Tag Archives: the thing
I saw the new Godzilla yesterday. I enjoyed it a lot, but I’ve been weirded out for months over the fact that I’ve had to call it something I’ve never had to call a Godzilla film. Just like how I recently had to call a Bond film something that, in 50 years of recasting and returns to ground zero, I’ve never had to call a Bond film.
I’m all for specialized vocabulary. Film needs its own exclusive words to describe its own processes, but ‘reboot’ is not one such word. I’ve asked people time and again to define it, and I’ve read about it online—god help me, I’ve even read the Wikipedia page for it. It’s just not a real and distinct concept. It’s a cheap marketing buzzword, that’s all it is. And more than that, the very existence of the term is symptomatic of a rot at the core of contemporary filmmaking.
She (Orig. 1935, Colorized Version 2008)
Colorization is one of those things that people call “controversial”, and like most glib descriptors, it’s a kind of shoddy definition. There’s no controversy over colorizing things. People hate it. Everybody hates it.
The people who care about movies hate it because it paints over esteemed favorites, dolloping them in eerie flesh tones and smeared, lifeless color like a little girl trying out one of those toy makeup kits. Meanwhile, they fail to catch any new blood because those who hate black and white movies don’t just hate black and white movies because they’re in black and white, and a bit of clown makeup will never bridge that psychological distance.
My dad has four brothers; the oldest, Gary, was born in 1951. Gary was a hippie for a while, and saw 2001: A Space Odyssey in the theater (probably on acid, shh). He’s a blue collar intellectual, a salt-of-the-earth fellow who knows about cars and Greek philosophy and cooking and political theory and electrical stuff. Gary worked at a newspaper in Port Huron, Michigan for 25 years and then retired. In 1985, his left index finger was severed in half by some machine. When he removed his work glove he felt something dangling which felt like a string, and later he asked the doctor what it was, only to receive the reply, “that was your tendon, it had been pulled out”. (That detail has no relevance to anything—I just wanted to make you shiver.)
I see so many clueless directors putting female characters whose only job is to BE female. I would like a list of movies with strong female characters that are not defined by their gender. And no cheesy role reversal things where the woman has the traditional male qualities. Just some nice films (or raw horrifying ones) where the woman or women are just real people. And don’t say Joy Luck Club cause I already know about it. That was extremely good at what it was. – Michael H.
Editor’s Note (12/4/14): We no longer answer movie questions through our advice column. We answer them in the mailbag segment of our podcast. Send them to Cody@SmugFilm.com and we will answer on the show!
When I was in junior high school, Scarface was the most talked about movie in the hallways. It was 2000, and those hallways were a reflection of the culture at large. One time a kid asked me, “Who directed Scarface, Scorsese?” He had never heard of Brian De Palma.
There’s a popular book called Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. It’s a gossipy, oral history of 60s and 70s American movies. In the back of the book, they summarize the directors integral to the movement and give a filmography for each. Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, and Malick are featured, but not Brian De Palma—despite being mentioned heavily in the book. You’d think the guy that gave Robert De Niro his first on-screen appearance (The Wedding Party, 1969) and gave him steady work way before Scorsese ever did, would be important enough to mention.