It's not acting anymore... can it be real?

Discuss all the finest actors, living or dead -- their films, their talents, and their weird, drug-related escapades.

It's not acting anymore... can it be real?

Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:23 am

I don't mean to compete with Kirk's newest thread topic, but his "You're totally acting" thread got me to thinking about those moments in films where an actor becomes so involved in the scene that you forget it's an act, and begin to wonder if the fucker is actually living the moment right there on the screen.

So why did I start this thread? Because I just remembered Denzel Washington's performance in Glory, particularly the scene where he's getting whipped. They held a medium shot on him for about 3 minutes, and he's just standing there, holding on to a straw cart or something, staring just past the camera at the man who decided he was to be punished in this fashion. The order was for ten lashes, but I think that Ed Zwick just let it go on to see what Denzel would do, because by about lash number 5, you are so completely drawn into the moment that you begin to silently plead in your thoughts for all of this to stop. And toward the end of the shot, the tear comes rolling down Denzel's cheek. This wasn't acting anymore, something happened to Denzel when they filmed that scene. He'd just been lashed some twenty-odd times. I later learned that indeed, the tear was a real one. Wow, that's just not acting anymore, that's something taken to another level.

Can anyone else recall moments like those? I'm sure they're few and far between, but there must be others.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:37 am

Raging Bull dude. The 'You Fuck my wife?' scene to Joe Pesci, the bit in the cell where he cracks up. Praise must go out for Marty and Bob for shooting this scene with a heavy shadow hiding Jake's mental breakdown, therefore keeping his suffering offscreen if you will. That decision takes a hell of a lot of balls and faith.

For more on the greatness and inspriation of this role, check this out...


http://www.ebaumsworld.com/ragingfred.html

Robert De Niro in Stanley and Iris, with his father. When he has to admit him to the Old People's home, and is talking to the Director of the establishment. Robert de niro sits there all quiet, then suddenly breaks down crying in a split second. His voice breaks and goes all high pitched like when someone does actually cry.

Later when he says Goodbye to his dad in his Dad's new room, he does the same thing. Like a young kid, he says' You never layed a hand on me Dad', and breaks down in a split second again.

I've never seen an actor get so deep deep down into this kind of emotion or present it so real as he does. It is utterly realistic, and to watch it does something that makes you do the same and crack up immediatley - well if you were a girl. I don't do it 'cos I'm HARD, awight!? For something on film to make you do that is extraordinary - and to not expect this sudden effect whilst watching the fim, is really fucking suprising.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:48 am

Yeah, great call on Raging Bull. As obvious a choice as it may seem to pick De Niro for good acting, and as much of a cliche even he has become, there's nothing like putting on some of the films (and there are more than just a couple) where he helped redefine acting as a whole, to completely have your doubts of the man shoved in your own face.

Alas, I am not terribly familiar with Stanley and Iris, but I'll certainly keep an eye out for it now, after reading your description.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:51 am

But it won't work now as I blew the suprise.

Dennis Hopper in most things but particularly Apocalypse Now. I think he actually was fucked up anyway, so he didn't have to act - or so I heard.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:53 am

Good thread. Will have to think about this one for awhile. Straight off the head though, I'll put one out there.

Shelley Duval in the Shining. "What?", I hear you shouting, but come on that lady went through hell making that film. A woman surrounded by all those guys and people pandering to Kubrick. I saw the Arena documentary where she was quite frankly a mess. Whether this was her method or whether she had been driven nigh insane on purpose is a tough call. But, her performance is pretty damn intense, she is this fragile woman alone with her husband who's gone mad.

"The here's Johnny" scene is pretty sweet, the lady looks scared beyond comprehension. She in turn turns up the volume on this as her character is subjected to numerous strange and bizarre vignettes. Dog guy giving a BJ, blokes with bleeding faces cheering her with cocktails. Her expressions portrayed here are priceless. I can see her now just holding that knife high and quivering or waving that baseball bat exhaustedly on the staircase. Fucking A.

Respect to the woman. Whatever her methods.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:59 am

magicmonkey wrote:Respect to the woman. Whatever her methods.

Really nice call on that one, magic... Stanley was so much on Duvall's back that one begins to wonder whether he did on purpose to pull out that performance.

To be politically correct, I refer to "actors" in my first post of this thread, but of course this is not limited to male actors. The word "actor" is essentially genderless, and I don't know which fuck came up with "actress" just to distinguish the sexes. I personally have never heard of a "doctress" or "lawyeress."
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:35 am

Actresses always complain that there aren't enough roles in films for them.

Fussy bloody bitches. Man all you gotta do is go to the catering wagon to see they've got a wide selection of roles for you. There's jam roles, sausage roles, jelly roles, boiled roles, baked roles, fried roles, sauted roles........... I think that's about it.

Dawn French, a 'large' British female actrees can verify that.

Gary Oldman in Sid and Nancy. Actor? What actor? Thought it was the real thing.
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Postby Ribbons on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:39 am

I was just thinking about what a chameleon Gary Oldman is the other day. Seriously, to go from Sid Vicious to Drexl Spivey to Dr. Smith to Sirius Black to Jim Gordon? That's pretty impressive.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:40 am

To Lee Harvey Oswald, speaking Russian and everything!
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:42 am

Well I think many of us agree that the Toshi Station line from Star Wars was the first moment where you really get caught up in the movie. I didn't see someone on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine during that moment. I saw a lonely, wounded space orphan desperate to escape the hell of his mundane and arid life.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:52 am

burlivesleftnut wrote: I saw a lonely, wounded space orphan desperate to escape the hell of his mundane and arid life.


Sob, yeah, I remember his teen petulance when he had to go get those power converters too (kicking the sand and all). Ha, great moment.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:55 am

Yeah Burl, I'm with that.

Mark Hamill was so good in ESB that when he when he found out that his father was not only the most Evil Man in the Universe, but also that he was black, Luke finally went 'NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

But he was so in the moment that it came out as, "DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!!!! DOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!"

Play it again. You'll notice this.

Temeura Morrison in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. Ain't seen the first one, Once Were Warriors, but man you wonder if this bloke's like this in real life (he's not), he's such a monster.

Ditto for Eric Bana as Chopper.
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Postby vicious_bastard on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:00 am

magicmonkey wrote:
burlivesleftnut wrote: I saw a lonely, wounded space orphan desperate to escape the hell of his mundane and arid life.


Sob, yeah, I remember his teen petulance when he had to go get those power converters too (kicking the sand and all). Ha, great moment.


Erm...isn't he pissed off at having to clean up the droids and NOT being able to go and get the power converters. Like that is the highlight of his day. For all we know Toshi Station might be full of gin palaces and hookers.
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Postby burlivesleftnut on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:02 am

And church.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:05 am

vicious_bastard wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
burlivesleftnut wrote: I saw a lonely, wounded space orphan desperate to escape the hell of his mundane and arid life.


Sob, yeah, I remember his teen petulance when he had to go get those power converters too (kicking the sand and all). Ha, great moment.


Erm...isn't he pissed off at having to clean up the droids and NOT being able to go and get the power converters. Like that is the highlight of his day. For all we know Toshi Station might be full of gin palaces and hookers.


Dang. Yes. Whatever his reason (crack whores or indeed genuine electronica), it must have been a real gutter for the poor kid.
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Postby vicious_bastard on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:05 am

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:.Temeura Morrison in What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. Ain't seen the first one, Once Were Warriors, but man you wonder if this bloke's like this in real life (he's not), he's such a monster.


Good call - intense performances from everyone in that movie.

Also, Ellen Burstyn in Requiem For A Dream. As she gradually gets more messed up it becomes uncomfortable to watch her (not that the rest of the movie isn't hard work). I just found out that she will be in The Fountain as well - looking forward to it even more.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:13 am

Yeah, intense. Ellen made me want to cringe and hate the movie, a great performance, I didn't want it wasted on this film. I've since mellowed and can now enjoy the film with her terrific performance too.

It reminds me of Diane Ladd in Wild at Heart playing Lula's mother. The scene where she just daubs her face in that red lipstick, holy shit, that scene is truly horrifying. Its part directorial control I guess with the lipstick but man, that is some seriously unhinged shit right there. Seriously spooked me up when I watched it last.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:26 am

magicmonkey wrote:It reminds me of Diane Ladd in Wild at Heart playing Lula's mother. The scene where she just daubs her face in that red lipstick, holy shit, that scene is truly horrifying. Its part directorial control I guess with the lipstick but man, that is some seriously unhinged shit right there. Seriously spooked me up when I watched it last.


Holy crap I love that scene.

The deposition scene in The Insider - I thought I was watching an extremely well-filmed documentary at one point.

Practically anything Ben Kingsley does in Sexy Beast. You will forget he was Ghandi the moment he utters his first line:

"Gotta change my shirt, it's sticking to me. I'm sweating like a cu<i></i>nt"

Some of the below-stairs scenes in Gosford Park -I really think they nailed the atmosphere of the Servants' Quarters.

The scene in se7en when Paltrow confides to Freeman that she's pregnant - astounding acting in that scene -and Paltrow does what I consider to be the "Best Weep........Ever!"
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:45 am

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:Practically anything Ben Kingsley does in Sexy Beast. You will forget he was Ghandi the moment he utters his first line:

"Gotta change my shirt, it's sticking to me. I'm sweating like a cu<i></i>nt"


Hahar! I gotta see that film. Same for Gosford Park, I love Altman too. Have you heard the story about him being at a dinner party with Blair and casually lighting up a studly spliff, Tony apparently didn't bat an eyelid. Classic.

Also, as far as performances go, the scene at the end of Magnolia with Melora Walters and Phillip Baker Hall, wow. So much under the surface, it hurts and you wanna just cry and cry.
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Postby TonyWilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:07 am

John Cusack's baby epiphany in Grosse Pointe Blank was fantastic. And Jeff Bridges and John Hurt through the whole of Cutter's Way, outstanding.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:10 am

Speaking of John Hurt: The Elephant Man. Wow.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:11 am

magicmonkey wrote:Have you heard the story about him being at a dinner party with Blair and casually lighting up a studly spliff, Tony apparently didn't bat an eyelid. Classic!


No! I haven't heard that, but I love Altman even more than I did 5 minutes ago, which is quite an impressive achievement!
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:15 am

Pacino86845 wrote:Speaking of John Hurt: The Elephant Man. Wow.


Yeah, good one. I watched that on herb, and I literally didn't know what to do when that guy was beating him in the schoolroom/lab(?). Dunno if it was the black and white and the use of oppresive Lynch sound, but I'm sure Hurts performance must have helped. Yeah... very intense.
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Postby TonyWilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:17 am

BUGGER, I didn't mean John Hurt, er I mean....John Heard
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:18 am

TonyWilson wrote:BUGGER, I didn't mean John Hurt, er I mean....John Heard

Well, your blunder certainly served a noble cause in jogging my memory!
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:50 am

Danny DeVito anna Christopher Lloyd inna the One Who Flew Over a the Cuckoo's Nest, eh? Both of a those putzes, they have a become a the charicatures of a themselves over a the years, eh? Anna goddamn it I should a know!

But inna that a film, holy crappa, they especially DeVito inna the card game scene anna inna the basketball a scene, those guys, they really seemed honestly nuts iffa not just a ALF, eh?

Anna speaking of a the ALF... how about Leo DiCaprio inna the Gilbert Grape flick, eh?

I dunno... I donna think I quite hit a the tone of a this a thread, eh? More like, these performances, they were a so real anna natural.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:01 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:I donna think I quite hit a the tone of a this a thread, eh? More like, these performances, they were a so real anna natural.

No, you got it all right. For me, the tendency is to lean to the "moving" performances when I'm talking about amazing acting, but it certainly shouldn't be limited to that. The point is to simply come up with those performances that, as you said it, "were a so real anna natural," that we forget we're watching actors.
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Postby thomasgaffney on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:04 pm

In Jenna Loves Rocco, Jenna Jameson's acting (as the woman who loves Rocco) was so spot-on, I forgot that she was acting and thought that she really did enjoy the anal sex.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:27 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:Danny DeVito anna Christopher Lloyd inna the One Who Flew Over a the Cuckoo's Nest, eh? Both of a those putzes, they have a become a the charicatures of a themselves over a the years, eh? Anna goddamn it I should a know!

But inna that a film, holy crappa, they especially DeVito inna the card game scene anna inna the basketball a scene, those guys, they really seemed honestly nuts iffa not just a ALF, eh?

Anna speaking of a the ALF... how about Leo DiCaprio inna the Gilbert Grape flick, eh?

I dunno... I donna think I quite hit a the tone of a this a thread, eh? More like, these performances, they were a so real anna natural.


Yeah, it's good to see actor's having a good time on camera, it comes across. Its like Star Wars, the film is what it is IMO because of the performances from Hamil, Ford and Fisher. They were having a ball going all fast and intense, their chemistry and personality really shone through as Americans filming abroad on a film they all thought was gonna be shit, so why not have a laugh doing it. Its magic like this within the film within a film that escapes and the viewer picks up on it.

The closest thing I can think of, which comes close to adding depth to a performance is when you bring elderly actors into the equasion. I got thinking about this when talking about Michael Caine as the Equalizer earlier (he's getting on now, but i'm sure a far way from death)! Anyway its the fact that a guy is facing his own mortality and putting this across on film via a performance that must mirror a fair degree of their own feelings, its something we can take as a given. Take for example Bergmans Wild Strawberry's with elderly Viktor Sjorstrom as the lead. It transends film, there is an honesty there and the impact can be only the more real, its a real obligation for an actor to do their job right! Therefore thats my other contribution to transendental performance! Snuff porn? Nah, just honesty.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:36 pm

Hmmmm, typical. I was so obviously going to do a porno film reference, that I decided not to, for the sake of predictability and taste. Then you Sir Thomasgaffney, have gone ahead and done so anyway.

For which I kneel before you Sir, as if I were the president of the United States bowing before you as Zod, (but only if it saves the lives of the people of the world - including my own.)

I heartily suggest trying some of Sarah Blake's videos - 'cos I just did, and man do I need a sleep.

She may be young and an up and cummer, but man, her films and her performances are so real or not even performances at all, that you're not really watching a porn film, but actually watching her get it on for real with some wanker bloke who she pulled in a nightclub that night, after blowing you out for being too much of a wimpy gentleman, then going home to shag the mothers out of this bloke, and you ended up locking yourself into her cupboard, and you're now watching it for real, saying "That fucking bitch, she blew me out for this gentleman? i'm so jealous, but turned on at the same time".

Yes, her films aren't so much films as they are possibly, voyeurism.


I was gonna mention One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest too, which is the all time favourite DVD in the Mayday Hospital TV room that I was doing my Medical Trial in, considering the similarities in the film and the hosptial itself.

But considering the events in this film mirrored the events in this Mayday Maydie hospital and that it brings back disturbing flashbacks, I - just - can't - talk - about it.

Other than to say that everyone in that film, even the non speaking patients, seemed like the real thing.

So I'll mention everyone in Awakenings too.

I was also watching platoon in hospital and for the life of me, I can't work out how the hell, they made these actors dissapear and become real soldiers, 'cos to watch them, ou think they were real grunts all along.

Man I forgot what a brilliant film this is.
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Postby thomasgaffney on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:40 pm

Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:I heartily suggest trying some of Sarah Blake's videos


Thanks for the tip, Cap'n! I'll try to give her a view.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:55 pm

You might be dissapointed at first. there are a few 'not as realistic' vids but if you give her a good rummaging through of her collection you might pull out somethign that you'll like.

She's much more realistic than fucking Lana Lotts or Chrissy Moran anyway. Man them 2 women were cold showers.
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Postby TonyWilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:10 pm

This got me thinking; there's two types of truy great acting: The Oldman, disappear in the character and: The Nicholson, find the character in yourself.

Nicholson is a fucking God with this type of acting, Randall P McMurphy
Robert Dupre
Jerry Black....there's a lot. I'd even go so far as The Devil in witches of eastwick, heplays him as the ultimate misogynist which is perfect for the Nicholson as he's such a ladies man.


Oh and one more for the disappearing in to roles- Harvey Kietel in Bad Lieutenant.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:14 pm

I always go back to The Big Chill as a movie where I never think about the movie. I absolutely lose myself in every character and every moment.
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Postby ONeillSG1 on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:17 pm

TonyWilson wrote:Nicholson is a fucking God with this type of acting, Randall P McMurphy Robert Dupre Jerry Black....there's a lot. I'd even go so far as The Devil in witches of eastwick, heplays him as the ultimate misogynist which is perfect for the Nicholson as he's such a ladies man.


Add Melvin Udall of As Good As it Gets to that list as well.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:20 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:I always go back to The Big Chill as a movie where I never think about the movie.


I always a go back a to a the Big Chill as a the movie where I never will a go anna watch it. Ever...

Goddamn Baby Boomers anna their "it's alla 'bout a me!" attitude... Anna who could a forget a the "Good Lovin' Tour" a 'cos a that band that sang a that goddamn song inna the movie thought "holy crappa! we better to cash in onna this, eh? It's a now or a the never!"
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Postby The Ginger Man on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:21 pm

Almost every minute of Network. And the parts where it feels like acting, you get the sense it was meant to. God, honestly one of my fave films of all time.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:27 pm

Thats strike two for Lumet. He has a real way with actors and them earnestly transmitting a message, thats for sure. Damn, Hurricane, urgh. Stank of made for T.V, still nice to hear Dylan's Hurricane 5 times in a theatre. I mean that sincerely.
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:28 pm

Really? You guys a serious? As a much as I like a the Network, it totally feels like a the stage a play, no? Alla the monologs just go on anna on anna on anna they alla overacted inna my opinion...
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Postby bluebottle on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:33 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:I always go back to The Big Chill as a movie where I never think about the movie.


I always a go back a to a the Big Chill as a the movie where I never will a go anna watch it. Ever...

Goddamn Baby Boomers anna their "it's alla 'bout a me!" attitude...


Yeah, nothing like an entire generation staring at their naval on film for two hours.

Big Chill and Grand Canyon rank up their with Crash in terms of humorless, self important crap.

I'm tempted to throw Garden State on that list, but seeing as i'm part of the NEW naval gazing generation, i'm going to keep it off.... for now
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Postby MasterWhedon on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:37 pm

Bluebottle wrote:Big Chill and Grand Canyon rank up their with Crash in terms of humorless, self important crap.

Humorless, self-important crap is my kinda movie...

No, seriously, I dig them because they're all conversations about life with incredibly true characters. Crash, I found to be very theatrical, and even Grand Canyon some. But Big Chill is a beautiful, subtle, perfect film. In my oh-so-humble opinion.
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Postby Cpt Kirks 2pay on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:40 pm

Yeah just like the people in Diner, I felt like telling all those pretentious people in The Big Chill to Fuck Off!

You know, anything that stars Kevin Kline and his obnoxious smug grin is a piece of mediocre shit, just like him.
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Postby TonyWilson on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:40 pm

Seriously, guys, there's nothing wrong with being introspective.
Elitism is positing that your taste is equivalent to quality, you hate "Hamlet" does it make it "bad"? If you think so, you're one elite motherfucker.
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Postby Adam Balm on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:40 pm

Bluebottle wrote:
I'm tempted to throw Garden State on that list, but seeing as i'm part of the NEW naval gazing generation, i'm going to keep it off.... for now


Now just what was so bad with Garden State?
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Postby DinoDeLaurentiis on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:45 pm

MasterWhedon wrote:But Big Chill is a beautiful, subtle, perfect film. In my oh-so-humble opinion.


Yeah, but a what a do a you really know, eh paisan? I mean... you think a the Jedi gonna to win over a the X-Men, no?
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Postby thomasgaffney on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:45 pm

Bluebottle wrote:I'm tempted to throw Garden State on that list


I liked Garden State!
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Postby thomasgaffney on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:46 pm

DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:But Big Chill is a beautiful, subtle, perfect film. In my oh-so-humble opinion.


Yeah, but a what a do a you really know, eh paisan? I mean... you think a the Jedi gonna to win over a the X-Men, no?


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
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Postby MasterWhedon on Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:48 pm

thomasgaffney wrote:
DinoDeLaurentiis wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:But Big Chill is a beautiful, subtle, perfect film. In my oh-so-humble opinion.


Yeah, but a what a do a you really know, eh paisan? I mean... you think a the Jedi gonna to win over a the X-Men, no?


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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ZZZACKT!!!

And Kirk, Diner is one of my favorite movies.
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Postby bluebottle on Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:31 pm

i like diner.
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Postby MasterWhedon on Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:37 pm

Bluebottle wrote:i like diner.


Hmm...

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I will consider not blasting your dog...
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