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Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Brandon Conway, May 7, 2008.
No 3D no sale !
Hey Gang! The new Criterion Closet Picks is up, with John Waters. Thought I'd paste a link here for those who haven't seen it.
Mr. Waters tells a great Shirley Stoller story (I can confirm that's exactly how she behaved in public to everyone she met);
and at the end, Mr. Waters states unequivocally that "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" is "the greatest film ever made."
I couldn't agree with him more, though I'm aware that opinion will be controversial to some posters here.
John Waters speaks the truth.
What I found especially interesting in John Waters' comments about "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" was how he credited Roger Ebert's screenplay with setting the tone stylistically, as well as philosophically, for the film, and how Mr. Ebert's criticism was more or less the antithesis of that approach.
In particular, I remember watching "Siskel & Ebert" on PBS the night they reviewed "Blue Velvet." Siskel, of course, loved it, while Ebert went red in the face and began pounding on the table repeating the sentence: "You can not mix violence with humor!", even though that's exactly what he did in his screenplay for "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" almost continuously, starting from the very first shot!
Speaking of that kind of tone deaf and color blind, not to mention stylistically and historically oblivious film criticism in terms of Mr. Waters' own work, I read the chief Criterion reviewer on that other site thoughts on "Polyester," & he came down hard on the film for being amateurish, with wild mood and tone swings from one moment to the next, with the ensemble acting having no consistency or sense of character, with Divine and Tab Hunter having no chemistry, and with the film visually parodying various styles of Hollywood melodrama including Sirk without delving into the meaning or emotions of those styles; not realizing that what he sees as detriments are the raison d'etre of Mr. Water's style.
The whole point of "Polyester", whether or not one approves of it, is to be amateurish, tasteless and wildly inconsistent, and specifically to document the reality of the people, such as Divine & Mink Stole & also Tab Hunter, that Mr. Waters likes, letting these performer's contrasting styles determine the shape of the film, and their little "arias" to punch holes in any kind of "realist" aesthetic or fictional reality. The fact that there is really no chemistry between Tab Hunter and Divine in terms of their fictional characters isn't a flaw so much as an aesthetic strategy. I was about to write that praising such a foreign art director as Kon Ichikawa for "fragmentation" while criticizing John Waters for doing the same exact thing is hypocritical, but then I remembered this particular reviewer also hated "An Actor's Revenge" and had no idea what strategies the director was purposely using.
Anyway, this was on my mind.
That reviewer has a reputation for being, well, an idiot.
I don't know what it says about me but Waters' picks are the closest to any that I've seen from anyone in those closet videos. Everyone else is way more highbrow than me.
Should there be any doubt as to his utter incomprehension of humour, bear in mind that he hardly rated This Is Spinal Tap any higher:
Thanks for the link to that Spinal Tap review. It's pretty funny in a stupid kind of way (though not as funny as the film, which is a magnificent romp through the outer reaches of rock).
Well, Criterion caters to two audiences; the classy and the culty. The classy is mostly due to the fact that Criterion was started as an home video adjunct of Janus; whose specialty was European Art cinema (Fellini, Bergman, Antonioni) & Classic Hollywood and British films ("Citizen Kane", "The Prisoner of Zenda", "The 39 Steps") before Ted Turner bought the RKO library.
John Water's five selections were mostly hardcore cult: "Fire Walk With Me", "The Honeymoon Killers (which opened at the Lyric on 42nd Street, far removed from Janus' usual espresso-art house circuit) "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (which opened across 42nd Street at the New Amsterdam during its pre-Disney, grindhouse phase) & "The Blob". The only highbrow film John Waters included was 81/2, and his take on it was definitely cult-oriented. "Oh, this was the best film to see on Acid, especially Barbara Steele. Such cheekbones!"
Finally, rather than talking about how these films contributed to "the art of cinema", John Waters talks about his personal memories, which is really what these film are all about: discovering Burt Bacharach through the title song of "The Blob", learning to kiss while watching "Pandora and the Flying Dutchman" with your high school sweetheart, or discovering that hitching cross-country is kind of dangerous by watching "Detour" (btw, the only essential cult film that wasn't on John Waters' commendable list.) If you want five films (omitting "Fire Walk With Me" & replacing it with "Detour") that influenced our generation of filmmakers and moviegoers, from Martin Scorsese to Johnathan Demme to Joe Dante, this is it.
PS: the other Criterion Closet Picks video I liked was Laurie Andersen, because once again, it was autobiographical; plus I love listening to her voice.
I was a roadie for like five minutes in a past life... Spinal Tap is a horror film
My favorite scene is where they can't find the green room. I worked box office many years ago in a small concert hall and that actually happened.
It happened to us one night as well...
December's UK releases:
On the Waterfront
La Jetée/San Soleil
Dana Stevens tweeted that she is writing the essay on Holiday for Criterion
and newsletter clue (Fail Safe)
Are you sure it's not
Safe at Home ?
Not likely to be "Lord Love a Duck".
The catholic cathedral in Santa Fe has a Star of David on it. Long story.
Yes, I am usually horrible at guessing these, and my first immediate reaction was Fail Safe.
If it is Fail Safe, I’m extremely excited! I still have the old DVD and the made for tv remake on DVD. It would be great if the tv version was a supplement. I remember watching that live. Fonda, Hagman, Matthau, etc were great in the original film.
Now if we could get Advise and Consent soon as well!
FAILSAFE smacks of a DR. STRANGLOVE rip-off. Or the other way around. I don’t know which one came first.