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Chris Smith

He's the guy who did American Movie and Home Movie. And I really don't like him done. I've gotten into arguments with folks over this, so not everyone agrees, but it always seems to me that Chris Smith tends to make documentaries to make fun of people, rather than tell their stories or provide anything interesting about them. American Movie was presented as a comedy – the direct commentary was "Lookit this loser! He's tryin' to make a film, but it's just some stupid slasher pic! It's gonna be stupid! Look, he's got to take care of an old man to do this! Ha ha!" – when it was actually a really sad story. Smith's editorial voice just left you feeling really… filthy and dirty, like when you're a kid and standing around making fun of the poor kid's shabby clothing.

Home Movie wasn't really much better, although it was a bit amusing just because his constant mocking didn't work as well since (with the exception of the houseboat guy who seemed clearly added so he actually COULD have someone to make fun of since, well, for a documentary about weird houses, a houseboat isn't terribly weird. Hell, there's a compound word for it.) his subjects seemed not only smarter than him but actually COOLER than him. He's constantly trying to make the House of the Future guy look like a senile nut, but he overlooks one thing – mainly that while there's a couple of malfunctions, 99.9% of the house actually WORKS and besides that, it's REALLY COOL. And the Tree House Lady was really nice and together despite his efforts to make her look dingy – not to mention that her house was actually really sweet. There's basically a really awesome movie in Home Movie if instead of "HA HA! LOOKIT THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT! HA HA! THEY MUST BE NUTS TO NOT LIVE IN A NORMAL HOUSE!! HA HA!!" if his directorial voice were "Hey, these houses are different and actually pretty cool!" But then, he wouldn't feel superior.

But, well, then again, I thought Jeff Krulik's Heavy Metal Parking Lot (and its millions of sequels) was similarly repugnant. ("Hey! Let's go make fun of some kids that listen to different music than I do! Ha ha! Let's let them say stupid things and then show it to people so they can all laugh at how stupid they are! Ha ha! Aren't you glad you're not one of these guys?! Ha Ha!")

So, uh, yeah. I know I'm on the minority on this (it's basically me and Todd Solondz I think, and his film Storytelling), but serious: Fuck Chris Smith and Fuck Jeff Krulik.

(At least Mark Borchardt, the subject of American Movie had the right idea – in an interview, he said he knew he was being made fun of, but he didn't care, because he was able to use it to get the money to finish his film. So, you know, right on.)