I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

On his grand Criterion journey, Matt got to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up… for the first time ever. It’s amazing how you can almost reach 50 without having seen some of these iconic movies – but then, as always, too much to watch, too little time.

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A Damn Fine Cup of Culture Podcast #62: Second Chances (2)

Second Chances, second time: a little over a year ago we first decided to give a couple of films we’d not been overly enamoured with another try to see if time or adjusted expectations had changed anything – or if our first, negative take persisted. This year, it’s Alan and Sam’s turn to revisit films they didn’t like the first time around – and, in keeping with our directorial focus this year, they selected two films by the same director, David Fincher. Sam wanted to give Fight Club (1999) another chance after bouncing off of the film hard when it originally came out, and Alan thought it only fair to return to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Has time softened their views? Did they find anything else, anything new in the films – or did they find even more they don’t like? Join us for this Fincher/Pitt team-up double bill and for another set of second chances!

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The first rule of Fight Club

So, I’ve been rewatching Fight Club. (Best way to listen to commentary tracks? Work out while you’re listening to them. You’ll feel like a fit couch potato.) I still think it’s a very funny, very clever and extremely well made movie. But one thing about it tends to annoy me… and that’s many of its male fans.

So many guys I know who like the film buy into Tyler Durden’s fashionable nihilism and reactionary chic. They see the film as a critique of a society that brings forth the silly, ridiculous “Let’s all grouphug and cry into each other’s t-shirts!” self-help groups and subscribe to the “You are not beautiful, unique snowflakes” existentialism that Tyler preaches.

Bob. Bob had bitch tits.

But, essentially, is there much of a difference between the fight clubs and the self-help groups? Aren’t both basically places where people come together, feel sorry for themselves and their lot in life (perhaps even with justification) and then make each other feel better by either hugging each other or beating each other? Aren’t both simply schemes to make you think “Yeah, there’s others out there who feel like me?” The guys who join Tyler’s clubs are losers, and they think that beating each other up and being about as nihilist as a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt turns them into men.

“We’re still men.”

“Yes. Men is what we are.”

The only real difference (apart from the blood and snot vs. tears and snot, depending which brand of self-help group you prefer), it would seem to me, lies in the ideological veneer that covers either. But those guys who think, “Yeah, that Tyler is cool, we’re not beautiful and unique snowflakes, consumerism sucks, and I’d quite like to beat someone’s face into a pulp, because that’ll make me a man” – I’d say that a lot of Tyler Durden’s joke is on them. If you have to beat someone up, or be beaten up, to feel like a man, if you have to demolish coffee shops in order to feel you’ve got a sizeable penis, then good luck finding new teeth.

Rock bottom, and lovin’ it!

On the internet, the imaginative nerd is king

Okay. If I am predictable, then today’s blog entry will be about Fight Club. And it is, after a fashion.

The internet is a weird, wonderful and sometimes rather frightening place. YouTube is a perfect example of this.

There’s this guy who re-enacts scenes from films. With himself in every role. And the strange thing is, he does it quite well. So, here’s his take on a famous scene from Fight Club (where the multiple-roles-played-by-the-same-actor thing works fairly well, if you think about it):

And if you’re not weirded out enough… Here’s perhaps the strangest thing he’s done. Check out this scene from Pan’s Labyrinth, through the looking glass:

P.S.: His name is Brandon Hardesty. His name is Brandon Hardesty. His name is Brandon Hardesty.

Those who can’t, teach…

I’m about to be off and teach a two-hour colloquium on film studies. I’ve never studied the subject, but somehow the person who asked me to teach the session thought that a) having  a PhD in English and American Literature, b) being a film nut (and having 400+ DVDs to prove it) and c) having an opinion on everything qualifies me for this.

Hurm, as a certain psycho superhero might say.

Anyway, since I have to make a few last notes, I’m going to have to make this short. I’ll be analysing extracts from three films with them: The Talented Mr Ripley, Fight Club and Memento. Having re-watched the beginning of those three films, I was reminded again why I liked them so much in the first place. Ripley got a bad rap with some critics, but I still find it one of Anthony Minghella’s, Matt Damon’s and Jude Law’s finest movies. And for those who think the film lacks tension, I thought I could put a highly spoilerish excerpt in the blog. Those who haven’t seen the film yet, don’t click on the clip lest you do so at your own peril!

However, I don’t want to leave you with murder and mayhem (or soap – sorry, wrong movie…!), so here’s another, more peaceful clip from the same film. Dunno what it is about the song, but I always get an urge to snap my fingers and tap my feet when I hear it. Enjoy!