Total Write-Off

Joe Queenan has written a Hollywood ripjob piece for the Wall Street Journal that basically says 2010 is the suckiest movie year since…ever. Maybe or maybe not, or (my view) unsupported by the facts. But the best portion of the piece reads as follows:

“Every year, by tacit agreement with the public, Hollywood is expected to produce at least one surprise hit, one out-of-nowhere dark horse or, in a pinch, one cunningly hyped movie that either exhumes a noted actor from the grave or greases the skids so some solid journeyman can ascend to the ranks of the Oscar Winners of yore.

“The movie doesn’t have to be especially good — Crazy Heart and My Big Fat Greek Wedding certainly weren’t. Nor does it have to be a homegrown product — La Vita e Bella, Slumdog Millionaire and Amelie — were all imports. Nor does it even have to be a financial bonanza –neither The Wrestler nor The Hurt Locker broke any box-office records. But it has to be the sort of sleeper hit that the American people start talking about, the kind of movie that leads to an unexpected comeback, or spirited blog postings or a fawning Barbara Walters interview.

“2010 doesn’t have one of these movies. The Kids Are All Right, arguably the most heartwarming lesbian romantic comedy ever, is trying to fill that slot, but whatever its merits, it’s no Sideways, no March of the Penguins. The only other candidates for this role would seem to be Robert Duvall‘s upcoming turn as a crusty old varmint in Get Low and Ben Affleck’s big-screen comeback in The Town. Critics also might start banging the drum for the latest film showcasing the ethereal Tilda Swinton or some heartwarming motion picture about lachrymose camels or motorcycling proto-totalitarians or English spinsters who inexplicably decide to become crack dealers, but so far nothing truly phenomenal like Slumdog Millionaire seems to be on the horizon.”

I say again: Chris Nolan‘s Inception, Amir Bar Lev‘s The Tillman Story; Alex Gibney‘s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Lee Unkrich‘s Toy Story 3, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Biutiful, Doug Liman‘s Fair Game, Olivier AssayasCarlos, Aaron Schneider‘s Get Low, Noah Baumbach‘s Greenberg, Roman Polanski‘s The Ghost Writer, Charles Ferguson‘s Inside Job, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner‘s Stonewall Uprising; Vikram Jayanti‘s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector.

As well as True Grit, The Conspirator, The Social Network, Hereafter, Mesrine: Killer Instinct, The Fighter, Everything You’ve Got, The Tree of Life , The American, London Boulevard, and possibly The Way Back, Somewhere, Conviction, Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps; Love and Other Drugs, and Paul Haggis‘ remake of Pour Elle.

Queenan is right about one thing: there hasn’t been any kind of 2010 version of Sideways. Not even close.

  • gogocrank10

    Seems so strange to shut the books this early. We’re really just over the halfway mark, and for the last 10 years or so the January to August stretch has been expected to suck, anyway. I say save the obits until at least most of those aforementioned hopefuls come out. If they all stiff (financially and/or critically), and if indeed nothing sneaks up and surprises us, then sure, 2010 will be one for the dustbin. But so far this year doesn’t seem any worse than other years, except that the usual blockbusters keep falling short of blockbusting. But who cares about them, anyway?

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Gee, we haven’t reached the highbrow peaks of that towering pinnacle of artistic expression that was “Sideways.” Golly gosh, what high standards. I like Alexander Payne and “Sideways,” but c’mon now, the guy doesn’t make contemporary masterpieces or anything. He makes middlebrow pablum about sad middle-aged losers who nonetheless are left off the hook because the film has far more contempt for the people surrounding them. Citizen Ruth was hilarious, and Jack was great in About Schmidt, but it’s been diminishing returns since Election. And, truth be told, we get about four or five Sideways every year. How is that movie a singular achievement?

    There have been a number of interesting movies this year, not to mention absolute conversation starters. Inception is as unique a studio blockbuster as there’s been in years and we’ve had another Pixar film. If we’re looking indie-ish, this year brought I Am Love, the hallucinatory Valhalla Rising, the creepshow Trash Humpers and the movie I think we should ALL be discussing, Dogtooth.

    I guess Queenan’s discussing the death of the middlebrow crossover hit, as in, a movie intellectuals and morons can enjoy equally. Maybe Leaves of Grass can fit that designation. I thought The Extra Man would be that movie when I saw it months ago, but it looks like it’s getting kind of a secondhand release. But who gives a shit? If you love movies, 2010 has produced enough pleasures, with plenty more on the horizon.

  • Ray DeRousse

    There are some fine movies this year, but none that really grab you by the throat and shake you up as in some other years.

  • Travis Crabtree

    Usually ONE of the “Big Summer Movies” accomplishes the impossible and doesn’t suck, (“Speed”, “The Matrix”, etc).

    Don’t see this year’s version of that.

  • Brian

    If only we had five more months left in the year. That would solve a lot of problems.

  • Chase Kahn

    Performances aside, I didn’t love The Kids Are All Right. Mark Ruffalo should seriously get awards considerations, however.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    While he seems to barely acknowledge the hit (and therefore conversation topic) INCEPTION, he’s not wrong. One film does not a summer make and this one has been atrocious.

    After INCEPTION, what have I been looking more forward to this summer than anything else? Mad Men. Even months ago, the ennui inspired by the 2010 lineup was really depressing.

    It’s a shame that most of the studios are so insulated by corporate owners deep pockets they rest in that even if attendance were to drop further it wouldn’t create the fiscal disaster needed to force them to make the risky projects they should be to recapture the public’s imagination.

    Sure, one can point to AVATAR and INCEPTION, but they weren’t made by newcomers but very established box office superstars (Cameron, Nolan). In today’s climate, JAWS and STAR WARS might have gotten made but sure as hell without relative novices Spielberg and Lucas at the helm.

  • George Prager

    What the fuck is Dogtooth?

  • George Prager

    Posuer alert:

    “If we’re looking indie-ish, this year brought I Am Love, the hallucinatory Valhalla Rising, the creepshow Trash Humpers and the movie I think we should ALL be discussing, Dogtooth.”

  • George Prager

    Dogtooth?

  • George Prager

    No, seriously. What the fuck is Dogtooth?

  • George Prager

    Someone throw me a bone. I’m trying to understand.

  • George Prager

    Dogtooth… Jesus Christ.

  • George Prager

    My head is swimming. It’s fucking swimming.

  • George Prager

    I need a drink.

  • George Prager

    Fuckin’ Dogtooth.

  • http://Hickenlooper Hickenlooper

    He’s welcome to come see my fillm in Toronto in September.

  • austin111

    Gee Whiz, Golly Darn…..I seem to hear this same argument every damn year from someone or other. Sod off, Queenan. There are at least a couple if not more movies that I’ve really liked this year and that I think have a chance of becoming more respected in time. Yeah, they’re not everybody’s cup, but so what. Neither was Kubrick or Picasso. Every once in awhile a Coppola will break through with a real piece of steak and showmanship like The Godfather, something that appeals to just about everyone who goes to the movies, but that’s actually a rarity in these times of sequels, etc. Sideways was a treat, but hardly in the same category, however. Please!!!

  • YND

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/dogtooth,42509/

    People have been talking this up since Cannes last year, if I’m not mistaken.

  • YND

    It won Un Certain Regard at Cannes ’09.

  • George Prager

    Queenan’s memoir “Closing Time” is excellent. I recommend it.

    Dogtooth. Christ…

  • YND

    90% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes from 41 reviews.

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/dogtooth,42509/

  • http://lipranzer.blogspot.com lipranzer

    Yes, George Prager, I’m one of those people who have been talking up DOGTOOTH. You wanna make something of it?

    With that, GHOST WRITER, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE RED RIDING TRILOGY, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, and WINTER’S BONE, I’d say it’s been a pretty good year for movies so far – as long as you’re not looking for Hollywood movies.

  • YND
  • bluefugue

    >One film does not a summer make and this one has been atrocious.

    It started badly but it got better. Inception, Salt, Toy Story 3, and Despicable Me… all good films. Not all great but they rescued the summer from being atrocious.

  • LexG

    Gee can’t wait till 10pm PST tonight when this thread is 120 posts of people posting their completely anonymous lists, interspersed with good-time guys Gabe@Douchelist, DTG, and Ray DeRousse complaining about everything.

    Oh, and Crabtree doing his “baiting-omission” routine.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Thanks for that addition, you barely-literate ape. Meanwhile, some of us would rather not treat movies like pornography.

  • dangovich

    Wait, did Lex just complain about people being predictable?

  • LexG

    “Barely-literate”? First off, adverbs ending in -ly don’t require a hyphen when modifying. Something you should know, O paid writer. Or should I say, “clunky glasses-wearing Nick Schager/Ed Gonzalez wannbe 25-year-old kid whose ‘site’ gets ZERO COMMENTS under absolutely every article and story.” But by all means, keep pimping THE PLAYLIST… maybe some day you guys’ll get as many as three, four regular readers.

    But in general, Gay-be, I was merely making the observation that ALL your posts have this negative, hateful, snide, smug, downcast tone. Why so angry? How about a little joie de vivre, instead of tripping over your own self trying so hard to be so chronically unimpressed with everything, ever? God forbid, maybe a little ENTHUSIASM ABOUT MOVIES.

    The mere way you “write off” (ZING) Payne rubs me the wrong way. It is your wont to take issue with his themes and films, but the snide way your write off “middle-aged sadsacks” shows that you, like the Slant poseurs, have the reckless sociopathy of youth on your side. You can’t even BEGIN to consider the pathos involved in those films or find anything remotely relatable about them, right? Why, not Gabe Toro, surly-looking, thick-locked Weezer-glasses bisexual urbanite hipster with a cadre of like-minded, equally sociopathic friends in your tight-knit circle of broke-ass, hipper-than-thou wannabes.

  • Noah Cross

    I love how he complains in July that there is no surprise hit like “Slumdog Millionaire”, when SM had a limited release in November

  • LexG

    Gabe at the Playlist:

    All the eyebrows of Eugene Levy, none of the sense of humor. What a total fucking mediocrity, couldn’t turn a phrase to save his life.

  • LexG

    And, dangovich, you’re going on watch, black.

    If I’m so “predictable,” the floor’s ALL fucking yours to create an entertaining shtick that DELIGHTS THE MASSES week in and week out, earning you sit-down points with the awesome owner of the site.

    Next time JAMES WOLCOTT or DEFAMER or HUFFPO does a story on Gayb@Gaylist or Dangobitch, gimme a heads-up.

    YEP YEP

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Enthusiasm about movies, Lex? Are you not the person who cuts such a wide swath over British comedy, animated films and other seeming fringe-y appeal movies? How do you have any enthusiasm over any films when you negate the existence of so many?*

    To gear this towards construction discussion and not personal attacks (because I really don’t give a shit about who you or your friends are, Lex – should I?), I’m repeating myself by saying that I kinda like Payne’s films, but even if they mean something, who cares? What do they have to say about modern America? What do they have to say about the peripheral people on the edge of middle America’s small towns? What do they have to say about… anything?

    Payne’s later films seem to have less and less insight and it should be clear that there are huge groups of society he cares very little about. Perhaps I’m biased because I’m one of those people he doesn’t give a shit about, but, again, I actually LIKE his movies. But when the end, I tend to be unmoved intellectually, emotionally or otherwise (not including the affecting close of About Schmidt, which far outshines the rest of the only somewhat-affecting movie).

    Bottom line – What kind of cultural lamppost is Sideways?

    *Also, Gay-be? When has that been funny in my entire life? How about never? I guess our discourse about movies is not suitable enough for the playground of your maturity.

  • Matthew Starr

    I thought 2008 and 2009 were really bad years for film. A Prophet, Inception, Toy Story 3, Kids Are All Right and How to Train Your Dragon have made this a solid half year for me.

  • LexG

    “I kinda like Payne’s films, but even if they mean something, who cares? What do they have to say about modern America? What do they have to say about the peripheral people on the edge of middle America’s small towns? What do they have to say about… anything?

    Payne’s later films seem to have less and less insight and it should be clear that there are huge groups of society he cares very little about…”

    I don’t know, man… What the fuck does anything MEAN? Especially if you’re predisposed to dislike it, it seems to me you could raise this objection to just about anything; What does “Kids Are All Right” mean or what does it say about class division and economic distribution in modern Romania? To take a less absurd examples, what are THE COEN BROTHERS saying about fringe people in the sticks when THEY point a finger at some fat hick or some suspenders-wearing goofball in overalls picking a banjo? The Coens are maybe the only living directors that get an ABSOLUTE FREE PASS on any- and everything, there’s never so much as a single contrarian voice, and they engage in a lot of the same shtick, point-and-mock smugness as Payne does. Is the difference that the Coens are arch ironists, and better suited to the critical tendency to watch a movie from such a jaundiced remove that the idea of visceral interaction with the text, or God forbid, IDENTIFICATION, is something to avoid at all costs?

    What kind of cultural lamppost is… anything? By even ASKING that, you’re revealing your process as being too beholden to the ludicrous and arbitrary criteria or Film Studies doctrine and elitist criticism– the idea that movies aren’t judged by visceral, aren’t judged by intensity, or visuals, or performance, or even QUALITY, but rather by their adherence to these ARBITRARY tenets of socio-Marxist analysis. Thus anything that doesn’t speak to your pet political viewpoints or allow for an easy socio-political read, you have to ask “What’s the point?” By those standards, like too many of your wannabe-Slant peers, any dogshit horror movie that “criticizes” patriarchy or sexism or homophobia is an easy slider over home for you, whereas something that trades on emotion and engagement leaves you wondering how to approach it, or why you should even bother.

    In short, movies SHOULD BE enjoyed like pornography. This isn’t Jerkoffs Making Themselves Feel Smart 101 at Socialist U. It’s MOVIES. You know, watching COOL SHIT and IMAGINING YOU WERE THE MAIN DUDE and FUCKING THE HOT CHICK? You go to movies to LIVE VISCERALLY, not to whine and cry like a bitch that Alexander Payne doesn’t care about the plight of untalented Latino film critics.

  • LexG

    Fuck am I a great writer.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Some people understand movies using insight and education. Others don’t have that liberty and judge them using their balls. Good luck dragging your knuckles, Lex.

  • LexG

    I have a film degree, gaylord. As well as an English Lit degree and a Journalism degree, bitch.

    I also know how to think for myself, and don’t rely on some bullshit check-points to write about film. And I am a better writer than you.

    Because I’M SMAAAAAAARTER THAN YOU.

    But by all means, please whip up some of your searing “insight and education” on your cheap-looking, unread blog. In fact, I’ll do you a solid and even POST A REPLY, though that might upset The Playlist’s perfect record of never being read, ever.

  • Eloi Wrath

    This has turned out to be a terrific thread.

    I like ThePlaylist, but it can be infuriating when they view everything through the thick-rimmed irony-specs of Brooklyn hipsters. Nevertheless, they’re very thorough with their updates and I’m surprised they haven’t taken the site off blogspot and into a proper ad-supported model.

    It’s also funny that Devin Faraci hates them for no apparent reason.

  • LexG

    “Some people understand movies using insight and education. Others don’t have that liberty and judge them using their balls.”

    PRETENTIOUS DOUCHE ALERT.

    Gabe all looking like a cross between Eugene Levy and a busted-ass version of Roberto from The Bachelorette.

    You should just get a nice welding job, because you’re too stupid and untalented a writer to ever make it as a critic. Another dime-a-dozen, movie-hating Internet tool who has to fool himself into believing he has anything interesting to say. You don’t.

    If you’re gonna stick with the writing though, maybe your DEVASTATINGLY ORIGINAL backstory would make for a a swell memoir about being a gay man from a traditional Latino home. Sure it would be riveting.

  • LexG

    Eloi, I do not believe you.

    NOBODY reads The Playlist. Absolutely NOBODY.

    I’ll bet even Gaybe doesn’t read it.

    ZERO COMMENTS under EVERY THREAD EVER. Seriously, at some point wouldn’t they just throw in the towel? NO ONE is reading that shit.

    They should call it The DoucheList.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Isn’t Shutter Island worthy of being considered one of the year’s best? I know it was released in February, which might as well not exist to highbrow film critics, but I’m hard-pressed to think of many other films this year that have combined both the emotional core and the glorious aesthetics of Shutter Island.

    Toy Story 3, Inception and Shutter Island are my three favourites of the year by a decent distance.

  • LexG

    Gabe, what does dick taste like?

  • Chase Kahn

    I don’t like it when mommy and daddy fight…

  • LexG

    “Hey, if I take my glasses off, and you squint REAL hard, do I remind you of this guy?”

    http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID11363/slideshows/Bachelorette_Roberto.jpg

    “Uh, yeah, Gabe, if he were gay and couldn’t write.”

    “COOOL!”

  • Eloi Wrath

    “ZERO COMMENTS under EVERY THREAD EVER. Seriously, at some point wouldn’t they just throw in the towel? NO ONE is reading that shit.”

    The lack of comments is probably because of that horrendous, ugly-ass Blogspot comments system they use. It’s awful. They really need to take it off that horseshit host and pay for a domain name. Look at Pajiba or something; it’s not a huge operation but it has a lively community.

    Movieline is another site that I enjoy reading, but has a very small community of commenters.

  • LexG

    Eloi, you say one more thing in defense of this no-talent, movie-hating male hustler-looking zero, and you’re going on watch with your buddies.

    LEX WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.

  • Chase Kahn

    I read The Playlist. They’re actually spot-on with a lot of their criticisms (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but I also enjoy reading Lex the Illiterate so I’m not taking sides.

  • Eloi Wrath

    “LEX WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ8Qi86i82s

  • Poor Urich

    Oh come on now, Gabe, you’ve got to admit that Lex has some great points about you and the limitations of your world view based on your age, insular hipster douchiness, etc. And you have to admit that you were owned when he corrected you on your grammar, too.

    I find Lex to be annoying most of the time, but he’s a great fucking writer. And there’s no denying that.

    As compared to you and your Playlist crew, Lex is Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, and Henry Miller rolled into one. Compared to your crew (you know, people who actually write a blog as opposed to merely posting on one), Lex. G is motherfucking King Kong.

    If you’re going to put your balls out there and create a site, the least you could do is hire writers who can actually write…and not use the word “titular” every fucking paragraph or have every writer use “we” as if you all share the exact same opinion. (but then again, maybe that’s the point, maybe you all share the same opinion just like Lex said).

    But having said all that, I will say that Prager is a huge cunt and Dogtooth is a great movie. And despite the piss-poor writing, your site is worthy of a daily viewing.

  • Chase Kahn

    And Eloi, I agree with you – I like me some Shutter Island, but it will probably be forgotten if it isn’t already.

  • The InSneider

    Clearly Joe Queenan hasn’t seen Vincent Cassel’s fairly remarkable turn in MESRINE, parts 1 and 2… and I’m surprised no one has even mentioned that movie on this thread. I thought it was capital-G Great when I spent 4 hours watching it on Monday night…

  • LexG

    “Lex is Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, Hunter S Thompson, and Henry Miller rolled into one.”

    No need to qualify that shit.

    YAHOO, YA MOTHERFUCKERS!

  • LexG

    The Specialist is underrated and pretty awesome, mostly because you can’t beat the hamtastic triumvirate of Woods, Roberts and Steiger as the villains… and the John Barry score classes it up so much you feel like you’re watching a forgotten Bond movie and not a dopey Luis Llosa flick. 1994 Stone = YEP YEP, and a particular shoutout to that AWESOME scene where Woods gets Sly on the line and they talk smack to each other, and Stallone gets off right before they can trace the call, and Woods trashes the reel to reel tape recorder and browbeats everyone without shouting distance.

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    I, for one, would like to see a few more people judging movies using their balls, and would certainly welcome more critics “writing” with them (BALLpoints, perhaps?). Just because you’re using your vast “insight and education” (best drop that condensation before you turn 30, btw, someone’s likely to punch you in the face after that point) doesn’t give you a free pass in my little black book to be utterly boring and lifeless in your prose. I know ThePlaylist fancies itself as the ‘Net version of Film fucking Comment or the American bloggy-blog Cahiers du Cinema or some shit, but would it kill you guys to drop at least an ounce of personality into your writing at some point? Instead of reading about movies, it feels like I’m scrolling through

    The #1 most important aspect of any sort of writing to me? Showmanship. Tarantino has it. Mamet has it. Hunter S. Thompson. Bret Easton Ellis (albeit occasionally in a very douchey way). Hemingway and Shakespeare back in their respective day, absolutely. Jeff Wells (I’d imagine it’s why most people that have read him for years have stuck it out). Doesn’t the Internet already have an overwhelming influx of people who clock into message boards to impart their ploddingly faceless gems of wisdom? “Cool.” “Lame.” “LOL.” “Facebook FTW.”

    As for the hallmarks of great films being intellectually or emotionally moving, having great insight into the human race, etc. I would argue that some of my all-time favorite films have none of these qualities. The Coens are a great example. By all accounts — and with few exceptions — they make some of the most superficially entertaining pictures today. They’re just good goddamn fun to watch, which is kind of ironic because they have such a heavy arthouse pedigree which I never thought really fit them AT ALL (just watch any interviews with them where they’ll inevitably and gleefully squash any “deep readings” of their work the very SECOND someone brings it up). And yeah, fuck a cultural lamppost. Unless of course it’s referring to the well-lit spot where I pick up my escort every Friday night (T-2 hours till blast off tonight, btw), in which case, well, fuck against a cultural lamppost.

    As for the topic at hand, I admit that it hasn’t been a spectacular summer for movies or anything, but what the fuck qualifies as spectacular anymore? Queenan is an old fuck, so he is probably measuring everything released today against his “golden” summer of 1968: Green Berets, Hang ‘Em High, Inspector Clouseau, The Odd Couple, The Producers, Rosemary’s Baby, Targets, Thomas Crown Affair. Good summer? You betcha, but I feel this year on the whole has delivered a bunch of really strong movies, and no fewer than four absolute masterpieces: Green Zone, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Toy Story 3, and of course Inception.

    I know not everyone agrees with those choices, but that’s not exactly important. What’s important is that the Citizen Kane of 2010 could very well be released tomorrow, and Queenan and his ilk (it’s not so much that he is old, but that he acts so fucking old) would just disregard it like it was Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and go on playing the same old tired cinema dirge.

  • John M

    “I know ThePlaylist fancies itself as the ‘Net version of Film fucking Comment or the American bloggy-blog Cahiers du Cinema or some shit, but would it kill you guys to drop at least an ounce of personality into your writing at some point?”

    Writing with “balls”…dropping your “personality” into your writing.

    Any of you over-excited under-sexed reg’lar Joes wanna explain what exactly it would mean to drop more of your “personality” into a subjective piece of film criticism? Would Kent Jones be more palatable to you all if he would talk more excitedly about tits and how much he likes ‘splosions?

    Because talking about tits and splosions equals personality. All writers must have aggro, larger-than-life personalities, like comic book characters?

    Is Lex a writer? I don’t know. I think he’s a (one-note) stylist. I learn nothing from his writing. He’s allergic to insight, because he’s so worried we might think he’s a scrap less than a full-blooded sex-loving gorilla. Desperately trying to maintain his voice–and now he just overplays it, day after day. He trolls. He’s lonely.

    Lately, he just reads like a run-of-the-mill, anti-intellectual asshole. A verbose, painfully proud Youtube commenter.

    In sum: how long’s it been, Lex? Five years? Ten? Get laid, brother.

  • va

    Would anyone read a blog by Lex G ala Sunset Gun? I would – every day, clicking every banner ad in sight… Lex G is a great writer! Okay, the Fanning sisters heavy breathing thing is unseemly, but every comment in this thread? GOLD!

  • Poor Urich

    I agree with both John M and va.

    And Gabe…

    Still waiting for you to explain the “namby-pamby” comment.

  • moviechick44

    Queenan whiffed on mentioning Michael Douglas in Soliatry Man. He reallky liked his performance in that in a review of the film he did earlier.

  • DeeZee

    The last sucky movie year for me was ’05. [Though in terms of longer periods of entertainment droughs, I'd say probably around '96-2000.] 2010 isn’t great, but at least I might be interested in some of the stuff out there.

    Anyway…

    Lex: Not from me. I think the Coens are overrated, too. Their Deliverance-esque commentary gets old fast.

    The lesser Affleck appears to be fucked.

    Lowe gets a piece of Miramaxe.

    Isn’t this basically Edge of Darkness?

    Isn’t this basically Percy Jackson?

    Promoting your movie at SD is a con game?

    Isn’t this basically Young Indiana Jones with a robot?

    Willis on seeing Red.

    Hemsworth on Thor.

    Bettany and Stewart talk about Priest.

    Digital Bits confirms Bridge on the River Kwai on Blu-Ray and has home video info on Starcrash.

    Free shit.

    Daniels wants to see how the butler did it.

  • themodernage

    “Stop making movies like “Grown Ups,” “Sex and the City 2,” “Prince of Persia” and anything that positions Jennifer Aniston or John C. Reilly at the top of the marquee. ”

    When did John C. Reilly become the bad guy?

  • http://kingdomofdoom.wordpress.com/ TulseLuper

    Poor Urich: Gabe has explained his position on Payne a lot better than you have. All you did was adopt the Wellsian attitude of, “Everyone who disagrees with me is evil and retarded and probably a right-wing racist.”

    Anyway, 2010 has felt like a shit year so far but admittedly there are a lot of films I haven’t seen yet. I still haven’t gotten around to The Ghost Writer or A Prophet or Valhalla Rising or Cyrus, for instance. But this happens every year. Queenan, while an entertaining writer sometimes, has the tendency to complain for the sake of complaining (Sound familiar?)

    And I don’t understand the John C. Reilly cheap shot either. He’s a great actor, and he even makes garbage like Step Brothers semi-watchable.

  • DeeZee

    Social Network spot.

    Other Guys Sizzle Reel.

  • actionman

    DeeZee — 2005 yielded Domino, The New World, Syriana, Batman Begins, Munich, Grizzly Man, The Constant Gardener, Sin City, Oldboy, and Kingdom of Heaven (and those are the titles that immediately come to mind). All of those films are pretty brilliant. I guess what I’m trying to say is that 2005 had some good stuff.

  • actionman

    And as far as 2010 goes, there have been some major. major standouts — Inception, Cyrus, The Kids are All Right, Shutter Island, Dragon Tattoo, Green Zone, Greenberg, Ondine, and Kick Ass all leap to mind.

    Lex — don’t ever leave this blog. Your writing is amazing and your passion for film is shown in each and every post. Way too many people around here spend endless amounts of time bitching and moaning about every movie under the sun — it gets tiresome.

  • actionman

    also, i am watching punch drunk love right now. FUCKING INCREDIBLE FILMMAKING.

  • DeeZee

    actionman: You have a point on some of those, though Oldboy is from 2003-2004. Domino looked dumb, though, while Syriana seemed like a poor man’s Battle of Algiers.

  • actionman

    there are a few algiers-esque visual motifs in syriana but they are two completely different films. you should check it out. same with domino. not dumb at all. a crazily complex and ingenious plot/script from richard kelly and some of the toniest tony scott direction. i fucking love that movie. and with oldboy — that’s when i saw it in the theater — 2005 — in LA @ the lamelle sunset. so for me, it’s a 2005 movie.

  • dinovelvet

    Ah, The Specialist. Yes that Woods/Sly phone scene Lex brought up is cool, I also like another awesome/hilarious scene where Stallone is watching Eric Roberts, and Roberts confronts him, asking him “You like the bitch…or you like me?”. And that John Barry score IS ace. Someone should make a fan edit of Licence to Kill with it spliced in.

  • bluefugue

    >I find Lex to be annoying most of the time, but he’s a great fucking writer. And there’s no denying that.

    He has a prose style, but that’s only half the battle. He repeats himself, and his “EVERYTHING I SAY IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT: BOW!!!” attitude is amusing for about the first 0.00003 seconds, then you cast about for something interesting to read.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    SHUTTER ISLAND, GREEN ZONE and DRAGON TATTOO are “major, major” standouts?

    Queenan wins hands down….

  • Phreaker

    LexG a “great” writer? No. No, no, no, people. No. Just no.

    The Playlist is a site I couldn’t do without.

  • LexG

    It really is sad, and really is why I go off into flights of fancy, when people who care enough about movies to frequent blogs and boards and may even work in the industry, are so disillusioned and cynical and above-it-all that they don’t even seem to LIKE MOVIES anymore.

    Maybe some of you guys and your pal Joe Q should just find a nice sports bar from which to Monday-morning quarterback football or baseball or something. Clearly, you and your pal have lost all passion for movies a LONG time ago.

    Anyone who LOVES MOVIES WITH EVERY FIBER OF THEIR BEING would never write something like this or agree with something like this. You thinK QUENTIN TARANTINO thinks this way? Edgar Wright? Joel Schumacher? Martin Scorsese? Brian De Palma?

    he problem is, the Internet has created a bitching post for all these 30-55 year old white guys who’ve tuned out to music, movies, trends, and feels left behind, and has to grouse that they don’t make ‘em like they used to. 2010 is as good a cinematic year as just about any other average year in the history of movies, with the same amount of dreck and the same amount of quality.

    Yes, there are watershed years like 1999 or 2007, or whichever is YOUR personal fave, but all things are pretty equal. Shit, when I was in film school almost TWENTY YEARS AGO, the professors were, like the Hot Blog and HE regulars, all seen-it-all tweedy and cynical and always held everything to the standards of Classical Hollywood Cinema.

    Now we have people that age who filter everything through their formative era of ’70s angst or ’80s blockbusters, and they’re getting older and having kids and getting grumpy, and they’ve LOST THE PASSION FOR MOVIES. Suddenly everything was better when they were coming up, just as every generation has this glowing reverence for THEIR shit. At that point we all might as well be sitting around watching fucking Laurel and Hardy and old silents, and fuck it, why not live in a cave without steel, fire, or the wheel, long as the past is so fucking great.

  • LexG

    “LexG a “great” writer? No. No, no, no, people. No. Just no.”

    Hey, Phreaker, consider for a moment the fact that I have the SEAL OF APPROVAL from Jeff, David Poland, Kim Voynar, Luke Thompson, James Wolcott, Drew McWeeny, Joe Leydon, Don Murphy, and Glenn Kenny. I honestly think the handful of non-Lex fans like you are just Nurse Ratched-esque humorless literalists, just NO FUN AT ALL, and you tend to fixate on the one or two things you heard that you didn’t like, and you let everything else go out the window, never minding my intricate wordless, punchy prose, incredible references, or fully-developed character. Dozens of people have chimed in to recommend I start a blog or write a novel, when Poland featured me as a columnist it got nearly 200 comments… But to you I can’t write because you don’t like capital letters (always the sign of someone who’s stale and dry as a bad Saltine) or I said something un-PC about vag.

    Well, get over it, because if YOU DON’T LIKE LEX, you don’t like Hunter Thompson.

    I am the Gonzo voice among contemporary film criticsm. I am the greatest game in town.

    You will BOW.

  • moviechick44

    I’ like your posts Lex… they are fresh and have attitude and read like the way Cormac McCarthy writes his books, you write like how you are talking. A lot of people don’t know how to do that. Tarantino is the master at it. And I agree, thousands of movie blogs are just full of the same, no imagination banal like responses, but yours are not, that’s for sure.

    But I have to disagree with you on the ” all movies are good ” analogy. I started seeing film seriously when I was 10 years old ( there is a back story why that began ) and I really think, in this day, these times, we are probably in the worst of it all all time. I have a hard time with a lot of films these days. Most movies I watch at home, 75% are 1930-1985. Of course I have fave films in every year but there is so much cookie cutter, very average movie fare put upn us, it’s incredible. Reboots, remakes, mediocre TV shows turned into movies, very average actors/actresses making film after film after film, with the same lousy results.

    Heck, Jennifer Aniston is still looking good but she gave up ” acting ” along time ago. She just shows up for a paycheck now. When she did Office Space, She’s The One and The Good Girl, at least she was trying. Now she doesn’t even bother to change her look at least anymore. She is the same in every film, looks, voice, facial expressions etc. And she’s just one example, there are TONS more.

    I liked most of the movies you listed and I know I’ll see more the rest of the year, but I’d argue that I see more average to downright crap films than I do good ones these days.

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    It can be a tricky balance to strike, but I actually do think it’s possible to cast a very critical eye towards cinema AND still be unendingly enthusiastic about it.

    For example, I really enjoyed my time sitting with a nearly packed house on the opening day matinee of Predators, even though the second it was over I was ready to blast the gaping wide plot holes even further open (if that were even feasible). Deep down, I knew I was watching a very mediocre movie, but I allowed myself to surrender to the fun of watching a goofy narrative unfold amongst a large group of enthusiastic summer filmgoers looking to be entertained.

    I don’t necessarily believe that you have to think that most — or even a very slight majority — of the flicks you see are “awesome” to be a true film appreciator. Lex is definitely right about one thing, though, you do have to see them — and preferably in a theater.

    It should go without saying that people who judge motion pictures based largely on clips, trailers, reviews, synopses, other people’s opinions, etc. (I’m especially looking at you DeeZeeTube) don’t really have a real, concrete passion for them as entertainment OR art.

  • plastiqueelephant

    “Fully-developed character”?!?! Dude, you make Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men seem like Hamlet given your unending propensity to always say variations on exactly the same crap. I would actually love you to finally find the balls to actually write a novel or start a blog just to see if you could utilize your significant ability to turn a phrase towards anything beyond the same four or five boring-as-shit rants.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    Funny Lex doesn’t mention that when several of those people he boasts of championing his “work” offered to help him get set up with his own site, column or blog he turned into giant pussy and ran away.

    Wow, just realized how apropos the title of this thread is…..

  • DeeZee

    Via Dark Horizons:

    Isn’t this basically Nadia and/or Steamboy?

    F4’s Thing goes CG.

    I guess Snyder’s attached to the 300 sequel.

    Looks like Stevie just assassinated a great project.

    Superbad 2 not happening, Pineapple Express in development hell.

    It’s like Teaching Mrs. Tingle, but with Dane Cook.

    It’s like Fatal Attraction, except with Rachel Weisz.

    Details on 127 Hours and ‘Swan dates.

    Cody Horn takes on a disappearance.

    CG George.

    Misc. pics.

    Routh and Welling think it’s super to work with Nolan.

    Next Ryan reboot axes John Clark

  • DeeZee

    Oh, and last Sly interview.

  • Jonathan Spuij

    Name me one year where by this time around we already had several brilliant movies and the year was already a success? I get what the man is getting at but he should be complaining about the “summer-movies” only and not the rest. We all know when the fun starts.

  • Chicago48

    One big problem I see is “there are no stars” (from Hollywood Blvd?)…..I don’t recognize half the names in the movies today. That’s what happens when you don’t have a studio system. Not only that, some of these so-called actors aren’t “draws”….only about 3-4 can draw people to the movies these days.

  • plastiqueelephant

    With you 100% Deathtongue. I almost felt sorry for Lex up until Don Murphy offered to bankroll a blog for him and instead he strapped on his vag. There’s little more repulsive than the shit sushi combination of uberarrogance & ubercowardice.

  • Smedley

    The one film I thought could bail us out of this awful year was THE BEAVER. Looks like we won’t be seeing this anytime soon.

    Mel Gibson should buy the film (with his jesus money), take out full page ads apologizing that his behavior hijacked what could be a great film. He could say, “See it for Jodie, not me”. Then donate all the profits to battered women shelters.

  • themodernage

    This article is completely full of shit.

    Is he complaining because there haven’t been any good movies this year?

    Or because there hasn’t been an indie breakout hit?

    Or that the hit movies aren’t original or that the original films aren’t hits?

    There have been plenty of good films this year, maybe he just hasn’t seen them.

  • phantasmata

    dear lex:

    aw, why you taking all your frustrations out on gabe? is it because you suspect that, deep down, he can get laid? does it just burn you up that such a pretentious tosser can get hole and you can’t? or is it just your general rage over the fact that you lust after adolescent girls who resemble adolescent boys and the welter of confusion and rage that it arouses in you? yes? this is why you throw 2nd-grade homophobic puns like “gay-be” around, is it not?

    listen, you’ll never get laid by a 19-year-old. ever. unless you become rich, it’s just *never* going to happen. and in the off chance that you ever *do* happen to “make it,” it’ll be a because of blessed irony. you think you’e the hunter s. thompson of film criticism, mwaha, but in truth, you’re its snooki. that’s what you are. you’re snooki. and everyone who thinks you’re great and who claim to “love” your writing, really just “love” you the way people “love” jersey shore. you’re a joke, friend, and not a particularly good one, either. i just shake my head every time you slither around, convinced you’re a put-on by exactly the sort of “hipster douche” you rage against (i.e., the pretentious tosser who can do what you can’t: get laid). but no. against all logic, it seems you’re the genuine article.

    a bit of advice. and you should listen to me because i’ve never had problems getting laid. lost my virginity at 14 and it’s been amazing ever since.

    1. women despise desperation and they smell it a mile away. you absolutely reek of it.

    2. women hate men who hate women. stop hating women. and stop hating them because they’re not what you really* want: young guys

    3. just come out already. you could AT LEAST go down the middle road and get a tranny who rocks that hot ellen page bod that you covet so much and who has a little “trouser surprise” for her sweet wittle lexy-poo. i mean, this is what craigslist is for, is it not?

    and, bro, bragging about all the degrees you have? that just makes you even more sad. and what have you done with those? anything? as other have pointed out, you can’t even be bothered to start a blog. that’s just so pathetic. really, you’re just pitiful in the worst way. i’m not even *certified* in audio engineering, yet i’m producing music. funny, that. see, lex, that’s called will. initiative. ambition. it’s one of those those things women are attracted to. you feel entitled to the spoils, yet you can’t even enlist. do you not understand that there is no glory for cowards? rag on gabe all you want for having a blog with “zero comments,” but at least he’s putting himself out there. at least he’s *attempting*.

    to quote buddy from three o’clock high: “you didn’t even try. how does that feel?”

  • George Prager

    Really creepy post, phantasmata. What a dick.

  • Bukowski20

    “and you should listen to me because i’ve never had problems getting laid. lost my virginity at 14 and it’s been amazing ever since.”

    If you have to say it, you’re full of shit.

    And yeah, your post was creepy and weird and I get the strange feeling your not that different from LexG…who is a much better writer than you’ll ever be.

    And Deathtongue continues to come across as the most bitter, angry, and odd dude on HE.

  • Eloi Wrath

    ^ Sometimes the spammers have great comic timing.

  • animal bones

    hilarious when lex rants on homos, minorities, fags, women, environment, and lusting for tweener girls, prager, actionman and the usual chorus of defensive douches are quiet., pretending not to notice the real hate and illness

    but let phantasawhateva nail lex with his own weird creepy bullshit, and he’s the weird creepy dick! it’s like fox news here!

  • Chase Kahn

    ^ They’re so friendly, too.

  • Chase Kahn

    Animal bones messed me up. The spammers are so friendly, I mean – they’re beaming with joy.

  • goodvibe61

    Queenen is a rambler and he has a tendancy to drift away from the original point of a story, which leads to moments of “what the hell is the point again?”.

    But does anybody really feel like it’s been a particularly good year at the movies? I can’t imagine anyone feeling that way.

    Just look at Jeff’s list. I like a solid Doc as much as the next guy. But Jeff’s list consists of:

    Several films that the average american movie goer has not seen yet (Fair Game, Carlos, Biutiful, none of these exactly hollywood fair).

    A handful of docs, some of which are either not out yet or are extremely difficult to find in most of the country.

    And a couple of films whose merits can be debated , none of which are truly GREAT films (Get Low, Inception, Greenberg?, Ghost Writer).

    So, again, if you’re John Q. Public, and you LOVE going to the theater every Saturday for your fix, you look back at what’s been available, I simply don’t see how you can look back and say, “Wow, it’s been a really good year at the movies”.

    Not even close.

  • Chicago48

    The problem starts with the lack of creativity in the U.S. Isn’t it ironic that better movies are being made by foreign writers/directors and then we’re adopting them for our American audience?

    Another problem is that writers don’t write epic novels like Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights. The great writers like Miller and Hemingway are dead and there are no great writers today.

    So we’re left with 2nd level TV writers who are pitching stories that are retreads and uninspired. This is the first time in years that I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve seen. The last two “good” movies I saw was a documentary, Joan Rivers, and an action movie starring a woman, Salt. I have no desire to see any other movies this year because they are retreads and sequels. I’ll wait for DVD.

  • CitizenKanedForPostingThoughts

    “Wait for DVD” to see Inception?!

    Spoken like someone who truly doesn’t care about film.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Inception is the king dick of cock mountain this summer. If you didn’t see it, you might as well admit you don’t care about film at all anymore. It’s easy to grow disillusioned based on 2010’s output so far, but if you are waiting for DVD to see Inception then you might as well not bother seeing anything else.

    It’s like the Academy members that need DVD screeners to decide what were the best films this year. If you can’t pick them out without having them mailed to you, you’re obviously not paying attention.

  • animal bones

    ‘Inception is the king dick of cock mountain this summer.’

    lex lite strikes

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  • kalaokeyer

    the kind of movie that leads to an unexpected comeback, or spirited blog postings or a fawning Barbara Walters interview.

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