Terry Gilliam: the difference between Kubrick (great filmmaker) and Spielberg (less so)

[Video Link]

Mike Springer from Open Culture says:

Terry Gilliam has never tried to hide his feelings about Hollywood. “It’s an abominable place,” he told The New York Times in 2005. “If there was an Old Testamental God, he would do his job and wipe the place out. The only bad thing is that some really good restaurants would go up as well.”

One thing that bothers Gilliam about Hollywood is the pressure it exerts on filmmakers to resolve their stories into happy endings. In this interesting clip from an interview he did a few years ago with Turner Classic Movies, Gilliam makes his point by comparing the work of Steven Spielberg–perhaps the quintessential Hollywood director–with that of Stanley Kubrick, who, like Gilliam, steered clear of Hollywood and lived a life of exile in England. Kubrick refused to pander to our desire for emotional reassurance. “The great filmmakers,” says Gilliam, “make you go home and think about it.”

Terry Gilliam criticizes Spielberg and Schindler's List



  1. It’s amusing that Terry Gilliam wants you to “go home and think about it” when so many of his movies collapse into an infinite plot hole singularity if you think about them too much.

  2. I walked out of Schindler’s List thinking “Only Steven Spielberg could make a movie set in the Holocaust where not a single major character dies.”

      1. Right, that’s why the film took a 30 minute detour of random ghetto killing with not a single plot point or character involved, or we were introduced to the one armed guy to kill him 30 seconds later.  Gotta get some Holocaust in there somewhere, just not to anyone we actually know or care about.

        It was a dramatization, and any other filmmaker would have had someone actually touched by the horror going on around, instead of just, you know, making sure everyone could go home not being too depressed. 

        Oh, and don’t get me started on Ralph Fiennes’ character, the near mustache-twiddling evil Nazi (obviously related to sweaty evil Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark).  “Hey, SS officer, maybe you should try not being evil?”  “Nah.  More fun to just indiscriminately shoot people.”  Cutting insightful commentary, that.

    1. So, should he have changed history and killed off one of the characters that were based on actual survivors?

      Of all the valid critics of that movie, of which there are many, not killing off characters based on real survivors is really not one of them.

      1. So, should he have changed history and killed off one of the characters that were based on actual survivors?

        I knew a girl who honestly thought they should have killed off one of the astronauts in Apollo 13 to make the movie more exciting. Almost would have been justified just to see the reaction of the real-life astronaut during the premiere screening.

        1. I suppose they could have had all the astronauts survive the trip and then have one of them ironically die young from cancer a few years later. Oh wait …

      2. You neatly ignore the decision that only survivors would be major characters in the film. Nice straw man you’ve got there otherwise, though.

          1. You can say that all you want, but it won’t cause it to make a lick of sense. You’re pretending that making a movie about the survivors was a given, rather than an artistic choice on Spielberg’s part, and acting as if the only choice he *did* have available to him was whether the real-life survivors would survive in his movie. You set up this absurdity only to knock it down, which is the very definition of a straw man argument.

          2. @boingboing-fbcce68c3853e923f0983996eee5573e:disqus  – Do you know what a straw man is? It’s attaching a false argument to someone that is easy to tear down.

            Of course it is easy to say that we are complaining about the survivors who survived in a movie about survival. But the thing you are actively trying to ignore is that during the screenwriting process, someone had a choice to make: “Shall we have 100% of these characters ultimately be survivors? Or maybe a couple of them die along the way?” Our point is that maybe if a few of them died along the way, things would have been a lot different for the better.

            I know it’s fun to take the double-controversial stance sometimes, but if you still don’t “get” what a strawman is after this post I don’t know what to say to you.

      3. So, should he have changed history and killed off one of the characters that were based on actual survivors?

        No, but maybe he should have put some other characters who did not survive in central roles as well. Of course this might be more difficult since we have firsthand accounts from survivors but not from those killed, but surely the survivors remember something about people they knew at the camps who didn’t make it. Besides, if any historical event justifies filling in some invented details about people whose stories have been lost in time, it’s the Holocaust; focusing only on the stories of the tiny minority who lived to give their accounts gives a very distorted picture of what a typical person’s chances really were.

  3. Gilliam is dead on right. Every Spielberg movie is anodyne crap beautifully presented.  Hell, he could make “Schindler’s Park,” a.k.a Jews versus dinosaurs, and the audience would leave feeling uplifted and better for having seen it.

  4. This discussion highlights one of the reasons why Munich is my favorite Spielberg film.

    No happy ending, heck, there is very little happiness at all. The plot is loose and subtle, the audience is left to at least think about the grim realities and extreme difficulties associated with espionage and assassination. The violence is sloppy, brutal and terrifying. There is no glory for the characters. They don’t even complete their goals.

    Now, granted, it’s a dramatization of true events, but as a movie it’s just a fantastic piece of story telling and production.

  5. Spot on. The thing about great filmakers, like Kubrik, is that there are just a handful of them. No doubt that there is genius in Spielberg as well, but his movies obey the laws of the market and they are not independent works of art. This begs the question: who is actually making the film? The actual filmaker or those whom the film is supposed to please? In the case of Hollywood movies, the answer is -we all know that, dont we?- the market. So we really should not be offended when someone says that our beloved Spielberg has the same intentions of every other filmaker in Hollywood: to make money. I rather go home and think about it, though. 

    1. I think there’s quite a lot of people out there that could be great filmmakers, but will never have the opportunity because it’s so absurdly expensive to make a movie. Generates a huge barrier to entry that only a lucky few will be able to cross.

      Spend an afternoon  browsing Vimeo sometime. There’s real talent out there. 

    1. Yeah, I think there is a time and place for BOTH types of artistic vision.  One is NOT better than the other.  It’s all very, very subjective.

      1. There’s nothing subject about it.  Kubrick is patently better.  Kubrick didn’t waste half his career throwing out completely insignificant crowd pleasers (like JP, Tintin, Indy 4,ect.), and the rest making films compromised by candyfloss sentimentality.

        1. That’s all personal opinion, which is in itself, subjective.  I find most of Kubrick’s stuff boring and bland, but again, that’s my personal opinion.  Yes, it is subjective.  All of it.

          1. I don’t care for all of his films either, but the point I’m trying to make is that there is objective difference between the degree to which Kubrick was committed to film as a art-form (to the extent that he always pushed himself, every time out, to make something significant and cinematically innovative) and the way Spielberg is more committed to film as commerce, hence making Indy 4, which was a paycheck gig whatever way you want to look at.

          2. …the point I’m trying to make is that there is objective difference between the degree to which Kubrick was committed to film as a art-form…

            How would one go about objectively quantifying that difference? Or objectively defining “art form” for that matter? Gilliam states his opinion very articulately but at the end of the day it’s still an opinion, as is all art criticism.

          3. There were only 3 Indiana Jones movies.  I know nothing of this fourth Indy of which you speak . {Sticks fingers in ears and goes “LALALALALALA”}

          4. It’s not all subjective.  Compare Transformers to any sci fi flick made by either Spielberg or Kubrick.  Are you honestly going to try to tell me that Transformers isn’t objectively worse than anything Spielberg and Kubrick ever did?  That Transformers may as well be the best film of all time because it’s all subjective anyway?

            Similarly, we can compare something like Minority Report or AI to something like Clockwork Orange or 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Both Minority Report and AI, like a great many Spielberg movies, reached a logical conclusion that was the perfect ending though a little bit of a downer…and then went on for another 45 minutes as Spielberg tried to shoehorn in a happy ending.  These were good movies (well, Minority Report was good) that were ruined by trite, sappy endings that made no sense stapled onto the end of them.

            Spielberg is a brilliant filmmaker but it’s only a statement of fact to point out that he panders to the audience which in turn prevents him from being an artist of Kubrick’s caliber.  He has all the genius required, he just doesn’t have the will to upset the audience which is something needed by great artists.

            Edit: Gilliam isn’t as talented a filmmaker as Spielberg but I get more out of his films. Spielberg is absolutely brilliant at the craft of making movies, but as others are pointing out he doesn’t DO anything with that talent except tell people what they already know and make them feel good about it.

          5. Are you honestly going to try to tell me that Transformers isn’t objectively worse than anything Spielberg and Kubrick ever did?

            In my humble opinion, yes. By critical consensus, yes. Objectively, no. There’s probably some obsessive toy collector out there who creams his jeans every time a giant robot flashes the GM logo, and all the film critics in the world won’t convince him that Barry Lyndon is artistically superior.

            And that’s OK. I’m not even sure I’d want to live in a world where art was subject to the same kinds of objective metrics that govern math or science.

          6. Notice how you had to concoct a really lame little example to demonstrate how Transformers might, in some possible world, not be a flaming pile of dog shit.  The obsessive toy collector is objectively wrong that Transformers is a great film in this example.  Similarly, I REALLY enjoyed the movie Iron Man.  But if I called it a “great film” I would be wrong.  It was an entertaining movie, not a work of art.  It can only be compared to something like 12 Monkeys or Clockwork Orange or Munich  in the most superficial ways and even then it won’t compare favorably. 

            What I’m saying is whether you like or dislike something is irrelevant to whether it is great cinema.  Whether you like or dislike something is a purely subjective reaction but if you can’t analyze your reasons for liking it beyond “well it’s all subjective anyway” then you’re not in the position to critique art one way or another.   marilove doesn’t like 2001.  I completely understand that: it’s incredibly slow-moving and even I, one who loves the film, would have trouble sitting through it without a little bit of herbal assistance.  The hedonic effect of the film on any given human being is irrelevant.  Yes, someone might love Transformers — that doesn’t make it a great film.

            Just compare an analysis of 2001 by someone who loves it with an analysis of Transformers by someone who loves it.  I guarantee the sophistication and diction of the two analyses will be worlds apart and there’s a real, objective reason for that.

          7. The obsessive toy collector is objectively wrong that Transformers is a great film in this example.

            You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          8. Excuse me for no longer taking your opinion on this seriously.  You’re mistaking “subjective feelings of enjoyment” for “aesthetic quality”.  They’re not the same thing. Hint: one is purely subjective and the other is at least partially objective.

          9. Then please enlighten us. You’ve been at this for some time and haven’t yet explained how art can even be defined objectively, let alone evaluated objectively.

            Hint: repeatedly using the word “objectively” does not make an opinion, even a well-considered one, into objective fact.

          10. “Hint: repeatedly using the word “objectively” does not make an opinion, even a well-considered one, into objective fact.”

            And yet you rely on the term “objective fact” in the above statement to make your own claim.  Why not take up the challenge Daniel is presenting to you but you keep dancing around, and try answering the question: How might “subjective feelings of enjoyment” be different from “aesthetic quality”?

          11. Why not take up the challenge Daniel is presenting to you but you keep dancing around, and try answering the question: How might “subjective feelings of enjoyment” be different from “aesthetic quality”?

            That’s his premise, let him defend it. I don’t think there IS a fundamental difference between subjective feelings and aesthetic quality. If there was then rules of aesthetics would be universal instead of varying from person to person and culture to culture. In a world where some esteemed critics think Chinese Opera is the highest form of musical expression while others think the same of American Jazz, that is clearly not the case.

            If you disagree with me then how about answering my original question: How does one objectively evaluate “art”?

          12. In a world where some esteemed critics think Chinese Opera is the highest form of musical expression while others think the same of American Jazz, this is clearly not the case.

            How many esteemed critics do you think would find my snoring to be a higher form of musical expression than either? Why?

          13. If there was then rules of aesthetics would be universal instead of varying from person to person and culture to culture. In a world where some esteemed critics think Chinese Opera is the highest form of musical expression while others think the same of American Jazz, that is clearly not the case.

            Straw man.  Why would any one genre of art be consistently greater than another genre?  Genre distinctions are entirely arbitrary and (this part IS my own subjective opinion) the greatest art defies genre.  Genre is usually tied very closely to craft so to compare jazz and Chinese opera one would have to take into account the different standards for craft in the two genres. 

            Once that happens you can actually talk about the command of each composer over his respective craft, the chances the composers take in employing that expertise, rapport with an audience.  One can compare the career trajectories taking into account that the audience is different in each case.  And dozens of other objective considerations to decide whether the American guy is better at jazz than the Chinese guy is at opera or vice versa.

            Has it never struck you as odd that Shakespeare is so consistently regarded as the best writing in the English language?

          14. Has it never struck you as odd that Shakespeare is so consistently regarded as the best writing in the English language?

            Popular critical consensus does not equal objective fact.

          15. Popular critical consensus does not equal objective fact.

            Popular scientific consensus equals objective scientific fact.  Popular medical consensus equals objective medical fact.  Popular plumbing consensus equals best practices for public hygiene. 

            If socially constructed truth isn’t objective then “objective” is completely meaningless in the first place.

          16. Popular scientific consensus equals objective scientific fact.

            No it doesn’t. Scientific consensus changes all the time based on new evidence, which scientists try to evaluate as objectively as possible.

          17. Popular scientific consensus equals objective scientific fact.

            You lose a fair amount of credibility with this statement, which displays a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of objectivity.  Even the wikipedia page Brainspore linked to could tell you this: “Objectivity should not be mixed up with scientific consensus. Scientist may agree at one point in time but later discover that this consensus represented a subjective point of view.”  One probably doesn’t need to ask Galileo and Copernicus what their opinion of “popular scientific consensus” and its relationship to objective scientific fact was.

            There may be a fair amount of critical consensus regarding the superiority of one filmmaker over another, but even that consensus is ill-informed anyway.  If we’re comparing film directors, the responsible thing to do is to evaluate their skills, strengths, and consistencies as directors.  It’s dangerous to take the auteurist view that the director of The Deer Hunter must be superior to the director of Heaven’s Gate simply because everyone agrees that the former deserved its Oscars and inclusion on AFI’s Greatest Movies of All Time list, whereas the latter was so unwatchable, unlistenable, overlong, self-indulgent, self-important, unpopular, and overpriced it bankrupted United Artists and began the self-destruction of its director’s career.  I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded that Michael Cimino directed both.  His skills as a director are plainly in evidence in The Deer Hunter.  They’re harder to discern in Heaven’s Gate, even though he was given a freer hand to direct however he wanted on the latter film.

            Gilliam knows deep down the debt he owes to his creative collaborators; Gilliam movies wouldn’t be Gilliam movies if he didn’t have people like Roger Pratt and Dante Ferretti making his work look as sumptuous as it does, or people like Julian Doyle or Lesley Walker cutting for him.  There’s a reason (though apparently long-forgotten by many people) why the MPAA gives out separate Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director, and there’s also a reason why the same movie often wins both.

            It’s superficial and naive to claim that any director can be “objectively better” than another.  Arguments can be supported over whether one particular movie is better than other, according to certain agreed-upon criteria, but it’s kind of like qualitatively comparing other works of art.  Is  A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte better than, say, Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond?  And if so, why?  It diminishes cinema as an art form to say that The Godfather is better than Days of Heaven, if for no other reason than that the points of comparison are far too many and too wide-ranging to be statistically useful in assigning a letter grade.  And yet we humans like our patterns, and we like hierarchies, and so we assign one to five stars atop our capsule review, or assign a score on the Tomatometer, and say “our work here is done.”  And it’s no better to say that Kubrick’s better than Spielberg because Spielberg is a sentimental lover of his fellow man and Kubrick was a misanthropic antisentimentalist who loved to show his audience why their species is doomed.

            I know whose work I generally prefer to watch, and whose work generally challenges me to think more deeply, but neither of those two qualities are the be-all and end-all of Directorial Quality.

          18. Roger Ebert, for whom I have great respect, judges films based on whether they meet their goals. It certainly makes it more fun to go to the movies when you look at it that way.

          19. Sounds like wisdom to me.  It’d suck to be a film critic who hates movies, but there seem to be more than a few of them.

          20. It’s incredibly easy to define “art” objectively.  State a definition and then proceed with whatever analysis is relevant in your particular case.  Arguments about demarcation criteria are just semantic quibbling, any two reasonable people should be able to find a definition of art — an objective one — that will suffice for the purposes of the discussion at hand.  (Unless one side is being pointlessly contrary which is all too common.)

            Two things that I think are pretty much necessary for any definition of art: medium and message (one thing you pomo types get right is that they can’t be strictly separated).  When you’re talking about medium you’re talking about craft.  Spielberg probably has the best craft of all three directors under discussion here.  He’s the most talented filmmaker of the bunch.  One can adduce all kinds of evidence for this as people have in this thread, pointing out his prolixity and the high-quality of even his less ground-breaking films (again, in terms of craft) as well as some of Gilliam and Kubrick’s problems with craft (Kubrick’s perfectionism, Gilliam’s trouble keeping narratives coherent).  If I knew more about film in particular I could compare how the three directors employ the principles of cinematography, how they compose and arrange particular scenes, etc.  I can talk about their relative ability as storytellers simply by making factual observations about their oeuvre.  My own idiosyncratic hedonic reaction to the movies is irrelevant to this kind of analysis in just the same way as one can compare the craftsmanship displayed by two different clay pots and come to an objective decision about which one displays more skill on the part of the craftsman.

            When you’re talking about the message things get a little more complicated but ultimately I concur with Gilliam and many of the posters in this thread.  Just like a chef who makes delicious healthy food is better than a chef who can only make food tasty if it’s loaded with sugar and carbohydrates, a film director who can make a great film that discomfits the audience and makes them see the world differently is better than a director who only makes films that reflect the audience’s pre-existing beliefs and opinions about the world back at them and validates them. 

            Whether or not you like something is indeed purely subjective.  Whether or not a particular artifact of culture is well-made or highly derivative of existing works or intellectually challenging is really not.  (“Challenging” sounds subjective but since it’s a relative judgment I think you’ll find it’s actually pretty consistent.  2001 is more challenging than Transformers.  If you want to convince me otherwise then don’t just tell me “it’s subjective,” give me some real reasons to think Transformers is the least bit challenging and 2001 is not.)

            Repeatedly using the word “subjective” does not make it so.

          21. Here are a handful of the terms you just used to describe how to go about “objectively” evaluating art:

            “Best.” “Talented.” “High-quality.” “Ground-breaking.” “Craft.” “Perfectionism.” “Delicious.” (Etc. etc.)

            So, in short, your answer to the question “how does one objectively evaluate art” depends on making a bunch of other value judgements. That’s not what “objective” means.

            2001 is more challenging than Transformers.  If you want to convince me
            otherwise then don’t just tell me “it’s subjective,” give me some real reasons to think Transformers is the least bit challenging and 2001 is not.

            I won’t try to convince you to change your opinion. In fact I share that opinion. But our opinion it remains.

          22. Weak sauce, dude.  Note that I didn’t quote-mine you anywhere in my argument.  This is exactly what I meant by “pointlessly contrary.”

            Since knowledge is socially constructed and since we’re taking the word “objective” so seriously there is nothing that can actually be accurately called “objective” according to the criteria you’re implying. Are you a member of the simpul speling moovment by any chance?

          23. Since knowledge is socially constructed and since we’re taking the word “objective” so seriously there is nothing that can actually be accurately called “objective” according to the criteria you’re implying.

            Not true. We can objectively evaluate lots of things: laws of physics, how many people are in a particular room, whether or not evolution is true, etc. Pretty much anything that can be supported with verifiable facts rather than personal opinion.

          24. Not true. We can objectively determine lots of things: laws of physics, how many people are in a particular room, whether or not evolution is true, etc. Pretty much anything that can be supported with verifiable facts rather than personal opinion.

            The notion of scientific truth is socially constructed; we can only derive laws of physics by coming up with essentially arbitrary criteria for what constitutes a law of physics (that is, logically arbitrary; the criteria usually have good pragmatic justifications just like my argument of why Transformers is objectively worse than 2001 rests on pragmatic justifications).  Have you noticed all the “disproofs” of relativity floating around the internet?  Then why is relativity still taken seriously as scientific fact?  Because, according the consensus of physicists, those are not valid arguments. 

            Similarly for “personhood” and “evolution.”  Note that in the case of evolution, even famous atheist philosophers like Jerry Fodor still think it rests on some kind of logical fallacy and eminent biologists like E.O.Wilson disagree with more mainstream biologists on how it actually works.

            No it doesn’t. Scientific consensus changes all the time based on new evidence, which scientists try to evaluate as objectively as possible.

            This doesn’t contradict the statement that it responds to. The fact that scientific consensus changes doesn’t contradict the fact that the consensus of scientists determines what is considered to be scientific fact. But it does seriously undermine the notion that scientific fact is “objective.”

          25. Brainspore, I think it is way to simplistic to say that a movie being objectively better than another is impossible.  You might as well argue that one object being objectively hotter than another is impossible: after all, someone might have a different opinion (based on a quirk of their own experience).

            In fact, philosophers may have argued that heat was subjective thousands of years ago.  Since then we’ve come to a consensus that all that time when we were talking about being hot, being cold, about things behind hot and being cold, we were talking about *something* and that something was heat.

            It may be that when we sit around and talk about what art is good and what art is bad we are just talking about how we feel.  But when it came to heat, it turned out we were not just talking about how we felt, we were grasping to get at some collective concept.  You can’t just baldly assert that the same isn’t true of good art.  It could be that collectively as a society we are striving to understand *something* when we talk about good art, something external to ourselves, not just our feelings.

            The case for subjectivity is harder to make than you think.  The fact that we can’t currently get our heads around what objectively better art would mean doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mean something.  The fact that different people disagree doesn’t mean that it isn’t objective – it may, instead, mean that some people are wrong.

          26. Brainspore, I think it is way to simplistic to say that a movie being objectively better than another is impossible. You might as well argue that one object being objectively hotter than another is impossible…

            My objective method of determining the latter would involve a thermometer, and I would expect that most any human being who knew how to read a thermometer would come to the same conclusion using that technique. What would your objective method be for determining the former?

          27. Did you read my whole post or just stop when you thought you could make a “gotcha” post in reply?

            The point is that you are ruling out the idea that there may be an objective measure of good movies (or art in general) that we have not yet hit upon in favour of assuming it is all about personal feelings about things.  There is a point in history when popular philosophers would have said the same thing about heat.

            When two people have different opinions about the same thing, there are two (maybe more) possibilities: maybe it’s just a subjective difference, maybe one of them is wrong.  Your argument that movies must necessarily fall into the former category is completely unsupported.

          28. Brainspore,

            All you need to know about this thread is that Luke Skywalker isn’t a doll, HE’S AN ACTION FIGURE!

          29. Here are a handful of the terms you just used to describe how to go about “objectively” evaluating art:

            “Best.” “Talented.” “High-quality.” “Ground-breaking.” “Craft.” “Perfectionism.” “Delicious.” (Etc. etc.)

            I am curious to see how far you are willing to take this. If a five year old were given a camcorder for the first time and had a couple of hours to play with it do you think it would just be an opinion to suggest that the resulting footage was made with less craft than, say 2001?

          30. If a five year old were given a camcorder for the first time and had a couple of hours to play with it do you think it would just be an opinion to suggest that the resulting footage was made with less craft than, say 2001?

            Yes. A well-founded and universally-held opinion, I suspect.

            OK, I’m done on this subject. Have an objectively nice day.

          31. So, in short, your answer to the question “how does one objectively evaluate art” depends on making a bunch of other value judgements. That’s not what “objective” means.

            To say that art is wholly subjective or wholly objective is probably an oversimplification. Almost every field outside of pure mathematics involves elements of judgment that we can’t justify rigorously but it seems like most people who think about the issue converge in their judgments–even in the case of purely factual judgments like whether the Earth is round or flat, we cannot exactly define how we weigh various competing arguments from round-Earthers vs. flat-Earthers or why we finally come to think the evidence “strongly” supports the round Earth case over the flat Earth case. And for many people, ethical judgments would come somewhere in between factual scientific judgments and aesthetic judgments in the degree of objectivity/subjectivity…most people would find it fairly “obvious” that causing innocents pain just for fun is wrong, even though there may be trickier ethical issues where it may be harder to believe there is a single “objectively correct” answer. Even in the case of art, what if we find a certain degree of convergence in the judgments of different people the more time they spend thinking about art, and the more different works of art they are exposed to, and the more they make a conscious effort to separate more “meaningful/complex/deep” forms of pleasure reactions from more “superficial” kinds? If such convergence of judgments exists, even to a limited degree, couldn’t that be taken as a basis for seeing artistic value as not being purely subjective?

          32. Nicely said, and much more careful than I was being.  This is probably the better way to say everything I was trying to get across.  Skepticism is warranted regarding the “purely subjective” status of aesthetic quality.  That shouldn’t imply that nothing about aesthetics is subjective.

          33. It’s incredibly easy to define “art” objectively.

            Aesthetics are entirely subjective. There are things that you like and things that you don’t like.  Any attempt to call your personal criteria objective is no different from purveyors of “good taste” in home decor.  Or religious dogma, for that matter.  It’s just you trying to make your fantasy sound like science.

          34. I think Transformers was a pile of dog shit, but someone out there may actually love it.  And hate 2001: A Space Odyssey.

            Because, yes, opinions are always subjective.

          35. I’m glad that you pointed out _AI_ because, as a film that bore the mark of both Kubrick and Spielberg, it serves as probably the best example of their differences.  All it takes is one viewing of that film to be able to easily identify the point where Kubrick put the pen down and Spielberg picked it up.

          36. All it takes is one viewing of that film to be able to easily identify the point where Kubrick put the pen down and Spielberg picked it up.

            If you’re talking about the idea of the future AI coming back to bring David back to life and reunite him with his mom, but only for one day, that was all Kubrick. Read this section of a Kubrick FAQ:

            At the story’s conclusion, the robots that have inherited the Earth use David’s memories to reconstruct, in virtual form, the apartment where he had lived with his parents. Because his memories are subjective, the mother is much more vividly realized than the father, and his stepsister’s room is not there at all; it is just a hole in the wall.

            For Ms. Maitland, the film would end with David preparing a Bloody Mary for his mother, the juice a brighter red than in real life: “He hears her voice, and that’s it. We don’t see him turn to see her.” Kubrick, however, wanted a coda in which the new race of robots, because of a technological limitation, cannot keep the mother alive after reviving her. The movie would end with David in his mother’s bedroom, watching her slowly disappear.Ms. Maitland was displeased this scenario, and was furious with Kubrick for insisting on it. “It must have been a very strong visual thing for him,” she says, “because he wasn’t usually stupid about story. He hired me because I knew about fairy stories, but would not listen when I told him, ‘You can have a failed quest, but you can’t have an achieved quest and no reward.’ “

          37. By “magical dolphins” do you mean the tall skinny smooth and faceless guys that dug him out of the ice and brought back his mom? Those were the future AIs, doing just what Kubrick imagined them doing in the synopsis I linked to (though I dunno how much he specified about their appearance).

        2. Why does “pleasing” a large number of people automatically make him a worse director?  That’s the worst kind of elitism.  I can think of a number of insightful films that were popular at the box office.

  6. Right on.  The Spielberg who made Duel and Jaws could have been the next Hitchcock.  The Spielberg who made Close Encounters could have been pretty much anything.  But he blew his considerable gifts on ephemeral commercial diversions and and an inability to make any movie (even the grim Darwinian determinism of Wells’ War of the World) without resorting to crass sentimentality.  Munich is the only good movie he’s made in donkey’s years.

  7. Why does everybody talk about Schindler’s List like it’s JUST about the holocaust? That’s what documentaries are for. It’s the story about Oskar Schindler (the actual human being) and the people he worked to save. Also, the characters being followed didn’t die because they DIDN’T DIE IN REAL LIFE. Are we seriously never allowed to have even a (semi) happy ending to a story about something horrible even if it ACTUALLY happened? It’s a fallacy to say all art must have some sad or open ended conclusion to make us think.

    1. I think people lump Schindler’s List like that because of the brouhaha when Spielberg made it.  “Spielberg is getting serious!  He’s tackling the Holocaust!”  So, of course it became “Spielberg’s Holocaust Movie That Will Finally Get Him The Oscar He Deserves.”  And when he got the Oscar, and many people saw that it was pretty much the typical, shallow, feel good movie that Spielberg does, despite being set in one of the most horrific periods in the history of the world, there was naturally some backlash.  Although it was clearly muted because most folks seemed to be toeing the PC line at the time.

      That actually makes it more noteworthy that Gilliam focuses on Schindler’s List to me, because he’s going after probably one of the most sacred cows in Hollywood, and IMHO, he’s right.

    2. The point is that Spielberg could have told a story about the Holocaust in which some major characters did die, but *chose* to tell one in which they didn’t.  Instead, he chose to tell an absolutely by-the-numbers Hollywood story — in which the Holocaust, and the specific Jewish community in Schindler’s sphere of influence, provide the springboard for Schindler’s acts of heroism, rather than the main story themselves.  In this regard, the film is structurally nearly identical to “Avatar”: a downtrodden group provides the excuse for the protagonist to prove his heroism (and, incidentally, take command of the downtrodden group himself).  Spielberg’s own version of “War of the Worlds” tells much the same sort of story: umpty-billion human beings are killed as the backdrop-situation that empowers Tom Cruise’s character to stop being a schmuck.  

      That being said, I feel not all of Kubrick’s films are as successful as “2001” in opening up questions.  It’s always seemed to me that the corrosive cynicism of “A Clockwork Orange” stacks the deck against the audience, setting the terms of the discussion (about freedom, society and violence) far too narrowly for a coherent discussion actually to follow.

      But I’m still with Gilliam in general.  As some other critic said, the problem with “Schindler’s List” is that it’s a feel-good movie about the Holocaust.

  8. People have pointed out how Munich doesn’t fit into Gilliam’s argument, but no one has mentioned Saving Private Ryan. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but if I’m not mistaken, most of the squad that the audience comes to like and identify with died that went looking for Ryan.

  9. My take on Spielberg has been similar to Terry’s but a bit different. Terry say Spielberg tells you what to think, what the answers are. Yes, but more importantly for the craft of filmmaking,I’d say, is this: he’s always, always, always telling you how to FEEL. The music, for example…  

    Most extreme example: Normally, Spielberg paints everything in black and white — good vs. bad. Then he made a movie called Munich where every single audience member is forced to feel “grey” (positively and negatively) about the main characters. Even in terrain of moral ambiguity, he forces emotions on the audience — sort of reminds me of Kubrick’s most famous scene in A Clockwork Orange, in fact.If you expect this experience at the cineplex every time out, great directors like Kubrick (and Terence Malick) WILL bore some because he doesn’t force them down the track of an emotional roller coaster with every inch of track pre-determined. Instead, you need to meet him halfway and need to know something, for example, about the original intent of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in order to appreciate the irony of the Clockwork Orange scene I mentioned.

    1. To paint the choice as between fantasy and real life ignores some fairly significant works in the Kubrick catalog.

  10. An important thing to understand, I think, is that it is immensely difficult to do what Spielberg does: to create a completely engrossing story that sweeps you away. It’s different from what Kubrick does, but it is not trivial.

  11. I seem t’recall seeing a similar article about Marlowe and Shakespeare.

    Kubrick has always been a little enigmatic for my tastes, focusing on trite symbolism to the last exquisite detail but often losing sight of the story. Mind you, I don’t mean to dismiss all of his work – I’m a rabid fan of a couple of his pieces. It’s just that some of his celebrated pieces are, to my eyes, pretentious trash.

    Spielberg uses art to tell stories; Kubrick used stories to sell art. Both are pretty bad when it comes to taking credit – but then, I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about how Hollywood in general treats writers.

    Just getting in my two cents:  I know a lotta you will disagree, and that’s fine with me. I’m not out to pick an argument, just to respectfully disagree, like.

  12. I happen to like all three directors for the things they’re good at.  When I want a movie I can enjoy (maybe without thinking too much), I’ll watch a Spielberg film.  When I want something arcane, often thought-provoking, and possibly a little goofy, I’ll watch a Gilliam film.  When I want art and want to get completely lost in what’s going on, I turn to Kubrick.  The point is, all three have their strengths and, by extensions, weaknesses.

    Schindler’s List is a powerful film, even when it moves into cliche territory far too heavily.  Barry Lyndon is a wonderful piece of cinema, despite the fact that the main character is little more than a detestable twunt who just sort of fumbles his way through life.

    Having said that, I’m still disappointed with A.I.   I felt there was too much of Stephen and not enough of Stanley in it.  Sure, at its heart it’s Pinocchio in sci-fi garb, but I really think it could have been so much more than that had Kubrick been completely in control.  Would it have been as commercially successful?  Probably not.

    Disclaimer:  I have reasons to be biased towards Kubrick.

  13. What Gilliam is saying reminds a little of a old David Mamet riff from back when Mamet wasn’t batshit insane.  He basically talked about a particular type of film whose job it is to tell you what you already know, and make you feel good about yourself for having known it.  This, he said, was the opposite of great art, which should challenge and unsettle people, leaving them feeling uncomfortable about the world.  The Schindler’s List thing always kind of baffled me: there are numerous small scale holocausts happening all around us, but we don’t really care about them (or at any rate care enough to do anything about it.)  So to some degree, it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling to go to a movie like Schindler’s and bawl our eyes out, even though we don’t really give a shit about these kinds of tragedies in real life.  It’s like comfort food.

    1. Regarding other smaller scale holocausts, some of them have been addressed in films like “The Killing Fields” and “Hotel Rwanda”. You’re right that it seems odd to walk away from some such films with a warm fuzzy feeling, but people like hearing survivors’ stories. For those of us who like seeing the real nitty gritty stuff, we’ll always have documentaries.

  14. While I agree with Gilliam up to a point, I think he glosses over the fact that Spielberg only answered to “Hollywood demands” until sometime just after Close Encounters. After he produced his second game-changing blockbuster, he didn’t have to answer to anyone.

    Spielberg didn’t get rich making films that had easy answers, he became popular because he was able to find warmth and humor and worth in dysfunctional family settings. Since he came of age in a single parent home, he has been able to write with a clear head about the joys and heartache this kind of family setting offers. That resonated spectacularly with teens and young adults of the 80s, whose homes had broken and floundered in the early 70s. He juxtaposed unglamorous middle-class outcasts with pure escapism, as many did during the most tense of years in the Cold War. Spielberg just happened to be much better at it than most. Spielberg brought genius storytelling and characterizations to the mall set. Kubrick was a genius among the artistic elite. Both should be remembered fondly.

  15. I disagree with Gilliam and point to Munich as the prime example, Amistad (particularly the scenes on the slave boat), the first halves of War of the Worlds and Minority Report, and Close Encounters as secondary examples. Gilliam’s summary of Spielberg is as reductionist and generalized as he accuses Spielberg’s films of being. You can’t pin down the 30+ year career of one of the most prolific filmmakers of all time in such an easy pigeonhole. In fact it’s easier to pin down Gilliam’s career since all his movies look more or less cut from the same cloth (even the commercial stuff like 12 monkeys).

    The other thing about Spielberg that makes him important is the technical excellence of his craft. I know so many people think it’s not nearly as important, but in terms of pure technical excellence Spielberg is so far above the game of anyone else in the business and he has been for generations. I mean, how many directors are viable for that long, having done that many styles of films and are constantly reinventing themselves? Spielberg began as a typical action director, blossomed into a Hollywood darling telling gooey kids “movie magic” movies, turned to WWII and the Holocaust, and is now pushing his own stylistic boundaries in every single movie he does (he’s got War Horse AND Tintin coming out within days of each other). He’s not only used, but damn well pioneered CG, motion control, black and white, animation, motion capture, handheld, compositing, every major innovation in film technology except maybe 3D. And he’s in what, his third decade of filmmaking? Scorcese is the only other filmmaker who comes close to that kind of scope in his work. The other filmmakers who have worked that long like Woody Allen are stuck in their own little genres.

    Spielberg as an artist is woefully underlooked because he’s often so commercial. But as an artist he has totally pushed himself, especially in the last few years. The visual styles of his films have just been one look after another(especially once he took on Kaminski as his DP). Who would have thought that the same director who made the brutal, uncompromising War of the Worlds and Saving Private Ryan would also have made Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal? And they ALL FEEL LIKE HIS WORK. It’s kind of stunning how good he is in that respect.

    Kubrick shares Spielberg’s technical excellence, but he was never able to capitalize on it as quickly. His inability to make films except once every seven years is not a virtue, it’s a fault of his own relentless perfectionism and whatever random crap was going on in his head. Spielberg’s other great trait is that he was a consummate professional, he understands that a movie’s no good to anyone if it stays in your head and never gets made. Kubrick sat on his ass for so long fretting about the intricate details of his work that by the time his movie was done it was 7 years old and out of date. That’s probably why all of his movies get rediscovered as classics years after their initial release.

    Another story about Kubrick and the holocaust that’s in the Kubrick doc his producer Jan Harlan wrote is that Kubrick was all set to make his own Holocaust movie but then decided not to because Spielberg beat him to it. I guess we’ll never know if Kubrick would have done it better. He wasn’t fast enough. And in filmmaking, you have to be able to merge real life considerations with artistic vision and still have your vision shine through. Spielberg is an absolute MASTER of doing that. Kubrick (and Gilliam, it should be noted) both are notoriously poor at it.

  16. On a related note, if I ever meet Terry Gilliam in an elevator, I’m going to take his wallet, extract the amount of money I paid for the last 3 of his movies, with interest, and return his wallet to him.

    1. planettom, I hear you with Brothers Grimm and to a much lesser extent Dr. Parnassus, but did you happen to catch Tideland? Wow, what a great movie that was!

  17. The whole point is that the definition of what makes a film “great” is subjective; some people think great films are ones that they enjoy watching; others think that great films are ones that are challenging intellectually or emotionally or have certain aesthetic qualities.

    What are the objective, concrete, measurable qualities of a great film?

    How many colors does it have? How long is it? What’s the aspect ratio? How many charactes must live, or die or have an epiphany?

  18. I say right on, Terry – great point.  The wrapped-up-with-a-bow plot is ingrained into audience expectations (see: every RomCom ever made), and that can really get tiresome. 

    However, I hate it when people talk about art and fail to take popular sensibility into account.  Yes, if you compare Spielberg to Kubrick on criteria that happen to be strengths of Kubrick, then Kubrick wins.  (Duh!)  But don’t sell Steven short – he’s incredibly adept at getting millions of people to love his work.  That’s not something ANYONE else can do. 

    Sure, maybe Kubrick could have tried for commercial success and Spielberg could have made opaque films, but that’s not who either of them are as artists.  And that’s okay.

  19. I think Gilliam had De Niro swinging from ropes, Spielberg was at least partly responsible for Harrison Ford swing from ropes/whips.  By my metric, Kubrick’s work is sadly lacking in the swooping quotient of swashbucklery. 

  20. Spielberg was only 26 years old when he made “Jaws”. I know it’s totally irrelevant to this discussion, but it’s a fun fact that blows me away.

  21. I think he’s right, but sometimes I *want* comforting. And judging by the success of Spielberg’s films, so do a lot of people. I’m just saying there’s a time and a place for both. If every movie made me “go home and think” I’d never go to the movies.

  22. I haven’t read all of the comments, and how could I, seeing as this such a hot-button issue (was that irony to thick? I’m sorry).
    But I do genuinly love both Spielberg and Gilliam (and Kubrick, for that matter). Is that controversial? It seems like it is, but in that case I’d have to wonder if there really is anyone who considers “Raiders of the Lost Ark” to be a piece of bad filmmaking. And I just don’t want to live in such a world.
    Which brings me neatly to my point: I’m under the impression that most of you miss the point (including you, Mark): Terry did not say that Spielberg was a bad filmmaker. He said that all of his films are comforting, and he’s exactly right [EDIT: I forgot about AI and Munich, and propably at least one more. Sorry.]. However, the fact that “comforting” sells better does not mean that it’s somehow less worthwhile by default. In fact, it doesn’t even mean that something “comforting” is less of a piece of art. Sure, “Schindler’s List” is (kinda) comforting. But it’s not about the Holocaust; it’s about a story in the greater context of the Holocaust.
    I mean, I consider Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” to be the better film; but that film is equally “comforting” when you think about it.

  23. [edit] If it wasn’t completely obvious that Kubrick stood behind every aspect of the film 100%, you could [/edit]

    Look no further than ‘Artificial Intelligence’ to see the truth of what Gilliam says.

    The film ends poingantly, a life created for flawed reasons, staringly longlingly for meaning, deep in the void of the ocean.

    Then benevolent fucking aliens pull him out, rebuild his mommy and make everything peachy. Fuck you, Spielberg, fuck you.

    1. 1) There are no aliens in AI. Those are Advanced Mecha, the evolved progeny of Gigolo Joe and his like.

      2) The ending is Kubrick’s not Spielberg’s. Ian Watson, who worked on the screen story with Kubrick, has this to say about it:

      “There’s been quite a bit of confusion among critics, especially about the final 20 minutes, which aren’t Spielberg being sentimental (his main addition was the cruel, brutal Flesh Fair), but are exactly what I wrote for Stanley and exactly what Stanley wanted.”

      3) The ending of AI is actually one of the most multi-layered and tragic of recent years.

      The film ends with a fake boy in a fake house feeling fake emotions for a fake mother. Yes, a fake mother. That whole ‘bring her back for one day’ stuff is bulls–t; watch as the sun rises instantly behind David and the Advanced Mecha. If the Mecha could make the sun rise in an instant then one day could last as long or as short as they liked. They’re controlling every aspect of this illusion. When Monica is brought back she’s nothing like the Monica we remember – she’s 100% focused on David, not even bothering to ask where her real son and husband are. It’s all an act, created to bring closure to David and to give the Advanced Mecha a chance to study what they perceive as ‘love’ (notice them watching the scene unfold on a viewscreen). In this simulated world David even has real tears and real breath, and the ability to fall asleep and even die – he is literally presented as a real boy.

      So at the end of the film it’s David who’s real and Monica who isn’t. Instead of a robot created to fulfil the needs of a human we see a human created to fulfil the needs of a robot. It’s a clear reversal of the beginning of the film, a reflection of it. Spielberg even chooses to shoot the film using multiple reflections and mirrored actions (at the start of the film David is constantly shown in mirrored surfaces; at the end it’s Monica who’s multiply reflected). It’s all about drawing parallels between humans and robots and it’s the reason why the robots are always the most humane characters.

      So why did Kubrick (and Spielberg) create a false happy ending? Well, it forces us to ask a whole slew of questions about love, evolution, religion, manipulation, self-deception, etc. David becomes ‘human’ not because of his capacity for love but his capacity to self-delude. Kubrick seems to be saying that own evolutionary programming is little different to David’s robotic programming; that love itself is nothing more than evolutions way of getting us to procreate and look after our young. That ultimately we’re no different to David; searching for this idealised image of love but falling for the illusion.

      These are the kinds of questions that the ending of AI asks. Yet because we are so like David we’d rather take it all at face value and ignore the challenging bleakness at its core. Yes, it’s presented as a happy ending, but a happy ending for the Advanced Mecha; i.e. those who are telling the story. For David, for us, it’s one that puts into doubt everything we know and asks huge questions about humanity and what it is to be human.

      Don’t forget that when 2001: A Space Odyssey was first released it drew just as much criticism as AI, particularly the ending which was considered too weird and confusing. The thing is that you were supposed to feel overawed by 2001’s ending; Kubrick was putting you directly into the head of Dave Bowman, who was also confused and overawed and left feeling like an intellectual flea. People just didn’t reason through the emotions and thoughts that the ending created. Similarly if AI’s ending left you feeling uncomfortable or manipulated, or it struck you as being unbelievably happy, then you also successfully picked up on the correct idea but failed to reason it through. Why did I feel that way, was I meant to feel that way and what does that ultimately tell me?

      1. I have heard this before and I don’t buy it. Kubick didn’t direct it, and I find it hard to believe it would have looked like this if  had.

        Edit: Sorry that was a very thoughtful reply and my response was curt. I’m not the guy for this discussion. If Spielberg suddenly ceased to have ever been, I’d miss Jaws and Raiders a little bit. If I accept that Kubrick wanted that ending, Spielberg certainly put his stamp on it.

        1. How about the fact that alot of work had been done on the film BY KUBRICK before he died and Spielberg came in to finish it. Or the fact the Kubrick actually originally wanted Spielberg to direct the film. Spielberg wasn’t available so Kubrick started work on it, died and then Spielberg out of respect to Kubrick came in to finish it.

          Ignore facts and history all you want, but this is exactly what happened.

        2. @akbar56 for some weird reason I can’t reply directly to you…
          Sorry what exactly should be clear to me after your post? It just left me confused and slightly hungry.

        3. (The new comment nesting only goes so deep)

          @boingboing-b23875a22c4fcfebc11826fe50e4ec53:disqus my comment was just adding more facts to help persuade you away from your disbelief of what was an wasn’t Spielberg’s creation on the film.

  24. I think part of the reason there was the “happy ending” in AI was because “thou shalt not hurt a child”.  That was what was so disturbing about the first part of the movie– David would always be a child with the selfishness of a child– the real lesson (if there was one) was that creating David was a selfish act in itself– creating a being who could never possibly be satisfied (even if the real david had come back).  Ultimately, only another robot could satisfy him.  You could even view it as a commentary on how we infantilize our children to be forever dependent on us…
    More importantly, would anyone like to compare 2001 to 2010? I personally liked it better since I could connect to the characters (HAL, SAL, Dr. Chandra– those, I think, were really the main players).  I did not read the books, so I don’t know how faithful it was to the story.  But I went from being scared of HAL to being very scared for him and hoping (although it is never stated) that something wonderful did happen to him.
    And I liked minority report– best movie cruise did besides vanilla sky since he was brought to his knees in both.  You do leave wondering about the pre-crime division and the risks of certainty.

  25. Man, I’m bummed that the Disqus disqussion switched from chronological to threaded right in the middle of this particular conversation.  I missed several comments for hours because they popped up upstream where I was no longer looking for them.

    1. Sorry. The style change was some kind of weird anomaly, but then we got to thinking that we should just keep the avatars and take the opportunity to switch to threaded. But this thread is a bit of a mess.

      1. Interesting, edifying mess, however.  Much better than I’m used to when it comes to Kubrick discussions.  

        Now I feel like I should get me an avatar!

        EDIT: Uh… hmm. It seems I can’t. Are everyone’s avatars hosted on some other part of the Disqus universe? If so, boo. BB is my only blog on which I comment. Yes, be proud.

  26. I really hate it when artists snipe at each other.  Kubrick and Spielberg can stand on their own and there’s nothing wrong with comforting endings vs endings that make you think.  One doesn’t have to obviate the other.

  27. Even though most of the characters in Saving Private Ryan die, they completed their mission and Ryan went on to start a family and live happily ever after. 

    1. Yes, but I found it to be appropriate in that case, whereas in some of his other films it isn’t. 

      And anyway it certainly isn’t a happy, feel-good ending; though the overall effect is somewhat uplifting you’re certainly not happy about everyone being killed (especially Tom Hanks’ character). 

      In fact, the ending is pretty straightforward in opening up serious questions about the war – Matt Damon’s Character As An Old Man breaks down upon seeing the grave of Tom Hanks’ character (brings a tear to my eye every time), and questions whether it was worth it – which we as the audience have already done after seeing everyone be killed to save this guy, who was useless in the final battle. 

      The answer is not clear. Yes, he led a good life and lived happily ever after (more likely of course he was tormented by what happened for the rest of his life). But no one will ever know what would have become of the others, and whether it was worth all their lives to save one apparently average guy. This leads to further questions about and reflection upon WWII and its costs, and war in general. 

      I think it’s very clever in this sense, in fact – the film isn’t really about defeating the Nazis, so we can more easily ask ourselves these questions about the price of war (you don’t have to consider good vs. evil).

  28. If you’re a Kubrick fan and you have an IMDb account, you might want to make sure that he doesn’t lose to George Lucas, whom he’s trailing in today’s Which pair of 1970s Best Picture nominees directed by the same filmmaker is your favorite? poll.


  29. THANK YOU! I was always at odds with people treating Schindler´s List as some kind of enlightening, singular experience. Even when dealing with the holocaust, Spielberg was unable to get rid of his neatness.

    On the other hand, I wouldn´t have wanted Kubrick to direct Tintin, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  30. oh, g-d, I’m back in college, listening to annoying people arguing cultural philosophy at midnight. Who the h–l let these schmucks drink all the Coke?

    All these chicken littles running around shouting “cultural relativism, cultural relativism!”

    Go on, get out of the lounge, and take your copies of Adbusters and Baudrillard with you. I want to watch some Star Trek.

  31. I think a lot of Gilliam’s issues with Hollywood stem from his own failures. He’s tried so hard to get his movies made the way he wants them to, and because of his stubbornness he’s been relegated to scrounging for every penny. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get your dark enigmatic vision made (see Chris Nolan). You just have to be politically savvy and work within the system you have and know how to play the right people and combine your vision with giving the people what they want. Gilliam wants his movie his way right here right now, and those other people who are able to work in the system? Well those guys are sappy sellouts.
    I wonder if Gilliam would make the same criticism about Chris Nolan, who’s also been able to match practical realities of filmmaking with relentless vision and technical excellence. his movies always leave you thinking about things that you might not want to think about, and they do in many ways what Gilliam has failed to do his whole life.

    In general I think criticizing other filmmakers for being “too positive” is a poor way to make up for your own failures, but that’s just me.

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