An empty, vitriolic exercise in spiteful contrarianism

by robbiefreeling
August 8, 2005 4:54 AM
8 Comments
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They say we're assholes. But all we want to do is honor our favorite filmmakers. Help us do that in this week's round of crazy match-em-ups! First prize is a set of Criterion DVDs of your choice.* Some are easier than others, so watch out!

-Your friendly neighborhood film critics, Clarence, Robbie, and Filmenthusiast2000.

(*From our used pile of scratched selections -- only Armageddon, Chasing Amy, and Salo are left.)

1) Ozu, 2) Denis, 3) Welles, 4) Cassavetes, 5) Kubrick, 6) Bresson, 7) Fuller, 8) Eisenstein, 9) Godard, 10) Marker, 11) Bertolucci, 12) Minnelli

a) A pathetic mix of heady pseudo-intellectual post-Algiers revolutionary and squirming idealist, this four-eyed Commie prick mistakenly confuses the idea of "movie" with "lesson" in his pedantic, nearly unwatchable treatises on film and politics. Yes, we get it, we get it: history/cinema/genocide/image. Throw in a few random broken sound shards and we'll lap it up. Hateful misogynist to boot.

b) Critically-pandered habitual overeater whose one acknowledged "masterpiece" is a rattling bag of tricks that betrays his true vocation: birthday party magician. David Fincher circa 1941.

c) The textbook case of cinematic pussy-loathing, his filmography never met a woman it liked. His phallocentric universe trades actual cock for ridiculous handmade lenses and ejaculation for slow, throbbing camera movements. For first dates only. (*We can use the same for John Ford, just substitute "squaw" for "woman.")

d) Bombastic, semi-competent ham who delighted French intellectuals in the 1950's by tickling the bourgeois Euro appetite for quaint American "crudity." Turtle-necked homo-macho Left Bankers slobbered over his junky existentialism just as they enshrined any blind, barefoot Mississippi Negro who could twang out a chord; the canon has been shackled with his agit-slop ever since.

e) Labeled "transcendental" by those in the know, and "a real snoozer" by those who have sexual relations regularly, his small, mini-mustachioed career has cast an unpleasant shadow over an entire continent's worth of cinema. In some alternate universe, 40+ films' worth of stationary cameras and kimonos would be called tedious. Here it's called genius.

f) Dessicated drunk ham actor who couldn't crack it in the theater so took out his aggression on a pack of wounded outcast performers, forced them to bray and mime and shriek for the camera, all the while blowing endless amounts of cheap looking film stock in the hopes that someone somewhere would enshrine it as "edgy," "honest," and "real". Guess what? It worked, and then he died, drunk.

g) A Midwestern transplant locked in the most fabulous, spangled closet this side of Liberace, reeled out enough tawdry Technicolor to keep ascot-wearing old queens shrieking and ironically applauding for a century to come. With an undisciplined sense of color that would consign him to thrift store bins had he been a painter, in cinema his orgiastic Italian-American tackiness is "riotously vivid." Ever wonder why nobody takes the medium seriously?

h) Embraced mainly because of today's paucity of relatively talented European filmmakers, she has such a lack of grasp on the fundamentals of film narrative, that she time and time again falls back on dreamlike, esoteric imagery to buoy her non-movies. Hey, lady, female sexuality was already covered way back in the days of Maya Deren—get over it already.

i) Foppy-haired pinko who some argue invented editing, in reality is nothing more than the direct progenitor of MTV and ADD. Obsessed over by academics because he cuts faster than their brains can work, he churned out a series of thinly veiled Stalin-cozies and capped it all with his very own Lord of the Rings Nazi-killing swashbuckler.

j) Frigid old French coot name-dropped roughly a thousand times more than his arid, airless movies are ever actually watched. If his 'Notes on Cinematography' were applied filmic practice, going to the movies would be as lively as a visit to the Medieval wing at the Met. Mouchette is an austere TV movie weepie, Pickpocket cliff notes Dostoevsky, The Devil, Probably a sullen adolescent melodrama. The worst filmmaker in history.

k) If Al Gore invented the internet, then this guy surely invented the artiste as a continual stream of boring video docs, hypertext handjobs and low rent Myst knock-off CD-ROMS (see also: Godard). A gnomic Left Bank recluse who should've sold it out along with Varda and Resnais when he had it, maintains his reputation through the sheer unavailability of his work, except of course, the fanboy Holy Grail of his photo scrapbook short La Jitney.

l) Despite early efforts, he could never crack it as a truly political filmmaker so he proceeded to fall back on soft-core imagery, whether it be the Nazi chic of his overlauded 1970 flick, currently enjoying a "large-screen" (ha!) run at Film Forum, or the truly risible apocalick-tic bedroom butter farce of a few years later, both luxuriating in bad-taste cinematographic gloss that covers up a venal banality. His unmitigated prurience extended to forcing viewers to witness Jill Clayburgh playing an incestuous mom, Gerard Depardieu's wee-wee lolling about rather close to De Niro's leg, and his Fu Manchu-lite winning nine Oscars. The apotheosis of this brainless shell's career came with last year's riotous May '68 parody, which unforgivably mistook youthful idealism for—youthful idealism.

***Yeah, okay, we really love all these filmmakers.

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8 Comments

  • filmenthusiast2000 | August 9, 2005 5:39 AMReply

    I'm a little depressed by how much funnier that Michael Snow one is than any of ours.

  • brendon | August 9, 2005 5:39 AMReply

    it's funny, i actually began searching for the name 'breillat' at the top when i read that description.

  • Josh | August 9, 2005 4:19 AMReply

    Even though brendon got it first, I'll be happy to take that Salo DVD off your hands any time you want.

    A - 9
    B - 3
    C - 5
    D - 7
    E - 1
    F - 4
    G - 12
    H - 2 (Can also apply to Breillaut)
    I - 8
    J - 6
    K - 10
    L - 11

  • robbiefreeling | August 9, 2005 3:07 AMReply

    I'm keeping SALO for my private stash after all. I might have a used Blockbuster copy of THE HOURS if anyone's interested, though.

  • clarencecart | August 9, 2005 1:33 AMReply

    we're not really giving away DVDs are we?

  • robbiefreeling | August 8, 2005 10:07 AMReply

    Oh,msic, SNOW is falling, indeed....

  • msic | August 8, 2005 9:18 AMReply

    m) Called by some "the most important Canadian artist of the 20th century," his dessicated camera operations (we shan't call them films) damn nearly as much as that faint, faint praise. In 1967 he unleashed possibly the single most excruciating 45 minutes of cinema the medium has ever known, a passive-aggressive monsterpiece with which undernourished grad students have been torturing Film 101 victims ever since. His recent forays into digital animation, remarkably, combine "formal" tedium and potty humor.

    (Just thought I'd chime in with a favorite of mine...)

  • brendon | August 8, 2005 6:17 AMReply

    1)E
    2)H
    3)B
    4)F
    5)C
    6)J
    7)D
    8)I
    9) A
    10)K
    11)L
    12)G