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Defend Crazy Cop Handkerchief Art

Indeed.  We should all defend crazy cop handkerchief art because if we don’t, who will?  Who even knows about this hitherto unknown art form?  Let’s paint a picture with an example.  What would happen if a retired cop who moonlighted as a handkerchief artist donated his collection to a school with the caveat that none of the art ever be sold?  While your first thought may be “who cares about handkerchief art?” or “what the hell is handkerchief art?” you might care if it was worth something.  And if there was a hanky craze in the art world, would the collection be protected when it turned out to be worth several million dollars?  Believe it or not, this hypothetical is true, except the retired cop should be replaced with a man named Dr. Albert C. Barnes and the handkerchiefs are really a collection of Post-Impressionist and early modern art and the collection isn’t worth millions, it’s worth billions.  The art was originally viewed as “horrible, debased art” (not unlike current views of handkerchief art) and Barnes left instructions in his will that the collection be used for education and never sold, even though it is now valued at more than $25 billion dollars.  The whole affair is explored in the documentary: The Art Of The Steal (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“”The Art of the Steal” is a well-researched and fascinating look into an endemic raping and pillaging of culture exacted with an erroneous idea that “culture is industry.”” Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com

If we didn’t treat culture as industry, we’d have to treat it as sacred or divine and there’s no money in that.

“This insider look at art world shenanigans and politicking is both fascinating and scandalous.” Jennifer Merin About.com

Discarded tag line: These art shenanigans will leave you scandalized.

This art leaves me fascinated

“The film can be dry and a little repetitive. For all of that, it still manages to generate a surprising measure of suspense and it produces outrage in abundance.” Boxoffice Magazine Pam Grady

Dry, suspenseful, repetitious outrage.  Repetitious.

“We in audience leave the theater debating whether in this case, stealing was actually merited.” Harvey S. Karten Compuserve

When critics describe the deeds in the film as raping and pillaging, scandalous, and outrageous, I’m inclined to say that even if the stealing has merit, it wasn’t right.

“A well-researched story about the most recent art-world fleecing, this “documentary” will appeal to those interested in what the cultural elite do to amuse themselves.” Maria Garcia Film Journal International

Comic books have already answered that question: they don costumes, slap on gadgets, and descend upon criminals as shown in Defendor (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

This mini-genre of cheap superhero fun (The Specials, Special, no relation) has told more compelling stories about superheros than many of its big-budgeted counterparts (Daredevil, Fantastic Four). I expect this one will be equally inventive.
“Some of those far more lavishly budgeted superhero movies could learn a thing or two from this little movie that could.” Pam Grady Boxoffice Magazine

I thought it could.  I thought it could.

“I liked this character and I found his story very moving and yes, it is funny, just not in the way that you may expect.” JimmyO JoBlo’s Movie Emporium

I usually expect ‘funny’ to come from ‘jokes,’ should I be expecting less-obvious humor?

“Stebbings fills Defendor with humorous bits, comic treats dropped in quickly and without fanfare. It gives the movie a proper pace, well punctuated with laughs at the right time, and outrage and sympathy at others.” Linda Barnard Toronto Star

A comic treat dropped in quickly with mild fanfare.

“Defendor is more a refreshment of a genre than a transcendence of it. But thanks to Harrelson, you’ll be a believer.” James Adams Globe and Mail

What am I believing in again?

“Harrelson is a master at keeping his character real.” Liz Braun Jam! Movies

Really?  For real?  You’re not trying to Cop Out (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)?

“It feels like an homage to a period best forgotten, just a chance for all involved to sell out and cash in with a crude comedy that reminds us how bad these particular ”good old days” were.” Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel

Ah, the old bad good days.  Couldn’t forget them.

“While the plot is as flimsy as a hooker’s halter top, it’s buoyed by two actors with attitude and timing.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams

Did that sound like a backhanded compliment?  You know, where it sounds like a compliment, but feels like an insult?  Here, he could be saying that the actors have an unspecified demeanor and showed up on time.  Okay, that was more of a shoulder-punch compliment – playful, sometimes painful.

Painful play

“Smith’s staging, composition, editing and humor mark him as utterly incompetent.” Armond White New York Press

Armond just delivered an anti-compliment.

“Willis looks content here with punchlines and weapons, giving more of a John McClane performance here than he offered in the last Die Hard picture. Morgan goes supernova broad, but it’s an appealing tornado of spastic distress.” Brian Orndorf BrianOrndorf.com

As long as I’m coining phrases, let’s call that a gentle headbutt.

“The Willis-Morgan team is about as on point as four legs with the ankles missing. The sequel will undoubtedly star Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker.” Rex Reed New York Observer

I can’t tell which actor is being ‘upgraded’ in that suggestion.  And let’s ignore the grotesque image of runners with permanently-rolled ankles painfully slap-flapping their feet down the…Whoops.  Sorry.  Any parting constructive criticism from the nutty pea gallery?

“This alleged action-comedy is flatter than a tortilla in a panini press…C’mon, Kevin Smith, quit smoking weed and write a new movie of your own.” Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

He should consider a movie about four lost souls on a journey through the South: The Yellow Handkerchief (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)?

“No movie nominated for an Oscar this year boasts acting as fine as The Yellow Handkerchief.” Armond White New York Press

After mocking Silent Bob, Armond disses this year’s best actor nominees. Armond is a master of toxic kudos.

“Kristen Stewart is the selling point, of course, but this idyllic road trip through post-Katrina Louisiana is mostly a showcase for William Hurt — too infrequent a big screen visitor, at least in roles of such layered quietude.” Brent Simon Shared Darkness

Layered quietude?  I’m not the only one making shit up.

“A thoughtful, niche-oriented portrait of four off-the-beaten-path characters trying to find their way.” Variety Peter Debruge

How do we know if we’re in the proper niche?

“Taking time off from vampire infatuation but still into Native male magnets, Kristen Stewart does a snobby sexpot, while the bayou weepie conjures a relentlessly alien place where crocodiles, snakes and eccentric when not unhinged redneck humans roam free.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

Not-unhinged-redneck-humans and Twilighters are the niche?  Problem is, I’m not convinced Stewart’s much of an actress/movie star.  And until her fame is validated, she may as well be a chocolate toaster.

Or a chocolate teapot

“The film plays like “The Notebook,” if James Garner’s character had been convicted murderer [sic].” Larry Carroll MTV

Most readers of these round-up’s probably wouldn’t wrestle with the issue I just faced.  I used [sic] to denote that this was the original author’s words and that he left out an [a] in his review.  Because I teach English, many people assume that I am a badge-carrying member of the grammar police.  This is not true.  If I were, I would be tempted to coin a horrible catch phrase, ie. “Con-ju-get on the ground!”  But I digress, because I couldn’t resist the clarification, I’ve just been deputized.  Grammar-book ’em Danno!

Or, do I just sound nuts?  In which case, I’ll have company with The Crazies (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Built for one purpose only: to scare the crap out of you. Which it does, regularly and effectively. Don’t go expecting anything deeper — or anything less.” Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

This film was built to scare the crap out of me, regularly?  I hope he was being more figurative than literal.

“The Crazies is the kind of horror movie you can enjoy being scared by.” Todd Gilchrist FEARnet

I wont enjoy myself if there’s a chance I might poo myself.

“This remake of a 1973 chiller is unlike almost every horror remake on the planet in one key way — it’s really good.” Robbie Collin News of the World

“I greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the ’73 edition. It is lean and simple.” Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

Ze original

I always enjoy hearing that a film is better than an original I’ve never heard of.  Uh oh.  I just used hyperbole in a sentence ending with a preposition followed by a fragment.  I’m experiencing composition complications.

“The Crazies is a perfectly competent genre film in a genre that has exhausted its interest for me, the Zombie Film.” Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

But I thought this movie differed from most zombie movies because the threat isn’t flesh-eating, but C-r-A-z-Y.  If it were just another zombie movie it would be called the undead-flesh-eaties or something.  Sigh.  I’ve got nothing left.

“Gets that intangible feeling of primordial dread from out of your nightmares and onto the screen.” Jordan Hoffman UGO

PDJ is glad it's intangible


4 Responses

  1. Why is the teapot all melty? I’m kidding about that but this blog is no joke. I think you inspired me, Pat.

  2. I like it when Armond says nice things about movies. But it makes me sad when he does it at someone else’s expense. I wonder if Armond takes the birch to himself on those rare occasions he enjoys a movie, or a scene, or an actor or actress. I also wonder if he wears hemp undergarments.

  3. “Uh-Oh” a fragment?

  4. I thought that Kevin Smith movie was called “A Couple of Dicks.” That new title smacks of the studio coming in and… what’s that phrase?

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