The day's highlight was Russel McLean, David Corbett, Megan Abbott, Wallace Stroby, and Todd Ritter shephered by able moderator Jeremy Lynch through a discussion of crime movies. How smart and entertaining was this lot? Even though Corbett and I are 180 degrees apart on Hitchcock and a bit less than that on Chinatown, he offers plausible reasons for his antipathy in the first case and his enthusiasm in the other.
Corbett calls Hitchcock's work mere exercise, and I presume he refers to that director's technical mastery. I think he's wrong, but it's a plausible reason not to like Hitchcock; the man was famously a master of every aspect of moviemaking and a player of technical games. Oddly enough, I find Corbett's beloved Chinatown equally calculated. To me, that movie is a calculated effort to shock by being more explicit about the dark family secrets that underlay so much American writing around the middle of the last century. But you know what? Corbett, the bald guy of this post's title, is so sharp a commentator, so reasoned in his criticism, and so forthright about his own predisposition toward passionate storytelling that I just may give Chinatown another try.
More later. For now, though, I'll reprise a comment I made at my first Bouchercon, in 2008:
"Carousing is good. Brainy, funny people are better. Carousing with brainy, funny people may not be the highest form of human activity, but it will sure as hell do until something better comes along."
"I love Tom Cruise, but have you seen Far And Away?"
-- Eoin Colfer
-- Sara J. Henry on the packaged food that sustains her on the road.
"Watching craftsmen at their job is, I think, inherently interesting."
-- Peter Spiegelman on the appeal of the caper novel.
"I was all over that like a money shot on big tits."
-- Christa Faust's enthusiastic reaction upon being asked to join the first night's panel on "Sex, Violence, and Everything That Makes A Book Great." This is nothing more than savvy self-promotion, of course. Christa's best-known novel is Money Shot.
© Peter Rozovsky 2011