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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Adventures in babysitting: Fast Food Nation

While Roger Ebert recuperates, the Chicago Sun-Times is employing staff writers (and occasional freelancer) to fill the gap, much to the disadvantage of most releases. fast food nation-7548547.jpgTake, for instance, staff reporter Teresa Budasi‘s sophomoric take on Fast Food Nation, which hits sour (and inadequately copy-edited) notes from sentence one: “Anyone who’s ever worked at a fast-food chain knows what goes into making its signature products: Frozen meat on a perfectly calibrated hot grill, with pre-measured condiments squirted from a stainless steel gizmo onto heated buns, all wrapped up in greasy paper or a cardboard box.” Anyone? “Perfectly calibrated”? “Greasy paper”? While I once called a certain actress “as welcome as a fart in church,” it is surprising to read words like these in a major metro daily (aside from the wishy-washy language masking disdain for the movie’s view of the life of work): “There are a lot of recognizable actors in this film, and most of them do a fine job with the material, but for every two who manage to rise above the weak script, there’s one who sticks out like a turd in a punch bowl — or, in this case, feces in a cheeseburger.” Ethan Hawke? “When was the last time he played a character who bathed?” The Colorado setting is described as “Middle America.” “Hey, it’s Patricia Arquette of TV’s “Medium”! Oops, sorry about that. Too many star-sightings in this movie. Focusing solely on the Mexican story line might have made a better film. Instead we have a whole lot of disjointedness that is supposed to all tie together… Ultimately the movie disappoints just like a trip to the food court for a No 2 with cheese. You think it’s what you want, but it ultimately leaves you feeling a little bloated and full of empty calories.” Roger… come back… you are missed.

One Response to “Adventures in babysitting: Fast Food Nation”

  1. aaron says:

    Man, you are so right about that Sun-Times review of ‘Fast Food Nation’. When I read that yesterday, it just rubbed me the wrong way. Mr. Ebert cannot get back soon enough.
    Love the blog BTW.

Movie City Indie

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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