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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Raising Kael: What’s In A Title?

PAULINE KAEL is set to join the ranks of the esteemed litterateurs of the Library of America (alongside her peer Manny Farber), and there are new collections of Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut in the next batch of releases as well. The volume’s edited by Sanford Schwartz, and coming from the critic who wrote “I Lost It At The Movies,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Going Steady,” “Deeper Into Movies,” “When The Lights Go Down” and “Taking It All In,” what sweetly skeevy double-entendre of a title has the august press arrived at? “The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael.” Whut? What opportunity has been missed here? “The Tender Age Of Movies”? Nah. “The Underage of Movies”? No. “The Long And Short: Selected Movie Writings By Pauline Kael,” that wouldn’t be half-bad. Why is an appropriately inappropriate title so hard?

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“I was 15 when I first watched Sally Hardesty escape into the back of a pickup truck, covered in blood and cackling like a goddamn witch. All of her friends were dead. She had been kidnapped, tortured and even forced to feed her own blood to her cannibalistic captors’ impossibly shriveled patriarch. Being new to the horror genre, I was sure she was going to die. It had been a few months since I survived a violent sexual assault, where I subsequently ran from my assailant, tripped, fell and fought like hell. I crawled home with bloody knees, makeup-stained cheeks and a new void in both my mind and heart. My sense of safety, my ability to trust others, my willingness to form new relationships and my love of spending time with people I cared about were all taken from me. It wasn’t until I found the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre that something clicked. It was Sally’s strength, and her resilience. It was watching her survive blows to the head from a hammer. It was watching her break free from her bonds and burst through a glass window. It was watching her get back up after she’d been stabbed. It was watching her crawl into the back of a truck, laughing as it drove away from Leatherface. She was the last one to confront the killer, and live. I remember sitting in front of the TV and thinking, There I am. That’s me.”
~ Lauren Milici On “The Final Girl”

“‘Thriller’ enforced its own reality principle; it was there, part of the every commute, a serenade to every errand, a referent to every purchase, a fact of every life. You didn’t have to like it, you only had to acknowledge it. By July 6, 1984, when the Jacksons played the first show of their ‘Victory’ tour, in Kansas City, Missouri, Jacksonism had produced a system of commodification so complete that whatever and whoever was admitted to it instantly became a new commodity. People were no longer comsuming commodities as such things are conventionally understood (records, videos, posters, books, magazines, key rings, earrings necklaces pins buttons wigs voice-altering devices Pepsis t-shirts underwear hats scarves gloves jackets – and why were there no jeans called Bille Jeans?); they were consuming their own gestures of consumption. That is, they were consuming not a Tayloristic Michael Jackson, or any licensed facsimile, but themselves. Riding a Mobius strip of pure capitalism, that was the transubstantiation.”
~ Greil Marcus On Michael Jackson