Q: Who are you?
I’m the Cinema Curmudgeon, dummy.
Q: No, I mean what do you do? What is your purpose? Do you have a mission statement?
A mission statement? Are you kidding me? Get this guy outta here!! Let those other kids ask the questions.
Q: Hello, my name is Billy and this is my sister, Sally.
That’s not a question, but go on.
B/S: We were wondering, why do you hate “joy”?
That’s a very good question Billy and Sally. I don’t hate “joy,” as you call it. I hate bad films.
B/S: What consti….
Before you ask what constitutes bad films, which, by the way, is a very big word for such young people, let me explain what I think a good film is. For me, a good film is when all the elements come together and work as a whole. That means, the writing, the acting, the directing, the photography, etc. Is the story the most important thing? No. Are the actors the most important? No. The execution of the whole thing is what’s important to me, and it’s not something that is quantifiable.
B/S: What’s quanti…
Don’t interrupt. I approach them intuitively. It’s like when I’m in a museum and looking at art, some pieces affect me and others don’t. The elements of that work of art came together to move me. It was either the brush stroke, color selection, marbling of the stone, shape of the wood, tassels on the pasty, uh, I mean the lighting, yeah the lighting.
B/S: Is a pasty like a donut?
Yes. Now back to the subject at hand. But first I want to make something else clear. There are movies and there are films. Films are art, movies are entertainment. Is it subjective? Yes. Is that rational? No.
B/S: So movies can be art?
I use the terms to differentiate certain types of work. David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Orson Welles make films. Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, James Cameron, and Joe Dante make movies. It doesn’t mean I think films are better than movies (they are), but they have a different resonance (a soul?) for me. Here’s a food example. The Olive Garden is not art. Osteria Mozza is art. Does that mean I can’t enjoy the “food” at Olive Garden? Well, yeah, they’re not that great (except for that soup I like with the sausage in it). Does that make sense?
B/S: No.
B/S: Does a movie have to be “good” as you define it for you to enjoy your time watching it?
Did you not hear the soup response in my prior answer? Yes, I can enjoy crap on occasion. But again, all the elements have to work together to make the crap sandwich just right. A trashy movie like Wild Things, is enjoyable because all its elements work. A Troma movie can be enjoyable if you’re in the right frame of mind. On the other hand, a Michael Bay movie will never be enjoyable. He is cinema botulism.
B/S: Can someone make films and movies.
Sure, the good ones can. Scorsese has made a couple movies.
B/S: So CAN movies be art?
Oh come on, this was supposed to be a simple Q&A. I’m not in the mood to discuss the theory of pop culture as art (thanks Andy Warhol). My short answer is, sure. You want more, go talk to Simon Schama.
B/S: But this is your site. Don’t you need to justify your opinions in order to be credible?
How old are you kids? This is America, I don’t have to justify Jack. But here’s what I’ll do, I’ll give you a little background on The Cinema Curmudgeon. I am not a film historian. I don’t sit around quoting lines of dialogue from movies (or films) because I simply don’t retain that kind of useless information (I retain other useless information). I’m not a film geek. I’m more a cinephile or cineaste (a film snob). I did go to film school over 20 years ago, and I do work in Hollywood as an editor. Lemme also mention that I’m originally from Kentucky, like D.W. Griffith (sometimes called “the father of film technique”). I mention this only because I’ll occasionally make reference to my KY roots. And no, Next of Kin is not an accurate portrayal of average KY life. FUCK YOU JOHN IRVIN!!
B/S: You said the “f” word.
Oh yeah. That’s another thing. There will be the occasional “colorful metaphor” on this site (where’s that one from, film geeks?). I also want to point out that there are many links on this site for getting further information (and filling my coffers). And if something is mentioned more than once, often the links will take you to somewhere new. It’s like an Easter Egg hunt. Kids like Easter Egg hunts.
B/S: Is there any more you can tell us about how you critique cinema?
I think I’ve been sufficiently vague about my criteria and qualifications for judging cinema. Now, are there any more questions? I’m old and my blood sugar is getting low.
B/S: Can we call you Uncle Curmy?
CC: Sure, why not.