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FBG Movie Club: Leave No Trace vs Wendy and Lucy, due 4/6

March Movie Ratings  

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"They just talk ####"

"You talked #### when i met you"

"Why'd you hang out with me then?"

"You cared about things. I liked you."

 

I don't know why i bother any more. But I do.

For the first fifty years of my life, i was certain humankind was on a direct path to perfectability which had been the dictate of life since it began. That's why i was always into something, made sure i never caught myself standing still. It was all so momentous. Tomorrow was assured if i did thisthat&this today. After i studied some history, collated some modern behaviors in order to write about them, i started to realize that i had actually been born into a small window of exuberant enthusiasm which had skewed my view of human experience to a mistaken belief that venality didn't eventually derail everything we do.

Liberty is what threw me off. My teen years were the greatest era of liberation since France & America had thrown off their chains almost 200 years before. Women were getting to be themselves for the first time and i got to watch, black people were beginning to claim the self-determination which they'd been largely denied the first 100 yrs of their "freedom" and my hippie brothers & sisters were going thru every social rule in the book and tossing most of em out like fish skeletons in cartoons. 

But we forgot one thing in our celebrations of freedom - to figure out that with which we were going to replace what we'd thrown out in our institutions. So we continued celebrating, elevating self to a status it was never meant to occupy. And now it's taken over - America is 320,000,000 separate constituencies and the only organizing forces are the idiot boxes which entertain us into some semblance of compliance and complacence. And they're doing that for money. There are now millions of people who are completely unaware that life was ever about anything but "me". Woe is us.

The producers of American Factory have offered a pretty fair & true portrait of the state of "us" in this great nation. Committed, considerate, compliant................Chinese people looking at the fat, obstreperous, entitled hordes who want, nay need, to work for them.  I'd like to be able to say "give them folks 50 years away from the totalitarian yoke and let's see how they act", but i dunno - there's a culture of working together (and without a ruling God overseeing all endeavour) there which America is going to have to look at once we stop celebrating the individual. I've oversimplified it (and didn't update my views by rewatching AF this month, because what it left me on first viewing i need to have gurgling in my guts) but we'll either choose to work together or end up having that choice taken from us again.

To work together, we have to care. Not about ComicCons, craft beers, sociverses, but about each other. And we can't care about each other until we have an engine of reform inside of us. I would prefer we each believe that, no matter how much we have to prove, it doesn't matter if we don't use it to provide. That would be a good basis. Our individual masteries are painting us into corners (even if of lovely design), while humility can set us free NOW. I can have it all and still be miserable, even moreso if i consider those hurt, ignored, neglected along the way. Or i can want for nothing and be rich NOW, ready to give. All i have to do is care.

The last two Black Men in San Francisco care. They care mostly because their circumstances will reduce them to the Walking Dead all around them if they don't. Don't really matter what got it that way, in the end. What they both care about, except each other, are follies, but they would rather break their hearts to express what's good and tend the life which gives them truth & beauty than glory in easy decadence. Blessed are the careworn, for they are our salvation.

This was far & away the best pairing in the short history of the Club. Both strong movies which kept their tone, no matter what happened within the story, long enough for the viewer to reflect upon how it related to who we are. Thank you for that.

Edited by wikkidpissah
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5 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

(and without a ruling God overseeing all endeavour)

Begging your pardon, GB, but the Chinese do have a ruling god: China itself. Their 'greater good.' Their fellow countrymen, that is their 'god.'

We serve many gods in this country, and while they're only 'things' for the most part and don't actively fight each other like the old gods of past civilizations, pursuits of what they each represent bump up against each other nonetheless, and in the end they are merely minions of an overarching 'god' named Subjectivity, which comes with the territory of living in the land of the free. Everyone here wants unity as long as it's their unity. As a believer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I'm supposed to want the unity of everyone accepting that gospel and becoming Christians; SJWs believe in a god called social justice according to their definition of it, either as currently written or soon to be re-written to fit their tastes. As for caring about each other, with no one unifying 'god' to rally behind, we will always be how we are as a country, and I think AF did a good job of laying that out and letting the audience place their own value on it. Yes, we are too 'diverse' as a culture to ever get to that point, at least as long as parts of it can profit/advance off of pointing their fingers at other parts and blame them for their problems, instead of reaching out in a spirit of reconciliation over vengeance. I don't see that happening any time soon, as the god Subjectivity will always reset us to our basic instinct of self-protection.

Maybe we need less 'land of the free, home of the brave' and more 'E pluribus unum'...?

 

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Smart conversations here

Edited by Ilov80s

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24 minutes ago, Charlie Steiner said:

Begging your pardon, GB, but the Chinese do have a ruling god: China itself. Their 'greater good.' Their fellow countrymen, that is their 'god.'

We serve many gods in this country, and while they're only 'things' for the most part and don't actively fight each other like the old gods of past civilizations, pursuits of what they each represent bump up against each other nonetheless, and in the end they are merely minions of an overarching 'god' named Subjectivity, which comes with the territory of living in the land of the free. Everyone here wants unity as long as it's their unity. As a believer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I'm supposed to want the unity of everyone accepting that gospel and becoming Christians; SJWs believe in a god called social justice according to their definition of it, either as currently written or soon to be re-written to fit their tastes. As for caring about each other, with no one unifying 'god' to rally behind, we will always be how we are as a country, and I think AF did a good job of laying that out and letting the audience place their own value on it. Yes, we are too 'diverse' as a culture to ever get to that point, at least as long as parts of it can profit/advance off of pointing their fingers at other parts and blame them for their problems, instead of reaching out in a spirit of reconciliation over vengeance. I don't see that happening any time soon, as the god Subjectivity will always reset us to our basic instinct of self-protection.

Maybe we need less 'land of the free, home of the brave' and more 'E pluribus unum'...?

 

I heartily agree with your last line and not much else.

Rather than argue the points, i am going to suggest that i can cure what is wrong with this society with one question:

This is my life. Do i have it to have, or do i have it to give?

We can, of course, do either. More than 90% (probably closer to 99.8%) of present-day Americans have chosen "have" - about 3-4 times the % in the America i was born into, 10-12x of America when it was itself born. The reasons the "give" was so high in eras past were the punishments of God, rewards of Heaven and/or conditions of servitude. My modest proposal is that, if we can find a way to make "give" abide once more, be the motive intent of human life - without the carrrots & sticks - we would be happier, more prosperous and on the path of our hereditary mandate once again.

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Interesting question and reminds me of one of the questions at the heart of another 2019 movie, The Farewell. If a person is dying, should it be that person deciding if they should tell their family or should the family be the ones to choose whether  to tell the dying member? Who does the life belong to? 

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I'm not sure if AF adequately explained that in China, the Corporation is the State. There is no real difference between where you work and the national government.

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I don't know if I have much to add to the conversation, but I'll say that these were excellent choices.  I had not even heard of either movie before this exercise, but happy that I watched both.

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34 minutes ago, Don Quixote said:

I don't know if I have much to add to the conversation, but I'll say that these were excellent choices.  I had not even heard of either movie before this exercise, but happy that I watched both.

Great to hear. There’s almost too much to be said for me to quite be able to verbalize it all. I still need to work it all out.

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Maybe I’ll pose a couple questions?

1. How do you  think these 2 movies did at expressing the issues of global economies, economic anxiety and gentrification?

2. What kind of picture do you think they paint for the current state of the country and future of the country?

3. Can we fight change? Even embrace the change? Does it matter either way or is change blind to the individual?

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2 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Maybe I’ll pose a couple questions?

1. How do you  think these 2 movies did at expressing the issues of global economies, economic anxiety and gentrification?

2. What kind of picture do you think they paint for the current state of the country and future of the country?

3. Can we fight change? Even embrace the change? Does it matter either way or is change blind to the individual?

I'm late again and haven't yet watched AF, but I will comment on TLBMISF in this regard.

I watched this a few nights before the SB, and really liked it (nice film work and use of the city), but then after the SB and seeing in my FB feed the negative reaction to the halftime show by (essentially) white men, it made me think of change and how we react to it. Is the reaction to the haltime show just a larger version of gentrification, as it's fundamentally that same feeling of "this isn't the place I grew up in"? - it's just projected on a larger scale (which then takes a somewhat ugly turn into racism.) That's a question I can't answer, but I do think the parallel is interesting.

The movie also made me feel a little insightful, in that my mom just moved out of our childhood home. She was there 48 years. So now, I have no reason to ever really visit the old neighborhood again. I walked it last year, and looked at the places I played 45 years ago. The one empty lot that we made all kinds of jumps for our bikes was still empty, but long overgrown. I braved the ticks and such and found the "big jump" my friends and I spent a week making - it's still there. There are maybe 15 guys on this planet who know about that thing. It made me a little wistful, but also happy that I had the experience. I didn't feel loss, or want to reclaim it - just grateful that, so far, life has been pretty good to me. 

Change is inevitable, whether it's the old neighborhood not being what it was, friends moving on, etc. It's how we view it that's different. Some of us see it as loss, and want to go back/preserve it, and some of us accept it and move forward. Not sure either is fully right.

Really good movies make us think. This one did just that for me.

 

Edited by jwb
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2 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Great to hear. There’s almost too much to be said for me to quite be able to verbalize it all. I still need to work it all out.

Same here. 

I've been tied up majorly since halftime of the SB. If I tried to make my comments now, it would be an angry howl at the world. 

That is not my true opinion. 

Once things settle down, and my head clears, I'll elaborate. 

 

I voted tho. And, I really like the conversation so far. 👍

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had zero desire to see either of these ... now i can't wait.

thanks, ya beautifully verbose bastids! :thumbup:

Edited by otb_lifer
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21 minutes ago, otb_lifer said:

thanks, ya beautifully verbose bastids! :thumbup:

Verbose, are we? Verbose?!?! Maybe a little fatuous around the middle, but hardly that...

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9 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

Verbose, are we? Verbose?!?! Maybe a little flatuous around the middle, but hardly that...

 

:toilet:

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IDK, my angle on TLBISF was how this country just fails the mentally ill. Because the guy was clearly delusional the whole film, and no one seems to be able to tell him to get help. Not until the end did anyone acknowledge the obvious. It was heartbreaking to watch the scene where he argues with the mortgage broker that "he'll pay whatever interest you want" to get the house, but the guy doesn't just pull out a calculator and say "Even at 0 interest, payments are $11,000 a month. You have no job, no means of support, you own a skateboard, a beanie, and apparently only one shirt. How do you think this works?" Yeah, he was passionate about a house, but his claim on it seems to be "I want it more than anyone, so I should get it." Sure, his family lived there once. But in the last 170 years, probably six other families did, too, and he doesn't get that his position doesn't mean more than anyone else's. Instead he's just failed by the society around him.  

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2 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Maybe I’ll pose a couple questions?

1. How do you  think these 2 movies did at expressing the issues of global economies, economic anxiety and gentrification?

2. What kind of picture do you think they paint for the current state of the country and future of the country?

3. Can we fight change? Even embrace the change? Does it matter either way or is change blind to the individual?

1. I didn't see much in the way of gentrification in AF, and in Last Black Man, I think it was a refreshing albeit unrealistic way of dealing with it. Jimmy had a practical approach to the issue; he chose to act on his desire to honor his heritage by working on restoring the house when its owners were away.  TBH, I was a little annoyed by this part of the plot, as I would like to think that if I were in the homeowner's shoes, I wouldn't have discouraged him from working on the house, and would even have tried to learn why he was so interested in it.  Then again, I'm not the kind of person who can afford a town house in San Francisco, so what do I know.  AF definitely touched on the first two components of this question, and to me in a fairly objective way.  And as I said in my initial review, any dialogue that could have come from this film, about culture shock, work ethics, etc. was completely undercut by the mention of the factory becoming more automated.

2. To me, AF doesn't really paint a picture as much as it puts a clinical, objective spotlight on a long-existing issue, and Last Black Man shows us not only what beauty actually does exist in case we missed it, but also what beauty is still out there waiting to be revealed if we move forward in love. I like that it doesn't negate or condemn our current state but rather points the way to what's possible. As for the future, I think both step back from commenting on that.  AF basically says 'this is how things are and why', but doesn't drop hints or suggest a way out, and Last Black Man says 'it is what it is, and will be what we choose to make of it.'

3. Regarding change, I'm definitely more able to deal with changes now than I was when I was younger. My first response to most changes is still to resist, but I'm also at the point where I have learned to say 'same as day one.' Some changes I embrace better than others, but at this point I've learned to just keep moving regardless, because most changes don't care what I think of them. Not how I thought I'd deal with things when I was younger, but it gets me through the days, months, years.

 

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55 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

IDK, my angle on TLBISF was how this country just fails the mentally ill. Because the guy was clearly delusional the whole film, and no one seems to be able to tell him to get help. Not until the end did anyone acknowledge the obvious. It was heartbreaking to watch the scene where he argues with the mortgage broker that "he'll pay whatever interest you want" to get the house, but the guy doesn't just pull out a calculator and say "Even at 0 interest, payments are $11,000 a month. You have no job, no means of support, you own a skateboard, a beanie, and apparently only one shirt. How do you think this works?" Yeah, he was passionate about a house, but his claim on it seems to be "I want it more than anyone, so I should get it." Sure, his family lived there once. But in the last 170 years, probably six other families did, too, and he doesn't get that his position doesn't mean more than anyone else's. Instead he's just failed by the society around him.  

Did you know that the TLBMISF story is kinda true? The lead, Jimmy Fails, plays himself. When i saw that the actor had the same name as the lead and then that he had a co-write credit, i figured there must be more, so i looked it up. The past, the eviction of he & his father from a Victorian house is real, told here. The director was a pal Jimmy made short films with in high school. He's been discussing maeing a film of his & his father's story since he was 15, apparently. They made a preview for Kickstarter and the rest is history. Was this previously discussed? Probably not much more psychotic to finance a house purchase than a film, eh?

Edited by wikkidpissah
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2 hours ago, Charlie Steiner said:

1. I didn't see much in the way of gentrification in AF, and in Last Black Man, I think it was a refreshing albeit unrealistic way of dealing with it. Jimmy had a practical approach to the issue; he chose to act on his desire to honor his heritage by working on restoring the house when its owners were away.  TBH, I was a little annoyed by this part of the plot, as I would like to think that if I were in the homeowner's shoes, I wouldn't have discouraged him from working on the house, and would even have tried to learn why he was so interested in it.  Then again, I'm not the kind of person who can afford a town house in San Francisco, so what do I know.  AF definitely touched on the first two components of this question, and to me in a fairly objective way.  And as I said in my initial review, any dialogue that could have come from this film, about culture shock, work ethics, etc. was completely undercut by the mention of the factory becoming more automated.

 

Gentrification is more the issue of San Fran. The erasing and rewriting of culture, place and history. In that sense, AF does seem to show a company trying to change culture as well. In the end, they the company decided that it was better off without most of the people their and would rather replace them with machines. That may not be gentrification of renovating to meet middle class standards but is perhaps renovating to meet new corporate standards. 

Edited by Ilov80s
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43 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

IDK, my angle on TLBISF was how this country just fails the mentally ill. Because the guy was clearly delusional the whole film, and no one seems to be able to tell him to get help. Not until the end did anyone acknowledge the obvious. It was heartbreaking to watch the scene where he argues with the mortgage broker that "he'll pay whatever interest you want" to get the house, but the guy doesn't just pull out a calculator and say "Even at 0 interest, payments are $11,000 a month. You have no job, no means of support, you own a skateboard, a beanie, and apparently only one shirt. How do you think this works?" Yeah, he was passionate about a house, but his claim on it seems to be "I want it more than anyone, so I should get it." Sure, his family lived there once. But in the last 170 years, probably six other families did, too, and he doesn't get that his position doesn't mean more than anyone else's. Instead he's just failed by the society around him.  

Interesting angle. I saw that as the stories we are told, what we believe, how that shapes. Jimmie clearly never had much but the one thing he of value he feels a connection to is the house he thinks his grandfather built. Getting that back is like getting back a part of himself and his history. He seems to know he won’t actually get to keep it but he’s trying what he can to briefly possess it and restore it. 

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Seems like the choices are pretty well received (but a bit polarizing). Hopefully we get some more votes and more people to see them. 

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8 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

Did you know that the TLBMISF story is kinda true? The lead, Jimmy Fails, plays himself. When i saw that the actor had the same name as the lead and then that he had a co-write credit, i figured there must be more, so i looked it up. The past, the eviction of he & his father from a Victorian house is real, told here. The director was a pal Jimmy made short films with in high school. He's been discussing maeing a film of his & his father's story since he was 15, apparently. They made a preview for Kickstarter and the rest is history. Was this previously discussed? Probably not much more psychotic to finance a house purchase than a film, eh?

Yes, I was aware going in it was "based on a true story", but I'm assuming the real life Jimmy was not as mentally challenged as his character in this film, who appears to be quite out of it.

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Also, because my review was on a larger scope, i failed to make mention of three words that the great movie critic & racontuer Joe Bob Briggs, who i read in the SFChronicle pink section for years, would have done in covering TLBMISF: "Jelly Biafra Fu". nufced

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At no point did I ever think Jimmy was crazy relative to the world of the movie. 

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8 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

At no point did I ever think Jimmy was crazy relative to the world of the movie. 

 

I never had the impression he understood how the "real world" works. He seemed completely incapable of understanding social rules and boundaries. While not "crazy", there's definitely tinges of narcissistic personality disorder in that.

And, also, he acknowledges he is living in his own delusion. He knows the backstory of the house is false, and he chooses not to believe reality.:shrug:

Edited by Walking Boot

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17 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

Yes, I was aware going in it was "based on a true story", but I'm assuming the real life Jimmy was not as mentally challenged as his character in this film, who appears to be quite out of it.

dont see him that way at all. if black folk had a Galahad - a knight of valor, emblem of strength & virtue, embued with the spirit of his mission and asking a white man to believe him up to a foolish quest because his heart is true - that memory has likely been robbed from them. i don't see an out-of-it guy here, but a tiredass whackmole trying to keep meaning in his life whilst dodging the giant mallet of his plight

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15 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

dont see him that way at all. if black folk had a Galahad - a knight of valor, emblem of strength & virtue, embued with the spirit of his mission and asking a white man to believe him up to a foolish quest because his heart is true - that memory has likely been robbed from them. i don't see an out-of-it guy here, but a tiredass whackmole trying to keep meaning in his life whilst dodging the giant mallet of his plight

That's fine, if that's how you see him, and knowing you, I see how you can go along with that. I can't. If he's not mentally ill, then I don't understand why I should have any sympathy for him at all. You can call him a hero for what he does, but I don't see him that way then.

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4 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

That's fine, if that's how you see him, and knowing you, I see how you can go along with that. I can't. If he's not mentally ill, then I don't understand why I should have any sympathy for him at all. You can call him a hero for what he does, but I don't see him that way then.

fair enough

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2 hours ago, Walking Boot said:

 

I never had the impression he understood how the "real world" works. He seemed completely incapable of understanding social rules and boundaries. While not "crazy", there's definitely tinges of narcissistic personality disorder in that.

And, also, he acknowledges he is living in his own delusion. He knows the backstory of the house is false, and he chooses not to believe reality.:shrug:

I don't think the movie is attempting to be "real". He is a hero attempting the impossible with no chance of success. He's not hurting anyone to do it and if anything, is doing good in his efforts for himself, friends and community. 

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Interesting tidbits about LBISF

- You notice Thora Birch in that one brief bus scene near the end? Random cameo for such a small movie made by total unknowns 

- Kofi (the guy from the corner who is killed) was a real life SF street kid with no acting experience. He was in jail 8 years for murder before being acquitted in a retrial. 

- Joe Talbot sent a cold email to Barry Jenkins about how to film a movie in SF and Jenkins took the time to respond and help him.

- Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company helped get the film picked up and off the ground. They all met during the filming of Ad Astra. 

- Danny Glover is from SF and actually contacted Joe Talbot requesting a role in the film.

- Joe Talbot’s grandfather was a relatively well known movie actor in the 30s and tv actor in the 50s-60s. Joe’s dad founded the web magazine Salon. 

Edited by Ilov80s

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17 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

I don't think the movie is attempting to be "real". He is a hero attempting the impossible with no chance of success. He's not hurting anyone to do it and if anything, is doing good in his efforts for himself, friends and community. 

A noble fool is still a fool

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ok, let's talk American Factory. This is little rambling.

Really sad and fascinating documentary that lays bare many problems that almost seem unfixable. On one hand, we have American workers who had a taste of the "glory days" good life when an average, semi-skilled worker could earn enough to live an above-average life. This has proven unsustainable in the long term, at least in Capitalism - we learned that paying above-average wages for average skills is not sustainable. That's a big reason a lot of these plants closed, and GM's pension obligation (essentially, paying workers who are no longer working) led to the need of a bailout. But to put a human face on it is sad.

On the other side, we have the Chinese, who are unquestioning to the company, will work long hours in unsafe conditions for garbage wages because... wait, why do they do that? These people are clearly not happy. When you have to sing songs about how happy and joyous you are, guess what? You aren't either one. I felt as sad for the Chinese as I did the Americans, because these people are clearly so subdued and beaten down that they dare not question anything. 

So we mix these two into American Factory.

The biggest takeaway I got was the unwillingness of either side to acknowledge their mistakes or grow. The Americans want to go back to modern union policies that long-term, end up by destroying companies because the numbers simply do not work, given our system of government and lifestyle.  We don't want to change  - we just want a $30 an hour job so we can take vacations and have weekend bbq's. And the Chinese executives want obedient slaves, like they have back home. And that doesn't work, either.   

I was a little creeped out on the visit to China. The military style "count off" (which was laughable when they tried to recreate it in America), and the "company song and dance" at the reception were bizarre. It was like an Amway meeting taken to astronomical extremes. Don't these people get tired of being told how happy they are? Or is fear of being taken away in the middle of the night still a thing (I guess it is?)  

And in all of this, automation looms. Eventually, we won't need any of these people. What then?   

No good answers - only more questions. And problems that seem unfixable. 

Great movie.

(and yes, do NOT wear a "Jaws" shirt to a big meeting. Wow, did that stand out, as did the "fat" Americans.)

Edited by jwb
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2 hours ago, jwb said:

ok, let's talk American Factory. This is little rambling.

Really sad and fascinating documentary that lays bare many problems that almost seem unfixable. On one hand, we have American workers who had a taste of the "glory days" good life when an average, semi-skilled worker could earn enough to live an above-average life. This has proven unsustainable in the long term, at least in Capitalism - we learned that paying above-average wages for average skills is not sustainable. That's a big reason a lot of these plants closed, and GM's pension obligation (essentially, paying workers who are no longer working) led to the need of a bailout. But to put a human face on it is sad.

On the other side, we have the Chinese, who are unquestioning to the company, will work long hours in unsafe conditions for garbage wages because... wait, why do they do that? These people are clearly not happy. When you have to sing songs about how happy and joyous you are, guess what? You aren't either one. I felt as sad for the Chinese as I did the Americans, because these people are clearly so subdued and beaten down that they dare not question anything. 

So we mix these two into American Factory.

The biggest takeaway I got was the unwillingness of either side to acknowledge their mistakes or grow. The Americans want to go back to modern union policies that long-term, end up by destroying companies because the numbers simply do not work, given our system of government and lifestyle.  We don't want to change  - we just want a $30 an hour job so we can take vacations and have weekend bbq's. And the Chinese executives want obedient slaves, like they have back home. And that doesn't work, either.   

I was a little creeped out on the visit to China. The military style "count off" (which was laughable when they tried to recreate it in America), and the "company song and dance" at the reception were bizarre. It was like an Amway meeting taken to astronomical extremes. Don't these people get tired of being told how happy they are? Or is it a fear of being taken away in the middle of the night still a thing (I guess it is?)  

And in all of this, automation looms. Eventually, we won't need any of these people. What then?   

No good answers - only more questions. And problems that seem unfixable. 

Great movie.

(and yes, do NOT wear a "Jaws" shirt to a big meeting. Wow, did that stand out, as did the "fat" Americans.)

here's your scrapbook review, @Ilov80s & @KarmaPolice. one of the best posts i've read in a while. the hi-lighted lines are dead bang on. how far afield we all go when we fail to recognize the truth of things

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Sorry I'm late to the party again this month but here goes.  Both films were fascinating to watch but more difficult to write up than usual.  Although very different films on the surface, they shared a vision of the American Dream in its death throes.

With American Factory, let's with some basic tenets of filmmaking.   The makers of American Factory did an excellent job of showing rather than telling.  They presented multiple viewpoints without overt editorializing, allowing the people to present their own realities.  The movie had a relatively polished look in spite of its cinema verite shooting.  The filmmakers did a particularly good job of setting the scene with shots that emphasized the powerlessness of the characters.

I thought American Factory succeeded brilliantly in showing the contrast in cultures that are greater than the similarities in class between the American and Chinese workers.  The filmmakers showed empathy to both cultures; there were no real heroes or villains.  Even the chairman was given space to proselytize about his ambitions for the factory in addition to his more negative comments about the workers and especially the union.

Last Black Man is a deeply personal film for me so it's impossible to view it objectively.  I've lived my adult life in the city including a decade around the corner from the Victorian at 959 South Van Ness used for filming the exteriors.  The Japanese-Americans displaced from the Fillmore and Western Addition are my birth family and the African-Americans struggling to stay afloat against the tide of gentrification are my family through marriage.  We currently live in a 19th century Victorian house that was purchased by Mrs. Eephus' great-aunt in the early 50s.  Aunt Liza didn't build it but her forethought and toughness allowed a single woman working as a cleaning lady to create generational wealth for her family.  I remember I had just started dating Mrs. Eephus when Aunt Liza paid it off.  I had no idea at the time just how important that would be to my life.

As others have noted, the film is beautifully shot; it captures this city's unique look better than movies that cost hundreds of times more.  But I think it did even a better job of showing the city's soul.  SF has been a city for big dreams since the Gold Rush days; even the current wave of tech bros fit this description to a degree.  Like many self images, this ideal may be more fantasy than reality but that doesn't matter to Jimmy (and to a lesser extent Montgomery ).   Last Black Man' is a work of magical realism but even in its own universe, the boundaries of race and class still exists.  The dreamlike tone also softens the film's politics a bit.  It works more like an allegory than as social criticism.  There's room for another film that approaches the effect of gentrification on people of color with a more realistic edge but it would probably share more with American Factory than Last Black Man.

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19 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

here's your scrapbook review, @Ilov80s & @KarmaPolice. one of the best posts i've read in a while. the hi-lighted lines are dead bang on. how far afield we all go when we fail to recognize the truth of things

Eephus is challenging that with his heartfelt post as well

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1 hour ago, KarmaPolice said:

I hope you live in legal states so you can watch the next pairing.  

:popcorn:

Paging @Man of Constant Sorrow

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3 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Eephus is challenging that with his heartfelt post as well

you just can't find an alliteration for jwb ("jwb's flubs" dont work)

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February movie announcement will be coming this evening 

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One thing I measure a film by is how often I think about in the days and weeks after.  That's one of the reasons Parasite is my pick for the Oscar is how it stayed in my head afterwards.

Last Black Man was always going to be that way for me because of obvious geographic and personal reasons.  But I have found myself returning to the people and their situation in American Factory.  The film added a deeper and more complex element to stories we normally experience via 90 second news segments.

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Wine poured, vape in hand. Drumroll please...

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Nice. I got a hint about one of them. Perhaps I am mistaken.

Awesome write-ups. I couldn't make it through the first fifteen of TLBMISF. I was instantly turned off by the character who kept trespassing. I was like Walking Boot, in a sense, I just never let it play out. Weird. I've always thought the first issue in politics is property. As Bill Buford notes about soccer riots, "the first thing to go....property." Always kept that in mind. I also didn't like the disjointed pacing and that magical realism quality about it. I figured I'd really have not much to add here, either, so I stopped watching. 

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This was probably the toughest decision for @KarmaPolice and I. We wanted to do something Oscar related since the Oscars are coming up. However, the Prime and NF options are limited. So what we have decided to do is highlight one of the breakout stars of 2019 movies and a person who might make Oscar history Sunday. One of the more widely celebrated but until this year, widely unknown directors in the world. Get your kush, lighter and grinder because we are about to pack a DOUBLE BONG HIT!

February 2020 Movie Club   due 3/2 

2013- Snowpiercer   A failed climate-change experiment has killed all life except for the lucky few who boarded a train that travels around the globe. Starring Chris Evans, Viola Davis and Tilda Swinton. Directed and written by Bong Joon Ho

Trailer

 

2018- Okja   A young girl risks everything to prevent a powerful, multinational company from kidnapping her best friend - a fascinating beast named Okja. Starring Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton. Written and directed by Bong Joon Ho. 

Trailer

 

ETA: In case anyone isn't aware, Bong Joon Ho is a long time Koren writer-director who had a massive International hit in 2019 with Parasite. 

Edited by Ilov80s
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Good.  I'll have motivation to plow through Snowpiercer.  Dystopian sci-fi isn't my jam; I started watching it twice but switched over to sports about 20 minutes in.

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10 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Good.  I'll have motivation to plow through Snowpiercer.  Dystopian sci-fi isn't my jam; I started watching it twice but switched over to sports about 20 minutes in.

Way to sell this month's movies for us LOL

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45 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Nice. I got a hint about one of them. Perhaps I am mistaken.

Awesome write-ups. I couldn't make it through the first fifteen of TLBMISF. I was instantly turned off by the character who kept trespassing. I was like Walking Boot, in a sense, I just never let it play out. Weird. I've always thought the first issue in politics is property. As Bill Buford notes about soccer riots, "the first thing to go....property." Always kept that in mind. I also didn't like the disjointed pacing and that magical realism quality about it. I figured I'd really have not much to add here, either, so I stopped watching. 

The best part of the move IMO is the magical realism that never bends to magical outcomes. Wonderful blurring of reality and parable. I don't think it tells any story about trespassing be right or wrong. There actually aren't many moral lessons in it. The ultimate statement of the movie comes near the end as a couple of wealthy young women who are new to the city begin trashing it and talking of how much they hate San Fran. The protagonist tells her “You don't get to hate San Francisco. You don't get to hate it unless you love it.”  What a message. 

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Just now, Ilov80s said:

The best part of the move IMO is the magical realism that never bends to magical outcomes. Wondeful blurring of reality and parable. I don't think it tells any story about trespassing be right or wrong. There actually aren't many moral lessons in it. The ultimate statement of the movie comes near the end as a couple of wealthy young women who are new to the city being trashing it and talking of how much they hate San Fran. The protagonist tells her “You don't get to hate San Francisco. You don't get to hate it unless you love it.”  What a message. 

I wasn't worried about what they thought about trespassing, just notably, that he was. But that is a nice ending. Only those who hold a thing dear can see fit to criticize and be broken-hearted about.

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31 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Good.  I'll have motivation to plow through Snowpiercer.  Dystopian sci-fi isn't my jam; I started watching it twice but switched over to sports about 20 minutes in.

 

I forced myself to finish it the only time I saw it, and regretted it. Should have just quit. And I like dystopian sci-fi. 

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10 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I wasn't worried about what they thought about trespassing, just notably, that he was. But that is a nice ending. Only those who hold a thing dear can see fit to criticize and be broken-hearted about.

Hmmm...some of the movies I love the most have some of the characters and acts that I find most despicable and distasteful. Seeing actions I dislike in art never turned me off from the art but to each their own. I am glad we agree on the the moral lesson of the relationship of love and hate. 

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