The Salon.com headline for Andrew O’Hehir’s review of the movie, The Counselor is, “Meet the Worst Movie Ever Made.” Of course, not everyone will think the movie is terrible, but the review is worth reading, I think. You can find it here.
The review makes a lot of points about how, “the talented and laurel-bedecked people behind it made exactly the movie they wanted to,” and how no else but artists involved (Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott) are to blame.
Over the years my small amount of peripheral involvement in the movie and TV business has given me a lot more respect for the “suit,” -- the producers, network and studio people -- than most popular accounts of the business had me believing they deserved.
And I think a lot of this comes down to what the Salon review referred to as Hollywood’s Devil’s Candy:
“The magical combination of artistic legitimacy, cultural currency and commercial success. Everybody in Hollywood chases it and as in Julie Salamon’s terrific book of that title, about a big-budget failure of another era (Brian De Palma’s film version of “Bonfire of the Vanities”), almost nobody gets hold of it.”
A balance is necessary. We’ve all complained about movies (and books and music and whatever) that have gone off the rails by chasing too much commercial success. For some reason it’s usually regarded as more worthy to go off the rails chasing more artistic legitimacy but the results are usually the same.
Or is that wrong? Is it better to go all out trying to tell exactly the story you want?