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Old 11-02-2019, 07:29 PM
Mike Mabes is offline
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Ed Norton's Motherless Brooklyn movie


Looking forward to seeing this for a couple of reasons. I love film noir and I've read this has echos of Chinatown, one of my favorite movies, and I love movies about old NYC; related to that, one of the characters is based on Robert Moses, the subject of Robert Caro's massive bio The Power Broker.


https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/m...-brooklyn-2019

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Broker-.../dp/0394720245
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:49 PM
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I'm skeptical because it deviates so far from the book, which is set in the nineties.
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Old 11-03-2019, 02:38 AM
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I'm skeptical because it deviates so far from the book, which is set in the nineties.
I know and lovers of the book probably won't love the movie, at least if they don't realize this going in

I had not heard of it but I will read it eventually, I love detective novels.
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Old 11-03-2019, 08:18 AM
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I had not read the book. The setting of the movie in the late fifties worked for me. I really enjoyed the movie and ordered the book when I got home. I will see how i feel after reading it.
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Old 11-03-2019, 12:56 PM
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I thought the book was great.
I can see it working in the 50's...
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:02 PM
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This looks like an interesting movie.

I wonder if the decision to place it in the 50s is that the 90s are kind of an "uncanny valley" of eras at the moment. We sort of had cellphones and internet but not really. It's a transitional time that can be fun to use but maybe gets in the way of a detective story.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:08 PM
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I’ve never read the book but I saw the film today. It is very reminiscent of Chinatown. If the book is set in the 1990s, I guess all of the Robert Moses plot must have been added for the film?
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:51 PM
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Oh lord, when I first read the title I thought "great, another celebrity has a leaked porn or switched to doing porn and is posting it on THAT website"
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Old 11-03-2019, 07:48 PM
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I'm not usually a person who can quickly predict how a movie is going to end. Especially for movies of this genre. But it didn't take long for me to guess how "Motherless Brooklyn" was going to end. The predictability didn't ruin the movie for me, but it did make me feel like the movie was dragging on a little too long.

As someone who has a tic disorder, I was a little bit reluctant to watch the movie. Seeing other people tic almost always sets me off. But I only ticced a little, so yay. Overall, I think Norton did a great job.
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Old 11-04-2019, 05:05 PM
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Iíve never read the book but I saw the film today. It is very reminiscent of Chinatown. If the book is set in the 1990s, I guess all of the Robert Moses plot must have been added for the film?
Just heard the Mark Maron podcast with Norton. Yes it was added, Norton has been interested in Moses for a while.
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:01 PM
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I lived in Brooklyn in the nineties, part of the time near where some of the book took place. Some also took place near where my wife and I lived in Manhattan when we were married. That was part of the appeal of the book for me, so there's the danger of the movie being just another film noir. It it hadn't been for the setting, both time and place, I don't know that I'd have made it all the way through the book.
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:02 AM
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I hate to see this movie convince an entire new generation that Moses was a racist autocrat.

While I have great respect for Robert Caro, I have some problems with his early writing in The Power Broker—and even more problems with the way it's been absorbed into the conventional wisdom via undergrads who only skimmed selected passages.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:07 PM
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I hate to see this movie convince an entire new generation that Moses was a racist autocrat.

While I have great respect for Robert Caro, I have some problems with his early writing in The Power Brokeróand even more problems with the way it's been absorbed into the conventional wisdom via undergrads who only skimmed selected passages.
Iím not sure how you can say he wasnít an autocrat with too much power, but as far as him being a racist, that whole thing about him building bridges over the roads leading to Jones Beach so low that buses, ďpresumably filled with minorities,Ē would not be able to pass under them, may not be true. I read The Power Broker many years ago and just recently saw it in a bookstore and picked it up, maybe Iíll read it all again one day. That was one thing I really remembered about it. But I found this link that says at the time Jones Beach was being created in the 1920s, 95% of the population of NYC was white and only 3% black (of course, that is still a helluva lot of people); I saw another link (canít find it now) that said that at the time the laws prevented buses from travelling on those roads. The link below also points out the Moses was the one to create public housing, mostly occupied by minorities. One could argue that it was not good housing and the superblocks were a very bad idea, as were a lot of his ideas. An expressway through Greenwich Village?

I donít think there is any doubt Moses was a racist, but did those beliefs affect the decisions he made? Hard to believe they would not have at least subconsciously As I said, maybe Iíll read the book again. Or maybe the book is not the best place to get the true story. If you search for ďwas Robert Moses a racist?Ē you will quickly find links to articles that repeat the accusation about the bridges and other things. Is everyone getting their information from this one book?

Iím going to send an email to Mark Maron challenging Ed Norton on this, maybe Iíll get a mention on his podcast

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/...4du-story.html

Last edited by Mike Mabes; 11-06-2019 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 11-06-2019, 04:43 PM
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I hate to see this movie convince an entire new generation that Moses was a racist autocrat.

While I have great respect for Robert Caro, I have some problems with his early writing in The Power Brokeróand even more problems with the way it's been absorbed into the conventional wisdom via undergrads who only skimmed selected passages.
Moses wasnt actually accountable to anyone. He served on committees that both chose public works projects and also built them in violation of New York State law. Of course he was an autocrat.

Besides the Jones Beach stuff, Moses also refused to build any of his parks in black neighborhoods where they were really needed. He was a racist.

Statists love Moses because he got things done. Politicians loved him because he got things done and funneled money back into their campaigns. Many people hated Moses because his power went unchecked. Its not how democratic government works.
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Old 11-07-2019, 12:23 AM
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I'm not sure what to say about him not building parks in black neighborhoods. My recollection was that he only built parks where there he could identify underused land, as accessory to the Triboro Bridge or Henry Hudson Parkway, or replacing some unneeded city reservoir or the like. I can't think of any parks he built in white neighborhoods, either (meaning there were people already living around them).

The parkways-with-low-overpasses conspiracy theory has been a pet peeve of mine for years. It's so facile that it smacks of retroreasoning—and it turns out that's exactly what it is.

When Moses was working, parkways were a way to help middle-class New Yorkers escape hot, noisy, crowded neighborhoods, and enjoy natural beauty. The parkway tradition is one of the two parents of modern superhighways (the other was the turnpike/autobahn), and certainly wasn't viewed at the time as some sort of evil, elitist thing. Because they were designed to blend into the landscape, they had low, rustic stone-faced or decorative concrete bridges.

Long Island parkways were indeed designed with low clearance bridges, not useable by ordinary city buses. But there was at the time no thought that New York City or other urban buses would ever traverse the parkways. Long Island was well served by suburban trains, and local bus shuttles to the beaches wouldn't be using parkways.

As Bernward Joerges notes in his essay Do Politics Have Artefacts? “[i]n the USA, trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles were prohibited on all parkways. Moses did nothing different on Long Island from any parks commissioner in the country.”

Caro was writing in 1974, a time of questioning “establishment” figures of the previous generation, and if you check his endnotes, the source of the overpass story turns out to be a disgruntled engineer (Sidney Shapiro) recalling some interaction 40 years prior, and a 1970s Long Island city planner (Lee Koppelman) who noticed the low bridges one day—and just invented in his head a possible rationale for them.

In recent years, there's been a lot of reŽxamination of Moses, and nearly all of it finds the young crusader Robert Caro's characterization to be entirely too cartoonish. A good place to start is Kenneth Jackson's essay "Robert Moses and the Planned Environment: A Re-Evaluation," in Robert Moses: Single-Minded Genius, edited by Joann P. Krieg.
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Old 11-10-2019, 05:26 PM
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Saw the movie last night. I'll give it a 7 of 10. SPOILERS coming. While watching I wondered if some of it was a deliberte homage to Chinatown or just unconscious referfences but I remembered the podcast I heard with Norton and he talks about Chinatown. There are so many things that seem Picasso-like stealing - in both movies you have powerful men changing the urban environment by any means, you have an investigater who stumbles on a great conspiracy, there is an innocent women he falls for who is in danger, there is a scene it this movie about sniffing other people's garbage, in Chinatown there is the scene about nosy people losing their noses, there is a scene of Essrog cutting out a page of a newspaper article, in Chinatown it was Gittes ripping out a page in the hall of records, and there is the cool jazz soundtrack.

I found the tics (Tourette's I guess though it is never named) of the Essrog character annoying after a while. They were funny at first, but in some of the more dramatic scenes just a distraction. Maybe that is insensitive to people who have this, they can't control when it happens, but this is a movie, you can make it happen when you want.

I enjoyed the movie, but there is no reason I will ever want to see it again.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:05 PM
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I found the tics (Tourette's I guess though it is never named) of the Essrog character annoying after a while. They were funny at first, but in some of the more dramatic scenes just a distraction. Maybe that is insensitive to people who have this, they can't control when it happens, but this is a movie, you can make it happen when you want.
Well, at least now you know how hard it can be to have Tourette's or be with someone who has it. At least no one is forcing you to watch the movie for the rest of your life.

I noticed right now away that all the good guy characters were the ones who weren't bothered by the tics. The bad guys were the ones who were annoyed by them or who would say something snarky about them.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:44 PM
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Well, at least now you know how hard it can be to have Tourette's or be with someone who has it. At least no one is forcing you to watch the movie for the rest of your life.

I noticed right now away that all the good guy characters were the ones who weren't bothered by the tics. The bad guys were the ones who were annoyed by them or who would say something snarky about them.
It's identified as Tourette's in the book. There were certain situations where it was likely to manifest itself. The good guys tended to be amused by them.

I've tended to like Ed Norton's movies, but film noir ain't really my bag. Maybe I'll wait until it's streaming on Netflix. Norton, btw, went to high school with Ms. P.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:27 PM
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Film noir really isn't my bag either, I've decided. I liked the movie OK, but I don't think it was worth the $13 I spent to watch it.
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