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The thread where we air out unpopular opinions 
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
Don't know if this has made it into this thread yet, but

Howard Hawks = insanely overrated.

I've thought a long time about how best to summarize my problem with Howard Hawks. What I managed to come up with is this:

I have a problem with a film whose entire quality reveals itself in the first five minutes. It makes it feel like the rest of it is on autopilot, and that description fits Hawks' career pretty well. There are never any surprises in his movies, and never really any twists. He has little or no sense of gravitas and drama, but that's probably why certain critics became obsessed with him. I wouldn't call any of his work pretentious exactly, but somehow I feel he thought himself above the genres he worked in. His underlying attitude feels a bit too flippant.


My problem with Hawks is that, and not to get too French about the whole thing, I just don't get what his deal is as a director. He doesn't seem to have a through-line stylistically or thematically. I don't get, really, what his deal is artistically


Hm, Howard Hawks has directed a lot of movies, which are universally regarded as classics today, so it is a bit odd to call him overrated. His movies may not be full of surprises, but he has proven to be a very solid storyteller in the movies, which I have seen. I concede that there is no "Howard Hawks"-style in the manner of, say, Hitchcock, but his versatility is a quality in itself. (Soderbergh is often praised for being able to make films in any genre, so why shouldn't that apply to Hawks as well?)


Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:59 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
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but he has proven to be a very solid storyteller in the movies, which I have seen.


His style never quite feels like storytelling though. It never feels like storytelling is his main purpose. He's considered a great actor's director, and I do concede to that. But beyond that, I can't give him much credit for anything. Classic status is often defined by actors, so the fact that he made a few of them makes sense.

But mostly I agree with what Kunz said. It's hard to know exactly what he's trying to do. Over time, I've found increasingly easy to conclude that he isn't trying to do much of anything.


Fri Jun 28, 2013 5:10 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
JamesKunz wrote:
My problem with Hawks is that, and not to get too French about the whole thing, I just don't get what his deal is as a director. He doesn't seem to have a through-line stylistically or thematically. I don't get, really, what his deal is artistically


Couldn't you say something similar about Billy Wilder? How do you guys feel about him? I agree with you guys about Hawks as an auteur, but I'm not so sure that's necessarily a bad thing.


Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:40 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
PeachyPete wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
My problem with Hawks is that, and not to get too French about the whole thing, I just don't get what his deal is as a director. He doesn't seem to have a through-line stylistically or thematically. I don't get, really, what his deal is artistically


Couldn't you say something similar about Billy Wilder? How do you guys feel about him? I agree with you guys about Hawks as an auteur, but I'm not so sure that's necessarily a bad thing.


The one whom Hawks seems to get compared to the most is John Ford, primarily because both made their mark with westerns and both emerged in the same era. Of course both have tackled other genres. But today we seem to associate Ford primarily with Westerns while Hawks isn't tied down to any one genre.

To me what seperates Hawks from Wilder and John Huston is that there seemed to be more recurring themes in their overall bodies of work than there were in Hawks. For instance, most of Huston's films featured rugged individualists who were tough but scarred in some way.

Wilder and Huston could both rival Hawks in sheer diversity of output. But I suspect that the auteur honoring of Hawks comes primarily from comparisons to Ford. It seems in some ways like many directors today are more likely to cite Hawks as an influence rather than Ford. John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino both have.

I like Hawks. But I agree that there aren't as many recurring motifs as there are in other directors work.

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Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:52 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I would put Huston and Wilder higher, from what I've seen. For one thing, Huston remained strong until he died. Man Who Would Be King is very solid. I once thought every Wilder film I saw was a masterpiece and a great experience, but these days I see him as far more literal minded than many of my other favorite directors. Wilder is just as literal-minded as Hawks, but on average much sharper I think. Wilder, like Preston Sturges, was first and foremost a writer and unashamed of it. So when Wilder is great, it's for his literary qualities. My favorite Wilder movie is Stalag 17, which is one of my all time favorite films. Sunset Blvd earns its reputation and Indemnity is a great crime procedural.

But one Wilder that hasn't held up for is The Apartment. Lemmon's character is just too pathetic to be likeable, Shirley McClane as well. I wasn't impressed or convinced by her last minute decision to ditch MacMurray. MacMurray is terrific in that movie though, he's by far the best thing about it. I think his character might be the most likeable sleazeball in movie history. His deadpanning makes it literally impossible to hate him, which I think is as much a flaw of the movie as it is a strength. It's also too long and the widescreen is often a bit clunky.


Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:57 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I feel stupid because I can't really explain why my criticism of Hawks is even valid, or even a criticism. I love the everloving shit out of Louis Malle and he was criticized for not being auteur-y enough in his time. Similarly, I think Stephen King has become more of an author since he branched out to things like The Green Mile, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63, not less.

But then as I say that, I must admit that there's a certain Louis Malle feeling in his films, and definitely a Stephen King voice in his. Soderbergh is recognizable for his willingness to experiment. In short, he's reliably unreliable. Sidney Lumet directed all manner of films but they seem to have a similar darkness running through them. That's where Hawks loses me.

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:22 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
JamesKunz wrote:
Similarly, I think Stephen King has become more of an author since he branched out to things like The Green Mile, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63, not less.


I like Stephen King, and to be fair to him, he's been branching into non-horror arguably since The Dead Zone, one of his more underrated novels. The last book of his I read was Under The Dome. I liked its setup, but it suffered with Stephen King Ending.

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Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:22 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I think Ultraviolet and Aeon Flux are both entertaining sci-fi films.

I love the Resident Evil films, also think Mortal Kombat Annihilation is underrated.


Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:07 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
Aeon Flux is awesome. But I hate Ultraviolet.

The only Resident Evil movie I liked was the second one, RE: Apocalypse.

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation? A complete joke.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:04 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
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The only Resident Evil movie I liked was the second one, RE: Apocalypse.


The only one that's poorly directed. Interesting.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:45 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I thought the direction was fine. The first was OKAY but I didn't care for it. Installments 3 and 4 are just plain dull, the 4th one in particular, not well directed at all. The last one, Retribution is inept and godawful in every way imaginable.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:36 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
ilovemovies wrote:
I thought the direction was fine. The first was OKAY but I didn't care for it. Installments 3 and 4 are just plain dull, the 4th one in particular, not well directed at all. The last one, Retribution is inept and godawful in every way imaginable.

Retirbution was pure awesomeness for me, as were 3 and 4, can't wait for part 6.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:06 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I'm rather fond of Aeon Flux too.

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Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:04 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
Quote:
I thought the direction was fine.


It's fine until the ending fight when the editor just started chopping everything up. The third one is a little dull. The fourth is paced slowly, but it's the kind of directing style I really like. 3D-driven, yes, but I like the wide scope of the compositions and the relaxed feeling they create. Retribution is maybe the only entry that can't be taken literally. Bringing back several previously deceased characters, it's like a nightmarish summation of the first four films without, admittedly, being able to stand on its own; like the title sequence of Fast Furious 6 stretched out over 90 minutes. I could see where a liking for it would depend heavily on one's liking for the first four.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:29 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I liked Uwe Boll's House of the Dead. Apart from those annoying video game I sorts, it's a perfectly cheesy adrenaline cocktail.

I thought Million Dollar Baby and Gladiator were both trying way too hard to be "prestige" and "classic."

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Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:46 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
moviemkr7 wrote:
I liked Uwe Boll's House of the Dead. Apart from those annoying video game I sorts, it's a perfectly cheesy adrenaline cocktail.

I thought Million Dollar Baby and Gladiator were both trying way too hard to be "prestige" and "classic."

Agreed 100%. I think Cruel Intentions is actually better then the original.


Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:02 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Similarly, I think Stephen King has become more of an author since he branched out to things like The Green Mile, Under the Dome, and 11/22/63, not less.


I like Stephen King, and to be fair to him, he's been branching into non-horror arguably since The Dead Zone, one of his more underrated novels. The last book of his I read was Under The Dome. I liked its setup, but it suffered with Stephen King Ending.


I've read a lot of King and I don't think Under the Dome suffered from a Stephen King Ending, I think it suffered from a whopping Deus Ex Machine (though, admittedly, one that had to a certain degree been building the entire time) that ignores the beautiful power dynamic that had been building for 800 pages. With that said, however, the stuff that's in those first 800 pages is so good that I largely forgive him.

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Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:10 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
I thought The Rules Of The Game was kinda dull.

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Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:40 pm
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
American Beauty is a pretentious piece of garbage that never should've won best picture.

Gladiator is Ridley Scott's worst film and another case where the best picture win is completely mystifying.


Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:01 am
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Post Re: The thread where we air out unpopular opinions
Vexer wrote:
American Beauty is a pretentious piece of garbage that never should've won best picture.

Gladiator is Ridley Scott's worst film and another case where the best picture win is completely mystifying.


American Beauty I can say was a tad overpriased. On a list with FIght CLub and Magnolia I'd rank it third.

Gladiator was a good epic popcorn film. But nothing more. Best picture? I think not.

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Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:37 am
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