Open Thread

Don’t want to talk about politics because every day is like Groundhog Day. I simply can not waste another second talking about the debt limit.

Watching the end of Matrix right now with dinner, and it occurred to me- has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long. Watching this right now, it could be in theaters today.






272 replies
  1. 1
    patroclus says:

    Lance Armstrong is a lying cheating hypocrite who owes apologies (and money) to lots of people, including Tyler Hamilton Floyd Landis, Betsy Andreus and many many more.

  2. 2
    Anthony says:

    The last time I saw them, Jurassic Park seemed to be holding up substantially better than the matrix was.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I have a question about clicking through to Amazon.com from Balloon Juice. It takes me directly to my account (fine) but:

    (1) Do I have to go through BJ each time or will it always remember after the first time and give John the moneez whenever I order from then on?

    (2) How can I actually tell whether it’s even linking my Amazon account with BJ? Is there a code or something?

    Thanks to anyone who understands how this actually works.

  4. 4
    Bort says:

    THX 1138 holds up pretty well. Except those old clunky digital clock numbers…

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Also too, has anyone heard from Gex?

  6. 6
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @patroclus: Indeed. But watching the way this thing is unfolding, it’s being handled not like a case study, but a whole fucking textbook in PR. The timing, the leaks, the manner, the Oprah thing (who needs whom more right now, that she’s on the Nobody Watches Channel.) Lance may be a lying scumbag and just as much of a bully as ever, but he’s getting his money’s worth in advice.

  7. 7

    I adore the Matrix series, (but then I am in lurve with Keanu Reeves, and just shut up about that okay, I absolutely adore him). Notwithstanding my desire to ravish Keanu I think the concept of The Matrix was quite brilliant. I often wonder if I am going to wake up and find myself hooked up to a huge generator.

  8. 8
    SGEW says:

    [H]as there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long[?]

    2001: A Space Odyssey

  9. 9
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: She posted a couple of lines earlier today – in one of those marathon threads, I think.

  10. 10
    Bill T. says:

    The Disney version of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea still holds up, even the giant squid sequence.

  11. 11
    ulee says:

    An American Werewolf in London was pretty cool when he screamed and turned into a werewolf in his girlfriend’s apartment.

  12. 12
    handy says:

    Probably because it doesn’t have that CGI-fake crap all over the place look, or as one Q. Tarantino would say, the directors didn’t put their “dick in a Nintendo” when they made the movie. The sequels (most famously, the Neo vs. 1000 Agent Smiths fight) suffer from this problem.

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    Watching the end of Matrix right now with dinner, and it occurred to me- has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long.

    Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, even 2001: A Space Odyssey, off the top of my head.

    There may be something to the feeling by some film geeks that films with practical effects are holding up better than CGI filled movies. Don’t know if I entirely agree yet, but I see what they are getting at.

  14. 14
    Lurker says:

    @Anthony:

    The last time I saw them, Jurassic Park seemed to be holding up substantially better than the matrix was.

    My first thought was Jurassic Park, too.

    I’m also partial to Aliens, Blade Runner, Terminator 2 and Legend.

  15. 15
    Keith G says:

    What pill would John Boehner take?

  16. 16
    ulee says:

    @patroclus: Lance is sort of a special effect. I just hope he doesn’t start to get angry.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    To add a bit to my own comment about Lance – I’ve closely followed pro cycling since Eddy Merckx. I know the winners of the big stage races will never be finalists for Mr. Congeniality – these are among the hardest athletic contests ever devised. If you are not ruthless you cannot win. But Lance took the ruthlessness and (with Bruyneel) the pharmacology to previously unseen levels. Festina were babes in the woods compared to Postal. For Lance now to say “everybody was doping” is misdirection that Houdini would be proud of.

    As is so often the case, The Guardian analyzes this very very well. This was a cost-benefit analysis, nothing more.

  18. 18
    handy says:

    @Keith G:

    The orange pill of course.

  19. 19
    Culture of Truth says:

    Yeah I thought of Jurassic Park, Titanic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some of the original Star Wars movies, actually. The little models were not CGI and so look real. I prefer puppet Yoda to CGI Yoda, although they did a good job.

  20. 20
    Chris says:

    has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long.

    Yeah, all the Star Trek TOS movies. The effects in the first Star Wars look a little dated, but the next two movies still hold up too.

  21. 21
    pharniel says:

    Tron holds up surprisingly well.

    The original Star Wars IV: A New Hope

    Stargate – though you can tell they were cheating with the repeat shots of the gliders firing and just showing the weapons.

  22. 22
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I just started doing my taxes. This is the first time I’m going to have to pay any additional taxes on top of what I’ve withheld; usually, I’ve gotten a refund of $2-3k in the past. From what I can tell, the AMT finally caught up with me…I must’ve passed a magic number somewhere in terms of income. Oh well.

    @Anthony: You must be kidding? Jurassic Park’s special effects look incredibly dated now.

    That said, I will always have a special place in my heart for ‘The Matrix’ movies (mainly the first one…the last two are just sci-fi porn). Goddamn, that movie was so fucking awesome when it first came out.

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind have stunning effects for their time. (both 1939, I believe) Ben-Hur, also.

  24. 24
    pharniel says:

    @Chris – Let me second the TOS Movies. Those things were crafted with nothing but motherfucking love, tears and souls.

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Some of the original Star Wars movies, actually. The little models were not CGI and so look real. I prefer puppet Yoda to CGI Yoda, although they did a good job.

    I actually thought Episode I was the best of the six, visually speaking. They had enough CGI technology to do some cool stuff that they couldn’t have done in the originals, but hadn’t yet gone completely overboard like in II and III.

  26. 26
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @pharniel: Dude, the approach to the crevice in the Death Star where the run on the exhaust chute began was repeatedly over-used in Episode IV. I love the movie, but ANH was just as guilty of recycling shots.

  27. 27
    Mandalay says:

    has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long

    Well yes, since this effort from 1929 is still the one to beat…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....detailpage

  28. 28
    cmorenc says:

    The original “Matrix” not only had great special effects that wear well with time, but was one of the most genuinely thought-provoking and worthy sci-fi flicks of all time.

    The Matrix sequels, unfortunately not so much – the special effects began to feel like they were borrowed from a shoot-em-up computer game (the “Nintendo” analogy also fits), and the story line degenerated into the sort of shallow gimmickry that ran the “Lost” series into the ground, though not quite so bad as the pretentiously awful stupidity of “Prometheus”.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @pharniel:

    Stargate – the TV show had great SFX too. I may be biased – favorite show ever.

  30. 30
    Culture of Truth says:

    I was going to cite Tron as one that did not hold up so well. I mean it was great for its time, but…

    although much better than so many 80s film where you can blue outline around the effect.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    BTW, the headline of the day (courtesy of the Stephanie Miller Show)

    Cox pulls out of Beaver
    __
    The small community of Beaver (Population: 119) will no longer be served by Cox Communications. Recent flooding washed Cox equipment out of Beaver and it was too expensive to keep service going there, a company spokesperson told Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.

    Heh…

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Yes, she commented on the MIT thread and said she appreciated everyone’s thoughts and would post in an open thread. This is the first one since then.

  33. 33
    Chris says:

    @cmorenc:

    The original “Matrix” not only had great special effects that wear well with time, but was one of the most genuinely thought-provoking and worthy sci-fi flicks of all time.

    Watched the movies again for the first time in almost a decade last semester. As a kid never picked up on what an urban feel it had, especially when you know Will Smith was supposed to be the original Neo.

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    The first matrix movie looked nice, but I was sort of meh on it. The second was so awful I never saw the third. Actually I’m not sure I ever saw the second half of the second movie.

    Which is the same pattern I had with the star wars prequels.

  35. 35
    Raven says:

    I DVR’s Barnicle Bill with Wallace Beery and Marjorie Main for just such a moment as now.

  36. 36
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @handy: Amen to the Neo v. Smith virus fight scene. It became clear once you hit a certain point that it really looked more like animation than a bunch of Hugo Weavings getting their ass kicked by Keanu Reeves. Heck, even Keanu looks animotronic(sp?) if you closely enough.

    That was one of the things that bothered me about the last two movies – while the broader story may have been interesting, one of the things that really works about the first movie is that they keep it small. You don’t see Zion, or other ships, or any of the other crap. It’s just Morpheus & Co. on the Nebuchadnezzar. And the philosophical aspect of it didn’t feel as forced. When you have that asshole Merovingian spouting off on end, it really just came off as unnecessary pontificating.

  37. 37
    El Tiburon says:

    Agree with the Matrix. Was just discussing with a friend how The Matrix was one of those ‘game-changer’ type movies. I resisted seeing it when it came out because it had Keanu Reeves.

    Finally rented it one day on Per-Per-View. I was totally blown away by the film from start to finish. It remains one of those movies I’ll watch everytime I’m flipping through the channels. The Wachowski Broth – er, Siblings, really knocked it out of the park.

    The only other times I can remember feeling that way about a movie were Star Wars and Jaws. And I was 10 years old.

    Too bad they screwed the pooch on the sequels. They = Star Wars episodes 1-3 on suckitude when compared to the originals.

  38. 38
    poptartacus says:

    Great movie. The equals, not so much.

  39. 39
    Culture of Truth says:

    Just before Jurassic Park Terminator Two was first film to take CGI to the next level with liquid metal thing. Probably still holds up.

    Also the plane at the end of Casablanca is a cardboard cutout. Looks like a plane in fog to me!

  40. 40
    poptartacus says:

    Sequels-

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    @poptartacus: It has no equals!

  42. 42
    El Tiburon says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    That was one of the things that bothered me about the last two movies – while the broader story may have been interesting, one of the things that really works about the first movie is that they keep it small. You don’t see Zion, or other ships, or any of the other crap. It’s just Morpheus & Co. on the Nebuchadnezzar.

    Agreed. It got too silly with the ghosts and all of the other crap.

    Remember the first episode ended with Neo flying off saying he was going to wake everyone up. I thought it would be Neo and gang doing more in the real world and getting people to “wake up” or something and starting a movement or revolution. It was just silly.

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    There may be something to the feeling by some film geeks that films with practical effects are holding up better than CGI filled movies.

    I think that’s basically right. The Matrix came at kind of a sweet spot, when people were getting really adept at using computers to enhance practical effects- erasing wires in wire fighting, interpolating frames for bullet-time, etc.- but they weren’t so hot that there was much temptation to use them to replace practical effects.

    I think that there’s also an important point that the effects in The Matrix were used to good storytelling effect. The whole thing about wire fighting and bullet time weren’t there just to show off. They were specifically chosen and designed to highlight the superhuman ability of people who were aware they were in the matrix. I think that makes a really important difference in how well they get past our suspension of disbelief filters.

  44. 44
    El Tiburon says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Just before Jurassic Park Terminator Two was first film to take CGI to the next level with liquid metal thing. Probably still holds up.

    True. The first two Terminator films, especially the SFX in #2 were outstanding. And the story was perfect.

  45. 45
    gogol's wife says:

    We watched Valmont last night. Now those are special effects. Colin Firth making love to several different women. Can’t beat that.

  46. 46
    gene108 says:

    @SGEW:

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    I assume it’s because people fall asleep, whilst “floating” objects in space tumble along to classical music.

    The movie’s dated (and boring).

    @pharniel:

    The original Star Wars IV: A New Hope

    I was going to say the Empire Strikes Back holds up well, but I haven’t seen a cut of the original in a long time, since what Lucas has been showing for the past 15 years is the 1997 redone version.

    As far as other movies that hold up well the original Terminator.

    I’d also throw in Metropolis, by Fritz Lang. Movie making didn’t improve on what special effects could do until the introduction of blue screens.

  47. 47
    handy says:

    @Brachiator:

    Somewhat ironic since cable TV has its roots as being the service provider to rural communities like these.

  48. 48
    Raven says:

    @gene108: And Bad Bascomb!

  49. 49
    El Tiburon says:

    @cmorenc:

    though not quite so bad as the pretentiously awful stupidity of “Prometheus”.

    I wouldn’t go this far, but when it ended I just couldn’t care less about any of it or any sequel that may come down.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I just started doing my taxes. This is the first time I’m going to have to pay any additional taxes on top of what I’ve withheld; usually, I’ve gotten a refund of $2-3k in the past. From what I can tell, the AMT finally caught up with me…I must’ve passed a magic number somewhere in terms of income. Oh well.

    Keep in mind that you cannot file (paper or efile) until January 30. Also, some forms and calcs are not available until February or March. Make sure that you have the latest update. AMT was patched and the calcs are not in place for most software programs. You might not owe AMT.

  51. 51
    PaulW says:

    The special effects for The Avengers have held up pretty well over the past year.

    …what?

    Okay, seriously, the effects for Wrath of Khan have held up well, as well as Terminator 2 (there may be some failures of effects here and there but the kinetic pace of the film makes it difficult to notice) especially the scene where the T-1000 rises up from the floor. Ghostbusters mostly has held up well. although it’s been awhile since I watched.

    If any movie needs a remake or a sequel with improved effects, it’d be Last Starfighter.

  52. 52
    ulee says:

    Groundhog Day had it’s special effects too. Animating Andie MacDowell is no small feat.

  53. 53
    PurpleGirl says:

    I think that the skeleton fighters in the Ray Harryhausen Jason and the Argonauts (1963) has held up very well. In fact, I think the whole movie has held up very well. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. I can watch and enjoy any of his Greek mythology tales. Another great scene is with The Medusa (The Clash of the Titans, 1981).

  54. 54
    El Tiburon says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I prefer puppet Yoda to CGI Yoda, although they did a good job.

    I absolutely hated Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” not only because I thought it paled to the Charlton Heston version, but because the CGI creatures didn’t do it for me. At all.

    But, the remake of “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with Franco, was a very good story and I completely bought in to the cgi monkeys. I am looking forward to that sequel.

  55. 55
    redshirt says:

    I heard a theory about “Groundhog Day” that the Bill Murray character was trapped in that loop for 10,000 years. Or so. Imagine the torture! Which is depicted in the film, right? It’s really kinda scary to think about it.

  56. 56
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @gene108:

    The movie’s dated (and boring).

    That movie is awesome and for winners.

    On the other hand, there’s The Matrix….

  57. 57
    Heliopause says:

    has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long.

    2001? You can argue with parts of it but other parts are as realistic now as they ever were. I realize that it violates the Prime Directive of American movies, that something explode every five seconds, but keep in mind when you watch it what the filmmaker is trying to convey.

  58. 58
    Ari says:

    I’ll throw my vote with Wizard of Oz too. It’s really impressive how well the visuals on some scenes (like the witch appearing in the smoke) still hold up (granted, they’re less challenging effects than hard sci-fi).

  59. 59
    Hal says:

    Terminator 2 has held up incredibly well, but if I recall correctly, that film did not have as much CGI as people think, and used live action scenes in places where today they might be totally CGI.

    And was there really any point in the Matrix sequels? They easily could have left the film at Neo flying off and the conclusion would have been far better than what happened in the sequels, which I still find confusing.

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @gene108:

    RE: 2001: A Space Odyssey

    I assume it’s because people fall asleep, whilst “floating” objects in space tumble along to classical music. The movie’s dated (and boring).

    Nope. Still one of the greatest movies ever made.

    @Roger Moore:

    I think that makes a really important difference in how well they get past our suspension of disbelief filters.

    I can get into a whole big thing about the tyranny of naturalism, and the often false demand that movies be “realistic.” Movies have always depended on visual tricks. Audiences use to accept without question rear screen projection. Now audiences demand more trickery.

    Ironically enough, some viewers of The Hobbit think that the high frame rate projection unveils some of the artifice in the makeup and sets even though the visuals are more vivid.

    Funny how that’s working out.

  61. 61
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Thanks, I will look.
    @Raven: Thanks, I will wait.

  62. 62
    BGinCHI says:

    All Sandra Bullock movies have amazing special effects.

    I mean, she looks like a human in almost all of them.

  63. 63
    poptartacus says:

    @Culture of Truth: sure it does terminator 2 or Aliens 2

  64. 64
    Auguste says:

    @Chris:

    Having recently returned from the Sci-Fi Museum within Paul Allen’s EMP monstrosity in Seattle, I can report that you are challenged in your Stargate lurve by Mr. Allen and, accordingly, should visit if you are able. Probably a slight exaggeration – but only slight – to say that 20% of the items on display are related to one of the Stargate properties.

  65. 65
    Culture of Truth says:

    I heard that people complain that the tiger attacking Russell Crowe in Gladiator looks fake, but the film makers says it’s very real and nearly bit him. I think maybe the big cat just moved too fast for the camera.

    The crowd in Colosseum is all CGI of course. Attenborough (from Jurassic Park) assembled something like 10,000 people to walk in his recreation of Gandhi’s funeral, on the DVD he speculates that it will remain the biggest crowd scene ever filmed, due to CGI. (By the way, that film still holds up, and the funeral scene feels very real)

  66. 66
    dmsilev says:

    The thing that always annoyed me about The Matrix was that the stated reason that the machines had for keeping the humans hooked up (to serve as power generators) is absolute nonsense. The problem is that you have to put more energy into humans (in the form of food) than you’ll get back out as useful power. And if you do need biologicals for some technobabble reason, bacteria are probably more efficient and less trouble.

    And there’s an easy fix as well: Just say that the machines are using human brains as computational substrates, that both the Matrix and the machines’ own consciousnesses are running on top of a big network of interconnected brains. Alternatively, we can assume that either the free humans were lying to Neo or that they themselves were ignorant.

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: @patroclus: Read Dave Zirin for a lovely skewering of Lance Armstrong and the needle he’s trying to thread with this little PR thing.

    FYWP for not having the link button today:

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dave-zirin#

    If you’re not reading Dave Zirin regularly, by the way, you’re really missing out.

  68. 68
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Culture of Truth: That was a great year for films! And those are two excellent examples of great effects. I would go back to A Trip to the Moon, even, for some effects shots that hold up.

    I think computer and practical effects when used properly and within each method’s proper context can make for some great scenes. I cannot stand the overuse cgi blood, though, like in the Expendables. The beheading scene in the first one was just ridiculous.

  69. 69
    John Cole says:

    @Raven: DABNEY COLEMAN!

  70. 70
    redshirt says:

    The Matrix is the best Sci-Fi movie ever. I’m prepared to defend this ranking. Thoughtful, beautiful, action packed, philosophical in the best sci-fi traditions, it’s got everything. Any other sci-fi movie you’d bring up only represents a couple of genres. Also, I can’t watch 2001. So fraking boring. Where’s the PEW-PEW?

  71. 71
    quannlace says:

    am in lurve with Keanu Reeves,

    I like him too, but think he’s a much better comedic actor than dramatic. ‘A Walk In The Clouds’ is an offense.

  72. 72
    Tokyokie says:

    @handy: In most cases, the more CGI, the worse the movie. CGI, besides looking crappy and two-dimensional, makes filmmakers lazy and gives them the notion that they can show anything (which usually turns out to be something banal). Something like Le salaire de la peur holds up a whole lot better than any of today’s SFX-laden fanboy whizbangs.

    @Chris: Star Wars Episode I is, in my opinion, dollar-for-dollar, the worst movie ever made. The plot makes no sense, the dialogue is laughably stilted, the acting almost uniformly awful (Chris Lee is, as usual, wonderful, but not even Sam Jackson can rise above the screenplay, with young Jake Loyd especially dreadful), the fight sequences are clumsy and amateurish (neither Liam Neeson nor Ewan McGregor can muster the chops to keep up with Lee, who was like 80 friggin years old when he made the thing, and the other fight sequences are even worse), and the SFX are lousy, with the actors so scared of missing their marks and messing up the blue-screen effect that they rarely move their bodies below their hips. The centerpiece of the film is the race that’s cribbed from the Wyler Ben-Hur, and there was a time that Lucas stole from better movies, like Kakushi-toride no san-akunin, and did a better job of disguising his thievery, but the dough he made off the first three films put him out of touch with how to make a damn movie.

  73. 73
    BGinCHI says:

    @WaterGirl: This.

    Zirin is now the only sportswriter I read. His piece on Lance is right on.

  74. 74
    Culture of Truth says:

    Mitt Romney in the fist debate was eerily lifelike.

  75. 75
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:
    What I’m trying to say is that the key part of getting people to believe special effects is making them want to believe. We want to believe effects that go along with the story more than ones that are just there for the wow factor. Part of the reason The Matrix does so well is because they managed to get the wow factor to be part of the storytelling.

  76. 76
    Cacti says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    I was going to cite Tron as one that did not hold up so well. I mean it was great for its time, but…

    Without Tron, The Matrix never happens.

  77. 77
    redshirt says:

    @dmsilev: This is explained in the movies. The robots got some power from humans, but got their main power from “a form of fusion”. Obviously, the human enslavement is either: 1. Vengeful, or 2. Creative. Remember, “The Matrix” is something the robots used too – to express their desires.

  78. 78
    poptartacus says:

    I liked blade runner with the narration, the happy ending not so much

  79. 79
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @redshirt:

    philosophical in the best sci-fi traditions

    No, it’s philosophical in the best stoned-college-freshman tradition. Keanu would’ve done the material a better service by playing it as though he were just a slightly older Ted Theodore Logan.

  80. 80
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Brachiator: I’m using TaxAct (online filing system)…will have to see if they got all the stuff in the cliff deal into their system. I can’t file for a while anyways…Schwab doesn’t send their stuff out until mid-February (lazy slackers).

    @El Tiburon: My main problem with ‘I Am Legend’ is that he puts himself into a bad situation way too often. After living alone for that many years, he had to know they weren’t complete idiots. Getting himself tied up in front of Grand Central = facepalm.

    @Hal: My conclusion from that was a) never film movies simultaneously, because they will usually suck ass (see: Pirates of the Caribbean; exempt LOTR). I think if they had thought it through more, and hadn’t been so obsessed with the special effects (who the fuck builds a highway in the middle of bumblefuck to simulate a highway chase scene that, no less, ends in a CGI scene where Neo probably would’ve snapped Morpheus’ and the Keymaker’s neck?).

    Okay, I’ll calm down. It’s mainly disappointing because my friends in high school at the time and I were so amped. We fucking dressed up as Matrix characters to go see Revolutions – and goddamn, that was disappointing. At least Reloaded had some thought-provoking items while moving the story along. The last movie was just a mediocre shoot-em-up. The only good thing that can be said is that the Wachowskis weren’t sentimentalists and go for the easy happy ending.

  81. 81
    Baud says:

    Attack of the 50-Foot Woman… Anyone?

  82. 82
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @gene108: I suspect people might still be watching 2001 fifty or a hundred years from now; not so sure that Empire Strikes Back will be so popular. Of course, I am a horrible person and a communist and all things bad: I thought the whole Star Wars saga was not much more than space opera. Well, that’s not all true. Darth Vader is a pretty cool villain. The light sabres were pretty nifty, too. I like Yoda. The whole Jaba the Hut bdsm sequence was intriguing. Number me, however, among those who thought the child Skywalker actor to be horrific: stiff, dull, and there mostly because he was cute in appearance.

    I watched Logan’s Run recently. I’ll always have a soft spot for that movie because it featured the first nudity I ever saw on film, but the special effects now look pretty dreadful.

  83. 83
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @redshirt: “Whoa. I know Kung Fu.”

    Enough said.

  84. 84
    MikeJ says:

    @redshirt:

    Where’s the PEW-PEW?

    Remember what day it is: Happy Birthday.

  85. 85
    quannlace says:

    Also the plane at the end of Casablanca is a cardboard cutout. Looks like a plane in fog to me!

    And the tornado in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was a rolled up piece of fabric.

  86. 86
    John Cole says:

    @John Cole: Doh. That was Buffalo Bill. I’m so old.

  87. 87
    Culture of Truth says:

    The immense popularity of the Star Wars, among every new generation of kids, is amazing. Unlikely to go away soon.

  88. 88
    Geoduck says:

    Terminator 2 used so little CGI because it was still so monstrously expensive; I gather there’s at least one fight-scene snippet where they wrapped Robert Patrick/his stuntman in reflective foil. Earlier in James Cameron’s career, when he helped create the “computer generated” plane-navigation system in Escape From New York, he did it by building a physical model of the NY skyline and covering it with lines of reflective tape.

    Another one nobody’s mentioned is Mary Poppins. Great wire-work for the flying effects.

  89. 89
    Culture of Truth says:

    Plan 9 From Outerspace? Original Frankenstein? Close Encounters of the Third Kind?

  90. 90
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: What’s with the Sandra Bullock hate?

    Overboard is the movie I always watch if I come across it – even mid-stream while flipping channels. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. There’s something about that movie that keeps me coming back, even though I am well aware that it’s not the film version of literature.

  91. 91
    srv says:

    @redshirt: You must have come in the wrong airlock this morning.

  92. 92
    Cacti says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    I thought the whole Star Wars saga was not much more than space opera

    I thought 2001: A Space Odyssey was a pompous, overrated, bore.

    But, to each his/her own.

  93. 93
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    It was a (dead) calf’s eyeball — Wikipedia has a surprisingly good still that shows the actual moment.

    Though, to that point, there are still a lot of “old fashioned” special effects that hold up very, very well. Take a look at the 1933 version of The Invisible Man. It’s still hard to tell how John P. Fulton (who was a frickin’ genius) did some of the effects.

  94. 94
    ulee says:

    the Matrix movies never worked for me. I think it’s because Keanu Reeves is one of the dullest actors I’ve ever viewed. He’s like Ben Affleck. No character. Now if Steve Buscemi had played the protagonist…that would have been fun. Trees Lounge, that’s a good movie, even without the special effects, unless Ben Affleck had been cast.

  95. 95
    MikeJ says:

    @WaterGirl: Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty are on TV tonight. $ on TCM.

    Hooray for caper movie night! They shouldn’t limit it to January.

  96. 96
    redshirt says:

    @PsiFighter37: As in, awesome line, right? It was obviously a shout out to his Ted character. Some humor, in an otherwise humor-free movie.

  97. 97
    Alison says:

    @ulee: Haha, Buscemi as Neo? That would have been…….interesting :P He strikes me as the type to be decidedly AGAINST taking the red pill.

    And I heart him for it :) One of my favorite actors, definitely.

  98. 98
    WaterGirl says:

    @MikeJ: Searching for my Tivo remote…

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Hal:

    They used an old filmmaker’s trick at the climax — when there are two Sarah Connors, that’s Linda Hamilton and her identical twin sister, Leslie. Today they probably would use CGI, and it wouldn’t look nearly as believable, because you wouldn’t have two people standing in front of the camera.

    Speaking of twin effects, I wonder how Dead Ringers holds up, where Jeremy Irons plays his own identical twin. It’s too squicky for me to watch again.

  100. 100
    Bruce S says:

    A Republican takes responsibility…

    http://wonkette.com/497025/dru.....r-old-girl

  101. 101
    RobertDSC-iMac G5 says:

    I was going to say the Empire Strikes Back holds up well, but I haven’t seen a cut of the original in a long time, since what Lucas has been showing for the past 15 years is the 1997 redone version.

    If you can get your hands on the first set of DVDs that came out when they were first released on DVD, the original theatrical editions were included, warts and all, as bonus material. I still have my copies and cherish them so.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    Carpenter’s The Thing, I remember it blowing my mind at the time with some of the FX. The legs growing out of that human head and walking around was and is still very creepy.

  103. 103
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @PsiFighter37: I still remember walking out of the theater after that one going, “Whoa!”

    For everyone else: If “holding up” means the effects still look as real today as they did when the movie came out, then not all of the movies mentioned make that cut. While I love Tron, it is definitely an 80s movie, though you can argue it’s graphics actually represent 80s computing power.

    ETA: I decided I didn’t know exactly what John mean.

  104. 104
    Chris says:

    @dmsilev:

    It doesn’t make sense even if you ignore the technical aspect. Why use conscious humans rather than just vegetables on life support? In fact why use humans at all when a chimp or other life form would do just as well? Great movie, but not necessarily 100% logical.

  105. 105
    WaterGirl says:

    @MikeJ: Never heard of caper movie night or the movie $.

    “A security expert and his hooker girlfriend loot the safe-deposit boxes in a German bank.”
    1971.

    That should be fun! Tivo set to record.

    What is caper night? Every night in January or every Tuesday in January?

  106. 106
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @redshirt: I never saw that movie, but the delivery was awesome (even if Keanu is generally a shitty actor).

    Oh, and the fight scene afterward was awesome, too. It takes something for a movie to turn a simple sparring session into more. And at the end, when Neo starts punching at Agent speed…way cool.

    Alright, going to calm the inner fanboy/high school kid down.

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Heh. Even at the time, reviewers of the original Frankenstein complained about the sloppiness of the filmmaking and effects — at one point, you can see the wrinkles in the cyclorama that’s supposed to be the sky.

    But the miniature effects in Bride of Frankenstein are still pretty mind-boggling.

  108. 108
    redshirt says:

    Without “The Last Starfighter”, there is no “The Matrix”.

  109. 109
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Hal: I always viewed the Matrix story as a retelling of the King Author legend. Even the carrying off of Neo’s body at the end was reminiscent of Author in Excalibur.

  110. 110
    Maude says:

    @ulee:
    #11. That transformation scene is the best special effects scene ever done and it can’t be topped.
    It wasn’t cold and distant, it had feeling in it. It was also chilling.
    The final scene in the movie wasn’t as good when he changes back into a human.
    Jason and the Argonauts was excellent. So was the original Clash of The Titans. The Medusa scene was wonderful.

  111. 111
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I liked First Contact with TNG crew, most boring sci-fi movie ever, Contact with Jodie Foster. As for the Matrix series, I like the setup, the ending not so much. Part III was bad, II was OK, I was the best.

  112. 112
    WaterGirl says:

    Gex, are you out there? We have an open thread for you. Don’t worry about spoiling the movie fun, please let us know how you are.

  113. 113
    mainmati says:

    @Culture of Truth: I agree with all three of your choices though the burning of Atlanta is so obviously a set that it is less effective. Ben-Hur was much better in effects than the Ten Commandments by the same director.

  114. 114
    Cacti says:

    @redshirt:

    Without “The Last Starfighter”, there is no “The Matrix”.

    Or The Terminator series, or The Ghost in the Shell. The Matrix was a fun, and well made sci-fi/action flick, but it didn’t exactly hide that it borrowed heavily from other sources.

  115. 115
    MikeJ says:

    @WaterGirl: Every Tuesday in January they’re showing caper movies. Ocean’s 11, Five Against the House, Rififi, The Italian Job, that sort of thing. I love the genre. The mastermind comes up with the plan, we get to see them do it, something always goes wrong.

    They’re showing lots of great movies but leaving out just as many.

  116. 116
    Maude says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    I hadn’t read your comment when I wrote mine. Great minds think alike.

  117. 117
    the Conster says:

    I could only watch The Matrix once, and then it burrowed into my cortex and I couldn’t watch it again because it really disturbed me. I still can’t. Fire in the Sky is the same – I can’t watch it again because I think it might be exactly right.

    Blade Runner is the best though for anticipating what our dystopia will look like – minority majorities crammed into rotting wet coastal cities with everyone surveilled.

  118. 118
    redshirt says:

    @Cacti: I think there was a direct shoutout to “The Terminator” in “The Matrix” when Trinity removes the “bug” from Neo’s belly button. When the centipedal robot hits the raining ground, its bright red eye dims just the like at the end of “The Terminator” when it’s crushed in the press.

  119. 119
    Hal says:

    I’m also going to throw in the original Alien, but considering the special effects looked like some run down commodore computers, and lots of steam, I’m not surprised.

    Still, ounce for ounce, that movie produces the most chills for me of any sci-fi film I’ve scene and still rates as one of the most frightening films of all time.

  120. 120
    Culture of Truth says:

    Without the first starfighter, there is no Last Starfighter. Think about it.

  121. 121
    Bruce S says:

    Greatest special effects I’ve ever seen was Gary Sinise “amputation” in Forrest Gump (although I hated the movie.)

    Wasn’t familiar with Sinese and assumed he was a real amputee who had prosthetics in the other scenes. CGI didn’t even cross my mind. Served the story brilliantly. I’m totally sick of CGI in space & fantasy movies and crap action flics (Mission Impossible’s leap on the train was one of the worst – perfectly executed technically and still in-your-face phony.) CGI’s become an “on-the-cheap” way of evading decent writing, characters, etc. Which of course don’t cost as much, but are harder to execute. Also hate Bourne-like car-chase editing. If I want a car chase, I’ll take Bullit…even though living in the Bay Area I have to laugh at a lot of the cuts “across town.”

  122. 122
    Suffern ACE says:

    Hmmm. What counts as special effects. Would Raiders of the lost arc count as having them, or do only sci fi movies have them.

  123. 123
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Here’s a badass dubsteppy remix of one of my favorite original mixes from last year. Not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like a rocking bass beat, you will love this.

  124. 124
    Bruce S says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    “Raiders of the lost arc…” That was a problem with story in the sequels.

  125. 125
    Culture of Truth says:

    @redshirt: sounds like it could be a shout out to Wrath of Khan

  126. 126
    the Conster says:

    Fuck you mod filter. I had something to say DAMMIT!

  127. 127
    eemom says:

    Atlantic piece today about my beloved Dr Seuss’s WWII political cartoons, which were discussed on ABL’s recent Yertle post.

    (open thread ‘n all that)

  128. 128
    Cacti says:

    @Hal:

    I’m also going to throw in the original Alien, but considering the special effects looked like some run down commodore computers, and lots of steam, I’m not surprised.

    One of the things I appreciated about Alien, and the orignial Star Wars trilogy, is that a lot of the ships looked like a future version of a beat up 1979 Impala.

    As opposed to the prequel Star Wars trilogy where everything looked clean, sleek, and perfect.

  129. 129
    Schlemizel says:

    @Bruce S: (although I hated the movie.)

    Thank god! I thought I was the only person in America that hated that movie!

  130. 130
    gene108 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    where Jeremy Irons plays his own identical twin.

    If playing your own twin is a measure of special effects, I think I’d have say Lindsey Lohan’s The Parent Trap has held up pretty well; much better than Lindsey (sad to say, because the she did show some talent).

  131. 131
    the Conster says:

    I can’t watch Fire in the Sky more than once, like The Matrix, because it might be right.

  132. 132
    Culture of Truth says:

    Superman – you will believe a man can fly

  133. 133
  134. 134
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Cacti: At least for me, I could gloss over the differences in look. The Rebels were beat up as shit and probably had to rely on some really crappy stuff to make those letter-wing fighters (A-, B-, X-, Y-, and so forth). The Empire doesn’t really have an excuse, unless they had bankrupted their ass building the $850 quadrillion Death Star that the Imperial Star Destroyers had to look like flying 3D trapezoids.

    But when the Republic was around, we could afford to spend on shit like Naboo Starfighters that looked more like luxury space rides.

  135. 135
    WaterGirl says:

    @MikeJ: Found this page. I will have to take a better look after I make dinner. Thanks for the hot tip on the capers!

    P.S. The Split looks like a good bet with all those incredible actors in it.

  136. 136
    ulee says:

    @Maude: yes, Maude. I haven’t seen the movie in years, but his distress about what is is happening to him is great. The scream. The nails growing, his body stretching, the snout extending, and then the full transformation. It still stays with me.

  137. 137
    Cacti says:

    @gene108:

    I think I’d have say Lindsey Lohan’s The Parent Trap has held up pretty well; much better than Lindsey (sad to say, because the she did show some talent).

    On that note, I’d say the original 1961 release of The Parent Trap has aged well.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    People will still be watching Empire Strikes Back for the same reason they still watch Casablanca or The Maltese Falcon over 50 years after they were made — it has interesting characters who have fun dialogue and interact with each other in interesting ways. There is much to admire in 2001 from a technical point of view, but it doesn’t have the entertaining human story that Empire does.

  139. 139
    trollhattan says:

    “Holy Grail!” Squirting blood, flying cows, flying rabbits, pert Castle Anthrax maidens, budget of about seven quid, what’s not to love?

  140. 140
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Bruce S: Hating on Forrest Gump? C’mon…

    That said, I loved the Bourne trilogy (the most recent one with Jeremy Renner was a poor knockoff of the first Bourne movie, except instead of having amnesia, he’s searching for a permanent hit of his meds. Awesome job, writers)…it didn’t beat around the bush trying to have a deep message or storyline. It was pure adrenaline and action, combined with a lot of Matt Damon saying little and a helluva lotta Matt Damon kicking nameless spy ass in brutal fashion.

    That fight in Morocco where he jumps through the window and fights the assassin for 3 minutes in pure silence (except for all the glass breaking) was pure awesome.

  141. 141
    MikeJ says:

    @WaterGirl:

    The Split looks like a good bet with all those incredible actors in it.

    It is good.

    I was disappointed at the lack of Donald Westlake in a series of caper films. No Hot Rock?

  142. 142
    Turgidson says:

    Empire Strikes Back holds up fairly well, as does Return of the Jedi.

    As an aside, I thought the Lucas juggernaut was finally getting a handle on how to use CGI without completely ruining everything for Episode III. It was still over the top, but the whole goddamn movie didn’t look like a video game anymore (with exceptions). I even think that one was in the ballpark of being a halfway decent movie – a bad script and the guy who played Anakin ruined it, though.

    Of the many bafflingly horrible things about the new Star Wars movies, the one I can’t understand above all is why he thought everything should look so sparkly and shiny. Part of what made the originals believable was how bleak and “lived-in” the universe looked. They went a million miles the other way for the new ones, even when they were on the same planets as before. What the fucking fuck?

  143. 143
    Bruce S says:

    @Schlemizel:

    People hate you for hating that one. Struck me as a dishonest cop-out from life.

    But, hey, the movies are like a box of chocolates…

  144. 144
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gene108:

    They probably used the same camera technology for the Lohan version as they did for the Irons film.

    The original was just good old fashioned split screen.

    ETA: A brief shot from the film showing that, yes, it does count as special effects.

  145. 145
    Maude says:

    @ulee:
    I saw it once. I won’t see it again because I can’t handle it. Special effects people have talked about it as the best.
    I can’t handle violence in books or movies. I stay awake at night and am very uneasy for days. I have learned to just close a book or not see a movie.
    The Time Traveler’s Wife upset me badly.

  146. 146
    Original Lee says:

    @PaulW: A remake of The Last Starfighter could be awesome if they don’t ruin it trying to be all meta.

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Metropolis.

  148. 148
    Bruce S says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I enjoyed the Bourne movies, but I hate the way they edit car chases in that genre. Actually makes it less exciting, it’s so patently bogus. I’m willing to suspend disbelief, but that crap is an offense to the eyeballs.

  149. 149
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cacti:

    As opposed to the prequel Star Wars trilogy where everything looked clean, sleek, and perfect.

    Not everything. Lots of stuff on Tatooine looked like junk in the prequels, and a lot of the Imperial stuff looked shiny and new in the originals. I think that was a deliberate attempt to show the difference between the fancy, sophisticated core of the Republic (and later Empire) compared to the rather shabby outer rim. I think that kind of unequal distribution of wealth was supposed to be a major driver of the rebellion.

  150. 150
    gene108 says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    I suspect people might still be watching 2001 fifty or a hundred years from now

    I have a feeling people under 50 or 60 aren’t as passionate about 2001 as the olds are.

    The movie has too much filler of stuff floating in space to hold up.

  151. 151
    WaterGirl says:

    @MikeJ: I forgot the link I referred to!

    http://www.tcm.com/this-month/.....nuary.html

  152. 152
    ulee says:

    @Maude: Maude. Time Traveler’s Wife. Is that a book or a movie. I’ll put it on my list. I like good horror.

  153. 153
    Splitting Image says:

    I think a good case can be made for The Muppet Movie.

    Buster Keaton’s The General is another that has absolutely held up. Keaton’s work overall is still jaw-dropping. The waterfall scene at the end of Our Hospitality will make you gasp even though you can tell that the actress was replaced with a dummy.

    I also like the flying effects in Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines.

  154. 154
    redshirt says:

    @gene108: I don’t enjoy 2001 at all. It’s slow and boring and pedantic and boring. I’d watch some stupid cheezy sci-fi movie like “Starship Troopers” before 2001.

  155. 155
    gene108 says:

    @Original Lee:

    There’s no way they can successfully remake The Last Starfighter.

    I just think modern movie remakes would have to somehow make it either more cynical or more action packed and take the fun out of what the original was.

    I personally enjoyed that movie, when I saw it as a kid and think it still holds up pretty well.

    It had a bit of the innocence/blind ambition/dreams of what you could be as kid, mixed with the what seemed like all the things that could hold you back that you tended not think you could completely overcome.

  156. 156
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Roger Moore: You put it better than I did. I can easily explain away the shininess vs. grunginess between the 2 series.

    Now, as for George Lucas’ writing and directing? I know a lot of people blame Hayden Christiansen, but he’s acted credibly in other things. Heck, so has Natalie Portman as well…I think it just goes to show that having someone who has written and directed a movie that wasn’t a long time ago, in a different era, is important. You have to give credit to Ewan McGregor, though, because he totally sold me on being a younger version of Alec Guinness.

    Interesting facts that may only interest me:

    1) Disney bought out Lucasfilm (so that makes Lucas a sellout, literally) and is putting out Episode VII in 2 years. I’m really worried, because after how badly botched most of PT was, I really do worry about doing a sequel – especially given how huge the Expanded Universe post-Endor is.

    2) Alec Guinness apparently hated doing Star Wars after the fact because it overshadowed the rest of his career.

  157. 157
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Splitting Image:

    That’s partly because when they crashed the train in The General, it was a real, full-size train on a real full-size bridge, not a model or miniature. In fact, not even a special effect since they took the real thing and dumped it into a real river.

    Sherlock Jr. still astounds people, too.

  158. 158
    ulee says:

    Also, Maude, if it upsets you badly, then maybe you should stay away. It’s like if you hate roller coasters, if you don’t like them dont ride them. But if are very uneasy for days after reading these books or seeing these movies, then maybe you shouldn’t continue. I don’t know. But if stepping off your back porch makes you shudder because Stephen King wrote a story about it, then he is doing his job. But don’t upset yourself unnecessarily.

  159. 159
    Bruce S says:

    @redshirt:

    There’s really only one way to fully appreciate “2001” – it’s 1968 and you’re stoned on acid. If you ever have the chance, I’d recommend it.

    When I’ve seen it more recently, I can’t stick with it. Not because of the effects, but for all of the overt pretensions and, yes, the dragging storyline.

  160. 160
    MikeJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: How about Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last. Not sfx, stuntwork.

  161. 161
    Cacti says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Disney bought out Lucasfilm (so that makes Lucas a sellout, literally) and is putting out Episode VII in 2 years. I’m really worried, because after how badly botched most of PT was, I really do worry about doing a sequel – especially given how huge the Expanded Universe post-Endor is.

    Star Wars episode VII, directed by Michael Bay, with Yoda voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.

    I can hardly wait!

  162. 162
    Culture of Truth says:

    Guinness and Neeson are good in those films, in part because they just casually throw their lines out there, like they don’t a crap. and yet it works.

  163. 163
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Just realized the clip of the actual crash is a dead link — here’s a different one. Make sure you stick around for the punchline, which comes from the Union general who ordered the train across the bridge.

  164. 164
    Bruce S says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Yeah, and apparently there are kids who think Paul Newman was a guy who sold spaghetti sauce…although God Bless him for using his celebrity to raise money for disadvantaged kids.

  165. 165
    redshirt says:

    @Bruce S: No doubt. I remember seeing it in 1977 or so and being impressed. Anytime since: Yawn. HAL is clearly the best part of the movie. He should get his own movie, than a stand up tour, an album, then a line of robot fashion accessories.

    Also, I was not on acid.

  166. 166
    Schlemizel says:

    @Bruce S:

    Both statements are true!

  167. 167
    dmsilev says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    2) Alec Guinness apparently hated doing Star Wars after the fact because it overshadowed the rest of his career.

    Which is pretty impressive when you look at the rest of his career.

    If you haven’t seen it, go watch The Bridge on the River Kwai. Now.

  168. 168
    Maude says:

    @ulee:
    It’s a book. It isn’t horror. It’s has a lot of suffering by the man who travels in time. There is cruelty in it. I’m not the only one it bothered.
    Horror is different. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t mean the bloody horror films, those are cheap imitations.

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ulee:

    The Time Traveler’s Wife is not actually a horror film, and it was sold as a romantic drama. I think that’s probably why Maude was taken by surprise at the horror elements in it. None of the ads or reviews hinted at them, but there are horrific implications in a lot of what happens.

    @MikeJ:

    I have a cat named Keaton, so you can guess my answer. ;-) The Lloyd film is kind of okay, I guess. It’s definitely impressive that he did all of that stunt work with only two fingers on his left (?) hand.

  170. 170
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    Since we’re finding more movies that hold up well than don’t, I’ll put Time Bandits out there as a movie that doesn’t hold up well, just to help out the counter argument. And Flash Gordon. I don’t want to give any kids reading our blog the idea that were just a bunch of old folks who think the movies that we had were superior in special effects.

  171. 171
    HumboldtBlue says:

    John, I may have missed it, but have you reconsidered your stance on Lance Armstrong, the single greatest fraud the sports world has seen?

    I do recall your lamentations about him being targeted and your insistence that he never failed a drug test, therefore, he was on the up-and-up. What now? What about the people he abused, bullied, sued, threatened and harmed, is there a test for how much they suffered at the hands of this one-balled asshole?

  172. 172
    Schlemizel says:

    @Splitting Image:

    Though he is not much remembered today Harold Lloyd was a master at physical special effects. One famous scene is him hanging by one hand from the minute hand of a tower clock. They shot it on a bridge so that had he fallen it would only have been a couple of feet but because of the angle it looks to be 40 feet.

    What made it more impressive is he was missing his thumb & part of his first finger on the hand he is using in the scene.

  173. 173
    redshirt says:

    @PsiFighter37: You should read the novelization of Episode 3, by Mathew Stover. It’s excellent, on many levels. Highly recommended.

  174. 174
    Maude says:

    @dmsilev:
    What a wondrous movie.

  175. 175
    Cacti says:

    @Cacti:

    Disney bought out Lucasfilm (so that makes Lucas a sellout, literally) and is putting out Episode VII in 2 years. I’m really worried, because after how badly botched most of PT was, I really do worry about doing a sequel – especially given how huge the Expanded Universe post-Endor is.

    OTOH, once upon a time, Disney was able to make a movie like The Black Hole, which was cool as shit, then and now.

  176. 176
    👽 Martin says:

    @gene108:

    I have a feeling people under 50 or 60 aren’t as passionate about 2001 as the olds are.

    My son is 14 and has watched 2001 probably 30 times. He was sick last week and I came home just as he was finishing it up.

    2001 succeeds for many people in a number of ways. There’s the fact that it was absolutely revolutionary, not just in technical ways but also in terms of storytelling. Not many directors are brave enough to go half an hour into a movie before the first lines of dialogue appear. But I think the part of 2001 my son likes the best is how utterly normal it makes space appear to be. It’s not lasers and shit, but Howard Johnson’s and flight attendants pickup up an errant pen. That seems boring, but its hard for a lot of people to look at space battles and envision that’s in their future. I think a lot of people can look at a hotel in orbit and envision that’s in their personal future. That’s a big goal of science fiction – to construct a universe in which you can emotionally connect because you can plausibly believe it might in your future, and then explore motifs that are either unique to that constructed universe or easier to probe in a constructed universe (things like racism). 2001 does that for a lot of people better than most other science fiction films. And films influenced by 2001 help carry that along – like Moon, which also strives to construct a completely normal (if less acid tripping) environment.

    Space, in and of itself, with no embellishment, is still utterly fascinating for many people. Films that embrace the mundane nature of space will always be popular, at least until going into space becomes mundane.

  177. 177
    MikeJ says:

    @Bruce S:

    Yeah, and apparently there are kids who think Paul Newman was a guy who sold spaghetti sauce

    It worked out well for some people though. Nobody remembers Orville Redenbacher was a founder of the German-American Bund.

  178. 178
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @dmsilev: Yeah, I am not well-versed in older movies…will do.

  179. 179
    magurakurin says:

    @Bruce S: Many critics of the film suggest that the dragging story line and the stilted dialogue of 2001 is a feature and not a bug. The film is, in part, an effort to show the loss of human communication and humanity in the face of rising technology. The boredom of the scenes with human interaction, which are few, are designed to highlight this. At least that is what I have read in some critical reviews. Personally, I enjoyed the film, but found it very difficult to understand. It’s a strange one. I also think that the special effects have held up very well after so many years. The Matrix isn’t THAT old of a movie.

    Definitely, though, it is a difficult movie and it is understandable why some folks wouldn’t like it. I don’t think actual fairly belongs in the same genre as the other films people are suggesting above. Not that that makes the film anymore watchable for someone, but if someone rents 2001 expecting an action/ scifi adventure, they will surely be disappointed.

  180. 180
    ulee says:

    @Alison: Alison. Steve Buscemi is the best. He is one of my favorites. It’s like it you were a director, and you said, –Play a bastard gunslinger, a kind gunslinger, a guilty brother, a wicked neighbor…he would play it with empathy for the character, whether you liked the character or not. It’s hard to explain. I love him too.

  181. 181
    Walker says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    Please. I saw Flash Gordon in the theater when it was released. It was never about the special effects.

    It was all about the BRIAN BLESSED!

  182. 182
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Cacti: really? The robot was a step backward from Twiki.

  183. 183
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @redshirt: I’ve read all the novelizations of the SW movies (both OT and PT). I do agree that Stover did a really good job…while Episode III was better than the other prequels from a writing standpoint, it could’ve used a true writer’s touch (and not just an uncredited Tom Stoppard).

  184. 184
    scav says:

    @Walker: Brian Blessed and special effects might tear a hole in the space-time continuum. filmstock would melt.

  185. 185
    Bruce S says:

    @dmsilev:

    Also, Kind Hearts & Coronets, Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers and The Horses Mouth. Along with “Bridge” and the 2 George Smiley TV miniseries, my favorite Alec Guiness.

  186. 186
    Maude says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    170

    I read the book, Time Traveler’s Wife. I didn’t know it was a movie. It was the awful cruelty to him.
    Have you seen Seconds with Rock Hudson? Best scifi movie ever. And so chilling.
    I’ve seen The General a lot times. It does hold up and so do all of Keaton’s films. It was said about Keaton that he knew what was funny and the timing.
    He would go on tv and talk about film and how things were done. He was so wonderful.

  187. 187
    MikeJ says:

    @magurakurin:

    but if someone rents 2001 expecting an action/ scifi adventure, they will surely be disappointed.

    Well put. 2001 is not a sci fi film. It’s a drama about alienation set in space. Verfremdungseffekt at its finest.

  188. 188

    I am making apple cider caramels and you are not:

    http://smittenkitchen.com/blog.....k-is-here/

  189. 189
    SatanicPanic says:

    2001, the original Star Trek, Blade Runner… all movies I may have liked, or remember liking, before I became a parent. Now I just want to be entertained. Give me Avatar or The Avengers.

  190. 190
    👽 Martin says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    Disney bought out Lucasfilm (so that makes Lucas a sellout, literally) and is putting out Episode VII in 2 years. I’m really worried, because after how badly botched most of PT was, I really do worry about doing a sequel – especially given how huge the Expanded Universe post-Endor is.

    Disney deserves credit for saving The Avengers. Here’s a property that is every bit as ambitious as Star Wars, has probably a greater long-term potential simply because there is such a breadth of material to draw from which can be constructed in parallel and pieced together in interesting ways, and Disney seems to understand that and work to protect it. So far, they haven’t fucked it up, and they’ve had that property for 3 years now.

    While I’m not a huge fan of Disney, they are exceptionally good (with some missteps) at protecting properties for the long haul. And the more property they have, the less pressure they have to exploit any one of them to make next quarters numbers. They have Star Wars, Indiana Jones, all the Marvel stuff, all the Pixar stuff, and all of their own old stuff. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and I think they affords them the ability to take a very long view on all of it.

  191. 191
    Cacti says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace:

    really? The robot was a step backward from Twiki.

    But the villain robot was awesome, and the end part where he and Maximilian Schell are joined together in hell, still creeps me out when I see it.

  192. 192
    Strontium 90 says:

    @Chris: I don’t think there were any real humans. Just layers of computer reality and a heirarchy to maintain the order of those realities. That was my take away at least after watching the mess of the two sequels.

  193. 193
    Turgidson says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    tangent: The movie script for Ep III was somewhat better than the first two, but when Anakin’s lines during his battle with Obi Wan basically amounted to “I know you are but what am I”, delivered by HC like a 11 year old boy who thinks he’s too old to cry, but can’t quite help it and is clearly holding it in…man, that was painful. That scene could have actually been, you know, good. MacGregor certainly tried to hold up his end. oh well.

  194. 194
    dmsilev says:

    @Maude:

    I read the book, Time Traveler’s Wife. I didn’t know it was a movie. It was the awful cruelty to him.

    I hated that book. Probably I wasn’t the target audience for it (it was given to me by a well meaning neighbor: “It’s science fiction; you’ll love it”. Not.), but I developed what amounted to an allergic reaction to both main characters by the end.

  195. 195
    Gravenstone says:

    *sigh* One of my best friends from HS laid down an anti-gun control rant on FB today. I let his point stand, but finally jumped in when some moron (sadly, I think the wife of another friend) chimed in about tossing out all the laws because her fucking guns were more important. A second clown decided to pull out the “we needs our gunz against the guvmint tyranny” canard. I wished him the best of luck against an infantry company or armored unit. Even suggested he might warrant his very own Hellfire if we was really special. I don’t see this conversation ending well.

  196. 196
    Bruce S says:

    @magurakurin:

    That makes sense. I admire Kubrick, although IMHO after a several classics like Paths of Glory and Spartacus, he peaked with the masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove. After that, very uneven. But maybe my tastes are too simple…

  197. 197
    Svensker says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    She posted a couple of lines earlier today – in one of those marathon threads, I think

    What did she say?

  198. 198
    Culture of Truth says:

    I love 2001. Might be my favorite film.

    Also, too Hawkmen…..DIIIIIIIIIVEE!!!!!!!!!!

  199. 199
    Randy P says:

    @Maude: I guess this is one of those YMMV things. We read Time Traveler’s Wife in our house and also saw the movie and we loved both. Yes, there are some mishaps, it leads to his injury and eventually his death. But it’s also an incredibly romantic story. Those things are not the major part of the story.

    My wife is not at all a fan of horror or violence. She adores both the book and the movie. In fact, she is the one who made me read the book.

    Isn’t “something bad happens to the love interest” a staple of the love story genre, most famously with Romeo and Juliet?

  200. 200
    ulee says:

    Alright. I’ll read and watch Time Traveler’s wife. You all have convinced me. I like listening to Beatle’s songs but I also like reading or seeing something that scares or freaks me out. It reminds me of Tarentino defending himself. He said-“It’s not my job to babysit your sensibilities, it’s my job to express myself. If you don’t like it…”(paraphrasing)

  201. 201
    Cacti says:

    @Gravenstone:

    A second clown decided to pull out the “we needs our gunz against the guvmint tyranny” canard.

    Lawyer that I am, I like to point out that we’ve always had laws against insurrection, sedition, and treason.

    If the Second Amendment protected some inherent right of armed overthrow of the government, all of the above would be patently unconstitutional.

  202. 202
    Maude says:

    @dmsilev:
    Thank you. The man whom I went back and forth with about the book is an exceptional psychiatrist. He knows I don’t like members of his profession and he agrees.
    He was disturbed by it and said he was like the time traveler in a sense. He also lost sleep.

  203. 203
    magurakurin says:

    @dmsilev:

    Indeed. I love those David Lean movies. Even though his part is smaller, Alec Guiness is amazing in Dr. Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia as well. And talk about special effects that hold up, it isn’t light sabers and bullet dodging, but those films are amazing. Most of Dr. Zhivago was filmed in Spain and the final scenes in the ice palace in Varykino were also shot in Spain. All the snow in that scene is fake. Truly amazing effect since to this day I don’t think any viewer would suspect that unless they knew.

    Other awesome Alec Guiness movies I have seen, The Lady Killers and the The Man in the White Suit.

  204. 204
    SFAW says:

    @mainmati:

    Ben-Hur was much better in effects than the Ten Commandments by the same director

    FYI:
    Ben-Hur = William Wyler
    Ten Commandments = Cecil B. DeMille

  205. 205
    SatanicPanic says:

    @👽 Martin: I hope Lucas didn’t have a clause in his sale agreement that Disney would never redo the prequels. Because it would be sooo satisfying if they did.

  206. 206
    Maude says:

    @Randy P:
    I can’t read John Sanford because of the violence.
    I have always had a difficult time with cruelty and always will.

  207. 207
    Gravenstone says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Also, too Hawkmen…..DIIIIIIIIIVEE!!!!!!!!!!

    Is there anyone else who can gleefully chew up the scenery quite like Brian Blessed?

  208. 208
    hoi polloi says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Like terminator before it, Matrix was a great little pulp that fell way too much in love with itself. First one was awesome, sequels got top heavy; couldn’t carry the weight they were asked to bear. IMHO.

  209. 209
    MikeJ says:

    @magurakurin: Watch Our Man in Havana.

    Also too, Lavender Hill Mob is coming up on caper movie night we were talking about above.

  210. 210
    Svensker says:

    @Tokyokie:

    What you said. And beautifully, too!

  211. 211
    Randy P says:

    @redshirt: 10,000 days anyway. Consider the piano-playing. He starts with no talent at all, and becomes an expert. Somewhere I heard that about 10,000 hours on an activity is where you become an expert.

    But I’ve heard Harold Ramis (who will always be a god to me as the writer of this amazing movie) talk about this movie, and I think his concept of how long the character had been stuck in the loop was something like what you’re saying.

  212. 212
    Original Lee says:

    @Bruce S: I have never seen it. Originally, it was because I was too busy. Then I heard people talking about it, and I decided I didn’t want to see it. Nowadays, I take perverse pride in never having seen it and despising it anyway. People are usually so shocked that I haven’t seen it that they don’t bother to hate me.

  213. 213
    Strontium 90 says:

    @ulee: The Time Traveler’s Wife was awful. Nearly unwatchable. I had to double check this on IMDB thinking that there had to be some other version besides the Bana/McAdams version. Nope, that is the only one. Run, don’t walk, in the other direction.

  214. 214
    Citizen_X says:

    @magurakurin: David Lean was on a roll there, with Bridge/Lawrence/Zhivago. And with Sharif, as much as Guiness.

  215. 215
    Robert says:

    A lot of the old horror pictures really hold up because the special effects were all suggestion and well-executed stage craft. I’m really thinking of The Invisible Man which has a ridiculous amount of beautifully executed slapstick effects, though Val Lewton’s Cat People also holds up in its simplicity. That one is shadows, sound effects, and some good editing.

  216. 216
    Bruce S says:

    @Gravenstone:

    The notion of the 2nd amendment as a way of confronting government tyranny became ridiculous around the turn of the previous century. Certainly by WWI, unless you go “absolutist” and assert the right of cranks in camouflage to own rocket propelled grenades and SAMS. Without going full-on dystopic, that argument is just a fucking joke – an infantile fantasy only a total moron could possibly cling to. I also love the way the Right has supplanted the far Left as the locus of “Hate America” rants and rage over the past several decades. These fuckers really can’t stand this country as it actually exists. All of their nostalgia – with the dirtbags who fly Confederate flags perhaps the worst – is for stuff that was largely the country’s greatest flaws and failures.

  217. 217
    eemom says:

    @SFAW:

    Ben-Hur = William Wyler
    Ten Commandments = Cecil B. DeMille

    Both: Charlton Heston=the most godawful actor ever rewarded with stardom.

  218. 218
    Randy P says:

    @dmsilev: It’s not sci-fi, it’s something which I’m seeing more of in recent years: “mainstream” authors playing with sci-fi or fantasy elements. Throw them into an otherwise ordinary world and see what happens. I’ve seen werewolves and witches treated this way.

    One of the best of this kind of thing is “Memoirs of an Invisible Man” by H. F. Saint. I would not classify that as sci-fi by any stretch of the imagination, but there is unquestionably a guy who is invisible in it, and he has to figure out the implications of that and how to survive.

    It was turned into an absolutely terrible movie with Chevy Chase for some reason cast in the title role. I don’t recommend that to anyone. But try to track down the book, it’s excellent.

    Donald Westlake did a very funny take on the invisible man in a novel called Smoke. Again, very definitely not sci-fi. Very definitely a Westlake story, with all that implies. Just happens to have this thief in it who is invisible, which as you can imagine is a convenient thing to be for a thief.

  219. 219
    Citizen_X says:

    @El Tiburon:

    I absolutely hated Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” not only because I thought it paled to the Charlton Heston version, but because the CGI creatures didn’t do it for me. At all.

    I like the Vincent Price 1964 version, Last Man On Earth, best.

  220. 220
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Bruce S: I like that the people who have been steadily losing electorally think that by shooting at our democratically elected government their ideas will gain popularity.

  221. 221
    MikeJ says:

    @Randy P: Harold Ramis says at least 10 years. Danny Rubin originally went with the 10,000 years if I recall correctly.

  222. 222
    Randy P says:

    @eemom: One of my favorite SCTV skits ever: “Hollywood Salutes the Extras”, starring “Charlton Heston” (Joe Flaherty as I recall).

  223. 223
    Gravenstone says:

    Oh goodie.

    I have heard people say w would stand no chance against the military. Well ask any Gulf War Vet what a man fighting for his home with inferior weapons can accomplish.

    The latest reply on my buddy’s thread. This promises to be an epic exploration of all sorts of delusional rationalization.

  224. 224
    magurakurin says:

    @MikeJ:

    Verfremdungseffekt at its finest.

    Okay, thanks for teaching me a new term. I had to check that out. Yes, absolutely, that’s what 2001 is all about.

    In German, Verfremdungseffekt signifies both alienation and distancing in a theatrical context; thus, “theatrical alienation” and “theatrical distancing”. Brecht wanted to “distance” or to “alienate” his audience from the characters and the action and, by dint of that, render them observers who would not become involved in or to sympathize emotionally or to empathize by identifying individually with the characters psychologically; rather, he wanted the audience to understand intellectually the characters’ dilemmas and the wrongdoing producing these dilemmas exposed in his dramatic plots. By being thus “distanced” emotionally from the characters and the action on stage, the audience could be able to reach such an intellectual level of understanding (or intellectual empathy); in theory, while alienated emotionally from the action and the characters, they would be empowered on an intellectual level both to analyze and perhaps even to try to change the world, which was Brecht’s social and political goal as a playwright and the driving force behind his dramaturgy.

  225. 225
    WaterGirl says:

    @Maude: Can you say more about Time Traveler’s Wife without it upsetting you? I ask because someone recently told me that was the best book they had ever read.

  226. 226
    Cacti says:

    @Gravenstone:

    *sigh* One of my best friends from HS laid down an anti-gun control rant on FB today. I let his point stand, but finally jumped in when some moron (sadly, I think the wife of another friend) chimed in about tossing out all the laws because her fucking guns were more important.

    If you want to throw gasoline on the fire, send them here for a run down of how the right to bear arms in early America was about the ability of white men to restrict the movement of negros and forcibly evict native peoples from desirable land.

  227. 227
    ulee says:

    @Strontium 90: strontium. But now I am interested. If it is as bad as you say it is, the worst thing that can happen to me is, I’ll say over a couple of Heinkeins and a substance that I would never ever ever touch since it is illegal,”This is the worst move I’ve ever seen.” or I’ll say,”Stron is insane, this is the best movie I’ve ever seen.”

  228. 228
    magurakurin says:

    @eemom:

    Both: Charlton Heston=the most godawful actor ever rewarded with stardom.

    that’s a whole nother thread.

    Arnold Sccwarzenegger = the most godawful actor ever rewarded with stardom

    Sylvester Stallone (except for Copland) = the most godawful actor ever rewarded with stardom.

    Julia Roberts = the most godawful actress ever rewarded with stardom.

    and on and on and on….

  229. 229
    SFAW says:

    @eemom:

    C’mon, he wasn’t that bad. Yeah, he hammed it up a bit, but that’s kinda expected in Epic Films Dealing with Big Events and Stuff. I mean, he was no Alec Guinness, but that doesn’t mean he was awful.

  230. 230
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Walker:

    Blessed’s turn as Augustus in the BBC series “I, Claudius” is a continuing delight. I have the box set, greatest soap opera ever.

  231. 231
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cacti: I’m letting it lie fallow for the night. I’m curious to see my friend’s take on my comments, if any, since I’m not addressing him directly. it might be best if I simply step back and watch the hornets swarm now that I’ve kicked their nest.

  232. 232
    NotMax says:

    has there ever been a movie whose special effects have held up for so long.

    Metropolis (1926)

    Napoleon (1927)

    San Francisco (1936)

    The Hurricane (1937)

    Topper (1937)

    The Wizard of Oz (1939)

  233. 233
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Randy P:

    Trying to stay away from plot specifics, but it’s not really the events of the book/film that are horrifying in and of themselves — it’s the horror of the main character’s condition when you start to think about all of the implications of it and the fact that he has to literally revisit the most traumatic events of his life over and over and over again for all eternity.

  234. 234
    PaulW says:

    @Walker:

    They had a good number of Shakespearean trained actors chewing up the scenery and having a ball with it.

    There’s a reason Flash Gordon is incredibly popular in the UK.

  235. 235
    Schlemizel says:

    @Robert:

    I think the pinnacle of that is the shower scene from The rapid cuts, the sound affects, and music leave you with something much more graphic and horrifying that what they actually show. That is a skill sadly missing from todays slasher movies

  236. 236
    Gravenstone says:

    @Walker: Were you blind to Ornella Muti?

  237. 237
    magurakurin says:

    @Gravenstone:

    The Gulf War? The one that lasted, what, 5 days? The one with the massacre on the road way of the retreating Iraqi Army?

    Maybe they mean the Iraq war.

    But there is a big, big difference. In Iraq, American soldiers weren’t fighting for their country in their country. In the case of American soldiers fighting rebel units, in America, the soldiers, too, will be fighting for their country, in their country. Big difference. A big bloody difference.

    The parallel is Ruby Ridge or Waco, but with air support.

  238. 238
    Svensker says:

    @SFAW:

    But he was pretty awful. He was just so…sexless. While being so pretty. And so stilted. While trying to be passionate. I’m mostly just embarrassed watching him.

    Except in Omega Man. A very fun old sci-fi post-apocalypse movie that Heston’s awkwardness works in.

  239. 239
    Sebastian Dangerfield says:

    To helll with your Matrices, your Jurassic Parks, and your Star Bores. Ray Harryhausen’s Jason & the Argonauts, now that’s the stuff. Also, too, Journey to the Center of the Earth and the old Time Machine.

  240. 240
    Svensker says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Agreed. We rewatch periodically. Also done on a shoe-string budget with basically no sets or props, but still works beautifully. A wonderful series.

  241. 241
    Culture of Truth says:

    What do we think of Cloud Atlas? I liked it.

  242. 242
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Maude: I do that too. I don’t like movies or books that are very graphic or gory in their depiction of violence.

  243. 243
    Schlemizel says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Interesting – WP seems to have deleted the name of an Alfred Hitchcock movie from my post. Just noticed that

  244. 244
    SFAW says:

    @dmsilev:

    More than once, I have written about the unlikelihood of Rethugs EVER having what I call a “Col. Nicholson moment,” because if they did, they’d blow they own braims out.

    Peripherally related: one of the interesting things (for me, that is) about the Star Wars I-III casting was having Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan. I’ve seen him in somewhere between five and 10 films, and he always seems to be a different character type, and he generally pulls it off. I think Guinness was largely that way, also, although after awhile, he seemed to repeat himself more. (Christian Bale, the few times I’ve seen him, seems to be able to pull that off as well.)

  245. 245
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Maude:

    G said he saw some people’s comments that they hated Django Unchained because it made them think about what all of that mindless movie violence they enjoy in other movies would actually do to a real human being in real life, and it upset them.

    My view is, if you’re going to have violence in a film or book and it’s not disturbing to the viewer/reader, you’re doing it wrong. And I’m kind of creeped out by people who only want to see violence without consequences.

    ETA: Not that you are, just to be clear. But it is a weird American tendency to want to see destruction and/or violence on a grand scale without ever having to think about what it would be like to be on the receiving end of it.

  246. 246
    Schlemizel says:

    @Gravenstone:

    I posted this: http://imgur.com/5v1ch.jpg
    WHich I created myself, on FB the other day. It asks a reasonable question about why can’t we have a rational discussion about gun safety.

    A guy I really like proved why with his reaction, ranting about the government & then tossing the Ben Franklin quote. I let it go. Its not worth it to me. I’m not going to change his mind and I want to keep him as a friend

  247. 247
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Any more news from gex? Last I saw, she said yesterday was really busy and that she’d update in open thread. my good thoughts for both of them.

  248. 248
    Hal says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I really do worry about doing a sequel – especially given how huge the Expanded Universe post-Endor is.

    Given how shitty the prequels turned out to be, not having Lucas directly involved can only be a bonus. Give the films to a true Star Wars fan with vision, and I think we can see what the movies really could have been.

  249. 249
    MikeJ says:

    @Hal:

    not having Lucas directly involved can only be a bonus

    Jon Favreau did some of the TV show Clone Wars and knows his way around big explodey movies.

  250. 250
    WaterGirl says:

    @Svensker: @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Gex said:

    Hey all,
    Just checking in. I got a glimpse of the comments asking about me yesterday, and am truly touched. Yesterday was crazy busy. Today will be too, but hopefully less so. I’m going to wait to update until an open thread. Just have a minute to pop in and leave this note.
    Thank you all so much.

    Bella, that was earlier today at around 1pm. Since you thought that was yesterday, I’m not sure if that means your life is moving very fast or very slowly. :-)

  251. 251
    Mike E says:

    I just watched the Abolitionists on the American Experience, nice dramatization of Douglass and Stowe et al. One line from pt 1, after the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (paraphrased):

    One had to have a glimpse of the Devil to then see one’s God; witness evil to turn to a path of good.

    Now it’s Frontline on Obama’s 1st term…I think I’ll pop in a DVD instead.

  252. 252
    ruemara says:

    Bah, forget all of you. I adored the Matrix and the sequels, so they hold up for me. Original Star Wars, anything with Ray Harryhausen’s work, the Spiral Staircase, Wizard of Oz, original The Thing (because I found the redux too squicky), Forbidden Planet. 2001 is ok, now, because it was too slow when I was younger. Now that I’m older, I can see it more clearly.

  253. 253
    PurpleGirl says:

    Thought of another SF movie that holds up — Forbidden Planet. Both the story (and not just because it’s based on Shakespeare) and the special effects still work quite well.

  254. 254
    SuzyQ says:

    If its not too late to add, what about the special effects of the Bionic Woman or the Six Million Dollar Man? Can’t beat that! Ha!

  255. 255
    ulee says:

    One of the best movies Ive seen is Blood Simple by the Coen brothers. It is a bloody backstabbing psychodramatic mess. It’s the best I’ve seen. And with Francis Macdormand.

  256. 256
    Bruce S says:

    @eemom:

    I thought Heston was great in “Bowling for Columbine.”

    And he didn’t ruin “Touch of Evil.”

  257. 257
    mouse tolliver says:

    @SGEW: You stole my answer so, um…

    Die Hard holds up pretty well FX wise. Old school blue screen, miniatures and pyrotechnics. It’s not an FX movie by today’s standards but it did get a Visual Effects Oscar nomination. It lost to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The other nominee that year was Willow, which featured “go motion,” a stop motion technique that was rendered obsolete by Jurassic Park’s CGI. Willow (I think) was also the first movie to use morphing during a shape shifting sequence.

    Why do I remember crap like this?

  258. 258
    Suzanne says:

    Also eager to hear about Gex. I hope she’s doing better.

    @mouse tolliver: Special effects? In Wllow? I thought they really were all that short. ;)

  259. 259
    Steeplejack says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    You have to go to Amazon from Balloon Juice each time for Balloon Juice to get credit for any purchase you make. Amazon doesn’t permanently remember the connection between you and Balloon Juice.

    I have not been able to determine exactly how Amazon tracks this. It seems to be with a code snippet in the URL when you hop over to Amazon, but I haven’t been able to isolate a specific Balloon Juice “code.” (I have been looking for something so I could attach it to Amazon links in comments so Balloon Juice would get credit for any resulting sales.)

  260. 260
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @magurakurin:

    One of my all-time favourite AG movies is The Captain’s Paradise. Wonderful fun.

  261. 261
    YellowJournalism says:

    @mouse tolliver: because you’re a big, giant dork like the rest of us who remember shit like the metal effects in T2 being mostly practical effects. The metal blobs morphing back into T1000 was done with hair dryers and a liquid substance that I can’t remember what because I haven’t watched the making of on the disc in years.

  262. 262
  263. 263
    MaximusNYC says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Remember the first episode ended with Neo flying off saying he was going to wake everyone up. I thought it would be Neo and gang doing more in the real world and getting people to “wake up” or something and starting a movement or revolution.

    EXACTLY. I have always maintained that the best thing about the 1st movie was the sense of dawning awareness as you, the viewer, discover along with Neo that the “real” world isn’t real. They should have reproduced that in the sequels by showing us other people being liberated. Instead we got all this complicated, boring mythology thrust upon us.

  264. 264
    Brachiator says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    I’m using TaxAct (online filing system)…will have to see if they got all the stuff in the cliff deal into their system. I can’t file for a while anyways…Schwab doesn’t send their stuff out until mid-February (lazy slackers).

    It’s not unusual for brokerages to send info out in Feb, especially with the complex 1099B requirements.

    TaxAct and every other software company are in the same boat. The IRS has delayed releasing forms and programming their computers because Congress and the president couldn’t get things finalized until after the last minute. Some states are going nuts trying to figure out how best to respond to federal changes.

    My conclusion from that was a) never film movies simultaneously, because they will usually suck ass (see: Pirates of the Caribbean; exempt LOTR).

    Richard Lester’s Musketeers films were done back-to-back and were pretty darn good.

  265. 265
    handsmile says:

    264 comments (as of this writing) on a thread largely devoted to great science-fiction films, and no mention of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, one of his two (maybe three) masterpieces. (of course that’s probably because no more than a handful of people here have ever seen it)

    An enigmatic and haunting film that persuasively demonstrates the genre does not require extensive special effects or even space travel.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalker_(1979_film)

    @Brachiator: , @👽 Martin:

    Bless you for your respective comments (#60 and #176) on 2001. Otherwise this thread would have been even more depressing than today’s Aaron Swartz marathon.

    Ulee:

    Glad to see your “nym” here. Hope you’re doing alright and back at work. Blood Simple is surely not my favorite Coen Brothers film (that would be Miller’s Crossing or The Big Lebowski), but as their debut film, it’s a remarkable achievement.

  266. 266
    mouse tolliver says:

    @YellowJournalism: : The metal blobs were mercury. If you live in an old house and you take apart your thermostat, you create the same effect. You might poison yourself in the process though.

    Ooh, and the acid eating through the floor effect from Alien was made by pouring nail polish remover on styrofoam. I’ve always wanted to try that.

  267. 267
    WaterGirl says:

    @mouse tolliver: My sisters and I got into very serious trouble for spilling nail polish remover on our tile floor in the living room. It ate away all the finish. I still recall what the tile looked like AND how very, very angry our mom was.

    I wonder if that’s when we got the blue carpeting?

  268. 268
    2liberal says:

    @dmsilev:

    The thing that always annoyed me about The Matrix was that the stated reason that the machines had for keeping the humans hooked up (to serve as power generators) is absolute nonsense. The problem is that you have to put more energy into humans (in the form of food) than you’ll get back out as useful power. And if you do need biologicals for some technobabble reason, bacteria are probably more efficient and less trouble.And there’s an easy fix as well: Just say that the machines are using human brains as computational substrates, that both the Matrix and the machines’ own consciousnesses are running on top of a big network of interconnected brains. Alternatively, we can assume that either the free humans were lying to Neo or that they themselves were ignorant.

    my thought was electric eels rather than bacteria. And the justification would have been some sort of ego thing (for computers to run a virtual environment for humans)

  269. 269
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Late to the party (as usual!), but I’ll chirp in to say that The Matrix (Part of the First) and Aliens are my favorite action-oriented sci-fi ficks, but Holy Fuckbuckets, that opening sequence with Trinity has got to be the best sci-fi-action opening since the days people started peering into those old nickelodeon set-ups. Upon first viewing, you don’t have a clue what’s going on, but it’s intriguing as hell that this chick in the black latex (or whatevs it is) is running up and down walls while outside a man who looks like a cross between a Secret Service agent and a vintage Al Davis accurately tells the police captain his men are already dead, and then Trinity runs to the phone booth and disappears and — WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED?–PLEASE TELL ME MORE!

    Compared to that, Aliens’ boot up feels positively glacial.

  270. 270
    TenguPhule says:

    The Dark Crystal.

    Muppets to give you nightmares still as effective as ever.

  271. 271
    gsim says:

    @Cacti: Same with the grittiness of the new BSG a well …

  272. 272
    Dream On says:

    @dmsilev:

    If you haven’t seen it, go watch The Bridge on the River Kwai. Now.

    And “The Man In the White Suit”, “The Lavender Hill Mob”, and David Lean’s “Oliver Twist” and “Great Expectations.” All of them are required viewing.

    Required.

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