James Ellroy took center stage last Monday at LAFF for an interview by critic at large Elvis Mitchell. Or is it was booked. Then Ellroy bounded onto the stage, declared the audience in his usual shtick to be "peepers, prowlers, pederasts, and pimps" and Elvis Mitchell could heard ripping his notes in half (only metaphorically of course). Now Ellroy is one of my two favorite authors (the other being Larry McMurtry. Make of this what you will), but when he's in full shtick mode it gets a little slow. Of course when, for example, he claims "Chinatown is a dog. It's badly plotted, poorly acted... Its iconic status is cast in stone and very few people are loath to contradict it," the entire talk turns on a dime, and Ellroy cuts deep into the heart of the heart of noir films showing an understanding of the genre that was captivating as much as sickening. Some highlights can be found here, but my favorite line of the evening was:
"Americans like to have a lot of sex, but challenge the urge, and in that dichotomy lies our greatness."