By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Jonathan Rosenbaum

“What does being a film critic mean? It means in my case having a forum to write about things that matter a great deal to me, including film—though by no means restricted to that topic. I hope to reach other people who care passionately about the same things, and what I hope to commu­nicate above all is the passion and interest that we share. We don’t have to agree. “I like to think of myself as an airplane, not an airport,” Jean-Luc Godard once said to me in an interview, and I feel the same way. In other words, I’d be happy in some cases if readers use me to travel somewhere—somewhere specified by them and not by me—and then get off, rather than just regard me and what I have to say as the final destination. Dialogue adds up to more than monologue—at least if it includes multiple viewpoints rather than simple assent. It’s also true, of course, that in my criticism I’m often proselytizing on behalf of certain films and filmmakers, which means that I hope some things will be more widely seen. But that doesn’t mean that I always learn the most from the critics I agree with, or that I necessarily expect readers to take what I say without a discussion or an argument. As Manny Farber has suggested, evaluations often turn out to be the least important aspects of criticism, and I’m particularly fascinated by those moments in his own writing when you can’t even tell whether he’s ridiculing or celebrating something. By and large, I’m most in favor of whatever takes film out of the realm of business, since just about everything in our life and culture seems bent on placing it exclusively in those terms, which I generally find both limited and monotonous. I realize it’s important for business people to keep up with film as a business, but why anyone else should care how much money someone else makes is a total mystery to me. There’s so much else to think and write about, although sometimes it becomes necessary to discuss cer­tain aspects of business that get in the way of criticism.”
~ Jonathan Rosenbaum

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“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh