Mike vs. Kobe vs. Christopher Nolan
Occasionally my friend Kobe and I will butt heads on hugely important world issues. Today we face off against filmmaker Christopher Nolan.
Mike: Sucker Punch made me appreciate Inception a little bit more, but I was still disappointed in Nolan’s film. In looking back at his career, I noticed that I’ve been disappointed by most of his work.
To me, Inception had the same visual appeal and soul of a cell phone commercial. I didn’t care about any of the characters, by the time it was done, I just wished that I had Verizon instead of T-Mobile. I don’t get it. Leo was much better earlier in the year in Shutter Island. Ellen Page was better in…um…in…give me a second…um…Hard Candy (although given my current dislike for her, I wouldn’t mind seeing Hard Candy with an entirely alternate ending where she doesn’t get away). I may have even liked Joseph “3rd Rock” Levitt better as Cobra Commander! I didn’t get the hype.
The Dark Knight? I get it, boohoo Heath Ledger is dead. Yeah, he was a decent enough actor. Academy Award deserving? I don’t know. Maybe for Brokeback, but not for the Joker. Couldn’t anyone get past that whole drama enough to notice the plot holes in The Dark Knight that were big enough to drive a Batmobile through? The super smart and cunning Joker didn’t notice the broom closet being held shut with a broom stick when looking for Harvey Dent? Like Inception, pretty pictures cover a weak story. In fairness to Nolan, I think enough interesting things happened that if this was split up into two movies instead of one way too long of a film, things could’ve played out better and I may actually have cared.
The Prestige is the one with Wolverine or the one with the Hulk? Both The Prestige and The Illusionist blur together for me. I remember being reasonably entertained and confused by both. Note to movie studios, just because one studio is putting out a movie about something with big names attached, doesn’t mean you have to make the rival version. Leave the competing with slightly different products up to companies like McDonalds and Burger King. You guys are supposed to be making art, not hamburgers.
Batman Begins hasn’t stuck with me at all. Isn’t Qui-Gon Jinn a bad guy or something. I remember a creepy thing with the Scarecrow and a scary version of Batman, but honestly, I couldn’t tell you what this one was about at all. Oh yeah, Morgan “God” Freeman makes stuff.
Memento may be the only Nolan movie I honestly love. It’s the only one I own. This is his breakout movie when he didn’t have a huge budget. It’s just good creative storytelling. To me, that’s a better hook than something explosive. How is it Nolan is respected, while Michael Bay is mocked? In my eyes, Christopher Nolan is one slow motion sequence and an Aerosmith themed montage away from being Bay.
Following was Nolan’s debut…I almost typed “big debut”, but realized I may be the only person to have seen this. It’s slow, but it hooks you right from the beginning. I think Christopher Nolan should listen to the philosophy of “less is more”. When he didn’t have a lot to work with he was creative and different.
I guess the sad reality is nowadays it’s easier to have a gigantic film made in the studio system than it is a little film. That’s a shame because I really like Nolan’s little films. To me it’s like handing Manet an airbrush. You probably wouldn’t get “The Luncheon on the Grass”, instead you’d get a naked woman riding a dragon on the side of a van. That of course would be after Manet’s shock about what an airbrush is!
Kobe: I hate you so much right now. I love Christopher Nolan movies. The only exception is Insomnia and who knows, maybe I stopped watching it right before it got awesome.
Inception is incredible. I’ve seen it at least three times and still love it. I am an unabashed lover of heist movies though, and don’t really begrudge anyone who isn’t a fan for not liking it. I can’t complain about the lack of character depth because that’s generally part of the genre. Heist movies are all about a team (usually) putting together an intricate plan in order to pull of an impossible-seeming job – the last, big job – the monkeywrench that wrecks those plans and how the team escapes the inescapable predicament they then find themselves in. The story in this thing is borderline airtight. ‘In Bruges’-like. It’s hard to put into words how much I enjoyed it without prattling on for another couple thousand words. And Hans Zimmer was robbed for Best Score! I’m listening to it as I type this.
The Dark Knight was about 15 minutes too long, I agree. Another movie I’ve seen a bunch of times. I disagree with your problem with that scene with the Joker; the closet Dent was in wasn’t in that room. Even if it was, the Joker was surrounded by party-goers and wouldn’t have been able to see the broom anyway, as it was at waist level. And that’s beside the point anyway, because even if the Joker had started making balloon animals and zipping around the party on a giant tricycle it still would not have been enough to diminish my enjoyment of the rest of the movie, which was superb. The scene where Batman races off to save Rachel and kicks the door in to discover that the Joker had lied about which location she was in was brilliant. I certainly have my gripes about the movie, but overall it was fantastic.
I will always hate The Illusionist for dulling the impact of The Prestige, just like I resent Family Guy for being the show that replaced Arrested Development. The Prestige is another tremendous film and another Nolan movie that I’ve seen at least four or five times. And to put this run into perspective, I don’t often watch movies more than once. The only flaw in The Prestige was them getting into the science fictiony stuff at the end; if he had pulled off his final illusion using the stunt double they’d introduced in the second act that flick would have been straight flawless. Also fuck you The Illusionist.
Memento is superb, we’re of one mind on that one. First DVD I ever bought. Batman Begins is okay. I haven’t seen Following, but I should probably check it out. Nolan is one of the most entertaining filmmakers in recent memory, I can’t think of another director whose mere involvement will get me interested in seeing a movie.
Mike: I agree with you on the Joker double cross and thank you for refreshing my memory about The Prestige being the one that I hated. I like The Illusionist. And how dare you compare that two hour long cell phone commercial to a flawless movie like In Bruges!
Kobe: Fuck The Illusionist! As if farting on the throne that The Prestige was destined to claim wasn’t bad enough, it features Ed Norton channeling Costner’s Prince of Thieves English accent and a plot so wobbly that I have to assume that it was brought to us by the minds behind Mac & Me. Kindly junkpunch yourself, hipster. Actually, knowing what I do of your taste in movies I challenge you to re-watched Inception, The Prestige or The Dark Knight – removed from the hype that surrounded TDK and Inception and the stink of that goddamn Illusionist movie – and still say that you think they’re terrible. CHALLENGE.
So that’s what we think. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think….okay, let us know that you agree with Kobe. I freely admit that I’m in the minority about my indifference towards most of Nolan’s work I forgot to write about it, but I did like Insomnia.