James Ellroy Says 'Skyfall' Is "F*cking Brilliant" And "Profound" But 'The Wire' Is "Bullsh*t" With "Bad Writing"

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 20, 2014 11:43 AM
16 Comments
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With over $1 billion in ticket sales, it's safe to say that "Skyfall" satisfied longtime fans of 007 and brought a few new people into the fold. And you can count James Ellroy among them.

The famed author recently sat down with Shortlist to talk about "Perfidia," the first installment of his new quartet of novels. But the conversation soon veered into movies and TV, and dude has some strong opinions, staring with "Skyfall" which he says had some influence on his upcoming book. "...the book takes a theme I first got hip to thanks to 'Skyfall.' It’s f*cking brilliant and it’s the only profound James Bond movie," he said. "They’re usually boring and overlong; the books are boring and racist. The stories are shoddy and sloppily plotted. But 'Skyfall' is about the defence of the West, and that’s what the series is about."

Turning to television, Ellroy somewhat surprisingly reveals he likes the format — just not the popular TV shows everyone loves. "I like the form, in fact I love the form. I watch TV shows at a friend’s house most Friday nights. I think 'Deadwood' and 'Mad Men' were intermittently quite wonderful, but often shoddy and veered into incoherence. I saw one or two episodes of 'The Wire' and thought it was bullsh*t. Bad writing. And I have no sympathy for the underclass," Ellroy said. Charming.

In case you're wondering, that "L.A. Confidential" sequel series that Ellroy was trying to shop around last spring "didn’t sell" while FX "dumped" his show based on "Shakedown" though "we have an actor attached now and we’re putting the script out again."

We're sure you have comments, so leave them below. And you can read the rest of Ellory's interview at Shortlist with more interesting nuggets including his belief that Barack Obama is "the face of cancerous socialism under the guise of benevolence."

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16 Comments

  • Anonymoose | February 23, 2014 5:14 PMReply

    Bwa ha ha! That's our Ellroy! If you're not a fan of this guy, or just a really uptight pill, you might not be aware that Ellroy is the ultimate troll and likes to ruffle feathers just for the sake of ruffling them. He talks smack about everything for the simple reason that he wants to make an image for himself and it's just better interview copy. His right-wing lunatic schtick has been going strong since the 80's. Behind the scenes, reports vary... most who have the insider track say he grossly exaggerates his political preferences for laughs. And he NEVER compliments the competition. If you write crime fiction or genre fiction or post-modernist lit, he'll take the piss all the while promoting his latest novel as the greatest magnum opus in the history of written language. It's a lark, enjoy this shit.

  • J.C. | February 21, 2014 8:43 PMReply

    He's basing his opinion on The Wire off of "one or two episodes"? If that's really the case then I can't take him seriously.

  • Ben Kabak | February 21, 2014 2:41 PMReply

    Brilliant writer. He's damn right about tv and Obama.

  • Tempus Fugit | February 21, 2014 6:53 AMReply

    Eh, Ellroy tends to be full of shit when he does interviews and just likes to get a rise from people. I can't really take him seriously.

  • LeonRaymond | February 20, 2014 11:11 PMReply

    Why would I, a Black Man think that a White Man like himself can understand anything to do with Black Culture. He speaks from a complete disdain for an entire culture. The Wire is with out a doubt a sliver of a portion of Black Culture. He is what keeps the strong dislike of White Culture going due to the fact he has no respect for it(Black Culture) what so ever as if he truly would like us all to simply disappear -THE WIRE was a masterpiece that I time and time again had to just question what I saw from a dramatic impact point of view. SKYFALL was good but I did feel any deep seeded impact once the end credits rolled!

  • ASFan | February 20, 2014 9:22 PMReply

    I wonder what his take on True Detective is. This season is feeling kinda similar to L.A. Confidential. Seemingly kills the perp midway only to find potentially powerful people are the real masterminds.

  • Rob | February 20, 2014 2:58 PMReply

    What a dick. At least he's honest and he writes well. Reminds me of Frank Miller. In that he's a dick.

  • lee | February 20, 2014 2:08 PMReply

    God don't you just wish your favourite artists would be happy enough that their work is seen/read and shut the f*** up.

  • John Clement | February 20, 2014 1:19 PMReply

    Disagree with him on The Wire, but, like Ellroy, I'm from the underclass and I think, maybe, I know what he means by having no "sympathy" for the underclass -- it's a cheap emotion and has no place in writing for the screen (or anywhere else). Having said that, the first two seasons of The Wire were brilliant.

  • Drew | February 20, 2014 12:58 PMReply

    Racist, reactionary, self-enamored neo-con Ellroy spins his own shit into powder puff candy floss for the post-mod literati over-class...The Wire is Shakespeare for the everyman - just as Will would have wanted it...

  • Alex | February 20, 2014 1:16 PM

    Thanks, you saved me having to type out a series of profanities.. well said

  • JZ | February 20, 2014 1:07 PM

    His right wing -persona is just an act. Everyone who has read his books knows this.

  • Xian | February 20, 2014 12:39 PMReply

    He's right about "Skyfall" (though I felt "Casino Royale" was a bit deeper for the romance angle), but he's totally wrong about "The Wire"... then again, I don't have to defend The Wire... The Wire defends its' own badass self every time an episode gets a viewing.

  • JS | February 20, 2014 4:35 PM

    For a writer to call Skyfall "f*cking brilliant" is like for Jamie Oliver to call a BigMac "Michelin worthy." People are too distracted by the feel of the movie to recognize what a horrible and pointless script it was. Skyfall is a brilliant plot executed really poorly wrapped around in sweet Roger Deakins and Adele.

  • Christian | February 20, 2014 1:31 PM

    Agreed, Skyfall is genuinely good. Howver, Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy covered some of the same thematic territory - especially the last two Batman films. Still, Skyfall is fantastic.

  • Anonymouse | February 20, 2014 12:10 PMReply

    met him in Miami several years ago at a book fair. weird dude. love the novels of his that i've read. however, watching an episode of The Wire and condemning the entire series is sloppy. and what's "no sympathy for the underclass" and obama as "cancerous socialism" about?

    eh, who am i to judge? i like my artists/writers/actors kooky.

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