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Comment by mxyzptlk on July 1, 2009 at 9:16pm
@billyist

I'm in grad school, and I teach film each semester. Stone can be a wildly creative director; like Wells, Hitchcock, Scorsese and Kubrick, he's introduced directorial moves that we now take for granted. Especially in his politically-charged films (the president ones, NBK, Platoon), he'll pack so much contradiction and tension into a shot that the audience may think they've got a handle on where the director is taking them, but each member of that audience most likely has a different idea -- at least on first viewings.

Just look at the scenes in JFK when the lawyers are re-constructing the plot, and the camera flashes back to a non-existent moment where Oswald's picture is doctored. It's non-existent because it's being imagined by the characters; the subtle slide from the immediate dialog into a presumed flashback gives the sense that we're seeing something as it was, but if we're watching carefully, this is just a simulacra of a possibility. The power of that move is seen in just how many people's JFK conspiracy theories are shaped by Stone's film, whether they know it or not.

For undergrads, they often have a hard time getting over the spectacle of the camera work before they can engage with the actual content of the shot. So their papers tend to either completely miss the point by over-determining the significance of a shot or sequence, or they fawn over a film like it's a blog post. (Natural Born Killers usually wins out on the spectacle/fawning spectrum.)

But that's nothing compared to the student who decided A Clockwork Orange didn't provide a proper Christian ending, so his term paper was a rewritten third act.
Comment by Billy Deaton on July 1, 2009 at 9:13pm
Oh, it also may be the case that you heard his father was catholic, and his mother was jewish — so he may have at some point said that he came up that way. That might be the confusion.
Comment by Billy Deaton on July 1, 2009 at 9:08pm
I'm not sure when he might have suggested that he wasn't an atheist (although, I can't understand why he's not using that word more) but I suspect that at some point he may have done the same thing I did, which is stand up for what he perceived to be a religious right even though he himself was not religious. Can't speak for Maher, but I believe in civil rights and freedom — and I value it more than I value atheism.

If you can find a specific instance when Maher said he was religious, that isn't like 20 years old, I'd be very interested in seeing it. I'd be shocked honestly, he seems so outspoken. I mean, he did make that movie
Comment by Joe Dixon on July 1, 2009 at 7:48pm
Thanks for posting this! I don't have HBO so the internet is my only way to get a Real Time fix. I must ask, are we entirely sure about Maher and religion? In interviews he seems to go back and forth on whether or not he's actually atheist.
Comment by Billy Deaton on July 1, 2009 at 6:35pm
Care to elaborate, scroobious?
Comment by mxyzptlk on July 1, 2009 at 3:07pm
I love teaching Stone's films.

I hate grading papers on Stone's films.

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