James Wolcott responds to my lament — among others — that Oliver Stone is going to make the first U.S. 9/11 movie with a paen to — well, actually it sounds more like a eulogy for — Stone’s career. Wolcott is trying to find some vast right-wing conspiracy in people complaining about Stone seeing vast left-wing conspiracies. For me, it’s much simpler and I come to it not from a political perspective but instead from two vantage points: the first as a critic (once a critic, always a critic) and the second as a New Yorker who sees the memories of that day as sacred.
From the critical perspective, I’ll repeat: Stone make crappy movies. He’s a hack. Ace Hardware should have gotten technical Oscars for making the sledgehammers with which he pounds out his plots (in both senses of the word). I thought Wolcott had better taste than this, a finer sense of subtlety. But no: He says Stone actually deserved the Oscars he got for his Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, films writ in neon. But most surprisingly, Wolcott says in public that he thinks Stone got robbed for an Oscar with JFK.
And now to the perspective of a witness: In JFK and other films, Stone shows no respect for the truth. He makes up his own truth. And I do not want to see that happen to September 11th. As a journalist, I would think that Wolcott would have higher standards for films that pretend to tell a story and add to history.
: Wolcott also replies to those who say that the heartland is rejecting Hollywood values at the fizzling box office:
The falling box office, as most sensible observers realize, is more due to the tremendous boom in plasma TVs, DVDs, digital cable, and all of the other sleek luxuries of home entertainment theater, which for increasing numbers of people beats sitting in a noisy audience and being flogged with an endless series of ads and movie previews.
Well, yes. But I disagree with both sides in this spat about the decline of Hollywood movies: It’s not about values and it’s not just about technology. It’s about quality. I have been desperate to see a movie for weeks — I love popcorn — but I haven’t been able to find one worth the trip.