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Film Discussion => The Vault => Topic started by: Mesh on May 01, 2003, 01:35:52 PM

Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 01, 2003, 01:35:52 PM
A.  Dull, depressing, cliched script made barely tolerable by decent performances from Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaghey, and John Turturro.  Sort of a poor man's Magnolia, except with a lukewarm, cliched redemptive ending (that holds only the palest candle to PTA's frog-rain/Amy Mann singalong masterstroke).  Personally, I wouldn't waste my time with 13CAOT, if I were you...

B.  What was the titular "one thing"?  Any theories?
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Ghostboy on May 01, 2003, 01:59:59 PM
I thought the one thing was pretty obviously supposed to be happiness.  But I didn't like the movie either. Way too earnest and self-serious.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 01, 2003, 03:05:45 PM
Quote from: Ghostboy
I thought the one thing was pretty obviously supposed to be happiness.


I thought this too; then I thought "Could this film possibly be that cliched and boring and trite?  It has to be some other 'one thing.'"
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Ernie on May 01, 2003, 04:01:49 PM
Yeah, didn't like this one much. Probably the most unrealistic dialogue and relationships I've ever seen a film...people constantly talking about happiness and how to achieve happiness and fucking bad poetry type stuff...people just don't interact like that, at least I don't think so.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 01, 2003, 04:59:44 PM
i thought the film was extremely self conscious. i would have liked to see the screenplay handled by a different director. id be curious to see if a change in directorial tone would remedy the constrained awkward feeling of the pciture.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 01, 2003, 05:21:56 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
id be curious to see if a change in directorial tone would remedy the constrained awkward feeling of the pciture.


Nah.

That script was just so flat and trite.

So, like, why did Arkin's character mush his two underlings' stories together during that first scene (he said the "Smiley" character was the one who won the lottery)?  What was I supposed to have inferred from that....

Such a weak movie....
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: chainsmoking insomniac on May 01, 2003, 05:42:48 PM
Uh, well Alan Arkin was great in it.  And so was Clea Duvall.  Calling it a poor man's Magnolia....that's kind of harsh.  The script wasn't that bad.  I think it could have used another director, I will agree with you there....and if you listen to the Director's Commentary, the schedule that they had to shoot on was very constraining...I give it 3 out of five  :oops:
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Gold Trumpet on May 01, 2003, 05:57:15 PM
I liked this movie a lot. Calling the script dull, depressing and cliche really isn't right at all. I do understand it is obvious what they are talking about for many occasions, but it never fulfills on really talking about everything and giving all the answers, like a bad movie would. It talks about the situations these people are in, but the main point is that their still is a great ambiguilty to what it all really means for these characters. They are all searching for the same thing, but no one can really identify what happiness really means and the following along with these characters through their episodes is good enough. I'll give it 3 and a half out of 4.

~rougerum
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: eward on May 01, 2003, 08:58:39 PM
i really loved this movie as well -- and roger ebert called it BRILLIANT!!!!
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Duck Sauce on May 01, 2003, 10:41:57 PM
Quote from: eward
i really loved this movie as well -- and roger ebert called it BRILLIANT!!!!


that is so important.


I remember really liking this movie at first, but I think time has caused me to ease off it and see a lot of the flaws. Im not talking about all the "sounds like it was written by a woman" shit, but it was without spirit in a couple of different ways. I didnt like the whole "body... falling, say from a building..." thing. Still enjoyed it.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: BonBon85 on May 01, 2003, 11:03:03 PM
It kind of reminded me of a Woody Allen movie, but I certainly prefer the majority of Allen's movies to 13 Conversations.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: eward on May 02, 2003, 06:43:49 AM
it actually kinda reminded me of hannah and her sisters more than anything else,  in structure and tone
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Duck Sauce on May 02, 2003, 10:22:21 AM
Quote from: BonBon85
It kind of reminded me of a Woody Allen movie, but I certainly prefer the majority of Allen's movies to 13 Conversations.


only sans the humor
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 02, 2003, 05:04:40 PM
Quote from: punchdrunk23

A.  Uh, well Alan Arkin was great in it.  And so was Clea Duvall.  

B.  Calling it a poor man's Magnolia....that's kind of harsh.

C.  The script wasn't that bad

D.  ...the schedule that they had to shoot on was very constraining

E.  ...I give it 3 out of five


A.  He was acceptably good.  She was tolerable at best.

B.  No, it's not.  It went for that same "We're all connected in our misery," small-world kind of rhetoric.  Overdone even if you don't count Magnolia and done better over and over (Short Cuts, anyone?).

C.  Yeah, it was bad.  Not because it stumbled or stalled (although it did, at points) but because it was riddled with cliched phrasework and ideas.

D.  Far better films have been made on far shorter schedules, I'm sure.

E.   2 out of 5, tops.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 02, 2003, 05:13:20 PM
Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
Calling the script dull, depressing and cliche really isn't right at all.


Why not?  It was about a bunch of white people letting life's annoyances and mishaps get them down.  Dull because the direction was flat and lifeless and the cinematography looked almost comically "indie."  Cliche, because among other things, Duvall's character "nearly died" and now thinks "Oh, there must be a reason I was saved...There just has to be!"  God damn.  What a bunch of trite horseshit.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 02, 2003, 05:15:07 PM
Quote from: Duck Sauce
Quote from: BonBon85
It kind of reminded me of a Woody Allen movie, but I certainly prefer the majority of Allen's movies to 13 Conversations.


only sans the humor


Exactly.  Thus, lifeless and depressing.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Tiff on May 03, 2003, 07:01:30 AM
i just saw this in dvd and LOVED it. i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego. i don't think you guys really analysed it enough, and the way you are all bitching about it is evidence of that. what is your main problem with it? The directing, or the script?
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 03, 2003, 10:27:55 AM
Quote from: Tiff
i just saw this in dvd and LOVED it. i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego. i don't think you guys really analysed it enough, and the way you are all bitching about it is evidence of that. what is your main problem with it? The directing, or the script?


the directing. i think the script is interesting. i just think the tone of the film doesn't fit at certain parts. it reminds me a lot of how mamet directs. i felt like i was watching a stage play.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 05, 2003, 02:01:48 PM
Quote from: Tiff
i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego.


As what?  As Boogie Nights?  What on earth do you mean?

As for your other questions, I think I've already covered my problems with the film, in general and in some specifics.  Ask me a more pointed question and I'll go further to town on this piece of shit movie.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 05, 2003, 02:03:40 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: Tiff
it reminds me a lot of how mamet directs. i felt like i was watching a stage play.


Except when Mamet directs, it's like watching a good stage play.*


*Usually.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 05, 2003, 03:46:02 PM
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: Tiff
it reminds me a lot of how mamet directs. i felt like i was watching a stage play.


Except when Mamet directs, it's like watching a good stage play.*


*Usually.


very true
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: chainsmoking insomniac on May 05, 2003, 08:15:28 PM
Damn, I really don't understand why everyone hates this movie.  I mean, I do agree that the tone of the film was off in some parts, but overall (and especially scriptwise) it's not horrible to watch.  I think alot of you are trying to compare it to Magnolia, and this is a mistake.  The two films really aren't meant to be compared.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on May 05, 2003, 09:37:04 PM
I like this movie, and I liked it even more when I saw it. Sure, it was a little pretentious and a little unoriginal, but I really enjoyed it. You guys can be way too hard on movies like this and way too nice about Spider Man and Bulletproof Monk.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 05, 2003, 09:59:52 PM
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
You guys can be way too hard on movies like this and way too nice about Spider Man and Bulletproof Monk.


i definately know what you're saying -- however, I do feel that a movie that strives to tell a story with "depth", is going to get more extreme responses. i feel people dont have extreme opinions about a film like bullet proof monk, because it's not attempting to be anything beyond what's on the surface. when i walk out of spider man i dont feel any real emotion -- i dont think it's good or bad -- i just see it as 2 hours of amusement-- however a film like 13 conversations is obviously wanting to spark debate or discussion from it's viewers -- this will either stimulate feelings of anger or pleasure towards the subject matter -- i think it's great when people passionatley hate a film -- at least that film made them feel passionatley about SOMETHING.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: MacGuffin on May 05, 2003, 11:33:57 PM
Quote from: punchdrunk23
I think alot of you are trying to compare it to Magnolia, and this is a mistake.  The two films really aren't meant to be compared.


I agree. Just because a film has multiple storylines where the lives intersect, it doesn't automatically mean it's a "Magnolia" rip-off. In that case, you might as well compare it to "Short Cuts".

I really liked this film. I thought it was a better screenplay (nominated at the Indie Spirit Awards) than movie, but it was still great.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Tiff on May 06, 2003, 03:49:23 AM
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: Tiff
i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego.


As what?  As Boogie Nights?  What on earth do you mean?



magnolia. you want 13 conversations to have the same editing as magnolia. the themes in each movie are obviously different, so of course the two films are going to contrast greatly.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 06, 2003, 09:51:38 AM
Quote from: Tiff
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: Tiff
i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego.


As what?  As Boogie Nights?  What on earth do you mean?



magnolia. you want 13 conversations to have the same editing as magnolia. the themes in each movie are obviously different, so of course the two films are going to contrast greatly.


my opinion has nothing to do with magnolia -- i think the script is good and could've used a more dynamic director.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 06, 2003, 04:04:31 PM
Quote from: mACgUFFIN

I agree. Just because a film has multiple storylines where the lives intersect, it doesn't automatically mean it's a "Magnolia" rip-off. In that case, you might as well compare it to "Short Cuts".


In this very thread, I've compared it to both, I believe.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 06, 2003, 04:07:16 PM
Quote from: Tiff
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: Tiff
i think the reason all you people hate it is because it isn't as fast paced and pumped with director-ego.


As what?  As Boogie Nights?  What on earth do you mean?



magnolia. you want 13 conversations to have the same editing as magnolia. the themes in each movie are obviously different, so of course the two films are going to contrast greatly.


No, I really just would've liked the screenplay to have been less cliche-ridden and for the direction to have some kind of personality, not necessarily that of PTA.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 06, 2003, 04:09:06 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis

my opinion has a good deal to do with magnolia -- i think the script is half-baked and unoriginal and the film could've used a more dynamic director.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: chainsmoking insomniac on May 06, 2003, 11:14:57 PM
*Yawn*
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 07, 2003, 01:07:41 AM
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: cowboykurtis

my opinion has a good deal to do with magnolia -- i think the script is half-baked and unoriginal and the film could've used a more dynamic director.


thanks for changing my words you little bitch -- go fuck yourself.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 07, 2003, 11:21:51 AM
Quote from: cowboykurtis

thanks for changing my words you little bitch -- go fuck yourself.


Grow up.  It's called fake quoting and it's a humorous way to say what I think as opposed to what you think.

Get it?

There, there.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 07, 2003, 05:02:13 PM
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: cowboykurtis

thanks for changing my words you little bitch -- go fuck yourself.


Grow up.  It's called fake quoting and it's a humorous way to say what I think as opposed to what you think.

Get it?
.


i got it the fist time -- go fuck yourself, you little bitch.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 08, 2003, 11:43:05 AM
Quote from: cowboykurtis

i got pissed the fist time -- "go fuck yourself," I said. Then I repeated myself, calling Mesh a "little bitch."


It's pretty funny that stuff like this riles you.

Calm down, and go edit your "film."
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 08, 2003, 03:04:56 PM
Quote from: Mesh
[

Calm down, and go edit your "film."


your other attempts at insulting me were very easy to understand...however this one seems to come out of left field -- can you explain to me where this came from? im not sure i understand...thank you
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: godardian on May 08, 2003, 03:29:16 PM
I enjoyed this film and Sprecher's other one (Clockwatchers) very much. They may be a little too delicate ("precious" would be the word if one were criticizing) for some, but I enjoyed its evenness of tone.

By the way, I thought there was humor in it. Did everyone else miss Arkin's curmudgeonliness? And I think that was present in both the script and the direction. I sort of thought of it as a black comedy (not laugh-out-loud, though) with dramatic overtones. I can tell you the director herself does have a very nicely developed sense of absurdist gallows humor.

I understand people not liking "philosophical" films like this; I imagine the great Pauline Kael would've hated it to its core. But I do happen to enjoy them. I like Another Woman plenty, too. I like the intimacy and the quietness of them. I like the tone, but I don't take it as patronizing and self-impressed, as I think some people do.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Mesh on May 12, 2003, 03:25:36 PM
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: Mesh
[

Calm down, and go edit your "film."


your other attempts at insulting me were very easy to understand...however this one seems to come out of left field -- can you explain to me where this came from? im not sure i understand...thank you


"Occupation:    writer/director"

 :roll:
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: cowboykurtis on May 12, 2003, 06:36:04 PM
Quote from: Mesh
Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: Mesh
[

Calm down, and go edit your "film."


your other attempts at insulting me were very easy to understand...however this one seems to come out of left field -- can you explain to me where this came from? im not sure i understand...thank you


"Occupation:    writer/director"

 :roll:


r u bitter?
Title: William Wise
Post by: filmcritic on June 14, 2003, 10:41:30 PM
I met William Wise at the Crossroads Film Festival this year. William Wise played Wade "Smiley" Bowman (the happy guy) in "13 Conversations". He also had a role in "In the Bedroom" playing Tom Wilkonson's friend. I always admired him as an actor and I was so thrilled when I met him. I noticed him and I ran up to him telling him how much I appreciated his work. He asked me if I saw "13 Conversations" and I said I did. He was really impressed and we had a couple of long talks. He is a really underrated actor (many of you probably don't know of him). But go back and watch his work, you'll be impressed.
Title: Re: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: sexterossa on June 19, 2003, 01:47:32 AM
Quote from: Mesh
A.  Dull, depressing, cliched script made barely tolerable by decent performances from Alan Arkin, Matthew McConaghey, and John Turturro.  Sort of a poor man's Magnolia, except with a lukewarm, cliched redemptive ending (that holds only the palest candle to PTA's frog-rain/Amy Mann singalong masterstroke).  Personally, I wouldn't waste my time with 13CAOT, if I were you...



agreed. i thought more people on this board were going to like it though. also, the movie totally felt like it was made by women. everything was so sappy and sentimental. like a soap opera.
Title: Re: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: godardian on June 19, 2003, 01:56:42 AM
Quote from: sexterossa
also, the movie totally felt like it was made by women. everything was so sappy and sentimental. like a soap opera.


 :evil:

Mary Harron, Penelope Spheeris, Agnes Varda and Kimberly Peirce are on their way to wherever you live to kick your ass right now. As are James L. Brooks, Rob Reiner, Steven Spielberg, and the trillions of other directors who've foisted more than their share of sap and sentiment onto the public and have now had their very gender identity called into question by your regressive generalization...

Jill Sprecher, who co-wrote and directed the film, claimed her biggest inspiration was Schopenhauer. I see more of that than anything "sappy" or "sentimental." I really think it works; it was one of my favorites last year.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: chainsmoking insomniac on June 19, 2003, 07:14:10 AM
Agreed.  And to call it "a poor man's Magnolia" isn't accurate, IMO.  And would the film have been better if there wasn't a redemptive ending?  I thought the film was great, and whoever said that they could tell it "was made by a woman" should be hit.  
In the immortal words of Dr. Gonzo: "Have we degenerated to the level of dumb beasts???"
Grow up and shove those regressive stereotypes up your ass.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: kotte on January 20, 2004, 12:55:51 PM
Saw it last night.

Terribly uninspired direction. Looked like a Movie-of-the-week on telly. The script deserved better more inventive direction.

The film had the feeling and mood of Storytelling.

I laughed at the 'Smiley' storyline. Filled with heart. It's so true to what actually happens today, how people react to genuinely happy people.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: Finn on January 20, 2004, 03:00:15 PM
My favorite story was defintely the Alan Arkin one. William Wise is so good in his role as Smiley. I agree with kotte on that one.
Title: 13 Conversations About One Thing
Post by: nix on January 20, 2004, 09:39:12 PM
Me like this movie.