Saturday, April 25, 2009

How To Handle Bad Reviews Or The Spotlight Can Really Burn Your Arse

So my Google Alerts (if you didn't know, you can actually set up a Google Alert so any "key words" that pop up on Google's Monster Search Engine, Google will send you an alert with the link so you can see how the key words are being used on that page) comes up with a new review for my film Hot Rod Girls Save The World. I bounce over to the review page and low and behold it rips my film a new arse hole. The thing it, I can tell it is an honest review. The guy really didn't like my film. A part of myself is a little hurt and pissed off, but after twenty years in the music business I have seen it all. Bad reviews don't bother me as much as inacurate (misspelled on purpose) ones. I remember on our first album (band Kill Switch...Klick) this reviewer talked about our typical industrial "guitar sound." This really pissed me off, because we used no guitars- at all. I played an instrument I built and designed called a Slambar. It has open strings and I bang on it with two screw drivers. The guy ranted on about something he had no clue about. The review was not so bad, but it was that inaccuracy that really pissed me off. I sent him a "fuck you idiot" post card and his next review for our next album was much more accurate and calm. He even mentioned the postcard in this next review years later. Looking back I think I was a bit over reactive, but it's part of the learning curve.

So fast forward to this current bad review. Does it matter? Yes and no. Yes it helps me to get honest (at least in this case) feedback from people and how they feel about my film. No in that I can't change my film so that everybody will love it (especially film critics, who typically have a holier than thou attitude towards their subject matter). That "Film That Everybody Loves" can not exist in this world. I remember when I first became a Punk around 1981. All my Head Bangin' Buds thought I had truly lost it. I would play Talking Heads, PiL and Circle Jerks for them and they would all say how bad my new musical tastes were. They would say how these New Wave Punks couldn't play their guitars and needed voice lessons. Were they wrong. No- that was their uninformed opinion and everybody knows opinions are like assholes...everybody's got one. I think of Hot Rod Girls Save The World in this light. It's not for everyone, or even a majority of film viewers. It's a strange and unique film that was made for creativity's sake, not for money or Cannes or Oscars golden stare. It is slowly finding its own rabid audience and advocates much like early Punk Rock.

So how do I feel about my film? I honestly think it is the greatest fuckin' film ever made. I really do. I can watch it over and over (and have had to- during the editing process). It has all the elements I love in film- quirkiness, artistic integrity, gorgeous cinematography, great music, pretty girls, wicked cars, mud wrestling, aliens, zombies, car chases, fist fights, dry campy dialog, etc. etc. Am I allowed to love my own film? Ask David Lynch if he loves Eraserhead. Ask George Lucas if he loves THX-1138. I hope to make dozens more movies, but I know this will always be my favorite.

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