Street fight breaks out concerning Tár!


The Benjamins say we're right: In the last few days, a street fight has broken out concerning the Oscar-nominated film, Tár.

Critics praised the film to the skies, but it died a cruel death at the turnstiles. A reader has politely chided us for our claim that the film was on the extremely high end of obscure. 

That's the provisional explanation we offered for its low box office receipts.

This reader also seemed to think that we spent too much time on the topic. By way of explanation, do you know how depressing it can be to write about our own tribe's journalism day after day after day?

Responding to the reader's jibes, we included one final complaint about Tár, a complaint we hadn't included in our original award-winning reports:

For what it's worth, I never mentioned the part of the film that annoyed me right away—the possibly parodic, grotesquely fawning introduction of the character Tár right at the start of the film. 

I can't hear an intro like that without thinking of the various ways such highly praised elites have failed us down through the years. Then it was on to that initial interview segment, which struck me as highly obscure, but also as full of points which seemed to be disconnected and of no apparent high interest.

The reader seemed annoyed by the way we focused on all the references which we ourselves didn't understand. All along, our guess has been that very few others understood those references either. 

Skillfully, we sent the analysts from the room, then offered this ultimate zinger:

"It's hard for us to lose this debate. The box office says we're right!"

Final notes concerning Aftersun: Telephonically, we offered a synopsis of Aftersun to a friend this past week.

We found it hard to do that without emotion. In our view, director Charlotte Wells does an extremely skillful job of story-telling in this, her first feature film, slowly letting a tragic situation come into view. 

Very slowly, the viewer is allowed to see that something is badly wrong inside the life of a very good person. We had a hard time telling the story to a friend this week. We recalled the loss of NAME WITHHELD, and of the late Richard Jeni.

That said, the basic setup of the film—an 11-year-old girl with a camcorder interacts with her loving but troubled father—strongly echoes Jim Sheridan's 2002 film, In America

The 11-year-old in Sheridan's film is able to see that her father is struggling in a way her counterpart in Aftersun isn't. Also, the outcome is reversed. 

For our money, Aftersun lets a tragic story unfold with a high degree of skill. We found it hard to tell that story this past week—but as a very minor complaint, we'll admit that we thought the echo was a tiny bit strong.

In America received two Oscar nominations for acting, and a Best Screenplay nod. As for Aftersun, Paul Mescal received a Best Actor nomination—and Sight & Sound's 93 savants selected it as the best film made anywhere in the world in the course of the year now gone.


  1. “It's hard for us to lose this debate. The box office says we're right!"”

    Box office receipts as of right now:

    Aftersun: 4.2 million
    Tár: 12 million

    Now, what does the box office say again?

  2. From "It's a Wonderful Life" to "The Big Lebowski" many
    beloved films opened slowly out of the gate. Bob probably knows this, but he enjoys being a jerk.
    His friend may be an even bigger jerk. The scene he
    is referring to is not intended to endear Tar to the audience,
    It is to SHOW she lives in a world that is apart, above, a world the average person cannot relate to. (even if they
    can follow what She was saying with the help of an old
    Tom Leher song, like me). Is this why She takes liberties
    later on the film She may feel She is entitled to? IS She
    entitled to them? This is part of the dramatic tension of
    the film, if it takes you into it's world. (It did for me, but
    didn't satisfy or resolve those tensions in a way that
    worked for me).
    "In America" really spoke to Bob. I thought it was
    OK. I have other favorites. So what?

    1. Somerby supplies you with a free essay; you respond with a gratuitous insult; I'm wondering, who's being a jerk?

    2. Somerby, no question.

    3. Anonymouse 9:01pm, NO question.

      He’s all up in our faces about everything.

    4. I write one comment today and suddenly I'm all up in someone's face about everything? I don't think so.

    5. And the internet is not free, stupid.

    6. And this was not written by 901. But, I guess you can't reply in substance to anything in my reply to Bob.

  3. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools of oppression. Somerby appreciates good storytelling skills…unless it is used by non right wingers to fight oppression, then it’s very bad. And depressing.

    Somerby tells us his personal views on movies, because….we are friends? Yesterday Somerby misrepresented the toxic stance right wingers have on gender identity, and then misrepresented what’s happening in NYC with migrants. Friends? Why would I be friends with such a slimy piece of shit asshole like Somerby? I don’t think so.

    1. Anonymouse 8:03pm, ask him if he cares.

      On the other hand, you’re reading him daily.

    2. "On the other hand, you’re reading him daily."
      Where else will I learn the Right-wing grievance du jour?

    3. Ask me if I care.

      On the other hand, you respond to my comments daily, like a typical triggered and butt hurt right winger.

  4. I watched Tar because of Somerby’s complaints. I found it enjoyable and comprehensible.

    1. Anonymouse 9;04pm, well, that’s a relief.

    2. Trump 2024 "Fuck Your Feelings" t-shirts for Somerby, 9:04, and Cecelia.

  5. Anonymouse 10:18pm, Oh, thanks, but I have one in all the Pantone colors.

  6. Listen, now the one girl wants to get her lip tucked
    She says Doc, I want my slim hips so I'm a slim figure
    The other girl says my hips are not big enough
    And yo, Doc, inject the collagen and make my lips bigger
    All of these so-called celebrities are selling millions of records and claiming no responsibility
    A young girl sees you on a TV show
    She's only six, says "Mama, I don't like my nose!"
    Now why'd you have to go and mess up the child's head
    So you can get another gold waterbed?!
    You fake-hair-contact-wearing-liposuction carnival exhibit
    Listen to my rhyme, you need to hear it

  7. The opening credits of Tar were so boring they actually made me angry. But it was an artistic device. The director was trying to make a statement with them.

    The opening scene with Cate Blanchett was pure shit. Such poor acting! She didn't come across as real at all. That may have been a statement too. Not sure. It was possibly parodic or also a statement like the opening credits. A way to plant clues for the supernatural ending. Not sure but the movie is hard as hell to watch. I do think it's been misinterpreted by most of the people who like it. Which doesn't matter. If they like it, that's great.

    1. Do you know what a real famous female conductor is like?

    2. It’s made more money so far than Somerby’s fave “Aftersun.”

    3. Was "Aftersun" nominated for Best Picture and lauded far and wide by critics?

    4. Glad you asked, Waylon. Let’s let Bob tell us the answer to that one:

      “ As for Aftersun, Paul Mescal received a Best Actor nomination—and Sight & Sound's 93 savants selected it as the best film made anywhere in the world in the course of the year now gone.”

    5. I was asking if it was nominated for Best Picture and lauded far and wide by critics?

    6. I just provided you proof from Somerby himself that it was highly praised. In fact, all the critics who picked Tár as their number one picked Aftersun as their number two. The meta critic critics score for it is 95, meaning universal
      praise. Of course, you could have figured that out in 10 seconds yourself. It was not nominated for best picture. That is the Academy’s choice, not the critics. Somerby likes to say that the public is with him about Tár (it did poorly at the box office), but the public is not with him on Aftersun either (so far, it’s done considerably worse than Tár). He is trying to “prove” his opinion is “correct.” It’s just his fricking opinion.

    7. The public *is* with him on Tar. ????? I don't think you've really thought this out.

    8. mh - you should write Bob and share with him all of this important evidence you've uncovered about the public not being with him and your feelings that he said the public was with him.