Lena Dunham

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tachyonEvan
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Re: 597 Tiny Furniture

#551 Post by tachyonEvan » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:11 pm

onedimension wrote:Saw some of Tiny Furniture again last night while my girlfriend was watching on Netflix. Now that the hype has died down, it's a decent film- having seen a few episodes of 'Girls', it also helps to contrast the TF characters with the ones on 'Girls'- so the feeling that Dunham is just offering thinly veiled autobiography has faded, and it's easier to see critical distance in the presentation of the MILIEU.

I do give her credit for getting the quasi/pseudo-intellectual hipster narciss-artist Internet celebrity vibe of 20-somethings who try to compete in status and cultural capital because they don't feel competitive in economic capital (either they aren't, or don't have to be)- I don't think that's new, and I think some of the narcissism and shallowness ideally gets sublimated into actual artistic work as people mature- but the hi!, concept / low effort glib cultural products and the famous-to-15-people accomplishment of Youtube/blog/Tumblr success are accurate..
I think this tendency towards autobiographical interpretation is what frustrates me about reaction to this film AND Girls. People refuse to separate Dunham from her characters, and seem to insist that she's celebrating the pseudo-artistic, pseudo-intellectual meandering of twentysomethings. In other words, people appear to be arguing that she's an entitled white twentysomething interested only in marketing to and glorifying her own group of other entitled white twentysomething "hipsters" (ugh...) when I don't see much evidence that that's what she's doing. In any interview I've seen with her, she comes across as very genuine and passionate about her storytelling. Sure, she's "quirky" and is coming from a different place than a lot of people, but the criticism just seems ridiculous to me.

In other words, I think your last paragraph is entirely accurate.

"hipster" is such a meaningless and unnecessary designation though.

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Re: 597 Tiny Furniture

#552 Post by onedimension » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:29 pm

When your first film includes your mother, sister, and their apartment as major players, with yourself in the lead role, you risk giving the impression that you've mined your life for material. If that's not the case, it takes time for the impression to fade and leave the reality to stand on its own.

"Hipster" seems like it started in its current sense as a stylistic designation (ironic and/or cheap-retro clothing), but to me it describes a person who engages culture in a superficial way in order to create an impression of superiority, especially in breadth of knowledge, obscurity or idiosyncrasy of taste, or integrity-via-consumption (esp. beer, clothes, music, film, kitsch).

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Gregory
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Re: 597 Tiny Furniture

#553 Post by Gregory » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:15 pm

As Dunham understands, just because you've "mined" your life for material doesn't mean it can't function as fiction and also work in many other registers than "This is what life is like for me" (which is, I think, a very constraining one). And as tachyonEvan said, many of her critics seem to assume otherwise.
onedimension wrote:"Hipster" seems like it started in its current sense as a stylistic designation (ironic and/or cheap-retro clothing), but to me it describes a person who engages culture in a superficial way in order to create an impression of superiority, especially in breadth of knowledge, obscurity or idiosyncrasy of taste, or integrity-via-consumption (esp. beer, clothes, music, film, kitsch).
I'm not sure I understand why especially those, if it's about the more general ways of engaging with culture as you say? I've met arrogant know-it-alls who pose and pretend to know much more than they actually do from pretty much every age and background, regardless of the topic of conversation (sports, wine, history, pop culture, socialites who go to the opera or an art opening to be seen rather than from an earnest desire to see the art, the economy/business). I don't see how an existing term that can be used to describe only some who fit this people as some kind of subset of the culture, and I'm one of those who've gotten tired of the word because it's so vague and overused, for some describing almost anything they don't like as long that bears some resemblance to perceived pretense (but usually only thrown around in reference to all manner of young city-dwellers). Anyway, here's something else to move to the thread on "hipsters" as it's really about that discussion of the label more than about Tiny Furniture.

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Napier
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Re: Lena Dunham

#554 Post by Napier » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:10 pm

Apparently Lena Dunham is a "mogul" now.

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Matt
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Re: Lena Dunham

#555 Post by Matt » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:41 pm

To be fair, that's not something Dunham said about herself but something some dope at BuzzFeed slapped on an article as a sub-head.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#556 Post by jojo » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:35 am

Kareem Abdul Jabbar critiques Girls

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Lena Dunham

#557 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:50 am

jojo wrote:Kareem Abdul Jabbar critiques Girls
This really was a very nice piece. thanks for the link.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#558 Post by Brianruns10 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:15 pm

Dunham is a mighty talented writer, with a real knack for capturing honest, personal moments. I've become a big fan of Girls, and I'm pleased at how far she's come since Tiny Furniture (which I did not care for).

However in person she can be rather obnoxious...her DGA acceptance speech made me cringe.

It worries me, because she has it fully within her capability to destroy her career...she is outspoken enough, that one wrong tweet or comment could do a lot of damage...she came close with the whole Karla Homolka quip way on back.

I'm just a nobody filmmaker, so my advice probably isn't worth the paper it's printed on, but if I could offer her some career advice, it'd be to lay off twitter for a while, and buy herself a cabin tucked in the woods of upstate New York, or Connecticut, far from the ever-so-intoxicating world of the NY jetset. Better yet, get out of the country, and see the world outside of the insular, self involved bubble she has so ably chronicled with her work up to now.

She has great talent, but it is still very raw. If she works on that talent, hones her writing and keep true to herself, she could be a truly great voice in the culture. But if she believes the hype of the media conglomerates who see her as a commodity to be exploited, if she just coasts on the steam she's built up in a short time, before she knows it the world around her will have moved on to the NEXT wunderkind, and she'll be joining Diablo Cody and Nia Vardalos as another flavor of the month who traded in a particular schtick with diminishing returns.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#559 Post by jojo » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:36 pm

Brianruns10 wrote: and she'll be joining Diablo Cody and Nia Vardalos as another flavor of the month who traded in a particular schtick with diminishing returns.
A case can be made that Diablo Cody has been actually a bit underrated now since her flavor of the month aura wore off. A little of that "overrated when they were popular, underrated when they were not" kind of thing going on.

Nia Vardalos, though, always had only one script in her I think.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#560 Post by Brianruns10 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:05 pm

jojo wrote:
Brianruns10 wrote: and she'll be joining Diablo Cody and Nia Vardalos as another flavor of the month who traded in a particular schtick with diminishing returns.
A case can be made that Diablo Cody has been actually a bit underrated now since her flavor of the month aura wore off. A little of that "overrated when they were popular, underrated when they were not" kind of thing going on.

Nia Vardalos, though, always had only one script in her I think.
What is crucial for Dunham to remember, is that both Vardalos and Cody effectively did themselves in by cashing in on their accrued "entertainment capital" with projects of dubious quality, which were marketed as "From the writer of..." yet severely lacking in quality. For Vardalos it was Connie and Carla and I Hate Valentine's day (she didn't learn her lesson the first time), for Cody it was Jennifer's Body.

I would agree with you that Cody is a bit smarter, and with time Young Adult may be better received. But you're right, in hindsight Vardalos was a one trick pony, the one monkey in a thousand who banged out a good script on the typewriter...and even then, honestly, I doubt she would've gotten ANYWHERE had it not been for standing so ably on Tom Hanks' shoulders.

Dunham's problem right now, is she needs to keep challenging herself. Right now she's being praised by sycophants as a genius and all that, and if she starts to believe it, it's all over. As far as I'm concerned, her rise to the top was the easy part. The hard part is staying there.

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HistoryProf
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Re: Lena Dunham

#561 Post by HistoryProf » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:35 pm


onedimension
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Re: Lena Dunham

#562 Post by onedimension » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:34 pm

I like Lena Dunham now, she's suffered enough

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: Lena Dunham

#563 Post by The Narrator Returns » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:47 am


Zot!
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Re: Lena Dunham

#564 Post by Zot! » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:42 pm

onedimension wrote:I like Lena Dunham now, she's suffered enough
Mmmmm....you might think so, but a little more suffering is probably due
Lena Dunham wrote:I always say Agnès Varda was to the French New Wave as Eve is to the Ruff Ryders: a ride-or-die bitch

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Matt
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Re: Lena Dunham

#565 Post by Matt » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:14 pm

Aw, come on, that's a very funny analogy.

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jindianajonz
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Re: Lena Dunham

#566 Post by jindianajonz » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:16 pm

I chortled at the last line in her Fassbinder comments

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Kirkinson
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Re: Lena Dunham

#567 Post by Kirkinson » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:36 pm

Yeah, that's a solid, interesting list and I really enjoyed reading her comments (as someone who still hasn't seen a single thing she's produced).

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sorrysomehow
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Re: Lena Dunham

#568 Post by sorrysomehow » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:53 pm

I'm certainly not the biggest Lena Dunham fan, I only made it about twenty minutes into Tiny Furniture before I got bored and shut it off, but I have seen both seasons of Girls and I enjoyed it for what it was. I think she has an interesting voice and that she is someone worth following as she gets older and, hopefully, starts dealing with more serious subject matter. With all of that having been said, I have to say that the facebook comments on her top 10 link were some of the most embarrasingly immature things I've ever read. I don't think I'll ever understand the amount of flak and hate that people project at her. I understand not enjoying a filmmaker's films, or even the filmmaker themself, but people seem to legitimately loathe her as a human being. It's sad.

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starmanof51
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Re: Lena Dunham

#569 Post by starmanof51 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:14 pm

sorrysomehow wrote: I don't think I'll ever understand the amount of flak and hate that people project at her. I understand not enjoying a filmmaker's films, or even the filmmaker themself, but people seem to legitimately loathe her as a human being. It's sad.
Sad is a good word for it. There are certainly some reasoned negative critiques out there, but most of the sort of comments and posts I think you're referring to end up sounding like a personal problem, not anything much to do with the content of her tv show or movie. Even a few on this board have seemed like that. A handful (not so much here) just come off as naked sexism/misogyny. Those are the really sad ones.

Brianruns10
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Re: Lena Dunham

#570 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:36 pm

I enjoyed this list too. My only complaint is I think all the ties kinda defeats the purpose and the spirit of the list. I don't mind one tie or even two, but when you've got four titles in one, and seemingly half your picks are ties, and a top ten becomes fifteen ore more...you gotta pare it down a bit.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#571 Post by Zot! » Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:56 am

starmanof51 wrote:
sorrysomehow wrote: I don't think I'll ever understand the amount of flak and hate that people project at her. I understand not enjoying a filmmaker's films, or even the filmmaker themself, but people seem to legitimately loathe her as a human being. It's sad.
Sad is a good word for it. There are certainly some reasoned negative critiques out there, but most of the sort of comments and posts I think you're referring to end up sounding like a personal problem, not anything much to do with the content of her tv show or movie. Even a few on this board have seemed like that. A handful (not so much here) just come off as naked sexism/misogyny. Those are the really sad ones.
But this is her people. She lives and dies by being tweeted and friended and "liked" or whatever. Her whole schtick is about humilating herself. Criterion already curated a mostly decent collection, so all she has to do is pick a couple already relevant films and sound kind of reverent. Instead she delivers her lame dick jokes and outdated pop culture references. I'm pretty sure Michael Bay's picks would also be met with disdain.

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Re: Lena Dunham

#572 Post by jindianajonz » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:09 am

Brianruns10 wrote:I enjoyed this list too. My only complaint is I think all the ties kinda defeats the purpose and the spirit of the list. I don't mind one tie or even two, but when you've got four titles in one, and seemingly half your picks are ties, and a top ten becomes fifteen ore more...you gotta pare it down a bit.
Well, this is her list of favorite Criterions, so i think it's somewhat fair to say the Agnes Varda boxset is one of her favorite releases. And I can excuse linking Dead Ringers and Staw Dogs if only because her reasons for linking them are quite amusing.

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starmanof51
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Re: Lena Dunham

#573 Post by starmanof51 » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:54 am

Zot! wrote: But this is her people. She lives and dies by being tweeted and friended and "liked" or whatever. Her whole schtick is about humilating herself.
If you say so

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Black Hat
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Re: Lena Dunham

#574 Post by Black Hat » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:47 pm

Zot! wrote:Her whole schtick is about humilating herself.
My only familiarity with Dunham is seeing her on an award show and the whole kerfuffle about her book deal that really rubbed me the wrong wrong way butI know nothing about her show or her films. I don't know the validity of your statement but I don't think it justifies the awful things I've heard or read people say about her. Why do people loathe her so much? Is it because she's fat and unattractive?

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Matt
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Re: Lena Dunham

#575 Post by Matt » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:57 pm

Her looks (and her ambivalence regarding self-presentation) probably have something to do with the animosity (e.g. How dare a woman I don't find attractive presume to have a career in film and TV?) but I think it has much more to do with her being a child of privilege (famous/wealthy parents, liberal arts college education, native New Yorker) and a sense that she hasn't paid her dues to have this level of success at her age.

I'm not saying she's Orson Welles, but I'm beginning to understand the Schadenfreude of the industry concerning him when Ambersons flopped.

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