Just What is Apex Mountain: Rewatchables discussion thread

Remagellan

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Bill suggested that "Singles" was the first big soundtrack movie, which I guess could be true if one ignores Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Fast Times, Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, heck pretty much every 1980s movie aimed at young people who had been conditioned by MTV to require every montage or emotional beat of a movie to be scored by a pop song, and of course, the 1989 Batman movie, which one may remember, had a soundtrack provided by Prince.

His co-hosts must approach these moments like an improv exercise in which they just "yes, and" whatever ludicrous opinion he states.

"Chris, was Singles the first big soundtrack movie?"

"Yes, and let's together build the reality in which all of 1980s pop culture did not exist."
 

Bozo Texino

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Bill suggested that "Singles" was the first big soundtrack movie, which I guess could be true if one ignores Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Fast Times, Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, heck pretty much every 1980s movie aimed at young people who had been conditioned by MTV to require every montage or emotional beat of a movie to be scored by a pop song, and of course, the 1989 Batman movie, which one may remember, had a soundtrack provided by Prince.

His co-hosts must approach these moments like an improv exercise in which they just "yes, and" whatever ludicrous opinion he states.

"Chris, was Singles the first big soundtrack movie?"

"Yes, and let's together build the reality in which all of 1980s pop culture did not exist."
I think he corrected himself and eventually mentioned Saturday Night Fever.

Also, does Repo Man mean NOTHING to you?!
 

luckiestman

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Bill suggested that "Singles" was the first big soundtrack movie, which I guess could be true if one ignores Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Fast Times, Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, heck pretty much every 1980s movie aimed at young people who had been conditioned by MTV to require every montage or emotional beat of a movie to be scored by a pop song, and of course, the 1989 Batman movie, which one may remember, had a soundtrack provided by Prince.

His co-hosts must approach these moments like an improv exercise in which they just "yes, and" whatever ludicrous opinion he states.

"Chris, was Singles the first big soundtrack movie?"

"Yes, and let's together build the reality in which all of 1980s pop culture did not exist."

I’ve seen all those movies (most in the theatre)and the soundtracks are good but I thought they kind of meant the soundtrack as a musical event which to Lathan’s point, I think The Bodyguard is peak soundtrack and Prince with I would say Purple Rain over Batman, but I see your point with Prince. My view on it is when Bill asks these questions, I view it as him opening the dialogue not speaking definitively. He did, in fact, bring up Saturday Night Fever but at a different point. Going even further, it is almost if they were asking was the soundtrack, not just a big event, but a bigger event than the movie which I think is probably true in a way it isn’t for other well known soundtracks.
 

Leather

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Bill suggested that "Singles" was the first big soundtrack movie, which I guess could be true if one ignores Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Fast Times, Valley Girl, The Breakfast Club, Footloose, Pretty in Pink, heck pretty much every 1980s movie aimed at young people who had been conditioned by MTV to require every montage or emotional beat of a movie to be scored by a pop song, and of course, the 1989 Batman movie, which one may remember, had a soundtrack provided by Prince.

His co-hosts must approach these moments like an improv exercise in which they just "yes, and" whatever ludicrous opinion he states.

"Chris, was Singles the first big soundtrack movie?"

"Yes, and let's together build the reality in which all of 1980s pop culture did not exist."
The Big Chill, Grease… Not to mention fucking Top Gun.
 

Remagellan

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My list was not intended to be definitive, but I have to admit that it bothers me I left Purple Rain and The Big Chill off it, because those soundtracks were as big as it got in the 1980s. If you had cassettes, for sure you had those two in your collection.

The Wall is also a good call. I pulled Grease off the list to concentrate on the 80s films. (I've never seen Repo Man.)

But Saturday Night Fever is the godfather of all these. Like Singles, the soundtrack was released before the movie, and unquestionably its impact on the movie's success was greater than the movie's impact on its success.
 

luckiestman

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My list was not intended to be definitive, but I have to admit that it bothers me I left Purple Rain and The Big Chill off it, because those soundtracks were as big as it got in the 1980s. If you had cassettes, for sure you had those two in your collection.

The Wall is also a good call. I pulled Grease off the list to concentrate on the 80s films. (I've never seen Repo Man.)

But Saturday Night Fever is the godfather of all these. Like Singles, the soundtrack was released before the movie, and unquestionably its impact on the movie's success was greater than the movie's impact on its success.
See these great discussions we get to have because Bill asks great questions???
 

Leather

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My list was not intended to be definitive, but I have to admit that it bothers me I left Purple Rain and The Big Chill off it, because those soundtracks were as big as it got in the 1980s. If you had cassettes, for sure you had those two in your collection.

The Wall is also a good call. I pulled Grease off the list to concentrate on the 80s films. (I've never seen Repo Man.)

But Saturday Night Fever is the godfather of all these. Like Singles, the soundtrack was released before the movie, and unquestionably its impact on the movie's success was greater than the movie's impact on its success.
The Wall is not a soundtrack album. It was an album first, a movie made to fit the songs came later. Kind of like Tommy by the Who (which *had* an actual soundtrack album but nobody really cares about it anymore), or Quadrophenia by the Who, which *also* was an album turned into a movie, which *also* had a.... anyway. You get the idea. The worst of these albums-to-movies-to-soundtracks is almost certainly Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, an album and movie which sank an entire studio and bodyslammed the careers of the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton, all in one fell swoop. Really insanely bad.

Also: not to nitpick, but these go back even further. The Graduate soundtrack was massive, and if we're including "rock films" (which is sort of a sub category that would include Grease, and not really the same thing as a movie with a purely independent soundtrack), you'd have to include A Hard Day's Night (and Help) and all of Elvis' movie soundtracks like Jailhouse Rock.
 
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8slim

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The pinnacle of the soundtrack being bigger than the movie was Judgment Night. I'm not sure I've ever met someone who saw Judgement Night, but tons of people had the CD.
 

Shelterdog

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See these great discussions we get to have because Bill asks great questions???
Right--his deliberately provocative questions and focus on comedy make it a fun podcast that it appears we all listen to during cardio instead of being a perhaps more serious discussion of film. Which is not to say that Bill has better answers in mind when he asks the provocative question.
 

luckiestman

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The pinnacle of the soundtrack being bigger than the movie was Judgment Night. I'm not sure I've ever met someone who saw Judgement Night, but tons of people had the CD.
This is true and was one of the episodes on the Klosterman/Ryan pod ‘Music Exists’
 

The Filthy One

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I haven't finished the Singles podcast yet, but I hope for what's aged the worst they cover Cameron Crowe's IMDB. After Singles, he makes Jerry Maguire, which is a massively successful if flawed movie and then Almost Famous - a critically successful if flawed movie (and Simmons' favorite movie of the 90s if I'm remembering correctly). Then he goes on his epic run of Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo, and Aloha. What the fuck happened? Elizabethtown might be the worst movie I've ever seen.
 

cromulence

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Abre Los Ojos is obviously better, but whatever, I still like Vanilla Sky. After that, though, that's a pretty rough list.
 

Marciano490

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Yeah I’m also a fan of Vanilla Sky, though it was pretty critically unpopular. How many screenwriters ever have 2-3 decades of success?
 

Bozo Texino

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I haven't finished the Singles podcast yet, but I hope for what's aged the worst they cover Cameron Crowe's IMDB. After Singles, he makes Jerry Maguire, which is a massively successful if flawed movie and then Almost Famous - a critically successful if flawed movie (and Simmons' favorite movie of the 90s if I'm remembering correctly). Then he goes on his epic run of Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo, and Aloha. What the fuck happened? Elizabethtown might be the worst movie I've ever seen.
They definitely get into his slide, yes. I don't think it's part of the "what's aged the worst?" conversation, but they do discuss it.

Either way, the man gets a lifetime pass from me for writing Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
 

Leather

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I haven't finished the Singles podcast yet, but I hope for what's aged the worst they cover Cameron Crowe's IMDB. After Singles, he makes Jerry Maguire, which is a massively successful if flawed movie and then Almost Famous - a critically successful if flawed movie (and Simmons' favorite movie of the 90s if I'm remembering correctly). Then he goes on his epic run of Vanilla Sky, Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo, and Aloha. What the fuck happened? Elizabethtown might be the worst movie I've ever seen.
My thing with Cameron Crowe is that he takes complicated, dark, shit and turned into sweet fantasy in a way that almost seems dishonest, because it's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist who is clearly (if not explicitly) a Crowe stand-in.

Say Anything? Cute and impossibly sweet kid saves innocent girl from an unfairly restricted life...brought about by her only parent, her father, going to fucking jail for embezzling old people (or something similar). That's not a nice story! That's a lifetime in therapy and no *ding* of an airplane seatbelt sign will change that!

Jerry McGuire? Cute and impossibly sweet guy saves a single mom and her adorable kid... by marrying her despite not loving her because she helps him in his desperate effort to exploit, *cough*, "help" a "difficult" black football player's own financial desperation for his own gain (almost getting him paralyzed in the process)!

Almost Famous? Cute and impossibly sweet kid navigates the world of 70's rock and roll, including encounters with underage groupies and known drug addicts and a band that openly seeks to exploit him (a 15 year old!), including a scene played for "awww"s where the lead female character suffers an overdose. but it all ends swell because isn't rock great?

And those are some of his *good* movies! I really like Almost Famous! And Jerry McGuire! But it's honey-tinged, feel-good, nonsense once you peel it back a bit.
 
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The Filthy One

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My thing with Cameron Crowe is that he takes complicated, dark, shit and turned into sweet fantasy in a way that almost seems dishonest, because it's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist who is clearly (if not explicitly) a Crowe stand-in.

Say Anything? Cute and impossibly sweet kid saves innocent girl from an unfairly restricted life...brought about by her only parent, her father, going to fucking jail for embezzling old people (or something similar). That's not a nice story! That's a lifetime in therapy and no *ding* of an airplane seatbelt sign will change that!

Jerry McGuire? Cute and impossibly sweet guy saves a single mom and her adorable kid... by marrying her despite not loving her because she helps him in his desperate effort to exploit, *cough*, "help" a "difficult" black football player's own financial desperation for his own gain (almost getting him paralyzed in the process)!

Almost Famous? Cute and impossibly sweet kid navigates the world of 70's rock and roll, including encounters with underage groupies and known drug addicts and a band that openly seeks to exploit him (a 15 year old!), including a scene played for "awww"s where the lead female character suffers an overdose. but it all ends swell because isn't rock great?

And those are some of his *good* movies! I really like Almost Famous! And Jerry McGuire! But it's honey-tinged, feel-good, nonsense once you peel it back a bit.
100%. The ending of Jerry Maguire, while romantic, has always felt dishonest to me. There's a semi-satisfying reading of it where Jerry is basically a psychopath who has figured out how to "sell" his wife the way he can athletes and general managers, etc. Also, my previous post also sent me down a rabbit hole and I had somehow forgotten that Elizabethtown (or a review of it) was the origin of the term "manic pixie dream girl." Just an all-time disaster of a movie.
 

Spelunker

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Yeah I’m also a fan of Vanilla Sky, though it was pretty critically unpopular. How many screenwriters ever have 2-3 decades of success?
Yeah, I include Vanilla Sky as part of his run, and then it goes downhill.

FWIW, Ebert liked it.

edit: Aloha might be the worst movie ever made.
 

Marciano490

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My thing with Cameron Crowe is that he takes complicated, dark, shit and turned into sweet fantasy in a way that almost seems dishonest, because it's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist who is clearly (if not explicitly) a Crowe stand-in.

Say Anything? Cute and impossibly sweet kid saves innocent girl from an unfairly restricted life...brought about by her only parent, her father, going to fucking jail for embezzling old people (or something similar). That's not a nice story! That's a lifetime in therapy and no *ding* of an airplane seatbelt sign will change that!

Jerry McGuire? Cute and impossibly sweet guy saves a single mom and her adorable kid... by marrying her despite not loving her because she helps him in his desperate effort to exploit, *cough*, "help" a "difficult" black football player's own financial desperation for his own gain (almost getting him paralyzed in the process)!

Almost Famous? Cute and impossibly sweet kid navigates the world of 70's rock and roll, including encounters with underage groupies and known drug addicts and a band that openly seeks to exploit him (a 15 year old!), including a scene played for "awww"s where the lead female character suffers an overdose. but it all ends swell because isn't rock great?

And those are some of his *good* movies! I really like Almost Famous! And Jerry McGuire! But it's honey-tinged, feel-good, nonsense once you peel it back a bit.
This all rings true, but can likely be said about a large percentage of Hollywood movies.
 

johnmd20

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Yeah, I include Vanilla Sky as part of his run, and then it goes downhill.

FWIW, Ebert liked it.

edit: Aloha might be the worst movie ever made.
Aloha can't be, only because that honor goes to Elizabethtown, which is truly shocking in how terrible it is.

Aloha is bad, tho. It's really bad. But E Town is just a mess in every way. E Town is my least favorite movie of all time. I have never been more disappointed at a movie.
 

Bozo Texino

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My thing with Cameron Crowe is that he takes complicated, dark, shit and turned into sweet fantasy in a way that almost seems dishonest, because it's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist who is clearly (if not explicitly) a Crowe stand-in.

Say Anything? Cute and impossibly sweet kid saves innocent girl from an unfairly restricted life...brought about by her only parent, her father, going to fucking jail for embezzling old people (or something similar). That's not a nice story! That's a lifetime in therapy and no *ding* of an airplane seatbelt sign will change that!

Jerry McGuire? Cute and impossibly sweet guy saves a single mom and her adorable kid... by marrying her despite not loving her because she helps him in his desperate effort to exploit, *cough*, "help" a "difficult" black football player's own financial desperation for his own gain (almost getting him paralyzed in the process)!

Almost Famous? Cute and impossibly sweet kid navigates the world of 70's rock and roll, including encounters with underage groupies and known drug addicts and a band that openly seeks to exploit him (a 15 year old!), including a scene played for "awww"s where the lead female character suffers an overdose. but it all ends swell because isn't rock great?

And those are some of his *good* movies! I really like Almost Famous! And Jerry McGuire! But it's honey-tinged, feel-good, nonsense once you peel it back a bit.
This is all outstanding stuff.
 

Bozo Texino

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Aloha can't be, only because that honor goes to Elizabethtown, which is truly shocking in how terrible it is.

Aloha is bad, tho. It's really bad. But E Town is just a mess in every way. E Town is my least favorite movie of all time. I have never been more disappointed at a movie.
I dunno. Aloha features Emma Stone playing a character by the name of ALLISON NG.

That's really something. And Crowe wrote the screenplay - so why make the character AAPI if you just planned on casting a white lady? So odd.
 

The Filthy One

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Aloha can't be, only because that honor goes to Elizabethtown, which is truly shocking in how terrible it is.

Aloha is bad, tho. It's really bad. But E Town is just a mess in every way. E Town is my least favorite movie of all time. I have never been more disappointed at a movie.
It's a perverse sort of triumph to have two movies for which people can make credible arguments of being the worst of all time. And to have them after a track record of making good movies that some people absolutely love.
 

jezza1918

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Aloha can't be, only because that honor goes to Elizabethtown, which is truly shocking in how terrible it is.

Aloha is bad, tho. It's really bad. But E Town is just a mess in every way. E Town is my least favorite movie of all time. I have never been more disappointed at a movie.
Agreed. I also think it was a bit of an expectations thing...E Town came on the heels of a pretty amazing run, and I think it was somewhat shocking just how bad it turned out to be. By the time Aloha came around, was anyone that surprised?
Just dont shit on Pearl Jam Twenty please and thank you.
 

johnmd20

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I dunno. Aloha features Emma Stone playing a character by the name of ALLISON NG.

That's really something. And Crowe wrote the screenplay - so why make the character AAPI if you just planned on casting a white lady? So odd.
I do know. E Town is tragically bad. But I'm not here defending Aloha. This is basically picking Ebola over Small Pox.
 

Hoya81

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Yeah I’m also a fan of Vanilla Sky, though it was pretty critically unpopular. How many screenwriters ever have 2-3 decades of success?
It can be difficult to assess screenwriters this way given the nature of the business. Such a low percentage of scripts get made thats inevitable that eventually they'll take work just to get a paying gig. Goldman has some great stories about this in his screenwriting books.
 

luckiestman

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Of the list Say Anything, Singles, Jerry McGuire, Vanilla Sky, I only really like Vanilla Sky. The others are not bad but not very rewatchable for me. I, like Klosterman, prefer Reality Bites to Singles but I don’t love that movie either. I like Slacker way way more than either of those.

I saw Elizabethtown* but I hardly remember it. I do remember now that Orlando Bloom has aspirational hair in that movie. I was very close once before cutting and am currently going for it again.


*had to Google it because I was thinking you guys were talking about Garden State (faulty memory) with Natalie Portman and couldn’t figure out what was so terrible about it.
 

luckiestman

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My thing with Cameron Crowe is that he takes complicated, dark, shit and turned into sweet fantasy in a way that almost seems dishonest, because it's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist who is clearly (if not explicitly) a Crowe stand-in.

Say Anything? Cute and impossibly sweet kid saves innocent girl from an unfairly restricted life...brought about by her only parent, her father, going to fucking jail for embezzling old people (or something similar). That's not a nice story! That's a lifetime in therapy and no *ding* of an airplane seatbelt sign will change that!

Jerry McGuire? Cute and impossibly sweet guy saves a single mom and her adorable kid... by marrying her despite not loving her because she helps him in his desperate effort to exploit, *cough*, "help" a "difficult" black football player's own financial desperation for his own gain (almost getting him paralyzed in the process)!

Almost Famous? Cute and impossibly sweet kid navigates the world of 70's rock and roll, including encounters with underage groupies and known drug addicts and a band that openly seeks to exploit him (a 15 year old!), including a scene played for "awww"s where the lead female character suffers an overdose. but it all ends swell because isn't rock great?

And those are some of his *good* movies! I really like Almost Famous! And Jerry McGuire! But it's honey-tinged, feel-good, nonsense once you peel it back a bit.

I think this captures why I don’t like these movies that much and I never even thought of it this way, just my reaction to them. I will rewatch so many movies that many would consider worse because I like certain characters and you kind of nailed why I don’t care about these movies better than I ever had.
 

Leather

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Of the list Say Anything, Singles, Jerry McGuire, Vanilla Sky, I only really like Vanilla Sky. The others are not bad but not very rewatchable for me. I, like Klosterman, prefer Reality Bites to Singles but I don’t love that movie either. I like Slacker way way more than either of those.

I saw Elizabethtown* but I hardly remember it. I do remember now that Orlando Bloom has aspirational hair in that movie. I was very close once before cutting and am currently going for it again.


*had to Google it because I was thinking you guys were talking about Garden State (faulty memory) with Natalie Portman and couldn’t figure out what was so terrible about it.
Yeah, I finally finished the Singles pod and also agree with Klosterman re: Singles being basically a movie about people in their late 20s in the early 90s that ultimately could have been set in any US city, and the movie is more notable more for it's soundtrack and musician cameos than the actual plot. It also could have taken place in 1984 Minneapolis with the Replacements and Husker Du or 1995 Long Beach with Sublime and No Doubt with only a few minor adjustments. The characters and general plot could have been almost identical, even if its legacy wouldn't have been as notable.

Reality Bites isn't a great movie but I feel like the characters and their (sometimes ridiculous, especially from the perspective of a 40 something, but in a way that's what makes it ring somewhat true) outlooks are more representative of the early 90s, and more true to actually being 22-23 and having no fucking clue which way is up or what the *right* thing to do is once you get spit out of the structured environment of college and into the world for the first time. It makes total sense that Winona Ryder ends up with the cute asshole and rejects an opportunity to make some money because it would be "selling out", a decision that the viewer can look at and realize she will probably regret in 5 years. Sometimes young people make the "wrong" choices for reasons that seem important at the time but maybe really aren't! Singles (and Crowe) doesn't really want to get into that. It treats "selling out" as a punchline; the one guy who's worried about it is patently ridiculous (the Matt Dillon character). Well, of course Cameron Crowe would think the idea of being concerned about "selling out" is silly; he's a major movie director! But to young people in 1992, 1993...it was a big deal, rightly or wrongly.
 
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Remagellan

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I never made the connection between Singles and Friends, but it occurred to me that the creators of Friends were lucky that Crowe passed on them developing the show off the movie, because if they had, while it may or may not have run for as long as Friends did, for certain it would not have had the lucrative afterlife on streaming that show has had, as a show set in 90s Seattle would almost certainly have had cultural signifiers (music, fashion) that would have tied it more to the times and made it seem dated to contemporary audiences. The notion of young people trying to make it in NYC is evergreen; I'm not sure if a show that might have leaned more into the cultural moment Seattle was having in the early 90s would have been so.
 

DJnVa

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Add me to the list of "people who have seen SPR 10+ times but learned today from Shelterdog that there are two different bald Germans in the movie." Holy shit does that detail make zero sense.
Maybe this should go in the "Things I Learned Today" thread, but I never thought that was the same guy. And while I haven't watched this film with tons of folks I never heard them mention it.

Steamboat Willie:
55553

Waffen SS:
55554

I mean, do all Germans look alike?


pauses, turns his head around for no reason except (apparently) so the viewer can get a close look at him
His turns his head when he's leaving the building, looking both ways, then BACK at the dude with the weapon behind him. I mean, I guess it could be superfluous but since I never thought about it being Steamboat Willie, I never questioned it.
 
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riboflav

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I'm not a huge Nirvana fan, but I think the thing with Kurt wasn't that he hated the idea of being popular, or even that he hated popular musicians. I mean, yes, he loved the Melvins and Vaselines, but he also loved The Beatles, Neil Young, and Bowie for Christ's sake. What he hated was the amorphous idea of using being popular to push phony bullshit, which is why he openly feuded with Guns N Roses (mainly Axl), whom he thought were basically bloated jokes by the early 90s. And as Nirvana blew up, and the musical subgenre he was the figurehead for became more and more commercialized and diluted into something that approached phony bullshit, it gnawed at him. Frankly, doing an acoustic concert where he could play some of the songs that were at the foundation of what he was going for with Nirvana was probably, in his mind, the least "sell out" thing he could possibly do at the time. It was bringing his music away from the commercialized version of "Grunge" that had taken over America by 1993 and back to its fundamentals. "Here" he was almost saying, "stop listening to this music I wrote because it's popular, listen to what the song actually is without all that extraneous shit laid on top of it."

Anyway, so it doesn't surprise me that he wouldn't want to be in a Hollywood production about Seattle as a background to some rom-com story, which is probably how he viewed the proposition.
I think you have it pretty much right here. Having been a big Nirvana fan for many years, I'll say this:

Kurt primarily wanted to be number one because it was A. validating to him as a human with an ego and as a musician. Who wouldn't want that? 2. validating that he was calling out the bullshit of the 1980s mainstream scene and especially its music and what it had become. You're correct that I think for him that GnR reached an inflection point for him in that it was a band he originally admired but then got too happy and fat on its success and sold out ( which was a big 90s no no). So then when he saw his band diving down this same path and that path, as he felt, was largely being controlled by the music media and Geffen Records, he became very angry (more than just over his parents' divorce). So, then he comes out purposely with In Utero which was a much more "unlistenable" album than Nevermind for the reason that he was angsty about his position as the de facto head of all this. I think he was genuinely conflicted. He wanted to be validated that he was perhaps the leader of a new movement of mainstream rock away from what he saw as the bullshit of what the 80s rock scene had become, but also craved the validation that he was the one leading it without actually leading it. I think he was very genuinely uncomfortable with his success and his fame, even though he wanted the acknowdlment that what he was doing was better than what rock was doing before he arrived on the scene.
 

Leather

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That all makes sense to me. I wonder, also, how much being in a band, as opposed to being a solo artist, conflicted him. Dave is a household name now but during their run, Kurt effectively was synonymous with Nirvana, and vice versa, but he still had to consider what the other guys wanted/needed out of their newfound success. It’s almost like he had the worst of both worlds: all the pressure and scrutiny of a solo artist but with none of the autonomy to be able to say “You know what, fuck this” in the way someone like Neil Young or Bowie could do in the 70s (obviously the record industry has morphed negatively in such a way that would make it harder to do in 1993 as well).
 

Marciano490

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I think you have it pretty much right here. Having been a big Nirvana fan for many years, I'll say this:

Kurt primarily wanted to be number one because it was A. validating to him as a human with an ego and as a musician. Who wouldn't want that? 2. validating that he was calling out the bullshit of the 1980s mainstream scene and especially its music and what it had become. You're correct that I think for him that GnR reached an inflection point for him in that it was a band he originally admired but then got too happy and fat on its success and sold out ( which was a big 90s no no). So then when he saw his band diving down this same path and that path, as he felt, was largely being controlled by the music media and Geffen Records, he became very angry (more than just over his parents' divorce). So, then he comes out purposely with In Utero which was a much more "unlistenable" album than Nevermind for the reason that he was angsty about his position as the de facto head of all this. I think he was genuinely conflicted. He wanted to be validated that he was perhaps the leader of a new movement of mainstream rock away from what he saw as the bullshit of what the 80s rock scene had become, but also craved the validation that he was the one leading it without actually leading it. I think he was very genuinely uncomfortable with his success and his fame, even though he wanted the acknowdlment that what he was doing was better than what rock was doing before he arrived on the scene.
What did he find sell out-y about GnR? Obviously they were huge, but their music and style and behavior didn’t seem to change much over their career, unless I missed things.
 

riboflav

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That all makes sense to me. I wonder, also, how much being in a band, as opposed to being a solo artist, conflicted him. Dave is a household name now but during their run, Kurt effectively was synonymous with Nirvana, and vice versa, but he still had to consider what the other guys wanted/needed out of their newfound success. It’s almost like he had the worst of both worlds: all the pressure and scrutiny of a solo artist but with none of the autonomy to be able to say “You know what, fuck this” in the way someone like Neil Young or Bowie could do in the 70s (obviously the record industry has morphed negatively in such a way that would make it harder to do in 1993 as well).
This is a very insightful post, especially the bolded, that I want to acknowledge. And I will respond to it hopefully tomorrow when I'm less tired and more clear-headed. So it's sort of a placeholder for me and I want to give it its proper consideration. There honestly should be a Nirvana or Kurt thread on SoSH considering how most of us here grew up with his music at least on in the background.
 

jmcc5400

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This is a very insightful post, especially the bolded, that I want to acknowledge. And I will respond to it hopefully tomorrow when I'm less tired and more clear-headed. So it's sort of a placeholder for me and I want to give it its proper consideration. There honestly should be a Nirvana or Kurt thread on SoSH considering how most of us here grew up with his music at least on in the background.
I think you guys would be interested in this, in particular what Krist says about Kurt’s contradictions about popularity. He refers to him as a “windmill” on the subject (I think he meant a weathervane - constantly pointing in different directions). One moving detail for me is Krist recounting how for years every time he passed a pawn shop he’d peer in for a left-handed guitar “for Kurt.”

View: https://youtu.be/tbrXN7x623U
 

riboflav

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What did he find sell out-y about GnR? Obviously they were huge, but their music and style and behavior didn’t seem to change much over their career, unless I missed things.
That is a good point you raise and one I've struggled with since I read it a couple hours ago. Kurt was always, really always, mistrustful of musicians who came up through the 1980s and reached stardom before he did. That doesn't mean he didn't have affinity for certain musicians of that era. He loved Freddie Mercury for example. He mentioned Freddie in his suicide note... and Courtney when reading it aloud in Seattle after his death, chastised him for not just saying fuck it and being more like Freddie. So what I know based on his interviews and the biographies is that Kurt would tell GnR I love your band but hate your frontman (they both grew up very similarly and were often compared to each other) and would tell Pearl Jam, or Eddie, I like Eddie but hate his band. The commonality seemed to be that the musicians he admonished were those who used hairspray and tried to fit into the the 80s scene visually (Kurt also dragged AiC for a couple years for the same reason). In PJ's case, Jeff and Stone looked and acted like hair band bros before meeting Eddie and forming PJ. So with GnR Kurt really dug Duff. Duff was Seattle (also the last musician Kurt saw before he died- a story to be told later though it's pretty well-known by now). But Kurt was like I'm ok with GnR to a point but then they released the double album, a big 70s/80s thing to do one week before that Nevermind was released. And Kurt took this as nah I was wrong about GnR. It wasn't just that their frontman is a phony the whole band is. I think he liked the core of GnR, they were different than the other hairbands of the 80s and he got that. But, he hated being compared to Axl.
 
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riboflav

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I think you guys would be interested in this, in particular what Krist says about Kurt’s contradictions about popularity. He refers to him as a “windmill” on the subject (I think he meant a weathervane - constantly pointing in different directions). One moving detail for me is Krist recounting how for years every time he passed a pawn shop he’d peer in for a left-handed guitar “for Kurt.”

View: https://youtu.be/tbrXN7x623U
Jesus thank you and curse you. Now gonna have to stay up another hour.
 

riboflav

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I’m only 15 minutes in but you can already see Krist needling Kim about being pure musically and Kim acting defensively “we weren’t Soundgarden yet.” This was the zeitgeist of 90s rock.
 

riboflav

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And Krist looking appalled when he was asked if Nirvana did covers when starting out. Haha so 90s
 

Marciano490

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I just remembered Axl said something pretty brutal - but perhaps not unfair - about Courtney taking heroin when pregnant with Frances Bean. I’m not sure where that fits in with the rivalry/GnR hatred timeline.

That selling out shit was so tiresome in the 90s. Always thought hip hop guys must’ve been cracking up at the alternative and punk guys -you guys are doing it wrong, the more we brag about our money, the more our fans love us.
 

ManicCompression

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That selling out shit was so tiresome in the 90s. Always thought hip hop guys must’ve been cracking up at the alternative and punk guys -you guys are doing it wrong, the more we brag about our money, the more our fans love us.
But there was also an entire part of the hip hop community that refuted the commercialization of the music and poked fun at the "sellouts" in the genre in the 90s. And these were popular groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Wu Tang, etc. The list is pretty extensive. For whatever reason in the early to mid 90s, it wasn't cool to follow the directives of a label regardless of rock or hip hop.

I suppose it depends on your definition of "selling out" but to me it always meant where are you starting from with your art? Are you trying to create something original and new that you love, or are you just trying to guess at what an audience wants? The former leads to hugely successful bands/films/TV/books etc. that start trends while the latter may lead to some success, but it's not sustainable and it kills trends.

My fave example of the difference here is from Some Kind of Monster - later era Metallica doing a track with Swizz Beatz and creating what may be considered one of the worst songs of all time: View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIf1uMZ7WRw

Metallica clearly doesn't give a shit about this song - they're not even in the room with Swizz Beatz - and Swizz Beatz/Ja don't appear to be taking it very seriously. Everyone is working under the assumption "Rap Rock is popular now, so let's make a rap rock song and it'll be popular no matter what it sounds like." No, it sucks, no one liked it because the artists didn't even like it. That's selling out and it sucks. I'm sure the opposite was true when early Metallica was recording Master of Puppets, the thing that made them extremely popular in the first place.

I kind of liked that this was a value and I think it shows up now - when selling out is a virtue - in the fairly boring and uninteresting pop culture that we have currently (obviously some may disagree with that statement). IMO, you can tell when something starts from "What are the analytics telling us to do?" vs. "What do we think we should do?"
 

jon abbey

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For whatever reason in the early to mid 90s, it wasn't cool to follow the directives of a label regardless of rock or hip hop.
This has always been the case, and 'for whatever reason' is that labels tend to subtract creative value from recordings, rather than add it. A great label/producer can definitely add focus to a release, but great labels/producers are few and far between, in every area of music and in every era.
 

Leather

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This has always been the case, and 'for whatever reason' is that labels tend to subtract creative value from recordings, rather than add it. A great label/producer can definitely add focus to a release, but great labels/producers are few and far between, in every area of music and in every era.
I mean, Butch Vig was/is a pretty good producer. I think the issue is that bands are totally at the mercy of the label in terms of having to have singles, etc… as judged bywhat are essentially business people. And that’s far truue for artists on their first contract where they are often literally indebted to the label for the recording costs of their first album. Once you conclude that first contract, you have a lot more leverage.
 

jon abbey

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I mean, Butch Vig was/is a pretty good producer. I think the issue is that bands are totally at the mercy of the label in terms of having to have singles, etc… as judged bywhat are essentially business people. And that’s far truue for artists on their first contract where they are often literally indebted to the label for the recording costs of their first album. Once you conclude that first contract, you have a lot more leverage.
My statement was more general but applies more to rap than grunge (which I lived through and almost completely ignored). For instance, UGK had one of their songs bleeped on the album (Ain't That A Bitch) because the daughter of one of the record executives didn't like it, even though there are about a billion more objectionable things in their lyrics and of course that was all very obvious before the label signed them.
 

Leather

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My statement was more general but applies more to rap than grunge (which I lived through and almost completely ignored). For instance, UGK had one of their songs bleeped on the album (Ain't That A Bitch) because the daughter of one of the record executives didn't like it, even though there are about a billion more objectionable things in their lyrics and of course that was all very obvious before the label signed them.
Ah. Yes. Yeah that must have been incredibly frustrating. Jive records? Adding insult to injury is a white South African label owner telling black artists what to do.
 

jon abbey

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Ah. Yes. Yeah that must have been incredibly frustrating. Jive records? Adding insult to injury is a white South African label owner telling black artists what to do.
Yep, Jive. I interacted some with their jazz division back then (as a reporter/researcher at Time) and they seemed to mostly be suits who knew little about music.