Subverting Number 1 with Number 2
December 11, 2018 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Everyone on the set of The Magnificent Seven had diarrhea and what that says about toxic masculinity (slMedium)
posted by backseatpilot (54 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the author means former University of Minnesota student Robert Vaughn.

(Signed — U of M alum)
posted by maxsparber at 11:04 AM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


My two takeaways from this Medium piece is that it's more about Robert Vaughn than anything else, and if you want to maintain your love and affection for a movie it's best not to examine the sausage-making process too closely.
posted by JamesBay at 11:06 AM on December 11, 2018 [5 favorites]


...not to examine the sausage-making process too closely.

ew
posted by odinsdream at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2018 [10 favorites]


... diarrhea and what that says about toxic masculinity

That it's arse-gravy of the worst kind?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:44 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]




As a love letter to Robert Vaughn's acting and snarky memoir, this is terrific.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:51 AM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


In her autobiography, Shirley Temple said that if an actor doesn't know how to scene-steal, then he/she won't make it as high as Hollywood. (She told a marvelous story about scene-stealing from Frank Morgan, and Morgan's bewilderment at how such a young child knew tricks that had taken him decades to learn.)
posted by Melismata at 12:18 PM on December 11, 2018 [13 favorites]


These tough-as-nails dudes with their fragile-as-the-finest-crystal egos....
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:31 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


I remember a documentary or video essay or something talking about McQueen'a and Brynner's rivalry on the film and using the example of this bit where all McQueen's business with his gun and hat is to try to upstage Brynner.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:31 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm always amused when I read a think-piece about a movie, where it's like the author got up and ran out of the movie at the halfway point.

Yes, Lee is losing his nerve; it's the same character from Seven Samurai. He's redeemed in the end and dies heroically. Dude, when did you walk out of the movie?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:32 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


"When I have diarrhea, you all have diarrhea, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."
posted by delfin at 12:48 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


The man was Napoleon Fuckin' Solo, and that's all I got to say about THAT.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:57 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


Vaughn passed me in the lobby of the old Commodore Hotel in Manhattan. He was wearing a tuxedo, of course.

He was magnificent!
posted by Splunge at 1:02 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Robert Vaughn was in another Seven Samurai remake, possibly the only actor to feature in two major adaptations. I speak of course of the delightful Battle Beyond the Stars.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:41 PM on December 11, 2018 [12 favorites]


Battle Beyond the Stars is on Amazon Prime Streaming too.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:20 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


In which Vaughn plays pretty much the same character, just lifted out of the western and dropped into a Roger Corman budget space extravaganza.
posted by Naberius at 2:22 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yes, Lee is losing his nerve; it's the same character from Seven Samurai. He's redeemed in the end and dies heroically. Dude, when did you walk out of the movie?

That is mentioned in the article, if in passing.
posted by Four Ds at 2:53 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Vaughn’s scenes as Gelt in Battle Beyond the Stars, especially when we first meet him in his hideout, was the only part of that movie I remembered from when I first saw it many years ago, and I always had a tender spot for the film as a result.

Then I watched it again, about six months ago. O lord it’s trash.

(But I still like Vaughn’s part.)
posted by darkstar at 3:08 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yes, Lee is losing his nerve; it's the same character from Seven Samurai. He's redeemed in the end and dies heroically. Dude, when did you walk out of the movie?

I thought it was pretty clear from the essay that the author loves the movie, loves Vaughn's performance in it, and has seen it many, many times ("As my all-consuming Vaughn grief descended into multiple viewings of The Magnificent Seven, though, I began to discover a new and deeper appreciation for this fact and how it had been thrust into the world."). It really is a love letter to Vaughn and to what he accomplished in The Magnificent Seven.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:48 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


Robert Vaughn was in another Seven Samurai remake, possibly the only actor to feature in two major adaptations

Three. He was also in The Magnificent Eleven.
posted by maxsparber at 4:00 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


I enjoy The Magnificent Seven, but most of that enjoyment is completely due to Elmer Bernstein. Otherwise, Seven Samurai is a far more complete movie... and Battle Beyond the Stars is sort of like that fun version you'd make in your backyard, only you get to have Robert Vaughn, John Saxon, Sybil Danning, and George Peppard... and the score is by that young kid James Horner... and it's all pretty awesome.

This article is fantastic, and it does remind me of how much I like Robert Vaughn's performance in this and his redo in Stars.
posted by linux at 4:00 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


This article is great fun and a well-deserved love letter to Robert Vaughn, although... it starts with a weird attempt to say that The Magnificent Seven is bad, because it’s derivative, because it’s an adaptation of Kurosawa? Which is kind of a stupid criticism!
The Magnificent Seven was made the way so many things in our world are: (predominantly white) men liked something that someone else had done, went somewhere that wasn’t theirs, fucked around a lot, and eventually made their own version of it, earning praise and a legendary status that was probably only partially deserved.
I mean, I’m all for beating on white dudes, but this is tenuous at best. Kurosawa made great films, and it doesn’t lessen them to acknowledge that they were adapted from Japanese authors (Rashomon), or American authors (Yojimbo), or British playwrights (Throne of Blood). When people pull this really reductive attempt to shame people for cultural appropriation it actually feels pretty fucking orientalist to me, because it seems as though they didn’t bother to learn anything about the “victim” of the appropriation and what their relationship with their own source material might have been. Turns out Kurosawa wasn’t some mysterious and inscrutable Japanese genius who came up with all his ideas ab initio, but someone who was quite happy to engage with other cultures and use their story ideas himself! Who knew!
posted by chappell, ambrose at 4:26 PM on December 11, 2018 [26 favorites]


Oh, and I appreciate the article. Vaughn’s been one of my favorite actors since I was a child. Great to hear him get a callout.

In fact, the day I decided I hated — hated — Inspector Columbo (the character and the show) was that day back in 1975 when I watched the episode where Falk’s character in the show got the better of Vaughn’s.

(It didn’t help that Columbo had already bested Patrick McGoohan on the show in the previous year. Bastard.)
posted by darkstar at 4:37 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


I mean clearly everybody was wading at least waist-deep in toxic masculinity on set, and I shouldn't blame the author for the headline of this very entertaining article, but I still have no idea What Everyone Having Diarrhea On The Set of The Magnificent Seven supposedly Tells Us About Toxic Masculinity.
posted by straight at 4:42 PM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


still have no idea what....supposedly Tells Us

it tells us nothing. not a thing. it is not a joke, it is not even a conceit, only a convention. every essay these last four years and more has to have its poached egg, its tummy troubles, its goddamn rug that ties the room together. we all thought we invented this flimsy structural narrative apparatus at the same time and then we could not give it up, even when it grew irredeemably debased, as you see it here. wait it out. another ten years and it will pass from the land completely and writers will be able to have themes again, with or without incessant leitmotifs, as befits a given subject. god give us all to live so long.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:17 PM on December 11, 2018 [22 favorites]



The only thing I could actually fact-check was Yul Brynner's "pearl handled gun." Every still I could find shows some kind of dark grips on his pistol.

Vaughn was great in the show. So were at least six other actors.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 5:24 PM on December 11, 2018


Like chappelle, ambrose above I found this...

"The Magnificent Seven was made the way so many things in our world are: (predominantly white) men liked something that someone else had done..."

...to be a particularly dumb critique and poisoned the well for me particularly since Kurosawa made no less than three Shakespearean adaptations: Macbeth — Throne of Blood (1957); Hamlet — The Bad Sleep Well (1960); and King Lear — Ran (1985). I guess given the opening paragraphs strident view that must be cultural appropriation as well?

It's particularly ironic accusing the film makers of some kind of racial/cultural insensitivity since John Sturges also directed the fantastic Bad Day at Black Rock. An incredibly complex and progressive film for conservative 1955 tangentially about racism and the crime of Japanese internment.

Somebody writing a column about the history of these films and these directors should have at least some cursory knowledge of them.
posted by You Stay 'Ere An Make Sure 'E Doesn't Leave at 5:35 PM on December 11, 2018 [6 favorites]


Diarrhea is funny.

No.
Maybe this is why I don't really understand the rest of the article.
posted by bongo_x at 6:01 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, while I agree about the overall greatness of Robert Vaughn, I can't wrap my head around the concept of finding diarrhea funny in any way.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:23 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I can't wrap my head around the concept of finding diarrhea funny in any way.

posted by The Underpants Monster


You would say that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:01 PM on December 11, 2018 [22 favorites]


The essay doesn't say that The Magnificent Seven is bad.
I attempted to articulate that while it was certainly a good film of historical importance, it wasn’t exactly The Seven Samurai, and that maybe people gas it up a bit because it’s become some sort of symbol of classic Hollywood individuality and artistry as opposed to an actual example of those things.
Nor does it say it was cultural appropriation or racially insensitive. Anywhere. Because the essay isn't about the film itself and is not concerned with any of these topics whatsoever, making the kneejerk defensiveness really strange.
posted by automatic cabinet at 8:04 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe this is why I don't really understand the rest of the article.

Well, the Magnificent Seven stars studly, hyper-masculine male icons like Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson. The movie celebrates their hyper-masculinity with little introspection save for what Robert Vaughn contributed.

So the image of these macho movie stars suffering with diarrhea the whole time I suppose subverts the message of the movie, making it amusing mention to diarrhea whenever someone in 2018 tries to take the film seriously.

Did I sufficiently murder the joke?
posted by JamesBay at 8:06 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


The article is just lazy criticism/clickbait for some market.

How many people under the age of 60/50/40 have seen the original Seven Samuri and the 1960's movie?

Why not talk about the recent remake?
posted by ITravelMontana at 8:13 PM on December 11, 2018


I attempted to articulate that while it was certainly a good film of historical importance, it wasn’t exactly The Seven Samurai, and that maybe people gas it up a bit because it’s become some sort of symbol of classic Hollywood individuality and artistry as opposed to an actual example of those things.

You left out the key bit that explains the potshots at the film's originality:

The show’s guest host was not a big fan of TIFF’s decision to make Antoine Fuqua’s take on The Magnificent Seven the opening night gala that year and while I didn’t disagree with him — it was a particularly uninspired choice for a festival that at least tries to care about art, weird shit, and homegrown cinema — I was not a big fan of his bloated, routine reverence for the 1960 version. As he attempted to launch into a well-worn whine about Hollywood’s current obsession with reboots and remakes, I pointed out that the “original” Magnificent Seven was, in fact, a remake itself.
posted by atoxyl at 8:15 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]


So the image of these macho movie stars suffering with diarrhea the whole time I suppose subverts the message of the movie, making it amusing mention to diarrhea whenever someone in 2018 tries to take the film seriously.

I think maybe the point is that Vaughn, the only guy to demonstrate that his masculinity was not fragile by being willing to play a character dealing with real fear and weakness, is also the guy who was unafraid to undercut his image by admitting, "Yeah, we all had diarrhea," and you can't imagine any of the other guys putting that in their memoirs?
posted by straight at 9:36 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]


You left out the key bit that explains the potshots at the film's originality:

>>> The show’s guest host was not a big fan of TIFF’s decision to make Antoine Fuqua’s take on The Magnificent Seven the opening night gala that year

Yeah but TIFF has been accused of losing focus in recent years anyway. Why not discuss Magnificent Seven? Par for the course for TIFF these days.

I must admit that I do like the subversiveness of turning the focus of the film to diarrhea.
posted by JamesBay at 9:51 PM on December 11, 2018


you can't imagine any of the other guys putting that in their memoirs?

Not really on-brand for Steve Fucking McQueen, that's for sure. But he was an action star, and his audience was not interested in introspection. He wouldn't even admit in 1980 that he was quickly dying from inoperable cancer.

It does seem a little ridiculous (and ignorant) to screen Magnificent Seven in 2018 or whenever without explaining where it fits in cinematic history. It's just a derivative action film.

I rewatched the original Papillon the other day. While it is a ripping yarn, at the time it was still conceived as a blockbuster movie during a year when there happened to be a ton of other prison-themed movies -- then, as now, studios developed products that followed trends.

I think studio products like Papillon and Magnificent Seven are regarded as "classics" today because they still incorporated a lot of craft and attention to storytelling that just doesn't exist anymore in mainstream cinema.

So... diarrhea is important in bringing the conversation back to earth.
posted by JamesBay at 10:06 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]


I saw Robert Vaughn on stage with E.G. Marshall in Inherit the Wind in the early '80s when I was 12 or 13. He was, and unfortunately it is the only word that truly describes his performance, magnificent.

I went to the stage door to get his autograph and discovered that he had a cast on his arm--he had broken his arm in rehearsal banging his fist on a table. He said he'd only sign my Playbill if I signed his cast. What a delight.

(Also great as Albert in Hustle. Watch it if you can find it.)
posted by tzikeh at 10:11 PM on December 11, 2018 [12 favorites]


How many people under the age of 60/50/40 have seen the original Seven Samuri and the 1960's movie?

Why not talk about the recent remake?


Never trust anybody under 30.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:14 PM on December 11, 2018 [7 favorites]


How many people under the age of 60/50/40 have seen the original Seven Samuri and the 1960's movie?

I mean...us ancients are still alive and kicking and contributing to cineastic conversations? Have you considered that maybe your allegedly youth based limitations are not that relevant?
posted by Omnomnom at 11:41 PM on December 11, 2018 [8 favorites]


How many people under the age of 60/50/40 have seen the original Seven Samuri and the 1960's movie?

All of us, hopefully.
posted by sideshow at 12:50 AM on December 12, 2018 [8 favorites]


I don't think that fangirling one dude instead of another dude is subverting anything and that joking about digestive troubles in Mexico plays into some ugly racist stereotypes. There are many countries where US tourists can't drink the water, but they don't make a big fucking deal about it like they do with Mexico.

Anyway, I have seen all 3 versions multiple times, the recent one did not make me ugly-cry like The Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven (1960), but it had its good points. It probably would have met with a warmer reception if it had been given a different title and considered as "inspired by" instead of as a remake.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:27 AM on December 12, 2018 [2 favorites]



...to be a particularly dumb critique and poisoned the well for me particularly since Kurosawa made no less than three Shakespearean adaptations: Macbeth — Throne of Blood (1957); Hamlet — The Bad Sleep Well (1960); and King Lear — Ran (1985). I guess given the opening paragraphs strident view


speaking of poisoning wells in one's opening lines through stunning lack of cultural knowledge.

the rest of your comment is more or less right but, as with her essay, it's hard to care much after that.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:17 AM on December 12, 2018


the only guy to demonstrate that his masculinity was not fragile by being willing to play a character dealing with real fear and weakness

this is the part that's a piece of fantasy, though.

the bathroom obsession is also gross, pointless, childish, and stupid: in short, macho to the very tip of its tail. as an memoirist's "admission" it undercuts nothing about masculinity at all. the picture it gives the reader is undignified, but not unmanly. it would be more surprising to read in a female actor's autobiography, though no more pleasant or interesting. if you called it a subversion of femininity in that imagined context, you'd probably have a point, but the point would be that femininity's pretty good sometimes.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:19 AM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think you can argue that part of being a big strong man's man is getting sick and showing up for work and making a classic film because dammit that's just what men do.
posted by graventy at 7:44 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think I learned something in this thread. Thank you.
posted by JamesBay at 9:14 AM on December 12, 2018


At the risk of sounding like a #notallmen troll, what I got out of this article was "This film is a product of, and all about, toxic masculinity. If you disagree or if you like this film, you are part of the toxic problem. I'm going to subvert that toxicity by making jokes about men with diarrhea." Which seems like a whole lot of bad arguments rolled up into one annoying essay.
posted by ga$money at 10:08 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


No Magnificent Seven, no Three Amigos.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:14 AM on December 12, 2018


Chico: Oh... that was the greatest shot I've ever seen!
Britt: The worst. I was aiming at the horse.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:22 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


What I got out of the article is that the author feels like the film is largely toxic men pretending to be toxically badass cowboy characters and having ego driven pissing contests while remaking an actual classic film, but for one actor, who, instead of pretending to be an avatar of toxic maleness, is instead turning in an exquisite performance of someone damaged and fragile and lost.

Weirdly, this is pretty explicitly stated in the opening paragraphs.
posted by maxsparber at 10:50 AM on December 12, 2018 [3 favorites]


I feel like it shouldn't be that hard to figure out what someone's trying to say in an article.
posted by bongo_x at 11:02 AM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


How many people under the age of 60/50/40 have seen the original Seven Samuri and the 1960's movie?

Anyone who gives a shit about movie history or good movies in general? I mean, is that a serious question?
posted by tzikeh at 6:47 PM on December 12, 2018 [4 favorites]


Harry Luck's sudden "We come cheaper by the bunch!" always cracks me up. He's like, This is my big line, and I'm gonna say it with gusto, whether it fits the tone of the rest of the scene or not!
posted by straight at 11:45 PM on December 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


maxsparber: "I think the author means former University of Minnesota student Robert Vaughn.

(Signed — U of M alum)
"

Don't forget about Peter Graves!
posted by Chrysostom at 7:44 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


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