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Spike Jonze And Mr. Beaks Howl About WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!!!

It's Friday evening. I'm slumped over a speakerphone in my living room, clad in a ratty t-shirt and pajama bottoms, drugged out of my mind, and sucking on a Halls. The phone rings. It's Spike Jonze. Sometime over the next few months, he may very well contract Swine Flu. This will suck, but at least he won't be able to blame it on me. Spike is amused by my weakened state. He asks if we're going to go off on crazy fever tangents. Sadly, my temperature has dipped below 101 for the first time in three days, so I won't be drawing thematic parallels between WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and the third season of MAMA'S FAMILY. All I am is tired. Spike seems disappointed. I'm disappointed. This is not the way I wanted to start my interview with one of the most restlessly inventive and influential filmmakers of the last twenty years. Thirty minutes later, all is well. Though we mostly stick to his masterful, melancholy riff on Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's tome, Jonze is very open about his creative process - which is primarily driven by the search for emotional truth. As should be apparent from his eclectic music videos and his first two features (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION), Jonze abhors convention; unlike most directors of his generation, he's more interested in honesty than homage. And WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is his masterpiece because it seamlessly combines the rambunctiousness of his early work with The Beastie Boys with the haunted quality of his Charlie Kaufman collaborations. If you've ever wanted a Malkovich-ian glimpse into Jonze's subconscious, this may be the closest you'll get. While WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE feels like a deeply personal film for Jonze, its depiction of a bratty kid run amok - and away to an island of moody monsters - is also incredibly inclusive. The specifics of Max's childhood may not resemble yours, but the highs and lows he experiences should be painfully familiar. No film has more perfectly captured what it feels like to be nine years old. In the below interview, Jonze explains how he pulled this miracle off.

Mr. Beaks: You've said that you cracked the screenplay when you realized the Wild Things represent different emotions. That's a great idea, but that still left you the task of legging out this short story into a coherent feature narrative. Did you have some kind of narrative or emotional destination you were driving toward?

Spike Jonze: In an abstract way, the destination was to make something that, moment-to-moment, felt true to what it can feel like to be nine years old. Trying to represent that was our... signpost or whatever. Our guiding light. (Laughs) I'm just coming up with all of these cliches.

Beaks: How about "lodestar"?

Jonze: "Lodestar"?

Beaks: That's a guiding light.

Jonze: Yeah, let's throw that one in there, too! But that was our intention. And Maurice was a real barometer for things that felt dishonest. He was always the first to say, "This feels schmaltzy." He would be quick to slap us on the wrist if we were going too much in a direction like that.

Beaks: His forthrightness and cantankerousness is legendary, so it must've been an honor to hear Max [Records] deliver Maurice's message at Comic Con about how if you don't like the movie, you can "go straight to hell".

Jonze: (Laughs) That's Maurice at his best. Speaking of which, we just finished this forty-minute documentary on Maurice. It's a very informal portrait. Over the course of us making this movie the last few years, we would film conversations with him. It comes out on HBO in October.

Beaks: How did he deal with the cameras being turned on him?

Jonze: He doesn't care. He is himself at all times - and that's what's so amazing about him. He's just so fearlessly honest. That's why I think he's such an amazing artist.

Beaks: Was Maurice on set at all?

Jonze: Unfortunately, he couldn't travel. We shot in Australia, and he lives in Connecticut. We haven't even been able to get him to come to California. But I would go to see him, or we'd get him to come into [New York City] for screenings. Dave and I would go to visit him in Connecticut quite often to bring him a new draft while we were working on the script. And when we started working on the character designs, we'd go out to get him involved as much as possible.

Beaks: Would he add to the character designs?

Jonze: Yeah. Maurice would lay tracing paper over Sonny [Gerasimowicz's] drawings, and re-draw and redesign them. Like the bull's snout would be longer. He'd enhance them. It was really fun. And it was really special. I felt really lucky, because I really count him as a close friend. Over the course of making this movie and fighting the fights... I feel like I've found a great friend in him.

Beaks: This movie seems to be hitting people on a lot of different levels. I know some people have been tearing up, while others have felt a kind of exhilaration. For me... it just made me really sad.

Jonze: How come?

Beaks: It's the last shot of the movie. [In the interest of not spoiling this moment, I'll elide my description of this scene.]

Jonze: That's... I'm very moved by your reaction to it. Thank you.

Beaks: Is that kind of melancholy something you were hoping to evoke? Was there a particular emotion you were hoping to evoke at the end of the film?

Jonze: I don't think I've ever worked that way. On my first two movies with Charlie Kaufman, we never worked in a way where we wanted the audience to feel this or that. We were just exploring and making the characters true to who we felt the characters should be; we weren't telling you you have to like this character or dislike this character. Something that Charlie and I have talked about is how our ambition is trying to make something that is alive... something that not everybody has the same reaction to. You're making something that is true to what you are feeling, but not forcing everyone to feel this way or that way. My favorite things are movies that I've seen and had one reaction to, and then I see it again years later and have a different reaction to it. It's alive in that way. It's not the same every time. I think a lot of times that a movie which tells people "Think this!" or "We want you to feel this and think this..." there's something dead about that. It's going to be the same every time.

Beaks: You're so rigorous about avoiding cliche in your movies. You stay away from anything that might be close to a stock scene. So there is that... newness to your work. As you write, do you ever have to stop yourself and say, "This is a little too much like that movie. Let's not do that."

Jonze: Yeah, I'm sure there are times when you're trying to be free and not censor yourself, but then you come up with an idea and you're like, "That's kinda cheesy."

Beaks: We've got to talk about the music. How much of that was a full-on collaboration between Carter Burwell and Karen O.?

Jonze: They worked mostly separate. They collaborated on some of the pieces, but they worked mostly separate. We all sat in a room - me, Carter and Karen - and divvied up the work as to who's responsible for what. When Carter came on, Karen had already been writing for a while: she wrote all through editing, and even wrote while we were still shooting. I just sent her huge chunks of unedited footage, like twenty minutes of dailies of a sequence, and she would just write to that feeling; she would put it on and hum a melody or play a simple melody on the piano, and then build the song around that. She was writing more song-based score, and then we brought Carter in to write the more... moment-to-moment score. But she'd already set the tone for what the music would sound like, so he worked within that context instrumentation-wise. The music has complex emotions, but is sort of naive in its musical simplicity. So Carter appropriated that philosophy - which was really cool, because Carter is such a maestro. It was cool to see him write... like sometimes I would come in and say, "It's too complicated. There are too many notes. There's too much stuff going on." And watching him strip it down to the essence... and whenever he got simpler, it always got better - or more appropriate to the movie. And then also watching him direct the musicians. He was working with these world-class musicians from the New York Philharmonic, and saying, "Play it simpler. Play it like a fifth grader." He didn't bring too much sophistication to the writing or the playing of the music.

Beaks: It must've been really difficult for trained musicians to let themselves go like that.

Jonze: (Laughs) I think it was. But I also think they enjoyed it because it was such a challenge. They loved being challenged.

Beaks: You've worked with Carter on all three of your films. Do you see this being a lasting collaboration?

Jonze: Yeah, I love working with him. He's such a filmmaker. He's a musician and a filmmaker. Showing him the cut of the movie is always exciting: he has such great things to say about the cut as you're editing, but also great things about what the music should or should not do - and also how the music can help tell the story. He's a giant asset to the process.

Beaks: You know, this is the second time this year that I've heard about a filmmaker recording extensive voice-overs with all of the actors present. There's your movie, and there's Wes Anderson's THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX. I guess it works fine to do it separately, but it just seems more organic your way.

Jonze: You get more dynamics, more chemistry. By having Chris Cooper and James Gandolfini doing their scenes together... these characters are supposed to have this relationship and this history and this shorthand with each other. Putting great actors in a room together, you get magic; you get something bigger than the sum of the parts. Great actors are great listeners, and they're reacting to the subtle nuances in the inflection or the expression of the other actor.

Beaks: And James Gandolfini is one of our great breathing actors.

Jonze: (Laughs) He really is. I remember being a kid and seeing movies with Gene Hackman, and he just felt like an adult human man - like in the way I would watch my dad or my uncle. You could just... smell their breath. That's a rare thing. Now that I'm making movies, you realize how plastic someone can feel on film. And when someone feels alive... Gandolfini reminds me of that kind of actor. I don't feel the acting; I just feel a person. It's funny, because when we did ADAPTATION with Chris Cooper, I was so amazed by him. He's the kind of actor where there's never a take that's not real. There may be a take that's not right for what we're trying to do for the scene, but they're all real. It has to be real for him, and he has a very sharp radar for when it starts to feel phony. Gandolfini's the same way. He's in tune with it being real. So it was exciting to put them in scenes together, even though they're very different people. They're not satisfied unless it feels completely authentic, unless they feel that bell ring. There's a bell of truth that rings. Because Chris almost never felt he was good in ADAPTATION. But when the take was undeniably great, I could see him give himself just the tiniest bit of satisfaction. And then he'd be okay with moving on. A lot of times he'd be like, "Are you sure you don't want me to do it again." And I'd be like, "No, that was amazing." But I could always tell when he was ready to move on.

Beaks: But what about with Max, who's much younger and newer to this?

Jonze: I think most actors don't know. Gandolfini and Keener are the same way: they don't know. Occasionally they'll know, but most of the time they're relying on the director to say, "Okay, I got what I need. It's great." Max was the same way. He was like, "Whatever you need." He was only nine, but he was so committed to getting me whatever I needed to make my movie. No matter how tired his little exhausted nine-year-old body would be, he would want to do it until I got what I needed.

Beaks: Having gone through this whole rigamarole with the studio, has this experience put you off working within that system?

Jonze: I think I will probably separate my editing process further from the studio next time. But the studio... over the course of five years of making this movie, there were five or six months last year that were not fun. But that was only part of the movie. They made our movie. We got to make this personal, strange film on a big scale, and they're releasing it; they're getting behind it in the way only a studio can. It's exciting driving down Sunset Boulevard and seeing the billboards everywhere. And all the marketing stuff... the trailers and everything... it feels like they're not trying to sell something else. I think that's the thing I was most scared of: as hard as it was going to be, I wasn't going to let anyone compromise the movie. But with the marketing materials, I didn't have that kind of control. I'm so excited that the marketing stuff feels like the movie. They're not trying to sell it as something it's not.

Beaks: Given your commercial-directing background, I'd like to think they would've craved your marketing input.

Jonze: And they really did. They really allowed us to be involved. They didn't have to, but they did. The initial trailer... that Arcade Fire song ["Wake Up"] was something I'd used along the way in cutting stuff. Before we shot the movie, I cut together this mood piece; I used footage from E.T., RATCATCHER and THE BLACK STALLION, and cut together this mood piece to the song. I showed it to the crew to give them a sense of the tone and the feeling of the film before we shot. It was a way to get everyone to the same place. I wrote the whole script to Arcade Fire's FUNERAL, and I listened to that song a lot. That record is thematically very connected to the film. So it seems so perfect that we got to put that in the trailer.

Beaks: I'm so glad you threw RATCATCHER in there with those other two movies. That's a key ingredient. I can definitely feel it in your film.

Jonze: Oh, good!

Beaks: I'm so intrigued by the idea of Michel Gondry directing THE GREEN HORNET, which is intended to be this blockbuster studio movie.

Jonze: I can't wait.

Beaks: On one hand, I know he can do this; I know he can make a great movie. But I don't know if he can deliver a film that will satisfy the studio's need to sell a lot of tickets. Could you ever see yourself taking on a project like that?

Jonze: I don't know. Not right now. But who knows? Hopefully, you're always growing and wanting to try different things, but... I don't know. I guess as long as I knew how to make it, and I knew how to make it my own, and that I felt like it was something I had to make.

Please go see WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE this Friday, October 16th. It's as wonderful as you've heard. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:29 p.m. CST

    You know what? I'm going to read this first.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST

    WHAT? All the other reviews say Max is nine...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...that the movie perfectly captures what it is like to be NINE. someone is either lying, wrong, or incompetent.<P> TYPICAL AICN REPORTING BULLSHIT.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:38 p.m. CST

    ...Ha, Mr. Jonze says it's about being nine...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...Mr. Beaks fails at birthdays.<P>god I should be working.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    Apologies for aging up Max.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST

    I want to make stories like this.

    by FlickaPoo

    ...if the movie lives up to the descriptions.<P>I'm done being a dick.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:48 p.m. CST

    Hell, I teared up at SON OF RAMBOW...

    by FlickaPoo little brethren boy, run!

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:51 p.m. CST



    Thanx flick

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST

    ...there is a homemade looking video for the ARCADE...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...FIRE song No Cars Go that is like this little spooky remnant, or bit of found footage...I couldn't stop watching it for about a week.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Someone watch Spike's hands...!

    by Sleeperkid

    Every set photo I see is Spike touching, hugging, or carrying the kid actor around. Hope someone's keeping their eyes on that situation:-)

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 3:24 p.m. CST


    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    Virtually everyone I have talked with at work are sincerely jazzed to see this. And the age range is impressive. This movie may well do far better B.O. than a film this courageous usually would.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 3:26 p.m. CST

    love me some FUNERAL

    by Six Demon Bag

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 3:30 p.m. CST

    ...true, my sixty year old neighbor was just telling me...

    by FlickaPoo much she want to see this. Out of the blue, apropos of nothing...she just brought it up.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 3:55 p.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo default.<P>I will also now start the rumor that Mr. Beaks and I are the same person. That should be fun. <P>As winner, all opinions must be run by me before posting and will be voted on by committee...and I will issue parking passes as I see fit.<P>My official position is that WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE looks good, possible great, and that this was an informative and inspiring interview. If you disagree, lost. So eat me slowly.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 4:17 p.m. CST

    It feels like the Wild Things...

    by darth_fuck_shit

    ...are in my bowels. I should'nt have had Taco Bell for lunch.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 4:22 p.m. CST


    by mrgreentheplant

    you're an asshole

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 4:45 p.m. CST


    by The_Ad_Wizard_Who_Came_Up_With_This_One

    you're an asshole. in case you are not really the same person as beaks - sorry, i take it back!

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 5:15 p.m. CST

    w00t Arcade Fire!

    by Grievey


  • Oct. 13, 2009, 5:27 p.m. CST


    by blakindigo

    Link please!

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 5:30 p.m. CST

    RATCATCHER—Dammit that makes so much sense

    by blakindigo

    another beautiful movie. Where the hell is Lynne Ramsey? Someone please give her money to make another movie.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Arcade Fire - Music for douchebags.

    by Galactic

    Everyone I've ever met who loves Arcade Fire is a pretentious piece of shit.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 6 p.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo <P> It was hard to find again...this is crappier quality than I remember...sort of a spooky pied piper thing.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 6:17 p.m. CST


    by FlickaPoo

    ...may your walkman never eat your beloved KISS tapes.<P>You cuntcake.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 6:52 p.m. CST

    FlickaPoo—thanks for the link, that was great!

    by blakindigo

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Galactic—don't blame the band if some douchebags like them

    by blakindigo

    It's not their fault. Geezus, look what happened to Trent Renznor…

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 7:18 p.m. CST


    by Sal_Bando

    Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fapFap. Fap. Fap. Fap. Fap fap<p> FAP. <p> Thus, your rotten tomatoes overall AICN critical spooogamatic rating for dis here lovely bowl of Cinematic Haggis. Enjoy.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 8:22 p.m. CST

    FACT: Neon Bible version of 'No Cars Go' is vastly inferior

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    to the Arcade Fire EP version. And both aren't as good as seeing it played live. The Arcade Fire is so awesome live, but they definitely aren't a stadium band. They have to be seen in a place no bigger than the Warfield (SF), Paladium (LA), House of Blues (NOLA), et al.

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 10:06 p.m. CST

    FlickaPoo, that's the video for "Lies"

    by BadMrWonka

    someone just put the music to No Cars Go over it...<p> here's the original:<p>

  • Oct. 13, 2009, 11:18 p.m. CST

    again..if this thing is filled with faggy EMO earnest folk rock

    by quantize

    im out

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 1:33 a.m. CST

    Qyantize - Worse...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    All the music is designed to evoke "the magic of childhood." It's as phony and disingenuinous as everything about this film, from the hipster advertising campaign to the font to the Arcade Fire tuneless tune. It's ugly, angry and depressing - a glum little tantrum by a wanna-be. You can tell from watching the ads. It's filled with phony emotion and phony sentiment. Not a word or image in the trailer rings true. Nine-year-old kids are filled with rage, with hatred. They don't - nor should they - forgive so easily as this movie seems to imply. A little jaunt to the forest and oh-dear-I-miss-home. Goodbye, Scarecrow! I'll miss you most of all! Want to see a real movie about childhood? Watch THE REFLECTING SKIN.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 1:35 a.m. CST


    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Should be "it's ugly, not angry enough and...

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 1:45 a.m. CST

    Mr. Beaks, I Should Be Fair

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    The problem I have with this story goes well beyond the movie. Feel free to share this with Mr. Jonez or Mr. Maurice S. or whatever. As a kid, I always felt betrayed by the story, like it somehow weakened me. I always thought Max lost something precious during the course of the tale. At the story's beginning, he's strong and rebellious and independent, free to howl and ravage. As the story goes on, he gets wilder and more adventurous - but then, suddenly, he loses that spark. The spirit abandons him and he succumbs to sentiment. He becomes homesick. He wants to go home. What's wrong with him? He's strong out there on the island, free - he can be and do anything, but he trades a whole world of wild LIVING for a pedestrian existence, and nobody will ever know his great adventure except him and the Wild Things. And if the WIld Things are strictly in his imagination, then it's even sadder because Max is delusional. So ... I always felt like it was a very depressing story, and resolved as a kid never EVER to fall into the traps to which Max succumbs - sentiment, feelings for family, the weakness that's CALLED love but is really DEPENDENCE. We all have an opportunity to be wild creatures, fresh and new in our understanding of the world, with an animal's lack of cynicism. Bur I fear this movie, like the book, will end with Max ultimately realixing his animalistic and natural side isn't as good as a warm bed and a hug from his mawmaw. Ugh None of that for me, thanks. I'll be over here climbing trees.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 1:47 a.m. CST

    A Story I Liked Better

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    MIO MY SON, by Astrid Lundgren. Made into the movie THE LAND OF FARAWAY - terrible film, but it features Christohper Lee fighting Christian Bale, so how bad can it be? Pretty bad, but it still resonates with me. I love the bitter ending, where Mio says that people might think he's a lonely kid sitting at a park bench, but they're wrong! WRONG HE SAYS! He could be on the bench. He could be in the Land. If he IS on the bench, his heart has gone to the Land. He's become an adventurer in his heart no matter WHERE his body lies, and he's done it by abandoning his aunt and uncle and telling them to go fuck off. Great story for kids, IMO.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 4:09 a.m. CST

    ¨clad in a ratty t-shirt and pajama bottoms¨ WTF???

    by ZombieHeathLedger

    Why oh, why must every ´reviewer´on this site ape Harry´s bloggy anecdotal style. Can you imagine Ebert being so unprofessional in his reviews by starting them off about HIM and what he´s wearing? This is almost as bad as when Quint gave us a 50 word paragraph detailing the minutae of his airport security line routine. UNLESS YOU ARE HARRY, KEEP THE REVIEWS ABOUT THE MOVIES!! Because we don´t give a fuck about anything else, capiche? Vanity, vanity, all is vanity...

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 5:49 a.m. CST

    Dave Eggers interview tonight on BBC Radio 3

    by livingwater

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 6:03 a.m. CST

    Ratcatcher? Holy Shit that's good news.

    by Cameron1

    Now I know Spike is really going for the genuine emotions of childhood.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 6:32 a.m. CST

    I have total faith in Jonze

    by seppukudkurosawa

    Dreamy kids movies or adult movies told from a child's perspective are my favourite genre (nice Ratcatcher name-drop, by the way). Some wise man once said that if humans are sick animals, then adults are sick children, which would make movies like this our antibiotics.<p> The Arcade Fire and their ilk (Neutral Milk Hotel) still sound like a bevy of buskers given record contracts to me. You want good indie? Listen to New Zealand's The Tall Dwarfs.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 8:21 a.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk...what you describe is a story...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...for teens. Being free and independent and not succumbing to convention, that's a lesson teens and young adults need to digest.<P>Max is nine, and the book is for four to eight year olds. They can't stay where the wild things are yet, they can't survive on their own...they NEED to calm down and return to the family that loves them. And Max's mom does love him...when he returns from the wild rumpus his dinner is waiting for him, and it's "still hot". Not cold, not<P>This story isn't about living or not living a free and wild life with the wild things...that would be for older kids. This book is about a five year old having a tantrum. Suggesting that he stay locked in a tantrum forever is ridiculous...he would be delinquent at best, and psychotic at worst. This story is about harnessing the tantrum...the dangerous and wild emotions, with creative play and imagination...riding out the rage and anger...and finally settling down to life again.<P>The story you describe would be spot on if Max was an adult working in a soul killing cubicle job, or a teenager in an abusive home or something. Max is a little boy. He needs to be able to go to where the wild things are and return safely to the parents or parent that love him.<P>Hell, I can think of quite a few adults who could still use this lesson. They get angry, go to where the wild things are and don't know how to get back...they end up fucking up their lives...beating their girlfriends or kids, smashing their cars...whatever.<P>At first I was going to rip into you talkback style, then I realized you complaint with the book isn't's just that you're describing an older kid's problems. It's interesting that it makes you so angry though...

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    No one answered this question of mine, but here it goes again:

    by ricarleite2

    Is the movie what Spike Jonze intended it to be, or did he have to re-shoot or re-edit some of the stuff due to studio pressure? What am I going to see? What he intended, or a compromised version?

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    has Spike Jonze acted in anything besides 3 kings

    by Meadowe

    And did he kick the director's ass like Clooney did?

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Congratulations, Spike!

    by Archive

    Can't wait to see the movie.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11 a.m. CST


    by Meadowe

    Cyndi Lauper is shedding a tear somewhere.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by mrgreentheplant

    according to entertainment weekly, spike jonze did re-shoot some stuff on his and dave eggers' own terms, to flesh out the story a bit. WB wanted to make it more family-friendly and asked for re-shoots, but the re-shoots they did were not related to that. the film has been re-edited since they showed it to the studio...more than 40 times. jonze thinks he has it perfect now and continually says that it is completely his uncompromised "vision" of the story as he envisioned it as a child.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by Quarantined

    ...he was in Fincher's The Game for like five seconds at the end. He brushed the glass out of Michael Douglas's eyes.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Music for douchebags

    by thatothercaptainjack

    I second that Galactic

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Fuck off, Cocksucker.

    by cheyne_stoking_DMS

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST


    by ricarleite2

    Thank you.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 3:04 p.m. CST

    thatothercaptainjack & Galactic

    by PoesLeftToe

    If you think Arcade Fire is music for douchebags then you both are soulless people indeed.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Quarantined thanks!

    by Meadowe

    That's my least fave of Fincher's, I'll have to cheq that out. Idk if we have it on dvd but I know we have it on vhs somewhere.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 5:09 p.m. CST

    this film does not look interesting

    by skiff

    This film looks like it is for little children. I see no aliens lazer blasters or space stations. It may be some kind of joke Hmmmmmm

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Wild Things vs. Avatar

    by Chariowalda_Barbarossa

    Here in Germany the forces that be decided to let the Wild Things open against Avatar in december. How come I'm not convinced this is a clever move? Sure Christmas time is family time, parents take their little ones to the movies, but will anyone except us nerds notice this film even exists? Every little boy will want to see that gargantuan 3D scifi extravaganza everyone will be talking about. Wonder which of the two films I will enjoy more that weekend.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 5:57 p.m. CST

    UK gotta wait 2 Gorram months...

    by Kizeesh

    I hate you all.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 7:07 p.m. CST

    I brought up the music on another thread - it's horrible

    by Professor_Monster

    I can't stand it. Depending on who you ask you'll get different percentages on how much a movie depends on good music - it usually varies from 50-80% - For spike to send out an invite (the trailer) laced with whiney puss-man music is nothing more than a turn around and run away signal to all people out there who don't do everything they can to cast themselves in counter culture light. I don't want to hear the shit he and that silver spoon racist Sophie (watch Lost in Translation from the POV of the Japanese - which I am)- I don't want to hear their fucking wedding music when I go see one of my all time favorite books put to screen. So fuck this movie - He really only makes one kind and it's not the first time Warner has given assignment to the wrong man (Bryan Singer ruined Superman for years to come). I will give Spike credit where credit is due - out of emo chics - you could have gotten a fat one or an ugly one and seeing how you must weigh 1dollar and some change - you picked correctly

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Flickapoo, I'm Saddened By Your Post ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Thank you for not ripping in to me. I see no reason for anyone to rip into anyone on a Talkback. It couldn't be less personal a medium.<p><p>I've put what you say into quotes.<p><p>"...for teens. Being free and independent and not succumbing to convention, that's a lesson teens and young adults need to digest."<p><p>I couldn't disagree more with this if I tried. It's too late for teens, especially today. The modern American teenager has already given in to conformity by the time he's 12-13, let alone any older than that. His thought process has completely stopped. He's not capable of a single iota of creative thought. If a kid isn't free and independent by the time he's eight or nine, he's not going to start becoming free and independent when he's older. I encourage you to read a book called THE EMILE, which was the basis for the movie THE WILD CHILD. It's a fascinating study of what kind of necessary steps are required for somone to be a free and clear-thinking person, and how early that has to start. ABSOLUTELY, kids need to learn to be independent of their parents, and early, too. First off, most American parents are totally inept and incapable of raising a child, shouldn't be raising a child, shouldn't be ALLOWED to raise a child. They're just totally not qualified, don't have an active interest in the job ("Hey, look - football's on! And beer's in my hand!") and shouldn't even be permitted to have kids - not that there's any governing body issuing licenses (there ought to be, I sometimes think).<p><p>Plus, consider how many kids in the USA are being brought up by Red State Morons, or Leftist Liberals. Kids especially right now need to be taught to hold people of lesser intellectual value in total and utter contempt, lest they end up being the nice kid in SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISHER (who, by the way, in real life, lost the tournament to the more professional child he squared off against - the child who was portrayed as a villain in the movie. Why? Because the other kid was PREPARED and DID have contempt for his opponent).<p><p>So, yes, ABSOLUTELY, kids need to learn not to have foolish attachment to their families, and not to fall into the trap of sentimentality. If your parents are awful people, just outright bad people, then absolutely you should learn to be independent of them. And most American parents are awful, awful people.<p><p> "Max is nine, and the book is for four to eight year olds. They can't stay where the wild things are yet, they can't survive on their own...they NEED to calm down and return to the family that loves them. And Max's mom does love him..."<p><p>This presumes, foolishly I think, that these are people who love their kids. You forget that we live in a different time now, where parents don't give a rat's ass about their kids. Ever. And it's a time when parents would rather say "Shhhhhhhhhhhhh" to a child asking inquisitively about the world. "Be quiet, mommy's listening to her iPod, eating Funions and chatting about the weather with a nice man she's going to go home with after too many Mohitos." That's the modern parent, an idiot football jockey or a cougar trying to hide the fact that she has a kid. AMERICAN PARENTS, FOR THE MOST PART, SHOULDN'T HAVE THE JOB. They're too busy with their PS3s and updating their Facebook status and wondering why there are no maps in "the Iraq and such as" to know better. Watch the history interview segments of LENO (I know, it's painful - do it for science). Do you really think those are the exception? Hardly. That's the rule. Not knowing the history of your country. Not knowing what the slogan is on your t-shirt. Not being able to remember your own kid's name half the time. They don't care. They're meth-and-alcohol-addicted idiots walking the corridors of Wal-Mart like zombies. And you say kids should be affectionate to them? Hardly. HARDLY. Given the current state of the American parent, the proudest thing I could think of a kid doing - meaning the thing that would make me think "Wow, that kid knows what he's talking about!" - would be the kid who stares coldly into the eyes of his parents, at four-to-eight, says "I DON'T EVER WANT TO BE LIKE YOU! I HATE YOU!" and starts building a life for himself on an intellectual level that his parents can't match. The greatest gift as a parent I could feel or experience would be for a son or daughter of mine to surpass me on an intellectual level to the point where we had no common frame of refernece to communicate, because he was so far beyond me that I couldn't even rate with him. That's called progress. "Dad/Mom, face it - you have nothing to offer me." Can you imagine the kid who achieves that at four-to-eight? Talk about someone who's accelerating the curve! Talk about someone who's achieving great things. Talk about someone who's going to make a big difference in the world. Wouldn't you want that for your kids? I absolutely positively would. Again, it comes down to contempt, the lack of acceptance of what IS and the demand for what could be. Dissatisfaction has fueled the greatest achievements in the world, in science and industry and art. Nearly universally, great people and great artists were not the ones with phenomenal home life but rather the isolated,the so-called outsiders. They're not outsiders, they're INNOVATORS and they ought to be celebrated in ways their paretns can't even comprehend or understand, let alone participate in. That would be the ultimate expression of pride for me.<p><p>"when he returns from the wild rumpus his dinner is waiting for him, and it's "still hot". Not cold, not"<p><p>I always saw that as his parents capitulating in weakness out of missing him. If you're going to punish or reprimand your child, stick to it. Backing down in the end means only that you didn't have the conviction of your beliefs. Going to bed without supper means going to bed without supper. All that I think Max is being taught by his mother and father giving in to him (mostly his mother) is that he can get away with being bad and not face any consequences. While pulling this kind of trick off on one's parents is to be commended (it proves intellectual and sophistication-based superiority), I don't see how this is a show of love. His parents felt guilt over mistreating him and capitulated. Even as a child, I found the double message of this insulting, and I remember feeling nothing but revulsion and disgust for Max's parents for being so wishy-washy AND mean-spirited as to punish him in the first place. Max is clearly better off in the world of the Wild Things, being his own true self.<p><P>"This story isn't about living or not living a free and wild life with the wild things...that would be for older kids. This book is about a five year old having a tantrum. Suggesting that he stay locked in a tantrum forever is ridiculous...he would be delinquent at best, and psychotic at worst."<p><p>I believe rage is the ultimate tool of achievement, myself. Only when you become so dissatisfied with something that you change it have you acted in your own best interest, and what is rage but a total dissatisfaction with everything in your surroundings? If I had kids, I would teach them to use rage as a weapon, as a tool, to bring great power to bear on anyone who would oppress them and to better themselves. Obeying the rule of law and not being psychotic have nothing to do with using rage and being honest with yourself. If I'm a bad parent, don't I deserve that rage? If I was so callous and thoughtless, for instance, as to have a child when I couldn't afford it and the kid now has to live in poverty, shouldn't my son or daughter feel utter rage at me that I brought them into the world without the means to contend with their growth? I've basically given them a massive weight to carry in the race of life in the form of my own abject stupidity. I'd expect nothing less than rage for all the failings of parents to support and promote their kids. People who can't afford children should never, ever have them - and yet it is the poorest who have the most children, the fools. Rage in response to that is JUSTIFIED on the part of the kid, is CORRECT on the part of the kid. And letting go of that rage? That's weakness on a level so profound it disgusts me. Are you really someone who's encouraging kids to FORGIVE? Oh my god, really? Forgiveness has to be one of the most overwrought ideals of our world. If I had a kid, I would teach him right from the start: don't forgive - revenge. Forgiveness only weakens the person doing the forgiving, and strengthens the abuser. And that is a lesson kids need to learn as early in life as possible, to prepare them to go out on their own.<p><p>"The story you describe would be spot on if Max was an adult working in a soul killing cubicle job, or a teenager in an abusive home or something. Max is a little boy. He needs to be able to go to where the wild things are and return safely to the parents or parent that love him."<p><p>Sorry, but I have to respond to this with a little hyperbole: *puke*. Kids need parental love as much as camels need tics. Parents have kids for selfish reasons, most of the time. It's like buying a puppy or a doll for most, the wish for a little mini-me they can mold and shape, or to make them feel less mortal as they enter middle age. Most don't have a valid reason to have a child. Think - is someone who is, say, fit to do nothing more than a retail job going to be creating a worthwhile person in their son or daughter, or one more person to do retail jobs? What is the MOTIVATION for having a kid? a

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 9:46 p.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk, long post but, some brilliant observation

    by blakindigo

    in there. Well done.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Although I do think you're a bit too cynical on parenting—

    by blakindigo

    and I don't know if the generalizations you make for parents hold. I know it's your opinion but, don't you think that there is a large portion of the American public that rejects the notion of enabling the recklessness of youth? Childish rebellion without consequence is only reinforcing the same ideas of a selfish, self-absorbed individual and in turn, that reinforces the same values that they were raised in.<br><br>Rebellion is natural, I think, especially as the need to individuate emerges once puberty sets in. But, Max isn't a teen, he's a child.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 10:59 p.m. CST

    I'm looking forward to seeing this...

    by ShabbyBlue

    ...bomb at the box office.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Spymunk...are you Ayn Rand in hiding and posting on...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...AICN? I don't think we are going to agree here, and I have to get up early to make pancakes for my this won't compare to your magnificent epistle.<P>Most people I know in the real world think my worldview is pretty dark, but you take the bitter and cynical cake my friend (for a good time pop over to the suicide TB). Your position is certainly consistent, but I think you're straying into unabomber territory.<P>The world is certainly full morons, assholes, and their snot-nosed spawn...always has been, always will be, but a classic like WILD THINGS isn't for them. It's for the vast majority of people who try and often fail to be decent. I stand by my argument that nihilistic rebellion is for older kids...HIS DARK MATERIALS is a decent example.<P>This isn't a very original recommendation, but for an entertaining rant about the fucked up but ultimately useful psychology of fairy tales you might enjoy Bruno Bettelheim's classic THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT. And Bettelheim goes back to the original versions, so you get murder, fratricide, rape, incest, torture, sexual competition and envy of your parents, etc, etc. You'll love it.<P>I think the world is a pretty bad place...but I don't think it's as bad as you do. Good luck with the revolution.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:20 p.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk - a few things you need to remember

    by Professor_Monster

    - I only got knuckle deep into your post and then it bored me - not saying you are a boring person or that the post itself isn't good - I'm just tired and I felt like posting something back to you before I go to sleep. If we had no "football is on, beer in hand" parents raising children who (I'm with you here) kids who will only reach room temp IQ - then where would we find the future soldiers for this country to send to a sandy place where Pepsi and McDonalds can now be had. I think you're off abut needing to read books on kids falling into creative stagnation if they are not reached by age 9 - that's bullshit. sounds like something written by a New York Jew - you know the kind who drags their kid to museums and teaches them a few catch phrases to blurt out at parties as to seem oh so smart.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:23 p.m. CST know, I always thought your name was...

    by FlickaPoo

    ..."ThusSpakeMySpunk". I need glasses.<P>Too much masturbation.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:55 p.m. CST


    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Your comment about Jews destroys your entire statement. Antisemitism has no place here.

  • Oct. 14, 2009, 11:55 p.m. CST

    A Good Fantasy Book for Small Children

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk


  • Oct. 15, 2009, 1:53 a.m. CST


    by quantize

    If you're even half right, I will absolutely fucking loathe this film...i struggled to get through Juno, holding onto my seat desperately trying to ignore the hideously fey earnest limp hipster music that is infesting the planet - most people are so fucking thick they cant tell the difference between earnest (an artifice) and honest. Both the trailers for Wild Things interested me, but i had to turn the sound off...fuck anyone who likes that limp wristed self indulgent poor-me and my little boy feelings bullshit.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 1:54 a.m. CST

    ...earnest hipster folk rock...its music cancer

    by quantize


  • Oct. 15, 2009, 2:03 a.m. CST

    Where the Wild Things Talk (Spymunk)

    by itsbeenahardyear

    You sound angry Spymunk and surely there is a lot to be angry about. The world can be a fucked up place and that is stressful and frustrating to contend with. <br> But in terms of using anger as a "weapon", I am not sure what you mean. I am sure that you have had the anger of others aimed at you in your time and it probably didn't feel right, regardless of any "intellectual" justification that person may have had. People routinely, in anger, justify the use of physical or verbal violence and that is one of the fucked up things that we encounter in the world. <br> Speaking of bad parents, the anger of parents often takes these violent forms toward their children when they become frustrated that they cannont control them. <br> I think that while it is always a valid thing to feel how we feel, once we start taking it out on other people and justifying it whether we consdier ourselves superior in the situation or not, we lose perspective. When we are angry in a situation, we want to control it, and there are all kinds of versions of what things should be like and when we begin to impose this on others, verbally or physically, it increases the fucked up factor in the world. Think of how many problems arise from people trying to control things to make them how they want them... Think of how many problems are caused by pissed off people seeing the world from only their perspective... <br> I also don't understand what you mean by "intellectual level". Clearly some people are currently not aware of a very large picture of what is going on in the world or at worst, fixated on their own pleasure above considerations of other people. While this can be frustrating to encounter, part of increasing one's awareness, for me, has to do with being able to put things in perspective. I try not to over simplify things and I appreciate the fact that there are good things at all that one can connect to. <br> I think it closes a lot of doors to see onself as "intellectually" superior to others, or just feeling superior in general. It makes one not need to listen or empathize with others and appreciate what they have to offer. Whatever "smart" means to me, it includes figuring out how to get the most out of life, and to that extend it helps to learn how to be chill with people. The more open I am to things, the more good things come my way. If I see someone who thinks they are really "smart" and are very competitive about being "right" about something, I listen to what they have to say, but often in group settings that person is unaware to the extent that they are percieved as being an "asshole", that his or her social style is undermining whatever point they are trying to make. <br> I guess as an adult, I have a different perspective on this than when I was a teenager. There is definitely an ingrained part about being young that makes someone feel like they know everything. I won't say that I was totally innocent of that one. But even though I am under 30, I have been humbled by life enough, to see how little any of us know and how the world is ever revealing itself in a complex, confusing process that takes steps forward and steps back. <br> I have worked with kids all the way from K-12 and there does come a time when kids go through puberty and they think they know everything and want to rebel. That is totally healthly in a way, because they want to make their own choices and find out for themselves. However, in my observation there are very large gaps of things they are not aware of and this can make this stage look very foolish and/or annoying. <br> I feel for the fact that most adolescents still live under the power of their parents and if that is a bad situation, that is a bad situation, but in general teens are worse to each other than their parents are to them. A lot of frustration is taken out a teachers, some who deserve it, some who don't. But mostly, the idea that they know something that adults don't know is just immaturity. The most wise and aware teenagers I have meet have come across as pretty centered and engaged, rather than angry and rebelious. <br> Also, I am not going to idealize small children either. They can be really sweet, but they can also be totally self-absorbed. A tantrum-ing child is not aware of some larger "intellectual" framework having to do with their parents, but typically just frustration at not being able to have something they want (Candy, Toy, TV). Even really good parents and teachers will encounter angry and tearful children. Good parents and teachers help the child put the emotion in perspective and help them ride it out until it passes. <br> That's what makes Where the Wild Things are a story that teaches it models that process of getting overcome by a feeling and then letting that feeling pass. It is teaching a kind of perspective about anger that hopefully can last into the next angry moment. <br> Also, this super long post is my personal reaction to your long post. We probably agree on a good many things and whatever I say that you already know is not me trying to school you on anything or putting my opinion above yours.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 2:04 a.m. CST

    The Ultimate Hipster EMO Folk Rock Checklist

    by quantize

    The deliberate combination of any of these elements and or instruments <p> • Man singing in (fragile) little whispery voice progressing to howing long notes <p> • Woman singing in (fragile) little girl voice <p> • Acoustic and or electric guitars strummed with.. <p> • Cello's sounding mournful <p> • Xylophones, toy pianos etc <p> • Flutes <p> • Moog synthesizer or Theremin <p> • 'Tribal' or traditional world music instruments <p> • Deliberately 'ironic' clever (read retarded) lyrics about how how crazy it is to be alive..or painful to be a middle class teenager/20 something <p> • Lyrical gibberish (becuase they just heard Sgt Peppers and think they discovered it) <p> <p> Tick accordingly as you watch the film...(personally i hope it scores low)

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 2:07 a.m. CST

    shit almost forget..

    by quantize

    • people clapping <p> • singing 'lah lah lah'

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 7:34 a.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk - let me know

    by Professor_Monster

    when you take the pill that lets you know how things really are - but for now... sleep my friend... sleep

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Jonze is a living demigod

    by scudd

    He's a true artist.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST

    thus spake.....

    by exador

    truly one of the angriest, craziest posts I've read in a long, long time. "Kids need parental love as much as camels need tics" wow. I'm afraid to ask if you really truly believe that. My guess is that someone didn't get enough hugs as a kid.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST


    by quantize

    As opposed to a mouth breathing can have that crown

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 8:22 p.m. CST


    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Let's do a little experiment. You have a kid and raise him with lots of huggy-good-fun-times, play catch with him and tell him about the funny things your pets did when you were little. At the same time, Exhibit B will be a kid who grows up with no parental love or attachment, but has a billion-dollar squad of tutors and teachers, personal fitness trainers, a fleet of G-5 airplanes to take him all over the world to witness firsthand the wonders of Earth, all the money and comfort he could want, a palatial mansion. Then When they're both 19 we'll do a job interview for both of them for a prestigious position and see which one's life worked out better. Sound good?

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Exador - Oh, and ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    ... the decision about which one "did better" will be based ONLY on tangible issues that actually exist. Thus, you can't give any "a baby's smile is the greatest gift of all" answers.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Exador - Oh, and ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    ... the decision about which one "did better" will be based ONLY on tangible issues that actually exist. Thus, you can't give any "a baby's smile is the greatest gift of all" answers.

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Itsbeenahardyear ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Fantastic post, man. I'd love to reply but right now I've only got time to tell you that you did a good job. You've got your stuff together, even if we disagree. Did your parents love you? Did they do a good job of showing it?

  • Oct. 15, 2009, 11:16 p.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk - and pencils down

    by Professor_Monster

    So - Exhibit B would be Michael Jackson and oh... Exhibit A - Steve Jobs (read his book)

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:38 a.m. CST

    This whole UK delay shit

    by Star Hump

    has to stop. Sure there are some serious differences, but we're basically twin cultures. We love our beers, our sports and our movies. It's not fair to make the UKers wait two fucking months to watch Hollywood movies. Just ain't right. And conversely, we need more UK movies in wide release in the US. Just something that bugs me. I mean, how hard can it be?

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 2:20 p.m. CST


    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    Brilliant and funny Emo Checklist. Best I've seen or heard since "The Grunge Song" by Weezer, I think. If you missed it, here are the lyrics. The music dynamics follow the lyrics: <p> <p>This is the part of the song <p>That's really quiet <p>we play very soft <p>it sounds like a ballad <p> <p>and this is the part <p>where we play real hard <p>it's much louder than at the beginning <p> <p>and we go back <p>to the quiet part,again <p>if the whole song was this way <p>it would be boring <p> <p>so we go back to playing loud <p>it's like the first time <p>but slightly louder <p>this is usually the place <p>where it would be quiet again <p>but we dont wanna to be <p>too predictable <p>predictable <p>predictable

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Wow Quantize, I never realied Paul Simon was an Emo Hipster

    by programmusic

    *cuts self to paul simon*

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Awesome Stunt Vocalist

    by quantize

    had me laughing and I haven't heard the tune itself..will check it out What pissed me off, and I think theres a parallel with films here too, is that this kind of music is easily as formulaic as what a lot of people accuse electronic music..or other genres of..yet they mistake it's 'acoustic' nature for somehow being 'honest'. Mentally lazy and predictable means its an artifice..melodrama..which makes it EARNEST..(meaning to SOUND honest). Big difference

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:43 p.m. CST


    by quantize

    Wrong...check the list again. Nice try though.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:45 p.m. CST

    besides Paul Simon gets an Get Out Of Jail Free card..

    by quantize

    he was 40 years early..and never as formulaic. You can only play this game if you get real.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 3:49 p.m. CST

    You should listen to Graceland

    by programmusic

    Good album

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST

    I have it...

    by quantize

    you got it all wrong buddy.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 5:36 p.m. CST

    If you say so

    by programmusic

    Most of the items on your list correspond directly to that album. But frames of reference are everything.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 5:38 p.m. CST


    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    Thanks. You make more good points. Well-crafted VS Contrived might be another Cliff Notes way of saying it all. I think that perhaps you and I (and others) like the Grunge Song and your Ultimate Hipster EMO Folk Rock Checklist because it pulls away the curtain revealing the Wizard of Lost Coz behind the "cutting edge." <p>BTW, I think you'll agree the phrase "cutting edge" has been over-used and mis-used for decades in music, comedy, and other entertainment. The last truly cutting edge comic was Bill Hicks. Now it's used as much by critics and fans to stroke their own egos as much as to praise their pet flavor of the month.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST


    by quantize

    Dude you REALLY dont GET IT. Yes you could pick instruments off that list and find them in all kinds of great music...Paul Simon has a history of singing a particular way and collaborating with ethnic musicians..again i would say ..CHECK THE LIST. He breaks those rules all the times. Listen closer.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Stunt Vocalist 709

    by quantize

    Bill Hicks, say no more buddy.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 6:11 p.m. CST


    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    Indeed. I am still grateful to him for actually paying attention to my earliest sets in Austin,(1984) and taking the time to talk with me. He appreciated that I had something to say beyond the funny itself, and he encouraged me to take risks. I wish he could see what I'm doing these days. I do think he'd laugh knowingly and shake his head at some of the lame crap I've been told at comedy clubs- in particular I have been asked to use 'dumbed down' material. We both agreed back then that (with some exceptions like Paul Menzel's Comedy Workshops in Houston and Austin) the worst environment for an imaginative comic is the comedy club. Most basically want the same crap recycled in the same way. Which is why: if you ask someone who recently went to a comedy club, "Who did you see?" they usually can't tell you.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Not talking about instruments

    by programmusic

    I'm talking about albums, not artists, and I'm not trying to bring Paul Simon down or bring Indie folk up. Your list corresponds directly with the Graceland album (aside from the lack of howling and gibberish lyrics, which seem to be more of a psychedelic revival thing, rather than the acoustic indie stuff you're talking about). The difference being that Paul Simon did it 20 years before it became a scene. However there will always be trends, and people following them, and people doing new things and people doing old things. You can make a check list for cubism or Rock n' Roll as well. overall you just have to take them for what they are, there will always be movements in art.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 7:21 p.m. CST

    Then you're getting the point even less...

    by quantize

    since my list IS a list of instruments and the way they're played..Let me put it a way you might're comparing Kelley Clarkson using a cello in one of her tracks and saying..'see Mozart used one too'..The checklist makes sense in a very specific...moreover i would argue Paul Simon represents true folk music, rather than cherry picking sounds and melodies in some attempt to sound sincere..he goes the whole hog..his collaborations with African musicians for example goes way beyond some tosser putting the thud of a tabla or udu in their music for wacky effect. Again you don't get the list at all..he hardly even qualifies. <p>

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    ..its not just old stuff being rehashed..

    by quantize

    Stunt Vocalist's point with the Weezer song probably demonstrates the idea even better..It's CHEAP tricks...Pantomime masquerading as drama.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Answer to ThusSpakeSpymunk

    by itsbeenahardyear

    Thanks for the positive feedback. Nice to see that on the internet, we don't have to see eye to eye but we don't have to be at each other's throats either. <br><br> To answer your questions my parents are divorced and they each had their faults, but ultimately I am grateful for what they did provide for me, especially my mom who I lived with. There are a lot of things that go into raising kids and working on top of that has got to be stressful. I think now that I am an adult, I value them more. Friends and lovers come and go in this life, but family will always be family. Now that they are getting old, they appreciate having someone to be in touch with too and I am glad when I can provide that. <br><br> As far as parents who disown their children or who just irresponsibibly bring life into the world without attempting to provide for it, that's fucked up and probably feeds into a cycle of carelessness and hurt through generations. It's found somewhere in most communities and that's real. It can make one angry to think about or especially angry to find oneself in that position. I feel that. I think most of us are doing the best we can, even if things aren't the way we want them to be.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 7:55 p.m. CST

    No quantize, you simply don't get it, it being musical movements

    by programmusic

    You’re unfortunately looking from a very narrow viewpoint. You’d be amazed at how formulaic much of the popular songwriting was in the 60s. There are always movements in art, there always have been, and for the foreseeable future, there always will be. There were specific RULES for baroque harmony etc. Your argument seems to be that the existence of clichés in a music scene means that songs in the genre are contrived, fake and formulaic, deprived of any real emotion or creativity. That's an extremely simplistic outlook. There have been clichés in all genres of music, and similar checklists could be made for any other scene that has developed. I doubt you would say that Blues is insincere, formulaic or contrived because the vast majority of it uses a 1-IV-V progression with a minor pentatonic scale over it. Just as 20 years from now, people won't be saying indie hipster music was contrived; it will be just another former scene. Your discovery of clichés within indie music doesn’t mean you’ve found a special “man behind the curtain” there have been thousands. Hopefully you’ll understand this time.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 7:57 p.m. CST

    And I'm not talking about instruments

    by programmusic

    I'm talking harmonic patters, rhythms, melodies, chord progressions...and instruments.

  • Oct. 16, 2009, 8:01 p.m. CST

    And your list is more of timbres

    by programmusic

    Those instruments have been used constantly in popular music for the last 80 years. It's the way they're used that makes them more or less noticeable or characteristic of a certain genre or scene.

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 7:34 a.m. CST

    Nah, you dont get it

    by quantize

    If anything you're simply confirming what I'm what if there's contrived music in every genre and time? Did I say any different? fact if you read my post you will see that WAS MY POINT (re the reference to pop and electronic music). The point remains there is indeed a particular type of affected folk rock right now..You see to want an award for pointing out the bleedin' obvious and demonstrating a some music knowledge. <p> The list could well include chord patterns, lyrics and progressions. You make a fool of yourself when you claim people won't be claiming indie hipster music wasnt contrived in 20 years when you've just finished pointing out cliches in all genres of music. Contrived remains contrived...sometimes that ends up being funny as in kitsch..often not. <p> I've made a perfectly valid observation, you seem desperate to disprove cant

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 7:36 a.m. CST

    'I doubt you would say that Blues is insincere'

    by quantize

    There's plenty of shitty cliched insincere blues..its been mocked enough...wake the hell up...stop namedropping scales and think a little more.

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 7:37 a.m. CST

    .....and if you think thats a simplistic outlook

    by quantize

    I would call yours willfully naive. <p> Which again speaks to my first point.

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Here's something to think about...

    by quantize

    Nobody thought 80's electropop was particularly contrived AT THE TIME. Now if I think emo folk pop is contrived NOW, how the fuck do you think people will hear it when they hear this automaton factory of xylophones and strumming guitars going little then big over and over...Its enough to make fucking Boy George and his gay reggae sound like unique genius.

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 7:43 a.m. CST

    And finally..

    by quantize

    just so this doesnt turn into some pissing war of musical knowledge (which you seem desperate for). Contrived is contrived in any era in any genre. Try to understand that doesn't all somehow age into fine wine.

  • Oct. 17, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST


    by Life Proof

    You're both missing the point, and completely forgetting that music is not objectively good or bad. Whether or not you think it's contrived, there's going to be someone who doesn't. I really dig The Residents. A lot of people find them annoying...I think the soundtrack for Where The Wild Things Are is annoying. Why is that? Subjectivity. This argument will be fought forever, and you two aren't even articulating it all that well.

  • Oct. 18, 2009, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Pretentious, underwhelming, overlong are....

    by snakecharmer

    the 3 most overused words on film talkbacks. Anyways, Can't wait to watch this film. Peace.

  • Oct. 18, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by cheyne_stoking_DMS

    to all the naysayers. #1 movie in America. Now you have to suck its' dick. Quite a few big mouths saying it was going to tank.

  • Oct. 18, 2009, 5:50 p.m. CST


    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    It IS tanking, I'm afraid. There's a difference between a $70-80m #1 movie in America and a $30m #1 movie in America. And there's talk it might not even be $30m, but that they're using sneaky sneak-preview calculations where people went to other movies but saw this one to include box-office that doesn't belong to it. With an $80m cost that's usually multiplied by 3x you get roughly $240m that the movie needs to make to break even, and this movie will likely have a staggering 60 percent drop next week as word-of-mouth of bored and fidgety kids floods America's coffee rooms. That means it'll make 30m this weekend, 15m or less next weekend, followed by another big drop, meaning the total box office is going to be somewhere around 70m-80m, meaning it will fall about 160m short of what the studio was hoping it would. This movie has come and now it's gone. Let's move on to something that's good for kids.

  • Oct. 18, 2009, 7:47 p.m. CST

    Out of curiosity...

    by cheyne_stoking_DMS

    what is your definition of a "good kid's movie"? because I'm having a hard time understanding your definition of "flop." The film JUST came out on friday. The reviews are coming in as mostly positive. So, while everyone walks into that hyped up 'Paranormal Activity', people are going to be seeing this. Certainly not the shitfest that must be the Jamie Foxx/guy from '300' movie that has been getting shit reviews. It's still early to say if it'll be a HUGE success. Most definitely not a flop.

  • Oct. 18, 2009, 8:13 p.m. CST

    $ to consider...

    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    The good news about the cost/revenue question that was not addressed is both the international B.O. and the DVD revenue. (setting aside other merchandising) Even if the prediction of 160M domestic comes to pass, the other revenue sources should make this more than worthwhile businesswise. Plus, there are the less than tangible payoffs from such a well done film.

  • Oct. 19, 2009, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Life Proof

    by quantize

    as opposed to the spectacular job you just did...hey theres nothing even vaguely pretentious about the Residents..its way too fucked up.

  • Oct. 19, 2009, 3:22 p.m. CST

    wild things

    by Jared

    Really liked it. Didn't find Max annoying in the least. I want to see it again as it's a complex film.

  • Oct. 19, 2009, 8:34 p.m. CST


    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Where the Wild Things Are emitted a $32.7 million howl on approximately 5,000 screens at 3,735 sites, including around $3.1 million at 145 IMAX sites. The picture's daily box office pattern suggested that it didn't play like a typical family picture, rising only two percent on Saturday, and the demographics bore this out. According to distributor Warner Bros., the audience composition was 43 percent 18 years and older, 14 percent 12-17 years old, 27 percent parents who had kids under 12, and 16 percent kids under 12, and it was 55 percent female. While Where the Wild Things Are wasn't earth-shattering, it clawed its way into the top tier among debuts for children's book adaptations that aren't Harry Potter and was mightier than Bridge to Terabithia, Jumanji and other comparable titles. The multi-generational popularity of the book and the picture's attention-grabbing style were drivers, but the marketing campaign also distinctly conveyed an exuberant and sentimental trip into the universal experience of childhood, between its squiggly writing to its use of music. (Spymunk adds - both JUMANJI and BRIDGE TO TEREBITHIA were regarded as big failures for their relative studios - look it up).

  • Oct. 19, 2009, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Honestly ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    ... studios should just stop making any sorts of intelligent movies for kids. They always fail, and I've reconciled with that. I've given up on the American moviegoinng audience, and I think it's time the creative people in the world give up on them, too. Especially the kids - who have reached a point now where they're a lost cause by the time they're three or four, so numbed by mindless anime (yeah, it's mindless - but complex enough that idiot fanboys insist it's brilliant - no, it's horribly-drawn with static animation and motion lines and the plots are nonosensical and so self-reerential they bear no similiarity to the real world whatsoever - nothing for a coherent viewer to grasp). Just put out ranom explosions and farts and snot. That's what the kids want - so give it to them, surrender the ship and start urging your kids to read good books if they're even slightly intelligent. I give up on American cinema with the massive failure of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE to find any audience.

  • Oct. 19, 2009, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Professor_Monster -

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    Ah, but Michael Jackson's handlers were NOT the same things I described. I was talking about a team of people dedicated to the actual well-being of the kid without the vested interest of parents who want something from the kid.