The Movie Bracket! - Winner announced!

  • North By Northwest vs Jaws. I like this matchup quite a bit. North By Northwest is a great adventure film, and the faceoff against the backdrop of Mount Rushmore is one of the first real iconic setpiece action sequences in cinema. It's a nearly flawless film. A kid at the visitor center plugs his ears before the gun is fired, I see it every time I watch this movie. :) Young Martin Landau is cool as the antagonist muscle.

    Jaws revolutionized summers at the cinema. It made people afraid to go swimming. I think ultimately It's a very Hitchcockian type of film. Spielberg has been quoted in saying (after the mechanical shark that was supposed to be in most of the movie didn't work) "I tried to imagine how Hitchcock would have done it" You don't see the shark until well into the film and it's presence is implied through camerawork, scoring, and reaction shots. The first appearance of the actual shark itself during th 4th of July weekend and then the up close and personal scale reveal during the chumming sequence are super impactful because so much of it is built up in your imagination before you even see it. If the mechanical shark had worked as intended, Jaws would likely have been a lesser film. One of the most documented and analyzed films of the 20th century, even set stories, anecdotes, and documentaries are super entertaining. Voting for Jaws

    Honestly, while I fully recognize that the Coen Brothers are masterful filmmakers and that the films they've directed are by most subjective measures "good" - there's not more than a few of them I actually like. The adaptation of No Country for Old Men is one of them. It may be because they didn't write it. I'm not sure. I'm voting a little against type here, because generally I appreciate the fun action movie more than the depressing serious Cormac McCarthy crime drama, but Anton Chigurh is just too damn good. Miyazaki is a master, but Porco Rosso is for sure one of his lesser works. I liked it a lot, and I have a certain amount of nostalgia for it, but Porco Rosso is more or less a saturday morning cartoon. It's fun, but mostly unremarkable. No Country For Old Men.

  • Woof, I don't know what's up with me, I just have not been in the mood for some serious movie watching lately, which I suppose is alright since this round seems to be fairly decided already. I just wanted to give a few thoughts on The Fountain without actually voting - I have zero desire to see The Hurt Locker.

    All the complaints lobbed against The Fountain here are beyond valid but... if I'm being honest with myself, it's my favorite Aronofsky film. It certainly lacks focus and can be a bit convoluted at times, but it just has a certain raw appeal that makes me gravitate towards it. It's certainly one of his most visually stunning pieces and the color palette might be one of my favorite in any movie, period. Considering I'm always saying how much story and characters mean to me, I should find tons of problems with this film, but for whatever reason, it's one I bring up often when asked what my favorite movies are. I'll chalk up my undying love to vibes on this one.

  • Forgot about this site for a few days, life has been hectic. I plan on voting in all matchups, but here's what I'm ready with!

    North by Northwest vs Jaws: North by Northwest
    To me, these two are pretty much perfectly on the same page. They're both fantastic movies, and I love each of them. So for me, this is just a vote of preference, and I happen to enjoy North by Northwest more. It so perfectly encapsulates a lot of what makes Hitchcock great--soaring soundtracks, the everyman finding himself in a position of sudden and unexpected danger, the femme fatale, the Mt. Rushmore sequence, and (of course) one of the most famous visual innuendos in all of film history.

    Porco Rosso vs No Country for Old Men: No Country for Old Men
    I don't have anything meaningful to add that hasn't already been said on this one. Porco Rosso is charming in the way that all of Miyazaki's work is charming, but it doesn't feel like it has much substance beyond that compared to his other work. And while I'm with TokyoSlim on No Country not being my general type of movie, I can't deny how well it was written. The entire film really thrives off of its good script-writing *executed through some amazing acting) and no-frills visual style.

  • I was thinking of closing voting on this round on Thursday. I'm pretty happy with this round---a good turnout on all matchups, even if 3 of the four turned out to be blowouts.

    I would like to see one more vote on the Hitchcock/Spielberg matchup now that it's close!

  • @Ringedwithtile said in The Movie Bracket! Round 2, H1 Voting!:

    I was thinking of closing voting on this round on Thursday. I'm pretty happy with this round---a good turnout on all matchups, even if 3 of the four turned out to be blowouts.

    I would like to see one more vote on the Hitchcock/Spielberg matchup now that it's close!

    I was waiting to see if it would be close, Now that it is, my reviews will be up in a day or two! :)

  • Sorry for the short delay, the hockey went to double overtime tonight. Reviews up in a couple hours.

  • No problem! I might be in bed when it goes up, so I'll manage the deal at work tomorrow morning.

  • North by Northwest

    Was this movie meant to be a spoof? The whole thing jumps from one incredible coincidence to another, and one goofy scenario for Cary Grant to ham it up in to another. He does do a good job at that, certainly, but to spend so much money on sets, stunts, and (excellent) locations, and then use them to film something bordering on slapstick? That can work - see It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - but when you're expecting an honest thriller, and then get those expectations reinforced by actual intrigue early on, the whole experience tends to leave you laughing in the wrong way.


    This, on the other hand, does the "lighthearted thriller" formula a turn better. Again, some scenes are seriously unbelievable, but the laid back acting, sparse settings, and excellent building tension help you shrug those moments a degree. Some unintentional silliness still makes itself known. And while we're waiting for the action scenes, there's way too much dead air and filler. The good stuff is worth getting to, but the journey there is a snoozefest.

    Winner: Jaws

    Should've picked a grittier Hitchcock, like Frenzy or Strangers on a Train. Oh, well...

  • And with that, we enter the second half of the second round! Spielberg, Kubrick, the Coens, and Bigelow make up one half of the quarter finals.

    This next group of matchups carries a lot of peculiar works. I wouldn't be surprised if the votes were pretty divided.

  • Honestly, when I built my lists, I did them on the assumption that more people would be voting than just the players. This skewed what movies I picked and in what order they went towards a mass audience, rather than specifically film nerds. I picked The Martian early because I felt like it was a good, recent Hollywood blockbuster that would be a stepping stone to introducing new people to Ridley Scott's older and sometimes weirder work, Rope wasn't on my list for Hitchcock because the cinematography is cool but the plot shows its age when it comes to clear cultural influences, and I didn't even think Cronenberg would make it past the first round despite being one of my all-time favorites. Part of me wishes I could have planned better for the audience I would be pitching my selections to, but part of me is happy to see things get shaken up a bit. (Though I don't get the North by Northwest hate! It's one of my favorite Hitchcock films because of its mix of the tense and the wildly improbable, plus it conveniently presents almost all of Hitchcock's quirks as a director in one movie as a good introduction to themes to watch out for.) If you were curious, here's what you didn't see:

    The 39 Steps
    North by Northwest
    Rear Window

    Ridley Scott:
    The Martian
    Black Hawk Down
    Thelma and Louise
    Blade Runner

    As you can see, there's a tendency to go with more accessible films early on and recognizable films towards the end. I was banking on that strategy to push my picks through, but oh well! Among all these greats, some have got to go. And now we're on the weird side of the bracket, so I'm looking forward to seeing new films and revisiting old ones. I'm hopeful that we'll see Blue Velvet out of Lynch, it's up there as one of my favorite films of all time.

  • High and Low and Escape from New York are my babies. I don't think I could vote on this matchup unless it was to force a tie. :p

    Brazil over Magnolia, no contest. Magnolia is a fine film with an excellent soundtrack, but it hasn't got the nuance or charm or world building of Brazil.

    I think I'm also going to go with X-Men First Class It's a fun film that was more successful in re-booting the dead in the water X-Men franchise than I'd had any hope for. They managed to tie together the modern day and "First Class" franchises relatively seamlessly, and gave important and flawlessly realized context between Xavier and Magneto. eXistenZ is a movie that resides firmly (to me) in the first major lull period of Cronenberg's work sandwiched between Crash and A History of Violence where both eX and Spider were kind of just dull movies that were trying to capitalize on the style, but without the cutting, visceral technological or psychological commentary of a Videodrome, The Fly, or Dead Zone. I feel like he underwent a transformation where he kind of realized that the specific kind of satires he'd been making had kind of passed him by at this point. When he made eXistenZ and Spider instead of feeling fresh and relevant, they felt like your dad lecturing you as a teenager on the hazards of the internet, or nagging you about going to an out of state college in a big city. One of Cronenberg's greatest feats was reinventing his own style with A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, but I'm not judging Cronenberg's oeuvre - but specifically eXistenZ, which is a film I found lacking.

    Since Eastwood was knocked out and we're sharing our dead comrade's lists here was his:

    High Plains Drifter
    Gran Torino
    The Outlaw Josey Wales
    A Perfect World

    I could have gone a bit weirder, I almost put The Eiger Sanction first on the list, followed up by Honkeytonk Man, because though flawed and in the case of The Eiger Sanction, pretty racist and sexist in many ways - it's an interesting counterpoint to early Bond films which you don't necessarily associate with Eastwood. And it's not very often you see an assassin movie set in and around the lifestyle of mountain climbing. Might have been fun.

    Honkeytonk Man is just a good underrated musical roadtrip movie, and I feel like it's super underrated, even within the conversation of Eastwood directed titles. It ultimately didn't make it because I really wanted to get Josey Wales and A Perfect World in there, but it's worth a mention.

  • So High and Low is my favorite Kurosawa film, it's that one. As much as I love Kurosawa's work, it's the one that has a pretty unmovable spot as a real favorite. It's a smart, relentlessly tense film with excellent performances. Kurosawa's direction is so on-point too. Blocking densely filled rooms of characters is so fucking hard, and it's just pitch-perfect use of physical direction. Endlessly dramatic, compelling craft.

    Carpenter is a director I carry in higher esteem than Kurosawa personally, and yet Escape From New York rests outside of my 10 favorites from Carp. I actually prefer L.A., as I think it's much more aware of how goofy it is, and I think it has more to say about its titular city. I dig the punk atmosphere and how surprisingly quiet NY is, but I have to give it to High and Low

    I really like Magnolia. It was a pretty formative high-school film for me. It's almost an embarrassing film to have made, a sprawling, practically presumptuous high-stakes melodrama stripping all it's characters to absurd catharsis. And it's filled with performances that are up to the task, and a directorial panache that's super admirable. It's silly, but I still like this one a lot.

    Brazil is just off-the-wall. Throw everything we can at the wall baby, it'll stick, and it'll be glorious. Brazil's universe is in this constant stage of regurgitation, its people are all delusional and it looks like someone exploded the first half of the 20th century and photographed right as everything was suspended in the air. It's awesome. Brazil gets my vote.

    So I saw X-Men First Class and I thought it was one of the better Xmans. I don't know how much that says, because I think most of the Xmons are pretty bad, but I remember Fassbender being neat and there being a surprising focus on costuming and production design which was refreshing. It's still got your super dupers, but they've got old hairdos and gaudy, throwback colors. I give it 3 exmens out of 5.

    eXistenZ is totally not a great Cronenberg. It has about two or three sequences that are drop-dead great, but I don't think Cronenberg had much to say about virtual reality or gaming---he almost avoids those as thematic strands holding the film together which only allows it to play as a series of odd sequences.

    So I think both films are 'alright', but eXistenZ has mechanic Dafoe and fishgun, so I'm voting for it. It's just more up my alley.

    It's a bit weird saying sexiest Wong Kar-Wai film, since they're all sexy with their music-led editing, their luscious photography, their attractive people falling in love for a minute and spending the rest of their time tearing themselves up about it. Despite that Days of Being Wild is really sexy. It has a violence, a pent-up, frustrated quality that really bewitched me. I called it my favorite from Wong for a while, but then I watched it again and found it scattered. The great sequences were still there, but they didn't hold together as well. I didn't buy the relationships. It's still damn good, but I think it diminishes a bit after its emergent pleasures have already been experienced once.

    I didn't like Lost Highway the first time I saw it. I mean I was riveted by the first section, I mean how fucking creepy can you get? Its use of low-fi footage, effectively repurposing the home video format into something dark and invasive. Then that second half hit and I wasn't just as engaged. It developed a little predictably and it didn't get at my insides as much.

    Then I caught the last two thirds late at night on TV a year or so ago and I was glued to the screen. Every shot and edit was like a punch to the chest. It was a real experience and it made me reconsider how I felt about it.

    Ask me tomorrow and I might vote the other way, but recency bias, baby. Lost Highway.

    edit: I haaaaaate The Eiger Sanction hahaha. Agreed that Honkytonk is great, though. Eastwood has a lot of stuff that flew under the radar!

  • Unlike @alexwhiteplays, I figured it would mostly be the players voting and not the community as a whole. Even I have to admit, I haven't voted as much as I would have liked and this has shown how much film I need to catch up on!

    To tip my hat with my "order", I mostly tried to place my personal favorites first (as they don't ever seem to match up with popular/critical opinion) and then slowly ramp up to the darlings for each director. The hope was that even if a director I loved got knocked out early, my favorite from them still got some views. So here's my knocked out director's list!

    Darren Aronofsky
    1st round - Pi
    2nd round - The Fountain
    3rd round - The Wrestler
    4th round - Black Swan
    Finals - Requiem for a Dream

    Wes Anderson
    1st round - Moonrise Kingdom
    2nd round - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    3rd round - The Royal Tennebaums
    4th round - Rushmore
    Finals - The Grand Budapest Hotel

    You all are monsters, I just want to remind you of that.

    Except not really.

  • I can't believe Hitchcock is out.. that's surprising, though Jaws is some stiff competition. I'm dreading the Coen/Spielberg match up.

    I'm glad people are posting their lists.. I want to see those films that I haven't yet. Which reminds me, I never posted my John Huston picks so here they are

    The Maltese Falcon
    The Asphalt Jungle
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    The African Queen
    The Man Who Would be King

    I'm out of town for the weekend but I should be able to see most of these and get my votes in this week!

  • @alexwhiteplays said in The Movie Bracket! Round 2, H2 Voting!:

    (Though I don't get the North by Northwest hate! It's one of my favorite Hitchcock films because of its mix of the tense and the wildly improbable

    WAY too much of the latter, not nearly enough of the former.

    @alexwhiteplays said in The Movie Bracket! Round 2, H2 Voting!:

    The 39 Steps
    North by Northwest
    Rear Window

    Dang. On a purely technical level, Rear Window is a work of genius. Hitchcock might still be in if it had come a spot earlier.

    @Faaip said in The Movie Bracket! Round 2, H2 Voting!:

    The Maltese Falcon
    The Asphalt Jungle
    The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    The African Queen
    The Man Who Would be King

    Phew...I'm kind of glad Huston didn't get to round two. The Asphalt Jungle is available from Criterion, and when something has a Criterion version, I feel compelled to get it over a cheaper version, ESPECIALLY when it's a noir. Since the local rental joint doesn't have it, I could've been out about $35 CAD up is tight, lately.

    Back to current events, this may be a problematic round for me. I've seen High and Low and Brazil, and they're both excellent, but I have zero interest in seeing either Escape or Magnolia. Hopefully, the voting trend continues as it is, especially for Kurosawa...

  • @Oscillator Yeah it might be for the best that Huston was voted out.. I didn't realize most of my picks are actually a bit hard to find without buying online or something.

  • David Lynch getting some love in this week's Frame Trap!

    Hoping to knock out Days of Being Wild and Brazil in the next few days so I can get down on some voting.

  • Hm, only two voters so far. Ain't anyone else in the mood? :/

  • Grad school's picking up the pace but I plan to vote by the end of the weekend! This bracket is honestly so big that it's hard to remember to keep going, especially with so few players. If we do something in the future that's like this (maybe with musicians or something) we should consider starting with a smaller selection to speed up the process a little and hopefully keep people more engaged.

  • This is bad timing for me as well.. I've been super busy in the evenings this past week and need to watch at least one movie in each match up. I'll try to get some votes up soon!