11/7/2006

All Movie Talk, Episode 6

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

Show contents, with start times:

  • Film Spotlight: Barton Fink (1:44)
  • Trivia Question: 100% Best Picture Nomination Track Record (14:10)
  • Film Buff’s Dictionary: Montage (14:47)
  • Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 4 (19:27)
  • Top 6: Movies About Movies (35:20)
  • Unseen Movie Review: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny (47:35)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (52:12)

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Show Notes:

Film Spotlight: Barton Fink

Barton Fink (1991), by Joel and Ethan Coen, is a weird, surreal movie all about the movies. About the difficulty of writing movies, it was written while they were having difficulties making Miller’s Crossing.

We feel it’s one of the stronger works by the Coens and has some interesting connections to Hollywood’s history, especially Sullivan’s Travels (1941) by writer/director Preston Sturges. That movie features a director who wants to film a movie called O Brother, Where Art Thou?

But seriously, how hard is it to write a wrestling picture for Wallace Beery?

Trivia Question: 100% Best Picture Nomination Track Record

Our mystery actor has a name that isn’t really that difficult to pronounce.

Film Buff’s Dictionary: Montage

  • Montage is the French term for editing, but it has come to mean quite a bit more than its English synonym.
  • Its use in English really comes from the work of early Soviet filmmakers who worked on defining a theory of editing, which they called montage. The most famous of these directors is Sergei Eisenstein, whose 1925 work Battleship Potemkin is considered a milestone in film editing. This historical use of montage survives primarily in film theory circles.
  • The most common use today of montage is to mean a series of short scenes cut together without much or any dialogue in them. Often the montage is used to show progression quickly. In modern Hollywood films, these almost always feature pop songs over the soundtrack.
  • Perhaps the most famous of this sort of montage is in the training sequences in Rocky (1976). The 2004 film Team America: World Police has a song called Montage that parodies this.

Series Spotlight: James Bond, Part 4

This segment is an installment of our continuing discussion about the James Bond film series. See Episode 3, Episode 4, and Episode 5 to hear about the earlier episodes of the series.

  • The Living Daylights (1987), a high point in the series, marks the first time out for Timothy Dalton in the role of Bond. Dalton’s interpretation harkens back to the character of the Ian Fleming novels and restores Bond’s dangerous edge.
  • Licence To Kill (1989) steers Bond into darker territory. It’s also a strong film, but the rough edges and cheap look detract. David Hedison returns to the role of Felix Leiter, the only time an actor ever played the character more than once.
  • The two Dalton films featured Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny; the subsequent Brosnan films would cast Samantha Bond in the role.
  • Licence To Kill was the last to be written or co-written by Richard Maibaum, who had been with the series from the beginning.
  • Licence To Kill also marks the last time Maurice Binder would design the distinctive credit sequences for the series.
  • Legal disputes keep Bond out of theaters for another six years. Timothy Dalton’s third movie, The Property of a Lady, could not be completed. Dalton officially quit the series in 1994, opting out of doing another episode after the legal matters clear up.
  • Pierce Brosnan is cast for Goldeneye (1995), which cannibalizes parts of the old script for The Property of a Lady but is mostly a fresh story. But the question becomes, is Bond still relevant in the post-Cold War era?
  • The character of M is recast as a woman, played by Judi Dench, who calls Bond a “relic of the Cold War.” But the record-breaking box office of Goldeneye establish that Bond is truly back.
  • Despite its success and the continued respect it receives, we think Goldeneye is good but not great, mostly due to a meandering second act, uneven pacing, and a terrible musical score by Eric Serra. But it’s certainly a lot of fun and reignites public interest in the James Bond character.
  • Following Goldeneye, producer Albert R. Broccoli and special effects supervisor Derek Meddings pass away. Future installments are produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) is another high point in the series, combining the high-octane action feel of Goldeneye with a more cohesive story and confident pace. The musical score by David Arnold does a great job at recapturing the spirit of the old John Barry scores.
  • The World Is Not Enough (1999) is another solid entry in the series, though a step down from Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • The World Is Not Enough marks the final appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, who supplies Bond with his gadgets. Over the years, Llewelyn had acquired a huge cult following by series fans, and he had appeared in all official Bond movies to date except two. In The World Is Not Enough, he is training an assistant, R, played by John Cleese, who would assume the title of Q by the time of the following film. Sam is personally responsible for the casting of Cleese.
  • Die Another Day (2002) is the 20th official James Bond film. To observe the occasion, the film is laden with references to all of the earlier 19 movies and other aspects of Bond history. Yet, it also finds time to show us things about the character we’ve never seen before.
  • Although Die Another Day is a strong entertainment, the producers decide (probably correctly) not to continue the pattern of churning out action spectaculars, each a little more over the top than the one before. Instead, the forthcoming adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, will bring the character back to basics. Find out how, and learn about two previous adaptations of Casino Royale, when James Bond returns in All Movie Talk, Episode 7.

Top 6: Movies About Movies

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

Unseen Movie Review: Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny

We haven’t seen Tenacious D in ‘The Pick of Destiny’, but that hardly stops us reviewing it. Sam wanted more duality in the subtext, but Stephen’s love of The D leads him to give it (or at least the soundtrack) a pass.

 
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15 Comments »

  1. ThePhan (128) said,

    November 7, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    All last week my film class talked about montage. This is getting creepy.

    Okay, now I’ll actually go listen to the rest of it.

  2. Grishny (156) said,

    November 7, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Will you be making a film as part of your film class? Because if you are, you’re going to have to make a creepy film about a film class teacher who mysteriously channeled a movie talk show host from the future.

  3. Dave (130) said,

    November 7, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    I really have to agree with Stephen about the “Timothy Dalton looks goofy” thing. The odd thing for me is that “The Living Daylights” is easily one of my favorite Bond movies (some days I think it’s even my favorite) but I never *really* got into Dalton as Bond, mostly because I look at him and think “That’s not Bond.” I see him in a line of pictures showing all the Bonds to date, and it’s like I’m playing that game from Sesame Street where you’re supposed to guess which one doesn’t belong. I don’t know if it’s his eyes or his weird tight-lipped smile, but there’s just something that doesn’t work for me about his face that makes me not like him as Bond.

    I actually think Pierce Brosnan is my favorite movie-poster Bond. To me, he pretty much looks exactly as Bond should. But his actual portrayal of Bond isn’t number one in my mind–I think that’s still Connery.

    But I do have to admit Dalton did two of the strongest entries in the Bond series. If he had done more, I might have warmed up to him.

  4. KTSlager (55) said,

    November 8, 2006 at 3:22 am

    I remember my own film class discussing montage a few weeks ago. I suppose you kind of covered this by mentioning Eisenstein, but what about “Man With A Movie Camera”?

    Also, now if I go to Rinkworks and read a bad movie review, I can perfectly hear Sam’s incredulous voice.

  5. Sam (405) said,

    November 8, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    Dave: I remember having the debate with you about whether Dalton looks “goofy” or not before I ever even met Stephen. So it cracked me up when we were recording that segment, and he came out with that argument. I bet he got it from you.

  6. Dave (130) said,

    November 8, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    Stephen mentioned this in the show: The South Park song Montage. They also reprised the song in the movie Team America, with a few slight lyrical changes.

    “In any sport if you want to go from just a beginner to a pro, You’ll need a Montage!”

  7. ThePhan (128) said,

    November 8, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    A few comments, although I think my brain is dying because I have less and less to say on these episodes, although I’m certainly still enjoying them.

    -As I said, montage was discussed in our film class. We watched “Man With a Movie Camera,” which is certainly an interesting montage. And I have to say I love the Strong Bad email about montages. It makes me laugh a lot.

    -I need to drop by the video store tonight and pick up Goldfinger. Now I’m all interested in this series I’ve never seen.

    -The unseen movie review bit made me laugh. And you guys are smart, so I don’t have to worry about it being overused or anything, which other people would probably try to do. :-) I really like how you guys are varying your segments (except for the top 6, which is fine, those are always different) so that we don’t get the same thing every time.

  8. Dave (130) said,

    November 9, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    Sam: Well, I certainly didn’t feed Stephen that line to bring up or anything, but I can’t prove I never discussed Dalton-as-Bond with him, so I guess it’s possible he got the goofy thing from me.

    I prefer to think, however, that he’s just far more aware of what “goofy” looks like than you do. :-)

    I’ve never read any of the Bond books (well, I think I read Casino Royale once, but I remember nothing about it) so I don’t even know what exactly I’m basing my “this is what Bond looks like” ideas on. I just know Dalton isn’t it.

  9. Dave (130) said,

    November 9, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Also, I’m thinking the next installment of Film Buff’s Dictionary needs to cover the term “Frame Tale”. Sam’s used it twice in the podcast now, and I thought I knew what it meant, but the way he uses it, I’m unsure.

  10. Sam (405) said,

    November 9, 2006 at 10:15 pm

    Hehehe. Sorry ’bout that. Frame tales are like The Canterbury Tales, where it’s a series of short stories linked by an outside frame story. In this episode, I think I used it with regard to The Bad and the Beautiful. The idea of that one is that there are these three top Hollywood talents — a director, an actor, and a writer. And they all despise this one producer, for various reasons. The producer tries to recruit them to do a movie for him, and they don’t want to. One by one, we see each of their backstories and what led each character come to hate the producer so much.

    So, frametale. Short stories with an outer, linking, frame story.

  11. famous (8) said,

    November 10, 2006 at 7:27 am

    Since my car was out of commission this week, wintermute and I were able to listen to this in his car on the drive to and from work together. We both cracked up when we go to the “Unseen Movie Review” section about Tenacious D.

    The segment idea was great. I knew I was in for a treat when you said “who has 2 hours to watch a movie?”. And the comment on having Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, and the Wilson brothers all in the same movie was classic.

    Good episode, as usual.

  12. Gharlane (12) said,

    November 18, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    Another good episode, guys. I’m catching up on them slowly.

    The theme of “movies about movies” is sort of interesting;. I enjoyed “Singin’ In The Rain” and “Day for Night” (which is, I believe, the only Truffaut-directed piece I’ve seen.)

    Weighing in on Bonds, I like both Dalton and Brosnan, but consider Dalton to be better, for the same reasons that Sam liked him. “Goofy” looks aside, he just exuded danger and ability. The Living Daylights is my favorite non-Connery Bond film, with License To Kill right behind.

    The trivia question stumped me, and I laughed really hard at the “Who has two hours to watch a movie?” line. Keep up the good work!

  13. Grishny (156) said,

    December 11, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    I watched Barton Fink this weekend. I’d say your analysis of it is pretty much spot-on. I almost wonder if AMT’s review didn’t color my perceptions of the movie a bit, even though I waited more than a month before seeing it. (If you’re not Sam or Stephen, be warned that reading on could be spoilerish, although I’ll try to keep things vague.)

    Going in, I was expecting surreal; this is the Coen brothers, after all. You said in your show that the “jumping off point” for this was the long tracking shot down the bathroom sink drain, and that was kind of weird, but in my mind where it started to get truly surreal was when he finally sat down and started writing his screenplay. It was from that point on that I couldn’t decide whether what I was seeing was supposed to be actually happening, or something that Fink was dreaming or imagining.

    I think he did write the screenplay. I think the dancing scene immediately after he finishes was a dream, or imaginary. I think the scene after that, when the detectives read his script and then John Goodman shows up, happened, but I almost have to believe that the flames were meant to be somehow symbolic. The ending of the film seemed to imply to me that Fink really did only have one good idea in him, and that the “journey of the mind” that he kept talking about is really just an infinite loop or a trap that he can’t escape - he’ll just keep writing the same thing over and over again. This was reinforced by what Lipnick, the studio exec, told him after turning down his screenplay.

    It seems fairly obvious to me what’s in Fink’s box at the end, but I’m not sure what that’s supposed to symbolize. And I also can’t make up my mind if Fink or John Goodman’s character is responsible for what happened to Mayhew.

    Sam, you’re right about it being a movie that lingers in your mind. I’m still trying to figure out what it all means.

  14. wintermute (157) said,

    February 5, 2007 at 9:45 am

    OK, I finally saw Barton Fink last night, so now I have to go back and listen to this again…

  15. Rifty (64) said,

    July 24, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    Alright, so, having just finished Barton Fink, my reaction was pretty much the way I imagine most people’s reaction is:

    *sputter sputter… huh?*

    I don’t know if what I’m about to say will constitute a spoiler or not, so, fair warning to anyone reading, possible spoilers ahead.

    I remember when FInk ends up on the beach, the scene opens with a wave crashing against a large rock. I also remember that they used that same wave earlier in the movie, but for what, I don’t remember. I think that might be the crux of getting the movie. I need to go back and watch it again, which is on my agenda for tomorrow night, when I’m off work, and just before I return the movies.

    But all in all, it was, as you guys so aptly put it, really surreal. I mean, I followed it, and I knew what was going on, right up until that final scene, when it just went all loopy on me, but I trust that if I watch it again, with the ending in mind, it’ll all make sense, just as you say it will.

    Unlike Grishny, I’m not smart enough to figure out what’s in the box, although I do have a thought, now that I mention it. It just surfaced, like it’s been in there since I saw the movie.

    Yeesh, that’s a creepy thought. Anyway, as I said, I’m gonna go back and see it again. Thanks for the recommendation on this one as well.

    -Rifty

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