Quotes

David Thomson On Roger Ebert

“Roger Ebert was one of the nicest, warmest and most generous of people—he was also probably the last film critic who was in any real way known to the general public. I don’t think he was a great critic because in his fame he met and knew many movie people. He liked them and he felt drawn to be generous. I’m not sure good critics can or should bother about being liked.”
~ David Thomson On Roger Ebert

 

Oscar Wilde, via Monte Hellman

“By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.”
~ Oscar Wilde, via Monte Hellman

“I know the old dictum about ‘nil nisi bonum,’ but from the evidence in these comments, [Pauline Kael is] obviously not dead. No one heeded Mitchum’s advice about driving a stake through her heart to be sure. In any case, our beef isn’t with her, but rather with a system that has so little respect for the medium we love, that they promote journalists from the restaurant and cooking pages to write movie reviews. Not to say there aren’t some truly qualified students of the seventh art who grace the ranks of our critics, but I think they’re in the minority. And why on earth do we let people excuse her, and others like her, by saying she was such a good writer?’ Since when did neurotic verbal exhibitionism make someone a good writer? Would we even read three sentences of her so-called writing if it were in a novel or any other work of serious prose?”
~ Monte Hellman, via Facebook

Soderbergh Surmises

‘This country is too fucking big. I honestly think… In nature, if a cell gets too big, it divides. You can’t come up with a set of rules that’s going to work for 350 million people. You’re just not. So we’re stuck. Robert Kennedy had this great quote: “20 percent of people are against everything, all the time.” That’s a big number now. And you know what? “No” is easy. “No” doesn’t require any follow-up, commitment. “Yes” is hard, “yes” has to be worked on. It needs a lot of people to keep it as “yes.” That’s where we’re at. When I’m president, we’re going back to the Thirteen Colonies, is what we’re going to do. It’s a weird time. Because the trajectory… Wow, I look around and I’m alarmed. I guess every generation feels that way, I don’t know, but I’m really alarmed. I talk to smart people who work in fields either, you know, neurocognition or social analysis, I go, “Am I going nuts or is this thing going a certain direction, really fast?” All of them go, “You’re not imagining things.” And I go, “What do we do?” This could turn into Mad Max, like tomorrow. The fabric is so thin, I feel like.”
~ Soderbergh Surmises

“Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love. Ebert was, by his own and others’ accounts, transformed by meeting and marrying Chaz when he was 50. She was an African-American civil rights lawyer more interested, as he put it, in who he was than in what he did. He became part of her extended family, and as we watch him in home videos from the good days before his troubles started, it is like watching a man blossoming before our eyes.”

Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love. Ebert was, by his own and others’ accounts, transformed by meeting and marrying Chaz when he was 50. She was an African-American civil rights lawyer more interested, as he put it, in who he was than in what he did. He became part of her extended family, and as we watch him in home videos from the good days before his troubles started, it is like watching a man blossoming before our eyes.”
~ Geoffrey O’Brien on Life Itself

John Berger, “Ways Of Seeing,” 1972

“The means of reproduction are used politically and commercially to disguise or deny what their existence makes possible. But sometimes individuals use them differently. Adults and children sometimes have boards in their bedrooms or living-rooms on which they pin pieces of paper: letters, snapshots, reproductions of paintings, newspaper cuttings, original drawings, postcards. On each board all the images belong to the same language and all are more or less equal within it, because they have been chosen in a highly personal way to match and express the experience of the room’s inhabitant. Logically, these boards should replace museums.”
~ John Berger, “Ways Of Seeing,” 1972

“Girls” Co-Producer Jennie Konner

“The biggest fight we’ve ever gotten in with HBO was about a c– shot, a money shot. They thought it was really gratuitous. They begged us not to do it. We said, ‘OK, fine.’ Then the next year, we had a story-motivated, emotional money shot, and they let us keep it. It really felt like we all grew together.”
~ “Girls” Co-Producer Jennie Konner

James Salter To Robert Phelps, 1970

“We are at a great watershed of history, it’s the terror of this that is so distracting. Humor is the surest line of explanation, however—it can accomplish what the earnest, the tragic, the agonizing almost always misses. I think it was Thurber who said: We are living in a time of great turmoil, at least I am.
     The sun is so hot today. To work.”
~ James Salter To Robert Phelps, 1970

Fanny Ardant

“The reason I never married is because my mother and father really loved each other, so we were a perfect family. ‘The Little House on the Prairie’ was bullshit compared to us.”
~ Fanny Ardant

French Producer Marin Karmitz

“In our cinema, I have the sense that it’s sub-Godard or sub-Chabrol. There’s very little new energy in the French cinema. I’m only talking about the French cinema. I think that there’s lots of energy in other countries, in other forms of cinema, but which are much more in a system of resistance, which need to resist in order to exist. It’s a strange idea: to resist in order to exist.”
~ French Producer Marin Karmitz

James Gray To Adam Nayman

“I don’t quite understand why people love to ask me about critics. I’ve been asked many times about it. I try to have a sense of humour about it and that doesn’t get translated into print at all. That’s one of the things I’ve learned about talking about this stuff. If you tell a joke people take it seriously. I once said, “Movies are not like barium enemas, you don’t want to get them over with as quickly as possible.” I can’t tell you how many people jumped on me for that and I had to say I was kidding. I don’t mind talking about critics at all. I can’t spend a lot of time thinking about my place in cinema or how the films are received…it’s literally impossible for me to do that. If I had that distance then the distance would show up in the movie itself and that’s exactly what I don’t want to happen. My whole ambition is to make something that has no wall of distance, no irony. In order to break that barrier, I have to block everything else out, whether it’s noise or not. But at the same time, I should say that I am deeply grateful to the critical establishment in the US for supporting this film. Without them, nobody would know that the film exists. That sort of exchange is great but it can’t be the reason you make a film. I would say that part of the challenge of being a director is you spend all of this time marshalling the troops and trying to get the damn thing made, which is all about drive and ego and will, but then you have to forget your ego and become humble so you can absorb all of the feedback that you get from the actors, the cinematographer, and everyone in that process. And you have to be humble when the film comes out because when that happens it’s not yours anymore.”
James Gray To Adam Nayman

Emil Cioran

“What would be left of our tragedies if an insect were to present us his? “ 
~ Emil Cioran

John Waters

“”There is no such thing as a $5 million independent movie. They want me to go make it like I used to, but I have no desire to do that. I did that. I have 17 movies, they’re all playing everywhere in the world, more than ever. I’ve spoken. I can’t afford to make a movie the way they want me to do it. I make way more writing these books. The main thing is, when DVDs overnight died, that ended the safety net. That was profit. All foreign deals fell through. Nobody wants any movie that can’t play in China. Nobody wants any movie that has to have any subtitles. They just want explosions. They want $100 million movies that are tentpole movies. The worst thing they want … is a comedy based on wit. And if I was doing something, that’s what I’d try to do.”
~ John Waters

Matthew Garrahan On Dr. Dre And The Beats Sale To Apple

“The Beats brand would not have resonated with music fans and young consumers without Dr Dre’s involvement, says rapper Will.i.am. The Apple sale “means that kids have another thing to aim for: technology. Kids want to play music or they want to be sports stars. Now they’re going to want to get into technology.” The Apple deal gives Dr Dre a unique place in the hip-hop pantheon, according to Grammy-winning rapper, singer and producer Pharrell Williams. “I see the guys who started hip-hop as being like Mount Rushmore,” he says. “But Dre is like the NASA of hip-hop. He’s showing us the final frontier but we’re just at the beginning… there’s so much more to explore. He’s knocking down doors for us all.” 
~ Matthew Garrahan On Dr. Dre And The Beats Sale To Apple

Gordon Willis in the 2014 Film Issue Of The Believer

“One of the things I wish would be happening now, which doesn’t seem to be happening much—maybe I’m missing it—but I’m so thirsty for narrative in the movies. Just decent narrative. Narrative filmmaking is right on the edge of not existing anymore. Good storytelling. I always said that you could photograph a good story badly and it wouldn’t matter, but you can shoot a bad story well and it’s not going to help the story at all. It’s not. But you get the two together, and it’s great.”
~ Gordon Willis in the 2014 Film Issue Of The Believer

 

Olivier Assayas On Blockbusters

“There’s an audience to whom they do say things. In many ways, they are the most coherent representation of the world they live in.”
~ Olivier Assayas On Blockbusters

Two Hours Of His Life Tony Scott’s Not Getting Back

“Because life is short and I have other things to be upset about, I will not dwell on the offensive aspects of Blended, the newAdam Sandler comedy: its retrograde gender politics; its delight in the humiliation of children; its sentimental hypocrisy about male behavior; its quasi-zoological depiction of Africans as servile, dancing, drum-playing simpletons; its … I’m sorry. That’s just what I said I wouldn’t do… In my capacity as a film critic, I find myself more bothered by the sheer audience-insulting incompetence of the filmmaking and the writing… Most of “Blended” has the look and pacing of a three-camera sitcom filmed by a bunch of eighth graders and conceived by their less bright classmates. Shots don’t match. Jokes misfire. Gags that are visible from a mile away fail to deliver. Two rhinos are seen copulating by the side of a swimming pool, and someone has the wit to say, ‘That’s not something you see in New Jersey.’ Not funny on so many levels.”
~ Two Hours Of His Life Tony Scott’s Not Getting Back

Wesley Morris Is Fond Of Wild Tales

“A lot of movies from Argentina are about Argentina. Damián Szifron’s Wild Tales is one of the craziest, most exciting, best acted, and even better made. He’s distilled an aspect of the national character down to ‘vengeful assholes.’ It’s one vicious note he manages to turn into five different moods that gather in writerly force and allegorical chutzpah. Sony Pictures Classics has picked up the film for U.S. distribution, and that studio ought to give this movie everything it has.In Wild Tales, the studio has a masterpiece comedy that leaves a blockbuster-size crater in the earth.”
~ Wesley Morris Is Fond Of Wild Tales

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I am just grateful I am still around. I would love to be Steven Soderbergh, but I am lucky to be Joe Swanberg. Actors want to work with me, people want to give me money, and my nightmare scenario remains: Getting in bed with a studio, spending years on a movie, and it turns out horrible, but now I’m rich.”

Actually, by Hollywood standards, you’re right, I said. That is unambitious.

“It is, and yet, if you can go to bed happy at night, doing what you want, isn’t that ambition for a lifetime?”
~ Swanberg On Swanberg By Borelli

“In retrospect, nothing of that kind surprised me about Philip, because his intuition was luminous from the instant you met him. So was his intelligence. A lot of actors act intelligent, but Philip was the real thing: a shining, artistic polymath with an intelligence that came at you like a pair of headlights and enveloped you from the moment he grabbed your hand, put a huge arm round your neck and shoved a cheek against yours; or if the mood took him, hugged you to him like a big, pudgy schoolboy, then stood and beamed at you while he took stock of the effect.”
John le Carré on Philip Seymour Hoffman