Join Mark Diaz, amateur movie fan, on a journey through his not insignificant movie collection. Mark thought that he could just have a lot of movies until *record scratch* one day it all changed. BWAAAAAAHHHHH
No it's not about trailers. I legitimately didn't know what to put here. Let's talk about movies. markd20 on Letterboxd!
The Long Goodbye
The final entry into Noirvember 2021. Private Investigator? I barely even know her! The 1973 entry into the annals of detective movies by Robert Altman starring Elliott Gould.
There's a lot to talk about and I won't mention any of it. I'll try not to. This one is coming out hot so keep your eyes peeled for any updates here.
This movie definitely has some content warnings that the 70's just didn't have. Marty Augustine is huge on that. He's the prototype for the Heath Ledger Joker, pretty much. He's like "what if the Joker was a chill dude within the system versus outside of it?" It's wild.
High Tower Court is a wild place. Really.
High Tower Court like overlooks the Hollywood Bowl (or is super nearby). This area is pretty magical to me. Coming from flatland the elevation changes alone are wonderful. But it's mysterious. It's fascinating. I saw a musical at the Hollywood Bowl and it definitely felt like something.
A Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, feels like an update version of The Long Goodbye. It's an interesting movie. I liked it a lot more than I initially thought I would although it's maybe more inspired by the text than the film. Still, worth mentioning. Also, Michael Connolley's second Bosch book, The Black Ice, is inspired by a mix of the book and the film. I liked that book quite a bit as well.
I feel like "el porto del gato" inspired the "GATO!!!" in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Shane Black isn't above that. "El Porto" is an unusual way to say "the door" in Spanish. I'd go for "la puerta" but I learned not too long ago that "porton" was an older word for a door based on the name of a restaurant. So I'll accept it as being fine although, in the book, the Spanish isn't always exactly on point. Chandler was born in Chicago and grew up in England so the actual f**k did he know about Spanish. That doesn't detract from the story or anything but he's such a picky little bastard about his hoighty toighyt literary references you'd think he'd spend a little more time getting that right. But Chandler had a lot of his own issues.
I didn't mention Dr. Veringer at all and I'm sure there's a lot to mention there but he's played by the Illinois Nazi from The Blues Brothers, Henry Gibson. Wonderful character actor. I also didn't mention the kid working at the grocery store or Marlowe subsequently seeing him in jail. Good stuff. There's a lot of that. I also didn't mention dogs. But there was the one white dog in the middle of the road that Marlowe calls "Asta". He's got a cigarette in his mouth so it sounds like Astor as if it was a rich person or an Iranian prophet but it's definitely Asta the dog from The Thin Man. The director and screenwriter(s) definitely know about Film Noir and detective movies and books and they consciously chose to not quite do that. The Thin Man movie slaps, though. Super good.
I think that Roger Wade was an insert for Chandler but also a reference to Hammett. I organically compared Hammett to Hemingway in that last episode but it turns out that was far from an original thought. He's a tall (6'5" or 195-196cm) bearded man who is wildly alcoholic which is a dead ringer for Hemingway. In Cuba tall men are referred to as a "Hemingway". Or were. Chandler, probably, had a bit of an inferiority complex with regards to Hammett who was the originator--the creator from which Chandler modeled his work. But Chandler also probably used that character as an insert himself--being problematically alcoholic.
David Carradine has a cameo that focuses on the prison industrial complex and the impending "war on drugs". That was wild.
The car that Marlowe drives in this movie was Elliott Gould's actual car at the time. It was a 1948 Lincoln Continental. Really wild. I maintain that cars got cool in the 50's. If y
The Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon
That's all I wanted on the first line. If you don't know, now you know. Definitely watch this one before listening.
Yes, I didn't mention Arthur Edeson at all. I mentioned the cinematography but the cinematographer went unacknowledged. The fact of the matter is that, at the time of this writing, which is actually the time before the recording because I'm sick again but in new and different ways, but I know I'm not going to mention him because, to be honest, he needs an episode for himself. And I will aspire to do that. But I need to get watching because he's worked on a bunch of movies. Just the fact that he worked on this and Casablanca makes him an All Star but when you look at his filmography--wow. But it looked like I had more than enough to talk about this episode so instead of getting into all that I'm going to defer talking about him until I can do so in another episode.
I was going to prepare some images. I guess I should do that now. And in the process I wanted to use a cool Photoshop 3D arrow (I've used the 3D stuff in Photoshop before and it was pretty cool). I got alerted that the 3D stuff was going away because of Technology and now I can't see anything from the file that I'd spent some time already working on. I don't have the constitution for this right now. Should have been using Paint 3D, amirite?
Ok, I just had to close it and open it twice. No big deal, right? One down, and ?? to go. I'll see what tier of Photoshop I can undertake.
Oh! Fun fact. That poster image that I have up there is the one from the Blu-ray. The Blu-ray also has several radio adaptations of the Maltese Falcon with the stars of the movie themselves. Very cool. The original movie posters (or original-looking at any rate) where a bit boosted. One has Bogart holding two guns like he's going to use them. Hilarious.
One thing I don't think I'm going to mention is just how gross Sam Spade is with women in the 1931 movie. I told you it was definitely hornier and it was. He had something obvious going on with Effie, and then with Wonderly, and with Iva, and who knows who else. But the Effie one really got me. She's just there working and it's all touchy and feely. Yikes. In the 1941 movie Effie is his wingman and I'd like to think that she just knows better. Give her credit. She's young but she isn't an idiot and doesn't confuse Spade's attention with a relationship.
I used the AI colorization from Adobe to color in that frame. I really do think the AI colorization is 100% on the money and they did, indeed, wear makeup to make them look better in black and white. I shot exclusively black and white photographs for a few years and life is a little different when you see it that way. I mean it could be off--a pink shirt on Humphrey Bogart might not have flown too far in 1941 but whatever. Probably don't watch that version. The makeup is unnerving. Just a quick search and yes, their makeup was unusual. These images are decently large, btw. Feel free to zoom in. If you're reading this in your podcatcher, well, I suggest a larger screen for the images. I realize that I used several types of arrows. I apologize for that. Just trying out which ones felt right. Turns out it was none of them, a little bit. And that 3D arrow was such a pain in the ass. Why that shade of blue? It's calming. I'm sure you've seen it before.
I flubbed the phonofilm explanation--it's a sound on disc system. I probably flubbed some other things. That Willie Mays Hayes reference is from Major League if you didn't pick that up. If you haven't seen Major League... well you should.
https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/02/mystery-of-the-maltese-falcon This story is so good and so wild.
I also really hope people 1. like the orchestra hit joke and 2. get that it's a joke. I don't take myself that seriously but I just didn't have another transition to work with.
Again, super h
Cast A Deadly Spell
Yeah, the way this movie was advertised is a bit different from how I took it. That happens. This is a detective x magic crossover event that might get you your fill of both (or not!) and it's called "Cast A Deadly Spell". My DVD copy is "Hechizo Letal" as it's in Spanish. I realize now that I didn't do a great job at relating this to Halloween (as it's actually release on the 31st of October as opposed to November 1st or, as I have so hackishly declared, Noirvember 1st).
At the time of this writing I'm actually really sick and coughing out a lung or sleeping most of the day. It's not COVID, thankfully. I did need to record this in various sessions (re-record it at that--I could have nailed it the first time but I figured all I had to lose was time, ironically enough, and it is irony because I'm considering it from the point of an omniscient narrator with knowledge of the future but choosing to not intervene or change the events). But that means there is zero latitude to record pickups or just do it over for the third time. So there is some errata and missing pieces.
"Mulholland Drive", the David Lynch picture, came out in 2001. I got "Mulholland Drive" vibes from "Witch Hunt". I wonder if he caught "Witch Hunt" (1994) at some point and it rattled around in his brain--there were two Lynch alums in it so it's quite possible. "Lost Highway" didn't come out until 1997, so my timeline of these movies is wrong, by the way. I don't know if I stated a timeline in the podcast but the way I was thinking about it was a little backwards. "Blue Velvet" and "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" had already come out so the aesthetic was there but the main points of my Lynch influence had not taken shape just yet. That's a wild fact check for my dumb ass.
I misquoted Lovecraft in this movie. He says "show it some water.. but be discreet". Whoops.
I didn't talk about the music in "Cast A Deadly Spell" at all. It actually won an Emmy. A Primetime Emmy. For this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQm7ZAkfkYI. It was also nominated for sound editing. That's pretty rad. Curt Sobel did the music on this movie and it was good. I liked it. He's also done a ton of other work. His most recent credit was for "Rumble" and I was very much hoping that it was a movie about Link Wray & His Wray Men but it was not. Disappointing.
Here's the link to a live stream from Sound Speeds Allen Williams about the IATSE stuff. He's also got a ton of sound capture stuff on his channel which is super useful or super interesting--depending on how you approach it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnFTEWvejXY.
I know that I talked about "Yojimbo" being an adaptation of Red Harvest but Kurosawa went on record as saying it was actually The Glass Key. I haven't read The Glass Key (just yet) but it lines up pretty good with Red Harvest so.... shrug. I probably also got the timetable wrong there, too.
The advertising material paints it as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" but with witches and zombies and that's honestly not a connection I would have made. I really overlooked that completely, but I also really like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" quite a lot... it's just the shoe scene. Wow the shoe scene really messed me up.
H. P. Lovecraft was a bit of a weirdo but I did learn, coincidentally, between the recording and the publishing of this episode that his father was committed and died in an asylum which what might have been late-stage syphilis. His mother was also committed at one point and died shortly thereafter. Lovecraft, himself, was plagued with mental health issues for most of his life and I can't help but think that it's linked to early tragedy combined with an intelligence that allowed for learning with out the life experience to contextualize information. That's an incredibly unscientific theory but it feels like it could be true. He also apparently didn't marry his cousin? I don't know. It seems that she was a fiction author.
I did finish
Last Action Hero
1993 was a transitional period. We were slowly, ass a country, shedding the action movie template of the 70's and 80's while experimenting with some headier notions on how we relate to media. Last Action Hero was, is, seeming, a product of this time. Woefully misunderstood or, at the very least, disliked and, probably, mostly unexamined, this episode is really going to try to dig in a little more.
I'll drop a quick link here for Patrick (H) Willem's Plot Holes video to set the level. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9HivyjAKlc
And additionally, if you would like to just be unhappy with other people on the internet, you can check out the reply or reaction videos. Not my favorites. However the Willems video touches upon the exact concept I was thinking about as I had recorded this episode: verisimilitude. The "joke" is that the movie world of Last Action Hero has a very loose grip on verisimilitude and logical consistency. There are some movies that do exactly that and the Jack Slater series takes that up a notch. Well, several notches, to be honest. To completely ridiculous with a wink, and a nod, and an elbow to the ribs, and a "eh? eh?" and I actually dig that. It's possible that audiences were expecting a more straight-forward movie world. That means that the movie isn't going to be enjoyable but it doesn't make it bad. Those are two different things. There are people so caught up in the verisimilitude of the media they consume that they watch 20 seasons of procedurals who rarely, if ever, deviate from their structures and concepts. They're invested in those worlds. It's quite often that those worlds are ridiculous parodies of our own "real" world--especially when technology is involved--but that doesn't make them "good" or "bad" qualitatively.
We all watched The Social Network (2010) and we were not terribly concerned with the inconsistencies with our own reality but, in contrast, immersed in the verisimilitude of that movie. It felt more real than reality in some ways. And maybe that was the part of the execution that didn't land. How do you make falling into a very over-the-top and ridiculous action movie feel real? Movies where cars explode into huge fireballs in a display of exhibitionist pyrotechnics. Heroes who are impossibly wounded still performing at the level of an Olympian at their physical peak. We, as an audience (and by "we" I mean "I"), get into the action movies like that. They're internally consistent, sure, and definitely entertaining and engaging to varying degrees, but they aren't "real". But when you put this in a Picture-in-Picture frame and have something much more consistent with our "real" world (even if it's gone past realism into just pessimism with realistic physics) it can all look very silly. There is a huge contrast in the color palette (if you've seen a US vs Mexico color grading it's about that jarring) and that type of action movie wasn't always quite as bright or childish while, to a certain extent, still being marketed to young boys. Perhaps that's what Shane Black was talking about--maybe it wasn't William Goldman giving the movie "heart" but instead having a cartoon cat voiced by Danny DeVito. Maybe those frames, layered on top of each other, were too different. Perhaps the original intent was lost. Maybe I'm just a fan and forced it to work in my head but, in thinking about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and believing that this was a dry run for that type of movie, I think that Shane Black could have pulled it off. It just would have been more like Lethal Weapon or The Last Boyscout and I don't have a concept in my head of how that would have worked. I'd love to read the fully Shane Black pass, though. Where he took the Faustian blood-soaked morality tale. The movie still has a message. Would it have kept it? Would it have doubled down on cynicism? Would Danny have actually used the gun on THE PROJECTIONIST? Perhaps that was an empowerment fantasy; the world had already challenged Danny
Tango & Cash
1989 saw Stallone and Russell team up as Tango & Cash. Let's talk about this movie as there is a lot of hidden depth here. Sounds intriguing, yes? That's how I get you. Description bait.
If you want the link for the Kevin Smith video I mention it's here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo2KB1dEDdk
@coolmarkd on Twitter (best way to reach me)
MarkD20 on Letterboxd
Sometimes you're looking for the heat but you get the breaking ball. This was one of those times. Marnie was not what I expected and this episode travels down some roads that may be upsetting to some people. Sometimes The Greats aren't all that great. Sometimes they just don't show up. It can be attributed to a variety of things, both personal and/or professional. Creative or practical. You name it. We can never truly know the people we look up to. New microphone, who dis? I don't think I'll keep using it long term but I'm also still in the feeling it out phase.
The difference between suspecting and knowing is... wide. It's a gulf. I'm not going to lie--I'm still mulling over what I'd learned for this one. So the first impulse might be "yeah there's all these people coming out with stories now" but, to put that into perspective, many of those instances happened years ago and, furthermore, it has been happening for years longer than that. It's not a "right now" or "trend" thing--that is just the public become aware of it at scale. But it has happened. In isolation. Or not in isolation but under the shroud of a "powerful director" who could and would (and did) ruin a career if denied or crossed. It's happened for years. To all types of people. So many people knew and many probably weren't quiet about it but nothing was done. At most the people talking about it were threatened into silence. Maybe that's how you get "open secrets".
It's really telling that there are people who are distinctly not like this. There's a wide gamut as to how people are treated and it's explored in this really great video by Maggie Mae Fish (who is super great you should watch her stuff). But that's always been one thing that I did think to be true for some time--that art and genius is suffering and causes suffering. I don't know that this specific situation is that more than it's the inverse--a man trying to live out his dreams through movies while also trying to live out his dreams with the cast of said movies--but it deserves to be examined.
@coolmarkd on Twitter
MarkD20 on Letterboxd
And what the f**k is a "sex mystery" anyway? The f**k outta here with that shit.