stories from a soapbox, part one

last week, lousy filmmaker steven speildberg told time magazine "the greatest films ever made were cut on film and i am tenaciously hanging onto the process."

this is the kind of yahoo who wants to be a writer, so he buys a typewriter because that's what hemmingway used. he doesn't seem to possess the kind of intellect that it takes to realize hemmingway, bukowski, miller, etc. used typewriters because it was the best tool available to them. every single one of them, if born today would use computers. there is simply no reason to deal with the hassles of a typewriter. the same is true of film.

i love film. i've been watching it all my life. i love the look and feel of it. i love the kind of films that have been made using it in exactly the same way i love work written on typewriters. but this kind of comment (as made by mr. speildberg) illustrates a fundamental misconception. if i were to suggest that annie leibowitz only takes good photographs because of the type of camera she uses, it would be an insult to her and the artform. it would also be a rediculous thing to say. i'd be (rightfully) laughed right out of town. of course, steven speildberg makes the same sort of assinine remark and it is printed in the press.

don't get me wrong. i don't fault time magazine. any journalist worth his salt would print that sort of comment. i just can't understand how a man who has such a high opinion of himself would make such a comment.

film is and has been a wonderful tool. it has allowed storytelling to reach a whole new pinnacle in the world and i have nothing but apreciation for it. but for someone who is as "in the spotlight" as mr. speildberg is to be sending the message to every film student that he should work with inferior material simply because people did when they had no other option serves only as a testament to how outdated mr. speildberg is.

of course, i'm not sure any new, young filmmaker worth being excited about would care what he has to say anyway.

in the last analysis of it, let's admit that what movies are really about at their core is storytelling. and i submit that if we are to have as good of stories as possible, then any and every tool available to the storytellers should be fair game. i mean, are we after good storytelling or are we after feeling artistic? the answer might be as sad as the question.

2006-03-15 | 7:52 p.m.
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