Thursday, September 23, 2004

Everyone Needs a Two-by-Four Applied to the Face

“You can get what you want and still not be very happy.”

First off, thank you, Patrick, for that reading list. That’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Now I’m ready to pull rabbits out of hats and wear cloaks with moon designs on them.

Well, the Nosedive gang is doing some last-minute writing of sketches for our “Pottymouth Social,” and apparently we’re cutting the sketch where all the guys pile up on one another in a naked heap. I can’t say I’m that upset by that editorial decision. Not that I have anything against all of us piling up on one another naked, it’s just that the last time we rehearsed it, Pete got a little, how shall we say, “frisky.”

* * *

Criterion has released a boxed set of five films by John Cassavetes (Shadows, Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Opening Night). Ray Carney, a film professor and writer who is pretty much the critical authority on Cassavetes, is apparently none too pleased with this release. He and Cassavetes’s widow, Gena Rowlands, have gotten into a huge…well, let’s not mince words…pissing match over the release of certain cuts of the films and the presentation of the discs. Check out the link here for his side of the story.

Although I don’t really know Ms. Rowlands’s side of it, I realize…I don’t really care. And as impressive and wonderful as many of Carney’s theories on art and film are, I can’t help but think this is just willful sour grapes.

Having been a student of his, part of his rhetoric does stem from the bedrock principle of “Nothing of any artistic value will ever be noticed or appreciated.” In other words, everyone knows Steven Spielberg (a useless hack, let’s face it) but nobody knows John Cassavetes, and that’s the way it will always be.


Uh…people do know the work of Cassavetes. Five of his films are being released on DVD. And people are actually aware and talking about it. I really would have expected Carney to be throwing a party because of this fact.

But no.

I guess…due to a feud between these two trying to suck more blood out of a dead artistic genius…this is a mournful time.

Now, I do find it weird that Ms. Rowlands won’t allow the release of alternate (and longer) prints of Cassavetes work. That, to use the vernacular, is fucked up. And going at great lengths to take Prof. Carney off the disc…again, fucked up. But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this means that, now that Prof. Carney has found an alternate cut to Shadows, is the one that’s available (and has been screened IN HIS CLASS) is useless? Because the alternate print isn’t in the boxed-set, is the whole boxed-set worthless? I wonder; if ALL of Cassavetes’s films were available to the public and there was a huge demand from the populace for his films, I guess Carney would still have a reason to complain.

Shit, I think Carney and Rowlands have done amazing work in their respective fields. I guess I was just supremely pissed off at both parties taking a time for celebration (Five. Films. By Cassavetes. On DVD. I mean, people, People!) and using it as a chance to fight over who loved John more.

As Carney had written once in an essay, “Grow up, get over it.”

And on that note, hope to see people at our fundraiser.

Screaming at nobody in cyberspace,

James “AAAAAHHHH!!” Comtois

September 23, 2004


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