All Movie Talk, Episode 3

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents, with start times:

  • Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 1 (1:55)
  • Trivia Question: Best Picture Winner With No Other Nominations (18:35)
  • Industry Trend: Color, Part 2 (19:16)
  • Controversial Take: Spider-Man (32:19)
  • Top 6: Train Movies (37:46)
  • Double Feature: Big Fish and Secondhand Lions (49:49)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (54:48)

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Show Notes:

James Bond, Part 1

As usual, a good starting point for general info about James Bond is the Wikipedia page on James Bond.

  • James Bond was created by writer Ian Fleming in 1952. The character’s name is an intentionally bland, British name that Fleming took from the author of a book about birds.
  • The first Bond novel is Casino Royale, published in 1953.
  • The first Bond story adapted for the screen is Casino Royale in 1954, though it is made for a television anthology series and stars an Americanized version of Bond played by Barry Nelson.
  • During the late ’50s, Fleming teams up with writers Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham to come up with some ideas for Bond stories, including the creation of SPECTRE, the evil organization that antagonizes Bond. The relationship went sour, however, and McClory and Whittingham sue Fleming after Fleming uses the ideas in his novel Thunderball.
  • In 1960, John F. Kennedy publishes a list of his favorite books and a Bond novel is among them. EON Productions, headed by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman purchase the film rights to all the Bond novels. The two men will serve as producers on most of the Bond movies to date.
  • It’s not until 1962 that Sean Connery takes the role in Dr. No. Many of the Bond trademarks are established at this point, but many of the conventions are not. It is more of a realistic espionage thriller than the later films will be.
  • From Russia With Love (1963) still maintains much of the psychological intensity of the first film while ratcheting up the action a bit.
  • With Goldfinger (1964), Bond becomes a cultural phenomenon. It helps establish many of the Bond cliches, including elaborate methods of killing people (covering women with gold paint), memorable quotes (”No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”), and villains who just have to explain their elaborate plans (even if they kill everyone they just told).
  • After Goldfinger, Thunderball (1965) gets the most admissions of any Bond film — ever. Kevin McClory had won his lawsuit and got the rights to make this film, which he co-produces with longtime series producers Broccoli and Saltzman.

Trivia Question: Best Picture Winner With Just One Nomination

This week’s mystery movie is certainly not Titanic (that 1997 film was nominated for 14 Oscars).

Industry Trend: Color, Part 2

This discussion is a conclusion of Industry Trend: Color from Episode 2. In a nutshell, we feel black-and-white makes a good alternative to color cinematography because it allows for greater focus on composition and lighting of shots and that color is a little less interesting when it’s the norm rather than reserved just for spectacle.

This color remake of Psycho doesn’t exist.

Controversial Take: Spider-Man

Stephen hates both Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004). In general, he thinks director Sam Raimi has problems managing the tone of his pictures (though Stephen believes this works to Raimi’s advantage in the horror-comedy movies Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness) and that this is a major flaw in both films. Sam is not a huge fan of the first movie, but he thinks the second one is a very well done piece of entertainment and that the alternately silly and serious moods suit the material well.

Top 6: Train Movies

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

Stephen makes a joke about Train Pulling Into a Station (1895), aka L’Arrivée d’un Train à La Ciotat, by the Lumiere Brothers. It’s 48 seconds long, and you can watch it on YouTube.

Throw Momma From the Train (1987), which Stephen mentions in passing, is a comedy based on the premise of Strangers On a Train (1951).

Double Feature: Big Fish and Secondhand Lions

In 2003, two movies were released within months of each other that make for an interesting comparison about storytelling and its role in our lives. While Big Fish was released in limited release in December and saw a big Oscar push with lots of publicity, Secondhand Lions — released in September — may have been the more insightful and fulfilling film on the same topic.

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  1. famous (8) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 10:00 am

    Excellent episode..

    I’m glad that you’re doing a Bond segment since I haven’t seen many of the films and haven’t heard any of this background stuff before. My husband will surely thank you if it gets me to watch the movies more happily. ;-) You definitely inspired me to try to see Goldfinger.

    I also enjoyed the Double Feature segment. I saw Big Fish and loved it and I wasn’t as dissapointed with the non-resolution at the end as you seemed to be, Sam. But now I’m definitely interested in seeing Secondhand Lions to compare and also to enjoy the storyline.

  2. Grishny (156) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    I like famous saw Big Fish and enjoyed it, and wasn’t really bothered by the ending. I’m also interested in seeing Secondhand Lions. It’s actually one that’s been in the back of my mind to see for a few years now; my wife watched it a couple of years ago and really loved it. Every time it comes up she tells me what a great movie it was and that I ought to watch it with her. I’ll have to bump it up on my list.

    I guess I’m just a sucker for comic book movies, because I like both Spider Man movies and am looking forward to the next one. Actually, I know I’m a sucker for comic book movies, because I can’t think of one I’ve seen yet that I didn’t like. I even enjoyed The Hulk enough to watch it twice.

    Now everybody can laugh at me.

  3. KTSlager (55) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 1:11 pm

    Hey, a note on last week’s show. I found the bit about Italian Neo-Realism to be really interesting (even though it didn’t sound like it would), and imagine my surprise when it was the next topic of discussion in my Survey of Film History class last night. Anyway, not that I thought you guys weren’t legitimiate enough, but now you’re even *more* legitimate!

    Haven’t actually listened to this week’s show yet, but I will soon.

    And yes, Grishny, I am laughing at you.

  4. mollye mo (7) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Great show, guys.

  5. Sam (405) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    famous/Grishny: Perhaps I expressed myself in a misleading way about Big Fish. When I say I was disappointed by the ending, I don’t mean that once the credits rolled I was thinking, “Well gee, that ending stunk.” It was more like, “Well, that was a neat feast for the eyes, but it seemed like it had the potential to be more emotionally resonating than it was, so what’s the problem?” and after a bit of thought, I concluded that it was because the ending doesn’t really take the characters anywhere. It’s a neat, fanciful ending, but not really one that brings closure to the central relationship of the movie.

    My sincere hope is that you both see Secondhand Lions and like it. If so, the simple fact of that movie will do more to explain my feelings about Big Fish than any words can. Secondhand Lions just sort of demonstrates what, exactly, Big Fish was missing to be a truly great movie instead of simply a good movie.

    Of course, now my fear is that you’ll go into Secondhand Lions expecting Big Fish. The reality is probably that these two movies don’t have much in common *except* the central theme of growing closer in a personal relationship through fantastical stories.

  6. Maryam (14) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    Great show, guys. I enjoyed it a lot.

    The James Bond segment was more interesting to me than I thought it would be, having never seen one of those movies. (Actually I think I saw either of Tomorrow Never Dies or The World is Not Enough, but if so I promptly forgot everything about it except for some horrible puns at one point.) In any case, the description of his character made me want to start seeing those at some point, more than I already did.

    I liked the segment on the Spider-Man movies a lot as well, because I have my own conflicting feelings about them. I like the character of Spider-Man a lot, and I think I was willing to forgive a lot to see him in the movies. But it has bothered me that there is a lot of angst and (I think) melodrama. It’s true that part of the story of Spider-Man means a lot of bad things happen to Peter Parker on a regular basis — his uncle’s death which he could have prevented if he’d known, always getting into trouble with MJ, many personal friends whacking out and becoming supervillains, etc. — but in the medium I’ve seen him in before (ok, just the 90s cartoons) he still manages to remain fairly upbeat, always with a snappy retort ready to aim at the bad guys. As well, they seemed to want to flesh MJ out a little bit, but by making her also whiny and angsty. None of the scenes in which Peter and MJ are together clicked for me, because it just seemed over-the-top and cliched. The second movie was actually worse than the first for me, because of increased Peter/MJ scenes.

  7. Jaguar (22) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    For Big Fish and Second Hand Lions… I am right with Sam on this. Big Fish was a fun enjoyable movie, but for me, it was nothing more than a good time waster, and I have no desire to see it again. But Second Hand Lions was such a gem that I do want to see it again. And again. And again. In time, it could even make my top 6 list of all time favorites.

    As for Spider-Man… I don’t claim to be a big superhero buff. I don’t really follow superheros too much outside of the movies. But Spiderman has always been my favorite superheros. And the story of Spiderman (to the best of my knowledge) has always been a bittersweet one. He’s the misunderstood superhero. The guy who saves the day, and yet is hated by the public at large. That’s why it’s such a victory when the crowds take his side, because they finally understand — yes, he is the good guy. As for the angst — that’s in every superhero story (where keeping their identity secret is critical). And is only multiplied here, because of the bittersweetness of who Spiderman is… and they’re teens.

    But bittersweet is tough to do. It’s easy to get too bitter or too sweet. It’s impossible to please everyone, and I think it’s even harder when you’re doing bittersweet.

  8. ThePhan (128) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    -Oh, dear. I now have to admit I’ve never yet seen a Bond film.
    -That’s fascinating that the books were so much inspired by real people and such.
    -I tend to dream entirely in color, so black and white doesn’t feel dreamlike to me at all, but I’m perfectly willing to accept it does to others.
    -Quick thought on the demise of musicals: it wasn’t just the screen. Musicals themselves died down for a long time. The 70s tried to bring it back with “concept shows” like Company, which felt more like revues, focusing on concepts or ideas instead of plots. (Those… don’t really translate all that smoothly to movies.) The 80s were just plain crap (you can tell because that’s when Carrie: The Musical came out), and the 90s were when they decided to take Disney films and stick them on the stage instead of writing original stuff. Things are looking up now, and this is probably partly reflected in the resurgence of musical films, although very few of those so far have actually been any good for non-fans of the show. :-) But I’m done with this rabbit trail now.
    -I liked Spider-Man. I thought the second one was better, but I actually *liked* the first one better. Yeah, that’s all I’ll say for now.
    -Re: Peter Parker being whiny and angsty… Heh. I’d read some of the comic books and I thought he did the same thing. I actually stopped reading the comic books because I felt he was much whinier in those than he was in the movie. Maybe the later comic books changed that, but the early ones bugged me.
    -I loved Big Fish but nobody else in the world did. On the other hand, everyone loved Secondhand Lions and I had difficulty getting into it. Maybe I don’t like closure. Heh.

  9. Sam (405) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    ThePhan: I doubt one likes or dislikes closure as a rule of thumb. Probably just a stylistic preference at play here. Anyway, go watch Goldfinger right now. If you like it, watch them all, starting with Dr. No. If you don’t, give Tomorrow Never Dies a shot.

    KTSlager: That’s great about your Film History class. And great to hear you liked the segment. We knew it would have limited appeal but would be fun for a few.

    Great thoughts on Spiderman, everyone.

  10. Stephen (221) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 9:35 pm

    I would like to agree that in the comics, Parker is also whiney and I don’t really like Spider-Man in the comic books either — but I like those better than I like the movies.

  11. Randy (21) said,

    October 17, 2006 at 9:53 pm

    Some comments, so Sam will stop yelling at me..
    –Bond movies are fun. Even the bad ones, because then you can complain about how bad they were compared to the others. I also liked the history lesson. Who needs wikipedia when you have Sam?
    –As most of you know, I’m a comic book geek. So I watch just about every comic book movie (haven’t gotten around to Daredevil, yet. Darn). As such, I enjoyed the Spider-man flicks as much as the X-flicks.There were a couple of things that bugged me. In the second flick, when Doc Ock is attacking the bank and people are scremaing, it just looks like an overdone B-Movie. It just bugs me to see that part.
    In the comics world, Spider-Man originally had the web shooters, but after the film came out, he got the ability to shoot the webs from his arms. They changed it so that fans of the film who hadn’t been fans of the book wouldn’t get confused. Also, Ultimate Spiderman, which came out two years before the movie, was a reboot of the character. He started out with natural webs.
    The movie character is actually closer to the UItimate version. In fact, in one storyline, Ultimate Spiderman went to Hollywood while they were filming the actual movie, and met Toby, Sam, etc. Funny stuff.

  12. Dave (130) said,

    October 18, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    Loved the Bond segment, totally looking forward to the rest of those. I’m totally with Sam on Goldfinger–although it’s absolutely the iconic Bond film, it’s hard to get around the fact that Bond doesn’t actually DO much in the movie. I too used to think it was my favorite Bond movie until one time I watched it (I believe during that time Sam and I watched all the Bond films over the span of a few weeks) and afterwards said something like “Man, Bond just kind of goes along for the ride in that film. He spends almost the entire movie trying to escape and not succeeding.” It’s so weird, because the first few times I saw it, I never noticed that. It definitely brings it down several notches in my eyes, but there’s just no escaping the fact that this is *the* Bond movie that set the tone for pretty much all the later movies. I’m just glad they figured out Bond ought to be more involved in the actual plot after Goldfinger.

  13. Ellmyruh (20) said,

    October 18, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    OK, that was a great show and I swear that I run faster on the mornings I’m listening to your movie show (today definitely being no exception).

    Anyway, I loved the Bond stuff, and it made me want to see some of the old movies. Actually, it also made me want to read the books now that I’ve heard a little more about the author. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Bond.

    Regarding Spider-Man, I think Stephen secretly wants to be a superhero, so that’s why he took the whole “Spider-Man sucked” approach to the film. Well, maybe not, but I still think he’s wrong. Those movies were just a ton of fun, and I’m looking foward to the third one. It doesn’t hurt that the heroine has an excellent hair color!

    And one more comment, regarding the double feature. I saw Big Fish and came out of thinking that it was a beautiful film to watch, but I wasn’t quite thrilled with it. I didn’t know why, so maybe I should see Second Hand Lions.

  14. Dave (130) said,

    October 18, 2006 at 1:14 pm

    I totally concur with the hair color observation. Here’s a funny little excerpt from Bryce Dallas Howard’s Wikipedia entry about her upcoming role in Spidey 3:

    “She portrays Peter Parker’s love interest Gwen Stacy and bleached her naturally red hair blonde for the role, while the naturally blonde Dunst’s hair is dyed red for the role of Mary Jane.”

    Silly Hollywood people getting the casting wrong in the first place.

  15. mindless_drivel (29) said,

    October 18, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve always disliked Spiderman as a character. We have enough teenage fluff out there without a “Oh, look at poor, angsty me” superhero to boot. When I pick up a comic book, I don’t want more than 50% of it to deal with trival teenage or even adult life situations that don’t really matter.

    Watching the second movie, I quickly got tired of watching the same exact character interplay as there was in the first movie, so I decided to focus on the cinematography. Boy was that a mistake. Although there are a few good shots, there were many more groan-inducing moments. The ones that pop to my mind are when Dr. Ock is climbing up into Harry’s balcony and the scene near the end with MJ running through the park in her wedding dress. *gag*

  16. wintermute (157) said,

    October 23, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    The reason that The Great Train Robbery was known as The First Great Train Robbery was to make sure people didn’t think it had anything to do with the theft of £2.3million ($4.3m, at today’s exchange rate) from a Royal Mail train in 1963. This heist was known as The Great Train Robbery, and remains embedded in the British conciousness to this day. Though the 1988 pseudo-comedy made about it, starring Phil Collins, was quickly forgotten.

  17. Grishny (156) said,

    October 23, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    I watched Secondhand Lions last night. Big Fish isn’t exactly fresh in my mind, as it’s been six months or so since I saw it, but I do think that I enjoyed SL just a bit more. The story has more… story to it than BF, which in comparison seems more like a showcase for spectacular visuals than an actual attempt to tell a story. In Big Fish, the flashback sequences were more of the focus of the movie, whereas in Lions, they were there as supplemental material to the real “meat” of the story. If that makes any sense.

  18. Gahalyn (22) said,

    November 11, 2006 at 4:11 am

    Wow so, I just now started listening to it and I actually had to stop to come to the computer to say that the part at the very beginning about the ninjas and the “this episode hopefully will not kill you” made me die laughing, which I think might be cheating.

  19. jaime (13) said,

    June 23, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I don`t blieve you didn`t liked Farenheit 911, one of the most shocking and truthful films I had ever seen. Now, thanks to that movie, I know how americans are (that film and Supersize Me) and with every day that passes when I remember this movies I think that I would prefer not to go to USa never.
    Maybe Farenheit 911 touched your patriotical sida, but it seemed good for me, it`s the truth. Face it!
    I also liked Loose Change, it`s the truth, I know it.
    Sorry if anyone got offended but, it`s what I believe, I would want to hear your opinion about this Stephen.

  20. LaZorra (60) said,

    June 23, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    jaime: Yeah, it’s totally valid to base your entire assumption on a nation’s people based on movies. For instance, I’m convinced the French are all pretty much like Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther movies.

  21. Nyperold (116) said,

    June 23, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    You mean, you thought we’d like a movie that supposedly shows “how americans are”, such that you think back on it and “would prefer not to go to USa never”? I’ll leave Stephen and other to discuss things like the veracity of it and why he, personally, didn’t like it, but given what you think it’s saying, why would we?

  22. jaime (13) said,

    June 24, 2007 at 1:35 am

    I`ve seen some minutes ago An Inconvenient Truth, ÙSA is a economy monster and the only thing it wants is more money. They don`t even think in the Earth, the place in wich we live!
    Al Gore please save us!
    And Ricardo Lagos too!
    This isn`t against americans, it`s against their politic structure, and their awful president…
    I`m not a commie… jejejjeje
    I`m just an outsider who looks everything from beyond and so with truth all over my eyes and mouth.
    La Zorra your comment was so unrelated, I was talking about documentaries, and they talk about society and truth. Your argument about the frenchs is totally (i don`t want to say anything bad) irrelevant.
    Nyperold, I didin`t understand a word from what you said, so never mind.
    Stephe, i`m waitiiing….

  23. LaZorra (60) said,

    June 24, 2007 at 2:30 am

    Okay, your comment made me chuckle. You don’t want to say anything bad, but you don’t mind saying straight out that America is an evil place where there is dancing in the streets when reports of diminishing ozone or oil spills reach us. Believe it or not, we share in the effects of pollution, too (I live in a city which currently, I think, has the worst air quality and highest rate of athsma in the nation). You are, as you say, an outsider, and I suggest that you do some actual research on another country (instead of just reading news headlines and watching movies and hating it because it’s cool to hate it) before you judge it and its people.

    I am sorry my sarcasm went over your head. Truth is, Farenheit 911 and An Inconvenient Truth are not documentaries. (Neither is SuperSize Me, really, and I fail to see how that particular movie plays into your extremely incorrect and biased view of Americans.) Documentaries attempt to show truth from an unbiased viewpoint. They can be shocking, yes, but they are always based on solid, proven and provable facts. The films you mention were made with a very definite, very strong political point of view — one that a lot of people, in this country and out of it, disagree with — and are based on “facts” that are widely accepted as such only by people who already agree with the message of the movie. That makes them individuals’ interpretations of events, not documentaries.

    I have two questions. One, what gives you the authority to say that a film about 9/11 is truthful or not? I highly doubt that you have all the facts to judge from. Two, what makes you think a political discussion like this belongs on a board about movies?

  24. Sam (405) said,

    June 24, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Jaime, you say Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me are truthful representations of the USA, so you don’t want to ever visit it. Hey, if you’ve never even visited it, how do YOU know how truthful they are?

    Even if I were to concede to you that they are 100% fact, the bias is strong and evident in the selection of facts they choose to present. In “Super Size Me,” it is probably absolutely correct that the guy gained all kinds of weight and incurred all kinds of health problems from eating McDonald’s food for a month. But what if I also told you that not only did he eat McDonald’s food for a month, he stopped his normal exercise routine during that month, further contributing to his deteriorating health and weight gain? How honest and truthful is it, really, to conduct an experiment in such a slipshod, unscientific way, and present the findings in a documentary with such an obvious agenda?

    Both documentaries — and An Inconvenient Truth, as well — are made by people with an agenda. They want to get something done. All Michael Moore wanted to do was keep Bush from being re-elected (which I believe he had outright declared). And so on. Having an agenda does not necessarily make someone untrustworthy, but it sure as heck means that if you swallow it whole as the incontrovertible truth without exploring the issues more broadly and deeply, you’re an idiot.

    Worse, you’re the idiot lobbyists absolutely adore, because they can pretty much get you to believe anything, as long as they package the message up in nice enough packaging. But hey, if you want Michael Moore and Al Gore to do all your thinking for you, by all means, go right ahead.

  25. Nyperold (116) said,

    June 24, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Okay, I’ll express myself in a simple manner.

    What I asked was, if they make Americans look so bad, why would we like them?

  26. jaime (13) said,

    June 25, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    First of all, I have to paologize about saying that I wouldn`t go to USA, what I meant was that I wouldn`t like to live there. Anyway, about your replies about this term, I`d like to say that you sound arrogant, the only thing you didin`t said was: “It doen`t matter if one person doesn`t go to USA”. About not living in USA, i`ll explain it later.
    La Zorra: You say you live in a polluted city, and you`re worried about the problem and say Oh it`s bad, but you don`t even try to do something about it! I live in Santiago, one of the most polluted cities in South America and I see the problem and I`m trying to do something to change it, using the advises given in An Inconvenient Truth. You say Fahrenheit 9/11, An Inconvenient Truth and Supersize Me aren`t documentaries because they`re made from a political point of view and that they are individual interpretations of people against the government, so let`s say, if they weren`t any documentaries against the governement, two things can be happening:
    1. There isn`t anything wrong, everything`s perfect and everybody`s singing in the rain of joy.
    2. There is Censure and so, there`s a Tirany.
    But, I think there`s no tirany in USA, am I wrong? So these documentaries exists because there`s something wrong going on, in any subject: weapons (Bowling for Columbine), presidential elections or war (Fahrenheit 9/11), fast food (SuperSize Me) or our planet earth and pollution (An Inconvenient Truth). Anyway, what`s objective today? Science and Philosophy have somrthing in common, the y say that they will never reach the truth, becuase in everything we put our personal interpretation or opinion.
    About your first question, no one gives me authority, is what I think. Are you going to burn me like a witch if I believe in something you don`t? And I think if there`s people who thinks Loose Change is right and people who made it are directly communicated with this tragedy… mhhhh… something strange is going on.
    And about yournd question, my answer is HA!, tell me about movies that aren`t political. If we talk about the movie JFK, we can`t avoid politics. Let me give youan example, if we talk about Ingmar Bergman, are we prohibited to talk about Religion? He thought some things and he put messages in his movies, and we can`t separate things wich are like flesh and bone, like ecology and the lack of ecology decisions in the actual USA government,

    Sam: First of all, son`t offend me. You called me stupid and YOU treated me as I was somekind of enemy of you. In USA you live with terror, I understand all the kind of answers I got, you overreact when someone attacks you, the terror is instilled in your society. Not only in movies, I see it in the news how they make you tremble, even from mechanic stairs!
    Now, about SuperSize Me, he stopped his excercise because Northamericans don`t exercise, and he only did what the average Northamerican do. USA is the most obese nation in the world. You say I`m an idiot, don`t even talk about idiots, it`s because of the things you do (or yor representatives do) that you have a worlwide image that Northamericans are Idiots, Destructors and Stupids.And guess what? You make this image true. I was going to criticize you film likes, Sam, because the poor excuse of not talking about Donnie Darko because you didin`t understand it made me think you were the thing you said I was, because some movies are made to think of, like Brazil or the documentaries I have named. Alejandro Jodorowsky said that “when we enter a cinema we go in empty and we go out empty, we have to do therapy movies” Movies that make you think and doubt, like Magnolia, wich I also never heard a word for it from you. But that`s tastes and I don`t get into that kind of business. I also had a coment about this podcasts name: All Movie Talk, because you should rename it to “All movies that-I-understand-at-once-and-don`t-attack-the-government-or-make-me-think Talk, but tht`s too heavy.
    Moving on, I`m an idiot, Ok, if I take an idea from someone else and apply it to my life style? Well, if it is so, Everybody is an Idiot. Everybody follows some kind of idea (Religion, Politics, Science, Sports, Philosophy, etc.) What would be of us withouth this obvious stupid ability?

    Nyperold: Ok, you don`t like a movie when it talks bad about Northamericans (I never use Americans, becuase… you know? YOU`RE NOT AMERICA) Every film director who makes a movie about something wrong in the society is not in the government. What do you think?
    Ok, if yuou don`t like auto-chriticism, look your Northamerican heroes movies of USA saving all the world and being USA the biggest and most important country (I know it isn`t) and don`t look at your own wounds.
    You`re so arrogant sometimes, do you understand me now?
    Don`t be so close-minded, you`re like Augusto Pinochet fanatics, withouth a brain following a blind idea.

    Finishing this, I`d like to clarify that I don`t want tosay anything bad that would hurst you, so I`ll generalize. You have to be the firsts to suffer from anything to realise that there`s something wrong in your political structure or doings. Sometimes I think that you deserve some things.
    Well, it`s only an opinion, it won`t change the world, but it canopen some eyes.

  27. jaime (13) said,

    June 25, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Anyeay, good show, I listen it everytime I can.

  28. Iloveamelie (1) said,

    June 25, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I’m totally agree with Jaime…Sorry, but this is the opinion of the world about americans. I think Michael Moore and the others guys made this films to open your eyes, because for the rest of the world is easier to see how wrong you act. But if you don’t want to see a part, a harsh part of your reality, maybe, you prefer to follow the searching of non-existent nuclear weapons, try to dominate every part of the world where yout goverment has economic interests and see movies that show how americans are the heroes of a danger world, a danger world caused for YOU…I’m not against american people, I’m just against your goverment and the way they want to dominate the world, and I know that a lot of americans don’t want to be part of that, and don’t want to be part of the way the bush’s people make things.

  29. Nyperold (116) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 1:07 am

    jaime: Now, not liking criticism isn’t the same as not taking criticism. I would guess that you don’t like to be criticized. Maybe you do something about it, maybe you don’t, depending on whether or not it’s true, important, and feasible to correct.

    I also had a coment about this podcasts name: All Movie Talk, because you should rename it to “All movies that-I-understand-at-once-and-don`t-attack-the-government-or-make-me-think Talk, but tht`s too heavy.

    And also untrue. Liberal propagandists aren’t the only ones who make movies that make you think.

    (Hey, Sam, there’s a good Top 6 in there! I know you’ve mentioned them before, but “Movies That Make You Think” would be a good list!)

  30. Ferrick (140) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 1:22 am

    I love reading posts like this from jaime and loveamelie. I’m glad that you write in English well enough for people to truly understand who you are and what you think. Thank you.

    You seem to really know Americans well based on what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. I now have more proof that humans being ignorant is universal and not limited to one country.

    I do want to encourage you to please post more because I enjoy reading the posts.

    So, to keep it on movies, I should mention that I did like Donnie Darko and I guess I’ll have to lose respect for anyone that doesn’t agree with me.

    So lonely.

  31. wintermute (157) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 9:10 am

    As a fairly left-wing immigrant to America (and I didn’t move here because I agree with America’s political stance), I despise Michael Moore’s documentaries, and I see no point to Super Size Me. I’ve not seen the movie version of An Inconvenient Truth, but I’ve read the book, and if the movie is similar, then it’s probably a good documentary.

    Michael Moore’s movies probably qualify as documentaries, but they are essentially works of fiction, with no goal beyond the immediately political. While it’s very difficult (if not outright impossible) to make a political documentary that avoids bias, his outright lies and fabrications are indefensible. Throwing up insane conspiracy theories and inventing controversy simply obscure the real issues. Especially when there are real controversies and plausible conspiracies that deserve more attention.

    I think, in the long run, his movies do serious harm to the causes he highlights, as it becomes very easy for political opponents to write off serious issues as mere political propaganda. As a vocal proponent of universal health care in America, I am very uneasy about his upcoming Sicko; the trailers look reasonable, but I have no doubts that the documentary itself will distort the facts to the point that no-one can take them seriously.

    Overall, I consider Michael Moore to be the worst friend the political left has in America.

    Moore Exposed is a decent place to see decent counterarguments against Moore.

    Super Size Me, as I say, I consider to be a waste of celluloid. If you eat nothing but three Big Macs a day for a month and do no exercise, then your health will suffer. Well, this may come as a surprise to you, but McDonalds don’t actually recommend that as a diet. It’s no more meaningful than a two-hour documentary demonstrating that more fatal car crashes happen on the highway than in fields.

    As others have pointed out, he not only changed his diet, but also his exercise regimen, which makes it hard to tell whether the bulk of the effects come from the diet, the lack of exercise, the sudden change from one lifestyle to another or some combination of all of the above. But the point at which this became utterly disgusting was when his doctor told him that his life was in danger, if he didn’t give up his experiment, and he decided that his life was less valuable than spreading the message that a very restricted, high-fat, high-calorie diet and no exercise isn’t healthy. If this was a novel and controversial message, I could understand, but as everyone already agreed with him, the only thing I can think of that he stood to gain was the box-office receipts.

    If you really want a good look at the fast food industry in America (both good and bad) read Fast Food Nation. I understand they’ve made it into a movie, but I’ve not seen it, and I’m not sure how it will survive being turned into a fiction. I can strongly recommend the book, though.

    Sam says that Al Gore has an agenda in making An Inconvenient Truth; this is certainly true, but that agenda seems (to me, at least) to be nothing more than to educate people as to the current scientific consensus in a scientific discipline that is currently swamped in politics. As I say, I’ve not seen the film, and my comments here are drawn from the book, but I understand the contents are similar.

    It is a fact that something like 99.9% of climatologists agree that human beings are forcing up the temperature of the planet, and that this is going to be to the detriment of those same human beings. Every major scientific organisation has issued statements to this effect. And Gore has worked directly with the scientists on the cutting edge of this research, and has very successfully distilled low-level primary research into an easily understood form. The simple fact that he’s managed to put together a presentation that’s both simple and accurate means that he may be the most important voice in the global warming debate.

    If you want an overview of the science involved, RealClimate is a good place to begin.

    Overall, while I agree for the most part with the messages these different documentarians are trying to put forward, my opinions of how they go about it are wildly different. Moore is a dangerous liar who will choose good television over the truth every time. Spurlock is a mercenary nonentity who’s prepared to risk death in order to popularise an opinion that everyone already agrees with (just so long as he gets a few million out of it). Gore is an honest man whose primary goal is to publicise the truth.

    Of course, I may be wrong on any of those opinions, and I welcome contradictory data. But the take home message should be: Basing your opinion of America on what Michael Moore tells you is about as sensible believing the KKK are honest and unbiased when they talk about immigration reform.

  32. Sam (405) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 10:23 am

    jaime: I honestly don’t have the time or inclination to respond to your message in full. But there are a few points that I wish to clarify.

    1. I didn’t directly call you an idiot. I said “IF you swallow what these documentaries are telling you without further research, you’re an idiot.” If you agree that that describes you, ok, I guess I called you an idiot. But I hope you understand the difference. My intent was to convey that this is an idiotic stance for someone to take, because then that person is essentially turning over his or her own free thought to the control of media propagandists.

    2. There are a lot of charges in this thread about America being arrogant. Whether or not this is true, I don’t see anywhere in this thread where any American has claimed that America is superior to any other nation. On the other hand, we have someone from Santiago and someone else from presumably a third nation, basically claiming that their nations are superior to the USA.

    I don’t honestly care if the USA is arrogant, so long as we do the right thing by the world, which is far more important than some petty conflict of our national personalities. We don’t always do the right thing. Like any other nation, we make mistakes. And we (as nations as a whole, and as citizens within our nations) will certainly often disagree about what those mistakes are. But contrary to what wingnut documentarians have told you, we’re trying as hard as anybody else to do the right thing.

    That means that there are some of us in all of our nations who are corrupt and greedy. That means there are others of us in all of our nations that are generous and upstanding and globally minded. You have NO basis to judge LaZorra on her part in the effort to preserve the environment. You have absolutely no idea how she lives her life. You have judged her simply because she is an American, which is just another form of crude bigotry.

    The problem is that you are judging people based on documentaries that call people to action. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the messages in Fahrenheit 9/11, Super Size Me, and An Inconvenient Truth are 100% true and essential messages. So feel free to accept the messages. But you can’t *judge* people, especially not an entire nation of people, based on these documentaries. These documentaries are a *call to action*. They would not be a good call to action if the message was, “Yeah, there is global warming, but there are a ton of people out there working to fix the problem!” A call to action, whether it’s to vote out a President, eat healthier, or save the world, is going to try to emphasize that nobody is doing *enough*, so that you will do your part.

    That’s not even necessarily a dishonest tactic. But it is a form of rhetoric, not a window to the souls of a people. You don’t get to know people except by getting to know people. And I don’t mean getting to know the vocal minority, either. Bigotry thrives on stereotypes, and stereotypes do have a basis in truth, however small and warped. But we can fight bigotry by seeing past the stereotypes and understanding that nations are made up of diverse groups of people that all have different ideas, and nobody has all the answers. The only way we can get anywhere is together, by pooling our strengths and forgiving our weaknesses.

    I haven’t called all South Americans drug czars. You don’t call all North Americans arrogant pigs, and we’re square.

    3. I’ve seen 3000 movies. Just because I haven’t talked about one doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I like Magnolia. There were parts of it I didn’t like, but parts of it I loved, and overall I liked it quite a lot.

    I didn’t like Donnie Darko, but I basically understand it. True, I didn’t understand *all* of Donnie Darko, but that’s perhaps because I found it so unenjoyable that I didn’t bother putting the effort into it. On the other hand, I understood it far better than I understood Primer, a movie that I absolutely love. So your hypothesis that I only enjoy movies that are simple enough to understand is demonstrably false.

  33. Nyperold (116) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Also, if we haven’t turned you off of the podcast, please listen to episode 39 when you can, especially for the top 6. It pretty much accidentally timed out just right… like Stephen’s #6 choice, incidentally. You might find some movies that think it through a little better than Fahrenheit 911.

  34. Stephen (221) said,

    June 27, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    I actually stopped paying attention to jaime the instant he said he considers “Loose Change” to be an informative film.

    Anyway, I actually like Michael Moore’s earlier films, though I find them a bit grating in the end as he has a tendency to make a point and then continue making it. I loved TV Nation, his brief television show, as I think he’s best in the small doses the short segments there provided for.

    I hate F911 because it’s such a non-argument: the film is basically a bunch of assertions that are hinted at but not made. It’s frustrating to talk about it, because almost everything at all interesting in the movie is implied rather than said, so if you call Moore on his nonsense he can truthfully say he never made the claim that he clearly intends his audience to take away.

    For instance, the movie spends a lot of time telling us about connections between Bush (43) and the Saudi government. And while it hints that those connections have some more sinister meaning, it never actually makes any claims. Virtually every “shocking” argument in the film is like this: Moore points out a bunch of connections but never connects the dots, because in reality there’s rarely anything to connect. It’s not a good way to make a point.

  35. Rifty (64) said,

    June 27, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    I saw the Loose Change film. I don’t quite know what to think of it.

    Granted, I’m not a physicist, or any sort of scientifically minded person, so you could tell me that ice is hot, provide some weird scientific formula with archaic symbols, and I’d probably feel the same.

    However, as I think about it, and granted it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but it seems to present facts, and lets the viewer draw their own conclusion. The only problem I have with that, is that most of the stuff it presents is circumstantial at best, and some of the stuff they present I couldn’t quite make the connection.

    Anyway. I dunno.


  36. Stephen (221) said,

    June 28, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Don’t let yourself be sucked into that kind of thinking!

    This is how conspiracy theories work. They present you with a whole TON of evidence, no piece of which is particularly relevant by itself. But they just present you with so much seemingly weird data that you can’t help but question the official story.

    Here’s what conspiracy theories don’t provide you: evidence that a conspiracy took place. You can take a look at any of these things (the CIA killed JFK, the government faked the Moon landing, the government did 9/11) and you’ll never find any shred of evidence to show who exactly in the government was responsible. You’ll find no substantiated confessions from those in government, no clear timeline of it, no chain of decisions, nothing. If you investigate the history of things that actually happened, this is all stuff you’d require.

    Conspiracy theories work because you’re just not really trained to study historical events. The fact is, nothing ever lines up nicely. The historical record is always full of gaps and weird coincidences. The prominence of coincidence is something most people — and especially conspiracy theorists — undervalue. But if you have very large sets of data to comb through, you would expect to find all manner of coincidental things.

    We just don’t intuitively understand this sort of thing. My favorite application of this is the birthday problem. If you take 30 random people and put them in a room, what is the chance that any of them will share the same birthday? What about if you take 50 random people? Assume that birthdays are distributed randomly throughout the year, and remember that there are 365 days in the year (ignore leap years). Think about it for a second and make a guess.

    The answer is that with 30 people, there’s a 70 percent chance that two will share a birthday. With 50, it’s at around 97 percent. So if you have 30 people, it would be weird if two didn’t share a birthday, while our intuition is usually the opposite. Google “birthday problem” for the full explanation. Once you do the math a little bit, it becomes obvious why this is so, but intuitively it seems impossible.

    Anyway, this is all a long digression. When you say that Loose Change allows viewers to make their own conclusions, it’s more of this weird weasel crap that I hate Fahrenheit 9/11 for. Anytime you present a bunch of facts that seem incriminating without actually connecting the dots, I’m suspicious, just because it’s so easy to take facts, remove them from context, and then make them look incriminating. But if you don’t actually claim any greater meaning, then you can’t technically be called a liar.

  37. Rifty (64) said,

    June 28, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Well, I never said I believed it, or that I fell into that trap, because I didn’t. I watched it, honestly, because I had nothing else to do, and it seemed like a good time killer.

    Anyway, I recognized most of what you were saying, as I was watching it, and when I was done, I thought it was interesting, but nothing was ever proven, and all the evidence, as I said, was circumstantial at best. So, I automatically discounted it, and chose not to believe the claims it was implying.


  38. wintermute (157) said,

    June 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

    My favourite non-intuitive statistical thing is the Monty Hall Problem:

    You are faced with three doors; behind one is a car, behind each of the other two is a goat. You pick a door, and then one of the other doors is opened to reveal a goat. You may then choose to give up your chosen door in favour of the other closed door. What are your odds of getting the car if you change, or if you stick with your first door?

    Most people’s first instinct is that the odds are 50% either way, because you’re basically choosing between two doors. But it turns out that changing doors gives you a 66% chance of winning. And you can make it even more impressive - if there are 10 doors (with 9 goats) and 8 of those are opened before you make your final choice, you have a 90% chance of it being behind the door that you didn’t initially choose.

    You can find plenty of excellent explanations of this on the web, so I won’t mangle the maths for you.

  39. Sam (405) said,

    June 29, 2007 at 11:58 am

    wim: I have that problem in the Brain Food section of RinkWorks. I get more email about that problem than any other single thing on my site. This, despite continually augmenting my explanation of the solution by addressing the different points of confusion that people get hung up on, and also after linking to more exhaustive mathematical solutions. People still read my explanation and find it so completely unintuitive that they write in in droves to “correct” me. So then we have an email exchange on the subject, and after about the second or third iteration, the light dawns. It’s a weird thing.

  40. Ferrick (140) said,

    June 30, 2007 at 12:22 am

    Marilyn vos Savant has addressed this problem several times in her column. I think she has retired it from being published in the column anymore because it doesn’t matter how many times she explains it, people will complain about it being wrong.

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