Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This is goodbye...

To blogger, at least.

I'd been thinking about moving to wordpress for a while, and it was only a matter of time before I'd succumb to peer pressure. Peer pressure, in this case, took the form of one Grace Wang, who argued that wordpress is much easier to use, and also much prettier (a very convincing argument). So after two and a half years on blogger, it's time to say goodbye. The new blog's here.
See you there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What are you drinking?

I'm sitting at a Starbucks, occasionally sipping on a Vanilla Bean frappuccino, and desperately struggling with a particularly nasty piece of dialogue. If there's one thing I'm no good at, it's dialogue. It's getting pretty frustrating. Especially since I know exactly how this scene is supposed to end, after having had its conclusion in my head for close to three years now. It's getting there that's proving to be more difficult. In my head, it's a wonder of a scene, with exactly the right amount of tension and crisp dialogue and some foreshadowing to boot. On paper, not so much. The girls at the table next to mine are getting pretty agitated and loud, so I turn up the volume on my iPod and go back to trying to write my way out of this mess.

One table over to the left, facing me, is a woman perhaps a few years older than me. On her table an empty cup of coffee and a spiral-bound notebook, in which she scribbles sporadically. Every once in a while we look up at the same time and our eyes meet, and we exchange the kind of smile that indicates that, though we are complete strangers, we know exactly what's going through each other's mind at this exact moment. "This is a complete waste of time," her eyes seem to be saying, "I can't write worth a damn." "You should see what I've got," I want to say. Then she goes back to staring out the window, and I look down and cross out a paragraph or two, before crumpling up the sheet of paper and placing the resulting ball carefully next to its two predecessors. This is going to be such a productive afternoon.

At the table right in front of mine sits a buddhist monk in his orange robe, playing with a MacBook and a brand new iPad. He's sitting with his back to me, and though he's partially obscuring the iPad, I can still see what he's doing. I'm guessing he just got the newest toy from Apple and is trying it out; right now he's watching a series of videos involving other orange-clad monks, skipping quickly from one to the next. The next time I look up, though, a change in the quality of the picture indicates that he has now switched to a movie. A New York street, then another. Extras milling about. Then Ben Stiller rounds a corner and starts walking towards the camera. Title card: Night at the Museum. I smile and go back to staring at a blank page as Ben Stiller enters the Museum of Natural History.

The woman's leaned over towards the monk's table and is talking to him, so I kill the sound on my iPod and start eavesdropping. She tries a few shaky French sentences, before asking him if he speaks English. She sounds American, with a faint Midwestern accent perhaps. Hard to know with the girls next to me apparently trying to set a new world record for loudness in a confined space. The monk says yes, but his English seems to be at least as shaky as her French, and as a result, what we have here is a failure to communicate. I'm about to volunteer my services as a translator when she finally manages to convey that she is offering to buy him another drink. "What are you drinking?" takes a little longer to be understood, but he eventually responds by a semi-cryptic "caramel" and thank her with a nod. On the screen Ben Stiller is being pursued by a gang of crazed monkeys. I've seen this movie, but I have little recollection of it.

By the time I decide I'm done for the day, Ben Stiller's defeated the bad guys, and everything's back the way it should be in the museum. Except Theodore Roosevelt's still played by Robin Williams, which for some reason sounds very, very wrong. I gather my stuff--among which the two pages I've managed to write over a couple hours--and head for the trash can, where I dispose of my empty cup and of the remains of half a dozen aborted chapters. As I pass the woman, she looks up from her notebook and smiles. "Goodbye," she says. I smile back. "Good luck." She nods appreciatively. By the time I exit the shop into a late Paris afternoon, she's back to scribbling in her notebook.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The end of an era

So I turned in my thesis on Wednesday.

It felt pretty weird. On the one hand, I've been working on it for the better part of a year, and it felt pretty amazing to finally be done with it. On the other hand, well, I've been working on it for the better part of a year, and it's a little sad to think that I may never write another line about Cormac McCarthy or The Crossing ever again (of course, given that I can't seem to be able to write more than a couple blog entries without mentioning McCarthy at least once, that seems highly unlikely). It was, in a way, like saying goodbye to an old friend. One who could be the most annoying person in the world at times, but a good friend nonetheless.
I guess I was pretty lucky, in that I positively love the topic of my thesis (that is, "Border and Identity in Cormac McCarthy's The Crossing," according to the subtitle). I've mentioned many times before how much I love and admire McCarthy, and The Crossing is arguably my favorite novel of his (arguably because Blood Meridian completely blew my mind as well). As for questions of identity in literature, they fascinate me about as much as the question of madness (and what is madness if not the loss of one's sense of identity?) or of determinism and free will (there's a reason Light in August is my favorite Faulkner novel (other than the fact that it's breathtakingly well-written, of course)). So to say that I was enthusiastic about the whole thing would be quite the understatement. Of course, there were times when it seemed to drag on endlessly, when it felt like I was as likely to ever finish it as a McCarthy novel is likely to get a happy ending (that's not very likely, in case you were wondering).
But even at the worst of times, I was always happy to be writing about what I was writing about. I know people, friends of mine even, who, having chosen to work on stuff they didn't love quite as much, have now come to positively hate their topics. I may not re-read The Crossing any time soon, but that's only because I must have read it four times over the past three years (not counting the numerous times I went fishing for a quote I'd stupidly forgotten to mark (seriously, so many of the pages are dog-eared that my book's twice as big at the top as it is at the bottom)). I didn't come out of the whole thing hating McCarthy, but that may be due to the fact that even if he were to announce that he would be writing nothing bu Twilight fanfiction from now on, I still couldn't find it in my heart to hold it against him (that's a lie, I'd be devastated and furious, but let's pretend I wouldn't be and I'm actually making sense).

Still, there definitely was a sense of relief. The last stretch was pretty brutal. Partly because I can be terribly
inefficient at anything but procrastinating unless I'm so close to the deadline I can see my whole life flashing before my eyes. Days at a time spent at the library, with nothing to show for it save for perhaps a few pages--not altogether catastrophic, but not good enough either. So the very end of the last stretch was much more stressful than it should have been, and the very end of the very end of the last stretch was the worst. Does it make sense that I would have to put the last finishing touches to my thesis a mere couple hours before it was due when I'd been working on it for months and months? (And I'm not just talking about a little polishing here, I literally finished the introduction the morning the whole thing was due.) So yeah, it was a relief to finally be able to turn it in. Not that I'm entirely out of the woods just yet. I have to present it Wednesday morning, and only then will I be officially free for the summer. But I'm not losing sleep over the presentation, whereas I did definitely lose some sleep over the whole writing thing.

As I was saying, the last month or so has been pretty brutal. I've fallen way behind on any writing that wasn't thesis-related. You may have noticed that this is only my second entry for the whole month of May, for instance. On the other hand, you probably haven't noticed that I haven't worked on my novel in close to a month (and Damien and Rose are totally crying out for attention). My reading's taken a hit, too, as I've only read about 800 pages in four weeks (I'm still a little ahead when it comes to my resolutions, but barely). I've even had to slow down on my moviegoing a little (though I'm currently sitting at 160 films since January 1, so I can't exactly complain).
Plans for the summer, you ask? Read, and write, and watch more movies. Work on my novel, and blog, about movies and Paris and who knows what. Watch the Phillies get over that stupid slump of theirs (seriously, Halladay throws a freaking perfect game, the least you could do is try not to get shut out the very next day). Hang out with friends. Perhaps try to figure out a topic for next year's thesis (remind me some time to explain to you the monstrosity that is the French college system, and why I have to write two different theses in a row to get my master's). Go to Spain. Perhaps work some, if I can find anyone that's still hiring in this economy that's not a PR firm for oil companies. In other words, no big plan for now.
I kinda like that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring fever

Early May in Paris. Time for students like me to scramble to finish their thesis and shirk their blogging duties. Or their writing duties in general, really. I can't remember the last time I wrote something because I wanted to, rather than because that third part was due, like, a week ago, and I'm only halfway through it, and if I'm made to sit one more day in this library I might snap. Thankfully, my adviser's pretty lax with deadlines (most likely because she's not terribly great at respecting them, either), and has the memory of a sleep-deprived, crack-addicted goldfish. I doubt she even remembers that what I turned in today was originally due about two weeks ago.
On the other hand, early May is perhaps the best time to be living in Paris. It gets progressively warmer just as days start getting significantly longer, so you can spend long evenings with your friends on the banks of the Seine, before walking home at 2 in the morning and managing to get lost in a city you've lived in for the past 25 years (what can I say, I've got a terrible sense of orientation).
Or at least that's the theory. May's been dreadful so far, with today taking the cake as dreariest day of Spring yet. It's cold and gray and rainy, the kind of weather that makes sitting all day in a library trying to write about poor messed-up Billy Parham seem like a great time. Looking out my window, I could easily believe it's November out there (which is somewhat ironic, since I've managed to escape the depressing Parisian Novembers for the past two years). Perhaps all the ash released by that Icelandic volcano (I refuse to even try to type its name for fear my spellchecker will spaz out on me) wasn't content with simply stranding thousands of people in airports for days, but also decided to mess up the weather (when in doubt, blame the Icelanders).
And it looked so promising, too. Late April actually brought us the gorgeous weather that one would expect to find now, even if it lasted for all of a week. But for a week it felt almost like summer was right around the corner--between that and the fact that the library was closed for Spring break, does it come as a surprise to anyone that I didn't get anything done? It's pretty hard to find motivation when you can spend the day out reading in a park, then in the evening sit by the river and watch as countless tourists wave at you from the boats that tirelessly drag them around the Seine all year round, as if you were perhaps part of the show. "On your left, students perpetuating a time-honored Parisian tradition by sitting around doing nothing and getting drunk off of cheap wine." Then perhaps watch the sun set over the water, or move over to a bar and sit outside and, well, continue perpetuating the aforementioned Parisian tradition. Or just walk through the streets and... Well, I think you get it.
But the good news is that summer is right around the corner. It can't keep raining forever, now can it? (For whoever's in charge of the weather: that was a rhetorical question. I swear. There's no need to prove me that it can indeed keep raining forever.) Soon the sun will be back, and I'll be done with my thesis (and as much as I love Cormac McCarthy in general, and The Crossing in particular, that'll be a relief), and then I'll be back to working on my novel and blogging and generally enjoying Paris.
Because I may miss Chicago like crazy, and I may have to resort to reading recaps of Phillies games rather than watch the actual thing, but I still really, really like it here.

P.S.: sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, those were taken with my phone (because having a camera is pretty useless when you keep forgetting to bring it along).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thinking without boxes

“The original, working--and in my heart the true--title of the short novel you hold in your hands was Jews with Swords [...]. I know it still seems incongruous, first of all, for me or a writer of my literary training, generation, and pretensions, to be writing stories featuring anybody with swords.” – Michael Chabon, in the afterword to Gentlemen of the Road

I have an almost instinctive distrust for labels. Literary labels, that is--genres, if you will. Not that I don't recognize their use. As a pretty avid reader of both science fiction and fantasy (in addition to everything else), and as someone who likes to talk about books and movies a lot (as you may have noticed), I have to admit that genres make for rather effective shorthand. I can use the words "science fiction" to refer to a diverse array of books, movies, and TV shows, and everyone will have an idea of what I'm talking about, albeit a very vague one. At the same time, though, the same two words will carry, for most of you at least, a specific connotation, be it positive or negative. Therein lies my problem with labels.

Let me take two examples:

Example #1: A few months ago, a friend of mine asked me for book recommendations. People tend to do that. They probably think that, as a literature major (or, perhaps, as an aspiring writer), I would have strong opinions about books. Which is not an unreasonable assumption to make, especially since it's true. Do I think that Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is one of the best books I've ever read? Yes. Could I talk about why it's amazing for hours? Yes. Do I have any idea whether you would like it? Unless I know exactly what kind of books you like, probably not (and even then, it's not an exact science). Yet people ask me for book recommendations, so I tell them that Junot Diaz is awesome, and hope they don't come back a couple weeks later to complain about that terrible book I told them to read.
Since my friend isn't someone whose literary tastes I know particularly well (I know he's a big Philip Roth fan, but that's pretty much it), I asked him what kind of genres he might be interested in (see, useful shorthand). Of course, I mentioned science fiction, to which he replied, "No, I meant real books." If we'd been face to face, that would have been enough for me to launch into a long tirade about how little sense it makes to consider science fiction in general as an inferior genre, especially since that usually goes hand in hand with a deep lack of knowledge about science fiction. But my friend lives in Chicago (the lucky bastard), so I simply said that by discarding science fiction so, he was missing out on some great stuff, gave him a couple names to check out (I believe I said John Brunner and Philip K. Dick), and moved on to "real book recommendations."
The greatest irony of all? My friend had just read Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and liked it.

Example #2: In one of my creative writing classes last year, I submitted the first chapter of the novel I'm working on. Among the feedback I got was the following: "I don't usually like science fiction, but I really enjoyed your piece." Which, in a way, is pretty flattering. It could, after all, mean that I'm a genius, and that I managed to overcome that particular reader's aversion towards science fiction with my dazzling prose. More likely, it meant that he (because it was a he) had preconceived notions about science fiction that simply don't reflect the reality of it.

That's my problem with labels. Labels constrain thought. You hear "science fiction" (or romance novel, or literary fiction, or Democrat, or conservative), and you find that's enough for you to have some sort of opinion--whether positive or negative. Not that my use of "you" in the previous sentence in entirely honest; I suffer from much the same condition. Even when it comes to literature.
The Michael Chabon quote at the top is there for a reason. For those of you who don't know him, Michael Chabon is the hugely talented author of such diverse books as Wonder Boys, about a Pittsburgh professor struggling to finish his second novel; The Yiddish Policemen's Union, a detective story set in a world where Israel was destroyed in 1948 and in which Jewish refugees settled in Alaska instead; and Gentlemen of the Road, about two Jewish adventurers in 1,000 A.D. (he also wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer and is said to be as amazing as its title claims, but which I haven't read yet). In other words, Chabon is a writer whose work cannot be confined to one specific genre, but who instead takes great pleasure in mixing different genres together. Yet even he feels the need if not to justify, at least to explain why he would write something as base as an adventure story (on a more serious note, you should definitely check Gentlemen of the Road out, it's a great read).
I understand where Chabon's coming from. I grew up a very eclectic reader, devouring anything and everything--Tolkien and Michael Moorcock and Lovecraft and Frank Herbert and Philip K. Dick, but also Georges Perec and Richard Wright and Steinbeck and Richard Brautigan--and, perhaps as a result, I am a pretty eclectic writer. One of the only short stories of mine I actually like falls squarely into what Chabon calls "late-century naturalism." For the past six months or so, I've had this great idea for a historical novel stuck in my head. As for my current project, it's a science fiction/post-apocalyptic novel.
Yet when asked to describe it, I rarely do so in a straightforward, confident fashion. "Well, it's kind of a science fiction novel," I"ll say. "I mean, it's set in a post-apocalyptic world..." Almost apologetically. Not that I'm ashamed of writing science fiction, not at all (I wish I could have written Stand on Zanzibar, or The Man in the High Castle). But I'm very aware of the connotations that the simple words "science fiction" carry, and I somehow feel the need to explain why I would choose to write in such a genre (perhaps ironically, whereas one of the most common criticisms levied at science fiction by its ill-informed detractors is the overreliance on plot to the detriment of characters, my novel is largely character-driven and may instead be lacking a little in the plot department).
"I want it to be both science fiction and literary fiction," I want to say. Unable to escape labels even as I'd want to transcend them.

Bonus section: Sturgeon's Law, or why the fact that most science fiction sucks is no argument against science fiction, since "ninety percent of everything is crud;" Grace Wang writing about FUTURESTATES, 11 great short films that should be enough to convince anyone that science fiction can be smart and engaging; and Neil Gaiman's "How To Talk To Girls At Parties," a great short story that seamlessly weaves science fiction elements into a coming-of-age story.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My best movies of the decade: The Host

The Host (Gwoemul) (2006)

Monster movies seem to have fallen out of fashion. These days, if you're not a zombie or a vampire (thanks for nothing, Stephenie Meyer), chances are you're not getting a movie deal. Except, that is, if you manage to grab the attention of Bong Joon-ho, perhaps the best director to come out of South Korea in recent years, in which case you may end up starring in what I consider to be the best monster movie since Ridley Scott's Alien.
The Host opens in 2000 on an American military base near Seoul, where an American mortician orders his Korean assistant to empty some 200 bottles of formaldehyde down the drain, which leads to the Seoul sewers, and from there to the Han River. Sounds preposterous, doesn't it? Well, that part actually happened, and understandbly caused quite the uproar in South Korea. I'm assuming the part where the toxic pollution leads to the creation of a mutant monster is pure invention, though. We see the monster develop over the course of the next few years, from a tiny, fishlike creature caught and released by two fishermen, to the huge, dark thing lurking underwater glimpsed by a man about to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge into the river.
The next time the creature is seen, it's on the banks of the Han river, where the Park family (a deliciously dysfunctional family that would be at home in many an American indie comedy) operates a snack stand. The monster attacks just as slow-witted Gang-du (Song Kang-ho), his father Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong) and his daughter Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong, above being snatched up by the creature) are watching Gang-du's younger sister Nam-joo (Bae Doona) compete in a national archery tournament on television. The monster proceeds to wreak havoc along the banks of the river (as monsters are wont to do), before escaping, taking poor Hyun-seo with it. The Parks, joined by Gang-du's younger brother Nam-il (Park Hae-il), former student/political activist turned jobless alcoholic, decide to go looking for the monster and for Hyun-seo. As if things weren't already complicated enough, Gang-du also happens to have been exposed to the creature's blood, which makes him a prime target for the Korean and American authorities, now trying their best to identify and contain the virus the monster may be carrying.
Part of the joy of watching a Bong Joon-ho film comes from the way the South Korean director shamelessly mixes genres. The Host is part monster movie, part dark comedy (as the Parks, who have been locked up in a gymnasium with other survivors of the attack, are crying and pulling their hair out in grief, a woman is being reprimanded in the background for not having parked her car correctly), part social commentary, and part family drama. The monster's first appearance, masterfully crafted and terribly effective, gives the tone of the movie: the creature is first seen hanging upside down from a bridge, and is then "fed" beer cans and peanuts by passersby speculating on its nature ("perhaps it's a dolphin," one of them says, prompting you to doubt whether they've ever seen a dolphin), before disappearing underwater and resurfacing only to attack the unsuspecting onlookers. To say that the scene then devolves into a chaotic mess would be putting it mildly, as the beast proceeds to trample everything and everyone that stands in its way, changing direction seemingly at random, while Bong Joon-ho films the ensuing panic and mayhem with obvious delight and enough enthusiasm to make you forget any flaw in the CGI (which nevertheless makes for a much more interesting monster than, say, the smooth-looking Medusa of the recent Clash of the Titans). Fifteen minutes into the movie, and you already know you're in for one hell of a ride.
From then on, Bong Joon-ho shifts effortlessly from one genre to another as he follows the Parks in their hunt for the monster (and the monster in its hunt for more victims). Bong Joon-ho's a master of misdirection and repeatedly shatters expectations, often to great comedic effect: see the Korean official who, in order to calm a confused and hostile crowd, proposes to turn on the TV and watch what the news have to say about the attack, only to realize that perhaps for the first time in film history, the news don't seem to be discussing the movie's events as they're happening. Or what about this mainstay of the family drama, the scene where the outcast's backstory is revealed, leading to a new understanding of his behavior? Here Hee-bong is the one doing the explaining ("Do you really think your brother so pathetic?" he asks Nam-il and Nam-joo, who both nod yes without hesitation), but his children fall asleep halfway through, leaving the patriarch to talk to himself and displacing most of the scene's emotional impact. "Maybe he didn't have enough protein growing up," Hee-bong says as Nam-il snores lightly in the background, "so that's why, every now and then, he dozes off like a sick rooster."
The premise of the movie obviously lends itself to some biting social commentary, and the ghost of SARS (now thoroughly forgotten) is evoked as the monster is thought by Koreans and Americans alike to be the host of an unknown virus (hence the title). The Parks are the victims of a wave of manufactured paranoia, and when it is announced that the allegedly contaminated Gang-du exhibits flu-like symptoms, we see people at a crosswalk casting suspicious glances at and scuttling away from a poor man who just so happens to be coughing a little. If the monster is created, and the situation eventually made worse, by authoritative and meddlesome Americans, Korean authorities aren't exactly paragons of efficiency either--rather, they're ineffectual buffoons at best, subservient sycophants at worst. The same Korean official who tries turning on the TV to quiet the crowd is first seen entering the gymnasium wearing a hazmat suit and wielding a megaphone, tripping over himself and barely breaking his fall with his hand, before straightening up with a stern look on his face, as if daring anyone to comment on what just happened. The doctors and policemen the Parks encounter at the hospital aren't much better, first refusing to listen to Gang-du as he explains that Hyun-seo is still alive, then failing to prevent the Parks from escaping in one of the funniest chase scene ever filmed ("She's your only sister! How could you forget her!" Hee-bong berates his son after Nam-joo fails to make it to the getaway van and they have to drive around the parking lot at what seems like a sluggish pace to pick her up).
The Host culminates in an appropriately awesome finale, in which the Parks work together to bring the monster down (if that's a spoiler, you need to watch more movies. Seriously). And perhaps even more appropriately, Bong Joon-ho doesn't provide us with a neat happy ending. The monster's death, like the film itself, is a messy and strangely beautiful affair. Neatness doesn't belong here, and would just cheapen the whole thing.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The problem with 3D

A few days ago, after seeing How To Train Your Dragon, I couldn't resist taking a cheap shot at 3D movies in my instant review of it on Twitter. As I'm far from being the only one not to like 3D, that actually got retweeted by a few people, eventually catching the eye of a certain StempTheViking (a complete stranger who, according to his recent tweets, is a Yankees fan and cannot therefore be a truly good person), who didn't take lightly to my disparaging this new(ish) technology and its use in movies (because, as we all know, anything said on the internet was meant as a personal insult to you if you happen to disagree with it). This is what he wrote:

"Oh yay another 3D hater, man we should go all the way back to black and white like film was MEANT to be. Oh and silent too."

Stemp (as I'm guessing "TheViking" is a description of his occupation, and not actually part of his name) has it right, I guess: I am indeed a "3D hater," although my dislike for 3D is not as irrational as the term "hater" would make it seem. It also has nothing to do with my being a reactionary film snob (whether that's the case or not is still up for debate), as Stemp also implies. I have, I believe, very good reasons not to like 3D. Since I couldn't possibly explain them within the 140-character limit of Twitter, I'll do so here instead.

First and foremost, 3D is most often, when it comes to film, little more than a useless gimmick. 3D is useless because "normal" movies are not like medieval paintings. The latter often feel slightly off, because painters at the time hadn't yet mastered perspective, making it somewhat harder to distinguish what was supposed to be in the background from what was supposed to be in the foreground (though they used other tricks for that). Film, being based on photography, doesn't suffer from that problem. The screen, and the image that is projected onto it, may be flat, but your eyes have no trouble perceiving depth. Actors evolving on different planes don't seem to crash into each other other all the time.
Some filmmakers understand that, and contend themselves with using 3D to add some additional depth to the picture. James Cameron did so with Avatar, for instance. Most filmmakers (or rather, I suspect, studio executives) don't find that to be enough, though. Perhaps they realize that using 3D in such a way results in an almost imperceptible effect most of the time, and (wrongly) believe that 3D which doesn't draw attention to itself is bad 3D. So they throw stuff at you.
In the recent Alice in Wonderland alone, I counted at least four or five instances of a character throwing something towards the audience, so to speak. What made it most awkward was the fact that I was actually watching the movie in 2D. The "random item thrown at the audience's face" is pretty much a fixture of the 3D movie, although it is sometimes done with more subtlety than in Alice. It has no aesthetic or cinematic value whatsoever, and only exists to point out that, yes, you're watching a 3D movie. Granted, it did startle me and make me laugh the first time it happened (which, I believe, was in 1993 in a Disneyland attraction), but it has long stopped being funny to become excessively annoying.
I like to think that throwing stuff at the audience is a director's way of admitting that he has no idea what to do with this fancy 3D thing. An admission of its uselessness, if you like. If that's the case, Tim Burton must really think 3D sucks. In his sarcastic response to my tweet, Stemp likened 3D vs. 2D to color vs. black and white, but I think I have yet to see a movie whose director feels obliged to point out that his movie is indeed not in black and white every ten minutes or so.
On a more personal note, 3D glasses also tend to detract from my enjoyment of a movie by dimming the picture quite a bit (though I have to admit they've gotten much better at that lately) and by giving me headaches (that, on the other hand, hasn't been getting any better).

The financial aspect of 3D movies should not be disregarded either. In France, seeing a film in 3D will cost you and additional 3 euros, and it can be even more expensive in the US. When your average movie ticket costs 9 euros, that's a 33% increase. In Europe like in the US, the price of going to the movies acts as a deterrent for a lot of people; a 33% increase only exacerbates that problem (a family of four would have to drop $56 in tickets only to see How To Train Your Dragon in 3D).
If, as some studio executives predic, 3D is the future of movies, the problem created by that additional cost will have to be addressed. If it's not, it will be good news for huge blockbusters (like, say, Avatar), which will bring in even more money, and bad news for smaller movies, which will lose part of their potential audience due to their jacked-up price. Even if 3D remains the domain of blockbusters and family movies, the hike in ticket prices for those movies means that your occasional moviegoer will be less likely to go see both a blockbuster and a less agressively marketed movie.

What I find truly sad in Stemp's tweet, though, is the way he sarcastically refers to black and white movies, as if those were somehow inferior to their color counterparts. Would Some Like it Hot be any better if it were in color? Is Casablanca any less of a masterpiece for being in black and white? Of course not. Moreover, some of the most visually striking movies of the past few years were filmed in black and white--think Sin City, for instance, or Francis Ford Coppola's Tetro, perhaps the most gorgeous movie I've seen in the past few months. As a matter of fact, every single person I know who's seen Tetro, regardless of whether they liked it or not, said it made them wish that more movies were done in black and white.
Black and white vs. color doesn't make any sense. Ideally, 2D vs. 3D shouldn't either, and both should instead be equally valid aesthetic choices. It isn't the case right now, and 3D is instead being pushed by studio executives for purely financial reasons. The technology is still young, though, and with enough people with the enthusiasm and talent of James Cameron working on it, 3D might eventually become more than just something used mainly to throw Johnny Depp's hat at a jaded audience.
The day that happens, Stemp, I promise I'll stop being a hater.