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OBLITERATE THE NEW HIPSTER WITH LOVE by Noah Buschel

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville Nine that day;
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
— Ernest Thayer

I had a nightmare the other night. I was making a hipster movie. I had met the producers through some Mumblecore connection at an American Apparel in Mexico. Purple Magazine was investing in the film. Terry Richardson was there, he was the still photographer. Someone from the cast had just died of a heroin overdose, but no one seemed too alarmed or surprised. 12-year-old girls ran around in pink pubic hair rabbit outfits to Elliott Smith songs. 12-year-old skater boys with nothing on but Adidas underwear frowned in the sun. A producer in a bow tie asked me gingerly to pick up a shovel.

The word hipster first came along in the ‘40s. It was coined around the jazz age. Some say it came from the West African word “hipi,” which means to open one’s eyes. Kerouac described hipsters as “rising and roaming America, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere as characters of a special spirituality.”

Kerouac changed writing. A true iconoclast, publishers rejected On the Road because of its experimental new style. The plain speak manner of Kerouac’s prose, as well as his long-form free verse and spontaneous mind connection flow didn’t sit well with the old guard. His sympathetic tone towards gays and drug addicts didn’t help either.

The other king of the hipsters, Charlie Parker, broke through, changed music forever. With Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, he created bebop. No one had ever heard anything like it. Fast tempos, virtuoso technique, improv based on harmonic structure. Parker was a true intellectual. Mainstream America dismissed him as a junkie, if they even knew of him at all. Parker was pretty obscure in his own country all his life. But he never made concessions. Even when he played with strings, he did it in his own inimitable way.

By now it’s well documented how the hipsters lead to the hippies. And the hippies burnt out. And Abba took over.

Then for some reason the word hipster was revived in the ‘90s and 2000s. About the only thing today’s hipsters got from Kerouac are the plaid shirts. The spirituality? The curiosity? No. In fact, hipsters today are scared shitless of spirituality. They’re mostly cerebral nihilists filled with pointless ping-pong stats and ‘80s sitcom facts and European nicotine and cocaine and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It’s like a cigar smoked talk show where the guest is always the ghost of John Ritter. Mainly the new hipster’s job is to show up at a party while at the same exact time letting everyone know they don’t care about the party at all. It makes me kinda exhausted just writing about it. But write on I will—don’t you worry.

What the ‘40s hipster artist did is the exact opposite of what hipster artists do now. Where today it’s all about hiding behind irony, sarcasm, huge dry eyeglasses, and sodden unfriendliness (or fake overly friendliness if you have something they want)—the original hipster artists were all about being as vulnerable and creative and candid as possible. Exploring the tiny sadnesses of life. Also the times when everything is Winnipeg maple, cheerful, quivering, one.

Maybe it has something to do with war. Norman Mailer wrote of the original hipsters as existentialists living a life surrounded by death, annihilated by atomic war and strangled by social conformity. In natural reaction, they would “divorce oneself from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self.” Nowadays we have more war than ever—but we see it on YouTube. We see the 19-year-old’s hands get blown off in a sea of numbing advertisements and commercials (some by Ryan McGinley). The war images don’t mean anything. It’s just more noise. It’s just another video game. And so we get tired. And we get hardened. And we stop believing in our own goodness. And we know the government is fucked. And we know the news is not the real news anyways. Was that a real soldier or is Michael Bay directing Teabagger propaganda clips? We are paranoid, fried. Unfathomable genocide and nuclear radiation has us watching reality T.V. and making fun of drug addict child stars. We are tough. On ourselves. On each other. And the only answer at the end of the day is to go for somewhat tangible things. Coolness. Fame. Money. Sex. Status. But it’s lonely as hell. And love gets the short end of the stick. Love gets forgotten. And the longer it gets forgotten, the harder it gets to bring it back.

What gives? No one seems to want to be unpopular anymore. Not even for a little while. That used to be badge of honor. Paying your dues. It was understood that if someone like A.O. Scott got it right off the bat, it probably wasn’t very new. It’s probably just a Tom McCarthy movie if A.O. digs it. And that’s all good—those Tom McCarthy movies are solid, shiny things. But hipsters fancy themselves rebels—not middle of the road yuppies. And yet, for all the Robert Downey Sr. posters and Sam Fuller books, most of today’s hipsters are a lot closer to McCarthy than Nick Ray. McCarthy’s movies feel like they’re made by the Sundance Film Festival itself. They’re not offensive. They’re very politically correct. The timing is pretty much the same as studio films, maybe just a little quieter. And the stories are not too different than studio films, if on a smaller scale. And they have that neat, bright look that A.O. Scott loves so much. I’m convinced now that if one makes a film where the males are somewhat well groomed, A.O. Scott will just about hail it as a masterpiece. McCarthy’s latest, Win Win? A.O. Scott must have felt much at ease in that theater with those gentlemen. Yes. He must have felt much at ease indeed. Perhaps he even ate his own roasted nuts.

A.O. Scott has that NYTimes podcast where he shows older movies he loves. One time he had Two-Lane Blacktop on there. I had to wonder, if Scott had been a critic when Two-Lane Blacktop came out, would he really have gotten it? I mean like, there are dirty mustaches in that movie. No, I have trouble buying Scott would’ve dug that one. He needs tidy movies. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and Ramin Bahrani are the perfect directors for Scott, because he can go to the Dominican Republic or a down and out motel and still feel a certain familiar yuppie sheen cast over the proceedings. These too I find to be new hipster films. There’s a chill in the air, even when they’re emotional. Something metallic and robotic going on. A preconceived awareness—an inorganic vision. The hand-held camera, hand-held just so. Impersonal. The choices of topics—are they truly of interest to the filmmakers or just what the filmmakers feel like they should be interested in? And all so contained. Someone please smash these films open now.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, we find the younger hipsters regurgitating Woody Allen, Godard, and Cassavetes. It’s like a race to see who can get their shit into a Criterion Collection Boxed Set Collection first. But the Criterion Collection only has great taste with 50 years of perspective. They wouldn’t have figured out Ozu if he was around now. Not even close. Criterion is key in regards to the deadening hipster movement that is killing American films these days. Because today’s hipster fetishizes everything. They take heartfelt films, like The 400 Blows, and turn them into this weird package of inauthentic, thick, shallow, sexy, dark blaaaaggggghhhh. You can see the drooling Essex Street white boys and girls surrounding Antoine Doinel and twisting him until he no longer threatens them. Until his purity and beauty is transformed into the same venal nothingness that they feel inside. They turn hearts into winks. They defang love. They melt and hammer art into consumer lunch boxes with no peanut butter and jelly—just hollow nothin’. They think they’re cooler than mainstream America, but they’re just the flip side of the same Fast and Furious coin. It’s not a real counter-culture. There’s no original intent or purpose. They’re not fighting anything. They put the Nic Cage blockbuster The Rock out on Criterion. Why? Because they’re just so fucking cool. True mavericks like Gary Snyder and Phil Whalen and Don Cherry have been replaced by little bitchy passive aggressive children who cum on their canvases and have absolutely no idea who they are. They go to college, they get out of college, they make movies about college, then they make movies about leaving college, then they make movies about street people doing drugs, then they hang out with Vincent Gallo and Michael Stipe, and then they direct Ant-Man for Marvel.

I’d like to get away from all this for a while and then come back to it and begin over. Please don’t misunderstand me and half gimme what I wish and take me away not to come back. America’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. But I do miss people, in all their untidiness and uniqueness and incongruity and glory. I’m tired of computer robot people. And most of all I’m tired of having the same congealed  slickness pounded down my eyeballs from an “indie film” that I get from an action movie. There’s no life, no mess, no mistakes, no affection (imitations of A Woman Under The Influence don’t count). And at the end of the day, ain’t that what makes us great? The blunders, cracks, imperfections and oddities? No matter how many people try to run away from it and try to not feel nothing and to embody perfect insincerity—there’s only one truly fresh and honest piece of art. And that’s just something that comes straight from the spirit. Williamsburg vampire squad be damned.

I believe A.O. Scott could be as good as Pauline Kael if he went and spent some time with the old man in the woods. There’s brilliance in A.O. yet. I believe today’s hipsters have a shitload of talent and could do things no one else has ever done—if they just let down their board game guards for a minute. Hell, maybe even The Criterion Collection can lose a little luster and get kinda simple and modest. There is that hope which springs eternal in the human breast. Sleeping with the windows open. Sleeping by the river. Wildness that can absorb all dull shrillness and help take off the steel of skeleton costumes.

Anyways… What was it ol’ Ginsberg said?

do the work —
And what’s the Work?
To ease the pain of living.
Everything else, drunken
dumbshow.

— Noah Buschel

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Born in Philadelphia in 1978, Noah Buschel grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village. After spending some time as a contributing editor for Tricycle Magazine, he made his feature film debut with Bringing Rain, starring Adrian Grenier and Paz de la Huerta. Bringing Rain was produced by Belladonna Productions, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003, and was released by Plexifilm. His second feature, Neal Cassady, was produced by Jean Doumanian Productions. It starred Tate Donovan and Amy Ryan, and was released by IFC Films in 2008. His third film, The Missing Person, starred Michael Shannon and premiered at Sundance. Buschel was nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director and the film was on IFC.Com's 2009 Ten Best List. His upcoming film is Mu, starring Jena Malone, based on Maura O'Halloran's Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint.

Comments
  • Monica Sonica

    Thank God for Noah Buschel. Someone has to say this shit.

    March 24, 2011
  • Zac

    I love this Noah. Don’t call me a Christian but do call me someone who knows where love derives from: “Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Ambivalence for this world will destroy you. Loving this world so much you’d die for it will save you.

    March 24, 2011
  • Wow. Sorry, Williamsburg: you just got PWNED!

    March 24, 2011
  • N.

    Interesting piece, but isn’t it rather biased to pit Kerouac and Snyder against the shallowest elements of New York/LA hipster culture today? There were plenty of soulless imitators in the 1950s, just as there might be a few genuine artists today.

    Also, since when is the Criterion Collection some kind of American Apparel store for film enthusiasts? Apart from Godard and a few other directors, I don’t see much overlap between the two cultural demographics.

    March 25, 2011
  • yawn

    only hipsters hate hipsters

    March 25, 2011
  • Hanappjuice

    that’s a dumb comment. noah buschel’s film the missing person is about as faraway from joe swanberg as you can get.

    March 25, 2011
  • Gertrudesteinberg

    N.
    I don’t think Buschel was pitting Snyder against the shallowest elements of the hipster culture. Vincent Gallo, Ryan McGinley, and Terry Richardson are pretty much the best the new hipster movement has got. The talent is there, as Buschel says. What’s not there is compassion. Also he wasn’t saying Criterion Collection puts outs out bad films but rather that they fetishize the films and therefor change them.

    March 25, 2011
  • leaper

    At any rate, yawn(good name for you), Buschel wasn’t saying he hated anyone. Try reading the article.

    March 25, 2011
  • LFR

    Today’s “hipsters” are poseurs compared to the true 40s hipsters, who in turn were drips compared to the Lost Generation, who were nothing compared to Byron and his circle. Blah blah blah. The Beats are sacred simply because they are the earliest group in living memory.

    Jesus, who cares. I’m friggin’ 40. From my perspective, “hipster” – of any generation – is all bullshit anyway. I’ve seen various waves of bohemians/hipsters/countercultural types come and go. It’s always the same collision of bored heirs, lumpen petty criminals, and middle class art students. It’s been that way for two centuries and counting. A lucky few from each of these waves sell out and cash in and the rest are forgotten, and eventually even most of the sellouts are forgotten. A handful become inducted into the stodgy cultural canon.

    March 25, 2011
  • DarkstaR

    I’m 45 years old. The Beats were not drips compared to The Lost Generation, buddy. Hipster is all bullshit anyways? But at one point it wasn’t. At one point the hipsters nearly changed this country forever. Bob Dylan came out of The Beats. No Beats– No Beatles. 1967 is closes we ever got to this country being great.

    March 25, 2011
  • fisherrr

    Great article. Thank you.

    March 25, 2011
  • Beth

    The Beats were a big part of bringing Buddhism to America. And mind expansion. The Beboppers were a big part of bringing abstract subconcious art to the world. They really cannot be underestimated. Without them the world would be a lot worse off.
    The New Hipsters, as Buschel calls them, are not going to leave anything behind but bad melted bubble gum paintings, Andy Warhol knock-offs, and pop pop pop masturbatory style. It is a shame.

    March 25, 2011
  • N.

    All I have to say is let a few decades pass; proclaiming the current generation to be a sort of cultural nadir is very shortsighted. Kerouac was writing for years before On The Road was even published.

    As for the Criterion Collection; even if the majority of people thoroughly misunderstand Truffaut and Ozu, it’ll be entirely worth it for the handful of people who treat them as more than just a commodity and make something relevant and genuine in response. By all means, make them more well known, even if it’s through attractive box art.

    March 25, 2011
  • LP

    I generally love your ideas Noah. I think I read your Sophia Copolla article ten times and quoted bits and pieces to all my friends. However, there is a collective “all hipster suck” mentality in this article that makes it hard to absorb the real argument and not just want to dismiss it. As a 25 year old native Brooklynite that feels like I have experienced the rebirth of hipster, I see and understand the many reasons to nasay and hate the culture. Then again I know a lot of imperfect, honest, incongruous folk who are creating work that I want to be a part of and experience, and I think you may have nonchalantly grouped all of them together.

    March 26, 2011
  • Noah Buschel

    I’m sure you’re right, LP. I get carried away sometimes. This article is kinda muddled and cranky. Not very clear. Was in cranky mood. Write me some artists to check out?

    March 26, 2011
  • Teamtazdojo

    I mean, I think the problem lies in letting others curate your tastes for you. Whether that be Criterion or A.O. Scott, Pauline Kael or Roger Ebert for that matter, it’s short-sighted and irrelevant to actual quality at the end of the day. The hipster section of this article is boring and I don’t think even really means anything when you get down to brass tacks. Who cares about any one group of people and what they care about and like?

    I read reviews, and often, but generally after I’ve seen a given movie. I don’t let those reviews change my opinions, but rather look to them to illuminate things I may have missed upon first viewing or something of that nature. I don’t know how others operate, but once I allowed myself to be free of what others thought was quality, I’m wide open to take in and interpret everything that is released into the world. I can watch The Godfather with an open mind and call it boring, that’s my perogative. Just as it is to say 12 Angry Men is one of the greatest movies ever made. And also to include 12 Angry Men alongside Tootsie, All the Presidents Men, Mrs. Doubtfire, Teen Wolf, Some Kind of Wonderful, Field of Dreams and yes, The Station Agent, in my list of favorite movies of all time. When you focus on some arbitrary definition of what makes art good, you lose perspective. When you allow others to dictate what movies you choose to spend your time watching, you lose legitimacy as a purveyor of art.

    I like mainstream movies. I grew up with them, I’ve continued to follow them my whole life. I dabbled in the classics, took a dip in the indy pool and fiddled with foreign flicks. And I came back home. I appreciate a story, well told. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to make a good mumblecore movie. It is, The Puffy Chair for instance is incredibly watchable. But for that one movie, there are dozens of others that I couldn’t even finish. And yes, in today’s corporatized world of sequels, reboots and remakes, it’s tough to separate the wheat from the chaff of mainstream Hollywood. But I always try to give it a shot. There’s always gems underneath the surface. Even something as seemingly fluffy as The Time Travelers Wife delivers the goods more than one would think going in. To me it was the most interesting deconstruction of the principles of time travel since Primer (a somewhat flawed, but very watchable movie in itself).

    But to call out Tom McCarthy’s movies as being tidy misses the point completely. To me, he’s the most interesting filmmaker working today. He takes small stories, structures them like mainstream movies and turns the volume way down. They’re not slow and plodding like a lot of serious, heart-on-their-sleeve indy dramas. They have heart and comedy, and it’s all character driven. Watch The Station Agent again. There aren’t any “JOKES” in the movie. But it’s a hilarious movie. And it’s interesting and moving and more importantly, moves along without wasting time. It accomplishes more in its tiny little world than a million gritty indy movies. Tom McCarthy has cracked the code in my eyes and every other indy filmmaker is struggling to catch up. Now he’s moving into more studio fare and I welcome it. His movies have always been accessible but not pandering so it’s an easy fit. Keep in mind the fact that he had a story credit on Pixar’s Up and that they pretty much based the movie on The Station Agent, tonally speaking. That’s gotta mean something if the most consistent storytellers in the world are following his lead.

    The bottom line is this. Being clear, concise and universally understood by the world is not an indicator that you’ve sold out, gone mainstream, are pandering to the audience or looking for easy solutions. It just means that you’re good at your job. Art is very subjective obviously. But to me, I’d much rather watch something that lets me walk away smiling than to be walking away confused. I think therein lies the rub. So many filmmakers fall back on easy distractions to draw your attention away from the fact that what they’re making isn’t that interesting. Whether that’s fractured narrative, fast cuts, purposefully confusing stories, they’re still crutches. I think what I appreciate about Tom McCarthy and any other filmmaker still doing good work these days is that they generally rely on the story and the characters and don’t let things get too muddled. They keep clarity as a virtue. Just because a movie starts with a messy, sweaty, realistic sex scene doesn’t make the movie interesting. It doesn’t make the choice bold. It doesn’t make the actors brave. It doesn’t make the movie good at all. You still have to do the work. And the fact of the matter is that being disliked by general audiences or mainstream critics being seen as a badge of honor is disgusting. Because then you’re just masturbating for the whole world to see. If you want to do that, you may as well just lock yourself in your room with someone who would appreciate what you’re doing: You.

    March 29, 2011
  • Lots of false dichotomies, here. Even to *observe* the prodigies of “blunders, cracks, imperfections and oddities,” you’d have to lose those pat categories on which you’re leaning. And the campaign against Brooklyn hipsters is inside baseball (these people have been savaged constantly in blogs for a good few years, now; and too often by people who seem a bit too fluent in hipster affectations/fashions/mores): by roping them into aesthetics, you’re only aggrandizing them. To quite a lot of us in different places, and of different ages & ethnicities, these people are but one species among many…

    With regard to aesthetics, and the proto-hipsters like Bird & Kerouac: their brand of innovation didn’t ever disappear, didn’t cede to ABBA (the cultural decline implied there reads like a fallacy out of Tom Wolfe). Experimental prose and music as such are widely available via major publishers/labels/retail outlets; and, besides, what was “experimental” in the staid ’50s has now long been folded into “mainstream” art, film included. This phenomenon is now a good *forty* years old.

    Re Criterion – no, the company/imprint is not “key in regards to the deadening hipster movement that is killing American films these days”: they’re no more guilty of “killing” film than, say, any well-curated/-programmed museum or festival. Books and recorded music have been curated/packaged in sets long before the advent of home video – so would you say that collectable volumes killed literature? Just one good example out of so many: Criterion published Steve McQueen’s Hunger–a paradigm of the mess and passion of experience…

    I agree completely with what you said about AO Scott, McCarthy & Two-Lane Blacktop–though I don’t believe that there’s any potential brilliance in Scott whatsoever. (And I’m not over-the-moon about Kael, either.)

    March 29, 2011
  • Jserdarevic

    Dear Noah,
    The way you jump around from one incoherent reference to the next makes you sound as vapid and shallow and highly inarticulate as the very hipsters you criticize in your piece. Please take the time to write something sound and then rewrite it and rewrite it til you get it right. I feel like you have something to say but you’re in way too much of a hurry to get it out. This reads like a diary entry written in the heat of inspiration – but upon revisiting two days later looks like utter nonsense. I agree with a lot of your statements about this new generation of hipster poseurs but half the time you’re just not making any sense. And you are way, way too hard on the Criterion Collection gang. They’re putting out a lot of stuff that would otherwise be rotting away in a studio vault somewhere. Yeah, it’s ok to hate the pretentious types whose claim to cool is to reference “cool” things, like Criterion, but to actually lambast the company for putting out pleasantly packaged DVD’s? Come on…

    March 29, 2011
  • Dave

    The odd part is that this rant really does epitomize the modern definition of ‘hipster’. Let’s analyze…

    Hipsters typically:

    –Attempt to convince people that they know more about art than you do:

    Dropping quotes by Thayer and Kerouac, spurting off Wikipedia inspired Jazz facts, comments regarding “Two-Lane Black Top” and “The 400 Blows”

    –Hate popular things, or, more fitting, hate how popular things are perceived:

    Criterion Collection, films of Allen, Godard, Ozu, and Cassavetes, “Robert Downey Sr. posters and Sam Fuller books”, and apparently the film criticisms of A.O. Scott

    –Tell people that what they like is dumb or without artistic merit (indirectly):

    Tom McCarthy films, “Fast and Furious”, “The Rock”

    –Insults “popular” artists (indirectly):

    “Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and Ramin Bahrani…Vincent Gallo and Michael Stipe”

    –Name drops “better” artists:

    “True mavericks like Gary Snyder and Phil Whalen and Don Cherry…”

    –Pretentiously close arguments with a poem:

    Ginsberg was a hell of a choice…

    Now come on, you can express your distaste for an entire group of people all you want, hell, I’d even join in most of the time, but this article seems to unjustly meander into a filmmaker rallying against a critic and an unwarranted attack on film distribution choices by Criterion Collection. Quite frankly for a filmmaker to pose these sorts of arguments seems petty and presents a lack of professionalism. Who cares if Criterion released The Rock (more than ten years ago, mind you), at least that’s the most watchable piece of Michael Bay drivel. Who cares if A.O. Scott likes Ramin Bahrani, good or bad, everyone’s allowed their own taste. You and I may not like it, but that’s the beauty of the world, and just because a group of hack artists happen to like Godard, or Hellman, or Cassavetes doesn’t mean I have to stop liking them!

    Don’t get this comment wrong, I do agree with aspects of this unfocused rant. Where I live, I just get filtered wannabe versions of this idiot subculture seeping into my neck of the woods, but I just have to live with it until the fad dies. It all comes back to people wanting to belong to something, which merely accentuates the feeling that the world is one giant high school, but that’s a whole discussion of its own…

    And for the record, I love my Criterion Collection released Stan Brakhage Box Set and I hate Pabst Blue Ribbon…

    March 29, 2011
  • Tully

    Not to defend Noah, but when you’re a filmmaker who repeatedly smashes up against a system that can determine your getting a film made by casting a “cool” kid and not necessarily the best actor for the job, it can be frustrating and maddening and it is what most likely leads to a piece like this. As an editor, I could have suggested/nudged this essay into a tauter, more focused box, but when it comes to Noah Buschel, I prefer to let things stay messier than neater. I rarely encounter writing with such genuine passion and BURN anymore, particularly with regards to cinema (bitter critics or stunted non-filmmakers don’t count), so I think these essays are actually quite vital. Keep them coming, Noah!

    March 30, 2011
  • Baines Hold Em

    Let’s analyze your post, Dave.

    1) I don’t think Buchel was trying to convince anyone he knew more about art than they did. He simply stating his opinion. It’s a conversation starter. He did his job.

    2)Thayer and Kerouac have nothing to do with the new hipsters. That’s the whole point, swifty. Nor does The 400 Blows. You really read the article or what?

    3)New hipsters don’t hate popoular things. They embrace all pop culture, if ironically.

    4)I don’t think he’s saying what people like is dumb besides exploitation of kids by Purple Magazine, Terry Richardson and the like. So if you’re into child porn I can see how you might be offended, Dave.

    5)No one can criticize popoular artists? That’s just stupid, sir. This is America.

    6)Name dropping is when someone justs ticks in names for no reason. Buschel is mentioning names to make a point. Please. Are you this obtuse?

    7)Poetry is not pretentious and Ginsberg is great choice because it is all about the Dharma Bums vs. the Aurel Schmidts and Dan Colens.

    Why is a filmmaker not allowed to talk about A.O. Scott in negative way. He is probably the most important filmmaker in the country, so he holds lot of weight . And as far as Criterion, Buschel was simply saying that he thinks the way they package their films takes away from their films. And that they suffer from “new hipsterdom” as Buschel would say. They love anything by Wes ANderson and are anal retentive. How a movie goes into the marketplace. Is very important. I think Cassavetes would have barfed if he saw the clean Williamsburg boxes of his work from Criterion.

    Lastly, it was a rant by Noah Buschel. But he’s really talented. Sometimes a rant is good for everyone, especially from the mind of a talent like Buschel. Have you seen The Missing Person? This guy is an original. An iconoclast. True.

    March 30, 2011
  • Ralghulain

    First of all, what’s wrong with a rant? Who are you to say Buschel can’t just write something real quick(Kerouac style) and then publish it? And you all seem to miss the point about Criterion. Yes, they put out great old films. But they are fetish kings. They are feeding an audience of fetishists. AKA “The New Hipsters.” How a movie comes out is important. And Criterion, for all the good work they do, should lose the fetish aspect and get out of the way of those great films.

    March 30, 2011
  • Ladyace

    If you love Tom McCarthy’s films then I don’t think you’re going to get what Buschel is saying.
    Also, interesting note: Buschel is an ordained Zen priest who lived in Japan for eight years at a monastery. So when he talks about Kerouac and Ginsberg and spirituality it is not some distant concept for him. He actually practices Zen. And I can see how coming from such a background, The New Hipsters seem particularly lost to Buschel. I happen to think The Missing Person was one of the gutsiest movies in last decade. I also think a lot of the negative comments here read like Fox News people. Like, they totally missed the point. Buschel is pretty subtle and perceptive.

    March 30, 2011
  • Darlingtonvalentines

    All these comments about Buschel just make me think all the more of him. As he said in piece, when you have something new to say and go against the grain, people will not get it.

    March 30, 2011
  • winsomecurmudgeon

    Teamtazdozo>>>>>

    Noah Buschel is saying that mainstream America is stupid. It is. He is also saying that what is supposedly the underground or counterculture have the same values as mainstream America. Get it?

    Being disliked by mainstream critics will always be a right of passage for truly original artists. That is just the way it is and has always been. Every once in a while there is an exception like Bob Dylan. But as Buschel aslo states in this pece, those were very different times. If everyone was on LSD now, I think most of the artists you probably love would be made irrelevant. Tom Mccarthy and has Doris Day films would certainly be made irrelevant.

    You have a low I.Q. and do not like to be confused and Buschel confused you so you are mad. But that is your problem. I am not saying that this is a great essay. Buschel has written great essays, but this is not one of them. It is a dicombobulated rant. Still his talent is pretty immense. And I think he notices things that most people do not. Like that Criterion Collection specialize in turning classic and obscure films into fetish porn for hipsters. BRILLIANT!

    March 31, 2011
  • peterosey

    Buschel may have been ordained and spent time at a Zen Monastery, but I have heard that he and the actress Merritt Wever had such a difficult divorce they both spent time in a mental ward. So that might explain why he is brilliant but also a little off and all over the place

    March 31, 2011
  • Dave

    Oooh, somebody’s a little touchy and clearly missed the point of my post. But apparently I’m not a well versed hipster connoisseur such as yourself, I do apologize. Calm yourself, Champ.

    Where to start…

    1 & 2: For this particular discussion, the similarities were drawn more as a comparison of ‘technique’ as opposed to ‘content’. So clearly you missed the entire point of my post. Maybe it was my fault for not spelling it out, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

    3: Maybe ‘popular’ wasn’t a proper word choice, ‘conventional’ or ‘mainstream’ may have translated more properly. Yes they do pursue popular, but it must contain that bit of irony that makes it “cool” because it’s outside the norm or its ‘different’.

    4: See number 1 & 2, Don’t put words in mouth, it’s very off-putting, and oddly enough I care not for child porn. If you felt my post stemmed from me being offended, you certainly missed the post. Mellow am I…
    Also, as an added bonus, here’s a logic lessen for you:

    According to the aforementioned rant:
    “dumb” = opinion of A.O. Scott; A.O. Scott likes Tom McCarthy and Ramin Bahrani (allegedly) ; therefore TMCarthy & RBahrani = “dumb”; TMCarthy & RBahrani = “popular”; therefore we must conclude that “popular” = “dumb”

    5: Great argument technique utilized by yourself: throw in a baffling remark twisting my word, which makes me sound like a hate mongering, anti-first amendment rallying, redneck yokel to take credibility away from my point of view. That’s some lawyer shit right there. I won’t even humor that with a further response. Aaaahhh, ignorance…

    6: “Obtuse”, oh, yet again with trying to weaken my argument with insults. Come on Baines, show a bit of class. Now, lets take a look at the reference in question:

    “True mavericks like Gary Snyder and Phil Whalen and Don Cherry have been replaced by little bitchy passive aggressive children…”

    same quote, minus the use of “namedropping”:

    “True mavericks have been replaced by little bitchy passive aggressive children”

    the point translates all the same, therefore, this example fits well within the jurisdiction of the “namedropping” label…

    7: Poetry is not pretentious, no, but the comment is about the manor in which the poetry is used which DOES give off a pretentious air. Also, believe it or not, no brief overview about the origins of poetry needed, thank you very much. I’m not the ignorant moron you attempted to make me out to be.

    ————–
    End of Part 1
    ————–
    Beginning of Part 2
    ————–

    In regards to Mr. Scott:

    A filmmaker (Any filmmaker) rallying against a film critic (Any critic) is unflattering in any light due to the nature of the work. (Do I really have to spell this out?) It lingers just outside the realm of conflict of interest. Yes everyone’s entitled to opinion, that was never the argument, but for one to be in such a position as Mr. Buschel, one has a more subjective view on the matter which can alter the motives of the comments. I never said Mr. Buschel’s not allowed to not negatively talk about A.O. Scott, it just comes off as petty and classless when he does. Along the lines of, oh I don’t know, the whole Vincent Gallo/Roger Ebert incident from a few years back. It’s just a sort of unwritten understanding due to the less than flattering nature of a critic’s job…

    —–

    “Most important filmmaker in the country”, a little overkill maybe? There’s a lot of filmmakers out there, to label ‘one’ the most ‘anything’ is a little redundant. I’d accept a “good” or even a “great”, but “most important” is dead in the water since your opinion holds zero bearing to me.

    “he’s really talented” I know a lot of talented people, I’m acquainted with many talented people, that doesn’t mean I cling to every word they utter. All artists are self centered, it’s in our nature, and we always think we’re right. But the important thing to remember is the artist is the artist, the work is the work. By disagreeing with an opinion on a certain matter in no way affects the way I view a work.

    “How a movie goes into the marketplace. Is very important.” – True, so would you like for Cassavetes films to be mass produced and dumped into the $5 dollar bin at your local Wal-Mart? Is that really more fitting?

    “I think Cassavetes would have barfed if he saw”…and please, please don’t ‘think’ for John Cassavetes. I know the two of you went way back and were very close, but I’d prefer for you to not transplant your views to his memory.

    In closing, yes everyone needs to rant, but if it’s gonna be done, do it in a focused manner and keep a bit of dignity. To be honest “Obliterating…” came off more as the stammering of well versed teenager (your comment not far behind either). Not an insult to the writer, but an insult to the piece itself…

    Well, it’s been fun. Good debate there Baines, I bid you good morrow and to you as well Mr. Buschel…

    March 31, 2011
  • Baines hold em

    Just looked it up and Buschel was never reviewed by A.O. Scott. So it’s hardly Ebert Gallo situation.

    March 31, 2011
  • Teamtazdojo

    Yeah, I understood those points. But I find them real fucking weak. Anyone that CRAVES being disliked by the mainstream or the critical establishment is a douchebag. Again, if you want to make shit that nobody will understand or like, go right ahead. But don’t go through the paces to attain distribution, market your movie, cast name actors, give interviews, and subsequently write this rambling essay basically saying that you being unpopular means that you’re more interesting than the Tom McCarthy’s of the world, all the while pretty much bitching that you’re a misunderstood artist. It’s emo 12 year old girl thinking and it’s retarded. Anyone who can’t see through it’s dime store philosophical fallacy is a moron.

    If everyone was on LSD now? Dude, you’re fucking boring. What the FUCK does any of that have to do with anything? I’m simply discussing that making a good movie that people like isn’t some sort of holy sin. Say what you will about Spielberg but just because he’s the most successful commercial director of all time doesn’t mean he has any less to say or is any less important than Noah Buschel or Wes Anderson. In fact, I think he matters more simply for the fact that what he puts out there means a lot more to a lot more people. I don’t want to debate artistic success vs. commercial success or any of that nonsense because it doesn’t fucking matter at all.

    This article really does point out what’s wrong about movies these days. Its author. The douchey hipster that whines and tries to make arbitrary points about something that is irrelevant to what he’s trying to say and wraps it up in a neat little package. Criterion isn’t the issue any more than the AFI 100 or AMC. Yes, fetishizing what some collective considers to be the great films of the world is stupid. I’m not disagreeing with that. But that’s why anyone that would do such a thing is a tool, and also makes anyone who cares what people think of such a collection a tool as well. Who CARES what critics or some company consider the greatest movies of all time? Am I going to waste my fucking life trying to watch all 500 Criterion movies? No way. Am I going to watch whatever I want and try to find like-minded REAL WORLD FRIENDS that will give me suggestions of things to watch that they think I would like? Absolutely. And that’s the only thing that matters here. His argument is moot because he purports that the people who care about Criterion are stupid while at the same time legitimizing their collection as something worth aspiring to, making himself sound stupid.

    March 31, 2011
  • Teamtazdojo

    Cool response, dude. You’re so smart and with it and cool and new age and hip. I really wish I could be like you and Noah. Truly. How the fuck does liking one particular filmmaker exclude me from understanding what he’s talking about? Also you didn’t really point out where I was wrong, just simply stated that I was wrong. Are you a fucking third grader? If you’re going to engage in a conversation at least have the balls to go all in.

    But instead you pulled the pussy move of just saying I was wrong and then arbitrarily mentioning that he’s a Zen priest. Who gives a fuck? If anything that makes him way less interesting to me. Oh wow, he lived in Japan for 8 years. Big fucking deal, that doesn’t make him smart. It gives him zero more legitimacy. I thought he was a tool before I think he’s a douchey wimpy tool now.

    And just droping Fox News or Tea Party doesn’t mean anything. All of the fucks in the world just like you try to pull that shit out but it doesn’t mean anything and it never will. You’re not a free thinker and can’t perceive the world for what it actually is. Maintaining a healthy level of skepticism is what makes the world work correctly. Not just reading some lame piece of philosophy (spiritual or filmic) and attaching onto that like a leech. Think for yourself you fucking retard.

    March 31, 2011
  • candyelement

    I don’t think Noah Buschel was saying that it’s a goal to be unpopular. He was saying it’s a goal to be original and that these days most supposed counter culture independent artists or not being original. It’s hard to argue with that. I don’t know why you are so angry. And calling Buschel, douchey wimp tool? What are you doing? Who’s the third grader again?

    I will tell you where you were wrong, or at least missing the point. There was a time in this country when the hipsters and underground artists were really challenging the mainstream. With Kerouac, Brando, Ginsberg, Bird, Dizzy, and Dylan things the world would be a lot worse off. But those artists all faced boos and ridicule in order to challenge the mainstream. Speilberg is great, but his influence is not really. Without Speilberg there would be no Michael Bay or JJ Abrams and people wouldnt just be obsessed with the box office. Has he made great films? Sure. But he’s also made films more about money. So it’s mixed bag with him I think. Calling people pussys and tools doesn’t help anything. Fox News and Tea Party don’t mean anything? Of course they do. They are the essence of the stupidity that mostly runs America right now.

    March 31, 2011
  • Lesleyrichards

    Its tricky. Yes, Criterion puts out great films. But they also dumb them down and sugar them up. I found a DVD of the Warren Beatty/Arthur Penn film Mickey One the other day. It was such a relief to not have to deal with all the Criterion Collection bullshit. It just came in simple box with original poster on front. Ah. Peace!

    You can call the piece by Noah Buschel a mess, it sort of is. But that maybe goes with what he is saying. Also he’s not a hipster for one very real reason: He is sincere. Maybe too sincere. He wears his heart on his sleeve. That is the opposite of hipsters. Amen. Keep going Noah Buschel!!!

    March 31, 2011
  • Samkelly

    Dave,
    You’re the one who is touch and strangely angry.

    March 31, 2011
  • Teamtazdojo

    Right, but what everyone seems to forget is that there ARE mainstream movies that are original and have interesting or important things to say. The movie business is about money, plain and simple. And I’m okay with that. I’d rather see a movie made by a top flight director with name talent that’s put together intelligently than some indy made by a nobody with people who can’t act and a story that is so obtuse that it makes no sense. Call me old fashioned but the people that are making these art “films” today aren’t even a tenth as talented as the purport themselves to be.

    And look, I’m aware that I diverge at a lot of points from a lot of different people with my opinions. But really, I’m just saying that there are no absolutes in this scenario. It’s just as incorrect to say that all indy movies are bad as it is to say that all mainstream Hollywood movies are bad. It’s all up to personal taste. I couldn’t give less than a fuck about the mumblecore scene or what Noah Buschnel is doing with his movies, just as I don’t care what superhero movies are coming out or what series they’re rebooting. It’s all the same shit to me. I want to be entertained and I’m open to be entertained by any and all. I think it’s you people who are closed-minded by shutting out what you classify so arrogantly as junk.

    And all the people that you listed are boring to me, just for the record. I don’t care about art, or talking about art, or having opinions about art. I’m about living in the moment and enjoying something for what it is. Hindsight is 20/20. The same fucks that are saying that Dylan was a visionary back then are the same as the people who will say that Bright Eyes was a visionary now in the future. Bob Dylan is still alive and well and released a Christmas album two years ago. So much for artistic integrity huh? I actually respect him more for doing something like that than being boring and badgering reporters in Don’t Look Back. At least it’s doing something and not just talking out of his ass.

    I’m acutely aware that things are worse now than they were 20 years ago regarding the quality of the movies being released. But what I mean by that is different than what just about everyone else means by that. I miss early Spielberg, Matthew Robbins, Joe Dante, John Landis, Robet Zemeckis, Ron Howard, and Steve Miner. I’m not pining for the days of some snobby artsy fartsy douchebag. I just want entertainment. That’s all movies are. If you’re in the art business, go write a fucking poem or paint a painting. And keep the fuck out of everyone’s hair. You assholes have lost the war, it’s over. Movies are a corporate business for better or worse.

    Also, bringing Fox News and the Tea Party into the conversation brings nothing to the discourse. It’s irrelevant and literally means nothing in the context of what we’re talking about. The right is just as wrong as the left. Play the ball down the middle and don’t just accept everything you’re being told and you’ll be much better off. End of story.

    March 31, 2011
  • Noah Buschel

    To the people saying I’m a new hipster– I am. I have Criterion Collection DVDs and smell and touch them. I like big sneakers and big eye glasses. Heroin chic sometimes is a turn-on too.

    I want to be like the original hipsters– The Beats and Beboppers. And part of me is. I wanna make art and not change it based on the crowd’s reaction. Not care if I’m well-liked or popular. I wanna just practice meditation and be humble and human. But sometimes I get scared and act cool. And I feel myself falling into new hipster stuff I don’t believe in just to get a film made or make my career easier. And the compromises add up. So mostly that messy essay was the new hipster and the original hipster battling it out. It takes one to know one. It takes one to know two.

    I’d apologize to all the people I pissed off with the piece, but that would just be me wanting to be liked. Truth is I wrote it in fifteen minutes and sent it in and that’s all.

    March 31, 2011
  • Ben

    That picture of the girl using the beer can to pee.
    1. do you know her?
    2. can I get her number.

    April 1, 2011
  • Thank you for this. This is healing and cathartic.

    April 2, 2011
  • TangerineDaydream

    Maybe Noah should do a little more living and less analysis of “hipster culture”. Then maybe he would make films that wouldn’t waste Michael Shannon or Amy Ryan the way “The Missing Person” did.

    April 2, 2011
  • Garyhartey

    The Missing Person was one of the best films of last five years, not to mention Shannon’s best performance(many agree with this.) Buschel is great, and I’m glad he pisses people off. He walks the walk and this article is dead-on. Who could argue that a company like Criterion, who auto distribute every Wes Anderson movie including Darjeeling isn’t an amazingly precious and silly hipster company. Precious precious precious. Why the fuck do they have Dan Clowes doing Sam Fuller covers?

    Also, who would argue that the original hipsters weren’t amazing and the hipsters now are dull and boring and making the same shit and not taking chances. Buschel didn’t even get into the art world. Let’s see… Dash Snow or Jackson Pollock?

    April 5, 2011
  • NEH

    Thank you. You have done something true.

    April 5, 2011
  • Javierbennas

    The Missing Person was ranked as one of the top ten films of the year by IFC. Buschel was nominated for a Gotham Award. All before turning 30 years old. So what the hell are you talking about Tangerine Face? Maybe you should live a little more, instead of posting ignorant and nasty comments. You’re the one spending all your time watching and reading Buschel’s work. Get a life and you’ll be less bitter and jealous.

    April 6, 2011
  • lindsay

    this is all fucking types of silly.

    April 18, 2011
  • James

    I don’t have much of an opinion on Buschel, but I’m totally intrigued by the fan who keeps posting about what a genius he is (under different names) in the comments for any article that he wrote or gets mentioned in. It’s really kind of odd, and makes me think that perhaps his mom, or girl/boyfriend, or little brother, or crazed ex-high school sweetheart is spending a little too much time being an obsessive gushing troll on the google machine.

    April 23, 2011
  • Omnitek

    Great fucking article!

    April 25, 2011
  • Francisbean

    I don’t know, James. Buschel does have some serious fans. I just saw The Missing Person, and while I did not love it, I get the appeal. He is making films that cannot be pigeonholed. And he clearly is not selling out. I am more interested to see his next film than, say, Lena Dunham’s. He is doing something interesting and polarizing.

    April 26, 2011
  • James

    Well, I think this is a good case in point. The narrative you spin is very similar to a narrative that I see popping up again and again in the Buschel comment threads. You “just” saw his movie, yet he can’t be pigeon-holed, he’s not selling out, and you’re really interested in seeing where he’s going. People love or hate his work, which means he’s a genius. Couple this with a dig or put-down directed towards another filmmaker who is inferior to Buschel (here we have Lena Dunham, who’s also targeted in the movieline thread linked to above), and we have the formula. I’m just pointing it out.

    April 26, 2011
  • Francisbean

    Interesting. Maybe you have a point. I haven’t been reading all the message board comment threads for Buschel, but maybe you are right. But may I ask you why you are reading them all if you have no opinion of Noah Buschel?

    April 26, 2011
  • James

    That’s an excellent question. I think I need to re-evaluate the way I spend my free time.

    April 26, 2011
  • Hollyhunter

    Just heard Tiny Furniture going to Criterion. WTF? Buschel was right. We should apologize. All Lena Dunham’s movie is is hipster film with buzz factor of furture promise. Embarrassing for CC.

    April 29, 2011
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