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Uwe Boll Calls 'The Tree Of Life' A "Piece Of Shit" And Lars Von Trier A "Retard"

by Gabe Toro
July 1, 2011 8:00 AM
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Before we begin, let's just say that the discourse of films can be varied and fascinating, with many critics and academic writers offering their measured takes on everything from the new "Transformers" film to "The Tree of Life." We would like to urge you to find these discussions that are actively going on at various websites and are likely more fruitful than hearing the opinion of a crackpot provocateur like Uwe Boll.

And now, we cede the stage to Dr. Boll.

In an interview with Screen Junkies promoting his latest, "Bloodrayne: The Third Reich," Boll was asked, somewhat randomly, his thoughts on "The Tree of Life." While this is a lot like asking Justin Bieber his views on abortion, Boll was more than prepared. "The opening of that movie was really good but then he completely lost it," offers Boll, who holds a doctorate in English. "I think 'Tree of Life' is a piece of shit. Totally, and I think Sean Penn is ridiculous in it, like walking around in the elevator. It’s nothing. This is the thing. It’s so overrated because it’s Terrence Malick."

He continued, offering advice to Malick on how to make a movie. "You have to tell a story that you get a connection to something. When he starts doing after 25 minutes a National Geographic break where you see volcanoes and planets coming together. Then his dinosaur episode with 'Jurassic Park.' You think well, what’s going on with him? What is wrong with wrong with the guy? I was not engaged to keep watching. If I would have known how this ends, I would have walked out. But I watched the whole movie because I wanted to see how it ends also. The end was I think the most pathetic thing, when they’re all at the beach hugging each other. It was fucking disastrous. It was a complete disaster and it shows also that a lot of stars have no taste. Like Sean Penn, Brad Pitt have no taste what a good movie is. They trusted the director but you have to have your own brain." He closes by offering, "You cannot tell me you were not bored to death while you watched 'The Tree of Life.' "

Boll also managed to slide Lars von Trier into this conversation. "I like 'Breaking the Waves,' " he says, comparing von Trier's appeal to Malick's. "After that was all crap. The thing is he gets all the Hollywood stars, 'Oh, I want to work with him,' and they don’t know what kind of retard he is." Clearly, the man is being crossed off a few Christmas Party lists.

In a separate interview with Movieline, he took on Michael Bay, though his problems with the "Transformers" director are more political and somehow more measured. "Look, I just don’t like the Michael Bay movies and I’m sure I won’t like the new 'Transformers' movie," he says. "I think there is a very combative, patriotic thing behind the Michael Bay movies which is what I hated in 'Pearl Harbor' and other movies like this. It’s just, for me, over the top... The thing is, in Bay’s movies, it comes across as [the U.S.A.] is always right. As a European, you get sensitive. You get like, 'No, you’re not always right. You were wrong with the Iraq war. You were wrong in Afghanistan. You are wrong now bombing Libya. It’s just wrong.' In Syria, the guy killed everybody and we do nothing. In Libya, Qaddafi killed 20 people in the last 10 years and we’re bombing him. It’s absurd."

While we may not agree with Dr. Boll, we will acknowledge that he certainly has a right to produce cinema that offers one of (hopefully) many counterpoints to big, empty blockbusters like "Transformers" or more measured, meditative material like "The Tree of Life." Boll may overstep his boundaries ("retard") but the cinematic world needs more expressive voices that offer strong counterpoints to the public's acceptance of Michael Bay movies, or the critical intelligencia's embrace of "The Tree of Life," if only to diversify our discourse. The hope is for more eloquence and class next time around, though this might be asking much from the director of "Darfur" and "Auschwitz."

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  • A Random Fellow | August 25, 2014 11:44 PMReply

    I've gotta say, when Uwe Boll, the guy who made some of cinema's worst, is calling your movie bad, and makes sense, it's time to rethink your career. His problems with Michael Bay are rooted in personal preference, so I won't fault him for that.

    See what you did, Terrance Malick, you made me agree with UWE. BOLL.

  • AJ | July 2, 2013 9:57 PMReply

    Uwe Boll?? Offering advice on how to make a movie? Is this guy demented?

  • Dan | December 22, 2012 10:28 PMReply

    He is so right about Tree of Life, however much of a crappy filmmaker he is. TOL is just pretentious central, I mean it really is, it bored me senseless. Now Paul Thomas Anderson, there's someone who knows how to make interesting movies and avoid pretentiousness.

  • Hayden | April 26, 2012 10:28 AMReply

    Okay, I think the only Lars Von Trier film I've ever watched is Antichrist and that is a great film, with a good story/screenplay, beautiful cinematography, believable acting and brilliant directing. I've only ever seen bits of Bloodrayne and Postal, as well as the Nostalgia Critic review of Alone in the Dark, and it is clear that Uwe Boll is an amazingly terrible director. He continually claims to be making realistic and believable films and that Michael Bay (whom I'm not a huge fan of, but at least makes some enjoyable movies especially the first Transformers) and Lars von Trier are...that word.
    Okay, firstly, Lars von Trier is supposedly one of the most creative and respected directors in film today (like I said, I've only ever seen Antichrist) and has had his films earn awards from festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival. Uwe Boll, on the other hand, is considered the Ed Wood of the modern film world and has earned Worst Director from the Razzie Awards. So...what does that say to you?
    If Boll cares so much what people think of his films, why doesn't he just...I don't know...stop making them? Having boxing matches with your harshest critics and calling other directors every name under the sun is not going to make people respect you. In fact, people will just think you're a complete and utter moron.
    The fact he has a Doctorate astounds me. Uwe Boll doesn't have a clue how to tell a story, create interesting characters, keep focus or pull us in by any emotional needs. And all this is just from watching a review and researching his films and directing style!
    For anyone who wants an example of what an incompetant director he is, read this article and/or watch the Nostalgia Critic review:

    If I ever met Uwe Boll, I'd like to write him a list on what a film needs. I'm not even in the film business and I think I know how to direct a film better than he does (not to arrogant there).
    To be honest, I don't think he is the new Ed Wood - Mr Wood actually gave a crap about his films! Boll can't even get a bullet-hitting-a-person special effect right!

  • Sophie | July 7, 2011 7:16 AMReply

    I do think he's exaggerating a bit, but he's 100% correct about Michael Bay. But the thing is, Uwe, the rest of the world LOVES those movies from Michael Bay. So in the end, that's all that matters, doesn't it? As for Terrence Malick, I haven't seen Tree of Life, but I absolutely loved The New World. It's poetry. Which Uwe Bol may know something about, having a PhD in English.

  • Quatto | July 4, 2011 2:15 AMReply

    The best troll.

  • Patrick | July 3, 2011 12:39 PMReply

    Hilarious, so this nobody who after I googled his films and results come back "worst filmmaker of all time", is going to give the director of Badlands and Tree of Life advice ...don.'t make me f****n laugh.

    One minute of a Malick film is better than anything this guy could ever direct in his career.

  • rosenoel | July 3, 2011 3:58 AMReply

    Tree of life is heavenly beautiful as for Boll= Bollshit

  • Oh well | July 2, 2011 5:31 AMReply

    Yeah, agree with him about the tree of life and Michael B.

  • You guys are crazy man, you're Crazy | July 2, 2011 4:39 AMReply

    The Tree of Life is so packed full of awesomeness that most people cannot handle its greatness. It's like the Arc in Raiders.

  • Chris Bell | July 2, 2011 1:10 AMReply

    Boll's entitled to his opinion on film, but definitely not moreso because he makes them. He's got the platform but he doesn't deserve it any more than anybody else.

    Seems like his view on cinema is frustratingly narrow. Seems like the kind of guy who will sit through something slow and minimalist only to throw up his hands at the end and proclaim "OMG WHAT WAS THAT??"

    Everyone has different taste, but different films have different agendas. They're not bad if they don't follow a three act structure, etc. Of course this can be boring for some, but the tone of his statements/rants seem like he didn't give these different things a proper chance. "Tree of Life" works on its own logic from an extremely emotional core; because of that it definitely overreaches at times but it, like every film, deserves to be given a chance on its own terms.

    When all is said and done, "Tree of Life" ain't perfect and is definitely not for everyone, but surely more can be said than "y duz sean penn walk around..." or "naional geographic took over n it was dum." And I'll definitely be checking out Boll's "serious" (read: non-video game) movies relatively soon...

  • Nik Grape | July 1, 2011 12:00 PMReply

    Yeah I don't get the Malick hate all of a sudden.

    Uwe Boll can have his opinion about Tree of Life but obviously he didn't connect with the movie like many others did. Tree of Life has more thought and depth in one frame than all of Boll's train-wrecks put together...which just sounds obvious when you say it out loud.

    His opinion on Michael Bay's movies though are right on the money.

  • Mr Anonymous | July 1, 2011 11:19 AMReply

    Wow, what's with all the Malick hate here? Don't remember this when The Playlist reviewed The Tree of Life.

  • Zack | July 1, 2011 11:19 AMReply

    Jesus Christ, Uwe Boll and I have the same position on U.S. foreign policy? Kill me.

  • hank | July 1, 2011 11:17 AMReply

    @ sean ...

    that was my (sarcastic) point.

  • Charles | July 1, 2011 11:03 AMReply

    I like how in one week the Playlist goes from scolding Martin Campbell for not liking the last Bond film to defending Uwe Boll's right to criticize The Tree of Life and Lars Von Trier. Wow. Just wow.

  • Mr. Arkadin | July 1, 2011 10:38 AMReply

    [i]Actionman, The Greatest Hero of Them All![/i]

  • Sean | July 1, 2011 10:12 AMReply

    The longer the process it takes to make the film doesn't mean the better.

    I see what Uwe is saying. Tree of Life, is a boring film. On the same scale as 2001. But both are beautiful to watch and matter within the film industry.
    von Trier is a film troll who seems to make films for himself. Whether it's a film talking about poking his idol (which really, that film was all about Lars), a film about how all women are insane, or making a film with Bjork acting, he enjoys make films that piss people off.
    As for the Bay comment. Yeah, he stated the obvious. American made films about America being "awesome".

  • Carson Dyle | July 1, 2011 10:11 AMReply

    He's an absolutely awful filmmaker, but, I must say that he's spot on about The Tree of Life.

  • Kawette | November 25, 2012 5:38 AM

    The Tree of Life is NOT a "movie", i think it's vulgar to call it that, it's more like an experience, you watch it much in the same way you would listen to a symphony (: it's an outstandingly graceful visual achievement combined with a deep reflection on life, death, creation, destruction, love, hate .. a timeless, universal, striking masterpiece. At times where cinema is crippling people’s souls, Terrence Malick's contribution to this "art" is priceless and generous. Calling TTOL a "piece of shit" is invalid. Nobody out there (and i mean it) would be intellectually or creatively capable of making a work so complex and yet, so poignantly and profoundly moving, only a retarded idiot would overlook a work of this caliber without having objective solid arguments to point out what exactly went wrong with it, for some reason, however, i've never read a review that came up with convincing reasons, they all go like "this was boring" "i fell asleep in/left the cinema" "this has no plot" "this is pretentious" "i didn't get, such a waste of time", i mean seriously? I could state at least two reasons why i found this project absolutely gorgeous and defend it, as i can come up with at least once decent reason why i hated something. Then again, nobody's making anyone watch anything, but if you don't enjoy it when others do, just get over the fact that it is beyond your weak intellectual/emotionnal capacities. It's usually the case with Lynch's work, it's only getting worse, with average mediocre so called movies are getting praises and being acclaimed by lots of retards. Most annoying complaint is the "pretentiousness" of TTOF while i think it's anything but pretentious, it's ambitious, yes, but it did live up to every expectation i had .. everytime i read a virulently hostile review of this film, i can't help but feel mortified and sorry for the people who wrote them. I'm not stating my opinion as a fact, feel free to disagree, just do it with class & objectivity.

  • hmm | July 1, 2011 10:04 AMReply

    Except Bay was highly critical of the Iraq war and of Bush. Being patriotic doesn't mean he's jingoistic, and it's not a bad thing to put soldiers in a positive light.

    He's right about Tree of Life though.

  • hank | July 1, 2011 9:13 AMReply

    yeah, fuck me. as a long dedicated Malick fan, I have to say that Uweee kind of has a point. The Sean Penn scenes were over contrived and pointless in my opinion. But Terrence Malick is a reclusive genius and this film has been gestating for a couple decades, he spent the last 4 years editing it, so it must be a masterpiece, right?

  • Papushi | July 1, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    I thought Tree of Life was silly and banal, but fuck you Boll.
    I haven't watched a Von Trier film yet, but I really enjoyed his documentary the Five Obstructions.

    But anyway fuck you, Boll.

  • Kawette | November 25, 2012 4:42 AM

    Any cunt who says LvT is an idiot makes me want to slash my wrists. Dogville/Manderlay were both achingly brilliant and creative, Antichrist might not be for everyone, but anyone who thinks that the prologue was anything under absolute gorgeousness has my permission to die, Melancholia is not as good as Antichrist, but it has a stunning opening scene plus it's an audacious innovative perspective on the impact of the end of the world on a representative small group of people, and that's the least one can get from that film , Dancer in the dark was not his best but Bjork's performance is outstanding, period. Element of crime is complex, hypnotic, sublime and masterful, again, anyone who disagrees can go hang himself, i thought it was brilliant, Epidemic shows Lars' massive artistic potential, it reminded me of Bela Tarr's work, it's some kind of an elegy to the immense works of both Carl Theodor Dreyer and Andreï Tarkovky, not as good, naturally, but a brilliant work considering the shit that's being made nowadays, Europa is his most intense piece of the trilogy, visually astounding, it just blew me away ! that being said, this trilogy is LvT at its finest .. which brings us to ..Breaking the waves, superb although bruising, complex and tortured, filmed in the most unusual way, it's a film about love and sacrifice , exceptionnal acting from everyone involved, Emily Watson is phenomenal. I still have to watch two or three works i haven't seen yet, but Von Trier's proven to be one the most creative, talented, brilliant directors out there, any fuckhead who denigrates his work has clearly never watched any of it or is simply a mentally/emotionally damaged, the load of crap labelled as cinema's truly crippling people's souls and minds, calling LvT a retard is not gonna make anyone understand his work, it's just "the easy way".. i can easily understand that his films may not be everyone's cup of tea but then people should go more like "i didn't like, not my type" instead of making themselves look like assholes because no matter what anyone says, Von Trier's work is still contemporary cinema at its best.

  • actionman | July 1, 2011 8:56 AMReply

    anyone giving uwe any sort of public forum is clearly brain-dead. the guy makes Ed Wood-styled movies. He's one of the worst filmmakers every to pick up a camera. Spare me with this moron's viewpoints on The Tree of Life. Yeah, the guy who made Postal -- I wanna hear what he thinks about The Tree of Life. Ha!

  • bobmorton | July 1, 2011 8:52 AMReply

    the guy may not make great movies, but he's certainly right.

    malick: undeservedly over-praised by the pseudo-intellectual cinema going community.
    von trier: trolling is somewhat socially retarded, so he's a retard.
    bay: he makes recruitment films. period.

  • evilnik | July 1, 2011 8:35 AMReply

    same here.. i kind agree with Boll's some feelings :0
    yeah. crucify me. but dont deny that the michael bay comments were like bang on :p

  • rob humanick | July 1, 2011 8:33 AMReply

    Wait wait wait, let me try: I was not bored to death watching "The Tree of Life." I was, however, nearly bored to tears by "Alone in the Dark."

  • Thom | July 1, 2011 8:25 AMReply

    I never thought I'd say this, but I actually find myself agreeing with Uwe Boll.

    I think I died a little just typing that.

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