Archives For The Tree of Life

I don’t like writing about the Oscars. It’s not some hoity toity snobby thing. In general I actually love the Oscars. I mean, I hate them because they’re stupid and meaningless, but I love the game of it all, and I love the passions it sparks, and I love the whole circus surrounding them. I just don’t like writing about them. It feels too formal. It’s a set of awards I don’t actually take seriously, so why should I grant them the permanence of written prose? But this is the internet, and I have a movie blog, so it’s basically obligatory. ON WITH THE OSCAR BLOGGING!

So let’s talk about these nominations. Click to read more.

First, I have to apologize. On Monday I published a piece that, first and foremost, was poorly written. I should not have published it for that reason alone. It sparked discussion, both here, at Alex Thompson’s blogJames Ewing’s blogs, and on the Filmspotting forum. Worse still, I wrote a post specifically designed to draw a reaction without consideration of the meaning of my words. The idea was to write an article that James could then respond to, thus starting a bit of a back and forth. I certainly succeeded at this, but I staked out a position so extreme that it lacked any semblance of logic or reasonability.

This is where the retraction comes in. Many of the things I said in that piece, most notably the idea that only narrative films are “real” films, were not representative of what I truly believe. I was playing provocateur, and doing so poorly. I was pushing some legitimate views to a disingenuous extreme, like a cinephilic Mitt Romney selling out my integrity to sound like a Tea Partier. It was stupid, and I take it all back.

Well, not quite all of it. There were, of course, kernels of truth to which I can still attach myself. Primarily, the power and importance of storytelling in cinema. Now, let’s see if we can go ahead and talk about it reasonably. Continue Reading…

Tell Me a Story, Dammit!

October 17, 2011 — 17 Comments

Film is a storytelling medium. That’s what it has always been, and that’s what it will remain. I am tired of this crap about poetic films. The Tree of Life is not a poem. It’s a film, and it’s got a story. It’s a really threadbare story, and the film loses the story at a few points along the way in favour of self-indulgent imagery, but there is a story. Apocalypse Now is as poetic a film as has ever been made, but guess what, it tells an extremely compelling story, and everything in it serves the telling of that story. We need more of this. We need more filmmakers who realize that what they are doing is telling a story. This goes for blockbuster filmmakers. It goes for art house and indie directors. It goes for everyone. Continue Reading…