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September 23, 2012


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Nick Wrigley

I never thought The Man From Shelby could be beat, but the contact lens did it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dADz2E5xcmc

Aden Jordan

I will be curious to see if this sad event effects Richard Brody's enthusiasm for Swanberg.


I generally enjoy your stuff, and your taunting of Jeffrey Wells is a delight, but your visceral dislike of Faraci taints this article with a level of bile and know-it-allness that wouldn't be out of place on Hollywood Elsewhere.

Victor Morton

I have no opinion on Devin Faraci whatsoever, and I'd cosign this piece, snark and all. Apart from getting in shape, which takes more time than I suspect Faraci had, and you fight with the body you have not the body you'd like, the things Glenn is talking about -- not wearing contact lenses, wearing headgear, at least trying to sidestep and box an onrushing opponent -- are all first-day-at-whitecollar-boxing-school stuff.


This piece was friggin' hilarious. Any "critic" who doesn't know that Cassavetes' films were almost entirely scripted deserves a beatdown. Too bad it wasn't a better filmmaker dishing it out.

Louis Godfrey

They are both actually pretty terrible fighters. Swanberg throws his punches way too far beyond his body. But Faraci... The dude isn't even in a fighting stance. Get your feet set! Swanberg wins by virtue of being the aggressive fighter on a guy who couldn't stand up straight to a good gust of wind...

Gordon Cameron

What if you have really bad eyesight? Prescription goggles?

Harry K.

Frankly, if your eyesight is bad enough that you can't see the guy hitting you three feet away, I'd think about skipping boxing entirely.

Harry K.

Unaided, I mean.

Peter Lenihan


"The film you have just seen was an improvisation."

- the final title card in Shadows

Peter Lenihan

Not to imply that later Cassavettes' films didn't have scripts--just to point out that it's pretty easy to see where these kinds of misunderstandings arise out of, and a smidgen of charity might not be out of place here.


Peter: I've always heard that even that title card was a misrepresentation, at least of the final version of the film.


Am I the only one who thinks this is undignified and embarrasing for both parties?


SvF: Whoever wins, we lose.

Glenn Kenny

JC: Yes, it is a given that it's undignified and embarrassing. Not just "Fantastic Debates" but the whole Fantastic Fest ethos which posits a slightly more intellectually credible geek-culture-triumphant ethos that's not successfully camouflaging the desperate desire for an extended adolescence that underlies it.

As for my "visceral dislike" for Faraci, I dunno. I've never met the guy. I'm not an admirer of his writing, his philosophy, his persona. He acts as if the fact that he's seen a few Warren Oates movies that aren't "Stripes" makes him some kind of expert on something. I understand he's got a few friends and admirers in the industry but I've got no use for him. By the same token, I don't entertain persistent bilious feelings about him. I've nursed, and continue to nurse, a few pretty irrational grudges in my life, but honest, I hardly ever think of Faraci (he blocked me from Twitter after a single snarky remark, which is mainly what I do on Twitter, but that's just the kind of thin-skinned "badass" he is). EXCEPT when he comes out and pulls this kind of Simple Jack stunt, which, face it, deserves all the ridicule it can get.

Rodrigo Cortez

Swanberg boxing his critics? I always knew he was on the same level as Uwe Boll. Also, you should have snarkily put "filmmaker" in quotes, as you did with "film critic" - both are debatable (IMO).


"Am I the only one who thinks this is undignified and embarrasing for both parties?"

Disagree. My modest proposal would be for ALL disputes over cinema to be solved in the boxing ring.

For example, I think a Terrence Malick vs Lars Von Trier 10 rounder would've been the proper way to determine the Best Movie of 2011.

Lord Henry

"For example, I think a Terrence Malick vs Lars Von Trier 10 rounder would've been the proper way to determine the Best Movie of 2011."

I would've paid damn good money to see that.

Victor Morton

Louis Godfrey:

Oh, don't get me wrong. I never meant to suggest Swanberg wouldn't get his ass handed to him by even any halfway-trained amateur novice. But you gotta admit that poor distance judgement and "reaching" on your punches is a far more advanced mistake than, well, not even getting your feet set in a fighting stance. Swanberg looks like a guy who's been in a gym a couple times informally and let the adrenaline get the better of him. Faraci doesn't even belong in the same ring as THAT guy.

Daniella Isaacs

I'm glad people are pointing out the falsehood that is: "Cassavetes didn't have scripts." Not only should Faraci not be allowed outside, he should not be allowed to post film reviews on the internet.

Victor Morton

Genuinely asking: How closely do his finished films conform to the shooting scripts?

Faraci is obviously wrong, but it's not the stupidest thing ever said. That Cassavetes had scripts, while it is the kind of thing a serious critic should know, is also the kind of thing you have to know in order to know (if that makes sense; meaning it is not something you'd naturally infer from the films themselves, a la Whit Stillman in the opposite direction).

Glenn Kenny

Victor, that'd be a GREAT question for Ray Carney...oh wait

Victor Morton

I gave him my question for safe keeping. I'm sure he'll answer it.

Louis Godfrey

Victor: you are right. Swanberg looks like he has at least been in a brawl before; Faraci does everything short of hold out his lunch money.


I imagine Malick would beat Boll with a very patient Rope-A-Dope strategy.

Jeff Wells would complain that Malick needs a tougher, Schneideresque trainer in his corner.


I somehow substituted Boll for Von Trier, though I'm sure Terry would be able to outlast the Dane as well.


Next let's get Drew McWeeny vs. Mark Duplass. But in the Thunderdome, though. McWeeny will have an advantage there because it would be a comforting environment in there, but I can only assume Duplass is faster (maybe?), and anyway, whoever wins, the Thunderdome has weapons and shit in it.

Dan Coyle

I've always wanted to box Oliver Stone, myself. And I'd like to think every punch Swanberg threw represented all those problems with Star Trek that Faraci listed in the review but ignored to give it an inexplicable recommendation.


Fistfights are so low and barbaric... What ever happened to duels?


Look, you folks suggesting Thunderdomes and duels are simply beyond the pale. The Marquess of Queensberry rules were put in place for good reason.

Watching J. Hoberman beat Michael Bay into an unrecognizable pulp in a boxing ring under Marquess of Queensberry rules via pay-per-view is perfectly acceptable entertainment for the entire family.

But the Thunderdome and duel suggestions cross the line into pure bloodlust.

Always remember:

- The First Rule of Cinema Fight Club is to do things by Marquess of Queensberry rules.

- The Second Rule of Cinema Fight Club is an automatic TKO for suggesting a movie is 'not cinematic' because it doesn't contain car chases and explosions.

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