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Dirty Old Town: The Cinema of New York
#1
Have we done this thread? Have I done this thread? Who cares, I just want an excuse to talk about the kick I'm on.

Last night I revisited William Lustig's MANIAC.

It's pretty much a perfect Horror movie. PSYCHO drenched in all the slime of sleazy Times Square New York.

It's kind of Joe Spinell's ROCKY. After kicking around a while, hanging with the Easy Riders-Raging Bulls, (like Stallone before him) Spinell wrote it for himself to finally break out.

And what a memorable star turn it is!

He's so good, so convincing, it's at times uncomfortable to watch. Besides Spinell's maniac, the most interesting character is the city itself. It's both the shining metropolis of the American dream and an open sewer of sin and decay.

There's culture and class. Artistic ambition. However, when watching you can't believe the whole city didn't have Hepatitis.

I also watched THE NEW YORK RIPPER. Not as good, but classic Fulci. Only partially shot in NYC, it still has the decadent feel of the era.

I was thinking both these movies, and I guess Ferrara's DRILLER KILLER, were made when the terror and paranoia of the summer of the Son of Sam was still a fresh memory and an open wound.

I think the 2 best New York movies of this period are Woody's MANHATTAN + Ferrara's FEAR CITY. Both snapshots of how the way of life in the city could seem almost a caste system. In one film, you're experiencing the magic of a shining city, in the other, death sneaks up behind you even as you walk the crowded streets.

Honorable Mentions: TIMES SQUARE, SMITHEREENS, AFTER HOURS, THEY ALL LAUGHED

That's my thoughts for now, but feel free to share your recommendations. You can go as far back or as recent as you want.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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#2
Another companion to those Spinnell movies is THE LAST HORROR FILM, which Spinnell partially filmed guerilla style at Cannes. The ending is hilarious!

DRILLER KILLER is on Tubi and I'm going to try and watch it again. I bailed early the first time. KING OF NEW YORK is on there as well, and rewatching that recently was a revelation, and I was struck by how Walken's character casually interacts with the strata of NY society.
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#3
Let's get this out of the way early. Pete Hamill calls New York "the capital of nostalgia," and I think that certainly informs a lot of the "boy, Times Square was great back in the day" mindset. And as someone who recently passed his tenth straight year of living in New York City, I'm certainly I'm no fan of seeing storefront after storefront after storefront empty for months on end because the rent is too high and they're waiting for a bank or a Subway to fill it.

But I also think we ought to throw a bit of cold water on the idea that grittier was automatically better, and for that, I think multiple-Tony nominee Sherie Rene Scott, who actually worked in the "open sewer of sin and decay" that Elvis and others (honestly) seems to have this weird hard on for, provides a rather succinct tonic:

Quote:Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Duh, new. I worked in old Times Square, eight shows a week, in my 20s. The girls and I used to take bets on who had the worst thing said or done to them in the short walk from the subway … it was always a contest. I notice everyone who loves old Times Square are either skanky men or people who were never really there that much.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2010/05/...e_loa.html

Also, if you're going to talk about the Cinema of New York, SEX AND THE CITY and THE WOMEN and THE NAKED CITY and THE FIRST WIVES' CLUB and SERENDIPITY are all as worthy of discussion as THE DRILLER KILLER and MANIAC and TIMES SQUARE and AFTER HOURS. Just saying.
home taping is killing music
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#4
Classic Boone.
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#5
No, Classic Boone would be posting all of that, and then adding that Bad Old New York included such gems as "vigilante violence against people of color framed as heroism," "framing children for a gang rape they did not commit," "a massive homelessness problem, many of them children, many of those same children who were pressed into sex work in wonderfully sleazy Times Square," "the city government systematically ignoring thousands of people dying of aids because they were gay and the mayor was concerned people would think he was a homo*," and, oh yeah, "a resurgence of conspicuous capitalism and a greed is good ethos that contributed to the rise of a shitty housing developer from Queens named Donald J. Trump."

That would be Classic Boone.

*that happened.
home taping is killing music
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#6
Classic Boone.
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#7
Hey, Boone: I don't think TIMES SQUARE is the film that you think it is. It's the love story of two misfit girls escaping into the city to follow their dreams. The city does want to swallow them, but they have each other and the will to survive and defiant spirit to not conform. Riot grrrl movement always gave it props. If you see it again I think you'd like it.

I think I shared this interview before as a counterpoint to your stance about how awful the city was for women and how wrong-headed it is to be in anyway positive about those days - and I don't think I was doing that here-, but here it is again: Susan Seidelman looking back at NY at the time of SMITHEREENS

https://www.vogue.com/article/susan-seid...chard-hell

She’s a precursor to this era of being famous for being famous.
"She doesn’t have any particular skill or talent. She didn’t feel like she needed to sing or dance or play music or write songs; she just wanted to be herself.

At that age, you are kind of looking for what you felt like your life should be, this life you imagined. You know there’s something more interesting out there somewhere. Especially in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when New York City, and downtown in particular, was a place where you could afford to live, a mecca for people from small towns or the suburbs of Philadelphia or New Jersey or wherever, where you could go to figure out who you were."

Like Wren, you grew up in the suburbs. How did New York figure in your imagination? Was there a certain New York that you aspired to live in, and was that the New York you found when you finally moved there?
"Honestly, the vision of New York I had as a kid—because I always loved movies—was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I remember watching that many, many times and thinking that’s a movie about a girl who comes from someplace else who gets to live in this magic place. There’s a darker side in the Truman Capote novella, but I found that fascinating, too. The idea that a young woman could go somewhere and re-create herself, that she could live the life she imagined she wanted to live. Tiffany’s is the uptown version of Wren’s story."

Whereas Smithereens fuels this idea of the gritty romance of New York City. The soundtrack, the clothes, the whole world.
"Probably the reality would have been even a little darker and grittier. I wanted it to have that grittiness but not be depressing. Where Desperately Seeking Susan was a more stylized and magical version of the city, this was the early ’80s. So the costumes were a little pushed. Everything was just a little pushed, to make it a bit more playful. For example, the opening sequence with the checkered sunglasses and her checkered skirt. As soon as she walks into the frame and you see that skirt, you know exactly why she needs to steal those sunglasses."

***

Could someone as scrappy as Wren fare well in the city now?
"I don’t think she’d be able to afford to live in Manhattan, that’s for sure. Manhattan has priced itself out of the marketplace for this generation of Wrens. So that’s something I feel nostalgic about, that this was a place for aspiring artists or students or aspiring wannabes. Now parts of Brooklyn have been priced out as a place for this generation. But there’s always going to be people like Wren."

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#8
Let's get some respect for the weird and wild Dinkins-era NYC, where the gloss is shining through but it's far from cleaned up:

King of New York
New Jack City
Quick Change
Sea of Love
The Fisher King
Do the Right Thing
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Gremlins 2: The New Batch
Q & A
State of Grace
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Cadillac Man
Glengarry Glen Ross
State of Grace
The Hard Way
Black Rain
Hudson Hawk
Blue Steel
Ghost
Out for Justice
Do the Right Thing
"PREDATOR 2 feels like it was penned by convicts as part of a correctional facility's creative writing program, and that's what I love about it." - Moltisanti
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#9
The original TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE shows a New York City where everyone is gloriously DONE WITH IT. They're sarcastic and annoyed and not wanting to deal with any goddamn thing. Most of the transit workers are more upset about the interruption of their routine than by the fact that a train has been hijacked, and even Matthau's moment of triumph at the end is more "You honestly wasted my time just now?" It's the perfect cinematic snapshot of the New Yorker stereotype of the mid-70's.
My karmic debt must be huge.

----------

My blog: An Embarrassment of Rich's
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#10
I brought up TIMES SQUARE because it seems to get routinely cited in discussions like these, and so my counter argument is that if we're going to consider that as part of the New York Canon, we should also consider other works that focus on the experience of women as well. Arguing for a more holistic view of New York Cinema, as the thread title indicates.

The interview Elvis shared makes some excellent points, particularly this:

Quote:"Honestly, the vision of New York I had as a kid—because I always loved movies—was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I remember watching that many, many times and thinking that’s a movie about a girl who comes from someplace else who gets to live in this magic place. There’s a darker side in the Truman Capote novella, but I found that fascinating, too. The idea that a young woman could go somewhere and re-create herself, that she could live the life she imagined she wanted to live. Tiffany’s is the uptown version of Wren’s story."

I think that's a really potent and powerful recurring motif in not just cinema about New York, but in the minds and hearts of people who grow up watching movies about New York and then move there. One of my favorite New York movies is THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO, and it has this quote:

Quote:What I found terribly encouraging was the idea that when the time in life came to have a social life there'd be all these great places for people to go to because, as you'll remember, for many years, there were none.

It's less overt, but I think it speaks to the same underlying understanding of - and desire for - the city as a place where you can recreate yourself. Maybe several times over if that's what's necessary!

Quote:Could someone as scrappy as Wren fare well in the city now?
"I don’t think she’d be able to afford to live in Manhattan, that’s for sure. Manhattan has priced itself out of the marketplace for this generation of Wrens. So that’s something I feel nostalgic about, that this was a place for aspiring artists or students or aspiring wannabes. Now parts of Brooklyn have been priced out as a place for this generation. But there’s always going to be people like Wren."

This is also a valid point. I would counter that for every person who says "Manhattan/New York is too expensive," there's somebody who's living with five other people, or in the far boroughs (when I moved back in 2009 it took me 90 minute on the subway to get to work), working crappy jobs because it's all that fits with their audition schedule or dance classes, but who are determined to find out if it works for them. It's still a city for dreamers, if you know where to look.

Any beef I have with Old New York Nostalgia is that there seems to be an unwillingness to acknowledge that - as Seidleman herself notes - there's always been a dark side. Again, it can be fun to watch something like MANIAC and marvel at how it used to be, but how it used to be came with a price, had things happening that weren't being talked about. And it's not just the 1980s - I could point to something like BROOKLYN or CAROL (two films I love dearly) and point out that New York in the 1950s was a pretty dangerous, segregated city. Or you could look at THE AGE OF INNOCENCE and remember what was happening on the Lower East Side in the 1870s (of course, the genius of Scorsese's movie is illustrating how the world of the high society Gilded Age was as violent and as cruel as the world of Gangs of New York).

What I find interesting about this discussion, though, is that it's very easy for people to discuss the flaws in period depictions like BROOKLYN, CAROL, and AGE OF INNOCENCE, but once you start poking holes in the nostalgia of the 1980s, people get quite defensive and have a hard time acknowledging the deficiencies with those works. What up with that?

I missed this, so I'm adding it:

Quote:your stance about how awful the city was for women and how wrong-headed it is to be in anyway positive about those days

Honestly, this has not ever been my stance and feels like an extrapolation. There is a ton of things that we can be positive about with regards to "those days." I could give you a very long list of artists and filmmakers and writers from that period that made some of my all time favorite stuff. But at the same time, we can acknowledge that...yeah, the city was difficult at times if you weren't a straight white dude. And it could be pretty awful. The reason I shared the Scott quote, again, was because I think it very specifically acknowledges that there is a kind of nostalgia for Times Square that is, in part, informed by viewing it through a lens of cinema (i.e., not actually being there) or perhaps through a gendered lens. Whereas the reality for Scott and her coworkers was much more intense than what Wren or the protagonists of Times Square or whoever were going through.

But here's the thing. Here's the thing I love about New York. It doesn't have to be just one thing. We can acknowledge that there were great things going on in the city at the same time bad things were happening, and that each of these things is informing the other.

Like, let's take SMITHEREENS for example. That movie came out in 1982. Sherie Rene Scott moved to NYC in 1985. I'll split the difference and go 1984.

So in 1984, at the same time Wren from Smithereens was doing her thing and SRS was hustling and getting hassled on her way through Times Square...

...Larry Kramer, enraged by the response to the AIDS crisis, was writing THE NORMAL HEART, which would be performed by the Public Theater the next year...

...Stephen Sondheim opened SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, arguably his greatest achievement, starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters...

...Also playing that season was the OG GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, which would later win Joe Mantenga a Tony and take Mamet to the next level (as AMERICAN BUFFALO was also revived that season)...

...But if Shakespeare's your thing, you could see Ian McKellen do Shakespeare in a one man show...

...And that year, a young playwright named Tony Kushner graduated from NYU's playwriting program. That's just theater.

A year previously, Spike Lee had graduated with his MFA in film from NYU. His thesis film, Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads was the first student film ever to be shown as part of Lincoln Center's New Directors/New Films Festival.

Spike's assistant director on that thesis film? His classmate from NYU, a Taiwanese immigrant named Ang Lee.

Oh, and the same year Spike graduated NYU, we got perhaps the greatest headline in news history: "Headless Body in Topless Bar."
https://nypost.com/2015/06/09/new-york-p...ies-at-74/ . . .

. . . and a young man named Barack Obama graduated Columbia and began working in the city, first as a researcher, then with a public interest group.

And this was all happening against the backdrop of some of the other things I mentioned, like the AIDS crisis and the Bernie Goetz trial and many, many more.

And the fact that all of this was happening, all at once - and there's so, so, so much more I didn't mention from just the years 1982-1985 alone - is why I love New York. Part of my love for this city comes from being able to acknowledge that there are things to be positive about about any era (and I say that as someone who first came to this city less than a year before 9/11, moved away in 2005, and then moved back again less than a year after the financial crisis in 2009, so my timing's been great) while also being able to acknowledge that there were terrible things about any era. After all, complaining - both about how bad things are and how good things used to be - gets in your DNA if you live here long enough, I think. But I always try to keep in mind that every moment in this city has wonderful things and terrible things, all happening at the same time, in the same five boroughs, among the same 8.5 million people.

It very much is the city of "why not both." So that's why I try to bring up counterpoints whenever I can. And also because I know it makes you mad, Elvis, buddy.
home taping is killing music
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#11
Hey, Boone: good post. I edited mine multiple times trying to soften the language, and it still sounds like I'm pushing back at you more than I wanted to. Apologies.

To be clear, and I know we've had this discussion before, I just can't remember which thread, my love of NY movies of the 70's and 80's isn't an endorsement of everything going on in it and them. I love the movie world, and I mostly separate it from actual reality. Like I'm a fan of DEATH WISH, but obviously know Bernie Goetz is a piece of shit.

I'm fascinated by CRUISING, even if it has a complicated standing amongst Gay critics and the Queer community.

PARTING GLANCES is one of the great NY movies. I've championed it to you before. If I tend to watch FEAR CITY more often, it doesn't mean I don't have the right sympathies.

I dig movies about the urban experience / big city life partly because I spent a lot of my childhood in the rural South.

SHAFT. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE. THE LANDLORD. COTTON COMES TO HARLEM. ANNIE HALL. ARTHUR. THE LAST DRAGON. THE WARRIORS. THE WANDERERS. WILD STYLE. CHINA GIRL. THE GAMBLER. TIMES SQUARE. DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS. Warts and all, I dreamed of those worlds.

To put it another way, I like movies that take me outside my world but are still of my world if that makes sense.

(ughh. I used the word 'world' way too many times)

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#12
I've spoken dozens of times over the years about the Dirty Old New York  cinema experience in the B-Action Movie Thread here and on the old CHUD, and took it upon myself over the years to see every single example of the genre I could.  After going through hundreds of them, here's an admittedly rudimentary list of some of my favorites.

Of course, all the Allens, Scorseses, Pakulas, Pollacks and expected classics.

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE
GHOSTBUSTERS
KING OF NEW YORK
BAD LIEUTENANT
PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET
BLAST OF SILENCE
REPORT TO THE COMMISSIONER
LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR  
SMOKE and BLUE IN THE FACE
NY77: THE COOLEST YEAR IN HELL
DARK DAYS
80 BLOCKS FROM TIFFANYS
CAPTURED (2008)
BASQUIAT
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
THE SEVEN UPS
COONSKIN (aka STREET FIGHT)
THE WARRIORS
HELL UP IN HARLEM
LITTLE MURDERS
ARTHUR
THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK
LEGAL EAGLES (yeah, I said it)
JOE
NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER
MIDNIGHT COWBOY
RENT (yeah, I said it)
AN UNMARRIED WOMAN
CRUISING
THE NAKED CITY
SHAKEDOWN
THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR
SLIVER (yeah, I said it)
CARLITO'S WAY
THE FISHER KING
THE FRESHMAN
9 1/2 WEEKS
BLACK RAIN (the first act)
BLANK CITY

And this man's videos are fabulous.  (Follow the link to many more like it...)


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#13
I lived in Manhattan from Fall 1993 to Summer 1998.  The closest representation of the eastside hoods that I lived in was Matthew Harrison's Rhythm Thief.

I obtained a copy from one of the editors I think, or perhaps Kim's Video.

NYC was pretty gnarly when I first got there.  Times Square was gross but had some real weirdness too.  At the time there were still empty theaters and the marquees had Jenny Holzer's word art on them.  My fave was 'It is in your self interest to find a way to be very tender' as well as ... I don't even know, some black preachers pontificating who I never really identified (maybe the same group that picked a fight in DC last year).  And actual lepers on the 6 train asking for money.

I haven't seen all the films mentioned above and appreciate some of the inclusions, but don't forget the awful KIDS.  That movie happened in my New York.

[Image: find-a-way-to-be-very-tender-Jenny-Holzer.png]
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#14
Nice!  I was almost there at the same time for NYU back in 1991(*).  Didn't get back again regularly until 2002-2012, and haven't visited for fun since 2017.

(*) I was accepted to Tisch but couldn't come up with the tuition.  It was the single worst experience I'd ever had at the time.

Places I liked that have vanished...
KIM'S VIDEO (oh yes, loved it, especially the St. Marks location)
MOONDANCE DINER (of RENT and SPIDER-MAN fame)
CARNEGIE DELI (from BROADWAY DANNY ROSE)
THE CHELSEA HOTEL (when it was still openly weird)
ARTIE'S DELI up on Broadway
the JUNIOR'S under Grand Central Station
ROOSEVELT ISLAND (which is still there but isn't as weird as it used to be)
all the CHINATOWN VIDEO SHOPS
this one place in Chinatown with my favorite dumplings, right off Elizabeth
LIFE CAFE (from RENT)
the WHITE CASTLE that was across from the Empire State Building
that little diner at the base of the 39TH STREET BRIDGE with the toy tram that ran along the roof
the old CONEY ISLAND and SOUTH STREET SEAPORT before they were washed out
CBGB (only got inside once before they closed)

Places I'm happy are still around (as far as I know)...
The TICK-TOCK DINER
The BLUE NOTE (Saw Lalo Schifrin play there)
The STRAND BOOKSTORE
The LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP (from THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR)
The STATEN ISLAND FERRY
The TRAM ACROSS THE 39TH STREET BRIDGE

I really need to get back there for a weekend soon.
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#15
I lived in Queens from '79 thru mid '85 and remember several drives out to the filthy but exciting Times Square w/ my dad. Forever burned into my mind's eye are the majestic & towering CONAN THE BARBARIAN and RAGING BULL billboards during nighttime that we could see from several blocks away.

I also remember the 1st time I saw the VHS covers to MANIAC and Fulci's ZOMBIE at one of the video rental shops I'd pass by on the way to the military surplus/kung fu gear shop where I'd buy ninja stars and beginner nunchakus (and the knockoff Rambo survival knife after I saw FIRST BLOOD). My fragile little mind would never be the same after that.

When I saw the poster to Bill Lustig's VIGILANTE I was haunted for the longest time as I remember being freaked out by the TV commercial (that and DOCTOR BUTCHER M.D. for some weird ass reason).

The HBO movie THE GUARDIAN (starring Louis Gossett Jr and Martin Sheen) fucked me up as well as the laundry rape scene was pure nightmare fuel (esp. since there was a murder that had happened at the apartment complex next door in their laundry room next to the underground garage IIRC).
The most important thing in life is broads. Broads!
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#16
[Image: giphy.gif]

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS may be the best screenplay ever written, but being shot entirely on location in New York is absolutely key to the movie's visual endurance.  James Wong Howe is a damned legend.

We all know and love MEAN STREETS, but if you haven't seen GIRLFRIENDS, check it out. Its depiction of 70s New York feels so authentic it comes close to the quality of a home movie.
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#17
One of my favorites, that I'm hoping finally gets a nice release soon is Ivan Passer's BORN TO WIN.

Maybe George Segal's best performance - and that's sayin' something.

It's one of those movies where you're hangin' out with the beautiful losers of New York City.





"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#18
Lifelong NYer, but lived in Manhattan (East Village) after college from '96 - '01 before returning to the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, where I still am today). Times Square, while immeasurably safer in the post-Guiliani, post-Bloomberg era, is boring, Disneyfied tourist nonsense now. Easy Boone, I'm not advocating for going back to the "bad old days", but certainly a return to something less manufactured/pre-packaged would be nice.

I know we're talking classic NY-centric movies, but if none of you have watched the now-finished The Deuce series on HBO (from George Pelicanos and David Simon, both previously of The Wire and Treme), get on that. The series focuses on Times Square form 1974 through 1984 over three seasons, and features largely great writing/acting, particular from Maggie Gyllenhaal, who gives a fucking tremendous performance.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

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#19
I like how I can go out of my way to write something with nuance and detail that explains my position, and neil still decides it's fun to take shots at me.

Also, just in my humble, there are plenty of "less manufactured" places in and around Times Square. 54 Below, which is a cabaret in the classic style where Broadway performers often do solo shows, for example. Or one of our favorite karaoke places. Plenty of great, "authentic" restaurants that aren't part of a chain. I'd even say that Midtown Comics isn't particularly "pre-packaged." And that's not even getting into the wide variety of off-Broadway theaters that are routinely putting on new and engaging work from a diverse cohort of artists like Second Stage, Signature Center, Roundabout, Westside Theater, 47th Street Theater, etc. Or the fact that since they built the TKTS steps and Bloomberg helped transform Times Square into a pedestrian-only plaza, it's become one of the best places to sit and people watch in all of New York. You can't manufacture the reaction of tourists - particularly theater kids - seeing Times Square for the first time, and the way life-long NYrs like Neil are perpetually exhausted by trying to walk around them definitely isn't pre-packaged. Oh, and the protests around West Side Story right now? Real Disneyfied!

But that would require getting over the boring, cliched notion that Times Square and its environs are "boring, Disneyfied nonsense."
home taping is killing music
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#20
Easy, man, I don't think Neil was taking a shot at you. People can be playful, and still understand your viewpoint.

This is a Thread to celebrate the movies - and the city thru the years- to paraphrase Joey Ramone we don't want to fight tonight.

Boone: do u have some essential NY movies from your time period?

I can't remember if you've seen THE WACKNESS or not..

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#21
Can someone here please tell me the NYC movie of the woman who works the box office of a 42nd street porno theatre and becomes obsessed with a male customer? Very low budget, gritty ealry 80s film.

Someone in B Movie Thread a few years back recommended it and i watched it and loved it along with Night of the Juggler with James Brolin.
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#22
That was me:

VARIETY directed by Bette Gordon








"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#23
Yes! Thank you Elvis! That film rules.. Starting Driller Killer now, first time.

Fear City is on Mubi (unrated version), watched that for the first time last month.
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#24
If neil's intent was to be playful, it didn't come across.

THE WACKNESS is well before my time.

A lot of my favorite New York movies that have been made recently are period pieces - the aformentioned CAROL and BROOKLYN, I'd also add IN AMERICA, INSIDE LLEWELLYN DAVIS, and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR.

I also named a number of relevant titles earlier and throughout this thread, but I guess folks were too busy writing them off as "classic Boone."

When talking about NYC movies set in the 21st century, I think you have to at least start with Spike's 25TH HOUR and the Gerwig trilogy of FRANCES HA, MISTRESS AMERICA, and LADY BIRD (the end of it, anyway). Gun to my head, I'd say the best one after that is probably UNCUT GEMS.

There's a Josh Hartnett movie that is set in the months before 9/11 called AUGUST I like quite a bit, as it is laden with a kind of anticipation that has often been a hallmark of my time here - the sense that something is coming, even if you're not quite sure what.

Similarly, THE BIG SHORT and MARGIN CALL both capture that feeling in the fall of 2008 when it was entirely possible that everything might come apart.

HUSTLERS does a similar thing, but at a street level.

WHIPLASH illustrates how the city's sense of loneliness and isolation, even if you have a desire to connect, can fuel one's creative ambitions - and destruction.

MICHAEL CLAYTON is one of my favorites that uses the high and low of the city well - from the gambling dives to the wood-lined restaurants to the corporate boardrooms to the familiar samey-ness of conference centers. The scenes with Swinton discussing a potential assassination and Wilkinson overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of everything are great - and in neil's beloved Times Square, no less.

Mia Hansen Love's EDEN has a wonderful sequence in the middle of the picture where its protagonists go to New York for a gig, and I like how it has that feeling of being young and in the city, even when it's hot and without AC, and everything seems possible.

That said, I think as it became harder and harder to make mid-level movies for adults, some of the better NYC-centric stuff moved to TV. I'm not going to mention perhaps the most famous "New York Millennial show" because I don't want that fight, but JESSICA JONES was the best at the Marvel shows at showcasing a diversity of location and emotion. I'll also go to bat for the early seasons of GOSSIP GIRL - which didn't have to shoot in New York, but did anyway - which combined an acerbic wit with youthful optimism. There were some moments on that show that you could put among some of the best NYC movie/tv moments.

However, I'm at that stage in my living here where it's a completely different city in a lot of ways than it was when I first moved here, so obviously the next stage is to get all teary when I see it reflected back at me in the inevitable period pieces that are coming.

Can't wait for all of this to be mocked and misinterpreted because I had the audacity to name a soap opera there at the end!
home taping is killing music
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#25
(02-28-2020, 11:50 AM)Fat Elvis Wrote: One of my favorites, that I'm hoping finally gets a nice release soon is Ivan Passer's BORN TO WIN.

Maybe George Segal's best performance - and that's sayin' something.

It's one of those movies where you're hangin' out with the beautiful losers of New York City.
I watched BORN TO WIN on Amazon Prime just a few months ago. It was a lousy transfer, which felt oddly appropriate?

I thought TAXI DRIVER cornered the market on "NYC as Hell," but this movie makes a case also. Segal is amazing in it, too.
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#26
Boone, I love ya man, but you shouldn't take little nits on a message board personally. I don't feel like I was taking a shot at you, its how I communicate. No offense was meant. At all. Sorry you took it that way.

And I understand what you're getting at, but three of the biggest theaters in Times Square are currently owned by Disney and have Frozen, Lion King, and Aladdin on stage. That's my definition of "Disneyfied", and certainly sanitized from the previous incarnation that's being discussed here, for better or worse. And of course there are a ton of smaller theaters doing good work, but those are in abundance throughout Manhattan and even the outer boroughs, no need to go to Times Square. Same with restaurants. Look, maybe I'm biased, I don't generally like Times Square and look to avoid it when I can. Plenty of great theater and restaurants elsewhere.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

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#27
Yeah, the era that's being discussed here is also the era that gave us CATS, LES MISERABLES, and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA dominating Broadway. That's three overblown and bombastic adaptations (note: not original) of classic material that aren't particularly dark or edgy. One might even say that they, too, are "Disneyfied."

So let's not pretend that replacing those shows with FROZEN, LION KING, and ALADDIN are particularly different just because they all happen to be owned by the same parent company. Especially since - unlike those three shows during that time period - each one of those shows has made a conscious effort to offer a diverse and versatile cast of performers. They're not just doing a line-for-line remake.

Oh, and by the way, the theater the Lion King's in? It was previously the home of SUNSET BOULEVARD, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, and the Jim Steinman vampire musical.

The New Amsterdam, where Aladdin now is, was bought and renovated by Disney and has only played Disney theatrical shows, so I'll give you that one.

But the St. James, where Frozen now is? BARNUM, THE PRODUCERS, THE WHO'S TOMMY, THE SECRET GARDEN, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL, AMERICAN IDIOT, and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.

So it's unfair to say that Disney having productions in two of those three theaters is some big sign about how terrible and awful Times Square is when those three theaters have played tourist-friendly material for years.

Oh! And Scott Rudin has personally produced more Broadway shows than anyone else in the last two decades. He has four shows in this season alone. Last season he had seven. Seven. That's more than Disney has. Can we say Broadway has been "Rudin-ized?"

As the kids say, wowe, makes u think.
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#28
I'm not trying to shit on the type of theatrical productions you like, I just generally don't like that format. I don't know why that's a cheap or easy shot on you or your tastes. Its okay that I don't enjoy big, bombastic, or even tourist friendly attractions, and therefore don't particularly like modern-era Times Square. And its okay that you do. And I get that Times Square has always produced this format, I just feel that, whether my interpretation is correct or incorrect, there's more of them now.
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

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#29
I didn't say you were shitting on the form. I was just pointing out the flaws in your argument, which, despite a feeling, doesn't hold up to the facts.

Personally, I think it's as hard as anything to make a crowd-pleasing work of theater as it is a big Spielbergian blockbuster, so I've never understood it when people have no problem lauding the Beard or Marvel but have no problem taking a shot at Frozen or Moulin Rouge or Jagged Little Pill (especially in an environment when two of the most talked about productions this season have been a dark comedy about America's slave-holding past as seen through the lens of sexually explicit couples therapy and a two-part play about contemporary LGBT life).

And it's not like I'm saying that every attempt at making a crowd-pleaser from a pre-existing work is successful. I did see PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL, after all.
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#30
Characters breaking into song have generally been a deal-killer for me, takes me right out of the moment. So while I can appreciate the work, effort, craftsmanship, and artistry it may take to moment a big crowd-pleasing musical production, I ain't going.

But enough about my admittedly weird disconnect with nearly every musical I've ever sat through, how about The Deuce?
If you're happy, you're not paying attention.

Originally Posted by JacknifeJohnny: 
Glad that you guys worked that out amongst yourselves.

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#31
I wanna follow up on my recommendation of BORN TO WIN with another early George Segal film - to me he's as New York as Spike and Woody.

I couldn't find a trailer for the Sidney Lumet film BYE BYE BRAVERMAN, but here's a curio for those interested - an old AMC intro I'm guessing from the late 90's.




"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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#32
(02-27-2020, 05:49 PM)Mangy Wrote: KING OF NEW YORK is on there as well, and rewatching that recently was a revelation, and I was struck by how Walken's character casually interacts with the strata of NY society.

I threw this on late last nite after finally getting around to the QT Rewatchables episode on it. Supposedly the original cut was over 2 hours - I hope it sees the light of day sometime before I die!

This movie is a great example of my original point of how NYC at this time was on the outside a shining metropolis of the American dream, while inside black with disease. You see the Plaza looking like paradise; the dinner parties of the elite and sophisticates, yet mere blocks away there's the decimation and hopelessness of street life + the Crack epidemic.

The special thing about New York is, unlike any other city, cinematically you could make it any kind of character you wanted it to be - glamorous, frightening, funny, sad, tragic, or romantic. It could be any of those things singularly, or all of them all at once depending on the artist's vision and interpretation.

It's one city, yet think how different the world's of Woody Allen and Spike Lee appear to be. There's a big difference living in movie reality of PRETTY WOMAN rather than say Ken Russell's WHORE.

Ya don't get such a radical discrepancy with Atlanta and Chicago, or even Paris and LA.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
#33
New York in the 1980s was still very much trying to shake its rep from the 1970s. I'd argue that the "shining metropolis of the American dream" at that time was Los Angeles - look no further than Ronnie being a Californian. Put another way, you didn't have a NY equivalent of 90210 or PRETTY WOMAN. Even something like WORKING GIRL (a NY classic) was girded with an acknowledgement of the sleaze just underneath everything.

I don't think, at least culturally, it was until the second Giuliani term that NY replaced LA and returned to its status as the ne plus ultra American city.
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#34
When I was a kid growing up next door to a swamp, movies and TV were the escape. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was probably my first formative visual arts related look at New York City, likewise the classic days of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE! and LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. I'm sure I caught some NYC movies after that, but the two that affected me most were easily the back to back Ivan Reitman films GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) and LEGAL EAGLES (1986).

Everybody loves GHOSTBUSTERS, so 'nuff said. And here's what I said about LEGAL EAGLES here back in 2014...

"There's another Ivan Reitman film I'd love to see on blu-ray with bonus scenes, commentaries, deleted scenes. Never gonna happen, though, as I think I'm the only person around who actually likes it anymore. Even Debra Winger didn't like it. ''I'm glad that some people are enjoying it. But I was horrified to see it edited with a chainsaw. As a writer friend of mine said, 'Legal Eagles' is the kind of film that takes audiences and shakes them up until $6 falls out of their pockets. I felt like a slice of rye in a loaf of Wonder Bread.'' http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=...A960948260

As a kid, I found it to be a totally fun romantic comedy thriller in which the so-called adults act a lot like children (which is usually the case, as I see now as an adult), had awesome New York apartments, jobs and offices, slept with Daryl Hannahs in TriBeCa lofts, bantered back and forth in great locations while bathed in sweet Elmer Bernstein music and Laszlo Kovacs cinematography. Yes, the movie was cut to shreds and in fact you can see a lot of the deleted material in the closing credits. Yes, the film was originally going to be a buddy movie starring Bill Murray, Dustin Hoffman and Rae Dawn Chong. But you know what? It's silly and bland to many but I still dig it. I've even searched out shooting locations on the occasional NYC trip. And I still like Rod Stewart's "Love Touch." So sue me."

This was the NYC I wanted to live in and in a lot of ways still do, though now I have an appreication for the pre-1986 version, too. Now that it's finally come to blu-ray (https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Legal-Eag...68/#Review) I can finally have it in HD. I was hoping for more in the way of extras and all that deleted material that the film uses in its closing credits, but ah well.
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#35
Do you guys hate it when movies today try to pass off Toronto or Atlanta as New York? JOHN WICK faked it pretty well, but most of the time it takes me out. I imagine it has to be 1000x worse for u folks that live or have lived in the city. Like you guys know when they're fakin' the funk.

"Got concrete rhymes, been rappin' for ten years and

Even when I'm braggin', I'm bein' sincere"



"Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm bored and old"


"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





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