How much does the public suspend belief...



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  • #61
    Re: Link to interview w/Alan Ball & Producers

    Thank you Steve. I hope this clear things up.


    • #62
      If a doctor or an attorney writes a script, I'll probably be able to say "Hey, I bet that script was written by a doctor or an attorney" about midway through the movie. (Especially if the only "normal" character in the script is that nice doctor/attorney couple who give gift baskets to the new people in the neighborhood.)

      Your pal,
      Whether you're a gun-toting real estate professional, a basket-carrying gay man, or a burned-out counter man at Mister Happy's, but I could really do without the Nazi-sympathizing child-beaters, thanks,

      P.S. But I think that having the ex-Marine kiss Lester was just a little too far, and I didn't buy it for a second. Oh, I see, he was actually fighting his own urges...yeah, you'd like to think that, wouldn't you, Mr. Ball? Isn't it possible that people can hate you without wanting to be you? I mean, look at Barbra Streisand. I hate her to the very core of my being, and it's not because I have my own urges to "reluctantly" perform live concerts, film myself in ultra-soft focus and bed down with James Brolin. Okay, the Brolin thing, maybe, but doesn't that cross EVERYONE'S mind now and then?


      • #63
        well, Couch...

        You just made me real happy about the illustration crap I've had to do today (and tonight, and tomorrow...).

        Luckily, I fill none of the listed descriptions/profiles, so I'm not worried about us staying pals.

        Did the basket-carrying really irk you that much?

        Best, kosk


        • #64

          In an early version of the script, the Marine colonel was shown in a flashback of Viet Nam where a male lover of his was killed by a mortar shell blast while the two of them were getting to know each other very well. The director or somebody decided all of that explanation wasn't important to the story. This is what I read in a magazine article.

          ******* SPOILER *********
          Also, the colonel actually framed his son and the girl by passing the video tape of the son offering to kill Lester to the cops. I understand your disgust, but personally I don't think that because one military guy is represented so badly that we need to generalize the negatives to everyone in the military, or assume the writer was doing so. Remember, people write about what they know. No doubt Mr. Ball has known someone of the colonel's ilk. Just a thought. I liked "American Beauty" and I am not gay, do not smoke dope, and have fifteen years of military service behind me. I just look at it as a story.


          • #65
            i used to smoke dope...

            you know, pot and hash... a good thing, healthier than booze
            but... not anymore of course, given where i live

            as for the colonel kissing lester, well, remember what he thought he saw lester and ricky doing. makes it work, imo.

            as for the military and generalisations, all i can say is that i've seldom seen a group of people with a mentality that lends itself so well to such generalisation. not an insult or a shot at the military, just a fact: following orders blindly leads to a mindset that is, to be polite, atypical to the remainder of society. again, my opinion only.


            • #66
              Re: i used to smoke dope...

              Ah ha, Steeves. That's just the kind of stereotyping stuff I would expect from an ex-doper. This is the point - There is not always blind following of orders, particularly among conscripted soldiers, so the stereotype fails. That's one of the reasons we had to gracefully withdraw with honor from Viet Nam. (cough) Heck, just go back nine years to the Gulf War. Many GI's refused to go, some even saying they joined the army to get money for college, not fight a war. But your point is well taken. I suspect that the military folk are a more homogeneous group than most others.

              But the generalization of which I was speaking referred to the notion that because the colonel was a repressed homosexual who beats his kids that we are to believe that all or most military types are similar in personality. 'Taint so.

              Here's a thought that brings back the Cold War days: Suppose the Cuban Missile Crisis had led to hostile action between the USA and USSR - do you believe that all those guys sitting in the nuclear missile silos would have actually "pushed the button" knowing that they would possibly be killing millions of people? I believe if you research the subject you might find that there exists "overkill" in the number of missile sites we have just to compensate for the fact that a certain percentage of the button pushers would never go through with it. And that even takes into consideration the fact that the missile guys undergo extensive psychological screening. (Hey, I just thought of a movie plot!)

              I didn't mean to get so deep here. I just like the doggone movie. It deserved the Oscar, imo.


              • #67
                i also loved the movie

                and have none waaay to many military people to ever accept that there does not exist a different mentality than in mainstream life... esp. compared to our canadian perspective. and i don't mean just americans... the brits (and of course the yanks) that my club takes diving whenever their ships come to town are, typically, a bunch of red-necked uncultured yahoos. yes, some military folk break that mold, but loads fit it to the proverbial T. not that that is a bad thing, life (and our characters) exist on such things... but stereotypes used most effectively in screenplays are those that are broken (the cigarette smoking nun, the gay prison guard, the non-cigar smoking duck)

                point of order: i am not an ex-dope smoker... merely one without any supply

                movie thought re: nuclear silos and reluctance to push the button? nah. been done.

                point of order #2: what?? no comments on my duck quack echo thing?? an amazing thing, donchathink? maybe a movie in there somewhere
                nope - thought about it... no movie. unless it was a talking shepherding duck on a voyage to find the lost/stolen echo of his quack... then we be talking boffo box office.


                • #68
                  My main concern was one of balance. The point of view was SO outrageously PC that it actually intruded on the believability of the story. The wierdo drug-dealing kid next door wasn't a bad guy...just misunderstood, and of course, you could blame his wierdness on his Marine dad. Pot? Just relaxes you, that's all. Corporate life? Full of cheats who steal money from the company and get away with it. Successful businessmen? Always looking for another conquest, sexual or otherwise. Guns? Bad bad bad. Gays? Well adjusted folks who head up the Welcome Wagon. Marines? Hate everyone and everything, can't bring an ounce of joy into anyone's life, and don't need much provocation to murder.

                  American Beauty was the liberal's version of Touched By An Angel, another production I watched a couple of times, and couldn't stomach. When Roma's glow kicks in in Act 4 and she starts explaining how she is "an angel, sent by God, to show you..." whatever message she's peddling that week, oy, gimme a break.

                  It's the imbalance that sticks in my craw. I'm not asking for a 50-50 message, or a 50-30-15-5 quota system, if there are various points of view, but come on...100-0 just doesn't cut it. Thank Ball for the Lester character, who really seemed to embody what a lot of middle-aged men would like to do...blackmail his boss and take a job with absolutely no responsibility, and begin working out to score a hottie. That was absurd enough to work.

                  Maybe I'm also a little disappointed at the predictability...once the Marine is introduced, the mystery of "who kills Lester" is pretty much over. That's another reason I was so pissed off when 'Chariots of Fire' won the already knew the outcome of the race, since the two old men in the first scene gave away the ending, and then in a flashback, the next two hours were spent showing you what the two old men at the funeral just told you..."Remember when Eric won that race back in '24? Smashing finish, wot?"

                  Your pal,


                  • #69
                    uh, chariots of fire is a true story

                    therefore the end is predestined, predetermined, and for many folk, already known.

                    like, would you hate a world war2 story that gave away, at the start, the fact that hitler lost?
                    sorry, just don't think that that was a great example


                    • #70

                      I'm with you. American Beauty is a nice bit of fiction taken as a story of a bunch of dysfunctional folks in a town somewhere (a happy gay couple? not the ones I lived next door to). But since Hollywood preaches this stuff at us nonstop, I can't watch without thinking "There they go again."

                      I watched True Crime last night. Predictable, sure, but it could have been enjoyable. Then, the Hollywood preaching machine kicks in, and suddenly it's an anti-death penalty film accusing all middle-class whites of overt racism. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

                      Hurricane, Erin Brocklevich (sp? who cares), Cider House Rules, A Civil Action; damn it, I want to see stories about people, not PC propaganda.

                      HEY! Don't get me started!


                      • #71
                        a civil action

                        WAS a story about a most interesting character
                        the fact that it was true doesn't take away from that a bit.

                        the travolta character... i mean look at his arc.. uncaring and cynical ends up losing everything (and i mean everything) based on the fact that he became caring... even if it was originally motivated by cash it became passion

                        i found the movie quite compelling because of that character portrait


                        • #72
                          Chariots of Fire an unknown true story

                          Although a true story, I would guess that exactly .002% of the public could have told you who won the big race before they sat down to watch that movie. Then, four minutes into a film that 99.998% do not know the ending of, much less the "real story"...they tell us the outcome of the race!

                          Nominated against Reds, Raiders of the Lost Ark, On Golden Pond, and Atlantic City, this dog of a film wins Best Picture. Twenty years later, I still can't believe it. Please excuse me, I have to go run slow motion in my underwear.

                          Your pal,


                          • #73
                            great minds often disagree

                            but then again, so do idiots... time will tell which we are

                            assuming you are back from your underwear run (glad i missed it tho' hopefully the image will go away some day), i gotta say this about that (my opinions only!)
                            raiders: great flic, obviously... but never had a chance the way 'they' vote
                            reds: sucked
                            atlantic city: coulda won (love that kitchen scene - i've always been in love with her, well, until that thelma&louise thing anyway, but i have forgiven her for that)
                            on golden pond: could won, maybe shoulda won...
                            chariots: a dog? maybe not your style, i can understand... but, and i must admit this is surprising to me too, i loved it

                            try it again sometime... or not
                            differences of opinions are useful in educational terms