Denby Took The Words Out of My Mouth

And the list goes on of people agreeing with me to prove I’m not crazy…

Denby’s a bit of a fart, but he was an early supporter of Apatow in the days you wouldn’t expect him to be which him gives him some street cred in my perspective.

Here he talks about Slumdog Millionaire as a “high-production-value commercial for poverty” and The Reader as essentially a 15 year-old getting it on with a hot Nazi for a while followed by about an hour and a half of boredom, as well as the general Shitocracy that is the Oscars this year.

I agree with everything he says except for one thing- I don’t think 2008 was a bad year for movies; I think 2008 was a bad year for Oscar movies.

But still, well done and a kick in the pants, which I admire.

2 Responses to Denby Took The Words Out of My Mouth

  1. blake says:

    Good points, all of them. A very strange year for movies. Frownland is still my #1.

    (BTW Che is preposterous and excruciating, yet endlessly fascinating to me. I hated it but love Soda-bergh. He has the most awesome career path ever!)

    A dilemma:

    My mom and dad loved Slumdog. When they came home from the theater, they burst through the doors as happy as I’d ever seen them. My mom, who is making an active effort to “see more movies”, said it was the best she had seen all year. “It was sad, and funny, and had a happy ending… I loved it!”

    I saw the movie, didn’t like it very much, was borderline disgusted and nauseated by some of it, but in the end understand why my parents/ other people like it. My parents were disappointed to know that I didn’t like it that much, but I didn’t dare even try to defend my opinion. A move like this is tough to attack – if Slumdog makes my parents happy and gives them the type of joy that I rarely see on their faces, then what’s the point of trying to convince them otherwise? What’s the point in talking about the ridiculousness of the plot and the form and the “energy” of the movie, if someone was genuinely and sincerely affected by it?

    Someone should address this dilemma, or just come up with something to tell my parents, so we don’t have to buy the Blu-ray or whatever.

  2. feitelogram says:


    An excellent question.
    Here’s the answer as I would give it:
    You don’t defend your position with the assiduousness that I would defend mine.
    This is because the world we inhabit–New York City, Tisch Film–is a world with access and emphasis specifically to “watching good movies”. It’s one of the only places in the world for this really. Thus, here in New York, as with some other places like LA or perhaps Toronto, there is an entryway for anyone to watching good films.
    Debating Slumdog on a blog, with film kids or New Yorkers is different than debating those for whom the movie was a “life-changing experience”, a few of whom I know. The comparison I would make would be for literature. What happens if your parents weren’t readers, but they came home one day with “A Heart-Breaking Work of Staggering Genius”, Dave Eggers’ steaming piece of excrement. If they thought this was the beginning of expanding their literary palette, then you encourage them and give them another better book that might share something in common with that one. Eventually, if they get into and begin reading, then you can begin to debate the merits of the first book, but otherwise you might stifle the founding impulse which, disconnected from the cause, is essentially positive.
    So, if your parents loved Slumdog, great. Give them Salaam Bombay, a film by Mira Nair with similar themes. Give them City of God, a bit crass and exploitative, but a step in the right direction. Give them Trainspotting, another, better Danny Boyle movie if you think they’re up for it. Foster the habit. Only then, once you’ve converted your parents to cinephiles, will you finally be able to berate their tastes in movies.
    Otherwise, you’re just like “My Name Is Earl”–making fun of stupid people on a weekly basis.

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