Wednesday, January 04, 2006

TENURED RADICAL. It turns out Professor Althouse, pioneer of the no-but-I-saw-the-trailer school of film criticism, has more ambitious aesthetics than I ever realized.

For one thing, she doesn't believe in the representation of historical figures in fiction films:
What a big drag! I especially loathe the biopic. This year, we're supposed to care about Truman Capote and Johnny Cash -- I mean a pretentious actor impersonating Truman Capote or Johnny Cash... Why can't we just see actual footage of Ray Charles? It's disconcerting to imitate his mannerisms. Since there's plenty of film of the man, why not make a documentary?
She definitely doesn't believe in it if said historical figures did bad things:
[Mark David Chapman] should never be mentioned, never given any attention, and no film should ever be made about him. I don't care how much the filmmakers think they are expressing disapproval, when a movie is made about a person, he becomes, in some sense, a hero. No one should ever see that man realize any part of his dream of linking his name to Lennon's. The news was reported when it happened. You can look it up if you want to know who did it. Now, the media should black out his name, forever.

And they shouldn't have made a movie about the woman who shot Andy Warhol, either...

If there were any chance that this "Chapter 27" thing is a great screenplay along the lines of "Taxi Driver," I might make an exception. But you know damned well it's not. The moviemakers are just trading on Lennon's fame and trying to grab what they think is a built-in market of people who are interested in him. We should shun them.
(I wonder if she knows that Taxi Driver was partly inspired by the diary of George Wallace's assassin, Arthur Bremer. Maybe Paul Schrader gets a pass because the Professor didn't grow up twisting to "Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever.")

This is all pretty far out, but today Professer Althouse makes her boldest statement yet:
Spare me your made-up characters and stories and tell me whatever you have to say about the world you observe.
V.S. Naipal did say that fiction is dead -- but now that a blogger with a large fan base has lined up against it, I guess we might as well stop writing stories and novels, and give our cultural heritage over to travel sketches.

At which the Professor is quite good, by the way, and to which she should stick.

No comments:

Post a Comment