Raimi profile

USA Today‘s Scott Bowles has written a nice gentle softball profile of Spider-Man 3 director Sam Raimi – the midwestern upbringing, how he was first bitten by the film bug, how he climbed up the ladder, how he suffered a career setback with The Quick and the Dead and Darkman, how he got his mojo back with A Simple Plan, how he always wears suits, etc. And not a word about his financial support for certain Dark Men, including George W. Bush. Like it doesn’t matter. As if such things are peripheral.

60 thoughts on “Raimi profile

  1. “Mr. Raimi, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican party?”

    You do know you’re reporting on the only industry on earth where the wealthy captains of that industry aren’t routinely Republicans, right? Think of movies as being like food products, and Sam Raimi is the vice-president for Krispy Nachos. Now does it seem more normal to you?

  2. I’m just curious: which war-supporting, anti-gay marriage candidate do you think Raimi should have voted for in 2004?

  3. Come on, Jeff. Take it easy on Raimi. As far back as I can remember, nobody’s said anything but good things about the guy. He’s a class act and, hell, he wrote two movies with the Coen brothers… so you have to show some respect. Plus, A Simple Plan was a genuinely great film, the nineties answer to Treasure of the Sierra Madre even. If you’re gonna have a beef with a director, go after the guy who directed Disturbia or Shawn Levy or something.

  4. Raimi’s support of Shrub is despicable, but when you think about it, you’d really have to be a conservative nerd to get a hard-on for Spider-Man.

  5. “…how he suffered a career setback with The Quick and the Dead and Darkman…”

    The article mentions Darkman in passing but doesn’t point to it as a career setback, and as far as I’m aware, that’s because it wasn’t one.

    Darkman wasn’t Raimi’s most pleasant filmmaking experience, but it was a decent-sized hit for the studio. They weren’t thrilled with some of its eccentricities or throwing hundreds of scripts Raimi’s way, but the flick gave Universal enough confidence to invest in Army of Darkness.

    “As far back as I can remember, nobody’s said anything but good things about the guy.”

    Well, there’s Danny Elfman:

    Elfman: Spider-Man 2 was a miserable experience.

    Q: Why? Was it too fast or –

    Elfman: It’s a complicated thing.

    Q: Why was it complicated?

    Elfman: My connection to Sam got completely severed. As far as I’m concerned, he went to sleep and somebody put a pod next to him and when he awoke, he wasn’t the same person I’ve known for a decade.

    Q: Will you work with him again?

    Elfman: No. He went from right there, number 2 on my list of favorite directors, to the last – to the exact opposite of everything I look for in a film experience. Everything I could do on Spider-Man 1 I couldn’t do on Spider-Man 2. He got so intensely attached to the temp music, I couldn’t even adapt my own music. I couldn’t get close enough to me.

  6. Total BS. The only difference between Spider-Man 1 and Spider-Man 2 is that Raimi had complete creative control on 2. That’s why it’s a way better film. And it’s not like Raimi is the only director Elfman has clashed with. He took his name off of Nacho Libre and he had a famous falling out with Tim Burton in the early 90s. Isn’t it possible that he has the same belief in his vision as any director (of course, unlike directors, composers aren’t in charge)? Composers get fired from films left and right for this very reason. And what are you saying, Jeff? Raimi still had the touch on SP1 but lost it on SP2? Anyone who believes that to be true is totally clueless.

  7. As far as I’m concerned, such things don’t matter and such things ARE peripheral if you’re talking about what’s on screen.

    Adam Sandler’s a Republican and that didn’t stop you liking his performance in Reign Over Me, did it?

  8. Only a republican could have been such a dick to Danny Elfman!!!

    Jeff, I take it that any article about any figure must include their last three votes for president.

    Hmm, voted for Gore … i like this guy

    Hmm, voted for Bush … what a waste of life

  9. Only a republican could have been such a dick to Danny Elfman!!!

    Jeff, I take it that any article about any figure must include their last three votes for president.

    Hmm, voted for Gore … i like this guy

    Hmm, voted for Bush … what a waste of life

  10. “Mr. Raimi, are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican party?”

    You do know you’re reporting on the only industry on earth where the wealthy captains of that industry aren’t routinely Republicans, right? Think of movies as being like food products, and Sam Raimi is the vice-president for Krispy Nachos. Now does it seem more normal to you?

  11. This is tiresome. It’s obviously part of Wells trying to pull a takedown campaign on Raimi a la Eddie Murphy by any means necessary. Meaning, rumor-mongering and using what he thinks are smear tactics. It’s fairly childish.

  12. Jeff, it doesn’t matter. Conservatives have long had to divorce an actor/director/writer/producer’s political beliefs with their output as an actor/director/etc. Sean Penn, to take one example, is as odious as they come, not in terms of his politics (everyone has the right to make up their mind about things, whatever), but in his incendiary, vitriolic outbursts about Republicans, conservatives, and our president. However, no credible conservative moviegoer would take away from his talent.

    You don’t like Raimi’s $900 donation to Bush. Fine. But it’s no big deal.

  13. Someone needs to teach some recent tech history to young Mr. Bowles. To wit:

    (RE: THE EVIL DEAD.)

    “It took in $2.4 million when it hit North America and became a cult hit on DVD.”

    (Hint: THE MATRIX was one of the first best sellers on them new fangled shiny moving picture discs whatsits, sonny)

    Yes, I’m being facetious, but it’s yet another reason why USA Today remains the McPaper of journalism.

  14. Jeff, no one but you is insane and hateful enough to think this matters. Heck, if George W. Bush starts making movies after he leaves office, it won’t even matter that he’s George W. Bush, it’s the movie that counts.

  15. The worst thing that ever happened to this site was Eddie Murphy losing the Oscar for Dreamgirls. Whether HE had anything to do with it or not, the anti-Eddie campaign got national publicity and Jeffrey THINKS he had something to do with it.

    Now, instead of focusing on the work (where he knows his diatribes will have no effect), Jeffrey focuses on this peripheral stuff. But only when it suits him and only when he dislikes the person’s work. Yes, I’ll bring up Roman Polanski again. RP rapes a 12-year-old and gets a pass. SR donates $900 to W and he is an odious human being (even though he also donated more than that to a Democrat).

    It’s sad that someone with Jeffrey’s writing and critical skills has to sink to this to get attention and web hits, but there you are.

  16. Jeff is SO right. Every time USA Today does a puff piece on a Hollywood personality they should mention any campaign donations they’ve made in the last decade.

    How else to know who the bad guys are?

    How else to know what movies to see?

    How else to maintain USA Today’s reputation for always getting the REAL dirt?

    Yeesh.

  17. Jeff, your politics are showing. I don’t care who he supports or doesn’t support. If he did a good job on SM3, that’s all that matters. Isn’t that the core issue, is the movie good?

  18. Malkovich IS technically “conservative”, especially in that he’s anti-big government (especially taxes), but I’m not so sure he’s a card-carrying Republican.

    Gary Oldman is similar; he’s been branded many times a conservative, but would he give money or even a vote to the Republican Party? I doubt it.

  19. Wells to haters: I didn’t say or imply that Raimi’s having donated money to the Bush campaign in ’04 was the absolute central motif of his life. I did say that such things are not incidental or peripheral, and I just mentioned that USA Today’s Scott Bowles omitted it entirely. Of course, it IS the movie that counts in the end, and not the politics (or the political alliances) driving its creator, or those of its actors. I loved Adam Sandler’s performance in “Reign Over Me” despite his being a Guiliani Republican. Adolf Menjou was a Republican and I love his performance in “Paths of Glory.” I’m a genuine fan of Leni Reifenstahl’s “Iriumph of the Will,” despite her having coddled up to the Hitler regime in order to make it. The Raimi analogy is, I think, Robert Taylor. I always found him vapid, and his testimony in front of the House UnAmerican Committee reprehensible. It is NOT cool to be on side of George Bush, one of the all-time worst chief executives in U.S. history, especially given the issues at stake in this ghastly worldwide melodrama we’re all caught up in. Staunch country-club Republican sympathies are especially odious (did you read that poll that said something like 40% of Republicans discount global warming as a major concern?), and it’s my view that an artist of any serious stripe (and Raimi, being very good at what he does, is something of an artist) should be really and truly ashamed of him/herself for standing with the shits.

  20. Wells, er, Gruver….. You talking about politics is about as fitting as Robert Novak using his column to take on Godard’s impact on the French new wave. Stick to movies and leave your tired, old hippy good guys vs. bad guys schtick to your WeHo cocktail parties. It must suck to sit through a film like “The Philadelphia Story” and spend the entire time thinking, ‘eww, there’s that evil, hate-filled, Republican Jimmy Stewart again’”.

    Danny Glover sucks up to people like Hugo Chavez and Castro. Should I burn my copy of “Witness” or “Places in the Heart”?

    Grab your torches, people!

  21. Wells – I would never give a cent to the Bush regime (okay, I’m Canadian so I can’t, but still…) but I don’t see how Bowles “omitted” mentioning Raimi’s donation.

    Despite the Democratic buzz to the contrary it’s not an election year, the amount Raimi gave was miniscule ($900!!!) and aside from your constant mentioning it, I don’t see how it’s germane.

    If Raimi was making something along the lines of “Wag the Dog” (ie a political film) right before or right after the 2008 election you’d be well within your rights to harp on what “side” he is on and maybe even to berate USA Today. But none of those things are the case. The fact that you practically expect ANY intelligent person (especially a Hollywood type!) to be democratic makes it all the more belligerent.

    This is USA Today , not Time! What’s next – frying US magazine for not digging deep enough into whether Bennifer or Brangelina spends more on organic produce?

    I’m probably at least as disgusted with Bush et al as you are but the constant dwelling on it here is the kind of thing that fuels the division and alienation in the USA that allows someone like Bush to get elected in the first place – to say nothing of getting re-elected.

    In 2008 you’ll have plenty to say. But Raimi is just a red herring.

    And, man, have you even SEEEEEN Spider-Man 3 yet???

  22. So, Jeff, did you mention Sandler’s political affiliation in your Reign Over Me review?

    If not (I honestly don’t recall), then this whole tack of your against Raimi is self-serving shit.

  23. Welss to storymark: I mentioned Sandler’s political sympathies in another item, not my “Reign Over Me” review. I don’t have to repeat it over and over.

  24. Wells to Sobchak and DavidF: I have a certain education about political matters that I’ve been trying to enrich and refine all my life, and if Robert Novak has/had similar passions about Jean Luc Godard between his political column-writing he would be welcome and entitled to express them. Did you even read what I said in the above post that political sympathies are indeed beside the point if the movie is good enough?

    As far as seeing “Spider-Man 3″ is concerned, I have been formally blocked from any and all press screenings by Sony publicity, so I’ll have to wait until Friday to see it in NYC. And when I do, who knows? Maybe it’ll be wonderful. Maybe I’ll have a spiritual epiphany right there in my seat and come out of the theatre with tears in my eyes and full of awe for the genius of Sam Raimi.

  25. Wells to Sobchak: Hugo Chavez comes off as a fairly heroic and soul-stirring guy in “The Revolution Will Not Be Televized.” He’s an egotistical bully like all politicians, but he’s pro-people, anti-oligarch and anti-U.S. imperialist. That’s a better game to be playing these days than being a rightie suck-up to U.S. economic interests.

  26. “It is NOT cool to be on side of George Bush, one of the all-time worst chief executives in U.S. history”

    “Mr. Raimi, this committee finds you guilty of not being cool and sentences you to…”

    I realize it’s impossible in today’s environment to avoid being 1) wildly overheated about politics and 2) absolutely certain about how things will be seen by history, but when you look at something like the overthrow and reasonably lawful prosecution and execution of an Arab strongman, and the possibility that at least parts of Iraq will flourish as reasonably modern free states (as the Kurdish part already is) in the heart of the unfree, unmodern, perpetually dysfunctional middle east in the decades to come, it might behoove all of us to display a little less absolutism, and a little more of the attitude of Chou En-Lai when asked whether the French Revolution had been a good thing: “It is too early to tell.”

  27. I feel like even if I concede that it’s perfectly sane for you to rant about Raimi’s donation it’s still crazy that you would expect USA Today (or any generic media outlet along those lines) to do the same.

    I admit I simply don’t feel it’s that interesting beyond an eyebrow raising, “Raimi’s a Republican?” But I understand that a certain degree of your political idealism/activism have entered the fray here.

    I did read you saying that the movie and the moviemaker’s politics are ultimately seperable for you – and that’s very important and admirable – but you still tend to beat the drum about the politics a bit much, IMHO; if the person is Republican.

    That’s funny and sucky about Sony blacklisting you. I AM curious to hear what you think about S3 and I am still hoping it will be good. C’mon, if Poland didn’t like it you must at least be curious…

  28. Wells to Mgmax: Chou En-Lai said that? That’s a good line. The thing for the U.S. to do is leave Iraq — we don’t own it, it’s not our country, more Islamic fundamentalists are praying for our deaths than ever before — and let the real civil war begin. It’s a terrible thing to say, but we have to let the natural process happen, and that means letting the blood flow ankle-deep through the streets of Baghdad. God help the people of that poor country, but the situation will eventually sort itself out, as it has in all countries caught up in traumatic political upheaval. The invader cannot prevail and must, in fact, fail. It is in the cards. The invader must therefore leave and let the organic process reach its natural fruition, as awful as that process is certain to be.

  29. my friend had a bit part in SP2 and had nothing but wonderful things to say about raimi. her husband even bumped into raimi last week and he remembered her and passed on best wishes.

    elfman might have an esthetic beef with raimi, but honestly, the music raimi chose for SP 2 is superior to the first film and elfman’s version.

    and any of you fucking vampires who wants to defend the sleaze and chicanery of the worst administration in modern us history, well, do it at peril of your soul. cheney will save a seat for you in the bleachers of hell.

  30. “Welss to storymark: I mentioned Sandler’s political sympathies in another item, not my “Reign Over Me” review.”

    I saw you mention it in defense of your remarks about Raimi. But did you say anything in relation to Reign?

    “I don’t have to repeat it over and over.”

    If only you’d apply that principle to your numerous hit-pieces.

  31. “and any of you fucking vampires who wants to defend the sleaze and chicanery of the worst administration in modern us history, well, do it at peril of your soul. cheney will save a seat for you in the bleachers of hell.”

    You sound as nutty as a religious extremist. I also question why you feel the need to butt your head into just about every thread here on HE. There is a sun still shining outside. Get some fresh air as you need it.

  32. “I also question why you feel the need to butt your head into just about every thread here on HE. There is a sun still shining outside. Get some fresh air as you need it.”

    uh, i have not posted in 4 days as i have been walking god’s green earth. so your claim is a lie.

    there’s also about 8 other recent posts free of my comments and quite a few i have no opinion on. but given your probable status as a bush lover, lying must come easy to you.

    and last time i checked, “butting into” a comments section of a blog actually means you’re participating in said blog. by this weird argument, you should now “butt out” and get back to fox news for your marching orders.

  33. I’m trying to think of a cliche Christian missed there… I guess he didn’t mention Katrina, that’s one.

  34. welcome to right wing world: the acknowledged failures of bush, fema and the army corps of engineers during katrina has been reduced to a “cliche.”

  35. Christian is your typical liberal idiot. Much like Wells, when he stays on topic about movies he’s an alright guy; someone I’d even have a drink with. However when he starts ranting about politics get me the fuck out. The problem is that every other thread on HE nowadays is political. I miss the days when I first started reading Jeff Wells on Reel and Mr. Showbiz when I could read his snarky insider ‘fluff’ without the politics.

  36. Reality check guys: Liberals are no longer the only ones who find this administration to be an abject failure.

    Only the hard-core Bushies are still clinging to that bullshit.

  37. Sobchak to Gruver- Hitler comes off as a fairly heroic and soul-stirring guy in “Triumph of the Will”, too. He was also pro-people and anti-American imperialism.

    Is the visceral hatred for Bush SO strong that one has to side with assholes like Chavez simply because of the shared hatred?

    I didn’t much care for Clinton, (I certainly didn’t vote for him), but I’d stand by him in a nanosecond over dickish thugs like Castro and Arafat. What that sick puke Arafat did to Clinton’s mid-east peace plan (that is, pulling the rug out at the last minute), made me wanna punch that shit stick in the face. Then again, I didn’t wish for instability between Israel and the Palestinians because it would make Clinton look bad.

  38. Not to talk movies or anything, but is anyone else as not-give-a-shit about Spiderman movies as I am? I don’t have anything really against them. If they make you happy, that’s cool.

    I often feel like the only guy on the planet who didn’t spend the better half of his life ass-deep in comic books.

  39. I don’t think it’s possible to really be a ‘genuine fan’ of Triumph of the Will unless you are indeed a fascist/authoritarian. You can admire its technique, study how the shots are framed and edited, but to call yourself a ‘genuine fan’? To divorce yourself that much from the actual content of the film seems ridiculous.

    And ‘coddled up to the Nazis in order to make it’ suggests something along the lines that Riefenstahl had this pet project where she got funding and support from the Nazis, not that it was full-fledged propaganda.

  40. Chavez just got plugged … wow. One of my good friends has family in Venezuela. His mother has property she’d like to sell so she can get the fuck out of there but Chavez has been systematically taking away rights by dissolving the the impact those rights once had. The banking situation there is a complete mess under his rule. Just because he’s anti-US doesn’t make him a good guy. He was a promising figure when he first entered politics but he’s now nothing more than a soon-to-be dictator trying to gain popularity by his anti-US stance. He’s promised the highest minimum wage increase to the poor. He’s basically made it impossible to run against him, he’s torn up the constitution there (literaly…not that it was being followed) and continues to extend his stay with executive privelidges. We’ll see. Now he’s taken over the oil fields. Man of the people indeed.

    Jeff, I’m no fan of Bush. I’m an Obama guy. But I could give a shit who in Hollywood voted for who when it comes to fucking spiderman. If we’re talking a political film, okay … but give me a break.

  41. “It is NOT cool to be on side of George Bush, one of the all-time worst chief executives in U.S. history”

    “Mr. Raimi, this committee finds you guilty of not being cool and sentences you to…”

    I realize it’s impossible in today’s environment to avoid being 1) wildly overheated about politics and 2) absolutely certain about how things will be seen by history, but when you look at something like the overthrow and reasonably lawful prosecution and execution of an Arab strongman, and the possibility that at least parts of Iraq will flourish as reasonably modern free states (as the Kurdish part already is) in the heart of the unfree, unmodern, perpetually dysfunctional middle east in the decades to come, it might behoove all of us to display a little less absolutism, and a little more of the attitude of Chou En-Lai when asked whether the French Revolution had been a good thing: “It is too early to tell.”

  42. “i said, butt out! this is my thread!”

    Shut the fuck up already. You represent everything that is wrong about the internet.

  43. “Shut the fuck up already. You represent everything that is wrong about the internet.”

    and you clearly represent the right. own it.

    btw, chavez is a bit of a creep. i love his taunts at bush com, but he shut down media outlets that were critical of him.

  44. Speaking of “Spider-Man 3″ I heard a blurb this morning, maybe on NPR/KCRW, that pre-sale tickets for Part 3 are running three times as high as those for Part 2. I don’t know if that foretells anything, but it should be a massive weekend for Sony. Why didn’t they open this on a Wednesday? That said, I saw another trailer for it a couple of days ago, attached to the front of the “Casino Royale” DVD, and…blah. I’ve tried, but I just don’t like this series.

  45. I’m trying to think of a cliche Christian missed there… I guess he didn’t mention Katrina, that’s one.

  46. The public may not have known what the messages meant, but it helped pay for them. The skywriting stunt was supported by city and state public funding, according to the High Line’s website. MTS Convertitore “I wanted a narrative trajectory towards something optimistic at the end, which was the last message, ‘Now Open,’” she said of the work. MTS Convertitore Mac

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