Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Episode #200 Filmspotting

Filmspotting is one of the best film criticism podcasts around. It is one of the three film review podcasts I listen to and the only one I consider actually having some worthwhile film analysis and criticism in it rather than just summarizing/reviewing the film and then giving an arbitrary star rating at the end of an uninsightful ramble.

I really dislike the current state of film criticism. I wish there was some sort of film critic's exam that people had to take and pass to become film critics. And believe me, if I wrote it, people like Rex Reed, Gene Shalit, and half the people on Amazon would not pass.

When I first started listening to Filmspotting with the launch of iTunes 4.9. I want to say the first episode I heard was Cinecast #18. The one where they reviewed Batman Begins. My first impression was that I liked what I heard. The guys on the show seemed like nice enough, intelligent enough people. I wanted to nitpick (they had really similar tastes so there wasn't much discussion, there was a profound lack of female perspective, etc.), but really it was a solid show.

But THEN the guys kept talking more about movies they had NOT seen as opposed to films they actually watched. And some of those films they proudly and stubbornly refused to watch were on my list of minimum requirements for knowing a blessed thing about discussing movies. (Seriously, Gone with the Wind? That's like saying you've never seen The Wizard of Oz.)

So I sent them cantankerous emails, ridiculing them for their profound lack of knowledge. And, to show that I wasn't totally evil, I also sent them donations and gift certificates with little notes like, "Please use this to watch 'Once Upon a Time in the West'." or "How can you pretend to understand the work of Brian de Palma without first learning a thing or two about Hitchcock. Here is some money, please buy yourself an education."

They responded by calling me their Nemesis (or, as Sam liked to call me "Elegant Nemesis") and making fun of me on their show whenever we disagreed on something. Once, Adam even sent me a private email wherein he called me a bastard.

I believe it read as follows:

RT -

You bastard!


But like with any good back-and-forth, the guys on the show did nice things for me, too. They let me announce on the show my favorite movie of 2006 (Children of Men) and when Adrienne Shelley died, they let me pick my favorite scene of hers to run on the show (it was from Trust and it was the speech about... well, about trust).

Anyway, the culmination of my relationship with the Filmspotting guys happened around episode #166 when Sam pitched a movie about a Steely Dan cover band called Haitian Divorce. I thought it was a smart enough premise and decided to make a screenplay out of it as a Christmas gift to the Filmspotting community. (You can read about it here.)

I didn't really finish the screenplay by Christmas. I got a solid 60-page draft out there and posted it just in time for the holidays. The plan was to flesh it out, get it to the 90 to 100 page range, and repost it by episode #200.

And I sort of made that goal. Episode #200 posted last Friday morning, and here it is Sunday night when I have my draft posted. (It is called Haitian Divorce. Click here to download it.)

Part of me really wishes I was one of the Filmspotting guys. They are living a dream of mine. On some days when I am stuck in meetings I don't want to attend, I daydream about being a globe-trotting film critic, interviewing the likes of Ellen Page and trading witty barbs with that guy who directed Brick. But I can't be one of the guys. The closest I can get is to be their Nemesis.

But, you know what?

It is good to be their Nemesis.

Here's to 200 more shows.


Gyuss Baaltar said...

Where would Reed be without Doom? Kal-El without Luthor?

Richie without Reggie?

Sluggo without Spike?

Cyber D said...

Salt without Peppa?

White without Rice?

Gyuss Baaltar said...

CyberD, I don't think Danny White and Jerry Rice ever were on the same team or even played each other.

NoRegrets said...

It's good to be on the 'evil' side...
I'll have to go listen.