The Writer’s Guild of America’s 101 Greatest Screenplays list? Meh.
Nora Ephron‘s weird essay in the New York Times on going to see a movie in the Upper East Side and finding the theater overrun by entropy? Feh. Though we did laugh at this:
One day, about two years into my tenure, I was staying in Los Angeles, in a hotel, and I attended a Loews board meeting by telephone;
it was so boring that I decided to leave for a while and get a manicure
When I got back to my room, only 20 minutes later,
everyone was screaming at one another on the telephone. I didn’t want
to admit I had left the room â€” and by the way, no one had even noticed
â€” so I listened for a while and realized that while I’d been out having
my nails done, the company had gone bankrupt.
Perhaps those who saw the trailer didn’t realize that this was the one flight, of the four hijacked that day, with an inspiring ending. This was the one on which the good guys, following passenger Todd Beamer‘s John Wayne–like invocation, "Let’s roll," foiled the bad guys. The saga of this flight makes for, in 9/11 terms, a feel-good movie. Just as important, "United 93," at which TIME was given an exclusive first look, is a good movie–taut and implacable–that honors the deeds of the passengers while being fair, if anyone cares, to the hijackers’ jihad bravado. (At one point the passengers are heard murmuring the Lord’s Prayer while the hijackers whisper their prayers to Allah.) If this is a horror movie, it is an edifying one, a history lesson with the pulse of a world-on-the-line suspense film.
Honestly, we hadn’t felt strongly about the film (though we had no desire to see it) until now, but after reading that article we’re finding it incredibly repugnant. We realize that the studio and the filmmakers has to paint "United 93" as an Important Film, because otherwise it’s just outright exploitation of a recent tragedy for economic and entertainment purposes. But still…how the hell does repackaging what happened into a grim action movie with an "inspiring" ending make it significant? Unless Corliss thinks there’s a lesson to be imparted here â€” now we know! better to jump those terrorists first! â€” why is he claiming we need a blockbuster in order to know that the people on flight 93 did heroic things? But whatever. The film will open Tribeca, and family members of those who died that day will be shuffled out onto the red carpet, and everyone will be very solemn and talk about the importance of the festival in revitalizing downtown, et cetera, et cetera. And sometimes a movie is just a movie, and sometimes it gets buried under repellently self-important bullshit anyway.
And at MSNBC, John Hartl argues that the Golden Age of cinema wasn’t a gilded as we like to remember it.
+ 101 Greatest Screenplays (WGA.org)
+ The Last Picture Show (NY Times)
+ Let’s Roll … (Time)
+ 25th Hong Kong Film Awards Unveiled (CRI)
+ A township Carmen (Independent)
+ The Golden Age of movies? Never happened (MSNBC)