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MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH - The Debate (Read 37349 times)
Feb 19th, 2013 at 12:56pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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Giving this film it's own vent thread. Even before the film ended folks were already ranking it down there with FOLKLORE, BREAKFAST OF ALIENS, NIAGRAVATION and STAR CRYSTAL on the dishonor list of Marathon films.

The topic of how festival films play at the Marathon has been addressed before. It's a tricky thing, no doubt. All during the year I see films small and large, old and new, classic and cult and I always try to guess the magic formula: "How will this play at the Marathon?"
I won't say that I have a perfect record with my recommendations, but I would never have given the green light to a FOLKLORE or MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH . And, as the leader of the Never-Sleep Android brigade at the Marathon, I can honestly say that MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH would have still stunk at an afternoon matinee in October after having 8 hours of solid sleep, a shower and nice breakfast. 4 am or not, the film simply does not work on any level.
Living in L.A., I go to Festivals, Premieres and preview screenings quite a bit. They are special screenings. Often the attendees are invested in the films either directly or as viewers who are there to support the filmmakers, the festival and to discover "the next big thing". It can distort one's objective view of the movies. The "Sundance effect" is the most well known symbol of this disconnect. Many many films over the years have come out of Sundance with great buzz only to land with a thud once they get released in the "real world", both commercially and critically.
I wasn't there for the MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH Festival showing but I have spoken to a couple who did and they said went over just ok (they can write their views themselves). Jay Seaver's opinion is quoted below. All I can say is that I have had to tell not just business colleagues but good personal friends that their films stink right to their face after a screening. It isn't easy, but I have a strict "no lying" policy. Of course, I couch it in the most gentle terms I can and try to find praise in an aspect or two of the production. If the film isn't finished, I offer constructive criticisms in areas where the film can be improved.

Let the debate begin!!!




Jay Seaver wrote on Feb 18th, 2013 at 11:00pm:

Motivational Growth - Man, the way the marathon can turn on a movie is amazing.  FWIW, when I saw it on Friday, I basically thought it was uneven, a few good parts with as many poor ones, and Combs's voice performance generally elevating it to a bit above mediocre.  I didn't watch much of this second screening (to be frank, I needed to spend some time in the restroom), and from what I did re-watch, it doesn't seem to repeat very well, but let me tell you - it wasn't in the top half of hatable movies I saw between the festival and marathon at all...

« Last Edit: Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:21am by L.A. Connection »  
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Reply #1 - Feb 19th, 2013 at 2:31pm

R_F_Fineman   Offline
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First I heard that "Frau Im Mond" would be DVD,

...


then I heard it would be replaced by "Hands of Orlac"

...

and then I heard Orlac would be replaced by "Motivational Growth",

...

Finally, I got Dave's print quality report on "The Fifth Element"*.

...


*For those who don't "get" my frequent online sarcasm: Please don't take offense. I'm not really homicidally angry. -RF  Wink
 

21st Century Man
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Reply #2 - Feb 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm

Dinsdale   Offline
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You forgot to mention Demon Lover! The Mold should have remained Festival only. The 4 AM screening certainly is a tough spot and I struggled to stay awake for the film and then decided it was fortunate that I did not see the entire movie. Every time I woke up it looked pretty much the same, except for the coming and going of the beard and the different stages of cleanliness of the apartment. Two in my party of 6 liked it or found it amusing, the others did not. I doubt it will become the cult classic that Garen thinks it will.
 
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Reply #3 - Feb 19th, 2013 at 7:20pm

kirok   Offline
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during motivational growth i heard a woman yelling in the balcony lobby: "I'M GETTING IN THE CAR AND I'M LEAVING"

i thought it had a good premise. the supporting cast was good. the production was good. i gave it a chance but half way through it just dragged and the ending was bad.
 

PANTS UP. DON'T LOOT.
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Reply #4 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:25am

L.A. Connection   Offline
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DEMON LOVER was unpopular, but is in nowhere near the (low) class of BREAKFAST OF ALIENS, NIAGRAVATION, FOLKLORE etc etc. It's a legit Foreign Arthouse film by a respected and multi-award winning director (Olivier Assayas), with some fine actors and a sleek production. Granted, it wasn't one of Assayas' better films, but, it ain't no STAR CRYSTAL.

DEMONLOVER being lumped with those straight to nowhere turds made by folks who never escaped obscurity is ridiculous to say the least. It wasn't a good fit for the Marathon, but, it's hardly an all-time worst film ---- worst fit, maybe........

Dinsdale wrote on Feb 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
You forgot to mention Demon Lover! The Mold should have remained Festival only. The 4 AM screening certainly is a tough spot and I struggled to stay awake for the film and then decided it was fortunate that I did not see the entire movie. Every time I woke up it looked pretty much the same, except for the coming and going of the beard and the different stages of cleanliness of the apartment. Two in my party of 6 liked it or found it amusing, the others did not. I doubt it will become the cult classic that Garen thinks it will.

« Last Edit: Feb 20th, 2013 at 3:44am by L.A. Connection »  
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Reply #5 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 11:24am

Jon   Offline
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RE: Motivational Growth
Truly a film with its head in a very dark (anatomical) place.  What were they thinking?
I will say it is an object demonstration of the ability of the cast to stick with what must have been a grueling shooting schedule. 
The premise was worth about 30 minutes, tops.  It usually is unfortunate when a fimmaker is so in love with his/her subject matter/cast/production decisions as to be unable to abandon anything, and the heck with any audience.
Tongue Clear?
 
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Reply #6 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:06pm

Caleb451   Offline
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As an editor by trade I have to say the thing that bothered me the most was the lack of any kind of sense of narrative economy.
The script could have been cut down by a third without losing any story content.
 

Dinner break? What's a dinner break?
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Reply #7 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:32pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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The last two posts kind of jive with my thoughts watching this film. It looked almost like a one act play (or short film) drawn out to a ridiculously over-extended 1 hour 45 minutes. It also struck me as a horribly failed attempt at early Cronenberg (the trailer was the tip-off to me).

But, even as a 20 minute short, it wouldn't have worked. The lead character is both repellent and unsympathetic (not that good films aren't made with those characteristics). Worse, the Director maroons the actor alone on screen for a half-hour or more without another human. The mucky mold in the corner hardly opens up the film to any sense of narrative drive. Say what you will of early Cronenberg, you always had a sense of a born filmmaker with a keen sense of intelligence. The same can hardly be said of MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH.
 
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Reply #8 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 9:06am

R_F_Fineman   Offline
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I'm among the people who saw "Motivational Growth" at its premier screening at the festival as well as the Marathon three days later. What the Marathon crowd didn't see was an earnest presentation by director Don "skinny tie" Thacker.

Despite terrible weather and a small turnout, he praised the festival and described us, the audience members, as exactly  the crowd he made the movie for. Promotional ability? The Mold knows Jack!

Was "Mars et Avril" a prettier film or "Space Milkshake" a funnier film?  Were "Found in Time"and "Time Becomes a Woman" more ambitious? Absolutely. Would any of them have proudly posted our DNA logo on their movie poster? Probably not.


http://motivationalgrowth.com/2013/01/23/motivational-growth-world-premiere/

...
 

21st Century Man
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Reply #9 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 9:23am

Lile   Offline
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Wish the other entries would promote the festival in their advertising. Having said that, I agree with others that Motivational Growth would have been better as a short. As a full length feature it just didn't work.
 
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Reply #10 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 2:02pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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Jay Seaver wrote on Feb 23rd, 2013 at 12:55pm:
Almost done recapping the festival on my blog & eFilmCritic, with just Saturday night's stuff left to go...
Motivational Growth - First time through, a little shaky but the bits that were good were pretty visible.  I found the flaws more prominent the second time through in 72 hours, but, uh, moving on...


In your full review of MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH, you mention that the film's Director was in the house during the 4am Marathon screening. That's unfortunate.

I honestly don't think more than a handful of Marathoners were aware of his presence. He should have been given an opportunity to defend himself in person - not, that he likely would have persuaded many doubters. We've had other testy Q & A's with filmmakers, but, they are always afforded a fair hearing, and get applause at the end for facing a hostile crowd (even in the case of the despised NIAGRAVATION).

You also mention that at the Festival, the Director said the film was set in 1991. Did anyone pick that up? It plays as much more present day than that. Nit-Pick: Plasma TVs weren't widely commercially available in 1991, so there would be no Plasma TV repair company. Hardly, the film's biggest flaw............
 
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Reply #11 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 5:40pm

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L.A. Connection wrote on Feb 23rd, 2013 at 2:02pm:
In your full review of MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH, you mention that the film's Director was in the house during the 4am Marathon screening. That's unfortunate.

I honestly don't think more than a handful of Marathoners were aware of his presence. He should have been given an opportunity to defend himself in person - not, that he likely would have persuaded many doubters. We've had other testy Q & A's with filmmakers, but, they are always afforded a fair hearing, and get applause at the end for facing a hostile crowd (even in the case of the despised NIAGRAVATION).

You also mention that at the Festival, the Director said the film was set in 1991. Did anyone pick that up? It plays as much more present day than that. Nit-Pick: Plasma TVs weren't widely commercially available in 1991, so there would be no Plasma TV repair company. Hardly, the film's biggest flaw............

(1)  I think he introduced himself and mentioned his movie would be showing later when he hosted the Alien Mating Cry contest.  Honestly, I don't know that a Q&A or "defense" would have been a great idea; I mean, Garen's attempt to do so went over so well, right?

(2) I think he said 1991; it may have been another time in the early 1990s.  It fits; there's not really anything newer than that around, the things on TV have an 80s/90s look, the music/animation is from that era's video games, and people talk about "faxing" orders in.  It's just not made explicit, so a lot of it comes off as stretched quirk rather than period detail.

I also think the guy was trying to sell plasmas, rather than repair them.  In a better movie, there could have something about rushing headlong into the future or being bound to the past in that, but I don't think this one had that kind of grip on its message.
 
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Reply #12 - Feb 24th, 2013 at 10:31am

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in the "movies as bad as motivational growth" list we need to add that time travel movie from a few years back. it was based on the butterfly effect by ray bradbury. it featured time waves and mutated gibbons. what was it called. one of the stupidest scenes of all time was in it. the heroine turned into a fish and she was floating in her fully furnished 3rd floor apartment with a bunch of apparatus that could not be operated by a fish.
 

PANTS UP. DON'T LOOT.
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Reply #13 - Feb 25th, 2013 at 12:36pm

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The movie you speak of is SOUND OF THUNDER (SF/33) aka "Sound of BLUNDER".

It is truly bad, and worse, it makes shambles out of a Ray Bradbury tale. The special effects are unbelievably amateurish for an $80M budget film. In the first scene with the dinosaurs I swear I thought it was all supposed to be a computer simulation game. I was appalled when it turns out the filmmakers were trying to pass them off as real dinos!!

But, there are a few caveats as far as putting it on an all-time worst marathon list:

1. It was made by some real filmmakers who have done better like Peter Hyams (2010, OUTLAND) and has Ben Kingsley chewing up the scenery like there is no tomorrow.

2. More importantly for such a list, BLUNDER was actually booked for the expressed purpose of having Marathoners make fun of. It failed miserably in that regard (as did BATTLEFIELD EARTH). Audiences just have a hard time mocking mega-budget turkeys. BLUNDER was not booked as a "good" new movie. It simply isn't the same as having fun with REPTILICUS or PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, small earnest indies that have a cheezy charm. Plus, both BLUNDER & BATTLEFIELD were too recent to have aged into moldy frommage.....





kirok wrote on Feb 24th, 2013 at 10:31am:
in the "movies as bad as motivational growth" list we need to add that time travel movie from a few years back. it was based on the butterfly effect by ray bradbury. it featured time waves and mutated gibbons. what was it called. one of the stupidest scenes of all time was in it. the heroine turned into a fish and she was floating in her fully furnished 3rd floor apartment with a bunch of apparatus that could not be operated by a fish.

 
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Reply #14 - Feb 25th, 2013 at 4:40pm

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L.A. Connection wrote on Feb 25th, 2013 at 12:36pm:
The movie you speak of is SOUND OF THUNDER.....
1. It was made by some real filmmakers who have done better like Peter Hyams (2010, OUTLAND)


     Tony, my dear, there are times when I think youve been out in the LA sun for too long!
     "Peter Hyams?????"  "Done Better?!?!?!?!?"   Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked  Are you off your meds?
     Peter Hyams is an awful director.  The closest thing he ever made to a good movie is Running Scared (which has a worn, pedestrian plot, but which is saved from being as bad as the rest of Hyams's work by the gleeful ad-libbing of Billy Crystal & Gregory Hines [which is, in itself, a barely-disguised re-working of the patter between James Caan & Alan Arkin in Freebie and the Bean -- and theres a movie that has fallen into oblivion!]).
     You might be able to make a case for Capricorn One, but it would be difficult, because it starts out strong, & then, like the majority of Hyams's movies, falls apart the further it goes on.
     And those are it!  2010 is so unbelievably awful (especially considering what came before it) that it makes my teeth ache.  Outland is so ridiculously bad that Harlan Ellison -- certainly no stranger to defending bad movies -- tore it to smithereens in his film reviewing F&SF column.  And I ran them both, in 70mm.
     Then theres the rest of Hyams's glittering oeuvre.  Have you forgotten Timecop?  Just try to make a case defending that turd of a movie!  End of Days?  The Relic?  The Narrow Margin re-make?  Sudden Death?  Stay Tuned?  A fine cinematic career is this!
     Sound of Thunder keeps exactly in line with the crumminess of everything that guy has made before.  "Done better," indeed!
      Next thing I know, youll be defending Motivational Growth!   Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin
 

I have seen the future, and it is sucky digital....
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