Ken Turan's article (the final before Cameron responds)

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Home Skully

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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here's the article that turan wrote that finally caused cameron to break.
turan makes several good points, but i still think that in using isolated
people who responded to his initial critique, he churned out a
condescending essay.

sidenote: Did you see the letter in this whole Cameron thing from Gene
Shalit (supporting Turan)? what was that all about--critics united club?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
You Try to Stop It
Make No Mistake about it, 'Titanic's' record-breaking success means
bon voyage to the notion that a literate script is crucial to the
filmmaking process. A commentary by Times film critic Kenneth Turan.

Memo to the incensed gentleman who called a Times editor
after the Golden Globe Awards were announced to express the hope that
"now that 'Titanic' is the best film of the year, you'll take that guy
who didn't like it outside and shoot him." For better or worse, I'm
still here.
Yet even allowing for serious overestimation of the Golden Globes'
importance, there can be no doubt that events are moving the caller's
way. "Titanic" earned a raft of nominations from the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences and at this juncture has to be considered
the favorite for the best picture Oscar.
But all this doesn't translate into personal chagrin at having turned
in a perhaps less than enthusiastic review of the film, even though a
reader from Bigfork, Mont., took the time to write and say that if I
had any doubts about "Titanic's" greatness, "your proof is in the box
office."
Film critics, general opinion notwithstanding, are not intended to be
applause meters. Just as restaurant critics don't send couples seeking
that special anniversary meal straight to McDonald's on the "everybody
goes there, it must be the best" theory, the overall mandate of
critics must be to point out the existence and importance of other
criteria for judgment besides popularity.
Yet as "Titanic" has turned itself into the top box-office attraction
of all time, the first film to grasp the once unapproachable grail of
the $1 billion worldwide gross (though ticket price inflation is a
factor), there can be no doubt that its success is a genuine
sensation, one whose far-reaching consequences are fascinating to
examine for quite specific reasons.
In a mass audience business by and large run by people with no
instinctive sense of what a mass audience truly wants, all kinds of
powerful people will be taking a variety of lessons from this
unprecedented outpouring of money and support. What does the
phenomenon of what one executive called "the best film ever made from
the worst script ever written" mean for the future of Hollywood?
While the lackluster nature of "Titanic's" script is key to any
discussion, the intention here is not to beat a dead horse. Rather
it's to point out that the success of the James Cameron film with both
the academy and the public is unmistakably a watershed event. It will
likely solidify trends already apparent in Hollywood and lead, unless
we're lucky, to changes in the kinds of movies we'll be seeing in the
future, changes that all audiences will notice and not necessarily
applaud.
Though no one, not even its staunchest partisans, predicted the kind
of success for "Titanic" that it ended up achieving, the reasons for
this bonanza are not difficult to discover, though some of the key
factors involved are not the ones usually cited.
For one thing, certain films succeed in part because the makers have
been canny enough to recognize an audience predisposition to embrace
particular subject matter. That was what happened with the first
"Batman" and, as filmmaker James Cameron has himself noted when he
talked about receiving and passing on this story like a baton, that
was the case here.
From the moment it went down until today, the Titanic has never gone
through a period in which the public was not fascinated by it to one
degree or another. "Down With the Old Canoe," Steven Biel's incisive
cultural history of that phenomenon, notes that more than 100 popular
songs were published in the year following the ship's sinking. More
recently, "A Night to Remember," Walter Lord's nonfiction book (basis
of the 1958 film), has gone through an impressive 71 printings and
captivated readers of that generation as fully as the film does
today's viewers.
And while Cameron's version is attracting paying customers in
unprecedented numbers, that success paradoxically says at least as
much about how poor a job Hollywood in general is doing in reaching
the mass audience that should be its bread and butter as it does about
the filmmaking skill of its creators.
The flip side of "Titanic's" ability to draw hordes of viewers into
theaters is the question of where these viewers have been for the past
several years. In its unintentional underlining of how narrow an
audience net most movies cast, "Titanic" is not an example of
Hollywood's success, it's an emblem of its failure.
For "Titanic's" ability to attract a crowd also shows how desperate
the mainstream audience--alienated by studio reliance on the kind of
mindless violence that can be counted on to sell overseas--has become
for anything even resembling old-fashioned entertainment. As Cameron
himself said in a recent interview, "We thought there was a hunger for
emotion, for character, for drama." Deadened by exposure to nonstop
trash and willing to confuse the on-screen chemistry of Leonardo
DiCaprio and Kate Winslet with writing ability, audiences have been
sadly eager to embrace a film that, putting the best face on it, is a
witless counterfeit of Hollywood's Golden Age, a compendium of cliches
that add up to a reasonable facsimile of a film. "It's close enough"
is how one Oscar-winning screenwriter accounted for the film's
success. "If you give today's audiences just an idea of what the film
is about, they'll go for it."
What, then, does that audience appetite portend for the future of
studio films? One conclusion at least is inescapable: Despite the
pious promises of self-deluded studio executives who insist that this
film is not going to be the forerunner of a raft of $200-million
ventures, that's exactly what we're in for.
Because human nature in the Hollywood habitat being what it is,
ego-driven directors will feel it's an insult to their greatness to be
denied what another director received. Just as most top filmmakers now
insist that holding a film to a plebian two-hour length is out of the
question for creators of their vision, so they will insist that they
too are worthy of Cameron-sized budgets.
And in a day and age when most studio executives act like guilty
parents too timid and conflicted to discipline their wayward children,
there's no force strong enough to stand in the way of rampant ego on
the march. If a fiasco like 1980's "Heaven's Gate" didn't ultimately
curtail studio spending despite promises to the contrary, does anyone
seriously think a success like "Titanic" is going to keep the lid on?
The problem with that megabudget scenario is twofold. For one, though
Cameron is not someone to be trusted anywhere near a word processor,
he is a master of the physical side of filmmaking and one of the few
people who can make effective use of $200 million. What will happen
when Cameron wannabes with considerable studio clout start turning out
grotesquely bloated, "Postman"-type disasters on a regular basis is
not a pleasant scenario to contemplate.
The other difficulty is that what Cameron does naturally--write lowest
common denominator screenplays that condescend to their
audience--other writers have to be forced into. The more a movie
costs, the bigger its audience tent has to be, the more it has to
appeal to every person on the planet if it's to have a hope of
breaking even. So these movies ruthlessly bludgeon writers into
dumbing down their scripts, removing any trace of intelligence that
might put off even a single potential viewer.
Potentially more troublesome and destructive than any of this is what
the embracing of "Titanic" by the public and the motion picture
community says about the future of studio filmmaking as a whole. For
make no mistake about it, what we're witnessing is the wholesale
jettisoning of the notion of anything resembling a literate script as
a necessary part of the filmmaking process, a change in the very
nature of film that is not going to be any less fatal for being
largely unrecognized.
Never in the past has a film with a script as lacking as "Titanic's"
been so universally (well, almost universally) acclaimed as the acme
of the medium. Think of any celebrated venture from the past, whether
it's "All About Eve" (which shares "Titanic's" Oscar record of 14
nominations), "The Godfather," "Lawrence of Arabia," "E.T.," even the
genuinely clever "Star Wars" or "Jaws" with its marvelous Robert Shaw
shark attack monologue. Audience pictures all, and all of them had
strong scripts at their core. They were written to be classics, not
slavishly and ineptly copied from them.
But "Titanic's" success means that from now on all bets are off.
Today's audiences, with their taste corrupted and denatured by 'round
the clock exposure to bad TV and worse features, now have difficulty
discerning a slick and derivative fake from the real thing. And if
audiences can't tell the difference, you can be sure that studios are
going to start thinking that time and effort put into memorable
writing is a waste.
Because if there is a hidden cause to what's surreptitiously happening
all around us, it's the enormous advances made recently in
computer-generated visual effects. As "Jurassic Park," "The Lost
World" and "Independence Day" proved with a vengeance, audiences tend
not to notice feeble writing if they get their money's worth of
astonishing sights.
In "Titanic," that trend has reached its point of no return:
Terminally distracted by some truly spectacular physical effects, both
audiences and the academy have stampeded toward spectacle and decided
that, especially with a pair of attractive actors thrown into the mix,
language is a nonessential that can easily be dispensed with. If that
is in fact the wave of the future, few of even "Titanic's" fans are
going to be happy about where it comes ashore.
Exasperated by my unyielding stance toward "Titanic," a friend
recently informed me that I "care too much about words." To that
charge I'm forced to plead guilty. My fear, however, is not standing
alone; it's that by the time more people wish they'd stood on the dock
with me, it will be too late to make any difference.


gjw

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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Home Skully wrote:
>
> here's the article that turan wrote that finally caused cameron to break.
> turan makes several good points, but i still think that in using isolated
> people who responded to his initial critique, he churned out a
> condescending essay.

I read the Turan article in the Times when it first came out, and I
found it embarrassing. Having blown the call on the most popular movie
of our time, Turan isn't content to slink off to the sidelines and nurse
his wounds... No, he has to make matters worse by insisting that
everyone else is wrong, while HE'S right. Surely popular taste MUST be
dreadful because the public <gasp!> disagrees with HIM! Sure, Mr.
Turan, sure... Embarrassing.

It was inevitable that someone would call him on this outrageous
posturing, and I think Cameron (in his rebuttal) did a fairly good job
of summing things up. It was probably unnecessary, though, since by now
most Times readers have realized that Turan can't be trusted to make
recommendations about what they will and will not enjoy.

Lulu

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

In article <Pine.SOL.3.95q.98033...@rac5.wam.umd.edu>,
Home Skully <sk...@wam.umd.edu> wrote:

>sidenote: Did you see the letter in this whole Cameron thing from Gene
>Shalit (supporting Turan)? what was that all about--critics united club?

What is it, a public bitch session? Weird...anyhow, just one point, this


will only make sense if you read the letter Cameron wrote:

> What does the
> phenomenon of what one executive called "the best film ever made from
> the worst script ever written"

Cameron quotes that 'worst script' line as coming straight from Turan, and
takes it out of context, which is actually a not entiretly uncomplimentary
statement. No wonder his scripts are so bad; he can't even manage reading
comprehension.

*sigh* This is the article people were bitching about? I've read far
worse, and I rarely see the people being criticised whine right back.
Sheesh. I've never read anything Turan's written in the past, but he made
a few good points, and was no more condescending than any other film
critic.

Cheers,
Lulu

--
Visit the Spice Rack: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/6151/

AtomRide

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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>I read the Turan article in the Times when it first came out, and I
>found it embarrassing. Having blown the call on the most popular movie
>of our time, Turan isn't content to slink off to the sidelines and nurse
>his wounds... No, he has to make matters worse by insisting that
>everyone else is wrong, while HE'S right. Surely popular taste MUST be
>dreadful because the public <gasp!> disagrees with HIM! Sure, Mr.
>Turan, sure... Embarrassing.
>
>It was inevitable that someone would call him on this outrageous
>posturing, and I think Cameron (in his rebuttal) did a fairly good job
>of summing things up. It was probably unnecessary, though, since by now
>most Times readers have realized that Turan can't be trusted to make
>recommendations about what they will and will not enjoy.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

I am a L.A. Times reader, and it seems you, not Turan, are trying to tell
us how to make up our own minds. How dare you accuse one critic out of many who
gave their Best Film of 1997 to someone else? I may be in the minority when it
comes to Titanic, the most POPULAR film in history, (not the BEST), but there
are many people who I guarantee you DON'T have the same opinion as you. Cameron
only showed weakness by responding to Turan with that triad.
Turan didn't blow the call; many film reviewers blew the call when they
knocked Titanic for it's screenplay and acting. And the majority of the Academy
blew the call for rewarding a film with special effects that overshadowed
everything else.
I liked Titanic a lot; but I can't understand the hysteria over it. Maybe
it's because I've seen films like Citizen Kane and Ben-Hur too much.
Oh, and if you want proof that not all L.A. Times readers share your
disdain for Turan, the Times printed my letter to them regarding Titanic, where
I praised its special effects, but slammed its screenplay.

MFalc1

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Richard aka Tara wrote (among other things):>All this criticism is moot anyway,
because the
>only thing that matters in the end is pleasing the audience.
>Everything else is pointless.
>
>

Yes, but unlike both TERMINATORS, ALIENS, THE ABYSS and TRUE LIES, Cameron made
the type of film with TITANIC that pleases some audiences that want nothing
more than rudimentary melodrama and state-of-the-art effects. Pleasing the
audience-audiences are too easily pleased these days (before too many flames
begin, this does *not* mean that I'm saying that fans of TITANIC are stupid-the
common kneejerk response to Turan's article).

Mark L. Falconer-film and video reviews at
http://members.aol.com/MFalc1/home.html


Maurice

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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The subject line says it all :

This movie critic is crusading against Titanic, for "better"
movies and scripts.

I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES BROTHERS 2000,
SPAWN, ETC... they are hordes of badly directed and written
movies out there.

Titanic isn't one of them.

I could understand all the guy criticism if it applied
to SPEED 2.

But Titanic is a movie with a soul.

Guess actually what Turan's can't take is that movies with
soul exists ?

M

Plain and Simple Cronan

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Maurice wrote

>But Titanic is a movie with a soul.

Sure. A shallow, bland, banal, empty soul which moves those possed of a
similar one. Titanic is the perfect example of what is wrong with America.
While SPEED 2 is an incompetent attempt at mass appeal that is one step
below dog slime, Titanic is a competent attempt at complete emotional
brainwashing.

Someone once said, and I think KT's remarks reflect this, I don't shoot a
man for being incomptent at the Devil's work[like SPEED 2]. I shoot him for
being competent at the Devil's work. Admiration is part of the process.

>Guess actually what Turan's can't take is that movies with
>soul exists ?


Soul or unreasonable facsimiles thereof?

P&SC

Jim Mann

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Plain and Simple Cronan wrote in message
<6fqp6h$r...@camel12.mindspring.com>...


>
>Maurice wrote
>
>>But Titanic is a movie with a soul.
>
>Sure. A shallow, bland, banal, empty soul which moves those
possed of a
>similar one. Titanic is the perfect example of what is wrong
with America.


First off, Titanic seems to be doing well world wide, so this
isn't an "America" thing.

Secondly, I don't see how liking so-so entertainment is in any
way an idication of a problem. This no longer indicates a problem
with America than Americans liking dime novels at the turn of the
century, or liking Dallas a while back on TV, indicated a
problem.

Note: I'm not defending Titanic (which I haven't yet seen and am
in no real big hurry to see), nor even to defend its audience.
I'm also bemused that so many OK things get far more acclaim than
far better things. But I don't see this as somehow a problem as
such.

*****************************************************************
*
Jim Mann jma...@transarc.com
http://www.transarc.com/~jmann/

Marriage should be a balanced stalemate between equal
adversaries. -- Amelia Peabody

Frances Lame

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Home Skully wrote:

> here's the article that turan wrote that finally caused cameron to break.

....

> Film critics, general opinion notwithstanding, are not intended to be
> applause meters. Just as restaurant critics don't send couples seeking
> that special anniversary meal straight to McDonald's on the "everybody
> goes there, it must be the best" theory, the overall mandate of
> critics must be to point out the existence and importance of other
> criteria for judgment besides popularity.

Exactly.

What kind of fucked-up ego maniac still tries to hunt down one
petty critic after he has broken all box office records and collected
11 oscars? No wonder Kathryn Bigelow dumped this guy.

As for the notoriously formulaic script which seems to be Mr. Turan's
main concern, I tend to agree with him. Infact, I believe it was
composed by one of those "AI" programs which are in constant use
in day time junk opera productions.

Frances


Ruth E. Sternglantz

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Maurice (Lamb...@lycosemail.com) wrote:

> The subject line says it all :
>
> This movie critic is crusading against Titanic, for "better"
> movies and scripts.
>
> I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES BROTHERS 2000,
> SPAWN, ETC... they are hordes of badly directed and written
> movies out there.

He didn't "crusade" against any of those films because they died quiet
deaths at the boxoffice. TITANIC, on the other hand, has been on a
juggernaut, and, because of its continued success, it continues to hold an
alarming percentage of the nation's movie screens, choking other films
out.

Ruth Sternglantz

Norman Wilner

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Richard Johnson wrote in message <6fr73r$7...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>...
>
>Well Cameron got to direct Terminator because he wrote the script. He
>had very little experience in movies at the time. Lets see you do the
>same thing. Write a killer script that all the studios want so bad
>they'll let you direct it.


Cameron had already directed one film ("Piranha II: The Spawning") and
worked on a dozen others in various technical capacities, including "Escape
from New York". He had plenty of experience.

Norm Wilner
Starweek Magazine

Peter Reiher

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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gjw wrote:
>
> I read the Turan article in the Times when it first came out, and I
> found it embarrassing.

Mr. Turan and Mr. Cameron are both making fools of themselves. Mr.
Turan has already made it amply clear he didn't think much of
"Titanic." Fine. Certainly I won't argue that the film's incredible
popularity "proves" him wrong. He's a knowledgeable critic who's
always seemed to have honest, consistent opinions about things.
But now he's beating a dead horse. If he wants to talk about the
dangers of ballooning budgets, he doesn't need to say a word about
the quality of Cameron's film, as that's beside the point.

Mr. Cameron is making himself look equally foolish. What, it's not
enough for him to have proven all the skeptics wrong, to have
vindicated his artistic vision, to have won two Oscars for himself
and matched the Oscar record for his film, to have blown all box office
records out of the water, to have greatly pleased millions of people
who see the film over and over, and, in the process, to have picked
up what's estimated to be around $60-$70 million, not to mention
carte blanch to make whatever film he wants to next? He also has
to make one of the few vocal critics of the film shut up, preferably
by having him fired? The fact is, Mr. Cameron is apparently going
to be listed in Premiere as one of the ten most powerful people in
Hollywood. For someone in his position, a dignified silence would
be far more becoming than a tantrum insisting that he's right and
Turan's wrong.

> It was probably unnecessary, though, since by now
> most Times readers have realized that Turan can't be trusted to make
> recommendations about what they will and will not enjoy.

He's not perfect (I liked "Titanic" more than he did, for example),
but Turan tends to write reasonable, helpful reviews, in my experience.
--
Peter Reiher
rei...@cs.ucla.edu
<http://fmg-www.cs.ucla.edu/project-members/reiher>

Duane Laviniere

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Home Skully wrote:

> But all this doesn't translate into personal chagrin at having turned
> in a perhaps less than enthusiastic review of the film, even though a
> reader from Bigfork, Mont., took the time to write and say that if I
> had any doubts about "Titanic's" greatness, "your proof is in the box
> office."

I tend to agree with Turan here. Sometimes the majority is wrong. After
all, millions of people believe in religion. However, I do feel that there
is a difference between taste and fact. Millions of religious people does
not discount scientific fact if there's no evidence, but you don't need
evidence to prove that people enjoy "Titanic." That's a matter of taste,
and public taste seems to cater to Cameron's script. I dont think all those
people went to see a film they did not like that many times.


> Film critics, general opinion notwithstanding, are not intended to be
> applause meters. Just as restaurant critics don't send couples seeking
> that special anniversary meal straight to McDonald's on the "everybody
> goes there, it must be the best" theory,

Um, just because one restaurant critic likes the taste of ram beef dipped in
horse urine doesn't exactly mean it's in his best interest to recommend that
restaurant either. Sometimes critics have to take the greater public into
consideration before passing judgement too.


> And while Cameron's version is attracting paying customers in
> unprecedented numbers, that success paradoxically says at least as
> much about how poor a job Hollywood in general is doing in reaching
> the mass audience that should be its bread and butter as it does about
> the filmmaking skill of its creators.

This shows that Turan is sour grapes over the movie. If one billion dollar
worldwide is not your mass audience, then what is? The very fact that this
is the top grossing movie of all time (don't even mention inflation, Titanic
will eclipse all others in short time) is a testament to it's mass appeal.
I'm sure movies that don't sell well, but have nice scripts target their
mass audience well. I'm bitter about Star Wars, but at least I own up to
it. Turan should just admit that's he's got a gigantic chip on his
shoulder. Probably had a traumatic boat experience as a child.


> For "Titanic's" ability to attract a crowd also shows how desperate
> the mainstream audience--alienated by studio reliance on the kind of
> mindless violence that can be counted on to sell overseas--has become
> for anything even resembling old-fashioned entertainment. As Cameron
> himself said in a recent interview, "We thought there was a hunger for
> emotion, for character, for drama." Deadened by exposure to nonstop
> trash and willing to confuse the on-screen chemistry of Leonardo
> DiCaprio and Kate Winslet with writing ability, audiences have been
> sadly eager to embrace a film that, putting the best face on it, is a
> witless counterfeit of Hollywood's Golden Age, a compendium of cliches
> that add up to a reasonable facsimile of a film.

I would say that Turan is living under a rock, but that's not quite it.
He's completely out of touch with modern society as are most "elitist" movie
hounds. I find myself pretty mainstream, and I know that long, boring,
overly intellectual movies just don't cut it anymore. Why waste time on the
irrelevant when you can compress what substance there is and bang it through
with some eye candy? Presentation is now a major part of movies, especially
with technology ruling our everyday lives. The fancy dialogues are still
useful such as Pulp Fiction, Res. Dogs or a Clerks, but nowadays, people
want something that gives them the mood swings and emotion that just isn't
apparent in the older films. The visuals and audio is the tool now, since
that's the ultimate way to stimulate people. "Titanic" did a great job of
bringing the experience to your immediate senses.


> Because human nature in the Hollywood habitat being what it is,
> ego-driven directors will feel it's an insult to their greatness to be
> denied what another director received. Just as most top filmmakers now
> insist that holding a film to a plebian two-hour length is out of the
> question for creators of their vision, so they will insist that they
> too are worthy of Cameron-sized budgets.

Not exactly. You have Kevin Costner around as a reminder of big budgets
gone bad. Before anyone dishes over another $200M, they just have to think
about the Postman and Waterworld. Like smelling salts, brings you back to
reality.


> The other difficulty is that what Cameron does naturally--write lowest
> common denominator screenplays that condescend to their
> audience--other writers have to be forced into. The more a movie
> costs, the bigger its audience tent has to be, the more it has to
> appeal to every person on the planet if it's to have a hope of
> breaking even. So these movies ruthlessly bludgeon writers into
> dumbing down their scripts, removing any trace of intelligence that
> might put off even a single potential viewer.

Turan lost me here. If you want wordy, intricate plots, buy the damn
novel. Who wants to go to a movie and have to focus solely on the dialogue
so that they can keep up with the movie? Visuals are there to aid the plot
along. That's why you can cut out a lot of inane rambling and just get down
to the meat and potatoes. If you want plot through words, buy a book or
listen to books on tape. I didn't think Cameron dumbed down his script at
all. It played perfectly. What should he have done, used a boring setting
crammed with nonstop "high brow" discussions rather than using the actors he
payed for to act? Have Leo and Kate run around doing the visual thing and
throw in speech when you need it and ease up on your audience. You want to
make money, not critical friends.


> Never in the past has a film with a script as lacking as "Titanic's"
> been so universally (well, almost universally) acclaimed as the acme
> of the medium. Think of any celebrated venture from the past, whether
> it's "All About Eve" (which shares "Titanic's" Oscar record of 14
> nominations), "The Godfather," "Lawrence of Arabia," "E.T.," even the
> genuinely clever "Star Wars" or "Jaws" with its marvelous Robert Shaw
> shark attack monologue. Audience pictures all, and all of them had
> strong scripts at their core. They were written to be classics, not
> slavishly and ineptly copied from them.

Wait a minute, Jaws had a strong script? As someone who grew up near the
beaches of Miami and the Bahamas his whole life, I can tell you that the way
you avoid a shark is to not go in the water. Man, that script was REAL
strong. You take a whaling boat and harpoon the hell out of the shark, or
better yet, you take an assault rifle and kill it, not tough. The script
for Jaws was lacking majorly, although I'm sure it was praised by all the
landlocked and shocked people who have never even seen the ocean, much less
swam in it.


> But "Titanic's" success means that from now on all bets are off.
> Today's audiences, with their taste corrupted and denatured by 'round
> the clock exposure to bad TV and worse features, now have difficulty
> discerning a slick and derivative fake from the real thing. And if
> audiences can't tell the difference, you can be sure that studios are
> going to start thinking that time and effort put into memorable
> writing is a waste.

Man, it's too bad the paying public does not know what it wants. What is
wrong with Turan? People blindly worship Star Wars, I accept that. I don't
like it, but what can I do? Why doesn't he just accept that people like
Titanic and other films like it? His opinion of a good movie obviously
differs from what a majority of people think is a good movie. Get over it.
From now on, all his reviews are suspect because you don't know if it's just
a personal grudge or what. This is what made Cameron mad, his ignorance of
known fact. The public is not stupid like some "experts" would have us
think. People generally do what their hearts tell them, and if that isn't
what's right for them, I don't know what is.


> In "Titanic," that trend has reached its point of no return:
> Terminally distracted by some truly spectacular physical effects, both
> audiences and the academy have stampeded toward spectacle and decided
> that, especially with a pair of attractive actors thrown into the mix,
> language is a nonessential that can easily be dispensed with. If that
> is in fact the wave of the future, few of even "Titanic's" fans are
> going to be happy about where it comes ashore.

If I watch Titanic again, it won't be for the special effects because they
don't seem very special. The effects are seemeless and only really used
because building a boat of that size, and then sinking it would cost well
past the $200M they budgeted. ID4, Starship Troopers, 5th Element all had
"special" effects. The effects were used to create extraordinary scenes.
That's a spectacular that draws people for visuals. Titanic draws people
for the love story plain and simple. Any movie that almost moves me to
tears is good. I don't cry, so this movie really did it for me. Good love
story to match the great presentation.


> Exasperated by my unyielding stance toward "Titanic," a friend
> recently informed me that I "care too much about words." To that
> charge I'm forced to plead guilty. My fear, however, is not standing
> alone; it's that by the time more people wish they'd stood on the dock
> with me, it will be too late to make any difference.


One brave, bitter little Turan fighting his petty, insignificant fight
against public opinion. This is a fight that he will lose badly. You're
just not gonna convince the masses, that wept the first time, the second,
third and fourth time they saw the movie, that this is not a good movie.
Hell, they cried and then went and grabbed their friends to go cry along
with them. Great movie. It's alright to hate it. Hell, it's alright to
trash it in a review, but to harp on it the way Turan did is pretty lame.
Maybe I should be a critic. I harp on Star Wars all the time. PEACE.


--
o Duane Laviniere
| email: lavind1@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com
| "Life sucks, wear a helmet."


J

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Maurice <Lamb...@lycosemail.com> wrote:

>The subject line says it all :

>This movie critic is crusading against Titanic, for "better"
>movies and scripts.

>I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES BROTHERS 2000,
>SPAWN, ETC... they are hordes of badly directed and written
>movies out there.

SPEED2 is the only one I've seen. It was awful. for all of his
much-vaunted background in cinematography, evident in The Hunt for Red
Oct and Speed, Speed 2 didn't even look like a Jan De Bont film, .
None of his interesting use of color. No interesting camera angles. I
read an explanation somewhere that I can't remember--he used a
hand-held camera too much of the time, I think. I don't want to
continue with the list of how bad I think this movie was, except to
say I was surprised it was released on video. Someone must have a
warehouse of blank video tapes to use up.

>Titanic isn't one of them.

>I could understand all the guy criticism if it applied
>to SPEED 2.

>But Titanic is a movie with a soul.

Titanic's strength is that the story was the main feature and it was
ok. The film was well made. The special effects played a subordinate
role, even though I guess they were the most expensive part of the
film.

I liked the details, for instance, the camera point-of-view
approaching the ballroom doors and the doormen opening them, the music
in the background. In fact, there could have been more of scenes like
that; it was such an odd, elegant, singular moment in that film.
Whether it was the ballroom door scene or one of Gloria Stuart's
scenes, I remember there was one scene during the first quarter of the
film that brought tears to my eyes, and when that happens in the first
quarter of any film, I'm in willing suspension of disbelief. I also
liked the scene when Leo pulled Kate into the exercise room to confess
his feelings for her. Her colors looked great, plus she was standing
in front of watery glass--nice background detail.

I saw Titanic once and guessed that Cameron's film would make back the
money he spent on it. I'm glad he did, esp. after Twister, a film in
which the special effects overshadowed the story in every possible
way.

J


gjw

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

AtomRide wrote:

I am a L.A. Times reader, and it seems you, not Turan, are trying
to tell
> us how to make up our own minds. How dare you accuse one critic out of many who
> gave their Best Film of 1997 to someone else?

I could care less what movie he believes is the year's best pic. I
criticized Turan because he told his readers NOT to see "Titanic" in his
initial review, and then continued to insist that he was right and the
rest of the world was wrong after it was clear that he had made the
wrong call.

> I may be in the minority when it
> comes to Titanic, the most POPULAR film in history, (not the BEST), but there
> are many people who I guarantee you DON'T have the same opinion as you.

Of course there are. Have you ever heard of a movie loved by everyone?
I know people who loathe Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca,
It's A Wonderful Life, Pulp Fiction... you name it, someone out there
hated it. But those who disliked Titanic are obviously in the distinct
minority. Turan is (supposed to be) a critic for a newspaper which
serves over 10 million of the general public, and the vast majority of
them were poorly served by his recommendation.



> Turan didn't blow the call; many film reviewers blew the call when they
> knocked Titanic for it's screenplay and acting.

Sure he did. Had the public taken his advice, they would have missed out
on what was, for most, one of the most enjoyable films in years. If you
can't trust a film critic to point you to movies you'll enjoy (and warn
you to avoid movies you'll hate) who CAN you trust? The majority of
people couldn't trust Turan on this call. He blew it, plain and simple.

> And the majority of the Academy
> blew the call for rewarding a film with special effects that overshadowed
> everything else.

Sure they did... And the Emperor's new clothes are splendid. It looks
like both you and Turan need to learn how how to lose gracefully.

> I liked Titanic a lot; but I can't understand the hysteria over it. Maybe
> it's because I've seen films like Citizen Kane and Ben-Hur too much.

And of course the rest of us have never even heard of those films.
Sigh.

> Oh, and if you want proof that not all L.A. Times readers share your
> disdain for Turan, the Times printed my letter to them regarding Titanic, where
> I praised its special effects, but slammed its screenplay.

How does your own letter to the Times lend your argument any support?

If you didn't like the movie, fine. You're entitled to your opinion,
just like everyone else. There is no wrong or right when you're
discussing taste. But it is a professional critic's role to advise the
public about which films they are likely to enjoy - so they won't waste
their money going to see movies they'll hate, and so they won't miss
movie's they would love. When a critic realizes that he is in the
minority - that his tastes differ so profundly from that of the general
public - then he should simply accept that fact (and perhaps worry a bit
about whether or not he is the right person for the job). The last
thing he should do accuse the public he serves of having bad taste
because they dare to disagree with his judgement. That is arrogance to
the nth degree.

Mark E. Smith

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

In article <6fpc1l$7...@bgtnsc02.worldnet.att.net>,
Tara_K_...@nospam.hotmail.com (Richard Johnson) wrote:
> He keeps saying how Cameron is a lousy writer, but Cameron got
> his first directing job because of his writing. He wrote the
> Terminator script and shopped it around. The studios loved the
> script but they wanted someone experienced to direct it.
> Cameron forced them to let him direct. So obviously he can
> write pretty good scripts, and sometimes a great one.

Uh oh -- I think your comment supports what Turan said about
Cameron being a poor writer but a great filmmaker. TERMINATOR
was a great movie, but not because of the writing. The parts of
the script that were the most intriguing were probably the parts
Cameron cribbed from Harlan Ellison, whose name had to be
appended to the credits after the film's release.

> All this criticism is moot anyway, because the only thing that
> matters in the end is pleasing the audience. Everything else is
> pointless.

Actually, pleasing the audience is probably pointless, too, but I
get your point. The funny thing is, filmmakers are more likely
to please an audience when they try to make a genuinely good
movie than when they make transparent attempts to curry the
audience's favor. TITANIC only shows that sometimes pandering
can work.
--
Mark E. Smith <msm...@lvnworth.com>

MFalc1

unread,
Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Duane Laviniere said (among other things):>Sometimes critics have to take the

greater public into
>consideration before passing judgement too.

Critics aren't supposed to be constantly at one with the public with regards to
current films. If you want that, then go read Peter Travers' reviews in
ROLLING STONE (a man who does his best to match his tastes to the audience
demographic of the magazine he writes for).

>Turan should just admit that's he's got a gigantic chip on his
>shoulder. Probably had a traumatic boat experience as a child.
>
>

That's an intelligent argument.


>I would say that Turan is living under a rock, but that's not quite it.
>He's completely out of touch with modern society as are most "elitist" movie
>hounds. I find myself pretty mainstream, and I know that long, boring,
>overly intellectual movies just don't cut it anymore. Why waste time on

>he


>irrelevant when you can compress what substance there is and bang it through
>with some eye candy? Presentation is now a major part of movies, especially
>with technology ruling our everyday lives. The fancy dialogues are still

>useful such as Pulp Fiction, Res. Dogs or a Clerks, but nowadays, people
>want something that gives them the mood swings and emotion that just isn't
>apparent in the older films. The visuals and audio is the tool now, since
>that's the ultimate way to stimulate

>people. "Titanic" did a great job of
>bringing the experience to your immediate senses.
>
>

You, sir, are a rather frightening individual. Movies (even mainstream,
global-market efforts) should amount to more than only turbo-powered sensation.
If one wants a "ride", then go to an amusement park and get on a coaster.

>If you want wordy, intricate plots, buy the damn
>novel. Who wants to go to a movie and have to focus solely on the dialogue
>so that they can keep up with the movie? Visuals are there to aid the plot
>along. That's why you can cut out a lot of inane rambling and just get

>down
>to the meat and potatoes. If you want plot through words, buy a book or
>listen to books on tape. I didn't think Cameron dumbed down his script at
>all. It played perfectly. What should he have done, used a

>boring setting
>crammed with nonstop "high brow" discussions rather than using the actors he
>payed for to act? Have Leo and Kate run around doing the visual thing and
>throw in speech when you need it and ease up on your audience.

>You want to
>make money, not critical friends.
>
>

I'm assuming you've already E-mailed your resume to Lightstorm.

MuseMalade

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Peter Reiher wrote:
>
> Mr. Turan and Mr. Cameron are both making fools of themselves. Mr.
> Turan has already made it amply clear he didn't think much of
> "Titanic." Fine. Certainly I won't argue that the film's incredible
> popularity "proves" him wrong. He's a knowledgeable critic who's
> always seemed to have honest, consistent opinions about things.
> But now he's beating a dead horse. If he wants to talk about the
> dangers of ballooning budgets, he doesn't need to say a word about
> the quality of Cameron's film, as that's beside the point.
>
> Mr. Cameron is making himself look equally foolish. What, it's not
> enough for him to have proven all the skeptics wrong, to have
> vindicated his artistic vision, to have won two Oscars for himself
> and matched the Oscar record for his film, to have blown all box office
> records out of the water, to have greatly pleased millions of people
> who see the film over and over, and, in the process, to have picked
> up what's estimated to be around $60-$70 million, not to mention
> carte blanch to make whatever film he wants to next? He also has
> to make one of the few vocal critics of the film shut up, preferably
> by having him fired? [...]

Not only is his reaction a little bit embarassing, I find Cameron's
argument pretty lame as well. For one thing, he makes some dubious
presumptions: he equates Turan's attack on Hollywood as an attack on
*all* movies. That's not a surprising move, given the solipsism of
Cameron and Hollywood in general, but it's still egregiously egocentric
view of the art of movies. Second, he keeps stating that Turan "hates"
movies. Here, he's barking up the wrong tree. I've read Turan enough
to know that he's pretty easy to please. He and mate Kevin Thomas are
probably the most easily pleased major critics in LA. They're certainly
no Manohla Dargis or Peter Rainer. Turan's not some rarefied,
anti-Hollywood critic either. A guy like that wouldn't get hired or
remain on staff for the LA Times in the first place. Turan's a little
too obsessed about the movie, but the reaction against him says more
about fanatical zeal to quash opposing opinion on the part of the
filmmaker and the film's devotees than Turan himself.

> > It was probably unnecessary, though, since by now
> > most Times readers have realized that Turan can't be trusted to make
> > recommendations about what they will and will not enjoy.
>
> He's not perfect (I liked "Titanic" more than he did, for example),
> but Turan tends to write reasonable, helpful reviews, in my experience.

Exactly. I liked TITANIC much more than he did, but he's one of the
best newspaper critics working in a major market. He blows Janet Maslin
(whom Cameron cites probably because of she's the film's most prominent
booster) out of the water. You want to talk about lame critics who
happen to be TITANIC-bashers? Try Barbara Shulgasser and Mick LaSalle,
the two worst critics of a major metropolitan daily.

MuseMalade

Perry Melchor

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Ruth E. Sternglantz wrote in message <6fr1at$gai$1...@news.nyu.edu>...


>
>He didn't "crusade" against any of those films because they died quiet
>deaths at the boxoffice. TITANIC, on the other hand, has been on a
>juggernaut, and, because of its continued success, it continues to hold an
>alarming percentage of the nation's movie screens, choking other films
>out.
>


I don't agree that Titanic is choking other films out. Frankly, while the
weekly takes of Titanic are astonishing in their consistency, they've rarely
been so high that another high-anticipation, high-profile film couldn't have
easily topped it in any given week. Rather, I believe the caliber of the
movie slate has been pretty pathetic so far this year, and Titanic has not
had a lot of credible competition. Move Titanic back to 1997, and I doubt
Titanic would have choked out, say, "Liar Liar", which had great buzz, and a
return to form of Jim Carrey (didn't it do something like $30-$40 million in
week #1?). Or if Godzilla had opened in February instead of later in the
year, Titanic's reign at #1 would have ended weeks ago.

Perry
innr...@ix.netcom.com

Norman Wilner

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Duane Laviniere <"lavind"@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com> wrote in message
<6frg0u$cfs$5...@mdnews.btv.ibm.com>...

>Home Skully wrote:
>
>> Never in the past has a film with a script as lacking as "Titanic's"
>> been so universally (well, almost universally) acclaimed as the acme
>> of the medium. Think of any celebrated venture from the past, whether
>> it's "All About Eve" (which shares "Titanic's" Oscar record of 14
>> nominations), "The Godfather," "Lawrence of Arabia," "E.T.," even the
>> genuinely clever "Star Wars" or "Jaws" with its marvelous Robert Shaw
>> shark attack monologue. Audience pictures all, and all of them had
>> strong scripts at their core. They were written to be classics, not
>> slavishly and ineptly copied from them.
>
>Wait a minute, Jaws had a strong script? As someone who grew up near the
>beaches of Miami and the Bahamas his whole life, I can tell you that the
way
>you avoid a shark is to not go in the water. Man, that script was REAL
>strong. You take a whaling boat and harpoon the hell out of the shark, or
>better yet, you take an assault rifle and kill it, not tough. The script
>for Jaws was lacking majorly, although I'm sure it was praised by all the
>landlocked and shocked people who have never even seen the ocean, much less
>swam in it.


Have you, um, actually seen the movie? "Jaws" has a great script -
three-dimensional characters, terrific dialogue, a plot driven by characters
we genuinely care about rather than the shark.

"You take a whaling boat ..." That's what they do.

"You take an assault rifle ..." More or less.

The story's logic is flawless. The only people eaten by the shark, after the
first victim, are people dumb enough to get in the water with it in the
first place. (Yes, including Quint - he makes his choice, and he lives with
the consequences.)

Bat "Titanic" back and forth all you want, but don't pick on "Jaws". It's a
perfect movie.

Norm Wilner
Starweek Magazine

gjw

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
to

Lulu wrote:

>
> But that's *not* 'making the wrong call'. His opinion is that no one
> should waste their money on Titanic. What is 'wrong call' about that? His
> going on and on about the topic is childish, just like James Cameron's
> singling him out is childish -- the entire public bitch session is
> tiresome and stupid IMO, and I've not even read all of it -- but it's not
> a 'wrong call' on either of them. It's their opinions, they can't be
> *wrong* with them if they're informed, which obviously they are.

It's simple. The majority of people cannot go to see every movie that
is released. They need a way of deciding which films to see and which
films to avoid. They can ask a friend, but the chances are that the
friend also hasn't seen it. The role of a critic is to serve as that
surrogate friend who DOES see all of the movie that come out. His
practical purpose is to give advice to the public about which movies
they will enjoy and which movies to avoid. If a critic tells the public
to go see a movie that the public loathes, that (in my opinion) is a
'wrong call'. If they tell people to avoid a movie which the public is
later shown to love, that is a 'wrong call'. HIn those two scenarios,
had the public followed their advice, the public would have either
missed a movie which they would have enjoyed or wasted their money on a
movie they disliked. Obviously, critics must express their own opinions,
but they must also be held to task for dispensing bad advice. If they
are to be of any practical service to the public, if the public is to be
able to trust their opinions, then their opinions must coincide with
those of the public on a fairly regular basis.

> Can anyone back up the 'distinct minority' statistic? Reviews gave me a
> half and half impression (in that half the critics loved it, half hated
> it), and I get the same impression in real life and on the 'net.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a way of measuring how much
the audience liked or disliked a movie - no exit polls asking for their
opinion that I know of. We are left to judge audience reaction mainly
by ticket sales, by repeat visits, and by how word of mouth affects
subsequent ticket sales. In the case of "Titanic", I think all three
factors speak for themselves.

> >If you didn't like the movie, fine. You're entitled to your opinion,
> >just like everyone else. There is no wrong or right when you're
> >discussing taste.
>

> But then *why* are you calling him a bad loser (paraphrase, actually, you
> said he couldn't 'lose gracefully') and saying that Turan was wrong? It's
> his opinion.

It's simple. Turan, in his capacity as a professional critic, gave bad
advice to the people who count on him to advise them about whether or
not to see a movie. While one cannot be "wrong" about one's own
opinion, one can do a disservice to the public when acting in the
capacity of an advisor. When a critic is so far 'off base', his
employer has to consider whether that critic is the best person to serve
in that capacity. In this sense, Turan was 'wrong'. But when that fact
became crystal clear (as the movie he panned went on to become the
all-time box office champ), Turan refused to accept the simple fact that
he had made a bad call, and instead insisted that the rest of the world
was wrong and he was right. For me, at least, the expression 'bad
loser' definitely comes to mind.

> If the readers are so stupid that they blindly follow *one
> person's* opinion, then they deserve what they get, quite frankly.

While it is obviously foolish to follow anyone "blindly", it is the role
of the critic to provide useful recommendations to a public which
(obviously) cannot see every movie that is released. If readers were
not supposed to be able to rely on that advice, at least to some extent,
then there would be no need for him to write the reviews in the first
place.

> >But it is a professional critic's role to advise the
> >public about which films they are likely to enjoy
>

> No, it's not. A critic's job is to critique. Pure and simple. Give their
> opinion, not trendreport on whether or not a film will be successful.

Of course, but to be useful, to serve the practical purpose that a
critic serves in our society (namely, that an advisor for the majority
who cannot see every film), his opinions must have something in common
with those of the public. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that a
newspaper hired a critic who disliked every single popular movie that
was released, and highly recommended only movies which the public
despised... how long would (and should) that critic remain on the job?

> >The last
> >thing he should do accuse the public he serves of having bad taste
> >because they dare to disagree with his judgement. That is arrogance to
> >the nth degree.
>

> Finally, something I agree with.

See? There's always something we can agree on! ;)

Lulu

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

In article <352161...@loop.com>, g...@loop.com wrote:

>I could care less what movie he believes is the year's best pic. I
>criticized Turan because he told his readers NOT to see "Titanic" in his
>initial review, and then continued to insist that he was right and the
>rest of the world was wrong after it was clear that he had made the
>wrong call.

But that's *not* 'making the wrong call'. His opinion is that no one


should waste their money on Titanic. What is 'wrong call' about that? His
going on and on about the topic is childish, just like James Cameron's
singling him out is childish -- the entire public bitch session is
tiresome and stupid IMO, and I've not even read all of it -- but it's not
a 'wrong call' on either of them. It's their opinions, they can't be
*wrong* with them if they're informed, which obviously they are.

>Of course there are. Have you ever heard of a movie loved by everyone?

>I know people who loathe Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca,
>It's A Wonderful Life, Pulp Fiction... you name it, someone out there
>hated it. But those who disliked Titanic are obviously in the distinct
>minority.

Can anyone back up the 'distinct minority' statistic? Reviews gave me a


half and half impression (in that half the critics loved it, half hated

it), and I get the same impression in real life and on the 'net. Box
office receipts don't necessarily mean people *liked* the film. I still
contend that *both* lovers and haters are minorities, and the rest of the
world thinks it's a decent way to spend the afternoon, but nothing amazing
or stunning or original or unusual.

>If you didn't like the movie, fine. You're entitled to your opinion,
>just like everyone else. There is no wrong or right when you're
>discussing taste.

But then *why* are you calling him a bad loser (paraphrase, actually, you
said he couldn't 'lose gracefully') and saying that Turan was wrong? It's

his opinion. If the readers are so stupid that they blindly follow *one


person's* opinion, then they deserve what they get, quite frankly.

>But it is a professional critic's role to advise the


>public about which films they are likely to enjoy

No, it's not. A critic's job is to critique. Pure and simple. Give their
opinion, not trendreport on whether or not a film will be successful.

>The last


>thing he should do accuse the public he serves of having bad taste
>because they dare to disagree with his judgement. That is arrogance to
>the nth degree.

Finally, something I agree with.

Cheers,

John L. Pestka

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Ruth E. Sternglantz wrote:

> He didn't "crusade" against any of those films because they died quiet
> deaths at the boxoffice. TITANIC, on the other hand, has been on a
> juggernaut, and, because of its continued success, it continues to hold an
> alarming percentage of the nation's movie screens, choking other films
> out.
>

Choking other films out? What do you want - 3 screens
of "Meet the Deedles"?

jlp

Jeffrey Davis

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Pestka's point is a good one to amplify. There's really not much else
out there. Primary Colors, The Big Lebowski. And then what? The
Holllywood machine keeps pumping mindless product & its obvious that the
audience is pretty bored w/ it. And (O despair!) think of what's on the
horizon: yet another spate of formula actioners. How many times can one
be amused by Bruce Willis squinting? I find Titanic comic, but at least
it hits some emotional nerve w/ its audience that mindless comedies and
formula action flicks don't.
Titanic has the market by default. It isn't Cameron's fault that a year
or so ago Holllywood big wigs greenlighted virtually nothing but crap.

--
Jeffrey Davis <da...@ca.uky.edu> Lots Available

Paul J. Adams

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

tomlinson <etom...@rohan.sdsu.edu> wrote in article
<6fro8g$9v9$1...@hole.sdsu.edu>...
> Maurice (Lamb...@lycosemail.com) wrote:
>
> : I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES BROTHERS 2000,
> : SPAWN, ETC...
>
> There's not point (and no fun) in attacking something which
> has no defenders.

The implication of what you're saying is that Turan is responding to the
film's popularity, not just it's quality. Yet the role of the film critic
is to criticize movies, not social phenomena.


Jeffrey Davis

unread,
Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Paul J. Adams wrote:

> The implication of what you're saying is that Turan is responding to the
> film's popularity, not just it's quality. Yet the role of the film critic
> is to criticize movies, not social phenomena.

People aren't machines. Why shouldn't Turan comment on/criticize social
phenomenon? Or expect comments/criticism in return?

The interesting thing about the exchange isn't that Turan made dopey,
critical, bee-in-his-bonnet attacks on Titanic. (That's our job here
on USENET) The interesting thing is that Cameron took time to respond.
(And responded poorly: his letter was pretty helter-skelter. And long.)
It isn't like Cameron was John Keats skewered by the Edinburgh
Quarterly. Cameron's the current Big Gorilla in the industry. He's won
gazillions of awards, and -- from reports -- stands to make $100 million
bucks out of the movie. Why on earth did he show himself to be as cranky
as the princess w/ the pea under her mattress?

Paul J. Adams

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Duane Laviniere <"lavind"@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com> wrote in article
<6frg0u$cfs$5...@mdnews.btv.ibm.com>...

> Not exactly. You have Kevin Costner around as a reminder of big budgets
> gone bad. Before anyone dishes over another $200M, they just have to
think
> about the Postman and Waterworld. Like smelling salts, brings you back
to
> reality.

Although individuals can learn lessons, the industry as a whole never does.
No amount of big budget flops will keep people from gambling more and more
money on movies targeted to an audience which the producers themselves can
barely understand.

Heaven's gate is a frequently sited failure, but even that film couldn't
put Cimino out of action (though it did put the oldest film studio out of
action). He went on to direct a handful of unsuccessful films, and the
only way for his career to end is for him to resign. There's no indication
that this trend will ever stop.

Produce a big flop? Oh, well, try again! Helm the production department
for a major studio as dozens of flops cause the studio to teeter on the
brink of disaster? Oh well, I guess it's time to take your Executive
Producing skills to the independant market and suck up and infinite amount
of private investment money!

Don't be surprised if Kevin Costner produces half a dozen films over the
next decade without a success among them. Stranger things have happened.


Paul Hager

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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msm...@lvnworth.com (Mark E. Smith) writes:

>In article <6fpc1l$7...@bgtnsc02.worldnet.att.net>,
>Tara_K_...@nospam.hotmail.com (Richard Johnson) wrote:
>> He keeps saying how Cameron is a lousy writer, but Cameron got
>> his first directing job because of his writing. He wrote the
>> Terminator script and shopped it around. The studios loved the
>> script but they wanted someone experienced to direct it.
>> Cameron forced them to let him direct. So obviously he can
>> write pretty good scripts, and sometimes a great one.

>Uh oh -- I think your comment supports what Turan said about
>Cameron being a poor writer but a great filmmaker. TERMINATOR
>was a great movie, but not because of the writing. The parts of
>the script that were the most intriguing were probably the parts
>Cameron cribbed from Harlan Ellison, whose name had to be
>appended to the credits after the film's release.

Cameron didn't steal from Ellison in my view, and Cameron doesn't
think so either. My understanding is that it was easier to settle
that get involved in a litigation.

My recommendation is that you watch the OUTER LIMITS episode, "Soldier",
by Ellison (which was supposed to be the "source" for TERMINATOR)
and then see if you think that Cameron cribbed anything. About the
only similarity was two guys going back in time from a future war.
The differences in "Soldier": (1) it was not deliberate time travel;
(2) there was no android; (3) the enemy shows up only at the end; (4)
there was no love story and no mission to protect anybody; (5)
the future war was between totalitarian systems that were a cross
between BRAVE NEW WORLD and 1984 as opposed to a fight against a
self-aware computer; (6) the essential theme of "Soldier" was of
a man who had been programmed to kill finding his humanity. Now,
I suppose you could also throw in Ellison's other OUTER LIMITS episode
with Robert Culp as the android who goes back in time to save the
human race from aliens in the future and you could also throw in the
STAR TREK "City on the Edge of Forever" which has time travel and
a love story. But all of this is still very thin. On the same basis,
one could claim that Ellison cribbed from various SF writers himself.

I like Ellison's work and I like Cameron, but in this, I think that
Ellison was off in the ozone. Cameron didn't want the hassle of
litigation.

Now if you want to talk about a guy connected with TITANIC who
really does crib, talk about James Horner.

[...]
--
paul hager hag...@cs.indiana.edu

"I would give the Devil benefit of law for my own safety's sake."
--from A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS by Robert Bolt

Jim Mann

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Paul Hager wrote in message
<6ftr7r$i...@sheepskin.cs.indiana.edu>...


>Cameron didn't steal from Ellison in my view, and Cameron
doesn't
>think so either. My understanding is that it was easier to
settle
>that get involved in a litigation.

Cameron was quoted at a party saying "I got the idea from two old
Outer Limits episodes." It was when confronted with this that he
added Ellison's name to the credits.

Duane Laviniere

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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MFalc1 wrote:

> Duane Laviniere said (among other things):>Sometimes critics have to take the


> greater public into
> >consideration before passing judgement too.
>

> Critics aren't supposed to be constantly at one with the public with regards to
> current films. If you want that, then go read Peter Travers' reviews in
> ROLLING STONE (a man who does his best to match his tastes to the audience
> demographic of the magazine he writes for).

Note, this is why I say "sometimes." Like I said before, the majority of the
public does not enjoy something like raw monkey brains as a dinner meal, so in
that case, you adjust your review. I dare say a good number of critics adjust
their reviews, or many of the old timers would be more than a bit out of touch.
Times and tastes change far too quickly for people to hold on to their original
opinions of a good movie. How else will a good critic be able to make a good
recommendation?


> >Turan should just admit that's he's got a gigantic chip on his
> >shoulder. Probably had a traumatic boat experience as a child.
>

> That's an intelligent argument.

Honestly, why go on a crusade against Titanic? If I were a critic, I'd make sure
I curb my harsh remarks on the Star Wars series, since I know most people like the
movies. I'd probably have one article where I ask for feedback, but nothing as
snobbish as Turan's rant. Turan is just being petty, especially for someone being
paid to give good advice on movies. The good thing is that I'm not paid and I'm
not a critic, so I can trash SW to my heart's content.


> <snip>


>
> You, sir, are a rather frightening individual. Movies (even mainstream,
> global-market efforts) should amount to more than only turbo-powered sensation.
> If one wants a "ride", then go to an amusement park and get on a coaster.

Why, because I think a bit faster than you? I don't like to sip my drink, I like
to pound it. The whole idea that movies or even information needs to be available
the same way they were 40-50 years ago is rubbish. The whole information age,
with the expansion of the internet means that gobs of information are available
within a heartbeat. The old ways are out, in with the new. I dear say that
working in the computer industry also means you've gotta think fast. For me now,
the old concepts of good movies are lost. Now you can actually experience the
movies rather than just watch them. So in effect, they do amount to the roller
coaster ride, just that some people get motion sick.


> <snip>


>
> >down
> >to the meat and potatoes. If you want plot through words, buy a book or
> >listen to books on tape. I didn't think Cameron dumbed down his script at
> >all. It played perfectly. What should he have done, used a
>
> >boring setting
> >crammed with nonstop "high brow" discussions rather than using the actors he
> >payed for to act? Have Leo and Kate run around doing the visual thing and
> >throw in speech when you need it and ease up on your audience.
>
> >You want to
> >make money, not critical friends.
>

> I'm assuming you've already E-mailed your resume to Lightstorm.

Actually, my skills favor game design more than movie design. I'm not the best
story teller with visuals, so I'm afraid my movies would never amount to more than
nonstop carnage completely devoid of plot. Something akin to the early Liquid TV
shorts of Aeon Flux. There's a perfect example of good fun with absolutely no
thought. PEACE.

Duane Laviniere

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Norman Wilner wrote:

> >Wait a minute, Jaws had a strong script? As someone who grew up near the
> >beaches of Miami and the Bahamas his whole life, I can tell you that the
> way
> >you avoid a shark is to not go in the water. Man, that script was REAL
> >strong. You take a whaling boat and harpoon the hell out of the shark, or
> >better yet, you take an assault rifle and kill it, not tough. The script
> >for Jaws was lacking majorly, although I'm sure it was praised by all the
> >landlocked and shocked people who have never even seen the ocean, much less
> >swam in it.
>

> Have you, um, actually seen the movie? "Jaws" has a great script -
> three-dimensional characters, terrific dialogue, a plot driven by characters
> we genuinely care about rather than the shark.

3D characters and great dialogue, ay? I think I'm not alone in believing that
the near invincible shark and the rediculous antics of the seafarers far
overshadowed the characters and dialogue. The last thing on your mind was how
fantastic the dialogue is. My first reaction was, what in Sam Hill are those
people doing going back in the water? For the love of god, DON'T GO BACK IN!
Nope, dialogue and characters took a distant backseat to the dumb shark and
equally idiotic swimmers.


> "You take a whaling boat ..." That's what they do.

Nope. Seen a commercial whaling boat before? Not likely.


> "You take an assault rifle ..." More or less.

Yup, any high powered rifle could tear clean through that shark's flesh.
Sharks have tough skin, but they're not that tough, not like kevlar or anything
like that. Heck, there's some Great White killer out in Australia who uses
long lines and rifle to do his dirty work. Jaws was still enjoyable, but no
terrific feat of script writing, IMO. Probably needed better character
emphasis.


> The story's logic is flawless. The only people eaten by the shark, after the
> first victim, are people dumb enough to get in the water with it in the
> first place. (Yes, including Quint - he makes his choice, and he lives with
> the consequences.)

Yup, like Piranha or any stupid slasher flick, Jaws' good qualities were way
overshadowed by the sheer stupidity of its victims. If I'm lying, I'm dying.
How many movie goers actually noted how good the script was?


> Bat "Titanic" back and forth all you want, but don't pick on "Jaws". It's a
> perfect movie.

Great movie that scared people away from the water. Of course, Childs Play
scared people away from Cabbage Patch kids as Psycho scares people away from
the shower, ew.

Shu-Yen Huang

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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You just prove James Cameron's bad behavior. But that doesn't make Ken
Turan's motive a bit better.

CY

Randy Robinson

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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On the contrary, the success of Titanic has brought record crowds to the
theaters during a time of year that has normally been considered slow box
office. This has benefited other movies that have received some of Titanic's
overflow crowds boosting their box office. Three other movies have broken
$100 million during Titanic's run: Tomorrow Never Dies, As Good As It Gets,
and Good Will Hunting. Rather than choking out its competition Titanic has
helped some quality movies find a greater audience than they might have
otherwise. Ironically, had LA Confidential been released around the same time
as Titanic it might also have made $100 million.

Ruth E. Sternglantz wrote:

> Maurice (Lamb...@lycosemail.com) wrote:
>
> > The subject line says it all :
> >
> > This movie critic is crusading against Titanic, for "better"
> > movies and scripts.
> >

> > I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES BROTHERS 2000,

> > SPAWN, ETC... they are hordes of badly directed and written
> > movies out there.
>

> He didn't "crusade" against any of those films because they died quiet
> deaths at the boxoffice. TITANIC, on the other hand, has been on a
> juggernaut, and, because of its continued success, it continues to hold an
> alarming percentage of the nation's movie screens, choking other films
> out.
>

> Ruth Sternglantz


Jim Mann

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Duane Laviniere <"lavind"@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com> wrote in message
<6fu77j$d1k$3...@mdnews.btv.ibm.com>...


>
>3D characters and great dialogue, ay? I think I'm not alone in
believing that
>the near invincible shark and the rediculous antics of the
seafarers far
>overshadowed the characters and dialogue. The last thing on
your mind was how
>fantastic the dialogue is. My first reaction was, what in Sam
Hill are those
>people doing going back in the water? For the love of god,
DON'T GO BACK IN!
>Nope, dialogue and characters took a distant backseat to the
dumb shark and
>equally idiotic swimmers.

Which dumb swimmers? The ones who weren't told about a shark
attack because the town wanted to protect its tourist trade? Were
they supposed to somehow magically know that there was a shark
out there?


>
>Yup, like Piranha or any stupid slasher flick, Jaws' good
qualities were way
>overshadowed by the sheer stupidity of its victims. If I'm
lying, I'm dying.
>How many movie goers actually noted how good the script was?

To most of the folks I know who like Jaws, what the remember is
the script and the characters. That's what made it so different
from Piranha or slasher flicks. What I remember are Shaw and
Dreyfuss talking about their old wounds, the chemistry that
develops between the three men on the ship, the sheriff's
interactions with the Mayor and townspeople. That's what made
Jaws a great film.

Paul J. Adams

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Jim Mann <jma...@transarc.com> wrote in article
<6fttrd$7e3$1...@newshost.transarc.com>...

> Cameron was quoted at a party saying "I got the idea from two old
> Outer Limits episodes." It was when confronted with this that he
> added Ellison's name to the credits.

But that doesn't really make his script any less original. Not unless he
plagiarized a half dozen ideas, specific characters and dialogue, or a
complete story. Ideas are floating around all over the place, but an idea
is very far short of a script.

David Lynch got his inspiration for Blue Velvet from Archie Comics, the
song "Blue Velvet," and a dream about an ear in a field. If the creator of
Archie Comics sued David Lynch for a credit, I'd say he should take a
flying fuck at a rolling doughnut (assuming he's still alive to file suit
and fuck doughnuts).

Did Star Wars give screen credit to Akira Kurosawa? Did Last Man standing?
Maybe they did, I'm not sure, but these are far more literal adaptations
than what we've discussed above. Did The Truth About Cats and Dogs credit
Edmond Rostand (the author of Cyrano DeBergerac)? Did Kissing a Fool
credit Cervantes (the author of Don Quixote, which contains "the story of a
curious impertinant" on which this film seems to be based)? Not likely.

Although Hollywood producers seem to regard an idea as a rare and valuable
commodity, ideas are no more than seeds for original scripts, and they can
come from nearly any source. But perhaps Hollywood is partially right.
They appear to be aware of only a very small set of ideas, so producers may
have cause to think that ideas are rare. "Lets take whatever was popular a
couple of years ago and do it again" can regularly pass for a good idea
among those who are blind to the universe of original thought.
High-concept is the inevitable consequence of thinking that even one new
idea is a nearly unattainable object.


deering

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Duane Laviniere ("lavind"@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com) wrote:

: > And while Cameron's version is attracting paying customers in


: > unprecedented numbers, that success paradoxically says at least as
: > much about how poor a job Hollywood in general is doing in reaching
: > the mass audience that should be its bread and butter as it does about
: > the filmmaking skill of its creators.

: This shows that Turan is sour grapes over the movie. If one billion dollar
: worldwide is not your mass audience, then what is? The very fact that this
: is the top grossing movie of all time (don't even mention inflation, Titanic
: will eclipse all others in short time) is a testament to it's mass appeal.
: I'm sure movies that don't sell well, but have nice scripts target their
: mass audience well. I'm bitter about Star Wars, but at least I own up to

: it. Turan should just admit that's he's got a gigantic chip on his


: shoulder. Probably had a traumatic boat experience as a child.


Er. . .Turan isn't sour grapes over the movie. He's horrified by the fact
that Hollywood has been downgrading good movie storytelling for
the past 20 years (ever since STAR WARS, come to think of it--g!) and
making audiences think that FX and flash is _all_ that a movie needs to
deliver to be considered good or "a classic." He is also outraged that
by doing so, Hollywood has systematically cheated its audiences not only
in the money department, but also by lowering their expectations. As a
result, there are lots
of people who honestly don't know what a truly good movie--forget epic--
is supposed to be like.
These people _know_ that all these empty movies haven't been satisfying
and that movies could be doing better than they are, but they haven't seen
nearly enough LAWRENCE OF ARABIAs or GONE WITH THE WINDs or THE LEOPARD or
1900 or even WAR AND PEACE to know how satisfying a truly
moving, complex, worthwhile epic can be. It is a _lot_ harder to see good
classic movies outside of theaters than it used to be--the networks don't
show them unless they are WIZARD OF OZ special event kinda things and most
are relegated to cable stations that a fair number of people may just now
be getting. For example, American Movie Classics has been on the air for
about 5 years or more, but the cable system in my area just started
carrying it last year. If I were a teenager, most likely I would be seeing
stuff like ALL ABOUT EVE, LAURA, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, FIVE MILLION YEARS TO
EARTH for the first time in my life _now_ unless my parents were movie
junkies with VCRs or my town had a good revival theater around (which
these days, is extremely doubtful). TITANIC does try to deliver
characterization, period conflict, emotion, solid storytelling--all the
things people have been hungering for for some years now (and that have
been relegated mostly to mini-series or TVMovies). The problem is is that
it doesn't deliver as well as it could, and _should_; the fact that it is
hyped as a "great epic" doesn't help.


: > For "Titanic's" ability to attract a crowd also shows how desperate


: > the mainstream audience--alienated by studio reliance on the kind of
: > mindless violence that can be counted on to sell overseas--has become
: > for anything even resembling old-fashioned entertainment. As Cameron
: > himself said in a recent interview, "We thought there was a hunger for
: > emotion, for character, for drama." Deadened by exposure to nonstop
: > trash and willing to confuse the on-screen chemistry of Leonardo
: > DiCaprio and Kate Winslet with writing ability, audiences have been
: > sadly eager to embrace a film that, putting the best face on it, is a
: > witless counterfeit of Hollywood's Golden Age, a compendium of cliches
: > that add up to a reasonable facsimile of a film.

: I would say that Turan is living under a rock, but that's not quite it.


: He's completely out of touch with modern society as are most "elitist" movie
: hounds. I find myself pretty mainstream, and I know that long, boring,

: overly intellectual movies just don't cut it anymore. Why waste time on the
: irrelevant when you can compress what substance there is and bang it through


: with some eye candy? Presentation is now a major part of movies, especially
: with technology ruling our everyday lives. The fancy dialogues are still
: useful such as Pulp Fiction, Res. Dogs or a Clerks, but nowadays, people
: want something that gives them the mood swings and emotion that just isn't
: apparent in the older films. The visuals and audio is the tool now, since
: that's the ultimate way to stimulate people. "Titanic" did a great job of
: bringing the experience to your immediate senses.


Complete and total bullshit. If what you say is true, why is it that
movies like BATMAN AND ROBIN, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARSHIP
TROOPERS, SPEED 2, THE PEACEMAKER, THE JACKAL, DANTE'S PEAK--in fact the
majority of "eye candy" movies released this year did such disappointing
to horrible
business? Because people wanted more than what they were getting--have
for some time, now--and flashy
thrills _alone_ just don't cut it any more for the vast majority of
moviegoers. Movies like PULP FICTION, CLERKS, and
LONE STAR deliver the pleasures of good stories well-told and showed
people what they were missing, and it is a message Hollywood has gotten no
matter how much they try to deny it (or keep churning out dreck). Geez,
even Cameron got a clue in this regard--instead of going on to churn out
action stuff like T3 or SPIDERMAN, he chose to do a period drama
where the story and characters had to deliver as well as the FX did.

: > Because human nature in the Hollywood habitat being what it is,


: > ego-driven directors will feel it's an insult to their greatness to be
: > denied what another director received. Just as most top filmmakers now
: > insist that holding a film to a plebian two-hour length is out of the
: > question for creators of their vision, so they will insist that they
: > too are worthy of Cameron-sized budgets.

: Not exactly. You have Kevin Costner around as a reminder of big budgets


: gone bad. Before anyone dishes over another $200M, they just have to think
: about the Postman and Waterworld. Like smelling salts, brings you back to
: reality.


Yeah, I don't agree with Turan here. Most industry people know that
TITANIC's success was a one-in-a-million win, and there's no way they are
going to want to keep risking insane amounts of money on movies that they
have virtually _no_ gurantee on.


: > The other difficulty is that what Cameron does naturally--write lowest


: > common denominator screenplays that condescend to their
: > audience--other writers have to be forced into. The more a movie
: > costs, the bigger its audience tent has to be, the more it has to
: > appeal to every person on the planet if it's to have a hope of
: > breaking even. So these movies ruthlessly bludgeon writers into
: > dumbing down their scripts, removing any trace of intelligence that

: > might put off even a single potential viewer.

: Turan lost me here. If you want wordy, intricate plots, buy the damn


: novel. Who wants to go to a movie and have to focus solely on the dialogue
: so that they can keep up with the movie? Visuals are there to aid the plot

: along. That's why you can cut out a lot of inane rambling and just get down


: to the meat and potatoes.


Yeah, who needs all those words and characters and stuff? Leave that to
those dern high-faultin' books and mess...:PPPPPPP


If you want plot through words, buy a book or
: listen to books on tape. I didn't think Cameron dumbed down his script at
: all. It played perfectly. What should he have done, used a boring setting
: crammed with nonstop "high brow" discussions rather than using the actors he
: payed for to act? Have Leo and Kate run around doing the visual thing and
: throw in speech when you need it and ease up on your audience.


Yeah, why bore and confuse poor dumb audience members? It's not like
they could understand conversation and all. God, and you say _Turan_ is
condescending?!?! You don't even give people credit for wanting to see a
well-told story and having the patience to watch one. Jesus. . .:P

You want to
: make money, not critical friends.


Never saw LA CONFIDENTIAL, did you? In fact, what movies _have_ you seen
outside of TITANIC? :)


: > But "Titanic's" success means that from now on all bets are off.


: > Today's audiences, with their taste corrupted and denatured by 'round
: > the clock exposure to bad TV and worse features, now have difficulty
: > discerning a slick and derivative fake from the real thing. And if
: > audiences can't tell the difference, you can be sure that studios are
: > going to start thinking that time and effort put into memorable
: > writing is a waste.

: Man, it's too bad the paying public does not know what it wants. What is
: wrong with Turan?

He's right on the money. What's wrong with _you_?!

: > In "Titanic," that trend has reached its point of no return:


: > Terminally distracted by some truly spectacular physical effects, both
: > audiences and the academy have stampeded toward spectacle and decided
: > that, especially with a pair of attractive actors thrown into the mix,
: > language is a nonessential that can easily be dispensed with. If that
: > is in fact the wave of the future, few of even "Titanic's" fans are
: > going to be happy about where it comes ashore.

: If I watch Titanic again, it won't be for the special effects because they
: don't seem very special. The effects are seemeless and only really used

: because building a boat of that size, and then sinking it would cost well


: past the $200M they budgeted. ID4, Starship Troopers, 5th Element all had
: "special" effects. The effects were used to create extraordinary scenes.
: That's a spectacular that draws people for visuals. Titanic draws people
: for the love story plain and simple. Any movie that almost moves me to
: tears is good. I don't cry, so this movie really did it for me. Good love
: story to match the great presentation.


Homes, go rent LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, THE LEOPARD, GONE WITH
THE WIND--or even take a look at TNT's GETTYSBURG mini-series. Or
Cameron's inspiration for TITANIC, DR. ZHVIAGO. If you can
come back here and say that crap after you've seen those, well, I'll just
give up and go away...g!

: > Exasperated by my unyielding stance toward "Titanic," a friend


: > recently informed me that I "care too much about words." To that
: > charge I'm forced to plead guilty. My fear, however, is not standing
: > alone; it's that by the time more people wish they'd stood on the dock
: > with me, it will be too late to make any difference.


: One brave, bitter little Turan fighting his petty, insignificant fight
: against public opinion. This is a fight that he will lose badly. You're
: just not gonna convince the masses, that wept the first time, the second,
: third and fourth time they saw the movie, that this is not a good movie.
: Hell, they cried and then went and grabbed their friends to go cry along
: with them. Great movie. It's alright to hate it.

Yeah, sure. See what they say about it five years from now...g!


Hell, it's alright to
: trash it in a review, but to harp on it the way Turan did is pretty lame.
: Maybe I should be a critic. I harp on Star Wars all the time. PEACE.

Why, come to think of it?


C.
**

David Homerick

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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In article <6fttrd$7e3$1...@newshost.transarc.com>, "Jim Mann"
<jma...@transarc.com> wrote:

> Paul Hager wrote in message
> <6ftr7r$i...@sheepskin.cs.indiana.edu>...
> >Cameron didn't steal from Ellison in my view, and Cameron
> doesn't
> >think so either. My understanding is that it was easier to
> settle
> >that get involved in a litigation.
>

> Cameron was quoted at a party saying "I got the idea from two old
> Outer Limits episodes." It was when confronted with this that he
> added Ellison's name to the credits.

Cameron wanted to go to court, but the film company settled over his
objections.

Cameron would have won, by the way. You can copyright the expression of
an idea, but not the idea itself, and Ellison was asserting ownership of
the idea.

-- David

Paul J. Adams

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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gjw <g...@loop.com> wrote in article <3521F0...@loop.com>...

> It's simple. The majority of people cannot go to see every movie that
> is released. They need a way of deciding which films to see and which
> films to avoid. They can ask a friend, but the chances are that the
> friend also hasn't seen it. The role of a critic is to serve as that
> surrogate friend who DOES see all of the movie that come out. His
> practical purpose is to give advice to the public about which movies
> they will enjoy and which movies to avoid. If a critic tells the public
> to go see a movie that the public loathes, that (in my opinion) is a
> 'wrong call'. If they tell people to avoid a movie which the public is
> later shown to love, that is a 'wrong call'. HIn those two scenarios,
> had the public followed their advice, the public would have either
> missed a movie which they would have enjoyed or wasted their money on a
> movie they disliked. Obviously, critics must express their own opinions,
> but they must also be held to task for dispensing bad advice. If they
> are to be of any practical service to the public, if the public is to be
> able to trust their opinions, then their opinions must coincide with
> those of the public on a fairly regular basis.

Perhaps you would be served best if all reviews were reduced to a thumbs up
/ thumbs down, or a number of stars, with no attached article. These
"thumbs up" type indicators could be modified to represent an opinion on
how popular a movie is likely to be, without indicating any useless
information such as the critic's actual opinion on the film's quality.
However, if you would like to retain the articles, they could be made brief
and focus on the sort of comments which interest you most. e.g. "Though
this film is terrible, dull, unoriginal, and takes a big smelly dump on the
the concept of plausability, it's just the sort of film the public seems to
like, so I highly recommend it."


> Imagine, for the sake of argument, that a
> newspaper hired a critic who disliked every single popular movie that
> was released, and highly recommended only movies which the public
> despised... how long would (and should) that critic remain on the job?

I'm not sure any critic could do that, even if he or she tried.

Why don't we imagine a critic who makes good judgments on the quality of a
film, and expresses his or her ideas articulately. Such a critic should
not always agree with the public, nor should he or she consistently
disagree with the public. What a critic should do is provide good
arguments and insight so that you as the reader can make your own
judgement.

If you get to know the opinions and biases of a particular reviewer/critic,
then you'll be able to appraise a film based on a combination of criticism,
advertisment, and your knowledge of the artists involved in the production.
At least you can make a guess as to whether you should see the film, and
if you're lucky you'll be right nearly as often as you're wrong (since
you're still shooting in the dark until you've seen the film itself).

No reviewer in the world, including a clone of yourself, could reliably
tell you every time whether you'll like a movie until you've seen it, so
don't expect a paid critic to be 100% in synch with your tastes, or the
general public. We're a society of subcultures and contrary opinion
anyway, so there's no one who could fulfill the task of accurately
predicting or mirroring public sentiments.

Keep in mind that critics do not only write as a service to let you know
whether you should see a movie. Some people like to read criticism and
discuss movies after they've seen them. Many of us would hate a critic who
adapts himself to the role of popularity guage, since such a reviewer would
give us none of the information or opinion which we hope to find in a well
written critical article.

This newsgroup itself is basically a hangout for 10,000 movie critics and
reviewers. Some articles are well written criticisms, some are more in the
realm of interesting chat, gossip, and guesswork. Personally, I have a
limited tolerance for the "who's gonna get the most oscars," and "will such
and such a movie make $100,000,000" type posts. A little bit is fine, but
I can't read that to the exclusion of the real meat and potatoes articles
which contain ideas and opinions supported by logical argument. I hope for
real criticism from a critic, not predictions, especially since such
predictions are unreliable.


MFalc1

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Duane Laviniere said (in response to my earlier post:>> You, sir, are a rather

frightening individual. Movies (even mainstream,
>> global-market efforts) should amount to more than only turbo-powered
>sensation.
>> If one wants a "ride", then go to an amusement park and get on a coaster.

>Why, because I think a bit faster than you? I don't like to sip my drink, I
>like
>to pound it. The whole idea that movies or even information needs to be
>available
>the same way they were 40-50 years ago is rubbish. The whole information
>age,
>with the expansion of the internet

>means that gobs of information are available
>within a heartbeat. The old ways are out, in with the new. I dear say that
>working in the computer industry also means you've gotta think fast. For me
>now,
>the old concepts of good movies are lost. Now you can actually

>experience the
>movies rather than just watch them. So in effect, they do amount to the
>roller
>coaster ride, just that some people get motion sick.
>
>

You may call me a cinematic Luddite, but I still believe that the cerebral and
the visceral must go hand-in-hand. To have nothing but sensation and
four-second cuts throughout a film is wrong-our age difference and the speed of
our respective thought processes have nothing to do with it.
Granted, every generation brings complaints from older people that are
alienated from current cinema and prefer only what they grew up with. But,
there should be a cinema that provides films for all age groups, all tastes and
all thought processes, rather than slavish catering to only one age group or
taste level (there is a sizable market of people over 25 that will get out of
the house to see a film they might be interested in-TITANIC, as much as I
dislike it-proved that). And, after all, you might wish to keep in mind that
you may be bitterly complaining about the latest Lourdes Ciccone film somewhere
around the year 2015.

Milo D. Cooper

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

> gjw <g...@loop.com> wrote in article <3521F0...@loop.com>...
>
> It's simple. The majority of people cannot go to see every movie that
> is released. They need a way of deciding which films to see and which
> films to avoid. They can ask a friend, but the chances are that the
> friend also hasn't seen it. The role of a critic is to serve as that
> surrogate friend who DOES see all of the movie that come out. His
> practical purpose is to give advice to the public about which movies
> they will enjoy and which movies to avoid. If a critic tells the public
> to go see a movie that the public loathes, that (in my opinion) is a
> 'wrong call'. If they tell people to avoid a movie which the public is
> later shown to love, that is a 'wrong call'. HIn those two scenarios,
> had the public followed their advice, the public would have either
> missed a movie which they would have enjoyed or wasted their money on a
> movie they disliked. Obviously, critics must express their own opinions,
> but they must also be held to task for dispensing bad advice. If they
> are to be of any practical service to the public, if the public is to be
> able to trust their opinions, then their opinions must coincide with
> those of the public on a fairly regular basis.

This "friend" analogy is missing a key ingredient: famil-
iarity. That is, it's fine for me to ask my friends whether
I'll like a movie, because they probably know me well enough
to make that call. Critics, obviously, don't. Therefore,
one of three things is possible:
(1) If I consider myself intellectually congruent with the
average citizen, then the advice of a critic, by your
definition of the office, is of use to me.
(2) If I find that my reactions to films are frequently
dissimilar to those of the public at large (as is the
case with _Titanic_, for example), then critics as
you define them are never of use to me.
(3) If I read or hear a critic's review with the assump-
tion that s/he is expressing his/her personal opinion
of the movie, as opposed to his/her filtering it
through the tastes of the masses, then I can make use
of it regardless of the degree to which my tastes par-
allel those of others. This requires, of course, that
I am somewhat familiar with the character of the cri-
tic him/herself -- as is the case between friends.
--
/|_Milo D. Cooper____EverQuest character modeler_|\
\| www.milos-chalkboard.net www.everquest.com |/

Alex Crouvier

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Frances Lame wrote:

>
> What kind of fucked-up ego maniac still tries to hunt down one
> petty critic after he has broken all box office records and collected
> 11 oscars? No wonder Kathryn Bigelow dumped this guy.

If that is truly what Cameron wrote to the paper not some publicist idea
of retaliation, then Cameron is an overgrown baby. I feel that my
millions of anti-Titanic posts are completely justified now. His Oscar
speeches are truly embarassing and Hollywood has been buzzing about it.
And no box-office record could put him into any healing process.

Justin Siegel

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
to

Yeah but come on, Alex: HE'S THE KING OF THE WORLD! WHOOOOOO!

--
Justin Kristopher Siegel

"Everything our parents said was good
is bad: sun, milk, red meat, college"
-- Woody Allen, Annie Hall

Lulu

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

In article <3521F0...@loop.com>, g...@loop.com wrote:

>It's simple. The majority of people cannot go to see every movie that
>is released. They need a way of deciding which films to see and which
>films to avoid. They can ask a friend, but the chances are that the
>friend also hasn't seen it. The role of a critic is to serve as that
>surrogate friend who DOES see all of the movie that come out. His
>practical purpose is to give advice to the public about which movies
>they will enjoy and which movies to avoid.

No, it's not. The purpose of a critic is to see a film and then give his
impressions of the film. That's *it*. The general public should be reading
several revews of the same film, to get a more balanced judgement, or,
better yet, just read reviews for the summary of the story, decide if the
story sounds favourable to them, and go see for themselves. Critics are
not trend analysis writers, which one would have to be to be able to tell
the entirety of the public which films will be enjoyable (ie popular) and
which will not be enjoyable (ie unpopular). Ken Turan can only give his
opinion. His opinion is that Titanic is a bad film. He has no other job
besides that. Unless he has a second job somewhereele, of course.

>Obviously, critics must express their own opinions,
>but they must also be held to task for dispensing bad advice.

How is it 'bad advice' to say you thought a film sucked? I think 99.9% of
Disney movies suck; is it bad advice if I say so to someone else, who I
don't know, who might end up enjoying it? Hardly.

>Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a way of measuring how much
>the audience liked or disliked a movie - no exit polls asking for their
>opinion that I know of. We are left to judge audience reaction mainly
>by ticket sales, by repeat visits, and by how word of mouth affects
>subsequent ticket sales. In the case of "Titanic", I think all three
>factors speak for themselves.

Yes, they do -- it says that there is a distinct and not small groop who
*loved* the movie. But this is waaaay different from a majority (I feel
like I've just had this discussion, describing favourable versus negative
somewhere else :). I'm in no way debating this is a well liked film; that
would be asinine. I just doubt that the majority of viewers where anything
more or less than the 'That was alright, I might rent it when it's on
video' variety. It's just that, due in part to the hype from the lovers
and haters, the middle road is quite vast and full of people.

>It's simple. Turan, in his capacity as a professional critic, gave bad
>advice to the people who count on him to advise them about whether or
>not to see a movie.

No, he didn't. He said he didn't like the film. What was he supposed to do
-- say he hated it, but that everyone should see it anyhow? And what about
good films that aren't vastly popular? Is it bad advice to advise people
to see them, because they aren't making vast amounts of money and putting
tonnes of people in seats?

>While it is obviously foolish to follow anyone "blindly", it is the role
>of the critic to provide useful recommendations to a public which
>(obviously) cannot see every movie that is released. If readers were
>not supposed to be able to rely on that advice, at least to some extent,
>then there would be no need for him to write the reviews in the first
>place.

Any and all journalists expect readers to draw their own conclusions from
their opinions. If the readers are too stupid to either get a second
opinion or judge for themselves, then, like I said, they deserve what they
get.

>Of course, but to be useful, to serve the practical purpose that a
>critic serves in our society (namely, that an advisor for the majority
>who cannot see every film), his opinions must have something in common
>with those of the public.

No, they really don't. But, even if this was the criteria, Turan
apparently still fits -- he just doesn't like Titanic, but has liked quite
a lot of blockbusters.

Petter Sevaldsen

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

Jim Mann <jma...@transarc.com>
> To most of the folks I know who like Jaws, what they remember is
> the script and the characters. What I remember are Shaw and

> Dreyfuss talking about their old wounds, the chemistry that
> develops between the three men on the ship, the sheriff's
> interactions with the Mayor and townspeople. That's what made
> Jaws a great film.

I'd add the Hitchcockian way Spielberg builds the suspense, and his use of
the terrific music. I found the characters believable and sympathetic. The
dialogue was good, especially Shaws SS Indianapolis (sp?) speech. The
"Enemy of the People" (I'm Norwegian) element made the story more
interesting, but I don't know if the Mayor has become a cliche since or
already was back then in the mid-70s...

Jaws is maybe shallow, but like Duel (in many ways the same film), it's
great entertainment. As far as I'm concerned, it's Spielbergs best movie.


Pentti J Lajunen

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to


Duane Laviniere <"lavind"@[NO-SPAM]us.ibm.com> writes:

> I tend to agree with Turan here. Sometimes the majority is wrong.


Hell, once upon a time majority voted for Hitler...


--
would you like to know more?


Paul J. Adams

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

Milo D. Cooper <mi...@milos-chalkboard.net> wrote in article
<3522F6F9...@milos-chalkboard.net>...

> (2) If I find that my reactions to films are frequently
> dissimilar to those of the public at large (as is the
> case with _Titanic_, for example), then critics as
> you define them are never of use to me.

I'd also like to point out that *most* people's reactions to films are
frequently dissimilar to the public at large. There is nothing close to
unanimity of opinion in our society of subcultures. As I've said
repeatedly, the general public is an inconsistent and nearly unpredictable
force. In fact, I've pretty much reached the point where I no longer
believe in such an entity as "the public at large."

In some countries a presidential candidate can "win by a landslide" with
something like 12% of the votes in a popular election. I don't mean 12% of
the population voted for him, I mean 12% of those who voted voted for him.
This happens because there are so many candidates representing so many
parties, with so many racial, ethnic, regional, religious, and political
factors influencing the vote that it's impossible for a candidate to
achieve the support of a significant majority.

I'd say that public tastes and opinions tend to mirror this phenomenon.
Grabbing the attention and gaining the support of 10% of the public is a
nearly unattainable goal, though there are periodic exceptions.
Particularly in a society such as twentieth century America (the society
I'm most familiar with) where popular and alternative are nearly
synonymous, where bucking trends and scorning the public are the best ways
to gain the respect of your peers, and where "the public at large" has
nothing but contempt for "the public at large."

Therefore, no critic can reliably tell the general public what they will or
will not like. Trend analysis is a nearly futile effort. The best that a
critic can do is to attempt to evaluate the qualities of a film for
artistic merit, and hope that those films of greater quality will have a
slightly better chance of winning the public's fickle favor.


Michael Benedetti

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

Anyone who quotes 'Starship Troopers' in their sig deserves a slap upside the head.
Pompous eurotwit.


Pentti J Lajunen wrote:

> > Richard aka Tara wrote (among other things):>All this criticism is moot anyway,
> > because the
> > >only thing that matters in the end is pleasing the audience.
> > >Everything else is pointless.
>
> This is the attitude that keeps American movies and its audience
> so dumb. They deserve each other and can roll together in their
> ignorant propaganda. How'bout movies giving at least a slight
> challenges to viewers? Would that be too hard? Just a little
> brain training-exercise? If movies like Contact or L.A.
> Confidential really are too sophisticated for many viewers,
> I'd be reaally worried.

Luis Canau

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

gjw <g...@loop.com> escreveu:

>[...] When a critic realizes that he is in the
>minority - that his tastes differ so profundly from that of the general
>public - then he should simply accept that fact (and perhaps worry a bit
>about whether or not he is the right person for the job). [...]

Is that the way most Americans view the work of a critic? Man, that's weird.
Even to think that they exist to serve the audience in a way they have to have
similar oppinions to the majority.... Maybe that's why Ebert liked BARB WIRE.

Why can't a critic just have an oppinion regardless of other's oppinions?
--
Luis Canau_________________________________
<luis....@mail.euNOT.pt> euNOT -> EUnet)
Cinema: http://home.EUnet.pt/id005098/cinedie
_________Pro - w i d e s c r e e n_______________

Duane Laviniere

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

MFalc1 wrote:

> You may call me a cinematic Luddite, but I still believe that the cerebral and
> the visceral must go hand-in-hand. To have nothing but sensation and
> four-second cuts throughout a film is wrong-our age difference and the speed of
> our respective thought processes have nothing to do with it.
> Granted, every generation brings complaints from older people that are
> alienated from current cinema and prefer only what they grew up with. But,
> there should be a cinema that provides films for all age groups, all tastes and
> all thought processes, rather than slavish catering to only one age group or
> taste level (there is a sizable market of people over 25 that will get out of
> the house to see a film they might be interested in-TITANIC, as much as I
> dislike it-proved that). And, after all, you might wish to keep in mind that
> you may be bitterly complaining about the latest Lourdes Ciccone film somewhere
> around the year 2015.

I supposed we agree then. My major point is not that all films have to cater to
my tastes (carnage and violence), but with special effects, you can make movies
into fantastic experiences that capture audiences of all ages. I don't like Turan
claiming that people were going to Titanic to see a spectacle. The only spectacle
was the total immersion. To me, spectacle if ID4 or Starship Troopers. You go
there for the monsters and explosions. With Titanic, you go there for the emotion
and nostalgia. He made it seem like Titanic was no more than an FX roller
coaster, and it was not. It was more than that. This is the first movie that I
can honestly say used its FX for story enhancement alone. I understand that Turan
and some others hate the movie with a passion, and that's fine, but anyone in a
paid position, whose job it is to make good movie recommendations, should not be
on a crusade against any particular movie. It's petty and unprofessional. PEACE.

Duane Laviniere

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

deering wrote:

> Er. . .Turan isn't sour grapes over the movie. He's horrified by the fact
> that Hollywood has been downgrading good movie storytelling for
> the past 20 years (ever since STAR WARS, come to think of it--g!) and
> making audiences think that FX and flash is _all_ that a movie needs to
> deliver to be considered good or "a classic." He is also outraged that
> by doing so, Hollywood has systematically cheated its audiences not only
> in the money department, but also by lowering their expectations. As a
> result, there are lots
> of people who honestly don't know what a truly good movie--forget epic--
> is supposed to be like.

I hate to tell you, but I know what a truly good movie is. It's any movie I
think is truly good. The next guy likes certain movies as well, and so on. The
advent of the 16-24 plex theater allows theaters to carry many more movies now
than previously possible, so people can go see any movie out there. The way I
get my info is to ask around for opinions on movies, then go see one that
interest me. To be honest, my favorite movies are something like Tarantino
flicks, kung-fu flicks, anything with Bruce Willis, Predator, etc... I sure
don't want someone trying to claim that a good movie for me should be The English
Patient or something equally uninteresting. I like the way Hollywood is doing
things right now. A lot of different types of movies out, with the super-high
brow, limited audience stuff thrown in there. Just because that stuff doesn't
sell anymore doesn't mean society is going to hell in a handbasket. It just
means that times and tastes have changed.


> These people _know_ that all these empty movies haven't been satisfying
> and that movies could be doing better than they are, but they haven't seen
> nearly enough LAWRENCE OF ARABIAs or GONE WITH THE WINDs or THE LEOPARD or
> 1900 or even WAR AND PEACE to know how satisfying a truly
> moving, complex, worthwhile epic can be. It is a _lot_ harder to see good
> classic movies outside of theaters than it used to be--the networks don't
> show them unless they are WIZARD OF OZ special event kinda things and most
> are relegated to cable stations that a fair number of people may just now
> be getting. For example, American Movie Classics has been on the air for
> about 5 years or more, but the cable system in my area just started
> carrying it last year. If I were a teenager, most likely I would be seeing
> stuff like ALL ABOUT EVE, LAURA, THIS GUN FOR HIRE, FIVE MILLION YEARS TO
> EARTH for the first time in my life _now_ unless my parents were movie
> junkies with VCRs or my town had a good revival theater around (which
> these days, is extremely doubtful). TITANIC does try to deliver
> characterization, period conflict, emotion, solid storytelling--all the
> things people have been hungering for for some years now (and that have
> been relegated mostly to mini-series or TVMovies). The problem is is that
> it doesn't deliver as well as it could, and _should_; the fact that it is
> hyped as a "great epic" doesn't help.
>

AMC has been around for at least 8 years if I'm correct. We had it all the time,
but black & white doesn't grab my attention anymore. Not my speed. In hs, none
of my friends watched it, but my history teacher was an AMC junky. In college
again, no one I know watches that channel. It's availability probably sucks
because there's no demand. You know you can't peddle crap unless people are
willing to buy. It's probably what you like, the way MSG and SpeedVision are my
favorite, but it's hard to convince everyone else that it's the way to go.

As for Titanic, I dug it a lot. It's in my top five fav movies (currently), but
I don't really consider it an epic...yet. Of course, I don't consider that ET an
epic either, and quite frankly hate it. I don't know of any epics out there
except for maybe Superman and Diehard. Of course, I've long since outgrown
Superman, but Diehard is still an action staple. However, I do think that some
people are calling Titanic an epic based on it's b.o. success. Any film this
successful has got some fantastic qualities to it, and so I think Titanic is
worthy of quite a bit of the praise it receives.


> Complete and total bullshit. If what you say is true, why is it that
> movies like BATMAN AND ROBIN, ALIEN RESURRECTION, STARSHIP
> TROOPERS, SPEED 2, THE PEACEMAKER, THE JACKAL, DANTE'S PEAK--in fact the
> majority of "eye candy" movies released this year did such disappointing
> to horrible

OK, maybe I lack communication skills such as being complete in my reasoning.
Effects are only one part of a movie. Titanic has a full rack of ammo in its
favor. Good story, good acting, good visual presentation, good audio
presentation, good love story, good action, etc... It's not one-dimensional like
the others although Starship Troopers and The Jackal (yeah Bruce) were among my
fav of last year. B&R on the other hand didn't even have the one dimension of
effects. It just sucked plain and simple. One of the worst ever, almost as bad
as Assassins.


> : Turan lost me here. If you want wordy, intricate plots, buy the damn
> : novel. Who wants to go to a movie and have to focus solely on the dialogue
> : so that they can keep up with the movie? Visuals are there to aid the plot
> : along. That's why you can cut out a lot of inane rambling and just get down
> : to the meat and potatoes.
>
> Yeah, who needs all those words and characters and stuff? Leave that to
> those dern high-faultin' books and mess...:PPPPPPP

Um, Cameron's plot was solid, though simple. Who needs something super high
level, when the bare necessities suffices? The only people Cameron would have
condescended are English scholars or Einstein. The majority of the viewing
public has a very rudimentary grasp of the english language, probably due to lack
of emphasis on it in real life. Hell, look at me. I used to be taking AP
English in hs, now my spelling and grammar have gone to pot. Why? Because I
discovered that engineers and other working people don't really need to do a lot
of sophisticated writing. Cameron's script works just fine for me and the
millions of other people who like the movie. I'm not saying that dumbing a
script down to a Dr. Seuss tale is good, just that what Cameron did was not
excessive.


> If you want plot through words, buy a book or
> : listen to books on tape. I didn't think Cameron dumbed down his script at
> : all. It played perfectly. What should he have done, used a boring setting
> : crammed with nonstop "high brow" discussions rather than using the actors he
> : payed for to act? Have Leo and Kate run around doing the visual thing and
> : throw in speech when you need it and ease up on your audience.
>
> Yeah, why bore and confuse poor dumb audience members? It's not like
> they could understand conversation and all. God, and you say _Turan_ is
> condescending?!?! You don't even give people credit for wanting to see a
> well-told story and having the patience to watch one. Jesus. . .:P

Hah, the story wasn't told well? I believe it was good enough to bring many
people to tears. I believe the emotion was brought forth fully. Any more
emotion and people would have started stringing themselves up by their
shoelaces. It was a good movie, with a story good enough to drag your average
american along fairly well. I'm not looking for a soap opera, or god forbid
Shakespearean nonsensical drivel. I want a movie I can watch and walk away from
feeling good about that $8.25 that Hoyts just got. Damn, if Titanic didn't do
that for you, then fine, feel betrayed, be disappointed. A majority of that $1
billion have gotten their money's worth from the supposedly "juvenile" script.
If anyone here can do better, give it a shot. I can't, I think it suffices.


> You want to
> : make money, not critical friends.
>
> Never saw LA CONFIDENTIAL, did you? In fact, what movies _have_ you seen
> outside of TITANIC? :)

Nope, didn't see LAC. I saw Titanic out of peer pressure. Everyone I knew saw
it and loved it, so I caved in and I'm glad. Haven't seen any other major Oscar
nominees this year like GWH, AGAIG or Boogie Night. Don't plan on it either,
those can wait for tape. That doesn't discount the fact that I've seen other
great movies that I loved, such as Pulp Fict, Se7en, Shawshank, Res. Dogs, Gump,
Schindler, etc... I know what I like, and that's a good movie, FOR ME. All
that's important to me is what I like. You may disagree, but that's why you're
paying for your ticket, and I'm paying for mine.


> : Man, it's too bad the paying public does not know what it wants. What is
> : wrong with Turan?
>
> He's right on the money. What's wrong with _you_?!

I assume that's a joke. Really though, why can't the paying public want movie it
likes? It likes Titanic and wants it. Big deal.


> : If I watch Titanic again, it won't be for the special effects because they
> : don't seem very special. The effects are seemeless and only really used
> : because building a boat of that size, and then sinking it would cost well
> : past the $200M they budgeted. ID4, Starship Troopers, 5th Element all had
> : "special" effects. The effects were used to create extraordinary scenes.
> : That's a spectacular that draws people for visuals. Titanic draws people
> : for the love story plain and simple. Any movie that almost moves me to
> : tears is good. I don't cry, so this movie really did it for me. Good love
> : story to match the great presentation.
>
> Homes, go rent LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, BRIEF ENCOUNTER, THE LEOPARD, GONE WITH
> THE WIND--or even take a look at TNT's GETTYSBURG mini-series. Or
> Cameron's inspiration for TITANIC, DR. ZHVIAGO. If you can
> come back here and say that crap after you've seen those, well, I'll just
> give up and go away...g!

Started reading Dr. Zhivago junior year, but stopped. Not a bad story, but not a
movie I want to see. LOA, BE and TL don't interest me either. No one I know has
seen them, or even mentions them, so I won't waste my time. I'm no movie hound
that goes hunting after old films to get the original sampling of a current hit.
The only movie I'm hunting for right now is Full Metal Jacket and The Stoned
Age. TNT's Gettysburg of course only caters to civil war buffs. My friend loves
Glory, but I'm more into Vietnam movies. Glory was good, Gettysburg was...well
let's say that it didn't hold up well against World Cupr soccer in '94. Gone
with the Wind sucks. Something about the glorification of the racist south and
the characterization of slaves as mindless morons just doesn't appeal to me. Of
course, the film did well at that time due to the relative youth of the civil
rights movement. A movie like that released now would garner much criticism.

> : One brave, bitter little Turan fighting his petty, insignificant fight
> : against public opinion. This is a fight that he will lose badly. You're
> : just not gonna convince the masses, that wept the first time, the second,
> : third and fourth time they saw the movie, that this is not a good movie.
> : Hell, they cried and then went and grabbed their friends to go cry along
> : with them. Great movie. It's alright to hate it.
>
> Yeah, sure. See what they say about it five years from now...g!

That's no big deal. I'm not gonna lose sleep over it. People praised Forrest
Gump over Pulp Fiction, but PF gets mentioned more often now than FG. I find
saying "I told you so." to be a bit weak. So what if Titanic fades away into
complete anonymity in a few years. It still doesn't discount the fact that a lot
of people enjoy it today, and that its b.o. record may last well past that 5
years, or multiples of that 5 years.


> Hell, it's alright to
> : trash it in a review, but to harp on it the way Turan did is pretty lame.
> : Maybe I should be a critic. I harp on Star Wars all the time. PEACE.
>
> Why, come to think of it?

Yup, I wouldn't mind getting paid to bitch about SW. Turan has left his job as
an honest movie critic and is just a paid couch potatoe now, issuing armchair
opinions that hold no water. PEACE.

Home Skully

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to Jim Mann

On Wed, 1 Apr 1998, Jim Mann wrote:

>
> Paul Hager wrote in message
> <6ftr7r$i...@sheepskin.cs.indiana.edu>...
> >Cameron didn't steal from Ellison in my view, and Cameron
> doesn't
> >think so either. My understanding is that it was easier to
> settle
> >that get involved in a litigation.
>
> Cameron was quoted at a party saying "I got the idea from two old
> Outer Limits episodes." It was when confronted with this that he
> added Ellison's name to the credits.

what is your source on this? i have never heard this version of the whole
thing. It is my understanding (from an article in Premiere) that Ellison
saw Terminator, thought it was similar to "Soldier" and "Demon with a
Glass Hand", and then sued. Orion Pictures told Cameron if he wanted to
fight they would support him. But if he lost, then Orion would turn
around and sue him too.

Dave Platt

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, Duane Laviniere wrote:

: I supposed we agree then. My major point is not that all films have to cater to


: my tastes (carnage and violence), but with special effects, you can
make movies
: into fantastic experiences that capture audiences of all ages. I don't

You can without special effects, too. Do you think people still watch
Wizard of Oz because of the pantyhose tornado, or the obvious matte
paintings? No. They watch it because it's a good story well told.

Dan Bongard

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

Maurice (Lamb...@lycosemail.com) wrote:
: The subject line says it all :

: This movie critic is crusading against Titanic, for "better"
: movies and scripts. I wonder why is not bashing SPEED 2, BLUES
: BROTHERS 2000, SPAWN, ETC... they are hordes of badly directed
: and written movies out there.

Because nobody thinks these are good movies with good scripts, so
there's little reason to devote page space to talking about it.

: Titanic isn't one of them.

It isn't as bad as the three films listed above, no, but it is
pretty bad nonetheless -- particularly when you consider its
popularity. Speed 2, BB2k, and Spawn were bad movies that flopped.
Titanic is a bad movie that have made 1.2 billion dollars in three
and a half months. That's worth talking about.

: But Titanic is a movie with a soul.

Oh, please. I know people who are deeply moved by "Melrose Place", so
forgive me if I scoff at your idea of a "movie with soul". Titanic
is a factory-produced "wrong side of the tracks" romance flick spliced
together with a disaster film. There's no "soul" in it.

-- Dan

Dan Bongard

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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