HULK ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS – PART 2

August 22, 2011

HULK CURRENTLY FINISHING VERY INVOLVED ARTICLE ON ACTION SCENES, IT NOT AS LONG AS THE OTHERS BUT IT MORE INVOLVED AND LOTS MOVING PARTS SO HULK TAKING TIME TO REALLY GET IT RIGHT SO TO SPEAK.

BUT IN MEANTIME IT BEEN SO LONG SINCE HULK GOT SOMETHING UP SO HULK THOUGHT ANSWER ‘NOTHER ROUND OF QUESTIONS. AS ALWAYS, FEEL FREE ASK QUESTIONS IN COMMENTS BELOW, TWEET HULK AT WWW.TWITTER.COM/FILMCRITHULK (FOLLOW HULK IF NOT!), OR EMAIL FILMCRITHULK@GMAIL.COM

HULK THANK!

QUESTION #1

Reading your first mailbag- specifically, the question regarding the studio system and product placement and audiences- made me wonder. Do you think we’ll ever see something like PUTNEY SWOPE again? Or maybe a better question that ties two of your answers together- do you think we’ll ever see another revolutionary movement- as described in “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls”- again? It seems like there’s a lot of fertile territory for filmmakers to revolt against a lot of what you mentioned and the independent genre feels like it could use the jolt.

-John

LOVE PUTNEY SWOPE. GREAT MOVIE. HULK NOT SURE WE’LL EVER SEE SOMETHING SEND UP THE ADVERTISING QUITE THE SAME WAY. EVEN OUTSIDE OF THE WORLD OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT, TV AND MOVIES USED TO BE SEPARATE ENTITIES. NOW THEY NOT. IF UNIVERSAL MAKES MOVIE SKEWING ADVERTISING NBC FEELS THE HEAT (THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS BTW WITH THE MOST TRIVIAL OF STUFF). IF ANY MOVIE EVER DOES, IT WILL LIKELY BE OUTSIDE THE HOLLYWOOD PARAMETERS COMPLETELY. EVEN MAD MEN, WHICH HAS LOTS BAD THINGS SAY ABOUT ADVERTISING, HAS DONE MORE TO MAKE IT SEEM SUPER-AWESOME IT THAN ANYTHING TOO (THOUGH THAT WHOLLY INTENTIONAL).

TECHNICALLY THERE WAS A SECOND REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT, THE INDEPENDENT FILM MOVEMENT OF THE 90’S AND BISKIND WROTE ABOUT THAT ONE TOO. HIS “DOWN AND DIRTY PICTURES” ABOUT THE RISE OF MIRAMAX = FANTASTIC. IT ALSO THE SOURCE OF SO MUCH WEINSTEIN INFAMY.

THE PROBLEM OF COURSE THAT THE INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING MODELS BECAME SUBLIMATED INTO THE LARGER CORPORATE SYSTEM (LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE), SO NOW INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING ESSENTIALLY JUST CORPORATE GENRE FILMMAKING. THERE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOX SEARCHLIGHT, SONY PICTURES CLASSICS, ETC. AND REGULAR STUDIOS EXCEPT FOR FACT THEY HAVE SMALLER BUDGETS AND FOCUS ON AWARD FODDER. AND YEAH TECHNICALLY THEY FOCUS MORE ON ACQUISITIONS THAN REGULAR STUDIOS BUT THE STUFF THEY JUST ACQUIRING USUALLY MOVIE-STAR LADEN CROWD PLEASERS WITH “INDIE VIBE.”

SO THE QUESTION, WHERE WILL THE NEW REVOLUTION COME FROM?

HULK NOT SURE. WE LIKE THINK THINGS MORE DEMOCRATIC NOWAWAYS IN AGE OF NEW MEDIA, BUT THE PROLIFERATION OF HIGH-GRADE EQUIPMENT AND NICHE-IFICATION WHICH ALLOWS FOR THE POSSIBILITY TO FIND AUDIENCE MORE EASILY, ALSO MEANS IT HARDER FOR NICHE CONTENT TO “HIT” THE MAINSTREAM IF THAT MAKE SENSE. IT SEEMS LIKE MOST OF THE GREAT, INTERESTING, OR SUBVERSIVE FILMMAKING COMING OUT OF GENRE ENTERTAINMENT THESE DAYS, SO THAT TRADITIONAL AUDIENCE NEEDS ARE MET IN AGREEMENT WITH THE MORE ADVENTUROUS STORYTELLING AND COMEDY (ONE CAN WATCH LET THE RIGHT ONE IN JUST AS A VAMPIRE MOVIE FOR EXAMPLE, EVEN IF IT WAY, WAY MORE THAN THAT). AND THE INTERNET SEEMS MORE A DELIVERY DEVICE FOR SHORT FORM/SKETCH CONTENT.

MAYBE THE PLACE FOR GREAT STORYTELLING NOW ON TV? OUTSIDE OF HANDFUL OF GREAT MOVIES HULK THINK “THE SUITCASE” EPISODE OF MAD MEN ONE THE MOST INTERESTING, COMPELLING “MEDIA HOURS” OF THE YEAR. IT JUST HAPPENED BE ON TV.

BUT REALLY HULK NOT SURE.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #2

You’ve talked a lot about screenwriting 101 and the need for the understanding of story structure and character building. What’s the lesson plan for screenwriting 102?

-Bevin

GET THERE SOON ENOUGH. BUT SCREENWRITING 102 MOSTLY CONCERNS INVERSION AND INNOVATION. HOW MAKE THE LEAP FROM WRITING STANDARD STORIES TO WRITING “ORIGINAL-FEELING” / UNIQUE STUFF. HOW DOES TARANTINO OR KAUFFMAN OR COENS OR MOFFAT OR WHEDON OR DO IT? IT TRICKY BUT… ACTUALLY THAT SOUND MORE LIKE THAT SCREENWRITING 103 /GRADUATE STUDY… 102 MIGHT BE JUST MORE OF SAME SHIT WITH A BIT MORE NUANCE…. MAYBE… HULK DUNNO.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #3

Your article regarding the ending of Lost was a great read and brought up a lot of insightful points that I hadn’t considered otherwise. Did you have any other problems with the story throughout the course of the show? Did any of the turns the story took frustrate you, and if so, why?

-Peter G

YEAH IN A GIVEN MOMENT HULK WOULD HAVE LOTS OF PROBLEMS, BUT GIVEN FLUID NATURE OF SHOW, THEY REALLY NOT PROBLEMS, BUT JUST CONCERNS. THAT CAUSE IN MOST CASES LOST EVENTUALLY DEALT WITH THEM WELL-ENOUGH AND TURNED INTO SOMETHING COMPELLING (THE SHOW GOT LOTS OF MILEAGE OUT OF VIEWER PATIENCE). SO THE PROBLEM WITH THE FINALE WAS THAT THERE NOTHING LEFT TO TEMPER OR RECTIFY ANY MIXED FEELINGS. CONCERNS BECOME ACTUAL PROBLEMS. RIGHT NOW, THERE NOTHING THAT CAN “FIX” THE FINALE…EXCEPT MAYBE LINDELOF’S TWEETS?

QUESTION #4

I am curious to know what Hulk thought of X-men: First Class.
I couldn’t find a topic, so I’m posting here.

-Jonah K.

SHORT VERSION: LOVED IT. FUN, ASSURED, BALANCED, AND A WHALE OF A PERFORMANCE FROM FASSBENDER. LOVED EVERY SINGLE DECISION REALLY. HULK ALSO HAVE CRUSH ON JENNIFER LAWERENCE BUT THAT NOT MAKE HULK UNIQUE IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER. AND HULK THOUGHT ABOUT DOING PIECE ON THE FILMS COMMENTARY OF RACISM COMPARED TO THE OTHERS BUT IT SORT OF WELL-COVERED GROUND.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #5

Hi Hulk

First off, I immensely appreciate your blog, which provides very deep and accessible criticism. Your texts are always a pleasure to read. My question concerns your quick remark on The Wire‘s last season as a bit “off”, with the serial killer and journalism plots not fitting with the rest of the series : I did not really understand what was wrong with it, since I really enjoyed this season as much as the others, except maybe for being less focused due to plot resolutions and piling on of separate stories. What set you off ?

Thanks, and have a great week !

-Louis

PERHAPS HULK SHOULD HAVE MADE MORE CLEAR. HULK THINK THE LAST SEASON OF THE WIRE FILLED WITH ALL SORTS OF GENIUS. AND HULK WILL GET TO WHY IN SECOND, BUT THE CRITICISM HULK WAS MAKING THAT THE LAST SEASON JUST MADE TWO “TONAL” ERRORS WITH THE MCNULTY FAKE SERIAL KILLER AND THE BLACK/WHITE GOOD GUYS/BAD GUYS IN THE BALTIMORE SUN WORKROOM. MEANING THAT THE TWO PLOTS DIDN’T FEEL LIKE TRADITIONAL WIRE NARRATIVES. MCNULTY FAKING THE SERIAL KILLER SEEMED LIKE THE MOST “UNREALISTIC” THING THE SHOW DID. WAS IT? HULK NOT SURE, BUT THE SHOW HAD BUILT UP 4 SEASONS ON THE PREDICATION OF FINDING DRAMA AND SOUL IN THE MOST “REALISTIC” NARRATIVES POSSIBLE. MEANWHILE, THE JOURNALISM PLOT LINE THROUGH SOME PEOPLE BECAUSE THE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT SEEMED BY MADE UP OF EITHER DICKLESS YES MEN AND SCHEMING HACKS OR THE NOBLE SAINTS OF REPORTING. WHICH RATHER CONTRARY TO THE SEEMING GRAY SCALES OF INSTITUTIONS THE WIRE USUALLY PUTS IN FRONT OF US (*). AT THE CENTER OF WHICH IS A CHARACTER WHOLLY MAKINING UP STORIES AND COMING OFF LIKE THE SCUM OF THE UNIVERSE AND HE GETS A PULITZER. BOTH OF THESE TWO STORYLINES ARE THE BIG, BOLD MOVES ONE USUALLY DOES NOT SEE IN THE SHOW. AND THIS THE SIMPLE REASON MANY PEOPLE NOT LIKE IT IS MUCH. IT JUST DIDN’T FEEL RIGHT.

NOW, TO THE LARGER POINT: MOST PEOPLE NOT SO GOOD AT FEELING OUT META-NARRATIVE. BECAUSE IN THE SENSE OF META-NARRATIVE BOTH PLOT LINES RATHER BRILLIANT. THE FIFTH SEASON IS REALLY ABOUT THE REFLEXIVE SEARCH FOR TRUTH. BOTH FEATURE PROMINENT LIES AT THE CENTER OF CONFLICT. THIS DONE SO PURELY TO HIGHLIGHT THE WAYS THE SYSTEM IS SET UP NOT TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH. THE SYSTEM ON WHAT “NOT SHOWN” HERE = THE MAIN POINTS OF THE FIFTH SEASON.

HERE, IN ORDER OF THEMATIC IMPORTANCE: THE BALTIMORE SUN DOES NOT REPORT A SINGLE EVENT THAT TAKE PLACE ON THE WIRE (THAT IS UNTIL BUBS. AND IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS THEY’VE EVER DONE AND IT RESTORES HIS FAMILY’S FAITH IN HIM) IF THE WIRE = “THE REAL STORY” OF THE AMERICAN CITY, IT NOT BEING TOLD BECAUSE THEY’RE OFF CHASING “THE FAKE ONE” MEANING THE ONES THAT ARE MADE UP. THE STORIES HAD TO BE FAKE. AND THEY COULD NEVER GET CAUGHT BECAUSE IT THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THE POINT. AMERICAN SOCIETY OBSESSESED WITH THE BIG, BOLD CSI TYPE STORIES OF MASS INTRIGUE. IN THAT PURSUIT THEY’RE MISSING STUFF SHOWN IN THE WIRE. THE FIFTH SEASON HAD LOTS OF AMAZING TIMES WHERE THEY HIGHLIGHT WHY THE PAPERS FAILED BUT NO ACTUALLY SHOW IT. FOR EXAMPLE HALFWAY THROUGH SEASON ONE OF THEIR SENIOR JOURNALISTS IS BOUGHT OUT. HE REPLACED WITH THE YOUNG WOMAN (GOD HULK FORGET HER NAME, ALMA?) WHO VERY WELL-INTENTIONED BUT JUST NO HAVE THE EXPERTISE OR EXPERIENCE. LATER ON SEASON, WHEN BELOVED CHARACTER DIES (AND FAMED WITHIN THE INNER CITY) AND THEY TRYING TO DECIDE IF THEY SHOULD REPORT HIS MURDER IN LITTLE BLURB OR REPORT A FIRE. SHE CHOOSES THE FIRE. MEANWHILE, THE VETERAN REPORTER KNOWS WHO THAT CHARACTER IS AND WHY HE SO IMPORTANT. WITH HIM, IT WOULD HAVE MADE THE PAPER. BUT BECAUSE THE SUN BOUGHT OUT THEIR EXPERIENCED REPORTER, THE PAPER MISSED A CRUCIAL STORY SIMPLY BECAUSE THE WELL-INTENTIONED YOUNG REPORTER COULDN’T POSSIBLY KNOW WHO THAT CHARACTER WAS. IT BRILLIANT.

AND QUITE SIMPLY, MCNULTY’S CAREER BEING UNDONE BY HIS OWN BULLSHIT = THE PERFECT WAY TO GO. ALSO, THE SUBTLE ARC OF KENARD? BRILLIANT. ALSO RANDY’S LAST NAME IS WAGSTAFF. RECOGNIZE IT? CHEESE WAGSTAFF. (METHOD MAN). YUP, HE’S RANDY’S DAD. DIDN’T NOTICE? THAT BECAUSE IT  NEVER SAID. IT IS THE ABSENT FATHER, SHOWN TO IT’S MOST DAMNING, BY NEVER SHOWING IT AT ALL.

*CHUCK KLOSTERMAN MAKES REALLY WEIRD ARGUMENT WHERE HE SAYS BECAUSE THE NEWSPAPER OFFICE FEEL DISINGENUOUS TO ONES HE WORKED IN, HE NOW CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THE OTHER INSTITUTIONS SHOWN WERE DONE SO WITH FAIR TREATMENT. HULK FIND IT BIZARRE SORT OF CONTRARIAN ARGUMENT, AS IF ARGUING THE SHOW NO HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE A STORY. BESIDES, HULK BEEN A TEACHER. HULK’S ENTIRE FAMILY TEACHERS SPECIALIZING IN PROBLEMATIC YOUTH. TRUST HULK. THE FOURTH SEASON PRETTY FUCKING ACCURATE.

QUESTION #6

I was wondering, what is your opinion (if any) on Jackson Murphy, the “kid film critic”? Do we need somebody like him for the sake of a different perspective on things? Or is it possible that, since he’s obviously too young to have seen most of the milestones of cinema history, giving somebody like him so much exposure can do more harm than good?

The reason I’m asking is I’ve seen this kid on Ebert Presents and have found him to be so incredibly annoying that I was surprised at myself. I think of him as a “film criticism” version of Rebecca Black. But more creepy.

-Lara

HULK NEVER HEARD OF HIM BEFORE THIS QUESTION SO HULK DID BIT OF RESEARCH.

SHORT VERSION: IT BAD. FOR ONE, FAME BAD FOR CHILDREN IN GENERAL. IT JUST IS. THERE NO GETTING AROUND IT AND HULK WOULD NEVER WANT PUT KID IN THAT KIND OF POSITION. AT SAME TIME ,THERE INHERENT NEED FOR CHILDREN TO BE ACTORS/DO OTHER HIGH PROFILE THINGS, SO IT JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE BE VERY CAREFUL WITH. JUST GENERALIZING BUT IT SEEM 1 IN 4 END UP BEING WELL-ADJUSTED.

AND FOR PETE’S SAKE, NO WE DON’T NEED A 10 YEAR OLD’S OPINION ON MOVIES IN THIS WAY. NOW, HULK LOVE TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT MOVIES TO SEE HOW THEY THINKING, BUT IT VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF THING. FOR EXAMPLE HULK LOVE’S DREW MCWEENY’S FILM NERD 2.0 SERIES WHERE HE WATCHES MOVIES W/ HIS KIDS AND EXAMINES THEIR REACTIONS. WHEN FILTERED THROUGH HIM (A VERY GOOD PROFESSIONAL FILM CRITIC) IT GIVES THEIR OPINIONS HAVE A VERY APPROPRIATE SENSE OF WEIGHT. THAT MAKE SENSE? THEY GIVEN THE CONTEXT OF KIDS, NOT THE CONTEXT OF PROFESSIONALISM.

WHILE HULK LAMENT THE FACT THAT THIS KID IN THE PUBLIC EYE AND TREATED LIKE HE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT HE TALKING ABOUT, HULK LIKE THE IDEA THAT THE KID REALLY TRYING RIGHT NOW. HE HAVE LONG WAYS TO GO BUT HE ESSENTIALLY STARTING HIS “10,000 HOURS” (GLADWELL’S THEORY THAT IT TAKES 10,000 HOURS TO BECOME TRULY GOOD AT ANYTHING REGARDLESS OF NATURAL TALENT, CAUSE THERE’S ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS NATURAL TALENT) SO IN 6-10 YEARS HE COULD BE IN GOOD SHAPE?

OR DEAD OF COCAINE OVERDOSE.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #7

I ask this because you willy-nilly threw ‘The Philadelphia Story’ into an answer, and since ‘The Philadelphia Story’ is my favorite movie, I have a few questions for you surrounding: ‘The Philadelphia Story.’

1) Why is ‘The Philadelphia Story’ such a great movie? If you can’t answer this per the terms of the question, I’ll be satisfied with your opinion of ‘The Philadelphia Story.’

2) I think ‘The Philadelphia Story’ is a shining example of how great of an actor Cary Grant is (and specifically how ‘gracious’ of an actor he is. He’s a scene-stealer, but he knows how to get off of the floor and let someone else take over. Just look at how many co-stars he’s had (specifically his female co-stars, but Jimmy Stewart included) who’ve had some of their best roles standing next to him.) Anyway. This beside point. The real question is that Cary Grant is derided by know-nothings for being a one-note actor. He essentially play the role of ‘Cary Grant’ in his movies, they say. (And they may very well be right, and I forgive him because man, what a great character to be constantly playing.) And, unfortunately, I think this is the same fate that’s befalling cats like Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera. They essentially play themselves and yes, that can be tiring, but I believe history will reflect very well on them, without the context of sitting through every single movie they’ve made and rather just ‘remembering the good ones.’ So I ask your opinion of these ‘one-note’ actors, and whether they are ‘bad actors’ or just actors that we get tired of.

3) The other side to ‘the suits fuck everything up’ is that sometimes they’re able to actually make things better. A lot of those great Cary Grant movies. ‘Casablanca,’ is I believe to be a shining example. Thoughts? Maybe artists need someone to help them get their own vision across?

4) George Cukor has made a handful of truly great movies, but I don’t really see his name thrown out in that list of great directors. Any thoughts as to why?

Thank you and I love your blog.

-not eb

1 – THE PHILADELPHIA STORY A CLASSIC AND IT DESERVE TO BE ONE. THE REASON BECAUSE OF KATHERINE HEPBURN. NOW EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT IT FANTASTIC, BUT SHE THE LYNCH-PIN THAT ALLOWS IT ALL TO CONNECT AND WORK TOGETHER. WITHOUT HER PERFORMANCE THE HIGH-DEGREE-OF-DIFFICULTY NARRATIVE FALLS FLAT. SIMPLE AS THAT? MAYBE. IT HULK’S THEORY.

2 – ONE NOTE ACTORS ARE ACTUALLY MOST ACTORS TO BE HONEST. GENUINE CHAMELEONS WHO REALLY CHANGE WHAT THEY DO RATHER RARE (AND THEY MOSTLY ON STAGE), EVEN LOTS OF “CHARACTER ACTORS” JUST DO THE SAME ONE-NOTE THING THEY JUST GET LOTS DIFFERENT ROLES KINDS OF ROLES. HULK NOT TRYING TO BE DISMISSIVE OF THEIR ABILITIES WHATSOEVER. THEY GETTING INTO VERY DIFFERENT CHARACTERS AND HEADSPACES AND SITUATIONS, HULK MERELY COMMENTING ON THE AFFECTATION. IN TRUTH, HULK IN AWE OF ALL ACTORS AND YOU WOULD BE SAME IF EVER TRIED IT.

SO THE THING WITH ONE-NOTE ACTORS IT JUST DEPENDS WHAT YOU THINK OF THAT NOTE AND IF THERE OBJECTIVE QUALITIES TO THE NOTE. FOR EXAMPLE, AWKWARD (CERA) HAS LESS RANGE THAN CHARMING (CLOONEY). MEANING CLOONEY CAN BE A CHARMING MAN IN A ROMANTIC COMEDY, A COOL BANK HEIST, OR A MURROW DOCU-DRAMA. MEANWHILE, CERA CAN’T BE THE AWKWARD FUMBLING TEEN IN A SHOOT EM UP WITHOUT DRAWING TOO MUCH NOTICE FOR BEING THAT. BUT FOR THE RECORD HULK STILL LOVE CERA. HIS TIMING EXCELLENT. WE GET SICK OF COMEDIANS TOO EASILY.

3 – NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN HERE. THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOVIE MAKING VERY DIFFERENT FROM TODAY. STARS/DIRECTORS/WRITERS WERE CONTRACTED W/ SINGLE STUDIO. IT WAS AN ASSEMBLY LINE. STUDIO INVOLVEMENT WAS A MUST IN THAT SYSTEM. ALSO, THE SUITS IN THAT CASE WERE STILL AT LEAST “MOVIE PEOPLE.” THE REAL WORLD OF GIANT CORPORATE FINANCE DIDN’T CREEP UNTIL THE 80’S POST “STAR WARS” WHEN THEY REALIZED THERE WAS REAL INDUSTRY-TYPE-MONEY TO BE MADE. THE OLD GUARD (TURNER, ZANUCK, ETC) COULD BE JUST AS FLIPPANT AND EASILY BORED, BUT THEY WERE AT LEAST INDIVIDUALS WITH ACTUAL TASTE. THE CURRENT GENERATION ARE ECONOMISTS.

4 – HULK FEEL LIKE CUKOR GETS APPROPRIATE DUE (AT LEAST IN FILM-Y CIRCLES). HULK SUPPOSE THE LACK OF ATTENTION COMES FROM THE FACT HE NOT REALLY FORMALIST. HE GREAT WITH ACTORS AND REALLY GOT HANDS ON SOME GREAT SCREENPLAYS. BUT HE NOT EXACTLY IN THE FORD CLASS, WHO COULD ELEVATE ANY MATERIAL HE GOT.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #8

Hey Hulk,

Got a question for you. What’s an area of filmmaking you wish more viewers or critics knew about/paid attention to? It seems like most reactions to a movie boil down to talking about the actors, some dialogue, and directorial style. Do you wish people would focus more on, say, editing, or sound design, or costumes, etc.? Small follow-up: What resources would you recommend for those viewers looking to learn more?

Daniel C.

HULK IMAGINE IT PRETTY EVIDENT THAT IT HAVE HULK’S BIGGEST GRIPE HOW MOST CRITICS NO KNOW WHAT “SCREENWRITING” ACTUALLY MEAN. THEY ALWAYS MAKE IT SEEM DIALOGUE CENTRIC, BUT REALLY STORY ECONOMY WAY MORE IMPORTANT. SO BASICALLY, A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF STORY-MECHANICS WOULD DO LOT GOOD. THE PROBLEM WITH EVALUATING EDITING THAT THE BEST EDITING OFTEN INVISIBLE. USUALLY HULK HAVE TO WATCH THE BEST EDITING MOVIES A SECOND TIME AND REALLY BE ON LOOKOUT FOR IT. AND THEN IT NOT EVEN REALLY IMPORTANT TO PUBLIC DISCUSSION, JUST FILMMAKING CRAFT. AND HULK FEEL LIKE COSTUMES PRETTY MUCH GET THEIR DUE. THAT SOUND CRASS BUT BY THAT HULK MEAN THAT PEOPLE CAN LOOK AND UNDERSTAND THE EFFORT THAT WENT INTO IT. AND YES, WISH THERE MORE APPRECIATION FOR THE EFFECT OF SOUND, BUT THAT BECAUSE SOUND DESIGNERS/MIXERS  THE TOTAL UNSUNG HEROES OF FILMMAKING. IF EVER MADE A FILM YOU UNDERSTAND… ALSO IF YOU MAKING MOVIE SAVE MONEY FOR THE MIX. LOTS PEOPLE MAKE THAT MISTAKE.

AND HONESTLY IT SORT OF CHEAP, BUT HULK SAY NO READ FILM BOOKS. READ BOOK BOOKS. READ DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, GOGOL, THOMAS PYNCHON, CHEKOV, READ ACADEMIC ESSAYS ABOUT OTHER SHIT. AND THE BEST WAY TO LEARN TECHNICAL FILMMAKING SKILLS TO SAVE MONEY AND MAKE FILMS (START WITH SKETCHES). YOU LEARN WAY MORE THAT WAY. AS FAR AS UNDERSTANDING MOVIES GO, SEE MORE MOVIES AND WRITE FOR 10,000 HOURS.

OH AND THE GUY ABOVE, OWEN GLIEBERMAN? HE KIND OF TERRIBLE.  DON’T BE LIKE HIM.

<3 HULK

QUESTION #9

As photo-realistic and motion capture technology becomes more widespread do we need a new definition for movies that straddle the line between computer generated and live action? I’m thinking specifically of Avatar, but Tron: Legacy, 300, and Sin City could be considered as well since everything but the actors was green screened in later, although none but Avatar contained characters which existed solely in a computer. All of these movies, while technically live action, exist almost entirely in a computer generated world. As this becomes more common, which I assume it will, will it create a new film making sub-genre? Is Avatar (and the upcoming sequels) live action? Are they cartoons? Does this only matter come awards time?

…I guess SW: Episodes 1-3 fit this description too, but I try to pretend they didn’t happen.

-Doug R

YOU EXACTLY CORRECT. SOON ENOUGH THEY WILL BE EXACT SAME THING IN TERMS OF EXECUTION. SO HOW WILL THEY DIFFERENTIATE?

IT MAY TAKE ONE MO-CAP PERFORMANCE TO BE NOMINATED TO BREAK THE DISTINCTION. BUT THAT WILL NO HAPPEN UNTIL OLD ACADEMY MEMBERS DIE BECAUSE THEY NO UNDERSTAND WHAT MO-CAP EVEN IS. (SERIOUSLY, IF YOU EVER BEEN TO AN ACADEMY, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, OR VARIETY SCREENING THE AVERAGE AND MEDIAN AGE AT LEAST 72). BUT ONCE ONE NOMINATED IT WILL THEORETICALLY BRIDGE DISTINCTION? HULK NOT SURE. RIGHT NOW THOUGH, HALF OF MOVIE-GOERS SEEM TO UNDERSTAND BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIVE-ACTION, MO-CAP, AND ANIMATED JUST BASED ON WHAT IT SEEMS MOST LIKE.  SO REALLY WE NO KNOW YET. BUT RIGHT NOW IT SEEMS LIKE ANYTHING WITH ONE REAL ACTOR IN IT, STRIVING TOWARD PHOTO-REALISM, WE WILL CONSIDER IT LIVE ACTION.

<3 HULK

UNTIL NEXT TIME.

AS ALWAYS, FEEL FREE ASK QUESTIONS IN COMMENTS BELOW, TWEET HULK AT WWW.TWITTER.COM/FILMCRITHULK (FOLLOW HULK IF NOT!), OR EMAIL FILMCRITHULK@GMAIL.COM

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21 Responses to “HULK ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS – PART 2”

  1. In regards to your thoughts on Jackson Murphy, I think we are a child-prodigy obsessed country and are willing to embrace these children without question all too quickly. I remember when the Youtube comments for Greyson Chance’s rendition of Paparazzi calling him “the next Justin Beiber”. People will enjoy the novelty of a 13-year old movie critic only for so long…that is, until the 10 year old movie critic comes along. Meanwhile few, if any, are pausing to ask, “What does a 13 year old know of the world, of humanity, to be able to critique anything? What does he know of love, sexual chemistry, loss?” It makes me think of that fantastic scene in Good Will Hunting, when Sean calls Will on his bullshit, that for all his intelligence, he was still an angry kid who’s never left Boston, never took a chance on a woman, never took a chance on his life.
    This kid is a great technician, he has all of the glamour of a critic but none of the substance. Then again, there are a number of adult critics putting out worthless reviews, so what do I know?

  2. My only real issue with the fifth season was that Lester decides to buy into McNulty’s bullshit, which seemed to counter not only other run-ins with McNulty, but his entire reason for being “real police”, as they say in the show. There was a speech he gave, in the third season I think, where he blasted McNulty for not having anything outside of the job. Lester, obivously, had a life beyond the badge and it makes me a little crazy when I think about it. To me, its the only real character beat that missed, but it hurt because Freeman is so well defined, and crucial, to the whole damn operation of Major Crimes and beyond. I don’t buy Lester being as frustrated and manipulative as McNulty. Maybe desparate, but not enough to take the law into his own hands.

    Still, season 5 was brilliant and I can tell you that the Sun Newsroom, while definitely dramatized, was well portrayed, just in very broad strokes. The fifth season is the one I re-watch the most, but I don’t think its the most brilliant. I just indentify with more aspects of that season than others and yes, I’m rambling… Anyway, Lester, you broke my freakin heart, buddy.

  3. JONAH KEEL said

    Hulk “LOVED” First Class? Sigh. Thought I might have found another who might easily recognize its obvious flaws.

    My main gripes were it’s complete lack of any REAL 60s feel. The wipes, over the top villainy, and silly sub just served to ape the 60s poorly. It was as though those involved watched 15 minutes of Thunderball on TBS, and thought they knew everything there was to know about 60s films.

    The costumes in particular, look bad when compared with those we see on mad Men regularly. Emma frost in push-up bras? Also the set decoration borrowed so LITTLE from the period it could have been all purchased from Ikea.

    The racism was handled in VERY Broad strokes, but completely imploded with the way the non-white characters were treated. One shows up and is dispatched easily, and completely nonsensically while the other just randomly decides to become evil. I compare it to District 9 in this way. Bloomkamp tried to tell an allegorical tale about the evils of Racist Apartheid, but marginalizes all of his black characters as either evil, incompetent, or lackeys.

    The script itself was a huge mess that defied it’s own internal logic. Does Xavier have a mother who might ask where a little girl came from? Magneto can kill Shaw with a coin whereas a grenade that fragmented and bullets couldn’t? It’s been a while since I took physics, but it would still be moving forward via energy and thus Shaw could absorb it. Shaws plan makes zero sense when you consider only a handful of mutants would even survive. Xavier is somehow surprised that Magneto kills Shaw. HE TOLD IM HE WAS GOING TO! That ridiculous, over the top “NO” from Xavier sent me into a rage. Alex makes fun of beast for his big feet, but thinks he looks “killer” in blue fur?!? Magneto is uninterested in Mystique until he, for a completely unexplained reason, just … is? The government’s position of not knowing where Xavier is at the end of the film, except that he’s just at his his childhood estate? There are so many logic holes (both in plot and character) that I was squirming in my seat after 10 minutes.

    Also it was VERY slow. I haven’t been that bored by the first ten minutes of a film since Phantom Menace.

    My biggest problem with the film lay in the work of Vaughn, however. I have a supreme dislike for Kick Ass. It took me a while to figure out my biggest gripe with it, but I finally hit on it after watching First Class. I REALLY hated the fact that in Kick Ass, Dave has friends. What makes the book work so well, is that he has literally no one to talk to or do anything with at the start. He turns to superheroing because he has no other human contact. Remove that, and he ceases being an outsider. He’s got two good friends and isn’t ignored by everyone at school.

    Skip over to First Class, where we’re simply told life is tough for mutants. Why? Until the end, and barring a few VERY obvious, ‘oh mutants are bad’ throwaway lines/exchanges, we NEVER get a sense of these characters being outcasts. What Singer was able to express, with much lighter touches, was that these characters are marginalized, and set apart from society. (My favorite example, is the Scott / little kid exchange from the bank in X-men, wherein the child, oblivious to what “should” be deemed acceptable, smiles at the guy in the goofy glasses, and then his mother yanks him away, removing the contact he was having with Scott.) Singer, who may have just been marginalized a bit at times fro his sexuality, seemed to have an innate sense of what it feels like to be an outsider. And that translated to the screen.

    Vaughn, was born rich, supported through film school by his parents, and had a hit with his first film effort as producer of a little Guy Ritchie pic. He has no well of experience to draw from, and this lack of verisimilitude overshadows everything else about First Class, both good and bad.

    I WILL say that Fassbender is indeed Magnetic (pun perhaps intended).

    I find from time to time that my movie going taste can differ from the mainstream, but critics fawning over First Class REALLY creates a disconnect in me. I find it to be a mess of a film that plods along missing every beat along the way while shooting for nothing other than a pitch that sounds more intellectually interesting than emotionally fulfilling.

  4. Doug R. said

    Not to be a pain, but the Clooney docu-drama was Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow, not Cronkite. I only correct because I just watched it. Enjoyed it too. Does HULK have an opinion on it, or the docu-drama genre?
    Also, every time HULK references Gladwell or Klosterman, I get excited that HULK is reading and listening to the same things I am. It makes me feel a smashy connection to FILM CRIT HULK.

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      HOLY SHIT YOU RIGHT. CAN’T BELIEVE HULK DID THAT (AMENDING IMMEDIATELY). HULK PERHAPS NOT THE BEST TO ASK ABOUT GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK CAUSE HULK WORKED ON IT. AS FAR AS GENRE GO IT HIT AND MISS AND IT SORT OF BIG CONVERSATION ABOUT WHY. THE ONES THAT FAIL FORGET TO BE MOVIES MOSTLY OR THEY FORGET TO TELL ONE SINGULAR STORY OF AN EVENT. GNGL WORKS CAUSE THEY TREAT IT AS A SINGULAR EVENT. HULK GLAD YOU READING GOOD STUFF TOO!

  5. kadoogan said

    Here’s a Movie God question I submitted to McWeeny, but did not get a response, so I leave it to you Hulk to tell me that if you had to erase one of the following two edits from existence which one would it be? The bone falling through the sky and turning into the space ship from 2001, or Lawrence blowing out the match and cutting to Arabia?

  6. kancar9656 said

    When is the Hulk going to take on something bigger like Transformers or X-Men?

  7. Rachel said

    HE HAVE LONG WAYS TO GO BUT HE ESSENTIALLY STARTING HIS “10,000 HOURS” (GLADWELL’S THEORY THAT IT TAKES 10,000 HOURS TO BECOME TRULY GOOD AT ANYTHING REGARDLESS OF NATURAL TALENT, CAUSE THERE’S ACTUALLY NO SUCH THING AS NATURAL TALENT) SO IN 6-10 YEARS HE COULD BE IN GOOD SHAPE?

    OR DEAD OF COCAINE OVERDOSE.

    i laughed. a lot. possibly i’m a terrible person.

    i also had a bunch of problems with first class, but they’re all things i kind of thought of after i left the theater, once fassbender was no longer BEING TOTALLY AWESOME right in front of me.

  8. Bevin said

    Thanks for the reply on my question. I look forward to reading whatever you have to say about good screenwriting.

    Here’s another question. Roger Ebert makes very little secret of his disdain for 3D, and there have been interesting things written by people who agree with him. But there does seem to be some weight behind the movement among other filmmakers and studios with some people comparing it to an innovation not unlike the advent of audio film and color. I’m not really sure what to think, since on the one hand I’ve never been terribly interested in 3D and have a hard time getting worked up about it, but on the other hand I can’t help but wonder if James Cameron knows something I don’t. What’s your take on it? Is it a gimmick to try and get people to buy more expensive tickets? Is there a real artistic value to it? Something in the middle?

    • FILMCRITHULK said

      SHORT VERSION: 1) EBERT HATES IT CAUSE HE WEARS GLASSES. IF YOU WEAR GLASSES 3D BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO WATCH.

      2) HE NOT WRONG ON THE WHOLE EITHER. 3D AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAY TO WATCH A MOVIE. MOVEMENTS/EVERYTHING HAS BE DIFFERENT CAUSE IT TAKES BRAIN LONGER TO PROCESS WHAT IT SEEING. MOST 3D FILMMAKERS NO REALIZE THIS.

      3) IT ALREADY DEAD. THERE BEEN 4 3D BOMBS IN A ROW. IT WILL GO AWAY. LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, BIG BUSINESS (THE STUDIOS) SUCKED THE WELL DRY EVEN BEFORE THEY KNEW WHAT THEY HAD.

      4) WILL EXPAND MORE ON THIS STUFF/THE FUTURE IN NEXT MAILBACK.

  9. Bryan Parrill said

    Just recently discovered your site. Really digging the long-form criticism. Been reading over old posts. Good times.

    All I wanted to say here was even though I understand the complaints about final season of The Wire, I still think the season was amazing.

    Do you find there are other Shows/Movies where this happens? Like, I know this is flawed but it still works for me. Like Emerson breaking down Dark Knight doesn’t ruin the overall movie or something else you know is terrible but can’t help but love?

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