I wrote a private letter to a publicist friend this evening, but I said a few things that can be passed along for general attribution. The question was about my striking a negative tone with a lot of big-studio product, so I tried to answer it…that’s not true about “trying” because it just sort of poured out.
“Look, [name]…here it is. My family lost 40% of its membership within the last four months (my sister and father both died) and I’m feeling nihilistic and fuck-all about things to some extent, and since my column is about what I’m feeling, doing, experiencing, tasting, worrying about, foreseeing, you name it…I’m probably responding to a growing sense of darkness and mortality around me and expressing reactions in a way that follows suit. That’s the genuine honest truth.
“On top of which I’m finding a freer, less inhibited voice these days. It’s hard and strenuous, but it feels amazing at the same time. You try writing eight to ten stories a day and see what comes out. After a while you can’t do the equivocating, smiley-face, loyal-opposition tightrope dance from the business-as-usual playbook. It’s the Wild West with a lot of rootin’ tootin’ buckaroos and gunslingers out there, and in the midst of this I’m trying to create something that may one day be construed to have had a semblance of value.
“I believe devoutly in writing well. And nobody, trust me, can write well while eagerly fellating the bottom-line, bottom-of-the-barrel corporate sausage factories. So what I’m trying to get into and create on a day-to-day basis isn’t the usual-usual. It’s more real and down to it, and I’m not so sure that’s such a bad thing.
“I’ve just hated much of what the big studios have put out in the last few months. So what? Who am I, Spartacus? The French resistance? I’m a small businessman trying to stand out and be a special read that you can’t find anywhere else, and at the same time make enough ad money to afford to help my kids out and maybe visit them once or twice a year.
“Who gives a shit if I don’t like corporate mass-market movies? Who cares if I don’t like the crap that the big studios put out in the late winter, spring and summer? Nobody does. I mean, except for the Hummer-drivin’ stooges out there who pay to see these movies regardless. Even if we all know they’re nowhere near as happy about these films as they’d like them to be.
“You and I know that the big studios are still making more and more crappy corporate product, and since I’m in the business of banging out eight to ten stories a day, what do you want to me to do? Become Leonard Maltin? Even if I wanted to, Leonard Maltin is taken by Leonard Maltin.
“The world is collapsing, descending into chaos, destroying itself with tribal warfare and asphyxiating itself with fossil fuels. And in a certain spiritual way, corporate Hollywood product is a part of this implosion/self destruction.
“You know it’s getting worse and worse and not likely to change. Except for this and that fall/holiday exception, the big studios don’t make movies for movie lovers like myself. They sorta did before from time to time; now they mostly don’t. They make big expensive crap-sausage movies that will hopefully turn a profit, and you know it. They make them for the unwashed, overweight taste-free homies who pay to see movies that go boom, fart, whee! and splat. You know it, I know it — why play games with each other and pretend otherwise?”