Director Tony Scott died today. If that’s not enough of a bummer, he committed suicide by jumping off The Vincent Thomas Bridge.
Fuck. I’m genuinely sorry to break the news to you. It was certainly bizarre and shitty news to receive. Tony Scott is dead. And it’s awful to think about.
Instead of obsessing over and speculating on why he would do such a thing, let’s take a moment and a few hundred words to remember the awesome movies this British-born director made and their part in helping to build a genre that is now an American tradition.
Scott left behind numerous icons of badass cinema such as, Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Crimson Tide, Days of Thunder, The Last Boy Scout, Enemy of the State, Man On Fire, and most notably, True Romance, his most acceptional and well-rounded film.
(Note: I haven’t seen them all, but you can bet I’ll get around to it.)
Many attribute the film’s greatness to the fact that it was written by Quentin Tarantino (who may or may not have subtly or blatantly taken much of it from Roger Avary), but there is a controlled, human element to the film that Tarantino’s superb direction would never have been able achieve. Tony Scott took a great script and turned it into a masterpiece of modern narrative cinema. And in my opinion, the excellent films of his brother, Ridley Scott – movies that tend to be more involved, epic, emotionally weighty, and much, much more revered – do not hold a candle to how full, rich and complete True Romance is.
Odds are the death of Tony Scott, a semi-known B-movie, popcorn flick director isn’t going to mean much to most people, but film nerds, action aficionados, and popcorn lovers everywhere will surely feel that, even though Tony’s heyday of 80′s action has long since been over, an era has ended tonight.
Say what you will about his later films, but unlike many filmmakers, Tony Scott never seemed to slow down. In fact, stylistically, he seemed to accelerate. Visually, his later films were always an intense and enjoyable sight to see. Perhaps they could be overwrought or decadent with in-your-face cuts, color saturation, canted angles, and unnecessary subtitles flying around (Man On Fire and his short film, Beat The Devil come to mind) – but, man, sometimes you just need to lick the frosting off the cake.
Anthony Scott was a damn frosting artist, and for that, he will always have the love, admiration, and respect of The Whiteman Brothers.
1944 – 2012
Ghost (1990) is a great film — don’t get me wrong. It’s got a lot of heart and tension and supernature in it. But let’s face it: Ghost (1990) is not perfect. It’s CLOSE, but it’s not quite there. This is why Chrisjof thought it would be a good idea to audition for it. Add some zest to the dish.
You might say, “Chrisjof, how in the heck are you planning on being in Ghost (1990) when it is 2012 out here?!”
And the obvious answer is: the magic of motion pictures, babe. Anything can happen. Didn’t you see Jurassic Park (1993) or Shallow Hal (2001), huh?
Magic, babe. Pure magic.
In this audition tape, Chrisjof is hoping to be cast as the role of Patrick Swayze’s character — you know the one. The ghost-ish one. With the good hair.
Please watch this painstaking performance, and share it with your friends. If we get this thing going viral, we might be able to change some minds in Hollywood, and the next thing you know, you’ll be popping in the Ghost (1990) DVD cassette and Chrisjof will be getting freaky with Demi Moore and that moist, moist pottery.
Well, let’s get into it:
“I can’t believe I’m a fuckin’ ghoster-strudel!” — Sam “Patrick Swayze” Wheat in Ghost (1990)
Portland Comedy: For just about a year now, Chrisjof (who is not Christof Whiteman, but they are similar dudes – I mean, they are only a consonant away from one another) has been performing at stand-up comedy open mic nights at places like Helium, Funhouse Lounge, and the occasional art museum (more on this another time). Chrisjof has expressed disdain toward the term “stand up comedy” and much prefers to think of it as “comedy whilst standing”, but let’s not let that bum us out. Life’s just too short for that shit, man.
Christof Whiteman’s routine takes on very hot-button issues such as Children’s Stores and Fat Babies and Making Fat Babies.
In the immortal words of 2 Unlimited, “Y’all ready for this?!”
Click dat for Portland Comedy!
Now that it is all over and done with and almost three months have passed, we can talk about it again. It took a lot out of us Whiteman Brothers to fulfill round two of the Leap Year project: 29 Films in 29 Days – this edition aptly referred to as, 29 Wishes in 29 Films in 29 Days. As you probably know (since everybody is talkin’ ’bout it!), in 2008, we embarked upon a nasty little challenge to make a film a day for each of the 29 days in that February. Because we are never content with how thin we may stretch ourselves, we decided that we would do this EVERY leap year – say whaaaaat?
We had the help of some high-concept genie-baby-magic in this round, where in we were granted one wish for each of the days.
Frequently Asked Question: “Yeah, but, like – what was the first wish?”
Frequently Cringed-Over Answer: “It was wishing for more wishes! Which may only slightly be implied. Shut up! Leave us alone! Don’t look at me!”
Over all, the project was a success! Because for One: we made 29 movies in 29 days. Two: we didn’t hate any of them. Three: none of them make us shudder too much. And lucky number Four: we believe this batch far surpassed the original 29 cookies! Success! Hooray! Fuck, we’re tired! By the end of it, we were so spun out on Red Bull and silly jokes that we rode that tension into the following days, not knowing what to do with ourselves. Elation finally did arrive, thank goodness.
To view these puppies, still relatively fresh out of the oven (who doesn’t love a good puppy out of the oven!), here’s the 2012-ers: Be CaReFuL WhAt YoU wIsH fOr!
If you happen to want to catch the back story and to gauge any improvement on our part over the years, here’s the 2008-ers: asdfjlaskdvknag wafpeyt lsdgjlasdg!
And we’ll see you all again in 2016!
Now who wants to edit a feature length movie? Shit…
The project file went corrupt! Motivation to retrace steps and re-complete not likely to be found for a good long while. So, while not quite finished, enjoy the rough/final version of YOUR CAT IS DEAD: A CREEPER’S GUIDE.
Inspired by two lost cat posters from SE Portland. The posters are real and the stories almost are.
Words written by Sean Whiteman.
Words performed by Christof Whiteman.
Starring Hemingway the cat. We’d like to thank the owners of Hemingway, whoever they may be.
CLICK TO FIND OUT THE FATES OF FRANK AND MARCOS.
Extra! Extra! Christof exclaims, “Pen is mightier than the Sword”, takes down Fox News in the process!
Pretty much every second of every minute of every hour of every half-day of every full-day of our long, drawn-out lives, some nobody comes up and asks us, “Why aren’t you dudes ever REAL, man? You’re always putting up some kind of a front, putting on some kind of act, or putting the fronts of acts up and on other things that act like fronts. Why? Why not deal with the inconvenient truths of hard facts?”
Well, the Whiteman Brothers will now begin devoting entire minutes of their years to nonfiction. Christof took the first turn wearing the “Press” cap and managed to cover a real hot story without leaving a couch. Read it here.
Recently, during a bout of external (and existential) hard drive spring cleaning, Sean found his HEAD CRUMBS trilogy. In the fall of 2007 he was living in Austin, Texas and working at a delightful movie theater named the Alamo Drafthouse. He enjoyed being a stranger in a strange state but having no friends meant he was left without a collaborator. To avoid artistic atrophy he scoured between hunks of brain meat to find some scraps. With the findings, he put this trilogy together. It takes just-shy of a half-hour to watch them all consecutively.
He likes to claim that they get progressively less embarrassing as the trilogy moves forward – an inverse of most franchise trajectories. He also suggests the audience should try to figure out the origin of his fluctuating-accents (he claims he notices heavy parts borrowed from his housemate-at-the-time and a little bit of Adam Sandler escaping during moments of immaturity). A few thought he had lost his mind in the great state of Texas. He wouldn’t argue, with any degree of passion at least, against such claims.
A friend wrote a wonderful essay extolling the finer qualities of the trilogy. His name is Santiago Vernetti and the title of his piece is: Sean Whiteman is a Man Hating Modernist God Destroyer.
Here are the films:
And here is the essay:
Title: Sean Whiteman is a Man Hating God Destroyer
Writer: Santiago Vernetti
I look forward to the day we can all share a hearty nervous laugh in the memory of the long dead and buried postmodern cinema. Most of today’s artists have seemingly resigned from any attempts at cinematic progression, preferring instead to embrace the all too common delusion that postmodernism is simply a passing wave. They’ve convinced themselves that it will soon crest, washing away all the cinematic sequels, remakes and adaptations its waters have carried over the past few decades. While most lay catatonically in this collective stupor, the 2007 summer marks a record high in cinematic unoriginality. Die Hard 4, Harry Potter 5, 28 Weeks Later, Evan Almighty, Fantastic Four 2, Hostel 2, Oceans 13, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, Resident Evil 3, Shrek 3, Rush Hour 3, Spiderman 3, The Simpson’s Movie, Hairspray, Halloween, Transformers the Movie, Nancy Drew, Underdog, Revenge of the Nerds… it seems this wave is more akin to a rising flood. A flood that provides very little evidence to suggest any plans of receding any time soon. Where the majority drown, Sean Whiteman diligently treads for dry land. With camera locked and loaded, and a few dead bears to his name, Whiteman has arguably produced the only thing super about this summer: Head Crumbs.
Stylistically, the “Texas saga” finds its roots in the modernist tradition. Riddled with self reflexivity, social/artistic commentary, and experimentation, Head Crumbs is Whiteman’s most progressive (dare I say radical?) work to date. Head crumbs is not only a refreshing concept amongst a sea of uninteresting cinema, but is executed in an outstandingly complimentary aesthetic. Not only can Sean Whiteman wrestle a grizzle single handed, he seems to know a thing or two about his craft. True, the piece is not without its technical flaws or shortcomings, but it is in the conceptual framework of the piece that these imperfections are actually welcomed, even embraced, regardless of artistic intention.
Wittily divided into three parts, Head Crumbs falsely advertises the typical three act plot structure. As with most of his structural critiques, Whiteman articulates his concerns with the subversion of narrative conventions, challenging audiences’ expectations and ultimately their involvement in the viewing process. Whiteman introduces part one just as “the tide shifts” and completes part three with not only an unresolved conflict, but with complex ambiguous metaphors. Though, his greatest subversion, and the most important element of Head Crumbs, is how Whiteman explores and deals with the idea of narrator.
The tradition of narrator within a greater fiction is literary, and for centuries it has carried with it the characteristics of a third person omniscient. This conventionally “effaced narrator” (to borrow the term from Henry James) provides an author with a direct voice, and one that holds unquestionably supernatural characteristics once the audience immerses themselves in the illusion of the fictional. The narrator takes on the godlike qualities of omniscience and omnipresence over the domain of the characters. The cinema however, presents an troubling obstacle in this respect to the effaced narrator. Though the cinema has its predisposition to the illusion of metaphysical dualism, it does so with respect to the camera and its transcendental relationship to the viewer. Were the voice of the narrator to be heard in a particular film’s soundtrack, the narrator would be revealed to us as character with a distinct voice. From this aural information we could suppose a number of things like age, gender, education, bringing the narrator further from godlike ambiguity and closer to definition representational of out natural reality. In this case, only the camera would remain a supernatural entity, superior to the narrator who now resides within the domain of the other characters. The possibility of a truly effaced narrator in the cinema is limited to the use of text (such as in the famous “One Year Later” device), but what Whiteman is concerned with is not the possibility of the effaced narrator in cinema, but of the greater issues of the authoritative nature of the conventionally effaced narrator. Not only does Whiteman give us a narrator with a voice and an image, he gives us the his own voice, his own image. Thus we are introduced to Sean Whiteman the narrator. This presents us with an interesting self referential paradox. The representation of Sean Whiteman claims to be Sean Whiteman, but isn’t the persona of this narrator Sean Whiteman merely a fictional construction of Sean Whiteman by Sean Whiteman? Yes. Of course. But by blurring the lines between authorship and narration, he is calling into question his own authority. Which, aside from being an interesting exercise in logic, is the most punk rock thing you can do.
Structurally and conceptually, Head Crumbs is a true work of avant-garde cinema! A progressive and political action in contemporary art criticism! When applying a psychoanalytic methodology, its narrative can even be viewed as a feminist battle cry in its depiction of male character Super Summer as the exhibitionist, and the female character Flip Flop (“more of a behind the curtains sort of gal”) as taking on the traditionally patriarchal role of the voyeur. Needless to say, this and many other events that unfold in the narrative are worth exploring and can be discussed on a multitude of levels. Yet, in remaining faithful to Whiteman’s commentary on the narrator, we can all agree he’s saying a lot about human relationships… but in the end, the most important thing he’s saying is, “Who gives a rats ass about the opinion of a man hating, modernist, god destroyer?” So let’s all take what we will from Head Crumbs and give our applause to Sean Whiteman, a filmmaker who, unlike so many of his contemporaries, has arguably the most important artistic quality there is – authenticity.
News from the NW: In the past year Portland has found itself in the custody of all three Whiteman Brothers. This is a feat no city has accomplished in well over a decade. In celebration of fraternal solidarity the brothers plan to collaborate on a new feature film. It’s entitled CHILDHOOD MACHINE and will commence production in the coming months. More details will come detailing our progress/regress.
A short while back Christof was competing in a contest over at Indiepix. His film EGG REPLACER was busting skulls against worthy foes in attempting to land a spot on the DVD release of a documentary that focused on the careers of the Kuchar Brothers. Long, boring-as-fuck, story short, Christof’s film was announced as the winner by Cory McAbee (director of the masterful AMERICAN ASTRONAUT) at the IT CAME FROM KUCHAR premiere in NYC. Christof is currently wading in a swimming pool filled with blowjobs and success.
He was recently quoted as saying: “Money can’t buy happiness, but blowjobs and success can.”
Watch EGG REPLACER now.
In other news, Sean has finally put SACK LUNCH online. This short was meant to be put up after it played at the Portland International Film Festival back in February, but it got lost in the grand shuffle (along with all those DVD’s that were supposed to have been sent to all those people – NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR INTERNS!).
So, here it is, Sean’s rambling ode to the infrequent validity of batshit insanity: SACK LUNCH