Criterion Year Week 45: Bottle Rocket

• August 14th, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Bottle Rocket

Spine Number: 450

Director: Wes Anderson

Genre: Comedy

During the 90's independent film really exploded. Well, kind of. You see, "independent," although very specific in meaning (we go with the John Cassavetes definition which means made without studio backing) came to mean something very different. "Independent' became more of a buzzword that meant "low budget" and major studios opened "independent brands," which were just arms of the larger group that would produce lower budget films. So, instead of true "independent" movies, we got films that were produced by studios, but that could claim status as independent. The studios also pretty much saw everything as being either Quentin Tarantino (edgy, cool, neo crime dramas with funny dialogue), or Kevin Smith (slacker comedy).

Bottle Rocket was as close to actual independent as you could get, and it had the added bonus of falling between the two accepted genres. It was a slacker crime comedy, so it seemed like a slam dunk.

Oh, also, it was Wes Anderson's first movie and he hatched, pretty much fully formed as a filmmaker.

BottleRocket1.jpg

We both have a somewhat challenging history with this movie. We both have always viewed it as having great characters, fantastic dialogue, and a horrible plot. Part of the reason for that was that it was pretty much advertised as a different movie.

... and the original posters didn't really help much.

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It was pushed as more of a "hip comedy heist film" than what it was. So, when both of us originally saw it, what we got was so completely out of step with what we were expecting that we felt profoundly disappointed. It was good, but it was not what was advertised.

So, we were left with some cool lines and great characters, but a movie that didn't really work for either of us.

Now, years later... well, our opinions have changed.

Now that we know what it isn't we are able to enjoy it for what it is. The whole "wanna be criminals" element is there, but it takes a backseat to a much more interesting story, the story of some guys who are trying to find some sort of place in the world. They are not so much slackers as they are young guys trying to find who they are and figure out their place. They want to be criminals, but only because it seems more interesting and exciting than any of their other choices.

If you haven't seen this yet, check it out. If you have, watch it again and join us as we discuss this incredible first feature.

BottleRocket2.jpg

Next Week:

Spine number 475: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 44: Blast of Silence and a discussion about the lost beauty of the video store

• August 7th, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Blast of Silence

Spine Number: 428

Director: Allen Baron

Genre: Drama

As the local video store has become a thing of the past there are certain experiences that have been lost to us. There was something about going to a local store that had a finite inventory that led to a type of adventuring that we don't really have anymore. You would go to your local store and there would be one or two movies that you would always gravitate towards but never rent. Your guy or gal, you always had one, would learn what you liked and help you discover new and interesting things that you never thought of watching before. If you were like us, you had several video stores and a legion of employees who knew what you liked and would hook you up with stuff. There was something about the title or the artwork that just struck a chord, but for some reason you would never take the plunge. Then, one night you wouldn't see anything that looked good, and finally decide to give this mystery box a try. Often times the results were predictably disappointing. The title or box art wrote a check that the movie just couldn't cash.

But....

There were the times when the movie would be so outrageous, so ridiculous, so great, or so unexpected that you kicked yourself for not watching it sooner.

In that spirit, we give you Blast of Silence.

BlastofSilence.jpg

This is a lean, mean, and to the point noir-esque gem that not enough people know about, but those who do... those who do are part of a special group. To give you an idea, a few years back The Academy (yes, that Academy) invited Patton Oswalt to a special screening for a new series they were doing. They allowed him to pick any film he wanted. He chose this. Look up what he's said about it and be amazed at this guys writing ability.

What he wrote and said about this film inspired me to get it. I'd seen it, loved the title, and been intrigued by the cover, but this was my strange little video store gem that I just never pulled the trigger on. Man, I wish I had done so earlier.

There is not an ounce of fat on this thing. It's a simple, direct story of a hit man coming to town to execute a contract, but his past gets in the way. From the opening narration to the closing image this movie is perfectly balanced. It's rough and simple, but when you execute this well there is no need to get fancy.

So join us as we take a look at a criminally overlooked movie and lament the bygone days of the local video store.

BlastofSilence2.jpg

Next Week:

Spine number 450: Bottle Rocket

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 43: The Last Emperor

• July 31st, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

The Last Emperor

Spine Number: 422

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Genre: Drama

Sorry for the late post. I'm out of town and doing this on my laptop.

For most people in the west, China is a complete mystery. I mean, during 12 years of formal education, your average American gets about 1 year of "World History" education. That's including college. Mind you, not the history of a specific country or continent, but the history of the WORLD generally gets less attention than the foreign language you all but completely forgot as soon as the class ended.

That mystery is what makes Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" both fascinating and frustrating. It's fascinating because it's a look into a part of history that most of us have no knowledge of, and it's frustrating because it's a look into a part of history that most of us have no knowledge of. There is no background, no context, no nothing except for what we see on the screen. Is this moment important? Not sure. If it is, we have no idea why.

With that said, this is a fascinating and gorgeous movie.

TheLastEmperor.jpg

Legendary filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci won his only two Academy Awards for this film and it is understandable why. The story is fascinating, the performances are fantastic, the direction is pitch perfect, the production design is beyond beautiful, and... well, it's just a fantastic film.

So, join us as we talk about this amazing movie and how the story of a child who becomes an emperor and an emperor who becomes an ordinary citizen fits in with the current nightmare of the American political landscape.

TheLastEmperor2.jpg

Next Week:

Spine number 428: Blast of Silence

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 42: Ivan’s Childhood

• July 24th, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Ivan's Childhood

Spine Number: 397

Director: Andrei Tarkovksy

Genre: Drama

Russia is a fascinating place. It is a total enigma to most of us in the west. Separated from the rest of the world by one of the most frozen, hostile wastelands imaginable everything about the place is completely foreign to us. Everything from language (including the alphabet), to the customs, to the culture... everything about this massive country is so completely different to that of the west that comparison seems almost impossible. All that most people seem to know is that it's cold, they drink vodka, and they produce ballet and chess players like nobody's business.

However, there are two areas that Russia does not receive the credit it should. First, the human sacrifice Russia made during World War II is so massive that it borders on incomprehensible. To put in in perspective....

80% of Russian males born in 1923 did not survive World War II.

80%. That is as close to a generation being wiped out as you can get. That is the type of number that causes a fundamental shift in the culture of a country.

WWII was won by British Intelligence, American Steel, and Russian blood. Damned near all of Russia's blood.

The second area... the importance of Russia to the development of modern film cannot be overstated. Almost everything about editing that is practiced today originated in Russia.

So... what happens when you combine the tragedy of WWII from Russia's point of view with their mastery of cinema...

IvansChildhood.jpg

To get directly to the point... Andrei Tarkovsky is a bad ass. He is the only filmmaker we will mention in the same breath as Kurosawa when it comes to visual mastery. His command of image is breathtaking on every level.

So, we begin with that, the absolutely breathtaking visuals of a certified genius and combine it with the unimaginable tragedy of WWII Russia, and not just the horror of war, but the horror of war from the point of view of a child, and you get one of the greatest debut features in the history of film.

This movie is a beautiful as it is heartbreaking. There isn't much more to say than that.

So, if you haven't watch it... do yourself a favor, and then join us as we discuss the reason why Russia is so much more hardcore than anyone else.

IvansChildhood2.jpg

Next Week:

Spine number 422: The Last Emperor

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...

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Criterion Year Week 41: Ace In The Hole

• July 17th, 2016

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Ace In The Hole

Spine Number: 396

Director: Billy Wilder

Genre: Drama

In the history of film there may not be a filmmaker with a more solid pedigree than Billy Wilder. Between 1940 and 1967 he was nominated for 21 Academy Awards, of which he won 6. He won for writing, producing and directing. His films are included on so many "Best of" lists that it's impossible to name them all.

Name a genre, and odds are he is responsible for a film listed in it's top 10.
Comedy? Check, "Some Like it Hot," and "The Apartment."
Romance? Check. "Sabrina."
Film Noir? Double check, "Sunset Blvd." and "Double Indemnity."
Drama? Check. "The Lost Weekend."
Prisoner of War drama? You know it! "Stalag 17."

I could go on and on. Basically, this guy is as legit as possible.

So it should be no surprise that even his lesser known work is some of the best out there.

We give you "Ace in the Hole."



Kirk Douglas is Charles Tatum, an abrasive, down on his luck newspaper man trying to rebuild his career at a small newspaper in New Mexico when a dream story falls into his hands. A local business owner is trapped in a mine collapse while looking for Indian artifacts to sell in his store. Tatum sees a way back to the top. Create a media circus around this human interest story with him as the ringmaster.

We have said this a lot lately, but this movie is almost more relevant today than when it was made. We live in the time of comments over content, and "Ace in the Hole" shows not only how easy it is for that type of journalistic tactic to form, but how quickly it becomes a self sustaining machine.

So, join us as we discuss everything about how our current media landscape used this film as a guide, rather than a cautionary tale, and how we ended up where we are.



Next Week:

Spine number 397: Ivan's Childhood

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at www.thelifemasters.podbean.com.

You can also drink in our brilliance on Youtube for both The Film Thugs and The Life Masters.

http://fantasymovieleague.com/

Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.

It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.

You have an 8 screen theater.

Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.

Then you compete against other theaters in your league.

It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

And remember, you can be a part of the show any time you wild like. How's that? All you have to do is call or e-mail us. If you live in the US, or any place that makes calling the US easy, just dial 512-666-RANT and leave us a voicemail. We will read the Google Voice transcript and play your message. It's both funny AND informative.

If you live outside the US you can call us on Skype at The_Film_Thugs. You can leave a message, or someone might actually answer.

E-mail us at thefilmthugs@gmail.com and we will read/play whatever you send us, or you can e-mail thugquestions@gmail.com to be part of  an upcoming "Ask the Film Thugs" show, where we answer questions on any subject without having heard them first.

Also, we are on twitter @thefilmthugs and on Facebook and Vine.

Also, be sure to check back often for our new endeavor The Life Masters, where we answer questions to other advice columnists.

Thanks for listening, and until next week...


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