The films of Alan Parker POLL

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I still love Bugsy Malone and Fame...when I saw Angel Heart I remember thinking that it might be the worst film I had ever seen, apart from the fact it had Mickey Rourke in it...I like film polls

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Angel Heart (1987) 9
Bugsy Malone (1976) 7
Fame (1980) 4
Pink Floyd—The Wall (1982) 4
The Commitments (1991) 2
Mississippi Burning (1988) 2
Birdy (1984) 2
Shoot the Moon (1982) 2
Midnight Express (1978) 2
The Road to Wellville (1994) 1
Evita (1996) 1
Angela's Ashes (1999) 1
The Life of David Gale (2003) 1
Come See the Paradise (1990) 0


it was discovered that there's no rule that a dog cannot play basketball (bends), Sunday, 6 October 2013 09:51 (six years ago) link

Angel Heart's not terrible! or it's entertainingly bad, i dunno, maybe you had to be there at the time. it's returns diminish fast, obv.

anyhoo considering how much i used to think i liked Parker this is a pretty poor list. he made a lot of films that you grow out of, i guess. Fame might be the best thing here.

lusty thoughts of big, strong, powerful hipsters (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:00 (six years ago) link

Alan Parker was one of the first directors I was aware of and maybe the first director I remember thinking of myself as a fan of, I heard a radio 4 show looking back over his career when I was about 10, I think about the time Evita was released (I used to listen to radio 4 for hours when I was 10 for some reason). At this point I had only seen Bugsy Malone, Evita and some clips from Fame but the descriptions of his other films made them sound like the most exciting thing ever and I liked the idea of being able to say someone was my favourite director, so I chose Parker.

i think Parker was one of the first people i thought of in an auteur-y way which looks ridonkulous, looking at this now.

on the other hand, every one of these i've seen is really well-made. it's just that they stand or fall on elements that i don't think are his, especially. i shd def rewatch Birdy, that was a big deal to me at the time. is it kinda damning with faint praise to say he probably did as good a job with the film sections of The Wall as anybody cd've done?

lusty thoughts of big, strong, powerful hipsters (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:05 (six years ago) link

I was really disappointed the first time I saw Angel Heart, I'll watch pretty much anything with Mickey Rourke in it, and the descriptions of it I had read made it sound like it would be enjoyably lurid trash if nothing else, but everything about Parker's direction seems to work against enjoying it on this level? Something about the way he puts a film together seems to kill anything that could be spooky or vulgar. Maybe I would find stuff to enjoy in it if I watched it again without being distracted by having my expectations dashed though.

i watched it (i don't know how many times) when it came out, when me and a couple of friends were just developing our serious film buzz and Mickey Rourke was a minor deity to me. can't remember the last time i saw it but i wd say that Parker's flat dourness of tone might be as good a way to go with it as any?

lusty thoughts of big, strong, powerful hipsters (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:10 (six years ago) link

Mississippi Burning is really well executed i think and Gene Hackman ffs but y'know, lol white heroes

lusty thoughts of big, strong, powerful hipsters (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:11 (six years ago) link

I think I came away thinking that pretty much anyone other than Parker would have made a better film with that cast and script? Mickey Rourke's performance in the last 10 minutes is A+ though, also 'Louis Cyper'

Shoot the Moon is probably the film i should go back to as an adult

lusty thoughts of big, strong, powerful hipsters (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:12 (six years ago) link

B. L. Zeebub

just watched david gale the other night.
really enjoyed it.

mark e, Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:28 (six years ago) link

Voted The Wall, a timeless classic.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Sunday, 6 October 2013 10:54 (six years ago) link

"Midnight Express" was probably 13 year old me's favourite movie of all time. I dont think it holds up all that well now though. Like NV, "Birdy" was a big deal to me at the time also, I'd like to see it again. "Angel Heart" is really good too, works for me anyway.

Old Boy In Network (Michael B), Sunday, 6 October 2013 11:31 (six years ago) link

It's amazing how the guy who helmed Shoot the Moon (P. Kael otm about its goodness) also did Mississippi Burning, one of the most offensive and inaccurate pieces of shit of the last thirty years

I still need to see Shoot the Moon. Funnily enough I was just thinking about The Wall last week -- I haven't seen it since college and don't have any big desire to revisit it, but there are some really effective things in there. Granted, the animated parts are probably the best, and it's hard to give Parker too much credit for those.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 6 October 2013 14:04 (six years ago) link

Let me cross-post w/the Eagles thread: I can't think of "I Can't Tell You Why" without remembering STM.

voted for angel heart, as it's vulgar, vivid and overblown in a trashily enjoyable sort of way (or was, once upon a time). plus lisa bonet. the wall a very close runner-up for similar reasons (bonet), though i've much less interest in revisiting it.

with noodle and michael b on birdy. i have fond memories and it made me a nick cage fan early on (a road of sorrows), but i have little memory of the film itself. the commitments was p enjoyable.

never seen shoot the moon. wanted to at the time, based, yeah, on the pk review. over time, i think i mentally combined it with beiniex's moon in the gutter.

pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Sunday, 6 October 2013 14:24 (six years ago) link

Another vote for Angel Heart.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 16:08 (six years ago) link

only saw 5

Angel Heart over Birdy and Shoot the Moon

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 6 October 2013 16:19 (six years ago) link

Guy who wrote the book Angel Heart is based on recently wrote a biography of Richard Brautigan.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 16:38 (six years ago) link

I haven't seen Birdy in 20 years, and I only did because I loved the Peter Gabriel score.

Morbs! I'd no idea you'd pick AH!

Mississippi Burning may be one of the worst BP nominees of my lifetime.

midnight outdoor nude frolic up north goes south (Eric H.), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:20 (six years ago) link

Haven't seen it since it came out but remember digging the supernatural noir vibe. Also liked the little Chinatown tribute, I assume, when M. Rourke puts on the white nose guard at the beach. Also, I had a roommate who worked on the film and we had a prop from it in our house, the finger shaped sign that said "I am the man you will eventually consult." Wonder what Morbius's reasons could be.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:24 (six years ago) link

admit it: most of you horndogs waited your entire lives to watch Denise Huxtable go into a trance covered in chicken blood.

To me Angel Heart is of a piece with Jacob's Ladder. I'm not a big fan of either director's work but somehow the genre constraints such as they are bring out their best or at least make their gimmicks less annoying.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:27 (six years ago) link

Now Alfred somehow reminded me that when I went to see this in Time Square when it first came out at one point an audience member commented on one of the visual motifs saying "There goes that fan sh*t again."

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:32 (six years ago) link

Thing I remember most about Angel Heart is all the damn fans. Like, every third shot is of a slowly rotating ceiling or window fan -- which is supposed to be some kind of symbol of death? Anyway, it's a distracting device.

xpost ha!

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:34 (six years ago) link

The Karmic Wheel maybe?

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:40 (six years ago) link

I think I read somewhere that Parker said the idea was that the spokes of the fan are endlessly following each other around in circles?

(I'm not sure if 'spokes' is the correct word, but you get the idea)

The spokes of the fan are the rotational equivalent of that other visual motif he uses, the old chestnut of daylight or streetlight coming in through half-opened Venetian blinds to create diagonals.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:51 (six years ago) link

I saw The Road to Wellville -- an inexplicable movie -- because Quiz Show was sold out. I saw Evita because my straight friend was more excited about Madonna than I.

Did you ever end up seeing Quiz Show, Alfred? Recall that being pretty good, although when I went to see it we forgot to queue up and therefore were forced to sit in the very first row where we were buffeted but an icy draft and at which angle everyone on screen was distorted so as to look like a member of the Klump family.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 17:59 (six years ago) link

The following week! And, yeah, I liked it.

It's just formula entertainment, but The Commitments delivers for me.

Aimless, Sunday, 6 October 2013 20:07 (six years ago) link

OK, this thread finally prompted me to start reading Falling Angel. Really good so far. Lots of great oldtime Yew York detail that I never knew.

Gallucci Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 6 October 2013 20:10 (six years ago) link

It fucks me off that this hollywood yes-man seems to get more respect than John Boorman or Ken Russell. He should be executed for Mississippi Burning alone and fuck the rest of his garbage work forever. I refuse to vote for any of this shit.

Damo Suzuki's Parrot, Sunday, 6 October 2013 22:48 (six years ago) link

does he get more respect? he got more work and fell into some oscar respect but boorman and russell are held w/ some regard whereas w/ parker i don't anyone is surprised he would end up directing the life of david gale someday. voted the wall.

balls, Sunday, 6 October 2013 22:53 (six years ago) link

It fucks me off that this hollywood yes-man seems to get more respect than John Boorman or Ken Russell

by whom?

who the fuck respects Alan Parker? Don't think anybody even really mentions him anymore, while at least Boorman and especially Russell have some hip cineaste cachet.

papa smango (fadanuf4erybody), Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:22 (six years ago) link

all otm

still, parker always did get money, the only respect hollywood understands. so did boorman, but russell seems to have had to struggle for financing. where's nicholas roeg in all this?

pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:36 (six years ago) link

Boorman >>>>>>>>>>> Roeg

it's not even a contest imo

Boorman >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Russell too

Probably just in my head from memories of the reverence he seemed to get in the 80's/90's. From memory he was one of these wankers like Puttman who shouted loudly at how bad British movies were, while he made bad American movies that were justified only by commercial success. I remember this guy getting more respect than he deserved.

Damo Suzuki's Parrot, Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:40 (six years ago) link

xp

agree, but between the late sixties and late eighties, they did wonderful work. boorman ultimately takes it, as his mainstream cinema is nowhere near as bland as parker's, and his loopy excess at least goes toe-to-to with russell. hard for me to cut roeg, if only on the basis of don't look now (which ties excalibur for my favorite film of the bunch).

pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:50 (six years ago) link

...between the late sixties and late eighties, they all did wonderful work, i meant to say

pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:51 (six years ago) link

I always used to mix up Alan Parker, Alan J. Pakula, and Alan Rudolph.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Sunday, 6 October 2013 23:59 (six years ago) link

Saw midnight express,fame and the wall on intial releases
Never *rescreened* the wall as it was horrible.
Have gone back to the other two on occasion, at least they have a few thrills though express is pretty vile

velko, Monday, 7 October 2013 00:08 (six years ago) link

I would give shoot the moon a try, guessing some good acting there, <3 Karen Allen

velko, Monday, 7 October 2013 00:11 (six years ago) link

xxp i misread the thread title and was disappointed to find it wasn't about alan clarke.

sleepingsignal, Monday, 7 October 2013 00:40 (six years ago) link

voting for "would you like an egg?" and mickey rourke's nose shield

xxp i misread the thread title and was disappointed to find it wasn't about alan clarke.

Ha. I did the same. For whatever reason, I constantly can't remember Alan Clarke's name or I get him mixed up with others with similar names. I've been doing it for years.

circa1916, Monday, 7 October 2013 01:29 (six years ago) link

haven't seen Angel Heart in at least 20 years, just say "good pulp" I guess, plus Rourke's line readings before he lost his mind.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 October 2013 01:30 (six years ago) link

Bugsy malone is the only one of these I care about. So pissed you can't get it on dvd here.

Hip Hop Hamlet (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 7 October 2013 02:03 (six years ago) link

I remember some documentary Parker did on films for the BBC or Channel 4 sometime in the 1980s. It was a lot of fun, he had some cinéaste from the BFI droning on who slowly got faded out and replaced by Parker himself playing the organ. I lol'd.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Monday, 7 October 2013 08:13 (six years ago) link

Were it not for my grade 10 teacher somehow getting away with showing us The Wall in class, I haven't seen any of these. Something about his films--not the fact of him as a director, just a lot of the films themselves--just set off major warning bells for me.

Will say that Shoot the Moon and Midnight Express look like things I should check out one day. Birdy, too, if I knew more about it.

Birdy = plentiful Matthew Modine nudity. Good WW2 novel of eccentric boyhood pals updated to Vietnam with mixed results.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 October 2013 17:38 (six years ago) link

yes, the novel (by william wharton) that birdy is based on is quite good, iirc.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 7 October 2013 22:38 (six years ago) link

actually, Nic Cage plays the stright arrow to Modine, that's now a hoot

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 7 October 2013 23:42 (six years ago) link

first movie I ever saw him in! And damn sexy. Both were, actually.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 00:00 (six years ago) link

It was a lot of fun, he had some cinéaste from the BFI droning on who slowly got faded out and replaced by Parker himself playing the organ. I lol'd.

hooray for phillistinism

Parker was Chairman of the BFI in the late 1990s, and said some truly moronic things abt 'uncommercial' british filmmakers like Peter Greenaway.

Shoot the Moon is far and away his best movie, but it's more of a scriptwriter's film, imho

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 8 October 2013 09:06 (six years ago) link

Found the doc, it was called A Turnip Head's Guide to the British Film Industry:

http://alanparker.com/earlywork/a-turnip-heads-guide-to-the-british-film-industry/

There's a nice clip there of him having a (staged) argument with a kid. "It's MY film, ok? UN FILM DE."

Anthony Smith was the BFI guy who Parker took the piss out of in the film. No way is Parker a philistine. Populist, yes. And for the record, I like both Parker and Greenaway.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 12:38 (six years ago) link

Both have made plenty of crap.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 14:30 (six years ago) link

What's he been doing since David Gale? Strange for a journeyman director like Parker to go 10 years without making a film.

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 19:11 (six years ago) link

Diane Keaton's best perf ever is in Shoot the Moon, so he's got that going for him

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 23:34 (six years ago) link

I'd have to rewatch, but not sure it can compete w/ iconic Woody roles or even Crimes of the Heart & Marvin's Room

but *headshake* there you go again

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 23:55 (six years ago) link

It's on DVD (at last!) with an excellent Bo Goldman-Parker commentary track in which Parker doesn't come off as an aborigine.

Oh come on! What's so rebarbative about that judgment?!

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:00 (six years ago) link

it's very Pazz & Joppy

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:32 (six years ago) link

I'd have given her #1 album for Annie Hall and STM.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:37 (six years ago) link

Kael and not many others loved her in StM... I remember Kauffmann complaining that she called Finney 'Chorch'!

http://www.keatonshoot.blogspot.com/

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:52 (six years ago) link

I dunno: she wins a majority in that compendium.

I read Kauffmann's criticism years ago and disagreed, especially in comparison with Reds, in which Beatty asks her to do embarrassing things.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:59 (six years ago) link

thx for "rebarbative," wow

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 10 October 2013 01:19 (six years ago) link

very comfort

balls, Thursday, 10 October 2013 01:45 (six years ago) link

with an excellent Bo Goldman-Parker commentary track in which Parker doesn't come off as an aborigine.

noted in passing

pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Thursday, 10 October 2013 01:50 (six years ago) link

many xps but I think David Gale kinda put him in director jail for a while, as it was a truly truly dire movie

papa smango (fadanuf4erybody), Thursday, 10 October 2013 01:58 (six years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Friday, 11 October 2013 00:01 (six years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Saturday, 12 October 2013 00:01 (six years ago) link

WTF

Haha David Gale vote.

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 12 October 2013 02:26 (six years ago) link

jesus The Wall is terrible.

piscesx, Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:08 (six years ago) link

well anyone w/ ears knows that

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:16 (six years ago) link

all of these movies are terrible

balls, Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:52 (six years ago) link

The Wall is great

my father will guide me up the stairs to bed (anagram), Saturday, 12 October 2013 05:33 (six years ago) link

I think in 30 years it will be agreed that Zero Dark Thirty is approximately as offensive as Mississippi Burning.

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 13 October 2013 07:26 (six years ago) link

six years pass...

RIP

Still no plans to go anywhere near Pink Floyd—The Wall or Evita.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 July 2020 16:16 (one week ago) link

He was like the English Joel Schumacher.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 31 July 2020 16:33 (one week ago) link

that's needlessly cruel and inaccurate

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 July 2020 16:36 (one week ago) link

Coming from Morbs! Anyway, I think it's pretty accurate. A sort of anonymous journeyman career that managed a few interesting hits, a bunch of stinkers, a couple of kitschy pop culture staples and more or less no impact or identity as a director, per se. Though Parker was rarely inept as a director, so at least he had that going for him.

Josh in Chicago, Friday, 31 July 2020 16:41 (one week ago) link

I shiver at pondering Joel S's version of Shoot the Moon

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Friday, 31 July 2020 16:56 (one week ago) link

I'm really unexpectedly sad about this. I think i'd seen pretty much everything he'd ever done (including Tv's The Evacuees) by the time i was about 15, there was nothing i didn't at least like and i loved most of his stuff. What's weird is the after-life so many of his movies had; The Commitments was a massive hit album and spin-off band afterwards, Fame had the Tv show and records, and Bugsy Malone took on a life of its own in theatreland. That's not.. common is it? All that continuance. Pretty neat trick to be able to write things at such opposite ends of the emotional spectrum screenplay-wise too; Bugsy Malone is daft as a brush but heartfelt and touching, Angel Heart is properly dark and unsettling, and he wrote both by himself.

I love that he had a whole scene from a totally different movie in ‘Fame’ when the kids go on a date to see ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, he just… plonks it in there! He even invited the local ‘regulars’ in their Rocky outfits. Such a fuckin cool idea that totally works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T3wrbOr68w

piscesx, Friday, 31 July 2020 19:29 (one week ago) link

Shoot the Moon came out of nowhere.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 July 2020 19:39 (one week ago) link

Fame and The Wall are fine; wasn't allowed to watch Angel Heart or Mississippi Burning when my parents rented them, and never bothered to catch up later. All I know about Midnight Express comes from Terror in the Aisles (and The Simpsons). Birdy and Shoot the Moon look interesting, and I've always been sorta curious about Bugsy Malone. Being a gay teen in 1996 who didn't give a shit about Evita was plenty alienating.

A White, White Gay (cryptosicko), Friday, 31 July 2020 19:49 (one week ago) link

STM has Albert Finney and Diane Keaton's greatest performances and an unusually sharp script.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 July 2020 19:53 (one week ago) link

I'd only starting hearing good things about it in recent years; before that, I always kinda slotted it in with the whole AOR cinema genre.

A White, White Gay (cryptosicko), Friday, 31 July 2020 19:55 (one week ago) link

That is a very high compliment for Finney especially, he's had a ton of great roles. I'll have to check it out. Tbh I always wrote off Parker as a near total hack.

the quar on drugs (Simon H.), Friday, 31 July 2020 19:55 (one week ago) link

That's a nice post, piscesx. I had no idea he'd written Fame, which I still love.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Friday, 31 July 2020 20:58 (one week ago) link

Discussion of Shoot the Moon in this thread, with flappy bird particularly rhapsodic:

Albert Finney's Own Thread

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 July 2020 21:51 (one week ago) link

I'm fairly averse to marriage-ending, couples-bickering movies fwiw, is it one of those? My exception to that is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but that's perhaps another thing entirely.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Friday, 31 July 2020 22:28 (one week ago) link

kinda that yes

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 1 August 2020 02:26 (one week ago) link

nothing in common -- closer to Scenes From a Marriage.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 August 2020 02:31 (one week ago) link

oh yeah, i didnt mean it was like Va Woolf (that couple is staying together til death)

bickering, it's got bickering

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 1 August 2020 02:39 (one week ago) link

Evita is one of my favourite musicals and i've never felt the urge to watch Madonna fuck it up

À la recherche du scamps perdu (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 1 August 2020 09:10 (one week ago) link


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