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 DIRECTOR

Hulk offers some thoughts on the passing of Tony Scott.

Film Crit Hulk Smash: NEVER HATE A DIRECTOR

AS THE WORLD IS DEEPLY SADDENED BY THE TRAGIC SUICIDE OF TONY SCOTT, HULK COMPLETE UNSURE HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT. NOT ONLY IS THE EVENT ITSELF FAR TOO SAD AND CONFUSING AND FULL OF ALL SORTS OF TRAGEDY...

BUT HULK IS EVEN MORE UNSURE BECAUSE HULK WASN'T REALLY A FAN.

THAT MAY SOUND WEIRD TO MANY OF YOU. AFTER ALL, TONY SCOTT IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SOME SEMINAL POP CULTURE CLASSICS, MANY OF WHICH HULK ACTUALLY LIKES. PLUS, HE HAD A DISTINCT BRAND OF STYLE, A SENSE OF BRAVADO AND HE EVEN INFLUENCED A GENERATION OF YOUNG FILMMAKERS... SO WHAT IS THERE NOT TO BE A FAN OF EXACTLY?

IT FEELS SORT OF BIZARRE TO GO INTO IT NOW, BUT HULK CONSIDERED MUCH OF HIS WORK TO BE "THE CINEMA OF DISTRACTION." MEANING HE HAD A PENCHANT FOR LAYERING OF STYLIZATION WITHOUT A GREAT DEAL OF CONSIDERATION FOR THE AFFECTATION OF THAT STYLE. IT'S BASICALLY A FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT ON THE PRINCIPLES OF MISE-EN-SCENE. IT'S CHAOS CINEMA MADE LITERAL, BOMBASTIC INCOHERENT PERFORMANCE COMPLETE WITH RECORD-SCRATCHING AVID FARTS, DISCOLORATIONS, 180-LINE-BREAKS AND HAPHAZARD JUMP-CUTTING. IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE ALLURE OF COOL AND TEXTURE WITHOUT CONSIDERATION OF HOW CINEMATIC MOMENTS ACTUALLY WORK. AND HULK FINDS THOSE SORT OF DEVICES TO DISTRACT FROM THE EMOTIONS AND INTERESTS THAT SHOULD BE COMING TO THE FOREFRONT IN ANY GIVEN SCENE. IT'S NOT AS IF ONE CAN'T USE THOSE DEVICES; IT'S JUST THAT HULK VALUES MORE OF A BEND-NOT-BREAK MANTRA AND PREFERS THEM TO HAVE A MORE THEMATIC, CHARACTER-BASED PURPOSE. AND OFTEN TIMES SCOTT WAS WORKING WITH GOOD MATERIAL AND HULK JUST PLAIN AND SIMPLE DIDN'T THINK HE WAS GOING ABOUT IT IN THE MOST PRODUCTIVE WAY POSSIBLE. PLUS, HULK JUST HAS TO MENTION THE CONVERSATION WE COULD HAVE ABOUT CARL ORFF'S MAGNIFICENT "GASSENHAUER" FROM BADLANDS AND THE WAY IT WAS THEN... UM... TRANSFORMED INTO "YOU'RE SO COOL" IN TRUE ROMANCE. ALL AND ALL, HULK JUST WASN'T A FAN OF OF HIS MODUS OPERANDI.

BUT SO WHAT?

HULK'S SENTIMENT DOESN'T MATTER, BECAUSE TONY MATTERED.

PEOPLE LOVED HIM. THEY LOVED THE STYLE. THE CHUTZPAH. THE EVERYTHING. AND THEY'RE RIGHT TO LOVE HIM. PEOPLE ARE ALSO RIGHT TO THINK THAT HIS STYLE REFLECTED HIS ATTITUDE BECAUSE, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, HE WAS A HILARIOUS, GRUMPY, GRUFF THROWBACK OF A MAN. THE KIND OF GUY WHO TALKED HONESTLY AND DIDN'T BEAT AROUND THE BUSH. AND IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO DENY THE FACT THAT HE HAD A GREAT EYE FOR MATERIAL WITH THE WAY HE LATCHED ONTO TRUE ROMANCE, TOP GUN, CRIMSON TIDE, ENEMY OF THE STATE, MAN ON FIRE, ET AL. AND AS A PRODUCER HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUPPORTING THE INCREDIBLE THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (WHICH IS ONLY ONE OF HULK'S ALL TIME FAVORITES), AS WELL AS COMING ON BEHIND THE RECENT FILMS OF JOE CARNAHAN (INCLUDING THE GREY)... YEAH. IT'S CERTAINLY QUITE A LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND WORTH.

SO GIVEN ALL THAT INFORMATION IT'S SAFE FOR HULK TO SAY "CINEMATIC DISAGREEMENT BE DAMNED." TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT TONY SCOTT'S WORK IS SO UNDENIABLY WORTH SOMETHING. ACTUALLY, IT'S WORTH MORE THAN SOMETHING, IT'S WORTH EVERYTHING. HE CHANGED CINEMA. HE DEFINED HOW MODERN MOVIES ENGAGE THE NOTION OF PROPULSION. HE COULD CREATE ENERGY FROM NOTHING, LIKE ALCHEMY. AND WITHOUT HIM THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO MICHAEL BAY. AGAIN, HULK IS MUCH MORE OF A CLASSICIST, BUT THIS STYLIZATION HAS HAD AN UNDENIABLE IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY AND CINEMA FANS. AND IT'S NOT LIKE THE STYLIZATION IS BAD IN AND OF ITSELF. WHEN HULK LOOKS AT THE WAY A DIRECTOR LIKE EDGAR WRIGHT SUBLIMATES THOSE DEVICES INTO HIS OWN WORK AS IT IS PART OF "THE MODERN LANGUAGE OF ACTION MOVIES," AND THEN GROUNDS IT IN HIS OWN COMEDIC, HEART-FELT WORLDS THEN WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE, REALLY? THE STYLIZATION CAN NOT ONLY WORK, BUT BE DOWNRIGHT ENDEARING. IT'S JUST LIKE THE MOMENTS IN ALL OF TONY SCOTT'S MOVIES WHERE THE CHARACTERS AND THEMES SHINE THROUGH ALL THOSE LAYERS OF SMOKE AND WE'RE LEFT WITH REAL IMPACT. MOMENTS WHERE ALL THAT PROPULSION AND STYLE BUILT INTO A GENUINE THRILLING MOMENT OR INTENSE DIALOGUE STAND-OFF. BEYOND ALL THAT STYLE, THE PURPOSE OF HIS MOVIES COULD ALWAYS SHINE THROUGH WHEN IT MATTERED MOST.

IT ALL LEADS HULK BACK TO A SIMPLE CONCLUSION: JUST AS WE SHOULD NEVER HATE A MOVIE, WE MUST NEVER HATE A DIRECTOR.

NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY MAY BE GOOD, NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY MAY BE BELOVED BY OTHERS, BUT BECAUSE SOMETIMES A DIRECTOR OPERATING ON THE EXACT OPPOSITE ARTISTIC PRINCIPLES AS YOUR OWN IS THE FUCKING POINT OF ALL THIS. OUR MEDIUMS SHOULD HAVE RANGE. THEY STRETCH TO EDGES OF CONVENTION. THERE SHOULD BE ARTISTS OUT THERE WHO CHALLENGE YOUR ENTIRE SENSE OF WHAT YOU LIKE, HOW THE ART SHOULD LOOK AND WHY WE EVEN DO IT.

THE COMPLETE DESTRUCTION OF MISE-EN-SCENE?

WELL, HELL. THAT'S JUST PUNK ROCK FILMMAKING AND GODDAMMIT IF HULK CAN'T APPRECIATE WHEN SOMEONE THROWS EVERY CONSIDERATION OF HOW CINEMA "WORKS" TO THE WIND.  WHEN JEAN-LUC-GODARD MADE BREATHLESS HE BLEW THE DOORS OFF CONVENTION AND SUDDENLY TRADITIONAL MISE-EN-SCENE DIDN'T HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON ANYMORE (GRANTED GODARD WAS MORE OF AN IDEA-DRIVEN ARTIST AND LITERALLY WROTE THE BOOK ON MANY OF THOSE PRINCIPLES, WHILE TONY SCOTT IS MORE OF AN AESTHETICIST, MUCH LIKE HIS BROTHER). AND FROM THERE GODARD STARTED THE FRENCH NEW WAVE, WHICH LED INTO OUR OWN CINEMATIC REVOLUTION OF THE 70'S. NOT A BAD RESULT FROM BUCKING TRADITION. SO EVEN IF HULK COULD SIT AROUND AND GET INTO ARGUMENTS WITH HIM ABOUT THE BETTER PLACE TO STICK A CAMERA OR THE SANCTITY OF MAKING AN INVISIBLE EDIT, IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER. THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON WITH HIS IDENTITY THAT IS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT:

HE'S A PUNK ROCK FILMMAKER.

HIS ART IS THE ART OF REBELLION. AND LORD KNOWS THAT IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FACETS OF ART AROUND. WHEN IT COMES TO OUR TRUE FAVORITE ARTISTS, IT'S FAIR TO NOTE THAT SOMETIMES IT'S LESS ABOUT IDENTIFYING WITH THEIR WORK AND MORE ABOUT IDENTIFYING WITH THEIR IDENTITY. FOR INSTANCE, HULK ADORES KUBRICK AND IT'S JUST AS MUCH ABOUT HIS WORK AS IT IS HIS STYLE OF DIRECTING: HIS METICULOUS HYBRIDIZATION OF EXACTING DETAIL AND THE ORGANIC WAYS HE LOVED TO FIND A PERFORMANCE. SO OF COURSE PEOPLE BOTH WOULD AND SHOULD LOVE TONY SCOTT. HE'S A MAN WHO THUMBED HIS NOSE AT CONVENTION AT EVERY TURN. A MAN WHO EMBODIED HIS PURPOSE WITH EVERY FIBER OF HIS CINEMATIC IDENTITY. A MAN, WHO IN HULK'S MIND, REPRESENTS THE VERY HIGHEST NOTIONS OF ROCK AND ROLL.

AND LIKE MANY OF THE BEST OF ROCK AND ROLL...

HE DIED FAR TOO SOON.

<3HULK

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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