Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A final note on all things Ebert.

Here's my ranting and ravings on Ebert in my review of "I Spit On Your Grave".

And here's Ebert's review of "Last Tango In Paris".
Spoilers, 4 out of 4 stars.

And here's an article containing a video where the director of "Last Tango In Paris", admits the butter rape scene was real.

And apparently, Maria Schneider had been saying it was rape for years, and no one listened.

I didn't know about any of this, cuz I didn't know the history of the movie, and haven't even seen it.
Ebert could plead no such ignorance.
He lived through the controversy, and it's one of his favorite films.
He knew.

So, artsy-fartsy movie with a real rape in it, 4/4 stars, and a big fat oozing of pretentiousness.

"I Spit On Your Grave", with fake rape, Ebert acts like it's a real crime, and wants the director's head, and tries to ruin him.

So, let's go back to my "I Spit On Your Grave", review.
That happened.
Then Ebert died.
The bastard died.
What a dirty trick.
I felt horrible about my ranting.
I tried for the last few years to backpedal it, to apologize to his ghost, to philosophize about my misspent passion and fervor, and see his career from a more positive perspective in spite of it all.
To evolve past my former outlook, and put it behind me in a classy way.
And then this falls in my lap.
And the guilt ends.
Goes up like a piece of flash paper.

Fuck Ebert, fuck Brando, fuck Bertolucci.
Fuck you, you bastards.
You gross, boomer-age bastards.

My Ebert rants stand for all time.
Fuck you, Roger.
Fuck what you did to "I Spit On Your Grave", fuck what you did to Lloyd Kaufman's career, fuck what you tried to do to Freddy, and Jason, and "Silent Night Deadly Night", and on and on and on up to "Human Centipede".

Meanwhile, you watched a real rape, over, and over, and over.
And found it beautiful.

The guilt is done, and so too my journey with Ebert.
I admit, he was my hero in my teens.
His entries in Cinemania '93 (a CD-ROM movie guide before IMDB was a thing) were the best, I drank them like sacred wine.
He helped me develop as a movie hound.
I'll always be thankful to the nicer side of him for that.

But, Brando had a nice side too, he was Jor-El, but he raped a chick on film.

So, people are a mixed bag, is the take away.
Ebert taught me what to be and not be as a critic, and what not to be as a human.
I guess that's my philosophical lesson from the whole thing after all.

Goodbye, Roger Ebert, teacher, friend, enemy, and teacher again.


B. D. said...

Yeah, I read the Bertolucci thing too. I've never seen the movie but I knew the jist of the scene. Pretty skeevy shit. BUT, people are getting the details wrong, apparently: Brando didn't *actually* fuck her, she just "felt raped" and they didn't tell her about the butter bit. It's still skeevy though.

I do find it a little weird that you'd take it out on *Ebert*--again, I haven't seen the movie (I'm not planning to--it's probably better than ISOYG though), but Bertolucci's admission of not telling Maria Schneider about the butter is the most I've heard about that movie in years.
If it's any consolation to you, Brando of course flamed out long before he was dead and most people thought of him the same way they thought of his buddy Michael Jackson, crazy and destroyed by stardom, only fatter. Bertolucci hasn't been a big deal for years either.

I'd say my biggest beef with Ebert is that as he got older his reviews got whinier and he began handing out positive ratings like candy, he even caved in and started being nice to Adam Sandler movies. Also his site has been taken over by people who write like overcaffeinated college brats.

That article is slightly hysterical--Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have seen their *reputations* take hits, at least. Then there is this:

"It shouldn’t have to be said, but:
When a woman tells you she has been raped, you should BELIEVE HER."

Well, maybe, but, uhm...just like that?

It's a good thing at least that I don't like "Basic Instinct"--Sharon Stone apparently didn't know that Paul Verhoeven was going to use the take of her without her undies on.

B. D. said...


"So, let's go back to my "I Spit On Your Grave", review.
That happened.
Then Ebert died.
The bastard died.
What a dirty trick."

His death was in the cards for quite some time before he died; he'd been pretty open about it. "Dirty trick"?
I'm also not sure why his death would make you backpedal on the ISOYG thing; I don't think anyone was really asking you to anyway....

Now that I think about it, it's more infuriating to me how defensive Ebert was of Polanski in "Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired" than him liking LTIP...

What did he try to do to Lloyd Kaufman? I haven't read that story. Something more than just not liking Troma movies, I take it? Gimme a link? All I could find was this, and unless there's something I don't know going on...


Diacanu said...

Okay, I don't think he KNEW the scene was skeevy, and therefore mustache twirling evil, but he clearly didn't believe or care for him to be okay with the flick.
Which just stand sin sharp hypocritical contrast with the whole ISOYG thing.
The cast and director had to prove in court it wasn't real, the director has a whole story in his commentary about how he intended it as a feminist message.
Nope, none of that mattered.
He picked and chose when to be offended.

As for his death being "a dirty trick", that was for comic effect.
The guy knew his days were numbered for years he had plenty of time to reflect on his life, and in those long nights of the soul, he never thought to re-asses anything, or apologize to people.

If it were bad reviews, fine, be he really did go after the director of ISOYG.
He really did try to bury him.

As for the Lloyd Kaufman thing, yeah, I guess that was just bad reviews.
But Lloyd has a conspiracy theory about studio films with the same content getting softer reviews, and that the fix is in against indies.
Maybe it's bullshit, but the evidence points that way, and it seemed plausible.

Diacanu said...

And yeah, the "BELIEVE WOMEN", line exposed the author as femi-Nazi, cuz women can and do lie about rape, and in some big fucking cases.
Ask Rolling Stone.
But the video inside it was hard enough evidence, IMHO, so I ignored the crappy style.

B. D. said...

Meir Zarchi had to prove in court that ISOYG wasn't real? I thought that was "Cannibal Holocaust." Wow, that's two in one year...urgh.

I would still argue that it's fairly sick what happened to Maria Schneider because she was angry about it for the rest of her rather short life and died before she was 60 and was alcoholic and depressed, and they didn't tell her about it, and I can't fault her for that at all because hey, I'm still angry about shit that happened to me when I was 13 and none of it involved buttery ass rape, but people are saying that the rape scene actually is Brando literally raping her with his dick and it isn't, he'd have gone straight to jail for that shit. It's still sick, I think, but now it's all over the place with people going "Dude, you're actually watching a REAL RAPE!!!" and, er, it isn't.

RS - Hah, you mentioned Rolling Stone...barely exists anymore actually. Have you seen how slim the issues are? Probably barely 75 pages. They have less money than hunting/fishing magazines now, sheez. I guess they're letting everyone else howl about Trump this season (when will the CIA assassinate him already? Cripes!)

Diacanu said...

Eh, maybe it was Cannibal Holocaust.
I knew it was one of those big three (ISOYG, CH, Last House..).

Diacanu said...

I dunno, does rape have to be penis in vagina or asshole?
They're still calling what Cosby did rape, when I guess it turns out he used their hands as fleshlights.

Paladin said...

I think B.D. is correct: although the scene in 'Last Tango' depicts arguably non-consensual sex, and although Maria Schneider said she felt raped doing it, no one was actually raped. According to Bertolucci, the only thing they 'surprised' her with was the bit with the butter. But, whatever the case, Schneider plays that scene very well (I watched that scene again just the other night when the controversy popped up).

In regards to Ebert, he could be very supportive of freedom of expression in movies, but he could also go the other way when his own sensibilities were violated. I had an online exchange with him once about his zero star rating of "The Green Berets." The film is not a great film by any stretch, but zero stars? It's a perfectly watchable John Wayne war movie actioner. Ebert gonged it simply because he didn't like the film's (and Wayne's) defense of the Vietnam War. That isn't evaluating the artistic or entertainment merits of the film, it's making a political statement.

As for ISOYG, I saw the original once upon a time and was at turns revulsed and amused. It's an ugly, exploitative film, but that's all it is. It isn't real. It's an experience. It's one I haven't felt any need to repeat in 25 yeas, but the film isn't totally lacking in entertainment value. As a revenge flick, it works.

B. D. said...

It's a really mean thing to do to an actress so don't get me wrong, I'm not sticking up for Brando or Bertolucci...but at the same time, I'm not about to bust my Blu-Ray of "The Godfather" into little tiny shards because of an embarrassing simulated butt sex scene, or watch the movie without thinking "butter ass rape!!!" every time Brando walks on screen. Again, Brando spent most of his later years being mocked for being a great big fatass who acted like a crazy-ass after the 1960s.

It was "Cannibal Holocaust"; one of the things that Ruggero Deodato had to explain was how they "impaled" that one woman on that pole. I've only seen parts of CH but they were the grossest parts including the infamous turtle kill (the "abortion" scene is laughably bad.) I...uh, well, wasn't really that impressed; it's the grainy ugliness of the film that makes any of it seem real, not some quality filmmaking.

Ebert was an inconsistent dude, I gotta admit, I just don't know about flushing him entirely down the drain because of it. What Paladin is certainly right about is his penchant for rating movies according to his politics; it was easy to tell when he'd do so, and he was also a sucker for movies that played into boomer nostalgia.

I've actually been meaning to see "The Green Berets," Paladin; what made me curious was that I even have known some conservative people who hated the film, including a guy who actually did serve in Vietnam and when I was talking with him once about what movies were realistic ("Platoon," etc.) he said of TGB, "that movie is a piece of fucking shit." He also didn't like Wayne, sniffing, "he didn't serve." Hmmmm. I will add though this guy was really temperamental.

I'll buy that Meir Zarchi really did intend ISOYG as an anti-rape statement; one little-repeated detail, for some reason, is that he was MARRIED to ISOYG's lead, Camille Keaton, *after* making the movie! Cripes, and I thought Brian De Palma was whoring out his then-wife Nancy Allen in his movies at the time. That said I've never been very impressed with ISOYG; it just isn't a really well made film at all. Neither is "Last House On The Left" but Wes Craven would be the first to admit LHOTL is horribly made. What I've got to give LHOTL nowadays is that it sort of strikes me as an interesting response to Manson and the like.

Diacanu said...

"Ebert was an inconsistent dude, I gotta admit, I just don't know about flushing him entirely down the drain because of it".

Eh, I don't think I did that.
I set out to do it at the outset of the post, but by the very very end, I kind of came to terms.
I think.

Paladin said...

@B.D. - The Green Berets is, essentially, an old school war movie with a little bit of politics infused. If the Vietnam War weren't so contentious (then and now), it would just be an update on the WWII pics Wayne made. If you put the politics aside, it's a decent enough action pic, certainly not a zero star movie. Wayne is about 20 years and 30 pounds past being a truly believable Special Forces officer, but it's John Wayne: you go with it.

My best friend's father is a Vietnam vet--who, I learned very recently, earned a Silver Star--and I'll have to ask him if he's seen it. I'm sure to anyone who was there, the movie (like most war movies) will be very lacking in realism. It's only been in the decades since "The Green Berets" that we've gotten realistic takes on war. (I haven't seen "Hacksaw Ridge," but I'm told it raises the bar in this regard.)

B. D. said...

I suppose to be fair different veterans have different perspectives on some of those movies. I know vets who both love AND hate "Platoon" to be fair.

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