Posted by: thinningtheherd | March 30, 2010

#67 Noah Baumbach


Species Name: Filmmakerius Fartisticus

I love independent films.  I love everything they stand for, I love the subject matter they tackle, and I love their ability to discover fresh, new talent in all aspects of the filmmaking process.  But there is a point where some independent films are trying far too hard to be “indie.”  They are so in love with themselves that they would suck their own dick if they wouldn’t break their neck in the process.  These are the pretensious, precious, groan worthy films of the independent film world.  Recent examples of these types of movies include, Rachel Getting Married, Lost in Translation and anything done by Noah Baumbach.

Noah Baumbach is the new critical darling of the independent film world.  He is what Wes Anderson was ten years ago.  Ironically enough, Baumbach happens to be best friends with Anderson.  Now, I’ve given Baumbach a fair shake, seeing all of his movies — The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding and his most recent film Greenberg.  My problem with Baumbach’s films is that they try to be TOO real.  I know this may sound strange, but think about it before you damn me to hell.  We go to the movies for an escape correct?  Unless of course you’re going to see a documentary, then you want a slice of real life.  But going to see a narrative film, is supposed to be escapist, a way for us to lose ourselves for a couple of hours.  Well, Baumbach is determined to make his audience see the obnoxious, mundane, depressing parts of normalcy that we see on a daily basis.  That being said, there is a way to capture real life in films and make it work, but you need to let your audience have a glimmer of hope or have a character to relate to or else the audience will check out, as mine did during my viewing of Greenberg.

Noah “I’m too busy enjoying the smell of my own farts” Baumbach, if you would just have a little balance in your movies instead of making everyone want to kill themselves walking out of the theater, you wouldn’t be in this predicament.  Alas, I grow weary of your pretentious portrayal of the mundane life.

In a world where Noah Baumbach didn’t exist to pick up a camera and call his ejaculate on celluloid a film:

  • Jack Black would’ve stayed the funny, fat guy, instead of Baumbach directing him to “explore” the deeper side of his persona in Margot at the Wedding.
  • We would’ve had one less movie where Nicole Kidman plays a cold, heartless bitch.
  • Everyone in the independent film world wouldn’t flaunt over this fucking guy as the Jesus Christ of independent film.
  • People wouldn’t think that a young kid wiping his jizz on some library books is “edgy and bold.”  It’s just gross.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh would’ve found some other pretensious blowhard to marry.

I really want to like this guy’s movies, but I just never can.  So many characters in his movies are so unlikeable that I have no desire to go on the cinematic journey with them.  Baumbach’s movies are not “raw” or “visceral” or whatever other douchey adjective you want to include.  His movies are just abysmmal, and I wish we could get Baumbach and every other precious indie filmmaker in some arthouse cafe in the East Village, and then firebomb it.But one has to have dreams right?

But one has to have dreams right?

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