Armond White Blasts Michael Moore, Sam Jackson, Tarantino
Armond White, the always controversial and outspoken film critic and editor of City Arts magazine was in the SiriusXM studios earlier today to talk with Ron Bennington about his annual “Better Than” list. As always, he has a lot to say about film critics and the film industry in general, including an incident at this years New York Film Critics Circle Awards. Excerpts from the interview appear below. You can read Armond’s “Better Than” List at CityArts.Info.
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Armond White Says “Fuck You” to Michael Moore at the New York Film Critic Awards.
Earlier this week Page Six of the New York Post reported that Armond White had heckled Michael Moore at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, saying “Fuck You” and “You Liar” and “Shut Up”.
Armond explained what actually happened. ”He [Moore] was presenting an award to a documentary called “How to Survive a Plague” which is about AIDS protests in the 80s. And so he started to vent about how Ronald Reagan and the Catholic Church were responsible for thousands of AIDS deaths.” White thought that was completely inappropriate, and says he immediately thought “no no no no no, fuck you!” Armond continued, “So yeah, I did say “fuck you” and “drop dead.” Because what he said was offensive to me and offensive to the truth. Furthermore, it was the wrong place for it. He wasn’t invited there to make political statements and he should not have.” He later added, about Moore, “if you watch his career– shall we call it– we know that he’s a hypocrite. We know that he’s a phony. We know that he’s a millionaire. He’s a bad guy.”
Armond White Talks About Violence in Film, Why He Thinks Quentin Tarantino Has Never Grown Up, and Why Sam Jackson is the Ultimate Uncle Tom
Tarantino is back in the news about his new film which has received some criticism for the violence, and Armond spoke about how he feels about violence in films, and specifically, Tarantino’s use of violence.
“It [violence] can be used artistically of course. When you see a Sam Peckinpah film, or an Eizenshtein film or a film by Brian DePalma, those filmmakers know how to use violence so that you feel it. So that you feel the pain. You feel how it impacts human life. You feel what it means to the society. Tarantino uses violence for a laugh. And I don’t accept it, and I don’t get that. I think that’s really debased to use violence for a joke. And he’s been doing that for several years now and got rich off or it. It’s the wrong thing to do, I feel.” He later added, about Tarantino, “From the very beginning he’s had this warped, juvenile attitude towards violence. He’s never grown up. And apparently, neither have his audiences.”
He also told Bennington that he didn’t like Django Unchained, as a film. He found it to be insulting to the history of slavery. But, he says, he loved Sam Jackson’s role as an ‘Uncle Tom’ character, because he believes that Sam Jackson is, and has always been, an Uncle Tom.
“I felt, finally this reveals to the world, who Sam Jackson really is. This reveals to the world what Sam Jackson has given to the culture for the past couple of decades. He’s given us an Uncle Tom figure time in, time out. And it was funny to see him there. And he almost — not quite, but almost made the film work because I think you can understand through Sam Jackson’s portrayal that the entire film was indeed a joke, not to be taken seriously. Not necessarily a good joke either, but a joke. Up until that point I think I was probably feeling that Django Unchained was just an insult to the history of slavery; an insult to the truth of American race relations and American politics, and then when Sam Jackson came on screen playing the ultimate Uncle Tom, I thought, ‘oh, this is a joke.’ Not a good joke but certainly a joke.”
But Armond isn’t kidding about how he feels about Jackson. He explained:
“The original meaning of Uncle Tom being somebody who works for the man– who works for the white ‘Massa’ and does things for the white Massa’s benefit and approval. And I think the kind of roles that Sam Jackson has always played, not only in Tarantino’s movies, has been that of a depraved, violent, scary black man and this suits the racist perceptions that underlie American culture to this day. And he’s gotten rich off that.”
You can hear this interview in its entirety exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio live or on demand. Not yet a subscriber? Click here for a free trial subscription.
You can learn more about Ron Bennington’s two interview shows, Unmasked and Ron Bennington Interviews atRonBenningtonInterviews.com.