How about that GWTW is just not a very good movie? It's lazy writing, cardboard characters, some decent action sequences for it's time and that's about it. Maybe not the bottom five of of worst Best Picture winners, but it's down there.
What the fudge is "District 9" even doing there? What critical gumption does it take to say that a slightly-above-average sci-fi movie isn't anything more than a slightly-above-average sci fi movie?And Gran Torino? It made money, but so what? Everybody who liked it at the time admitted that the liked it for reasons based on pandering.In what bizarre world are you being "hip" or "edgy" if you have the "nerve" to criticize Gran Torino and District 9?We're 30 years after the point it was cool to bash Gone with the Wind, 5 years after it was cool to bash Tarantino and criticizing "Silence of the Lambs" because it spawned bad sequels or "To Kill a Mockingbird" because it's morally too black-and-white?I love Matt's work and he often writes well enough to convince me of things I don't believe, but REALLY...-Daniel
It's not lazy writing. It's archetype-driven writing. And if it were purely "lazy," that's an amazing amount of classic dialogue that gets spewed amidst the laziness (only some from the source material).And merely praising "some decent action sequences for its time" might just kinda be underselling the ridiculous cinematic scope and grandeur of "Gone with the Wind." IMO, of course. I mean, I know it's popular to make fun of "Gone with the Wind," but boy I never fail to notice the ravishing filmmaking and the strong performances when I watch it...Dan
GWTW is an endlessly fascinating movie, even when its politics are horribly retrograde. (Even beyond the racial portrayals, what about the rape?) And Vivien Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara is a compelling heroine.
<span>In fairness to MZS, District 9 did get nominated for Best Picture (expanded year, but still) and Adapted Screenplay and was wildly praised by critics, which I think makes it a sacred enough cow to withstand a low-hanging fruit charge. Still, I like the idea of a critic fight between Sepinwall colleagues past and present, it's like a reverse First Wives Club, which, despite its many wonders, I'd like to controversially state was a touch flawed due its stacking the deck in favor of Midler (vis a vis Sarah Jessica Parker). . . it's like "To Kill A Mockingbird" for the divorcee set.</span>
I find many of the points interesting and surely encouraging wide debate among the friends I just read it aloud too, but seriousl Scarface a better gangster movie than Godfathers I or II? I call bull to the shit.As for me, a movie that was all the rage and inspires loyalty and love in many that I just do not get, Gladiator. I mean it was kinda entertaining at times and Russell Crowe is pretty hot in a tunic, but meh. It seemed so overblown and occasionally boring, and Joaquin Phoenix was the best part, but I still don't get what all the fuss was about. I mean, to be frank, I liked Titanic better (and I am not trying to say Titanic was a genius film).
Being a Best Picture nominee isn't the same as being a classic. Cider House Rules was a best picture nominee and an Oscar winner and if I tell you now that it's politically simplistic and a wee bit corny, you're not gonna fight me. You probably won't get shocked if I tell you that "The Green Mile" is cheesy. Heck, "Crash" was a best picture winner, but I don't earn any bona fides from saying it wasn't such a good movie.The headline of that slide show says "classic," which "Gran Torino" and "District 9" aren't, not by any reasonable definition. Obviously Matt had nothing to do with the headline wording. But the whole point is that he's assailing the unassailable... "Gran Torino" is not unassailable. And yes, a Colleagues of Sepinwall Battle Royale would be fun. Matt would win and the crowd would go crazy...-Dan
Related to this, but a slightly different point: a classic movie I love is Singin' in the Rain... but I simply CANNOT STAND the Broadway ballet sequence near then end. It is literally a show-stopper, in all the wrong senses of the word. So much momentum builds up in the story... and then it stops dead for 14 minutes? I have seen SitR somewhere about 15 times, and I've watched that sequence exactly twice. (The first time I watched it, and then the first time my boyfriend watched it.) I totally get why that scene is in the movie, and on its own it's a knockout, but wow does it stop the movie dead!
":<span>Being a Best Picture nominee isn't the same as being a classic"</span>True. GWTW even won one.
You're right, Dan, that neither District 9 nor Gran Turino are classics (note I didn't type a word against your point about Gran Turino). To be honest, I think "classics" was a poor choice of words anyway, as I think the culture needs more distance from a movie to refer to it as a classic at all. I was taking issue with "slightly-above-average sci-fi movie" and your general point that District 9 was already a much bloodied target. Cider House Rules, Green Mile and Crash have all been widely derided for their faults, and so taking another swing at them is piling on. I have not seen a similar wave of criticism against District 9 (to the contrary, actually).If there was a Colleagues of Sepinwall Battle Royale at the moment, you'd have my backing. I'm still reeling from my recent reading of MZS's pan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. My tactical advice would be to take a couple of quick jabs at Terrence Malick to get him on the ropes.
<span>You're right, Dan, that neither District 9 nor Gran Torino are classics (note I didn't type a word against your point about Gran Torino). To be honest, I think "classics" was a poor choice of words anyway, as I think the culture needs more distance from a movie to refer to it as a classic at all. I was taking issue with "slightly-above-average sci-fi movie" and your general point that District 9 was already a much bloodied target. Cider House Rules, Green Mile and Crash have all been widely derided for their faults, and so taking another swing at them is piling on. I have not seen a similar wave of criticism against District 9 (to the contrary, actually). If there was a Colleagues of Sepinwall Battle Royale at the moment, you'd have my backing. I'm still reeling from my recent reading of MZS's pan of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. My tactical advice would be to take a couple of quick jabs at Terrence Malick to get him on the ropes. </span>
Amen to that, Randy. I LOVE "Singin' in the Rain" and think it's a near-perfect film, but I just can't stand the Broadway sequence. I get why it's there (it seems to be a direct result of the studio saying, "Can we get more of Gene Kelly dancing?"), but I find it dull and interminable.
"Your Honor, this was just like the end of Gone With the Wind when Scarlett O'Hara said 'I've always relied on the kindness of strangers'.""Counselor, that was Blanche DuBois at the end of 'A Streetcar Named Desire.'""Yes, your honor. But my point remains."
On a similar note, a critical appreciation of "Pump Up the Volume."http://www.jonathanrosenbaum.com/?p=7413
to be fair, I didn't think he was criticizing SOTL for spawning bad sequels. I think he was criticizing it for making Lecter so charming that you rooted for him, for fetishizing his brand of violence. It's a fair critique, although I disagree. I've always thought the charm of Lecter was the point - Clarice feels drawn to him and completely disgusted by him a the same time. If he's completely unlikeable and non-magnetic, the give and take they have doesn't work. You're supposed to hate yourself for liking him, much as Clarice does - rooting for him isn't the point. It's that you can see his magnetism, how he's managed to draw someone like Clarice in.And I'm glad to see more criticism of GWTW - I've never managed to watch it in one sitting, and don't like it very much. Yes, cinematic blah blah blah - nice to look at isn't enough to get me through 4 hours.
Movie that everyone else loves that I hate: Lord of the Rings.Go ahead. Kill me for my blasphemy.