544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Nothing
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#151 Post by Nothing » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:04 am

Elmyr wrote:I don't think your doing Five Easy Pieces any favors by comparing it to Antonioni. It feels more like a prototypical seventies star vehicle complete with cop out ending. Most of the characters seem to only function as easy targets for Nicholson to put down and/or sleep with. The movie is certainly an interesting one and Nicholson is electric here, but a kind of adolescent "nobody understands me" quality infects the entire film.
I think it rather depends on whether you see the film as critical of or sympathetic towards Nicholson's character - and this ties in very much to how one views the ending. Fwiw, I also think the film displays an excellent sense of character, class and place, and not just in regards to Dupea.

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John Cope
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#152 Post by John Cope » Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:40 am

Blood & Wine is a great, impressive work which I'd gladly defend anyday.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#153 Post by Elmyr » Wed Jan 05, 2011 2:33 am

Nothing wrote:I think it rather depends on whether you see the film as critical of or sympathetic towards Nicholson's character
I absolutely agree with you but I think the movie tries to have it both ways. There's plenty here to make the case that it's critical of Bobby but either Nicholson's charisma overwhelms these attempts or the filmmakers couldn't resist setting him up with several crowd pleasing moments that, for me anyway, take the sting out of any implied criticism and make it more of a star vehicle than an in-depth character study.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#154 Post by Nothing » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:12 am

John Cope wrote:Blood & Wine is a great, impressive work which I'd gladly defend anyday.
Please do!

I'd say that the greatest moment in Rafelson's career is the dolly around the room as Dupea plays Chopin in Five Easy Pieces. Sadly, there's nothing to match this combination of precise observation and formal elegance in any of his later work, and certainly not in Blood & Wine, which seems a typical example of the post-Pulp Fiction crime flick glut from where I'm standing.

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ShellOilJunior
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#155 Post by ShellOilJunior » Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:57 pm

Great set but couldn't Criterion replace DRIVE, HE SAID with something better? Or just leave it out?

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#156 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:00 pm

This is the perfect place to include it - it fits in contextually with the theme of the set, even if it may not have been worthy of its own release.

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swo17
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#157 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:07 pm

If they started paring bad films out of this set... :-#

[Note from mods: swo17 was murdered during the writing of this post, simply for trying to express his opinion. Sorry kids, but freedom ain't free, etc., etc.]

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knives
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#158 Post by knives » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:22 am

ShellOilJunior wrote:Great set but couldn't Criterion replace DRIVE, HE SAID with something better? Or just leave it out?
I just finished it for the first time and think it's one of the better films in the set. It's not as good as Head or The Last Picture Show and I don't like it as much as Easy Rider, but overall I find it to be a very fun little look into the times. It's built in to be dated and is a great artifact of the times not to mention consistently entertaining.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#159 Post by atcolomb » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:01 pm

I just got my box set (regular dvd) and did a comparison between the old Columbia dvd release of Five Easy Pieces and King of The Marvin Gardens and the new Criterion release and all look the same to me..no big difference but the audio on the Criterion is more fuller and clearer. I have the old Rhino release of Head so when i have a chance i will compare the two.

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knives
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#160 Post by knives » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:48 am

A Safe Place is so uniquely awful that I really want to see Jaglom's other movies just to see if he ever captured these entertaining lows ever again. How could something so deliberately odd come off as so average? The big reason I'm posting though is the commentary which is one of the better ones I've ever heard. While I doubt it will improve my viewing experience of the movie it definitely aids in making the film more than an act of incompetence. He also gives a lot of fun backstory and is always engaging in how he speaks. He honestly comes across as a likable person I personally would love to hang out with.

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zedz
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#161 Post by zedz » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:42 pm

Most of the later Jaglom films that I've seen (none from the last twenty years, mind you!) are quite different: talky sub-Woody Allen relationship dramas (or barely funny comedies) whose main interest is a sort of sloppy slippage between acting and being. They are, in my opinion, far less interesting than that description implies. The late 70s Dennis Hopper drama Tracks is a bit different and a bit better, and is often hailed as his best film, but even that didn't do a lot for me.

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knives
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#162 Post by knives » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:57 pm

Too bad, if nothing else A Safe Place offers the promise of an interesting director.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#163 Post by John Cope » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:09 am

zedz wrote:Most of the later Jaglom films that I've seen (none from the last twenty years, mind you!) are quite different: talky sub-Woody Allen relationship dramas (or barely funny comedies) whose main interest is a sort of sloppy slippage between acting and being. They are, in my opinion, far less interesting than that description implies.
FWIW, I hold to the exact opposite opinion.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#164 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:38 pm

Just thought I'd point out that though this set appears to be AWOL on both Netflix and Blockbuster, you can actually rent it from the latter with a little work. This link takes you to the listing for the set, which it says is not available to rent. However, if you click on one of the "Check All Versions" links in the Movie Details tab, it opens up a window that allows you to add each of the discs to your queue individually. If you want to add the whole set you have to repeat this process seven times, which is somewhat annoying but still less work than typing up a post about how much Netflix sucks now.

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zedz
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#165 Post by zedz » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:11 pm

Further to the Jaglom dissing above, I rewatched A Safe Place recently. There are some nice shots (especially that one looking down on the people walking in the street, which, if you believe the commentary, was the first thing Jaglom ever shot) and some nice ideas in there, but what a mess! I didn't really recall many specifics from the film (Orson in a park, Tuesday on a roof, lots of vaporous babble), just the overall impression of terrible, and unfortunately this second viewing seems destined to end up the same way.

On the other hand, I quite liked Drive, He Said. Horribly dated, naturally, but I think Nicholson's visual and narrative ideas are a lot more promising, as is his handling of actors, and it's interesting to observe the Zabriskie Point influence, given where Nicholson would go from here. (I've always found Zabriskie Point silly and clunky, but you can't say it's not stylish.)

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#166 Post by manicsounds » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:53 am

On "Easy Rider", it claims to have a 2009 commentary by Dennis Hopper. Is this not the same one from the one on Sony's 1999 DVD?

Based on review sites, the DVD reviews mention the sometimes boringness in the track, and the same for the Criterion disc too...

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#167 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:57 pm

manicsounds wrote:On "Easy Rider", it claims to have a 2009 commentary by Dennis Hopper. Is this not the same one from the one on Sony's 1999 DVD?

Based on review sites, the DVD reviews mention the sometimes boringness in the track, and the same for the Criterion disc too...
While I haven't heard the Hopper commentary on the Sony release, I would imagine it would have to be the same one in the BBS set. The Criterion menu listing does not mention the commentary was recorded exclusively for the Criterion release (and they normally do mention this if they can); that, combined with the fact that the BBS set started its life as a Sony project, strongly suggests that the same commentary was carried over. Yeah, Hopper's solo track is not nearly as enjoyable as the 1995 one where he literally phones in his comments while Fonda and production manager Paul Lewis do their own commentary, but it's dullness can primarily be attributed to the plethora of information already provided by the earlier track and the documentaries; Hopper just can't think of anything new to say that hasn't already been said, so he shuts up a lot of the time. I'd rather have the commentary than not have it, but it's not the reason to own this film on Blu-ray.

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#168 Post by Tom Hagen » Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:26 pm

I can verify that the Hopper commentary track on the BBS Story edition is in fact the old one from prior Columbia DVD releases. 2009 is probably a misprint.

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MoonlitKnight
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#169 Post by MoonlitKnight » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:03 pm

zedz wrote:Further to the Jaglom dissing above, I rewatched A Safe Place recently. There are some nice shots (especially that one looking down on the people walking in the street, which, if you believe the commentary, was the first thing Jaglom ever shot) and some nice ideas in there, but what a mess! I didn't really recall many specifics from the film (Orson in a park, Tuesday on a roof, lots of vaporous babble), just the overall impression of terrible, and unfortunately this second viewing seems destined to end up the same way.
I'm fine with messy films as long as they have some interesting ideas or the director offers up an interesting filmmaking point of view (e.g. Robert Altman's loosest works, the films of Richard Kelly, Terry Gilliam's "Tideland," etc.), and "A Safe Place" falls into that same category for me. I'd much rather see it again over something so slick and expertly crafted as, say, "The King's Speech," where you pretty much already knew exactly how everything is going to go the first time around as it was, so why bother to see it again? 8-[

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#170 Post by Roger Ryan » Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:30 pm

The thing about A SAFE PLACE is that the editing is really good, following through on the BBS ethic of bringing a European influence to American films and very similar to what you would start seeing in Nicolas Roeg's work. Jaglom takes advantage of every opportunity to associate disparate shots as artfully as possible. However, the film has precious little content. I like the Gwen Welles monologue (although it's really a needless digression) and about half of what comes out of the other Welles' mouth, but the film has almost nothing to say about any of the characters that isn't revealed in the first 15 minutes. Given that there is no plot, one would hope the character interactions would be more interesting. What A SAFE PLACE achieves is utter banality dressed up as art, but that's not enough to keep me coming back.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#171 Post by ShellOilJunior » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:29 pm

Glad to see I'm not alone in my view of A SAFE PLACE. At times it's very pretty (esp. Tuesday Weld's face) and sounds great but it does nothing for me.

Jaglom's European art film style and editing seems arbitrary to me. It's cool that he's trying something different and I realize plot isn't essential to a film if the feeling it conveys is vivid enough but it just doesn't work. Like someone above me said-- it's a mess. It just feels like Jaglom is trying to be arty but there's no substance behind it.

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zedz
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#172 Post by zedz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:42 pm

Watched The Last Picture Show last week, which seems effortlessly the best film in the set, and have just slogged through the extras.

Boy, it's pretty obvious that these were inherited: there's a mind-numbing level of redundancy, with a dozen or more anecdotes that you hear four or five times in practically identical form. The two commentaries are hardly complementary. It seems that the new commentary was commissioned simply because the initially scheduled, non-Criterion release didn't have access to the 90s commentary, then the old one (which had the added value of special guests and was done much closer to the re-edit) got popped on there as a bonus when Criterion took the project over.

The film is strong enough and the stories interesting enough to excuse a little repetition, but I really missed Criterion's editorial control on this release.

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#173 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:35 am

The Movement Inside: BBS Films and the Cultural Left in the New Hollywood, a good essay on the political content, context, and aftermath of BBS and its films. The first part discusses the politics of the films - Easy Rider and the failure of its "utopia of perpetual motion and mechanical fetishism", Five Easy Pieces' preoccupation "with the inauthenticity (even impossibility) of social identity", The Last Picture Show as "the story of absent fathers and Old Hollywood nostalgia", and "psychosexual liberation and the mentally confining powers of cultural institutions" in Drive He Said - and the second part discusses the aftermath of BBS and its context for the '70s Left. This section was interestign to me as it discussed the use of BBS's example after its demise. A discussion of Hearts and Minds - "perhaps the clearest expression of Schneider's mediation between liberalism and radicalism" - was very interesting to me for its discussion of radicalsim at this time, a point highlighted by the author in the opinions of Jane Fonda and Emile de Antonio on the film. There's also discussion of BBS's example as an inspiration to other political films of the '70s (Shampoo, Stay Hungry, The Passenger, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, 1900) and how some of that fit into Days of Heaven. All in all, a good essay on politics and film located in BBS. I still haven't trawled through my set so this essay was a good introduction for me. The link above to Google Books provides access to most of the book, but the entire essay appears in The World the '60s Made (edited by Gosse and Moser).

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#174 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:46 pm

Thanks for the link - it's an interesting read. I think you'll find that quite a few of these ideas are touched on in the box set commentaries, bonus features and booklet essays.

What's missing from The Movement Inside essay is Bob Rafelson's stated reason for the titling of the first BBS feature: he wanted the EASY RIDER promotional material to carry the ad copy line "From the producers who gave you HEAD"!

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Re: 544-550 America Lost and Found: The BBS Story

#175 Post by JAP » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:29 pm

Winner of the Best Blu-Ray category of the Il Cinema Ritrovato Dvd Awards 2011 (complete list, in italian)

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