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Year of the Dragon

“I’m chasing something that doesn’t exist.”

As a writer-director, Oliver Stone can maintain a clear vision and deliver the story he wants. When he’s working as a writer for hire, it’s often difficult to clearly get his story across. This certainly was the case when he worked on Year of the Dragon with director Michael Cimino, who wanted to add a Vietnam vet element to the story that wasn’t in the original source material. Stone did that and wrote an effective script, but between the two of them (both credited writers), they seemed to lose any sense as to how to write a fully fleshed out story. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Oliver Stone in the 80s series with Cimino’s 1985 film Year of the Dragon.

We talk about the problems we find in this story as they relate to the characters and their relationships but find we disagree on our overall reactions to the film. Pete found the problems weighed the entire thing down and didn’t like any of it but Andy found the crime story incredibly compelling and made the film enjoyable, despite its character issues. We discuss the actors and why some of them work better than others. We look at the cinematography and why so much looks great though conversations can often be bland. And we go on about the crime story and how the research they did in this area pays off to make it feel authentic.

It’s a film full of issues but it’s going to be the individual viewer’s ability to look past them or not that will determine if they enjoy it or not. We had a great time talking about it regardless, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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When the movie ends, our conversation begins. We love movies. We’ve been talking about them, one movie a week, since 2011. It’s a lot of movies, that’s true, but we’re passionate about origins and performance, directors and actors, themes and genres, and so much more. So join the community and let’s hear about your favorite movies, too.
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