Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vanity Err

Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity would guess that I was pretty psyched to get the special Vanity Fair supplement Movies Rock, which came polybagged with the December issue of Vanity Fair, the cover of which showcases Julia Roberts' eyeballs. Unfortunately, it's kind of a dud. The best things in there are the items that were obviously leftovers from the main magazine, like James Kaplan's profile of songwriting genius Jimmy Van Heusen, who is not really known for his movie work and clearly did not rock, but he sure was in tight with Mr. Sinatra.

The material conceived specifically for this issue, on the other hand, tends to be sloppy and self-indulgent. Perhaps I have an eye for these things, having spent many years overseeing magazine fact-checking departments, but I can see the moments where some fact-checker came in at 11:30 on a closing night and said, "We have to change this," and a bleary-eyed editor did literally the least he could do to accommodate the fix. For example, in the magazine's list of the 50 greatest rock soundtracks of all time, No. 14 is Easy Rider, whose entry begins "He-e-ere's [Ed. note: Wha? Is that supposed to be a Jack Nicholson reference? But didn't he do that in The Shining, like ten years later?] the first film ever to license individual songs rather than use a traditional score," and here you can see where the fact-checker looked at the entry for The Graduate, which is literally on the previous page of the magazine and whose soundtrack, you know, licensed individual songs rather than using a traditional score two years earlier, and said, "Uh-oh," so in the Easy Rider entry directly after what I quoted above is added parenthetically "(or one of them, anyway)."

This attitude extends to the piece by Movies Rock editor in chief Mitch Glazer, on an upcoming concert film on the Rolling Stones directed by Martin Scorsese. The second sentence of this story reads "It's February 2006, 36 years since the last, best Stones film, the Maysles brothers' masterful Gimme Shelter..." Last? Even if you only count theatrically released Stones films, there's Hal Ashby's Let's Spend the Night Together from 1981 and At the Max from 1991, and then there's a bunch of other stuff that I'm not sure ever made it to theatres, like the Voodoo Lounge concert movie.

That kind of stuff just irritates me to no end. There's no excuse for not getting these things right. And face it, VF, if your little supplement irritates me, who ought to be your target audience (except that my disposable income is probably not high enough to please your advertisers), who's it going to please?

1 comment:

Joe said...

Yeah, but the thing with David Cross and Demetri Martin was pretty damn funny.