Monday, March 15, 2010

Unsupported, Indefensible and
Just. Plain. Rude.


Film writers, critics and bloggers, like myself, spend a lot of time thinking about how a review or essay they've written will be received. I know I've edited and re-edited and re-re-edited a review so as not to come off as too belligerent or condescending, especially when I am aware that my opinion of a given movie runs counter to the general consensus. In those cases I am extra careful to phrase my opinions carefully and do my best to support my opinions with evidence, solid and verifiable, that the reader can examine for him or herself. It can be draining and it is often times much easier to just take an older film, one that everyone likes and give it an excellent write-up. No concerns, no controversy, no disagreements.

But sometimes, the eggshells get harder and harder to walk on and you just want to scream, "Screw it! Here's what I think and I have nothing to back it up. Nothing! But guess what? I'm still going to say it!"

So allow me to present the Cinema Styles Baseless Opinion Dirty Dozen! If you disagree with anything written below, who cares? Really, who cares?! It's baseless! I know that, you know that. Baseless opinion can be a good thing as long as we all acknowledge it is just that, baseless, and don't try and pretend it means anything or has any evidential or factual validity, which is why Jeffrey Wells would never qualify for this little exercise, ever. Let us begin.

1. I think Vivien Leigh did a better job as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire than Jessica Tandy and I've never even seen Jessica Tandy in the role! That's insane! How can I make that judgment? Easy, Leigh had difficult depression issues she had to deal with in real life that I can almost see her bring that to the role when I watch her in the film version. That final scene is heartbreaking the way Leigh plays it and I just can't see Tandy making me feel the same thing. And I can't back that up in any possible way! Fun times! Get ready for more!

2. Hey, speaking of stage to screen roles, know what? I'm glad Audrey Hepburn got cast as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. Ha, ha, that's right, glad! I like her a lot more than Julie Andrews so who cares if they had to dub her singing voice. Go Audrey!

3. Comedy is all relative. What's funny to one person isn't funny to another so who am I to tell you who and what's funny, right? Wrong! Here's the list - memorize it! Groucho Marx, funny. Everybody else, less funny. Sasha Baron Cohen, almost supernaturally unfunny.

4. The best supporting performance in The Godfather, Part II wasn't Robert DeNiro, it was John Cazale, and he wasn't even nominated!

5. I have never really liked Marilyn Monroe in anything. Really. And I find her too caricatured to be sexy, because she is!

6. A while ago me and one other person here expressed the belief that Peter Cushing was the best Sherlock Holmes, better than Basil Rathbone, better than Jeremy Brett, better than all of them. Know what? He is!

7. William Holden - tumbler in one hand, cigarette in the other, Stefani Powers on the couch and a cynical observation rolling off the lips - coolest man ever.

8. Outland is better than High Noon. Seriously, that's baseless and everything, but it's true.

9. Timothy Dalton was the best Bond, Casino Royale doesn't even approach being the best Bond movie ever and all four of the Pierce Brosnan Bonds should be un-movied from existence. They. Never. Happened. Just keep repeating that until it's true.

10. Late Kurosawa is much better than early Kurosawa but early Kurosawa is all anyone ever ranks. This should be corrected. Now!

11. Speaking of which, The Magnificent Seven is better than The Seven Samurai. OOOOOOOH!!!! OH! NO! HE! DIDN'T!!! Oh yes I did.

12. Finally, know what the best selectors of the best movies each year are? The Oscars? The Golden Globes? The National Society of Film Critics? The New York Film Critics? Nope! The Edgar Allen Poe Awards, and they only select in one genre! Seriously, it's not perfect, and there are plenty of stinkers but on the whole I'd rather watch their winners anytime. For your list viewing pleasure, go here.

And that, as they say, is that. We apologize for this interruption in the normal running of Cinema Styles. Back to carefully considered opinions. Sigh.