Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe we have a quorum


Let's vote shall we? Thank you. And the results are in... no one likes Ben Hur.

32 comments:

bill r. said...

I do. I haven't seen the whole thing in a long time, but I still like it. Now leave me alone, I'm working on that whole "12 movies" meme dealie.

Fox said...

Ben Huh?? Come on guys... walk into the new millenium for chrissakes!?!?

I mean, we've got Speed Racer out on DVD, a fresh social comedy in the theaters about women, and this weekend, misanthrope Neil LaBute is dropping his seventh turd with Lakeview Terrace!

Jonathan Lapper said...

Well Bill if you like it you need to zip on over Sergio Creole and the Out House Pie Rule and let Dennis know. So far, recommendations for that epic have met with a resounding thud.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Speed Racer? You know I hear from troublemaker Cozzalio that that's a pretty good movie. I watched a download and my sentiments and his on the film are not in a consensual relationship. But I'll give it another chance on a nice shiny DVD transfer...

... in about twenty years.

bill r. said...

Yeah, I know that it's a Ben Hur hate-fest over there, but I didn't want to weigh in for fear of being shouted down. Meanwhile, this posting of yours was fresh, and ripe for me to get the tide turning my way for once! And also, like I say, I haven't seen the film in ages, so my defense of it would have to be a pretty weak and unconvincing one.

Kimberly said...

Why watch Ben Hur when you could enjoy Heston in Touch of Evil, The Naked Jungle , Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, Major Dundee or Soylant Green? They're all Heston movies I enjoy more than Ben Hur.

A LOT of people rave about Ben Hur being a classic though that MUST be revered. Much like Gone with the Wind but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn for either film (well, Gable is pretty cute in GWTW). Like most people I enjoyed the chariot race in Ben Hur when I was a kid but the rest of film just bored me.

Now I know that I'm not alone.

Jonathan Lapper said...

WHAT'S THAT BILL! I CAN'T HEAR YOU BECAUSE I'M SHOUTING YOU DOWN!

Bill: "I said I think..."

LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Bill: "Look Jonathan, I'm just..."

LA LA LA LA LA

HEY KIMBERLY, BILL LIKES BEN HUR!!!


Bill: "Oh forget it."

Jonathan and Kimberly high-five.

bill r. said...

See?? I knew that would happen! You guys are all jerks!

Campaspe said...

I have to speak up here and say that the silent version is great. Better than Wyler's.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Francis X Bushman as Messala! I've always wanted to see that one too. My twelve movie meme is going to turn into a fifty movie meme before I know it. I've heard it's better than the 59 version.

In my defense let me say that on Dennis' comment page I did praise the sea battle and chariot race of this one. I think both are done superbly. I just don't care for the rest of the movie.

Fox said...

Jonathan -

I would be more up to to watching Speed Racer if it weren't OVER TWO HOURS LONG!?!? Looking at that for 80 minutes might be fun, but dude, pushing 120? Uh... it might be awhile before I take that one for th team.

p.s. Why do you always make Bill cry?

Neil Sarver said...

I'm going to vote with Kimberly. I'm not sure I'm prepared to vote a full thumbs down, but who cares? Look at her list again.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Fox - I'm just trying to teach Bill the hard knocks of life. Tough love, man, tough love.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Touch of Evil, Planet of the Apes & Omega Man alone are enough to keep me watching Heston for decades to come.

Peter Nellhaus said...

On another site that I no longer am associated with, I was the lone defender of Spartacus versus Ben-Hur. Kirk Douglas's flattop haircut didn't quite work, but the film never bored me like Wyler's epic.

Jonathan Lapper said...

The lone defender? That seems odd given Kubrick's rep although I admit I am not a fan of either movie. But if I had to pick, I'd go with Spartacus for Peter Ustinov alone.

bill r. said...

Jesus, Jonathan, do you like any movies? All I ever hear from you is "Blah blah blah I hate movies blah blah blah." Change the station, for Pete's sake.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Well thanks for giving away the title of my next post which was going to be Blah blah blah I hate movies blah blah blah but now that's been ruined.

And you're a perceptive one Bill. Not many people coming here, to a movie blog, and reading posts on movies I long to see, scanned photos from cherished classics and video clips from personal favorites have picked up on the fact that I hate movies. I got it past everyone - but you!

By the way, am I changing the channel for Mr. Nellhaus' sake or Mr. Ustinov's sake?

Oh, and I don't think either one likes to go by "Pete."

bill r. said...

You know I was kidding, right?

Jonathan Lapper said...

No Bill, I thought you honestly and seriously thought I hated movies. Of course I knew you were kidding! Now I have to get back to writing about how I hate movies.

bill r. said...

Okay, well, fine! You just sounded angry-sarcastic, as opposed to joyfully-sarcastic. Cut me some slack! Are you aware that I have my own blog?? Running one of those things takes time, you know, and it ain't no joyride.

In the interest of maintaining our friendship, let me say that I very much look forward to your post about how you especially hate movies from the 1930s.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Despise them would be more accurate.

And hey, I have two blogs to run, not that you ever check your technorati or anything to see that I linked to you on my other blog. Geez.

bill r. said...

Technorati looks like a bunch of gibberish to me. I can't even embed a link in the word "link"!

The way I understand Technorati, from you explanation, is that by signing up with them I have ensured myself no fewer than 10,000 hits per day. Which is great, don't get me wrong, I just wish more of them would leave comments. Maybe they're intimidated by my wisdom.

Marilyn said...

Is anyone still saying the Wyler Ben-Hur is a classic? I thought the fact that it was pretty much of a snoozefest was well established. Campespe is very right--the silent version is great! And Spartacus rules for many reasons, but especially for the chemistry between Douglas and Jean Simmons.

I can't figure out that Twitter, Technorati stuff...

Jonathan Lapper said...

Is anyone still saying the Wyler Ben-Hur is a classic?

I'll defer to Bill on that one.

I can't figure out that Twitter, Technorati stuff...

I don't have a Twitter account myself (part of it might be the name, Hi there, I twitter myself several times a day, how about you?". I know several bloggers who do but I myself don't quite get it. You put up random thoughts, kind of like a mini-mini-diary. I figure if you have a blog you could just do that on your sidebar but what do I know.

I'm no expert on the ever-failing, ever slow to update technorati but it is pretty easy to stop by once a day and see if anyone new has linked me in a post. Outside of that I don't see much of a use for it.

Kimberly said...

You shouldn't be upset Bill! If that ongoing TCM clip is any indication you're in good company. Directors like Scorsese for example seem to love Ben Hur.

Jonathan - damn man, your I'M SHOUTING YOU DOWN! comment mad me laugh REALLY hard.

Jonathan Lapper said...

I'll shout down Bill more often then!

bill r. said...

EVERYBODY STOP YELLING AT ME!!

Actually, Kimberly, knowing Scorsese is a fan of Ben Hur does make me feel better. I'm one of those people who likes the narration in Blade Runner, too, so I was happy to find out that Guillermo del Toro has my back on that one.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Just for the record, and I can't prove this in any way, I've never bought Ford's story that he purposefully botched the narration because he didn't like it. Give me a break. It matches his performance pretty much to a tee. I just think he's a lousy narrator, he could hear that himself in the finished results and so the need for the cover story.

bill r. said...

Actually, if I remember correctly, in that making-of documentary, Dangerous Days, Ford says that he did do his best with it, but that he found the words very hard to say, because he didn't think the narration was any good. But I don't think -- at least not in this documentary -- he ever claims to have tanked it. Am I remembering this wrong?

Neil Sarver said...

Bill, nope, that exactly what he says. The story preceding that release was indeed commonly that he had purposely tanked it. I'm not sure if that's one of those stories that makes it around or if he had said that in earlier tellings... I seem to recall he was also talking very specifically about trying when he was working with Ridley Scott, which left some implication that he may have not tried so much during the period Scott wasn't involved.

Jonathan Lapper said...

Well that's good to hear because like I said, it matches his performance, it's just that it sounds flat. But in his performance, where we can see him, the flatness comes off as a world weariness. In the narration, it just sounds kind of blank.

But I'm with you Bill. The actual narration itself which just seems to incense so many fans never really bothered me. A little redundant to what's going on onscreen and generally unnecessary but it doesn't ruin the movie, at least not for me.