MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – It's Friday

16 Responses to “BYOB – It's Friday”

  1. The Big Perm says:

    I thought I was officially tired of zombie movies, but that new trailer for Zombieland looks pretty awesome.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    Being a cat owner, I have no trouble believing this alibi.

  3. The Big Perm says:

    Ha ha…”it was unclear if he has an attorney.”
    My guess is no!

  4. Blackcloud says:

    When did Roger Ebert become such a mindless reactionary?

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Blackcloud: I can’t say I see much in the piece I disagree with. Especially the part about the dumbing down of America. I’ve been teaching at the university level for only nine years, but even in that relatively short amount of time, I’ve seen a genuinely scary downturn in the ability of students to express themselves coherently in their writing. But it doesn’t end there. Just last night — I swear to God — I had a student (who’d recently flunked a multiple choice mid-term) tell me: “Well, I’m not much of a moviegoer. And I have a hard time remembering names.” Which, of course, explains why she thought US Marines fought German saboteurs, not Japanese soldiers, in Guadalcanal Diary — a movie she saw all of one week before she took the exam.

  6. adorian says:

    Just saw Julie and Julia. Streep is amazing. I have never before seen a movie during which the audience fell in love with a character within the first 30 seconds. That’s probably because they already know Julia Child and they have seen the TV ads with Streep doing that voice. This audience was middle-aged and elderly. They loved the movie, laughing at the right places and “oooo”ing at the food items. This won’t be about first weekend box office. This is one of those strong word-of-mouth movies among the elderly that will be around for some time (I hope).

  7. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, I don’t disagree that there are a lot of dumb college students, having taught a fair share of them myself. And I was teaching history, so I would venture what I saw was a lot worse than what you did. But I have a hard time extrapolating that to any larger insight about the culture. And the reason I say it’s a reactionary argument is that the claims of “dumbing down” often means merely that the succeeding generation doesn’t know – or value – what the preceding generation did. Or as the immortal Joseph Priestley put it in lapidary fashion in the seminal “Essay on the First Principles of Goverment,” “The wisdom of one generation will ever be folly in the next.”
    We’ve all heard the term “old school.” It is itself an old school term. I’ve run across it in American writing from the early 19th century. So the idea that there was a new school is at least that old. And in reality, it’s been around as long as school has been around. I mean, it’s the whole point of “The Clouds.” So if an argument was first formulated by Aristophanes, it’s not exactly cutting edge.
    Again, I don’t disagree that the young can be ignorant and should know stuff that they don’t, or like what they oughtn’t, or whatever. But taking that as evidence of the collapse of civilization is by definition a reactionary argument. Just as it was when it was Elvis that was destroying society, or Marx, or Hegel, or Voltaire, or Locke, or Dante, or Stravinsky, or Star Wars, or Transformers, or Harry Potter. And just as it will be whenever the next barbarian horde comes menacingly close to the gates, whatever form it takes.
    The fear of decline is perhaps innate in the concept of civilization; I imagine you can’t have the belief in progress without it. So don’t worry, Joe, one day our students will grow up.

  8. dietcock says:

    Joe: Wow. Just wow.

  9. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, I saw, if not worse, then equally bad. If I have time I’ll try to dredge some examples up.

  10. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Roger Ebert a mindless reactionary? Ask me why that essay kept causing my browser to crash at work.
    As for “G.I. Joe” we finally have a review in the mainstream media and it’s in the style only the Brits can pull off.

  11. martin says:

    I’m not a big Gilliam fan, but I have to say I was impressed with the new Parnassus trailer. Anyone else see it? Looks like classic Gilliam, and the multiple actors in lead role also seems to work (though obviously hard to tell in trailer):

  12. Blackcloud says:

    Chucky, because the Russians were out to get you?

  13. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, off the top of my head, my favorite all-time howler:
    “In the early days of exploration, death was inevitable.”

  14. christian says:

    Ebert nails it here:
    “This trend coincides with the growing effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns to impose box office success on heavily-promoted GCI blockbusters, which are themselves often promotions for video games. No checks and balances prevail. The mass media is the bitch of marketing. Almost every single second of television coverage of the movies is devoted to thinly-veiled promotion. Movie stars who appear as guests on talk shows and cable news are almost always there because they have a new movie coming out. Smart-ass satirical commentary, in long-traditional in places like Mad magazine and SNL, is drowned out by celebrity hype. It was Mad that first got me thinking like a critic and analyzing popular culture.”

  15. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    I wish Ebert had extended the quote christian brought to “Oscar” films. Much as box office success is imposed on big money eye candy, overwrought/overacted/over paid for “Oscar” bait is almost always pre-annointed. That’s why I was so thrilled about Slumdog sneaking in.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“We don’t have any idea what the universe is. Wise people have always told us that this is proof you shouldn’t think, because thinking leads you nowhere. You just build over this huge construction of misunderstanding, which is culture. The history of culture is the history of the misunderstandings of great thinkers. So we always have to go back to zero and begin differently. And maybe in that way you have a chance not to understand but at least not to have further misunderstandings. Because this is the other side of this question—Am I really so brave to cancel all human culture? To stop admiring the beauty in human production? It’s very difficult to say no.”
~ László Krasznahorkai

“I have a license to carry in New York. Can you believe that? Nobody knows that, [Applause] somebody attacks, somebody attacks me, oh, they’re gonna be shot. Can you imagine? Somebody says, oh, it is Trump, he’s easy pickings what do you say? Right? Oh, boy. What was the famous movie? No. Remember, no remember where he went around and he sort of after his wife was hurt so badly and kill. What?  I — Honestly, Yeah, right, it’s true, but you have many of them. Famous movie. Somebody. You have many of them. Charles Bronson right the late great Charles Bronson name of the movie come on.  , remember that? Ah, we’re gonna cut you up, sir, we’re gonna cut you up, uh-huh.


One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
~ Donald Trump