John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Join Steve, Jon, Gabriel, and Andrew as they deconstruct a new filmmaker's body of work each and every week, as only high-falootin' Canadians can.

John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:31 am

This should be fun!
User avatar
Gabriel Girard
County Attorney
 
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:42 pm
Location: Montréal, Québec

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:17 pm

Good - Vampires
Bad - Christine
Ugly - Assault on Precint 13

However I must say this one is tough. Carpenter makes movies to a specific audience. AoP13 isn't really ugly as it isn't meant to be great, Christine isn't really bad, and many will say Vampires isn't all that good. However no movie exists in a vacuum. Vampires was needed at a time to counter the romanticizing of the genre that was so prevalent at the time. Christine was designed to cash in on the Stephen King name and prove that not all movies based on his works will suck, and Precint 13 was an exploitation movie designed to get the action crowd in there without the need to resort to zombies.

To me Carpenter is the safe bet. He doesn't make gems but he doesn't make turds either.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Dan Mancini » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:25 pm

Good: The Thing

Bad: The Ward

Ugly: Ghosts of Mars
User avatar
Dan Mancini
Chief Prosecutor
 
Posts: 4055
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 7:17 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby cdouglas » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:21 pm

Good: The Thing - Plenty of options here, but this one's the cream of the crop.

Bad: Vampires - Messy in quite a few ways, but some strong action sequences and James Woods' performance go a long way towards making it a modestly engaging watch.

Ugly: Village of the Damned - A completely flat, uninvolving attempt to update the material. Even The Ward felt more inspired.
cdouglas
Judge
 
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 10:49 am

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:23 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:Good - Vampires

Image
Formerly chamucamel
User avatar
Andrew Forbes
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 2615
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:43 am
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mach6 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:05 pm

The Good: The Thing (Although, I can’t find fault with anyone picking Halloween as Carpenter’s best. They’re both perfect movies & I wouldn’t change one second on them.)

The Bad: Escape from L.A. Like Gabriel, I love the story, the cast, & that gutsy ending, but the effects are so awful even by 1996 standards. Everybody loves to bash the Fonda surfing scene, but the explosion in Snake’s helicopter that takes out everybody in the back seat at the final battle is pathetic. UGH! A programmer putting these effects in a PS1 game would’ve been kicked off the development team immediately. I can only imagine if Escape had gotten about $5 to $7 million more on its’ budget to get those effects right or at least passable.

The Ugly: The Village of the Damned I only saw about 30-40 minutes of this, but this was the definition of BORING.
Andrew Forbes wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:Good - Vampires

Image

I think that’s how I also felt after I heard Steve’s Ugly review for They Live.

They Live is Carpenter’s worst? Really??! Maybe my old school pro wrestling bias is showing, but I thought Rowdy Roddy Piper was a blast & showed he had the toughness & charisma to carry a lead role. I don’t care what anybody says, I love that back alley street fight. Any movie starring a pro wrestler has to have him suplexing & body slamming people. As for the message, yeah it’s in our face, MATERIALISM & RICH PEOPLE ARE BAD (Carpenter has made it no secret he wasn’t a fan of the “Reagan Revolution"), but I think at least he was having fun with it & gave a good reason for the humans who sold out to the aliens. They aren’t portrayed as stupid idiots & the reason they sell out is because they want to be rich & don’t want to get wiped out by the aliens. I’m on the opposite side of the political spectrum from Carpenter, I love capitalism & buying fancy stuff I don’t need, yet I don’t think They Live is demonizing my views. (The same could be said for L.A. that features Cliff Robertson’s right wing, ruthless, religious nutcase of a president. Robertson’s President actually predicted the earthquake would happen & was a very efficient leader in his own ways.)

Compare that with the recent Machete, whose political message was if you’re against illegal immigration then the only reason is you must be a STUPID, INTOLERANT RACIST. That’s the only reason they give. For what was supposed to be a fun B-Movie, Machete wasn’t fun for me. A lot of liberal-minded directors could stand to learn a ton from Carpenter.
Dan Mancini wrote:Ugly: Ghosts of Mars

This actually could've turned out to be a good Carpenter flick if Courtney Love was in the lead role as intended before she injured herself at the last second & Natasha Hendstridge had to step in. Hendstridge is gorgeous, but she gave a nothing performance. Say what you will about Love, she would've brought some more personality & energy to the role.
Mach6
City Attorney
 
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Dan Mancini » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:51 pm

Mach6 wrote: They Live is Carpenter’s worst? Really??! Maybe my old school pro wrestling bias is showing, but I thought Rowdy Roddy Piper was a blast & showed he had the toughness & charisma to carry a lead role.

I think I fall dead center between you and Steve-O. I wouldn't declare They Live among Carpenter's uglies and I do love the alley fight for its utter redonkulousness, but I just can't watch the flick without a constant awareness of how much better it would be if Kurt Russell were in the Roddy Piper role. Piper's entertaining in his own way, but he doesn't have anywhere near the chops to adequately handle the comedy let alone to carry the picture (which is exactly what he needed to do).
User avatar
Dan Mancini
Chief Prosecutor
 
Posts: 4055
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 7:17 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:06 am

Dan Mancini wrote:
Mach6 wrote: They Live is Carpenter’s worst? Really??! Maybe my old school pro wrestling bias is showing, but I thought Rowdy Roddy Piper was a blast & showed he had the toughness & charisma to carry a lead role.

I think I fall dead center between you and Steve-O. I wouldn't declare They Live among Carpenter's uglies and I do love the alley fight for its utter redonkulousness, but I just can't watch the flick without a constant awareness of how much better it would be if Kurt Russell were in the Roddy Piper role. Piper's entertaining in his own way, but he doesn't have anywhere near the chops to adequately handle the comedy let alone to carry the picture (which is exactly what he needed to do).


I have to agree with Dancini on this one. They Live is a movie i like more in concept than in execution. It's kind of ''meh'' for me, which is why I didn't really feel the need to defend it on the show.
User avatar
Gabriel Girard
County Attorney
 
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:42 pm
Location: Montréal, Québec

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby mkiker2089 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:05 pm

To me Vampires is his most important work, hence why I placed it as "good". It's technically well done and is the "anti-Twilight" of it's time. Little girls like to romanticize vampires so to have a movie take the genre on without having cliches like fancy hair and moody vampires elevates it many degrees in my book.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:45 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:To me Vampires is his most important work.


More important than Halloween, The Thing or Escape From New York? I just...I can't
User avatar
Gabriel Girard
County Attorney
 
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:42 pm
Location: Montréal, Québec

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby mkiker2089 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:01 pm

Gabriel Girard wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:To me Vampires is his most important work.


More important than Halloween, The Thing or Escape From New York? I just...I can't


Arguably so, yes. Halloween is big, but it's had so many sequels that it doesn't speak for Carpenter anymore. It's also a bit over-rated and the sequels have diluted the image. The Thing is good, but it's more name recognition than general appeal. Remember, we are movie nerds. How many regular people have actually seen it. Not heard of it, or seen clips, but have sat down with a giant bucket of popcorn and enjoyed it. Escape From New York is good fun, but it's deeply flawed escapism as well.

As a counter point however Vampires didn't really do as much on it's own. It more or less just revitalized a genre that was going stale. Or did Blade do that? It's difficult to be scientific and objective about movies. If it comes down to which did I personally enjoy the most it would be Ghost of Mars, but that movie is so horribly wrong that it's just goofy fun. I couldn't in good conscience inflict it on other people. I do however re-watch it at least annually. Even the special features are a hoot. Bucket Head, playing the guitar with a bucket actually on his head? Really!
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mitchell Hattaway » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:03 pm

Good: Halloween

Bad: The Fog

Ugly: Ghosts of Mars
User avatar
Mitchell Hattaway
Judge (Retired)
 
Posts: 857
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:40 pm
Location: Griffin, GA

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Dan Mancini » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:08 am

mkiker2089 wrote:Arguably so, yes. Halloween is big, but it's had so many sequels that it doesn't speak for Carpenter anymore. It's also a bit over-rated and the sequels have diluted the image. The Thing is good, but it's more name recognition than general appeal. Remember, we are movie nerds. How many regular people have actually seen it. Not heard of it, or seen clips, but have sat down with a giant bucket of popcorn and enjoyed it. Escape From New York is good fun, but it's deeply flawed escapism as well.

As a counter point however Vampires didn't really do as much on it's own. It more or less just revitalized a genre that was going stale. Or did Blade do that? It's difficult to be scientific and objective about movies. If it comes down to which did I personally enjoy the most it would be Ghost of Mars, but that movie is so horribly wrong that it's just goofy fun. I couldn't in good conscience inflict it on other people. I do however re-watch it at least annually. Even the special features are a hoot. Bucket Head, playing the guitar with a bucket actually on his head? Really!

There's so much crazy here, I just... I can't...
User avatar
Dan Mancini
Chief Prosecutor
 
Posts: 4055
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 7:17 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby BrettCullum » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:21 pm

This is one of those episodes where I had a hard time. There is a period in Carpenter's career when almost everything could be labeled GOOD (late '70s and up to mid '80s). But then come the '90s where almost everything could be bad or ugly. But I have to give Carpenter mad props for never repeating himself.

HALLOWEEN like it or not set all the formula for the '80s slasher film. It may have 7 sequels, but truly almost any teen maniac with a knife flick afterwards borrowed so much form it that it fells like it had 800 sequels. Carpenter only truly directed the first chapter, and then abandoned the productions once they dismissed an attempt to reinvent the series. He never meant for the first to go past his rather intense 90 minutes. It is perfect when you isolate it, one of the all time most successful independent films ever. It is pitch perfect, dazzling photography for low budget, and the score makes it even more of a classic. Yep, I would pick for my GOOD because it defined a genre, set box office records, and holds up today. It was a hit in theaters, never had to find its audience, and found champions in critics and other filmmakers.

I wouldn't argue with The Thing or Big Trouble in Little China. Both do exactly what they set out to do, and do those things insanely well. What's funny is they are both light years away from Halloween in every sense of the word. I think the only common denominator I can find in Carpenter flicks are the electronic scores. For better or worse Carpenter never repeated himself. And yet there is a visual style that is identifiable, and a tone and pace that put his stamp on anything.

My bad would be Prince of Darkness which starts out with great potential, but wastes it in a nonsensical second act that does nobody any favors. It is still a fun ride though.

My ugly? I agree with Ghosts of Mars. I'm never sure where that one was going.

And Vampires? I am afraid I lump that in with a failed attempt at something that could have been so damn cool. But it does work in parts, so I forgive it that.
Alex: It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen. (Clockwork Orange)
User avatar
BrettCullum
Judge
 
Posts: 1669
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 4:11 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mach6 » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:52 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:
Gabriel Girard wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:To me Vampires is his most important work.


More important than Halloween, The Thing or Escape From New York? I just...I can't


Arguably so, yes. Halloween is big, but it's had so many sequels that it doesn't speak for Carpenter anymore. It's also a bit over-rated and the sequels have diluted the image. The Thing is good, but it's more name recognition than general appeal. Remember, we are movie nerds. How many regular people have actually seen it. Not heard of it, or seen clips, but have sat down with a giant bucket of popcorn and enjoyed it. Escape From New York is good fun, but it's deeply flawed escapism as well.

As a counter point however Vampires didn't really do as much on it's own. It more or less just revitalized a genre that was going stale. Or did Blade do that? It's difficult to be scientific and objective about movies. If it comes down to which did I personally enjoy the most it would be Ghost of Mars, but that movie is so horribly wrong that it's just goofy fun. I couldn't in good conscience inflict it on other people. I do however re-watch it at least annually. Even the special features are a hoot. Bucket Head, playing the guitar with a bucket actually on his head? Really!

Well, uh, OK? Oh Mkiker, you’re going to defend Vampires to the end of time, aren’t ya.

We can disagree about Carpenters’ best & worst movies all we want but Halloween is clearly JC’s most important movie in his career. Movie producers will always look at the bottom line first & took notice of JC when he made a blockbuster (that eventually spawned a major franchise) on a budget around $325,000. Halloween has an insane budget to box office ratio of over 155-1. There would be no Escape from New York or L.A., The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, & even Vampires etc. were it not for the incredible financial & critical success of Halloween. We wouldn’t be having this argument today without Michael Myers.

An argument could be made for Escape from New York being the 2nd most important, since it showed Carpenter could make an ambitious, technically competent B-flick on a small budget. It also made a decent profit & started Kurt Russell’s career as an action star. Can you imagine The Thing or Big Trouble in Little China being as great with somebody else in the lead role? Not me.
Mach6
City Attorney
 
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Mon Aug 27, 2012 8:30 pm

Mach6 wrote:
We can disagree about Carpenters’ best & worst movies all we want but Halloween is clearly JC’s most important movie in his career. Movie producers will always look at the bottom line first & took notice of JC when he made a blockbuster (that eventually spawned a major franchise) on a budget around $325,000. Halloween has an insane budget to box office ratio of over 155-1. There would be no Escape from New York or L.A., The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, & even Vampires etc. were it not for the incredible financial & critical success of Halloween. We wouldn’t be having this argument today without Michael Myers.

An argument could be made for Escape from New York being the 2nd most important, since it showed Carpenter could make an ambitious, technically competent B-flick on a small budget. It also made a decent profit & started Kurt Russell’s career as an action star. Can you imagine The Thing or Big Trouble in Little China being as great with somebody else in the lead role? Not me.


Hey MAch6 have I told you how awesome you are lately? Consider yourself told.
User avatar
Gabriel Girard
County Attorney
 
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:42 pm
Location: Montréal, Québec

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Dan Mancini » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 am

Gabriel Girard wrote:
Mach6 wrote:
We can disagree about Carpenters’ best & worst movies all we want but Halloween is clearly JC’s most important movie in his career. Movie producers will always look at the bottom line first & took notice of JC when he made a blockbuster (that eventually spawned a major franchise) on a budget around $325,000. Halloween has an insane budget to box office ratio of over 155-1. There would be no Escape from New York or L.A., The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, & even Vampires etc. were it not for the incredible financial & critical success of Halloween. We wouldn’t be having this argument today without Michael Myers.

An argument could be made for Escape from New York being the 2nd most important, since it showed Carpenter could make an ambitious, technically competent B-flick on a small budget. It also made a decent profit & started Kurt Russell’s career as an action star. Can you imagine The Thing or Big Trouble in Little China being as great with somebody else in the lead role? Not me.


Hey MAch6 have I told you how awesome you are lately? Consider yourself told.

+1
User avatar
Dan Mancini
Chief Prosecutor
 
Posts: 4055
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2002 7:17 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Mach6 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:48 pm

Dan & Gabriel both saying I’m awesome. :o We now are officially in Bizarro World. ;-)

There are many directors who are better than Carpenter, but he will always be one of my favorite directors. I’m joining Stypee in getting the They Live Blu Ray in November. Please let it have the Carpenter/Piper commentary that was only available in the Region 2 DVDs. Please!
Mach6
City Attorney
 
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: John Carpenter's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Andrew Forbes » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:47 am

Mach6 wrote:I’m joining Stypee in getting the They Live Blu Ray in November. Please let it have the Carpenter/Piper commentary that was only available in the Region 2 DVDs. Please!

According to the Shout! Factory release notes, it contains a commentary. I would be surprised if it was different from the R2 DVD.
Formerly chamucamel
User avatar
Andrew Forbes
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 2615
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 9:43 am
Location: Edmonton, AB


Return to They Came From the North

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron