Lost in the Movies: Remembering the Movies: Sep. 17 - 23

Remembering the Movies: Sep. 17 - 23

Due to the enthusiastic response last week, "Remembering the Movies" will become a permanent fixture at The Dancing Image. Each Friday, I will briefly revisit ten films released 10 - 100 years ago this week. I'll offer pictures, describe the movie, quote a critic, and link up to a video clip (either a trailer, a scene, or sometimes the whole movie). Then it's all yours - what did you think of the films in question? Do you remember seeing any of them when they first came out? Any anecdotes you have about them or their making, which I didn't mention and you'd like to share? Respond below with any of the above.

Today, we've got gangsters, gorillas, and revolutionary rabbits whizzing past the window on our ride back through time...

10 years ago...
Bamboozled; premiered September 18, 2000 at the Toronto Film Festival
starring Daman Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Rappaport, Mos Def
written/directed by Spike Lee

Story: A frustrated network writer sarcastically proposes a modern minstrel show as a new series; the show in which black actors in blackface either subversively deconstruct or inadvertently reinforce racism (or perhaps both at the same time) becomes a runaway smash.

I'd like to call this a brilliant satire, but I haven't seen it. Still, it seems like a brilliant satire, particularly given the way in which the film ambiguously raises the same questions as the show-within-a-show. It's now been a decade since its release, but ponder the interim: not just reality TV but the Don Imus and Michael Richards controversies, the Obama campaign and presidency, Katrina and Kanye, Andrew Breitbart's attack on Shirley Sherrod...not only have racial issues not disappeared, they've become ever more complex in a multimedia and postmodern environment. Andrew O'Hehir, praising the movie at Salon, wrote, "Satire is not entirely new to Lee's work, but one of his greatest accomplishments in 'Bamboozled' is a Swiftian ruthlessness," and concluded, "'Bamboozled' is Lee's richest, angriest, funniest movie." Lee followed Bamboozled with films ever more attuned to the zeitgeist, including 25th Hour (which remains the only fiction film I've seen to capture the post-9/11 mood onscreen) and When the Levees Broke, his much-praised documentary about devastated New Orleans. I would love to hear from those who've seen the film below; for myself, I've now placed it high on my Netflix queue, but I have seen clips, including the powerful closing montage skillfully edited by Sam Pollard...

Watch the clip.

20 years ago...
Goodfellas; September 18, 1990
starring Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino
written by Martin Scorsese, Nicholas Pileggi (from Pileggi's book)
directed by Martin Scorsese

Story: Ever since he can remember, Henry Hill always wanted to be a gangster. He achieves his particular American Dream, paid for in blood, cocaine, and soul-piercing paranoia.

Oh, what a brilliant movie. This is the first film in this series from the 90s that I have personal remembrances of - I did not see it at the time (I was 6) but I was impressed by the stark movie poster, by my dad's description of Pesci's terrifyingly charismatic performance and the weird way you felt sorry for him when he was killed, and I remember watching clips of Pesci's infamous speech on the Oscars (at the time, of course, he was more associated with Home Alone in my mind). Arguably the most influential film of the past thirty years - and not only because every gangster film, every rise-and-fall narrative has aped it mercilessly (a trend brilliantly and hilariously skewered by Erich Kuersten - read this!, preferably twice like you-know-who). Its machine-gun editing, wall-to-wall soundtrack, lightning camera movements, and shit-cool narration have become ubiquitous movie devices, gracing everything from romantic comedies to social comment films. The film's shadow is unavoidable (not to mention the fact that at least half the later cast of "Sopranos" showed up here first). More importantly, it's still irresistibly entertaining - if you catch it flipping through the channels on TV, chances are you'll stay and watch the whole thing. Yet the film, for all its enjoyment, can't really be accused of romanticizing gangsters ala The Godfather - there's plenty of glamor and excitement on display, alongside coarseness, shocking brutality, and a descent into frenetic hedonism which led some to see it as a condemnation of the previous decade's shallow materialism. On "Siskel & Ebert" Roger simply and effectively stated, "This is a great movie" while Gene went further, astutely noting, "What I like about the film, and what I like about Scorsese's work is, he takes - in a very theatrical and exciting way - moral stands." Whether for its comment on the 80s, its influence on the 90s influence, or gravitational pull as a canonical classic by the 00s, Goodfellas remains, simply, a masterpiece.

Watch the trailer.

 30 years ago...
Ordinary People; September 19, 1980
starring Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch, Elizabeth McGovern
written by Alvin Sargent, Nancy Dowd (from the Judith Guest's book)
directed by Robert Redford

Story: Following his brother's accidental death, a teenager remains adrift in a sea of unspoken pain and unarticulated frustrations which only first love and the patient assistance of an analyst can help him deal with.

Speaking of Scorsese...Remembered now perhaps primarily as the film which beat Raging Bull for the Oscar (thus a byword for the Academy's tendency to play it safe), Ordinary People is a fine film with excellent performances. Roger Ebert appreciated its sensitivity, noting that "Ordinary People isn't a docudrama; it's the story of these people and their situation, and it shows them doing what's most difficult to show in fiction - it shows them changing, learning, and growing." Like the previous year's Best Picture, Kramer vs. Kramer, Ordinary People's praise and perhaps its making represented increasing recognition of bourgeois domesticity, albeit in light of societal dynamics that were becoming more widespread (divorce in the first case, psychotherapy in the second). The film's conventional style (Redford, in his debut, seemed more concerned about capturing nuances of performance than exploring the formal possibilities of the art), its conservative subject matter, and the timing of its appearance - at a cultural and generation shift away from the last remnants of the 60s ethos, at once more individualistic and more socially-oriented - probably all contributed to the sense that this was the "safe bet" against the primal, brutal, and brilliant Raging Bull, a sense which may have helped its award chances in the short run and hurt its legacy in the long.

Watch the trailer.

40 years ago...
Tora! Tora! Tora!; September 23, 1970
starring Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, E. G. Marshall, Tatsuya Mihashi, James Whitmore, Soh Yamamura, Jason Robards
written by Larry Forrester, Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa (from books by Ladislas Farago, Gordon W. Prange)
directed by Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda

Story: December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy.

Not a musical about the Old Testament, this film takes its title from the Japanese code for surprise attack. Last week, we saw 1970 represented by Five Easy Pieces but not every major release of this year was an edgy slice of raw filmmaking and intense subject matter (although this week also saw the debuts of Praise Marx and Pass the Ammunition and Adam at Six A.M., the latter starring Michael Douglas as a hip professor on a soul-searching cross-country trip). There was still a market for old-fashioned, square epics - and in a year focused more than ever on Vietnam, older audiences may have wanted to return to the comparative comforts of violence which at least unified the nation. That was the theory anyway...but Tora! Tora! Tora! was a huge bomb. Failing at the box office, it was also dismissed by many critics. Stefan Kanfer of Time Magazine wrote, "the events leading down to Dec. 7 could provide the grossest scenarists with a wide-screen epic." Then he added, dryly, "Those, apparently, are the ones 20th Century-Fox hired." Earlier in the year, Patton did a better job of uniting a countercultural penchant for theatrical freaks (courtesy of bearded auteur turned Oscar-winning writer-for-hire Francis Ford Coppola) with the WWII nostalgia of an older generation (Nixon supposedly watched the film in a loop). The film followed The Longest Day's lead in watching events unfold on both sides, with an extensive Japanese cast and Japanese co-directors stepping in to provide the "enemy" perspective. I have not seen the film and cannot comment on the accuracy of its reputation (which seems to have undergone some softening over time, perhaps in light of Michael Bay's take on Pearl Harbor?).

Watch the trailer.

50 years ago...
The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; September 22, 1960
starring Robert Preston, Dorothy McGuire, Eve Arden, Angela Lansbury, Shirley Knight
written by Harriet Frank Jr., Irving Ravetch (from William Inge's play)
directed by Delbert Mann

Story: With the advent of the automobile, a livery salesman finds himself out of work in 1920s Oklahoma, and soon marital problems compound his and his wife's anxiety.

Released in 1960, in the wake of Preminger's envelope-pushing pictures, the salacious controversy of Peyton Place (book/film/series), the tremors of rock 'n' roll and the Beat subculture, and ever more sexed up Tennessee Williams adaptations, right at the dawn of the British "kitchen-sink" cinema, this film seems very much of its time. Dark at the Top of the Stairs can boast the Oscar-winning director of the down-to-earth Marty, Delbert Mann, at its helm as well as the literary/theatrical pedigree of a play from Picnic's William Inge as its pedigree. It also has an impressive cast, yet with its stagey look, complicated plot (after reading several summaries I still couldn't quite get a handle on how the various characters were related or what all of their storylines entailed) as well as a bevy of Important Topics to tackle (infidelity, sexual insecurity, religious bigotry) one  could easily wonder if the film is merely a dated "problem picture," daring in its own age but no longer relevant. However, this does not seem to be the case: a scroll through the contemporary IMDb reviews reveals heartfelt rave after heartfelt rave; Roderick Heath at This Island Rod celebrated it warmly last year. It was also well-received fifty years ago, when Variety observed, "Its relationships are barred with perception and penetration, and the problems of the parents, described in frank terms but handled in good taste, center on the bed and the activities which do, or more accurately, do not, take place in it." Seems this film - unavailable on Netflix - demands a rediscovery.

Watch a clip.

60 years ago...
Bunker Hill Bunny; September 23, 1950
starring Mel Blanc
directed by Friz Freleng
written by Tedd Pierce

Story: A Hessian with Aggression battles a one-rabbit Yankee army, as they fire cannons and trade ground back and forth, back and forth, in a desperate Revolutionary War skirmish.

An amusing if not particularly inspired animated short, Bunker Hill Bunny milks the endless mines of mirth to be gleaned from hapless villains tortured by wisecracking heroes. In this case, it's Yosemite Sam whose uber-American cantankerous is unconvincingly dressed in the get-up of a German mercenary. (They don't do much about the accent.) Bugs and Yosemite face off in opposing fortresses crowning "Bagel Heights" - one banner reads "Us", the other "Them," and if one were quite bored and looking for Acme-brand social commentary, one could read it as a satire of the arbitrariness of war with the two soldiers furiously swapping places in a rather meaningless battle. Eventually TNT makes its inevitable appearance and Yosemite shrugs, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" and re-enlists as Bugs' drummer boy. No contemporary reviews exist but Magicunicorn (from the intriguingly titled spanky.co.uk) concurs with my judgement, calling it "a well-rounded but occasionally dull cartoon." For more wildly off-the-wall animation, wind the clock back 20 years...

Watch the film.

70 years ago...
The Westerner; September 20, 1940
starring Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Doris Davenport
directed by William Wyler
written by Jo Swerling, Niven Busch, Stuart N. Lake, W.R. Burnett, Lillian Hellman, Oliver La Farge

Story: A horse thief delays his own reckoning by playing cleverly on his judge's human weaknesses; as he becomes involved with the daughter of a homesteader, tensions in the town rise.

A classic Western, the film receives praise for Cooper's and Wyler's contributions, but most of the acclaim seems to be reserved for two individuals. There's Gregg Toland's cinematography (the man was in a middle of a golden period, with Grapes of Wrath that same year and Citizen Kane less than a year away, with another groundbreaking collaboration with Wyler on The Best Years of Our Lives further down the line). And Walter Brennan, as Judge Roy Bean, is generally agreed to have stolen the show, winning his third Supporting Actor award in almost as many years in the process. For Bosley Crowther at the New York Times, the balance between the two actors didn't work, and he sighed, "If some one could just have decided who should carry the ball, instead of letting it pass from one to the other, The Westerner might have been a bang-up, dandy film. And that, we are sorry to say, it isn't." A geopolitical reading - with Cooper caught in the middle of ranchers and homesteaders like the isolationist U.S. caught between different forces in a world at war - has been detected in the film, though how much of that is intentional seems uncertain. Like so many Hollywood films of this era, the film arose from a thick stew of writers, many of whom were uncredited. A mix of comedy, adventure, drama, and romance arose from the "collaboration" (almost certainly atomized and isolated) of a politicized playwright like Hellman, accomplished hands like Swerling (who worked on Gone With the Wind and It's a Wonderful Life) and Burnett (High Sierra, Asphalt Jungle), West specialists Lake and La Farge (the latter of whom was also an anthropologist and advocate for American Indians), and jack-of-all-trades Busch (author of Duel in the Sun, and adaptor of The Postman Always Rings Twice).

Watch the trailer.

80 years ago...
The Gorilla Mystery; September 22, 1930
starring/produced by Walt Disney

Story: A gruesome gorilla is on the prowl. Mickey calls his mousy squeeze to warn her but she starts banging the keys and singing about how she's all alone, as if to mock him (or make him jealous of the hairy beast who lurks behind the unaware rodent). As she screams, our hero rushes to the rescue.

There's no mystery here, but there's one hell of a gorilla, and this is one hell of a cartoon! Early Disney is oneiric, irrational, vaguely unsettling and among the richest animation out there. This is a marvellous little gem, weird, slightly perverse, and tremendous fun. My favorite part, a fantastic non sequitur, occurs when Mickey finds himself alone in a dark house and hears a strange echo of his footsteps, slapping heartily on the floor. He stops walking and the steps continuing, slapping louder and louder against the wood, he quakes in terror, the steps draw closer until finally, stepping out of the shadows...

I'll let you find out for yourself: watch the film.

 90 years ago...
Headin' Home; September 19, 1920
starring Babe Ruth
directed by Lawrence C. Windom
written by Arthur "Bugs" Baer, Earle Browne

Story: The village idiot returns as a hometown hero after making it in the big leagues.

An intriguing idea - Babe plays himself in the movie of his life. Unfortunately, if not unsurprisingly, the most interesting elements of his actual upraising are swapped out for a bland all-American background (with a touch of myth; he chops down a tree to build his bat). The film may have been a dud. According to lore, Babe's paycheck for the movie bounced (although another source claims that the film was purchased for showing at Madison Square Garden, for quite a bit more than Ruth had earned). A leaner, slightly sad looking Bambino intrigues from that still above - and as Dennis Schwarz points out at Ozus' World Movie Reviews (no contemporaneous reviews turned up), it may be a "goofy comical biopic" but its "novelty makes it a keeper." Apparently the film was financed by one of the fixers behind the 1919 Black Sox - perhaps he put the same hex on the Babe's film as on Shoeless Joe's career (can we blame him for Ruth's curse on the other Sox too?).

Watch a clip.

100 years ago...
The Oath and the Man; September 22, 1910
starring Henry B. Walthall
directed by D.W. Griffith
written by Stanner E.V. Taylor

Story: A French perfumer's wife is wooed by a nobleman, but the cuckolded craftsman gets his revenge in the French Revolution.

As always, Griffith uses a sweeping historical backdrop for very personal melodrama (see Birth of a Nation, to a lesser extent Intolerance, America, and most pertinently Orphans of the Storm). No contemporary reviews could be found but from a modern perspective, wes-conners observes, "As a story, The Oath and the Man fails to suspend a great amount of disbelief." Without quite displaying the formal virtuosity he would achieve fairly soon, this short does demonstrate Griffith's facility and the ease with which he moves between locations and scenes. For an interesting glimpse (if you like this sort of thing, which I do) check out some of the "dailies" on You Tube - no outtakes of course, but the unedited shots bunched together roughly as he would have shot them. Then see how they come together in the finished film. No matter how much has changed in a hundred years, some things remain the same and when it comes to filmmaking a century later it's still e pluribus unum, with the directors rescuing their movies, like baby Moseses, from the rushes.

Watch the film here.


Stephen said...


I didn't find GOODFELLAS entertaining or irresistible. There's nothing redeeming to it. Boring flashy camerawork, hateful characters, predictable macho sensitivity / annoyance / violence cycle. Awful characters can be compelling but Pesci is just a turn-off.

It just feels like the film wants you to think it's actually cool, which beggars belief really. It's so uncharismatic.

No sympathy, no depth, no interest. Horrible. Pretty much interchangeable too with RAGING BULL and CASINO. Scorsese never makes me care one jot and never carries me with his story.

I don't feel any moral power here, only glamorisation of violence with further violence as a mirage of justice.

Sorry for the rant. The film brings it out in me.

Babe Ruth in a film? I'm amazed. I hope you shed light on more films like this.
A great start

Joel Bocko said...

lol, Stephen...you don't disappoint.

It's fun to pay tribute to my favorites (Goodfellas, guilty as charged) but probably even more fun to discover random movies like the Babe one...or Mickey vs. the Gorrilla which is now a favorite cartoon of mine!

Glad you enjoyed this round.

Joel Bocko said...

Btw, Ruth was also in Pride of the Yankees 20 years later - and as I recall did a decent job (but maybe that's because I was a kid when I saw it and was just all-around impressed he was in it all. He probably had 2 lines, ha ha...)

Stephen said...


Have you seen "Zidane : A 21st Century Portrait"? It follows Zidane (a former football player) for the length of a game and has voice-over describing his mindset / the atmosphere etc.

Do you know of any similar Documentary films about sportsmen?

Sam Juliano said...

Well, I found GOOD FELLAS exceedingly entertaining, and even though Pesci was blood-curdling it was as vibrant and well-acted a film Scorsese ever made with some stunning set pieces and unforgettable dialogue.

What a diverse collection here on this thread I must say. And finally somebody who isn't busy trashing ORDINARY PEOPLE from every angle. It is indeed a well-acted and deeply felt film (especially the shattering conclusion) and beautifully adapted from Judith Guest's superb novel.

I fondly remember Mann's THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS (excellent capsule) and agree that Lee's BAMBOOZLED is a brilliant satire.

I'm very impressed with the fabric of this project!

Joel Bocko said...

Stephen, I haven't seen it but that sounds like a great idea for a film - I'm kind of surprised nobody's thought of it before (kind of a psychological play-by-play rather than a physical one). But that's always how it seems with great ideas, isn't it?

Joel Bocko said...

Sam, I don't remember if I've heard you praise Ordinary People before or if I just know your taste well by now, but I'm not surprised to hear you say that! It's been years since I saw the movie but I remember being very involved in the story and enjoying the performances. Donald Sutherland in particular struck me because at the time I hadn't seen him in any "gentle" roles and was kind of surprised he could pull it off! (Since then, I think I've caught more of his less hard-edged roles but that devilish grin makes them hard to imagine at first, ha ha...). He just seemed like the dad everyone would want to have in that movie, even if the character has trouble connecting with the son. Then again, maybe it's just bcs he's paired up with MTM's ice queen and anyone would look warm and kind by comparison!

With another recommendation for Dark at the Top of the Stairs my interest in it keeps growing. Besides, I've always loved Marty but I don't think I've seen anything else by Delbert Mann.

Richard Bellamy said...

This is an impressive idea for a post, MovieMan. The Westerner - 70 years ago. That's ancient history! I saw that a number of times on TV when I was a boy and I loved it - always loved any Gary Cooper Western. I love the sentimental portrayal of the relationship between Coop's character and Brennan's Judge Roy Bean.

And Ordinary People was 30 years ago! That's making me feel old; I remember when I saw that when it came out. If that film were made today, I guess it would be Sandra Bullock in the role of the mother and she'd get another Best Actress Oscar.

Joel Bocko said...

It's hard for even me to believe some of the numbers. That the 60s are now a half-century old in particular...

Great to hear another recommendation on The Westerner. Like most of those here, it's one I need to see.

I'm thinking about setting up a whole Netflix queue devoted to the films presented here. And then maybe if I get enough of a head start going I can actually watch the films in question and include my thoughts in the write-up.

Out of curiosity, what were your thoughts on Ordinary People in '80?

Judy said...

I remember seeing 'Ordinary People' on release but am pretty sure that wasn't 1980 in the UK - unfortunately the imdb doesn't list a release date, but I think it was '81 here. I don't think I was very impressed at the time - I seem to remember thinking there were too many emotional scenes and that it became repetitive - but I may be misremembering my own reaction in light of comments I've read over the years since then. I haven't ever seen it again.

I'm a big fan of Goodfellas, which I think is one of Scorsese's best - I especially like the whole sequence where Liotta's character gets "high on his own supply" and the whole movie speeds up to show the vicious circle of addiction. Also agree with Sam that Pesci is blood-curdling - that "Do you think I'm funny?" scene is an all-time great. For me the film does have moral power, as it makes the glamour of the gangster lifestyle so seductive, and then shows the ugliness beneath that surface.

Also enjoyed hearing about all the earlier films you listed here - 'The Westerner' sounds like a must!

Joel Bocko said...

Judy, as I said to Hokahey, I'd like to watch the films I haven't seen and return here to share my thoughts. Maybe I should rewatch the films I haven't seen in a while too: Ordinary People it's been about 7 years.

I remember not quite liking the ending of Goodfellas years ago, because it didn't have the same grand sweep or giddy excitement of the rest of the film. Which is kind of stupid - that's kind of the whole point isn't it? His downfall is masterfully composed. I wouldn't necessarily say this is Scorsese's best movie - Raging Bull is his most perfect, Taxi Driver is my favorite - but it is THE Scorsese movie, his most archetypal, and the one he will probably be best and most widely remembered for.

Joel Bocko said...

Funny how this things work. A couple days after writing about The Dark at the Top of the Stairs - a dated film at first glance, but one that those who've seen seem to love - I open up the Boston Globe and find this:


Apparently, Inge, whose gone out of fashion, may be on the verge of a comeback. Worth reading for those who've seen the film, are familiar with the playwright, or (like me) don't fall into either category. (I've seen the film version of Picnic, but no other performances of adaptations of Inge's work, not even Bus Stop or Splendor in the Grass.)

Richard Bellamy said...

MovieMan -

When I saw Ordinary People in the 80s, I was very touched. The performances are great, but it's just not a movie I own or revisit now. It is sort of that kind of film that is a formulaic Best Picture. It has an emotional story and great acting and Mary Tyler Moore, but in the long run it's kind of forgettable. If it were made today, Sandra Bullock would play Moore's part and it would win Best Picture again.

Joe Thompson said...

Another interesting set of movies. Here are my experiences:

1. Bamboozled. I haven't seen it, but I'd like to.

2. Goodfellas. Saw it. Pesci was great. The movie was way too violent. My daughter always brings up the Animaniacs segment Goodfeathers, which was inspired by the movie. The Joe Pesci pigeon was great.

3. Ordinary People. I read the novel in school. I saw the movie when it came out. It's one of those movies that I liked, but I had no desire to see again, until someone brought it up recently. Now I might like to see it again. The performances were wonderful. I liked the comment that if they remade it with Sandra Bullock, it would win the Oscar again.

4. Tora! Tora! Tora! Not nearly as bad as the recent Pearl Harbor movie, but not very good, either. Someone could make a really good movie about this movie's production, especially while Kurosawa was working on the Japanese part. He got canned after some time and replaced by someone else.

5. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs. I haven't seen it, but I'll look for it.

6. Bunker Hill Bunny. Yosemite Sam in his Hessian costume -- wonderful.

7. The Westerner. Judge Roy Bean was a terrible person, but he makes a great film character. See John Huston's Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. Gary Cooper was good, as always.

8. The Gorilla Mystery. I've seen it in a Disney collection. I agree -- that's a great gorilla.

9. Headin' Home. I saw this on the Kino baseball set. Babe was a bit of a stiff as an actor but bits of personality came through. The whole Reel Baseball set is worth a visit.

10. The Oath and the Man. I haven't seen this one, but most of the Griffith Biographs are worth watching. I'll check the dailies and the complete movie.

Joel Bocko said...

Thanks, Joe - nice to see you've caught so many! Particularly the Babe one. It would be interesting to watch in conjunction with the John Goodman film - one closer to the facts, the other way off...but with the real man standing in. I wondered what the Kurosawa story was. I saw he was credited (or rather "un"-credited) as one of the writers on IMDb. I know this was a tough period in his life...

And thanks for bringing up Animaniacs. Now THAT's a blast from the past (I remember the Woodstock episode where they played Abbot & Costello with "The Who" and "The Band").

Anonymous said...

Only seen Goodfellas from this line-up, which is still a fantastically entertaining triumph of style. I really should get off my arse and watch Casino which I've owned for ages.
Fantastic new feature, BTW!

Joel Bocko said...

Anon, thanks for the appreciation! Casino is fun but not really in the same class as Goodfellas. Actually I don't think Scorsese's made anything as strong since 1990, though he's made interesting films.

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