« 10 Years Of Rialto Pictures: A chat with Bruce Goldstein | Main | Image of the day »

October 24, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


That's the best recommendation I could have wanted - I love Serpent's Egg! (in crotchety old man voice) That's the problem with films these days, too much happiness!

Are you suggesting that Rex Reed, or anyone else over 40, might not like the film because it cuts too close to the bone?


A movie about an aging man struggling with disappointment and failure? Yeah, I can see why older audiences might not rush into this film's arms. Still pissed I missed a preview screening...


I'm 32, and I know I wouldn't be able to shrug off this movie. My brain isn't wired that way, unfortunately.

Glenn Kenny

The old age and mortality stuff definitely will repel certain viewers, but it also inspires mordant rhapsody in others—the linked-to Filmbrain, for instance, and Manohla Dargis in today's Times.

Bill C

Apologies for the self-promotion, but Walter Chaw at my site felt the same way, too. (That is to say, erm, mordantly rhapsodized.)


Phil G

The ending of RAN is about as bleak and joyless as I can imagine. Everytime I see it, that ending is a good kick in the nuts. However, the filmmaking is filled with all the joy you could want from a film maker.

I STAND ALONE was joyless. Gasper Noe is joyless director all around.

I would put TRANSFORMERS on that list as well. I can longer apprciate a movie's special effects as if that alone was a basis of entertainment.


IMPORT/EXPORT was pretty damn joyless.

Andrew Wyatt

The Saddest Music in the World? Naw, it actually manages to be deliberately funny, in an absurdist way.

Requiem for a Dream?

Stephen Whitty

Agree with you on Gaspar Noe, who I find absolutely noxious.

Which is what makes THIS so rich, I think: a few years ago, Rex Reed raved over Noe's absolutely loathsome "Irreversible."

I guess that's one of the reasons I read Reed -- he's not only hysterical when he hates something (he recently called Nikki Blonsky, the "Hairspray" actress, a "singing toadstool") but his hates and loves aren't as predictable as you might think.

Although, yeah, once PSH started examining his stool in "Synecdoche" (actually, once Catherine Keener started examining her daughter's stool) I knew he was not going to be happy...


It's hard to tell if Rex Reed hated this film because it struck too white hot a chord of existential terror against which his mortal soul rebelled in a defensive spasm of intellectualized rancor, or if it's simply because REX REED IS A FUCKING LOON. God bless his soul, I love him though - there's nothing more entertaining than a good incoherent Reed rant. His threefer takedown of Darjeeling Ltd, Margot at the Wedding and I'm Not There stands as a proud and glorious monument to all things cantankerous.

Keith Phipps

Rex Reed is _only_ 70? That can't be right. Maybe it's just that he hasn't seemed relevant in... help me here.

Andrew: Seconded on REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. I admired it, even if it didn't send me into raptures, when I saw it but also felt like I was witnessing the end of Aronofsky's career since I imagined so many viewers would left feeling beaten up. I'm happy to have been wrong.

Can't wait to see this one. He even had me with HUMAN NATURE.


We're talking about the most joyless films now? "Grave of the Fireflies" gets my vote. Absolutely superb film, one that made me realize there was more to Japanese animation than schoolgirls with improbable breast physics and rayguns, but depressing as hell.

Then again, I suppose making a movie about children starving to death is never going to be a cheery, happy romp.

James Hansen

Did anyone here see TONY MANERO at NYFF? I thought that it was probably the mosy annoyingly joyless film I have ever seen (or, at least, seen in a very very long time.) Pinochet? Saturday Night Fever? Shitting into other people's costumes? Nasty, anti-pleasurable blow jobs? Doesn't get much more joyless than that. Apparently that connects with some people, but all I wanted to do was run from the theater.


Joy is overrated (and I'm barely 30 yet). I love Bergman, because the emotion in his films doesn't pander to feelings of escapist entertainment. And Fassbinder. THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT. That's got some joyless moments. Recently? ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU ? Those Japanese kids aren't even out of high school yet....

The generational stereotype doesn't hold much weight with me, I refuse to think that all the kiddies and are actually too insipid to emote outside their hollow self-esteem bubbles or seniors are just too informationally naive to want to notice.
Though the box office does tend to work by these assumptions....

Herman Scobie

I'll see your Gasper Noe and raise you a Bruno Dumont. Twentynine Palms was the most joyless cinematic experience of my life. That said, John Waters was in the audience, and he seemed to like it.

C. Jerry

Speaking of children suffering, Rossellini's GERMANY YEAR ZERO was as joyless a film as I have ever seen. And no jokes either.

On the other hand, I felt lots of different things watching SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK - including joy. I could say it was the joy of watching an artist create something so ambitious and singular, but I think it went deeper than that.


The film sounds challenging and not likely to be most people's cup of tea. I have loved all of Kaufman's work in the past so I very anxious to see this one. The gloom-and-doom vibe of the film from many critics suggests to me that it's a film that won't get the critical respect that it probably deserves until time has slightly passed.


I don't agree with your comment that anyone over 50 is going to be profoundly uncomfortable with this movie. How can you make such sweeping generalizations? That is nonsense. I found the movie to be very funny, actually, and even more truthful. I just don't get what all the hoopla is about the toilet scene. Hasn't everyone looked at their own shit? What's the big deal? We eat, we shit, we give birth and get sick. We die. Anyone who has been with someone sick, babies, or animals will understand. This is our life, and as Ebert said in his review of Synecdoche, this is us! This movie is one of a kind, and it is profoundly brave and moving.

Glenn Kenny

Oh, dearie dear. Look, I've gone and offended a hippie. Who can't read.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Tip Jar

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad