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November 29, 2009

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Brian

What was meant to be inadvertently revealed here?

Glenn Kenny

The interesting use of the phrase "real movie."

Brian

I see. Touché.

Graig

Didn't you like ALEXANDER THE LAST, Glenn? I mean, for a Swanberg picture? And isn't attacking Joe just a trifle passe at this point?

Glenn Kenny

1) I didn't like "Alexander The Last." I merely disliked it less than I did other Swanberg productions. I'm a glass-half-full kinda guy.

2) I didn't say it, Weixler did.

3) "Isn't attacking Joe just a trifle passé at this point?" Gee, I don't know. Is the point that he's been attacked enough, and he just needs to be left alone from now on? That he's taken his punishment and now ought to be let be, to do his work without outside interference or criticism? Look, nobody would be happier than I would to never have to think about the guy and his work again. But I see your point. Taking pains to slam him is kind of gratuitous, beside the point. Rather like taking the trouble to slam the Julian Casablancas solo album.

JF

I didn't see any Mumblecore until two weeks ago. I started with Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation, which I loved, and followed it with Swanberg's Nights and Weekends, which I went into fully prepared to hate but ended up somewhat enjoying. Guess that's one of his more, erm, "mature" works.

Richard Brody

Jean Renoir once said that the job of the director is to do what you want while making other people feel they're doing what they want. What Swanberg got in Alexander the Last dug deep into life and work; so what if he tells his actors "let's just shoot"? Think of how much setting-up, planning, forethought, and acts of persuasion and influence it takes to "just shoot." And since when does "coverage" (or "covering") make for a "real movie"? So, though I get the jibe, I think it misses the target.

Tom Russell

I didn't really want to get into this one, but I just wanted to second (in theory, at any rate, since I have yet to see "Alexander") what Mr. Brody said.

Some while back, Shickel lambasted Altman for, I guess, not being Clint Eastwood or Woody Allen. All three of them were great, but very different, filmmakers, with very different methods of working that worked better for them. I think all those methods, and Swanberg's methods, are equally valid.

As to whether the results are equal, well, that's a whole 'nother story. I don't think anyone's saying that a filmmaker should be at any time exempt from criticism or outside interference, only that said criticism might be better focused on the results than the method-- something you did very well in your excellent longer piece on Joe's work. I might (and do) disagree with your opinion of Joe's work (as I did in my own long piece at that time), but I can still recognize the strength of the sound critical apparatus on display.

Glenn Kenny

Guys, for the record, I don't think Weixler was ACTUALLY refuting Swanberg and his method, either consciously or unconsciously. She made an unfortunate choice of words that my Fred Allen side wanted to have a little fun with. The post was meant more in the flip tradition of The New Yorker's filler pieces ("Block That Metaphor," etc.) than as any kind of critical salvo.

Tom Russell

Glenn-- I know it was meant flipilly, and that's why I wasn't going to comment on it at first. :-)

David

"Look, nobody would be happier than I would to never have to think about the guy and his work again."

If this is true, why do you have a Google alert set with his name?

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