Friday, December 16, 2011

Movie Notes

Bert Schneider died, age 78 (born 1933). He and partner Bob Rafelson created the Monkees, and used the money to produce movies in which they gave young, inexperienced directors creative control. Easy Rider cost $300,000 to make, and earned $20 million; so for a while, at least, the studios weren't in charge. Then came Five Easy Pieces, and The Last Picture Show. All independent films that enjoy Hollywood distribution probably owe something to Schneider and his circle of friends. Schneider was one of those people, older than the boomers, who got into popular culture and made money by catering to the boomers, pandering to them, flattering them. (Other/different examples: John Phillips b. 1935, Sono Bono b. 1935, Hunter Thompson b. 1937). Of course the establishment is wrong and you're right. You don't need to read any books to understand that--just drop a few phrases from Marx and Eastern religion. Of course drugs will make you both freer and more creative than your parents--only narrow-minded and stupid people would say otherwise.

Schneider ended up pretty much as a degenerate--as if to demonstrate the truth of parents' warnings that anyone who lived by the cliches of the 60s would end up that way. It may be to his credit that he gave directors their heads--but did he really support any great and lasting works of art? Possibly Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven--which was all Malick's baby, in need of funding when Schneider came along.

Meanwhile, a nice piece in The New Yorker about Clint Eastwood's techniques as a Director. Almost makes me want to subscribe to the magazine American Cinematographer.

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