"If you're an Andy Milligan fan there's no hope for you."—The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film, Michael Weldon, Ballantine, 1983
I can't say I was entirely surprised to be accused of Bosley Crowtherism for my pan of Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon in today's New York Times. The young people today, they want a David Lynch of their own soooo bad that they're willing to take this shallow spoiled brat retread who, as I note in my review, really WANTS the squares to find his work objectionable. My only defense—because really, what are you gonna do, say "I do SO love edgy stuff?"—is that The Neon Demon is really dogshit, a word I cannot use in the Times.
Almost twenty years ago I was having dinner with some friends, two of them screenwriters and one of them a musician and music industry executive, and one of the screenwriters was talking about the gangster film Belly, of which he'd recently seen a preview. He was making this-and-that complaints about its content, and saying that he was bothered by it in a way that he wasn't sure how to articulate, and the executive, who'd mentored the screenwriter for some time back in the day, said, pointedly, "Well, did you find it morally objectionable?" And the screenwriter, somewhat sheepishly, said, yeah, he did. Well, the executive concluded, and we concurred, if you find something morally objectionable there's no point in acting like you're too cool to admit it. Which point has always stuck with me. I don't require my art to be morally upstanding, and the aesthetic advantages of partaking in certain aspects of amorality are not lost on me. By the same token, dimwitted exploitation bullshit is dimwitted exploitation bullshit and risks liabilities both strictly aesthetic and, yep, moral. If noticing that makes me Bosley Crowther, c'est la vie.
Have a delightful weekend. Hoping to have a Blu-ray Consumer Guide up for the Fourth of July holiday.