Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Different standard for 'indie filmmakers'?

An artsy-fartsy friend of mine took me to task for being too harsh on the "indie" films I review for this page. Her take is that there needs to be a different standards for "studio films" and "indie films."

Given that many of the films I've reviewed here fall into the category of "indie" films ("White Zombie", for example, qualifies as an "indie" film), I considered her point. And then I dismissmed it.

Calling yourself an "independent filmmaker" is not an excuse to make a crappy movie. If you have a budget of $1.95, you can still have a decent script and you can still have a movie that's technically sound, if you know what you're doing. You may even be able to have decent actors, if you don't cast your girlfriend as the lead. Calling yourself an "independent filmmaker" is also not a rationale for attempting effects and stunts that your budget can't handle... whether you've got $1.95 or $1.95 million dollars, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish with the tools and talent at your disposal.

I think it's right and proper to judge "studio films" and "independent films" on the same level, so long as one is considering first and foremost certain things that every movie has, no matter how it's made.

Incompetent and bad filmmaking should be judged harshly no matter who is doing it.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Platonic Ideal of a clueless critic
manifested to write a review of 'Grudge 2'?

On the topic of "The Grudge 2", "New York Post" movie critic V.A. Musetto wrote:

"The movie is utter junk, suitable perhaps for late-night TV, but not for the thousands of big screens on which it opened yesterday. The distributor, Columbia Pictures, knows it has a fiasco on its hands, which is why it didn't bother to screen the movie in advance for critics. Still, teens - lured by advertising and the fact that Amber Tamblyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar are in the cast - will probably flock to theaters this weekend in hope of being scared witless. Instead, they'll be bored witless [...]"

Did Musetto even bother to see the movie? And if he did, how did he manage to see it without being in an auditorium full of teenagers? Maybe he hit the earliest possible screening, while they were all still in school?

I share his opinion the movie is junk, but if he'd seen the film with its obvious target audience, like I did, and if he had listened to them talk as they filed out, like I did, he would be forced to recognize that he needs to widen his outlook a bit.

V.A. Musetto obviously has no idea what appeals to teenagers. He shouldn't be kidding himself (and his readers) that he does. Like so many other "professionals", he seems to be unable to look past his own likes and dislikes and admit that he isn't the target market for every movie that's made.

I agree "The Grudge 2" is crap--I gave it a 3/10 ( :rotten: ) in my review--but I wasn't blind to the fact that everyone around me in the theater seemed to be having a good time. Then again, I'm not wrapped up in an over-inflated opinion of myself.