Sunday, April 28, 2013

The longest response I've ever written to a comment on the Internet.

I wrote an article at on Top Ten Film Directors who Inserted Themselves in Their Own Films in Secondary Roles. It's admittedly not a perfect title as I've included two show runners (Mike Schur and Michael White) but that's more on the editor then me. While it's generally best to avoid the comments section for writers, I relish it (partially because no one comments here) and feel it's a great way to enhance the site by interacting with the readers.
I recently wrote the longest response comment I've ever written and thought it would make an entertaining read on the blog, so enjoy:
bodymaster says:
Most of these aren’t even secondary roles, they’re cameos. Given that, how can you justify having Kevin Smith (who has made arguably one good movie) on this list and not having Martin Scorcese on a list of “top 10 directors…”? What’s the measure of success here? Though I guess we should be thankful Peter Jackson isn’t on the list.
  • Orrin K (article's author) says:
    I’ve seen 10 Scorsese films (which I think is a decent number) and he was in zero of those films I saw. I start from my own experiences as a viewer to devise ideas for names on the list. If Scorsese was in none of the films I saw, why would even put his name through imdb to see how many of his own films he’s starred in.
    When I think of Scorsese’s acting career, the first two things that pop in my head are Akira Kurosawa’s film and Shark Tale, neither of which he directed.
    • Bodymaster says:
      Taxi Driver is a pretty well regarded, famous film. I assumed somebody writing an article on popular film would have seen it. I guess not.


Not that your criticism is invalid, but this is generally the kind of comment that makes me regret breaking from the standard internet writer practice of not going into the comment section.

As for you, I’d recommend making less assumptions and you’ll enjoy these lists (or at least this specific one) more or make your own list.

I could argue that Kevin Smith would be more deserving of Marty Scorsese.  That’s not an implication that Smith is a better director but it IS possible to make a top ten list on film that Kevin Smith would be on and Scorsese wouldn’t be on. I think Smith’s insertion into his own films is pretty clever: Especially the irony that he’s a loudmouth in real life and he barely ever talks in his films, not to mention the couple times he does talk, he sounds highly intelligent which I think makes for a nice twist.

The criteria for this list is two fold: 1) people who impressively inserted themselves into their movies (for me Shyamalan fits that bill because he either failed or succeeded spectacularly) and 2) if they make an interesting story. My goal, above all, is to be interesting and informative.

That’s why Dennis Dugan (whom I thought you would have taken an issue before Kevin Smith), who by all accounts is an awful director, is on this list. I felt there was a narrative there about how he failed as an actor and stumbled into directing.

Upon checking imdb, I have now learned that Scorsese is indeed in a number of his films in uncredited roles I’ve seen but I don’t see anything particularly impressive about most of Scorsese’s roles that I can directly remember like doing the voiceovers on Color of Money or on Aviator and I see Gangs of New York practically every time it pops up on TV because I love that film TV and have NEVER noticed Martin Scorsese’s role as an uncredited “wealthy land owner.”

I will say this:
If I magically went back in time and redid this list, Tarantino would be a glaring omission that I would fix. Scorsese’s somewhere in the realm of "I’ll look into it more and consider it."

As for Taxi Driver, congratulations, you have uncovered the dark secret that TopTenz does not screen out all writers who have not seen Taxi Driver, the 52nd greatest film in the history of America cinema according to a massive poll conducted by the American Film Institue, before selecting contributors. I would say that I’m qualified to write articles on film becuase I’m familiar with Taxi Driver and its historical context and every other notable film in American cinema (, for example, published a list of top 300 films and I’m familiar with all of them) so that if I were to make any of the following lists, I would be aware that Taxi Driver belongs on it: Top ten Jodi Foster movies, top ten Robert De Niro movies, top ten movies featuring child actors, top ten Marty Scorsese movies, top 1 Cybill Shephard movie, top ten counterculture films of 1976, top ten films featuring taxi drivers, top ten films written by Paul Schrader, top ten lines delivered by Robert De Niro talking to a mirror, etc etc etc.

Congrats on evoking the longest comment I’ve ever written in response to a comment on one of my articles

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