Social media continues to bring down the barriers between filmmaker and critic. Earlier today, a director and the writer of a negative review of his movie had a brief but passionate back-and-forth on the filmmaker's Facebook page.
It all started when Calvin Reeder, director of the Sundance and South By Southwest selection "The Rambler," linked to Drew McWeeny's preview of the SXSW Midnight lineup on HitFix. Tagging McWeeny himself in the post, Reeder said he was "very proud and excited to already be an outsider in the wildly talented Drew McWeeny's SXSW midnighters forecast." He made reference to this Sundance wrap-up, where McWeeny dubbed "The Rambler" the only film at Sundance 2013 "that felt like a real embarrassment" and then, in the comments thread below, called McWeeny a "conformist" and joked about "almost" staying awake during the TV movie "Cigarette Burns," which McWeeny co-wrote. Then McWeeny showed up and responded. Here are a few of the comments that followed:
"You made it. You showed it at a festival. People are going to have opinions, and you might not even like some of them. If you're going to cry about it, don't read the reviews."
"DREW! Thank you for lending your insight, to find a guy like you on my lowly lil facebook page is a huge honor. Yer right, crying doesn't fix anything and I've been crying TOO MUCH. I was clearly wrong to have an opinion on your opinion. The internet was made for experts like you. You matter more than me."
"I'm not 'hanging out on your Facebook page.' You specifically tagged me so I'd see this conversation, Calvin. I didn't post my review to your page. I didn't hunt you down to force my piece on you. At least be honest about it if you're going to be super-sarcastic and shitty about how upset you are. I didn't have any particular interest in forcing you to read anything I wrote, nor do I particularly care if you like or dislike my work. You wanted to make sure I saw your comments. I did. I made one in return. And you have definitely had your say. You are completely wrong about about me being a conformist. But then again, when you make sloppy, lazy "surreal" films, you bulletproof yourself. After all, anyone who dislikes your movie dislikes it because they're a conformist, not because you're a third-rate David Lynch rip-off artist who doesn't understand why good surrealism works. We certainly do worship different gods. Mine are the gods of good filmmaking."
"And they said poetry was dead."
A bit more civility wouldn't hurt this conversation, but I don't mind seeing critics and filmmakers who are proud of their work and willing to defend it. That's how it should be. Still, McWeeny's no conformist. And for whatever it's worth, "The Rambler"'s first two reviews on Criticwire are pretty positive — the movie currently holds a B+ average.