A Formidable Stack

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demme

Quote that may sum up Jonathan Demme, from John Simon: “Jonathan Demme is probably the most gifted young filmmaker to come out of the stable of Roger Corman.”

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About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

3 responses »

  1. JS, I’m presuming you’ve seen the vast majority of Demme’s work. How highly would you rank him as a director? Is the general consensus that his career tapered off post-Philadelphia a fair call?

  2. Looking through that stack, I’ve seen eight of those films, plus Stop Making Sense, which is inexplicably missing and may be his best film. Three of his films are classics, SMS, Swimming to Cambodia, and Silence of the Lambs. But I think that film was an outlier, and he was never a director meant for blockbusters, or even prestige, Oscar-bait films (Philadelphia was okay, but Beloved has to be considered a disappointment). Of his narrative films, I think Melvin and Howard was his most representative, a kind of offbeat film about offbeat people. He made a lot of docs and concert films that I have not seen, and was directing a lot of television toward the end. Rachel Got Married was the last film of his I’ve seen, and I think it’s one of his better films, but he seemed to lose interest (or studios lost interest in him) in studio work and worked on concert films and stage adaptations..

  3. In a funny sort of way I think SOTL was the worst thing to happen to his career as it almost obliged him to become mainstream and do prestige and big-budget pictures which as you say, weren’t really his thing.

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