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A place for you to post comments on our articles.
74

Stuff THIS in your Stocking! Feature Article Comments
Topic by: hamano
Posted: November 11, 2003 - 8:25 AM PST
Last Reply: November 12, 2003 - 10:45 AM PST

author topic: Stuff THIS in your Stocking! Feature Article Comments
hamano
post #1  on November 11, 2003 - 8:25 AM PST  
RE: Page-turners and stocking stuffers.

I thought the title of this article is somewhat misleading. I don't have any socks that would fit any of these books, first of all. Secondly, the title seems to connote more recommendations than just a 3 part mini-course on American Independent Cinema, a rather narrow (even for GreenCine) field of interest, judging by the activity on these boards. How about suggesting a couple of books for fans of HK action flicks? Books for lovers of Foreign Film? A studio behind-the-scenes book like "The Devil's Candy"? How about suggestions on real stocking stuffers, like a really small and versatile universal remote, DVD cleaners, or a rare DVD that isn't available from GreenCine but could be found on eBay (Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, maybe?).

I find myself concerned about the very legitimacy of the term independent film nowadays, having been led by dwhudson to read this discussion about Dead Man. The term appears to have been thoroughly co-opted and corrupted, to be used as a sort of marketing ploy to entice audiences with the image of rebel visions when the reality is that subsidiaries of major studios send buyers to Sundance and similar film festivals to make deals. The result is that even we film buffs, when given an opportunity, DON'T talk about a film maker's vision, but choose to babble about how he managed to preserve that vision or how he might have had to compromise it due to economic constraints.

I understand that American culture makes heroes out of "the self-made man"... that's a big part of the American Dream and the idea that a couple of dudes could spend a few thousand to make The Blair Witch Project and go on to earn millions is very interesting to us. We make celebrities out of those filmmakers and that's often what we're talking about when we're discussing independent films. In dwhudson's summary of his "stocking stuffers" there's not a single mention of a filmmaker who isn't either a celebrity independent (Abel Ferrera) or someone who managed to play both sides (John Cassavetes).

I can't help but wish dwhudson could have at least included a book like Andrew Sarris' The American Cinema which incorporates Tuffaut's auteur theory in the discussion of this country's cinematic vision, or David Bently's essay collection Awake in the Dark, which documents a feud between Sarris and Pauline Kael about the validity of the auteur theory. Maybe I'm old fashioned (the term independent film began to be popularly used mostly in the 1990's) but if independence really means not compromising your vision as a filmmaker, it's not just about cleverly maxxing out your credit cards to buy recently expired film stock. Limiting your film education to a pseudo-genre invented by the likes of the Miramax publicity machine would be unfortunate.

And if you want to get suggestions for REAL stocking stuffers, you'd have to turn elsewhere. hneline1 might be able to suggest some anime soundtrack CDs, stevendj might be able to recommend chocolates for DVD couverture, or you can come to me for a tip on remotes (I can show you a website that tells you how to program the $30 OneForAll Cinema7+ remote like a $300 SONY Home Theater remote). ^_^
underdog
post #2  on November 11, 2003 - 11:38 AM PST  
I'm sure Mr. Hudson will have some thoughts on your thoughts, when he has time (which may be awhile). Thanks for your feedback, though.


> I thought the title of this article is somewhat misleading. I don't have any socks that would fit any of these books, first of all. Secondly, the title seems to connote more recommendations than just a 3 part mini-course on American Independent Cinema, a rather narrow (even for GreenCine) field of interest, judging by the activity
^^^^
Btw, What is *that* supposed to mean? Are we very narrow-minded here? Maybe I'm mis-interpreting this, but every once in awhile you'll make a very un-Totoro-like comment that seems to take advantage of our niceness. ;-)

Anyway, I think the stocking stuffers notion was meant to be sort of funny, or not to be taken literally. However, I know we'll be doing more of these leading up to the holidays, so we'll try to get some gifts in there that are of the more pint-sized variety. ;-)

Cheers,
C
hamano
post #3  on November 11, 2003 - 7:18 PM PST  
> On November 11, 2003 - 11:38 AM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Btw, What is *that* supposed to mean? Are we very narrow-minded here? Maybe I'm mis-interpreting this, but every once in awhile you'll make a very un-Totoro-like comment that seems to take advantage of our niceness. ;-)
>

Ouch, am I being spanked?

Ah, the ever faithful underdog, always LEAPING to his master's defense! I humbly apologize if it wasn't clear that I was referring to the relative lack of activity in the "Independent Film" discussion boards. The recent reference to Dead Man has been the only sign of life since Sept. 4, if I'm not mistaken, and there are only 11 threads there. When we were debating the creation of the new TV boards, I believe I was not alone in questioning the value of that category. I certainly wasn't implying that anyone here was narrow minded! On the contrary, I wouldn't make any challenging comments at all if I doubted that dwhudson couldn't be counted on to take time out of his busy writing schedule to post an erudite and thought-provoking reply.

Perhaps the only thing narrow around here is the latitude I am sometimes given when I'm perceived to be quick in criticizing the GreenCine articles. However, I don't remember a single instance where I behaved with deliberate and serious disrespect toward another GreenCiner. chester did take offense at a hasty remark I once made about "rednecks" but I was quick to apologize.

I have actually read the discussions guidelines APathos posted in the Official Announcements area, and I take those admonishments very seriously. I think I add useful content to this "community" and behave in an acceptable manner. I even appreciate that those with Green Haloes take it upon themselves to try to encourage civil discourse around here. However, if I am unjustly accused of "taking advantage" of your "niceness", I am put in a situation where I have to take a hesitant step back from this virtual community to consider something as unpleasantly businesslike as, "who is the paying customer here?"

I would much rather remain true to the spirit of these forums, which are, after all, called "discussion boards", not "praise and thank GreenCine boards". And it isn't like you guys don't get any of that! Just look at the concurrent thread started by thejasonholland! Even Totoro has posted a kind word or two about GreenCine. (Who started "Lockable Slots and List Edit - Awesome!"?) I never write thoughtless things like, "Your articles are crap!" I always endeavor to leave plenty of room for a well-considered response to my comments.

So if you thought I was engaging in nasty name-calling, let me extend my paw to you, dear underdog, and assure you that there was no malice intended in my criticism. One can't help but to assume that a fellow cartoon character would understand that a madly grinning, blinking Totoro shouldn't be taken too seriously. If I wanted that, I'd pick a more appropriate icon, like a photo of the politically controversial chanteuse Sinead O'Connor patting her own head! ^_^
underdog
post #4  on November 11, 2003 - 11:28 PM PST  
Ach, my paw is humbly reextended in gracious offering. Yes, that part of your post really wasn't clear, even after I reread it, nor is even the subject heading particularly, uh, gentle, but given what you said you meant, now it makes more sense to me. Hey, given how long the post was ;-) the rest of it was quite articulate. Again, as you point out, humor sometimes doesn't translate via bits and bytes as well as it does in person. This cyberspace can be a tricky place to come across in the proper vein, so I give you props for usually coming across with a clear personality and intelligence in your often verbose but provocative and interesting postings. I think we've all misinterpreted what other people have meant, usually in jest, on these boards at one time or another. (We could probably all go off on long tangents about times in our business or personal lives when emails sent out or received came across poorly and someone got hurt.) My point is just that the more one writes in cyberspace, and the more quickly they fire it off, the better chance there is that some little thing may come off wrong. I think you'll find and agree that we have tried to give everyone as much leeway as possible here when posting and try not to moderate the boards as much as just jump in when the spirit moves us.

(And your point about the Independent boards, which I didn't get from the original post but did from the new one, is one we agree with, though it makes us sad, we may make some changes to the way the discussion area is labeled and divided, and that may be one of the victims of the changes.)

Also just wanted to say we do appreciate the time and effort you put into what you say here and that, in case we don't respond to something you write, it really isn't personal as much as it's just a sign that we're very busy churning out content or churning out catalog entries or having our stomachs churn. Or something. You are a valuable member of this community and hope you still get something out of participation here.

Speaking of which, I'm still not sure what I think about Dpowers new Sinead icon -- DP, I miss the frog!

And speaking of totoros, you'll be pleased to know that I bought my g/f a very cute totoro plushie that had him on the acorn, with the little soot spirit on his head. So cute it's almost unbearable.

Thanks and all the best,

Craig @ greencine

hamano
post #5  on November 12, 2003 - 12:14 AM PST  
OK, it's two in the morning here in Baltimore, and I've gone and re-read the article, and I will be the first to admit that yes, the article is well written and informative, and I am compelled to rush to the library or the book store to find these books. However, I also noticed the little link at the end of the article, and now I've gone and read dwhudson's June article, Indies are Dead. Long Live Indies!

Very interesting article, but it's also about a certain kind of film-making process, and not so much about any of the films themselves.

So I find myself thinking.... Why is the first "Stocking Stuffer" article about 3 books on Indies when even dwhudson's previous article is debating the very relevance today of such a category? DW presents it as a "glass half full vs. glass half empty" argument, but the reality is that the hooch comes up to just halfway, not more, not less.

underdog's bite got me thinking...Maybe I AM accusing the esteemed editor and associate editor of narrow thinking! I know underdog is a screenwriter/producer who might consider himself at this point in life as being a "young maverick indie" of sorts, still taking MFA level classes and moonlighting at a dot-com DVD rental startup. And I imagine DW as being someone who reached his maturity as a writer during this most recent flare up of Indie Mania (mid '80s to now). If that's somewhat correct, then it makes sense that the first "Stocking Stuffer" is skewed toward books about Independent film-making.

However, on the other side of the fence is the humble GreenCine member, stuck at home caring for the kids or slaving away at some ho-hum job, dreaming about the couple of hours of escape to be had from the next title on the rental queue. He/she ranges from pre-teen/teen to "80+". GC members are either anime freaks or film buffs who seek titles that are a little more challenging than the standard Blockbuster fare, or both. I make one assumption, which is that the cinematic tastes of the entire GreenCine membership is represented fairly closely by the community of board posters, list makers, and reviewers. Based on that assumption, I don't see a similar level of interest in renting/seeing/learning about independent film as would be indicated by making the category the first "stocking stuffer".

From what I know about my fellow members, "stocking stuffers" books topics might be 1) Cult Films 2) HK Action and Martial Arts 3) Anime 4) Asian films 5) European films 6) Other genre films. It's a bit irksome that the first 3 book recommendations are for a subject that may NOT be of great interest to the membership at large.

Aaargh, I'm getting too sleepy to think coherently. Maybe you guys have insiders' insights into the GC membership that I'm not aware of, that told you that most of us are curious about how independent films are made. I won't discount that, but I'm a bit skeptical! Oh my, 3am! G'night!
dwhudson
post #6  on November 12, 2003 - 1:55 AM PST  
Good grief, hamano. Mountain, molehill.

Brace yourself. There will be a few more pieces like this between now and Christmas. As promised, they'll be both brief and infrequent. I guess I should go ahead and add now that they will not cover every genre represented at the site, though we do try to address as broad a spectrum as possible in other ways, e.g., primers, Eclection selections, top lists, GC Daily, the newsletter and so on.

In the meantime, I would like to ask you, with all due respect and in the spirit of civility, etc., etc., that you refrain from personalizing your grievances. Thanks.
hamano
post #7  on November 12, 2003 - 2:26 AM PST  
Grievances? I don't have ANY grievances! I was just making a couple of comments!

> In the meantime, I would like to ask you, with all due respect and in the spirit of civility, etc., etc., that you refrain from personalizing your grievances. Thanks.

That's exactly what I was trying to say to underdog a couple of posts ago!

OK, OK, I sense the drift of this discussion thread. I'll just shut up!

Cheers! ^_^
hamano
post #8  on November 12, 2003 - 8:26 AM PST  
NEXT DAY:

Sorry... I didn't mean to make either of you angry. I'm sorry!

Peace!
underdog
post #9  on November 12, 2003 - 10:23 AM PST  
> On November 12, 2003 - 8:26 AM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> NEXT DAY:
>
> Sorry... I didn't mean to make either of you angry. I'm sorry!
>
> Peace!
> ---------------------------------

I'll shut up too!

Hey, you had me pegged pretty well except I wish I was young as you think I am. Not that 34 is old, mind you. ;-) I have to remember to start making up my bios...

Peace out (as the kids say today)

C

dwhudson
post #10  on November 12, 2003 - 10:45 AM PST  
Peace!

And boy, we could all use some of that these days. As I write, you can feel the shockwaves rolling up from Italy. Sigh.

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