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Topics/Questions/Exercises of the week—17 July 2009

Above: Jean-Luc Godard's Made in USA, which taught Michael Bay.

Will You Join Our Crusade: I know you generally need three examples if you're going to cite an emerging trend, but what if you want to stop the trend from happening altogether? Will two do, in that case?

Mere weeks after GreenCine editor Aaron Hillis allowed that he didn't much care for Last Year at Marienbad, Karina Longworth at Spout, taking a more apologetic tone, admits that she's never been able to sit through Minnelli's An American In Paris. (She's not too keen on Leslie Caron, apparently. So Gigi must be out then, too.) So I presume the thing now is that it's not enough to merely extoll the virtues of Humpday; one must also denounce the putatively canonical works whose visual element could be deemed decadent, or even competent. Or am I just projecting here?

I've said this before: If you don't like a given film, you're absolutely entitled to your position, but it never does anybody any good for you to attack an "established" work from a defensive crouch. It's not really as if I care about your opinion that much, you know. If you think you've got the stuff to "take down" a sacred cow, then just do the work and go for it. Neither Stanley Elkin nor Ingmar Bergman, two first rate artists and intellects, had very much use for Citizen Kane, for pity's sake; I don't agree with either of their assessments, but I respect them, in large part because they don't even bother to take into consideration the cinephile disapprobation their opinions are likely to engender. Go and do likewise, my children.

Dog Bites Man, or, Smug Doofus Condescends To Comic Con Attendees: "And for those who go and love to party with the celebs for minutes at a time and the geeks for hours at a time, I salute you. Enjoy. It's your party." Well, thank you, your majesty. Poland's musings, in his typical "watch me say in 600 words what an acual writer could say in 250" style, take issue with the notion that the San Diego event is some sort of kingmaker in the genre picture game.

[Theatrical sigh] I remember when the San Diego con was about comics, a gathering where cats like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Kaluta and Dave Sim and my old friend Elaine Lee would go and meet up and get drunk together for three days straight or so. Then...some time, somewhere, as Joseph Heller would put it, something happened. Probably something to do with San Diego's proximity to Hollywood that helped mutate the thing into a required pilgrimage for anyone making a sci-fi or horror picture. Yeah, that's the ticket. As to whether it's a barometer for box-office success or failure, in the wake of media big and small discovering the event, it's been anointed as an Important Bestower of that Unquantifiable Commodity, Buzz. Make of it what you will. But be careful, lest David Poland laugh in your face. [Even more theatrical sigh] I wonder if any of those comic book guys would even be recognized there anymore...

Hi Dad, I'm In Jail: It looks as if the aforementioned Karina Longworth, and myself are the only two on-line film journos not going to Comic Con. That's not even enough people for a bridge game. Not that I know how to play bridge in the first place. In any event, some dudes who WERE going to Comic Con—a crew from the charming site Film School Rejects—aren't going to make it, 'cause they all managed to get themselves arrested. Hardcore! UPDATE: The whole thing was apparently a hoax, filched from the imagination of...Aaron Sorkin? Does this mean I have to start watching more network television so I can keep up? No? Thanks!

Armond White-ism Of The Week: The Armond White-ism Of The Week is suspended this week. There is no Armond White-ism Of The Week.

"But Glenn," you sputter, "this was the week in which Armond White came up with what is possibly the greatest Armond White-ism Of The Week ever! This is the week that Armond White actually favorably compared Michael Bay's Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen to Godard's Made in U.S.A. and Two or Three Things I Know About Her, and said of the three films, 'What a triple bill.' If THAT doesn't qualify as primo Armond, we don't know what does!"

Well, exactly. The assertion that "It is Godard’s bold example that taught Bay to love sound and image" is such a perfect combination of fiction-propogating arrogance and shithouse-rat crazy that I can only conclude that Mr. White has become aware of this column at The Auteurs, and is making stuff up just to bait us. Well, I'm not rising to it, sir. Go peddle that stuff elsewhere. We'll look for you next week.

Thirty-Eight: At Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, that's how many questions Dennis Cozzalio has for you. It's quiz time again over there. SLATIFR quizzes aren't like other quizzes, so much as they are like...aptitude tests. Except there are no wrong answers. I think. Check it out, you'll get the hang of it.

In Other News: Jeffrey Wells still hates fat people. One of the principle characters of Nora Ephron's upcoming Julie and Julia is a major slut puppy. You are a pervert.

Perhaps Heinously Unfair Exercise Of The Week: Leslie Mann is to Judd Apatow as Nanette Newman is to Bryan Forbes. Or is God gonna get me for that?

Venice Film Festival Selections: Are up for discussion. And possibly salivating. New work by Claire Denis, Jacques Rivette, Joe Dante, maybe even George Romero. An opportunity for an awesome Lido brawl if Abel Ferrara and Werner Herzog run into each other—Herzog's bringing his Bad Lieutenant rethink, which Ferrarra has expressed extreme disapproval of, while antic Abel may show a doc on Naples there. This festival apparently remains completely uninfluenced by Comic Con. God is surely going to get me if I brag to you that I've already seen three of the six selections Edmund Mullins salivates over in his Black Book consideration.

Oh my, that Venice line-up is looking sweet. I hope all that good stuff trickles over to Toronto and then New York! A Ferrara-Herzog dust-up would be a dream come true.
Ferrara would be in trouble if a fight develops, Herzog is a Man of Steel! Bullets just bounce off!
Armond White’s a jerk.
Glenn, I personally debunked the Film School Rejects fellows’ “we got arrested” sham as a subplot they stole from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It wasn’t obvious until the town of “Pahrump, Nevada” came up in their Twitterings (allegedly from inside the jail).
“Leslie Mann is to Judd Apatow as Nanette Newman is to Bryan Forbes.” Or Rebecca Pidgeon is to David Mamet.
A fun game to play: look up the reviews of “Humpday” and then the same critic’s opinion of “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”. It’s an instructive exercise in how marketing to critics makes a difference, as they’re pretty much the same movie.

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