[Marxism] Fwd: The Business of “Art vs. Commerce” in Hollywood » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 21 06:50:36 MST 2014

Alejandro Iñárritu's "Birdman" and Alex Ross Perry's "Listen Up, Philip"
The Business of “Art vs. Commerce” in Hollywood

Starting around this time each year I try to catch up with the American 
narrative films that I anticipate my colleagues in New York Film Critics 
Online will be considering for awards at our yearly meeting in early 
December. Unlike those who get paid to review junk like “Horrible Bosses 
2”, I write about films that my colleagues tend to ignore. As one fellow 
pointed out a couple of years ago, he never reviews documentaries 
because his readers do not go to see them.

For the most part, the films that I put on my list are those that are 
likely to make the final cut at the NYFCO meeting. These tend to be 
those that the New Yorker Magazine and other arbiters of middlebrow 
taste deem “intelligent” and “daring”. Inured as I am to such judgments, 
I see watching them more as a chore than anything else. All in all, it 
reminds me of the cramming I did in for high school geometry finals.

This week I made time in my busy schedule for “Birdman” and “Listen Up, 
Paul”, films that have main characters involved with making art. In 
“Birdman”, Michael Keaton plays the former star of the Birdman movies 
now in his sixties who is directing a Broadway play based on Raymond 
Carver’s short story collection “What We Talk About When We Talk About 
Love”. The eponymous antihero of “Listen Up, Paul” is a young novelist 
who develops a friendship with an older novelist clearly based on Philip 
Roth. With allusions to Raymond Carver and Phillip Roth, what could go 
wrong? Clearly we are miles ahead of “The Transformers” and “Pirates of 
the Caribbean” but when you start a thousand miles behind the marker set 
by a Stanley Kubrick or an Alfred Hitchcock, the prospects are guarded 
at best.


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