“It is a critical phenomenon I call ‘buying stock’. Critics and viewers consciously or unconsciously purchase shares in an artist’s work. 10,000 shares of Tarantino, 50,000 shares of Star Wars, etc. Once a viewer has purchased stock in an artist he/she becomes committed to that stock valuation.
“I first noticed this when Peter Bogdonavich purchased a massive holding in Howard Hawks and was then thrust into the awkward position of defending Man’s Favorite Sport. I’ve watched as cinephiles have purchased stock in DePalma, Carpenter, the Coen Bros. to the point that they are no longer objectively assessing the work but instead defending their investment.
“The latest is Hou Hsiao-Hsien and the assumption by stock holders that The Assassin must be a masterpiece because he worked on it for eight years.” — Posted last night by director-writer Paul Schrader on Facebook.
I could write 50,000 words right now about the various directors I’ve invested in over the years — when I bought the stock in each director and why, and how long I held onto the stock portfolio before dumping it. We all try to justify our stock purchases, sometimes against basic reason, but on the other hand you don’t want to be too foolish. The key thing is to knowing when to dump stock.
I sold my Michael Mann stock last year after seeing Blackhat — I wasn’t happy about it but I knew it was time to sell. I sold my Quentin Tarantino stock after seeing Kill Bill, Part One. (I thought about buying it back after seeing Death Proof, but naaah.) I dumped my Alfred Hitchcock stock after seeing Torn Curtain. I had invested big-time in John Carpenter stock after seeing his Elvis Presley TV movie with Kurt Russell and then Assault on Precinct 13 in the mid ’70s. I thought about dumping it after seeing The Fog but I held back. I finally sold after seeing Starman with Jeff Bridges.
How many shares of Hou Hsiao-Hsien stock does Variety‘s Justin Chang own? I’m not his stockbroker but I’d say his investment is quite sizable. How many out there have purchased piles of stock in Nate Parker over the last few days, and are now wondering about the wisdom of this in the wake of mezzo-mezzo reviews that have come in since last Monday’s ecstatic Eccles debut of The Birth of a Nation?