Suggestions for Killing Time Before Watching NFL Gamepass

As you guys know, I watch all the NFL games via Gamepass. To avoid spoilers, I have to avoid learning anything about the games. I don’t get TV stations, so the TV is not an issue. I do have to avoid some internet sites, and, in general, I would prefer staying off the internet, as I may accidentally learn about the games. Additionally, I’d like to find some activity that occupies my mind, since I do get antsy while I wait for the games to appear on Gamepass.

Do you guys have any suggestions? Some movie or TV show recommendations would be welcomed. I have HBO Max for at least a month, so I’m thinking of watching a TV series or movie on that.

Could Movies Featuring the Lower Classes and People of Color be Commercially Successful as Long as They had Strong Stories and Compelling Characters?

Near the end of Thom Anderson’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, neglect of the lower classes and/or people of color in Hollywood movies struck and dismayed me. And I should specify the neglect involves stories and characters that fall outside existing stereotypes–for example, there are Hollywood films that feature the lower class criminals. I would also add that films with the type of characters exist, but my sense is that many are not mainstream movies. Why aren’t there more mainstream films with non-stereotypical minority characters outside of the middle and upper classes tend not to buy the explanation that the audience would be too small. Would it be too hard to create good stories with these type of characters? I find that hard to believe.

To test this, I looked at the AFI top 100 films of all time. Of this list, The Grapes of Wrath seems to be the best fit–although perhaps they can be seen as a more middle class family that is going through hard times. Raging Bull and Rocky may qualify as well. However, what stands out to me is that violence seems to be a critical component. That is, a mainstream film can feature lower class characters, but they and their stories must generally involve action and/or violence.

Midnight Cowboy is there, but I’d argue the lower class character (if he is a part of the lower class) falls within accepted stereotypes–i.e., the poor are criminals or social deviants.

Can anyone think of good mainstream films that featured non-stereotypical characters, non-white characters, primarily from the lower classes?

Movie Scenes That Brought the House Down

Edgar Wright tweeted a request for examples of situations where the audience reacted strongly, and collectively to a movie scene. He mentioned the scene in A Fatal Attraction, when Anne Archer’s character tells the Glenn Close character, “If you come near my family again, I’ll kill you.” He said the audience applauded. I know I have experienced this a few times, but none come to mind right now. I must say that for much of the last twenty years, I have don’t often see movies with a large audience. I think it’s been so long that I can’t remember these moments, which is kinda sad, man.

You can see some suggestions in the thread here:

The Best and Worst Casting of a Movie

The director, Cary Fukunaga, once said that a movie is 70% casting–or something to that effect. Great casting goes a long way to make a great film, while if a film has no chance is the casting is awful. I was watching the original Karate Kid recently, and the casting stood out. Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita may be one of the best cinematic buddies, and that’s primarily a function of casting, in my view. But then the villains are also great, not just Martin Kove, as John Krease, and William Zabka, as Johnny Lawrence, but even the other Kobra-Kai thugs. What are some films where the casting really stood out, either good or bad?

Notes on Bela Tarr’s Satantango

7 hours and 30 minutes. That’s how long this film, by Bela Tarr, is. For any film of similar length (and there are others), the first question I would ask for those who have seen such films is, Is it worth the time? And relatedly: Is the time justified? I will provide an answer to both questions, but before I do, let me explain why I’m writing about this film. This is a film I’ve been wanting to see for a long time. I really liked Werkmeister Harmonies and Turin Horse–both by Tarr, and both are great–the former would definitely make my list of all-time great movies (and the latter also has a shot). Satantango also appears on all-time great lists, including the 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die list. So, I’ve wanted to see this. Unfortunately, it was not easy to find, and the DVD was expensive. This year or last, I saw that they were screening this in Seattle, and I felt excited, but disappointed that I couldn’t go. (It would have been extra special to see this on the big screen.) But recently, the website, to my delight, made the a newly restored version of the film available for streaming. I recently watched this, and unsurprisingly I have a lot to process. And this is why I’m starting the thread now.

Art: Innovations and Innovators

I really love artist that push and sometime break boundaries, leading to a new style or vocabulary, or even redefining what constitutes art or not. Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and maybe Andy Kaufmann would be examples of the latter. Other innovators, who may not cause us to re-think art, but I still I like a lot are Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, to name a few. This is a thread to discuss innovations of specific artists as well as innovations in art more generally. I want to start by talking about two different innovations in music that I’m interested in.