Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Trim Bin #60

- Damian Arlyn's 31 Days of Spielberg project is well underway over at Windmills of My Mind, and it's been a fascinating, discussion-provoking defense of Spielberg as a real auteur thus far. As an unabashed fan, I particularly enjoyed Arlyn's response to familiar criticisms in his article on E.T., a film that, more than any of my other favorites, I've had to defend on a number of occasions:

"I would never want to bully anybody into liking E.T. (nor would I ever say that someone is devoid of humanity or has “ice” in their veins because they feel nothing when watching it) but neither do I care for the implication that just because I am one of the millions of people who happen to be very moved by the film, that I am somehow a mindless sheep, a deluded fool not sophisticated enough to realize when he’s been “played like a piano” or whatever. To the people that might make this elitist claim, I tend to want to respond in kind with my own personal brand of elitism that asserts I would rather be a "foolish" believer, a sensitive soul, romantic at heart able to see the good in something than a hardened cynic blinded to the immense riches and rewards right in front of them if they would only have the humility and willingness to “open themselves up” to it. I do hope that for such individuals there is something (perhaps even a film) that brings them a comparable degree of joy, sadness and just general affirmation of what they hold dear. I hope there’s something in their lives that they cherish as much as I cherish E.T. because if so, they’re very lucky people."

- Rob Zombie's Halloween is almost upon us, and the newest trailer is wonderfully creepy. On the other hand, Zombie damns himself with some old quotes discovered by Stacie Ponder. Usually I have a pretty good sense of what I'll love or hate, but I have no idea how idea how I'll feel about Halloween, and I can't wait to find out.

- Siskel and Ebert's old reviews have found their way to the internet. For insight, watch their argument over Blue Velvet; for laughs, check out Siskel's faith in cinema shaken by She's Out of Control.

- Dual tributes to Bergman and Antonioni written by Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, respectively, remind that a great director is first and foremost a great fan (they also serve as a welcome antidote to Jonathan Rosenbaum's contrarian wankery).

- Finally, a grand piece of film writing: Walter Chaw's epic journey through the films of Patrick Swayze.


Nigoki: said...

"Dual tributes to Bergman and Antonioni written by Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, respectively, remind that a great director is first and foremost a great fan"

I'm conflicted on this thought. While I think being a fan is an important piece of the puzzle, I don't think what's more important is to be an astute fan. There are far too many who think it's simple to become the next Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino.

It's the difference between being able to say "I like this." and "I enjoy this because ____"

To take what makes you a fan (of anything, not just film) to the next level is something that many struggle to do. By doing so, one risks over-analyzing what he or she enjoys, and possibly ruining it for themselves. Yet the reward for those who make it to the next point as a fan is truly great.

(This concludes my random thoughts as I read this entry before heading out to work this morning)

Andrew Bemis said...

This makes me think of when we saw Scorsese at Tanglewood introducing the Vertigo score, when he was able in just a few sentences to get to the heart of what Hitchcock's movie was about and how Herrmann's music complimented the film's themes and obsessions. You're absolutely right when you make that distinction between "I like this" and "I like this because..."

There's a world of difference between someone who becomes consumed with the desire to understand a medium, and someone whose interest in film (or any medium) is as passive as Allen described a few posts back. I shudder to think of what it says about a film student for whom Kevin Smith has the same importance as Bergman does for Woody Allen - it was Smith who said that he didn't find it important to catch up on classic and international cinema because his immediate predecessors had done that for him.

Andrew Bemis said...

I heard about that. Very disappointing. I'll probably be writing more about it soon.