Does Geir's musical philosophy remind you of John Simon's film criticism?

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OK, I've never posted here, but I've noticed the somewhat single-minded system Geir Hongro views music. I'm not making fun, but for those familiar with John Simon's film criticism (and theater criticism), does it in some ways seem like the musical version of it? I like Simon, but if a movie (I mean film) didn't meet his rules then he tended to tear it to shreds. Kind of like Geir with anything that isn't "melodic."

As a first post I hope this isn't laughed off as something ridiculous, but I can't remember anyone bringing this up. I actually find Geir's opinions interesting, though the fact that Simon's European, contrary, anti-populist, etc. seems striking.

Adam Harrison-Friday, Wednesday, 9 April 2003 02:16 (sixteen years ago) link

i think its more like the Daily Mail's Chris Tookey

i've come to like Geir tho - now i either agree with what he's saying or its just so dam funny it makes me laugh and thats no bad thing really

stevem (blueski), Wednesday, 9 April 2003 09:25 (sixteen years ago) link

I've only read (parts of) one of John Simon's books (the 1967-70 one), but I don't remember him adhering to any rigid set of rules (he seemed to come down pretty hard on the 'auteur' theory at least partly for that reason, if I remember correctly). It's true that he didn't have all that much patience for 'youth' movies (er, films) and was against overt commercialism, etc., but in being that way I don't think he was following a code so much as he was genuinely repulsed by stuff (his review of 'Performance' is literally hysterical). He's probably more remembered for his mean-spiritedness esp. in regards to his focus on a performer's (usually female's) physical attributes. Nope, I think CALUM IS YOUR MAN!

s woods, Wednesday, 9 April 2003 12:02 (sixteen years ago) link

Which contemporary films did John Simon like?

N. (nickdastoor), Wednesday, 9 April 2003 19:46 (sixteen years ago) link

M*A*S*H, Persona, and Yellow Submarine are three I can recall ("contemporary" in 67-70).

s woods, Thursday, 10 April 2003 02:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Simon's review of the Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense is side-splitting. I do see Adam's point. Simon was definitely plot (melody) over spontaneity (rhythm).

gery forbes (gery), Thursday, 10 April 2003 03:16 (sixteen years ago) link

the thing is, i like a lot of the music that Geir likes (esp. synth pop). i just think his overarching theory is crap.

with john simon, i neither like the films that he likes nor do i like his overarching theory.

Tad (llamasfur), Thursday, 10 April 2003 03:46 (sixteen years ago) link

well, what is his "overarching theory"? What are the "rules" that Adam mentions? I'm not being facetious, I really would like to know ('cause I assume you guys know more about him than I do). (Maybe this thread is on the wrong side of the ILX fence.)

s woods, Thursday, 10 April 2003 11:54 (sixteen years ago) link

What, Geir likes Synth Pop AND Prog Rock? Oh dear.

Dadaismus, Thursday, 10 April 2003 13:14 (sixteen years ago) link

SYNTH PROG, HERE WE COME! YEEEE-HAAAWWWWWW!!

Lord Custos Epsilon (Lord Custos Epsilon), Thursday, 10 April 2003 19:26 (sixteen years ago) link

"Synth prog" = Seventh Wave :-)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Thursday, 10 April 2003 19:48 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't know that Simon has a specific "theory," but in his reviews he pretty much just reviews the plot and ridicules anything that he feels isn't logical, etc. However, he's so difficult to please that anything that could have the slightest possibility of not occurring he tends to really shit on. And as was mentioned above, if an actress isn't attractive she isn't a good actress (his opinions on Liza Minnelli and Barbra Streisand are particularly ugly).

I will admit that I like some things he does (especially "Seven Beauties," possibly his best piece of criticism, though only if you like the film--which many don't). But he just tends to nitpick to extremes and find things stupid, ugly, pointless without--sometimes it seems--really considering them in any context but the restricted view he's held to forever.

Any guy who has shat on every single movie Scorsese's made (or almost all, don't think I've read him on every one) probably isn't going to be trusted by a lot of people. Plus he basically wrote off "The Godfather" and "Part II" as simplistic mafia dramas with little to recommend. Most people seem to despise the guy because though he claims to be trying to learn from movies and find things to make the viewer interested. Ultimately if a film wasn't foreign he wasn't gonna say that much for it, and he loved to pick on (and probably disagree) with other critics unless they were similar to him.

I just think the somewhat narrow and totally non-mainstream style he's used for decades in some ways reminds me of Geir, though the connections are difficult to make from film to music.

Adam Harrison-Friday, Friday, 11 April 2003 02:02 (sixteen years ago) link

six years pass...

Simon actually really enjoyed "Goodfellas," calling it the best mainstream Hollywood film in so long he couldn't recall the previous best.

Simon is like Geir in the sense they're both wildly contrarian and dismissive of many currently fashionable works of entertainment and art - really to the point of upsetting people greatly.

Best Simon reviews: the aforementioned Performance, Manhattan (actually read his review for any Woody Allen movie), all of the films from the canon that he gave mixed to bad reviews for including Godfather, Shawshank, 2001, Taxi Driver, Blue Velvet.

And last, but certainly not least, read his review for the Spy Who Loved Me, where he provides cursory attention to the plot and performances before he spends at least two paragraphs complaining about the fact that, in an attempt to secure a PG, Barbara Bach is not naked in the film.

Cunga, Saturday, 2 May 2009 05:33 (ten years ago) link

I've only read his review of Performance. But few of the films/directors above push my buttons so he sounds he could be of some value.

Kevin John Bozelka, Saturday, 2 May 2009 05:52 (ten years ago) link

Simon hates Godard and loves Bergman. I use that as a sort of key to understand where he's coming from.

Sometimes his critiques of actresses' physiques - for what they're worth - strike me as incoherent or even incorrect.

Josefa, Saturday, 2 May 2009 06:11 (ten years ago) link


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