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JohnMcMahon

The Totally Off-Topic Movie Thread

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Oh, and I just read the debate, and I must chime in:

Writing fan fiction and playing "dress-up" are the lowest form of entertainment on the planet! :lol:

The Brunching Shuttlecocks have a geek hierarchy. I wonder if they'll let me hot-link it.

 

geekchart2.gif

 

I think geeks looking down on other geeks is funny.

 

Christian, Robert Howard is a good, readable writer, but I have to agree with ST Joshi in saying that his writing isn't literature because it lacks depth. He's very readable, but it's all on the surface; right there and rereading it won't reward you with a new nuances or depth.

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Oh, and I just read the debate, and I must chime in:

Writing fan fiction and playing "dress-up" are the lowest form of entertainment on the planet! :lol:

You're being ironic here I take it...

 

As for Conan being unbeatable. Well, I say this not because he always wins in the end (heroes do!), but because there's nothing that's really a threat to him. No matter how many or how incredible his adversaries, Conan is ALWAYS better (in those stories I've read). I find that boring. But hey, I have nothing AGAINSt Conan comics or stories per se, they're just not my thing.

 

Josh: How absolutely do you mean that creative works don't merit respect in themselves? Would you say that about, say, Beethoven's 9th symphony, or the Mona Lisa etc?

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As for Conan being unbeatable. Well, I say this not because he always wins in the end (heroes do!), but because there's nothing that's really a threat to him. No matter how many or how incredible his adversaries, Conan is ALWAYS better (in those stories I've read). I find that boring. But hey, I have nothing AGAINSt Conan comics or stories per se, they're just not my thing.

 

I have to quibble with this statement. In one of the recent Dark Horse Conan stories, young Conan was pinned down and beaten by a larger, stronger boy, who I think was hitting Conan with a rock. Conan was lucky that he was carrying an edged weapon that his blacksmith father had wanted him to deliver to someone else, and used that against the other boy. It was not nice, not fair and morally ambiguous by some ways of thinking, but according to the story he had little choice if he was to escape serious injury. Anyway, he wasn't better here, just lucky. And he didn't exhibit great skill in using the weapon, he just used what he had at hand as best he could.

 

Given the quality of the writing in that issue, I'm assuming it was adapted directly from Howard's writings, though someone who knows them better than I do might have something to say about that.

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Probably not adapted from Howard's stories, Josh....

Robert E. Howard rarely ever talked about Conan as a boy. Kurt Busiek is a FINE writer, in his own right (which is why I was so saddened that I couldn't get into Dark Horse's version), so it was probably just Busiek doing his best Robert E. Howard writing.

BUT, yes, Howard's Conan was always about ambiguity. Howard has a message, that barbarians were savage and would do whatever it took to win, but Conan also had a moral-code that he always lived by. Howard many times said (figuratively), "Conan is not a hero. He's a guy doing what is best for him, and doing what he can live with at the end of the day. But, compared to the more civilized people of the world, Conan always comes across as sterling, because the people with money have no sense of honour!"

But, yes, I agree with what Josh is saying about the character of Conan. If you read the Marvel comics (and some of Howard's own stories, although he was quite "funny" when it came to putting women into the stories....), you'll see that Conan might kill the monster, but he might get turned on by his employer or a fellow their, or betrayed by a female who he thought liked him but just liked his gold, or he just plain got his heart broken! Conan did not always win!

 

Sometimes, it does stretch the imagination though....I will agree with Red about that....Howard did love Conan ever so much, and might have taken liberties with what a warrior babarian with a sword COULD or COULD NOT do when faced with giant dragons or all-powerful magicians.

 

Qusoor-Ah! But is not Charles Dickens considered "high literature"? But, yet, Dickens suffered from the same "surface writing" you mention of Howard. There is no depth and very little characterization! Plus, his stories are all horridly cliched! I see it as Dickens did not write about the supernatural (besides "A Christmas Carol"), while Howard only wrote about the supernatural. That is the real reason I see the literary world praising Dickens' lacklustre writing, while looking down at Robert E. Howard's.

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Qusoor-Ah! But is not Charles Dickens considered "high literature"? But, yet, Dickens suffered from the same "surface writing" you mention of Howard. There is no depth and very little characterization! Plus, his stories are all horridly cliched! I see it as Dickens did not write about the supernatural (besides "A Christmas Carol"), while Howard only wrote about the supernatural. That is the real reason I see the literary world praising Dickens' lacklustre writing, while looking down at Robert E. Howard's.

 

what???? have you read a lot of Dickens, Christian??????? How can you say that there is very little characterization???????? The man spends reams and reams of pages on ONE character. Sometimes whole BOOKS are just based on and presented from the POV of ONE character!! I would have to disagree with you very strenuously on that front.

 

Also, I don't really think many of his stories are cliched either. Have you read Bleak House? And some of the stories that SEEM cliched NOW werent so cliched back then. In fact, it was because of his great stories combined with the social critique that many of his stories have been used as blueprints by future authors. And not to mention the extreme overexposure of his work in the past century or so. So while it may seemed cliched now, I really dont think it was back then.

 

This is not to say I'm putting him over Robert Howard. I havent read enough of his work to have an opinion.

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Josh: I see what you mean, and agree in principle. But still, some works of art have proven themselves to be, if nothing else, then at least relevant, and interesting. I'm not saying they're above criticism, just that some respect for the quality is merited. Hamlet is an example that springs to mind.

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I'm not saying they're above criticism, just that some respect for the quality is merited.

 

Do you really believe that you and those who think like you can decide that for everyone else? Because if you don't have some way of enforcing your belief that certain works have inherent merit, than some portion of those who aren't conformists or believers in received wisdom will not choose to properly respect certain works as you think they should.

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Then I'd just get the Art Police to cart them away :lol: (*)

Seriously though, you don't think there's ANYTHING that should be accepted as "canonic"? That would be a somewhat extreme subjectivism, IMHO. Wouldn't the logical conclusion to your line of thinking be that everything is of equal value, as long as someone appreciates it?

 

(*) I actually wrote a short story once where two cops from Poetic Justice come knocking on doors looking for illegal poets. :lol:

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Bager, a Mad Magazine-ripoff comics rag i wrote for, way back when, used to have a comic called "The Ministry Of Art Affairs", about the art police, had a good 5-6 episodes run, and my fave was when there's a serial sculptor on the loose, so they find large abstract figures dumped in the river, the detective arrives on the crime scene, they lift the sheets, he looks at a Henry-Moore-wannabe sculpture, and says "My god, we have to stop the sick bastard", then the forensics report comes in, that the statue was apparently made between 4 and 5 AM, and the profilers have established that it apparently potrays the artist's issues with his mother. it is then followed by a great interrogation scene. Ah, the good old days...

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Yeah, I've read just about all of Dickens' work.

He might spend inordinate amounts of time talking about a character, but does that mean that the character is believable or that he progresses through a natural state of change that a REAL person would.

William Blake and countless others were doing the same thing that Dickens was doing before or at the same time as Dickens was writing, and they did it better! "A Tale of Two Cities" was good, but the rest of his work did not impress me in the least.

Dickens had a modicum of talent, and I don't begrudge the fact that his work is so popular, as I think all writers of any talent need to be remembered and read. It's his lesser work that was more impactful anyway, but that's not usually what is popular when it comes to Charles Dickens. What i have the problem with, is that so many people seem to think Dickens was this wholly original writer who shaped literature as we know it; when it was those other writers who were more talented who should get praised, but yet they're hardly as popular!

It's the same problem I have with Shakespeare. Was he good? Yes. But, he was also highly over-rated at the expense of more prolific writers who are pushed aside in favour of Shakespeare.

Where's Rosa at when you need him?! Rosa and I shared a deep-seated hatred from women and Charles Dickens which made us the best of friends.

I had a drinking buddy who is an English professor at the university and he just raves about Charles Dickens all the time. No one else I talk to seems to be able to understand why everyone adores Charles Dickens though! So, I'm not alone.

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It's the same problem I have with Shakespeare. Was he good? Yes. But, he was also highly over-rated at the expense of more prolific writers who are pushed aside in favour of Shakespeare.

 

So you're advocating quantity over quality? I'm not sure how that line of reasoning works, especially since Sheakspeare wrote well over twenty-five plays during his lifetime, and those are just the ones we know about.

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umm...I think you're saying that backwards James. I'm advocating quality over quantity.

Oh! I think I know why you got confused! I used prolific instead of prodigious.

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WRITERS or playwrights?

I'm assuming you're just referring to playwrights, as that was what Shakespeare was most well known.

I believe that Christopher Marlowe and Oscar Wilde were better than him.

Now, if you're just referring to writers, of which poets can be included, (since Shakespeare did not write prose fiction and if he did write non-fiction, I am unaware of it); I must say that it's not hard to find better poets that Shakespeare. He was a great, great playwright, but I do not feel he was a great poet, although you have to respect anyone who wrote his poems mainly in Sonnet form.

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Ummm... Oscar Wilde was certainly not a contemporary of Shakespeare!

 

(And didn't we have this argument before. Tell me what plays Marlowe wrote which can match this list:

Hamlet

The Tempest

Henry V

Romeo & Juliet

Midsummer Night's dream

Much ado about nothing

 

...not to mention his poetry.)

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WRITERS or playwrights?

I'm assuming you're just referring to playwrights, as that was what Shakespeare was most well known.

I believe that Christopher Marlowe and Oscar Wilde were better than him.

 

Yes, I meant playwrights. I haven't read or heard enough contemporary poetry to say whether or not author X is better than him.

 

Oscar Wilde missed being a contemporary of Shakespeare by three hundred years!

 

Marlowe's a good author - I like Dr. Faustus and Tamburlaine as much as the next man - and was terribly clever in places, but Shakespeare's imagination, experimentation with the English language and his grasp of poetry and characterisation elevate his plays far above anything Marlowe produced.

 

Marlowe was a far more interesting person than Shakespeare, though, and certainly more deserving of a historian-baiting, Oscar grabbing Hollywood comedy than Shakespeare ever was. But I suppose having a gay protagonist wouldn't have appealed to the mass sensibility.

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WRITERS or playwrights?

 

 

Marlowe was a far more interesting person than Shakespeare, though, and certainly more deserving of a historian-baiting, Oscar grabbing Hollywood comedy than Shakespeare ever was. But I suppose having a gay protagonist wouldn't have appealed to the mass sensibility.

 

Not that SHakespeare was unerringly heterosexual either. But then thats the same thing they did with Alexander - whitewash over his homosexual relationships while accentuating the hetero ones.

 

Christian, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Oliver Twist and David Copperfield are two examples of the most amazingly fleshed out characters I've come across. I also thought the characterization in Great Expectations was amazingly vivid too. I'm curious, if you hate Dickens so much how did you get through those thousand page books? I like him and I still had trouble finishing his stuff.

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Red-You didn't mention "King Lear", Shakespeare's best work, and you said he was a better poet than Marlowe, so you're automatically disqualified!

 

Well, there's two definitions of contemporary, which is why I listed a contemporary of Shakespeare and a contemporary playwright (OK, I know Wilde isn't writing today, but he's as contemporary as I get with plays)!

Besides, I was thinking you meant contemporary in the modern sense, as I cannot name any contemporaries of Shakespeare other than Marlowe! Who said anything about a contemporary playwright of Shakespeare being better than Shakespeare (even though I feel Marlowe is better)?!

Shakespeare has come down through time, largely, as the greatest playwright of all time! So, I was comparing Shakespeare by and large against all playwrights.

 

Abhi-I had to have something to argue with my drinking buddy about, didn't I?!

Seriously, most of Dickens' major works were (long works) were assigned as reading throughout high school and college. His shorter work isn't hard to get through. And....I must admit that "A Christmas Carol" is my favourite Christmas-based story.

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Oh dear. I have to dsagree MOST strongly with you, about both Shakespeare AND Dickens I am afraid, Christian. {opens the draw marked with skullnbones, removes large, stained, workmanlike duffelbag, that clanks as he sets it down}

 

OK LADS, GRAB 'IM QUICK !. :icon_sam:

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Ah, people who are contrary for the sake of it.

 

Yeah, there's a word for people like that, but let's leave this thread for discussion of the rating Constantine gets.

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