echarlberg

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Why are we so harsh on aging popular artists?

    Discuss and analyze negative responses to late-in-life productions of authors/artists. Many face(d) harsh criticism in later years as a result of: (expectations based on/comparisons to) previous work, questioning of mental/creative faculties, life circumstances (e.g. affluence, change of environment and such), and so forth. I’ve found recent reviews of Toni Morrison’s last two novels (Home and God Bless the Child) and contemporary reviews of Vladimir Nabokov’s Transparent Things and Look at the Harlequins! in past research, but I’m sure that there are more authors/artists that experience this. It seems easy to pigeon-hole a longstanding, well-received author rather than accept a change in style or subject. What lies behind this phenomenon?

    • Might be interesting to examine a gender double-standard here. Artists like Madonna are mocked for sticking around past their prime, while male rockers like Elton John, Keith Richards, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Bon Jovi (the examples are endless, really) seem to only get more popular with time. – agombar 2 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    I often wonder why we feel the need to ask this question. I suppose it is unfortunate that many authors are unable to exercise such a level of control over their properties that the results are not up to what they would desire for a film adaptation. Many authors don’t necessarily end up controlling the rights to their works, which is another factor that could result in frustration. Otherwise, unless one is willing to do the job themselves from script through production and editing and/or find someone willing to give them a controlling interest in the film, I would think that in some ways the author should be more upset with themselves for selling the work under anything but the most controlling conditions.

    When Kubrick wanted to make Lolita, Nabokov resisted until he was offered a good chunk of money. Then he was able to get more money for writing a screenplay of Lolita. They did not use much, if anything, of his screenplay. Ultimately he was happy with the resulting film, noting very rightly that it was not “his” film, but that they did well considering the subject matter and restrictions placed upon them.

    Was it his ideal adaptation? No. Was it his adaptation? No. Was it his book, Lolita? No. Was he happy with the money he made? Yes. This might raise questions of Nabokov’s artistic integrity, but if you are familiar with Nabokov you will note that his integrity (as far as one can tell based on his multiple masks in fiction and life) is fairly unimpeachable. My feeling, as a scholar of Nabokov, is that he saw a difference between the two objects. One was his and one was someone else’s. The similarities lay primarily in the title.

    Do We Need the Author's Approval in a Film Adaptation?

    Haven’t read The Boys, but I second Transmetropolitan. Even though the series ended some time ago it still feels fresh, in fact acquiring perhaps more freshness with Trump’s bid for the presidency. Additionally, media is increasingly omnipresent, yet our ability to access differing view points is controlled by the presence of accessible, known outlets that aren’t guided by commercial ends or sponsorship. Transmet certainly shows us the value of a free press that is willing to present sometimes unwanted facts and views that would otherwise be considered too controversial for mainstream consumption. This would be fine, but with increasing access to alternative media, mainstream is starting to become something else.

    Comics That Deserve Their Own Show/Film

    One could say that there are almost as many tastes as there are individuals. The creation of Art and one’s opinions regarding an artistic creation are all equally valid when coming from a place of earnestness. Anyone can paste some random stuff on a canvas (or do a multitude of other “artistic” things) and call it Art. It’s up to an individual to decide whether or not they feel it is art. Many commenters above spoke to a desire for expert (or at least educated, informed) opinion in helping them to determine the value of a given film. Is my “opinion in any way important?” I feel that my opinion is at least important to myself and that any other individual’s opinion can be equally important. Of course I would also say that one’s opinion should not just be cynical derision without citing evidence and that is what I would hope for from a critic that takes their vocation seriously. Without opinion and discussion of opinions, very little actual critical thought is involved and I feel that Art stagnates. I myself am tired of the derivative films, endless sequels, and remakes that grace our theaters. Based on the comments I’ve read here and elsewhere I’m not alone. If we blindly consume Art without consideration or intelligent, reasoned discussion we may continue to find ourselves watching the same films hacked apart and put back together again.

    The Glaring Importance of Critics in Filmmaking