Come on, "Man On Wire" is actually mediocre…

Last night I saw Watchmen at the London Imax. The film is, of course, pure spectacle and if you’re going to see it in the UK, then don’t bother unless you’re going to the Imax, the largest screen in the country. The movie is way too long but its over-financing means there are plenty of really expensive shots that look good if you’re watching on a big enough screen. However, enough of that, what about so called ‘quality” film these days?
The flick that won a shed load of awards recently was Man On Wire, a documentary about Philippe Petit, who pulled high-wire stunts culminating in an illegal walk between the New York Twin Towers in 1974. The stunts Petit engineered required elaborate preparation and this is used to give Man On Wire the feel of a caper movie but one tailored to middle-brow tastes. The archive footage of Petit is mesmerising but the re-enactments of those parts of his story not filmed at the time are a TV-style snore fest. Worse yet is the dreadful music ranging from Eric Satie via Michael Nyman to early Fleetwood Mac, all deployed in a really clumsy and intrusive way.
The soundtrack is used to reassure catatonic middle-brow viewers that they are watching something supposedly imbued with ‘artistic purpose’. The resultant bollocks may convince the dim-witted their tastes are superior to those of your average street gawker, but the critical judgements of anyone who falls for a gambit of this type cannot be taken seriously. As a documentary Man On Wire would have been much better either as sleazy exploitation or something that was genuinely high-brow. If director James Marsh had shown some taste and used the tune Tightrope by Inez and Charlie Foxx instead of the truly awful Albertross by Fleetwood Mac, and tracks like Ho Ho Rock & Roll by Pete Roberts instead of Nyman and Satie, his movie wouldn’t suck quite so much; his cack-handed attempts to use music to signify ‘gravatus’ really infuriated me.
I rarely like movies that win awards, and Man On Wire is simply yet more mediocre fluff that the culture industry wants to hype up through its hierarchical prize system.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Edward D. Wood on 2009-02-27 14:30:45 +0000

Hey, when I made Glen Or Glenda I knew a thing or two about cross-dressing and had even played my role as a marine in WWII wearing women’s underwear beneath my uniform. So I say if a documentary film-maker doesn’t know his subject then he can’t make a decent film. Has this man James Marsh tried doing illegal high-wire stunts off street buildings? Somehow I doubt it and if he hasn’t what’s he doing making films on the subject?

Comment by The Fake Ian Levine on 2009-02-27 15:22:38 +0000

Thumbs up on Inez and Charlie Foxx but what about Linda Carr’s “High Wire”?

Comment by I Was John Eden’s Doppelgänger on 2009-02-27 16:55:04 +0000

What about “Three Ring Cicrus” and “Sideshow” by Barry Biggs?

Comment by K Mail on 2009-02-27 17:29:23 +0000

Sorry, what were we taliking about, soul influences on reggae or something? I’m just back from a snowboarding convention and am a bit out of the loop!

Comment by Stiv Bators on 2009-02-27 17:51:36 +0000

Looks like you pussies have forgotten all about punk rock, check “High Tension Wire” on the first Dead Boys album “Young, Loud & Snotty”… now that would have really lifted the soundtrack to this movie, it would’ve taken cinema roofs right off!

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-02-27 21:51:00 +0000

When it comes to award-winning stuff, it’s not just films that are usually pap and best avoided – award-winning books and albums and so on are invariably gash in one way or another. Call e contrary, but I usually read ‘award-winning’ as ‘toss.’

Comment by K Mail on 2009-02-28 00:15:49 +0000

Whenever I hear the words ‘award winning’ I down a couple of sleeping pills, knowing that I’m gonna have a better time than if I stayed awake!

Comment by The Other Michelle Kay on 2009-02-28 00:47:59 +0000

Oh I don’t know why people pick such lousy subjects for documentaries when they could be covering a female blue collar comedian like me. I’m a stand up comic who has performed at clubs and concerts all over Florida, sharing the stage with Wiley Fox, Victoria K, Michael K, The K Foundation, The Killer K’s, Kay’s The Word and Special K Will Knock You Out! I have gotten on stage at Tampia Improv, Sidesplitters and Coconuts in the Tampa Bay area. My jokes are blue and my style is original. In my spare time I like to don Wellington boots and splosh with custard.

Comment by Vincent Dawn on 2009-02-28 10:36:09 +0000

Didn’t know the Inez and Charlie Foxx song. Sounds great!

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Comment by Almost Analytical Chemistry on 2009-02-28 12:50:14 +0000

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Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-02-28 17:20:58 +0000

I heard it was pure shite. And film award season does have one “redeeming” quality – the FREEEEE DVDs that the Screen Actors Guild sends every year, which I take to Fingerprints or Amoeba to trade for much needed $$$$$…

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Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-02-28 21:06:45 +0000

‘Puse shite’ is a phrase best spoken in a Glaswegian accent… and you’ve not lived until you’ve heard the pronouncemet that something is ‘pure pesh.’
Free stuff rocks. I particularly enjoy the free CDs I get in the mail, and free entry to gigs.

Comment by Díre McCain on 2009-03-01 01:19:20 +0000

FREEEEE is splendiferous word!
I’ve always tried to avoid paying for anything, if I can help it, and thankfully, people seem to derive pleasure from giving me things, which saves me the trouble of having to swipe them. 😉 And of course, I try my best to share the wealth, whenever possible – now more than ever…

Comment by howling wizard, shrieking toad on 2009-03-01 07:18:20 +0000

Sure — again, agreed wholeheartedly. Also, though I am not by any means well versed in Nietzsche ( I always preferred Schopenhauer ) , I find his concept of the Übermensch irritating/annoying. A lot of what Nietzsche exalts as a higher being/overman/ Übermensch — I’d just call intolerant thuggery, elitism, or as representing the kind of morons who thought smashing Jewish shops in the Krystalnacht, and going in for book burning was “a great thing”.
I also read ( in the intro to TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS) that Nietzsche intentionally, frequently, enjoyed sending readers off on the wrong scent/trail in his works,contradicting himself, or setting up flawed arguments– WTF??? Sorry, I don’t have time to wade through his books to find out when “he meant it” and was saying something worth me devoting my time to — or when he was f**** with his readers. Agreed that such games are the downside of Post Modern lit.

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-03-04 21:07:12 +0000

Alas, I seem to find myself paying for almost everything, several times over, in some way or another….

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-03-04 21:08:52 +0000

(and that was supposed to read ‘PURE shite’ earlier. I evidently need to start paying for those typing lessons. )

Comment by Paul Tickell on 2009-03-05 17:35:39 +0000

Endless music for Petit’s performance eg the Byrds’ EIGHT MILES HIGH…

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