Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

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  • Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

    Just some late Saturday afternoon musings... why does it seem like no one makes this kind of film anymore? By this kind, I mean a film that just launches the viewer into a plot-driven story that has great characters but seems to never slows down to "develop" character; these films are incredibly lean to the point of almost feeling distant. I'm not even exactly sure what to call this kind of film, other than great 70's movies. Is it just great writing? Or something else?
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  • #2
    Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

    Forget about those three. Lets talk about Parallax View and Three Days Of The Condor.

    Supposedly, Soderbergh's upcoming 'Haywire' is reminiscent of those.

    But the 70's are gone, by a long shot.

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    • #3
      Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

      Parallax View and Condor are AMAZING! I'd add The Conversation, the French Connection, Bullitt, and Marathon Man as well. I don't think back then anyone was worried about "saves the cat" moments. Are writers today over-thinking/underestimating the audience?
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      • #4
        Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

        I mean a film that just launches the viewer into a plot-driven story that has great characters but seems to never slows down to "develop" character;
        Because somebody on DD will complain about the lack of character arc.

        Probably has a lot to do with the standard cookie cutter story formula used these days. The first act is a structured snoozer and many movies don't get going until the second act. The remedy for overcoming the first 25 minutes of boring is to tack on the big opening scene at the beginning of the film.

        Could also have something to do with movie stars who want their character moments.

        I recently rewatched Marathon Man and it wasn't nearly as good as I remembered it being. OMG, it was so slow compared to films today.
        Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue

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        • #5
          Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

          I don't think it's any coincidence that 8 out of the 9 films named so far were based on novels from the late 60's early 70's (Presidents Men obviously wasn't fiction but my point is the same).

          It was a really rich period for commercial fiction (before vampires and serial killers) and political paranoia was at a peak.

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          • #6
            Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

            Watching The Parallax View, Three Days of the Condor, The Conversation, and All The President's Men in an endless loop would be a total mind screw. I'd change my identity, become a hermit, and never vote again.

            It was a really rich period for commercial fiction (before vampires and serial killers) and political paranoia was at a peak.
            Yeah. Had it not been for Nixon and the Kennedys early 70s cinema would've been significantly different.
            "I ask every producer I meet if they need TV specs they say yeah. They all want a 40 inch display that's 1080p and 120Hz. So, I quit my job at the West Hollywood Best Buy."
            - Screenwriting Friend

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            • #7
              Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

              Don't forget One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi Driver, The Hot Rock, The Anderson Tapes, Dog Day Afternoon and Network (three out of the four were directed by Sidney Lumet, who recently passed away).

              The thing about the movies of the late 1960-1970s is that they were films made for an adult audience, challenging them to think. Nowadays... well, I just look for any indie film with adult themes.
              "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

              "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore

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              • #8
                Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                I bet there are a bunch of movies that start off moving and don't stop. Right? No?

                But I do think there has been a change in storytelling. The 70s films were different from today. Almost as dramatically as, say, Japanese films are from ours.

                I bet there has been a gradual evolution to the state we're in now--which is obsessive character development (and usually ineffective).

                Execs have a hand in this change. Character notes are a staple for them. I don't have a problem with EST'ing character, but often it's just tacked on. Like my balls.

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                • #9
                  Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                  Many critics / film historians place the big Hollywood SHIFT at the end of the 70's, when studios first realized they could market films to teens and make much more money. Before that, films were mostly story- and character-driven, rather than focused on the potential market for lunchboxes and toys.

                  I'm totally paraphrasing a bunch of different research / articles, I'm sure many here who are more learned on the topic can enlighten us. I seem to recall many attribute the big shift to STAR WARS.

                  Mostly, the consensus seems to be that prior to a certain time, most studio films were aimed at people with an attention span greater than that of a 5 year-old. Ironically, I think the average animated film aimed at a young audience these days is much more intelligent and attractive to grown-ups than the average big studio tentpole filled with explosions etc.

                  That said, as much as we all like to gripe about films starring talking semi trucks and the lack of original material being produced, I still find that if you look hard enough, there is a wide variety of material available to the more discriminating consumer. Sure, films that would have been major theatrical releases a decade or two ago are now (sadly) relegated to arthouse fare, but at least they're still being made.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                    There are modern equivalents of the films mentioned. Soderbergh's Traffic and Fincher's Zodiac both attempt to evoke the tone and tenor of the films mentioned. It could also be argued Spielberg's Munich followed suit.

                    I also happen to love Stone's JFK (as a film rather than the definitive account of Nov. '63)

                    Rather like today, those sort of films didn't come out every week, it just seems that way in hindsight.
                    @MacBullitt

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                    • #11
                      Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                      There are modern equivalents. I am very geeked up to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy next month. But it is, like Munich and Zodiac and JFK, a period piece trying to evoke that great 60's and 70's zeitgeist as well as entertain.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                        Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy absolutely reeks of the cigarette-stained early seventies. The production design is beautiful and Oldman should get a nod in the months ahead. Some significant changes from the novel, but I really liked it.

                        I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, kintnerboy.
                        @MacBullitt

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                        • #13
                          Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                          the modern day equivalents get academy award nominations and win oscars.
                          those four-quadrant, dumbed down, tent pole flicks rarely receive such awards unless it's for technical merit... which has nothing to do with the storytelling itself.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Day of the Jackal, All the Presidents Men, Black Sunday

                            The upcoming Safe House is basically a Condor redux with a bit of The Gauntlet/16 Blocks thrown in, just as Enemy of the State rather overstated its debt to The Conversation.
                            @MacBullitt

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