52 Quotes of Steve Erickson About Novels

” If Lincoln is among history’s truly great men, he didn’t achieve that stature until his final three years. This was when his long-held antipathy to slavery cohered into a dedicated hostility that gave larger purpose to the Civil War and also confirmed the logic of Lincoln’s destiny. “
” Redford always has been a cool presence both before and behind the camera. His best movie as a filmmaker, 1994’s ‘Quiz Show,’ exhibits a classicism verging on self-repression, and the social indignation in many of his films engages more than moves you. “
” Before movies, memory unspooled differently in the mind, trailing off in dust-blasted fade-out rather than spliced-together flashback; before photography, memory rippled like a reflection on water’s surface, less precise but more profoundly true. “
” Slavery was the betrayal of the American Promise at the moment that promise was made. “
” I own one movie by fellow Swede Ingmar Bergman, because I have to. You can’t be a movie critic with a collection of six or seven hundred DVDs that includes everything from ‘Tokyo Story’ to ‘Poison Ivy: The New Seduction’ and not have a Bergman movie. “
” Part of the process of reading is constantly hitting the pause button, and now and then the rewind button, to ponder a word that’s been chosen by the author as exquisitely as the filmmaker chooses an image or a sound editor chooses a sonic clue – the tolling of a bell in the distance to evoke memory, for instance. “
” As a genre, the noir of post-World War II was based on characters who were weak or repellent, bound to let down us and themselves. “
” Every thought and word that a novelist thinks or writes is part of that castle constructed from sands on the beach of Me, including the turret or rampart or moat he may have thought or written on behalf of someone or something else. “
” The beautifully composed imagery of ’12 Years a Slave’ underscores the savagery of its subject, which is an American South not of knights and ladies but obscene values and a grotesque pageantry, every gorgeous shot of the languid landscape radiating toxicity like a hyperlush blossom that’s poison to the touch. “
” Created by writer Beau Willimon, who’s worked on several political campaigns, ‘House of Cards’ cannily exploits the current widespread cynicism for our politics, catering to a public scorn that’s warranted and also glib in the sort of cheap pox-on-both-houses way that means not having to pay attention. “
” Two subsequent incidents of import established CNN: the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, which CNN was the only network to cover as it happened, and the 1991 Gulf War, which CNN chronicled round the clock from a proximity as irresistible as it was alarming, bomb blasts and gunfire lighting up TV screens from coast to coast. “
” Italian writer-director Paolo Sorrentino makes zombie movies, which probably comes as a surprise to him. At the center of his best and most recent pictures are the walking dead, characters in a race with themselves across mortality’s finish line, their spirits arriving before the rest of them. “
” Memory runs by its own itinerary, departing and arriving at stations of the past on its own schedule. “
” Besides inquiries as to our general well-being, the first thing asked about us, in our first seconds of being alive, is whether we’re a boy or girl. Our first passport through this world is our genitals. “
” The most telling thing about ‘Fargo,’ both the now-classic movie and the television series, is that it doesn’t take place in Fargo. “
” If ‘Fargo’ is about anything, it’s American madness. “
” I’m not sure there’s a difference between books that affected the way I see the world and books that influenced me as a writer. “
” I rode the buses in L.A. until I was in my early 30s, and there’s something about driving or riding through L.A. after sundown, when the Utopian city goes into hiding and another city comes out, more Doors and less Byrds. “
” For a writer, the Book Festival is interesting because you bump into all these other writers whose work you know, whose names you know, and you have a chance to put a person with the name and the work. “
” The first books I remember having an impact on me when I was a kid were L. Frank Baum’s ‘Oz’ books, which were much stranger than the movie: at once rather whimsical and really dark. “
” Representing not just the resurrection of a career, 1953 marked 37-year-old Frank Sinatra’s creative emergence as the best singer of his century. “
” In 1957’s ‘There’s No You,’ Sinatra is suspended at the intersection of a loss he can’t face and a memory he can’t relinquish. “
” Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies and directed by Sundance nominee James Ponsoldt, ‘The End of the Tour’ is a terrific film, among the year’s best with its two-man tarantella of wall-to-wall talk – and I watched it through my fingers as though it were Mad Max. “
” In their matching candy-stripe shirts, the Beach Boys were America’s biggest band of the early ’60s, transmitting utopian bulletins of summer without end to a cold and overcast nation. “
” In the culture at large, the war over science fiction’s creative validity has been long since won, but guardians at the gates of literature, movies, and TV linger unconvinced, even as other genres fitfully transcend critical perceptions of insubstantiality. “
” I don’t know for a fact, but I feel fairly certain that the first person who described a movie as ‘character driven’ had to have been a producer or studio executive. “
” That godfather of the modern action blockbuster, ‘The Godfather,’ is entirely character driven, propelled by the transformation of a crime lord’s youngest son, who breaks bad when he evolves from white-sheep war hero to blood-soaked inheritor of his father’s empire. “
” The instant that movies became described as character driven was the instant when characters stopped mattering in movies. In other words, the birth of the notion of the character-driven movie coincided with the birth of movies in which characters were incidental to the very activities in which they engaged. “
” You can’t blame movies for embracing spectacle; filmmakers since D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. De Mille have loved spectacle, and spectacle is something that movies convey like no other medium, especially in a digital age. “
” If Marxist theory dictates that the personal is always political, the rebuttal of both ‘The Americans’ and ‘House of Cards’ is that the political is always personal: the sum total of our collective needs and desires, vows and betrayals. “
” All of Wes Anderson’s films are confections, memoirs created in cinematic snow globes, with the subtext that memory is the most extraordinary confection of all. “
” Julianne Moore and Michael Keaton began in 1980s soap operas and 1970s sitcoms, respectively, such ancient history by show business standards that you need carbon dating to measure their careers. “
” Can anything be less cool than defending the motion picture academy? “
” Notwithstanding the likes of ‘All the President’s Men’ in the 1970s or HBO’s recent ‘The Newsroom,’ film and TV have always loved to hate the press. “
” The witch-hunting McCarthy era found Hollywood’s view of the press growing bleaker along with the decade’s view of everything else. “
” In journalism, as in politics, other people’s lives are a currency to be bartered on behalf of notoriety and influence. “
” Americans disagree about America because the most common consensus as to what America is or has ever been or ever was meant to be eludes us, and it eludes us because we want it to. “
” David Cronenberg’s ‘Maps to the Stars’ is a Hollywood monster movie in which Hollywood is the monster. “
” When television captured the popular imagination of the 1950s, a rash of movies satirized Hollywood while also mythologizing it. “
” Walt Disney had a nuclear imagination before the advent of nuclear, some comprehension of apocalypse and rapture deep in his genes. “
” Scarlett Johansson has a smile she tries to suppress in every movie she makes. She’s been trying to keep a straight face since she appeared with Bill Murray 11 years ago in her breakthrough, ‘Lost in Translation.’ “
” Beautiful women get in Hollywood’s door quickest and then are shut out when their beauty no longer measures up to whatever it is that Hollywood or audiences decide is beautiful enough; once they’re inside, their choices are limited by the same beauty that won them their entree. “
” Beautiful actors are learning what beautiful actresses like Charlize Theron discovered a while ago – that they get taken more seriously when they trash the same beauty that got them taken seriously to begin with. “
” Ironically, if only because over the years I’ve known so many – from college deans to studio executives to European expats – who come to Los Angeles aspiring to nothing other than living in Topanga, I wound up there by accident. “
” Among the gorges and ravines that hang on Los Angeles’s shoulders like a necklace, Topanga – nestled in the cleavage of the Santa Monica Mountains – is the most singular of ornaments. “
” Like all paradises, Topanga is pitched at the tipping point of promise and peril. “
” Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of the supreme nut jobs in movie history, and of course I mean that in the nicest way. “
” There’s no rule that we have to like the characters movies are about. “
” To an extent, our relationship with the movies is always subjective. Our capacity to be involved says as much about each of us; I’ve never fathomed why anyone would want to spend four hours in the company of the exceedingly tiresome Scarlett O’Hara. “
” It’s not always clear whether the filmmaker intends our alienation or is even aware of it. “
” Americans should be ashamed of how aflutter they get about Downton Abbey – it’s unpatriotic. I seem to remember we fought a revolution so as not to put up with this nonsense, where notions of station are so unforgiving that upper and lower echelons are practically different species. “
” ‘Downton Abbey’ is a pageant, a cavalcade of a time when being born right is the first and most irrevocable career move, and in which an older order – whose passing ‘Downton’s’ creator, Julian Fellowes, clearly mourns – is submerging in icy seas as surely as a grand and extravagant ocean liner. “