Tildes Pop-Up Movie Event: Twenty-Twenty Vision
Pop-Up Event: Twenty-Twenty Vision
Community Task: Our goal is, as a community, to watch movies and fill in the following chart below that spans an entire century of film: from the 1920s to 2020s!
Choose an empty decade, watch a movie (any movie!) from it, and report back here when you're finished. Tell us why you chose that movie and what you thought about it.
I'll fill in the chart as we go, and once we have collectively watched at least one movie from each decade, we will have completed the Pop-Up and it will be closed!
|1920s||Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)||@brews_hairy_cats|
|1940s||London Belongs to Me (1948)||@mycketforvirrad|
|1970s||Mes Petites Amoureuse (1974)||@TooFewColours|
|2000s||The Dark Knight (2008)||@LukeZaz|
Time Period: The Pop-Up remains open until the chart is filled!
Uh, what is this exactly?
It's a temporary event aimed at getting members of the Tildes community to individually participate in something built around a common theme or goal.
Check out the previous Pop-Ups for other examples:
Ludonostalgia! for ~games
Feelin' 22 for ~music
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Director: F. W. Murnau
Writer: Carl Mayer
Starring: Janet Gaynor, George O'Brien
Runtime: 95 minutes
Country: United States
Release date: September 23, 1927
Full movie: Wikipedia: It entered the public domain this year! Many copies on YouTube too of course.
I went into this blind, thinking it was a comedy. It's most assuredly not a comedy.
Per @cloud_loud's recommendation I chose this movie, found it easily on YouTube and watched with my partner on our President's Day day off. We thought this silent film would be a novelty for a few minutes and that I'd be going to watch the remainder by myself, but it grabbed hold of our attention with the surprisingly fast-moving introduction.
It doesn't take long to realize it's a serious drama story, involving relationship woes, and more. I won't talk too much about the plot aside from pointing out it's a timeless story hitting a lot of similar beats as we may see in today's movies and TV shows, and acted out in ways that were abundantly clear to us humans from a century later.
It turned out to be a perfect movie to watch with a long-term relationship partner.
What stood out, #1: it was so natural to watch a silent film
In 2023 we might be living in the perfect time to appreciate silent films. Many of us enjoy a condensed version of these every single day: GIFs! The only slight change from a hundred years ago is that we now have inline subtitles instead of cutting between the scene and a full screen of text. Otherwise I was surprised how natural it was to watch.
What stood out, #2: The acting
I loved the acting. Their facial expressions and body language were quite pronounced while not being overdone. In some ways the removal of voice made it easier to absorb the emotions the actors conveyed, and in my opinion it made a lot of scenes feel weightier than if they had spoken and cheapened the characters' feelings.
What stood out, #3: The energy and liveliness of the people
The main characters and many extras all exhibited a high energy level. For example there are city scenes where people are walking all over the road while cars dodge them. Other scenes where people are working with purpose, or dancing without a care. It felt like they all had so much physical energy.
This is contrasting with what I'm used to seeing, where today people look lethargic in comparison. People rarely walk with that much vitality, whether in movies or real life. It made me ponder whether life was better in some ways before the car boom and technology. Or perhaps there were a lot of factors, such as the fact that the film only portrayed white people (IIRC). So perhaps white people in the US were indeed pretty happy with their lives and the general state of the world back then. Or could be that I'm over-extrapolating from a single dramatization.
What stood out, #4: I relied on the playback speed function
I watched the movie alternating between 1.25x and 1.5x speed. There were some parts, like characters doing introspection, where it was easy to get the point, yet the scene kept going like a minute longer than I'd have thought. I suppose I could have tried harder to get into the characters' heads and appreciate those moments, instead of fast forwarding. Realistically I think watching at a fast speed helped me enjoy the movie more.
Conclusion: It's good
This was such a cool event, getting me to try a movie I never would have watched otherwise, and helping me add a new favorite to my list. I'm curious to try other movies now. Thanks for organizing the event OP!
Great writeup! I never thought about comparing silent films to GIFs or even just watching videos with no sound, but you’re right on the money.
I wonder: do you think point #4 affects point #3? Was the added vitality a product of the fact that you were watching it at a faster speed, or no?
That is a good point. I had to go back and double check after seeing your question.
Yes, the film speed has some effect, I'm sure. I noticed that even playing at 1x speed, a lot of actors' movements look sped-up compared to real life. I don't know if this is a byproduct of the camera technology, or an artistic choice by the director.
However, I don't think that's the only reason I felt a sense of their vitality. There is a lot I noticed in the way the characters and extras carry themselves, and things like giving a lot of eye contact to each other and strangers. Again, I could be reading too much into something that was an intentional directorial choice to make those scenes look lively to match those points in the story. The director could even have required everyone on the set to be well rested, and that's why they look so energetic.
There's one more thing that stuck out (technically, was pointed out to me): the fact there's no obesity! Everyone in the film is in great shape. The way they move their arms and legs effortlessly, bend and reach in different positions, their bodies look so light. That everyone meets a much higher bar of fitness compared to the US average today, might be the most convincing answer as to why they look so energetic.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Writer: Billy Eichner, Nicholas Stoller
Starring: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane
Runtime: 1h 55m
Country: United States
Release Date: September 30, 2022
Rotten Tomatoes: 89% (critics)/90% (audience)
So, I previously had a lot of words to say about this movie that I hadn't actually seen. It felt weird to have such a strong opinion on something without an actual foundation for it to stand on.
Thus, it felt only right that I actually watch the movie so I could at least evaluate it on its own terms, rather than a perspective that was informed only by some inflammatory tweets and the outrage summary articles that followed.
Anyway, now that I've watched it, I can happily say that, Bros, as a movie, is fine.
It's a perfectly serviceable movie. I was entertained. I laughed. I didn't love it, but I liked it.
The pacing is uneven, and the beginning is way too long (and uncomfortable in places). The film is a 2 hour movie that probably would have benefitted from being edited down to under an hour and a half. It definitely gains legs though and gets better over time.
The plot is split into two different lines: the budding romance between Eichner's and Macfarlane's characters, and the opening of Eichner's LGBTQ+ history exhibit.
The scenes with the museum staff are the best part of the movie. They feature a diverse spread of queer people and have some of the best queer-specific humor in the film. They felt like the kind of thing you would get from a hyper-LGBT Parks and Rec or The Office, which is genuinely a movie/show I would love to watch.
I think the inclusion of these parts are why the film tried to lean on being a landmark, queer-forward film in its marketing. And, genuinely, if the whole film had been about those characters, it would have deserved that status.
Unfortunately, these scenes are a subplot for the romance, which takes most of the movie's runtime.
I'm not one for romantic comedies or romance stories in general, so their romance felt a little flat to me and had cliche movie moments, but that's generally how I feel about stories of that type and also, queer people should be allowed their cliche movie moments. It's hardly a landmark story though.
Also, I understand even less why Eichner blamed "the straights" for not going to see the movie now that I've watched it.
This is, unequivocally, not a straight movie -- nor is it meant to be.
Eichner's character's entire motivation is about queer people being able to tell queer stories on their own terms, including taking back the history that's been denied to us. There's a genuinely moving scene in the middle of the movie where he talks about, when he was growing up, having to limit his queer voice in the face of wider straight culture that doesn't value or respect it, and it's hard not to see it as a comment on this movie directly.
Bros is unequivocally queer, which is a good thing for queer people, but that also limits the movie's reach -- something at least Eichner's character is fully aware of, and I have to imagine that extends to Eichner himself. In particular, the movie is very frank in its depictions of sexuality. There is a LOT of male flesh in the movie, as well as lots of sex, including multiple group scenes -- one of which is quite explicit. Most of these are given comedy treatment, but I simply can't see a lot of straight people wanting to sign on to watch a gay orgy -- even if it's funny.
I wouldn't want to recommend it to my straight friends. Even my most supportive, affirming ones don't necessarily want to watch or need to see some of what Bros puts up on screen. Even some of my queer friends, particularly some of my gay male friends, might balk at it. Many of us have already had to fight the stigma that we're hypersexual, and Bros does us no favors on that front.
I don't want to come across as sex negative, and I do think some of what Bros depicts is healthy. There's a scene between Macfarlane and Eichner that cuts between different non-standard bedroom activities. Again, most of these are played for laughs, but there was also an earnestness to them, and a lack of embarrassment. I think depictions of intimacy are often incredibly limited to only a few different specific activities, and it's very queer to venture outside of those and explore interpersonal oddness without judgment, which I think the scene does well. The movie also lightly explores consensual non-monogamy in a thoughtful way.
Overall, I'm happy I watched the film. As I said earlier: I was entertained; I laughed. A lot of the humor is queer-specific humor, and while some of it was obvious, a lot of it was thoughtful or clever. Bros isn't the gay movie for straight audiences it seemed to want to be. (If anything, that title was already taken by Love, Simon.)
My main problem with it is really just that it doesn't have enough to sustain its longer runtime. If it were more focused and edited down, I think my tepid positive response might be more enthusiastic. When the movie shines, it does so brightly, but it can't keep that intensity up across its entire runtime.
Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann
Starring: Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Diane Venora, Ashley Judd
Runtime: 170 minutes
Country: United States
Release date: December 15, 1995
Roger Ebert review
I rewatched Heat because Michael Mann recently co-wrote a sequel novel and I wanted to rewatch the movie before reading the novel.
The plot is a simple one of cops and robbers: Al Pacino plays Vincent Hanna, a cop trying to stop Robert DeNiro's bankrobbing Neil McCauley and his crew.
It is a fantastic movie. While it is unfocused and sprawling in its storytelling, it feels more like we are dipping into the lives of these cops and robbers for just a brief period, that there is a whole lot going on outside of the movie that we aren't privy to (Heat 2 bears this out).
We spend the whole movie watching these two professionals, both at the top of their game, circling one another, each trying to catch the other one slipping up. It's an interesting meta-textual dance too, considering this is the first time Pacino and DeNiro share a scene together in a film.
The performances are fantastic. While it's nice to se DeNiro and Pacino go toe to toe, the real stands out to me are Val Kilmer and Diane Verona. Kilmer brings a cold, cockiness to his character that's off putting.
The direction is absolutely impeccible. Michael Mann knows how to make a large, multi-block spanning shootout easy to follow spacially and narratively in a way that very few directors can.
My biggest complaint is that the female characters just aren't given much to do. They are basically there to be foils for the men in their lives, to show us how Hanna and McCauley care more about catching the bad guy or making the score than anything (or anyone) else.
I'd also suggest that if anyone is going to watch Heat, that they avoid the 4k blu-ray. The blu-ray is an incredible transfer but the 4k version has a terrible HDR master that looks awful.
Actually my favourite movie of all time. I'm so happy this one was picked for the 90s slot! There's so much I could ramble on about, but I think the score deserves a shout-out too. The track Armenia really captures the haunting soundscapes at play.
The score and sound design are great. Mann has always had a good ear for music.
If you haven’t read the sequel novel, it’s great. It has some of the same problems that a lot of Michael Mann films have (the female characters are underdeveloped, etc) but if you like his style, you’ll probably enjoy it.
The ending is a little too much of a coincidence for me, but overall, it’s fantastic.
Absolute masterpiece. Very noiresque, but I'm not sure if it's actually neo noir.
excellent pick! If you haven't already, the commentary track is pretty good. Its a perfect blend of background, writing, and technical stuff.
Mes Petites Amoureuse (1974)
Director: Jean Eustache
Writer: Jean Eustache
Runtime: 123 minutes
My original comment here. I found this movie browsing the top charts for the 1970s on RYM. It has a strong score and not many ratings - the 'Coming of Age' genre tag caught my attention. I ultimately settled on this film after reading on Wikipedia that Michel Gondry cites it as one of his favourites.
I was unsure going in - the film begins very much as a 'Slice of Life' film would, quiet and anthological. The lighting is flat, days are overcast, every shot is stiff and plain. It lacks a 'cinematic' quality we've come to know from heavyweights of the era.
But there's definitely something more considered here. There's just enough shown that's of-consequence and not-of-consequence to keep you guessing - what's formative and what isn't.
I found myself really quite drawn in by the second half witnessing our main character transfrom into a young man - from playful to serious.
Reading other synopses online, none presented what the film seemed to be really about: discovering sexuality at a young age. There's a lot to relate to here - the mystery of the opposite sex, the influence of older boys, older men, work and what society expects from you.
There are a number of uncomfortable scenes of young sexual exploration, and I think they are meant to be just that: uncomfortable. It gives an uneasy feel to the whole picture.
I think the film has a place in 2023, it's a spotlight on the awkwardness of the dance we're all playing, and how relevant this still all is in the digital age. It's that uneasy feeling that makes me think this film is a statement about how there is no conversation about sexual expression at a young age - and the film was a reminder how little we've moved forward.
But, ultimately (and unfortunately), it's a man's film about a young man - the women left at being a puzzle to be solved, something for a young man to be serious about. In that case, the film remains firmly in the 1970s.
The film ends quietly, and the dull lighting lifts away in the final scene.
I would strongly recommend the film to anyone who has a pointed interest in slice-of-life or coming-of-age dramas.
Since it's been a few days with no new entires, I'm going to grab another decade. @kfwyre, if you'd rather have a different person for each decade, feel free to leave mine off the chart.
Director: Andrzej Żuławski
Writer: Andrzej Żuławski
Starring: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Margit Carstensen
Runtime: 124 minutes
Country: United States
Release date: May 27, 1981
A disclaimer: This movie is not for everyone. It is extremely intense and has a good deal of sex, violence, sexual violence, and an intense divorce plot that some may dislike.
Imagine if you took an emotionally gut wrenching divorce drama and then added in a bunch of gross out monster stuff.
The emotional stakes in Possession start at a 10 and only go up from there. The entire movie is just cycle after cycle of divorce drama (fighting, making up, fighting, making up) until things just entirely fall apart. It all builds to a finale that I won't spoil but was enough to earn it a place on the U.K.'s infamous video nasties list.
Isabelle Adjani gives an incredible performance as Anna, a character torn between her husband and her new lover. Her performance is the emotional center of the movie and is heightened without being Nic Cage levels of mega acting. Sam Neill, who looks so young here, is also great as a complete and utter asshole of a husband. You really hate him by the end of the film.
If you're up for a harrowing emotional journey that also involves a bunch of gross out special effects, I highly recommend Possession.
I'm totally fine with people doing more than one entry! I appreciate that you've done two so far. Thanks for your eager participation!
Director: Tod Browning
Writers: Clarence Aaron Robbins(suggested by story: "Spurs"), Willis Goldbeck(screenplay), Leon Gordon(screenplay)
Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova
Runtime: 64 minutes
Country: United States
RottenTomatoes: 8.50/10 (critics)
IMDB: 7.8/10 (audience)
We are behind the scenes in a circus. The circus has the usual clowns, strong men, beautiful trapeze artists.
The focus of this movie are the circus freaks. The bearded lady. Little people. Those with no arms, no legs, no arms or legs. Those suffering from what we now know as the Zika virus.
Why I chose it:
I looked for highly rated movies from each decade that I have not seen before.
What stood out:
This movie is a talkie, it was made just after talkies became popular, but still during the era of black and white. Yet it is still highly watchable today.
It was released at the height of the great depression, when one out of four people were unemployed.
This was before Franklin D Roosevelt's introduced the concept of social safety nets.
The focus of the movie is therefore on a maligned minority group whose only option for food and housing is to sell themselves as shock entertainment. Which for the era, is utterly incredible. Edit: It's incredible the movie was made at all, not that the ostracized suffered.
What I liked:
The movie makes you empathize with the minority group almost immediately. It's the normies who are the titular Freaks.
What I disliked:
The movie was clearly sanitized. The ending is interesting, but no where near as interesting as the rest of the movie. I could tell as I watched it that whatever biting message the writers and director had intended was watered down or cut out.
The movie also has two normal people who are good hearted and pure, strong and wise. One of which who is a clown. The freaks are definitely not one dimensional, but they aren't portrayed as being as noble.
Lastly, the movie focused a lot on the freakishness of the circus freaks. It's kind of unavoidable, but also felt exploitative.
What changed my mind:
After the movie, I was mixed. Was this movie Tildes worthy? I've been watching different movies from different decades as part of this Tildes event, but none seemed worth discussing here (The Mark of Zorro, from 1940, is as good as Zorro gets, which for 1940 is amazing-balls, but it says nothing new to todays audience.)
The story, of the making of the story
Before the director Tod Browning was a Hollywood star, he was a clown. He learned to perform in various sideshows, and even became a clown for Ringling Brothers. Brownings circus experiences deeply impacted a lot of the movies he made. And he was very successful as a director.
MGM’s production chief Irving Thalberg wanted to work with Tod Browning. In the 1930's, both escapist fantasies and horrors were incredibly popular. After reading the script, Thalberg said “Well, I asked for horror. And yes, it’s just horrible...” but he still green lit the script.
Tod Browning didn't want to soft-pedal anything or use “regular” actors. He wanted to use real-life circus performers. He scoured the country to find actual circus freaks who were living a life of subsidence. But when he brought them onto MGM's lot, they were immediately ostracized.
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald was eating lunch at MGM while nursing a hangover. He observed two Siamese sisters. He ran outside and threw up. Other members of the studio complained up the chain.
Thalberg arranged a compromise: The more “normal” looking cast members were allowed to eat in the commissary, the rest of the cast was relegated to a tent erected outside, which served as their mess hall.
Audience reaction to the initial screening was swift and brutal. One woman ran screaming from the theater during the movie. Another threatened to sue, claiming the horrific film had caused her to suffer a miscarriage.
Thalberg cut a third of the movie without Brownings input. He cut some scenes that were too gory, and some scenes that humanized the “freaks” through small character moments. Thalberg also completely redid the beginning and ending.
Freaks was ultimately a box office failure. Even the highly edited version was pulled from US theaters. British censors banned it from playing in the UK. Freaks essentially ended Brownings career.
Freaks was a failure in 1930, but was rediscovered and lauded in 1962's Cannes Film Festival. Tod Browning died, an isolated alcoholic, in 1962, before the critical reassessments began
That good hearted clown in the movie? The normie that truly cared for the circus freaks? I am now convinced the good hearted clown was not to make the audience feel better. Because in 1930 it did not. That clown is Tod Browning the director.
And the ending that Tod Browning originally intended? With a message that Audiences in 1930 could not stomach? That message is lost forever.
Conclusion: This movie is unlike anything you have ever seen and incredibly though provoking
Movies from the 1930's are naturally at a disadvantage. It's almost been a hundred years. Tech has changed. Art has changed. And tastes have changed.
A true classic is something that stands the test of time, and still says something to audiences today.
I have watched a lot of movies. Most blur together. Often I often can't tell if I have watched a movie before, or if I have seen the same tired predictable plot too many times. I religiously rate movies in IMDB to avoid this problem. I am one of IMDB's super users when it comes to ratings. It is my crutch.
This movie is seared onto my brain. Normally, I rate a movie on how good the ending was. To have a good ending, everything needs to be good. But even if everything else is good, if the ending is bad, I utterly dislike the movie. This movie's ending was just OK. However I can't stop thinking about the movie. And I think that is the ultimate test of a good movie. If it sticks in your brain, and makes you think, it was more than just a few hours of entertainment.
10/10 - (Out of the 4,000 movies I have seen and rated that were made before 1980, only 20 got a 10/10)
Hello! There's a running in-joke I have with movie-buff friends about 70s films because I tend to struggle with them. Maybe I could step away from the beaten-path a bit and find a film I think I'll really enjoy and I'll come back with my thoughts.
Outside of this, check out The Deer Hunter (1978)... if you don't like that, watch Magnolia (1999) then Network (1976) and see how you do.
What about them do you struggle with?
I don't know nearly enough about film to put it directly into words - I've always felt films in the 70s sit in that strange zone between the charm of the 50s/60s and modern 'cinematic' experience that came about in the 80s and 90s.
And, not to make this too political, I can't help but feel a certain type of story was often being told by a certain type of person in the 70s, at least for the most notorious films of the time. I'm guessing similar to music of the era, the industry was quite cliquey and hard to break into. I associate 70s films as being quite macho and quite self-serious.
The running gag is there was a time where I was trying to find a 70s film that didn't feature a scene where 'a man shoots another man with a gun'. I'm sure in reality that would remove a big chunk of movies from any decade, but 70s movies seem to be particularly caught up in the cliche. I remember putting on 'Days of Heaven' with high hopes and, well. (It's a good film all the same)
If that’s the case I’ll suggest What’s Up Doc? and Paper Moon. Those are, in my opinion, some of the best movies of the 70s and don’t feature any of the things you don’t like about typical well-regarded movies from that era like Taxi Driver.
I’ll also throw in American Graffiti.
What about Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Alien (1979)?
How do you feel about Star Wars (1979)?
Been a long time since I watched it. I can imagine it being a spectacle at the time, and I know a lot of people grew up with their parents sharing that excitement they themselves felt as kids. It was never a big deal in my household, but I know it means a lot to a lot of people.
It's a fairly by-the-number hero story at the core, with some nice world building elements. I'm sure that helped bring science-fience to a wider audience.
If I can be somewhat critical, it always felt to me like it was made by people 'having a go' at the genre, rather than built on passionate source material. George Lucas had already proven he can make a blockbuster, and it probably always was a Lucas adventure film with a sci-fi slap of paint. Its eventual fleshing-out came as a result of the film's success, and I think the sequels/prequels are weak largely because of those weak foundations.
I've always liked the Western influences in the franchise when they appear, less fussed about The Empire and its inner workings.
London Belongs to Me (1948)
Director: Sidney Gilliat
Starring: Richard Attenborough, Alastair Sim, Wylie Watson
Runtime: 112 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Release date: 13 August 1948
Why you chose that movie?
I watched this video by Robslondon that talked about why Vine Street, an obscure thoroughfare in the capital, was picked to be on the London version of the Monopoly board. In a retelling of the history of the street, this film was mentioned.
My love of black and white films coupled with a piquing of my interest. The film also happened to be released on my birthdate. It called out to me.
And what you thought about it?
I liked it more than I thought I would. The acting wasn't as hammy as I'd feared for being a UK production of the time period; this allowed for some poignant scenes to deliver their shots. It nicely painted a multitude of characters in a bustling neighbourhood, all intertwined in a way of life that's beginning to feel incredibly distant. Some laughs in there too!
Damm, you took my favorite decade. Oh, well... 50s it is :P
Ha! I'm useless with modern films, so thought it'd be a good bet to pick an 'unpopular' decade. Should have known better, being here on Tildes...
The 1940s had peak Humphrey Bogart ♥️
I don't think I've smiled for such a prolonged period as when I got to watch The Big Sleep at the cinema back in November. I'm a sucker for that dialogue between Bogie and Bacall!
I rewatched it not long ago. Delightful noir.
True, Casablanca alone can redeem the whole decade (... OK, its the only pre-1970 movie I've ever watched, but I find it very good !)
The Dark Knight (2008)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, Jonathon Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Cane, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman
Runtime: 2 hours, 32 minutes
Countries: United States, United Kingdom
Release Dates: July 14th (New York), July 18th (US), July 25th (UK)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (critics & audience)
So this is a movie that's been on my to-watch list for some time! I was never one much for superheroes in general, and I never ended up reading comics. With Batman, I'd obviously heard of him and some of his villains, and some of it interested me a bit, but I never really cared for it until I tried the Arkham games.
I'd heard of their acclaim, and decided to give them a shot, and boy did they live up to it. City in particular was great fun, and they did an excellent job throughout of making Batman's villains shine. Granted, this is helped a great deal by having folks like Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy on board to do their ever-memorable takes on the characters, but even besides I remember the story of the games being quite good. I ended up playing through all three games to completion, and growing increasingly interested in the characters as a result.
This, naturally, lead me to be curious about this film. The Dark Knight has certainly left an impression, after all! Heath Ledger's Joker in particular has become regarded as one of the most well-done takes on the Joker in quite some time, but even besides him several lines in this movie have endured to this day. I mean, shit, 'til I watched this I'd had no idea the "live long enough to become a villain" line was from this; I thought it was much older.
Yesterday, however, I finally did get around to seeing it, and I absolutely see how it had so much staying power.
The most prominent thing to address is, naturally, the Joker. Heath Ledger certainly lives up to the praise he received for his portrayal. The character does a great job of being strange and chaotic, while still having a sense of internal logic and a consistent (if obviously broken) worldview behind it. I do feel however that too much of the credit goes to Ledger here. He absolutely did a great job, no doubt, but I think the focus on him takes away from the fact that his character was very well written and so he had great material to work with.
To contrast the primary antagonist, however, we have Batman. And wow, he is... not so good. The costume does not look great, to be frank, and while his characterization isn't quite as paralyzingly stone-faced as it usually is, it still manages to be crushingly dull through how generic it is. All this without mentioning the incredibly off-putting voice the actor puts on whenever playing Batman, which – to paraphrase a friend of mine – "sounds like he smoked 30 cigarettes before every sentence."
Still, Batman being dull compared to the rest of the cast is far from typical insofar as I can tell, and the movie manages to stand very well despite him. Most other characters in the film still do a rather good job all things considered, managing to seem sensible and flawed and therefore being interesting to watch throughout. I do feel that Morgan Freeman may have been a bit poor of a casting choice due to how incredibly recognizable he is, as I ended up seeing the actor instead of the character in every scene he was in, but that may just be me — I don't watch many movies, but Morgan Freeman was in many which I have, so he may just be unusually recognizable to me as a result.
Overall, this was great fun to watch, and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone eager to see another good Batman villain performance. It easily stands the test of time, and frankly, I'm already considering giving it a second go.
This sounds like it'll be educational! I'd also like to participate next week tentatively. I'm leaning toward picking from the 1920s and 1930s, which will be interesting because I literally have no impressions of what movies are like from that time period, other than black-and-white. I worry movies from that far back will be...boring. Hence why this'll definitely be educational but the jury's still out on fun :P
The hard part might be finding the movies. Internet Archive has a bunch of old feature films but are those worthy of a watch, I wonder?
Also, if anyone has their heart set on those decades, obviously don't let me hold you back, I'm happy taking whatever's still open.
I was considering using this prompt as an opportunity to re-watch the sci-fi classic 'Metropolis' from 1927... but I can do that regardless of who else fills those old-time slots.
What are you into? Maybe some of us here could recommend you a few old-time movies that would suit your tastes, so that maybe you don't get lumped with an overly boring choice.
Thanks for asking. I'm not sure if these are overly broad, but the two categories I'd look into would be thriller/suspense/mystery (that's one genre, right?), and comedy.
In the first category are anything ranging from Inception to Saw to The Usual Suspects to The Mist. I'm a sucker for blockbuster thrillers.
I mention comedy because @cloud_loud mentioned Chaplin, whose name I mentally associate with comedy even though I don't recall watching any of his films, and it got me wondering how humor has evolved in a century. How much of it will be too tame for our tastes and how much will be too extreme for our tastes.
The top go-to comedy movie from that era is probably 'A Night at the Opera', starring the Marx Brothers. Of course, 'Duck Soup' and 'A Day at the Races' are also among the Marx Brothers' peak works. Any of these movies is comedy gold.
Then there's Charlie Chaplin, probably the most famous comedy actor from that era. His 'Modern Times' is a masterpiece; he insisted that it should contain no dialogue, despite "talkie" movies having existed for a few years by then. Another classic Chaplin movie was 'The Gold Rush', which was made earlier, during the silent-movie era. Or, if you want to sneak into 1940, you could watch his satire of Adolf Hitler in 'The Great Dictator'.
I was going to recommend 'Arsenic and Old Lace', about a pair of sweet old ladies who murder old gentlemen who are down on their luck. Cary Grant hams it up the whole way through this movie, as their poor unsuspecting nephew. However, upon checking, this movie was made in 1944. But it feels like a 1930s movie to me; it always has, every time I watch it. Maybe that's because the original play was written in 1939.
I can assure you that the Chaplin films from those times are not boring. If I had to suggest one movie from the 20s it would be Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.
Thanks for the suggestion!