Foreign Policy

An Assortment of Links

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* Foreign Policy picks the worst predictions of the year.

* Bill Kauffman visits a secessionist conference.

* Various animators remix the Bush Shoe Incident. This one's my favorite.

* Is maritime piracy increasing or decreasing?

* The apes revolt.

* Finally, apropos of nothing, I'd just like to quote a little rant about Ken Burns I found in a comment thread last night:

[L]ike a lot of people I was fortunate that The Civil War was the first Ken Burns film I saw. The elegiac air of nostalgic rue (to take a phrase a writer for The New Republic used) seemed perfectly pitched to the subject matter. It was only later that we found out that he probably applied that style to his wedding video. It's the way he does everything. The trouble with Baseball is that one game of baseball is a lot like another, and hour after hour of it gets numbing, the monotony broken every 20 minutes or so by another trip to the woodshed to be scolded about the color bar. One tries in vain to think of the conceptual equivalent of the Ken Burns history of Jazz—the Margaret Dumont history of whorehouses, perhaps. As for The War, if you're going to show how World War II affected four different cities you really ought to choose at least one where the war was actually fought.

Full disclosure: I haven't watched The War and I've only seen a smidge of Baseball. But I did sit through all of Jazz, carefully counting the number of times in 19 hours that PBS's golden boy allowed a whole song to be played without interruption. The final total: 1.

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  1. The best Ken Burns film was “Empire of the Air”.

  2. I’m not masochistic enough (and that’s saying something coming from someone who made it through Glitter solely for the lulz) to watch an entire Ken Burns production. The droning alone might kill me.

    Various animators remix the Bush Shoe Incident. This one’s my favorite.

    Good choice. So Bush is Moe? Why I oughtta…

  3. Commentary from Republicans about Hillary Clinton’s campaign was always hamstrung by the same two problems:

    1. They could not get the cartoonish “Vince Foster Clinton Conspiracy” thinking out of their heads long enough to analyze her as an ordinary politician, instead of the she-beast that haunts their dreams and controls the world, and

    2. Because their party’s voters can be counted on to fall in line behind the anointed successor selected by the party machine, they assumed the Democratic Party worked the same way.

    It’s not like Kristol was a voice crying in the wilderness.

  4. The problem with the example is that I would absolutely watch the Margaret Dumont history of whorehouses.

    Anon

  5. I suffered through random episodes of Burns’ civil war thing.

    It was a lot like listening to a bunch of people reading bumper stickers.

  6. Ill throw in these two predictions from the Iranian President:

    “The cabal that controls the United States will not allow Barack Obama to become President, even if the entire American nation votes for him.”

    That, and:

    “Oil will never again go below $125 a barrell.”

    Fail!


  7. 1. They could not get the cartoonish “Vince Foster Clinton Conspiracy” thinking out of their heads long enough to analyze her as an ordinary politician, instead of the she-beast that haunts their dreams and controls the world, and

    2. Because their party’s voters can be counted on to fall in line behind the anointed successor selected by the party machine, they assumed the Democratic Party worked the same way.

    The ironic tension between these two is just overwhelming.

  8. Worst predictions list was excellent.

    I despise Kristol who has been spectacularly wrong about everything and at huge costs. No matter how much I’d love to hang him on this, I too predicted Hillary could not be denied, in 2001! and I didn’t recant until after super Tuesday.

    More shame and disgrace needs to be heaped on the William Kristol of Wall Street, Jim Cramer – HE KNOWS NOTHING and a lot of saps are following him down drain. Wouldn’t be so bad if Bush, Bernanke, and Paulson didn’t number amongst his disciples.

    Yes yes yes to the Ken Burns piece.
    I still think The Civil War is the best 10 hours of television ever produced. One of the things I liked best about it, was the way it represented so many perspectives on a very complex piece of history. I was so use to “It was all about slavery. The North was the good guys, and the South were the bad guys. Abraham Lincoln was the second coming of Christ and could do no wrong.” How disappointing it was to find out Ken was nothing more than an over privileged white boy with a guilty conscience.

  9. I disagree with joe’s assessment of Bill Kristol’s prediction. I think Kristol charitably misunderestimated the liklihood the Democrats’ could nominate such an unqualified (in relative, presidential terms) candidate to the highest office. That simple. Clinton was more mature (having outgrown the college-days socialism idiocy many of us went through), worldly, dignified, and respected internatianally (we’ve already seen signs foreign leaders do not respect BHO, whether they find him “likeable” or not). I see Kristol’s prediction as a compliment gone wrong. Maybe next time he will lower his standards to the Democratic party reality.

  10. Uh, yeah, that’s it: Bill Kristol was undone by his respect for Democrats. That’t totally it.

    Republicans getting silly over Hillary Clinton? LIke that would ever happen!

  11. BDB, awesome (bad awesome) predictions.

    To add to point #2, I would add the commonly blogged ~”We will never see gas below $2/gal ever again” with a smidgeon of ~”the oil companies are artifically driving up gas prices. Notice how they always have an excuse to raise prices, but they never come down, blather, blather, blather…lets regulate”

  12. Warren,

    I liked that Burns quoted Sam Watkins, whose book (Co. Aytch (“Company H”)) I’ve read several times since I was a kid. He was a soldier in the First Tennessee Infantry and had a really fascinating perspective on the war.

  13. (we’ve already seen signs foreign leaders do not respect BHO, whether they find him “likeable” or not).

    I don’t watch the news, care to elaborate?

  14. The problem with the example is that I would absolutely watch the Margaret Dumont history of whorehouses.

    Heh.

    I should mention the other glaring problem with Jazz, besides the one I mentioned in my post: Burns devoted the same amount of time to Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Hello Dolly” that he spent covering the entire career of Charles Mingus.

    The best Ken Burns film was “Empire of the Air”.

    I haven’t seen that one, but I love the book it was based on, so if he stuck to his source material it was bound to be decent.

  15. I never bothered to watch Baseball or Jazz, but I thought The War was quite good.

  16. The problem with Baseball is that Burns thinks that Jackie Robinson was the most important player in MLB history – that it is the central event in baseball history.

    Important – yes. Important outside of baseball – yes. To a baseball fan interested in seeing a history of baseball, eh, you know, he is just another hall of famer.

  17. Yeah, because sarcasm makes my argument more correcter.

    I pointed out I disagree with your point. You pointed out you disagree with my disagreement. Cool.

  18. While Kristol’s prediction wasn’t uniquely bad, I see this like Scorsese’s Best Director award for The Departed. It’s a lifetime achievement award more than anything else.

  19. I also pointed out that your central thesis – the Bill Kristol just had too much respect for the instincts of Democratic voters – is nonsensical.

    Cool.

    You gonna answer that guy’s question about foreign leaders not respecting Obama?

  20. I don’t watch the news, care to elaborate?

    No time – I have a tanning appointment at 10:30.

    (actually a meeting I’m not entirely ready for – wasting too much time somewhere [whistles]. I’m reminded of the best line in Ghost Busters: ~”…you don’t know what it’s like. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!”. Gotta do “the man” thing for a bit)

  21. I think that the criticism that Burns’ documentaries are all the same is a bit overblown.

    He has a style, absolutely. And just about all of his stuff uses the same narrator and voice talent, and that has a homogenizing effect. [The way that all History Channel stuff starts to run together because that Gilmour Girls guy narrates it all.]

    But on a certain level, just about all documentaries fit into certain well-worn grooves. I don’t think we can just call all the Burns documentaries “repetitive” because of the consistent style choices; I think we have to judge them based on the handling of the underlying material. When we do that, Burns has some hits and some misses – the Shaker and Civil War documentaries are unabashed home runs, while the baseball and WWII documentaries are cash-ins on his reputation. I can’t judge the jazz one because I never saw it.

  22. The Republicans (and lots of libertarians) do not LIKE HRC’s policies or maybe even her personallity. That doesn’t mean they think she is intellectually or politically weak. Not the same for BHO.

    We disagree. Now let me go so I don’t get fired!

  23. I think we need a Madoff thread, too, BTW.

    A $50 billion regulatory failure and we aren’t talking about it.

    I know you guys might be afraid that someone like joe will show up and claim that the problem was that the SEC didn’t really want to regulate anyone, but we have to have the stones to argue that point.

  24. Speaking of ape revolts, there’s a monkey rebellion going on in China.

  25. * The apes revolt

    Most excellent.

  26. The orangutan piece was awesome. For those of you who didn’t read it, it covered orangutans escaping from various zoo exhibits. The best one, far and away, was the orangutan who figured out how to ground a hot wire, then used it to climb out of the exhibit. That’s pretty fucking rad.

  27. Fluffy | December 17, 2008, 10:15am | #

    I think we need a Madoff thread, too, BTW.

    We’ll see that right after the thread about the effects of snob zoning and sprawl zoning on the housing market.

  28. Yeah, the orangutan piece is great.

    Since it’s pretty well documented that apes do some limited culture transmission generationally in the wild [chimps that learn new behaviors and tool usages pass that knowledge on to their descendants, leading to cultural clusters among chimps] it may be that orang handlers are seeing orangs learning the culture of human tool use and improving their mastery of it across generations. It’s noteworthy that zoo-born orangs are the worst offenders. It will be interesting to see what happens as we get to fourth and fifth generation zoo-born orangs. They’ll probably escape using hang gliders and blow guns made out of discarded soda cups and string.

  29. Though I enjoyed Burns’ Civil War, I liked Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson even more. Burns and his crew have an amazing ability to find and appropriately use the right images to tell their stories.

    Also, orangutans are smarter than I realized. In the future, I shall be very careful when I taunt them.

  30. If they are smart enough to devise escape plots, I say we free them and grant them U.S. citizenship. This new group of crafty, libertarian voters will add energy and excitement to the American political and economic scenes.

  31. They’ll probably escape using hang gliders and blow guns made out of discarded soda cups and string.

    Leading, of course, eventually, to this.

  32. We’ll see that right after the thread about the effects of snob zoning and sprawl zoning on the housing market.

    Those of us libertarians (which should be all libertarians – drink!!!) who oppose ALL zoning would have no problem with that thread.

  33. Maybe Ken Burns could do a history of orangutan escapes.

  34. Epi,

    Leading, of course, eventually, to this.

    I was expecting that picture to be this.

    So close.

  35. Oh wait, based on yesterday’s thread, dont click my link above if you dont want a spoiler of a 40 year old movie.

  36. robc, that was one of the three contenders, along with this.

  37. [Nods head to robc in thanks for the assist] Ahem. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  38. Kristol and Krauthammer have been spectacular at misreading events over the last several years. The two alone could easily have filled the top ten.

  39. Wow, now that is quite an assortment inst it!

    jess
    http://www.anonymity.at.tc/

  40. A $50 billion regulatory failure and we aren’t talking about it.

    I know you guys might be afraid that someone like joe will show up and claim that the problem was that the SEC didn’t really want to regulate anyone, but we have to have the stones to argue that point.

    I accept your thread jack. It’s not a regulatory failure because he made shit up. If you make shit up, it’s easier to “comply” with the laws and not set off red flags. It’s like lying to your girlfriend/wife/parents. If you were out with two made up friends from a made up club you’re in, you don’t have to worry about the story checking out because there’s no one to dispute it. If you make up coworkers or make up an event with real people, the real people or other coworkers can blow the story.

  41. I didn’t expect some kind of planet of the apes!

  42. Epi,

    robc, that was one of the three contenders, along with this.

    That was the winner. You went with the 3rd best choice.

  43. Just wait until the orangutans take up piracy then were really screwed.

  44. Hmmm….Ive commented on baseball, zoning, and The Planet of the Apes in this thread…shouldnt there be some prog youtube clip to tie it all together?

  45. We could appoint an Orangutan to be Senator from New York. And Illinois.

  46. robc, it was a judgment call. See, Fluffy mentioned hang gliders and blow guns. That, topically, had more in common with them becoming the dominant species. Unfortunately, inter-species romance and humans blowing up the planet all on their own didn’t jell as well.

    As you can see, it was a very scientific decision on my part.

  47. “I hate every ape I see, from Orang-A to Orang-Z.”

    Burns’ film company researchers gets such great images by being complete and utter douchebags to photo archivists all over the country.

    Personally, I’d like to see more maritime piracy. Cruise ships armed to the teeth would warm the black and cold cockles of my shriveled heart.

  48. Governor appointments to fill vacant senate seats: is this due to historical accident, or is there some reasoning behind doing this rather than having a by-election?

  49. Here we go. A video to tie this thread all together.

    Okay, I just really like that one.

  50. dbcooper,

    Historical accident, I think. Remember, until the whatevereth amendment, senators were selected by the state legislature. Thus, having the governor fill an empty seat until the legislature comes back into session and can appoint someone new makes a lot of sense.

  51. The zoo should have renamed the orangutan “Dr. Zaius”.

  52. Thanks for the clarification, robc.

    Is there much of a movement to change this to a by-election process, or is it not much of an issue for the political class?

  53. I think Kristol charitably misunderestimated the likelihood…

    Dude, are you usually in the habit of using words invented by George W. Bush?

  54. Here we go. A video to tie this thread all together.

    I saw them in concert in NYC in 2000 or 2001. I took a lot of Xanax and really enjoyed myself.

  55. Well, naming an orangutan to the Senate could be tough, at least until we’ve recognized the rights of orangutans to be citizens. However, the Supreme Court justices have zero qualification requirements in the Constitution–no age restrictions, no citizenship requirements, no species specified, nada.

  56. dbcooper,

    Well, it varies from state to state. I think most states want to get someone back in as soon as possible to avoid losing political power. Having an appointment, then replacing them with a special election is fairly standard. For money reasons, lots of states try to wait until next regular election to have the special election (or at least next primary or something).

    I believe house seats are always filled by special election – they arent considered powerful enough to need to appoint someone as fast as possible.

  57. dbcooper,

    BTW, British or Canadian? No american would ever use the term by-election. 🙂

  58. The quote about Ken Burns is exactly right. They guy has one style. That style was perfect for a subject as sollemn as the Civil War. Covering a subject like Baseball, it is ponderous and insulting. I am sorry but the Chicago Black Sox scandal or even Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier is not Cold Harbor. To use the same dramtic style on both subjects is rediculous to border on the obscene. The Civil War is still one of my five favorite documentaries ever. I remeber sitting down to watch Baseball in great anticipation. I watched the first 20 minutes of it and thought “this is the most over done rediculous things I have ever seen” and never watched another minute of it. Burns is truely a one trick pony and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hired David McCullough to narrate his wedding video.

  59. As for The War, if you’re going to show how World War II affected four different cities you really ought to choose at least one where the war was actually fought.

    Well, except for the fact that except for an hour or two on the very first day the war was never fought in any American cities.

    It was supposed to be about how the war affected American people and families from those four cities and how the war affected daily life at home.

    There’s plenty of things to hate about Ken Burns, but I’m thinking this ain’t one.

  60. RobC, the avoiding loss of political power argument certainly makes sense.

    British or Canadian? New Zealander, in Britain, via grad school in the US.

  61. “Personally, I’d like to see more maritime piracy. Cruise ships armed to the teeth would warm the black and cold cockles of my shriveled heart.”

    Only if we can go back to hanging pirates on the spot on the high seas. A few pirates hanging from imporvised yard arms of Navy or Coast Guard ships warm the black and cold cockles of my shriveled heart.

  62. “I accept your thread jack. It’s not a regulatory failure because he made shit up. If you make shit up, it’s easier to “comply” with the laws and not set off red flags. It’s like lying to your girlfriend/wife/parents. If you were out with two made up friends from a made up club you’re in, you don’t have to worry about the story checking out because there’s no one to dispute it. If you make up coworkers or make up an event with real people, the real people or other coworkers can blow the story.”

    The regs actually make it easier to be a total crook. As you point out, it is easier to comply with the regs if you are just making shit up. But there is more to it than that. The regs give everyone a false sense of security. So the suckers don’t look to hard at your books figuring since you met all the SEC requirements you must be on the up and up. The regs do little beyond making honest people criminals and making life easier for the crooks.

  63. I’m cool with that too, John.

  64. “Personally, I’d like to see more maritime piracy. Cruise ships armed to the teeth would warm the black and cold cockles of my shriveled heart.”

    Only if we can go back to hanging pirates on the spot on the high seas. A few pirates hanging from improvised yard arms of Navy or Coast Guard ships warm the black and cold cockles of my shriveled heart.

    Causes of shriveled heart muscle:

    malnutrition
    myocardial infection
    sustained cocaine use

    and apparently,

    pining for the days of piracy

  65. re governor appointments to the senate.

    The 17th ammendment says:

    When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of each State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

    So based on the text, the intended default seemed to be special elections, but it’s left up to each state legislature to give the guv the authority to make a temporary replacement. Which most states have taken advantage of. I would think that the default converting to executive selection vice special election is a function of the modern age, where one can communicate instantly, and travel to DC within a day, but it still takes several weeks at least to have an election.

    But as far a movement to change it, the system is already there. The only think I think the legislatures change it is if the governor is of one party and the legislature (and the outgoing senator) are of a different party. I think they made changes in Mass when Kerry ran for prez and Az when McCain did in the event of their victories creating a vacancy (and both had guv’s of the opposite party). (Conn may have done something in 2000 with Lieberman as well)

  66. But John and NutraSweet: what about ice pirates?

  67. Elemenope,

    We’re on the cutting edge of medical science from at Hit & Run. Deal with it. We were also the first to bring national attention to the pandemic of taint-withering ubertrolls.

  68. As for The War, if you’re going to show how World War II affected four different cities you really ought to choose at least one where the war was actually fought.
    Well, except for the fact that except for an hour or two on the very first day the war was never fought in any American cities.

    It was supposed to be about how the war affected American people and families from those four cities and how the war affected daily life at home.

    There’s plenty of things to hate about Ken Burns, but I’m thinking this ain’t one.

    Yeah I have to agree with that. It almost makes me think he just read a synopsis and didn’t actually watch it.

    I haven’t seen anything by Burns other than The Civil War and The War. But both of those were quite effective for the subject matter. I would imagine though if the same tone was used for a subject like baseball, that might be too much.

  69. That guy [Burns] has one style.

    I’m always asleep by the 19th minute. It’s that same somber tune played over and over and over that finishes me. I awake as the credits roll to the same damned tune. zzzzzzzz….

  70. Epi,

    There is no ice anywhere on the planet because of global warming, silly. Of course we’ll have to buy it from intergalactic pirates. They won’t be hard to find, I hear pirates like to hang around Uranus.

  71. dbcooper,

    I always suspected that you escaped to New Zealand.

    Over at Urkobold, we’ve posted a couple of videos from something called “The Daily English” show, which is hosted by a young woman from New Zealand (who teaches English in Japan, I think). Here’s one on Canadian vs. U.S. Thanksgiving.

  72. I found The War to be kind of boring. I tried to watch it, but it just wasn’t very interesting. Maybe it was because I already knew a lot about the subject. I am not sure. But for whatever reason I could never quite get into it.

  73. The Ken Burns style. Well it’s not just a one note. Ken’s style is great for telling 19th century stories. He really accomplished something by finding old pictures and doing, panning and scanning, on them while overlaying them with multi-track audio. This allowed him to reuse images with new audio and different zoom/pan programs to great advantage. It’s brilliant for making a film documentary where you have only a handful of images to work with.

    The real problem with Ken is that everything, is seen through the “America’s shameful racist history” lens. Having the Hispanics rise up and bite him in the ass over WWII was a bit of poetic justice.

  74. They won’t be hard to find, I hear pirates like to hang around Uranus.

    That explains the space herpes.

  75. Don’t mention the war.

  76. “The real problem with Ken is that everything, is seen through the “America’s shameful racist history” lens. Having the Hispanics rise up and bite him in the ass over WWII was a bit of poetic justice.”

    I missed that controversy. What happened there?

    Since I have never gotten into any of his documentaries beyond “The Civil War”, I guess I never noticed he looks at everything through that lense. That lense works for the civil war and slavery. Jazz and baseball not so much or at least not nearly as well.

  77. “Two egg mayonnaise, a prawn Goebbels, a Hermann Goering and four Colditz salads”

  78. That predictions article is pretty smug. I take issue with a couple of items:

    – Somali piracy hasn’t had a lasting significant economic effect. Sure, the media loves to talk about it because it’s different & interesting, but Blair seems to be mostly right when he claims that the risks (on a global scale) are smaller than assumed.

    – The LHC hasn’t collided anything yet and is out of commission until summer 2009! Of course reasonable people know that it’s not going to create a black hole and kill us all. I still think it’s ridiculous to claim that a prediction that hasn’t been tested yet is one of the worst of the year.

  79. [The younger Frau is sobbing openly now, consoled by the elder Herr.]

  80. Mr. Walker writes:

    I should mention the other glaring problem with Jazz, besides the one I mentioned in my post: Burns devoted the same amount of time to Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Hello Dolly” that he spent covering the entire career of Charles Mingus.

    Insofar as neither have all that much to do with jazz worth listening to, I’m not sure I see the point.

    The problem with Ken Burns in a nutshell is that he is to PBS documentaries what M. Night Shyamalan is to theatrical films; namely, a one trick pony. We all saw the trick and it was a good trick the first time, an okay trick the second time and unwatchable the third time and thereafter. Is there a glue factory for has-been directors? Other than infomercials, that is?

  81. John, they got pissed that he didn’t interview any Hispanics in the WWII series. A really silly controversy.

  82. Cruise ships and cargo ships won’t arm themselves to the teeth because it will lead to an arms escalation that the captains don’t want to get into. Putting a high caliber machine gun will just invite RPG armed pirates that could sink your ship. It’s the same reason why bank employees don’t try to fight bank robbers. It’s best just to let the owner of the cargo and the insurance companies deal with it. If you’re going to have security it will be a nearby, but separate vessel.

    The regs actually make it easier to be a total crook. As you point out, it is easier to comply with the regs if you are just making shit up. But there is more to it than that. The regs give everyone a false sense of security. So the suckers don’t look to hard at your books figuring since you met all the SEC requirements you must be on the up and up. The regs do little beyond making honest people criminals and making life easier for the crooks.

    What books are they going to see? The exact same cooked up books you sent the SEC. If you cook the books and don’t do due dilligence because a rich guy you know trusts the guy, you’ll be suckered either way. The problem is no one did the due dilligence and noticed that the volumes he engaged in were well over total volume of the options he traded.

    It has nothing to do with the regs. Madoff ran a hedge fund, which is a largely unregulated space and was even more unregulated prior to 2006 (when they got most of their money).

  83. It appears that Time has named Obama Man of the Year! The parallels to another Man of the Year sixty-something years ago grow stronger with each passing day.

  84. “It appears that Time has named Obama Man of the Year! ”

    That’s no different than what they do every election year–they make the winner of the Presidential Election “Man of the Year” automatically.

  85. I proclaim Mo a Daydream Ruiner.

  86. “You started it!”

  87. When Obama names his horse to the Senate, you fawners in the media and elsewhere have no one to blame but yourselves. Though, indeed, it is a most absolute and excellent horse.

  88. It appears that Time has named Obama Man of the Year! The parallels to another Man of the Year sixty-something years ago grow stronger with each passing day.

    He actually has something in common with a lot of the Men of the Year, Truman in 1948, LBJ in 1964, Carter in 1976, Reagan in 1980, Clinton in 1992 and Bush in 2000, they’re all newly elected presidents. If anything, Ike, Nixon, JFK and Bush (1988) got the short shrift.

  89. We did not start it!

  90. It appears that Time has named Obama Man of the Year!

    Want to watch sick a sicking piece of farce? Watch Viera and Lauer on The Today Show scratching their heads in complete faux-wilderment at who it could possible be.

  91. The problem with Ken Burns in a nutshell is that he is to PBS documentaries what M. Night Shyamalan is to theatrical films; namely, a one trick pony. We all saw the trick and it was a good trick the first time, an okay trick the second time and unwatchable the third time and thereafter. Is there a glue factory for has-been directors? Other than infomercials, that is?

    Excellent summation. About M. Night, that is. Signs was the final straw.

    As for Burns, I don’t know enough to judge.

  92. “Yes you did, you invaded Poland!”

  93. Yes you did, you invaded Poland!

  94. I missed that controversy. What happened there?

    Since I have never gotten into any of his documentaries beyond “The Civil War”, I guess I never noticed he looks at everything through that lense. That lense works for the civil war and slavery. Jazz and baseball not so much or at least not nearly as well.

    Briefly, Ken wasn’t going to include Hispanics in The War. But then there was some organized protesting, and Ken pasted some interviews with Hispanic veterans and a few minutes narration into each episode.

    Finding out he was fixated on American racism was a real disappointment to me. Particularly because The Civil War was so much more than that. But making baseball into one long diatribe on racism was too much. And Jazz could have been more about America overcoming racism.

    I’ll say this for Jazz. When I started listening to Classical Music, it all fell into place. From Baroque to Romantic, Bach to Beethoven, I could follow it. If the composer was half way known to me I could identify him when listening to a piece I never heard before.

    But jazz was different. When I started listening to jazz all I could tell you is if I liked a piece or not. I couldn’t tell you who wrote it or arranged it or the soloist or anything. I didn’t even figure out the progression from swing to bebop. My understanding and appreciation of jazz music was greatly improved by watching Ken Burns’ Jazz.

  95. Signs was the final straw.

    I have never been more down-right insulted by a movie in years. And even as an atheist, I was shocked at just how stupid religion and a Creator/Architect/Interventionist Christian God was portrayed. Even Deists, who believe God is basically a dead-beat dad, should have been up in arms about that piece of shit movie.

  96. The problem with Ken Burns in a nutshell is that he is to PBS documentaries what M. Night Shyamalan is to theatrical films; namely, a one trick pony. We all saw the trick and it was a good trick the first time, an okay trick the second time and unwatchable the third time and thereafter. Is there a glue factory for has-been directors? Other than infomercials, that is?

    It’s like Malcolm Gladwell books. These guys need to be written a letter that says:

    You are not Mariano Rivera. You cannot survive on one pitch without being solved. Your schtick is not like his cut fastball. You are like Eric Gagne and your shit is getting old and hittable.

  97. The LHC hasn’t collided anything yet and is out of commission until summer 2009! Of course reasonable people know that it’s not going to create a black hole and kill us all. I still think it’s ridiculous to claim that a prediction that hasn’t been tested yet is one of the worst of the year.

    Actually, the reasonable physicists I know (all three of ’em) think it’s an open bet whether the LHC could generate black holes. What they do all agree on is that it would be a neat finding but irrelevant from a safety point of view because any black hole that small would evaporate long before it would ever have the chance to come into contact with any matter.

  98. Yes you did- you invaded Poland!

  99. “Teacher! I also require the Czechoslovakian boy’s desk.”

  100. I have never been more down-right insulted by a movie in years.

    Uhh…Crystal Skull, dude. Yes, Signs was hella insulting, but watching Spielberg and Lucas rape Indy was well beyond that.

  101. The LHC isn’t going to produce any black holes that won’t evaporate instantly. What it will do is generate a primal singularity and destroy the entire universe. We’re building it to hold the universe hostage. Good planning, really.

  102. I guess I should sign up for the Evelyn Wood Speed Blogging correspondence course.

  103. Episiarch,

    I missed the last Indiana Jones movie along with the scuttlebutt. Great suckitude? Don’t rent or buy via pay-per-view?

  104. I knew not to watch Skull.

    Screwed up the Lil’ Hitler link.

  105. NutraSweet, you are getting your Robot Chicken in our Fawlty Towers.

    “Not funny? I’m trying to cheer her up, you stupid Kraut!”

  106. “The Germans” may well be the best single episode of a situation comedy ever.

  107. I missed the last Indiana Jones movie along with the scuttlebutt. Great suckitude? Don’t rent or buy via pay-per-view?

    DO NOT WATCH. Much like the progression of Matrix movies caused me to actually sort of hate the awesome first one, Crystal Skull is so stupidly, awfully insulting that it has the potential to destroy one’s love of even the first movie.

    I can’t even begin to describe all the ways in which it was horrible.

  108. South Park sums it up well.

    Select the episode “The China Problem”

  109. “Empire of the Air” tells a greater story of America by focusing on three pioneers of the radio business.It is amazingly PC free.
    The contrast between DeForest, Armstrong, and Sarnoff is of persistence,luck and self promotion;pure individual genius;and sheer will to power respectively.The battle over technology ,innovation, and profit is fought, not in the marketplace but in the courts.

  110. Ken Burns is a sadistic evil man. Anyone who gives Doris Goodwin Kearns that much airtime is a proponent of torture.

  111. Hell, the first Indiana Jones movie was repeating itself by the third reel. Everything that came after was perpetually gurgitated then regurgitated. A colossal waste of time, talent and energy for all concerned. And the more I see Harrison Ford’s work, the more I realize the man just can’t act.

  112. “And the more I see Harrison Ford’s work, the more I realize the man just can’t act.”

    Harrison Ford is always Harrison Ford in his movies.

  113. I will back up Epi’s recommendation by clarifying: The first half of Indy 4 was tolerable. Not terrible, certainly not good, but tolerable. The second half was a cry for help of the “getting naked at work and smearing feces all over yourself while screaming gibberish” sort of way.

  114. “And the more I see Harrison Ford’s work, the more I realize the man just can’t act.”

    Harrison Ford is always Harrison Ford in his movies.”

    Exactly. They used to say the same thing about John Wayne, but Wayne made Red River and the Searchers were he was anything but a good guy and played really complex characters. When has Ford been anything but Han Solo in a different setting?

  115. What I saw of the Civil War was pretty good, I thought, and the one on Jack Johnson was great IMO (speaking of “America’s shameful racist history” – I actually found that pretty lowkey).

    The War was pretty good and frankly I’m not sure how you do deal with it without at least some of the “America’s shameful racist history” schtick, given segregation in the services and the Japanes internment and all.

    Jazz was loaded with pretentious crap (I never thought Winton Marsalis could be such a blowhard*) but was nonetheless informative.

    Haven’t seen Baseball, it’s in my Netflix queue. Are you guys saying I should just forget it.

    *pun not originally intended but then I noticed it and decided to leave it in.

  116. Much like the progression of Matrix movies caused me to actually sort of hate the awesome first one, Crystal Skull is so stupidly, awfully insulting that it has the potential to destroy one’s love of even the first movie.

    While my S.O. concurs with your assessment of Crystal Skull (aliens? nuclear testing in a refrigerator?) and so I feel confident that it does in fact suck as much as the two of you say, I must be “that guy” and dissent on the latter Matrix films.

    Everyone bitched about them. It was the cool thing to do. Personally, though, I didn’t see much wrong with them (that, at least, wasn’t also wrong with the first). Sure, dialogue was clunky sometimes, but that’s what happens when you try to explain philosophic/theologic concepts to an audience with no background in as little time as possible.

  117. When has Ford been anything but Han Solo in a different setting?

    The only other time Ford’s character shot first was in Raiders. Anything else simply isn’t genuine Solo.

  118. Nothing about any of the Matrix movies was awesome. They were all rediculous with totally incoherent plots. I never understood why anyone thought they were good. Do people really think the idea that life is a generated illution is some kind of new idea the Wischowski Brothers or however you spell their name thought up?

  119. Elemenope, I should have said “create a black hole big enough to kill us all.” I understand that it’s likely that small black holes will be created, which would be very cool and almost certainly harmless.

    If they can even get the damn thing working – apparently it takes 2 months to warm it up, fix it, and cool it back down to near absolute zero.

  120. Look, despite Ford’s acting and the inherent weakness of trying to adapt pulp serials, Indiana Jones still didn’t deserve this.

  121. We’ll see that right after the thread about the effects of snob zoning and sprawl zoning on the housing market.

    Joe, I am asking this question seriously: Why don’t you write an article about it and submit it to Reason?

    IIRC, you are involved in zoning and city planning, so you have a lot of first hand knowlege about the subject.

    The first time I ever heard of ‘Snob Zoning’ was from one of your posts. I, and I assume others here would be interested in the colusion of private and public entities that create restrictive zoning laws.

  122. I didn’t see the Matrix until 2006 or so. From all the hype I was expecting something like the Second Coming, but instead it was just a mildly entertaining action movie.

  123. Elemenope,

    I must agree with the anti-later-Matrix crowd. Baaaaad.

    I also disagree with John. The first film was flawed but quite enjoyable.

  124. Jack Johnson was a truly astonishing character.

    As Muhammad Ali said*, “That nigger was crazy.”

    *Quoted from memory; probably in a Cosell interview.

  125. The first half of Indy 4 was tolerable.

    Dude, nuking the fridge? “Magnetic” gunpowder? You’re slapped in the face repeatedly within a few minutes.

    Sure, dialogue was clunky sometimes, but that’s what happens when you try to explain philosophic/theologic concepts to an audience with no background in as little time as possible.

    Which was their terrible mistake. What people enjoyed from the first one was superhuman awesome fucking action combined with some neat mindfucks on the nature of reality. If I want a philosophy lesson, I’ll watch Charles in Charge.

  126. The Matrix Trilogy was done for as soon as the dance party orgy scene. Everything afterward is a fast forward to the next set piece.

  127. “I also disagree with John. The first film was flawed but quite enjoyable.”

    I suppose if you look at it as nothing more than an action movie and an excuse to do neat special effects tricks, it was okay. The problem is that its script and its makers were trying really hard for it to be something else. Its loopier supporters take the movie so seriously because it was a movie that desparately wanted to be taken seriously. If it had had one ounce of irony or sense of “hey this is all good fun” to it, I would agree with you. But it didn’t.

  128. Yeah, instead it was all this is serious business, which was lame.

  129. The Matrix Trilogy was done for as soon as the dance party orgy scene.

    Bingo.

    And anyone who doesn’t love Raiders is, frankly, insane.

  130. John,

    It stars Keanu Reeves. Who in their right mind would cast him in a philosophically serious film?

  131. “And anyone who doesn’t love Raiders is, frankly, insane.”

    Raiders is fun and still worth watching nearly 30 years later. How many big buget summer block buster type movies are still watchable 30 years later? Not many.

  132. Epi,

    Signs was the final straw.

    You made it past Unwatchable?

  133. Epi, all I’m saying is that if you watch up until the point where they start to escape from the Soviet camp, and just shut off the movie, you’d think “That was disappointing and pointless, but not much worse than the crappier parts of Temple” The first action sequence is very bad, the exposition is decent, then the later action sequences are legendarily terrible. Maybe you thought the first action sequence was unforgivable rather than just bad, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt because they followed it up with 30 minutes of minimally respectable.

  134. “John,

    It stars Keanu Reeves. Who in their right mind would cast him in a philosophically serious film?”

    No one. But the makers of the Matrix decided it was a good idea, which is why it comes accross as an Ed Wood film with a big budget.

  135. Epi,

    Much like the progression of Matrix movies caused me to actually sort of hate the awesome first one

    Something came up that prevented me from going to the 2nd Matrix movie when it opened. I still havent seen it or the 3rd. And for whatever it was that prevented me seeing them, I am forever grateful.

  136. eXistenZ > 13th floor > The Matrix

  137. John,

    The joke was buried in the link. A movie where Reeves was cast as Buddha.

  138. #,

    You confused the lesser than and greater than signs.

  139. Hey, now, don’t forget the deep and philosophically significant Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, a tour de force of ontological and epistemological thinking.

    It’s deep, dude, deep.

  140. You made it past Unwatchable?

    I made the mistake of thinking the unbearable slowness of Unbreakable was by design and it intrigued me as an atmosphere choice. With Signs I realized it wasn’t, it was just him. We all make mistakes.

    Maybe you thought the first action sequence was unforgivable rather than just bad, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt because they followed it up with 30 minutes of minimally respectable

    Nuking the fridge was unacceptable. At that point they had informed me that they thought I was retarded. And the New Haven sequences annoyed me because I had been there when they were filming them and the shut down streets inconvenienced me.

  141. Pro Lib,

    The only acceptable scene in Bogus Journey was gaming with death. Of course, that scene makes the entire movie worth watching.

    Excellent adventure, on the other hand, is the perfect match up of Keanu with character. He probably deserved an Oscar for it.

    San Dimas High School football rules!!!

  142. robc,

    I agree with your most excellent assessment, dude [plays air guitar up high].

  143. You confused the lesser than and greater than signs.

    eXistenZ is Cronenberg’s last “mutation” themed movie, and is very, very good. Unfortunately, he’s on some “was killer in previous career” type kick now.

    Excellent adventure, on the other hand, is the perfect match up of Keanu with character. He probably deserved an Oscar for it.

    It’s an incredibly solidly put together movie. It’s one of those movies, like Jaws and Hunt For Red October, that if it comes on I find myself watching it even though I’ve seen it a zillion times.

  144. It’s one of those movies, like Jaws and Hunt For Red October, that if it comes on I find myself watching it even though I’ve seen it a zillion times.

    Red October, Wargames, and The Fifth Element for me.

    If you accidentally flip to it, you must watch to the end.

  145. The Fifth Element must run every other day on TBS or TNT. I keep catching bits and pieces of it (I’ve sat and watched the whole thing a few times, too). It’s not a great movie, but it’s one of “those” that you can rewatch. No idea why.

  146. Highlander for me. I’ve seen that sucker at least 50 times purely by accident.

  147. I love Highlander. Too bad all of its sequels sucked. Planet Zeist, indeed.

  148. Lebowski (even edited) and uh, Tombstone. And they are always on. Really cuts into my free time.

  149. No idea why.

    Leeloo.

    duh

  150. Lebowski (even edited)

    A prime example of why I *never* watch movies on broadcast or cable TV. The editing done to please the Tight-Assed Parents Television Council (or whatever it is) really snaps my suspension of disbelief like a twig. I don’t know why; usually I have awesome reality-denying powers, but the bleeps, hackneyed dubs, and missing lines/scenes really gets to me.

  151. Definitely Tombstone. And, speaking of the Coens, how about Raising Arizona?

    I was just over at Bad Astronomy, and I ran across a link to a very funny bit from The Onion about a new, more dangerous collider (I mention it here because of the brief LHC digression above).

  152. I disliked Fifth Element, mostly because I expected more and different from Luc Besson.

  153. Highlander was Sean Connery’s best work; that, and Outland High Noon In Space.

  154. Agreeing with Mr. Pound about the less than signs. However, if eXistenZ and 13th Floor had sequels, you might not think so…

    The Matrix was still a great flick, though. The problem was that what made it great was the development of that new world and Neo in particular…and you can’t do that again in a sequel. Now that you’ve got the world and the hero you have to DO SOMETHING with them. And the people who are very good at developing new worlds are not generally good at doing something with existing ones.

  155. “Super-collider? I just met her.”

    And, speaking of the Coens, how about Raising Arizona?

    Barton Fink can get me, but it’s never on.

  156. No idea why.

    Leeloo.

    duh

    Nah. They cut out the fun bits for TV anyway.

    I have to go with the literally absurd introduction of Tiny Lister as the galactic President. He’s one of those guys who you can drop into a seriously ridiculous (or even badly written) part, and it becomes gold. See also: The Dark Knight, Armed & Dangerous, etc.

  157. Yes, “High Noon in Space” is definitely another one. I’ve watched it piecemeal any number of times.

  158. re: Bowdlerized movies

    Those butchers at AMC “showed” Blazing Saddles, a while back. It was such a hackjob I had to change the channel after about ninety seconds.

  159. Sean Connery’s best work; that, and High Noon In Space.

    Outland (which is very good) was directed by Peter Hyams, also responsible for Running Scared, The Star Chamber…and Capricorn One.

  160. Cunnivore,

    The Canadian Film Board doesn’t fund sequels and 13th Floor was practically straight to video IIRC.

  161. El,

    Usually i agree. But the Lebowski editing is just so bad that its good.

    “you don’t like the music in my peaceful cab? Then get your own peaceful cab!!”

    or

    “This is what happens larry when YOU FIND A STRANGER IN THE ALPS!

  162. Elemenope,

    Nah. They cut out the fun bits for TV anyway.

    When I get sucked into The 5th Element, I go grab the DVD and watch it in its full glory. Leeloo Dallas Multipass is the hottest sci-fi movie chick in history (Barbarella my ass).

  163. Do people really think the idea that life is a generated illution is some kind of new idea the Wischowski Brothers or however you spell their name thought up?

    It was definitely a new idea to the target audience of the film. If you’re going to blame someone for hyping it as a breakthrough in philosophy, blame the philosophy professors who were so desperate to get published that they wrote books about “the philosophy of the Matrix” (of course, basically every cultural phenomenon has a “philosophy of..” book written about it these days).

  164. If anyone is wondering, the proper top 3 is:

    1. Leeloo
    2. Leia in Jedi
    3. Barbarella – maybe, if Im not missing an obvious one

  165. Leeloo Dallas Multipass is the hottest sci-fi movie chick in history (Barbarella my ass).

    She does a damned impressive Joan of Arc, too.

  166. FOOLS! HAVE YOU FAILED TO VIEW LIFEFORCE?

  167. Casino and Goodfellas are the two for me. I could watch those movies a thousand time. That and The Godfather. Something about gangster flicks for me.

    For what it is worth, I didn’t think Signs was a bad movie. The big sin in it for me was when the dingbats left the poor dog outside. That would never happen. No family would leave the beloved family German Shepherd to be eaten by aliens. That part always really bugged me.

  168. hottest sci-fi movie chick in history

    Hmm, I prefer Beverly Crusher, but that’s probably cause she was always generous with the camel toe.

  169. The Matrix: Plato’s cave, now with more ultraviolence!

  170. the hottest sci-fi movie chick in history

    I’m going to go with Morena Baccarin.

  171. Aren’t you forgetting someone?

  172. The Matrix: Plato’s cave, now with more ultraviolence!

    A friend of mine pointed out that the Jesus/Neo parallel was inappropriate for similar reasons.

    “Look at all the people Neo just saved…right in the face.”

  173. Those butchers at AMC “showed” Blazing Saddles, a while back. It was such a hackjob I had to change the channel after about ninety seconds.

    “But, the sheriff’s a ni[BLEEP!!!]…black-haired fellow!”

  174. Hmm, I prefer Beverly Crusher, but that’s probably cause she was always generous with the camel toe.

    You have…unusual tastes.

    FOOLS! HAVE YOU FAILED TO VIEW LIFEFORCE?

    Are space vampires eligible?

  175. I don’t remember any hot chicks in Believe it or Not…

  176. Oh, please, you fools. The fucking Cylon cast from BSG has the sci-fi chicks of old beat pretty soundly.

  177. FOOLS! HAVE YOU FAILED TO VIEW LIFEFORCE?

    All I remember from that film was Patrick Stewart trying to kiss a guy. Cheap ripoff of Blade Runner, that was.

  178. Elemenope,

    Three words: Cylon Number Three.

  179. You have…unusual tastes.

    Wanting the things no one else does is the key to a happy life, friend. One day you’ll understand.

  180. Oh, please, you fools. The fucking Cylon cast from BSG has the sci-fi chicks of old beat pretty soundly.

    I was going to stay out of this but you might want to go watch a few episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

  181. Three words: Cylon Number Three.

    While Lawless is a hottie, personally I have to go with the brunette Six.

  182. I was going to stay out of this but you might want to go watch a few episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

    I forgot the proviso “and also good thespians in a not shitty show”.

    Otherwise, good point.

  183. For instance, in Japan men traditionally found the back of a woman’s neck incredibly arousing for various cultural reasons. There’s no reason you or I couldn’t fixate on a seemingly irrelevant aspect of the female form, if only we have the will to change our habits. Take a year off of tit and ass worshipping, and instead allow yourself to gaze upon the diverse beauty of feminine ankles, for instance. Easy is the road and wide is the gate that leads to happiness, but how few of us are willing to break from The Herd to follow it.

  184. All I remember from that film was Patrick Stewart trying to kiss a guy. Cheap ripoff of Blade Runner, that was.

    You must’ve watched it on regular TV.

  185. If there was ever a movie that cried not to be remade, it was Return to Witch Mountain, and starring The Rock.

    It also stars the little girl from fair-middling film adaptation of Bridge To Terabithia.

    ***Spoiler Alert***
    I wonder if she dies at the end of this one too. She could make a whole career of that.

  186. it had had one ounce of irony or sense of “hey this is all good fun” to it, I would agree with you. But it didn’t.

    But the first matrix movie did have these elements (the second two did not, and was the primary reason they sucked)

    To wit:

    When Reeves says ‘whoa’
    when he says ‘i know kung fu’ (and goes on to get a face full of pavement)
    when Pantoliano says ‘i want to be important…like an actor’
    that young guy (‘mouse’?) and his relationship with the lady in red.

  187. cunnivore, you talk a good game, but if you put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, you’d lick something besides the ever-popular vagina.

  188. SugarFree,

    Is it a remake of Escape to or Return from Witch Mountain? Im assuming the first.

    Anyway, Escape to Witch Mountain was, I think, the first movie I ever saw in a theatre.

  189. I would also argue that Last Crusade, while not a better movie, was a ‘funner’ movie than radiers.

  190. cunnivore, while your point is valid, I am neither inclined, nor do I need, to forcibly change my habits.

    NutraSweet, I believe it is Race from Witch Mountain, and is not a remake but an alternate sequel to Escape to Witch Mountain, instead of Return from Witch Mountain. And fuck you, Disney.

  191. And fuck you, Disney.

    And so say we all.

  192. robc,

    IMDB is saying it’s a remake of Escape. Which is stupid considering it’s called Race to Witch Mountain. I saw the original at the drive-in.

    Epi,

    I’m right. Neener, neener.

  193. Fifth element is a great movie just because it was the first fun but not completely campy sci fi movie in a long time (if not ever)

    Outland is an underated movie for good reason.

  194. I was never wedded to original Witch Mountains. They fuck with The Cat From Outer Space though, it’s gonna be war.

  195. Is Sandahl Bergman (Conan the Barbarian) eligible for consideration?

  196. No. That’s fantasy. Now fuck off!

  197. SugarFree,

    The name isnt stupid – The original was escape to – Race To also makes sense.

    Witch Mnt was the good place, remember. Thats why they were having to Escape TO it and later Return FROM it.

  198. I was too young to have seen Escape in the theater. I may have seen Return in the same theater in which I saw My Bodyguard, though.

    NutraSweet, you know it is impossible for Wikipedia to be wrong.

  199. No. That’s fantasy. Now fuck off!

    Well, is “Hell Comes to Frogtown” scifi?

  200. Good to see that all of you boys still want me. Here’s what I look like now.

  201. robc,

    I mixed up the two movies. So “Race To” does make sense. I still predict the movie will suck rhino balls.

  202. Well, is “Hell Comes to Frogtown” scifi?

    Yes. Plus, it has the Roddy Piper/They Live exception, which is that ex-professional wrestlers in scifi are automatically cult classics.

  203. But the first matrix movie did have these elements (the second two did not, and was the primary reason they sucked)

    Oh please. The Merovingian was pure comic relief, and the Oracle never stops making fun of Neo throughout all three movies.

    And Smith was always entertaining.

  204. Episiarch,

    Please have a seat. The fools are daring to remake They Live! And The Thing (Intended, I believe, to be a remake of the Carpenter version as well)! Aiiiiieeeeeeee!

    Here’s a pre-review of Episiarchian proportions.

  205. Pro,

    After they destroyed the Manchurian Candidate and now The Day the Earth Stood Still, it is pretty clear that nothing is sacred in Hollywood. These are barbaric times indeed.

  206. PL,

    I adore that site, especially since the fantastically cruel Onion AV Club wimped out. It’s the only other board I post on. Only rarely, but to good effect.

  207. ProL, a friend had mentioned The Thing remake, but it hurt my brain so I blocked it out. I did not know about They Live.

    Not only is The Thing Carpenter’s best, it has Dean Cundey shooting in anamorphic against snow and an Ennio Morricone score. I cannot fathom the stupidity of this remake. Most other remakes have some shred of validity–the original was bad, or was unable to do stuff they wanted prior to CGI, etc.

    But The Thing has ground-breaking special effects, is beautifully shot, and is pretty much what Carpenter wanted out of it.

    Fuck them.

  208. Isaac: As I said, I haven’t seen The War. You may well be right.

    D.A.R.: Mingus was a genius, you philistine.

    Everyone: Repo Man, The Candidate, The Blues Brothers. And Stalag 17, unless I happen to stumble on it during one of those boring scenes where the soldier is pining for Betty Grable.

  209. Remaking They Live is incontrovertible proof that TheMoviez are officially out of ideas.

  210. Jesse,

    The Blues Brothers for sure. The greatest musical of all time. And the best Chicago movie.

    I haven’t seen Repo Man in years, but when it used to frequently pop up on cable, I’d always watch it. John Wayne was a fag.

    Stalag 17 is a good one, but I’d throw The Great Escape in ahead of it.

    Episiarch,

    If they remake Big Trouble in Little China, I may emit a vocal sob. At work.

  211. As long as we’re talking fucked up movies, I hate what Coppola did to Apocalypse Now, turning it from a masterpiece into the massively sucky Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought the added scenes completely changed the character of Williard, and not in a way that helped the story.

    I also remember how perplexed the first time I saw the FIRST repurposing of A.N. I’d been expecting the big blowup when Williard does, indeed, call in the airstrike to exterminate the brutes as the end title roles. WTF? (And I know Coppola has said the Kurtz’ base blowing up WASN”T supposed to be connected with Williard and the airstrike, which is why he changed the ending. I repeat. WTF?)

  212. D.A.R.: Mingus was a genius, you philistine.

    Did he actually say something bad about Mingus? I must have missed that.

    On the Stalag 17 issue, ProL mentioned Great Escape and never forget The Dirty Dozen. Got to get your Bronson quota.

    If they remake Big Trouble in Little China, I may emit a vocal sob. At work.

    It’ll happen, dude. Back when I heard that they were remaking The Wicker Man, I knew nothing was safe. Eventually they’ll get to Suspiria and the world will end.

  213. Stalag 17 is a good one, but I’d throw The Great Escape in ahead of it.

    You might be right in terms of relative quality. (It’s been a long time since I saw The Great Escape.) But I wasn’t listing my favorite movies — just the ones that, for whatever reason, I find myself watching to the end whenever they’re on TV. The fact that I’ve seen Stalag 17 maybe a dozen times and The Great Escape only once says something.

  214. …though it might be me, and not the movies, that it says something about.

  215. And Smith was always entertaining.

    Not to take away anything from the the inimitable Mr. Weaving, but bad writing and overexposure really made his charater rather annoying toward the end (he was still pretty solid in the 2nd movie though)

  216. If you are going to do a remake, do like they did with Disturbia, where it is clearly a remake but not just redoing the same movie. Make it different somehow, not a reinterpretation.

  217. Watch The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape back to back for the full effect.

  218. And Smith was always entertaining.

    When Hugo Weaving says “Welcome to Rivendell” in LOTR, a friend of mine whispered “Mr Anderson” to me.

    I laugh everytime I see that scene.

  219. You know, LMNOP, upon reflection, the second movie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as the first, and it lacked balance and crispness. It also helped that the first movie I saw after having just returned from overseas, and knew nothing about it before going the theater.

  220. I was ranking on the basis on “willingness to watch in bits and pieces”, as well. Dirty Dozen is another one I must’ve watched part of thirty different times.

    A remake of Big Trouble in Little China is impossible. A sequel, however, I might be willing to risk, provided that Carpenter, Russell, and Hong are involved. At a minimum. And by involved, I mean in the same way they were with the first film. Honestly, this is among the most underrated films ever.

  221. A remake of Big Trouble in Little China is impossible

    So was The Wicker Man, Psycho, and The Manchurian Candidate.

  222. I have three-year-olds, so I have been watching Chicken Run, over and over.
    I must say, it’s the best remake of The Great Escape ever made with chickens.

  223. Episiarch,

    Mark my words, Lo Pan himself will intercede and stop such an abomination. And send the director to the Hell of Being Cut to Pieces by Film Acetate!

  224. I did sit through all of Jazz, carefully counting the number of times in 19 hours that PBS’s golden boy allowed a whole song to be played without interruption. The final total: 1.

    In the Civil War epic, as far as I was able to tell, the single longest recitation was the Gettysburg Address.

    How does that time out? Two minutes, or so?

  225. Luke,

    Ah, the Negro Space Program. That video is a classic parody.

  226. It’s quite possible that the reason I thought the Jack Johnson film was so great is that I didn’t notice at the time that it was a Ken Burns film.

    I didn’t find out until months later.

  227. I can’t stand the edited-for-television movies.

    You stupid melon farmers. Forget you!

  228. Ah, Mr. Majestyk. Never have righteous revenge and melons been brought together so well. Unless the term melons is being used euphemistically.

  229. joe,

    It’s no fun if you say stuff we agree with. 🙂

    PL

    M*****F*****s

  230. Okay, what’s M*****F*****s? I can’t figure it out.

  231. joe was talking about edited-for-television movies.

    You know when they dub in words that lip-read the same as (or close to) the naughty words.

    So melon farmers is dubed in where the guy was actually saying M*****F*****s! and Forget you!
    replaces…

    Do I have to go on. I have the feeling I’m being had here.

  232. I’m partial to “bowb”.

  233. Well, actually, I thought he was talking about the Bronson film where he killed and killed and killed yet again. Because he was, in fact, an angry melon farmer.

  234. Boy howdy, will my face be red if your right.

  235. I honestly don’t know. He did mention TV editing in the comment; then again, Bronson movies were referenced upthread as well. Indeed a conundrum.

  236. You illiterate bowbing bowbheads!

    I believe (pretty sure) “You stupid melon farmers. Forget you!” was used in the butchered-for-teevee version of Repo Man.

    Bowb it!

  237. Isaac had it right.

    That President-Elect melon farmer didn’t want to give Rod Blagojevich anything but appreciation.

    Forget that.

  238. Huh. Well, I’d like to think that the censor was, in fact, a Bronson fan.

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  240. As long as we’re talking fucked up movies, I hate what Coppola did to Apocalypse Now, turning it from a masterpiece into the massively sucky Apocalypse Now Redux. I thought the added scenes completely changed the character of Williard, and not in a way that helped the story.

    I also remember how perplexed the first time I saw the FIRST repurposing of A.N. I’d been expecting the big blowup when Williard does, indeed, call in the airstrike to exterminate the brutes as the end title roles.ugg stores
    WTF? (And I know Coppola has said the Kurtz’ base blowing up WASN”T supposed to be connected with discount ugg Williard and the airstrike, which is why he changed the ending. I repeat. WTF?)

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