Recent comments

  • Great Opening Lines - A Challenge List   14 years 8 weeks ago

    "i slapped the bitch" -- from 66 laps by leslie lehr spirson.

  • 0002. 10 (or more) Over-Rated Films   14 years 8 weeks ago

    The play is better than the film, but neither really interested me much. Again, lots of Shakespeare in-jokes, which largely accounts for its high esteem with educated people. They enjoy encountering material they have studied in a novel setting. Too bad Stoppard has not a whit of the Bard's talent.

    Um. Perhaps you should read it again? Let's just say that for now, you are about as wrong as I have ever seen an otherwise inteligent person be.

    Stoppard doesn't have Shakespeare's lyrical beauty, no one does. However, he does pack a punch, with clever, insightful, and witty dialogue. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is easily one of the best plays written this century.

    So there's a couple clever plays on Shakespeare, that's not what people love about this play. The play isn't really about Hamlet at all. It's about life, and death, and everything that's done to you in between. On one hand, it's a philosophically despairing work that asks the questions "Why are we here?", "What is death?", and "What will become of us?" On the other hand, it's a comic work that plays off a classic to answer those questions with: you're a bit part in a grand drama whose fate is to obediently trot back and forth on the stage until you are finally sent off to your deaths.

  • Favourite Vonnegut List   14 years 8 weeks ago

    Mother Night is my favorite; When I finished reading it for the first time, I flipped back to the start of the book and started reading from the beginning again. (I know some people do this habitually, but for me it's a one-time thing.)

    Next would come Breakfast of Champions, and then a three-way tie between Cat's Cradle, Player Piano, and Slaughterhouse Five.

    After that, who knows. I do like Bluebeard a bit. I guess Sirens of Titan is better though.

  • Humorous mystery authors   14 years 8 weeks ago

    Thank you for the tip. It looks like I have a lot more mysteries to read! :). Have you tried Rita Mae Brown/Sneaky Pie Brown's Mrs. Murphy series? Perhaps it is appealing only to those of us with cats, but it, too, does not gruesomely detail crimes that come all to close to things that may happen to us.

  • Help! It appears AOL does not like The Lis   14 years 8 weeks ago

    I remain suspicious because CompuServe is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL, so I imagine they have shared components.

    In any case, if everybody reading this would be willing to click on "my lists" right now and login (if necessary), that would be great. If you have problems, please report them here.

  • Favorite Movies with a Disability Focus/Storyline   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I will definitely add "Coming Home." I think I had a mental block with that one, as I'm not the biggest Fonda fan around. I have not seen "The Men"...thanks for the suggestion.

  • Favorite Movies with a Disability Focus/Storyline   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I would also add Coming Home with Fonda and Voight, The Men with Brando, and Best Years of our Lives although the handicapped character is a subplot.

  • 0006. Favorite Films 1995-1999   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I love both Lock Stock and Before Sunrise; totally agree with your sentiments on both. Pi disturbed, annoyed, frustrated, bored, and pissed me off. Worst of all, my friend would not let me fall asleep in the theater. Lost Children and English Patient are both excellent, and Emma is very good. I have not seen Fireworks, and I had to walk out of Casino, time constraints and annoying patrons, but I typically love Scorsese besides Bringing Out the Dead, yuk. I thought the first half of Malkovich was great, and the second half lost a lot of momentum for me. However, tons of people love Malkovich and Life is Beautiful which is a complete mockery of Holocaust concentration camps. Therefore, I find it unwatchable despite it being one of the best movies to showcase a father's love for his child. Nevertheless, I still think Benigni is a great filmmaker and performer, Monster and Johnny Steccino are wonderful.

  • CC00002: Orson Welles   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I am surprised that Lady from Shanghai is a 10. It is very good, but I have never heard it discussed with the Big Three.

  • CC00004: Michael Curtiz   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I never realized he directed so many. I've seen 4 of top 5, no YDD yet. Also 2 more in the top 10, CotLB and LwF. How many have you seen?

  • CC00003: Alfred Hitchcock   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I neglected to read that these ratings were solely based on critics. My bad! Anyway, still great job, and ditto on Vertigo.

  • CC00003: Alfred Hitchcock   14 years 9 weeks ago

    Of all the 10s, the only one I was disappointed with was Vertigo. I might also move FC and LV down one point, but that is being nit-picky. I like seeing Wrong Man so high; I believe it is highly underrated. It's very intense and an easy movie to identify with. No surprise on the low grades of UC, I Confess, and TPC; aal 3 were extremely disappointing and rather dull. I am fond of both Frenzy and Family Plot; however, they are not masterpieces compared to the great ones. I have not seen many early Hitchcock's although I did enjoy Number 17 and Murder. Bottom line, excellent job on the list. Have you considered Billy Wilder, Spielberg, Kubrick, Capra, or John Ford lists?

  • My favorite quirky movies on a low budget   14 years 9 weeks ago

    i had to sit through it twice to really get into it...definitely wasn't into it the first time. Hmmmm...I'll have to ponder this one. :0

  • 10 Unfortunate Celebrity Paychecks   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I really enjoyed Snipes in "The Waterdance"...I thought he pulled off his role of a not-so-well paraplegic pretty well.

  • Movies that Butcher History   14 years 9 weeks ago

    thanks for reminding me of U-571, Johnny. I have read two books on Enigma, and yes, it is true that 3 different attempts were made (by the British) to recover coding information from captured/sinking U-Boats during the war. Instead of the Enigma machine itself (whose functions were well known to the cyptologists at Bletchley Park), these missions were trying to recover "cribs", or information that would supply the Allies with a way into the u-boat codes. The Short Weather Code Book was the most prized possession that the British recovered during the war. I saw an interview with on of the British officers involved in one such operation, and he personally saw nothing wrong with U-571, and thought the whole idea "spendid". But I believe the film deserves a place on the list.

  • Movies that Butcher History   14 years 9 weeks ago

    Over in Britain, there's been a pretty big outcry over U-571, the movie about capturing the Enigma code machine. Apparently the Brits captured the machine, but the movie (for marketing reasons, perhaps?) changed the heroes to good ol' Yanks. Of course they were Allies, but I can see why they may be a little upset...

    Johnny Waco

  • My favorite quirky movies on a low budget   14 years 9 weeks ago

    how about "cannibal the musical"? still troma, still stupid, but the first 30 minutes are worth sticking through the rest. no?

  • 0014: The 100 Best Rock Albums (91-100)   14 years 9 weeks ago

    Hmmmmm....I like this list, but I must confess I also loved the "Human Wheels" single, too...of course, I am a Hoosier...which creates an incredible bias. :0

  • Excellent Fiction   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I was intersted to see you liked Ishmael. Did you see the HORRIBLE (I hope you didn't like it) adaptation called Instinct, which basically cast Anthony Hopkins in role of Ishmeal (only he was a human), and Cuba Gooding Jr, in the role of the author? What did you think?

  • 0005. Some Under-Rated Films   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm glad we agree on many films here. As for my love of Emma, I am equally shocked hearing people praise the lame Sense and Sensibility. What do people love here?

    I know what I dislike in it.

    1) Miscasting: Several actors simply are in the wrong roles, while others ham it up to high heaven.

    2) Script: This is what high schoolers see when they read an Austen novel - a period piece with great costumes and fine manners on display. Austen, however, is much smarter than that. She writes with hidden razors, and if she never cuts too deep, she does indeed occasionally draw blood. Thompson's screenplay doted on manners and style while missing the the very qualities that elevates Austen from, say, modern romance novels. Additionally, the film's humor is broad and banal where Austen's was subtle and brilliant.

    3) Hollywood: Hollywood has a certain structure it tends to require out of films, and S&S simply does not fit well into this structure. This is most obvious at the end, where the film acts as if we are in suspense about the outcome. We're not (anyone who has seen or read much could guess this 'mysterious' ending a mile away), but Hollywood must have a huge climax. As a result of the need for climax and a '3 act' film, Austen is very ill-fit for this type of conventional film, and it shows in bizarre pacing and uncomfortable transitions.

    On the positive side, a few of the actors were great, and the cinematography was beautiful.

    Emma, on the other hand, didn't have a single one of the problems i listed above and also had great actors, plus cinematography that looked great without stealing away the entire film.

    Anyway, that's my long-winded take on it. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree!

    Thanks for the great comments. I'm especially glad to see at least one other person enjoyed A Life Less Ordinary.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00033: Peter Gabriel   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I gather that Us and So would have fared better if this list was put together a few years ago. A few older sources I consulted definitely held Garbriel's work in higher esteem than current critics. These critical trends go up and down, and it is very frustrating when a favorite artist is on the way down. Blur, one of my favorites, is currently suffering a similar fate. Hopefully, both artists will bottom out and begin to rise soon.

    If I can gather enough critical input about a greatest hits album, I include it. This usually limits compilations to either famous or important collections or best-ofs currently in print. Since Shaking the Tree is (I believe) Gabriel's only compilation and is still in print, I was able to find plenty of opinions on it; I included it on the list.

    I'm going to have to hear Passion. While some critics found it poor, many others (particularly European critics) cited it as a favorite.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 100 Best American Rock Albums (2000 Edition)   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I started to reply to this, and realized that I have to give more thought to the issue myself (one of the things I love about this site is that it often forces me to do that). I'll get back to you.

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 9 weeks ago

    Thank you, Jim. I greatly appreciate your comments; they help alot. Ordering these lists is possibly the hardest part of creating the CC lists. Averaging the views of the critics is an easy, straight-forward (if long) process, but decided the order to recommend the album in is very difficult, and the Out of Time album was one of the hardest to place. Hearing your comments, I feel a bit more confident about it now than I did. For now, I'll leave it where it is.

    Keep me on my toes, Jim!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00033: Peter Gabriel   14 years 9 weeks ago

    I'm surprised Us fared so poorly (relatively). From this list, I've only heard Us, So, Security, Passion, and Shaking the Tree, and I'd personally have a very hard time ranking them in any kind of order. But if forced to, I'd have to go with:

    1. Us
    2. So
    3. Passion
    4. Security

    I wouldn't count Shaking the Tree. As much as I enjoy the new song and remixes, I don't think there's enough new material on it to keep it from being a "Greatest Hits" album (albeit my favorite GH album). Do you have a CC policy regarding GH albums?

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 9 weeks ago

    All right! You've made room for 99,999 CC lists! I like a man that sets his sights high.

    Based on this description, I agree completely on your ranking. When I suggested moving Out of Time and Nirvana's live MTV album up on their respective lists, it was based on your comment that the CC lists help form a "recommended purchasing order." When I first read that, I thought that "accessibility" would have to weigh in quite heavily, and it hadn't occurred to me that it wouldn't be fair if accessibility outweighed "representative work." To put a non-representative work too high creates false expectations. It makes sense to temper "accessible" with "representative", and thus I'd agree that Out of Time belongs where you put it (and I also agree that's it is perhaps the easiest REM album to listen to).