Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reviews: Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Pépé le Moko, and Happy Valley

Thursday night was movie night for me. I watched three, two for class, one for pleasure. Only one was really worth my time.

First in the line-up, was Brother Sun, Sister Moon, for my History as a Medium of Film class. It's directed by Franco Zeffirelli, whose body of work consists mostly of Shakespearean adaptation and religious epic. This was one of the later, following the early life and ministry of St. Francis of Asissi. Zeffirelli also did Jesus of Nazareth. If, in either of those movies, he was trying to help us identify with the respective religious leader, he missed his mark. In both films, the enlightened protagonist plays more the role of the lunatic. I personally feel it would be better if we were put in their place, privy to their thoughts, doubts, dreams and visions. Zeffirelli rather shows them to us as a third person. We are in the seat of the casual observer, and only see enough to convince us that this person is not normal. They look like lunatics, and were they're taken out of the familiar context, were they anybody but Jesus or a venerated Saint, we would write them off as such.

The had other flaws. It was made in 1972, and all of the music (there was plenty) is by Donovan. If you're not acquainted with Donovan, he is a super mellow folksy psychedelic hippie. The score for Brother Sun was calm, cheesy, and boring. It fit the movie. St. Francis is hailed as the patron saint of nature, and there is plenty of that here, lots of shots of him looking at butterflies and running through blooming fields, with Donovan serenading you all the while.

Zeffirelli beautifully offers the audience a visual feast. The sets, costumes, and colors were still stunning, decades later.

The only noted actor in it is Alec Guiness, known popularly for his role as Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi in Star Wars. He played the Pope, and when St. Francis was pleading before him at the end of the movie, I kept wanting him to say, "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Like pretty scenery, history, Catholicism and/or hippies? Check out Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Otherwise, you could use it as a sedative.

Next in the linup was Pépé le Moko, a French film from 1937. I was watching for my Aesthetics of Crime in Frech and German Film class. Fascinating class, great professors. It's mental gymnastics to even keep up with the material, much less excel and blaze new territory. But worth it for how much it impacts my movie viewing.

As for le Moko, Pépé is a gangster and a womanizer hiding out from the French police in the casbah of the city of Algiers. The casbah is so labyrinthine, winding, and overpopulated, that the police are helpless in it's midst. The only way to get Pépé is to lure him out. And his undoing is, predictably, a woman.

The predicament Pépé faces is whether to accept "freedom" within the confines of the casbah, or to leave for his home in Paris with the woman he desires, facing imminent capture by the authorities. Great flick. I would go on at length, but I'll spare you the philosophical discourse. Good old movie, check it out.

Third and finale for Thursday night was Happy Valley, premiering at the LDS Film Festival. My friend Evan was the assistant editor, and had an extra ticket. He did a great job, but I don't have nice things to say about the writer/director. It is a documentary (I use the term liberally here) about illicit drug use in Utah Valley. A guy named Ron Williams did it. He was there and spoke after the screening, but I didn't need to meet him personally to know how self-absorbed he is. It came through loud and clear in his "documentary". It was really more of a glorified home video of his messed up family. He started the project when his ex-wife went into rehab for heroine use. There was minimal research, shoddy camera work (literally with a home video camera) cheesy music, a small sampling of case studies, and little direction.

I suppose the message was simply of awareness on the problem, but it felt very heavy handed. One of the closing montages was SO over the top. "I am a heroine user and a killer, but I AM A PERSON TOO, and DESERVE TO BE LOVED! LOVE ME!" That is only slightly exaggerated. They also suggested a connection between the Church and rampant painkiller use, but they never draw a strong link. It's pretty superficial, "Mormons use painkillers 'cause the Church makes them feel lots of pressure." Okay. I guess. People everywhere feel pressure every day from their jobs, family life, relationships, etc., so why does the culture here have such a drastic impact? I'm not denying the hypothesis, I'm just saying it was insufficiently explained, and minimally supported.

And why would you emblazon your own name on your supposedly service focused ventures? Ronwilliams.org is ridiculous. The only people allowed to be this arrogant and narcissistic are actors. Their job is to be seen and recognized. Ol' Ron, however, is supposedly working in the fields of environmentalism, health, self-help, and the recent additions of music, film, and some nebulous non-profit for kids. The aim of each venture is vague, the flash factor high, and I can only imagine the impact minimal. If his movie is any indication, they are all highly polished turds.

That's a bit harsh. I suppose service for the sake of self aggrandizement is still service, but his motives are suspect. If he is really focused on serving others, should there be more pictures of the people he helped, or pictures of himself? You tell me.

P.S. Also showing at the LDS Film Festival is Take staring Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner, and produced by an old employer of mine. I went to an early screening last June. Take was written and directed by a first time LDS film maker, and while it ultimately delivers a message of redemtion, it was too little too late to bring you back from the cold dark place it sets you in. High production value, though, and some innovative camera work. Watch the trailer, look for the gun. Awesome shot.


Abby said...

You just sent me down memory lane. I took the History as Film Medium class too. Is Harline still teaching it? I remember we all laughed a lot about Brother Sun, Sister Moon and what a hippie Zeferelli made Francis into, but then it was one of Professor Harline's favorites. All of the films in that class were kind of...meh...but I still loved the class.

Austin said...

Still Harline. Still an interesting/boring class. I may have to consult you if I need help in there at any point.

Anonymous said...

the happy valley you speak of is not the same one I just watched..sadly it tells me more of "who " you are or better yet, arent. goes to show that anyone can hide behind there computers in the name of "coward".congrats, austin coward.

Austin said...

Do you realize how ironic it is that you're accusing me of cowardice and hiding behind my computer? My profile is public, I make these statements in the open. Your response is from "Anonymous". Think about that one for a bit.

From, Your Friend: austin coward ;)

Anonymous said...

my name is Jessica. I would rather not tell you my last name as you strike me as a potential hacker/porn guy.

I just want to point out that the professional critics are all lying, (giving happy valley 3 to 3 1/2 stars) and you are telling the truth (being that you are a self proclaimed critic) or you the ameteur are just an angry coward, and the pros know there stuff. having googled Happy valley and read public and professional opinion, i have decided the only thing worse than a polished turd is an unpolished turd. your low budget site is taking up too much space. just wanted to feed your lil angry self. Happy valley is in theatres for its 6th week! "Austin the prophetic critic and hater of success".....chow.. JESSICA

Austin said...

Sorry I've taken so long to respond, I've been busy with finals.

Dear, Jess, again, I'll point out that you're accusing me of being angry, when you're the one who is name-calling. I assure you I'm not a "hacker/porn guy". My review reflects a different opinion than some utah critics, but certainly doesn't make me an "angry coward". That accusation doesn't make any sense.

The movie has gotten very little coverage outside of Utah, and my review is pretty well in line with those.

The praise that the movie is reveiving in Utah is mostly about how important the topic is, not how well made the film was. I agree, it's a very important topic. I love pertinent documentaries. Not glorified home videos. Happy Valley would have been better relegated to a youtube.com page.

Austin said...

Also, I'd say the success it's seen here is because of how important the topic is to the area, and I'll hand credit to ol' Ron Williams for that.

ron williams said...

Dear Austin,

I read your review(or late night opinion) a few months ago and was amazed and wrote it off then as an angry guy scarcely defending OUR abundant church and noted that there is an Austin in every corner in every faze of my life. a "doubter in the skybox."never on the field.

Then today, was forwarded this latest low flying blog sequence and decided to reach out to you inspite of yourself.

I admit Jessica makes some good points with perhaps some kernals of truth. My experience of you is "Napoleon like". as in complex.

First, I will put the "burden of truth" back to you by addressing your first write up and then I will give you more facts on today and the future of Happy Valley.

You say you like Evans work in the movie and say in the same breathe that the music is "cheesie". Well, you better take that one up with Evan as he set the music to the movie. I love what he did!

second, I think you should answer these two questions for your readers(if there are any) Why do you say that the movie says it is a "church issue?" can you specify where that is said? or that "mormons" have painkiller issues? will you please specify where that is said? Maybe you should tell your readers that you are a liar before you tickle the late night keyboard so they know your "come from" before feasting upon your vast knowledge!

Drug addiction crosses all boundries of race, religion, economics, broken or strong families, age, gender etc.

Go to ksl, or fox, and look up all of the recent drug busts. One for instance a month ago in sandy,Ut. 5,000 balloons a day being sold! It was under survailence for two months so the law could do a study as to "who" is buying... the report says 85% of the balloons were going to white, mormon, male, between 17-24 yrs in UTAH COUNTY. The point is mormon or not..these are all Gods children. Why Austin,would you lie in defense of our beliefs? You are not doing God or any of us a favor by lying and keeping it under the carpet.

Next, your judgement of me, my family, my profession, my intent etc. WOW... have I even met you? I'll bet you just go to church and pretend your judgement issues are not a prob.. lets see..do i want to be a drug addict, or a cold hearted judge of people I dont even know? hmmm God is just, I know.

some how you have it in your head that it is ok to take cheap shots late at night behind your computer. Does it make you feel better about Austin? Does it sedate your anger and misery? Kind of a drug in itsef..

Work on Austin...I 'm here if you need me...surely your can find it in that BIG heart of yours to forgive me or my family for our imperfections.

as for Happy valley? when was the last time you saw a local movie, (a doc for that matter) last for 6+ weeks in the theatres with random standing Os? Outselling most of the big blockbusters? Could you field that question too for me and your readers?

As you may know, I paid for this movie myself and take offense that you lie about its content while I am giving the proceeds to people who really need help. I should show them your lack of integrity, see what they have to say.

I was just contracted by the state of Utah to go and be a good will ambassador on the subject showing Happy valley to our neighbors statewide..the state,they know the facts..mormon or not. it is one of humanity and life or death. I was also asked to be the vice chair to our Utah state Attorney General.

Happy valley also won "best film" at an international film festival to an international crowd. Not Utah. Dude, you have issues..seriosly.

Larry Kings exec producer called my contact saturday to put me on the show in the future and take it international as it opens outside of Utah May 2nd with more to come. The Larry King clan say it is one of the best docs on humanity they have ever seen. They must not see what you see.

Fortunately, I accepted all of this success and did NOT follow Austin Powers to youtube.com

So, professional advice...tell the truth..sooner or later it catches up to you.. you are only as good as your word..today the burden of truth is on you....please respond as I am considering your blog page as an advertisement piece to announce the DVD release.

Drug addiction happens everywhere and is not unique to us here in Utah. We dont have more drugs, but perhaps more denial. You are living proof.

I normally would not give the time to such low energy, but not correcting the facts also goes against who I am. later, ron

Dave said...

Well, Ron, way to prove to all the world that Austin's hypothesis about your self-absorption was merely fiction by writing a 1000 word essay. Very compelling. It's too bad that you weren't able (willing is more likely the truth) to extract yourself from your documentary. It will make any negative review very personal from now on. And while we are pointing fingers, pride is a sin too. Setting yourself up as a light to the world is neither decent or humble. Just saying. Also, if you are going to sell your unhealthy family as a product, just anticipate that some people aren't going to buy it. They are people. I'm sure if I, or probably Austin, met them there would be an outpouring of empathy. I think the issue was you using them. That felt wrong. Not just to Austin. I watched the documentary. I didn't love it. I don't care if it won awards abroad when you proclaim to want to affect change at home. Don't be a hypocrite. You want the spotlight. Why else would you take it international. Get consistent Ron. Sincerity is the most compelling quality a person can have.

I hope this was constructive. It was meant to be.

- Dave

ron williams said...

thank you Dave,

I can understand how you feel. putting myself in the movie was proposed from the editors Ben Ungeren and Evan. Nor do I in any way view my appearance as glorious. it is embarrassing.I have no problem living my truth and reality (even if its ugly)to inspire others to live there truth's. And, the proceeds are going to pay for rehab. where is the down side to that?

In the end, it is a personal choice. mine. I am not trying to hide my families challenges in another Utah county cul-de-sac.

That is, in my opinion, how we as a state got into this mess. the need to "look" good.

You, without knowing me will never know whether it is ego, greed or what my intentions are. trust me, I have many other things in my life that I find much more joy and pleasure around.

I have never had addiction issues. but it kills families. read the obituaries and see how many "heart failures" there are with beautiful teens in our county. Maybe you can get past your perception of me and help out.

My issue is more about Austin reporting truth than whether I care for his approval. I have never met the guy! thank you Dave, your feed back is well taken. ron

ron williams said...

Sorry Dave,

i forgot to address one of your points....

as far as taking it international. what does that have to do with me wanting the spotlight or inconsistant with what?

I am being approached by int. movie distributors. what am I gonnal say "no". I dont want to raise awareness outside of Utah county? I dont want more money to support addicts thru rehab? this was NEVER a church movie. or even a Utah movie. It is about unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness in the context of addiction in Utah.

Me spreading the word is only consistant with its intent. I didnt understand your pinch about "being consistant" and having the world see it.

what is obvious, is the movie is succeeding inspite of all of us world wide. and I strongly not only disagree with Austins comment to Jessica that it is only succeeding cuz of timing and subject matter. insinuating it is a bad movie at a good time.

He is attempting a graceful dismount after a bad routine..my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!! nicely put Ron. since when is making a diffrence a patented concept ONLY within the Utah boarders? You did it cuz you live here. duh...if it touches other lives..sweet. What are you supposed to do if it goes international, change your identity for good ol'Dave?

I love that you are willing to put it out there in spite of irresponsible "pecking with the chickens". Austin will find it hard to back peddle his free wheelin Unhumane jabs in his first review. I hope you do use it for advertising! keep doing good and stop apologizing! Jessica

Austin said...

I have to say, Ron, I didn’t expect to see you here.

I don’t understand a few things you said.
“…an angry guy scarcely defending OUR abundant church…”
"Napoleon like"
“…follow Austin Powers to youtube.com”
I genuinely don’t know what you’re trying to say with these. Honest.

I don’t even remember the music. If Evan did the score, good for him, I’m sure he did a fine job with what he was working with.

So far as having any readers, apparently I do, because you’re here and probably driving up traffic. You also said you were considering this as an advertisement piece to announce the DVD release.

Sarcasm negates the effectiveness of your arguments, so advice like “tell your readers that you are a liar before you tickle the late night keyboard” isn’t going to help your case.

Calling somebody a liar is a strong accusation. If I made any factual errors, I apologize. After re-reading my review, however, I stand by everything I said (except the polished turd comment, that was childish of me). I can state categorically that there are no factual errors that I am aware of. There are hardly any facts at all; I’m giving my opinion of the film and its subjects.

I haven’t watched the movie since January, so forgive me if I don’t have quotes readily on hand. If the film’s screening at the LDS Film Festival weren’t enough of an indication, I do distinctly remember the sentiment expressed from one of the people featured in the film that their problem was tied to the Church and Utah Mormon culture. Danny, maybe? I don’t recall. Either way, it’s a perfectly valid thought to put forward, but I felt it was brought up and then insufficiently supported.

I understand that drug addiction is a widespread problem. I’m studying journalism and film at college. I’m not oblivious to the issue.

As far as judgment of you and your family, I had an hour and a half introduction the night of Happy Valley’s screening at the LDS Film Fest. You offered that, on film, to the whole world. You also said I shouldn’t judge people I don’t know, and in the same breath called me “angry”, “cold hearted”, “miserable”, and said I “have issues”. I also fail to see how anything I said was a “cheap shot”, certainly not any more cheap than your response here has been. My “late at night behind [my] keyboard” post went up at 7:18 pm. Check the time stamp.

I hardly have any need to forgive you and your family. They never gave any offense against me. You’re all forgiven.

On telling the truth, I am. I don’t have any reason to lie.
How am I living proof of Utah Valley having a drug denial problem? I’ve said more than once that it is an important topic, very pertinent to this area. I think the subject matter is the greatest strength of your film for that exact reason. The next greatest strength would be your own marketing vigor. You must be pretty talented in that area.

I noticed you posted a similar rebuttal on Gideon Burton's blog. I thought he was being generous in his review, and even there you couldn’t accept much criticism. Honest criticism can only help your future ventures. I’d take note of what people say, especially when it could make your films better. Criticism goes hand in hand with public notoriety. If you intend on being a film maker, get used to it.

Is mine the only review you’ve read that didn’t rave about how wonderful your movie is? If so, I’m flabbergasted, but happy to stand alone. I didn’t like it, it didn’t touch me, I soon forgot about it. I also don’t feel like you addressed any of my concrete accusations.

But I’ll hand this to you: Your film is probably affecting good here in Utah, through conversations like the one Gideon had with his son. My hat goes off to you for donating all the proceeds to rehabilitation efforts. Sincerely, good job on that.

Also, I’m not attempting “a graceful dismount after a bad routine”. I hope I can acknowledge valid points from the other side of the conversation without being belittled for it.

ron williams said...


it is nice to experience a more responsible form of communication.Thank you.

I felt your.. "IM a user and a killer too, love me" stuff was outright wrong and unhumane.I know God views Macall as godlike as he does all of us inspite of our faults. Macall did not kill her friend. again, i guess you can justify this as ok, I dont understand. I assume you are very young. I dont mean that as a slam.

and no, I am not driving traffic to you. (you would know if I did)not to worry.I have a huge email list of randon people (strangers) who have experienced the movie..If you want there opinions about your writing style and misquotes..fine with me..most of them are Utah residents, and LDS or work for the GOV or police force too. I am sure they would have some good feedback for you.

the liar part is a bit strong from me but you did get two major points wrong.

1. you say the movie says.."mormons are poppers of painkillers"..that is NEVER in the movie. How come when you hear Utah, you automatically replace it with mormons? (the research was on the state of Utah, it's residents, NOT its wards) there are well over a million non-mormons in our great state. the movie never crosses the line and singles out mormons. you say it does,. Highly damaging. not true.

2. you say the movie says.."its a church problem" when Danny says "there are pressures , always trying to be perfect, but there is no way I would say that this is a church problem" then he says "no, this is not a church issue". what 's funny, is I chose to put that in to clear that point. Why? because personally, I dont believe it is a church problem. One could argue it as a cultural problem.. but NOT the church itself.

I am sorry for calling you a liar, but you were not truthful on these two points. You got at least two major points wrong.liar-harsh...lying-safe to say

I was so sensitive to how each demographic had to be in the movie so it would not be what you painted it to be falsely.

I will be happy to get you a copy of the movie. (for the record)

As far as standing alone in your feedback? I actually admire someone with backbone and am fine honoring your opinions.I was more concerned at the calling someone a killer, and the two serious and damaging points you got wrong.Personally, I was amazed on how you spoke of me. You dont even know me. Yet you made some very intresting comments about me and what my businesses are or arent. Hey, if you are going to rip my life apart, get to know me first.Or survey people who do know me. Thats the least you can do.

It doesnt matter what I think about your approach.. it was all your cold, hard judgemental stuff, mixed in with your intitled opinions, mixed with very damaging telling or not telling of the facts. Facts , that are very important to our local audience both mormon and not.

what is hard Austin.. is the general vibe of your piece. It is wreckless, cold and unhumane.

Im trying to clear the air with you all the time knowing that the context was a bit wreckless and possibly arrogant. Hey, I have made my share of mistakes..its ok

thank you for your feedback.Im sleepy.. peace, ron

DO you really think Jessica Biel would CHOOSE to be a spokesperson for a glorified home movie? Her agents loved it.They are the ones taking it to international markets.

Dave said...

I have to say, I haven't been interested in watching this movie since I first saw it because I think I'd be willing to bet a substantial amount of money on the fact that you left street interviews of people talking about how much pressure the LDS church places on them.

Jessica Biels agents are mere pimps. Have fun with them.

Austin. Dude. I think Jessica "anonymous" Biel reads your blog.

j said...

I haven't actually seen the movie, but in response to the discussion here, I don't feel like Austin said anything in his review of the film that was uncalled for. He tried to summarize the impression that the film made on him, and most of it is his opinion which he is entitled to.

I don't know why Ron has a problem with people being on their computers at night. Is there a problem with using a computer after the sun goes down?

And since when did blogger = hacker/porn guy? And what is a "porn guy" anyway? To be honest I've never met Austin, but nothing in his blog indicates to me a tendency to be either a "porn guy" or a "hacker".

And finally, if I had one suggestion for Ron, it would be that people judge you by your words so you might consider spell-checking your comments in the future. I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

If you saw the movie, you would. I read loud and clear that Ron is ok with opinions. He wouldnt have done this brave of a movie if he wasn't.It seems the concern is Austin who is studying journalism not reporting the facts. Is that too much to ask?

Isnt rule # 1 in journalism getting the facts straight?

Go see the movie and tell me if Macall is a killer..if it ever says Mormons are painkiller poppers...and says there is a link to the "church"...

If Austin wants to be the Judge of Ron's character or businesses..That is Austins problem. However, Hard to think he will ever go far in journalism until he commits himself to the facts. I think Austin should be in integrity and correct his misleadings because he only looks worse saying he stands behind them. Jessica

Rob said...

"austin craig is the most important blogger since markos moulitsas."


austin, i got your message that you didn't like this movie. and you know what, i love you more than ever

Emily said...

This is excellent! I fully intend to see this movie now. I think this blog post as an advertisement vehicle totally works.

Wes said...

I saw Happy Valley. I am LDS and was so moved by the message. I was thankful it did NOT make it a church issue at all. I work in a rehab. The movie is spot on.

I can see why Williams would be upset with the post made on this site falsely portraying its message. And the points he makes are important because we are here in Utah.

What is worse, is the fact that now Austin, you put all this on the front page of your site for self promotion cuz you couldn't tell the truth.

Mr Williams gave you a chance to come clean...what did you do? Pimped yourself hoping Jessica Biel would somehow make the public forget you invent your own truths.

peace, Wes

James Rupprecht said...

I saw this movie last week, and I have mixed impressions about it. I thought the filmmaker did an OK job of getting his message across about a subject that, according to published statistics, is certainly an issue nationwide, including Utah. I do, however, think the director went a little overboard in associating the LDS church with addiction problems. I think the church is a scapegoat for far too many issues that people have in their lives; people typically arrive at these types of problems (be it addiction, divorce, etc.) due to selfishness and other motives. There are plenty of drug abusers outside of the church, with their own set of problems that trigger all types of addiction. Again, I felt like too much focus was put on that; it did seem to me, though, that this was part of the subject matter that the director was attempting to convey. This being the case, I don't feel it inappropriate to state that as parents, LDS or not, we need to be teaching values to our children, and we need to be diligent about it. The world is a very tough place in which to live and to raise posterity, much more so than when I was young. If we put in the work to establish strong relationships with our children, and set the example and the bar in our own lives, we would see much less of the pain and heartache that this documentary illustrated. I saw Macall's mother and of course it was no surprise that her daughter has the issues that she has. Are these people children of God? Of course! Despise the sin, love the sinner.

Ron, not a terrible effort for the message that you were attempting to get across (I agree with Jeff Vice; the positive affirmation stuff at the end was a little over-the-top, IMO, as well as publishing your website). Austin, good, honest feedback on your review; it's your opinion, exactly what it should be.

Jasie said...

Austin, you really need to stop lying, self-promoting, being a coward, and writing your own personal reviews on YOUR BLOG!

jeez, dude. Come clean, already! You had your chance! Look at you, hiding behind Jessica Biel, hoping she would make the public forget that you invent your own truths. How could you use her like that? What did she ever do to you?

Be in integrity all ready! you only look worse saying you stand behind them...or something... uh...

And what's more, Mr. Coward, you are SO unhumane. People who are convicted of manslaughter are not killers!

This is definitely a graceful dismount after a bad routine of back peddling free wheelin unhumane jabs.

Dude. I especially love how journalism and movie reviews have suddenly become the same thing. This stuff cracks me up. I wonder if we could make a public service announcement or a documentary about people who abuse grammar.

Hey, everyone, movie makers, actresses, and other beautiful rich people: "Unhumane" is NOT A WORD! gahh!

Erin said...

Whoa. what is this a "rat pack computer nerd" club on campus?

powerful bloggers...geeks in public?

I just read all this stuff and have not seen the movie but know one of the characters in it.

His life has changed completely for the better and has nothing but praise for the director and says he is the "real deal". I gotta think a guy like him is not gonna fair well in this format. From what I hear, he is a person to person type of guy. He has no need for this kind of therapy.

As for the write up.. looks like a mad high school computer nerd. But I gues all this attention beats the 'ol tumbleweed. Erin

Jess said...

Hi guys, Jessica Biel here, just wanted to say that Austin is HOTT

Erin said...


Rob said...

since having the audacity to post his OPINION on his WEBLOG austin has been accused of being:

a coward, a hider in the name of coward, a potential hacker, a porn guy, an “ameteur”, an angry coward, the proprietor of a low budget site, a lil angry self, a prophetic critic, a hater of success, a late night blogger, angry, a doubter in the skybox, low-flying, someone with a napoleon complex (this is a very liberal interpretation that requires pretty much throwing out your copy of strunk & white), readerless, a liar, a tickler of the late night keyboard, a liar, a church attender, judgmental, cold hearted, a cheap shooter, angry, miserable, capable of forgiveness, a moviegoer, a proprietor of issues, in denial about drug use in utah, a gymnast (as someone who has known austin for years, this is especially offensive), a bicyclist, unhumane, a boxer (bicycling boxer? this is unclear), very young, worried about receiving traffic, unaware of the difference between "its" and "it's," cold, hard, "intitled," "wreckless," unhumane, possibly arrogant, a poor journalist, outside integrity, the most important blogger since markos moulitsas, beloved, a self promoter, both prostitute and pimp, hopeful that jessica biel would make the public forget something, member of a rat pack computer nerd club (this sounds pretty sw8), a powerful blogger, a geek in public, a mad high school computer nerd

austin, i think that you are perfectly entitled to dislike a movie and describe what points that you thought were clear or unclear, how you felt about the production values, and the impression that the film gave you overall. just don't tell ron williams about me. i might start getting called names as well.

Austin said...

Rob, you just made my day.

Ron, I've thought about it, and come to a conclusion. You'll just have to sue me for libel.

Erin said...

Rob, isnt it wierd how that law of attraction thing works? ( I too read Austins first write up)

It works the opposite too.."show love, get love. Erin

but two wrongs dont make a right..Maybe we can all learn from this.

ron williams said...

Dear Austin,

Your invitation for me to waste tax payers money and all of our time is another way of saying that you just dont know who I am. I'm not a litigious guy, I am not a good speller or typer, I just took issue with you not telling the truth. I think I have clearly stated that.

I admit,I was a bit hurt at the personal stuff, but if that is what your experience of me or my family or most importantly Macall is..so be it. That's on you. I still have not met you to date and would like to in the spirit peace and forgiveness. You say that Happy Valley is not supported with research even though all of the state experts are in the movie. I would say that you may want to research some of your points and/or judgements in the future.

Calling anyone a "killer" is harsh. Macall will be free in a few months. Hey, you dont have to like me or Happy Valley or my businesses. I just saw that the spirit of your first write-up did not appear responsible and some VERY IMPORTANT points were not true. And, not knowing how many readers you have, I was concerned as I have signed a contract with the state capital to tour this whole state and speak on the issue. I was also concerned that someone might have an addiction, and resist or "choose out" of the open city platform based on some of the points you missed.

I only wish you well Austin. I would love to meet you in person and laugh about this. I just dont take myself that serious. And yes I am very human and happy to say so and I do take resposibility for the things I say. Please accept my reaching out to you for what it is.

I just dont want to get in the way of all the good Happy Valley is creating. It's not about me..this is my last blog on "history". I ll talk about something positive moving forward anytime. good luck!with love, ron

Christina said...

Wow... I'm not sure what makes me laugh more: the original review or Ron's obsession with it! I haven't seen the movie, not sure that I would want to, now. Mad props to Austin for posting his review--reminds me of those lovely days in creative writing class, oh-so-many-years-ago and the biggest complaint you had was that someone spilled soda or something on your beautiful shoes! :)

Honestly, to all the people who called Austin that long list of names that Rob was so generous in putting together for us, get over yourself! C'mon! We're all fallible, we none of us are perfect! Ron, If you can't take a little criticism then you should switch professions. I am an editor, it is my job to pick writing apart like Austin is picking movies apart (granted, it is also my job to make the writing better, but that's beside the point). According to Matthew Arnold, criticism is a necessary part of writing or really any creative venture. So suck it up like the rest of us.

Again, kudos to Austin, I'm sure you're getting as much of a laugh out of this as I am!


P.S. Ron, your childish declaration of Austin being a liar for expressing his own opinion was just ridiculous. I hope you realize that.

Wes said...


I find it wierd that you are commenting on something you hav'nt even seen. WATCH THE MOVIE.

We are talking about two distinct points. "Opinion and truth". Opinions are like belly buttons. Truth is important. If Ron spends hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to make a positive change, he has every right to call out the facts.

I think it is cool that he would as you put it "obsess" and take the time to stand for truth.

And yes, I have seen the movie. Wes

D Smith said...

give it up Ron/Ron's friends.

Rob said...

i figured it out. the problem comes down to a lack of reading comprehension. this is obvious because when austin uses the word "suggests" ron interpreted "says outright." or maybe "spends the whole movie arguing." He then spent 10,000+ words trying to debunk austin's perfectly reasonable complaint.

given the level of dialog that ensued, i'm not surprised that a sixth grade reading level is the culprit.

Melissa said...

Belly buttons are important...How do you think you were nourished inside your mother?

The Collettes said...

You don't have to watch a movie to understand that films and their makers are subject to criticism the second they hit the screen.

Christa Jeanne said...

Wow. I just have to say, wow. Austin has every right to his opinion and to air those thoughts on his blog. It's his platform. As a blogger, there's nothing that bugs me more than being attacked within my own online space. Discussions are great, but outright attacks are uncalled for! It's just as intrusive as beating someone up in his or her own home.

Just my two cents.

Oh, and Ron? Pretty sure the libel thing was a joke. I haven't seen your film; I'm sure your heart was totally in the right place in making it, but you don't need to bristle so quickly at criticism, constructive or otherwise. Take it from a former journalist / current blogger - it's part of the territory when you put your work out there for public viewing. You have to learn to filter the good from the bad without flying off the handle. Easier said than done, but it's necessary in this line of work. I wish you all the best in your endeavors - may you and your message find success!

Dan said...

I am not sure how long ago this whole string of comment started but there are a few FACTS that need to be addressed:

A) Over the last 25 years, Mormons have purchased just over 105.3 tons of green Jell-O. That is 98.6% of total green jello sales across the world. (I saw it on Larry King Live, its a journalistic fact) I ran a statistical analysis on the numbers, and odds are the chick on the cover of "Happy Valley" IS in fact Mormon (p<.001) (I double checked the numbers with Smith's, all true)

B) Blogs are for posting opinions, not exactly hard journalism. This Ron guy needs to get over the FACT that someone out there just might not like his stuff. PS, Ron, I think Austin might have been kidding about the suing thing...just maybe....

C)Ron man IS self absorbed. I think every post of his mentions some sweet claim involving "signing contracts with the state capital" or "chatting with THE Larry King coffee boy" or "going international" or whatever. I especially love how he reaches out to Austin, like he somehow has the magic touch to heal the wounded boy. Austin, I can give you my psychologists number if you want help getting over your long list of psychological ailments Rob has listed for us. Or maybe we can make a documentary on it...but only if I get to pick the music

D) Ron, I am an amateur cyclist trying to make it pro here in Happy Valley. There are lots of us chasing the dream. Any chance you could make a movie of it???

Anonymous said...

Reading this..just made my day.