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Notebook on Cities and Culture S1E7: Geographical Verisimilitude with David Bax

Colin Marshall sits down in North Hollywood with film and television critic David Bax, co-host of the podcasts Battleship Pretension and Previously On. They discuss his fifth-grade shoving match over Ghostbusters; the difference between criticism and the assertion of one’s opinions; being a film and television critic while living right near the heart of film and television production; Chicago’s advantages as a filmgoing city, including but not limited to the Gene Siskel Film Center; discovering a cinephile community on the bus; St. Louis and other cities’ loss of local critics writing with local sensibilities; whether the aspiring critic must first reject working in production; the sharpening of his critical perspectives on formalism and structuralism as revealed by Michael Mann’s Public Enemies; if a critic should tell an audience why they like a film, why the audience should like a film, why the audience should pay attention to a film, or simply how a film works; why the internet offers a superior medium for television criticism; what television can do that film can’t, and why to watch them differently; whether television shows labor under a corrupting business model; Treme, New Orleans and geographical verisimilitude; the askew real-placeness of many Los Angeles productions; the outdated marketing of television as evidenced by the Whitney billboards that once littered town; how and why to avoid approaching art as commodity; what he would say to those who who don’t consider criticism a “real job” (and how he would agree with them); and the necessity of discussing film and television as if for posterity, just as a program like The Sopranos seems to have been created for it.

Download the interview from Notebook on Cities and Culture’s feed here or on iTunes here.

(Photo: Jenny Smith)

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