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January 23, 2023

New Documentary "Walt's Disinchanted Kingdom" Shows How Disney Stopped Being a Family Brand to Let Its Freak Flags Fly

This comes out today. Where, I don't know.

Turning this into an "Is This Something?" thread: Some good news, apparently this movie I never heard of until yesterday, Plane, is something.

Film Threat and JoBlo both say it's really good, and a throwback to 90s action movies when stories were simple, stunts were practical, and identity politics were absent, apart from the usual action-movie set-up showing people of different races cooperating to kill people of varied races.

They do say the blood splatters are CGI, which I don't like. They do that because it's cheap, and because you can decide in post-production whether to turn those blood splatters down to get a PG-13 or turn them up to get an R. But other than that and the plane crashing, they say it's all practical stuff.

And also, non-superheroic. Semi-plausible action with good amount of brutality.

I got excited when I saw there was a new Liam Neeson Philip Marlowe movie, but got less excited when I heard him talking:

Marlowe doesn't make blunt threats or tell you how tough he is. That's a Mike Hammer thing. Marlowe says he isn't tough, but in a way that you get the sense that he's so tough he can afford to be modest about it. A lot of people say things like, "You think you're pretty tough, don't you?" and he says "Nah, I'm just a pushover" or "I'm as harmless as a kitten in a teacup" with a baiting smile.

Also, he never says things directly and obviously like "Los Angeles, City of Angels. More like 'city of dirty little secrets.'" That's stupid. Marlowe speaks in, let's call it hypobole. Not hyperbole, but the opposite, hypobole. Saying things with extreme understatement so that it takes you a second to figure out what he's saying. He often puts things in the negative to make them even more elusive.

He described "Moose" Malloy, an enormous man, as "no larger than a beer truck." He described someone as "less conspicuous than a tarantula on an angel food cake."

And I can see that Marlowe's a two fisted action hero here. I'll excuse that, because I know every movie has to be at least half an action movie to get made, but Marlowe's big strength wasn't beating people up. It was getting beaten up. Once he decided that a case needed to be solved or that he was on your side, he was willing to get beaten up or even murdered to finish things. It's not that he was a physically unstoppable hero, but a morally unstoppable one: Yes, you could stop him by killing him, but it would take that and only that to stop him.

But like I said, I'll excuse that because I understand that change and frankly I'd like to see him win more fights.

The talking, though. That's non-negotiable.

Ah well, there is a seriously annoying phenomenon of writing crap dialogue just for use in the trailer and I guess I can hold out hope that they wrote some of that blunt stereotypical tough guy talk because how can you tell he's a tough guy unless he straight-up tells you he's one?

Still doesn't sound like Marlowe, though.

I know people like the Powers Booth series that was on HBO 30 years ago but if I remember right, he tended to sound like Mike Hammer there, too.

There's a tradition that heroes are straightforward and direct while villains are flowerly and elusive in their speech, but Marlowe was not that kind of direct, to-the-point hero. Maybe that's why they think that Marlowe has to sound like... Mike Hammer.

I'm not knocking Mike Hammer. I'm just saying, if you call a movie "Poirot," make him Poirot, don't make him Adrian Monk like Kenneth Brannagh did.

The closest I've seen to Marlowe on screen is probably Tom from Miller's Crossing. Like Tom, Marlowe isn't a straight-line kind of guy, he's all bent, a dame would say, nothing but angles and curves.

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posted by Lamont the Big Dummy at 04:32 PM

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