A Matter of Life and Death (Commissioned)

JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
You know, this movie does have 3rd act problems. I guess I never noticed them, as if the movie that has you asking questions like "does the French Revolution angel smell like fried onions?" is like "We don't give a fuck... if you don't like our afterlife trial." When I first saw this movie I was so blown away by what Jim called the preachiness, which definitely is preachy on the face of it — I was just like, "Holy shit, people don't even change after they die!" Why was I assuming they did? The afterlife has got to be a nightmare. I had never seen that before and I wanted to entertain that proposition. A fucking segregated afterlife. What the fuck. Black people don't even show up until they mention how crazy American music sounds, then there they are... all men... all poorly dressed...

  • I loved Jim's take on the movie being actually about a dying man coming to grips with his xenophobia. I was laughing so hard. My own take on the movie: I actually wouldn't like it if I didn't think all the fantastical stuff was real, and so I think it's real. 
  • There is a definite answer about whether Peter knows about Frank's death.
  • When Aron was questioning my enjoyment of their criticism of the movie, and Jim was like, "We're going to have a little more fun. What if he's a pedophile?" I was in the process of taking a bite of Chipotle but that didn't happen. I'm glad Jim said that because I knew he would point out the naked kid and would have been disappointed if I were wrong.
  • I've seen this movie about 6 times now? During the most recent viewing (and damn, the Criterion version is night and day better quality) I noticed something else about Peter walking on the beach. He thinks he's dead, which you deduce because of how he's acting and just after this moment he sees a dog and remarks that he's glad dogs are in the afterlife. And he sees a "No trespassing" sign or something, and he totally just abides by it. Puzzled, but changes course. Which, yeah, that's what I would do too... it kills me, because I've been known to disobey trespassing signs when there's nothing wrong, much less having just had a serious accident.
  • The chess/death thing predates The Seventh Seal. I wonder where that whole concept started? Because I always thought it was The Seventh Seal. 
  • So a lot was said in the podcast about why heaven would have XYZ: would allow lying, would admit to injustice, whatever. Just pointing out that this is not heaven, and the movie makes a note of that at the beginning. Also the word "heaven" is never mentioned. I guess I acknowledge the Christian influence, with the wings, but I believe that's where the influence stops. Even the angel is called a "conductor" the whole time, IIRC. Minor point.
  • Yeah, isn't it amazing how much that opening scene accomplishes with the June/Peter relationship? I'm always so impressed by it. I don't know how they did it, but they did it. I think a lot of it is acting, because I feel like the writing is only doing so much work...  in fact, the writing is a lot of nothing, chit-chat, which is a writing choice but relies on the acting so strongly. As I said in my one-word review: Confident.
  • I do find it touching how the anti-British jury (of nations they'd conquered) resembles the "fair" American jury. It strokes my American ego a bit.
  • I'm glad the fellas appreciated the courtroom/galaxy fade out. 
  • I love the detail when Peter first sees June bicycling on the beach and he runs up to her, and they go to kiss and she drops the bike but they both catch it. Things like that in this movie feel very forward-thinking. It's something I'd accept in 70s movies, those messy details that make things realistic, but the movies I've seen pre-70s seem too efficient and focused and "written" to consider it.
  • This part of the review, said by Aron: "Like nothing is stronger in the universe than law, but on earth it's love, but they're in the universe so law should be stronger, but love, earthly love breaks the escalator?" Take more of my money. Aron, I feel bad your brain even had to do that because I really don't think there's any water in that well. But it was funny to hear you looking.
  • I hesitate to praise honesty when people whose criticism I am entertained by are expressing negative opinions because I don't want them to turn into Simon Cowell, but Jim was great.

I guess if I had one thing to change about this movie, it would be the escalator stopping because of some kind of love magnet. Maybe they should have explored other possibilities, like for instance Peter becoming unfrozen? Maybe the filmmakers liked the feel of her running to him. It does feel nice. It's nice that the woman gets a little agency too. But the argument didn't seem like it'd been finished yet, and you never want to feel like your protagonists lucked into their happy ending. The question was, does she love him enough to die for him, and wasn't that being answered in that moment? But the escalator stopped, so fuck it. Don't even ask why. It was love that stopped it, shit.

Amazing cast, thank you to Jim and Aron! I liked Jim's scornful "safe" re: All Good Things, lol. 

KingKobraJimMurderbearFreddy

Comments

  • Really glad you enjoyed the podcast, Jaimie.  I went in expecting to be bored to tears and ended up pleasantly surprised.  That's all I can really ask from a 70yo movie.  Good pick!
    JaimieT
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    Yup, it's always nice to hear that someone enjoyed the services they paid for. It's a remarkable film worth it for the visuals alone! 
    JaimieTFreddy
  • I enjoyed the cast, thank you for the commission @JaimieT I’ve added this to my Criterion wishlist for the next 50% sale. 
    JaimieT
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Thanks for commission! Pleasant surprise.
    JaimieT
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Yup, it's always nice to hear that someone enjoyed the services they paid for. It's a remarkable film worth it for the visuals alone! 
    I've listened to the Heat podcast at least 3 times now, and will probably throw it on every time I watch the movie. Gift that keeps on giving.
  • JaimieTJaimieT Atlanta, GA
    Freddy said:
    Thanks for commission! Pleasant surprise.

    Have you seen it? 
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    i’ve never heard of this film but sounds interesting. will watch sooner than later, then will check out the podcast. 

    i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again.. the commissioned podcasts are my favorite (aside from lunch) and what hooked me to BM. Point Break, Wily Wonka, Goonies and Loat Boys are among my favorites. 
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    edited September 12
    JaimieT said:
    Freddy said:
    Thanks for commission! Pleasant surprise.

    Have you seen it? 
    Sure haven't. One of those weirdos who listens to podcasts for stuff I haven't seen yet or don't watch (I was one of the Walking Dead listeners that had long stopped watching the show). I did watch a few minutes on youtube just to see the style and art tone. Its on my list now.
    JaimieT
  • FreddyFreddy Denton, Texas
    Chinaski said:
    i’ve never heard of this film but sounds interesting. will watch sooner than later, then will check out the podcast. 

    i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again.. the commissioned podcasts are my favorite (aside from lunch) and what hooked me to BM. Point Break, Wily Wonka, Goonies and Loat Boys are among my favorites. 
    Same here. No two feel the same, and they do a great job of making you want to revisit the movie. Hated The Lost Boys when I was younger, but now its one of my favorite "unintentional comedies". Thanks in no small part to the podcast on it.
    JaimieT
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