Thursday, October 22, 2009

Manohla Dargis

Before she became a movie critic for The NYTimes, Manohla wrote for our own local LAWeekly. She had the distinction of being the wittiest movie critic I'd ever read (not an easy feat), but unfortunately also the least predictable. Meaning that I could never tell, by reading her review, whether I'd like the film or not.

When Pulp Fiction came out, Manohla promptly panned it. Her comment was that it "has too much dialogue", and (I'm paraphrasing) that moviegoers these days don't like that much dialogue. Well, so much for that insight. At the time the LAWeekly had a policy of running an excerpt of the original review for as long as the movie was in theatres, so it was stuck with running the same tin eared review for the 4+ months of Pulp Fiction's stunning theatrical run.

But this posting is actually intended as an ode to her wit. I just read her review of Amelia. I haven't seen the film, so I have no knowledge of its merits, but kudos to Manohla on the way she expresses her opinion that the movie is all smiles and no substance. A direct quote: "The movie is a more effective testament to the triumphs of American dentistry than to Earhart or aviation".

Which reminded me of what she said about Pierce Brosnan when his first James Bond movie came out: "The future of a franchise is resting on his slender shoulders, and the strain shows". Does it get any wittier, or more vicious, than that?


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