American Beauty - I'm a fucking dumbass

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Don't read on if you haven't seen the movie...


But who killed Spacey, his wife or his neighbor? I must be an idiot.

ridiculous, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:10 (fifteen years ago) link

the gay retired general next door killed spacey.

this movie is ass.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:13 (fifteen years ago) link

His neighbor. Idiot.

Allyzay, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:14 (fifteen years ago) link

he was embarassed/angry that spacey wasn't, in fact, gay. and possibly worried that his son will find out. and so shot him. maybe

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:16 (fifteen years ago) link

most poorly-written Oscar winner EVER. And that's saying something.

Morley Timmons (Donna Brown), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:16 (fifteen years ago) link

"titanic," dude.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:17 (fifteen years ago) link

wait, kevin spacey died? then how was he doing a voice-over all movie?

(KIDDING.)

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:17 (fifteen years ago) link

why people hate this movie so much yet think amelie is anything but flushable tripe is beyond me. not that i necessarily rate it that highly
or maybe he was just angry that spacey didn't bone Mena Suvari

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:17 (fifteen years ago) link

xpost obv

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:18 (fifteen years ago) link

this movie is ass.

OTM, and not just cos Spacey is in it. gag.

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:19 (fifteen years ago) link

"titanic," dude.

oh, I blocked that out (mostly by not seeing it)

Morley Timmons (Donna Brown), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:19 (fifteen years ago) link

i liked both films. the amelie one was cuter. and had loads of people orgasming at the same time. but then american beauty had the "HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE NAILED BY THE KING???" "FUCK ME YOUR MAJESTY" lines, which makes it excelsior.

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:21 (fifteen years ago) link

This movie really did blow chunks. How did people get so hornswaggled by it? I dig 6 Feet Under though. I can do without everything having that American Beauty music though.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I am more confused as to how Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has made only about 33 million dollars to date, yet every single fucking person on okcupid, friendster, etc. has seen it and it is their favorite movie.

Maybe this isn't so weird.

Carey (Carey), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:22 (fifteen years ago) link

http://www.bittorrent.com

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:22 (fifteen years ago) link

bittorrent.org even

ken c (ken c), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:23 (fifteen years ago) link

No, the movie that sucked was Better Luck Tomorrow. And that other movie Elephant. Those movies sucked. You know what I still kind of like? Ghost Dog. And TRON.

TOMBOT, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:24 (fifteen years ago) link

ghost dog and tron would make a great double feature.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:26 (fifteen years ago) link

ghost tron is my new mc name

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:27 (fifteen years ago) link

...played on the same screen, like chelsea girls

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:27 (fifteen years ago) link

x-post

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:27 (fifteen years ago) link

Kevin Spacey used to have a big boil on his neck before he was famous. you can see it in that one movie with gene wilder and richard pryor. where richard is blind and gene is something else.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:27 (fifteen years ago) link

that's all very "picture of dorian gray," isn't it?

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Tron gave me a big headache when i saw it in the movie theatre. I loved it though. I went out and bought the comic book.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:29 (fifteen years ago) link

i think tron and the big lebowski would be a better double feature

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Same with Time Bandits. If I really liked a movie I would then go buy the comic book.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:30 (fifteen years ago) link

all movie theatres should always have an old jeff bridges movie running every day.

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:31 (fifteen years ago) link

STARMANG

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Winter Kills!

Morley Timmons (Donna Brown), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:32 (fifteen years ago) link

That's taking things too far.

xpost, I meant Starman.

Allyzay, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Same with Time Bandits. If I really liked a movie I would then go buy the comic book.

-- scott seward (skotro...) (webmail), June 8th, 2004 8:30 PM. (scott seward) (later) (link)


stan lee presents charles foster kane vs. the fantastic four

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:33 (fifteen years ago) link

i would go see a Fat City/Fearless double bill in a friggin' heartbeat!!

scott seward (scott seward), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 02:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Kevin Spacey's performances are all founded on his stellar work as a coke-sniffing Manhattan executive who attempts to feel up Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. American Beauty is indeed ass.

I like Amelie though.

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 05:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I've said it before: Anybody who doesn't like Amelie has no soul.

Andrew (enneff), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 05:47 (fifteen years ago) link

I like Amelie a lot and liked American Beauty quite a lot at the time too. So naff off.

dog latin (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 06:58 (fifteen years ago) link

This movie really impressed me when it first came out.

Then I saw other movies, and realized that the closing voiceover was the worst thing ever.

(one of the indie-film mags this month mentions that the grocery bag video was stolen from another filmmaker)

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 07:03 (fifteen years ago) link

I saw Amelie, and thought it was cute.

I saw American Beauty, and thought it was confused. Not confusing, just confused.

I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and thought it was an indie Love Actually, therefor bollox.

Johnney B (Johnney B), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 07:06 (fifteen years ago) link

He died? Crikey, I only saw the movie once, but I so don't remember him dying in it. Shows how selective my memory is when it comes to movie plots. No wonder I'm film deaf.

Possibly Kate Again (kate), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 07:06 (fifteen years ago) link

see some silent films then!

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 07:19 (fifteen years ago) link

what other movies did you see to make you rethink AB milo? been a while since i saw AB but i don't see anything that wrong with it (as usual it seems people are just annoyed that critics give it 5 stars when it's only 3 or something...but 3 stars would hardly make it an awful film).

stevem (blueski), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 08:46 (fifteen years ago) link

I f*cking hate this stupid ass f*cking movie.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 08:50 (fifteen years ago) link

amelie is harmless twee indie fluff, whereas american beauty is actively annoying portentous (in that condescending kubrickian "improve the audience" way) self-pitying bullshit. i pick the former, any day.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:04 (fifteen years ago) link

AB is an ordinary decent movie. Has its mooments ("I RULE!") and its shitters (Oh, Mena was a virgin after all, oh, the dad was a repressed gay Nazi sympantythiser, oh, Annette Bening is so long suffering, oh, Jack Ryan's daughter had it so tough and let's joke about killing Dad who has hardly even lives up to the Matos standard of fatherhood, hardly Homer and Lisa now, was it?, wasn't Ed Norton's yuppie revulsion in Fight Club so much better and Oscar 'worthy'?).

Crickets Dance On Tequila Booty (Barima), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I also hope ridiculous is secretly Sam Mendes.

Crickets Dance On Tequila Booty (Barima), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:05 (fifteen years ago) link

AB was pretty good despite its many gauchenesses. Stood up to a second viewing much better than I expected as well.
Amelie, on the other hand is unwatchable drivel, no way I could watch the whole thing once never mind twice.

frankiemachine, Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:07 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't think Kubrick comes into it; whatever you think of SK, he has a radically more pessimistic worldview than Mendes, and I don't think he was trying to improve anyone. Mendes has a very English view of filmmaking: first you have 'content' (ie script); then you add visuals. This is the wrong way to go about things.

If anything, as I said at the time, AB is a sanitized version of 'Blue Velvet'. I can't remember why I said it then, but whatever. I think it has improved in my estimation, anyway, and Lynch has gone down the dumper.

Enrique (Enrique), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:10 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah, enrique, i was overstating the case with kubrick, it's just that in some ways AB sort of reminds me of all the worst elements of SK's films - especially in its mildly misanthropic treatment of all the characters except lester burnham. i don't think content over visuals is necessarily a bad way to go (my fave director is howard hawks, after all), but the visuals in AB just struck me as so pointlessly decorative and tacky - like a dime store version of powell and pressburger.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Exactly -- the visuals were like, 'let's put on some dazzle' after the rest had been worked out. Rather than the images expressing much (except you know, suburbs are dull, rain is foreboding...).

Enrique (Enrique), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:19 (fifteen years ago) link

but the content is surely more important, and people have problems with AB's content/messages, as well as the visual themes and whatnot. how do you make a film like American Beauty without addressing content before visuals? given that the visuals are not all that important to the film's message ultimately (but obv. useful in empthasisng Spacey's character's intoxication with Suvari's character etc.). and does this mean Gondry got the balance better with ESOTSM?

stevem (blueski), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 09:26 (fifteen years ago) link

Length or duration

FUCK YOUR POTATO (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 00:38 (one week ago) link

uh

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:09 (one week ago) link

Among the movies many other sins, I always (fairly or not) considered the American Beauty score to be ground zero for the annoyingly twee marimba/celeste/xylophone musical sounds that took over commercials and documentary soundtracks in the 2000s.

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:14 (one week ago) link

now I want to see it again

Dan S, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:28 (one week ago) link

The part where Narrator/Durden still looks cool as hell and winds up with the hot girl while a great, anthemic Pixies song rolls over them watching explosions did a great job of undermining toxic masculinity.

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:35 (one week ago) link

so did Annie Lennox's cover of "Don't Let It Bring You Down" during the rose petal bathtub scene.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:36 (one week ago) link

The nihilistic 'actions' are often made to look silly or gross, as in the globs of human fat scene.

The scene that resolves with Norton finding his inner badass by overcoming worldly pain and not giving into that namby-pamby meditation shit IIRC

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:39 (one week ago) link

xp no, no, see they were blowing up toxic masculinity

Vinnie, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:39 (one week ago) link

toxic Joe Biden clients

BernieBro club

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:44 (one week ago) link

the Narrator is introduced as an "empathy vampire" attending 12-step meetings he has no real stake in; v heroic

save it for the FC anniversary next month, you cloddish motherfuckers

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:47 (one week ago) link

I didn't like it at the time but Fight Club sounds interesting in retrospect

Dan S, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:55 (one week ago) link

It might've worked best as a Henry James story.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:56 (one week ago) link

Let's just say the way it presents itself and the message it tries to convey are somewhat at odds.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 01:56 (one week ago) link

Still never figured out how they got away with showing Thora Birch (born 1982) topless. It fits with Alfred’s “constantly hedging but congratulating itself.”

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:43 (one week ago) link

the Narrator is introduced as an "empathy vampire" attending 12-step meetings he has no real stake in; v heroic

Yes, a pathetic loser... until he joins (starts) the nihilistic death cult that gives him male friendship and a hot lady to fuck.

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:45 (one week ago) link

I actually hated this movie back in 1965, the year of Sam Mendes being born.

circa1916, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:48 (one week ago) link

Amazing that it's not Mendes's worst (The Road To Perdition wins that battle)

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:10 (one week ago) link

Quantum of Solace

When I am afraid, I put my toast in you (Neanderthal), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:33 (one week ago) link

The Road To Perdition wins that battle

He who lives by the Hanks, dies by the Hanks.

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:45 (one week ago) link

I did see a National Theatre screening of the amended-directed Lehman Trilogy, which is fantastic.

Now that you mention Bond, Skyfall is the only Mendes movie I’ve liked at all.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:54 (one week ago) link

*Mendes-directed (ugh autocorrect)

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 03:55 (one week ago) link

in the early days of movie message boards basically Dogma and Fight Club and American Beauty and Blair Witch were some of the new classics of cinema everyone rode for.

― omar little

how does the Matrix fit into this

or am i confusing the thread because I have very mixed feelings on the Matrix

sock fingering, baby (rushomancy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 06:16 (one week ago) link

I know someone who will still get drunk and start telling randoms at a party about the Matrix and Baudrillard.

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 06:50 (one week ago) link

sam mendes is such a fucking DO U SEE middlebrow hack

don’t bore us, get to the aeon of horus (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 07:03 (one week ago) link

he is one of the worst things

theRZA the JZA and the NDB (darraghmac), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 07:57 (one week ago) link

a recent re-watch of this was as bad as expected but i did not expect it to look as ugly as it did.

ryan, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 08:40 (one week ago) link

what makes FC a much more interesting movie is that it's far more willing to engage with actual transgression rather than smug self-congratulations of AB. AB never once challenges its audience's sensibilities, all the while pretending to be edgy. FC also arguably very smug but that's an intentional part of the text, I like to think. That Durden's authentic inchoate/primal/masochistic rebellion ("just hit me!") shades so easily into semi-violent para-military anarcho-fascism (the incoherence is the point!) or even full-on death-drive is also the obvious point...it's supposed to be "cool"... until it isn't.

I find the nihilistic ending funny but also I think it's intended to be hopeful since it's the moment the implicit symbolism of Tyler's revolution (going back to year zero) becomes, for the character, a moment in which a different/better self is finally maybe possible (but maybe not, as the dick splice implies). The irony of the hate the movie gets is that, in the end, it really amounts to a kind of defense of the status quo. And as everyone has pointed out, the movie's worshipers are engaging in exactly the kind of hapless and impotent "rebellion" that the movie satirizes. It's perhaps to the movie's detriment that it can't find a third way except in its admirable refusal of overt moralizing.

The overt moralizing of AB, by contrast, is what makes it such a shallow movie--nothing is really risked, there's no *real* rebellion, we're on his side the whole time, and he even "does the right thing" (doesn't sleep with a teenager) since, after all, he's a good guy. We leave the theater and the world is exactly as it should be...death drive indulged and deferred and the ~very same~ suburban american wasteland the movie spends most of its time mocking is sentimentally reaffirmed. Give me the collapsing buildings instead.

ryan, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 09:10 (one week ago) link

booming post ryan

not sure why today everyone is talking about bad films from the 90s that they don't like, but w/e

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 09:31 (one week ago) link

Yeah great post Ryan, hits exactly what I've not been able to put into words about AB (which 17-year old me loved at the time)

Vinnie, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 10:47 (one week ago) link

^^ prescient imo

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 10:49 (one week ago) link

ryan otm

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 10:49 (one week ago) link

the cinematographer of AB, Conrad Hall, did a lot of good stuff from the '60s on (In Cold Blood, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, The Day of the Locust, Marathon Man)

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 11:13 (one week ago) link

I know someone who will still get drunk and start telling randoms at a party about the Matrix and Baudrillard.

― Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z)

i mean, that's cool, i'm glad they can see it in a baudrillardian sense... i can't really do that, first off not having read baudrillard, second off as much as i respect the wachowskis as trans pioneers it just seems like so much neoplatonism to me, shallow and kind of wrong. even if i actively try to read it as relating to trans depersonalization/derealization i can't get anything out of it, because fucking dualism! i haven't even seen the sequels because nobody has ever said anything to indicate that i would benefit from seeing them.

sock fingering, baby (rushomancy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:27 (one week ago) link

the sequels are great and linger on the meaning of personal choice in a world where all of your options are laid out for you in advance. imo you would benefit from seeing them

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:44 (one week ago) link

prepared for the flurry of posts informing me that the matrix sequels are not great

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:45 (one week ago) link

Just gonna say that Speed Racer is great and leave it at that

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 13:58 (one week ago) link

speed racer is easily their best imo

love to derail an american beauty thread toward the wachowskis

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 14:03 (one week ago) link

Definitely relate to the experience of initially taking the bait w/american beauty. I remember rewatching it when it came out on video and couldnt believe I'd previously fallen for its bullshit.

Fight club & the matrix I smelled a rat from the get-go. At the ending of the matrix when keanu slips on a pair of sick oakley shades and flys away(?) or whatever, I remember yelling out "DO THE DEW!" which 17y/o me thought was a p funny heckle but everyone else in the theater did not

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 14:31 (one week ago) link

(they were right, heckling any movie is a monstrous activity for savages)

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 14:32 (one week ago) link

no, it's in The Departed you should smell a rat

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 14:55 (one week ago) link

"The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce" - Baudrillard

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:09 (one week ago) link

Could never get past trying to figure out how Morpheus's shades stayed in place.

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 15:11 (one week ago) link

Will echo some of the posts itt, I saw AB as a 15-16 old and it genuinely seemed ~profound~ at the time. Definitely get how it could strike a chord with an angsty, clueless suburban adolescent suspicious of the adult rat race maannn.

Like only two years later in college I excitedly put in on for some friends who had never seen it before and I was incredibly embarrassed.

circa1916, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 20:20 (one week ago) link

Could never get past trying to figure out how Morpheus's shades stayed in place.


the apparently-real world is a computer simulation: fine
learning Kung-fu in seconds: fine
dodging bullets in slo-mo: fine
pince-nez eyewear: OH FUCK NO

don’t bore us, get to the aeon of horus (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 20:23 (one week ago) link

prepared for the flurry of posts informing me that the matrix sequels are not great

― american bradass (BradNelson)

that's ok brad if you think i should watch them i'll put them on the list

i too thought "speed racer" was their best film but i only watched the first 20 minutes, should i watch the rest?

sock fingering, baby (rushomancy), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 23:38 (one week ago) link

matrix sequels are terrible tbh

theRZA the JZA and the NDB (darraghmac), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 23:47 (one week ago) link

Matrix Reloaded has its considerably good moments but that ending...

Revolutions is dreadful imo.

omar little, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:24 (one week ago) link

Speed Racer is one of the greatest films of the 2000s

El Tomboto, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:37 (one week ago) link

When American Beauty came out my closest moviegoing friends and I were eighteen-year-old boys--literally the stupidest creatures that God ever put on this planet--and even we all immediately recognized that American Beauty was a reeking heap of rancid offal.

— ℑ 𝔇𝔬𝔫'𝔱 𝔅𝔩𝔞𝔪𝔢 𝔜𝔬𝔲 (@NickPinkerton) September 12, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 12 September 2019 11:47 (one week ago) link


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