Hello, readers! Just letting you know that I had the opportunity to interview the wonderfully talented Randall—yes, he of the famous Honey Badger series on YouTube–for CURNBLOG—and it’s up and running now. In it, you can discover what makes this very funny comic personality tick … from animals to causes, as well as how he got Lucy Lawless to star in one of his videos. It’s a terrific interview, and I hope you enjoy it. You can find it here: http://curnblog.com/2015/02/11/interviewing-honey-badgers-randall-life-worth-narrating/.
Eons ago, when VCRs ruled the world, my parents were showing my cousin and his wife the original 1968 film of The Producers. When the movie came to the sequence where Zero Mostel’s Max Bialystock gets a “toy” for a present to himself – basically a beautiful woman for him to ogle – my cousin’s wife spoke up with indignation.
“That’s so sexist,” she said.
Well, yeah. Yes, it is.
Of course it’s sexist. It’s horribly, absurdly sexist. And that’s the point. Bialystock is something of a disgusting person. I mean, he’s trying to scam people with a show glorifying Hitler. If that’s not reprehensible, I don’t know what is.
There’s an issue here, though: What makes a movie offensive? Obviously, my cousin’s wife was offended by the inherent sexism of the character and the scene. But I feel it’s within the context of the film, which is no-holds-barred offensive, anyway. This is a flick that makes fun of (sometimes unfairly) Jews, homosexuals, seniors, hippies and other groups. There are few left out. And the whole point of the movie is to make fun of bad taste. Even Brooks reportedly said of his pictures that they “rise below vulgarity.”
Is my cousin’s wife right to be indignant, though? Is it all a matter of taste? Can offensiveness be subjective, all in the eye of the beholder? Or is there an objective quality to it that legitimizes the act of taking umbrage even to what many people regard as a classic: The Producers?
It’s hard to answer this question. If someone feels strongly that something is offensive, how could we mark that person as wrong? On the other hand, can someone miss the point or context of something altogether? That’s totally possible. Maybe both are totally possible. I’m not sure.
I broached the subject of racism and films that I feel should be taught in schools or museums at CURNBLOG recently here. My point suggests that there is an objectivity to offensiveness, that some films are inherently, unequivocally racist. But the comments to this post indicate that people have differing views on the subject. Perhaps there’s something to that.
We should continue to explore it. It’s the only way to address the issue.
Hello, folks! Just want to let you know that my latest interview for CURNBLOG has hit the blogosphere, and it’s with director Keith Gordon. In it, he talks about the business of film, how much improvisation he encourages among actors and his father’s teachings. The interview may be found here:
Hi, folks! My new interview on CURNBLOG is up, and it’s a good one: I talk to Susan Seidelman, director of films such as Desperately Seeking Susan, about balancing comedy and drama, Hollywood’s treatment of female talent, and her own cinematic influences. You can read more here:
I hope you like it.
Hello, readers! Wanted to let you know that my latest interview is up at CURNBLOG: a conversation with acclaimed director Hal Hartley. In it, Hartley discusses the benefits of working independently, what he likes about films and his insights on musical composition. You can read more at:
I hope you enjoy it.
Hello, everyone! Just letting you know that my latest interview for CURNBLOG has been put to website, and it’s a doozy. It’s a conversation with Whit Stillman, director of films such as Metropolitan and The Last Days of Disco. In it, Whit discusses his moviemaking process, as well as his opinion of films past and present. You can read more about it here:
Hope you like it!
Hi, everyone! Just letting you know about an interview I did for James Curnow’s wonderful, cinema-oriented CURNBLOG with former Saturday Night Live writer Ferris Butler (yes, that Ferris Butler) and legendary songwriter Beverly Ross, she of “Lollipop” fame. Incidentally, Ferris and Beverly are also my uncle and aunt and were gracious enough to field my questions. If you’d like to read it, the interview (which covers everything from their careers in the entertainment industry to the story behind Ferris being the inspiration for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) may be found on this CURNBLOG page: