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Ben Mankiewicz does a perfectly acceptable job. Thanks, Mr. Mankiewicz! :-)


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Seems like Mankiewicz has been negatively appraised hereabouts from time to time. Have read a majority of the comments, and it seems to me that they are coming from folks who are watching someone else than whom I am seeing.

 

Any time I have seen Mankiewicz' intro's or outro's he has been professional and informative. His style of seemingly impulsive notions are tongue-in-cheek but never cynical. In fact, I like the way he even pokes fun at him self sometimes to dimish just how seriously he should be taken. Indeed, his delivery is that of a first-rate spokesman.

 

I think, sometimes, people are afraid of change and are ready to view alternatives too readily as a threat rather than as just something different.

 

There is just nothing that I have ever heard Mankiewicz say which could be interpreted as scornful toward a film. Now he may playfully mock an aspect of a film, or an archaic societal aspect surrounding a film (e.g. scoff at how much smoking is done in a film, or how pastel the art direction of a Doris Day film might be), but that's just having fun with something. That doesn't mean you are deriding it as a whole.

 

I can acknowledge the irony of the absolute heterosexuality presented in Doris Day/Rock Hudson films because it is ironic. But I still enjoy watching them on their face value, nonetheless. In some classic films, the dated notions, costumes or interiors are what make them so enjoyable.

 

After all, these films are not sacrosanct when it comes to interpreting them.

 

Lighten up, loosen up and have some fun, folks.

Don't take it all so seriously; you take all the fun out of film-going when you do.

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Nuh-uh. Ben's annoying.

 

He's not *playful*. He's smarmy. I have no problem with acknowledging a film's flaws or gently mocking something that's cheesy or whatever. But the manner in which B.M. pokes fun is ...well, not fun. In my opinion. He has a hipper-than-thou attitude that grates. And I've definitely seen him act scornful - now I almost wish I'd recorded his intros so I could transcribe what he said and prove it. :P But you need the visual element too - his whole manner is obnoxious.

 

Although I've seen him introduce a Hitchcock movie with nothing but respect - so certain films/directors are sacrosanct. (I'd like Ben more if he dared to criticize someone as revered - and IMO overrated - as Hitchcock - but no, he sticks to the "safe" targets instead - heck, I'd like Ben more if he presented intelligent *criticism* instead of taking cheap shots). However, others can be freely mocked, and if it offends the viewers who may be fans...oh well. I just hope nobody who loved Clark Gable was tuning in when Ben basically called him an overweight loser in his intro to "The King And Four Queens" the other day.

 

Like I said in another thread, if you insult the movie (or actor), you insult the fans and make them feel like they wasted their time watching. Oh, it's easy to say "don't take things so seriously", or "geez, can't you take a joke?" but y'know, that's what a bully always says when he hurts someone with his "teasing", isn't it?

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I like Ben. His very inside demeanor lets us see these films we sometimes love too much as the entertainments they were meant to be. Though they may be appreciated even hundreds of years from now, they were made with hopes no greater than pleasing an audience and winning an extra week or two at the local Bijou. A tad of irreverance is not unwelcome here. Good job, Ben!

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Ben's grown on me and I like his "hipper than thou" attitude, although I don't think he's that way. I like his irreverance very much. Today they've been showing him interview a guy with Pixar about the upcoming Japanese animation festival they're having and it's good stuff. He's serious with his subject and not at all disrectful. I just figure Bob is going to retire someday, so I'm glad Ben's getting an assignment in addition to the weekend hosting job. I think he's interested in films and he's learning about them just like we try to. I probably won't be watching any of the Anime but it's interesting to find out a little bit about it. And Ben is so much better than who could be hosting. I think it's important to have hosts of the films to give us little tidbits we might not know about. It makes the viewing experience a little more personal. I liked the guest programmers too, although I haven't seen where they're going to continue that. I hope they do, though.

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Thank you for mentioning B.M's comments about Clark Gable during his introduction to The King and Four Queens. It was too much. Nobody deserves an intro like that, especially Gable. I've listened to Ben's sarcasm and comments about "chickflicks", etc., so now I just turn the sound off before the film begins. TCM shouldn't let him do an intro to The Way We Were, you can tell B.M. doesn't want to do it. I wish some of us could call his telephone booth on his set and ask him why he presents the intros and closings in such a manner.

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Ben, you're doing great in my book. Keep up the good work.

 

Sam, I totally agree with you - good try. There will always be someone who doesn't agree, which is great - but then there's always those who will argue about anything, which I find quite amusing.

 

Message was edited by:

scarlett

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I think Ben stinks too. And I'm not just saying that for the sake of arguing, I really believe it.

 

His intros/outros are full of little digs. Just because he doesn't hit you with a sledgehammer doesn't mean it isn't there. It's the writing AND the delivery; it's subtle enough to be innocuous to some, but it bugs me.

 

I almost prefer Leonard Maltin to him. Where are the female hosts?

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> but then there's always those who will argue about

> anything, which I find quite amusing.

 

Oh yeah? Wanna fight? :P

 

We're all arguing here. Some against, and some in favor of Ben. It amuses *me* that those who happen to like him feel they're standing on superior moral ground or something. I could be misreading the tone of people's posts and if so, forgive me, but Ben's fans seem almost a little...smug...and... condescending... kinda like Ben himself. Perhaps that's why they find nothing wrong with *his* behavior. ;)

 

Thanks cinematech - I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way. Dear Mr. Gable certainly didn't deserve that intro.

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I like Alan Cummings who hosts Sundance's Midnight Maddness. For me it is all about having someone who is fun, exciting and on the edge. When TCM starts showing Cult Films they will need someone who knows these films, so they better start looking now. Alan Cummings is already taken so they will have to look somewhere else.

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Crispy, it happens every time, and to all of us. You've taken the same tone in your comments about other posters that you find so repellant in Ben's comments. Check it out. You don't like him. Others do. Smug? Smarmy? Moral high ground? Come on!

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//You don't like him. Others do. Smug? Smarmy? Moral high ground? Come on!//

 

Excellent point, Iscovescu.

When reading the comments regarding smugness et cetera, I was reminded of the adage about the black pot and the kettle.

 

This ill-conceived notion of Mr. Mankiewicz' making derogatory comments is absurd and a case of some folks just being far too literal and weirdly defensive, and subsequently having nuance escape them.

 

For example: someone referenced Mankiewicz using the phrase 'chickflick,' and whomever it was continued to suggest that M's use of the term was intended to invalidate the film. I've seen him use the term once (perhaps the same, one-and-only instance?), and it was clear that he was referencing the term to invalidate the notion that the film (or any film) should only be regarded as a 'chickflick.' In other words, he was making light of the way smaller minds can pigeonhole films into narrow, limiting pseudo-genres such as the misnomer 'chickflick.'

 

It was an example of M using subtle sarcasm about nitwit film criticism vs. true film criticism, for he went on to note the valid qualities of said film he was introducing.

 

Again, what I see being evidenced is M's savvy and drollness about Film (not necessarily about a particular film) being lost on some folks who are too distracted by concrete and simplistic interpretations.

 

Case in point: Gable was absurdly cast in The King and Four Queen's (by his own production company, incidentally) - this bloated ruddy-faced old **** is the target of the amourous designs of four lovely ladies? Let's get real, shall we?

 

Now here's where subtle understanding of paradox is required:

Clark Gable is one of my all-time favourite actors (even in his bloated, ruddy-faced, alcohol-abused, caricature-of-himself period ;-) ); I love watching his films, including TKAFQ. But I am also able to separate reality from unreality. In other words, I can suspend my disbelief when watching the film and enjoy it very much, but I can also talk intelligently and critically about it (including any faults) when discussing the film. And that is what M (and Bob O, for that matter) are doing when presenting or wrapping-up a film -- they are commenting on the film, providing a mini-critique of the film, any possible faults or shortcomings inclusive.

 

If a viewer wants to be exposed to lame, mindless, mutual-appreciation, ultra-commercial, anti thought-provoking drivel about a film, then that viewer should tune into AMC (the anti-TCM), and revel in those idiotic, staged, dull-witted "dialogues" between two "actors," which will confirm everything that viewer loves about the film s/he is tuning in for, and that viewer can be a happy and contented, wee clam in her/his la-la land of ruby-slippered movie heaven. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that during one of those vapid, AMC "intros," someone probably uses the term 'chickflick' and in a way which conveys logical application of that moronic term.

 

Anyone ever seen the magnificent "Life in the TCM City" mini-film which is bookended by a clip of Bogart watching a film, which has Jeremy Irons reading the eternal D.H. Lawrence poem: "When I Went To the Film?"

 

Well, why not criticise D.H. Lawrence for insulting moviegoers by suggesting that they are too shallow and feel nothing hence they are enamoured by the safe and secure, celestial-like silver screen.

 

Wouldn't that be idiotic?

 

Here's the poem, by the way:

When I went to the film and saw all the black-and-white

feelings that nobody felt,

and heard the audience sighing and sobbing with all the

emotions they none of them felt,

and saw them cuddling with rising passions they none of

them for a moment felt,

and caught them moaning from close-up kisses, black-and-

white kisses that could not be felt, It was like being in heaven, which I am sure has a white

atmosphere

upon which shadows of people, pure personalities

are cast in black and white, and move

in flat ecstasy, supremely unfelt

and heavenly.

 

That D.H. Lawrence is just so smug and smarmy and self-satisfied, isn't he? :-(

He's just so rude and insulting! :-(

Who would want to watch a film after having it described like that? :-(

 

 

 

'Nuff said. B-)

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> This ill-conceived notion of Mr. Mankiewicz' making

> derogatory comments is absurd and a case of some

> folks just being far too literal and weirdly

> defensive, and subsequently having nuance escape

> them.

 

Ahem. Well, well, well...Aren't we feeling superior and condescending today? (And every other day) :P

 

> was clear that he was referencing the term to

> invalidate the notion that the film (or any

> film) should only be regarded as a 'chickflick.' In

> other words, he was making light of the way smaller

> minds can pigeonhole films into narrow, limiting

> pseudo-genres such as the misnomer 'chickflick.'

 

Oh yes. Clearly. In your opinion, anyway. I'm not going to bother responding to your comments anymore, because it's clearly a waste of time. Can't argue with someone who acts like his opinions and interpretations are indisputable FACTS. And if we don't see things your way, well I guess we're just:

 

> too distracted by concrete and

> simplistic interpretations.

 

In other words...not as smart as SamTherapy. :P

 

 

> Now here's where subtle understanding of paradox is

> required:

 

Teach me! Teach me, Oh Pompous Windbag...er, I mean, Wise One!

 

> 'Nuff said. B-)

 

Indeed, there's no need for we mere mortals to speak anymore - now that you've had the last word. :) Oh wait, I ruined that. Sorry I spoke out of turn. Feel free to post again. Let us admire your superior intellect some more...please?

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//I'm not going to bother responding to your comments anymore//

I must give thanks to the Gods for such good fortune.

Here's hoping I can count on it, for you now seem hellbent on being rude and abusive towards me, and on assassinating my character.

 

It's a pity you (or anyone) take my rebuttal to criticisms of Mr. Mankiewicz so personally, for I don't recall directing them toward you personally. Nor did I regard my comments as intended personal attacks, whatsoever.

 

Many (but not all) of the criticisms I read of him were acerbic, so I came out in strenuous defense of him, finding it necessary to back my opinion of him by refuting specifically cited criticisms and by exposing the fallacies of perception as I saw them.

 

I make no apology for my viewpoints and my points of debate, nor for not sugarcoating them. I spoke of and explained my perception of the nature of comments which I read, not of personalities. It is the nature of debate to, if necessary, expose errors as seen by the opposing debator.

 

However, I did not and will not resort to direct namecalling, nor to ranting.

 

If my method of speaking my mind seems arrogant to some then I suppose that is their problem. Again, I see nothing in what I have opined as being specifically targeting of any individual. What I have targeted are opinions and sentiments with which I disagree.

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//All this over a guy who introduces a movies.//

:D lol -- excellent point :P

 

I'll bet Mr. M, if he even regards any of this, is probably having a good chuckle at it . . . all the way to the bank.

 

Perhaps he'll make some reference to his "popularity" on the boards, of late, on some upcoming intro. :-)

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Actually, as I've related elsewhere, when all this smoke clears . . .

I'm really only indifferent to Mr. Mankiewicz.

I wouldn't consider myself a card-carrying member of the Ben M Fan Club.

In fact, although he used them smoothly, I thought his having his notes with him for the Miyazaki intros was a little sophmoric.

He wouldn't be my first choice to replace Bob O (sorry Mr. M :( )

 

On an aside, I think that Bill Kurtis would be good.

He like a Bob O doppleganger, with a more resonant voice:

http://www.aetv.com/tv/shows/amerjustice/images/bill1.jpg

 

I was just getting tired of seeing Mankiewicz being hammered so, and for what I considered to be erroneous reasons. So I posted the original post as a sort of antidote to the poisonous pens. Rooting for the underdog, and all that.

 

And sure this is a trivial topic vis-?-vis the real meat of this site - the films - but then, hey, dig the title of the post. If the title doesn't interest you, don't open the post, eh? :P

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