General Film Discussion

Pulling a Travolta

Although some may interpret this to mean manually stimulating someone related to John Travolta, this is NOT what I am referring to here. “Pulling a Travolta” is used here to describe a very successful technique employed by some media-savvy actors to prolong their appeal to audiences.

In essence, it describes when an actor will appear in a string of movies ranging from pretty good to completely average (reference Pulp Fiction and Swordfish if examples are needed). The actor then will take up to 5 years off to spend with family.

Although deceptively simple, this plan works wonders for a talented actor’s career. At just the point when an actor is getting on the public’s nerves, he/she disappears for long enough that people start to want to see then in movies again.

I wish that more actors would follow this technique. Are you listening Tom Cruise???


The Eyes Wide Shut Effect (aka EWSE); 2/7/08

Although it is an older movie, many readers may recall director Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut. The movie was remarkable for its vision, thought-provoking plot and unusual interaction between its primary stars, the then-married Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise.

It was also memorable for its unusually graphic sex scenes, which were in almost all cases partially obscured by obviously positioned CG shadows.

Since that film, other filmmakers have used similar devices to obscure so-called “private parts” from view, with an often un-intentionally hilarious result. For example, the recent film “Beowulf” has an entire sequence with the main character walking around nude. Instead of an occasional glance of his genitals, we get strategically placed smoke, flame, wooden beams, and so forth–all of which I found hilarious.

Who are they trying to kid?

Don’t get me wrong, the second to the last thing that I want to see in a movie is tubesteak, but to so obviously obscure it is ridiculous, and draws far too much attention to itself by being unnatural in both appearance and form. They could just as well CG a maple leaf in place for how natural it looks.

It’s sort of like the pixellated distortion that adorns many anime pictures and films obscuring a v**ina, p*nis or act of sexual congress. Do I really need to be protected from viewing what is obviously taking place? If I wanted distorted genitals or sex acts I could tune in the scrambled Spice Channel and watch the blurry, dyschromatic sex depicted there.

No thanks.


Flogging Your Frodo; 12/27/2007
There is something to the saying that “too much of a good thing is more likely to result in spraining something than a good time.” I think the phrase may have come from one of John Holmes‘ ex-girlfriends, but I could be wrong.

Many would agree with the sentiment that the LOTR was a very well done trilogy.
Peter Jackson showed an almost unearthly mastery of all things Tolkien in the films’ production, and bears a suspicious resemblance to a Hobbit himself.

However, do we really need the Spiderwick Chronicles, Narnia, The Golden Compass, Eragon, the Hooter Girls Decalogue and the Cheerleader Wet T-shirt Contest Trilogy? Ok, so the last two may have been made up by my subconscious, but you get the idea. . . .

I am not protesting the development of so many book-to-movie franchises, only that their explosion over the past few years has diluted much of the original thinking and creativity that they contain by virtually forcing comparison with the LOTR. As such, this renders them almost impossible to be interpreted on the basis of their own merits and weaknesses.

I would like to call a temporary moratorium on book trilogy-to-movie franchises. At least for a year or two.