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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

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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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch