Author Topic: Neil LaBute  (Read 6805 times)

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Finn

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Neil LaBute
« on: December 16, 2003, 04:38:39 PM »
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I decided to make a thread about this guy after having watched "In the Company of Men" for the second time. This is truly a bold and smart director. As Ebert said, he's a director with a distinctive voice. I like him best for the movies where he challenges and flusters the audience, such as with "In the Company of Men" and "The Shape of Things". While he's done radically different movies other than those, such as "Nurse Betty" and "Possession", he's probably one of our most intellegent writer/directors out there. Some find his outlook on relationships and human nature cruel and relentless. While he may have that vision, I heard from somewhere that he actually has a wife and children. But no matter what movie he's doing, he always seems to be controversial.
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NEON MERCURY

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Neil LaBute
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2003, 10:37:53 PM »
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well....i thought In the company of men was "mesmerizing"...and the writting by  Mr.Labute was "top-notch", and "witty", and "audascious" ...he really has a skilled hand. ....the film had me "glued" even though it was pure "dailogue-heavy"...it was such a "great story"....ekhart's chracter was a "sick & twisted phuck"....the puke sequence was "crazy" and "surprising"....the end was "awesome".....i really felt like i was on an "emotional rollercoaster".....i "liked" this film more thsan nnurse betty....was ITCOM his "first" film.....????????????????????????????????????????????

socketlevel

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Neil LaBute
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2003, 11:08:29 PM »
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lebute is so hit and miss, i love "in the company"; "your friends and neighbors"; and "the shape of things" but "possession" was a bag of smashed assholes and "Nurse Betty" was flawed at times.  I'm worried he can only make one type of film.  i'd love to see him branch out but whenever that happens, it seems to flop.

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godardian

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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2003, 12:41:17 AM »
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Loved the first two- particularly Your Friends and Neighbors, which I thought was rather brilliant. Lukewarm on Nurse Betty. Hated Possession. Wanted to like Shape of Things more than I did.

LaBute was apparently interested in the job Mike Nichols eventually got directing the film of Angels in America. I remember LaBute giving a little blurb in Rolling Stone years ago where he said he felt that Woody Allen's Manhattan and Tony Kushner's Angels in America were the cultural events of his lifetime.
""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.

mutinyco

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Neil LaBute
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2003, 07:51:51 AM »
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I think the thing about his films is that, unlike those from other writer-directors of the indie '90s, they're squarely adult. PT or Wes Anderson have yet to make entirely mature films. What makes him difficult is his lack of sympathy. He's not trying to make you like anybody. It comes off as abrasive. But I think that's also where the humor comes from a lot of the time.
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Gold Trumpet

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Neil LaBute
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2003, 08:07:47 AM »
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I have yet to see The Shape of Things, but I'm still at a disbelief that the man who directed and wrote In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors also made Nurse Betty and Possession. The only accomplishment in the last two is that one of them made Renee Zelwegger bearable (actually, quite the achievement). The first two are great films in every sense of the word.

pookiethecat

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Neil LaBute
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2003, 09:49:15 PM »
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Quote from: mutinyco
I think the thing about his films is that, unlike those from other writer-directors of the indie '90s, they're squarely adult. PT or Wes Anderson have yet to make entirely mature films. What makes him difficult is his lack of sympathy. He's not trying to make you like anybody. It comes off as abrasive. But I think that's also where the humor comes from a lot of the time.


i find this statement rather unfair.  i don't see how a lack of sympathy necessarily indicates being "adult" if you are using "adult" to mean advanced, evolved, and better artistically.  please explain that comment.
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mutinyco

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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2003, 02:25:35 PM »
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I don't think his lack of sympathy makes his films more adult. I find his writing and general POV more lived in, less flashy -- more mature in general. He never came off as a young film brat with grandiose egotistical intentions.
"I believe in this, and it's been tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church."

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pookiethecat

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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2003, 02:29:30 PM »
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i don't think that's fair- as it undermines pt's remarkable adeptness for
the intricacies of relationships and character- by focusing solely on his bravura techniques.  it wasn't the frogs that made me watch magnolia over and over.  it was the characters and how pta examined their conditions that did.  the frogs and other aspects of his filmmaking are ambitious touches that accentuate already powerful filmmaking.  

...pta  shows an emotional intimacy and  acuteness with his characters and their sad complicated emotions that i find absent in labute's work.  i think it's very easy to be "biting" in this ironic day in age.it takes much more courage and maturity to face people head on rather than making them pathetic or evil or using them to service a mean joke, which i feel labute did- at least in-  in the company of men.
i wanna lick 'em.

SoNowThen

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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2004, 08:53:20 AM »
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Just saw In The Company. Great, great film. Can't wait to check out his other work.
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 #10 on: January 08, 2004, 11:10:21 AM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
Just saw In The Company. Great, great film. Can't wait to check out his other work.


Your Friends and Neighbors- follow-up to In the Company of Men- is his pinnacle. They make a good pair. The rest is iffy, though he's shown signs of recovery with The Shape of Things. Possession is terrible.

There was a point in 1998, when Friends and Neighbors came out, that I felt Labute and Todd Haynes were the only directors working with a goal of challenging conventional notions of audience identification- confronting us, challenging us, rather than coddling us, using our tendency to see ourselves in characters to work directly against the grain to a truly devastating end- each in their own way. Yes, LaBute occupied that rarified sphere for a brief moment...

I wish he'd make a film of Bash: Latterday Plays (that title is probably the least of his problems with the Mormon church, of which he is a member, albeit part of the tiny-minority-opposition and viewed as a kind of heretic by some church leaders). They shot the stage version and showed it on Showtime (I'd love to see that, as well), but it's that kind of sharp, pitch-black, kick-in-the-gut satire that he's really good at.

I interviewed him once- a really, really nice, even sweet guy. He thinks people can be decent and kind, but he feels he's done a necessary job of showing us some excruciating yet plausible examples of how very, very short we fall of those seemingly simple and common-sense aspirations.
""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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Neil LaBute
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2004, 11:16:57 AM »
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That's cool that you met him.

Yeah, usually this kind of presentation bores or at least underwhelms me, but his mise en scene worked perfectly. Even though the camerawork was sparse, he didn't just resort to shot-counter-shot to throw a scene together. I felt there was still a very fine construction and control and purpose, no matter how flat it seemed on the surface. And the last scene just rocked!
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 #12 on: January 08, 2004, 11:35:06 AM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
That's cool that you met him.

Yeah, usually this kind of presentation bores or at least underwhelms me, but his mise en scene worked perfectly. Even though the camerawork was sparse, he didn't just resort to shot-counter-shot to throw a scene together. I felt there was still a very fine construction and control and purpose, no matter how flat it seemed on the surface. And the last scene just rocked!


Ah, yes... the cutoff of sound as total damnation. A very godardian move. LaBute is a big Godard fan- there's a giant poster for Contempt on the wall in Your Friends and Neighbors.
""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.

Weak2ndAct

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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2004, 02:25:21 PM »
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I saw Bash on showtime, and it's excellent.  I really wish they would put it out on dvd.  I don't think it would make a good feature film since the stories are so disconnected (one of them covers a span of 10 or so years?) and broad, but if anyone could do it, LaBute could I guess.  My favorite part is Ron Eldard's... his story just left my jaw hanging open.

mutinyco

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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2004, 09:12:57 PM »
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He did a recreation of Marylin's pose for the Playboy 50th issue. I mean, he took the picture not posed in it.
"I believe in this, and it's been tested by research: he who fucks nuns will later join the church."

-St. Joe

 

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