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Spider-Man 2
Entered on: June 12, 2004 10:13 AM by Ross
I figured that there will eventually be quite a bit of discussion on this one, so I figured I'd start a thread ahead of time. I can already predict the reviews from various jackasses: Roche and Bert and Zilla: loved it. Swerb will enjoy it but as a reviewer will nitpick it much to our chagrin. Fatty: will see it 2 months later than us and think it's alright but didn't live up to our hype. Bone: will on the one hand admit that it had some sweeter action than the first but on the other say that it is only a level or two above a steaming bowl of turds.

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From: Ross Entered on: June 12, 2004 10:08 AM
Also I created this thread as an excuse to post a link to the newest TV trailer. There is a split-second clip about halfway through this thing that blew my fucking mind. It's Spidey and Doc Ock tumbling down the side of a building and fighting, and holy shit it looks unbelievable. Why couldn't this shit have come out when I was 5? Well, then I would probably have exploded.

From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2004 11:14 AM
I have to admit, the clip on one hand seemed to have sweeter action than the first but on the other hand is only a level or two above a steaming bowl of turds.  
Upon greater reflection I think I've pinpointed my problem with the first Spider-Man. I don't really like Spider-Man. His moves are sweet as hell but Peter Parker can die. I hate him. Tobey Maguire fits the role perfectly because he portrays my image of Parker well. Maguire annoys me greatly. Parker is a whiney reluctant hero. When he slaps on the costume he kicks ass and I enjoy it but in the back of my mind the Parker personna has tainted Spidey.  
Now I have enjoyed the MTV cartoon version of Spidey as well as a couple comic issues, however majority of the versions I grew up on irritated me. Even when he was Venom he still had an annoying personality.  
I'm sure the movie will be sweet to the fans and I'll see it and enjoy it like the first. I'd be happier though if it had some vampires :)
From: Ross Entered on: June 12, 2004 11:38 AM
I'm sure it's been said before, not to your satisfaction of course, but here is the reason that Spider-Man is the most beloved of all superheroes: his message is one of empowerment. Here is a guy who is decidedly un-Bone-like: a twerpy guy, who, while intelligent, really doesn't have a lot going for him. He gets bullied a lot, has bad luck with the ladies, has a hard time holding down a decent job. But when he is given this fantastic gift of spider-powers, he gets to turn into someone completely different, if only for a little while. He's now as strong as 100 Bones and no one can bully him. He can "fly" through the city in a way much more graceful than mere flight.  
But the kicker is that as soon as he tries to use these amazing powers to turn his life around, as anybody would, it kicks him in the ass and his uncle gets killed because of it. So now, yeah, he's a reluctant hero. Exactly the kind that the readers figure they'd be in his shoes. They're wrong, of course; a world truly populated with super-powered people would simply be super-villain-land. But it's something that rings with how people think of themselves.  
Can Parker be whiny? Sure, sometimes. Roche and I have maintained that our favorite Spider-Man stories have shied away from this angle, though. But the best ones also keep true to the core idea of Parker: a guy who would give up being Spider-Man in a heartbeat if he didn't feel that nagging sense that he has to keep on doing it. And when he does put on the red-and-blues, he kicks the shit out of people and gets to take out his everyday frustrations on the bad guys.  
What's not to love?
From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2004 1:18 PM
I agree with you Bert. You hit the nail on the head - which is Parker is someone with whom I can't identify. I guess I'm just a naturally heroic sonofabitch :)  
You also pose an interesty concept. If you had a large population of super-powered people, would you have super-villian-land?  
What if all of a sudden you had super-powers. Would you abuse them for personal gain at the expense of others?  
My personal moral code would probably prevent me from physically hurting innocents, however I would probably steal from crime lords or something of that nature.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 12, 2004 1:23 PM
Spidey is sweet because of his powers and moves first and foremost. It's just a cool character design, and the webbing, acrobatics and spidey-sense all work well together. His abilities are much more cohesive than Superman's kitchen-sink mix of abilities (nothing against Supes -- I like him too -- but super-breath?), and he's fun to watch. Finally we've had the movies and MTV cartoon do justice to how I imagined him moving in the comics.  
Whiney? My fav Spidey stories had a Parker that was light-hearted, joking and behaving like an ass to the super-villains.  
But why should we defend Spidey to the Bone? Doesn't he like the Punisher!? Egad!  

From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2004 2:30 PM
I used to like the Punisher when I was a kid. I've outgrown him. I still like elements of his character though. I also like the fact that with rubber bullets he spanked Spidey by studying and anticipating his moves.  
I can see why people like Spidey so you don't have to justify him to me. I just can't relate to him at all. However, I acknowledge he has sweet powers and some of the shit he does is Amazing. It'll make for an amusing flick. I still hate Tobey Maguire.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 12, 2004 3:54 PM
I just had to point out why Spidey was cool to ME. It has nothing to do with relating to him and everything to do with his cool powers.  
So Tobey Maguire is your "Ewen McGagger"? Fair enough.  
(Spidey could kick Punisher's ASS, by the way... Punisher anticipating his moves? Shit negro -- he's got spider-sense!)
From: The Bone Entered on: June 12, 2004 4:47 PM
Of course Spidey can kick the Punisher's ass. Except this one time when Punisher got the drop on Spidey by shooting at Spidey while simultaneously firing in ahead of Spideys anticipated evasion route. You see, he studied Spidey's moves for a long time before engaging him. Caught him square in the stomach and Spidey thought he was going to die. Lucky for him, Punisher shot him with a rubber bullet. I forgot the issue. I think it was a Spider-Man title. Roche can verify.  
So I guess that Spider-Man is only alive because Punisher spared his life with a rubber bullet vs an armor piercing type round.
From: Ross Entered on: June 12, 2004 11:01 PM
This is an insignificant point, Bone. If Spidey was in the habit of stalking people, the Punisher included, they'd be dead as fried chicken. He isn't. He's better than that. Some dickhead writer decided to have P stalk S. So what? Ain't no thang, in a fair fight, we all know who would hand who whose sphincter.
From: The Bone Entered on: June 13, 2004 12:09 AM
True, no doubt about it. However Spidey got stalked and got fucked. Don't be a hater because the Punisher did his homework and executed a great plan in a sweet way.  
Spider-Man fans - " Thanks Punisher for using rubber bullets and sparing Spidey's life!"  
Punisher - "You're welcome"
From: John Entered on: June 13, 2004 4:10 PM
I love it! Once you guys get going there's no stopping the hilarious conversations. Spidey is sweet! I can't wait Spidey 2! I think Peter Parker is a very likable character. He has integrity and just wants to do the right thing. When he puts on his mask he becomes the wisecracking Spider-Man, what's not to like about that?
From: The Bone Entered on: June 13, 2004 4:21 PM
Perhaps I have a personality flaw that prevents me from liking him with the same amount of zeal as you guys.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 13, 2004 6:53 PM
Clearly, that must be it, Bone. But we accept you anyways. That's just the kind of jackasses we are.
From: Ross Entered on: June 14, 2004 10:37 AM
Back to your original question, Bone: if I had some significant super powers, I tend to believe I would be "morally ambiguous" at best. It's kind of like Groundhog Day: I figure you'd first go through a euphoria phase and do whatever you want, then graduate to losing your morals altogether. The difference is that unlike GD, consequences still stick, so I don't think I'd lose my morals completely.  
I know one thing: I wouldn't dedicate myself to fighting crime, that's for sure. I wouldn't necessarily commit crimes, either, at least not in the most clear-cut sense. But I think it breaks down like this: we've all had times when we've seen some injustice and felt powerless to do anything about it. Odds are, with some super-powers under your belt, you wouldn't feel like that anymore. It would be a license to never take shit from anyone, and if it was annoying enough, to ensure that others who are getting heaping doses of shit get some help from time to time.  
But there are plenty of grey areas where in order to do what I'd believe to be the greater good (stealing $500 from the moving truck company that hit-and-runned my girlfriend's car, to cover her deductible, for example), I'd be breaking the law. Would I be a hero or villain? Depends on your perspective.
From: Ross Entered on: June 14, 2004 2:09 PM
For the record, Juliette Lewis is my Ewan McGregor/Tobey Maguire. I don't know if I have a male equivalent. Possibly "Hairdo Guy" from The Transporter and Fast and the Furious.

This is him.

From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 14, 2004 3:12 PM
Juliette Lewis peaked with the "thumb" scene (with Robert De Niro) in the Cape Fear remake a few years back. I'm afraid nothing since has lived up to that.
From: Ross Entered on: June 14, 2004 3:26 PM
What's always cracked me up about the thumb scene is that it's entirely ad-libbed - and therefore gives you some insight into what a dumbass she is. When DeNiro puts his thumb in her mouth, what line does JL come up with? "Where're you from?" What a retahd.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 25, 2004 2:21 PM
The reviews for Spidey 2 are coming in and everyone's lovin' it! Here's what SuperheroHype had to say:  
The Superhero Hype! crew got a chance to catch Spider-Man 2 this morning and... it's a masterpiece! We'll have a full review up shortly, but some quick thoughts are that the story is excellent, the special effects are incredible, the acting is superb, there is a nice balance between unbelievable action, comedy, and drama, and it's 127 minutes long. The movie also sets up the third film very nicely! Congrats to Sam, the cast, the entire crew, and Sony for creating the best film of the year.
I wonder if da Bone will like this one? If only they would've cast Tyson in it somewhere...
From: John Entered on: June 25, 2004 11:48 PM
Sweeeet!!! I can't wait! Everything I've heard so far has been positive. Even Ebert loved it and he didn't even like the first one. Da Bone will say it was a turd but deep down he'll secretly like it. He just can't accept that Spidey is sweet, too bad for him.
From: The Bone Entered on: June 26, 2004 2:13 AM
I'll give it a chance. I didn't mind the first one. I was just as entertained by it a I've been with hundreds of other movies that don't stand out. Maybe this one will even better. Of course it would be a lot better if Mike Tyson rushed in, knocked Parker out, and ripped of Mary Jane's shirt to reveal her big flopppy twins!
From: John Entered on: June 28, 2004 11:53 PM
Well, I just got back from Spidey 2 and I loved it. The effects were fucking awesome! Doc Ock had some real screen presence. I don't want to give anything away but I think Bert will be giving it the thumbs.  
The Bone on the other hand will not like it for sure. Why am I so sure? The main reason is Peter's confidence gets shaken and I don't think the Bone will be very sympathetic. This isn't giving too much away but Spidey is a little down on his luck and the Bone is going to shit on it, hard. This just isn't the Bone's style of superhero. I'll be interested in his review once he's seen it which may not be for another three weeks according to him.  
Swerb and Zilla gave it the thumbs up. John Douglas also seem to like it. As I said earlier I thought the effects were sweet but the story was pretty good too. There was quite a bit more humor in this one as well. It was a good balance of humor, drama and action as far as I was concerned. I can't wait to see it again on Wednesday when I take the kids to see it.
From: BigFatty Entered on: June 29, 2004 7:01 AM
Alas - I will have to wait until August...... They are having a film festival now, which I was hoping Spider-man would make an appearance. Its 3 days and the first movie is normal price. Then, every movie afterwards is $1.50. I got to see Shrek 2 and Harry Potter again, plus some weird Spanish movie. Today I hope to see Ladykillers (Which I heard wasn't good, but hey its $1.50 and in English) and maybe 21 Grams.  
I found the theater that plays English films. It was great in the winter, but I realized yesterday that there is no AC. The fucker is HOT!!!! Another reason to dislike the French...... That theater was ripe afterwards too! Man it stunk. You think they'd put a fan in there at least!
From: Creeko Entered on: June 29, 2004 8:44 AM
Last year 15,000 Frenchies died from a heat wave, because they didn't have air conditioning in hospitals and nursing homes. France is hardly a third world country. Isn't it about time they cought up with the civilized world. Dude, even Spain has air conditioning in public buildings and Spain is a border-line third world country.
From: Swerb Entered on: June 29, 2004 9:00 AM
I think I'll go so far as to say Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book movie ever. I agree with Roche that it's a good blend of story, action and humor... plus, it has more of Sam Raimi's directorial style in it than the first one and some cool inside jokes (Bruce Campbell's cameo is hilarious) - Spidey aficionados and fairweather moviegoers will both dig it. I predict it'll clean up at the box office. Also: Bert will love it.
From: Ross Entered on: June 29, 2004 9:13 AM
Dammit, I am relegated to the masses with this one. I have 8PM tickets for Wednesday. I can't help but be fairly excited. Though I half expected Johnny to be blotting his theater seat afterward, his review seems restrained. Hopefully so as to avoid spoilers.  
Best superhero movie ever, eh? That's certainly what I'd hoped for, but X2 is awfully damn good. If it's better than that, it's got to be a hell of a movie.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 29, 2004 9:16 AM
Yep, Spider-Man 2 was sweet! Was it better than X-Men 2? Hmmm... hard call. I really liked 'em both! One thing is for sure: The special effects are AMAZING and a lot more natural than the first Spidey. The action/fight scenes are hella-cool, right out of the comics and are really brought to life. Plus -- apologies to Bone -- I think Toby is a great Peter Parker.
From: Swerb Entered on: June 29, 2004 12:41 PM
Spider-Man 2 wipes the floor with X-Men 2, if you ask me. The problem with X-Men is, there are too many characters, and none of them (outside of possibly Wolverine) has much depth. Focusing solely on developing one character really works for the Spidey flicks.  
And Jack, I totally agree. Tobey has the perfect amount of dweebishness for Peter Parker.
From: Ross Entered on: June 29, 2004 1:27 PM
I agree that the depth of characters in the X-Men movies is (necessarily) inferior to Spider-Man, but I would give the edge for general "comic book movie" to X2 over the first Spider-Man, as much as I prefer Spidey to any X-Man as a character. Mostly because of fun popcorn comic-book action sequences in X2. Nightcrawler's opening Whitehouse attack and the commando raid on the mansion being the primary demonstrations of sweetness. And although it didn't dwell on its individual characters' motivations, it did a good job of conveying the mutant cause as a whole. It wasn't a completely shallow effects-fest by any means. So I'll be very interested to see if Spider-Man can whup it in my mind.  
As for Parker, I'm with you guys. Tobey is very well suited (no pun intended) for the role. The Bones of this world are free to dissent (if only for a little while if GWB has anything to say about it) but to us fans who are down with the concept, Tobey realizes Parker's angst well on film. I will say that even though I find Mary Jane's body to be kickin', Kirsten Dunst is not my first choice to play her. I can already tell that Doc Ock is going pumpkin bomb the Green Goblin's ass for the title of best villain.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 29, 2004 2:45 PM
Swerb - Hmmm... I don't know... I thought the characterization and interplay between everyone in X2 was very well-done and cool -- which is hard to do with so many characters. I give X2 bonus credit for that. I put the two sequels at about equal.  
Ain't it great? X-Men 2 AND Spidey 2 in back-to-back years?
From: Ross Entered on: June 29, 2004 3:22 PM
That much is for certain. Here's to hoping that X3 and Spidey 3 continue in the tradition, and X3 brings Colussus into the mix.
From: The Bone Entered on: June 29, 2004 5:04 PM
I actually think Tobey is a great choice for the role. He's a good actor. I got no problems with his skill. I just have an irrational dislike for him - I don't know why. Parker annoys me in much the same way. That is why I agree with all of you that he's a good fit.
From: John Entered on: June 29, 2004 6:40 PM
You're correct in that I didn't want to give any plot points away in my review, Berty. I will say this though, Spidey 2 kicked X-Men 2's ass big time. I thought it was much sweeter. The fight scenes between Spidey and Doc Ock far surpassed anything in X-Men 2 including the Nightcrawler sequence. I agree with Dr. Swerbious in that Parker had much more depth of character than any of the X-Men. Don't get me wrong, I'm not shitting on X-Men 2, I'm just saying Spidey 2 is better.  
Zilla said it was hard for him to recall. That's why you need to rewatch movies to remind yourself of how sweet they are. I've wathced X2 many times and it's not quite as good as Spidey 2. Untill you watch X2 again we can consider your judgement on the subject impaired.  
It might just be me but I thought that Tobey Maguire and Rosemary Harris played well off of eachother in their scenes together. Just an observation I wanted to share. I thought it added depth to both characters.
From: The Bone Entered on: June 29, 2004 7:42 PM
If the fight scenes were better than Nightcrawler's then I really want to see it because the Nightcrawler scene was so fuckin sweet, I crapped my pants.
From: John Entered on: June 29, 2004 8:35 PM
The Nightcrawler scene was fuckin sweet to be sure. The fights between Spidey and Doc Ock were even sweeter. If you don't get a full pant shitting I wouldn't be surprised. Your tastes in what's sweet may differ from mine. Bert on the other hand will have a hot stinky load in his pants for sure.
From: Ross Entered on: June 29, 2004 11:23 PM
That is a bold claim, but I believe you when you say it. I can't wait! I'm like a kid on Christmas.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: June 30, 2004 9:22 AM
Johnny-Bellwinkle - To clarify, I didn't say it was hard for me to recall X-Men 2. I just can't decide between it and Spidey 2: They're both just super sweet. There's no doubt that the action sequences of Spidey 2 beats the action in any other comic movie (including Nightcrawler's bad-ass White House attack).  
Upon watching Spidey 2, Does Harry Osborne irritate anyone else? I realize he has a growing hatred for Spidey, but does he have to mention it at every fucking opportunity? He's about the only nit I can pick with Spidey 2.  
In case it isn't obvious to all, by the way, Johnny has a hard-on for Aunt May. He wants her to win an Oscar. Bert, has Johnny always had this Aunt May fetish? Maybe it's Rosemary herself that gets Johnny's libido raging...
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 12:41 PM
HAHAHA, I love it! I don't know what it is, I thought she did a sweet job in Spidey 2. I just got back from my second viewing and I love this movie so much I can hardly take it. I'll be back to see it again for sure.  
As far as Harry Osborne is concerned I think he bothers you so much because you have deep seeded homoerotic fantasies about the pretty boy playing him. This makes you uncomfortable thus annoyed at the same time. I just figured out why you hate Ewan Mcgregor so much. ;)
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 12:57 PM
Zilla - You did say "hard to call" not hard to recall, my bad. I still think sweet movies need multiple viewings to fully appreciate them. Then again it's probably just me but I love to watch cool movies even when I know what comes next.
From: Ross Entered on: June 30, 2004 1:31 PM
Me too - the filmmakers spend so much time crafting movies that for a good one, it seems criminal to only see it once and wash your hands of it.  
Speaking of James Franco, I was reading over the shoulder of some fat loser on my plane ride last week and they were doing the 50 hottest bachelors or some such insipid bullshit and he was on there. It listed his height as 5'6". Could this be true? If so, he's even smaller than Spidey himself.  
Yeah, I guess we now know to torture Jack - Abu Ghraib style - if the need ever arises: Bring in Ewan and Franco and have them make out in front of him, and threaten to bring Jack into the action... :)
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 2:07 PM
In the movie Franco always appears to be taller than Maguire who is 5'8". It could be a camera trick I suppose but I'll look into it. I know, I'm strange.
From: Ross Entered on: June 30, 2004 2:26 PM
I can always count on you to not only find out people's heights, but remember them till the day you die. YOU keep up the good work.
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 2:36 PM
Multiple sources sight Franco's height at 5'11". This seems reasonable when you compare him to Maguire on film. Work Done and I'll remember it till the day I die.
From: Ross Entered on: June 30, 2004 3:05 PM
Nice work Roche. By the way, have you picked up your copies of the '67 Spider-Man cartoon series yet? Mine's being shipped anytime now.
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 3:40 PM
Why yes I have in fact. I watched the first disk yesterday. Almost three hours of pure nostalgia and some of the other disks are even longer. I was cracking up at some of the cheese. Still, I couldn't help but enjoy them even though they're quite dated. One disk down, five to go.
From: Ross Entered on: June 30, 2004 4:03 PM
Isn't it funny how his voice is so much more masculine as Spider-Man than probably any other person's version?
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 4:53 PM
It sure the hell is. He has the typical superhero monotone.
From: John Entered on: June 30, 2004 5:15 PM
Bert, I can't wait for your written review of Spidey 2 Electric Boogaloo. An oral review would be cool as well, so give me a call after the movie if you get a chance. I hope all the hype doesn't ruin it for you. It lived up to it my book.
From: Ross Entered on: June 30, 2004 11:18 PM
Alright, here's my official pseudo intellectual review:  
Bone, stay home.  
Parker is nerdier than ever - nerdier than in the comics even - except for possibly in the very early issues back in the 60's. It actually bugged me slightly, until I realized that this movie is fucking sweet. It totally works in a way that no other superhero movie ever has. I can't believe that anyone even tries to compare this with any other superhero film on the level of the psychological, because nothing even comes close.  
Now I realize why Jack had a difficult time determining if this was better than X2 - they're hard to compare. Even though they're both technically superhero movies, X2 is like a kickass miniseries, while this is some of the more serious Spidey soap opera storylines from the 70s. It's not really an action movie at all and I can see some people whining about that. Fuck 'em.  
Though I will say that when Spidey fought Ock, my jaw was slack several times - you guys weren't kidding, it was definitely the most frenetic and cool superhero fight ever put to film. But I do wish I hadn't seen any of that shit in previews.  
Aunt May was sweet, I can see why Roche has a hard on for her. She got a bit long winded but she did such a good job I have to give her props. Even Mary Jane was pretty good though she needs fucking braces on those damn snaggleteeth.  
What I loved most about the movie was the fact that it felt like a comic book. And I don't mean that in a negative sense at all. It really felt like a serial drama, like you could hear Stan Lee's voice over "when we last left our hero..." and it worked so fucking well. It constantly made me smile and wish I could have been seeing this as a child. But hey, I'll take it. Big thumbs up.  
Roche, I'll give the oral portion of my exam tomorrow, I'm heading for bed.  

From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 9:38 AM
Some more Spidey related thoughts. CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD  
At the end of the film when Harry finds his dad's shit, shouldn't he have been like "oh..... NOW I get why Spider-Man waxed my pops!" I mean, he's not crazy like his dad, he's just a drunk, right? I really don't want Spidey #3 to be another Green Goblin deal. I'd much rather have Dr. Connors do the lizard thang - turn it into a real Sam Raimi horror movie. How cool would that be?  
Speaking of Harry, Jack I just don't get you, man. James Franco did a great job. And furthermore, I saw Big Fish (finally) last weekend, and Ewan McGregor did a great job in that, too! What the hell? To get your vote, must a young male actor be a no-talent hack?  
But one thing does kind of nag at me: is there anyone besides Aunt May who doesn't know who he is at this point? That mask was coming off faster than Fatty's pants after an oreo cookie.  
Also, the whole fusion thing was utterly ludicrous and mechanical arms are useless in the face of something like that. I don't know what was wrong with the original origin story where the arms are working through a plexiglass barrier or something - and the experiment had some kind of lethal properties like radioactivity or something.
From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 10:10 AM
Roche, here is a good review of those Spidey cartoon DVDs. Dont' be discouraged by the crappy season 2!

From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 1, 2004 10:29 AM
Bert - It's not James Franco I dislike (that was part of Roche's homoerotic fantasy), it's the Harry character himself. I can't believe I'm the only one that finds him annoying. Does he HAVE to mention his hatred of Spidey everytime the subject comes up? "Yeah, Harry, we get it! You hate Spidey!"  
At the end of the movie, when Harry discovers all the Green Goblin stuff, I was really hoping he'd turn around, yell "Oh HELL No!" and walk away. I really don't want Green Goblin in #3 either.  
So you LIKED Big Fish, Bert? Good Lord that was a steaming turd of a movie! My mom says we can't play together anymore.
From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 11:24 AM
I thought Big Fish was decent. Not great, but I certainly didn't turn it off halfway through or anything. Somewhere between "mediocre" and "good". Decent.  
I think the reason Harry is always bringing up Spidey all the time is because he associates Peter with Spider-Man because he takes his picture. The scene where he asks Peter if he knew who Spider-Man was, would he tell him was fucking awesome. I really felt bad for Peter there and I can't believe you wouldn't feel it too, being a fan. A whole lot of the plot hinges this relationship. So when Doc Ock comes looking for tritium, Harry can immediately say to find Peter if you want to find Spider-Man. Nice and tidy. Exactly the kind of thing Swerb hates but is necessary when plotting a 2 hour movie.  
Also, Harry mentioning how much he hates Spidey every time the subject comes up is kind of like Jack mentioning how much he hates Ewan McGregor every time the subject comes up. Both are fairly realistic scenarios if you ask me, except one of the two has an actual reason to be mad.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 1, 2004 2:26 PM
Actually, to be fair Bert, I think it's you guys that bring up my dislike of McGagger more than I (for instance, I didn't mention him above -- I thought Big Fish was crap regardless of the McGagger Factor). Also references have been made like "Juliette Lewis is my Ewan McGregor/Tobey Maguire." But that wasn't me either.  
I guess it's no wonder Peter doesn't spend more time with Harry. It'd get freakin' annoying listening to him whine about that "bug" all the time.  
Bert - Regarding Big Fish: Sounds like you didn't think it was good either (between "mediocre" and "good" isn't good, is it?).
From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 3:10 PM
True - but what I did say was that McGregor was good in it.  
I'm sorry to stay on the topic, but I still don't get what your problem with Harry's motivation is: he thinks Spider-Man killed his father. How can you not understand how this would consume someone to the point that when someone mentions the name of your father's killer (or has a working relationship with them), you get angry? Seems perfectly plausible and reasonable to me.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 1, 2004 4:16 PM
Who said I had a problem with Harry's motivation? I just find him annoying. That's it. No debate -- It's just my opinion. I can't believe I'm the only one that thinks he's whiney either -- ask around, you'll find more of us. And our numbers will only continue to grow...
From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 4:20 PM
Okay, I didn't realize that I had to explicitly state "Harry's motivation for what Jack calls whining". Substitute and re-parse. :)
From: Ross Entered on: July 1, 2004 4:26 PM
It's already breaking records!
From: John Entered on: July 1, 2004 5:21 PM
Harry's whinning didn't really bother me at all. I thought the tension between him and Peter was great. Melissa thought it was a bit overdone so she is more in Zilla's camp.  
One thing I'd like to touch upon is I'm not so sure Aunt May doesn't know Peter is Spider-Man. In that speech she gave to Peter about there being a hero in all of us it seemed to me she might suspect Peter is Spidey. I could be wrong but I'd like to see it again so I can pay closer attention.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 1, 2004 8:04 PM
I think you're right, Johnny. I kinda assumed Aunt May did know when she said that whole speech about the neighbor kid looking up to Spider-Man and how everyone needs a hero. She had a look in her eye like she knew and seemed to be directing the speech toward Peter.
From: Ross Entered on: July 2, 2004 7:47 AM
I did kind of get that impression as well, but I'm trying to forget it because it would be deviating too far from the mythos that I am comfortable with. As it is, all of New York ought to know by now.
From: Ross Entered on: July 3, 2004 9:12 PM
After seeing the movie a second time, I have to say that the CGI work in it is the best I've ever seen. That's not to say it's totally seamless, but it's the closest anyone's ever come. More importantly, the animators working on Spidey when he swings are so awesome I literally barely believe it. During the train ride, when he's catching people and webbing them up, that's so much sweeter than anything I could have imagined, and I don't think I could say that about any other movie I've ever seen. Let's put it this way - the web swinging is so fucking amazing because for all these years in the comics you see one still frame of that swing that looks awesome - but these guys have filled in the gaps and all the points in between look that sweet! It's simply the coolest thing I've ever seen.  
Similarly, this is so much better than the original because Spider-Man is in full control of his powers. He has aim and dexterity beyond even what his comic version might possess. The Spider-Man of this movie would trash the entire X-Men at once.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 3, 2004 10:44 PM
Yeah, but he'd still be whiney. Oh, and all the powers in the world won't change the fact that deep down he's truly a huge nerd. I'm suprised he doesn't sling his way on over to a Star Trek convention.  
I'm just kidding!
From: Ross Entered on: July 4, 2004 2:21 PM
Have you seen it yet, Bone? Or are you taking my advice of staying home literally? I'm interested to hear if his "whining" is too much for you.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 4, 2004 7:11 PM
Yeah, I just saw it about an hour ago. Right now I'm balls deep in military related shit. I'll post my review soon.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 4, 2004 9:49 PM
Ok, I like it. I enjoyed it more than the first and the first definately entertained me. The CGI was sweet and the action sequences were pretty good. The story was formulaic but entertaining nontheless and Doc Oc was a great villain.  
At times Parker's struggle made for good story, yet at other times it was absurd. Case in point when he walked away from the guy getting mugged in the back alley. Come on now, you don't have to be a costumed hero to lend a hand. How he could turn his back I don't know. Despite this I actually liked Parker better than in the first movie. Although he's still a turdling.  
The best part of the whole movie was that his identity got out. Like I said before. Quit being a bitch. Tell MJ who you are and let her know the deal. If she's down with it great, if not no prob. You can figure a way to keep her safe. Even in comic land.  
The fight scens were action packed and a cinematic marvel. They still didn't come close to the sweetness of the Nightcrawler scene. Jeez, you guys are crazy as hell. Or at least blinded by your boyhood comic prejudices.  
So the end final analysis. It was entertaining but not even in my top 20 movies. It will do very well in the box office because of what it is, but it won't merit it on the basis of anything other than sweet action and the sweetness of Kirsten Dunst :)  
By the way, I agree Harry was annoying. I would have knocked him out.  
One more thing, Muffin found it cheesy.
From: Ross Entered on: July 4, 2004 10:39 PM
Oh, but it is you who are crazy. That train scene had shit going on that you couldn't even comprehend. While it didn't take anything away from Nightcrawler's badness, it was clearly far superior to it in every respect. Nightcrawler was simply attacking regular men. This is something that would basically be a bore for viewers in this case since Spider-Man is such an ass whupping machine. Here, he was not only attacking an eight-limbed superhuman, but rescuing jettisoned people at the same time, in the sweetest fashion imaginable. Using all of his speed, agility and strength in a way that even the most ardent fans couldn't imagine. It's SO not even a contest that it's not worth the time to explain it.  
I do agree that the mugging scene bothered me and was not appropriate.  
But hey, if Muffin found it cheesy, then I guess I've been wrong all along. I take it all back.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 4, 2004 11:33 PM
What do you think, Johhny? Sounds to me like the Bone is confused by his homoerotic attraction to James Franco...
From: The Bone Entered on: July 5, 2004 2:06 AM
Ross - I had no problem comprehending all the shit going on. It was busy and the filmakers had a lot of moving parts and Spidey was doing a lot of shit. However, Superman spun the world around and reversed time, that accomplishment (although in the world of physics is a much greater and powerful feat) does not make the scene sweet. I personally think that Nightcrawler's attack scene was sweeter even though it was less grandiose through not as fortified CGI parlor tricks.  
James Franco sucks but I bet he could kick Maguire's ass in real life and butt rape him. In fact, I bet he could have his way with you too Bert. That's NO contest and not even worth the time to explain.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 5, 2004 12:36 AM
From: Ross Entered on: July 5, 2004 10:35 AM
...and the Bone becomes a victim of the sloppy argumentative techniques he has chided others for in the past. It's called an ad hominem attack. That shit worked well in grade school - perhaps I was wrong to hold you to a higher standard.  
As for the dubious content of the argument, it is weak at best - rather than provide support that his chosen scene is superior, Bone (in typical Bone fashion I might add) has simply sought to discredit my own supporting evidence. While this is a not a wholly useless technique, it ranks with the type of tactics that creationists use to combat evolution - when you can't compete on even terms by supplying your own evidence, try to make the other look silly through irrelevant bullshit to confuse the issue, without bringing any new information to the table.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 5, 2004 12:52 PM
I'm a little cornfused about which part of my retort you are refering to as the ad hominem attack. Usually an ad hominem attack goes something like this:  
Ross: "The wellfare system is fucked up and should be abolished", Tony: "That's because you are a rich computer programmer and don't know anything about it."  
Now I'm not sure that by saying that James Franco could make you his little butt slave I am actually guilty of attempting to discredit your opinions by attacking you. Dirty blow yes, ad hominem, no.  
At any rate I apologize beacuse I know you can be sensitive about these issues, however, you can try and act superior but when you write that something is SO not even a contest it's not worth explaining you are guilty of bringing the argument down to a grade school level as well. I guess I was dissapointed because I also held you to a higher standard.  
About the arguement. The train scene was sweet. It was definately more complex than Nightcrawler's. This does not necessarily make it sweeter to me as a fight scene. Since this is all based on opinion, you can construct an elaborate argument to support your opinion and all you have done is justified it in your own mind. How did I try to discredit your argument using creationist tactics? You had no argument, "not worth discussing" remember? Also, associating me with creationist is a weak and laughable attempt to discredit me through the use of association. All I said was if you are judgeing the sweetness based on overall accomplishment then Superman's scene is the best. If you are judging the sweetness based on quality of CGI Spidey wins. If you are judging based on how it affected you, then it's all opinion. I still think Nightcrawalers was a better fight scene by far.
From: John Entered on: July 5, 2004 1:05 PM
The Spidey train scene far surpassed the Nightcrawler sequence in my estimation. Spidey's movements were faster and more graceful than Nightcrawler by a vast margin. You're right Bone, it's because it's CGI. Does this make it any less sweet, hell no. The Nightcrawler scene was done with a real person on wires so he could move as well as a trained athlete, pretty sweet. Spidey was done CGI so he could move like a full on superhuman, far fuckin sweeter. The train sequence was just one of many scenes where my jaw hit the floor. In conclusion Bone, your opinion is indeed crazy.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 5, 2004 1:37 PM
If by superhuman you mean unrealistic arcs of motion that defy the law of gravity. I thought Spidey was still subject to the laws of gravity? However. this is a small complaint that I can forgive due to the enormous task of creating the CGI imagery.  
I still enjoyed Nightcrawlers fight scene better because it had a crisper martial arts feel to it. He was applying his teleportation skill as a part of his fighting style which was just awesome.  
However, I can see why Spidey nutthuggers would prefer his scene better. We all have a bias but when you are a nutthugger your bias tends to influence you. I'm not saying you are wrong, just that as a "fight" scene I prefered Nightcrawler (whom I don't give two shits about) better than Spidey's (whom I prefer over Nightcrawler).  
Between the two movies as a whole, I would give Spider-man 2 a very slight nod over X-2 but barely. I guess that's because I'm not a biased nutthugger.
From: John Entered on: July 5, 2004 2:17 PM
I admit to some bias as I've loved the Spidey character since I was a kid. In my opinion the Spidey fight scene was more spectacular.  
As far as gravity defying goes, I don't think the arcs of Spidey's motion were all that unrealistic. To hear you talk it's surprising that we can even move on this planet what with all the gravity going on. Spidey is superhuman and can easily overcome gravity. Could a normal human achieve the motion of Spider-Man, no. Spider-Man can exert several tons of force to help accelerate himslef into what appears to you as unrealestic arcs of motion. Who's to say what someone of Spidey's capabilites would look like in motion. It's a hard call but I think they did a great job in this movie.
From: Ross Entered on: July 5, 2004 2:55 PM
Wow, this certainly is getting ugly. I'm not going to go any further than to respond to the following:

Now I'm not sure that by saying that James Franco could make you his little butt slave I am actually guilty of attempting to discredit your opinions by attacking you. Dirty blow yes, ad hominem, no.

Granted your example is a purer form of it, but the bottom line is that an ad hominem attack is one "against the person" - it does nothing to refute anything I said. If you are trying to claim that your statements had nothing to do with discrediting my arguments, I just have to call bullshit on you - I don't often see even you throwing out insults like that without a context.

So you're angry that I said it wasn't worth explaining, and you respond by discussing visions of James Franco sexually assaulting me. Okay, I guess we're even. Or hey, you win. Whatever you want, man.

From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 5, 2004 3:56 PM
HA HA HA!!!  
This shit is hilarious.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 5, 2004 4:26 PM
I certainly do claim that the Franco comment was not intended to discredit your arguements. First, why would I mention Franco when he is in no way related to our line of discussion? I brought him up for Jack's benefit. If you see the comment made by him just after yours you will understand. By mentioning that he would whup your ass and make you his bitch, I am guilty of a dirty low blow for which I apologize. It was intended as an attack on you but not your arguement. My retort to arguement was Superman line of reason for which I explained better in the last paragraph of the following post.  
Anyways, it's not about win or lose. I'm not angry nor should you be. I'm just all about entertaining Jack :)
From: John Entered on: July 6, 2004 12:25 PM
The mere mention of anal rape and it gets all crazy on Jackassery. Both Bert and Bone have told me it's all about Jackassing on Jackassery, yet when sodomy was brought into the mix it seemed like lines had been crossed. I know the Bone was kidding and hopefully Bert knows it too. We have to keep Zilla entertained so I think you two should go at it more often.
From: Ross Entered on: July 6, 2004 1:46 PM
I realize it was in jest, but I felt it derailed the discussion so I stopped bothering. Sorry to disappoint you, Zilla. Regardless, no, there are no hard feelings.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 6, 2004 2:33 PM
From: Ross Entered on: July 6, 2004 4:16 PM
Here is a page dedicated to listing mistakes in Spidey 2:  
This is my kind of fact-checking:  
Deliberate "mistake": When Mary Jane is being pulled toward the tritium when Doc Ock has her, the shot is taken from her feet up to her head. If you look where her dress ends, you can just barely see that instead of having the regular open dress, it is switched with shorts of the same type so you can't see under her dress.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 8, 2004 12:24 AM
I'm sure Johnny already noticed that. [Oops... you said MARY JANE not AUNT MAY... never mind...]
From: Swerb Entered on: July 7, 2004 11:01 PM
The latest Swerb cinema recommendation: Anchorman. I saw it tonight, and it's goddamn funny. I usually have no tolerance for dipshit comedies like this, but I may be coming around, because I liked Dodgeball, and now this. People in the theater were laughing so hard, I was missing a lot of the jokes - so it may actually warrant a second viewing. Trust me, it's worth going to the theater to see.  
Also, I will be full-time movie critic for the next two weeks while John Douglas is on vacation, so look for Official Swerb reviews of I Robot, Catwoman and The Bourne Supremacy in the near future. Whee!
From: John Entered on: July 8, 2004 1:14 AM
Sweet, Swerb! I look forward to your take on these films. My notion is Catwoman and I Robot will suck and the Bourne Surpremacy will be good.
From: Ross Entered on: July 8, 2004 10:03 AM
Yeah, that's good news, Swerb. I agree with Roche, if the Bourne Supremacy is as good as the first one, I'll be happy enough with it. I, Robot looks godawful - 'ol Asimov is no doubt spinning in his grave. Do you know that he sold the movie rights like 20 years ago, and it's taken THIS long to get a crapfest made from it? Will Smith really needs to be put out to pasture - it's over.  
However, as much as I poop on Will Smith's Wild Wild Bad Boys Robot West, that's nothing compared to the shitstorm I have backed up, ready to be sprayed upon Catwoman. I sincerely hope that this wakes America up to the fact that Halle Berry is intolerable and just because she didn't putrify the movie Monster's Ball doesn't mean she's remotely capable of an Oscar-worthy performance. [Insert Roche's HB Impression Here] I have nothing but contempt for her and this bastardized corruption of a decent DC Comics character. Anyone want to bet money that it won't break 30% on the Tomato-Meter?
From: John Entered on: July 8, 2004 10:56 AM
That's pretty much how I see it too, Bert. After Spidey I find I'm having a hard time getting excited for the new movies coming out. I wonder if King Auther will be any good. A scantily clad Keira Knightley can't hurt and I do tend to like that genre. I agree that if the Bourne Supremacy is as good as the first I'll be happy enough. Still, Spider-Man was the big movie this summer for me, I guess I'll just have to go see it again.
From: Ross Entered on: July 8, 2004 11:17 AM
Hell yeah. I'm coming to town this weekend, don't forget! I want to see it again in GR.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 8, 2004 12:19 PM
I think the Spidey fans will like this:

From: Swerb Entered on: July 8, 2004 12:58 PM
Roche, I agree: After Spider-Man, the rest of the summer is boring as hell. The only exception is M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, which has the potential to be sweet. Of course, Bert probably isn't as intrigued with Shyamalan because he didn't like Signs, which is a fucking cool movie... by the way, I'd like to point out that I was able to set aside my Snooty Film Critic self and thoroughly enjoy Signs despite its logical inconsistencies, where Bert couldn't extract any enjoyment out of it at all because of his inability to suspend his disbelief.  
You'll also note, I didn't nitpick Spider-Man 2 at all, unlike Bert's initial prediction at the top of this discussion. I don't find Tobey Maguire annoying, I think James Franco is good for the role and the fact that more people know Spider-Man's secret identity gives the character some added dimension, not to mention some potentially interesting future stories come Spider-Man 3.  
As an addendum to my next two weeks of work, I will also be reviewing A Cinderella Story, which isn't nearly as sweet. (To paraphrase Daffy Duck: "Would you like to shoot me now, or wait 'til you get home?" "Shoot me now! Shoot me now!")
From: Ross Entered on: July 8, 2004 12:58 PM
Holy shit that is so sweet that it's almost better than the movie itself. I love it.
From: John Entered on: July 8, 2004 1:24 PM
I forgot about the Village. It looks like it could be interesting and Shyamalan is quite adept at building tension.  
Bert, bring your gun into town because you're going to have to euthanize Swerb before he has to see A Cinderella Story. This is one time it's not sweet to be Swerb.
From: Ross Entered on: July 8, 2004 1:32 PM
Swerb: I like *Spider-Man*. How much more do I really need to suspend my disbelief? Signs sucked because the only disbelief it actively asked us to suspend was that aliens are coming. Okay, done. So far I'm with you. But then they go on to throw in shit that no rational human should be letting go: aliens that can't open a fucking door but can jump from the ground to the roof of your house, aliens that can walk around naked in our (moisture-laden) atmosphere but are harmed by a glass of water. It's bad enough they do these things but what makes it beyond my tolerance is that THE PLOT HINGES ON THESE INCONSISTENCIES. A passing snafu I can take, but not a major plot point built on one.  
Suspension of disbelief does not entail throwing all critical thought out the window.  
Let's not forget that I'm not the only one who hated this movie:
That said, I will keep an open mind for the next Shyamalan effort. He's 2 for 3 in my book, which is a good percentage overall for a filmmaker. But it's true - my tolerance for the supernatural in entertainment - comicbooks notwithstanding - is on the wane.
From: John Entered on: July 8, 2004 1:44 PM
You love superhuman not supernatural, makes sense. It's all make believe one way or another. I agree that those are some big plot holes in Signs. I still enjoyed it on some level because of the tension Shyamalan was able to create on a psychological level. I like Unbreakable quite a bit better than his other two movies. I'll give the Village a chance at any rate.
From: Ross Entered on: July 8, 2004 2:08 PM
True, but let's be clear: superhero or supernatural, Signs has severe writing problems outside of its milieu. This certainly gives the Bone support that critics can be nutty sometimes because I do believe the movie was relatively well-received by them.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 8, 2004 9:44 PM
Hee hee... I knew I'd incite a defensive litany from Bert, including links to web pages agreeing with him, regarding Signs.  
So yes, I'll give it to you that Signs is not without its problems, especially its plot, which is riddled with holes. I totally agree with you. But one thing Shyamalan is successful in doing, with Roche and myself at least, is creating tension and suspense. I honestly don't think the film aspires to anything else, just like a dumb comedy like Anchorman exists solely to string together a bunch of jokes, and succeeds at making people laugh. Take Blair Witch for another example; it scared the shit out of me through sheer technique, even though the characters were annoying and the acting poor.  
My point is, there is a part of me - and other critics - that can accept a film as pure entertainment, where one can willfully submerge themselves in something inherently absurd. I was too busy having fun watching Signs and wondering what the aliens looked like (which Shyamalan deliberately keeps from us because he knows it builds anticipation) than worrying about whether or not it had "bad astronomy." Maybe it had more of an effect on me because, as a kid, I always had an illogical fear of bulbous-headed aliens...
From: Ross Entered on: July 9, 2004 8:32 AM
Hey, I felt the tension upon first viewing the film. And I'm relatively good at "losing myself" in a movie and not overanalyzing it while I'm watching it the first time. In fact if I recall, my initial feeling after seeing it was that it was decent (except the water thing bugged me right away). But then I started to think about it and I realized how badly it betrayed the audience and how sloppily its plot was constructed. So I grew to detest it. All that "tension" becomes as limp as a slice of baloney if it's built on a ridiculous lie.  
So yeah, there is a threshold at which logical incosistencies will ruin a movie for me or at least piss me off. And waitaminute, quit acting like I'm the only one: you repeatedly bagged on X2 for what you considered to be logical inconsistencies yet they were FAR less dubious than the ones I'm citing in Signs. So let's not throw on the "critic" hat and pretend that some movies are high art and are therefore exempt from criticism because they might excel in certain areas yet throw logic to the wind. I'm not buying that excuse.  
Besides, don't you see that Signs didn't bill itself as "inherently absurd" like an Anchorman would? Like I said in a previous post, the only inherent absurdity is aliens arriving and using crop circles. Dumb as that is, I let it go. But this doesn't give you free license mangle anything else that you want. I bet even Anchorman doesn't do shit that sloppy.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 9, 2004 8:56 AM
Count me in the group who enjoyed the movie (in fact, I was totally engrossed during the whole thing) despite the fact that it had laughable plot points (i.e. aliens capable of interstellar travel yet not able to get out of a pantry). M. Night Shamalonga Ding Dong just has a way of making the whole thing and every character so interesting.  
Come on Bert, you know it was better than Big Fish!
From: Ross Entered on: July 9, 2004 9:56 AM
From: Swerb Entered on: July 9, 2004 9:51 AM
Now, I'm not saying Signs is "high art," I just said it was pure entertainment, which in my book, is the exact opposite. High art, to me, is a film like Lost in Translation, which is trying to say something about loneliness through the experiences of two unusual characters, while the main purpose of Signs is much simpler and more base: It's trying to scare you. Few movies have literally scared me, so to see one that actually follows through on that (like Blair Witch and, more recently, Open Water) and to not acknowledge it because of big plot holes doesn't do the film justice, in my opinion. You even admitted you felt the tension Shyamalan was conveying, so it's not a total dud in that department.  
Now, Signs doesn't hold up on further analysis or upon repeat viewings. By that end, it's pretty disposable - something a lot of critics most likely didn't address. Plus, Mel "Nutty Christian" Gibson has retroactively tainted everything he's done, and the destiny/recovering-one's-faith theme of the film is hokey bullshit. And I agree that it doesn't sell itself as escapist fare, because Shyamalan is a really pretentious guy. But you can throw out all the arguments you want, and it's not going to erase the fact that I had fun for two hours in the movie theater.  
As for X2, yeah, it had plot inconsistencies which bugged me, but what your argument fails to mention is that I ACTUALLY LIKED X2 despite its flaws. I'm not totally discounting it because it has a few plot holes.
From: Ross Entered on: July 9, 2004 10:45 AM
See, "pure entertainment" is largely subjective. For me, it has to have some of the consistencies that Signs lacked. I actually find well-constructed stories to be more entertaining than poor ones. Now I will grant you that I didn't notice all of the problems right away when watching the movie at first, but this is hardly an excuse. And Signs isn't genuinely scary, either, in my book. Even if it was I still couldn't excuse it.  
The bottom line is this: Signs had plot holes larger than ANY OTHER mainstream movie I can think of in recent times. And yet reviewers (yourself included) often regard these almost as an afterthought (yet are happy to bandy them about with other movies for some odd reason). I am emphatically stating that this is a poor position to take. I can't see how you can't feel gypped after realizing how the all the premises of these "scares" and "tension" have been built upon premises that the author himself has violated! It's not that he's even violated what society or scientists have told us is true, but that HE HIMSELF has set up as true. I cannot excuse it no matter what, and nor should you.  
I will not rest until I have ruined this movie for all of you! How dare you enjoy something I cannot?! Bah!
From: John Entered on: July 9, 2004 11:19 AM
This is some damn fine entertainment if you ask me. Classic Jackassery all the way. Don't be too surprised Bert, this is the same guy that loves the tedious OUATITW. Even the name is tedious. ;)
From: Ross Entered on: July 9, 2004 11:47 AM
I agree - I must confess I'm having more fun making the argument than anything else.  
I basically took up the challenge because Swerb called into question my ability to suspend disbelief. I hope I have convinced the jury that whatever my problems with Signs are, they are not due to suspension of disbelief. Human-shaped aliens and Crop Circles I accept willingly in the name of storytelling. However, these do not in any way equate to violations of internal consistency, which Signs performed in a big way - which by their very nature corrupt that storytelling. THAT is my problem. If you can overlook it, so be it - I can't - but I can suspend disbelief with the best of 'em.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 9, 2004 12:02 PM
Dude, the aliens in Signs had water resistant skin not waterproof. It allowed them to tolerate the atmospheric humidity but not direct saturation. Also, the alien trying to open the door had carpal tunnel syndrome. He is thier administrative officer and has to do a lot of typing. Shit man, don't you know anything?
From: BigFatty Entered on: July 9, 2004 6:37 PM
HA HA HA! But Carpal Tunnel is a serious disorder affecting millions of people and aliens across the universe. It is no laughing matter. Go Joe!  
Bone must have read the productions notes of Signs.  
I liked signs too. It was well filmed and Shamalama Ding Dong is sweet in my book.  
Also - I never saw The Sixth Sense .......... GASP!!!!!!!!!
From: Swerb Entered on: July 12, 2004 11:56 AM
Carpal tunnel syndrome is not a laughing matter. I suffer from it, and sometimes, my hand hurts both during and after a wank session.  
Perhaps the point I'm trying to make about Signs is that I enjoy it for reasons devoid of logic. I guess I liked it on a gut level, period - and I've previously stated my childhood fear of space aliens, so perhaps I have psychomological issues. However, this debate has succeeded at one thing: My retroactively enjoying Signs less because Bert is a fucking killjoy. Thanks, asshole.  
Also, Roche, we will never resolve our debate about Once Upon a Time in the West, and I'm therefore prompted to say that intelligent adults whose attention spans haven't been ruined by video games will appreciate the film greatly. Fact is, life in the old west was slow and tedious compared to what we're used to, so I think the film is trying to convey that feeling. I've been watching a lot of old movies (from the '30s, '40s and '50s) lately, and it's interesting to see how slowly paced they are compared to today's whiz-bang hyperactive fare. I've had to de-condition my 21st century brain in order to appreciate some classic films.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 12, 2004 5:20 PM
Anyone seen ELEPHANT directed by Gus Van Sant? I rented it yesterday and it was interesting. Somewhat wierd, but interesting. I think I liked it but I'm not sure. I need to see it again.
From: Ross Entered on: July 12, 2004 5:56 PM
I saw a preview of it before Super Size Me so Heather asked me to download it so I did. I haven't watched it yet though. For what it's worth, the reviews were poor. :)
From: The Bone Entered on: July 12, 2004 9:29 PM
Really, the reviewers you make mention of must not have been the ones who awarded it with the Palm D'OR at the 2003 Cannes Film festival.  
Even Ross'Tomatoes gives it a fresh 72%.
From: Ross Entered on: July 12, 2004 10:38 PM
They also gave Michael Moore a 20 minute standing ovation at Cannes. They might be *slightly* politically sensitive.  
I hadn't checked the Tomato-Meter but 72% isn't terrible, so "poor" might be too harsh - still that isn't a great score, especially for a Palm D'Or winner. I read a couple of reviews someplace that didn't make me want to watch it immediately. But I'll give it a shot and report back.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 13, 2004 12:39 AM
Give it a shot. I'm not sure if you'll like it or not. I think it may have been really good but there were some problems I can immediately place. Either way, it's not your run of the mill movie and I must say that I was at least intrigued the whole time. I'm curious as to whether Swerb has seen it and what he thinks - being our resident artsy fartsy movie guy and all.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 13, 2004 8:54 AM
Ang & I watched ELEPHANT a couple months ago. Although I'm a sucker for non-linear story-telling (there are several moments in time shot from different viewpoints), overall we both thought it was weak. But then, I guess I'm not as "sophisticated" of an adult as some of you, so maybe it wasn't "whiz-bang" enough for me. :)  
Another movie that showed events from different perspectives (but was otherwise entirely different from Elephant) was "Go". Excellent, over-looked movie from a few years back. There's some hilarious moments in it. Thumbs!  

From: Ross Entered on: July 13, 2004 9:32 AM
I agree, I liked "Go" as well. I even bought the DVD on the cheap, but have only watched it the one time.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 13, 2004 11:19 AM
Elephant is currently in the pile of DVDs I need to watch... heard a lot of mixed responses to it, but Gus Van Sant is typically a pretty adventurous director, so I'm intrigued to see it.
From: Creeko Entered on: July 13, 2004 11:25 AM
"Go" was pretty sweet, but the Party of Five dude is a cheese.
From: John Entered on: July 13, 2004 12:44 PM
Oh, and you're sweet, Creeko. :) I liked "Go" as well and also purchased it on the cheap.  
I love A Fistful of Dollars and The Good the Bad and the Ugly which the later was paced rather slow. I actually like the beginning of OUATITW but as it went on it became ridiculously tedious and I tired of the harmonica play. Charles Bronson sucked as far as I'm concerned and I never cared much for him in any movie. This bias could have definitely effected my enjoyment of this film. I did think Fonda's performance as the bad guy was quite good. This still was not enough for me to give OUATITW a thumbs up.  
Clint Eastwood is fucking sweet and I enjoy watching him as opposed to Bronson. Maybe if he had been the main character I would have liked it better.  
As far as my attention span goes, you don't know me very well if you think that's a factor, Swerb. I enjoyed Lost in Translation and it was somewhat slow paced, and I even enjoyed American Splendor. As I said earlier I like The Good the Bad and the Ugly which is a Leone film of similar pace to OUATITW. I guess the more I think about it the more I realize my problem is more with Bronson than it is with the pace of the film. I just think that Bronson lacks the charisma of Eastwood which detracted from my overall enjoyment of OUATITW. With that said I hope you can better understand how it is that I didn't love OUATITW.
From: Ross Entered on: July 13, 2004 1:48 PM
Pacing is only part of the problem for OUATITW. The problem lies in the fact that if you pace a movie slowly, you have to work that much harder to keep the viewer interested. To be sure, a director who can do it successfully is achieving a more impressive feat. Leone seems to be known for his pacing, but I tend to agree with Roche - this is not the best example of it. The characters by and large are not interesting enough to keep it interesting at all times. I am definitely not of the school of thought that it's the viewer's fault if he's not interested. Bronson is also definitely part of my problem. I found him to be pretty cool at first, but then eventually to be a pale imitation of the numerous superior Eastwood characters. I just barely give it thumbs down.
From: Ross Entered on: July 13, 2004 3:52 PM
Just read this slice of review of the Bourne Supremacy on Ain't It Cool News (not from Fat Harry):

The action fails as bad as the drama. Actually, it seems like the action is pretty good, but you cant tell because the cameras are so damn shaky. My friend thought that the main mano y mano fight was the worst he had ever seen. I wouldnt go that far, but I was frustrated by the fact that I couldnt tell what was going on. It was nice and brutal but I couldnt tell who was kicking who. Anyhoo, unclear action that fails to ever live up some of the sweetness of the first movie.

This is exactly what Roche and I feared after seeing the theatrical preview. Damn.

In other news, Swerb, have you popped in your Batman: The Animated Series DVDs yet? I am so jealous of you, you asshole, for getting those for free. I want them pretty badly.

From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 13, 2004 4:59 PM
In my continued quest for Swerb-Sweetness I have procured eight 2-person free passes to BOURNE SUPREMACY for next Tues. Once again Johnny-Bells and I will be enjoying some free entertainment.  
I didn't get to ask you, Ross: What was it like gettin' schooled by a 14-year-old girl in Halo Saturday? Welcome to my life.
From: Ross Entered on: July 13, 2004 5:10 PM
As you alluded, you should know - it appears to happen to you on a regular basis. :)  
I don't feel too bad. I am absolutely confident that with more practice she would not be beating me by much if at all. As it was, as I have explained to Roche, in one-on-one contests it usually wasn't a contest (until the end when I predictably fell apart). Games like Halo, at least for me, are ones that require regular practice to stay good at, and I just never play unless I'm at your house.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 13, 2004 5:56 PM
Well, at least you're being RATIONAL about being beat by a girl, Ross. Oh yeah, she only plays at my house too. :)
From: Ross Entered on: July 13, 2004 6:02 PM
I would assume that since she's your niece and lives nearby, that still equates to significantly more play time than for me, who only ventures over once every few months.  
I wanted to add one other thing about the "pacing" issue with films: where Roche and I evidently part company is on a film like Master and Commander, which I just threw back in today. I find this film to be riveting although it is somewhat slowly paced. The key difference is that I think Russell Crowe is superb in his role as captain of his ship, and I also think the supporting characters (especially his friend the doctor) are top notch. They do what Bronson and even Fonda couldn't do for OUATITW - keep me interested just because they're interesting characters.
From: Creeko Entered on: July 14, 2004 3:29 AM
- Oh, and you're sweet, Creeko. :)  
Where the hell did that come from? I never made any claim to be sweet. I just don't care for Scott Wolf. He's barley a B-grade actor.  
Does Johnybells have any reason for defending Bailey Salinger? I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks he?s a cheese. I saw him in a movie called White Squall, which should have been called White Squalor, a coming of age film with little sailor boys peeing their pants.  

From: John Entered on: July 14, 2004 10:11 AM
Note that on the end of the sentence there is a smiling face, this is to clue you in that I'm kidding.  
As far as Scott Wolf is concerned, I thought he did a reasonably good job as a gay guy in "Go". Does this make him sweet? Not hardly. Do I really care about Scott Wolf, not hardly.
From: Creeko Entered on: July 14, 2004 11:14 AM
Ergo he?s a cheese!  
About the ?not being sweet? comment, I just fount it a little odd that?s all.  
The smiley was duly noted. My problem with smiley faces is they allow you to shit on someone and come away looking like a good guy. Since I know John is a good guy, I know I can say he like?s to be butt raped by homely transvestites with out him getting offended :-). Since I put a smile face there?s no hard feelings.  

From: Ross Entered on: July 14, 2004 11:40 AM
Getting back on the topic of MOVIES, Bone, I just got my hands on Man on Fire. I plan to watch it soon - though I have the dilemma of whether to wait for Heather to get back in town (Friday) or just watch it by myself.
From: John Entered on: July 14, 2004 2:48 PM
Actually, I do kind of like that, Creeko. ;)
From: Swerb Entered on: July 14, 2004 8:47 PM
All right, instead of taking cheap shots at people and their attention spans, I will argue why I think OUATITW is good: Because it completely submerges you in the dry heat of the west, and the languid pace of the time period (the main reason why it's so slow; it's there for a reason, not just for its own sake), and the characters (which I think are well-defined and subtly intriguing, thank you) and the amazing cinematography. And Bronson - sure, he did a lot of shit movies, but I think he's charismatic here and in The Dirty Dozen (albeit part of an ensemble), which is another great film. It was a stunning departure for Fonda, who always played good guys up to that point. And Claudia Cardinale, I think, is riveting. But I don't think Leone's intention was to simply tell these characters' stories, but also to show how the old west was dying because of the expansion of civilization. The movie had a lot of depth, and was really rich in every aspect, I believe. Leone's work - especially OUATITW - reminds me of Kurosawa - they both tended to film ambiguous morality plays, and they both feature intriguingly mysterious and heroic characters who help people who can't help themselves.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 14, 2004 8:57 PM
Also, Jack and Roche: You are once again exactly Swerb-Sweet, since I'll see you Tuesday at the sneak for Bourne Supremacy, it being one of my assignments.  
Speaking of which, I saw I, Robot last night, and it surprisingly surpassed my gutter-level expectations. Here's the official, unedited Swerb Review, two days before it's actually published. Consider yourselves priveleged. :)  
The best thing ?I, Robot? has going for it is Sonny, the first-ever automaton created with the ability to experience human emotion.  
Sonny, a computer-animated construct smoothly voiced by Alan Tudyk, has the gift of self-analysis, and realizes he, like all robots, was designed for a specific task. But what happens when that task is complete? He fears death, and has an existential crisis as he struggles with the concept of free will.  
Such is the philosophical ambition of ?I, Robot,? which likely borrows its depth from Isaac Asimov?s novel. However, the film is so loosely based on his writings, the credits read ?suggested by? rather than ?based on? or even ?inspired by,? and therefore likely accounts for the movie?s myriad of action sequences, as well as the presence of Will Smith.  
In fact, the crowd-pleasing actor is the least attractive aspect of the movie. As wisecracking homicide detective Del Spooner, he?s given a cavalcade of lame one-liners to spew at every available opportunity, and the character?s clichés ? he?s a rogue cop constantly in trouble with his supervisor, and yes, at one point he?s asked to ?hand over the badge? ? often serve to downplay the story?s intellectual subtext.  
Spooner lives in Chicago in the year 2035. Lake Michigan has, depressingly, become a landfill, cars are piloted by computers and robots have been integrated into society, acting as people?s servants and performing menial tasks such as delivering packages and collecting garbage.  
Experience has made Spooner a skeptic when it comes to robots, and he?s distressed when he learns that massive corporation U.S. Robotics ? which apparently holds a Microsoft-esque monopoly on the robot market ? is about to launch a new line of machines, resulting in a one-to-five robot-to-human population ratio. He also doesn?t like the idea of machines taking over people?s jobs in order to pad the pockets of big corporations.  
But when brilliant U.S. Robotics scientist Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) apparently commits suicide, he leaves behind Sonny, who points to an underlying, and wholly frightening, conspiracy. During his investigation, Spooner meets Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynihan), who has the dubious distinction of being the company?s psychiatric consultant.  
Even Calvin?s character dynamic is more interesting than Spooner?s; Moynihan lends her a degree of pathos as she struggles to come to terms with Sonny?s remarkable abilities. She?s also torn amongst her loyalty to U.S. Robotics, the progress of science and Spooner?s increasingly revelatory investigation, which points towards a horrible logical twist in the robots? seemingly flawless programming.  
Compare that to Spooner?s cornball man-of-mystery arc, which indubitably involves a tragic sob story and some deep, dark irony. The screenplay insists on overheating the character for broad marketing appeal instead of enhancing the tale being told ? why else would the camera needlessly linger on Smith?s sculpted, waxed and shirtless upper body during the film?s opening sequence?  
?I, Robot? is very ably directed by Alex Proyas, who showed a flair for smart sci-fi with 1998?s underrated ?Dark City? and the comic book-y hit ?The Crow.? Here, one almost senses a conflict between the director and the studio, which likely wanted to downplay any intelligent story constructs for more action sequences, armies of CGI robots and near-nude shots of Will Smith.  
Admittedly, the special effects are superb: The robots, with their humanoid faces and exposed mechanics, are convincing and seamlessly integrated into the live action. Along with the equally terrific visuals in ?Spider-Man 2,? Hollywood seems to have taken a step forward even since last year?s ?Matrix? sequels. (In fact, as the robots climb and swarm over tall buildings, they bear more than a passing resemblance to the wall-crawling superhero and current box-office champ.)  
And Proyas? handling of the action sequences is often breathless and dizzying, even if they?re typically ludicrous and torn from the book of clichés: Advantageous dangling cables saving people from falling, yet another high-speed chase occurring on a conveniently vacant and endless highway and a hyper-tense, histrionic and convoluted conclusion inside an architectural construct consisting of nifty but pointless ramps and a zillion-story abyss.  
In the end, ?I, Robot? is about 75 percent dumb fun and 25 percent intelligent adventure. At times, it?s frustratingly superficial, the crowd-pleasing elements integrated into the screenplay at the expense of its philosophical implications, which, as a result, are disappointingly sloppy. Still, Sonny is a fascinating construct, and holds the key to a smarter movie too often buried in Will Smith?s overbearing Will Smithness and thus, the studio?s cynical focus on butts instead of brains. Because which portion of the anatomy fills theater seats?  

From: Ross Entered on: July 14, 2004 10:11 PM
Excellent review, Swerb. I might have to try it. I have serious doubts about its treatment of AI ("robots" are already more adept at self-analysis than people are in every meaningful sense) but it might be enough to make me watch it at a matinee.
From: Ross Entered on: July 17, 2004 6:41 PM
We just got back from Anchorman, and I have to say I was disappointed. Roche, you were right, I should have listened. It wasn't terrible, but it just seemed unfinished - like some of the jokes needed more polish and just stalled. Lots of dead air where presumably the director thought people would be laughing, but in our case no one was, so it was kind of an uncomfortable experience. Swerb, I can only chalk up your positive outlook on the movie to the crowd factor, which definitely has measurable impact the experience of watching a comedy. For us, we saw it in a relatively empty theater.  
There were a few really good lines, but for the most part, I give it thumbs down. And I really did want to like this movie.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 17, 2004 10:55 PM
I'm surprised you didn't like Anchroman, Bert. I thought it was quite clever... the semi-retarded weatherman (I've always liked Steve Carell on the Daily Show), the goofy names, how everything that comes out of Will Ferrell's mouth is so self-deluded, all the cameos (although one of them from one of my fave comedic actors was disappointing - Bert, I'm sure you know who, but I don't want to give it away for anyone who hasn't seen it), the jazz-flute thing, and especially the big street brawl, which was easily the funniest part. I dunno, most comedies aren't very memorable to me, but this one just stuck with me.  
As for being in a crowded theater, well, maybe it made things funny that, the second time around and in a quieter environment, probably wouldn't be funny - I had similar experiences with the last Austin Powers movie. And I admit that sometimes a crowd can be persuasive, i.e., when you go see Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and the theater is packed, and people are cheering - it just makes the whole experience more exciting. The implication is that one can be easily swayed by the mob mentality, and I'm not entirely comfortable with that. I could come up with plenty of instances to contradict that implication - i.e., when I saw A Cinderella Story, plenty of doorknobs were laughing, adults included, while I sat there unamused.  
Now here's a movie that everybody found funny, but I found to be just stupid: Old School. I guess I just don't get it... I didn't laugh ONCE.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 17, 2004 11:00 PM
Speaking of A Cinderella Story, here's a link to my Official Review if anybody wants to read it for gits and shiggles:

From: John Entered on: July 18, 2004 12:48 AM
Your review of Anchroman mirrored some of the poor reviews I read about this film, Bert. The stuff about dead air was dead on some of the comments I read. Oh well, maybe I'll rent it.
From: Ross Entered on: July 18, 2004 9:33 AM
I dunno... The Simpsons, for instance, is clever on a level that Anchorman never even approached, in my opinion.  
As for your refutation of the Crowd Factor, A Cinderella Story is not a good example. You were definitely predisposed to not liking the teeniebopper fare - the crowd laughing would only reinforce the idea that only morons and children find it amusing. Furthermore, I'm not saying it can make a shitty movie seem great - but I'm sure that had I seen Anchorman with you in a room full of laughing people, I would have liked it more. I am not trying to paint you as a simpleton who is easily swayed, but I believe something like the effect of the crowd to be extremely persuasive for just about everybody - a normal human response.  
The cameo you mention, although somewhat weak and absurd, I actually thought was one of the funnier parts - the line "Guess what? Now this is happening" actually made me laugh out loud for some reason.  
Old School wasn't particularly funny, you're right, but I did laugh on several occasions. When you put it that way, I guess I liked it about as much as Anchorman, though the Anchorman concept is definitely superior.  

From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 18, 2004 12:01 PM
Anchorman had a lot of funny parts, but I think I actually laughed more in Dodgeball. Anchorman could have used a little more meat. And I didn't care for Christina Applegate at all. Both Anchorman and Dodgeball are fun, above-average-comedies though. And I agree with Swerb: Steve Carell is hilarious in most anything (I also miss him from The Daily Show).
From: John Entered on: July 18, 2004 9:57 PM
I read some reviewers that greatly prefered Elf to Anchorman. I know Zilla saw and enjoyed Elf so what say you, Zilla. Any other opinions from people who saw both would be appreciated. I avoided Elf in the theaters because the premise seemed a bit silly to me. Since then I've heard good things and I'm a Will Ferrell fan in general. I'm wondering if I should check it out.
From: Jackzilla Entered on: July 19, 2004 8:42 AM
Yeah, I'd say I liked Elf more. It's a feel-good, Christmas-spirit hokey kind of thing but hilarious. Being a Will Ferrell fan though, I'd definately check them both out. They're both better than Old School (which had some laughs but not as much).
From: Ross Entered on: July 23, 2004 11:17 AM
Against my better judgement, I watched I, Robot.  
I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as crappy as I expected. It was no masterpiece to be sure, and as everyone has said before, Will Smith adds nothing to this movie. What kind of gets me is that it simultaneously falls into the typical Hollywood formula of "the robots/computers will fight back against us" fearmongering, but at the end tries to remember that they got the idea for this story from Isaac Asimov, who wrote stories expressly to COMBAT those same tired cliches, so they backpedal a bit; but in my mind the damage is already done.  
In any case, the special effects looked pretty decent from what I could tell and there were a couple of pretty sweet moments. I do think, Swerb, that you kind of misread Sonny a bit - he wasn't exactly the first robot to be "given the gift of self-analysis", but that's minor. Also, the action is pretty well done and isn't quite as ludicrous as it looks in the previews.  
I also have to say that the CEO of US Robotics who is played by Bruce Greenwood, is a terrific character actor, and is played in typically understated sweet fashion. Best acting in the movie.  
In conclusion, I give this a mild thumbs up as long as I try to divorce this completely from Asimov.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 22, 2004 10:51 PM
Actually, Bert, I said Sonny was the first robot to experience human emotions, not the first to have self-analysis... but what other robot(s) in the movie have self-analysis? Did I miss something?
From: Ross Entered on: July 23, 2004 7:49 AM
I really didn't get the impression that Sonny was particularly special aside from the fact that Doctor Whatshisname chose him to help him. Which mostly entailed a denser alloy so he could kick Other Robot Ass. Did they actually say he was substantially different in other respects, or that he was the first to have human emotions? Oh wait, I guess they did say that the doc was working with him on emotions. So I guess I can see why you said that. But I don't think he actually had a fully functional complement of "human emotions," but I guess that's nitpicking.  
I guess I was confused by you first saying that he was the first to have human emotions and then say he has the gift of self analysis. By setting him up as a special robot, I assumed the one property implied the other. I didn't really regard Sonny as extra-special other than his exterior construction plus some time to learn the emotional stuff which I assumed any other robot in his class could do as well.
From: Swerb Entered on: July 23, 2004 9:34 AM
But none of the other robots in Sonny's class exhibited any kind of emotion, both before and after they turned into evil machines. I though the movie gave the impression that he was special, and deemed to be dangerous to the company by the Bruce Greenwood character, and therefore had to be destroyed. Plus, Sonny was programmed to have dreams, something I don't think the other robots possessed, and at one point he said he was afraid to die - maybe the more accurate phrase is "self-awareness."  
I just think there's some underlying stuff in Sonny's "character" that the movie didn't thoroughly explore. That's why I said in my review that the philosophical implications were sloppy, and secondary to the action and the Will Smithness - which is something you and I would probably agree on.
From: Ross Entered on: July 23, 2004 11:15 AM
Yeah, I mean, the movie is the special ed version of AI philosophy. I still say that Sonny was only special by virtue of tutelage, but they could have explored whatever differences he may have posessed in a more interesting fashion.  
What bothers me is that I'm positive that Isaac Asimov would hate this movie. Especially knowing what we now know about human intelligence and how the brain works. The things the robots could already achieve (running, jumping, climbing, serving drinks, holding conversations) are monumentally more complex than having "emotions" or being "self-aware". It's really a throwback to the 1950's and ideas of what makes humans human. It's this romanticized vision of humanity that I rail against - and while I don't expect everybody to be on the same page as far as defining humanity, I do get sick of seeing the same man/machine conflicts onscreen time and again without any new viewpoints like the one that current researchers give us.  
So I guess what I'm saying is even if it's true that Sonny was the frist to have some semblance of emotion, it's basically trivial, and only made important because the movie is, as you say, sloppy.  
Actually the flickfilosopher's review is pretty good - she mentions some of my 1950's argument (I didn't see that until after I wrote it).
From: The Bone Entered on: July 25, 2004 12:47 AM
Just saw I,Robot instead of Catwoman so I'm already happy about that one. Overall it was entertaining. It would have been far sweeter if they had cast Harrison Ford as Spooner, but then I guess they would have to call it Blade Runner. Come to think of it, It would have been far sweeter if it had been done with a Blade Runner gritiness than a Will Smith blockbuster style.  
Anyhoo, you are never going to have a robot movie like this without the central theme being what Ross calls, 1950's style argument on what makes a human human. I actually don't mind it unlike Ross. You can reduce humanity to a bunch of electrical impulses but you'd miss out on what motivates individuals to create masterpieces of art and music, explore the depths of the ocean and outer reaches of space. The passion someone has to climb Mt. Everest. It's probably what makes Jack so damn happy all the time. I like the point Spooner coveys when he relates the story of the robot who saves him over the little girl because of the probabilities of survival.  
Also, I agree with Swerb that Sonny was definately unique. He had emotional displays above all other robots and he didn't want to die, not because of the 3rd law (which he didn't posses), but that he was self aware.  
Oh, and I liked it better than Spider-Man if anyone cares.
From: Ross Entered on: July 25, 2004 10:12 AM
It's official! The Bone is off his rocker! I'm sure Catwoman is better than Spider-Man as well.

Putting aside the Spider-Man comment, Bone, your entire second paragraph is complete bullshit. There will come a time when even schoolchildren will learn that the 50's concept of humanity/consciousness is obsolete. At that point, people won't even be able to watch a movie like I, Robot without laughing at its quaintness. The very fact that you use those types of examples to illustrate humanity shows that you've fallen prey to same preconceptions that the filmmakers (and more importantly, audiences) have. That's okay, it's not your fault.

No, Robots, or more specifically artificial intelligences will indeed be capable of all of those things, for the same reasons that you and I are. What you are essentially positing is that there is some kind of fundamantal "humanness" characteristic that could never be reproduced in an artificial mind. THIS is the idea that is quaint and outdated. THIS is the idea that I would like to see explored in a film. You're still operating under the assumption that an human mind is something that is more than a computer at the end of the day - and you're wrong. I suggest picking up a copy of How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker for more info if interested.

But you are right in the Sonny is unique in that his programming allowed him to circumvent the 3rd law. But that self aware bullshit is... well, bullshit. He was no more self aware than any other robot. Or at least you'd better define self-awareness in a pretty specific way because as I've said before, those robots are already more self-aware in any meaningful sense than you and I are.

From: The Bone Entered on: July 25, 2004 11:59 AM
Thanks Ross for suggesting the book. It's a good thing I just learned to read so I can now can start learning how the world works. I just got done reading the darndest thing. We aren't delivered by storkes after all. In fact the whole process is amazing. Asshole!  
I'm not suggesting that the mind is anything other than a computer or that it has something (like a soul) that makes it human. What I'm am suggesting is that through our environment and upbringing, chemical imbalances, and a host of other variables, the human computer will run in a way which sets it apart from machine. Now I am willing to concede that AI may one day be able to simulate these very things which I speak of. Probably not very soon. Who knows though, maybe one day we'll have a perpetually pissed off little robot that can work 9-5 in a little cubicle and reduce the world around him to to fit his one dimensional persona. That would be a great accomplishment for humanity.  
As for Sonny, he was more self aware than the other robots in the regard that he thought it was better to live than to die. Not that he had more system diagnostic programs or that his operating system required he function properly. Whether you are able to grasp this or not, the filmaker wanted to break Sonny apart from the others and he did this several ways:  
1. Sonny got angry - how many other robots got angry? None!  
2. Dr. Hottie and Sonny said that he was unique several times throughout the movie.  
3. Sonny was afraid to die.  
4. Although, it went against logic, Sonny saved Dr. Hottie when it was the illogical thing to do.  
I got it, Swerb got it, you are once again prejudiced by your narrow focus. I'm not saying that outside the movie you aren't right, just that inside the movie you missed it.  

From: Ross Entered on: July 25, 2004 12:30 PM
I don't know how else to put it other than I "got it", but I rejected it. I have already explained why I found those reasons to be bullshit. My whole point is that whatever they're trying to make you "get" is bullshit. I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
From: The Bone Entered on: July 25, 2004 12:35 PM
One more thing that sets Sonny apart. Robots are created with a purpose. Once the other robots have served their purpose for which they were programmed, they sit around in shipping containers not doing shit. Once Sonny has fufilled his purpose, he is able to seek out a new purpose on his own. In the final scene you see Sonny atop the hill (with a bridge in the background that defies gravity) poised to be the leader of a new robotic society. Something that is very "human".
From: Ross Entered on: December 29, 2004 12:47 PM
I just thought I'd restate that since I have finally gotten my paws on the Spider-Man 2 DVD, I have re-watched the train sequence with Doc Ock numerous times and I must emphatically restate my position that it is in fact the sweetest action scene ever put to film. God I love it!  


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