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I had to read Gladwell's Outliers for a book club last year. I was not happy about it and I thought the book had many faults, for example, I don't think there was enough evidence to prove some of the points he was trying to make, and I think he overlooked a lot of aspects that may have influenced the situations he was describing. Also, his idea of success is so different from mine, that I didn't find it particularly useful. Still, the book was interesting anecdotally and I'm not sorry I read it. The explanation, for example, of why Korean flights crashed so often was really interesting.


I remember you complaining about that and was sort of prepared for you to express dismay at my discussing this one. "Interesting anecdotally and I'm not sorry I read it" sort of sums up my reaction to this one. It's the only Gladwell I've read, btw. Why did Korean flights crash so often?

Because Koreans never correct their superiors. So, the co- pilot might realize something was terriblywrong but he could only talk around it and hope the pilot would catch on. It got so bad that Korean planes weren't allowed to fly over Canadian airspace.Having worked with Korean students, I can see how this would be true.

Finally, they figured out what was going on and trained the pilots to interact differently.


That's fascinating. Reminds me of a talk on a somewhat similar phenomenon I heard years ago. Don't have time right now to tell it--tomorrow sometime.

I saw Die Hard three times in the theaters when it first came out (I was 14 or so). I used to really love that movie. It's been awhile, maybe I'll watch it again. :)

There are worse things you could have been watching at age 14. Might not be as good as you remember it...but then I loved The Great Escape when I was somewhere around that age and it's still good. Better than DH, though they're so different that that's not a fair comparison.

Winter's Bone was one of the best movies I saw in 2011. I would like to see Die Hard!

I'm pretty sure that I saw Die Hard a long time ago and that I even liked it, but I couldn't tell you anything about it except that Bruce Willis was in it.

Someday I will probably watch Winter's Bone, but I am only going to watch pretty happy stuff for about two months. I think.

I pretty much like grey-brown mountain winter. I don't think I'd like to like in a cold cabin in the mountains, but I like to drive through them, and walk around a bit when they are that way.



I do, too (like grey-brown winter), but it's used to very depressing effect in this movie. You definitely should avoid it if you aren't in the frame of mind to watch serious grimness.

I sorta think you would enjoy DH, Grumpy. The eeeevvvilll guy is Alan Rickman, who apparently has been specializing in eeeevvvillll for a while.

I saw Alan Rickman get killed by a snake tonight for the 147,000th time. It's beginning to be not so sad.

My favorite AR roles are Col. Brandon in Sense and Sensibility in the version in which I hate almost everyone else, and Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. You have to have watched a lot of Star Trek to think GQ is funny. I have, although I have no desire to watch it again, and I think it's really funny.

I had forgotten that he played Obadiah Slope in Barchester Towers. What a horrid person he was.


I watched Die Hard a couple of years ago. I had only known (by reputation) the later ones, and had assumed the first was about as good (that is, about as bad). I was surprised when I discovered that the first film was well regarded. I liked it, although I had hoped it would be better than it was. I think action movies have benefitted from the filming and editing techniques that high-tech makes possible, and somehow older action films don't have that same punch.

Bruce Willis is always such a likeable actor. He's done bad movies, but he is not usually the locus of badness.

I am on record as not much liking Winter's Bone, but I am content to be in a minority. I liked the actress. Has anybody seen her in Hunger Games?

No, I haven't seen Hunger Games. And I didn't know Die Hard was well-regarded--that's interesting. I don't think I'd ever read anything about it or heard anyone else's opinion. I'm not sure I would agree that later action movies are better, action-wise. I haven't seen enough of them, old or new, to have an informed opinion, but based on the few I've seen it seems to me that technology has helped make them more spectacular but less believable. Can't think of any examples, unfortunately. Well, DH2 was way past believability at some points--that long sequence where they're fighting on the wing of the airplane. Not that DH was truly plausible, but overall it seemed less implausible.

I agree with Maclin about tech and action movies. Most of them have become cartoon like - with heroes doing things like falling 200 feet off a burning building and rising effortlessly to their feet (sorry, can't think of a good example) or leaping off a low flying airplane and landing on the ground unhurt (that actually happens in Cowboys and Aliens). I know what Craig means - there is something pedestrian about the action in, say, Ben Hur, now. But the problem is that when the exploits become humanly impossible, it's hard to care about the heroes as humans. For me, the one recent exception to this is the new Avengers movie. This was because the heroes are explicitly not really 'human' but super-heroes, kind of like Christian demi-gods if there could be such a thing.

Are all Janet's Undead threads closed? I wanted to ask there, but I can't seem to comment. I am teaching a 2nd year course next semester on 'Love' - a course for theology majors. What three movies should I show? I am thinking of Baran, Romeo and Juliet and Once, although I cannot think of any theological meaning to ascribe to the latter. I got very good suggestions last year for my Film and Theology course, which is why, scrounging on Maclin's goodwill, I am asking here again.

Yes, it was closed, but I just reopened it, so you can post this there if you want to. Or I'll put the question in a regular post later today--sounds like a good discussion-starter. I had closed the Undead thread 3.0 a while back because it was attracting so much spam, intending to reopen it after a week or so, but of course forgot.

I also agree with Maclin, so I must be pretty confused...

Perhaps what I should have said was that the best of recent action films are better, in my mind, than older action films (that I have seen). I am thinking of, say, the better Mission:Impossible films, or the Kill Bill films, or some of Christopher Nolan's films.

I probably shouldn't talk about this at all, because I don't see many action films, and for the reasons you both have said: I don't much like noise and explosions, and there is nothing thrilling about watching a cartoon man do cartoonish things.

When it comes to the actions scenes, I know I'm not going to be able to figure out what's going on, so I just sit back and wait to see the outcome.


Maybe the confusion is what 'recent' means. I love the Bourne movies, but I don't count them as recent. As they went on, they did become cartoonish - Bourne jumps through (closed) windows and lands on his feet and keeps running, etc. But the car chase in Paris is unbeatable.

Maclin, if you want to make it part of a discussion, that would be very helpful to me. Last semester, I had a course on 'The Church in Time and Eternity'. We watched three movies, in the evenings, instead of three afternoon classes. We had A Man for All Seasons, The Ninth Day, and The Son. The latter was *way* over most of their heads, but three people wrote very good papers on it. In other words, it would be OK to have one 'art' movie, that a few people get a lot out of. But not three! In the course, we are going to read the Symposium, and Pieper, and 'The Four Loves', and Deus Caritas Est, and von Balthasar's Love Alone is Credible. I have not written the syllabus yet (I am supposed to do that this week), but I know those are the core books.

No need to be embarrassed of liking 'Die Hard.' The sequels on the other hand...

Not so much embarrassed at liking it, because I like a fair amount of junk, but at feeling compelled to defend it as being a bit more than junk. Or really really good junk, or something.

"I think action movies have benefitted from the filming and editing techniques that high-tech makes possible, and somehow older action films don't have that same punch."

This is probably true in many cases but there are notable exceptions. I recently watched 'Stagecoach' (John Ford, 1939) for the first time, and was struck by how good the Indian chase at the end is. Still exciting after all these years!

By the way, have I mentioned Small Town Murder Songs here yet? Odd but good little Canadian indie pic with Peter Stormare and Martha Plimpton. Stomare plays a middle-aged small town police chief whose ex-girlfriend may be involved in a murder. He has a violent past himself, but has recently cleaned up his act, gotten baptized and joined (or maybe rejoined) the church. The murder investigation threatens to dredge up his past.

What's interesting about this movie is that it takes the main characters' religion quite seriously -- no condescenscion or ironic winks -- and really does show the chief's struggles to live out his new life in an honest and sympathetic way.

There is some rough language and nudity (one scene is set in a stripper bar) and some brief violence. Also, lots of folks seem put off by the soundtrack which is by a Canadian band called Bruce Peninsula -- it's kind of a loud, percussive Gospelly type-thing with vocals reminiscent of Tom Waits. Doesn't sound like it would fit what is mostly a quiet film, but I thought it worked really well.

Rob G, that sounds like a good one to watch with the postgrad film club which sort of meets at my house.

I am almost hoping day 8 of giving up smoking might be bad enough to watch Die Hard 2

Somebody who knows the genre better might be able to recommend something better. But then it would probably suffice to get your mind off smoking.

I don't recall you mentioning that one before, Rob. Sounds good.

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