I imagine many of you have already heard tell of an event down in Texas wherein a debate/boxing match between "film critic" Devin Faraci and filmmaker Joe Swanberg occured, in which Swanberg gave Faraci a pasting for the ages. Now, I have nothing against showmanship, and indeed, the prospect of a Faraci/Kenny (we are not friendly) boxing match has been offered on Twitter, which I agreed to on principle, and also in the event that such a thing be staged to benefit a charity. However. It seems to me that arranging such an event as a Thing Unto Itself is kind of adolescent, and says much that is unpleasant about Contemporary Film Culture. But let's put that aside for a moment, the better for me to ridicule Faraci. I know—I should be on his side, right? I'm no fan of Swanberg, or of his films, and I don't much care for many of his friends either. However. When Faraci chooses to compare Swanberg's output unfavorably with that of John Cassavetes, and asserts that "Cassavetes didn't have scripts" you have to wonder about this thing where the Internet means that EVERYONE gets to be a critic. But, you know, you and I, we've been through that. What's really kind of staggering is the opening sentence of Faraci's typically lacking-in-graciousness account of his beatdown, which is this: "Joe Swanberg's first punch knocked out my right contact lens."
Faraci wrote this thinking it would make a sure-fire gripping "lede." I wonder if he was aware that it would convince a not-likely-insubstantial portion of his readership that he ought not be allowed to leave his house by himself, ever. Because, if one is a boxing novice, and one goes into the ring without wearing protective headgear, keeping one's contact lenses in is about the stupidest thing a supposedly sentient human being can do. I mean, we're talking staggeringly dumb. If you watch the video, which I don't necessarily recommend, you'll see that after the first time Faraci goes down, when the two square off again, Faraci's got headgear on. Somebody got his head out of his ass, or somebody who wasn't Faraci got scared of a lawsuit. Who can say. I suppose Faraci figured he would look more "badass" bare-headed. And he learned how that works. Faraci's gone on on Twitter about taking boxing lessons: he either needs to pay more attention, or get his money back. You'd think he'd have actually tried to get in some shape before the bout, but while Swanberg charges at him with a belly full of spite (he looks genuinely, blue-flame pissed off throughout, as if Faraci's standing in for every critic who's ever talked smack about him, your humble servant included), Faraci is working off of the usual belly full of Cheetos and Fat Tire. And that forward charge of Swanberg's: it's more street fighting than boxing. But anyone with any boxing chops/training would know what to do with such a thing: keep your fucking hands up and keep moving around. Backwards, to the side. Get a circle moving. Don't just put your hands up and stand there and let the guy come at you. A moving target's harder to hit, Einstein. Defend yourself and make your opponent weary, less fierce, and after that, you can get your first shot in. Then make it count. But not Faraci. He barely adopts the defensive stance, and then makes the mistake of trying to land some kind of punch through Swanberg's onslaught, despite the fact that he's acutely aware—how can he not be?—of the size/reach advantage that Swanberg has over him.
Like I said: should not be allowed to leave the house by himself.