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Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

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What the Heck Is Wrong With Tony Scott?

I watched Man On Fire this weekend. It had its moments, but it could've been a whole lot better. In particular, it could have been a whole lot better if it had been directed by somebody better than Tony Scott. Is there anybody who actually likes this guy?

Man On Fire, starring Denzel Washington in yet another great performance, could very well have been a movie that I loved. Unfortunately, Scott decided to intersperse what should have been a fairly straightforward story with his own "style."

For those who are not familiar with Scott's style, it consists of his own personal competition to include more random cuts in his filmography then Michael Bay's. After this flick, I think Scott may be winning. Scenes that should have been quiet and lyrical are completely ruined by this constant visual assault.

Looking over Scott's career, it becomes apparent that he has had a lot of good material that he has not made the most of. With True Romance, Scott took a wonderful script by Quentin Tarantino, rearranged the chronology, and got an average sort of action movie with some better than average dialog.

His best film is probably Crimson Tide, a movie that is good but for some reason doesn't quite achieve greatness. His biggest hit was a lame movie that a lot of people like: Top Gun. Look, I'm willing to forgive people who saw it in the '80s because, well, it was the '80s. But for some reason, people today still hold on to the obviously incorrect notion that this is a good movie. I mean, does Val Kilmer really give Tom Cruise permission to ride his tail any time?

The thing that disturbs me most about Scott is his frenetic style seems to be getting more and more pronounced as the years go by. As much as I loathe Top Gun, at least it's a pretty standard action movie (albeit one with a gratuitous beach volleyball scene). Somewhere in the mid-1990s, Scott's films began to look like they were caught by a monkey on speed.

I haven't seen Deja Vu -- his latest film -- but I can only imagine that it is assembled from no fewer than 25,000 images. At some point in time, I think you'll be able to make a film in which no shot lasts longer than one frame.

So I have two questions for you. One, is there anyone who likes Tony Scott as a filmmaker? Two, is there anyone who doesn't despise this rapid fire style of editing?

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