Friday, January 17, 2014

new blog

I moved here:


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

the act of killing

The Act of Killing: Relentlessly stupid men recount and reenact their relentlessly evil acts, sanctioned by their government, supported by ours, to exterminate communists for profit. Rape, murder, and everything else terrible under the sun is spoken proudly of, the purpose to illuminate that which most of us know to be obvious moral truths. The sad fact is that killing is often illustrious/lauded/heroic when those doing the killing are declared the winners, or when their cause is backed by a governing power or majority. This film is about the power of persuasion, both to sway the public’s perception of evil and to sway the murder’s soul from liability. It’s not all about blaming those who are obviously to blame, the fingers point inward as well (once again the US had skin in the game). Western influence is a big part of the negative space. Just cause is often peddled to us to guise the smell of shit, we in America are far from exempt from this kind of atrocity. These men are shit, much like any gangsters ---- or “free men” as they insist ----- of all stripes who kill for profit, greed, or pretty much any reason other than self-defense (yeah I can’t really blame anyone for protecting themselves or someone else). But I guess this is crux of Joshua Openheimer’s film, that even monster’s souls are penetrable once they have nowhere to hide the truth from themselves. Perhaps more disturbing, the fact that a man lies buried somewhere beneath the beast. The final revelation (a conscience risen from the dead) is both a literal a figurative purge, the film would have failed completely without it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

from arguing to discussing

Agreed that we don’t need to ram our heads against Scorsese’s brick wall any longer…..

Ok so you noted that a conscience isn’t a sacred thing and basically invited me to try and convince you that yours is malfunctioning. I don’t feel that yours has malfunctioned, obviously you feel that mine has. I can’t really blame you at the end of the day. I have loose morals when it comes to film and art. I’m having a hard time explaining why. I don’t think your viewpoint is wrong, especially not for you. So that’s kind of the end of it for now when it comes to the subject. Maybe we can rehash it again when the next nude film pops up (no pun), but for now I can only say that I don’t consider simulated sexual acts the same thing as sexual acts. I don’t. When a guy shoots a fake gun at another guy, I don’t equate that to a guy shooting another guy. Simulated violence isn’t really the same as actual violence for me. Part of it is intent. A filmmaker and actor have the responsibility to draw us into the worlds they create, and sure I have my limits as to what I’d say is acceptable. I’m sure there are plenty who wouldn’t draw any lines sans murder. If you want a list, I’d be glad to think about it and write it up for you. For now I’ll just say that my list of no no’s doesn’t include a nude actress laying down with Leo’s hand on her butt whilst pretending to blow cocaine up her bunghole. I know that probably sounds terrible. I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good thing. I’m just saying that it’s permissible for me, and I don’t necessarily find it unedifying. At the end of the day certain films transcend their content. I know my father and little brother would be ashamed of me if they read those last few sentences. Haha. Sorry guys.

I’m gonna have to copy and paste you here John:

“You are okay with all forms of extramarital consensual sexual acts between adults. Aren't you also okay with all forms of prostitution? It is, after all, a consensual sex act between adults.”

Look, sex is a private matter for the most part. I’m not really worried about what you and Abby do in the bedroom, kitchen counter, elevator, or shower. It’s your business. Sex is a dirty thing, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s all about context.That doesn’t mean I’m ok with ALL forms of extramarital consensual sexual acts between adults. I think sex is more complicated than your question allows. I am fully aware of what the scriptures say about it, that only a man and woman who are married can do it. I don’t know agree with this. My soul doesn’t. I think most people who evaluate that rule as stated in the Bible understand it’s context and will know that aspects of it are somewhat logical.

I think that a lot of people engaging in consensual sex aren’t as happy and free as they’d like to think. I certainly know men and women existing within that system that are flat out miserable. Sex isn’t the answer to your problems. I think that people are hurt by it more often than they are elated. I’ve seen far more pain and hurt feelings regarding sex, in and out of marriage, than I think I’d like to admit. I think it’s all about the context, the communication and mutual understandings, and ultimately the desire to grow closer beyond the act itself. I think we can talk more about this when and if you respond.

Back to art. I’m saying that when I watch a film, I trust that all parties involved know what they are doing and it’s their conscience that they’ll ultimately have to deal with. If a girl feels comfortable exposing herself then more power to her. The same goes with certain lines of dialogue, certain scenes of violence, etc. Like I wrote this morning, I think there are plenty of appalling aspects of art, various abuses that go unseen by us doting fans. I’m in a band, I’ve seen the debauchery but also the psychological abuses that take place in a studio. Some of my albums took a toll on my soul. Do these acts make the albums any less powerful? Kubrick was said to be a jerk to some of his actors, borderline abusive verbally and psychologically. Does that lessen the quality of the work? I’d like to also talk more about that once I hear what you have to say.

So we’ve established that A: I’m not “okay” with all forms of extramarital consensual sex. Despite the way I may come off, I understand the grey areas that dominate that oh-so-BIG subject. There are plenty of exceptions to any rule. If I seem a little sheepish in declaring my views it’s because they are constantly forming and being challenged by life. B: I’m aware that every film has its fair share of demons that could potentially ruin the experience for me (hell like 40 horses died on the set of BEN HUR, most of the old Hollywood actors and directors did very bad things on and off set). This is why I understand and respect your decision to use caution when deciding to spend time watching cinema. Which brings us to the prostitution thing.

So now that you have your answer regarding the previous part of your question, it should be assumed that I am not going to be a proponent for prostitution. I’ve heard some compelling arguments in favor of certain aspects of it, I think that in certain cases both parties know what they want and are getting from it, but it’s probably one of the easier things to exploit and we see this more often than not. If you need me to further explain, just ask. I’ll try and uncomfortably talk around the subject as I’m doing here.

I disagree that I should want to change your mind. I got into this above but I’ll elaborate. Whereas I don’t agree with you about the merits, wrongdoings, or flat out immorality of WOLF, I also don’t see your position as wrong. Look at what the repercussions are for your decision to clean up your act: A: your beautiful/smart/superior wife doesn’t have to tolerate you staring at naked women onscreen B: all is well with your soul (the very same reason I became a vegetarian) C: you get to see the good stuff without all of the moral baggage. Perhaps someday I’ll have the balls to turn away from European art house films that kill animals.

Ok, so I will attempt to change your mind about one thing. You have no right as a Christian or human to be “all for” slaughtering humans, especially children and infants. You are wrong John. You can’t seriously be so gung ho against abortion and champion genocide just because a book claims that God spoke these words. It’s insane. I’ll leave you on that note. Nothing in cinema can hold a candle to nutty religious people slaughtering their fellow humans under the sanctity of God. I assure you that He is ashamed of such things. He is not proud of those who bash babies against stones. They will not enter into his glory without a good scolding.

Also, we may not get a play by play of Lot’s incest but that doesn’t stop the story from being potentially pornographic. In fact many of the stories are downright dirty. Some are dangerous in their implications (no work of art has had a more damning effect on its spectators/followers). If you are so upset and worried about how a film will impact the person experiencing it, then why do you make exceptions for the Bible? Bold questions for you my friend. I present them in love.


I agree that this conversation has been spread pretty thin. To quote JETS TO BRAZIL, “of course you’re right, of course I’m right.” Given the circumstances that brought you here, I didn’t even want to argue about it all in the first place but I’m glad we had this back and forth, though it seems you are already exhausted by it. That’s sad. I like what you are doing with the blog, and I’m thinking about doing the same with mine. I love writing about film, but I also love the notion of expanding the discussions and making them more of personal journal. You’ve inspired me, John. As to the WOLF conversation coming to a close (because you basically said “I don’t care how you respond to everything I wrote because you will be wrong”), I think the film, as well as countless others, is forcing you to compromise something within your conscience. I wouldn’t be a good friend if I tried to twist your arm in order to change your mind. I would like to address something very quickly however about your final post.

I’ll end by saying that I am conceding to your point only because you are so wholeheartedly convinced (and I’m not saying you should be) that actors are engaging in a form of sexual activity. You used my wife in an example straight from the film to bait me in a sensationalist attempt to prove a point. Then you say that I can’t argue that actors know what they are doing and have come to a certain conclusion about the very nature of their profession, one that happens to be at odds with your religious views. Your point is that in this version of pretending that they have somehow crossed over into reality. I’m not necessarily disagreeing. However, I don’t buy your use of that lady-of-the-night term, at least not in my own set of values. Those are my convictions. You are a formidable opponent indeed John to use that example and yet you never even bothered responding to my version of the same bait and switch. I’m sure you have some excuse to get out of that one. This is the nature of arguing as opposed to discussing and actually trying to see things from someone else’s perspective. We are both guilty, though I daresay that we each enjoy arguing more. This is fine. This is fun. Let’s argue about something else real soon.

But I didn’t marry an actress. Tara didn’t marry an actor. We don’t exist within that world that seems so alien to all of us blue collar Upstaters. I’ll grant you one thing; you’ve made me reconsider some of what goes on during the making of a film. In some ways you’ve even convinced me of the rather obvious; that bad things (which now apparently means things I wouldn’t want my wife to do) happen on a movie set (hell, bad things happen every day at my job). Where I think the discussion ultimately ends is that I don’t wish for you to change your mind about these things. It’s your conviction and I respect that. I already feel kind of bad for taking the bait in these past three posts. I was constantly trying to evaluate whether what I was saying was ultimately worth saying, out of respect for you. But like you, I love a good friendly fight. I was going to talk about the scriptures and all of its “edifying” stories but I’ll spare you. Good talk.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

i don't have a name for this post

First, John I’m relieved to hear that we’ll be continuing to talk film and other things via the blogs. I’ll get right to it…………….

I kind of like when you spur me on, though you have certainly located my Achilles heel and exploited it more than a fair share of times (more on this later in regards to my wife’s butthole being violated Jeff). So onto your question regarding my hatred for animal cruelty and apparent love for other women’s tits.

Physical pain is very bad. Whenever someone inflicts pain upon me, it usually happens at work. Someone gets frustrated and I get in their way. You know all about this. But when someone brings a caged or chained or tied animal to a movie set and put a bullet in its head, I would say that this is sin. I would argue it’s far worse in its sadism and intent, but you clearly disagree. I’m not as concerned about the soul of the man or woman committing this sin and I’ll let that say what it says about me. I care about the animal that loses its life in the process, or person if there exists a film in which people are killed for the sake of someone art. I don’t care if people decide to sin. Sure, it’s my desire that everyone acts according to their conscience (especially in regards to how they treat other people or things), but none of that is ultimately in my control so I tend to not worry as much about it. It’s their soul to do as they wish. I can only show by example I guess. If I attack a filmmaker for committing the sin of animal cruelty, it’s because I don’t want to see another animal lose its life. Maybe that’s your intention too, to ensure that another actress (prostitute) doesn’t take off her clothes.

I know you won’t ever see my point here so I don’t know why I’ve once again stated it. I guess it’s because I can’t ignore my convictions about it, similar to the way you can’t ignore yours.

As to Scorsese’s enjoyment of the content, you are making assumptions here. A: you are calling the women who show up nude “prostitutes,” which I personally find morally iffy (shame on you John), B: You are assuming that the men involved only got their rocks off. I wonder if Tarkovsky got his rocks off during that nude scene in ANDREI RUBLEV? He had a woman take off all of her clothes on a set full of men. See what I did there? I brought up a scene in which a woman (prostitute I guess) took off all of her clothes in one of your favorite films (and mine as well), which also happens to feature a scene of a horse getting shot in the head. More on what I consider a double standard later (don’t worry, I implicate myself as well).

I’m not sure what I think about people shedding their clothes and simulating the sex act. I DO KNOW that it’s a slippery slope, as I pointed out in my previous post. You can’t shit all over Scorsese, call him a pervert, and call his cast a bunch of drooling assholes without calling every other filmmaker who has done the same thing the same names as well as assume the same terrible things about them. It sounds like this is going to be the case for you. Fine. It’s not for me. I understand your point however. But back to me disagreeing with you because that’s more entertaining. You are taking a strong point and running with it. I never said everything else is fair game. I have limits and I’m thankful to you for making me consider them.

You brought up a grown man pretending to rape a doll (A SERBIAN FILM) to portray pedophilia as an example of where I might draw the line when it comes to simulated sex. You are right. I wouldn’t watch that. You admit that nudity is a separate issue from simulated sex right? Well would you agree that it’s worse for someone to have sex with a child than to have consensual sex with another adult, and all of the simulated possibilities that exist therein? That would be the difference for me. I don’t share your views on premarital sex. I’m not opening that can of worms.

Oh and then you have to propose a sex scene between Jeff and Tara to make sure your point hits home. Classy.

Let me try. Imagine yourself having a cattle gun pressed to your head and then dying. Imagine being in an enclosed space with other Johns for your entire life only to have that cattle gun put a rod through your brain. Ok, now stop eating burgers.

I kid, I kid. Back to my wife’s ass and Jeff’s straw……

First off, he is blowing the coke up her (whore’s) butt. Get it right John! Second, if Tara wanted to do this obviously I’d have my trepidation. Fuck it, I’d probably decide that we weren’t compatible and split. But wait a minute! I DIDN’T marry an actress! Phew! Is it possible for me to watch actors simulate (isn’t that acting?) and not want myself or my wife to do the same thing?

Does this somehow make me a hypocrite? It’s the classic argument, you wouldn’t want to see your mother having sex onscreen so why is it ok for another man’s mother to be “exploited” in this fashion? I don’t buy it John. Obviously the women (dirty sluts) who decided to appear nude in this film had accommodating spouses (pimps). I’m not saying that it’s right for these people to do this or for a director to sanction it, it’s on them. But I think that actors have a different mindset about these things. They kiss other women (I think Gregory Peck was married when he kissed Hepburn in ROMAN HOLIDAY), they pretend to be killers, they portray actions (sinful) for the sake of a story. I’m sure that people are harmed in the process. But they knew what they were getting into, like many women (awful humans) do when they get involved with cinema. I’m not saying that I don’t wrestle with aspects of this, the whole movie (and nearly all of its depictions of depravity) made me uncomfortable and yet it’s still my favorite movie of 2013. I guess it’s because I love bouncing tits so much.

My last post was going to be a great big list of things that you like that I wrestled with. I wrestled with Cassavettes naked children watching their mother act insane in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (one of my faves) for example. Would you put your wife and daughters in that type of simulated peril? And yet you love it. You also loved/let’s be honest still love BIRTH OF A NATION, which contributed to the deaths of innocent humans… directly. There is no question about the immorality and negative societal influence of that bad boy. I guess my point in bringing them up is that sometimes we like things despite our rules so set in stone. Even if you toss them aside now, you loved them for a reason, probably the same reason I’m sticking with WOLF. I respect what you are doing and I’m not scoffing at you, but it’s kind of hard to not respond passionately to a post in which you talk about my wife so frankly (why not your own wife?) and call actresses prostitutes for the sake of your own moral views.

Part of your point is clearly to wonder what effect this film is having on those who see it. I think Nick Pinkerton’s piece challenged my own perspective on this. He noted a man going to see it in the same theater as him (non-critic) who said “I just can’t get enough of this.” Obviously this statement gave him pause, making him immediately wonder about the man’s intentions. Then he realized that he was probably better off wondering about himself and his own intentions, which led to his wonderful piece. You seem to talk a lot about the film and its effect on others. Why not instead share the negative effect it had on you? You ARE doing this to a certain extent, with plenty of speculation about those who enjoyed it. I’ll leave it at that for now because I have company over. Then I’m going to hoop drugs up Tara’s ass.

the king has stepped down

John, before I respond to your post, which has gotten the blood pumping (a good thing), I want to say that I’m glad we are having this conversation. It’s why I love Film Club, even if the gloves are finally off. I wish you wouldn’t give up on FC altogether. I hope you get tempted back. I’m going to mimic your copy, paste, and respond approach here:

“You would agree that it would not be okay for Scorsese to torture a dog with hot pokers for 20 minutes, to the point of death, and include this in his film. Why? Because this is a sin. Because it involves real physical harm. In the same way, I’m convinced that sexual immorality, as a physical act, causes harm.”

I guess to echo your sentiment, I consider this ridiculous. These are two different acts completely. One is a human harming a defenseless animal while the other involves consenting adults doing things that are simulated with their clothes off. You admitted that YOU made a mistake to pay to see something that would offend you, or not edify you. The actors all got paid to bump n grind. When I referred to limits I was referring to sexual depictions on film, specifically those with nudity involved. I don’t think that I’ve necessarily embraced the “triumph” of pornography, but I’m not ruling out a film for choosing to depict a certain story in this way. I am anticipating (now with fear and trembling) the “repugnant” defenses below.

“I like to be "challenged" as well and you know this. That is why I love films like Force of Evil or Blast of Silence or No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood or Love in the Afternoon or Faces. I even think Japon or Seventh Continent, two films that I don’t love, belong here, maybe even more so, because they are films that I wrestled with and rejected (and see “repugnant” comments below; they are both repugnant). You’re guilty here of the same crap that Jeff was doing. You claim that you like to wrestle. Those who object to specific content are OBVIOUSLY just content to sit back and have their own prejudices reinforced and not wrestle. How about you go wrestle with some animal cruelty videos for the next year since that’s the only thing that apparently gets you riled up? Then come back to me and talk about wrestling. Where does this end? No one is a "wrestler" unless they've watched Human Centipede 2 and found some good in it? At some point, one has to decide that "wrestling" with certain things is a complete waste of time.”

I’m sensing a bit of frustration and anger here. Again, you seem to think that animal cruelty is in the same arena as sex in fillm. I don’t, and quite frankly I find the comparison silly and cheap. I’m not mocking your convictions, John. You seem more than a little facetious in regards to mine. I know that you like to wrestle with material. We’ve wrestled with things together many times over the past years. If my words gave off the wrong impression, I apologize, it wasn’t my intention. I think this is perhaps a fundamental Scorsese disagreement. You find his “filmmaking” somehow glorifying of its subject matter and I don’t. There isn’t much we can say to come to terms on that. My tone was meant to be sensitive to the fact that you wrestled with this beast and came out both angry and hurt by the experience. But now it seems that it’s YOU who is claiming now that I’m the one who can only be rattled by animal cruelty videos. That’s more insulting than anything I’ve written. I’m being lumped now with Jeff’s comments, which I said I’d let him defend himself on. I think you took my point way out of context. When I was referring to my reinforced convictions (which you unfairly now limit to animal cruelty---- which implies that you must think of me as a real reprobate) was that Belfort didn’t pay because that’s what actually happened, and I don’t need to see him come to some magical realization because that’s the point of the film. These men got away with it. You don’t think I wrestle with this? It seems that you and I are kind of missing each other on this and that’s fine, but hopefully in this debate you don’t continue down that road.

I’m not saying that you don’t have the right to feel as though the film is dangerous, John. I never have. I have defended your right to feel the way you do, even at the cost of being browbeaten, maybe because I’m a sadomasochist.

“As for my “respectably repugnant” list, I stand guilty as charged. Forgive me. WoWS was just the clear and easy target that made me wake up and realize that I’d spent way too much time rustling around in the trash last year looking for gems. I looked back on all of those films (yes, mostly represented by that list) and I have begun to despair about film culture and culture more generally. I looked for the rays of light in those films. They are there. That stupid list was my way of acknowledging that there were moments worth praising in films that I could not make peace with. I tried to frame that list with caution, that I was uneasy with the perversity on display throughout the year’s best films. “I can't help but feel that 2012 has been a sad and lost year in film.” I was trying to make the best of the worst. I was making a sort of anti-Top10 list because I couldn’t find any films to place on a Top 10 list for 2012, which is something that is still bothering me. I’m sorry that it was misunderstood and you thought that I was endorsing those films.”

Here’s where I’ll concede and apologize. I think I was just curious here because I know damn well that you endorse cinema that you and everyone else might consider dangerous. I think you answered every question I had in this paragraph. I wrestle with the same things from time to time. I know you think of me as a man with loose morals when it comes to film, but even as I like WOLF it bothered me for most of its running time. I thought I pointed that out but I don’t think I did such a good job. I might differ in what I consider “trash,” but this might be a fundamental divergence for us as Film Club writers and friends. I hope it never gets in the way of us bonding as either.

“So, if I have been inconsistent in the past, forgive me. I’ve sought clarity and I’ve failed. I am guilty of pride as you say. Sometimes, I think that I’m the greatest movie reviewer in the world and see all sorts of things in films that no one else can see. That is why I MUST go see WoWS, so that my Very Important Definitive Take on the film can be known. But of course that’s all a stupid lie.”

I think you are one of the greatest film reviewers in the world precisely because you challenge things that go unchallenged. Geez, stop apologizing and putting yourself down. I didn’t bring up your pride (actually I was bringing up the pride of arguing anything) to shame you. I think most of it is sheer conviction, and nobody should apologize for this.

“I am tired of spending so much time looking around in filth when there are all sorts of goldmines (Scripture foremost, but also the “Western Canon”, sf books I’ve missed, re-watching films I love, re-reading books that I know will both CHALLENGE ME and EDIFY) that I have neglected to my detriment. I’m afraid that you scoff at my quest for edification. So be it. The best works of art DO instruct and build up the best in us as they tear down the worst in us.”

And here I think you get to the root of your previous tone. I’m not scoffing at you. I have tried to make this apparent but I probably slipped up. I am used to a certain blunt form of back and forth that we’ve pretty much invented here at CR5FC. But I want you to be happy with yourself, regardless of what that means. My biggest fear is that we can’t do this more often. You claimed before that I don’t wrestle with anything outside of animal cruelty, but I’m wrestling with plenty right now. I agree that the best works of art DO build up the best in us and tear down the worst in us. I think maybe we have differing views from time to time about what truly edifies, but I don’t begrudge you your goldmines. I think we can find plenty to chat about considering. I’ll just talk to myself (and Jeff whenever he pipes in) about things like WOLF.

“WoWS was the “final straw” that made me realize that my heart isn't in this Film Club business anymore. Jeff was right. The Wolf ate my blog. I still love CR5FC. I still love films and film culture. I’m just tired. There haven't been enough "gems" to sustain and nourish me as I chase.And that’s why I ended Chasing Pictures. I really am done chasing pictures for now.”

That really sucks man. You ruined my day. I was hoping for another round at least but I see that you’d rather play Stratego, which I could kick your ass in. I dig Ben’s quote.

Your bummed friend,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

no shame here

I’m going to tread extremely lightly here considering certain circumstances. As much as I love to write and debate film, especially moral divergences, I am not happy that you had such an abysmal experience with WOWS, which continues to be my personal favorite film of 2013, shame on me. Instead of challenging your views on the film or morality, which are undoubtedly as set in stone as mine Jeff’s, Jesse’s, or even my wife Tara’s (a lot of shame to pass around), I instead find myself wondering what factors contribute to our opposing reactions. How did we come to our opposite conclusions? I’ll admit right off the bat that I don’t share your views about content; specifically the supposed value of implication versus “letting it all hang out,”------ which coincidentally it seems Scorsese has shared your views in the past. He once said that sex and nudity stop a narrative dead in its tracks, citing his mentor and friend Nick Cassavettes as an influence on this artistic choice------ because I’m not quite as monolithic or absolute about these things. I think certain films call for certain approaches and limiting an artist, though sometimes exhilarating and oddly freeing (again back to that damn Hayes Code), is a mistake.

I also agree that certain aspects are played for slapstick. You noted the Popeye sequence, which I found both hilarious and horrifying. On one hand you have these two loathsome Neanderthals crawling around in a self-imposed state of infancy, on the other we are deliberately shown a young girl horrified by everything going on. This was clearly a deliberate choice on Scorsese’s part, so what was he trying to do there? I think it sums up what worked for me in this film. If I enjoyed this type of mayhem, coming from these types of characters I’m implicated in their actions. I’m not as much interested in standing on top of Mount Sinai, with every emotional/moral/spiritual reaction preset to reinforce my own morality. I like to be wrestle with my responses from time to time. I cannot deny (again, shame) that I took pleasure in the immorality, much of this is because the director is so damn talented. I was drawn into this narrative even as I was fully aware of how wrong everything being portrayed was.

I disagree wholeheartedly that the approach renders it celebratory, but we simply won’t agree on this. The biggest divergence is that you seem to think that Jordan needs to repent in order for the film to work. I think that’s precisely why it works. Guys like Belfort continue because they can, because they (like you and I) measure the eventual consequences with the selfish pleasures and come out on top. There IS no consequence for guys like him. This is the story of America right now. But I don’t want nor need the story to force Jordan to have a Road to Damascus moment, and you and I have always disagreed on this in regards to Marty’s films.

I won’t really change anything I’ve written about the film. I respect your decision to hate it and to question the morality of those who loved it, but that brings me to perhaps my biggest question about your reaction. Personal issues aside, what sets this film apart as “vile” or “shameful” as opposed to your personal favorite spring breaker Harmony Korine or a number of other films from this year? I could go on and on about films and filmmakers whom you’ve endorsed, wrestled with, loved, and/or lightly written off because of content (specifically nudity and sex). If one form of simulated (though you admitted to admiring JAPON which isn’t simulated) immorality (unchecked as you claim) is wrong and vile, then why isn’t another held to the same standard? You weren’t a fan of SPRING BREAKERS, but you bent over backwards trying to reconcile the content because you have championed the director since I’ve known you.

And just to continue to call you out for what I’m tempted to call your subjective inconsistencies (wink wink), here is your top ten “respectably repugnant comedies” of 2012:

1. The Comedy (Alverson)
2. Sightseers (Wheatley)
3. Killing Them Softly (Dominick)
4. Django Unchained (Tarantino)
5. Spring Breakers (Korine)
6. Killer Joe (Friedkin)
7. Seven Psychopaths (McDonagh)
8. Cosmopolis (Cronenberg)
9. Dark Shadows (Burton)
10. Here Comes the Boom (Coraci)

I seem to recall some pretty awful scenes from that bunch. Why do those constitute as "respectably repugnant?" Can you see where my confusion is coming from here?

Part of the goal of Film Club is learning how to debate a particular point, most of the time stubbornly and without a true desire to concede (pride is a sin, perhaps THE sin). I’m not stupid enough to expect you to concede a point here, nor do I want you to. I’m also sad that this film hurt you in any way. Similar to DJANGO UNCHAINED (a film that clearly hurt another good friend of mine), I value my friends over my artistic preferences. But I guess if you are willing to end your post divvying out “shame” you might want to at least admit that there may be more to your reaction than meets the plank in your eye.

ONE MORE QUICK NOTE: I’ll let Jeff defend himself here, but I think we both know that he isn’t looking to attack people. He’s simply baffled, as I still am, as to how anyone could believe that the intent is to encourage people to act out Belfort’s hedonist adventures. I simply don’t get it. The evidence really doesn’t work for me. Perhaps we can debate this further. This post should get the ball rolling.