1) "Eraserhead's not a movie I'd drop acid for, although I would consider it a revolutionary act if someone dropped a reel of it into the middle of Star Wars."—The Village Voice, Oct. 24, 1977 (Hoberman's first review for the paper.)
2) "It's a melancholy fact of life that, for too many people (including, I suspect, Tarkovsky himself), the praise of Stan Brakhage is something like the kiss of death. Stalker and even The Mirror have done surprisingly well in limited runs downtown at the Film Forum but, dog knows what sort of audience exists for Tarkovsky in the foreign film ghetto of Lincoln Center and environs. Something tells me he's an unwelcome guest, one more orphan of the storm toting a shopping-bag full of junk across upper Broadway. Like, who invited this long-winded Russian prophet into the world? I mean, who needs this guy whose movies pretty much demand to be seen twice or not at all?
"Who indeed? You can loath Tarkovsky or you can adore him. What's mindless is to pretend that his particular genius doesn't exist."—"The Condition His Condition Was In," The Village Voice, Jan. 10, 1984
3) "Since America was a land Kafka knew only from books, the place he describes is as imaginary as Karl May's New World or the land so numbingly detailed in the Impressions of Africa Raymond Roussel published at his own expense in 1910. Still, it was an escape hatch he must have pondered. Even as a child, Kafka planned a novel about two warring brothers 'one [of whom] went to America, while the other'—the good one, naturally—'remained behind in a European prison,' the writer's own European prison (a castle, perhaps)."—"Once Upon A Time In Amerika: Straub/Huillet/Kafka," Artforum, Sept. 1984
4) "Much of what has been written about Shoah glosses over the film's provocations—its repetitions, its absences, its Talmudic system of cross-references. Review after review contains a flash of recognition—to experience the Holocaust onscreen is still, on some level, to experience the Holocaust—followed by a movement to put the film at arm's length. 'If this isn't the best film of 1985, what does that category mean?' one well-known TV film critic asked his partner. (What does that category mean? Less than a month later, he answered his own question with The Color Purple, an altogether more upbear film about brutality and oppression.) In light of the extravagant praise Shoah received, Pauline Kael's negative appraisal in The New Yorker—which reportedly held her copy for several weeks before tacking it on to the December 30 reviews of Out of Africa and The Color Purple—would seem particulrly nervy. But Kael's response is something more complex than a personal distaste."—"Shoah Business," The Village Voice, Jan. 28, 1986
5) "Blue Velvet is a triumph of overall geekiness—a fat man in shades walking a tiny dog, the deadpan Dick-and-Jane detective who wears his gun and badge in the house, the references to Jehovah's Witnesses, the strategic use of the world's loudest flushing toilet. As the demiurge of raunchy, lower-class sexual menace, Dennis Hopper is a virtual Harkonnen on Main Street—a violent, volatile hophead, periodically dosing himself with ether to further addle his turbulent, fuck-obsessed stream of consciousness."—"Return To Normalcy," The Village Voice, Sept. 22, 1986
6) "Featuring everyone from Yiddish theater impresario Maurice Schwartz to noir axiom Mike Mazurki to the young Cyd Charisse and the strongman from Freaks (1932), Mission to Moscow features such ineffable moment as Paulina Molotova, commisar of cosmetics, telling Walter Huston's wife that, Ninotchka notwithstanding, 'feminine beauty is not a luxury.' This scene added after the film wrapped, was one of several created to satisfy Mrs. Davies' desire for a larger role. 'Yes, I guess women are the same all over the world,' the actress who playes the ambassador's wife replies. 'Primarily, they want to please their men.'" —From the chapter "A History of Communism," The Red Atlantis: Communist Culture in the Absence of Communism, Temple University Press, 1998
7) "Television, in Time's McLuhanesque formulation, had assumed Hollywood's traditional function, and 'cinema' was now 'the favorite art form of the young.' This generational relationship was clinched when the newsweekly's December 26 issue ran a letter by an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Peoria maintaining that Bonnie and Clyde was 'not a film for adults'—which was why it incurred such establishment wrath. Nor was it Bonnie and Clyde's violence that shocked his peers: 'The reason it was so silent, so horribly silent in the theater at the end of the film was because we liked Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, we identified with them and we wanted to be like them.' What did that mean? Can one imagine such a letter being written in defense of The Dirty Dozen—and imagine it being published?"—From the chapter "Born To Be Wild: Outlaws of America, 1967-1969," The Dream Life: Movies, Media, And The Mythology Of The Sixties, The New Press, 2003
8) "In a sense, Inglourious Basterds is a form of science fiction. Everything unfolds in and maps an alternate universe: The Movies. Even Shosanna's Parisian neighborhood bears a marked resemblance to a Cannes back alley, complete with a club named for a notorious local dive. Inflammable nitrate film is a secret weapon. Goebbels is an evil producer; the German war hero who pursues Shosanna has (like America's real-life Audie Murphy) become a movie star. Set to David Bowie's Cat People title-song, the scene in which Shosanna—who is, of course, also an actor—applies her war paint to become the glamorous "face of Jewish vengeance," is an interpolated music video. Actresses give autographs at their peril. The spectacular climax has the newly dead address those about to die from the silver screen."—"Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Makes Holocaust Revisionism Fun," The Village Voice, Aug. 18, 2009
9) "The Red Menace spends a surprising amount of screen time explicating Marxist dogma. Indeed, in exposing the Party leadership as cynical and manipulative, The Red Menace intimates that the Communists are betraying their own ideals. Several true believers—Molly and her Negro comrade Sam Wright—have disapproving parents operating under the spell of more acceptable religious leaders. In one tumultuous scene, the cell's resident Jewish poet, Henry Solomon, is attacked for denying an immaculate-conception view of Communism: 'We contend that Marx had no basis in Hegel!' the requisite fat, sweaty Party secretary sneers."—From the chapter "The Ministry Of Truth, Justice, And The American Way," An Army Of Phantoms: American Movies And The Making Of The Cold War, The Free Press, 2011
10) There is no number ten, because, the incredibly bone-headed (and that's the NICE term for it) decision of The Village Voice to can Hoberman today notwithstanding, I trust or at least believe or at least hope that we will be hearing from him again in print and/or on the internet very soon. Now I have plenty, PLENTY of stories pertaining to Hoberman's personal menschiness, and of my own longtime admiration for him, and the like; but I figured the most apt tribute to his career up until this sad point would be something in his own always witty and acute words. Nine other passages could just have easily filled the spaces above, and provided similar wisdom, elucidation, idiosyncrasy, and so on; nine hundred other passages could have served as well, too. This space, then, is symbolically reserved for something mind-expanding to come from Hoberman in the future. Good luck, J.