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FBG Movie Club: The Last Black Man in San Francisco vs American Factory due 2/3

How would you rate Last Black Man in San Francisco?  

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On 12/4/2019 at 4:42 PM, saintfool said:

 

As for other noir films of more recent vintages (that aren't Coen Bros) I'd recommend "Red Rock West" with Dennis Hopper and Nic Cage, "The Last Seduction" with Linda Fiorentino, "After Dark, My Sweet" with Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, and Bruce Dern. There's a neat Aussie film called "The Square" that's from the Edgerton boys there in Oz that fits noir genre too.

Forgive the Hippling, but Rian Johnson’s Brick is an excellent neo-noir. 

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I honestly think The Apartment saved my life. Which is silly, but I was in college and experiencing my first ever romantic crisis and I was still a decade away from treating my depression. 
 

So I was having a particularly rough night with lots of morbid thoughts of throwing myself in front of trains and whatnot, and the movie came on. And, as a film buff with a big Apartment-sized hole in my Billy Wilder knowledge, I watched it.
 

 A dramedy revolving around a suicide attempt. I’m not sure the message was helpful, but the script was so sharp and Lemmon and MacLaine were so good (not to mention Fred MacMurray luxuriating in his character’s loathsomeness), that it made my unhappiness seem more like a sense of shared humanity. It made me feel less alone. And that’s what I take from the movie every time I see it now. Particularly the ending when they play cards.  The feeling that we don’t have to be alone. 

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2 hours ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I honestly think The Apartment saved my life. Which is silly, but I was in college and experiencing my first ever romantic crisis and I was still a decade away from treating my depression. 
 

So I was having a particularly rough night with lots of morbid thoughts of throwing myself in front of trains and whatnot, and the movie came on. And, as a film buff with a big Apartment-sized hole in my Billy Wilder knowledge, I watched it.
 

 A dramedy revolving around a suicide attempt. I’m not sure the message was helpful, but the script was so sharp and Lemmon and MacLaine were so good (not to mention Fred MacMurray luxuriating in his character’s loathsomeness), that it made my unhappiness seem more like a sense of shared humanity. It made me feel less alone. And that’s what I take from the movie every time I see it now. Particularly the ending when they play cards.  The feeling that we don’t have to be alone. 

Good thing they weren't showing Sunset Boulevard instead

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8 hours ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

I honestly think The Apartment saved my life. Which is silly, but I was in college and experiencing my first ever romantic crisis and I was still a decade away from treating my depression. 
 

So I was having a particularly rough night with lots of morbid thoughts of throwing myself in front of trains and whatnot, and the movie came on. And, as a film buff with a big Apartment-sized hole in my Billy Wilder knowledge, I watched it.
 

 A dramedy revolving around a suicide attempt. I’m not sure the message was helpful, but the script was so sharp and Lemmon and MacLaine were so good (not to mention Fred MacMurray luxuriating in his character’s loathsomeness), that it made my unhappiness seem more like a sense of shared humanity. It made me feel less alone. And that’s what I take from the movie every time I see it now. Particularly the ending when they play cards.  The feeling that we don’t have to be alone. 

That’s an incredible story and speaks so much to the power of art. It reminds me of what Ebert said about The Apartment:

There is a melancholy gulf over the holidays between those who have someplace to go, and those who do not. “The Apartment” is so affecting partly because of that buried reason: It takes place on the shortest days of the year, when dusk falls swiftly and the streets are cold, when after the office party some people go home to their families and others go home to apartments where they haven't even bothered to put up a tree. On Christmas Eve, more than any other night of the year, the lonely person feels robbed of something that was there in childhood and isn't there anymore.

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The "what have the the romans ever given us" bit might be the funniest thing 

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On 12/13/2019 at 1:53 AM, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

This month's picks are perfect. 👍

Also, @Ilov80s, I did not vote in the last poll. (I've been tied up with some family stuff lately.) I would have given' em both a 4, if you want a better count of participation and opinion.

 

The google slideshow has been updated to add your vote

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On 12/18/2019 at 8:03 PM, Ilov80s said:

The google slideshow has been updated to add your vote

Sweet. I feel so enfranchised now. 👑

 

Also - after a long day, I watched LoB last night. It was much needed. 

I'm not gonna claim this is the best scene, but I think it is my fav:

Spoiler  

It is also very informative. 

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1 hour ago, Man of Constant Sorrow said:

Sweet. I feel so enfranchised now. 👑

 

Also - after a long day, I watched LoB last night. It was much needed. 

I'm not gonna claim this is the best scene, but I think it is my fav:

Spoiler  

It is also very informative. 

Also my favorite 

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Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

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7 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

I've held back making even the slightest comment in deference to the official opening day for discussion, but I will say now that I had never seen either film, so both were definitely revelations for me and I'm glad you guys picked them.

As for what you decide to do in January, I'll roll with the punches; I've liked having no say nor expectations going into this and it's been a fun ride.

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3 minutes ago, Charlie Steiner said:

I've held back making even the slightest comment in deference to the official opening day for discussion, but I will say now that I had never seen either film, so both were definitely revelations for me and I'm glad you guys picked them.

As for what you decide to do in January, I'll roll with the punches; I've liked having no say nor expectations going into this and it's been a fun ride.

I appreciate that and it makes the movie club well worth it! For January, we just don’t want to choose 2 movies where everyone just watched them last month. We’ve got some great options so just trying to narrow it down now.

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52 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

I've only seen Irishman so far. Started Dolemite the other day, but still need to finish it.

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On the December picks... I haven't watched either of them this go-around. Love both, but, as a result, have seen them semi-recently and ended up enjoying the holiday downtime catching up on some movies that had been on my watchlist for awhile and I had not seen.

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Can't believe The Apartment is on neither streaming platform. i aint paying to re-watch a flick i seen a dozen times, so i'll be doing that from memory. was just thinking recently that, if it wasnt for the holiday theme, pairing Apt w Frances Ha on the Manhattan tip woulda been cool.

And i didn't like LoB any better this 8th(?) viewing either. More on that Monday.

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2 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

pretty good idea. i've talked about Marriage Story quite a bit on the Netflix thread already, but it's worth talking about s'more

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6 minutes ago, KarmaPolice said:

Did The Apartment get taken down at the turn of the year? 

sry - just tried it again on Prime and it came up. dunno what happened when i tried it over the weekend....

 

 

 

Netflix has a movie called The Apartment, but it's not Wilder's

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Can you change the poll to include a N/A or didn't watch option?  I don't have Prime and didn't see The Apartment so I don't want to rate that movie.

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11 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

I am woefully behind on most all movies. Dolemite is the only movie of your examples that I have seen. 

As I've gotten older, I have had a harder time keeping up with new things. This club and its added motivation (plus the other movie threads here) have helped turn me on to good things that I would have missed otherwise. 

I trust your guy's judgment. 

Sounds good to me. 

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I'm a Monty Python fan and liked Life of Brian a lot.  It was 2nd to Holy Grail out of their movies IMO, unless you count Live at the Hollywood Bowl as a movie. 

It's interesting how times have changed when it comes to religion and comedy.  When Life of Brian came out, it was controversial.  They went on talk shows and had debates with religious leaders.  Today I'm sure there are people who are offended, but it's far, far fewer.  Now most people either find it funny or don't like that kind of humor. 

One test of a movie is if it had any lines or scenes that were frequently quoted and even became iconic in a way.  Always Look on the Bright Side of Life was a scene like that.

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On 1/3/2020 at 8:53 AM, Charlie Steiner said:

I've held back making even the slightest comment in deference to the official opening day for discussion, but I will say now that I had never seen either film, so both were definitely revelations for me and I'm glad you guys picked them.

As for what you decide to do in January, I'll roll with the punches; I've liked having no say nor expectations going into this and it's been a fun ride.

Now I’m interested to hear your takes!

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Posted (edited)

Can't really find a connection to make between these two flicks, so i'll do em separately, Life of Brian first:

 

I blame George Harrison.

For all of Monty Python's success, it was many years before there was any money in it. The Beeb gave the TV show a slot and decent autonomy, but their breakout on American TV was on PBS and they really had to tour Jolly Ol w their sketches to make any dough. And Holy Grail was them stuck in godawful Scotland @ the one castle that would let them film in it with precious little money to do anything. Even after Grail was a hit, nobody was showering them with offers and no one was touching the "blasphemous" Brian script.

Then Harrison put together a production company to finance the film for the purest of reasons - he wanted to see it. So the Pythons set out to make the best possible movie they could for their loyal fan. 

And they did. And that's what's wrong with it. Monty Python doesnt make movies. They explode your conceptions of reality then run around in dresses, slap each other with fishes & resurrect parrots, cleverclever all the while. Life of Brian is as linear as Neil Simon. Mistaken identity, groups of heretics carping at each other over who's running the revolution & a crucifixion ditty. Tremendous amount of shouting at each other. Except for the courage to take on both the church and the common leftist sensibilities of their generation, this is an entirely pedestrian satire on a a common cultural theme, which Mel Brooks was doing 666x better at the time. More kvetching than anarchy, which is their wheelhouse like no other. At least 8 times i've watched this and i've nodded a few times, smiled a few more, winced at the constant whining, never came close to laughing. That's it.

Edited by wikkidpissah
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2 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

Can't really find a connection to make between these two flicks, so i'll do em separately, Life of Brian first:

 

I blame George Harrison.

For all of Monty Python's success, it was many years before there was any money in it. The Beeb gave the TV show a slot and decent autonomy, but their breakout on American TV was on PBS and they really had to tour Jolly Ol w their sketches to make any dough. And Holy Grail was them stuck in godawful Scotland @ the one castle that would let them film in it with precious little money to do anything. Even after Grail was a hit, nobody was showering them with offers and no one was touching the "blasphemous" Brian script.

Then Harrison put together a production company to finance the film for the purest of reasons - he wanted to see it. So the Pythons set out to make the best possible movie they could for their loyal fan. 

And they did. And that's what's wrong with it. Monty Python doesnt make movies. They explode your conceptions of reality then run around in dresses, slap each other with fishes & resurrect parrots, cleverclever all the while. Life of Brian is as linear as Neil Simon. Mistaken identity, groups of heretics carping at each other over who's running the revolution & a crucifixion ditty. Tremendous amount of shouting at each other. Except for the courage to take on both the church and the common leftist sensibilities of their generation, this is an entirely pedestrian satire on a a common cultural theme, which Mel Brooks was doing 666x better at the time. More kvetching than anarchy, which is their wheelhouse like no other. At least 8 times i've watched this and i've nodded a few times, smiled a few more, winced at the constant whining, never came close to laughing. That's it.

Ouch. I felt somewhat differently.

As someone who understands the difference between being a Christian and being saved, I didn't see the blasphemy; there was no ridiculing the Gospel or Jesus as far as I could tell, and in a way it reminded me of the misplaced outrage over Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ: a lot of fuss over nothing. To me, it poked fun at religiosity, which I see as being fair game.  What I was going to say in my take about Life of Brian was how I felt that their treatment of leftist/anti-establishment activism was as on point now as it was then, and for that I got an extra chuckle. I think it's a great satirical cautionary tale about religion-not faith/belief in God, mind you, but the folly of holding things sacred with a closed mind. Maybe since it's Monty Python, there was a false expectation they didn't meet, but it was what Python always did-a string of set-pieces, though I admit the suicide squad bit ended up being a miss that I wanted to laugh at but couldn't.  I also felt a little disappointed there wasn't a more cohesive overarching story, and Brian just seemed to get dragged along at points, but again, Python gonna Python.

As for the connection between the two films, all I can figure is the two protagonists are both put upon by others, seem to have little control over their life and are mistaken for something they're not by others around them. One is seen as a messiah, the other an enabler. @Ilov80s, did I get that right?

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If you found any connection, I appreciate it. We didn’t really plan any grand connection here- just wanted comedies that were sort of holiday movies. 

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I enjoyed the first half of The Aparment, but I found the comedy really started to drag once it got to the suicide attempt.

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The Apartment

My 94yo father is deeply unhappy these days. He has probably done more to distinguish himself than any person with our surname (a dozen patents, many of them prominent, and wrote the definitive college textbook in his field) but his career ended poorly (got squoze out in a merger) and he made a lot of $$ for other people without gaining commensurate wealth, rank or respect (mostly because he's been an insensitive prig all his life). For some reason, what he rambles about now is that a friend from his podunk town was in charge of elevator operators at Rockefeller Center in NYC and offered him a job. Da says half the most rich & powerful  television producers got their jobs by becoming elevator operators and pitching their ideas to Sarnoff & Weaver on their way to the penthouse. My father has never evinced a creative instinct of any kind, but that apparently doesn't matter if you read Norman Vincent Peale and can count to the top floor. Ah, senility!

But the lure of Manhattan is tall & deep. You can not only make it anywhere if you make it there but, if you make it there, you're at the top, baby! I tried it twice, for brief periods in the late 70s/early 80s, excited as could be for the chance. It remains my Oz, my Disneyland, my Pandaemonium, even though i'd hardly recognize it now.

There's two reasons i didn't stay: 1) i have the talent to impress more than abide, succeed 2) what they don't tell you in the manual is that the city so nice they named it twice regularly offers to buy your soul, sell you tips on how to get the best deal for it yourself and regularly makse you decide whether or not to screw over almost everyone you ever knew, know and will know. There more people who've made it without any talent at all than people who've made it without giving in to #2. Everyone who lives there is paying the inner price for winning by the power of #2 or failing even after selling all they had to sell.

I'm lucky - my talent is not strong enough to compel me to keep trying and i am constitutionally incapable of selling my soul, no matter the gain. Happily do i fail.

The Apartment is the Old Testament of #2. It is the most deeply-realized comedy ever written - sumptuous, telling, masterfully paced & performed. And, now retired from 25 years making a living in poker rooms after giving up the dream, "Shut up and deal" simply must be my favorite ending line of all time. 

 

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1 hour ago, Walking Boot said:

I enjoyed the first half of The Aparment, but I found the comedy really started to drag once it got to the suicide attempt.

It's definitely not just a comedy and the movie takes many serious turns as it investigates issues like suicide, infidelity, etc. It's about loneliness more than anything. 

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Wait, who the hell gave The Apartment a 0? Or was that just because I forgot to put an option for not seeing it yet?  All good if you thought The Apartment was complete unwatchable trash but I would like to hear that reasoning. 

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On 1/3/2020 at 8:42 AM, Ilov80s said:

Hopefully we get some more activity with this as both as classics but I know the holidays are tough. Maybe next year we consider taking a holiday for December. 

As for January, how up to speed do the regular posters here feel about the big streaming movies of 2019? @KarmaPolice and I are mulling over a few ideas. One of them is the big likely Oscar nominated streaming films like Marriage Story, Irishman, Dolemite, Two Popes. 

Ugh, this is me. Holidays, new puppy, etc. Am queuing up the Apartment now, because I haven't seen it in 30 years.  

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8 minutes ago, jwb said:

Ugh, this is me. Holidays, new puppy, etc. Am queuing up the Apartment now, because I haven't seen it in 30 years.  

Can't wait to hear about movie and most importantly, the puppy

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1 hour ago, wikkidpissah said:

The Apartment

My 94yo father is deeply unhappy these days. He has probably done more to distinguish himself than any person with our surname (a dozen patents, many of them prominent, and wrote the definitive college textbook in his field) but his career ended poorly (got squoze out in a merger) and he made a lot of $$ for other people without gaining commensurate wealth, rank or respect (mostly because he's been an insensitive prig all his life). For some reason, what he rambles about now is that a friend from his podunk town was in charge of elevator operators at Rockefeller Center in NYC and offered him a job. Da says half the most rich & powerful  television producers got their jobs by becoming elevator operators and pitching their ideas to Sarnoff & Weaver on their way to the penthouse. My father has never evinced a creative instinct of any kind, but that apparently doesn't matter if you read Norman Vincent Peale and can count to the top floor. Ah, senility!

But the lure of Manhattan is tall & deep. You can not only make it anywhere if you make it there but, if you make it there, you're at the top, baby! I tried it twice, for brief periods in the late 70s/early 80s, excited as could be for the chance. It remains my Oz, my Disneyland, my Pandaemonium, even though i'd hardly recognize it now.

There's two reasons i didn't stay: 1) i have the talent to impress more than abide, succeed 2) what they don't tell you in the manual is that the city so nice they named it twice regularly offers to buy your soul, sell you tips on how to get the best deal for it yourself and regularly makse you decide whether or not to screw over almost everyone you ever knew, know and will know. There more people who've made it without any talent at all than people who've made it without giving in to #2. Everyone who lives there is paying the inner price for winning by the power of #2 or failing even after selling all they had to sell.

I'm lucky - my talent is not strong enough to compel me to keep trying and i am constitutionally incapable of selling my soul, no matter the gain. Happily do i fail.

The Apartment is the Old Testament of #2. It is the most deeply-realized comedy ever written - sumptuous, telling, masterfully paced & performed. And, now retired from 25 years making a living in poker rooms after giving up the dream, "Shut up and deal" simply must be my favorite ending line of all time. 

 

Now that I've read this little blurb, I understand the film much better. It also explains away my biggest gripe about it: comeuppance.  Sure, Fred MacMurray ended up divorced, but he still seemed to have gotten off relatively easy, and while Bud ultimately won in the end, he also seemed to have ridden a much bumpier road than even the 'villains' who pressured him and used him. I tried to blunt my anger over not seeing true comeuppance by reminding myself that even crooked old Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life didn't appear to be punished for hiding away Uncle Billy's deposit, and chalked it up to that's how they used to tell stories compared to now where we HAVE to see the bad guy get his so we can have that closure.

As for what else I got out of The Apartment, I believe Shirley Maclane gave us an all-time magic pixie dream girl that still compares favorably to anything even the likes of Zoey Deschanel has done in the years since. I also got a feeling of deja vu when the doctor neighbor came over to help Miss Kubelik when she OD'ed, reminded me of the scene from Dirty Dancing when Dr. Houseman came to help Penny recover from her abortion. 

Also,, as always, I got a kick out of recognizing the cast.  We got radio's Great Gildersleeve, Mr. Hand, Otis the town drunk and Larry Tate from Bewitched going through their paces together.

1 hour ago, Ilov80s said:

It's definitely not just a comedy and the movie takes many serious turns as it investigates issues like suicide, infidelity, etc. It's about loneliness more than anything. 

Ultimately, I wanted a little deeper dive into those issues as it seemed like he left a lot of meat on the bone, even for its time, but it was enough to create the right tension for the ending.

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1 hour ago, Charlie Steiner said:

 I tried to blunt my anger over not seeing true comeuppance by reminding myself that even crooked old Mr. Potter from It's a Wonderful Life didn't appear to be punished for hiding away Uncle Billy's deposit, and chalked it up to that's how they used to tell stories compared to now where we HAVE to see the bad guy get his so we can have that closure.

Actually, until 1968, Hollywood movies were required by the Motion Picture Production (Hays) Code to have all evil doers receive comeuppance. It's A Wonderful Life's original ending satisfied the MPPC as regarded Potter, but Capra came up with the ending we all know & lobbied the Board to allow this uplifting resolution, with Potter's reversal a natural consequence of George Bailey's deliverance from harm.

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Finished The Apartment tonight with my daughter who has taken an interest in classic films since binge watching a CNN documentary series about the movies when she was sick last month.  I was curious about her impressions since she's more into romcoms than I am.  She enjoyed it and thought the leads had great chemistry.  She was surprised that the suicide scene happened relatively early in the film and thought it would have been a climactic scene in a modern film. 

It was ironic that we watched the ending tonight after viewing a couple of episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which is set in the same time and place.  The New York of The Apartment is grittier than the nostalgic facade of Mrs. Maisel but The Apartment is still a fantasyland that bustles by day and is lonely by night.  Some of the supporting characters from The Apartment like Dr. and Mrs. Dreyfuss could easily crossover to Mrs. Maisel.

I'd seen the film before but not in its entirety for many years.  For me it's one of those movies where I've seen the ending more often since I start watching it on TV and got hooked.  This time I was struck by the ingenuity of the script.  It's a wonderful example of efficient storytelling: every set-up has a payoff, every prop acts to get a laugh, develop character or move the plot along.  Absolutely nothing is wasted.  The film's dialog isn't particularly jokey but its humor flows organically from the characters.  It strikes the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy as well as any film I can think of at this late hour.

I'm not sure if I'm going to watch Life of Brian again.  Monty Python was an important part of my teenage years.  I remember watching the original episodes on PBS with my dad and my high school friends and I would recite dialog in atrocious British accents.  I rewatched the Flying Circus episodes when they went up on Netflix and was kind of disappointed.  I still loved how they flowed from sketch to sketch but didn't find them nearly as funny as I once did.  I think I'd rather live with my memories than watch Life of Brian, which was never my favorite anyway.

 

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12 hours ago, Ilov80s said:

Can't wait to hear about movie and most importantly, the puppy

Ok, let's talk the apartment. But first here's the pup when we adopted her in late Nov. She was 7 months at the time - Shepherd/Lab mix (half shepherd, but lab dominates her looks). She's awesome. Like most rescues, it took her a month or so to acclimate, but she's real comfy here now. And a big mush.

Onto The Apartment... I had forgotten how much I liked this movie. Very similar to Eephus, I too watched an episode or three of Mrs. Maisel very recently, and am also struck at how similar many of the characters are. They could easily interchange. Such a slice of life from that time period too - the male white collar NYC executive with the little woman at home. "I'll miss dinner tonight - client coming in". That was my grandparents. Not sure if he cheated or not, but that white-collar life depicted was definitely a thing. 

Also like Eephus mentioned, nothing is wasted. The film moves quickly, without too much heavy drama - you never really wonder "gee, what's going to happen". Even the reveals, like the mirror or the exec glimpsing Fran in the apartment are more or less nonchalant. Part of the reason is Lemmon - he's perfect for this role, and just so likable. From the opening scene of his head slightly bobbing to the typewriter's movements, he's clearly a good guy, and someone we root for. We feel bad for him having to stand out in the cold, we root for him when he starts pushing back, and give a silent "alright" when he hands in the washroom key. 

Of course, there are questions: how many sets of sheets does Bud have? (eew).  Why would any executive let anyone else know he's cheating (the four gathering in Bud's new office seemed odd, like a meeting of the cheater's club). And the big one.... no-tell motel down? Probably a lot safer/convenient.     

Still, I loved it. Good pick for the gloomy winter.   

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7 hours ago, Eephus said:

Finished The Apartment tonight with my daughter who has taken an interest in classic films since binge watching a CNN documentary series about the movies when she was sick last month.  I was curious about her impressions since she's more into romcoms than I am.  She enjoyed it and thought the leads had great chemistry.  She was surprised that the suicide scene happened relatively early in the film and thought it would have been a climactic scene in a modern film. 

It was ironic that we watched the ending tonight after viewing a couple of episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which is set in the same time and place.  The New York of The Apartment is grittier than the nostalgic facade of Mrs. Maisel but The Apartment is still a fantasyland that bustles by day and is lonely by night.  Some of the supporting characters from The Apartment like Dr. and Mrs. Dreyfuss could easily crossover to Mrs. Maisel.

I'd seen the film before but not in its entirety for many years.  For me it's one of those movies where I've seen the ending more often since I start watching it on TV and got hooked.  This time I was struck by the ingenuity of the script.  It's a wonderful example of efficient storytelling: every set-up has a payoff, every prop acts to get a laugh, develop character or move the plot along.  Absolutely nothing is wasted.  The film's dialog isn't particularly jokey but its humor flows organically from the characters.  It strikes the delicate balance between comedy and tragedy as well as any film I can think of at this late hour.

I'm not sure if I'm going to watch Life of Brian again.  Monty Python was an important part of my teenage years.  I remember watching the original episodes on PBS with my dad and my high school friends and I would recite dialog in atrocious British accents.  I rewatched the Flying Circus episodes when they went up on Netflix and was kind of disappointed.  I still loved how they flowed from sketch to sketch but didn't find them nearly as funny as I once did.  I think I'd rather live with my memories than watch Life of Brian, which was never my favorite anyway.

 

This is something i forgot to cover when i went all arch w my review. Having grown up in a MetroBoston tripledecker, neighbors are so much a thing. These days, you just pray you don't get jackholes, angry couples or volume problems, rarely thinking about the upside. Our downstairs neighbor, Mrs Gelzinis, would make gefilte fish every Friday and i think i still have some of that odor caked in my nostrils. Then again, she always helped me "run away" or hide my beloved neighbor girl Siobhan from her tormenters and knew just the right time & conditions to send us back home. The 3rd floor neighbors were a moveable feast, for the stinkyhot conditions would keep tenants on the move and turn good people bad and bad people worse. I learned most of my early adjust modes from coping with 3rd floor people. Neighbors are huge in tenement life and well reflected here.

And may i just make a note also about Jack Lemmon. I generally don't care for mannered actors (though i dont have to worry about them any more, because nobody but David Schwimmer has tried to be one in a very long time and i think we can all do without ever seeing David Schwimmer again - this is already more attention than he deserves) but this initially seemed like his most naturalistic role. On that i was wrong. It's his most integrated role. Each time i watch The Apartment, i notice a half-dozen new fetishes with which he has embued CCBaxter, and it's simply astonishing to make that volume of performance choices and have them all work. One of the great, unheralded, cinematic performances of all time.

And glad to hear another person not want to disrupt succinct memories with refreshment. I spent my reunion years asking people why we would want to bother recollections of each other as young, bold, beautiful & stoopit with conceptions of the dull remainders we've become. I've avoided taking psychedelics (even tho i'd like to see if they might help my lifecoach clients w their depression) as an adult in order not to disrupt the way they folded the paper of who i am into the origami of what i am. And, as @Eephus implied, using additional storage to duplicate tepid memories is weak brain economics.

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16 votes which is awesome given the holidays! 

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On 1/7/2020 at 10:38 AM, jwb said:

Ok, let's talk the apartment. But first here's the pup when we adopted her in late Nov. She was 7 months at the time - Shepherd/Lab mix (half shepherd, but lab dominates her looks). She's awesome. Like most rescues, it took her a month or so to acclimate, but she's real comfy here now. And a big mush.

Onto The Apartment... I had forgotten how much I liked this movie. Very similar to Eephus, I too watched an episode or three of Mrs. Maisel very recently, and am also struck at how similar many of the characters are. They could easily interchange. Such a slice of life from that time period too - the male white collar NYC executive with the little woman at home. "I'll miss dinner tonight - client coming in". That was my grandparents. Not sure if he cheated or not, but that white-collar life depicted was definitely a thing. 

Also like Eephus mentioned, nothing is wasted. The film moves quickly, without too much heavy drama - you never really wonder "gee, what's going to happen". Even the reveals, like the mirror or the exec glimpsing Fran in the apartment are more or less nonchalant. Part of the reason is Lemmon - he's perfect for this role, and just so likable. From the opening scene of his head slightly bobbing to the typewriter's movements, he's clearly a good guy, and someone we root for. We feel bad for him having to stand out in the cold, we root for him when he starts pushing back, and give a silent "alright" when he hands in the washroom key. 

Of course, there are questions: how many sets of sheets does Bud have? (eew).  Why would any executive let anyone else know he's cheating (the four gathering in Bud's new office seemed odd, like a meeting of the cheater's club). And the big one.... no-tell motel down? Probably a lot safer/convenient.     

Still, I loved it. Good pick for the gloomy winter.   

Others would know better but was the short stay motel a thing back then? At least a thing in a nice area of NY? I know NY got seedy in the 60s-80s but did those exist in the nice part of town that one could take a lady and impress her a bit?

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2 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

Others would know better but was the short stay motel a thing back then? At least a thing in a nice area of NY? I know NY got seedy in the 60s-80s but did those exist in the nice part of town that one could take a lady and impress her a bit?

I believe there were a couple of motor courts off the West Side Highway in the 60s - W Manhattan from the Lincoln to the piers was a wasteland til Trump bought it to build a stadium in the 80s - but that wasn't the problem. There were plenty of decent, cheap hotels throughout Manhattan, but getting goodtime girls to go was tough, cuz that was a transaction. Going to an apt was an "anything can happen" sitch, which took "slut/hoochie/kurveh" out of it and allowed the event to be considered a good time which got carried away, even if the result was the same every time.

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17 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Interesting article, and it feeds into a little conspiracy I developed partway through the film...

When the doctor shows up to take care of Fran, it reminded me of the scene from Dirty Dancing when Dr. Houseman goes to help Penny after her abortion.  Because the article mentions that Fred MacMurray's character's name, Sheldrake, was used often in Wilder's films, and in Dirty Dancing the resort where Baby filled in for Penny was called the Sheldrake, I believe it was a nod to Wilder and basically confirmed to me that they did indeed lift the scene straight from The Apartment, including the "who's responsible for this?" line.  I tend to not mind when this is done, but maybe because I wasn't aware of it before, it bothers me now that I know.

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34 minutes ago, Eephus said:

Interesting article about the NYC locations used in The Apartment and what they looked like circa 2013.

Just wanted to say that Scouting NY was one of my favorite blogs. I know he moved to LA and tried to take the formula there, but, he doesn't seem to still be active anymore. But I used to read both religiously. Great insider stuff.

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33 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

Just wanted to say that Scouting NY was one of my favorite blogs. I know he moved to LA and tried to take the formula there, but, he doesn't seem to still be active anymore. But I used to read both religiously. Great insider stuff.

I love stuff like this.  I'm pretty much a sucker for any old movie set in SF.

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41 minutes ago, Eephus said:

I love stuff like this.  I'm pretty much a sucker for any old movie set in SF.

What are the best SF moves? Vertigo? 

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Late homework excuse here. 

I been as busy as Brian running from the Romans, lately. 

I'm waiting for my space ship ride - right now. 

When I get back to Earth, I'll submit something presentable. 

Till then, just ignore @wikkidpissah's pan of Brian. 🤬

Latah. 

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Ilov80s said:

What are the best SF moves? Vertigo? 

Bullitt
The Maltese Falcon
Dirty Harry

Edited by The Man With No Name
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