Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Screening Room is one year old

It appears that the “Screening Room” has now officially crossed the one year mark. The first of these sometimes rambling—and often shamelessly self-indulgent—articles appeared on Feb. 1, 2008. The very thought of having done a year of these things makes me want to take a nap. When Steve Shanafelt put the idea of such an undertaking to me, I’d no idea that his original proposal would become the time-consuming monster it did.

I am in no way blaming Mr. Shanafelt for this, mind you. His proposal ran something like this, “Would you consider doing a blog on movies? You could talk about anything movie related that you wanted to.” As much as I dislike the very sound of the word “blog” (and don’t even get me started on “twitter”), that was an irresistible invitation. It sounded like fun. And it was supposed to be simple. Simple—that must be distinctly understood. The idea was something in the range of 750 to 1,000 words. Now, anyone who knows me—let alone anyone who’s ever edited me—knows full well that a word count like that is far from daunting. (You’re talking to someone who spent 50 pages of a book discussing Tommy.) Such an assignment struck me as something I could easily knock off in an afternoon.

What I hadn’t reckoned on was the discovery that nobody would yell at me if I went past that word count. I even apologized once for going “long,” which at that point meant I’d turned in something in the 1,500 word range. It was then that I realized that length wasn’t a consideration. Oh, my. No one had to shrink type or jockey ads around to make something fit. As if this wasn’t dangerous enough, I soon learned that, yes, it was possible to run more than one illustration in a column (I’m set in my ways and still think of it as a column).

Being someone who can take the simplest idea and make it complicated, I should have known what this would lead to. Back when I used to try my hand at making movies, I’d come up with an idea that could be shot in a day or two, but before I knew it, I’d have added elephants and dancing girls and all manner of “wouldn’t it be great if” embellishments. If you go back in the “Screening Room” archives, you can see this mindset in practice. The first two are simple and the only photo is a frame-grab of me sitting at the Fine Arts Theatre from interviews done for a Charlie Chan documentary. The articles then start getting longer, but still only have a single photo (not of me). By the ninth article, however, multiple photos have started to appear. The simple “knock it out in an afternoon” concept had become something else. Hell, with my lack of organizational skills, it can take an afternoon just to find where I’ve put the necessary DVDs for the frame-grabs—nevermind locating the shot I want and the rest of it.

Am I complaining? Only about myself. I enjoy doing the “Screening Room”—except on those occasions when it’s Thursday morning and I haven’t written word one—and am completely aware of how lucky I am to have the opportunity to do it, not to mention that there are people who actually read the things. It’s sobering to realize that there are instances where more people have read a “Screening Room” than have read books I’ve written. Actually, that’s kind of depressing, so we won’t dwell on it.

In the words of J.K. Simmons in Burn After Reading, “What have we learned?” I mean, what have we learned besides, it’s not smart to undertake writing this column for Friday by starting on Thursday afternoon. That one, I’m pretty set on. For me, I’ve also learned that the old joke film writers—including me—used to make about William K. Everson—“Leave the man alone for five minutes with a piece of paper and he’ll start writing something about movies”—can also be made about me. Well, there are worse things, I suppose.

Another thing I’ve learned is that I really don’t have a clue what will or won’t prompt discussion from readers. Why should a column where I bitch about Warner Bros. not putting Ken Russell’s The Devils out on DVD garner scads of comments, while one on the Little Rascals receive nary a one? I’m pretty certain that more readers grew up on those old short films than have seen The Devils. (And how am I to justify in my own mind spending 90 bucks on those shorts? OK, so I’d have done it anyway, but you get my point.) Talking about great movies that I don’t like as well I’m supposed to also touched off a flurry of discourse. Why? I don’t know—unless there are simply a lot of folks out there who are less than whelmed by the “greats.” (Then again, the list of “greats” is always a bit in flux.)

One of the more disappointing responses—or should I say non-responses—came when I put forth the idea of having a movie marathon. No takers. Oh, well, at least that occurred within the confines of the Xpress site and not while standing in an empty theater waiting for an audience to materialize. That doesn’t, by the way, change the fact that I’d still like to see such a marathon—and, no, holding it in my living room isn’t an option.

All in all, however, I’ve been impressed by the level of discourse on these columns—and, for that matter, on the movie reviews themselves. This has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the readership—and I thank you for it. When the movie reviews started allowing comments, I cringed at the idea—having seen the parade of mindless abuse heaped on critics (very often by people who cannot possibly have seen the films in question) on Rotten Tomatoes, the idea held little appeal for me. And at first—see the review of 300—it seemed my fears were justified (“Hanke is an clueless fruitcake”), but that changed to a generally far higher realm that has been enjoyable and edifying.

Oh, sure, there have been the occasional bouts of unpleasantness. I was recently branded “an certifiable moron” (what is it with attacks and this “a” and “an” confusion?). And someone—apparently annoyed because I ignored his virtually identical comment on Rotten Tomatoes—went out of his way to wander over here to lambaste me for using the term “avoirdupois-afflicted” instead of “fat” in my Saw V review. (It reminded me of the time when someone on—yes, Rotten Tomatoes—called a review [not mine] “worthless” because it used the word “lugubrious”, and since the reader didn’t know what it meant, the writer was at fault.) The fact is I used “avoirdupois-afflicted” because it was fun—and if you don’t think language is fun, why are you reading in the first place?

In the “Screening Room” area in particular the comments and debates—along with readers’ personal anecdotes—have been lively, civilized, fun and thought-provoking, which is exactly what online exchanges ought to be. I enjoy a good debate, a productive exchange of ideas. I don’t even mind having my foibles and hobby-horses pointed out to me. I do draw the line at being called a “tool” or a “douche” or whatever—not because it particularly bothers me, but because it’s prosaic, childish and lame stuff that belongs on an elementary school playground. Happily, I’ve never seen this behavior here. (Now, of course, someone will have to call me a “douche” just to disprove that statement. I stand ready for that eventuality with remarks about that person’s mother’s footwear and father’s facial adornments.)

Now, that I’ve established the fact that I think highly of the folks who post on here, let me put something to you. Where do we go from here? What topics would you like to see explored, addressed, considered and batted around? There are quite a few things I want to do—some of them have been in the works for a while, which should tell you that I’m in the biting-off-more-than-can-be-masticated mode here, and the matters under construction could well remain so for a good deal longer. In the meantime, I’m open to just about any suggestion—as long it doesn’t involve sending me a rope with instructions, or exploring the history of films from the Ivory Coast (there’s esoteric and then there’s something beyond that).

So have at it—throw out some ideas and suggestions. Failing that, you’re in for my examination of the mystery of the use of triptych mirrors in movies. Well, come to think of it, you’re likely to get that anyway, but we could conceivably stave it off for a while, which would probably be for the best. (Just ask Justin Souther.) And, yes, I know—this is shorter than usual and boasts only the one illustration. Hey, it’s been a year, I think I deserve to slack off a little this week.

 

 

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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64 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Screening Room is one year old

  1. tatuaje

    First of all, Ken, congratulations are in order for a full year under your belt. You’ve taken to this brave new world of the interwebs with seemingly great ease.

    I would like to offer up a couple of suggestions…

    First, how about a monthly/weekly ‘movie-club’ where a film is assigned/voted for, we all watch, and then gather, online, to discuss?

    Second, how about a video version of your reviews? Technically this doesn’t belong in the “Screening Room”, but it’s something that consistently occurs to me.

    And finally, I would love to see Justin have a similar platform to the “Screening Room”. I love your reviews, love your critical analysis on this blog, and respect your depth of knowledge and appreciation for the art. But I must confess that many of your references fly right over my head. I am in my early thirties, so my knowledge of the movies that you grew up on and influence your discussions is extremely limited. I’m still trying to catch up on movies from the seventies that are ‘required’ viewing, so films that you reference prior to that are pretty much unknown to me. Having someone like Justin, who is perhaps more of my contemporary, do something in addition to your blog might go down nicely for those of us in this area that love movies but maybe have a different frame of reference.

    Just a couple of thoughts….

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Dionysis

    I’d like to echo tatuaje’s congratulations on your first year of Screening Room. I know I never miss it, and it’s typically the first thing I read in Mt.Xpress.

    Being older than tatuaje, I usually have at least a passing familiarity with most of the films you reference (although I am always humbled by your vastly superior knowledge of movies), and I am frequently curious enough to track down titles referenced in your writing (and I thank you for that).

    I’ve always liked many ‘B’ movies, and would like to see something on, say, the most influential ‘B’ films, the actors, directors, etc. For example, I like 1950s horror and sci-fi films, and usually think of actors like John Agar, Marshall Thompson, Jeff Morrow, Grant Williams, Barbara Shelley and others, and directors like Bert I. Gordon, Jack Arnold, etc.

    These may not be ‘important’ films in the conventional sense, but they remain influential to many aging film buffs.

    I’m sure as I think about this, other topics will come to mind.

    Ps. I’m curious why your book on Ken Russell films is so pricey (53 bucks at Amazon)? Is it due to high production costs, limited pressings or simply a matter of supply and demand (high demand, limited supply)?

  3. In honor of your one-year-a-versary, I’ve left my dungeon over at the user forums to come here, to the front-page comments, just to say “congrats.”

    And I’m not going to pretend: It was a happy day indeed when I conned a recently hired Jason Sanford into taking over the editing of this eternally swelling, highly entertaining column. Sorry Jason!

  4. Justin Souther

    And finally, I would love to see Justin have a similar platform to the “Screening Room”.

    We’ve actually discussed me doing a column here and there when Ken was short on time, but it never quite worked out for whatever reason. I guess the closest we got was the Halloween column.

    I wouldn’t mind doing one once in awhile where appropriate, but since Ken has a nice little streak going (I know he’s mentioned to me that he has a certain amount of pride in the fact that he’s gone 52 weeks straight without missing a column) I’m not sure he’s going to want to break it at this point.

    But thank you for the interest nonetheless.

  5. Justin Souther

    Failing that, you’re in for my examination of the mystery of the use of triptych mirrors in movies. Well, come to think of it, you’re likely to get that anyway, but we could conceivably stave it off for a while, which would probably be for the best. (Just ask Justin Souther.)

    Well, it’s certainly a neat anecdote in the world of Ken Hanke. I’m not sure you could write an entire column on it (then again, you wrote an entire column about trying to watch a Bob Hope movie and injuring your leg, so I should probably retract that statement).

  6. Dread P. Roberts

    The fact is I used “avoirdupois-afflicted” because it was fun—and if you don’t think language is fun, why are you reading in the first place?

    I LOVE language, and even though I often struggle more with minor grammatical errors more so than I would like, it is almost always fun. I especially like using and learning big words, and I fully – and proudly – admit to being somewhat of a bizarre geek among certain circles when it comes to this sort of thing. Truth be told, I almost enjoy ready silly little bloggers whine about big words just as much. I think all responses to these crazy quibbles should be handled henceforth in the form of Shakespearian or – even better – in the form of Old English reminiscent of “Beowulf”.

    I stand ready for that eventuality with remarks about that person’s mother’s footwear and father’s facial adornments.

    English pig-dog! Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person. I blow my nose on you, so-called Arthur-king, you and your silly English K…kaniggets. I don’t want to talk to you, no more, you empty-headed animal, food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

  7. Ken Hanke

    First of all, Ken, congratulations are in order for a full year under your belt. You’ve taken to this brave new world of the interwebs with seemingly great ease.

    Thanks. I suspect the seeming ease is a combination of being naturally somewhat gregarious and 8 years of moderating a message board.

    First, how about a monthly/weekly ‘movie-club’ where a film is assigned/voted for, we all watch, and then gather, online, to discuss?

    I’ve seen this attempted on a couple of classic horror boards, but I’ve rarely seen it work. That’s not something against the idea, merely an observation. I’ve often thought that the reason it tends to fail is simply that most of the folks on those boards have already said as much as they have to say about the same films. So…having said that, it’s a concept that I think could work — and it’s certainly one I’d be more than open to trying. Anyone have any suggestions as to how this could be worked out? It seems a little much for me just to pick a movie. Anybody want to throw out some titles and see what other people think?

    Second, how about a video version of your reviews? Technically this doesn’t belong in the “Screening Room”, but it’s something that consistently occurs to me.

    We’ve played around with this — in fact, Justin and I were taped doing something of this nature for another website. We’ll see how that works out. A lot of this hinges on finding the time and a schedule for it that works.

    And finally, I would love to see Justin have a similar platform to the “Screening Room”. I love your reviews, love your critical analysis on this blog, and respect your depth of knowledge and appreciation for the art. But I must confess that many of your references fly right over my head. I am in my early thirties, so my knowledge of the movies that you grew up on and influence your discussions is extremely limited.

    I have no problem with this conceptually and I’d certainly be glad to see Justin let loose on something like this. I’m not sure if you’d entirely get what you’re looking for, though. Bear in mind that a lot of the movies that I grew up on were not contemporary movies. That, of course, is one of the neat things about movies — they don’t (for the most part) vanish. But that also means my frame of reference incorporates movies that were made 20-30 years before I was born. Second, I’ve been a corrupting influence on Justin, which is to say that he’s seen a growing number of these movies in the past couple years. I’m not saying he won’t have a more youthful take on them, but he might well reference the Marx Brothers or Preston Sturges, too. I’d still like to see him doing something like this. I might stick him with things The Pink Panther 2, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a great respect for his opinion, because I most certainly do.

  8. Ken Hanke

    and I am frequently curious enough to track down titles referenced in your writing (and I thank you for that).

    You’re more than welcome — and, of course, that’s all a part of my fiendish plan. I’m not trying to put people off on current movies by any stretch, but I am in many cases trying to get them to take a look at what some of the older films have to offer. I’m not a believer in the idea that just because a thing is old, it’s better, but I am a big believer in the idea that just because a thing is old doesn’t mean it has no value. Like any other art form, there’s not some clean break between old movies and modern ones — there’s a continuum at work and it can be pretty interesting and pretty rewarding.

    I’ve always liked many ‘B’ movies, and would like to see something on, say, the most influential ‘B’ films, the actors, directors, etc. For example, I like 1950s horror and sci-fi films, and usually think of actors like John Agar, Marshall Thompson, Jeff Morrow, Grant Williams, Barbara Shelley and others, and directors like Bert I. Gordon, Jack Arnold, etc.

    That lands you in a decade that I’m not especially fond of or schooled in, though I’ve seen a lot of the movies in question. I’m much more at home with and familiar with B pictures from the 40s and, to a lesser degree, 30s. (Most 1930s B pictures — the ones not from major studios — are just dreary.) I guess I’m saying that I’m not the cineaste for the job as concerns writing about 1950s B pictures in any depth. I’d have to think about this.

    I’m sure as I think about this, other topics will come to mind.

    Keep ’em coming.

    Ps. I’m curious why your book on Ken Russell films is so pricey (53 bucks at Amazon)? Is it due to high production costs, limited pressings or simply a matter of supply and demand (high demand, limited supply)?

    Good Lord, does it go for that now? I haven’t seen a nickel off that book for years. When I wrote the book, Scarecrow Press was a division of Grolier. Now, I think it belongs to Univ. Press of America. It was always a pricey book (originally $32), because it came from what is called a “scholarly press,” meaning no dust-jacket, no advances, little publicity and a price geared toward selling to libraries more than to individuals. (It is axiomatic that the people who write for these presses cannot themselves afford to buy the books.) By the way, this is the reason that scholary and university press books almost never have a price on them — makes it easier to jack up the price.

  9. Ken Hanke

    And I’m not going to pretend: It was a happy day indeed when I conned a recently hired Jason Sanford into taking over the editing of this eternally swelling, highly entertaining column.

    At least you called it entertaining!

  10. Ken Hanke

    We’ve actually discussed me doing a column here and there when Ken was short on time, but it never quite worked out for whatever reason.

    It seems to me that “whatever reason” has always come down to an inability on someone’s part (naming no names here) to hit upon a topic.

    I wouldn’t mind doing one once in awhile where appropriate, but since Ken has a nice little streak going (I know he’s mentioned to me that he has a certain amount of pride in the fact that he’s gone 52 weeks straight without missing a column) I’m not sure he’s going to want to break it at this point.

    Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that!

  11. Ken Hanke

    Well, it’s certainly a neat anecdote in the world of Ken Hanke. I’m not sure you could write an entire column on it (then again, you wrote an entire column about trying to watch a Bob Hope movie and injuring your leg, so I should probably retract that statement).

    On the plus side, it offers room for illustrative material. On the minus, it’s simply a curious fact with no possible conclusion — that I can see — to be drawn from it.

  12. Ken Hanke

    I especially like using and learning big words, and I fully – and proudly – admit to being somewhat of a bizarre geek among certain circles when it comes to this sort of thing. Truth be told, I almost enjoy ready silly little bloggers whine about big words just as much. I think all responses to these crazy quibbles should be handled henceforth in the form of Shakespearian or – even better – in the form of Old English reminiscent of “Beowulf”.

    That last might be a little much, but conceptually it ain’t bad. Personally, I admire a writer who can drive me to the dictionary. Surely, this sort of thing ought to result in a visit from Mr. Pijonsnodt.

    As for the elaborate riposte you posted, I must say that there’s something strangely familiar about it. I can’t think why.

  13. I think that the discussion on THE DEVILS attracted people outside the WNC area… including Mr Russell himself!

    I like the idea of everyone watching a movie and discussing it… kind of a film club. BTW, does Asheville have a film club?

  14. Dread P. Roberts

    that’s all a part of my fiendish plan. I’m not trying to put people off on current movies by any stretch, but I am in many cases trying to get them to take a look at what some of the older films have to offer.

    I know your joking about the fiendish part, but I would just like to say that your actions are quite the opposite of fiendish. You are giving a free and valuable education to those of us who crave the knowledge of what possible movie gems rest in the past. There are so many movies that have been made over the years that it seems virtually impossible to find all of the ‘must see’ films that have been made since the dawn of this particular medium. Without the general aid of people such as yourself, younglings like me might not ever bare witness to these engaging works of cinema from the distant past.

    As for the elaborate riposte you posted, I must say that there’s something strangely familiar about it.

    I have no idea what you are talking about. In no way have I imitated anyone by the name of John Cleese.

  15. Tonberry

    First off, Congrats! Always informative and entertaining, when I started reading the screening room ‘blog’ it was around the time “A Bathful of Blood” was posted on this site. I had to back track and read the rest of the screening room posts to catch up on what I had missed out.

    So call me a fan.

    BTW, I am up for a ‘film club,’ and the idea of watching a film of everyone’s choice (I’d go with “The Fall” I believe Mr. Hanke hasn’t seen that one yet) or just Mr. Hanke’s choice, would be awesome! Either way, a bunch of film enthusiasts getting together to watch and discuss movies has got me *geeking* out!

    Keep up the great work!

  16. Ken Hanke

    I think that the discussion on THE DEVILS attracted people outside the WNC area… including Mr Russell himself!

    Well, we’ve attracted KR before and since, for that matter, but, yes, this did draw from a larger pool than usual. We do, however, have some fairly regular posters from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Winnipeg.

    BTW, does Asheville have a film club?

    Unfortunately, no, and I’ve long wished it did. The closest thing we have is Carlos’ World Cinema showings on Friday nights. I’m told that there was an attempt at a film society, but that it fell apart due to everyone wanting to be in charge. Predictable, I suppose, but I think surmountable. The big problem that I see with one as a concept is logistical — where do you have one and when does it meet? From a personal standpoint, my schedule makes such an undertaking difficult to say the least. As for where…that’s a whole different can of worms.

  17. Ken Hanke

    Where? Your house!

    Hopefully, we’d need more room than I could provide.

  18. Ken Hanke

    There are so many movies that have been made over the years that it seems virtually impossible to find all of the ‘must see’ films that have been made since the dawn of this particular medium. Without the general aid of people such as yourself, younglings like me might not ever bare witness to these engaging works of cinema from the distant past.

    Oh, it’s not just virtually impossible, it is impossible. But it’s kind of fun to try. The problem lies in part in the definition of “must see.” I mean I suppose Birth of a Nation is a “must see,” but I’d far rather see — and am probably more likely to recommend — an unassuming programmer like Alfred E. Green’s The Merry Frinks (1936). (Yes, I know, the title alone is enough to keep you from watching it.) And then there are movies that become “must sees” in context. For example, I’d never recommend seeing Josef von Sternberg’s The Devil Is a Woman (1935) as a stand-alone film, but I don’t think you can really understand the whole Sternberg-Dietrich mythos without seeing it. So, for me, it becomes a “must see” after you’ve seen at least a few of the six movies that lead up to it. So you end up with an investment of seven movies — and one that it’s only possible to do if you’re tenacious enough to get a region-free DVD player and acquire Dishonored (1931) and Shanghai Express (1932) on Region 2 DVDs from the UK. (Granted, Shanghai Express has been known to show up on TCM and you could probably live without Dishonored.) The beauty of all this is that you can never really exhaust the possibilities!

    I have no idea what you are talking about. In no way have I imitated anyone by the name of John Cleese.

    I must be mistaken.

  19. Ken Hanke

    So call me a fan

    Okay, I will. And thanks.

    BTW, I am up for a ‘film club,’

    Alright. Now, if we could just figure out the logistics. In the meantime…

    the idea of watching a film of everyone’s choice (I’d go with “The Fall” I believe Mr. Hanke hasn’t seen that one yet) or just Mr. Hanke’s choice, would be awesome!

    This, of course, is more easily done. I have no problem with The Fall as a starting point, even though I haven’t seen it. (Marc, I presume you stock it?) But let’s get some more input and suggestions.

  20. This, of course, is more easily done. I have no problem with The Fall as a starting point, even though I haven’t seen it. (Marc, I presume you stock it?) But let’s get some more input and suggestions.

    Yeah, we got THE FALL. My second favorite dvd of the year (behind the amazing Murnau/Borzage box set) I would be happy to help out in any way that I can. I’m sure I’ve got a few customers that would participate. I do suggest, however, is picking titles that are readily available from us or elsewhere. We have many copies of a title like the THE FALL, but only one of a film like BAD BOY BUBBY.

  21. Ken Hanke

    Looks like we have two votes for The Fall. Anyone else with anything else?

  22. Justin Souther

    It seems to me that “whatever reason” has always come down to an inability on someone’s part (naming no names here) to hit upon a topic.

    That’s because I use all my time trying to help you think of topics to write about.

    it’s simply a curious fact with no possible conclusion—that I can see—to be drawn from it.

    Oh, like that’s ever stopped you.

  23. Ken Hanke

    That’s because I use all my time trying to help you think of topics to write about.

    I will concede that there’s some justification in that.

    Oh, like that’s ever stopped you.

    I’m thinking of a word. It has four letters…

  24. Ken Hanke

    I think Justin has made the right decision.

    He saw it eventually, so he merely staved off the inevitable.

  25. Sean Williams

    Congratulations on maintaining such a consistent (and consistently high-quality) output!

    We’ve played around with this

    I’d certainly watch a Cranky Hanke vlog. Perhaps you could even tape running commentaries of non-copyrighted movies — call it CKSR3K. May I suggest Brazillian director Marco Fiorito’s Hungry B****es for this treatment?

    I’d certainly be glad to see Justin let loose on something like this.

    You could call his column “Joe Southerner’s Shack” or something like that.

    On a completely unrelated note, who’s reviewing that upcoming movie about the mentally handicapped serial killer and who’s reviewing the one about the exercise equipment salesman in the South Atlantic?

  26. Ken Hanke

    Congratulations on maintaining such a consistent (and consistently high-quality) output!

    Thank you.

    I’d certainly watch a Cranky Hanke vlog. Perhaps you could even tape running commentaries of non-copyrighted movies—call it CKSR3K. May I suggest Brazillian director Marco Fiorito’s Hungry B****es for this treatment?

    I can’t tell you how much the prospect of willingly committing myself to even more bad movies doesn’t resonate with me!

    You could call his column “Joe Southerner’s Shack” or something like that.

    I believe Mr. Vet called him “Jason Southerner.”

    On a completely unrelated note, who’s reviewing that upcoming movie about the mentally handicapped serial killer and who’s reviewing the one about the exercise equipment salesman in the South Atlantic?

    Not sure what those are, but such obviously fine entertainment looks like coin-toss or best two falls out of three material.

  27. Sean Williams

    I believe Mr. Vet called him “Jason Southerner.”

    Mr. Vet, Mr. Nam Vet of “artsy lefty Pink Flamingos git ‘er done” fame?

    Not sure what those are

    One stars Sean Penn and the other stars Johnny Depp, both of whom should know better.

  28. Ken Hanke

    Scarecrow is owned by Rowman & Littlefield

    Well, I knew I was out of the loop! Means it’s been sold at least twice since “my day.”

  29. Justin Souther

    who’s reviewing that upcoming movie about the mentally handicapped serial killer and who’s reviewing the one about the exercise equipment salesman in the South Atlantic?

    I’m assuming the former is Friday the 13th, so that would be Ken. Over two years in and I haven’t even sniffed reviewing a horror movie.

    I’m not sure what the latter is but it sounds sufficiently dumb, so I’m sure it’s all mine.

  30. Jim Donato

    I say thee “nay” to the idea of a video blog. As amazing that it is that one can post video to the web and share it with the world, I much prefer reading to watching. It’s more intimate, and takes less of my precious time. But I’ll assume devil’s advocate stance and admit that the ability to include relevant clips would be an important factor in going forward. I will say that if video quality is of importance, use Vimeo instead of You Tube.

  31. Ken Hanke

    Mr. Vet, Mr. Nam Vet of “artsy lefty Pink Flamingos git ‘er done” fame?

    Yes. Though in which of his MPD incarnations, I can’t recall.

    One stars Sean Penn and the other stars Johnny Depp, both of whom should know better.

    I’m guessing Depp’s is The Rum Diary, which I’m holding out hope for based on the director. I’m still not sure what the other is, though, Justin’s idea would now seem to suggest Penn as Jason Voorhees. I confess the concept amuses me.

  32. Dread P. Roberts

    One stars Sean Penn and the other stars Johnny Depp, both of whom should know better.

    I’m guessing Depp’s is The Rum Diary

    I was thinking that the movie in question that Depp was in was: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, which I am hoping to be good.

  33. Ken Hanke

    I say thee “nay” to the idea of a video blog. As amazing that it is that one can post video to the web and share it with the world, I much prefer reading to watching. It’s more intimate, and takes less of my precious time.

    You may be surprised, but I pretty much agree with you — at least as a web-user. I will read a good deal of film-related material, but it takes something (or someone) very special to get me to click on a video or even a podcast. I’m not sure why that is. It has something to do with the fact that it requires I turn off, turn down or pause whatever else is going on. And it has something to do with intruding on someone else, where reading doesn’t. That said, I have no actual objection to the idea of doing these things. I just don’t want to watch them myself.

  34. Ken Hanke

    I was thinking that the movie in question that Depp was in was: “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”, which I am hoping to be good.

    As am I. With two exceptions, I’ve never seen a Terry Gilliam film that wasn’t at least interesting.

  35. Dread P. Roberts

    With two exceptions, I’ve never seen a Terry Gilliam film that wasn’t at least interesting.

    Please indulge my curiosity by telling me which two Terry Gilliam movies you did NOT find interesting. I’m going to guess Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, though I have not actually seen either one. Other than Jabberwocky (and the aforementioned) I believe I have seen most of the rest of Gilliam’s directorial works, and I have been pleased. I thought that his last film, The Brothers Grimm, was fantastic – not to mention underrated.

  36. Ken Hanke

    I thought that his last film, The Brothers Grimm, was fantastic – not to mention underrated.

    You and I may be the only people on earth who feel that way. I had blocked Jabberwocky from my mind, so I have to make it three films I don’t care for. The other two are The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

  37. You and I may be the only people on earth who feel that way. I had blocked Jabberwocky from my mind, so I have to make it three films I don’t care for. The other two are The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

    Yes, you two are alone on THE BROTHERS GRIMM, but the movie nerd in me wants to point out that his last film was the amazing but brutal TIDELAND.

  38. Dread P. Roberts

    last film was the amazing but brutal TIDELAND.

    I forgot about “Tideland”. That is another film of his that I have not yet seen. Is it good? I’m assuming that ‘amazing’ means it is good, but I have seen some movies that I would call ‘amazing’ (in one way or another) that I did not necessarily like.

    The other two are The Fisher King and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

    I must admit that I definitely disagree on “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Apart from a couple of slightly week points, I think that this is a fantastic film – but to each his own.

  39. Dread P. Roberts

    Yes, you two are alone on THE BROTHERS GRIMM

    I would just like to add that my wife actually likes “The Brothers Grimm” even more that I do, if that is any consolation.

  40. Ken Hanke

    his last film was the amazing but brutal TIDELAND.

    Which I haven’t seen because I bought it and almost immediately lost it.

  41. Ken Hanke

    I would just like to add that my wife actually likes “The Brothers Grimm” even more that I do, if that is any consolation.

    Well, we’re up to three.

  42. I must admit that I definitely disagree on “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Apart from a couple of slightly week points, I think that this is a fantastic film – but to each his own.

    This is the only movie that I’ve seen criticized for following a book too closely.

  43. Ken Hanke

    This is the only movie that I’ve seen criticized for following a book too closely

    I usually reserve that mini-series where they try to reproduce every comma.

  44. T.H.X. Pijonsnodt, Esq.

    I’m guessing Depp’s is The Rum Diary, which I’m holding out hope for based on the director. I’m still not sure what the other is, though, Justin’s idea would now seem to suggest Penn as Jason Voorhees. I confess the concept amuses me.

    Gentlemen, gentlemen, are you so slow to comprehend? Clearly, the movies to which Mr. Williams refers are Pilates of the Caribbean and I Am Son of Sam.

    I only wonder if he has heard of the Ridley Scott film in which Gene Kelly is brutalized by the Japanese Yakuza. Or the Joel Schumacher film that depicts the rape of Scout Finch by the Ku Klux Klan in retribution for her father’s defense of Tom Robinson.

  45. Ken Hanke

    Clearly, the movies to which Mr. Williams refers are Pilates of the Caribbean and I Am Son of Sam.

    The latter at least has potential.

  46. Sean Williams

    Clearly, the movies to which Mr. Williams refers are Pilates of the Caribbean and I Am Son of Sam.

    Man, this guy is sharp!

    I only wonder if he has heard of the Ridley Scott film in which Gene Kelly is brutalized by the Japanese Yakuza.

    Singin’ in the Black Rain

    Or the Joel Schumacher film that depicts the rape of Scout Finch by the Ku Klux Klan in retribution for her father’s defense of Tom Robinson.

    A Time to Kill a Mockingbird

  47. Sean Williams

    This is getting downright surreal.

    And we haven’t even mentioned the film about the uptight butler who colludes in the attempted assassination of Charles de Gaulle!

    …Okay, that’s probably quite enough.

    Anyways, on a completely unrelated note, I came up with a topic for the Screening Room: “Movies You Should Never Screen with Friends and Family, Because They Just Won’t Understand”. (I recently made a futile effort to introduce my family to Wes Anderson.)

  48. Ken Hanke

    I came up with a topic for the Screening Room: “Movies You Should Never Screen with Friends and Family, Because They Just Won’t Understand”. (I recently made a futile effort to introduce my family to Wes Anderson.)

    Oh, my, that does sound like an idea doomed to failure on any serious level. Now, I used to delight in being sure that Lisztomania was playing if my mother was coming over. (I have matured and don’t do that any more — or maybe it has something to do with my mother being 700 miles away.)

  49. Sean Williams

    Oh, my, that does sound like an idea doomed to failure on any serious level.

    I just find it stupefying that anyone can describe The Darjeeling Limited as “pointless”.

    I have matured and don’t do that any more — or maybe it has something to do with my mother being 700 miles away.

    I find the second entirely more probable. Indeed, I find it probable that your mother moved 700 miles away in order to avoid seeing Lisztomania with such frequency.

    Now, if you’re ever in need of quick amusement, call up a local video store and ask if they carry “that one Ken Russell movie about the sex life of some composer”.

  50. T.H.X. Pijonsnodt, Esq.

    And we haven’t even mentioned the film about the uptight butler who colludes in the attempted assassination of Charles de Gaulle!

    The Remains of the Day of the Jackal.

    …Okay, that’s probably quite enough.

    Quite.

  51. Dread P. Roberts

    came up with a topic for the Screening Room: “Movies You Should Never Screen with Friends and Family, Because They Just Won’t Understand”.

    I have a friend who attempted to introduce “Eraserhead” to some of his friends who had never seen it before. From what I’ve been told, halfway through the film he tried to explain the ‘artist significance’ to an increasingly angry audience. This, of course, was to no avail. My response (in between randomly snickering to myself) was that he was lucky they didn’t try to ‘lynch’ him (pun intended).

    Another idea/suggestion for a “Screening Room” would be to discus what, if any, is the psychological thought process that inevitably creates obsessed ‘fanboys’ towards certain movies. What is distinguishing about these films over others? Why do they become so hardcore, obsessed and loyal in their following? Why attack anyone that disagrees, and subsequently view them as a threat? I think you could potentially go pretty deep with this sort of subject if you wanted to.

  52. Ken Hanke

    I just find it stupefying that anyone can describe The Darjeeling Limited as “pointless”.

    I would agree, but I know people who do.

    Indeed, I find it probable that your mother moved 700 miles away in order to avoid seeing Lisztomania with such frequency.

    Not unreasonable, but I’m the one who moved. Maybe she gently coaxed me without my knowing it.

    Now, if you’re ever in need of quick amusement, call up a local video store and ask if they carry “that one Ken Russell movie about the sex life of some composer”.

    If you’d have told me that privately, I’d have done it to Marc!

  53. Ken Hanke

    I have a friend who attempted to introduce “Eraserhead” to some of his friends who had never seen it before.

    The question arises — how well did he know these people? Or was this some kind of acid test to find out if he wanted to know them any better?

    Another idea/suggestion for a “Screening Room” would be to discus what, if any, is the psychological thought process that inevitably creates obsessed ‘fanboys’ towards certain movies. What is distinguishing about these films over others? Why do they become so hardcore, obsessed and loyal in their following? Why attack anyone that disagrees, and subsequently view them as a threat? I think you could potentially go pretty deep with this sort of subject if you wanted to.

    I think we’ve played with that some in comments on here, but it’s a fruitful topic. I can actually understand the mindset up to a point. I’m probably just as rabid about certain movies, filmmakers , etc. But that last step — the need to attack and viewing anyone who doesn’t agree with them as a threat — is the one that baffles me. Both make me think that they have some kind of deep — and deeply repressed — fear that maybe this stuff really isn’t very good.

  54. Lady L

    I know I’m a little late joining in on the discussion, but I wanted to add my vote for a film club. I would be very interested in taking part.
    Also I wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed lurking in the shadows reading Mr. Hanke’s posts. Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. I’m looking forward to many more!

  55. Ken Hanke

    I know I’m a little late joining in on the discussion, but I wanted to add my vote for a film club. I would be very interested in taking part.

    Are you talking about an actual film club (we’d better call it a film society or people will laugh at us) or about discussing a movie a month online here? Conceptually, I’m good with either one if someone can come up with a plan. If someone has a plan but doesn’t want to air it in public, they can always e-mail me.

    Also I wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed lurking in the shadows reading Mr. Hanke’s posts. Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary. I’m looking forward to many more!

    Thank you, Lady L. I remain hopeful of at least a few more anniversaries.

  56. Lady L

    Are you talking about an actual film club (we’d better call it a film society or people will laugh at us) or about discussing a movie a month online here?

    Both ideas have merit. It would be fun to watch a movie as the “Asheville Film Society” (or other appropriately high-minded name)so that we could meet as a group of people with similar interests and discuss something that’s fun and thought provoking. The drawback here, is of course, finding a time and place that meets everyone’s busy schedules.
    Watching a movie a month and then discussing it online might be the easier of the two to pull off since time and place aren’t factors, but then there wouldn’t be the spontaneous give and take of a face-to-face discussion. Maybe take a poll? Or make an executive decision?

  57. Ken Hanke

    Both ideas have merit. It would be fun to watch a movie as the “Asheville Film Society” (or other appropriately high-minded name)so that we could meet as a group of people with similar interests and discuss something that’s fun and thought provoking. The drawback here, is of course, finding a time and place that meets everyone’s busy schedules.

    I lean toward “Asheville Cinematographic Society,” but your list of the drawbacks matches my own quite nicely. It’s the sort of thing that I would like to see, but until somebody can come up with a workable suggestion for a time and a location — and so far I haven’t even seen an unworkable suggestion.

    Watching a movie a month and then discussing it online might be the easier of the two to pull off since time and place aren’t factors, but then there wouldn’t be the spontaneous give and take of a face-to-face discussion. Maybe take a poll? Or make an executive decision?

    A poll would be preferable to me, since it’s no good unless several people agree to it and will follow through. There were suggestions for The Fall, which would be okay with me. There’s not been a lot of input since then, apart from one suggestion/question about doing The Midnight Meat Train. That, I think, was made primarily because I’d just reviewed it. My only problem with that is that it might be a little too limiting to a broader audience.

  58. Lady L

    >>>There were suggestions for The Fall, which would be okay with me. <<<< "The Fall" works for me. Now we just need a little organizational push and we've got ourselves a Cinematographic Society. This could be the beginning of great things...

  59. Ken Hanke

    “The Fall” works for me. Now we just need a little organizational push and we’ve got ourselves a Cinematographic Society. This could be the beginning of great things…

    Okay. Now, let’s see if we can actually get this together. I’ll get back to you on this.

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