Its critics seem to not accurately describe the film in the first place.
May 8, 2015 10:51 AM   Subscribe

In Defense of Sucker Punch: Phil Sandifer argues that Zach Snyder's universally panned 2011 exxxxxtravaganza has been criminally misunderstood and is more relevant than ever. (Zach Snyder provided his own perspective on the film to i09 at release.)
How Did This Get Made? and The Flophouse have assessed the film and generally agreed with the critical consensus. (Sandifer on the Blue previously, previouslier, previousliest)
posted by Going To Maine (118 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Someone asked me, "Why did you dress the girls like that, in those provocative costumes?" And I said, "Well, think about it for a second. I didn't dress those girls in the costume. The audience dressed those girls." And when I say the audience, I mean the audience that comes to the movies. Just like the men who visit a brothel, [they] dress the girls when they go to see these shows as however they want to see them..

Sure Zach, the audience dressed them. If you keep saying it, YOU might even believe it.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Having a high concept that might've worked in a different movie made by someone else: not a success.
posted by grobstein at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


Someone asked me, "Why did you dress the girls like that, in those provocative costumes?" And I said, "Well, think about it for a second. I didn't dress those girls in the costume. The audience dressed those girls." And when I say the audience, I mean the audience that comes to the movies. Just like the men who visit a brothel, [they] dress the girls when they go to see these shows as however they want to see them..

"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.
posted by dng at 11:02 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


So hopefully by the end the girls are empowered by their sexuality and not exploited
When a male director talks about empowerment and sexuality, and uses "girls" in the same sentence, that's all I really need to know.
posted by nicodine at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2015 [48 favorites]


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.

At least Cabin in the Woods was a lot of fun despite it
posted by Hoopo at 11:06 AM on May 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help! Help! I'm being repressed empowered!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:10 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.

Irritating for you, maybe. I've always wanted to be compared to a sleeping elder god.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:11 AM on May 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


It's not a badly argued article, and I think it even succeeds in doing what it sets out to (which is addressing the central text of the movie - the male gaze stuff is prominent enough to not be called a sub-text), but I have to say that even if that is what the film is attempting to do it does it poorly. This is largely because Zach Snyder is not a good film maker. He isn't subtle enough to sell the satire, and the film as an action film is atrocious. It's like watching someone play a video game (specifically, because of the SOC101 mulling of issues, Bioschok Infinite).
posted by codacorolla at 11:11 AM on May 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.

I recently read that Snyder and DC is a mirror of Whedon and Marvel, and damn if that isn't apt.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:12 AM on May 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


"He was trying to do something!" is not a good defense of a movie. Ideas are a dime a dozen.
posted by grobstein at 11:13 AM on May 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Watchmen was terrible too, IMO, but you could mount a similar defense of it. I think it was dimly aware of its own eroticized violence, sort of trying to say something. But it was still crap.
posted by grobstein at 11:14 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.

Same for Funny Games, which I found only marginally less distasteful than Sucker Punch, because I could see it was making some effort to say something interesting about audience complicity in cinematic violence and was even somewhat successful, but I felt pretty annoyed by the way it broke the fourth wall to chastise me for it.

I get what Sucker Punch was trying to do, but it did it badly. There's a way to do this without entering the vicious recursive loop of reinforcing the very tropes you're criticizing, and Sucker Punch was just not good enough to manage it.
posted by yasaman at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hanging a bright red This Is Fanservice arrow onto your fanservice has always irritated me strongly; it's the final tattered hypocritical figleaf that hacks hang onto in their last-ditch effort to preserve their fading hopes of artcred. FFS, just fucking own it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


If hating Sucker Punch is wrong, I don't want to be right.

When a male director talks about empowerment and sexuality, and uses "girls" in the same sentence, that's all I really need to know.

Yep. Even though I can't ordinarily respect any blanket sexist or classist generalizations no matter how liberal, "enlightened" or well-intentioned they might purport to be, I would still even be willing to reduce that further to "When a male director talks about empowerment and sexuality of women, then failing any estabished track record to the contrary he should be presumed guilty of being a pervy sexist douchebag prick until proven innocent."
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Infamous: Second Son was pretty good, I wish they'd make another Sly Cooper game, but maybe that time's passed.
posted by hellojed at 11:17 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed the movie from a pulp fiction standpoint, and I don't really apologize for it. I like some pretty crappy movies.

I actually believe that Zach Snyder had a good intent when making the movie. He was trying to hash out the themes he started in Sin City regarding female empowerment (which he had to translate through the generally misogynistic Frank Miller graphic novels), and he was trying to criticize audiences for enjoying the guns/boobs/robots/swords/dancing. He does so unsuccessfully. Sin City was pretty well received, though.

As the author of the article says, "Awareness of the male gaze while indulging it is not an improvement; if anything, it makes it worse."

Quentin Tarantino did something similar in Inglourious Basterds, of course. He indicted our joy of watching gory violence on screen, but at the same time served up a ton of it. And we love that movie.

So why did Snyder fail? Maybe he didn't make us feel disgusted enough for getting the fanservice? Maybe his intended audience was the guys that love watching buxom ladies fighting giant samurais and lapdance, and they were the ones who were supposed to feel horrible about being the sweaty, cigar-smoking audience, but they didn't? Also, Snyder is no Tarantino.

I personally am giving Snyder a pass on this. It's easy to be dismissive of anything that already has the pile-on, but hard to give something a charitable second chance. I'm not going to say that the movie was worthy, and I'll say that the movie failed, but the good intent was there even if quite poorly executed.
posted by 90s_username04 at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


Robert Rodriguez did Sin City. Which, admittedly, started the Snyder trend of slavishly adapting the look of Frank Miller comics.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:20 AM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


It felt like a smart movie made by a stupid director. Snyder is a competent, sometimes tremendously exciting stylist, but, man, he makes some knuckleheaded films.
posted by maxsparber at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well. And no less irritating then.

Somebody else dislikes Cabin in the Woods? :D Metafilter, you never fail me!

I am actually more sympathetic to this tack in Sucker Punch, I don't know why, maybe because it was less "nyahh nyahh!" than CitW. Sucker Punch was not exactly... amazing, but I liked it, same with Watchmen. Somehow they both read as sensual in a non-female-agency-obliterating way, but I don't even know why.
posted by easter queen at 11:22 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


In 2011, nobody could possibly have realized just how willfully blind geek culture was able to be about sexism. And so of course this film got misunderstood.
Either I am seriously misunderstanding what the author is saying or are you fucking kidding me?
posted by griphus at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


I actually believe that Zach Snyder had a good intent when making the movie. He was trying to hash out the themes he started in Sin City regarding female empowerment (which he had to translate through the generally misogynistic Frank Miller graphic novels)

Sin City was a Robert Rodriguez joint. Snyder made his bones on a different Frank Miller adaptation, 300, which was basically devoid of women except for the briefly-glimpsed, often-nude Lena Headey.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Isn't this just the rhetorical flexing of muscles (successful or not)? It seems like any time a movie gets hated, a few years later someone posts an article to the internet about how it was actually good, and pretty much vice versa.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:28 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


"... The audience dressed those girls." And when I say the audience, I mean the audience that comes to the movies.

The movie baaarely made back its production budget ($89M worldwide, $82M budget), which means that if you account for marketing, it lost money. It was the 89th biggest movie of 2011 (in the U.S.), making less money than such audience-baiting "Give 'em what they want"-fests as J. Edgar and The Artist. For that matter, it made less money than seven Best Picture nominees, and you have to work at making a popcorn movie that does that badly.

The audience that dressed those girls was smaller than the skirts they dressed them in. You made a movie for a small and suspect portion of "the audience", Zach. Own it.
posted by Etrigan at 11:30 AM on May 8, 2015 [43 favorites]


This is probably not the place to hash this out, but when and how did "joint" come to mean "an artistic production"? My whole life, it has meant "place," but in the last couple of years the other meaning has seemingly cropped up everywhere.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:30 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Spike Lee?
posted by kmz at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Spike Lee.
posted by maxsparber at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


The audience that dressed those girls was smaller than the skirts they dressed them in.

Wow. What a perfectly executed line!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Same for Funny Games, which I found only marginally less distasteful than Sucker Punch, because I could see it was making some effort to say something interesting about audience complicity in cinematic violence and was even somewhat successful, but I felt pretty annoyed by the way it broke the fourth wall to chastise me for it.

I also thought of Funny Games when reading this defense. I agree that there are some frustrating aspects of Funny Games, and it doesn't work as well as it did in the 90s with torture porn style horror movies being popular in their own right these days. But Funny Games succeeds better as satire because it actually subverts the tropes rather than just commenting on them. In Funny Games the deaths are not supposed to be satisfying or exciting the same way they are in a normal slasher film, and it feels like a completely different film than the others in the genre because of those sorts of choices. An over the top sexualized action film is still an over the top sexualized action film even if the filmmakers spend the whole time winking to the audience to show how self aware they are.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:33 AM on May 8, 2015


"It's all the audience's fault" was the central thesis of The Cabin In The Woods as well.

I wouldn't call it the central thesis -- it was a twist at the end of what was otherwise a pretty fun action/horror/comedy movie. So, regardless of what you thought of the meta-ness of it, it worked.

Sucker Punch failed because it was bad all the way through. In order to succeed at the "the audience is gross for demanding this action porn" conceit, it has to, in the first place, be good action porn. And the action sequences were just bad. Terrible. I've seen many many many videogame cut-scenes that were better written acted and shot.

Add on that the more cerebral stuff was incomprehensible/boring as well, and you're kind of doomed.

When Zach Snyder can get the action right, people generally don't seem to care how little the protagonists are wearing. yes, i understand the difference between sexualized almost-nudity and heroic almost-nudity but I see the men in 300 as playing to an only slightly different angle on the male gaze (sex fantasy vs. power fantasy, etc).
posted by sparklemotion at 11:33 AM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Watchmen was terrible too

The biggest problem with Watchmen was the treating of the source material as a storyboard, and not source material. It needed a pretty radical adaptation if the soul of the thing was going to survive the transfer to film.

Another reason it didn't work so well is that a lot of the key ideas of Watchmen, that is exploring the rights, responsibilities, frailties and failings of the superpowered, are now basically what almost all superhero films are about these days, and certainly not the exciting step forward into giving superpeople depth that they were at the time.

I'd definitely say now would be a great time for a big budget film that does for the modern day superhero film what Watchmen did for comics of the time, but I only have a glimmer of an idea what that might be.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:34 AM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


The audience that dressed those girls was smaller than the skirts they dressed them in.

Well, either a small audience or a large dressing-room.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2015


The older I get the more I see Watchmen as a mixed blessing on comics. It definitely kicked off an age of redefining the overall potential of the medium, but the unintended consequences of "realism" are about to give us what may be the single largest-effort least-fun Superman film to date.
posted by griphus at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


And hey, both Suckerpunch and Cabin in the Woods are ten pounds of half-baked shit crammed into five-pound bags! Who knew?!
posted by Navelgazer at 11:51 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least Cabin in the Woods actually works as a horror movie.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:55 AM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


If you stop thinking of Sucker Punch as a movie, and look at it instead as just a visual tone poem, then it's great. Take this definition of a tone poem and think of the visual version of that:

While many symphonic poems may compare in size and scale to symphonic movements ... they are unlike traditional classical symphonic movements, in that their music is intended to inspire listeners to imagine or consider scenes, images, specific ideas or moods, and not to focus on following traditional patterns of musical form.

Or, look at it another way -- it's just an effects demo reel.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:59 AM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


And hey, both Suckerpunch and Cabin in the Woods are ten pounds of half-baked shit crammed into five-pound bags! Who knew?!

SYSTEM

[] ()

PURGE

posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


(I recognize that I am in the distinct minority about Cabin in the Woods. Which means that I recognize that the grand majority of viewers can't tell the difference between a smart concept and a well-executed one.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The older I get the more I see Watchmen as a mixed blessing on comics. It definitely kicked off an age of redefining the overall potential of the medium, but the unintended consequences of "realism" are about to give us what may be the single largest-effort least-fun Superman film to date.

Well if it makes you feel better I suspect Alan Moore is in a bad mood today, though I wonder what sort of comic book he'll write about the next five years.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had no idea so many people hated Cabin in the Woods. I really enjoyed it.
posted by Windigo at 12:23 PM on May 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Kill la Kill did what Snyder claims to have been attempting, and did it better and with more integrity.

Snyder might have a point if Terry Gilliam had made Sucker Punch. Unfortunately, Snyder made it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:33 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


(I recognize that I am in the distinct minority about Cabin in the Woods. Which means that I recognize that the grand majority of viewers can't tell the difference between a smart concept and a well-executed one.)

Enlightenment is a lonely country.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2015 [13 favorites]



The older I get the more I see Watchmen as a mixed blessing on comics. It definitely kicked off an age of redefining the overall potential of the medium, but the unintended consequences of "realism" are about to give us what may be the single largest-effort least-fun Superman film to date.

griphus

I can't find the exact article, but Moore himself has said as much. He regrets the grimdark turn Watchmen effected on comics. It's a result of lesser creators trying to ape Watchmen's depth but only being able to achieve the superficial violence and tone.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:36 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Personally, I thought it would usher in an age of meta-narrative through pirate-comics-within-comics.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:40 PM on May 8, 2015 [34 favorites]


MetaFiltarrrrr!: an age of meta-narrative through pirate-comics-within-comics
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:42 PM on May 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


I don't see Cabin and Sucker Punch as being remotely the same kind of movie. Unless I'm wildly misreading the movie, it seems like Whedon loves the hell out of the horror movie genre, despite how tightly limited the options for plotting are, and lets that love for the genre shine through in the movie. So although Cabin in the Woods sends up all the standard horror movie tropes, it's not coming from a place of disdain or really even of judgment. We're all in the position of Coulson appreciating the brutal irony of finally getting to see a victim killed by mermen, even though he's the victim.

Also, if you come in unspoiled, figuring out the puzzle and trying to guess the next place the movie will go is really fun. And, well, if you didn't like the scene of all the monsters at once swarming through the antiseptic bunker, we are likely wired very differently.

Sucker Punch, on the other hand. Okay, so I've only seen part of it, but from what I've seen it seems immediately obvious that Snyder loves the hell out of T&A-centric action movies, but is too freaking skeevy and intellectually dishonest to come out and just say he loves T&A-centric action movies. As a result the movie itself comes off as really sleazy and disingenuous in a way that Cabin doesn't.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:43 PM on May 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


The audience dressed those girls." And when I say the audience, I mean the audience that comes to the movies.

Zac, can we blame this "audience" for other societal problems like: racism, homophobia, bigotry, police violence, etc? It makes things so much easier.
posted by Fizz at 12:46 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I recognize that the grand majority of viewers can't tell the difference between a smart concept and a well-executed one

This this this, with respect to CitW. I was psyched to see it and so let down... I just felt like it was so poorly done and there was no pleasure in it. I know a lot of smart people disagree but to me it was just a predictable flop.
posted by easter queen at 12:50 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sin City was a Robert Rodriguez joint. Snyder made his bones on a different Frank Miller adaptation, 300, which was basically devoid of women except for the briefly-glimpsed, often-nude Lena Headey.

Except that you could tell by the wooden way they interacted that Leonidas' interest in Lena was purely out of a sense of duty, just like the actual Spartans!

Only a man of Snyder's intellect could have made 300: let's make an action movie with a bunch of manly men... except the Spartan fighting culture is based on ritualized homosexual pedophilia and in general felt that true sexual passion was between men. So, let's make all of the actors gym rats who spend the entire movie making passionate speeches at each other and oiling up their muscles in their scantily clad outfits, and let's make the evil villain an 8 foot tall blue drag queen.... uh huh.

300 feels like being trapped in the closet with Frank Miller, but you really can't tell whether it's earnest or not. Except that you know that Snyder couldn't have made the movie if he understood just one of the many homosexual subtexts underlying the material.

It's like Starship Troopers only without any irony. It's brilliant.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:51 PM on May 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


I loved Cabin so much I bought the "making of" book. I hate Sucker Punch.
posted by domo at 12:52 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


The audience definitely dressed the cast. The audience also mislaid a number of props, forgot to email back the ad copy proof, used a boom mic they knew wasn't working correctly and pissed off Jerry from craft services so now there's no more everything bagels.
posted by griphus at 12:52 PM on May 8, 2015 [45 favorites]


I think the comparison to Tarantino is apt; they both seem to aspire to some sort of metacommentary based on second-hand aesthetics (Comics, primarily, for Snyder. B-movies, blaxploitation, westerns, etc for Tarantino). It's just that Snyder fails miserably.

Tarantino's stuff always seems to constantly hint to the audience that "I'm using the trappings of [x], but not all the normal rules apply." Everything always seems slightly off, especially the dialogue, to remind the viewer that we're viewing this from a slightly different angle than normal. I think it's that frisson that gives his attempts as delivering a message artistic credibility. Whether you like, loathe or are indifferent to his work, no one will deny each of his movies is "A very Tarantino-ish take on [x]."

The difference is that Snyder's work always end up feeling rather soulless, to me at any rate, and I think that's because any attempt at a personal stamp or messaging is instead buffed over with a slick, commercial sheen. At best you could call it a commentary on prepackaged culture, but it only gains it's Synder-ocity by virtue of looking like every other music video/energy drink commercial only more so--in much the same vein that a lot of pointless explosions makes something Michael Baysian. It's hard to take seriously the idea that one of his characters is going to make a bold statement about the male gaze and very easy to believe any one of his characters might suddenly exhort me to Do the Dew.

Maybe another decade or so of hindsight will change my mind, but at the moment he stands as the director who slavishly translated comic book aesthetic to cinema so perfectly that it definitely proved that it's a terrible idea.
posted by Freon at 12:52 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Holy shit there's a making-of Cabin in the Woods book?!
posted by griphus at 12:53 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I liked the end scenes of Cabin, not so much the perfunctory movie-like ramp they had to construct to lead you up to it.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


It was so worth it. You get a breakdown of every monster discussed or seen in the movie.
posted by domo at 12:58 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Never understood why people apologize so hard for Tarantino. Nostalgia? I think maybe one's willingness to accept something as 'edgy/transgressive' when it's of your generation fades down into a sort of shrug later on even when you see something that really seems to be a straight line evolution/devolution from that into the current culture. Unless the meta commentary in the lap dance scene in Death Proof was too subtle for me.
posted by 99_ at 1:00 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, for one thing, the lap dance didn't even show up in the original theatrical release, and was replaced with a groan-inducing "REEL MISSING" slide instead. But yes, it is a case of having one's satirical cake and eating it too.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:07 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think that the grimdark tone of comics, and later comic-inspired movies, can be laid primarily at Alan Moore's feet. For one thing, comics had been evolving in that direction before Watchmen, and even before Moore's work on Swamp Thing; the seventies saw a revival of horror comics at Marvel and DC, and Tomb of Dracula probably remains the aptly-named Marv Wolfman's best work, even though he went on to do a lot of superhero work for the Big Two. The seventies also saw the introduction of the Fu Manchu-derived Shang-Chi, as well as street-level superheroes Power Man and Iron Fist, and the antihero Punisher, although he wouldn't really come into his own until the more action-hero-friendly eighties. I know that Marvel published a black-and-white horror anthology title, in which could be seen the occasional bare breast; this may have been due in part to looking at the success of Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal. In terms of Moore's eighties contemporary, Frank Miller, you can draw a line from Miller's early work on Daredevil (the previous artist was Gene Colan, whose moody, distinctive style well fitted Wolfman's scripts on Tomb of Dracula, as well as Steve Gerber's very different dark comedy and superhero satire on Howard the Duck), through his taking over the writing on Daredevil and discarding most of the second-string Spider-Man type villains in favor of Kingpin, Elektra, Bullseye, the Punisher, and a shitload of ninjas, to his own book Ronin, to The Dark Knight Returns, which likely would have happened whether Moore had done Watchmen or not. For that matter, Mark Gruenwald covered a lot of those themes of just how fucked up things would become if superheroes were around in his Squadron Supreme limited series, also before Watchmen.

What Moore did to promote the grimdark was mostly just to write really, really well, better than Miller or Gruenwald or just about anyone else. (It's debatable as to whether he was better than Gerber at his best, but even at his height, Gerber wasn't always at his best.) It's rare for any book, and definitely for any graphic novel or trade paperback of collected individual comics issues, to remain in print for more than a few years, let alone the nearly three decades that Watchmen has, and regardless of how dated it seems now, it's still a handy primer of the possibilities inherent in the form--even Moore hasn't come really close except maybe with Promethea. And, as Moore has said, unfortunately a lot of comics creators have come away from it with entirely the wrong lessons, as has Snyder.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


Satire that is completely indistinguishable from the thing it is satirizing is generally lousy satire. (See also: Showgirls.)
posted by kyrademon at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Okay, let's say we find a way to excuse the movie for being sexist and mean-spirited.

What's its excuse for being FUCKING BORING?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:18 PM on May 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Never understood why people apologize so hard for Tarantino

Pulp Fiction. Reservoir Dogs. Jackie Brown. Those three get you a lot of apologies.
posted by aspo at 1:19 PM on May 8, 2015 [13 favorites]


The girls are in a brothel performing for men in the dark. In the fantasy sequences, the men in the dark are us.
I'm tempted to rewatch the movie now.
posted by corb at 1:19 PM on May 8, 2015


I've said this before and I will say it again. But now that most of us have enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, and many of us are big fans of Slither and Super, can we maybe consider that most of the acclaim Zach Snyder got for the Dawn of the Dead remake should probably have gone to James Gunn and his awesome script? There was some scuzzy genius to that movie, but given Snyder's string of hollow letdowns since then it seems increasingly clear it wasn't the director's.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2015 [19 favorites]


Saying Joss Whedon is a better director than Zach Snyder is not saying a whole hell of a lot. It's true, but it doesn't make Whedon any less mediocre.

Tarantino blows both of them out of the water, because he understands cinema as a rhetorical device. His messages never lie on the surface, and they never lie with the sophomoric "deconstruction" or "juxtaposition" that wannabe-film critics try to saddle him with, either, and that includes a disappointing number of people who are paid to criticize his work. The man is remarkably well-versed in the art of placing an entire audience in a particular emotional state, then immediately taking advantage of that state to create a sequence that couldn't fully exist but for that pre-existing state of mind.

I don't know of a single other director who is as clever with how he puts things together — others do things very well that Tarantino doesn't bother with doing, but the man is definitively one of the greats, and the comic-book sheen on his material is his equivalent of a magician's misdirection, making you look in exactly the wrong places as he goes. Analyses of his movies tend to start with the assumption that Tarantino's motive or method exist in the approach that he has to movies, but from the start he's had the attitude that spectacle exists almost entirely apart from purpose, and over time he's gotten even more lurid as his material's gotten more ambiguous in nature, more ambitious in its refusal to admit to purpose. It made the Django Unchained criticism a frustrating slog of a read — simply watching an audience respond to the movie, it was clear that something was happening which critics couldn't spot in-text and wouldn't admit must somehow be there in a way they weren't grasping.

Whedon, by contrast, is very much a TV writer — make characters likable, give 'em something to do, maybe slip in a bit of subtext (though his "sub" is pretty laughable). He's gotten fairly competent at this over time, to the point where he's capable of churning out Hollywood-level Product, and if you like that sort of thing, he's not the worst at it. As a fan of a lot of the directors he ripped off while developing his early style, I will never find him uninfuriating, and his misogyny, which was apparent all throughout Buffy and made Dr. Horrible a hideous cloying mess, would probably ruin his work for me even if he wasn't such a boring guy. But he knows what he's doing, even if he's not doing all that much.

Snyder is... I don't even know what Snyder is. He's one of those terrible phenomena that I can't trick myself into seeing as a non-complete-horrendous wreck. I don't know what aspects of his work I'd have to lack the capacity to see, and what aspects of his work I'd have to learn to see that I apparently cannot, to appreciate his movies, or even watch them. Snyder's claiming that Sucker Punch is some kind of feminist statement is even more blatantly and hilariously untrue than people holding Whedon as an ideal feminist artist simply because he acknowledges that women exist.

It bothers me that, just because critics and audiences have gotten so good at interpreting actually difficult works of art, it is now assumed that shit doesn't have to succeed at doing what it intends to do in order to work. Challenging art works like an intricate clockwork, refuting easy analysis, allowing for multiple conflicting interpretations, making audiences work to see the whole. Art that doesn't work, on the other hand, doesn't fucking work, and insisting that people are idiots for not recognizing that a concept plausibly could have worked is really just publicly admitting your own ability to rise to the level of mere mediocrity. Defending an artist you liked by making that claim on his behalf mostly just tells me you can't distinguish between liking a thing and actually thinking about it, or are too lazy to go from the first step to the second.
posted by rorgy at 1:25 PM on May 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


300 feels like being trapped in the closet with Frank Miller, but you really can't tell whether it's earnest or not.

Oh 300, what an amazing, terrible, hilarious, ridiculously awesome film. It really is the closest we'll ever come to a posthumous Ed Wood movie.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:25 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tarantino is sleazy and skilled and earnest.

Snyder is just sleazy.
posted by pan at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2015


So Zack Synder is saying that Suck Punch was giving the audience what they wanted, sort of like Ben Stiller's intro to Heat Vision and Jack?
posted by Catblack at 1:29 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sucker Punch was a 15 minute short story with elaborate action fantasy sequences that would've fit well into movies that actually had stories regarding what was happening in those action sequences. It was a ton of wasted possibilities used as filler for a hollow story. The ending was good. That's all I can really say about Sucker Punch. If each of the fantasy sequence was fleshed out into each own individual movie and the plot of Sucker Punch was fleshed out into a proper movie itself as opposed to being a reason for the fantasies then those movies would each be a ton better than Sucker Punch.
posted by I-baLL at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


(I've mentioned this before on the Blue, I think, but the change in the original 4-hour cut of Kill Bill — namely, they don't reveal the Bride's daughter is alive halfway through — substantially changes the nature of the film, and somewhat alters both Bill as a character and the tensions in that final showdown. Not for the characters themselves, mind you, but for the audience, which is the point: they're made to empathize with the Bride for far longer, and are dealing with the same rush of new information at the end as she is. Now when I watch Kill Bill with people, we deliberately skip past that transitory sequence, and I think the films are grossly improved for it.)
posted by rorgy at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


On the subject of Watchmen adaptations, is like to reiterate what I said the last time we talked about Snyder:

Also, the Kick-Ass films are pretty much the Watchmen of our time. They embody the gritty "real messed up people as real messed up superheroes" thing, while being tonally abrasive and having really unpleasant characters. Those films are really reminiscent of Watchmen. Maybe it's the garish costumes.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2015


Maybe they're reminiscent of the terrible Watchmen movie, but Millar's awful shit can't hold a candle to what Moore did.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:39 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Reading Sucker Punch as a satire condemning the sexism of geek culture feels a lot like reading Hype Williams's Belly as a condemnation of the kind of hedonism celebrated by the music videos on which Williams built his career. If you take those last 30 seconds at face value, sure, I guess he means to say all that stuff is bad. But he sure did spend a whole lot of time and effort making that reprehensible behavior look as cool as it possibly could, which is what makes the condemnation feel completely disingenuous whether he meant it sincerely or not.

That said, I do love Sucker Punch for being a gorgeous, ridiculous train wreck. It's one of those films (like Richard Kelly's Southland Tales for another recent-ish example) that is basically just a straight brain dump that makes perfect sense to its creator and virtually no one else. Those movies are frequently unlike just about anything else out there, which (whether they're actually good or not) constitutes just about the highest recommendation for me.

(As for The Cabin in the Woods, this thread inspired me to re-post a lost piece I wrote on the film during its theatrical run over here.)
posted by rabbitroom at 1:40 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


300 feels like being trapped in the closet with Frank Miller, but you really can't tell whether it's earnest or not.

Oh 300, what an amazing, terrible, hilarious, ridiculously awesome film. It really is the closest we'll ever come to a posthumous Ed Wood movie.


and once you've gotten used to the oiled up manly men and effeminate villain, ok fine those are tropes, he makes the climax of the movie be gruff, manly Leonidas trying to pierce his fierce ruling adversary with a giant wooden spear. I'm sure that was just copied from the comic books, but surely someone on the production team must have noticed that it was... just a little... gay.

If you could just photoshop out the cocks, Snyder would be totally the go-to guy for a movie adaptation of Tom of Finland. It would be about half-dressed manly men rough-housing in Scandinavia, slavishly copied frame by frame.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:47 PM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


If you could just photoshop out the cocks, Snyder would be totally the go-to guy for a movie adaptation of Tom of Finland. It would be about half-dressed manly men rough-housing in Scandinavia, slavishly copied frame by frame.

In some beautiful alternate universe, Snyder is doing this instead of Batman and Superman Beat the Shit Out of Each Other in the Dark.
posted by rabbitroom at 1:49 PM on May 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


Just as the Peter Principle claims that managers rise to their level of incompetence, so too do the best-qualified directors of gay porno rise just high enough to ruin mainstream cinema and gay pornos alike.

I call this the Peters Principle.
posted by rorgy at 1:54 PM on May 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


Speaking of Tarantino, Death Proof is the movie that the person in the FPP is describing. The first half is the modern idealization of the exploitation film, and note where the "reel breaks" - right around the lap dance scene (which Tarantino cuts to avoid titillating the audience). He then starts his second half of the film with a totally different color palette, set of actresses, and tone. The second half of the film is a deliberate tribute to actual '70s exploitation and revenge films where the women get a chance to talk to one another, do cool shit in the form of a fantastic car chase, and take revenge on the ridiculous male villain. That's what Zach Snyder wishes he had the talent to do.
posted by codacorolla at 2:03 PM on May 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


The first half of Death Proof is one of my favorite things Tarantino has made and the second half is proof that the first half would have ideally been about half as long as it was because god damn is that premise exhausting.
posted by griphus at 2:04 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Everything Sandifer says could be true, yet it still doesn't make up for the fact that the film was sensually overstimulating to the point of exhaustion and boredom. Like a Transformers movie, but more poorly lit.

Honestly, after reading Snyder's sneering assessment of his own audience, I wish I could somehow unsee Sucker Punch.
posted by xigxag at 2:08 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


It bothers me that the word "trolling" is losing meaning for a lot of people because Death Proof is a perfect example of a director trolling the audience and then revealing that he's trolling them. That's why it's a great movie and the original theatrical cut is much better than the extended dvd cut. Oh, man, I remember seeing it in the theatre and loving it, especially at the beginning of the end.

EDIT: Changed the "very, very end" to "the beginning of the end". One should not drink tea and type with the same hands simultaneously.
posted by I-baLL at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2015


Maybe they're reminiscent of the terrible Watchmen movie, but Millar's awful shit can't hold a candle to what Moore did.

I mean Kick-Ass better captures the zeitgeist of our dumber shortened attention span social media-obsessed times. Because it's the comic that this age deserves, though also the one we can really do without now.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:27 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


"He was trying to do something!" is not a good defense of a movie. Ideas are a dime a dozen.

That wasn't his defense of the movie though. He's saying "he actually did something and you missed it". Not that I think he really pulled off the argument that Snyder "actually did something" completely


I recognize that the grand majority of viewers can't tell the difference between a smart concept and a well-executed one


What the...who the...

You know, re: this comment and a couple of the comments about Tarantino, I feel like some people are overlooking that these movies happen to be, on top of whatever else they are, good stupid fun to spend an hour or two watching. Entertaining people and make people laugh are not small considerations for these guys. Tarantino even outright emulates a lot of things that make bad movies bad because it's fun and trashy. I feel like you guys are going into these movies expecting something above some fun, self-aware pop culture garbage when that's the level they're meant to be enjoyed.

his misogyny, which was apparent all throughout Buffy

Are we just tossing out provocative one-liners in this thread?
posted by Hoopo at 2:53 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, re: this comment and a couple of the comments about Tarantino, I feel like some people are overlooking that these movies happen to be, on top of whatever else they are, good stupid fun to spend an hour or two watching. Entertaining people and make people laugh are not small considerations for these guys. Tarantino even outright emulates a lot of things that make bad movies bad because it's fun and trashy. I feel like you guys are going into these movies expecting something above some fun, self-aware pop culture garbage when that's the level they're meant to be enjoyed.

That's actually precisely the problem. Zach Snyder does NOT make fun movies. Stupid, yes, fun, not so much. There's this feeling that I get in a lot of modern action cinema, where I'm just anxious and sort of angry at having to watch the confusing mess of imagery on the screen. Where 90% of the shot is some gaudy, poorly rendered CG object. It's an assault on the senses that isn't exciting, it's just overwhelming. Snyder is suspect #1 in making movies that cause me to feel that way. I'd even call it his signature style.
posted by codacorolla at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, for one thing, the lap dance didn't even show up in the original theatrical release, and was replaced with a groan-inducing "REEL MISSING" slide instead.

But if you really want to "indict your audience," that's the way to do it (I assume, I haven't actually seen Death Proof). You set them up to expect something they enjoy that is problematic, then you don't give it to them, hopefully making them think about what they wanted and how much they wanted it.
posted by straight at 3:01 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Never understood why people apologize so hard for Tarantino

I think there is an argument to be made for art as being the skillful evocation of specific emotional states in the audience. If you want to see this in action, see the moment of Marvin's death in Pulp Fiction, during which the audience is simultaneously laughing aloud at the misadventure that led to it and repelled by what has just happened. I have trouble thinking of any other director who could produce this juxtaposition quite as perfectly.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:02 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's actually precisely the problem. Zach Snyder does NOT make fun movies

To be clear I was going to bat for Cabin in the Woods. I think I share your opinion on Zack Snyder, his movies come off a bit humorless to me.
posted by Hoopo at 3:08 PM on May 8, 2015


One of the early comments in response to Sandifer sums up my essential problem with Sucker Punch pretty neatly:

"tl;dr: You're watching Futurama, the show that doesn't endorse the cool crime of robbery."
posted by kyrademon at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


We love Inglorious Basterds? Do we really?

Sorry, I can't watch Tarantino films. He's a That Guy.

Tarantino is "that white guy who thinks he found a loophole for dropping n-bombs and not having to face the consequences." We get it, man, i'ts ironic. Now go back to your Hollywood frat house and leave us alone.

Every film of his I've seen (and I stopped bothering over a decade ago) has left me with only one feeling: "Thank fuck I don't know any of these people."
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:24 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


...and how many Tarantino films have you seen?
posted by I-baLL at 3:28 PM on May 8, 2015


We love Inglorious Basterds? Do we really?

It's not my favorite movie of his but I liked it. The threads about Inglorious Basterds I thought had quite a bit of disagreement though, so you're not really alone in not loving it IIRC.
posted by Hoopo at 3:49 PM on May 8, 2015


I love Inglourious Basterds for sure. I usually love Joss Whedon's stuff. I did not did not did not thing Cabin in the Woods was fun. I think it was meant to be. I think that, given a few more drafts to tighten it up, it could have been, but what we got was a mess. I was so psyched for it, and what I got was severely undercooked, sophomoric and masturbatory, and if you're making a big meta-joke about horror movie story theory, and the finished product displays a fundamental lack of understanding of horror or story theory, I'm gonna be pissed.

The very end was cool though.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2015


I thought Sucker Punch was a piece of shit. After reading this, I see there might be a slight chance it was actually a noble failure, but that doesn't make me want to see it again. These kind of theoretical defenses are fine, I guess, but they don't fix the failure.

On the other hand, I thought both the Dawn remake and Watchmen were pretty great (and I love the originals), but I was queasy about 300 (it had some enjoyable stuff, but mostly went full-on fascist), I loved Cabin in the Woods, generally like Tarantino a lot, but think Death Proof is probably the worst thing he's done (I watched it once, then a few years later I was going to watch it again, but I had to turn it off after 20 minutes because of the annoying dialogue, which sounded like a parody of Tarantino dialogue), mostly liked Inglourious Basterds, though it to a point made me sympathize with nazis, and think Django Unchained is a brilliant movie, up there with Pulp Fiction.

It takes all kinds, I guess?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:26 PM on May 8, 2015


I kinda liked Sucker Punch. Not a lot but I didn't hate it.

I did very much like Jennifer's Body though which I think lots of people simply wrote off without giving a chance because Megan Fox.
posted by Justinian at 4:39 PM on May 8, 2015


Metafilter: I did not did not did not thing Cabin in The Woods was fun.
posted by kittensofthenight at 5:00 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really the only comment that needs to be made about 300.



Then we will fight in the shaaaaaaade
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:52 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


(As for The Cabin in the Woods, this thread inspired me to re-post a lost piece I wrote on the film during its theatrical run over here.)

This was a good read, thank you!
posted by Windigo at 6:57 PM on May 8, 2015


Windigo: "I had no idea so many people hated Cabin in the Woods. I really enjoyed it."

You and me both. I saw it as a clever indictment of torture-porn films which took the extra step of also mocking those torture-porn films that pat themselves on the back about how they are "deeper" than the others.
posted by Samizdata at 7:00 PM on May 8, 2015


kyrademon: "(See also: Showgirls.)"

Don't wanna.

You can't make me!
posted by Samizdata at 7:03 PM on May 8, 2015


The amazing thing about Showgirls (well, one of the amazing things) is that nobody seems to be 100% sure about what it was trying to achieve or whether it succeeded or not.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:23 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Tarantino thinks he has a pass to use the N-word because his friends aren't challenging him and because he has that other pass. He's a niche filmmaker who's in the rare position where if he can't make the movie he wants the way he wants to make it, he doesn't make the movie, so he doesn't have to listen to audiences or studios or critics or anyone else so long as he's still bringing his core fans and a big enough chunk of the mainstream moviegoing audience.

He seems to follow a set of rules where black characters in his films can say the N-word for any reason (from internalized racism to comraderie) and white characters who say the N-word are definitely racist, definitely assholes, and probably evil.* Right now mainstream audiences seem to be OK with those rules, although anecdotally, fewer politically activated white people and fewer people of color (if any political stripe) seem to be cool with it in my world.

"I can't be racist, some of my best friends are black" doesn't fly for most people, but when your besties are Samuel L. Jackson and the RZA and they're co-signing on your work, you get a little bit more traction out of it.

*Pulp Fiction doesn't have as much of a clearcut good vs evil line drawn in it, as pretty much everyone in the film is some class of criminal. The hillbilly rapists say the N-word but they are definitely not sympathetic and we're supposed to revel in their downfall. The heroin dealer also says it, and while I think there's a level of realistic ironic pomposity there, and he IS an asshole, he is painted as a pretty sympathetic character (maybe the most sympathetic heroin dealer I've ever seen on film). Then there's Quentin Tarantino ' character who says it a LOT. His character is kind of a chump, definitely an asshole, but fairly sympathetic. Quentin Tarantino is LITERALLY playing a racist with a black friend (his character doesn't seem to have any professional connection to Samuel Jackson's, they just seem like close, hide-a-body close, friends). In every movie since Pulp Fiction, it seems like any time you see a white guy say the n-word, you're supposed to think "fuck this asshole."
posted by elr at 7:50 PM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


On one hand, I personally watched Sucker Punch and thought it was gross and sexist.

On the other hand, Phil Sandifer is much smarter than me, and I've spent hours watching old Doctor Who episodes because he said they were great.

So I think I'll defer to him at the moment.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:54 PM on May 8, 2015


And Cabin in the Woods is amazing, since it works both as an indictment of the audience or whatever and a great horror movie. It kinda takes a Moore/Morrison deconstructionist approach to horror movies, which I dig.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:56 PM on May 8, 2015


The amazing thing about Showgirls (well, one of the amazing things) is that nobody seems to be 100% sure about what it was trying to achieve or whether it succeeded or not.

It was a success at putting "Vision Thing" by the Sisters of Mercy into a movie, and I think we should stop for a moment to acknowledge that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:00 PM on May 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, Phil Sandifer is much smarter than me, and I've spent hours watching old Doctor Who episodes because he said they were great.

On the other, other hand, sometimes smart people get way ahead of themselves. I posted this because I think Sandifer's take is interesting & audacious, but as somebody who has disagreed about his pop-culture opinions before, there's no real reason not to give him the side eye here. (Sometimes a critic and an artist really don't want that cigar to be a cigar, but it nonetheless is.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:08 PM on May 8, 2015


One of the constant bugbears of the Flophouse guys is that sleaze isn't allowed to be sleaze anymore. On a recent episode, they used the examples of both Hall Pass and Old School: both movies are ostensibly about men rebelling against the straight-laced, dull lives in which they've found themselves but don't really result in any egregious violations of societal rules and end with the characters learning that they're happy with things just the way they are. In Hall Pass the characters can't bring themselves to have affairs despite being expressly granted that privilege. To contrast, in Animal House nothing is learned and the film ends in chaos.

For them, Sucker Punch fails in part because it really tries to split the divide. The characters are wearing PG-13 fetish wear and fighting fake CGI monsters, but the film ends with a lobotomy spike in the brain and opens with a rape and a homicide. If Snyder had been able to go hardcore and then do the reverse, he'd have something, but that kind of reverse in a film that's pulling punches and apparently pretty boring just isn't that tolerable.

As a counterpoint, at least two of the Flophouse guys went on record as loving the universally panned Only God Forgives, a movie that's pretty open about its skeeze and holds nothing back. (Similarly, while the How Did This Get Made folks hate Sucker Punch, they adore the universally panned Punisher: Warzone because -to paraphrase- it was the movie the audience had claimed it wanted without understanding what that actually was.)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:35 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Very loosely related (since we were discussing Snyder and 300) is the Hollywood Reporter's hilarious review of the new SyFy show Olympus, which Keith Uhlich describes as "like 300 as shot for $300."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:20 AM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The amazing thing about Showgirls (well, one of the amazing things) is that nobody seems to be 100% sure about what it was trying to achieve or whether it succeeded or not.

I was of the understanding that Verhoeven really really hated Saved by The Bell, and wanted to hamstring Elizabeth Berkley's acting career because of it.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:46 AM on May 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


they adore the universally panned Punisher: Warzone

Panned by morons. The film is a masterpiece.
posted by maxsparber at 9:28 AM on May 9, 2015


Sucker Punch is a guilty pleasure.

That is all.
posted by lhauser at 12:17 PM on May 9, 2015


I remember seeing sucker punch and liking it .... though I didnt see it again cause it seemed a bit too dark ... a bit confusing for a movie marketed as visual eye candy

After reading all the negative criticism heaped here, i saw it again today .. and let me tell you .. while its not a great movie, its pretty good ... its intelligent and very different from a run of the mill action movie or fantasy movie ..... hell its a lot better movie than 300, watchmen or sin city. Thats not high praise but I see that rotten tomatoes has higher ratings for all of above.

And all those who sneer at its "girls wear skimpy clothes while doing action" .... being sexist is not when you enjoy girls wearing skimpy clothes and doing action scenes ... its when you cant suspend your disbelief for girls wearing sexy clothes and kicking ass while you are happy to cheer 300 guys wearing skimpy clothes and kicking ass.

Its not a funny movie but its visually pretty good, has a pretty intelligent plot and generic acting ... better than half the action movies out there.

Hell, it even passes bechdel test with flying colors.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 4:50 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


The audience dressed those girls." And when I say the audience, I mean the audience that comes to the movies.

Is this the Bart Simpson defence?
posted by KateViolet at 2:15 AM on May 10, 2015


This essays arguments sound a lot like the MovieBob videos You are wrong about Sucker Punch Part 1 and Part 2 to me.

Whatever you say about Sucker Punch, you've got to admit it's impressive that such a dark and brutal film only got a PG-13 rating. Snyder obviously knows exactly what the MPAA will tolerate.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:00 AM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Snyder is in the same category as Bay for me. He's definitely an auteur, there's no mistaking his films for anyone else's, but he makes terrible films. Or maybe not terrible but creepy and sometime really brain damaged films. On the other hand, I've seen every one of his films in the theater and paid good money to do that so I'm not sure what that says about me.
posted by octothorpe at 4:39 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Snyder is a lot more interesting than Bay. Snyder fails a lot but he is at least trying to do something. Bay is... I don't even know how to describe him.
posted by Justinian at 4:45 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was a success at putting "Vision Thing" by the Sisters of Mercy into a movie, and I think we should stop for a moment to acknowledge that.

Instead, can we just skip this thought, and reflect on the inclusion of "This Corrosion" in The World's End, so we don't need to contemplate Showgirls too long?
posted by Metro Gnome at 11:33 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Instead, can we just skip this thought, and reflect on the inclusion of "This Corrosion" in The World's End, so we don't need to contemplate Showgirls too long?

I laughed my ass off when they used the choral bit from the start of the song and was at a bit of a loss to explain just why that was so funny to my friends.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:32 AM on May 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


It's unfortunately hard for people to separate whether they like something and whether something is substantial outside of their liking. Trying to understand (dare I say) art and judging it based upon preferences are two completely different things. Combining those will just mean preferences will dictate a person's understanding.

Like the Watchmen film doesn't hold a candle to the comic, but it is a really well made film.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:01 PM on May 11, 2015


I enjoyed Sucker Punch. It's visually fantastic. Seen it once, want to re-watch it.
But everyone else I saw it with hated it.

Same with 300 (unfortunately saw the sequel).
I enjoyed Watchman so much I've watched it three times in various cuts.

I love Punisher: Warzone.

I fucking hate Man of Steel. And the Transformers movies.

Bay is... I don't even know how to describe him.

I have been forcing myself for four nights to finish Age Of Extinction.
Last night I got to the Dinobots and switched off.
I will not be beaten by this "film".
posted by Mezentian at 4:53 AM on May 12, 2015


"I enjoyed Sucker Punch. It's visually fantastic. Seen it once, want to re-watch it.
But everyone else I saw it with hated it.
"

That's why I hated it. It is visually fantastic. But the parts that are visually fantastic...having nothing to do with the plot. There's no reason for those parts. They could just be mumbo jumbo. However those parts look very interesting and you want them to not be part of this movie but part of a different movie where those scenes would actually be part of the plot. We get none of that. So if we remove those scenes then we're only left with 15 minutes of actual story left.

Hmm, you know, in hindsight, it's not really a movie as much as it is a resume.
posted by I-baLL at 7:53 AM on May 12, 2015


Bay likes money, and he's smart enough to know there is a much larger audience overseas than domestically. If you watch Transformers 4 as if it was written and made mostly for a pre-teen Southeasr Asian audience then it makes a hell of alot more sense.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:19 PM on May 12, 2015


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