Alan Parker (1944-2020)

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Jack Kubrick
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Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#1 Post by Jack Kubrick » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm


beamish14
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Re: Passages

#2 Post by beamish14 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:26 pm

Jack Kubrick wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm
Alan Parker


This one hurts. His films could be tone-deaf (e.g. Mississippi Burning, Midnight Express, and
Come See the Paradise), but there was also incredible vibrancy and life to many of them as well, and he completely
redefined what the movie musical can be. Shoot the Moon is a longtime favorite with career-best performances from all
of the principles. Even with some of his failings, he clearly made an effort to understand American
culture in many of his works, even if it came across as being misguided. The Road to Wellville has aged very well,
and its source material author T.C. Boyle has vigorously championed what Parker made.

He was also very critical of what he perceived to be "pretentiousness" in cinema, and he regularly attacked Jean-Luc Godard
and Peter Greenaway. He even went to so far as to say that the BFI was squandering public funds on subsidizing
Greenaway's early work.

bamwc2
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Re: Passages

#3 Post by bamwc2 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:40 pm

Jack Kubrick wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm
Alan Parker
His Pink Floyd: The Wall was one of my favorite films during my teenage years. I still love it now.

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MichaelB
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Re: Passages

#4 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:40 pm

beamish14 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:26 pm
He was also very critical of what he perceived to be "pretentiousness" in cinema, and he regularly attacked Jean-Luc Godard
and Peter Greenaway. He even went to so far as to say that the BFI was squandering public funds on subsidizing
Greenaway's early work.
When it comes to 1982 features, Pink Floyd The Wall is several orders of magnitude more pretentious than The Draughtsman's Contract, although I agree that Roger Waters is primarily responsible for that aspect. Also, Greenaway turned out to be a pretty canny investment - I don't think the BFI regretted backing that particular film for a millisecond, regardless of what they spent on A Walk Through H or The Falls a few years earlier (not much, I imagine).

But I do have a surprising amount of time for Parker as a filmmaker - I was reminded vividly of just how good he can be when working simultaneously on Birdy and his mini-feature No Hard Feelings last year, and The Commitments only just falls short of Withnail & I when it comes to films that have made me laugh out loud the most frequently. There's a wonderfully exuberant raucousness about his best films, and a particularly good feel for music and its underlying visual rhythms - as demonstrated by the number of films he made that arguably qualify as full-blown musicals.

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ianthemovie
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Re: Passages

#5 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:54 pm

I'll second the praise for Shoot the Moon, which I recently watched for the first time and I'd wager was one of the influences on Marriage Story. In my youth I was partial to Parker's Angel Heart, an absolutely bonkers Southern-Gothic neo-noir/horror movie. It scared the shit out of me when I saw it, even heavily edited on cable, at the age of twelve or so.

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Professor Wagstaff
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Re: Passages

#6 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:17 pm

Sad news. The Commitments is one of my favorite films, such an exuberant and endlessly charming movie that I'll never tire of. I had tried recently to catch up on some Parker titles I hadn't seen. Bugsy Malone and The Road to Wellville were so much fun, with the latter having really aged well as a work of social satire like Paul Mazurzky had been transplanted to turn-of-the-century Michigan.

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colinr0380
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Re: Passages

#7 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:38 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:40 pm
There's a wonderfully exuberant raucousness about his best films, and a particularly good feel for music and its underlying visual rhythms - as demonstrated by the number of films he made that arguably qualify as full-blown musicals.
Let's not forget the enormous success of Fame too! I really like the Madonna version of Evita too, which I get the impression was quite a passion project on her part - she's not quite Barbara Dickson but its very impressive all the same. Here's Barry Norman interviewing Parker and Madonna about it at the 1995 Academy Awards.

And the influence of Bugsy Malone has always been kind of inescapable from having to do it in school plays (Come to think of it I remember having to sing Another Brick In The Wall in a chorus of a school play as well, presumably done as a private joke by the teachers!) to it always showing up during the Christmas and Easter TV schedules. The best custard pie fight on film? Amazing that Jodie Foster was in the film the same year as Freaky Friday and Taxi Driver!

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colinr0380
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Re: Passages

#8 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:51 pm

I would also second ianthemovie's mention of Angel Heart with Mickey Rourke looking handsome and Lisa Bonet bathing in blood and getting fired from the Cosby Show because of it! This was also Charlotte Rampling's brief period of turning up looking regal and shifty in noir thrillers since the year after she was in the remake of D.O.A. as well!

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domino harvey
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Re: Passages

#9 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:59 pm

Can't say I think a whole lot of Parker's work, but I do think this forum's dogged dislike of Mississippi Burning is out of step with its actual quality. You can read my earlier defense of Mississippi Burning here, followed by a longer response to the long-departed Matrix's objections here

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knives
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Re: Passages

#10 Post by knives » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:12 pm

bamwc2 wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:40 pm
Jack Kubrick wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:01 pm
Alan Parker
His Pink Floyd: The Wall was one of my favorite films during my teenage years. I still love it now.
Likewise. I got into it for Floyd, but the movie itself was exactly what my self absorbed teenaged soul needed.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#11 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:34 pm

Professor Wagstaff wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:17 pm
Sad news. The Commitments is one of my favorite films, such an exuberant and endlessly charming movie that I'll never tire of.
I need to re-visit The Commitments (when I saw it, I barely knew any of the music involved, so it was quite a long time ago), but it's probably the one I like most. Even with the films I've disliked, he usually brings out the best in his cast, and that's certainly the case with this ensemble, which reportedly consisted of unknown musicians with no real acting experience.

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A man stayed-put
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Re: Passages

#12 Post by A man stayed-put » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:40 pm

Very sad news.
ianthemovie wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:54 pm
I'll second the praise for Shoot the Moon, which I recently watched for the first time and I'd wager was one of the influences on Marriage Story. In my youth I was partial to Parker's Angel Heart, an absolutely bonkers Southern-Gothic neo-noir/horror movie. It scared the shit out of me when I saw it, even heavily edited on cable, at the age of twelve or so.
Same here. Angel Heart is still a film I vividly remember being terrified by- the end sequence with
SpoilerShow
clean shaven DeNiro in the robes sat outside the motel room haunted me as a child.
I still think the film's pretty effective now.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Passages

#13 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:53 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:59 pm
Can't say I think a whole lot of Parker's work, but I do think this forum's dogged dislike of Mississippi Burning is out of step with its actual quality. You can read my earlier defense of Mississippi Burning here, followed by a longer response to the long-departed Matrix's objections here
Aside from Birdy and Mississippi Burning (and yeah, a nostalgic fondness for parts of The Wall) I'm not crazy about his work, but those two are great. I'm surprised to hear that people hate on Mississippi Burning, a favorite of my parents I grew up on and never would have guessed it would be disliked. I haven't revisited it in probably about 15 years, so I can't really defend it, but reading yours sounds on point to the intensity of the experience of facing complex systemic and personal racism, and forced rumination on non-answers, that I recall being at the forefront of its intentions.

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domino harvey
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#14 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:59 pm

As others have said, Shoot the Moon is good too, with some great child perfs. It didn’t connect what film y’all were praising at first though because I thought you guys were taking about Racing with the Moon and was like “Career-Best Elizabeth McGovern movie is now a category of distinction?”

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okcmaxk
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#15 Post by okcmaxk » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:19 pm

I bet it’s a combination of many things (PF’s catalog moving from label to label and whether it’s with Sony or WB), but hopefully whatever rights issues are holding up Pink Floyd The Wall can be squared away for an official non-Russian bootleg Blu-ray release.

On a sidenote, the new Webber-Rice song for Evita beating out “That Thing You Do!” at the Oscars that year was not the right move.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Passages

#16 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:28 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:53 pm
Aside from Birdy and Mississippi Burning (and yeah, a nostalgic fondness for parts of The Wall) I'm not crazy about his work, but those two are great. I'm surprised to hear that people hate on Mississippi Burning, a favorite of my parents I grew up on and never would have guessed it would be disliked. I haven't revisited it in probably about 15 years, so I can't really defend it, but reading yours sounds on point to the intensity of the experience of facing complex systemic and personal racism, and forced rumination on non-answers, that I recall being at the forefront of its intentions.
There was quite a bit of debate over the film when it came out, with Julian Bond being the most prominent critic against it, and it may not have helped that Parker's initial response was that they were trying to broaden the movie's commercial appeal to the largest audience possible. ABC News' late night program Nightline actually wanted him to discuss the historical changes made with Bond, but either he declined or he really was unavailable. Surprisingly, Gene Hackman was offered to the show, and it did not go well, at all.

(Hackman let the show know that he sure wasn't happy about it either.)
Last edited by hearthesilence on Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#17 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:37 pm

I can understand the historical inaccuracy issues, and my own ignorance to them certainly helps me look past it (after all I watched this movie more than a handful of times before I even got to history classes that would touch on these subjects in school, and likely not since). I just remember finding the film incredibly powerful as a child and the narrative being a mature one at addressing the grey and uncomfortable areas of our society, through idealistic and realistic actions' relationships with our comprehension of morality- at least in a vacuum removed from the True Story.

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hearthesilence
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#18 Post by hearthesilence » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:51 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:37 pm
I can understand the historical inaccuracy issues, and my own ignorance to them certainly helps me look past it (after all I watched this movie more than a handful of times before I even got to history classes that would touch on these subjects in school, and likely not since). I just remember finding the film incredibly powerful as a child and the narrative being a mature one at addressing the grey and uncomfortable areas of our society, through idealistic and realistic actions' relationships with our comprehension of morality- at least in a vacuum removed from the True Story.
I certainly have favorite films that I wouldn't hesitate to call masterpieces that are thoroughly inaccurate, but inaccuracy can still be a liability. It really depends a lot on what the film's trying to say (which may hinge much more on getting certain elements correct), and the myth-making spun around Hoover's FBI can look pretty dubious in an earnest attempt to interrogate institutional racism.

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Roscoe
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#19 Post by Roscoe » Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:58 pm

I saw through ANGEL HEART almost immediately, and sat there giggling helplessly at way too much of it, the notion that it is some kind of horror movie is one of the funniest things about it. Mickey Rourke's Big Scene at film's end had me laughing out loud. I'll go along with SHOOT THE MOON as being Parker's best, and probably the best of the Family Collapse dramas of the period, but I'll always have some fondness for PINK FLOYD THE WALL.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#20 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:22 pm

hearthesilence wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:51 pm
therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:37 pm
I can understand the historical inaccuracy issues, and my own ignorance to them certainly helps me look past it (after all I watched this movie more than a handful of times before I even got to history classes that would touch on these subjects in school, and likely not since). I just remember finding the film incredibly powerful as a child and the narrative being a mature one at addressing the grey and uncomfortable areas of our society, through idealistic and realistic actions' relationships with our comprehension of morality- at least in a vacuum removed from the True Story.
I certainly have favorite films that I wouldn't hesitate to call masterpieces that are thoroughly inaccurate, but inaccuracy can still be a liability. It really depends a lot on what the film's trying to say (which may hinge much more on getting certain elements correct), and the myth-making spun around Hoover's FBI can look pretty dubious in an earnest attempt to interrogate institutional racism.
Yeah it's a fair point, I like domino's defense on the basis of a foggy memory, but look forward to revisiting this soon with some of that history in mind.

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ianthemovie
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Re: Passages

#21 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:06 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:40 pm
SpoilerShow
clean shaven DeNiro in the robes sat outside the motel room haunted me as a child.
Wow, I never realized that was him! Mind blown...

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A man stayed-put
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#22 Post by A man stayed-put » Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:30 pm

Roscoe wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:58 pm
I saw through ANGEL HEART almost immediately, and sat there giggling helplessly at way too much of it, the notion that it is some kind of horror movie is one of the funniest things about it. Mickey Rourke's Big Scene at film's end had me laughing out loud. I'll go along with SHOOT THE MOON as being Parker's best, and probably the best of the Family Collapse dramas of the period, but I'll always have some fondness for PINK FLOYD THE WALL.
I feel like it's as aware of its own ridiculousness as anyone who's looking to see through it, Rourke's character even verbalises how daft it all is. However the atmosphere, that nagging use of Girl of My Dreams and the, aforementioned, uncanny visuals have stuck with me since my first watch. I am biased by it being a a childhood touchstone, and I would never argue that it's a great film, but its charms (if you agree it has any) are very much due to Parker's direction.

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Roscoe
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#23 Post by Roscoe » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:29 pm

A man stayed-put wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:30 pm
I feel like it's as aware of its own ridiculousness as anyone who's looking to see through it, Rourke's character even verbalises how daft it all is. However the atmosphere, that nagging use of Girl of My Dreams and the, aforementioned, uncanny visuals have stuck with me since my first watch. I am biased by it being a a childhood touchstone, and I would never argue that it's a great film, but its charms (if you agree it has any) are very much due to Parker's direction.
Well, I wasn't looking to see through ANGEL HEART, it just kind of happened -- it was all so silly and overheated and to no real purpose and it just came to me, oh, that's what's going on, and here I am with another hour plus to sit through of this thing. I'm not seeing any self-aware ridiculousness/camp value in the movie, which would suggest a sense of humor that Parker didn't really do much to express onscreen. Only possibly De Niro's amused/amusing Louis Cyphere ("Mr. Angel, you're in a church!") hinted at that possibility, and as tantalizing as it was, it remained only a hint. Mileage varies, clearly. It's like Aronofsky's BLACK SWAN, and frankly Scorsese's SHUTTER ISLAND -- after I saw the one gimmick that the entire fucking movie was based on, which frankly any sentient third-grader should have done, and the movie didn't really give me anything else to do but watch the parade of gotcha moments and bargain basement surreal flourishes. It all took itself far too seriously, high solemnity was the main item on the menu. Mileage is gonna vary, clearly.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#24 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:56 pm

okcmaxk wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:19 pm
I bet it’s a combination of many things (PF’s catalog moving from label to label and whether it’s with Sony or WB), but hopefully whatever rights issues are holding up Pink Floyd The Wall can be squared away for an official non-Russian bootleg Blu-ray release.
WB owns theatrical rights (since it's an MGM title from before 86) and Sony Music has the video rights. Roger Waters has more of a say over Wall-related projects than Pink Floyd does (part of the settlement from their breakup).
Last edited by flyonthewall2983 on Tue Sep 22, 2020 4:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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AidanKing
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Re: Alan Parker (1944-2020)

#25 Post by AidanKing » Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:56 am

The Indicator Blu Ray of 'Birdy' and the Studio Canal Blu Ray of 'Angel Heart', which came out last year, both have excellent booklets (no surprise there with the Indicator) containing really interesting extracts from Alan Parker's production diaries. My favourite sections include describing the difficulty of ensuring the period appropriateness of the set dressing for a whole city area when you were going to be filming it from the air for 'Birdy' and the argument that 'Angel Heart' was intended to be taken seriously as he had worked in the industry long enough to know that lots of people had done the same as Johnny Favourite in return for success, which strikes me as a good example of Parker's sense of humour. It helps that those two are my favourite of his films, although I haven't seen 'Shoot the Moon', which I imagine is just as good.

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