"Joe Swanberg's kind of become your straw man," My Lovely Wife commented to me this evening. "Well I wish you'd told me you felt that way before I wrote a 2,200-word oblique review of Uncle Kent," I responded. On the other hand, I get where she's coming from, and part of me wants to resist participating in what could become the film-blog variation on the recent and ongoing Sarah Palin thing. As you may recall, Palin was recently taken to task by some for her incendiary rhetoric, Instapundit Glenn Reynolds called a "blood libel" on conservatives, Palin picked up that ball and ran with it, certain people found it repulsive, and Reynolds and James Taranto and a bunch of other people doubled down and laughed that Palin drives liberal dummies crazy, and why are they so obsessed? This really doesn't strike me as all that different than the doubling down that Richard Brody is doing with respect to Swanberg over at his blog, and don't even get me started on Craig Keller. Part of me is very definitely reluctant to engage—you wanna spend your money on Joe Swanberg movies, go the hell ahead, but the day I see a new one that I like seems far off indeed, so why should I even bother?—but on the other hand, I DID just write a bunch about Uncle Kent, and even had a picture scanned for the piece.
So I'm gonna put it to you, dear readers: should we all just ignore Swanberg the way I'm ignoring Sundance on this blog, or do you wanna see my piece? I'm going to bed now, because I'm very sleepy; I'll close voting (register your yes or no, with rationale, in the comments section) at midnight tomorrow night. Thanks as ever!
UPDATE: I see that as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday morning, January 22, 2011, that voting is running pretty evenly for and against posting, but I'm noticing a fair number of conditionals—DO post if the piece is about the movie and not the guy, that sort of thing. SO maybe a little clarification is in order. The piece is written in the form of a letter to its co-writer and lead performer, Kent Osborne (and I SWEAR I had this idea before I saw that Craig Keller posted his praise of Uncle Kent in the form of a letter to its director Joe Swanberg), in large part because, watching the film, I was rather struck by how similar the character Kent's life situation in that film resembled my own when I had reached the parlous age of 40 in the late '90s. The post will even contain a picture of myself and my (now deceased) cat that bears a slight resemblance to the shot of Osborne in bed with his own cat. My response to the film, therefore, could be said to be kind of complex, because I did see a vestige of a version of myself in it. Like Richard Brody, I believe that Uncle Kent is "sincere" (up to a point), and that it shows "honesty" (up to a point). I do not, however, believe it is any "good," and when I read Keller approvingly quoting Swanberg saying "I hope this is a movie that people feel like popping into the DVD player once in a while and just hanging out with" and then Keller says, yes, it is that kind of movie, I think, "These people are out of their minds."
I hope this information might help you along in making a more informed decision with respect to your vote. Thanks again!
FINAL UPDATE: "Enough with the drama," reader "Gus" comments. What are you, my mother? Actually, no; my mother is much nicer, and less brusque. But point taken. Publish, and be damned, as the saying goes. The post is above. It contains "spoilers." Um, enjoy.