Film Junk Podcast Episode #213: 12 Rounds

podcastmar31_09

0:00 – Intro / In-House Stuff
10:50 – Headlines: The Three Stooges Casting, Let The Right One In Subtitles
37:15 – What We Watched: Seven, Moonraker, The Dark Wind, Phase IV, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, The 400 Blows, Star Wars Episode II, Surfwise, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Punisher: War Zone, Frozen River, Role Models, Adventureland, The Daytrippers
1:13:05 – Review: 12 Rounds
1:31:35 – Trailer Trash: Where The Wild Things Are
1:38:00 – Junk Mail: Editing, WTF Moments, John Waters, Movies That Are Better Than The Book, If Looks Could Kill, Top 3 Schwarzenegger Movies
2:05:45 – This Week’s DVD Releases
2:06:45 – Outro

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  • please don’t change the junk mail and trailer trash songs

  • I agree with Drew, especially not the JunkMail-theme.

  • Well, it’s a good thing I’m not reviewing 12 Rounds. There’d be riots.

  • Richard

    I’m not a university student, but Caligari is a German Expressionist film. Italian Neorealism is what I think you were mistaking it with.

    oh, and these terms aren’t just used for elitist dick-tugging (although I’m sure they do get used that way). They’re pretty significant styles with really viable legacies. For instance, much of Scorsese’s shit wouldn’t exist without Neorealism. And like you mentioned (Jay), Tim Burton wouldn’t fucking EXIST without German Expressionism. I think he was even trying to remake Dr. Caligari at one point.

  • Thanks for the info Richard.

    I seem unable to actually say terms like Italian Neorealism or German Expressionist without feeling like complete tool. I guess I’ll just stick with ‘horror’.

    I think my deal is I enjoy films on a visceral, emotional level rather than an intellectual level. I could care less about film academia.

  • I’m the same way jay

  • Matt

    sweet, a new podcast. This is turning out to be a awesome Tuesday!

  • Terms like German Exressionism or Italian Neorealism are only as stuffy as you allow them to be. They’re meant to describe a movie based on an emotional level, in the same way a term like ‘handheld’ or a grouping like modern visceral action movies is used. Just because academia uses terms like this doesn’t negate their worth.

  • Richard

    I totally get that, Jay. I hate over-intellectualizing movies (ie. some of those unlistenable commentaries that are all stodgy and pompous), but I like the balance of a visceral experience, and an intellectual one.

    and I don’t completely buy your claim to reject intellectual movie watching, because many many times on the podcast you’ve had stuff to say that was more than just a gut emotional response to movies. Some pretty insightful intellectual-ish stuff. You definitely seem to have a good balance in how you watch film.

    That aside I love your unflinching errors, like “Princess..Pp..Portman” Fucking awesome. And hilarious.

  • A lot descends from German expressionism — mostly film noir (at least the early ones). And speaking of terms: film is a subject of science so why not use academic terms like “German expressionism” or “Italian neo-realism”? But I know that especially you, Jay, treat this as “bullshit” as you indicated in your response to the TDK junk mail (which stated that TDK is a analogy to 9/11 and politics and so on). Only because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there …

  • To put it in a nutshell: if someone says that some films are “no-brainers” or that “reading” movies was bullshit, he does not appreciate the whole medium. Film is art and art needs interpretation. :-)

  • Chris

    But more often than not, people see things that are clearly not there (or intended), as is the case with The Dark Knight.

  • Richard

    Awesome Arnold movies (warning: this could be my idiot childhood talking)–

    True Lies
    Last Action Hero

  • Glendon

    Your description, Jay, of the bad guy in 12 Rounds saying “look over at that house” BOOM, “Look over at that passing car” BOOM, made me remember and appreciate the scene in Last Action Hero where Arnold takes the cards out of his dying uncle’s pocket, and as he flips to each new card they change from 3 to 2 to 1, and absurdly that sets off a bomb.

    Thanks for reading my email. You guys touched upon a thing about editing I forgot to mention. How do we tell who is a good editor? I’m sure there are some editors who are given amazing footage but because they are terrible editors only manage to create an OK movie. Then there are some editors who are given complete shit to work with, but because they’re great editors can bump it up to an OK movie. But we wouldn’t be able to tell which is which (unless we specifically hear horror stories like the Bourne Ultimatum).

  • Glendon

    PS Please keep the Junk Mail theme. That brings so much personality to the show. Trailer Trash is alright except it’s always too loud. You guys need to bring back NOBODY CARES BUT HE’S GONNA TELL US ANYYYYWAAAAAAAAAAAAY.

  • “But I know that especially you, Jay, treat this as “bullshit” as you indicated in your response to the TDK junk mail (which stated that TDK is a analogy to 9/11 and politics and so on). Only because you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there …”

    I do see it. But if you really tried, I’m sure you could see it in EVERY movie ever made. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Big Chill, Cliffhanger, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie; these movies could more than likely ALL be connected to 9/11 and the Bush administration. It says less about the film and more about the person trying to make the connections.

    “Just because academia uses terms like this doesn’t negate their worth.”

    I’m not saying the terms are worthless. I’m saying I feel like a tool talking about them on a casual film podcast.

  • rus in chicago

    Jay if you are going to dismiss the criticism towards the Wild Things Trailer why don’t you at least support your argument.
    Fact: the trailer shows evidence that the real world and child’s make believe world is filmed the same way. This is a big leap away from the source material were the main character creates the Wild Thing world in his imagination. So I’m to believe that a young child would choose to create and inhabit an neorealist world with the same visceral experience as the real world. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!
    Fact: the trailer has blatant evidence of Wild Things without CGI faces and just large men-in-suits caught in camera. You said in the podcast you are totally fine with man-in-suits and CGI faces, well the filmmakers are dropping the ball, or, putting out shitty trailers, or, preparing the audience for a style of mash-up effects. That shit is a WTF moment and you know this. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!
    Fact: the trailer uses clean dialogue from James Gandolfini as the voice of the only talking Wild Thing in the trailer. This is a reach from any point of view and if you can’t see that criticism as valid I can’t help you. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!
    Fact: the trailer does not show tropical vegetation and is another significant departure from the book. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!
    All in all, I’ll probably be o.k. with the film but if I can’t question someone else’s take on one of my favorite works from childhood, fuck it. Especially, when those choices are very different from the way I would have approached the material.
    Get on your game Jay, and don’t approve of shuff just cause it is in style, I never thought of you as a front runner.
    By the way, I love you, and want to have your baby.

  • Jay, I’m not so comfortable with film terms that I’d try to use them in a podcast either, so I get what you’re saying. I guess I just conflated the second and third part of your first comment. Sorry if that wasn’t your intent.

  • I do see it. But if you really tried, I’m sure you could see it in EVERY movie ever made. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Big Chill, Cliffhanger, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Garbage Pail Kids: The Movie; these movies could more than likely ALL be connected to 9/11 and the Bush administration. It says less about the film and more about the person trying to make the connections.

    Well, of course you could say this about EVERY movie then, but you still have to bring reasonable arguments to your thesis — you don’t write an academic essay without valid arguments, do you?

    Anyway, what I really don’t want is that people think that the intention of the creator (i.e. director) is the only valid one. I mean, in art one would be laughed at if he was saying that e.g. Picasso wanted to express this and that with his painting and everything else is invalid — because what if I see it differently? You would never stop at the artist’s intention/message.

  • Rusty James

    Rus, it seems like you’re criticizing the kid for fantasizing a world of make believe wrong.

    I’m totally having a flashback of being a kid playing with legos in my room and my mean elderly aunt coming in and telling me I had to follow the lego instructions and make the thing on the box.

  • rus:

    “Fact: the trailer shows evidence that the real world and child’s make believe world is filmed the same way. This is a big leap away from the source material were the main character creates the Wild Thing world in his imagination. So I’m to believe that a young child would choose to create and inhabit an neorealist world with the same visceral experience as the real world. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!”

    First off, I really don’t care about how the film does and doesn’t honour the source material. I haven’t read it. I’m in this for a new Spike Jonze movie that seems to be harkening back to kids films of the 80’s. The fact that the Wild Things universe is shot with natural light is both refreshing and a relief. To each his own.

    “Fact: the trailer has blatant evidence of Wild Things without CGI faces and just large men-in-suits caught in camera.”

    Other movies with men-in-suits without CGI faces: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Dark Crystal, Big Trouble In Little China, Labyrinth, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, Alien, Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Predator, Ghostbusters…

    In short, thank heavens for men-in-suits.

    “Fact: the trailer uses clean dialogue from James Gandolfini as the voice of the only talking Wild Thing in the trailer. This is a reach from any point of view and if you can’t see that criticism as valid I can’t help you. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!”

    This one is the most baffling. I really don’t see the problem with this at all. I’d much prefer a great cast providing their own voices to a bunch of cartoon voice actors growling like monsters. Are you saying that the casting directors should’ve cast the voice you interpret inside your head when you read the book?

    “Fact: the trailer does not show tropical vegetation and is another significant departure from the book. Address the trailer and not your love for the style!.”

    Actually, this one is the most baffling. I’m hoping this one was a joke.

    “Get on your game Jay, and don’t approve of shuff just cause it is in style, I never thought of you as a front runner.”

    In the end, I’m really not sure how I can possibly address this trailer without addressing my love for the style. It’s two minutes long, set to music and hardly features any dialogue. I’ve loved all of Jonez’s previous work (including his music videos) and have no reason to think I won’t love this. As for this being in style…what exactly are you referring to? The cinematography? The music? That comment sounds more like you might be writing it off because it’s ‘in style’. No?

  • I think Wintle is appropriate in his feelings towards so-called ‘academia’ such as knowing tendencies in moviemaking history. Don’t look down on it, but also, don’t feel bad for not knowing it. It seems that the distaste for academic terms mainly comes from a personal feeling of insufficiency, which sucks.

    The medium in Caligari is called Cesare by the way!

  • I will leave you with one of my favourite Herzog quotes:

    “Academia is the death of cinema. It is the very opposite of passion. Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.”
    — Werner Herzog

  • I agree with that quote, but it’s pleasant to know the vocabulary. If you take that Herzog quote to the extreme, nobody would have correct white balances on their cameras! The other extreme is people writing 50 pages jerking off over some stupid boy and his bike movie (to use a Jay C. quote). I think knowing the commonly referred to tendencies is a benefit, but obviously not needed. It’s not something to scoff at though, whereas the essays I think could very well be, if they take themselves too seriously (which academics usually do).

  • rus in chicago

    Jay C. “I really don’t care about how the film does and doesn’t honour the source material. I haven’t read it. I’m in this for a new Spike Jonze movie that seems to be harkening back to kids films of the 80’s.

    I think this is at the core of the debate. I truly love the book and it was a big influence on me as a child. My whole argument with the trailer is the fact that it appears Spike is forcing his “style” on the source material instead of allowing the source material define the direction of the structure, cinematography, casting, etc. You must remember, or realize, the book is equally famous for its graphics as its content. Yes , Spike has a style in that all his work uses natural light, real locations, in camera tricks, a documentary film born of his early days filming the street scene. I love him too, but I’m a bigger man and artist to know “my preferred way of doing things” isn’t always best for the piece of literature I’m adapting. The mature way of dealing with an existing work is to allow whatever framing device, lens, casting, art direction that will convene the core elements of the existing piece to come through. If a director doesn’t want to live up to these ideas there are plenty of unproduced screenplays that are perfect for a blank canvas.

    “Other movies with men-in-suits without CGI faces: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Dark Crystal,…”

    I’m not communicating my point, the trailer shows evidence of a mash-up, meaning some scenes will have CGI faces with other scenes not having animated and CGI faces. This is different from the examples you have given because they did one or the other (or in the case of later Star Wars controlled the effects within the scene)Wild Things, by way of the trailer, is proposing a mash-up and I’m not sure I like that. I’m also wise enough to know this may be the only way this film could have gotten produced.

    “Fact: the trailer uses clean dialogue from James Gandolfini as the …”

    Yes, I think voices like Yoda, Gollum and all of the great and wonderful cinema characters that have the actor’s voices run through a gantlet of audio filters is the way to go with the WILD THINGS. Yes, in my opinion hearing a clean James Gandolfini voice come out of a big hairy suit, with big CGI eyes, will take me out of the picture. I’m surprise this isn’t considered valid. It’s a much different experience to totally animated characters like Shrek. It’s a man-in-a-suit, am I to think James Gandolfini is in the suit when I hear his clean voice?!

    “Fact: the trailer does not show tropical vegetation and …”

    Again, you must remember, or realize, the book is equally famous for its graphics as its content. I just don’t understand why the filmmakers choose to change the environment the book takes place in. It is probably budgetary, but it is definitely not honoring some of the most famous children’s book graphics of all time. Seems like a stupid, unnecessary change.

  • rus in chicago

    Just to be clear, all of the examples given above are examples of true “in camera” men-in-suits performances (no mash-up of different styles) and none of them use establish, recognizable actors for the voices.

    Star Wars – all non famous / unrecognizable or voice actors doing voices

    The Empire Strikes Back- all non famous / unrecognizable or voice actors doing voices

    Return of the Jedi – all non famous / unrecognizable or voice actors doing voices

    The Dark Crystal – non famous / unrecognizable or voice actors doing voices

    Big Trouble In Little China – stunt performer, no dialogue

    Labyrinth- all non famous / unrecognizable or voice actors doing voices

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie- all non famous / unrecognizable/cartoon actors doing voices

    Alien- stunt performer, no dialogue

    Aliens- stunt performer, no dialogue

    Pumpkinhead- stunt performer, no dialogue

    Predator- stunt performer, no dialogue

    Of course you have the Princess Bride and Death to Smoochy were the famous actor in a suit is part of the joke.

  • Not true, Corey Feldman did the voice of Donatello in TMNT!

  • “Again, you must remember, or realize, the book is equally famous for its graphics as its content. I just don’t understand why the filmmakers choose to change the environment the book takes place in. It is probably budgetary, but it is definitely not honoring some of the most famous children’s book graphics of all time. Seems like a stupid, unnecessary change.”

    Just a reminder; you’re coming to this conclusion after having seen less than two minutes of footage. Might want to wait until you see the film. Either way, I don’t really care personally.

    “My whole argument with the trailer is the fact that it appears Spike is forcing his “style” on the source material instead of allowing the source material define the direction of the structure, cinematography, casting, etc.”

    If this is what you want, then why not just watch the animated version of the book? I know I’m not interested in a shot for shot recreation of it. I’m also not interested in restricting the creative possibilities when adapting major (or minor) works for the big screen. How boring is that?

    “It’s a man-in-a-suit, am I to think James Gandolfini is in the suit when I hear his clean voice?!”

    I’m reminded of The Wizard of Oz and the fact that the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion utilized the original voices of the actors. The cowardly lion may have growled now and again, but that was the extent of it. It certainly worked for that film. Don’t see why it can’t work here. The tin man with a voice pushed through a vocoder for logistics sake would’ve been mighty lame.

    “Just to be clear, all of the examples given above are examples of true “in camera” men-in-suits performances (no mash-up of different styles) and none of them use establish, recognizable actors for the voices.”

    I wasn’t really trying to prove anything other than the fact that I’m a fan of man in suit, and I’m a fan of the enhancement of man in suit with cg. I don’t really care if they are consistent with it. Use it where it needs it.

    Not sure what the relevance is of the famous voices behind the creatures in my examples. I already established that I don’t care if it’s a famous person or not.

    I simply disagree with you. It’s nothing to do with giving in to any sort of hip trend or being fooled by anyone. I like the trailer. Simple as that.

  • rus in chicago

    The book is like 15 pages; shot for shot was never a possiblility and not what I’m talking about here.

    Trailer is the only vehicle for judging a work prior to release, what am I suppose to do with it? Its created to establish tone, texture and story – that was done in two minutes.

    The Wizard of Oz – not men in suits, face with make-up, try again. Maybe you meant monkey in suit.

  • rus in chicago

    5

  • rus in chicago

    4

  • “Trailer is the only vehicle for judging a work prior to release, what am I suppose to do with it? Its created to establish tone, texture and story – that was done in two minutes.”

    Yes, and you’re writing off an entire movie because the two minute trailer didn’t include the appropriate vegetation. Whatever, it’s your opinion dude.

    “The Wizard of Oz – not men in suits, face with make-up, try again. Maybe you meant monkey in suit.”

    Try again? Try what? I’m not trying to prove you wrong. There’s nothing to be ‘wrong’ about. You’re at a point where you’re basically trying to argue that I don’t actually like the trailer. I really don’t understand what your point is here. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. I don’t care to change your mind and I’m certainly not going to change mine. You’ve given enough reasoning as to why you weren’t impressed and I’ve given enough as to why I WAS impressed. So be it.

    You’re still wrong and and idiot though.

    I’m joking. About the idiot part.

  • rus in chicago

    3

  • rus in chicago

    Dude, calm down. I’m just yanking your chain. I’m actually not worried about the film and think it will be fine. I just like a good debate and you asked for one in the podcast by being so passionate about people not dig’in on the trailer.

    If you will allow, there are some interesting things that came up in the back and forth. 1. how much needs to be kept from an original piece to retain its core. (esp. for personal works) and the ongoing debate of artistic license 2. the whole famous voice coming from inside a man-in-suit. This actually won’t be a problem because the CG face will lend the feel of an animated cartoon with the physicality of the entire body and environment. It could be very awesome.

  • Damndirtyape

    I can tell just by looking at the trailer that WILD THINGS is going to be the kind of movie where I leave the theater feeling sad and very melancholy for my youth. A fun, yet “draining” experience if you will.

    Not sure if I will want to actually see it since I’m a usually a sucker for that easy emotional manipulation.

    Shit just the trailer alone made me feel a bit mopey inside..

    Oh yea.. Phase IV creeped me out when I saw it as a kid. Those monoliths they made were cool.. the ending totally confused me and freaked me out. I have a lot of vague memories of weird 70’s movies like that and “Demonseed” and “Orca” in the dark recesses of my brain. I think I’ll netflix Phase IV.

  • Matt

    A big WTF moment was in Cabin Fever, where that “special” kid freaks out, starts yelling “pancakes”, does some awesome kung-fu kicks, and bites one of the main characters. Pretty Awesome.

  • LOVE the scene in ID4 when the dog narrowly escapes the fire in slow motion. Seriously. That is one of my favorite scenes of all time. No I’m not kidding.

  • And Jay, I hate it when characters don’t communicate too. The one gripe I had with Adventureland (otherwise a fantastic film), was in one scene where it was really important for Kristin Stewart to explain something to Eisenberg and it would have cleared up a lot of the problem. Instead she just stammers and says, “you don’t understand” and just looks at the ground. I HATE that shit. Soap operas do that all the time. Hence, I don’t watch them.