Matt writes: On April 28th, the movie world lost a true giant: filmmaker John Singleton, whose 1991 masterpiece, "Boyz N the Hood," remains one of the most astonishing feature debuts in cinema history. Roger Ebert awarded the picture four stars, writing that it was one of "the best American films of recent years." Roger's thoughts regarding the entirety of Singleton's career were detailed in a special compilation by Nick Allen, while Odie Henderson penned a deeply moving obituary for the trailblazing auteur. I was among the writers at RogerEbert.com who paid tribute to Singleton in a separate article, "Breaking Barriers."
Oh my. Here we go again with all the deathiness. Movie criticism keeps dying deader and deader. Film itself has keeled over and given up the ghost. Cinema ist kaput, and at the end of last month "movie culture" was pronounced almost as deceased as John Cleese's parrot. Ex-parrot, I mean. Then the movie "Looper" came out, posing questions like: "What if you could go back in time? Would you kill cinema?" Or something like that.
People, this dying has gotta stop.
Bruce Eaton, in his 331/3 book on Big Star's "Radio City" (2009):
Beyond talent, there's the often dismissed importance of experience -- in music and life. Does an artist have something interesting to say and the ability to say it in a unique and interesting way? The answer is usually "not really." One of the chief reasons that rock and roll from the 1960s and early 1970s still looms large is that its creators had deep reserves of experience to draw upon when the time finally came to go to the well in the recording studio. Take The Beatles or The Stones, Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen. Each knew hundreds upon hundreds of cover tunes -- a disparaged concept today but vital to learning how music works -- and had played endless gigs trying to sell them to indifferent, if not downright hostile, audience. That experience takes patience but it eventually can get you to a point where you can write songs of your own that become a meaningful and permanent part of other peoples' lives.