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Old January 20 2009, 02:35 AM   #1
God Magnus
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Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I just sat down and watched this movie, despite hearing almost nothing good about it because I kept saying to myself "Could it possibly be that bad?"

Well...yes and no.

There is a lot of good stuff in this movie. A lot of actors I like are in there. For its budget, the visuals were very striking and the sfx were engaging. Some of the acting was fantastic and at times the parody and satire did make me laugh. I also have to say the movie starts out with very chilling imagery as we see the "attack".

That said, by the end of the film I felt that I had just watched the first draft of a script that somehow never went through any edits and just got thrown up on screen, like a splatter of ketchup being thrown against a wall. Sometimes a nice, pretty pattern forms, but for the most part it's just a mess.

I really like the idea of fascist elements entering the every day life of Americans post-attack and during a time of war. I also enjoy the idea of an alternative energy source causing a rift that links to the apocalypse. I also like the idea of a revolutionary group trying to fight against the government, but getting all twisted up in its own plans.

Note I keep saying the "idea of". The problem is, the movie just meanders SO much it became tedious to watch. I only sat through the whole thing to see the ending - and that was uber disappointing. The movie lacked focus, which is sad because I think it had serious potential to be something fantastic.

I read that the movie makes a lot more sense if you read the "first 3 chapters" of the graphic novel, but I think it's a mistake to make a film that relies on material off-screen to make sense. I'm so drained from watching it I'm not even sure I want to invest the time and energy into reading 100 pages of something else that may make no sense.

How did others here feel about this film? I'm curious if I'm alone in my impressions.
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Old January 20 2009, 03:09 AM   #2
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I thought it was one of the best and quirky movies I've ever seen.

It just rocks from beginning to end. And it makes you laugh all the way.
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Old January 20 2009, 03:43 AM   #3
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

The Agony Booth recently added it to their site. I haven't seen it, but I must admit their recaps usually make me laugh.
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Old January 20 2009, 05:04 AM   #4
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

Unicron wrote: View Post
The Agony Booth recently added it to their site. I haven't seen it, but I must admit their recaps usually make me laugh.
According to comments in the Agony Both forums thread on the subject a lot of people (myself included) couldn't even make it through that review. Nothing that happened in that movie made the slightest bit of sense, and the reviewers' confusion gets passed on to the reader. I have a hard time imagining how much the movie must hurt in reality.
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Old January 20 2009, 06:09 AM   #5
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

The director is an expert at marrying soundtrack to imagery. Hokey or no, I liked the music video, and the Star Spangled Banner played over the flight of the Jenny von Graf was striking. There was some great acting, and his vision of the future once fully realized, if not terribly realistic. The theme, was delivered, was effective. He deserves credit for that.

Flashes of greatness aside, the movie's a mess. It was a fun mess, but like God Magnus, I'm not sure I want to invest any time in cleaning it up through the prequel trilogy.
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Old January 20 2009, 06:38 AM   #6
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

God Magnus wrote: View Post
That said, by the end of the film I felt that I had just watched the first draft of a script that somehow never went through any edits and just got thrown up on screen, like a splatter of ketchup being thrown against a wall. Sometimes a nice, pretty pattern forms, but for the most part it's just a mess.
That's how I felt about Dogma.
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Old January 20 2009, 04:25 PM   #7
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I thought it was funny how many actors in the special features mention how they don't understand the script.

I didn't realize how low the film's budget was, it did pretty good with that considering but it just didn't seem to come together in the end. Perhaps a bit of The Emperor Wears No Clothes after Donnie Darko that the filmmaker is a bit clueless with the storytelling? You could see it had some interesting components but it was all glued together haphazardly.

It does have cool names though, Boxer Santeros, Pilot Aberdene, Chrysta Now...
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Old January 20 2009, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

It was terrible.

And this comes from somebody who lists a fictional town in Virginia as their location. And has Frank as their avatar.
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Old January 20 2009, 04:47 PM   #9
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I loved it, myself. It was flawed, but still facinating and occupies a place in my collection. It was a mess, but a wonderful, ambitious mess, and does make sense. Sort of.
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Old January 21 2009, 03:02 AM   #10
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I really enjoyed it, I was expecting it to be awful but it was pretty enjoyable although not spectacular.

I did love the idea of someone who was out of sync with their reflection.
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Old January 21 2009, 03:55 AM   #11
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

Faldor wrote: View Post
I did love the idea of someone who was out of sync with their reflection.
That was great. I loved moments like that in the film, and if all the film was about was "moments" I'd call it a great film, but as a cohesive whole it didn't work for me. I am glad to see some others see the good bits in it that I did.
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Old January 21 2009, 04:06 AM   #12
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

I'm gonna watch this movie soon, if not just cause I want to see Sarah Michelle Gellar. I keep up with every movie she's been in.
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Old January 21 2009, 04:13 AM   #13
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Re: Southland Tales (SPOILERS)

Brent wrote: View Post
I'm gonna watch this movie soon, if not just cause I want to see Sarah Michelle Gellar. I keep up with every movie she's been in.
It still beats The Return as far as SMG goes. I do need to see Southland Tales again at some point because bizarre material like this sometimes takes me a second viewing to finalize my opinion. At the time of the DVD release I did say it was an "interesting failure".
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