Monday, February 22, 2010

Perhaps James Cameron is Not a Total Tool

I liked Avatar. I didn't think I would, and I didn't really want to see it because I thought it was going to be stupid, but I went anyway, and I liked it. A lot. I had never been to a 3-D movie, and it was a delight. And also, even though the plot was simple and derivative, so what? I am grateful when someone entertains me. Sometimes I'd rather be straight up entertained as opposed to being presented with an opaque pomo art film.

But I have not been a fan of Cameron in the past. I think it all started because of a) the horrible dialogue in Titanic and b) his acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. "I am the King of the World!" No, you are the king of the tools.

But during the last decade, I have begun to realize how hard it is to complete a piece of writing--whether it be a novel, a dissertation, or a script--and, as a result, I have more respect for writers who write less-than-stellar stuff, particularly when they finish said stuff. Still, it seems that the guy could have forked over the cash to pay a great writer to do his screenplay, but I'm starting to get over that issue (sort of).

But I still was thinking that he was an arrogant tool. And then I saw an interview with him on Charlie Rose last week. And you know what? He was articulate. He was very good at talking about stories and narrative. And he did a good job of addressing his critics (of whom Rose quoted many). And at the end of the interview, I thought, "Wow. He's smart. He looks at things in interesting ways. Maybe he's not a total tool."

What do you think?


TKW said...

I've always considered him a tool, mainly for the reasons you stated above. But he must have *something* because there's a helluva lot of women willing to marry him!?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hmm, I missed this interview -- it's always better when someone is articulate! And I've also heard good things about Avatar, to my surprise. Something to add to the Netflix list in the future when it's on DVD ...

baxie said...

being articulate & well informed doesn't disbar someone from the Tool club.

I view successful movie directors through the same lens I view successful restaurateurs- they MUST know their business inside out, and they MUST be, to a greater or lesser degree, an asshole.

There are differing degrees of a-holishness of course, but I defy anyone to succeed in either business without the ability to disengage their empathy and destroy whatever obstacles crop up between them and their goal.

I'm comfortable retaining my opinion of JC as a prime a-hole who makes okay action pics.

Anonymous said...

JC is a tool.
jc, the non-tool.

Good Enough Woman said...

You guys are so funny, and, Baxie, I think you offer a great assessment.

CT, if you're going to see it, you should really see it on the big screen because of the 3-D effects. Really, they are quite stunning.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Ooh, good point, GEW. D, lucky man, got to see it with his office already (the managers turned it into a field trip as a reward for reaching a company milestone). But I have a feeling it won't be hard to convince D to take me for a second viewing :)