Roger’s Movie Nation.
It’s an apt title for a control freak but disqualifying for a serious critic.
I discovered Roger’s attack piece on Grace Fury after the man cravenly closed his comments section a mere two weeks after he published it. My PR team showed me other reviews but neglected to inform me of this one. They also neglected to bring him specifically and especially to my attention before seeking his involvement.
After the fact, I found a small note next to his name, already flagged as trouble, but it was well buried in their near-twenty page list of pursued media contacts. I didn’t think I had any reason to suspect a professional PR firm would continue to engage a known problem.
After much deliberation over an already difficult and deadly year,
I decided not to tiptoe around Roger’s taunt and tirade.
What he does, not just to me but also to others, should be exposed and confronted.
I’m on a mission to free and activate the art in us and our communities, and Roger exemplifies everything in the way of that collective interest, from his inexplicable rage to his lack of critical insight or skill. Unfortunately, “against the grain”, he is not. People throw slurs and slop on the Internet all the time now, and he’s been doing it for a while. With few exceptions, I don’t often visit the “critics” for this reason, especially if their own personalities and blind spots so plainly obstruct. Roger is case in point.
“Film review” can feed the sycophant and the bully.
Both can use the work of others to satisfy a personal demon day and night.
They can also get closer to power by praising its players and punishing its protesters.
But I digress…
To tackle any harm done and very real pain felt is to make my experience one of those “teachable moments”, something others might find helpful.
Maybe addressing Roger’s deceitful destructiveness and immaturity might generate more awareness and draw clear distinction between good critique and incompetent rant. Maybe we might start to reject the cheap “popularity” or “entertainment” of the latter, achieved at the real expense of another.
If PR firms, paid to help us reach our audiences, feel no moral or even financial incentive to discard aggressive ogres and trolls on the Internet, then maybe we should embolden each other to call them out and warn others of their ruinous aims.
To expose bully behavior, to set the record straight, and to engage the curious, I’ve provided a line-by-line (no omissions) takedown of Roger Moore’s “review” below. I have also provided a link to my extended comments here in PDF form.
Otherwise and if you prefer, my next post recaps and cancels Roger’s trash talk well enough.
Documentary Review: A Dancer’s comically pretentious autobiography – “Grace Fury”
Posted on April 21, 2021 by Roger Moore
No sense uh, tiptoeing around it. “Grace Fury,” an autobiographical dance documentary by dancer- choreographer Laura Carruthers, is the worst dance doc I’ve ever seen.
After thorough analysis of Roger’s lies, errors, and abuse, I can say that his opening statement comes as great relief and credit to my film. I’d be concerned if Grace Fury were appealing to such a gross incompetence and dishonest nature.
For starters, do the above scenes from Grace Fury really scream “documentary”
by any ordinary understanding of the word?
Unless one has a very broad, flexible notion of the genre, Grace Fury is not a “dance doc”.
To be autobiographically inspired does not automatically make a “documentary”, no more than any fiction, derived from personal experience, would be called a “documentary”. In fact, Grace Fury draws as much from other fictional concepts that I put to film, years before.
Maybe Roger didn’t read or comprehend those press memos sent with my “performing arts film”
or notice how Grace Fury bridges concert and cinema to offer core insight and challenge paradigms.
Grace Fury is not just about dance,
and she’s not just about me or her own making.
Anyone who suggests as much either misrepresents the film…or didn’t really watch it.
Not that the dancers aren’t terrific and the choreography — a hybrid of ballet, modern and Scottish dance — at least a little interesting.
In his very next sentence, Roger uses the words, “terrific”, “hybrid”, and “interesting” to describe Grace Fury’s dance and choreography. Keep that in mind and watch where he goes.
It’s a life story cryptically, quasi-“poetically” related in dance and endless, eye-rollingly pretentious voice-over narration.
Grace Fury is neither standard narrative — nor standard “narration”.
I knew it would be an edgy move. Very few films rely entirely on interior monologue.
Those are the better terms to use here.
Grace Fury’s verbal communication had to complement and connect scenes from older film projects,
each moment off stage, having an intensely private and pensive, near mystical quality to it.
With a voice, soft and calm, I chose to be authentically in character,
“whispering in the wind.”
She’s an open window to my mind in recollection and reflection. There, various subjects of interest bond and overlap. From my mix of fascinations, well beyond dance, Grace Fury emerges romantic and raw, cryptic and candid. She’s my delight in layered depth, symbol, metaphor, and word.
She’s not pretentious, Roger – She’s just artistic.
“I have outgrown my simple faith,” Carruthers intones, “given up fantasy for truth.”
I’m not sure why Roger pulls this line from my script, out of context and with no set-up, but Grace Fury’s introductory chapter reveals her doubt about chasing dreams. “Experience informs.” She alludes to her practical education and development, creating and directing for over two decades.
Feel free to visit my website that highlights some of those projects.
In between dances, which are sampled not-quite-randomly with no set-up, she hints at conflicts in companies, competing agendas, being dismissed and fleeing Arizona for Scotland.
This statement marks Roger’s first lie about Grace Fury.
I spent years on this project, between projects, for a reason – every image, every word, every movement carefully placed. The dances are both introduced and referenced – cradled – by words and scenes, before and after.
Incidentally, I was never “dismissed”. I left the ballet and Highland dance cultures, all on my own.
My words, “Let’s get lost…beyond these shores…” were apparently lost on Roger.
“I mean, look at here. That’s what she’s here for!’”
This is illustrated by her walking an Arizona desert highway, narrating about how “hot” it is (she’s wearing a leather jacket) only to be picked up by a 1975 MGB Midget. The ’70s vibe spreads to the score, twinkly primitive synthesizer Muzak with digital whistles and bagpipes.
Here, Roger lies again and misquotes Grace Fury for the 1st time.
These words do not “illustrate” the particular scene he describes. I do not use the word “hot” and I’m not talking about a “hot” desert. Incidentally, Roger, did you know that sunny deserts in the winter get cold too?
Also, no digital bagpipes here.
“Here we go again,” she introduces in a dance number featuring sword and scabbard, venturing “somewhere between fire and grace.”
Indeed, here we go again. We get a 2nd misquote from Roger.
He backs up and references an opening scene, out of context, and with the wrong words.
Somewhere between modern dance and “Riverdance,” between pliés and highland flings, Carruthers finds her dancing “voice.” If only she’d kept that pretentious narrator’s voice to herself.
When Roger writes, “If only…”
he implies the “narrator’s voice” is the problem for him – not the choreography, not the dance performance. Again, keep this in mind, as he continues.
Otherwise, Roger provides a wonderful example of the insecure psyche and its treatment of the artist.
He has no room for that voice that might challenge him intellectually, in content and/or in manner of speaking, that might identify and confront such diminutions and demands made of artist to “shut up and dance” for his simple-minded pleasure and control.
“Look at her. That’s what she’s there for…She should know her place”.
Grace Fury speaks right to this familiar confrontation,
and Roger steps right up to prove her point.
Too harsh? Consider this —
“With each ending, you slip under in a way, pulling me further and further out to sea…now adrift, alone with thoughts that sway between giving up and treading more uncertainty, more of these amplified ups and downs. And I think I’m a little seasick.”
Perhaps you can’t be a dancer to hear how howlingly agrammatical, self-absorbed and “slept through English class” that sounds. Apparently nobody in her circle told her.
Roger continues with a 3rd misquote and more disregard for context.
He dismisses and re-writes my struggle and pain, my state of mind, “adrift” and alone with more thoughts and doubts about continuing…about riding the waves of a self-made journey.
I was not writing for an essay award when developing this scene.
Moreover, creative writers are not necessarily bound to the rules of grammar. They bust them all the time – deliberately. We reserve the right to play with language. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Roger doesn’t know this by now.
Those same people neglected to suggest maybe knowing nothing about how to film dance and a direct a movie about dance should give one pause.
“…neglected to suggest maybe knowing nothing about how…” Talk about an abuse of language!
Here, Mr. “slept-through-English-class” removes all doubt that he’s unfit to assess serious work.
We go from his targeted dislike of my interior monologue to this sweeping, poorly constructed, and flawed insult, in defiance of the facts — and his own assertions but a few sentences before.
His unsupported claims, asserted as absolute fact about me,
do absolutely nothing for him.
In one fell swoop, they discredit his assumed “authority” in dance, film, and the written word.
They make his film review — a personal attack.
Gene Kelly, Kenny Ortega, Twyla and Fosse were rare birds.
** My deepest apologies to Gene, Kenny, Twyla, and Bob.
Roger likes to use and abuse people at will, all industry-ass-kissing piety and praise notwithstanding.
I, for one, wouldn’t want to be on Roger’s list of “rare birds”.
The dance here has a local PBS affiliate taping a visiting dance company feel — pedestrian, static.
Nonetheless, he persists. As we’re left to doubt Roger’s authority and background in dance and choreography, he doubles down on his lousy syntax and self-contradiction.
This poor troll suffers a very short memory,
or he just cannot keep his puny list of comments straight.
** Remember when he wrote:
“Not that the dancers aren’t terrific” and the choreography “interesting”?
** Remember when he noted the various dance styles involved and then wrote:
“If only she had kept that…narrator’s voice to herself”, implying the rest was “terrific” dancing?
We go from those affirmations all the way to “The dance here” is “pedestrian and static”.
Suddenly within a few lines, it’s all uninspired and unchanging — a claim easily shut down.
Obviously, Roger doesn’t like to be cogent and consistent – or correct – when harassing artists.
And “we’ll meet again to share this thirst” sounds like a threat.
The only thing Roger does consistently with my film
is re-write and re-arrange it, finishing it off with a 4th misquote.
Roger just makes it up as he goes, rendering a fool’s attempt to tackle an artistic work, literally.
Maybe bad ratings from this character – a lazy mind and lousy writer, at best – are to be expected.
Who cares, right?
Maybe Roger’s attack would be almost bearable, if it weren’t so carelessly enabled and normalized by other rotten tomatoes with greater responsibility.
— That’s a problem for all of us.
Anyway, I cannot rate his performance here on a scale of one to five because it simply doesn’t qualify.
It reads like familiar, schoolyard aggression faced years ago
– nothing close to skilled, professional critique.