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June 14, 2009


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Alex Robino

Hey, at least you got to meet the guy...

AND you got to see Tetro. It's rough being a fan of many obscure films (I suppose Tetro can fit in that category) and not living in a big city. If it weren't for Netflix, I'd probably be moving to the city a lot sooner. ;)

Delbert Grady

This story must be false. Francis Coppola couldn't fit in a hot tub with two women.

Movie's worth seeing though.


Great anecdote, but one quibble: If you're gonna refer to Almodóvar's 2002 film as "Habla con ella," I expect to see you refer in subsequent posts to e.g. Suzuki's "Koroshi no rakuin" and Kaurismäki's "Kauas pilvet karkaavat."

Glenn Kenny

@m'da: One of the many reasons I love you, sir (and I'm not being sarcastic here at all) is that you're one of the few people likely to catch that glitch/detail, and then call me out on it. Believe it or not, when I was writing the post, the Almodovar title literally just came out that way, and I looked at it, wondered whether to English it as I generally would, then shrugged and said "What the hell." I won't make that mistake again!


Sorry, man, pet peeve of mine. People who always use the French-language title—but English for everything else—drive me especially nuts.

Glenn Kenny

C'est drole, ça.

Account Deleted

Hmm, I definitely remember reading a Coppola hot-tub story in a book. I could have sworn it was in 'Easy Riders' too.

Ryland Walker Knight

From the description of FFC's Belize hot spot: "Made from thousands of pieces of local granite and built by local stone craftsmen, it sits in a hillside amid the same kind of lush jungle paradise Coppola fell in love with while filming Apocalypse Now."

From me: _Tetro_ kinda begs to be understood allegorically, but I'd like to think that isn't necessary. I'd like to think one can simply enjoy the beauty, and, by looking at its lights, and its lustiness, one can enjoy quite a bit. I, for one, was moved by it. I also really dug _Youth Without Youth_ precisely because of its wildness, and its interest in language (of course). My highest praise for _Tetro_, though, is strictly personal in that right at this moment I'm kind of hating film and this one made me excited again about not just watching movies and videos and everything "cinematic" but, well, about thinking about such things in serious, artistic ways.

Also, I saw _Cluny Brown_ for the first time this weekend and it gave me hope, and courage, too. Somehow, I find that pairing apt, in surprising ways. Thoughts, GK?


your mistakes unfortunately compound themselves-- If you wanted to use Almodovar's title for the film then you should have written it as HABLE CON ELLA, using the imperative form of the verb hablar.

Bruce Reid

I don't have a copy of the book at hand (didn't care for it and didn't hold on to it), but a google search gave this quote from Marcia Lucas: "Francis would be feeling up some babe in the hot tub. I was hurt and embarrassed for Ellie, and I thought Francis was pretty disgusting, the way he treated his wife."

md'a: "People who always use the French-language title—but English for everything else—drive me especially nuts."

The most annoying, egregious example of this pretentiousness I've encountered: Years ago I read a Gide novel (The Counterfeiters probably; can't recall for certain) in which every chapter began with a quote from a famous writer. The edition I read translated every quote--German, Russian, Italian--into English. Except the French, despite this being the one language it's certain purchasers of this translated version couldn't read.

Bruce Reid

Sorry, didn't know I couldn't embed links. Here's the review with the quote: http://sfchronicle.us/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1998/05/01/DD38973.DTL&hw=gibberish&sn=058&sc=563


Vincent Gallo is one of the best filmmakers currently working. I look forward to his next film more than I look forward to anyone's. He is severely underrated by the "cinema community," or whatever name you want to give to the people who decide what's what. And Francis Ford Coppola is the most overrated filmmaker. Ever. I look forward to someone telling me I'm an idiot.


An idiot would be someone who made either the Gallo statement OR the Coppola one. Putting both in one post? That's deserving of something far worse.



The problem with "best/worst", and I'm as guilty of this as anyone (just look two posts back), is that it practically begs for people to contradict you.

Wherever Gallo might be rated, to be honest he's got no one to blame but himself. I remain uncertain as to whether the ego trip he's been on for a decade or so is just an elaborate gag or completely sincere. Either way, it's managed to piss off a lot of people, and when he brought in that disastrous first cut of "The Brown Bunny" (through the wonders of the Internet, I saw this, and I wish Gallo would put it out with the cut that made theaters: paired with Roger Ebert's two reviews of the film it's pretty interesting), let's just say karma catches up with you.

As for Coppola being overrated...instead of calling you an idiot, I'll just assume you're a bit hazy on film history. Say what you will about his output (and it is indeed, er, variable), Coppola still matters as a filmmaker. I'm actually catching "Tetro" tomorrow, and I can't wait.

Dan Yeager

I'm waiting to hear from those who have seen "Tetro" to comment on the score by Osvaldo Golijov.


Buffalo 66 and Brown Bunny are two of my favorite films of the last fifteen years. That people who like to pose as film lovers would willfully disregard these two films, and Gallo's artistry, attention to detail, and vulnerability, just goes to show that given a chance, most people will constantly outsmart themselves. And since when did being an asshole have anything to do with being a great filmmaker or being received as one? I mean, that's a joke, right? If karma were real then Paul Thomas Anderson would be working at Starbucks right now and Lars von Trier would be bottling pickled herring. People don't like Gallo because he's good at everything he does, and nothing upsets mediocrities more than someone who can't be mediocre.

Glenn Kenny

@AA: I rather like Gallo's films myself. When I referred to the "bullshit" he's generated, I was thinking of the sperm sale on E-Bay, the jagoff vodka ads, that kind of thing. To insist that that kind of activity doesn't somehow detract from his artistic credibility is to admit that you don't pay much attention to what I'll provisionally call the real world. But as you insist that Gallo is good at everything he does (hey man, I've LISTENED to his "Recordings Of Music For Film") I'd have to say that's a given with you.


"That people who like to pose as film lovers would willfully disregard these two films, and Gallo's artistry, attention to detail, and vulnerability, just goes to show that given a chance, most people will constantly outsmart themselves."

The thing I hate about the Internet is that I read phrases like this and I can't decide whether the poster is deluded/insecure/silly enough to think themselves the Supreme Arbiter of Taste, or if they're just a troll.

But, either way, thanks for the laugh.


What about all the bullshit that Coppola has generated? I've tasted his wine and it's about as good as Manishevitz. How come that doesn't detract from his movies? His crap spaghetti sauce, his direction-by-proxy of his daughter's films, his virtual editorial control over Film Comment vis-a-vis his advertisements running in the front, middle and back of the book? How is that any different? How come Gallo is constantly getting penalized for doing shit that everyone else does? Why, because he can swap clothes with his model/musician/actress girlfriends? Because he has a great head of hair? Because he still has maintained his punk agression and cracks jokes about being a republican to rile up the easily rile-able? And what "real world" are you talking about, Glenn? Yours? What, you live in the real world because you live in NYC and spend 75% of your time blogging? That's the real world? Is that the current definition as decided by you? And let's not get into what makes someone artistically credible. I mean, I'm a huge fan of your boy Soderbergh, but he's made three films that make it very hard to take him serious when he wants to be taken seriously. As far as Gallo goes, don't be disingenuous. You know his bonafides. You know who he's run with in the past. There's no need to name names. Anyone who has dated PJ Harvey has more than enough cred. Insecure much?

Glenn Kenny

@AA: Dan's right, you really ARE funny. You ask me if I'm insecure; lemme ask you, do you think Gallo would actually consent to have you suck his cock, as you're so clearly dying to?

Okay, that was uncalled for.

This is what I LOVE about the internet: getting into a flame war with some dipshit after I've actually complimented the work of one of his artistic heroes.

John M

AA said: "People don't like Gallo because he's good at everything he does, and nothing upsets mediocrities more than someone who can't be mediocre."

Wow, you can just smell the nuance.

This is a put-on, right?


You guys are making me feel bad about myself.

Glenn Kenny

@AA: Aw, man, you blew it. My provocation was meant to have you return with a rhetorical Uzi and go down in a blaze of irrational glory. Instead, you back down. Pshaw.

To be brutally honest: I AM jealous of Vincent Gallo, and it IS because of that magnificent head of hair of his. He seems to be able to do ANYTHING with it. Some of the time I was looking at "Tetro" I was thinking, "Is that a wig?" and of course I knew all the while that it wasn't. Even when I had hair, I was only able to do one thing with it. And if I try to grow anything out now, I'll end up looking like Benjamin Franklin, or Kelsey Grammar on the first season of "Frasier." And that's if I'm LUCKY. Pshaw again.


I don't want to feel bad about myself anymore.


"To be brutally honest: I AM jealous of Vincent Gallo, and it IS because of that magnificent head of hair of his."

I'm jealous because he managed to talk Chloe Sevigny into letting him film the blowjob.

OK, that was uncalled for, too. In context, that scene's actually pretty emotional. Of course, you can count the number of people who have watched the scene in context on one ha-...er, tens of people have actually watched that scene in context.


AA is so punkily aggressive. That's what I like about him.



OK, joking aside, you're right in that Coppola has pursued many side businesses and has made some pretty arrogant statements of his own, and that's worth actually talking about, because some filmmakers we do forgive while others we don't. And you'd be correct in observing the process of this seems to be dependent on the whims of the larger audience as well as having a good publicist.

I wouldn't agree that Coppola hasn't been penalized for his arrogance; let's not forget the man's taken more than a few critical lumps, to say nothing of the havoc his own ego wreaked on his personal life and finances. The guy's paid the bills.

Also, he's put out "The Godfather", wrote "Patton", and paved the way for "Star Wars" by producing George Lucas' first two films. It doesn't matter WHAT you think of that output, it had a massive effect on film history. Being living film history earns you a LOT of goodwill.

Gallo, bluntly, isn't living film history. So far, he's a footnote that fancies himself a prize-winning novel. That might well change; he is, whether you like the guy or not, a good filmmaker. But whether he becomes a filmmaker anybody other than film nerds like us care about one way or the other is anybody's guess.


Dan made me feel a little better about myself.


It actually took me a while to accept the fact that Gallo was a filmmaker of significant artistic merit. I was so frustrated by the apparently overwhelming evidence that he was an asshole of intergalactic proportions. My more enlightened view is, currently, that he's a pretty troubled guy with a few redeeming qualities; one of which is his hair, and another of which is his cinematic talent.

The thing about Coppola is that he's much easier to forgive for his foibles, at least in my book. In a perfect world, every artist whose work I admire would turn out to be a saint, but that's sadly not the case.

Part of the fascination with Gallo, I would say, lies in the striking incongruence between the tenderness and vulnerability evinced in his films and the raving egomania he projects publicly.

Glenn Kenny

@ Zach, re Gallo: Well put. My sentiments exactly.

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