The following quotations were taken from various Pauline Kael interviews, primarily those included in Conversations with Pauline Kael. For more on Conversations with Pauline Kael, see the Kael Books section.
On Melvin and Howard (from Camera Obscura, 1982):
"And often if a picture comes along that they [studio executives] did not have much confidence in and really couldn't sell in advance, they don't do anything for it so that a picture like Melvin and Howard or, say, All Night Long or Atlantic City doesn't get anything like the promotion of those movies that they are sure of. As a matter of fact, they are embarrassed to be connected with those movies because they assume those movies are going to fail financially and so, inadvertently, they make those pictures fail."
On Stop Making Sense (from The San Francisco Examiner, 1985):
"By any expectations that we might have formulated in the '60s or very early '70s, the kids who grew up as part of the movie generation would be dashing to movies like Under Fire and Shoot the Moon and The Right Stuff. But they aren't. There was a good public response to Stop Making Sense, but probably not nearly as widespread as it should have been in terms of that movie's vitality."
On Citizens Band and Melvin and Howard (from Interview, 1989):
"Some of the great pictures I've loved the most in the last decade have been only marginal successes or box-office disasters - Shoot the Moon, Melvin and Howard, Citizens Band, Pennies From Heaven...These pictures failed. Yet there's some glory for the executives in having done them."
On The Silence of the Lambs (from The San Francisco Bay Guardian, 1991):
"He [Jonathan Demme] picks the right strings all right, but the film has no soul. It's pulp material treated as art, and I think that's a bit of a fraud. I like my pulp treated more like pulp, as in The Grifters."
On Married to the Mob (from The Oxford American, 1992):
"Sometimes movies which you would think would be big box-office successes just don't attract the wide audiences, either because of the way they're promoted or because the audience is just drawn to Terminator and Lethal Weapon and doesn't relate to the nuances of something like Married to the Mob or The Fabulous Baker Boys. I just assumed Married to the Mob would be a big success because it's such a charming comedy, and it seemed like popular movie making, but there was nobody there."
General (The Modern Review, 1994):
"I think there are directors who have more talent than brains - Spielberg, Demme, maybe Scorsese. Streisand. Some of them are technically and emotionally gifted, but they don't know what they should be doing with their gifts. They pick terrible material."