Here’s how I replied when I received this morning’s EPB vs. ETP piece: “Yes, Boyhood is basically a stunt film, but does that make it synonymous with esoteric (i.e., ‘intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest’) and thinky? I think not. Thematically and gut-wise Boyhood is an emotional sweep piece about the changes and struggles and evolutions that we’ve all been through, especially as parents. I know you weren’t that taken with it, but I don’t see how esoteric and thinky fits into that. The whole movie is an Emotional Push Button (i.e., EPB) experience. You could also call Birdman a stunt film by virtue of the one-take, no-visible-cutting visual scheme (or the simulation of same), but again, does that make it thinky or esoteric? It’s the new 8 and 1/2…it’s all about acting and the fear of failure and irrelevancy and trying to get back and the chasm between the Hollywood cultural genocide machine and the risky, snap-crackle-pop humanistic stage…plus it’s funny. Plus it ends with a great EPB moment.
“Doesn’t Richard Linklater qualify as a WOA guy (i.e., auteur behind the greatest time-spanning romantic relationship trilogy ever made plus Bernie plus Waking Life)? Don’t Alejandro G. Inarritu and Michael Keaton qualify as WOA, for that matter? You’re telling me that the Lazy Emotional Comfort Blanket crowd is going to do what they always do, and that this year they’ll probably prefer a survival-against-terrible-odds movie with an uplifting finale (The Theory of Everything or Unbroken) or a smartly written, well-ordered, let’s-pay-tribute-to-a-groundbreaking-genius-whom-society-treated-horribly movie (The Imitation Game). Or the drawlin’, teary-eyed Matthew McConaughey huggin’ and leavin’ his kids for a trip to Great Beyond that might just save the planet (aww right aww right)…maybe. Or Into The Woods or American Sniper or…who knows, maybe even Fury (i.e., metaphor for savage reality of America vs. ISIL). But you’re mischaracterizing Boyhood and Birdman.”