I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts Tagged ‘commentary’:

Le déplaisir du texte

The “beautiful plastic bag” scene from American Beauty has become one of those cultural moments with which we post-millennial cynics bludgeon the bloated corpse of our (former) zest for life. I suspect we mock it not because it has some essentially childlike earnestness in it, but because we sense in it the same kind of calculated self-mockery we all so love to wallow in. It’s an infinitely recursive, intentionally unfunny in-joke. It’s the cultural equivalent of a self-loathing fat kid puking upon his own myriad reflections in a funhouse full of shattered mirrors.

Here again, for your mocking “pleasure”:

AA, JW on BK (on Twitter)

Much is revealed, I think, in this exchange–not just about our respective readings of Buster Keaton films, but about our respective approaches to producing films.

ALEJANDRO ADAMS: “Saw Sherlock Jr. Sorry but The General and Steamboat Bill Jr are so much better than this meta-for-its-own-sake stuff that excites academics”

JARROD WHALEY: “Agree. STEAMBOAT BILL JR. is superior on every level. It’s worth remembering, though, that this was before Barthes, et al.”

AA: “The metacomment(s) on the nature of film editing are tiresomely cerebral compared to organic sprawl of General & Steamboat.”

AA: “This notion of every shot containing an idea–I find myself craving shots that banish ideas altogether. A film as a bared muscle.”

JW: “No argument at all. STEAMBOAT, GENERAL are magic. SHERLOCK shows how the tricks are done.”

JW: “The ideas ought to exist between the shots–in the cuts.”

Preview Audience Reactions: THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS


These are the contents of several audience comment cards, collected at the first screening of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS on March 16th, 1942 (image: page 117, THIS IS ORSON WELLES, Bogdanovich & Welles). Based on comment cards like these, AMBERSONS was mangled by RKO executives. Welles’ career went down the toilet.

This audience, by the way, had been shown the film after actually paying to see a bit of Dorothy Lamour fluff called THE FLEET’S IN. This is all a bit like asking an A-TEAM audience to focus-group a Haneke film.