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September 16, 2013

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george

I read her post earlier today. I'll avoid that book.

A few weeks ago I read Thomas Doherty's book on the same subject, "Hollywood and Hitler," which I thought was pretty good. Glad that the Siren and Denby prefer Doherty's effort.

Shawn Stone

Sounds like another book about movies by and for people who don't know/like/care anything about movies--or the people who make them.

The Siren

Thank you so, so much Glenn. I want to avoid being what a James Cagney character would call "sappy," but this warmed me through and through.

mark s.

I would love, love, love to see Farran replace the witless David Thomson as chief film critic of 'The New Republic.' Her taste is impeccable and Farran makes reading film writing fun again, without sacrificing critical acuity -- like Kael.

george

Thomson is at the New Republic? Did Stanley Kaufmann end his 55-year run?

Chris L.

Kauffmann is online only now, it seems. I gather he may have had some health issues, but there's nothing wrong with his writing. Makes you wonder just where that august publication is headed.

Mark is also right that any outlet, preferably one with far more space than the NY Post, would benefit greatly from the Siren's stylings.

Chris L.

http://www.newrepublic.com/authors/stanley-kauffmann

Last entry is dated August 2nd, so hopefully all is well.

george

Kauffmann is 97 years old. I guess it's time he slowed down a bit.

I always admired his writing, even when I disagreed with his opinions.

bgn

http://chronicle.com/article/When-Hollywood-Held-Hands-With/140189/

This article about The Collaboration came out a couple of months back. Look at the comments under it, ye Mighty (and Shawn Stone) and despair; these are the people who don't know/like/care anything about movies, but feel bound to have an opinion on them regardless. Urwand's audience?

george

bgn wrote: "Look at the comments under it, ye Mighty (and Shawn Stone) and despair; these are the people who don't know/like/care anything about movies, but feel bound to have an opinion on them regardless."

This is why I've stopped posting at general-interest sites when movie discussions come up. You're overwhelmed by people who don't know anything about movies, people who have never seen a John Ford or Robert Altman film, but can't resist pontificating and spreading absurd theories.

Inevitably, someone opines that box-office slumps are the result of Hollywood's "left-wing agenda" (the Michael Medved school of criticism; they also offer this "reason" for declining newspaper and magazine revenues). Then more conservatives pile on and hijack the thread.

Or they're nostalgists who want to reminisce about "Space Jam" or "The Goonies," or whatever movie they loved as a child. If you try to steer them to the better movies of the '80s and '90s, they're unmoved. If they didn't see it as a kid, they're not interested.

(Boomers are more likely to get dewey-eyed over their childhood TV favorites, because, Disney aside, the studios didn't make a lot of movies for children in the '60s and '70s. TV was much more kid-friendly.)

Petey

"This is why I've stopped posting at general-interest sites when movie discussions come up. You're overwhelmed by people who don't know anything about movies"

Y'know, The Shawshank Redemption is The Greatest Movie Ever. Amirite?

george

1,045,443 IMDB voters can't be wrong! Shawshank is Number One!

Here's the IMDB top 10:

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

2. The Godfather (1972)

3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

6. The Dark Knight (2008)

7. 12 Angry Men (1957)

8. Schindler's List (1993)

9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

10. Fight Club (1999)

The next 10 includes the other two LOTR films, Inception, Forrest Gump and The Matrix.

Citizen Kane is at No. 48, and Vertigo is at No. 52 (one position ahead of Django Unchained). Chinatown is at No. 86. And so on.

Oliver_C

Even the TheyShootPictures.com Top 1000, the result of collating and weighting as many (critics') polls as possible, has its egregious inclusions and omissions. Personally I'm as bothered by a list of "The 1,000 Greatest Films" which includes 'Gummo' but not (say) 'Safety Last!' as I am by the Joe Popcorns of the world voting 'The Shawshank Redemption' cinema's supreme achievement.

Jeff McMahon

Also don't forget that IMDB skews male and younger.

Petey

"Also don't forget that IMDB skews male and younger."

That's definitely part of it.

I didn't figure out that The Shawshank Redemption is The Greatest Movie Ever from IMDB, however.

About a decade ago, I engaged in a project IRL for a couple of years where, when I found myself in casual conversation with a civilian stranger, I turned the conversation towards cinema. And I noticed that from the sample of 'non-intellectual males between 25 and 50', approximately 100% of that subgroup quickly brought up The Shawshank Redemption as The Greatest Movie Ever without prompting on my part.

It's weird.

jbryant

Sounds like maybe Shawshank's standing in the imdb poll has seeped into the popular culture, in the same way as Citizen Kane's status as the "critics' choice" for the Best Film of All Time. These "non-intellectual males" may never have heard of either imdb or Sight and Sound, but somehow this common wisdom gets around (we'll see how long it takes Vertigo to dethrone Kane in the common wisdom sphere).

Petey

"Sounds like maybe Shawshank's standing in the imdb poll has seeped into the popular culture"

I believe causation is the other way around. I think the demographics who rate films on IMDB put it at #1 because there was ALREADY a bizarrely widespread love for that flick among that group.

In other words, I don't think the folks I was chatting with IRL a decade ago had formed their (damn close to unanimous opinion) via checking out the IMDB ratings...

jbryant

Well, it's moot. Your anecdotal evidence vs. my pure conjecture. :)

Anyway, I took some pains NOT to suggest that all these dudes were checking imdb. Just like everyone who "knows" that CITIZEN KANE has been considered the Best Film Ever for decades hasn't necessarily heard of Sight and Sound or ever even read a review of the film.

george

"Also don't forget that IMDB skews male and younger."

The presence of Fight Club at No. 10 makes that clear.

The A.V. Club got blasted when Shawshank didn't make its list of the best films of the '90s. More recently, the fanboys went berserk when Entertainment Weekly didn't include Shawshank on its "100 best movies" list.

Here is EW critic Owen Gleiberman's reply to their outraged letters and emails:

"In making up the list, we determined that The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of a movie that really 'plays' but in a tidy, emotionally programmatic way that doesn't ultimately earn it a place as one of the 100 All-Time Greatest. We recognize that in nearly 20 years since its release, the film has amassed a group of fans that is large and devoted and we salute their passionate movie love. In this case , however, we just don't share it."

Well put!

george

Richard Corliss tribute to Stanley Kauffmann, who stayed out of the public "cage matches" between Kael, Sarris and Simon.

http://entertainment.time.com/2013/10/09/stanley-kauffmann-the-old-master-of-movie-criticism/

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