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Brown Bunny Saga
June 4, 2003 8:14 AM   Subscribe

When Vincent Gallo's "Brown Bunny" debuted at Cannes the fuvor over the sex scenes gave way to outright boos. In fact, the filmmaker later apologized for making the film. Or did he? Now, Gallo says the apology never happened and that Roger Ebert made it up. Ebert says he'll respond on-air on his next show.
posted by bclark (35 comments total)

 
FWIW, Ebert has already responded in his own paper, specifically about the "made it all up" stuff. It's worth reading especially for the final punch line, an homage (if a little less factually based) to Winston Churchill's famous "In the morning, I'll be sober" comeback.
posted by soyjoy at 8:18 AM on June 4, 2003


As for the colon crack, "I don't know what he meant [Ebert says], but when I had my last colonoscopy, they let me watch it on a little TV, and it was far more entertaining than 'Brown Bunny.'

Moral of the story: DON'T FUCK WITH THE EBERT!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2003


There was an oral sex scene in Ebert's colonoscopy?
posted by PrinceValium at 8:39 AM on June 4, 2003


For no reason whatsoever but since the first time I ever saw Vincent Gallo, even before hearing him speak, I've felt the urge to dropkick through a window...
posted by PenDevil at 8:46 AM on June 4, 2003


...dropkick him through a window.
Preview is your friend. Preview is your friend.
posted by PenDevil at 8:49 AM on June 4, 2003


Pretentious director throws tantrum: Film at 11.
posted by Cerebus at 8:56 AM on June 4, 2003


I'll go ahead and say that I <3 Vincent gallo, thought Buffalo '66 was great, hilarious, a little melancholy and honestly quirky, good shit all around, and that he's generally a very, very funny individual (this is a gem) but of course, I'd probably never want to hang out with him and I thought his When record was just okay, much better when he didn't sing.
posted by xmutex at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2003


An extremely well put-together post: thanks.

And even though he sometimes overrates movies, Roger Ebert gets more respect from me with each passing day.
posted by Prospero at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2003


When Vincent Gallo's "Brown Bunny" debuted at Cannes the fuvor over the sex scenes gave way to outright boos.

My impression was that the furor was over the film's suckiness in general, rather than that one specific instance of sucking. I mean, I'd guess a Canne's audience would pretty much have lost their ability to be offended by a mere sex scene long ago?
posted by BigPicnic at 9:29 AM on June 4, 2003


If there's one thing I absolutely can't stand, it's celebrities who whine about about being celebrities, and how they never wanted to be popular or in front of cameras.

Here's a hint, Vince: If you hate publicity so much, stop making movies, and stop going to Cannes.
posted by vraxoin at 9:38 AM on June 4, 2003


I too really liked Buffalo 66. I think part of the furor over Brown Bunny is the combination that it is an awful film, and the film is directed, produced, shot, edited, and stars a single person. It's pretty clear where the buck stops, for better or (more likely) worse.
posted by gwint at 9:44 AM on June 4, 2003


So Ebert is planning to slim down some day?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:50 AM on June 4, 2003


And he even gets in a dig at the end of his review of The Italian Job.

Not a good idea for an actor/director to take on the country's most well-known movie critic personally. Nope, not at all.

(Although this will undoubtedly make people want to see the movie more...)
posted by gottabefunky at 9:55 AM on June 4, 2003


(or at least sneak in to see the last 3 minutes)
posted by witchstone at 10:03 AM on June 4, 2003


metafilter: an oral sex scene in Ebert's colonoscopy?
posted by Peter H at 10:08 AM on June 4, 2003


"Smithers...are they booing me?"

"Ahhh, no sir. They're saying booourns. Boooourns."

"I see. You there...are you saying Boo, or Boooourns?"

(Commence pelting with trash and rotten fruit)
posted by rrtek at 10:09 AM on June 4, 2003


I was saying Boooourns.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:32 AM on June 4, 2003


I mean, I'd guess a Canne's audience would pretty much have lost their ability to be offended by a mere sex scene long ago?

Actually, strangely, no ... apparantly many people who would have walked out because they wanted to see Chloe giving head. People even rumored the scene was eight minutes long. Some have said that "I wanted to leave but didn't" was part of what (psychologically) lead to people booing -- they had anticipated the sex, but been surprised by the suckiness.

(Although this will undoubtedly make people want to see the movie more...)

The debate of whether Vincent Gallo is an egomaniac or a guerilla PR genius will continue for some time, I imagine.
posted by bclark at 10:48 AM on June 4, 2003


Gallo made a major mistake calling Roger Ebert a "slavetrader," given that his wife is African-American. Ebert's response was eloquent enough to ignore this slur (it looks as if his wife was in attendance).

I too loved Buffalo 66, particularly with its daring use of reversal stock, but I'm still going to avoid The Brown Bunny like the plague. If Gallo is so insecure about his own masculinity that he attacks film critics for their weight and film his sex scene with an oversized penis prothesis, then really I can't see The Brown Bunny as being anything less than a artsy-fartsy wank-fest for an audience of one: Vincent Gallo.
posted by ed at 11:15 AM on June 4, 2003


He might be an egomaniacal narcissist, though anyone who doubts that Vincent Gallo is a good actor should see Emir Kusturica's Arizona Dream. The scene where Gallo enacts, on a stage, the cropduster scene from Hitchcock's North by Northwest is classic.

And if you disagree with me, you're a fat pig.
posted by gentle at 11:27 AM on June 4, 2003


Vincent Gallo's website only serves to intensify my dislike for him.
posted by padraigin at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2003


Really? I find his site to be the most entertaining homepage I have ever visited. I would never want to meet him, but I'm certainly fascinated by him. And Buffalo 66 is on my top ten list. What a fantastic movie. Man. I'm going to watch it when I get home.
posted by n9 at 1:16 PM on June 4, 2003


bclark, thanks for the thorough post. i was going to post this yesterday but didn't get around to it. you did a much better job than i would have. especially good, i thought, was the peranson article. i normally dislike his writing but that was spot on.

and i like buff66 as well--and gallo's site (and the fact that he answers his email--or did a year or so ago, when i wrote him.) when is rather nice as well, especially when he sings.
posted by dobbs at 1:38 PM on June 4, 2003


soyjoy:

That's not an homage. That's just a cliche.

You seem to miss the fact that Roger Ebert is the one making things up here. He assumes Gallo dislikes him because he gave the movie a bad review, when I bet you a kick in the nuts that Gallo never said any such thing. Gallo said he dislikes him because he made things up and presented things out of context -- which Ebert blatantly does again in his rebuttal.

ed:

Gallo made a major mistake calling Roger Ebert a "slavetrader," given that his wife is African-American.

So does that make Roger Ebert an honorary negro? (Note: Now that is an homage.) If you want to compare somebody to a black man, you should be talking about Vincent Gallo (and here's another homage...) They plucked that robin clean.

(I know better than to write it here, but there's another quote that really comes to mind.)

Like him or not, I can't believe there are people who aren't outraged at the immaturity and rudeness on display in the linked articles. Personally, if I were Vincent Gallo, I would have made sure I had control of the power and sound controls as well, so I could have stopped the movie and told everyone they're going to have to go home if they don't shut up.

Also, he's right about the press. The smartest move, unless they're already in love with you, or you're a castrated compulsive-comformist, is to just not talk to them. The press (not as a whole, but in general, as a law of human nature) will always take things out of context, and always misrepresent the truth. (On a related note: I thought it was hillarious when he said Christina Ricci's performance would have been better if she hadn't been on cough syrup the whole time, but I didn't think it was pressworthy.)
posted by son_of_minya at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2003


Typo. The second line should not be in italics.
posted by son_of_minya at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2003


This page from Screen Daily, the online version of trade paper screenInternational that held the interview with Gallo, makes no mention of it.

The new ScreenInternational is out tomorrow so maybe that'll clear it up.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:21 PM on June 4, 2003


son_of_minya: Gallo can say any goddam thing he wants. But to compare him to Lenny Bruce is not only an insult to Bruce's legacy but an exercise in futility. Bruce had a purpose with language and Gallo seems to me an immature, self-loathing enfant terrible just trying to capture the podium for a shit film.

I wasn't claiming that Ebert was a black man. If you have to have Gallo's racist implications spelled out to you, then I'm afraid I can't help you.
posted by ed at 5:02 PM on June 4, 2003


ed:

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, and had second thoughts about posting that comment. Turns out I was right, though.

You made a personal attack against Vincent Gallo, calling him a racist, because he made a politically incorrect comment. A comment which was intended as an insult against a man who had personally disrespected him.

Let me make it as clear as I possibly can: Insensitivity is not racism. Racism is racism. I haven't seen Roger Ebert and his wife together, but he probably does look like a slave trader. I would never say that, because it would be extremely insensitive, but not because it is racist. And what makes you think Vincent Gallo even knows anything about Roger Ebert's personal life?

Comparing anyone who is attacked for being politically incorrect to Lenny Bruce is to show the utmost respect for, and to honor Lenny Bruce's legacy.
posted by son_of_minya at 6:11 PM on June 4, 2003


You made a personal attack against Vincent Gallo, calling him a racist...

I haven't seen Roger Ebert and his wife together, but he probably does look like a slave trader.

Vincent, have some dignity.
posted by solistrato at 6:47 PM on June 4, 2003


You made a personal attack against Vincent Gallo, calling him a racist, because he made a politically incorrect comment

Well, that's why a lot of people get called racists-or don't you follow politics??
If you make racist comments, be prepared to wear the label.
posted by konolia at 8:32 PM on June 4, 2003


konolia:

My point is that the comment was not racist. It was just offensive.

We are not talking about a politician here either.
posted by son_of_minya at 11:58 PM on June 4, 2003


son_of: You pick the most bizarre things to have knock-down-drag-out fights over (and I use the term advisedly - I'll decline your offer to bet "a kick in the nuts"). I have no opinion on the racist/insensitive/politically incorrect semantic argument, but will play along and defend my own accurate words.

That's not an homage. That's just a cliche.

OK, I really have no idea why you decided to dispute this, but you're wrong. A cliche is an expression which has become trite from overuse, not a quote from one person that's been cited by other people. The "sober-in-the-morning" quote is inextricably tied to Winston Churchill (and Lady Astor). That's why doing a variation on it (which, since the variation has never been said before, can't possibly be a cliche) is an homage.

You seem to miss the fact that Roger Ebert is the one making things up here. He assumes Gallo dislikes him because he gave the movie a bad review, when I bet you a kick in the nuts that Gallo never said any such thing.

Once again, I think we can sort this out without resorting to violence. I've missed nothing: Contrary to what you've said, Ebert does not say word one about Gallo disliking him. He says: "He is angry at me because I said his 'The Brown Bunny' was the worst movie in the history of the Cannes Film Festival." If you're going to argue that Ebert "made up" Gallo being angry at him for this, you're going to need to explain away a lot of evidence - for example, Gallo's quote "If a fat pig like Roger Ebert doesn't like my movie then I'm sorry for him." Hmm, sure sounds like there's a correlation there between the two events - or did the Guardian make everything up also? Or do you have some paper trail of Gallo consistently calling Ebert "a fat pig" prior to this movie?

Additionally, you don't address the fact that Ebert's column corroborated the fact of Gallo's apology with the journalist who tape recorded it. How exactly do you explain that away it Ebert was "making it up?"
posted by soyjoy at 9:28 AM on June 5, 2003


soyjoy:

It's only an homage if you know you're doing a variation on a quote from Winston Churchill. If YOU said it, it would obviously be an homage. (Though a pretty stale and cliched homage.) When anyone else says it, it's just a cliche, because all they're doing is repeating a phrase that's appeared in about 1,000 joke books and TV shows.

Remember, at one point almost every cliche was probably an homage. At some point, everything becomes a cliche. It's nothing to get upset about.

Actually, I wouldn't put it past Roger Ebert to repeat some ridiculous cliche, and then have the audacity to say that it's an homage to Winston Churchill. He would probably do it just to look smart and piss someone off.

Roger Ebert: Blah, blah, blah... (spouts off ridiculous cliche)

Vincent Gallo: Real witty. I must'a heard my aunt Sophia say that about a million friggin' times, ya nitwit.

Roger Ebert: Actually, it's an homage to the famous Winston Churchill. If you had ever read a book, you might know this, but you are obviously uneducated.

Vincent Gallo: You fruit! (kicks Roger Ebert in the nuts)

Once again, I think we can sort this out without resorting to violence.

That's funny. I mean that sincerely.

I don't want to drag out this bizarre argument any longer than it is. Just one simple point: There is a difference between a "correlation" and a "cause." Maybe Vincent Gallo really is completely batshit crazy, but I don't think a simple thumbs down would motivate this hatred for Roger Ebert. From my POV, this whole exchange is just a series of personal attacks between a "college boy" and a "corner boy."

I'm not going to be able to read their minds any better than you can, and I don't feel like reading every article about this incident in order to take a guess. So, if anybody wants to have a different opinion about it, feel free.

ed:

If I were Vincent Gallo, I would sue you for this, and I hope he sues anyone else who libels him. Failing that, I hope he kicks somebody in the nuts.
posted by son_of_minya at 12:53 PM on June 5, 2003


ed: Screw it. Forget I wrote that and have your fun. I just hate this "Hollywood scandal" bullshit.
posted by son_of_minya at 1:03 PM on June 5, 2003


Hey, how come ed gets one of those "Forget I wrote that"s and I don't? Or was the self-contradicting comeback an homage to ed's "Gallo Interviews Gallo?"

At any rate, it's good that you at least recognize the bizarreness of this argument, since you instigated it. It's also good to hear that "It's nothing to get upset about," which suggests that you're calming down. If you're charging me with being "upset" for defending my position, that's just laughable.

Remember, at one point almost every cliche was probably an homage. At some point, everything becomes a cliche.

Well, no, see, otherwise we wouldn't need the word "cliche." As I noted, "cliche" has a specific meaning that does not overlap with "homage," and indicates a phrase - usually three or four words, not even a sentence - that has become trite through overuse. By your standard, half of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations would qualify as cliche, because people cite them regularly. But that's simply not the case: A quote such as Churchill's is an aphorism. "Fat pig" is a cliche.

Maybe Vincent Gallo really is completely batshit crazy, but I don't think a simple thumbs down would motivate this hatred for Roger Ebert.

Well, that's great that you don't think that, but I've produced primary and secondary sources who say it's the case (practically - again, Ebert said "is angry at," not "hates"). Meanwhile, you failed to challenge, dispute or even acknowledge these sources, so I'll take it as a concession that you have no facts to back up your colorful prose.

I just hate this "Hollywood scandal" bullshit.

Uh huh. And that's why you've peppered this Hollywood Scandal thread with six comments while arguing with several different users? Are you sure you're not Vincent Gallo?
posted by soyjoy at 1:59 PM on June 5, 2003


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