Review 2009: Subjectively Speaking

In which I talk to @tempestuous about her chosen subject of films. It was probably the longest conversation either of us had attempted on Twitter and was a largely successful experiment. Pity I did my usual and strayed off into auteur theory which meant the following exchange lasted two whole hours. For clarity, I've removed everything from each tweet but our names so that you can at least tell who is speaking ...

On the subject of films.

@tempestuous Ha! Yes, what timing! I sure am. How are you?

@feelinglistless Fine thanks. Are you ready, Baltimore? I SAID ARE YOU READY, BALTIMORE?

@tempestuous I'm the one who gets to do the interrogating! So it's more like -- LIVERPOOL! At the ready?!

@feelinglistless I thought it was the other way around, but I'm game. Let's go. What will we be talking about?

@tempestuous Okay! I am going to talk to you about movies.

@feelinglistless Excellent.

@tempestuous LOL is it that way around? Hold on, since I am now choking on my iced tea. I am ill-prepared!

@feelinglistless Don't worry. We'll just talk and I'll probably end up doing most of it anyway.
@feelinglistless So what did you want to ask me?

@tempestuous My original thought was to throw a few of my favorite movies out to you, and let you tell me your quick opinion on them.

@feelinglistless Short pithy opinions coming up.

@tempestuous It's interesting, because beside one-off little notes here and there, I've never actually had a Tweetversation before.

@feelinglistless That's what I wanted to try. See if Twitter works like a chatroom, because that's what it looks like if you're using a client.

@tempestuous It's actually slightly frustrating and leads my brain to questions like the ones my non-Twitter friends ask: Why not IM?
@tempestuous But anyway, I spent a little while thinking about the movies that I am forcibly compelled to watch whenever they are on tv
@tempestuous First up: a movie I have actually more or less memorized: A Room With A View, 1985, I'm sure you've heard of it.

@feelinglistless I have. Merchant Ivory. Arguably Helena Bonham Carter's most normal performance.

@tempestuous Most normal, save for her ""hyperactive eyebrows,"" as I believe Tim Burton has said of that particular performance"
@tempestuous She's one of those actors I'll see in anything - literally anything - but it's the film's over-the-top charm that gets me

@feelinglistless Hah, true. But what's interesting about A Room With A View is that it really brought Merchant Ivory into the mainstream.
@feelinglistless It was their most commercial film up until that point. But they made many great films before that. The Bostonians, Heat & Dust

@tempestuous Have you seen Shakespeare-Wallah?

@feelinglistless I haven't! It's on my list of films I'm saving because I know they're good and I don't want to see all the good films now.

@tempestuous I found it charming in a completely different way than their later movies, sort of rough-edged and strange.

@feelinglistless A lot of their early films are like that. The general perception of M/I is of these perfect little costume dramas when ...
@feelinglistless ... their earlier work is more akin to third cinema, more interested in the Ismail Merchant's cultural heritage.

@tempestuous Yes exactly! It's quite a revelation if you're tuning in for the corsets and the posh accents!
@tempestuous And I could go on for ages about the Prawer Jhabvala / EM Forster relationship

@feelinglistless Which sort of dogged the rest of their career. Unless Emma Thompson turned up wearing a straw hat, people stayed away.

@tempestuous I could go on and one, but I'll throw out another of my memorized / will laugh hysterically EVERY time films...
@tempestuous And I may really hit against some cultural differences here, but... Pee-wee's Big Adventure!
@tempestuous (If going from Merchant-Ivory to Pee-wee isn't a 360... I don't know what is)

@feelinglistless Never seen it. Haven't seen any of the Pee Wee Herman films. He's not a huge cultural figure in the UK

@tempestuous Okay, you should see it... maybe not for Pee-wee, but for Tim Burton.
@tempestuous Unless, of course, you're not a Burton fan, in which case... you might find the whole thing even more annoying
@tempestuous That's one of those films that I'm not sure will translate if you didn't see it an early age. Like The Goonies.

@feelinglistless That's my fear. But it's true I can be a bit vanilla about Tim Burton's films. I think Big Fish is one of his best films ...
@feelinglistless Which I know is a controversial opinion.

@tempestuous I loved Big Fish - thought it was like his silly/dark early themes were distilled into something dark and poignant

@feelinglistless It's also markedly less stylised which is what stopped me from enjoying Sweeney Todd.
@feelinglistless But the story structure really appealed to me and I always cry at the end when the giant wanders into shot.

@tempestuous I thought Sweeney was his return to awesomeness. I felt burnt by Planet of the Apes and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
@tempestuous BUT... I'm massively biased with my love of the original music and Helena Bonham Carter's free pass to do anything

@feelinglistless My reaction to Burton is rather skewed. The wilder his gothic excesses are, the less engaged I am.

@tempestuous I'm really curious to know what you'd think of Pee-wee, then. It's a ridiculous movie but it's done with such heart

@feelinglistless It's a bit like Martin Scorcese. I love everything Scorcese's done, apart from Goodfellas. It's a contradiction.

@tempestuous I just rewatched Goodfellas when it was on cable... yeah, not my favorite, and I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to him

@feelinglistless I much prefer Casino.
@feelinglistless The Last Temptation of Christ is clearly the best of the Jesus films. Life Lessons the best film about an artist's muse.

@tempestuous I have not seen Life Lessons! I'll have to add it to the queue!

@feelinglistless Careful, it's one of the three short films that make up "New York Stories" along with one of Woody Allen's best too.

@tempestuous What do you think of the Coen Brothers?

@feelinglistless I can only stand about 50% of the Coens's films. Again, it's stylistic issues keeping me from being able to completely engage.
@feelinglistless Typically my favourites are The Hudsucker Proxy and Intollerable Cruelty, which were slated by the critics.

@tempestuous Two of my favorites, but I have a soft spot for the super-stylized ones. Have you heard any buzz about A Serious Man yet?

@feelinglistless Mark Kermode said that he can't understand the audience appreciation its getting considering its about at Coenian as they get.
@feelinglistless I think what links Burton and the Coens and number of these directors is that they're trying to deliberately bring a --
@feelinglistless -- sensibility that other directors, international directors predominantly, just *have* and that rubs me up the wrong way.

@tempestuous So you think it's a sort of manufactured sensibility, then? It doesn't feel like it comes naturally.

@feelinglistless Exactly. There's being deliberately different, then being deliberately obtuse. Wes Anderson's films seem more heartfelt

@tempestuous From the moment you see the typeface in the opening credits, you know you're in his world
@tempestuous One of the reasons I find Anderson's films so appealing is that they are so seamlessly stylized

@feelinglistless Whereas in a Coen Bros film they're trying to be stylised AND appeal to as wide an audience as possible. It doesn't work for me

@tempestuous I guess I'm less cynical about the Coens and Burton. I'm also just a snobbier-than-usual casual viewer, not a critic!
@tempestuous I thought the Coen's Burn After Reading was astonishingly wicked commentary on the intelligence of the general audience
@tempestuous Like they took what seemed like a movie that would have mass-appeal and completely turned it all upside down and inside out

@feelinglistless Exactly. I loved it for that. Oh and the moment when suddenly the whole thing falls apart and it just sort of ends.
@ tempestuous And it's perfectly structured because it should be when that character heads off into their climactic success.

@tempestuous Really sticking it to the people who just thought Clooney and Pitt were there to put on a jolly laugh-riot of a film
@tempestuous And that brought back fond memories of living in Minnesota when Fargo came out. The ignorant were terrified by the violence
@tempestuous And there was all sorts of outraged ""We do not really sound like that!"" fussing over the accents.
@tempestuous There's some similar train of thought to living in Baltimore and seeing John Waters' films
@tempestuous And the train is sort of passing my NaNoWriMo-addled brain by...

@feelinglistless Only seen Serial Mom. But you have to understand that the distribution of his films in the UK has been very limited

@tempestuous So what do you think about using Twitter to have a conversation?

@feelinglistless It's very tricky. The problem is update rates and the mismatch between devices. Sometimes we're talking over each other ...

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