Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yup, it's an Armondism.

You might have noticed that my critic-crush on Armond White has waned lately. I can't help it, his reviews of late are beyond self-parody. If you need specifics, I present his reviews of Nacho Libre (loved it beyond words, compared it to a Biblical illustration, reitirates his hatred of Richard Linklater as well as Maria Full of Grace and the hipsters who love either of them) and The Road to Guantanamo (hated it, claimed it's "a Weapon of Crass misInstruction," seems to defend torture in the name of "American self-protection").

But before you get ahead of yourself and think I've forsaken the man entirely, he drops a line like this and all is forgiven I soften a little:
"Not since The Newton Boys—actually, not since Tape—has a feature film been as visually ugly as A Scanner Darkly."

For the record, I don't even hate Linklater (when he's responsible for Dazed and Confused, how could I?) but that invocation of The Newton Boys deserves propers.


At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Filmbrain said...

It was his referring to the members of the Tipton Three as "smug" that exceeded all limits of decency.

Don't know if you saw my recent post about Armond.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

I completely liked Tape. Armond needs to go to Guantanamo. Him and Justice Kennedy.

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

Armond White's criticism is unworthy of scrutiny, because he's probably the least coherent major film critic writing today. He's the king of ad hominem snideness. And he's so frikkin' pleased with his own contrariness!

For all the scorched-earth attacks he's launched against Linklater over the past few years, has he ever once made clear what's wrong with his films? Has he ever successfully or accurately characterized the audience for Linklater's movies, without resorting to that catchall slander for moderately cultured 20 and 30 somethings, "hipster"? (What little argument he has seems to derive from his perception of how Linklater's films "flatter" his audience's narcissism and solipsism, so the least he could do is define the audience he writes of.) He's got all of Pauline Kael's stridency, but so little of her skill.

Aw, man...I can't resist. Like you I'm helplessly drawn to his insanity. And as crazy as he drives me he's the only critic who doesn't fall into lockstep with the majority critical concensus. Keep covering him, please.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Ben said...

Filmbrain: You're so on re: the smug comment-- you want to call Noah Baumback smug, fine. But them?

Josh: Tape? Really?

Bob: See, the problem with Armond is... well, he's going so out of his way to carpet bomb and to be vitriolic that his actual insight gets lost. I really do think Armond has contributed greatly to pop discourse (his essays on Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino and Madonna are fucking epic in their greatness) and I love the way he'll casually reference, say, a Morrissey b-side in dissecting a Godard film. But it's clear to me he's stuck in some shtick coma that not only pains me, it's offensive.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Joshua said...

Yes, I really liked Taped, though maybe like is not accurate-enough a word. It was genuinely squeamish and tense and deeply, profoundly discomforting. Not many movies can do it. In fact, I can't really think of one that manages it quite so well. Kids? Maybe -- if it weren't an uproarious comedy. Tape made me faintly ill and very much on the verge of a panic attack, which I consider to be a successful effort on Linklater's part. And Uma! Man does Uma steal the show.


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