12/5/2006

All Movie Talk, Episode 10

Posted in Episodes at 5:00 am by Sam

We would like to welcome this week’s special guest speaker, David J. Parker.

Show contents, with start times:

  • Good Bad Movie: Plan 9 From Outer Space (1:23)
  • Trivia Question: Nobel Prize (21:25)
  • Film Buff’s Dictionary: Match Cut (21:51)
  • Top 6: Slow Movies That Are Still Compelling (26:13)
  • Best of the Year: 1950-1959 (46:19)
  • Closing: Trivia Answer, Preview of Next Week (61:22)

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Show Notes:

Good Bad Movie: Plan 9 From Outer Space

David J. Parker has a section at RinkWorks that’s all about great bad movies.

Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) wasn’t directed by Johnny Depp, though he may have been in a documentary on the subject. It was, in fact, directed by the top bad movie auteur Ed Wood.

Bela Lugosi stars in it, despite having died before filming began.

Trivia Question: Nobel Prize

Sam’s rocking trivia question this week is about a mystery person who won a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. Albert Einstein was robbed for his appearance in the film I.Q. (1994).

Film Buff’s Dictionary: Match Cut

A match cut is a cut that joins two unrelated shots together in a way that makes them seem related. Often this means cutting between two moving objects with similar trajectories — famously, a spinning bone cuts to a spinning space station at the start of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) — or between two objects with similar shapes, or between shots with similar composition.

The match cut is useful as an editing tool because it asks the audience to directly compare two images that may or may not have any direct narrative connection. Match cuts can also be used to cut between similar sounds, such as between a scream and a rumbling subway car.

Match cuts can also be smash cuts at the same time if their effect is to startle. The famous smash cut cliche of cutting between a knife about to enter flesh and a kitchen knife chopping meat is an example of a match cut and a smash cut, because both scenes are linked through visual and audio similarities.

Note that some of the example match cuts Sam describes are actually match dissolves, but we’ll save the difference between cuts and dissolves for next week.

Top 6: Slow Movies That Are Still Compelling

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

Best of the Year: 1950-1959

 
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22 Comments »

  1. wintermute (157) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 8:49 am

    Ah, good old Plan 9. Did you know it was Fox Mulder’s favourite movie?

    I know that there are far too many wonderful lines in this movie, but I do need to bring everyone’s attention to “Inspector Clay is dead! Murdered! And somebody’s responsible!”

    And, to be fair, light from the sun does touch every planet in the Universe, eventually. Well, except for those behind nebulae or stuff. But it’ll also touch other stars, which would explode, creating a chain reaction. Poorly phrased, it’s true, but it always made sense to me. For a value of “making sense” that’s appropriate to Plan 9.

  2. wintermute (157) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 10:02 am

    And in the Top 6, you hadn’t “just finished mentioning” Tokyo Story in the 1950’s segment…

  3. Grishny (156) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 10:13 am

    And also in the Top 6, when you recounted your lists, Sam reads his number three film off as “number one,” and then of course has another number one in the appropriate place.

    Nitpicking aside, another good episode, and almost long enough to last me the whole drive to work this morning. I’m particularly appreciating the Best Movies through the Years segments which are giving me all kinds of ideas for movies I should watch that I’ve never seen.

  4. Sam (405) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 10:59 am

    wim/Grish: Ah, crud.

  5. Nyperold (116) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    Hey, it’s like Memento! Or… that other movie!

  6. ThePhan (128) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    Instead of waiting until I listen to the whole thing to comment (since, as I learned last week, that’ll result in my never commenting) I’m going to comment after every portion I listen to.

    Hurray for guest speakers. And, technically, in Paris, they’d probably pronounce it “Dahv.” As in the 10-year-old female rapper, I suppose. But whatever.

    Plan 9 is one of my all-time favorite bad movies, and, actually, one of the very first ones I ever watched. I saw a double feature at the college my dad works at (and that I now attend) which played Plan 9 From Outer Space along with Attack of the Crab Monsters. Wonderful stuff.

  7. Dave (130) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 4:27 pm

    They’ll pronounce it how I tell them to pronounce it, metric system be damned.

  8. wintermute (157) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 4:40 pm

    I love Plan 9. I love Ed Wood’s work in general. I love the fact that if anyone flubbed their lines, or the set fell over, he’d refuse to do a second take, claiming he’d fix it in post-production, and then… well, not. I love the fact that with the exception of Bela Lugosi (who was either high-as-a-kite on heroin, or going through cold turkey whenever he worked with Wood), he never worked with professional actors, preferring to give roles to his friends and investors. I love the fact that he’d completely re-write his scripts in the editing room. I love the fact that he took random stock footage that had no obvious connection to the movie he was making and just threw it in there. But most of all, I love the fact that he clearly thought he was creating high art, and would go down in history as Orson Welles II, and even managed to convince those around him of his genius.

    Glen or Glenda, his semi-autobiographical debut is probably his most technically accomplished work, and , but Plan 9 was certainly his most enjoyable.

  9. Aaron (35) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 5:16 pm

    You mentioned the studio system in passing in the best of segment, and I’d be interested in a segment on the studio system. Simply put, from all the movie history and occasionally trivia I’ve learned I have a fairly good sense of the studio system, but I’ve never seen or even heard of something that actually directly talks about the studio system. All I’ve learned is through its effects on this or that movie or this or that star.

  10. Dave (130) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    I second that. I’d love to hear a bit on the history of the studio system, and how it differs from what we have today, and why it changed, and whatnot.

  11. ThePhan (128) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 6:36 pm

    Plan 9 segment was awesome, overall.

    Trivia question, I have no idea. I’d assume it wouldn’t be an actor, but a director or someone else behind the scenes. Someone like that just feels more likely to have won a Nobel Prize…

    Film Buff’s Dictionary was interesting. At the beginning, actually, I thought, “That’s kind of like what they were talking about last week, with the chopping of people turning into the chopping of vegetables.” And then you guys went right ahead and actually SAID it was like last week.

  12. Stephen (221) said,

    December 5, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    As I was listening to that segment, I also thought, “We should do something on the studio system.” Glad to hear we’re on the same page, Aaron.

    So consider it planned, though it will be a while before you guys get to hear it.

  13. Eric (44) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 1:36 am

    I thought this was a great episode, probably one of the best yet (I supposed I’m biased because I’ve never really cared for James Bond). You mentioned like eight Hitchcock movies this time; have you considered devoting an entire episode, beginning to end, to Hitchcock? I’d definitely listen.

    Also, people have brought up the studio system. I have a book called The Making of The Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz. It’s a fascinating biography of the movie, but, more relevant to this discussion, it offers a look at the studio system at its height, in what was basically the king of all the studios (MGM). I’d really recommend it for anyone interested in learning about the studio system. Or about The Wizard of Oz. Or really to anyone.

  14. Grishny (156) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 10:32 am

    Also mentioned in brief during this episode was the Hollywood Black List that existed during the McCarthy era and the whole “Red Scare”. That was one of the most interesting aspects I found in the movie The Majestic; even though it wasn’t the main focus of of the film it was a major plot point. That there even was such a thing as this black list is something I was not aware of until I saw the movie, and it’d be interesting sometime to hear a segment on it and how it affected the movie making industry of the time.

  15. Sam (405) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 1:20 pm

    Grishny: Another great idea.

    Also, if anybody cares, with regard to the weirdness of me referring back to the future and having two number ones, I’ve just uploaded a new version of the mp3 file that cuts out these errors.

  16. Dave (130) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    wintermute: I get the idea that the Solaranite (however that is spelled/pronounced) would eventually destroy the whole universe if it does what it claims to do. But the way Eros presents the argument doesn’t quite make sense to me still, and the whole gasoline metaphor was just hilarious either way.

    I’m happy everybody seemed to enjoy the segment. I figured Plan 9 was a great movie to talk about since most everybody has at least heard about it and it’s chock full of great things to make fun of. One of my fears was not having enough to talk about to fill a whole segment, but we ended up recording for like 40 minutes and Sam had to reign me in towards the end so they could get on to recording other stuff and not listen to me babble all day. I don’t think much stuff was really left out in the end, though, because there were some false starts and a ton of “ummms” and “uhhhhs” and “Where was I? Oh yeah” stuff that thankfully gets cut through the magic of editing.

    Of course, all the OTHER segments of the show are done live and perfect in one take…

  17. Sam (405) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    Fun fact about the Plan 9 segment: the movie was made in 1959, and this segment about it is 19 minutes, 59 seconds long.

  18. wintermute (157) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Dave:To me, at least, it makes as much sense as anything else in the movie. The problems I have with the explanation are:

    1) How does Eros know what a Solaranabenaboobahmite bomb would do? Given that the Universe still exists (it does, right?), either it’s not as powerful as he claims, or it’s never been tested. Sure, if the theory says it’s going to destroy the universe, then you’re probably better off not conducting large-scale field experiments, but still.

    2) Do they wipe out every planet that develops nuclear power? Or only the ones that use weapons? Do they acknowledge the irony in destroing an entire species because you’re worried that they might one day develop a superweapon that would destroy your species?

    3) If you want to make sure that a given species doesn’t develop a superweapon capable of destroying the entire Universe, then why would you begin by explaining the basic operating principles of said weapon? Why mention Solaranamisimusabite at all?

  19. Dave (130) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 3:53 pm

    wintermute: I’m pretty sure trying to apply logic to Plan 9 is an exercise in futility. Considering the aliens don’t even seem to understand their own motivations (they seem to want to contact the humans and talk to them, but they do tons of stuff that are pretty contrary to that goal) I’m not sure it’s even possible to figure out the answer to those questions. But, that’s what makes Plan 9 such an awesome bad movie. You could spend hours just talking about a few scenes.

  20. Rifty (64) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 7:19 pm

    Wintermute:

    According to the story I heard, and granted, I could be wrong about this, the guys in charge of the atom bomb weren’t sure that exploding one wouldn’t cause a chain reaction that would end in destroying the world until they actually went and did it.

    Mankind is stupid.

    -Rifty

  21. Dave (130) said,

    December 6, 2006 at 8:08 pm

    Rifty: Teller brought that up as a possibility, but later wrote a paper along with a few other scientists refuting the possibility and showing it couldn’t happen. So that’s mostly an urban legend. They knew when they set the thing off it wasn’t going to destroy the atmosphere.

  22. Rifty (64) said,

    March 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

    Oh.
    Wow.

    Plan 9 is on YouTube. In it’s ENTIRETY.

    I just watched it.

    It.
    Was.
    Horrible.

    I think enough has been said about it here, that I don’t need to retread the old stuff, just some stuff I noticed.

    ~I love how everyone is totally CARELESS with the handling of their guns. For example. When one of these well-trained top-notch cops holds their guns, it’s slightly tilted off to the side, if not pointing down to the ground. When they fire at the zombie-folks, they are firing at their feet. Granted, I don’t watch Zombie movies (due to a highly traumatic incident when I was 8 years old (don’t ask)), but I’m pretty sure that 1, guns don’t have any effect on undead things, and two, even if they did, firing at their feet wouldn’t make a difference.
    The lieutenant at one point actually SCRATCHES HIS CHEEK with the barrell of the gun, all while his finger is ON THE TRIGGER.
    ~I love the way how no one can wear a hat straight up on their head. It’s always tilted drunkenly off to the side.
    ~Vampira and Bela don’t actually DO anything. Tor Johnson actually does, but no one else does.
    ~Nothing says Pathos like two filthy gravediggers picking up their shovels, as they watch your wife’s funeral. Speaking of the funeral, she must not have been very loved- only 5 mourners?
    ~When The Old Man (who apparently doesn’t have a name) leaves his house for the final time, he walks off screen, there’s a screech of tires, and then cut to black. Except, as he walks off, the wind is blowing, trees are waving in the wind, bushes are fluttering back and forth, and as soon as he leaves the shot, BAM. Everything freezes. Even his shadow on the ground.
    ~When Mrs Trent is found unconscious on the side of the road by the intensely dumpy guy, he goes over, examines her, and tries to pick her up. A line from MST occured to me at that point- “That is a ten pound butt, in five pound butt capacity pants.” Halfway through that thought, he bent over to pick her up, showing us his TPBIFPBCP in all it’s- dare I use the word glory? I dare- glory. I just about died.
    ~I love how Eros sounds like a radio announcer from the 40’s.
    ~And the boss alien with the battle axe on his tabard, I kept seeing that scene, and thinking of it as a stage play. People enter through the curtains, and then exit again.
    ~Horrid blocking. Who thought that up? Especially on the spaceship, with all the people moving around in weird awkward ways that they never would have done in real life.
    ~Very chauvinistic movie, I think.
    ~And one final question: Dave mentioned in his review on IABBBBM that there is at least one instance of an actress completely blowing her line, and no one calling for the cameras to stop. I totally missed that, and I was even watching for it. Can someone point out to me where it was?

    Thanks. That was fun. Next up, I obtained a copy of Sinbad of the Seven Seas. I saw one clip of it on YouTube- the fight with the Ghost King, which does indeed last about two seconds, and then Sinbad looks down off screen, and goes “You’re losing your power Jaffar!” And then he pauses, keeps looking down, keeps looking down, keeps looking down, and then slowly looks up to spike the camera and then (after about ten seconds of silence) goes “And you know that.” I just about DIED. I didn’t stop laughing at that part for a good ten minutes, and even now, I’m laughing as I write this.

    -Rifty

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