Oliver Stone's Good, Bad and Ugly!

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Oliver Stone's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Gabriel Girard » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54 am

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Re: Oliver Stone's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby J.M. Vargas » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:17 pm

Good podcast Canadian (plus one "gringo") gents. As a native Salvadorean that lived through the civil war in El Salvador (which got so bad I had to leave the country in '89 or risk being drafted by either the US-backed army or the leftist guerrillas) I can verify, first-hand, that Stone managed to get the spirit of anarchy and life-is-cheap from the worst moments (early 80's) of the civil war down there. "Salvador" was two hours and more about the James Woods' character and his arc of redemption than anything else though, so I can't fault it for not showing the tense pretend-normalcy (like Israel's after a rocket launch attack) that we Salvadoreans went through for years trying to carry life as normal in the midst of an ongoing armed conflict. When I first saw "Salvador" on VHS in the late 80's here in the States (the movie never played theatrically in El Salvador... duh!) it was an early lesson to me that, in Hollywood, my life and those of my countrymen don't really matter unless we're backdrop to a charismatic white protagonist's character arc (ditto for Roger Spottiswoode's "Under Fire" from '83, set in nearby Nicaragua during the same period). I'm sure South Africans felt the same way when they saw "Cry Freedom" in '89 expecting a Steve Biko biopic, and instead got a made-up white character (played by Kevin Kline) and how Biko affects him instead. :?

Anywho, my G-B-U about good ol' Stone.

Good: JFK. The mother lode of conspiracy movies, but one done with such filmmaking skill and with so many good actors giving memorable performances (Pesci, Sanders, Oldman, Costner, Lemon, Rooker, Spacek, Jones... even Vincent D'Onofrio in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it small role) that you forgive it and go along with it because you're carried away by its zeal.

Bad: The Doors. It took me FOUR viewings to "get" the movie, which made a lifelong fan of the music group and Val Kilmer's portrayal of Morrison is still the one I measure other biopic actors against (which pretty much nukes Hopkins' portrayal in "Nixon" as amateurish by comparison... and Oliver Stone directed both). In recent repeat viewings the movie's flaw is also its biggest strength in Kilmer channeling Morrison so well everyone else, particularly Kyle MacLachlan's Ray Manzarek, might as well be coat racks with rain coats on top.

Ugly: Natural Born Killers. A mutant monster that feels like I'm taking drugs alongside Stone. Only Michael Bay in every movie he's made has matched the level of hatred and contempt for his audience Oliver Stone channels into this one movie, in which nobody looks/acts like a human being and everything is overdone (right through the closing credits) to the point of physically making me want to push the movie screen back.
'You can't make chicken salad out of chicken s***'
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Re: Oliver Stone's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby mavrach » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:50 am

J.M., that's been a big complaint of mine when you have a US production about a foreign country. These always seem to center around a white character that functions as sort of a liason. Like US audiences wouldn't understand or be interested otherwise. Think The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland etc. I've said here before that I can't beleive Mel Gibson of all people bucked this trend with Apocalypto.

Disclaimer: I still haven't seen Salvador, but it's on my list.
+1. this is very interesting.
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Re: Oliver Stone's Good, Bad and Ugly!

Postby Dan Mancini » Thu May 02, 2013 6:44 am

J.M. Vargas wrote:I'm sure South Africans felt the same way when they saw "Cry Freedom" in '89 expecting a Steve Biko biopic, and instead got a made-up white character (played by Kevin Kline) and how Biko affects him instead.


While I agree with your overall point, Kline's character wasn't made up. He played Donald Woods, a white South African journalist who'd formed a close relationship with Biko and photographed his corpse as a means of documenting the police brutality that led to his death. In fact, the movie is based on Woods' books about apartheid . . . which is why the movie is presented from his perspective.
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