Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pauline Kael, Wonder Woman, Bright Lights #74

The latest issue of the awesome BL is up, and in it I salute Pauline Kael, the voice of madness in an age of damned dull sanity. And there's William Leung's How to Play a Superhero: Lynda Carter, Popular Culture Feminism, and the Search for Wonder Woman

"As long as popular culture has a place for a woman hero, Wonder Woman is relevant; as long as Wonder Woman is relevant, Lynda Carter is relevant." -

The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael

Reviewed by Erich Kuersten

"We miss her and need her today — someone with enough literary clout that her praise can define and refine the response to a movie the way she helped define and refine the responses to Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, and Carrie. There are recent movies that have gone panned and forgotten but would surely have been embraced by Kael, like Observe and Report (she would have saved it from getting lumped with Paul Blart, Mall Cop), Enter the Void, and the Twilight series (panned by adults who haven't seen it or are ashamed to admit they have — she would no doubt recognize that they fill a too-long-ignored, underserved demographic). She was confident enough to get wise to Fellini's and Woody Allen's essential shallowness... she was wary of film critics who prized themselves for elitist judgments. "I don't trust critics who care only for the highest and the best, it's an inhuman position, and I don't believe them. I think it's simply their method of exalting themselves" (265)

We need her! Luckily there are some great critical voices still out there, in the Village Voice, in fact, and on websites like Bright Lights Film Journal!

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