August 09, 2008

Only three "licenses" allowed?

Another followup to my posting on why people believe movies. Read the previous posting first if you want to know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're all set, let's continue with the demolition of writer Russell Bates.

Good vs. bad fantasies

Russ keeps arguing that (he thinks) the debate is between cinematic fantasy and historical reality. He was wrong the last few times he offered this inane argument and he's still wrong. The actual debate is between good cinematic fantasies and bad ones. Between those that are authentic and those that aren't.

We can define "good" as any factor that contributes to verisimilitude and encourages suspension of disbelief. Historical accuracy is one such factor, which is why every filmmaker (except the occasional Terry Gilliam) seeks it. Realism is a huge selling point for audiences, critics, parents, and educators--not to mention the Academy voters who hand out the Oscars.

Again, this is a point Russ can't or won't address, as we saw in the King Lollipop in Comanche Moon thread. He has no explanation for why filmmakers film on location, develop elaborate sets and costumes, or hire culture and language experts. Based on his "logic," none of this expensive effort is worth it.

Incredibly, Russ comes up with a formula for the number of times a filmmaker can "lie" (i.e., take fictional license). Three times, says Russ. So what's his excuse when critics point out five, 10, or 20 fictional flaws in a movie like Apocalypto? According to his own formula, that's more than enough mistakes to ruin a movie.

If he understood what he was saying, he'd agree with me whenever a filmmaker exceeds the limits of good filmmaking--the limits he just defined. But you won't see him admitting this. He's too much of an intellectual coward to explain or justify his nonsense.

No, he'd much rather denigrate criticism than debate it. It's as if he's paid by the word to carp and complain. Would you like some cheese with that whine, crybaby?

Russ the Hollywood hack

As we've seen before, Russ's philosophy is: If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger. One has to wonder why. Here's my theory:

It's clear Russ has never met a critique he liked. As regular readers know, he usually rushes to defend Hollywood filmmakers. Not coincidentally, these are the people who pay his bills.

So Russ has a blatant conflict of interest. No wonder he serves as unofficial spokesman for the white establishment. He's too afraid to bite the hand that feeds him. If he criticizes, say, the Kennedy-Marshall people who pay him to keep his Anasazi script off the screen, they may kick him off the gravy train. He may lose the checks he "earns" for sitting on his butt doing nothing.

As I've said before, Russ doesn't know criticism. That's why I've spent so much time educating Russ about criticism. Even if he never gets the point, which seems the likely outcome, please enjoy my popping of his hot-air balloons.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies and Why Does Rob Keep Criticizing?

Below:  One of dozens of historical flaws in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
What writerfella is trying to communicate to you is that you cannot understand films if you only are a consumer and not a participant. There is no simpler theory nor a simpler grasp, period. You are judging 'art' but are not one of the artists. That rather is like someone who judges history without having experienced that history themselves. You are a latecomer, arriving on the scene AFTER the event portrayed has occurred, but yet you evaluate that event anyway. Movies are the result of processes that you have not experienced and thus cannot know. But you disregard all of that and pretend that you were there. That implies an omniscience or basic knowledge that you cannot possibly possess...
All Best
Russ Bates

dmarks said...

Rob, I propose you spend a couple of hours writing a "Peace Party" screenplay. Submit it somewhere, anywhere. Don't even worry or wait for it to be accepted or rejected. Then, you will have become a participant, not merely a consumer.

This will qualify you for reviewing movies.

By the way, about Roger Ebert. I check into his former reviewing partner, Gene Siskel, and I find no evidence of screenplays. Does this render him useless as a film critic, and Roger Ebert should have done that TV show alone?

In another vast entertainment field, music, probably the most pre-eminent critic is Robert Christgau. However, like with Gene Siskel, he too is nothing other than a consumer of music. Does this mean he is worthless also?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
No one, dMarks, said that 'opinion' is worthless without experience. Rather, writerfella said that if 'opinion' is uninformed, all that it is is 'opinion.' Opinions are like elbows; everyone has at least two...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

What I'm trying to tell you, Russ, is that your theory about only three creative "licenses" allowed is idiotic. In fact, I don't believe it exists except in your addled imagination. Which may explain why you didn't try to defend it.

When you talk about judging history, do you mean judging things like the war in Iraq? I guess you'll stop expressing opinions on that subject, since you've never experienced it personally. Either that or you'll continue to be a raving hypocrite.

I'm not judging how movies are made, bright boy. I'm judging what I see on the screen. Going by your brain-dead "logic," one has to make a recipe before tasting the resulting dish. Is that really your position, or are you just too stupid to understand what you're saying?

Too stupid is the likely answer. Apparently you were too stupid to understand the part where I said I've tried writing screenplays before. In fact, you were too stupid to address any of the points in my Only Filmmakers Can Judge Films? posting. I suggest people read it again for the final word on the subject.