‘Blonde’ Joyce Carol Oates: Spielberg’s ‘The Fabelmans’ ‘mediocre’
Oates tweeted that Steven Spielberg has “superficial corniness” as a director after the biopic’s Golden Globe win.
Joyce Carol Oates challenges Steven Spielberg in an influencer feud that wasn’t on our 2023 bingo card.
In an awards season where Oates’ fictional portrait of Marilyn Monroe, “Blonde,” and Spielberg’s autobiographical epic, “The Fabelmans,” are both making the rounds, Oates shared his film review of Spielberg’s personal portrayal.
“This was the most imaginative scene in ‘The Fabelmans,’ an overall remarkably mediocre film despite all the attention and recent awards,” Oates tweeted about David Lynch, who stars in John Ford’s “The Fabelmans” Golden after. Globes win. “It will certainly discourage young filmmakers.”
Netflix and Plan B’s “Blonde” has mostly been left out of the awards season buzz, save for best actress SAG and Golden Globe wins for her portrayal of legendary star Ana de Armas. Oates maintained that the controversial NC-17 film was a “feminist” work, while director Andrew Dominik defended the film from being seen as anti-choice.
Oates continued on Twitter: “Didn’t see the awards ceremony but – did ‘Fabelmans’ really win ‘Tart’ -? “Banshees”? Amazing.”
He also retweeted a post: “I thought the Fabelmans were terrible. The writing is so heavy-handed and the whole thing is so contrived. Bleh.”
Oates clarified his dig at Spielberg’s film, writing, “By making a blonde-Aryan-anti-Semite the pseudo-hero of his high school movie, young Fabelman takes down his enemies and gains a pseudo-friend. Is this an acknowledgment of the superficial banality of the director’s amusing career?”
Spielberg did not comment on Oates’ criticism.
The Fabelmans stars Michelle Williams and Paul Dano as Spielberg’s parents, and Gabriel LaBelle stars as a young upstart director named Sam. Seth Rogen also stars as a friend of the family.
Actress Williams was also nominated along with Spielberg and his co-writer Tony Kushner for Best Screenplay and John Williams for Best Score.
“I’ve been hiding from the story since I was 17,” Spielberg said acceptance speech that the film is finally finished. “Until Tony Kushner, I never had the guts to cut into the story head-on… The fact that everyone sees me as a success story and everyone sees us the way they see us based on intelligence. But no one really knows who we are until we are brave enough to tell everyone who we are. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out when I could tell this story, and I realized when I was about 74 years old. I said, ‘You better do it now.’
It was the most imaginative scene in “The Fabelmans,” a remarkably mediocre film overall for all its attention and recent awards. It must be a deterrent for young filmmakers.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) January 11, 2023
By making a blond-Aryan-anti-Semite the pseudo-hero of his high school film, young Fabelman dismantles his enemies and gains a pseudo-friend. is this an acknowledgment of the superficial banality of the director’s career as an entertainer?
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) January 12, 2023
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