October 21, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

More thoughts on “Drive”

HollywoodNews.com: I was paraphrased, somewhat disparagingly in an article from Salon last week that dealt with audiences not quite being as on-board with Drive as critics. I was referred to as “champion of the mainstream, audience-pleasing cinema” and held up as one of the few critics who did not like Drive. This was my response (HERE is my original review), and I thought I’d share it here as well.

I suppose I’ve earned the ‘defender of the mainstream’ tag, as I’ve long felt that it’s important to point out when a major studio picture does it right, as much as when an arthouse picture does it wrong. As I’ve often said, when we write-off The Mummy or Avatar, we deserve Prince of Persia or Tron: Legacy. Having said that, what I most disliked about Drive were what I felt its bids at mainstream pandering, or at least its ideology that seems more fit for a fourteen-year old boy.

We’re supposed to think ‘Driver’ is cool and sophisticated, icy and prone to acts of sudden violence. Yet we’re also supposed to think that he’s some kind of hero (so says the soundtrack, quite literally) because he has token feelings for his cute neighbor and is nice to her son. At the end of the day, we’re supposed to actively root for him purely because Ryan Gosling is a handsome movie star and because Carey Mulligan is pretty. I have no problem with anti-heroes, but I loathe films where the anti-hero is supposed to be ‘a hero’ because he is played by a big star or because said scoundrel takes a token interest in the token love interest. It’s just a variation on the ‘He’s not so bad because he cries at Opera’ cliche.

Drive has been compared to Point Blank quite a bit, but at least that picture had the courage of its convictions. Lee Marvin was an unsympathetic bastard from start to finish. There was no need to make him ‘relatable’ or heroic by pairing him with a pretty girl or a kid. Heck, even Mel Gibson’s Payback (even the compromised theatrical cut) didn’t actually make his character into a hero in any conventional sense. Despite the title of the Salon piece in question, Drive didn’t turn me off because it was ‘too violent’ (it’s no worse than any conventional R-rated action picture) or because it was ‘too artsy’. It turned me off because it was a painfully conventional and contrived narrative that guises up its by-the-books story and utter lack of character with a token amount of visual panache.

To paraphrase Albert Brooks’s stunningly self-referential line, critics said that Drive was cool, artsy, and European, but really it’s simplistic and conventional. I’d no more give a pass to Drive for being ‘cool’ than I would let Tron: Legacy slide because it had lots of lights and 3D effects. Be it at the megeplex or the arthouse, I do demand some substance with my style.

To read more go to MENDELSON’S MEMOS

Photo by FilmDistrict and Bold Films and OddLot Entertainment

To see celebrity photo galleries click here

Follow Hollywood News on Twitter for up-to-date news information.

Hollywood News, Hollywood Awards, Awards,  Movies, News, Award News, Breaking News, Entertainment News, Movie News, Music News

About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

Follow us

Breaking Hollywood News   


Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.