another maniacal Armond White review, this time "Fahrenheit 9/11"

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There's probably a good point or two buried in here, but who can tell?

FILM OF THE FASCIST LIBERAL
Michael Moore mistakes image for message, panders, gloats.

By Armond White


Before Quentin Tarantino and his fellow Cannes jurors passed judgment on President Bush by awarding Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 the Palme d'Or (thus inflating the film's importance), they should have queried themselves: Have they done anything in their own films to tame the arrogance of a man, a moviegoer, like Bush? Not much in the careers of American jurors Tarantino, Kathleen Turner and Jerry Schatzberg encourages audiences to think or behave politically. American cinema in the Tarantino years has pandered to violence, racism, greed and self-satisfaction. It's not impossible that the torturers at Abu Ghraib—including even Saddam Hussein's own precedent-setting torturers—were inspired by the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. QT made sadism hip and sent it 'round the world. Now we're stuck in the middle of a global crisis for which neither he, nor Michael Moore, have an answer.

To pretend that Fahrenheit 9/11 is a work of art is disingenuous. Moore himself is part of the punditocracy that, like unscrupulous politicians, solicits trite sentiment. His exploitative title doesn't measure temperature; it disgraces that sorrowful date just to inflame liberal guilt. For Moore, guilt covers everything that stemmed from Bush's election and is only eased by blame. Moore doesn't separate the election from the terrorists' attacks or from the war on Iraq. As in Bowling for Columbine, he lines up unrelated points for a domino effect of dissatisfaction. This is not historical context; it's a harangue.

But in the Tarantino era, film folk seldom look at movies intelligently—or politically. They become dupes for the sarcastic invective Moore offers in place of argument. His supposed "coup" of Bush visiting a Florida elementary school after being informed of the first World Trade tower hit turns out a dud. Moore times Bush's visit with a digital counter but clearly we're not watching Bush wallow in playtime or indecision. It's seven minutes of the most powerful man in the world suffering. He's miserably distracted. Moore's insensitivity—certain to the point of hostility that he alone is right—amounts to liberalism with a fascist face.

The orgy of self-congratulation at Cannes proved film culture has lost the imperative of humane understanding. The lunacy was repeated stateside with local acclaim for Jehane Noujaim's specious Control Room. Apparently, the double whammy of 9/11 and the Iraq War has so rattled modern moral conscience that American self-hatred is the new documentary mode. No one required Noujaim to trace the history of Al Jazeera or examine its standard content. Her celebration of Al Jazeera (as opposition to any media representing American interests) was carelessly praised as some kind of palliative: "The number one must-see film of the summer." "An essential movie [that] not only goes through the looking glass, but turns the mirror back on us."

As Kevin Costner worried in JFK, we are indeed through the looking glass now. Political paranoia has turned critics and festival jurors into small-minded esthetes who prize their own objection to the Iraq War over their obligation to truth. Through Noujaim's ineptitude (or is she just biased?) the propagandists of Al Jazeera are defended simply to please Bush's opponents, those willing to believe that Americans are always wrong, always to blame, never to be trusted. It's unbearable to sit in a Control Room audience full of masochistic Americans lapping up the calumny.

Of course, Noujaim heroizes journalists, the most duplicitous of modern professionals, on both sides of the war. She humors the U.S. military spokesman at Centcom in Baghdad as well as the very Westernized Al Jazeera employees. Her naive suggestion that journalists are apolitical matches Moore's disregard of journalistic accountability. (That's one way to guarantee good reviews.) She cannily keeps her distance from those Al Jazeera employees who wear robes and turbans. Noujaim wants to make Arab reporters seem just like ours—an elite class—so she refrains from asking about their politics. This ruse of journalistic fairness and impartiality links Control Room to Fahrenheit: They're sham docs for gullible viewers. Both films use non-inquiring "entertainment" devices (talking heads as celebrities) at precisely the moment we should be looking at the world more seriously, delving into personal motive.

The corruption of documentary with entertainment is at the heart of Michael Moore's style—it's also his failing. Cheap, easy laughs don't constitute an argument; like pity and self-righteous anger, it all stems from simplistic outrage. His best moment shows a phalanx of black congresspersons protesting the 2000 presidential election and being undermined by the Senate (Al Gore presiding). By targeting Bush, Moore absolves all those bad senators of their responsibilities.

But Moore neglects the real journalistic work of seeking out why this intramural betrayal happened. He's after an effect, not the facts. Difficult, gut-twisting and disillusioning as politics are, Moore never inquires into the human basis of political behavior. Such revelations once distinguished the documentary as an art form; now the genre is merde. There's no insight into the political process or why politicians routinely cheat their constituency—such as Democratic congressman John Conyers Jr. admitting, "We don't read most of the bills!" Thus Moore lets a soundbite explain why the Patriot Act passed.

As facile as the makers of The Blair Witch Project and Capturing the Friedmans, Moore's doc method avoids complexity. He makes trite points (Bush golfing, politicos putting on make-up) that vitiate his professed seriousness. Like Noujaim, Moore knows that his pseudo-serious audience doesn't want debate. Their mandate is for superficial provocation: Slam Bush and the war so we don't have to ponder our own capitalism or unwillingness to fight.

Neither Fahrenheit nor Control Room tell us what life is like now, in what the West knows as the Terrorist Millennium. Glossing the issues of "a staged war," emphasizing Bush's incompetence and the mendacity of his cabinet (even Noujaim offers distanced ridicule of Bush policies) is, essentially, an ad hominem attack, not ideological or moral reasoning. Merde. These filmmakers practice the lazy tactic of cutting from an inane Bush speech to screaming, injured Iraqi women or children. This obfuscates the war with sentimentality. (Not just morally offensive editing, it hides behind the notion that killing men is an acceptable consequence of war but only a monster would harm women and children.) Moore and Noujaim's "entertaining" sallies (gotcha shots of Bush père et fils shaking hands with Saudi business partners; grieving mothers of U.S. soldiers) might be enough to sway the inattentive, but both movies leave important questions unasked.

Moore would have audiences believe that the security alert codes are entirely a Pentagon hoax (although he doesn't investigate why the national media goes along with it). Noujaim suggests there's no bias in Al Jazeera's rhetoric of images and speeches. (She even accepts a reporter's disdain for the Kurds in Iraq). Each pompous filmmaker ignores the threat of fanaticism—and the reality of American panic—because Iraq is their only cause. They're incapable of substantive political discourse. Moore likes to put bigwigs on the spot (including Ricky Martin and a gum-smacking Britney Spears!) but he never interviews people who can articulate an opposing point of view. In his hypocrisy, he chides the corporate greed behind Halliburton and the Carlyle Group as if it were alien to American custom.

This obtuse journalism also occurs in Control Room. Most reviewers quoted an Al Jazeera exec saying he wanted his children to be educated in America, but none observed his snide, middle-class contempt. (Was it too much like their own?) A good example of the complication that these movies skirt is the same exec's anger over a U.S. missile strike that hit Al Jazeera headquarters killing a correspondent and cameraman. "This is a crime," he says. "It must be avenged!" Noujaim accepts his threat as understandable rage, rather than demand journalistic integrity. No American reviews noticed this.

These films play too loosely with the passions aroused by the war, pandering to liberal Americans' kick-me guilt. That partly explains the Cannes debacle—many liberals simply want their prejudices entertained. This reduces the Palm d'Or to the level of the MTV Movie Awards.

Good, because Cannes has been on an anti-American spree since lauding Gus Van Sant's Elephant. Such grandstanding political gestures don't address popular cinema's decline—proof that people no longer recognize quality or care that a documentary be sound and informative. Few connect the ideology of pop culture to real-world political activity.

Jean-Luc Godard once famously said, "Every edit is a political act." But Godard's denunciation of Fahrenheit 9/11 was ignored by a U.S. media fawning over its Cannes victory (the latest Harvey Weinstein promotional stunt, facilitated by stooge Quentin). No major American media outlets quoted Godard: "Moore doesn't distinguish between text and image. He doesn't know what he's doing."

This time, Jean-Luc is only half right. Moore very deliberately mixes tv drama and movie clips into his rhetorical hodge-podge (referencing Bonanza, Dragnet and song clips by REM). These tropes probably made Tarantino delirious. Fahrenheit seizes upon the mess of postmodern capitalist pop only to misread how pop trivia malnourishes the moral lives of audiences—those who are then sent off to war, as well as Beltway politicians and Wall Street bankers who have the privilege to dismiss pop as escapism.

That's what Godard meant about distinguishing text and image. In Moore's doc style, images have only superficial, convenient meaning and no historical resonance—unlike Peter Davis' 1974 Vietnam doc Hearts and Minds, which used Hollywood clips (Bataan) to show the ideological indoctrination of pop culture. Davis suggested that a generation was fooled into romanticizing war and xenophobia. That was part of how Vietnam protestors understood their experience. Moore, being culturally ignorant, stands on shaky ground when he ridicules GIs who listen to pop on bombing missions, never respecting their cultural conditioning or examining their sense of patriotism. He's as clueless as those critics who lambasted David O. Russell's Desert Storm satire Three Kings. (A neglect that helped condition the country to continue Bush Sr.'s war.)

Moore doesn't understand the link between the Entertainment Industrial Complex and the Military Industrial Complex, and his dumbed-down method of turning political tragedy into comedy is part of the problem. It's a class vice in which the media elite can exercise disdain while pitying the underclass who must pay the price. Fahrenheit 9/11 becomes infuriating every time Moore uses a poor or black person to symbolize Bush's homeland victims (the same arrogance the Coen brothers pointed out with the Mother Jones gag in The Ladykillers). He returns to Flint, MI (the setting for Roger & Me) for sociological cheap shots but misses the real story of the post-9/11 experience—such as life among Muslim immigrants in Detroit where suspicion and opportunism mix. Or even the middle-American discomfort explained in Neil Young's Greendale, a vastly more revealing film.

Propaganda like Fahrenheit 9/11 won't help today's moviegoers gain political insight. Moore's condescension settles on young GIs wounded in Iraq, now in a veterans' hospital (where they face lost funding and benefits). One vet gives Moore what he wants: "I'm going to be very active this year and make sure that the Democrats take power." We're not supposed to remember the opening sequence that showed Democrats complicit with Bush's ascension and the invasion of Iraq. Moore, as desultory as Jerry Bruckheimer, simply wants to get a rise out of us. Like Tarantino, he's uninterested in making movies that show how the world really works.

Fahrenheit 9/11 and Control Room leave viewers susceptible to the deceptions of politicians and media charlatans. Exploiting the Iraq invasion and American political distress is a form of war profiteering. Documentaries this poor are no better than pulp fiction.


(so not only are these films bad but they are partly responsible for murder and torture worldwide, etc....what a scumbag)

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 17:56 (fifteen years ago) link

Armond White mistakes ass for hole in ground, shits, giggles.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:00 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh, my. "The propagandists of al-Jazeera," etc.

Pretty standard right-wing fare overall, basically what I would expect Washington Times reviews to resemble. Maybe White's looking for a Golden Moonie Parachute?

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Was that elementary school actually in Florida?

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:04 (fifteen years ago) link

"Punditocracy"??!! I love it.

andy, Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:05 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't know what he's on about here, his POV is non-existent and completely arbitrary based on whatever the hell he had for breakfast.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Does he actually refute any of the facts in Moore's film? I didn't see any examples. That says something, doesn't it?

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:13 (fifteen years ago) link

The headline is the worst thing: calling Moore a fascist is just loopy. The review is based on the premise that Moore oughtn't to make propaganda or op-ed, but rather mull for 90 minutes over 'complexities'. Well, why on earth should he? The weird thing is that White thinks Moore should really be pondering 'our own capitalism or our unwillingness to fight'. Well, what unwillingness to fight? Surely the anti-capitalistic, pro-militaristic film White seems to be advocating would fit much better with fascism that Moore's liberalism does? Perhaps the headline is referring to White rather than Moore.

Momus (Momus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:18 (fifteen years ago) link

No one required Noujaim to trace the history of Al Jazeera or examine its standard content. Her celebration of Al Jazeera (as opposition to any media representing American interests) was carelessly praised as some kind of palliative: "The number one must-see film of the summer." "An essential movie [that] not only goes through the looking glass, but turns the mirror back on us."

wtf?!?!?

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Oh no! Fahrenheit 9/11 incorporates morally bankrupt "pop culture"! Oh NO!

Sean Thomas (sgthomas), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Exploiting the Iraq invasion and American political distress is a form of war profiteering.

Yeah let's just not make any films about it, right? Fucking twat.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:20 (fifteen years ago) link

Summary of this review: 'I am very annoyed by this film.'
Summary of our response: 'Good.'

Momus (Momus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:21 (fifteen years ago) link

She cannily keeps her distance from those Al Jazeera employees who wear robes and turbans.

Ha ha christ

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:22 (fifteen years ago) link

As facile as the makers of The Blair Witch Project...

whoa whoa, what??!?!? Armond White thinks The Blair Witch Project was a DOCUMENTARY?!?!@?!@??!! SOOMEBODY PLEASE REVOKE HIS FILM CRITIC'S LICENSE ASAP!!!

(tho I think he's right about Tarentino)

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:22 (fifteen years ago) link

he's also obviously never watched three kings all the way through

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:24 (fifteen years ago) link

It seems as though the film has been pretty effective at pissing off the people that it is meant to piss off. In that sense, it certainly is a success.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:24 (fifteen years ago) link

Tarentino is being consistent. He's not advocating peace but administering a dose of the old ultraviolence to Bush.

Momus (Momus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:24 (fifteen years ago) link

What do you lefties think about Godard's quote, "Moore doesn't distinguish between text and image. He doesn't know what he's doing." Agree/Somewhat Agree/Disagree?
I admire Moore's intention of bringing some of these connections, such as that between Bush and the Saudi royal family, to light. I just think he has a very heavy-handed style and his weakness is his completely overt subjectivity; which if he is a documentarist, it should be; otherwise, he is an entertainer, and the movie should not be passed off as fact. My biggest problem with it is that question - what is the intent of the movie, is it entertainment (Ricky Martin anyone?), or news?

The Devil's Triad (calstars), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:26 (fifteen years ago) link

"it disgraces that sorrowful date just to inflame liberal guilt."

He really should have replaced "guilt" with "anger".

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:26 (fifteen years ago) link

I meant he was right about Tarantino in this:

Tarantino, Kathleen Turner and Jerry Schatzberg encourages audiences to think or behave politically. American cinema in the Tarantino years has pandered to violence, racism, greed and self-satisfaction. It's not impossible that the torturers at Abu Ghraib—including even Saddam Hussein's own precedent-setting torturers—were inspired by the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. QT made sadism hip and sent it 'round the world. Now we're stuck in the middle of a global crisis for which neither he, nor Michael Moore, have an answer.

Tarantino's production company is named after a Godard film but I'll be damned if I can find any Godard in what he does.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:26 (fifteen years ago) link

what is the intent of the
movie, is it entertainment (Ricky Martin anyone?), or news?


It's infotainment!

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:27 (fifteen years ago) link

first frag should read: "Tarantino, Kathleen Turner and Jerry Schatzberg [don't encourage] audiences to think or behave politically" since I truncated it.

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:28 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't follow his writing closely, but my general impression of Armond White is that he's been slowly losing his mind since the mid-eighties -- every column or essay I've ever seen of his has him seriously blowing his gasket over something or other. CONFIRM OR DENY!

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:28 (fifteen years ago) link

Tarantino's production company is named after a Godard film but I'll be damned if I can find any Godard in what he does.

He's more of a Melville fan by way of Woo. But really, it's all in the snazzy suits.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:28 (fifteen years ago) link

White is not wrong in that instance, but it's definitely unfair to lay all of the blame on Tarantino. In fact, by doing this, he's making himself as guilty as Moore by blowing things out of proportion.

deanomgwtf!!!p%3Fmsgid%3D4581997 (deangulberry), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Bungled that of course, should read: his weakness is his lack of objectivity, which if he is a documentarist, should be his focus.

The Devil's Triad (calstars), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:29 (fifteen years ago) link

Momus, did you ever get around to seeing Kill Bill? I would actually love to read a Kill Bill review by you.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:30 (fifteen years ago) link

Bungled that of course, should read: his weakness is his lack of objectivity, which if he is a documentarist, should be his focus.

This is all brought up on that other Moore thread.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:31 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't care of AW doesn't like Tarantino, but to let that dislike turn into saying "he could be responsible for prison torture from the U.S. and the Iraqis" is simplistic, pretentious bullshit from someone who doesn't understand that this sort of crap was going on in the world long before Quentin Tarantino.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:32 (fifteen years ago) link

No, Scott, I didn't. I probably will see it one day, though, and if ILX still exists I'll tell you my thoughts.

What do you lefties think about Godard's quote, "Moore doesn't distinguish between text and image. He doesn't know what he's doing." Agree/Somewhat Agree/Disagree?

I think that's probably a fair point. Moore is working in a very different tradition than Godard. Considering he's such a corpulent man, it's interesting that his films don't tend to have a 'body' in the way Godard's do. I hear the editing in 'F9/11' is 'good', but I suspect the people saying that (I think it was some BBC critic covering Cannes) are not people who think Godard's Brechtian editing style is 'good'. It's like criticizing a newspaper op-ed column for not being James Joyce.

Momus (Momus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:32 (fifteen years ago) link

"As Kevin Costner worried in JFK..." !!!!!!
Priceless. Armond White is a buffoon.

Neb Reyob (Ben Boyer), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:33 (fifteen years ago) link

Wait wait wait isn't Armond White the guy who creamed his pants about 3000 Miles to Graceland?!?!

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:34 (fifteen years ago) link

his weakness is his lack of objectivity, which if he is a documentarist, should be his focus.

Why shouldn't subjectivity and point-of-view be the focus of a documentarist?

Momus (Momus), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:35 (fifteen years ago) link

I dunno, Gear, although Reservoir Dogs does kinda fit in with the Peckinpah legacy, I'd say its depiction of torture doesn't fit any specific trope other than "huh huh this looks cool, esp. with old 1970s tunes." Big difference between that and the opening credits of Wild Bunch (okay I know its insects but THEY'RE STANDING IN FOR PEOPLE).

hstencil (hstencil), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Why shouldn't subjectivity and point-of-view be the focus of a documentarist?

Because people are lazy and want to accept the 'truths' that other present for them :)

deanomgwtf!!!p%3Fmsgid%3D4581997 (deangulberry), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:35 (fifteen years ago) link

And that's Michael Moore's fault, how?

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:36 (fifteen years ago) link

Right I understand that, but I think he's overstating the film's influence on the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:38 (fifteen years ago) link

And that's Michael Moore's fault, how?

You may have to ask someone who thinks that it is his fault.

deanomgwtf!!!p%3Fmsgid%3D4581997 (deangulberry), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:40 (fifteen years ago) link

Al-Jazeera bashing = automatic idiotic review.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:41 (fifteen years ago) link

Momus I think when a documentarist is reporting on a subject he should leave his bias or his favor at home. I guess we could debate whether the 'documentary' as a medium is inherently supposed to be objective or subjective, but the best ones I've seen ('One Day in September' comes to mind) leave polarizing issues like politics out of the story.

The Devil's Triad (calstars), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:42 (fifteen years ago) link

how could this movie leave politics out of the story?!!

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:42 (fifteen years ago) link

"if only 'spellbound' stayed away from polarizing issues like spelling"

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:43 (fifteen years ago) link

You are delusional. No movie can possibly be objective (and One Day in September certainly wasn't.) I'd rather have someone be upfront with his biases than pretend they don't exist.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:44 (fifteen years ago) link

"why did marcel ophuls have to keep bringing up the nazis in 'the sorrow and the pity'?"

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:44 (fifteen years ago) link

for another, perhaps more informed point of view:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2102723/

lovebug starski, Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:44 (fifteen years ago) link

"Why didn't we see more of the witch's POV in The Blair Witch Project?"

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:45 (fifteen years ago) link

The Fog of War had to talk about war, that was what killed it for me

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:45 (fifteen years ago) link

MAYBE WE SHOULD LET THE GOVERNMENT MAKE ALL OF THE DOCUMENTARIES

deanomgwtf!!!p%3Fmsgid%3D4581997 (deangulberry), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:45 (fifteen years ago) link

hahahaha alex

s1ocki (slutsky), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:46 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't consider Hitchen's particularly sane or well-informed.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 22 June 2004 18:47 (fifteen years ago) link

open-heart WH surgery would get great ratings

baseball movies are almost all nonstarters, but curious that director also made the good civil-rights doc Booker's Place

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 6 September 2019 15:54 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

https://letterboxd.com/notarmondwhite/film/annie-hall/

The first brilliant scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977) now has Millennial relevance. It’s when grade-schooler Alvy Singer (Allen) and his mother visit psychiatrist Dr. Flicker to find out why the boy stopped doing his homework or anything else. “The universe is expanding,” Alvy explains. His mother snaps “What is that your business!”

Now timeless, the scene should be studied by every pundit and fake-news journalist who promotes recent children’s crusades — including such poster kids as Greta Thunberg and David Hogg — as politically expedient.

(Review is actually mainly about a new movie called Socrates.)

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 16:24 (two months ago) link

People who are interesting in the movies are mostly reading Armond's reviews to see what deranged angle he comes up with, right? I'm sure someone's taking him at face value, but there's no way they're actually interested in film

mh, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 16:28 (two months ago) link

Correct.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 16:29 (two months ago) link

his is a fascinating mind. i wish he would cut the crisis actor shit. his get out review was deranged but also pretty classic

flappy bird, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 16:40 (two months ago) link

pretty sure Woody/Alvy didn't think Mom's take was enlightened

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 16:52 (two months ago) link

I can't even bother to hate-read this fuckface anymore.

Herman Woke (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:24 (two months ago) link

He's genuinely unbalanced, I kinda feel bad for him.

Forthcoming book will collect long-form pieces by AW, Godfrey Cheshire, and Matt Z Seitz were all regular film critics for the NY Press weekly, and all consistently excellent.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/617082/the-press-gang-by-godfrey-cheshire/9781609809775

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:29 (two months ago) link

the misogyny was always there, followed shortly by the right-wing move, then came the transphobia. and i don't think he was ever particularly incisive, and anyone reacting strictly based on the prevailing winds of other critics is dishonest. once you get past the trolling, he's been Travers-level for most of the 21st century.

omar little, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:34 (two months ago) link

Armond's reviews make no sense at all unless you know which other critics he's tilting against. He's one of the most literally reactionary critics in art history.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:42 (two months ago) link

I don't recall any overt misogyny in his '90s writing, but I haven't read any in awhile.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:49 (two months ago) link

Forthcoming book will collect long-form pieces by AW, Godfrey Cheshire, and Matt Z Seitz were all regular film critics for the NY Press weekly, and all consistently excellent.

Oh excellent! Pre-ordered.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 17:55 (two months ago) link

here's the US book link

https://sevenstories.com/books/4214-the-press-gang

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 25 September 2019 18:02 (two months ago) link

Yeah I can't wait for that book, MZS is still writing & in top form

Armond is fun to read when he actually likes whatever he's reviewing: Intolerance, Nashville, The Image Book, anything by Wong Kar-wai... and I liked his review of the new Tarantino, which as someone said itt or on twitter, reads like a pan but ends with Armond saying it's Tarantino's best ever. Go figure. I'm still obsessed with Ned's reaction itt to Armond's Get Out review.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 25 September 2019 19:22 (two months ago) link

Armond is OTM re: Gaspar Noe

White: He’s a fraud, a deliberate sensationalist. And he’s not serious. So I think his films may be outrageous in terms of violence and sexuality and a pretend social perspective. It’s just all shock, but without the moral conviction of a Surrealist from the 1920s.

Good interview: https://filmmakermagazine.com/archives/issues/winter2004/features/the_critic.php

flappy bird, Thursday, 26 September 2019 16:58 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

weighed in on Marty vs Marvel (and he's got shit to say about both)

Scorsese was reacting against the degradation of cinema’s artistic purpose more than against Hollywood practice itself. That his personal gangster-movie franchise suggests little more than a mob-violence theme-park ride is ironic; the repetitions of Raging Bull, GoodFellas, Casino, and The Departed have contributed to the modern viewer’s reliance on overwrought, impotent machismo and a thirst for irresponsible vicarious thrills. In other words, comic-book movies.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/martin-scorsese-criticizes-comic-book-movies-defends-humanism/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 14 October 2019 21:18 (one month ago) link

The enemy of my enemy of my enemy is still my enemy.

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Monday, 14 October 2019 21:19 (one month ago) link

chud brain has made him even more stupid

omar little, Monday, 14 October 2019 22:00 (one month ago) link

Idk I think Armond is kind of otm there, one of the most common refrains on twitter after he dissed Marvel was, "Scorsese only makes one genre of movie anyway." it's a classic controp and doesn't approach the absurdity of a lot of his recent writing.

flappy bird, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 02:18 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

The beef continues.

https://letterboxd.com/notarmondwhite/film/marriage-story-2019/

temporarily embarrassed thousandaire (Eric H.), Friday, 15 November 2019 15:09 (three weeks ago) link

It’s a particular tendency of the privileged Boomer: self-aggrandizement and self-dramatization.

Armond's keeping up with the timely references

mh, Friday, 15 November 2019 15:36 (three weeks ago) link

OK Armond

temporarily embarrassed thousandaire (Eric H.), Friday, 15 November 2019 15:43 (three weeks ago) link

Now Baumbach extends sour reminiscence into further self-centeredness

lol hm, who does that remind me of, cant quite put my finger on it.....

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Friday, 15 November 2019 15:57 (three weeks ago) link

"his least bad movie"

take a rec when u can get it

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 November 2019 17:38 (three weeks ago) link

Is White going for a slant rhyme?

Xpost

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 15 November 2019 17:42 (three weeks ago) link

white's neuroses are as evident as ever

-_- (jim in vancouver), Friday, 15 November 2019 17:48 (three weeks ago) link

on a colleague's wall last night about The Irishman and this article:

Armond White It's Variety--never an unbiased source. Scorsese has lost imagination. No more gangster rehashes. Why can't he go back to Mean Street's half-million $ budget and make movies with originality?

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 15 November 2019 23:01 (three weeks ago) link

Armond's a uniquely insight-free critic, even for a righty comedy troll

Pinche Cumbion Bien Loco (stevie), Monday, 18 November 2019 23:04 (three weeks ago) link

Well this is ... not terribly surprising: https://letterboxd.com/notarmondwhite/film/intolerance-loves-struggle-throughout-the-ages/1/

temporarily embarrassed thousandaire (Eric H.), Monday, 2 December 2019 14:57 (one week ago) link

I have no idea what any of that is about but the free speech brigade is strong in the comments so I'm guessing... it was not a good discord server

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 15:07 (one week ago) link

I regret to inform you that I searched around a little and this appears to be a screen cap of the banned poster’s bio:


Am I on drugs? What the fuck is going on with this site? pic.twitter.com/A4hXQIPIEM

— Nu Metal Cinema Curator (@mkowzun) May 2, 2019



This entire “I’m a hyper-intellectual with complicated views you don’t get” has apparently infiltrated the film people and not just the weird twitter political trolls

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 15:44 (one week ago) link

What I mean is, color me shocked that the "Arm0nd" Letterboxd account is being run by one of these lost souls.

temporarily embarrassed thousandaire (Eric H.), Monday, 2 December 2019 15:47 (one week ago) link

yeah. *sigh*

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 15:51 (one week ago) link

that account has been deleted, but here's the whole thing

Anti-cinema.
(does the lego undermine the sexy?)

Greatest: Griffith, Flaherty, Stroheim, Strand, Eisenstein, Sternberg, Ruttmann, Walt Disney, Chaplin, Sandler, Wyler, Capra, Godard, Bayformers, Friedberg & Seltzer, St. Clair, Walsh, Demille, Stoney, Dwan, Henry King, Barker, Saks, Quine, Brown, Titans GO

worst: ozu, lynch, bugman, bresson, kubrick, lang, welles, ford, hitchcock

The foundation of my thought process:

My interests lie in a cumuluative approach to cultural designation and study. I'm concerned about what the failures and achievements of prior generations entail for the future and what the weight of that history bears on macro-micro social engagement. It is why I play very little emphasis on the creative voice because I largely don't see creativity or individuality. I see bubbles, and within those bubbles, sects of groups that think themselves to be impressive or inferior, not realizing that each and every one of them resides in a bubble. For many still active, they anticipate an end, but with me, I feel as though the end has either happened (2007) or is constant because all around me I see glaze and trite competitive onedownmanship. Perhaps that is my "schizoid" personality that weighs my perception, but I was never a downer nor a whiner. Neither have I ever advocated for such. What I do feel is that I have a sense for real consequence, but my predisposition prevents me from steering away, instead wishing to correct the apathetic stares of the cinephiliac zombie

The reason why I attack so many works is because film, as a medium, is compounded by a near-insurmountable pile of fermented bilge that has crept its way into the crevices of people's egos and subsequently replaced vacant personalities. People define themselves by the films they watch, not really ever getting near or grasping why this piece of visual and audio stimulus resonates with them. They are always using terms such as "seeming" or "oneiric" without ever really contemplating how something that requires physicality could come across as such nor ever really stumbling across the OBJECTIVE notions of what is they glimpsed and had wash over them as another ad in the ecospace, centered on diverting their attention towards an illusively inward autostasis. I'm not one to say I have all the answers because I as well am partially lost, but what separates me from the mass and middling tiers is that i'm not a watcher. I am actively engaging with the works I look at, my mind is racing, many things remissed because of my short-term memory and the ease of losing important ideas and connections I conceptualize. I believe in my senses and have confidence through my immense awareness that picks up on slightest details that go by even the most discerning of individuals, but in my occasional foggy gaze, what I find to be the guiding path for me is working backwards and eliminating what I can firmly justify as antithetical to ideal, as unnecessary, as illusive, as trickery much akin to how Godard said in looking for the future of the post-cinema landscape he anticipated and envisioned, he wanted to return to Griffith and Chaplin and see where at the beginning, the seams were unpulled, where divergent paths in the medium were made and where the constraints in the commercial realm as well as limitations of the independent were first organized.

I am of a long-dead breed, an anomaly in the ecochamber of cinephilia. Firm and dedicated advocate of anti-cinema. Anti-Romantic alarm.

Thought and Personality:

Everything is connected (eastern philosophy); and language is the abstract solidification (Heraclitus); find the root, the connection, then reattach, move, transform, or unplug. The visual language of film allows for the opportunity to transcend sense and achieve freeform consciousness through rhythmic intonation of the beyond (how one can learn dialectics and philosophy through Griffith, Flaherty, and Eisenstein without even reading); that is why the introduction of film has the propensity to incur the end and the rebirth of humanity, for its assemblage is made up of all components (physics, language) to reflect the human spirit; the refraction of collision between subject's thought and screen creates the beyond

Prediction for behavior and disaster with a person is associated with his personality and what he thinks. A plant is from a seed. If there is no seed, then there is no plant. So, there is no seed of thought, the action will not occur.

Because humans are based on energy, they're not all too different from machines; the spirit is the pretentious, ambiguity is the real, the agnosticism of the spiritual, the malleability and the disingenuous seen in Griffith and Demille creates pure essence (the sense of true power)

I have immense propensity for problem-solving and innate intelligence, but my biggest flaw is the slow-burst energy module (passive in public, tested remaining passive, burst when pushed to edge - this is linked with short-term memory); The lack of control seen in Griffith and Eisenstein - Gods; I share with Griffith organization but immense disorganization; I share possibly with Griffith but certainly with Eisenstein sociopathy and a fusion of comedy and incredible darkness

I have immense sense and awareness grabbed from my father and understanding grabbed from my mother and father; Constant doubt shared with father, dates back to possible Jewish origins (striking similarity between Jewish and black shared incompatibility with respective kind)

Perhaps I have the God personality - Heraclitus; stark fluctuation between benevolent and malevolent sociopath brought about by conditioning of horror movies, teasing and sensitivity, and yelling and punishment by father and mother, death of mother and near-death of father shows the predestined traumatic solidification - enjoyment of exploiting psychological reduction of others - TRUTH (CORE) - (personality hindrance prevents humanity from reaching truth since personality is catalyst for thought, truth is more frightening than illusion and pushes away others) - reserved from humanity, dissatisfied with humans but enjoy observing from beyond - I lack desire, I desire truth, I derive entertainment from finding truth and its essence. Reading at early age allowed me to prosper - the knack for philosophical and psychological thinking

Big indication of God personality - how do I know people and can psychologically reduce if I do not spend time with people? (Extra-sensitive awareness)

The misanthrope is either a wild beast or a God, not because he is uncaring, but because he expects better, the testing (teacher and student); the mutual respect between teachers (me and mine, willing to listen to wise) is representative

Unpredictability and comedy:

Comedy is defense mechanism for fear (Bergson); comedy is the foundation of thought (no difference between irony, contradiction, and dialectics because they are all linked with comedy, the disposition of the serious action, the counterweight of productivity - EVERYTHING is linked to counter-energy (physics); Moving Counter – ENERGY TRANSFORMATIONS AND LAW OF CONSERVATION

Humor requires incongruity. Beauty is subjective. Superimpose both, you get neither.

I respond so well to camp because I have an extra-sensitivity towards a range of emotions; I can detect the inner, outer, and meta; the meta is linked to spiritual, spiritual is linked to my minority roots (Native American).

Silly is clown makeup and bushy mustache. Quirky is suede suit with flowerprint (i.e. sublimated queerity)

Campy is rolled eyes and smacked bubblegum. Post-irony is overexpressive smirk with lowered brow (i.e. anime)

Modernism is rollercoasters and funnel cakes. Postmodernism is reefer and texting (i.e. grunge, rock, punk, pop, and rap music)

My personality prevents me from getting absorbed in the freewheeling nonsense beyond passive entertainment. I respect its purpose, it has merit, but my God inhibitions prevent me from being wrapped around escapism. I have an overwhelming, supposedly autistic, obsession with challenging people to be better. Not necessarily be successful but remove their negative aspects. People think I like Demille and Griffith or Bay for entertainment. It's nowhere near the case. I like them for having cultural dialogue. That is preeminent function. But I'm very much wrapped around the complexities of my mind. I DERIVE entertainment from authenticity and truthfulness. Seeing the recontextualization of conflict, its rewrapping. So, I'm very much ALIEN. I have to insert into other's shoes very much like Stroheim, to know what they find entertaining. And often, I like to do so, as exploitation that revolves around to destroying what they like.

The weak-minded will label me a contrarian, a troll, pretentious, or even a PARODY account, as they do with everyone else that poses challenge to them, I'm not a contrarian in any way. I genuinely don't care about the majority of movies. Nothing I see applies to what I would deem 'art.' Altman agreed, why I put that quote in that Sunrise video of mine. What I consider shit, what I consider quality, is completely detached from the standards of which most of you normally consider "good movies", so don't bother trying to pull a "he lieks sandler but h8s welles!!!" on me to distract from you being too inept to argue. I'm always glowing with endorsement over many "beloved" cinephile darlings, such as Chaplin, Spielberg, and Disney, this ALSO extends to "mass entertainment" that cinephiles shriek in terror at the sight of, such as Transformers, Sandler, Friedberg/Seltzer, etc. My main target for criticism is films of the ARTHOUSE variety. The butchering and vulgarization of cinematic language for the purpose of some director's bullshit self-expression, for other cinephiles to feel "emotionally transcendent" for 2 hours while staring at a screen, neither parties achieving any significant change in their environment, instead choosing to throw their fists in the air at "The Man" in an endless loop. Thanks to these types, we now see film adapting mass variant of musical stimulation. No longer theory, now emotional and mood stabilizer as escape from modern existence.

Me, I'm just tired of Redditors that have such huge fucking heads but are middlebrow as fuck

Gotta peg'em down a notch

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:05 (one week ago) link

can we poll these paragraphs

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:06 (one week ago) link

Put me down for “Perhaps I have the God personality”

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:11 (one week ago) link

one of the twitter replies implies that this is one of those people that has long dialogues with themselves on chan-style sites

which, again, of course

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 16:23 (one week ago) link

Not sure who will be lured in with a personal ad like that but good luck to them

omar little, Monday, 2 December 2019 16:24 (one week ago) link

like maybe they didn't get banned for NAZI but because letterboxd is a site for reviewing movies and not for experiments in conceptual trolling

I understand those are the same thing, to an extent, nonetheless...

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 16:25 (one week ago) link

just seems like a very mentally ill person. not especially funny.

treeship., Monday, 2 December 2019 16:38 (one week ago) link

If there is a poll the final option needs to be "Dude, it's just a movie. Maybe you should go lie down for a while."

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:51 (one week ago) link

so this person posted an incoherent paranoid screed that has nothing to do with movies to prove that they're... not armond white?

“Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:19 (one week ago) link

I think it’s actually two separate people. The one running AW’s account is speaking out on behalf of a kindred spirit who was banned.

temporarily embarrassed thousandaire (Eric H.), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:27 (one week ago) link

there's the bizarre screed person and their friend who is criticizing their site ban, who also reposts Armond reviews to the site under a separate "Not Armond" account

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 17:29 (one week ago) link

i like how he seems to have deliberately put the WORST directors in all lower case just to really put across his contempt for them

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:46 (one week ago) link

so this person posted an incoherent paranoid screed that has nothing to do with movies to prove that they're... not armond white?

― “Hakuna Matata,” a nihilist philosophy (One Eye Open)

lmfao

flappy bird, Monday, 2 December 2019 19:05 (one week ago) link

armond white's letterboxd account is called "notarmondwhite". he reposted someone else's rant.

the "anti-cinema" screed was another user's bio.

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 2 December 2019 21:42 (one week ago) link

armond white does not have a letterboxd account

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 21:52 (one week ago) link

idk why this is hard to follow:

some guy ("a_real_peanut") regularly reposts Armond content under "Not Armond White" so that people can see it on letterboxd

"a_real_peanut" decided to post on his not-armond account to chastise letterboxd for banning other users, as they have a much larger following on their account where they're copy-pasting Armond reviews

mh, Monday, 2 December 2019 21:54 (one week ago) link

oh. makes sense now.

wasdnuos (abanana), Monday, 2 December 2019 22:55 (one week ago) link


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