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An Incredible Interview with FILM CRIT HULK!

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A while back I reviewed Screenwriting 101 by Film Crit HULK and decided to ask the green goliath some questions, below is what Film Crit HULK had to say.

Congratulations on Screenwriting 101, you’ve been consistently vocal about the value of substance in storytelling when it comes to films. How great of an impact do you feel this potentially could have on influencing how the studios handle movies in the future?

ON ONE HAND, HULK CAN HONESTLY SAY THAT HULK IS STILL STUPEFIED AND DELIGHTED BY ANY POSITIVE IMPACT THAT SOMETHING HULK DID HAS HAD. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, HULK WILL ADMIT THAT POSITIVE IMPACT IS INDEED THE PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK AND ALSO THE HOPE. WHY ELSE WOULD ANYONE WRITE, BUT TO SHARE, HELP, OR HAVE SOME KIND OF CONSTRUCTIVE AFFECTATION?

BUT AS FAR AS THE POPULAR RECEPTION GOES, THE THING THAT HULK WANTS PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT HOLLYWOOD ISN’T (AND HAS NEVER BEEN) ALL THAT STUPID. MOVIES LOVE TO GIVE OFF THE IMPRESSION THAT “STUDIO PEOPLE” ARE NOTHING BUT MINDLESS TROGLODYTES AND ARTISTS ARE TORTURED GENIUSES, BUT WHILE THERE’S CERTAINLY SOMETHING TO THAT DYNAMIC, THE TRUTH HAS ALWAYS RUN THE GAMUT WHEN IT COMES TO BOTH GROUPS. FOR THERE ARE STUDIO AND NETWORK EXECUTIVES WHO HULK SWEARS ARE SOME OF THE MOST BRILLIANT MINDS IN THE INDUSTRY AND, YES, THERE ARE SOME STUDIO FOLK WHO REALLY ARE IN THE WRONG BUSINESS. AND ONE OF THE KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THESE TWO GROUPS IS HOW MUCH THEY EACH COMMIT TO THE STATUS QUO.

LET’S PUT IT LIKE THIS: THE BRILLIANT MINDS AT PLACES LIKE PIXAR ARE THE ONES WHO STRIVE TO EMBRACE FUNCTION. WHO SEE RULES AS “GUIDELINES.” WHO ARE MORE INTERESTED IN MAKING THE THING WORK INSTEAD OF SEEING THE THING FIT INTO SOME OTHER BROAD OVERARCHING STRUCTURE (AND THEY DO THIS WITH LOTS OF CARE AND HARD WORK). BUT FOR THE ONES ON THE OTHER END OF THAT SPECTRUM THAT LACK THAT UNDERSTANDING? THEY STRIVE TO BLINDLY COPY THE SUCCESS OF OTHER THINGS. THEY RIGIDLY ADHERE TO SIMPLE RULES, BELIEVING THAT SAMENESS WILL FIX IT. BECAUSE THEY CAN’T TRULY UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF THE THING ITSELF SO THEY TRY TO MAKE IT FIT INTO THE STATUS QUO VERSIONS OF THE OTHER THINGS THEY SEE (WHEN THAT’S NEVER WHY THE THINGS THAT GOT INTO THE STATUS QUO WORKED IN THE FIRST PLACE).

THIS SPECTRUM MEANS THAT EVERY TIME HULK SITS DOWN IN A MEETING AND STARTS IN WITH A COUNTER-INTUITIVE IDEA (LIKE “HEY, 3 ACT STRUCTURE IS NOT A THING WE SHOULD BE USING”) HULK WILL EITHER GET LOOKS OF RELIEF / COMPLETE AGREEMENT, OR HULK WILL GET LOOKS OF COMPLETE BEWILDERMENT / SHOCK. IN RUNS THE GAMUT. BUT SINCE PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS TRY TO CLING TO THE SIMPLE RULES OF THE STATUS, THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS TRY TO CHANGE THE POPULAR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE RULES EVEN ARE AND SUPPLANT THEM WITH THE RULES THAT ALLOW FOR THE MOST DEXTERITY AND PROBLEM SOLVING. AND THAT’S REALLY WHAT THIS WHOLE HULK THING IS AN ATTEMPT TO DO; TO GET US TO LOOK AT THE FUNCTION OF A THING OVER THE FORM OF A THING.

BUT IT ALL HAS TO BE COMMUNICATED IN THE RIGHT WAY. IF YOU GO INTO A MEETING LIKE “I know what I’m doing and you’re idiots!” YOU’RE GOING TO FAIL BECAUSE 1) YOU’RE JUST BEING A DICK AND 2) THOSE SO-CALLED-IDIOTS ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE TO SAY YES. REALLY, IT’S YOUR JOB TO MAKE THEM COMFORTABLE WITH THE CHANGE. TO CONVINCE THEM THAT THE IDEAS ARE NOT ABOUT CHANGING THE GOALS (BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT MAKING GOOD, ENTERTAINING STORIES THAT LOTS OF PEOPLE LIKE), IT’S JUST ABOUT A CHANGE OF STRATEGY IN ACHIEVING THE GOALS THAT THEY WANT TOO. AND THESE STRATEGIES WITHIN THE BOOK, WHILE OFTEN BEING MORE PHILOSOPHICAL INSTEAD OF PRACTICAL, ARE SOMETHING THAT HULK SWEARS ARE INFINITELY MORE EFFECTIVE IN HELPING TO MAKE MORE SOLID ENTERTAINMENT. HULK BELIEVES IN ALL THIS BECAUSE HULK’S SEEN IT WORK WONDERS.

BUT IF IT GOES ON TO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT ON HOLLYWOOD AT ALL? THAT’S COMPLETELY FINE TOO. PLEASE DON’T GAG AS HULK SAYS THE FOLLOWING, BUT IF THE BOOK JUST MAKES IT EASIER FOR ONLY ONE HIGH SCHOOL KID SCRIBBLING IN HIS NOTEBOOK WHILE WORKING THE NIGHT SHIFT AT DAIRY QUEEN THEN HULK ASSURES YOU THAT, EMOTIONALLY-SPEAKING, IT MEANS FAR, FAR MORE THAN ANY PARADIGM SHIFT. YES, WHAT HULK JUST SAID IS A SUPER CLICHÉ. BUT IT ACTUALLY MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU GET A LETTER FROM THAT KID (HI MATT!). BECAUSE THEN IT BECOMES REAL.

THEN IT BECOMES EVERYTHING.

You’re well versed in education and have worked many professions, Was there a specific moment that changed your path to where you are now?

LIKE MOST PEOPLE, IT WASN’T REALLY ONE MOMENT, BUT A SERIES OF SMALL ONES. ADMITTEDLY, MOST OF THOSE SMALL MOMENTS CAME FROM BEING RAISED BY TWO IMPOSSIBLY BRIGHT, KIND PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS. THEY NOT ONLY HAVE INFORMED MOST OF HULK’S LIFE, BUT WERE PARAMOUNT IN FORMING A SPECIFIC ACADEMIC PSYCHOLOGY, WHICH HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY HELPFUL. TOO MANY PARENTS MAKE THE MISTAKE OF MAKING EDUCATION ABOUT REWARDS, GRADES, PRESSURE AND ALL THAT. THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR A KID IS 1) FOSTER A RESPECT FOR TEACHERS SO THAT THEY’LL ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THEM. AND 2) GET THEM TO LIKE LEARNING ON THEIR OWN. YOU DO THOSE TWO THINGS AND HULK SWEARS YOU’LL NEVER REALLY HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR KID OUTSIDE OF THE NORMAL UPS AND DOWNS. BUT HULK SWEARS TO YOU: THAT ATTITUDE IS THE “ONE THING” THAT HAS MADE MORE OF A DIFFERENCE IN HULK’S LIFE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.

BECAUSE HULK HAS CARRIED IT INTO EVERYTHING HULK DOES. THROUGH SCHOOL. THROUGH COLLEGE. THROUGH THE WORKPLACE. THROUGH LIFE. HULK HAS ALWAYS THROWN HULKSELF INTO SOMETHING FOR THIRST OF PERPETUAL LEARNING. HULK WANTED TO TRAIN TO BECOME AN E.M.T. SO HULK DID IT. HULK WANTED TO WORK ON A LOBSTERBOAT SO HULK DID IT. WHEN THE STOCK MARKET CRASHED IN ’08, HULK WAS FRUSTRATED THAT HULK DIDN’T UNDERSTAND IT SO HULK DOVE RIGHT IN THAT WORLD AND ENDED UP FEELING INFINITELY MORE COMFORTABLE (AND SECURE) DEALING WITH THE FINANCIAL WORLD. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO BECOME THE KIND OF PERSON WHO JUST DOES IT. AND THIS KIND OF ACTION HAS ALWAYS PAID OFF. NOT JUST WITH CONCRETE THINGS LIKE PAYING TAXES AND THE HOUSING MARKET, BUT WITH THE MORE ETHEREAL THINGS TOO (LIKE INTEREST IN CULTURE AND CRITICISM OBVIOUSLY). AND IT HAS HAD THE MOST IMMENSE VALUE IN TERMS OF WORK. HULK USES THAT WORD CAREFULLY. FOR A JOB IS SOMETHING YOU GO TO. AND EVEN A “CAREER” FEELS LIKE SOMETHING FAR TOO GOAL-ORIENTATED. INSTEAD, CALLING IT “WORK” MAKES IT ABOUT THE WORK ITSELF. IT MAKES IT ABOUT THE PROCESS. THE CONCEPT OF PERPETUAL STUDY. OF BEING THE ETERNAL STUDENT. OF ALWAYS BEING HUNGRY.

HULK’S BELIEVES THAT MOST ADULTS AREN’T HUNGRY TO LEARN BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN TAUGHT TO BE GOAL-ORIENTATED. TO ACHIEVE GRADES. TO SIMPLY OBTAIN THE PROMOTION. TO SIMPLY “GET THINGS.” BUT IN THE REAL WORLD, THOSE DESIRES MAKE FOR ALL THE WRONG KINDS OF SOCIAL IMPACT. THEY RING UNTRUE. THEY MAKE YOU FEEL HOLLOW INSIDE BECAUSE THERE CAN NEVER BE ENOUGH AND THEY MAKE SEEM HOLLOW TO OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU ONLY WANT “THINGS” FROM THEM. AND IT SUCKS BECAUSE YOU ONLY ACHIEVE IN THE REAL WORLD THROUGH BEING. AND HULK ASSURES THAT HAVING THE ATTITUDE OF THE ETERNAL STUDENT IS REALLY WHAT ALLOWS YOU TO BE. TO EVOLVE. TO BE OF GREAT USE TO PEOPLE. AND HULK CAN SAY THAT HAS BEEN THE SINGLE MOST VALUABLE THING IN HULK’S LIFE IN TERMS OF SUCCESS, MONEY, YOU NAME IT. YOU WILL BE GREATLY REWARDED THROUGH BEING… BUT IT’S GOT TO COME FROM WITHIN.

Quentin Tarantino taught you to never hate a bad movie. Have you reunited with him, since your encounter at the Kill Bill test screening?

NOPE! WOULD LOVE TO THOUGH. THERE WERE A FEW ALMOST CHANCES AT PARTIES AND STUFF. BUT MORE THAN JUST TALKING ABOUT IT, HULK MOSTLY WANTS TO BE SURE THE MOVIE IN QUESTION WAS ACTUALLY ANYTHING ELSE BECAUSE IT’S KIND OF DRIVING HULK NUTS… NOT THAT HE’D REMEMBER, BUT STILL.

The society we’re living in now have been described by you as an “Everything Or Nothing Culture”. Do your optimistic principles inspire hope that this behavior might change in people?

ABSOLUTELY. BUT THE WAY HULK LIKES TO CHARACTERIZE IT IS THAT THIS ARGUMENT IS ALL PART OF A LARGER PROCESS. BECAUSE HULK COULD WRITE SOMETHING AND IT COULD CHANGE YOUR MIND, BUT EVERY YEAR THERE WILL BE A NEW CROP OF YOUNG, HUNGRY MOVIE LOVERS WHO WILL COME UP AND BE SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THE THING THEY’RE EXPERIENCING. AND WITH THAT PASSION COMES A CERTAIN HOT-HEADEDNESS OF YOUTH. TO LOVE THE THING YOU LOVE WITH UNBRIDLED AND TONGUE-TIED GLEE. BUT ALSO TO HATE THE THINGS YOU HATE WITH A FROTHING LACK OF CONTROL. ADULTHOOD IS ABOUT LEARNING A MORE CALM AND NUANCED APPROACH TO ALL THIS (AND MOST THINGS IN LIFE). SUCH IS THE EVOLUTION OF LIFE.

THE PROBLEM IS WHEN WE DON’T EVOLVE. THE PROBLEM IS WHEN WE ADVOCATE A SOCIETY THAT DOESN’T BREED THE ADULT WAY OF THINKING. THAT REWARDS PANDERING TO THE HOT-HEADEDNESS OF YOUTH. THAT REVERES MOVIES THAT “MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE A KID AGAIN.” THAT FEEDS ANTICIPATION AND PUNISHES REFLECTION. THAT CATERS TO THE UN-EXAMPLARY RATHER THAN BEING THE EXAMPLE. THAT TELLS YOU TO SEE A MOVIE CAUSE THERE’S LOTS OF TITS IN IT OR SOMETHING. AND WHEN YOU SPEAK OF GROWTH? IT’S SHOT DOWN AS PRETENTION. AND THE THING IS THAT THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PLACE FOR THE MORE INDULGENT JOYS OF CINEMA LIKE GUNS, BOOBS, OR WHATEVER (BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS A PLACE FOR US INSIDE OF IT), BUT IT’S ABOUT TEACHING THAT NEW GENERATION TO EMBRACE THE ADULT THINGS THAT GO RIGHT ALONG WITH IT. MOVIES HAVE AN INCREDIBLE DEXTERITY AND WE HAVE TO FIND THAT DEXTERITY IN US.

AND ONCE WE DO ACTUALLY MANAGE TO TEACH THAT THERE WILL BE ANOTHER GROUP OF KIDS AND THE CYCLE ALL BEGINS AGAIN. SOME PEOPLE SEE THIS CYCLE AS A NEGATIVE THING. AS A WAY THAT WE CAN NEVER EFFECTIVELY “WIN.” BUT HULK SEES IT AS A SACRED DUTY. TO PERPETUATE A CYCLE THAT WE’VE BEEN DOING AS A CIVILIZATION FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. THE BETTER INTELLIGENCE OF OUR NATURE IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR. WE HAVE TO DO AS ALL THE GREAT THINKERS DID BEFORE US. BETTER YET, WE HAVE TO DO AS ALL THE ADULTS DID IN OUR OWN LIVES. THE ONES WHO MADE US BETTER AND MORE CARING PEOPLE. WE HAVE TO TAKE THAT AND PASS IT ON TO THE OTHERS… BEING A PART OF ALL THAT IS BEING HUMAN.

You’re a strong admirer of David Foster Wallace and share his attention to tangible details. When did his work first enter your life and how did it shape your personal development?

DAVID FOSTER WALLACE HAD THIS GREAT QUOTE ABOUT TANGIBLE DETAILS IN THE PALE KING WHERE HE WAS CITING SOME ACCOUNTING TEACHER WHO SAID, TO PARAPHRASE: “The most important skill one can have going forward in society is the ability to perceive nuance in a bureaucracy.” WHICH HULK THOUGHT WAS SUCH A GREAT WAY OF PUTTING IT. LIFE IS NOT ONLY BECOMING INCREDIBLY COMPLEX, BUT IT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO ONE’S ABILITY TO BOTH UNDERSTAND AND SUCCEED IN THIS WORLD. YOU EITHER STEER THE BUREAUCRACY OR BECOME VICTIM TO IT.

ANYCRAP, AS FAR AS HULK’S PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP TO WALLACE, HULK’S PRETTY SURE THE FIRST THING HULK READ BY HIM WAS HIS PIECE “DAVID LYNCH KEEPS HIS HEAD” (EDITED BY THE ERUDITE CRITIC GLENN KENNY). FROM THERE HULK WENT BACK AND HAD BEEN PRETTY DEVOTED RIGHT THROUGH HIS DEATH. BUT THERE’S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT WALLACE THAT IS SO CRITICAL FOR THAT COLLEGE AGE STUDENT (OR BETTER YET JUST POST-COLLEGE). THEY’RE MIRED IN THIS WORLD OF DEEP INTELLECTUALISM, BUT AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE SURROUNDED BY A PROFOUND CYNICISM AND DISAPPOINTMENT THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT AGE. AND THERE MAY NOT BE A WRITER WHO IS BETTER AT ZEROING IN ON THAT CYNICISM AND GETTING YOU TO RE-EMBRACE THE BEAUTIFUL, OLD CLICHES AT THE CENTER OF A LIFE WORTH LEADING. AND WHAT IS SO AMAZING IS THAT HE DID IT NOT BY SIMPLE EMOTIONAL PLEAS, OR EVEN HIS MASTERY OF LANGUAGE, BUT BY DIVING INTO THE PURE LOGIC OF GOODNESS ITSELF AND OUTRIGHT CONVINCING YOU.

BUT HONESTLY, THE OLDER HULK GETS THE FURTHER HULK SEEMS TO GET AWAY FROM WALLACE. HULK’S READ EVERY WORD HE’S WRITTEN SO MANY TIMES… AND HULK’S LIFE HAS EVOLVED IN A WAY THAT HAS BROUGHT HULK TO NEW OR OTHER KINDS OF AUTHORS (BEEN BACK ON THE CHEKOV KICK LATELY). BUT THE THING HULK WILL NEVER FORGET ABOUT WHAT WALLACE DOES IS THE GREAT LESSON OF GETTING OVER “THE FEAR.” AND THAT IS THE FEAR OF ALL YOUNG WRITERS: THAT A READER WILL NOT THINK YOU ARE SMART OR COOL OR GREAT. AND INSTEAD, YOU MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY AND GO ABOUT SAYING IT IN THE CLEAREST WAY POSSIBLE. IT’S LIKE THE OLD ADAGE OF CINEMA “Don’t impress me, convince me.” AND IT WAS THE BEST ADVICE HULK EVER GOT. BECAUSE WHEN YOU DO THAT YOU CAN STRIP IT DOWN. YOU CAN BE PLAIN. YOU CAN TALK LIKE HULKS. YOU CAN LOSE THE PRETENSE OF PUSHING PEOPLE AWAY BY WORRYING ABOUT YOURSELF. AS IRONIC AS IT MAY SOUND TO THOSE WHO CAN’T GET OVER ALL-CAPS THIRD PERSONAGE, IT MEANS YOU CAN FINALLY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR READER.

You’re a film industry insider and it seems that Hulk is avenging the mistakes that are putting our enjoyment of films in danger. Do you feel that revealing your identity puts you at professional risk and how do you manage to keep your secret safe?

HULK GETS THE SAME QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME:

“What is he hiding? / I don’t know if I can trust him! / Why wouldn’t he want to come out and take credit for it? / Who knows even he’s worked on anything worthwhile?! / Wow, Writing in a schtick must be a burden! / I can’t believe he uses all those followers and keeps writing in caps! / How do we know he’s not just writing about his stuff!!”

AND BECAUSE HULK CAN’T RISK GETTING INTO SPECIFICS. HULK CAN’T GIVE THE SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS. ANSWERS, THAT HULK TRULY BELIEFS WOULD COMPLETELY SATISFY THE ASKERS AND THEN SOME. BUT ALL HULK CAN DO, IS TRY TO ANSWER IN OBLIQUE WAYS:

LET’S JUST SAY THAT NEED FOR SECRECY REALLY JUST INVOLVES ONE LONG-STANDING CONTRACT / DREAM JOB THAT HULK’S BEEN DOING FOR YEARS AND YEARS (ALONG WITH LOTS OF OTHER JOBS). THAT JOB IS THE CORNERSTONE OF EVERYTHING HULK DOES AND IT PAYS FOR HULK’S LIFE AND FAMILY, ETC. AND LET’S SAY THAT DREAM JOB DEPENDS ON SECRECY IN NOT A LEGAL WAY OR ANYTHING, BUT AS A PHILOSOPHY. WHERE ANYTHING ELSE WOULD BE HUGELY FROWNED UPON IN A FIRE-ABLE WAY. AND THEN LETS SAY SOMEONE WITH THAT DREAM JOB ONE DAY TURNED INTO A HULK AND TOOK TO TWITTER ON A LARK AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE A REMARKABLY SATISFYING WAY TO TALK ABOUT MOVIES IN THE ANALYTICAL WAY HULK LOVES TO TALK ABOUT THEM. AND TOGETHER, LET’S THE TWO THINGS BECAME A METAPHORICAL BRIDGE WHICH COULD HELP LOTS OF PEOPLE.

BUT TO MAINTAIN THE JOYS OF BOTH THINGS MEANS MAINTAINING THE EXISTENCE OF BOTH THINGS IN AS PURE A WAY AS POSSIBLE. WHICH MEANS IT IS PARAMOUNT THAT HULK NOT GIVE INTO EGO. THAT HULK CANNOT CARE IF NO ONE EVER KNOWS WHO HULK IS. HULK CAN NEVER SEEK “THE GLORY” BY LETTING THE OTHER ARENA KNOW. EVERY TIME HULK HAS EVEN FLIRTED WITH THE IDEA HAS BEEN A MIS-STEP. BESIDES THE DESIRE TO “COME OUT” IMPLIES THERE IS SOMETHING TO BE GAINED BY IT. HULK’S INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT COMPRISES MORE THAN HULK COULD EVER MAKE AS A CRITIC. TO BOOT, IN ORDER TO KEEP UP THE HOURS REQUIRED FOR DOING THE HULK THING, HULK TURNS DOWN WHAT WOULD BE MUCH, MUCH HIGHER PAYING WORK ALL THE TIME (NOT TO MENTION THE GREAT FINANCIAL RISK EVEN DOING THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE). AND SO, THE GOAL IS TO ESSENTIALLY KEEP BOTH SIDES OF THIS SAME PERSON ALIVE AND SEPARATE. AND THUS, HULK NEVER, EVER HOPES TO “COME OUT.” BECAUSE HULK FIGURES THAT HULK ALREADY HAS IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE BY BECOMING HULK.

AND QUITE FRANKLY, IT SEEMS LIKE THE MOST VOCAL CRITICS DON’T UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY. IT’S NOT UNLIKE HAVING A PROTECTED SOURCE. BECAUSE WHEN A PUBLICATION CAN VOUCH FOR THE ANONYMOUS SOURCE THEN IT TAKES ON THE RESPONSIBILITY. AND THAT WOULDN’T HAPPEN LIGHTLY. THIS IS WHAT HULK HAS WITH EVERY PUBLICATION HULK WRITES FOR. AND AT BADASS DIGEST, WE’VE BEEN IMPOSSIBLY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS. AVOIDING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AT ALL COSTS. AND HAVING FULL TRANSPARENCY. ANY TIME THERE’S EVEN A QUESTION HULK TALKS TO HULK’S EDITOR IMMEDIATELY (THE WONDERFUL MEREDITH BORDERS). THIS IS SOMETHING WE TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY AND SHOULD INSTILL FULL CONFIDENCE IN THE READER.

BUT WITH ALL THE RISK, WHY DO IT? BECAUSE IT’S RIGHT THING TO DO, REALLY. EDUCATION IS SOMETHING WE SHARE. HOLLYWOOD SUFFERS FROM A WEIRD COMBO OF PREACHING SECRECY AND MAKING PEOPLE AFRAID TO EVEN PUT THEIR PHILOSOPHIES OUT THERE. AS IF THE IDEA OF SHOWING THAT YOU THINK YOU “KNOW THINGS” PUBLICLY IS A BAD MOVE IN AN INDUSTRY WHERE SUPPOSEDLY NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING. AND HECK, THEY’RE PROBABLY RIGHT. AFTER ALL, MOST BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ANONYMOUS SOURCING IS USED FOR GOSSIP. SO AND SO SAID THIS ABOUT SO AND SO. BUT THAT’S NOT THE CLOSED DOOR CONVERSATION HULK IS “EXPOSING.” HULK IS TALKING ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD WHERE THESE QUIET PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THINGS WITH PASSION AND WONDER AND KNOW-HOW. NONE OF IT IS ABOUT THE SPECIFICS. IT’S THE PHILOSOPHY THAT NEEDS TO BE OUT THERE. AND BECAUSE HULK’S GOTTEN TO BE SOME WEIRD ZELIG FIGURE IN ALL THIS, HULK IS MERELY SOAKING UP THE LOVELY INPUT GENIUSES AND SPITTING IT BACK TO YOU AS BEST HULK CAN. THIS IS MERELY WHAT HULK HAS LEARNED.

AND HULK BELIEVES IT IS WORTH SHARING.

What moment in your life changed your opinion on the importance of the Academy Awards and do you believe the politics will ever change?

THIS ONE IS ANOTHER SLOW EVOLUTION OF GETTING TO THE PLACE OF NOT CARING, BUT REALLY IT WAS THE OSCARS FOR THE YEAR 2004. HULK HAD A FRONT ROW TICKET TO ALL THE INDUSTRY HUBBUB AND GOT TO SEE ALL THE VOTERS IN ACTION AND… WELL… THAT MEANS HULK GOT TO SEE A BUNCH OF GROWN UPS GET REALLY CATTY AND MEAN AS THEY GOT “BORED” OF VOTING FOR BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN SO THEY VOTED FOR THE NONSENSE FEEL-GOOD MOVIE ABOUT RACISM THAT IS CRASH BECAUSE… WELL HULK’S STILL NOT SURE.

THE THING ABOUT THE ACADEMY IS PEOPLE REALLY, REALLY DON’T GET HOW MUCH OF IT IS OLD PEOPLE. SAME GOES WITH EMMYS. REALLY, EVERY PARTICULAR VOTING GROUP FOR AN AWARD SHOW HAS THEIR PARTICULAR AND SILLY INCLINATIONS THAT PULLS THEM SO FAR AWAY FROM SOMETHING THAT HULK WOULD PUT STOCK IN. EVEN A LOT OF CRITIC GROUPS ARE SATURATED BY WE CAN CALL THE “TV PUFF PIECE” CONTINGENT. REALLY, IT’S THE ONE THING HULK LEARNED JUST NOT TO CARE ABOUT IT. DON’T GET HULK WRONG, IF YOU WIN ONE IT’S A HUGE HONOR AND YOU SHOULD BE NOTHING BUT RESPECTFUL AND IT WILL HOPEFULLY BE GOOD FOR YOUR CAREER. BUT AS AN ENTERPRISE ITSELF, AS SOMETHING WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT IN TERMS OF SEEKING VALIDITY FOR THINGS? NOPE. AND THE POLITICAL NATURE OF AWARDS WILL PROBABLY JUST GET WORSE THE MORE WE UNDERSTAND THEIR MACHINATIONS AND THE MORE WE VALUE THEIR POWER.

Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mocking Bird is a character that’s close to your heart. Is he an inspiration when dealing with all of the cynicism that surrounds us today?

WAS TRYING TO THINK OF A NUANCED, INSIGHTFUL ANSWER HERE, BUT THE MOST ACCURATE RESPONSE IS “YUP. ALWAYS.”

You once said that film criticism should strive to connect to people in the same way the best movies do. When do you feel that film criticism lost its way and the power that it once had to inspire such feelings?

NOT NECESSARILY. LIKE THE VERY ISSUES OF ART VS. INDULGENCE, IT’S A QUESTION OF CRITICS BECOMING MORE IN TUNE WITH WANT AND NEED. WE WANT OUR VOICES TO CARRY WEIGHT. WE WANT OUR OPINIONS TO BE VALID. WE WANT PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO US. WE WANT TO BE ADORED AND RESPECTED. BUT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HULK FEELS IS GETTING LOST IS THE FACT THAT READERS JUST WANT TO UNDERSTAND. THEY’RE REALLY NOT COMING TO YOU TO KNOW WHAT TO THINK. THEY’RE COMING TO YOU TO LEARN HOW TO THINK. LIKE HULK SAID BEFORE THE GOAL IS NOT TO IMPRESS, BUT TO CONVINCE. TO OFFER A HAPPY BRAIN REORIENTATION. AND SOME WOULD ACCUSE THAT OF BEING DIDACTIC, BUT TO HULK THAT’S JUST HAVING PURPOSE AND DIRECTION.

BECAUSE THE REAL GOAL HERE IS CONNECTION. AND WHEN YOU CAN INSPIRE SOMEONE WITH NOT JUST LOVE OF MOVIES, BUT A FEELING OF ELECTRICAL CONNECTION, THEN YOU’VE REACHED THE PINNACLE OF YOUR JOB. IF THINK ABOUT IT: MOVIES ARE ABOUT TRANSPORTATION OF THE VISCERA WHICH IN TURN INSPIRES SOME KIND OF UNDERSTANDING AND COGNITION. WHICH THEN MEANS IT IS A CRITIC’S JOB IS TO FACILITATE A WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THOSE SAME MOVIES, BRING IT ALL CLOSER TO THEM IN A UNION OF MIND, BODY, AND SOUL. AND WHEN YOU CAN DO THAT? THAT’S THE COMPLETION OF THE TRANSPORTATION.

THAT’S NOT ONLY WHEN CRITICISM FEELS POWERFUL, IT’S WHEN IT FEELS TRUE.

Do you believe it’s possible to reverse the opinion of those that see film as a disposable medium?

YES, BUT NOT BECAUSE OF ALL THE FLOWERY, POETIC REASONS THAT FILM LOVERS LOVE MOVIES. NO, THEY’LL NEVER CAVE TO THAT. THE MOST STARK CYNICAL REASON THAT FILM WILL NEVER BE DISPOSABLE MEDIUM IS BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS LOOK UP AT MOVIE STARS ON THE BIG SCREEN AND WANT TO EITHER BE THEM OR BE WITH THEM… THIS WAS ORIGINALLY WRITTEN AS A JOKE WHERE HULK SAID “WANT TO FUCK THEM.” BUT LIKE SOME CRASS JOKES IT DOES THE TRUTH A DISSERVICE. MOVIES GO BEYOND MERE PORNOGRAPHY. NO, THEIR INDULGENCE IS A LITTLE BIT MORE SOULFUL OR AT LEAST COMPLETE. MOVIE STARS ARE THE GODS AND GODDESSES OF OUR PROJECTIONS. AND NO MATTER HOW MANY REALITY STARS WILL FIT THE US WEEKLY BILL, HULK THINKS THAT PROBABLY WON’T CHANGE… PROBABLY.

You mentioned on Twitter that you don’t attend press screenings and make your best of the year lists in January. Out of what you’ve seen so far, what has the best chance at making the cut?

THE PRESS SCREENING THING IS MOSTLY DUE TO THE CRAZY WORK SCHEDULE, BUT IT CONVENIENTLY DOUBLES IN ALLOWING HULK TO BE A “HULK OF THE PEOPLE” OR SOMETHING. DON’T GET HULK WRONG, FOR A FULL-TIME CRITIC THEY ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT BE PAYING FOR MOVIES. IT’S WORK. FOR WHAT HULK DOES THOUGH? NOT SURE. PAYING FOR ALL THE MOVIES HULK SEES JUST FEELS RIGHT.

AS FOR YEAR END LIST? BOOM! RIGHT HERE!  HYPERLINK “http://badassdigest.com/2014/01/02/hulks-top-ten-movies-of-2013/” http://badassdigest.com/2014/01/02/hulks-top-ten-movies-of-2013/

What future plans have you the most excited right now and what can we expect next from Badass Digest Publishing?

EVAN SAATOFF’S BOOK IS COMING OUT SOON AND IT’S REALLY EXCITING. IT’S ABOUT TYLER PERRY AND IT IS COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY SERIOUS EVALUATIVE CRITICISM OF HIS WORK. PERRY IS TOO-EASILY DISMISSED BECAUSE PEOPLE REDUCE BOTH HE AND HIS CLIENTELE TO ONE NOTE “BLACK AUDIENCES THING” (WHICH IS SUPER FUCKING OFFENSIVE), BUT HE IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE WEIRDEST AND MOST PSYCHOLOGICALLY INTERESTING FILMMAKERS WORKING TODAY (AND HE WORKS A LOT). HE’S NOT LIKE DAVID LYNCH WEIRD, BUT THE WAY HE APPROACHES CHARACTER, CAUSE AND EFFECT, AND MORALITY IS DOWNRIGHT BATSHIT. AND WHAT’S AMAZING IS HOW MANY CRITICS DON’T PICK UP ON IT OR JUST ASSUME IT ISN’T THERE. AND THAT’S WHY HULK LOVES WHAT EVAN IS DOING HERE. IT’S REAL FRONTIER CRITICISM STUFF AND IT’S A JOY.

AS FOR HULK STUFF, MORE BOOKS! HULK’S CULLING A FEW IDEAS TOGETHER AND THERE’S ONE AWESOME THING IN THE WORKS, BUT IT’S GOING TO TAKE A FEW YEARS (REALLY. LOTS TO COVER). BUT PERHAPS MOST EXCITING OF ALL: HULK’S UNSURE WHERE IT’S ALL GOING.

BECAUSE, OTHER THAN THE AFOREMENTIONED BRIDGE METAPHOR, HULK’S NEVER REALLY DECIDED WHAT THIS “IS” IF THAT MAKES SENSE. IT’S A CONTINUED EXPERIMENT. SOMETHING HULK IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT. THERE’S BEEN MISSTEPS ALONG THE WAY AND DEFINITELY MORE TO COME, BUT HULK’S NEVER GOING TO STOP STRETCHING OUTWARD. FOR INSTANCE, JUST RECENTLY HULK DECIDED TO ESCHEW THE CINEMA TALK AND WEIGH IN ON THE PROBLEMS WITH THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON RAPE. AND THE REACTIONS TO THIS PIECE RAN THE GAMUT. SOME WERE THANKFUL THAT HULK THROUGH SUPPORT BEHIND THE DIALOGUE CHANGE. AND SOME WERE GENUINELY TROUBLED BY THE IDEA OF “HULK” TALKING ABOUT THE MATTER (AND IT IS SUCH A DELICATE ISSUE THAT HULK 100% UNDERSTANDS THE TRIGGERS HERE). BUT THE VERY POINT OF THE VERY ARTICLE WAS THAT THE DIALOGUE SHOULD NOT BE HUSHED OR RENDERED TOO DELICATE IN ANY SENSE. THAT IT MUST NOT BE MITIGATED BY MATTERS OF PRETENSE. THAT IT MUST BE SPOKEN ABOUT EVERYWHERE AND TO EVERYONE… AND THAT MEANS ESPECIALLY BY HULKS WHO USUALLY TALK ABOUT MOVIES.

THAT LAST LITTLE BIT OF DIGRESSION MAY SEEM LIKE A WEIRD THING TO BRING UP, BUT IT IS DIGRESSION WITH A POINT. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING THIS HULK THING, IT HAS BEEN ABOUT SUBVERTING EXPECTATIONS. YOURS. HULKS. CRITICS. THE INDUSTRY. WHOEVER. IT IS TO REALIZE THAT HULK IS MAKING A JOKE THAT WASN’T EVER REALLY A JOKE. SO FOR ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS IMAGINE THERE’S SOME ANGRY BANNER GUY TRAPPED BENEATH A GOOFY ARTIFICE. OR THERE’S ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ROLL THEIR EYES AT THE ALL CAPS AND DUMB SHTICK. HULK WANTS YOU TO KNOW THAT THAT’S FINE. BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS THAT THERE IS NO BANNER. NO CAPS. AND NO SHTICK. THERE IS ONLY HULK AND WHAT HULK IS TRYING TO REPRESENT.

AND IT HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT A JOYOUS PLEASURE.

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