Originally Posted by !@#$%!
oh, damn, i love his early stuff, i've even watched stuff he did for canadian tv and found it excellent ("the italian machine"), and would watch his stuff from the 60s if i could but it's hard to find.
the first thing of his i didn't like was "spider"--- i even fell asleep i think. maybe i didn't understand what he was mumbling or something. but anyway, that's my only "wtf?" experience with his work.
the thing that rabid, the brood, scanners or videodrome had in common is that they were a) cheaply made, and b) written by cronenberg himself. so you're watching cronenberg by cronenberg and the productions have this sort of guerrilla feel that tells you "hey, outsiders can make movies too." it's kind of punk in this sense. but he's just gotten so good at it now that you can't tell his french/german films from his hollywood work. he still works very cheaply, his crew is amazing that way, and it's the same crew since the 80s.
i like that he's not afraid of using other people's material though, which he has done more as he got older. any writer has obsessions that get repeated over and over (many painters too), so i don't want to watch cronenberg make 20 versions of the same movie, like the guy in that wim wenders movie who can't stop watching his own dreams.
opening up to other writers has bproduced great work and has made him continuously interesting for me. he can hide his own obsessions behind other people's, and this adds more layers instead of being always the same shit (which is good shit, just, doesn't have to always be the same). it's like cloning yourself vs. having children-- yes, the children all are different, and some take after their mother, or their father, or are an even mix, but none are the same.
i don't see his progressive refinement as a bad thing or a betrayal of his principles-- yes he's no longer 30 and he doesn't have to make movies on a shoestring, but he does what he can with what he has and is very conscious about every detail of his work. to me he's one of the few people who has made time their ally and keeps getting better with age. his level of craft is simply extraordinary. in a world of hacks who do things for all the wrong reasons, he remains a true artist.