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October 1994


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Randy Riddle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 09:16:09 -0400
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On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, Curtis Wilcox wrote:
> >Certainly a knowledge of literature is necessary, along with other
> >disciplines.  Knowing about good literature translates into intelligent
> >scripts that have good character development and (gasp!) plot.
> Bullshit. Plenty of great literature has been written by people with no real
> knowledge of literature so it is certainly the case for filmmaking as well.
> would submit that a wonderful film could be made by someone who had never
> even seen a film or video but learned to use equipment by experimentation.
Oh, certainly, that's true.  Look at some of the wonderful films we have
in the theaters and video stores right now -- "Beverly Hillbillies", "The
Little Rascals", etc -- who needs Moliere when you've got American
culture to work with?  :)=
Seriously, though, that could indeed be the case, but the truth is that
practically everyone somewhere has seen either films or television
programs and been influenced by them in some way.  When that aborigine in
the outback of Australia makes that epic, please let me know.
Filmmakers who go into an entire career with only a knowledge of recent
American pop culture are setting their work up to quickly disappear with
all of the other "junk food" generated by our so-called "entertainment
industry".  Critics and viewers that limit themselves in this way (and
you defensive people know who you are) are missing out on alot of media
food not generated in New York and Hollywood that's not only _good_ but
_good for you_, too!! :)
> They could be illiterate, doesn't matter. All that matters is that either
> they are an excellent storyteller or a gift for visual art that they manage
> to express in a filmic medium. Much is made by some of "folk art" and the art
> of the insane.
I won't get into the debate about whether this material is art -- that
controversy has raged for a long time.  But I will concede that some of
the material at my local Cinemall might be more interesting if it were
generated by someone _really_ insane instead of only mildly neurotic or
> <<Knowing
> about the history and techniques of photography gives one the
> technical information to create good visuals.  Learning about music --
> all kinds of music and the theory behind it -- gives the filmmaker a
> basic understanding of using music to enhance or emotions or themes in a
> given situation.  A good, solid background in general history gives the
> filmmaker the ability to comment on contemporary society.  Theater
> knowledge gives you information on props, sets, and working with actors.>>
> The same goes for all this other stuff. Sure it can help some make a better
> movie and it can enrich a person's life (Hooked on Humaities worked for me!)
Hooked on Humanities -- is that sorta like the "Hooked On Classics" album
that had the music of Beethovan and Mozart set to disco?
> but any or all of these things are neither necessary nor sufficient for the
> making on an excellent film.
> This is the kind of talk that scares people out of TRYING things.
Hey, young filmmakers can TRY all they want to.  But, they'd better be
ready to defend what they're doing with a little knowledge and
> << many of the comments I'm seeing [about Pulp Fiction] are based on recent
> American pop culture and a film, for me at least, has to have a little more
> depth than that to get my adrenaline going.>>
> Do complex and original relationships between characters do it for you?
Sure -- if it's beyond the level of a TV show.
> about the effective use of non-linear narrative?
Of course -- why I've even seen non-linear narrative on "Northern
Exposure" and the soap opera "Santa Barbara" (the writers of "Santa
Barbara" won a daytime emmy for that particular storyline a few years
ago, incidentally).
Or playing with genre
> conventions?
Oh, like where the cast of Gilligan's Island did a musical version of
If any of these things interest you (and you don't
faint at the > sight of fake blood)
I've written reviews of and studyed the career of John Waters and viewed
such Hershell Gordan Lewis classics as "2000 Maniacs" and the "Wizard of
Gore" (and enjoyed every hokey minute of them -- Lewis was a college
English professor before he started making horror films), so I think I
can handle the Heinz 57 in Pulp Fiction.
then you should see Pulp Fiction. >
And eventually I will -- being the Hollywood product it seems to be on
the surface, I'm sure it will be around for my viewing
pleasure/displeasure for decades to come.
Regards, with virtual tounge planted firmly in virtual cheek,
Randy A. Riddle
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