Juno, Cloverfield, Maltese Falcon

Juno. Liked it. Funny, touching, moments of dread, and sad, too. A 2, quite possibly bumpable to a 3. (2 on the Sean Scale is “didn’t regret seeing it, would watch it again,” 3 is “really good, I want to own it”).

Cloverfield: Wow. Intense. Very good. It’s a good thing fingernails grow back because I chewed mine down to nubs during this movie. Motion sickness isn’t a problem for me so the handheld-camera footage didn’t bother me … if it does bother you, take Dramamine and sick in the back of the theater. Almost certainly a 3.

Maltese Falcon: I rented this a LONG time ago. I didn’t like it. I expected so much from a “classic” movie, but I got an unbelievable “romance” between Bogart and Mary Astor (no clue they were interested in each other at all until the end scene where she’s going to jail and they talk about him “waiting for her”), Lorre’s character was just silly and annoying, the dialogue was bleh, the acting was bleh. I were not impressed and I won’t see it again. The only reason I’m mentioning it now is because we (me Stan! Keri JD) were talking after Cloverfield and for some reason I mentioned that I didn’t like Maltese Falcon. All three of them were quite surprised by my literal thumbs-down and we had to change the subject. Tho it’s funny that Stan! would react with such surprise, because I said words to that effect in a comment to this doodle entry. Perhaps he interpreted what I said a different way?


13 thoughts on “Juno, Cloverfield, Maltese Falcon

  1. I was surprised because it’s a classic and we’re SUPPOSED to love classics, right? I’ve never seen it myself (and don’t plan to) so I can’t judge your reaction as improper or not. But I think you actually offended JD. (But then he’s the guy who refuses to give up his DVD of Road House, for whatever that’s worth.)

      • The hard part, I think, about a movie being a “classic” is that a lot of classics do not hold up to the evolution of culture, most especially romantic culture.

        Although, the Great Escape shall always be an awesome movie that elders should share with children. :D

  2. I COMPLETELY misinterpreted your comment, Sean. I thought you were mocking how bad most of the Muppet projects have been since Jim Henson passed away.

    On the other hand, I DO understand how disappointing “classics” can be, especially when you come to them with high expectations. They are classics because they were ahead of their time … and because of that they generally have been aped and built upon SO much that the original loses any sense of originality it once had. When I took an Intro to Cinema class back in college, I was devastated by how deadly DULL most of the “classics” they showed were.

    But sometimes, when the movies were put into perspective, my opinion changed. For example, when I first saw Citizen Kane I thought, “That was okay … but it was kinda long and pretty dull.” Then I was made aware of what the OTHER big movies that year were, and I suddenly realized that Kane felt MUCH more modern than ANYTHING else done contemporarily. It really WAS years ahead of its time. But, once other films caught up and passed it … it just seemed like an average old film.

    The Maltese Falcon, I know, suffers to modern audiences who view it without an eye toward context … but I’m still shocked that you thought it stunk.

    • See, I almost want to see it again so I can point out all the things I think made it dull, uninteresting, or just plain bad.

      But that would require sitting through it again. And it’s just not worth it.

      (Much like I’m tempted now and then to go watch The Phantom Menace and document all the stuff that makes that movie bad, stupid, cringe-worthy. Yet that means I’d have to watch it again, and that is SO NOT WORTH IT.)

      You don’t see people looking back on The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars: A New Hope, or Mad Max, or The Godfather, or Full Metal Jacket, and saying, “well it was really great FOR ITS TIME, you have to look at it in context of when it came out.” No, those movies are GOOD, and have stayed entertaining, even though they were innovative and modern and novel for their time and have spawned many copies and homages. though they may have there flaws here and there, you certainly aren’t bored throughout most of the movie
      “This was amazing … in contrast to the world of crap that was out that year” doesn’t cut it for me.

      It’s funny that you mention Citizen Kane … same year as TMF. Other notable films of 1938-1942 are The Adventures of Robin Hood (Errol Flynn/Basil Rathbone/Claude Rains), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Great Dictator (Chaplin), The Grapes of Wrath, The Wizard of Oz, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Pride of the Yankees. From what I’ve seen and/or heard (only seen a couple of those films, but heard about others), that’s some esteemed company. But TMF didn’t do it for me.

      Then again, I’ll admit I’m not much of a fan of film noir. Though I did like Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, and Sin City. ;)

      • I think you DO have people looking back on SOME of the movies you listed and saying EXACTLY that … and those are people who were too young (or not even born) when the movies first came out. Mad Max is not a classic movie to a teenager today, not in a “wow, that changed my life” kinda way. It’s an old action movie that’s better than most old action movies. Likewise, Star Wars: A New Hope … it’s not the same transformative movie to young kids today that it was for us. It’s just another big action sci-fi film among many … and its weaknesses are much more apparent because the basic premise has been done and re-done and re-done some more by every hack director in Hollywood.

        The Citizen Kane argument makes even MORE sense when you compare it to even the BEST of the films that came out in the same year. Just because Kane is 10 years ahead of its time doesn’t mean that there weren’t films being made that were the epitome OF their time. You can’t compare ANY of those other films to Kane without noticing that they are ALL much more stilted, directly plotted, and “stagey” … that’s just how things were done in that era. Kane showed how movies were GOING TO be made in years to come, presaging film and acting styles that wouldn’t bloom until after WWII.

        The Maltese Falcon was likewise an innovator without which movies like Sin City (not to mention the comics from which it sprang) and the whole genre of film noir would not be possible. It broke new ground and helped establish a genre. That the genre has moved so far beyond it that the original has lost its ability to SEEM inspirational in no way lessens the importance, impact, or greatness of TMF. It DOES make it more difficult to appreciate on its own merits.

        I’m not trying to change your mind about whether or not you ENJOYED the movie (or even encourage you to watch it again … you’re right in that you’d probably dislike it just as much if not more on repeated viewings). I’m just hoping that you’ll recognize that it IS a great film, despite not being something you’re fond of watching. Or, more accurately, I’m hoping to convince you not to say that the movie sucked … at least not around JD … I thought he was going to have an aneurism! ;^)

      • The last thing I want is to give anyone an aneurism.

        I can accept that TMF helped found film noir (though I suppose you really should give credit to the book it’s based on) without liking that genre or TMF, just as I can accept that So-And-So help found cubism or dadaism and not have any interest in those art-isms.

        That doesn’t mean TMF is a GREAT film, or those early art cubist and dadaist art pieces are great art. Or that the first songs that founded the rap genre were great songs. Innovative, groundbreaking, etc., perhaps, but it doesn’t mean they were great (in a quality sense).

        The first computers were very big, clunky, and specialized to do only a limited number of functions. They are the ancestors of our modern laptops and iphones. In the context of the time, they were unthinkable advances in technology, but their utility was very specialized and limited.

        Or perhaps I need an art appreciation class. I’m sure Willow wants to stab me with a fork right now. And call it art.

      • Weird. I normally DON’T particularly like “classic” movies. But TMF just tickles me in all the right places.

        But I am a big noir geek, and I love anything with gumshoes and dames.

      • Not THAT surprising, if I can make even basic assumptions about things you find appealing based off your handle and user pic. I mean, TMF set the tone for noir, and noir films set a lot of the tone for what would develop into classic “fetish” and “BDSM” and “bad girl” iconography.

        Or have I assumed too much?

    • Oh and to clarify, my statement re the muppet TMF was intended to mean:

      “A muppet version of The Maltese Falcon actually has a change of being a Maltese Falcon movie that doesn’t suck.”

      I haven’t seen any of the muppet movies since … er … the second one?

  3. Cloverfield is such an awesome experience for me that it has seeded not one, not two, not three, but six campaign ideas and concepts within my head that I frantically outline as they burst from my head like Athena from Zeus.

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