Friday, January 1, 2010

KENNEDY, I'M ON MY LEARNER'S PERMIT AFTER DARK: Matt Zoller Seitz pens an appreciation of the men he regards as the most important creative forces of the Aughts, Charlie Kaufmann and David Chase. On Kaufmann:
Kaufman defies Hollywood's demands that lead characters must be "relatable," that goals must be clearly defined (and preferably achieved) by the end of the story and that every event must be fed through the industry-sanctioned three-act-structure meat grinder. Each of Kaufman's aughts screenplays had a different tone, a different point, and found a new portal into issues that obsessed him. Taken together, his scripts are more distinctive, creatively unified and relevant to modern life than the collected works of almost any contemporary filmmaker, domestic or foreign -- a formidable achievement in a culture that views directors as gods and writers as chumps.
And Chase, about whom he's written so much great analysis:
The near-total elimination of medium-budget, classically styled adult dramas from mainstream film production this decade coincided with the rise of "Sopranos" and shows that drew inspiration from "The Sopranos." It's impossible to identify the chicken and the egg in that process. Either way, feature films became more like the Marshall McLuhan-era academic's kneejerk stereotype of TV (jumpy, trashy and stupid), while the best of aughts TV, led by Chase, embraced classically cinematic storytelling rhythms and visual grammar.
From Zoller Seitz's Directors of the Decade series.

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