::: metaphlog ::: quotes
Mon, Oct 30, 2006
Lloyd Cole, Film Interpreter
Perennial hopeful-yet-melancholic Lloyd Cole has a new album out, Antidepressant, which is worth noting to Metaphilm fans for the song, Woman In A Bar, which is a fine tribute to both Lost In Translation as well as Girl With A Pearl Earring. Opening lyrics:
Idealized vision of a woman through a smoke-filled,
twentieth-century screenplay, advancing,
Toward protagonist with paperback and beard,
manifestly failing, to disappear.
Now that the children are asleep, you want to play,
But you're so lazy...
She walks into the bar,
There you are.
Still life watercolour Woman In A Window...
Other films seem to be referenced, which your publisher has not seen, and then later in the song, Cole admits what his true obsession was all along:
No longer angry,
No longer young,
No longer driven to distraction,
Not even by Scarlett Johansson.
Fri, Jul 01, 2005
”Movies are not good at giving answers. Movies are great at asking questions. Movies that do that are lasting.” —Fantastic Four and X-Men Producer Ralph Winter, in an interview with Christianity Today. (The rest of the interview is worth reading; breaks through several stereotypes.)
Thu, Mar 10, 2005
13, 1977, 21
In Jonathan Lethem’s imminent new arrival, The Disappointment Artist, the author includes an essay describing his glorious and melancholic achievement, at age 13, in 1977, of how he saw Star Wars 21 times. A beautiful meditation by all accounts, made all the more rich by the inclusion of this line that reveals Lethem to be a default Metaphilm phan: “I still go to the movies alone, all the time. In the absenting of self which results—so different from the quality of solitude at my writing desk—this seems to me as near as I come in my life to any reverent or worshipful or meditational practice.” Be sure to also read “Two or Three Things I Dunno About Cassavetes”—further evidence that a film’s value (especially a complex or troubling film) is greatly enhanced by thoughtful writing. Lethem offers many fine words about many fine film images, and Metaphilm readers won’t want to miss them.
Wed, Dec 08, 2004
Explanations are Hell
Andy Ihnatko, computer columnist and humorist, has a great blog post on the trials of explaining Shallow Hal to his mother. “I was about to sigh the sigh of the ages and patiently re-explain the premise yet again, when I realized that she had, in fact, spotted a logical inconsistency in the film. And I couldn't simply acknowledge that.” So easy to sympathize. (The title’s great too—“Now do Brazil!”).
Thu, Nov 11, 2004
Tom Wolfe, Frat House Film Interpreter
About a third of the way into I Am Charlotte Simmons, the new novel by the always-readable Tom Wolfe, I’m getting that deja vu feeling. Not only because “Dupont College” is a thinly veiled Swarthmore College (“in Chester, PA, 40 miles southwest of Philadelphia” is how he locates it, although Dupont has the Big East sports teams aspect that Swarthmore never had), but also because Wolfe is pulling a bit of the old Walker Percy in this one in tone and judgment, and especially in getting metacultural in his Moviegoer-ish film interpretation. Here, for example, is Wolfe’s take on the real meaning of Frat House movies:
“His strong suit was humor, irony, insouciance, and being coolly-gross, Animal House-style. In the American lit classes, they were always talking about The Catcher In The Rye, but Holden Caulfield was a whining, neurotic wuss. For his, Hoyt’s generation it was Animal House. He must have watched it ten times himself . . . The part where Belushi smacks his cheeks and says, “I’m a zit” . . . awesome . . . and Dumb and Dumber and Swingers and Tommy Boy and The Usual Suspects, Old School . . . He’d loved those movies. He’d laughed his head off . . . gross, coolly gross . . . but did anybody else in this [frat] house get the serious point that made all that so awesome? Probably not. It was actually all about being a man in the age of the wuss.”
Sat, Jul 17, 2004
Speaking of Ebert, a great quote from his review of I, Robot: “As for the robots, they function like the giant insects in Starship Troopers, as video game targets. You can't even be mad at them, since they're only programs. Although, come to think of it, you can be mad at programs; Microsoft Word has inspired me to rage far beyond anything these robots engender.” Hear, hear.
Mon, Jun 28, 2004
A speech by emerging movie mogul and Regal Cinemas owner Phil Anschutz, on why he does what he does: “Speaking purely as a businessman, it is of utmost importance for a business to try to figure out a way to make goods and products that people actually want to buy. And . . . I don’t think Hollywood understands this very well, because they keep making the same old movies—the same kinds they have been making for years—despite the fact that so many Americans are tired of seeing them. Why can’t movies return to being something that we can go and see with our children and our grandchildren without being embarrassed or on the edge of our seats? When I said that Hollywood can be insular, this is in part what I meant. I don’t think they understand the market and the mood of a large segment of the movie-going audience today. I think this is one of the main reasons, by the way, that people don’t go to movies like they used to.” Seems largely sensible. And it's always nice to have ideals. Now let's hope he will live up to them. (Imprimis, via Rocky Mountain News)
Tue, Apr 13, 2004
He says this like it’s a bad thing
“Here’s criticism’s trade secret: you can find meaning in anything if you look hard enough. Contemplate a work of art and patterns inevitably emerge, echoes, resonances, allusions which can be brought out and amplified through exegesis, the interpretive conceit by which a critic simultaneously deconstructs and rebuilds, unveils and augments another writer’s metaphors, another writer’s vision. Part attention to detail, part science, part Vulcan mind meld, exegesis allows a critic to enter and extend the context of a work of art . . .” (Dale Peck, Maisonneuve, March 2004). He's talking books, but we probably resemble this remark. Hopefully we are more amusing than the narcissistic (duh) baby boomer who is the foil for this pleasantly misanthropic attack.
Mon, Mar 01, 2004
The Purpose of Discussion
—James Lileks, on Mystic River.
Fri, Nov 28, 2003
On Good Movies
“A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact , not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again. If somewhere in the Hollywood-entertainment world someone has managed to break through with something that speaks to you, then it isn’t all corruption. The movie doesn’t have to be great; it can be stupid and empty and you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line. An actor’s scowl, a subversive gesture, a dirty remark that someone tosses off with a mock-innocent face and the world makes a little bit of sense.” —Pauline Kael
Fri, Jun 27, 2003
Church of the Masses
“Theaters are the new Church of the Masses—where people sit huddled in the dark listening to people in the light tell them what it is to be human.”
—1930’s theater critic,
quoted as the inspiration for Barbara Nicolosi’s weblog.
Sat, Nov 17, 2001
Silly American Films
typical American film, naive and silly, canfor all its silliness and even by means of itbe instructive. A fatuous, self-conscious English film can teach one nothing. I have often learned a lesson from a silly American film.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, journal entry (1947)
Fri, Aug 17, 2001
A Movie Critic Repents
t reminded me of the rushed judgment this job entails: Most of the time you see something just once before passing judgment on it, and often that judgment must be passed faster than a spacepod through a timewarp. Opportunities to reflect and ruminate, processes which are elementary to good criticism, are rare as white buffalo. Even the opportunity to think clearly and intently about a movie is constantly threatened by the intellectual gridlock that typically occurs: Any given week your head may have anywhere from three to six movies competing for quick judgment, and at a time of your lifeor mine anywaywhen remembering your keys is challenge enough.
Geoff Pevere, "Okay, I admit it, I went ape too soon," The Toronto Star (August 17, 2001)
Wed, Aug 15, 2001
Dumb Films Say More Than You Think
ust as Pink Flamingos was a better movie about the counterculture than Easy Rider, Freddy Got Fingered is a better movie about suburban squalor than American Beauty. Not least because its Americana both rings truer and is more affectionate. Joe Dirt is a better movie about native pluck than The Patriot. For that matter, Spike Lee's Bamboozled, which is his version of a gross-out farce, gets deeper into America's racial pathologies than a dignified film could. And, oh, yeah: Josie and the Pussycats is a better movie about media manipulation than The Truman Show, too. So there.
Tom Carson, "In Praise of Stoopidity," Esquire (August 2001)
Thu, Jul 05, 2001
ovies are not real, and few
moviemakers have been as adept at finding original ways to counterfeit
human emotion as Mr. Spielberg. (The Flesh Fair might be a Dogma
95 pep rally, or a meeting of dyspeptic film critics protesting
the movie's lavish and startling special effects, including the
computer-enhanced broken- down robots doomed to destruction.)
But here Mr. Spielberg confronts a crucial and difficult question:
Do the virtual selves we project into the world, on screen and
elsewhere, bring us closer to knowing who we are, or do they distract
us from our search for that knowledge? "I am, I was," Joe says
to David as they part company, asserting as a flat fact what the
movie takes as unanswerable questions: What are we? What will
"Stories are real," David insists to Monica before she leaves him to his fate. They aren't, of course. But stories that touch on the essential and unsolvable mysteries of who we are can nonetheless be true, and they are truest when they illuminate those mysteries while leaving them intact.
. . . The very end somehow fuses the cathartic comfort of infantile wish fulfillmentthe dream that the first perfect love whose loss we experience as the fall from Eden might be restoredwith a feeling almost too terrible to acknowledge or to name. Refusing to cuddle us or lull us into easy sleep, Mr. Spielberg locates the unspoken moral of all our fairy tales. To be real is to be mortal; to be human is to love, to dream and to perish.
A. O. Scott, "Do Androids Long for Mom?" New York Times (June 29, 2001)