I have three…no, four responses to “The Feel of the Year,” Jon Weisman‘s 2.15 Variety piece about the Oscar-season obsessions of myself and Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone.
One, thanks to Weisman for the attention. He describes me as an impassioned neurotic, but it’s nice to be described.
Two, he’s sidestepping a fundamental fact, which is that I file five or six times daily — riffs, rants, reviews (original or counter-punch), personal-foible pieces, photos, nostalgia, Bluray or DVD reviews, aspect-ratio and grainstorm commentary. This is part literary composition, part copy-spitball-and-reshuffle, and part jazz. I go with whatever’s happening at the moment, which often includes whatever’s been posted that particular day or whatever has ignited in my head. I obviously don’t want to bore anyone, but if I were to stop and say “wait, hold on…didn’t I post something vaguely similar to this six or 20 days ago?,” the process would grind to a halt. It’s all part of the stream. In this sense nothing is “fresh” and yet everything is. If you meet a friend at a local diner for breakfast every Friday morning, 52 weeks a year, he/she is going to say familiar things, over and over. You’re going to get used to their patter. Now, imagine if you had breakfast with this person every damn morning.
Three, Weisman says I’ve written that “there’s something wrong with you if you don’t share [my] view on a given film. At Hollywood Elsewhere, it never seemed possible to simply like Silver Linings, as I did — if you didn’t love it, you might as well have hated it. If you found elements too expository or the ending to be too tidy or what have you — if you didn’t think it was the absolute best — you not only were anti-cinema, you were life-challenged.” If I’ve conveyed this, I apologize for throwing too many logs in the fire. I have never asserted the absurd view that people have to feel exactly the same way about SLP as myself. Because it’s not people who disagree with me that I’ve taken to task. It’s the outright haters who’ve sought to dismiss SLP as romcom fluff or an outright failure — ludicrous. Haters are not figments of my imagination. It’s also that I tell myself that I have a modest ability to peer into the hidden emotional folds and psychological fissures of certain commenters, and from this I can sense when their judgments are impulsive, slapdash and/or less than fully considered. Do I make mistakes or overplay my hand from time to time? Yeah. But I trust my instincts.
Fourth and finally, Weisman writes that “the cumulative effect of the writing of Stone and Wells gives the impression that they believe there’s an objective leader in a subjective field — even beyond what the 6,000 members of the Academy come to decide. Ultimately, that nagged me.” He’s right in one sense and I take his criticism as valid…as far as it goes. Everything is subjective. Nonetheless, I can hear a certain ringing of a bell when a movie is really doing it right in a classic or eternal way. I’ve heard it over decades, and I’ve come to trust that sound. In other words, I’m saying that I hear movie “voices” in a non-religious, non-denominational Joan of Arc sense. Go ahead and make fun, but I believe in those omens and signals.