Stanley Kubrick: Classic or Dud?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (652 of them)
I don't know how you can criticize Barry Lyndon for being slow and dull in the second half, when that's exactly the arc of the storyline - all uphill the first half, and a gradual descent into hopelessness in the second. IMO, that's one of Kubrick's greatest movies.

Eyes Wide Shut on the other hand did just seem a little slow for me. The pacing made it tense, but it also made it hard to be passionate about.

dleone (dleone), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:00 (10 years ago) Permalink

The Shining is the only horror movie that actually gets my pulse racing - the chase through the maze is as intense as film gets.

I like the second half of FMJ better than the first. The first is easier to enjoy - lots of quotable lines and laughs, and the setup is so familiar in an anti-military way. But the second is darker and has such a surreal aura (the movie crew, the general, etc.), and the way it doesn't just play out as an anti-war movie is great.

About the sets - sometimes I hear that it looks just like Vietnam, some people claim it looks like a UK location. Having never been to either, I couldn't say. (They could be one and the same - what were Vietnamese colonial-era cities like?)

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

I think one thing even the fanboys tend to overlook is his wonderfully dark sense of humor. You don't see it as much in his most heralded films, but Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange in particular are full of those "should I be laughing at this? what's wrong with me!?!" moments.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:08 (10 years ago) Permalink

"Hardcore, Joker. Fucking hardcore."

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:11 (10 years ago) Permalink

here is a sense of humor = i will make a film about space travel, at the height of the oh-so-exciting space race, but i will make it still and lifeless and to fuck up people's expectations i will put the astronauts in coffins and hamster wheels and the film will also be deathly static to reflect the banality of the whole technological trip (because i read arendt and heidegger).

that was the reading i learned in school, anyway. i buy it. it's a fucked up sense of humor and a boring movie if you're not focused on "getting it", though.

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:14 (10 years ago) Permalink

come on that's a pretty good joke!

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:15 (10 years ago) Permalink

yeah, but obviously films can do better things than illustrate manifestos.

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:16 (10 years ago) Permalink

still the only movie to admit there's no sound in space!

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:16 (10 years ago) Permalink

and actually i'm not familiar with the arendt/heidegger reading

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:16 (10 years ago) Permalink

Dr. Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange in particular are full of those "should I be laughing at this? what's wrong with me!?!" moments.

Well, Dr. Strangelove is a comedy, and "should I be laughing at this? what's wrong with me!?!" is exactly what it's about. I guess Kubrick should've done more comedies, perhaps his nihilism would've suited that genre better.

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:17 (10 years ago) Permalink

The opening of Full Metal Jacket - the drill sergeant and the recruits, is mesmerising, but the later stuff, so obviously filmed among old British warehouses, is dismal, particularly the fight against the female sniper, her femaleness seeming to me irrelevent: a sniper's a sniper.

sigh

gabbneb (gabbneb), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:22 (10 years ago) Permalink

Virtually all Kubrick's films are comedies.
Not *conventional* comedies of course, it's his own black humour
which drives them.

pete s, Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:27 (10 years ago) Permalink

x-post to slutsky...

arendt was fascinated by satellites - she thought it was funny that we'd send up this thing INTO SPACE and we were all so excited that it was IN SPACE and we'd make such a big deal about SPACE, yet the whole time the thing was just staring back at the earth. y'know how 99% of space shuttle photographs show the earth, either in the background or as the subject.

so for her the space programs and science fiction are funny because they're not about outer space, they just reinforce or explain our relations to the earth and ourselves. heidegger wrote extensively in the same vein, though about technology and nature.

the heidegger/arendt part = we send man INTO SPACE to confront a GIANT ALIEN MONOLITH and he basically he ends up confronting texas instruments. in the meantime, there's not really anything to do but stare at photos from earth, eat packaged earth food, confront yourself in the form of endless mental and physical exercise. sort of deflates romantic sci-fi.

again, not entirely vacuous but not so great as to decisively redeem the hour-and-a-half space sequence.

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:29 (10 years ago) Permalink

we also all agreed that the climax of the film was when bowman ignored the "danger" stickers and warning labels and jumped into hard vacuum. everything after that point was basically irrelevant, everything before the flight to jupiter irrelevant also. that would've made a good edit of the movie.

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:31 (10 years ago) Permalink

dleone otm about barry lyndon. it's one of his best.
my theory: he was so well placed to evoke the eighteenth century because his character/mind was so suited to it.

pete s, Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:33 (10 years ago) Permalink

Virtually all Kubrick's films are comedies.
Not *conventional* comedies of course, it's his own black humour
which drives them.

Um, I have to disagree. Kubrick took his films rather seriously, the black humour is just one aspect of them. I'd say only Lolita, Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange were "driven" by Kubrick's humour, though some of the others have comedic moments as well, obviously. Still, it's hard to imagine someone calling Paths of Glory, or Barry Lyndon, or even Eyes Wide Shut "comedies".

Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 19:34 (10 years ago) Permalink

Paths of Glory and Eyes Wide Shut i haven't seen.
But Barry Lyndon is a modern take on the picaresque
form; it includes tragedy, romance, etc. and the moralising which usually came with these tales as a 'justification' for the immorality
portrayed within. But the form is a comic one, and allows us to glimpse stories of dissolute behaviour, sex, intruige. Kubrick sticks pretty closely to this format, imo, because as i said the cynical, detached humour you find in much 18th c. lit. suits him down to the ground. He doesn't need to add anything, just show a promising life corrupted by fate and human frailties.

(Incidentally, i'm aware it's based on Thackeray's 19th c. novel)

pete s, Tuesday, 30 March 2004 20:05 (10 years ago) Permalink

thanks for explaining that vahid, it's an interesting reading.

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 20:06 (10 years ago) Permalink

i will make a film about space travel, at the height of the oh-so-exciting space race, but i will make it still and lifeless

this seems to me to be a pretty subjective reaction, because i dont find any part of the film "still and lifeless"--sometimes the characters themselves are, but the film itself never is. the docking sequence is beautiful, and the strauss is perfect because the machines are dancing.

ryan (ryan), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 20:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i mean i agree with ryan and vahid both on this, there's a lot of beautiful motion AND a lot of stillness/quiet. so uh everyone's right.

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 21:02 (10 years ago) Permalink

yay!

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 21:04 (10 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...
you know how sometimes you overreact agin things you liked as a teenager? no? well, i do, and kubo is one of them. i got myself a dvd of 'barry lyndon' to celebrate the fact we're on viewing terms again, possibly as long as a year ago. still not seen it. what i really need here is personal advice: how do i convince my kube-skeptic SO that she owes this film 3 hours? anyone in marketing out there?

N_RQ, Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:14 (9 years ago) Permalink

dr vick wz all YAY B.LYNDON in my kubester-sceptic face* recently but it turned out she meant tom jones

eg the day she, sistrah becky, me and becky's boyf aplyed DESERT ISLAND DVDS and i sighed audibly when 2001 was mentioned and wz quite korrektly taken to task

psi have now seen clockwork o. (as in "o dear")

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:21 (9 years ago) Permalink

i saw 'clockwork orange' when it was "banned" (in fact withdrawn by the ?embarrassed? stan) so decided it was good more or less on the basis of the covertness of seeing it. i think it might be a good parody of 'movies rot your mind' kritix from qd leavis to 'screen' magazine.

N_RQ, Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

Very Classic, if only because I can immediately recall more memorable images from his work than any other director. It's always struck me that his films work best as a series of still photographs.

Huey (Huey), Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

he possibly got more parody refs in the simpsons that any other director = it's true that he's very good w.memorable images

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:36 (9 years ago) Permalink

One of the 3 or 4 best narrative filmmakers of the last 50 years.

Accusations of "no sense of humor" several years xpost: fucked. "A clod with dialogue"? Strangelove is one of the most quoted films ever, and when his characters say banal things, it's quite purposeful.
(except in Spartacus, in which he had no script input)

Barry Lyndon is a smarter, subtler film about desire and violence than A Clockwork Orange.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:50 (9 years ago) Permalink

haha i KNEW you'd hotly defend kubo, morbius

by sense of humour i meant the actually funny kind

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 14:54 (9 years ago) Permalink

Mark's right way upthread about that Chion book, it's really cool.

I used to love Kubrick in my revering great artists phase but right now the only films i can imagine sitting down to watch again are Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut (which really is a comedy i think in the classical sense, much like Fight Club, another film often taken too seriously.)

ryan (ryan), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:02 (9 years ago) Permalink

Classic, despite obvious flaws and large fanboy cult. Surprised that there is only one mention of The Killing. And Lolita although lacking a lot that is in the book, as miccio pointed out, is better than its reputation.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:03 (9 years ago) Permalink

i still adore 2001 though. kind of the ideal film for Kubrick to make. the intrinsic interest of SPACE plays nicely off his cool ironic distance.

ryan (ryan), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:04 (9 years ago) Permalink

it's good isn't it?

it doesn't QUITE rescue ews for me but if a film can cause a book that good, well done film

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

Ha ha, this thread also has my Mum's 2001 story on it!

Pete (Pete), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

i love the banal day-to-day business of space travel in 2001 but the rest loses me a bit, esp the long lightshow/travel sequence (film with a better lightshow/travel sequence: BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS)

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:14 (9 years ago) Permalink

2001 and B&B have the same plot anyway

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:16 (9 years ago) Permalink

hmm maybe the monolith is the same bed propped upright with the knobs and blankets and stuff stripped off

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

it's a futon cz aliens are swank

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:38 (9 years ago) Permalink

Is the Hipgnosis monolith on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Presence the same one, only scaled-down to tabletop size?

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:44 (9 years ago) Permalink

oh so that's why their backs are so fucked up!

does anyone know where the jg ballard line about kubrick quoted here is pulled from?

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:45 (9 years ago) Permalink

the zep one is sorta wonky though

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:46 (9 years ago) Permalink

(the presence shaft is a plastercast of r.plant's penis ken)

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:47 (9 years ago) Permalink

TS: joking with mark s on ILX vs finishing mark s's great book

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:49 (9 years ago) Permalink

lose-lose!! :D

mark s (mark s), Thursday, 10 March 2005 15:52 (9 years ago) Permalink

Barry Lyndon is a beautiful movie. I love how natural things look in the sequences in the castle with the candles. The battle scenes are amazing.

Earl Nash (earlnash), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:24 (9 years ago) Permalink

Barry Lyndon has the same droll, ironic narration as Clockwork Orange, just transfered to the past, not the future.

The Argunaut (sexyDancer), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:30 (9 years ago) Permalink

i've been thinking it's time to revisit 2001!

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:34 (9 years ago) Permalink

hey can i watch the first 25 mins it with you?

jones (actual), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:38 (9 years ago) Permalink

let's have a party! hey do you have mark s's book? where did you get it?

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:39 (9 years ago) Permalink

I've been thinking it's time for me to revisit Kubrick in toto! Hi, I'm the guy that started the thread almost 4 years ago. This is my 2nd post to the thread. How ya doing?

"A clod with dialogue"? Strangelove is one of the most quoted films ever, and when his characters say banal things, it's quite purposeful.

Dialogue being quoted != good dialogue (cf. KEVIN SMITH) (tho I like the dialogue in Strangelove tons more than any KS hoohah) (plz don't get all Alex-in-NYC about KS now, folx).

Also, utilitarian, "purposeful" dialogue != good dialogue, either! By "clod", I was thinking in terms of Eyes Wide Shut mostly, which is just some 3-hour-long dry philosophical exposition about booty (as I recall) where folks talk like they're having SK shove an etiquette book up their prostate. Might've been the point, to make these characters act naturalistically but sound unnatural (& I don't even think they ACTED naturalistically, either!), but that doesn't make the dialogue enjoyable or interesting to experience.

Of course, leave it to the SK skeptic to be a pain in the ass about the last film SK did.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 10 March 2005 16:46 (9 years ago) Permalink


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.