Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Let's get this right...

I just finished watching A Decade Under The Influence, the 3 part documentary series that was done for IFC a couple years ago. It was all about the late 60's early 70's and all the amazing films that were made in that 10 years. And there were some good films made in those years, but...

I am so sick and tired of people talking about how amazing the 60's and 70's were. I was there for part of it, and it wasn't all that great! Were there good things happening? Yeah. But there was a lot of shit going on as well. My big problem with everybody always talking about those years and how revolutionary they were, they have become part of the problem!

You get all of these people comparing themselves to John Cassevettes. Here is a news flash! None of those guys could carry Cassevettes tri-pod. Cassevettes mortgaged his house, he took roles in bad movies to make money, and he did whatever it took to get his films made his way. And he usually ended up self-distributing them. You hear these clowns like Coppola and Lucas and Spielberg talking about how they were able to sneak in to the studios and get their movies made. They were gambling with someone else's money and you can't tell me that they didn't make changes to their movies based on what the studios wanted.

The other "mavericks" were doing similar things. One exception would be Dennis Hopper and Easy Rider. It seems like no one cared what they were doing and they ended up making a classic and a hit. Yes, the studio execs were trying to figure out what the young people wanted and so they hired a bunch of directors to make films that would appeal to kids. They gave them a little bit of money and stood back. Some terrific films did get made.

As the years went by what did these mavericks do who were going to change the system? They started getting bigger and bigger budgets and their films got blander and blander. Now, you really can't tell their later work from anyone else's. And it is these people who have entrenched themselves in the system and their PR flacks are telling everyone how "Independent" they still are, and people are believing it. These "mavericks" are content sitting around with all of their money and awards and re-doing the same shit over and over.

The wild card in this group is Coppola who just self-funded a movie and I heard him say that this is what he is going to do from here on out. Self-fund his films and keep them on a "small budget", like 15 or 16 million dollars. Francis, you have more originality and take more chances than the rest of those clowns but you can still kiss my ass! 15 million dollars for a "little independent movie"? I think you are drinking too much of your own wine.

None of these guys ever were, and will never be John Cassevettes and I hate everyone comparing them to him. There was only one Cassevettes and if he were a live today I can only hope that he would still be making his own films his own way and to hell with every one else.

If you haven't seen a Cassevettes film, find them. I recommend, A Woman Under The Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and Husbands. Some of his films are hard to watch, but ultimately worth it. (Gloria doesn't really count, it was a studio film and even though he wrote it, he was merely a gun for hire as he put it. It's still a pretty good movie.)

I hope you all had a decent New Years and I certainly hope the 2008 is better than 2007, for all of us.

And now, the first AF Tip of the New Year...

The other thing that you all have to remember about Hollywood, is nepotism. There are people who can get movies made in Hollywood because of who their parents are.

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming early 2008)


Blogger Greg Traw said...

One of Cassavetes' greatest assets was also his downfall: He was a passionate, intelligent personality and talker. As a result, people are more concerned now with the legend and mythology he created rather than his films he created. This is unfortunate.

3:39 PM  

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