Actual new stuff

On the sidebar to the left, I have posted some new stuff. Because they are “pages” and not “posts,” they do not show up in this main space. I have not gotten comments to work on them yet, mainly because I have no idea what I’m doing.

Actual Movies is a movie ratings system I created after seeing many, many bad films. The list covers films that either a) came out recently or b) are coming soon--to theaters, DVD, or the Pacifying Device. It will be periodically updated, as I see more bad movies.

Actual Movies, Explained is the logic, or lack thereof, behind this ratings system. Here is an excerpt:

I have left the theater so many times with the feeling that I just witnessed an amalgamation of arbitrary formula, marketing strategies, committee-based decision-making, and opportunistic career-building–with nary a singular, creative vision to be found among it all–that it could not even technically be called a film. This garbage I just sat through could not possibly be considered a movie in the same vein as a film that actually tries to express something genuine, could it? No. Thus it is Not Actually a Movie.

New Lows is a page about making it as an artist, but not by being good at what you do; rather the opposite. It also cites specific examples, if you like the kind of words that would get you in trouble in grade school.

New Lows separate themselves from the average and below-average by either being so bad they’re good, or by being so bad that they deserve their own category of bad. If you can manage to successfully lower the bar in this respect, you have achieved New Lows.

Other pages, like, oh, say, the explanation behind this site, are still not posted. Basically I've avoided the most important thing by getting the less important things done--I just cleaned up my room because I had homework to do, essentially. The good thing about "No" Film School, though? No homework. The bad thing? The tuition is outrageous.

Your Comment


Interesting rating system. I am a bit surprised to see Hotel Rwanda under the Actual Movie category, especially since you've seen the documentaries. HR was well done, but it was familiar and formulaic... I would have traded some of the suspense for more context and some actual footage. Plus, I think any movie that uses non-American English as a proxy for a foreign language (Alexander, Chocolat, etc.) is a pseudo actual movie at best.

August 15, 2005 at 12:01PM, Edited September 4, 7:12AM


You're absolutely right. I suppose I put it there due to its "purpose," that is, raising awareness of an issue that many were unaware of. I also had very low expectations going in, and I'm a fan of Don Cheadle, so all of that bumped it up a category. But you're right, the Pseudo category is appropriate. This is why I need to get comments working on those pages.

Language-by-proxy is a difficult issue. Just the other day I was watching 1994's "Death and the Maiden," which takes place "in a South American country," yet all involved speak English, and Sigourney Weaver plays a character named Paulina Escobar, although the backstory alludes to the fact that she may be French. However, Geraldo Escobar, her husband and the source of her last name, is played by Stuart Wilson, a Brit, and Ben Kingsley's character is either South American or from Spain (Kinglsey is half English and half Indian, although he is believable in virtually everything). The playwright, Ariel Dorfman, was born in Argentina but lived in Chile, so we can assume the movie takes place somewhere in that region (although he now lives here in Durham).

I think the language problem will lessen with time, and already has to a certain extent, as filmmaking keeps expanding around the globe. Think of it like the NBA; it used to be 100% American, but now the players are coming from everywhere. Movies are the same (well, movies have always come from all over the world, being invented in France and all, but other countries haven't always had the high technical standards that Hollywood has), and Latin America is an especially good example of some great filmmaking these days. The goal I guess is that one day each country will be able to tell their own story, taking advantage of the global media to get their story out, rather than just importing American schlock.

Here's to fewer language-by-proxy pictures, and to more subtitles.

August 16, 2005 at 12:25PM, Edited September 4, 7:12AM

Ryan Koo

yep, I actually thought HR was well done and well acted, but it definitely had a "made for mainstream" feel, which always feels a bit off to me when the movie re-creates a real-life event. I got hung up wondering stuff like, is Nolte supposed to be D'Allaire? Anyway, hearing the actual languages would have made everything much more authentic for me.

You'll need to get comments working on the page. I guess my question is, can something be not-actually-a-movie, and still good. Certainly something can actually-be-a-movie and yet be very bad. (Did you ever see Gerry?) Most actual movies, I think, will range in the 2-4 star arena, while not actual movies will be 1-3 stars.

By the way, I use WordPress a bit for my job. I just tried adding a new page with Comments checked, but there was no comment option on the published page. Odd. May have to do with the template.

August 17, 2005 at 10:56AM, Edited September 4, 7:12AM

pat Polinski