One of the surest signs of the Philistine is his reverence for the superior tastes of those who put him down.

— Pauline Kael

The most useful Pauline Kael quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

The first prerogative of an artist in any medium is to make a fool of himself.

34

Irresponsibility is part of the pleasure of all art; it is the part the schools cannot recognize.

26

What this generation was bred to at television's knees was not wisdom, but cynicism.

11

When a picture can't make it on its own, the producers pull in a 'controversial' message - the way a couple whose marriage is falling apart decide to have a baby.

11

The problem with a popular art form is that those who want something more are in a hopeless minority compared with the millions who are always seeing it for the first time, or for the reassurance and gratification of seeing the conventions fulfilled again.

9

Protagonists are always loners, almost by definition.

9

Trash has given us an appetite for art.

7

Her only flair is in her nostrils.

6

Movies are our cheap and easy expression, the sullen art of displaced persons.

5

In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.

5

This movie is a toupee made up to look like honest baldness.

4

Economy, speed, nervousness, and desperation produce the final wasteful, semi-incoherent movies we see.

4

About Pauline Kael

Quotes 87 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Critic
Birthday October 16

Kevin Costner has feathers in his hair and feathers in his head.

The Indians should have called him 'Plays with Camera.

4

Movies that are consciously life-affirming are to be consciously avoided.

3

A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again.

3

Moviegoers like to believe that those they have made stars are great actors.

People used to say that Gary Cooper was a fine actor probably because when they looked in his face they were ready to give him their power of attorney.

3

Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again.

3

The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you’ve seen.

3

a steady diet of mass culture is a form of deprivation.

2

We may be reaching the end of the era in which individual movies meant something to people. In the new era, movies may just mean a barrage of images.

2

In a foreign country people don't expect you to be just like them, but in Los Angeles, which is infiltrating the world, they don't consider that you might be different because they don't recognize any values except their own. And soon there may not be any others.

1

The critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising.

1

It seems likely that many of the young who don't wait for others to call them artists, but simply announce that they are, don't have the patience to make art.

0

Vulgarity is not as destructive to an artist as snobbery.

0

I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.

0

What's disgusting about the Dirty Harry movies is that Eastwood plays this angry tension as righteous indignation.

0

tasteful and colossal are - in movies, at least - basically antipathetic.

0

There is, in any art, a tendency to turn one's own preferences into a monomaniac theory.

0

Is there something in druggy subjects that encourages directors to make imitation film noir? Film noir itself becomes an addiction.

0

I am mystified. I know only one person who voted for Nixon.

0

A book might be written on the injustice of the just.

0

There is something spurious about the very term 'a movie made for TV,' because what you make for TV is a TV program.

0

Television as we have it isn't an art form - it's a piece of furniture that is good for a few things.

0

The critical task is necessarily comparative, and younger people do not truly know what is new

0

The words "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies

0

Moviemaking is so male-dominated now that they think they’re being pro-feminine when they have women punching each other out.

0

What is getting older if it isn't learning more ways that you're vulnerable?

0

It's sometimes discouraging to see all of a director's movies, because there's so much repetition. The auteurists took this to be a sign of a director's artistry, that you could recognize his movies. But it can also be a sign that he's a hack.

0

At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure. The directors used to say they were showing us its real face and how ugly it was in order to sensitize us to its horrors. You don't have to be very keen to see that they are now in fact desensitizing us.

0

When I see those ads with the quote 'You'll have to see this picture twice,' I know it's the kind of picture I don't want to see once.

0

Picasso has a volatile, explosive presence.

He seems to take art back to an earlier function, before the centuries of museums and masterpieces; he is the artist as clown, as conjurer, as master funmaker.

0

Art doesn't come in measured quantities: it's got to be too much or it's not enough.

0

Citizen Kane is perhaps the one American talking picture that seems as fresh now as the day it opened. It may seem even fresher.

0

The slender, swift Bruce Lee was the Fred Astaire of martial arts, and many of the fights that could be merely brutal come across as lightning-fast choreography.

0

We read critics for the perceptions, for what they tell us that we didn't fully grasp when we saw the work. The judgments we can usually make for ourselves.

0

Sex is the great leveler, taste the great divider.

0

I felt as if I had attended the funeral of someone I didn't know.

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Allowing for exceptions, there is still one basic difference between the traditional arts and the mass-media arts: in the traditional arts, the artist grows; in a mass medium, the artist decays profitably.

0

McLuhanism and the media have broken the back of the book business;

they've freed people from the shame of not reading. They've rationalized becoming stupid and watching television.

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