12/12/2006

All Movie Talk, Episode 11

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents, with start times:

  • Oscar Watch 2006: Likely Nominees (1:45)
  • Trivia Question: In-Flight Movie (20:34)
  • Double Feature: Amelie X (20:58)
  • Film Buff’s Dictionary: Fade, Dissolve, Wipe (34:04)
  • Top 6: Fast-Paced Movies (40:04)
  • Best of the Year: 1960-1969 (53:32)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (64:27)

Press the Play button below to listen to the podcast, or the Download link to save it. Here’s how you can download new episodes automatically.

Show Notes:

Oscar Watch 2006: Likely Nominees

The Oscars are fun if you don’t take them too seriously. It’s like the Super Bowl for movie geeks! The first Academy Awards presentation was held in 1929 and only took about 15 minutes, a far cry from today’s marathon awards telecasts.

Despite the fact that not all the likely contenders have been seen widely, here the some of the most likely movies to be nominated for Best Picture:

There is a lengthy list of possible contenders for the other two spots, including: Little Miss Sunshine, Babel, Volver, Letters From Iwo Jima (the second film this year by Clint Eastwood about the Battle of Iwo Jima), The Pursuit of Happyness, Little Children, Notes On a Scandal, Pan’s Labyrinth, United 93, World Trade Center, and a dark horse in Borat.

It may be Martin Scorsese’s year to win Best Director (for The Departed), though there’s an outside chance he loses to yet another actor-turned-director by way of Robert De Niro (for The Good Shepherd). Scorsese has previously lost the Best Director award to Robert Redford, Kevin Costner, and Clint Eastwood.

In the Best Actor category, the buzz surround some more obscure performances, such as Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson, Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland, and Peter O’Toole for Venus. O’Toole has been nominated and not won seven times previously.

Helen Mirren (for The Queen) is the presumptive frontrunner for Best Actress, but that may work against her. Meryl Streep has some unexpected buzz for The Devil Wears Prada, and other possible Actress picks include Penelope Cruz (Volver), Judi Dench (Notes On a Scandal), Kate Winslet (Little Children), Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls), Cate Blanchett (for a few movies), Naomi Watts (The Painted Veil), and Annette Bening (Running With Scissors).

Remarkably, Jennifer Hudson, the 7th American Idol finalist from season 3, has huge traction in the Best Supporting Actress category for her movie debut in Dreamgirls.

To play the Academy Awards Predictions Game, head over to RinkWorks. If you listen to the podcast, be sure and enter the super secret code (and drink more Ovaltine) so you can win a fabulous prize.

Trivia Question: In-Flight Movie

The first ever in-flight movie (watch it online here) was much earlier than Snakes On a Plane.

Double Feature: Amelie X

Amelie (2001) X (2001). Two great films — one great taste. What more can we say?

Film Buff’s Dictionary: Fade, Dissolve, Wipe

All three of these editing techniques are slow transitions between shots, less abrupt than a cut. A fade comes in two varieties: a fade-in and a fade-out. A fade-in starts from a solid color screen (usually black, but sometimes white and rarely other colors) and slowly transitions to a shot in the movie, as the shot is superimposed over the solid screen. A fade-out starts with a shot and transitions to a solid color. The term “fade to black” denotes the traditional way of ending a movie.

In addition to opening and closing films, fades are often used within a movie to denote the passage of time. If several fades are used to transition between short scenes, it creates a very dreamlike atomsphere. A great extra on the Fight Club (1999) DVD offers an example of how fades can affect the way we view sequences.

A dissolve is similar to a fade, but instead of moving between a shot and a solid color, it moves between two images. Even more than the fade, it can be used to show the passage of time. The film Paris When It Sizzles contains an explicit illustration of this.

The screen wipe is the least-used of these techniques, and is thus the most obvious. Probably best known today from the Star Wars movies (though when George Lucas used this technique it was mainly an homage to Akira Kurosawa), the wipe has one image replace another through some sort of movement. For instance, in a horizantal wipe the new image may just slide over from the left and appear to cover up the old shot entirely. Wipes are particularly abused by home movie makers with easy access to video editing software but little sense of style.

Top 6: Fast-Paced Movies

See our separate Top 6 entry for more information about our picks.

Best of the Year: 1960-1969

 
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24 Comments »

  1. Rifty (64) said,

    December 12, 2006 at 10:16 am

    Oh man, I thought the X stood for Clerks X. Darnit.

    So, I haven’t listened to the whole episode yet, so maybe it’s addressed later, but here’s my question, and my comment…

    First of all, let me preamble it by saying that I love it, but I have to know… what the blue-flippin-blazes is up with the way you guys are talking during the Amelie X segment?

    Is it just so you sound erudite and pretentious in a tongue-in-cheek manner? Are future Double Feature… ummm… features going to be the same way?

    -Rifty

  2. Grishny (156) said,

    December 12, 2006 at 11:49 am

    To chime in on what Rifty asked: If I’m not mistaken, you two were talking that way (”erudite and pretentious” as Rifty commented) for comic effect, but for me it was very difficult to listen to. I nearly decided to fast-forward through that segment several times, but I kept thinking maybe there was some hidden joke that I’d miss if I did, and that’s why you were doing it, so I didn’t. But there wasn’t, and you weren’t.

    Of course you’ll probably carry on the joke here in the blog and refuse to admit that you weren’t just being silly while taking at stab at truly pretentious critics who actually do talk like that on their shows. :oP

    I do get the humor in finding ways to compare and contrast two completely at-odds movies like Amelie and Jason X, and the faux-intellectualism was funny, but I’m afraid it got old rather quickly, at least for me. I don’t know how it was for other listeners, but my eyes were glazed over by the end of that segment my response when it finally ended was “thank goodness!”

    But I certainly enjoyed the rest of the show, and now I have a few more movies to add to my must-see list.

  3. iwpg (2) said,

    December 12, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    I actually found the double feature section very amusing, and I’m sorry to hear that you guys didn’t like it so much. It’s probably just one of those things that some people love but that seem totally bizarre to others. I would enjoy more segments in a similar style, but maybe if they were toned down a bit, more people would like them too. For example, I think the strange comparisons would still work well in a more “normal” style of speech, and that would remove Rifty and Grishny’s objections. As I say, I did find the pretentiousness funny myself, but I guess it’s just not for everyone.

  4. L3 (3) said,

    December 12, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    I thought the Double Feature one of the funnies segmets you have ever done (other then last week’s talk about Plan 9 From Outer Space ), I laughed out loud many times during it and thought it was one of the most funny, ridicules things you all have ever done. Without the way you talked I would not have cared very much for the segment as I have seen neither movies, but I kept laughing out loud during it.

  5. Rifty (64) said,

    December 12, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved that segment. I’ve listened to it, I think, 3 times already. Stephen’s line “I am quite purpled with holding my breath in the greatest anticipation…” sent me into a laff riot. It made me decide to use that phrase in normal conversation.

    Yeah, I’m that big a dork. Anyway, I did enjoy that segment, and if you DO decide to make other segments that way, I stand in support of the idea.

    -Rifty

  6. Aaron (35) said,

    December 13, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    The line “I do so adore a good French wink!” was awesome. I thought the segment was mostly pretty good, but it tended to drag a bit in the middle. Part of this is that you’ve already gone over Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s work, so even though you’re doing it in a completely different deadpan satire style for a completely different reason, it was still sort of the same old story. Still, I’m not sure that was the only reason it dragged. The whole thing may have just been too long.

    And wasn’t Midnight Cowboy famous for being the X-rated Oscar winner? Oh, wait, I can just use the IMDb link, can’t I? Yep, I was right. Hmm, I didn’t know they actually re-rated it R, although I had heard that by modern sensibilities it would be an R.

  7. Grishny (156) said,

    December 13, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    I think Aaron’s right; the length of the double feature segment was a major factor in my difficulty with it. I enjoyed it at first; I just felt that the joke was overdone.

    Funny thing; when I downloaded the episode on Tuesday morning and saw that it was the longest episode so far, I was glad because I knew it would be long enough for my entire commute to work.

    But it was just padding! All those big words! :)

    And, for the record, it turned out to be too long. I actually had to pause the show and then listen to the last few minutes of it at my desk.

  8. Ferrick (140) said,

    December 14, 2006 at 5:21 pm

    The double feature seems to be one of those personal taste things. Not my favorite feature but that’s me.

    I’m looking forward to the Christmas show and REALLY looking forward to the Boxing Day show.

    Sam, are you doing a birthday segment?

  9. ThePhan (128) said,

    December 15, 2006 at 4:14 am

    -I’m excited about Dreamgirls. Chicago (which I loved) and Moulin Rouge (which I haven’t seen yet) paved the way for the return of movie musicals, but then we got The Producers and Rent (awesome for fans of the show, but lame as movies of their own) and Phantom of the Opera (which was wretched pooh). I’m happy that this seems to be doing as well as it is. We shall see.

    -Little Miss Sunshine looks good. Babel looks less so.

    -I didn’t realize that the two Eastwood movies were the same event from different sides. That makes me much more interested in seeing the two of them.

    -Little Children sounded interesting, too. We shall see.

    -And I want to see The Devil Wears Prada. It looked interesting. Quick note on Meryl Streep… For being born in New Jersey, she’s got a truly bizarre accent. In every movie in which she plays an American, she doesn’t sound like she *is* American. Kind of odd since she’s noted for being able to master every other accent under the sun.

    -I never, ever am even close to winning the Oscar contest, whether I enter or not. But I shall again this year, I think. :-)

    -Double features: I once watched The Bone Collector and the remake of The Manchurian Candidate in the same week. There’s an amazing connection between them. It’s not just Denzel Washington. It’s not just that they’re both profoundly mediocre movies. It’s that in both of them, there’s a scene where Denzel Washington bites the villain. Shocking. I mean, what are the chances of that, huh? Every time I see one of his movies now I have to watch and see if he bites anybody.

    -Sam’s “To be sure, to be sure, not to help them, oh no” made me crack up laughing.

    -And the rest of the segment is hilarious, too. I just noticed it with that first line. *grin* You guys are the best ever.

    -Comment on the wipe: in Star Wars 4, when Luke and Obi-Wan pick C-3PO up after the sand creatures attack, the screen wipes up (or however that works). It always used to throw me off because it looked to me like they picked up 3PO and he just had no legs or bottom half at all. My mind takes a bit to adjust to the fact that there’s a new image coming onto the screen. Heh.

    -I loved both Pyscho and The Apartment, but I think I vote Psycho.

    -WEST SIDE STORY! I love, love, love that movie. It’s incredible. I get to see it again on stage next year, but that’s a rabbit trail and I shall stop now.

    -I just suddenly realized I can look up all the movies I’ve ever seen by year, so I can add any extra thoughts to the list before I listen to the answers.

    -I wasn’t CRAZY about anything in 1962, but I haven’t seen Lawrence of Arabia. I do like The Music Man and The Days of Wine and Roses.
    -My favorites from 1963: The Birds and Charade. The Great Escape is one of those movies that’s good but I don’t actually like.
    -My favorites from 1964: Mary Poppins and My Fair Lady. Ooh, nice. Sam and I chose the same.
    -My favorites from 1965: Oh, goodness, I didn’t like anything I saw from that year. Haven’t seen many, though.
    -My favorites from 1966: Probably the little-known flick Walk Don’t Run, although I liked Man For All Seasons quite a bit.
    -My favorites from 1967: EVERYTHING. Okay, not everything. But I liked Wait Until Dark, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and The Graduate. And The Jungle Book. And, actually, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, though it was silly.
    -My favorites from 1968: I loved The Producers, The Odd Couple, and The Lion in Winter. Huh. How come Oliver! isn’t on my list? I like that movie quite a bit as well, although I think Producers triumphs.
    -My favorites from 1969: I have only seen three movies made in 1969, and one of them is Frosty the Snowman. Tres triste. I also have to say Butch Cassidy.

    -Hurray for a Christmas episode! :-)

  10. Stephen (221) said,

    December 15, 2006 at 9:16 am

    TP: Make it your life’s mission to find and see Lawrence in a movie theater. Don’t see it on video until you’ve seen it in a theater. It took me about 3 or 4 years, but when I did it I was just blown away.

  11. Dave (130) said,

    December 15, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Stephen: You actually hadn’t seen Lawrence of Arabia before you saw it in the theater? Man, how dissapointed would YOU have been if you’d turned out to hate the movie, after spending 3 or 4 years waiting for just the right print to show up at just the right arthouse theater?

  12. Gharlane (12) said,

    December 15, 2006 at 6:01 pm

    I think Sam is the only other person I know who’s seen Mirage, hehe. I rather liked it myself, but I agree it’s not really Best Picture quality.

    I’ll go with Stephen’s pick for 1964 (Dr. Strangelove) because it suits my tastes much better than the admittedly enjoyable My Fair Lady.

    I liked the Double Feature segment, although it lasted a little longer than I liked. The “French wink” quote had me laughing, hehe. Please do more of these, just shorten them a bit. Always leave the audience wanting more, not less.

    Once again, nice show, guys!

  13. Dave (130) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    I finally listened to this episode last night, and since most of the comments here are about the double-feature segment, I figured I’d chime in too. Like Grishny, I very nearly fast-forwarded through it but didn’t, waiting to see if the joke was going to be explained or not. I kept thinking there was some reason other than “we’re being silly and pretentious” for the segment, and maybe I need to see Amelie to really get it (do I?) but it just seemed so obviously scripted (in a bad way somehow) and it just kept going and going. Plenty of people seemed to like it, so I guess it’s a personal taste thing. But to me, the best parts of the show are the parts where it’s obvious that you guys aren’t reading from a script. It actually tends to make you sound smarter and more knowledgeable when you’re speaking off-the-cuff than when reading from a prepared script. Anybody can read a script put in front of them, but not everyone can talk for fifteen minutes about fades and wipes and sound like they actually know what they’re talking about rather than just reading from a prepared script.

    Of course, the point of the Amelie X segment wasn’t to make you guys sound smart, so I’m sort of not making a strong point about this particular segment, but I guess my overall point is off-the-cuff > scripted, at least in a show like this I think.

    I think if I found out you guys were parodying the way people talking in Amelie or something in that segment (was that it?) I’d think it was funnier. But for some reason the style and delivery just seemed to be at odds with the subject matter. It’s like there were two seperate jokes going on through the segment and they didn’t mesh well. One was “Look how silly we talk” and the other was “Look how silly we sound comparing Jason X to Amelie.” Thinking about it now, if the segment had used just one of those jokes I think I would have liked it better. For instance, if you’d spent 20 minutes comparing Jason X to Amelie but *not* used the madcap, over-the-top purple prose style of speaking and instead just talked more normally, I would have thought it was funnier. Or, on the other hand, if you’d not been making any sort of silly comparison, but instead just talked in the purple prose style while doing an otherwise somewhat serious take on something, that might have worked better for me. But the mixing of the two jokes didn’t work for me.

    Anyway, just talking off the top of my head here. Anyway anyway, the Film Buff’s Dictionary segment was great as usual (I’m still surprised I like this segment as much as I do), and I’m warming up to the Best of the Year segment now that it’s getting into territory I’m somewhat more familiar with. I’m sure once it hits the 80s and 90s I’ll enjoy it quite a bit.

  14. Grishny (156) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Dave: I’m with you on enjoying the Best of the Year segment a bit more as it gets into familiar territory.

    Not that I haven’t enjoyed the previous installments; I’ve used the information given to make mental notes about movies I’ve never seen but now think I should. But I was able to “get into” this weeks (episode 12) BotY feature more than in previous weeks, as it was on the 1970’s and finally entering my own “era.”

    I’m sure I’ll enjoy the 1980’s bit next week even more.

  15. Dave (130) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 1:59 pm

    The very first “Best of the Year” segment was the only other segment of AMT besides the Amelie X segment I very nearly fast-forwarded through. But I *know* that’s just a personal thing, because the segment hasn’t changed in style or delivery at all, and yet I’m liking it more and more now that it’s coming into territory I’m familiar with. So obviously that initial “This is boring” reaction was just from not being familiar with the movies of the 20s and 30s and so not caring much about a recap of those decades. I’m sure I’ll love the segment by the time it hits the 80s and 90s. I haven’t listened to the segment from this week yet, but I’m sure I’ll like it, since I liked the 60s segment and I’m sure I’m more familiar with 70s movies than with 60s movies just in general.

  16. Sam (405) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve been itching to respond to the Double Feature comments here, but I’ve made myself hold off until most people had a chance to comment. I’m not at all surprised it met such a divisive reception, although I’m (pleasantly) surprised it generated so much discussion here.

    The divisiveness, some of you may be interested to know, extends to ourselves. Stephen doesn’t like it. He likes the writing but didn’t think our performance of the material worked. I, on the other hand, love it, and consider it maybe in the top three best segments we’ve ever done.

    I do agree, though, that our performances were not perfect. Stephen and I aren’t actors. His take is that we started out fine, but, as the segment wore on, we ceased to play the material as straight as we should, and the joke gets lost once we start winking to the audience by playing up our line readings. I can’t entirely disagree with that. My absolute favorite line in the script was “I revere formalism!” which sounded in my head like such a completely awesome pretentious, irrelevant interjection to make in the middle of Stephen’s dissertation on European cinema. But I couldn’t make it work as well as I had hoped. On the other hand, I think Stephen did great justice to his own favorite line, “Except by Jason!” (By the way, I think it’s fascinating how everybody seems to be citing completely different lines as their favorites.) Balancing things out, I think I did better than he did with the longer, more convoluted lines. But any way you cut it, our readings were imperfect.

    For me, that was a so-what. It was still fun, and the jokes still worked. For Stephen, it sunk the thing. It makes a lot of sense that our listeners would be similarly divided, and I take comfort in the fact that the positive reactions seem to outweigh the negative ones. And the discussion was best of all. Your praise is gratifying, and your criticisms are welcome. The only criticism I object to, Grishny, is your offhanded remark about the segment being “filler.” It was not filler. We worked hard at it, we did our best, and whether we ultimately failed or not, it wasn’t there just to flesh out an episode. But I respect that it didn’t work for you.

    Dave, I was predicting to myself all week that you’d ultimately fall on the negative side, although I wasn’t sure why. But I never predicted your explanation, which I frankly found fascinating — where you say it’s two jokes rolled into one. I’m still trying to think that thought through. To me, it’s not two jokes at all but inherently one. We were, of course, doing impressions of pompous blowhard film critics, of which there are many, who routinely publish bunk analyses of the art of the cineMA. The choice of subject matter, comparing Amelie and Jason X, was chosen simply to illustrate the ludicrousness of such posers. To compare these films in our own, natural, conversational styles would miss the target. To discuss a legitimate comparison with pomposity would undo the legitimacy of the subject matter. In short, I don’t see how one aspect without the other would work, or why you would want it to.

    I’m modestly surprised no one remembered where “Amelie X” originally came from. Not that anyone could be expected to remember an obscure forum post from three years ago, but the memories of Rinkies do continually surprise me by regularly recalling the obscure and ancient.

    The material all came from this RinkWorks post, which was inspired by the fact that I did, actually, watch both Amelie and Jason X for the first (and only) times on the same evening. Not on purpose. It just worked out that way, and I reflected how absolutely crazy and wonderful a double feature that was, and that inspired me to write that post. Stephen saw the post and followed suit with his reply. Fast forward three years, and Stephen and I find ourselves doing a movie podcast. It only made sense to reap this old material, which I was still quite proud of and pleased with, and adapt it as a segment for the podcast. Most of the lines from the segment were taken directly from the post, and the rest was written to form the content into more of a conversational, if still very scripted, style.

    I suspect that those of you who were down on the podcast version may still find the original posts enjoyable. The material was, after all, originally intended as prose, not spoken dialogue, and as I said back at the beginning, the weak link was the performance.

    Finally, to answer a miscellaneous question. Rifty, no, it was never our plan to subvert the Double Feature segment with this kind of thing. It probably shouldn’t even be called “Double Feature,” since it’s a very different sort of segment. But now we’ve done the “pretentiously compare dissimilar films with seemingly valid argments” gag. No need to do it again. I would, however, absolutely love doing this same kind of mock-pretentiousness act again, partly because I loved doing it so much the once, and partly to see if we can improve on our delivery. But we won’t do it unless we can find something to talk about that doesn’t just rehash the same joke.

  17. Grishny (156) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I had absolutely no recollection whatsoever of that forum post until just now. And I can’t remember what my reaction to it three years ago was (or if I even read it then, although I probably did).

    My offhand comment about the segment being padding really was just that. I certainly didn’t intend to belittle your efforts, and I apologize for even unintentionally making you feel that way, Sam. I’m actually quite amazed and impressed every single week at the amount and the quality of the material that you two put together for each show. It’s really a testimonial to the quality of AMT that out of eleven plus hours of material, there’s only been one fifteen-minute segment that I didn’t actively enjoy as much as the rest.

    Keep up the good work!

  18. Darien (88) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    I remembered it as soon as I saw the “Amelie X” title in the episode description. Do I get a prize? Maybe an Amelie X commemorative t-shirt? Oh, I know! A free one-year subscription to All Movie Talk!

  19. Sam (405) said,

    December 20, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Good job, Darien. A free one-year subscription is too modest. Take two!

  20. Darien (88) said,

    December 21, 2006 at 3:14 am

    I also think Stephen would identify more with Jason than Amelie.

    And, yes, “Except for Jason!” is one of the best lines of all time. I think I laughed more at that than at anything else ever in the history of AMT, unless it was the action movie thing.

  21. Darien (88) said,

    December 21, 2006 at 3:57 am

    Okay, here’s my take on the controversial Amelie X segment. I thought its main problem was it ran too long; I was really digging it for about four minutes or so. But the humour didn’t seem thick enough to last the whole fifteen minute duration, and it lost me eventually. It was like the same joke over and over again for far too long.

  22. Sam (405) said,

    December 27, 2006 at 5:17 pm

    I forgot to mention this back when this episode came out, but if you want to watch the movie featured in this week’s trivia question, you can watch it online here. The quality will be much better if you get a DVD or a tape of it, but if streaming online or downloading an MPEG is what works best for you, go for it. Note that there are a few different cuts of the film around, and this is the shortest one. The IMDb has more information about the different cuts of the film.

  23. trip (1) said,

    December 29, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    I got mentioned by name! Now that’s an honor.

    And by the way, I don’t disappear. I lurk. I’m always around, silently watching…

  24. Darien (88) said,

    December 30, 2006 at 12:23 am

    “Trip Payne, Silent Watcher.” If you got bitten by the celebrity bug after your recent film debut, I’d suggest telling your agent you want your next starring vehicle to have a title like that.

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