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movie: Uncut Gems

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Movie: Uncut Gems

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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:18 am

tmidgett wrote:There's a lot of stuff in there about grasping for something just for the sake of doing it, to feel alive. Following your nose, finding occasional delight, then being led totally astray by it.


As someone on YouTube mentioned, Howard Ratner is fundamentally unsatisfied with what he has. Though he's very privileged, he has to keep upping the ante to feel like he even exists. If he's not chasing a bigger score, he barely knows what to do with himself.

Uncut Gems is a cautionary tale about gambling addiction no doubt, but I also see parallels to other things. It's a little like being creative, in a way, in that once a person gets a taste for it and something they make or do turns out right, they feel a rush and once that subsides they often want to chase that feeling again, even if it complicates their life considerably or leads them down a blind alley. It's like they have to keep striving or instead they feel like they're resting on their laurels and now a has-been. I don't see this from a moralistic perspective, but it's something I've observed. Like a person wanting to be a verb instead of a noun. The desire to be doing or becoming something rather than to merely be or have been something. But of course it's better to be a guy working on a record or a comic book or whatever, than it is to be a guy in perilous debt using borrowed money to make bets he can't afford to lose.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Hosoi on Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:12 am

I'm not interested in watching movies, but the writers and directors of this movie were previously interesting to me as talkers. That's sort of changing since they are becoming mainstream, and inevitably older and more conservative.

The director who talks more said that gamblers have "nauseating optimism" or something like that. That's sort of interesting to think about—that people take risks because they believe they're going to win, or come out unscathed, so risk is probably not even the word to an optimist.

In line with this, why would a pessimist try to do anything? (They [we!] don't.)

Anyhow, sorry for not watching the movie and trying to pipe up about it. I mean, not that sorry, obviously.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:36 am

It's quite alright to comment on aspects of a film you haven't seen. So no harm there.

"Nauseating optimism" is one way of describing the phenomenon at play. Some of the more offputting contestants on shows like American Idol (Crap, but good late night Youtube fodder) have this quality as well. There can be kind of a fine line between being optimistic and deluded even among people who DO have talent, or luck/gambling prowess/whatever.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby mattw on Thu Jan 02, 2020 8:42 am

Ike wrote:Some actual characters on display here--the two dudes in the pawn shop for instance.


The first thing I wanted to know after the movie was over: who was that fuggin' late-era Mickey Rourke-lookin' Florida tan overdose? I was almost convinced it was Mickey Rourke in heavy makeup/wig etc. The dude's name is Wayne Diamond!
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby tmidgett on Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:36 am

Me Again wrote:Though he's very privileged, he has to keep upping the ante to feel like he even exists. If he's not chasing a bigger score, he barely knows what to do with himself.


He's dying a little bit every second he has to do anything normal. Those scenes, where he is trying to live normal life, are instructive.

It's a little like being creative, in a way, in that once a person gets a taste for it and something they make or do turns out right, they feel a rush and once that subsides they often want to chase that feeling again, even if it complicates their life considerably or leads them down a blind alley.


It's exactly like that.

Being a musician, for example, can be a terminal condition. Hard to impossible to resist the rush you get out of it. It is a drain on energy, time, resources. Even if you're successful, it complicates any kind of a "normal" life, sometimes a lot.

Hosoi wrote:The director who talks more said that gamblers have "nauseating optimism" or something like that. That's sort of interesting to think about—that people take risks because they believe they're going to win, or come out unscathed, so risk is probably not even the word to an optimist.


The best part of the movie is when he is about to "succeed" wildly and doesn't realize how thoroughly meaningless it is. How he's set himself up to lose no matter what happens. He's very pure and childlike in that moment, and it's a slowly unfolding moment of actual, old-school Greek tragedy.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Clyde on Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:11 pm

It's really great. I don't know how it compares to their earlier films exactly but it was fun to see what they could do with a bigger budget. One minor disappointment is that they ditched their normal DP Sean Williams for this movie. I know Sean a bit and it's been really fun watching his career and talents develop. I'd like to see what he would do with a bigger budget too. Other than that, a film I liked a lot.

Do yourself a favor and read this wildly entertaining interview with tan guy Wayne Diamond. He is the very definition of a character: https://www.interviewmagazine.com/film/ ... new-legacy
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:47 pm

What a character. He looks like Eddie Money if he got locked inside a tanning bed for ten hours.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Ranxerox on Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:59 pm

tmidgett wrote:Pretty deep movie. There's a lot of stuff in there about grasping for something just for the sake of doing it, to feel alive. Following your nose, finding occasional delight, then being led totally astray by it.


Agreed.

I wrote a friend:

'I Personally read gambling and addiction to it as a deeply human, existential exercise which, at heart, is about the intoxicating sensation of being loved by god. I though this movie captured that kind of manic, blinding reach for signals and marks from other dimensions.'
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Ranxerox on Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:48 pm

I also enjoyed the glimpses into theories or settings of value.

From 'Ethiopian Jews' trading on the labor of broken men in the mines (was the injury a distraction) to the gaming between Howard and KG, including proximity to great celebrity.

You can't exactly tell how well Howard's business is doing because he is always trying to hide 'how he wins,' and presumable if he does. As noted above, he can't tell what winning is in the larger picture. The audience is asked to observe the unfolding of events from atomistic levels of lens invasiveness to the suggestion that the granular is universal, or the universe, with Howard and the rest of us somewhere in between.

How can you set values if you can't tell what is real, what is happening to you?

When he tries to make up with his wife, you know he is in real trouble because the reality of the world includes other people and their systems of value, and he isn't scanning properly at all.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Mr. Chimp on Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:07 pm

For the first half, I was enjoying it but had half a question whether I should have just viewed it at home instead of trekking to the theater.

I sat up when Bogosian was at the family dinner.

By the third act, with all of the wheels coming off in a triangulating fashion (even more so than earlier) the half-a-sec decision with KG where he decides to place the bet, and subsequently does fully illustrated the "fuck it" of addiction, this was amazing.

I watched the whole watching of the game through my fingers, more tense than I can recall from being in a movie theater / vicarious experience.

Every actor was on point. Bogosian, the girlfriend, KG, The main heavies and the flunkies, pawnshop bros, Lakeith, the hobbit bookies, the restauranteur bookie, Frozen & the family, Judd Hirsch. John Amos! the high roller.

The moments when Sandler gets the KG money through the end of the game. Hubris as an ecstasy of confidence.

Stellar.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Ike on Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:12 am

Unilaterally ignored by the oscars, shock.

Haven't seen 1917 yet, but I think this was the best movie I saw last year in the theater. Think about it all the time.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:49 am

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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Clyde on Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:40 am

Me Again wrote:Total shock.


I somehow missed your response in that thread before. Quoting it so people can see:

Me Again wrote:
Clyde wrote:I looked it up. Uncut Gems is premiering at Toronto and goes into general release on Dec 13th. Looks like A24 is giving this an Oscar push.


Thanks, that's good to know. However if Good Time failed to snag even a nomination the year it came out, when it could/should have been a contender in a number of categories (score/editing/cinematography/screenplay/best actor/best supporting actress/etc.), I'm not so optimistic the Academy will throw a bone their way this time (assuming the new one is just as assured). In other words -- *NEWSFLASH* -- the Academy is pretty square and tends to dance around a visionary film whenever they encounter it: they're often quick to find fault in pretty great films while locating virtues in corny ones.


Just to be clear, I wasn't making any comparison between GT and UG in terms of quality. UG was still five months away from being released. My suspicion, based on its budget and release date, was not that UG would necessarily be nominated for a bunch of stuff but that A24 was going to put their marketing resources behind it in a way that they did not for GT. Which I think has been borne out by UG's box-office and the fact that there was *any* Oscar buzz around it in the first place. Best Picture was a stretch but it wouldn't have been shocking if Adam Sandler had gotten a nomination. But yeah, of course the Oscars suck.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:00 pm

Oh yeah, Clyde, the above was no attempt to trip you up. Rather I was just reiterating my very, very low expectations for the Oscars, which are only reinforced this morning.

Also, while Uncut Gems does indeed seem like it would've been the "one more likely to succeed" just in terms of production and promotional budgets, "star power" and so on, there was a decent amount of Oscar buzz surrounding Good Time the year it came out (as you can see here). So when nominations failed to materialize for it that year, I saw that as a sign that it wouldn't be in the cards for the Safdies to get the nod on future projects any time soon. This turned out to be the case this time around, but thankfully not everyone thinks the Academy has the final word when it comes to film taste.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Clyde on Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:27 am

Me Again wrote:Oh yeah, Clyde, the above was no attempt to trip you up. Rather I was just reiterating my very, very low expectations for the Oscars, which are only reinforced this morning.

Also, while Uncut Gems does indeed seem like it would've been the "one more likely to succeed" just in terms of production and promotional budgets, "star power" and so on, there was a decent amount of Oscar buzz surrounding Good Time the year it came out (as you can see here). So when nominations failed to materialize for it that year, I saw that as a sign that it wouldn't be in the cards for the Safdies to get the nod on future projects any time soon. This turned out to be the case this time around, but thankfully not everyone thinks the Academy has the final word when it comes to film taste.


Interesting and good movies sneak into the Academy Awards all the time David Lynch being nominated for Mullholland Dr, for example or Moonlight. But that's usually because the studio does a huge blitz in addition to whatever critical acclaim is out there. Honestly shocked that GT was getting any Oscar buzz at all, just because it got a relatively small promotional push. I think UG opened in something like four times as many theaters and has grossed near 40x as much. My guess is A24 either didn't know what they had and were surprised at how acclaimed GT was or were using it as a stalking horse for UG to see if they should make a six-way parlay Oscar bet on it.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Clyde on Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:31 am

The magazine Jewish Currents did a round table on what Uncut Gems says about Jewish identity that is both deeply considered and tongue half in cheek. https://jewishcurrents.org/an-unserious-man/


The Safdie brothers apparently dug it.
https://twitter.com/JOSH_BENNY/status/1 ... 9926404096
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby GrantMcNeilly on Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:54 am

Howard was literally the most irritating person I have ever seen on film. I'm actually flabbergasted at how annoying he was. I couldn't even be angry at him, just completely and utterly annoyed. Really, even more than the deep gambling addiction stuff the sheer ability for him to be irritating is the thing I can't stop thinking about.

This is an amazing feat, because Sandler has been playing irritating for, like, 30 years now, right? Wow.

I'm still not convinced he can act, especially next to Idina Menzel (who was amazing) and Eric Bogosian, but he was pretty believable. Also, Kevin Garnett was great!
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Bernardo on Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:32 pm

Just saw this, it was suffocating. Everyone was great in it, I took particular notice of Eric Bogosian because his character was so ambiguous. You could tell from the first close up in his face, and it came together at the family scene. An easy NC, but I'm not sure I could stand to watch it again, it was relentless.
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby Me Again on Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:38 pm

Think it's available on Netflix now outside the U.S.

Comes out on bluray here in March. Put my household down for a copy. :)
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Re: movie: Uncut Gems

Postby mrcancelled on Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:30 pm

Me Again wrote:Think it's available on Netflix now outside the U.S.


Hell yeah. I'm seeing it on there after connecting to a UK VPN. Thanks for the heads up, I've been apprehensive about watching my downloaded screener version.
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