« What I've learned, plasma display repair division | Main | "Rock" of love »

October 25, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bruce Reid

I sincerely hope VI turns out to be a Swanberg opus.

Matthias Galvin

Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote

Dan Coyle

Dear John Dye: stop trying to fuck me with those wonderful eyes of yours.

Jesse M

I'm guessing completely from the image quality:

I. Mumblecore
II. Murder
III. Mumblecore
IV. Mumblecore
V. Murder
VI. Murder

There were no primary colors in the Murder She Wrote images (those scare old people, who are the show's primary demographic). Also, between Murder She Wrote and the Mumblecore movement, we've clearly lost the technology to do dreamy soft-focus.

Glenn Kenny

Yeah, this one was TOO EASY, and Matthias and Jesse M. guessed correctly, while Dan Coyle identified John Dye, whose slighty "core"-ish aspect in the "Murder" Season 11 opener "A Nest of Vipers" was a partial inspiration for this quiz. (Another inspiration was a recent viewing of Kentucker Audley's new "Open Five," which was neither as bad as I feared—Swanberg's almost competent "cinematography" demonstrates that practice really does yield results—nor as great as some of its more ebullient champions insist—"best American film of the year," my ass.) Also included above, in shot 5, the sweet younger face of the voice of a new generation of kids who think they like country music, or something, Jenny Lewis, from the season ten episode "A Murderous Muse." I don't know, do the "core" kids dig the Rilo Kiley? I'm SO out of touch, and I don't think I'd ever sit through any of the no-doubt-easy-to-clear music in "Open Five" again, whatever the heck it is...

The feature films from which screen caps were taken are: 1, Swanberg's "LOL," 3, Bujalski's "Beeswax," and 4, Audley's "Team Picture." Thanks for playing!

Sal C

I would have thought your inspiration was Aaron Katz's "Cold Weather" which is probably mumblecore's first 'Mystery' (but I dunno, maybe there are others. I don't pay that much attention).

That Fuzzy Bastard

Seems like the fact that this quiz was so easy demonstrates that mumblecore films aren't as visually undistinguished as the detractors claims. Might not like the look of 'em, but it's an identifiable style. Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, at least it's an ethos.

Pete Segall

Thanks to a fumbled cognitive handoff I got to number VI and said to myself "There was never any Black Mamba Venom in Antonioni's movies." It's the kind of brain hiccup Boswell put so much more eloquently in what became the epigraph to Pale Fire.

Stephen Bowie

Glenn, man, once MSW gets into those later seasons where they weren't shelling out for six to eight A-list has-beens every episode, it's time to hang it up.

Castle Bravo

I stumbled across LOL on Netflix yesterday and started reading the user reviews. The entire first page was 1-star reviews.

To be fair, however, I did once read a user review of Modern Times, which the reviewer hated and kept referring to its star as Charlie Chapman...

Tom Russell

I dug OPEN FIVE, but not as much as Mr. Keller did; as far as the recent Audleys go, I liked HOLY LAND a lot more, most likely because it's a little snarly and smokes too much. What I like about Mr. Audley's work is how, despite some major differences in tone from film-to-film, the moments kind of blend together, and the pacing is slightly sleepy-eyed, which I find somewhat ingratiating. I'll grant however that others might not find that particularly appealing or rewarding.

My favourite/"best" American films of this year so far, for what it's worth and taking into account that I haven't seen a new release film in several months, are two studio pictures-- Scorsese's SHUTTER ISLAND and Wright's SCOTT PILGRIM-- and two as-of-yet undistributed independents, Erik Mauk's STRAIGHT TO THE BONE (which is as serious and weighty in its approach to post-collegiates needing a jump-start as the mumble-bumble films are somewhat breezy) and Ryan Balas's EVERYONE SAYS I LOOK JUST LIKE HER. Mr. Balas, it should be said, is something of a friend-- as much of a friend as someone you've never actually met can be, anyway-- so one should take my opinion with a couple of grains of salt.

Victor Morton

"Say what you will about the tenets of national socialism, at least it's an ethos."

Or as Pauline Kael put it -- the smell of a skunk is more distinguishable than the smell of a rose. Does that make it better?


Ha ha ha. Ha ha.



Years from now we'll all look back on this post as the genesis of the Murdercore subgenre. Can't wait to Justin Rice as an insecure, aimless serial killer in Bujalski's BORED TO DEATH.


As one who spends his days in an office wanting to crawl under his desk and cry, even when I don't like their movies, I am glad to know people are out there making them (and sometimes I do like them, especially BEESWAX).

Don R. Lewis

I like the new novel by Glenn Kenny called "Never Let It Go." It's a sequel to "Never Let Me Go" wherein Glenn donates any sense of non-bitterness to the internet each month until there's nothing left.

I'd also like to suggest a documentary tracing who keeps giving Glenn these "mumblecore" movies for him to strain himself over. I can just see it now...a late night phonecall....a meeting at a Starbucks in Brooklyn (so no hipsters will see them and narc)...a brown paper bag with a festival submitted "Open Five" gets slipped under Glenn's non-fat machiatto....he hides it alongside his frayed copy of David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" which has those little stick-it notation strips falling out of it... some cackling from a young hanger on who can't wait to see big bad Glenn erupt and through that, he (or, she) obtains some sad sense of temporary dominance.

Kind of like the awesome HBO show "Bored to Death" only more sad and with less weed.

Glenn Kenny

After a long and entirely unmourned absence from these pages, Mr. Lewis returns to get on my dick about pretty much the most entirely jocular and innocuous jibe at "mumblecore" ever published. Managed to get right on my own last nerve (timing is everything), and I sent him, quite unwisely, a private e-mail in which I told him to fuck himself. I'm not sorry, actually. But I thought all of you should know, as I don't like keeping secrets from you. I also informed Mr. Lewis that he doesn't actually know me and hence has no gauge of my actual bitterness. And so on. Anyway, I gotta run.


I'm trying to figure out what it is about mumblecore that supposedly stokes this seething bitterness in you. What goes on in those movies that you, or anyone, is unable to do themselves? Or what is it about the filmmaking that outrages the frustrated filmmaker within? Who among us couldn't go wave our penis in front of a camcorder or camera phone right at this moment? It's like the ending of MALCOLM X: I am mumblecore!

Or could be, should I so choose. Um...so don't be bitter, Glenn. Is that what I started out saying? Oh, who cares. I have to go exercise.

Jeff McMahon

Maybe it's the same feeling that I had this past weekend when I watched the new short featuring Tommy Wiseau in a non-directing, only-acting capacity, after which the director mentioned he met Wiseau 'through my manager' and my head exploded a little bit based on the idea that someone so barely talented could have representation.

Don R. Lewis

Hey! Just the other day I commented on your HEAREAFTER review. Sheesh, no one loves me around here or cares. I'm gonna go block you on facebook Glenn and then go cry. While fucking myself. MULHOLLAND DRIVE style.

Claire K.

Can we please correct the flawed premise, here? Mr. Lewis, sir: comparisons to Murder, She Wrote should be taken as a COMPLIMENT, not a criticism. Any similarities are to be considered a credit to "Mumblecore" filmmakers. We take Jessica Fletcher very seriously around these parts.

Glenn Kenny

@ Claire K: Thanks for the support, but I'm afraid there's little point in engaging Mr. Lewis, as he'll only tell you what an angry, bitter, old loser you're married to, on account of the fact that I don't have enough Kevin Bewersdorf tunes on my iPod. And no, the fact that we once fed Chris Wells doughnuts on the roof of our apartment won't cut any ice with this rigorous arbiter of aesthetics and morals, and staunch defender of his non-loser friends. In fact, it may well work against us. Best to just drop it!


"we once fed Chris Wells doughnuts on the roof of our apartment"

Why does that sound slightly sinister?

Glenn Kenny

@ Bill: Right? Like we were fattening him up for some bizarre purpose or another. Rest assured that this was not the case.

Claire K.

It should also be said that no one physically broke off bits of doughnut and put them in Chris Wells's mouth, like Roman courtesans. Perhaps more accurate to say that doughnuts were made available.

But really, to the point: I will not have anyone maligning MSW!! It is an HONOR to be compared to the show. An HONOR.

Glenn Kenny

@ Claire K.: You are incorrigible. Which is just one reason I love you, pookie.

Sam Amidon

I did one of these once:


1. The dance scene in the ballroom with all the blue windows.

2. The scene where he has to get the bomb off the car, so he drives it off a ramp into the air, flips it upside down, and it zooms under a hook, which catches the bomb, and blows up, and then the car lands on the right side up on the ground, unscratched.

3. The scene where he drives the car off the side of one garage, many floors up, and flies above the street, from one building to another, landing in another garage a few floors down from there.

4. The party with the blind people.

5. Leaves blowing over the car.

6. The scene where he drives the speedboat out of the water on a ramp, so that it goes onto the highway and skids along at the pace of a bus, and then he jumps on the bus, and catches the bad guy.

7. The scene where he walks down the street while trying to hide from a pursuing vehicle; every shot at a diagonal angle.

8. Violets? Violets Monsieur?

9. Every scene involving Dominique Sanda.

10. Every shot of the Audi logo.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Tip Jar

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad