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December 30, 2008


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Who wrote the "Burn After Reading" piece? That sounds like it'd be good for a laugh.


As long as I don't have to read any more effusive praise of "Benjamin Button" or "Revolutionary Road". Not that they're bad but in five years, nobody's going to give a shit about them.

Glenn Kenny

@Bill: That's from a piece at Spout:
The really frightening thing is that the author's a filmmaker—one of those "mumbleypeg" guys, I gather—hence, his imaginings of the Coens' creative process are even more jaw-droppingly risible than they would be were he a layman. Or maybe not, and that's just the sad, sad point. Anyhow, I dropped the guy as a Facebook friend after I read it, so that'll show him.

@Dan: After seeing the excitement "Button" has stirred up in critics I really respect—Kent Jones and Dave Kehr most prominent-like, and all—I'm planning on checking it out again. I don't anticipate getting turned around but if I do I promise not to get too effusive.

Happy New Year, all!


I just read Lerman's piece. Among other things, for a filmmaker he has a pretty skewed idea of how long it takes to make a movie, doesn't he? Maybe Lerman thinks the Coens naturally assumed that people would take "No Country for Old Men" too seriously, and wrote "Burn After Reading" as a sort of pre-emptive strike.


Most of the "serious" movie people I know loathed At the Movies even when Siskel and Ebert were doing it.

Matt Noller

Sad thing is, Lerman's right that "Burn After Reading" has been widely and woefully misread; it's just that he's one of the people woefully misreading it. And in a way that's not just insulting to the Coens as artists AND as people (what, exactly, does he posit their thought process to have been? "Shit. The critics loved our last movie and we won a boatload of awards! Well, fuck those guys, this'll show 'em!"), but to the audience as well.

Also, it's pretty arrogant basing a reading of one film around your own misguided reading of a previous one, no? Lermen thinks "No Country" isn't very serious, so naturally the Coens must, as well.

Glenn Kenny

The piece gets even worse when it starts in on the vanity publishing project of one Mary Bronstein...but I didn't go in there and comment as I'm trying to be a little less intemperate generally, and engaging with the Spout-ites in particular never ends well for anybody involved.


I agree with Glenn that although Lyons is a cretin, he isn't a lunatic. Ben Lyons is almost being propped up to pull the focus away from much of the lousy criticism we've been seeing all year everywhere else, a good deal of it coming from self-declared "serious" writers.

It's easy to knock Lyons because he's such a complete joke, but so are the likes of Armond White, who has been taken seriously by some of the other critics for years now.


I'll take a lunatic over someone who bores me stupid.


Oh good jesus. OK, who wrote that about Seven Pounds?

They can't pull that on me. I SAW IT.


I read the "Seven Pounds" thing somewhere...was that Poland?

Glenn Kenny

Vadim, Bill nailed it: The "Seven Pounds" defense is indeed from "David "Yes you did, you invaded" Poland.

Funny that swordandpen brought up Mr. White, for as it happens he's the one who thinks the revival of "Made In USA" is going to save cinephilia from video game enthusiasts. Here's the complete blurb—I don't know where the "original" appeared or if there is an original, I saw this on the press release for the revival: "The chance to see 'Made in U.S.A.' on the big screen provides an opportunity to rescue movie art and revive film enthusiasm. Cinephilia shouldn't just be the province of comic-book and videogame consumer culture—or elitists. Godard's lesser-known films point the way past genre conventions and into the modern soul."

Seriously, I don't even know where to begin with that one. Sure, all hail Rialto Pictures for bringing this out, but White sounds as if he expects Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher to catch the film this time around.

In other news, over at Spout, Lauren Wissot just referred to Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem as "hot tamales." This is hilarious for quite a few reasons, not least of which is that Cruz and Bardem both hail from Spain rather than Latin America. And the hits just keep on coming!


Wow. I didn't realize that "Made in USA" quote was from Armond White. His attempts to convince us of his ability to relate to the common man have been some of his most ridiculous writing.

My favorite recent Armond-ism was his review of "Che" where he spends time criticizing Soderbergh's use of aspect ratios for each film and then gets the actual aspect ratios wrong. Shouldn't White, self-proclaimed cinephile, at least have gotten that right considering he railed against it? He is supposed to be watching the screen, isn't he?

And I don't like pulling out the politically correct card, but, as a Latino, that Lauren Wissot "hot tamales" quote is pretty offensive and ignorant.

Glenn Kenny

@swordandpen: Being Armond means never having to admit that you got anything wrong.

And yeah, for Wissot to drop that casual bit of racism after all the twaddle she spins about being a representative of the oppressed transgender queers of the world is just too rich. Maybe she believes that if The Lady Bunny can get away with such stuff, so can she...or maybe she's just stupid. I'm going with the latter.


"it is exactly the kind of movie that critics will loathe and that audiences will eat up with a spoon."

At least Poland is one for two. I don't normally say this, but god bless the multiplex crowd this time around.

And yeah, that aspect ratio thing was just flabbergasting. Maybe some hipsters prevented a clear view of the screen.


That Wissot thing reminds me of a review Rita Kempley wrote, years ago, of "True Lies" during which, in the same sentence, she decried the films supposed racism, and talked about the Middle Eastern terrorists getting blown into "camel burgers".

Account Deleted

happy new year Glenn! and all the best to my fellow film fanatics out there!

keeping my fingers crossed for '09, could be the year the action movie is properly resurrected, courtesy of Miss Bigelow and Mr Cameron.


...all this invective and no one has mentioned the Four Tops....

Dan Coyle

When I am King, White and Peter Travers will be against the wall long, LONG before Ben Lyons.

Glenn Kenny

Actually, Dan, you should let Ben live and make him your Fool.

c mason wells

"The vanity publishing project of one Mary Bronstein." Oh, Glenn, I could kiss you for that one. Happy new year!


"After seeing the excitement "Button" has stirred up in critics I really respect—Kent Jones and Dave Kehr most prominent-like, and all—I'm planning on checking it out again. I don't anticipate getting turned around but if I do I promise not to get too effusive."

Well, everyone, especially highly-paid and intelligent film critics, is entitled to their opinion.

I just found "Button" to be schematic, so much so I actually wrote a smartassed column about it: http://www.thedeadbeat.org/?p=1445. Yeah, I've joined the ranks as a semi-pro Internet writer; I've got four articles up on Cracked.com as well (a market that PAYS?! On the INTERNET?! It's more likely than you think!)

Glenn Kenny

Funny stuff, Dan. Congrats.

Dan Coyle

Actually, Glenn, Devin Faraci will be the Fool.


"Actually, Glenn, Devin Faraci will be the Fool."

I used to read CHUD every day, and then that guy started taking the lead editorially. 'Twas...disappointing.

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