Sunshine, Light, and Joy


This is a post that I've been thinking about for awhile. Recently, I opened up the discussion to other members of the staff to get their feelings on the matter, and their opinions generally matched mine, which is this:

Within the last year or so, there's been a steady increase of negative posts in movie threads. We've always had some heated discussions for some movies, but recently things have not only gotten more histrionic in those threads (generally speaking, the CBM ones), but they've started to spread to other franchises and other movies as well. I'm not talking about out-and-out trolling, I'm talking about members feeling they have to consistently shit on a movie (or studio, or star) simply because they aren't interested in the current project or projects. With every piece of news about a movie, it's now a virtual guarantee that there's a flood of people rushing to say they think it sucks, they don't like the current trailer/tv spot/actor/actress/director/concept. And I get it -- we all have movies we don't like, movies which we think are bad ideas, industry people that just don't appeal to us. But there's a fine line between expressing your opinion about this and doing it so often, with such consistency, that the collective emphasis of all of it basically brings down the entire thread and thus the entire forum.

There's no easy answer to this. We don't want to crush freedom of expression here. But at the same time, the spirit of this forum is for people to have fun talking about the movies they love and the box-office runs they love.

To have fun.

And while it may be fun -- in a sense -- to personally vent about a movie, or to vent at people who dare to enjoy something you don't, it doesn't bring fun to our community. In fact, it generally drags down the overall fun for everyone else. We've had people repeatedly mention to us over the last several months or so that in some cases they don't even bother going into some threads -- even for movies they're curious about! -- because they just don't want to deal with the overall mess those threads contain. And frankly, that matches the personal opinion of most of the staff as well.

So this post is both a request and a warning. 

The request: Next time you feel like taking a dump on a movie (or a topic) for the dozenth time, take a moment to consider whether it's really worth it. People probably already have a good idea of what your attitude about the project is. Maybe just put your posting energy into a movie that you enjoy and love or are excited about.

The warning: The staff is going to be taking a closer look at some of these threads and we'll be more active with temp thread-bans if we think it'll help the overall vibe of the forum. I'd rather we don't have to, but it's not going to constrain any of you too much if you aren't allowed to post about a movie you supposedly don't care about anyway.

Remember the words of Bill and Ted: "Be Excellent to Each Other".

They're just movies, guys. It's about having fun.

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Kevin Bacon

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About Kevin Bacon

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  • Birthday 11/03/1994

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  1. Run the Jewels is one of those bands that you can slap on top of anything and it'll triple the cool factor of it--which is pretty potent when the thing it's being slapped on already looks pretty cool. Good teaser.
  2. I was pretty cynical going in, but I really liked it. I don't know that I'd call it great in any conventional sense, but it was all very effective and it lacked the wonkiness of Prometheus. What largely surprised me was how much better the Prometheus sequel was than the Alien reboot. I think at this point what I'd really like to see (but isn't going to happen, now) is Ridley Scott doing more Prometheus movies while somebody fresh (Jeremy Saulnier would be a dream, I'd also be fascinated to see what Adam Wingard could do) makes a proper Alien sequel, which as good as Aliens is and as much as I like Alien 3, we've never gotten. I just want somebody (other than the Creative Assembly, who made easily my second favorite Alien property in Alien: Isolation) who gets what made Alien such a fucking classic and captures it with something fresh. James Cameron wasn't up to the challenge and made a James Cameron popcorn flick, which is great if you're into that, but I think it really derailed the potential for the franchise before it even got going. Back to Covenant: The cast is strong all around and the dialogue is solid, and that goes a long way in keeping the audience invested when things get hairy. Even obvious red shirts I found myself kind of rooting for. The lead actress is a strong choice and I hope she doesn't Rapace'd between now and the next film, and I was shocked at how straight Danny McBride's character was played (not that I was surprised by how good he was in that regard, he's displayed that versatility before in his Jody Hill collaborations). Fassbender is terrific and David remains a fascinating character and a much scarier villain than any of the xenomorphs in this movie (though I will say those pseudo-xenos that do most of the damage are pretty freaky in their own right). I'll give it a very strong 7/10. Pretty much all of the best aspects of Prometheus (aside from the cinematography) with none of the goofy crap, with a mediocre Alien movie occasionally slipping to the cracks. I hope Scott figures out how to better blend the two styles together in the future--please, no dumbass "the Alien interrupts a sex scene!" gags that belong in Friday the 13th and not Alien or Prometheus. I'll also say that I liked the David twist purely for how obvious it is. It's completely telegraphed, and then so much time is spent committing to it, it's a pretty fun stinger when he slips to reveal himself right after it's too late.
  3. I can confirm that viewing the movie a second time after having listened to the soundtrack and learning the lyrics is much kinder to the early musical numbers, especially "Another Day of Sun". When the lyrics aren't easy to understand, there's really no context for any of it.
  4. My disdain for musicals fell to my adoration of Whiplash and Ryan Gosling and got me to see this. It starts... people start getting out of their cars and dancing and singing... fuck, this isn't for me. At least I tried. Well, hey, it actually is pretty impressive how much work must have gone into choreographing all of this, but, alas... Then, another number. The interplay between Mia and her roommates is kind of charming. Wow, this quiet section with everything slowed down is actually rather breathtaking! Then, two hours later, I'm dancing out of the theater to the end credits and ordering the soundtrack for ride home. What a delightful movie. I think the moment where I really got past the strangeness of characters breaking into song was the first instance of Mia and Sebastian's Theme when Seb plays it in the restaurant. From that moment on, the music (which is really wonderful, by the way) was totally engrossing and felt absolutely in place in a way I didn't register initially. I'd credit that to the context--a beautifully shot scene of Sebastian playing the piano or a visually popping montage or a scene with Seb and Mia dancing alone worked in a way that a bunch strangers dancing and singing directly to the camera didn't at first. Also, Damien Chazelle. Whiplash, and now this? This guy's got no fucking ceiling. Maybe the most exciting rising director I can think of (Gareth Edwards, Dan Gilroy, and Sam Esmail are all sound competition, though). A And if the lack of camera cuts during his scenes didn't give it away, yes, that was Ryan Gosling playing the piano. And no, he's not an experienced pianist, but rather he got that good in just the three month rehearsal period. As if more proof was needed that he's the perfect human.
  5. That trailer was fucking great. One of the few instances where I've preferred Cash's "Hurt" cover to the original.
  6. It probably wouldn't have helped the box office any (it's hard to say) but I'm pretty confident it would've been much better received by critics. It still would've been pretty mixed, but I think it'd be more 50-70 on RT than down in the dumps where it is now. But the movie was always Blair Witch in reality, it's the entire reason for its existence. If you changed the name, people would've thought it was weird that they just lifted the premise from TBWP. Those early teasers implied it could've been anything in the woods. Now, if you're asking if it would've been better received if we simply got that movie, I'd say yes. I imagine Barrett would've turned in a much better script if the movie wasn't a sequel to something else.
  7. Holy yikes. Wingard and Barrett can't catch a break at the box-office. You're Next tragically clunked for reasons completely lost on me, The Guest didn't even receive a wide release, and now this, seemingly their mainstream breakout, is a huge disappointment at the box-office and this time there aren't even rave reviews to ease the burn. If Death Note bombs (and let's face it, it's a live-action anime adaptation, the odds are high) Wingard might start having a hard time getting work. This sucks.
  8. From what I know of the original, if you hated it I think it's likely you'd enjoy this one more. It's a very conventional found footage horror movie. On the other hand, if you loved the original, this one won't live up to it at all.
  9. Having not seen the first movie to compare it to, it was good. Wingard clearly had a blast adding his touch to the found footage genre, the intensity was sufficiently ramped up in last third, and the lead female was delightful in the part once the terror got cranked up. There's a real hint of self-awareness that goes a long way, especially in the set-up: by my count, we've got six earpiece cams, one or maybe two professional grade digital cameras, a drone, an old high-end camcorder that uses tape, and a set-up low-quality camera to monitor the campsite. It's the kind of thing that you can't really play straight, because this is all too obviously to give Wingard a bit of a playground to direct in, but it does pay off. There was quite a manner of creative sequences reliant on this--from a tense tree-climbing sequence to having multiple creative angles in the climactic "corner" scene to my personal favorite moment of the film, a pair of ultra-close-ups of the two main characters as they try to calm one another that I found entrancing. But clever direction can only take you so far. Barrett's script is tragically mundane and ultimately keeps the film from rising above being a cleverly-directed take on the found footage gimmick. The same guy who wrote instantly memorable protagonists like Anna and Luke Peterson from The Guest or Erin from You're Next failed to do as much here. None of the characters are bad, but the only one who's remotely interesting is Valorie Curry's character, and she's barely present once the action starts. Everyone else is your standard bland character that you've seen several times in horror movies before. Again, this never ventures to being outright bad--slasher movie decision making is kept to a minimum and the dialogue rarely feels at all stilted or fake--but the only thing to get you invested in any of the characters is seeing them put through hell. My main takeaway from this is that Simon Barrett needs to stick to writing fun movies. I don't know that somebody else writing this would've offered anything better and they in fact probably delivered much worse, but Barrett's a clever and funny guy and that's where his strength as a writer is. The Guest and You're Next are both movies with numerous laugh-out-loud moments and this is (appropriately) humorless. His best characters would've been woefully out of place in this movie. Ultimately, I'd recommend it, if only for what Wingard brings to the table. Don't expect greatness nor anything too smart, nor a worthy follow-up effort to The Guest. Just a solid gimmicky horror movie.
  10. I actually dug it. It isn't You're Next and it sure as hell isn't The Guest, but as far as found footage films go, I think it holds up better than most. Adam Wingard really directs the hell out of the movie--there's one moment about two-thirds of the way through with this extended, still close-up that was breathtaking. The acting by and large is serviceable if completely bland; Valorie Curry (who I dug in the otherwise terrible The Following) is very good, and I'd go so far as to call the female lead great. The real issue, it pains me to say, is Simon Barrett's script. It's hard to believe this is the same guy who wrote David Collins, the Peterson family, and Erin. The writing is never bad, it's just... nothing at all, usually. There were moments of self-awareness that I enjoyed but they were few and far between, as they should be in this type of film. But when they aren't there, and you're just watching the characters interact, it's just pretty trite found footage horror set-up. He clearly needs characters he can have fun with. But all in all I'd call it a good horror film and a serviceable film all-in-all. It's worth watching for Wingard's work. A caveat that I did not see the first Blair Witch, so I don't have a more original and intelligent version of the same movie to compare it to, which I have to imagine goes a long way.
  11. Goddammit, I knew I was right to be disappointed they were making a Blair Witch sequel. And on deck for them, Death Note and I Saw the Devil. I really hope they aren't two more wastes of talent. It'd be a real shame for such a promising career to be derailed by a string of unneeded adaptations. I have faith that they can do I Saw the Devil justice. Death Note is a total mystery to me though. Has there ever been a great North American live-action Manga adaptation?
  12. What do you mean below 50%? It's above 50%. And given the average rating, it's likely to stay right near where it is.
  13. As the biggest fan of Wingard and Barrett on here (I made the thread when the movie was still called The Woods, and I never post threads in this forum), this isn't horribly surprising to me. The original film was one of the most divisive horror movies of all-time, and it's a very specific film that making a sequel that's true to the first movie, scary, and completely original is a tall, tall order. Now, I would've preferred if the movie just wasn't a Blair Witch Project sequel and was rather just scary and original, rather than worrying about faithfulness, and that movie would probably have been better received than this one. But as long as it's been known that it is in fact a Blair Witch sequel, this was the reception it was bound to get. And it's not even poor reception. It's just mixed. Which isn't bad. When was the last found-footage horror film to get universally glowing reviews? Even the first Paranormal Activity had plenty of detractors. The recent trend in critically-acclaimed horror is a result of a much higher standard of filmmaking in movies like It Follows and The Babadook. Unless they completely reinvent the wheel, you aren't getting that in a shaky-cam movie that takes place in the woods.