How to Take a Balanced View of an Important Artist's Work

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Reader Comments (38)

I would totally buy that game!

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I remember Leonard Nimoy saying specifically that the Kubrick influence was intended-- I think it was this interview with Geoff Boucher, in particular, where he said that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP_lWe9uhs8 and that it therefore didn't have as much of the usual "Star Trek" feel.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen

Heh, I mostly avoid kubrick (and tarantino) films so I agree here

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroller

Now I know why I like STar Trek The Motion Picture so much! And why everyone else on the planet I talk do doesn't.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeniy

Try sitting through Barry Lyndon. 200 minutes of period drama.

Some wonderful stuff in there, but make sure you pack some Lucozade and carb bar first.

Note from Scott: You've hit on what I find so maddening. There's always "some wonderful stuff in there" with him, but there's also always a whole lot of other stuff that goes on waaaaaaay too long.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Yeah, I've personally never really liked most of his films. Just never appealed to me. Eyes Wide Shut was the worst, especially with the ending that basically made the whole thing pointless.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Best Kubrick movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey by far, hands down. I have no use for most of his other stuff... especially anything with Cruise.

December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Heh, I liked Star Trek I, even with all the extra footage that made it even longer. Yet I've never liked Kubrick's work. I agree, he's way overrated.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLummox JR

The Shining was SOOOO slow and boring

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBugs

@jaklumen - if it wasn't intentional, it'd hardly be an influence, would it?

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGlen

could some one explain the last panel I don't get the reference

Note from Scott: One of the most famous images from the movie is this shot. http://youtu.be/cy7ztJ3NUMI

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternix

What, no love for A Clockwork Orange or Full Metal Jacket?

Note from Scott: Oh, there's stuff I love in both of those movies. The way Alex manipulates the government official into spoon-feeding him toward the end made me laugh out loud, but I stand by my opinion that the vast majority of his films could be edited substantially.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmo

Never watched a Kubrick film, but I tried to watch "Pulp Fiction".
The violence was so impersonal I couldn't find any interest in it, the characters were shallow and irritating, the script had a lot of naughty words, but they were used the way many people use "um"; not for emphasis but to hold their place in the sentence until they remember the word, and other than that, there wasn't much script, and the pace was as lively as your elderly aunt showing you her photo album of people you don't know standing in front of buildings you're not interested in, gazing at each one in fond reminiscence while you're screaming inside: "TURN THE PAGE AND GET THIS OVER WITH, BITCH!"
Walked out at the part where the screen zoomed in on a ten foot tall nostril blowing a dirty snot bubble.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I agree with you so hard.

I tried to watch 2001; I gave up after 40 minutes.

I rather enjoy The Shining, but that's because I rather enjoy Stephen King and I just watch it on TV whenever it's on, doing something else on the computer so I don't notice how slow it is.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLythande

You know that the sex in Eyes Wide Shut is supposed to be boring, right? That's the entire point. The movie is a statement in favor of marital fidelity. Kubrick went out of his way to make the orgy scenes as cold and lifeless as possible, in contrast to the warmth of the married relationship. That's also why he chose Cruise and Kidman -- he needed a couple with genuine warmth and intimacy, and figured it would be too risky to have actors try to fake it, so he decided he needed a married couple.

So if Kubrick made the sex in Eyes Wide Shut boring, that was in fact an indication of his talent.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermathew

Love Kubrick but can not watch Terrence Malick. His movies are slower with alot less "wonderful stuff". Luckily there is only one every ten years or so.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbigjimsmith

Want enjoyment? Look up "Shining Trailer" on youtube. I've used it to convince people to watch the fun, family romp otherwise known as "The Shining."

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Two of Kubrick's best -- "Paths of Glory" and "Dr. Strangelove" -- were also his shortest. Hmmm.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Walters

I think 2001 was a great book that just didn't translate very well to film. It certainly felt a lot easier to read through the meticulous descriptions on a page, rather than be forced to sit through them, shown one by one, on screen.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShingo

I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed 2001, even the slow parts. Hubby says the experience is better enjoyed with "recreational" supplements, hehe! Looking forward to trying that when I'm retired and no longer have to worry about random drug tests at work! (I guess I'm a little biased here, being that my name is "Daisy" and I always look forward to that scene when Dave begins to disable Hal, and the latter starts to sing "Bicycle Built for Two!")

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaisy

You should totally watch the director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That long, slow edit was made for TV and included unfinished effects shots, discarded costume designs, and soundtrack errors. The new version is much snappier, and includes shots that they were unable to complete at the time.

Note from Scott: I've heard about that cut, and would LOVE to see it. Is it available on Blueray?

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMN

My wife and I have this argument about 2001 all the time. Of course, I'm a huge Kubrick fan in general, but especially of 2001 and Clockwork Orange. I never really noticed the leisurely pace of Kubrick films because I was always engrossed in his visual style. Now, if you really want a movie with such a slow pace that the Earth's tectonic plates are looking at their watches and tapping their feet, check out The Accidental Tourist. Five minutes of that, and you'll be begging to watch a Kubrick film.

The way I see it, if you want a movie where all hell is breaking loose for two solid hours, you could watch a Michael Bay movie, but then all you've got is... well, Michael Bay.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Flugennock

I saw 2001 when it came out. I was AWED! Entirely because I was 18years old and stoned.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergobbler

all work and no play make Scott's fans laugh their butts off. I think the look on Shelly Duval's face when she reads the "book" is almost worth the wait, blood wave, muh ha ha ha ha

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdeimos

I consider Kubrick brilliant but spotty. Clockwork Orange is, I think, one of the greatest films ever. Not a single wasted frame. Full Metal Jacket is brilliant - in parts, where it isn't being silly. Dr. Strangelove is excellent all the way through.

But Barry Lyndon? Yeah, wonderful eye candy but three hours of soporific drag. The Shining? Interminable periods of tedium punctuated by in your face shock.

And as for Eyes Wide Shut, I don't consider it a Kubrick film. Since he died before the final edit there's no way to know what it should have looked like. And good point about managing to make sex boring - and this was even before we found out Tom Cruise was barking nuts.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Skubinna

Loved Barry Lyndon!

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeniy

2001:
a. monkeys [a metaphor for man] discover violence
b. homicidal computer and not much else for 2 hours
c. AcId TrIp!!!11
d. space baby
e. "...what the hell did I just watch?"

The Shining: My parents always told me it was scary. It was slow and not scary.

Eyes Wide Shut: a half-hour of erotique-noir; the rest of the movie is disposable.

Quentin Tarantino films: he's a pretentious asshole who's so full of himself that he writes his arrogance into the scripts... plus, he's one of those disgusting foot-fetishists.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Scott, I'm a big fan, so forgive me for disagreeing this one time.

Stanley Kubrick's films are supposed to be that way. They're meditative, painterly films. If you're looking for action flicks, there are plenty of other directors that can provide. When you watch Barry Lyndon or 2001, you're meant to be settling in and letting the images and scenes wash slowly over you.

There's nothing wrong with not liking that kind of pace, but it doesn't invalidate Kubrick. It just means you should pick a different kind of movie to watch. Hurrying a Kubrick film is like rushing through a fine cigar or a vintage wine. They're meant to be savored, not chugged.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJayson

I feel the same way about Alfred Hitchcock. For me, his early films are taut, dense, and satisfying, but then he started making those "Hitchcock Films" that have some good bits lost amid acres and acres of "look at me being an auteur" scenes. I know it's heresy, but I think Vertigo is the most boring movie ever. And yes, that list includes 2001 and Star Trek The Motion Picture.

Speaking of which, has anyone else ever noticed that the "V'ger flyby" music in ST:TMP is almost identical to the main theme of Vertigo? Seriously, go check it out.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Lagasse

Mad's parody of "Borey Lyndon" comes to mind. "Stop that fighting! Do you want to wake up the audience?"

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (95 minutes) and Paths of Glory (88 minutes) are extremely well paced. Both have long takes that you don't often find in modern short attention span theater.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFairwinds

I watched A Clockwork Orange as a double feature with Heavy Metal on Christmas Eve 1987 and IT TOTALLY ROCKED. Haven't seen any other Kubrick films, so my impression of him remains highly favorable based on a sample size of 1.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSolak

Kubrick will probably come back as an NPR producer in a future life.

My avatar is the Heeeeere's Johnny! screen shot in another forum so you can guess how I feel about The Shining (REDRUM REDRUM... go, Danny, go!), but, yeah, Barry Lyndon ranks way below watching paint dry.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjj

@Dee: "I tried to watch "Pulp Fiction" ... there wasn't much script, and the pace was as lively as your elderly aunt showing you her photo album"

Dee, you entered the wrong door in the multiplex.

Pulp Fiction was the one with the gangsters retrieving lost money with the hilarious shoot-out sub-story, the boxer who wouldn't take a bribe sub-story, the fantastic dance scene sub-story, the overdose and the hippy sub-story, the horrific gimp mask business sub-story, the Bonnie & Clyde theme from end to end, the shocking "oops, I shot him" and hiding the evidence sub-story, and that's just off the top of my head.

If you want more than that in one film, you seriously need to cut down on the caffeine.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

IMDB says The Shining was 144 minutes long.

Rotten Tomatoes says it was 119 minutes long.

I remember thinking when watching it that it was too long after 5 minutes. It was an exercise in seeing how long your backside could put up with a hard cinema seat and while being deprived of entertainment.

But it wasn't as bad as Cujo. Supposedly about a mad dog, it was 2 hours of my life wasted. Apart from slamming of screen doors, nothing happened.

The only good Stephen King story made into a film was Carrie. All the rest are just cynically cashing in on his name as an author.

So there.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

@Simes

The only good Stephen King adaptation was "Carrie?" "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile" don't enter into it?

What about "Misery?" Or "The Stand?" Or "Stand By Me?" Or "Apt Pupil?"

I'll concede that "The Langoliers" was horrible and "It" was goofy rather than scary, but you're gonna have the bad with the good. It's life.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

I hated Star Trek:The Movie when it came out, probably due to being on a Star Wars sugar-high. Seen it a few times since and enjoyed it, the plodding pace actually works

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJustRuss

I could not get into most Kubrick movies I've tried - never finished 2001 actually. But I did really like Full Metal Jacket, that whole movie had me riveted. The boot camp section was amazing, and then later on it had Adam Baldwin which I am a big fan of :)

December 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNefrai

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