I’ve only seen his earlier stuff, but I’d imagine that if you gave Alex Cox a decent budget and a top notch cinematographer and editor then the results would probably be good.
I like Alex Cox, I like all of his films I’ve seen, and I thoroughly enjoyed 10,000 Ways to Die. I readily concede that the factual info he dispenses can be inaccurate an alarming amount of the time for someone writing books and recording commentaries, introductions etc. and I don’t want to downplay the importance of that, it’s very important and to that end I absolutely respect @aldo’s take on people setting themselves up as ‘experts’ when their factual info is crap, it’s a pertinent and important point; it’s just not especially important to me. I have the world’s most enthusiastic and knowledgeable Spag lovers right here upon whom I can draw for the facts. But I enjoy hearing Alex’s opinions and take on this movie or that. I like a strong opinion, whether it’s one with which I agree or not.
(btw guys, you are more than welcome to be as critical as you like about anybody’s professional output but please try not to let it slide into personal abuse. I’m not saying it has but I’m concerned it might, and we’re better than that. Cheers, fellas! )
Ok … fair point well made. But just to wrap up, from me anyway … the aforementioned British director is himself not above slanderous statements. For those interested, check out his commentary on his own film ‘Straight to Hell’ … the comments he makes about Charles Bronson and his supposed reaction to the news of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, during the filming of OUTW … plus his further unsubstantiated statement that the film sets built for ‘Chino’/Valdez’ Horses, were built at a reduced scale to give the impression that the height conscious Bronson was taller than actuality, is complete nonsense.
Charles Bronson may well have been a complete narcissist (and I have personal first hand accounts of his bad behaviour from a former SW western actor, which I won’t be disclosing) but Cox almost certainly never met the notoriously private man, and yet has no problem spouting these fatuous tales, presumably to make himself appear more important and ‘in the know’ than he really is.
Sergio Leone, by many accounts was a very difficult (selfish and unfeeling) director, but we as film fans don’t dwell on these aspects - We admire the art. So why should Cox be exempt from warranted criticism? Especially as he’s talking about films which he had no part in.
Here endeth the rant
Cox has never been very mindful of what he says about people and their work but I suppose that’s why I secretly enjoy his ramblings.
I quite enjoyed his Introduction to Film book, although most of it was basic stuff I already knew.
He’s not, mate. Not at all.
I like the guy too. I really think it’s great that a director like him is so enthusiastic about the genre and spends a lot of time discussing it and doing extras for DVD’s etc. I don’t think it’s a problem that he has different opinions to most because they’re his opinions. He has every right to not like The Mercenary or Companeros and then try to defend a film like Little Rita in the same way I don’t like A Bullet for the General or Django Kill and rank the overlooked Long Days of Vengeance and Vengeance is Mine amongst the best of the genre.
That’s also a very fair and balanced assessment, Bill … and I would never expect that everyone is going to see the pro and cons of a particular film in a completely objective way. We all enjoy different films for a wide variety of reasons, which is of course very positive.
What I personally resist or find objectionable is being told that ‘something’ is great, (or lousy) in a manner that’s reminiscent of a media lecturer informing you what’s a classic or whatever, as though this was the definitive point of view. And that is the manner of so many critics and commentators, as far as I’m concerned.
What I would much prefer on a commentary track are (whenever possible) reminiscences from people who actually took part in these productions … even if it’s negative or rambling. Second hand theories or, as I’ve said before, conjecture presented as fact, is to me infuriating.
For instance … the number of interviews with Franco Nero, when he’s telling an anecdote about a certain film, he rounds off the story by saying something like “Franco Nero plus Corbucci = success”, or Damiani, or Baldi or Castellari, or who ever … it’s a bit repetitive, but at least he was there and even if it’s a bit of a romanticised recollection, it’s first hand and generally positive. The very idea of listening to someone’s detracting remarks on a film I personally enjoy seems crazy, and although the likes of Cox is entitled to his opinions, why agree to do a track on a film you dislike? … I’m certain that if Corbucci were still around and Cox was offered the voice over gig, his attitudes and comments would be quite different.
It’s funny since I often think of Alex Cox and Michael Cimino in the same way in spite of their very different talents and very different films. They are (or sadly in the case of Cimino “was”) talented individuals who shine when in the right environments. It’s a shame the world doesn’t always reward or afford opportunity to those with particular talents (whatever they may be)…
I’m not sure to be honest. I must admit i haven’t watched his commentary yet, i’ve got the Blu but I haven’t got round to it. Should be an interesting watch.
Like Dirty Harry said “Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one”.
I have read the book with pleasure but from the discussion above I have learned to only like his opinions where applicable but do not take his knowledge for granted.
I like Mr;. Cox’s introductions for the Moviedrome series. It is a pity these series have stopped because the movies shown were generally exellent. I have not seen many of his movies. I tried to watch his Searchers 2.0 a couple of years ago but somehow that movie did not appeal to me and I got stuck after 30 minutes. Only movie I have seen is Walker.
Is “Straight to Hell” a bit watchable?
Well, I think everyone commenting here should see it - Personally, I watched right through to the end in semi disbelief, that someone so interested in the SW genre could make such a mess of a film.
It’s a group of, off their faces drunk pop stars making a very boring home movie. It’s not funny, suspenseful, exciting or even vaguely interesting, unless you worship some of the musicians involved.
I watched for the locations … but even that doesn’t compensate.
I was also interested of Straight to Hell because I read about sw connections/influences but it was a letdown for me.
For me it was a nice and entertaining film despite being also a bit odd.
Odd, I can handle … boring and pointless is another thing altogether.
I’ll say one thing for it, which can be interpreted as you wish … of the 100s of films I’ve seen from the genre (or relating indirectly) this one is memorable !
My understanding is that “Straight to Hell” was made simply to fund “Walker” which then seems to have destroyed his career - or something like that.
So you have never seen “Repo Man” then? That is what made him famous. It’s a truly great film. I remember seeing it in 35mm on a double-bill with “The Warriors”. That was a great evening.
Some people have two, even.
I have read his book, and I have seen Repo Man several times, a joy to watch, not to speak of the score. Didn’t know it was directed by Cox. Did he direct something else worthwile?
Can’t really say a good thing about Straight to hell. On the other hand, I liked Sid and Nancy. Couldn’t understand how the same person can make such an amateurish crapfest Straight to hell and fine movie like Sid & Nancy.
Like I said, I think “Straight to Hell” was done more to raise funds for “Walker” than anything else - I don’t remember the exact history…
Here’s the iconic “kiss” scene from Sid & Nancy - cinema doesn’t get much better than this:
That trash falling down around them is a surreal touch of genius.
By the way, the cinematography is by Roger Deakins (early in his career) who finally received an Oscar this year after being nominated countless times.