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Terrence Malick and the scissors of doom

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 

This is going to come across somewhat troll-ish, but I promise you it's not.  I basically want to get your thoughts on a topic that has been bugging me lately.

I don't like Terrence Malick.  By that, I don't mean I don't like his films, I personally love The Thin Red Line.  However lately I've begun to seriously dislike Malick's behaviour as a director.

Allow me to elaborate.  My dislike does not stem from anything within the frames of his films, but from his treatment of actors.  A few months ago I read that Rachel Weisz's character was excised completely from his upcoming film To The Wonder.  At the time I thought "oh, typical Malick".  But this thought lingered and ultimately has bloomed in my mind, leading to this thread.

I think Weisz's comments were diplomatic when she confirmed that her performance was edited out of the film, but how could she not be pissed off about it?  She's an actor.  Actor's don't work in a vacuum, they act so that their performances can be seen.

How can Malick make an actor give him weeks, possibly months of their lives giving him the best performance they can, because he's Terrence fucking Malick, only to be then ultimately edited out of the film?  As if that wasn't bad enough,  they probably won't be seen in any alternate cut or even deleted scenes.

It just strikes me as really weird that Malick can get away with this, as if he's entitled to behaving this way.  I understand directors' have their own styles and methods, but this established trend of his to heavily cut or outright edit actors out mercilessly from his films leaves a bad taste in my mouth and does not strike me as professional.  At the very least the actors should be notified that whatever script they've read will be subjected to change heavily, including the size of their role.  I guess any actor considering working with him in this day and age should probably be aware of the risks...

What do you guys think?  Am I being unfair in my assessment?  Does Malick have carte blanche as director of a production to do what he wants with anything he's filmed?  All I know is if I was an actor and was edited out of a film, I'd feel angry that my time and energy was wasted by a seemingly fickle director.  He's made great films, and some may only be great because of his decision to cut characters out, but at what cost?  Somewhere hidden away are reels of great actors (in particular the number of victims of Thin Red Line editing is staggering) giving great performances that will never be seen, it's just really weird.

post #2 of 85

I think he set a precedent with the Thin Red Line that no actor is safe, and that his films are made in the edit to a high degree. I'm not sure if it's fair to actors(sure didn't seem so on Line), but now I'd say it's a chance you've accepted if you choose to work with him. It's still odd though when the film doesn't have such a sprawling cast like Line.

post #3 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by cognizant View Post


How can Malick make an actor give him weeks, possibly months of their lives giving him the best performance they can, because he's Terrence fucking Malick, only to be then ultimately edited out of the film?  

 


It's called a salary.  While she was cut from the film, she was well compensated for her time and effort.  By now any actor working with Malick knows there is a great possibility they could be cut out entirely from the film.  If they don't want to take that risk, they don't have to sign up.  Malick isn't putting a gun to anybody's head.  I am reminded of Faye Dunaway complaining on the set of Chinatown about her motivation...Polanski shouted "Shut up and act!  Your salary is your motivation!!!"

 

Does it suck to be cut out of a film?  Of course.  But Malick is an artist and film is his canvas, and he treats it as such...actors are colors on that canvas.  If he as an artist feels that color isn't working after having shot and looked at the entire canvas, then he's going to remove it.  There is nothing heartless about it to me.  Now if you're talking about M. Night Shyamalan or Michael Bay, then that's different because they're not making art, they're making mass popcorn films and there isn't as much a desire to treat the film as a canvas.  It will more  closely follow the script the actors were handed in the beginning.  

post #4 of 85

Hey, something I agree with Ambler on!

 

Yeah, it sucks to get cut, or recast, or what have you. But it happens, and more often than you might think. Like Ambler says, the actors are still paid for their work; heck, sometimes they can even get paid if a film is NEVER made!

 

And if that was Weisz's only complaint about working with Malick, I still have respect for him as a human being as well as a filmmaker. When you get into David O'Russell prima-donna territory is where you lose me. There's almost no excuse for some of the shit he's pulled.

post #5 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by cognizant View Post

What do you guys think?  Am I being unfair in my assessment?  Does Malick have carte blanche as director of a production to do what he wants with anything he's filmed?  

 

Yup.

post #6 of 85

Wouldn't, I dunno, non-stars have a much bigger beef about their roles being cut from a film?  Only that probably happens all the time and nobody says anything about it.  Are any of these well-known actors going to hurt for employment opportunities because Malick left them on the cutting room floor?  Probably not.  They're whining because of an ego-hit, and these are people whose egos are very well maintained by the other 99.999999% of the world.

post #7 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey View Post

Wouldn't, I dunno, non-stars have a much bigger beef about their roles being cut from a film?  Only that probably happens all the time and nobody says anything about it.  Are any of these well-known actors going to hurt for employment opportunities because Malick left them on the cutting room floor?  Probably not.  They're whining because of an ego-hit, and these are people whose egos are very well maintained by the other 99.999999% of the world.

 

Pretty good point.  A story I just remembered...my ex roommate's friend is an actress and I remember going out to celebrate with them because she'd just been cast in Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, in a fairly substantial role.  Shitty director aside, it was a major victory because she was a struggling actress living check to check.  

 

Almost a year later she found out she'd been left on the cutting room floor, and was pretty upset about it...until she actually saw the movie.

post #8 of 85

The biggest problem with shooting a film without an idea of what story you're trying to tell is that it's fiscally irresponsible. But if the end result is good art, great. The fact that Malick's financiers continue to support this method is somewhat encouraging from the artistic side (see also: Paul Thomas Anderson).

 

That said, Rachel Weisz should be in every movie.

post #9 of 85
Sometimes there is a double standard. Sometimes it is merited. Malick is a singular artist. Very few directors can say that. The films he makes are Malick films, written by him, directed by him, edited by him. I presume every actor knows that going in. He is going to make the film he wants to make, and he tends to find them in the editing bay.

As a second point, Malick is one of those truly rare smart people in the world. Not smart like the smart guys and girls you know. But functionally brilliant. Just on a different plane. So some level of iconoclasm is to be expected.

I understand the comment by cognizant. To pilfer a quote...it's not show friends, it's show business.

Or in this case, legitimate art.
post #10 of 85

"Actors should be treated like cattle."

 

-Alfred Hitchcock.

post #11 of 85
Thread Starter 
This is why I still post here, good comments guys. I shall chew over these thoughts some more.

I'd still love to see the deleted scenes. All ten hours worth!
post #12 of 85
If I were a major star and I wanted to make sure my work got into a Malick film, I'd have it written into the contract that I must have at least X amount of screen time.

I'm not a major star and I don't give a fuck about being in a Malick film, I'm just saying.

I'm also not Malick's biggest fan, and the spectacle of actors lining up to work with a director who clearly isn't an actors' director continues to baffle me. If I were a major star I'd be like "Go ahead and photograph your awesome weeds blowing in the wind, beardo. I'll just be over here working with directors who appreciate actors as more than just another color on the canvas." For me, Malick has been the biggest emperor-has-no-clothes figure in American film, but I'm aware he has his acolytes.
post #13 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post

If I were a major star and I wanted to make sure my work got into a Malick film, I'd have it written into the contract that I must have at least X amount of screen time.
I'm not a major star and I don't give a fuck about being in a Malick film, I'm just saying.

 

And guess who wouldn't be getting hired?

post #14 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post

For me, Malick has been the biggest emperor-has-no-clothes figure in American film, but I'm aware he has his acolytes.

 

So I guess all the thoughtful analysis that's out there about his films is just a bunch of hogwash?

 

You can have your issues with his style, you don't have to like his films; but to act like they're somehow empty, to imply that he's fooling a bunch of intelligent people, just makes you sound silly.

post #15 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe T View Post

"Actors should be treated like cattle."

 

-Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Don't give yourselves to brutes: men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives. Tell you what to do, what to think or what to feel!

 

Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon foddah!

 

Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men! Machine MEN with machine MINDS and machine hearts! YOU ARE NOT MACHINES! YOU ARE NOT CATTLE! YOU ARE *MEN*!

 

 

I'm sorry. I know this it totally off-topic, but I love that speech so much, I couldn't resist.

post #16 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey View Post

And guess who wouldn't be getting hired?

I'm saying if said actor were approached to be in the film. Said actor would be within his/her rights to say, "I'm not going to waste months of my life working on a movie I'm going to end up cut out of. Agree that I'll actually be in it or I'm out right now." I wish more actors felt this way instead of groveling for the chance to work with The Master. At least Christopher Plummer was refreshingly candid about his disappointment.
post #17 of 85

It would be beyond presumptuous for an actor to expect a director, especially one who up until recently worked as infrequently as Malick, would change his normal working style just for them.

 

He finds the movie in the editing.  It's a legitimate method, and one that everyone knows he engages in.  They shouldn't put themselves in that position if they don't want to be in it.  All of these actors are not hurting for opportunities to work. 

 

Is it unfortunate on some level they don't get their work onscreen?  Yeah.  But it's a much worse alternative to put the amount of time an individual actor has onscreen ahead of the cut the director feels is best.  That's just backwards.

post #18 of 85

Well, arguably ANY movie is "found in the edit", no? And the people cut from Malick's films are hardly the first.

 

I'm not seeing the difference here between Malick and countless other films.

post #19 of 85

The difference is obviously the degree to which the script serves as a guide, and/or the degree to which the director knows how the narrative will play out before filming is finished.  You don't usually see it play out to the extremes that Malick's films tend to, otherwise it wouldn't be so noteworthy to actors who have worked with him.

post #20 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe T View Post

"Actors should be treated like cattle."

 

-Alfred Hitchcock.

 

It's beside the point, but that often gets quoted as evidence of what a meanie he was.  Really it's more that he was fond of saying slightly outrageous things. It's a good analogy for his attitude to directing, really.  Which was don't direct unless they go wrong.  Cattle will go mostly where they like.  They're guided and directed by pens and, failing that, a guy with a rattle.  So build the edifice (I guess) of the film to get your 'cattle' to go the direction that you want and failing that stand there and turn them back if they go the wrong way.

 

It's not the only way to direct of course and if you were too dogmatic about doing it this way things could get pointlessly circuitous.  But it's pretty reasonable in essence.

post #21 of 85

The interesting thing is that, iirc, Hitchcock was pretty much the exact opposite of Malick in the sense that he had his films planned out as much as he could beforehand, and I believe he even said that he would have preferred to not even have to go through the process of making the thing once he had had it all figured.  But I guess on either extreme the actor is going to be less of a collaborator and more of a piece to be used.

post #22 of 85
Why is Malick a special snowflake because he spent twenty years dicking off and he makes pretty pictures? If an actor commits to a film based at least in part on the script and his/her role as written in it, it's reasonable for the actor to expect that his/her hard work in said film should be seen. A director who cuts out actors' work in favor of including more endless shots of leaves and shit should just make NatGeo documentaries. I mean, who needs actors for these piss-elegant tone poems about the wonders of the universe? We've got Ron Fricke and Godfrey Reggio for that, and they don't use laughably on-the-nose narration about the Oversoul or whatever Philosophy 101 shit.

I should admit here that I gave up on Malick after Thin Red Line, so take the above with the appropriate grain of salt.
post #23 of 85

He studied philosophy at Harvard and Oxford and taught it at MIT.  That's hardly philosophy 101, but the way you dismiss him in a few lines of insulting text is oh so convincing.

post #24 of 85

And the voiceover is often not meant to be taken at face value.  There's typically a darker, sometimes even ironic undercurrent to it, and the words are not meant to be the literal thoughts of the character.

post #25 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

Pretty good point.  A story I just remembered...my ex roommate's friend is an actress and I remember going out to celebrate with them because she'd just been cast in Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, in a fairly substantial role.  Shitty director aside, it was a major victory because she was a struggling actress living check to check.  

 

Almost a year later she found out she'd been left on the cutting room floor, and was pretty upset about it...until she actually saw the movie.

 

 

I can see her making some calls - "hey M Night, could you please cut me out of any special features, too? Thx." 

post #26 of 85
To counterpoint Martin, were I an actor I'd rather be cut out of a Malick film than star in a movie by most directors. And I've seen some incredible performances in Malick films. I wouldn't say he leads the list of actor's directors, but he certainly gets great work from great actors.
post #27 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post

Why is Malick a special snowflake because he spent twenty years dicking off and he makes pretty pictures? If an actor commits to a film based at least in part on the script and his/her role as written in it, it's reasonable for the actor to expect that his/her hard work in said film should be seen. A director who cuts out actors' work in favor of including more endless shots of leaves and shit should just make NatGeo documentaries. I mean, who needs actors for these piss-elegant tone poems about the wonders of the universe? We've got Ron Fricke and Godfrey Reggio for that, and they don't use laughably on-the-nose narration about the Oversoul or whatever Philosophy 101 shit.
I should admit here that I gave up on Malick after Thin Red Line, so take the above with the appropriate grain of salt.

 

Well film is a director's medium.  Most good actors know that and accept it.  It's why they tolerate having to do 20 takes, or do their death scene that comes in the 3rd act on the 5th day of shooting, or shoot one half of a scene one week, and the other half several weeks later.  It is 100% a director/producer driven medium.  Actors are important, but the technical side takes a front seat.  And it is not uncommon for a director to piece together a subpar or merely decent performance in the editing room and turn it into Oscar material.  It's happened frequently.  That's how powerful editing is.

 

Malick is a true artist, it's why great actors continually clamor to work with him, regardless of his cutting practices...if you think he's some glorified NatGeo documentarian, then...wow, I honestly don't know what to say to that.  

post #28 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by First Class 782 View Post

To counterpoint Martin, were I an actor I'd rather be cut out of a Malick film than star in a movie by most directors. And I've seen some incredible performances in Malick films. I wouldn't say he leads the list of actor's directors, but he certainly gets great work from great actors.


Wouldn't that make it worse from an actor's perspective? What if the scenes that you put in would have gotten you an Oscar if they hadn't been cut out? Or recognition that led to being cast in a role that got you an Oscar in the future?

post #29 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post

What if the scenes that you put in would have gotten you an Oscar if they hadn't been cut out? Or recognition that led to being cast in a role that got you an Oscar in the future?

 

Scenes don't edit themselves.  Performances are built in the editing room.  An actor may give a brilliant take, but the scene still has to work as a scene, which usually has other actors, plot points, multiple angles, all which require editing around that one actor's take...and the actor may not have been brilliant in all his angles...actors don't act in a vacuum and that's why editing is key.  Even if an actor gave a great performance, if they or a certain scene don't work in the film, it gets cut.  The film comes before any actor.  That's why film is a director's medium first and foremost, it's more technical than people realize.  Actors who don't want to be dicked with and don't want to deal with the technical limitations of film, they do theater.

post #30 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post

I should admit here that I gave up on Malick after Thin Red Line, so take the above with the appropriate grain of salt.

 

Thank god you added this disclaimer, because otherwise I'd be absolutely positive that your comments on Malick were really thoughtful and full of insight. 

post #31 of 85

I read the interview in which Christopher Plummer pissed and moaned about having his role reduced in THE NEW WORLD. I remember thinking this is a guy who's had a very successful career in film and theater since the late-1940s, and has worked with a lot of great people; why the hell would he care if some of his scenes were cut? And the way I see it, he was one of the lucky ones ... he's still in the movie!

 

Also, if you've ever seen any of the deleted footage on THE THIN RED LINE Criterion disc, you'll see exactly why some of the actors had their scenes pruned or cut entirely. John C. Reilly, Larry Romano and Danny Hoch are absolutely dreadful in the footage. Amateur-hour stuff.

post #32 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parker View Post

Thank god you added this disclaimer, because otherwise I'd be absolutely positive that your comments on Malick were really thoughtful and full of insight. 

Hey, I've seen three out of The Master's five films (not counting the one that hasn't been officially released yet). I think that's enough. The Thin Red Line was just such a dead-ass pretentious bore to me that I was like, that's it. I've given the Malick thing three shots now and there's me and there's him and the two don't meet. And that's fine. I don't remember insulting folks who like his stuff, so I don't know why I'm being insulted for not liking it. Kubrick's my number-one director but I can see why not everyone loves his stuff. I don't feel the same, but I can understand it. Isn't the point of art that it's not going to appeal to everyone? Why are Malick fans so touchy about their guy?
post #33 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malmordo View Post

I read the interview in which Christopher Plummer pissed and moaned about having his role reduced in THE NEW WORLD. I remember thinking this is a guy who's had a very successful career in film and theater since the late-1940s, and has worked with a lot of great people; why the hell would he care if some of his scenes were cut? And the way I see it, he was one of the lucky ones ... he's still in the movie!

 

 

Because he is an artist and cares about his work?

post #34 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post


 I don't remember insulting folks who like his stuff,

 

 

 

Quote:
 For me, Malick has been the biggest emperor-has-no-clothes figure in American film, but I'm aware he has his acolytes.

 

That's pretty condescending for someone who doesn't actually do anything to back up his claims.

 

Nobody said that you had to like his films.  For some there might be negatives that outweigh the positives.  But your dismissive tone implies the films are sophomoric, that we're just making up what we see in them.  That you have it all figured out and we're just... being fooled, I guess?

post #35 of 85

Re: Weisz being well paid, do we actually know that? I doubt the big actors get paid much for Malick jobs, they do it for the prestige factor and because it's good for their image to be associated with a rare movie from an arthouse legend. They're certainly not going to get anything close to their usual fee. I read she was only involved in filming for a few days anyway.

 

Either way, so long as Malick is given funding and final cut he can more or less do what he wants. Tarantino cut out a major actor and subplot from Basterds from what I understand. These things happen. They happen more often with Malick cos his movies are so loose and abstract.

post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerhead View Post

 

That said, Rachel Weisz should be in every movie.

 

 

Yes. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post
If an actor commits to a film based at least in part on the script and his/her role as written in it, it's reasonable for the actor to expect that his/her hard work in said film should be seen. 

 

No.

post #37 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post


Hey, I've seen three out of The Master's five films (not counting the one that hasn't been officially released yet). I think that's enough. The Thin Red Line was just such a dead-ass pretentious bore to me that I was like, that's it. I've given the Malick thing three shots now and there's me and there's him and the two don't meet. And that's fine. I don't remember insulting folks who like his stuff, so I don't know why I'm being insulted for not liking it. Kubrick's my number-one director but I can see why not everyone loves his stuff. I don't feel the same, but I can understand it. Isn't the point of art that it's not going to appeal to everyone? Why are Malick fans so touchy about their guy?

 

I'm not touchy. You don't see me going around telling people they have to love Malick or how he makes his films. Liking or not liking any filmmaker is a question of personal taste. But there's having serious arguments about his movies and style and there's using tired cliches and terms to describe them such as "Philosophy 101" and "dead-ass pretentious bore." How is The Thin Red Line pretentious? I mean, you saying Malick uses "Philosophy 101" sentiments is more full of pretense than any of his movies, because it's making a show of something that's actually not true. What in The Thin Red Line is making a false show of something? The narration? The narration might sound simple and straight forward, grasping at poetry, but it's filtered through the characters, none of whom are poets or philosophers, but regular people; soldiers, migrant workers, suburban families. It's only natural that when they grasp at their feelings via an internal monologue that sometimes are dripping with cliches and blatant earnestness. If they were using more complicated philosophy, then it would be pretentious. 
 

Don't get me wrong, I understand that Malick's style isn't for everyone, and that's fine. But the fact is when I read arguments in favor for Malick's body of work, they're typically thoughtful, insightful and wrestle with his ideas in more intelligent ways than his detractors, who reveal more about themselves than Malick by throwing around the same stale complaints like "boring" and "pretentious."

What can I say, Martin? It's totally fine for you to disagree, but from where I'm sitting, it's your loss. 

post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Re: Weisz being well paid, do we actually know that? I doubt the big actors get paid much for Malick jobs, they do it for the prestige factor and because it's good for their image to be associated with a rare movie from an arthouse legend. They're certainly not going to get anything close to their usual fee. I read she was only involved in filming for a few days anyway.

 

Apparently she does not care much about big salaries. 

 

Anyway, in the movie business there is insanely, ridiculously well paid...really well paid...and well paid.  No major actor is even close to hurting.

 

Big actors take pay cuts all the time for prestige directors.  But Malick doesn't work with micro budgets.  The average budget for his films is around $30M, so there is still plenty of money to pay the actors a generous salary.  I've heard pay cuts for big actors equal anywhere from $10-$50K per week or more, rather than their usual several million per film.    Or an actor will get $1M instead of their usual $5 or $10M.  So several weeks on a film and they've made more money than the average American does in a year.  And Weisz is already worth $40M.  They are very well paid considering what they do.  

 

World's smallest violin for poor Rachel Weisz.

post #39 of 85

I'll just put my shit to rest here.

 

If I came off as condescending, I didn't mean to. That's why I said for me, Malick is a case of emperor-has-no-clothes. I don't see what others see in him. I have a blind spot for him. I shouldn't really need to break out the pie chart and pointer to "back up my claims." Art is subjective and sometimes it doesn't do it for you and irritates you. When people bash Kubrick or Lynch I don't go "Hold there, miscreant! Back up your claims!" That's why I say Malick fans are touchy. One of my bros over at efilmcritic.com tweeted that if it turned out that Terrence Malick had ghost-directed Jonah Hex, it would be reassessed as a misunderstood masterpiece. It was a joke. But all the Malick fans jumped down his throat.

post #40 of 85
Quote:

 

That's a piece from way back.  I wonder how she feels now that she has kids. 

 

This is not to suggest her sentiment was wrong or anything.  I was just surprised that the link said she was 32.

post #41 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Blank View Post

I don't see what others see in him. 

 

I think the correct term would be: I see what others see in him, it just does nothing for me.  Are you really baffled by what Malick fans see in him?  On an objective level, it's not hard to understand.  I believe you even said you dug his stuff before The Thin Red Line.  As far as I can see, Malick didn't change much at that point, so how can you not see what his fans see in him?

 

I can't stand Wes Anderson, but I know exactly what his fans see in him, it's just not for me.  But I don't go around telling his fans the emperor has no clothes, and he's better suited shooting quirky adverts for the Discover Channel or something.

post #42 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

 

That's a piece from way back.  I wonder how she feels now that she has kids. 

 

I don't think she's changed so much that she'd be whining about getting a $1M instead of her usual $5M or whatever it is.

post #43 of 85

Fans and reps will get you down.  I think Kubric is sainted to ridiculous excess.  Give me Scorsese any day, warts and all.  There's real verve to what he does.  But you can't get through film school without Kubric Kubric Kubric.  Even his continuity errors are reassessed as secret genius.

And I had no time for Lynch for ages, thanks to his gushing art school fans.  No, the robin isn't a genius commentary on the artifice of modern life.  It's just a cheap stuffed bird because he's broke.  And Dune is just plain bad with interesting sets, and it probably wouldn't have been good had he gotten his way altogether.

But I saw a few interviews with the guy and he's pretty cool and down to earth, funny even. A guy so lacking in pretense that I had to forgive him for his fans.

It's not always the artists fault.

post #44 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambler View Post

 

I think the correct term would be: I see what others see in him, it just does nothing for me.  Are you really baffled by what Malick fans see in him?  On an objective level, it's not hard to understand.  I believe you even said you dug his stuff before The Thin Red Line.  As far as I can see, Malick didn't change much at that point, so how can you not see what his fans see in him?

 

I can't stand Wes Anderson, but I know exactly what his fans see in him, it's just not for me.  But I don't go around telling his fans the emperor has no clothes, and he's better suited shooting quirky adverts for the Discover Channel or something.


 No, I didn't care much for his first two films either.

 

I don't go around "telling his fans" that either. I didn't (and wouldn't) shit up a Terrence Malick Appreciation Thread with my contrarian views. This is a thread to discuss a problem the OP has (and others have) with his process. And my comment — that he seems to have so little regard for actors, he may as well be doing nature documentaries or, at least, stuff like Koyaanisqatsi or Baraka — is relevant to the thread's topic. As a sidebar I admitted I'm not his biggest fan, and elaborated on that a couple times. I figured that this thread, and not a Terrence Malick Is Awesomesauce Thread, might be a more appropriate place to air those views.

post #45 of 85

His movies don't make it seem like he has disregard for actors, usually they're about people and the performances are really good. But he obviously sees performances as something that serve the movie rather than the other way around.

post #46 of 85

I feel that someone like Kubrick (who definitely didn't always treat his actors well) IS a genius, but many of his films are definitely... removed. The one film of his that I find absolutely delightful in every way is Dr. Strangelove, and that's because he goddamn relaxes and lets the laughs flow from the cast and writing. Full Metal Jacket has the energy of R. Lee Ermey to propel it and the rest of the cast through the first half.

 

And then you have something like 2001, where the most interesting and layered performance is Douglas Rain's monotone HAL.

post #47 of 85

Given how much Kubrick is overtly concerned with the psychological, I am personally a huge fan of the cold, clinical style of his camera.  He still manages immaculate framing, creating beautiful images that engage the hairs on the back of your neck more than the heartstrings.  Appropriate given his detached, cynical point of view.  Not that you were doing so, but I always find it strange that people cite it as a limitation or a drawback.

post #48 of 85
One last thing (gee, I said I'd put my shit to rest, didn't I?). I don't hate Malick. I'm glad he's out there and I'm glad people give him money to do his thing. He's not Michael Bay or Brett Ratner. He's the anti-Bay. I wish his stuff did anything for me, I really do. He's one of the good guys in terms of what he's trying to do (and succeeding, in the view of many who are not me).
post #49 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bailey View Post

Given how much Kubrick is overtly concerned with the psychological, I am personally a huge fan of the cold, clinical style of his camera.  He still manages immaculate framing, creating beautiful images that engage the hairs on the back of your neck more than the heartstrings.  Appropriate given his detached, cynical point of view.  Not that you were doing so, but I always find it strange that people cite it as a limitation or a drawback.

 

Well, I do tend to latch onto stuff that engages me on a more primal emotional level more. It's a personal thing. I appreciate Kubrick immensely, but it's hard to LOVE the guy and his work, if you get what I'm saying.

post #50 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muzman View Post

Fans and reps will get you down.  I think Kubric is sainted to ridiculous excess.  Give me Scorsese any day, warts and all.  There's real verve to what he does.  But you can't get through film school without Kubric Kubric Kubric.  Even his continuity errors are reassessed as secret genius.

And I had no time for Lynch for ages, thanks to his gushing art school fans.  No, the robin isn't a genius commentary on the artifice of modern life.  It's just a cheap stuffed bird because he's broke.  And Dune is just plain bad with interesting sets, and it probably wouldn't have been good had he gotten his way altogether.

But I saw a few interviews with the guy and he's pretty cool and down to earth, funny even. A guy so lacking in pretense that I had to forgive him for his fans.

It's not always the artists fault.

 

Yeah, that 2001 A Space Odyssey, nothing but a buncha pretentious wankery for stoned hippies.  And that Dr. Strangelove?  Don't make me laugh.  Clockwork Orange can fuck right off too!

 

A genius' overzealous fans don't make him any less a genius.  

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