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By Ray Pride

BYOB – RIP The Goldfinch

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66 Responses to “BYOB – RIP The Goldfinch”

  1. Hcat says:

    I always get the impression that more thN anyone WB always seems to have some big swing awards bait that crashes and burns nearly every year. Cloud Atlas, loud/close, live by night, back through Majestic and Revolution. Everyone takes a hit now and then and bless them for making more than men in tights movies but you just sort of see these coming.

    And quite an opening for Hustlers, I am surprised they have been able to keep the lights on this long, hopefully this helps quite a bit. It always good to have a NGS, Avco, Orion sized studio in the mix to keep things interesting.

  2. Stella's Boy says:

    I’ve seen several claims that critics killed The Goldfinch. How true is that? I’m always intrigued when that much power is given to reviews this day and age. I don’t think the trailer was all that good and it didn’t seem to have much buzz. Not an easy sell either. Find it little hard to believe that critics are responsible for its box office. Audiences like it more than critics but not by a lot. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. I always thought wide release openings were more about marketing than reviews. Felt like a bomb since trailer hit.

  3. movieman says:

    As I said in an earlier thread, I liked “The Goldfinch” a lot.
    What depresses me the most about its failure is that it’s another nail in the coffin of medium-budgeted, non-franchise studio films designed specifically for grown up audiences.
    Very sad.

    Speaking of medium-budgeted, non-franchise studio films designed for adult auds, I rewatched John Cassavetes’ “Gloria” last night (a movie I liked, but didn’t love in 1980). This time I loved it.
    The pungent late-’70s NY atmosphere; Gena Rowlands as a force of freaking nature; sigh.
    The kid still annoyed me, but his annoying-ness felt more purposeful this time if that makes sense.
    Even the Cassavetes-muddle of an ending put a smile on my face.
    More proof that the New Hollywood era didn’t necessarily end with “Jaws,” “Rocky” or “Star Wars.”

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    Sure movieman that’s totally legit and I don’t doubt it’s not as bad as some of the reviews suggest. I too don’t want medium-budget studio movies to disappear. I’m always curious though when critics are blamed for a wide release tanking. Not sure I buy it.

  5. movieman says:

    SB: The reviews seemed really harsh, especially since (here I go repeating myself from the earlier thread, lol) too many critics these days traditionally give a pass to franchise/tentpole movies–even mediocre or crappy ones–for fear of looking out of step with Gen Z culture.
    It’s even worse for films with female leads.
    Critics (most of whom are male, natch) are much harder on them than formulaic testosterone fest like “Hobbs and Shaw.”
    “Hustlers” is a rare exception to the rule.
    Sometimes it feels like a conspiracy to justify making only one kind of movie.
    Whether that’s true or just my paranoia talking, it still sucks.

  6. Stella's Boy says:

    Expectations and different movie seasons maybe? Rating them differently based on that. No one expects much from summer fare like Hobbs & Shaw but The Goldfinch is based on an acclaimed book and got a glitzy TIFF launch. And I imagine some enjoy taking the knives out for certain awards bait movies. Also, truthfully, not ashamed to admit that I had fun with Hobbs & Shaw and I don’t find it hard to imagine that it’s better than The Goldfinch.

  7. movieman says:

    I had a decent amount of fun at “H&S,” too, SB, but “Goldfinch” is definitely the better film.
    A different kind of expectation can definitely factor in, though.
    I went into the Crowley on Friday w/ severely diminished expectations due to the almost uniformly terrible reviews. That could have factored into my (over?) praise.
    I still think critics are harder on films w/ ambitions (and femme-centered movies
    in general: look at the condescension that greeted “Bernadette” last month), and much too easy on franchise/tentpole stuff.
    Hell, the frankly she**y “47 Meters” sequel has an almost identical RT rating as the Linklater.

    P.S.= For my money, “Goldfinch” is a better “awards bait” movie than a lot of subpar a/b movies (“Loud/Close,” “The Reader,” et al) that somehow wound up w/ Best Picture nominations.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    I get what you’re saying. And those are the kind of movies it reminds me of movieman. As we all know some awards bait movies are a chore to sit through as they strain for significance. That’s how The Goldfinch looks to me and it seems like it played that way to most critics. Of course I haven’t seen it and probably won’t until it hits HBO but it does have that feel. I also hate Elgort so that doesn’t help.

  9. movieman says:

    I hope you’re as pleasantly surprised by the movie’s virtues as I was, SB.
    The one criticism I share w/ A.O. Scott in his NYT review was how he marveled at Elgort’s baby-smooth face from start to finish.
    Scott mused on whether Elgort doesn’t have to shave
    yet–or if he shaves all the time.
    I thought that was pretty funny…and true, lol.

  10. palmtree says:

    Goldfinch just looks so self-important and humorless. And I don’t remember the book being described that way.

    But maybe that’s just the horrible trailer, a series of people emoting self-importantly in Awards-ready clips when the whole story just seems to be about a rich kid who stole a painting.

  11. Hcat says:

    Every time I saw the Goldfinch listed on the release schedule I had to look it up to remind me what it was. If I saw the trailer I instantly forgot it. Compare that to the mid level budgeted adult targeted Favourite. That grabbed you and had you salivating immediately. Even his previous film Brooklyn which was an even more sedate sell than Goldfinch was able to create an immediate interest.

  12. leahnz says:

    i don’t know what goldfinch is but some ric & ben (RIP) and the lads, thanks for so many 70’s teen memories, such a lovely way to go

  13. palmtree says:

    Hustlers was good. I mean, I could’ve been better but what was there was a great time with terrific performances and had some feels too.

  14. movieman says:

    Had a great time at “Hustlers.”
    What I liked best was the filmmakers’ decision to go with an “R” rating.
    Despite the stripping milieu, it would’ve been easy (and safer) to go the easy, toothless “PG-13” route.
    Glad they didn’t.

    Funny story: When I got my ticket, the theater manager told me she hoped I liked it more than the male customer the night before who called it the worst movie he’d ever seen.
    Gotta believe he must’ve identified with the strippers’ marks, lol.

  15. Pete B. says:

    ^ Or else he thought it would be another Showgirls.

    “…ric & ben (RIP) and the lads, thanks for so many 70’s teen memories…”

    RIP to Eddie Money as well. A sad weekend for late 70s/early 80s rockers.

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    Sadly the number of men fuming about Hustlers isn’t surprising. Came across several instances of it this morning. It’s a Scorsese rip off, J Lo doesn’t deserve an Oscar Brad & Leo do, it needed more balls, etc. Men are so dumb.

  17. leahnz says:

    “it needed more balls, etc.”

    haha what like teabagging? maybe just that one ball that gets stuck outside the budgie-smuggler underwear leg, that really would have made the difference (jlo does turn in a bit of a ripper, good on her, in for the long game)

  18. Stella's Boy says:

    Hey Inside Man fans (good movie) a sequel comes out on September 24. Inside Man: Most Wanted. Starring the wonderful Rhea Seehorn. Hopefully it’s as good as the recent Backdraft 2.

  19. Hcat says:

    “More proof that the New Hollywood era didn’t necessarily end with “Jaws,” “Rocky” or “Star Wars.”

    If I had to place an ending on that period it would be Reds in ’81. After that it seemed everything was certainly slicker and shorter. There was a ton of good movies in the eighties but things weren’t as shaggy, and nothing punched you in the gut quite the same way.

  20. palmtree says:

    Ugh, the dumbass response is to be expected. They can’t handle a movie that isn’t from the male perspective.

    But one of the best parts of Hustlers was its female subjectivity. In fact, they do a thing to show subjectivity about half-way through the movie that literally took my breath away. I thought to myself, “damn now that’s filmmaking.”

  21. movieman says:

    Hcat- “Reds” is another movie I often point to when delineating the official “End” of the new Hollywood era.
    Although a case could be made–and has (by me, lol)–that “E.T.,””The King of Comedy”–which was supposed to have been released a lot earlier than 1983–the Kasdan two-fer “Body Heat” and “The Big Chill,” and even “Star 80” are
    more emblematic of America’s New Wave than a lot of ’80s studio films.

  22. Christian says:

    Now targeting Wednesday morning for a possible “Goldfinch” screening. Fingers crossed!

  23. spassky says:

    overrated book (though i love the secret history) with an incredibly middlebrow film. The LOUD/CLOSE comparisons are apt.

  24. Hcat says:

    Movieman, I would think ET, Big Chill and King of Comedy belong on the far side of the dividing line. If you look at the scope and ambition of New York, New York and Raging Bull compared to King of Comedy (which is not to besmirch KOC) I would think you could place them in the different eras. While maybe not the stark contrast that Rocky and II are to III and IV or Mad Max to The Road Warrior but it does fit the template of shorter, tighter, slicker.

    People of my age revere 82 as a watershed year of pop culture, an embarrassment of riches. In many ways it was, but that could also be because it ushered in a new slicker era of filmmaking that seemed fresh and euphoric at the time.

  25. Christian says:

    Spassky: You’re the second person I’ve heard call the book overrated. I was blown away by the novel – completely absorbed by it in ways I hadn’t been absorbed by a novel for *decades*. But the first person I recommended the book to read it and shrugged it off by telling me, “The only thing I took away from this story is, ‘Don’t do drugs.'”

    I don’t know how to respond to that. But I share it so that you’ll know you’re not alone – and that I’m befuddled, perplexed and, after all these words, speechless? I just don’t know how to respond to “overrated.” The novel won the Pulitzer Prize – justifiably so, for once! (Talk about a prize that’s often overrated! Not in this case, though.)

  26. Christian says:

    Also, re: Donna Tartt. I loved “The Goldfinch,” but I’m not in the tank for her work. I have “The Secret History” as an ebook but I haven’t read it. I keep confusing it with “The Little Friend,” which I listened to in audio and kind of despised. Took *forever* to get through it. To read positive reviews of “The Little Friend” is more puzzling to me than any reaction to “The Goldfinch.”

  27. spassky says:

    THE LITTLE FRIEND in my understanding has not had a very positive reaction. THE SECRET HISTORY still revered. THE GOLDFINCH was an event (like she requires of all her work now), and “important”. I think the general regard toward it in the literary community is that it’s a dressed-up YA novel. The ending is very forced, and there are a lot of flat characters. Having said that, I read it over a week in Hong Kong and enjoyed the ride… just don’t think it shows any exemplary literary qualities. Honestly, that’s the case with most literary fiction these days. Try comparing Sally Rooney or Meg Wolitzer to Melville or Wharton. Society is going backward in that regard. Having said that, I don’t think really good literature is often ideal for a film adaptation these days. Though I’d love it if someone gave a filmmaker like Lynne Ramsay 20 mil to recreate lat 70s Ireland and adapt MILKMAN… But no, we are probably getting something like THE PISCES directed by Gia Coppola, or another Reese’s book club (which, yes, I will watch).

  28. sam says:

    If Hustlers is a success are they going to say that it’s another fluke as they have over the decades with female oriented movies such as First Wives Club and The Devil Wears Prada?

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    Hustlers is already a huge success. $33 million opening against a reported $20 million budget. It’s going to make a lot of money.

  30. palmtree says:

    Not just that, I think Hustlers will have legs. I think it’ll get to $100m.

  31. Hcat says:

    Agree Palm, I can see people being hesitant to see it, maybe thinking its a cheap sordid little thriller, but once word of mouth gets around it has got a lot of room to run.

  32. Christian says:

    I had some issues with THE GOLDFINCH, but nothing fatal. I could see how the things that tripped me up – the time shifting … that’s the only thing that threw me off, although a poorly timed bathroom break may have compounded my confusion – could more deeply affect others, but not in a way that explains the across-the-board hate for this film. I was surprised at how affecting the film was for long stretches, I wouldn’t rush out to watch it again, but I’m not sorry I gave it nearly 3 hours of my day.

  33. Pete B says:

    Finally caught Ready Or Not last night. I know others here were less than impressed, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The female lead was great, and I was totally unaware that she’s the niece of Hugo Weaving. There’s some serious talent in those genes.

  34. Stella's Boy says:

    I liked Ready or Not and also found it disappointing. If that’s possible.

    With the high profile and much ballyhooed Downton Abbey and Ad Astra opening this weekend, for a while I’d completely forgotten about the new Rambo. Shocked to see that it’s gunning for a $25 million weekend. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Bros sure like watching a white guy mindlessly and mercilessly slaughter people of color. Border militias are probably hosting screenings like church groups do for Christian movies.

  35. amblinman says:

    Outside of Rocky,Stallone has always been the worst of the action “icons” from the 80’s. His taste in projects has always been trash. His filmmaking abilities have always been trash (yeah yeah Rocky). His acting has always been trash.

    So what I’m saying is go see something good instead of Rambo this weekend.

  36. Stella's Boy says:

    Very sound advice amblinman.

  37. Pete B. says:

    So I’m guessing neither one of you is interested in the Cobra TV series courtesy of Stallone & Robert Rodriguez?

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    “You’re a disease, and I’m the cure!” No, not interested in Cobra 2020. But we’ll always have Cobra 1986. Sounds like that movie is downright subtle compared to Rambo Last Blood. Haven’t seen it in a while but I remember it being really bad in a fun, ridiculous way. At 73 Stallone is totally fixated on nostalgia. Rambo, Rocky, Cobra. Hang it up man and enjoy your twilight years. Not like he needs the money. At least I don’t think he does.

  39. movieman says:

    On the bright side, “Last Blood” apparently runs a mere 89 minutes (including end credits). And I did enjoy director Adrian Grunberg’s previous movie, “Get the Gringo.”
    It’s a movie I would’ve happily waited to see on DVD, but with my “Unlimited Movies” Regal pass, I’ll probably try and squeeze it in at a weekday matinee.

    I’m happy that a local theater is actually bringing in “Brittany Runs a Marathon” this weekend.
    The same Regal that couldn’t find room for “The Goldfinch” or “Blinded by the Light” in recent weeks, despite both playing on more than 2,000 screens.
    Nothing makes sense here.

  40. Stella's Boy says:

    First world problem. Local multiplex chain has two theaters with an ultrascreen. Both are showing Downton Abbey and not Ad Astra. Dumb.

  41. Mostly Lurking says:

    “Outside of Rocky,Stallone has always been the worst of the action “icons” from the 80’s.”

    I guess you don’t remember a little gem called “Over the Top”?

    In all seriousness, mostly agree with the sentiment but Tango and Cash is a classic 80’s action movie (even if it might have been early 90s).

  42. Hcat says:

    Not sure what ultrascreen is, but I am sure that it makes Downton Abbey all the more luxurious.

    And Tango and Cash is a classic in the same way that an AMC Gremlin is a classic, it was just manufactured a long time ago. T&C is an inadvertent Parody of the genre it is trying to be, as if they started making North by Northwest and ended up with Top Secret! without realizing it. I wouldn’t call Cliffhanger or Demolition Man classics but they were at least somewhat competently made. (and Tango was 80s by a matter of hours if I recall).

    So Ad Astra is a pretty big question mark this weekend. Is Disney going to bother to open a Fox holdover? They had a pretty good excuse for not being able to monetize the turd buffet they inherited this summer (though their fortunes might have been pretty different if they had kept Ad Astra and Ford vs. in their original slots), but now they have a well reviewed film coming off the festival circuit with a major movie star who just had a pretty big success already this year? Curious if they are going to open a movie they don’t market on Cereal boxes and Gogurt tubes. They’ve been a little out of practice at that. I can just imagine how perplexed they are at JoJo.

  43. Stella's Boy says:

    The biggest and loudest screen and the largest auditorium. Something they can charge extra for. But it’s nice for certain movies, and Ad Astra seems like one of them. Oh well.

  44. Hcat says:

    But think of how the silver will glisten, the light will reflect off the stemware, the deep blues and greens from the fabrics, and the strings will swell and the bassoons will swoon so much more!

    But yes taking both screens seems shortsighted.

    Anyone know what tracking looks like for the weekend?

  45. Stella's Boy says:

    My mom is going to love the ultrascreen.

    Variety says DA, Ad Astra, and Rambo: Geezer are all headed for a $20 million opening.

  46. movieman says:

    Anybody else watch the season premiere of “American Horror Story: ’84”?
    Thought it was a semi-amusing pastiche of ’80s slasher movies (w/ better production values/acting, natch).
    But somebody needs to show Ryan Murphy how to work a Google Machine.
    The Son of Sam murders reached their apex in the summer of 1977, not ’78.
    (I was living in NYC at the time: you can trust me on this.)

  47. Stella's Boy says:

    I trust you. And I watched and loved it. I’m a big fan of AHS in general and love slashers so 1984 is right in my wheelhouse. Not sure how they’re going to sustain this story for another eight or nine episodes though. Apparently there’s a big shift halfway through the season.

  48. Hcat says:

    They can defeat the killer halfway through the season and then bring him back with a bolt of lightning. They can end the season with an excruciating long boat ride to New York (really the trip to get to Kurtz felt like it logged less screen time).

    or in space.

  49. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m fine with any of those scenarios. And obviously Vancouver needs to substitute for NYC if they go with the boat ride option.

  50. movieman says:

    …or we’ll discover that it’s all a movie-within-a-movie.

    “American Horror Story” hasn’t been the same since Jessica Lange retired from the rep company.

  51. Stella's Boy says:

    She was on last year’s season, but Apocalypse is one of my least favorites. Not a big fan. And Cult is an excellent season even without Lange. But she does tend to improve everything she’s in so I’d love for her to return.

  52. movieman says:

    Wasn’t Lange in, like, one episode last season?

    “Cult” was the Trump season, right?
    I liked it although it felt a lot like torture porn most of the time.
    Agree that “Apocalypse” was a dud: a killer first ep, but it went downhill from there.
    My least favorite season (and I think it was the first Lange-less season) was the meta found footage one.
    A total clunker.

    Hoping that Lange has a lead in Murphy’s “Politicians” series premiering on Netflix this fall.

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    Good question. I can’t remember how much she’s in it. I don’t remember a lot about last season other than I didn’t like it much. The Politician looks good. Also hope she’s a lead.

  54. movieman says:

    Apparently Murphy bungled the Ramirez/”Night Stalker” timeline, too.
    Just read that Ramirez committed the majority of his murders in ’85, not ’84.
    And that he wasn’t dubbed “The Night Stalker: until much later.

    I hate to harp on these things, but facts matter.
    More than ever in the Trump era of serial falsehoods.

    Which is why I was less concerned about Tarantino rewriting Manson Family history in “Once Upon a Time” than I was about him showing a trailer of “C.C. and Company” in February ’69…even though the movie hadn’t been shot yet.

    P.S.= I checked IMDB, and apparently Lange was in two (not one) episodes last season.
    And thanks for correcting the title of Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series. “The Politician,” not “Politicians” as I erroneously called it.
    Need to check out the trailer.

  55. Hcat says:

    So anyone impressed by the announcement of Peacock? Sounds like its 50 percent Cozi TV with a couple original shows and a handful of Universal catalog titles. Plus it will have ads.

    It seems more of a side dish than an entrée.

    I am curious about the Battlestar Galatica revival. As much as I loathe constantly rebooting IP, Galactica is a title I hope they bring back once a generation, like Planet of the Apes. I hope they don’t stick too close to either of the prior tones, a nice balance between the swashbuckling and the dour, or at least a different direction than the first two. And hopefully they don’t fall into the each episode in incrementally worse than the previous one that both the other series fell into.

  56. Mostly Lurking says:

    “And Tango and Cash is a classic in the same way that an AMC Gremlin is a classic, it was just manufactured a long time ago. T&C is an inadvertent Parody of the genre it is trying to be, as if they started making North by Northwest and ended up with Top Secret! without realizing it. I wouldn’t call Cliffhanger or Demolition Man classics but they were at least somewhat competently made. (and Tango was 80s by a matter of hours if I recall).”

    How dare you sir! 🙂 Yes, part of my calling T&C a “classic” is the nostalgia factor, but ultimately I most fondly remember it being a really fun time at the movies. The closest thing to an action comedy Stallone did back then and I think the pairing with Russel works. Is it a classic compared to other action/buddy cop comedies (i.e. Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run, 48 Hours)? Absolutely not. Is it a classic compared to Stallone’s non-Rocky dreck up til that time. For me, a resounding yes.

  57. BO Sock Puppet says:

    I was working at the multiplex when T&C played. At first I thought it was garbage like all of Stallone’s movies… until I found myself laughing and enjoying myself at the absurdity of it all. I don’t know how else to judge a movie, and in that sense I retain a possibly irrational fondness for it.

  58. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s hard to keep up with these new streaming services. I saw an image in a story this week about the current television landscape that includes the logos for Netflix, Hulu, Prime, CBS All Access, HBO Max, Disney +, Apple TV +, Starz, Showtime, Peacock, and Sling. That’s a pretty big TV bill even if you’re not getting all of them. So much for saving in the post-cable era. Haven’t looked through Peacock’s offerings yet but can’t imagine subscribing to it at this point. That could change.

  59. Hcat says:

    Stella, I would be amazed if some do not fall by the wayside pretty quickly. Starz, Showtime seem to be the most vulnerable. This will eventually become an identity thing like being a Pepsi drinker, or a Ford driver, or a Marvel reader.

    Re: T&C, as someone who had a large soft spot for 1990’s The Rookie I certainly have no room to disparage others tastes in buddy action comedies. And I do agree that Tango is more enjoyable than his stoic killing machine roles (exempting First Blood). It was just having the word classic that woke my persnickety nature. But sure if we are talking about a film specific to the decade it was made than I am being a little harsh (though I would argue that Running Scared, is a better example of the genre).

  60. Mostly Lurking says:

    I agree about Running Scared. A somewhat forgotten gem.

  61. Stella's Boy says:

    Yeah you’re probably right about that Hcat. And surely more are on the way. Peacock won’t be last.

  62. Pete B. says:

    How can anyone disrespect the film that gave us “FUBAR”?

  63. Hcat says:

    While I wouldn’t hold T&C up as a decent example of the genre, the same year also birthed one of the most demented attempts at the whole action comedy quipping while bullets fly template that was the decades version of the spy movie or the western. Pink Cadillac has to be one of the most misguided films ever conceived. They turn Clint into a mix of Fletch and Jack Walsh and give him a fun romantic foil but then surround them with white supremacists and Enforcer levels of violence. Its so schizophrenic, I imagine this is what Beverly Hills Cop would have felt like if Stallone had stayed in.

  64. leahnz says:

    “I imagine this is what Beverly Hills Cop would have felt like if Stallone had stayed in.”

    yikes, just the idea of a stallone BHC makes my ass itch

  65. Stella's Boy says:

    I think Stallone said that some of his BHC ideas were used in Cobra? I thought I read that.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

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