So I finally got to make a video essay on the films that have sort of become the embodiment of failure in American cinema. A lot has been written over the years about Heaven's Gate and pretty much as soon as The Lone Ranger's box office receipts started getting tallied, it was clear that people were ignoring a beautifully weird movie. Everyone knew the score right away. So why talk about them? Because when movies like this fail, the conversation becomes about why they failed (economics, people don't like westerns, blah blah fucking blah), rather than the movie itself. Ryland Walker Knight seemed to be the only guy post-failure who wanted to talk about something other than its non-commercial braggadocio. So yeah maybe I'm being redundant by talking about two of the highest profile failures in living memory, but these films are beautiful and deserve to be talked about. I don't need people to reassess their opinion of the films (that'd be nice, but it's a secondary concern) I'd just like it if maybe we could have an excuse to talk about the genocides this country was founded upon. I'm also proud that I finally made an Unloved that feels a little like one of my own movies. The great filmmaker/critic Kevin B. Lee got me thinking about the disparity between my own work and my video essays and this was the first time I really made an effort to make something informative that was paced like my fiction, and a little more reliant on poetry than fact. I made this fully expecting my very patient editors to say "No thanks, too weird," but thankfully they liked it. It's tough and maybe pointless and foolish to think about your own work, but it felt nice when someone whose opinion I trust said it was the best video essay I'd ever done. That meant a lot to me. I'm gonna feel good about that for a little while if that's ok with you.

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