November 16, 2018

I didn't blog the death of Stan Lee, so why am I blogging the death of William Goldman?

Both were important writers in American popular culture whose work did not reach out to me personally. But I will link to the Goldman obituary (WaPo), because I have consumed his work. It loomed large in the part of the culture where I lived. I've never had any interest in superhero comics. Never read them. Never cared. Have no opinion other than it's something I see other people like. Those other people can talk about the meaning of Stan Lee. But Goldman is another story.

IMDB lists 34 movies he wrote. I've seen:
1990 Misery (screenplay)
1987 The Princess Bride (book) / (screenplay)
1976 All the President's Men (screenplay)
1966 Harper (screenplay)
Big Goldman films I avoided (and these are all films from the 1970s, when I would go to see every well-reviewed movie unless I actively avoided it):
1976 Marathon Man (from: his novel) / (screenplay)
1975 The Stepford Wives (screenplay)
1973 Papillon (contributing writer - uncredited)
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (written by)
Looking at that, I have 3 thoughts: 1. "The Princess Bride" was great, 2. I must have really not wanted to see "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to have never — in all these years — happened into watching it, 3. Goldman seems to have been a competent, successful, mainstream writer, and good for him, but I have no sense of him as original, profound, or speaking to me.

Now, let me read the long WaPo obituary and see what I'm missing:
Mr. Goldman, who learned his trade from a screenwriting guidebook he bought in 1964 at an all-night bookstore in Times Square, abhorred film schools and auteur theory. In profanity-laced interviews, he repeated his mantras: “Screenplays are structure,” “stories are everything.”

“It’s not like writing a book,” he said to the publication Creative Screenwriting in 2015. “It’s not like a play. You’re writing for camera and audiences. One of the things which I tell young people is, when you’re starting up, go to see a movie all day long. By the time the 8:00 show comes.... you’ll hate the movie so much you won’t pay much attention to it. But you’ll pay attention to the audience. The great thing about audiences is, I believe they react exactly the same around the world at the same places in movies. They laugh, and they scream, and they’re bored. And when they’re bored it’s the writer’s fault.”
And that's the attitude about movies that has taken over in the last 40 years and why I'm not interested in movies anymore. This grand effort to preemptively stomp out all boredom bores me.

98 comments:

Dave Begley said...

“Screenplays are structure,” “stories are everything.”

I could not agree more!

robother said...

Exactly. The attempt to stamp out all boredom has killed adult (as opposed to "adult") films. Thus, Stan Lee's superheroes have inherited Hollywood.

Dave Begley said...

"Dreams are where the magic happens and now they can be shared and sold."

Sounds like a great story to me!

Kay said...

Pretty amazing just how varied and diverse this guy’s work was. Would like to re-examine some of these to see if there’s some sort of common thread. Some identity or fingerprints.

tcrosse said...

There was a radio show on WHA called Chapter A Day. Back in 1973 or so a staff announcer named Ken Oas, IIRC, read Princess Bride a chapter a day, so to speak. He did a marvelous job of acting all the different characters, and it became a daily event to listen in as the tale unfolded. The film was very weak tea by comparison.

PM said...

Is it safe?

Dave Begley said...

Summary of "The Plague of Dreamlessness" below. It is posted on The Blacklist. I expect 100 downloads by Sunday from the Althouse blog community.

"The hero works for a Boston health care tech company that invents a method to cheaply record dreams. Dreams are uploaded to an NIH database and #Dreamtracking becomes a national sensation. The hero discovers a way to share dreams. A bad side effect (discovered much later) is that sharing dreams leads to dreamlessness and comas, but only in men.

The anti-hero is the son of a Nebraska United States Senator who opens a piercing and tattoo parlor in Omaha. His piercing business expands into palm tunnels which eventually results in him getting into the crucifying business.

The stories interrelate and eventually cross. The hero becomes dreamless and lapses into a coma. He then comes out of his coma and marries his partner. The anti-hero dies on the cross while experiencing a dream from Dante’s Inferno. His cause of death is a lightning bolt.

The film could be mostly shot in Omaha. There are many popular songs in the script. It is a comedy."

No Dylan songs. Carole King, Daryl Hall, Boz Scaggs and others.

SF said...

Wow, IMO that's a spectacularly bad take on William Goldman. If nothing else, most movies in the last 40 years have very definitely not become more like William Goldman movies.

I think if asked to sum up his main strength, it would be his ability to both unabashedly love his characters AND still do terrible things to them.

rhhardin said...

And that's the attitude about movies that has taken over in the last 40 years and why I'm not interested in movies anymore. This grand effort to preemptively stomp out all boredom bores me.

In a Day (2006)
Stranger than Fiction (2006)
Eagle vs Shark (2007)
Ghost Town (2008)

William said...

It won't improve your mind or make you a better person, but if you wish to kill two hours in a pleasant and enjoyable way, there are worse options than watching Butch Cassidy.

SF said...

Kay: "Pretty amazing just how varied and diverse this guy’s work was. Would like to re-examine some of these to see if there’s some sort of common thread. Some identity or fingerprints."

And that's mostly just a list of movies. He wrote a number of fine novels that were not made into films -- again in a variety of genres -- and his non-fiction works on Hollywood are fantastic reads.

William said...

I like Marvel Movies for the special effects. They're like the poetry in Shakespeare's plays and the melodies in Puccini's operas.......There are a lot of plot holes in Shakespeare's As You like It and Mimi in La Boheme takes forever to die but, by and large, those works are worth your attention......Can wisecracks aspire to a grand and fulfilling aesthetic experience? Probably not, but Butch Cassidy is as close as you're going to get,

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

because Death takes a holiday, and so do bloggers

LarsPorsena said...

1976 Marathon Man (from: his novel) / (screenplay)

Dental students should be required to watch the "Is it safe?" scene.


I tell my dentist "It's safe" before each checkup. She claims to not only never to have
see, but never have heard of "Marathon Man".

Fernandistein said...

I've never had any interest in superhero comics.

Not even the Man Dressed Like a Bat?

gilbar said...

it's too bad that he's all dead
There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead ...

Howard said...

Althouse is blind in so many ways

Bill Peschel said...

That's a terrible misreading of Goldman's comment, Althouse. Note that he said it was the writer's fault.

That's not the same as saying the writer should cram in special effects explosions. You can be bored during them as well (say, the scene in Captain America: Winter Solder, when gunman are firing on Nick Fury in his magic SUV that resists bullets even when the window's rolled down).

Goldman's was giving advice to budding screenwriters to watch a movie several times in a row so that you're no longer distracted by what's on the screen. At that point, you can watch the audience and see how they react to what's up there.

If the writer fails to keep the audience engaged, they begin looking at their watches, squirm in their seats, and think about what they're going to do (and who they're going to do) when they get home.

There may be a type of boredom that keeps you watching the screen, but I doubt it. There are movies in which you're thinking about the movie even when nothing much is happening, but that's not what he is warning again.

Coincidentally, I was reading John Cleese's new book about his lectures at Cornell, and he had a chapter devoted to William Goldman's visit. Goldman said he liked moving from genre to genre. After "Sundance," he got nothing but offers for Westerns, and he didn't take one until a long time later. He liked challenging himself with a new genre.

gilbar said...

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is highly over rated.
If you want to be entertained, find the MAD Magazine satire of it; Now, That's entertainment!

{and, i'm not Just saying that because like most movies that pretend to be about Wyoming, it was shot someplace else. Mostly that's why i'm saying it, true; but not Just because of that}

Kay said...

I think I understand Ann’s comments regarding boredom. It may be the same thing that has motivated me to watch (and get hooked) on the old “Dark Shadows” TV show, which I’ll be the first to admit is a slow and boring show. But I love it anyways, and in fact this aspect adds to my enjoyment.

Yancey Ward said...

I don't how someone your age can actively avoid Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for almost 50 years. True, it isn't a deep philosophical film, but it is a truly entertaining dark comedy with few equals.

narciso said...

Goldman. Sundance is about the character not the scenery, marathon is about the characters as well, the younger brother haunted by his fathers death but paralyzed to progress. The older brother became so pragmatic he's trying to trade with a nazi, and the nazi is all about his secret stash.

FIDO said...

I read the Princess Bride and saw a few other of his movies. His work was entertaining, accessible, and heartfelt.

So if it did not speak to you, well, it spoke to millions of other people.

Is that a bug or a feature?

narciso said...

Stepford wives wore put its premise it took the reimagining to see how poorly the material van be adapted.

narciso said...

Princess bride is a touchstone to understand this absurd world.

Ann Althouse said...

I don't think I have ever seen a movie based on Marvel comics. I know I've never read a Marvel comic. I don't think I've ever ready any super-hero comic — and I'm very interested in comics (the underground comics type).

Yancey Ward said...

I don't blame you for not blogging the death of Stan Lee. I was never into comic books, and I find the movies made today increasingly unwatchable, though I am more of a fan of the Marvel series on Netflix.

stevew said...

Interesting take. I don't go to movies anymore, and barely watch them on streaming services. Most just don't interest me. Exceptions include: Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and The Revenant. The thing these movies have in common is that there is a tension that builds as the movie progresses and I ended up staying with it not because there weren't any slow or 'boring' parts, but because I grew increasingly interested in how the story turned out.

Action movies, Romcoms, and your run of the mill Drama have plenty of action but so many are completely predictable that it's not worth my time to watch.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I tell my dentist "It's safe" before each checkup. She claims to not only never to have
see, but never have heard of "Marathon Man".


I'm friends with a dentist who will, on occasion, sing the dentist's song from Little Shop of Horrors. The one that Steve Martin sings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOtMizMQ6oM

David Begley said...

I read Marvel comics when I was a kid. Then I grew up.

FIDO said...

Academics tend to prefer the profound (boring), arcane (inaccessible), foreign (virtue signaling as non-American) and the 'artistic' (incomprehensible).

Perhaps it is a game to while away the hours between dating students, oppressing TAs or something to discuss during the bouts of alcoholism disguised as Symposiums. "Is it possible to wedge some Post Modernistic buzzwords and transgenderism into the Seventh Seal?" A (t)wit sharpening exercise.


I like 'and'. I like pretty obvious entertainment AND some arsty fartsy stuff.

I would suggest the Althouse to watch some Uwe Bolle to seek the deeper meaning of existentialism.

Nobody likes his stuff so it is probably right up your alley.

Ann Althouse said...

I just read a list of all the Marvel-comic-based movies, and it turns out I've seen 2 of them: "Iron Man" and "Howard the Duck."

I saw "Iron Man" because I read a review that made it seem like an excellent movie and because Robert Downey Jr. is just really attractive to me.

I saw "Howard the Duck" because it was on TV and my kids were watching it, probably because they liked Lea Thompson from "Back to the Future."

Anthony said...

If you'd like to dip a toe in the superhero/Stan Lee genre, try Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It's really a good, taut action/thriller full of political intrigue and plot twists. Almost not a 'superhero' movie at all. Plus it's got Robert Redford in it.

The elevator scene is worth watching in and of itself.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't how someone your age can actively avoid Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for almost 50 years. True, it isn't a deep philosophical film, but it is a truly entertaining dark comedy with few equals."

I really don't want to see it. Unless you turn it on and sit there and watch it, it's easy to avoid. I've seen the 2 most famous scenes in clips and I really just don't care. Back when it came out, I avoided it because it was commercial and fake looking to me. I've avoided "The Sting" too. And I think Paul Newman is incredibly attractive. (I don't care about Robert Redford.)

narciso said...

Well I liked captain America better, Joe Johnston can capture the retro stylings.

Max Holland discovered how much fiction was in presidents men

FIDO said...

Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and The Revenant.


Meh. I fell asleep 3 times in The Hateful Eight before I walked out of it. Making a naked white man blow a black guy to keep from freezing to death, is just crappy shock, taboo violating nonsense and if that what Tarantino's writing has devolved to, no thanks.

Never saw any of them, but watching a bear rape Leonardo DiCaprio might be entertaining.

I actual read the story of the original guy so what, really, am I going to get from adding some Woke situations?

narciso said...

It's more a 70s thriller like condor, or parallax view,

Ann Althouse said...

"Plus it's got Robert Redford in it."

Funny that you wrote that as I was writing "I don't care about Robert Redford."

FIDO said...

I would suggest that 'The Dark Knight' has more to offer to Ms. Althouse. Less CGI and more moral and dramatic questions.

Leora said...

Butch Cassidy had great moments but it was not a very good movie. The theme song still annoys me when I hear it.

mikee said...

I have a book about writing screenplays, and it describes minute by minute the required scenes to make a successful movie. Story? What story? It is all about scene following scene, and raising audience's expectations, fulfilling them, and then raising them again.

Movie audiences have been reduced to stimulus consumers, with responses well understood.

Known Unknown said...

If nothing else, Goldman is immortal for his assessment of Hollywood: "Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one."

Known Unknown said...

Also, the one line from The Princess Bride that is overshadowed by all of the other great lines:

"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than Death, that's all."

Known Unknown said...

"I have a book about writing screenplays, and it describes minute by minute the required scenes to make a successful movie. Story? What story? It is all about scene following scene, and raising the audience's expectations, fulfilling them, and then raising them again."

Is it the stupid "save the cat" book?

I'm from the Milius school of screenwriting. Just write a damn good story. Let someone else find the act breaks.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's a list of the Robert Redford movies I've seen (a very small percentage of his work):

A Walk in the Woods
Out of Africa
All the President's Men
The Great Gatsby
The Candidate
Jeremiah Johnson

I remember Jeremiah Johnson as being quite good but I can't remember it. The Candidate was good perhaps because of RR's blandness, which fit the story.

A Walk in the Woods, which I saw because I enjoyed the Bill Bryson book, was really not even a movie. They didn't even try to make it good. Horrible.

Out of Africa is an immense bore. The kind of costume-y prestige movie I avoid but sometimes give a chance.

All the President's Men — only saw that because I bought series tickets to an MGM festival and my son Chris and I were making a point of seeing almost everything in the series.

The Great Gatsby — a great book, but this great Gatsby wasn't great at all, with that dull dull man Redford at the center.

I don't find him attractive either. I realize he's considered very good looking, but there's no magnetism to him.

Ann Althouse said...

"I would suggest that 'The Dark Knight' has more to offer to Ms. Althouse. Less CGI and more moral and dramatic questions."

Batman isn't a Marvel character, and I have seen "The Dark Knight" and at least 3 other Batman movies.

narciso said...

"Those words you are using, they don't mean what you think they do"

gilbar said...

Our Professor Althouse said and I'm very interested in comics (the underground comics type).

Opinions on Fritz the Cat?
It was the very first X-rated cartoon i'd ever seen, it also formed my views on the 1960's

CJinPA said...

And that's the attitude about movies that has taken over in the last 40 years and why I'm not interested in movies anymore. This grand effort to preemptively stomp out all boredom bores me.

Do you mean too many films don't allow silence, or routine action, or anything that doesn't beg for your attention?

Papillon has loooong stretches that don't seem to give a damn about keeping the interest of the viewer, but they are not boring.

gilbar said...

A Walk in the Woods, which I saw because I enjoyed the Bill Bryson book, was really not even a movie. They didn't even try to make it good. Horrible.

Like golf, that 'movie' was a good walk ruined

Virgil Hilts said...

I read a lot of Goldman books and thought they were fun, but the one that really moved me was The Color of Light. I may have read it as an impressionable teenager and I have never re-read it or seen what I'm sure is a horrible film based on it. I remember recommending it to several people I knew who were depressed. I remember it's ultimate message was to always keep walking past the open windows.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Color_of_Light

William Chadwick said...

"Butch Cassidy" was entertaining but it came out around the same time as a much better and more important movies about Western outlaws outliving their time, THE WILD BUNCH. When it plays on tv and I have time, I often re-watch "Butch" (one main attraction being the music, which I enjoy, especially the poignant "Come Touch the Sun," by Burt Bacharach). But it's ultimately like eating cotton candy: maybe tasty as you're consuming it, but with little substance.

Interestingly (at least to me, a Louis L'Amour fan), L'Amour loved the movie and thought it accurately captured the essence of the characters.

Ken B said...

No one ever mentions the most influential film maker of the pot war era. Ray Harryhausen.

Andrew said...

@Ann,
"I've avoided "The Sting" too."

Now that's a movie you really should see. For Robert Shaw's performance alone, as the villain. A very clever movie.

Have you ever seen this clip (the poker scene)? https://youtu.be/_8g_JidtNCo

Scott Joplin's music, even when it's upbeat, always makes me melancholy and nostalgic.

Known Unknown said...

Althouse should see the original Iron Man. It's more morality play than superhero movie.

Carol said...

Papillon was wonderful. Very realistic, detailed take...But it was a great story. The book is even better, though the author may have been a fantasist. Guess I should find out.

I hated Butch Cassidy. Didn't get that one at all. And the Bacharach song was so anachronistic. Though recently, when it comes on the radio it sounds really nice to me.

Turning 60 def affected my head.

Leland said...

This grand effort to preemptively stomp out all boredom bores me.

I think you would like the guys at RedLetterMedia, and not just because they live in Wisconsin. One of the founders, Mike Stoklasa once noted, "I like my Sci-fi boring". Not in the way Transformers is boring because all of the incomprehensible action, but in the way Star Trek, the Motion Picture is boring when it portrays space as vast and taking time to traverse.

MadisonMan said...

Althouse, you've not seen The Sting?

I love a good caper movie, and that's got that, plus Scott Joplin. Best caper movie: Thomas Crowne Affair, the one with Faye Dunaway, of course.

I saw Papillon in the movie theaters with a good buddy of mine -- and now I see it came out in '73. I wonder if my Mom ever knew that. Probably not the first PG movie I'd seen, I guess.

narciso said...

Star trek the motion picture, was staggeringly long when it wasnt imcomprehensible, wrath of Khan was the best if the series.

MadisonMan said...

(I agree that Out of Africa was a terrible bore).

OOA reminds me of Hillary's book. Everyone bought the hardcover book so they could show they bought it -- but no one read it. Everyone went to see OOA so they could say they had seen it.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I saw "Howard the Duck"

So, you're a fellow survivor.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I remember Jeremiah Johnson as being quite good

That's the one Robert Redford movie that I like.

Roughcoat said...

I had a farm in Africa zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

P.S. Every John Barry movie soundtrack sounds the same as every other John Barry movie soundtrack.

Known Unknown said...

Missed your comment about seeing Iron Man, which is a Marvel movie.

Ant-Man isn't that great, but the ending is certainly inspired (He has the capability to make things small/large)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtKY71HPTTs

Bruce Hayden said...

“I saw "Iron Man" because I read a review that made it seem like an excellent movie and because Robert Downey Jr. is just really attractive to me.”

I like him as an actor, but not attractive to me in the least. His Iron Man GF though probably the sexiest stuff I have seen her do. For a long time I wrote him off as a drug addict who really couldn’t control his addiction. But esp as Iron Man, I really like him these days. Not sure if I like the original Iron Man, or the original Avengers best. He is such a smart ass there (or my partner would call him a smart alec- the only difference I see between the two is that I am a smart ass, and she is a smart alec).

dbp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dbp said...

I kind of always thought of Redford as a big-name actor and assumed that his presence improved any movie. But now that I think about it, there are very few movies that he is in that I really liked, but there are a couple. I thought he was really great in 3 Days of the Condor. That movie was also the one where Faye Dunaway was at peak hotness. The Natural and Barefoot in the Park were also well-played.

Sorry, had to re-post because of a stupid auto-correct error.

Joe said...

Sometimes Goldman was brilliant, other times he was terrible and sometimes a bore, which is worst of all. That said, rumor has circulated that did a lot more script doctoring that he was given credit for (in some cases, rewriting the whole damn film. One question is how much of "Good Will Hunting" did he rewrite (and who did the rest)?

FIDO said...


Batman isn't a Marvel character, and I have seen "The Dark Knight" and at least 3 other Batman movies.

Ah. You said this:


I've never had any interest in superhero comics. Never read them. Never cared. Have no opinion other than it's something I see other people like.


For some strange reason, I took that to mean 'superhero comics' and not just 'Marvel Comics'.


rhhardin said...

Elmore Leonard flicks tend to be worthwhile but I don't know that they're Althouse material. The ones I suggested above ought to be good for Althouse, in my estimation.

Smilin' Jack said...

Marathon Man is underrated and an excellent thriller--ironically, the move is better than Goldman's book.

Haven't seen Butch Cassidy--not really avoidance; it just didn't seem very interesting to me. I suppose I'll see it some day.

I enjoyed The Stepford Wives--I think it was intended as feminist propaganda about how men shouldn't objectify women, but I was too busy objectifying Katherine Ross to pay much attention to that. She was definitely the wrong vehicle for that message.

cassandra lite said...

Marathon Man, Magic, and Boys and Girls Together were terrific novels. Magic has a superb depiction of the decline of the high school QB and cheerleader wife; worth the read just for that (omitted in the movie adaptation).

Mark said...

the old “Dark Shadows” TV show, which I’ll be the first to admit is a slow and boring show

Dark Shadows wasn't simply a TV show, it was specifically a soap opera that aired every day. In the early years, it was broadcast live. All soap operas are slow (and boring).

Mark said...

Papillon was wonderful. Very realistic, detailed take...But it was a great story. The book is even better, though the author may have been a fantasist.

Since it is an autobiography, written by the man who lived through it all, it is curious and rather bold to call it fantasy.

rcocean said...

Goldman seems to have been a competent, successful, mainstream writer, and good for him, but I have no sense of him as original, profound, or speaking to me.

I dislike his work, and if the movie is good, its usually despite his screenplay. BTW, he's listed as the screenwriter for "All the President's Men" but most his writing was thrown out, and the script was rewritten.

People like his snarky, dumb humor which is why several of his films are very popular. Although, not with me.

rcocean said...

And i'm always amazed at how many grown people care about comic book superheroes.

I mean I try to be tolerant but can't help but think that once you get past as certain age you should be moving on to something a little more complex

rcocean said...

And the "Marathon Man" - good lord. Only in the movies can a man on foot, outrun a car full of bad guys!

And Goldman hits all the liberal 70s paranoid talking points in that one. One one side, Joe McCarthy, Nazi Dentists, the Irish CIA man, and the German Girlfriend. OTOH, the liberal Jewish hero and a couple of POC's.

Joe said...

"Since it is an autobiography, written by the man who lived through it all, it is curious and rather bold to call it fantasy."

It's been pretty well established that the story, as written, was largely fiction.

Bill Peschel said...

rcocean: "I mean I try to be tolerant but can't help but think that once you get past as certain age you should be moving on to something a little more complex"

It depends. My movies this year have included Cloud Atlas, Yojimbo, Hamlet (the Branaugh version), Macbeth (Welles' version), and Snowpiercer (which I bailed on after the first act...I have my limits).

I also saw and loved The Brothers Grimsby, Tammy, Jupiter Ascending, and we recently went through the entire Marvel run, so there's that.

What amuses me is that during my big comic reading phases (the '80s), I rarely read superheros. I read Frank Miller's Batman, but the vast majority was indie stuff: Cerebus, Elfquest (well, it is indy), Journey, Love and Rockets, Reid Fleming, Alan Moore's stuff and Eddie Campbell's bio stuff, R. Crumb, Raw, as well as the newspaper comic reprints like Prince Valiant, Steve Canyon, wwII-era buzz sawyer, plus Popeye and Krazy Kat books (which I never felt any love for KK, although I appreciate just how bizarre it is today; back then, to readers coming out of the Victorian era, it must have looked like something from beyond the walls of sleep.

Anyway, I disliked superhero comics because most of the plots were a waste of time to read. I love the Marvel movies because they took the best bits, boiled them down, emphasized the emotions (Hulk dealing with anger management, Spidey with being an outcast nerd, Thor's family dynamics) that anyone can relate to, and taking advantage of the special effects to make it all work on the screen.

After seeing the first Avengers movie, I thought that there was no need to make anymore capes movies. Everything it was capable of saying is there.

Now that we're going to see the usual "nobody really dies in the Marvel Universe" ending in the upcoming Infinity War, that'll be pretty much it for superhero movies as well. There'll be some fun single-shots coming out, but an overwhelming big arc like we just saw? Not a chance.

It's an amazing accomplishment that they could do this successfully over 21 movies, when Hollywood strains to excrete a sequel to one movie that doesn't suck. And pretty nice that Stan got to see it go out on a high note.

Krumhorn said...

Thirty years ago, I had dinner with Goldman and his wife in their penthouse apartment on the upper East Side. It was a spectacular apartment with a 360 degree view. But what was more spectacular was that it was a rent controlled apartment for which they paid $1,200/month.

He was a true-blue leftie, and as successful and rich as he was, the rent control was his right. If he had been in the politburo, they would have had a dacha and been able to shop in the hard currency store.

- Krumhorn

Unknown said...

rcocean: "I mean I try to be tolerant but can't help but think that once you get past as certain age you should be moving on to something a little more complex"

It ain't Shakespeare.

But it *is* Homer.

FIDO said...

There is a fine line between 'complexity' and 'tedium'.

For example, I was able to read through the entire 'Baroque Saga' by Neil Stephenson and the only parts I skimmed were the maths which were well above my education and interest.

But then there was "The Instance of the Fingerpost" where the author decided he was going to tell THE EXACT SAME STORY four different ways.

Um...he barely got me through the first itineration. I didn't bother with the rest.

So if by 'complex' you mean 'literature as a marathon slog', sure. Whatever floats your boat. Pretentious, boring and complex are not synonyms...but you can't prove it by a lot of authors.

rhhardin said...

Deadpool (I) was good. II was a bore -- all laugh riot material none of which is funny.

narciso said...

yes, the baroque saga was interesting, some of his follow up work, like most recently dodo, first of all was too fanciful, and the characters seem cardboard,

re the avengers, you can tell whedon wrote it, he's not afraid to kill off characters, a problem he faced with agents of shield, with grant ward among others,

narciso said...

among pears stories I liked this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001NLL0JA/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

sane_voter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sane_voter said...

Althouse should watch Redford in "The Natural". The essential baseball movie, and she appears to be a fan of the sport. Great period piece and cast with some comedy thrown in at times. I have to assume Meade has seen it.

Earnest Prole said...

Princess Bride just received its Criterion Collection release.

hiawatha biscayne said...

"Temple of Gold" was the first one of his I read, long time ago. Read 'em all, one after the other. William Goldman, one of my all-time faves.

William said...

God bless Amazon Prime. In moments of despair and desperation after being overloaded with pc bullshit, I turn to Amazon Prime and watch some Shakespeare.......I just recently watched As You Like It with a young Helen Mirren playing the part of Rosalind. In the play Helen Mirren dresses as a young man. I myself would never mistake Helen Mirren for a young man, but everyone in the play accepts her as a young man. I guess it was the convention of the day--like the way we never look askance at all those people at the Daily Planet who never notice the uncanny resemblance Clark Kent bears to Superman......In Shakespeare's day, the female roles were played by young teen age boys. There aren't a lot of great roles being written for teen age cross dressers. How long before some Hollywood genius gets the idea of casting Shakespeare's plays with cross dressers. It would be edgy and subversive and nobody could say shit because that's how Shakespeare envisioned the part. The pc people would like nothing more than to ruin Shakespeare. It's just a matter of time.

Rory said...

Gilbar said: "If you want to be entertained, find the MAD Magazine satire of it; Now, That's entertainment!"

Botch Casually and the Somedunce Kid. Highly recommended.

eddie willers said...

Elmore Leonard flicks tend to be worthwhile

There is an HBO type channel from MGM called "EPIX" that I have on my Dish Network, but is not widely distributed.

Anyway, they have done an original series based on Elmore's "Get Shorty" and it is the best series I have seen this year. It's very much in the Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul vein. VERY adult (nudity, violence etc.) but also very funny with clever writing. Stars Ray Romano, Chris O'Dowd and Sean Bridgers (with cameos by Alan Arkin, Peter Bogdanovich and Heather Graham).

I bring this up because now most of you can see it since the first season has been put up at Netflix. I remember when I was the only person I knew watching Breaking Bad and it wasn't until it was put up at Netflix that it caught fire.

I highly recommend "Get Shorty".

eddie willers said...

God bless Amazon Prime. I just recently watched As You Like It with a young Helen Mirren playing the part of Rosalind.

Speaking of Amazon Prime and Helen Mirren, they just put up a restored version of of James Mason's 1969 film, Age Of Consent.

It's a Michael Powell film (his last) and it's only sorta OK. But it has a very naked 24 year old Helen Mirren.

Let me repeat that...it has a very naked 24 year old Helen Mirren.

Char Char Binks said...

Harper should be as much a classic as Butch Cassidy, but The Princess Bride is dreck. I hate that kind of winking modern humor put on a "historical" characters, and it's really not very funny.

Char Char Binks said...

Marathon Man is propaganda from the time when leftists were against so-called McCarthyism instead of avid practitioners of it. Papillon is about as boring you'd expect a movie about an island prison to be.

James Graham said...

Movies were once made exclusively for Americans, many of them for American adults (say hello to Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy or even Bob Hope and Bing Crosby) but these days they are made for Indonesian teenagers.

I've nothing against Indonesia but having one of the world's largest populations it is an important consumer market and Hollywood (like the producers of soap and canned soup) is in the business of producing and selling consumer goods for the world.

I also have nothing against teenagers (well, most of them) but they are big on movie-going.

End result: lots of ninety-minute live-action cartoons.

Leora said...

If you are a Paul Newman fan, I strongly recommend two of his later movies which were not big hits and which should not be confused with later movies of the same name.
"Twilight" (1998) - a twisty private eye movie with a fabulous cast and
"Nobody's Fool" (1994) concerning a handyman with a graduate student son in a small town in upstate NY. Both written by Richard Russo who has one of those distinctively male voices.

Highly recommend the novel "Nobody's Fool" as well.

Steven Wilson said...

Nobody has mentioned his novel "Boys and Girls Together" or his book about Broadway "The Season." I wonder why.