Friday, April 22, 2011

Escape to the Movies: "Atlas Shrugged"

Intermission: "How To Read Film Criticism"


Adam said...

I'm not an Objectivist, but I do tend to agree with the view that life and society generally works better for everyone involved if government, religion, and the various other institutions of the world stay out of the way of and don't hassle the people that don't really need them.

That said Atlas Shrugged the book is an interesting and challenging read (in many ways) but I've never been quite sure that it could really work as a movie. Reason being I'm not sure that the actual book was originally intended to be all that entertaining (unless you're the type who would enjoy seeing Rand's cartoonish caricatures of liberals and politicians watch all their plans and policies crumble all around them). The book is incredibly preachy towards the end with the 70-90 page speech outlining basically Rand’s entire view on life. It works for what I think she was intending to do but as a novel it’s really dense and awkward. Of course it’s not like she’s alone in this boat. I found Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” absolutely riveting throughout up until the end where Socialism comes riding in on a great white horse. I really felt I could have stopped reading before that part and lost pretty much nothing. If you want to get a point across in a novel the events and actions of the characters should do that on their own. If you want to write speeches and essays then go write speeches and essays. So yes, in Rand Land “The Fountainhead” really is the better book in pretty much every respect.

That said I’ve always been fascinated as to why Angelina Jolie of all people wanted to make this movie so badly as I’ve never gotten the impression that she agrees with Rand’s views on any major level. I kind wish she had made the movie just to see what she would have done with it.

Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tyler said...

I actually find your opinion to be valuable to me when it comes to movies and video games. I've found from watching your videos and reading your old reviews that you and I have a lot in common when it comes to opinions on entertainment whether it be comics, movies or video games. More often then not I've found myself agreeing with you on movies whether it be good or bad.

Scott Pilgrim, Social Network, Kick-Ass, Black Swan, Watchmen all movies I loved for basically the the same reasons as you.

Alice in Wonderland, New Moon, Gamer, Robin Hood, all movies I didn't like for basically the same reasons.

This is not to say that our opinions always line up. Your review of Paranormal Activity 2 didn't stop me from seeing and enjoying it despite the fact that all of the points you make about it are correct. I also think that all of the Harry Potter movies to date have been nothing short of awful with the sixth easily being the worst offender. Granted that is coming from the point of view of a big fan of the books.

My point is that I've found that our opinions so often line up that if you give a thumbs up to a movie I was considering seeing anyway, I can expect to enjoy it, but I don't let a negative review stop me from seeing something I wanted to in the first place.

However I am one of those people who has not enjoyed the game anti-thinker.

Keep up the good work Bob.

James said...


TheAlmightyNarf said...

Hey, speaking of Hanna...

Why the hell did you waste your time reviewing Your Highness (or Scre4m for that matter as well) when you could have been reviewing Hanna? I just watched it last weekend and it is quite possibly the best action movie I've seen in years. How did it not warrant a complete episode?

counterpoint said...

my question for you is this: will the conservatives who really WANT this to be a "Great" and "Important" film THINK it actually IS?

Specifically, will there be a lot of whining about the "liberal bias" of hollywood when this film is "snubbed" come awards season? I ask mainly because there certainly aren't many films written for the conservatives, so its probably not as easy to dismiss the bad ones as such.

Nick said...

I was not in the least bit surprised to learn that they watered-down or just plain omitted every element of Rand's philosophy that might actually irk the jingoistic-conservative audiences.

Seriously, if Ayn Rand could see the sort of people who are spouting (a hacked-up version of) her philosophy these days.

Timzor said...

Glad to see you feel the same way I do about The Fountainhead. It's shorter, more subtle, and just all around BETTER than the enormous sermon/doorstop known as Atlas Shrugged. Despite not agreeing with her philosophy, I genuinely enjoyed reading The Fountainhead, and even seeing the way that her worldview led her to create some rather unusual character archetypes, such as the atypical villain Toohey. Struggling all the way through Atlas, on the other hand, was just a chore. I guess you really have to buy into her philosophy hook, line, and sinker to make THAT mess palatable.

Oscar said...

Great Intermission!

About the notion of art/literary criticism as a form of literature or journalism in its own right, I was reading a review the other day and thinking about the exact same thing. The other day, I was reading this review of Citizen Kane by Jorge Luis Borges that is simply beautiful and fully remembered why I started reading critics. It's a real shame that this kind of criticism caved in to the "consumer reporting" type.

I highly recomend the review, specially to the spanish-speaking croud. I found some bits scattered through the internet, but they fall short to the effect of the full review. I think it is collected in his "selected non fiction".

Lee said...

Probably won't be too much of a fuss when it is "snubbed" as it will have been forgotten when award season comes along and all the Oscar bait is on parade. Much like how Blade Runner was forgotten for it's special effects wizardry, because it was a lackluster summer release (ET was still dominating the box office and poor Blade Runner just died. It really only lived because of home video and fan clubs).
Even still, I don't think there will be too much stick about how great it is, if the production values are as piss poor as they sound. After all, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was a shoddy, lord privy seal movie that went limp even without the scathing from the scientific community.
Personally, I kinda wanted to hear Bob shit on Water for Elephants, as the name alone prompts derision.

Clayton said...


Go read the user reviews on Metacritic. They're HILARIOUS. And also pretty said

Robert said...

haha. would you kindly.

Dave said...

Bob, you immediately fail with your whole schtick on humility. You are anything but, and your intermission article shows just that.

I could make a blog video series about how problematic your ego trip these past few months has been. Problematic and damaging on a variety of levels, not just to others but to your own integrity.

Chris Cesarano said...

Bob, you immediately fail with your whole schtick on humility. You are anything but, and your intermission article shows just that.

I dunno, I've read similar ideas from people like Ebert and they've said just about the same sort of stuff. Granted just because you quote professionals doesn't make you one or have the same integrity, but if his argument means he has a bloated ego then every critic does.

Wait, wasn't that also part of the point of Ratatouille?

Dave Kraft said...

Chris, you miss my point... I'm not talking about the "film criticism" aspect of his article... there's a kind of ongoing problem that dates back quite a few months... several of Bob's entries - both in text and video formats - in which he tries to address his detractors actually have little to do with the actual complaints people have had and/or completely miss the point of what their concerns have been.

The first two paragraphs of this intermission article are yet again a case of "I'm going to avoid taking responsibility for whenever I'm caught putting my foot in my mouth by ranting about x, y or z people are allegedly bitching about when that has absolutely nothing to do with what other people are saying."

Bob used to exercise humility back when he wasn't making money off of his videos. Now, he spends his time lashing out at the very fans who got him where he is now, whenever they call him out on something for a variety of reasons, usually when he is in extreme error over something of a non-opinion nature (e.g. using factual evidence to support his arguments... except recently, those facts haven't been so factual - sometimes outright made-up - and he's been very sloppy on doing his homework...).

I find it takes a lot of arrogance for someone to justify a flawed position just so they won't have to exercise humility and admit when they're wrong - especially for someone who has made a recent habit out of biting the hand that fed him.

In this case, I just find it plain disgusting that Bob puts himself on ethical higher ground to Ayn Rand because he believes in humility.

Ha. Actions speak louder than words, and Bob's egomania is currently causing more and more people to take him less and less seriously.