484
Comments (128)
sorted by:
You're viewing a single comment thread. View all comments, or full comment thread.
1
Mister_Winston 1 point ago +1 / -0

I read a book of screenplays by Bill Goldman that included the films you mentioned. I think Butch Cassidy was his best work and is my personal favorite. And as you mention, Ghost in the Darkness was a mediocre film. I remember being underwhelmed with it back in the 90's.

I want to thank you for posting that clip from Crimes and Misdemeanors. I had never seen it, so I watched the entire movie last night and was blown away. I've seen a handful of Allen films, but I never knew he explored religion and moral structure so thoughtfully. Then he really brings it home with the question of morals vs happiness, or selfishness (or worldliness) vs unhappiness. It believe it offers insight into his own life decisions as they pertain to his selfishness and happiness.

Thanks again for posting. It's not often that a film recommendation lands so high on my list of favorites.

1
Shalomtoyou 1 point ago +1 / -0

I haven't seen Crimes and Misdemeanors in sometime, but the Seder scene is one of those that you just remember.

It's a truism that a morally flawed, even reprehensible person, can still make deep and moving pieces of art. Perhaps their vices informed them on some of the depths people can fall to.

(Of course, some of his movie are dumb slapstick. My favorite is Bullets over Broadway. In fact.... Bullets over Broadway directly challenges the relationship between artistic talent and morality. The most talented artist in the movie is also completely amoral --- hysterically so)

When I saw Ghost of the Darkness I saw the exact problem Goldman wrote about in his book. Douglas's character was cool in his first scene, but just wouldn't go away until you got sick of him.

1
Mister_Winston 1 point ago +1 / -0

The Seder scene is heavy and memorable. My only small complaint is that the man of faith concludes his argument by declaring he'd choose God over truth. People of faith wouldn't say this because, to them, truth originates from God. But I understand why Woody Allen wrote the line. He needed to cinch the conversation on a point about happiness. Overall I just appreciate the conversation occurring in a feature film at all.

Anyone who studies art learns early on that there are times they must separate the art from the artist. Otherwise half the greatest works in existence couldn't be appreciated. Artists are so often degenerates. My primary example is Caravaggio. He murdered a guy in a bar fight, but his paintings have influenced my own work.

1
Shalomtoyou 1 point ago +1 / -0

An interesting tidbit about the Seder scene is except for the big actor, nobody else involved in that scene is a professional actor. But if you've been to seders... they all sound real. (Especially the line: "hurry up, I'm hungry. I heard that all the time).

Another very good film by the Cohen Brothers is "A Serious Man." My wife and I planned to watch 20 minutes of that before going for a run. We ended up spellbound the entire time.

It's sort of a modern (well, 1950s more like) rendition of the book of Job. The protagonist gets advice, in the middle of his nightmare of bad luck, from three different Rabbis, all of which fail to satisfy him. Interestingly enough, the three Rabbis are of all different ages: Young, middle aged, and elderly.

There's one memorable line to the middle aged Rabbi's advice which is: "G-d doesn't owe us answers. G-d doesn't owe us anything. The obligation is in the other direction."

I could find that scene for you too... let's see....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80Kq75MY4mo

I took a quick look at Caravaggio. Good art. But yeah, the personal and the art ... it's a function. A person can be deep, but that doesn't make them good. Is Bill Cosby worse than anyone else in Hollywood? Are there famous men who used women in Hollywood, even against their will? Is the ocean wet? I think Cosby got people mad because of the pound cake speech. That they couldn't tolerate.

1
Mister_Winston 1 point ago +1 / -0

"G-d doesn't owe us answers. G-d doesn't owe us anything. The obligation is in the other direction." I like that.

A Serious Man caused me to rethink most of the Cohen's movies and appreciate them more. I remember sensing a Job theme in it. I'll have to watch it again soon. I don't think it's coincidental that it and No Country for Old Men are both movies that ask questions about morality then leave you with an ambiguous ending. They don't want to spell it out for you, they just want you to ponder on it.

The story on Cosby isn't finished. Hollywood chooses who to protect and who to sacrifice. We'll probably get the whole story when all the ugly secrets about that town are finally revealed.