Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

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Takoma1
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:54 am

While it didn't bother me quite as much, I understand what you're saying.

Blair Witch is a little too crafted. The footage flows too nicely as a narrative. So that degree of structure pulls it a little too far away from "and here's just some footage we found". That kind of editing makes more sense when there's an editor/filmmaker there to provide some short commentary, even if it was just to introduce or bookend the film.

I mean, I saw it in the theater way back when and liked it, because it was new and it had a compelling momentum and a really memorable and haunting ending.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:55 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:12 am
It's problematic for me because the underlined part has never been a thing in reality before that movie was released. It's simultaneously trying to create a reality in which this footage was made, edited together and released into theaters, and have it be that those theaters are the very ones we're sitting in. But in our reality, a movie like that doesn't get released. So it's a movie that's constantly screaming that it's fake in a way that undermines exactly what it needs in order for it to work: that I believe in the reality of these kids lost in the woods. I recognize Lake Mungo has a different structure, and I'm saying only one of those structures is sound.
Yeah, I don't have that problem with it. It's a movie. I thought it was insanely effective doing exactly what it did. Scared the living fuck out of me like few films have. I also thought Lake Mungo was effective doing what it did. They weren't the same, I wouldn't really think to compare the two films.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:58 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:54 am
That kind of editing makes more sense when there's an editor/filmmaker there to provide some short commentary, even if it was just to introduce or bookend the film.
And I think that's my total hangup with the movie. I recognize it's my own hangup that prevents me from suspending disbelief, but at the same time...you guys do recognize the editing makes no sense and introduces a whole lot of unaddressed implications to the movie, right?
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:59 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:40 am
The problem with The Blair Witch Project is that the edits introduce the idea of the editor as a character, which creates a meta-text that's never further developed. So we're left in the lurch as to wonder why this editor felt the need to cobble this footage together in the way it was, why someone else felt the need to commission it and why someone else further down the line felt the need to release it. There's got to be a Charles Kinbote in there somewhere to supply a motive or else the whole idea dies on the vine. If the premise was that the movie was edited in camera, my whole complaint is moot (and I liked [REC], where I think that was the case). That's a different reality where I'm the one who's found this camera and its footage and the edits are there because they were made in the moment, no need to get an editor or any other logistics involved.
Yeah, none of this occurred to me or effected me and I've seen the movie half a dozen times. I've never felt that the movie didn't work and I certainly never felt that it demanded further explanation. It is what it is and I think it's a wonderful little oddity for it. I thought the presentation was incredibly effective. I've never needed some further explanation of "why and how am I seeing this?" or anything like it. For me, it works as it is.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:00 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:58 am
And I think that's my total hangup with the movie. I recognize it's my own hangup that prevents me from suspending disbelief, but at the same time...you guys do recognize the editing makes no sense and introduces a whole lot of unaddressed implications to the movie, right?
That's just it. In a half-dozen viewings, no that never even crossed my mind.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Ergill » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:16 am

Oh, I'm sure there'd be some morbid pervert with Final Cut Pro out there.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:18 am

Ergill wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:16 am
Oh, I'm sure there'd be some morbid pervert with Final Cut Pro out there.
AND a distribution deal?
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Ergill » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:28 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:18 am
AND a distribution deal?
I'm not so concerned about the nesting in the real real world part. Besides, that world doesn't exist anymore!
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:34 am

Ergill wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:28 am
I'm not so concerned about the nesting in the real real world part.
So you're not concerned with the film's entire conceit on release, which seems like a huge abdication, but cool.
Besides, that world doesn't exist anymore!
Neither does the world of any film made in the past, but we still judge them on how effectively they reflect the reality of the moments in which they were made.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:44 am

A few more thoughts as this goes on:
I felt like the jumpiness of the "edits" (and honestly, the movie didn't feel like it was edited to me in a traditional Hollywood movie sense but just like they took the pieces of film and stuck them together) with large lapses in time and such missing made it very effective in feeling like "We're just giving you what we found".
I also think that because there wasn't much before it that was like it it felt very effective seeing it early in its theatrical run and THAT experience sticks with me through later viewings even if other films have since learned from it and done things differently.
Finally, I feel like the way it doesn't have some narrator or second set of documentarians allegedly making a documentary about the lost documentarians, it feels ungrounded, which is maybe your complaint (?) but to me is a strength of the movie. It almost feels like being an observer in someone else's nightmare which is maybe the most effective thing about the film. I think if you do it the other way you ruin that.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:51 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:44 am
I felt like the jumpiness of the "edits" (and honestly, the movie didn't feel like it was edited to me in a traditional Hollywood movie sense but just like they took the pieces of film and stuck them together) with large lapses in time and such missing made it very effective in feeling like "We're just giving you what we found".
My problem is not with the jumpiness. My problem is with who the fuck is "they" and what is their purpose in putting this out and how in the fuck did they get it released if this has any real implications? The film's structure necessitates that the "they" exists, but it never teases out what that means. It's like the 1999 equivalent of creepypasta.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Ergill » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:59 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:34 am
So you're not concerned with the film's entire conceit on release, which seems like a huge abdication, but cool.
I'm cool abdicating an exploitative gimmick.
A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:34 am
Neither does the world of any film made in the past, but we still judge them on how effectively they reflect the reality of the moments in which they were made.
Sorry, not sure what the thread is here. I was just joking about the absurdity that is today. Don't go chasing waterfalls!
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:05 am

Ergill wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:59 am
I'm cool abdicating an exploitative gimmick.
The thing is, I think I've been very careful not to couch my argument in the stupid 1999 marketing-driven conversation about whether this was "real" found footage or not. I've acknowledged that a movie like [REC] can find an in-film premise to make that work. I just can't find an in-film premise for why I would be seeing the obviously edited footage of The Blair Witch Project. I still need to know who that goddamn editor is and what his sadistic agenda is and how he got this movie into the theater that I saw it in. Wouldn't that be a funner movie?
Sorry, not sure what the thread is here. I was just joking about the absurdity that is today. Don't go chasing waterfalls!
Just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to. Hopefully that's not arguing with YARN.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:09 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:51 am
My problem is not with the jumpiness. My problem is with who the fuck is "they" and what is their purpose in putting this out and how in the fuck did they get it released if this has any real implications? The film's structure necessitates that the "they" exists, but it never teases out what that means. It's like the 1999 equivalent of creepypasta.
No, I was saying that the jumpiness makes it seem like this film wasn't really handled in the way you're looking at it but rather that someone has just taken what they found and put it together, no documentary being made or anything, just here it is. I don't feel like the film's structure necessitates a "they" or at least that if there is a "they" who did nothing more than splice the pieces of found film together, "they" are not relevant to what you are watching or that the existence of a "they" means anything with regard to the film. But again, this has never even entered my consciousness until you brought it up here, because I don't feel like the film ever brought it up, and I still am just struggling to understand this problem that you see.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:11 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:09 am
No, I was saying that the jumpiness makes it seem like this film wasn't really handled in the way you're looking at it but rather that someone has just taken what they found and put it together, no documentary being made or anything, just here it is. I don't feel like the film's structure necessitates a "they" or at least that if there is a "they" who did nothing more than splice the pieces of found film together, "they" are not relevant to what you are watching or that the existence of a "they" means anything with regard to the film. But again, this has never even entered my consciousness until you brought it up here, because I don't feel like the film ever brought it up, and I still am just struggling to understand this problem that you see.
The film's structure necessitates a "they" because it edits between cameras. That necessitates an editor. Like I said, if it was all in-camera cuts, problem solved.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:11 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:05 am
I still need to know who that goddamn editor is and what his sadistic agenda is and how he got this movie into the theater that I saw it in. Wouldn't that be a funner movie?
No, I just don't get this at all. Never crossed my mind once in all the times I've watched it and, as I said in an earlier post, I feel like trying to explain THAT would totally diminish the experience.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:13 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:11 am
The film's structure necessitates a "they" because it edits between cameras. That necessitates an editor. Like I said, if it was all in-camera cuts, problem solved.
I understand that the fact that multiple cameras' contents were spliced together means that someone had to physically do it. My point is that nothing in the film demands that WE know who or why. The movie is not about that. It is about what happens on camera. And it works that way, in my opinion, brilliantly, which is why it was such a phenomenon and how it ended up getting distribution in the first place. Because people responded to it as it was.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:15 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:13 am
My point is that nothing in the film demands that WE know who or why.
YES IT DOES! The entire movie presents itself as an artifact from 1994 presented in 1999. Artifacts by their nature require curators and the movie obfuscates about who the curator is and what that means.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:20 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:15 am
YES IT DOES! The entire movie presents itself as an artifact from 1994 presented in 1999. Artifacts by their nature require curators and the movie obfuscates about who the curator is and that means.
The movie is not interested in the curator or what the fact that there is a curator might mean. And neither am I. Nor can I believe you are or that that ruins the movie for you. That would be a totally different movie. I'm sorry I just can't understand this.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:23 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:20 am
The movie is not interested in the curator or what the fact that there is a curator might mean. And neither am I. Nor can I believe you are or that that ruins the movie for you. That would be a totally different movie. I'm sorry I just can't understand this.
Again, this is not an exercise in me trying to convince you the movie is bad. All I'm saying is there's a logistical problem with the movie that you either can forgive or not, but to not acknowledge it's there on any level is delusional. Again, the movie contains completely inexplicable edits made by unknown persons of no known agenda for no other reason than "it's a movie" in a movie premised on an idea that it's not "just a movie." It's plain artificiality and you either accept it or not. I don't. The edits in themselves raise questions about the nature of the film's curator. If the film is not interested in that, I don't think I'm at fault for finding a dead end on those implications and being unsatisfied by that.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:42 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:23 am
Again, this is not an exercise in me trying to convince you the movie is bad. All I'm saying is there's a logistical problem with the movie that you either can forgive or not, but to not acknowledge it's there on any level is delusional. Again, the movie contains completely inexplicable edits made by unknown persons of no known agenda for no other reason than "it's a movie" in a movie premised on an idea that it's not "just a movie." It's plain artificiality and you either accept it or not. I don't. The edits in themselves raise questions about the nature of the film's curator. If the film is not interested in that, I don't think I'm at fault for finding a dead end on those implications and being unsatisfied by that.
I remember when Roger Ebert went and saw The Usual Suspects with a notepad and took notes to make sure that the plot actually held up. He didn't like that movie, either.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:45 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:42 am
I remember when Roger Ebert went and saw The Usual Suspects with a notepad and took notes to make sure that the plot actually held up. He didn't like that movie, either.
I also don't like that movie. So it's me and Roger Ebert vs. you.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:46 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:45 am
I also don't like that movie. So it's me and Roger Ebert vs. you.
Hee hee. Well, that maybe proves both our points, right?
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:46 am
Hee hee. Well, that maybe proves both our points, right?
Yeah, probably. Nothing I'm insisting on is that you relinquish your position on or appreciation for The Blair Witch Project. I get it. It's just not a film that ever worked for me, and all I'm trying to do is articulate why. I wish it did, but these are the reasons it doesn't.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:51 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:49 am
Yeah, probably. Nothing I'm insisting on is that you relinquish your position on or appreciation for The Blair Witch Project. I get it. It's just not a film that ever worked for me, and all I'm trying to do is articulate why. I wish it did, but these are the reasons it doesn't.
I hear you. I just feel like, from my point of view, you got your coat snagged on something and it tore a hole in it.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:55 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:51 am
I hear you. I just feel like, from my point of view, you got your coat snagged on something and it tore a hole in it.
And from my point of view, my suspicion is that if you watched the movie again with my complaints in mind, it probably wouldn't ruin the experience for you, but it might mildly annoy you a little bit. Again, these are my hangups, BUT THE SOURCE IS REAL.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:02 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:55 am
And from my point of view, my suspicion is that if you watched the movie again with my complaints in mind, it probably wouldn't ruin the experience for you, but it might mildly annoy you a little bit. Again, these are my hangups, BUT THE SOURCE IS REAL.
I understand, I get hung up on some things in some movies that I probably shouldn't (but sometimes I should) and people are sometimes incredulous that I may have even hated a movie they really enjoyed over something I can' let go.
And yes, it's possibly that you've just ruined one of my favorite horror movies forever. But I suspect it's going to be ok because if it didn't bother me in six goes, I can't imagine it's going to bother me much in a seventh. You've explained the issue very clearly so I can fully understand it but I am not having the slightest reaction to it. I do not care who spliced the film together or what their motivation was. The explanation given at the time was basically, "We found this footage, we thought it was incredibly powerful, so we spliced it together and showed it and other people reacted strongly enough to it that we got distribution for it, so here it is." And that's all I needed to know to enjoy the movie and it does explain the mechanics and it's quite enough as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:12 am

Wooley wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:02 am
I understand, I get hung up on some things in some movies that I probably shouldn't (but sometimes I should) and people are sometimes incredulous that I may have even hated a movie they really enjoyed over something I can' let go.
And yes, it's possibly that you've just ruined one of my favorite horror movies forever. But I suspect it's going to be ok because if it didn't bother me in six goes, I can't imagine it's going to bother me much in a seventh. You've explained the issue very clearly so I can fully understand it but I am not having the slightest reaction to it. I do not care who spliced the film together or what their motivation was. The explanation given at the time was basically, "We found this footage, we thought it was incredibly powerful, so we spliced it together and showed it and other people reacted strongly enough to it that we got distribution for it, so here it is." And that's all I needed to know to enjoy the movie and it does explain the mechanics and it's quite enough as far as I'm concerned.
I think my big problem is that the editing issue with The Blair Witch Project is something I noticed right from 1999 and it carried over with so many other found footage films in its wake. It became a cliche, and I recognize The Blair Witch Project was the originator. But I think audiences possibly shared my complaint, because I think the entire Paranormal Activity phenomenon owes its popularity to working around that complaint by "automating" the editing process, eliminating the idea that an editor was involved.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Deschain13 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:40 am

I remember when Blair Witch first came out some of the marketing tried to sell it as they found real footage but re-enacted it for the movie, which helped sell the editing and some of the other elements you bump into in a found footage movie.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by MadMan » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:03 am

I really like The Blair Witch Project.

I also love The Usual Suspects, which has some nice horror movie elements. That might explain partly why Ebert didn't like it.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:06 pm

MadMan wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:03 am
I really like The Blair Witch Project.

I also love The Usual Suspects, which has some nice horror movie elements. That might explain partly why Ebert didn't like it.
Yeah, reading his review of it... you have to understand that Ebert, in his later years from say 2000 on, was an absolute idol of mine. And yet, when I read his review of this tUS or as another example, Shyamalan's The Village, I was baffled at how someone who has spent his entire life watching and studying movies, was able to completely miss the point of watching a movie... even when he would sometimes champion the very idea of movies having to be taken each on their own terms.
It's why I never understood his take on MOST horror movies (he almost always missed the point). Of course, his position on video games helped me to understand exactly HOW he missed the point. Ebert was so hung up on content in films (and apparently video games) that it could completely overwhelm craft.
And he was very bad at just taking the ride.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:17 pm

I like Roger Ebert and I occasionally read his reviews every now and then, but I just don't like him as much as many people do. Of course, I disagree with some of his reviews here and there (which is understandable as I don't expect to agree with everything someone says), but the bigger picture is that I never saw what made his reviews better than every other critics reviews. He was quite good, just not great and I didn't think he rose above everyone else. As for my favorite critic, I'm a bit biased since I've had a number of back and forths with him at this point and I know him fairly well as a critic, but I really like Brian Eggert.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:55 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:17 pm
I like Roger Ebert and I occasionally read his reviews every now and then, but I just don't like him as much as many people do. Of course, I disagree with some of his reviews here and there (which is understandable as I don't expect to agree with everything someone says), but the bigger picture is that I never saw what made his reviews better than every other critics reviews. He was quite good, just not great and I didn't think he rose above everyone else. As for my favorite critic, I'm a bit biased since I've had a number of back and forths with him at this point and I know him fairly well as a critic, but I really like Brian Eggert.
Have you watched the documentary about him? It might help you to understand his unique place in film criticism.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by MadMan » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:08 pm

I love Ebert, but there were times when he could be either on a high horse or he missed the point. Oh well.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by crumbsroom » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:22 pm

I quite frequently hated Ebert's conclusions on what he thought worked and what didn't in a film but he's one of the only established critics that I ever actually liked.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:36 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:55 pm
Have you watched the documentary about him? It might help you to understand his unique place in film criticism.
No, I haven't. I'll have to check it out someday. You're referring to Life Itself, right?
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:00 pm

Popcorn Reviews wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:36 pm
No, I haven't. I'll have to check it out someday. You're referring to Life Itself, right?
Yes. I thought it was a pretty great documentary, whether or not you're a big fan of Ebert.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:17 pm

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:00 pm
Yes. I thought it was a pretty great documentary, whether or not you're a big fan of Ebert.
Okay, I'll check it out. I'm sure there's a lot to learn about Ebert from it.

On a side note, rereading my comment on Ebert, I feel I may have come off as a bit too harsh on him, so I apologize if that was the case. For what it's worth, Ebert is one of the few film critics who I actively follow and hold a high opinion of. I've enjoyed many of his reviews in the past and will surely read many more of them in the years to come. I guess I just disagree with the common opinion many have towards him that he's far better than all other critics. I still like him a lot (regardless of the issues I have with him). I just feel like a couple other critics I'm familiar with usually go into far greater depth than he does.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:36 pm

I think that what I like about Ebert is that he often conveys the vibe of that friend who knows a lot about film and is passionate about it. There were plenty of times that I totally disagreed with him (two stars for Below? WHAT?!), but even with those reviews it felt like you might want to have a conversation with him about them.

Here's a clip of Ava DuVernay talking about her experiences (as a child and as an adult filmmaker) with Ebert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFdpaJP1S6k
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by DaMU » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:54 pm

I think the whole Ebert/horror thing is a little overblown. I researched the matter for a video essay at one point, might be fun to come back to it.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:26 am

DaMU wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:54 pm
I think the whole Ebert/horror thing is a little overblown. I researched the matter for a video essay at one point, might be fun to come back to it.
I think the question about Ebert and horror bumps up against the question about the role of a popular critic vs. an academic critic. Ebert comes straight from the tradition of a newspaper critic, who was supposed to be an advocate for the readership, informing them whether a certain film, play or exhibition would be worth their time or money. That requires a whole lot of speculation as to who exactly makes up that readership, what their tastes and sensibilities are, and what would scandalize them. An academic critic doesn't have these concerns and focuses instead on what a film is doing, how it accomplishes that, what tradition it might belong to, what innovations it might bring and what other interdisciplinary theory might apply to it. Ebert often brought some of the latter sensibilities into his work (I'm thinking particularly about his credo "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it"), but you see those two sensibilities collide most frequently when he was writing about horror. Take this closing passage from his review of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an example:
Horror and exploitation films almost always turn a profit if they’re brought in at the right price. So they provide a good starting place for ambitious would-be filmmakers who can’t get more conventional projects off the ground. “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” belongs in a select company (with “Night of the Living Dead” and “Last House on the Left”) of films that are really a lot better than the genre requires. Not, however, that you’d necessarily enjoy seeing it.
That's from a two-star review, which later would have meant a thumb down. But you can see the push and pull between those two sensibilities here. On one hand, Ebert can recognize the formal accomplishment of the movie and how it distinguishes itself in its genre. On the other hand, he can't bring himself to recommend it to his imagined audience because, as his review outlines, he sees it as too grisly for the average viewer. To his credit, Ebert always bemoaned the stars and thumbs as an oversimplification that obliterated the nuance of what he tried to convey in the text. By the end of his review, I think you do get a sense of whether you are one of those people who would enjoy seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by DaMU » Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:33 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 12:26 am
I think the question about Ebert and horror bumps up against the question about the role of a popular critic vs. an academic critic. Ebert comes straight from the tradition of a newspaper critic, who was supposed to be an advocate for the readership, informing them whether a certain film, play or exhibition would be worth their time or money. That requires a whole lot of speculation as to who exactly makes up that readership, what their tastes and sensibilities are, and what would scandalize them. An academic critic doesn't have these concerns and focuses instead on what a film is doing, how it accomplishes that, what tradition it might belong to and what innovations it might bring. Ebert often brought some of the latter sensibilities into his work (I'm thinking particularly about his credo "It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it"), but you see those two sensibilities collide most frequently when he was writing about horror. Take this closing passage from his review of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre as an example:



That's from a two-star review, which later would have meant a thumb down. But you can see the push and pull between those two sensibilities here. On one hand, Ebert can recognize the formal accomplishment of the movie and how it distinguishes itself in its genre. On the other hand, he can't bring himself to recommend it to his imagined audience because, as his review outlines, he sees it as too grisly for the average viewer. To his credit, Ebert always bemoaned the stars and thumbs as an oversimplification that obliterated the nuance of what he tried to convey in the text. By the end of his review, I think you do get a sense of whether you are one of those people who would enjoy seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
For sure. That sort of thing came up often; he qualified his positive reviews for Aliens and The Devil's Rejects by saying they were grueling and more survived than "enjoyed," and he gave legitimate respect to Stuart Gordon and David Cronenberg in mixed reviews of movies like From Beyond and They Came From Within.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:23 am

I frequently find the cognitive dissonance in Ebert's mind as the writer of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and how precious he could often get over violence in horror movies, in particular those that featured women getting the brunt of the abuse.

That said, I'm a fan of Ebert and Beyond Valley of the Dolls overall.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:26 am

DaMU wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:54 pm
I think the whole Ebert/horror thing is a little overblown. I researched the matter for a video essay at one point, might be fun to come back to it.
Really? I've been a fan of his since I was a child back in the 80s and used to watch him religiously, I've several of his books and feel like I've read or watched several hundred of his reviews, and I think he has a very, very narrow definition of horror (which he has actually described a few times) and everything outside of it, with a very few exceptions, is somehow automatically just garbage that is beneath him and should be beneath everyone. It's partly why I was so surprised that he seemed to like or at least respect Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects (one of the exceptions).
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Wooley » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:32 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:23 am
I frequently find the cognitive dissonance in Ebert's mind as the writer of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and how precious he could often get over violence in horror movies, in particular those that featured women getting the brunt of the abuse.

That said, I'm a fan of Ebert and Beyond Valley of the Dolls overall.
Yes, that is part of the issue that I have for sure. And so am I.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:34 am

Wooley wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:32 am
Yes, that is part of the issue that I have for sure. And so am I.
I don't always agree with Ebert but the only time I found his opinion to be shitty, reactionary and from a moral high horse, he was talking about a horror movie or a film that showed an actress he crushed on getting abused.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:34 am
a film that showed an actress he crushed on getting abused.
If this is a reference to Isabella Rossellini, I think his reaction came from a different place. I think his real celebrity crush was on Ingrid Bergman (you need only listen to his Casablanca commentary to figure that out), so his reaction to Blue Velvet became weirdly paternalistic, like he was reacting as her disappointed father.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:41 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:23 am
I frequently find the cognitive dissonance in Ebert's mind as the writer of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and how precious he could often get over violence in horror movies, in particular those that featured women getting the brunt of the abuse.

That said, I'm a fan of Ebert and Beyond Valley of the Dolls overall.
Yeah, I noticed a bit of this as well with his reviews. As for a famous example, I always found it contradictory how he criticized Lynch's Blue Velvet for supposedly humiliating Rossellini (even though Lynch clearly had her consent to do everything she did in the film), yet didn't criticize how Peabody and Grantham in The Last House on the Left were actually terrorized on set and how Grantham was forced to pee her pants for the film. Details like this always struck me as odd.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by ThatDarnMKS » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:12 am

A Fake Account wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:40 am
If this is a reference to Isabella Rossellini, I think his reaction came from a different place. I think his real celebrity crush was on Ingrid Bergman (you need only listen to his Casablanca commentary to figure that out), so his reaction to Blue Velvet became weirdly paternalistic, like he was reacting as her disappointed father.
Her and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the Hitcher. He would have hated Hateful Eight.
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Re: Horrorcram XV: Let's Scare Corrierino To Death

Post by A Fake Account » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:18 am

ThatDarnMKS wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:12 am
Her and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the Hitcher. He would have hated Hateful Eight.
And given that Jennifer Jason Leigh was the daughter of Vic Morrow, I'm still wondering if he had some misplaced protective instinct for second-generation Hollywood starlets.
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