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October 06, 2009


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I'm just glad I've never had to see Justin Rice drumming like Cook in PHANTOM LADY.

Tom Russell


I liked him in MUTUAL APPRECIATION, where I didn't percieve of him as being a romantic lead, per se; sure, the film has that whole kinda-sorta-maybe love triangle thing going on, but I don't think the film was a romance-- more of a character study on one's sense of identity and gender. In that film, at least, if he's to be considered epicene, that's actually the point, really (cf. cross-dressing, Bowie comparision, and the woman's POV monologue that Bujalski's own character reads later in the film).

I haven't seen him in anything else; does his subsequent output put him more in a romantic leading man role?

Though I'd probably rather watch him win the girl (or, per his passive persona, which I assume extends beyond MUTUAL, have the girl won for him*) than Dane Cook.

(*-- Which reminds me of Harry Langdon. Not that, mind you, I'm in any way equating the two. I think, for one thing, the innocence of Langdon's persona and the visual gags made that persona both more bearable and more appealing.)


That's a face that just cries out for Humphrey Bogart's fist in it.


This guy has been a really uninteresting actor and his constant appearance confirms the prepubescent girl status of most of these filmmakers. they probably think it's subversive and maybe it was a bit in the first film he appeared in...if not completely original (think the graduate already a highly flawed film and performance) but i really don't want to watch any more films about male insecurity that don't actually have the balls to really examine it and instead kid themselves that this stale coy routine is somehow relevant as an excuse for laziness, emotional cowardess and artistic stagnation. I assume he's cast so the filmmaker's themselves can protect their hermetically sealed world from real threat or competition but still i highly doubt this guy is even this passive, epicene and bland in real life. I'd actually like to see a film where this guy punches Bujalski and Swanberg in the mouth and tells them to stop trying to neuter him. I think it would be more than justified at this point...

Tom Russell

I'm generally not one to resort to namecalling in these parts, but, wow, franklin, you really are a stupid fucking moron. And more than that, you're a boring one, pulling out the same tired critical cliches and refusing to back them up with, oh, evidence or facts. (I bet you think Wes Anderson is "twee", the Coens feel superior to their characters, and that Fellini is one of our most indulgent filmmakers.)

I'm not talking about your opinion of Rice as an actor-- as I said, I've only seen the one film and thought he was alright-- that, we can agree to disagree on. I'm talking about how Justin Rice's "constant" appearance "confirms" that "most of these filmakers" are prepubescent girls, and your implicit characterization of the vast majority of works by "these" filmmakers as being about male insecurity but being too ball-less to really examine it.

Tell me, first of all, who are the "these filmmakers" to which you refer so sweepingly, these filmmakers who are prepubescent girls who are too lazy to challenge their hermetically-sealed worldviews? The only two you mention by name are Bujalski and Swanberg, which is odd, because Bujalski's only made one film that you could reasonably argue is about male insecurity, given that his first and third features are explicitely about women. He is apparently just too caught up in his male viewpoint to ever go outside it, right? (And let's set aside the fact that I think MUTUAL APPRECIATION does examine male insecurities very effectively, as that's more a matter of taste.)

You, sir, are the lazy one, repeating an argument you heard somewhere in your own hermetically-sealed, knee-jerk world, an argument that is definitely suffering from stagnation and demonstrates considerable intellectual "cowardess".

Glenn Kenny

Before things get too exciting, I ought to point out that the main reason I concocted this post was because I thought Rice really did have a weird Elisha Cook resemblance/vibe. And hence, it was a little telling, the way he was getting cast and all. And, ok, I admit it, I don't much like his band either. I should, I suppose, be ever more mindful of starting indie film flame wars.

Let me digress further by relating a story of the late, great Mary Windsor. At a dinner at the 1993 Cinecon, a fan asked her what it had been like to kiss Elisha Cook, Jr. in "The Killing." She immediately shot back, "Probably better than it would be NOW!" and laughed quite uproariously. What a great broad.

Tom Russell

Glenn: I knew you weren't starting anything, and found the post a bit amusing, actually. And I certainly don't mean to turn your amusing thread into an indie film flame war-- it's just that franklin's particular line of thought, especially when presented so broadly and indiscriminately, brings out the vehemence in me, just like when people bring out that old saw about Kubrick the cold and calculating chessmaster that despises humanity, or the above-cited shorthand dismissals about Anderson and the Coens.

Whether franklin's "arguments", if you could call them that, apply to certain, specific filmmakers in the group or not, they certainly don't apply to the "group" as a whole or to Bujalski in particular, and so I don't think his particular thesis-- that Rice's presence is endemic or in someway confirms these criticisms-- holds water.


William Sanderson's turn as E.B. Farnum in DEADWOOD reminds me of some of the more memorably unctuous Elisha Cook performances. Also they look alike.


Mutual Appreciation was made by Bujalski...
Alexander the Last made by Swanberg...
Harmony and me which I didn't even get through was made by someone else.

Sorry that's only three...

On top of that a short by Swanberg with Greta Gerwig and either Rice or some other dude...(does it matter?) where she's on a cell phone and he just kind of smiles hapllessly while she ignores him and an acting class video where even the instructer who'd just met them both five minutes prior was calling this passivity out as the insensitivity to the person your acting with it really is. I could go on for days or at least hours about why it's actually extremely condescending and sort of insensitive and presumptious to let these scenes play out the way they do without question and challenge to the actors but you're response strikes me as pretty knee jerk itself and I doubt you'd understand if I wasn't able to intellectalize it or throw big words around so I'm not going to.

A better question for you(I'm assuming you're an indie filmmaker yourself and somewhat young) is why you're so fired up to defend these guys and take pot shots at me. That's kind of boring. Sorry not sure what twee means. Is that some catchword. I've only seen one Wes Anderson film and didn't care for it much but still see absolutely no correlation between justin rice's acting and Rushmore. Two entirely different types of films....I don't think Wes Anderson purports to be mining the reality of interpersonal relationships in a realistic maner

as for the Coen Brother's..you're obviously trying to steer the conversation towards some argument you've probably had a thousand times. Elisha Cook was a passive dude in the few films i've seen and i thought that's what we we're talking about. If it tickles you...you're the prebubescient girl...how does that grab you?


actually, you know what...you're not a prepubescent girl you probably gave a livlier response to some idiotic posting about films you probably don't even care about than any performance in the films i mentioned....but you're not a very good listener and you're an intellectual bully


And I also don't mind telling you that I think all this bogus about Bujalski getting women or his films being about women is complete garbage. Anybody who claims they get women is problen just trying to get laid. The truth is the films that seem to get women usually get guys very well also because these things are interelational and my point was in my opinion he doesn't get guys very well. He gets one particular type of guy very well. that's an innocuous somewhat understated passive sort of guy that may or may not really exist but seems to not challenge his modus operandi as a filmmaker very much...and Swanberg's male characters while they may have some subtle differences really aren't different enough to transform the films into any other than romantic comedies but i haven't seen them all. I think they generally used Elisha Cook to make the other actor in the film look heavier, weightier from what I've seen. How does that tie in to these filmmaker's(can I say that now?) I'm not sure but it seems to make sense to me. That's where the cowardice or laziness comes in

Tom Russell


I wasn't disagreeing (or agreeing) about Rice/Cook. I was disagreeing with, and responding to, your facetious and frankly hand-me-down arguments against "many of these" filmmakers-- by which you apparently mean just three people-- and that your characterization of Bujalski's work in particular is false.

As for the Anderson/Coen/Fellini aside, I thought what I was doing there was obvious: your dismissal of these films (they're hermetically-sealed, lazy, full of emotional cowardice, stale and coy) is of about as much value as the token dismissals of Anderson, the Coens, Kubrick, De Palma (he's just stealing from Hitchcock!), etc. The mention of Fellini was, of course, a hat tip to Annie Hall, and a certain character in that film who pontificates on and on without ever once (1) knowing what he's talking about or (2) backing up his arguments with evidence or examples. It's not a matter of me trying to "steer" the conversation to those filmmakers, but to point out that your thesis is faulty and ignores inconvenient facts.

It's not a matter of intellectualizing things or throwing around big words; it's a matter of keeping your mouth shut if you are unwilling or unable to back up what you're saying. (Which, I'll grant you, you did a slightly better job of doing in your subsequent post; do you have a link to the acting video you mentioned?)

And, yeah, I am a filmmaker. I've conversed with Swanberg, Bujalski, and others online, and I more-or-less appreciate what they do, though I have some reservations which I've outlined here on Glenn's site and elsewhere. My own films, which I make in equal partnership with my wife, are frankly in a very different mode altogether, and we stay far away from shaky-cam close-ups and "like, um, you knows" in our work, and are on the whole more likely to throw in a robot or a samurai duel.

But, of course, saying that our films are very different is somewhat facetious because Bujalski's films are really quite different from Swanberg's, whose films are quite different from Aaron Katz's, from Kentucker Audley's, et cetera, et cetera. Which is also part of the point; if you can't see the differences between these filmmakers and their very different concerns, styles, and themes, if you're content to just write them all off as being lazy, hermetically-sealed, passive-aggressive, forever and ever, amen-- well, why should something like evidence deter you?

I think it's somewhat amusing that you're calling me out on my confrontational style by labeling me an intellectual bully. I think what got my dander up more than the fact that you offered up pre-digested opinions without anything to back them up is the way in which you did it: they're prepubescent girls?, really?, and you want the actor to punch them in the mouth?, seriously?

And you're surprised, shocked, scandalized!, really and truly, that someone might respond in kind?


three filmmaker's is plural...so these filmmakers fits. I found a siniliarity in all three of these film's use of Justin Rice. He is in them isn't he? Was I imagining that? His characterization is not so different from one to the next as to be unrecognizable.... and that's fine. Surely you can mine the personality of one person in many different films...

but...and i didn't go so far to say that Rice is even an uninteresting guy...

the filmmakers I mentioned...sorry I didn't specify who they were...i saw Rice's face and I got immediately irritated because I was having flashbacks to the night not so long ago a friend of mine dragged me to see Alexander and I had a violent reaction to some bad chicken I'd eaten just an hour earlier and wound up puking in the cinema bathroom for over twenty minutes afterward...Bujalski and Swanberg and The Harmony guy I think were all using this guy in a certain way that to me feels very self serving and somewhat disrespectful. Sure their are slight differences...i'm allegic to house cats...i don't need to pet anymore even if there are many different kinds after i petted the first seven i stopped pettin and they all became cats to me because I got tired of sneezing. Do you think it's judgemental of me to say i'm allergic? Are you saying I have to see every Rice movie now. I seriously hope not. Can't I just infer an opinion after three? Please?That's already a lot.
if it doesn't make any sense to you or you've deigned yourself the guardian of these filmmakers fine. there's probably an interesting story behind this... but you're assuming because you don't understand my point it's predigested. I get what they're doing with him. I get the scene where the girls dress him up and it's a good idea but at the same time a better director might have pushed the issue of it a little more. Maybe in one scene at least don't you think? Maybe they don't use the take but it seems to me their preordaining how it's going to play out...what he is and it's kind of fucking smug and abusive in it's own rite. Let the guy breath a little bit....react. I'm not saying he has to punch the girls but he could at least deal with the situation. maybe bujalski wouldn't but that's my point...

I really didn't want to get into anther heated debate about the films. I just don't like the guys acting from what i've seen. I was being a bit hyberloic but I think this guy could use a little edge to his performance or at least a pulse and i wonder if it's not the director's choice...in my experience even nice people flip out every once and awhile...get angry...

the acting class is probably on you tube look under jeffrey tambor. saw that a while back and thought it was the begginnings of at least some real discoveries and not this facile naturalistic truths that let everybody off the hook. i'm not sure if it was rice but the guy in it is as stiff as a board really an ungiving actor and he starts to loosen up just a hair but what's really interesting is the woman in it starts to really shine and it's almost like he's inhibiting her...sometimes passivity is very controlling and we don't even realize the damage that it has on others. that's something i never see in a bujalski film or swanberg film or audley film dealt with any kind of energy...


acting is a craft just like any other you know...it's really preposterous that someone would think they're getting at something when people like leigh rehearse for six months and constantly challenge their choices which is to respect your actors ability. I'm not saying class is the answer but comeon isn't there a laziness here? rice may be an amazing actor for all we know but this post was kind of true. he does resemble elisha cook to an extent at this point in time personally I don't tink he really cares so I don't know what you got all up in arms about. I'm the only idiot writing sixty post about films that i forgot a week after i saw them...

Tom Russell



okay cool hand luke


who the fuck asked you anyway. you got sixteen posts on this site alone that refer to wes anderson and the coen brothers in response to people that happen to not like certain films you self righteous prick. i never heard you say one intelligent thing yet


go bad mouth somebody on twitter...hypocrite


whatever I'm sure you're a good guy


I can certainly see why justin rice would appeal to people now...


Okay I'm still pretty riled up about this so I'm going to just talk to the air for awhile. This should at the very least prove I'm not the run of the mill troll seeing as I just looked up the term and most trolls apparently if I'm to believe wikipedia go away when you ignore them.

First off second off third off I lost track. I'm really trying to understand why if "you don't generally resort to name calling in these here parts" cowboy you felt the need to call me a stupid fucking moron. It's not so much I respect your opinion or intelligence as I've been milling over what I could have possibly said in my brief post that warrented such a fierce attack. Was it that I'm boring? Maybe so but why you felt the immediate need to be the one to point this out is anyone's guess and the urgency of you're response sort of refutes that in my opinion anyway. Was it because I was refusing to back up my tired cliches with facts. Well as far as I knew at that point I wasn't refusing to back up anything. I didn't know there was a request for me too. The initial post I was responding to wasn't an invitation to a serious appraisel of the films Mr. Rice has appeared in...in fact the caption merely said and I quote"The preferred Male Romantic Lead of the (can we still call it this?) mumblecore generation"...this mind you was before you ever entered the equation hell bent on having me do so and shortly before oh so demonstratively throwing your plate down and declaring the conversation closed or "done". As I understand it you have written the definitive essay on Mr. Swanberg's films...and I'm sure this has been dually noted by the powers that be and you will be amply rewarded you can join with your brethen in vallhala and get your well deserved pat on the back. Congradulations. I would imagine it must get right exhausting schooling the uneducated masses, the hoi polloi over and over on one the merits of the films either way. Maybe my referral to Rice's constant apperance rubbed you the wrong way...again in my defence I'll refer back to the initial post...one not suprisingly you didn't attack with namecalling most probably because it was quite a bit more sophisticated than my response and also written by someone you happen to respect. Fine. Surely though if you wanted to have another heated debate that wasn't boring though you wouldn't instigate it with someone as moronic as myself unless of course you saw an easy target for your self righteous grandstanding. Which by the way you do constantly and which is why I called you a bully. This isn't the first time either you've insulted my intelligence to make yourself look good. Okay...fine too. The prepubescent girl comment was somewhat mean of me i guess but I mostly meant that Rice has the sort of appeal that generally appeals to prepubescent girls...unthreatening...again a little innocuous and a bland enough prescence in the few films I'd seen him in. Not in and of itself a particularly original opinion but true enough and something I more interestingly thought might perhaps be something imposed upon him...that is againin the three films I've see him in. if you'd given it some real thought ...how much of that is Rice, his capability or range and how much is filmmaker's will and why it might have been an interesting discussion if you'd really wanted to have one.
and obviously Bujalski and Swanberg are not young girls. You'd probably lock on to this comment but I have a hard time believing though that they'd even take as much offence to my rudeness as you have or that they'd even be aware of it anyway.

so that's not it....

In fact all you really did in your first response there is pick apart my vocabulary and spelling. That will probably go over pretty well on this site where I am sadmittedly a little out of my element....again bravo. How utterly brave and herioc of you and yet no where in your response did you once say anything remotelly unpredictable or insightfull but perhaps judging by your almost transpatrant and nearly ridiculous self congratolory nature and condescension towards me you'd refer me make to your original opus...which by the way I even found somewhat if not enlightening...salient at points...

but than you in your next post you started dragging out Kubrick and Anderson and the good old Coens again. You're on pretty familiar territory there huh?....and yet there is something almost Xenophobic about your aside to Glenn . In fact you seem almost like a small child reporting my crimes to your father or an authority figure guiltily in hopes perhaps that you won't be the one to be scolded. How rich of you to and generous of you to refer to my unctious post as a particular thesis and throw in endemic and then clear it up with hold water-- better break out the tea cozy. Do they serve tea in Flint over Taratino films and robots and samarai's?

And thank you again in your following post for letting me in on your wonderfully clever Annie Hall reference at my expense. that might just propel you into the cinephile hall of fame. Stunning acheivment. Never seen that film or certainly never saw it in as lucid a light as you must have. What a boring sad person you must be to have to prop your own self up on the merit of your film knowledge. No wonder you're such a big Wes Anderson fan. Take Rushmore out of the dvd player now...you know what i'm talking about and if you don't you're not as quick as you think you are

and then predictably you just go on some long winded completely unsolicited self promotional and frankly numbingly boring tangent about"in our films" and a few more plugs for the filmmakers that you claimed you didn't know i was talking about in the first place.

what a smart dude....

feel free to correct my spelling

anytime you'd like to have an insightful conversation and you're willing to listen I'll explain a few things to you deuchebag

Glenn Kenny

"This should at the very least prove I'm not the run of the mill troll seeing as I just looked up the term and most trolls apparently if I'm to believe wikipedia go away when you ignore them."

I have to say, that's pretty hilarious.


no this is hillarious...

Daniel Taintview: Good evening, ladies. My name is Daniel Taintview. And this is my son, B. J. Taintview. We've traveled over half an hour to be here tonight. We would have got here sooner, but a girl named Coyote Hills had just arrived and I had to see to her. She is now ready to take me thousands of times per week. I have two others that I'm currently drilling waiting for me in Atlanta. So, ladies, if I say I am an ass-man, you'll agree. Out of all the men who beg to drill your lots, maybe one in twenty will be true ass-men. This is the way this works. Here, if you have a pussy and I have a tongue - do you see it? are you watching? - and my tongue reaches all the way into your pussy and starts to eat it: I! Eat! Your! Pussy! I eat it up!
Nick Kilpatrick: Let's do it, baby! Let's get a divorce-o-rino!
Madison Kilpatrick: You don't mean it. You sound less serious than I did.
Nick Kilpatrick: Oh, I am. I am. I'm just ecstatic, that's all! I'm a swinger, I can swing again! I can get drunk, go to strip clubs. I can suck on a different pair of tits every night! Do you know there are few things in this word more wonderful than having more tits to hold than hands to hold them with? I can get drunk, and play my Sega Genesis. Not having you nag at me! And not having to look at your grotesque body: I've seen less back hair on a sheep, and your twat smells like you've been gang-banged by Pepe Le Pew! And I can get drunk!
Madison Kilpatrick: One, I don't have any back hair. Two, they shear sheep naked. Three, Pepe Le Pew is singular. And four, five, and six: you don't drink

that was just honest


One difference: Cook always seems as if he may explode at any second. Rice always seems on the verge of a nap. I could probably make some kind of pun here about "under-Cooked Rice," but my head hurts.

BTW - it's MARIE Windsor, not Mary. Loved the Cinecon anecdote.


Androgyny has always been alluring/sexy.
Just sayin'

- a Gen Y-er

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