Wednesday, March 05, 2008

No Movies for Middle America

Just got this interested letter to the editor from movie fan Ted Beckett:

I did not not go to see "No Country for Old Men" because it won the Best Picture Oscar: I went because I believed reviewer Brandon Fibbs knew what he was talking about when he rated it A+, "...a flawless film," etc.

Indeed, it is a brilliantly shot movie that accurately depicts a fascinating period of Texas history half a century ago. Unfortunately, what would have been a great film was ruined by its fascination with a homicidal maniac (Javier Bardem) who went around shooting people with a souped-up air gun. My wife had to get up halfway through the 14th senseless murder to go to another movie to protect her sanity. She did well, as there were 23 more brutal killings to follow.

After wading through all the carnage, the pointless ending left me wanting to locate an air gun and go hunting the producers.

For the Academy to give this 2007 version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" the Best Picture award shows the depth of depravity the group represents. From now on, please show the A+ move rating with an asterisk.

Ted Beckett

You know, I'm a Coen bothers fan, but after that slice of brutality that was "There Will be Blood," I'm a bit gun shy on this one. And I think Beckett does represent much of the middle American audience, which longs for movies that are at least partially pleasant. So far "Juno," "Michael Clayton" and the last Bourne film are my favorites of the year.


At 9:12 AM, Blogger Eli the Mad (Beer) Man said...

Don't listen to our critic, Brandon, on this one.

This kind of statement, or sentiments like it, have become an all too familiar trend here. I like the way Brandon writes... I just don't like the way he grades movies. Neither do a lot of people apparently.

I've heard similar things from co-workers about "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will be Blood." Ugly, brutal, dark, depressing, not Oscar worthy, etc. I haven't seen either one yet, but the people I know who have and whom I trust (since I've worked with them for years), tends to make me think Brandon's grades of those are way skewed.

And his "Mammoth flop" review about 10,000 BC... well, I did see that movie and enjoyed it immensely. So has everyone I know who has seen it. Some of his comments in that review make me think he knows very little of alternative-history (from learned scholars no less, not crackpots). Plus, this is the guy who helped make the "Stargate" movie. Yet not one reference to how intriguing similar 10,000 BC was to that film (almost as if he was intentionally - loosely - tying the two together in fact). Besides that... it was an action flick! It wasn't supposed to be compared to Oscar caliber flicks, which he was OBVIOUSLY doing.

Hey, I was one of the folks who wanted Brandon to come on board. I really enjoy the way he writes. Sadly, he seems to have started down the road traveled by most "film critics" - stick the nose in the air, watch the "art flicks" and dump on the Saturday matinée popcorn flicks.

As has been insinuated, he's not talking to the common movie goer anymore. But hey... I like 10,000 BC, so what do I know!? ;)

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Brandon said...


I suppose that claiming solidarity hardly helps my position in your eyes?

"No Country For Old Men" and "There Will be Blood" were on nearly every critic's Top 10 list and were, of course, nominated for Academy Awards for the Best Pictures of the Year; "No Country..." winning that prize. My reviews and opinions are hardly aberrations. In fact, they just may be, *gasp*, mainstream!

Likewise, Rotten Tomatoes currently has "10,000 B.C." at a 9% approval rating--one of the worst reviewed films of the year. No one is saying that you can't enjoy popcorn movies--God knows I love several myself--but when the backlash is that overwhelming, you have to admit that we may be on to something!

"Obviously?" I never compared "B.C." to Oscar caliber films. I agree, they exist separately. An A-rated action film can still earn that high grade while being necessarily different than an A-rated drama. But in the end, their A's are not on the same plane.

All I'm saying is that my reviews for these films can hardly be considered "skewed" when I happen to tuck nicely into the majority opinion.

Forget what I said. Forget what your friends said. Go see these films for yourself and then we can chat again. There are some extraordinary "art house" flicks out there--give them a chance. Kimball doesn't bite!

Thanks for your compliments. I especially liked your insightful comment about the philosophical link between "Stargate" (another movie I didn't like--sorry) and "B.C."

I will endeavor to keep making at least some people happy! :-) And keep reading--I just might surprise you one of these days!


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