Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

Moderator: Moderator

User avatar
Duane
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Duane » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:10 pm

A RESERVED THREAD for reviews of (and comments about) movies reviewed by Harlan in HE's Watching.

Hey everyone,

I've read through HE's watching a number of times now, and I've decided to find and watch as many of these classic movies as possible. Easier said than done, though: The first one I watched, JOE (1970), is no longer in print. I found a DVD at Video Store Named Desire in West Los Angeles, and was told by the proprietor that if Iost it, I could give up all hope of passing my genes on to the next generation.

Harlan talked about how after he saw it in New York: "At the end of the film, it took my director friend, Max Katz, and his lady, Karen to help me up the aisle." Having grown up post Civil Rights Act, it didn't have quite that impact on me, but I can imagine how someone who lived long enough to watch Humanist and Civil Rights icons picked off one by one by deranged assassins' bullets view the film as a documentary describing end of the world.

Watch the trailer, and see if you can find this film. And note how Archie Bunker and Al Bundy appear as mere cartoons to this very real portrayal of someone who, on another continent a half century ago, would have wholeheartedly participated in the Beer Hall Putsch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d7KhGmQbEE (Trailer -- NSFW)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMNlAMYwDkU (Bar Rant -- !!!!!NSFW!!!!!)

*EDITED TO ADD*

User avatar
Steve Evil
Posts: 3519
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 3:22 pm
Location: Some Cave in Kanata
Contact:

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Steve Evil » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:10 pm

Harlan Ellison's Watching is my desert island book, probably the single most entertaining collection I've ever read, frequently a greater joy than any of the films discussed inside (even as he savages some of my favorites!)

He made me realize it was okay to like Dune. . .

User avatar
Ezra Lb.
Posts: 4547
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:02 am
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:45 am

“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:34 pm

Harlan's takedown of Fatal Attraction actually got me to change my mind about that film.

User avatar
Duane
Posts: 1579
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Duane » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:59 pm

Well, that's the last time I trust my local DVD man! Thanks, Ezra; I ordered it.

HARD CONTRACT (1969) is another film Harlan raved about, and all I can find on it is a 1996 VHS release. Let's see what I can find next...

User avatar
Complex
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:49 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Complex » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:09 am

I'm just reading this book and it's truly great. It's so eloquent and honest, I mean which other critic panned Spielberg as a producer except H.E.? Maybe the best film critiques ever.
Although I think he was a bit harsh on "Back to the Future" but that said few years ago I promised my self I will never watch anything that Spielberg produces/directs because it's all such junk and sometimes truly evil like with those Transformers movies.

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:55 pm

Complex, I made this point to Harlan a few years ago on the Pavilion and Harlan had not remembered giving Back To The Future a bad review, saying to me that he liked it. But, if you read the book he pans the film. I guess he changed his mind and forgot. lol.

Back To The Future is commercial as it gets but a gem of an entertainment. Very clever story. I'd actually beat someone down if they dissed it. lol.

User avatar
FinderDoug
Posts: 1530
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:58 pm
Location: Houston, TX
Contact:

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby FinderDoug » Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:28 pm

Harlan upgraded his opinion based on the overall message of responsibility, once the trilogy was complete (shading his appreciation more towards the middle film - see Watching, Installment 45, Magazine of Fantasy and SF, March 1991, or collected in the upcoming HARLAN ELLISON'S ENDLESS WATCHING).

Mark Tiedemann
Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Sun Jul 20, 2014 5:33 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Complex, I made this point to Harlan a few years ago on the Pavilion and Harlan had not remembered giving Back To The Future a bad review, saying to me that he liked it. But, if you read the book he pans the film. I guess he changed his mind and forgot. lol.

Back To The Future is commercial as it gets but a gem of an entertainment. Very clever story. I'd actually beat someone down if they dissed it. lol.


Back To The Future---in fact, the entire trilogy---is a much smarter film(s) than it appears to be.

User avatar
Rick Keeney
Posts: 1099
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 4:40 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Rick Keeney » Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:43 pm

This is a good idea, Duane.

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:33 pm

The second movie is not very good. Just fun if you follow the characters. The western one is very good. Steampunk, in fact.

I still am in awe of Harlan's review of Fatal Attraction. His feminist take was nice to see coming from a gent. I feel awful that I liked the film.

User avatar
FrankChurch
Posts: 16283
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 2:19 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:33 pm

Duane is off hiking.

Mark Tiedemann
Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:51 pm

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Mark Tiedemann » Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:39 pm

FrankChurch wrote:The second movie is not very good. Just fun if you follow the characters. The western one is very good. Steampunk, in fact.

I still am in awe of Harlan's review of Fatal Attraction. His feminist take was nice to see coming from a gent. I feel awful that I liked the film.



No, the second film is conceptually the most challenging of the set, and the entire trio pivots around it. It is not "just fun" by any stretch of the imagination, it is a dramatization of quantum indeterminacy and the problem of paradox in time travel. Also, Jennifer faints near the beginning when she comes face to face with herself and does not in fact wake up until the very end of number 3 just before history does change. That's as it should be. "Jennifer" comes from a Welsh word for "white wave"---she represents the wave function, which has to collapse into one thing or another before time "resets." When she wakes up, it does.

I meant it when I said those three films are much better than they appear to be.

User avatar
Robert Nason
Posts: 1580
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:50 am
Location: New York City

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Robert Nason » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:03 pm

The original ending of FATAL ATTRACTION, included as a "bonus" on recent DVDs of the film, showed the character played by Glenn Close committing suidie at the end -- she slashes her wrists in her bathroom while opera music is played on the soundtrack. Apparently preview audiences hated the ending. When it was rewritten and reshot so that it ends with Michael Douglas's wife saving his life from a murderous attack by Close by plunging a knife into her, the audience loved it. In interviews, Michael Douglas says they went with the ending that worked with audiences. You can argue that the audience was inherently sexist, or that the whole film set up an inherently sexist situation -- the one-night stand in which the discarded woman turns into maniacal killer; but the movie made potloads of money for everyonoe involved, and in Hollywood the olnly ism that matters is capital-ism. And the most "progressive" actors and writers and directors and producers operate on that principle -- until they get fed up with it any either retire or write books or appear in plays or make small indedpendent movies. But the big box office winners inevitably have to cater to what a mass office thinks and believes, at least to some degree.
"Thought is a strenuous art -- few practice it, and then only at rare times." - David Ben-Gurion

User avatar
Rick Keeney
Posts: 1099
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 4:40 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Harlan Ellison's Watching.....

Postby Rick Keeney » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:39 am

Like Ebert, Harlan is at his journalistic/critical best when eviscerating a film. FATAL ATTRACTION worried the hell out of me. So did TOP GUN. Another stinker. (But I was ecstatic that Berlin had a huge hit with "Take My Breath Away." Liked that band a lot.)


Return to “Pop Culture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests