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David Poland

By David Poland

Have You Been Reading Slate's Movie Club?

I’m going to reserve my comments for another moment, but if you haven’t been reading, you haven’t been inside baseball this year.

Take a look and post some thoughts…

Day One | Day Two

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31 Responses to “Have You Been Reading Slate's Movie Club?”

  1. bicycle bob says:

    don’t those guys know how to have a little fun? its like they just like hearing themselves talk. and about nothing.

  2. Martin says:

    damn these guys are boring

  3. Marc says:

    Armond White comes off as such a fucking prick. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I miss Manohla.

  4. teambanzai says:

    Maybe they can spruce it up by changing the name from the lame movie club to Cross Fire, CNN has no use for the name anymore. Of course even then it would still be a pointless column. I can’t wait for future topics such as, oh I don’t know which junket had the best food and why, or hey you stole my question for Tom Cruise. Excuse me I have to go take something to stop my head from hurting after reading movie club.

  5. Dan R% says:

    I’m no pro critic, but I do like to review films for the friends of mine that are interested (which I send out in email format), and what really disturbs me about their conversation over there is relegating the young voices, like myself, to nothing better than a hipster.
    Why can’t I like a certain movie? Yes I really enjoyed ‘Before Sunset’, and what’ll really rot their socks is that I watched it before I watched ‘Before Sunrise’. I had no emotional attatchment to those characters before, but I certainly did afterwards, and eagerly watched the predecessor.
    And to those who say ‘Sideways’ only appeals to middle aged critics, well I reject that. I’m not too close to middle age (at least I hope not), and I responded to the film. There were nuggets of truth sprinkled throughout the piece…one of the prime examples that still remains with me is when Jack breaks down because he doesn’t want to face his bride to be without a ring. There seemed to be real remorse, and for a moment I didn’t care if he was just acting to get Miles to recover the ring. It spoke to me and I identified with that emotion.
    I read through all three days so far, and I’ll be reading some more for sure of what the Movie Club has to say. Unfortunately a lot of it just seems to be middle aged critics sitting around waiting for affirmation that their viewpoints mean a damn.

  6. Jim says:

    Gee, I dunno, I find it very interesting — not everything on the web has to be of interest to everybody, and I respect their self-conscious anxiety that film criticism should mean something (one that David has as well, usually) I’ve enjoyed reading their discussion and will continue to do so…I love “Before Sunset,” and don’t mind one bit anything they have to say…I’m enjoying it quite a bit..

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s fun to read for the most part, but I find myself strongly disagreeing with most of them most of the time. I am confounded by some of the movies they hate, like Before Sunrise. And Sideways appeals to people of all-ages and both genders. To state otherwise is just plain wrong. My female friends in their 20s loved it. My mom loved it. Everyone I know loved it. So regardless of someone’s personal feelings about the movie’s quality, it does appeal to a wide variety of ages, and both men and women.

  8. Geek, Esq. says:

    The meek shall inherit the Earth, but they have no business in that circular firing squad.

  9. right says:

    They’re doing a bit too much naval-gazing this week. Last year’s Movie Club was a much more interesting on the merits of actual movies – not all this meta-criticism crap.

  10. Clay says:

    I believe only one of them (Armond) dislikes Before Sunset. The rest all had it in their top five films of the year. But yeah, he’s a prick.

  11. Martin says:

    Before Sunset did kinda suck so Armond got one right.

  12. Sung says:

    I agree with a lot of what they say but disagree with even more. As fascinating as I find the discussion, I think they should change their title to the Film Club. What I want is an honest and intelligent conversation about the Movies they love and why they loved them, not some self-absorbed bickering about each other and each other’s favorite Films.

  13. bicycle bob says:

    nothing more smug than before sunset. talk about boring. i’d rather read slates movie critics one more time

  14. Nathaniel R says:

    I’ve been reading but unlike previous years I haven’t been enjoying. There’s way too much vitriol this year. Total contempt for opinions they don’t share. Strange discussion. Leaves a sour aftertaste.
    Too bad too because I don’t want it to sour me on their writing but they seem like really hateful people.

  15. Mark says:

    Any movie/industry discussion without Big Dave is for the birds. This discussion of writers is like having an acting seminar and inviting Pauly Shore, Carrot top and anyone from the Real World. They left out the quality.

  16. Sean says:

    I think this is Armond White’s Jon Stewart/Crossfire moment. He has his views about what is “hurting” film crit culture and is articulating them as clearly as he is able. Right or wrong, sane or loony, he’s staking his claim about what he thinks his profession should look like.

  17. David Poland says:

    Armond IS Crossfire. And I kind of like that about him.
    I would be really interested in perspectives about why this year’s Movie Club does seem to be different.

  18. Mark says:

    Stewarts show was a lot funnier before he got all this acclaim for being funny and above the fray. Its taken a turn for the worse as he tries to live up to his billing as Mr Political Comedy.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    How has it changed? I don’t have cable and only see it sporadically.

  20. Dan R% says:

    Mark –
    I’d noticed that some of the Daily Show episodes had lost a bit of their edge throughout the fall. They seemed to be getting too distracted with their own popularity and it was them just trying too hard.
    But the first few episodes of this new year seem to have a new invigorated life force to them. I’m optimistic that it’s gonna be better than the past few months.

  21. L&DB says:

    Before Sunset might be as far from smug as one
    movie can get. I might be speculating on this
    point BOB, but did Delphy’s anti-American statements
    rub ye the wrong way? A great movie. I really
    do hope in 10 years we get the MARRIED version.
    Just for the curiousty of it all.
    If Sideways is a movie for all ages and genders.
    Then apparently I have entered a bizarro universe.
    Where movies that meander, with good performance
    that add nothing to the film besides making it
    more like a Lifetime movie, have become crowd pleaser.
    But I have an bad feeling that film will make
    money when it opens wide. Thus proving me wrong.
    I still will dislike it the film though!

  22. Jim says:

    I can’t offer a comment on the differences, cuz this is the 1st time I’ve been reading it (thanks to MCN link!) — I think there is an “intellectual” slant to it that some are offended/bored/aggravated by, with the critics doing a very postmodern deconstruction of what they’re doing before they’re actually doing much anything! For example, being a New Yorker, I knew at least that Edelstein and White were “Paulettes,” and I guess they were afraid some like me would hold it against them(?)….but they spent a lot of time on those and other subjects defining themselves that seem likely to leave a lot of head-scratching going on from some readers…but as I said earlier, not everything has to be for everyone, and I like their somewhat involved and lengthy, somewhat academic discussions…and if it’s “inside baseball” (now there’s an obscure term a lot of us are throwing around!), so what? If you’re allergic, stay away! I doubt too many Movie City News and Hot Button readers are anti-inside baseball…

  23. bicycle bob says:

    before sunset is an amazing borefest. to even say its one of the best movies is a slap in the face of all movies that actually do the unthinkable. entertain. thanks for ur insight “LDB”. but i’d rather watch the acting of the robot in short circuit than any wooden performance of ethan hawke. thanks “LDB”.

  24. bicycle bob says:

    before sunset is an amazing borefest that is maybe the smugest movie of the year. it doesn’t do the one thing every movie should. entertain! i’d rather watch the robot in short circuit before any ethan hawke performance. thanks though “LDB”

  25. Sean says:

    What I meant by saying it was Armon’d JS/Crossfire moment is that he gets to talk to an audience that hasn’t previously sought him out, and takes the opportunity to speak truth to power in so doing. Like everyone else, I’m of two minds about his “rightness,” but I have always found him very bracing and engaging in positive ways.

  26. Mark says:

    Without this showing us the way I don’t think anyone would have found the Slate site.

  27. Jeff says:

    One thing hurting the forum this year is a lack of Ebert, I think. He has a clear viewpoint and personality, whether you like his tastes or not. Aside from Armond, all the guys this year sound like exactly the same person.
    As for Armond, it’s funny that so much of the discussion was centered around him and his pet issues. Even though he’s incredibly smart and interesting to read, he also is a bully, suffers from remarkable tunnel-vision, and seems to have no room in his life for anything but FILM and therefore hardly bothers with socializing, banter, or other pleasantries. I bet he’s a pain in real life, especially if you try to talk to him about anything OTHER than film.
    At least he’s not a snob like Rosenbaum though.

  28. says:

    Given that Edelstein, Zacharek & Taylor are three of the most worthless film critics out there, this Movie Club can only be an intellectual black hole from which no enlightenment can escape. Taken individually, their reviews are inane, hipster-wannabe tripe, so I can only imagine — with horror and loathing — the self-congratulatory wankfest that results from this nightmarish team-up.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    You can tell how proud of themselves they are for bashing movies like Dogville, Before Sunset, Million $ Baby, among others, while praising Mr. 3000 and Mean Girls, among others. They think they are aware of things no one else gets.

  30. Mark says:

    Elitist reporters. Only they can see the “flaws” in Million Dollar Baby and only they can see the greatness of Mean Girls. How can we be so blind!

  31. Stella's Boy says:

    It’s not their opinions, but the way they express them, the way they pat themselves on the back and act like only they are privy to certain things.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

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