Sunday, January 16, 2000

January 16, 2000

Archived update from Cigarettes & Coffee, run by Greg Mariotti & CJ Wallis from 1999-2005

Things are getting vicious over at Kevin Smith (Dogma, Chasing Amy, Clerks) website and more specifically his posting board. There have been many positive posts about Magnolia and Kevin & his director pal Vincent Pereira (A Better Place) has took the opportunity to not only say he did not like the film (he called it the worst film of the year) but really had  some harsh things about the movie and Paul Thomas Anderson. I don't want to fling mud here as Kevin is entitled to his opinion of not liking the film but I think he stepped over the line with some of his comments: Here are just a few from the posting board:
Poster: Out of all of your films, is there one particular scene or moment that you absolutely cringe at... just an awful moment. "What was I thinking???"
Kevin Smith: The scene where I had the little boy come into his father's room and insist he be treated better.
Oh wait - that wasn't me.
There are a few moments in all the stuff we've done that I shake my head at. Can't call any to mind right now, though, but I know I've spotted my share.
Poster: I guess I'm in the minority on this board, but I think 'Magnolia' was insanely brilliant.
Kevin Smith: Oh, good Lord. There's the 'B' word being thrown around again. And as wildly inappropriate as it is when people use it in reference to our stuff, in the example you've put forward, Neil, it's just plain daffy.
Poster: I've seen it 3 times so far
Kevin Smith: You poor, poor man.
They sent me an Academy screener DVD this week. I'll never watch it again, but I will keep it. I'll keep it right on my desk, as a constant reminder that a bloated sense of self-importance is the most unattractive quality in a person or their work.
Poster: To each his own, I guess.
Kevin Smith: Too true. I'm sure there are folks out there who regard 'Detroit Rock City' as the best movie ever made too.
Hell - there are folks who post here who regard 'Mallrats' as the best movie ever made.
In the words of Will Hunting...
"Fucking people baffle me."
Kevin Smith: This 'Magnolia' nonesuch has got to stop. I don't get some of you people. If you're a fan of 'Magnolia', God bless you. I'm not. But why is that such a stone in your shoe? Hell from the tone of some of these posts and some of the email I've gotten, it's apparently a stone up the ass of some people.
Is that what rabid fandom is like? Do those of you who claim to be big fans of what we do at View Askew behave in the same manner as some of these P.T. Anderson apostles - by attacking those that don't agree with you and demanding justice for a fucking opinion? If so, then you do me and mine no good service, and I request that you stop being fans.
Honestly - who gives a fuck. It's an unfair world. There is no justice. And half the time, you're going to be in a minority. People will not always agree with your opinion. Shit - in the case of this flick, I say I don't like it, and I've suddenly got a gaggle of you attacking my character, as well as my craft! Honestly - I've got assholes shooting off their mouths with shit like "You only WISH you were as good as P.T.!" What am I - nine years old? Is this the fourth grade? Some dick-lick even went so far as to EMAIL me his post from the board, so I wouldn't miss it; a post, I might add, that maintained I couldn't taste the shit on Anderson's heels - so lousy an auteur am I in comparison. What the fuck possesses some people, I ask you?
Hey man, I enjoy 'Boogie Nights'. I didn't enjoy 'Magnolia'. Maybe I'll cream my pants over the guy's next flick. But sweet Christmas! What the fuck do you care? You liked 'Magnolia'? Wonderful. I hope it illuminated your darkness in some way and fuel-injected three hours and change of joy into your engine. Me? I found it to be cinematic root canal. I'll take 'Short Cuts' any old day. There are very few movies that make me want lost time back, and that movie tops the list.
Oh, you precious but pesky few who feel maligned if 'Magnolia' is questioned! From beyond my rage I thank and bless you - for this has been a life-changing, eye-opening experience for me. If this is what rabid fans are like, then I don't want any. Oh, defenders of my imagined cinematic crown, please don't do me any favors in the face of those who'd blah-blah-blah about what shite I be! I can fight my own battles. And I've gotta tell you: someone not digging what I do is not a war that needs waging. That's film. That's art. That's life. You make something and put it on display, you get some people nodding and some people shaking their heads. What a better world it'd be if it could stop at that, as opposed to the nodders and the shakers clawing at one another's throats for having different (not better or worse) tastes.
I only wish it were a line I'd written, but again...
"Fucking people baffle me."
Vincent Pereira: P.T. Anderson's "style" is a direct lift of Martin Scorsese's style, only P.T. doesn't know how to use it. Sure, MAGNOLIA was chuck full of LONG steadicam shots, "dramatic" push-ins, and various other little tricks, but to what end? NONE of these devices were well used in the film- they ALL called attention to themselves. If Kevin wanted to be self-conscious, he could wildly throw around the camera too because it's "cool", but you know what? He doesn't need to dress his films up with a bunch of window-dressing to make them interesting. Take away all the overbearing "style" and what have you got with MAGNOLIA? Three still boring, but less annoyingly self-consciously "cool" hours of tripe. Every camera move in MAGNOLIA seems to serve but one purpose- P.T. Anderson looking at us and jumping up and down exclaiming- "LOOK! I did a steadicam shot like the one in GOODFELLAS! I'm cool, right? RIGHT??"
Actually, he's probably saying he hasn't seen any of those movies- there's a boatload of movies that I'm sure were really bad that I didn't see this year, because I had no interest in seeing them. MAGNOLIA is the worst kind of failure, because it's such a self-conscious, insincere attempt to be "meaningful" and "important", and it fails so badly because P.T. doesn't have his heart in any of it, and it shows.
Ricky Jay on the X-files
That's right the man himself will be featured on tonight's episode as an illusionist! Hey you might as well get one of the best if you're going to do an episode about magic. Check your local listings!
Reilly and Hoffman to the Stage
John C. Reilly and Philip Seymour Hoffman will return to the stage as feuding brothers in Matthew Warchus' staging of Sam Shepard's True West. When I can get some dates and ticket information, I will post that here but I believe this will be in New York.


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