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April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake" 
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Dragonbeard wrote:
Of course he wasn't, I'm just pointing out that it was a Michael Bay movie that contained such good photography, therefore his movies are not total dross.


I don't disagree with this. In fact, Bay's movies usually excel in most (if not all) of the strictly technical aspects of filmmaking. (Although his editing of fight scenes in the TRANSFOMERS movies is questionable.) But I'm not terribly impressed by technical bravado unless it's in the service of something I enjoy. My problem with most of Bay's films is that they bore me.

THE ROCK, I should note, is an exception. I liked it. I would rank it as Bay's best movie to-date, although I'm not sure that's saying much.


Sun May 02, 2010 10:51 am
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
Of course he wasn't, I'm just pointing out that it was a Michael Bay movie that contained such good photography, therefore his movies are not total dross.


I don't disagree with this. In fact, Bay's movies usually excel in most (if not all) of the strictly technical aspects of filmmaking. (Although his editing of fight scenes in the TRANSFOMERS movies is questionable.) But I'm not terribly impressed by technical bravado unless it's in the service of something I enjoy. My problem with most of Bay's films is that they bore me.

THE ROCK, I should note, is an exception. I liked it. I would rank it as Bay's best movie to-date, although I'm not sure that's saying much.


That is a fair statement and I seem to remember commenting on how photography is wasted when the editing doesn't allow you to appreciate it. As for explosions, I doubt any other film maker is in the same league. That also isn't saying much I'm sure! The truth does remain however that beyond style, flair and fire, Bay doesn't do much else; he won't be remaking the Godfather, that's for sure!

Okay about the topic at hand - ART! To the individual, a creation of their making will be art within their eyes. They cannot share their objectivity as this is theoretically impossible (a first order meaning cannot exist once you have expressed the idea) and therefore you submit your "art" to be viewed by the minds of others. To the masses, an image or a movie gains the currency of "art", it does not come with it. Simple as. This applies to any medium, including video games. QED!


Sun May 02, 2010 11:50 am
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Francois Tremblay wrote:
I really don't understand why Ebert persists in making an argument about which he has little knowledge. If you look at a sophisticated video game like Braid and claim that it's not art, then most movies are also not art, period. So now what? There's an arbitrary line by which some movies can be called art and some cannot? This is a slipperly slope argument which can only lead us to a "no true scostman" situation, insofar as you end up in a situation where nothing qualifies as "real art."

And heck, even Pong can qualify as "art." If we had no video games, and someone invented a Pong machine and billed it as an "interactive art installation," people would derive artistic merit and meaning from it. We only poo-poo it because it's mundane to us now. But why does it not qualify as art?


Good point, Francois Tremblay. Honestly, had video games not caught on, Pong would definately have a place in many modern art museums.

BANKA wrote:
As mentioned, the reason that gamers get so incensed over accusations that video games are not art is because it represents an elitist attitude towards games and the people that play them. Video games have been trying to shake the notion that they are "simply for kids, and grown men that live in their parents basements" for at least a decade now, and when someone with the notoriety of Ebert says things like "video games will never be art in our lifetime" it's going to piss people off, especially since it reinforces stereotypes that have been hard fought to be shed. Ebert should probably keep in mind what his reaction would be, were someone to come up to him and say "all film can never be considered art" -- I have a hunch that it would be pretty similar to the thousands of commentators mad at his blog post.


Another good point by BANKA. If Ebert doesn't play many video games, than I agree, he's not very informed about the subject. The elitist attitude part of your argument is a good point. In the news, all we hear about is various criticisms about video games, whether they incite violence (of which there is no credible scientific evidence), or that they're time wasters and will turn people anti-social (valid arguments, but I think those say more about the people than the games). Even the stereotypes of people who play games are those of complete nerds, which is not true. Many normal people I know love video games as much as I do. I think eliminating that baggage will pave the way for more mainstream acceptance of video games as art.

Personally, I don't have my own definition of what "art" is. However, I do think that some games reach a higher playing field than others. I don't pretend to be an expert of video games, but some, like "BioShock" and "Halo" are so beautifully rendered and deeply immersive and enriching that it would be unfair to lump them together with every other video game. These aren't good games, but they do everything that artistic pieces like the Mona Lisa or something by Vermeer does. And it would be hypocritical to deny these superior games the same title if they achieve the same goals.

Many of you have compared movies to video games to either support/oppose the argument. But I think this falls under the same definition: if it achieves the same goals that all art is supposed to do, then it is art. JB, yes, "Avatar" is a great movie, and it contains some beautiful images, but I agree that it probably shouldn't be defined as art.

But then, maybe I'm completely wrong. Art is a form of expression; it's a way for us to express ourselves and let our minds grow. While watching a movie, even a film by Michael Bay, we gain something from it: an experience. The film version is the director's interpretation of a subject (a story). If this is true, than all movies and video games are a form of art.

To back up my argument, I'll use a few quotes from JB's review of "Memento:"

"Who we are is shaped as much by our experiences as by our environment."

"Ask three people to describe the same event, and none of those accounts will be the same. But, although memories are skewed by perspective, they are critical to the human experience."

The same goes for films and video games. Ten different people could take the same sets of ideas and completely different video games, or movies (yes, I know it takes more than one person to create a video game or a movie, but that's beside the point). A person's experiences will influence them into how they envision the game or movie or a subject.

I think the question we're really asking is, "Are there any video games that are good enough to be on par with the Mona Lisa?"


Mon May 03, 2010 4:15 pm
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Oh, and JB, congrats on the baby on the way. When is it due, if you don't mind me asking?

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Mon May 03, 2010 4:17 pm
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
moviemkr7 wrote:
Oh, and JB, congrats on the baby on the way. When is it due, if you don't mind me asking?


May 19. If it's on time, that means a delay to the SHREK 4 review. If it's late, the impact will be to PRINCE OF PERSIA and/or SEX AND THE CITY. If early, ROBIN HOOD.


Wed May 05, 2010 3:49 pm
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
James Berardinelli wrote:
moviemkr7 wrote:
Oh, and JB, congrats on the baby on the way. When is it due, if you don't mind me asking?


May 19. If it's on time, that means a delay to the SHREK 4 review. If it's late, the impact will be to PRINCE OF PERSIA and/or SEX AND THE CITY. If early, ROBIN HOOD.

You don't seriously want to see Sex And The City 2 do you? I'd highly recommend you avoid that film altogether(unless of course your wife wants you to see it with her), since you didn't care for the first one much, then I highly doubt your going to like the second film much better, there's plenty of better ways to spend 2 and a half hours then sitting through that film.


Wed May 05, 2010 4:29 pm
Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
There was a funny incident in this country a little over a month ago, in which our minister of culture was giving an interview to the national public service television network. He was questioned on the definition and standards of art and more precisely about the nature of a particular exhibit, which consists of a can of 49-year old human feces. Could that really be considered art, the reporter asked. The minister quite simply replied that it was sh*t, which in turn caused an uproar among the artistic elite (especially the director of the museum who had purchased the exhibit) in the country who rallied to inform the minister that as the head of cultural affairs, he had no business making such a determination or chastising remark.

I think the concept of "art" in modern times often seems to carry a great deal of pretentiousness with it. I've seen exhibits such as live fish put in blenders (where the guests could hit the switch and kill them), giant containers filled with fermented milk and various other exhibits, the stupidity and pretentiousness of which boggles the mind. Are those things art? Is it art if I put human feces in a can, let it ferment and then call it art? One can go on and on.

My own definition of art is deeply personal, as I suspect is the case with many others. It is something that touches me on an emotional and human level but is nigh impossible to explain except that I know it when I see it. I have played video games that I would consider to be art. I have seen movies I would consider to be art. I had read litterature I would consider to be art. Paintings. Music. Sculptures. And on and on. Ultimately if I were to narrowly express a term for art, which would fit in with my world view, it would be that art is an expression of the human condition. No more and no less.


Wed May 05, 2010 5:18 pm
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Vexer wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
moviemkr7 wrote:
Oh, and JB, congrats on the baby on the way. When is it due, if you don't mind me asking?


May 19. If it's on time, that means a delay to the SHREK 4 review. If it's late, the impact will be to PRINCE OF PERSIA and/or SEX AND THE CITY. If early, ROBIN HOOD.

You don't seriously want to see Sex And The City 2 do you? I'd highly recommend you avoid that film altogether(unless of course your wife wants you to see it with her), since you didn't care for the first one much, then I highly doubt your going to like the second film much better, there's plenty of better ways to spend 2 and a half hours then sitting through that film.


By the time the movie comes out, I suspect I'll be dying for an excuse to escape from the house for a few hours. For some unfathomable reason, the running time on SatC2 is 2:20. Has to be a misprint, doesn't it? :o


Thu May 06, 2010 9:45 pm
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Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Yeah I see what you mean, there's no way in hell I could survive sitting through SATC 2, espeiclaly not with that long-ass running time, bet Takers is starting to look alot more appealing now eh?


Fri May 07, 2010 12:22 am
Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
That does seem a rather long time!

The other day, I actually watched the show for the first time and it WASN'T the worst thing I'd ever seen... What does this mean?

Perhaps it's to do with my Fianceé reading parts of the book out loud to me. It seems to be a fairly good read, the humour reminded me a little of Chuck Phalanuik (however you spell his confusing name!) but in a rather more watered down manner.

Contragulations James, I shall be a father myself for the first time this coming September! You'd think at 26 I'd be the right age but I doubt my ability to look after myself at the best of times!


Fri May 07, 2010 8:27 pm
Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Dragonbeard wrote:
The other day, I actually watched the show for the first time and it WASN'T the worst thing I'd ever seen... What does this mean?


You have a vagina now....you poor former man.


Fri May 07, 2010 9:25 pm
Post Re: April 25, 2010: "Art for Art's Sake"
Patrick wrote:
Dragonbeard wrote:
The other day, I actually watched the show for the first time and it WASN'T the worst thing I'd ever seen... What does this mean?


You have a vagina now....you poor former man.


A vagina with an entry in the tour guides? ;)


Fri May 14, 2010 8:40 pm
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