Read On is a regular feature in which The Dissolve’s staff recommends recent film pieces. Because there’s always someone writing something notable about the movies somewhere on the Internet.
Movie Mezzanine’s Daniel Carlson looks at Cameron Crowe’s movies and “the birth of the uncool”:
“Cameron Crowe is a romantic. Since 1989, he’s made eight features as writer and director, and they’re all broadly similar, featuring sensitive white men in search for identity in a world that, to them, has temporarily lost meaning. But there’s more to Crowe’s films. They are, at root, about the power of vulnerability, and about how attempts to remain emotionally distant from the world around you — to remain, for lack of a better word, cool — are antithetical to real progress and personal growth. His characters are awkward, occasionally disgraced, and frustrated by a lack of respect, but when they surrender to their softer selves, their lives begin to change for the better. Crowe makes movies about being uncool, and though that’s what makes his best works so moving, it’s also what makes them easy to write off. They intentionally invite scorn or derision. They welcome being labeled as soft-headed. They embrace the idea of being corny if it means getting to be genuine, and as a result, they’re honest and searching. Each of his movies is, in its own way, an argument for its own belief system; each one is, basically, a mission statement. As John Hughes gently chronicled the crises of Midwestern teens in the 1980s, so does Crowe acts a shepherd for his own characters and aging audience. His guiding principle: the harder you fall, the higher you can rise.”
Grantland’s Alex Pappademas has 23 thoughts on destroying the City Of Angels in San Andreas:
“Simultaneously a Los Angeles disaster movie and a San Francisco disaster movie, San Andreas bridges two superficially similar but fundamentally antithetical subgenres. When bad things happen to San Francisco onscreen — bat flu in Contagion, simian revolt in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a thick-necked thunder lizard fighting MUTOS downtown in Godzilla — we’re usually encouraged to see this as regrettable, whereas the versions of Los Angeles pulped in popular entertainment almost always seem on some level to deserve it. ‘The destruction of London — the metropolis most persecuted in fiction between 1885 and 1940 — was imagined as a horrifying spectacle, equivalent to the death of Western civilization itself,’ wrote Mike Davis in his indispensable L.A.-apocalypse treatise Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster. ‘The obliteration of Los Angeles, by contrast, is often depicted as, or at least secretly experienced as, a victory for civilization.’ ”
The Washington Post’s Emily Yar recaps Grace Of Monaco screenwriter Arash Amel’s hilarious live-tweet of the Lifetime movie:
“Lesson for film grads: this is how you wash away what was actually a great performance in this scene with unnecessary music. #GOMFacts.
Kept it tame tonight. I'll keep people storming off set, 3-hour shooting days and missing sets for my memoirs. #GOMFacts
#GraceofMonaco live tweet will also be valuable lesson in how a script becomes a film. Coppola made Heart of Darkness, I lived it. #GOMFacts”
Film School Rejects’ Scott Beggs thinks “no one is to blame for pop culture”:
“The dirty truth about sites like ours — just about every outlet out there — is that we have to write about the things you tell us to write about. More accurately, we have to write about the things ‘The People’ tells us to write about. Majority rule has become the key to everything, and even then, it’s a struggle to get eyes on your particular perspective. Sometimes we get to lead a small, dedicated band toward a shiny new discovery outside the gaze of the greater populace. That’s what we save the champagne for. That’s also why it’s frustrating to see hundreds (no exaggeration) of budding culture sites doing copy paste from Twitter and considering the day’s work done. On a large scale, nothing is being added. No thought. No commentary. Raw, sometimes incorrect, data regurgitate and shared at the speed of an urban legend, rendering the time it takes to digest and consider and communicate an untenable burden. Even some established cultural critics have resigned themselves to create content by quoting giant passages from other editorials, adding 100 words of praise or condemnation and pressing Publish.”
Plus, the rest of today's biz-ness: