We interrupt this Muriels broadcast…
By now, you’ve probably all read Jeffrey Wells’s wildly bilious “respectful” takedown of Douglas Sirk, in which he basically accuses anyone who’s ever appreciated the guy of being a pretentious intellectual phony. But I don’t care to share that - I’d like to share this bit of wisdom from commenter LexG:
“I don’t know what neck of the woods you guys come from, but… Douglas Sirk?
I have a Film degree and on an intellectual level I understand the depth and value, and I know if there’s one thing that gives serious film theorists a boner, it’s films that “comment upon and criticique the socioeconomic times of their making!” It’s the central thesis of serious Film Study, but I’ve always found it a rather arbitrary one that merely provides a vaguely Marxist intellectual justification for… a bunch of lazy motherfuckers getting a degree for sitting around watching movies for four years.
But again… I can’t IMAGINE any of the bros I grew up with or any of our dads, uncles, sporto brothers sitting around watching IMITATION OF LIFE or WRITTEN ON THE WIND.
“Hey, son, you gonna watch the Browns game tonight?” (clicks open beer)
“No, Dad, I rented this DOUGLAS SIRK MELODRAMA that takes a jaundiced view of the patriarchal authority, racism and sexual repression inherent in Eisenhower-era suburbia!”
SMACK. Christ. Just trying to picture running THAT one by my Korean war vet uncles or linebacker brothers or awesome old man and not catching a Robert Loggia-on-youthful Zach Mayonnaise Thai brothel BEATDOWN for being such a pussy.
Not saying this to BE bullying or homophobic or overly macho, but come on…. Even in your thirties, forties, you guys can REALLY sit around watching some gay-camp soap opera from 1954 and not feel like a TOTAL douchebag? Don’t you picture like Lee Marvin or Charles Bronson or your own dad peering in on you thinking, “Christ, what a walking vag.”
I realize this is the same deal as my anti-cartoon rant, or my anti-musical rant, but unless you’re female or gay, you have no business watching any of this henhouse shit.”
Maybe I grew up under different circumstances, I don’t know. But I’ve never been more proud of my own upbringing, where I wasn’t saddled with hang-ups about what’s “masculine,” so that I can watch All That Heaven Allows, and I can appreciate the rapturous artistry of it all and the sweeping emotion. Then I can follow it up with something less respectable, something like Toys Are Not for Children or The Immoral Mr. Teas or even the great, semi-lost Raw Force. Because, y’know, I’m a fully developed human being capable of independent thought and multiple ways of appreciating cinema. But that’s just me.