Charmingly awkward or lazy and quasi-homophobic?

Not sure how I missed this one: In yesterday’s edition of the Daily Cardinal, my colleagues Lauren Fuller and Mark Reichers wrote dueling reviews of director Lynn Shelton’s Humpday, a film I distinctly recall reading about when it first came out in NYC this summer. Can’t say I’ve seen it though.

Lauren—assuming that her review is the first of the two—loved the film, giving it an elated “A”; Mark—assuming that his review is the second of the two—hated the film, giving it a disapproving “F”. Indeed, Mark not only writes that he “found the film to be a dance between latent homophobia and a juvenile understanding of sexuality”, he calls the entire so-called “mumblecore” movement “lazy filmmaking.” While the most mumbly American indie films I’ve seen in recent years were Kelly Reichardt’s excellent diptych of Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy (I’m not even sure that these two films really qualify as being “mumblecore”, though I’ve yet to lose any sleep over this uncertainty), I reject Mark’s notion that there’s such a thing as “lazy filmmaking.”

To call any style, particularly one that’s enjoying a spot of popularity amongst the young folks these days, “lazy” is to imply that it falls short of or deviates from some other accepted style that exists as the standard by which all other styles ought to be measured; well, that mythical “master style” doesn’t exist anywhere, but it’s especially non-existent within the context of the constantly mutating American indie film scene. Then again, it’s difficult to agree or disagree with charges of artistic laziness when the antithesis of that alleged laziness isn’t defined.

I wonder what Mark would make of a Pedro Costa film, wherein the camera definitely doesn’t do anything overtly interesting (or budge, for that matter), at least not by conventional standards. Still, it’s good to see some cinematic debate in the pages of the Dirty Bird.


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