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On the subject of Filmmakers, Filmmockers, Critics, and Cynics:

Tucked and sucked deep within the underbelly of the no-dough-low-budget-micro independent realm of filmmaking for too long can turn a man (or woman, or hermaphrodite) into a bitter by-product that splits off into two essential steams of flowing hate-fire directed at very different targets.

Group A, or as I like to call them, “Groupay” are the ones brimming with classic fits of jealous spite toward that town located on the west coast with that giant hill with words on it. They spell out HOLLYWOOD. Deep within his hill is of course the very dwelling in which Michael Bay sleeps in his money-bunker nightly, on top of a pile of gyrating women who have been genetically modified to smell like newly minted cash. Groupays have diamond-solidified opinions with serrated teeth attached to them, the kind meant to tear flesh off the bone with a single quip. They are busting their ass to make their flick, sweat, blood, tears, and some type of stupidity-passion-willpower mixture pour over every location, shot, and actor they thank almighty Odin for bestowing to the set on their day off work.

If they make it to the final cut of their film still standing and with enough debt to be able to afford avoiding scurvy for a few months they have won, they are adept vikings, they sit atop the mighty throne and look down on the kingdom they stitched together with After Effects and lots of ADR. Those people, those Groupays, when they go to the cinema, shirts soaked in bile and hard work, pockets empty from the massive Pizza-Hut runs to feed cast and crew, they sit there and see a movie in which the catering bill for ONE DAY was more than the budget on their entire production. Of course they aren’t going to give them an inch. The slightest misstep in a $200 million tent-pole film is enough to write off the entire thing as a “pile of sucktastic suckicide with a side of suckitude.” Now it’s easy to assume that the reasoning behind this is, as indy filmmakers, they see a world where the talentless reign and the gifted fail and struggle, and while that might be the main catapulting force behind their searing contempt, one must consider the possibility that they are also, much like myself, natural born buttholes (but not surfers, indy filmmakers hate water and sunlight. We are the gizmos of humanity.)

"...Actually Michael, that was you that said it. In fact, you screamed it."

"...Actually Michael, that was you that said it. In fact, you screamed it."

That brings us to Groopee, or as I like to confusingly call them, “Group B”, the rarer of the two species, the one with no country, the outcasts of a society that tolerated Outkast. This is a group that until around 3 years ago I was uninitiated of their existence and I’m still not quite sure that Group B is even a group, as I only know about 3 people that fall into this reject community. B, the group, consists of the same blokes with silver-screen colored fantasies as I spoke of above, with one major difference, a severe and intense sympathy for all their fellow filmmakers and crews (here comes the difference) INCLUDING Hollywood sized productions past and present. Unlike Larry Talbot, I’ve witnessed the change within me slowly occurring over years, luckily with much less deer slaughter. Being on the other side of production has made me re-examine the constant onslaught of criticism that seeps from the pores of GENERATION PWNED like needles on a gamma irradiated cactus. The venom coming from the net (where Sandra Bullock jokes have finally subsided,) as well as from those that are in, or yearn to be in, film production doesn’t speak to me any more. In fact, seeing behind the curtain has infected the very foundations of my feelings on criticism, art, and ultimately what exactly the word SUCKS truly means, vacuums and straws aside.

thecritic

It has been said before, will be said again, and is being said in about three or four words from now, you can’t respond to critics with “Well let’s see you make a better film.” You can’t look Roger Ebert in his face after he eviscerates your favorite Bruce Willis film and challenge him to make a better movie than Hudson Hawk. Why? WHY? Well…um…because while it makes perfect sense, you negate all criticism, OF ALL KINDS, in one simplistic statement. It’s a retort that all of us see on the web from time to time but it has to be largely ignored just because of its power to destroy the very institution of criticism. Having an opinion is a human right, voicing it a constitutional one, but being able to actually prove it? (no one is going to shell out the cash for Hudson Hawk: The REquel directed by Roger Ebert.)

"I like HUDSON HAWK this much."

"I like HUDSON HAWK this much."

Now, this specifically is interesting to think about in the world of independent filmmakers. In my travels and adventures (all of which usually require less movement than chewing) I have many a spirited session of movie discussion with fellow filmmakers and have often wondered, as I listen to them claw the ass out of the likes of Underworld 9: Rim Job Restitution, if it’s ok to say “Well let’s see you make a better film.” Is it? Is this indy film world the exception? I really don’t have the answer. The first point that will be made is budget. “Give me $200 billiontrillion and I will make a better movie, until then, it’s sucks. FACT.” And yeah, that seems like a pretty great rebuttal, but…is it? Is anything being taken into consideration here besides the “art” of it? Yeah, I could give you a truckload of money, but could you bring in a better Transformers film than Michael Bay on time and under budget that is artistically superior but not alienating to the broad base audiences enough to cause it to lose returns? The average person, and I’d say the average indy filmmaker, couldn’t do such a thing right out of the gate, if at all. I couldn’t. Shouldn’t there be some respect at least toward the type of WAR GENERAL you need to be to get Transformers 3 made on time and underbudget and have it still be arguably coherent?

“I’ve seen you on set man, I’ve seen your last film…the problem isn’t money and time, the problem is talent, and I suck worse than you, how do you think that makes me feel?”

You probably think I am trying to make some grandiose point about how “everyone should shut their damn mouths cause everything is awesome and made of happiness and pink bunnies!” No. I’m not even sure I have a point, I’m trying to lay out all that has run through my head in the past 3 years or so that has contributed to my newfound bafflement at criticism. As all filmmakers know, no one sets out to make a bad movie, and every movie IS NOT suppose to be made or tailored to each individual audience member during every picosecond of its runtime. My thoughts also transferred to critics themselves and the “art” of criticism, sure you can’t tell them to make a better movie, but you can point out that since facts and/or the scientific method aren’t involved in this world that really what criticism is (get ready for a thunderous roar of “duh”) is a giant bullcrap weaving institution. I realized that my love of a film didn’t matter, I could easily “intellectually” bullcrap my way through a negative review of something I loved just as easily as something I loathed. Anyone worth their weight in wit, with the power to truly critically think about their ramblings knows that its not about GOOD or BAD, it’s about how a piece of “art” strikes you AND what amazing streaming barbs of bullcrap you will fire out of your head hole in order to defend what is essentially a gut reaction that you really can’t explain. Sure, there are people who will violently disagree with me here, they will say that there are rules, there are time tested patterns, there are dimensions and facets to all areas of art, specifically film for our purposes, and GOOD and BAD are real and definable and there’s no arguing that. Well…I’m arguing that. Why? Answer these two questions:

1) (directed at all heterosexual males and homosexual females) Could you write a well thought out review of boobs? Yes…boobs.

2) How do you account for enjoyment?

“I don’t get the boobs thing.” Right, its sort of a weird point, one that I normally reserve for defensive discussion of equality in marriage. Let’s say you are a boob lover, not everyone is, but most people at least are casual fans. You know why you like them, you can research WHY you like them, science, psychology and/or biology and all that will explain to you WHY it is that you just seem to be hopelessly addicted to boobs: instinct. Plain. Simple. Now, biological reasoning aside, can you actually put into words why you personally love them beyond the deeply imbedded evolutionary instinct? (feel free to substitute boobs with feet, or lips, or Alf costumes, whatever floats your boat.) I can’t do it. I sit there and think and think and think and no matter how well spoken and thoughtful I try to explain my endearing love for them all I get is this:

“They…uh…they are awesome for one, and uh…they are…well they are awesome cause they are, wait…did I say awesome? They are so awesome.”

boobs_131967405869

Really, what is instinct if not nature’s hardwired version of “gut reaction.” My love for The Big Lebowski can be explained with all sorts of examples of film theory, historical relevance, script originality, line delivery, story structure, but when it comes down to it THAT ISN’T WHY I LOVE WATCHING THAT MOVIE, THAT IS ME TRYING TO GIVE FACTUAL REASONS WHY I LOVE WATCHING THAT MOVIE. Is it not the same for you? Am I a weird guy? Do the films you most love to enjoy and absorb time and time again only get placement into your dvd player due to a list of “artistic quality criteria” that they meet or because you truly, unexplainably love it for reasons either personal to you, and only you, or beyond your own ability to define in words, such as your love of Alf costumes. All I’m saying is think about why you’ve watched Better Off Dead a hundred times since the 80s…is it because of its merit? or cause you enjoy it? If it’s the former how come a film buff like yourself isn’t constantly watching Schindler’s List, Das Boot, or Ghandi? If you are a champion of “Good Art” then why watch films that don’t seem to really fit into that scheme? How do you separate the merit of “merit” itself and pure enjoyment?

The definition of "pure enjoyment."

The definition of "pure enjoyment."

That brings me to…

“What do you mean? How do I account for enjoyment…what?” Why are we so bitter, why do we hate so hard on these things when they react improperly with our guts? I don’t know. SERIOUSLY I DON’T. Why does it anger us to know that some dude who loved Glitter is at his home right now watching that movie and having a grande ol’time? I’ve admittedly never seen Glitter, but if it’s anything like the substance I won’t be a fan, that stuff gets on everything. Sure, the movie most likely isn’t a shining example of the historical and time tested requirements of the nationally approved cinematic checklist…but that dude, that dude truly enjoys watching it, it brings him endless glee. You and me might not get it, the dude might not even get it, but the question is, is Mr. Dude wrong? I realize its only natural to want the entire planet to adopt our personal opinions as law but really, concerning art and entertainment, why?

Once again, and I apologize for beating you over the head with it, but I DON’T KNOW. It has been a slow process but the notion that other people’s palpably real enjoyment of films I downright hate is completely valid. That dude isn’t faking his Glitter-mania because he is an agent of all that is hackneyed-evil-dreck in the world. He’s not out to destroy me and my opinions, which are righteous and true, fighting on the front-lines of quality and SUPERB TASTE! No. He legitimately enjoys it, and its not some war between good and bad or art and garbage…its essentially a war between opinions and delusions of grandeur, and history has shown that those are always battles that we can be proud of! (the sarcasm checker in Microsoft word froze my computer after that last sentence. I sooooooooooooo love when that happ{{}}{>><<<|||||||||||||||||——#######{program not responding.}#######

Dudes love this movie.

Dudes love this movie.

with all that being said…my review of JOHN CARTER:

john-carter-2012

It didn’t suck too much.

filmjohn-carter_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85

Dooders and Dooderettes, seriously thanks for reading… I promise I’ll be back soon with more “conventional” reviews.

-Bob Rose

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