Commercial one vs "auteur" one - what would you pick?

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So in his bid to prove his films have some kind of discernable identity, Tom Hooper is an auteur because he suddenly is over compensating with the worst kinds of gaudiness? It's like inviting some guy with zero personality to your party because he bought a funny hat. He still sucks and your friends still wont like him, no matter how much you point at his headwear.
You sound like a man who wouldnít know what Jellicle means even if we sang a 5 minute song about it. In other words, you may have seen CATS.



So in his bid to prove his films have some kind of discernable identity, Tom Hooper is an auteur because he suddenly is over compensating with the worst kinds of gaudiness? It's like inviting some guy with zero personality to your party because he bought a funny hat. He still sucks and your friends still wont like him, no matter how much you point at his headwear.
I don't think the word "auteur" is being used in a positive way for Tom Hooper here. I just mean it as an illustration that those two films have recognizable traits that set them apart from other films, for better or for worse. As you mentioned upthread, Ed Wood and Neil Breen are auteurs as well. Just for bad reasons.



I don't think the word "auteur" is being used in a positive way for Tom Hooper here. I just mean it as an illustration that those two films have recognizable traits that set them apart from other films, for better or for worse. As you mentioned upthread, Ed Wood and Neil Breen are auteurs as well. Just for bad reasons.

I'm pretty sure MKS is actually a (sort of) fan of CATS, but aside from that, I know we're not being exclusively postiive about the term. I just don't think it applies particularly well to him. I don't look at any Tom Hooper film and think "hmmmm, yes, this is a decidedly Tom Hooperesque specimen". I'd be shocked if anyone does, even MKS who probably thinks all Hooper needed for auteurship status was to get those cat buttholes approved.



Guys like Ed Wood and Neil Breen are different. They have very distinct concerns and/or approaches to how they are using film. They are bad and strange in very particular ways, that can be traced from film to film. Likewise, someone similar to them in reputation (Tommy Wiseau) I'm less inclined to think has much of a signature, at least beyond his obvious lack of talent, and the fact that he is a really weird guy. Sure, those are recognizable in some ways, but I don't believe there is much of Tommy Wiseau the person to be found in The Room. I think The Room is just a result of someone stumbling blindly to get to the end of a film.



Of course, when we talk about Wiseau we are getting into conjecture, and super duper subjectivity here. I'm sure a salvageable argument could be made for him, if someone could bother. Arguments could probably be made for lots of people I disagree with being called an auteur.


But regarding matters of Tom Hooper. Not. An. Auteur. I've got the test tube results to prove it, scientifically. No, I won't show you, but just trust me.



I'm pretty sure MKS is actually a (sort of) fan of CATS, but aside from that, I know we're not being exclusively postiive about the term. I just don't think it applies particularly well to him. I don't look at any Tom Hooper film and think "hmmmm, yes, this is a decidedly Tom Hooperesque specimen". I'd be shocked if anyone does, even MKS who probably thinks all Hooper needed for auteurship status was to get those cat buttholes approved.



Guys like Ed Wood and Neil Breen are different. They have very distinct concerns and/or approaches to how they are using film. They are bad and strange in very particular ways, that can be traced from film to film. Likewise, someone similar to them in reputation (Tommy Wiseau) I'm less inclined to think has much of a signature, at least beyond his obvious lack of talent, and the fact that he is a really weird guy. Sure, those are recognizable in some ways, but I don't believe there is much of Tommy Wiseau the person to be found in The Room. I think The Room is just a result of someone stumbling blindly to get to the end of a film.



Of course, when we talk about Wiseau we are getting into conjecture, and super duper subjectivity here. I'm sure a salvageable argument could be made for him, if someone could bother. Arguments could probably be made for lots of people I disagree with being called an auteur.


But regarding matters of Tom Hooper. Not. An. Auteur. I've got the test tube results to prove it, scientifically. No, I won't show you, but just trust me.
Since I haven't seen much of his filmography, I'll trust your scientific results.



I think Hooper had an aesthetic. He likes to have his subject in the lower right or center of frame with a lot of negative space, mixed with hyper close-ups, Dutch angles, high contrast, low saturation, and handheld. Heís sort of like Kenneth Branagh, in which he found a few ďartisticĒ ways to block action, regardless of the meaning itís meant to convey, and went back to that well repeatedly.

Then he made CATS and finally became an artist (pronounced arteest, for the record).



I think Hooper had an aesthetic. He likes to have his subject in the lower right or center of frame with a lot of negative space, mixed with hyper close-ups, Dutch angles, high contrast, low saturation, and handheld. Heís sort of like Kenneth Branagh, in which he found a few ďartisticĒ ways to block action, regardless of the meaning itís meant to convey, and went back to that well repeatedly.

Then he made CATS and finally became an artist (pronounced arteest, for the record).
An impression I've formed about him from watching Les Miserables and what I know about Cats is that his ambitions are rather zany and unique to the point he becomes a huge risk-taker when attempting to achieve them, like all the close-up shots or the live singing in Les Miserables or the creepy cat costumes in Cats. Regardless of how well these elements work, I've gotten that impression from him so far. However, I don't know if watching more of his films will cause me to change my mind about this.



An impression I've formed about him from watching Les Miserables and what I know about Cats is that his ambitions are rather zany and unique to the point he becomes a huge risk-taker when attempting to achieve them, like all the close-up shots or the live singing in Les Miserables or the creepy cat costumes in Cats. Regardless of how well these elements work, I've gotten that impression from him so far. However, I don't know if watching more of his films will cause me to change my mind about this.
Iím a pretty big fan of his mini-series adaptation of John Adams, which will forever save him from me giving him the ire Crummy places upon him. I donít care for the Kingís Speech and think he placed a lot of empty ďthis is artĒ aesthetics on a completely flat, typical, trite screenplay. His approach similarly marred Les Miserables, despite two outstanding performances (Jackman and Hathaway) keeping it from sinking that low.

CATS, is not merely a case of reach exceeding grasp. Itís a case of hubris, insanity, and incompetence in immeasurable and equal parts, from the conception of the terrible musical to the decision to adapt that musical with no costumes or tracking costumes to allow for competent CG work, while building insanely large sets but ensuring none of them are to scale... itís sublime cinema.

And hereís Crummy talking like a man of such caliber is Rob Marshall.



Iím a pretty big fan of his mini-series adaptation of John Adams, which will forever save him from me giving him the ire Crummy places upon him. I donít care for the Kingís Speech and think he placed a lot of empty ďthis is artĒ aesthetics on a completely flat, typical, trite screenplay.
This guy felt similarly:









Iím a pretty big fan of his mini-series adaptation of John Adams, which will forever save him from me giving him the ire Crummy places upon him. I donít care for the Kingís Speech and think he placed a lot of empty ďthis is artĒ aesthetics on a completely flat, typical, trite screenplay. His approach similarly marred Les Miserables, despite two outstanding performances (Jackman and Hathaway) keeping it from sinking that low.

CATS, is not merely a case of reach exceeding grasp. Itís a case of hubris, insanity, and incompetence in immeasurable and equal parts, from the conception of the terrible musical to the decision to adapt that musical with no costumes or tracking costumes to allow for competent CG work, while building insanely large sets but ensuring none of them are to scale... itís sublime cinema.

And hereís Crummy talking like a man of such caliber is Rob Marshall.

I know Bad Lieutenant tried to convince me of Hooper's worth because of John Adams, but I still haven't seen it. Maybe one day, but presidential biopics, outside of maaaaaaybe Stone's Nixon, don't really interest me much.



I think we're on the same page regarding King's Speech and what I saw of Les Mis (which was a good portion, but I kept leaving the room to wash a bathtub, or something at least a little more stimulating). While there are a handful of visual indulgences on the surface (and even deeper ones that you've spotted on the technical level, that I would never have noted) they aren't attached to anything. They are an occassional bit of flare so Hooper can think he's playing 'director', in the most useless kind of way. It doesn't amount to anything auteuristic except possibly Borderline Personality Disorder.


I actually wanted to see Cats when it came out. At least a little bit, even though the trailer did not baffle me or freak me out nearly as much as it did so many others. I just thought it looked like headache inducing nightmare. But that's kind of my jam, so good enough for me. I was finally willing to deliberately watch a Hooper film.


So far, I've seen about half of it, having put it on really late at night about a month ago. And it's awful. But definitely awful in a way that I would be willing to go back to and finish. Yet, even as excessive as it is, with Hooper taking those useless little indulgences of his, and blowing them up to full useless scale, I still don't see enough of a person in there to call it even hubris. It's just layer upon layer of making things loud and bright and dumb, just so someone notices him (ooops, that's actually getting distressingly close to working against my point that we learn nothing of Hooper while watching his films...he's a fraud who is absolutely terrified someone will notice...let's throw a little Imposter Syndrome in there while we are at it).

The closest comparison I can think of (and it is a movie made by a director that is definitely an auteur, but I've mostly thought is terrible) is Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Sure, it fits into his oeuvre over the years. I would probably be able to guess who made it, simply because according to the diminishing returns of his career, of course he did. But in reality, it actually mostly just reeks of someone imitating a Tim Burton film. I barely even can see him in there, and he's one of the more distinctive directors of our generation. And I think its because he has so become lost in the myth of Tim Burton, he's either stopped caring or forgotten how to make a film that is actually coming from him, and not just what's expected of him.



But in the case of CATS, its ****ing Tom Hooper. Who I couldn't pick out of a line up, and now is exploding all of his directorial insecurities onto the screen like so much Technicolor cat vomit. And, when it comes to Hooper, I really have no idea what to do when I get too much of him, because even with so many heaping mouthfuls to contemplate here, it still tastes like Le Mis era gruel.



Cats was fine.
I have a theory that Disney spent serious influence and probably money to make Cats a media-laughingstock because they knew Rise Of Skywalker was about to set a new cinematic low and wanted the shade already aggressively focused elsewhere.