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Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge' 
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Post Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Each week, I shall endevour to review a film in the style of Armond White.

The challenge is to give a positive review to a really, really shit film. And I want fellow members to make suggestions to me on a weekly basis as to what this film should be.

Any offerings ...

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:50 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Fascinating.

Recall, though, that White is not just famous for giving positive reviews for execrable films, but for giving negative reviews for films that anybody in their right mind would at least find to be decent.

With that in mind, I suggest that you review the following good and/or bad movies:

The Shawshank Redemption
Inception
The Phantom Menace
Back To The Future
Avatar
To Kill A Mockingbird
American Beauty
American History X
Gran Torino
Taxi Driver

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:05 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
NotHughGrant wrote:
Each week, I shall endevour to review a film in the style of Armond White.

The challenge is to give a positive review to a really, really shit film. And I want fellow members to make suggestions to me on a weekly basis as to what this film should be.

Any offerings ...


Why not just review the "shitty" films that he actually found to be positive? :? What's the sense in trying to find different ones?

Still, I'm open to the idea of playing this game. The way I would do it is write sarcastic positive reviews of films that are already universally praised.

EDIT: in other words, what Ken just said.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:09 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
P.S. The tricks are thus:

1. If you generally like the movie, take whichever misgivings you have about it, however minor, and blow them up to the point where they seem to overtake everything else.

2. If you generally dislike the movie, ramble on about Marxism, feminism, dadaism, or whichever ism you care about, and draw tenuous connections back to the movie. This will make you appear intellectual, and therefore better than the pathetic peons who merely like or dislike things for the personal effect that they have.

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:12 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
1. To Kill A Mockingbird

Only in our Obama-age of cultural surrender and political placatory could such a fettish of dehumanisation be celebrated thus. Atticus Finch, the immaculately clothed liberal lawyer (played by the facile image of old-school gentrification, Gregory Peck) represents Obama’s helping hand to those deemed incapable of helping themselves.

Unlike Little Man (the Wayans' Magnum Opus, criminally overlooked by hipsters in the MSM), Mockingbird presents the plight of the black man in a dehumanizing and contradictory fashion. Where Little Man succeeded (by taking the patronising attitude white liberal have to black people, and turning it on its head), Mockingbird only serves to pander to liberal whims on how the black is in perpetual needs of rescuing by their OBAMA GODS.

Not since The Shawshank Redemption, has a black man been so helpless (remember how Freeman needed a reminder from Tim Robbins to make to Mexico, in what was one of the most deeply patronising moments in cinematic history).

My advice, rent Norbit instead.

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:43 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
For glowing review: AVP2 Requiem

Entertaining first entry. I have read not that many reviews of his, but "gentrification" seals the deal for me. Authentic.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:06 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Alien V Predator: Requiem

The clash of civilisations and cultures so crudely trivialised in Avatar and District 9 (and countless other hipster fodder) gets real, deeper artistic treatment in Requiem; in what is surely the most sophisticated science fiction event of the last decade.

Despite being released 2 years before Obama’s assent to office, it taps into the Obama-era issue of dumb pacification, with its superb observations (namely the “implanting of embryos into a nearby father and son and into several homeless people living in the sewers) being used as sophisticated metaphors for a simultaneous pandering to, and coaxing of, the cultural dwarfism that is hallmark of Obama-ism.

The mutual destruction hinted in the climax by far exceeds (in terms of political and moral reasonance) anything in Nolan’s nihilistic Batman franchise, and instead invokes the sublime and deeper cultural and philosophical implications of the profound Eks v Sever.

Requiem’s problem is reaching an audience significantly remote from the ruthless de-culturefying effect of Obama-era America.

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:45 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Does Armond do animation? How about The Lorax or Alvin and the Chipmunks.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:07 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Be careful what you wish for...

GRAVITY: THE NEXT LEVEL OF CINEMA

Gravity is Alfonso Cuaron's latest masterpiece, following the great Children of Men and Prisoner of Azkaban, the latter of which probed the hidden depths of adolescence like no other film ever made. The former proved why Clive Owen really should have been the sixth James Bond instead of the heinous Daniel Craig. But to call this film a “masterpiece” is to understate its importance. What Gravity does, in fact, is to change the meaning of the word “movie.” And after more than 100 years of cinematic shit, it's about damn time! To fully understand this towering achievement, it has to be analyzed on several different levels: first, as a work of profound simplicity. Second, as an advancement of the 3D that genius James Cameron pioneered. Third, as an exploration of space. Fourth, as an advancement of shot composition. And so, taking them in their proper order:

For more than 100 years, moviegoers have been subjected to endless exposition, relentless, tedious plotting which elitist, idiotic critics congratulated. Little did they realize that “plotting” rhymes with “plodding.” Directors' inner voices were hindered by the public's false yearning for character development, “complex” themes, carefully constructed dialogue, and worst of all, temporal gaps. Gravity changes all that. Cuaron strips his story of anything which could be construed as intelligent, and therefore unnecessary. He gets to the heart of what cinema really is, or should be: images, sound, movement, and visceral experience. In other words, he matches the achievement of the one great masterpiece of the medium: Cedar Point's Millennium Force. Unfortunately, Point's triumph was never given its due simply because it did not limit its power to the proscenium of the movie screen. Like Force, Cuaron's Gravity does not stop for small talk. Had a hack like Steven Spielberg been in charge of this script, he probably would have inserted boring drivel like the scar-showing scene in his atrocious Jaws. That crap claimed to be “character building,” but really was just an advertisement for machismo that no one can relate to anyway. What Spielberg didn't know, and what Cuaron does, is that existential panic is only relateable, and believable, when it applies to a woman. This is something Brian De Palma also flunked at in his overrated Mission to Mars. After Tim Robbins' death in that film, his wife seems to get over it far too quickly. She moves on in an apparent attempt to keep her emotions out of the mission, something that no woman would ever do.

Instead, Cuaron sticks to the realistic behavior of most women: screaming, crying, complaining, whining, flailing their arms, and losing their 4 year old child to a head injury. By giving Sandra Bullock, who gives the best onscreen performance since Edwin Porter's recording of Sarah Bernhardt, a dead child (something which happens to most people, especially astronauts), Cuaron gives us a reason to care. Were her child alive and waiting for her to come home, the entire premise of the film would feel false and cheap. It would also complicate things, and Cuaron is here to keep it simple.

Cuaron's use of 3D is beyond captivating. It still doesn't quite top Cameron's Kurosawa-ian Avatar or Joss Whedon's Welles-ian Avengers, but it doesn't need to. Because of the deliberate lack of plot, Cuaron's 3D ultimately works better than either of those brave, but undeniably tedious works. The viewer is so totally immersed in outer space that by the time the film is over, he/she has completed NASA training. The ones who are first in line to this movie will be the first ones on Mars.

Speaking of space, Gravity does the environment justice like none other. Not the first attempt at tackling the final frontier, to be sure, but Gravity gets right what all the others got wrong: removing the useless clutter of story and ideas. Silly Kubrick, were he a better filmmaker, would have realized that not everyone plays chess. His Space Odyssey was insultingly intellectual, making it pretentious. With his ridiculous monolith and bizarre statement about man's place in the universe, Kubrick robbed the viewer of his/her ability to be completely immersed in the cosmos. How the hell can any fun be had with the Blue Danube Waltz playing to what was a essentially a classroom lecture? Cuaron's pulse-pounding score rivals the great traffic on Los Angeles freeways for sheer auditory power.

Cuaron's final and most important advance is in the extreme long takes of his film. The camera soars around like a butterfly, and at the perfect speed too. The problem with films by the idiots Bela Tarr, Tarkovsky, and Alexander Sokurov, is that they were done for dishonest reasons. Namely, things OTHER than the entertainment, immersion, and pampering of the audience. It's as if moronic Tarr actually expects viewers to COUNT his shots, keeping detailed mental track of them, and to allow the “intricate” imagery time to burn into the viewer's head. Or worse yet, to decipher his themes. Does he not realize that no ordinary person has the ability to do that? Sokurov did a little better by mercifully keeping his film to one shot, but who wants to be immersed in some Russian art museum? Cuaron understands that space is the proper setting for such legato hypnotism.

It's impossible to say too many good things about this movie. But it's also impossible to say too many bad things. It's impossible to say very many things at all, in fact, and THAT is the beauty of it. Enough with things. Way too many things in the “classics” of old, all of which could have been shaved off with a butter knife. Cuaron takes the things from space movies of old and shaves them, like whiskers off the face of a hobo. Anyone who would try to make Mission to Mars certainly deserves to wind up as a hobo. Gary Sinise's dead wife becomes instead Bullock's dead daughter. Tim Robbins' clownish inability to grab hold of a remote space craft is shamed by Clooney's sacrificial opportunity to promote the sexiness of his eyes. FINALLY, something that a person of the Facebook generation would do in that situation. That great website is also alluded to early on, no doubt from the pen of Jonas Cuaron, who, having no connection to the director whatsoever, must have pulled some serious strings to get the opportunity to work on this film. And thank God he did, or else the entire thing may have been in Spanish, a language that no one in this country actually speaks.

RATING: 11/10.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:23 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
This is great. I am very happy.

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Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:21 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Why the "be careful what you wish for"?


Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
peng wrote:
Why the "be careful what you wish for"?


I guess because I made a really long post. But never mind.


Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:27 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
The Room (2003)

Feeling – feeling is what The Room brings, feeling in an age of sentimentalization . Whereas other films like American Beauty and the Godfathers 1 &2 trivialise the notion of the family (extended or biological), Wiseau’s seminal masterpiece offers us an emotionally profound story of connection in a remote existence not equalled since the sublime Mac and Me.
What Wiseau gets that facile hipsters like Mendes, Coppola and numerous others do not, is that a film is primarily a visual medium, and therefore avoids the temptation to pander to hipster fads such as plot devices, character development, or narrative cohesion.

Wiseau (writer, director and lead actor in what is surely Hollywood’s best allround performance since the marvellous Wayans developed the consumer-era satire masterpiece ‘White Chicks’) is both a profound emotive actor; and writer of poet laureate credentials. The line “don’t touch me, motherfucker” issued by a splendidly angst–ridden Wiseau during an especially tense (extended) family argument, references the spirit of self-dependence and stoicism in a far superior fashion to Powell and Pressburger’s self-indulgent Colonel Blimp. And the romantic arc between Tommy and his beautiful, elegant and mature girlfriend is handled in a far deeper and more spiritually meaningful (and therefore rewarding) fashion than the relationship between Juliet and Romeo in both Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation, and Shakespeare’s original. Wiseau, clearly aware and therefore having an edge on pop culture connotations, essentially extends on and improves the great works of literature, and needless to say modern ‘popular’ social dramas – of which The Room so clearly exceeds both emotively and philosophically.

Room on fire


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Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:57 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Argo

Ben Affleck's masterpiece deserves to win best picture. I don't care what comes out for the entire rest of the year, screw all of it. They should just hand Argo the Oscar right now. Using the Carter-era hostage incident as his premise, Affleck gets right what so many political thrillers get wrong: he makes it f[*][*][*]ing boring. Spielberg's mistake with Munich was to give it visual "style" and color, to try and make the sequences actually suspenseful and tense, and to connect real life events to the pulpiest fiction (the James Bond films). Spielberg sought to imitate Hack Robert Altman with ridiculously long, windy, zoomy shots, and wide-as-hell compositions. He even had the gall to make Munich another of his "men in peril" adventures. As if that has anything to do with human nature.

Argo changes that. Affleck keeps the shots to their most potent minimum, not allowing any one of them to last more than a second or two. He takes annoying color completely out of the equation, making each scene feel like it could take place in the viewer's own bedroom or living room (which is, after all, what everyone wants to see). By doing just that, he realizes cinema's great, once unattainable destiny: joining up with TV. Were Argo any better, it would match the fanboy ecstasy of Breaking Bad.

Argo imitates the greatness of such political thrillers as Z and All the President's Men, movies that every single casual moviegoer who sees Argo and praises it will already be intimately familiar with
[Reveal] Spoiler:
actually, no, not really :?
.

In his own movie, Affleck is not the only star. Everyone of the hostage actors will go on to become stars in their own right. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the great Avengers series creates new individual superhero movies for every single one of them.

Affleck's greatest directorial masterstroke? Casting their final opposition at the airport as a bearded man with wide, googly eyes that no one could possibly take seriously. He looks like the Cookie Monster, which is a big step up from Stupid Spielberg, who for some reason thought his middle eastern terrorists were actually supposed to be unsettling.

Rather than pandering to men with fantasies of machismo, Affleck portrays the men in this situation as what they really are, or would be: nerdy, effeminate losers whose wives probably have more chest hair than they do.

Just the reading of the "Argo" sci-fi script scene is more exciting than every Star Wars, Star Trek, and Stargate sci-fi drivel combined. The final airplane runway takeoff is more exciting than either runway scene in Casino Royale or Fast Furious 6. Unlike those oversoaked sponges, Affleck squeezes that climax out, making it the driest ending to any movie ever made. It may not be much "fun," but it allows viewers to do what Martin Campbell and Justin Lin denied them: pat themselves on the back for how intelligent and sophisticated they are.

And any movie that does that is certainly worthy of an 9.2/10. Or perhaps a 9.3......such a big difference between those two ratings, yet somehow I can't decide.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:39 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
The Artist

As we all know, every modern American woman, man, and child, is intimately familiar with at least 30 of the great pre-1930 silent films. That's why The Artist is sure to have the theaters packed for its midnight premiere. Michel takes Griffith, Buster Keaton, Murnau, Eisenstein, Pabst, Vertov, and even obscure visionaries like Chaplin, and rolls them all up into one fantastic achievement. But none of that details Michel's greatest masterstroke: creating months of pre-release internet hype. By doing what the older silent giants dared not, Michel guaranteed that his film would be a success. All filmmakers should take note of this for the future.

Skyfall

Easily the worst of the 23 entries in the 50-year James Bond series. Mendes seems oblivious to what made people passionate about Bond for all that time. Hack that he is, he and Deakins make every image crystal clear, colorful, and vibrant. Does Mendes not realize that the millions of nostalgic fans grew up watching grainy VHS's of such masterful classics as Live and Let Die and You Only Live Twice? That visual ugliness is what we as Bond fans expect as our right. That's not his only sin, though. He does the worst thing imaginable: he actually has the chutzpah to give Skyfall a PLOT!!! Which people can follow!!! Does he not realize that we Bond fans cherish the unintelligibility of such greats as Octopussy and Living Daylights? The least he could have done was to reboot those classics. 22 stories that he could have rebooted, regurgitating any one of those great tales for a new generation. Instead, he has the idiocy to do something new. Has he not checked IMDB forums lately? Does he not realize that reboots and remakes are all that matter now? Does he not know that we all just wanted to see Casino Royale again? Yeesh.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 4:53 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Getting less Armond White-ish and more you-ish, but since some of them are recent movies so I'm curious if he reviewed those. Interestingly he loves Skyfall, and surprisingly even said the best Bonds ever are Goldfinger and In Her Majesty's Secret Service, exactly my thought (along with Casino Royale). James Bond truely brings all people together (he hates Argo and The Artist though).


Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:01 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
peng wrote:
Getting less Armond White-ish and more you-ish, but since some of them are recent movies so I'm curious if he reviewed those. Interestingly he loves Skyfall, and surprisingly even said the best Bonds ever are Goldfinger and In Her Majesty's Secret Service, exactly my thought (along with Casino Royale). James Bond truely brings all people together (he hates Argo and The Artist though).


Let's keep in mind that Armond White's reputation as a troll is rooted entirely in his opinions of the last 10 years. You won't find him dismissing many universally loved classics. Everything he likes from the 60s and 70s is regarded as a masterpiece by the larger critical consensus. It makes one wonder if Pauline Kael would have been labeled a troll when she gave Bonnie and Clyde a higher rating than Space Odyssey, had the internet been around then. Would she have been called a troll for rating The Warriors higher than Alien in 1979? What about for preferring Re-Animator to Halloween? White's reputation, imo, is less a product of his opinions and more a product of the time we currently live in.

The people who were pissed at him for hating Toy Story 3...do they even know who Lubitsch was or Preston Sturges, for instance? No, they don't.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:06 pm
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
And imo, his hate for him is not so much that he hated those movies, but expressed his opinions in a way that he really came off looking like a troll (I think Slant Magazine has some opposite-from-majority opinions before Armond time, and people berated them a bit but not outright head).

For example, 12 Years a Slave is presumably a movie that will elicit strong feelings, thus strong opinions and even hate, so I can understand if there are people who will hate it. But saying "Brad Pitt, one of the film’s producers, appears in a small role as a helpful pacifist—as if to save face with his real-life multicultural adopted family", as Armond White did, is really not acceptable to be included in film criticism, at the very least in my opinion.


Sat Oct 26, 2013 12:12 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Quote:
But saying "Brad Pitt, one of the film’s producers, appears in a small role as a helpful pacifist—as if to save face with his real-life multicultural adopted family", as Armond White did, is really not acceptable to be included in film criticism, at the very least in my opinion.


I could agree to that, but I think it's really the job of the reader to ignore that type of thing and focus just one whether you agree with his overall opinion of the movie or not. Offensive or not, I don't think you can really use that sort of thing to decide whether he actually knows movies or not. Sometimes his words may be less than tactful, but that's not the pattern I care about. The only patterns I want to focus on are the consistencies between the movies he likes and the ones he doesn't like. Then I try to figure out what it means.


Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:54 am
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Post Re: Nothugh's 'Armond White Challenge'
Taxi Driver (1976) (a look back)

Loneliness - a sore subject obviously too complex for hipster directors like the Martin Scorsese. In taxi driver, De Niro (who would later save his career and undo some of this damage with the profoundly sublime Meet the Fockers), plays the fashionable hipster version of a Vietnam vet, whose thousand yard stare not only abuses every cliched stereotype in the book, it completely overshadowed by the powerful post-war trauma so sensitively portrayed by Charlie Sheen, in the completely misunderstood modern conflict masterpiece, Hot Shots (part deux).

The Mohawk haircut Travis adopts hints at one's feeling of being invaded my hostile exterior forces, and a need to man-up to fend for oneself, but these themes were later explored in far deeper and more meaningful (and therefore rewarding) fashion in the masterful Jonah Hex. A work of art so timeless in its construction that quite literally I was the only person in the world to find it anything other than a shitty, insulting mess.

Essentially, Taxi Driver (like nearly all films, admittedly) is an inferior version of the Wayans' transcendent masterpiece, Little Man. The reasons for this are almost impossible to expain, but this is your fault for being too ill-educated to grasp, not mine for a failure to articulate. That being, even if I did explain it, you wouldn’t understand, let alone agree. But all this gets to the point of Obama-ification of our culture. One where nihilistic fantasies like Taxi Driver are fetishized, and instant classics like Grown Ups are derided by mainstream hipsters.


Taxi please


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Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:58 am
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