Author Topic: Bob Rafelson  (Read 3305 times)

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SoNowThen

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Bob Rafelson
« on: May 12, 2003, 12:51:17 PM »
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Early movies -- particularily Five Easy Pieces and King Of Marvin Gardens -- are fucking brilliant. I just saw FEP for the first time last weekend. A type of American movie that sadly doesn't get made that much anymore.

But anyway, it seems like his stock really dropped off. I saw Blood And Wine... pretty blah. Not really horrible, but certainly not worth watching.

Any thoughts about this guy? Anybody seen a good flick by him, post-1975?
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

godardian

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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2003, 12:56:13 PM »
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I've only seen Five and King, but really liked both, though if I had to choose I'd choose the former.

Yeah, the seventies filmmakers valued pacing and tone. Those values were demolished by the blockbuster mentality; pacing and tone used to exist even in very, very mainstream movies like The Exorcist and The Godfather. It's completely gone now, or circumscribed as "indie" or "art" film. Rafaelson was one of the really good ones. I love the Chopin sequence of Five Easy Pieces, where he plays the prelude while the camera pans over the photos, giving you a glimpse into this man's past and where he came from. A very memorable movie moment for me.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

SoNowThen

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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2003, 01:02:30 PM »
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Indeed. But the end really got me. It's one of those endings that I've tried to write so many times, but wasn't sure if audiences would get it... or feel it. Seeing Nicholson stare into that truck stop mirror really did something for me. I've been thinking about it for days now.

That, and the last monologue in King.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

soixante

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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2003, 09:44:03 PM »
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No doubt, Rafelson used to be one of the best filmmakers in America.  Five Easy Pieces is a masterpiece.  Stay Hungry from 1976 is a great obscure cult classic -- it features the film debuts of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sally Field.  Arnold actually gets to act in this off-beat film.  Jeff Bridges is great in it.  Hopefully, MGM will put it on DVD soon, but it's the sort of film that doesn't fit it any genre, or else stitches together a bunch of genres.  That's what was so cool about 70's films.

Rafelson's career suffered a serious decline post-Stay Hungry.  He was fired from Brubaker a few weeks into shooting, and then directed the remake of Postman Always Rings Twice.  He also directed the dull thriller Black Widow, and the awful Nicholson film Man Trouble.

But Five Easy Pieces is a great accomplishment.  When I watched About Schmidt last December, it started out in a low-key way, and I was hoping that it could the autumnal version of Five Easy Pieces -- but it became way too broad in its comic approach.  Somehow, when Rafelson makes fun of rednecks and rural denizens, it works wonderfully, but when Payne does it it comes of as sitcommy.  There is a lot of depth to Five Easy Pieces -- it is thoughtful, deliberate, delicately observed.  But who cares about such things.  Video games and Matrix sequels have taken hold of the culture.
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godardian

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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2003, 11:18:57 PM »
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Quote from: soixante
No doubt, Rafelson used to be one of the best filmmakers in America.  Five Easy Pieces is a masterpiece.  Stay Hungry from 1976 is a great obscure cult classic -- it features the film debuts of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sally Field.  Arnold actually gets to act in this off-beat film.  Jeff Bridges is great in it.  Hopefully, MGM will put it on DVD soon, but it's the sort of film that doesn't fit it any genre, or else stitches together a bunch of genres.  That's what was so cool about 70's films.

Rafelson's career suffered a serious decline post-Stay Hungry.  He was fired from Brubaker a few weeks into shooting, and then directed the remake of Postman Always Rings Twice.  He also directed the dull thriller Black Widow, and the awful Nicholson film Man Trouble.

But Five Easy Pieces is a great accomplishment.  When I watched About Schmidt last December, it started out in a low-key way, and I was hoping that it could the autumnal version of Five Easy Pieces -- but it became way too broad in its comic approach.  Somehow, when Rafelson makes fun of rednecks and rural denizens, it works wonderfully, but when Payne does it it comes of as sitcommy.  There is a lot of depth to Five Easy Pieces -- it is thoughtful, deliberate, delicately observed.  But who cares about such things.  Video games and Matrix sequels have taken hold of the culture.


About Schmidt was one of my favorite films of last year... I didn't find it too broad. I know a lot of people thought it was smug, but I really didn't. I thought Payne appreciated these people, respected them, found their humanity through their little quirks, which were often very funny. I dunno... I really like his approach.

But about Rafaelson... yeah, after the seventies heyday, the biz wasn't kind to a lot of the greats. Didn't Hal Ashby have a similar experience, having to make some half-there movie in the eighties?
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

soixante

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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2003, 09:25:40 AM »
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I did like About Schmidt, in fact it was one of my favorites of 2002, however, I felt it could have been a great film, rather than a good film, if it has just toned down the humor (I felt the guy with the mullet hair cut was too broadly played).  Also, some of the music cues were a little overbearing.  However, I'll see it again on DVD and see how it plays on a second viewing.

As for Ashby, he indeed suffered a worse fate in the 80's than Rafelson.  Ashby's track record in the 70's was awesome -- Harold and Maude, Last Detail, Shampoo, Bound for Glory, Coming Home, Being There.  His first film in the 80's, Second Hand Hearts, came out in 1981, and played for a week or so in L.A.  It had been delayed for about two years.  There was also Lookin' to Get Out, shot in 1980 but not released until 1982, and it bombed.  Ashby directed the forgettable concert documentary Let's Spend the Night Together, which came out in 1983.  He then directed The Slugger's Wife, written by Neil Simon.  That was Ashby's low point.  However, in 1986 he made 8 Million Ways to Die, which I think is an under-rated film.  Sadly, he died in 1988.
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SoNowThen

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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2003, 12:32:50 PM »
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I really wanna see Lookin To get Out, but can't find it anywhere.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

soixante

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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2003, 01:16:38 PM »
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Lookin' to Get Out probably was never even put on video.  I saw it in 1982, and it vanished quickly thereafter.  But since Jon Voight has made a comeback, maybe someone will put it on DVD.  I don't even know who owns the rights -- it was a Lorimar production, put out by Paramount.
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2003, 01:24:37 PM »
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Quote from: soixante
Lookin' to Get Out probably was never even put on video.




Looks like it's out of print now.
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godardian

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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2003, 01:43:08 PM »
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Quote from: soixante
No doubt, Rafelson used to be one of the best filmmakers in America.  Five Easy Pieces is a masterpiece.  Stay Hungry from 1976 is a great obscure cult classic -- it features the film debuts of both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sally Field.  Arnold actually gets to act in this off-beat film.  


He certainly didn't get to act in it, but wasn't Arnie's film debut actually in The Long Goodbye? I only bring it up because I saw it not too long ago. I'm not even sure if it counts as a "film debut," but I think it was before '76.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

soixante

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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2003, 08:58:23 AM »
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True, Long Goodbye came out before Stay Hungry, but Arnold's role was an unbilled appearance, whereas he was given a credit on Stay Hungry.  So I meant "debut" as the first time he got credit.  But I also forgot he did Hercules in New York in 1970, so I was basically wrong.  However, in the credits of Stay Hungry, I think they say "Introducing Arnold Schwarzenegger."
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Derek

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Bob Rafelson
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2003, 08:58:25 AM »
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I always meant to see Five Easy Pieces and last week I bit the bullet and just bought it. Now it's probably my favorite Nicholson performance (along with Chinatown and Cuckoo's Nest) and I haven't gotten the movie out of my head since. Thanks for the recommendation.
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cine

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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2003, 02:13:18 AM »
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The scene with him in the field with his father is one of his best performed monologues.

mutinyco

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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2003, 09:38:06 AM »
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The monologue was improvised by Nicholson.
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cine

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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2003, 01:35:14 PM »
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Indeed it was. Another reason why I love it so much.

 

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