October 08, 2005

Not This Time, Either

Just after posting the last post, I saw that Yglesias had claimed that Jackie Brown is incredibly awful, which is simply not true. Furthermore, the underlying claim that it's incoherent to claim that someone has produced a classic and is still overrated is just wrong; Al completely pwns him on that (not that I necessarily agree with Al's specific claims, I haven't seen Kill Bill and I suspect that people overrate Scorsese, since I'm pretty sure Raging Bull would've been a better movie if it had had some characters in it--that last judgment is so eccentric that it's probably just wrong. Um, where was I?).

Yglesias' specific argument is that classics are all that matters in the long run, since in 50 years no one will want to watch a slightly-above-average film anyway. The latter claim is dubious, but in any case an author can be overrated because people think he's written too many classics. I haven't read enough Bellow, but he makes classic status on "A Silver Dish" alone; nevertheless, ranking Mary Sue the Rain King as the 21st best novel in English of the 20th century means that people will have to read it when they could be reading three or four Penelope Fitzgeralds instead.

(Actually, mostly I just wanted to say Mary Sue the Rain King. I thought it was fantastic until Henderson went to Africa.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at October 8, 2005 08:29 PM

Agreed. First, Jackie Brown is pretty good. Second, I've watched a ton of mediocre old movies.

Posted by: bitchphd at October 8, 2005 09:47 PM