The Cronenberg Thread

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Because there is not yet a thread with the general purpose of discussing Cronenberg, in general. Or of Picking Only Five. Or anything of the sort.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:09 (seventeen years ago) link

Let's begin with The Fly, shall we? Cronenberg says it's his meditation on aging and the strange decay of the human body, though "meditation" may be laying it on a bit thick. Still, there are so many good things about this movie. Goldblum is as good as he's ever been, nerdy and nervous at first, then scary but cracking wise to the bitter appendage-sprouting end. Geena Davis is serviceable enough -- I wonder if they cast her because she was a good match in height? The big effects date badly -- the emergence from the skin at the end looks like rubber, and the vomit-on-the-hand thing is the same cheese effect used for face-melting in Indiana Jones. But it's the details that get you. The hair coming out of the wound. The oozing fingertips. The vomiting. You're thanking the heavens they don't actually show him "eating." It's all the little stuff that adds up to one of the most genuinely icky movies I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of other Cronenberg, so that's saying something.

His best? I dunno. Discuss.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:13 (seventeen years ago) link

nah, it is pretty great though. i thought i'd heard he said the fly was about how in a love affair one person always turns into a monster. and of course the reading at the time was 'it's about aids'.

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:16 (seventeen years ago) link

I haven't seen enough to really determine. But Spider and eXistenZ = duddy McDudDud. Videorome has some great moments but does have some problems aging.

Jeff-PTTL (Jeff), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:16 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm going to shock everyone by saying that Existenz is probably the one I enjoy the most.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:17 (seventeen years ago) link

i thought i'd heard he said the fly was about how in a love affair one person always turns into a monster.

I bet he did say that. I love the romance angle of The Fly as well.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:18 (seventeen years ago) link

POV CRONENBERG!!!

shivers
videodrome
scanners
fast company
dead ringers

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:22 (seventeen years ago) link

In order:

Existenz
Naked Lunch
The Fly
Scanners/Brood (tied)
Spider
Dead Zone
Rabid
Shivers
Dead Ringers
Crash

Never seen Fast Company so that's excluded. Crash is the only actual real bad movie of the lot, but he's also never made a truly great film either.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:23 (seventeen years ago) link

Totally forgot Videodrome. That's after Naked Lunch, but before the Fly.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:23 (seventeen years ago) link

I haven't seen Shivers! Netflix ahoy.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:27 (seventeen years ago) link

eXistenZ = duddy McDudDud

Thank you. Not to mention the storyline is just a re-hash of Videodrome.

Scanners is his best, and Crash is underrated. Okay, so it's not a great film, but I can't think of any better way for the translation from the book.

Sasha (sgh), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:29 (seventeen years ago) link

That's damning with faint praise.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:30 (seventeen years ago) link

Well then why translate the book? The book was a pretty pointless exercise to begin with, if you ask me. Which you didn't.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:31 (seventeen years ago) link

It's definitely one of my least favorite Ballard books from that era. I'm kind of surprise no one has tried to do Concrete Island or High Rise which both strike me as much more cinematic (and obv miles better to boot.)

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:33 (seventeen years ago) link

haha i really didn't care for his naked lunch so never bothered with crash. i prefer his earlier, funnier films.

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:33 (seventeen years ago) link

I think the film actually is... enjoyable. I've watched it a couple of times and will probably watch it again. James Spader is great in it.

Sasha (sgh), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:37 (seventeen years ago) link

My five, which may change as I read this thread and see more of them:

Dead Ringers -- has its probnlems, sure, but also has Jeremy Irons.
Naked Lunch -- it's a rare horror/sci-fi director that gets the kind of performances from his actors that he gets out of Peter Weller in this. Spot-on, funny, and... just fuckin' great.
The Fly -- See above.
The Dead Zone -- Walken!
Spider -- I loved this movie. Also had the pleasure of seeing it in a theater with a fussy five-year-old, upon which others in the theater started shouting at the mother. "This is not a movie for kids!" Beautiful.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:37 (seventeen years ago) link

It's definitely one of my least favorite Ballard books from that era.

Agreed. You know what would make a great movie? War Fever.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh, man, that ending. Just picks up the gun. Nothing to do but go kill. Would anyone make this movie?

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:40 (seventeen years ago) link

i hear spider was pretty great - should i definitely see it?

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:41 (seventeen years ago) link

Definitely.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:42 (seventeen years ago) link

A lot of his short stories would translate well into films. As would probably his last three novels. Cocaine Nights and Super Cannes expecially, seeing as they paint such a good visual image throughout.

Sasha (sgh), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:42 (seventeen years ago) link

And I reckon Cronenberg would be the best director for his stuff.

Sasha (sgh), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:44 (seventeen years ago) link

i like him so much i will be a bit upset if someone says he sucks. 'rabid' was kind of shit tho

franken-vader, Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:51 (seventeen years ago) link

i think that crash is brilliant--a conflation of machine and flesh that continues and expands his themes (which are the themes of all of us--it takes the la of five ecologies and turns it on), that is isolating, slick, beautiful, erotic, well versed and morally complicated.

i think it is the best film formally he has made

anthony, Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:56 (seventeen years ago) link

Ugh Cocaine Nights is terrible. No one should direct that.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 03:59 (seventeen years ago) link

xpost
Did you really find it erotic, though?

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:00 (seventeen years ago) link

Formally, yes. Sexually, no.

Just Kidding (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:01 (seventeen years ago) link

actually thats a perfect answer

anthony, Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:07 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know what "formally erotic" means, but I do understand why it's the perfect answer. May also explain my disconnect from the movie.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:08 (seventeen years ago) link

Ebart: "Cronenberg has made a movie that is pornographic in form, but not in result. Take out the cars, the scars, the crutches and scabs and wounds, and substitute the usual props of sex films, and you'd have a porno movie."

So, yes. Ebert liked it way more than I did, though.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:12 (seventeen years ago) link

I thought Spider was a total z. At least Crash was unintentionally funny. I find the stuff really entertaining but I think the 80s were his peak - charismatic leads help make his style a little less starchy.

POV:
Dead Ringers
Dead Zone
Scanners
Videodrome
The Fly

I really want to see Shivers.

miccio (miccio), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:54 (seventeen years ago) link

That should be I find the early stuff

miccio (miccio), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:54 (seventeen years ago) link

shivers is great, like if romero directed an orgy flick

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 04:58 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh, and Howard Shore music scores for Videodrome, Crash & Scanners... FUCKING CLASSIC.

Sasha (sgh), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:03 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah I saw a lot of clips of Shivers on an IFC documentary about horror films back in 2000 (I turned 21 that October, freaked out and spent every weekend eating pizza and watching tons of Craven, Romero and Cronenberg films on the station - all hosted by Tom Savini!) and it looked terrific.

miccio (miccio), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:09 (seventeen years ago) link

charismatic leads help make his style a little less starchy

Not that I find his style starchy -- more like gooey (ha) -- but as the Star Wars threads (and esp. movies) have reminded me, it doesn't just take a good actor to be a good actor. It takes a relatively decent filmmaker as well. Th fact that Cronenberg consistently gets such good actors and such good stuff out of them is a testament to his ability to work with actors, and that's a laudable talent. Makes the movies better for all of us. A round of applause, please, for Goldblum in The Fly and Irons in Dead Ringers and even Jude Law in eXistenZ. Cronenberg doesn't always give these guys top-shelf material to work with, I won't argue that, but he apparently gives them the room to actually *act* in movies that are not perfect, and that's good direction.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:10 (seventeen years ago) link

apparently cronenberg's gonna make a movie out of london fields - i'm quite curious about this!

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:11 (seventeen years ago) link

You're kidding. I need a link.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:15 (seventeen years ago) link

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0404207/ - admittedly just 'announced', with no status update for over a year so, hmmm, maybe not so likely to happen. i'd see that movie for sure though.

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:29 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh, I could have looked that up myself. I was hoping for an article.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:31 (seventeen years ago) link

Holy shit a DC London Fields would be NICE.

David R. (popshots75`), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:37 (seventeen years ago) link

Yes. Yes it would.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:38 (seventeen years ago) link

I can't tell if its a shame or not that he never got to do Basic Instinct 2. It almost happened!

miccio (miccio), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:39 (seventeen years ago) link

If he'd done the first one, it would have been a great movie. It almost was anyway, but it lacked any subtext whatsoever.

slightly more subdued (kenan), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:44 (seventeen years ago) link

TS: verhoeven vs. cronenberg

j blount (papa la bas), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:47 (seventeen years ago) link

Holy shit a DC London Fields would be NICE.

It COULD be, depending on many, many things. At least the very thought doesn't make me want to die like pretty much any other director on this shit would.

box of socks, Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:50 (seventeen years ago) link

I love every Cronenberg movie I've seen but The Brood is my favorite. I made my girlfriend watch it and not only was she totally creeped out and disturbed but shortly after that she became pregnant. We have a good laugh about that now and then.

I always feel compelled to compare Cronenberg to David Lynch and as much as I admire Lynch, I think Cronenberg is much more successful at doing the same types of things Lynch attempts. For example while Lynch flirts with bad acting, camp, b-movie conventions, and general awkwardness, Cronenberg seems to operate in that territory quite naturally. He kind of skirts a thin line between the arthouse and schlocky failure that I find very exciting. Where other directors working in a similar vein might come across as too clever and knowing, Cronenberg manages to make movies that can be truly confounding and get the most intense reactions out of people.

So anyway, I think he's very underrated. Crash and Naked Lunch in particular are quite underrated. Total classic.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:53 (seventeen years ago) link

I forgot to mention: search his appearance in the film Last Night.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:56 (seventeen years ago) link

At least Crash was unintentionally funny.

Really? Unintentionally?

walter kranz (walterkranz), Tuesday, 24 May 2005 05:57 (seventeen years ago) link

(xpost) Forgot all about that--more than cameos, he actually starred in a big-budget movie.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 17:42 (one week ago) link

Amy Taubin, by the way, is Cronenberg's #1 critical supporter--he's always been an automatic Top 10 inclusion for her any year he has a film out. (Taubin and Taubin's Screen Test for Warhol were in the VU documentary.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 17:44 (one week ago) link

He’s had Canada play the US plenty of times before — that excerpt reads to me like he’s saying he used the light and streets they were shooting on to play the deliberately unspecified future setting, but maybe not.

Vance Vance Devolution (sic), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 17:53 (one week ago) link

Rex and I on the same page.

That is not something someone should ever boast about in print.

Eggs Benedick (Eric H.), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 17:58 (one week ago) link

Rex Reed means as much to global film culture as Barry Norman

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:00 (one week ago) link

xp sic

yeah, i agree it's very ambiguous - i definitely didn't notice it while i was watching, and i'm still curious what taubin thought were suggestions that it was the Aegean coast specifically.

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:04 (one week ago) link

We're going around in circles on three different things at once.

1) He's a poor excuse for a film critic. (True.)

2) Who in the world is Rex Reed? (He's very famous.)

3) Because he's a poor film critic, anything he says about David Cronenberg must be wrong. (No--he's absolutely right in making fun of that "From the mind of..." nonsense.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:09 (one week ago) link

xp there's Greek language signage in at least one scene.

bulb after bulb, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:26 (one week ago) link

I think Cronenberg has earned the right to use "From the mind of..." as he did write the screenplay!

calzino, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:26 (one week ago) link

I like "From the mind of" only because, cheesy as it is, it evokes an earlier method of advertising films that I thought had fallen out of fashion in the wake of the current bludgeoning-pop-song-overtop-bludgeoning-images style.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:29 (one week ago) link

The Suicide Squad was advertised as From The Horribly Beautiful Mind Of James Gunn, the Crimes marketing are really sleeping on a chance there

Vance Vance Devolution (sic), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:32 (one week ago) link

(xpost) Very old-fashioned, I'll give you that (guessing Kubrick was the first director who would have been been given that treatment in a trailer). Besides Cronenberg and Lynch, I think I've seen it used with De Palma. You can almost predict whether a director sees himself as a "From the mind of..."-type. (I can't imagine a female director okaying that, which is 100% a compliment.) "From the mind of James Cameron"--sure. "From the mind of Terrence Malick"--probably. "From the mind of Martin Scorsese"--don't think so.

Sorry--it's just a construction that pushes a button with me, like the director's announcing that he's a true visionary, and you just might not be visionary enough yourself to keep up.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:43 (one week ago) link

"From the mind of Martin Scorsese"--don't think so.

Again, he hasn't solo written a script for any of his films since Who's That Knocking at My Door

Eggs Benedick (Eric H.), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:44 (one week ago) link

I get that. It is pompous as hell--just maybe in a way that I miss?

Also, didn't know James Gunn (or rather, the studio) was trying to pull that auteurist shit. A counter to Scorsese's critiques of superhero blockbusters, I imagine.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:46 (one week ago) link

from the ass of Tim Burton

Doop Snogg (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:47 (one week ago) link

(xposts) Is that the determining factor then--only people who write their own scripts? When I mentioned Kubrick, I wouldn't doubt that it started with 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, and those are adaptations. (Or Barry Lydon, or The Shining, or Eyes Wide Shut.) I always thought it more to do with the idea of the director creating his own recognizable world--with art direction and ways of moving the camera and such. And ego. I'm not saying that Scorsese wouldn't be a director where they'd use that in a trailer, just that I can't see him going along with that. For all I know, he has on occasion. Hitchcock was a total "From the mind of" guy.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:53 (one week ago) link

I guess you can't say "From the mind of Stanley Kubrick, by way of Stephen King (who doesn't really like this, by the way)."

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:54 (one week ago) link

I could 100% see David Fincher trying that bullshit.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:56 (one week ago) link

Directors should go back to starring in trailers for their own films. My fave example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwX8NiXv9Hw

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:56 (one week ago) link

"who is that silver fox lesbian? - oh"

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:58 (one week ago) link

Agree!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjXmLrR6uWQ

Would love to see Cronenberg introduce his films in trailers--he's always a great interview.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 18:59 (one week ago) link

yes I like Cronenberg interviews as well, and he doesn't come across as pompous at all. Which is why I wouldn't take "from the mind of" in that manner at all.

calzino, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:02 (one week ago) link

Considering Cronenberg's very Castle-like hyping of the outrageous content of his latest, this would have been a great way to go.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:04 (one week ago) link

Hitchcock and DeMille did it too (think the Castle clip rips off from the Psycho trailer. Must have been others--Welles?

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:08 (one week ago) link

My point is that you're casting a lot of good and bad faith on directors who might not even have control of how they're being represented in trailers, clem.

Eggs Benedick (Eric H.), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:33 (one week ago) link

next you're going to tell me that the pitchfork writers don't have full control over the ratings of the albums they review!

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:33 (one week ago) link

I get it, Cronenberg rubs you the wrong way and Scorsese is a dude. That doesn't necessitate a 1-on-1 correlation with how they're being marketed -- which isn't to say that those promotional teams aren't picking up on cues from auteurs' reputations, etc.

Eggs Benedick (Eric H.), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:34 (one week ago) link

the worst would be if newspaper writers didn't have control over the headlines of news articles

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:34 (one week ago) link

Can't wait for studios to roll out A-B trailer testing.

Eggs Benedick (Eric H.), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:36 (one week ago) link

You're right, the directors may not have anything to do with it. I'm working from the assumption that at a certain level of control over your films--Cronenberg, Scorsese, Lynch--that also extends to the trailers and advertising campaigns. Which may be an incorrect assumption.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:46 (one week ago) link

They've started this new thing the last couple of years--especially with superhero films--where it's not really a trailer, it's short interview clips with the director and cast interspersed with clips.

I really hate those.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:48 (one week ago) link

Heck, don't forget that Tom Cruise introduces "Top Gun 2." In theatres now!

"From the mind of ..." is kind of quaint, like how they used to have "Steven McQueen IS ... Bullitt."

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:48 (one week ago) link

The "IS"--ubiquitous in the '70s. Why didn't they haul that in too for Crimes? "Viggo Mortensen IS Saul Tenser." That's like box-office gold.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:51 (one week ago) link

Saul Tenser is such an excellent name

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:57 (one week ago) link

drifting off topic but just have to say my least favorite version of this was during the apatow bro-comedy era when they would try to make the producers seem totally cool and chill by saying "from the dudes who brought you ___"

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:58 (one week ago) link

From the mind of your friend across the street, your neighbor IS an up and coming auteur

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 19:59 (one week ago) link

"An Andrei Tarkovsky Joint"

Halfway there but for you, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:02 (one week ago) link

Just remembered the most "From the mind of" director working today, and sure enough...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYy7igKD21A

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:08 (one week ago) link

Some stank bullshit from

Doop Snogg (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:10 (one week ago) link

this holiday season, from the second cousins who brought up your ex-wife again, an overcooked piece of fish is stuck to the pan

the trick is to keep extending this out until nearly every sentence evokes ridiculous film trailers

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:13 (one week ago) link

I want a "This summer..." from-the-mind-of-Mike Matheny trailer from KM.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:16 (one week ago) link

I apologize for all this frivolousness. We can talk about organs and incisions if you'd rather.

clemenza, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:18 (one week ago) link

lol, i can't bear to contemplate the mind of matheny for one second more, i am at my lifetime limit!

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:28 (one week ago) link

from the pancreas of your mom, a funeral you thought you had a good excuse to miss

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:32 (one week ago) link

Somebody really should use "from the ass of" though.

I don't recall hearing about many times directors had control over adverts and posters unless it was low budget stuff. I've long wanted a return to those old trailers with the director in them.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 22 June 2022 20:54 (one week ago) link

Hitchcock and DeMille did it too (think the Castle clip rips off from the Psycho trailer. Must have been others--Welles?

“Tube socks! Tube socks! Three for fi’ dollars!”

Vance Vance Devolution (sic), Wednesday, 22 June 2022 21:17 (one week ago) link

lol at the "these snozberries taste like snozberries" dude from Super Troopers in the Devil trailer

Saxophone Of Futility (Michael B), Thursday, 23 June 2022 15:55 (one week ago) link

Very chilly and cold (quite a low budget on this one) but it keeps you at arms length so you can grapple with concepts like how will our bodies evolve in a dying planet. The Cronenberg movie it reminds me the most of is Crash. I'll give it a 8/10

Saxophone Of Futility (Michael B), Friday, 24 June 2022 01:20 (one week ago) link

i saw the trailer for that one m-night movie DEVIL in a theatre and yknow it was exciting and kinda scary and lots of heavy breathing and panicking and quick shots of scary things happening in darkness, and the audience sat in polite fear, and then it said

FROM THE MIND
OF M NIGHT SHYAMALAN

and the entire theatre as one burst into laughter

― the white queen and her caustic judgments (difficult listening hour), Saturday, June 1, 2013 5:00 AM bookmarkflaglink

difficult listening hour, Friday, 24 June 2022 01:25 (one week ago) link

when I saw that trailer a bunch of kids behind me started booing and I wanted to hi-five them

Doop Snogg (Neanderthal), Friday, 24 June 2022 01:27 (one week ago) link


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