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I laughed pretty hard at that Mario & Luigi joke.

Surely everyone now agrees that Stone is at his best in Natural Born Killers precisely because he doesn't even have to pretend to take an ethical stance in that movie and he can just go berserk in love with cinema itself.

It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when everyone thought Platoon + Wall Street = Great Stone and NBK = Terrible Stone. Those people were always wrong.

So yeah, I don't know if anything else held the title before, but Joe's bit on Avatar? Favorite piece of writing on the movie, ever. Because seriously, that lizard! That's like just leaving the robot in the spaceship to die because Oh, He's Just a Machine even though he is like totally a character, but nope, only the empty sack of a protagonist and his token boob-haver get to leave.

Tim - Killers, the second half yeah, you're right. The first half is way too on the nose, but once Tommy Lee Jones shows up that movie becomes something else.

Height of Oliver Stone hilarity for me was on the DVD for Patton where he essentially blamed the movie for Cambodia cause Nixon saw it to raise his spirits. So stupid you can't make it up.

on WS, writing wasn't that great but the performances justified me not breaking it when I finished it

Wasn't SLJ in Jumper? I vaguely remember him using a cane or something to hit Hayden in the trailer.

Also agree on Stone's movies being overall interesting even if they shouldn't be. I mean JFK is just one huge clusterfuck but it's well made. But yeah Water Bottle Jesus was pretty bad.

but on the plus side he made Salvador which I think is the only movie that has ever been made in the land of forefathers.

W was good; best thing to come from the Bush II years.

This may well be apocryphal (it's hard to tell true from false where Greenaway is concerned), but story has it that "Baby of Macon" was actually supposed to be a full opera, somewhat in the style of the batshit crazy "Rosa: A Horse Drama" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2whTYfK_dM), with a full libretto by Michael Nyman. Of course, around this time the two had a massive falling out and they never worked together again (Nyman has basically said they never will), and thus that weird sense of void at the heart of "Baby" -- there really is a sense that the piece comes together completely in the few scenes where music starts playing.

Great review though, makes me long for that never made film Greenaway was planning, about a medieval surgeon traveling Britain, dissecting corpses in an attempt to find the anatomical resting point of the soul. He scrapped it due to a combination of necrophilia and heavy prosthetic make-up with a low budget leading to necessarily low-lighting and therefore diminished commercial prospects...

That Jakesooly sure has some puss on him.

Didn't the red bird fly off at the end of Avatar, leaving Jakesully to go back to his scorned blue bird?

Avatar needed more Quaritch

Nick - Yeah, they always come slinking back.

nrh - I always liked that Rosa excerpt; it makes the whole thing seem like total bedlam, which isn't Greenaway's posture at all - even when the plots don't make a lot of sense, I've always found everything he does to proceed with rigorous sense. If you haven't heard it, the whole opera is available on iTunes (as is a later Greenaway/Louis Andriessen collaboration, Writing to Vermeer) but I'd advise tracking down Greenaway's 1993 book version - it served as the basis for the opera's libretto (I think it was written concurrently with the show's development), but it's actually a you-are-there novella in which Greenaway describes the opera's performance as he envisions it, complete with running thematic commentary and momentary leaps into the minds of other members of the audience. It's a little like reading his screenplays, which tend to be very narrative -- especially Prospero's Books, since it's SO visual, and the speaking text isn't his -- but to a much greater extent.

I've never actually seen that tv movie of Rosa, though; I don't even think it was ever released to home video. A bunch of Greenaway's made-for-tv works have fallen through the cracks, like his potentially amazing one-hour Charles Darwin movie:


And yeah, I also read that Baby of Mâcon was going to be a Greenaway/Nyman opera (in the University Press of Mississippi's Peter Greenaway: Interviews collection), although Greenaway describes it as kind of a passing notion he had in the '80s, which he later brought up with Andriessen, though he eventually decided it'd be overcomplicated for the medium... I imagine the differing layers of reality could get really tricky on stage. I actually think the decision to go with diegetic period music was a very clever way to divert attention from him and Nyman breaking up after Prospero's Books... totally fitting with the style of the movie too. (It's only a play... with music!)

As far as TV Greenaway goes, "Act of God" is the one to watch; "Darwin" is good but over-extended at an hour. "Death in the Seine" is a disaster, as is TV Dante (even Raul Rouiz's installment is a disaster, though, so the whole project might have just been misbegotten). The last is at http://www.ubu.com/film/greenaway.html , along with "4 American Composers" (Robert Ashely!), though you all have probably found that already. For the rest let's just hope that Zeitgesist made money hand over fist on that dvd of "The Falls"...

Platoon was so boring it hurt to watch. revisit that movie sometime, for real, it dies a million cowardly deaths, with ne'er a heroic exec to simply kill it once, before it ever was born.

Avatar must have really gotten your dander up, joe. Usually I like to come across your requisite f-bomb and simply note it mentally, like a one cuss word search, but you really lay the lumber in that review. I thought you had a quota, and once you drop the bomb, it was back to "diegetic" and ironic nods to Barthes. Who knew James Cameron would be the one to open the carnal flood gates in our staid "critic laureate"?

enlightening as always, even if I have almost never read or saw anything you choose to write about.

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