I'm with Ben on this one.
I'm all for talking about religion and politics and anything else when it relates to specific movies. My archives are full of such moments. I'm fine with autobiographical information. Who we are, where we have been, what we believe, and what we have done all affect how we approach a film. What we eat for lunch on a given day can affect how we feel about a film we watch later in the day.
There is no neutrality. No exceptions for amateur armchair film criticism.
Chris and others, I'm fine with what you've posted so far, but you'll have to excuse my not responding to any rants.
The temptation is to go through and respond point for point to all of these posts.
The inevitable result is that we talk less and less about movies [or TV :), --I'm thinking about unilaterally acting to change our name from "Film" Club to "Motion Picture" Club in order to justify my recent extended excursions to TV Land].
I've already made my opinions known regarding going too far off-topic.
However, I'm also with Brandon on this one. "I’m glad we can talk about this stuff openly, it fits into our club." Absolutely. I'm not trying to shut anyone up. I just want to make sure that the discussion remains (mostly) movie-centered.
A few quick responses:
"I would also offer that APOCALYPTO continues Gibson’s belief that we only enter into grace and holiness through pain and suffering. It’s also a really good chase movie. I think some of you will agree with me on this one. John certainly doesn’t."
Actually, I do agree, especially with your first sentence. My problem with Apocalypto had more to do with the frat boy dialogue and the reliance on cliched nick of time rescues. I remember being harsh toward it. I've softened a bit since then.
I'm not quite a Sarris auteur theory guy, though I do hold that the director is most often the PRIMARY author of a film. My statement was meant to be broader. I think that Gibson is (and has been for a long time) working on the level of "auteur" in all that he does. He owns every role that he has been in. He has selected specific roles and then further roles that comment on the earlier roles. He has most often been in control of his career. There are plenty of "actor auteurs" like this, but few become directors. He is most like Eastwood in this regard. I'm hoping that he still has greater things to come, but it's hard not to think of Passion of the Christ as his Unforgiven or Gran Torino, participating in and commenting on all of the cinematic acts of senseless violence that he had participated in over the previous 20+ years.
I don't believe that art can ever be "neutral." I do agree that "religion is a big part of film."
I loved Birth of a Nation when I watched it 11 years ago. It literally changed the way I watch movies. Does that make me a racist?
It's always good to see you back here.
Tree of Life is definitely more "accessible" the second time through.
You're right about Cold Souls.
The more I think about it, the more I think that The Happening may be Shyamalan's best.
I'll catch up with all of those superhero movies eventually. Green Lantern's currently playing at the local $2 theater and I'm hoping to see it before its run ends there.
Despite what I wrote above, feel free to rant loud and often. And quit apologizing. You guys apologize too much.
I do want to respond to one Passion-related point that you made:
"The Passion is a bad movie - in my opinion - not due to the technical aspects of it...but MAINLY due the story and the message. This has a lot to do with my religious beliefs but like I told Brandon, I don't think it's the sole reason. Look at the story without the religious context - what do you have?"
I actually completely agree with this. There is no story without the context. This is one "flaw" of the film that is often mentioned. Gibson himself doesn't do enough to provide a framework or context for the events depicted onscreen. This is one aspect of the film, though, that makes the film most interesting to me. Passion is almost an experimental film. Its narrative begins at the end of a story and rarely gives any sense of a beginning. Gibson had a singular vision with this film and largely stuck to that vision (I remember feeling that the flashbacks are some of the weakest moments in the film). There's more to be said here, but I guess I'll wait and see if I ever get around to re-watching the film.
Your response is great. Points a and b are both valid and I do understand why someone would not be on board with the film for these reasons.
The last time we heard from you, you wrote that you were going to a bachelorette party. That was 3 days ago. At what point should we call the police?
What do we need to do to convince these neanderthals to watch Black Death? Maybe we need to make an ultimatum? Set a date beyond which spoilers shall abound?
Have you seen The Last Exorcism yet? I don't think that it's as good of a film as Black Death, but I like it just the same and think that it's worth talking about.
Put a fork in me. I'm done.