Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: NEVER HATE A MOVIE

OR: HOW QUENTIN TARANTINO GOT HULK TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMBS

Film Crit Hulk Smash: NEVER HATE A MOVIE

A note from Devin: It is our pleasure to bring to Badass Digest the only gamma irradiated film critic, Film Crit Hulk. For those of you who aren't familiar with how Mr. Hulk operates this column should give you a good idea. I think he's one of the best writers about film today, and I love his unconventional voice and style. Getting past the all-caps and Hulkspeak may take a moment, but I think you'll find it's well worth the effort if you want smart, funny and insightful thoughts about movies. It's an honor having him on the team.

PREFACE: HEY ALL. HULK HERE! HULK HAPPY TO BE BADASSING. IF UNFAMILIAR WITH HULK, HULK LOVES MOVIES AND TV AND HULK HAS STUFF TO SAY ABOUT THEM. PLEASE KNOW THE COLUMNS ARE OFTEN HULK-SIZED, ALWAYS IN HULK-STYLED ALL-CAPS, AND REGULARLY FEATURE HULK-SPEAK... IT JUST HOW HULKS DO. BUT HULK ASK THAT YOU DON'T LET THAT GET IN WAY, BECAUSE HULK MEANS YOU WELL. HULK WILL BE WRITING COLUMNS ABOUT SPECIFIC SUBJECTS LIKE: STORYTELLING, PRINCIPLES OF DRAMA, HOW MOVIES WORK, BAD WRITING TENDENCIES, FILMMAKING STRATEGIES, OR SOMETHING THAT YOU HOPEFULLY FIND PRACTICAL. BUT SINCE THIS HULK'S FIRST COLUMN FOR BADASS, HULK WANTED TO PUT TOGETHER SOMETHING OF MISSION STATEMENT ABOUT THE CURRENT CLIMATE OF MOVIE DISCOURSE AND HULK'S DISPOSITION TOWARD IT; THE GENESIS OF WHICH STEMS FROM A CHANCE MEETING WITH QUENTIN TARANTINO SOME YEARS AGO. SO YEAH, YEAH IT KIND OF LAME TO START A SERIES OF COLUMNS WITH A SILLY ANECDOTE AND EYE-ROLLING PREACHINESS, BUT HULK FEELS IT KIND OF RELEVANT. SO DEAL. OTHERWISE IT A SMASHIN.’

[AHEM.]

WE ARE AN EVERYTHING OR NOTHING CULTURE.

WE THINK THAT IT (NO MATTER WHAT IT ACTUALLY IS) IS EITHER SOMETHING THAT IS AWESOME OR SOMETHING THAT SUCKS. OUR WILLINGNESS TO GIVE INTO THIS MODE OF THINKING IS ALMOST A UNIVERSAL. EVEN THE MOST ELOQUENT OPINION CAN COME OFF AS EXTREME AND SOMETIMES THERE'S NO WAY TO WRAP A NEAT INTELLECTUAL BOW ON IT. WE SAY IT EITHER AWESOME OR IT SUCKS. AS OBVIOUS RESULT, WE ALL TEND TO ARGUE ABOUT MOVIES QUITE A BIT. THE COMPLETE NATURE OF NUANCE IS LOST IN OUR ENTHUSIASM OR IN OUR SPITE, BOTH OF WHICH GIVE RISE TO AN INHERENT DEFENSIVENESS. RARELY IS THE CONVERSATION PRODUCTIVE AND EVEN MORE RARELY ARE WE ACTUALLY EDUCATING ANYONE IN THE MANNER WE WOULD WISH. INSTEAD, WE ARE TALKINGAT EACH OTHER. AND THE QUICK + CASUAL STRUCTURE OF THE INTERNET ONLY SEEMS TO MAKE THINGS WORSE.

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT NOT MAKING IT WORSE.

LET US JOURNEY BACK ALL THE WAY TO THE LATE SUMMER OF 2003. IT WAS A STRANGE TIME. HULK MEAN THIS BOTH AS A JOKE OF FAUX-WISTFULNESS OF THE RECENT PAST AND YET WITH ODD KIND OF SINCERITY. WE HAD JUST CONTAINED THE SARS MEGA-VIRUS. THE WAR IRAQ WAS JUST PREMATURELY DECLARED “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.” PIRATES SENT JOHNNY DEPP FROM DELIGHTFUL IRREVERENCE TO ZOMG-LEVEL-RELEVANCY. AND BOAT TRIP WAS RELEASED UPON A TOTALLY-SUSPECTING PUBLIC… IT WAS A WEIRD TIME.

AND HULK? HULK WAS STILL BACK IN BOSTON, WORKING EDUCATIONAL ODD-JOBS AND BASKING IN THAT SPECIFIC AND RATHER-PROLONGED POST-COLLEGIATE GLOW OF KNOWING EVERYTHING, YET ACTUALLY KNOWING NOTHING WHATSOEVER. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HULK TALKING ABOUT HERE: THAT TIME WHEN YOU’RE FILLED UNBRIDLED CERTAINTY ABOUT WHO YOU WANT TO BE AND HOW THE WORLD SHOULD WORK AND YET YOU ARE ALSO FILLED WITH THAT DEEP, EXISTENTIAL DREAD BECAUSE YOU'RE JUST NOW REALIZING HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO BECOME A REMOTELY-PRODUCTIVE CITIZEN, FORGET LIFE DREAMS AND SUCH. EVERYONE KNOWS SOME FORM OF THIS. IT IS THE HEARTBREAKING DUALITY OF THE LAST MOMENTS OF ADOLESCENCE... AND SOME FOLKS NEVER ESCAPE.

BUT ON A WARM LATE-SUMMER DAY, HULK UNKNOWINGLY SET ON A COURSE THAT CHANGED HULK’S MOVIE-GOING PERSPECTIVE FOREVER.

HULK WAS WALKING AROUND KENDALL SQUARE IN CAMBRIDGE WITH SOME FRIENDS AND THERE WAS SOME GUY HANDING OUT FLIERS FOR A TEST SCREENING. SOME OF YOU KNOW ABOUT TEST-SCREENINGS. THEY ARE A COMMONPLACE THING WHERE MOVIE STUDIOS TRY TO TEST MOVIES WITH “REGULAR FOLK” ACROSS THE COUNTRY (BECAUSE IF THERE'S ANY REGULAR FOLK IN THE WORLD THEY'RE IN CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS). STUDIOS THEN USE THESE SCREENINGS TO MAKE BROAD SWEEPING DEDUCTIONS ABOUT HOW TO FIX THE MOVIE, JUST BY USING THE AUDIENCES POORLY-WORDED ANSWERS TO THEIR EVEN-MORE-POORLY-WORDED QUESTIONS. IT IS AN ASININE PRACTICE IF YOU GET TO THE FOCUS GROUP PART, BUT THE SCREENING ITSELF IS NOT INVALUABLE. GOOD FILMMAKERS KNOW HOW TO READ AN AUDIENCE. ANYCRAP, AT THE TIME HULK HAD NOT BEEN TO ONE BEFORE SO HULK INQUIRED FURTHER.

HULK: “WHAT MOVIE?”

GUY: “I can’t say, but you want to see it.”

HULK: “HULK NOT GOING TO GO IF HULK NOT KNOW WHAT MOV-”

GUY: “Fine… [SMILES]… It’s KILL BILL.”

NOW, YOU MAY NOT BE A TARANTINO FAN, BUT TRY TO REMEMBER WHAT THE CULTURAL CLIMATE WAS LIKE FOR HIM IN 2003. IT SAFE TO SAY THERE WAS A RABID FERVOR OF ANTICIPATION AS IT HAD BEEN 6 YEARS SINCE QUENTIN MADE A MOVIE, A TIME FILLED WITH MORE FALSE STARTS, RUMOR AND SPECULATION THAN YOU COULD SHAKE A PROVERBIAL STICK AT. AND FINALLY HERE IT WAS, QUENTIN’S NEXT FILM; A BLOODY KUNG FU EPIC WHICH FEATURED HIS RE-TEAMING WITH UMA THURMAN. WHAT HAD SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE, WAS NOW VERY REAL, THE MOVIE HAD BEEN FILMED AND EVERYTHING. HECK, THERE WAS EVEN A TRAILER SO IT HAD TO BE REAL (AT THE TIME THE PLAN WAS TO RELEASE IT AS ONE GIANT EPIC, BUT THE RUMBLINGS HAD SURFACED THAT THE WEINSTEINS WERE PLANNING TO BREAK IT UP). BUT NOW HULK COULD NOT BE PREVENTED...

NEEDLESS TO SAY, HULK REGISTERED FOR THE DAMN SCREENING.

SO THE NIGHT FINALLY COMES AND HULK IS, LIKE, FIRST IN LINE. HULK GETS GREAT SEAT AND WAITS PATIENTLY... THEN QUENTIN TARANTINO SHOWS UP WITH FREAKIN' RZA AND HARVEY WEINSTEIN IN TOW (THIS FEELS LIKE THE SET UP TO A BAD JOKE) AND EVERYONE GOES NUTS. TARANTINO GIVES A LITTLE PREGAME SPEECH, FILLED WITH BITS LIKE “Normally people say ‘awww it looks like shit, don’t judge it yet’ but I saw it this morning and it looks fucking good!” ETC. REALLY, IT EXACT KIND OF GREGARIOUS BRAVADO WHAT YOU WOULD HOPE TO HEAR FROM HIM. SO QUENTIN FINISHES HIS SPEECH AND IMMEDIATELY MAKES A B-LINE FOR THE EXACT CENTER SEAT OF THE THEATER WHICH SAYS “RESERVED.” YES, FOR TEST SCREENINGS TARANTINO RESERVES THE MIDDLE SEAT. THIS IS A WHOLLY UNCOMMON PRACTICE AND THE SURE SIGN OF MAN POSITIVELY GIDDY WITH ENTHUSIASM. FROM THERE, HE PROCEEDS TO WATCH KILL BILL WITH ITS FIRST AUDIENCE AND GETS TO WATCH THEM LOVE THE SHIT OUT OF IT.

... BUT THIS ISN’T AN ARTICLE ABOUT KILL BILL. THIS IS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARD.

HULK ALREADY STARTED LEAVING, BUT STANDING OUTSIDE THE THEATER BY THE BACK ENTRANCE WERE QUENTIN TARANTINO AND RZA. THEY WERE JUST STANDING THERE TALKING TO A FEW OTHER FANS WHO HAD FILTERED OUT THE SAME EXIT. HULK COULDN’T RESIST. HULK STOOD BY AND WAITED AS A FEW CONVERSATIONS FINISHED, AND THEN HULK WENT UP TO SPEAK TO THEM.

THE CONVERSATION TOUCHED ON BASIC NICETIES AND COMPLIMENTS AT FIRST. WE TALKED ABOUT KUNG-FU MOVIES AND 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER. WE TALKED ABOUT WU-TANG. HULK INQUIRED ABOUT INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, WHICH AT THE TIME WAS SOME SORT OF NEBULOUS PLANNED TRILOGY INVOLVING ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER IN WHAT EVENTUALLY BECAME THE HANS LANDA ROLE.  THE CONVERSATION WENT IN ALL DIRECTIONS REALLY (IT'S NOT SURPRISING THAT TARANTINO LOVES TO TALK). IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT HULK WAS MOSTLY AMAZED AT THIS WHOLE PROCESS, BECAUSE HULK DIDN’T REALIZE WHAT IS VERY COMMON TRUTH: THE VAST MAJORITY OF FILMMAKERS ARE BOTH NICE-AS-SHIT AND COMPLETE FILM NERDS. THEY JUST LOVE TALKING MOVIES. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. (1)

BUT THEN, THE CONVERSATION TOOK A SLIGHT TURN. HULK BELIEVES THE SUBJECT OF WOODY ALLEN CAME UP AND SPECIFICALLY, THE IMMINENT RELEASE OF ANYTHING ELSE. COINCIDENTALLY, BOTH HULK AND QUENTIN HAD BOTH SEEN IT ALREADY.(2)

HULK: "UGH."

QT: "What?

HULK: "HULK HATED THAT MOVIE."

QT: "Never hate a movie."

HULK: "HUH?"

QT: "Never, under any circumstances, hate a movie. It won't help you and it's a waste of time."

HULK: [STARTING TO EXPLAIN REASONS WHY HULK HATE MOVIE].

QT: "You're not getting me. There's plenty of reasons to not to like a movie. But if you hate them? Meaning if let them bother you? Then they'll do nothing but bother you. Who wants to be bothered? There's so many better things to do with movies. It's like my fucking Top Gun rant, okay? (3) Bad things can be so much more interesting than just bad.

HULK: BUT WHAT ABOUT LIKE THE FREAKIN' BOMBS, CAUSE-

QT: Even the bombs, man, heck, especially the bombs man. And I mean if you want to do this for a fucking living and you're absolutely serious, then never hate a movie. You can learn so much about the craft from bad movies. I man you can't like fucking look at Kurosawa and be all [PUTS ON VOICE THAT THAT SOUNDS ODDLY LIKE PETER GRAVES FOR SOME REASON] "Oooh just do what Kurosawa did. You know, it's easy!" Fuck no! Bad movies teach you what not to do and what to correct in your process and that's way more helpful. You know how many feet of film I burned on this thing [MEANING KILL BILL] when I was trying to be like something else that was great? Like fucking Pole Fighter, like what you said? No, all the best stuff came out of me just trying to avoid mistakes."

HULK: "WELL HULK-

QT: "And fuck man, hating movies closes you off to stuff that seems like whatever you hate. Or stuff by the same guy. And who knows? That other stuff could be awesome. Some of my favorite filmmakers made bad movies. It won't help you. It just won't. It stops your development right in its tracks, okay? I mean like everything and I ain't trying to get you to be like fucking me or anything. I'm just saying I think it's better for you. And it makes me way, way happier. Never hate a movie. They're gifts. Every fucking one of em."

QUENTIN WASN'T YELLING AT HULK OR ANYTHING, NOT AT ALL, BUT THERE IS THIS SICK FEELING YOU GET IN YOUR STOMACH WHEN SOMEONE WHO IS WAY-WAY-MORE-QUALIFIED-THAN-YOU (LIKE ARGUABLY ONE OF THE BEST ON THE PLANET) SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON YOUR BEING A RELATIVE ASS. EVEN IF IT FEELS LIKE SHIT, THIS PROCESS INCREDIBLY HEALTHY. IT'S WHAT KEEPS US GROUNDED AND HUMAN. (NOTE: IF YOU'VE NEVER HAD THIS FEELING THEN CHANCES ARE YOU ARE NOT JUST BEING A RELATIVE, BUT PERPETUAL ASS. SEEK HELP). EVEN IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT JUST CLARIFIES OUR OWN OPINION, EMBRACE YOUR ASS-ISH-NESS IN THOSE MOMENTS. YOU'LL BE BETTER FOR IT!

THE CONVERSATION WENT ON FROM THERE AND QUENTIN TALKED ABOUT  50 MOVIES HULK HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF AT THE TIME, MANY OF WHICH HULK LATER CAME TO LOVE. HULK REMEMBERED THINKING "HULK GOTTA SEE MORE MOVIES" AND HOW HULK FELT STUNNINGLY BEHIND ALL OF A SUDDEN. QUENTIN WENT ON FOR A BIT MORE THEN ABRUPTLY HOPPED IN HARVEY'S LIMO WITH RZA. HULK JUST STOOD THERE DUMBFOUNDED, WITH QUENTIN'S WORDS BURNED IN HULK'S MIND.

HULK'S BEEN THINKING ABOUT THOSE WORDS FOR THE LAST 8+ YEARS.

AT THE TIME HULK DIDN'T REALIZE HOW MUCH TARANTINO WAS BREAKING A WIDE-OPEN HOLE IN HULK'S LATENT ADOLESCENT PERSPECTIVE. ABOUT THINKING YOU KNOW EVERYTHING JUST BECAUSE YOU KNOW SOMETHING. HULK LOOKS BACK ON OPINIONS, WRITING, FROM A DECADE AGO AND SORT OF SHAKES HULK'S HEAD. IT NOT THAT THE WORDS INARTICULATE, OR THE IDEAS NOT COMPLEX… IT JUST SO UNFORGIVING.(4)

BUT REALLY HIS WORDS RADICALLY CLARIFY SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE BLACK/WHITE THINKING OF MOVIES BEING "GOOD" OR "BAD"... IT'S THAT THE THINKING IS  NOT HELPFUL.

DON'T THINK OF "NEVER HATE A MOVIE" IS NOT A RULE, BUT MORE OF A MANTRA. SURE, TARANTINO STILL ESPOUSES HIS LOVE OF THE MOVIE, EVEN PUTTING IT ON HIS LIST OF THE 20 BEST MOVIES OF THE LAST 2O YEARS. BUT TARANTINO'S POINT WAS MUCH LIKE THE BECHDEL TEST: WHICH IS NOT REALLY ABOUT "PASSING" BUT IT'S VALUE OF HELPING YOU REALIZE SOMETHING MORE, LIKE THE HORRIBLE WAY MOST WOMEN ARE HANDLED IN MOVIES. IT'S THE SAME THING HERE. REMOVING THE HATE CREATES A NEW AND BETTER CLIMATE. IT'S SHOWS US THAT BEING SO FOCUSED ON DESIGNATING MOVIES AS AWESOME OR SUX, PREVENTS US FROM HAVING THE BEST POSSIBLE CONVERSATIONS.

FOR INSTANCE, IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF IF THE DARK KNIGHT IS THE AWESOMEST MOVIE EVER OR IF IT'S OVERRATED, BUT THE MILLIONS OF OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE THE FILM INTERESTING. LIKE ITS TREATMENT OF JOKER AS THE ULTIMATE ANARCHIST, THE LOGIC OF WHICH TAKEN TO IT'S FURTHEST POSSIBLE POINT. LIKE HOW IT'S SECRETLY A GREAT  "GAME OF CAT + MOUSE" MOVIE THAT WORKS AS A CHASE START TO FINISH. LIKE HOW IT MIGHT BE GREAT LEARNING TOOL FOR RE-INTRODUCING THAT ATYPICAL STORYTELLING INTO BLOCKBUSTERS. LIKE IT'S THE UNCONVENTIONAL TREATMENT POLITICS, BOTH IN TERMS OF PERSPECTIVE AND SPECIFIC TOPICAL REFERENCES. THE DARK KNIGHT HAS A MILLION GREAT CONVERSATIONS WE'RE NOT HAVING BECAUSE WE'RE TOO BUSY TALKING ABOUT ITS WORTH!

AND IT  CAN BE ANY CONVERSATION YOU WANT. YOU CAN GO HIGHBROW, LIKE HOW THE SUPPOSEDLY "THEATRICAL" FILMS OF MIKE LEIGH MIGHT BE SOME OF THE MOST VERSED IN CINEMATIC CONVENTIONS. OR YOU COULD GO LOWBROW: TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN MIGHT BE A VAPID TURDBOX FULL OF SOME OF THE MOST EGREGIOUS NONSENSE EVER THROWN ON CELLULOID, BUT SOMETIMES IT'S KIND OF FUN TO STARE INTO THE UNABASHED ID OF MICHAEL BAY AND SEE WHAT'S ACTUALLY IN THAT CRAZY BRAIN OF HIS. THE VALUE OF WORTH WILL ALWAYS END IN A STALEMATE, BUT THE VALUE OF THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE LIMITLESS.  

REALLY, YOU COULD HAVE FIELD DAY WITH THIS.

HULK UNDERSTAND THAT MANY PEOPLE ONLY SEE MOVIES AS PRODUCTS THAT ARE EITHER WORTH THEIR TIME OR NOT WORTH IT. HULK TOTALLY GET THAT. BUT WHY, WHEN WE'VE ACTUALLY SEEN THE MOVIE, IS THE ACTUAL DIALOGUE SO WRAPPED UP IN THE SAME CONVERSATION OF ITS "WORTH?" IS IT THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR OR THE SECOND BEST? SHOULD IT GET NOMINATED? WILL IT GET SNUBBED?

WHY THE FLIPPIN' FUCK DO WE CARE? HOW ARE THESE QUESTIONS RELEVANT TO WHY YOU ACTUALLY LIKE IT? WHAT ABOUT IT BEING "THE BEST" MADE YOU CONNECT WITH IT? WORTH IS BASICALLY MEANINGLESS WHEN COMPARED WITH OUR PERSONAL CONNECTIONS AND THE IDEAS BEHIND THEM. ISN'T IT WAY MORE FUN FUN TO TALK ABOUT THE KINDS OF STUFF HULK LISTED ABOVE? HULK NOT IMPLYING THE CONVERSATION HAS TO BE ACADEMIC, BUT IT CAN CERTAINLY BE MORE INTERESTING. (5) MUCH LIKE THE CLICHED ZEN MASTER ADAGE OF WHETHER IT IS THE FLAG OR WIND WHICH IS MOVING, IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT OUR MINDS ARE MOVING.

BUT THIS WHOLE "NEVER HATE A MOVIE" MANTRA GOES EVEN DEEPER THAN THAT AND TO A BASIC LEVEL OF HUMAN COMPASSION. IF YOU'VE REALLY, TRULY TRIED YOUR HAND AT FILMMAKING, WITH EVEN A MODERATE SIZED PRODUCTION, THEN YOU KNOW THAT IT IS (A) THE MOST DIFFICULT THING IN WORLD, (B) IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU "KNOW" BECAUSE KNOWING AND EXECUTION ARE RADICALLY DIFFERENT THINGS, AND (C) SO MUCH OF IT IS OUT OF YOUR CONTROL THAT IT IS HARD TO BLAME WITH SINGULAR RESPONSIBILITY. AND TO SO BLINDLY "HATE" SOMETHING THAT IS MADE IN THESE HUMAN CONDITIONS JUST DOESN'T MAKE A LICK OF DAMN SENSE. BESIDES, ONCE YOU'VE WORKED IN HOLLYWOOD YOU REALIZE THAT IT'S HARD TO BEGRUDGE THE FACT THAT ANYTHING GETS MADE. THAT "HATE-ABLE" MOVIE WAS PROBABLY SOMEONE'S FIRST REAL GIG IN SHOW BUSINESS. OR THEIR FIRST TIME BEING A FULL-TIME EDITOR. OR THAT'S THE MOVIE WHERE SOMEONE GOT SOMEONE THEIR SAG CARD. HECK, THAT MOVIE MIGHT HAVE DONE WELL AND ALLOWED A STUDIO TO TAKE A CHANCE ON ANOTHER FILMMAKER. ARE THESE THINGS HATE-ABLE? OF COURSE NOT. THIS ISN'T TO IMPLY THAT BAD FILMS DESERVE A PASS OR ANYTHING, IT'S JUST IMPORTANT TO REALIZE IT'S ALL PART OF A VERY HUMAN SYSTEM.

...  A SYSTEM THAT DOESN'T GRACEFULLY FIT INTO AN EVERYTHING OR NOTHING CULTURE.

THUS, THE DEDUCTIONS HULK DRAW FROM TARANTINO'S "NEVER HATE A MOVIE" MANTRA ARE PRECISELY THE KIND OF IDEAS THAT HAVE BECOME HULK'S MISSION STATEMENT: TO TRY AND FIND WHATEVER IS MOST INTERESTING ABOUT A GIVEN MOVIE, SHOW, OR SUBJECT AND TRY TO TALK ABOUT IT IN AS NUANCED AND THOROUGH A WAY AS POSSIBLE.

BECAUSE YOU KNOW, HULK NUANCED…

HENCE, THE HULK-SIZED COLUMNS. THERE'S A VALUE TO TRYING TO LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED AND IN A "TL;DR" CULTURE, SOMETIMES IT IMPORTANT TO FIND VALUE IN THE THINGS WE RARELY HAVE TIME TO DO. AND AS FOR A MOVIE'S "WORTH?" HULK RARELY WRITES GENUINE REVIEWS, BUT INSTEAD HULK WILL SOMETIMES WRITE ANALYTICAL PIECES CALLED "WHY____ WORKS" AND EXAMINE THE SINGULAR ASPECTS OR THEMES THAT SEEM TO RESONATE WITH AUDIENCES. HULK THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT THESE METHODS AND HULK'S ABILITY TO ARTICULATE THEM ARE NOT ALWAYS SUCCESSFUL, BUT HULK STILL DEEPLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PROCESS OF LEARNING. IT'S ALL A JOURNEY TOWARD SOME KIND OF ZEN STATE OF MOVIE WATCHING AND THESE THINGS TAKE LIFETIMES, NOT MERE YEARS. BUT HULK BELIEVE THAT IN TRYING TO ARTICULATE THESE THINGS WE CREATE A BETTER CLIMATE FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.

AGAIN, HULK KNOWS IT SOUNDS SO DUMB. PLEASE KNOW THAT HULK NOT TRYING TO BE MORALIZING, GRATING, PREACHY, ESOTERIC, ANNOYING, OR ANYTHING OF THAT ILK. HULK ACTUALLY COMES FROM THE SAME WELL-WORN PLACE OF CYNICISM THAT MANY OF YOU DO. BUT THE ABILITY TO BE CIVIL JUST SEEMS SO DAMN PERTINENT NOWADAYS. SO HULK HAS JUST THINK IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A KIND OF GRACE AND AWARENESS, YET STILL SOMEHOW EMBRACE THIS GENUINE OPTIMISM AND BASIC DECENCY AT THE CORE OF WHY WE WATCH MOVIES IN THE FIRST PLACE.

WHEN HULK STARTS FEELING HATE-Y TOWARD SOMETHING, HULK HAS TO THINK BACK TO THAT CONVERSATION OUTSIDE THE KENDALL SQUARE THEATER. HULK EVEN THINKS ABOUT QUENTIN TARANTINO SITTING IN THAT MIDDLE SEAT, SOAKING UP THE AUDIENCES EVERY LAUGH AND GROAN IN REACTION TO EVERY OVER-THE-TOP BLOOD SPURT. HE WAS FULLY AWARE, PLAYING THE AUDIENCE LIKE A FIDDLE AND YET HE COULD BARELY KEEP HIMSELF IN THE SEAT. HOW AMAZING MUST THAT FEELING BE? REALLY, WE SHOULD ALL BE SO LUCKY.

AND HULK PROMISE YOU ONE LAST THING, EVERY BIT OF GOOD WORK, GOOD WILL, CAREER TRACTION, EUREKA MOMENT, OR COMPLIMENT THAT WAS EVER SENT HULK'S WAY, WAS SOMEHOW BORN OUT OF THAT HUMBLING MOMENT OUTSIDE OF THE THEATER AND HULKS ONGOING COMMITMENT TO HULK'S MISSION STATEMENT.

“NEVER HATE A MOVIE” INDEED.

THANKS QUENTIN.

NOW THAT THIS SILLY MISSION STATEMENT BUSINESS IS OUT OF THE WAY, LET'S GET INTO THE FUN STUFF. NEXT UP, HULK’S GONNA TALK PUTNEY SWOPE! AND BEYOND THAT, HULK WILL HAVE STUFF THAT’S WAY MORE FUN, PRACTICAL, SPECIFIC, OR ANALYTIC.

SUGGESTIONS MORE THAN WELCOME.

<3 HULK

ENDNOTES:

1- STILL, IF YOU SEE A FILMMAKER YOU LIKE, THIS DOES NOT GIVE YOU CARTE BLANCHE TO RUN UP APPROACHING AND START SPOUTING YOUR IDEAS AND HAND THEM A SCREENPLAY. THERE ARE CORRECT TIMES AND PLACES FOR THE DIALOGUE. BUT IF YOU ARE INDEED IN THE CORRECT TIME AND PLACE, THAN THIS IS MEANT AS ENCOURAGEMENT. DON'T BE AFRAID, BUT DON'T ONLY COMPLIMENT THEM. TALK ABOUT THINGS YOU LOVE. TALK ABOUT THINGS YOU KNOW THEY LIKE. GO BACK IN TIME AND TALK ABOUT BILLY WILDER, SAM PECKINPAH, SERGIO LEONE, OR HELL GO NUTS WITH GUYS LIKE MONTE HELLMAN AND ANDREI JODOROWSKY. TO A SEGMENT OF READERS THIS DIRECT AND ON-THE-NOSE ADVICE MAY SEEM PRETENTIOUS, BUT AGAIN, MOST FILMMAKERS ARE FULL-ON FUCKING HISTORIANS, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, EVERYONE SHOULD LOVE THE HISTORY OF MOVIES TOO.

2- HULK SAID "HULK BELIEVES" BECAUSE HULK HAVE A CONFESSION... HULK ONLY 90% SURE THAT WAS THE MOVIE IN QUESTION. HULK TEND TO HAVE AN OUTSTANDINGLY GOOD MEMORY AND HULK REMEMBERS TARANTINO’S WORDS OF RESPONSE WITH SUCH CLARITY AND DETAIL (PERHAPS BECAUSE HULK FELT LIKE AN IDIOT AS HE WAS SAYING THEM), BUT OF THE ACTUAL DAMN MOVIE ITSELF? HULK CANNOT BE 100% CERTAIN. AGAIN, HULK PRETTY SURE IT ANYTHING ELSE AND WE COULD CHALK THIS SORT OF THING UP TO THE PARADIGMS OF HUMAN MEMORY (COMMUNITY REFERENCE!), BUT HULK JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW HULK NOT THROWING UP THE DETAILS FOR THE SAKE OF THE STORY, ACCURACY BE DAMNED. SO HULK ADMITS THAT THIS MADDENING DETAIL OF THE STORY IS SUSPECT AND  HASIT HAS BEEN DRIVING HULK NUTS FOR THE BETTER PART OF DECADE... IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS... ANYCRAP THE ONLY IMPORTANT THING IS THERE WAS A CLEAR DIFFERENCE OF OPINION.

3- SAID TOP GUN RANT FROM 1994'S "SLEEP WITH ME"

4- IT ALSO PUT SO MUCH OF TARANTINO ENTIRE CAREER IN PERSPECTIVE. MANY PEOPLE DISLIKE HIS WORK OR HIS PERSONALITY, BOTH OVERFLOWING WITH A KIND OF ABJECT SHOWMANSHIP. HULK CAN'T DISAGREE, BUT HULK FINDS HIS WORK TO BE EXCEPTIONAL IN THE MOST HIGHBROW WAYS POSSIBLE. HE HAS THE FAMOUS QUOTE ABOUT HIS OWN EDUCATION "I didn't go to film school. I went to films." WHICH SPEAKS SO MUCH TO WHO HE IS, BUT ALSO WHAT HE SAID TO HULK OUTSIDE THE THEATER. GOOD? BAD? DOESN'T MATTER. THERE WAS NO "CORRECTING" EDUCATION TO TELL HIM OTHERWISE. QUENTIN LOVES EVERYTHING ABOUT MOVIES. HE ALSO LISTENS TO BRITNEY SPEARS. HE ABSORBS EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR CULTURE INDISCRIMINATELY. THERE IS THIS PART OF OUR TOO-COOL-FOR-SCHOOL BRAINS THAT CANNOT RECOGNIZE IT, BUT IT IS PRECISELY THIS KIND OF CULTURAL OMNIVORE-ISM THAT MAKES TARANTINO SO INTERESTING. THAT SERVES AS THE LIFE BLOOD FOR CREATIVITY AND UNDERSTANDING. SOME PEOPLE ACCUSE HIM AS BEING HIGH-LEVEL RIP-OFF ARTIST, BUT THAT WHOLLY MISSES NOT ONLY HIS CRAFT BUT THE SHEER JOY OF HIS WORK'S UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM AND THE GENUINE SINCERITY OF HIS NARRATIVES (PLUS YOU COULD ARGUE HIS STYLISTIC WORK IS JUST BRECHTIAN, BUT THAT'S TOTALLY A DIFFERENT KIND OF CONVERSATION). HULK REALLY BELIEVES THAT EVERYTHING THAT MAKES HIM GREAT STEMS FROM HIS STANCE OF "NEVER HATE A MOVIE."

5- FEW MOVIES ACTUALLY SEEM TO BREAK THE MODE AND ENCOURAGE ACTUAL CONVERSATION. IF THEY DO, THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO BE BIG MATTERS OF AMBIGUITY AT THEIR CORE LIKE DID THE TOP STOP SPINNING? OR IS DECKARD A REPLICANT? OR IS CHILDS A THING? OR DID BABE EVER BECOME BACON?  SUCH CONVERSATIONS USUALLY FOCUS ON THE IN-MOVIE LOGIC AND OFTEN OBSCURE THE MEANING AND THEMATIC IMPLICATIONS. WHAT'S ODD IS THAT WE ACTUALLY WE DELVE INTO THIS KIND OF MINUTIAE ALL THE TIME IN THE COMEDY ARENA. LIKE WITH RANDALL'S THEORY ABOUT THE MURDERED WORKERS ON THE DEATH STAR AND THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS THEREIN, BUT WE'RE SO BUSY TRYING TO RANK A MOVIE WE FORGET TO TALK ABOUT THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT IT.

 

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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