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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 never accepted the term contrarian. I think that’s offensive, frankly. And my response to that is: if I’m a contrarian, what are other reviewers? What I strive to do is be a good critic, not somebody who simply accepts the product put in front of me. I guess it scares people to think that they don’t have any originality; that they don’t have the capacity to think for themselves.

“There’s a line a lot of reviewers use that I don’t like at all. They say ‘accept the film on its own terms.’ What that really means is, ‘accept the film as it is advertised.’ That’s got nothing to do with criticism. Nothing to do with having a response as a film watcher. A thinking person has to analyze what’s on screen, not simply rubber-stamp it or kowtow to marketing.”m

“To me, everything does have a political component and I think it’s an interesting way to look at art. It’s one way that makes film reviewing, I think, a politically relevant form of journalism. We do live in a political world, and we bring our political sense to the movies with us – unless you’re the kind of person who goes to the movies and shuts off the outside world. I’m not that kind of person.”
~ Armond White to Luke Buckmaster

“One of comedy’s defining pathologies, alongside literal pathologies like narcissism and self-loathing, is its swaggering certainty that it is part of the political vanguard, while upholding one of the most rigidly patriarchal hierarchies of any art form.”
~ Lindy West