This is a general response to a bunch of things. It's all over the place.
I will definitely admit I can be an asshole (in my head mind you) towards people who I think aren’t as smart as me, but this is always geared towards people who have the means and should know better (usually idiots in my college classes –which only proves you don’t have to go to college to be intelligent). I didn’t mean to belittle anyone who has dropped out of college or doesn’t go to college by having contempt for those girls in the theater with me (they could have gotten a degree for all I know). I had more contempt for them as people who can’t shut their mouths during a movie; their stupidity just fueled my contempt at that point.
I’m almost done with college (and I plan on going to grad school) but even I will admit that it’s a waste of time and money. I work hard at college because I know I need to play the game. Any real knowledge I have has mostly come on my own, like you Brandon. I’ve taken one film class on Cinema at War and I got nothing out of it. My favorite authors are the ones I looked up on my own in high school. My vocabulary has come from forcing myself to read a thesaurus and dictionary when I was a teenager. I’m like you Brandon. I’ve taught myself most the things I really care about. I would never lump you in with those girls in my theater because you didn’t finish college. You’ve actually gone out and learned tons of things on your own. In many ways that is much more impressive then just graduating college. You know more about film history than most kids I know who are cinema majors. Jesse Martin didn’t graduate college and he’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. He can talk more fluently with me about literature than any person I’ve ever met in an English class.
Ben is right, just because someone doesn’t have a degree, it doesn’t mean they are not educated. The inverse is true too. Just because someone has a degree, it doesn’t mean they are educated.
John, thanks for responding. I'm glad you weren't ready to throw in the towel just yet. Thanks for your posts too, Brandon and Ben. Everything has been a blast to read and I'm just overwhelmed by having to respond to such great stuff.
The references in Midnight in Paris are easy to anyone who has knowledge about art or history. No question. I never made the argument that they weren’t obvious references. I was just arguing that (to me) the intention of the film was not to flatter its audience with its references but to do its own thing and hope others can follow along.
I can understand that if you aren’t with Owen Wilson’s character as a protagonist then you might not enjoy his development at the expense of the other characters. I guess I’m just so used to Woody’s movies doing this that I have no problem with it. I always like the Woody character because, well, I like Woody Allen.
I also can totally understand not wanting to be directed. I’m with you. I’m willing to be directed if I like where I’m being led (I usually do with my man Woody), but if I don’t then I hate it. Reading Meek’s Cutoff in the same discussion with Midnight brings me back down to Earth quite a bit. Of course, Meek’s Cutoff is a far superior film. There’s no question. I sometimes forget to compare Woody’s films to other films because I’m so used to comparing them to his other ones. He so rarely comes out with a truly inspired effort anymore so when he does I’m quick to praise him like a kid who finally hits the ball of the tee after whiffing twelve times.
Brandon, you make a good point about Tarantino’s references not being crucial to the scene itself in Inglourious Basterds. Certainly one can appreciate the gravity and dexterity of the scene without having seen a Leone film. I was just using this example to stress that if you have seen a Leone film, then you are in-the-know about this reference. It was just an example about how references work. To understand or identify them you need to have some knowledge about them.
(This would be a pointless debate but I see the opening of Inglourious as more of an homage to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Specifically the scene where Angel Eyes comes to Steven’s House, sits at his table, interrogates him, and then kills him. The two scenes are very closely related. Though I guess you could say that coming to kill the family is also an homage to Frank showing up and killing McBain and his clan in Once Upon a Time in the West. Is this what you had in mind? Sorry, I’m nerding out too much.)
I think you might have been too hard on Super 8 too. I think it's mostly a successful tribute and a pretty solid blockbuster considering some of the other fare out there. The alien work is so heavy-handed, but there is enough to like elsewhere to actually appreciate this flick.
I agree that we are all romantics here. New film club motto: Be Romantic Forever.
I’m an Ebert fan too. I can often disagree with him, but I still respect the hell out of him and always read his well-written reviews. His championing of Kubrick and Bergman means a lot to me. So does his estimation of Synecdoche, New York. He and I may be among the only ones to rate it so highly. He definitely is a film lover and a very intelligent person who I probably could get along with real well if I knew him. His comment about Ryan Dunn may have been true, but was there any need to post it other than the fact that a computer was probably sitting right in front of him at the time? Thinking something in your head or sharing something with a friend is one thing, but promulgating something snide for all to see is just ego-inflation. What’s the point?
I’m a big fan of people who are considerate for other people’s feelings. I appreciate the person who before tweeting thinks: “Should I post this potentially hurtful message so that I can personally be right or should I abstain from posting it out of consideration for the possible harm it could have on others?” (yeah, dream on Jeff). Being considerate is all about thinking less about yourself and more about the fact that there are other people in the world besides you.
Roger’s tweet about the Huck Finn controversy was a different thing all together. There shouldn’t have been controversy about it. There probably shouldn’t be controversy about his Ryan Dunn tweet. In all honesty, he’s one fucking person, who gives a shit what he says? I still think he should be considerate and not post something that could be hurtful to others but only because our society already puts too much stock in something as trivial as tweeting. Why do we care so much about tweets and why are they news-worthy? Anthony Weiner tweets a picture of his chest and is forced to resign, but Goldman Sachs execs cheat thousands out of their money and homes and don’t even get a slap on the wrist. Our world is so upside down that at times I think I’m living in a nightmare.
I’m personally extremely annoyed by twitter (does considering it a device of self-glorification for a society already so narcissistic it might fuck itself to death constitute as annoyance? haha). But, seriously all jokes aside, if you get some great things out of it Ben then stick to it my man. I’m sure it’s useful for all types of things, as you suggest. I think when used in a way as you do (or for something like the Arab spring movement) it can be a beneficial and exciting tool. Don’t let my curmdgeonly attitude towards it or other forms of technology influence your opinion. I’m probably just too out of touch.