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August 28, 2009


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I can't remember my Auteurs log-in offhand, so I'm going to leave a comment here.

First: "'Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life,'" Dean Vernon Wormer once advised. Shave only one of those off, though, and you can apparently do okay."

I love that. Jim Thompson once said something very similar.

And thanks again for the plug. There should be one more post from Dennis and me, and then we'll be fried. Now that you've promoted it, and Jonathan Rosenbaum has left comments, my one remaining ambition for this series is that Wells finds out what I said about him, becomes furious, and writes a whole post about how Dennis and I Joe Popcorn Elois, to whom cosmic movie forces do not speak at all.

The Siren

Alice's Restaurant is indeed a very fine movie, and a surprisingly melancholy one given the rollicking song it's based on.

I wonder why it's being mentioned a lot of late? For years I would mention the film and people would say, "I never knew there was a movie."

Dan Coyle

Man, Wells reminds me of how I would argue about Starship Troopers for years. I now fully admit I "get" the film, but I still can't stand it. But I really felt, for a time, I had God on my side like Wells does. Still couldn't see anything Verhoven's done since.

I've got a friend who's been raging against Inglorious Basterds on the basis of the script alone. QT brings out the worst in a certain kind of film snob.


@Dan Coyle

I've been thinking about this, and really what it boils down to is that he's extremely talented and he's making crowd-pleasers, as opposed to deep serious art. That would be enough to wind up the kind of person who defines great filmmaking as something that bores you, but then he has to go and be enormously successful at it, as well. He's living both the rock star and the genius filmmaker dreams, and some people just hate that shit.

Of course, some people just genuinely dislike his movies, but they tend to be more rational.


Great. Thanks to your post title, now I have Peter Murphy stuck in my head.

Glenn Kenny

@ trix: Ha! I had the Iggy Pop original in mind. Sorry about the Murphy.

Dan Coyle

Other Dan: Well, I keep telling him he should just GO SEE THE DAMN thing and get it out of his system. One example is I explained to him how wonderful the opening scene is, and he's like, "That scene was awful!" But you only read the script, you need to see it with the actors! He hates QT's immaturity, and yeah, I kind of wish QT was making something less beholden to its influences and more coherent, but I'm not going to let that tar any enjoyment I get out of it.


@Dan Coyle

So glad to see someone else shares my "Starship Troopers" experience. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had that involved me saying something like "No no I get it- Nazi imagery, vapid leads, very clever, etc. I just don't think it's any GOOD." There's something about that movie where people get so proud of themselves for cracking the code on "what Verhoeven's REALLY DOING, man."

Now I'm getting worked up again.


As a half-hearted White defender, I think that his TW review is an example of why I keep going back to his column. I kind of enjoyed the movie, but most of what he said was 100% accurate. However, I think that he and a lot of critics are overlooking the fact that Martin's character isn't exactly "closeted." He seems to have a fairly open life in the Village (from where his friends calls him to discuss the Stonewall riots in a way-too-obvious fashion, right before everyone gathers by the TV to watch the moon landing). Also, his character is in his mid-30s, meaning that we're seeing Woodstock not from an innocent's perspective, but from the perspective of someone who comes from a different counter-culture (Greenwich Village, gay, avant-garde painter, etc.); one that lacks the easygoing privilege of the hippie college kids out for a bit of weekend counter-cultural tourism. I liked this perspective. But the execution, as White says, was just too starchy and middlebrow.

Dan Coyle

Otherbill: I know what you mean. There's a sort of smug Eurolefty nihilism that permeates the whole thing- yeah, it's an anti-war movie, but Verhoven sure is getting off on seeing those stupid kids get themselves killed. The movie does little but position you to feel superior to those on screen. Neumeier's Marauder sequel is a hell of a lot less subtle, and pretty bad, but there's more intellectual honesty to it.

Or to put it another way: if these kids are so dumb, this society to corrupt, and the value of life so negligent, then why should I give a shit? And people wonder why the hard left never gets any traction in this country.

Tim Lucas

The blond gentleman second from the right is the late, great sword & sandal star, Gordon Mitchell.


All that's missing from the photo above is Don Rickles as "Big Drag."

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