Monday, August 8, 2011


Between his hatred for David Lynch (except 'Mulholland Drive', strangely enough) and insulting Ryan Dunn after he already died (that's pretty low no matter how stupid Dunn may have been) I cant believe I'm about to defend Roger Ebert. But Monte Hellman's fans and their denial about how bad his new film; 'The Road To Nowhere' really is, has pissed me off to the point where i cant keep quiet. Now, what I do respect Hellman for is how he's really been promoting the film all on his own, in a true grass roots fashion. You cant hate on that. He's been taking the time to not just read and post the reviews of "important critics", but he's been checking out and posting reviews from random bloggers from all over the world and posting them on his facebook page. He's been connecting with people personally through facebook, and traveling around the world with his film and taking the time out to talk to his fans. I have nothing but respect for that, especially coming from an icon of counterculture like Hellman. But i think its the fact that he's responsible for classic films from the 60's and 70's that people are too afraid to admit his new movie isn't good.
Baby boomers had Hellman classics like 'Two Lane Black Top'. The cinephiles of generation x and generation y (my generation) that so desperately want to connect with the classic directors of the 70's want to be able to say they lived during a time when a director like Hellman made a classic film in their era. Instead we got stuff like 'Silent Night Deadly Night 3' and some Iguana Man movie. Yes, both of those movies were directed by Monte Hellman. And whats funny is that I bet all the pretentious facebook Hellman fans would find a way to defend those movies simply because the man responsible for them also made 'Two Lane Blacktop' and 'China 9, Liberty 37'. You may not want to admit it, but its true. I get caught up in that way of thinking sometimes too. Last year i saw Jean-Luc Godard's 'Film Socialisme' at the New York Film Festival, and loved it so much i put it in my top 10 of 2010. A few months ago I saw it again and wanted to punch myself in the face for actually liking it. I wanted so badly to be able to say i lived to see a great Godard film when it was in the theaters. But after a year or so when the denial finally wore off, i realized that his latest movie was bad. Its just something I had to accept, just like how Hellman's fans need to accept that his latest movie isn't good. Almost EVERY director has made a few bad films. Kubrick made 'Killers Kiss' (sorry, but that movie is bad), Francis Ford Coppola has made every movie he's made from the 90's up until right now, but they're still 2 of the greatest directors to ever live. Part of loving someone is being able to be honest with them. To not be patronizing or blow smoke up their ass like so many people are doing to Monte Hellman. Take me for example. I love Jim Jarmusch, but I'm willing to accept that his last movie (limits of control) was bad. I love Hal Hartley and I can still admit that he's only made 1 good movie in the last 13 years. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how much I love Todd Solondz, but i can admit that 'Life During Wartime' wasn't that good either
As far as the plot of 'Road To Nowhere', (I THINK) its a convoluted, hard to follow noir-ish story about a movie inside of a movie, where a young director is in the midst of making a film and falls in love with the lead actress who may or may not be who she says she is. I still don't completely know. For an actual review of the film, read what Ebert had to say, then look at what people posted on Hellman's facebook in response. And whats funny is that his review isn't even that bad.

And what theater, festival, cheap projector screen in the back of a gymnasium will your next film be shown at, David? I'm seriously getting sick & tired of this "film critics are just failures that could never make a movie, so they stuck to just writing about movies instead" bullshit. I love when people act as if a bad review of a movie they love is stupid and meaningless and don't care about what critics have to say (yet people feel the need to leave comment after comment after comment about how much they apparently don't care), but had Roger Ebert gave a good review of 'Road To Nowhere' you'd all be praising him. 
shut up...
New Jack City was in fact kind of an important film. It was also the highest grossing independent film of 1990. I would imagine a Monte Hellman fan could at least appreciate that. Aren't you guys all about; "going against the system maaaan" and "keeping it independent" and "fuck the big Hollywood studios". I can read right through that borderline racist comment. I know that 'New Jack City' may not appeal to your teva sandal/volvo driving/coffee house lifestyle, but like it or not, It was an important film. I'm sorry 'New Jack City' isn't an existential road movie w/ minimal dialogue about a middle aged white guy trying to find himself.
Good point. I mean, 'Road To Nowhere' and its flat acting and made for late night cable television atmosphere is pretty much on the same level as 'A Clockwork Orange'. They're practically the same movie now that i think about it. I'm sure years from now people will be wearing iconic 'Road To Nowhere T-Shirts' and getting Shannon Sossamon tattooed on their chest and forearm. Yeah, 'Road To Nowhere' will definitely stand the test of time and be considered a classic like Clockwork years from now.
LOL! Do you really wanna go there? I bet even Monte Hellman read this and said; "dude, shut up". Lets forget the plots for a second and just focus on the acting of each movie. Surely you don't think any actor, actress or the entire combined cast of 'Road To Nowhere' could touch Naomi Watt's performance do you? You cant possibly think that Shannon Sossamon and Dominque Swain gave a performance anywhere close to Watts or Laura Harring for that matter. I'd rather watch Naomi Watts violently shake and have a seizure in that auditorium scene towards the end of 'Mulholland Drive' on a 2 hour loop then sit through the performances in 'Road To Nowhere' again.

What is also a bit ridiculous is the constant comparison between 'Road To Nowhere' and 'The Tree Of Life'. I know that Hellman is coming back after a 21 year hiatus and Terrence Malick is a bit of a recluse himself, but that's where the comparison stops in my opinion. I know people get excited when a great director returns after many years off, but there's no comparison between these 2 movies. No matter how many problems Tree Of Life may have, its a much better movie. Yet, people still write stuff like this...

Or tweet stuff like this...

Monte Hellman is still a legend. 'Road To Nowhere' just felt flat to me. I just get so annoyed when people over praise something that really doesn't deserve it.


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