James L. Brooks

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#51 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:50 pm

At Long Last Love is a masterpiece that did poorly critically and with test-audiences in a rush-job, so I'm biased in giving a lot of rope to revisionist musicals and starting with the thought that they just might be misunderstood works of genius

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: James L. Brooks

#52 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:54 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:50 pm
At Long Last Love is a masterpiece that did poorly critically and with test-audiences in a rush-job, so I'm biased in giving a lot of rope to revisionist musicals and starting with the thought that they just might be misunderstood works of genius
I didn't think it was that good, but I thought it was fine and yes, much better than what would have been suggested from poor reviews and negative test reactions.

While I'm at it, Ishtar is probably a better example for me of a Hollywood film that exceeded its initial reception. I don't think it's the masterpiece some claim it to be, and some of the music is simply cringe-inducing rather than funny for its awfulness-by-design, but a lot of it is flat out hilarious and there's a lot that's also brilliant beyond what it's trying to do for laughs.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#53 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:08 pm

I tend to personally place that one in the "production issues destroying director's careers" category, of which I name Carax's The Lovers on the Bridge the clear winner of underrated masterpiece. But yeah, I really like Ishtar too.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#54 Post by beamish14 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:25 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 2:33 pm
beamish14 wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:33 pm
If you're in Southern California, L.A.'s Cinefile Video has the musical cut on DVD-R. They might sell you
a burned copy as well, but I can't make any promises. They stock a lot of titles that you can rent for free after paying for another film; stuff
that isn't officially out on home video.
I'm surprised no one's simply copied the DVD-R and put it up on the web somewhere (assuming it hasn't been if it's this hard to find).

There are other reviews on this from blogging film enthusiasts out there, and some of them are pretty negative which isn't that surprising - if the preview audience's cards really were that bad, it's reasonable that it would remain polarizing. Brooks is often too sentimental for my tastes, and if the changes are mainly limited to the reinstatement of the musical numbers, I can't imagine the musical version being the revelation that I would like it to be. But having heard the Prince bootleg and having seen at least a glimpse of those numbers in the trailer, I don't doubt that it's possibly and even likely a better film - even though it's Prince's music, something about the tone and the way it's arranged with the characters reminds me of the musical episodes from the classic The Simpsons era, which were all quite enjoyable.

It's Prince's songs, but hearing Albert Brooks and Julie Kavner massacre them isn't fun at all.

Count me in among the fans of At Long Last Love. There is a real heart and joie de vivre to that film that just isn't present in the original cut of
I'll Do Anything. Ishtar has deservedly enjoyed a critical reappraisal, and if more "duds" were that good, the world would be a better place.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: James L. Brooks

#55 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:52 pm

beamish14 wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:25 pm
It's Prince's songs, but hearing Albert Brooks and Julie Kavner massacre them isn't fun at all.
Yes, completely removed from their original context, Prince's versions are the ones I'm going to play again, but it doesn't seem like a fair comparison when I hear Brooks do his numbers or especially when Kavner sings "My Little Pill." Brooks's character is a complete ass, so his interpretations fit what he's trying to deliver about his character, and it sounds like Kavner is hitting all the right notes (acting-wise, not just musically) in what's supposed to be a comedic number in "My Little Pill." (I haven't seen the musical version outside of the brief glimpses in the trailer, but going by memory of the released version, it doesn't feel like it's much of stretch to figure where those numbers are supposed to be placed.) I'll concede that "I Can't Love U Anymore" ain't fun, but since it's playback, it's possible she would have re-dubbed it later and improved her performance.

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#56 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:05 pm

I'm sorry, but this is getting a little nebulous for me to follow. Show of hands: who here has actually seen the musical version?

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#57 Post by beamish14 » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:19 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:05 pm
I'm sorry, but this is getting a little nebulous for me to follow. Show of hands: who here has actually seen the musical version?

=;

I think it's just me...?

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#58 Post by knives » Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:53 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2020 3:08 pm
I tend to personally place that one in the "production issues destroying director's careers" category, of which I name Carax's The Lovers on the Bridge the clear winner of underrated masterpiece. But yeah, I really like Ishtar too.
Wasn’t Pola X more the real killing blow with Lovers as a massive yet recoverable wound?

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#59 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Aug 27, 2020 6:20 pm

I don’t necessarily think that film ‘helped’ but no, even with competing testimonies, Carax’s reputation from the rumor mill was basically scorched after The Lovers on the Bridge. That was already my impression but those more in-the-know essentially say as much in the Mr. X doc, comparing it to Heaven’s Gate.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: James L. Brooks

#60 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:56 pm

I'm a huge fan of Jang Sun-woo's Resurrection of the Little Match Girl, which ballooned from a modestly-budgeted piece of street-level sci-fi to the most expensive film in South Korean history when the producers realized the VR theme could be exploited as Korea's answer to The Matrix. Jang went along with it and the result was an elephantine and occasionally incomprehensible would-be blockbuster that, Jang being Jang, seemed designed to annoy anyone seeking the cathartic thrills normally associated with big-budget action. (Jang himself had the best take on why it tanked: it's a film that "judged the audience" and people don't usually go to the movies to feel judged.) He has yet to make another film and at this point I doubt he ever will, though he came within a couple of weeks of starting production on one in 2005 before the producers slashed the budget and it all fell apart in mutual recriminations.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: James L. Brooks

#61 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:32 pm

Finally got around to watching How Do You Know and I also thoroughly enjoyed its charms. Films this affable don't seem to exist anymore in any form, and Brooks' vision seems very in-tune with the lowkey loose 70s romantic comedies of which Brooks was a part of with Starting Over as his first writing cred, in addition to old Hollywood rom-coms. The difference here is that I didn't find this film particularly laugh-out-loud funny most of the time, but subtly inspired in tweaking the mechanics of the genre toward their absurd high stakes and grand gestures, yet grounded to a mellow tone. Whimsical impulsive life-altering decisions of ethical dilemmas remain contingent on romance, in the case of Rudd's declaration to his father late in the film, signaling exactly how silly these old-fashioned romantic third-act narratives are while acknowledging the genuine power of love that can only be given this absolute truth of existential internal logic in the movies.

The strengths of the comedy and romance comes in authentic delivery between characters who don't realize their impact until it sinks in, and I felt the same effect as an audience member. For comedy, a great example is the dugout 'you know you're in love' realization prompted by Herc for Wilson, which is dispatched and received so seamlessly that it takes a second to recognize the intelligence of the gag in how precisely Wilson takes this information as fact. The 'silent dinner' with Rudd, actually played out in real time (thank you Brooks for not condensing the film down, because these scenes breathing are crucial for the film's success), stresses its emotional resonance as Rudd and we become aware of the energy in such a meditative present-focused reprieve from the talky expectations of a date, pointedly turning the senses to appreciate the beauty of the moment and person across the table. And of course a lot of the warmth comes in transitions between star-eyed love and sobriety to all other circumstances, such as Rudd's constant misreading of Witherspoon (which finally half-convinces her to embrace his reading on her love at the end) and Nicholson's terrific expression shift when he realizes what the impact on his own life will be after vicarious inebriation of his son's consummation of love. This isn't a masterpiece but it's one of the better romantic comedies that's come out in the last decade, and along with Nailed! severely underappreciated and misunderstood.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#62 Post by beamish14 » Sun Sep 13, 2020 12:40 pm

I have the rough cut of I'll Do Anything in hand! It's across 2 DVD-R's. If you'd like to PM me, I can mail them to you and you can perhaps burn a few copies for
us.

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#63 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:45 pm

It just emerged on back channels!

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soundchaser
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Re: James L. Brooks

#64 Post by soundchaser » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:47 pm

HECK

I’m happy that it showed up, but if it had waited until Monday I could have gotten the request bonus...

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#65 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:55 pm

You may yet get your chance, the running time is shorter than what the people on Letterboxd who’ve seen it say it runs— surely they didn’t just rip the first DVD-R? beamish, how long did your version run all together?

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#66 Post by beamish14 » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:14 pm

I believe the one I shared with Soundchaser is 140 minutes in length, including some gaps from reel changes.

Watching it again a few days ago, I was surprised to see there were more Simpsons cast members who had been cut out.
Yeardley Smith is a chorus girl in one of the musical numbers and I think Hank Azaria is in it briefly, too (it's so smudgy at times that
it could've been someone who looked like him!). The underlying racism in it is truly appalling; the sitcom pilot Nolte's hellspawn is
cast in is bad enough, but people of color only appear as dancers in scenes and have no lines at all.

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#67 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:17 pm

The copy uploaded runs forty minutes less than that! Dammit

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soundchaser
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Re: James L. Brooks

#68 Post by soundchaser » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:20 pm

I’m just so full of emotion...

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#69 Post by domino harvey » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:34 pm

It doesn't take long to realize this 1h41m version isn't the whole movie. Soundchaser, now's your chance: Go over there and plant your flag for sharing the full version in a few days!

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soundchaser
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Re: James L. Brooks

#70 Post by soundchaser » Wed Sep 23, 2020 8:41 am

Full version is now up on backchannels, for those with access. I’ve only watched the first few minutes and isolated clips here and there to check for any issues, but I can already say that it’s...weird.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#71 Post by beamish14 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:19 am

I've just unleashed an unholy entity into the world

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: James L. Brooks

#72 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:27 am

Thanks soundchaser and beamish for your efforts! I haven’t seen the original so for better or worse this will be a no-comparison head dive. One I have unrealistically high hopes for

WmS
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Re: James L. Brooks

#73 Post by WmS » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:27 am

You've unleashed it into a gated community

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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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Re: James L. Brooks

#74 Post by swo17 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:31 am

For any faults in this film I lay the blame squarely at the feet of beamish14

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domino harvey
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Re: James L. Brooks

#75 Post by domino harvey » Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:20 pm

WmS wrote:
Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:27 am
You've unleashed it into a gated community
Ha, true, but once it's released behind our walls, it will eventually leak out to the peasantry

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