Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mumblecore Beatdown

You may have heard that Badass Digest helmer Devin Faraci and "mumblecore" darling Joe Swanberg participated in one of Fantastic Fest's infamous "debates" over the weekend. If you're not familiar with the format, FF lets participants lay into eachother verbally in a conventional debate... then the opponents put on boxing gloves and settle up for real.

Swanberg won the physical matchup rather definitively (you can see the footage after the jump) - he's a big guy with almost a foot on his opponent, and in Devin's own words he got "the piss beaten out of him." The whole thing is more-or-less for show; but these two guys don't like eachother and for my money Faraci won the war of words with this brutal slapdown of the "mumblecore" movement:

"Mumblecore is the opposite of everything that's great about indie film. It's the laziest form of filmmaking. It's a bunch of middle class and upper class white kids whining about their ennui and their middle class white lives in front of a camera, without a script, without good actors. Here's what you need to make a mumblecore movie: a sense of entitlement, white skin, and Greta Gerwig, and that's it."

"To me, the word "core" at the end of mumblecore, sounds like it should be something punk rock, something amazing, something edgy. Instead it's the blandest, most self-indulgent bullshit, aimed only at the narcissists who make it. Your only audience, pretty much, is you."

I'm not always Devin's biggest fan or even "defender," but I can't help but give a colossal FUCK. YES. to that.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why the fuck should I care about two man children having a hissyfit over their trivial almost nothings?
These cunts need to grow up and move the fuck on.

Taylor said...

Then again, complaining about mumblecore is also a kind of white entitlement, the "OH MY LIFE IS SO HARD ALL THE MUMBLECORES ARE ANNOYING ME WITH THEIR PRIVILEGE, EVERYONE FEEL SORRY FOR ME AND RECOGNIZE THAT MY UNDERSTANDING OF PRIVILEGE IS SO TOTALLY GREAT BECAUSE OTHERWISE I"LL FEEL GUILTY ABOUT WHITENESS."

Of course, that's a simplistic take on something that, although partially true, is mostly just smug and self-serving. So is Farcaci's take on mumblecore.

Sarah Montgomery said...

I hadn't heard about mumblecore until a few weeks ago. After looking it up on a couple of sites, I still couldn't glean what supposed to be distinctive about it.

I like independent movies (the real ones), and anything low-budget, so long as it's made by people with some talent and a lot of love. I spend a lot more time these days watching video reviews of movies than I actually do watching new movies (I still like old and nostalgic ones, though), because I just love the idea of regular people picking up a camera and making a short, funny film with very little money or proper equipment. It's inspiring, and I feel like they understand what I like to see more than Hollywood does.

But again, what makes mumblecore different from any other cheapie flick? And what makes them so insufferable and/or popular in ways that other low-budget movies aren't?

Anonymous said...

Devin Faraci, to me, is Bob without any of his redeeming qualities. Everything that gets Bob in trouble sometimes and can cause his reviews and opinions to occasionally be so hard to read and watch is Devin Faraci without any of the moments of insight or honesty that Bob often has.

He is arrogant, entitled,and the worst kind of fanboy. Bob is at least part of the time all of these things (most critics and internet personalities are), but he manages to, most of the time, also be endearing and insightful to make up for it all.

So Bob, basically what I am saying is every time you start to stray into those areas just remember, it's ok as long as you always come back down to earth, unlike Devin Faraci. Oh and keep up the good work.

Sarah Montgomery said...

OK, did anyone here see "Safety Not Guaranteed"? It's by the Duplasses, so I guess it might be considered mumblecore. I really liked it, and I didn't think there was anything pretentious or "whiny white privilege" about it, or even anything remotely objectionable about it. Is that considered mumblecore?

Darwin said...

Hey Bob, since you hate middle class white people so much why don't you just hang yourself?

Better yet, find a way to lynch yourself. Maybe you'll get mentioned in blog created by someone with darker skin than you!

Congrats on making your most ironic post yet, A narcissistic middle class white loser who makes shit films whining about other middle class white losers who make films.

AwkwardBeardMan said...

@Darwin I hope things improve for you in the near future and you somehow sort out whatever issues you are having.

There's too much to love and appreciate in this world to succumb to such bitterness and nastiness. Especially when utterly unprovoked.

I haven't seen any mumblecore films, but it really seems that the argument comes down to the fact that most of them aren't very good, and that we should encourage the filmmakers to make better films.

Anonymous said...

@AwkwardBeardMan

Thanks man, I appreciate the thought.

For what it's worth Bob, i'm sorry. I get pissed off when I see film makers bullying other filmmakers. Then I write comments that my reflect my hatred for bullies.

Darwin said...

P.S. I accidentally named myself anonymous instead of Darwin. So yeah..

Wes said...

Beh, every creative endeavor has not only the right to exist but the right to be measured alongside it's peers. Those mumblecore films could very well be complete crap and Devin's statement might be completely valid, but the way those two presented themselves (not including the idiotic -we can't agree so let's regress a few hundred years of development- moments) I believe Mr. Swanberg held conducted himself in a much better respect. And I agree with his sediment about discouraging inspiring film makers. The critiquing process is part of creative growth but too often I feel consumers, commentators, or even professional critics judge the content of the creator's character by the general opinion of their work.

Anonymous said...

What the fuck is mumblecore?

Bobby said...

I have seen almost all mumblecore films, and the only one I even remotely liked was "Jeff, Who Lives At Home", and that's because Jason Segal, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and Judy Greer are amazing actors/ actresses.

I agree with Devin's statements fully!

Anonymous said...

This is one of those weird areas where I don't understand why the debate is even going on. Mumblecore movies are boring as shit...so I avoid them, the end. Why fight ab out it.

biomechanical923 said...

Admittedly I've never seen a "Mumblecore" movie.

The closest to "Mumblecore" I've seen was probably when my girlfriend made me watch "Daydream Nation" on Netflix.

The basic premise is that there's a bunch of white highschool kids acting all jaded like life is meaningless because their parents are divorced, and whining that people should stop judging them for using copious amounts of drugs.

Is it something like that?

Sarah Montgomery said...

@biomechanical923

You basically described the 1990s, so...no, I think there has to be more to it.

Zac Malm said...

I liked it better when mumblecore used to just be when a large group of people couldn't remember the words to a song, but everyone keeps trying to sing anyway.

Anonymous said...

So, I had to look up Mumblecore in Youtube to see what it was about. Two thoughts.

1. I take it this is what that new Tim and Eric movie is making fun of?

2. Holy crap, I used to make things like that with my siblings as kids. I was 20 years ahead of my time. Maybe this means the type of "songs" I created and recorded while learning to play guitar will also become a famous style of underground music.