Southland Tales

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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:44 pm

This is SO not the worst film of last year, not even close...

Dunno if I'd go so far as to call it a fiasco, it's too stilted, never really "letting it all out" to reach the height of absurd debacle.

But I liked it. Watching Southland Tales was a very interesting experience, perhaps the most interesting film of last year. I still wouldn't give it a very high score, prolly something along the lines of "average," but if it makes any sense it's the best "average" movie of 2007!!

It takes some risks... would've appreciated more actually. I also think Richard Kelly should've worked his ideas through more thoroughly before going into production. Watching the film I got the impression that it was one big monster that went out of control.
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Postby DaleTremont on Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:49 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:This is SO not the worst film of last year, not even close...


So what you're saying is it's no Dark is Rising :wink:
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Postby Pacino86845 on Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:57 pm

Definitely not!!

And if it's any consolation, I couldn't sit past the first five minutes of that Across the Beatles movie...
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Postby anthonymous on Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:58 pm

I agree with the sentiment that this is a very hard film to rate.

After reading the comics, I watched it the other night and I'm still not sure if I liked it or not. I was definitely engrossed throughout and there were some elements that I really liked: characters/acting (the 3 leads, the feminist duo, Dion & Dream, even Pilot Abeline), the awesome soundtrack & score and certain set-pieces like the dancing scene on the blimp. I liked the alternate-history/near-future portrayal as well.

But I'm not sure if it ever actually made any sense narratively speaking; there were far too many plots/themes/issues and some were never resolved or clarified. Despite this I still wanted to know what happened at the end and tried to focus on everything up until that point.

I think it definitely comes across as a kinda skewed sci-fi satirical semi-parody with a serious message.
whatever trevor.
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Southland Tales

Postby bastard_robo on Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:07 pm

The way this film was put together, it makes me wonder what Kelly's 3 hour version is like..

The Dir. Cut of Darko feels like a compleatly diffrent movie.

Maybe theres more sense to the 3 hour version that the one released to the public.
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Postby John-Locke on Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:16 pm

What a weird little film, it was goofy and fun but it sorely lacked a character with an ounce of intelligence to question what in the fuck was going on (If only to reassure the audience that the frustration they feel is being mirrored by a character on screen like say Jonathan Prices Sam Lowry in Brazil or Peter Sellers Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Strangelove), it felt like the characters were reading from their script (that is doing/reacting like characters from a script with no real motives other than to get the story from point A to B) which I suppose is the intent of the film.

I "Got" the film but I didn't "Get" the film, if you catch my drift.

Not sure if I liked it, I didn't dislike it.

Loved the acting from all involved, Kelly's intentions are clear when you notice that almost the entire film was cast with actors known for their comic abilities who were asked to play it straight, it only made the absurdity that much richer for me.

God I loved the Rock in this, his eye and hand movements alone made crack many smiles.

The only thing I actually disliked in the whole film was when Rebekah Del Rio turned up, this film is no Mullholland Drive and her inclusion really baffled me.
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Postby havocSchultz on Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:40 am

John-Locke wrote:What a weird little film, it was goofy and fun but it sorely lacked a character with an ounce of intelligence to question what in the fuck was going on (If only to reassure the audience that the frustration they feel is being mirrored by a character on screen like say Jonathan Prices Sam Lowry in Brazil or Peter Sellers Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Strangelove), it felt like the characters were reading from their script (that is doing/reacting like characters from a script with no real motives other than to get the story from point A to B) which I suppose is the intent of the film.

I "Got" the film but I didn't "Get" the film, if you catch my drift.

Not sure if I liked it, I didn't dislike it.

Loved the acting from all involved, Kelly's intentions are clear when you notice that almost the entire film was cast with actors known for their comic abilities who were asked to play it straight, it only made the absurdity that much richer for me.

God I loved the Rock in this, his eye and hand movements alone made crack many smiles.

The only thing I actually disliked in the whole film was when Rebekah Del Rio turned up, this film is no Mullholland Drive and her inclusion really baffled me.


He was one of the only things I really enjoyed about the film...

The rest, like most, I'm not sure about...
It was interesting - and if I end up ranking it as a failure - it would be in the spectacular range.

But - can a film that gets so many varying arguments and reactions really be deemed a failure...?

Yes...
That's why there's arguing...

But back to The Rock...

I loved his constant twitching...
The drumming of his fingers together...
Or even against his chest when he has his hand against it...

The brief glimpse of him going "Action Hero" on the beach when he takes his shirt off and is ready to go...

And he has the best line in the entire movie:

The fourth dimension will collapse upon itself... you stupid bitch.


(An Honourable mention goes to Amy Poehler insulting Cheri Oteri by yelling:

Just 'cause it's loud doesn't mean it's funny!


Which is what I've been wanting to yell to Cheri Oteri for years...

But overall - it kept me interested for a good part of it - even though I kinda had the basics of the ending figured out long before Kelly dragged them on for far too long...

And I really do hope that they made up Gellar to "look like a porn star" cause if not - that girl looks like a fucking porn star...

But not in the good way...
Overly tanned and overly used...but...like I said, there is a small chance some of that was movie magic...

I think there should be a rule that any movie featuring "porn stars" prominently in there plot lines have to include some form of nudity...

* Same goes for movies featuring strippers, hookers, Bai Ling or Mandy Moore *

Speaking of Mandy Moore...
'Twas nice to hear her mention fuck and something like "cumchuggers" (if I remember correctly) somewhere besides my dreams...
But she felt wasted for the most part...

A lot of people felt wasted...
A lot of time felt wasted...
And a lot of potential felt wasted...

I think Kelly should've tried to develop this as a show on HBO or something instead...
I think if he had more time to tell his story - who knows - we could've gotten something as unique and quirky as Twin Peaks...
Or, at least as mildly entertaining as Wild Palms...

But to try and force this much of a brand new world and all these characters upon an audience in film form is just asking too much...

I'm not saying it would be any better (or for those that outright hated it - it could be a lot worse - and longer) if done in TV form.
But I do think it would've had a better chance to tell it's story and find it's audience...
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Postby silentbobafett on Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:23 am

I just really, really liked it! I'd ignored all the press and reviews (hate reading about a film before I saw it) so didn't realise how much people loathed it!

Able to make my own mind up, I went on a total trip with it!

I just wanted to write up that the END where the Rock dances and thent he two women dance and the ice cream truck floats up - WOW - I loved loved loved that bit! Thats when I went dinlo do it!



And Avon Barksdale was hilarious :-)
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Postby bastard_robo on Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:25 pm

This movie shows WHY the Rock is underappreciated as an actor.

THE MAN HAS RANGE!!!!!!

(why do you think he was a 7 time wwe champ ((2 time wcw champ)))

Given the right stuff, THE Rock can do wonders!


i really hope he gets something like this again... AND less Disney bullshit.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Thu May 08, 2008 5:56 pm

Signed about The Rock. He really is spot-on in this.

Finally got around to watching it on DVD... it's one of those films that I'm in pieces about. I just don't know what to think. On one hand, the script can be contrived, lazy, amateurish and simply plain annoying... on the other, everything fits into this odd little universe that Kelly's created. It's very much in the same vein as Donnie Darko, except less (and this is something many probably wouldn't associate with that film) cohesive.

It's like he's channelling Lynch's Inland Empire and Gilliam's Brazil through a Donnie Darko funnel.

That's probably the only way I can put it. If I was 16 again I'd love this film. But it honestly feels like it's trying too hard to keep the viewer interested, vesting you in its quirkiness without ever grounding you in the same way Lynch does. I think that's what's missing here... a minor snitch of reality in a main character we can identify with. For all the rich dreamlike oddness of Lynch's films, he often provides us with a cypher in which we can understand that world. Kelly did this to an extent in Donnie Darko, but as well as creating a plot that wasn't nearly as complicated as it appeared he completely missed out on allowing us to at least partially understand what was carrying us through. Instead the frankly batty dialogue confuses because, well, often it doesn't really mean anything nor adds to what's going on.

It's overlong, but pretty, has excellent performances and as Locke says, it's a fun ride.

Yet despite my misgivings... I'm glad it got made.
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Postby pheadx on Sat May 17, 2008 1:27 pm

Hey, I finally caught up with Southland Tales on DVD.

First of all, I love Donnie Darko, it had a big impact on me when i was 18, but I don't like the director's cut at all and thought later on that it was a good thing that kelly had to cut his original vision. When I read about ST the last two years, it seemed like a continuation of the bad decisions of the director's cut. The cast seemed rather odd, i mean you can put a half-talented actor like S.M.Gellar, the Rock or that Dude Where's my Car Dude as supporting roles next to a really talented cast and they will deliver. But those three as leads? Other than that, the cinematography seemed rather bland in the trailers, and there seemed to be too much going on, as if an 18 year old had written down all the things he thought would be cool (which can also end up in a pretty great film like the matrix ;-))

nevermind. So yesterday I watched it, with the lowest expectations for one of the worst rated films of last year, and I actually liked it a lot. I was expecting something different, and I have to say nearly everything in the film works for me.

First of all, the film has a pretty straight story, other than the reports before. It also is a coherent story. Somebody wrote earlier that Southland Tales is a summary of ideas, but I would not a agree. The film has a pretty straightforward story, pretty similar to Donnie Darko, just told through an ensemble.

Also, what many people didn't like, and this is just an assumption, is, that ST is not an ordinary Science Fiction Film, but instead a real Science Fiction Film. Films that we would describe as Science Fiction films all work under one catchy idea that sort of influences every character, every story arc, every part of the u- or dystopia. It could be Androids being similar to humans, the idea that you prevent crimes, or the thought that no kids are born. This is one way to depict the future. Most of the adaptations of Philip K. Dick's stories work as films, because they just take the one important idea, a philosphical analogy or a McGuffin, and they make it the imperative of the whole world that is shown.

Kelly did something different, he sort of took the ideologies and characters of today and continued them in a "what if?" universe. That's a pretty novelistic approach, and what u get when is a mish mash of different personas and ideologies. It is the more difficult way to take for an author, and what you will get is probably less plot but more complexity. The direction is on the spot all the time (and the cinematography is pretty lush, once you get used to it). I guess the biggest problem for an audience is that there is no one that is likeable in this movie, which is not necessarily a bad thing (in Darjeeling Limited or Margot at the Wedding it works quite well). The main characters are pretty stupid, so if you wanna invest in these characters, this is the wrong film. The main narrative or P.O.V. of the film is delivered through Justin Timberlake's soldier. To me it worked quite well, because the only thing that would make sense in this melting pot of ideologies is a religious or rather spiritual subtext. So to me, Southland Tales is a spiritual tale about the most unspiritual people. The voice over and the score are pretty great, and develop a narrative voice that hold the film together. I must add that I watched the film with German dubbing (which is normal here), but the voices chosen are pretty great and give the film a special atmosphere.

Sorry for my English, just wanted to write something because I believe the film has been bashed a lot, and I quite liked it.
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Re: Southland Tales

Postby Ribbons on Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:06 pm

So hey, I watched Southland Tales last week! About 7 years after its sell-by date, but I watched the whole thing nonetheless.

It's interesting looking through this thread, back when Richard Kelly had that one great film (Donnie Darko) and everybody thought his career was full of promise. Now people seem to have forgotten he exists. I was never a huge fan, but going back and watching some of his films, I understand the appeal. I feel like Kelly is kind of a savant: everything he makes is a huge mess, but he somehow hits on something vital. If anything, Southland Tales is more relevant now than it was in 2006: a sharply divided political base, the intersection of media and war, fear of the government (particularly the NSA), the feeling that we're all rushing headlong into the apocalypse. The elements that are there are occasionally absorbing. But it never comes together in a satisfying way. People used to argue about what was going on in Kelly's films. I think the more relevant question is why. I can buy the three prequel graphic novels and visit Krysta Now's website, but what all that bullshit on quantum entanglement and Boxer Santaros' magical screenplay has to do with anything is a completely different question. And I don't know the answer to that one. I'm not sure Kelly does either.

Anyway I don't think this was a huge disaster or anything. The benefit of watching stuff long after the hype has died down is that it's usually not as amazing or as terrible as people remember it being. I was entertained it parts. Going back to the savant thing, the casting decisions are completely fucking bizarre, but somehow they all totally work. There's a sick sense of humor that I think comes through intact. And I do think there's something juicy in the story but, like I said, I just wish it made more sense.
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