Black Spot

A distribution guy who knows everyone and has been around forever saw Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life a good while ago, and while discussing it with a friend several weeks ago said somewhat perfunctorily, “I’m a fan.” Now, you have to understand what it means when a distribution exec says “I’m a fan.” That’s like some dude who’s just gone out on a blind date saying the next morning that the girl has a nice personality. It means (a) the film has problems, (b) the distribution guy is being polite, and (c) he doesn’t want to say anything too strong for fear of being identified as a rapt admirer. (I almost said “raptor” admirer but that’s another thread.)

14 thoughts on “Black Spot

  1. JLC on said:

    The fastest flip-flop since King Kong.

  2. Jeff — how many distrib. guys are Movie Catholics?

    I don’t pretend to know the answer; I am just asking.

  3. I’m also convinced. A three-word, positive review from an anonymous distribution exec? It’s obviously a piece of shit.

  4. A old-timey boom-operator, a guy who’s been holding the stick in this town since the Silent Era, saw The Tree of Life and gave it two thumbs up. Only thing is, that boom operator lost his right thumb in the late seventies. Draw your own conclusions.

  5. Or maybe it just means he’s too dense to appreciate it on any level greater than generally being a “fan” of it.

    Guys who distribute movies for a living don’t necessarily understand cinema any more than the guys who unload the trucks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art understand sculpture.

    If you are implying that Tree of Life won’t be burning up the box office, I don’t think that’s going to come as news to anybody. Just because he’s using Brad Pitt and special effects doesn’t mean that Malick is moving out of his wheelhouse. This is an Art film with a capital ‘A.’ Yes, it will lose money in the short term.

    I think that you should simply forget that this film exists, Wells. It’s not for you. If Certified Copy was over your head, I don’t think you have a prayer with Tree of Life. Fear not though; I’m sure Doug Liman and Philip Noyce are cooking up something just for you right now.

  6. The fastest flip-flop since King Kong.

    Never forget– he SAW King Kong first, raved about it, THEN changed his mind after it tanked with all the other critics.

    He didn’t even make it that far this time. Getting efficient.

  7. Considering how big a sheep wells is I’d guess he’s secretly in the Tea Party and writes Sarah Palin fan-fiction.

  8. JAODIAW: I think Jeff genuinely *liked* King Kong, but didn’t feel like it offered much replay value, especially upon rewatching the original film.

  9. Jeff – based on the top few articles on the site right now, it seems as if you’ve successfully reached a new plateau of film criticism, one where you not only don’t need to see the movies to forge your opinion, but where your reviews would actually be hindered by seeing them.

    It must be nice how this coincides with you getting less and less invitations to advance screenings.

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