The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tang shan da xiong aka The Big Boss aka Fist of Fury (1971)

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I've always known this movie as Fist of Fury. The other name it goes by is The Big Boss, but I didn't know that, and was always like "man, I need to check out The Big Boss sometime, everyone says it's great." It makes sense, now that I think of it, that all the Wu Tang members would have so many nicknames, since they grew up on Hong Kong cinema, and their favorite films went by so many names. What makes this situation especially confusing, though, is Fist of Fury is also another name The Chinese Connection goes by. So, to recap, The Big Boss is called Fist of Fury here in the States, and Fist of Fury is called The Chinese Connection. I'm going to go by the US English names, as opposed to the Hong Kong English names, but I'll keep the Hong Kong names in the post's title in order to clear up any confusion.

Fist of Fury has Bruce Lee as a Chinese farmer going to stay with extended family in Thailand in order to keep himself out of trouble. Problem is, his family is knee deep in it, after a couple of them stumble upon the ice making factory they work for's dark secret: it's a front for moving large quantities of drugs. The two family members are killed in order to ensure their silence, and two more a killed trying to investigate said murders. That leaves Lee, who vowed he wouldn't fight anymore, but finds he has to at the factory to protect himself when a skirmish breaks out between workers and management. This endears him to his bosses, who make him foreman; and while this alienates him from the rest of his family who now work below him, it gives him the access he needs to get to the bottom of all the killing.

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Another great film. What I loved about this one was the plot device of Lee's promise to his family in China not to fight. Because Lee is such an amazing presence, the mere idea of him eventually fighting is enough to keep us enthralled. With each fight that happens we see Lee's character getting ready to join in, and as anxious as he is to show his stuff, we too are anxious to see it. This is a ploy that can only be used with such a charismatic actor, because with anyone else we'd be annoyed; but with Lee we know we're watching greatness, and we know he's worth the wait, and we're almost willing to be made to wait, because that makes every moment he does fight that much bigger and worthwhile. It's like the character of Chad Newsome in The Ambassadors, where so much of the book is about him, yet he's only actually in it for a fraction, so that the actual parts with him in them seem almost larger than life. The same is with Lee, where Fist of Fury has a lot of fight scenes, and Lee's in them, but not actually fighting, so when he does actually fight, he too is larger than life. (That's right, I just compared a Bruce Lee movie to a Henry James novel.)

This film again is indicative of just how huge a figure Bruce Lee is. Can you think of any other action star, or even fictitious character, where we would put up with being teased about his or her potential action scenes? Maybe the first Superman movie, but that's it, and Superman isn't real. The other example I gave above of Chad Newsome was written by one of the greatest English language writers of all time. We're talking here about an actor that has such a screen presence that he turns a pretty paint-by-numbers Hong Kong actioner into Richard Donner's Superman, or even bigger, Henry James' The Ambassadors-- okay, maybe that second one is a stretch, but the overall energy he exudes isn't.

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There was a bit of a discussion in the Pray for Death post about whether or not killing the wife was the right move, and I'm forced to defend myself here for liking this film, where Lee's family, including his young cousin, are massacred near the end of it. First and foremost, the preceding two paragraphs should give you a little insight into how I feel about that, because as good as Shô Kosugi is, he's no Bruce Lee. In fact, I'd forgotten all about the massacre until I went back to capture images, and I saw the scene where they juxtaposed Lee's fancy dinner with his boss, and the one his family was having in their little shack. I guess the other thing I would say is, as bad as the family massacre was, it was just that one thing. With Kosugi in Pray for Death, it was a piling on: first the kidnapping, then the hit by a car, then the wife killing. Here, Lee's cousins are killed for seeing the wrong thing, then two more are killed investigating that, then you get the massacre. Had they kidnapped the family, tortured them, then killed them, you'd have an argument. Also, I must reiterate, this wasn't the greatest script ever, it was Lee that elevated it. Maybe if he did Pray for Death I would've been singing a different tune as well.

Back to the Madacy transfer. For the first hour and fifteen minutes or so, this was perfectly fine. Sure, maybe it was grainy and scratchy, but compared to what I was used to with this kind of thing, I was okay with that. It was the last fifteen or so that killed me. It looked like they ripped it from a warped VHS copy. I mean, are you kidding me? Like, have you ever had a tape eaten in the VCR, wound it back in, then played the cassette? You know how the picture will go in spots? That's what this was like. Again, just utter laziness, and then they're selling this crap? I expect better from the bootleg DVD/tropical fish store in Chinatown (this place actually exists). I understand that back in the 80s and 90s there were a lot of cheap versions of these floating around, and I'd feel lucky to get one of them; but this is a DVD company selling them to Netflix, and they're really no better than a bootlegger in the subway. That's appalling to me.

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The trivia section on imdb about this movie is worth checking out. It gives some insight into why it was named what it was here the States, why Lee's character doesn't fight until the last half of the film (something I was giving them credit for as being ingenious that may not have been so), and even facts about the shooting locations. One of the interesting ones is that they used a real Thai brothel and real prostitutes for the brothel scenes.

I got this through Netflix as part of a two-sided disc from Madacy that also had The Chinese Connection. You already know what I think of those versions, but as films, they're great. I can't think of a better way to kick off our look at Hong Kong cinema, than with two Bruce Lee gems.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067824/

35 comments:

  1. This is my favorite Bruce Lee movie. This one has him as the all around focus. I think though I can name an actor that is like Lee with his charismsa. Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood. Those three guys I could watch read the phonebook and be entertained. Charles Bronson in particular I could forgive a lot. Bronson had that charisma.

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  2. Clint Eastwood I should've mentioned above Al Pacino as far as actors working today with that kind of charisma, because he really brought it in Gran Torino.

    The other two, Bronson and Marvin, bring up another point, because, though they made films into the 80s, they really were products of a time when so many actors had that charisma. On top of those two, you have Eastwood, as I mentioned, Pacino, and before them Bogart, Grant, Gable, etc.

    Could it be the success of actors like Brando, and even more so, De Niro, whoc changed that? De Niro's raison d'etre is his chameleon-like ability to become his character, which was something Brando did before him. It seems like so many of today's Hollywood stars want that quality, more than they want the Bronson "step onto the set and be Bronson" quality. Add to that so many stars that don't have any formal acting training either. We forget Bronson and Eastwood came from the theater, they weren't just scooped off a rap video set.

    It's interesting, because Bruce Lee had It, and now we're wondering where It went.

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  3. Well the key to such charisma is actually having a defining quality that makes so effortlessly watchable. See I agree with DeNiro and Pacino falling into that category back in the 90s...Now they are just cashing paychecks. (Okay Insomnia was good but not awesome like Heat, Carlito's Way, Scarface, Godfather 1-2, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico) Pacino had it, he has now sold out. De Niro I guess when I think about was just a great actor. Today we are looking for stars that even have Van Damme/Dolph's style of charisma. As nobody even tries to set themselves apart. Indeed take Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Channing Tatum. They just don't have it. Otherwise a movie like The Expendables would exist, nor would the way STV movies all of a sudden became respectable.

    Today i'm trying to look at the great actors, I think the closest we have to such an actor of Bronson, Marvin, Eastwood, Lee's stature is Samuel L. Jackson. (Denzel Washington would be a big maybe, mainly because when I see him in action roles, excepting Man On Fire, I can't help but think his talent exceeds such a role) Also Mickey Rourke would be another type of guy that has that type of charisma.

    However guys like Clooney, Wahlberg, Bale, Cheadle are all from the DeNiro school. Which is fine but we need the variety of such.

    Nicolas Cage is another guy that would fall under this category, but once again he's more of a camp icon.

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  4. Something else I didn't consider is just how much today's movie industry is director driven, when fifty years ago directors were considered, at least in Hollywood, as the people in charge of just getting it done, and actors were the big deal. With directors given so much more creative freedom, an emphasis is placed on actors like De Niro who take more pride in being actors than they do in being stars. Eastwood, though a director himself, still comes from that older school.

    I would say that George Clooney, though not an action star, and not on par with a Bruce Lee or Cary Grant in terms of ability to chew up scenery, has some of that quality, perhaps more than any other actor today. Up in the Air is a great example if you haven't seen it, and I'd even go far enough to include the horrible Batman and Robin. Probably why it didn't work was because we couldn't divorce Clooney from Clooney enough to make him Bruce Wayne or Batman. Best part of the movie was him in a tux, which says something.

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  5. Eh perosnally I like Diesel and Walker, and I find Tatum tolerable(at least when he's doing action films, but he REALLY sucks in dramatic roles) and while I have a great deal of respect for De Niro and Pacino, I can't say I consider all their films masterpieces(especially Heat, which I found overlong, needlessly drawn out and uninvolving for the most part)As for Clooney, well he has made it clear how much he regretted doing Batman And Robin(which I personally kinda liked) and offered to refund anyone who came up to him and said that they paid to see that film, so you gotta respect that, and how do you guys feel about Tom Cruise as an action star? I think he's pretty talented, even if he is a bit of nutjob with all that wacky Scientologist crap.

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  6. I would say that, while maybe Pacino and De Niro don't have many recent masterpieces, they've each done more masterpieces than most actors will ever dream of doing just a fraction of. Just De Niro's work with Scorsese alone is enough for three or four careers. Add to that the Deer hunter, Godfather II, Untouchables, and yes Heat, despite what you might think, is by any objective scale better than anything in Tatum, Diesel, and Walker's careers combined.

    As far as Pacino, the numbers are fewer, and Scent of a Woman was probably more of a lifetime achievement award, but you still have the first two Godfathers, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Glengary Glen Ross, Heat again, and most recently, a great turn as Shylock in Merchant of Venice.

    I do like Vin Diesel as a guilty pleasure, especially Chronicles of Riddick and Babylon AD, and I will give Walker his props for his job in Fast and Furious; Tatum just comes off as a complete meathead to me, ever since he did that dance movie where the commercial had his co-star tell him "you're adequate", to which he replied "adequate?" in the ultimate meathead/Biff voice. I know the chicks dig him, so he at least has that.

    I'm surprised you like Tom Cruise but not De Niro, when Cruise is cut from the same cloth. I like Cruise as well, don't get me wrong, but he and De Niro both become their characters entirely in much the same way, only De Niro is much better at it.

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  7. Well yeah Tatum probably is a meathead, but he's still competent at doing action films(espeically in that G.I. Joe film which I loved, I highly doubt anyone was expecting good acting in that film)thoug I never knew he did a commercial(hell I almost NEVER recognize actors in commercials admittedly, because I almost always mute commericials and don't bother paying attention to them, except for the ones I saw with Steven Seagal, Jason Statham, and Megan Fox) And I never said I didn't like De Niro or Pacino, I certianly don't like Cruise more thne them, don't know here you got that from I really do like them, it's just how do I put this, i'm just generally not big on most critically acclaimed films, I prefer watching mindless films over intelligent ones to be perfectly honest-course that's not to say I can't appreciate an intelligent film once in awhile, but overall I just don't gravitate towards films like Heat, Scarface, and Carlito's Way as much as I do towards mindless action films.

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  8. Don't know where we got that you don't like them?

    "I can't say I consider all their films masterpieces"

    That sounds pretty derisive to me, and however you want to spin it now, that's how it came off.

    By all means, you have the right to like GI Joe more than Heat, but that's not what you said either. You said GI Joe had "good acting", and called Heat "overlong, needlessly drawn out and uninvolving for the most part". That doesn't sound like someone who gravitates toward mindless movies, nor does it sound like someone who doesn't go in for critically acclaimed films (whatever that means), it sounds like someone who's trying to make the case that GI Joe is the better movie than Heat, and if you do that, you'll be called to the carpet every time.

    I'm not sure why anyone would go out of his or her way to avoid "critically acclaimed" movies. Sure, I don't like all the Oscar nominees I watch, but many of them are great, and not only that, but painting them with a broad brush of "critically acclaimed" or "intellectual" makes even less sense. Just look at how diverse the ten films were that were nominated for Best Picture were this year. I'm not saying you need to embrace everything Roger Ebert likes and turn your back on Bad Boys II; I just think you'd be better served by not wearing that "I prefer mindless films over critically acclaimed ones" as a badge of honor, because you're not doing yourself any favors. It's okay to like PM Entertainment and Sony Pictures Classics together.

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  9. I should make clear, I'm all for part of your stance, Michael. I didn't like the Lord of the Rings movies that everyone loved. I think Tolkien is a racist and a sexist, and as such, the stories the movies were based on didn't work for me. So in that sense, I'd say I liked Chronicles of Riddick more than any of the Lord of the Rings movies. But I didn't not like Lord of the Rings just because it was "critically acclaimed", nor did I just like Chronicles of Riddick just because it was "mindless action".

    Furthermore, if I did have an approach like that to watching movies (and let me amend an earlier starement-- you have every right to take that approach), I'd at least admit to myself that that's how I'm going about things, and be more pragmatic before I'd make a comment that Heat is such and such a way, if in reality Heat just wasn't my kind of movie.

    See, you betray the weltanschauung you cling to when you excoriate Heat for being "overlong, needlessly drawn out and uninvolving", then turn around and say "oh, I just don't gravitate towards 'intelligent' films anyway."

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  10. I said I didn't consider ALL their films masterpieces, that dosen't mean I don't consider SOME of their iflms ot be masterpieces, but for the most part their films just aren't what I usually watch, that's ALL i'm saying, and I never said G. I. Joe had "good" acting, I said no one expected the cting in that film to be any good(and it wasn't really, but it wasn't horrible either, just tolerable) And I don't deliberately go out of way to avoid critically acclaimed films like you said-most critically acclaimed just simply DO NOT appeal to me, that's what I was saying(BTW i'm not the only person who didn't like Heat, there's plenty of major film critics who were severely dissapointed with it as well, James Berardinelli on Reelviews being one example)And as for my contradictive comments,well I have explain for that-I have Aspberger's Asyndrome, so my thought process is likely every different from yours, and as result of that I don't always know EXACTLY what i'm saying and I someitmes dififcult to put my thoughts into words in the exact way that you do-hence my so-called "betrayed" comment in your words(which is why you shouldn't try to read too hard to into every single word I say), I generally don't gravetate towards films like Heat but I decided I should at least give it a chance, and it didn't end up working for me all that well for the reasons I mentioned, and I didn't care for The Departed either, but that dosen't mean I still won't try and watch that type of film every once in awhile, it just means that in general I don't watch thme nearly as often as most people do.

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  11. There are two types of comments here at the DTVC. There's the innocuous "great post", "great site", "hey if you liked this you should check out..." kind of comment, which is great, and I love, but isn't going to stir up the discussion.

    Then there's the "I'm gonna throw my opinion around and see what happens" kind of comment. Those do stir up the discussion, and I like that that discussion can be bold and heated here. I'm sorry that you suffer from Asperger's Syndrome, and as such, it might be better if you confine your comments to the former kind, especially if you think your Asperger's is going to be an issue. Also, it's not fair to everyone else if you're allowed to give your opinions, but we're not allowed to challenge them, don't you think? I'm not making light of your condition, nor saying you don't have a right to your opinions; but if you give your opinion and I challenge it, it's not fair to me, or anyone else, if you turn around and say "lay off, I have Asperger's."

    Out of all of my readers, you're usually the first one to call me to the carpet if I say something you think is factually inaccurate, or inconsistent with something I said before. Again, do you think it's fair then to tell me I can't use your own words, within the same comment thread no less, to make my point in a discussion? I can see in your last comment that your Asperger's is nothing to make light of, and I'm sympathetic to it and have made allowances for it in other comments. What I won't allow you to do, though, is use it as a way to gain hegemony over the comments on this blog. If you want to give your opinions, you have to accept the consequences, okay?

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  12. No matter how I try to explain things to you, I don't think you're ever really going to understand-sometimes I really don't what i' saying or have a weird way of saying things, but I since I really love your site I still like commenting and I will continue to do so regardless of anything else(BTW I have no idea what the hell Hegomony means)-Anyways I am glad to know that i'm not the only person who absolutely HATES the LOTH film series-though not because of it being "racist" which I never noticed-it's mostly because I found the films to be insufferably boring beyond belief-and Orlando's Bloom's godawful acting certainly didn't help any

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  13. Well we're glad to have you on board, and I'm glad you love the site. Just know when you state your opinion, you gotta own it, like you just did with that Lord of the Rings comment-- though in that case you'll have me as an ally as opposed to an opponent.

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  14. Alright good to know, but I do want to make it clear that I don't think that Cruise is better in ANY way then De Niro or Pacino, I was just curious to know whether you or Kenner liked Cruise or not.

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  15. I would've responded sooner but believe it or not I actually did something with friends yesterday (and will today) which is pretty rare and something I doubt will be a reoccurance. It should be noted at Almost 30...this getting stinking drunk thing is getting tough for me, that or i'm out of practice.

    Anyway for Tom Cruise, I don't mind him. I liked Top Gun in all its homoerotic glory (the song Playing with the Boys is truly hilarious) I also remember liking Days Of Thunder, Mission Impossible 1 (2 is awful, 3 is okay) and Minority Report. I did find Legend to be a flop though. Personally I just don't think he didn't have Patrick Swayze's presence but he's okay.

    I liked Pitch Black with Diesel. Everything not so much. XXX in particular is what made me hate Diesel. I actually can tolerate Paul Walker. Although his Meet The Deedles role is sort of jarring to see him in, like you know Running Scared (which I liked) But he does come off as Keanu Reeves like.

    As for the talk of masterpiece-I think it's only fair to show some respect for movies that are truly well crafted. Indeed Heat for the most part is good but also crafted and well directed. Something like G.I Joe is only meant for entertainment. It's fine then to say you're not really into such but a lot of movies that are good and intelligent are what start the movies we all love.

    For instance Dirty Harry, Death Wish and The French Connection are all critically acclaimed.

    By all means i'd be a liar If I didn't admit to enjoying French Connection II more. (Or even Death Wish 3 as more rewatchable) I like the first Dirty Harry best though Sudden Impact comes close.

    Also Scarface works perfectly as a straight ahead actioner as well as character study and gangster pic.

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  16. I should meniton that I did like Scarface, but frankly I just don't get how it's considered to be a masterpiece(and i'm not the only one, Scarface was reviled by most critics when it first came out)-and I quite honestly would prefer to watch XXX over it.

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  17. On XXX- May god have mercy on your soul. Unless you're talking porn, otherwise shame, shame, shame on you.


    Because XXX is godawful. A really lame rip off of James Bond with a forced "hipness" and the fact that you don't watch such a movie, you survive it The weapons are stupid. the snowboarding stunt is retarded and Diesel comes off as the biggest meathead ever.

    Scarface isn't really a masterpiece so much as Cult favorite.

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  18. Yeah the jokes on you as I don't belive in god or souls, LOL Anyways I make absolutely no apologies for enjoying xXx or it's sequel(there's actually going to ANOTHER xXx film coming out, with Diesel returning)and I will defend them as being mindless action films no matter how many people insult me for liking them(also for the record I saw xXx before I ever saw a James Bond film, so I didn't see it as a rip-off)

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  19. One wonders what would have happened if James Tien (who plays Lee's cousin here and was originally the lead of 'Big Boss') had stayed in the lead role and Lee been relegated to co-star status- I doubt this would've broken Hong Kong box office records... I will always remember Tien and director Lo Wei for bogging down Jackie Chan's early career by trying to turn him into Bruce part deux with stuff like 'New Fist of Fury' and 'Magnificent Bodyguards.'

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  20. Well, with the roles switched, as was the original plan, we'd lose the great dynamic of holding off on Lee's first actual fights, which worked so well.

    The Diesel XXX was hilarious, and plenty good to make fun of, in a Waterworld kind of way. The sequel was too much for even me to handle.

    Tom Cruise I love, just because. It seems like now his days as a leading man are over, but in Tropic Thunder he proved he can still be great in a supporting role.

    And did you know, Kenner, that Kenny Loggins originally applied to only write the "Hanging with the Boys" song, because no one else wanted to write for that scene. It was after that that he was asked to do the film's ultimate theme song, "Highway to the Danger Zone". Part of the legend that was, Kenny Loggins, Soundtrack Master of the 80s.

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  21. Actually Judas Priest was originally offered the chance to have their song-Reckless played, but they turned it down(and later regretted it) and Kenny Loggins Danger Zone was used to replace Reckless, and also Cruise's days as a leading man aren't over just yet-Mission Impossible IV is currently in the works right now and Cruise has also talked about a Top Gun sequel.

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  22. Well, obviously he's still being cast as a leading man, I just think his ability to carry a film has gone by the boards, evidenced by Valkyrie; yet in Tropic Thunder, he proved even more that he still has a lot to offer the movie industry as a supporting actor, and it's roles like that where his Oscar is likely to come from, not with him holding on as a big budget leading man.

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  23. Eh, well Oscar roles aren't everything, i'm sure not EVERY Hollywood actor or actress cares about winning or being nominated for one, and while I did like Cruise in Torpic Thunder, I didn't think he was very good in Valkyrie. So i'm personally looking forward to seeing him in another MI film MUCH more then any so-called "Oscar" role.

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  24. Also I know something you can review on Tuesday-Firepower, I od recall you saying that you were going to check it out.

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  25. I'm actually going with Dolan's Cadillac, which I'll be writing in a few seconds. Also, Firepower is going to be put on hold for a little while because I got my hands on Heatseeker, which I'll mention in the Arcade post tomorrow.

    While we're on the subject, I should probably clear up a couple things as far as how I select films for the blog. First, I'm not sure how familiar you are with how Netflix works, but in order to get a movie, I have to return the ones I have, and at the quickest, two days later I'll receive the ones I want. That's if the Post Office cooperates (which they didn't last week). Not to mention, Firepower is currently listed as "Short Wait" in my area, meaning I might not have gotten it at all when I return my current movies on Monday (I'm actually expecting that to happen with Shutter Island, which is on the top of my queue currently). I guess what I'm saying is, it would be impossible to get Firepower by Tuesday in order to review it anyway, even if I were going to do that film.

    The other thing I should clear up is, I usually have about four or five movies in mind for a specific post as we get this close to the date, so when I say I'm not sure which one I'll do, I'm really saying I need to figure out which of these four or five will be chosen. One thing I might consider doing in those situations where I need to decide on a post is put up a poll-- but we know you're prone to stuffing the ballots on those polls aren't you, Michael. Hahahaha!

    I will say, in regards to your Firepower suggestion, that I had planned on, Netflix willing of course, reviewing that one next Tuesday, but when I came upon Heatseeker, I changed those plans. That's another thing that happens frequently: I plan on one film, and then another with that same actor that I've been meaning to do more becomes available, so I shelve the other one for the time being. I'm not sure when I'll get to it now, with the Hong Kong cinema series taking up two posts a week for the foreseeable future, but we'll see what happens.

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  26. Arcade was the first Pyun film I ever saw and I personally liked it(though the ending sucked)and I saw xXx before I got into people like Stallone, Van Damme, Segal, etc, so unlike most people-I wasn't ocmparing xXx to anything, I was solely judging it on it's own terms(and I personally loved the rock soundtrack) I loved all the films on your worst list, and I acutally that the 00s is a pretty good decade for action films-though I personally found ??Minority Report rather overrated nad I wasn't THAT crazy about Kill Bill either(i'm not much of a Tarantino fan to be quite honest)

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  27. Well I thought Paparazzi was decent at least(it had a really good premise, but it was taken far enough)and Max Payne was pretty true to the games, so I didn't really see much to hate it about it(other then Mona Sax being crinimally underused)And i'm not sure how you define trolling so maybe I am doing it-I just enjoy seeing how people react to me telling them that I prefer to watch films like xXx and The Island(which i'm surprised you hated as most people consider it one of Bay's better films) over Oscar or Academy Award nominated films, If youre still dumbfounded as to how I acutally LIKE those films, I DO have Aspberger's Syndrome-which gives me a different persepctive on films thne most people have, i'm much more ofrgiving towards films then most people are-things like a convulted and/or unrealistic plot, one-dimensional characters, continuity and logic errors etc don't bother me as long as a film can succeed in entertaining me. If I get shot over saying that then so be it, i'd much rather make up my own mind about how I feel about a film, rather then let critics or the general public TELL me how i'm SUPPOSED to feel about a film.

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  28. I think saying you like to see how people react says more about your opinions than how you actually feel about these films. You're going out of your way to only like movies most people don't, and hate films most people do, and to prove my point further, you're going to go out of your way to list a bunch of films that you do like that most people do, and list a bunch of films you don't like that most people didn't, just to show me I'm wrong about that point too. I'm right, right?

    Being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian is a very difficult track to take. Not only that, but it means you have to side with totally irredeemable sacks of asscrack like Bad Boys II and Paparazzi, just to do it. It's a lot easier to just like what you like and dislike what you dislike, than say you like or don't like a film just for the sake of having an unpopular opinion. I didn't like Pray for Death because it didn't work for me-- not so I could disagree with Kenner. In fact, I wanted to like it, because Kenner and others recommended it so highly, and was disappointed that I'd have to give it a less than favorable review. But at the very least, I can say I didn't like it because I didn't like it, not because he said and a lot of other people said it was great.

    Maybe it's your Asperger's, and maybe that's a way you found you can interact with people, by giving seemingly outrageous opinions on things (I recall you saying you don't like The Beetles as well, which really is insane, because their music spans so many genres, not liking anything they've done either means you don't like music, or you're just saying it because everyone else recognizes something good in them), but in the end, the constant conflict just makes things worse, makes you more disconnected.

    I'm about to disagree with Kenner on his comment that the 00s were crap for movies, but I see his point that the 90s were overall a better decade-- almost as good as the 70s. But when it comes to action films, he's totally right, and the decline probably started prior to 2000, like in the mid-90s, when Schwarzenegger did Jingle All the Way.

    From 2003-2005, I've got Lost in Translation, which was my number 1 from the decade; Hotel Rwanda, my number 2; Maria Full of Grace, my number 6; and Tsotsi, my number 8. That's almost half my top ten from the decade in those three years you sited as being so poor-- though that's also only 4 movies, perhaps making your point.

    I'm going to end my comment with this: Michael, you said you don't want critics and whatnot telling you what to watch, but by going out of your way to like films they don't, you're actually doing just that. Remember that.

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  29. You got it all wrong, I don't deliberately go out of way to enjoy critically mauled films or to hate critically acclaimed films. Those just so happen to be my honest opinions, yes I happen to like alot of films that most people hate and don't like alot of films that most people love, but that DOES NOT, I repeat DOES NOT i'm being "contrarion. I don't always disagree with critics either, (and Ryan, I certainly don't hold a "grudge" like you said either, I never said I hated Kill Bill, I only said I wasn't all that crazy about it, I liked osme things about it, but overall I just didn't see as a mindblowing film the way most people did) they're are some critically acclaimed films that I do enjoy(just not nearly as many as most people, and Lost In Translation was definitely not one of them, my mom didn't really care for that film either, having unpopular opinions on films sort of runs in my family. My mom openly admitted that she didn't like Marlon Brando in The Godfather, though that was mostly because she perfered the way his character was written in the book)and they're are some widely hated films that I totally agree with the critics on-such as Freddy Got Fingered, The Twilight films, the Saw sequels, etc. I do enjoy other films besides action films, and i'm perfectly capable of seeing a thought-provoking film like, (The Siege being one such example, which is one of my all time favorite movies) but in general I just happen to find mindless action films more appealing then any other type of film, that's just how I am. I tend to disagree with your opinions alot(ESPECIALLY Rambo III, how you can call the aciton in that film "lame" is beyond me) but I definitely agree with you on Garden State(as do some other sites like Reelviews) I found it to be an overly prententious piece of garbage. Two other films I hated even more then Garden State for similar reasons were Saved! and I Heart Huckabees, two of the single most excruciating comedies ever made-by excruciating, I mean i'd rather watch a Pauly Shore film or those Seltzerberg spoof films before I EVER subject to those two films again.

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  30. Too bad you got a bad copy of it! I saw a decent version of it on that boxed set I mentioned before, which I highly recommend if you want to see a good transfer of it.

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  31. Yeah, elementary beatbox was saying the samething, so I definitely need to check that out. Thanks man.

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  32. Gla di'm not the only one who hates those awful films, also I should that there are some Award winning/nominated films that I do enjoy, THe Hurt Locker being one example, that's one of the rare Best Picture winners that actually deserved it's win IMO, unlike overrated garbage like Titanic, which is my 2nd most hated film of all time(my #1 most hated film being Sound Of Music, hell I hate most musicals in general)

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  33. What is your deal Ryan Kenner? Your comments are circumventing my e-mail notifications. I completely missed your last two comments.

    I think you and I said the same things about the 00s, just in different ways. There were some great films, and though we can't expect that decade to match the 90s, which was close to the 70s in overall quality, it was an overall disappointment. (Though to be fair, the decade ended really strong.)

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  34. I don't know the part is the word verification part. I have no idea why I can't just punch in the letters and put in my password and write my comment.

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  35. Yeah, I have no idea. I only added that system because it seemed to work out well for you and everyone else, and I wanted to allow anaymous users to comment again. I bad some pretty bad spam in my comments that I needed to address before. Let me know, though, if you keep experiencing problems, and we'll sort them out.

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