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 Post subject: 86 Modern Romance
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 1:53 pm 
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Neurotic, self-obsessed Robert Cole (Albert Brooks) is a successful film editor who splits up with his on-off girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold), only to try and win her back when he finds he can’t live without her. Considered by many to be one of America’s greatest comic talents, and sought out by filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Judd Apatow, Steven Soderbergh and Nicolas Winding Refn, actor-writer-director Brooks created what is perhaps his most caustic and excruciatingly honest film in Modern Romance.

INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• New audio commentary with critic and film historian Nick Pinkerton
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Isabel Stevens, an overview of contemporary critical responses and historic articles on the film
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
• ...MORE TBC
• All extras subject to change


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 4:15 pm 
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tavernier wrote:
This is by far Albert Brooks' best film - so of course it's the only one not on DVD.
Anybody hear about anything in the works? Pairing this with his SNL short films would be a great Criterion project.


I don't what's going on with this film but have you heard the trouble brewing about his latest? Sony dumped it and now he's shopped it over to Warner's indie boutique label.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 4:23 pm 
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Fletch F. Fletch wrote:
I don't what's going on with this film but have you heard the trouble brewing about his latest? Sony dumped it and now he's shopped it over to Warner's indie boutique label.


I haven't heard anything, but it doesn't surprise me. Unfortunately, based on "Mother" and "The Muse" (and even "Defending Your Life"), there's no going back to "Real Life," "Modern Romance" and "Lost in America," alas.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:04 pm 
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tavernier wrote:
This is by far Albert Brooks' best film - so of course it's the only one not on DVD.
Anybody hear about anything in the works? Pairing this with his SNL short films would be a great Criterion project.


I've asked JM about this numerous times and each time he basically says no.

Hopefully we'll see this on DVD this year. The best part of the film is when he calls up the random girl and goes on a date with her, not remembering anything about her. And then when he shows up at the door and says "Now I remember who you are!" Brilliant.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:06 pm 

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have you heard the trouble brewing about his latest?

More on this here.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 5:50 pm 
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kieslowski wrote:
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have you heard the trouble brewing about his latest?

More on this here.


Now that I've read about it, I have higher hopes than I did for "The Muse" - but we'll see how it turns out.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Brooks is, by far, the funniest, most intelligent maker of film comedies working today. Studios should offer to eat broken glass in exchange for the privilege of distributing his movies.

The photo accompanying the linked story reminds me of Brooks' old standup routine in which he portrays the world's worst ventriloquist. Now that, along with the rest of Brooks' comic performance pieces, would really be worth having on DVD.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:51 pm 
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I don't think any other movie I've seen has ever made me squirm in my seat quite as much as this one! Oh my God, even with so many modern comedies xeroxing his blueprint, Brooks' film retains so much of its awkward, wince-inducing prowess. It's a shame his directorial filmography is being gradually eradicated from home media...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:21 pm 
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While Brooks' films were initially compared to Woody Allen's, I think his variation on Allen's preoccupations really anticipates the comic approach that SEINFELD embraced, as well as THE OFFICE, PARKS & REC and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (which features Brooks' brother, Bob Einstein, in the supporting cast). Comedy, at least television comedy, has caught up with what Brooks was doing thirty years ago. Sadly, as noted by Domino, his films are disappearing from home video.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:07 pm 
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Wow. What a coincidence. I have a friend who is begging me to watch this and I have it at home from Netflix. Had it for 6 weeks, but haven't found time to watch it. It has been described to me as a realistic and devastating Annie Hall. Which, completely confounds me. But, it seems a lot of people are revisiting this film.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:17 pm 
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It's a complete masterpiece, as are all three of his first films and most of Defending Your Life. The Muse was an obvious misstep, but Mother was a great bounce back and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World went very sadly overlooked. It's almost on par with his early work for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:29 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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I actually started watching it right after a breakup and thought it would be cathartic: I got about fifteen minutes in and had to just stop and save it for when I could laugh at this kind of thing. Weirdly enough, I saw Real Life right before our first date, too-- Albert Brooks, deciding my life one film at a time


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:28 pm 
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I love Albert Brooks, but I've never sat through a film more stoically than I did through Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. I think the laughless trailer was the first warning sign.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:37 am 
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tarpilot wrote:
It's a complete masterpiece, as are all three of his first films and most of Defending Your Life. The Muse was an obvious misstep, but Mother was a great bounce back and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World went very sadly overlooked. It's almost on par with his early work for me.


Actually, THE MUSE was Brooks' follow-up to MOTHER, but I don't really see it as a misstep. Even though the subject matter is less adventurous than MOTHER or his earlier films, THE MUSE feels well balanced throughout whereas I found MOTHER to have a disappointing second half. LOOKING FOR COMEDY... is definitely his weakest effort with the biggest laughs coming from recognizing Brooks' "character" as an elitist. Brooks has walked the line of sympathetic/unsympathetic before, but usually he plays the underdog that the audience can identify with. In LOOKING FOR COMEDY... the humor only works if you see him as an out-of-touch, condescending racist no-talent. It's no surprise that the conceit grows old real fast and can't sustain a feature-length film. This is one that would have worked better as one of his 8 minute SNL films.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:54 am 
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My apologies for The Muse misremembering. I should revisit it in any case.

With regards to Looking for Comedy, I actually feel its chief flaw is Brooks using Sheetal Sheth's secretary character and particularly the subplot with her boyfriend to elicit sympathy and soften the blow of his self-inquiry. In Real Life, his avatar's attempt to bed the family matriarch is symptomatic of both his extreme narcissism and his desire to mold the shape of the documentary's "narrative" even more to his own purposes. There is absolutely no sympathy to be had, let alone any notions of the underdog. Everyone, including the family, is acting purely in their own interests. Aside from the awkward attempts at sentiment, Looking for Comedy is much of the same, to almost as profound an effect. "Albert Brooks" only takes the job because his career's in the shitter, and his inherent selfishness makes the cultural jabs that much more pointed. The centerpiece "improv" bit at the comedy show is one of the greatest things Brooks has ever done and some of the richest deconstruction of comedy since JL's 60s golden period. It's a seven-minute mini-treatise on identification [with], pandering [to], and ultimate rejection of The Audience, punctuated by an evisceration of the they-don't-laugh-because-they're-idiots line of thinking that is perhaps the film's most incisive piece of autocritique and seems designed for apologists of Brooks and every other comedian whose work has, at one time or another, found its only renown in a niche (it's a line of thinking that's hard to resist when Jerry Lewis gets an honorary Oscar for his fucking telethons instead of his art, but I digress).


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Saw this (in 35mm no less) at Anthology Film Archives here in Gotham, where it played alongside Pialat's "We Won't Grow Old Together" last February. Gotta love that Valentine's Massacre pairing. :D Brooks' very loosely-inspired American remake is, surprise, as good or better than the genuine article. Though it shares the basic premise (bickering lovers that can't quit each other, the male being consumed by jealousy that his woman might be seeing someone else, etc.) and some loose plot structure (men working as filmmakers) Brooks smartly tones down the bile and ups the self-doubting neurotic humor to meet his comfort zone. I can't think of too many actors that could make me laugh from them talking to themselves (a pet peeve of mine), but here Brooks nails every bullet point in the lonely broken heart club's manual (songs on the radio, driving by your ex's home, dialing for dates, etc.) without going overboard. The handful of showbiz cameos (George Kennedy as George Kennedy, James L. Brooks essentially playing John Landis!) and stabs at Hollywood ("The Incredible Hulk" and "Heaven's Gate" in the same scene? I love you Albert Brooks!) are neat distractions, but Kathryn Harrold's Mary and Brooks' Robert Cole are front and center throughout the movie. It might be argued that "We Won't Grow Old Together" and "Modern Romance" are still male-centered views of a relationship by male directors, but Brooks deserves credit for not only putting himself down (I actively wished as the story unfolded that Mary would realize she could do a lot better than Robert) but for doing it in a society that, unlike France, can't seem to break away from the fairy tale romance myth. One of the best double-headers I've ever seen.


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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 9:42 pm 
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Never made the connection between Pialat's film and Modern Romance before. but now that you bring it up, i can totally see it it being a major influence on MR and Brooks himself..I forget where i heard/read it but didn't Brooks claim that Stanley Kubrick once said to him that MR was the best movie he'd ever seen about sexual jealousy?....On another note MR contains the funniest scene involving drugs ever put on film, and Bruno Kirby's greatest line of dialogue ("100 'Ludes?") in his entire long and storied career. Brooks' best film by a mile...


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 12:29 am 
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We're bolding director names now?! *head explodes*


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 12:34 am 
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No, we're only bolding words that are relevant to the discussion unlike Casablanca which is just silly.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 7:47 pm 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
We're bolding director names now?! *head explodes*

The crazy man soliloquizing at you on the bus is an auteurist. Who knew?


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