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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

All the rage: NP Thompson hates Slate

MediaBistro reprints a blistering e-mail from Seattle freelancer N. P. Thompson to the tinycricket.gifcricket herders at Slate, and manages to work in a plug for one Armond White while at it: “Stephen Metcalf and Dana Stevens are two of the worst writers on the face of the planet. They are dull, incompetent, lifeless, and narcissistic. Nathan Lee and Michael Agger are scarcely less so, although Agger manages a self-effacing blandness that in the context of Slate emits the fumes of a virtue… quo_4789.jpgMetcalf, the most brazenly untalented and unsubtle in this quartet of sixteenth-wits, writes like an ape that has just discovered a bone will suffice as a murder weapon… The dyspeptic hipster [Nathan] Lee (who doesn’t write so much as he postures) and the doddering Dana Stevens aren’t far behind… I did not bother to sully myself with Metcalf’s recent revisionist assessment of John Ford’s The Searchers, though I glanced at blogger Clive Davis’… reaction to it. But I can (and will) tell you this: smearing or otherwise spraying graffiti on an established classic is the easiest and most obvious kind of hackwork to fob off as criticism… What takes genuine courage on the part of a critic is to swim against the tide of the highly praised swill of the present, and this, I suspect, is a type of courage unknown to Metcalf. Where are the much-needed voices of dissent against such garbage as Lost in Translation, Capote, Sideways, The Squid and the Whale, and the collected works of Miranda July and Clint Eastwood? … As Slate will sometimes publish a book review or commentary by Armond White or Stanley Crouch, one gathers that toothlessness in a writer isn’t always a condition of employment… Meghan O’Rourke gives the impression that living in a Manhattan or Brooklyn neighborhood (preferably Brooklyn, and the more gentrified, the better) is pretty much the lone criterion of worth, and that if one lives outside the bubble, then she isn’t going to read what a writer submits, nor will she even consider looking at a writer’s clips, and beyond that, neither she nor tinycricket.gif Bryan Curtis will have the slightest interest in making a new discovery. What we have at Slate are editors hell-bent on preserving the shittiest, shallowest aspects of the status quo by slamming a door on anyone capable of upstaging their friends and neighbors, or their lovers.” [No, that’s not all. More at the link.]

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield