Random Factoid #458

29 10 2010

Filmmaker feud alert!

Stop the presses … John Landis says “Inception” isn’t original!  In other redundant news, “The Social Network” isn’t entirely true and the world isn’t flat.  Here are his exact words, for all those wondering:

“Interestingly enough ‘Inception,’ which is wonderful, is not original. There have been a lot of movies like it; remember ‘Dreamscape?’ Oh that’s bad special effects but almost the same movie. It’s Dennis Quaid and Edward Albert is the president of the United States and they insert him into his dreams … ya know, I think, don’t misunderstand me I think Christopher Nolan is a wonderful director it’s just I don’t think he is yet to make a movie other than ‘Memento’ that I thought was really original, its just very stylish.”

Hello, “Inception” isn’t original, but it’s the closest thing we have to original in these meager times where imagination is about as dead as Generalissimo Francisco Franco.  These days, “original” has become synonymous with “not formulaic,” which is a shame.  Cynics would say that cinema is done being original, and now we are stuck with petty rehashes.  While Nolan presented the world of the dream in a highly creative and innovative way, it’s hardly original.  In a feature with The New York Times, the director even expressly laid out four movies that influenced “Inception” to a large extent: “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner,” “Heat,” and “The Matrix.”

So yes, I agree with Landis that it’s not original.  But Nolan agrees too!  Everyone can agree that they’ve seen something like “Inception” before, so Landis is rendered irrelevant.  I’ll close with a wonderful quote from director Jim Jarmusch that perfectly encapsulates the point I’m trying to make here – and why “Inception” has become such a beloved movie in 2010.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.”


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