Brett Ratner’s talent, such as it is, is bullshit.
The director, whose most recent piece of pandering, formulaic pap, After the Sunset, will probably be number two at the box office this weekend, could comfortably be described as a bullshit artist, or, more charitably, a complete and total bullshit artiste.
If his critics are to be believed (and in this case, they are), his artistry doesn’t lie in filmmaking, a craft for which he is frightfully unskilled, yet tenaciously and gainfully employed. Ratner has no particular intuition for camera placement, editing, or working with actors: His films are about as enjoyable as a vigorous session of C.B.T.
What Ratner is good at—what he unquestionably excels at—is bullshit. Take the mini profile of him in Saturday’s New York Times ‘Arts’ section, A Hollywood Early Bloomer, Bringing It All Back Home, by Lola Ogunnaike, which is chockablock with Ratner’s bald-faced lies and egomaniacal bullshit.
Early in the piece, Ogunnaike (who deserves combat pay for enduring the director’s unctuous “charms”) tells us that Ratner is 35 years old, but later in the piece, she writes that:
It was at N.Y.U. that Mr. Ratner met [Russell] Simmons, who had just founded Def Jam Records. Mr. Ratner directed all of the fledgling label’s music videos, which got him more work from other labels. At the height of his video career, Mr. Ratner was working with acts like Mary J. Blige, L. L. Cool J and Madonna.
This, is, quite simply, bullshit. Def Jam records was a “fledgling label” in the mid-eighties (it was formed in 1984 by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons), when Ratner was all of 15. Yes, Ratner has the adrenaline-fueled ambition (and culturally stereotypical vulgarian impulses) of Budd Schulberg’s ur-Hollywood striver Sammy Glick, but he sure as hell was not directing rap videos at 15.
Ratner’s completely dubious claim to having been an extra in Brian DePalma’s Scarface (“That’s when I first decided that this is what I wanted to do… I didn’t want to be Al Pacino. I wanted to be Brian DePalma, the guy telling Al Pacino what to do,” the director tells Ongunnaike) also sounds like some self-mythologizing bullshit. Are we really supposed to be believe that at 13, Ratner was cast as an extra in the sine qua non proto-gangsta, hip hop film and that he managed to see Brian DePalma directing Al Pacino up close? I guess that’s where he got the skills to start directing rap videos two years later. (Further blurring the boundaries of truth and self-created fiction, Ratner’s name appears in the IMDB entry for the film, which lists him as “Man lying on a raft in pool”: Seems rather unlikely that Ratner was playing a man at 13. Since the IMDB is littered with nakedly self-, or publicist-penned bios and entries for roles that never existed, it’s not too hard to imagine how this entry made it into the internet’s unofficial film encyclopedia.)
I could go on about what a bullshit artist Ratner is (I recall a great New York Observer piece that told of how he charmed his way into NYU, scammed himself through the door of a model apartment, where he met one time girlfriend Rebecca Gayheart, and how he finagled some money out of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment while still an undergrad, but that article is from the pre-Web era and lost in the cgi.bin of history), but the joke is most definitely on us, the movie-going public.
Nothing can stop the torrent of his reeking (but profitable) career. The jabs from critics, who are near-universal in their disdain for his films (“silly adolescent stuff,” The Chicago Reader, “The movie grows progressively more routine in quarter-hour increments, eventually collapsing under the weight of its own insignificance,” USA Today, ad infinitum) can keep people from seeing his lowest common denominator jiggle fests. High profile failures (Superman, anyone?) seem to roll off him without leaving a mark. Not even his own pathetically adolescent, Robert Evans manqué-by-way-of-the Playboy mansion sensibility (“What’s the name of that Latin actress, the one with the big boobs? Rosario Dawson. She did the sexiest stuff—cleavage all the way!,” he told Lloyd Grove last week sounding like Maxim magazine’s entire readership speaking as one) will sink him in an increasingly coarse, unintelligent film environment. Nothing, it seems, can stop a striving little macher like Ratner from running.
What Makes Sammy Run does not, after all, end like that other great work about a little man with big ambition, (Schulberg’s mentor) F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: Sammy Glick winds up in the executive suite (“Now Sammy’s career meteored through my mind in all its destructive brilliance, his blitzkreig against his fellow man…”), not bleeding from a gunshot wound in the swimming pool of his rented mansion.
Somehow I see bigger (but not necessarily better) things for Ratner in the future. That doesn’t mean we can’t call bullshit on him when his own self-mythologizing gets in the way of the truth. Maybe instead of whatever piece of shit he’s squeezing out next, he can do yet another un-called for sub-par remake: Hey, I even have a suggestion.
12 replies on “What Makes Ratner Run?”
I dunno, Matt. He makes more money than you do…
You go, girl! I met Ratner when he was still at NYU, and I was exec producing a series that broadcast student films on Japanese TV. We showed his short, Whatever Happened to Mason Reese, about the Mikey-like kid in some 70’s deviled ham commercial.
Then a year later (this was 92 or 93), we meet back up in the Hamptons, then in South Beach, the city, he’s everywhere–the catch, he’s Russell Simmons’ cell phone jockey. He went everywhere with Russell and was always swapping his cell phone batteries. Oh, and driving him around Southampton in a cream-colored Rolls Royce with curtained, not tinted, windows.
With a founding myth this grand, I predict he’ll be the next Jon Peters, who began, of course, merely as Streisand’s hairdresser.
yet somehow he nailed ultrahot serena williams. i hate him
yet somehow he nailed ultrahot serena williams. i hate him
who saw ratner’s hysterically self-aggrandizing appearance on Rachel Ray’s new celeb cooking show “a taste of celebrity”? I think it was yesterday or saturday. well it was more like a “taste of bullshit”.
Ratner was talking all kinds of self-mythologizing crap related to the above fantasies. And by the end of the show it was totally obvious that Rachel had completely fallen for it. She was just glowing, pathetically crushed-out and taken in. Even after he claimed that he “wouldn’t take a job” until he was able to be a director, and that this meant that “some girlfriend had to pay” for him all the time. ewwwwwwww!
Brett Ratner: eat a dick.
terrific assessment of ratner. it is a shame he managed to keep making movies. the one thing i’ll give him is that he’s gotta be a good saleman to keep working the way he does. since he’s just making movies to make movies, he has no big story to tell, so he can pretty much make anything that they throw his way. the lord of the hacks. i knew a bunch of guys like him at nyu…
I didn’t hear shit about this guy until today. And that;s because a romanian model (im a romanian) is dating him (i read about it in fhm) so i decided to see how the hell is he looking- fat fuck!
Anyway, he sounds to be a real dick, but you gotta hand it to him… what chicks he fucked !
And if this doesnt prove women are stupid creatures…
P.S. Check out the romanian model btw : http://www.provocativepaper.com/desktopcontent-com.php?Alina_Puscau/Alina_Puscau01.jpg
Normally I wouldn’t devote this much space to picking on a movie that’s already getting a proper spanking from so many other critics as it is, but since I was lucky enough to attend the New York premier of “After the Sunset” at the Ziegfeld on Tuesday night, I thought, “Hey, what the hell, let’s kick this flick while it’s down.”
Despite being stuck between hyper-happy, super-friendly, ADD puppy-dog director Brett Ratner, hip-hop and clothing mogul Russell Simmons, and Russell’s super-tall, super-hot model/designer wife while I road the escalator out of the theatre to the New Line Cinema SUV’s that were waiting to take us to the big premiere party at the NYC Warner Brothers building, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to Brett, because the only appropriate way to start a chat would have been congratulating him on his film, but I find his films to be so second-rate that I began choking when I thought about kissing ass…. and I also couldn’t say anything snippy or sarcastic, ’cause I wanted to drink the man’s top-shelf free booze.
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Dating Serena looks like it. He’s also nailng a lot of other ladies as well.
Serena looks like a transvestite to me.
Nothing special to look at..All that big ass will someday be flab. Her clothing line-looks awful.
I never had a chance to meet mr ratner, but I’m glad I didnt. I come from the small city of Edmonton, AB. This is the location where they filmed “santa’s slay”. Anyways, while he was here Brett Ratner tried to seduce my ex girlfriend who was waitressing at a jap restaurant. Of course he tried to win her over with his ego driven bullshit “I’m famous ladee da look at me” He practically begged her to sleep with him. This guy was seriously pathetic, flaunting his money saying things like “a few thousand is nothing to me, it’s like nickels and dimes for you” Regardless of how much money one makes, a tool is still a tool.
However, my ex gf may have succumbed to it, I do not know, and probably will never know. The doubt I have with this situation is what turned her into my “ex” gf. Either way, I will personally boycott anything brett ratner touches. Which is a shame because he’s done much work with jackie chan whom I am a big fan of.
All in all, I’m pretty disgusted by brett ratners behaviour. But I guess when you’re a fat sack like him, there’s not much more you can do other than throw money to win over young naive girls. Me? I’ll stick to being a gentleman.
I just finished watching “After the sunset” and as it is nowdays you get the DVD with all those extras and let me tell you, this opend my eyes on Bret Rattner. I am not sure who is sucking up to who, Bret to actors or actors to Bret but anybody putting up with a shit whats coming out of his mouth is just a load of crap. He is so full of himself and what amazed me the most is that everybody is treating him like God, please. If anybodu noticed, Bret said to Robert Evans”Well, you have had some failures but I never had a failure” I think the man is dreaming, somebody bring this man back to reality.