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March 11, 2010


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James Keepnews


Gerwig, as I've stated in other serious quarters (viz., my Facebook status), is mumblecore's Karina and I've been waiting for her to move on to, um...elocution-core? As for Mr. Stiller, although he's seems capable of living his character Greenberg's truth in what some still refer to as real life, I, as must many others, effectively bow five times daily in the direction of The Ben Stiller Show, that 13-episode fons et origo for all things subsequently alterna-comedic, up to and including The Daily Show, Cinema Apatow, &c., &c., &c.

Finally, as for Baumbach, I really enjoyed his Margot and his characters in all their privileged, self-absorbed glory. But what's this about his mom wanting to abort him, or something?


"Come on, gimme some death!"
"No, Jim, no!"
"Come on, gimme some death!"
"No, Jim, no!"

Also, Jake Steel: Marionette Cop

So yes, I, too, have always liked Stiller. I've liked him in bad movies as well as good, because frankly I think the guy has an effortlessness about him. He's funny, ego-less in his comedy (I sometimes think he works out only so that he can make fun of people who work out) and has a nice just-act-the-scene vibe to his more dramatic work -- I think he's probably the best thing about YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS ("It's a great story, isn't it?").

So yay, GREENBERG. I hope that -- and, Glenn, you make it sound like this is the case -- it's a return to the form Baumbach's THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, which I absolutely loved. If nothing else, that film reminded everyone how good Jeff Daniels is, before they all promptly forgot again.


Not wishing to derail the topic, but if anyone's interested, Godard's tribute to Rohmer is playing on Auteurs:


Glenn Kenny

Yes, Jaime, it's quite wonderful. Helps to have good French.


Glenn, any thoughts on the score? I adore LCD Soundsystem, and while Murphy has said the score for GREENBERG wouldn't sound like an LCD album, I'm curious as to just why Baumbach wanted Murphy to pen it in the first place.

I understand using "All My Friends" in the trailer (though a bit obvious), and Murphy can get all sorts of Eno/Cage atmospheric when he wants to, just wondering if the score in any way stood out to your highly attuned ears.


Glenn, it looks like a kind soul did an English-language translation and posted it in comments.

I really enjoyed SQUID, didn't exactly care for MARGOT but it's got a weird lingering power, and I find Baumbach's writing style unusually compelling. Looking forward to GREENEBRG.

Funny story re: LCD. When I saw the trailer in the theater, I used my iPhone to tell me what song it was. (Because I'm completely out of the loop when it comes to music.) Turns out I had to buy the whole album for that one song. Then it subsequently turns out that I only like one song on that album..."Something Great." Deleted all other songs from my iPod, including the song from the trailer. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess...


I've felt like that about Gerwig in the awful, awful films she's been in and even from the trailer for this it seemed like when she was given something to do other than rub bits of towel off breasts or play trumpet naked in a bathtub or sit unclothed on top of Swineberg that she might be an interesting screen presence. Good to hear that seems to be the case.

Also good to hear that the film isn't the rich-people whining film you might get the impression it is from the trailer. I've seen three of Baumbach's four films (save for Armond White's favorite Mr. Jealousy) and loved them all, particularly the last two. I was worried by that trailer, the lack of recognizable Savides look and Baumbach's unfortunate dip into the mumblecore Big Brother program, but now I'm excited about this thing again.

Mark Graham

Excellent analysis, as usual. As much as I miss the Baumbach who would throw lines like "Would you rather fuck a cow or lose your mother?" into his films, GREENBERG is another major step up for him as both a writer and director. As you sagely noted, this is a film about "moments" more than anything else, and it will likely challenge and frustrate many a viewer with its lack of a traditional narrative arc and refusal to succumb to anything even resembling what many audiences would define as "redemption." I can't wait to see it again.


"This... misanthrope, as abject a failure as we've seen...is a potentially repellent walking contradiction, an emotional porcupine who uses what he perceives as brutal honesty in order to perpetuate a big lie..."

Omigod, it's "The Armond White Story!" Maybe he'll love it?


I loved THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and KICKING AND SCREAMING (and I still think THE LIFE AQUATIC is deeply underrated), so I"m glad to hear Baumbach's latest is really good. And I agree with Bill and James about Ben Stiller-- very smart and appealing, and I still miss THE BEN STILLER SHOW ("U2: The Early Years" still makes me laugh).

Owain Wilson

Your review has got me seriously interested in this film, Glenn.

PS - I have no idea who Armond White is.


That's the only song you liked on Sound of Silver? Different generations I guess...
I'm really glad this sounds cool.
You never want to lose the promise of a potentially great artist.
Life Aquatic is super underrated.


Yeah, I'm getting old, you don't have to remind me.

Glenn Kenny

I never got back to Maximilian, and since we're on the subject anyway: yes, I did like the score, no it didn't sound inordinately like LCD Soundsystem, but also no, it wasn't unrecognizable as James Murphy music. There was a lot of piano stuff that's reminiscent of the vamp/drone of "All My Friends" but the song itself isn't in the film. Anyway, what "score" music there is melds very nicely with the film, to the extent that it kind of doesn't recur in your head when you're recalling specific scenes. The song stuff is more memorable, particularly the scene when Gerwig's character drunkenly marches around her place singing along to McCartney's "Admiral Halsey." Which subject prompts my only "verisimilitude" query about the film, which is why does Florence complain that Greenberg is into "old stuff" after he gifts her with a Karen Dalton song on a mix, and only a few scenes before Florence was depicted singing...Judee Sill!?!?!?

Rudolph Benson

Just because Armond White says Noah Baumbach is an imperious, arrogant little prick doesn't mean it's not true. I'm sure he is. Just listen to Baumbach talk about his new movie. He watched Altman and Ashby and Cassavetes and that other guy. Whoa, Noah. You're really on the cutting edge, man. Like, you so totally get it. You've been in Los Angeles for a couple of years and you have a bead on it. You see through the haze. You and Woody. Good for you. Now go back to New York. Your ascot misses you. I'll be here, watching SpaceDisco 1. Call me when you have something new to say.

Glenn Kenny

@ Rudolph: yeah, and Lou Reed comes off like a complete douchebag in many of his interviews, and yet...I still enjoy a great number of his recordings!

That White seems a tool in both his written works and his interviews, on the other hand, is largely an indication of his consistency.

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