The Magazine

Mazursky’s Time

Making movies that meant something.

Aug 29, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 46 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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The only contemporary moviemaker who evokes Mazursky is the writer and director Judd Apatow, who similarly graduated from outlandish comedies (The Monkees TV show was a Mazursky creation, while Apatow worked on Will Ferrell vehicles) to large-hearted and leisurely attempts to portray the way we live now. But Mazursky’s movies are far more ambitious and socially precise than Apatow’s. Indeed, they rely on their observational exactitude to create the conditions for the humor and pathos he could summon up peerlessly.

More telling is the fact that studio executives wanted to work with Mazursky not only because he was able to make money but because he made the kinds of movies they were proud to associate themselves with—movies that, by their very existence, suggested the medium was something valuable in and of itself. No one in Hollywood even pretends to believe anything remotely like that now.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is The Weekly Standard’s movie critic.