Recent comments

  • Fun Movies, Tier One   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I think it was just about as good as a comic book adaptation gets. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan carried the movie, but the supporting cast held their own quite nicely. Some folks have complained about the extended setup (half the movie is just putting the pieces in place), but I enjoyed that. It was well-paced, with enough action interspersed to keep it moving, but not so much as to detract from the plot (such as it is). I liked rooting against and feeling sympathetic towards our villians at the same time, and I liked the way Wolverine was used to poke fun at the various conceits. At the end, I found myself wanting more (which is a good thing, since they set the stage for any number of possible sequels).

    I had intended to see Chicken Run, but we were too late. Ultimately, I wasn't disappointed. Worth the $7.00.

  • Top 10 Hitchcock   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Wow! I just revisited your list. We actually have 8 films in common on our Hitchcock lists! I see that as pretty amazing and selfishlessly enjoy seeing one with such similar faves!

    I need to see Spellbound again. I was only 14 when I saw, and now that I notice it made your top ten, I realize it is ripe for a reviewing!

    Great list (and not just because mine is like it!)!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • top ten kevin spacey movies   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I definitely prefer A Time to Kill over the last 2, a personal preference. I agree that it is a great list, but I would have to flip-flop Usual Suspects (my favorite movie of the 90's) with Swimming With Sharks.

  • Essential Albums: Folk-Rock   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Great list! I am very happy to see you chose Bookends over the more-praised Bridge Over Troubled Waters; I definitely feel it is the better album.

    My, I have got to hear that Crosby album...

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 0010: Alfred Hitchcock's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Extremely stellar list, didn't want a Hitchcock list to seem unnoticed. The only slight surprise is Rope, but I recall you discussing that movie in the past and saying how much you liked it.

  • 0011: Steven Spielberg's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I have watched the Empire of the Sun and Sugarland Express, and I chose to leave them off the list. I didn't like Empire as much as I wanted to; I felt SS's style was often at odds with the film. Sugarland Express struck me as an interesting film, but just didn't make the cut here. I admit, however, that I have not seen the later for several years, and may well like it more if I saw it again. I'll also admit that it almost grabbed the number 10 slot.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 0011: Steven Spielberg's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I know that the cut off is 10 on your list, and it is very hard to choose, but I was wondering if Empire of the Sun and Sugaland Express were omitted due to the already strong list of titles or have you not seen them yet?

  • 0024. New 2000 Albums I Enjoy (With Album Highlights)   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Hey, Tate, great to see you online! I can't wait to see a list from you!

    I do like the Dixie Chicks' Fly (I like there Shouldn't a Told You That even more; a friend played it for me!), but Fly was a 1999 album, not 2000, so it was out of the running for this list.

    I know you were joking, I have a great friend and critic who recommended listening to Eminem's latest album, and although I still have my doubts, I'm going to try to give it a shot as soon as I find the chance to hear it.

    Speaking of country, the Neko Case album listed above is pretty country. I'm not sure if you would like it, but I love it.

    Great to hear from you!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 13 weeks ago

    To Lester Bangs and Johnny Waco,

    Wow! This discussion has gotten pretty intense! However, this is much too important of a discussion regarding what is being done here on "The Listology" to leave unresolved. I have some final thoughts on the matter that I hope will, if nothing else, clarify my position once and for all.

    Lester, you wrote in your last reply to me:

    "I do not agree that a critic should factor in historical importance or influence when making quality assessments of an album. That's the historian's job, not the critic. Of course, one can be both, but one should also not confuse the two or try magically to mix the two in the same list."

    I reply:

    How can a historian help but be a critic with certain tastes and predilections? Without getting too postmodern, a historian, to a certain extent, cannot help but bring their own point of view into their historical assessments. To illustrate, should we expect a Southern and a Northern historian to view a certain event that happened in the Civil War the same? The notion that history is a static and dispassionate discipline is not only an ill-informed position, but a dangerous one in that it is too narrow in what it allows as a possible definition of history.
    Bearing this in mind, I fail to see any "magic" in the two, history and personal taste, being used together to comprise the art of criticism.

    You then state:

    " "Critical objectivity" is too often bowing to history rather than quality or giving too much weight to the critical mainstream. The tempering you speak of is usually simply watering down one's personal assessments with the majority, and that serves little purpose."

    I reply:

    While this may sometimes be the case, I think this is WAY too board of a judgment on your part. Someone could just pass off the critical mainstream's opinions as their own, but I think that their lack of depth and personal ability to make unique judgments in the face of their subject matter would show through before too long.
    Besides, what if one of your "CC Lists" happens to very closely coincide with one of your personal lists? Would you like it if I simply assumed that you were, in your own words, "using historical knowledge as a crutch"? There are better ways to evaluate good critical analysis, one of which would be a pointed discussion much like the one we are currently engaged in.

    You close with:

    "A critic's job is much braver and tougher than that, and a critic should be learned and confidant enough in his or her own skills not to rely on safety catches such as the critical mainstream or history."

    I reply:

    I agree, but a critic has a responsibility to consistently demonstrate varying degrees of historical knowledge in their work, because their work does not exist in a vacuum. Many different people with many different levels of understanding read their work, and if they constantly alienate segments of their audience, their relevance to their chosen field of criticism should be questioned and their contribution possibly not weighed as heavily. Also, it would be quite arrogant and unrealistic to act as though one were outside of the influence of predecessors and peers in one's chosen field.

    In closing, I'm not trying make a value judgment on any given philosophy of critical analyses, I would just like you, Lester, to concede that my particular approach to the art of criticism is a sound one. Insofar as I can tell, this has yet to be done in your posts concerning me. Whether you agree with me or not should be a matter for discussion, not dismissal.

    As Theology and Geometry as my witnesses, I remain,

    Dr. Nut

  • Fun Movies, Tier One   14 years 13 weeks ago

    so what did you think of the X-men, other than fun?

  • 0011: Steven Spielberg's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Forgive me, lbangs, for butting in, but...

    Oh man, Jim, you've never seen DUEL??!! It's Spielberg's must-see debut. A meek motorist on a business trip gets his dander up when he is bullied by a mysterious trucker (mysterious because he's never really seen). The trucker's big, fast, filthy-black rig, a tanker, is an imposing character in itself. This basically simple movie is very well shot and edited. No flashy special effects, just a primal story of man against man, or is it man against machine?

  • Wish I Appreciated These   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I've expanded my list comments a bit.

    I see your point. I think one of my problems was that I failed to feel that our main character's behavior was pathological. While I clearly should have felt that she had no or minimial control over her actions, I didn't. So I couldn't feel anything for her. I just wanted her to knock off the self-destructive behavior. That she couldn't was clearly part of the point, but I couldn't get into that. So I shut it off. Sometimes I'm in the mood to watch broken people, but this wasn't one of those nights. I should probably give the second half another shot, if I ever have an opportunity.

  • Science And Philosophy   14 years 13 weeks ago


    Yep, just a typo!

    Grammatically Yours,

    Dr. Nut

  • Wish I Appreciated These   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Jim, I'm a little surprised at your take on "Boys Don't Cry". I thought that (damn, now that I can't think of her name) the main character's pathological lying and obvious socialization problems would affect you as it did me. Even though I knew what would happen, I had to watch it to the end.

  • Recently Seen Movies - With Comments, But No Spoilers   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Jim, one has to see each new Bond film, no matter what anyone says about it, doesn't one? The series has become an essential item of popular culture; one can't imagine a world without 007 - it would no longer be the world as we know it.

    Good to hear from you. Got the house painted yet? The place I'm living in now is clad in boards made of plastic - no more painting. Pays for itself in the long run.

  • A Random Mix of Recommended Books   14 years 13 weeks ago

    For me, one Tom Robbins book is pretty much like any other, so you either enjoy or dislike his body of work. Since I like him, I probably could have put any of his books on this list. But I think he's kinda trashy-fun-disguised-as-literature (that sounds more disparaging than I intend it), so I only wanted to pick one, and I thought Jitterbug Perfume was the best of the lot. Or maybe it was Still Life With Woodpecker. Damn. They've all blended together in a Robbins-stew in my mind. I like him. I generally enjoy his characters, light philosophical riffs, and sense of humor. Nothing deeper than that, I'm afraid.

  • 0008: Harrison Ford's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    So for this list and ones like it, do you mean that these were the best movies Harrison Ford has been in, or that these were his best performances? I assume the latter, since I know you tend to use precise language, but thought I'd double-check.

    Assuming the former, Star Wars seems a bit high. It's been a very long time since I've seen any Indy movie but Raiders, but I recall liking The Last Crusade quite a bit better than Temple of Doom. And how 'bout American Graffiti, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, and Air Force One. Or do the first three not count because they aren't really "Harrison Ford" movies?

  • top ten kevin spacey movies   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Excellent list! He's been in some wonderful movies, which makes him pretty hard to prioritize. I haven't seen some of the movies on this list (most notably Swimming With Sharks), but your ordering closely aligns with my own. I might bump American Beauty down to 3rd or 4th, and knock The Negociator up to just above Se7en, but those are all close calls.

  • Movies I have seen more than 25 times   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Twenty-five times!!! My goodness. That's a pretty high cutoff. Although if I gave it some thought I could probably come up with a bunch. Come to think of it, I've probably seen all the movies on this list at least 15 times each, with frequent gusts up to 25 and beyond.

  • Recently Seen Movies - With Comments, But No Spoilers   14 years 13 weeks ago

    We've both been fairly absent lately - good to see your're still checking in from time to time! So you went and saw The World is not Enough despite my dire warnings, huh?

  • 0011: Steven Spielberg's Ten Best Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Tell me about Duel; should I add it to my "to see" list?

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Hey hey . . . So I have on my "to do" list to reply to the "best vs. favorite" thread from another list. But as you know, I haven't. Every time I sit down to try, I realize that my own thoughts on the subject aren't clear enough to verbalize them. Also, I'm painting the outside of our house (a large, hellish job (even worse because I'm afraid of ladders)), and my Listology time has been sharply curtailed (I think I've whined about that before).

    However, while I haven't posted much lately, I try to read everything, and I have found this discussion to be fascinating. It's hard to be passionate AND articulate, but you're both doing an admirable job so far. I hope you see it through; I'll feel deprived if you choose to continue it via e-mail instead of here. I'm sure I'm not the only one finding this educational. Of course, if you feel it's gotten too personal, I'd understand not wanted to continue the discussion publicly, so that's entirely up to you. I'll shut up now.

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I hope that you are not truly going to let this discussion go; I believe it has been interesting to debate and explore our criteria for evaluation. Of course, you don't have to respond to this post, but I want to make a couple of points in response to your last post and would value your response.

    First of all, I feel that you have rebutted minor points instead of answering my core points. If i use the words "impulse" and "taste" interchangably, I apologize; however, i was simply trying to vary word choice and there is no ideological assumption lurking in my choice of words. Likewise, I obviously think there are more ways to enjoy a work than merely to explore it over and over; you must think me a moron if this is my only way to enjoy things. For brevity's sake, I only listed one way. Also, you know me well enough to know that I believe that the sum of an album can transcend its parts; I do not believe that VU&N is great because of a laundry list of the qualities that go into "greatness." I was merely listing some of the reasons I think it is a great album; if I didn't list any reasons, I would seem to be talking about something I have no knowledge of.

    Second, I feel that it is wrong for you to keep putting me in an either/or pigeonhole. In your first paragraph you say that you don't like the idea of calling an album great "simply because it follows 'standards of criticism.'" This misrepresents me because I NEVER said this was the reason to determine an album's greatness; it is a part of the process but not an overriding consideration. You also make statements to the effect that either the standards or the taste judgment comes first. Why must either come first? What I have been advocating is that the critic's job is, to the best of his or her ability, combine the two in attempting to separate the wheat from the chaff; the two complement each other, not set themselves up naturally into a hierarchy. You say even earlier that the historian and critic are distinctly different; this is a false dichotomy. The Historian judges what elements deserve telling and from what viewpoint to present: he or she is as interpretive and subjective in most cases as any critic (in fact, the historian IS a critic). It is impossible to completely separate the two.

    Next, in the post you made before this last one, you say that a critic shouldn't review something if it is in a field the critic has no taste for. Which field is the Velvet Underground in that I have no taste for? Underground music? Proto-Punk? Experimental? I think I have a taste for any field that VU could be placed in. Now admittedly, because I don't care as much for them, i probably have no business waxing eloquently in a book about how brilliant the album is; however, because i am familiar with it, I do have the right to place it in an essential list, which does not call for the same indepth analysis that an article or book might.

    The question is this: in your opinion, can a critic admire and believe a work is great without personally embracing it? I think he or she can, without "blindly taking others' words for it."

    What makes the critic's job so difficult is not that they must disregard all outside standards but that he or she must strive to integrate the two sides of the personality: taste and objectivity. You're right in saying that certain works are villified because they go against prevailing standards, but there are always far-sighted critics willing to hold up the new works and artists as great, e.g. Ruskin with the Pre-Raphaelites. And just because the critical mainstream sometimes gets it wrong, does that justify chucking the whole system? Absolutely not; that is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    To sum up: the essential lists attempt to combine historical and objective understanding with personal taste; if a novice to trip-hop buys the albums on this list, they will be able to explore all facets and stages of the genre while at the same time hearing quality music. Shadow and Presage show the experimental side, while Sneaker Pimps and Morcheeba show the pop side. Tricky, Portishead, and Massive Attack demonstrate the origins and pinnacle, while Enigma is one example of non-trip-hop music that demonstrates certain traits later developed in the genre proper. I have combined taste and objectivity to produce an excellent, enjoyable, and well-rounded look at the genre of trip-hop.

    I don't wish to see this discussion become acrimonious, but I think I have clearly explained my points so that there can be no more misrepresentation. I would appreciate feedback from anyone, especially lbangs, a critic I honestly have the utmost respect for.

    Johnny Waco

  • 0007. L. Bangs' Great Lyric Challenge   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Put in a country song for me. Nothing to old!!



  • 0007: My Ten Favorite 2000 Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    lbangs this is your brother, I enjoy your lists very much and I have gone through most of them although my knowlegdge of movies is limited. I as you might guess, I would put gladiator in that grouping but thats just me. Another good movie of this year is the whole nine yards with bruce willis.

    See ya, Tate