Posted by Brunetta--aka Badassfuckinetta at sa-lib50-162.sonoma.edu on May 01, 2004 at 17:45:04:
In Reply to: Done licking my wounds posted by Kevin on April 30, 2004 at 13:39:16:
I know I speak from purely a fan's point of view but when seeing a movie of a filmmaker I admire--no matter how much I may admire them--at the end of the day the movie speaks for itself for me. I mean, I like all your movies in various degrees when I couldn't even say that to those I keep such asteem as yourself. I adored "Chasing Amy" and saw it 5 times. I found "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" very funny but saw it only once in the theater (but many times over on DVD, where it served as a sweet comfy movie to me). "Jersey Girl" though I saw 6 times. I just love the movie, simply put. My sixth viewing last weekend yealded just as much entertainment, joy and heart then any other time. I honestly am perplexed as to how it slipped away in the eyes of the critics. I wish the TV spots didn't try to make it out to me a romp but rather a quirky dramady (ala the marketing of "Jerry Maguire"--emphasizing Ollie's insecurities and contradictions rather that googling at Maya since she's simply delightful support in the movie rather than the movie itself). But that might have been a ballsier sell. I don't know.
As for the critics over the years I just can't understand how they can be so detached from a movie of personal significance and be so kind and gentle to the most distant cynical trash. Seeing "The Girl Next Door" last February I thought it was quite lame and surely thought the critics would rip it the new asshole it rightly deserved. Unfortunately that wasn't so when it openned last month. Some critics loved it, some had major issues with the movie yet recanted in the end of their critiques saying it's overall servicable and recommended it (like Owen Glieberman). When I saw that it got a "fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes I thought "What is film criticism coming to?" As fun as Desson Thomson's (formerly Howe) reviews can be to read judging from his review of "The Girl Next Door" it just showed that he'll give himself over to a movie that plays cynically while keeping cautious detachment over a movie that wears its heart on its sleave (like "Jersey Girl"). His biases clearly shows, and he doesn't hold them into account and question them when put to the test like a great critic would (such as Ebert or Andrew Sarris). All it took was Thomson's quote describing how happy he was to hear music from when he grew up in "The Girl Next Door" and how it allowed him to enjoy the movie more. All I could think about after hearing one underappreciated classic song after the other in that movie (no matter how much I may love those songs otherwise) was how smug and pandering the film was--that it was out to get a demographic of males that could buy R-rated tickets and convince itself how smart and unique it is by the music it has ("Look, we got an implausable prom scene featuring Donovan's 'Atlantis'? How fuckin' cool is that?!") I was cynical about that since the movie is overall cynical about everything else (not to mention just flat out dumb about relationships and topics concerning ethics--something the far better "Risky Business" succeeded admirably on both accounts). But critics tend to go against the grain of a films attitude, I guess. If the movie is cynical (nomatter how good or bad it is) they'll instead look at it more positively to go against the grain of the movie to make themselves visible. Yet if a movie is full of heart and hope they'll bust out their daggers, to again make their voice stand out against the voice of the filmmakers. Maybe it's because film critics are out to have a unique voice of their own to distinguish themselves from others (since there seems to be more of them than ever) so they don't want to play in to what the movie is doing but approach it from another perspective, so the reader can tell the difference between the critic's perception and the movie itself.
All I can repeat is "Thank God for Roger Ebert", who loved "Jersey Girl" and HATED "The Girl Next Door". He seems to do what a film critic should: see a movie, accept what it does, then figure out if it's successful in how it achieves its goal (and argue whether the goal itself holds water). Like I said, "Jersey Girl" isn't the first "one from the heart" movie that was savaged by many. Our beloved "Moonlight Mile" got some great reviews by a few (including Ebert) and was panned by many (including Travers, Kenny, Turan, Glieberman, etc.) Last year's "In America" got plenty of raves but many were lukewarm about it (such as the NY Times review--I think by Scott, and Travers) who liked the movie overall despite what those critics thought were the sentiment--the films intentions to be harrowingly optomistic (like that's bad). To quote good ol' Maguire "We live in a cynical world. A CYNICAL WORLD." What Ebert and Sarris prove is that to assert yourself in a review is to take into account the movie and yourself seperately (to keep their biases in check), not JUST taking into account the movie through simply your own perception (that's only a part of what film criticism should be).
If there's any good in this is that "The Girl Next Door" BOMBED. Not even the raves of critics or the promise of T&A could save it.
I guess why I wrote so much is that I sincerely hope Kevin you don't take this labor of love of yours too hard because it didn't live up to a few expectations. To quote another character on the perception of the overall moviegoing public and critics: "You're a fickle broad." Sometimes kids grow up to be something you didn't expect with so much hope and love. At the end of the day I hope you love your "Jersey Girl" for what it is. Many of us do. And like every other movie of yours it just whets my appetite, leaving me with great anticipation to see whatever it is you got coming our way next. Onward and upward indeed. I'd love the opportunity to see the next movie of yours.
: Meantime, I know I'm a little late, but wasn't "Kill Bill, Vol. 2" just fantastic?
It was. I loved it. Saw it twice. Better than even the first one. The last half hour or so is just perfection--one of the great finales to any movie saga.
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