Sean Baker

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Sean Baker

#26 Post by knives » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:16 pm

I misremembered Kenny as the critic from the movie; a film which shares a lot with the criticisms he is leveling against Baker. I still find what he said to be disconnected from the text of Baker's film, but realizing my mistake it is far less absurd for him to do such.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Sean Baker

#27 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:18 pm

Oh - that is him in The Girlfriend Experience. I thought you had meant that it was made by Baker in some way, he's been friends with Soderbergh for a while and while I'm unsure what he thought of the final film, I can't understand why him accepting or turning down that role has much connection with these criticisms of Baker.

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knives
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Re: Sean Baker

#28 Post by knives » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:24 pm

Oh okay. I was getting worried on my memory. Like I said, Soderbergh's film could easily have the same criticisms, just switch porn star for stripper, and be functionally as accurate. Without differentiating the two treatments it looks hypocritical.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Sean Baker

#29 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:26 pm

Now I see what you meant, knives.

Kenny is nothing if not hypocritical in some of his criticisms. Although, I'm not sure I'd want an outspoken film critic to go through his Rolodex of other opinions to make sure there are no contradictions.

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Foam
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Re: Sean Baker

#30 Post by Foam » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:40 pm

While recognizing that consistency can be a hobgoblin when it comes to matters like these, it would be interesting to see him account for why American Honey is a masterpiece while Baker's films are apparently condescending poverty porn. (I say this as someone who vastly prefer's Arnold's film but think it is probably more deserving of the accusation).

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knives
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Re: Sean Baker

#31 Post by knives » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:47 pm

Yeah, this probably wouldn't come to mind, but the counter examples are prominent in this case.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Sean Baker

#32 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:49 pm

Foam wrote:While recognizing that consistency can be a hobgoblin when it comes to matters like these, it would be interesting to see him account for why American Honey is a masterpiece while Baker's films are apparently condescending poverty porn. (I say this as someone who vastly prefer's Arnold's film but think it is probably more deserving of the accusation).
We're totally in speculation mode, but Andrea Arnold had a lower class childhood, raised by a 16 year old single mother, and Baker had an upper middle class upbringing and went to NYU film school. I can see how, like Harmony Korine, he could be seen as exploitative of the subjects of his films while Arnold could be seen as a truth teller with authenticity on her side. I like both Arnold (a great deal, one of the finest filmmakers working today) and Baker, so I wouldn't draw that distinction, but perhaps that's where Kenny draws his line.

One thing I will say is that there has been sort of a "gimmick" (for lack of a less judgmental term) to each of Baker's films to this point, and the same wouldn't be applicable to Arnold's output. Either "look who I cast" or "look what I shot this with" or both.

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domino harvey
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Re: Sean Baker

#33 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:23 pm

Glenn Kenny wrote:I thought Starlet was a crock
Why would anyone care what this sad man has to say after this

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mfunk9786
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Re: Sean Baker

#34 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:43 pm

He gave Starlet 2.5 stars out of 5 on his Letterboxd, and Tangerine 3. So I'm sure there's a degree of exaggerating for effect, or "turning on" Baker the way he did with Lonergan last year, praising Manchester By the Sea at first and then being highly critical of it (good discussion in the comments, too) upon second viewing, and of Lonergan's body of work as a whole.

All this being said: bombastic and grouchy though he is, I'm not sure we have many better film critics than Glenn Kenny anymore.

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knives
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Re: Sean Baker

#35 Post by knives » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:49 pm

Though that could speak more to the death of criticism than him being any sort of quality. I feel, nowadays, that the best observers of films tend to be the ones working in the industry or at colleges with newspaper/blog critics largely being uninteresting.

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bottled spider
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am

Re: Sean Baker

#36 Post by bottled spider » Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:28 pm

I ended up watching Starlet in the wee hours during a bout of insomnia. Lamentably, since it's a good film that deserved a more awake viewer. Anyway, because of the zombified state in which I watched this, I'm a bit hazy on an elementary point:
SpoilerShow
what was the import of the two grave markers at the end? I think Sadie referred to her dead husband as Frank a few times, which was the name on engraved on the headstone. And had she earlier claimed to have not had children? But the ending reveals she had a daughter after all, deceased? I don't remember the birth dates, but the death dates were, I think, 1969 and 1971. I'll revisit the film one day, but for the moment it's a rental I have to return straight after work, so I can't just pop in the disc and review.
~
I liked that Baker took material that other directors would have used as the basis of an unlikely-to-be good comedy, and played it mostly as straight drama instead. And I liked that the two characters maintained a certain opacity. In fact I found the psychology of Jane baffling at first: surely she'd either return the money, or keep it and avoid Sadie like the plague. But her behaviour does make sense in the end:
SpoilerShow
The supposed moral quandary provides a pretext for pursuing a friendship she can't at first admit she wants, whereas returning the money would no doubt terminate their budding relationship, so she adopts the weird compromise of trying to ascertain whether (by her own lights) she really owes the money back, and ultimately does return the money in an oblique way.

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domino harvey
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Re: Sean Baker

#37 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:39 pm

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Yes, the implication is that she had a daughter, which explains her hesitance and then investment in befriending Dree Hemingway

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bottled spider
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Re: Sean Baker

#38 Post by bottled spider » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:54 am

Thanks! I thought so. The thing that made me a little unsure was
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Jane first stares at Frank's headstone for a while, as if both headstones were revealing something unexpected.
ADDENDUM: the final scene of Starlet is available on Youtube. Duh. I must have been really out of it before, because looking at it again, the information could not be presented more clearly!!

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mfunk9786
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Re: Sean Baker

#39 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:28 pm

Westgate Gallery is selling a limited edition Starlet poster [note: the website is somewhat NSFW]

Image

It is also priced as appropriately as possible.

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