would have been right up there with them. Even if they film it next year, it probably won't see the light of day until Spring 2013, so it's still a long wait.


Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:24 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Ragnarok73 wrote:

Sooo, JB, any chance that you will take another look at the Star Wars prequel films, perhaps when Lucas makes the money grab next year in theaters with the 3D gimmick? I'd be interested in seeing if your opinion of those films would be different now. :)[/quote]

I'll probably see them in 3-D and may write a review of them as such.


Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:25 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I just have to point out that you have been my most trusted source of movie review since about 1997 when I was a senior in HS. The vast majority of your reviews I agree with, the ones Io don't I never hold it against you because you always include enough reasons behind your final evaluation of a movie that I can accurately determine if I would still enjoy it. I have yet to find another reviewer that does that well.

The fact that I have yet to work up enough interest to see Patton (which I own an unopened DVD of) actually feels me with guilt. How can James's favorite movie, one he watches every year, not be watched yet?

Okay all of that out of the way, the reason why I am posting now is because I wanted to show some love for what I consider the best Mini-Series ever in the history of television. I, Claudius.

The plot, acting, subject matter, and setting are all top notch. This show needs more exposure. I first encountered it when my Latin teacher in HS somehow got permission from our parents to screen it to us over 13 weeks. It was the show that cemented my growing admiration of Patrick Stewart. I still consider his portrayal of Sejanus as one of his best performances.

Spoiler Alert





The scene where Tiberius' son Castor opens his eyes in order to see his loving wife one last time before he dies, only to see Sejanus' smile as he cups Castor's wife's breast is one of the most evil things I have ever seen. So well done and acted.


Ever thought of listing a ranking of your top TV shows as a whole? Not individual episodes but ranking your favorites?


Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:18 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
What does irritate me a little is when people say "Oh yes I like Star Wars... BUT NOT THE NEW ONES!!!". Who cares? So you like Star Wars, noone will think less of you for just liking the thing as a whole. Jeeze.

You're talking about people who admit to liking the prequel films while being ashamed of it, I assume. Otherwise, the statement above doesn't make sense.


I'm talking about people who feel they have to specify that by 'Star Wars' they mean the original movies, not the prequels, as if by omitting this information will somehow make them look bad.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:46 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
What does irritate me a little is when people say "Oh yes I like Star Wars... BUT NOT THE NEW ONES!!!". Who cares? So you like Star Wars, noone will think less of you for just liking the thing as a whole. Jeeze.

You're talking about people who admit to liking the prequel films while being ashamed of it, I assume. Otherwise, the statement above doesn't make sense.


I'm talking about people who feel they have to specify that by 'Star Wars' they mean the original movies, not the prequels, as if by omitting this information will somehow make them look bad.

I don't see how. I dislike the prequel films intensely and am not ashamed of it. I specify the original films when I talk about liking Star Wars films so that people don't think that I like the piles of trash that Lucas put out between 1999 and 2005.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:16 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Ragnarok73 wrote:
I don't see how. I dislike the prequel films intensely and am not ashamed of it. I specify the original films when I talk about liking Star Wars films so that people don't think that I like the piles of trash that Lucas put out between 1999 and 2005.


Right but so what if they did? It's their problem, not yours. If people are that shallow that they'd, for example, not be your friend if they found this out then you're better off right?


Wed Nov 23, 2011 9:55 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Ragnarok73 wrote:
I don't see how. I dislike the prequel films intensely and am not ashamed of it. I specify the original films when I talk about liking Star Wars films so that people don't think that I like the piles of trash that Lucas put out between 1999 and 2005.


Right but so what if they did? It's their problem, not yours. If people are that shallow that they'd, for example, not be your friend if they found this out then you're better off right?

Yeah, I wouldn't want to be friends wih anyone who judged me like that, one of my friends was a big horror buff, but he was also a fan of Twilight, I didn't udnerstand it but I sure as hell never mocked him for it.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:23 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I tend to find that the people who care about that sort of thing are the same people who implicitly assume that "Star Wars" refers to the original three anyway. You have to specify the prequels if that's what you're talking about.

I'm a weird mix in my preferences. I don't think the prequels are all that bad, but I'm picky when it comes to the presentation of the originals. I still haven't seen any of the post-1997 editions.


Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:24 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
It makes no difference at all to me what "versions" of the Star Wars films I see, I like the films but I don't think the original trilogy deserves to be put on pedestal like so many other people believe, a few scene changes and CGI enhancements aren't going to make me change my opinion on any of the films, it dosen't matter to me who shot first and whatnot.


Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:08 am
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
You changed your rating of Fargo too James.


Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:24 am
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
wisey wrote:
You changed your rating of Fargo too James.


You are correct.


Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:59 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Ooh, I would love to hear your new thoughts on Avatar. Hope you decide to do that article one day


Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:44 pm
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:21 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
I saw "The Usual Suspects" recently after several years and it didn't seem as good to me as I remembered it being. Even Benicio del Toro wasn't nearly as cool!

I sometimes read JBs reviews on older movies to decide if I should watch them. I think JB should change the rating hew gave "Avatar". Especially because he gave it four stars. Any movie he has given a 4-Star rating to really should be deserving of that. e.g Casablanca going from 3.5 to 4.0 was a fair upgrade and a more accurate assessment.


Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:42 pm
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Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
There is only one truly great Star Wars film: Empire. Every other entry in the series is riddled with significant, glaring flaws. The prequels were mostly bland (though Episode III has a striking coda), but on a similar token, the first film is clumsy and wed awkwardly to its comparatively famished budget, and Return of the Jedi is a big-budget mess sprinkled with a few good scenes. Neither of the two trilogies deserve any mention in a conversation about the best movie series, although certainly the peaks of Lucas' first films and the pure inventiveness of the characters/story are timelessly notable. One could even argue, since the prequel trilogy arrives at a truly powerful climax that shines in comparison to the general lightness of the first two films, that it works better as a trilogy in terms of narrative impact. Certainly, those leaving a theater playing Revenge of the Sith will be more astonished and galvanized by the experience than a group suffering through the blundering filler of Jedi.

That Lucas was able to provide a successful bridge to the first films makes his prequel trilogy at least partly a success; considering the circumstances, that's impressive in and of itself.


Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:29 am
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
James Berardinelli wrote:
wisey wrote:
You changed your rating of Fargo too James.


You are correct.


You left out a star, sir :)


Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:31 am
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Evenflow8112 wrote:
There is only one truly great Star Wars film: Empire. Every other entry in the series is riddled with significant, glaring flaws. The prequels were mostly bland (though Episode III has a striking coda), but on a similar token, the first film is clumsy and wed awkwardly to its comparatively famished budget, and Return of the Jedi is a big-budget mess sprinkled with a few good scenes. Neither of the two trilogies deserve any mention in a conversation about the best movie series, although certainly the peaks of Lucas' first films and the pure inventiveness of the characters/story are timelessly notable. One could even argue, since the prequel trilogy arrives at a truly powerful climax that shines in comparison to the general lightness of the first two films, that it works better as a trilogy in terms of narrative impact. Certainly, those leaving a theater playing Revenge of the Sith will be more astonished and galvanized by the experience than a group suffering through the blundering filler of Jedi.

That Lucas was able to provide a successful bridge to the first films makes his prequel trilogy at least partly a success; considering the circumstances, that's impressive in and of itself.


I certainly left the cinema having just seen Sith, really feeling like I'd seen something ground breaking. The bridge was successful, as you say. My only huge issue with continuity is that the overall technology seems far more advanced further back in time... which makes no sense. The only explanation, other than it being an error, is that the Empire has deprived everyone of said technologies perhaps...


Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:40 pm
Post Re: November 20, 2011: "A Few of My Favorite Things"
Dragonbeard wrote:
I certainly left the cinema having just seen Sith, really feeling like I'd seen something ground breaking. The bridge was successful, as you say. My only huge issue with continuity is that the overall technology seems far more advanced further back in time... which makes no sense. The only explanation, other than it being an error, is that the Empire has deprived everyone of said technologies perhaps...


Well, apart from the obvious reasons of budget differences and the introduction of expanded CGI between the 2 series, I think the Star Wars novelisation from 1977 starts out by stating that the Empire is in decay. That is certainly on display in some of the Star Wars computer games from the early 1990's. In the SW game Rebellion you can play either the Rebels or the Empire. If you are the Empire, the strategy is to overwhelm the rebellion with sheer numbers of fighters. If you are the Rebellion, it is to fight and run away long enough for your scientists to develop superior fighters. In a 1-on-1 battle, the X-Wings, Y-Wings, etc. can easily take down a TIE Fighter. About the only significant technology the Empire ever developed was the Death Star, which was a blunt instrument indeed.

So pre-empire, you had a vibrant and innovative society, in the oppresion of the empire you had stagnation. Same themes that Asimov beats you over the head with in his Foundation series.


Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:54 pm
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