XIPHOS VS THE BEST MOVIE NOMINATIONS OF 2010

Or as I am subtitling this hit piece “Why I like movies less each year”. I like the title I’m using but I haven’t actually seen all the movies up for the best picture nomination so don’t expect to see anything about The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours or The Kids Are All Right.

Also from out of the generosity of my bottomless giving heart there is a bonus mini-review at the end. I’m pretty sure the mini-review will generate the more discussion then the main topic and it will make Jarv call me all sorts of vile names.

After watching a lot of the nominated movies the last few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the movies on the Oscar list, and really most movies made nowadays, are all, at best, minimally competent and made with an eye towards middle of the road blandness, except for 2 which exceed the standard of minimally competent. Get use to hearing the words minimally competent a lot in this piece.

That is, in my opinion, one of the main problems with Hollywood today. Most films play it safe and don’t take any real chances and the list of Best Movies is proof of that. Even as recently as a decade ago almost none of these flicks would have been nominated yet in today’s watery shit market these mostly conventional paint by the numbers movies are being lauded as special when mostly they aren’t. As I said in the first sentence, this middle of the road, focus group tested, playing it safe mode is why each year I care less about movies than the previous year. I just can’t work up the desire to go to the movies like I use to. Hardly ever is there anything out there that grabs me by the throat and taps the back of my favorite head against the bar room wall anymore since everything just seems so blah. Anyway, mini-statement over. Let’s look at the mostly mayonnaise-on-white-bread Best Picture nominees for 2010.

BLACK SWAN: This movie is for all intents and purposes a Skinamax lesbo scene filmed by a director perpetually fellated by Hollywood nerds as being a genius. Theoretically, Black Swan is the study of one woman’s decent into madness set in the world of professional ballet. The movie was directed by Darren Aronofsky, Hollywood wunderkind and a man who is continually given a hand job by movie “insiders”. Black Swan will probably win a nude bald man and that’s a shame, the movie is bland, safe, Oscar bait. It exists solely to get two young hot starlets to do a faux rug munching scene and for Aronofsky to get a gold plated statue. Black Swan is middle of the road ordinary.

THE FIGHTER: This is one of the two movies I think should win so it probably won’t. It’s also one of the two movies I think rises above the level of minimally competent. Everybody creamed their jeans over Grammaton Cleric John Preston’s portrayal of the junkie brother and it he was good in a scenery chewing sort of way but the real strength of the movies was the honest portrayal of the load a pro fighter has to carry because of family and how family always wants a piece of your soul not to mention your wallet. The Fighter is a bio-pic about the fall and rise of Boston area welterweight boxer “Irish” Micky Ward. I thought David O. Russel made a watchable entertaining movie out of material we’ve all seen before. coughcoughROCKY1and6,On the Water Front,Raging Bullcoughcough

INCEPTION: Not going to spend a lot of time on this because me and Nolan aren’t compatible. Inception is a watchable film…….once. It’s competently made but saddled with a truck load of problems story wise and Nolan bores me visually. Big yawn from me.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK: This movie is a paean to the power of being a high functioning dude with Aspergers syndrome. No, not Zuckerberg, but that fucking douchetard from Zombieland. I can’t stand Michael Cera 2.0 and his whiny punk ass works my last nerve hard. The Social Network is barely competent and Sorkin and Fincher can kiss my ass. Those two are hacks. Since The Social Network stars a black hole of talent, about a dude I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on if he was on fire, about I subject I don’t care about, it’s no wonder I kept looking the clock to see if time actually stopped. All I can say is I hope this movie has multiple systemic failures at the Oscars. You know what this Cleveland steamer reminded of? That shitty Toothia Roberts bio pic with her in a push up bra that won Extra Teeth an Oscar. Both of these movies share a ’70’s TV movie of the week quality and a bad one at that.


WINTER’S BONE: Nice flick that didn’t try to overachieve. Winter’s Bone is a solid movie that I wouldn’t mind winning just to it rub it in the face of all those overblown, overpriced, under performing “big” flicks. Winter’s Bone has zero chance in hell of winning but hey, dreaming is free and Winter’s Bone managed to crawl above minimally competent by several levels. The story is about an Ozark girl whose family has been destroyed by meth. She has to find her father since he used the house for bail and got in the wind. His running would throw her, her invalid mother and her younger siblings to the tender mercy of the state or worse, the less than tender mercies of her outlaw clan. Excellent acting, writing and directing all the way round.

So here is my prediction, after seeing some of the Best Picture nominations for 2010, of which movie will win a best picture Oscar. The winner is, I don’t really care. The Oscars mean jack shit and the ones I would like to see win don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a nude gold dude. If you forced me to predict, I would say probably The King’s Speech or Black Swan will win. They are both bland predictable swill the Academy likes to give statues to. And no, I have not seen The King’s speech but the commercials and trailers make it look like bland predictable swill.

MINI REVIEW LET ME IN

I fully expect Jarv will hurl all sorts of thundering invective my way over this and I am fully prepared to withstand the withering barrage of insults over my stance on this movie. BRING. IT. ON.

Let Me In is the 2010 English language remake of the Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 Swedish film version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 book of the same name. Before I begin I will state for the record that I have not seen the original. On 19 February I started the book and I’m about 60 or so pages in as of the first draft of this post. Let Me In is a damn good movie, one of the better I’ve seen as of late. Begin the hurling of calumny. I will suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

The movie, set in 1981, is a vampire story wherein the word vampire is used exactly one time. The movie has top notch acting by everybody involved but especially Chloe Moretz as the perpetually 12 year old Abby and by the even more feminine looking Kodi Smit-McPhee as Abby’s potential friend/victim/love interest/caretaker Owen. These kids absolutely rocked it in their parts and this movie had some heavy weight actors in it like Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins and those two outshone everybody. Chloe Moretz’s performance was particularly outstanding to me because directly before I watched Let Me In I watched Kick ASS,which was awful and her and to a much lesser extent the Wig, were the best part actors in the movie. In Let Me In, Moretz’s character of Abby couldn’t have been father in tone and execution from Hit Girl and Moretz excelled in both roles.

The cinematography is dark and brooding and relocating the story from Sweden to Los Alamos, New Mexico didn’t change the oppressive winter feel from the original movie and book. If anything, setting the story in that particular town, which developed nuclear weapons, added an extra dimension to the film’s sense of the inevitability of destruction and death. Especially since the movie is set in 1981 during the height of the Cold War paranoia over the threat of nuclear attack by the Soviets.

The movie, like the book, explores the themes of bullying, loneliness, alienation, isolation, puberty, murder, and child molestation. Deep subjects all and the movie covers them all with more than the usual lack of depth to a Hollywood movie. I gladly tip my cap to writer director Matt Reeves. You did excellent work with Let Me In. It’s amazing that Reeves turned in such a well crafted movie since his previous directorial work was Cloverfield and an except for one episode of Homicide Life on the Streets, a bunch of crappy TV shows.

I recommend Let Me In without reservation and if you can get over yourself long enough to let go the fact that this isn’t the original, I think you might like it.

MINI-MINI REVIEW THE LAST EXORCISM

This was a frustrating as hell movie. Interesting set up, engaging lead, neat premise and a shitty as all hell ending. Way to fuck the dog on this one.

Xiphos

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About Xiphos0311

Sporadic genius but mostly IDGAF.

166 responses to “XIPHOS VS THE BEST MOVIE NOMINATIONS OF 2010”

  1. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    Let Me In was a fantastic movie. I was surprised how mesmerized I was watching it. A much better movie than most of the ten noms for best picture and a worthy retelling of the original.

    Nolan and I were compatible up until he made The Dark Knight. He’s the George Lucas of so-called intellectual filmmaking; he has good ideas, but he just doesn’t know how to tell a cohesive story.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed LMI. I guess since it got jacked up by AICN geeks I was expecting a shallow suckfest and it wasn’t. Those kids really made the characters come alive and Reeves wrote a tight creepy and well made script.

      I don’t hate Nolan or anything I just don’t see all the alleged greatness attributed to him and lord knows there are much worse directors out there. Visually I find him to be on par with Kevin Smith.

  2. Jarv says :

    I have loads of issues with LMI and none of them relate to the actual quality of the film. I think though my biggest is that it is the first big “new” Hammer movie and if the reanimated Hammer Studio only exists to do needless remakes like a British Platinum Dunes then that makes me sad.

    Oh and “too soon” etc.

    As to the oscars: provided TKS doesn’t win anything then I am happy.

    What won 10 years ago? I seem to remember it being the “wrong” film again.

  3. Jarv says :

    It’ll be a snowy day in hell before I see a lot of these films. The Social Network? Not interested, don’t even have a facebook account. The King’s Speech? Couldn’t pay me to watch that.

    I am going to see The Black Swan at some point.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      I think I might have liked Black Swan better if it hadn’t got the tongue bath it received. It’s a decent movie nothing more.

  4. Tom_Bando says :

    I actually wanna see the King’s Speech, have zero interest in the Facebook movie-why, again?!–Inception had it’s moments, and you guys know I liked the Marky Mark Balboa movie too.

    I still think the Town shoulda been nominated.

  5. just pillow talk says :

    I’ve only seen one of those films, and it was Inception, which I love. Out of the rest, I only really want to see Fighter and Let Me In.

  6. Col Tigh-Fighter says :

    I really do like LMI, but as I said earlier, it really is an almost shot4shot remake of the original. The original is also excellent which is why LMI is also excellent.

    You should make time for LTROI, Xi. I’d be interested in your comparison between the two. The original is even better too, with a distinctly European, shocking reveal that Im not surprised Reeves daren’t even try with his.

    As for Oscar bait, I really liked The Kings Speech. But I’m a sucker for films like that really. I enjoyed The Social Network very much. Far more interesting and engaging than it had any right to be. It seems like a TV film, but most certainly isnt.

    And Inception is rapidly becoming one of my favourite films! lol Seen it about 4 times, and the soundrtack is on a perpetual loop on the iPod 🙂

    Not seen The Fighter yet! I really must. And no desire to watch Black Swan. I agree with you wholeheartedly about Aronovsky.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Col i meant to reference that discussion we put forgot so thanks for mentioning it.

      I went the other way with TSN I was entirely unengaged and uninterested in the movie. I admit to a lot of that being due to the presence of The other less talented more uninteresting Michael Cera.

  7. koutchboom says :

    Totally agree with you about Black Swan still don’t get the love that thing gets.

    You should check out The Way Back man. Thats the movie that is getting overlooked the most this year.

  8. Hawaiian Organ Donor says :

    Call me crazy but I really liked The King’s Speech.

    The Social Network is OK but overrated. Way overrated. It’s like an HBO movie.

    The Town got hosed. Should have gotten a top ten nod.

    • Jarv says :

      The King’s Speech is, and I say this not having seen it, pretty much everything I hate about British film. Droid says that it’s exactly what I think it will be, so therefore I shouldn’t watch it.

      Agreed that the Town got hosed, and still no interest in TSN at all.

      • koutchboom says :

        Having just watched The Facebook film again, its good in the fact that I felt the exact same way about it as I did last time. The problem is that its not really an emotional movie, and its just like they put in a lot of effort for a useless story.

      • Droid says :

        As I’ve said before, Facebook movie is a well made, written, acted, shot, edited, lit, catered, whatever film about an uninteresting person doing something uninteresting. Just like Benjamin Button, you can appreciate the craft that went into it, just not the film as a whole.

        TKS is exactly what is says on the tin. If you know you won’t like it, you won’t.

      • koutchboom says :

        I like Ben Button, that movie at least had an emotional core. The last 20 minutes of that movie are really good.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      HOD The Town totally got hosed.

  9. Spud McSpud says :

    “Sorkin and Fincher can kiss my ass. Those two are hacks.”

    Sorkin’s dialogue is everything people think Mamet’s is, but actually isn’t – it’s kinetic, exciting, and gets exposition over to the viewer without making them realise that’s what’s happening. Plus, Sorkin doesn’t talk down to the audience – if they don’t get what’s being said, get the fuck out. It’s dialogue for intelligent grown ups. And you hate THAT??

    Xi, Sorkin is one of the only writers out there not begging for the kiddies vote!

    As for Fincher – FIGHT CLUB was the most subversive mainstream movie in decades. Pushed the boundaries of movie-making all over the place. His other movies aren’t exactly chopped liver either. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea – hell, most of his stuff is over-rated – but every now and again, Fincher is a genius. He takes risks.

    I don’t get it. Hate them, fine – but hacks?? How are those two hacks? Between them, they’re creating some of the last interesting, intelligent, made-for-adults-only movies out there – and you HATE that?? We NEED more writers and directors like that – because everybody else is looking to Ratner and Bay as aspirational directors. And that shit ain’t right.

    • Jarv says :

      Hack is a bit extreme, but depending on Fincher’s next film (and don’t forget it’s a pointless remake), it could be argued that he’s peaked.

      No opinion at all about Sorkin.

      • Droid says :

        The worst thing you can say about Fincher is that he’s gone generic. Forrest Gump, Facebook and now a remake. He really needs to do something “edgy” (I hate that description but I’m in a hurry and can’t think of something better).

        Sorkins a good writer, but Mamet he ain’t.

      • Jarv says :

        Not just generic, but uninterestingly generic. Maybe if he wins an Oscar he’ll go back to doing interesting things. I hope.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw Fincher’s favorite movie is fucking Forrest Gump. He’s dying for the acclaim and national pride that that movie brings. Man I watched Gump the other night. That movie is still a million bucks. Couldn’t believe how great it still is.

        He want’s to be Zemeckis. Seriously he’s probably holding back Goon until he gets his Oscars. Once he gets his Oscars its all animation for Fincher.

      • Jarv says :

        Forrest Gump blows and should for any 21st Century nation be recognised as the embarrassing, misogynistic propaganda shite that it is.

        Not to mention that it’s badly acted, tedious, pompous and aggravating.

      • koutchboom says :

        Naw its great. And its amazing to look at. It’s so well shot. That’s what I was most afraid watching it again that it wouldn’t look good but man I wish every movie looked that clean and nice. Also the score and soundtrack and everyones acting. I thought it wouldn’t hold up but it does. Only the running stuff is a little silly but it looks so good you don’t care.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Spud to me Sorkin is nothing more then a barely competent overly glorified TV writer that get’s worshiped mostly by drooling hipsters that that enjoy shit. I’m not saying that’s you just a majority of the asshats that bow down at the feet of mediocrity.

      I did somewhat throw Fincher under the bus since Zodiac is among a favorite of mine but he really has not earned the accolades his receives. He is fairly generic with one classic on his CV.

      I hate the Fight Club with every ounce of being but the movie is way better then the book which should only ever be used as fuel to start fires.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I thought the book was probably Chucks worst. Almost amazed that it was the one to get him notice the movie is much much better. I didn’t read it though till after I had read most his other ones. I think Survivor is his best, but I haven’t read his last two.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s not his worst. Snuff is dreadful obnoxious shit.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah the one before Snuff was the last one I read. I haven’t read anything Suff or later I even own Pygmy. I started to read it and it was too weird for me at the time so I put it down and haven’t gotten back to it.

      • Jarv says :

        Don’t touch Snuff. It’s a pointless exercise in Wankery with a loud of hipster touches and nothing to say.

        Truly awful novel. I would orang of doom it and I remember reading that it’s been adapted.

        Which will be fun because there’s nothing in it resembling a story.

        Abominable novel

      • Spud McSpud says :

        That’s interesting, Xi. I understand what you’re saying about the drooling hipsters – Sorkin’s style lends itself to mindless sycophants – but I enjoy the theatricality of his prose, the way his scripts always sound like they could be played on a bare stage and not lose their immediacy or exhilaration. But yeah, I get your meaning – I bet a LOT of Sorkin scripts get studied in Greenwich Village coffee shops on Macbooks or whatever the wankers are using these days.

        But your hatred of FIGHT CLUB – I can understand the nihilism isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I LOVED the commentary on the failure of consumerism and its parallels to the emasculating of modern Western males (well, most of them), and though I’m aware that last sentence sounds like it was written by a pretentious fucktard in a French beret with a red wine in one hand and Sartre book in the other – WHY do you hate FIGHT CLUB so much? Not that I think it shouldn’t be hated (it’s very much a love-or-hate book and film), but I’m interested in why you feel like this about it.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah with Sorkin its like the Coen brothers, people get all worked up with their style when a lot of it is the same shit they’ve always done.

      • Jarv says :

        I like Fight Club. The only thing for me is that I don’t think men, real men, are as emasculated as Paluhnik thinks they are.

        I seem to remember reading that he is gay. Which explains the mild misogyny and homo-eroticism of the whiny man-bitches he’s created.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’m trying to remember if I read that he’s gay or not. I know he’s really cool to his fans. But man Haunted almost turned me off reading anything more of his. It was like Chuck for beginers. But I dug Rant. Reading Chucks books though taught me that reading can be fun so I have him to thank for that.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        This is why I’m interested in Xi’s opinion. Having a military background makes him as far from the kind of guy Palahniuk was talking about in FIGHT CLUB as you can get – and if Xi is the opposite of the guy Palahniuk was talking about, ie the city boys who’ve lived essentially feminised lives (like myself), then maybe the reason he hated it so much was the vastness of the disconnect between what Palahniuk was pointing out, ie the emasculating of a certain kind of young man in the late 20th century, and his own experience, ie a non-emasculated male who is grounded in who he is and his own personality as a man. Am I right, Xi??

        I, on the other hand, am a guy whose father died when I was 21, therefore have been raised by a woman since, doing retail and office jobs (none of which involve any classic male traits to do them), with one brother but two sisters, and who has been more emotional – and open about both displaying and talking about emotions – than your typical male is deemed as supposed to be. I’m EXACTLY the guy Palahniuk is aiming FIGHT CLUB at, so reading the book and seeing the film was the quintessential “Holy SHIT THAT GUY FUCKING GETS IT!!” moment in cinema for me. But I’m guessing, for those whose life experience is far removed from those living city lives bombarded by this fucked-up level of hard sell advertising, FIGHT CLUB feels like an over-celebrated empty exercise in pretentious art-house psychologising, mainly about a whiny fuck who just won’t man up and stop letting the world push him around.

        Ah, who knows? But maybe Fincher has peaked. Palahniuk almost certainly has – because he’s run of bile. All the shit he needed to deal with has been written up and published – where does he go from here, if the anger has blown itself out??

    • Spud McSpud says :

      I’ll be the first to agree with Jarv about unnecessary remakes – I loved LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and no matter how good the remake is (and I’m assured it is), why bother when the original is so good? The movie was made for dumbasses who can’t be bothered to read subtitles AND watch a movie, and frankly people that dumb don’t deserve a remake. They aren’t altering it, adding to it or even trying to improve it – they’re just remaking it in English so there aren’t any subtitles and the actors don’t have to be dubbed. WHY? Fucking laziness, plain and simple. Ditto with these Lisbeth Salander remakes – Noomi Rapace is apparently fucking awesome in those flicks, so why would I want to watch Rooney Mara do the exact same role in the exact same plot and exact same movie? Rooney Mara seems to have a modicum more talent than most actresses her age, and I’m sure Fincher’s movie will get her noticed, but it’s pointless. I don’t get why they’d remake movies that are as great as they could be in their native tongue.

      Droid, I get what you’re saying with Fincher – he seems to be playing it safe, staying where he’s feted and worshipped etc rather than stretching himself with something truly unusual. Jarv and Koutch may be onto something with Fincher – maybe he has peaked, or is just playing it safe for a haul of Oscars in the near future – but I still have faith. He’s still able to surprise us.

      Sorkin? Come ON! He’s awesome! The dialogue in A FEW GOOD MEN, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT and THE SOCIAL FACEBOOK are ALL exceptional, totally quotable and probably responsible for boring more casting directors than any other modern writer. Mamet is all hard-boiled bullshit – and yes, he does it well, but am I the only guy who just gets fucking bored with all the machismo in GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS? Sorkin is also guilty of being samey – all his stuff is stagey, intelligent, and great at blending exposition with character nuance and style, arguably one of the most important skills for a screenwriter – but his samey is vibrant, immediate, propulsive, interesting – and yes, intelligent. Sorkin and David E. Kelley are two of the only writers that I think write exclusively for an adult audience that is intelligent enough to keep up with them – and I think Kelley is slipping on that (come ON! Wonder Woman, for fuck’s sake??), so it’s Sorkin all the way for me. I’m not saying I dislike Mamet – except he’s samey – but from an acting perspective, I’d rather do a Sorkin monologue than a Mamet one any day of the week.

      Plus, Mamet wrote HANNIBAL, and there’s no excuse whatsoever for prolonging Anthony Hopkins’ panto villain phase of his career…

      • koutchboom says :

        Well Spud because Rooney Mara has sort of a lisp or something. She’s got something going on with her voice in Facebook movie.

      • koutchboom says :

        Also Spud what do you think of the True Grit remake?

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Koutch – Haven’t seen TRUE GRIT yet. Would absolutely LOVE to, since the character Rooster Cogburn seems tailored to the greatness that is The Dude, but Mrs Spud-To-Be needs more convincing.

        And scoff all you want, but Rooney Mara managed to make a tiny under-written role in THE SOCIAL NETWORK actually noticeable, and a generic tragic anti-heroine in the fucking execrable ELM STREET remake into someone you actually care about and root for – so, though I don’t envy her following in Noomi Rapace’s world-beating role, she’s definitely one to watch. Way ahead of the vacant beautiful people of the GOSSIP GIRL set…

      • koutchboom says :

        OHHH yeah she’s in that, haven’t seen it. I was just fucking with Rooney, I don’t care one way or the other about her. Just thinking maybe Fincher saw the Millenium seires movies and thought…..”You know what these films would be much better if the lead had a lisp.” And its not a lisp its probably just her voice.

  10. Bartleby says :

    Hey HOD, good to see ya.

    I agree, of course, that King’s Speech was a great movie and I like it probably a bit more than it deserves but it’s hopeless to argue for it. It’s not the kind of movie that houses a surprise about what kind of film it really is.

    Let Me In– it’s good to see your love for it Xi and you too HOD. I’ve been fighting that ‘wah, it’s useless because its a remake’ for months now. Good to see some kudos for it, especially the performances.

    Also, as I’ve seen Hammer’s second entry, The Resident, I can vouch for the fact that LMI is –remake or not–is far and away better than what they are up to right now. Here’s hoping that Wake Wood does the trick, but as Xi pointed out at PCN, it looks like Pet Semetary, with some Wicker Man thrown in.

    • Jarv says :

      Third entry. Second major one.

      Look- I’m not going to watch it, because I saw the first one so recently and there is basically no reason to see what is, by every account, an inferior film of the same material. I may see it in about 10 years, but at the moment it’s of negative interest for me- in that I would actively avoid it. I’m sure it is very well made and whatnot, but even your review said it wasn’t as good as the original. It pisses me off that Hammer’s first major release was an unnecessary and un-Hammer style remake.

      It is also relevant because Xi hasn’t seen LTROI- if I hadn’t, then I’d be far less anti-LMI.

      • Jarv says :

        This is actually a legit grievance against the film. It’s not a “wah” style argument. The original is only 2 years old FFS!

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        Jarv, do you agree that it is an almost shot 4 shot remake of LTROI?

        I liked it alot, but Im strugging to see what if anything new Reeves brought to the table. It was very competent filmmaking, but nothing that hadn’t been seen before. A bit like that pointless Psycho remake from Van Sant.

        Still, bloody good acting through out!

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah sort of like the pointless True Grit remake.

      • Jarv says :

        I’ve not seen it. I’m sure it is good- but just too soon!

      • Bartleby says :

        Jarv, I wasn’t targeting you specifically. I’m unsure why you would think that. I understand you have the same perspective as that complaint, but it’s hardly unique to you. The number of people, particularly in the film arena, that I talk to aren’t even on this site—I’d say it constitutes 1/10th of the people I regularly interact with, most of them here in Baltimore—and the feeling is prevalent, including those who never even bothered to watch the original.

        What I’m talking about is the mindset that calls it crap and utter garbage and gets actively angry when reviewers –most of them just doing their jobs—watched it and enjoyed it, and then said so. If that covers you, then I guess, but I seem to recall you having no beef with my review but saying the movie wasn’t something you were going to watch. That’s fine. That puts you outside of the ‘wah, argument’. I assumed you, Droid, pretty much everyone here, exempt when I wrote the comment.

        I also never wrote in my review that LMI wasn’t as good. In some ways it improved things from LTROI and in some ways it didn’t. I already own LTROI, so there’s no need to own LMI, but I think they are both about in the same ballpark. A good part of why they are, however, is down to what Tigh Fighter says. It doesn’t try to fix anything that wasn’t broken, and is really good mostly because LTROI is also really good.

        Trust me though, when I say The Resident is actually insulting and painful to watch.

      • koutchboom says :

        I was going to see Let Me In in theaters, but I don’t think it ever made it to theaters, and I missed it on the DVD release on Netflix so its been on VERY LONG WAIT for forever. I want to see it though.

      • Jarv says :

        It was meant to sound exasperated. I take no offense from that.

        There is a certain type of fanboy that does dismiss films with that ‘wah’ line. I am not arguing about the quality of the film at all- as I haven’t seen it and am highly unlikely to as I can watch the original any time I want.

        It’s pure frustration as I think that kind of thing is a waste of the opportunity New Hammer offers. There are plenty of remake hacks out there- why is Hammer deciding to be another one?

        I also hate the sheer stupidity that got it Greenlit. LMI was never a commercially viable exercise- given how recent LTROI is, and this was resource that could have gone elsewhere.

        Funnily enough, if they had chosen to remake something like the beast must die which could benefit from modern FX then I’d have been less aggravated by it.

        Too soon.

        There is a case for remakes, but LMI, psycho (as per the Col’s suggestion) and above all else Funny Games really, for me, serve as defining examples against them.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Let’s not forget QUARANTINE. I’m sure it’s great, but as [REC] was fucking incredible, I’ve no clue why they needed to remake it.

        I’m all up for remakes of films that are either so old that the current generation cannot connect to them in any way (which I’m sure is what TRUE GRIT falls into) or so shit that any remake can only improve on them (nope, nothing comes to mind) or even remakes that use superior SFX and a modern updating of the location and story to make an old story more relevant and contemporary (THE THING, Carpenter’s magnum opus) but remaking a movie two years later just so it doesn’t have to be subtitled? Is LMI that much better than LTROI?

        I need to watch LMI, to figure this out for myself. Though I watched both versions of THE FOG back-to-back a couple of years back. I’m still recovering from the mental scars…

      • Jarv says :

        Or if you’ve got a different take on the material like Scarface.

        The WORST example is Funny Games.

        What is a one-issue film that makes a coherent point in German is insulting and obnoxious when remade.

      • koutchboom says :

        QUARANTINE is one of the few remakes I will defend a little. Because when it comes down to it, it really depends on which actress you find less irritating. The changes in the movie are minor if really at all? Like the final scene is slightly different and the mosters look different.

        But I think that movie really does benefit from the use of English over subtitles, since the whole movie is so fast paced and shaky cam and all the subtitles take you out of the film a little bit.

        THATS not to say that a good dub job wouldn’t have done the same thing just as well.

      • Jarv says :

        I don’t find her annoying in [Rec]

      • koutchboom says :

        Well then your choice would be [REC]. I think overall the REC chick is less annoying than the Dexter chick. But they are both pretty annoying.

  11. Bartleby says :

    I watched that Rave from the Grave thing, which was intended as an internet online movie or something. I’m not sure it’s really their ‘first’, as it doesn’t quite bear the earmarkso f a traditional theatrical/movie release.

    I guess so. Doesn’t matter. It’s a load of wank and to be fair, you warned me off it so its my own fault.

  12. koutchboom says :

    Echo you watch Survival Of the Dead?

    • Bartleby says :

      Survival of the Dead is crap. Romero is useless and any relevance he did have is completely schluffed by the wayside. What a waste of time, resources, and anticipation. It’s funny because I thought Land of the Dead was a fail and yet DOTD and SOTD are so much worse than that. SOTD is honestly on the level of a badly made Romero fan film, let alone something he himself would want his name on. So, yes, the creator of the modern zombie has fallen past self-parody to the point of making fan films set in his own universe. Lame.

      • koutchboom says :

        Heheh I didn’t like Land nor Survival but I thought Diary was silly fun. I don’t hate it. But yeah so many other better zombie things going on right now.

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        Amen, brother!

      • Jarv says :

        DOTD is awful. Hate it, but I do have to thank it for breaking me of Romero movies

      • koutchboom says :

        The thing with Diary is that at least theres some resemblance of a story to get you interested in and characters. Survival of the Dead just sort of happens.

        It reminded me a lot of House Of the Dead 2, Survival that is.

      • Jarv says :

        The fuck there is.

        Characters? In that pile? When you’re actively screaming at the screen at the main character and not in support then the film is failing.

        Story? There’s no story to it either. Just some bullshit “theme” about the power of film/ Internet

        Romero can eat a dick for that film

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I get you hate Diary and don’t like the characters. I’m just saying compared to Survival the notion of surviving makes sense and you can follow it and you understand who the characters are. I’m talking like PURE basic set up of a movie. Like I could draw you a plot outline and show you how characters connect for Diary. I understand intentions and reasons and purposes. This isn’t even getting into the IS IT GOOD IS IT BAD aspect obviously your too far gone for that convo.

        NOW as loose as Diary was to you, Survival being an almost direct sequel in a sense to Diary try imagaining maintaining that through two movies? Yeah I couldn’t draw you a plot outline or why shit happened are who these characters were or what are their relations to each other. Its like you sutmbled into the middle of a movie. And I remember more about Diary and I saw it like 2 years ago then I do about Survival and I saw it last night.

      • Jarv says :

        I’ve no interest in survival so when I hear that it’s worse than Diary that plunges it deep into never watch territory

      • koutchboom says :

        It was just funny because I rewound the movie five minutes in because I thought I had missed something. Nope its just that bad.

  13. Frank Marmoset says :

    Good article, Xiphos. I don’t agree with much of it, but good article anyway.

    One part I did agree with is I liked Let Me In a lot. The people arguing it wasn’t necessary and doesn’t add much that’s new have a point, but it’s still a good film. I think the only thing I didn’t like in that one was the CGI Chloe Moretz. That would have stood out as bad in any horror film, but in one that does a good job of being subtle it really stuck out. CGI Chloe Moretz is the new CGI cats.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      What didn’t you agree with Frank? I’m curious. I always enjoy a good rational discussion.

      About the CGI issue are you talking about the attacks scenes that use CGI? If so then I agree the use of CGI there wasn’t good and it was probably the worst aspect of the movie.

      • Frank Marmoset says :

        Yeah, any time they used a CGI stunt double for Moretz – the attack scenes, a couple of times when she was jumping (over a wall and up a tree, I think). I can suspend my disbelief for that kind of CGI in a comic book film, but in Let Me In it really stood out as fake and cartoony.

        The stuff I didn’t agree with –

        I liked Inception a lot. I haven’t been a huge Nolan fan (apart from Memento), but Inception really worked for me. I had no story problems with that one at all, and comparing Nolan’s visuals to Kevin Smith is a little harsh.

        Also liked Black Swan. That seemed like a really well written and acted drama to me, the ‘Skinamax lesbo scene’ was just a nice bonus. I wish all films included bonus lesbo scenes.

        And I’m pro The Social Network, too. Great script, good performance by Jesse Eiseberg, not too much fussy directory stuff by Fincher. That film made me interested in the story of something I have absolutely no interest in, which is a minor miracle in itself.

        As far as I remember, I’ve never fellated anyone in Hollywood. Maybe one time when I was drunk, but that doesn’t count.

      • koutchboom says :

        If you guys compare the lesbo scene to skinamax…you guys have really weak skinamax. I’ve seen much raunchier stuff in the opening of some CSI and House episodes. hahaha in fact a lot of Swan felt like it was from CSI, that TRIPPING scene in the club. Writings a little more realistic in CSI though. Espcially the one with Caruso.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Frank,

        My point with the Kevin Smith comparison is that I find both directors to have a style that is in my opinion very uninteresting and pedestrian. in short they don’t work for me. Nolan is by far a superior director to Kevin Smith that’s for sure.

        Black Swan we will agree to disagree I didn’t think it was the intense revelatory psychological movie it reputed to be.

        TSN I admit that 75% of me dislike rests on the fact I can’t stand Eisenberg that kid hits the same whiny nerve for me as Wood Allen. As I am writing this I feel my jaw tightening and my shoulders bunching with the desire to whale on that kids face. It’s an irrational and immature reaction I realize but that’s how it is.

        The fellatio crack, not that I’m judging, wasn’t really aimed at anybody in particular around here since a majority of people on WOTN are reasonable and rational. It was more aimed at they type that lets Hollywood get in their blood. You know they ignorant pretentious type the truly believe movies matter past a few hours of entertainment.

        Oh one more point about CGI in Let Me In that I just remembered. I listened to the commentary track and according to Reeves almost all the CGI really is Moretz except for the jump from the tree and a couple of other things. It was in the post production that they added all the SPX moments and made it look goofy and stupid.

  14. Bartleby says :

    I’ve put some thought into the Hammer dilemma. I think it’s that they don’t have a real brand or concept picked out. Right now they are picking whatever they can grab, and so far its not very discriminately.

    Remaking Beast Must Die would be cool, but really, they should just go grab a book and make it. I’s love to see thme do something like List of Seven. Anyone read that?

    • Jarv says :

      No- I need something to read as well.

      I’d like them to do something that reflected Hammer’s identity from the day. Or even that reflected that they are meant to be British.

      Not what they are doing

      • Bartleby says :

        List of Seven was a surprisingly engaging mystery that combined Doyle and Stoker together solving a mystery. Now, don’t get me wrong, I usually hate that sort of revisionist adventure stuff, but this was good and brought in a good bit of supernatural occurrence.

        If not something epic like that, maybe something more low-key and creepy.

        By the way, Burke and Hare sucked. Billed as a horror comedy, but there was zero horror and very few laughs. And, I kid you not, they played that Proclaimers song from Benny abnd Joon ovr the end credits. Amazingly daft.

      • koutchboom says :

        Burke and Hare looked like that We Sell The Dead, with maybe a smaller budget.

      • Jarv says :

        Maybe Jonathan Strange as an adaptation?

        Could be awesome

      • Bartleby says :

        Damn you Jarv! I was just suggesting Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell as the Hammer production when I saw your post. . But I;’d be so afraid of them messing it up. Christopher Lee for Vinculus!

      • Jarv says :

        My big problem with that would be that it lacks a “strong” villain.

        Aside from that though- why not? Lee is a great shout for Viniculus

  15. koutchboom says :

    When it comes down to it I really don’t care how often a movie is remade. I mean some of the greatest movies ever were remakes.

    There are really only 2 types of remakes. You got the straight up remakes which are pretty much rehashes like True Grit/Quarentine/Nightmare/Dawn of the Dead/The Amityville Horror/Alfie/Fame/The Longest Yard/King Kong/City Of Angles just to name a few. Movies which pretty much keep the same settings/script/shots/ideas and just update the look a little bit, try to make the movie more mainstream a lot of the times.

    Then you’ve got reinterpertations. Like The Fly/The Fall/Godzilla/Little Shop of Horrors/The Mummy.

    Sure there is some crossover a little bit on both ends. But yeah I thought I had more to say about that but thats really it. Like you could almost say The Fly is more just a remake updating stuff, I’d have to see the original Fly though to really know.

    • Spud McSpud says :

      The original FLY is actually pretty cool, for a 60s horror movie. Especially the ending.

      I do think re-interpretations are generally way better than remakes – mainly because the re-interpretation is the reason for making the movie, as opposed to a lazy retread of a movie, which is what most straight up remakes are.

  16. Xiphos0311 says :

    I’m going to make a general statement the remake issue currently on the table.

    I’m not the like the Fat town nerds that automatically dismiss something becasue it has the letters “RE” attached to it(Goatfucker for instance). I’m willing to give a “re” a chance on it’s own merits. The main problem I have is that a vast majority of the “RE’s” aren’t very good. for like every 20 filmed there is only about 1-2 decent to good ones. That’s a bad ratio.

    • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

      Completely agree!

      Look at the Dawn of the Dead remake. I personally totally love it! I was its most vocal hater when it was announced, yet it was a brilliant reimagining of the basic story of being trapped in a shopping mall when the zombie apocalypse goes off. God, I love that film! I know loads of the supporting characters were under written, but the set-peices were perfect. Its the 2nd best zombie film (after the original).

      Then take the Day remake. What a fucking travisty!

      The ratio needs to improve for sure.

      But have go at it. Every man and his dog has played Hamlet or MacBeth. Just have something fucking new or original to say about it!

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Ah, I fucking love that movie too!! Yes, the zombies run, yes it’s a Zack Snyder movie, yes it’s a remake – but that’s a fucking AMAZING pre-credits sequence, the Johnny Cash song sets the tone – playful yet menacing – for the movie, and Sarah Polley is great: for me, she and Jake Weber represent the humanity that we WANT to see survive in this post-apocalyptic world. Steve is the asshole we want to see chomped, and there’s plenty of jeopardy etc to make it well worth our time. The suspense was well handled, some great action sequences and the whole guy-on-the-gun-shop-roof was a great subplot, nicely handled.

        Taken without any preconceptions, no agendas, no sarcasm, DAWN OF THE DEAD is one of my favourite recent remakes. It took a great movie and made it greater by only taking the concept, but reinventing everything else about it. If everything else he ever does ends up shit, Snyder should be proud of that one…

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Col and Spud,

        I enjoy the living hell out of DoD remake. I find it surpasses the original on every level so it’s definitely in the good remake column.

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        Glad to see Dawn remaking getting some props on here! Glad I’m not the only one. The opening of it was some of the most effective filmmaking I ever saw! I’ve got the Jonny Cash song on my ipod because of it.

        Same with Blue Oyster Cult – Dont Fear The Reaper, from the underrated The Stand tv film.

      • Jarv says :

        Nope. I detest the Dawn remake.

        Snyder is a fucking hack cunt who has never made a good film and isn’t getting another penny of my cash.

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        Jarv, does this put you in the “It should have had a giant pyschic squid” camp for Watchmen?

        I, for one loved that film. I didnt know the comic (but have since read it) so just took it at face value. Loved the whole Cold War tone. Im old enough that I remember the Cold War very well. We lived next to a first strike target, and had loads of mad lesbians in big sweaters waving placards outside it for years!

        300 was a blast, but not to be taken seriously.

        And looking forward to Sucker Punch. Looks like an acid trip.

        Bring on Snyders Supes! lets see what he does with it.

      • koutchboom says :

        Col Tigh, your not gonna like Jarv when he’s Snydery.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Agreed. There’s just TOO many of’em out there. Somethings gotta give.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah Tom I agree with that. The glut of remakes while mostly being crap also has the bonus affect of stifling the production of new and original scripts by sucking up the available production cash.

  17. ThereWolf says :

    Nice one, Xi.

    I can’t comment much, coz I’ve only seen ‘Inception’ out of those. You pretty much did to that what Knowles did to it at Gingertown. A couple of the other lads have already responded so I don’t want to parp on anymore – only that it pissed me off to see the contempt Knowles treated it with, and likewise here.

    Let Me In – as Jarv said above. The original is brilliant and still fresh in my mind (and stunning on blu-ray!). I don’t feel any need to visit the remake any time soon.

    The rest are all rentals at some point.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Wolf I don’t believe I treated Inception with contempt and if you took that from what I wrote then I apologize it wasn’t my intention to imply any contempt for the movie it just didn’t work for me. I just said it wasn’t my cup of tea since Nolan and I don’t mesh.

      Outside of Memento I haven’t particularly liked any of his movies but I have said that they are all competently made and that there are worse directors out there by far. Nolan and I have incompatible sensibilities and that’s not good nor bad it just is.

      • ThereWolf says :

        ‘Inception’, like it or loathe it, is worth more than a couple of lines. Accepted, Knowles showed contempt; you merely dismissed it.

        If that’s all it’s worth then don’t put it up there, coz it looks like you’ve only included ‘Inception’ to make a show of dismissing it. If you hadn’t mentioned the film and someone in the comments said ‘hey, you forgot Inception’ – and you came back with ‘I didn’t forget, I just don’t rate it’, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. It’s the dismissive manner, just rubbed me the wrong way.

        ‘Inception’ is quite a few steps above “competent” and I feel that way about Nolan’s body of work so far. I’ll stop now coz I don’t want to be accused of “fawning”.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Wolf I didn’t spend a lot of time on it because I covered it elsewhere and didn’t think anybody wanted to rehash it here. I included it becasue it was nominated and it was one of the movies I saw.

      • ThereWolf says :

        It’s fine, Xi. I’m out of order, coz it’s your piece and you can handle the listed films any way you choose.

        I’m praying ‘Inception’ doesn’t win anything so it can slip quietly away out of sight.

        But not out of sight of my blu-ray player, where it will frequently find a home…

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        No sir you are not out of order in the slightest. Difference of opinion based on an actual differnces and is not designed to try and provoke a response is always welcomed by me.

  18. Continentalop says :

    LMI was a pointless movie IMO, which is why I consider it bad. It was a paper tracing of LTROI, a practical shot-by-shot, scene-by-scene remake that decided to exorcise the depth and subtext that made the Swedish film truly great. Whatever genius or talent demonstrated in LMI is from the director of LTROI’s original work.

    Sure it takes some talent to paint a copy of The Last Supper, but not as much as the original artist. It shows lack of creativity and artistry to make just a bland copy. At least be like the guy who put cartoon characters into the Last Supper and make it your own instead of a poor quality Xerox.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Hey Conti you surfaced cool. yeah it might have been pointless but how many movies really have a point? I think the argument comes in about the execution good or bad.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Hey it’s Noted_Sage Conti_Pops!!! Always cool to see one of the Cagney Squad(TM) showing back up.

      I borrowed ‘One Two Three’ not that long ago–dang that was good. Cagney rocked in his last official movie (pre-Ragtime) as he did always. They just broke the mould when they made him.

      • koutchboom says :

        But Conti you don’t see True Grit as a pointless remake which has a lot of shot for shot scene for scene, script to script repeats. The only real difference is Damon is better than Campbell. So that must mean LMI is worse than Van Sant’s Psycho. With True Grit, its like the brothers Coen said that they didn’t look to the original in making their version and everyone just believed them.

        Thats not to say True Grit is a bad film, its fine its just a pointless remake with a worse ending than the original.

      • Continentalop says :

        There is myriad examples of differences between the two versions of True Grit. You just refuse to acknowledge them.

        One quick example: the scene where they try to ambush the bandits at the cabin. In the original Labouf is already with them and screws up the ambush by firing first (demonstrating Wayne’s superiority to that character). Also in the original the film cuts to different camera angles so we can see the subjective view of Wayne, Cambell and Robert Duvall as the bandit.

        In the remake the camera stays on with Bridges and the girl’s subjective view. We can only see what they see and from their distance. The entire shoot out is from the pair’s view on the ridge.

        And Damon isn’t with them from the beginning here: he stumbles onto the scene unaware (making him a victim of circumstance not someone intrinsically inferior to Rooster). He is also hurt and wounded in the scene.

        The Coen’s True Grit is an example of the difference between Story and Narrative/Plot. It has the same story as the original True Grit but how they tell it gives it a different narrative style, making it it’s own thing.

      • koutchboom says :

        No I see there are differences. But its not some complete revision its pretty much like the remakes of Nightmare on Elm or Hill Have Eyes in terms of how much was changed. I mean the biggest difference would be the use of night, the original True Grit has no night shots and night was used heavely in the redo, like the camp scenes or the attack on the John Goodman look alike. I’d say overall though the whole thing is moot if I had to quantify it somehow it be like True Grit Wayne is a 60 while True Grit Bridges is a 70 in terms of how different they are. Its more just more updated technology and how films are made these days then anything.

        I mean a few scenes that totally feel like signature Coen stuff, the bargaining scene is one and it is just slightly differently shot/cut then the original, same with the Rooster in court scene but in both movies they convey the same notion. I think thats what made it more surprisingly than anything, was that the stuff that felt intrinsically Coen’s was the stuff that was in the original. I mean sure you can be all like, OHHH the Bear Suit man and the indian and the hanging guy that whole wondering scene wasn’t in the original…but it added nothing to it? Anything the Coen’s did added very little to the overal feel of the movie to change it. I think it is an interesting study because while it really does feel like its its own thing its probably a worse case of plagiarism then a lot lesser remakes. Also the fact that the Coen’s try to shit on the original at every turn makes it worse. They act like they haven’t seen the original since they were kids, either they have photographic memories or they are lying, hyping up their own characters they have become as directors known for their creativity.

  19. Xiphos0311 says :

    Spud,

    You asked me two long rather involved and complicated question at 2028 and 2057hrs. I am going to answer them down here in two separate posts since the answers are pretty long. So away we go…

    @Sorkin

    You said you loved the “theatrically of his prose”now before I begin I have to ask a question. Are you involved in the theater in some way? I seem to remember you saying that before or at least I think I remember it that way. If that is correct I can understand how the sound of the writing would be pleasing to your ear since you have a background with it and that is as it should be but let me explain what I hear.

    To me, a barely literate red neck, all I hear is pretentious drivel that doesn’t’ remotely sound like a normal human being ever in the history of human beings. The words the actors spout ring so false and hollow that it causes me to discount what they are saying as asine pontification from unbelievable characters. The classic Sorkin maneuver of characters having refined soliloquies and fine speeches while walking down hallways actually causes me laugh right before I say fuck this noise and bail.

    Now maybe Sorkin words sound like a play to you and I don’t doubt that but the usage of language and the written word in a play are quite different then how words and language are used in a TV show or movie. What can be a striking beautiful speech on a stage sounds painful and trite on a TV and vice a versa. I can only think of one show that was able to transcend the riff between stage and screen and that was Deadwood. The theatricality and Shakespearean nature of the writing worked together like a well honed machine the believable characters with recognizable traits and problems.

    I also recognize that using the term “Shakespearean” is pretentious drivel on my part since in his day Mr. William was the purveyor of the lowest common denominator sort of entertainment he was a sitcom writer of his era. The patina of time can put the gloss on anything apparently.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      actually more I think about it Billy Shakes was more like a writer of reality television.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Shakey Baby also threw in a random homicidal bear to kill off a couple annoying characters once. I like Shakey.

      • Jarv says :

        No he wasn’t.

        Bear in mind that he was also a poet of some note. Furthermore, although he wrote populist stuff it was exceptionally crafted and he mixed some of the highest art with the low.

        Shakespeare was a unique talent- and an exceptionally erudite one- from the source material he used to the use of language and imagery in some of his writing. There is a reason Shakespeare survived whereas others of his era are far less performed.

        Finally, there are passages of Shakespeare that he clearly didn’t write (noticeably Hecate’s speech in Macbeth) and these bits lack the sheer craft of the rest.

        I honestly think you have to distinguish between the comedies and the history plays and particularly the tragedies.

      • Continentalop says :

        Bill Shakespeare was the Billy Wilder/John Ford/Alfred Hitchcock of his day: a man who made populist entertainment that was also intelligent & deep & challenging. His best work is like the Godfather I & II of the Elizabethian era (or Some Like It Hot or Tootsie if you want to talk about his comedies).

        Plus the man could write dialogue: think of how many of lines of his are so easily quotable (“A plague on both your houses,” “To be or not to be”, “The lady doth protest too much,” “The whole world is a stage,” “We band of brothers,” “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” ect).

      • Tom_Bando says :

        I seem to remember one of Harold’s non-erudite minions calling Cokey the new Shakey-Baby. I was banned for my response.

      • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

        Lovin’ the Shakey love here!

      • Jarv says :

        Proof that my education isn’t squandered!

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I was being just a bit cheeky about Billy being a sitcom writer but it’s also true many of his works were written and marketed towards mass consumption. There is nothing wrong with that buy the way.

  20. Spud McSpud says :

    Hey Xi,

    Yeah, I’m involved in local theatre a lot – when I’m not playing Dracula in panto, I’ve done Shakespeare, Pratchett adaptations, and all sorts of one act and three-act plays, so as an experienced am-dram actor I do enjoy beautifully crafted dialogue. Sorkin does it really well, but I wonder – does everyone expect the FB movie to have naturalistic dialogue all the way through? I’ve read the book the movie’s based on (THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES, Ben Mezrich) and Mezrich has a way with prose in the way Sorkin does with dialogue – he takes essentially very boring conversations and interweaves them in a way that makes a boring concept a page-turning thriller. In the book, I found myself dying to know what happened next; in the movie, I just enjoy watching some very good actors doing some exceptional work with some nicely written monologues (and surprised as all hell that Timberlake kept up with the others) in a film that, I think, intentionally had a kind of heightened theatricality to it. If you were to make the movie as realistically as possible, with naturalistic performances and realistic dialogue, I doubt many of us would get past 10 minutes – it’d be too much like watching a court transcript come to life.

    I like that THE SOCIAL NETWORK was made in a kind of heightened reality – it makes what is, essentially, a very boring story with some very boring people into a breathless, pacy and exciting movie. Yes, in the end it’s all douchebags fucking each other over (only Savarin comes away with any likeability for me), but it’s so beautifully made that they’ve managed to make me care, which is not easy given the subject matter. Special props to Trent Reznor, because the score is also awesome and that sequence with the boat race works because of the music, and would be far less interesting without it.

    I think Jarv and Conti are nearer the mark with the Shakespeare thing – yes, he was extremely populist, but he was also very talented, and the two together mean we have some very popular in-their-day works of art that play just as well now as they did then. It’s the lyrical beauty of the dialogue as well as the never-since-equalled understanding of human nature that Shakey had that makes his stuff so great to watch, to perform and to read. I don’t think we have an equal these days – most great writers aren’t completely appreciated by the mainstream like Shakey would have been, and there aren’t any great writers doing tentpole movies or airport books, so…

    As for disliking the Sorkin thing of having great monologues while characters walk down a corridor – understood, but how would you have them do these great dialogues? Putting the characters in a boring background forces you to rely on the words rather than the surroundings, which I think is Fincher’s intention in TSN. Yes, it’s a very Sorkin thing to do, and yes, I can see why a non-Sorkin fan would go “Oh PLEASE,” but that’s more a personal thing – much like Nolan, whose movies I find great to watch but emotionally cold and impersonal. I wouldn’t try to argue you into liking or disliking Sorkin’s tropes – you either do or you don’t, they’re his calling cards. Arguably Fincher is serving Sorkin’s vision in TSN, which is as it should be.

    As for “barely literate red-neck” – you facetious swine! We’ve all read your READING WITH XIPHOS series, and the last thing I’d think you are is a barely literate redneck ;D

    All that said – you’ve said what I’ve heard many times about DEADWOOD – that the dialogue is theatrical but it does work in the context of the series – so I really need to get into that show. Cheers for the reply Xi, sheds a lot of light on your position re Sorkin.

    • Col Tigh-Fighter says :

      Pratchett adaptations? I’d love to see one of those as Pratchett is my favourite author!

      Where do you put them on, Spud?

      • koutchboom says :

        Speaking of Pratchett I heard about Brian Jacques dying earlier this month. The name at first didn’t ring any bells, then I realized I had like 10 of his books at home. I wonder if we’ll ever see anything of his made as well.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Hey, Colonel!! Alas, it was a VERY long time ago – 1999, in fact. I played the title role of MORT in the play of the same name. My favourite of Pratchett’s books – it’s got the most focussed plot of all his novels, in my opinion – and I also ended up dating the girl who played Princess Kelirehenna in the play. Only lasted four months, but it was lotsa fun at the time ;D

    • koutchboom says :

      BAAA!!! Fuck Trent’s score for that film. First off that isn’t his music in the boat race. Yes I know that Hall of the Mountain King isn’t his song, but not only that it not even his version of it. Its odd how with that HUGE aspect of it, it still got an Oscar nom seeing as how picky they are about original scores and all.

      But also the music only adds to a few scenes. Its ok but its bullshit that its pretty much a shoe in for the Oscar over something like Tron or the pin point accuracy of the use of score in The Way Back.

      Speaking of that Boat Race scene, the amount of effort and effects and shit put into that scene just points out the major problems of the film. That scene adds very little to the movie. Sure you want to bring home the back that now the Wilko’s are losing at other aspects of their lives, but its so much style over substance which is the biggest problem of the film. I think had they cut out most of the Wilkovi stuff and focused more on the love triangle bettween JT/Cera 2/Spiderman it could’ve been a much stronger movie.

    • Xiphos0311 says :

      Spud I think the disconnect we have over Sorkin is the amount of theatricality he uses.

      Personally I enjoy the minimalist writing style. One of my favorite writers is a guy named Andrew Vachss who’s style is so spare and stripped down it’s like a lasers beam. Sorkin on the other hand would be like those halogen lights you see at a construction site or maybe even like what you see at a stadium.

      I agree that a totally naturalistic approach doesn’t work and would be boring, like you said, it would be like reading a transcript. So I think a mix of theatricality and naturalistic is the way to go.

      The thing about the hallway walk and talk that bugs me is that political people are the least likely to talk like that. Their whole lives are about strategic and tactical advantage and nothing else. I’ve never meet a political staffer or person that was flowery or transcendent in any way. Most of them are aggravating shit heels and so totally focused that there isn’t anything to them but gaining the next advantage over their political rivals.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        You’re right on the hallway walk and talk, though, Xi. What I loved about THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT is one of the least believable things about it – the fact that all these politicos are possionate about what good they yearn to do for their nation, even the “villain” Dreyfuss plays. Every one of them is brimming over with love for their nation and the office they work for, and healthy respect for each other… Absolute bullshit, absolutely, but told so well and with such heart that I gave it a great big pass and fell into the world it portrayed.

        I didn’t fall into THE WEST WING, though, because we’ve lived with a left-wing government in the UK for the last decade and a half and it’s done irreparable damage. Not that the right-wing government we have now is much better – they’re too busy determinedly wrecking any chance the poor had of not getting poorer – but this rose-coloured view Hollywood has of the liberal left is just as much bullshit as its pure hatred of the right. I think the truth lies somewhere much nearer the middle, and THE WEST WING looked too much like propaganda to me.

        I must watch CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR soon, though. Emily Blunt? Sorkin script? Hanks the Man?? SOLD.

      • koutchboom says :

        Blunt’s in that thing? Hrmmm need to check it out now.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        I’m ashamed to say the only thing I’ve read of Andrew Vachss’ is PREDATOR: RACE WAR, which I remember enjoying greatly. Does he do hard-boiled fiction? If we’re talking about stripped down prose, there’s a guy called Nelson DeMille who currently does these doorstop sized novels like THE GENERAL’S DUAGHTER, but back in the early 70s wrote hard-boiled pulp stuff for a living. I caught his stuff under the pseudonym of Jack Cannon, and the cop he was writing about was called Sergeant Joe Ryker – three books called THE SMACK MAN, THE SNIPER and THE HAMMER OF GOD. They feel like they’ve been composed entirely out of cliches, but man are they satisfying reads.

        My favourite writer? I fucking loved Mike Resnick’s SANTIAGO – A MYTH OF THE FAR FUTURE, which for all its futurism is basically a great Western in space, and Robert Vardeman and Victor Milan’s THE WAR OF POWERS novels – both great pulpy SF/fantasy with a healthy dose of sex. More down to earth, my latest favourite has been Joseph Garber’s VERTICAL RUN, the bastard offspring of DIE HARD and OUTBREAK. Currently, my bedside table is groaning under too many graphic novels, and the Robert E. Howard collected Cthulhu-inspired short stories collection THE HAUNTERS IN THE DARK (I think). A damn fine read.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Yeah Hollywood and the media do have a template that they will not deviate from when it comes to politics and it gets annoying but it so accepted now i barely notice it any more, it’s like clothes its just there.

        Charlie Wilson’s War is excellent and Sorkin, at least to me, dialed down some on his writing. Theatricality in that situation would not have worked nor been appropriate like in The Social Network; which essentially was a deposition which are boring by nature and design.

        So you read Mezrich’s book that became TSN? His books are interesting and anybody who can write a book about a subject like arbitrage and make it interesting is damn fine writer. I guess I’ll hit the used book store this weekend and see if they have it.

        Vachss isn’t everybody’s cup of tea becasue of his subject and writing style but if you are into it there is a pay off. I suggest trying the stand alone book ghost Ghost first then tackle the Burke Series but read Burke in order it is vastly complicated and interconnected.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        Yeah I did read the Mezrich book first, which was great in that – like the movie – it takes a very dry subject (essentially a deposition as you say) and makes it read almost like a thriller. The movie does the same thing – theatrical dialogue, slick directing techniques, a near-constant soundtrack, and all contriving to make one long conversation feel like you’ve just watched an action movie or something. It’s very, very cleverly made, and for that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s not art, but it is great entertainment.

        Mezrich’s book BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE, which became the movie 21, was the other Mezrich book I read, and it’s just as energetic a read as BILLIONAIRES – and every bit as interesting. Methinks the boy Mezrich has a rare talent of making boring shit read as not only interesting but thrilling. He’s like Michael Crichton 2.0.

        Worth a read if you enjoyed the movie – but if not, probably not.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        Mezrich is a damn fine writer he wrote about some American’s that were doing arbitrage trading in Japan in the 90’s that made them millions becasue they cornered the market or something. Truthfully I didn’t really understand the technical part about arbitrage trading. Now the subject would be one I would avoid, arbitrage trading, normally but in Mezrich’s hand it was a great read.

  21. koutchboom says :

    Speaking of remakes has anyone seen the two Breathless films? How do they compare? I was all into seeing Breathless with all the hoopla about the remastered version coming out until I saw this fucking terrible trailer that made me hate it. Come yesterday I find out that I don’t have to waste my time on stupid subtitles because there’s already a Richard Gere version out there. And Gere is pretty much always good.

    • Toadkillerdog says :

      Hola everyone, HOD good to see you again. Conti, I thought you might have put yourself in a coma from all the weight loss, good to have you back.

      So much to comment on so little time.

      Xi is dead on about Sorkin – but so is Spud.

      No one talks like that in real life. As much as I loved West Wing, it did get to the ridiculous stage at times with the pontificating, and genuflecting and oh so earnestness of the characters. Sorkin is also in love with his keyboard and prose-but I still liked it.

      It did come off as theatrical, but it was done with style that I could except.

      Still, as theatrical as he is, I am not so certain that Sorkin’s prose would survive the stage without major adjustments.

      A truly gifted stage writer, someone like August Wilson, has a different rhythm than someone who just writes theatrically. That is no slam on Sorkin who is very talented, but I think his talents translate better on screen than on stage and the same holds true with Wilson.

      Mamet and Sam Shepard -moreso Shepard, do make the translation without losing their unique voice.

      As for the movies Xi reviewed, I only saw Inception, and thought it was ok, but have no desire to see it again any time soon. It was a bit of a letdown, and I saw it opening night. I am not going to slam anyone that likes it or loves it because we all have our reasons, but I will say I find it a mark on overall quality that so many think it was something unique and special.

      Koutch, as for Breathless, I am a true French New wave lover. I have a large collection of those flicks.

      The original Breathless is a tour de force of the new wave style, but i would not call it a great movie. It is visually stunning , but i find i enjoyed it on small screen more than I did at the revival on big screen. I liked it, and can watch it over and over for the style and late 50’s early 60’s Paris, but the story – not so much. The remake is soulless.

      • koutchboom says :

        The remake is soulless.

        Hahah no wonder QT loves it then.

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        Koutch, the remake is not horrible, but it lacks the soul and originality of the first one

      • koutchboom says :

        It was just funny because just going off my basic knowledge of Breathless it seemed like a remake of it would be pretty fucking stupid. But then hearing it had Gere it peeked my interest.

        I was looking forward to seeing Breathless but then they released this uber pretensious fucking trailer promoting the remastered version coming to theaters and god it was just fucking awful. It had this bad voice over of some American chick pretending to have a French accent. And it looked like I made it on iMovie. I’ll in the end probably check both out. I probably wouldn’t be interested in the remake without Gere though. The few French new wave shit I’ve seen I’ve enjoyed. Its this oddball style of indy film but in France.

      • just pillow talk says :

        Ah, but Toad, where you say it’s a “mark on overall quality”, that’s just your opinion. I think it had an interesting story, good action, and good characters and acting. I don’t think it was a ‘smart’ movie, just a very well-done movie. I’m not sure I can ask for more than that in a movie. I’ve watched it twice now and it’s just as good the second time for me. Will it hold up for me say five or ten years from now? I don’t know.

        But just because you didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean the quality of movies has gone down the tubes if others hold it up higher than you do.

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        Pillow, I re-read what I wrote and it does sound a bit snarky – which was not my intention.

        Inception is far from a bad movie, but it just did nothing for me.

        The point I was trying to make – badly, was that fawning over it by some as though it was some major evolution in movie making, struck me as a bit odd because it seems that some people are desperately grasping/hoping that this is the signal event of their movie watching lives to date.

        Others, such as yourself, liked the movie but are not fawning all over it.

        I think keeping it in perspective – and i readily admit it is my perspective, is what i was striving to explain.

      • Spud McSpud says :

        I know A FEW GOOD MEN premiered as a play before it was a movie, and I’d LOVE to see it on stage just to be able to compare the two. I love how every character in it gets a decent monologue at least once. If nothing else, Sorkin is very egalitarian in how he gives every other character at least one chance to shine.

      • just pillow talk says :

        Fair enough Toad. I think we should be careful of placing what those of us on this site feel towards a particular movie versus what the geek community (gingertown) or critics say about a movie. Because those criticisms probably do not apply to here as much as those two aforementioned places.

  22. Xiphos0311 says :

    Spud,

    tonight I’ll put up The Palahniuk response. The ones I wrote last night didn’t really work so I needed to think about it for a while and write something that didn’t sound so snide to me

    • Spud McSpud says :

      Cheers for that Xi. I’m wondering if Palahniuk isn’t just aiming at a narrower crowd than I first thought he was, which was Jarv’s contention, and that your experience is so different to that of the ideal viewer/reader that Palahniuk is writing to that you find it ridiculous because, to you, it IS ridiculous. I do think he’s best taken as a post-ironic dark comedy writer rather than the nihilistic filth-peddler he’s painted to be – it’s obvious to me he’s trying to provoke his critics for laughs, and to see how far he can push his twisted sense of humour in print and on-screen before he’s censored (which happens often). For instance, his short story GUTS, which to date has had 73 people faint in different live readings, but which I think just reads like the kind of sick shit 12-year olds tell each other to try to make each other throw up. It’s funny in a really fucked-up way, but faint-worthy?? Not even close.

      Anyway, this has been the most interesting conversation I’ve had in a long while, so thank you. Awaiting your reply with interest 😀

  23. Tom_Bando says :

    Few things here:

    *Remake redoes. I liked the new True Grit plenty. It’s a better flick than the original one. I’m a fan of that. Wayne is my fave actor. I thought they were fair in their treatment of the new one, and it was quite fun to watch as well.

    *I liked Inception, thought it was very watchable, no reason to see it again. Nolan as a director isn’t my fave though either. Not a real fan of the Bats stuff he’s done, they’re okay but one and done for me.

    *I remember watching the Getaway w/ McQueen, Ali McGraw, Ben Johnson, etc. It’s pretty good. Nice cast. Nothing special. Had Al Lettieri as the mob dude in it-you remember him from the Godfather, Mr Majestyk etc. A good actor.

    *I always liked A Few Good Men. Very 1992 but it has its moments/big cast. Plus if you hate Demi-well you’ll enjoy it immensely.

    *Sorkin-West Wing was enjoyable. It does have it’s share of purple prose. This could be a bad thing but the cast was top notch and they put it over well.

    *Not enough mention of Giant Robots here of late. You are losing your collective edges here, dammit!!!

  24. Xiphos0311 says :

    Spud @ Palahniuk,

    I don’t think my opinion of Palahnuiks work in general and Fight Club specificity is directly influenced by my job. Indirectly maybe because I’ve been in places where his sort of neo-anarcho-marxist economics theory played out much to the detriment of the population but I think I am more reacting to the time I did in college.

    I had to listen to lazy, working the system, gits that spouted the same nonsense and those were the supposedly learned instructors. Professors that repeatedly slammed the system that allowed them to never have to do well anything in their miserable lives but lie to students every day, get high and try to fuck anything that moves and extorting stupid kids to get said chance at copulation.

    I had a giant disconnect from that sort of political/social/economic agenda since my life wasn’t an endless bacchanalia like those ass bags. I had, like I said, seen first hand how bad their stupid ideas play out in reality. I also found it amusing that the same system those lazy humps were denigrating, but more then happy to live off like parasites, gave the western world the highest standard of living ever seen in history and the systems they championed was evil and made life squalid for their prisoners/citizens.

    In Palahnuiks works he followed in the same first year of college get drunk and have a “serious” discussion about economic theory after taking Professor VI Lenin’s ungraded survey course on the “evils” of a capitalist economy. The idea that really bugs me is the fact that Palahniuk, like all the asshole professors, benefited directly from the system he thinks is so terribly flawed, evil and unwarranted. If he wasn’t selling books, movie rights, plays motherfucking video games rights and what ever else would he’s sold would he be living in huge house with a bunch of land in Vancouver Washington if he was still a diesel mechanic? The answer is no so he is in essence saying “I GOTS MINZ” and fuck you anybody else you don’t deserve it and you should follow what I say not do. This is know as the Algore syndrome.

    Also I don’t believe for a second Mr.Palahnuik is nihilistic he’s more opportunist and dare say capitalistic. He saw a market, the as you call them feminized male, and set about exploiting them by writing ever more out there and extreme books aimed at girly men. Then Mr. Palahnuiks sits back and enjoys the fruits of his labors. I am not putting this down enjoying the fruits of ones labors is the reason people labor in the first place and I would never take that away from anybody. But I also wouldn’t try to take away the ability of others earn by changing the system AFTER I was successful in it. This is what the Palahniuk of the world love to do, shut others out of possibility of making it.

    Lastly and this is totally personal I’ve heard and read interviews with Palahniuk and to me he comes off like a complete asshole with that attitude of you can’t question me or talk about me because I am an artiste. That line of thought get’s my hackles up. Fuck you if you can’t take a criticism you thinned skin asshole criticism makes you better and just because you are an artiste you are not immune from criticism you tool.

    So that is my problem with Palahniuk and his works I think he’s basically not very talented and an intellectual fraud working the system he purports to loath but works it like a champ.

    • Jarv says :

      I dislike him because I think he is a crap writer that captured the zeitgeist with Fight Club thanks to Fincher and has written precisely ONE good book (Survivor).

      I have read Guts and it’s not funny. It is actually precisely what a 12 year old clamouring for attention would write.

      He’s a stylistic one trick pony with a total inability to write characters or dialogue that are anything more than one note.

      He strikes me as a literary Haneke (round about Funny Games time) in that the first line of Choke is ” you aren’t going to like this”. Almost everything that I have read of his is nastiness for its own sake and reading Snuff was a trawl through one of the most creatively bankrupt excuses for a novella that I’ve inflicted on myself.

      He makes Brett Easton Ellis look sophisticated.

      • Jarv says :

        Not to mention that he seems like a hypocrite dickhead as well. A fake nihilist/ anarchist that’s happy to live off the proceeds of preaching for chaos but if society did collapse would be found in a cellar crying and cradling a shotgun in case looters try to make off with his telly

      • koutchboom says :

        I don’t think he has a TV actually, its either that or the internet don’t remember what he said. He’s stated before that he lives a pretty simple life on his ranch. Take that as you want to and call him a liar then sure he’s Scrooge McDuck, otherwise I have to take him at his word.

      • koutchboom says :

        That shit about people faiting at readings of ‘Guts’ seems all made up though. Then again I’ve seen multiple people just fucking pass out during those CPR training videos.

      • koutchboom says :

        Yeah I think Survivor is his best book. Invisible Monsters and Rant are his next best two. I also liked Lullaby and Diary but i think his two most lauded books Fight Club and Choke are his worst. I think he’s an interesting read. I’ve never read an article where he’s come off as a giant dickhead, no more so than any other famous author ever at least.

        I don’t think he’s all out for himself like Xi does. I mean yeah there’s gonna be a lot of that in anyone that becomes famous, but I think he tries to help cultivate writing and helps promote young author’s he likes more so then most big name author’s out there. When I’ve heard him in interviews he’s never come off as a DO AS I SAY kind of guy. He admits to being a hypocrite and at the end of the day his books are stories.

      • Toadkillerdog says :

        They will have to pry that 55″ HDTV out of my cold dead hands!

        And I suspect it will be even more difficult to do with a gut full of 45 ACP

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Haven’t read him.

      Wasn’t sure who he was.

      More interested in reading the inner workings of Mikey Bay if anything. Yes that would be most sad.

    • Spud McSpud says :

      Cheers for the reply, Xi.

      Through talking to a lot of people about Palahniuk and his books, one thing that has become apparent is that a lot of people don’t realise that he’s not being serious about the nihilism – I think he’s actually laughing at it. To me, it’s obvious all his books are just very bleak comedies – as Jarv says, his sense of humour is coarse, frequently childish and never what you’d call sophisticated, but nevertheless, if you’re in the right mood, his stuff can be funny. For instance, GUTS, his attempt to write the most offensive story ever, is a masterpiece in puerility – but on its own terms is funny just for how far it takes one urban myth and spins it worse and worse. I’m probably laughing more at how outlandish the premise is and the deliberate offensiveness of it (which to me is extremely obvious) rather than the content, which is funny from the perspective of a 14-year old trying to offend his elders (a viewpoint I also use often when watching Michael Bay movies, or anything with “Kurtzman” or “Orci” in the Written By credits).

      Now and again, though, and probably by accident, Palahniuk hits something meaningful, which is what I loved about FIGHT CLUB. Yes, the movie makes it more plain than the novel, but the whole railing against consumerism thread – and by extension, the emptiness that capitalist consumption brings – was what resonated with me most, and by extension I’m guessing most of the audience that enjoyed it. Yes, there will always be the idiots who enjoy the idea of a Project Mayhem – when to me that was the weakest portion of the movie, and weakened the message by making Tyler Durden the ultimate hyporcrite – but then they are the same idiots who, as you said, rail constantly against the System and the Man but at the end of the day live like parasites by milking that system for all its worth. They won’t understand his argument against capitalism and consumerism, basically because they are still at the other end of his argument. Me personally, I’ve never been much of a hedonist either, mainly because I live far too much up inside my own head (I think far, far too much) so to see a film so vibrantly saying something I’ve lived my life by – that consumerism and capitalism just make people empty and miserable – was both an affirmation to some of us and a loud slap to the brain to those viewers who weren’t even thinking about this stuff yet. Arguably Fincher’s visuals did more to bring that message out than the book does, but it is there – and I think I prefer the ending to the book, as it seems to confirm that no matter how many people you wake up to the idea that empty acquisition of material things brings nothing but unhappiness, some people will JUST NEVER GET IT. Those people were the Project Mayhem morons who thought they understood where Durden was coming from, but actually just replaced their buy-stuff-to-try-to-feel-happy philosophy with a smash-stuff-up-to-be-happy philosophy – which in the end also turns out to be no better.

      Palahniuk writes nihilism as a lifestyle choice, which is both unsophisticated and childish, but also occasionally hits on the fact that there are people out there stupid enough to believe that the stories Palahniuk writes are a viable worldview to live by, when actually I think Palahniuk is going one step further and showing that his books aren’t answers to the modern malaise – they’re exmaple of how trying to solve it results in worse problems. FIGHT CLUB hits on the important point that many feminised young men raised to acquire shit they don’t need, and completely out of touch with their primal male selves, end up feeling restless, angry and nihilistic without knowing why. He then demonstrates that getting in touch with your primal male self isn’t necessarily a good thing – it results in a terrorist organisation blowing up shit and wrecking corporate works of art in an effort to sock it to the system. THAT’S the bit most people don’t get about FIGHT CLUB – he’s saying, in the end, that even Project Mayhem doesn’t solve the problem of emptiness and unhappiness, that they are just part of the human condition and are essentially incurable.

      Is he an asshole? Hell yeah. He does push this “I am an ARTISTE” bullshit in every interview I’ve ever read with him, and like many great writers, I don’t think even he knows 100% when he hits on something truthful. And most of his latter stuff, GUTS included, is more trying-to-offend-for-offensiveness’-sake than trying to describe something truthful. But he’s not entirely pointless, and in FIGHT CLUB, he hits on something more truthful than the entire writing careers of Martin Amis, Bret Easton Ellis and all these other so-called enfant terribles – he absolutely hits what 9it’s like to be a feminised male in the West at the end of the 20th century, totally out of touch with who they are, in a society that has no interest in self-actualisation in its realest sense. He doesn’t give us an answer, but he hits the question so well that he’s spent the rest of his life trying to write something as good – and, SURVIVOR aside, he’s failed.

      • Jarv says :

        But he’s not entirely pointless, and in FIGHT CLUB, he hits on something more truthful than the entire writing careers of Martin Amis, Bret Easton Ellis and all these other so-called enfant terribles –

        Totally disagree with this.

        While I agree about Ellis, he gets nowhere near Amis, particularly early Amis, in terms of quality, message and importance.

        He’s written nothing on the level of London Fields and Success let alone Money or The Rachel Papers.

        Early Amis such as Money had a hell of a message about consumerism etc. Fight Club dreams of being that good.

      • Droid says :

        Because I like to put my two cents in… I’ve only read Fight Club and since it wasn’t very good I never bothered reading any of his other stuff. Now that’s one of the very rare occasions where the film is better than the book.

        Completely unrelated, but I’m re-reading The Getaway at the moment and I’m considering making a half assed attempt at adapting it into a screenplay. Because the book deserves better than a mediocre film version, not to mention the awful Baldwin one. I must see the final act of the book on screen before I die! Damn you, I must!

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Spud-is this the version w/ the Giant Robots in crayon? If you got that one-signed Shia no less, by all means I like to have it. I’m also partial to the ‘Rockhound Special Edition Cut'(TM) of Armageddon, just because.

    • Spud McSpud says :

      Further to the “artiste” theory – not only should an artist NOT be thin-skinned about criticism of his works, he should EXPECT criticism – because as all art is subjective, it presents us with a viewpoint, and everybody will agree, disagree or disregard this viewpoint when experiencing the art for what it is. Anyone who whines about their art being above criticism is a twat who obviously doesn’t know what the purpose of art is – which, to me, is both to challenge, and to bring something out of nothing.

      **Le Spud flounces from the gallery, Gauloise and merlot in hand**

      • koutchboom says :

        Spppuuuddd. Did you read Rant? I thought that was cool. I think me and you enjoy Chuck on a similar level. But I like alot of his other stuff better than Fight Club, but it could be just because I read a lot of his other stuff before Fight Club. Survivor was the first book of his I read and it spoke a lot more to me than Fight Club. I got annoyed with Fight Club’s mantra of HITTING ROCK BOTTOM.

      • Jarv says :

        I’m rereading Survivor and it’s nowhere near as good as I remember.

        Choke, lullaby and Snuff are garbage. Particularly Snuff.

      • koutchboom says :

        I’ve had a feeling with some growing up between readings of Chuck I may not feel the same way I did when I frist read it.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        I was about to crack a French cigarette joke Spud but you beat me to it.

  25. koutchboom says :

    Anyone ever read The Serial Killers Club? It sort of reminds me of us as a group. Yeah I know we aren’t a collection of serial killer, I mean one of us has to be, but in how they meet up in the book. It was funny to read. Not a great book by any means but a fun trashy thriller.

  26. Xiphos0311 says :

    Artist who whine about their art being above criticism are probably the same assholes that break out the line “don’t you know who I am” when they want something.

  27. Xiphos0311 says :

    He then demonstrates that getting in touch with your primal male self isn’t necessarily a good thing – it results in a terrorist organisation blowing up shit and wrecking corporate works of art in an effort to sock it to the system. THAT’S the bit most people don’t get about FIGHT CLUB – he’s saying, in the end, that even Project Mayhem doesn’t solve the problem of emptiness and unhappiness, that they are just part of the human condition and are essentially incurable.

    I disagre with this Spud. the Project Mayhem douchnozzles and to a lesser extend the Fight Club Nancy boys were utter followers. They are pure losers that just float from one thing to another in a vain attempt to fill up lives that are devoid everything except following the next big thing, idea, movement that allows them the ability to slavishly and unthinkingly follow. If it wasn’t Project Mayhem it would be Earth Liberation Front, Those fucking weirdo Iron Jon fucktards that get together in the woods to bang on tribal drums in search of their manhood and engage in what I would assume is consensual sodomy, joining a cult or worship at IKEA and wall street. They are in search of a charismatic leader spouting an easily understood black and white ideology(Fundamentalist religion is another perfect example). The Mayhem tards are the same assholes that jogged around America with Forrest Gump. They are weak willed chump followers looking to be told how to think and act and nothing else.

    I do have to say though upon further review maybe you are right I am not the target audience for Palauniks work. I don’t move the needle on being a core demographic target. I think I’m 180 degrees the other direction.

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