true but Warners is worth mentioning: film critics of the 70s that were involved in film include Kael who helped on HEAVEN CAN WAIT (a masterpiece), Ebert who did the scripts for Russ Meyer movies and Rex Reed (the best of the critics since he is incredibly fun to read) did Myra Breckenridge
@Frank Tomasul o Ph.D. Thanks for correcting me on the fact that he went to Columbia and then UCLA. I now remember him saying that at the screening I saw.
Heaven Can Wait a (gulp!) masterpiece?
that’s right just because it is a mainstream film doesn’t mean it is immune. Beatty’s persona (innocent wonderment) is used perfectly here, and the film is touching and very funny. It fits the noble side of Beatty on display in this and dick tracy and reds and belongs alongside those
In person Pauline was a lot of fun — very pleasant and chatty about all sorts of things. Originally she wanted to be a playwright. But that didn’t work out so she looked elsewhere for a great many years before becoming the writer we know.
She had a child by avant-garde filmmakerJames Broughton, trying to convince him that he was straight. As you might expect that didn’t work, though she adored her daughter and they had a very close relationship.
As you might expect she was quite antipathetic to avant-garde film. I recall her at a New York Film Festival panel procliaming “Oh I know ALL ABOUT Poets!” which inspired Gregory Markopulos to let loose with the loudest “HAH!” I’ve ever heard.
@Rodney Welch: “Would you completely dismiss someone who said “Blow Out” is more entertaining than “Last Year at Marienbad”?”
Yeah, I enjoyed Heaven Can Wait, for all the reasons you mentioned. But if we’re throwing the term “masterpiece” at unlikely Beatty-starring candidates, then I’m targeting The Parallex View.
Neil I agree about Parallex as well I would argue that Beatty has more great films than any other living actor but I digress
“When I heard about this story, even before meeting and studying with Dr. Suber, I was getting my M.A. at NYU Film School and we were trying to come up with a group film project for a Practicum class. Hence was born Citizen Kael, a 16mm. spoof movie loosely based on Kane that told the story of how Pauline Kael had duped a naive and trusting professor. For instance, Kael’s dying word is “Suber” and a check burns in a fireplace at the end.”
Please tell me that the print has survived and will be scanned for YouTube shortly.
@ Den: While you’re talking about film critics who worked as writers, directors, or producers — not counting the Cahiers crowd — there was also PAUL D. ZIMMERMAN, who was Newsweek’s film critic from 1967 to 1975, author of The Marx Brothers at the Movies (1968) and of many screenplays, only one of which was produced: The King of Comedy (1982).
Zimmerman’s script was completed nearly 10 years before the picture was finally made.
After King, Zimmerman wrote Back Again_, in which a perfectly preserved Adolf Hitler comes back and writes a book saying he’s really sorry for all the suffering he caused. Jon Amiel (_The Singing Detective) worked with Zimmerman on a second draft, but the critic died in 1995 (?).
In 1984, Zimmerman somehow manoeuvered himself into becoming a member of the Pennsylvania delegation to the 1984 Republican Convention so he could be the only person at the convention to vote against Ronald Reagan.
@CAL 9000: You’ve triggered my nostalgic memories of Citizen Kael. Perhaps it IS time for a re-release of that epic spoof. I’ll look into tracking down a print…
thank u frank of course the ultimate earlier examples would be Rohmer and Godard
I’m thrilled. I’m also going to switch to my real name now to avoid confusion with HAL 9000.
Ilan, for the record, I don’t like Kael either. She was even more polemic than Positif.
@Cal Engime Thanks for switching your name to Cal Engime to avoid confusing it with my name. I wouldn’t mind I guess if you kept it like you had it before, but do what’s ever comfortable for you.
I hunted down Pauline Kael a few years before she died. Knocked on her door out of the blue.
She made me take her grocery shopping.
I’ve never even heard of her.
GT, Wes Anderson did that. At least he brought a film [Rushmore] with him. What’d’you bring???
She hated all of Cassavetes’ work with a passion which makes her a philistine in my humble opinion. And that thing about only needing to see a movie once is beyond asinine. Someone here said:
“she could nail a movie to the wall in a sentence” That’s fine if your reviewing No Country For Old Men for Variety, but not if your a serious film critic. It reminds me of when people use these lame, vague phrases to describe movies so that they can seem like they completely understood it without having to be incisive. Like, “Oh well it’s a love story really” “It’s the hero’s journey” “It’s the gender wars redifined.” Ugh.
Here’s something Ray Carney wrote about her which I think “nails” her and other jive turkeys. She’s the Ayn Rand to His Noam Chomsky.
“Read the film reviews. I defy you to find one idea, one insight into life, one truth, one sincere statement. What’s there instead? Jokesy metaphors. Wise-cracking word play. A witty ending line. It tells you a lot about the implicit contempt the reviewers have for what they are doing. It’s all a goofball lark. A joke. A chance to demonstrate how clever they are. The writing is more about them than the film. Blame it on Pauline Kael.
She started it. The gushy breathlessness of her prose, her showoff metaphors, her revelry in shock value, her celebration of mindless, visceral excitement is where it all started. Most reviewers are still under her influence. Of course, I know you can’t really blame her for their excesses. What her influence shows is that she tapped into a vein of campy cultural cynicism that was waiting to be turned into a gusher of purple prose.
And according to Ray Carney and Mr. Tomasulo she was a petty, obnoxious and overall shitty person. I’ll take their word for it.
“Would you completely dismiss someone who said “Blow Out” is more entertaining than “Last Year at Marienbad”?”
Yes. Even though you changed the discussion from art to entertainment, yes.
“Do YOU have a “system” for evaluating the films you view? How about others on this thread? Or do most of us just “wing it” by the seat of our pants or skirts as we watch?”
@Frank P. T.
Is your criteria for film the same criteria you have for other forms of expression such as novels, theater, painting, etc.? I was wondering because mine are the same but I know many people have different expectations for different forms.
@ Mike Spence: You raise a good question. I suppose that I do have similar standards for film and SOME other art forms, particularly if those arts have the capability of conveying a Theme (theater, novels, poetry, SOME paintings, SOME music, etc.).
Susan Langer wrote an excellent article years ago titled “Does Music Have Meaning?” And it covers all the possible answers to that question. I’m still not sure of my answer to that question. Some of the arts, especially if very abstract, may not convey Thematic meaning and I would have to construct different criteria. Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollack are both very different abstract painters and I suppose one could attribute some “statement” about Life and the Human Condition to their respective works but it might be so simplistic as to approach meaninglessness. On the other hand, I appreciate both artists for the sheer aesthetic beauty of their canvasses. (Does that help?)
Piet Mondrian’s theme was to escape the power of the center per Arnheim
Bow-tie Ray sound jellyus
@Robert W. Peabody: Yes, that’s what I would describe as an AESTHETIC theme, “to escape the power of the center.” And abstract avant-garde films often contain such ideas (i.e., Jordan Belson’s ALLURES), which is why I evaluate them differently from films (and other art forms) that DO have more conventional Themes related to moral issues, etc. (Poverty leads to Crime; Ruthless Ambition leads to Self-Destruction; Love Conquers All, etc.).
I loved it when Kael tore down 2001. I admire the movie, but her trashing of it somehow felt spot-on.
She gets turned on by the thrill of experiencing a movie — the kinetic side of it — and seems nonplussed by airy pretensions.
She knows that pretensions are not necessarily a sign of intelligence or of artistry, but simply of what they are: techniques of self-elevation.
Which, when you get right down to it, are mostly inert, detracting from the dynamism that movies should always be about.
And her dislike of auteur theory is right on the money. Auteurism simply creates more opportunities for directors and critics to fluff themselves up. It’s all so boring. It leads to canonical thinking, which leads to conservatism, which stifles art in the end.
So, I love her work.
I remember Kael thought TOP GUN was “homoerotic”.
I appreciated her chutzpah.
Didn’t everyone think “Top Gun” was homoerotic?
" I am not saying she’s a bad person (even though she doesn’t seem nice)."
Maybe we should ignore James Agee too. He wasn analcoholic you know.
Calling “Top Gun” homoerotic is like commenting on the weather on a sunny day.
“Didn’t everyone think “Top Gun” was homoerotic?”
prob not at the time