January 3, 2006

Disgusting film project.

I'm sorry to read that the young actress Lindsay Lohan was hospitalized for a severe asthma attack but disgusted about the movie I see she's working on:
Lohan is scheduled to begin shooting her latest film, "Chapter 27," about the man who murdered former Beatle John Lennon, later this month in New York City. Lohan will play a fictional character who befriends Lennon's killer (portrayed by Jared Leto) days before the rock star was gunned down in 1980.
That man 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. Don't hold out the rewards of fame to the sick minds of this world.

IN THE COMMENTS: Some -- not all! -- commenters disagree with me. They accuse me of censorship and object to the idea that film can't help glorifying its subject. They act as if my objection applies more generally to all films that depict violence. I argue back, saying (in part):
Only a very rare, unusual person takes things the wrong way and does something bad. But I'm not recommending censoring or boycotting every film about a violent person. Frankly, if I was going to choose one thing to censor with the hope of stopping acts of violence, it would be "A Catcher in the Rye."

But I'm not saying that. I'm not talking about acts of violence generally. I'm talking about the idea that lodges in the brain of some mentally ill persons that killing a famous person would be the road to glory. This is not an important idea for debate by the general public. It's a stupid, ugly fantasy. We should take care that we not participate in making it true.

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.

And in the world of free speech, the listeners' shunning is part of the marketplace of ideas that is part of the expression. It's more speech, the opposite of censorship.

53 comments:

JohnF said...

Do you feel the same way about the Palestinian terrorists in "Munich"?

vbspurs said...

Dayyum!

I haven't seen Ann this riled since the Pajamas Media frou-frou.

I think the topic ties well to your recently mentioned dislike of the biopic, though.

Seems you and history don't get on too well.

Or you really really hate J*** H******.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Ann, you might want to check the post just below this, entitled:

"Anti-anti gay marriage litigation"

I tried to post a comment, and it gave me the "Not Found" error.

Cheers,
Victoria

Robert said...

Eh. Lennon was just a man, albeit a particularly gifted one. His killer was just another nut. This kind of write-him-out philosophy doesn't seem tenable, particularly to those in following generations who don't see what the fuss was about.

What will happen 50 years from now, when everyone who has this kind of emotional connection to Lennon is dead? Are the rest of us to continue eliding M*** D***** C****** from the histories of the era? If so, why?

Charles Chapman said...

I'm not sure what principle Ann is acting on here, much less what the limits of that principle should be.

There should no movies about Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Such movies can never, on balance, serve a useful purpose?

PatCA said...

But I'm sure the movie will "make you think" and "ask questions" and show that the killer "was human, too."

SteveRich said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
amba said...

There's a law against criminals profiting from their crimes, but Ann is right: the real profit killers of the famous are seeking is fame. They are parasites who can't create their own fame and so try to attach themselves forever to a star by destroying him. Their desire should be forever frustrated, not rewarded. There is and can be no law against exploiting a sensation for money, but the people who do it are morally the collaborators of the murderer, because it is in the certainty that the likes of them will slaver over it and propagate it that such murders are committed. Lennon's killer will be a hardy seed shat out by the propagators of this film after they've dined on the bait he set out for them.

DCWilly said...

Actually Amba, many people like Chapman have severe mental illness and are far too insane to formulate a rational plan to, as you put it, seek fame. And before you accuse me of making excuses for a criminal, I have no problem with murderers (who kill for whatever reason) to be locked up forever, be it in a jail or in a hospital. It's just that schizophrenia is real, and it's incongruous to attribute rational thought to clearly irrational people.

vbspurs said...

I'm not sure what principle Ann is acting on here, much less what the limits of that principle should be.

There should no movies about Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Such movies can never, on balance, serve a useful purpose?


Ann sometimes comes out with bombastic statements, similar to the right-wing = artists one.

I believe it's her Socratic tradition at work, as much as personal conviction, as I see it.

I.E. -- she wants to motivate our group to delve deeper into the topic than would be possible by a mere pat statement.

For the record, she's right about this topic.

I wish the murderers and madmen of history would disappear without a trace of their foul deeds being proclaimed or noticed.

OTOH, unlike Plato who also didn't like art because it could laud badness by merely portraying it, I think we would repeat history's mistakes if we didn't know about them.

I'm from the warts and all school.

Cheers,
Victoria

Howard Beale said...

Ann, you really need to rethink that one. The idea that some topics should be off-limits to film makers, period, is, to put it bluntly, fascist. Is it any different from the banning of books like Huckleberry Finn over the use of the n-word?

Ann Althouse said...

Amba: Thanks.

DCWilly: Recheck my post and you'll see that I consider the killer mentally ill. But I think making a film about him encourages other ill persons to take that deranged path to fame. We who are fortunate enough to be sane should show our concern for the ill by boycotting films like this.

Hey, I watched a film tonight! "March of the Penguins" -- at long last. Pretty good. What a plummy voice Morgan Freeman has. Instantly recognizable. As for those birds, couldn't they have chosen a breeding ground closer to the sea? Would it have killed them? Come on, these birds had a nutty approach to survival! Cute chicks, though!

k said...

Ann... I am sorry to see your distress over this. I can see that John Lennon is more than just "some artist" to you. I understand.

DCWilly.. I think the problem is that "life sentence" or "locked up forever" no longer have the (true) meaning they used to. Didn't you just see that JH was granted like unsupervised visits to his MOM AND DAD??? For whole weekends?

And if you follow James Taranto, he loves to document "news" (thank you MSM) stories talking about how the stats are showing that all these life criminals are dying in prison!! Well, no shit Sherlock!!

This is why, even though I hate the thought that innocents could be railroaded to the death chamber, I hate even more the thought that life sentences are easier and more "escapable" than ever before. So some guy that I may not wish DEAD, but imprisoned for the REST OF HIS LIFE (as normal people understand that term) ends up getting released to do .. I don't know .. more havoc in someone's life .. when I really wanted him imprisoned forever (and I never realized, as a voter, that my statutes and my state's indiscriminate case law didn't permit that). It's another one of those cases where normal people like me just really can't understand the judicial system, or lawyers, or judges, or anything else. It makes us feel really disconnected from the whole judicial system.

Would love your comments, Ann.

Ann Althouse said...

Beale: I said nothing about government censorship. Obviously, that would violate Free Speech.

SteveRich said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Howard Beale said...

Ann: I understand you're not talking about government censorship, but that's of little comfort to the voices that are being silenced. When I think of fascism, I think not only of dictators stirring up crowds but of crowds willing to be stirred up.

Labels aside, a big reason why I love this country is the rich variety of thought and expression we enjoy, even in this age of mass media. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the shrill voices on the right, or on the left for that matter, but I'm damn glad they're around to at least get the conversation going.

vbspurs said...

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the shrill voices on the right, or on the left for that matter, but I'm damn glad they're around to at least get the conversation going.

I'm glad they're around too.

What I am not glad of, is the moments some of them choose to express their opinions.

Like not letting an invited speaker give a talk at the Univ of Connecticut, because they choose to censor them by shouting them down.

Amongst many many other similar "free speech" protests which usually only come from one side of the aisle.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Hey, I watched a film tonight!

Is this such a rarity?

"March of the Penguins" -- at long last. Pretty good.

It was good, yes.

But I think it received a lot more press and attention that perhaps it deserved.

The amount of preparation and dedication to filming was phenomenal.

But ultimately, how different from any one of Jane Goodall's PBS shows was it?

What a plummy voice Morgan Freeman has. Instantly recognizable.

Plummy.

I wonder if that means the same thing to Americans, as it does to us.

(Rich, full-voweled enunciation, associated with "received pronunciation" in the UK. I have a plummy voice, e.g.)

As for those birds, couldn't they have chosen a breeding ground closer to the sea? Would it have killed them? Come on, these birds had a nutty approach to survival! Cute chicks, though!

Heh.

I like the abnegation showed by the dad penguins.

Needed a pedicure badly, though.

Cheers,
Victoria

Eli Blake said...

I answered this in a post on one of your other boards (on best film) when someone asked about why they didn't cast Sean Penn as Theo Van Gogh and make another movie like 'The People vs. Larry Flynt.'

What I wrote was this:

The reason no one wants to make another movie like the Larry Flynt movie is because it was a big loser at the box office. Go ahead and put your money out there if you think there should be a movie about Theo Van Gogh. I'm sure if you offer Sean Penn enough cash, he'd take the part. But don't expect to turn a profit on it.

2:15 AM, January 03, 2006


This doesn't sound like a movie I want to see. It also doesn't sound like a movie that many here want to see. If it flops, then that will send a message much louder than all the censorship in the world could.

Ann: The reasons penguins don't breed closer to the sea are twofold: 1) The ice is thick enough further into the ice shelf (the movie refers to that); a thousand fat penguins standing together on a thin piece of ice for months probably weigh together about as much as a fully loaded semi, well think about skating on thin ice; and 2) before the eggs hatch, further inland it is inshospitable enough that birds of prey and other predators don't go there and try to steal an egg.

Wade_Garrett said...

Ann's comments remind me of a quotation by Francois Truffaut to the effect that there has never been a truly anti-war movie, not even All Quiet On the Western Front, because movies necessarily glamorize what they depict.

I see Ann's point. Even if the movie attempts to portray the Man Whose Name We Must Never Mention as negatively as possible, it will still reward him in some ways. More people walked out of Fight Club wanting to pick a fight than to question their conceptions of masculinity. Similarly, I see the potential for what Ann is talking about.

There are some historical figures, such as Hitler and Stalin and the terrorists in Munich, who must be depicted in order to tell larger stories. However, there's a reason Mein Kamph hasn't been turned into a major motion picture! Its a matter of line-drawing, and I would saw that the decision to make this movie was foolish.

Mickey said...

I`m with Ann.
It was a sad day.
Why re-live it?
The movie? Aint goin.

amba said...

DCWilly,

Who said it was a rational plan?

Just watched the 1937 Robert Montgomery classic "Night Must Fall" on Turner Classic Movies. That was a chilling study of the empty vanity and absolute ambition of some . . . you couldn't call the character Danny a schizophrenic, i don't know what DSM would have called him, but he was obviously mentally ill. The terror that drove him deep down didn't make him any less evil. The fantasy is that fame, and the power that comes from killing, especially killing Somebody, will make you Somebody. It's the kind of movie that could inspire copycats -- remember "Taxi Driver" and the guy who shot Reagan to impress Jodie Foster. I've genuinely forgotten his name.

James d. said...

As a side point, I don't think many people my age (22) look at Fight Club for any message, other than it being a badass film. Just like people love Scarface and Boondock Saints. They won't imitate that stuff -- especially because of the grand scale. But they wish they could do so and get away with it.

I can't imagine any film with Lohan in it can be very good, however. The film won't make much money, either, if that's any consolation.

TopCat said...

I agree completely with Ann, at least Hitler or Stalin had to engage in politics to get their notoriaty, slugs like Starkweather, Oswald, or *** should not be "rewarded" with celebrity. Nitwits used to run out on the field during sporting events when TV cameras would follow them, when the media practiced self-censorship in this area the practice stopped.

JimK said...

I'm not going to get into arguing importance of the victim, details on the killer's sanity or anything else, but I will say that I could not disagree with you more on principle. Simply making a film that focuses on a subject does not automatically glorify that subject. I'm glad they're making this film and I hope it's done with at least an intention of telling the truth...whatever it is.

Ann Althouse said...

JimK: "Simply making a film that focuses on a subject does not automatically glorify that subject."

The opposite has been observed by many other than me. Terrence cites a famous example of this insight, spoken by Truffaut. I didn't make it up, but couldn't think of any of the examples I've seen.

Re "Fight Club." I love this movie, as I've said before on this blog. But it's not relevant to the point I'm making here. If you think it is, explain why. As to the fact that many people can see this film (or another) and not be moved to violence, that is hardly my point.

Only a very rare, unusual person takes things the wrong way and does something bad. But I'm not recommending censoring or boycotting every film about a violent person. Frankly, if I was going to choose one thing to censor with the hope of stopping acts of violence, it would be "A Catcher in the Rye."

But I'm not saying that. I'm not talking about acts of violence generally. I'm talking about the idea that lodges in the brain of some mentally ill persons that killing a famous person would be the road to glory. This is not an important idea for debate by the general public. It's a stupid, ugly fantasy. We should take care that we not participate in making it true.

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.

And in the world of free speech, the listeners' shunning is part of the marketplace of ideas that is part of the expression. It's more speech, the opposite of censorship.

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: "Is this such a rarity?"

To watch an entire film? Yeah! I don't normally have the time or interest to sit through a whole film. I would rather read or write or do any number of other things, really. It feels very passive and slow to me these days. It didn't use to.

Ron said...

I'm talking about the idea that lodges in the brain of some mentally ill persons that killing a famous person would be the road to glory. This is not an important idea for debate by the general public. It's a stupid, ugly fantasy. We should take care that we not participate in making it true.

I doubt we can know if releasing a film per se will have the effect you think on the mentally ill; if they desire "fame", and there is no such film around, they may very well make up what fame consists of and still perform the actions we dislike.

We may have aesthetic/moral objections to such a project, but as to whether it produces a causal effect on someone who may not have our sensibility (or sense)? I'm much less sure.

I would rather read or write or do any number of other things, really.
One of the reasons I read much less, and much more selectively choose the books I do read, is the amount of time and commitment a good book takes, which is far more than even a long film. For the most part any filmic experience is over in two hours, maybe three. Not so with practically any book.




It feels very passive and slow to me these days. It didn't use to.

I submit that perhaps the blogging experience has changed your own nature; but since you still post a lot about film, there may be a hidden desire to like film the way you did before? Just guessing.

EddieP said...

Lindsay Lohan, a contrived star if there ever was one. This movie is produced strictly to exploit her name before she too heads down the road to rehab before she's 21. Lennon and Hinckley are mere props. I agree with Ann, there is a possible downside and no perceptible redeeming value to a movie like this.

Bohemond said...

Forget Herostratus.

me said...

Chapman did befriend someone before he killed Lennon. He went on a date with my brother's girlfriend's sister. However, unfortunately, he didn't ask her out again. Maybe if he had, Lennon would still be alive.

Chapman is a pathetic moron. Nothing about him could be of interest.

Pogo said...

Any film about such a pathetic loser that attempts to humanize him necessarily attempts to humanize his murder.

But what's the point? He is human, except mentally ill. So what's to learn? Nothing. What's to be gained from such an enterprise? Nothing. Who will go? Very few.

And nihilism is the point, I'm afraid. Films like this, e.g. Munich, are nihilistic. They make good and evil equivalent. They deny that some lives are better lived and better emulated than others. They are, in short, reprehensible.

As for people posting who cry fascism at every suggestion to curb the id, well, you simply do not have any idea what that word means. Films about evil people may need to be made, but not when they are made the modern way, the nihilistic Scarface approach which propagandize evil, glorify it, sex it up, and make it desirable.

We don't need government censors. We need, as Ann says, to shun the films and (in my view) their makers. That's democratic capitalism at its finest.

Charlie Eklund said...

I agree with Ann that the name of MDC should be sticken from every pillar and every tablet, as emotional and non-rational as that sentiment is. As much as I wish that doing so would actually erase that swine from history, I understand that it will not.

But burying him alive is the next best thing.

exactly3 said...

Egad! this is silly. In your original post, you said, "That man should never be mentioned, never given any attention, and no film should ever be made about him", which is quite a different sentiment than "[w]e should shun them." The first expresses a desire to censor these filmmakers and to make topics that you deem offensive to your sensibilities off-limits to filmmakers everywhere.
Also, exactly how do you know the script is going to be bad? Sloppy thinking, through and through!

Wade_Garrett said...

Ann - I brought up Fight Club just because I thought it was a very well-made movie, with a very clear message, and yet a lot of people; perhaps a majority of people, walked out of the theater thinking 'fighting is fun.' Maybe I'm wrong, maybe its just my sample of friends, but shortly after that movie came out a Fight Club started at Yale, where I was in school. That must have been a pretty pathetic sight . . . but if a bunch of ivy league lit majors can misinterpret a movie like that, then I'd imagine a lot of people all over the country would misinterpret a movie about TMWNWMNM.

I think its in bad taste, and perhaps even potentially dangerous. With Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan playing the lead roles, what sort of an audience do you think it will attract? A matured, cynical, hardened, sophisticated audience?

Ann Althouse said...

Exactly3: What are you talking about? Why should we shun them unless it is the case that they are doing something they shouldn't? The two statements are two sides of the same coin. I'm not talking about government censorship. I'm talking about moral pressure from the audience the filmmakers are trying to reach. You need to read a lot more carefully before spouting off about me not making sense.

Pogo said...

exactly3 said: "exactly how do you know the script is going to be bad?"

Experience, that's how.
These never, ever, ever turn out good. Ever.

Ann Althouse said...

Pogo said...
exactly3 said: "exactly how do you know the script is going to be bad?"

Experience, that's how.
These never, ever, ever turn out good. Ever.


LOL. Yeah, I didn't even answer that part. I like the way a clown who calls himself "exactly" uses the word "exactly" in his question as if it gives it some bite it wouldn't otherwise have. Man, you have to be awfully naive to think this movie deserves the benefit of the doubt. If you can't smell stinkers like this from a distance, I feel sorry for you. You must waste a lot of time in dark rooms.

Verification word: rantw.

Walter said...

maybe its just my sample of friends, but shortly after that movie came out a Fight Club started at Yale, where I was in school. That must have been a pretty pathetic sight . . . but if a bunch of ivy league lit majors can misinterpret a movie like that, then I'd imagine a lot of people all over the country would misinterpret a movie about TMWNWMNM
Terrence: So, a bunch of brights kids just of high school [That's the average undergrad at Yale, right?] who dont have the life experence to understand one of the deeper meanings of Fight Club decide that they like the surface ideas and run with it.

That means that the rest of the country (on average, not as bright as Yale undergrads) will not see the deeper meaning? I expect that many of those people had a better understanding because they have the life experience to relate to the deeper meanings.

You might want to tone down the Yale elitism a bit.

vbspurs said...

To watch an entire film? Yeah! I don't normally have the time or interest to sit through a whole film.

That you don't have the time, doesn't surprise anyone.

But when I read "interest" that shocked me.

I would rather read or write or do any number of other things, really.

Sure. That's fine.

I mean, you have to do what interests you, but I never knew that about you and film, since you had commented a few times on film on your blog.

It feels very passive and slow to me these days. It didn't use to.

Well, as you know, I'm a cinephile, and watching films (I've watched two today alone, Vodka Lemon, Armenian/Kurdish and Happily Ever After -- French), is second nature to me.

But I'd be interested in a post from you one day, as to why you might have changed.

I myself don't consider film a passive activity.

My brain is stimulated by a million thoughts and sensations as I watch it.

But again, we are each of us, different in this world.

Still, introspection on the topic would be intriguing.

Cheers,
Victoria

Steven said...

While I agree with the basic impulse, Ann, I think the original example shows that those who seek Herostratic fame will get it.

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: I used to like the experience of viewing a film much more. But I always looked at my watch a lot and was distracted by thinking about wanting it to end, wanting to be free. It's funny, because I'm not an extremely active person. I have no problem sitting in one place and concentrating for hours, but as soon as someone else is controlling my time, I resent it. I greatly prefer reading, because I control the pace and the length of the session, and I can stop altogether and think my own thoughts as much as I want.

exactly3 said...

Well, if we are going to be "exact", what do you mean by "I'm not recommending censoring or boycotting every film about a violent person", if not that you recommend the censoring and boycotting of some films about violent people? Also, I never claimed you wanted government censorship. You might want Focus on the Family censoring movies, for all I know or care. It is still a horrible idea. As for boycotting, shun away. I wouldn't dream of restricting your "moral pressure".

As for you, Pogo, "these [screenplays] never, ever, ever turn out good"... except when they do. Ann gives us a good counterexample: "Taxi Driver". Not that it matters, but I agree with both you and Ann that this movie will probably stink. Lindsay Lohan has never acted in anything worth watching. It's just that when moralizing buffoons start fantasizing about censoring creative works as a solution to society's ills, I get a little upset. (A Catcher in the Rye, Ann? Or did you not mean that either?)

vbspurs said...

Victoria: I used to like the experience of viewing a film much more. But I always looked at my watch a lot and was distracted by thinking about wanting it to end, wanting to be free. It's funny, because I'm not an extremely active person. I have no problem sitting in one place and concentrating for hours, but as soon as someone else is controlling my time, I resent it. I greatly prefer reading, because I control the pace and the length of the session, and I can stop altogether and think my own thoughts as much as I want.

Ahh.

It's about control, direction, and time.

A very interesting phenomenon, Ann.

And one very present in artists, which is why they are artists, and not viewers.

Cheers,
Victoria

Pooh said...

It's really quite simple. Don't watch it. Don't post about it again. Just ignore it. All you do by talking about is give it free advertising (and at the same time engaging in a little 'road-kill theatre' of your own.)

The fact that some people's tastes might seem gauche to you can not, by-and-large, render them illegitimate. So people want to go see a crappy movie with 2nd rate actors - their loss.

Further, I don't see any principled way to distinguish this enterprise from "Fight Club" for example. For someone with their irony-meter turned off, FC could be seen as a call to fascism (Fincher, Norton and Pitt say as much in their commentary). Is the difference in the subject matter or the skill of the artists involved? Either way, I don't see any plausible way to make decisions as to what should and should not be allowed. That's kinda the point.

Ann Althouse said...

exactly: With a name like exactly, you should read more carefully and take to heart that words have meaning. For example: "if."

Simon said...

Like the new Kevorkian biopic and the nascent Stone 9/11 movie, you really have to wonder if there is any brake on the process that starts with a bunch of people in a room trying to make "Spaceballs II: the Search for More Money." Isn't there a wonderful line in some movie - echoing Tocqueville - that we should redefine progress to mean that just because we can do something that we choose not to, out of innate decency?

Simon said...

Ooh, I know what's next. A movie about Timothy McVeigh, that paints his cold-blooded murder 167 people as being acting out of, I don't know, something that'll make him sympathetic to west coast liberals. Being on George W. Bush's payroll, maybe. Oh, and since Brokeback Mountain - a movie about a man who's unfaithful to his wife - looks to make some money, they could say that he was actually gay all along, that'll let the film's shills claim that anyone who doesn't agree with suggesting that McVeigh is a [sympathetic character / pawn in a Bush plot / whatever else they think of] is a homophobe! Dang, the movie business is easy money.

exactly3 said...

Ann wrote:
Frankly, if I was going to choose one thing to censor with the hope of stopping acts of violence, it would be "A Catcher in the Rye."

I'm assuming you mean the "if" in this sentence. If not a frank desire to censor, a belief that censoring this work would stop violence, then what exactly do you mean? (You seem enamored with my alias, so from now on, it appears in all my comments. I only ask that you make snide remarks about it in all your reponses.) As I said in my second comment in this thread, in the sentence immediately before the one quoted above, you recommend censoring and boycotting some violent movies. Is it such a stretch to think you believe the same of some books (in light of the fact that you write "if I was going to choose one thing to censor...it would be 'A Catcher in the Rye.'")? Do your words have any meaning? Should I despair at not having access to what Ann Althouse really means? I'm left, alas, with this poor substitute: what she actually writes.

price said...

Late to the party, but I couldn't agree more with this post. I think that among artists and a certain political party, there is not just a tolerance for monsters but a desire to vindicate them. Perhaps it is an unconscious act of rebellion against establishment, morals and decency. I can't think of any films about a true villain that didn't end up softening or making that person more likeable. I think movies like "Downfall" or "Monster" are really good pieces of cinema, but I would prefer if a so-called nuanced artist could take a stand for once and realize that any kind of attention, no matter how thoughtful, simply encourages future notoriety-seekers.

On a kind of related note, I saw my hero John Waters speak a few weeks ago and he ended his talk with an earnest plea for Leslie Van Houten's freedom. It made me really depressed.

Simon said...

Price-I almost hate to ask, but what exactly is appealing about John Waters' oeuvre?

price said...

Hey Simon... Well, if I could explain his exact appeal, maybe it would be gone? Personally, his films make me laugh on an almost instinctual level, unlike any other humorist. His films are totally not for everyone, but you might be surprised to know he's a really great and engaging writer. He has a memoir about his early days as a filmmaker, as well as a book of essays.... all very well-written and inspiring for a wannabe filmmaker like me. Even for those who don't want to see his earlier, more shocking movies like "Female Trouble" and "Pink Flamingos", he has a couple of family-friendly films like "Hairspray," "Crybaby" and my personal favorite "Polyester." I don't know of any other filmmaker who straddles the line between X-rated and PG quite so handily. It's totally okay for people to not like him because I think he courts that reaction... but yeah, I've been entertained by his movies since I was a kid.

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