Hulk Jeff no like Brandon BLOW-UP bashing.
I knew exactly what you were doing and arguing, but I also sensed that you were trying to pick a fight or incite some anger through your casual dismissal of the film. Something I was only too happy to oblige you with post-VAMPYR fight lull.
It was this comment that really set me off:
"I would gladly go at this film because I'm interested to hear a defense from its fans. I get a feeling that it'll be a lot of mood and atmosphere vibes."
I'm glad you said this because I had been working on a deeper analysis of the film in my head since the moment I watched it again. It was almost a perfect setup for me to rant about why I find the film, particularly its ending, so thematically interesting. Sure, the mood and atmosphere vibes are fine in the film, but it's everything else that appeals to me. The suggestion that one couldn't form a defense for the film beyond its atmosphere or mood was the real instigator. You just had to provoke me into that, didn't you?
"Your accusations of me not giving it a fair shake are quite assuming." Absolutely, but that was only to provoke you back. Plus, it sounded nice to accuse you of not believing in the film after I had just expounded on my "belief" analysis of the film.
Truthfully, I think Chris' argument for the film being dull is valid. I think your reaction to the film is valid too. John didn't seem to like what he had seen, but I really can't imagine him liking the film anyway. I can already hear him telling me (or picture him writing) how cold the film left him. I won't even pretend like there is heart or emotion to this film. It's almost purely visual and intellectual, like all of his films. But sometimes I love visual and intellectual, as long as the film or filmmaker is successful at both. I love Kubrick because I think he's successful at both, and I love Antonioni for similar reasons. Kubrick's films are obviously more entertaining than Antonioni's (and can have heart–PATHS OF GLORY, for instance), but I don't think either man would deny that they made films primarily for the brain instead of the heart (Aren't you psyched for some Antonioni now that I've compared him to Kubrick, John?).
I was impressed by BLOW-UP's intelligence, but I can imagine that if you or anyone didn't find it all that intelligent or just purely cold, that it wouldn't be a positive experience.
I do think that, to speak for him, Chris found something intelligent or interesting about the film's specific open ending. I don't think he was given the film a pass merely for having an open ending but for having the invisible tennis match open ending it does have. This is his actual quote: "I loved the ending and its allowance for endless interpretation." It isn't "I loved the ending because of its allowance for endless interpretation." He's saying that he loved the ending and its openness, something you were quick to tell him he was wrong about (which in turn was something I was quick to come to his defense for). He's allowed to give a film points for something he thought it did well, right?
Onto John Wayne, I'm a big fan of him as an actor and love his movies. I've never been a fan of his politics or his unabashed HUAC support, but that has never diminished my esteem of his professional or artistic work since I've been exposed to it. I mean Jimmy Stewart was an arch conservative, and I still love him to death and think he was one the greatest actors who ever lived (who doesn't?). But, you also have to understand that Chris and I didn't grow up on John Wayne or his movies as kids. Before I ever saw one of his films, I knew from my interest in history that Wayne was a vocal supporter of ratting people out in Hollywood, just like Ronnie Regan. I hated him before I ever saw one of his films until I did see one of them and found him interesting and even charming. Chris is just getting exposed to Wayne now so I think he needs time to separate the image of Wayne the man from Wayne the actor.
I don't know if Bunuel was a homophobe or not, but I do know that Ernst Lubitsch used to sell poison milk to school children, and Robert Bresson used to kick puppies. The jerks!