Listen Up, Dimwits!!!
For all fans of “mumblecore” and Miranda July, it’s time to see how a real movie is made. The Assassination of Jesse James will be my number one movie of the year. I also recently viewed Straight Time on DVD for the first time, though that stands as what may be my 33rd time to watch it. Worth it for the short Edward Bunker/making-of documentary alone, this was also one of the only instances in which I’ve endured a commentary feature (the other notable example: R. Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet). Dustin Hoffman and Ulu Grosbard fire off loose but fascinating facts about this overlooked classic. Then there’s Mamet. You are reading the unfocused ramblings of a David Mamet fanatic, and he is now mentioned because, at this very moment, I’m watching House of Games.
This all-around level of quality causes me to further dismiss what’s considered “indie” and especially the ”mumblecore” idiocy that resides under its umbrella. I recently attended a local film festival – an “indie” film festival - in which I viewed a couple of films that disturbed me to the core with ineptitude, lack of meaning, lack of talent, and a troublesome dearth of original ideas. One of these films won. Executing a script in which nothing happens, something intentional and done with pride, is not an admiral feat. Supporters and practitioners of Mumblecore need to disappear if films, films as a whole, are to move in decent direction.
This being a Southern film festival, there was the requisite yet infuriating degree of slumming. I have no time for morons dressed up like rednecks, country-sounding pseudonyms, or any other example of Southern exploitation carried out by hipsters unfamiliar with rural existences or that hail from another part of the country. I’m a little regionally protective, thus naturally appalled by this type of crap. Actually, no, you are not allowed to do these things even if you are from the South. Check your presentation. If anything, it’s tired and boring. Another problem with these films (and their makers) is the calculated ignorance and dignified Luddite drive. People that make films should watch films. They should also watch TV. A paltry frame of reference is not beneficial or something to be proud of. It makes you what you are: Illiterate in your field. Many of these filmmakers like to state this bit of applesauce: “I make movies for myself, not for other people.” I’ll leave you with that bit of nonsense.