EPISODE 229: EXPLOITATION by · Published August 8, 2011 · Updated February 11, 2015 In this episode, Tyler and David are joined by Jason Eaken to discuss cinematic exploitation in all its forms.Related Posts:Episode 838: Cutting Quasi with Frank McGrathEpisode 843: Best Needle Drops Ever w/ Rico Gagliano &…Tyler Takes On the Oscars and Other Stuff You Might Have…Episode 835: Oscars 2023 (Tyler's Take)Episode 834: Oscars 2023Episode 831: Individual Achievements 2022Episode 839: Movies About AmnesiaEpisode 836: West's Top Five Angelo Badalamenti Tracks Share
Clearly whoever recorded this sounds fat…
This episode was successful in coaxing me to comment, so congrats. Two comments actually.
1) Has anyone seen Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void? Its relation to this topic should be obvious (or so i thought) for too many reasons, and was wondering what anyone thought of the multifaceted exploitative elements in that film.
2) This is unrelated to the topic, but something i have noticed over many episodes. Roger Ebert is by far the most commonly mentioned critic on the show (Maybe A. O. Scott or Manohla Dargis were mentioned once for second place). This show aims to, and i think succeeds most of the time, at providing an intelligent, academic, and entertaining discussion of film. Because of this, I have to assume that you two read a fair amount of film criticism and discussion yourselves, and I have always found it peculiar that you never mention this. Unless you don’t, in which case I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.
I, Tyler, am usually pretty quick to reference Ebert, usually because I find his way of writing to be very plain, yet pretty eloquent. Also, he’s one of a few critics that people have heard of.
However, aside from him, I also enjoy:
The Onion AV Club (Nathan Rabin, Scott Tobias, and Keith Phipps, specifically)
Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)
Andrew O’Hehir (Salon)
Stephanie Zacharek (Salon)
Those are just a few off the top of my head. I’m sure there are others that I’m not thinking of right now.
Have you read any reviews by Harlan Ellison from the 70s and 80s? Most of them have been collected in a book called “Watching”, and I have to say that his style of writing is extraordinarily entertaining, scathingly witty and eloquent, very knowledgeable on the inside workings of film, rich in period and filmic context, and PASSIONATE in his abuse and praise. He basically writes exactly the way he comes across in interviews and in person.
If you can accept a recommendation from a stranger, I’d give it a look if you can.
Jason, I can understand your frustration with trying to get a 30 minute narrative shorts into film festivals. I run a small film festival in West Virginia and I empirically said that we wouldn’t program any short films over 12 minutes. I’ve had to recant on this position because we’ve had too many good films from filmmakers that were running over 35 films. Good podcast Jason. Keep up the good work!
David (and Tyler and Jason), what is the difference for you between manipulation and exploitation in film? David spoke of Spielberg exploiting the emotions of the audience. I disagree. I think a good filmmaker tries to manipulate the emotions of the audience, not exploit them. You exploit the audience only for personal gain. If you want to talk about Spielberg and exploitation of the audience, I think you’re better off discussing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which he and Mr. Lucas exploit the nostalgia of the audience with a lazy movie designed only to make money. The audience is given nothing back in return. If that’s not exploitation, I don’t know what is. Thoughts?
Max – Enter the Void certainly toes the line of exploitation, if not crosses right over. But then again, I think Paz de la Huerta has some stipulation in their contract that demands she appear nude in all her films, so maybe Noe was just working with what he had. I certainly don’t remember any reason she NEEDED to be a stripper, other than a quick way to convey that she totally dead-ended in Tokyo. And then there’s that fetus shot…and the…thrusting at the audience, shall we say. It probably does fall into the realm of exploitation in my eyes, but I think Noe’s ultimate accomplishment with the film is so much more expansive than a simple T&A/shock show, so I’m willing to let it slide. If anything, I think Noe uses that stuff as an attention-getter, which I know is sort of looked down on, but many European auteurs (Antonioni, Bergman, Bunuel off the top of my head) did the same stuff back in the ’60s, and we have all – rightly – realized that was some smart marketing right there.
I was glad you guys eventually did bring up Sucker Punch ever if it only was in passing because I find Zach Snyder way more exploitative than a Michael Bay.
At this point I don’t think Bay is exploitative as he is a guy who films from the whims of his 13 year old self if that self had the money, technical chops and casting clout that he does. Also if you go into his films with that point of view I find them actually enjoyable experiences, Bad Boys 2 and Transformers 3 especially.
Sucker Punch on the other hand pulls the entire exploitative list out. Violence, Sexual Content and it tries to wrap it all up with that manipulative ending that wants you to take everything you just watched. Snyder to me is what Michael Bay would be if he really took what he was doing seriously and that to me is worse when the content is what it is compared to the juvenile fun movies Bay makes.
It is even exploitative that its Blu-Ray is rated higher to draw the same people back to see what a rated R version of the movie would be. Would you guys consider unrated cuts of movies on video release to be exploitative?
I feel like as far as the unrated cuts go, it’s hard to tell what the intent always is. Did someone honestly feel this was the better cut, or definitive cut? In that case, I don’t think it’s at all exploitative.
Although, a lot of times I do get the impression that they’re trying to sell “Unrated” versions of crappy movies as suggesting “you might get to see some boobs in this version” which of course would be very exploitative.
I went into the episode expecting something totaly different! I was expecting 70’s explotation but got a more recent look at what could be consider explotation with some oldies mixed in. Which is not a bad thing. Some I was thinking of during the episode are as follows. Russ Meyer, Roger Corman films, Women in prison films, Nazisploitation, Tinto Brass, Rob Zombie, Bruno Mattei just to name some.
Three thoughts/recommendations here:
1) I am surprised that Pasolini’s “Salo o le 120 giornate di Sodoma” was not mentioned. No discussion of exploitation is complete without it.
2) During the blaxploitation discussion, I wished I could call in and tell you to rent “Baadasssss!” the Mario Van Peebles film about his father Melvin made his famous uber-blaxploitation masterpiece (Mario plays his father in the film). What is fascinating is how Melvin VP raised the money (Bill Cosby was an investor), how he put his vision together (he was clearly ahead of his time), and how word of mouth helped the film find its audience (a lone Black Panther is at the first screening, walking out mid picture to gather his friends). Great stuff.
3) When you were discussing “Precious,” I thought you would immediately go to the stylized rape scene in the film, which I found rather hackneyed and annoying. I would like to suggest another film, this one from New Zealand — Lee Tamahori’s “Once Were Warriors,” which I believe will bat your balls out of the park. The question is, is the violence exploitative here (the rape of a 13-year-old is handled deftly but still disturbing) or does it serve a larger purpose? [Note: That rape scene is not entirely what the film is about, but it serves as a turning point; the film’s climax, in my opinion, is exhilarating.]