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October 23, 2013


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Manfried - I'm disappointed to hear about the misogyny, although I'll see for myself in a day or two. I think even McCarthy advocates (of which I guess I'm one) would admit that his writing is almost purely masculine - women are rarely mistreated so much as completely absent. There are notable exceptions, like the sister in Outer Dark who turns out to be the actual hero of the story.

I'm hoping his jump to a wider audience doesn't bring on some nasty, Frank Miller type slide into gross, nuns-and-hookers woman hating.


Just want to clarify one thing in my post that may not have been clear. I don't think McCarthy was trying to be misogynistic, just that it may have been inevitable when he chose to exaggerate that archetype.



Just got back from seeing it. I think the discussion about misogyny is going to follow this film for a while. I’m not sure I have depth to ask this question, but isn’t the misogyny sort of the point given that Malkina is clearly on the extreme end of the film noir femme fatale? It seems to me that McCarthy has always played with cartoonish, extreme archetypes. We haven’t minded much before (isn’t that part of what’s great about him?). What is it about Malkina that makes the whole thing ugly? More, doesn’t Natalie Dormer’s indicate a certain level of self-awareness? She was contracted by Malkina to play the femme fatale role for Westray, but she was deeply uncomfortable with it.

As Walter pointed out, I am surprised that McCarthy cannibalized himself a bit here. He has always circled a short list of themes, but I’ve never felt like he was repeating himself until now.

The Counselor wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but I’m not sure it deserved a savaging like this.

John Jantunen

Child of God a fragment? Outer Dark a sketch? The Road flaccid? Cormac's genius in these novels is his ability to distil the essence of the story he is telling into a series of (often) loosely connected scenes that, apart are equal parts beautiful, horrific and confounding but when taken all together force the reader to re-imagine his own world as being worn thin, transitory and yet fraught with meaning.


Chance, the script itself is atrociously, disgustingly, irremediably misogynistic. As great as McCarthy can sometimes write, this film demonstrates how truly sick he really is.


It's all a matter of opinion, but i think Walter is uncharitable to McCarthy's other books besides the one or two he actually likes. The Border Trilogy has its ups and downs, and I'd agree that The Crossing is the high point, although it's hardly perfect. The endless merits of Blood Meridian hardly bear repeating. The early books deserve better, though: Child of God is not a fragment so much as a complete and hideously engaging portrait of Ballard; its brevity is to its credit, and I wish a few of Cormac's other books were a bit slimmer. Conversely, Suttree is enormous and excellent: funny, atypical, and earnest. Saying that it has nothing to offer except for the pig scene is as glib and tiresome as saying that The Crossing has the bit with the wolf and not much else. Outer Dark is likewise excellent, and its only major weakness is that it does feel like a warmup for Blood Meridian, and as a result is a bit eclipsed by it.

I'm also fine with the newer stuff. I liked The Road well enough, I think Sunset Limited can work beautifully as a two-man play (I'm honestly curious why Walter found the HBO film so geriatric, outside of its superannuated stars). No Country is an odd duck, entertaining but with relatively low stakes. The idea that the Coens somehow spun straw into gold with this one always struck me as curious, as they basically just copied the book with the sort of comprehensiveness that Peter Jackson has been (sadly) taking to The Hobbit. Its a fantastic movie from fantastic filmmakers, but it doesn't feel quite its own thing, and in retrospect I still sort of wish There Will Be Blood had gone home with the statue that year.

Jeremy3 is spot on. If you mean the Coens are the most gifted of all literary critics then that's absolutely ludicrous; if you mean the most gifted amongst filmmakers, well fine, but what's the competition? Four or five other people, maybe?

Haven't seen the film (hehehe), and I wouldn't be the least surprised if it turns out atrocious or amazing (harder to picture a grey area). By the way, does the film hate all women, or just Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz? To be fair: the first stance is gross misogyny, the latter, completely rational.

The caption gags keep getting more and more awful. I love it.


Richard Roeper loves The Counselor because he's a fan of the "glorious mess movie." That 'tonal-clash crazy-weird terrible-in-a-fun-way' movie. But is that what this is?

It's hard to tell from the reviews if the movie is an ambitious failure or a boring misfire or some unholy mix of both. Either way...I wouldn't waste my money on seeing it in theaters.


"the Coens are our most gifted literary critics"

Are you talking about among directors? Otherwise, it's an absurd statement.


There are so few movies I want to see. This one I was planning to see because of Javier Bardem. Now you ruined it for me. But I have to admit that I already suspected that I would not like it after watching the promotion and the trailers in the last days.


Recent Chaw tweet: "Hey everybody, Richard Roeper loved THE COUNSELOR..."

Slightly less recent Chaw tweet: "In light of the recent badness of THE COUNSELOR, we should give a second look to ONLY GOD FORGIVES which is the successful version."

Roeper's quote on Rotten Tomatoes for OGF: " This is one of the most shocking and one of the best movies of the year."



Perfect review. I concur with your choices of good McCarthy books, and I actually think that Blood Meridian is a stand-alone because McCarthy started chasing after Melville and Milton, who he doesn't hold in such unquestioning, god-like reverence as he does Faulkner.
But the emperor's clothes really fell off with this atrocity of a screenplay.

Ivor Zalud

The only part of Suttree you enjoyed was a scene where a homeless man bludgeons a pig? For some reason I find that that a lot more depressing than the fact that this movie blows.

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