More on Reitman/Wilder

Posted by · 2:58 pm · September 7th, 2009

Billy WilderFriday I posted a piece asking whether Jason Reitman might be on track to becoming the new Billy Wilder (an idea first put forth by USA Today writer Anthony Breznican).  The notion was met with some wicked vitriol from those who felt it a silly comparison or, at the very least, too soon to discuss.

Fair enough on the latter, as I mentioned in my piece to begin with and in the ensuing discussion.  But three days later, Stephen Farber invoked Wilder’s name in his Hollywood Reporter review of “Up in the Air” and compared the film’s protagonist to the “corporate pimp” of Wilder’s “The Apartment.”  And today, in going back and forth on the idea with Breznican, he has offered a clarification but isn’t backing off on his point:

“My comment is bound to provoke that sort of thing,” Breznican wrote of the reaction.  “I think you got what I meant, but I probably should have been more precise. Obviously Reitman, at the start of his career, does not add up to Billy Wilder’s entire output. But of course, that wasn’t what I was saying. Rather, I meant Reitman is working with Wilder’s toolbox, and telling the kind of stories that incomparable veteran once told.

“It’s the mix of comedy and tragedy, of satire and heart, that led me to such a connection. Every generation should have someone like that; certainly Ashby was in that tradition, and Cameron Crowe too. I’m glad we’ve got Reitman, and I maintain ‘The Apartment’ and ‘Up in the Air’ would make a killer double-feature, separated by five decades but really not separated at all.

“It’s probably unfair of me to put that burden of comparison on Reitman. If someone gives him shit, he should feel free to dismiss me. I intended it only as a compliment to someone who could be making comic-book movies, but instead has been exploring some of our darker natures with a sense of humor you could perform surgery with.

“It’s cool to disagree. Unfortunately, Facebook updates and Tweets like mine don’t offer much room for this kind of context, so they are easily assailed. I think this explains my thinking a bit, even though, like I said, you seemed to understand perfectly well and phrased it just fine in your own post.

“Again, this may be an unfair thing to hang on Reitman, since he’s just a guy making movies and I’m the one making the grandiose comparison. If anyone gives him shit over it, he should feel free to refer to me as ‘the Billy Wilder of douchebags.'”

→ 14 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

14 responses so far

  • 1 9-07-2009 at 3:38 pm

    Loyal said...

    Fair enough I guess. At least Breznican owned up to it

  • 2 9-07-2009 at 5:48 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    If “Up In The Air” can compare to “The Apartment” in anyway, I can’t freaking wait.

  • 3 9-07-2009 at 7:09 pm

    limeymcfrog said...

    Even if “Up in the Air” is superior to The Apartment, Jason Reitman is still not Billy Wilder.

    I’m sorry if anything that contradicts your ridiculous hyperbole strikes you as wicked vitrol.

    Your childish petulance has cost you a reader. I only started reading your blog when Tom O’Neal pissed me off in ’05. Now, on to better things.

  • 4 9-07-2009 at 7:21 pm

    snowballa said...

    hey limey, don’t let the virtual door hit you on the way out. if anyone is coming across as childish, it’s you.

  • 5 9-07-2009 at 7:47 pm

    RichardA said...

    The newsflash is that it’s okay to disagree.

  • 6 9-07-2009 at 8:23 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Happy trails, limey.

  • 7 9-07-2009 at 8:25 pm

    Jester said...

    Good lord, accusations of hyperbole have all of a sudden become the latest trend. Pauline Kael, apparently, would not be tolerated today (not that she has ever been universally tolerated to begin with)

  • 8 9-07-2009 at 9:08 pm

    Joel said...

    Wow, limeymcfrog. Wow.

    I’m hoping for huge things, regarding “Up in the Air.” I have yet to see “Thank You For Smoking,” which makes me mad, too. “Juno” was brilliant, but the reason I think it’s been overrated over time is that I personally find to have lost spark after the third viewing. That’s just me. Still a four-star effort, but I don’t think it’s as Best Picture nomination worthy as I did when I first saw it.

  • 9 9-07-2009 at 11:35 pm

    allen said...

    if they only did the oscars every four years, like the olympics and presidential elections, do you think Up in the Air might still be a strong contender? (obviously we don’t know what the next four years will bring, but forcasts don’t look too good from here.)
    Do you think it’s something that will really hold in people’s memories for the long haul or is it a kind of see-love-forget kind of movie?

  • 10 9-08-2009 at 12:37 am

    Marvin said...

    You’re gonna make me watch TYFS and Juno, Tapley! I cannot believe that this guy could hold a candle against Wilder, but I guess I’ll have to see by myself.

  • 11 9-08-2009 at 1:18 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I don’t know about other people, allen, but I’m sure it will for me.

  • 12 9-08-2009 at 8:18 am

    Jamieson said...

    Why can’t we just see Jason Reitman as…Jason Reitman?

    Comparing him to a legend like Wilder, especially at this stage in his career, is crazy and just asking for the kind of reactions you’ve seen.

  • 13 9-08-2009 at 8:25 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    No, it’s simply discourse. Kind of typical in these parts, for those willing to discuss without being dismissive and/or offensive.

  • 14 9-08-2009 at 8:40 am

    Sawyer said...

    You might want to rethink your childish stance Limey and remember that it wasn’t Kris’ hyperbolic statement at all, only one that he reported.