Pavilion Digest: April 2009

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Postby Ben » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:42 am

Name: Ben Winfield
Source: unca20090603.htm
The whole "good guy/bad guy" debate can be a dangerous one, as it's easy to wander into morally ambiguous territory. You need clear-cut reasons as to why the so-called "villain" is the one actually attempting to save the day, so to speak.

Take 300, for example - probably the most blatant piece of fascist art since TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. (The fact so many people are willing to defend Zack Snyder's movie to the death frightens the living daylights out of me). The physically perfect Spartans are portrayed as the mightiest of warriors, victorious even in defeat, with the deformed and crippled inevitably siding with the antagonist Xerxes. And yet, the Spartans are established as baby-killers right from the first reel, eradicating any child born with the most minor of imperfections. Just imagine if you had a learning disability of any kind; by the time you reached the age of ten, you'd be dismissed as an idiot and decapitated. Survival of the fittest, and all that jazz. At least films like STARSHIP TROOPERS were a little more honest in their agendas.

Xerxes, by giving the malformed and diseased a chance, is seen as a threat to the supreme invincibility of Sparta. Maybe the unseen Earth leaders in THE DISCARDED were descendants of the original Spartans?

Don Hilliard

Postby Don Hilliard » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:13 am

Name: Don Hilliard
Source: unca20090603.htm
ATC: How about Disney's 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA? A movie so full of moral ambiguities that it's apparently been a thorn in the studio's side for decades. Who exactly is the hero in the film? Captain Nemo, a brilliant scientist with inventions and discoveries that he wishes to use to benefit mankind - but whose rage simultaneously leads him to carry out a murderous campaign against those he sees as servants of the world's warmongers? Ned Land, a tough, good-hearted fella who'll instinctively risk his life to save a shipmate - but whose greed, self-absorption and short-sightedness lead him to thievery, endanger his own life and his fellows', and ultimately lead to the deaths of Nemo, the Nautilus and all of the potential good Nemo could have done for the world? (And Arronax and Conseil are no help - they simply add equal and opposite shading to the views of Nemo and Land, Arronax seeing little but Nemo's genius and Conseil seeing little but the blood on Nemo's hands.)

It's a movie that Disney can't quite ignore - as their first live-action feature, it's a historic and stunning achievement - but any honest description of it doesn't fit with the squeaky-clean image they depend on, which may explain why historically it's been the least re-released and least promoted of any of their major features.

It also explains much about Disney's THE BLACK HOLE. If one ignores the cute robots, it's an outer-space remake of 20K - but one _with all the ambiguity removed_. Maximilian Schell's Nemo analogue Reinhardt may still be a genius, but he's become irredeemable by murdering or lobotomizing his innocent crew. Ned Land's decency and heroism get split in equal measures between Robert Forster and Joe Bottoms, while Ernest Borgnine gets all his venal traits. And Anthony Perkins plays an even woollier version of Arronax, with the character meeting a grislier fate for overlooking Reinhardt's evil. (Not that any of this helped make the movie a success. If Disney's uncomfortable with 20K, they're downright shamefaced about THE BLACK HOLE - my DVD copy was released by an outside contractor, with Disney's name appearing nowhere on it except for a very plain and very tiny copyright notice on the bottom of the back cover.)

Don't know if that scratches your itch, but it's partially scratched one of mine. The above stuff is something I've been meaning to expand into an essay somewhere, and at least you've given me the excuse to get the bones of it down. Cheers!

Anthony Ravenscroft
Posts: 490
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Location: Crookston, MN

What would Life be without schadenfreude?

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:59 am

Name: Tony Ravenscroft
Source: unca20090603.htm
Delightful to see mention of _Vanishing Point_ & _The Stunt Man_, not to mention _Head_. Remember when the three major networks during Prime Time were crammed with these gems? Now we got 57 channels & get to choose which niblet of the "Law & Order" franchise to watch (either that or "Obnoxious Never-Was Twits" in a Reality show or something about two sweaty guys beating each other bloody).

Anyway, I accidentally tuned past Glenn Beck just in time to be snagged by him claiming (loud, strident, just a smidge panty-bunched shrill) that the Tax Day Tea Party pseudoevent has NOTHING to do with RightWingnuts.

So I'd be happy to see the Democrats' version of this:

Yah, yah, I know: the Reds are the Great Peacemakers (hence the munition's name...) while them turrible LibRuhls is Partysun and divisive.

Typical Teabaggers: ... please-get

And, once again, a Red event that proves how Reds are a bunch of snickering syphilitics grabbing for each other's putzes, or they'd realize why some of us have been laughing for DAYS about how they're TEABAGGING --

(My sides already hurt when I found out the TEABAGGING is being led by DICK ARMEY.)

The Reds are trying to sieze control of even lame sites like (in a move called "reframing" from NLP), because until last week the word meant:
-- "a man that squats on top of a womens face and lowers his genitals into her mouth during sex, known as "teabagging"" (which, of course, sounds fairly typical of the past decade of Reds)
-- "one who has a job or talent that is low in social status" (per previous, a common nightmare of a Red)
-- " person who is unaware that they have said or done something foolish, childlike, noobish, lame, or inconvenient" (do I even need to say it...?)

But after dozens of attempts on UD by Reds to redefine TEABAGGER as something Glorious, a few Evile LibRuhls have weighed in:
-- "A whining fool shouting loudly for liberty but not willing to pay the bill."
-- "A conservative activist who is so ignorant that they protest against tax cuts (that benefit them) by throwing tea into a river."

-- "A conservative republican who protests against income taxes by rubbing their nutsacks in each other's faces."

john zeock
Posts: 167
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The Nobel

Postby john zeock » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:07 am

Name: john zeock
Source: unca20090603.htm
DTS-the fact that in the last 30 years the Committee ignored Borges, Calvino and Graham Greene says it all about them as far as I'm concerned. Ironically, if he hadn't died in 1982 I could have seen Phil Dick winning (especially if he was well served by his foreign translators. My bet from the USA would be Edward Albee or Joyce Carol Oates. I have a dark horse and a really dark horse. The former is Thomas Pynchon. The latter, based on their awarding of the prize to Dario Fo, is (seriously) Bob Dylan. If that happens, remember that you heard it here first. But why not Harlan ?

Posts: 76
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Location: St. Pete., FL

JG Ballard RIP

Postby Charlie » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:08 am

Name: Charlie
Source: unca20090603.htm

Dennis C
Posts: 105
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Ballard RIP

Postby Dennis C » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:23 am

Name: Dennis C
Source: unca20090603.htm

Loved Ballard's writing. Next to our host, he was my favorite. A brilliant writer.
Sorry to hear it.

Andrew Laubacher


Postby Andrew Laubacher » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:13 pm

Name: Andrew Laubacher
Source: unca20090603.htm
Ben Winfield, I don't know how much credit you can lay onto Zack Snyder for the subcontext of '300.' Everything that you point out was there, from the beginning, in Frank Miller's graphic novel.

Josh Olson
Posts: 206
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Postby Josh Olson » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:55 pm

Name: Josh Olson
Source: unca20090603.htm

"Take 300, for example - probably the most blatant piece of fascist art since TRIUMPH OF THE WILL. (The fact so many people are willing to defend Zack Snyder's movie to the death frightens the living daylights out of me). "

Zack Snyder's 300? If ever there was a film that snuffed the inane auteur theory out like a giant wave hitting a kitchen match, it's 300. Say what you will about the film - and boy, did it bore me - giving possession to Snyder is like giving the World Series win credit to the guy who drove the team to the stadium for Game Four.

That said, sure, it's an ugly, fascist worldview, but I think one can get into trouble by getting too worked up about these things. Most audiences, for instance, are capable of cheering Dirty Harry when he steps on Andy Robinson's shattered leg, and turning around tomorrow and cheering when a brutal cop is brought to justice for abuse and corruption. We can enjoy the exploits of Tony Soprano, and still find ourselves hoping that his real life counterparts go to jail for a long, long time. There is much to hate about 300, but its overt fascist (and anti-American) message is pretty far down on the list. Buncha cats outnumbered 100 to 1 kick ass and go down swinging. I can get behind that when it's actually well made. So can you...

Dennis Thompson

Top ten films?

Postby Dennis Thompson » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:16 pm

Name: Dennis Thompson
Source: unca20090603.htm
I've never been able to choose a favorite, or top 10 anything, but I'll try in no particular order.
Anything by Kubrick.
Blade Runner ( director's cut )
The Right Stuff
Slaughterhouse Five
Day for Night
A boy and his dog ( not just sucking up )
Altered States
Citizen Kane
Star Trek II the Wrath of Kahn
The Dark Knight
King Kong ( and I don't mean the last 2 )
War of The Worlds ( George Pal )
8 1/2

Way more than 10, and some that will get me in trouble around here, but these are the films I can watch anytime, and enjoy them.

Garlabd D. Hall

Bag it

Postby Garlabd D. Hall » Sun Apr 19, 2009 3:48 pm

Name: Garlabd D. Hall
Source: unca20090603.htm
Laughter? Interesting. This may actually be a sign of something serious brewing.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." -Gandhi

Watching and waiting.

Garland D. Hall

Posts: 31
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 7:05 pm

Postby Doc » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:42 pm

Name: Doc
Source: unca20090603.htm
O, Virgil - lead me from this place... Virgil, or the Man With the Big Yellow Hat - SOMEbody...

Meanwhile, I can't believe (mostly because I haven't reviewed ALL the posts) that no one has mentioned THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. By the time that movie's over, I weep like a child.

Posts: 24
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 11:53 pm
Location: Costa Mesa

Postby Midnight » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:23 pm

Name: Mary
Source: unca20090603.htm
All this talk about movies let me to my own copy of "Blade Runner: The Final Cut." Had to sit down and watch it tonight. Two of my favorite lines:

"Nothing the god of biomechanics won't let you into heaven for."

"I'm not in the business. I am the business."

Good writing never goes out of style.

Other favorite movies:

V for Vendetta
Aliens "Marines, we are leaving!"
Working Girl "I have a head for business and a bod for sin."
Galaxy Quest
Spirited Away
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Truman Show
Logan's Run (May be outdated, but I still love that movie.)

Bob Homeyer
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Postby Bob Homeyer » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:57 pm

Name: Bob Homeyer
Source: unca20090603.htm
I think "Memento" might pass muster.

Lennie is the hero, and Officer Gammill is the villain of sorts. Lennie is not only wrong, but is revealed to have intentionally mislead himself, while the officer's explanation in the penultimate scene is entirely plausible and "correct" if you buy into it as your interpretation of the film.

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Jim Davis
Posts: 496
Joined: Fri May 23, 2003 9:27 am

So . . .

Postby Jim Davis » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:32 pm

Name: Jim Davis
Source: unca20090603.htm
. . . the most influential SF author of the last 40-50 years has died, and all anyone can do here is natter on about lists of favorite movies? (Charlie and Dennis C excepted, of course.)

Good lord, guys. J.G. Ballard's passing deserves better than this. (And if you DON'T know why he was such an important voice, get educated. Really.)

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Robert Morales
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Postby Robert Morales » Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:02 pm

Name: Robert Morales
Source: unca20090603.htm
Terrific Ballard obit on the the London Times site, worthy of the man: ... 128445.ece

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