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September 22, 2011


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Steve Macfarlane

Oof. I don't think the problem is that improper attention is being paid to a certain type/class of movies, such as T2, ALONGSIDE the "old" canon. Rather, I'd say the generation she's supposedly striking a blow for hasn't gotten over its nostalgia-crazed, wannabe contrarian streak. There some gnarly Tea Party type anti-scholarism in there too; what she's really discouraging is a healthy curiosity about movies.

Jason M.

The enthralling power of... INDEPENDENCE DAY? WTF?


Maybe the sheer amount of these essays has lowered my standards, but my first reaction was, "Well, at least she's admitting she doesn't give a shit about The Rules of the Game, instead of telling me that it's impossibly boring/pretentious and everyone who has ever liked it is pulling the wool over their own eyes, making its reputation a lie that has been blindly passed down from generation to generation."

Mr. Milich

Hungry for some bait, eh?...


Movies "deserve to be free of the tastes and prejudices of people who grew up without Quentin Tarantino."

What an airhead.


Esquire had (or maybe still has? I don't know) Chuck Klosterman-- NVC is GQ's attempt at a new version of that.

Terry McCarty

Don't know if she's a stupider version of Renata Adler or a smarter variant on Ben Lyons.


'Terminator 2', "effects porn"? Compared to the likes of 'Green Lantern', T2 is more "effects that treat you to a fancy dinner and intelligent conversation before a night of passionate, consensual lovemaking".

And I *did* grow up with Tarantino -- it's just that, based on the aesthetic trajectory of his first three features, I once could've sworn Tarantino was growing up as well.

Nicolas Leblanc

I just bumped into the ghost of Jean Renoir. He was devastated when I broke to him that film was innately inferior to literature and that NVC didn't care to see 'The Rules of the Game.'

I mean this lady shouldn't write in the first place but here she is! Writing about something she holds in contempt! Yay, you go girl! Or rather gUrl! Watching a dumb old Hawks film won't improve your reading of the Coens. You don't need to know Altman or Kubrick because you have P. T. Anderson. Culture is disposable. James Cameron holds a degree in Physics. Guy Maddin doesn't exist. Etc..


I've only read a small portion of her piece, but I already have a question for Ms. Vargas-Cooper, which is: what the fuck are you talking about? It is each generation's job to destroy history? No it isn't, you idiot. And by the way, don't act like you think nostalgia is some awful bogeyman. You know as well as I do that the vast majority of your favorite movies came out when you were in junior high.

Enthralling power of INDEPENDENCE DAY...saints preserve us.


Also, does this woman have any clue how disdainfully, say, Quentin Tarantino would regard what she's saying? If any of the filmmakers she's trying to celebrate, including Cameron who I can't stand, felt the same way she does, they wouldn't be making films in the first place.


"I just bumped into the ghost of Jean Renoir. He was devastated when I broke to him that film was innately inferior to literature..."

You mean on top of everything else, she's ripping off David Thomson's shtick as well?!

John Keefer

This upset me on a perfectly fine Friday morning. It's sad, really, because the frightened child lashing out is all over this "article". Unsure it lashes out to declare things not experienced or not understood to be bad and the cookies and toys scattered on the floor infront of it to be good and pure. Pathetic bullshit. How can she put her name on this?


Somebody PLEASE arrange a meet-cute between Vargas-Cooper and Willie Osterweil and report the transcript of the results. The witty screwball intelinsidectual romantic comedy for our times is there, and for real!


Well, I will admit that I am too much of a snob to watch any Terminator movie. Something really bores me about movies with explosions.


This pisses me off on so many levels: as a fan of Terminator 2, as a young movie lover, as someone who HASN'T seen Rules of the Game yet and feels utterly EMBARRASSED by such blind spots. Her piece is so snide it reads as a parody of itself. Jesus.


Oh, and as someone who takes a certain pride in being grammatically correct. At least now we have a replacement for the New York Press.

Eric Stanton

"And it breaks your big stupid heart."

Speak for yourself, lady.

The column is so annoyingly stupid in so many ways that if it was published in different circumstances, I'd assume she was pulling the reader's leg. Not here, though. She may be sassy, but it's clear she's all too painfully in earnest.


"I will admit that I am too much of a snob to watch any Terminator movie..."

Tarkovsky (in)famously preferred 'The Terminator' to "boring" Ozu; I myself will admit there's T1 and 2 in my DVD collection along with 8 Ozus, but would rather have Schwarzenegger smash a 1.8-liter sake bottle over my head than sit through another Tarkovsky.


Well, I have the first two "Terminator" films, all the Ozus available in the US (plus a few from the UK,) and the entire filmography of Tarkovsky (including what is likely my all-time favorite and most re-watched film, "Andrei Rublev") all right next to each other on my DVD shelves.

Well, not literally right next to each other - my collection is arranged mostly alphabetically - but they are all in the same general area.

The point is, maybe, that though Ms. Varga-Cooper seems to think that she's doing something brave and iconoclastic by taking a James Cameron film seriously, I don't actually think such a mix of so-called "highbrow" and "lowbrow" cinema would be a problem for most modern critics.


That should read: "Ms. Vargas-Cooper"


Yes, this is late for the party 20 years ago.
I'm sure Movieline and Premire got alot of high school cheese submitted from budding film critics.
Who would have thought it would become the standard?


Why is this article even a thing? Who asked for it? Are they basing entire articles on the rantings of AV Club com-boxers now? Will ZODIAC MF start writing a column for them too? What about the "firsties" guy? Will he be profiled in GQ?


Not to harp on the nostalgia aspect of her article, but it just occurred to me that she accuses, I guess, older critics, meaning older than she is, of succumbing to nostalgia and this explains their, I guess, crazy obsession with films made before 1986. Yet by drawing the line and what I'm assuming is a year that falls somewhere near her birth, she is restricting her own cinematic interests exclusively to films that would have been made during her lifetime. In other words, only to films she can feel nostalgia for. You can't be nostalgiac for something you weren't there for, so if a film critic, one who is even 70 whole years old, likes, say, F. W. Murnau, it's not because the critic is feeling a pang of nostalgia.

I think maybe she's a moron.


And 1939 says, 'Right back atcha, Ms Vargas-Cooper, we deserve to be free of the tastes and prejudices of people who grew up with Quentin Tarantino.'


You're right about her odd comments about nostalgia. She seems to rail against the restorative nostalgia that supposedly exists amongst the "critical elite" or whatever she might want to call it. Old codgers pining for the days of Hawks and Renoir, when movies were real movies. Proper movies. She's right, to a degree, that there's an issue of conservatism in criticism and, particularly, in creating a canon. The Chaos Cinema hullaballoo, where supports denigrated the naysayers by claiming they couldn't get with the kids and the future, the naysayers saying the new kids have no understanding of the art, etc...

Still, I think her brand of reflective nostalgia is worse. It's a justification for liking those comfort foods you grew up with. There's a lot of good to be said about T2, and others have done so before and will do again. She even makes a few decent points, half-baked though they are.

But restorative nostalgia can provide a healthy juxtaposition between Then and Now, giving us an interesting insight into shifting culture and style. Reflective nostalgia is just wallowing in your own memories, and though there can be significant worth to that, it's terrible for attempting to create a supposedly objective New Canon for "our generation", whatever the hell that means.


"Professional" "arts" "writing," particularly on the internets, is becoming something of a zero-sum game conducted AGAINST the reader; the more effin' mad it makes you, the more the desperate-for-relevance-and-page-views editors think it's "hot" and "provocative" and likely to go "viral."



"T2 is itself an exhibition of technology, imbued with a 19th century-style grandeur..."

Who cares about some 20 year old movie? And she really lost me when she dragged the 19th century into it. The new canon shouldn't have anything older than ARMAGEDDON in it, and that's pushing it.

Seriously though, why don't pundits like this realize they're in the majority? She's tilting at a birdhouse, not a windmill. Or has this suddenly, without my noticing, become a universe in which classics and art films are more widely seen and discussed than contemporary studio product, or indeed the more recent 'classics' of the current pundits' formative years? How the hell is THE RULES OF THE GAME (or the like) any kind of threat to the enduring reputation of T2 (or the like)?


The publishing world has finally coughed up someone who makes Karina Longworth look like a deep thinker. At least Karina is a fan of Godard, one of the dinosaurs Vargas-Cooper dismisses (along with Cary Grant) as not worth knowing about.

This is the sort of trendy ignorance that the media now promote as hip, cool and daring. You can pretend good movies were invented 25 years ago -- presumably by James Cameron -- and be hailed as the cutting-edge voice of your generation. You might even get a berth at a national magazine.

In reality, there are many smart and history-savvy people in their 20s. They're just not of interest to GQ's editors.


Kind of in line with what Bill's already says, this Ms. Villalobos (I'm guessing she would get that reference, given her apparently great esteem of Sir Quentin) appears none too bright. Not to bring up Wallace again, but even by the first paragraph, the piece is already "so stupid it practically drools."

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