Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Q: What's Wrong With Hollywood? A: Brett Ratner

This is going to be a stretch and an obscure one at that but here goes.

It's hard not to compare Brett Ratner with Andrew Dice Clay from the movie Ford Fairlane (told you it was a stretch). Ford was a private eye, but he was called the Rock-n-Roll Private Eye. Sure he got asked to all the hot parties and pulled down some pretty good tail, but he wasn't a real detective. And no one really took him as such.

Same with Ratner. He has a house that's compared to the Playboy Mansion. He's seen with Lindsay Lohan. But what about his movies? He's starring on the hit HBO show Entourage. He shot the photos for the new Jimmy Choo ads. Yeah, but what about his movies? He's shooting the new video for Jessica Simpson. He dated Serena Williams. Yeah, but what about his goddamn movies?

Finally when you actually happen upon the words Brett Ratner and movies (Jesus, don't say film) in the same sentence, you discover that his movies have made more than a billion dollars. A BILLION DOLLARS. Wow! People compare him to Spielberg because of his bank ability. Ratner was quoted recently in Vanity Fair as saying "I feel sort of guilty because I look up to guys like Spielberg and I beat every one of his records."

Hey Brett, have you won two Oscars for best director?

Yeah, I think some records are still safe.

Ratner is a hack in the worst way. He's a Hollywood hack. Michael Bay meets Kato Katlin. His talent is judged by who he knows and what he grosses, not by his ability to actually make a good movie. Problem is, he's convinced everyone that he's a diamond in the rough. That his true talent lay ahead. Somehow Money Talks and The Family Man are just warm-ups to true greatness and we've all missed it.

Not me. Declaring yourself a filmmaker does not make you a filmmaker. He had his chance with Red Dragon. He had the cast and the money and he choked. The planets don't align like that everyday. I'm sure saying that he worked with Anthony Hopkins is probably a good pick-up line.

But despite all his 7.5 million dollar paychecks, his high-profile girlfriends, his guest appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ratner seems to really be bothered by the fact that he gets so beat up on the Internet. They don't give him the props.

It's like Ratner has a complex and the Internet is the Daddy he's still trying to prove himself to. Well Brett, Daddy still isn't impressed. You're a poser and nothing more and I'm not going to give you a hug just so you feel better about it.


Anonymous said...

I've hated the guy for so long, and now I just kinda feel bad for him. Look at his face. You know exactly what's going on in his head, and it's sad.

Look at the guy's face.

PIPER said...

I would feel bad for the son of a bitch if shit like "I feel kinda guilty because I look up to guys like Spielberg and I've beat all his records." What an arrogant ass. Nothing gets me steaming more than arrogance. And arrogance without talent just pisses me off even more.

* (asterisk) said...

I hate seeing his name in the credits of anything.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

I read that lengthy Vanity Fair piece on him with a mix of outrage (as he has yet to make a good film) and a weird sort of admiration (he seems to know what he is doing as far as building a career).

But then I thought of those films again, and the outrage won out.

PIPER said...


Rage is good. Rage is your friend.

He may be a genius in how he plays Hollywood, but he's still a hack filmmaker.

Burbanked said...

Ratner's The Family Man is a romantic dramady - fluffy but not terribly deep. It's 125 minutes long.

And the DVD has roughly 12 deleted scenes.

These two facts, to me, are strong indications of a hacky director who is not so much focused on cinematic storytelling as he is in merely doing everything he can do just for the sake of doing it.

PIPER said...

It's like he's constantly saying "look at me. I'm legit." But people that have to say that, aren't.

Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Didn't he say he could beat Stanley Kubrick at chess or something like that?

I read a small bio about him in some library book one time, and I think it turns out that, at least academically, he was pretty smart (skipping grades and all). When you look at stuff in his life like that stuff, it's a little impressive. Heck, he may in fact be able to have beaten Kubrick at chess (I don't know how good Kubrick was). But I think it's all gone to his head, and it's gone to his filmmaking head, the one that isn't nearly as impressive as his academic one. It's not that impressive at all.

Anyway, I think he's got a vendetta against PT Anderson, and being a total PTA Slave, I have dedicated my life to tearing down Brett Ratner.

Until I look at that poor schlub's face.

PIPER said...

What vendetta does he have against PT? The fact that PT has twice the career with half the movies?

Anonymous said...

Rage is good? Rage is your friend? C'mon can do better than this!

As much as I hate to say this, but I agree. Ratner SUCKS. He took a great franchise (X-Men) and put his spin on it. Phoenix, Charles X, Cyclops....Dead...GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK! Let's just say I rank Ratner up there with directors Joel Schumacher, John Carpenter and Michael Bay!

PIPER said...


I want to like you. But you put Carpenter in the same category as Ratner and Joel Schumacher?

Have you no soul?

How can you lump a guy that has helped shape modern horror in with the likes of Schumacher and Ratner?

Unfounded. That's todays word. Unfounded!

Anonymous said...


You’re kidding me right? I mean seriously, this is a St. Patrick’s Day joke? You seem like a pretty intelligent person. A deep person. A thinking person. More than one dimensional. If I am right, how can you defend John Carpenter? Shaped the likes of modern horror movies? HOW? I would call much of what Carpenter did as plagiarism. Halloween…no blood, mental images….HELLO…HITCHCOCK!!! Sure, he had some decent movies. Halloween was decent. The Thing was decent. After that it drops and drops quickly. How can I lump him in with Bay, Schumacher and Ratner? All I have to say is, Ghosts of Mars, Vampires, In the Mouth of Madness, Body Bags, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, They Live, Starman and my two personal favorites VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED and ESCAPE FROM LA! That is how I can lump him into that category!

Unfounded...I don't think so!

PIPER said...


Help me out here. You say you go to movies for the sheer joy of them, yet you bag on They Live and John Carpenter in general. What is John Carpenter if not an enjoyable director.

I offer you:

Assault On Precinct 13
The Thing
Escape From New York
They Live
Prince Of Darkness

All great movies. Not without their flaws, but great movies nonetheless.

You are right about Ghosts of Mars, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man, Village Of The Damned, all the others.

Sorry to break this to you, but it is near impossible to find or examine a movie that does not borrow or pay homage to movies before it. And I'm also sorry to to break this to you, but Hitchcock does not own violence without blood and mental images (?). The connection is weak anyways.

And yes Carpenter did modernize horror. There would be no Jason, no Freddy, no Scream, and on and on without the work of John Carpenter. That's a big feat. And yes, he did what others did not do after him, he let us use our imagination. That is homage to great directors before him. That is a lesson well learned. Something that the Friday The 13th movies and current horror movies no nothing about.

He also modernized westerns. John Carpenter was a huge Howard Hawks fan. Assault on Precinct 13 is nothing more than a tribute to Rio Bravo. And Snake Plissken is nothing more than a modern John Wayne.

Go ahead and dismiss John Carpenter if you want, but I will continue to say it is unfounded. Your comments are based on the latter part of his career and completely dismiss what he has accomplished in the first part. It is too much a blanket statement.

The blood is pumping Anonymouse. Feels good.

Anonymous said...

Well, glad the blood is pumpin. Perhaps then it will engage your brain a bit more! Now who is not reading. I said Halloween and The Thing were decent and then it drops off. All the movies I mentioned except They Live were AFTER The Thing. Yes, he had good work. Yes, he touched the movie industry, however he is the high school jock who was a star when he was 18 and is still trying to relive his glory days at his 25th High School Reunion.

To say that withough John Carpenter there would be no Freddy, no Jason, no Sream is like saying without Tomas Edison there would be no light bulbs. The comment just doesn't hold water! Someone, somewhere would have filled the void. Talk about blanket statement! Geesh.

As for They Live...."I have come here today to do two things. Chew Bubble gum and kick ass....and I'm all out of bubble gum." COME ON...who wrote this script...George Lucas?

PIPER said...


My brain is engaged yet I am still looking for someone worthy of it.

You say most of what Carpenter does is plagiarism including Halloween and now you're saying it's decent.

And the analogy with Thomas Edison and the Light Bulb is weaker than your connection about Carpenter stealing from Hitchcock.

You need to type less and think more.

We can go round and round about Carpenter. It's obvious that I like him more than you. Arguing the details is futile.

Anonymous said...


WOW! You're beginning to remind me of DeNiro in Taxi Driver with obsession!

I always said Halloween was decent, just the formula was not original. I said everything after The Thing was not that good. I must admit, I forgot about Prince of Darkness, which was OUTSTANDING.

As for finding someone worthy of your brain, we really need to go down that road?

Type less and think more....again, do we need to go down that road? The simple fact that your coherent comebacks have been replaced by school yard insults indicates to me that at your core you are easily rattled. My dear Piper, you are capable of so much more. By giving into simple insults rather than original thoughts you have only weakened your position on statements of films and directors. My dear nemesis, I know you are more than that!

I think, perhaps, you have found someone worthy of your “brain” and perhaps the fear of not only finding your equal, but rather your superior has you worried……

PIPER said...


I'm good. Really.

My cage is not rattled. Stirred a bit but not rattled.

They are not school-yard insults, but pleas for a worthy discussion.

If you want to go deep on Carpenter, let's go deep. Comparing him to Hitchcock and making some analogy about Thomas Edison is not going deep. You want to make a bold statement about Carpenter or any other director for that matter, be prepared to go deep and make a worthy argument.

I have yet to see one.

But I will take what is at the surface. I like Carpenter much more than you do. I accept that, and the fact that it has been quite some time since Carpenter made a worthy film.

Anonymous said...


I accept your challenge! As it relates to John Carpenter, I feel it suffice to say, yes, you like him much more than I do, however, we are closer to agreement than perhaps you wish to acknowledge. I would agree that Brett Ratner is a whore by the true definition. However, I feel much of Hollywood has gone that route. Including your beloved John Carpenter. Escape from LA is a perfect example. Escape from New York was a brilliant, yet very twisted view of the future. It was also a great metaphor for society, our dependence on technology and the need to sacrifice one for many. The formula works great….for one movie! The fans called for more Snake. They wanted more. Carpenter gave us more, but what he did was leave a bad taste in our mouth. I compare the second Escape movie to the second Highlander movie or the second Matrix.

Ratner falls into this same category. That is why I place Ratner and Carpenter in the same category. For your info, I also place George Lucas in this category for giving us the P.O.S Episodes 1-3!

The problem with a bad director is the same problem as a bad gambler. They get lucky and they think they’re good! (See James Cameron!) My question is this (and it has been my point through out many of my responses to your posts) where are all the great directors? When is the last movie that left you speechless? (Easy one for me). To me, a great director draws you in, holds you and doesn’t let go until the final scene. You FEEL the movie, not simply watch it. I have never felt as uncomfortable in a movie as I did in the movie Seven. (Btw, did you know Mills only fires his gun seven times in the movie?) I was exhausted when it was over. A good director can get greatness out of bad actors and a bad director gets a fat wallet out of good actors!

Great directors leave so much to the imagination that you can talk to five people and five totally different perspectives.

Great directors, like great actors and great movies come buy once in a while….not every weekend. Unfortunately, Hollywood rewards mediocrity!

PIPER said...

Well done Anonymouse,

I think Carpenters problem is not that he is a whore, is that he is just not into it anymore. He is perfectly happy with sitting back and collecting checks from people doing bad remakes of his movies. But yeah, I guess in a way that makes him a whore.

Carpenter started to veer, like Burton, when he stopped doing his own material. Assault, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York. All great examples.

You are correct that Hollywood rewards mediocrity, which was the point of the post. Ratner said in the Vanity Fair article that he prides himself on being able to deliver movies that appeals to the largest group of people. That's not entertainment and that's not art. You can't love it if someone doesn't hate it.

Seven was an excellent film and it got me to the core. I have since seen several others that did the same. Fargo comes to mind. Fight Club. Rushmore. The Royal Tennenbaums. Million Dollar Baby. Munich. All done by excellent directors who give a shit.

You are a worthy opponent Anonymouse, who may not be on the opposite side after all.